West of the Moon
A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive
In which an accident gives Sam the opportunity to discover his master's feelings.
Sam found himself walking past a twinkling brook that rippled flecks of silver, running cool and friendly, sweeping into the distance like a thin, grey ribbon. He tramped down to the bank, feet crushing the wildflowers that grew so thick they were a tall carpet of yellows and pinks and blues tickling at his feet.
Feet parted to keep himself steady, he scooped up a handful of water, laving his face to clear the sweat. Then he tipped another handful into his mouth, the water dripping from his chin onto the collar of his shirt, open at the first two buttons for the heat.
Refreshed, Sam sat on the bank, letting the brook lap his ankles. Dazzling early afternoon sunshine soaked the land, spilling orange and gold and sepia onto the undergrowth. A bird twittered, soaring through the branches, seeking a safe place to ease its thirst.
Soon it would be time for him to be heading back home.
Not home! Sam reconsidered, for the large smial at Bag End was not the type of home that hobbits of Sam's class could afford; only a wealthy, well-to-do hobbit, such as Mr. Frodo Baggins could live alone in a hole that tunnelled deep into the Hill for miles seemingly.
Sam was on his noonday break, the time of day when the sun was at her peak. Mr. Frodo had told Sam to retire home for the day, accounting for the excessive heat, but Sam had insisted that the garden bed needed composting, else the flowers wouldn't blossom brightly next spring.
Sam tipped his head to the sky, letting the sunlight drip past the boughs and onto his face, allowing himself the luxury of thinking of Mr. Frodo, padding around Bag End, more often than not a quill dangling between slim, graceful fingers and an unfocused, dreamy look in his eyes.
A thought like this tended to cause waves of heat to thread their way beneath Sam's skin, flooding onto his cheeks. But it was as plain as the flecks of gold spun into Frodo's chocolate-coloured hair that the feelings of a certain gardener for his master were best left unspoken.
Mr. Frodo was a proper gentlehobbit, who might marry one day and have a brood of children to fill that great smial; until that moment, he wouldn't be looking to the garden shed for company, nohow.
Sam absentmindedly twirled a leaf stem between his fingers. Thinking of Frodo's star-white skin one last time, he let the leaf slide and pushed himself up from the ground.
As Sam walked along the mottled path, he thought of all the jobs that needed doing at Bag End, berating himself for having such outlandish whimsies.
Mr. Frodo was taking a lunch of cheese squeezed between dry biscuits. A teacup sat on the table, a thread of steam twisting its way up to the ceiling.
"Hullo, Sam," said Frodo behind a biscuit, wiping away a stray crumb from the corner of his mouth. "I thought I said you might go home."
"Well, sir," Sam murmured. "I've been thinking of all the things that need doing, begging your pardon. There's the washing, the tea stain that needs scrubbing and your breeches..." Two pink patches appeared on Sam's cheeks, and he felt for the solid table, giving it a good pinch.
Frodo took a sip of tea, watching Sam over the rim of his cup. "Well, as you have decided to stay, I wouldn't mind sharing your company," he smiled. "It's nice to have you here."
Sam stood awkwardly for a moment. The way the dappled light fell on his master's graceful neck made Sam's belly, amongst other places he needn't acknowledge, tighten like his Uncle Andy's ropes.
"I'd better collect the washing," he said quickly, and dashed off to the garden.
The sun sent long shadows across the floor of the parlour by the time Sam was finishing his last chore: sewing the button onto Mr. Frodo's breeches. Sam couldn't help but marvel at the fabric, smoother than anything he had ever touched.
Well, that wasn't quite true. He had touched Frodo's skin on one memorable occasion.
Sam had been stoking the fire in the study whilst Frodo wrote onto a yellowed piece of parchment. A sudden gust of wind had lifted up the papers (Frodo always liked the window open) scattering them over the floor. Sam fell to his knees to gather up the precious papers. Frodo was also crawling over the floor, scolding himself for his thoughtlessness.
As Sam reached for a parchment covered with flowing script, so did Frodo, and he grasped his master's hand -- slim and pale and warm. They stared at each other for the briefest of moments, then Frodo smiled and thanked Sam. Startled and feeling a flush creep up his neck, Sam went on collecting papers, leaving them in a shaggy heap on the desk before he left the study.
