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7. Moving Away

Drogo and Bilbo returned to the smial shortly after they left. Both tried to put on a brave face so that Frodo wouldn't wonder what was wrong until after dinner. However as they all sat down to eat, all three of the older hobbits hadn't much of an appetite, and all three were too quiet at the table.

Finally after fifteen minutes of quiet tension, Frodo excused himself from the table, asking permission to go outside a little while. However before permission was given, Drogo knew that it was time to tell his son what the healer had said.

At first it seemed as though Frodo didn't understand what his father was saying and then Drogo saw the words clearly sink into his son's mind.

"No, he's lying! The healer's lying!" Frodo cried.

Drogo laid a hand on the hobbit lad's shoulder, tears in his eyes. "No, Frodo, he wasn't lying. He was telling the truth. I...am dying." Drogo tried to pull Frodo into his arms as the boy wept angry tears but Frodo pulled out of his grasp.

"He's lying! I hate him for lying!" he said, his voice a high-pitched shrill. "I hate him!"

Before any of the adults could stop him, Frodo ran out of the door, and he ran through the hallways of Brandy Hall. By the time he had reached the outside he had nearly knocked over several adults and he caused Pansy Brandybuck to fall over into a mud puddle at the front door.

Once he was outside, Frodo didn't stop running until he had ran all the way to the banks of the Brandywine River. Collapsing to the ground, he cried angry tears with sobs of anguish escaping every now and again as he looked at the river's swiftly flowing waters.

Gazing up at the summer storm clouds that gathered there, Frodo wanted to yell and to shake his fists at Eru for allowing his father to get sick...

~~*~~

I would like to take a moment and thank everyone who is reading this story for their comments. I am enjoying writing this and I can't wait to see how it turns out, not to mention I can't wait to see HOW long it's going to be!

Again, thanks for taking the time to comment on my story and please enjoy following chapter!

~~*~~

Twenty minutes later, as the summer storm drew closer Frodo. His tears and anger had been spent for some minutes; numbness setting in as he sat threw rocks into the river.

Suddenly a streak of lightening flashed across the sky and with it came Longo Brandybuck from over the hill. He was running, fishing gear bouncing in his arms as he hurried towards the safety of Brandy Hall. Longo came to a halt when he saw Frodo sitting calmly by the river making no movements to go home.

‘Frodo,’ Longo called as the wind began to blow hard, ‘Frodo, are you just going to sit there like a lump on a log while the storm comes?’

Frodo only shrugged, not really caring what was going on around him. Longo waited for Frodo to make some other kind of movement for a few seconds and was rewarded with a loud clap of thunder for his concern for his cousin.

Finally shrugging himself, Longo said, ‘I’ll see you later, cousin.’ before he hurried inside the smial.

Frodo only continued to stare into the waters of the Brandywine as cold summer rain began pouring down…

~~*~~

Primula stared worriedly at the door as they heard a clap of thunder rumble above them. Frodo had been gone for sometime and all three hobbits were worried about him, especially with the storm brewing. Finally after the umpteenth clap of thunder, Drogo rose from where he sat, startling Primula.

'I'm going to look for him,' Drogo said as he put on his coat.

Bilbo stood. 'I'm going with you.'

'No, uncle, you stay here. It's getting rather nasty outside,' Drogo replied.

'Which is why I should go with you, my boy. If two of us search for Frodo then we're more likely to-'

At that moment, the door to the smial opened and the three hobbits looked expectantly at it. However a split second later, their hopes were dashed as they saw that it wasn't Frodo but Longo who stood on the other side.

'Longo Brandybuck,' Primula began, 'What are you doing here? Have you seen Frodo?'

The hobbit-lad nodded, 'Aye, I have. He's out by the river, ma'am. He was sitting out there when I ran home to avoid the storm. I stopped to ask him if he was gonna come inside because of how the storm was brewing and he just shrugged. He never spoke a word to me. Miss Primula, is something wrong?'

Drogo walked out of the door without another word, and Bilbo only looked at Primula briefly to say; "We'll find him. I promise you, my dear, we will.'

~~*~~

The bolt of lightening that seemed to get Frodo's attention finally was the bolt that struck a tree nearby where he was sitting still by the Brandywine. With a startled cry, Frodo got to his feet and started to run as the rain continued to pelt stingingly against his face. He ran towards Brady Hall or so he thought but wasn't 100% sure as the rain kept getting into his eyes and it was menacingly dark outside.

A cry of pain escape Frodo's lips as he tripped over a fallen tree branch, a huge mud puddle breaking his fall...

***

'FRODO!' Drogo yelled, his hands around his mouth.

Bilbo did the same, only he yelled, 'FRODO, WHERE ARE YOU LAD?'

Drogo jumped as when he heard the sound of a lightening striking a nearby tree. Oh, Eru, help us to find my son, he thought to himself. Please...

'FRODO!' Bilbo yelled again.

'Uncle?' a small, frightened voice replied above the howling wind.

Drogo joined in, 'KEEP TALKING, FRODO, SO WE CAN FIND YOU!'

