Many, many thanks to Hanarobi for an excellent beta on this one. Notes follow the story, in case others have the same questions she raised. NC-17 slash; this follows Claimed and The Writer of Rohan.

Reclaimed
by Laura Mason

Eomer stood in the doorway, watching Frodo busily working at his desk. The hobbit's concentration was so complete he hadn't noticed Eomer's approach, despite all his teasing comments about how noisily men moved about when compared to hobbits.

He swiftly moved into the room and picked Frodo up from behind, delighting in his squeak of surprise as the pen dropped and a flailing hobbit foot knocked the stack of papers to the floor in a messy cascade.

"Eomer! Set me down!" Frodo demanded as Eomer carried him through the doorway into their bedroom. "I mean it," Frodo tried to threaten, but the laughter in his voice could not be suppressed.

"I quake in fear of your displeasure," Eomer replied, carefully setting Frodo on the bed, then immediately throwing himself over the hobbit, whose breath left him in a great whoosh. "Forgive me, my hobbit prince." There was a frown on that beloved face, belied by the happiness in his eyes. "Mercy, I beg you. I'll do whatever you wish."

"Then you'll get off me, knave," Frodo breathlessly laughed, pushing at Eomer's shoulders. "And remove those ridiculous clothes. Do you pretend to be a nobleman? You're merely a savage beast, barely tamed."

Eomer stood and began stripping off his clothing, dropping it to the floor carelessly, his eyes roaming over Frodo, who lay back enjoying the show. "Does this please you?"

"Yes," the hobbit replied with a saucy smile, spreading his legs and opening his own shirt slowly, putting on a display of his own. "Don't stop. Take off those leggings immediately."

Eomer nodded and tried to remain impassive as Frodo licked his lips and caressed his now-bare skin. The man's own arousal was quite obvious now that he was nude, but he remained standing, waiting for Frodo's command.

"That's much better. Stay right there and keep watching me." Frodo's hand moved to the waist of his trousers and, with a deep breath he slid one hand inside, his eyes closing and his head falling back. The graceful arch of his neck and the bliss on Frodo's face made Eomer moan softly. Then Frodo pulled his hand out again, and brought it to his mouth. That oh-so-clever tongue dragged slowly across his palm while his eyes, heavy with promise, locked with Eomer's.

Eomer squirmed uncomfortably before he mastered himself to stillness again.

Frodo smirked a bit as his hands moved to open the buttons on his trousers. He slowly exposed himself, pushing the fabric down and kicking it off the bed, and then the open shirt was pulled off and gracefully flung to the floor as well. The hobbit lay back, pale and beautiful against the furs, arousal showing in his eyes as well as his body. His hands slowly mapped his own skin, pausing at the nipples and making him bite that full lower lip. Eomer bit his own, trying to control the desire that wanted to pour out in moans and pleading.

"Very good, sir knight," Frodo purred, his voice completely different in passion than the clear, higher tones of his normal speech. "Come pleasure me now. Only your mouth may touch me."

Eomer approached him and knelt on the bed beside him, shaking with lust. He kissed the soft shoulder closest to him, moved on to the sweet breast and the brown nipple peaked as if to greet him, then moved lower still, his mouth open and wet as he dragged over the sweet pale flesh. Frodo was moaning now, speech lost to him as Eomer sucked and bit and licked at his belly. Finally he moved to the engorged cock waiting for him, taking it deep in his throat, caressing it with his tongue, and swallowing until Frodo cried out and small, insistent hands pushed Eomer away from his prize.

Surrender, softly spoken: "Eomer, I love you so much."

With those words, their game was over. Eomer grabbed Frodo with both arms and pulled him close, kissing him deeply as their bodies melded together, continuing to devour him until they were both aflame. He would take Frodo now, take his own pleasure before allowing Frodo his completion. It would be hard and fast, a near-mindless rutting -- precisely what both of them craved.

As Eomer reached for the oil that would prepare Frodo to receive him, he remembered their first night together -- the first time he'd known the tight, hot bliss of his lover's body. He had to close his eyes for a moment to control himself, his desire somehow amplified by the memory of that night.