A large thump roused Sam from his memories.
Mr. Frodo, sitting on a chair in the corner, had lost hold of the large book on his knees. He reached down to pick it up, giving Sam an apologetic look.
Sam hurriedly dropped his glance, stabbing the needle in the rich emerald velvet, nearly pricking himself on the point. It was, he realized, the first time since he'd learnt his letters as a hobbitlad that Frodo and himself had sat so long -- and so quiet -- in the parlour, with naught stirring but fluttering pages and slow breaths.
A tickle started on Sam's hand. He scratched the itch, trying to concentrate on Mr. Frodo's breeches. That, of course, was easy for Sam, as if he hadn't wondered what sort of glories they hid from his eyes before. He finished sewing on the button, bringing the breeches up to his mouth to break the thread between his teeth.
Sam heard Frodo turn a page quickly, almost creasing the fine paper.
"All done, sir," said Sam, rising from the chair. He held up the breeches. "The button's sewn on tight now."
Frodo looked up from his book and smiled. "Till next time at least."
"Oh, I reckon it'll stay on this time, Mr. Frodo."
"Unless I have to remove them fast."
Sam froze midway through folding the breeches. Frodo was concentrating on his book. Had Sam imagined the deep, husky tone in his voice?
"I'll just put this away," said Sam, hastily making his way out of the parlour, face burning, wishing he wasn't taken by such wild fancies that he couldn't sit quiet and comfortable with his master.
After putting away the laundry, Sam popped back into the parlour. "I'll be going now, sir, if there's naught else for me to do?" he asked, and idly scratched at the back of his hand.
Frodo rose from his chair, setting down his heavy book to the floor, looking at Sam with a concerned expression. Sam stood stock still as Frodo crossed the space between them, unable to wrench his gaze from the many hues of Frodo's eyes as they flickered in the dwindling light.
"Sam, give me your hand," said Frodo.
Sam hardly dared breathe. "Sir?"
"Your hand." The reply was soft, clouded in a sigh.
Sam held out his hand; Frodo peered at Sam's thick fingers, a frown puckering his brow. A breath hitched in Sam's throat, and he curled his toes on the hardwood floor.
"I think you've gotten a rash," Frodo murmured, taking Sam's wrist gently between his hands and turning it over so Sam's palm faced the floor. Only then did Sam notice his hand was covered with pink, shiny splotches.
"Have you dug up butterwort from the garden?" asked Frodo.
"I was down by the brook," said Sam. "I must've grabbed some by mistake."
"By mistake?" Frodo's eyes twinkled with the same deep blue as the morning glories Sam had tended this morning.
"Ah, well, I was thinking..." said Sam sheepishly.
What exactly he had been thinking Frodo didn't ask, though his eyes held Sam's for a moment longer before letting Sam's wrist slide from his fingers.
"Whatever you were thinking," chuckled Frodo, "you now have a nasty rash. When I was a young lad, my cousins and I rolled into a patch of butterwort and were miserable for a week, with red, itchy patches covering our hands and faces. Oh, I looked worse than usual!"
It could hardly be conceived in Sam's mind that Frodo could look anything but lovely, or that his skin might appear any less pure than the finest cream.
"Aunt Esmeralda rubbed peppermint oil onto our skin twice a day," continued Frodo. "It drew out the redness, and took away the itch. I think Bilbo had a jar somewhere. Wait here while I go to fetch it. I'll only be a moment."
And Frodo disappeared down the hall before Sam could protest.
His skin felt rather itchy now; like a cut that doesn't hurt until it's noticed, but Sam considered his discomfort a small price to pay to be honoured by the touch of Frodo's hands.
The sky outside the window had now turned to inky-blue; Sam realized he ought to be making his way home to help the Gaffer cook potatoes and sausages for supper. Not that he particularly wanted to go home; the thought of keeping Frodo company for a few more minutes was much more delicious than any meal waiting for him.
Frodo returned, with a small green jar in his hand. "Found it," he said, giving the jar a shake. Sam could hear the oil swish against the glass.
"Thank you, sir," said Sam gratefully, and reached out for the jar.
