febobe: (IthilienBeautiful)
[personal profile] febobe
For Mother's Day, here's a little fic I wrote. It's Frodo-centric, as usual, and features some mention - sometimes more! - of THREE lost mothers in Middle-earth....



Frodo sat upon the fountain in the King's garden - he had been given leave to go there whenever he wished, and tonight he did not feel like company, and the garden seemed empty. It was Mothering Day in Gondor, and tonight the whole kingdom was celebrating the honor and deeds of mothers all over. His heart ached for how many memories of his own mother had been eaten away by the Ring, and his heart ached even more for the fact that some part of him longed to hold the Ring again still. *How wicked could I be*, he wondered, *if I would prefer that evil, twisted thing to the memories of my mother*?

Someone touched his shoulder, and he started. But it was only Arwen, and beside her stood Strider - Aragorn, Frodo reminded himself with difficulty.

"Do memories haunt you tonight, tithen min?" Arwen asked softly, sitting beside him.

Frodo swallowed and looked down. "Memories - and the absence of them," he murmured softly. "I miss my mother. And yet so much of what I *could* remember was taken from me by the Ring. I remember my fourth birthday, but not my ninth. I remember her scent but not the way she wore her hair most often. What kind of son does that make me?"

"I have not suffered as you have," Aragorn said, coming to sit on the other side of Frodo, "but I cannot recall how my mother wore her hair either. I remember her voice but not her scent. I remember her words, but not her hands. And I know that cannot help you feel better. But I do guess aright when I say that it troubles you more tonight, when all of Gondo honors their mothers?"

Frodo gave a small nod.

"My mother yet lives," Arwen said softly, "but I shall never see her again. Nor shall my brothers. I wonder how she feels, with empty arms." She slipped her arm gently around Frodo. It felt wonderful - soft and warm, and full of love. He snuggled closer, and Aragorn slid over to slide his strong arm around them both. "How has it felt, Frodo, missing your mother since you woke here in the city?"

Frodo considered the question. A deep pain welled up in his heart. Of all the people he had missed most, the most surprising and the strongest had been his longing to see his mother again, to be held and cuddled and rocked as if he were but a child. The whole ordeal had awoken in him the very qualities he had spent decades burying - his need for affection, his need for gentleness, his need for a mother's tenderness and care. Bilbo had been wonderful to him, but Bilbo could never be a mother, nor had he tried. The two of them had been just a pair of bachelors together; he had been nearer to a father than aught else, but mostly he had been more of an uncle figure. Frodo could still clearly recall the last time he had felt a mother's love, and that had been the night his parents went out boating, the night which had sealed his fate. Perhaps it had also been the saving of the world, but Frodo felf himself hard-pressed to care so much for that at present, when every day he woke with pain in mind, body, and spirit, and every night he went to bed with more of the same. He wanted to weep in a mother's arms. He wanted someone soft and sweet to dry his tears and tell him she was there. He wanted someone to hold him while he wept for the unfairness of it all, for every loss, for every hole in his memory. Doubtless he would never have that again.

"It feels - like a need with no answer," he ventured at last, "like a riddle, like a puzzle no one can solve. It feels like a hole rent in the fabric of my spirit. It hurts so much I can hardly breathe."

Arwen dropped a kiss onto Frodo's dark curls. "Ai, little one! I can only imagine. And you lost your mother at such a tender age, too, younger than either of us were when we lost our mothers." She stroked Frodo's arm gently. "I cannot replace your mother, nor would I try. She must have been the most remarkable ladyhobbit ever born to produce such a child as yourself."

Frodo felt heat rising to his cheeks, but he managed a small smile. "Thank you."

"I cannot replace her," Arwen repeated, "but - am I right in thinking I discern in you a longing to be mothered?"

Frodo's cheeks grew hotter still. He felt almost ashamed to admit it.

"You can say it, Frodo," Aragorn said softly. "There is no shame in feeling thus."

