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
Rating: NC-17


The byre is warmer than the out-of-doors, but not by as much as Sam would like. He hesitates at the ladder to the loft, looking around the area. Tails swish and hooves shift; he can hear the sough of the animals breathing and smell the comfortable and earthy, safe scent of manure. No, perhaps it wouldn't have done for Frodo to stay here.

Sam takes a lantern and carries it up with him, cautious of its spark amidst all the dry hay. There is a pile of horse-blankets laid in wait, clean wool but rough-woven.

He stretches up and hangs the lantern on a hook that dangles from the ceiling right over the ladder, where no careless heads or hands should send it tumbling to ignite the hay, then tests the floor with one foot before he puts his weight on it. Not that 'floor' is a good word for what there is to walk on as he makes his cautious way into the loft; it's more a series of unevenly milled, unsanded planks flung across the rafters, with treacherous spaces left open between for pitching hay and straw bedding down to the animals.

As he takes his share of the blankets, Sam sees a dead hornet near his foot and checks the rafters; there's a fat round nest near the size of his fist at the pitch of the roof, nestled up against the roofbeam. He chooses the other side of the loft from it and finds a likely spot well away from the ladder where some of the hay has been forked down, but there aren't any holes nearby in the floor-- leastways, none big enough for him to fall through.

A bit of work arranging hay and two of the blankets provides Sam with a pleasant nest. As he lies down in it, he can hear Anson and Mallow let themselves inside, arguing in low tones, and he turns his back decisively on them, curling up and hoping to be left alone.

The sounds of the Tilleys' big ox champing its feed and rattling its wooden trough looking for more makes it impossible for Sam to overhear their conversation. He pretends to be asleep, and they fall silent as they climb the sturdy wooden rungs, one after the other, and make their own beds in the hay. At least one of them is too close to Sam for comfort, bedding down just on the other side of a hay-pile from him, and he knows he's in for it, just as soon as whoever it may be judges that the other is asleep.

Sam sighs and shifts a little, stealthy as may be, to escape a prickle of straw at his back. He rather hopes it's Anson who's nearest, for at least he can tell An no-- flat out, without no fancy talk or worry that he won't take it for an answer. That Mallow, though... he judges she's a good deal more determined, and mayhap even flat talk won't suffice.

That thought don't leave his cock lying easy, for all that he's not interested in having Mallow nohow. Sam has to remind himself not to fidget and rustle about in the straw, for it won't do to let the other two know he isn't asleep.

He watches the Moon find the top of the sky through a crack between two boards-- it's that late already, and the dawn won't be as far behind as Sam would like. For all of that, he can't rest; he watches the slow progress of the light as it begins to sink, playing hide and seek behind the boards and the cracks. The lantern burns itself out, but still he can't seem to settle his nerves, half-jumping out of his skin at any rustles from the other two occupants of the loft. Mayhap Mr. Frodo is having a better night of it up at the house.

When a stealthy noise comes that doesn't stop, he holds his breath and squeezes his eyes shut tight; somebody is moving about, and it looks to be whoever is in the bed farthest from Sam But the footsteps don't approach; instead the ladder creaks and somebody goes down. Sam lies tense-- and sure enough, now the other one is stirring about, too.

"I know you're not asleep, Samwise. Your breath sounds like you've just run a race." Mallow's voice is tart and not at all drowsy.

"Begging your pardon, ma'am." Sam makes his tone as humble as he can, hoping to remind her of her place. "I didn't mean to keep you awake."

She makes an annoyed sound in her throat. "He's gone off to meet that Rob," she mutters, half to herself, and Sam hears the sound he's been dreading all along-- her scrambling towards him through the straw.

He sits up right quick. There's enough light in the loft that it catches on her pale hair, and he can see her coming. "Please don't, M-- Mistress Took." He tries to firm his voice, when it quavers on the first words.

She makes the sound of scorn in her throat again, resting on her knees, a pale shadow against the dark of the barn. "Please don't what?" Her voice is too sweet, and the question makes Sam feel like a rabbit in a fox's jaws.

"Please go on back to bed and have a sleep, and let me be doin' the same," Sam says quietly. "It ain't going to make aught better to take on so."

