The Land of Shadow and To Hurt and To Heal

The Land of Shadow

It’s a good title, and none the worse for being used before. This fanfic has a full page to itself because it is going to be looooong, so you’ll just have to keep checking it for updates. It’s Sam and Frodo in Mordor. The evil darkness all around them will test the strength of their friendship, but can they overcome it and hold on when the easiest thing to do would be to let go? And some Sam x Rosie romance ^.^ I’ll be switching between their POVs. Read and review!!!!

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Chapter One

Frodo

It hurts.

Every step. Every minute. Every mile. It hurts to walk, it hurts to breathe. It hurts to live. I want so, so badly to just lay down, give up, and die. But I can’t. If I do, the ring will be found, Middle-Earth will fall, everything will die. Everyone will die. But I can’t go another step, not yet. I collapse to the ground.

And then Sam’s there kneeling beside me. “You okay?” he asks.

I glance up and force a weak smile. Ugh, even that hurts. “I’m fine.”

“Liar.”

I hold out my arm. “Help me up, would you?”

He takes it and pulls me to my feet. I take a few steps and then fall. Sam pulls me up again. I fall again. Sam helps me up and throws my arm over his shoulder, putting his across my back, and leaning on him I stumble onwards, towards the mountain of fire. We travel on for about half an hour before finally I can’t go on any more. I slip my arm off Sam’s shoulder and curl up on the ground, burying my face in my arms and trying not to cry. It hurts so badly. The chain is cutting into my neck. My head is throbbing. My body is weary, and my mind in pain. Sam seems to sense this and does not say anything, instead takes his blanket out, covers me with it, and then sits next to me until I fall asleep.

But even sleep is not a comfort, for all my dreams are filled with darkness and evil and fire. I watch as orcs swarm the Shire and set everything aflame. Then the scene shifts to show Rivendell being overthrown, elves tossed left and right as though they were rag dolls. And then the orcs kill a smaller figure. Bilbo! No! And as I watch, all the lands of Middle-Earth – Gondor and Rohan and Lorien – are covered in darkness and destroyed. Orcs trample the fair green grass and white and gold flowers, and smash the inhabitants of the lands into oblivion. Dead. Destroyed. Gone. Two young boys rush out, no, they’re hobbits, flanked by an elf and a dwarf, and a man. All are bearing weapons. All begin to fight valiantly, hacking, slashing, shooting. All are slaughtered mercilessly. Only after do I recognize them as my companions, the other members of the Company who are – or were – still alive.

And then I watch as Sam scrambles over boulders and hard ground. An orc is honing in on him. It nocks an arrow. I scream. I try to rush forward and put myself between the arrow and my best friend. It feels like I’m running through water – easy at first, but slowly becoming harder. I scream until I’m drowning in the sound of my own agony. The orc releases the arrow, and it strikes Sam in the heart. He gasps and grabs it, shock written all over his face. He turns towards me and our eyes meet for one brief heart-stopping moment. His lips form my name. And then he’s gone.

With a cry, I sit bolt upright. Tears cloud my vision. It takes a few seconds for me to realize where I am – in Mordor.

“Frodo!” Sam’s suddenly by my side with his hand on my shoulder. I look up at him, and he is alive, and the horror was only a dream. But it seemed so real. I throw my arms around him and clutch him like the world will end tomorrow.

Well, for all I know, it will.

“What’s the matter?” Sam asks. “Bad dreams?”

I hide my face in his shoulder and whisper, “yes.”

Sam holds me for a little while and lets me cry, knowing not to say anything. He’s good like that. Finally he lets go and holds me out at arm’s length by my shoulders. “It’s not real. You know it’s not real.”

I nod, swiping away more tears.

“You’re safe,” he reminds me. “Nothing will hurt you.”

“I know, you’ve told me this a hundred times.”

Sam smiles. His eyes scan my face. “You look terrible.”

“So do you.”

And then we’re both laughing because, of course we look terrible. I have a hideous scratch down my cheekbone and black cuts all over my neck from where the ring has cut me. Sam has dirt streaked across his nose and face, so much that I can’t even see his freckles anymore. And of course we’re both sweating like crazy. Why oh why did the orcs feel the need to wear such hot clothes?

We stop laughing once a tremor from the mountain rumbles the ground. I duck and cover my ears as more spasms of pain come and wrack my body. Sam pulls me up into his arms and he’s still holding me when I lose consciousness and fall back to sleep.

He wakes me gently, but I still feel irritated, because all I really want to do is rest. *See? He’s useless. All he does is bother you.* No, I’d be dead without him. The Ring is messing with me. I can’t let it turn me against my best friend.

So I eat a little lembas and drink some water, and then we start off again across the land of shadow.

Chapter Two

Sam

If there was anything I could do to take Frodo’s pain away, I’d do it, even if it meant taking the Ring myself. I would carry it for him if he’d let me, but the last time I offered… Well, let’s just say shades of black and blue don’t improve my face much.

I give him food and water and he’s so weary that he doesn’t even notice I gave him my share of the lembas and didn’t drink anything myself. I can’ t go on forever giving everything to him, but I can go on a good way, and I mean to. I’ll get to that mountain if I leave everything but my bones behind, and I’ll carry him up if I have to. I’d been having all kinds of arguments with my own mind, but I refuse to listen to them anymore. I know the arguments of despair and I’m not going to listen to them. My will’s set, and only death can break it.

Frodo leans on me as the Ring saps his strength. “Sam…” he gasps.

“I’m right here.”

He rests his head against my shoulder. “Sam, it hurts.”

“I know.” My heart is wrung with pity and concern, and I toss caution aside. “If you would just let me help you -”

Wild light comes into his eyes, and he pushes himself away from me. “Stand away! It is mine, you thief!”

“I just -”

“No!” Frodo stares at me for a minute, and then the light fades and he’s himself again. “No, Sam,” he says sadly. “You must understand. The Ring is my burden. You can’t help me now, Sam, my dear Sam. I am nearly in its power, and if you ask for it again I might go mad.” He shudders. “I might even hurt you. So please don’t ask. There is nothing you can do.” He looks so sad. I want to grab him and take him in my arms, I want to hold him close, hug him tight, and never let go. Instead I lay my hand on his shoulder for a few seconds, and then we start off again. But now, more than ever I see why we have to destroy the Ring – to free my best friend and all the people of Middle-Earth. But what does it matter? No one will know. And I’ll have to break the promise I made to… Her.

We were standing outside the day before I left, holding hands and wanting to stay that way forever. “Why do you have to do this, Sam?”  she whispered. “Why is he asking it of you?”

“He’s not, Rose,” I reminded her. “I’m leaving with him because I choose to.”

“But Sam, he’s not the only one who needs you.” She let go of my hand and threw her arms around me. “Please stay. What if something happens to your out there, in a world you don’t know anything about? What if you get hurt? How could I live without you?”

“Nothing will happen to me. I will come back for you.”

Rosie let go of me and looked up at me with huge, teary green eyes. “Promise?” She whispered.

“Promise,” I replied, caressing the golden curls spilling down her neck.

Rosie bowed her head for a minute as silent tears poured down her cheeks. Finally she looked back up at me, crying openly. “I love you, Sam.”

I leaned forward and kissed her.  “I love you, too,” I said when we broke apart.

Now, lost in Mordor with nothing but my best friend beside me and the memory of Rose in my heart, I close my eyes and wish that I could fulfill my promise, and see her one last time.

~~~

… And that is where I leave you! More to follow soon!

6/16/15:

Hello again! I’m baaaaaack! And I have more of the story for you all! But, I don’t exactly have a clear idea where this story is going, so we’ll just have to wait and see… Usually when I don’t know what to do with my stories I just kill somebody off or make them eat or sleep or something. But this story only has two characters, so I can’t exactly use plan A. So, if Frodo sits around eating and sleeping a lot, don’t jump all over me. -.-

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Chapter Three

Frodo

We make it nearly ten miles that day, going as fast as we can, walking for hours. The air here is filled with fumes and vapors that make it hard to breathe, filling my lungs and my throat. The water tastes like oil, and the ground is littered with sharp stones that cut into my bare feet. Flies buzz around, stinging me occasionally. Sweat soaks into my clothes.

And if all that isn’t enough, the Ring toys with my mind.

*Put It on you fool, all your misery could have been over long ago if you but set It on your finger and claimed It for your own.*

Wearing the Ring in Mordor is the worst thing I could do. Sauron would see me at once. And what about Sam? It wouldn’t help him.

*You’re more important than he is. Who cares about him?*

I do.

*But why? He’s only a servant.*

No, he’s my friend.

Funny how that reminds me of another conversation I had about Sam, only it wasn’t with the Ring…

“Hey, you!” Called a voice from the gate of Bag End on a hot summer’s morning. I looked up. “Yes, you, Baggins!” The owner of the voice was Ted Sandyman, a rather rustic hobbit who thought very highly of himself and looked down on everyone else. I walked over and leaned on the gate.

“Good morning, Ted,” I said calmly. “How may I assist you?”

Ted scowled, the way he often did. “I were just wantin’ to ask you a thing or two.”

“By all means, go ahead.”

Ted took a long pull of the wooden pipe in his hand. “It’s about yer servant,” he said, smoke curling out of his mouth and up through the air. “Samwise Gamgee.”

“That was a statement, Ted, not a question.”

Going very red about the ears, Ted said, “rumor has it yer spendin’ plenty o’ time with ‘im.”

“Once again Ted, if you mean to ask me a question, do so without making use of statements beforehand.”

Ted bristled. “Them rumors true?”

“Good! That was a question. See, you’re perfectly capable of asking one. I’ll answer it. Yes, the rumors are true. May I suggest that we turn to your grammar now that we have addressed your lapse in the understanding of the definition of a question?”

Ted pointed his pipe at me. “You’d better stop shovin’ yer high and fancy ed-ye-cation under me nose, Baggins, if ya know what’s good for you.”

By that point I was enjoying myself. “I believe the word you are searching for is education, Ted, but it was a noble attempt. However, if it brings you discomfort, I shall refrain from – what was the phrase you used? – ‘shoving it under your nose.’ “

Ted glowered at me. “That Gamgee boy – he’s a simp.”

I raised an eyebrow. “I know many words, but simp is not one I have been acquainted with.”

“Simp.” Ted crossed his arms. “It’ short for simpleton.”

“That is extremely rude, Mister Sandyman,” I said coolly, “and if you do not refrain for the usage of such vulgar language, I am afraid I shall have no choice but to request you leave my property.”

Ted leaned towards me. “Did’ja know he can’t even read?”

“Yes, he can,” I replied. “I taught him.”

Ted nearly fell off the gate. 

“Please remove yourself from my property now, Mister Sandyman,” I said. Ted stomped off in a huff. Smiling, I walked back up the front walkway past the garden. Then I noticed curious brown eyes staring out at me from behind a bush.

“Hello, Samwise,” I said.

Sam looked up at me, embarrassed. “I… I heard what you were sayin’ about me, Mr. Frodo.”

“Just Frodo is fine, Sam.”

“Well, then, Mist- I mean, Frodo – why’d you stick up for me?”

“Because you are my friend, Sam, and that’s what friends do.”

Looking more confused than ever, Sam said, “I didn’t know I was your friend.”

“Well, you know now,” I said, and I walked back into Bag End. 

Sam became my best friend in almost no time at all. The day he followed me down the river to keep me from going alone, when he nearly drowned, I was terribly shaken. The thought of him dying, and me having to go on living in a world where he longer existed…

That night, I cried. And Sam comforted me. It was then that I realized how lucky I was that he had followed me, and how much I loved him. I’d spent my youth upset that I was an only child, but now, why do I need a brother when I’ve got Sam?

*You don’t need Sam. You might already have destroyed the Ring if not for him. He’s only slowing you down.*

No. I’d have died about fifteen times without him.

I look over at my best friend and reach out for his hand. “Please don’t ever leave me, Sam.”

