by jan-u-wine

Samwise Gamgee was a hobbit of loyalty, of dedication, of (though he knew not the word) principle.

And so, though he cared greatly for Mr. Frodo (or perhaps because he cared greatly for him), he could not, would not, step aside and knowingly leave his master to make the greatest error of his life. 

It might be the ending of him, it might, for he knew well Frodo's single-minded determination in regards to the disposition of that which he had come to regard, over a quite short course of time, as his own.

Still, if they both won through, somehow, his master would think kindly of him, would know, as Frodo seemed to know everything, why Sam had done as he had.

He was not granted a moment to think further.  A dark shadow pressed close by Frodo's head, a harsh cry rent the air.  Frodo's hand, shaking a bit, reached upwards, almost, it seemed to Sam, in supplication.

The weight of a decided hobbit struck Frodo, bore him and his burden to the ground. 

Steel sang, sweet as life, final as death, as Frodo rolled over, stilled, with his hand upon Sam's collar…..

Frodo knew him.  Sam breathed out in relief, watched as the horrible desire that had shadowed his poor master's eyes mere moments ago, vanished.

Frodo's hand shook still, as he passed it over his face.

"Sam."  It seemed all that he was able to say, at least for the moment, and Sam shook his head, silenced him with a look.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Frodo……begging your pardon, sir, that it's me as should be reminding you……"

A wheeze met his pause, followed shortly by his master's voice, muffled, seemingly by great emotion:

"Reminding me, Sam?"

"Bless you, sir, yes.  Article Seven and Fifty of Miz Lobelia's Primer for Proper Hobbits:"

(Sam assumed his recitation stance, chest out, hands clasped behind his back, face innocent as any school-lad's):

"A gentle-hobbit should never undertake, on any given day, to ingest more than his (or her) own weight in mushrooms, and should never, under any circumstances, attempt speech while partaking of said fungus."

Frodo momentarily saw red, then realized he had cut his finger when Samwise had so inopportunely landed upon him. 

He cleared his throat, which, since he had by now also cleared his mouth of the remnants of his greed, worked quite well.

"Is that *quite* all, Samwise?" he said, with a nice twist on the final syllable of Sam's name.

Sam, in his turn, cleared his throat. 

"There might be just a bit more, sir."

Frodo glared, as only Frodo could.  Really, he did look rather insane when he was thwarted.

"Well, Sam?"

"Beggin' your pardon, Mr. Frodo, but p'raps this part you'd best read for yourself."

And Sam was quick to dance away upon the path to Number Three, leaving Frodo sitting alone before the pasty-seller's booth,  a half-eaten mushroom-and-onion example of the baker's finest work adorning his best weskit, and his discarded pasty-dagger holding naught but a page open in a book over-weighted with fussy faux-Elvish adornments.

If there was one thing Frodo desired with a wanting so fierce it shook the very roots of the trees, it was mushrooms…..if there was another, (and, truth to tell, this wanting was of a more serious sort:  it reached out and grabbed stars from their rightful places, nay, t'is said Earendil himself was not safe from this dark desire), it was the reading of any book, document or object that hinted at being Elvish. 

And so it was that Frodo, though long he fought against it (the baker counted off 3.2 minutes, for all interested parties), at last put hand to garish manuscript and read what Sam (his dear Sam!) could not say.

Below the admonitions, the cautions, the dire threats and abject pleas for discipline in matters concerning mushrooms was writ in letters both Bold and Red:

'and this means YOU, Frodo Baggins!!!'          

***with all thanks to my most favouritist children's book:  The Poky Little Puppy