by Ladyhawk Baggins and CRB

21 December 1421sr Yule...

Their morning started in its usual fashion. Frodo and Lily enjoyed a quiet first breakfast, and then Amaryl insisted on being fed. Just as she finished, Rosie knocked and entered the smial through the front door. She entered the kitchen smiling. "Is our little lass all ready?"

Frodo glanced at Rosie and then Lily, questioning.

Lily smiled at Rosie and handed Amaryl to her and rebuttoned her nightshirt. "I believe so. Is everything ready?"

Rosie nodded and bundled Amaryl in a blanket. "Everything. Until this afternoon?"

It was Lily's turn to nod. "Yes. If that's still agreeable with you?"

"We'll see you around tea time... or a little after." Rosie smiled broadly at Lily, and turned her attention to Amaryl and headed out the door, as abruptly as she had come in.

She stopped briefly and approached Frodo. Speaking to the babe, she continued, "Here, sweet, let your da give you a kiss goodbye."

As soon as Frodo kissed Amaryl's cheek, Rosie swept out of the smial.

Frodo's face was a picture of confusion.

Lily smiled warmly as she turned to him. "Aren't you going to wish me Happy Birthday?"

The bewilderment Frodo felt was reflected in his voice. "Happy Birthday, sweet."

Lily's smile softened as she reached out her hand to him. "I want to give you my gift."

Frodo's brows drew together as he laced his fingers with Lily's and followed her back to their bedroom. They'd only taken a few steps into the room when she stopped and wrapped her arms around him. Suddenly, she felt a little awkward. It had been so long...

She tried to relax by taking several steadying breaths. The fact that Frodo was searching her eyes, seeking to understand what this was about, was not helping at all.

Deliberately, Lily unbuttoned his waistcoat and Frodo's confusion increased. "What are you doing?"

She cleared her throat nervously. "Rosie told me it's not unlike the first time, since I'm a little... out of practice..." As she finished the last button, she raised uncertain eyes to his.

Frodo still did not understand, but her hands easing his waistcoat and braces off his shoulders caused a tremor through his body he could not control. As soon as his arms were free of the waistcoat he wrapped them around her, holding her tightly. It had been so long since he could hold her like this, full against him. His breathing grew more rapid and uneven. He reveled in simply holding her close, and then gradually relaxed. This was enough, until she was ready. With Amaryl gone, for a little while anyway, he would enjoy simply having his sweet wife to himself. A sigh escaped his lips, as his arms tightened about her.

Lily's fingers slipped into his hair as she continued to try to relax in his arms. Finally, she knew she must tell him. Her voice was soft and a little unsure as she shared her fear. She spoke against his ear. "I do not look like I did on the day we wed nor even the last time..." She lost her courage, suddenly afraid of what Frodo would think of her now. He did not hide his desire from her, but did he long for what she was now or what she had been? An unexpected tear slipped down her cheek and though she tried to wipe it away without Frodo knowing, another spilled onto his shoulder, soaking quickly through the material of his shirt.

Frodo pulled back a little to search her eyes, concern now mingled with the confusion in his own. "You are more beautiful now than ever, my love." He wanted so much to kiss her, but could he remain in control? He breathed deeply to help steel himself, and tenderly caressed her lips.

Lily returned it, soft and amorous, catching Frodo by surprise. He drank thirstily of her, until he felt his control slipping. He broke the kiss and held her tightly again as he steadied his breathing. I'll be all right; I can control this, he determined. Soon... soon, he would have her again fully. Surely, it wasn't much longer now. He could wait, couldn't he? He began to doubt himself as Lily's lips sought his again. He acquiesced for a time, but then broke their kiss yet again, breathing heavily.

"Lily," he swallowed hard, "I do not know how much longer I can control..."

He began to pull away, but she tightened her hold on him. Amidst her own uneven breathing she whispered, "We have until tea time this afternoon..."

The kiss she offered was more passionate than any Frodo could remember. He almost lost himself in it, but still he worried and again broke their kiss, and took a small step away from her, only to keep himself from throwing all reserve aside -- if she were not ready...