He pushed Frodo onto his back, lifted one leg, and carefully inserted a finger in the hobbit's body, his cock twitching when Frodo writhed and moaned. He circled swiftly, anxious for them to join, but became almost lost in the feel of Frodo's body pulling him inside, adjusting to him, welcoming him. When the hobbit's cries became sharp and insistent, Eomer came back to himself and removed his hand, gathering more oil, then grabbed both Frodo's ankles in one hand and pushed them up against his body, as with the other hand he thrust two fingers inside the hobbit. If he hadn't been holding Frodo's legs, the arching of the hobbit's body might have thrown them both off the bed.

"I'm ready, Eomer. Please," Frodo pleaded.

"You are ready when I am, Frodo," Eomer corrected. "I may just keep you like this, impaled on my fingers, so I can watch you beg, my wanton hobbit."

Frodo almost screamed with frustration, trying to thrust back against the fingers teasing him, but Eomer held him down. But his own arousal was becoming almost painful, watching the slender body beneath him become dewy and pink with Frodo's excitement. Eomer removed his fingers, taking care to touch Frodo's pleasure spot as he did so, and smiling as the hobbit cried out and his body shook.

Eomer quickly smoothed the last of the fragrant oil onto his arousal, then moved Frodo's legs over his arms and pressed himself into his lusty hobbit, slowly gaining access to the furnace-heat which welcomed him with smooth tightness that seemed custom-made for his delight. Inch by inch he claimed his lover, watching every reaction, each twitch and sigh as it worked through the sweaty body trapped beneath him, only to be reflected in the joyful eyes that never left Eomer's face.

He was seated deep within Frodo when Eomer paused to bend and kiss him once again, then suck and bite at his neck until there was an angry red mark that would take days to fade. Only then did he pull out, listening to Frodo's breathy gasps, and slam back into him, his force met by Frodo's eager thrust upwards, the hobbit's heels digging into Eomer's shoulders. Again, and again their bodies met, and sweat poured off him as rough words of love and possession dropped from his lips and his body slammed into the hobbit's. Frodo took it all, willingly took the bruises, the pain, the love and lust -- and gave it back to him in more than equal measure, as always.

The end was spectacular, Frodo's untouched arousal spending itself between them as Eomer shook with his own release, sent deep inside Frodo. As always, Eomer willed his essence to bring healing and a share of his own strength and health into Frodo.

Later, as they lay together, passion sated for the time, Eomer's calloused finger traced the delicate face -- the fine nose, the soft brows, the swollen lips still reddened by his beard. The healthy, happy hobbit sleeping in the circle of his arm was a wonderful sight.

Too often, even now, Frodo's health failed. His "anniversary" illnesses in March and October could leave him weak for months. For Frodo to be so happy, busy and perfectly well -- as he'd been for months now -- was a miracle, one for which Eomer gave daily thanks.

Eomer closed his eyes, remembering the day one of his Westemnet guards galloped to Edoras and made his way to the Golden Hall carrying a broken necklace.

***

Eomer was meeting in Meduseld, preparing to ride out with his guard in a few days for a routine circuit of the Westfold, then on to a check of the border at the fords of Isen. Such trips were scheduled at least once a year now, since Eomer had decided his people needed to see him in times of peace, not only in war. He wanted them to know him as their ruler, not only as the man who took their sons away to war and too often returned without them.

He wanted to speak to the people and hear how their crops grew, or whether raiders or floods threatened them, and how many children -- and horses -- were born that year. The Mark was slowly recovering from the War and the devastation Saruman had wreaked on the Eorlingas, and Eomer was proud of their slow, steady progress.

Eomer set aside the maps and turned to Ceorlaf. "Have all the saddles cleaned and inspected tomorrow, and order the men to be ready at sunrise in three days."

"Your majesty!" An out-of-breath door warden approached them, a Rider close behind him, dirty and reeking of horse. "This is Widfara -- he has your token..." the man gasped anxiously.

Widfara held out his hand and Eomer saw the half-coin he'd given Frodo more than three years ago. He'd lost hope of ever seeing the hobbit again, yet this meant--

"Where is he?" Eomer rose, looking behind them as if he expected to see Frodo in the doorway, smiling at his surprise. His plans could wait -- the whole Kingdom could wait, and would wait, for the Ringbearer. Eomer knew he must see Frodo immediately.

"The holbytla is in the village of Leofwine, highness," Widfara replied. "He was too ill to travel so far--"

"Ill? What is wrong?"

"I don't know, sire. I began my ride while the healer was still examining him. He is being given the best care..."

"Ceorlaf, prepare my horse to leave immediately. We'll head to Leofwine and re-evaluate there."

