Disclaimers: JRRT owns all, I've just borrowed a few hobbits to play with.

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: * Slash *: Sam/Frodo and implied Merry/Pippin. AU and Angst.

Story notes: I wrote this after reading a lot of slash stories where the hobbits end up living together with the blessing of everyone in the Shire – as far as I'm concerned the Shire just isn't like that.

'*~' denotes a flashback.

Sam gently ran his thumb along Frodo's jaw line. Frodo's eyes fluttered open, smiled at him and then closed again. He knew why Frodo wanted to keep them closed, wanted to pretend he was not here, since Sam wanted the same thing, but he instead concentrated on Frodo's face. He could still manage to be beautiful, even like this, his face dirty and tired, with the tracks of his tears running through the dirt on his cheeks.


"Mmn." Frodo held Sam closer and pressed his face into his neck.

"You do know I loves you, don't you?"

Frodo brought his face level with Sam's and smiled again at him. "How could I not? I think you have told me three times on the last ten minutes." Sam blushed and looked down, but Frodo put a finger under his chin and pulled him to face him again. "I love you Sam, You know that. I think this is the whole reason that we are in this situation. I mean if I hated you I wouldn't be sat in a dingy, damp and filthy prison cell."

Sam looked deeply hurt, "I, I, I'm sorry."

Frodo sighed. "I didn't mean it that way. I don't know what I mean. I know that I'm here because I love you, and I don't want to be here, but I do love you, and I love you more because you love me back, but if you didn't we wouldn't be here…" Frodo stopped again. "I'm not making any sense am I?"

"Not much sense, but a lot of meaning" Sam kissed his forehead.

"Where would I be without you?"

"Out in the Shire, enjoying a lovely day…"

"Which might as well be a thunderstorm without you."

"Now don't you go on and be going soppy and girly on me. I thought you liked thunderstorms anyway?"

"I do. I couldn't think of anything better to say. I'm useless at being romantic."

"Useless at romantic words, yes, useless at romantic deeds, no."

There was the noise of a heavy door being unlocked. Sam made to let go of Frodo, but Frodo shook his head. "They know Sam. No use pretending; we might as well have each other close."

A large, middle-aged hobbit entered the cell, a pompous and overbearing dignitary. He looked at the two curled around each other on a pile of hay in the corner of the cell with unreserved disgust, then produced a sheet of paper from which he read. "The crimes of which you have been accused are so serious it has been decided that a full Shirrif's assembly has to be convened to hear them. You will be tried at the end of the month, in two weeks time. You are to be reminded that this carries the harshest penalty, expulsion from the Shire." He turned and left.

*~ Frodo watched Sam in the garden as he had so often in the past, but now he knew what his growing fondness meant. He knew that the best thing to do was to dismiss Sam, to tell him to find work elsewhere, to get him away before he did anything that would shame either of them, but he knew he could not. For to make Sam leave would be to break his own heart but also to betray Sam, for he knew he could not make up a good reason for dismissing Sam, nor any reason for changing his behaviour. He and Sam had eaten together in Bag End since before Bilbo left, if he ended this Sam would need a reason, and Frodo could not give him the real one. He called Sam in for a cup of tea.

"Looks like it will be good weather for your party."

Sam grinned. "It'll be bad luck of it isn't – there's no room for everyone if we can't hold it outside."

"Next one will be your coming of age – I think there'll be a certain Miss. Cotton extremely interested in you at this party." Everyone knew about Rose; Frodo tried to be as casual as possible, but he could not help but hate the idea of anyone having Sam if he could not. He knew he had to try and act as normal, knew that if anyone thought Sam had caught any oddness off of gardening for the Bagginses that his chances of marriage would be killed. He may have hated the idea of anyone else having Sam, but the idea of Sam being miserable because of him pained him even more.

Sam blushed and looked away. "I expect she will Mr. Frodo."

"What's wrong Sam?"

"Nothing for you to be worried about, sir."

"Sam, you are probably my best friend, if there's anything wrong of course I'm going to be worried." Frodo tried to look Sam in the eye, genuinely concerned. "I don't want anything to spoil your birthday."