A faintly hurt expression pooled in Lily's green eyes. She quietly choked, "You don't want me any more?" Tears rolled down her cheeks.

Frodo's eyes widened in unconcealed horror. He quickly took her face in his hands as tears slipped down his cheeks as well. "How could you possibly believe that?" His kiss was light and gentle. "I want you so much, for so long, I ache with it. Not a moment goes by that I do not wish for and dream of your touch, your caress..." Frodo choked on his own emotions.

Lily released a shuddering breath. "I talked to Mrs. Chubb yesterday, and asked how much longer I must wait..."

Frodo stopped breathing, and held utterly still, waiting for her to continue.

"She says that if I -- if we -- are -- are..." Lily could talk to Frodo about anything but suddenly she felt inexplicably shy. It was almost as discomfiting as their wedding day, she mused. "I -- we still must be careful, but I -- I should not need to wait any longer..." There, she had said it. She breathed a little easier, until she saw the desire burning in Frodo's eyes, then her breath caught.

Frodo struggled a moment to understand her words fully. Then he began to tremble, as he breathed her name.

Lily reached up and began to unbutton his shirt, her own hands shaking. For the first time, the pain of delivery returned fresh to her mind.

As though he read her thoughts, Frodo asked brokenly, "Are you sure you are healed enough?" He paused a moment and then continued, his voice barely a whisper. "I -- I -- when you delivered -- I still, sometimes, hear your screams..."

Lily's eyes widened. "I did not know... I never thought about you hearing what I barely remember..."

Tears trickled down Frodo's face. The words at first stuck in his throat but finally escaped in a tight whisper. "The sound of it tore through me."

"Why didn't you tell me, Frodo-love?"

"You had more than enough on your plate without worrying about me," he smiled ruefully.

"Oh, Frodo... I never knew." She drew him into her arms and rubbed his back as he bent his head to her shoulder.

He wrapped one arm around her and thrust his other hand into her tresses. Her hair was so soft. His voice was muffled against her neck. "I do not want to hurt you..."

Lily's love for her husband welled up and bubbled over. "Frodo," she breathed, "dearest love. I love you. You give so much to me. You care so much for me. Ever, you are aware of me. I never dreamed I could feel so loved, cherished, adored, treasured... words are not adequate..." She swallowed hard and then whispered in his ear, "I want you. Let me show you how much I love you."

She heard his sharp intake of breath in her own ear. His arm tightened around her, and his hand in her hair gently pressed her head against his shoulder. She could feel his breathing quicken.

Her arms tightened around him as she lovingly kissed his neck and then kissed it again, though now deliberately kissing the scar there.

Frodo shuddered down to his toes.

Lily kissed the scar again, then lingered, and kissed it several more times, each longer than the last.

"Oh, Lily..." He loosened his hold on her only enough to first briefly cover her mouth with his; then he stopped, and softly caressed her lips with his own, tasting her delicately. His embrace eased only slightly, as his trembling increased.

She managed to finish unbuttoning the buttons of his shirt, but then needed to stop. She slipped her own hand inside his now open shirt, and laid it on his breast where she could feel his heart racing in his chest. Frodo laid his hand over hers, and took her other hand in his, kissing the palm, and then laid it against his cheek where he held it.

"Frodo, my love, I've missed the feel of my hand full against your warm breast, being able to feel your heart beat against my palm and your chest rising and falling with every breath..." Her brows drew together.

He noted the confusion in her eyes. "Lily?"

She searched his face, concerned. "You've lost weight. You eat with me, seven meals a day, and yet you lost weight. Are you not well?"

Frodo smiled and lowered his eyes, embarrassed he was not in proper hobbit form. "I am quite well, dear heart. Sam gave me work to do in the garden while you rested."

She sighed. "What did he have you do?"

"You don't mind -- about the weight?" Frodo realized he needed the answer.

Lily smiled, "No, I don't mind, as long as you are well."

Frodo sighed in relief. "I am. And, we have enough firewood to see us through the winter and well into this summer."