~~~

Woohoo! I made it through the chapter without a mention of Frodo eating, OR sleeping! HA HA HA! The next chapter we will get to go back to Sam. ^.^ I can hardly wait! Please leave your comments below,(the faster you comment the faster I write!)

6/17/15

Now let’s see if I can get through chapter four without mention of eating or sleeping… Or flashbacks, I’m relying too much on flashbacks. I’m trying to make the chapters longer from now on. Please review!

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Chapter Four

Sam

Frodo’s hand slips into mine. “Please don’t ever leave me, Sam.”

I squeeze his hand. “Yeah? And where are you expecting me to go even if I wanted to leave you?”

“Oh.”

I smile a little at how completely ridiculous that request was. Maybe he’s just scared and needs to be reassured. Well, I can do that. I’ll do anything for my best friend. “I’ll stay with you,” I promise.

Frodo looks up at me with enormous pale blue eyes. “What if we can’t do this, Sam? What if I can’t drop the Ring?”

“Then I’ll grab it and jump over the edge.”

“No!” Frodo looks at me, horrified. “No, Sam!”

“Well, then you have to drop it.”

Frodo lets go of my hand and stares at the ground. “It’s not as easy as that.”

We’re both silent as we walk on for hours. The darkness deepens, and the temperature plummets. One thing I’ve noticed about Mordor, no matter how hot the days are, the nights are always chilly, so that when we’re trying to sleep we want to be walking, and when we’re walking we want to sleep.

“What time do you think it is?” Frodo asks, breaking my thoughts.

“Dunno.” I squint at the sky. “Sometime late, I guess.”

He sighs and sits down. I hand him some lembas and the water bottle, toss my pack on the ground, and sit down by him.

Frodo takes a drink from the bottle. Then he looks from it to me. “You haven’t had any water in a long time, Sam,” he realizes.

I shrug. “You need it more than I do.”

Frodo presses it into my hand. “Drink it. If you don’t you’ll die.”

Better me than you, I think, but I drink a little all the same. “We can’t stay here,” I say, putting the bottle back into my pack. “It’s too open.”

But Frodo’s too tired to go much further, so we end up crawling into a small, nearby cave behind a curtain of brambles. I tell Frodo to get some sleep, and almost as soon as the words have left my mouth he curls up beside me with his head on my shoulder and drifts off. I sit there for a while, thinking things over, and then I take out the water bottle and shake it. The contents slosh around through more space than I’d hoped. We’ll need more water if we’re going to make it any further. I gently lay Frodo back on the ground, tuck my cloak around him, and then slip out from under the brambles and down the path in a direction we haven’t taken yet. I don’t want to get all that far away from Frodo, because I’m not exactly in love with the idea of leaving him alone, unguarded, but what choice do I have?

Finally I stop and listen for a minute. I think I can hear water trickling, but it’s not much. Well, it’s something, at least. I follow the sound until I come to a tiny little stream. I taste it, and it seems good enough, so I fill the water bottle and go back to the cave. Leaving my fears until morning, I lay down beside Frodo and sink into sleep.

In my dreams, I watch as the orcs kill him, and my family, and me, and Rose, a thousand times over in every possible way that a living creature can die.

I wake up before him biting back screams. I can’t let them escape. I have to be strong for Frodo. But it’s hard to be strong when you’ve just watched the people you love dying, even if it was only a dream. Pull yourself together, Sam. Drink some water. Now you have to wake Frodo.

I kneel down beside Frodo and watch him sleep for a few minutes. He looks so peaceful, and I feel a slight pang at having to wake him from his rest when he clearly needs it badly. But if we never go on we’ll never get to the mountain. Finally I reach out and caress his forehead gently. “Frodo? You have to wake up now. We need to move on.”

Frodo blinks a few times and sits up, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. “Whazzatime?” he mumbles.

I place a piece of lembas into his hand. “Morning, now eat.”

“What about you?”

“I’m not hungry.”

He looks like he wants to say something else, but decides against it and  eats. Once he’s done I pull him up, and we start off. Frodo stumbles often. Sometimes his hand is held up, as if shielding his face from a blow. Suddenly I notice his hand creeping up to his chest,where the Ring rests under his shirt. Quickly I grab his hand and pull it away. “What are you doing?” I ask.

It happens so fast I barely know what happens. Frodo grabs his sword and whips it out, shoving me to the ground. He holds me down and presses the sword to my neck. There is madness and murder in his eyes.

~~~

*giggles*The suspense! Sorry about the eating and sleeping. They were tired, what can I say. =.=

Same day…

Oh, mwa ha ha ha ha. Ha. Ha. I can’t handle it any more. I have to write more. I have to. I just have to. So, ha. HA!

~~~

Chapter Five

Frodo

I hold the sword to his neck, not feeling the slightest hint of pity. Why should I? It’s MY ring. I do what I want with it. And who does he think he is to interfere, anyway?

*He’s your servant, Frodo. He has no right to question your decisions.*

No, he does not.

*Kill him! He deserves it.*

He deserves it.

I smile at the terror and shock written on his face. “What, are you sad?” I mock. “You didn’t think I’d hurt you?”

“Frodo, what are -”

“Silence.” I press the sword closer to his neck. “I didn’t tell you to speak.”

“What are you doing?” Sam practically screams. “Whatever the Ring’s  doing to you, you have to fight it! You know me. I’ m your friend!”

“You are my servant,” I sneer. “You were never my friend. What, you think that just because you’re here with me, that makes us friends? Just because I slept under your cloak last night? You can’t possibly have a brain in that stupid head of yours if you think I was ever your friend.”

A few tears slip out of Sam’s brown eyes.

“A www, did I hurt your feewings?” I tease in the sort of voice one would use while talking to a toddler. “Did I make you cwy? Because I’m not your fwiend? Poor little Sammie, he’s so sad.” I press the sword closer. “Maybe I should end his pain.” The tip of my blade pierces his skin. Sam cries out. “That hurts, doesn’t it?” I smile. “See, this is why you shouldn’t question me.”

Sam looks up at me, crying.Then suddenly his expression turns to horror. “Your eyes!”

“What about my eyes?” I ask, annoyed.

“They’re turning black!”

Now, this is unexpected. Suddenly I feel the Ring tug my mind again.

*People’s eyes turn black in Mordor, Frodo. It’s natural. Don’t worry.*

If it’s natural, then…

I look down at Sam and see my eyes reflected in his (which are still the same hazel-brown as always.) And he’s right. Black. Then I think of how when Gollum was in his evil form, his eyes switched to black. And how those were the times the Ring was controlling him.

*Did I say people’s eyes always turn black? I meant, it only happens sometimes. Occasionally. That’s why yours are black and his aren’t.*

But I’m not convinced. This is Sam. This is my best friend who’s life I am threatening. He would never hurt me for all the wealth and power in the world, but here I am holding a sword to his neck.

*Just do it! Now!*

No.

I fall backwards and throw the sword as far as I can. Several drops of blood trickle down the side of Sam’s neck and onto his shoulder, where I’ve rested my head so many times. He lies there for a moment, gasping, staring at me.

“Oh Sam!” I exclaim, pulling him up into a tight embrace. “Please say I haven’t hurt you! Oh Sam, my dearest friend, I’m so, so sorry. I never meant to hurt you. It was the Ring’s horrid power. Please forgive me, Sam –  but I understand if you won’t and I shall never, never be able to live with myself after what I just did to you.” I bury my face in his hair and hold him tightly as my tears and his blood flow down. “I’m so sorry, Sam. You are my best friend, and I feel as if you were my brother. I love you as if you were my brother, and if it weren’t for the Ring I would never have -”

“Frodo!” Sam pulls away from me and cups my face in his hand. “It’s okay. I forgive you.”

He’s too good. I pick up my sword and take off the sheath where it hangs by my waist, and hand it to him. “Take it. I don’t want it. I’m worried I’ll hurt you again.”

Sam sets it into his pack. “Alright. Okay? We should move on now.”

I nod, lean forward, and kiss his forehead. “I’m sorry,” I whisper tearfully.

“You already told me. It’s over now, so don’t dwell on it.” He helps me up. “Come on.”

~~~

Ehehe.. So how’d you like that? This is taking a really angst-y twist. But that’s okay! Angst is the best! Tomorrow we go back to Saaaam!

6/18/15

I noticed two things about yesterday’s post: one, I forgot to tell you that the thing with Gollum and Frodo’s eyes is made up, and two, I forgot to define angst. Angst is a genre about frustration, sadness, and despair. I’ll post more in the story soon, but first I want a review. Is that so much to ask? One teeny review? And please nothing like, “You write worse than a uneducated llama,” or, “your Sarose scenes are cheesy,” or anything like that. Please? Thanks. Constructive criticism is fine, but NOT HATING ON ME. Thank you.

Same day…

Thanks for the review!

@Abigail – yes, it is cool, and yes, it is depressing! That’s sort of the point, you see. Thanks for reviewing!

No eating in this chapter. I promise. Sleeping, well, it’s almost nighttime anyway. Flashbacks…. Er… Well, how else am I supposed to get all this fabulous Sarose-y goodness in here if I don’t use flashbacks,  I ask you??! And we all love Sarose-y goodness. It’s sort of like marshmallow fudge in that it’s sweet, makes you want more, and has a lot of fluff (except I can’t have marshmallow fudge because I don’t eat gelatin.) Chapter six, here we go!

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Chapter Six

Sam

I can’t believe Frodo tried to kill me.

I forgave him. I took his sword. I hugged him. But I still can’t believe it.

I swipe away the drops of blood rolling down my neck and hope he hasn’t seen them, because if he has he’s really going to go to pieces. But he doesn’t.

We’re still more than a hundred miles from the mountain. It would be so much faster if we could go by the road, but Frodo won’t hear of it. This will take weeks with him as he is, and we’re running out of lembas. I’m literally starving, not having eaten in almost a week, and still the pieces of bread are disappearing fast. I think Strider told me once how long people can survive without food and water, but I can’t remember. Something around a few weeks without food, a few days without water. But that might have been if you were sitting around doing nothing, and I’m walking all day and sometimes into the night. I know I should eat, but I don’t.

Instead I walk on, stumbling occasionally, falling once, getting back up, helping Frodo when he needs it, and all the while the mountain of fire slowly grows closer and closer, and Frodo’s steps become slower and slower.

Suddenly he trips and falls, hitting his head on a rock. I rush to his side and ask if he’s alright, but he’s unconscious, and does not answer. This isn’t a good place to stop. Any orcs going by on the road might see us. I half drag, half carry Frodo to a sheltering space under an earthen bridge that troops would travel over. Then, worn out, I collapse , leaning against a boulder and cradling Frodo’s head in my lap. He still hasn’t woken up. Well, we can spend the night here. It offers enough concealment – not as much as I’d like, but enough.

I’ll have to stay up and keep watch, so I cast my mind about for something to distract me from how tired I am. Somehow my thoughts land on the promise I made to Gandalf.

“Don’t you lose him, Samwise Gamgee.”

But I’m losing him to the Ring, and there’s nothing I can do.

“Please don’t ever leave me, Sam.”

That was the promise I made to Frodo. But I broke it yesterday, leaving him to try to find water, and something might have come along and hurt him.

“I will come back for you.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

But I’m breaking that promise too, and somehow that feels like the most important one, because it’s the one I made to Rosie. And if I don’t go back for her, her parents will sell her off to some fat, rich old hobbit who she doesn’t love. Or what if she falls in love with someone else?

I run my fingers absently through Frodo’s bangs and think that maybe I should start keeping a list of all the promises I’ve broken.

