West of the Moon
A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive
The Making of Samwise
A history of Samwise Gamgee's life as he grows into his destiny.
Author: Bill The Pony
Sam wakes in a room that is familiar
and unfamiliar all at once. His sisters' shrill voices are
missing, as is the pale beam of light from beneath his
curtain and the warm, savoury smell of bread and sausages
from the kitchen chimney that warms one wall of his little
It takes a moment to realize he is in Bag End, but as he rouses, he knows the mattress below his back is rich and firm, and it doesn't stab at him with stems of unruly straw. He can smell the rich tang of Mr. Bilbo's favorite leaf and the faint mellow notes of wine and rich foods lingering in the still air. He has no idea where the Sun may stand in the sky, but the clock inside his mind insists it is time to rise, and so he does, fumbling for his shirt and breeches and dressing in the dark.
The door opens soundlessly in to the hall, and he pads down its length towards the welling light in the parlour and the kitchen. The itch in his mind and skin, born of a lifetime of early rising, has steered him right: the sky is pale silver and the east horizon is touched with gold and rose. There is a chill in the air that speaks of coming winter, a promise of frost.
Sam buttons his top button against the cool morning and pads into the kitchen, stirring the banked fire and coaxing it alight, then lighting the stove, as well. No one else stirs in the smial, but he knows Merry and Pippin are tucked up fast in the guest rooms, and Frodo will be in his own bedroom. Sam isn't sure, but Gandalf may be about as well. At any rate, the old wizard passed them on the Road last night as Sam and Frodo's cousins strolled down to the Dragon for a sup of ale, and he seemed to be heading for Bag End.
Sam swings the kettle over the bright new flames. As he waits for the kitchen fires to mellow, he wanders about the smial, tidying up the mathoms Mr. Bilbo left for friends and kin, finding a stray tea cup and wine glass and returning them to the kitchen washbasin. Last, he fills the copper in the bathing room-- it takes ten trips to the well, ten yokes bearing two heavy buckets each, to bring the water up to the brim. Every drop will be needed, with so many guests about, all wanting to bathe. He stretches his shoulders and hangs the buckets in their places, and sets linen towels out on a rack to warm.
Then he bustles in to the kitchen and mixes scones for baking, popping them in to the oven. He readies ham and eggs and sausages for the skillet, waiting until he hears a patter of feet-- Mr. Pippin stirring out, heading for the privy. When Pippin returns, hair tousled and cheeks pink with the fresh morning air, Sam has a mug of piping hot tea waiting for him on the kitchen table, and Pippin wraps both hands around it, inhaling the steam greedily.
"Morning, Sam." Pippin slides on to the bench, still in his nightshirt, and sips as Sam fries eggs and ham and sausage for him, and puts toast on its rack, and pulls the scones out of the oven.
"Morning Mr. Pippin," Sam replies, and when things are all but ready, "Would you kindly wake Mr. Merry? And Mr. Gandalf, if he's about."
Pippin trots off and does as Sam asks. Sam takes the charge of waking Frodo upon himself, his heart beating fast as he steps down the long hall and puts his hands on the door.
Taking a deep breath, he musters his courage and steps inside. "Morning, Mr. Frodo. Breakfast's almost ready," Sam says softly as he opens the inner curtains to let the soft morning light filter in to Frodo's room-- it's all he can think to do. It's what May and Marigold have always done to rouse him every morning, though they don't go to the trouble of being soft-spoken about it.
Mr. Frodo stirs and lifts himself from his pillow, blinking hazily at Sam. "Morning, Sam." His voice is thick and throaty with sleep, and his face looks worn-- perhaps a little red about the eyes, as though he wept in the night. Sam's heart twists with sorrow to see it. He goes to the nightstand and pours cold water into Mr. Frodo's basin. Tomorrow, he thinks, he will heat new water for Frodo's pitcher before he comes in, and when winter closes in on the Shire, he will build up the fire every morning so Frodo can be warm while he dresses.
One day, perhaps, he will wake up in this room, curled around his master.
