Frodo and Sam had found a small table in the darkest and quietest corner, and were sitting quietly over their ale and the dish of salty nibbles, thoughtfully provided by Tom Noakes in the interests of inducing thirst in his customers. A listener catching only snatches of their conversation might even have thought they were discussing the game; which was fortunate, for soon, they were interrupted.
“Well done, Mr Baggins, sir, you certainly saved the day for us! This one’s on me.” Mac Banks dumped two mugs of ale on the table from a clutch held rather precariously in a wildly waving hand. “Never knew you could play like that! Giving our captain the benefit of your experience, are you?” He missed the look that passed from Frodo to Sam, and the swift smile they shared, as they thanked Mac for their drinks.
“Your bowling weren’t right on form today, were it, Sam? Didn’t bowl as many maiden overs as usual, did you? Them maids’ll be right disappointed!” Guffawing at his own wit and much too far gone in ale to remember that the quip was the oldest in the long list of silly and often suggestive cricket jokes, Mac staggered off to join the noisy throng.
“Not exactly a maid I have in mind,” Sam growled into his mug, and Frodo stilled, closing his eyes as anticipation fingered its way slowly up his spine, then down to areas even more receptive.
Sam’s voice came suddenly husky. “And the way you’re batting them eyelashes at me, I’ll have to bowl you over, and no mistake!”
“Samwise, are you accusing me of flirting with you?” Frodo asked, his voice demure; but sooty lashes fluttering on very pink cheeks dared Sam to deny it.
“Seducing me, more like! From the very minute I laid eyes on you today...” Sam was no longer teasing; it was fortunate that their corner was dark, and that no-one was looking their way, for his desire was laid bare in his face. His hand slid across the table, ostensibly reaching for the new mug of ale, but managing a gentle brush to Frodo’s fingers. “And it shouldn’t be possible for batting to be so wanton!”
“I wasn’t doing anything on purpose.” Frodo returned the caress, no longer caring if he were seen, so much did he need to touch Sam’s skin, however briefly. “Not then, I wasn’t…” His fingers slid delicately over Sam’s strong brown hand, then drew slow circles on the inside of Sam’s wrist.
Sam shivered, and took his hand from Frodo’s reach. “Not that it don’t feel wonderful,” he said apologetically, “but I can’t take much more of it right now!”
Frodo felt as light as air, and as free, floating in a haze of love that wrapped them safe to each other. “But Sam, I thought that you, as a dedicated cricketer, would appreciate forward play? I was taught that you never score, if you stay on the back foot!” And his toes skimmed lightly over the curls on Sam’s feet, inciting a flutter of Sam’s skin that tantalised a slow path up to the curls on his head, then settled enthusiastically in the tighter tangle below his waist.
Never, in any of his erotic dreams, had Sam conceived of his master bantering with him in this way, using the words he loved so well and wielded so expertly, to stir Sam’s desire so deeply. It needed a great effort of concentration for him to say, “Never seen you so forward before!”
“You never invited me to play before today,” Frodo said solemnly, adding, in a much lower tone, “You don’t know how long I have wanted to… play with you!”
“You can play with me any time you like,” Sam choked, and then, recalling that they might be overheard, he cleared his throat and said aloud, “Any team would be the better for stroke play like yours.”
“Nothing wrong with my stroke today,” Frodo murmured softly. Sam’s suddenly indrawn breath might have seemed unnecessary to anyone who couldn’t see beneath the table, where Frodo’s foot was now sliding languorously up the back of Sam’s calf, the silky hair setting Sam’s skin alight with longing. “In fact, I have a feeling that my touch might not have deserted me just yet…”
Sam gasped, hiding it in his mug of ale; he swallowed, took a deep breath, and said, “Perhaps we could find out? And if you show me some of your stroke play,” he whispered provocatively, “I could maybe show you my googly?”
It was Frodo’s turn to breathe hard. “Sam! I won’t be able to walk back to Bag End if you - ”
“If I what?” Sam asked with a sly smile, delighted to be getting his own back a little in this seductive play of words.