~~~

SEE?! Marshmallow fudge!

I want… Two reviews by two different people before I post again.

6/20/15

Thanks for the reveiws! I appreciated them, though I won’t demand them anymore because it was a real strain not to give and write more – I really want to get back to the story!

@Abigail – glad you’re enjoying it! But why in Middle-Earth do you ship Rosie with Figwit?!

@denisewarrender – thank you! Hearing that my writing was enjoyed is always something I appreciate.

So! Back to the story now!

~~~

Chapter Seven

Frodo

I wake up with a jolt and realize I have no idea where I am. I glance around, trying to get my bearings. From the position I’m in I appear to have been asleep with my head in Sam’s lap, but I’m pretty sure that’s not where I passed out. One moment everything was fine and we were walking along, and then my foot turned on a rock and… well, I can’t remember what came after that. I suppose Sam dragged me here. The sun seems to have risen somewhat, because it isn’t as dark as before, but still, it’s not exactly bright either. This darkness is everywhere, stifling, smothering, filling my eyes and my hair and making it hard to breathe, so thick that I can taste it and smell it. Mostly I feel it, though. Even when I close my eyes I can feel it. The only light that penetrates it is the Eye, and the closer we get to the mountain, the more I can feel that upon me, hunting me and that which I bear. Almost absently I slip a hand inside my tunic and finger the Ring. Sauron stalks me, filling my head as the darkness surrounds me, so that both my body and my mind are in torment.

Suddenly I feel warm hands drawing mine away from the Ring and holding them – gently, but firmly, so that I can’t reach back up again.

Sam.

I look up at him. “Thank you,” I mutter, embarrassed that he caught me messing with It when I’m supposed to be trying to destroy It.

“That’s what I’m here for, isn’t it?” He smiles faintly. I sit up, rubbing my head. There’s a nasty bruise from where the rock hit it, as if I didn’t have enough injuries already – a scar on my shoulder from the Morgul knife of the Witch King, poison from Shelob, scars across my back, chest, and stomach from the orc’s whips, a bruise on my side from a spear (though my mithril coat saved my life) and obviously, the Ring cutting into my neck and mind.

Sam makes me eat some lembas and drink water, but I force him to share the wafer with me and take a sip from the bottle. I can’t let him die. I couldn’t make it through this without my best friend.

“Frodo,” Sam says softly, startling me.

“Yes?”

“I think we should go by the road.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“We should go by the road,” he repeats. “Crawling around is taking twice as long. We’ll never make it unless we go the quicker way.”

“I’m going as fast as I can.” That sounded harsh. After what happened the other day… Well, harsh is not something I want to be right about now. “I’m trying, Sam,” I say, making my voice more relaxed. I don’t want to go by the road. After the tower of Cirith Ungol, I’ve had enough of orcs for a lifetime.

When he found me in that place, I was bloody, half-naked, and terrified out of my wits. Orcs had whipped me and taken everything. I didn’t know that Sam had taken the Ring. I didn’t even know he was alive. When I begged to know what had become of him, they told me they had killed him, and then reminded me that the same would soon be done to me. I’d lain in terror for about a day listening to the orcs slaughter each other in a quarrel over me and my things – particurally my mithril coat, which, by the way, I haven’t seen since.

At first I didn’t believe it when I saw Sam kneeling in front of me when he came to save me, but slowly I came to realize the he was truly there, and that he was real. He covered me with his cloak and let me sleep for a while, before returning the Ring to me and leading me out of the tower. I stayed right behind him, scared of anything that moved, expecting orcs to jump out at any second from hiding places unnoticed. But none did, and we made it out safely. Still, I’d hated orcs before, but now I loathed them as much as I loved Sam, and Merry, and Pippin, and Gimli and Aragorn and Legolas and Boromir and Gandalf and Bilbo. And I loved them all a great deal. A very great deal. 

I stay close to Sam as we scramble onto the road. He’s right, it’s the best idea – but if any orcs come, I might pass out, and passing out near an orc is pretty much synonymous with being dead.

~~~

This, my friends, is an example of dramatic irony. I LOVE dramatic irony!!! Well, that’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed! Tomorrow is Sam’s turn again!

6/21/15

Hey everybody! Sorry about not posting earlier today. It was my dad’s birthday so we weren’t home. Now I’m up at 9:13 writing fanfiction. The things I do for you… Anyway, I might keel over and fall asleep halfway through this chapter. And if I don’t, Frodo and Sam probably will. _._

@Carillia Prynn – thank you so much! I’ll be writing as fast as I can to meet the demands (they’re minimal right now but not overlooked!) I aim to please! ^.^

@denisewarrender – Go ahead and ask them! That’s what I’m here for, isn’t it? Sam’s here to stop Frodo from doing something stupid and I’m here to answer the questions. Frodo, don’t grab the Ring! Noo! If you do Sauron shall see you like a deer in headlights and all shall be lost… #.#

Okay, now onto chapter eight!!!

~~~

Chapter Eight

Sam

I don’t like this idea any more than Frodo does – and I can tell he hates it by the way he hovers two inches behind me, glancing all about in a frightened way, as though something will come to drag him back to that awful tower. We can’t afford to waste time, food, and water, though. We just have to go on the road.

Although, the choice isn’t completely without benefit. There are cisterns filled with water here and there, probably for use of orcs troops who are making long journeys with few provisions. The water is old and muddy, but still drinkable. I dip the water bottle into the cistern and screw the top back on. The old me, the one before the quest, would find it strange to share a water bottle with someone I’m not related to, but I’m so desperate at this point that, water’s water, and I couldn’t care less.

Besides, it’s Frodo. We’re practically brothers at this point.

I hand him the bottle, even though he wrinkles his nose at the thought of consuming anything orcs have touched. “I’m not thirsty,” he protests.

“Drink it, or I’ll dump it down your throat,” I say. “I’m not going to let you die on me.”

Frodo sighs, knowing he’s not going to win this one, and drinks it. Then we start off. Suddenly I feel his hand grip my shoulder. “What’s that?” he whispers.

“What’s what?” I turn around to see what he’s looking at. Torches. Probably carried by orcs. Coming towards us.

I assess the situation as best I can. We won’t be able to outrun them. Trying to fight is suicide. Giving ourselves up and hoping they’ll show mercy is laughable at best. Fortunately, both Frodo and I picked up some armor in the Tower, and I have helmets in my backpack. I tear them out, hand one to him, shove the other onto my head, and pull him into the shelter of the rocks.

“Don’t let them see your eyes,” I command in an undertone. Orcs only have two eye colors – red and black. Unfortunately, my eyes are hazel and Frodo’s are blue. If they catch a glimpse of either of our eyes – especially his – it’s all over. Hopefully they’ll be in a hurry and let a couple of tired soldiers pass!

The orcs begin to file by. I keep my head down as they shuffle by, file after file after file. Frodo huddles into me. I can sense his terror even without saying anything. I can read his emotions. That’s just how it is – how it’s always been. The other members of the Fellowship used to suspect we could use mind communication. Why am I thinking about this? Focus, Sam. Don’t get distracted.

One of the troop leader appears, beating his soldiers with a long leather whip that looks as though it was only cleaned once – on the day it was made. Suddenly he sees us.

“Oi, you!” he barks. “Get up an’ fall in, or I’ll ‘ave yer numbers and report ya.”

Frodo presses closer to me. We don’t say anything.

“Get up!” the commander shrieks again, and he flashes out with his whip. I try to push Frodo behind me so that I get more lash than he does, with only minimal success. “All your folk shouldave been inside Udun day befo’ last. Ya know that. Up ya get an’ fall in, or I’llave yer numbers and reportcha.”

We walk slowly towards the back of the group. “No, not at the rear!” the commander exclaims. “Three files up an’ stay there, or ya’ll know it when I come down ta line. Do ya good, ya little maggots.” Adressing the group as a whole, he shouts, “MOVE OUT!”

The orcs start off at a pace that is too brisk for our weary, malnourished bodies. We’re never going to make it. We’re never going to make it.

The orcs all about us are sweating, and they smell awful. The stones kicked up by iron-shod feet strike my legs, and the sun beats down mercilessly. Why didn’t I take a drink of water when I had the chance?

This is going to start hurting pretty soon…

~~~

CLIFFHANGER! Been a while since I left you a good once, eh? Listen to me, I’m talking like the orc commander. “Well, are ya gonna review? Are ya, ya little maggot?” I suppose calling you maggots won’t get you to review, though. Oh and in case you did not notice, Frodo, Sam, and I made it without falling asleep. Welll, g’night. It’s like 9:56, so I hope you’re happy. More to come… *falls off chair and collapses on ground next to Frodo and Sam.* Snore….

6/22/15 : 7:12 AM.

H.G.: Hello everyone, it’s me.

Sam: And me.

Frodo: And me.

H.G.: And I just wanted to say that I’m taking a break from writing today.

Sam: She has her book that she’s working on publishing, and that’s higher priority.

Frodo: And also she has Twilight Princess calling to her.

H.G.: So today will be a “review day” where you leave reviews and I give nothing in return. ^.^

Sam: Besides, she fell asleep at 10:30 last night.

Frodo: So give the poor girl a break.

Sam: Don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere, just sort of walking around with a bunch of orcs and working on not getting murdered.

Frodo: *shudder*

H.G.: So if you have any questions or comments for me…

Sam: Or me…

Frodo: Or me…

H.G.: … then leave them in the reviews. Now, Sam and Frodo, I have a question for you.

Sam & Frodo: Yes?

H.G.: *gets down on knees, holds out arms* Can I have a hug?

Frodo: …Uh… oh….

Sam: Sorry, but I don’t do hugs.

H.G.: You hug Frodo.

Sam: Well, I don’t hug girls.

H.G.: You hug Rosie.

Sam: Well, I don’t hug humans.

H.G.: You hug Aragorn. And besides, I’m sort of a hobbit, just not short and not fat and not hairy-footed.

Frodo: Are you calling us fat?

H.G.: NO! I just… please? I WANT HUGS. GIVE ME HUGS.

Frodo: *whispers to Sam* Just back away slowly and once we get a good ten feet away turn and run.