The thought sends a glorious ripple of heat through him, glowing pleasantly in his belly and lower, but Sam keeps his face placid as he lets himself out with a nod. He pads back down to the kitchen, his heart still hammering giddily with the memory of Frodo's pale, bare shoulder, his nightshirt half-slid off it, moving against the rich green coverlet.
Pippin returns not long after Sam has the toast in its rack, reporting that Gandalf has gone. In next to no time Merry and Frodo, equally tousled and still not properly clad, are sitting down to breakfast inside Sam's kitchen. Sam's gaze is all for Frodo. He looks worn, as though he hasn't slept well. There is a moment of confusion before Frodo awkwardly takes Mr. Bilbo's place at the head of the table and sees to the serving, with Sam's help.
Sam doesn't like the peaked look to his master's face, and determines to coddle him as much as may be. It is wasted effort, though Sam gives him the best of the scones slathered with plenty of butter and jam, and serves him up a perfectly fried egg. Not even a piece of beautiful, golden-brown toast served alongside a thick slice of Farmer Cotton's best salted ham and two fat sausages crisped to perfection, can tempt his appetite. Frodo only picks at his breakfast, drawing veiled looks of concern from his cousins.
"Sit down with us, Sam," Frodo insists after a moment, and soon Sam, blushing, is seated at the foot of the table with his own plate in front of him, instead of standing in the kitchen corner and eating there, as has been his custom. It's a bit dangerous, sandwiched as he is between Merry and Pippin-- what with Merry's extravagant gestures and Pippin's untidy table manners, he soon has a spot of jam on his shirt and toast crumbs in his hair, but he feels good nonetheless. If he let himself, he could believe he belongs with this company, as though he has a right to be seated at Mr. Frodo's table with the new Master of Bag End, the Thain-to-be, and the heir to all the lands of Buckland.
A dangerous thought, that-- one that would make his Gaffer scowl.
"Whoa!" Sam dares to admonish Pippin, who has tipped his chair back so far he looks near toppling over backwards and in to the fire. "Steady there!" He rights the chair with a firm pressure of his foot on one of the rungs, reasoning rightly that the current Thain would object to having his son return to him lightly grilled, like a dish of mushrooms. When Pippin is safely resting on the ground again, Sam scrambles up to take the second helpings off the stove, where they sit under a warming lid. Soon everyone is quiet again, applying themselves to the serious business of eating.
He has made too much food, especially since Frodo isn't eating heartily, but Merry and Pippin make up for the lack nonetheless, devouring Frodo's share of what Sam has prepared and most of Gandalf's, as well. Sam takes care of the rest at Frodo's urging, hoping his obedience will help lift the sleepless shadows from beneath his master's eyes.
All through breakfast Merry and Pippin work extra hard at being cheerful, trying to chivvy Frodo out of himself, and even Sam can't help but smile at their antics from time to time. At last Frodo's lips curve a bit, and Pippin crows triumph, leaping from his chair and clambering full in to Frodo's lap, kissing him soundly on both cheeks.
"You're a rascal," Frodo tousles his hair fondly and returns the kiss on one cheek. "And you're all over butter and jam. Your face is sticky, and your hands, too!" He turns his gaze to Sam. "Is bath-water ready?"
"The copper's been heating this hour or more," Sam is proud to tell him. "And towels are spread on a rack by the hob."
Frodo smiles readily this time, and his eyes lock with Sam's, warm with approval-- but then strangely he blushes, ducking his face aside, and covers his embarrassment by firmly placing Pippin on the floor. "You're the dirtiest, so you'd best go first. And Merry will go along with you, to see that you don't destroy the place. The walls are plaster, mind, so no splashing!"
"Listen to him worrying about the plaster, now," Merry laughs, low in his chest, and elbows Sam's arm familiarly. "Just like Bilbo used to do. You'd think he'd been the master of the smial all along!"
Frodo blushes again and his gaze darts about, avoiding Merry's clear-eyed look. He seems more than a little flustered, shoving his hands in his pockets, then withdrawing them. "Well, someone has to look out for the place now that Bilbo's gone," he says at last, and his hands settle on the back of his chair. "Especially with you ruffians in residence." His eyes lock with Merry's, and Merry gives him a grin as smug as it is pleased, evidently satisfied with the results of his needling.
