Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. They belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.

This will be an ongoing series from now on. I seem to keep going back to the issue of Trust between hobbits, Man, Elves and Dwarfs. Most of my chapters will revolve around Frodo, Sam, and their encounters with Man. Some of it will be AU. I hopefully will touch on the tension between Legolas and Gimli. So, I hope you (the readers) will enjoy my interpretation.

Respite

"If you let them go, then your life is forfeit," the warrior told Captain Faramir. Faramir looked at the two hobbits standing in front of him. He knew that if he took the Ring to his father, that their battle would be for naught. He had just witnessed the heart and determination of this race, risking all they had to save a world unknown to them. "Then it is forfeit. Release them," the Gondorian Captain ordered.

Frodo's mouth fell opened as he heard Faramir sacrifice his own life for theirs. The Ring bearer did not know if he should feel relieved or lost. The Ring was taking hold. He knew this much, and hoped Sam did as well. Overwhelming thoughts of dread then relief flooded the Ring bearer as the world spun around him, his legs wobbling like jelly. Unable to support his weight any longer, Frodo's limbs gave way. He swooned toward the ground, blue orbs rolling back into his head.

The Captain of Gondor caught the Shireling before he hit the ground, Sam at his master's side at the same time. Gently cradling the hobbit's head like an infant from his shoulder, he turned the hobbit over to lay in his arms. Faramir then placed his huge calloused hand upon the little one's brow, stroking sweat drenched curls out of Frodo's face. Not exactly trained in the healing arts, he witnessed a strong and steady pulse at the neck, concluding that the Ring-bearer had only fainted.

"Mr. Frodo?" Sam interjected the silence, as he clasped his master's hand into his, warming it with his own. When Frodo did not answer, he looked up into Faramir's face, his eyes piercing the Captain's. Just like he had to trust Strider to lead them to Rivendell when his master had been wounded by the Witch-King, he now had to trust this Man to help. The one who had brought them to this horrible place, treated them like some common criminals. This Captain of Gondor had hindered their mission and now because he apologized, Sam was to trust him?

Sensing the gardeners turmoil, Faramir attempted to put the hobbit at ease, "Sam, he is only fainted. Come, I will make him comfortable," he said rising to stand, surprised at how easily he lifted the Ring-bearer.

Sam was lead through the battle torn streets of Osgilith. Once great walls of strength had now been disintegrated to marble sized stones scattered along dirt lined corridors. Sam had thought of how the streets were probably filled with happy patrons at one time, bargaining with merchants for various merchandises. Man sized children grabbing at candy stalls as their mothers unaware, gabbing to friends with the latest gossip. Not so much unlike Hobbiton, Sam reminisced.

Once inside one of the stone buildings, Sam saw gigantic wooden beams shoved against stone, secured with heavy rope like vines for added support. Man sized tables, such as the ones he had observed at the Prancing Pony lined the walls. Candles must have been burned continuously, the gardener surmised as the wax drippings pooled into the center of the tables, now just lighted snubs.

Faramir halted at a cot adorned with a clumsily assembled straw mattress, but a worn and well taken care of feather pillowed topped it. "This is my sleeping area," Faramir stated. "Frodo can rest here," the Captain said as he gently transferred the child, no not child, brave warrior, from his arms to the awaiting cot. Looking upon Sam as the gardener covered Frodo with one of their rolls, Faramir added,"you look tired as well, master Gamgee. Perhaps you would like to lie beside your master?"

Sam finished tucking in the edges of the blanket about Frodo when Faramir offered a bed to him as well. He did not know what to say. He was wearied to the bones, but he could not bring himself to admit that in front of this stranger. His master needed him in more ways now, and he had to sit and think upon the best way he could help him. He knew how close he came to be slain by Frodo. How close Frodo had come to giving in to the Nazgul. No, he had to be his master's thoughts, his motivation, his salvation if they were to make it to their appointed destination.

