Inspired by this beautiful drawing of Frodo by Mucun.
Sam made his way along the snow-covered row with a shovel over his shoulder and a tuneful whistle escaping his lips. Was there any more glorious sight than the Shire on the morning after a fresh snowfall? An image sprang into his mind and he chuckled. All right, there was one sight more glorious, the one he was hoping to see in a short while, after he'd cleared a path from the lane to the front porch of Bag End. He hastened his footsteps, eager to get his job of work done and find his reward in the bluest of blue eyes smiling at him from the doorway.
But Sam's footsteps faltered and his tuneful whistle died at the sight that met his eyes as he neared the smial.
Frodo lay facedown in the snow, several yards inside the garden gate.
'Frodo!' Sam exclaimed in horror.
He dropped his shovel and vaulted the fence, landing in a deep snowdrift that covered him to mid-thigh. With his heart in his throat, Sam floundered through the snow as if wading through water, panic and fear welling up in him.
'Frodo!' he gasped again when he reached the prone hobbit's side, and bent anxiously over him.
'Aha! Gotcha!' Frodo exclaimed, twisting lithely onto his side and laughing up at Sam.
Sam gaped, and before he could react, Frodo scooped up a handful of snow, and as if he were naught but an irresponsible tween rather than the Master of the Hill, grabbed the collar of Sam's jacket with his free hand and thrust the other with its icy contents down the back of Sam's neck. A veritable fountain of irrepressible giggles erupted from him the entire time.
'Ahhhhh!' Sam arched his back and let out a screech to rival any barn owl's as the snow slid icily down between his shoulder blades. 'Why you... you mischievous Baggins!' he stuttered, 'I'll... I'll...' Unable to think of a threat dire enough to suit the situation, instead he stooped to gather some snow and give Frodo his own back, and in spades.
But Frodo had danced lightly back out of reach. 'Now Sam, it was just a bit of fun...' he said.
'Fun? Fun?' Sam began to move purposely toward Frodo like a cat stalking a mouse, but a smile was tugging at the corners of his mouth. Oh, but Frodo was a sight with his blue eyes sparkling, abrim with merriment, his cheeks rosy with the cold, and his dark hair spangled with ice crystals like a net of stars.
Frodo kept backing away, hands palm out in front of him, but then, seeing Sam's serious intent, whirled round and took off at a run toward the rear of the smial with Sam in hot pursuit.
Sam caught him before he'd reached the tater patch and despite Frodo's best efforts at imitating a greased pig, wriggling and squirming in Sam's hold, managed to deposit his own icy present down Frodo's shirtfront. 'Take that, Frodo Baggins! Think you can frighten your Sam half to death and get away with it, do you?'
'I'm sorry! Sam, I'm sorry!' shrieked Frodo, breaking free and running again.
'Ha, I'll bet you're not!' Sam said, chasing after him.
'All right then, I'm not!' Frodo quickly bent to scoop up more snow, fashioned it into a sloppy ball and flung it over his shoulder at Sam. It hit Sam square in the chest, splattering over his weskit.
Sam retaliated, catching Frodo in the back of the head with a solid hit. Frodo yelped and ducked behind an evergreen bush and began flicking unerringly aimed snowballs over the top quick as lightning. Sam dove for the shelter of a similar bush and staged his attack from there.
The action was fast and furious, with each hobbit giving as good as he got. Snowballs whizzed back and forth, while Frodo and Sam called taunts and insults for every shot the other missed.
It was the best fun Sam had had in ages and his sides positively ached with laughter. But eventually they both ran out of steam and cold noses and nippy toes and damp breeches and stinging eyes made themselves increasingly known.
Finally, Frodo stepped out from behind his bush. 'Truce?' he said, holding up his pink-palmed hands to show they were empty.
Sam emerged from his 'fort'. 'Truce,' he agreed.
They met halfway, and to Sam's surprise, Frodo had an apologetic expression on his face. 'I am sorry for giving you such a scare, Sam,' he said. 'It was a silly, impulsive thing to do, I know. But I heard you whistling as you came up the lane and, oh, I simply couldn't resist. It's been far too long since I've played in the snow.'
'I admit it gave me quite a turn to seeing you lying there,' Sam said, 'but I should've guess you were playing possum, being the mischievous Baggins that you are.' He grinned. 'And I reckon I got my revenge.' He reached out and ruffled Frodo's snow-encrusted curls, that had taken the brunt of his attack.
'You did, indeed, Sam Gamgee,' Frodo agreed, laughing. He took Sam's cold hand in his own even colder one. 'But I believe,' he added, his eyes sweeping Sam's snow-covered coat, weskit and breeches, 'that I got in a few good hits myself. Now we'd best go inside and warm up!'
Sam resisted the tug of his hand. 'But I've still got to shovel the walk, Frodo,' he said. 'Best to do it now seeing as I'm all over snow.'
'Nonsense! It can wait.' A familiar sultry light sparked like a flame in his eyes. 'Besides, I've got everything prepared - a nice hot bath is waiting for us, and mulled wine to sip while we bathe.'
Sam nearly moaned aloud, and it wasn't the thought of the steaming water or the wine that sent shafts of welcome heat rocketing through him, but of the wet-slippery-naked hobbit who would soon be held close in his arms. 'I reckon the shovelling can wait,' he agreed in a rather fervent voice.
Frodo smiled like a cat about to get at the cream. If he'd had whiskers, Sam felt sure he'd have licked them in anticipation. 'We'll shovel the walk together later,' Frodo promised.
By the time they finally did shovel the walk, the sun was high overhead and had done much of the work for them - as Frodo rather smugly pointed out.