Lily's eyes widened. "You've been splitting firewood?"

"Yes, rather a lot. Sam and Rosie don't need to worry about splitting wood for the rest of the winter either."

A giggle escaped Lily, and she reached up and brushed his lips with hers. "I love you, Frodo Baggins." Before he could answer, she kissed him again more deeply.

As she began to move her hand against his breast, he released both her hands to wrap his arms around her waist. Gradually, she slipped her hand from his breast to his shoulder carefully laying her palm on the old scar.

Frodo shuddered and tightened his embrace.

Lily eased his shirt off his shoulders, letting it fall to the floor, then planted soft kisses around the old wound, as she used to do, letting her hands caress his back, and was startled to hear Frodo hoarsely beg her.

"Lily, please..."

Always before, he delighted in these teasing caresses. She had never heard him plead before, not like this. It tore at her heart, and she generously fed the hunger, kissing the scar with lingering tenderness, holding him closer. She felt his trembling increase and tightened her embrace to help steady him.

Frodo swallowed hard, but could only whisper in her ear. "Lily, I love you, so much." He buried his face in her neck, endeavoring to catch his breath.

Lily continued to caress his back with one hand and slipped the other into his curls. She kissed the scar on his shoulder once again, and he first tightened his hold and then lifted his head from her shoulder to search her eyes. Tears sprang to Lily's eyes when she saw the tears still sliding down his cheeks.

"Dearest Frodo, I love you, more than I can say."

Frodo lowered his head to kiss her cheek as Lily reached up to kiss his. They smiled together knowing they shared the same thought, and then shared a gentle exploring kiss that gradually deepened.

Frodo finally allowed one hand to reach up and find the top button of his wife's nightshirt. He released it and reached for the second and stopped.

Lily smiled and broke their kiss. "You may listen for that knock on the door all you like, but it isn't coming this morning. We may finally pick up where we left off two and a half months ago."

A smile matching Lily's spread across Frodo's face. "How long do we have again?"

Lily's eyes sparkled. "Until tea time."

Frodo grew serious, searching her eyes. "Thank you for the wonderful gift of Amaryl, and the last two years..." His voice broke and grew husky. "...and for all your love. Happy Birthday, my beloved Lily."

She smiled softly and sighed deeply. "Dear one..." She reached up and tenderly caressed his lips with her own. Her hand found his at her waist, and placed it on the second button. He carefully released the button, as their kiss grew more ardent. As he continued to release the buttons of her nightshirt, Lily tightened her arm around him, while her other hand slipped into his curls again, and their impassioned kiss deepened...


After several hours of shared love, between kisses, Frodo breathlessly asked, "Are you hungry, my love?"

Lily smiled into his kiss. "Not as hungry as I was..."

They softly laughed together and shared another lingering kiss.

Frodo pulled back a little and searched her eyes for any sign of weariness. "I fear we've missed second breakfast, beloved."

"I had a very good first breakfast, just in case."

"But you need to eat soon, as much as I loathe the thought of interrupting this... I'll make you something simple--"

Lily tenderly kissed his lips once more. "I don't want this to end as well, which is why..." She glanced to the left.

Frodo chuckled at the tray of food on the end table. "Sam and Rosie?"

Lily's eyes sparkled. "Rosie and I prepared it yesterday while you were out and about with Sam. Then we arranged for Sam to slip it in the back way when Rosie came for Amaryl."

"This was very carefully planned, Mistress Baggins," Frodo mused.

"Indeed, Mister Baggins. In truth, I've been planning since Mrs. Chubb told us no more last April." A soft blush tinged her cheeks.

"One more kiss, and then I'll feed you. You need it for yourself and for Amaryllis, as well," he murmured, with only love in his voice.

Lily nodded and returned the warm, amorous kiss, knowing it continued rather longer than Frodo intended.

They fed each other, interspersed with more kisses. Though the foods were some of their favorites, they ate only enough to ensure Lily would not grow faint.

Then they reached for each other yet again.