Straw and Feathers by Ruby Nye
Summary: Sam thinks about what's proper. Merry knows what he likes.
Categories: FPS > Merry/Sam, FPS, FPS > Sam/Merry Characters: Merry, Sam
Type: None
Warning: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 2951 Read: 1056 Published: August 21, 2012 Updated: August 21, 2012
Story Notes:
This is dedicated to two reviewers and one fandom: first and less importantly to the reviewer at HASA who, while ripping apart "Moss and Blushes", asked why Merry would *not* want Sam to call him "Mr Merry", because of course as heir to Brandy Hall, having grown up being served, he should want the honorific and is also obviously just using Sam. Y'know, that's a good question, even if s/he rather presupposed the answers. Second and far more importantly, this is dedicated to Teasel, because she's wonderful.

1. Chapter 1 by Ruby Nye

Chapter 1 by Ruby Nye
It may not have been the hottest day of the year, but it was certainly hot and muggy. Sam untied his shirt from his waist and mopped his brow with it; at least he sat in the shade of the roof-oak, taking a moment to breathe after lunch. From the shaded spot on the roof of Bag End Sam could look down into his (well, Mr. Frodo's) lush garden, watching it glow in the midday sunshine, and then up across all of Hobbiton to the Water, and dream of seeing even further. He stretched an ear for a moment, but nothing stirred within the smial; Frodo and his cousins had all lain down for naps after elevenses. So, Sam relaxed and lay back, looking up into the deep green oak leaves, feeling the grass as cool beneath him as anything might be on such a hot day.

"Hullo, Sam," said a low, cheerful voice in his ear; Sam jumped, heart thudding, and found Merry on hands and knees beside him, leaning so close their noses nearly bumped, grin shining even in the shade. "Didn't hear me coming, did you?"

Well, Merry was up, in more ways than one. "You near stopped me heart, Mr. Merry," Sam said, far more sternly than he really felt; Merry knew this, and leaned in closer, so their noses did touch and their lips nearly did. "It's too hot to work," he said, voice still low, and Sam felt blood rush to both heads as Merry settled their shoulders firmly together, bare skin hot against skin. In his best reasonable tones, Sam replied, "aye, sir, and too hot for aught else as well." His voice shook only a little.

"It's never too hot for that," Merry replied, stretching out like a basking cat, shifting away again but the warmth of his body crackling through Sam's nevertheless. Sam might work for his living, but he was still a tweenager, not even twenty-four, and he wasn't at all tired, so he sat up before Merry's heat could ignite in him too easily. "What might I do for you, Mr. Merry?"

Merry grinned up at him. "You might lie down and talk to me," he said, pressing his hand to Sam's shoulder, and Sam rolled his eyes. "I should----"

"You should take your ease." Merry's hand, nearly as strong as Sam's, pulled him back down and then slipped beneath his neck, raising tingles as it went, to curl round his other shoulder. Sam thought of his sweaty head on Merry's crisp shirt and winced, but Merry was as hard to deny as Frodo, and he settled Sam firmly against him. "Lovely tree," Merry observed. "It really rouses the heart, to look up from the Road and see it, waving atop Bag End as if in greeting."

Sam glanced up at this unexpected bit of poetry, and Merry grinned, waggled his eyebrows, and kissed him, that familiar solid firmness of another lad. "Hullo, Sam," said Merry, and Sam ignored the quiver rippling through his blood and sighed. "You are a wicked one, Mr. Merry," he retorted, and Merry only grinned wider. "And I should be back to work soon. Mr. Frodo might have need of me."

Merry laughed, trailing his fingertips up Sam's damp chest. "I asked Frodo before he took his nap, and he said if you didn't mind being distracted he'd keep Pippin out of our hair."

Well, then, and after Sam's Pippin-herding the previous evening it was only fair. Persuaded, Sam gave in to Merry's warmth and the heat in his own blood, returning Merry's grin as he turned towards him, but his gaze fell over the edge of the roof to the bright garden and path below. "We'd best go in then," he said, and Merry's brow quite predictably furrowed. "Why, Sam, it's lovely up here, much cooler than inside."

