West of the Moon
A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive
Strawberries for Two
Mid-life crisis adverted by fruit intervention.
Author: Elderberry Wine
Part of Shire Morns (year 12), preceeds Lover's Knot.
Sam eyed Frodo contemplatively. Something had definitely been bothering Frodo as of late, and Sam thought that he had finally puzzled it out. It had been his own coming of age, only a few weeks back, as did it, he surmised. The event really hadn't made much of an impression on Sam, since his life had been happily and fairly well set for some time now, at least as far as he was concerned, but apparently it had affected Frodo differently. It was not that he had said anything in particular, really, but Sam caught a wistful glance or two directed his way, which had immediately been concealed, and Frodo had taken to staring sightlessly into the fire when he was theoretically working on his translations.
Sam had decided that Frodo must be brought around somehow and that, since the mid-spring weather was proving to be quite lovely, a short hiking trip might be just the thing. Frodo had grumbled something about old bones and hard ground, but agreed when Sam gave him a stern look and left to pack.
They set off following one of the tributaries that eventually fed into the Water, flowing down from north of Bag End, and found the most perfect spot for lunch; a grassy, sunny meadow, ringed by oak and fragrant pine. The brook ran cheerfully through it, and Sam gratefully dipped his toes into the clear water, for that last rocky slope had been dusty going. He dropped his pack on the grass, and had announced it to be the ideal location for a bite to eat, to which Frodo had, rather indifferently, agreed.
So it was that Sam was seated cross-legged by the brook, and Frodo lay not too far away, with his arms crisscrossed across his chest, legs stretched out straight and ankles crossed as well, in a bit of shade. His eyes were closed, his breathing regular, and Sam had no doubt that Frodo thought him convinced that he was peaceably napping. But there was a certain tightness to his face, which was not present when Frodo was truly asleep, and Sam was not fooled at all.
It was a direct hit to the nose that immediately seized Frodo's attention. A small enough object, apparently, and not particularly heavy, so Frodo's eyes blinked open in bewilderment. The sky above, as seen through the staggered branches of the lofty pine, was quite blue, and the fluffy clouds were the fluffiest imaginable, so it certainly was not an errant drop of rain, although it had seemed a trifle damp, now that he thought back on it. He rapidly glanced at his companion, but Sam was stretched out on his side, plucking at the grass, and not paying him any attention whatsoever. Puzzled, but not willing to investigate any further, Frodo closed his eyes again, and willed himself to remain apparently peacefully asleep.
The second hit was to the cheek, and Frodo's eyes flew open much faster this time around. But when he gave Sam a suspicious glance, he found him rummaging innocently in his backpack, apparently attempting to track down an errant teaspoon, for it was that utensil that he held triumphantly aloft, only a moment later.
Frodo therefore made no comment but gave a surreptitious look about, and it was then that he noticed the unmistakably red object half-buried in the grass not far from where he had been reclining. A strawberry, he pondered in bemusement. Hadn't Sam shown him a fine crop of them just the other day? He could have sworn that Sam had been speaking of making jam one of these afternoons. Yet there it was, a fine berry lying in the grass, and decidedly incongruous here.
It was the third berry, immediately followed by Sam's saucy grin, which sealed the matter. There was no use to Sam playing the innocent this time around, as Frodo sat quickly up, and glared at his companion. "Sam," he stated firmly, "I have no idea why you have decided to pelt me with fruit, as I am attempting to nap, but it really is very childish of you."
"Ah, then, you'd be too old for such nonsense; I'd be forgettin' that fact," Sam's round face was quickly drawn with attempted solemnity.
"Well, I'm not sure I'd put it quite that way," Frodo automatically began to testily dissent, when Sam's smile flashed across his face just as wickedly as ever.
"Oh, now, you'd be too ancient to be playin' the fool with your food, as it were, but be just eatin' it, like the sensible hobbit you are," Sam's dimples were now quite apparent, and Frodo felt his attention being wrenched instantly from the issue of the strawberries, flying or otherwise, for he had always been helplessly smitten at the rare sight of that attribute of Sam's. "So I'll let you be to nap in peace. But supposin' you really want t'be tastin' one, I'd wouldn't mind too much."
"Actually, you know, I think I would," Frodo's voice was low and decidedly husky, as he watched Sam closely.
And Sam did not disappoint, but rather rose and quickly covered the short distance between himself and Frodo. "So you'd be wantin' t'taste," he repeated, producing, as if by magic, a plump ruby berry in one hand, crouching at Frodo's side.
"But only if you want to taste as well," a slow smile was beginning to light up Frodo's face as he drew himself up on his elbows. "The first of the crop is so very sweet, don't you agree?"
"Aye, sweet it is," Sam murmured, slowly drawing the strawberry tantalizingly across Frodo's lips, and then pulling it away just as Frodo began to nip at it, substituting a quick kiss of his own instead. "But there'd be that which would be all that much sweeter."
"Sweeter than spring strawberries?" Frodo breathed, his smile widening. "Oh, this you must show me, indeed, my dearest Sam."
"Shared strawberries," whispered Sam, before popping it in between his teeth and bending over Frodo again.
With a sound that was a light laugh ending with a catch of his breath, Frodo's arms shot out and around Sam, and, his mouth meeting Sam's, he rolled the both of them to their sides, caught tightly in his embrace. The strawberry was indeed sweet, as they ate it together, their tongues chasing bits of the fruit about in each other's mouths, until the sensual exploration forced all other considerations from their minds. Sam gave a blissful sigh, and pushing himself against Frodo, began to run an alluring hand under the waistband of his trousers.
