6. Chapter Five - Sunshine
Later, Frodo couldn't say who had crossed that final half step between them or when they had lost their footing. He only knew that somehow he was on his knees with an armful of trembling Sam, who had his face buried somewhere in the vicinity of Frodo's neck and was breathing something that sounded like Frodo’s name over and over.
Frodo found himself gulping in air and trying hard to maintain his balance. His hands shook with the desperate need to pull that face up to his and fiercely capture that mouth with his own. But he still managed somehow to be gentle, as he cupped his fingers around the gold head buried in his neck and turned Sam's face up toward his.
“Sam? Look at me, Sam.”
Sam was breathing in open-mouthed gasps, his face flushed and wet, his eyes squeezed shut. Frodo swiped at the tears gently.
The sound of his given name snapped those hazel eyes open, but they were dark and unfocused. Frodo realized that his steadfast, both-feet-firm-on-the-ground Sam was, for once, completely uprooted.
“Oh, Sam.” Frodo gazed at that tanned face, so open and vulnerable, and so very close. He couldn't keep himself from at least touching what he wanted desperately to kiss. Frodo pushed a bedraggled flaxen curl behind one perfect ear tip and traced one beloved eyebrow with a shaking finger. He ached to touch that mouth, to run his thumb across that bottom lip, but that would be too much for Sam at this point, if he was reading things right. And he wasn't certain of anything. Fighting for control, he closed his eyes and bit his lip.
Heat flared through Frodo at the tentative touch of a fingertip on his face and he gasped in surprise. He opened his eyes to find Sam's gaze focused on his mouth. Then Sam, ever the quick learner, slowly traced the curve of Frodo's bottom lip with his finger and Frodo suddenly realized there was no controlling this. This was far more intoxicating than any brew in Bilbo's vast stores.
Sam's finger retraced its path and Frodo shook with the effort to stay still beneath that slow, concentrated exploration. But he was finally overwhelmed when eyes, dazzled with stars, slid up to meet his. With one hand still entangled in flaxen hair, Frodo pulled that face slowly to his, curving his other hand around Sam's nape. He watched as those eyes fluttered slowly shut in surrender, then captured those lips, still wet with tears, beneath his own.
It seemed ages before Frodo could manage to move slightly to slant his lips over that perfect mouth, already yielding and open beneath his. But he delicately ran his tongue along Sam's bottom lip before slipping it slowly into that dark sweetness. He felt, rather than heard, Sam's humming intake of breath at that gentle invasion. He slid his fingers down from neck to back and firmly pulled the shaking, sturdy form to him as he deepened the kiss.
Frodo felt Sam’s heart quicken in pace as those calloused fingers fumbled at his waist and fastened there, trembling. Then he nearly groaned when he felt the tentative flicker of Sam's tongue against his. And he knew, pressed together, shoulder to knee, that the hardened evidence of his own desire was making itself obvious to Sam. This had to stop soon or they would both be far beyond the point of returning.
Perhaps they already were. But Frodo thought perhaps he could survive just on sipping sunshine from those lips, plundering the secrets of that mouth, for the rest of his days.
When he felt Sam's strong fingers plough into his hair, he pulled away, gasping for breath, and leaned his forehead against Sam's. Sam made a strangled sound of dismay.
“Sam, whatever it is we are doing,” Frodo whispered hoarsely, feeling Sam suddenly tense in his arms, “we need to stop.”
There was an inarticulate sound of protest from Sam, which was just as suddenly cut off. Frodo moved back on his haunches and slid his hands to grip Sam's shoulders. Then he took a deep breath and opened his eyes.
Sam was gazing at him with wide glassy eyes, breathing hard, his hands clenched on his thighs. Frodo could tell from the expression on that beloved face that Sam had misunderstood what he had just said. Sam lowered his head and stared somewhere at the grass under his knees.
Frodo suddenly realized that every single word he uttered today might direct the path that they had just turned down -- into sunlight or shadow. He took a deep breath. “I would keep on kissing you,” he reached out and lifted that lowered chin gently until gold eyes met his, “my dearest Sam, until all the stars fall from the sky. But the sun is rising, and we are on the Hill.” Frodo glanced around them pointedly.
Sam eyes widened. He seemed to suddenly ken that he could indeed see Frodo quite well in the growing light.