Sam: Okay.

H.G.: *grabs both hobbits and hugs them* Yayayayayay! Now people, while I’m here hugging these two adorable hobbits, leave reviews!

Sam: *gasps* Can’t… breathe…

Frodo: Please leave reviews quick people, or she might suffocate us and the story would end right there.

H.G.: EXACTLY.

6/23/15

Hello everyone. Thank you for the ZERO reviews you gave. I nearly suffocated Frodo and Sam, before I realized that was too mean. So I let them go and dropped them back into the story… *sigh* …which we really need to get back to. Please review this time! Pleasy, weasy? Lemon squeezy? Arwenagorn cheesy?

~~~

Chapter Nine

Frodo

The orcs march on and on. I stumble often and am dragged to my feet by the orcs behind me. Sam and I are seperated by a good dozen or so of the foul creatures, so I can’t lean on him the way I would if it were just the two of us. But if it were just the two of us, we wouldn’t be going this fast. I grit my teeth and force myself to keep going, but it’s painful. The only good thing about this pain is, my mind is so numb I can’t even hear the Ring talking.

I stumble again, and an orc kicks me, yanking me roughly up by the ragged black cloak around my neck. “Get up scum,” he snarls.

The commander laughs, flicking at my legs as he passes. “Nice freshener for ya, eh, maggot? Don’tcha know we’re at war?”

Yes, thank you, I know. I’m the one who started it.

No, it wan’t me. It was Sauron. He started it by creating the Ring.

We keep marching, and my mouth begins to burn with thirst. I long for the refreshing feel of water running down my throat, but Sam has our water bottle, and falling back to ask him for it would get me a knife in the back from the orcs. It doesn’t take much for them to commit murder, as they’ve so willingly demonstrated before. We pass a couple of the cisterns like the ones Sam and I have been stealing from, but don’t even stop for a sip.

I wish Sam was near me.

“Halt!” the commander calls after almost two hours of this nightmare. The orcs begin taking drinks of water and eating strips of dried meat

I feel Sam force his way through the group up to me. “Are you okay?” he asks so softly I barely hear him.

“Help me,” I whisper. “I think I’m going to faint.” I realize suddenly that even though he could give me the water bottle now, I’d have to take my helmet off to drink it. And that, of course, is out of the question.

“Fall back when they start off again,” Sam directs. “Then we can slip off.”

“Should we go to the back now?”

He considers this for a moment. “Okay.”

Trying to seem inconspicuos, we shuffle to the rear of the group of resting orcs. Some have broken off to sit on rocks and take their meals there. I’m impatient to get away. Can’t they start again soon? If we don’t get away soon, we might be discovered and –

I suddenly feel a claw like hand digging into my shoulder. “I asked you, why’d you move to the rear?” hisses an orc that must have been speaking to me, but I was too lost in thought to heed. Caught off guard, I look up.

Right into beady red eyes.

I instantly drop my gaze, but it’s too late. He’s seen. The orc seizes Sam, digs his nails into my arm, and drags us both off behind a rock. There he flings us down onto the ground.

“So,” he snarls, grinning wickedly. “So.” He draws a short sword and points it at me. “Take yer helmer off or guess ‘oo’s dead.”

I glance around. Can I run? No chance. I wouldn’t make it away. Could Sam run off and save himself? He’d never leave me.

“I said, take it off.”

Slowly, I reach up and slide my helmet off of my head. The orcs grabs it, tosses it aside, and studies me, sneering. “Interesting.” He turns the knife towards Sam. “You, too.”

Sam takes off his helmet, but rather than handing it to him, he tosses it at the orc. He deflects it with the sword and smirks.

“Nice try,” he mocks. Then he flips me over, rips my stolen leather gloves off, and ties my wrists together. He does the same to my legs and then lifts me up and tosses me back onto the ground. I land hard on my back and watch as he ties up Sam and throws him down next to me.

“Let’s see,” he says, fingering his knife. “I could kill ya, but the commander may wantcha questioned. I could question ya, but he might wantcha killed. So the first thing ta be done is ta ask the commander what he wants done with ya. But anyway, if he do wantcha questioned, he’ll kill you eventually. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be rewarded for finding him a nice snack.” He grins at the horrified look on my face. “Well, I’ll be back soon.” With that, he leaves to go find the commander.

I shut my eyes tight and will this to be a dream. Then I open them. It’s not a dream.

Sam and I have been thrown down close together, so I rest my head on his shoulder one last time. “I just want you to know before we die,” I say, “you were the best friend I ever had.”

I never thought it would end like this.

~~~

*gasp* What have I done? How will they escape? What if they DON’T escape… Okay, this doesn’t actually happen in the book or the movie, as I’m sure you know  but hey, it’s fanFICTION. So it’s okay. What will become of them? What will they do? Will I kill Frodo but spare Sam? Will I kill Sam but spare Frodo? Will they become a snack for the orc commander? GAH!

6/24/15

I have returned to rescue the hobbits! Hmm, or shall I have them be utterly destroyed? I can’t decide. Mwa ha ha. Just kidding! I know what I’m going to do with them. Hahahahahaha….

@Girl with a pearl earring: (Commented in another post) Okay! Here you go!

@Abigail: You can ask them. Frodo and Sam, can Abigail hug you?

Frodo: How many humans want to hug us?

Sam: *taps Frodo’s shoulder, points to crowd of fangirls stretching far as the eye can see* That many.

Frodo: Uhoh.

Sam: Ruuuuuuuun!

Fangirls: Eeeeeh!

…so, I guess that’s a no, Abigail. Sorry.

Now, let us decide their fate!

~~~

Chapter Ten

Sam

“I just want you to know before we die, you were the best friend I ever had.” Frodo lays his head on my shoulder. “Do you think it hurts?”

“Dying? I don’t know.”

He closes his eyes.

I finger the ropes around my wrists. My hands are free enough that I can move my fingers, but that’s not going to be much use. I find the knot, which is rather loose and poorly made. I’m alright with knots. Definitely better than that orc was.

I wonder how long it will take him to find the commander.

The Ring will never be destroyed. Sauron will take over the world. I will never see Rosie again. She’ll never even know what happened to me, and she’ll certainly never guess that I was a snack for an orc.

I can’t die like this!

I finger the knot again. It really is very shabbily done. I look at the knot on my ankles, and that’s just as poor.

Wait a second…

My fingers are free enough to touch the knots. Why not untie it?

But do I have time?

I slip my fingers into the knot and work through it. I have to twist my thumb at a painful angle, and I think I’ve broken it, but I ignore the pain and in about twenty seconds the knot is history.

“Roll over,” I tell Frodo.

“Why?”

“So I can untie your hands.”

“Untie my…”

I show him the piece of rope I’ve just freed myself of. He smiles and lets me untie him.

We can’t have much time left. Any second now, the commander will come back…

I untie Frodo’s ankles. “Okay, run.”

“Not without you.”

“I’ll meet you in a second, just run!”

He doesn’t budge. I untie myself as fast as I can and get up.”Now can we run?” I ask, slinging on my backpack from where it’s fallen onto the ground.

We take off. No sooner have we rounded a corner than I hear the commander screaming, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY’RE RIGHT HERE?”

“I had them sir, I promise!”

I pull Frodo off the road and down into the valley as the commander says, “You promised me a meal. I’m still expecting one.”

“Sir?”

There’s the swing of a sword through the air, followed by a shriek and a thud as the orc is killed to give the commander the meal he expects. Frodo looks at me, open-mouthed with horror.

“Should we go after them?”says another orc voice, though I have to strain my ears to hear it because of how far away we are.

“FOOL! AND RISK COMING LATE TO CAMP?” Another shriek. Another thud.

Well, at least we’re safe.

Sort of.

We keep running, and running, and running towards Mount Doom. Frodo is clearly exhausted, especially since he’s already gone so far today. Finally he collapses.

“Come on, Frodo,” I say, feeling awful. “One last crawl and you can lie still.”

He makes it about twelve yards, before pitching forwards into a shallow pit neither of us saw. He hits the ground, lies still, and does not move.

I crawl down next to him and place my cloak under his head, and then take out my blanket and spread it over both of us. I shake him awake long enough to eat a whole wafer of the lembas and half of the water bottle. Then, too weary even to feel fear, we lie back down and try to absorb warmth from the threadbare, tattered blanket. Finally I drift off into a miserable sleep. I wake up several times during the night from dreams of Frodo dying again and again and again only to see him tossing and turning beside me as he wrestles with his own nightmares.

Of all the people who could have done this task, why us?

~~~

*sniffle*

6/25/15

Oh no! What have I done? Why am I so mean? Only one thing to do. I must write more. That is the only thing to be done.

@Carillia Prynn: Sorry to kill you! I’ll try to bring you a little bit back to life. But if I end the next chapter with a cliffhanger… well, you could always join the Army of the Dead and help Aragorn out.

Frodo: Speaking of which, why does EVRYONE WANT TO HUG US.

Sam: We’re just adorable I guess.

H.G.: Hug…..

Okay, time for the story now!

~~~

Chapter Eleven

Frodo

I wake up in the middle of the night and find I am alone.

I look around, terrifed. Sam’s blanket is wrapped around me. His cloak is folded under my head. But he’s not here.

Did the orcs come and take him? But then why wouldn’t they take me? I look all around in every direction. I know he was right here beside me when I fell asleep. Now he’s nowhere to be seen.

So, I am forced to come to the only logical conclusion.

Sam has left me.

Left me here alone, to destroy the Ring if I can and die if I can’t. But no such fate shall befall him, because by the time my life ends he’ll be long gone. And since I have no idea what time he left, I can’t go after him. Was it something I said, or did? Why didn’t he just leave earlier? Or why didn’t he just untie himself and bolt? There was no need for him to untie me too if he was just going to run off. Where will he go, anyway? Gondor? Rohan? All the way back to the Shire, to marry Rosie and act like I don’t exist – which I won’t by then – and be happy?

But that still doesn’t explain why he would untie me too. Maybe he’s hoping I’ll survive on my own. Maybe he cares about me enough to leave while I’m asleep, thinking it’s kinder for me not to have to say goodbye.

Either way, he’s gone.

Now I’ve lost ecerything that’s important to me. Now I am truly alone. I should probably start off and continue my journey, but I can’t. My heart is broken. My best friend has abandoned me. I curl up and hide my face in my arms, weeping.

*What have I told you? He was never your friend. He didn’t love you. Look at what he has done to you, leaving you for dead in the middle of Mordor. I told you so.*

And you were right.

*I am the only one you can trust, Frodo. I am the only one you should listen to.  Not Sam. And definetly not yourself. I have some important things to tell you. Are you listening?*

I’m listening.

*Good. First, I want you to forget about him.*

But-

*I said, forget about him! What is frienship? Nothing! It is but a wall people hide themselves behind, but it crumbles easily. It offers no protection. From now on, Sam is not real. He never existed. He was just a figment of your imagination. Forget him. Alright?*

Yes precious, forget him… forget him…

*Can you do that for me, Frodo?*

Yes.

*All those times when you were scared, and he held you – they didn’t exist. It was your mind wishing such things would happen. The Shire when you knew him – that, too, was a myth and a lie.*

I nod. A lie.

*Nothing exists. Nothing has ever existed except for you and me and Mordor. And nothing will ever exist until you put me on. And then all the things you’ve imagined will become real. And you’ll be safe. You’ll be rich. You’ll never have to lie shivering in a ditch again. You’ll always be safe. Always be warm.*

Always be warm…

*Always be happy.*

Always be… happy… Yes precious, that sounds nice…

“Frodo?”

Something is coming towards me. A figure. I shrink back, frightened.

*It doesn’t exist.*

It doesn’t?

*No.*

Are you sure? It looks pretty real.

*I’m positive.*

It scares me! It’s coming closer! How do I make it go away?

*You have to fight it. It’s just your mind tricking you. Fight it.*

Okay.

I don’t even wait to see what this phantom resembles. I leap up, tossing the blanket aside, and attack it, lashing out with my fists, punching everything in reach. I expect my hands to go right through it, and it will vanish.

It blocks me!

And then it grabs my writsts to stop me from hitting it!!!

*It’s not real it’s not real it’s not real…*

I sink to my knees, screaming. I can’t fight. Why isn’t it going away? Tell me!

*Oh… um, I lied, it’s real.*

I sink to my knees,screaming. The Ring lied to me. Now it will be stolen. I close my eyes tight. Soon I will be slaughtered and my treasure stolen. So I wait. I wait for the feeling of a dagger tearing through my heart, or fingers closing around my throat.

Instead I feel myself being drawn into gentle arms and held tightly.

I’m surprised and confused. I thought I was about to be killed. Instead I hear a soft voice whispering, “it’s alright Frodo, I’m here.”

Sam?

How can he be here if he doesn’t exist?

The Ring knows it’s lost this one, and says nothing.

“Sam?” I whisper.

“Yes Frodo, it’s me.”

“I thought you had left me.”

“I just went to fill the water bottle. Honest.”

I’m nearly choking trying to hold back tears. I let the Ring fool me so easily. How could I have doubted my best friend? I’m so weak. A small sob escapes me. I can’t cry now! Not after possibly my weakest moment ever! But holding it in is a real effort.

Sam notices. “It’s okay, Frodo. Just go ahead and cry.”

So I do.

