West of the Moon

A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive

 

 

Belonging
There's two sides to every tale. A Role-reversal AU. Sequel/companion to Some Dreams Never Change.
Author: Aina
Rating: NC-17

 

A/N: Thanks to everyone who helped read drafts for me, with special thanks to Shoesparks and Notabluemaia.
Also, biggest thank yous to Princess of Geekland for both suggesting this form for the sequel and a fantastic beta job. I am ever grateful.
 Dedicated to Shoe.

 

All he can do is sit in the garden and wait for his master to call; wait for the day when he will stop calling. Wait for his pretending to stop haunting him.
-Some Dreams Never Change.



Though finely woven with the skill of many hands, the delicate lace tablecloth beneath his fingertips seems coarse and unlovely to the touch. Beautiful it may be, but its harshness chafes the soft underside of his palm. He is not surprised: many of the expensive or attractive items in his home are not as they seem when one gets close, such as the embroidered waistcoats that hang in his wardrobe -pleasing to the eye, but stiff and uncomfortable to the skin.

His sisters are very much the same, he thinks, as he tries to block out their gossiping on the other side of the parlour. They certainly look the part of becoming young mistresses, with the rich fabric of their skirts and tight bodices. But when one gets closer, he finds that they are, just like many of the gentry daughters, too haughty to appreciate their fortunate upbringing, taking for granted the gifts given to them by the hard labours of their ancestors, and cold as adders to any who may not mistake their vanity for beauty.

He loves his sisters, but their ways frustrate him beyond measure. The young master scowls at the lace under his hand, fighting an urge to sweep every item off of the small parlour table and onto the floor, letting them smash heedlessly onto the hearth.

He is surprised at himself. He is not known for such bouts of recklessness and he realises that he has been more than a little wound up lately.

The air in the parlour is stifling, and he needs to get out.

Sam steps into the garden of his father's smial with his hands in his pockets. He likes it here -it is not the most charming of gardens in Hobbiton, but Sam enjoys it as if it were. On a summer's day like today, he can spend hours wandering aimlessly, poking into hidden corners of weed-spotted flowerbeds and catching bees in the mouths of snapdragons, only to let the disgruntled insects go moments later with a chuckle. The garden calls to him -whispering gently of forgotten secrets and magical worlds, moving something embedded so deeply inside of him that he doesn't know how it got there. Sometimes, at night, when all should be sleeping, he likes to sit on his windowsill and just breathe in all that the garden offers, part of him longing for something more.

Sam casts his eyes about. It was not so long ago now that the smial's gardener started to call to him even louder than the garden itself. He spots him, bent over a patch of bare earth, sweating in the day's heat. Dirty fingers alternate from pushing his dark hair back from his eyes to wrestling with the springy seedlings before him. Sam smiles faintly.

There's something about that lad. Something that can make Sam shiver right down to his toes at the same time as sending a gut-wrenching ache to his heart, filling him up inside with something that he knows he has been missing his whole life.

They had never had more than a vague friendship between them, until recently. But what they had now, Sam couldn't tell.

Memory of the gardener's blue-white skin, flushed as he writhes beneath him in Sam's crumpled bed, sends heat bursting through his veins. It has been a long time -more than a few weeks- but he can still see the sunlight curving over the contours of Frodo's slender body; can still feel short, dirty fingernails biting at his arms and shoulders as he gasps and moans in pleasure.

He is not even consciously aware of making the decision. Sam is drawn, pulled irresistibly towards the gardener until, before he knows it, he is opening his mouth to speak his name.

"Frodo?"

He straightens, having long since been alerted of Sam's presence, brushing the dirt from his fingers on his breeches. "Yes, sir?"

All business, then -Sam observes, and flushes. "It's very hot out here; why don't you come on inside?"

Sam can't even remember how many times they have danced this dance; each avoiding saying what he knows the other knows. He doubts he would be able to count the occasions on one hand -two, even. His memories of these times with Frodo are mixed together in a glorious, sun-warmed soup that he visits and sips from when his life is at its bleakest.