'Daddy, I'm over here! I hurt my leg!' Frodo said, trying to keep from crying.

Within seconds, Drogo and Bilbo appeared and Drogo knelt beside the hobbit-lad, trying a look at Frodo's leg. He had torn his pants and there was a fairly large cut on his leg but at the moment Drogo was more concerned with getting them out of the storm. Frodo wrapped his arms around Drogo's neck as he picked up his son.

'Let's get back inside!' Drogo said to Bilbo.

~~*~~

After he was comforted, bathed, fed - which all took a little over an hour - Frodo was asleep in bed after he was promised a long talk with his parents in the mornings about the news from earlier. At first the young hobbit had trouble getting to sleep, as he was worried with things hobbit-lads his age are not usually worried about and so Primula sat with him awhile, holding him as she had when he was a baby, singing a soft lullaby in his ear.

Slumber my darling, thy mother is near
Guarding thy dreams from all terror and fear.
Sunlight has past and the twilight has gone,
Slumber my darling, the night's coming on...

As she sang, Primula stroked his hair, silently thanking Eru that her precious son had been found before something more serious than a scratch could have happened to him.

Sweet visions attend thy sleep
Fondest, dearest to me,
While others their revels keep,
I will watch over thee.

Slumber my darling, the bards are at rest,
The wandering dews by the flowers are caressed,
Slumber my darling, I'll wrap thee up warm,
And pray that the angels will shield thee from harm.

Frodo slept peacefully by now in her arms, but Primula decided to finish the last part of the song as she had always done since she began to sing this lullaby to him...

Slumber my darling till morn's blushing ray
Brings to the world the glad tidings of day:
Fill the dark void with thy dreamy delight
Slumber, thy mother will guard thee tonight.


Thy pillow shall sacred be
From all outward alarms;
Thou, thou art the world to me
In thine innocent charms.


Slumber, my darling, the birds are at rest,
The wandering dews by the flowers are caressed;
Slumber, my darling, I'll wrap thee up warm,
And pray that the angels will shield thee from harm.

After she had laid him in bed, Primula pulled the blankets over Frodo, kissing his brow as his father appeared to do the same. Quietly they left the room, and after they had pulled the door closed, Primula collapsed in her husband's arms.

'Oh, Drogo, we could have lost him today,' she whispered, tears falling from her eyes.

'I know, I know.'

'I couldn't go on living if we'd lost him out there today.'

Tears were Drogo's eyes as he whispered in reply, 'I know, Prim. Neither could I.'

***

They returned to the front part of the smial to find Bilbo seated by the hearth, his pipe in his mouth. At Primula's insistence, he had gone to his own rooms to take a hot bath and change clothes while they tended to Frodo.

'Is he asleep?' the older hobbit asked they both sat down.

Drogo nodded, 'Yes.'

'Poor boy, so young to have to go through this,' Bilbo said.

'But it can't be helped now,' Drogo said.

'Have you told him about your decision to move to Bag End?'

'No, uncle, we decided to save that for the morning. Frodo's had too many upsets for one day,' Primula said.

'Indeed, he has,' Bilbo agree standing, 'I am going to bed. Goodnight to you both.' He gave Primula a kiss on her cheek even as Drogo stood to hug him.

'Goodnight, Bilbo. Sleep well.'

***

Frodo awoke the next morning before first breakfast and he just laid in bed, remembering what had happened the day before. During that time he laid there, he decided that everything that had happened and everything he had been told was just a horrible dream.

His father WAS NOT dying!

Yes, that was it! His father was fine and everything had happened in a nightmare!

Smiling he sat up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes just as his mother opened the door to his room. 'Time to get up, sleepyhead! First breakfast is almost ready and your father wants to talk to you.'

'All right, Mama.'

'Get dressed and come to the table.'

She closed the door and Frodo pushed back the quilt, halting when he saw the bandage on his left leg. Touching the cloth, Frodo was puzzled because he remembered hurting his leg in the dream. So what was this bandage doing on his leg here, outside of his nightmare?

It shouldn't be here unless...

Unless it really wasn't a dream!

No!

Please no!

It had to be a dream!

Frodo sat there staring at the bandage until his room's door opened again, and Primula popped her head in again.

'Frodo Baggins, I thought I told you to get dressed!' she said stepping into the room. When he didn't respond she moved closer to the bed. 'Frodo?'

Tears pooled in his sea blue eyes as he looked up at his mother, 'It wasn't a dream!' He hugged Primula's mid-section as the tears overflowed. 'It wasn't a dream!'

***

The Baggins spent the morning talking over the decision to leave Brandy Hall and move to Bag End so that Drogo could spend his last days in the peace and quiet. Frodo wasn't crazy about the idea of leaving the only home he had ever known since he was a wee baby but he also didn't want to cause his parents any distress over leaving either.

After much talking, the adults began to pack the pony-trap that would take the belongings that Primula and Drogo wanted with them at Bag End while Frodo was given permission to go say goodbye to his friends.

The Baggins would depart for Bag End in the morning...

***

Author's Note: The lullaby Primula sings above is called "Slumber My Darling" by Foster as sung by Allison Krauss...