Chapter 11: Beginning

“Yes?”

“It’s Sam, sir. May I come in?”

Oh, yes! Now that he was here, Frodo’s heart caught in his throat. He swallowed, and found his voice.

“Yes, Sam. Please.” My Sam…

Sam paused inside the door only long enough to slide a wrought leaf through its ornate latch on the frame; even elven privacy was kept elegantly. He turned, and for a moment, he could not breathe.

There was Frodo, and he was beautiful. He stood in front of the mirror, his fair skin aglow in the golden afternoon light flowing through the arches. Soft rays shone through a silken shirt just now floating down past slender hips, silhouetting his lithe grace. And as he turned, arms outstretched to greet Sam, the diaphanous silk fluttered and caught, revealingly, at his loins. Frodo glanced down at himself, looked up to meet Sam’s eyes and loving smile, and laughed with joy at this new delight to share, as he pressed himself into strong, welcoming arms and an equally responsive body. And in that moment, any lingering question about intent or desire was completely answered.

“You’re here.”

“Didn’t you know I would be?”

“And I knew you were there, Sam…”

“Always, Frodo, love.”

Frodo laid his head on Sam’s broad shoulder and Sam tucked his face into the lavender scented dampness of his hair, breathing deeply. He pulled Frodo close to feel healthy, living heat radiate through the silk. Frodo reached to cup Sam’s face between trembling palms, holding him, brow to brow, nose to nose as they leaned into each other, eyes closed, bodies pressed together, simply breathing life from each other’s breath. Then, his expression as serious as if translating the most momentous of tales, Frodo leaned back in Sam’s arms to study his face, as though for the very first time.

Sam could feel the tremors coursing through Frodo’s entire body, but suppressed his own, holding utterly still beneath those slim hands. He sighed softly and closed his eyes, sensitive to Frodo’s every breath and touch as he smoothed brows and forehead, brushed eyelids and lashes; reading Sam’s love and desire, in feather light strokes.

Frodo traced gently down the curve of Sam’s nose to its tip, then out to the upturned corners of smiling lips, and inward, with a shiver as Sam moved to catch his fingertips in a tentative, lingering kiss. Sighing, he pressed gently, learning soft lips beneath his touch, then let his hands brush ever downward along Sam’s jaw, past the hollow of his throat, to slide over the ridged collarbone and on, to the soft warm skin extending beneath his shirt. And his voice deepened with desire as he murmured, “My Sam…”

The words freed Sam to touch his Frodo at last, and with a groan, he swept his hands down the silk-covered back and narrow waist, to spread them around the curve of his flanks and pull those slim hips close, tight against himself, heat against heat. And for a long moment, they stood, breathing hard, poised, their only movement the throb and pulse of heart and heat pressed joyfully together… until such pressure demanded more in slow circles drawn by knees and hips, spiralling ever more tightly upward and inward. Small gasps, inarticulate, infinitely eloquent, warmed and swirled the air as Frodo tilted his head, just enough… and soft lips opened to each other, tangling eagerly in a pattern that echoed desire’s flowing surge between them.

Knowing – feeling – Sam’s wish to be his own, Frodo dealt swiftly with buttons and braces, tugged cotton and silk away. Sighing his relief, he pressed his own lean belly and chest to Sam’s rounded strength, gripping his waist, wanting yet more… to give, to touch, to receive… Frodo’s slender hand slid down into the smooth gliding tightness between them, seeking… finding… Ahh! Deft fingers on fabric opened fevered heat to length, and Frodo gasped at the sudden blazing sensation as the touch and scent and heat of his Sam’s springing closeness, flesh to flesh, overwhelmed him completely. And though he had dreamed a slow slide to his knees for the most tender of caresses, all thought fled, and his own need took him.

He clung tightly, twining one leg round Sam, as his body compelled an urgent primal rhythm that Sam met and matched, thrilled by his gentle Frodo’s wakened passion. Sam knew there was not time to lie together, and braced himself to support Frodo’s imminent pleasure, encouraging him with husky murmurs between panting kisses: “Frodo, love, yes… oh, my love!” Sam held him, one arm secure around his waist… and with the other, he reached down, between them, to find him, touch him, enfold them together… And the moment Sam’s warm hand encircled him, Frodo cried out and thrust, hard, releasing into Sam’s loving embrace.

Frodo’s knees buckled, and he slumped against Sam. Sam caught him and lifted him, shuddering at the exquisite sensation of Frodo’s groin naked against his own as he wrapped his legs around Sam’s hips.