"I really have to finish this, sir," the gardener says, his voice steady as Sam crouches beside him. The young master doesn't care what needs doing or not doing, and decides he will happily bear the frustration of his father later for his selfishness. Hamfast Gamgee is a stickler for propriety. It's suffocating to even think about, and Sam can already foresee the lecture he will later have to endure. He doesn't care. All he knows is that he wants Frodo, and he wants him now.

He grasps the gardener's small hand, lacing those fine fingers between his own. The soil-dusted digits tremble slightly, making Sam want to raise them to his mouth and kiss them, savouring in their earthy scent.

"Leave it, lad," he breathes, and Frodo nods, signalling yes. He always does.

Without even looking at him, Sam gets to his feet, leaving the gardener to scurry along behind as he strides back towards Bag End.

Sam wonders if the first time, he had done it out of boredom. Ever since becoming a tween, Sam found himself disenchanted with the daily blandness of his privileged life. So much so that his ale became his best friend and most of his evenings were spent in drunkenness whilst during the day, he had taken to tinkering with things, making and building useless mathoms that cluttered the smial. His father and sisters thought his behaviour odd, but Sam could find little else for him to occupy his restless mind.

Sam felt that even the gardener's life seemed richer than his own. He has no family, but at least he has a purpose. Frodo has always been lucky in friends that Sam never had -and lovers, he remembers, recalling nights when the gardener would slip away from work early, returning late the following morning, looking as though he had barely slept, but smiling softly and happily to himself and causing a hot ache to burn in the pit of his young master's stomach.

Though, it has not occurred recently. Not since Sam.

But he hasn't smiled like that since, either.

The bedroom is warm and full of sunlight when they reach it -but still cooler than the air outside- and Sam realises that he led Frodo here without thinking.

He seats himself on the edge of his mattress, gazing at the older hobbit, still standing at the closed door, tense and looking like Bilbo must have felt when faced with a dragon in the beast's own lair.

Is that what he thinks of me?

"I should have washed up first, sir," the gardener says, rubbing at his hands.

"There's water in the basin."

Frodo bites his lip, and Sam catches his eye for the first time. The blue gaze is blank, he realises. He sees no fear or resentment in Frodo's expression, but nor can he detect any hint of excitement or desire. The young master exhales. Whether Frodo's feelings are so deep and protected within him that Sam just can't breach the surface to discover them, or whether they are simply not there, he cannot tell.

The gardener nods and crosses the room to the basin. Sam can only watch as he begins scrubbing at his hands, his movements slow and deliberate.

One day, one day, he would like Frodo to come to him first. Sam would follow in a second, if the gardener approached him and spoke of his desire. Sam wants that more than anything. Of course, he never forces him to follow -Frodo always says yes- but still, but still he cannot figure the gardener's motivations. It may be fear or simple selfishness, but there is something that holds Sam back from taking the necessary plunge to asking.

Was it love? Duty? Did he see it as a necessary step to keep his job? Sam dreads the answer will be one he doesn't want to hear.

Sam closes his eyes for a moment, opening them to find Frodo staring, motionless into the washbasin, his shoulders hunched and tense. What's wrong? Why are we doing this?

"Frodo? Are you all right?"

The gardener jumps. "Yes, sir," he nods, turning slightly towards him. "I just thought... perhaps I should... I really need a bath, sir."

Sam's stomach clenches. Time out for a bath would probably make Frodo feel better, and using Bag End's bathing room is always a treat for the gardener, but Sam doesn't want to let him go. Now that he finally has him here, he wants to hold onto him with both hands -to soothe Frodo's worry with his body and his touch.

Just say 'No' if you don't want me.

"That's what the water's there for," he says eventually, "you can have a wash here."

