FIC NAME : "BLUE PATCHES" 1/1

FIC SYNOPSIS : Faramir performs an unusual healing treatment on Frodo since Sam has burned one hand and can't do it properly.

GENRE : AU. Non Slash. Hurt/Comfort. Foot Fetish. Sam didn't burn his hands in Ithilien, at least not in Tolkien's writing. DISCLAIMER : This is a work of fiction, it is based on the writings of J R R Tolkien. I make no money from it, and I do not claim to own the characters or setting. That belongs to Mr. Tolkien.

RATING : PG-13

Not four hours of walking had passed in Ithilien before the young Captain of Gondor noticed that one of the hobbits was moving very slowly, almost limping. The other's hand had been bandaged, he had protested that it was nothing serious, but a burn was a burn. In the wild, Faramir had learned that such things could easily become problems if not treated immediately.

They could not waste any more time for this hobbit to keep up, so he made his way back down the line to where the guards were ushering the blindfolded hobbits. Presently, he said sharply to his rangers. "We stop here for fifteen minutes. Take rest and water."

He did not let either know of his closer presence at first, watching the two of them huddle together as the larger one appeared to be attempting to sooth the other. Their hands bound, they could not do much but be assisted with water from his men's skins. He fixed his gaze upon the hobbit's feet, trying to analyze what would be causing the limp. No limbs appeared swollen or broken.

"Mr, Frodo, are you alright?" Sam whispered hoarsely to his master. "Do you know where we are?"

"No Sam, I don't." Frodo said lightly, "Try to rest, save your energy." It was a lie, he was far from alright. He was exhausted, and what's more, his left foot was throbbing painfully underneath. The pains shot through his ankle and up his calf with almost every step no matter how he stepped on it. He wondered if he had been bitten by something? He could not tell with the blindfold on, nor could he feel with his hands.

"Are you sure, Mr. Frodo? You weren't keeping up back there…"

"Let me have a look at your foot." Faramir interjected, revealing his presence. He had been so quiet the whole time that neither had even noticed he had been listening to them.

"No, Don't touch me. Who are you?" Frodo asked nervously, scuttling away from the man who was taking them to their doom.

Faramir crouched down and shook his head, "It doesn't matter who I am. Show me your foot, or I'll have someone come over and hold you down so that I can see it myself. I don't have time for this, hobbit."

He cringed at the direct tone in the man's voice, yet still…despite the hard quality there was an underlying current there. He detected a familiarity, somehow he knew this man. There was also a spark within his tone that induced Frodo to trust him, at least with this.

"Be careful, Don't you hurt him!" Samwise roared at the man angrily. "You hurt him and I…Why I'll…"

"Easy, Sam." Frodo said calmly, "Its alright. Watch your poor hand."

Faramir was relieved that the hobbit had relented, for he had not wanted to have to force this issue. He had Frodo sit on a nearby log while he lifted the hobbit's foot to his knee. Still crouched, the man held the hobbit's ankle gently as he looked it over. It was as he'd suspected. Frodo had stepped in a patch of Spurge Laurel leaves that grew sparsely in several areas around here. If imbibed, they were highly poisonous, if stepped in, they did not cause any lasting damage, but were difficult to deal with for a few days. The type of Spurges in the area were a little more potent than normal. His rangers knew to avoid them, but hobbits likely were not aware of their existence. Frodo had several bluish blisters upon his bottom left foot, and the entire heal was irritated, and it was spreading, creeping up over the top where the curly hair was. "I thought so." he murmured. Most men would also not be walking around barefoot. He frowned and called over one of the men that served under him as a healer.

"What is it? It hurts…" Frodo admitted, biting his lower lip.

Sam looked up, "Are you injured Mr. Frodo? Please, sir. Let me help."

"You cannot help with this, not with your hand burnt that, Master Hobbit. We have some medicine with us, not a lot, but enough that will help ease the pain if you will let me apply it. First we have to clean your foot." Faramir nodded to the healer who began to rummage in his backpack.

Strong hands began to gently wash the dirt away from his left foot. Frodo flushed slightly, quite embarrassed with the fact that one foot would look quite decidedly cleaner than the other, but there was nothing to be done about it. Faramir smiled grimly at the hobbit's fierce determination to endure the pain. Such courage in this little one, it was almost inspiring.

Not too long after, he rubbed the salve into the blisters. He wasn't sure why he was doing it instead of the healer, but Frodo seemed to have decided to trust him for some bizarre reason and he wasn't giving any trouble at all.

The salve was cool and light upon the hot blisters and the hobbit breathed a sigh of relief, relaxing finally when the job was completed. Faramir bound a white cloth around the foot to protect the infected area , pausing a moment to marvel secretly at the curls. He wasn't entirely sure why, and the moment he realized he was doing it he looked away. "There, is that better?"

Frodo smiled a little and tentatively rose to his feet, testing. It was indeed. The pain had dulled quite considerably and he felt he could go on for a while more. "Yes, Thank-you. It feels much better now. Please, can you tell me how much farther it is?"

"Not far, and I will see to it that you avoid the Spurges from now on. When we reach our destination we shall speak more. For now, I entrust your companion to you. The blisters will not last long, it is a lucky thing that you only stepped in that plant and did not swallow it. There are many poisonous plants here in Ithilien, Master Hobbit. Take care, now."

"Thank-you." Frodo said again, as the man left them to themselves once more.

"Frodo?" Sam said softly, "I think he's an honorable man, that one. He's the captain. I heard them talking in the back. Do you think…?"

"Don't think Sam, not right now. We'll talk to him again when we are no longer in the wild. I'm alright now, but perhaps a bit of water would help." Frodo smiled, even though it wasn't really about the fact that his foot was better. He smiled because it seemed that the world of men still had honor and kindness in it, perhaps they would get through to this Captain after all.

Sam handed his canteen to Frodo and sighed as his master drank heavily from it. Frodo certainly was thirsty during these long days, he hoped that he'd be able to have enough water for the road ahead, for it would be a long and dark one if they lost their provisions.

After a short time, the company began to move again, and the hobbit was thankful to be in far less pain than before. He was also a little more sure that they might just make it out of this one, for it was clear that the man in charge was not the hard person he appeared to be at first.

**THE END**