Tears began to roll down Frodo's thin cheeks. "I do long for it," he said. "I do. I have not had a mamma since before I was a tween, but - I miss her more now than I did even then. I want - such foolish things I want! - I wish someone would hold me, and rock me, and give me milk from a cup, and tell me it is all right, that she is here, and - and then maybe - maybe I could believe that I am safe at last. But it is ridiculous to even think of such a thing."

"It is hardly ridiculous," said Arwen. "Frodo, did anyone ever tell you about *my* Ami?"

Frodo shook his head sadly. "I - I heard - rumors," he said. "That - that she sailed - West - long, long ago. Before even Bilbo was born."

"She did," Arwen replied. "She was traveling with me from Lothlorien, where she grew up, where my grandparents yet live - you may recall, Galadriel is my daernaneth - when we were attacked by orcs."

Frodo's eyes widened. He looked up at Arwen in astonishment.

"She urged me to ride back, and I did not wish to leave her," Arwen continued, her grey eyes misty. "But the guard shouted at me to ride, and so I did, and so my mother saved me, though she herself was captured and tormented - and she, like you, received a poisoned wound from a fell blade."

Frodo swallowed against a tight throat. He could not take his eyes from Arwen's face.

"My brothers rescued her, and brought her home. But she was never the same again." Arwen's face seemed shadowed even in the starlight. "Ada was able to heal her body, as he did yours, though your wound was even more severe. But he was never able to fully heal Ami's fea, and so she could not bear to stay, and went to seek healing over the Sea." She swallowed and looked down, her long hair falling in waves. "She wept terribly, and I could not understand why. She would not tell me. Later my daernaneth told me that she had looked into the Mirror, and had seen that none of her children would follow her. I only learned of that when I came to the city and married. She did not wish to tell me before." Arwen tossed her hair back and straightened, then looked at Frodo and gave a small smile that seemed warm as sunlight on a summer day. "Do you know why I wish you to hear this, little one?"

Frodo shook his head. "I am sorry for all that," he said. "But no - I do not understand. Forgive me."

Arwen gathered him close. "Because you, too, seem to be so wounded in fea that you have not found healing here," she said. "Ada told us what he determined from spending time with you. He said that he could do nothing more to aid you - that he would be happy to see that you are always well-cared for, when you are in his company, and Estel and I said the same. But the three of us agree there is no healing left to complete what little has been managed here."

Despair welled afresh in Frodo's heart. "So I must pass the rest of my days thus," he said gloomily. "In pain and in sorrow. For what was I saved? I would rather have gone on to whatever rest I could hope to find."

"Ai, but there is more, Frodo," Aragorn said. "Arwen has a special gift for you."

"I do indeed," Arwen said. "As you know, Frodo, I have chosen my fate, and I will not sail West with Ada when he departs. And my mother will be sorely grieved to be without her children. My brothers and I have made a pact. Elladan wishes to give his place on the ship to Bilbo, first of the Ring-bearers. Bilbo has lived a long life, and it would be pleasant for him if he could pass his final years in the West, where many hurts are healed. I have watched him these many months while you have been away, and it has sorely grieved him knowing what his seemingly insignificant treasure has inflicted upon you. He cannot stop talking about how it; he says it is his fault, his fault, and that he deserves no kindess we can afford him after what he has done to you, most beloved in all the world to him. He has wept and worried, and it has aged him. But we should like to see those hurts healed."

"I never wanted Bilbo to feel it was his fault!" Frodo said, tears welling afresh in his eyes. "He didn't know. He had no way of knowing."

"I know, dearest." Arwen clasped Frodo's hurt hand in hers and stroked it tenderly. "But it worries him. As you feel many things are *your* fault which are not."

Frodo could not control the flow of tears now. He wept openly. Arwen waited, stroking his hand. Aragorn kissed his curls and held him close.

