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Dream With Hope: Chapter 12 (part 1)

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The sun broke over the hills surrounding the settlement of Overhill and the birds sang in the new day. After many hours spent getting everyone settled down, putting the children to bed, seeing to Mrs. Gardner to help relieve her pain in the aftermath of the birth, and making sure that everything was properly cleaned up, Frodo Baggins finally found he could leave Bag End without feeling any guilt or concern.

Dream With Hope
by Talisha Hibdon


PAIRING: Frodo/Sam (hints Merry/Pippin)

DISCLAIMER: The disclaimer telling you that I don't own Frodo or Sam or any of Tolkien's world was trampled on by Ents. >=D

SUMMARY: A drama in the works. Frodo decides to return to Middle-earth to try and find new meaning for his life without the hope of ever having Sam's love. But is there really no hope?

NOTES: This fic may take a LONG time to write. I've no clue how many chapters there will be, but this fic WILL be long. Have patience and you will be rewarded! ^_^ All feedback welcome, especially as this fic is still in the drafting stages.

SECOND NOTES: I'd like to thank my mother who always sang to me the sweet little Spanish lullaby from Chile which I have translated and rewritten within this chapter. Also, I'd like to once again thank Daisy Thistletop, whom without her help, this chapter might have taken another month to write. ^_~

SPOILERS: If you have not read the Return of the King, or at least know how LOTR is going to end, you probably shouldn't read this fic, that is unless you peeps like spoilers, like I do. ^.~

Chapter 12

The sun broke over the hills surrounding the settlement of Overhill and the birds sang in the new day. After many hours spent getting everyone settled down, putting the children to bed, seeing to Mrs. Gardner to help relieve her pain in the aftermath of the birth, and making sure that everything was properly cleaned up, Frodo Baggins finally found he could leave Bag End without feeling any guilt or concern. The baby was a shocking seven pounds and eight ounces, far larger than the normal weight of a newborn hobbit babe, but he seemed to be in fair health all the same. The former Ringbearer was relieved that he could at last could go home not having to fear for the newest member of the Gardner family.

And that's just what he was doing in the cold of dawn as he trudged through the wakening village, feeling tired as he never had before. He arrived at his smail after seemingly an age away and eagerly unlocked the door and bustled inside, rubbing his arms through his jacket to try and ward away the cold. It was with a grateful sigh that he fell into his bed with his clothes on, fully intending to sleep the day away and to Mordor with the weeding.

Just at that moment when he was about to pass into sweet unconsciousness, there came a rhythmic rat-tat-tat at his front door, loud enough to pierce even his sleep deprived mind.

"Who the tupp is that?!" Frodo cursed with a groan, biting into his pillow in frustration. He tried to ignore it and hoped that whoever was at the door would take a hint and go away. But the knocking came again a moment later, much louder than before, and Frodo growled as he threw aside his blankets and stomped back down the hall and to the front door.

Frodo flung the door open in a huff and was shocked and amazed (if not a little dismayed) to see who it was who that was currently standing before him with the biggest smile he had ever seen.

"All right!" Peregrin Took wasted no time in rushing forward and sweeping his older yet smaller cousin into a bear hug. "Well it IS the Frodo Baggins of legend, as I live and breathe! Looks like the rumors were true for once!" the Took squawked.

"What the-" Frodo gasped, getting the breath squeezed out of him. "Pippin!"

Peregin leaned into the hug, smiling and patting his back. "Ah Frodo! I'm so glad you're finally back! Things are so boring here without you," he blurted.

"I- I'm glad to see you too," Frodo managed weakly. "But Pippin - ah - you're much bigger than you used to be and - ack! - I can't breath!"

Peregrin suddenly stopped, checking himself, and leaned back slightly, allowing the comparatively small gentlehobbit some breathing room. The Thain stood a little stooped, as if from the habit of looking down at people's doorways and ducking chandeliers a little too often. But otherwise he seemed to be the picture of hobbit health with rosy cheeks, glossy sun reddened brunette curls still worn in a wild tussle, and a fine leaf-green suit that almost exactly matched his bright eyes.