Frodo lifted his hand. "I should show you how this is best applied," he said.
Frodo carefully poured a little oil onto his hand. A rich, heady scent enveloped the room, making Sam a bit drowsy. Frodo rubbed the oil between his long, agile fingers.
"Hold out your hand for me."
The room and Frodo seemed to blur in front of Sam's eyes as the peppermint infusion was deftly rubbed into his irritated skin.
Sam watched Frodo beneath his eyelashes. His pale skin was flushed in the candlelit room; his mouth parted to reveal the tip of a pink tongue. The little freckle by the corner of Frodo's mouth moved slightly, so very close to blooming lips.
For one heart-stopping moment, Frodo's eyes met Sam's, but the gardener hurriedly dropped his gaze, catching his breath.
"Mmmm, the smell of this makes my mouth water."
Sam only nodded.
All too quickly Frodo withdrew his oil-slicked fingers. Sam swallowed his disappointment, trying to mask his feelings with an unsteady smile. Frodo breathed in the rising scent of peppermint with a grateful sigh.
"Thank you, sir. I should be going..." said Sam weakly. "The Gaffer's waitin'."
"Of course, Samwise. Good night," said Frodo, absently moving his hand towards his weskit.
With a sudden start, Sam realized that Mr. Frodo was about to rub his oiled fingers on his clothes.
"Here's a handkerchief, sir!" said Sam, quickly digging a handkerchief from his pocket. "You wouldn't want to ruin your fine weskit," he added, blushing.
"Thank you," said Frodo, taking the handkerchief with an appreciative smile. "What would I do without you, dear Sam?"
"Oh, you don't need me, sir. Good night, Mr. Frodo." Sam ducked his head as Frodo frowned.
Sam had his hand on the doorknob when Frodo called his name. "Sam? Come see me in the morning and I'll rub some more oil on that rash. Pleasant dreams." A slow spreading smile graced Frodo's lips.
Sam watched the great round door of Bag End close, and breathed a deep sigh. The wait till morning seeming to be as far away as the Great Sea.
All that glorious week Frodo tended to Sam's hand, rubbing in the oil twice a day. Sam looked forward to these moments, barely able to concentrate on the tasks of his garden work without tipping the wheelbarrow or watering the flowers and getting himself soaked in the bargain.
As Frodo bent to the task, Sam watched him, looking for a hint, a soundless whisper that might betray how this intimate touch affected him.
But while Frodo's breaths were often harsh, that might have been for the dull nature of his task; his eyes might be considerably wider and brighter seeming, but that could have been from the sting of the pungent peppermint.
When the master of Bag End had finished seeing to his gardener's rash, he would often retire at once to his room, not to appear for a half an hour or more.
So Sam was deeply disappointed. The redness slowly leeched from his hand, and the itch became naught but a fluttering, feathery ache. With the rash healed, there were no more tender moments between them.
A week after Frodo last caressed Sam's hand, Bag End's gardener found himself wandering by the same small brook.
Sam looked at the mottled plants surrounding his feet. The butterwort must be somewhere here, hidden among the foliage. He crouched down and parted the leaves. Suddenly he saw it: a small shrub with three leaflets on each leaf, and stiff clusters of yellow berries, some of which had fallen to the ground.
He meant to pull it out, lest some other innocent stumble upon it.
Sam hesitated, for he hated to even pull a weed unless it was needful. He gazed at the seemingly innocuous plant, sucking his teeth and swaying on his feet. An idea began to form in his head.
Oh, but it was a silly notion, a fool's dream!
Sam stood for some minutes, debating in his mind. One voice told no harm would come of it. The other voice told him that he was taking advantage of Mr. Frodo's kindness. He recalled the gentle brush of his master's hand, and the thought that there was more to it than an ordinary regard.
Why hadn't Mr. Frodo just handed him the jar?
It was a heated battle, and Sam found that tears had watered down his cheeks, and his hands were clenched tight. In the end, Sam decided he would do it; he had to know what Mr. Frodo's feeling were -- or selfishly take what touch he could have.
Sam dug in his pocket for his handkerchief, and spread it over his hand. Gingerly, he picked up a leaf of butterwort. Taking a deep breath, he unfastened the top few buttons of his shirt and dusted the leaf across his sweaty skin. By this time his hand was shaking, and he threw the leaf and handkerchief away in disgust.
