Shirebound posted a sweet bath fic with Frodo enjoying a bath in Minas Tirith, post-Quest. I suggested Eomer needed to join him; she told me to write it. I did, though it isn't what either of us expected. NC-17, Frodo/Eomer slash.

Cleansed
by Laura Mason

"Late again," Merry muttered. "He ignores knocking and pleading."

"He won't even let me in," Sam said tiredly. Everyone was once again waiting on the Ringbearer, guest of honor at yet another feast -- and frustration was plain on the faces of all Frodo's companions as they clustered around the fire.

"Frodo appreciates the luxury of a bath," Legolas offered, and the others nodded agreement while Eomer wondered why an elf, who never appeared to become soiled, would justify the hobbit's actions. Then again, perhaps the elves thought all other races were dirty and smelly -- just as his people found Orcs and Urks repulsive. It was a humbling thought, but he didn't dwell on it. Instead, he listened to his stomach rumble with emptiness and bit his lip to hold back angry words.

"Mr. Frodo always did hate being dirty, and after the long ride here he needed a bath," Sam added.

"We all washed up, Sam. The rest of us have managed to be ready on time," Merry snapped, then his face changed with longing bliss as the odor of roast boar wafted through the room, silencing the crowd.

"Merry, I'm hungry," Pippin whispered, but everyone in the antechamber heard his words clearly, and most appeared to be morosely in agreement with him. The crowd's murmur resumed, taking on an anxious tone.

Eomer rose and the noise ceased. He gestured to the serving men, who began to pull open the heavy wooden doors to the feasting hall. Even where he stood, Eomer could feel the warmth spill from the room, and smell the rush of mouth-watering odors that had only been hinted at before.

"My dear friends, guests and comrades-in-arms: let the feasting begin!" A cheer, but the crowd was very orderly, filing in and taking their seats amid a joyous rumble of talk and toasts as the servers quickly carried around jugs of wine and ale.

Eomer frowned thoughtfully, then started a little. Eowyn was at his side, and he hadn't noticed her approach.

"Brother? Are you deserting your guests?"

"I am fetching the Ringbearer and teaching him some courtesy," he replied in a low voice. She, at least, nodded her agreement with his plan, sharing his annoyance -- something Frodo's kin and companions would not do. No, they coddled and protected the hobbit ceaselessly. Aragorn had spoiled one huge banquet, and offended ambassadors from three southern realms, while indulging Frodo Baggins, who'd kept the King and his guests waiting for hours while he splashed behind a locked door in a tub. And Faramir, who'd provided the bathing room, refused to criticize Aragorn's actions. When pressed, he'd actually agreed with the decision to wait, claiming all honors were due to Frodo.

But this was Eomer's realm, and no one would stop him from ordering his own kingdom properly.

"I'll keep the guests entertained, and the wine and food moving smoothly," Eowyn assured him with a smile. "Until your return, my lord." The saucy look in her eyes belied the respectful term, but he was too happy to see her healed and joyful to do more than snort and gently shove her toward the hall.

It wasn't that he didn't appreciate Frodo's actions on behalf of them all, Eomer reflected as he stomped toward the guest quarters. He'd listened to all the songs and tales many times. But Samwise Gamgee seemed even more the hero to Eomer, yet a more modest, cooperative hobbit could not be imagined. Meriadoc would never be so rude or thoughtless, either. And none of the Fellowship would so indulge young Peregrin, despite all his heroism.

Frodo had evidently been spoiled from birth, but he would soon learn that there were those who would not treat him like a little princeling, nor excuse his bad behavior.

Soft humming and splashing sounds behind the still-locked door confirmed that Frodo was still in the tub they'd found him, thoughtlessly indulging himself and assuming the rest of the world would patiently wait. Self-centered brat.

Eomer stood back and lifted his leg, kicking the door and breaking the lock with one blow. Inside the dim room, startled eyes peered over the side of the very large tub. "Your majesty?" Frodo stammered, looking genuinely confused.