~~~

And so do I. ;.;

6/27/15

Oh dear… I’m so sorry I haven’t written lately! I was busy and didn’t have time (great excuse, H.G.!). But I mean it. I apologize. We’ll go to Sam now and not have any more of the Ring’s evilness or any more orcs wanting to gobble them up like candy. Promise. So, please review!

@Tween03: YES! That was the kind of review I have dreams about getting. (Haha, not really.) But it was a great review. I really appreciate it. And I’m glad it made you cry! Being told your writing moved someone is the second best compliment an author can receive – the first best is “I couldn’t put it down!” – so I’m honored. I’m sorry to have made you wait. Here is more, like you requested!

By the way, I just love these little wiggly things. They’re so useful. ~ Like that. So cute. And now I get to write three of them!

~~~

Chapter Twelve

Sam

Frodo cries.

And cries.

And cries.

Sometimes you just need to let it all out, even when your mind is being invaded by a demonic century-old manipulative piece of jewelry. Especially when your mind is being invaded by a demonic century-old manipulative piece of jewelry. And even more so when you’re wandering through a land where everything is always dark, and you’re always too hot, too cold, or dehydrated, or a combination of those, plus throw in the fact that you think you’re going to die in a few days and you’re all alone except for the person you once called your best friend before said demonic century-old manipulative piece of jewelry possessed your body, mouth, and mind

Poor Frodo.

I don’t try to say anything, because I know I couldn’t say anything that would help. The best thing to do is to just hold him and let him cry. So that’s what I do until finally he stops crying and looks up at me. “Sorry,” he mumbles.

“For what?” I ask.

“For being so weak.”

“Weak? Frodo, you are the strongest person I know. You’re being tempted by that… thing… but do you give in? No! You keep going. Crying isn’t weakness. Everybody cries. People who don’t are liars. Okay?” I hold out a hand. He takes it, and I pull him up.

We start off at a pace that, compared to what we suffered from the orcs yesterday, seems downright slow. I force Frodo to eat lembas and drink nearly all of the remaining water, going without myself, and then consider for a moment. We’re running out – of both. Water we can get more of. Lembas, though – once it’s gone, it’s gone. I’ll simply not have to eat anymore. That’s all there is to it.

“Are you stupid?” my brain screams. “You’re going to kill yourself doing that? Are you insane, or are you just giving up, or both?”

I might be insane, but I’m not giving up.

“Then why? Why are you giving everything up for him? You haven’t sleep in weeks. You haven’t eaten in days. What are you trying to prove, Sam?”

If only one of us is going to make it to that mountain alive… I’d rather it be Frodo than me.

“So his life’s worth more to you than your own. Cute. Really cute. But still, you’re insane.”

Okay, then. I’m insane.

“You’re crazy, aren’t you?” Rosie asked. “You think you’re going to get me to go out with you looking like that? Samwise Gamgee, I thought you had more brains than most of the boys following me around.”

“Well…”

She swatted me with the basket in her hand. “Yeah, good luck. I wouldn’t date you unless you were the last boy on earth.”

I sighed as I watched her flounce off and wondered how, even when she was angry, she looked good. 

“Well, I tried,” I said miserably to Frodo, who was standing on the front step looking sympathetic.

He clapped a hand onto my shoulder. “Try again another day. And, ah… maybe on a day when you don’t have dirt across your face.”

I sighed.

But I tried again (on a day when I didn’t have dirt across my face). I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t go out with me. I could tell she liked me. She was always flirting with me and sometimes purposefully dropped things so I’d pick them up and hand them to her. But each time I asked she had a new comeback: “You’ve been working too hard lately, I can’t go out with someone who’s exhausted,” or, “you live too far away, I can’t always steal my Da’s ponies,” or, “I’ve got too many friends, I don’t have time for a boyfriend too,” or, “just think of all the boys I’d disappoint if I went out with a gardener instead of one of them!”

Finally I just stopped. And then she asked me why. 

And then I was shocked. “Well, you always say no!” I said. “Why would I keep asking if you’re not going to say yes?”

She looked embarrassed. “I was going to say yes the next time,” she admitted. “I’ve just been trying to convince my parents to let me first, so I’ve just kept giving you excuses. And also,” she added, “you look cute when you’re embarrassed. Your face goes pink. It’s kind of adorable.”

Needless to say, my face went pink. Rosie giggled. 

“I finally convinced my parents to let me,” she said. “But having permission isn’t really any good without an invitation.” She waited. I was confused, and didn’t say anything. She began to walk away, looking sad.

“Wait – Rosie!” I shouted after her. “Do you want to go out with me?”

“Oooh, yes.”

“Is it true?” she screamed at me three and a half years later, chucking a vase at my head.

“You keep asking me if it’s true, but you haven’t even -” I ducked as the second vase came flying at my head.

“Peregrin Took says you’re cheating on me with his sister Pearl!”

“Peregrin Took loves drama!”

Another vase flew past my head.

“I never liked Pearl, Rose, honest! I swear!” I tugged the fourth vase out of her hands and held them tightly.

“PROVE IT!” she screamed.

In answer, I kissed her. 

She stopped fighting. Her eyes flew open, and then she closed them again and put her arms around my neck.

“Now do you believe me?” I asked.

“Yes.”

She started the second one.

“Did you convince her?” Frodo asked the next time I saw him. I nodded. “Did you kiss her?” he asked. I nodded again. “Good!” he said, smiling. “So you’re officially together again?”

“You could say that. Did you talk to Pippin yet?”

He nodded. “After I told him that the next time he tried to mess up your life I’d steal one of your frying pans and whop him over the head with it.”

I smiled, unable to help but think that only a best friend would stand up against their cousin for you. 

“I’m sorry, Rose,” I mutter as I stumble across Mordor with Frodo. “I’m sorry I can’t keep my promise.”

~~~

6/29/15

ATTENTION! I will be at my friend’s house for the next few days, so there will not be more for a while. In that abscense, I need you to vote. For reasons not yet revealable, I need a song for the next chapter, so you must vote. Should I use Sam’s Song from the Return of the King (book) or should I write my own song? Please let me know. Everyone who votes will get a hug from Sam and Frodo.

7/1/15

Hello all! I have returned! It’s been a while, huh? Well, Carillia Prynn voted for me to write a song, and Tween03 told me over a phone conversation that she would prefer I write one. So I guess I’ll write one! But I may not use it juuuuust yet. Hang in there!

@katoonirose: Okay! Here it is. But there may be more cliffhangers. Thanks for reading!

@Carillia Prynn: I’m #glad to hear you’re loving the romance. ~.^ Sarose is the best, isn’t it? Oh, and thanks for voting.

Frodo: So…

Sam: So…

Frodo: Now we have to give you hugs.

Sam: *sigh*

H.G.: You promised!

Sam: No, YOU promised!

Frodo: Well if we don’t she might kill one of us off.

Sam: *gasp* Okay people, form an orderly line and let’s get this over with.

Frodo&Sam: *hug Carillia Prynn*

H.G.: E hehehehee!

Frodo&Sam: *hug Tween03*

H.G.: Now… if you wouldn’t mind…

Frodo&Sam: *hug katoonirose, then H.G.*

H.G.: ^.^

Now chapter thirteen! Thirteen is an unlucky number. Does that mean something bad will happen? You’ll just have to read it to find out, won’t you? Ehehehee!

~~~

Chapter Thirteen

Frodo

*At least he’s doing one thing right, and making sure you survive.*

But what if he dies? Why aren’t I making him eat something?

*Oh, he’s nothing.*

I hate you.

*Where would you be without me? Back in the Shire, disliked and unknown. Look how much power I gave you! You had nothing before you had me.*

“I had people who were my friends!”

“Frodo?”

I look over at Sam.

“You’re talking to yourself again.”

I nod. “Sorry.”

“That’s what I’m here for.”

I smile. “Sam… thank you.”

“For what?”

“For everything. But I wish you’d go home.”

“Wh-”

“Just hear me out! If you went home you could marry Rosie, and I know you’re in love with her. Staying with me, all that will happen is you’ll die. I’m not like you. It’s okay if I die out here. Nobody needs me. Nobody cares about me the way they care about you.”

*Exactly.*

Sam looks at me. “I do.”

*Ohhhh, he’s trying to get all sentimental on you again… when will he just die…*

“Besides,” Sam adds, “we’re low on lembas and we’ve only got one water bottle. I couldn’t leave if I wanted to. But I don’t.”

I smile, a little sadly. “Alright.”

*No, it’s not alright! Send him away!”

No. Stop it.

“The Ring is such a burden, Sam,” I mutter. “Such a weight. It’s such a weight to carry…”

He points towards the mountain with his sword. “We’re going that way, straight as we can. There’s no sense in carrying anything we’re not sure to need.”

I pull off my armor and toss it down into a fissure. But I hand the phial of Galadriel to Sam. “Hang on to this for me, would you?” I ask.

He nods, already having tossed away his armor, frying pans, and gear. He keeps only the water bottle and our dwindling supply of lembas, and Sting. After hesitating a minute he tosses his elvish cloak away, too, presumably because climbing Mount Doom would be harder with it on.We start out. I feel energized, able to go on more quickly. However, if we run into orcs again, we’re dead. Miles slide past. The mountain draws closer.

The water bottle is nearly empty when Sam makes me take a drink and takes a small sip himself. We stop for the night in a cave. “Go to sleep,” Sam tells me after I’ve eaten lembas. “I’ll watch over you.”

As soon as he’s spoken, I close my eyes and drift off.

In the middle of the night I feel Sam shaking me awake. “Gollum’s about,” he says. “I just saw him – at least, if it wasn’t him, then there’s two of him.”

“Where were you when you saw him?” I ask.

“Coming back from filling the water bottle. I hate to do this to you, but… I can’t keep my eyes open, and it’s not safe for us to sleep at the same time…”

“Oh Sam, you haven’t slept in weeks, have you?” I smile. “My dear hobbit, you’re going to be the death of yourself. Lie down and take your proper turn.”

He’s asleep in about ten seconds. I take the water bottle and drink a little, and then sit by Sam and watch him sleep for a while. I should have made him get some rest a long time ago, but there was so much else on my mind, I didn’t even think of it.

So, Gollum’s about.

“He’s going to betray us,” Sam said. “I don’t trust him.”

“Sam. He’s not going to betray us.”

“I’m not saying this because I’m worried about myself,” Sam pressed. “I’m only worried about you getting hurt. You have the Ring. He wants it.”

He was right. Gollum betrayed us and nearly killed Sam, leaving me to be finished off by Shelob. But his plan failed, and Sam saved my life. Even though I ended up in the clutches of the orcs for a day or so, I was alive, and the Ring was safe.

I lie down next to Sam. I can’t fall asleep, but it won’t matter if I close my eyes for a second or two…

