Sam couldn’t rightly remember the last time he’d celebrated a proper Yule. Not since before he was a tween, certainly, and his dad had set him out to apprentice in the kitchen at The White Stag.
Yuletide at the Stag had always been especially busy, as the inn was a popular haunt not only for the local hobbits, but for travellers on the Old North Road, including Dwarves passing on their way to and from their mines in the Blue Mountains and even the occasional Ranger looking for a hot meal, some good ale and a little Yuletide cheer.
Run off their feet, they were - cooks and serving lasses and lads and scullery maids alike- with barely time to catch their breaths, much less enjoy the festivities of the season. Sam had never minded the hustle and bustle, though. He’d enjoyed helping to prepare the Yule feast - increasingly his responsibility as his skill and reputation grew - and the extra coppers slipped into his apron pocket by the well-fed, well-to-live patrons of the establishment had been welcome indeed.
Not so welcome had been the offers from hobbits both female and male (not to mention the stray Dwarf or two) to bestow on Sam another sort of Yuletide bonus. Early on, before he’d learnt to be adept at the art of avoidance, his bum had suffered any number of painful small bruises from being surreptitiously and lustfully pinched.
Looking back, Sam realised that he’d known in his heart even then that only one hobbit would ever be permitted such liberties, although he hadn’t discovered the identity of said hobbit until he’d been sent to Hobbiton to do for Mistress Lobelia Sackville-Baggins. It was at one of her Saturday afternoon tea parties, a month into his employ, that Sam had first encountered a pair of sparkling blue eyes set in a face so fair that he felt certain the Elves must weep with envy were they ever to look upon it, and the thunderbolt of recognition had struck him squarely between the eyes.
It had made no difference how often he told himself that he was a ninnyhammer, dolt and fool for falling in love with one who was not only high above Sam’s own station, but was also (gossip had it) as flighty as any butterfly and harder to pin down than a moonbeam. Which only went to show, Sam eventually discovered, that one ought never listen to gossipmongers. For that very same hobbit who rumour painted as carelessly loving and discarding any number of heartbroken swains, was now Sam’s own true love, and a more devoted (not to mention demonstrative and imaginative) lover had surely never existed.
In the months since they had scandalised the entire neighborhood (and beyond) by eloping to Bag End in the middle of one of Mistress Lobelia’s parties, Frodo had regularly made free with Sam’s splendid arse (as he liked to call it), and if he tried to pinch it at Yule, well, Sam would obligingly stay in one place and let him.
“By the by, Frodo, shall we be seeing you and Sam at Brandy Hall next month for Yule?” Merry asked as he finished strapping his pack to the cantle of his pony’s saddle.
“Brandy Hall?” exclaimed Pippin, already mounted on a frisky chestnut that was dancing impatiently in the frosty air. “Frodo and Sam will be spending Yule at Great Smials, isn’t that right, cousin?”
Alarm, and no little panic, filled Sam as he listened to Merry and Pippin hotly arguing the matter. He didn’t want to go to either place, and that was a fact. He had been looking forward to his first Yule at Bag End, with a proper Yule dinner with all the trimmings cooked by himself, and Frodo as the sweet for afters.
Frodo glanced at him, and gave him a brief, reassuring smile. “Disabuse yourselves of the notion, dearest cousins,” he said firmly, cutting off the discussion, “that Sam and I have any intention whatsoever of spending Yule anywhere other than here at Bag End – alone.”
“But Frodo…” Pippin began.
Frodo raised his gracefully arched eyebrows with the practiced hauteur of one who was expert at depressing pretensions. “The subject is not open for debate, Peregrin.”
Merry swung up into the saddle and settled lightly down. “Very well, cousin Frodo, have it your own way, but you’ll be missing out on a chance to introduce Sam to all the fun and games, you know.”
“Oh, I daresay Sam and I will contrive to amuse ourselves tolerably well,” Frodo replied blandly, but a hint of unaccustomed sternness showed in his eyes.
Seeing it, Sam understood all at once the sort of fun and games to which Merry was referring and his cheeks grew hot with embarrassment. The casual attitude of many gentlehobbits toward coupling was a mystery to Sam, and though he had lived with Frodo in his luxurious hole now for several months, he still felt very much the country bumpkin.
“Why not let Sam speak for himself?” Merry challenged. “Perhaps he’d enjoy a chance to, er, expand his horizons. I’m sure there would be no lack of hobbits interested in helping him. What say you, Sam?”
Sam’s cheeks were now blazing like a Yule bonfire and his tongue was tied up into knots. He looked helplessly at Frodo.
Frodo’s hands had clenched into white-knuckled fists, and the stern look turned into a lethal glare. “Sam,” he said in a soft but deadly voice, “belongs to me, and if you think for one instant that I’ll allow anyone else to so much as look at him…”
But Merry’s grey eyes were twinkling with amusement, and Pippin was hooting with laughter. “Oh, how I do enjoy getting a rise out of the unflappable Frodo Baggins. Although it has become sadly tame sport since you tumbled into love with Sam, I fear.”
Hot indignation surged up inside Sam then, replacing the very different sort of heat Frodo’s possessive words had roused. He opened his mouth, intending to let Merry, gentlehobbit or no gentlehobbit, know what he thought of his teasing ways, but it proved unnecessary.
“One of these days, Merry darling, I shall strangle you, you know,” Frodo remarked.
To Sam’s great surprise, Frodo had relaxed. The fire had left his eyes, and he now appeared almost amused at having fallen so neatly into Merry’s trap.
Merry grinned down, unrepentant. “You’re a deuced good sport, cousin.”
“Perhaps,” Frodo responded dryly, “but nevertheless, if you are wise you’ll make yourself scarce lest I change my mind and decide to strangle you after all. But first…” He strolled up to the shoulder of his cousin’s bay pony and Merry leant down for a farewell embrace.
And quite an embrace it was, Sam observed: Frodo’s fingers twined in Merry’s brown curls, and the kiss was open-mouthed and not brief. When Frodo eventually stepped back, a cat-playing-with-a-mouse smile of satisfaction curled his lips.