"How – how do you know if you love someone?"

"Do you mean love someone, or being 'in love'? Because loving someone, that's easy to know – just that if anything hurt them you'd be hurt as well. In love, well you just know." // As I know I am in love with you Samwise. // Frodo added silently.

"It's just, well, I don't know what I think about her. I've known her for as long as I can remember, I like her, but everyone thinks we're in love, and I don't know."

Frodo sighed. "I think – I think if you have to ask you know the answer."

Sam nodded. "I can't break her heart though…"

"Then don't. You're still not of the age to be married; you've got a year to let her down gently. It's not as if there aren't a dozen other hobbit lads who'd make a good husband for her." Frodo grinned at Sam. "Obviously none who would measure up to you though." Frodo's heart leapt as he realised what he'd just said, but fortunately Sam saw it as a joke and smiled back, and Frodo relaxed again.

"Mr. Frodo?"


"I know it's a bit of a bold question, but have you ever been in love?"

Frodo could not help but to tell the truth. "Yes. I still am."


"Not reciprocated."


"They don't love me back."


"You don't have anything to be sorry about." // except for having such a person as a friend. // ~*

They were awoken in their cell by a shrill, angry voice outside. "I demand to see them! I have property at stake here, my rightful inheritance!"

Lobelia. Of course she would turn up. It was probably only now she was here because she had been out celebrating the downfall of Frodo, the stealer of Bag End, 'brung low by the gardener'.

Frodo looked at Sam. They were still locked in each other's arms, only breaking the embrace to shift from one uncomfortable position to another. "It's a pity that these cells aren't built with hiding places in mind."

The cell door opened and Lobelia stepped in. "Where is it?"


"The key to Bag End. Bag End which is now rightfully mine."

"It is not."

"People expelled from the Shire cannot own property. Bag End is mine."

"If it had not escaped your notice, I may be in prison, but I am still in the Shire. Bag End is still mine."

Lobelia sneered at them. "You don't seem in any hurry to prove your innocence, sat there like, like, the filthy creatures you are! Bag End will be mine!"

Lobelia stormed out and the cell door was locked again behind her.

Frodo made a show of looking at himself. "She's right, I could do with a bath." The two hobbits giggled. "I never thought I could still find Lobelia ludicrous in a situation like this."

Sam smiled, them looked serious. "She will get Bag End though, in the end."

"Yes, but I'm not giving her the satisfaction of acquiring it now. Perhaps I could throw it into the crowd at the Shirrif's court, let Bag End be a free for all."

"There will be a crowd, won't there."

Frodo couldn't look at Sam. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry I got you into all this. Everyone knows the Bagginnes are strange; they'll all turn up. Sorry."

Sam began to cry again, and Frodo held him in his arms and rocked him. "Don't know I can deal with all them people, out there, sayin' 'there's that Samwise Gamgee' and hatin' me."

"If I can protect you Sam I will. Promise."

*~ Sam was upset. He'd managed to get Gaffer to let him invite Frodo to his birthday party, which Gaffer had initially objected to since it 'weren't right to go getting' ideas above yer station', and Frodo had seemed upset during the whole party. All right, so he'd acted as normal, trying to persuade Sam to dance with all the lasses he was too shy to go near, but there was something underneath, something that was eating away at him. Frodo had been one of the last to leave, even offering to help with the clearing up, but as soon as that offer had been declined he'd left as fast as was polite. Sam needed to know what was going on, so had said he was going to bed, then slipped out of his bedroom window and gone on up towards Bag End.