~~~

Oh Frodo, you are so adorable.

7/2/15

Okay! So! That was cuuuuuute! Now, we’ll go and see what Sam thinks about Frodo falling asleep on watch. I’m sure he won’t be upset, but hey, it’s kind of important. After all, if they go to sleep at the same time, Gollum could come and strangle them. Or orcs could slit their throats. But Sam’s very forgiving, so I think he’ll be okay with it, though maybe mildly annoyed… Anyway, let’s find out, shall we?

~~~

Chapter Fourteen

Sam

I wake up and Frodo’s asleep.

I sigh. I guess I could have seen that coming. It’s completely unsafe, but at least we’re both alive and un-throttled. I prop myself up on one elbow and look at him. His face is filthy, stained with dust from the road and dried blood that came from a rather nasty gash down his cheekbone. I can barely see the once creamy-white complexion beneath all the dirt. His black curls are matted with sweat, plastered against his forehead. The lines on his face, and how thin he has gotten, show the madness the Ring is driving him to and the weariness the journey is causing him. Still, he is Frodo. I can look past the fear and agony of his current state and see my best friend, the person he was in the Shire, who would protect me and who I must now protect. No matter what the Ring does to him, I will always know him as Frodo, my Frodo, my best friend who I will die for a hundred times over if need be.

“I love you, Frodo,” I say softly, smoothing back the curls from his forehead.

But no matter how deep our friendship, I can’t save him from the Ring. The one thing I want to do, I can’t  – if I want to live. I’m overwhelmed by how hopeless this whole quest is, and a few tears fall from my eyes and drop down onto Frodo’s face. He stirs slightly and his head drops to the side. I don’t want to wake him up. I don’t want to go on and finish the journey. I just want to stay here, running my fingers through his hair, watching him rest and be at peace for all that remains of eternity. But I can’t.

I shake him gently until he opens his eyes and smiles sheepishly. “I fell asleep, didn’t I?”

“Yes.”

“And I was supposed to be on watch.” He sighs. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright,” I say. “You needed rest.”

“But we could have died. I’m not good for anything, am I? I can’t even stay awake. I’m so weak.” A few tears fall out of his enormous blue eyes, and my heart shatters. I bend down and kiss him on the forehead.

“You are not weak, and don’t ever say that again,” I tell him. “You’re really killing me, putting yourself down all the time. Just stop. Please.”

Frodo nods, and stands up. I hand him the water bottle.

“Drink up, we can refill it when we head out,” I say.

“Then you drink some. There’s no reason for you not to.”

He has a point, so we each drink half the bottle and refill it when we come to the small stream, which I found last night. I’d almost forgotten how refreshing water felt. However, after about forty minutes my mouth is completely dry again. We can go faster without the extra gear and armor weighing us down, but even so, it takes us an hour to go a mere five miles. I watch Frodo anxiously as he swats the air in front of him. Suddenly he stops dead, looking towards Barad-Dur. I don’t need to follow his gaze to know why, because suddenly, I feel it too. The eye is on us.

“Frodo, get down!” I shout, diving behind a rock. “Hide!”

He stands, looking paralyzed. Then he collapses and lies twitching on the ground as the eye’s gaze sweeps about looking for us. It’s only about five minutes before it goes away, but it feels like hours. Finally it fades, and I crawl to Frodo. “It’s gone,” I say. “The light’s passed east. Something drew it’s gaze.” I pull him up and we continue the journey, but I watch Frodo with concern, and wonder how we will manage to do this.

~~~

Well, apparently he wasn’t mad. I wasn’t that worried. I mean, I doubted he’d get angry at his best friend.

7/5/15

Hello. Sorry it’s been so long. I’ve been on forums. And working on Twilight Princess. And that is a good excuse.

AUUG! There’s no excuse! I should have been writing and I know it, and I’m so sorry. Anyway, I will use the song, like I promised in a post earlier today. And there will be a flashback, featuring… Pippin!!! Who’s excited? I’m excited. Now, onward!

~~~

Chapter Fifteen

Frodo

That was far too close of a call. I feel goosebumps rising on my arms as we head off again. But we’re alive. He didn’t see us. And that’s what really matters.

Calculating the distance as best I can, I figure that we have about twenty miles left. Tomorrow we could reach Mount Doom. Tomorrow all this could end. And then – what? We won’t go home. We’ll lie down and die, I guess, with no one even knowing what became of us.

If I can bring myself to destroy It in the first place.

I feel a twinge of sadness knowing that I’ll never see the other members of the fellowship again. Aragorn. Gimli. Legolas. Merry. Pippin. Soon I suppose I’ll be seeing Boromir and Gandalf again. What hurts the most is imagining the looks on Merry and Pippin’s faces as they realize I will not be coming back. Especially the look on Pippin’s face. He’s so, so young – were he a human, he’d only be thirteen or fourteen. He is so innocent, too, and the quest – the war – may have broken him. Where is he right now, and has he held onto that innocence? Or, like so many things before, was it torn away from him?

“Frodo?” Pippin poked me. “Frodo, wake up.”

I groaned and opened my eyes. “Yes, Pippin? Is it my turn for watch?”

“No, I just finished my turn. Gimli took over.” He indicated the dwarf, sitting by the fire and muttering to himself. 

“Then why are you waking me?” I asked.

Pippin’s wide grey eyes darted nervously from side to side. “I keep hearing noises,” he gulped. “While I was on watch. I think there’s something coming to get us.”

“It’s just the usual noises of Moria, Pippin,” I said, amused at my cousin’s nervousness. “That’s all. You’re just not used to it yet.”

“I know. But besides that it’s dark and… and…” He beckoned me closer. “I’m scared of the dark,” he confided.

I laughed in spite of myself. “Well, that’s a shame,” I said. “Especially considering it gets dark for ten hours every day. We call it night, you know.”

“But you can’t even see the moon or the stars here, because we’re underground. And the fire is so small,” Pippin said sulkily. “Besides that, I’m lonely, and I’m cold. So I woke you up. I know it’s silly, and I tried to get over it, but either way I was wondering if…”

I smiled and pulled my blanket aside. He crawled under it next to me eagerly, and I spread the edge over him. 

“I love you, Frodo!” Pippin chirped.

“Shh, you’re going to wake everyone up.” I smiled at my cousin. “But I love you too.”

Pippin grinned and snuggled deeper into the blanket. “Frodo, can you sing to me?”

“Sing to you?”

“Yes.”

“I’m not much of a singer, you know. Sam’s better at that kind of thing.”

“But he gets embarrassed singing in front of other people. And he’s asleep. Please? I promise I’ll go right to sleep. Pretty please with mushrooms on top?”

I chuckled. He was so eager. “Alright,” I said. “But kindly don’t tell anyone.”

“I won’t.”

“And you have to promise not to talk when I finish.”

“I promise.” He nestled into me and looked up into my eyes expectantly.

“Okay, here goes. Don’t judge.” I cleared my throat and sang, 

“Nothing will hurt you

Nothing will try 

All of your fears 

Will fade by-and-by.

Don’t be afraid

Though nightmares surround you

Nothing is real

But my arms around you.

Go back to sleep now

Return to your rest

Your dreams will be sweet

Your slumber be blessed.

And not all is darkness

For stars shine above you

You’re safe, and it’s warm,

I’m here, and I love you.

Nothing will hurt you

Nothing will try

All of your fears

Will fade by-and-by.”

I looked down at Pippin to discover he was asleep. I smiled faintly, kissed the top of his curly head, and closed my eyes.

I don’t want him to lose that. I wish I could see them all again, and I wish I could see Bilbo. He took care of me.

*And any other member of the Fellowship would have been stronger than Sam. He is weak. He is nothing.*

But somehow, this statement is so easy to resist. Oh, I love my cousins. And the other members of the Fellowship were all dear friends. But when it comes down to who I want with me when the journey ends, on top of Mount Doom when I breathe my last…

I glance over at Sam and smile inwardly, because there’s nobody in the world I would rather die with.

~~~

Awww, Pippin, you really are the cutest thing since juice boxes, aren’t you? Don’t you just want to hug him?

6/7/15

I have a feeling about this chapter.

A feeling that it will be long? A feeling that something bad will happen? A good feeling? A Sarose-y feeling?