“You always were the best kisser in the Shire, curse you,” uttered Merry, sounding dazed. He was swaying a little in the saddle. “And Sam is one lucky dog.”
“Hoy!” exclaimed Pippin, indignant. “What about me? I’m a good kisser, too!”
“You ain’t in Frodo’s league. But you have your talents, my Pip, never fear,” Merry reassured him.
Sam couldn’t help it. He blushed furiously again as the two hobbits exchanged a look that left no doubt of the state of affairs between them, and an image flashed into his mind of a bare-arsed Merry, his trousers puddled around his ankles, enthusiastically tupping a whimpering, moaning equally bare-arsed Pippin over a beer barrel in the wine cellar two days earlier. Sam hadn’t intentionally spied upon them, and he’d beat a hasty retreat before they became aware of his presence, but nevertheless the scene was blazoned on his memory.
After a final farewell and promise to visit soon after the New Year, Merry and Pippin set their heels to their ponies’ sides, and with a whoop and a holler clattered off down the Hill Lane, and were soon lost to sight.
Sam had become genuinely fond of Frodo’s cousins, not least because they were (unlike many of the scandalised gentry) accepting of his place in Frodo’s life, but he couldn’t be sorry to see them go. He was tired of tiptoeing about the smial, afraid of what he might stumble upon, and their presence severely restricted the locations available to him and Frodo to do the very same sorts of things.
As they walked slowly back up the path to the front door, Sam remarked severely, “You’re a rogue, Frodo Baggins.”
Frodo laughed and slipped his arm through Sam’s and hugged it. “I thought it a far neater punishment than strangling him. Disposing of the dead body would be so messy and unpleasant. You didn’t mind the kiss, did you?” he asked more seriously, searching Sam’s face. “It was only meant to teach Merry a lesson.”
“Aye, I know what you were about, Frodo. Still…” Sam halted and turned Frodo to face him. “A little reminder from the lucky dog you ought to be a-kissin’ won’t go amiss, I reckon.”
Frodo’s nose and cheeks were cold, but his mouth was hot and needy, and his slender, hard-muscled body fit perfectly against Sam’s softer, rounder form - almost, Sam sometimes thought, as if Ilúvatar himself had designed them to match and mate.
“Merry got it wrong; I’m the lucky dog,” Frodo murmured some time later. “But now I want to know what is troubling you, sweeting.”
Sam opened his mouth to protest that there was nothing troubling him, but Frodo swiftly shook his head. “Don’t deny it, my love. I saw your blush when Merry mentioned Pippin’s ‘talents’. What happened? Did you come upon them tupping in the pantry?” He frowned. “I warned Merry and Pippin to be discreet and not upset you, curse them.”
For one with a reputation for indolence and self-absorption, Frodo was surprisingly astute, and very little escaped him, especially where Sam was concerned. Sam should have known that Frodo would pick up on his embarrassment and divine what it meant.
“I reckon they thought they was bein’ discreet, Frodo, for it weren’t the pantry but the wine cellar,” Sam said. “Merry had Pippin… well, bent over the beer barrel.” His already red ear tips grew redder, and despite himself his cock twitched behind the placket of his breeches.
“Indeed? Over the beer barrel you say?” Frodo looked decidedly vexed. “I can’t believe they thought of using it before we did.”
Sam couldn’t help it. He burst out laughing. “Oh Frodo, don’t you never stop thinkin’ of new places for the two of us to make love?”
Frodo grinned, and hugged him. “Never! But Sam,” he continued, more seriously now, “I’m very sorry indeed if they distressed you by their behaviour.”
“It ain’t that exactly,” Sam confessed, and looked down, shamefaced. How could he tell Frodo the truth: that the sight, far from upsetting him, had left him hard and aching? He couldn’t say it aloud, he simply couldn’t. What would Frodo think of him?
“Sam. My love, look at me.” Cool fingers slid beneath Sam’s chin and gently urged his head up until he was staring, willy-nilly, straight into Frodo’s eyes. “It’s all right, you know,” he said gently. “There’s no shame in being aroused by what you saw.”
“How did you know…” he exclaimed, amazed, and then let out a low gasp as Frodo boldly traced the outline of his shaft, slightly fuller than its normal state, through his breeches.
“Your very own body gave me the answer.”
“It- it ain’t on account of them,” Sam blurted out, afraid that Frodo might misinterpret the cause of his arousal. “’Tis imaginin’ the two of us down there, and me a-doin’ that to you.”
“Oh Sam, you don’t have to explain.” Frodo leaned in and kissed him lightly on the lips then drew back. “Through some miracle I have been given your great heart for safekeeping, and I will never doubt you, beloved. Never.”
“Nor I you, love,” Sam replied, humbled. He should have known Frodo would understand. And yet sometimes looking into Frodo’s eyes was like looking into a mirror. They were neither of them entirely able to believe in their good fortune, even yet. Perhaps they never would, and that might be all to the good, for he meant never to take what they had found together for granted.
“Come with me, Sam,” Frodo said, impetuously seizing his hand and dragging him toward the smial; in one of those quicksilver mood changes that kept Sam constantly enthralled, passion and impatience had replaced Frodo’s unwonted gravity.
Sam didn’t have to ask where they were going, or why.
As Yule neared, Frodo threw himself into the preparations with gleeful abandon. The indolent sophisticate was replaced by a boyish, wholly charming hobbit who was (for a wonder) up betimes, instead of lingering in bed and tempting Sam to linger with him under the warm eiderdown comforter.
Since Sam never had to be tempted very long or very hard to be persuaded to linger, he found himself sometimes regretting this new bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Frodo. But as he suspected (and rather hoped) that Frodo would return to his slugabed ways once the excitement of Yule was over, he couldn’t be too disappointed.
Besides, there were definite compensations, such as awakening one morning a se’ennight before Yule to the sight of Frodo standing naked at the frost-rimed window, hopping shivering from foot to foot, and exclaiming, “Oh Sam, come and look! It’s snowing!”