"That you must," he acknowledges. "Or else Sam will have to do it for you."
"I wouldn't want to give Sam more work than I ought," Frodo agrees quite seriously, and straightens his shoulders, as though squaring himself to bear the load of his responsibilities. "Sam, are you well-settled in your room? Is it comfortable, and is it appointed with everything you need?"
"It's more than good enough, sir. I'll need to go down to Number Three for a bit later today and bring back a few oddments. Clothes and the like, mostly. I could use a lamp or a candle or summat, and a way to tell the time." Sam feels strangely shy to ask Frodo to grant such a request for him, simple and necessary though it is.
Frodo nods briskly. "Take one, then-- whichever of the extra lamps you fancy. And there are half a dozen water-clocks about the place; Bilbo used to say we have them like a barn has mice. I'll be happy to have more space on the parlour shelves, if you want to pick out one of the spares. And take candles, whenever you want them, and mind you keep a good supply of firewood. Don't stint yourself; keep your room as you would my own." Frodo's eyes hold Sam's for a long moment, firm and calm, as Merry follows Pippin out to the bath-room.
"Yes, sir," Sam says automatically, and the words send a thrill of pleasure shivering through him. He doesn't precisely mean to do exactly as he's just been told-- he hasn't lived the pampered life Mr. Frodo has, and don't need as much when it comes to candles and a fire, or lamp-oil, neither. But it warms his heart to know Frodo looks out for his comfort.
A faint heat stirs in his body as he says the words; they feel right on his tongue, as it feels right for Mr. Frodo to speak to him so. He wants to do what is asked of him-- and do it well, maybe better than Frodo is aware. "Is there anything more, sir?" He hears the faint husk in his tone, and knows Frodo hears it too when colour rises to his master's cheeks.
"Lay out my everyday best brown," Frodo says, and his voice quavers a little, faintly uncertain.
"Yes, sir." Sam makes the words a caress and lets his tongue taste their sweetness. "And your mid-weight coat too, I think; there's a chill in the air." He is hardening from the pure pleasure of knowing he can care for Frodo now, make sure he wears his heavy coat when he needs it-- and from watching the pink flush in his master's cheeks darken.
"Yes," Frodo agrees, still seeming at a loss.
"And shall I do the breakfast dishes, too, sir?" Sam hears the smoke in his own words, and marvels at his forward tongue; the question is completely unnecessary, but he wants to hear the answer.
"Yes, right away." Frodo's white teeth worry at his lip, but Sam feels that same thrill of pleasure singing through him at the stern words.
"Yes, Mr. Frodo, right away, sir." Sam doesn't move, though-- he is waiting, daring Frodo to take up his place as master of Bag End. Perhaps he is even needling him a little, carefully, just as Merry did.
"And be quick about it," Frodo says at last, almost a whisper, not at all the curt command it might have been, but Sam nods as though it were.
"Yes, sir." Sam says, near purring contentment, and steps forward. "Sorry, sir." The kitchen is narrow, and perforce he must brush close between Frodo and the table. He doesn't rush, hearing the slow, warm rustle of cloth against cloth, his hand bracing for a gentle instant on Frodo's shoulder. "Right away, sir." He delivers the words as a daring kiss of breath near Frodo's ear, low and sultry.
Frodo shivers once, a tremor that gusts through him from head to toe, then slips out of the kitchen and leaves Sam to his work.
Sam stolidly refuses to let his mind wander as he pours hot water from the kettle and starts to do the breakfast dishes, ignoring the clamor of images that the sounds from across the smial would conjure in his mind. When he is finished, he dries the stack and puts them away, then he goes to Mr. Frodo's room-- passing the bath-room along the way, where the three gentle-hobbits are going about the business of bathing quite as though it were any ordinary day.
It is not an ordinary day at all to Sam, whose eyes will wander in spite of all he can do to stop them; Frodo is awaiting his turn, and has discarded his nightshirt for a towel, wrapped low about his slender hips. Sam passes on without pausing, though, and enters Mr. Frodo's room, going straight to the wardrobe. There, he draws out the rich brown velvet breeches and weskit and a fresh linen shirt Frodo has requested. His fingers that shake with the importance of their task and the heat of recent memory, carefully laying them out on his master's bed.