"But your guard, sire?"

"Chose me six of your best men; the rest must stay here and await my orders." While Ceorlaf and the others flew to do his bidding, Eomer continued to question the messenger. "He arrived alone? No others were with him?"

"No one, sire, though his pony was well-equipped. Clever beast, it brought him to us though the holbytla was nearly unconscious."

"How long did you travel?" he demanded as he strapped on his sword.

"I left the village last night, your majesty, on our best horse. But it is no match for your mounts; I'm sure you can return more quickly."

Eomer nodded curtly, then waved over a serving maid. "See that Widfara has food, a bed for this evening, and his horse is stabled in comfort." She nodded and moved to lead the man off, but Eomer stopped them. "Wait. This coin..."

"His hand was clutching it when we pulled him from his pony, sire. The chain broke before we realized what it was."

Eomer closed his eyes for a moment, then gruffly said, "Here, for your trouble," as he pulled a handful of gold from his purse. Widfara stuttered thanks as he was led toward the kitchens, overwhelmed by the money, but the half-coin now clutched in Eomer's palm was more precious to him than any amount of gold. He feared he would give up his kingdom and abandon his people if Frodo demanded it -- not that the overly-modest Ringbearer would do such a thing.

Eomer moved to his rooms to dress and order his saddles packed, fierce longing for Frodo battling fear in his heart.

***

Eomer drove his men and his horses more ruthlessly than he'd ever done outside of a battle situation. They managed the trip in twelve hours, arriving in the sleeping village nestled at the foot of the mountains near midnight. The people were roused by the clatter of their arrival, but not surprised. The King had been expected, and rooms were ready in the best housing the village could offer -- at the tavern and the healer's house, where Frodo was resting.

He sent his men to their beds and followed the healer, Holdstan, to the sick room. Eomer was grateful that the man was too absorbed with his patient to be uncomfortable in the King's presence.

"I don't have a name for his ailment, your highness. I don't know anything of the holbytlan, and I don't understand much of his speech, either, though he did talk quite a bit once we'd given him water and made him comfortable."

Eomer made a note to send for someone who could translate the Common Tongue for the healer as he was led into a small room, dimly lit by a single candle hanging near the door. Holdstan lowered his voice as they entered. "It could be a wasting disease, or perhaps he suffers general ill health, and his long travels have merely exhausted him."

He fell silent as Eomer halted at the sight of Frodo in the bed, his face peaceful in sleep yet terribly white, dark purple rimming his eyes. Even the rosy, sensual lips Eomer remembered so well were waxy and pale.

"Don't wake him," Eomer whispered, clutching Holdstan's arm. "I just want to see him." He moved to the bedside, absorbing the changes in Frodo since their last meeting. He was only vaguely aware of the healer leaving the room and returning with a chair for him. He sat, knowing Holdstan stood beside him for a time, but unable to tear his gaze off the hobbit.

Finally the healer left him alone with Frodo, and Eomer bent forward to touch the hobbit at last, the longing of many years making him shake as he took Frodo's hand into both of his.

"I'm here, love." There was no answer, no stirring from the exhausted figure, and Eomer felt a need to move closer still. He sat on the bed beside Frodo, still examining him minutely. "You have come back to me at last, my own, and I am whole again." He bent to kiss the cool fingers, marveling again at the grace of the hobbit's body. Frodo was still thin, obviously ill, yet he was lovely enough to make Eomer's heart pound with affection -- and lust.

He could remember exploring that body, claiming it as his own. Dreams of that time tormented him even when he tried to take simple pleasure with other willing partners, finally causing him to live alone and keep chaste. As Eomer slowly lowered himself to lie beside Frodo, he acknowledged that intense as his physical attraction to Frodo was and had always been, it was but a small piece of their soul-connection. Such a love could not be forgotten.

Eowyn's letters in the last year had been full of hints that a suitable queen could be found in the south if no woman of The Mark caught his eye. But Eomer couldn't give his heart to another, and he would not marry without love. It seemed hopeless, for even if Frodo left Middle Earth, as Gandalf thought he would, Eomer would love the hobbit until he died.

But Frodo hadn't left; he'd finally come back to The Mark. Eomer watched him sleep, full of joy and a fierce determination that he would somehow bring Frodo back to full health.

