West of the Moon
A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive
The Shire. Frodo and Sam are lying naked on a riverbank in the sun...
The Shire. Frodo and Sam are lying naked on a riverbank in the sun.
FRODO: This was just the thing on a hot afternoon. Marvelous idea, Sam.
SAM: Aye, seemed it was warm enough to bathe, now it's summer and all. Hmm... what's this you've done to your back, sir?
FRODO: Oh. It was quite clumsy of me. I was getting out of the bath the other day, and slipped, and scraped myself on the spout of the kettle. It was sitting on the chair next to the tub. How's it look? Healing all right?
SAM: I'd say so. Naught to worry about. Just wondered, that's all.
FRODO: I'm glad you're here to have a look. I can only see it with a hand mirror, and then not very well. That's the trouble with living alone, I suppose.
SAM: Suppose it is a risk.
FRODO: Here. Do you see this mark? I can't quite reach, but-
SAM: That birthmark?
FRODO: Yes. Does it look ... normal to you?
SAM: Looks like anyone else's birthmark, I'd say.
FRODO: Bilbo used to fret over it. Said he knew a hobbit who had a mark like that on his arm, and it just got bigger and bigger until he fell sick and died. It's made me quite fearful of the silly thing. Lurking back there where I can't see it.
SAM: Nay, that's nothing. See? I've got a dozen or more like that.
FRODO: No. Yours are smaller.
SAM: Well, maybe there, but have a look at this one, on my leg.
FRODO: Hmm. And it's never given you trouble?
SAM: Not a bit. All me sisters have 'em, too, somewhere on them; and plenty of the lads as I've gone bathing with before. Begging your pardon, sir, but I think Mr. Bilbo was worrying for you for naught.
FRODO: That makes me feel better, actually. Now ... the other lads .. do they ... well, look at me; I've hardly any hair on my chest. Not near as much as you, and I'm almost forty. Surely that's wrong?
SAM: Looks fine to me, sir. Besides, some folk get it later than others, that's all. The other lads, some have it and some don't. You've got it all the places that matter.
FRODO: Well, that reminds me .. er ...
SAM: What, sir?
FRODO: I sometimes wonder ...um ... down there ... it's just it sometimes seems ...
SAM: Honestly, it looks normal to me, Mr. Frodo, if that's what you're worried about.
FRODO: No, it isn't the hair. It's that .. well, one seems somewhat larger than the other. If you understand. And I just wondered if that's something I should ...
SAM: Oh! Nay, sir, I've heard other lads say the same. It's quite common, I reckon.
FRODO: Really? But are you sure? Because, truly, one does seem noticeably larger - here, do you suppose you could look? Perhaps it's only my imagination, or it could be that I haven't been bathing with anyone else and I don't know ...
SAM: I swear, sir, they look normal enough as far as I can tell. Move your fingers out of the way and let me see if - aye, really, I can hardly see a difference.
FRODO: But this one-you see? How it's so much bigger? Maybe it's only that it feels bigger to the touch...
SAM: Could be. If you like, I could ...
FRODO: Would you? If you don't mind.
SAM: Hmm. I suppose now you mention it ...
FRODO: That one's larger, isn't it? Can't you feel it?
SAM: Well, it is, sir, but ... I'm not sure as that's a problem. It doesn't hurt, does it? When I do this?
FRODO: No, not a bit, Sam. It feels fine.
SAM: It's not sensitive at all?
FRODO: Well, of course it's sensitive, but not in a bad way. Oh dear-I am sorry; I didn't mean for that-
SAM: Natural reaction, sir. Not to worry. Now, if it'll make you feel better, have a look at mine. A bit lopsided, don't you think? But I've had no trouble with them.
FRODO: I don't think they look very lopsided. Do they feel uneven?
SAM: Sometimes. Then sometimes not. Have a feel, if you like. For something to compare with.
FRODO: Thank you. I think it might help. Ah ... no, I don't think you feel lopsided at all, compared to me. Are you sure mine aren't- oh, I'm sorry, should I stop?
SAM: No, sir, no need. Natural reaction, as I said.
FRODO: Indeed. Yes, Sam, I see what you mean- they feel quite like mine, though I do think yours are more symmetrical. How interesting!
SAM: Honest, sir, now that I feel around more, I don't think you've anything to worry about. That is- they're working fine, and all, aren't they?
FRODO: Working fine? Well, I don't really know how you'd test ...
SAM: Don't you? I mean, if you keep touching like this, and maybe more up here if I may, like this-
FRODO: Oh! Sam!
SAM: Sorry, sir- should I stop?
FRODO: No! No. But now you mention it .. I've no idea whether it's the same for me as it is for everyone else, so I suppose if you just ...
SAM: I'll keep doing this, and you keep doing that, and-
FRODO: Exactly. We'll -ahh, yes, like that- we'll -mmm- compare.
*Hobbits degenerate into fragmented conversation consisting mostly of wordless sounds. A few minutes elapse, and they catch their breath.*
FRODO: Thank you, Sam. I feel very healthy indeed.
SAM: Glad to be of service, sir.
FRODO: Did you notice anything I should worry about?
SAM: Mm, well, to be honest ...
SAM: It's worrying me a bit that you thought I wouldn't know what you were up to.
FRODO: Sam! I-
SAM: Really, sir, how thick do you take me for?
FRODO: Oh ... all right. It really is unhealthy, isn't it? Employing such pathetic measures to get myself into your arms.
SAM: Eh ... no more unhealthy than me playing along, I suppose. I think we need to take extra special care of each other, with a sickness like this. Don't you?
FRODO: Mm... yes, I believe you're right. You're full of good ideas today, Sam.
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