He came up to the door, and was about to knock, when he thought again. If Frodo was as upset as he thought he was then he wouldn't be inside the house at all. There was a place at the angle of the house, where the ground was shaped to make a hollow that couldn't be seen from the house windows, nor from most of the rest of the garden, and it was here that Frodo most often went if he wanted to be alone. Sam knew the garden well, knew how this spot could be approached while remaining unseen. Sure enough there was Frodo, sobbing, his tears wet on his face shining in the moonlight. Sam thought, not for the first time, how beautiful and elven Frodo looked. Most people just thought he was odd looking for a hobbit, but to Sam he'd always been beautiful, even when he was little. He could still remember the beating Gaffer had given him, when he was still very small, when he'd come back from accompanying Gaffer to Bag End and had told his mother how beautiful Frodo was. He had no idea then what he had done wrong, but he knew now, and now it was worse, Frodo was not just beautiful; he was everything. He didn't know why he'd started the stupid conversation about being in love; he knew Frodo was odd but not that odd. That was probably why he was crying – the person he was in love with had been at the party.

Sam stood there, just watching Frodo, unsure what to do; go over and comfort him, or leave him to cry himself out? He knew he could watch Frodo forever, even now when he had got to the point of sobbing where his face had gone puffy and red, but he thought he had to do something. As he was about to step from his hiding place he heard Frodo moan to the night air, "Sam!" He stopped. He knew Frodo could not see or hear him; what had he done to upset him so? There was only one way to find out.

"Mr. Frodo?"

Frodo's head snapped round to face Sam. He stopped crying immediately, looked frightened. He didn't say anything, waiting for what Sam was going to do.

"You cried my name." Sam couldn't think of anything else to say. "Have… have I done something wrong?"

Frodo laughed strangely. "Have YOU done something wrong? I don't think so. Go home. I have no wish to spoil your birthday."

"You bein' unhappy spoils my birthday, sir."

Frodo dried his eyes. "You should not worry about me. I'm not worth it." Frodo looked at the ground.

Sam stepped forward and held Frodo's hand, but Frodo twisted away from the grip. "You don't want to touch me."


Frodo didn't say anything.


"You should work somewhere else."

"What have I done to deserve this?"

"Nothing. My fault."

"Please tell me." Now Sam was almost crying.

Frodo stood up and turned his back to him. His voice shook. "You truly want to know?"


"Fine. Sam – I love you, I desire you, I want you. Now you can go, go report me to the shirrif."

Frodo could feel the silence behind him, knew that Sam hadn't moved. He waited for the attack that he knew would surely come, but the attack that did come was unexpected. Sam grabbed him, turned him round and kissed him, hard, possessing him. Frodo melted into Sam's arms, moaning with pleasure. They made love on the grass, desperately needing each other. Sam would always remember how beautiful Frodo looked by moonlight. They made love out in the garden later, on summer nights when the moon was full, but still in the dell at the back of the garden so they would not be discovered. ~*

"What are you thinking of?"

"You. Naked by moonlight."

"Mmmmmm." Frodo snuggled into Sam's arms. "The first time?"

"Every time." Sam wanted to say so much more, but knew he didn't have the words.

There was a noise outside – they had more visitors. Merry and Pippin walked in, and then stopped, seeing them entangled with each other in the corner.


"So it's true then?"

They nodded.

"Oh. What are you going to do?"

They shrugged.

Merry looked conspiratorial. "If you need, um, breaking out of here…"

Pippin finished the sentence, "we can help. We're good at that." He said proudly.

"And the point of that would be?"

"You'd be free?"

"To do what? We're being expelled from the Shire anyway, and if we broke out we'd have to flee the Shire. It's a little pointless."

"Oh. Sorry."

Frodo stood up and handed a key to Merry. "I want you to have this. Bag End. it's Lobelia's by rights, but not until I'm expelled, so I want you to get anything out of there that's Bilbo's or anything she might like." Frodo grinned, then looked uncomfortable. "Um, if you don't want to do that for me, then do it for Bilbo, if you, you know don't like the idea of, of…"

Merry interrupted him. "Not for Bilbo. For the both of you." Both he and Pippin gave a quick look behind them to see if they were being watched, then both kissed Frodo on the cheek, and left.

Sam smiled. "You look very surprised."

"Do I? Um, did they, um are they, umm…"

"Some people don't seem to be able to see what's beyond the end of their own noses. You hadn't noticed?"


*~It was snowing outside, hard and persistent. The two of them were sat in the kitchen at Bag End, looking out of the window.

"I don't think I can let you go home in this weather Sam." Frodo put his arms round Sam.