"Frodo...you too need healing," Arwen said at last. "And my mother weeps for the loss of her children. You long for mothering, and I cannot restore your mother to you. My mother longs to mother again, and I cannot give her children back to her. I know she would not be the same as Primula Brandybuck Baggins, but - would you allow her to comfort you in your mother's stead? Would you consider offering her the chance to live as the mother of a child again? I know you are past childhood, but your mother was taken from you far too soon, and you are younger by far than even myself, youngest of my parents' children."

Frodo blinked, looking up at Arwen in astonishment. Did Arwen mean what he thought she meant?

"You mean," he asked in wonder, "that *I* could sail over Sea? With Bilbo? With Hir Elrond?"

Arwen smiled and nodded. "Yes, Frodo. I would like to give my place to you. Both on the ship and in my parents' home over the Sea. I have spoken to Ada, and he agrees that he and Ami would be honored to have you become part of their home. And I have also spoken to Mithrandir, who will go too, and to Daernaneth. Who, I might add, is exceedingly grateful to you, for not only have you vanquished a great evil from the world - you also made it possible for her to go into the West. She was counted one of the Kinslayers, but the choice you laid before her - Frodo, she passed that test, and thus has been counted forgiven. But had you not crossed her path, she would likely have never seen her only child, my Ami, again." She clasped Frodo's hand. "Our family has no means of adequately expressing our gratitude. Allow us to become your extended family. Allow us to give you what you need, insofar as we can provide it." She relased Frodo's hand and reached back to unfasten a chain about her throat. Upon it was set a shining white gem, pure as the dawn. "This is for you," she said, pressing it gently into Frodo's hand as Aragorn raised it, palm up. "When the memory of the pain and the darkness troubles you, this may give you a measure of peace. And if, when the time comes, you wish not to sail West, you shall not be compelled. But the choice is yours, and Daernaneth tells me that she saw in the Mirror my Ami, well again, taking you in her arms. And she laughed for joy, for she loved you so already, though you had only just arrived."

Frodo allowed Aragorn to help him fasten the chain about his neck. He could hardly breathe with the wonder of it all. Truly? He could go into the West, like the elves, and there perhaps find some peace?

"And when the time comes, Sam may join you, if it please him," Arwen added. "My brother Elrohir wishes to offer his place to the last of the Ring-bearers. We know what service Sam did for you during your long journey. It shall be your choice when to tell him. But tonight, you must rest." She smiled. "I think that Estel and I are lonely tonight, what with all the talk of mothers," she said, "and I have not been made a mother yet. Will you permit me the opportunity to practice by spending the night in our chambers?"

Frodo blinked. He certainly could not imagine intruding on the privacy of a couple still but newly wed!
"I could never impose - " he began, but Aragorn smiled and put a finger to his lips.

"I have to return and close out the festivities before the night ends," he said, "and my queen tells me her arms are lonely. And I did not see you eat a bite before you slipped away. Perhaps you would return to our chambers with her and permit her to offer you such comfort as she can? She may seem young, but I assure you she is older than either of our mothers would be, had they lived to see our accomplishments." He rubbed Frodo's back gently. "Primula would be most proud of you, I am certain," he said. "Did you never think that perhaps it was she who sent across your path ladies who wish to treat you as their child? Perhaps she sees you even now, and is this very moment watching over you. Perhaps she has been watching over you every step of your dark journey."

Frodo began to cry afresh, and when Arwen gathered him into her arms, he did not resist. She rocked him gently as if he were her babe...and when at last his tears began to subside a little, she rose.

"It isn't seemly, if anyone sees - " Frodo began to protest, but Arwen smiled.

"I need some practice," she said simply. "Elrond's daughter has not been permitted to hold anything more than banners and needlework for centuries, and you are not so heavy as some of the pieces I have made - but a living, breathing person is a different matter. Do you trust me not to drop you?"

Frodo laughed, for the first time since his awakening.

"I would trust you more than anyone else in the world," he said, and laid his head upon her shoulder, closing his eyes.

