Part 1: Love Fulfilled
Bilbo found them entwined in sleep when he went to waken Frodo that morning. He stood immobile in the doorway, shocked and yet... not. He'd always suspected, deep down, that that's how it had been between them, though in all the uncounted years he'd never asked and Frodo had never volunteered.
He should shut the door, leave; it was after all none of his affair. Frodo was long of age. But the sight held him in thrall more surely than any ring-spell. He understood, at long last, how these two small hobbits had saved Middle-earth from ruin.
The tale was told in the tender cupping of Frodo's hands at the back of Sam's head, in the cherishing of his cheek against Sam's hair. It was told in the iron band Sam's arms made around Frodo's waist and in the desperate press of his face into Frodo's chest. Here were two halves made whole again, two puzzle pieces fitted, two lives rejoined that should never have been torn asunder.
My dear boy, thought Bilbo, his eyes on Frodo's sleeping face, transformed from the quiet peace of healing to the transcendent beauty of love fulfilled, how did you ever bear to leave him?
A moment longer Bilbo stared, then he backed softly away and carefully shut the door. This called for a celebration, he decided, striding briskly toward the kitchen. He didn't do much cooking these days, but he could still turn out a tolerable feast when the occasion arose. And what better occasion could there be than this, the first morning of Frodo and Sam's new life together in the West?
Part 2: Joy Upon Waking
'Tis naught but a dream. What else can it be? Too many times Sam had dreamed he held Frodo in his arms, only to watch that dream-Frodo slip, insubstantial as smoke, out of his desperate embrace and vanish as he hovered in the netherworld between sleep and wakefulness. Too many times, he'd cracked open swollen, tear-crusted eyes to the pale light of dawn and found himself on the wrong side of the sundering Sea.
But dawn has arrived and his eyes are fully open, and the light coming through the window has a pearly radiance unlike anything ever seen in Middle-earth. A breeze stirs the gauzy curtains, carrying with it a tang of salt, not the earthy scent of the Shire, and a faint, far-off sound like the pealing of bells and the ringing of silver trumpets replaces the clang of cow-bells and the baas of sheep going up to pasture.
And Frodo's naked body is still clasped close in his embrace. No elusive dream-smoke this, a cheat to vanish on waking, but something as solid and real as Sam himself. Frodo's heart beats steady and strong beneath his pillowed cheek; his breath is moist and warm, stirring the hair at Sam's temple. How often had they lain like this on the Quest? Times beyond number, and Sam had felt every heart-beat, every breath like a blessing, as he does now.
Oh, but the reality of this awakening transports Sam with joy such as he has only once before in his life experienced, in a tower high in a pass above Mordor. Then, he had wanted to hold his dear master, his dearest love, in endless happiness, but it had not been permitted. Now it is.
For at long last Sam has wakened on Frodo's side of the sundering Sea.
Part 3: Every Hope and Dream
Eventually Frodo stopped blinking in the dazzling light, coughing in the pure air.
He sat for hours alone on the sun-soaked sand, contemplating the ever-changing sea and listening to the mournful cries of the gulls. Sometimes hissing wavelets ran over his scarred feet, the water cool and cleansing, Ulmo's blessing.
As time passed the wounds from knife, sting, tooth and his long burden ceased to pain him.
Peace and tranquility gradually entered his soul; he could look inside and see not some loathsome Gollum-like creature possessed by greed, but a simple hobbit who had done his best against impossible odds.
Finally he forgave himself for failing. He saw beauty in the world around him. He even learned to laugh again.
But Frodo never grew accustomed to sleeping alone.
Each night he settled into his bed and yearned for strong arms to wind tight around him, for crisp chestnut curls to sink his fingers into, for bare skin as sun-soaked as the sand to warm his own, for honest hazel eyes to look into his with undisguised adoration, for a soft-burred voice, the only sound that had reached him in the extremity of his torment at the end, to speak his name as no other had ever or would ever speak it, as it were the answer to every hope and dream.
True healing and happiness would not be his until he had them again, but if that day would ever come, he did not know; and of his fears he spoke to no one, not even Bilbo.
Morning light plays against Frodo's closed eyelids. His nose twitches to the smell of frying mushrooms and baking bread. Bilbo is busy in the kitchen, it seems.
He opens his eyes, but doesn't move; he can't. His fingers are tangled in crisp strands of tight-curled chestnut hair, and strong arms are wound tight around him. Bare skin warm as sun-soaked sand presses against him from chest to thigh. Honest hazel eyes look into his with undisguised adoration, and a soft-burred voice speaks his name as no other has ever or will ever speak it, as if it is the answer to every hope and dream.
Tears come then, to both of them, swift as a summer shower. And like a summer shower they soon pass, leaving behind clear rain-washed air and brilliant blue skies.
'Shall we get up and go have breakfast?' asks Sam.
A bird is singing a sweet song outside the bedroom window, but happiness sings an even sweeter one inside Frodo. 'Not yet, my love,' he says, bending his head. 'My love, not yet.'