"Taking on isn't what I had in mind." Her voice is silky, but when he doesn't answer, it sharpens. "Any fool with eyes can see you've never had a lass, Sam, and it would take a thicker hobbit than any on this farm to see you haven't had Frodo yet, either." Her sharp tone changes, sultry like a summer morning in the hay. "I saw your eyes on me at the show."

Sam swallows hard, his throat dry. "Mistress Took, eyes don't mean naught, and you shouldn't ought to have had your kit off nohow."

Mallow shifts a few inches closer to Sam, walking forward on her knees, and her body passes through a slit of moonlight that has crept through the cracks. Her shirt is open, and there is a split-second flash when the soft inner curves of her breast are revealed, pale as mother-of-pearl.

Sam's cock jerks, mindless and urgent, and he licks his lips, his tongue dry as saddle-leather. "It seems to me you've been doing a deal of thinking," he says, quick and low, "And if you have, well then, you know I'm for Mr. Frodo, and not for nobody else."

"He'd never have to know." She moves back into the light; it falls along her cheek, and he watches her tongue moves out to lick her lips. "I daresay you've never had someone's mouth on you, Sam." She moves another ell closer, near enough to touch, and Sam shrinks back onto his heels.

"I have so been kissed, and I ain't going to throw away such as Mr. Frodo for--"

"That's not what I meant." Her tone is husky and rich with promise. She lifts her finger to her lips and slides it onto her tongue, a strangely provocative gesture, for all that he ain't never seen a grown lass make it before, and he can't never imagine Rosie Cotton doing it, neither.

His brain doesn't seem to be working like it ought, and for a baffled minute, Sam doesn't know what she means, but then she reaches out and her fingertips tuck into the waist of his breeches, and he jerks away, understanding her at last. His face burns hot as fire. His cock strains at his breeches as though it would go to her whether he wills it or no.

"I don't care what you meant, I reckon," Sam manages, though his voice is hoarse and his cock feels like iron in a forge-fire. "Though I don't mean no disrespect by saying I ain't interested. Mr. Frodo, now, he's worth more than gold and diamonds to me, and I'm his, and that's flat. Just go on back to your pallet, and I won't let on tomorrow that aught happened here if you don't."

"Sam," her voice wheedles, and she scoots forward again, raising her hands to his shoulders. He tries to move away again, but his back is up against the hay and there's nowhere to go. "Just let me show you--"

"Chalcedony, take your hands off him." Frodo's words are cool as winter frost, and Sam nearly collapses with relief. His master's voice comes from the ladder. "He said no, and it sounds to me as though he meant it."

She hisses, rounding on Frodo, her back tense and straight; Sam can make out the white blur of his master's shirt as he climbs through the floor and steps off the ladder. For a second Sam thinks she's about to renew the offer, only with Frodo as her target-- or maybe the both of them-- but then she slinks off to her pallet and curls herself up under her blanket.

Sam is mute; he couldn't speak if he knew what to say, which he doesn't. He stays where he is, watching Frodo pick his way forward past Mallow's bed and come to him. His heart thuds against his ribs so hard it's nearly painful.

"I couldn't sleep, Sam. Every single one of the Tilleys snores, I suppose; down to the dog they put in the hall to keep me from wandering; they were rattling the very walls." Frodo chuckles, completely unconscious of self in spite of their audience. "It growled as soon as I touched my door; I had to come out through the window. Is there room there for two?"

"Oh, yes, sir," Sam breathes, and he scrambles for his blankets, picking them up and shaking out the straw, then spreading one in the little nest he hollowed out for himself. He watches, joy soaring in his breast, as Frodo lies down, and then timidly snuggles down next to his master, covering them both with his other rough blanket.

"Are you comfortable, sir?"

"Mmmm. Much more than inside. The fire smoked, and I don't think the straw ticking in that bed had been refreshed for a year or more." Frodo nestles into Sam's arms, making no comment as his bottom snuggles up against Sam's body and finds his hard cock. Sam swallows unhappily, struggling with a flush of shame-- being a lad, Mr. Frodo would have to know Sam couldn't tell it one thing or the other, no matter what he didn't want with Mallow.

