It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, by Lbilover

frodo-and-sam (2)
frodo-and-sam (2)

At midnight Frodo slipped away, escaping into the cold night. The party would go on just fine without him; enough mulled wine and wassail had been consumed to guarantee that the host would not be missed.

Frodo took a turn around the garden under the glittering stars, breathing deep of the clean crisp air. It cleared the muzziness resulting from his own consumption of festive drinks, and perhaps that wasn't a good thing. Perhaps it would have been better on this particular night to eat, drink and be merry so as not to think about what was missing from the celebration.

Because he was thinking about it now. His gaze was drawn almost against his will away from the firefly wink of golden lights in the village below, up the Hill and along the Row. There it stopped, precisely at the location of Number 3, Bagshot Row. Though he could not see the tidy hole where the Gamgees were holding their own Yule festivities, it didn't matter. Like a lodestone it drew him, or rather, one of the hobbits therein drew him: the Gaffer's youngest son, Samwise.

Unconsciously Frodo's feet followed where his eyes led, and he wandered down to the Party Field, recalling the night of his coming of age and how he'd pushed Sam into Rose Cotton's arms, thinking he was doing the right thing for his dear friend. But to watch them twirling around the dance floor had felt anything but right to Frodo and he'd understood his own heart for the first time. He wanted to be the one dancing with Sam, twirling around the dance floor held close in his arms...

He'd lived in dread ever since that night that the Gaffer would announce his son's engagement to Rosie, but so far it hadn't happened. When and if it did, though, Frodo knew he'd regret that impulsive, quixotic gesture for the rest of his life.

"Mr. Frodo?"

Frodo started. It was Sam! He was standing beneath the Party Tree, his hands thrust into his breeches pockets, and looking very much at his ease.

"What are you doing here, Sam?" Frodo asked, stepping nearer. In the moonlight that filtered through the tree's bare branches, Sam's tawny hair looked silvered and his green-gold eyes were dark and mysterious. A little thrill went through Frodo. This was a new Sam, one he didn't recognise, alluring and dangerously attractive, and he made Frodo's pulse leap erratically.

"Same as you, I reckon," replied Sam. He sounded like the usual Sam: forthright and practical.

"I doubt it." Try though he might, Frodo couldn't keep bitterness from his voice.

"Do you, sir?" Sam moved out from the shelter of the tree. "Why don't you tell me why you came, then, and we'll see who's right?"

Frodo was paralysed with fear, his heart hammering like some cornered wild thing. Oh, how could he tell Sam the truth, that he'd been mooning after him like some lovestruck tween?

"Or maybe I should go first, seeing as how the cat's got your tongue." Sam sounded faintly amused,

"Sam..." Frodo wasn't certain if he wanted to beg him to stop or plead with him to go on.

"You see, I couldn't be happy in Number Three, not tonight, not when my heart was up the hill with you, Mr. Frodo."

"It- it was?" Frodo stammered.

"Aye." Sam removed his hands from his pockets and gripped Frodo's shoulders. "And that's what I was doing here, following my heart. I couldn't stop myself, seemingly, and maybe it's because I knew that you'd be here, too, doing the same." He paused then, and stared deep into Frodo's eyes. "I'm right, aren't I?"

Held captive by that intent, serious gaze, Frodo couldn't have lied if he wanted to - but he didn't want to, as it happened. "Yes, oh Sam, yes, you are right. I was following my heart, which was down at Number Three with you."

"Well, now you've found yours and I've found mine." Sam moved his hands along Frodo's shoulders, down his arms, until he could cradle Frodo's own hands between them. "And I'd be as proud and happy as a hobbit can be if you'd keep it, forever and ever."

For a moment, Frodo almost thought he could see that heart between their cupped hands, beating strong and steady and true. "If you'll keep mine, too, Sam, my dear, dearest Samwise, forever and ever."

"Oh Frodo."

They kissed, lips meeting tentatively at first but then eagerly, tongues and bodies twining, and it was long and long before they finally broke apart.

When they did, Frodo asked, "Will you dance with me, Sam? As we should have that night, and would have if I hadn't been such a blind fool?"

"I'd like that right fine," said Sam, and added with a twinkle in his eyes, "I reckon you owe me a dance after pushing me into Rosie's arms, where I didn't want to be, noways."

Frodo laughed, giddy with joy. "I promise never to do so again."

And there beneath the Party Tree, Frodo danced with his Samwise, twirling round and round in his arms to music only they could hear, and their two hearts, joined by love, became one.


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