"Yes! Boring!" he stated, a little too loudly but happily all the same. "Being as I'm the Thain and all! Suits me well, actually; lots of benefits, a bit tidy - but enough about me..." his voice trailed off, tilting his pointed chin up with his left hand, his piercing eyes observed the "new" Frodo.

Frodo heard a giggle from behind him and stopped short of his response to the Took. He stood on his tip toes to peer over Pippin's shoulder and saw that there were yet two more hobbits standing on his front porch, a fair lady hobbit with ginger brunette hair and a demure smile, and a bright eyed lad with a broad, mischievous grin. He blinked slowly, trying to take in the whole sight, and silently wished that he could have just stayed in bed and ignored the knocking at his door.

Pippin regarded Frodo for a second, then commented, "Although... I suppose I've gotten you at a bad time? Really! You look as if you've been dragged through the bushes by a pack of wild dogs!"

"Dear, please," the lady hobbit reprimanded in a soft voice.

"That might have been easier to deal with, actually," Frodo stifled a yawn and turned his attention back to the two hobbits he had yet to meet. "Um, ahem!, who is this fine lad and charming young lady you've brought to my door?" Frodo tried to speak with more enthusiasm than he felt the energy for.

Pippin stepped back, gesturing one overlarge arm out toward his companions. "This," he touched the lady's cheek playfully, "is my wife Diamond, named so for her shining rare beauty! And this," he cuffed the strawberry brown boy's ruddy freckled cheek affectionately, "is my pride and joy, Faramir! Kind of an odd hobbit-name I know, but..." At which point, the boy glared at his father, embarrassed at the scene he was making.

"I'm very pleased to finally meet you, Mr. Baggins," Diamond bowed,
blushing at her husband's complement and her pale silver eyes sparkling. "My Peregrin has told me so much about you." The Thain grinned and stuck his hands way down into his pockets, beaming at Frodo.

Frodo smiled and took her hand in his. "All good things, I hope," he winked and kissed the back of her hand lightly. After which he turned his attention to the rather overgrown lad that seemed almost a replica of the father. Frodo noticed that the boy had already surpassed other little ones his age in size. The hobbit lad's head was almost above his mother's small rounded shoulders already. He had also noticed before that he had been ducking around his father's overlarge frame for a look at the famed Mr. Frodo Baggins with wide, familiar looking green eyes.

"Yes... Mr. Baggins..." Faramir spoke the word reverently and slowly. "Good stuff, like..." the boy tilted his cinnamon-tufted head up in a familiar Tookish gesture, "Oh I don't know, just, all the things about the long trips you made! And things you saw! Gee... all my friends will just burst if they got to hear some stories from you!" As if to make his point, Faramir bounced a little and peered in through the doorway, as if he expected to be invited inside.

Frodo checked himself, stifled yet another yawn, and moved aside. "Forgive my manners. Would you all like to come in?"

Pippin put his arms behind his back and stuck his stomach out. "Well Frodo! Don't mean to barge in on you like this, really, but I must say it's tremendous to see you again. And I can't have you running off on us again, so I'm just going to have to set a watch, this time." He laughed at his little jest and started wandering forward, taking Diamond's small hand in his. "Between good old Samwise and I, we'll keep you tethered, hmm?" He laughed and slapped Frodo on the back a little too hard. "I mean he's the Mayor and I'm the Thain, so you're pretty much trapped this time!"

I REALLY should have just stayed in bed.....

They stayed talking together until well into second breakfast. Peregrin was insistent that Frodo tell him absolutely every detail about what he had been up to in Valinor the past fifteen years - was the food good, were the elves nice, what kinds of food they had, what was the island itself like, did he miss the food from the Shire while there, how Gandalf and Bilbo were, and did THEY like the food there, and so on and so forth.

Pippin was very sorry to hear about old Bilbo passing away and he was not ashamed to shed tears over it. But very soon he was onto brighter subjects, like what he had been up to, what it was like being the Thain, how his older sisters still managed to irritate him, the places he had visited, and of course, how good the food has been in the past fifteen years. In fact, by the time it seemed that Pippin was nearly done talking about himself, Frodo felt sure he was about to pass out from exhaustion.

"Remy, dearest, don't touch that," Diamond told her mischievous son and the lad immediately pulled his hands away from the cookie jar lid he had been fingering.