Mr. Frodo doesn't draw back, settling his cheek on Sam's arm and sighing, his breath warm on Sam's skin. Sam lets his hand creep around and find a home on his master's belly. He is delirious with joy; holding Frodo tucked against the curve of his body is just as wonderful as he has always dreamed it would be. He can't help himself but nuzzle at Frodo's ear; Frodo's answering sigh shivers through them both and Frodo's hand steals up to cover Sam's.

Sam's tongue moves of its own will, and he traces it in a long, slow path up to the tip of Frodo's ear, tasting a trace of salt there; Frodo answers him again without words, his hips subtly stirring, pushing back against Sam's cock. Sam tenses, wanting more, but painfully aware of Mallow lying only a few ells away, listening to every sound they make, and mad as a hornet with a kicked nest into the bargain.

Frodo's narrow body is warm, his heartbeat light and rapid against Sam's chest. His curls smell faintly of bergamot, soft and clean against Sam's nose. Sam wants so much he can hardly contain it; he thinks he may die from the need to slide his hand down and discover whether Frodo is responding to him. Frodo pats Sam's hand, seeming to sense his distress, and curls his fingers through Sam's. His hips shift against Sam's cock again, maddening, waking thoughts that swirl wildly through Sam's lust-fogged brain-- thoughts he has barely dared to entertain, but which have plagued him before.

Will Frodo truly let him-- want him... like that? The slow, pulsing motion of Frodo's hips pushing against him speaks more than a hundred sly glances ever have, and Sam would curse Mallow for having ears, if he could. His hand shifts, moving subtly, the flat of his palm covering Frodo's hipbone, pulling him back and bracing him tighter. Soundless, stealthy, Sam rocks his hips forward and up, and feels Frodo's breath on his arm, a silent gasp.

Sam can't bear it anymore; he kisses Frodo's throat blindly and slides his hand downward-- timidly at first and then with more confidence, as Frodo makes no effort to stop him. Past buttons and waistband and farther still, until his hand covers rigid heat, and he traces the shape of his master's desire for the first time.

Frodo turns his head and nips lightly at Sam's arm; Sam can taste sweat on his master's neck. Frodo's cock twitches under Sam's hand, filling and straining, and Sam thrusts firmly against Frodo's slim bottom, not caring about noise anymore-- once, twice, and then there is a rustle that is neither Frodo nor Sam, and Sam flinches-- it's got to be Mallow, turning over in the straw and re-settling her blankets. He means to ignore her, but it's too late; Frodo is already shifting his hips away from Sam, pulling Sam's hand off him, tugging it back up his body to press a rueful kiss into Sam's palm.

He turns over and slides into Sam's arms again, easing the sting of rejection by tucking his head under Sam's chin, carefully keeping their hips apart. "Later," he breathes against Sam's skin, feathering his lips against Sam's throat. "When we're alone." Sam bites his lip, battling the need that roars through him like a river in flood.

They are still, and Frodo's breath slows and gentles; his body grows slack and heavy in Sam's arms. Before long he is asleep, unaccustomed as he is to the hard work of hiking and carrying a heavy pack up and down hill and dale.

Sam is not so tired, though; his cock still throbs, sullen and demanding, and by the time the line of moonlight has crept from its place on the floor to play amidst Frodo's curls, another need makes itself known: Sam has to piss. He should have gone to the privy before he ever came up, but Anson and Mallow were distracting him, and he didn't think of it.

After a time, when the thread of moon has left Frodo's hair and is now a glowing stripe on Sam's arm, the need is unbearable, and he gently detaches himself from the clinging tangle of limbs that is his sleeping master. Frodo grumbles low in his throat, resisting, but Sam breathes a word of explanation in his ear, and Frodo lets him go, cocooning himself in Sam's blanket so tightly Sam wonders if he'll ever be able to pry Frodo out of his own share when he comes back.

He gives Mallow a stealthy, wide berth; he can almost feel her eyes boring holes in his back as he climbs down the ladder. It occurs to him that he never heard An come back up; perhaps An is somewhere outside. Probably with Rob, if Sam's guess is right.