And he walked home slowly.
The next day Sam awoke early and quickly searched his chest. Just below his neck the skin was a ripe red colour and prickled like tiny needles; the rash had taken hold. He dressed quickly, and ate a frugal breakfast of tea and buttered bread.
Frodo was fast asleep as Sam entered Bag End. Sam poked his head into the bedroom, looking wistfully at the jumble of thick brown curls that lay upon the pillow. He would let Frodo sleep a little longer while he cooked breakfast.
Sam fried the bacon and poured the tea. It was a little cooler today, and the clouds had departed to leave a blue sky. The rash itched a bit, nagging like a guilty conscience, but he ignored it as best he could.
Sam unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt. If his courage failed him, he could ask Frodo for the oil.
Sam took the tray to Frodo's room, carefully putting it on the bedside table. He pulled the curtains across the window, letting in a stream of sunlight. The bedsprings creaked; Frodo was now yawning widely and pushing a stray curl from his eye. Sam thought he had never seen his master lovelier.
"Morning, Mr. Frodo!" said Sam. "It's a bit cool today, but the sun's decided to show herself."
Frodo pushed himself onto his elbows and sniffed. He spotted the tray. "You didn't have to bring me breakfast in bed!"
"'Tis no trouble, sir," said Sam, hurrying to the table. He busied himself with the tray, fixing the napkin just right and rearranging the white peony he had laid down next to the plate.
Frodo looked down just as his gardener brushed his side, his eyes level with Sam's chest.
"Sam! What is that?" Frodo pointed a shaky finger at Sam, and for a trice he thought Frodo was talking about his heart.
"What is what?" Sam asked.
"That red -- the rash?" The master stared at his gardener with ever-widening eyes.
Sam looked down and blushed, raising his hand to cover his burning chest.
Frodo raised an eyebrow and heaved a sigh. "Oh, Samwise!"
The master of Bag End pushed off his blankets and made as if to swing his legs down from the bed. "I'd best get the oil."
"You stay in bed, sir; I'll get it, if you tell me where," said Sam quickly.
"It's in the cupboard in the bathroom, at the very back," said Frodo.
Sam scurried to the bathroom, finding the jar at the back the cupboard.
"I found it. I'll just keep it for later," said Sam when he returned.
Frodo chewed his lower lip and blew a tuft off his eye. "No, Sam. I'd better take care of you right now."
It took all of Sam's concentration not to melt like butter in a frying pan. He dutifully gave the jar to his master. Frodo gestured that he sit on the bed beside him.
Sam pushed his hands into his lap nervously and stole a look at Frodo. His lips were drawn softly together; his thin nightshirt opened at the neck to reveal sleep-flushed skin. A cool breezed fluttered the curtains at the window, caressing Sam's cheek.
"You'd better take off your shirt, Sam, or I'll get oil all over it," Frodo was saying.
Sam choked. "Shirt?"
"Yes, Sam," Frodo said, almost stern.
Sam pulled each button through its hole, feeling Frodo's eyes on him all the while. A few times a button proved particularly difficult and Frodo shifted beside him with what might have been impatience.
Eventually Sam worked enough buttons open to pull the shirt over his head. A very flustered Gamgee emerged from the mass of cloth, with tussled hair and burning cheeks.
"Lie down," instructed Frodo, kicking off the bed sheets and moving to make way for Sam. "It will be easier."
Sam did as he was told, making note of the marks on the ceiling above, and willing his eyes not to glance at the way Frodo's nightshirt had hitched up his thigh.
He closed his eyes, half-pretending Frodo was going to lean over and kiss him at any moment.
He heard Frodo unscrew the jar and rub the oil between his fingers. The anticipation almost made him cry, and he fought to suppress a rough shudder.
Then Frodo's fingers were gliding over his skin, rubbing figure eights, pressing down against his collarbone.
The master knelt beside his gardener on the bed, occasionally picking up the jar from the bedside table and splashing more oil onto his hands. Sam felt for the sheets, clutching them tight.
"Hush," said Frodo softly, his voice like a whisper in the wind.