Frodo sighed breathlessly against his lips, “Sam, I love you! I wanted you… this… so much! Oh, my love… I never knew…” He shifted in Sam’s arms to caress his face with shaking fingertips. “This is just our beginning…” His voice faded and he rested his head on Sam’s shoulder.

That sweet pressure at his groin was almost enough for Sam to find his own release, but for his fear that they would both collapse to the hard floor, that his Frodo might be hurt. Breathing hard, he pressed a tender kiss to Frodo’s brow as he sagged against his chest, all his fragile recovery completely exhausted now. With a few steps, he moved them to the safety of the bed. “Oh, Frodo! Here, love… rest a bit…”

Frodo’s weakened arm, clinging to Sam’s shoulder, gave out as Sam laid him down on the soft pillows, and he winced as Sam caught him from falling the last little distance. But he smiled at Sam’s worried expression, and caught his hand to pull him down onto the bed beside him.

“Come here, love…”

Oh… Frodo, I want you so much, and you’ll want to be loving me, but, oh, my love… The sight of Frodo, slumped so pale against these white pillows, reminded Sam painfully that only a few grim hours before, his Frodo had lain right here in his arms, on this same bed, weakened from long suffering… dying… He remembered too well the terrible throes of that last agonized resistance, so different from the joyful surrender he had just held, and his mind reeled at the contrast. I almost lost him… I cannot bear to lose him… not then, not now, not ever…

Sam’s heart twisted with fear and relief. A sudden, fierce protectiveness surged through him, far greater than his own still burning desire, and he restrained himself from even the slight touch it would take for his own release, in concern for Frodo’s well-being. “Oh, my love!” he murmured, and gathered Frodo to him, burying his face in the soft skin above his collarbone, feeling his heart pounding hard and fast against his breast, his breath, still rough with passion, gusting sweetly past Sam’s ear. He hugged as tightly as he dared, thanking all the powers that this precious life had been spared to him.

“I was so afraid for you, through all those days. And last night…” Sam closed his eyes, breathing deeply the warm, living scent of Frodo, and pressed a kiss to the sturdy pulse, so reassuring at his throat. “I couldn’t bear for our loving to set you back!” And the tears came, despite his happiness.

“I’m all right now, Samwise, just a little tired… Don’t cry, love…” Frodo murmured. He lay back, draped in Sam’s arms, to look at Sam with concern. He gently wiped his tears, then smoothed his hand soothingly along Sam’s shoulder. “Sam, I feel wonderful! How could I not after that? And I want you to, as well. I want to give you such pleasure…” He smiled, and his hand played through Sam’s curls, bringing him close for a kiss; soft lips opened to the gentle caress of tongues, the slightest click of white teeth together as the kiss deepened.

Sam moaned as Frodo’s arms wrapped round him and his slim body shifted closer. Oh, with just the lightest touch… But Sam’s memory of the bleak night before was too fresh, and his love too caring, to accept any risk at all for his Frodo; he closed his eyes, bit his lip, and pulled back from such tempting persuasion. As Frodo tried to reach between them, Sam took a deep breath, catching Frodo’s hand to twine their fingers, and bring it to his own lips, to kiss from delicate knuckles to fingertips, slowly and lovingly.

“Sam?”

Sam looked up from their hands to Frodo’s face and quizzical frown. “Frodo, you’re just the givingest hobbit I’ve ever known, but you need rest now. I can wait a little longer.” Denial flashed in Frodo’s eyes as he shook his head stubbornly and smiled; Sam countered before he could speak. Pushing back the curls from Frodo’s ear, he whispered, his voice husky with restrained desire, “In good time, love, and all the better for you resting a bit!” Frodo’s quick intake of breath and the warmth of his eyes were almost too much for Sam to wait any longer, but… “We’ll love again, soon. ‘Just the beginning’, remember?”

“Sam, I love you!” Frodo brushed soft lips across Sam’s cheek, ruefully aware that even leaning forward for this sweet kiss tired him. “Not least for your patience. Oh, Sam, I won’t always be this tired… And I have imagined so much with you, and for you!”

“No one knows better’n me how strong you are, love, and you will be again. And I can hardly wait for whatever you’ve dreamed up! But we will wait, ‘til you’ve rested…”

Frodo nodded, sighed, and settled reluctantly back into the pillows, his body limp with fatigue. Sam pressed his fingertips to the curve of his lips; Frodo caught his hand, and bit his fingertip lightly, teasingly, then added a tender kiss.

“And, we have time, now. So you just lie back a while, my Frodo, and see if you can enjoy a bit of good hobbit care.”

