bloodcount: Count Bloodcount, the vampire from the Loonie Tunes cartoons. (LOTR Ovaltine)
([personal profile] bloodcount Sep. 23rd, 2009 10:15 pm)
Title: Brilliance
Rating: All Audiences
Genre: humor/hurt comfort, slash & het
Starring: Frodo/Sam, Merry, Pippin and various other survivors of the War of the Ring
Plot: An innocent party game in the Houses of Healing casts a light on a great deal.





"Your turn, Ioreth."

The healer went pink. "Oh! Goodness, I'm too old for this. But when we used to play 'Pick a Posy' back when I was a girl there would be..."

"Your turn, Ioreth!" was chorused from all sides by healers, bandaged soldiers of the West and four battered hobbits. They were all laughing. Sam rejoiced to see even poor, gaunt Frodo smile at Merry and Pippin egging the lady on. Ioreth made an exasperated sound of surrender and reached for the small, glittering bottle lying on the stone in the middle of their circle. It didn’t have a single scratch on it, for all that it had traveled hard to a volcano and back. The clear water within shone with a brilliance that eagerly leapt up to meet the good woman's outstretched hand. The years and the toil on her skin seemed to disappear as she touched the crystal and a murmur of awe went up from all directions. Ioreth smiled, silent for a change. Then she gave the Phial of Galadriel a spin.

Sam clapped with delight as whirling sparks of starlight slid lovingly across the wide-eyed, smiling faces of the players. Ah, poor things, they'd been under the Shadow for so long that they're hungry, bad hungry, for a bit of light and play. They deserve it. Elbereth herself could come down and play with us as a reward and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised. This was one of Mr. Merry’s better ideas, no doubt about that at all. The phial slowed and came to a stop, pointing directly to the Prince of Dol Amroth and Ioreth blushed scarlet as a cheer went up from everyone. Prince Imrahil was almost more Elf than Man and, ooh, the thrill that had gone 'round the circle when HE joined in! He grinned and Ioreth whimpered as she leaned over and pecked him on the mouth as if he were one of her grandsons. The Prince caught her by the shoulders and brought her back for a proper kiss. Ioreth's kin and friends went wild. Her wicked affair with royalty was going to haunt her 'til the end of her days and Sam heard Frodo laugh outright. The sound was sheer beauty. Sam wanted to take Frodo by the chin and turn him around so he could see the sight of his dearest friend being happy again. Heavens knew the poor hobbit was tired of being stared at, however, so Sam reluctantly kept his eyes forward.

Now it was Nurse Lorel's turn and she spun the phial with determination. The light bounced off her auburn curls and she smacked the stony ground. "Hoh-bitz! Hoh-bitz!" she urged. She had already made the conquest of Danamir of Ithilien and Eodain of the Rohirrim, sitting like large bookends on each side of her, but the poor, crazy thing wanted to smooch a hobbit. Why, Sam had no idea, but he was pleased for her when the bottle pointed straight at Frodo. Lorel's arms shot into the air with triumph as her soldiers muttered good-natured insults at the Ringbearer. Sam was glad to hear them; Frodo had been getting mighty sick of worshipful reverence, too.

Sam grinned at the smug look his master shot the two men as Lorel crawled forth to claim her prize. Danamir pouted at her back and then fumbled in his bandages for a dagger that didn't exist. The crowd guffawed as Eodain restrained him. Then Lorel’s lips were on Frodo’s. She learned, then, of Frodo’s unshakable conviction that something worth doing was worth doing right. Her eyes popped open with surprise. They drifted shut again in bliss as the kiss went on and her friends laughed while the soldiers cried. Danamir, too injured to manage the feat himself, finally convinced a strapping warrior from Lossarnach to pull her away by the legs. Her fingernails scratched at the stone in protest but once safely trapped between her two Men she was giggling again, eyes shining. Sam rather envied her. The strange thought that maybe he should try for a Hoh-bitz when his turn came skittered through his mind and he blushed as he chuckled at himself.