"But..." Sam choked. He squeezed his eyes shut as tight as he could, so that he would never forget this moment: what it would be like to be touched -- perhaps loved -- by Frodo.
Then he felt a most peculiar feeling.
Something wet was weaving itself up his chest. Sam opened his eyes. All he could see was a tangle of brown curls lowered over him. Frodo looked up then, and smiled shyly. "You -- the oil -- smells so good."
Frodo sat up. The skin on Sam's chest and throat was glistening.
Frodo shook his head. "Silly of me, really. Didn't want to stop." He screwed the lid on the jar, and refused to look at Sam.
It felt like an egg was stuck in Sam's throat. "Maybe I didn't want you to stop either," he said.
Frodo threw him a glance. "You didn't?"
Sam felt his face burn as he looked at Frodo, now turning the jar over in his hands. Frodo looked at him in a manner that made a peculiar type of heat warm his insides.
Sam suddenly felt very foolish. He leant over the bed, running his hands over the floorboards, searching for his shirt.
Then he felt a hot breath on his shoulder. Sam turned around. Frodo was lying next to him, darting quick looks from Sam's chest to his face, up and down.
"Don't you want your breakfast?" said Sam weakly, moving to rise up on his elbows.
"Sticklebacks to my breakfast," said Frodo, encircling Sam's wrist with his thumb and forefinger. "Samwise Gamgee," he added sternly, "you can't lie about glossy with oil, and expect me to sit here and do nothing about it."
The bed creaked under him and Sam tried to keep himself steady. "Oh, sir, I didn't mean--"
"And I suppose you just happened to go rolling around in butterwort with no shirt on?" asked Frodo, dropping Sam's wrist and gazing out the window.
A fire burnt Sam's skin. "I didn't mean no harm, sir, honest."
Frodo looked back at him. "The only harm that will come from it is if you keep denying what you feel for me."
Frodo leant down and dusted his lips over Sam's, then sat up again, waiting.
"I won't deny that I have feelings for you, sir," gasped Sam, ever mindful of his duty, even as the wholesome smell of Frodo's skin imbued with peppermint sent his thoughts spinning.
Frodo frowned and fleetingly touched Sam's chest. "I suppose it hurts too much to--"
"No!" Sam even startled himself. "It's all right."
Frodo's eyes were so close now Sam could see sparks shimmering in them, so lovely Sam forgot to breathe.
Frodo's mouth caught Sam's lower lip, tugging it gently, before slipping a warm tongue over his teeth. A low thrumming sound rose in his master's throat; Sam felt it tremble past his lips. Tentatively he ran his tongue over Frodo's lips, savouring a sweetness greater than honey.
Breathless, they parted reluctantly. Frodo bit his lip, trying not to smile. Sam put his hand on his heart, pounding as if he had run the breadth of the Shire.
"I can't deny it any longer, Mr. Frodo," said Sam.
"That's good," said Frodo, arching an eyebrow. "Because I would dearly like to be close to you, Samwise." Frodo sent a sultry look down Sam's body. "Just to be sure you don't need tending anywhere else."
Oh, when Frodo looked at him like that it took all of his self-control not to grab his master right then and there.
"I--" Sam didn't have time to finish his sentence, because Frodo's lips were blowing cool gusts of air onto his nipples, entwining him in such helplessness he was a mere sapling caught in a hailstorm.
"Do you like that, Sam?" asked Frodo, looking up, his full lips slick with oil.
For a moment Sam wondered if he was in a dream, the most wonderful dream he'd ever had, like he was inside a poem. But the moment melted like the peppermint on Frodo's lips, and he was kissed again, till need for breath tore them apart.
Frodo twined a finger about the top of his nightshirt loosening its ties.
So beautiful Sam thought, looking longingly at Frodo's fair skin, as more of it was slowly revealed.
"Mr. Frodo..." Sam began.
"Sam?" asked Frodo, pausing, the rosy smudge of nipple peaking out from the nightshirt.
"Do you--?" Sam choked up.
Frodo cupped Sam's chin in one hand. "I want this," he said, smoothing away the tremble of Sam's lips with a light brush of his thumb. "I want you. Don't be afraid."