"You are late for dinner, Ringbearer," Eomer said clearly, closing the door behind him and stalking into the room until he loomed over the tub. But rather than seem embarrassed, Frodo looked -- well, stunned. But something in those eyes suggested that Frodo's shock was giving way to what appeared to be fury.

"How dare you?" The hobbit stood, and it should have been ridiculous to be faced down by a naked hobbit. Even standing in the tub, Frodo didn't reach Eomer's shoulder. But he was white and shaking with fury as he continued, and Eomer actually stepped back from him. "You call yourself a civilized Man? And you treat a guest so rudely?"

"If you wish to speak of rudeness, Ringbearer, what do you think of a thoughtless hobbit who keeps a hundred people, nobles, warriors who've spilled their blood on his behalf, and his friends, waiting for their meal? Not for any good reason, no -- simple so he may indulge a whim!"

Frodo's pale skin glowed in the sunset light now entering the room's window, augmenting the few scattered candles. His body still shook, whether with anger or cold Eomer could not say. He personally found the room quite warm, actually, with the fireplace and the still-steaming kettles within reach of the tub. He looked again at the hobbit's body, a long, appraising look at the well- formed limbs. The scars Frodo bore were shocking against so much pale beauty, and Eomer wondered how anyone could have raised a hand against him.

Then Eomer remembered his annoyance and his errand, and hastily returned his eyes to the angry face. Which was no longer angry, he realized. Frodo's eyes were now full of pain, spilling out in tears.

"Frodo?" Eomer stepped closer, then caught the hobbit before he collapsed face-first in the soapy water. "What is it?" Eomer knew his voice was gentle, but he was merely trying to get information -- certainly not indulging the exquisite creature in his arms.

"It's not a whim, I swear..." Frodo stuttered through his tears. "You don't realize what It did to me. It burned my body." His fingers clawed at his chest and neck. "I still feel it there. And the orcs, they touched me everywhere--" He broke off with a sob, then continued, "I'm so filthy, and it will never come clean." His voice had lowered to a painful hiss, so unlike Frodo's normally clear, high voice that it sounded like another creature.

Eomer looked at the pale body he held and realized that places on Frodo's flesh were scrubbed a raw pink, and others had evidently been scraped so badly in the recent past that dozens of tiny scabs covered his skin. Frodo's hands were puckered from being immersed so long. And the hobbit looked exhausted, his tears still slowly emerging as Eomer cradled him close.

The hot water, the many cloths, and the various kinds of soap all took on a new, ominous meaning. Eomer groaned and closed his eyes, angry at himself for his impatience. But at least his misplaced anger had revealed Frodo's problem -- the endless indulgence of his closer companions had only allowed this self-abuse to continue.

Eomer rose, effortlessly lifting Frodo's body, and moved to wrap him in warm towels.

But Frodo struggled. "No, I'm still dirty--"

"Be calm, Frodo. We shall cleanse you, I promise." And the desperate lie worked, for Frodo calmed and sat where Eomer placed him, beside the fire, while the King found servants to empty the tub and bring a new supply of water and herbs, mint and bath oils.

 

Frodo was dozing by the time the room was ready, and Eomer had given up any idea of attending the feast. Instead he ordered cheese and fruit brought to the room for them, along with wine and more candles. He'd sent word to Eowyn so she wouldn't be concerned by his continued absence, though he could not explain to himself why he hadn't sent for Aragorn or Gandalf to deal with this problem instead of remaining here alone.

Surely the others were more qualified to help Frodo? Aragorn was a mighty healer, and the wizard had powers beyond Eomer's understanding. Both had known Frodo longer. But the hobbit's ills were not physical, and Frodo hadn't confided in them. Nor had they seen his pain.

He should send for them. Eomer wasn't a healer or even a close friend. But he dismissed the servants and moved a heavy chest to bar the now-unlockable door, refusing to listen to his head and instead following his heart.

Certainly it wasn't because Frodo had looked up at him with eyes like clear starlight, imploring his understanding. Eomer wasn't sentimental; he wouldn't be swayed by such a look. And he wasn't still here because Frodo's embrace, the wonderful feel of his soft skin as he clung to the arms supporting him, had made Eomer's body sing with arousal. No, he was an honorable man, and he would never take advantage of such a wounded soul. He couldn't.