"Aye, and wide open; all the town could see us, if you take my meaning." Sam sat up to strengthen his own resolve, and Merry pouted, then flashed another bright grin and sat up as well. "You take as much persuading as a lass," he complained, his smile belying his tone.

"I ain't a lass, Mr. Merry." Sam folded his arms, and Merry only grinned all the wider. "You're a lad indeed, Sam, and I like that," he murmured, his voice nearly as hot and moist on Sam's ear as the tongue that followed it; he licked Sam's ear just long enough to tease, just long enough for Sam to bite his lip and close his eyes and tremble, before chuckling and sitting back. "Your room?"

"The bed's straw," Sam protested, and Merry shook his head, still smiling. "I like straw." Before Sam could drag further replies out of his heat-hazed mind, Merry had turned to slip off the roof, and, well, there were more important things to do than debate mattresses.

After a stop by the well to douse himself and wring out his shirt, Sam crept quietly down the hall, listening for a sound from Frodo or Pippin, but the smial was dark and cool and quiet, and in his little room Merry already sat on the bed, wearing nothing but an eager grin.

Sam shut the door behind him and folded his arms, regarding his gently-born kissing-friend. Merry had fair hair and grey eyes, broad shoulders and just the start of a proper hobbit tummy, and under Sam's gaze he lay back invitingly. "Well, Sam, what are you waiting for?"

"Just looking, Mr. Merry." Suppressing the rush beating in his blood, Sam strolled over, shucking his damp breeches as he went. "You're a fair lad."

"As fair as Frodo?" Merry reached up even as he teased, as Sam blushed. "Mr. Merry----"

"Don't take on so, Sam, I think so, too." Hands on Sam's shoulders, Merry tugged him down. "I'm glad you love my cousin." He kissed Sam sweetly. "And I'm going to make you forget to call me Mister." Eyes twinkling, he slid one hand down Sam's back, fingertips outlining the muscles with heat, to curve it round one nether cheek.

This was an old game between them; Sam bit his lip against a laugh and shook his head stoutly. "It'd not be proper," he insisted, even as Merry rolled him over and grinned with delight at his stubbornness. "It--oh!"

Well, one can't protest if one is trembling and gasping, as Merry well knew. Fingers dancing, firm solid lad's body pressed to Sam's, smile shining in the dimness, Merry leaned over Sam for another kiss.

"Mr. Merry, mercy above," Sam gasped, slumping over onto his back, the straw crackling faintly beneath him. Merry laughed breathlessly and snuggled into the curve of Sam's arm, mouthing Sam's eartip. "You beat me, Sam," he admitted, and laughed as Sam blushed redder yet, and licked his hot cheek. "Despite my best efforts, you called me 'Mister'. I'm impressed."

Sam allowed himself one small flare of triumph, one demure smile. "I've told you, sir," he replied, feeling Merry's laughter vibrating all down his side, "It ain't proper for me to make free with your name, with you the heir to Brandy Hall and Mr. Frodo's kinsman besides."

"I still don't see why, Sam. You've made free with the rest of me." Merry said it with a laugh, but Sam couldn't hide the twinge as he recalled the thump he'd had to watch Marigold take at their Gaffer's hands, the stern words in both their ears. "Sam?" Merry asked, resting his chin on Sam's shoulder, laughter changed to concern. "What is it? And don't tell me it's nothing."

Sam shook his head, but steel grey eyes held him; Merry was already growing to be formidable. "My Gaffer, well, he gave Mari and me the rough side of his tongue after the Lithe dancing." Sam closed his eyes at the memory, not wanting to watch Merry's look of concern heating to ire. "He said we oughtn't to treat a gentlehobbit such as yourself as if you could be one of our common kissing-friends."

"He said that!" Merry tensed with anger, and Sam winced and cursed himself for a fool for having said anything. Merry let a deep breath, and Sam felt him calm a bit, and reach up to skim fingertips across Sam's cheek. "Don't worry, Sam." Merry's smile was brittle. "I'm not going to storm down to Number Three, much as I'd like to. He is your father. But I think he's being terribly unfair."