Sam dragged the comforter from the bed and joined Frodo by the window. Together, cocooned inside the blanket with their arms about each other, they stared out in silent wonder at the magical scene. The garden had been transformed into a splendour of silver-white, and the snow was still falling rapidly.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Frodo said in a hushed, reverent voice, and Sam, his gaze now fastened on that flawless profile, replied huskily, “Aye, that it is.”
Frodo looked at him then, and in an instant Sam was floundering, drowning, lost, just as he had been the very first time those blue, blue eyes ever met his own. They came together, lips meeting in a kiss that began in exquisite tenderness but swiftly grew into burning need.
Making love with Frodo was never the same twice, and this coupling, done in complete silence save for their quickening breaths and low moans, was as magical as the snow-covered world beyond the window. The comforter fell away as Sam lifted Frodo onto the window ledge and entered him in one smooth thrust, and with Frodo’s crossed ankles holding him tightly about the neck, they moved in a dream-like, sensuous rhythm. Frodo’s shoulders were pressed against the glass, and the heat from his bare skin melted the ice so that rivulets of moisture trickled down the pane. Beyond, the swirling snow made a fitting backdrop for that tousled, tossing dark head, those flushed damask cheeks and pouting, kiss-reddened lips. When it was over, they slid bonelessly to the floor and pulled the eiderdown around them. They remained where they lay for some time, too lazy and comfortable to move, and watched the snow spiralling down.
Later in the day, after the snowstorm had departed and the Sun was poking her head through the rapidly dispersing clouds, they set off for the woods above the Hill, Sam pulling a wooden sledge on which to pile greenery – mistletoe, holly and pine boughs - to decorate the smial. It was teeth-achingly cold and the snow was brittle and slick underfoot, but they made light work of the climb, laughing breathlessly as they clasped hands and helped each other up the steep slope.
When they had breasted the Hill and stood high above Hobbiton, they paused to rest. Sam looked out over the snow-blanketed countryside, dotted with hobbit-holes whose presence was only revealed by the blue-grey tendrils of smoke curling up from their chimneys, and said, “Well, it’s cheek maybe to say it, Frodo, but I reckon I understand how Manwë and Varda feel when they’re a-standin’ atop Mount Taniquetil and lookin’ down.” He and Frodo had been reading together about the Elder King, most powerful of the Ainur, in one of Bilbo’s Elvish books.
Frodo didn’t laugh, only held Sam’s hand more tightly. “If they share one tenth the measure of happiness that we do, my beloved,” he said quietly, “then they might understand how we feel.”
“Sam, you sleepyhead, wake up!”
An impatient voice roused Sam from the depths of slumber.
“Wha…” he muttered. “Wha’s happened? Is the smial on fire?”
“Oh Sam, wake up, do!” Frodo’s hand shook his shoulder. “It’s Yule morning, and I can’t wait another moment for you to open your gifts.”
“Didn’t you never go to sleep at all, Frodo?” Sam reluctantly sat up, yawning like a cavern, and then rubbed at his gritty eyes with the heels of his hands. It seemed as if he’d barely closed them, which wasn’t far from the truth.
He and Frodo had shared roasted chestnuts and mulled wine by the fire in the sitting room the previous evening, and stayed up until midnight to welcome the arrival of Yule with a toast and a kiss. One thing had, of course, inevitably led to another – in this instance, Frodo straddling Sam’s lap and the two of them wriggling out of their trousers just far enough to do the deed with frantic haste and the lavender oil always kept near at hand- and it had been quite a while later before they had finally made their way to bed, with frequent stops to take advantage of the mistletoe Frodo had hung from nearly every roof beam. After which, a certain imperative condition of Sam’s had to be dealt with again, and then it was Frodo’s turn, and by the time Sam finally fell asleep, the grey light of dawn was venturing out from behind the hills, like a mouse’s whiskers twitching as it gathered courage to leave the safety of its hole in search of food.
“I was too excited to sleep, Sam,” Frodo admitted. He was wearing his favourite robe of soft midnight blue wool belted around his narrow waist, a sight that normally drove all else out of Sam’s mind save lustful admiration for how the colour complemented his creamy skin and deepened the blue of his eyes. But at that moment Sam was too preoccupied by the dark smudges beneath those glorious eyes to be distracted.
He opened his mouth intending to scold Frodo for behaving with no more sense than a bairn, but the words never left his mouth, for he caught sight of something that caused his jaw to fall open in sheer astonishment: the foot of their bed was entirely covered in paper-wrapped parcels of varying sizes and shapes. There were at least twenty of them, perhaps more.
“These ain’t all for me, surely?” he gasped, thunderstruck.
“Of course they are for you.” Frodo’s brows rose in surprise. “Who else would they be for?” He grinned, eyes brimful of mischief. “I had the deuce of a time sneaking them into the smial without you seeing, and then finding hiding places for them all.”
“But… but Frodo,” Sam stammered. “’Tis too much.”
“Nonsense, my love. I can’t remember when I’ve had as much fun as I did choosing your gifts. I’ve never had anyone of my own, entirely my own, I mean, to spoil." He reached out for one of the presents and handed it to Sam. “Now stop your complaining and open this,” he admonished him.
It wasn’t the admonishment that had the desired effect on Sam. No, it was Frodo’s words: I’ve never had anyone of my own, entirely my own, I mean, to spoil.
Frodo had related the story of his life to Sam shortly after their elopement, how his parents had been drownded in a boating accident on the Brandywine River when he was just a child, and how he’d grown up running wild in the rabbit warren that was Brandy Hall until his uncle Bilbo had adopted him and brought him to Bag End to live. From the tales Frodo told Sam of his life at Bag End, it was clear that Bilbo had sincerely loved his nephew and heir. But despite the ties of blood and affection, the old hobbit, restless for Adventure and the open road, had gone off again some years’ back in the company of Dwarves, leaving Frodo behind, and making him, to all intents and purposes, an orphan a second time.
So if it pleased Frodo now to spoil Sam, then spoiled Sam would be, and gladly. For this abundance of gifts wasn’t about the spending of coin - though coin in plenty Frodo had clearly spent - but the spending of love, and there could be no harm in that.