It was merely that Eomer was ashamed of his earlier impatience and anger. Frodo had trusted him, and now that he understood the pain behind Frodo's behavior, Eomer felt compelled to help him. Even if he didn't know how to accomplish it, he had to make the attempt.

"Frodo," he called softly, kneeling beside the hobbit's chair and placing a hand on his shoulder, soothing him with touch and voice much as he would a frightened horse. "Your bath is ready now."

Frodo's eyes flickered, then blinked open. First confusion, then pain, and finally sorrow showed in the clear gaze focused on Eomer's face beside him. "Your majesty, I must apologize--"

"No, Frodo, I must beg your pardon. I did not understand; I cannot comprehend what you have endured." He smiled and was gratified to see Frodo's eyes lose some of their shadows. Eomer rose and fetched a goblet of wine, returning to hand it to the hobbit. "Have a sip, to help you wake."

Frodo obeyed, one hand still clutching the towel around his shoulders. As he drank, color returned to his face. When Eomer took back the glass those eyes were shining up at him, full of gratitude. "You are too kind to me."

"It pleases me to serve you, Frodo, and you do me great favor to indulge my wishes."

"The room smells so nice," Frodo observed happily, looking around as if seeing it for the first time. "Fresh and clean."

"I have had mint added to the water. Do you still wish to bathe?" At Frodo's nod, Eomer helped him rise and climb into the overly-large tub. "I am sorry we don't have a proper tub for you as they did in Minas Tirith."

Frodo almost laughed, a pained, quickly-aborted sound. "Does everyone know about the tub Faramir brought me?" Then he sighed, his eyes closing as he sank into the hot water.

"I'm afraid so," Eomer said very seriously. "Gossip in Aragorn's city is quite shameful; I believe the King will pass strict laws against it." Frodo's eyes popped open to meet his, alarmed -- and then became rueful once he saw Eomer's smile. He shook his head, a short laugh escaping almost freely.

Eomer pulled a chair beside the tub and moved the small table with their food close by as Frodo began methodically washing himself.

"You should have some food, Frodo. You've missed dinner." Frodo looked rebellious for a moment, but it passed.

"I am hungry," he admitted. "I just ... forget, sometimes, thinking about other things."

"Frodo, I understand -- at least, as much as anyone who didn't experience such horrors can understand. You do not need to explain yourself further." He offered a bit of cheese to the hobbit, a little surprised when Frodo didn't reach with his hand, but instead put his mouth over Eomer's fingers to retrieve it.

But Frodo was smiling as he happily chewed, and Eomer kept feeding him slices of apple and cheese, wishing his own response was more innocent. The touch of those ruddy lips; the flick of a clever tongue; and the eyes looking up at him with trust and admiration -- all were warming him again, and making his tight leggings rather uncomfortable.

He tried to think of something else, but it was difficult with those round knees peeking out of the water and the hints of slender limbs beneath the shimmering surface as an elegant hand moved a cloth lazily. Eomer shifted on the hard chair with a grunt, trying to adjust himself. Frodo seemed relaxed, not frantic in his bathing, but he used a lot of soap and kept rubbing, though he was certainly clean by now.

Then Frodo's hands dipped under the water, washing his privates, and Eomer hastily pulled his eyes away. He rose and walked away, needing a strong drink. He'd filled a goblet when Frodo spoke.

"Eomer," the hobbit began, then blushed. "Your majesty," he corrected himself, and Eomer choked, almost dropping his wine as he turned back to the tub.

"You may call me Eomer, Frodo," he managed to say, feeling his face warm with awkwardness.

"Thank you. And thank you for not calling me ... I don't like the title."

"I know," he confessed, feeling he'd been very vindictive. "I am sorry, Frodo." He moved back to the side of the tub, reaching out to touched a warm shoulder, and a wet hand came up to cover his. They stayed like that, joined, though Eomer knew he should move away and give Frodo more privacy.

"Eomer, you promised to cleanse me," Frodo mused. "I never feel... clean."