I don’t know. All I can say is, it will be important, and veeeery long.

~~~

Chapter Sixteen

Sam

We reach the base of the mountain as the darkness deepens into night. Tomorrow we will make the climb. But for now… why not rest, a little? We’ll be needing strength if we’re going to make it up that.

I give Frodo the last piece of lembas and most of what remains of the water bottle, finishing the rest myself. We won’t be needing any more, so once it’s gone I pitch it as far as I can throw. Frodo curls up on the most comfortable bit of ground and falls asleep instantly. I sit thinking for a while.

“Well, come on,” I say. “You didn’t expect to come this far. You’ve done quite well, Sam, considering as you never thought you’d make it here. But now what’s to be done? Climb the mountain, of course. And that’s easy enough for you to say, but Frodo’s not going to make it in the state he’s in right now. Still, we must make it to the top. That’s the chief thing. But what then, Sam? What then?”

I realize I have no answer. All I know is that the Ring must somehow be put into the cracks of Doom, and that will destroy it. “You see?” I say. “It’s all very hopeless. You could have laid down and died together days ago, if you hadn’t gone on with this foolish wishing and hoping. The world would be destroyed. But you wouldn’t be there to watch it, so why does it matter?… Because I care about the world I’ll be leaving behind, and I need to save it if I can. No, if we can. If he can. He’s the one who will have to let it go. But I’ll be there with him, like I always have been. Still, I wish I could see Rosie one last time.”

The night seems infinite, the hours inching by so slowly I wonder if perhaps it will never grow light. The air is chilly, though we’re at the foot of the mountain – probably because it’s so tall, the heat is all at the top. It’s so dark I can’t even see Frodo right next to me. I grope for his hand. It’s cold and shaking. He’s shivering. Instinctively, I reach for my cloak or blanket, only to remember I threw both away.

Well, that was stupid of me.

“I shouldn’t have left my blanket behind,” I mutter, and I lie down close beside him in a desperate attempt to keep him warm. Then sleep overtakes me, and on the last night of our quest we are side by side at the foot of Mount Doom.

“Now for it!” I say, rousing Frodo. We turn our eyes to the mountain’s summit and begin the climb. It’s more of a torment than I ever thought I could bear. I am in pain, and flies buzz around stinging me and drinking the blood coming from all my wounds. Besides that, the mountain is steep, and one wrong step could mean a plummit down onto sharp rocks. Frodo is crying as he climbs beside me and that, more than anything, is what makes this feel so unbearable. “One step closer,” I tell him, and myself. “We’re one step closer to saving the world, and when we do, we can rest.”

How many steps is this going to take? Each one is agony, and listening to Frodo weeping shatters what remains of my already broken heart. I would be crying myself right now, if there was enough water left in my body to form tears. But there isn’t. I’m so dehydrated that I can’t even cry.

The climb becomes less steep. Soon we are going diagonally, which is easier than going vertically, but not much. Smoke stings my eyes so that I can barely see ten feet ahead of me, and it also fills my mouth and nose, making it hard to breathe. Suddenly Frodo collapses, about a yard behind me, and I fall too, unable to reach him. I clutch my chest, gasping for air that comes in foul fumes that smell like poison. Frodo picks himself and staggers on about five feet, before he crashes to the ground again, and does not move.

I crawl up to Frodo and turn him over gently, and hold him. I look up at the mountain, and the summit looks so far away. I know right now, for a fact, that Frodo is not going to be able to climb that whole way. We’ve collapsed on a sort of path, but even so, the Ring’s chain is cutting into his neck, and probably tormenting his mind. He can’t take another step. I look around and the hated land of shadow, then back up at the summit, and then down at Frodo cradled in my arms.

“Please, Frodo,” I say desperately. “If there’s something I can do to take your pain away, please tell me! I would do anything to help you. You know that.”

“Just hold me,” Frodo whispers through cracked, bleeding lips. “Please.”

I nod, and he lies back, resting his head against my arm and closing his eyes as a few tears roll down his face, leaving streaks amidst the dirt, and dust, and blood. But somehow just holding him is not enough, and I need to say something.

“Do you remember the Shire?” I ask. “It’ll be spring soon, and the orchards will be in blossom.”

Frodo opens his eyes and looks at me.

“And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket,” I continue. “And the farmers will be sowing the barley in the lower fields. Remember? And the garden always started to bloom around then. And in Lorien, the trees will be turning green, and in Gondor the snow will be melting. Everyone will go on with their life, maybe not even knowing that we’re here, fighting for them? Isn’t this why the world is worth saving?” If I could, I would be sobbing right now. “Don’t you think it’s worth saving?”I ask.

“Yes,” Frodo says softly. “The world is worth saving.” He takes my hand and holds it tightly. “And this is why.”

“What?”

“This. You and me. Our journey. Our friendship.” He lies back and closes his eyes. “But the Shire…. I can’t see that. I can’t remember the taste of food. Nor the sound of wind… the touch of grass… or the feel of water. There’s nothing… no thin veil…” Words are clearly becoming harder for him to speak. “Between me… and the wheel of fire!” His eyes are panicked. “I can see it with my waking eyes!”

“Then let us be rid of it!” I say, and in my voice I hear a strange power I did not know I possessed. “Let us be rid of it once and for all! Come on, Frodo. I can’t carry it for you… but I can carry you! Come on!”

I lift him up and sling him over my shoulders, and catch my balance. Then I take one of his dangling hands and hold it tightly, and turn my gaze towards the summit.

I said I’d get there if I had to carry him myself, and I will.

~~~

7/9/15

This is going to be the last Frodo chapter, then there will be one Sam chapter and then it will end. Here we go.

~~~

Chapter Seventeen

Frodo

For about the hundreth time I am glad to have Sam here with me, because yet again this is an example of a time I would have died without him. Though, I never would have made it here, because I would have died more than a dozen times already if he hadn’t saved me, or motivated me, or given me hope to continue.

But all the while the Ring is growing on my mind, and each assault becomes harder to resist. It isn’t tricking me anymore. It’s just attacking repeatedly, sapping my strength, sending spasms of pain to eachnof my wounds and throughout my body, and tormenting my mind to the point where I can’t think. I can’t tell how much time has passed. I’m barely aware of anything other than the Ring. I drift in and out of conciousness, my head bumping against Sam’s shoulder. I can’t tell how far we’ve come or how far there is to go. I dream only of fire and pain, only to wake and find both all around me, and nothing in the world seems real. The only thing I can feel, (besides what the Ring isnforcing me to feel, of course) is Sam’s hand clutching mine tightly.

Finally Sam sets me down gently. I open my eyes and look at him. “Thank you… Sam…” I gasp. “Are we… almost there?”

“I don’t know, because I don’t know where we’re going. Just rest a little.”

The world seems to be spinning too fast. I feel like I’m about to topple over and plummet down, and it seems that the mountain is rolling from side to side. I use the last of my strength to crawl to my best friend/servant/guardian/brother and then collapse into his arms. I can feel his heart beating against my head, but only barely, as the Ring is once again spreading its poison throughout my brain. My fingers creep unwillingly towards the chain on my neck. “Help me, Sam!” I say faintly, desperately. “Help me! My hand… I.. I can’t stop it…!”

Sam catches both of my hands and lays them together, palm to palm, and holds them between his own. I can’t breathe. I can’t see. I can’t hear anything my best friend’s heartbeat and the Ring’s sweet, poisonous voice in mind. I’m barely aware of being lifted and carried again, for these attacks arw agony beyond anything I have ever endured.

“Frodo, look,” I hear a soft voice whispering. It seems to be Sam’s, but it might just be a dream. “A doorway, We’re almost there.”

I force myself to wake up and blink, trying to see the doorway he’s talking about. Sudeenly I hear another voice, a hated voice, coming from overhead: “Clever hobbits, to climb so high!” Something jumps down on top of me, pulling me off of Sam and rolling down the side of the mountain clutching me. It pins me down, and then I see Gollum’s hated, malicious face leering down at me. His fingers grasp my throat and squeeze. “Mustn’t go that way!” he cackles. “Mustn’t hurt Precious!”

“BUT YOU SWORE!” I cry as my lungs are denied of air. “YOU SWORE ON THE PRECIOUS!”

“Ooh, a hoo hoo,” Gollum laughs.

“Smeagol… promised….” I gasp.

“Smeagol lied. And now you’ll pay for when you lies to us.”

I lose it. “SAM!” I scream with what little air and strength I have left. “SAM, HE’S GOING TO KILL ME!”

“Sam, he’s going to kill me!” Gollum mocks, but then suddenly a rock hits the side of his head and he falls off of me. Sam kneels beside me and pulls me to my feet. “Are you okay?” he asks.

Gollum groans from a ledge five feet below, but he’s recovering. Sam notices, and taking my hand squeezes it tightly. “Get to the top and destroy the Ring,” he says. “No matter what happens, I love you.”

“Sam?” I say, terrified.

“Run!” He pushes me towards the summit. “Run and don’t look back.” He hurls himself at Gollum, and I dash off. I can’t see, because I’m blinded by my tears. Sam is no match for Gollum. He can’t win. What if he dies?

I keep running, trying to find the doorway he pointed out. Suddenly I can see it up ahead, and rush towards it. I find myself on a long ledge leading out over a river of lava. It’s so hot in here I can barely stand it, but I walk to the edge of the precipice. Smokes coil up all about me, and the fire’s heat rises up to greet me.

*What are you doing here.* It isn’t a question. *Why destroy me? You need me. Use me.* The words are enticing, melodious even. It would be so easy to listen to them. But I can’t… I mustn’t…

*If you need me to use a little more force, Frodo, I will not hesitate to do so.*

Suddenly it hits me with more force than it ever has, and I scream. It rips my sanity from me, my senses are overloaded with its attack, it overwhelms me with pain…

And then it stops, and I feel nothing but blissful, sweet relief.

“Frodo!” Sam shouts. “FRODO!”

I turn towards him. He survived. “I’m here, Sam,” I say softly.

“Destroy it!”

I unclasp the Ring’s necklace and turning, hold it out over the lava, but do not release it.

“Go on, now! Throw it in the fire.”

How perfect it is… how round, and of so golden a luster…

“What are you waiting for? Just let it go!”

I take the Ring off it’s necklace and turn to face Sam. Our eyes meet for one second, and then I say, “no.”

“What?”

“The Ring is mine,” I say.

“No…” Sam whispers, sounding comically desperate and helpless. “No…”

I smile at the look on his face, and slip the Ring onto my finger.

NO!!!” Sam screams. I laugh, and flames climb up the walls of the volcano, then crash back into the sea of lava. I howl with laughter, feeling an overwhelming sense of freedom and delight. I don’t feel pain, or sorrow, or love, or any of the weaknesses I experienced while I was carried. I only feel sheer, raw power, and I like it. I like it a lot. I walk up to Sam.

“Thank you, Samwise,” I say. He gasps, unable to see me, only to hear my voice, which is strong and evil-sounding, exactly the way I want it to be. “You’ve been most helpful,” I continue. “A very loyal servant, I must say. Quite useful, only now you are disposable.”

“So that’s it?” he says shakily. “You’re going to kill me? Friendship doesn’t even matter anymore?”

I laugh again and set an invisible hand on his cheek. Sam trembles at my touch. “Oh, my dear Sam,” I sigh, “you’re not worthy to be killed by my power. Don’t you understand? It was never about friendship. It was always about me.” I slap him hard across the face and he collapses. I examine my fingers, flexing them. The one wearing the Ring seems strongest. I smile, and turn back towards the river of lava. “Now, what am I going to use you for?” I murmur. Suddenly something jumps onto me, grabbing for my hand. I cry out as Gollum’s fingers grope along my invisible form, searching for the Ring. My arms are pinned to my sides by his legs, so I try to elbow my way free. Suddenly he siezes my hand, draws it to his mouth…

Snap!

Just like that, my finger is gone, and the Ring is in the clutches of my worst enemy. I collapse to the ground beside Sam, screaming and sobbing. This is the worst agony I have felt in my entire life, the worst pain I have ever experienced. Gollum dances about, holding the Ring and whooping in triumph. I stand up, enraged, and running to him, grapple for the Ring. But my foot slips, and suddenly I fall over the edge of the precipice. I let go of Gollum and manage, miraculously, to grab the edge. I glance down and watch as Gollum falls into the lava and burns to ashes, smiling the whole way down. The Ring floats on his remains. I could let go and join it in destruction.

“Frodo!”

I look up to see Sam rushing towards the edge of the overhanging rock. He throws himself down and reches for me. “Give me your hand!” he says. I look up at him, confused. “Take my hand,” he urges. I try to swing my bleeding hand up into his, but miss. The Ring calls out to me, and I look down to see the incription appearing on it.

One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them.

One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

Sam, seeing my hesitation, shouts, “no!”

I turn my gaze back upwards. His eyes meet mine and hold them locked. “Don’t you let go,” he pleads

And now I have a choice : to go down and die with the Ring, or to go up and die with my best friend, my brother, my Sam.

“Don’t you dare let go,” Sam whispers.

I swing my bleeding hand up into his. He pulls me up and I topple forward into his arms and let myself be held as flames leap up and lick the roof. I glance down just in time to watch the Ring slip into the lava and melt away, and finally, finally all of its lies are gone, the poison has left me, and I am at last free, in Sam’s arms as myself and not the monster I was turned into.

Finally, it’s over.