Frodo nods, and his fingers clench in the cloth. Sam just gazes at him. He is beautiful -from the dirt on his face to the ill-fitting breeches that hug low on his hips. The shirt he wears is too big for him, hiding the breathtaking slender form lying beneath -Sam remembers it so well -every curve, every muscle...

Sam aches for him. "Take your shirt off."

Without a word, Frodo raises his hands to his buttons, his back to Sam as he unfastens the faded shirt. He shrugs and it slowly glides down his spine, revealing first his creamy shoulders, then upper arms and shoulder blades, sliding down, giving Sam a view of fine muscle and the faint outline of his ribs, gathering slightly in the small of his back before catching at his wrists and dropping soundlessly to the floor.

Sam swallows and Frodo picks up the damp washcloth once more, running it over his arms, shoulders, neck and chest. His master sits motionless, watching, arousal curling tighter than ever through his body at the sight of his gardener's hands smoothing fluid strokes over his own skin.

Then he can take it no longer. Sam stands up and steps behind him. Frodo goes perfectly still as Sam presses his hand onto his side, moulding his palm into the curve below his ribs. Sam burns with the touch, suspended in fear and anticipation as Frodo stands motionless.

Suddenly, the gardener's breathing becomes audible, and Sam realises it is shallow and ragged. Then there is a wet smack as the washcloth falls to the stand, and Frodo is arching, pushing his body back against Sam's behind him. The gentlehobbit could moan out loud. His heart is bursting as Frodo's fingers twine in his hair and he cranes back over his shoulder, seeking his mouth. But Sam resists him, pressing his face into Frodo's nape and smiling slightly against his skin as the gardener twists with an impatient growl. He wishes he could express how Frodo makes him feel, but he doesn't have the words.

"You're beautiful, you know," is all Sam can breathe into his ear.

Frodo gives a shuddering gasp and tugs Sam's mouth down to his own, moaning loudly as their lips connect, and Sam opens gratefully to Frodo's plunging, frantic tongue. His kiss is needy, and Sam feels light headed as he tightens his arms about the gardener's waist, pulling them together, moaning into Frodo's mouth as the older hobbit rolls his hips back against the hard arousal in Sam's breeches.

The long, desperate strokes of Frodo's tongue plunge deeper into him, and Sam gives back as he is able, completely surrendered to Frodo's burning kiss. Finally, finally, he has him. His hands roam all over the sinuous body before him as Frodo's fingers wind painfully tight in his hair. Sam breaks his mouth away, kissing and tasting his way over the skin of Frodo's neck and behind his ear.

Sam moves down to his collarbone, then to his back and Frodo pants breathlessly, moaning and crying out with every nip of his teeth and bold glide of his tongue. Eventually, Sam makes his way so far down that he shifts, lowering to his knees, his hands gripping Frodo's hips as he licks and nibbles at the skin just above his waistband, letting moisture cling to the soft fur there.

"Sir, I..." Frodo gasps, "I need to wash."

Sam presses his face against the warmth of Frodo's back. "Aye," he replies, his voice husky, his whole body trembling as he inhales the intoxicating scent of sweat and earth on his gardener's skin. "Hand me the cloth."

"Sir?"

Sam kisses the small of his pale back once before repeating: "Hand me the cloth."

Frodo does so, and Sam glides the wet fabric all over his flushed skin, countering Frodo's arch into him with the firm press of his hand. He braces the gardener against the washstand, one arm at the back of his thighs as he fumbles at his breeches buttons. Frodo groans and then Sam is tugging down his trousers, allowing him to step out of the fabric at his feet before moving forward again and returning the cloth to his skin. Sam smoothes his hand over his bare thighs and bottom. He loves to tease. But even more, he loves the results of his efforts. His fingers curl about Frodo's buttocks, prising flesh apart as he glides the cloth down between, seeking to soothe, arouse and pleasure him all at once.

Frodo is shaking and breathing hard, then Sam can wait no longer, and he drops the washcloth to the floor and returns his mouth to the base of the gardener's spine.