**

He woke slowly, feeling very peaceful despite the room being warm. Even with his eyes closed Eomer was aware that sunlight was pouring in a window, and he was wearing all his clothes -- it felt rather uncomfortable, and he was dirty and smelly, too. But a hand was stroking his hair, reminding him of love and care he hadn't known for many years. He smiled and rolled onto his back.

"Eomer."

His eyes snapped open to see Frodo sitting up beside him, his pale face full of happiness.

"Frodo--" He wanted to pour out words of love, but he restrained himself, feeling oddly unsure of Frodo's feelings after all this time. Despite his certainty last night that Frodo had come to be with him, he couldn't assume anything in the light of day. "I am pleased to see you again." Frodo's mouth fell open in what appeared to be surprise, and Eomer stammered "How do you feel today?"

Frodo answered by leaning forward and capturing Eomer's mouth in a sweet kiss, full of yearning, which became passionate in short order as they re-learned each other's taste. When Eomer finally pulled away, Frodo was no longer pale.

"You found me," the hobbit said with a happy, tired smile.

"You came back to me." Eomer embraced Frodo again, then laughed joyfully and heard his mirth returned in Frodo's clear voice. But the embrace was so very weak. Frodo had always been smaller than Eomer, but never weak. His endurance and strength had first surprised, then delighted Eomer in their time together. He felt unaccustomed emotion try to close his throat, so Eomer cleared it roughly.

"So." Eomer was a warrior, and usually valued skill with a horse or sword far more than a clever way with words. But today he longed for smooth and easy words, and the subtlety sorely lacking among straightforward horsemen. "How long can you remain in the Mark, Frodo?" He pulled back to gaze into Frodo's eyes.

"I want to..." Frodo began, looking away rather sheepishly. "I've been ill."

"Yet you traveled alone?"

"Only from Dunland. Merry and Pippin rode almost to Isengard with me, but I made them return home. They have responsibilities there, and I was so close." He looked away again, continuing, "But I've been..." He paused again, and Eomer saw the thin shoulders square before Frodo turned to look him straight in the eyes. "I may be dying, Eomer. Gandalf thought I would never heal here in Middle Earth."

"I have heard Gandalf speak of this."

"He offered to take me with the elves, to let me sail into the West with them to find peace." Frodo paused, and a grave sadness came into his eyes. "Bilbo accepted. I rode with them to the Havens, and I thought I should go and not allow dear Bilbo to be all alone..."

Eomer knew of Frodo's cousin, the hobbit who raised him. He nodded, understanding the deep love and gratitude Frodo felt, despite the horrible legacy of the Ring.

"But Bilbo lived with the elves all these years in Rivendell -- he doesn't need me. I don't want to leave, Eomer. Not if it means never seeing my home or my friends again, and leaving behind those I love..." Frodo blushed beautifully, and Eomer kissed his nose and his curls. "I couldn't leave without seeing you again," Frodo whispered, holding him close. "And I knew if I saw you, I'd never leave."

Eomer's answer was another kiss, sweet and gentle, pouring all his love into Frodo as they clung together on the narrow bed. When they needed breath, he said, "Stay with me, Frodo, and make this the most blessed kingdom in Middle Earth. I will love only you for as much time as Wyrd grants us together."

Frodo's whispered "I will" bound Eomer to him forever.

***

Eomer patiently taught Frodo words and phrases that would help him communicate with the healer over the next two days, spending most of his time beside Frodo. The hobbit's strength was returning slowly, and he remained unable to travel. But he'd improved enough that when Ceorlaf and the Guard came to Leofwine, Eomer was able to again take up his duties.

They conducted all the daily business of the realm, and for the next weeks many young men of the village as well as the Westfold guards were sent on errands throughout the kingdom. The Fords of Isen were visited and the border guards were reviewed and paid. Then, as Frodo's health improved, Eomer began visiting the other settlements as well, always returning to share Frodo's bed each night.

The hobbit's slow return to health was most apparent in his returning appetite, and Eomer brought fruits and foods from across his kingdom -- and even from Gondor -- to entice him to eat. Holdstan was encouraged by the weight Frodo had gained while resting these few weeks.

Tonight, as he returned to the house they still occupied together, Eomer thought he needed a long bath -- he'd been inspecting horses all day, purchasing some for the troops and some to be sent to other emnets for breeding. Then he'd left his men at that village's harvest festival, drinking cider and singing, unwilling to stay for the party and be away from Frodo any longer.