"So anyway, how ever did you manage to afford this little hole, dear ol' Frodo? I didn't think you had any money at all left after giving it all away to ol' Sam's lot," Pippin inquired, gazing about the place. "Quite plain if you ask me, but it has potential-"

"Now dear, be nice," Diamond put in quickly with a meaningful look to her husband. "Remy, please put that down," she added as her son moved to begin playing with the pokers next to the fireplace.

"Aw, he's used to my teasing, Dai my jewel," the Thain let out a loud guffaw. "Ah, but it's so good to have you back, Frodo! I can barely joke with anyone like this anymore."

"Thank you," was all Frodo could say, feeling almost as if the last of his wits were about ready to be tossed into the fireplace, along with all the logs Faramir seemed to currently be overstuffing it with.

"Faramir, I won't tell you again not to touch things," Diamond scolded softly.

The lad jumped back and one large log rolled out of the stack onto the wooden floor. "I was just trying to start a fire."

Oh Lady Elbereth, Frodo thought with a mixture of dread and slight humor, the boy really is just like his father. "Actually," he responded at last to Pippin's inquiry with a careful tone, "I was given a bit of money to buy a home with by cousin Meriadoc."

"Ah.. Merry, of course..." Pippin grinned but Frodo could see the light in his green eyes dim for some unknown reason. "Good job. He always was the hobbit to go to when help was needed."

"He's a fine gentlehobbit," Diamond added politely. "'Tis only a shame he hasn't yet found himself a lady hobbit to marry."

"Well," Frodo closed his eyes and rubbed his temple, knowing full well that a blush was slowly coloring his cheeks, "not all males feel it necessary to marry to enjoy a full life."

"Good show, Frodo!" Pippin slapped his knee enthusiastically, beaming with something akin to relief. "Right you are! I mean, neither you or old Bilbo saw fit to get attached, and see how well you turned out."

Right, pining away after someone you can never have is simply a splendid way to live, he thought bitterly, though he managed to keep his expression fairly neutral. Fact was he was getting very tired of all this talk, and he was trying very hard to find a way to kick them out without being rude. Surely they didn't intend to stay with HIM now...

"Eh, Dad," scratching his head Faramir came waltzing into the room
after seemingly disappearing into the back of the hole, "I don't
think there is enough room for us to stay here..."

"Faramir Took!" Diamond's eyes widened, appalled at her son's rudeness. A second later a large object darted into the room, looking like a tin basin with four furry little legs, and a loud mewling issuing from within. It managed to bump into a couple of chairs and other objects before finally dashing into the kitchen with a yowl. The hobbit boy blushed and tried not to look guilty.

"Errr," Pippin fidgeted and glanced at his cousin after watching the trapped cat disappear into the other room, where it could still be heard meowing for assistance. "You.. didn't hear or see any of that."

"Yes I did," Frodo sighed, standing up. "And your lad is right, I'm afraid. This place is only a two bedroom smail, not meant for having too many guests at one time. I hope you understand-"

"No, no, no! Of course!" Pippin leapt to his feet, his face turning red with embarrassment. "I mean, ye know, you're just getting settled in and - well, we don't want to impose-"

"I'm glad you feel that way," Frodo put in, herding them towards the door. "I am terribly sorry. I know full well how poor a host I have been, but you must understand that I've been up all night with Sam at Bag End, helping out with the birth-"

"Birth?!" Pippin's eyebrows made a beeline for the top of his head. "You mean their babe was born last night?!"

"Aye," Frodo nodded and he had to force his head to remain upright instead of falling against his chest. "I only just got home when you three came by."

"Oh dear!" Diamond put a small hand to her lips, dismay plain on her face. "We're so dreadfully sorry for disturbing you, Mr. Baggins."

"No, no, it's all right," Frodo stifled yet another yawn and moved them to the front porch. "But you simply must forgive me. If I don't get to bed this instant, I feel I shall fall asleep where I standing."

"Up all night?? Well no wonder you look like-" Pippin started when Diamond took his arm and squeezed it.

"We'll leave you to your rest then, sir," Diamond bowed her head. "Come along then, my dears. We've troubled Mr. Baggins long enough as it is."

