title: Torn in Two
fandom: Lord of the Rings
characters/pairings: Sam/Rose, suggested Sam/Froddo
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Rosie reflects on her husband's love.
notes: firmly movie continuity, as i have yet to read the books. ^_~

The flickering lights of the fire made his flaxen curls sparkle as they flashed. He had been motionless, watching the fire for hours, now. She held her tongue, however, as she had no rights to complaints. He had read to the children, and played with them, and told them grand stories of wizards and men, and helped their daughter with her model tower, and then tucked them into bed with a song. He had been the perfect father ever since he had returned from his journey, so she supposed that he was allowed a night's rest.

She tried to keep her humming to a minimum. She was really quite fortunate. Hobbits didn't consider folk to be celebrity much, but even in the Shire, Samwise and the boys had gained a certain air about them from their journey. Merry and Pippin had slowly gone back to their normal habits, and could almost always be found telling tall tales to eager crowds, their adventures growing more perilous and exciting with the falling and rising of the sun each day. Soon, they would be telling how they single-handedly saved Middle Earth from an ocean of orcs and evil wizards, despite Frodo and Sam's interference. Rosie didn't mind their tales, either, because Sam rarely spoke plainly about his journey at home. He always believed it was 'Mr. Frodo's' story to tell, and no prodding or insistence on her part could convince him that he played any role in it at all.

'Mr. Frodo' was always more generous, but he was so often ensconced within his home, his nose in his book, his windows and shutters clamped down shut, his door closed and locked to the outside world. Sam tended his garden, and Sam shared with him the fruits of his labor, and Sam spent long evenings keeping 'Mr. Frodo' company. Rosie never begrudged Sam his time, but it did worry her. Bagginses were not famous for being content letting the grass grow between their toes, and Frodo held great sway over her husband's view of things, even the Shire.

Rosie poured out some nice tea, set some biscuits on a plate, and set everything on a tray. Her mother would say it was too fancy for every night for decent Shire folk, but Rosie cherished her time with her husband, and she would do what she could to help him cherish it as well.

She kneeled at his knee, and set the tray down on the table beside the easy chair. She poured out the tea carefully, making sure to keep the level well below the rim of the cup, and then she placed a napkin over her Sam's knee, setting the plate on the napkin and the teacup at his hand.

It was only then that she noticed the tracks of tears trailing down his face.

"Husband!" She gasped quietly, reaching up to place her palm against his baby-faced cheek. "What is the matter? Has someone died?"

He shook his head slowly, his cheeks shaking slightly. He seemed to want to speak but unable to make his throat cooperate. He pushed the soft-leather bound book on his lap closer to him. She could see that it was open to a loose sheaf of paper, written in Frodo's decorative, sprawling hand. She read the words twice, to be sure that she hadn't misread anything. She found sometimes that it was difficult to be sure she knew what was being written when what was being said was more ornate than words being used to say it.

"He 'taint coming back, Rosie. Never. He sailed off with Gandalf and the elves."

There was much sorrow, much despair, and much longing in Samwise's voice, but no jealousy or anger. Her heart broke into a million pieces for him.

"Oh, husband..." She stood to take Sam's shoulders in her arms, pressing his face against her belly. She could not explain the wisdom of Frodo's words to Sam, nor could he understand the restlessness that comes from moving your feet too far for too long. But there was absolute, complete trust, the likes of which left Rosie feeling like she were less and halfling and more a quaterling, or an eighthling. Though she knew in her heart that Frodo had done the only just thing he was capable of doing, she would, at that moment, have gladly torn herself in two to spare her husband even the shadow of this sorrow.

His tears dampened the soft cloth of her dress, and her belly felt warm where he was breathing against her. The measure of their life together unfolded before her, and she could see that they would have more children, like all the other hobbits in the Shire. They would have a son with golden ringlets like his father, and their father would tell them many stories of Mr. Frodo's bravery and greatness until they all adored the name Frodo. Their children would grow up, and they would grow old, and they would find their house becoming quiet and cold as their children made homes of their own. For her, his eyes would always shine with love and respect, but that brightness of admiration and awe that Mr. Frodo inspired would be gone from him for good. They would welcome in grandchildren, and they would garden together when the weather was good, and he would hold her yarn when it rained, and they would read together by candlelight and firelight when it was dark, and when they were very old, they would die, she with not a single regret in her bones, and he, wishing still that he could see Mr. Frodo one more time.