Sam picks his way through the farmyard towards the privy, trying his best to avoid stepping anywhere the animals have been. It's easier said than done now that the Moon is behind the byre, casting its ink-dark shadow like a sea of night across the ground. He rounds the edge of the byre and picks out the line of the privy's roof-tree off towards the edge of the paddock; the going is easier now that he has a bit of light.

He makes proper use of the little wooden hut and decides to take a different way back to the byre-- past a raised trough used for rinsing hands and the suchlike before going in the farmhouse.

He is standing there, wondering how to dry his freshly-rinsed hands, when he sees a shadow move-- a shadow shaped like a hobbit.

Remembering the crowd from before, any one of whom could have entertained notions about stealing something off the Tilleys' land, Sam abandons his quest to dry his hands and steals after the shadow, moving as soft as ever he can. Presently he hears the hiss of voices from behind the corn-crib.

"By thunder, you've been a time, Rob!" Anson's voice, that is.

And Rob's voice answers him: "Well, that Baggins stirred the dogs up somehow; Da got up to check on the girls and sat up for two hours or more in the hallway with a cudgel. Be he Baggins or be he no, he won't leave a by-blow on my sisters if my dad has a say in it."

"He ain't got an eye for your sisters," Anson chuckles, teeth chattering a bit. "And that's a fact."

Sam relaxes and thinks he'd best be about his own business, but the next words slow his steps. "Aye, he's more than an eye for that Samwise, if you ask me."

"Aye." There is a sound Sam can't identify, sibilant and shifting. "More than an eye indeed, for all Sam's Gaffer can do."

That's enough to Stop Sam in his tracks, ears perked, wary, but they don't say aught more about the Gaffer, nor Mr. Frodo, neither.

Come over here, Anson Roper, and we'll go inside the corn-crib. There's a loose board, just-- there it is." A creak heralds the moving board, and then Sam doesn't hear aught for a moment.

"It's warm in here," An says suddenly, sounding a little worried. "Your Da best mind that there's not mold in the wheat."

"Aye, he knows." Rob chuckles. "He's been sayin' we'll dry it and have it milled any day now. We'd have done it today if you hadn't come along."

"I reckon we'll move along tomorrow."

"I wish you wouldn't, and that's a fact."

"It's a roper's life for me, Rob." Anson doesn't sound too concerned. "And I'd rather have it than a farmer's, or a gardener's, either."

"Come over here-- that's better." Their voices recede, and Sam dithers, torn between wanting to get back to Mr. Frodo and needing to hear what they have to say-- he won't have no hard words said about his Gaffer. But they don't say no more, and Sam is just stirring to leave when he's distracted by a wet sound, as of mouths meeting, and a slippery sound of grain moving.

Sam knows he ought to back away, but his curiosity gets the better of him. He creeps up to the corn-crib and finds the crack where the loose board slid aside. There's a bit of sacking on the ground, and he kneels there, putting his eye to the crack. Rob is working with flint and tinder, and putting a bit of light to a lantern. He has a blanket hanging from the rafter to shield its glow from the front of the shed so nobody in the house can see it; the two of them sit at ease, each on an upended bushel basket.

"So had ye been waiting long?"

"Aye." Anson blows into his hands to warm them. "I thought I'd freeze it off, waiting for you."

"Come over and put those hands under my shirt," Rob offers amiably. "That's better. I reckon Sam's having a time of it right now." He chuckles.

"How so?" Anson sounds a bit peevish at the subject.

"With that Mallow. She meant to have a lad tonight, or I'm a rabbit."

Anson relaxes. "Oh, aye, I reckon she meant to at that, but he won't have her." Anson's hands wander under Rob's shirt, and Rob nips at the line of Anson's jaw. "He's too stubborn to take copper when he's got his mind set for brass, that one. He wouldn't give me a tumble even before him and Mr. Frodo got so tight." Rob gasps, instead of answering and Anson chuckles.

Sam squirms a bit, uncomfortable; it looks like Anson's hands are on Rob's nipples.

"Well, your Mallow looks a bit of stubborn too--" Rob stops talking when Anson's mouth covers his; Sam thinks maybe he ought to be leaving, but his cock is hard and heavy in his breeches again, never having quite given up on Frodo, so to speak. The way the sinews in their throats work as they kiss has caught his eye. He shifts his knees, giving himself a bit more room.