"I deeply apologize," Frodo repeated once more ever as his eyes began to droop.

"Not at all, sir. Thank you for indulging my husband's whims for so long," Diamond smiled sweetly, taking both her son and her husband by the hands and leading them away.

"W-well I'll be seeing you later, cos," Pippin called over his shoulder. "We'll be staying at the Green Dragon for three weeks, so we'll be seeing lots of each other."

"Uh-huh," Frodo yawned before closing the door to. And this time he promised himself not to open it again all that day, even should the King Elessar himself come knocking.

Rockabye my baby,
Rockabye my love,
Rockabye my own wee
Piece of heart beloved.

This fairest a laddie,
That was born in daylight,
Wants to take cake and tea,
And eat every last bite.

This finest a laddie,
That was born in nightlight,
Wants to ride a pony,
And see all of the sights.

Frodo-lad crept on silent feet into the master bedroom where his
mother slept, drawn in by the familiar sounds of the lullaby his
father used to sing to him when he was just a wee babe himself. Upon
entering the dimly lit room, he took in the sight of his disheveled
mother, slumbering peacefully after the exhausting ordeal of just a
few hours ago. All the other children had gone off to bed ere the
break of dawn, but the hobbit boy found he could not make himself lie
still upon his pillow.

In the corner of the room sat his father in a rocking chair, softly
singing to his newborn son Bilbo and rocking him gently. He had
gotten no sleep at all since the night before, he still managed not
to look the least bit tired, if not a little untidy. The lad supposed
that it must have been due to the many far more trying ordeals he
must have gone through in his life as one of the Nine Walkers.

At least his awareness seemed to be fading as it wasn't until his
oldest son was right in front of him that Sam even noticed he was
there. He blinked up at him from his seat, as if coming out of a
trance. Baby Bilbo was sound asleep. "Hullo, Dad," Frodo-lad
whispered, careful not to disturb either his mother or his newborn

"Good mornin'," Sam blinked the sleep out of his eyes and stifled a
yawn. "Shouldn't you be in bed by now, Frodo me lad?"

"Couldn't sleep," Frodo rubbed his eye with a balled up hand and
knelt to take a better look at his baby brother. "Say, Dad?"


"Do you remember if I was as heavy as Bilbo when I was born?"

Sam smiled softly and leaned back in his chair. "I remember that your
birth was probably the easiest of all, or leastways that's how the
midwife told it. You didn't even cry, did you know that?" Frodo-lad
blinked rapidly in slight surprise and Sam's grin increased. "You
were larger than normal to be sure, but still far easier to give
birth to than this little laddie." He gazed down fondly at the child
in his arms.

"Wow Dad, really?" the blonde haired boy couldn't help but smile
proudly. "Was I really so little trouble? Even less than Elanor?"

"Oh, Elanor was hard simply because she was the first and I hadn't a
clue what I was doing," Sam chuckled quietly. "It was lucky for me I
had Mr. Frodo here to..." He trailed off when he realized where his
train of thought was heading to. He immediately flashed back to the
last few moments he had spent with his former master at the front
door of Bag End, where he had seen him off.

"Mr. Frodo, sir," Sam looked at the Baggins with gratefulness on his
face, and maybe even a bit of longing. "What.. can I say to thank

He recalled how Frodo had looked standing on his doorstep, appearing
tired both physically and emotionally, though a smile had still
managed to flit across his features. "There's nothing to thank. I had
no love or desire to do less than I have done."

"But still.." Sam uttered taking a step outside to join him on the
porch. "I don't know what I would have done..."

"You would have dealt with it just as well as you have," Frodo
inserted quickly, shuffling back slightly to maintain some space
between them. "As you always have, Sam..."

Sam hadn't even thought about what he was doing when he suddenly
closed the distance between them and took the stunned gentlehobbit
into his arms. Frodo had gone rigid but Sam purposely ignored it and
held him even closer, shutting his eyes tightly and taking in the
feel of his form against his, letting his senses become overwhelmed
with Frodo.

"If only there was some way I could repay you," Sam had whispered
into his hair, memorizing his scent. "I wish you'd let me..."