This is how I want you, Sam says with his lips, and this is how I need you, he says with his tongue, sliding down Frodo's cleft, hands holding him steady as he bucks and jerks with a whimper. And this is how I love you, he presses in, a smooth, hot glide that has him moaning against Frodo's skin. He pulls back, only to plunge in again, and the older hobbit cries out above him, shuddering and tensing as his fingers clench on the edge of the washstand. Sam quickly moves his head away and Frodo collapses into his lap.

Panting, he gasps, "Oh, sir, I'm sorry."

I'm not. Sam wraps his arms about him and chuckles softly. Frodo arches back to nuzzle his jaw, his bare body wriggling sensually like a cat seeking to be petted. Sam grins as he twists to press his lips to his neck.

"Perhaps we should get off this floor," the older hobbit breathes.

"Mayhap I like it on the floor."

No, getting up would only delay being able to further explore this warm and smooth body in his embrace. Sam unfolds his arms from about Frodo's waist and lets his hands trail down, brushing lightly over his hips, arching towards his groin.

Frodo whimpers, twisting and fisting his fingers in Sam's hair as the young master closes his hand about him.

The heat of his length sears Sam's palm. Frodo is desperately aroused, already leaking from the tip, and Sam gives a satisfied moan at this discovery. The older hobbit pushes back into him, deliberately teasing at the hardness beneath his rump, and Sam grunts as he tilts his hips up towards him. Frodo writhes, pushing into the hand circling him, then back down, his bare cleft gliding over Sam's trapped length. The master chokes, wondering how Frodo managed to get control of the situation, to gain this dominance, despite the fact that his erection is firmly clasped in Sam's hand.

Suddenly, Frodo arches over his shoulder and tugs Sam's mouth down to his own, surprising him with a kiss. It is hungry and desperate, and Sam moves his hand in time with Frodo's rocking; hips, hand and tongue working to the same rhythm building up between them; faster, faster...

But -Sam groans- it's not enough. Nowhere near enough, and yet he could soon very well be coming in his trousers. He stops, and Frodo protests loudly, biting him on the neck. Sam tries to be gentle as he pushes him sideways onto the rug. Frodo moves easily, his limbs loose and supple, whimpering in his throat as he shifts sideways. Sam takes one look at him, on his back on the course knit rug -completely bare and flushed red with arousal- and his hand flies to his own trouser buttons, frantically tugging the fabric aside, only managing to pull himself halfway out before he collapses to his hands and knees over Frodo's body, letting the other hobbit battle with his clothing as he lowers himself onto him.

Arousals glide together, and both of them cry out as Frodo twines his limbs about the body above him. Sam doesn't wait, and begins pushing, thrusting hard and fast against his belly. Frodo's fingers clench and scrabble at Sam's shirt, letting him know he is close, so close. Gritting his teeth, Sam holds on. He doesn't want it to end yet. Doesn't want to watch Frodo walk out of his bedroom door after only this brief lovemaking, returning to the garden and sending them back into life's everyday monotony until the next time Sam cannot take it anymore. He has to hold on. Hold back, hold back...

Frodo screams as his release takes him, biting into his master's shoulder. Sam gasps at the feel of searing hot liquid soaking his belly. The hobbit beneath him goes limp, exhaling with a satisfied groan, and Sam quickly rolls off to one side.

For a long time, Frodo lies motionless. Sam dares a glance at his face. He is smiling, his eyes closed, and the younger hobbit feels his heart swell. He wonders what he is thinking.

Are you happy? Do you love me?

But then Frodo's expression changes, and his brows furrow. A whimper sounds from his throat, and Sam hums to get his attention.

Do we truly know each other at all?

Grey-blue eyes open to him. Naked and unashamed -unprotected- Frodo meets Sam's gaze. Frodo's eyes are no longer blank; there is something simmering just below the surface of that look that makes Sam's heart clench in his chest. What is it? What is it?

Those eyes flicker down over him, and Frodo gasps. "Oh! I didn't realise you didn't..."

