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This is another stand-alone ficlet, the original version of which was written in July 2007 for Laura Mason (Lorie945). It was posted at the Livejournal community “lories_friends” in February 2008. This is “for Lorie”, with love.
Betas: Claudia and Gentlehobbit
Never Too Late
And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise. ‘Many Partings’, The Return of the King
The sound of Frodo calling his name, over and over, rose above the music of Elf voices and birdsong, putting Sam’s last fear to rest. He breathed deeply of the flower-drenched air as the ship gracefully slid into the harbor of Avallónë. After a joyous reunion and feast, he was shown to a soft bed. Sam slept long and deep, while healing music filled his dreams and welcomed him to the West.
When he arose on the third morning, refreshed and eager to wander about, Frodo suggested that they take a walk to “the beach”. Sam didn’t recognize the word right off, it being said in the Elvish with which Frodo’s Westron was now lightly sprinkled, but as they strolled slowly along, he realized where they were going.
“Really now,” Sam said hesitantly, “I don’t think--”
“Trust me, Sam,” Frodo said, his eyes aglow with joyous anticipation.
Frodo led Sam up a small knoll where they looked out upon...
“Is that really sand?” Sam gasped in amazement. “It don’t look a bit like Shire river sand. Why is it so white?”
“I truly don’t know,” Frodo admitted. “Isn’t it beautiful? And wait until you feel it.” He led the way onward until, entranced, Sam was compelled to pick up some of the white stuff.
“This is lovely! It’s as fine and soft as the powder Rosie used on our babes’ bottoms.” Sam let his handful fall slowly through his fingers, the fine grains sparkling in the sunlight. He squished his feet with pleasure in the soft, warm sand.
“The water is so refreshing,” Frodo murmured, gazing rapturously at the clear, turquoise Sea. “This is my favorite place on the island; I think I dreamed of it all my life. Oh Sam, I couldn’t wait to show it to you.”
“It’s beautiful,” Sam whispered.
“I want you to come to know the Sea as I have. Really, truly, know it.” Frodo held out his hand. “Will you try?”
It had been more than 60 years, but had it been 600 Sam wouldn’t have forgotten how persuasive Frodo’s eyes could be. Had another mortal ever been born with such eyes? Frodo looked at him with a confidence that inspired Sam with the same courage it always had... and always would. It put new heart in you, that gaze.
And Sam gazed back at Frodo, whose face was now so peaceful and joyous. He had become who he was born to be... not the Orphan, the Master, Mr. Frodo, or the Ringbearer, but simply... Frodo. He was finally himself. Perhaps that’s what healing really was, when you came right down to it.
“We’ll take it one step at a time,” Frodo said softly.
It was Frodo asking him to try, so how could he not? Maybe he wasn’t too old to learn something new, especially if Frodo believed he could do it.
Sam swallowed hard, then took a deep breath and grasped the hand offered. Frodo led him to the edge of the warm, clear water, and kept going until they were waist deep.
“Learning to swim after all these years,” Sam marveled. “If this don’t beat all.”
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