"--Mayhap we ought to have had her out here and gamed her. She'd look a bit of all right on her knees between the two of us." Rob sounds breathless; Anson moves to sit across his lap.

"She'd have done it, too, and then we'd never hear the end of it," Anson protests. "You can't game a lass like you do a lad; it don't matter how wild she is, and you know it. I'd have had to marry her, and then what? My da ready to clout me for ruinin' the show, and by-and by I'll have a waggon-load of half-Took bastards to cart about the countryside, and no idea which of them is mine, plus the Thain breathing down my neck. She tells me off to do what she wants more than enough as it is, without me having to marry her!"

Sam winces; the description may not be kind, but he reckons it's accurate. Mallow's a wild one, and no mistake. Not a proper lady at all.

"Then we ought to have had that Sam out here to show him how it's done, so he knows how to make a proper job of it with his Baggins!" Rob answers him back, and shifts so that Anson is pressed up tight against him.

An's mouth is wet and his eyes are bright as he looks at Rob. "Aye," he breathes. "I'd like to watch Sam bend you over, at that."

Rob laughs at him. "It's you he'd bend over for tupping," Rob kisses Anson again, his hand sliding up An's strong spine, bringing the homespun shirt along with it. "And me who'd put my cock in your mouth the while." He pulls An's shirt over his head and tosses it over a pile of grain.

Sam doesn't know if his face could get any hotter or flush deeper crimson if he were on fire, but he wouldn't move now for money. Anson moans, writhing on Rob's lap. "Then you'd best be about it, for tonight's all the time we've got, and I don't know when we'll be back this way again."

"Like you don't have a strapping lad or two waiting for you in the next town?" Rob scoffs, but Sam can hear the rue in his voice. "You're as wild as that Mallow, Anson Roper."

"I've got none other who tups a lad like you do, Rob Tilley." An scrambles up; his nipples are copper in the lantern light, his chest thatched thick with golden-red hair, just like Sam's own. "The way you're hung, I'd say your mam got her servicing from an ox, if I didn't know your da was hung just the same."

"And how do you know that, eh?" Rob doesn't sound the slightest bit put out with the insult. "No, don't be telling me; I'm not for knowing." He reaches out, catching one of Anson's nipples between a thumb and forefinger, and moves in to kiss him.

Sam watches him pinch it tight and twist it as he kisses An, who makes breathless little yelps in his throat with each move of Rob's broad hand. He's never seen such a thing; his chest is tight and his cock is on fire, so bad he can't keep the heel of his hand from pressing it, no matter how much he tells himself he ought to be away up into the byre to Mr. Frodo. He and Jolly never did such, nor talked so, neither!

"Aye, I'll tup you if you want it," Rob growls at length. "And so well you remember me long after Nobottle!" He pushes on An's bare shoulders, forcing him down to his knees; An goes, a smile on his face, and undoes Rob's laces quick as can be.

Rob's cock pushes its way out, thick and dark, and Sam feels his stomach turn, lust mixing uneasily with shame. Rob has a big one, but not that much more than Sam's own. Sam doesn't rightly know how that stacks up; he's only ever held Jolly's-- and Mr. Frodo's too, now.

In spite of his gruff words, Rob is gentle; his hand steadies An's jaw and he moves slow and easy as he pushes himself toward An's face. An licks him like a sweetmeat, tongue leaving Rob's cock gleaming wet. The decadent sweetness of the sight makes Sam think of cherries and Mr. Frodo's wicked pink tongue; he knows at last just why his Gaffer took such alarm as to send him away.

Rob rocks forward onto An's tongue, and An's mouth closes around him; his cheeks hollow. Rob makes a low grunt in his chest, deep and satisfied, and pushes forward again. His breeches fall, revealing the flex and tension of the muscles in his backside and his legs.

Sam runs his hand along his cock in spite of himself, pressing hard with the heel of his palm; his head is swimming with the sight of An's wide-spread knees, and his hollowed cheeks and the stretch of his lips, and the way his eyes look up to find Rob's as he takes more and more of Rob's cock inside his mouth.