Sam smiles and raises a hand to gently brush Frodo's jaw. "Looks like this is what I get for teasing you so, m'dear."

"Yes," Frodo grins suddenly, a flash that sears Sam's heart. "Let's see what I'm going to do about it, then, shall we?"

Frodo suddenly springs, his hands catching Sam's shoulders and pinning him on his back. The younger hobbit smiles, but stops Frodo's hands as they slide down towards his groin.

"Mayhap we should get up off this floor now," he suggests to Frodo's inquiring glance. Now that he thinks about it, Sam longs to see the gardener sprawled out on his white sheets again more than anything. He doesn't want to miss his chance.

Frodo simply nods and helps him to his feet. Sam lets his breeches fall to the floor as he stands, holding back a gasp and tremble as Frodo hesitates, then presses close to him, his fingers teasing playfully at the hem of his shirt, sliding up over his hips. Sam jerks a little as he hooks his arms about the hobbit before him, moved by this calm intimacy.

Oh, if he weren't so desperately aroused, he could stand like this with Frodo for hours. This is what Sam wants -to hold him and have him all -more than a lover and more than a friend. Frodo should be part of his soul. He can feel it. But somewhere along the way, he fears they have missed a connection.

But he can't think on it anymore, certainly not now, when all thoughts have to do with white sheets and flushed flesh laid beneath him. "Come to bed," he breathes into Frodo's ear, his hand slipping between them and gliding down. He chuckles gently as he feels a slight stirring in the other hobbit's groin. He pauses, then says: "I think maybe I could persuade you into another go."

"Not much, and you could," Frodo replies and Sam moves his face back to look at him.

"Come to bed?" He lifts a hand to gently brush his knuckles down Frodo's jaw.

"I-I'm still dirty," Frodo squeaks, "my feet and knees..."

"Don't worry about it, love. We'll have to wash the sheets anyway," he says reasonably. "Bed?"

Frodo nods, stepping back to allow Sam to lead him toward the awaiting feather mattress. As Frodo sits on the edge, his bare body glowing enticingly in the sunlight, the younger hobbit lets his hands flutter up his own chest, unfastening the buttons of his crumpled shirt. Frodo shifts gracefully to his back, his eyes flashing, and Sam can't help but think on all the nights he has lain awake in this very bed that Frodo now fills and completes.

The gentlehobbit peels off his shirt, tearing his eyes away from Frodo's piercing gaze as he lies there, one hand absently stroking himself into full arousal. It is exquisite torture to watch. There could be nothing more beautiful than this, Sam thinks, now bare, as he quickly moves to the bed, clambering on his hands and knees onto the springy mattress, hovering above Frodo's pale form. The gardener gazes up at him, his chest rising and falling rapidly and eyes sparkling with that mysterious something that causes Sam to ache inside.

Make me whole.

Frodo's hand reaches blindly for the bedside table, unerringly closing on the small bottle of lotion kept there. Taking Sam's hand, he presses it into his palm, biting his lip on a slight smile. Now, this is something Sam can understand, and he takes the silent permission with a smile and a brief, open-mouthed kiss on Frodo's lips.

You give me so much, and yet I own nothing at all.

Sam uncorks the bottle, clumsily pouring lotion into his palms, spilling cool drops onto Frodo's belly, making him hiss and arch. He hesitates, waiting for Frodo to turn over onto his stomach, but the gardener beneath him only lifts his legs, hooking them about his back. Sam gasps. They have never done it this way. The other few times they have done this, Frodo was always on his belly, writhing into the mattress as Sam entered him from behind, thrusting and pressing against his sweaty back until he burst, his nose filled with the scent of Frodo's hair.