He has attended Mr. Frodo's bath before, seen him bare as the day of his birth, sitting in the bath, lips open, skin flushed delicate pink with a flush, his body half-roused, more often than not. He pushes the thought down with firm patience, for Sam knows that if he lets memory rise, his flesh will be eager to match it, and that's a fact.
Finishing with Mr. Frodo's clothes, he makes himself perform the same service for Mr. Merry; it helps that Master Pippin comes in to the room while Sam is considering the wardrobe, chattering cheerfully, seeming unable to decide whether to towel his hair or finish buttoning his shirt. "Leave that towel on Merry's bed," Pippin asks Sam, quite polite. "I left it ready for him especially."
Sam obeys, and Mr. Merry comes in when he is finished with the suit of clothes, so Sam excuses himself, but not before Mr. Merry drops the towel he has wound about his hips. Sam flushes all over again, but not so hard as Mr. Pippin, who is watching Mr. Merry dress without any pretense at modesty or shame, his eyes wide and his braces forgotten in his hands. Sam clucks his tongue with amusement as he trots down the hall; he only hopes he isn't half so obvious about wanting Mr. Frodo.
He goes about hunting things to do-- he can almost hear Mr. Bilbo's voice in his memory, scolding him without rancor. "Sam, the what-nots need dusting. And mind you fill all the sconces-- beeswax, not tallow. And polish the globes of the lamps. And--" Sam chuckles at the vividness of the memory, "--make sure to beat the kitchen rug!" He nods to the voice in his mind; he will do these things gladly, as Mr. Bilbo must have known, for the love of Mr. Frodo, whether Mr. Frodo remembers to ask or no.
For now that Mr. Bilbo is gone, Sam understands something of the last few months which he hadn't before. Bless the old hobbit-- he ran Sam twice as hard in the past year, and Sam thinks it began after Mr. Bilbo awoke from his nap following the Yule feast near a year ago. He wasn't best pleased to wander in and find Sam and Mr. Frodo curled up together, fast asleep over a book of tales, with the fires gone out and half the dishes in the hole still dirty in the basin, waiting to be washed.
Sure enough, Mr. Bilbo's going has put a new light on his stern behavior, at least in Sam's mind. Seemingly, Mr. Bilbo meant to mind Sam of his place and teach him what was to be done; he had to teach Sam that someone must look after the smial in spite of the temptation to leave the chores and go about mooning after Mr. Frodo or peeping into his bath.
Sam blushes, not so pleasantly this time. It was a lesson well learned; in the future he'll be sure to see to it that he tends to his work before he goes about enjoying himself, and no mistake.
A sound meets his ears, testing his resolve-- the soft plash of water sluicing down off a standing body. Sam swallows hard, all his woolgathering focusing down to the image in his head-- of Mr. Frodo standing up, naked and wet, his hair plastered to his forehead and his throat, reaching for one of the towels that lies waiting for him by the wash-tub.
"Whoa!" Sam nearly falls, jostled hard as Master Pippin flashes down the hall like a streak of lightning, not making much effort to avoid him-- and with good reason; Mr. Merry is in hot pursuit, and he hasn't a stitch on, plus he has soot on his hands and his face, and a towel hanging from his fist.
Pippin shrieks as Merry catches him up before he can haul open the door and escape outdoors; the noise of their scuffling is so loud that Frodo pads to the door of the bathing-room wearing only a towel about his shoulders, his eyes wide.
"Mr. Pippin's given Mr. Merry a helping of chimney-soot in his face-towel." Sam explains even as he figures Mr. Pippin's game out for himself. "I expect Mr. Merry will be taking another bath." An sharp cracking of towel and an indignant squawk punctuates and confirms his guess, and they watch together as Mr. Merry hauls his captive back down the hall under one arm, scowling-- and sure enough, Mr. Merry's face is thoroughly blackened and he looks like a chimney-sweep.