“If you don’t stop offering to show me your balls!” Frodo ducked his head, and even in their shadowy corner, Sam could see a deep blush spread over his cheeks.
“What else should a bowler offer to show? And I bowl a neat googly, though I do say so!” As Frodo looked up, eyes dancing, Sam wiggled his eyebrows. They collapsed into giggles, and Sam had to make a deft save of their mugs.
In the same instant, they sobered, and Frodo asked, quietly, “Will you come home with me?”
“Yes.” And Sam’s answer was for the question Frodo had not asked.
It was not so easy, of course. As they moved to leave, their hands were seized by Merry and Pippin (both well into their ale by this time), and they were swung into a victory whirl. In an instant, almost everyone in the inn was on his feet, and a long line of hobbits formed, kicking and jigging an erratic path through the tables and chairs, to an insistent chant, whose volume and rhythm compensated somewhat for its discordant din. It was some minutes before Frodo and Sam could extricate themselves, and give their goodnights to the jubilant, drunken dancers. Pausing at the bar, to deposit funds for the next round of beer, Frodo made for the door with Sam close behind him.
Merry wove his way unsteadily towards them. “We’ll be along later,” he said. “Prob’ly much later!” He tried to wink lasciviously at Frodo, found it too much trouble in his present state, and instead, gave him a quick, tipsy hug before returning to the jollification, where the shimmying snake of unsteady bodies was cavorting to another enthusiastically rhythmic, if tuneless, refrain.
Outside the Ivy Bush, the air was cool and refreshing after the thick fug of the inn. The noise of the celebration faded, as they walked slowly beyond the spill of light from the doorway.
“They… they’ll be drinking ‘til dawn!” Frodo said, in an attempt at composure.
“Happen so,” said Sam, but he wasn’t really interested in anyone or anything else, now. He took Frodo’s hand and threaded their fingers gently together. “Not as I don’t want to, but if I do more than this,” he confessed, “we’ll be lucky to make it to a quiet nook, let alone to Bag End, and there’s a lot of prying eyes atwixt here and there!”
The sound that Frodo made in his throat might have signified agreement, but its effect on Sam definitely did not improve the situation…
“I suggest,” Frodo said, finding a voice which was considerably less steady than his words indicated, “that we discuss the stars. As we walk. Or something.”
Sam’s suppressed whimper didn’t help much, either. They had progressed less than two dozen paces from the inn door, and Bag End was as far away as the moon.
With great resolution, Frodo took his hand gently from Sam. “Samwise, we are going to make it home! Respectable hobbits simply do not kiss in The Street…“ he faltered as he realised that they had not yet....
He should not have said it, for Sam’s mouth was suddenly on his; they were in each other’s arms at last, and respectability now seemed but a small price to pay. Sam’s lips were soft and seductive, parting eagerly to the gentle question of Frodo’s tongue, and for minutes uncounted they kissed, ever more deeply, enthralled by and lost to the rhythm as they moved against each other.
The slam of a door, echoing along the silent street, startled them apart.
“Not here!” Frodo managed, though every instinct demanded to know why not.
“Field?” Sam gasped suddenly, as memory cut through the growing haze of desire.
The cricket pitch was deserted, though the latest of the celebratory songs could be heard faintly in the distance; closer at hand, the grasshoppers called ceaselessly. The late evening air was warm and still, and the hedgerow fragrance of honeysuckle spread far and wide, enveloping them like a caress. Light from the inn windows stretched scarcely any distance across the dewy grass, and under the stately chestnuts that ringed the field, lay shadows dark and deep as any pair of hasty lovers might wish. They slipped into that darkness, and sank down to the cool green moss, fumbling frantically now with buttons and ties, sighing against each other’s skin at last.
And although Sam desperately wanted time to know what he held in his arms, naked and pliant, Frodo’s lips were on his again, and his long day of torment came suddenly to fruition as he moved against Frodo and released, fast and satisfying, panting Frodo’s name in a breathless litany.