“All right,” he said, taking the crackling brown paper in his hands and pulling at the string while Frodo looked on with eager anticipation.
Never had Sam passed such an hour. The bedspread soon was covered in discarded paper, bits of string, and a growing mound of brocade, velvet, wool and linen. There was a sumptuous hooded cloak of fur-lined moss-green wool, there were embroidered weskits in muted shades of gold, rust and green, and beautifully cut trousers in shades of brown to match, there were linen shirts and fine lawn nightshirts. There was a dressing gown of wheat-gold wool soft as Frodo’s own, a dozen pocket handkerchiefs embroidered with Sam’s initials, a pair of fur-lined leather gloves, a cunningly carved apple wood pipe, and a tooled leather tobacco pouch. And there were books, too, books on cookery and gardening, and a leather-bound journal in which Sam could write recipes or sketch designs for the flowerbeds.
When Sam finally finished opening his gifts, he sat amidst the bounty of Frodo’s love, feeling more than a little stunned. “I… I don’t hardly know what to say,” he confessed.
“Thank you will do nicely for starters,” Frodo replied, clearly delighted at having reduced Sam to near speechlessness.
Instead, Sam lunged for him, swept him into a fierce embrace, and kissed him soundly. “You’re daft, Frodo Baggins,” he said thickly, “completely daft, but oh, I do love you so, and I’ll thank you for all but them nightshirts. Seein’ as how you won’t let me sleep in naught but my skin, I don’t know what you was a-thinkin’of to waste your coin on ‘em.”
“Ah, but you shall see that there is a method to my madness, Sam.” Frodo sat back, flushed and breathless, and picked up one of the nightshirts. “Even nightshirts have their uses. Here, put this on so I can demonstrate properly.”
Sam took the nightshirt and pulled it over his curly head, wondering what Frodo was about, but knowing full well that it must have to do with sex. Although he’d have sworn after the night they’d just passed that he hadn’t the strength for another round of lovemaking, his cock had other ideas. The billowy material settled around him like a cloud, and the soft folds draped across his lap could not conceal the rapid swelling at his groin.
“Lie back, sweeting,” Frodo directed, and Sam, his heart thudding with anticipation, did as instructed. He stared almost greedily as Frodo untied his robe, shrugged carelessly out of it, and then tossed it aside. The sight of that slender, supple body, with the evidence of Frodo’s desire jutting stiffly from the dark curls at the juncture of his thighs - thighs that bore a number of small bruises and red marks that had been put there by Sam himself in the throes of their lovemaking – had its usual effect. Pride of possession welled up inside Sam, and he exulted afresh at the knowledge that this glorious creature belonged to him and him alone - and always would.
Frodo bent over Sam on all fours, and made a slow, sweeping survey with eyes gone dark with desire. “I can see your nipples right through the cloth,” he whispered hotly, lowering his head, “and it makes me want to do this…” He laid the flat of his tongue over the thin fabric and wet it so that it moulded to Sam’s nipple, and then he blew on it, and Sam whimpered as his nipple furled into a tight aching bud. Frodo repeated the process with the other nipple, and followed tongue with teeth, dragging the damp fabric back and forth across the sensitised peaks. Sam arched involuntarily and moaned.
“I- I’m beginnin’ to understand what you meant about a method to your madness,” he gasped. His entire body had broken out in a light sweat, so that the material clung revealingly to his thighs and belly, and a growing damp spot showed where his cock was already leaking.
Frodo’s laugh was husky and intimate. “I thought you might.” He attacked Sam’s navel next, laving it and then pushing the fabric into the recess with his muscular, clever tongue and swirling it around, while his hands stroked repeatedly over the roundness of Sam’s ample stomach, something he seemingly never tired of doing. He raised his head. “Mm, I do love your belly, Sam,” he sighed happily. “But there is something I love even better.”
He moved one hand lower, and grasping Sam’s shaft firmly, began to slide the fabric up and down the turgid length, slowly and teasingly at first, and then faster and harder, building a delightful friction with the cloth that reduced Sam to a state of head-thrashing incoherence. His hands grappled desperately for purchase, and bunched in velvet and wool on either side, twisting it mercilessly between unheeding fingers.
Just when he was certain that he couldn’t take another second more of the sweet torture without bursting in flames Frodo released him.
“No,” he pleaded, practically sobbing, “Frodo, please…” For Frodo was a master of the art of delaying gratification, and Sam thought he would surely lose his mind if he wasn’t allowed to spill, and soon.
“So impatient, sweeting?” Frodo purred with satisfaction. “Well then, far be it from me to disappoint you…” He rose to his knees, and swiftly and surely impaled himself on Sam’s cock, taking him in cloth and all. He didn’t delay, but rode Sam hard, and the sensation of his body rhythmically rising and falling, the glove-tight heat of his narrow passage experienced through the thin layer of lawn, was bliss beyond measure, and unlike anything Sam had ever felt before.
It was only a matter of a few minutes before his climax, unstoppable as an express train, tore through him. Frodo, his hand a fast-moving blur on his own length, let out a sharp cry and spurted onto Sam’s belly, staining the cloth with his seed, even as Sam stiffened and arched his back and released his own seed in toe-curling pulses.
It was Sam who recovered his voice first. “I reckon you’re goin’ to have to order a dozen more of these nightshirts at least, Frodo,” he jested weakly. “We’re like to ruin one a week if we keep a-goin’ at this rate.” He supposed he ought to be dismayed at the soiling of an expensive, brand-new nightshirt, but he couldn’t regret it for a single moment.
A weak chuckle greeted this statement. Frodo, who had had just enough strength to dismount before collapsing in a panting heap, crawled up Sam’s chest and kissed him. “I shall place the order next time I am in town,” he promised, and then with jaw-cracking yawn he tucked his head beneath Sam’s chin, and snuggled in against him. “Happy Yule, my beloved,” he said with a sleepy, satiated smile, and promptly fell fast asleep.
“Happy Yule, Frodo-love,” Sam murmured, kissing him tenderly on the temple, the nearest spot he could reach. He dozed for a time, enjoying the pleasant lassitude that followed release and the silken warmth of Frodo’s body in his arms, and then he gently eased his unconscious love to the side so that he could get up, and covered him tenderly with the eiderdown.