For all his scowling, Merry tips Frodo a sly wink and Sam relaxes, glad Merry isn't truly angry, though Mr. Pippin may not be able to tell the difference.
Frodo titters, then colours at his own state of undress and vanishes back inside the bathing-room; Sam stifles a smile and goes down the hall to sweep up any soot he can find on the tiles.
Mr. Merry has to bathe again, but thanks to Sam's early trips to the well, there is plenty of hot water. Pippin and Frodo eat second breakfast while he finishes, and Sam slips Mr. Pippin an extra cake even though he is in disgrace.
Merry finally comes out again, swaddled firmly in a length of linen towel, face red from fresh scrubbing, and takes his place at the table without bothering to dress. When breakfast is finished, Frodo vanishes into the bathing-room and emerges again straight away, finding Sam dusting the what-nots in the parlour. "Sam, there's a good deal of hot water left; best not to waste it-- especially seeing that you'll have to wipe up all that soot. I daresay they've tracked it through half the smial. You'll need a bath after dealing with that."
"Yes sir," Sam answers, unable to hold back a smile; the soot is already a memory; even Mr. Merry's sheets have been stripped and put in the hamper and replaced. "I'll put it to good use, sir."
Frodo nods at him, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Enjoy a good soak. We won't be back for hours, not until time for supper, and you've worked more than hard enough to earn it."
Sam flushes with pleasure, both at the compliment and the prospect of a bath. The Gamgees aren't like some poor hobbits-- his mam and his Gaffer have always been strict about keeping their brood clean, but they don't have a wide, deep washtub like the Bagginses, nor hot water to spare above and beyond what is strictly required. Sponge-baths are the rule in Number Three, and are most often taken while standing over a dishpan of water heated on the woodstove.
When the gentle-hobbits leave, Sam is at leisure to go about the chores he has outlined for himself, uninterrupted. When he goes to fetch candles, he finds the remains of an excavation, fresh from the previous day, in the wall of the rearmost cellar, and scowls at the footprints in the fresh mound of dirt on the flagstones of the floor. This will be a job of work, and a filthy one, at that.
He tackles it last, scooping up the earth and mixing it with a bit of water, forming mud to pack back in to the hole the digging has left-- left by some lout from yesterday's party of curiosity-seekers, without a doubt. The fool must have had some notion of finding Mr. Bilbo's treasure. Sam's work will be a temporary fix at best, until he can have a plasterer come up and do a proper job of sealing the wall, but it will help to keep tunneling rats and moles out of Mr. Frodo's larder until then.
Sam is all over mud when he's finished, and sweaty into the bargain, and hungry too-- but too dirty to eat. He goes back in to the smial, grateful for the warmth as he strips off his clothes and pours most of the rest of the water from the copper into a washtub. There is really too much for one hobbit, and it's almost too hot as he lowers himself in inch by inch, sighing with pleasure as he sinks down until it covers him near to his chin.
This sort of luxury has been all too rare in Sam's life; he can count the times he's enjoyed such a thing on the fingers of one hand with a few to spare. He runs the rough washing cloth over his skin slowly, savoring the feel of it, as though a layer of grime and weariness is sloughing away. He takes the time to scrub thoroughly, all the way from behind his ears to the tips of his toes and in between. There is plenty of fresh-scented soap and he washes his hair, too, rinsing by pouring dipperfuls of clear water over his head from the bucket next to the tub.
When he is done the water is still pleasantly warm, so he adds the last of the clear hot water from the bucket and lies back again, hand on his belly. His memories of Frodo, combined with the pure pleasure of the bath, have left him half-roused. Fitting the soap inside his palm, he takes himself in hand for a lazy stroke, feeling more than a little self-conscious and exposed even though he is alone in the smial.
The hot water and thoughts of Frodo quickly have him hard, and he bends his head forward, his moan echoing hollowly in the empty room. His hand tightens, and he bites his lip as he strokes, the soap wonderfully slippery and soft, molding to a luxuriant fit against his skin. He wants Frodo more than anything, any way he can have him-- wants to do everything with Frodo he has ever dared to do before, and much more. He wants things he's only heard of, but never tried.
