West of the Moon
A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive
Not The Kind of Night
A long night at The Prancing Pony is made no shorter by close quarters and constant fear.
When all was said and done, we were more shaken than we had been even when those horrific screeches tore us from sleep. I watched Strider settle back in his chair with a sigh of weariness, as if staging a false target for Nazgul and then explaining them to a lurid semblance of life were all in a usual night's work. Perhaps for a Ranger, they were.
"Lie down, Master Hobbit," said the man without opening his eyes. "We depart at dawn, and I do not fancy tying any of you to a poor beast already budened with packs."
"Like as not, he ain't even got one," Sam muttered. If Strider had heard, he did not so much as blink.
I turned to face Sam, slipping out of my coat with a long, unsteady breath. My eyes fell on Merry first: Pippin had crawled around Sam and taken up tremulous residence in his lap. Merry curled around him, murmuring things I couldn't quite hear, things I didn't try to. I met Sam's gaze at last, finding it twice as disapproving as I had expected. Beneath it, his eyes shone with invitation, and I followed. Fleetingly, I wondered what sort of watch I had assumed to keep at the foot of the bed in the first place. It was colder, and by no means comfortable. I crawled the short space between us, settling close beside him.
"Who am I fooling?" I whispered, leaning close instinctively as Sam draped a protective arm about me. "I'm bait sooner than I'm a ward against anything. I can feel it, Sam. I ought to be shut up in one of our packs and--"
Sam set a firm set of fingers over my mouth, eyes flashing an entirely different sort of disdain. "Don't you go talkin' like that," he whispered, waving in Merry and Pippin's direction. I glanced over my shoulder; the pair of them had settled down in a secure tangle, eyes closed and breathing slow, Merry's hand aimlessly stroking the length of Pippin's back. I closed my eyes in preparation, for there was no way that Sam had said his fill. "It's bad enough we've a Ranger sayin' things so reckless. Since he's got me scared proper, I can't imagine--"
"Sam," I whispered, half exasperated. "I'm sorry."
I opened my eyes to find him averting his own in shame, picking at the coverlet. "No, sir, reckon it's I who ought to be sorry."
I leaned against his shoulder and murmured, "No, Sam. You meant well, and I simply didn't take it well." I offered a weak smile, brushing his cheek till he looked at me once more.
Sam studied me from an inch away for a long time, raising his own hand to cup my cheek in turn. "I shouldn't have said it, Mr. Frodo."
I pressed my lips to Sam's jaw. "We'd do well to let it go and get comfortable. The night's half spent, Sam."
"That it is," he sighed, settling back against the pillows.
I followed, settling against his solid, comforting warmth even as his arms closed around me, familiar and secure. For a moment, I hardly dared breathe. The last such moment we'd had was prior to even leaving the Shire. And it had been more than just an embrace for reassurance: I wonder still to this day if we hadn't been heard in the rolling fields below our high vantage point, beneath that ancient pine. I trembled at the memory, burying my breath in the crook of Sam's neck.
"Are you cold, sir?" Sam whispered.
Our words hung pierced on a thread so fine that the faintest movement might snap it. Eyes locked, speechless. After a moment, Sam leaned to kiss me, gentle and seeking. I swallowed the sound I longed to feed him, gasping instead, drawing his tongue deeper. We drew apart hastily, eyes downcast,breathing high and shallow. Sam's hand fumbled for mine against the coverlet.
"We'd best get you tucked in, sir."
"As if you're going anywhere."
Wordlessly, Sam tugged the covers out from under us, urging me down onto the pillow. I turned to face him, pensive as he settled down to face me. We lay staring for a few minutes before sliding into an embrace, limbs tangled. Sam's lips hovered at my forehead, parted in a sigh.
"Twice now, they've come for you. Oh, Frodo."
I tightened my hold on him, nodding. "And we know they'll keep coming. There's little we can--"
"There's a lot I can do," Sam whispered, determined. "I can keep you closer'n my own skin, and if we're lucky, they'll get me instead."
I shivered. "Don't say that."
"Seemingly, there's a lot I oughtn't be saying tonight."
"Sam! I didn't mean it like that."
"I know, sir," he whispered, on the verge of tears.
"You haven't lost me yet," I whispered. "I have no reason to think you will. My hope is that I shan't lose you. I lose things around Bag End at the drop of a hat, so why not--"
"I think we ought to stop talkin' altogether," Sam murmured, mouth creeping over down my temple, over the curve of my cheek, "before one of us says som--mmm--"
It was slow, quiet at first. I let my hands wander the expanse of Sam's back, exploring tentatively as he tucked me securely under himself, weight bearing down pleasantly. I pressed up with a content murmur; Sam deepened the kiss to silence muffle it. He drew back reluctantly, trailing his mouth back to my ear, whispering furtively.