Oh, but this way, this way... Sam moves his lotion-covered hand down Frodo's body, his hips twitching in impatience. He swallows hard, clenching his teeth as he holds himself back. Frodo's hands smooth at his hair, closing compulsively as Sam's fingers glide in and out of him, preparing him with only a few strokes before the gardener breathes: "Now, please, Sam," and the master gives a soft moan at the sound of his own name. He quickly slicks himself with the remainder of the lotion, urging Frodo's legs up higher as he shifts into position, the head of his desperate erection pressing, seeking...

Sam raises his eyes. Frodo is gazing back at him, and he nods.

With a moan, Sam pushes forward, only a little at first, then Frodo gives a cry, arching up into him and Sam plunges all the way inside. Hot, hot and tight; Sam lets his head sag between his hunched shoulders with a groan. He knows he won't last long. He draws back, only to thrust forward again, deeper. Frodo wails, and his fingers scrabble down to Sam's behind, clamping it tightly so that when Sam lunges forward once more, he is pulled even further and harder into him. Sam moves frantically, every thrust seeming to take him deeper and deeper into the body beneath him until he feels as though they could meld into one.

Mine. Mine. It is only a wish, a dream. A fruitless hope. -Frodo belongs to no one. Even as Sam claims his body in the most intimate of ways, the hard truth hits him: that he could never claim his heart.

Tears mingle with the sweat on Sam's face, stinging as he pounds harder and harder into him. Frodo gasps, trying to hold back the moans that still manage to almost drown out the sound of Sam's breath in his own ears and the constant thud of the headboard against the wall.

Frodo writhes, his hand slipping between them to grasp his own arousal, eyelids clenched shut, his beautiful face twisted in exquisite concentration. Sam only moves faster. He finally has him. He has him all -everything he has been longing for- and yet... It's not enough... not enough...

He is close, so close. And yet, and yet...

Say you love me. Love me.

Suddenly, Frodo opens his eyes. Blue flares in Sam's vision and holds him, locks him, sucks all the breath out of him and sends thought screaming from his mind. His body shores against the moving form beneath him as his climax suddenly tears through, hitting him with such fierce intensity that his back arches, spasming in time with his jerking hips as he comes, spurting inside Frodo.

Mine! Mine. Mine.

Even as the gardener exhales on a soft "oh", followed by a wailing moan and wetness spills between them, Sam's arms collapse and he falls, completely surrendered to Frodo and the sensation ripping -crashing- through him.

Yours.

Frodo shifts to easily accept Sam's weight, his arms and legs falling loosely to the mattress as the younger hobbit lowers, exhausted, onto him.

Panting, Sam clenches his eyes shut, his body buzzing, entirely spent. He can feel Frodo's chest rising and falling rapidly beneath him, and knows that he will soon have to move to spare him his weight, but for now, he wants nothing more than to continue to lie here, still held inside of Frodo's body, lulled into his captivating spell by the feel of his skin, the sound of his breath and the smell of his sweat and his hair.

I'm yours.

~*~


Frodo is dozing lightly when Sam gingerly reaches over to brush a lock of hair from his face. How long they have been lying here together, half an arm's length apart, he cannot rightly say, but a quick glance out the window tells him it is some time late in the afternoon.

Sam sighs gently, letting his eyes rake over the bare, pale form beside him. Dark eyelashes flutter softly at the tops of his cheeks.

Frodo is unlike any other hobbit Sam has ever known. All his life, the young master has lived with the very best of everything -has had all he has ever needed, and most of what he wanted- and long ago grew used to this pattern of money, possession and ownership. And yet, here was this simple gardener, who, without knowing it, had gained such a stranglehold on Sam that he owned him completely; heart, body and soul. He realises now -all this time that he was so caught up in his desire to have Frodo, he gave himself over entirely, and the gardener has long since claimed the whole of him.

Suddenly, there is a knock at the door, and Frodo starts from his sleep as Daisy's curt voice cuts into the room. "Sam! Frodo needs to start supper!"

The gardener scrambles from the bed, worrying at his lip as he glances about the room, searching for his discarded clothing, giving Sam a delightful view of his bare backside.