Sam sighed and began to relax at those words, but the thought that came to his mind tensed him again, and Merry felt it. "He's not right," Merry insisted. "I'm not so different from you and Marigold, and I know Frodo would tell you the same."

Sam shook his head, thinking of his fey dark-haired master. "Mr. Frodo's sommat, oh, I haven't words for all his is. And you're Mr. Merry Brandybuck, and you're both gentry." Merry snorted, pulled his hand from Sam's face, and flopped over onto his back; worried that Merry's anger was spreading to him, Sam sat up, laying a placating hand on Merry's upper arm as he leaned over, and felt his heart unclench when Merry gave him a wide smile. Emboldened by that smile, Sam explained, "Sir, well, this is why I call you Mister, always. It's what's proper."

"Sam." Merry rolled his eyes. "You're my friend, and you care for Frodo, and that's far more important than who our fathers are, at least to me."

"You can afford it to be," Sam blurted, and immediately wished he hadn't, as Merry winced, tensing beneath his hand, eyes clenching shut. Sam gulped, his face burning, his heart pounding painfully in his chest. How could someone lying beside him in bed suddenly seem so far away?

Holding his breath, Sam waited, but Merry lay still, eyes closed, only his chest moving and a drop of sweat creeping down his temple. Sam sighed and turned, aching at the seeming dismissal, scrubbing his hand across his eyes and wondering where his breeches had got to; he gasped when a hand settled on his back, as a sigh sounded behind him. "I'm sorry," Merry said in a low voice, and Sam turned to look at him and found him smiling ruefully. "I'm sorry, Sam. I do see what you mean. But, well, you are my friend, you know. I'm not after a warming-pan."

The warmth of relief felt wonderful, even in the muggy heat of the day. "I know, Mr. Merry. You ain't that sort." Merry held out his hand, and Sam squeezed it. "I should be back to the garden," Sam said, but he smiled and gave in when Merry tugged at him. "It's still midday," Merry replied, his smile tilting to cheekiness. "It's dreadfully hot. Stay here a bit longer."

"I'm as idle as anything when you visit," Sam grumbled, but lay down again as Merry laughed; then Merry blinked and said, "That's why you warned me off Marigold, isn't it?"

"Well, some of it, Mr. Merry." Sam folded his arms, trying to look firm in the face of Merry's shining grin and sparkling eyes. "She is barely a tween, her head light and easy turned, and you're a head turner and no mistake." Merry grinned even wider at that. "Still, as a lass, well, our Gaffer's word lies heavier yet on her than on me."

Merry made a put-upon face so funny that Sam couldn't help but laugh. "Oh, I suppose, Sam. I wouldn't want you to have to thrash me." Merry untucked his arm from beneath his head and dragged Sam's arm round his shoulders again; thus invited, Sam turned over to curve the other arm round him as well, damp skin catching and sliding. "I couldn't raise a hand to you, Mr. Merry," he said seriously. "I'd leave that to Mr. Frodo."

Merry laughed with delight, and Sam watched him laugh, head tilted back with careless grace. "I'd be in trouble then! Frodo's quite protective of you his Gamgees. But then, even the tweens really are more serious, out here in the Eastfarthing."

"Well, folk here know that Bucklanders are queer as blue moons." It really was pleasant to watch Merry laugh. "And, well, things all have their proper places, and so do hobbits. Gentlehobbits lie on feathers, common folk on straw. Gentlefolk don't make friends of those as serve them, it just ain't done. Nor do they court 'em, because why court when you can't wed? So you see why my Gaffer's so cross with me and Mari over you, why he'd send me away if he thought I'd forgot my place with Mr. Frodo."

Merry stubbornly shook his head. "Then how are you with Frodo, Sam?" he asked, eyebrow arched. "How are you here with me?" Sam's hand was drawn up to trace that golden eyebrow with his blunt fingers, and Merry smiled, eyelids drooping, leaning into the touch. "Because Mr. Bilbo never gave a raisin for respectability, and Mr. Frodo brought wild Brandybuck ways with him," Sam replied, smiling just a little, "so between 'em both I grew used to it by the time you grew to as wild a tween as the Shire ever saw." Merry laughed, soft and breathy, and pressed a kiss to Sam's palm, and Sam sternly told his body to ignore the quiver of heat in his blood, told himself that another bout would leave him asleep all afternoon and that he had work to do. "But what if I like straw?" Merry mused.