It was time to get to work. There was water to draw from the well, and fires to light, and baths to start heating, and breakfast to cook, and best of all, the Yule feast to finish preparing. Sam could hardly wait.
As he gathered up his fine new clothes, carefully folding some to put in the clothespress and hanging others on a peg on the wall, Sam thought about his own Yule gift for Frodo, which Frodo had attempted (unsuccessfully) to weasel out of him for days. He hoped it would please him. It wasn’t costly or grand like the things he’d received, but it would be given with love, and that, after all, was what mattered most.
Before ever Sam had fallen under the spell of Frodo’s blue eyes, he’d been taken by the sight of a nail-bitten forefinger dabbing at the crumbs of one of his glazed apple tartlets. As he’d hurried over with a tray to offer more pastries to this guest at Mistress Lobelia’s tea party, the unknown hobbit had sucked the buttery crumbs from his damp finger, and a look of positively orgasmic enjoyment had overspread the fairest face Sam had ever clapped eyes upon. The sight of those plump lips wrapped around that finger had sent unexpected tingles streaking through him from the top of his curly head to the bottom of his hairy toes, the precursor to the thunderclap that followed moments later.
In the intervening months, nothing had changed. Any cook worth his salt craved an appreciative audience for his cookery, and Frodo was an entire audience in and of himself, and one without peer.
Sam intended to outdo himself cooking for Frodo this Yule, and that meant banishing the source of his inspiration from the kitchen for the duration. He knew all too well the sorts of interruptions he could expect otherwise – the kitchen table being a favored location for a spot of lovemaking involving foodstuffs – and he intended to be strong for once. Frodo didn’t go willingly. He sulked and pouted and called Sam a heartless wretch, but Sam simply handed him a mug of milky tea and a currant scone, said that would have to last him until dinner, and ruthlessly pushed him out the door.
Frodo did stick his elegant, twitching nose into the kitchen from time to time to sniff the mouth-watering smells and complain that Sam was too cruel, starving a poor hobbit to death. Sam affected not to hear him. He knew right well that Frodo had ample fortification in his study, in the form of tins of biscuits, nuts and dried fruits.
The time flew by as Sam kneaded and rolled, and chopped and diced, and stirred and beat. At last all was in readiness: a bright fire of sweet apple wood was burning in the dining room fireplace; two places had been set at one end of the linen-covered table, using Bilbo’s best crystal, china and silver; wax tapers in silver candlesticks glowed on either side of a centerpiece fashioned by Frodo from pine boughs, cones, holly, and red velvet bows; several bottles of wine stood ready for opening; and the food was arranged on the gleaming walnut sideboard, waiting to be dished out.
But before they sat down to eat, Sam spared a few minutes to wash up and change for dinner. Cooking was messy work, and bits of dough and grease and batter bespeckled his skin and clothes. After a quick dunk of his head and scrubbing with a damp clout and soap, Sam pulled on his clean clothes.
When he entered their bedchamber, he discovered that Frodo had laid one of his new outfits out on the bed for him to wear: a weskit of moss-green velvet embroidered in gold thread with an intricate pattern of entwined leaves, wool trousers of rich, leaf mold brown, a cream-coloured linen shirt with wide gathered sleeves, heavily embroidered at collar and cuffs, and a new pair of braces. The clothes fit wonderfully well, although the trousers were cut ever-so-slightly too snug in the crotch- Frodo’s doing, Sam felt certain, for he had stated more than once that any hobbit as well-endowed as Sam had no right to hide the evidence behind baggy trousers.
A short time later, a suddenly shy Sam joined Frodo in the dining room, hoping that he didn’t appear absurd in his fancy new clothes, like a servant aping his betters. But his discomfiture fled howling before the stunned look in Frodo’s eyes.
“Oh Sam,” Frodo exclaimed. He set down the bottle of Old Winyards he’d just uncorked, and went to Sam and took him by the hands. “Oh beloved, that waistcoat does become you well, just as I expected.” He held Sam’s arms out to the side and studied him, a slight smile playing about his lips. “I vow, sweeting, you look even more distractingly handsome than usual, and I shall be hard put to it not to ravish you before we’ve even reached the main course.”
“Frodo Baggins.” Sam shook his head in amused exasperation, even as he flushed at being called ‘distractingly handsome’. “If ever a hobbit had a one-track mind, ‘tis you. But I don’t want to hear no more talk of ravishin’ - not until after you’ve tried the goose leastways. I spent a fair mort of time findin’ the plumpest, tenderest bird at market, and though I say so as probably shouldn’t, my prune and chestnut stuffing ain’t to be sneezed at neither. Now sit you down and I’ll serve the soup.”
“If you insist,” Frodo said, but added slyly, “You cooks are a bossy, not to mention boastful, lot, I must say.” And then his hand stole out and pinched Sam smartly on the bum, and Sam couldn’t help but grin. Somehow he’d had a feeling that pinch was coming.
In the event, Frodo lost interest (temporarily at least) in ravishing Sam when, after devouring a bowl of creamy mushroom soup with bacon, he sat down with a plate piled high with buttered mushrooms, pickled beets, almond beans and chestnut sprouts, rosemary roast potatoes and parsnips, onion and cheese tartlets, and of course the perfectly cooked goose - crisp on the outside, tender on the inside - with its accompanying stuffing and lashings of gravy. He returned to the sideboard for seconds, and then thirds, and even fourths of the mushrooms. Sam had made enough for ten hobbits, knowing how Frodo lusted after buttered mushrooms, but even so, there was barely enough to satisfy that lust.
Where he put it all was a mystery to Sam, for that sylph-like form never gained an ounce no matter how much Frodo ate, but pack it away he did, along with several glasses of wine. The throaty moans and murmurs of heartfelt delight that issued from Frodo while he ate were heady music to Sam’s ears.
“Oh Sam,” Frodo must have exclaimed a dozen times at least as he bit into some new delicacy and his eyelids drooped shut and a flush overspread his cheeks. “Oh Sam.”
