"I see you're coming around to my way of thinking," Gandalf said, stabbing Sam again with his intense gaze. "Don't you lose him, Samwise Gamgee. I want you to promise me that you'll keep close watch on him at all times. Don't let him slip away."
Mildly insulted that Gandalf would think a promise necessary, Sam said, "I've no trouble with giving you my word on that, sir. Why, I'd never be able to look myself in the eye if I couldn't take better care of him than that."
Sam was at the fire, cooking their breakfast, and Aragorn knew without asking where Frodo's attention truly lay.
Sensing that, perhaps, it was also where his sorrow lay, Aragorn said, "He is very dear to you, isn't he?"
"How could he not be?" Frodo said. "See how the sun loves him, turning his hair into gold and his skin into shimmering silk? Sometimes I think it pours itself into him, so that he can give it to the soil in turn through those strong fingers of his, making any garden he touches blossom. It makes him warm and nourishing and caring in ways most people can never appreciate, and by some blessing that I do not understand, he lavishes his nurturing on me as if I were one of his seedlings."
With a final ”Humph!” he turned to take his leave. Legolas materialized behind him, one slender hand on Gimli's shoulder, the other stroking Arod's nose. Wondering uneasily what the Elf had heard, Gimli remained still under the gentle touch, feeling the heat of it through the metal and leather between them. Unbidden, his eyes drifted half-shut and he eased back to find more of that warmth, certain that the small intimacy would go unnoticed in the midst of so much chaos.
For now, though, he had this quiet watch and the liberties that Mr. Frodo allowed because of their circumstances. Sam took advantage of his privileges by tucking the cloak closer to Frodo's neck so that a chill wouldn't seep under. Frodo sighed Sam's name at the tender attention, and shifted toward him as if seeking his warmth. Heart thudding hard in his chest at the trust implied in that small movement, Sam couldn't stop himself from bending to brush a kiss over Frodo’s curly head.
Frodo's hand crept toward Sam's neck, fingers timidly curling there like some small thing seeking safety. At the same time, Sam reached up to lay his palm over Frodo's heart, willing to swear he could feel the fluttering beat of it. As innocuous as the touch was, it sent another jolt through Sam, this one more powerful and less innocent. Desire, sweet and heavy, rose through him, weaving through the love owning him in gossamer threads of some rare metal: a delicate setting for a treasured gem.
One Night Shared
"Are you uncomfortable baring yourself to me?" Legolas asked softly, voice showing nothing but a willingness to understand whatever custom might be troubling Gimli.
Gimli shook his head. "There is nothing I wish more." To prove it, he wrapped his fists in silky hair and pulled Legolas' mouth to his, using that grip to remind himself of the vulnerability of flesh. Their kiss burned into him, setting his blood to singing brightly of conquests and yielding, but he gave himself only to Legolas' command, savoring the taste of lips and velvet touch of tongue until Legolas pulled back, gaze sultry and beguiling.
Merry leaned against a tree, Pippin clinging to him with his hands knotted in his waistcoat, face buried in the curve of Merry's neck. Keeping a weather eye on the wood around them, Merry had one arm slung over Pippin's shoulder and one hand down the front of his breeches. Despite the concealment of fabric and their bodies, it was clear what he was doing there. If Boromir had possessed any doubts, Pippin's low, passion-filled moan would have dispelled them.