Frodo, a voice chants hungrily in the back of Sam's mind. Frodo, Frodo. Frodo on his knees, Frodo's soft little pink bow of a mouth, Frodo's eyes....

Sam whimpers, snatching his hand off himself before he can stain his breeches. Rob rocks his hips back and forth, tupping An's mouth, and An's hand comes up to work the shaft. Rob's breath is hoarse and thick, like an animal pulling a load that's too heavy up the steep part of Bagshot lane. He leans forward, pushing An right up against the wall, bracing his palms on the boards; his hips keep working, and An keeps taking it, hands on Rob's hips now, eyes still locked on Rob's.

"No more of that now, or you won't get what you're wanting," Rob mutters thickly and pulls back, his cock gleaming wet.

An scrambles up, a smirk curling the side of his mouth, and turns around. He unfastens his breeches and kicks them off, standing naked. His chest is deep, his ribs padded with solid muscle. Sam has seen it hundreds of times, but never thought of it so; he's seen An swimming, but never realized how the curve of his arse tempts the eye.

Rob goes and finds a little tin of tallow on a shelf, tucked up against a beam where Sam would have never spotted it. He opens the lid and sets it aside, reaching in.

Sam doesn't know which to watch-- Anson bracing against the wall and leaning over, spreading his legs wide, or Rob scooping out two fingers of tallow and stroking it along his cock easily with his thick fist. Sam tries to watch both, his hand sliding into his breeches and finding himself again without him ever thinking of putting it there.

Rob dips his fingers again and puts the tallow aside, lidding it deftly with his left hand, and goes to An, reaching for him with that same hand, steadying him. His tallow-greased fingers slide down the cleft of An's arse-- and then push in. Sam clenches his jaw so hard it hurts, trying to bite back the moan in his throat; he doesn't feel the chill of the air around him as he pulls himself out.

The noise An makes as Rob's finger goes in covers Sam's throttled moan.

This must be what Lotho meant, then. This thing; this half-shameful fire in Sam's belly, this thick-tongued, guilty savor. The way Rob's finger presses into An's arse. The slick sound of it going into him and coming out again. The strangled wail An makes when Rob pushes a second finger inside. Sublime and terrible and irresistible, this thing-- Sam has no more control over his body than a bull in rut. Too terrible and wonderful to understand, this thing, as unlike what Sam has done with Jolly as a candle is to wildfire.

Rob's arm moves; he tups An with his fingers, and An shudders, gasping, spreading his legs wider.

"Just there," he whimpers. "Just like that, there, yes. There!"

Sam sees Frodo. He sees Frodo, bent forward; he sees himself. His fingers. He hears his own chuckle, rich with love. His cock is like a rod of white-hot iron. When Anson pulls his fingers out, they are Sam's; when he pushes his cock in by slow inches, it is Sam's cock opening Frodo. Sam watches, holding so tight to the board he might as well be part of it; his fingers clench bloodless white.

"Rob...!" Anson's voice breaks as Rob's cock-head vanishes inside him. "Please!"

Rob keeps pushing, teeth sunk in his lip. Anson quivers and he withdraws, not quite all the way, and then pushes again.

"All of it, all of it, all of it," Anson gasps, struggling to move his legs even wider, chanting the words like a spell. "Now!"

And Rob does. With a shove of his hips, he pushes it in, sinking so deep his belly and thighs cradle Anson's arse. He pushes so deep he lifts Anson right up on tiptoe, pushing him against the blanketed wall.

An wails and Rob covers his mouth with his left hand, muffling the cry, biting at his shoulder.

Sam almost comes; he squeezes his eyes so tight shut he sees white, and his fingers dig painfully into his cock, holding climax off.

When he can open them again, Rob is already moving, tupping Anson with firm, slow strokes. Sam knows he shouldn't be here; he should go. He should never have stayed to watch such a thing; it ain't for his eyes. But he can't leave; he couldn't walk if he tried, not in this state. Anson is gleaming in spite of the cool; sweat glides down his ribs in runnels. Rob's hand seals firm over his mouth, covering his cries.

