What Needs Saying by Lbilover

Written for the Fan_Flashworks prompt 'bruise'. A blend of book and movie verse.

Frodo's back was to him when Sam carried in the tea tray into the study. He didn't move, but remained standing by the hearth as if unaware of Sam's presence. But his narrow shoulders were set, braced as if in expectation of a blow. What blow did he fear might fall, and was it possible he expected it to come at the hands of his very own Sam?

The dark head was bowed; where Frodo's shirt-collar sagged, Sam could make out the puckered edge of the scar from Shelob's sting. But it was healed, wasn't it? Frodo was healed, wasn't he?

Sam set the tray on the table, once littered with maps and books, but now bare of so much as a scrap of parchment. 'I've brought your tea,' he said to break the silence.

Frodo only nodded. A thread of silver winding through his dark curls caught the firelight and glinted. Fool, it reproached Sam. Of course he's not healed. How could he be after all he suffered and lost? A bruise might fade, but if pressed on, it still throbbed and ached.

Sam went up to him, silent-footed, but the liquid gleam of an eye briefly turned toward him told him that Frodo was aware of his nearness.

'Will you not let me help you?' Sam asked softly, from the depth of his concern.

'Help me?' replied Frodo, a forced lightness in his voice. 'I'm perfectly capable of making my own tea, Sam.'

'You know that's not what I meant. Frodo...' He laid his hands on Frodo's shoulders, oft-washed linen butter-soft over tense muscle. He realised how long it had been since he'd touched Frodo like this, and how cleverly Frodo had avoided his touch in the months they'd been home. Why? And why had it taken him until now to understand it?

'Please,' Frodo said, pleading, but for what Sam couldn't say. A sudden hectic flush mantled a pale cheek, not quite averted from view. A quiver ran trembling beneath Sam's palms, as if he'd laid hand to some wild creature. But this was no wild creature, this was Frodo, whom he would never touch save with tenderness and love.


Oh Samwise, if you ain't a fool, one never did draw breath in this world.

'I love you,' Sam whispered, as he ought to have done long ago.

His hands smoothed away Frodo's braces. They fell like a sigh, and with them Frodo's defences. The first kiss landed on the nape of Frodo's neck. The second on his quivering lips.

The tea grew cold in the pot.