The 1482 Year Itch by Lbilover

Inspired by the gorgeous drawing below of winged!Frodo by Tari Terrell. 


One moment they weren't there, the next they were.

Wings, snowy white wings, unfurling in a graceful arc on either side of Frodo's slender, sun-kissed torso.

Sam's eyes went so large and so round that Frodo had to laugh.

'B-But where did they come from?' he stammered. 'You never had them in Middle-earth.'

Frodo lifted his shoulders in a shrug; a ripple ran along the feathers, rustling them with a sound like a gentle sigh. 'It was a few weeks after I arrived here that they first appeared, Sam. Gandalf says they are a gift from Manwë, lord of air and wind, for it was on account of him releasing his brother Melkor from Mandos that Sauron eventually came to power and created the Ring.'

'Meaning no offense, but it seems a right queer way of apologising,' Sam said. He walked around Frodo, taking in the lush plumage from every angle and carefully examining the spot where the wings emerged from Frodo's back.

'Well, I never,' he marvelled. 'I thought I'd seen about all a hobbit could see, what with oliphaunts and talking trees, but a hobbit sprouting wings like a bird? When you said you had a surprise for me, I never imagined it was something like this.'

'It rather startled me the first time they appeared, I must say,' Frodo said with a reminiscent smile, 'though I've grown accustomed to them now.' The smile faded, and he regarded Sam with a hint of anxiety. 'You don't truly find it queer, do you, Sam? I can hide them again if you wish.'

'I reckon it'll take some getting used to,' Sam admitted, 'but don't you go a-hiding nothing, Frodo. Your wings are beautiful, just like the rest of you.'

'Oh Sam.' Frodo blinked his eyes rather fast.

'Is it all right if I touch them?'

'Yes, of course.' Frodo flexed a shoulder blade, offering the trailing edge of his left wing to Sam.

Sam gently caressed a glossy pinion feather. 'Ah, it's like silk to the touch,' he murmured reverently. He drew the feather slowly between his fingers, riffling the tiny barbs, and was startled when a shiver ran through Frodo from wingtip to wingtip. 'Does that hurt?'

'Oh no, it feels quite wonderful,' Frodo said. His colour was high and his eyes glowed bluer than periwinkles.

'Well, I never,' repeated Sam, shaking his head, but rather pleased by Frodo's reaction, truth to tell.

'Would you like to see me fly?' asked Frodo eagerly.

'You can fly? Well, I never!'

Frodo grinned, looking very much the old Frodo of the long-ago, happy days before the Quest - if one ignored the presence of a pair of large white wings, that is.

'I'll have you know, Sam,' he said with mock indignation, 'that these wings aren't only for show. Watch!'

Sam did watch as Frodo turned to face into the wind. With one final quick glance at Sam, he started to run across the soft turf. His wings rose and fell as he ran faster and faster, arms outstretched, and then, with Sam staring in slack-jawed wonder, Frodo took flight.

He ascended rapidly, sunlight striking iridescent shimmers from the feathers as they fluttered. Higher and higher Frodo climbed, spiralling in a tight circle so that he remained positioned above Sam.

Sam tilted his head back to follow Frodo's progress, and wished he had the eyesight of an Elf, for soon Frodo was no more than a shining speck high overhead. Suddenly, however, the speck began to plummet earthward, like an eagle stooping to its prey, and Sam's heart lodged in his throat with terror that something had gone wrong and Frodo was in a free-fall, about to tumble to his death.

But it soon became apparent that this dive, far from a free-fall, was tightly controlled; Frodo's wings were pinned to his sides, his silver-streaked hair was streaming back and his face... oh, his face was alight with a fierce joy that told Sam all was well.

Just when Sam was wondering if he should prepare to duck, Frodo unfurled his wings and levelled off, swooping right over Sam's head so that his dangling toes actually brushed the greying curls on top, and then he soared across the garden, past the chalk cliffs that lined the shore and out over the indigo sea, riding the air currents as expertly as Gwaihir or his brothers.

Sam felt wistful, and even a tad envious, as he watched Frodo glide effortlessly through the air, dipping his wings this way and that, accompanied by numerous seabirds who seemed delighted by the presence of this most unusual flying companion in their midst.

What a grand feeling it must be, Sam thought, to fly like a bird.

Frodo didn't go far afield; soon he banked and turned, and flying into the wind now, beat his wings steadily and strongly as he headed back to land. When he reached the spot where Sam was standing, he hovered, wingtips just stirring as he allowed the wind to hold him in place. Then he lightly settled to the ground, folded back his wings, and looked expectantly at Sam. 'Well?' he prompted, a trifle breathlessly, when Sam didn't speak. 'What do you think?'