He felt Frodo shift uneasily against him and at last had let him go.
Frodo had said nothing and acted as if what had just taken place had
not happened. He had simply mumbled something about trying to visit
when he wasn't busy and made his way briskly off the grounds, only
looking back once to wave slightly. Sam would not soon forget the
flash of emotion in Frodo's blue eyes before he hid his true
expression from his face. Though he could not name that emotion, it
somehow managed to fill him with a sense of hope.

"Dad?" Frodo-lad's voice broke him from his memory and the gardener
blinked rapidly as he raised his gaze to the boy's. Once more he
found himself at a loss when he did so, as he always had whenever he
looked straight into his son's eyes, blue as the clearest sky, the
purest sapphire, the deepest light reflected off of...

Reflected off of Mr. Frodo's blue eyes.

"I... I'm all right lad," Sam managed at length. "I was just..
thinkin' about somethin' is all..."

"I think you're more tired than you let on," Frodo-lad looked
thoughtfully at his father. "Maybe you should try and get some sleep."

"No, Bilbo may wake up for feeding soon," Sam shook his head but
couldn't help yawning. "Don't you worry about your ol' Dad, me lad.
I've dealt with worse than getting no sleep."

"So I've read," Frodo-lad mumbled and a slight smirk and a giggle.

It was nearly four days into his stay in Hobbiton before Diamond had
allowed Peregrin to stop by Bag End for a visit. She had tried to
explain to her husband that Rose and Sam were probably well worn out
from taking care of their newborn and would need some time to get
settled in before they would be ready to receive visitors.

On the morning of the forth day, however, Pippin finally got his way
and marched up the North Hill Lane with his wife and son in tow,
fully expecting to have a jolly reunion with his old friend and
perhaps a little celebration over Bag End's best beer.

"Now Remy, my lad, you promised that you would behave yourself this
time," Diamond murmured softly to her son Faramir as Pippin rapped on
the door.

"Relax, Diamond dear, won't you?" Pippin chuckled as he waited for
someone to answer the door. "Boys will be boys, after all. Anyway,
out of all the folk we know, surely the Gardners will know what to
expect from a handful of Tooks under their roof."

Faramir smirked while Diamond frowned worriedly, "But Honey, that's
no excuse for-"

At that very moment the door opened and revealed a rather disarrayed
little Rose-lass, her pretty ribbons all in a mess of knots around
her bundle of locks, a long stray curl falling over her green brown
eyes. "Wood, weed and water!" the girl exclaimed, obviously not
expecting to see the Thain and his family upon her doorstep. "U-Uncle
Pippin! Auntie Dai!"

"Why hullo, Rose-bud!" Pippin greeted cheerfully and reached to
ruffle the lass's hair further. "Bless my woolly feet! You've
certainly grown tall and pretty since the last time I saw you. Why
don't you come over here and give yer ol' uncle a hug!"

Rose-lass didn't have time to agree or decline before she was swept
off her feet into Pippin's overlarge arms. "Uncle Pippin sir!" she
gasped and squirmed. "I'm not a little girl anymore. Please, this is
embarrassing!" She could hear Faramir snicker behind him and she shot
a glare at the younger boy over the Thain's shoulder.

"Hey! Look everyone!" Merry-lad could be heard hollering from
within. "It's Uncle Pippin, come to visit!"

"All right, all right, look sharp sibs," Elanor's sweet tone was
heard from the kitchen and a moment later she appeared at the
doorway, trying desperately to straighten her hair and clothes out as
she too looked less than neat at the moment.

"Oh, little Elanor!" Diamond breathed and held out her dainty arms
for Elanor to step into. "Look how beautiful you are!"

"So good to see you, Aunt Diamond," Elanor giggled in spite of her
muddled appearance as she returned the hug. Pippin at last put Rose-
lass back down, who looked a little dizzy now, and happily embraced
the eldest Gardner child with a merry laugh.

"Catch me Uncle!!" All of a sudden a boy darted out of the hole and
tackled Pippin, who had only just enough warning to catch the lad in
his strong grasp. Peregrin cackled, squeezing little Pippin-lad who
did his best to match his strength.