Sam has seen dogs and chickens mate, of course; any farm-lad has. He has seen the violent coupling of ducks on the Water; he has seen dragonflies latched together on lily-pads or in flight. On one memorable occasion, he saw an ox cover its mate-- awkward and terrifying, that; the sire rearing up and crashing down on the dam's back so hard it seemed sure she'd be crushed, sheathing a length bigger than Sam's leg in her. But he has never seen anything like this-- never seen a mating as graceful and tender as it is essentially brutal.

He has heard cats mate, the wails and the yowling, and thought how terrible it must be for the she-cat to endure, but he has never heard any creature make sounds like the ones muffled in Anson's throat. An's cock is hard too; it swings between his legs and Rob catches hold of it, pulling it through his tallow-greased hand, and Anson's cries grow louder. Those are cries of pleasure, Sam understands: cries of a feeling too large to hold inside.

Rob kisses and sucks at Anson's neck; his hands support Anson even as they wring pleasure from him. His hips pump faster, forward and up, lifting Anson onto his toes. The picture is fierce and animal and terrible, frightening... and, somehow, beautiful. Beautiful in every line of tendon and sinew and straining muscle, beautiful in the way Rob's hands gently cover Anson's mouth and curl around his cock.

Rob moves, adjusts his feet, and drives forward again, faster. Sam surrenders, stripping his cock with his whole hand now, following the fierce beat of their rhythm, making it his own. Rob drops his hand, not seeming to care now if An cries out, and he does.

"Yes. Hard!"

Rob's hands settle on Anson's shoulders, holding him down, and he thrusts hard, low cries in his throat now as well, and Sam can't watch anymore, because his bones are melting; he erupts, spatting the wall and the board and the bit of sacking, his cry lost in theirs as the three of them shatter.

Rob catches Anson, cradling him gently; his hands lower Anson to the ground. The blanket has fallen, and he spreads it out for them to curl up in. Sam watches, shaking, as Rob pulls Anson against his body tenderly-- exactly as Sam cradled Frodo earlier.

Rob kisses Anson's temple, and Anson murmurs softly. Sam sees Rob's face in that moment; his tenderness and his gentle sorrow and his resignation-- and then Rob reaches for the light and blows it out.

Sam scoots clumsily away from the crib, hardly caring if he makes a noise or not-- the picture of them seems engraved on his eyelids. Already he knows he will never forget the sight of Rob tupping Anson-- servicing him. For Rob was serving him; serving Anson's pleasure even as he took his own. And Anson loved it, bucking and mewling against the hard palm over his mouth, pushing back for more and then driving forward into Rob's hand, begging for more of it, until they both collapsed.... and then Rob cared for his lover, as much as he could. As much as he was allowed.

It all makes sense now, what Sam didn't understand before; he understands the truth behind the ugly words he has often wished he could drive back down Lotho Sackville-Baggins's throat with his fists. Lotho doesn't understand; he doesn't see the beauty. He doesn't see the way Rob cradled Anson; he doesn't see the way Sam would cradle Frodo and care for him. Or maybe he does see it, and he knows he doesn't have this thing himself, so he would take it from others if he could.

Frodo wants this; he wants this beauty. It makes sense, at last, perfect and crystalline as the stars shining down overhead in the frosty autumn sky.

Sam can do what he's just seen, do that for Frodo. It is a certainty the sight of Rob's final kiss has driven deep into his bones. He has understood it now; he knows it for what it is, and he knows how. And he knows Frodo wants this thing, wants to take it from him-- and wants to give it to him in return, unimaginably precious in the sharing, far more so than what he has just witnessed. They're two parts of the same whole, him and Mr. Frodo: his place is by his master, in this and in all things.

Sam understands dimly but surely that if Frodo didn't want him, Sam would be no better off than Mallow. He would be lost and alone, with this thing inside himself, unable to share it. Only then would it turn ugly and terrible.

He hopes Mallow will not turn into another Lotho from carrying such a thing inside herself, desperate and alone.

It is too much to think about; now that Sam's body has its ease, his head is heavy and he wants his bed. He wants Frodo's slim warmth in his arms; his master-- his love-- awaits him.

Sam pushes himself to his feet and steps back, trembling, his knees weak as a colt's. He staggers off towards the barn, where he will lie down with his Frodo and wait for the right time.

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