'Oh Frodo, that was...' Sam shook his head. 'You are...' Words failing him, he rushed at Frodo and snatched him into an impetuous hug fuelled as much by happiness at this evidence that Frodo was now healed and whole, as wonder at what he had just witnessed. Feathers spilled soft and warm over his bare forearms and hands as Frodo readily yielded to his embrace and wound his arms around Sam's neck.

'I wasn't always so graceful,' Frodo said, with a low chuckle that tickled Sam's ear. 'Poor Bilbo was forced to patch me up a few times when I crash landed and bruised my, erm, dignity.'

Sam sighed. 'And me not there to care for you, as I should have been.'

'Oh Sam.' Frodo's arms tightened. 'You're here now, that's all that matters.' He drew back, resting his hands on Sam's shoulders. 'And I cannot tell you how very glad I am.'

A silver tear slipped down Sam's cheek. 'No more'n I am, Frodo.' He cleared his hoarse throat and asked, 'So, do you have any more surprises for me?'

Frodo tipped his head to one side, considering the question; a mischievous smile curved his lips. 'Oh yes, there is one more, since you ask. My wings, you see, serve another useful purpose.' He raised and spread them wide, then swept them forward so that they formed a silken shield about him and Sam, concealing them from view. 'In case Bilbo and Gandalf are watching us from the smial,' he explained, then leaned in and kissed Sam for the first time - but definitely not the last.


Several (very happy) weeks later...

'What's wrong, Sam?' asked Frodo with concern. 'You've been fidgeting in your chair ever since you sat down.'

'I can't get comfortable noways, Frodo,' Sam complained. 'It's my back - it's itching something fierce, and like to drive me mad.'

Frodo's mouth fell open. 'Your - your back is itching? Where?'

Sam shifted again and reached awkwardly around to indicate the spot. 'Here, between my shoulder blades. Right where I can't reach to scratch it.'

Frodo jumped up from the kitchen table and rushed around to him. 'Oh Sam. Oh Sam.'

'What is it? What's wrong?' Sam asked in alarm.

'I think you're getting wings!' Frodo exclaimed excitedly. 'The same exact thing happened to me when I was getting mine.'

Sam's knife and fork slipped from fingers gone suddenly nerveless. He goggled.

Frodo urged him up from his chair. 'We don't have much time, Sam. Once the itching starts, the wings are nearly ready to emerge.' As Sam simply stood there, dazed and dumbstruck, Frodo explained, 'It will be safer outside since you won't have control over them right away. Ask Bilbo - I half wrecked the kitchen, blundering about in a panic.'

'Oh. Right. Outside.'

Frodo giggled. 'Come on, come with me and quickly now.' He took Sam's arm and hurried him through the smial and out into the front yard. There he helped Sam out of his weskit and shirt, and in the nick of time, as it turned out.

One moment they weren't there, the next they were.

Wings, tawny golden wings, unfurling in a graceful arc on either side of Sam's sturdy, sun-bronzed torso.

'Well, I never,' said Sam, staring in bemusement at his new appendages. 'Frodo, I've got wings.'

Frodo took his hands in a reassuring grip. 'So you do, and very fine ones, too.' He kissed Sam gently. 'Don't be frightened, Sam.'

'Frightened?' Sam repeated. 'Frightened?' A wide delighted smile broke out on his face. 'What I want to know is how soon you can teach me to fly!'

Frodo threw his arms around Sam and hugged him hard. 'Oh Sam, my dearest, most beloved Samwise, I can't wait to teach you!' he said, and added jubilantly, 'Oh, but we are going to have so much fun.'


Carefree laughter drifted down to Bilbo and Gandalf where they sat in the sunny garden taking afternoon tea.

'Frodo and Sam spend more time in the air these days than they do on the ground,' remarked Bilbo, shaking his head. 'They'll be forgetting how to walk soon if they aren't careful.'

Gandalf chuckled, but made no reply. His eyes were following the swooping, playful flight of the exuberant hobbits, whose wings, snowy white and tawny golden, shone against the deep blue of the cloudless sky. He recalled two frail, wasted forms lying unconscious on a rock in a river of fire, perilously near to death. Then they had needed the wings of the eagles to carry them to safety. Now they had wings of their own, and soared weightless and free above the earth.

It was a glorious sight.