Looking Proper, by Lbilover

Based on the beautiful but somehow pensive and sad 'Frodo in Valinor' drawing by Alice Falto.

alice falto frodo
alice falto frodo

Like Rivendell, Tol Eressëa had a little bit of everything - but also the Sea. No place could be more beautiful, a melding of white-capped mountains and wind-tossed waves, of stately ancient woods and flower-dotted meadows, of thundering waterfalls and quiet streams. Rain fell in exactly the right measure and only for as long as necessary. From the tiniest flower to the tallest tree, all was green, growing and unblemished.

It was an Elven paradise, and yet Frodo couldn't feel at home.

He should have. His wounds, both physical and mental, had healed. He had dear Bilbo for companionship. He had his friends from Middle-earth, and many new ones, too, such as the Lady Celebrian. He was treated with honour as a Ring-bearer but also, he thought, with kindness and genuine affection. So what was lacking?

Frodo leaned back against a marble pillar, careful not to bruise the flowering vine that wound around it, drew up his knees and with a pensive expression studied his toes that peeked out from the hem of his blue silk robe. It was more practical to wear Elvish dress in this land, but like his surroundings, the clothes didn't quite fit him. Of course, he was a hobbit, not an Elf. And yet, and yet... A stubborn voice inside him argued that it had nothing to do with that, and everything to do with....

What? he asked himself. Why can't I be happy here? When will I belong?

Just beyond Frodo's toes, growing along the edge of the stone floor, was a cluster of delicate purple flowers. Crocuses, the harbinger of spring that grew year-round here: for there was always a mix of spring, and summer, and autumn on Tol Eressëa - but never winter.

A gentle breeze stirred the flower's petals so that it almost looked as if they were waving at him. An involuntary, and rare, smile curled the corners of Frodo's mouth as a memory abruptly surfaced, like a dolphin from deep waters.


It was a year or so after he joined Bilbo at Bag End. Frodo was taking advantage of the first truly fine day of spring to idle in the garden with a book - though he read less than he basked, his winter-pale face tilted to the sun, soaking in its warmth.

A voice caught his attention, one he knew well: young Samwise Gamgee. At first he thought Sam was talking to him; a welcome diversion, for Sam was already dear to him and Frodo considered him a friend. But then he realised that Sam was talking to someone else - probably his gaffer or Bilbo. Sam was a chatterbox, full of endless curiosity and questions.

'An' a very good mornin' to you, too,' Sam was saying in his childish treble. 'Tis a grand day, and no mistake.'

Frodo's lips twitched in a smile to hear Sam sounding so like a tiny echo of his father, and he looked in the direction of Sam's voice. There was young Sam, sturdy of limb and with a shock of golden curls, but if any other hobbit was about, he was invisible.

'Sam, to whom are you talking?' Frodo asked, setting aside his book and getting up.

'The flowers, Mr. Frodo,' replied Sam at once. 'The crocuses and daffydowndillies.'

'And are they answering you?'

'O'course. See?' Sam pointed at a cluster of purple crocuses, their petals moving in the breeze so that it almost appeared as if they were waving 'good morning'.

'I do see,' Frodo said. 'How silly of me not to have noticed them waving at us.'

Sam fixed Frodo with an earnest expression. 'You ain't silly, Mr. Frodo. You just ain't learned how to look proper.'

'Will you show me, Sam?' Frodo asked, half serious, half in jest.

'I will an' all,' Sam replied, and held out a small and rather grubby hand to Frodo, who took it in his own.


Sam had shown him how to look proper, both then and later, on the Quest. Opened Frodo's eyes to beauties he would otherwise have missed, even in the darkest of places. And the beautifullest of them all was Sam himself.

A shaft of pain smote Frodo's heart then and unbidden tears sprang to his eyes. He bowed his head, letting the tears flow freely, staining the fine silk. The answer to his question was as clear as the waving petals of the crocuses, only once again he hadn't looked proper - this time, inside his heart.

Oh Sam, he thought, the light dawning. Sam, this can never truly be my home until you are here to share it with me.

But after a few minutes Frodo bravely raised his head and dried his tears on his sleeve. Crying wouldn't bring Sam to him. Only time would accomplish it, and patience. Sam, always wiser than he, surely knew that well. Frodo had no doubt that Sam was getting on with his life, and finding happiness, too, until the day that he finally sailed over Sea. Could he, Frodo, do any less?

Impulsively Frodo raised his hand and waved back at the swaying crocuses. 'And a very good morning to you, too,' he said, the ache in his heart quieting and a soft smile spreading over his face. ''Tis a grand day, and no mistake.'

For now that he had looked proper, it was.


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