"You can't or you won't, Mr. Frodo?"

"Both. And I've told you about that before – I'll have to call you Mr Gamgee when we're together if you carry on."

"It's not my fault my Gaffer brought me up right."

"I think if he'd brought you up that right you wouldn't be holding me quite so tight."

Sam sighed. He wished Frodo could just let a nice moment just be, but he never could, he always had to say something to ruin it all. That's what came of thinking too much, you kept on thinking even when you really shouldn't. Like thinking of leaving Frodo again when they were together, when he should just be thinking of Frodo.

"Sam? Are you alright?"

"Just wishin you would shut up sometimes."

Frodo looked confused.

"I mean, you don't have to keep remindin me that this is all wrong, I knows it well enough."

"Sam, I, I'm sorry, it's just I can help wishing…" Frodo swallowed.

"Wishin what?"

"That I could have you round always. That I could wake up in the morning and you'd be there. That I could kiss you and no-one would mind."

"That sounds like a proposal to me."

"Would you? If, if you could?"

"Marry you? Of course. Don't know what folks'd say, I'm not a gentlehobbit."

"But Lobelia would be pleased – I wouldn't be likely to have children…"

"In that case I couldn't, wouldn't want her happy, for your sake."

Frodo giggled. He hugged Sam then stretched and faked a yawn.

"I'm tired."


"Alright, but I do want to go to bed. And it's very cold in there…"

Sam stood up. "Well, if you're askin nicely…"

"Sam – please stay. Even if the weather improves. Just stay. I, I need you." Frodo couldn't look at Sam, he hated talking about how strongly he could feel.

"Try and stop me." Sam put his arms round Frodo. *~

Frodo and Sam had been provided with clean clothes and allowed to wash before the hearing, so at least they looked a little respectable. Frodo felt sick, but he knew this was going to be so many times worse for Sam, and so hid his own worry. Frodo was used to being thought of as a freak, this was just going to be a lot more painful than normal, but Sam... Sam was from a respected family, not like the Bagginses. And he had family, people to be ashamed of him. That was one thing to be glad of; even though he missed them deeply neither his parents nor Bilbo would be around to witness this. He squeezed Sam's hand.

"Love you. You'll be alright."

Sam just nodded. He looked wretched. Frodo wished there was something he could do but it was too late for that. Much too late.

They were ushered into the dock of the courtroom. As he had feared it was packed with people, the doors at the end of the hall still left open, people spilling out into the square outside. The news of their arrival rippled through the crowd, being relayed to those standing outside who could not see. The two hobbits tried to look as blank and impassive as they could, in the face of such intense scrutiny. Frodo could see the Gaffer, could see Rose, could see all of the people that mattered to Sam. Watching him. Expressions blank, waiting to see what would be said. No energy being expended on hatred just now, but waiting. Waiting for what they already knew to be confirmed.

Frodo risked a sidelong glance at Sam. He was almost shaking with fear but controlling it well enough so that Frodo was sure that he was the only one who could see it.

"All rise!"

The Shirrif and the worthies of the town, respectable Gentlehobbbits filed into the courtroom and sat down. A court official read out the charge.

"Frodo Baggins, son of Drogo and Samwise Gamgee, son of Hamfast are jointly charged of gross travesty of Hobbit morality, namely that they did consort with each other in an unnatural manner."

Frodo wanted to laugh, to hear it described in such a way, he'd never thought of himself consorting with Sam. He was so tense he could have burst out laughing just to relive it, but he could feel Sam's fear and willed himself to be calm.

The Shirrif nodded. "Do we have witnesses to the fact?"

"Aye sir."

"Call the witnesses."

Sam felt like he was dying inside. He stared straight ahead at the wall, but he knew without looking that Gaffers eyes had not left him since he had walked into the room. This was it. He had brought shame on the entire family and now it was time to face the consequences, the hatred. He knew he was no longer a Gamgee, that he would never be mentioned again. He hoped that there wouldn't be any repercussions for his brothers and sisters, but knew he was being stupid. There would be, even if it was only the half whispered conversations, the strange looks: he knew the type – Frodo got them all the time about his parents, and how they died.