"Mmmmph," confirmed Frodo happily, making a slight but significant adjustment in his alignment with Sam. Sam's hand, by this point, had moved to the front of Frodo's trousers, which had unaccountably fallen open. But just as Frodo gave a contented grunt of anticipation, that clever hand left off its tantalizing downward arc, and journeyed back up again. Frodo's eyes, which had closed ecstatically at some point in the proceedings, blinked open, and he gave a reproachful glance to his partner.
However, Sam's green eyes were glinting warm and gold, and his deep chuckle was tender beyond words as he quietly laughed, "Patience, m'dearie. Haven't we all the time in the world? Look, I've not run out of strawberries yet."
And indeed he had not, as he miraculously produced another. But this time, he raised himself over Frodo, who had fallen on his back, and rapidly unbuttoning Frodo's fine linen shirt and, smoothing it to either side, carefully placed the delicate fruit in that alluring indenture that lay at the center of Frodo's rounded belly. "Oh, Sam," Frodo began to helplessly giggle since, as Sam knew very well, he could be quite ticklish at times.
"Hush, now, love, you'll be poppin' it out," Sam gave him a quick grin and then eyed the berry with mock sternness. "For all you've finally got a bit of proper hobbit softness over those bones, there's still not enough to..." but that thought was interrupted by his diving unexpectedly down and curling his tongue around the berry. That startling sensation caused an unmistakable shriek on the part of the recipient, which would have shocked many who thought they knew the proper Mr. Baggins of Bag End, should they have been in the vicinity. Fortunately, though, only a nesting quail stirred sleepily under the redbud, and discounted the sound immediately, settling back into her slumbers.
With a quick flick of his tongue, and a by now quite decided smirk, Sam gathered the sweet berry into his mouth, crushing it slightly, and continued downward, to Frodo's intense gratification. "Oh, Sam, oh," he gasped, undulating under that close embrace, those strong hands cradling his hips, and this time Sam did not tease any further. He descended as Frodo thrust himself upward with want, and that tender, sure mouth closed about Frodo. And yet, even now, Sam was not of a mind for rapid satisfaction, but rather tempted, tantalized, drew back from the brink again and again, until Frodo thought that surely he would lose his mind for the glorious craving and yearning. But finally Sam did not draw back at the very last possible moment, and instead met Frodo's moves with a wonderful warmth and strength and exaltation, and Frodo's eyes flew open in unaccountable wonder as he surrendered to Sam's love.
It was much later that afternoon, with the redness on the horizon unmistakably signaling the close approach of dusk, when Sam sleepily opened his eyes. Cradled in Frodo's arms, the last thing that he wanted to do was stir about, but there was a cool breeze on his bare skin, and it was time to make some sort of preparations for the evening. Carefully lifting his head, attempting not to disturb Frodo, he glanced upwards to find Frodo gazing down on him with a fond smile. "Yes, I'm awake," he confirmed with a light kiss to Sam's forehead, "but you certainly had a fine nap."
"And not you?" Sam queried gently, raising a loving hand to his cheek.
"Oh, yes, indeed I did," Frodo hastily assured him. "I've just been thinking a bit, that's all."
Sam felt his heart unaccountably sink at that, since it was that from which he had been hoping to rouse Frodo by this hiking excursion. "Thinking about what, dearie?" he asked, somewhat hesitantly.
"About how you'll be feeling about me when I'm quite old, and you are still in your prime," came the quiet response.
Sam drew himself up level with Frodo then, and gazed deeply into his eyes. "M'dearest, I can't imagine you as ever being anything other than the most beautiful creature as ever was," he stated firmly. "And as for me, I'd be thinking' that the gaffer'd give you a fair look at my future. Now if you can tell me you'd not mind snugglin' up to him, I think I can brave whatever you turn out t'be like, Frodo, my own love."
Frodo's lips twitched for a moment as he tried his best to remain serious, but it was a lost cause. "The gaffer?" he laughed, as Sam answered his smile and hid his thankfulness at Frodo's response. "Oh, my dear, you are so right," he exclaimed at last, drawing Sam quite close and kissing him warmly. "Your father really is quite handsome, for a hobbit of his years," he added hastily, with a loving smile, "but, Sam, that really is quite a thought."
" 'Tis my future, I have not a doubt in the world," Sam responded with a solemn face, and then smiled tenderly at Frodo. "So, m'dear, you'd be seein' my point..."
"How did you become so very wise, my dearest?" and Frodo caught him up again in a kiss.
"Well, if I were really that wise," Sam's voice was rather breathless as they at last drew apart, "I might be mentionin' that we didn't really go that far today, what with the late start an' all, and the moon does look as if she's going to be nearly full tonight, and there is a feather bed back in Bag End, not that this isn't a fine grassy field, but..."
"Now, that quite settles it; you are the wisest of hobbits," Frodo laughed and quickly rose, Sam's hand firmly caught in his. "Someday, my love, we'll take a delightful long trip all about the Shire, and perhaps even past, but for tonight, our bed sounds absolutely lovely."
And before the moon was high in the night sky, a wisp of smoke was rising from the bedroom chimney at Bag End, and two hobbits were lovingly entwined once again in their wide feather bed.
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