He nodded, accepting the consequences of his hasty lie. "I did promise, but I do not know how to assist you, Frodo, much as I wish to ease your discomfort," he confessed sadly.

"I... I believe I can suggest a way for you to help," Frodo replied, and his face was charmingly pink. "If you are willing... if I have not misinterpreted your feelings," he stammered. "Are you married, Eomer? Engaged?"

"No, Frodo, there is no one in my life."

"And you do find me attractive -- a little?"

"Very attractive, Frodo. Beautiful inside and out." Eomer watched Frodo's blush deepen, and smiled. "If you knew how uncomfortable I've been, trying to hide this from you. I didn't want you to think I'd take advantage of you..."

"Oh, but I want you to!" Frodo said, then covered his mouth with two hands, his eyes horrified. Eomer's own mouth had dropped open in surprise as well, and they stared at each other for long moments before bursting into laughter.

They laughed so long that Eomer was almost crying, and Frodo had slid down in the tub. The man reached to help him sit up again, and those intense eyes met his -- and then they were clinging together, kissing, mirth forgotten in hunger. Tongues met, teeth clashed, and Eomer's hands roamed the slick body, pulling it tight against him.

When they finally broke apart for air, Eomer was soaking wet and Frodo was standing in the tub again, breathing heavily.

"Join me. Wash me, and erase all the other touches." Eomer just gaped at him stupidly. "Take me, so when I feel hands on my body, it will be your hands, claiming me."

Without a word Eomer stripped off his clothing and climbed in the tepid water with Frodo, blessing the high sides of the overly-large tub. He pulled Frodo on top of him, holding him with one arm while he added hot water and more oil to their bath. And then, after more hungry kisses, he used his hands to rub and touch every inch of Frodo's skin.

He didn't bother with soap, knowing that the cleansing Frodo required wasn't physical. Instead he tried to put all the respect he felt into every caress, gratified to see Frodo physically responding to his hands. Certainly his own body was aroused by the hobbit's nearness, and the expression of bliss on his delicate face as Eomer brushed over his nipples, down his ribs, and over his cock.

When his hands cupped Frodo's bottom, the hobbit's eyes flew open -- and then he breathed deeply, trying to relax. "Take me," he whispered, but fear was in his eyes.

"Frodo, that isn't necessary." Eomer caressed his hips carefully. "You only need feel me on your skin, and know that you've been touched with love."

"But I want you to take me," Frodo repeated. "It... No one has ever taken me with love."

"No one?" Eomer gasped, his cock throbbing at the thought of being the first to possess the beauty in his arms. Were the hobbits of the Shire blind?

"No," Frodo sobbed, and the new tears made Eomer realize what Frodo was truly saying. He had been taken, but not by a lover. The man shook with rage and had to breathe deeply to calm himself, holding Frodo close to his chest, softly rubbing his back, his hands as gentle as possible.

"I will take you if you wish, Frodo. And I promise you there will be no pain, only joy and love."

The hobbit pulled back and their eyes spoke for long moments. Eomer saw the determination that kept Frodo moving toward his goal even when burdened in mind and starved in body, and knew he was no match for the hobbit's stubbornness. He nodded, and Frodo returned the gesture solemnly.

Frodo simply said, "Thank you," and Eomer returned to pleasuring his body with hands and mouth, not easing his attentions until Frodo was shaking with arousal.

He decided to remain in the tub, hoping the warm water and bath oils would help relax Frodo and ease his claiming. Eomer added water from the kettle, then positioned the hobbit on his lap, facing away, and used his fingers to open and relax the hobbit's body. Eomer's other hand engulfed Frodo's cock, stroking him and enjoying the way the hobbit moaned and moved between his two hands.

He kept Frodo suspended between sensations until his body shook and released. Only then, with Frodo limp in his arms, did Eomer position himself and slowly, inch by inch possess Frodo. He struggled to control his own response to the warm living sheath that opened so sweetly to him, and the surprised, blissful sounds Frodo made as his body was taken. Eomer whispered adoring words in Frodo's ear, kissing his neck and continuing to explore his body. The hobbit's moans were like sweet music, encouraging him -- and driving him wild, though he concentrated on providing the promised pleasure, rather than finding his own release.