Sam shook his head, tears starting up in his eyes. "It's just so -- to believe that --"
Frodo's mouth covered Sam's, breath fanning in his throat, melting buttery and sweet. Sam curled his fingers up along his master's nape, tight ringlets tickling his skin, drawing an oh that sounded low in his throat. Frodo's tongue swept a wet sheen across Sam's lips; fever pitched in Sam's blood, bringing with it a delicious ache beneath the cloth of his breeches.
"Sam?" Frodo's voice faltered to something between a sigh and gasp.
The gentle scent of lavender and thyme drifted lazily through the window, coalescing into a heady mixture that sent Sam's head abuzz. He rested his fingertips at the hollow of Frodo's neck, stroking at the fine skin. "Sometimes it hurts to want so much."
Brimming with a soft glow that unfolded over his skin, Sam kissed Frodo's mouth, skimming his lips lightly over a flushed cheek till winking eyelashes trembled beneath his touch.
A flutter of sunshine bathed Frodo's cheek, the colour of honey dripping from the combs. Sam wanted to touch -- taste -- every part of Frodo, clasp secrets until now hidden behind cambric and velvet.
Frodo smoothed the bed sheets encircling him, then lay down, his nightshirt following the curve of his chest. "Lie with me, Sam," he said, his last words tapering as do the stars when the sun rises from her sleep.
Sighs clung to Sam's lips as he slid beside Frodo, catching hands smoother than buttermilk. Runnels of sweat gathered about Sam's neck, trickling down the curve of his back, catching at his waistband.
"I want...I want to touch you, Sam." Shades of red crept over Frodo's cheeks. "If you will--"
"I ought to touch you, begging your pardon." Sam choked down the moan that lifted in his throat.
"Maybe we should just..." Frodo stopped with a sigh and trailed his fingers over Sam's bare shoulder.
The space between them folded to naught. Guiding his fingers down the curve of Frodo's shoulders, Sam felt shudders dash through him, the taste of Frodo still tart on his tongue. The ghost-grey material of Frodo's nightshirt slid past Sam's fingers easily, pulling taut over his heaving breast. A net of happiness wrapped Sam's skin, cloaking him in a cloud of gossamer threads.
Sam pursued a path on Frodo's belly with his fingers, tracing slow circles, skittering lower to places he wasn't bold enough to look just yet.
Frodo slipped a wayward curl behind the tip of Sam's ear with a moan. "Together. I want to do this together." Little sighs sprayed on Sam's skin as Frodo angled his head closer. "Let me..."
Their lips met for another kiss, thirsty and claiming, as fingers sought to caress and reveal.
Something tickled Sam's calf -- Frodo's foot -- arousing pulses that spanned from his toes to fingertips. He found purchase on Frodo's hips, assuaging his tremors, pressing their bodies tight.
Sam kissed a place on Frodo's chest where the skin was prickled with tiny droplets of sweat like dew, moving his tongue lightly to lick gently at a nub that rose in his mouth.
"Sam, please!" Frodo's voice came in a tight groan, fraying into soundless murmurs that drowned Sam in pleasure.
Goosebumps flared over Frodo's skin as Sam reached to his nightshirt, drawing it up over his master's head, until all of him was pale and bare to the touch -- and a wanting revealed as impatient as Sam's own. Frodo was a garden -- no, more precious than any garden. No garden could ever breathe mmm like that at a touch, hatch a smile that cut into Sam's dreams, kiss him so tenderly that time flowed like thick molasses.
But he was like a bud, unfurling, reaching for the warmth of...
Short and urgent Frodo kissed Sam this time, for Sam felt a more pressing need terribly moist and hard meet his thigh. Clumsily Sam dotted fingertips down Frodo's chest, discovering even light brushes could make Frodo writhe and purr beneath him.
"Touch me, Sam." Frodo's whispered breath in his ear, jolting his heart.
Sam awkwardly moved his hand downwards, wispy curls stroking at his fingers. At last his hand pressed on something so warm, so needing...
"Yes, that's where...oh, Sam, let me..."
Frodo unfastened Sam's buttons, a wave of fresh air seeking where the keening ache throbbed and undid him. Fresh need wove its way through Sam's skin, arching his hips into Frodo's hand.