He wants Frodo under him, whimpering with pleasure and need.
Sam bites his lip harder, shame and lust mingling, a hot flush racing through his body and burning in his cheeks. Never mind Lotho's ugly words; Frodo wants it too. He said as much, now didn't he? He wants Sam-- like that. And Sam wants to give it to him. Sam wants to sink deep and plow his beautiful master like a new furrow.
Sam groans aloud, the sound wrenched from the bottom of his throat, and lifts his hips, pushing hard into his hand. The water sloshes dangerously near the lip of the tub, but he barely notices. His eyes are squeezed tight shut and the grip of his hand is the wicked-tight clasp of Frodo's slim body, and he is pushing-- pushing as hard as he likes, glorious hard strokes, deep and true.
The hot, silky water around him makes him feel almost as though his whole body is buried inside Frodo, and the scent of the soap is Frodo's; a faint, clean tang of rosemary, and maybe a hint of bergamot. Sam draws it into his lungs with a frantic gasp, one hand white-knuckled on the rim of the tub, the other moving frantically under the water.
Frodo, yes. Frodo, belly-down and supported on splayed hands and knees, pale thighs wide, legs trembling on either side of Sam's. His narrow hips pushed apart, admitting Sam's cock, his prominent hipbones fitted inside Sam's palms. Sam thinks feverishly of dragging his master's body back even as he thrusts forward into it with a hard slap of flesh on flesh that draws a cry from Frodo's throat and a growl from his own. Frodo's cock will bounce against his belly, drawn up tight and hard. His hipbones will be slippery with sweat.
Sam reaches to tweak his own nipple, and imagines it is Frodo's-- the delirious sizzle of pleasure that zings through him, burning into his cock, would make Frodo moan and whimper even more. He pinches harder, feeding the burn, pushing the pleasure towards pain. It flares with marvelous intensity as his coarse, hard nails dig in and twist. Harder, harder...
An agonized syllable pushes past his lips, hoarse and forbidden, a curse his Gaffer would slap his face for speaking. He says it again, low and harsh, tightening his hand around his cock for a last vicious stroke. Water slops over the edges of the tub as his body jerks, hard, and red starbursts erupt behind his clenched lids, the word a litany now on his lips, pouring out of him in a torrent with each brilliant pulse until he slumps, exhausted and trembling, the remains of the water cradling him gently, air moving cool on his wet, overheated skin.
Sam lies there bonelessly, hearing his heart pound, feeling the water slowly grow cold around him, the last spasms of his climax twitching through his languorous muscles. He can almost hear his voice echoing, twining with Frodo's imagined cries.
He wants this. Even now, freshly-sated, he wants it so much his toes curl with the frustration of it, and his mouth tastes dry.
At last he gets up, his knees still a bit wobbly, glad of the flagstone floor with its slope towards the drain. He pours out the tub and rinses it with fresh water, then props it on his side and towels himself off carefully, then mops up the water that is left on the floor.
He goes to his room, leaving damp footprints on the tile, and is hardly inside his breeches when a timid knock is followed by Marigold's voice-- she is at the servant's door just outside Sam's room.
"Hello? Mr. Baggins? Sam? I've come for the laundry." Sam hears the door close behind her as she creeps in, and knows how exactly close he has come to shaming himself and shocking his sister, but he can't bring himself to mind.
He goes out to her as soon as he has finished buttoning his shirt, and her eyes widen. She sniffs the air, leaning close to him, and he draws back with a frown, keenly conscious of his wet hair, which gives him away.
"Well, ain't you just the big-bug now," Marigold says, pert and saucy. "Been making free with Mr. Baggins's own bath-soap, have you? And his bath-room too, I'll warrant." He can see the envy in her eyes, and hear it in her voice, and he feels a pang of mercy for her in spite of himself.
"Aye. You wouldn't have me serve at his table smelling like a stable-hand!" He says gruffly, but he helps her strip the beds and gather up the clothes, though it ain't rightly his job.
When she is done, he gives her a sweetmeat filched from the pantry and shoos her out so he can begin cooking supper.
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