The witness had been sworn in. The Mayor, not someone whose word would be disbelieved, even without the others to corroborate it.

"How were your suspicions aroused over the relationship between the defendants?"

Frodo had to stop himself from smiling at such an inappropriate word. He shut his eyes, resorting to the childish pretence that if he could not see them, they could not see him. He couldn't help remembering everything, from Sam's smile to his touch. That was the problem wasn't it? They'd got careless; he'd been an idiot, inviting Sam into his bed in the morning before he started work. It had been too easy to forget how dangerous what they were doing was, let themselves fall into a routine, a routine that too many people could see through.

"A letter was left at my house, indicating that there was reason to be suspicious of the friendship between the defendants."

The letter. Frodo had no idea who had sent it, but it wasn't as if there weren't a lot of candidates.

"And what action did you take in response to this information?"

"I placed the house under observation, and the information received led me to believe that the defendants were in the habit of, of, being together in the mornings." The Mayor couldn't even think of a word to describe what he had been told, and tailed off.

"And then?"

"I assembled a group of respectable, upstanding Hobbits to be witnesses to the event, and we went to the house to find the truth of the matter."

Sam was still staring dead ahead. Of course he could remember that morning. It had been a lovely Autumnal day, still warm and sunny. He could even remember which tune he'd whistled as he walked up to Bag End, could remember the delicious, sleepy look on Frodo's face as he'd smiled to him from his bed, the unspoken invitation. Sam could hear the Mayor's description of finding them together like that, couched in such sordid terms. // It wasn't like that. It was never like that. You'll never understand. // Without realising it he had gripped hard onto the board of the dock.

Frodo saw Sam's hands tighten, knew he felt the same anger Frodo was feeling. Sam had looked beautiful that morning. He knew that Sam thought he looked beautiful by moonlight, but Sam definitely looked most beautiful, most alive, in sunlight, most especially in the morning. He had awoken when Sam had come in and had almost thought he was still dreaming, but there was something reassuringly real about Sam. When they had burst in on them, at their most intimate he couldn't remember what he had thought, what he had felt. It hadn't been real, this couldn't happen so it wasn't happening. Now, now though it was far too real.

The Mayor had finished giving evidence. The focus of the courtroom was on the two hobbits, looking for a reaction, but they weren't going to give them the satisfaction. The pause in the proceedings was used to relay again to the crowd outside what had gone on for those out of earshot, and this was followed by shouts and abuse, the sound of gossip and the undertone of rejection – you are no longer one of ours. Outcast.

The other witnesses were called, and either backed up or elaborated on what the Mayor had said. The shirrif turned to them.

"Do you have anything to say?"

They glanced at each other before shaking their heads.

"Therefore, since no defence is given, and the evidence seems conclusive I must pronounce sentence. For the crime you have committed I sentence the both of you to banishment from the Shire. Since this is to be done with all full ceremony and legally, this will take place three days from now."

Sam felt as if he had taken a step back from his own body. He could hear the jeers of the crowd, see the stony looks of hatred from his family but he wasn't really there. He watched himself walk back down to the cells again and stand motionless in the middle of the room. It was only the concern of Frodo, not speaking but looking at him in such a worried way that made him reconnect. It was all real, he was banished, everything was finished. He crumpled to the floor, where Frodo caught him and cradled him in his arms like a child, rocked him as he cried. When he had cried himself out he looked up at Frodo, who wiped away Sam's tears with his thumb and smiled at him.

"I couldn't think of anything to do. Sorry."


"I said I'd protect you and I couldn't think of anything that wouldn't make it worse."

Sam sat up, and they moved into a more comfortable position to hold each other.

"Why should you protect me? I wanted this just as much as you. I loves you Frodo, and if that means banishment, then so be it." Sam radiated determination.

"But what about…"

"If they hate me for this, they hate me. Can't be helped. Like I can't help but love you Frodo."

