Fretting wasn't really in Marigold Gamgee's nature, nor truly was it in the nature of many hobbits. And worrying over her hearty brother was so foreign to the lass, that she was most uncomfortable with the feeling. She knew she'd feel a great deal better with something to do, so she busied herself with making some cold tea for Sam; the familiar actions of setting the kettle on to boil, ladling lots and lots of honey into Sam's mug, were reassuring her. Surely nothing truly bad could happen, not while there was tea to be made and supper to be started.
She wondered how long the Gaffer would be gone, and knew it would not do at all to be unprepared for him, so she set two places at the modest table while the water boiled. The gentle bubbling of the water was soothing, and she carefully poured it over the dark tea leaves. The steam was fragrant and she inhaled deeply. Goldie strained the brew well, and set it to cool, while she sliced the bread she had made, and re-heated the stew from last night's supper. There was plenty of lamb left in it, and she thought to peel some more potatoes to fill it some more. She peeked in on her Samwise from time to time, but he lay still, his breathing sometimes labored. And though it pained Marigold to see such, she was reassured by it, too. The rise and fall of his chest, however fitful, meant that Sam was going to be all right. Marigold was sure of it.
When the tea was cool to the touch, Marigold took the mug into Sam's room. She sat on the edge of his bed, laying the cup next to his wash basin on the nightstand. "Now, darlin' Samwise, here's your tea. I'm to help you drink it, so don't be givin' me any trouble. Hear?" Marigold was mildly surprised how steady her voice sounded, and she was pleased. She had been fearful that Sam would hear her worry, and she wouldn't have that. She cradled his head, and with her other hand, smoothed his bangs. His skin was baking, and his lips looked chapped, raw. She was determined to pay no mind to this, and she lifted the cup to his lips. "Drink now, Sam, 'tis too sweet for anyone but you and the bees, to be sure." She found it impossible to get any of the sticky, amber liquid between his lips, and though she made several tries, she just didn't have enough hands.
"All right, Sam, all right, dear, don't like my tea, eh? Rather take tea with Mr. Frodo, I reckon." Though he was loathe to have the Gaffer find out, Sam took tea everyday with the Baggins', and was always full of tales to tell her while they walked to the market for meats and fish on Highdei. Goldie gathered the hem of her apron, and she wiped the tea from her brother's chin, and chest. "There now. We'll try again, Sam, we will." Though she was not so sure as she sounded. She would need the Gaffer's help with caring for Sam, and he was acting so queerly that she was afeared to ask him for it. She would not let Sam hear this fear, or even feel it, not for an instant.
"I've got to get back to fixin' Da's supper, Sam, else he'll be as cross as one of Mr. Bilbo's trolls. But I'll come back in, and sit with you, Sam, don't you worry. Rest now." She touched his cheek, and dunked the bathing cloth back into the water to cool it, laying it back on Sam's forehead. She pressed a little kiss to his cheek, then, and lit a candle on her way out. "Dispel the darkness," she whispered, "dispel the darkness."
She heard the creak of the door, and went to meet her father. "Is everythin' all right, sir?"
"Naught for you to worry over, Marigold. Where's supper, lass?" The Gaffer brushed past her, his nose twitching at the good smells permeating the smial. "Good girl. Let's eat, then." He sat at his place, and waited for her to serve the rich stew, and she did, giving him a generous portion. He nodded his thanks, and dipped his bread into the bowl.
"Da?" Marigold began, "I'll be needin' some help with Sam." She paused, not sure what to say next, not sure what to expect at all.
The Gaffer chewed for a minute or more, and she was tempted to repeat what she had said, wondering if he had heard her. "Aye, I suppose you will," he finally muttered. "I'll get someone to come in durin' the day."
Goldie kept silent, and she was sure that any of the neighboring women would be willing to assist her, perhaps in shifts if Sam's illness was long. But what of tonight? Sam was so parched, and so helpless! She couldn't sleep a wink worrying over him, she knew, and she screwed up her courage to speak to her father again.
Her surprised her by continuing, "Tonight, Marigold, we'll tend him together." His voice was hoarse, and suddenly, he looked very old. He lay down the bread, and cried.