It's not a thing she ever admitted to Sam. He had enough troubles upon his shoulders without worrying over nonsensical dreams. That's all they were, dreams.

The first one, Sam wasn't even there beside her to know she was dreaming. He and Mr. Frodo took off with hardly more than a word. To Rivendell, Sam claimed. No, he didn't rightly know when he'd be back. But in her dream, they weren't in Rivendell, not if it looked the way Sam or Mr. Frodo described it to her. They stood on the shore of the Sea, with a whole host of Elves about them white as foam, and Mr. Merry and Mr. Pippin were there too. And Mr. Frodo kissed his cousins on the cheek, but her Sam he kissed on the lips. At that Rosie sat straight up in bed and shouted, so she never saw what happened after.

Her Sam came back a week or two later, and smiled at her. "Is something wrong, Rosie-lass?"

"No," she said, and bounced Elanor upon her hip.

There was an end to it, she hoped. Mr. Frodo was gone, Sam was here, no more need be said. But the dreams didn't stop.

They came seldom, at least. She didn't know how she'd explain them to Sam if they came oftener. But every time they were the same: she seemed to stand somewhere out on the ocean, as if she'd Elven magic herself, and watch as a ship came in to harbor. Each ship carried Elves, the same sort of foam-white Elves she'd seen in that first dream, but as they stepped off the ship onto the ground they seemed to catch color, reds and greens and gold bright as summer morning. The land onto which they stepped fair shimmered with green and grey, as if it had just stopped raining, or would begin any moment. The Elves called to each other in that outlandish language of theirs, and greeted those waiting for them. Sometimes it was fair ones of their own folk, sometimes it was a lord grand and terrible as the King Elessar of Gondor, and once it was a lady beautiful as stars at Yule midnight.

Always, off to the side, stood three figures. One she hardly recognized as Gandalf, with his beard cut short and his gray robes set aside for green and ochre. One she knew right away: she'd been at the Birthday Party, and she'd never forget Old Baggins, with his madly twinkling eyes. The third greeted Elves politely in their own tongue, but rarely looked at them. Instead, he watched the harbor -- and when the ship was empty, he looked straight at her, and smiled to chill her bones.

She always got up after she had this dream, and went to fix herself some tea. Sam worried over her, she knew, especially since the dream came more often just after each babe, but she soothed him with murmurs and nonsense. After all, dreams never hurt anyone. Frodo Baggins didn't really stare her in the eye, and smile wistfully, as if to say 'not this time, but soon'.

She tried to move forward once. But something blocked her, an invisible wall between her and this pretty land with its summer colors and foam-fair Elves. Frodo Baggins just watched, and said nothing, not even to his companions. She never tried again. She only met his eyes. Wait, then, she tried to say without speaking. I won't let him go, so you'll just have to wait.

At last the dream changed. She found herself on a grassy field, looking out toward the ocean. At first she thought herself at the harbor where she'd first seen that ship and the ocean, and walked forward to better see. Then she looked away from the ocean, and saw who sat there.

He looked back at the sound of her footsteps, and started to his feet. "Rosie!"

"Good afternoon, Mr. Frodo," she said, automatically polite.

"Yes, of course." He glanced out toward the ocean, brow creased in puzzlement. "But -- how--"

"No, no, it's not a matter of ships," Rosie said, though she couldn't have told you how she knew what to say. "Not for me, and well you know it."

Frodo folded his arms over his chest, and raised that ironical eyebrow at her. "Not a matter of ships? You've been there for every arrival at the harbor as well as I have, Rose Gamgee."

"But not for the next one," Rosie said, the words still coming glibly to her lips. "It'll be a few months, no more. Give him time."

The ironical amusement wavered, then crumpled. "How much longer?"

But the words were gone. "Soon," Rosie said helplessly. She met his eyes one last time, then went up on tip-toe to brush her own kiss over those chilled lips.

She woke then. The pain had faded again, and she rolled her head on her pillow to look over at Sam, dozing in a chair by the bedside. A few months, she remembered saying, and knew she would die before morning.

With a wistful sigh of her own, Rose Gamgee closed her eyes and dreamed.

- end -

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