He'd never thought that Frodo would wake first.
Truth be told, he'd never thought either of them would wake, ever
more, but now they had, and the sheer astonishment of it, the shock,
the joy of it, had worked its own hardship. And his
master slept again and Sam watched over him, just as was his custom, no
need to be on guard, no, not ever again, but still.....
Sam watched for the simple pleasure it gave him to see the life
return by degrees to Frodo's face. Like Spring after bitter
Winter, it was, like the fields touched with sunlight after sleeting
Something twisted within him, then, twisted with sad remembrance, as
his master's hand sought his throat. Sam remembered this
look, didn't need Frodo's eyes, open and wild with loss, to tell him
what crawled and slid in golden dream within his mind.
Sam reached, caught the bound-white hand, sheltered it like
the wren he'd found once, broken-winged in the back garden.
He was surprised (though not astonished) to find his gentle grip
shaken off, to note the almost-snarl forming on sleeping lips.
so. that was the way of it, still, was it?. He
bowed his head, felt the tears gathering in his eyes, drifting like
slow rain upon his cheeks.
Only his name, but said with such understanding, such clarity, such rightness.....
And he opened his eyes, and Frodo was actually smiling at him (though, truth, there were tears waiting to fall, as well), smiling, and reaching again towards the spot where evil had forever marked him.
"Sam, it's only...."
his hand found his throat....
"it's only, dear Sam.....
(and now the fingers were moving back and forth over new skin, pink
and fresh in the hollow where the Ring had burnt him)
and Frodo hugged him, then, and laughed as though his heart might
break with the simple joy of having something so small to laugh
And Sam laughed with him, noting that even wounds that might never
heal still carried a bit of good withal.