"Come in then," Elanor ushered the group inside. "I'm sure you don't
want to spend your whole visit on the front porch."

"Hello, Remy," Goldilocks blushed and Faramir immediately lost his
mischievous air to be fast replaced with a look of embarrassed
nervousness and some dread. The little girl took the boy's hand and
caused a band of red to appear over his freckled nose. "Come on! I
wanna show you my new doll house."

Pippin watched with an amused chuckle as his son was quickly whisked
away. "So tell me, Elanor dear, where is your old Dad? And how's your
Mum doing? And the baby! I'd dearly love to see the newest member of
the Gardner family."

"So who told you?"

The Took blinked and allowed his eyes to follow the direction of the voice, roaming towards the hallway entrance to meet the gaze of Samwise. The hobbit looked the most disarranged of the lot with his shirt untucked and his suspenders hanging at his hips. But ever was there a grin on his face as he held out his arms. Pippin chuckled and immediately went to them, at last finding his match in strength as they squeezed and patted each other heartily on the backs. When they parted, Sam offered his hand to Diamond, who took it and smiled prettily as the gardener kissed it's back. "Miss Diamond, ye just grow lovelier every time I see you."

"Now now, enough of that," Pippin laughed and took his wife's hand back. "You old charmer."

"You haven't answered my question yet," Sam chuckled and folded his arms. "I didn't think the news would have reached Tuckburough already, so who told you about Bilbo's birth?"

"Ah, well, don't ye know," Pippin snickered and scratched his nose, "I accidentally dropped in on Frodo's place the morning after. See, it was for him that I came to Hobbiton, as I heard the rumors from my Shirriffs. Poor ol' git looked near dead on his feet. And who can blame him!" Pippin didn't even noticed the concern flitting across the Mayor's features as he said this. "So you named your new laddie Bilbo, eh? Good, good, that sounds very right and proper, what now that the poor old hobbit's passed on-"

"What?" Sam gasped and held his hand to his lips. "Are you serious,
Mr. Pippin?"

"That's what Frodo told me," Pippin nodded gravely. "Happened right
before he left Aman. Why? Didn't you know?"

"No..." Sam frowned with deepening worry and growing sorrow. "I
mean.. I suspected.. but I never knew for sure... He never told me..."

"Oh... Sam, I'm sorry," Pippin placed a hand on his shoulder. "I
didn't mean to upset you."

"I'll be fine," Sam took several deep breathes and decided that right
in front on his children was not the best place to begin weeping over
one of his oldest friends. He would have to bottle it up and save it
for later when he had a rare moment to himself. "So how long have you
been here?"

"About four days," the Thain stated, glad for the change in topic.

"And.. well, how has Mr. Frodo been?" Sam blushed slightly and
stuffed his hands into his pockets. "I mean, you've seen him over the
past few days, haven't you?"

"Not really, no," Pippin shook his head. "Every time I come over to
visit, he's always away from home, doing heaven knows what."

Sam frowned in thought. He wasn't too sure whether he liked this news
or not. What could Frodo possibly be busying himself so much with
that he was never at home? And what if he was still in as bad a state
as Pippin described him as?

"Hey, Daddy!" Goldilocks came running out, still holding Faramir
tightly by the hand. "Remy and I wanna go outside and play house. Is
that okay?"

Samwise, seeming to be jostled out of his worries for the time being, nodded at his little daughter with a quick smile. "Only if Merry-lad goes with you to watch out for you."

"Oh goodie!" Goldilocks exclaimed.

"Oh no," Faramir moaned.

Fact of the matter was that Mr. Frodo Baggins had indeed become a very busy hobbit in those few days after baby Bilbo's birth. He had become engrossed in his plans for rebuilding the schoolhouse and was constantly away, buying the needed supplies such as new wood, nails, paint, renting wagons, ponies, and other such things. Everyday he would venture out just in time to miss Pippin's visits, though he never did so on purpose.

It just so happened that on that very morning on which Pippin and his family decided to pay Samwise a visit instead of Frodo, the gentlehobbit himself was sitting down to his first breakfast of buttermilk pancakes, honeyed toast, and raspberry tea. He was reading the newspaper, at the last having nothing to do for his plans but to simply sit down and wait for the contractors the land lady hired to arrive.