Frodo’s soft laugh was sympathetic. “You never told me what a quick bowler you could be, Samwise!”
“Depends on the need!” Sam said, breathlessly. “I needed you very badly,” he added, with no teasing to his voice now. He shifted carefully to lie beside Frodo, propping himself on one elbow as he leaned for a lingering kiss. “You have no idea, have you, what you looked like out there, tempting me out of my mind? All day, I’ve been watching you, wanting you.”
“You have me, Sam. And I have you!” And Sam’s heart sang for the elation in Frodo’s whisper.
“And now that I have you,” Sam nuzzled gently into Frodo’s hair, “and I’m not in such a hurry no more,” nibbling his way gently around the curve of Frodo’s ear, “I’m thinking to show you,” his tongue traced a slow path to another kiss, “how well I can play…” He offered a last, lingering kiss before rising reluctantly to kneel by the paler shadow on the shadowed velvet moss. “When I’m not distracted from my wits, that is!”
“But Samwise, it’s so dark under here… How will I see - Ohhh!”
“Like that! Well, now, everybody knows that a spinner’s skill is in his fingers,” he brushed them lightly across Frodo‘s face, “so you’ll just have to concentrate on these, won’t you? See, the secret of bowling a googly, is in the flick…”
Sam’s voice becomes a distant murmur of love pent up so long, as his fingers flicker and spin a seeking fire from velvet black; and Frodo's awareness narrows down to only this: sensitivity set free beneath Sam’s touch…
Fingers, feather-light, slide from dark, sensuous and slow…
… a kiss; mouth catches gentle, sidelong sweep, unhurried asking…
… sure stroke flows smoothly, sweet and wanton, ever downward…
… teasing tweak rouses somnolent nipples to taut sentience…
… fevered heat of blind, slow sipping, slow slipping circles …
… whispering of love through tightly tangled curls…
… for fluttering flame of hot, caressing tongue …
… together now, and melded by the same primeval, ageless call…
… and then …
… the long, slow wash of pleasure surging back and forth and on and on…
A faint breeze dispersed the frantic crescendo of sharp breaths, muting a sharper cry, veiling their long-spun sighs of sated bliss in a susurration of deeply furrowed chestnut leaves. At length, the lovers stirred to life, untangling from each other, to lie close and caress, drifting happily in a waking dream of scented darkness, warmth and love.
Suddenly, Frodo yawned, then gave a low sound which wrapped a chuckle into a sigh.
“Am I boring you?” Sam asked, skimming a line of kisses whose final destination awoke more than a little interest in Frodo, tired though he was.
“You’ve simply worn me out, what with inducing me to play for the team, and seducing me into the bargain!”
“I never did! You were the one seducing me. Remember? Ah!” Sam squeaked as Frodo administered a well–placed nip, then murmured appreciation as he soothed it with a kiss.
Frodo sat up reluctantly. “I could lie here with you, all night,” he said, “ but the sun comes early, and will show more than we would want anyone to see! Perhaps we should make the effort and get back to Bag End before I do fall asleep on you?”
“But of course – you don’t really think I‘m going to leave you here, do you!” But what might have been a jest, was not, for Sam was tense and waiting, under Frodo’s gentle hands. “Sam, why would I not want you at Bag End? If this is right, here, then it’s right at Bag End.”
“But I’m only -”
“You are my Samwise, and I am only your Frodo. I want you there with me, Sam. Please?” He stifled Sam’s unknowing sigh of relief with a kiss, soft and patient. “Come to bed, Sam? Though I may be too tired to do more than give you a goodnight kiss! I should just like to fall asleep with you.”
“Aye. That would be grand. And,” Sam kissed provocatively now, “we have the morning to look forward to.”
“It is almost morning already, Sam!” Beyond their leaf-shadowed haven, the dark had thinned, and the stars were fading fast. It was just possible, in the hint of dawn’s coming, to tell black shapes of inn and stable, cottage and mill.