"Don't you start now. You'll wake someone."
"Why don't I start with you?"
"Frodo!" Sam bit back the cry with an effort as I worked a hand between us, seeking out his trouser buttons.
"Wake someone, is it?" I whispered, claiming his mouth again, working the top one free.
Sam sighed in resignation, sounding pleased all the same as I unfastened one side and quickly tended to the other. He lifted his hips with a murmur, allowing me to smooth the flap away. He pressed back down and closed his eyes, breath catching.
"Better?" I whispered.
"Mmm," he groaned softly, "no."
A flush of heat swept through me, tightening and rising to meet him, crushed so close. "Then..."
My hand crept for my own buttons, but he stilled it. "No, I want..."
I sucked my breath in hard and grasped at his shoulders. So efficient, his warm, sure hand--
Sam settled against me hard, turning my head against his shoulder with a hasty swipe of his hand. I felt his eyes close against my cheek, his breath hiss out the faintest shhh. I shuddered helplessly, choking a cry down so deep that I felt ill. How could I pretend to sleep like that, bare and nestled hip to hip?
"I...heard something," Sam breathed almost imperceptibly, even though his chest heaved and his grip on me trembled.
I tilted my head up to tell him it was nonsense, and perhaps add a kiss, but the sound of Merry's yawn--the feel of him shifting--was enough to still me utterly. I bit my tongue, torn between avoiding discovery and wanting to thrust up against Sam's belly, his begging heat...
"Frodo, quiet," Sam pleaded.
I had let out an involuntary moan. I shook my head miserably and gasped, "I can't..."
"Oh, for the love," Sam whispered, claiming my mouth tenderly, working a hand underneath me, pressing at my lower back.
I gasped and pushed eagerly, breaking the kiss. Sam set a finger against my lips, ableit an unsteady one. "Slow, steady," he whispered, molding his lips to mine once more, nudging my teeth apart eagerly with his tongue.
I swallowed another cry, followed obediently. He worked a thigh between mine, sliding arms around my waist. My mind scrolled blank with the the taste of warm ale in his mouth, with the grind of slow, satisfying friction. After a time, however, it simply wasn't enough. Sam panted and squirmed, breaking quiet himself.
"Sir!" he gasped between kisses, hands grasping at my thighs, tugging them, parting them.
My lips parted, but I permitted no sound to pass: there was none for this, none for the sweet relief of Sam strong and full and desperate against me. I pressed a hand over his mouth, watched his glazed eyes widen as I hitched my ankles up to the small of his back, locking them securely. His eyes snapped shut, breath forced its way in a hissing puff against my palm, hot as steam. I swallowed hard, held fast against the racing of my pulse.
"Slow," I breathed, repeating Sam's own command.
Sam winced softly, burying his face half in pillow, half in my hair. "I'll...try..."
"Oh, good," I breathed, closing my eyes, letting my head tilt back to the feel of him rocking so gently that without benefit of closeness, I might never have noticed.
It was not the kind of night we had expected. Not the promise of a room with hobbit-sized beds, with a bathchamber affording a scrub and some much-needed privacy. It was the kind of moving that scarcely existed--taut and hesitant, minute and maddening. I crossed my wrists at the nape of Sam's neck, raking fingers frantically through his hair, braced against the need to pound, to shout. Sam breathed into the pillow, soft, labored spurts that might have registered as whimpers, if not for the muffling. I crushed a silent, feverish gasp to his cheek, too incoherent for adequate warning. I rocked up against him, on long, slow, continuous stretch that seemed to require every muscle in my body.
It was enough. Perhaps the ringing in my ears clamored enough to wake the sleepers; perhaps our searing, strangled silence did not matter. I heard Sam choke, felt him writhe and slacken, hands sliding and grasping at my hips, as if begging for anchor. I closed my eyes, willed myself to teeter at the very summit before stretching, pitching into delight that tore from groin to soul--
And all was tense and still.
At length, Sam took a halting breath, hand creeping up blindly, tugging one of my own from his hair. He grasped my fingers tightly, turning his head to kiss them one by one. I sighed and relaxed, letting bliss and weakness wash over.
"Sam?" I breathed just barely.
He answered with silence tasting of warm ale and hope.
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