Dwarf-Boots by Lbilover

For the 2013 Tol Eressea Yuletide Stocking Stuffer prompt 'boots'.

Snow's alright on a fine morning, but I like to be in bed while its falling. Sam Gamgee, FOTR.


'Sam, what are you doing? I thought you said the only place to be on a snowy morning is in bed.'

'So I did, but that snow won't shovel itself.' Once out of bed, however, Sam looked very much as if he'd give anything to return there.

'The shovelling can wait until later, surely? Come back to bed, Sam.' Frodo patted the mattress enticingly.

'It can't wait, though. We're expecting half a dozen deliveries from the village this morning.'

'Oh, of course. I completely forgot. Tell me again why we're having so much company for Yule?'

'Because you invited 'em.'

'If I ever suggest such a foolish idea again, please talk me out of it,' said Frodo with feeling. He rolled onto his side and propped his head on his hand, the better to admire Sam's splendid behind as he padded naked to the clothespress and opened it.

Sam chuckled. 'You can count on me trying, leastways.'

Frodo watched with regret as Sam donned his clothes. He really had been looking forward to them spending a lazy (well, not entirely) morning in bed. He sighed and sat up. 'The shovelling will go faster with two of us,' he remarked.

'Not a chance, love. Your poor feet can't take the snow no more. You'll be up all night with the pain.'

Much as he would have liked to refute Sam's claim, Frodo was forced to admit that he was right. The damage done to his feet in Mordor had made them highly susceptible to cold and damp. Left to himself he would have risked it, but he well knew that if he was up all night with the pain, so would Sam be, taking care of him.

'Very well.' Frodo bowed to the inevitable. 'But I can at least make sure you have a nice hot breakfast ready and waiting when you are done.'

Sam smiled and, with a definite hint of relief in his voice that Frodo had given in so easily, said, 'I'd not say no to that.'

'Then breakfast it is.' Frodo slid out of bed in time to bestow a farewell kiss on his beloved before he departed. But resignation wasn't the same thing as acceptance. Several times as he dressed Frodo's glance went wistfully to the window and the winter wonderland beyond. He loved the snow, and would give anything to be out in it with Sam, even if it were with a shovel in his hands.

An image popped into his mind then of Caradhras and the boots that all save the hobbits and Legolas had worn. In particular he could see clearly Gimli's stout Dwarf-boots with their hobnailed soles that left such amusing, to the hobbits at least, prints in the snow.

Boots. Dwarf-boots. Of course, Frodo thought. Those old Dwarf-boots of Bilbo's. He'd never used them, in fact, he wasn't even certain he still had them. But he dimly recalled last seeing them gathering dust with a motley assortment of mathoms in a storage tunnel. Well, it was worth a look at any rate.

Frodo hurried off to light a lantern and then made his way through the pantry and back, back, back deep into the Hill. He got rather cobwebby and then distracted by the memories some of the truly hideous mathoms brought, but eventually he found the boots tucked away behind a large, gape-mouthed stuffed pike mounted on a wooden base. He reached over the pike, snatched up the boots and hurried away, disconcertingly aware of the beady glass eyes and sharp teeth behind him. He really did need to find a deserving hobbit upon whom he could bestow that pike as a birthday present next year.

The boots were dusty but otherwise sound; Dwarves made things to last. Frodo gave them a quick cleaning with a damp cloth, first knocking them against the stone floor and turning them upside down lest any unexpected inhabitants had taken up residence over the years. When he was done, he carried them to the front door, through which he could hear Sam's tuneful whistling, and put on his coat, muffler, hat and mittens. Then, feeling a trifle foolish it was true, he slid his feet into the boots. They seemed a good fit; at least, his toes weren't crammed up against the front nor did his feet slide around in them when he took a few tentative steps.

Emboldened by his success, Frodo stomped around the hall, giggling at the noise the hobnails made on the stone flags - like a herd of oliphaunts Sam would no doubt say. Grinning, he took up the spare shovel leaning against the wall and let himself out of the smial.

Sam was nearly to the gate, working rhythmically, in time to the tune he was whistling. Frodo paused on the porch for a few moments to admire his beloved, as he loved to do, before stepping awkwardly down onto the shovelled path.

Clomp, clomp, clomp, clomp.

The unexpected sound got Sam's attention. He straightened, looking around for the source of the clomping, and caught sight of Frodo. His eyebrows flew up in surprise when he saw what Frodo was wearing on his feet. 'Are those Mr. Bilbo's old Dwarf-boots?' he asked.

'Yes, I'm wearing them to protect my feet from the snow.'

'Ah, and here I thought an oliphaunt got loose in the garden.'

Frodo childishly stuck out his tongue. 'I knew you were going to say that. But I should like to see you walk quietly in dwarf-boots, Samwise Gamgee,' he retorted. 'Anyway, I think it's a brilliant solution. Now I can go out in the snow without worrying about my feet getting cold and wet.'

'It is a brilliant solution, and that's a fact. I only wish I'd thought of it myself. I could have let you do all the shovelling while I stayed in bed.'

'Sam!' Frodo quickly stooped and scooped up some snow in his free hand, intending to run at Sam and stuff it (or try to) down the back of his neck. But running in dwarf-boots, it turned out, was no easy feat, especially when one was carrying a snow shovel. The shovel got tangled up between the boots as Frodo ran; he tripped, staggered forward, and careened straight into Sam, who fell headfirst into the wind-blown snow that was piled up by the fence at least four feet deep, taking Frodo with him. They lay there breathless and stunned, and then they began to laugh and laugh.

Young Noakes, arriving from Bywater with a cart-load of foodstuffs, pulled up his pony and stared in astonishment. Just on the other side of the fence a pair of hobnailed black boots stuck up out of the snow, and they were, unaccountably, laughing fit to bust.