It was a bit like having sex, Sam decided eventually, only maybe not quite as much fun.
There were mince pies and plum pudding and raspberry trifle for afters, and a golden sweet wine that went down smooth as melted butter and left them both a little tipsy and inclined to giggle. They decided to leave the clearing up for later, and went into the sitting room where Sam had a variety of cheeses and a bottle of port waiting for them, along with the iced lemon biscuits and jam tartlets that Frodo so loved and Sam baked by the dozens each week.
“I vow, I shall never move again; I’m full to bursting,” declared Frodo, collapsing into his armchair with a groan. He patted the tiny bulge under his silver-embroidered ice-blue satin waistcoat (the one that had once served as a gag to stifle Sam’s cries of passion as he and Frodo made love in Mistress Lobelia’s broom cupboard, and was now only brought out on special occasions). “Oh, is that a Shirebourne cheese?” he asked with sudden interest, sitting up.
“Full to burstin’, are you?” Sam said dryly, cutting a sizeable wedge of the cheese. He set it on a small plate, along with a few of the biscuits and an apricot tartlet, and handed it to Frodo.
Frodo nibbled at a corner of the crumbly, honey-flavoured cheese, and his eyes laughed at Sam. “There’s always room for a little bit more,” he said provocatively, although he rather spoilt the effect by giggling.
He looked utterly enchanting in the firelight, and Sam, recalling his desire to have Frodo for afters, lost interest in the cheese. There was a spot of goose grease on Frodo’s chin, and a hectic flush high on his cheekbones from the wine he’d drunk. His ebon curls tumbled around his ivory brow, and his eyes, always captivating, were especially brilliant, putting the brightest stars in the heavens to shame. He’d unfastened the two top buttons of his shirt, in deference to the warmth generated by fire and wine, and the hollow at the base of his throat glistened. He was temptation incarnate, and Sam wanted him desperately. But there was some gift giving yet to do.
Sam poured Frodo a glass of the port, and brought it to him. “I’d like to give you your present now, Frodo,” he said, “but I’ll need a bit of time to fetch it. You’ll have to stay here until I’m done, and no cheating, mind.”
“Of course,” Frodo agreed so airily that Sam was suspicious at once. Patience was not one of Frodo’s virtues, not by a long road.
“Frodo…” Sam looked severe. “Say you promise.”
“Oh, very well, I promise,” Frodo grumbled, taking the glass, and he settled back in his armchair with his toes stretched out toward the fire and the plate balanced on his stomach.
Sam held his hands over Frodo’s eyes as they entered their bedchamber. He didn’t trust Frodo not to peek if left to his own devices, and truthfully, walking from the sitting room to the bedroom had been a very enjoyable experience, what with his front closely fitted to that perfect, pert behind, and his sensitive cock rubbing against it with every step.
“Well? Well?” Frodo demanded. “Aren’t we there yet?” He had no idea where there was, for Sam had turned him in circles in the hallway on purpose to confuse him.
“Aye, we are. Would you like to take a look?” he teased.
“Sam! Uncover my eyes at once if you please!” Frodo pried impatiently at Sam’s fingers.
“Here we go. One, two, three…” Sam dropped his hands, and waited anxiously for Frodo’s reaction.
There was a long silence while Frodo stared around him. “What miracle is this?” he whispered, moving forward into the room. “Has Spring arrived behind my back and no one told me?”
Everywhere there were flowers blooming in clay pots, dozens of them, so that the room now resembled a fragrant bower. Sam had arranged them on the bedside table, the dressing table, the mantelpiece and windowsill, and in large pots set out all over the floor. Yellow and purple crocuses, and butter-yellow and paper-white daffodils bloomed alongside pink hyacinths and sky-blue scillas. There were clusters of lily of the valley with their delicate ivory bells, and blush-pink amaryllis with frilled petals towering above them, and tulips in every shade of the rainbow.
Sam watched as Frodo made a slow circuit of the room, pausing frequently to caress the edges of velvety petals, or stooping to sniff their perfume. He spoke not a single word, and Sam gnawed at his lip, and wondered if he had made a terrible mistake.
“’Tain’t a proper gift, I know,” he said apologetically, “but winter can be such a drab time, can’t it, and you deserve bright colours for Yule, Frodo, and sweet scents to cheer you.”
“Not a proper gift?” Frodo straightened and turned toward Sam, and only then did Sam see that there were tears sparkling in his eyes. “Not a proper gift?” he repeated, and running at Sam, threw his arms around his neck. “Oh beloved, what more proper gift could there be than one made by the magic you wield with your own hands? Truly, you must be a wizard in disguise to bring Spring to life in the very heart of winter.”
“Nay, I ain’t no wizard, nor ever want to be,” Sam said, blushing. “I only talked to ‘em, you see, and told ‘em as how they needed to bloom for the fairest hobbit as ever walked in Middle-earth, and they listened.”
Frodo’s arms tightened in a stranglehold, and Sam felt the dampness of tears on his neck. “Hush now, hush,” he whispered, distressed. “I didn’t mean to go a-makin’ you cry, Frodo.” He gentled his hand down Frodo’s back.
“But they are tears of joy,” Frodo said in a choked whisper, “for this is the most beautiful gift I have ever received in my life.”
Filled with an aching tenderness, Sam kissed away the salt trails from Frodo’s cheeks, uttering such poor words of love as he possessed; nothing he could ever say was adequate to express the depth and breadth of his feelings for the hobbit in his arms.
Inevitably, as Sam brushed his lips across Frodo’s face, their lips met, quivered and clung.
Soon all else faded before the thrum of passion building and beating through their veins as the kiss lingered and deepened, and their bodies pressed closer and closer.
The heady smell of the springtime flowers, so evocative of burgeoning life and the awakening of the world, worked on them like a potent aphrodisiac; they didn’t even think about reaching the bed, simply sank to the thick fur rug in front of the brightly burning fire, pulling at each other’s clothes as if every second was too precious to waste.
But when they were naked at last, and Sam instinctively moved to cover Frodo with his body, he was held off by a pair of slender but surprisingly strong arms.