Eomer ordered heated water brought to the washing room inside their suite, then stuck his head into their chamber, just to see that Frodo was comfortable. But the hobbit was sitting up, anxiously waiting for him.

"Eomer! You're back at last. I need your help with some words..." Frodo bustled over to him, embraced him when he stooped, and led the king unceremoniously back to the large chair still in the room for his comfort. "I'm feeling so much better, and I'm so very tired of being in this little room."

"Frodo, you cannot disregard Holdstan's advice. He has brought you along very well, and he says you cannot travel yet..."

"I know, I know," Frodo interrupted, and Eomer smiled despite his surprise. Frodo was generally very courteous -- but he loved the hobbit's easy way with him. Often he grew tired of being treated like a king, but thankfully there was no formality between the two of them. He pulled Frodo onto his lap and hugged him as the hobbit continued to speak. "I'm just bored, that's all. I tried to ask Holdstan for a book, something to pass the time. But he didn't understand me. So what is the word for a storybook, a tale I can read?"

Eomer's mouth opened, then closed. He hadn't realized, though perhaps he should have known. "Frodo, Holdstan can find you a storyteller or a bard to entertain you."

"I'm not too weak to hold a book, Eomer! Besides, though I love to hear the singing, I can't understand the words very well when they're sung. I thought if I could pore over a book, I could begin to teach myself your language."

"You cannot."

"But..." Frodo squirmed around in his arms to face him, ready to argue all night, but Eomer stopped him with a stern look.

"Frodo, I would not deny you anything that is in my power to give, not only because I love you, but for your great deeds for my people and all of Middle Earth. When I say you cannot have a book, I mean that there are no such things in all this land. Our language is a spoken one, Frodo, and though I am aware of writing such as is done in Gondor, and the rooms of scrolls they keep there, our lore is never placed where it shall gather dust and be forgotten. My people keep our memories fresh in stories that are told from one generation to the next, and sung by our bards for all to hear."

Frodo's anger and frustration had melted away to be replaced by a look of complete and utter shock. "No books?" he finally said in a very small voice, seeming to shrink even as Eomer held him close. "But..." Frodo looked near tears. "You cannot read or write?" Eomer shook his head, and Frodo again murmured "no books" in a voice that spoke of tragedy.

"I can, however, send messengers to Gondor or to the Shire to find what you require. If books will make you happy, we shall have them here for the first time." Eomer lifted Frodo and stood, then moved to their bed and set the hobbit down. "In the meantime, perhaps someone in the village can begin to teach you words for common objects. And we shall have a storyteller come here to help you pass the time until your books arrive."

Frodo's smile was finally restored, though he still seemed incapable of speech.

"First thing tomorrow it shall be arranged. But now I need to bathe." He moved away and began stripping off his soiled clothing -- but when he turned a much-beloved, pale figure was waiting at the door, magnificently naked, smiling at him.

"I am very much improved in health, your majesty. And rather in need of a bath myself. I think that hot water was meant for me..." And with a wicked laugh, Frodo was out the door.

Their merry chase ended with them sharing the tub and renewing their physical relationship in a gloriously messy fashion.

***

"Eomer?" Frodo stirred in his arms and he shook himself out of his recollection of those days, years before, which had led to Frodo's current project -- devising a written language for the Eorlingas.

"I'm here my love."

"You've spoiled another pen, you know." The sleepy rebuke made Eomer smile against Frodo's curls. Frodo had pens aplenty, sent from Gondor by King Elessar himself, though he always complained when he had to abandon an old favorite.

"I'm sure you'll think up an appropriate punishment for me."

"I will. To begin, for the next week you must spell two words correctly before any kisses..." His eyes drifted closed as he turned and buried his face in Eomer's neck.

"Then in the morning you must teach me how to spell 'beloved holbytla,' my Frodo."

 

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Notes: On the issue of writing in Rohan -- the "Weapons and Warfare" book states clearly that the Rohirrim don't have written language. Remember how Hama spreads the king's proclaimation to evacuate Edoras verbally?

As for the people of Leofwine not understanding Frodo, I'm assuming that commoners only speak in their own language, while Theoden and his court know the Common Tongue, and that is how they communicate so easily with Merry, Pippin, and Aragorn.

About that pesky scroll Grima shows Eomer in the Extended Two Towers, I'm assuming that's something he initiated as a means of controlling the king and others -- no one else can read, and the king is signing without knowing what is actually being put before him.