"Shall I send up a tray?" Aragorn asked as they crossed into the inner hall.

"Indeed," said Arwen, "and make it easy to eat and drink. I think someone might be exhausted."

If Frodo heard her, he did not comment. Perhaps he was already dreaming pleasant dreams - dreams of a silver-haired elleth with laughing eyes and open arms.

-the end-



ETA: I might lengthen the ending just a bit when I have time. On a time crunch as my in-laws are coming over!

Date: 2015-05-14 08:24 pm (UTC)
lavendertook: (arwen in library)
From: [personal profile] lavendertook
I love the connection you make between Celebrian and Frodo and the symmetry of their losses. And that in sending Frodo in her stead, Arwen is also taking care of her mom and sending her healing. "Sorry, I can't come--here, have a hobbit. Hobbits make everything better--trust me. Or ask Grandma and she'll tell you the same. Love, Arwen." (-: *hugs*

Date: 2015-05-10 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mews1945.livejournal.com
Oh, my, how heartwarming this is. Dear Frodo needs the tenderness and care that Arwen can offer, and from her he can accept it. This is a perfect Mother's Day gift. Thank you so much.

Date: 2015-05-11 02:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] febobe.livejournal.com
Awww, thank you, sweetie. <3 It felt so wonderful writing it. Like stretching out long-unused muscles at last. I just felt Frodo's pain rushing through me, all that longing - and of course it makes sense that he would feel the need to be cared for, after such an ordeal. And Sam has looked after him for so long once he could no longer look after himself - poor Frodo is probably too shattered to even remember how to be an independent adult. He's still so fragile. And probably they've given him too much independence all at once for what he's been through. I like to think the King and Queen would recognize it and provide appropriately for him. :)

Date: 2015-05-11 12:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirebound.livejournal.com
Hopefully you're getting my ff.net reviews, which I'm so happy to write. I ADORE these stories.

Date: 2015-05-11 01:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] febobe.livejournal.com
Awwww! I hadn't been getting them for some reason, but went and looked - and thank you so, so much. Your comment on this new one just took my breath. <3 High praise from a master of fanfic! :D It was such a joy to write. I had tears streaming down my face from about a third of the way through or so through the end - what a wringer! My mom is still with me, thankfully, but I'm getting to an age where I'm realizing my time with her may come to close in the next 25 years, more or less, and I had on my mind Frodo's pain and how natural it would feel to want to be cuddled and rocked and fed warm milk and told he was safe. And goodness knows he deserved it.

I'd never touched the idea of Bilbo's grief over Frodo's quest being quite like this before. It was a thrill, and something I think I might well do again, b/c it felt powerful to me.

And yes...I've wondered...if Arwen gave Frodo her place, how did Bilbo and Sam get on? There is no record of the sons of Elrond sailing with them, so I've always wondered whether they, too, chose mortality - like their sister and like Elros. That would explain the two other hobbits, though not Gimli's rumoured departure with Legolas. I'm afraid I can't quite explain that one, but since it's not a hobbit issue, I don't tend to stress about it!

*snugs* Thank you, darling, for your kind and beautiful words. <3

Date: 2015-05-11 01:44 am (UTC)
ext_28878: (Default)
From: [identity profile] claudia603.livejournal.com
This was so beautiful!!!! *catches breath* Beautiful and sad and sweet all at once!

Date: 2015-05-11 02:27 pm (UTC)
dreamflower: gandalf at bag end (Default)
From: [personal profile] dreamflower
That's just beautiful, dear! I've missed your Frodo-fics so much!

Date: 2015-05-12 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aliensouldream.livejournal.com
"She was counted one of the Kinslayers, but the choice you laid before her - Frodo, she passed that test, and thus has been counted forgiven. But had you not crossed her path, she would likely have never seen her only child, my Ami, again."

Wow, I've never heard that take on it before - you have worked out beautifully what these events meant to so many people beyond Frodo. This is the end-weaving that makes sense of later decisions. Excellent!

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