“Yes, we do have time, now. And I have just enjoyed the very best hobbit care, more than you know – yet! But soon, love, you’ll come to enjoy it, too…” Frodo’s eyes widened at his words’ inadvertent meaning. ‘come to enjoy…’ coming… Oh, my! Did I say that? Well, it is what I want and the only thing I’ve thought of these last hours! Oh, Sam! Heat flushed Frodo’s face and chest. Blushing at the boldness of actually speaking of their loving, he met Sam’s gaze and saw that colour rose on his face, too. With a smile that was almost shy, he added, “I hope you will soon, love – I want that for you.”

“I’m sure I will… do… just that, and, oh, Frodo, that’ll be right out of my dreams!” Sam’s voice was hoarse. In all my dreams, I never thought we’d be talking of loving… Oh, don’t you think on it too much now! Let him rest!

Overcome by the promise of what had been only a secret dream, Sam took Frodo’s hand tenderly into his own, and bent a kiss to his palm. He shivered at the recent memory of his whole-hearted response in his arms, and closed his eyes for a moment. There were passionate depths to his gentle master that awed him. That’s truly Frodo, isn’t it? So reserved and thoughtful and quiet most of the time, but once the decision’s made, he gives his all, whether to loving or whatever he’s set himself to… Come to think, I’ve never known a more strong-willed hobbit, and that’s why he survived... Just you take good care of him, Samwise, now he’s come through it all. He’s given himself into your hands and your trust in every way…

Sam opened his eyes and looked up from Frodo’s hand, to meet his eyes, bright with unshed tears, his lips curved in the softest smile around a whispered, “Sam…” And Frodo brought his hand palm to palm with Sam’s and laced their fingers together.

“Yes, love… so much we will share… and maybe even talk on, together…” Sam smiled and leaned a quick kiss to those parted lips. “But, until then, a little plain old ‘good’ hobbit care may not be quite as much fun as ‘the best’, but that’s just what you need right now.” The looks they exchanged were filled with joyful intent, and awareness that patience was needed, for a while.

Sam squeezed his hand and laid it across his chest. He bent down to gather the drier of the towels Frodo had dropped by the bed, and put it to good service, gently wiping Frodo’s belly and loins, and his own, carefully. And at his slightest nudge, Frodo shifted cooperatively, watching his every movement, keeping his hand always on his golden hair, or sinewy arm, or strong back. Then Sam dropped the towel on the floor, and took his time settling Frodo with soothing strokes, running his hands over muscled thighs and taut belly, up to the hem of the loose nightshirt spilling across his chest to puddle at his waist. Sam straightened the silk to lie unwrinkled beneath his hips, and with a last tender touch and a sigh from both of them, pulled it down to skim over smooth loins and nesting curls.

He’s so warm, now, and even smoother than before, with the oil. Is that sage, and a trace of rose under the lavender? Very nice! Oh, let my touch heal him, too! All these past days, holding him, all I wanted was for him to live. Now, the both of us want so much else, what with this living fire burning between us, and touching him is a whole different thing. Every touch I’ve ever given him was from my love for him, even when our making love was never a part of it… But it is and will be! And Sam… you’d best leave off touching him for you’ll not stand much more of this! As Frodo shifted and settled back into the pillows, submitting to Sam’s gentle insistence, the loose silver chain at his neck glinted across his pale throat, slithering behind his shoulder and beneath silk. The shirt had a definite appeal, and Frodo was too lovely for words… but that thing? A chill passed through him at the thought of its evil caress on his Frodo’s sweet flesh. Perhaps he could lay it aside, if only for a while? Sam caught his eyes, and gestured toward the chain with an inquiring look. “Frodo, love…?”

He regretted the scarcely formed question as Frodo became completely still beneath his hands. Sam, you fool! He’d forgotten about it and now you’ve gone and reminded him! What kind of rest is that?

Frodo took a deep breath. He touched his fingers lightly to the chain, but let it drop rather than pull the Ring around from where it lay hidden at his back, its exact location burning against his skin. He did not want it brought forth between them, especially now. Sam saw his jaw tense with resolve as he looked up to meet his eyes; he shook his head slowly, and said, “No, Sam, it is my burden to bear, until it is taken from me. I hope soon…” But I will not let it touch you. I could not bear for you to know its call… He gave Sam a sad little smile.

Sam nodded, and kissed him with understanding, for this was also Frodo’s strong will, to carry it through. Oh, why’d I have to mention that and worry him?

“Oh, love, I’m sorry I said anything about it! You’ve already done and given so much, just to get it this far. And it will only be a little longer ‘til it’s gone. This is our time, now, and we won’t pay it any mind. Just rest you there, and let your Sam tend you.” Turn his mind from that thing, back to resting. He ran his hand lightly from his shoulder, down the silk covered breast, to rub soothing circles on that lean belly. “You are enjoying, aren’t you, love?”