“Not yet,” Frodo said, shaking his head. “I’ve something for you, sweeting – one last gift that I meant to give you tonight in bed.” He smiled tenderly, and caressed Sam’s cheek with the backs of his fingers. “Well, tonight is here, even if we aren’t in our bed. But this location will do quite as nicely. Don’t move; I shall return to you in a trice, I promise.”
Sam lay back on the fire-warmed fur with a groan of frustration, but a light amused laugh was his only answer. Truthfully, though, the sight of Frodo, lithe and lovely and limned with gold from the firelight as he crossed to the bedside table, was reward aplenty for remaining where he was and not giving into the urge to follow after Frodo and tackle him to the bed.
Frodo pulled out the bottom drawer of the table and withdrew a small paper-wrapped parcel. Then he opened the top drawer, and found therein two items that Sam knew well - a corked bottle of pale purple liquid, and a circlet of well-oiled leather that fastened with a buckle. So intense was the jolt of excitement that galloped through him at the sight of the cock strap and what it meant, that Sam was afraid he might spill there and then and spoil their love play before it had even got started. He trapped his now aching shaft between his thighs and squeezed it hard, desperate for relief. “Frodo...”
“I’m coming.” Frodo slammed the drawers shut and swiftly returned. He fell to his knees beside Sam and held out the packet with a sultry smile. “This is for you, my Sam, but we shall both enjoy it, I think.”
Sam sat up and took the packet, and with fumbling, shaking fingers pulled off the string and unfolded the paper, revealing a strand of seven smooth ivory beads. They were graduated in size: the smallest was about the thickness of his pinky finger, the largest thick as his thumb, and that bead was in the middle with the smaller on either side. The beads were connected by satin cord, knotted in between, and there was a tail at one end secured around an ivory loop.
“What is it?” he asked, distracted momentarily from the demands of his body by the curious present. “Some sort of bracelet?”
“Oh Sam, you are such an innocent. Have you really never seen a set of pleasure beads before?” But Frodo was smiling, a very smug smile, for as Sam well knew, he delighted in being the one to show him new ways to make love.
“Nay, I can’t say as I have. What do you do wi’ them?” He rolled the beads between his fingers, the cool ivory warming beneath his touch, just as Frodo’s skin, so remarkably similar in colour and silken smoothness, did.
But Frodo only looked mysterious. He took the beads from him and set them aside on the rug, saying, “If you don’t know, I shan’t spoil the surprise just yet.”
With that Sam had to be content, and besides, Frodo’s nimble fingers were now unbuckling the cock strap, and that was a powerful enough distraction to send any other thoughts flying away. They’d used the strap times enough now that he needed no direction from Frodo to lift his hips, and let his thighs splay wide so that the strap could be looped around his shaft and bollocks.
“You enjoy the binding, don’t you, my love?” Frodo said, well pleased, as he set the butter-soft leather into place and slid the free end of the strap into the buckle. “I recall how nervous you were the first time we tried this.”
“Aye, I enjoy it right fine, now I ain’t afraid you’re goin’ to geld me,” remarked Sam candidly.
“As if I’d ever risk damaging jewels such as these,” Frodo exclaimed with indignation, fondling Sam’s sac.
Sam gasped as those skilled fingers played with his taut and aching bollocks, and then gasped again as with his other hand Frodo slowly tightened the cock strap, and a familiar surge of nigh unbearable pleasure throbbed through Sam’s shaft. Frodo knew precisely the right amount of tension to apply, tightening the strap enough to keep Sam from spilling until they were ready, but not enough to cause the leather to bite painfully into sensitive flesh.
The strap now snugly in place and fastened, Frodo reached for the lavender oil. Uncorking the bottle, he poured a goodly measure into his palm and then replaced the cork and set the oil aside. Despite his own blatantly obvious arousal, Frodo appeared intent and focussed only on Sam and his pleasure. He was, Sam had discovered, the most unselfish of lovers, and had Sam not learnt early on to seize the initiative from time to time and drive Frodo into mindless submission, he suspected that Frodo would always put his own needs and desires second to Sam’s.
Frodo was rubbing his hands together, spreading the pungent oil over fingers and palms, and the sharper scent of lavender mingled with the sweeter scents of the flowers. His eyes never left Sam, and the heat in them was so intense, it was almost a physical touch.
“How very lovely you look in the firelight, my Sam,” he said softly. “My sweet, honey-gold Sam.”
Frodo picked up the ivory beads and began running them through his fingers, until each one glistened with a thin coating of oil. The purpose of the beads was now made clear to Sam, and a jolt of nervous excitement had his hips involuntarily jerking, and the pearl-shaped droplets of clear fluid that had formed at the slit spilled from his shaft and dripped onto his stomach.
A knowing smile curved Frodo’s mouth. Ever observant, he’d caught the flare of sudden understanding that had widened Sam’s eyes. “Turn onto your side,” he instructed. The oiled beads, dangling from his fingers, twisted and turned, glinting with the wicked promise of erotic delights heretofore hidden from Sam.
Heart racing, Sam shifted on the rug until he was lying facing the fireplace. The heat beating on his front and the sensuous caress of the fur beneath him had his skin prickling feverishly all over. As soon as he was settled in place, he felt a warm touch on the back of his knee; Frodo’s hand gently but firmly guided Sam’s bent leg up and forward, leaving him open and vulnerable. Sam glanced over his shoulder. Frodo was crouched behind him, a look of keen anticipation on his face.
“Are you all right?” he asked gently.
Sam could only nod; his mouth was too dry for speech.
“Look into the fire, sweeting. Don’t think, don’t worry, just feel.” There was a low, almost hypnotic cadence to Frodo’s words. “It will be wonderful, I promise you.”
Sam stared into the heart of the flickering flames, where the fire burned an intense blue, but no bluer than the fire that was burning deep in Frodo’s eyes. Tensing, expecting any moment to feel the press of oil-slick ivory against his hole, he was startled when instead something lightly brushed his shoulder and then glided, silken-smooth, down his arm.
“Remember: don’t think, just feel,” Frodo murmured. “We have all the time in the world, beloved.”
