For The Great Mathom Exchange at the bagginsbirthday bash. With many thanks to frodosweetstuff for organizing it all.
Pairing: Bingo (Frodo)/Sam
Maybe NC-17, if you're good at extrapolation
Setting: This picfic is set in bookverse, just before the last paragraph of Chapt. 10 "The Breaking of the Fellowship," but it is also meant to be infused with the passion of filmverse's scene just preceding the event this story describes.
Background: I write Bingo instead of Frodo to honor the many incarnations this character passed through during the long years his author fashioned him, and due to a soft spot for the discarded early draft character. Sam, however, was always Sam Gamgee, from his introduction before Bingo became Frodo.
Disclaimer: I'm just gratefully borrowing these characters for a time and have no stupid plans to try to somehow make money from this venture. The dolls are made by Sideshow, but the set is of my own devising.
"'It would have been the death of you to come with me, Sam,' said Frodo, 'and I could not have borne that.'
'Not as certain as being left behind,' said Sam.
. . .
A sudden warmth and gladness touched his heart . . . 'But I'm glad, Sam. I cannot tell you how glad. Come along! It is plain we were meant to go together . . . .' "
Chapter 10. "The Breaking of the Fellowship," The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
It was hard work rowing the boat eastward round the southern end of Tol Brandir where the waters were quickening their pace, pulled by the release of Rauros's plunge. Hearing a mournful call, Bingo looked up from his labor to spot a bird of a kind he had never before seen, suspended on wings the color of the overcast sky, flying toward the cliffs of the island. As he tapped Sam's shoulder to point it out, the sun broke through the clouds and turned the bird's white body to gleaming silver, its yellow beak now a point of gold on its prow, as it dropped down and disappeared behind the cliff face.
As they rounded the southern end of the island, the hobbits spotted the break into which the sea bird had disappeared, leading into a sheltered cove. Few were those who rowed the rapids at this point, and it was not likely that anyone who stood on two legs had spotted this southward facing wooded inlet before, well lit by the sun on the lower path of her winter's journey. They pulled into the calm shallows of the protected cove and stopped to rest among the reeds before attempting to push on to the high banks sloping down from Amon Lhaw on the eastern shore.
Among the willows, birches, and swamp oaks that lined the shore, a glimpse of brilliant red led Bingo's eye to a rowan holding its berries still, late in the season as it was. It returned his thoughts to the stand of trees in Parth Galen he had wandered among earlier that day, and what transpired there. With a shudder, he recalled Boromir's fevered declaration of the Ring to be a gift, as suddenly the man of Gondor tried to wrest it from him, giving the lie to any chance that it could ever be regarded thusly. Bingo turned toward Sam who was surveying the inlet, the light catching sparks in his wondering brown eyes before she retreated once more behind the clouds' grey curtains, and his heart filled once again with warmth. He knew the companionship here to be a true gift, the gift unlooked for.
Bingo's heart was pounding as, for the first time, he took stock of the rapid changes that befell him that day-- from the shock, fear, and bitter disillusionment that came with Boromir's betrayal, to the wonderment of what the Seat allowed him to survey, and the terror of the Eye's surveillance lighting upon him, followed by the relief and fulfillment of making his decision, all dispelled by the dismay and continuing shock that masked the wrenching distress of seeing Sam disappear under the flood's greed. It was not the first time he saw what he knew of home sink beneath raging waters . . . And yet his memory of the Brandywine as a raging river, now upended in his mind and turned into a rolling stream by knowledge of the Anduin's force beyond this inlet, brought an ironic smile to his lips and tear to his eye. Rapid changes, indeed.
As he looked at Sam, he saw all he could remember of the home he set out to save from ruin. The hobbit beside him brought along the home Bingo thought he had left behind forever that day. Thoughts of the Shire and Sam were all bound up together for him now in a knot even Sam's Old Gaffer couldn't untie. For Sam was all he knew of home now, a home that would never leave him. And yet, he recalled with a shudder, almost just did.
Tears welled up in Bingo's eyes as he blurted out, "You were nearly lost to me, Sam, going under like that!
"Well, 'twas you who tried to lose me, begging your pardon, Mr. Bingo!" Sam snapped back, all the fear and resentment surging up within him. "And that would have been the death of me, sure enough as any drownding. " He snorted, holding back the tears that welled up within him, and pulled his sopping cloak tighter around him. "I told you I had something I had to do and that I had to see this through."
But just what this "this" was was still a jumble to Sam, though he knew going to Mordor now was his path to it. The world was way bigger than he himself could ever imagine, and he always knew that was so. And yet there was this something he was going to do, even though he had no business being out in it, when all he really knew in his bones was the Shire. The world and the Shire were two separate and distinct things to Sam, and yet they were united into one whole for him by the hobbit sitting next to him. For through Bilbo, Bingo was always of the world beyond the Shire for Sam, and yet home just wasn't home without him. No offense to Mr. Bilbo, but Mr. Bilbo was already out in the world, and went back to it where he belonged, really. Bingo, though, was the world all wrapped up with home on two hobbit feet.
"I'm sorry, Sam." Bingo wiped a hand across his eyes. "I didn't know you were meant to go with me until you made it clear. I never wanted to leave you, really, and that's the truth of it. I didn't want to take you into danger is all."
"Well I have some say in that." His resentment spent in the telling, Sam looked up, seeing the tears in the dear eyes of his companion, and a stray curl falling over his brow that he ached to push back.
Bingo broke into a smile. "You most certainly do, and then some." The crinkles around his dear friend's eyes told him all was forgiven, the storm now past. He watched a stray droplet from Sam's wet curls wander under his chin, and along his collar bone to descend beneath the folds of his soaked shirt, then quickly pulled his gaze up to meet Sam's curious stare.
Bingo spoke briskly, "But I might as well have set out alone if you catch your death through the chill of those wet things. Let's stop ashore here long enough to pull out something dry for you to put on. And you should add these," he said pulling off his own dry cloak and coat. He reached across Sam, losing his balance as the boat shifted beneath them.
Sam caught him before he slipped. "But who would there be to catch you when you stumble if you went on alone? Tell me that now, " he said softly holding onto Bingo's waist.
"It was a terrible idea to ever think of leaving you, Sam Gamgee," Bingo hardly breathed, as Sam settled beneath him pulling him into his embrace.
"Aye, it was. I couldn't bear it, no how, Bingo. " Sam watched the afternoon light catch fire in Bingo's eyes as he pushed aside dry clothes that needn't get soaked against his sopping garments.
All the grief and fear of loss the day had brought Bingo rolled out in a sigh, now lifted into glowing warmth and quickening breath.
"Sam. Dear Sam," he spoke barely above a whisper, curling his fingers over Sam's collar, palm resting over his heart.
All that there was between the two hobbits spoke of wonder and of roads their hearts knew well wrapped up together.
Drinking in the gift of a moment before they labored on across uncertain waters once more, Bingo followed with tender determination the stray droplet's path home.