“Oh, yes! Oh, Sam, that’s… oh…”

Frodo’s sigh, the tightening of his hand on Sam’s arm, and his languid stretching took them both beyond any thought of burdens past or present. But they exchanged a look, realising that much more of such touching would not soothe either of them. And Sam could see that exhausted as he was, his desire to bring pleasure to Sam would soon be the only thing on his mind.

“Frodo, love, just you lie back for more – and rest!” Sam gathered his senses and his self-control, with a deep breath. He resumed a calmer, more languorous stroking that didn’t invite such potent reactions from either of them. Hmmm… thighs, no, later… There, it’s all right on his shins, and these sturdy feet of his. They’ve taken him places neither of us ever thought to see, and they deserve a good rub down. There’s not a place on him that doesn’t delight me, but surely I can just rub his feet!

He shifted downwards on the bed and took Frodo’s foot in his lap. He massaged each joint of his toes and the smooth turn of his ankle, and brushed fingers through the silky hair feathered across the top. Good, you and he can both stand this, and it might even help. A little rest, and a lot of love, and he’ll be right as rain. Just get him home, where there’s nothing more to hurt him, ever… Relieved that he had found a more relaxing way to touch and care for his Frodo, he looked up, smiling, and his breath caught.

There was calm in the darkness of Frodo’s eyes as he watched Sam, such love in the soft curve of his smile and, now, a promise of returning health in the faint blush to his cheeks. Don’t matter whether it’s his feet or those eyes, he’s just plain beautiful through and through, and there isn’t any bit of him anywhere, toenail to ear tip, that I don’t love… and the wonder of it is, is that he loves me the same. But Samwise, you’d better just tend his feet for now!

He restrained his imagination and tried to focus only on Frodo’s foot, asking with raised brow, his tone mild and his smile fond, “Nice, love?”

Frodo flexed his foot contentedly, wiggled his toes, and murmured, “Oh, yes! That feels so good! I didn’t know feet could feel so nice. Thank you…” He sighed and closed his eyes, savouring the heavy feel of his limbs, this sweet weariness from loving, and Sam’s hands laid so tenderly upon him. Ah, Sam, you bring life to me even tired as I am. How could I have thought that your touch would be in the least like the elves’? Your hands feel so much better… My Sam…

With a final gentle squeeze, Sam laid the foot on the bed to turn his attentions to the other. The soft voice had faded, and the gentle hand was no longer caressing him; it lay, palm up and fingers curled, on the bed by his hip. A glance at Frodo’s peaceful face assured Sam that he had finally fallen asleep. Sam cradled his foot on his lap, and let himself simply gaze on the slumbering form, graceful even in sleep, skin flushed, and limbs languid in the aftermath of love. And Sam brushed at the tears that welled with his joy.

My Frodo, all these years, I’ve seen you ‘bout every way, even held you near naked these last days… but I scarcely dared dream of seeing you like this. I love just looking at you, and being here beside you, and knowing that soon… Sam sighed softly and shifted a bit; yes, ‘soon’ would be good… Best turn your thoughts, Sam, or you’ll be waking him.

Sam patted his hand lightly; it was completely relaxed, but cooler than Sam would have liked. He looked for blankets, but Frodo was lying across them, so he shrugged off his opened shirt and waistcoat, sighing as he was reminded of their deft unbuttoning earlier, and tucked them, still warm from his own body, around him. He thought to shed his remaining clothes, trousers already undone and pushed well aside during Frodo’s eager caresses, but he could not bear to leave his side or disturb his sleep. Instead, he cuddled next to him, slipping one arm beneath his shoulders, and sliding his hand beneath the silky nightshirt, to rest warmly over the steady heartbeat, so close to the wound that had almost taken Frodo from him. Set it aside now, Sam. Let it be, and know that he lies safe in your arms, pleasured by your hands… Oh, my love…

Sam lay quietly, finding his own peace simply from watching Frodo sleep. All sign of his suffering had faded, even the bruised look about his eyes, and he looked well, once more, for the first time in far too long.

He is the better for our loving. It was good for him, and so is this sweet sleep. Calm yourself, Sam… patience… Sam pressed Frodo to him, lightly, sighing softly with suppressed desire, but knowing that the tender ache would at last subside, and his own much-needed sleep would come. It has been a long watch, Sam. Rest, for he’ll wake soon enough, and he’ll not want you sleeping then! He smiled drowsily at the thought, and in deep contentment, he snuggled closer into Frodo’s warmth.

Soon…

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