He should have known so considerate and expert a lover wouldn’t rush matters, Sam thought, but it was his last coherent thought for some time. Frodo, murmuring encouragement and soft love-words, continued to use the oil-slick beads to stroke and stimulate Sam’s body, everywhere but the one place Sam increasingly wanted to be touched with them. But Frodo carefully avoided the hair-lined cleft and its hidden opening, and instead focussed on Sam’s shaft, dragging the ivory beads around and around it from root to crown, then up one side and down the other with excruciating slowness. Had the snug circle of leather not prevented it, Sam would surely have spilled the instant a bead caught on the sensitive slit and Frodo tugged it free.
Am I really making them noises? some distant part of Sam’s brain wondered as a series of guttural moans and choked cries filled the room. He was still staring blindly into the heart of the fire, but from the way his very bones seemed to be melting, he could be a-lying right inside it.
So lost in mindless sensation was Sam that he didn’t even notice at first when the tormenting beads were withdrawn. Then the scent of lavender oil suddenly intensified, and he felt warm liquid trickling down the cleft of his buttocks, followed by fingers rubbing the slickness into and around his hole. This was familiar, blissful territory for Sam, being prepared by Frodo for penetration, and he pushed back demandingly, wanting those talented fingers inside him. He was rewarded, not by Frodo’s fingers or cock, but by something else, round and hard, pressing firmly into him: the first ivory bead. It felt queer, but not at all unpleasant as it popped past the tight ring of muscle. The first bead was soon followed by another and then another, and Sam shifted restlessly as a sensation of fullness grew, unlike any he had yet experienced.
“Frodo,” he said tensely, unsure what he was even asking.
A warm moist breath at the base of his spine was followed by a soft kiss. “Do you want to stop now, Sam?” Frodo asked. “This can be enough for your first time.”
“Nay, nay, I want…” he shifted again, and the beads moved inside him, sending sparks of sensation streaking up his cock, and he gasped, “More, I want, I need, more.”
Frodo’s low laugh raised goose bumps all over Sam’s body. “Then relax, beloved, and let me give you what you need.”
The largest bead came next, and stretched Sam deliciously, so that the longed-for liquid feeling, as if his insides were melting like butter in a frying pan, swept through him. The last three beads quickly followed, and Sam revelled in this new sensation, clenching and unclenching his passage around the beads so that they moved inside him, while Frodo stroked his flanks and murmured encouragement.
“Now, my love, for the best part,” Sam heard Frodo say lowly, and there was a sudden tension and downward shift of the beads, and Sam realised that Frodo must be pulling on the ivory loop. He cried out as the bottom bead worked back against the tight ring of muscle, stimulating every already sensitised nerve ending. So intense was the feeling that black dots swam before his eyes, and he was afraid he might actually lose consciousness.
“Oh, Frodo,” he panted. “I reckon you’re a-plannin’ to kill me proper this time.”
Frodo chuckled. “This is why they are called pleasure beads,” he said. “For it’s not in the inserting but the removing that the true pleasure lies. Like this…”
He tugged at the cord again until a second bead came free, and Sam threw back his head and howled. Blindly his hand moved to his shaft, but Frodo had anticipated him. His fingers wrapped tightly around Sam’s painfully throbbing length and stroked it firmly as he pulled the third, fourth and fifth beads free in quick succession, pop, pop, pop, leaving Sam thrashing and bucking frantically under his hold, and begging incoherently for release.
“Soon, beloved, soon,” Frodo promised, and as he pulled steadily on the satin cord to remove the sixth bead, the fingers of his other hand started working the buckle of the cock strap free. Sam practically sobbed with relief, desperate to let loose the tension pent up inside him.
Then everything happened at once, it seemed. There was a short, sharp tug, and the last bead burst free just as the confines of the leather strap fell away. Frodo pumped Sam’s cock hard once, twice, and then Sam, letting out a yell so loud that Frodo later claimed he’d half expected the windowpanes to shatter, was spilling in a climax that seemed to go on and on and on, until at last, spent, he slumped onto his back and lay stunned, staring at the ceiling, while his head spun dizzyingly and more black dots danced in front of his eyes and he began to think that he really and truly had been killed this time.
“Sam?” A vision swam into view above him, a vision outlined in golden light with a countenance fairer than any Elf’s and great blue eyes that were shining with love. For him. “Sam?” the vision asked again.
“Nghnngh?” was the only response Sam could muster, and that took an almighty effort.
Frodo was biting at his lip and looking as if he very much wanted to laugh. “How do you feel?” he asked, his voice trembling.
Sam considered the question. “Like someone removed all my bones while I wasn’t lookin’,” he said.
“Oh Sam.” Frodo stooped and kissed him, and Sam soon revived enough to return the kiss, and with interest.
“Well, I reckon maybe you didn’t kill me after all,” he remarked, grinning, and then added fervently, “Frodo-love, that was… that was…” His voice trailed off. Maybe the Elves had a proper word to describe the glory of what had just occurred, but Sam Gamgee certainly didn’t. “But here, what about you!” he exclaimed in dismay, as his eyes fell on a certain portion of Frodo’s anatomy that had thus far gone unrewarded. “If I ain’t the most selfish hobbit as ever lived, for lettin’ you do all the work but get none of the pleasure.”
Frodo only shook his head and smiled. “It isn’t always necessary to find release in order to get pleasure from lovemaking. My pleasure was great indeed, and it came from watching the sweetness of your release. I need nothing else.”
“It don’t seem fair, somehow,” Sam insisted stubbornly, sitting up.
“Then later, beloved, if you really insist,” Sam choked, and Frodo laughed, “you can have your way with me. But for now…” he rose to his feet and held out his hand, smiling down lovingly at Sam. “I should very much like for you to tell me about my flowers, Sam. I want to know all about them, each and every one: what they are and how they grew. It will be like the day I followed you to your secret garden, and first realised that I loved you. That will be pleasure enough for me.”
Sam didn’t argue, but took Frodo’s hand. It seemed a proper compromise to him: first flowers, then Frodo. After all, what better way could there be to end the perfect Yule?