Then it was Pippin's turn. He strode forward as menacingly as his bandaged ribs would allow and gave out a wild cackle, “AIIII!!! The Ernil i Pheriannath is UPON YOU!” Everyone reeled back with horror as he gave the phial a mighty spin, sending a fountain of luminescence high into the air. Sam felt a weight on his shoulder, Frodo's head, as the starglass stopped on a shy, young soldier from Imloth Melui. Pippin rubbed his hands together and the boy watched his approach with wide eyes as if the perian were an advancing troll. But he stayed still, determined not to spoil the game. He took a deep breath as the Took grabbed the front of his tunic and jerked him forward. Sam winced. The lad bravely shut his eyes...then, like Lorel, opened them again in surprise as Pippin, in his mercy, simply pressed a gentle kiss to his cheek. Then the Prince of the Halflings let him go with a grin and walked back to Merry's side. Over the giggling and catcalls of the circle Sam could hear the soldier's sigh of pleased relief, and Frodo laughed again. Oh, that beautiful, rare sound made Sam want to weep with joy. "I love this," Sam murmured, half to himself.

Frodo looked up at him, his head still a heavy weight on Sam’s shoulder, and the glow of the star glass was reflected in his eyes. “I love you,” was his answer. Sam blinked in surprise and smiled before he forced himself to look away. No staring. But what a nice thing to say.

Laughter and applause broke out and Sam looked around in alarm. But it was just Faramir of Gondor protesting Merry’s claiming of a kiss from Eowyn, shieldmaiden of the Rohirrim. Sam remembered that Faramir and Eowyn were to be married and shook his head at the quickness of their courtship. How long had it been? A matter of weeks! Shocking. Pippin went to rescue Merry before Faramir killed him but Merry wouldn’t let go. He wrapped his arms under and over Eowyn’s glorious golden hair and held on tighter as his kiss deepened past all decorum. Sam’s eyes popped. “Hoy, Merry! Let her go!” Pippin pulled on the Brandybuck while Faramir pulled on Eowyn. It was no use. Merry was small and Eowyn had a broken arm but it took Faramir, Pippin, a swan knight from Dol Amroth, and three nurses to pry the two apart. Sam had tears running down his face he was laughing so hard. Pippin plopped Merry down in his place and sank exhausted beside him. Merry leaned against him and waved at Eowyn like a moonstruck lover from a fairy tale. She laughed back, her arms wrapped around Faramir to soothe his wounded pride and heartache. Sam suddenly remembered something important.

“I love you, too, a’course,” he said into Frodo’s curly hair. Then he felt stupid because he was a touch late. Frodo looked up at him with an expression of purest affection and it warmed Sam all the way through. His awkwardness leached away. “Mr. Hoh-bitz,” he whispered and briefly laid his cheek on Frodo’s upturned forehead.

“I’m taking that as an invitation, Mr. Gamgee,” Frodo teased.

Sam laughed. “All right.”

Frodo’s eyebrows went up and he removed himself from Sam’s broad shoulder. Sam had just enough time to feel a spark of complete disbelief before Frodo leaned in again and caught Sam’s mouth with his own. Well, goodness, how about this? Warm lips on his lips, warm breath on his face, warm and soft, so soft, skin against his own... good, it felt so good...the starglass blazed bright as the sun in the morning and they broke away.

Sam gawked at the phial. What? Why? No one was touching the glass, why was it acting up like that? He glanced back at Frodo. Frodo leaned his forehead against Sam’s and smiled. And stared. He stared, gazing deep into Sam’s eyes as if warming himself at a most delightful fire on a cold winter’s day.

Well, ask a stupid question. Sam blushed and dropped his gaze. He tried to scrape together enough composure to say something but Frodo turned and laid his head on Sam’s shoulder again, saving him the trouble.

Well, this was different. Wait, no. No, it wasn't. He just hadn't been paying attention. Noodle-headed ninny. The phial was spun again and Sam slowly smiled as the radiance bathed them all.




The End
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