"Please, Sam. Take a rest. I will sit here by his side. I know I do not deserve your trust. If not for your well being, for his?" the Captain negotiated, reading fatigue and determination among the stout hobbit's face. "As soon as he wakes, and able to continue, I will lead your party out of the city. It will be the safest route that I know of," he bargained.

With a resounded sigh and nod, Sam climbed up onto the cot slipping under the covers, a protective hand inching across his master's body. The last thing he saw before his heavy lids closed was the Captain pulling up a stool preparing to sit vigil until Frodo woke.

Frodo detected warmth along the left side of his body, a heaviness upon his middle. He knew that "feeling" upon his midriff. It was Sam's hairy arm, protecting him. So many mornings of late, he would wake within the embracing arms of his friend. He did not want to wake. He felt safe in this drifting state, between the real world and the dream world. Then an unfamiliar voice intruded upon his tranquil place. His brows furrowing at the sound, he slowly opened his eyes, revealing a bearded man leaning over him.

"Frodo? Frodo, that's it. Wake up," Faramir coaxed the hobbit as he had seen the distinct sapphire blue eyes peeking from beneath slightly parted eyelids. The Captain of Gondor stayed by the hobbit's side, just as he promised Sam he would. When Frodo started to come around, he quickly reached for the pitcher of water that he had summoned for earlier, pouring the clear cool liquid into a cup.

It took the Ring-bearer a moment to recognize that it was Faramir standing above him, holding a cup in his hand. "Wh..." he started, his tongue working around a wad of cotton.

"Shh. You'll wake Sam," Faramir spoke quietly, "Here, take some water," he lowered the cup down with one hand pressing it to the hobbit's lips, raising Frodo's shoulders at the same time.

Frodo gratefully accepted the cool water as it passed its way between parched lips, sliding down his dry throat. "Thank you," he whispered after he had drained the cup. "How...how long have I been out?"

"A few hours at the most," the Captain replied, looking upon the Shireling with great respect, not the "spy" he once thought he was. "I convinced master Gamgee to rest with you. He is very stubborn when it comes to your care, master Baggins."

Frodo chuckled at the thought of Sam being stubborn. He always thought it was the other way around. Many times throughout this journey, he was always being told by Aragorn and even Gandalf how incorrigible he was. His smiled faded as the memory of Gandalf resurfaced falling in Moria, sacrificing his life so that Frodo may go on.

Faramir seen the Ring-bearer's demeanor change and asked,"What is it?"

"Nothing," he responded looking past the Gondorian's shoulder, then his eyes flickering back to Faramir's. "Please, call me Frodo."

Faramir did not press the issue of Frodo's sudden change of mood. He just nodded, stroking the dark curls off the little ones forehead, feeling for his charges temperature. Normal.

"If you'd just ask, I would tell you if I felt warm, Captain," Frodo spoke closing his eyes, letting out a huge sigh.

"I will show you and Sam a way out when you are able to travel. For right now, you need to get some more rest," Captain Faramir spoke watching as the Ring-bearer's breathing slowed, his facial features softening as sleep claimed him again.

Faramir stood for a moment to stretch his legs. Snoring could be heard coming from one of the refuge's dark corners. Realizing what the small shape was, Captain Faramir still wondered what the creature Gollum was really up to. He had seen the way the gardener despised the creature, but how Frodo seemed to be protecting him. There was tension in this group, and nothing good would come of it. Shaking the image of a Gollum like Frodo from his head, Faramir again took his seat, leaning it back onto two legs. "Well, Master Gamgee, do I pass your test?" he questioned the sleeping hobbit, taking a respite himself as he closed his eyes.

Samwise had awoken the moment Frodo's breathing rhythm had changed, keeping his eyes closed the whole time during the Captain's and his master's conversation. It was not his place to involve himself in any conversation. It just was not done by someone in his station of life. If he had detected that Frodo seemed to be in any danger he would have jumped to this gentle hobbits defense, but none had arisen. When Faramir asked the question without realizing he had an audience, Sam silently answered,"Yes, you have," and he would tell him so when he and Frodo left Osgilith.

The End.