"Mr. Merry?" asked Sam, and Merry opened his eyes, something serious in them behind the cheer. "I like straw mattresses, Sam, they're firm. I like having friends who aren't gently born; many of the gentry can be horribly stuffy, let me tell you. I like having handsome kissing friends, wherever I might find them." His eyebrow waggle made Sam blush, and Merry laughed brightly and raised his hand to Sam's cheek. "I didn't choose my parents. Would I be so very different, if I'd been born to the Twofoots? Wouldn't you still love Frodo even if he weren't a Baggins?"

Sam blinked. He couldn't imagine Merry without his gentlehobbit assurance and Brandybuck grace, couldn't imagine wise, lettered Frodo without his books and quills. After all, who else would he himself be than Sam Gamgee, son of Hamfast? Merry laughed at Sam's blank look and shook his head and kissed him. "Never mind. Speaking of Frodo, how does he fare?"

Sam looked at Merry, as ever not quite sure of the propriety of reporting on his master, and Merry gave him a broad and encouraging smile. "You sometimes tell me what he doesn't," Merry said persuasively, and Sam sighed, and smiled his surrender. "He does well enough, Mr. Merry, well enough. He's rosy and fair and eating well. In late May he went out walking, out all night; he came back with that look he has sometimes, that, well, star-touched look. I'm afraid I can't rightly describe it."

"You describe it well," Merry replied, unpeeling his arm from Sam's chest to shift over onto his back. "I'm glad you're here with him, Sam. My mother and Aunt Eglantine fret sometimes that since Bilbo left Frodo's been living up here 'all alone', but I know better."

Sam blushed so hot he thought his face might set the pillow afire. "I, well, 'tis my place," he muttered. "And my joy."

"I know, Sam. And I'm glad." Merry reached out as if for Sam's hand, then thought better of it and reached over further; Sam's eyes flew open as he sucked a breath, and Merry's eyebrows quirked. "How about another go?"

Sam sat up against the tide of his blood and Merry's hot skilful hand. "You, Mr. Merry, are wicked company." Merry grinned. "I've already lain idle long enough." Merry laughed, and all the harder when Sam shook his head. "You should work and tire yourself," Sam advised as coolly as he might, tingling with the naughtiness of such cheek, biting his lip to keep from returning Merry's grin, folding his arms to keep from winding them around him. "Do some heavy lifting."

"I lift heavy things at home, Sam," Merry retorted, trailing a hand up Sam's thigh, pressing in his fingertips. "I'm on holiday. Come on, tumble with me again?" Sam bit his lip harder, feeling his wilful body rousing again beneath Merry's wilful hands; Merry grinned triumphantly and licked his lips maddeningly, and Sam was in danger of succumbing indeed when salvation unexpectedly arrived in the form of a high voice in the hallway calling, "Merry? Merry?".

Stifling giggles, Merry immediately dragged the coverlet up over them both, as Pippin's seeking calls came nearer. "He must have woken before Frodo," Merry whispered, voice and fingers shaking with amusement. Sam snorted and gasped in the straw-and-hobbit-scented dark, pushing Merry gently away, unable to keep from laughing himself. "I'd best be up afore Mr. Pippin finds us," he whispered in reply. "Unless you want---"

"---Pippin to tease us for the next five years? No, I think I can live without that." Merry paused as they heard Frodo's voice, too low to catch the words, and Pippin's "But where is he?" trailing off towards the kitchen; then he leaned over for another kiss before letting Sam go. "I shall have to take a cold bath," Merry said mournfully, and Sam laughed so hard he nearly got entangled in the coverlet. "That might be for the best, Mr. Merry," Sam agreed, peeling the coverlet off as he swung a leg off the bed, and Merry laughed and leaned forward for one more kiss.
This story archived at