Catch Me If You Can by Lbilover

Written for the 2012 Cotton Candy Bingo prompt 'Where We Don't Have to Hide'.

‘Catch me if you can!’

With a mischievous smile and a flash of tanned limbs, Frodo jumped up and darted away, quick as a minnow in the Bywater Pool. He raced across the beach toward the ocean, little spurts of sand flying up from beneath his heels, and Sam followed his lithe naked body with frank appreciation. Oh, but he was a sight to gladden the eyes, Frodo Baggins was.

Sam watched with rapt attention as Frodo ran into the water, wading out until it was almost waist deep. He paused then, and tossed Sam a challenging look over his shoulder before raising his arms and diving headfirst into the depths. Sam saw Frodo's body sharply outlined against the far blue horizon for one breathless moment as it arched like a bow, then he cleaved the still surface with a soft splash, and disappeared from sight. A spray of water flew up in his wake, the droplets catching the sunlight in diamond-bright glints.

Sam climbed to his feet and waited for Frodo to reappear; he couldn't help the little catch at his heart as the seconds ticked past. But then ah, there he was, his sleek head breaking the surface like a seal's, and his joyous laughter carrying clear across the water like the ringing of bells from Avallonë.

‘Come on, Sam!’ Frodo called through cupped hands, ‘Catch me - if you can!’ He began to swim away from the beach, employing a lazy backstroke so that he could keep his eyes on Sam.

Sam, nothing loathe, was up in a trice and in hot pursuit; the fine white sand squeaked under his feet as he followed the trail of Frodo's footprints to the shore's edge, where the sea had left behind her gifts of brightly coloured shells with the outgoing tide. He waded through the shallows, tiny silver fish darting about his feet, until he reached the spot where Frodo had stopped. The ground dropped off abruptly here, and the water became deep enough to cover a hobbit from head to toe, and then some.

Not so long ago, the very idea of jumping in would have sent Sam running as fast as he could in the opposite direction - but not any longer.

Raising his arms above his head as Frodo had done, Sam dove into the water without hesitation, feeling it close around him like a welcoming embrace. He kicked his feet hard and pulled with his arms, exhilarating in the sensation of warm seawater sliding over his bare skin. He held his breath for as long as he dared, then surfaced with a pop, taking a large gulp of air and shaking his sopping curls from eyes that stung a little from the salt. He treaded water for a few moments, catching his breath and looking around for Frodo. He found him, swimming nearby in a large languid circle, still moving his arms in that lazy rhythm. He caught Sam’s eye and grinned.

‘Ready, Sam?’ he called, and with a hummingbird-wing flutter of his feet, took off. The chase was on.

Sam set after Frodo with a will, his arm strokes strong and sure. He knew he wasn't Frodo's equal as a swimmer (Frodo had had over sixty years’ more practice than he, after all), but he took a secret delight in his own proficiency as he glided smoothly along, breasting the small swells effortlessly.

Who would ever have believed it? Sam Gamgee, a-swimming in the ocean and, what's more, enjoying every moment of it. He wondered what the good citizens of Hobbiton would say if they could see their staid old Mayor Gardner now.

He laughed aloud as he imagined their astonished expressions, and paid for his laughter with a mouthful of salt water. But whereas once this mishap would have filled him with panic (his first few swimming lessons had, to Frodo's considerable consternation, resulted in him swallowing half the ocean, or so it seemed), this new Sam simply spat out the water, laughed again, and continued on in pursuit of the tantalising figure he could glimpse a short distance ahead of him.

Sam knew he was slowly but surely gaining ground, for it had of course always been Frodo's intention to be caught, and before too long, Sam had drawn to within a body's length, and then an arm's length, and then… With a triumphant ‘Got you!’ he had his prize held firmly by one slippery wet arm. He pulled Frodo toward him, and the two hobbits clung to each other, breathless with laughter, their legs tangling together as they floated in the buoyant water.

‘You win, Sam, fair and square. You’ve caught me. Now, what are you going to do with me?’ Frodo's eyes between their spiky wet lashes danced with mischief. His wildly curling hair was spangled with droplets of water like a net of stars, and his damp skin gleamed as though painted with liquid gold.

Sam felt that he’d caught not a hobbit, but the Prince of some faërie realm deep under the Sea, a creature more rare and beautiful than dreams could ever conjure. Would he vanish next moment, gone forever? The thought was not to be borne, not after the long years of separation.

‘Frodo,’ Sam whispered desperately, answering his question in the only possible way. His fingers swept into the star-spangled curls, and he captured Frodo’s mouth in a possessive kiss. Frodo returned the kiss with equal passion; his salt-sweet mouth opened under Sam’s willingly, and his arms held a desperation to equal Sam’s own as he pulled Sam close, then closer still, as if he wanted to climb right inside him, merge them forever into one. The lighthearted mischief had turned to passion, for so it always was with them now, and Sam felt he was drowning indeed, drowning in a love wider and deeper than the Sea that surrounded them.

‘Sam,’ Frodo gasped, flinging his head back as Sam released his mouth and burned a trail across his cheek and down his throat, ‘Oh Sam, I need you.’ The evidence of that need burned, too, a silken heat brushing Sam's belly with every bob of the waves.

To make love in the sea had once seemed as improbable to Sam as to dive willingly into it and give himself over to its embrace. But his life in the West had taught him differently about so many things, and all of them good, all of them right. Frodo’s legs, slim but strongly corded with muscle, wound around Sam's waist; his hands held tight to Sam's shoulders as he lowered himself in the sweetest impaling. No oil, no preparation was necessary to ease the way. The warm salt water provided what was needed, while Sam kept them afloat with circling, outspread arms and pistoning legs.

And ah, but it was grand, their coupling, a sensation like none other, liquid and weightless yet fiery as the sun and solid as stone. As he filled Frodo and Frodo encompassed him, Sam felt at one not only with his dearest love, but with sea and sky and cloud, and it seemed to him that Nature herself rejoiced in their union.

When it was over, and the last echo of their cries was borne away by a passing breeze, they returned to shore and lay down together on the warm sand to dry. Frodo tucked up close against Sam and played idly with an errant curl at his temple, winding and unwinding the damp strand with his forefinger. Sam wondered a second time what the good citizens of Hobbiton would say if they could see their Mayor now, not to mention the revered Ring-bearer, the both of them sandy and disheveled and bare as babes. He laughed again at the thought, and when Frodo said, 'What's so funny, Sam?', Sam smiled and said, 'I'll tell you later, love. Right now I'd rather kiss you.' And so he did, and there was no one to see them save a solitary sea-bird, soaring high overhead.