“I want to make certain that you understand what it means . . . to kiss me on this particular hill in broad daylight. Before we continue this . . . or move it elsewhere,” Frodo went on.
Sam collapsed sideways in the grass, catching himself on outstretched hands.
“Sam!” Frodo was beside him in a moment, grabbing his arm. “What is it? Sam?”
Sam was breathing hard, staring sightlessly at the soil beneath his hands and Frodo suddenly felt dizzy. What if he had misinterpreted everything? What if Sam didn't...wasn't... He felt his stomach roil and his entire body go suddenly cold and clammy.
“You said...you said 'continue',” Sam managed in a strangled voice. “You really do want me.” The last word was nearly inaudible.
Frodo thought he would collapse with relief himself. His hands were shaking as he lifted that face up to his again and captured that mouth and made absolutely certain that Sam understood how much he did want him. He managed to pull back just as Sam's arms began to slide up around him. Pressing gentle fingers to those parted lips, Frodo gazed into those unfocused eyes and sank back gracelessly, his legs folding beneath him. Sam followed to lean before him on one arm, both of them sprawled amidst the blooming, fragrant flowers in the soft grey light of dawn. The sound of their breathing was in harsh contrast to the soft, tentative trills and calls of waking birds around them and Frodo gazed at Sam in disbelief.
Here on his hill. Surrounded by wildflowers that Sam had tamed to his hand. To, what had Sam said, to give Frodo roots. And here Sam was before him in the midst of those flowers. In all his dreams, even when he had hoped against hope that Sam felt the same, he never imagined that Sam would have been the one to declare his feelings.
But Sam wouldn't. No matter how he felt, what he felt. The Sam he knew wouldn't have come up here and said the things that he had said without some reason, some change, something. He frowned, but managed to wipe it off his face when Sam raised his gaze from the grass and seemed to focus on him.
“Are you all right, Sam?” Frodo managed.
Sam looked as if he had been pole axed. He shook his head slowly in the negative. “My head. The hill is going round,” Sam whispered in disbelief. “It's like I've had too much ale.”
Frodo couldn't help grinning broadly, which brought an answering, but somewhat confused, smile from Sam.
“Well, I would say it feels more like too much of Aunt Dora's blackberry wine myself. But then I think perhaps you are better at kissing than I am, Sam,” Frodo said quickly.
Sam was suddenly staring at the grass once more, his face flushed with colour.
Frodo scooted forward just enough to be able to touch Sam's arm, which Sam had outstretched so that he would not collapse into the grass. “Like Aunt Dora's wine -- luscious, but a bit of a surprise. Like this.”
Sam looked back down at his hand in the grass, as if it was not attached to his body somehow and had surprised him by showing up there at the end of his arm. “This?”
“This. You. Up here. Today.”
Sam focused on him again, with some effort. “A surprise?”
Frodo felt a thrill run through him at this evidence of how befuddled Sam really was. Could it be that Sam had been drinking a bit too much after all? “Perhaps we should go down and get some tea?”
Sam finally seemed to register this, he looked up frowning, “Tea? Then you don't want...uh.”
“To continue this? Oh yes. But,” then Frodo saw those eyes go molten and dark again at 'yes'. He lost track of what he had been saying as his mouth went suddenly dry.
“I mean, yes,” he managed. “But not up here, not right this moment.”
“Then where. And when?” Sam demanded, looking at him from beneath gold lashes, features flushed, mouth open.
“Sam. When you look at me like that, I can't think,” Frodo took a gulping breath. “And you said I was the most beautiful thing in your life. I wish you could see yourself right now. See what you're doing to me.” He pressed one hand over his chest as if to contain it and express it at the same time.
Sam stared at Frodo’s hand, then his eyes slid further down and Frodo felt his own face flush. It was fairly obvious what Sam was doing to him. And perhaps standing up and walking down the hill was not such a good idea after all. At least, not right this moment.
“Or we could stay here,” he offered weakly.
Now it was Sam's turn to look at him as if he had had a bit too much to drink.
“I'm sorry, Sam, but you... This was a bit of a surprise.”
“You keep saying that,” Sam offered petulantly.
“Yes, well, because it was.”
“Well, I guess I was just... I was...” Sam stuttered to a halt.
Sam took a long deep breath and sat up, running one hand through his hair shakily. “Mister Bilbo. He...”
