He sifted the sandy loam through his hands. “Taters would grow here,” the gardener said aloud.
“Taters?” the Queen asked. “What are taters?”
Sam stilled for a moment, his heart in his throat. The voice was different but the words – he swallowed hard – those words brought all the horror of the last few months crashing down upon him.
“Sam! Sam!” he heard her calling, but could not move nor answer her.
“Estel!” she cried, “Estel!” and the king was beside her straight away, though he had been in their own chambers only moments before.
He pulled her to him, seeing nothing but pain and fright in her tear-laden eyes. “Undómiel, beloved!” he whispered over and over, trying to discover, in the midst of his fear, what ailed her.
Then he saw Sam, lying face down on the ground. Turning towards the Hobbit, Arwen pushed the king to him.
Faramir joined them as he had been in conference with Elessar when the cry had come. The king placed a hand upon Sam’s brow and breathed into him. The gardener blinked and sat up, looking embarrassed and flustered.
“I don’t know what could have come over me, fainting like that. I’ve never done such a thing in all my life."
“What was it that assailed you, dearest Sam?” Elessar asked quietly.
Sam sat and blinked up at him, at a loss, for a moment. He heard her quiet sobs and remembered. “I can’t say right now, Strider.” Faramir smiled at the name. “‘Tweren’t nothing important.”
“Sam,” Elessar said gently. “Anything that affects one of the Nine affects me.”
Noting Faramir standing above him, Sam sighed. “‘Twere taters. For the love of me, I’d forgotten Boromir hated taters. I can’t plant taters here.”
Faramir started. “Boromir…” He closed his mouth. Boromir loved potatoes. Sam was hiding something.
Elessar helped Sam stand up “Of course he did, Sam. I remember that too.” Tears filled his eyes as the gardener walked off. “Something to do with taters had hurt him or Frodo,” he whispered to Faramir. “I will find out what it was, in time, and heal the little one.”
Faramir’s own eyes watered. ‘Little one’ had been the term Boromir used when his little brother was hurt, worried, or frightened. “With your help, my liege lord, we will all heal.”
Samwise muttered as he walked through the garden door, “Next time, I’ll plant carrots!”