"My Sam," Frodo whispered. "You're my Sam."
Sam felt Frodo's lips tender against his rash, spinning kisses that both soothed and tingled his skin. Cool was the sheet beneath him, and silken, but not as much as--
Pools of shimmering yearning gathered where Frodo grasped him with quivering fingers, swelling to vague strokes as want encased them both, setting alight new fires that needed quenching. Sam pushed his lips against Frodo's head, kissing the sun-slick skin between the brows. He found Frodo's mouth with his own, stopping moans gentling past lips as soft as rose petals.
Sam pushed his face snug into the crook of Frodo's neck, swallowing the sound that wanted so very much to tear itself from his lungs, a shout of joy to echo until the world came to an end. A hot ripple of wind winnowed down the length of his body, crushed as Frodo pressed up to him so close, draining the space between them to aught.
Oh, but it felt so good, every struggling thrust, raw friction building up and up, crashing and leaping like flames in a hearth. The pulse point on Frodo's neck thrummed under Sam's mouth, a steady cadence matching every uprise into Sam's hold.
Something like a muted laugh -- or perhaps it was a cry -- skimmed over Sam's hair. Then, at his ear again, snagging on each jarring breath, were Frodo's lips, sounding murmurs that stirred and clenched his heart.
Rocking with a rhythm that steadily built in Frodo's clasp, Sam whimpered, knowing he was close, so close...
A cry rang in Sam's ear; he felt a warmness lave his skin, running rivulets down his hand and--
Frodo shuddered, drawing in a gasp that was choked by a kiss Sam pressed to his mouth. Sam clutched for Frodo's hand, blinded by release, hearing Frodo pant on his cheek in strained breaths.
Sam swung a leg over Frodo's hip, sobbing into Frodo's chest, knowing he would wither if he never did that again, knowing he could dash himself to pieces with the spicy blue of Frodo's eyes, plunge off a cliff and drown so he'd never walk this earth again.
When the boneless feeling that wracked his body ceased and he felt he could open his eyes again, Sam tipped his chin up, meeting unfocused blue eyes. Frodo was looking at him, one lazy lick of hair brushing his eyebrows, lips drawn together in a mirthful smile, all tingling-hot and soft.
Sam grasped Frodo, picking him up right off the bed.
"Sam, I can't breathe!" Frodo's voice was smothered by Sam's flesh and the sheer fierceness of his embrace.
"I can't let you go. Mayhap you can let me, but I can't, Mr. Frodo, I just can't."
The sun had shifted in the sky, now a tumble of light struck Frodo's hair, flaring umber and gilt.
"Oh, Sam, I can't either," laughed Frodo. He drizzled a line of kisses up Sam's neck, seasoning the patch of skin below Sam's ear with a quick swipe of his tongue.
"Frodo." Just the name sounded strange on his tongue, but Sam liked it.
Frodo eyes misted. "You said my name."
Sam tasted saltwater as he kissed Frodo on the cheek, a touch fraught with love that would never dwindle, nohow till the stars flickered out one by one.
"Aye, and you said mine a few times."
Frodo curled up like a cat on his gardener's lap. "And did you hear that I love you?"
Happiness bubbled inside Sam. "I love you," he whispered in Frodo's ear.
Frodo chuckled, pulling Sam close. He rested his hand on the snarl of gold curls on Sam's chest, while his nose dallied on Sam's neck. "Mmmm, you smell so good. Perhaps we could try that again, seeing as we're both undressed."
Looking down, Sam could see where his breeches had been cast off to land on the bookcase, one leg enshrouding some thick tomes. "Aye," he whispered, flushing. "But I oughta go tend to--"
"If you could spare the time," Frodo turned onto his back, giving Sam a view that made his heart pound all over again, "help me draw a bath for two."
"But you must, dearest Sam."
Sam knew when his master would brook no denial, so he acquiesced, with good grace.
"And I think you shall need more oil," said Frodo, reaching for the bottle on the table.
"Aye," Sam blushed. "Though I'd hate to rub that plant on myself every week."
"I don't think you'll have to, Sam," laughed Frodo as he rose from the bed and tugged a crimson-faced Sam to the bathroom. "I think we shall be fine without that dratted plant."
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