Frodo sat up and his eyes widened. Bilbo wouldn't have.
“He came into the Dragon last eve and he... Well, he... I should'na be talking about Mister Bilbo's business I guess.”
“Sam, “Frodo said firmly, “what did Bilbo say?”
“Well,” Sam said hesitantly, “he just scared me is all. He was talking about you. About you being off your feed and a bit peaked and...”
“And what?” Frodo was leaning forward, every muscle tensed.
“And you had taken to your bed. He seemed right upset, I'd say. Said you had been talking about heading off again to Brandy Hall.” Sam seemed to decide he had said about enough. “I was just worried, is all.”
“That's all? You just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to Brandy Hall?” Frodo asked tensely.
Sam looked closed at Frodo's face, then back down at his hands, clasped tightly in his lap. “No.” His voice was so low Frodo could barely hear him.
“What, Sam? What then?”
“I was afraid.”
Frodo frowned. “Afraid?”
“Afraid I had waited too long. “
“Waited too long?” Frodo realized his voice sounded as strained as he felt.
Sam leaned forward, peering at him. “You sound a bit like that echo over in Needlehole.”
Frodo managed to smile. “I suppose I do.”
“Begging your pardon,” Sam added hastily, looking back down.
“Let's make an agreement, Samwise. No 'begging your pardon' or 'proper place' or 'Mister Frodo' up here on 'my' hill, in the midst of 'my' flowers.”
Sam looked around at the flowers, smiled tremulously, and then looked back at Frodo. “Yes, sir.”
“No 'sirs' either!” Frodo exclaimed.
The tentative smile strengthened a bit. “Yes, Mis... I mean, Frodo.”
“Now, what do you mean, afraid you had waited too long?”
The smile vanished. Sam stared at his hands again.
“For you,” he whispered.
And Frodo was completely unable to think for a moment.
“Boy!! Where have you got off to, boy?” came the Gaffer's familiar gruff voice from down the hill.
Sam turned pale, then stood straight up and spun around. “Up here sir!” he yelled. “Be right there!!!'
Frodo sprang up as Sam turned back to him. For a moment Frodo was speechless. He wanted to grab Sam in desperation. “But, Sam?”
“I near forgot. I have to go. We lost seedlings unexpected like in the freeze and we have catch up to do. I don't know when we'll get finished today. And Miz Lobelia, we have to redo all her bedding plants because she wants to move the colours around, and...”
“But your birthday. Are we going to?”
“Maybe later, Mister Frodo,” Sam winced when he realized what he had said. “I mean, Frodo.”
“Samwise!!!!” came the exasperated roar from down the hill.
“I mean...” Those gold eyes met his for only a moment and one hand stretched toward him.
Frodo couldn't manage to move under the intensity of that gaze.
“I have ta go,” Sam ground out and turned to run off through the grass.
Frodo watched him disappear down the hill in the grey light of early morning then crumpled back down into the grass. For a moment, he sat there in disbelief.
Sam. Sam had been waiting?
He had the sudden urge to run after him and just grab him from under the Gaffer's nose and drag him into Bag End and never let him out again, never be interrupted by duty or family or responsibility.
He touched his lips almost reverently, then flung his arms up and sank back into the soft turf.
Here in the beauty of this spring morning, breathing in the scent of flowers that Sam had planted just for him, overwhelmed by the stars twirling under his breastbone and threatening to carry him off into the sky, he was remembering every word Sam had spoken, every look in his eyes, every moment. He rolled over onto his stomach and cradled his chin on his forearms. All he could see were flowers. His flowers. His hill.
He moaned. How could one body contain this? He felt as if he would explode.
And he knew he certainly would die if he had to wait one more hour to talk to Sam again, to touch him, much less an entire day -- or more.
He wanted to howl with frustration.
And Bilbo. He was hard pressed to decide whether or not he should be angry with Bilbo for meddling. Purposefully meddling, apparently. Going to the Green Dragon instead of the Ivy Bush, because the Gamgees would be there. Getting poor Sam into such a state.
Bilbo was going to hear from him about this.
Then he felt the agonized grimace on his face melt into a grin. And he laughed out loud, startling a few birds right out of the Bag End tree.
If there was one thing Frodo Baggins knew how to do, it was get back at meddling cousins.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.