Beautiful. Sam is captivated, watching his graceful form flow about the room, his movements measured and precise even as he hops about on one foot, tugging on his crumpled breeches. There is a pain in Sam's chest, just looking him. Frodo looks and feels like something that has stepped out of a dream or a tale from a land that existed long ago. He is a gardener, a servant of the lower class, at the mercy of his employer, and yet...

He doesn't belong here.

Sam bites his lip. He had thought that Frodo was a hobbit unlike any other, but he realises now -there is one other that the gardener could be likened to. His Uncle Bilbo. Most had thought him eccentric, but Sam found the old traveller to be fascinating. Just like Frodo, he hadn't belonged here, and was made for grander and nobler things. So what had happened?

He left.

Now fully dressed -and looking a little ruffled- Frodo pauses at the doorway and Sam meets his eyes.

Please don't leave. Don't leave me.

Frodo shifts uncomfortably, as if deciding what to say. Sam doesn't move, torn. For the first time, he realises that he is protecting himself, trying to shield his heart from attaching too securely to Frodo, because he knows, he knows he will lose him.

But he doesn't know how much longer he can hold it back: I love you! I love you, I love you.

Frodo inclines his head in a slight nod, and leaves the room.

~*~


The sun has almost dipped below the horizon when Sam enters the garden. Without realising it, he had wandered out here, his mind an incoherent mix of emotion and thought. The gentle breeze wafts fragrant air about him, surrounding and caressing his skin.

He finds Frodo almost in the exact same place he had been in that morning.

His shoulders are hunched -dejected- and his hands move slowly to toss what remains of the seedlings he had earlier been planting into his wheelbarrow.

"They wouldn't have lived there anyway," Sam says softly. "They need shade in high summer."

Frodo starts, his whole body tensing as he scurries to collect the scattered tools. He casts a surprised and furtive glance over his shoulder at Sam. For once, he hadn't heard him coming.

"Oh, sir, I-I'm-"

His voice is shaky, and Sam frowns, stepping up to kneel beside him. But Frodo turns slightly away, wiping his face with his forearm and sleeve.

Sam's heart jumps. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, sir," he tries to assure, but his voice is ragged.

"No you aren't-you're crying." The younger hobbit grasps his chin in his hand, gently forcing it towards him. Frodo's face is splotched red, with smears of dirt from where he'd tried to hastily wipe his eyes.

The younger hobbit fights a sudden urge to drag him into his arms and hold him with all the strength he has. "It isn't that bad!" he says, surprised to hear the desperation in his own voice. "You know Dad won't beat you or nothing. They're only seedlings -we can get some more."

"It's not the seedlings, sir."

Sam feels his heart jump again. "What is it, then?"

Frodo merely moves his chin from Sam's grip and wipes at his eyes. "Don't trouble about it, sir," he says. "It's nothing."

"Tell me."

"Really, don't worry-"

Sam sighs, deflating and feeling as though something is broken inside of him. There is something broken outside of him, too, and it is right here between Frodo and himself, building a wall, one that Sam might never hope to cross.

But the practical side of his mind knows -if something is broken, there are only two things he can really do: give up and throw it away, or mend it.

"Frodo," he breathes, and reaches for his hand. "Please. Tell me."

Is it my fault? Do you hate me for this life I have given you?

Frodo's hand is shaking, and Sam squeezes it in his grasp, wishing he could absorb some of his pain.

"Tell me."

"I just..." Frodo sighs, but keeps his face turned away, even as he glances up at the twilit sky. "I-I just feel empty."

Sam gives a soft whimper, and moves to pull Frodo into his arms. But the gardener resists, weakly pushing him off and Sam recoils hastily as if burned.

"Please... don't," Frodo chokes, his voice strained, as if it is taking all of his strength to push the words past his lips. "Y-you know, sir, you make me want you so badly... But I can't keep doing this." He swallows, "I am grateful to have you, and I desire what we have so, so much, but... it's not enough, sir. This -all of it -it's just not enough. I-I want more."