“You know what I mean!”
The thought of waking from sleep, side by side, was more than tempting enough to spur them into seeking out their scattered clothing, and they were aware now of a cool crispness of the air, descending on their nakedness. Then Sam insisted that Frodo’s shivers needed gentle chafing, which Frodo refused unless he could return the favour, and suddenly they were giggling like young lads, warmed now by more than friction. Dressing became a soft and satisfying game of buttons and intermingled kisses.
As they emerged onto The Street, Hobbiton was deserted, still and waiting in the half-dark, and even the Ivy Bush lay quiet in sleep. They wandered unsteadily along, exhausted but more than content; not speaking except through touch of hands and occasional swift kiss, trusting their secret to remaining shadow as they climbed The Hill to reach Bag End at last.
Sam paused in the gateway, feeling as always, the loss of the familiar in the disconnection before dawn. The garden lay drab and lifeless yet, mysterious shapes and pools of dark engulfing lily, rose and stately larkspur, painted pinks and buxom, laughing daisies all alike. They slept in shrouded colour, dreaming of the sun to spark once more their beauty from its light. The chill before sunrise could not quell the scents that stole from secret flowers to float their perfumes wide upon the cool, crisp morning air. A lone bird called once, impatient for the new day to begin.
“Sam?” Frodo realised that Sam was not climbing the steps with him. Though he was dizzy now, with tiredness, he turned, waiting patiently as Sam stood by the gate. Was he still worrying? Worse still, was he having second thoughts? Frodo had dreamed for so long, that he might be with Sam like this; the thought of Sam turning away now, going home to Bagshot Row, hurt more than he could have said.
“It’s just - ” Sam looked at his beloved garden, shadowed still with the remnants of night, and at his master, his Frodo.
“What?” Frodo would not beg. If Sam would go, then he must go.
“ – that something you know so well can suddenly seem so different, and you have to learn it all over again.” Sam shut the gate behind him, and Frodo released a breath he hadn’t known that he was holding.
“Like I need to learn you again.” And heedless of the growing light, Sam caught Frodo into his arms, and kissed him, gently at first, but with increasing hunger.
“You ought to be tired,” Frodo whispered, shaky with relief.
“Not too tired for this!”
“Samwise Gamgee, are you insatiable?”
“Only for you.” Sam smoothed a wayward curl gently from Frodo’s face and said, simply, “I’ve wanted you for so long.” As the first ray of sunlight shimmered over the horizon, Frodo smiled his happiness, and Sam would have been hard put to say which was the more dazzling to his eyes.
High in the sheltering oak the lone robin called again, was answered by a rising trill from the wren in the turf wall, another deep within the hedge. The blackbird carolled suddenly, swooping through the orchard, his mate replied; from every side a new voice and another. The chorus swelled until The Hill echoed and sang to the growing light and warmth. Hidden flowers slipped once more from shadow, to grace the garden with its long-accustomed beauty. Heady fragrance flushed anew from all the bloom of yesterday; was coaxed from sleep within unfurling buds of rose, spicy phlox and regal lilies, tall and fair.
Then, hand in hand, the lovers passed through the round green door, and closed it firmly on the rising dawn.
A new day was begun.
Cricket: 2 teams of 11. Playing area is the square, the batsman stands at the crease, in front of a set of 3 short poles, linked by smaller pieces of wood (bails) = the wicket - at either end of a 22 yard (hobbit cricket = 10yd?) pitch. Each end defended by a batsman through a series of 6 balls by one bowler, called an over. An over with no runs scored is called a maiden over. Batsman at one end takes bowling, runs to opposite end, fellow player runs to end where 1st batsman was. This counts as one run. If the ball goes over the boundary rope before being stopped, 4 runs are credited, and you don’t have to run; over the rope before touching the ground = 6 runs.
And the googly really is a ball bowled by a leg spinner!
Still baffled, and in need of a laugh? Try: http://web.ukonline.co.uk/wolf56/cricket.html
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.