A/N: Aren't you glad I remembered to post this before I left to go home? ;) Many thanks to everyone who has been faithfully reviewing; I'd list you by name but I don't have the time to look it up right now... my family is coming in less than 20 minutes to pick up me and my stuff, and I'm not done packing yet, and I'm trying to eat lunch, and all sorts of other things...

Anyway, hope you enjoy this, the last chapter!

Chapter 10

After a few hours, it was readily apparent that Sam had indeed caught the flu from Frodo. He threw up several times, though he always managed to get it in the basin, so Frodo didn't have to do much to clean up. Sam slept most of the time, and Frodo did what he could for him in between short naps of his own. Occasionally he would sponge Sam off to help with his fever, though for the most part his temperature remained steady and never spiked worryingly high.

Painfully aware of what the lack of fluids could do, Frodo forced Sam to drink as much as he could, especially after he threw up. Sam, in turn, ensured that Frodo took his own advice, and took it one step further, insisting that Frodo eat. "I'll bet you haven't had anything all day," Sam stated accusingly.

"So what if I haven't? It would probably make me puke anyway," Frodo argued.

"I won't drink a drop until you eat something," Sam maintained.

Frodo decided to change tactics. He crossed his arms defiantly and retorted, "How do you know I didn't eat anything while you were asleep? I'm awake more often than you are, you know." The ruse might've worked if his stomach hadn't rumbled hungrily, so he had to drop the pretense. "All right, all right. I'll go find some soup or something, but only if you try to eat a little, too."

Sam reluctantly agreed, though the suggestion sent his stomach into knots. "I'll try, but no promises."


Frodo was relieved when the soup stayed down, but poor Sam was not so lucky. Neither that nor the tea stayed long in his unsettled stomach. Sam felt quite miserable, and was suitably impressed that Frodo had managed to do as much as he did while feeling this bad or worse, probably worse.

Frodo was feeling better than he had, but his increasing anxiety about Sam weighed on his mind and robbed him of any appetite he may have regained. He didn't tell Sam this, of course, for then the younger hobbit would undoubtedly declare he'd made a miraculous recovery or somesuch nonsense just to set Frodo's mind at ease.

The only thing that would truly make Frodo less concerned about their situation was the end of the storm. Once the storm ended, he could fetch the healer, or send someone to get the healer. His recent experience made him quite paranoid, having realized the deadly potential of even the simplest illnesses, if left untended. He was still quite shaken by the knowledge that he could've died from something as normal as the flu. When he said something about it the morning of the second day of the storm, Sam said he was being ridiculous about the whole thing, but Frodo still felt he'd rather be safe than sorry. He'd hold himself personally responsible if anything terrible happened to Sam because of him.


The storm raged on for two more days, with stinging, howling winds and frigid temperatures. Both ailing hobbits stayed safely indoors, barely ever leaving the snug warmth of the bed. Frodo was slowly recovering; and after his symptoms peaked on his second day of being ill, Sam also began to show signs of improvement. Nonetheless, Frodo still anxiously awaited the end of the storm.


As Frodo slowly surfaced from the world of dreams early in the morning of the fourth day of the storm, he realized something was different. *Something* had changed, but what?

The wind. It had stopped howling. The storm was over. Frodo breathed a sigh of relief. Now as soon as Mister Gamgee came by, Frodo could ask him to fetch Dr. Proudfoot for Sam. The day before he had come to the conclusion that he shouldn't get the doctor himself. He could think of several people-Sam, Miss Bolger, and Mister Gamgee, to name a few-who would throttle him senseless if he went out in the cold, still having not completely recovered from the flu; that is, if he didn't catch his death of pneumonia from the excursion!

Besides, Sam really did seem to be getting better on his own, so getting the doctor was not a crucial matter. If asked, Sam would deny he even needed a doctor, 'just like I would,' Frodo thought wryly. But his perspective had changed somewhat, and he just wanted to be absolutely sure Sam would be all right.

Sam shifted in his sleep and rolled over, now facing Frodo with a look of distress. Frodo reached over and clasped his hand, squeezing it reassuringly. Sam unconsciously returned the squeeze, his features relaxing back into the peace of deep sleep. Frodo allowed himself to drift off as well, relieved that he had successfully overcome the first major crisis of his adult life.