febobe: Screencap of Frodo in bed from the Lord of the Rings films, captioned, "Where's Febobe with my tray?  I'm waiting!" (Tray)
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Bingo prompt: Diner's Club, G60 Vegetables (Author's Choice)


"Now, Mr. Frodo, sir, you can't get to feeling better 'less you eat up them good vegetables and that meat." Sam was growing desperate. This was the third day Frodo had refused to eat more than broth, jellies, and sweets. Aragorn had explained that his master needed nourishment now more than ever, still skin and bones as he was, and Sam had volunteered to help coax their stubborn patient back onto the path of recovery. Sam himself had been recovering admirably - to be fair, he had been far less hurt and ill than Frodo, but he had been eating, too, everything Aragorn put in front of him, and often accepting seconds when they were offered, especially of the fresh vegetables.

But Frodo?

"I told you already, Sam, and I've told Gandalf and Aragorn, and I'll tell anyone else who cares to listen: after what I've had to face, I ought to be allowed to eat nothing but sweets and jellies and a bit of broth if I wish." He turned pleading eyes on Sam. "Don't *you* think I've had enough trouble already?"

Sam could scarcely bear the pain in those blue eyes. But he remembered how Frodo had hesitated to eat the herb broths Sam made for him on the way to Rivendell, using foraged fresh herbs and bits of meat jerky provided by Aragorn. He remember how at first, after the Quest, Frodo had not wanted to eat at all, preferring water over anything salty, but how Aragorn had insisted that without salty liquids, warm milk with honey, and fresh fruit-juices, Frodo would shortly perish. And so he had laid Frodo in Gandalf's arms and coaxed him to nurse, and bit by bit they had spoon-fed enough health back into Frodo to prevent his imminent demise.

And this weren't no different, Sam reminded himself.

"Mr. Frodo," he began again, "Strider - or whatever he's calling himself this week - says you can't go out on a picnic unless you start eating better, and get to where you can eat sandwiches and salads and sit up by yourself, and stay up by yourself, without needing pillows. And to get there, you need to eat regular food, what of it you can have right now, to build up."

"I don't care."

Sam caught the faltering in Frodo's voice and seized on it. "You don't, sir?" he asked gently. "Do you maybe not want to go on the picnic?"

Frodo suddenly stared at the far wall, then turned away, blinking, swallowing.

"Mr. Frodo, sir, you can tell your Sam. You just tell me, and I'll make it so you don't have to, if you don't want to. You're still real sick yet, and I reckon everybody oughta understand - and if they don't, I can set them straight."

"I'm afraid," whispered Frodo.

"Afraid of what, sir?" Sam's heart felt like it was breaking. Poor Mr. Frodo, afraid to go and afraid to tell how he felt!

"Afraid I'll get too tired. Afraid I'll be in too much pain to enjoy myself."

"Oh, sir. We'll just make sure we don't go till you feel like you're good and ready and *want* it."

Frodo turned, wiping his eyes on the sleeves of his night-shirt, for he was still too weak to get out of bed or even sit up unaided. "Really?" he asked.

"Really. I promise. Cross my heart, though I don't reckon I'd hope to die." Sam smiled and gestured toward his master's tray. "Now, sir, there's cream of asparagus soup, and roast beef and mashed taters with a nice brown mushroom and red wine gravy, and there's little green peas, all creamed, and there's honey-glazed carrots, and tender green beans, and a little white roll with sweet butter, and plenty o'milk for you to drink. And a slice o'white cake with the nicest icing you ever did see, and a dish o'that fruit, what d'you call 'em - oranges? And another o'strawberries, and both of 'em sugared real nice. And all the water you could ever want. Where do you want to start?"

Frodo managed a small smile. "I suppose I could eat some beef and potato with a bite of glazed carrot. And after that, a bite of green beans, please." He put out a tentative hand, but Sam patted it gently.

"Now, sir, you're still not supposed to be feeding yourself. You need to get your strength back. Let your Sam do it for you. You know I'm right glad to do it."

Ànd so Sam forked and spooned up mouthfuls of beef and vegetables, spoonfuls of soup and sips of milk, bites of buttered roll and tastes of fresh fruit.

Mr. Frodo weren't going to get better in one meal. But that was all right. Sam had all the time in the world.

-the end-

May cross-post this to B2MEM later this week, but tonight I just don't have anything left for doing the header and all....
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