The Baggins had found that occupying his mind with work was fast becoming a habit, especially as things seemed to be getting progressively more difficult with Samwise. Though Sam didn't seemed to be acting all that differently with him, he was fast become more and more aware of the little things the gardener did that before he would not have paid much mind to. The subtle glances in his direction when he thought he wasn't looking, the supposedly accidental touches of the hand. Oh, and that last morning he saw him, when he had taken him into his arms...

Why does he insist on torturing me so? Frodo found himself thinking on more than one occasion, shutting his eyes and tightening his throat against a moan or a whimper. He can't possible know how much it hurts to be so close to him and not be able to... But then suddenly a new thought struck him, one that sent his mind reeling with the possibilities.

What if he did know?

Knock. Knock.

Frodo nearly jumped at the sudden noise, disrupting his worrisome pondering. He looked up slowly as he again heard a light rhythmic tapping on the front door, quickly followed after by an easy sounding tenor voice. "Mr. Baggins? Are you home?" Frodo frowned and stood up, not sure whether he was pleased or annoyed at having his thoughts and his breakfast disturbed. Now who in the world could that be?

The Baggins soon reached his red door and opened it slowly, peeking outside first to see who the stranger was. He saw that it was two strangers rather, two male hobbits both appearing to be in their early 30s with light brunette hair under well worn brown hats. The tallest of the two had wonderfully bright green eyes that reminded him distinctly of someone. "Good day to you, sir!" this taller male greet cheerfully. "Be you Mr. Baggins what lives in this fine establishment?"

"Yes, I would be," Frodo raised an eyebrow and opened the door wider when he decided that he probably had nothing to fear from them, though he could plainly see their arm and chest muscles flexing as they move from under plain white tunics and brown suspenders. "And who might you two fellows be, if I may ask?"

"Well, sir," the speaker smiled, "I be the contractor you be wantin'. Agate is my name, Agate Goldworthy, at yer service!" When he said this he bowed low and took off his hat to him. "You don't know me, but I'm sure you know my sister Emerald well enough."

"Oh, of course!" Frodo gasped in surprised, a pleased smile forming over his own lips and he reached to shake the construction workers hand. "Yes, Mrs. Burrows spoke of sending for your help. I'm pleased to make your acquaintance." Then he offered his hand to the hobbit next to the lad. "And you are?"

"This is Songo Deepdelver, my partner," Agate introduced and Songo offered a quite greeting. "Now then, Mr. Baggins, I'm assuming you be wantin' to discuss yer plans for the old building on yer property, am I right?"

"Yes, yes, of course," Frodo nodded and stepped aside, holding the door open for them to step through. "Please come in. I'll make us some extra tea for our talk."

"Thank you kindly, sir," Agate again tipped his hat to the gentlehobbit as he walked on through, followed quickly behind by his friend. After closing the door and turning about, Frodo noticed the lad walking around, fingering his hat and scratching his head with a thoughtful look on his face. "Wow, not much change. Did you know it was me and my lads what helped to reconstruct this entire hole about sixteen years ago?"

"Oh really?" Frodo asked as he headed off for the kitchen to begin warming up more water for tea and cleared away his breakfast.

"Aye," Agate called back. "Would have rebuilt the schoolhouse by now too of folk back then weren't to frightful of it. I just hope none of them rumored accidents happen this time round, otherwise my lads won't be comin' anywhere near it and you'll be turd out of luck, pardon the expression."

"I pray it won't happen like that either," Frodo poked his head out of the kitchen and motioned for the workers to enter, the smell of tea and honey drifting in with him. He waited for them to be seated before he settled down himself. "Now how shall we begin? I haven't any real layout written down yet-"

"Well, it's a good thing I be bringin' this then," Agate pulled out a rolled up paper from the bag Songo had been carrying and unraveled it to reveal - "a blue print for the original schoolhouse. I picked it up from Emmy's on the way here." Frodo immediately took to studying the plans with a critical eye. "Now you just take a gander at them prints and then tell us what you have in mind." The working class hobbit winked and added some more honey to his tea.

Continue to Part 2...
Para is feeling:
pensive pensive
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