At last, finally seated within Frodo's body, he paused for long heartbeats, listening to their gasping breaths. Then Eomer moved his hips, adjusting them -- and was gratified to hear Frodo cry out in pleasure, then gasp "More!"

His hands moved to lift Frodo up and down, and the hobbit grasped his forearms, his voice full of open delight. "Oh, Eomer, it's-- oh!" But then Frodo pushed his hands away, and Eomer quickly released him, instead grasping the sides of the tub, fearing he'd frightened the hobbit.

But Frodo didn't try to free himself. He carefully turned, keeping their bodies joined, to face the man and pull his head down into another kiss. Then he squirmed a bit and said "Why did you stop?"

Eomer laughed and returned his hands to Frodo's hips, and resumed the thrusting that soon had Frodo's wordless cries echoing around the chamber, his body once again fully aroused and taut with pleasure. The joy on Frodo's face, the absence of pain or memory in his half-closed eyes, made Eomer feel powerful and ever more aroused. But he bit his lips until they bled, concentrating on holding back his release.

He continued to move within Frodo until his arms were shaking with weariness, as after a long battle with sword and spear. Yet he kept moving, resolved to delay his own completion until Frodo found his second release, riding atop him. He continued giving the hobbit all the pleasure he knew could be found in the joining of their bodies.

Suddenly Frodo gasped, his hands tightening atop Eomer's, and leaned far forward to kiss him. Eomer felt the warmth of Frodo's release as the hobbit moaned into his mouth, suddenly limp. With a sharp cry Eomer pressed deep within him, releasing his own seed to claim Frodo at last.

The water was cooling around them as they lay together, exhausted. Eomer couldn't reach the kettle for more hot water, not with Frodo slumped against him, asleep to all appearances. And he couldn't summon servants; he'd blocked the door. He merely tightened his arms around Frodo, hoping his body heat would be enough to keep the hobbit comfortable, and relaxed into a doze.

 

Eomer felt the warm water swirling around him and pulled Frodo closer with a happy sigh. Then his eyes flew open in alarm, though the hobbit remained contentedly asleep in his arms.

"Eowyn," he sighed. He'd lost track of time, but the banquet was long finished. His sister was in her dressing gown, smiling as she returned the kettle to the hearth and then stirred the fire.

"I've had the servants bring bedding and furs into the adjoining room for you, unless you prefer to stay in the tub all night."

"I locked the door," he growled softly, not wishing to wake Frodo. Eowyn's sweet voice was no problem.

With a pointed look at the chest still blocking the door with its obviously broken latch, she replied "Do you think I don't know my way around this Hall as well as you?"

"No, better, for I didn't remember there was another entrance to the room," he smiled, sitting up, cradling Frodo. "Can you help me with him? I'd rather not disturb him."

She helped support the hobbit's head, keeping it above the water as Eomer rose and wrapped himself in a towel. He watched her eyes grow serious as she marked the scars and wounds on the small body. "I've heard the songs, of course," she murmured as Eomer stepped outside the tub and reached back to lift Frodo.

"Everyone has, but we still don't understand what he did."

"No, I don't suppose we do." She watched them together for a moment as Eomer carefully dried the milky skin, then in her usual teasing tone, added "You didn't teach Frodo the lesson we discussed, brother."

"It wasn't necessary. What I fear is that I've been unable to give Frodo what he needed." Eomer gazed at his sister, who looked thoughtful but didn't ask any further questions. Eowyn merely moved closer, kissed his cheek gently, and left the room.

Eomer carried the exhausted hobbit into the next room and lay him in the lush bed prepared there. After extinguishing the candles, he carefully climbed in beside Frodo and pulled him into his arms. For one night, at least, he could protect this brave, loving soul from horrors that might still haunt his sleep. As he buried his face in the dark curls, Eomer found himself wondering about a life free of responsibilities to a land and a race of people. There must be men who were able to dedicate a lifetime to loving and protecting one special individual instead.

But that was not Eomer's fate.

 

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