"Sam…" Frodo's words were swallowed by a kiss. Then he looked into Sam's eyes and said "There are plenty of other gardens out there for you. We'll just have to find them"

"Frodo, banishment means.." Sam saw the sadness in Frodo's eyes. Frodo knew what banishment meant as well as he did. Expulsion from the Shire in the clothes they stood up in, no supplies, no warm clothes. Exiles died. The Shire had no death penalty, looking down on places that did, because the people they sentenced to death did not die inside the Shire. Three days. That was now the span of their lives. Three days with someone he loved and desired almost more than he could understand.

"Frodo, there's so much I need to say, but I don't have to words…"

Frodo kissed him, pushed him down in the hay and straddled him. "Then don't say anything, love."

The journey to the borders of the Shire had not been as bad as they had feared, in a wooden wagon, with only slits for windows so they could only hear the jeers, and the sound of things that had been thrown at them thumping off the sides of the cart. They had barely spoken; there was nothing to say. They each knew how the other felt, which was the important thing. Anything else was just pointless.

When they halted on the borders of the Shire there was quite a crowd even there, wanting to see a banishment, a rare occurrence. Frodo and Sam were herded to the very border of the Shire, so they were just standing inside it. Already it was cold enough for them to shiver slightly in the breeze. They would not see tomorrow morning. The Shirrif stepped forwards holding a book, in which was written the formal proclamation of banishment. He began to read.

"Frodo Baggins, son of Drogo: Samwise Gamgee, son of Hamfast, on this day, for the crimes you have committed you are to be henceforth banished from the Shire. Let no hobbit may give you aid or shelter, on the pain of their banishment from the Shire also. Your names have been erased from the Shire rolls; let them be not spoken of again."

Two burly hobbits stepped forwards and pushed them over the boundary. Then the crowd, as part of the ritual turned their backs and walked away. Frodo and Sam no longer existed.

Frodo took Sam's hand. "Let's not stay here shall we?"

Sam smiled at him and nodded, and they set off, not along the road, but up a gently rolling grassy hill. They had been walking for perhaps ten minutes before they heard a cry.

"There they are!" Merry and Pippin ran towards them, hugged them hard. A Man, leading a pack pony, followed them. Frodo and Sam looked confused.

Merry told what had happened. "We went to Bag End to get Bilbo's things, and when we got there Gandalf was there…"

"Gandalf? Where is he?" interrupted Frodo.

"Will you let me finish the story? He asked what had happened to you, and we told him, and then he asked whether you had the ring on you, and we said what ring, and so we searched the whole house and it wasn't there, and so…"

"Meriadoc, it would be better if you slowed down, and actually made some sense." The Man interrupted. "Frodo - do you have the ring Gandalf mentioned on you?"

Frodo nodded warily.

" Do not mention it. Do not show it to anyone. Do not use it. It is more dangerous than you can comprehend. Gandalf bade me guide you safely to Rinvendell."

"Yeah, and Gandalf told us to meet you when you'd been, umm, banished, and he introduced us to Strider here to help you."

"We brought you clothes and things." Filled in Pippin.

Frodo and Sam were loaded up with warm clothes.

"We must get moving. The Nine ride to find the Ringbearer; we must stay of the roads and keep watchful."

Frodo and Sam were still shocked; they had been so certain they were going to die, and now… well now their lives were still in danger, but even so they were alive and together. They held hands as they began to walk, and Frodo smiled at Sam.

"We're going to see the elves, dear Samwise."

Epilogue: At night, huge riders dressed in Black upon Black horses ride up to a hobbit hole. One leans towards the owner and hisses:

1 Ssshirre…Bagginns

The owner of the hole looks blank. "Ain't got no Bagginsses in the Shire. Last one was old Mr. Bilbo, and he went and disappeared more'n ten year ago now."

The rider tries again, but a note of uncertainty has entered its voice.

2 Ssshirre…Bagginns?

"Look, I told you, no Bagginses in the Shire. Some Sackville-Bagginses, but if they're proper Bagginses I'm a Bucklander. Now bugger off, you're frightening my dog."

The Riders consult, and a phrase drifts across the night air.

Ohhhh, shhhhit.