Sam rubs a hand over his face, closing his eyes as he feels his throat tighten. Here it was, then. He would leave.

Oh, please don't leave me. Take me with you, takemewithyou.

"Take me with you."

"Sir?"

Sam opens his eyes, and finds Frodo gazing intently at him.

"Don't leave me," he chokes, his eyes burning as he palms Frodo's face in both hands and presses their foreheads together. The gardener doesn't give any resistance, and Sam squeezes his eyes shut, fighting an ache to kiss him.

"I'm not going anywhere," Frodo whispers, baffled.

"Yes, you are. Maybe not today, nor tomorrow, but you will. You're made for a better life than this, Frodo. You know it, and I know it... You don't belong here."

Frodo draws his head back. He stares at Sam for a moment before saying: "to tell you the truth, I have thought about... But how did you-?"

Sam laughs softly. "You're just like your cousin Bilbo, that's how I know." There's more to it than that -but how can he put it into words?

"Oh," is all Frodo can say and Sam winds his broad fingers into his hair, pulling it back from his face.

"Take me with you," he pleads, gazing earnestly at him. "I don't belong here, either."

"Sir..."

"Please, Frodo," he whispers, "I feel empty, too."

The gardener looks at him, and Sam meets his eyes openly. Confusion, fear, and something else entirely -something that Sam has never seen before- pours from Frodo's gaze, taking his breath.

"You can leave any time you want, sir," Frodo says reasonably, glancing away. "You don't need me to-"

"I don't want to leave," Sam tells him, "not on my own, at least," he goes on quickly as Frodo frowns. "All I want is to be where you are. I want to go with you."

Dark locks fall into Frodo's eyes as he shakes his head sadly, disbelieving. "Why with me? I-I'm a gardener-"

"I don't care what anyone says you are or aren't," Sam hisses. "You could only ever mean one thing to me." He takes a deep breath. "I love you, Frodo."

The gardener gasps, then stiffens, frozen. Sam's heart stops -suspended in one tense, shattering moment before Frodo suddenly breathes his master's name. A strangled sound, like a sob escapes his lips and he flings himself into Sam's arms, offering himself to this familiar embrace as he never has before.

Sam, startled, wraps his arms about him and holds tight, gasping at the feel of Frodo's trembling body, secure in his grasp. The older hobbit clings to him, his face pressed into Sam's shoulder, even as his master pulls him closer still, half into his lap.

Sam could remain this way forever.

Eventually, Frodo pulls his face back a little. "Sam," he whispers, "your family can see us here... and anyone on the Row..."

"Let them look," Sam replies, his voice low. "They might as well get used to it, as I plan to be doing this a lot more often. Every day, in fact."

The gardener whimpers softly, fingers clenching in his master's waistcoat, his voice humming gently against Sam's shoulder as he whispers: "I love you, you know, Sam."

He has been waiting to hear it his whole life. Sam's heart bursts in his chest, filling him up with a kind of warmth he has never felt before. Light headed, he holds Frodo tighter still, and the older hobbit pushes against him, laughing happily even as Sam collapses onto his back, falling into the soft grass. Frodo lands sprawled on top of him, and he shifts to straddle Sam's waist as the younger hobbit threads his fingers into his hair. Stomachs and chests pressed together, Frodo's face is mere inches from Sam's, and his breath puffs in a hot mist on his lips.

Sam grins. "Love you." He will never tire of saying it.

Love you. I Loveyou, loveyouloveyou!

The sun has fallen from the sky, and darkness is gathering about them as their mouths connect in a slow kiss. Sweet and soft -cautious and trembling like it is the first time all over again. Only better. This time, it is complete.

Sam gently parts the older hobbit's lips with his own and the kiss deepens, tongues gliding together, fingers entwining. Sam can feel Frodo's heart hammering next to his own, and he moans softly, finally understanding.

This is exactly where he belongs.

~*~

End.

 

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