~~~

Coming tomorrow: don’t miss the final chapter!

7/10/15

The final chapter in The Land of Shadow is here! Thank you all for going through this with me,

Frodo: Me,

Sam: And me.

H.G.: Through all the struggles…

Frodo: Trials….

Sam: Writer’s Blocks…

H.G.: … and characters not cooperating…

Sam&Frodo: Hey!

H.G.: Just kidding! Anyway, you were always there.

Frodo: You got to experience orcs….

Sam: Romance….

H.G.: Frodo being whiny…

Sam: Sarose being awesome…

Frodo: Wait, I’m not whiny!

H.G.: And, of course, you got to read a fanfiction about the greatest friendship in literary history.

Sam&Frodo: ^.^

H.G.: So now it all will end.

Sam: It was fun, wasn’t it?

Frodo: Thanks for walking this road with us!

@Tween03: Thank you for your review! Hope you had fun with the paint. I hope it’s dry now, because heaven forbid I should have to take you away from that to hear this. ~.^ I feel like you deserve a hug. Boys, give her a hug.

Sam&Frodo: *give Tween03 a hug.* *Hug H.G.*

H.G.: Awww, that was sweet of you! Now, let’s wrap this thing up!

~~~

Chapter Eighteen

Sam

The rock over the lava starts collapsing. We get up and run as it crumbles beneath us, jumpin over the leaping flames and crashing stones, making it out of the doorway just as the ocean of lava starts flowing out after us. I grab Frodo by the back of his shirt and pull him away as it crashes over the place where he was just standing, and shove him onto a high rock, jumping after him. The mountain erupts, rocks and fire flowing down, turning our rock into an island. Frodo stumbles and falls, clutching me for balance, and then sinks to the ground. “It’s gone…” he says. “It’s done.”

“Yes Frodo,” I reply. “It’s over now.”

Frodo smiles. More eruptions wrack the mountain. There’s no way we could leave this rock. We’re going to die here. We’re going to die here.

“Did I hurt you?” Frodo asks, laying his hand gingerly to the bruise on my cheek

I shake my head. “You hurt my feelings more than you hurt my face.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I know. It’s okay.” I look out over all the fire and smoke. “I didn’t think it was going to end like this,” I say softly. “A year ago, if someone told me I would be dying on a mountain in Mordor, I wouldn’t have believed it. But…” I shake my head and look around. “Here I am.” I take a deep breath and glance down, unable to meet his eyes. “It doesn’t feel right,” I say. “It doesn’t fell like this should be the end. I wanted… I mean, I was hoping…”

“Is this about Rosie?” Frodo asks.

I nod silently and make a confession. “Before I found out I was going on the quest with you, I was planning to ask her to marry me,” I admit. “I actually learned about the quest the day before I was going to ask.”

A few tears fall down Frodo’s face.

“I figured I would just wait and ask her later,” I continue, “when all this was over. But now it looks like I’ll never get the chance. And now…” I look up at Frodo, weeping in my heart. “I just want to see her one last time,” I say. “I should have told her I was in love with her every day from the first time we met. But now she’ll never know.”

“She knew, Sam.” Frodo takes my hand.

I look up at the coiling smoke, shaking from the weight of sobs I can’t force out. “I hope she did.”

Frodo gets up and embraces me. “Sometimes,” he murmurs, “things don’t turn out the way you’ve planned. Sometimes you have to do things not for what will happen to you, but because your actions can change things in ways you don’t see.” He smiles sadly. “Sometimes people die young,” he says gently. “Love doesn’t have to be spoken of the be there. People don’t have to be related to be family. Like you and me.” He strokes my back and leans his head against mine. “That’s who we are, Sam. That’s why we did this. Do you know why I could continue this journey? It was because of you. You were the reason I kept going. I had never had a friend like you, and I know I never will again. I have walked hundreds of miles beside you. I have slept in your arms and watched you weeping for me, and all of that, the friendship that we had, the hope that you gave me – that was stronger than the Ring’s curse. So now, my dearest friend, I’m going to tell you something, and if there’s only one thing I ever say in my life that I mean, it is this.” He pulls me closer and whispers into my ear, “Thank you, Sam. I love you.”

“I love you too,” I say softly.

And as the mountain falls, and the world crashes down all around us, Frodo and I are in each other’s arms, pressed close together, holding each other tightly, and knowing that we would not have it any other way. Throughout all the journey, I have comforted him, but now it is I who am clinging to my best friend, unable to let go, about to die far too young. I think of Rosie, and the promise I made that I can’t fulfill, the way she kissed me before I had to leave her, and of the world I have played a hand in saving, the life I have lived, though it was shorter than it should have been, the people I knew and travelled with, who far away will see the mountain erupting and know that my life is drawing to a close.

And then I look at Frodo, and I have to smile, overwhelmed by how precious and rare this kind of friendship is, and how much I love him. I press my lips to his forehead for the last time, and then closing my eyes and sinking deeper into his embrace, I can’t help but think that really, at the heart of things, this isn’t such a bad way to die.

THE END

~~~

Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times.

To Hurt and To Heal

Since THATH and MMM won the new long fanfiction voting, the first chapter of it will come tomorrow! This time the POV will cycle between Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin, probably in that order. Frodo has lost his memory. Merry is dying from a grievous wound. Sam and Pippin have PTSD. There is only one thing that can help the hobbits overcome this – their live for each other. Really angsty and tons of Sam x Rosie romance, because I know you love it! (At least, I know I do.^.^) Oh yes, and these ~~~ things and this ^.^ smiley face. Check tomorrow afternoon!

8/30/15

Here we go with chapter one! Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, you ready?

Sam: *gives Frodo hug* Please don’t make him forget about me…

Okay, we’ll call that a yes. Ready? Here we go!!! ^.^ Please leave tones of comments, we five hobbits love reading them. Chapter one, here I come! *fails miserably at rhyming and starts chapter*.

~~~

Chapter One

Frodo

Where am I?

What am I doing here?

I try to think of an answer for either question and can come up with nothing. How did I get here?

I can feel something soft spread over me. Everything is so dark. Have I been here before? Why can’t I remember? Where am I?

For that matter, who am I?

Frodo, comes the answer in my mind. You are Frodo.

Then where am I?

The answer to that doesn’t come. All right, is there anything else I need to know?

Sam.

Sam. I think on that for a minute. What’s a Sam? No answer comes to that. Is Sam a place? Is that where I am right now? Is Sam like me, a – what am I?

A hobbit.

Is Sam a hobbit? If so, do I know him? Or her? Is it a boy hobbit or a girl hobbit? Or something else? No, I’m fairly sure there are only two types of hobbit, boy or girl. But which is Sam? If Sam even is a hobbit? Maybe Sam is what this thing on top of me is called. Or what this darkness is called.

Sam.

I ignore the mystery of Sam for the timebeing. The most important thing is to figure out where I am. First, what’s on top of me? It’s soft and warm. Is it a Sam? No, it’s just a blanket, I realize. And I’m probably in a bed. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in one before. Maybe this is my first time ever being in a bed, with a blanket. But that still doesn’t tell me where I am. I could probably tell a lot better if I opened my eyes.

I do so, and find myself lying in a soft white bed in a large, sunlit room. In the corner is a table with a bowl of water, and through the window I can see a garden. How do I know all this? Have I been here before?

I hear laughter, and turn sharply to my left, where an old man sits in a chair beside my bed. What’s so funny?

“Well, Frodo,” he says, seeing me staring at him, “I suppose you don’t recognize me, do you? You thought I had died in Moria, of course.”

“Who are you?” I ask.

The smile slips off his face. “Well come, dear boy, I can’t look that different. I know my hair is white rather than grey, but surely you can recognize me, Frodo?”

“I don’t,” I say sharply. “Who are you, and how do you know my name?” A thought crosses my mind. “Were you watching me sleep?!”

“Frodo, what’s gotten -”

He is cut off as the door swings open to admit two boy hobbits, a little bigger than me. The older-looking one smiles broadly. The younger one runs at me. “Frodo! Frodo Frodo Frodo! I missed you!” He jumps on to my bed and reaches out for me. Panic sets in, and I automatically defend myself by slapping his hand away. He falls off the bed.

“Don’t touch me!” I snap. “Leave me alone!”

The boy looks up at me, shock written all over his face, clutching his arm. “Frodo?” he whispers. He reaches up for me. “Wh-what are you doing?”

“LEAVE ME ALONE! GO AWAY!”

“Pip, get out of there,” warns the older boy from the door. “Quick!”

Pip, as I guess he is called, reaches out. “It’s me!” he pleads. “Y-you’re just thinking about Mordor, you’re sc-scared, that’s all, you -”

“I said GO AWAY!” I raise my hand to strike him.

The boy rushes in from the door and picks Pip up by his waist, and throwing him over his shoulder, begins to carry him away.

“It’s me!” Pip screams to me, desperate to get out of the boy’s hold. “It’s your Pippin! Your cousin! You know me!”

“No I don’t!” I turn to the old man, who is still a potential threat. “GET OUT!”

He follows the boys, looking startled.

“You sang to me in Moria!” Pip continues to sob as the boy nears the doorway. “You hugged me when I was scared! You love me!”

“No,” I reply, “I don’t.” Love is a word that’s new to me. I don’t know what it means. But clearly, if I don’t know what it means, I can’t do it to someone, can I?

Pip lets out a wail as the old man closes the door. I sink back into my bed. No good. I need something to defend myself with if they come back. I didn’t like the way Pip reached for me with his arms. To squeeze me to death, no doubt.

I go to the bowl of water and pick up the pitcher that sits beside it. It should provide a weapon against anyone who comes through the door. Then, since there’s nothing else to do, I sit back down on my bed and wait for the next attack.

~~~

Mwa ha ha… wait until Sam walks through the door… whoops, I just spoiled something, didn’t I? Short chapter, but not much I can do with someone who doesn’t know anything except their name, their race, and the word Sam. Tomorrow we’ll find out what the Ringbearer’s brother thinks of all this. Comments please!

8/31/15

Oh my gosh! What in the world did I do that for? I’m a terrible person!

But I shall write more all the same!!!

@Katoonirose

Yeeeeeeeees I will. I muuuuuust.

~~~~

Chapter Two

Sam

Where am I?

More importantly, where’s Frodo?

I open my eyes and find myself in a large white room. This clearly isn’t Mordor, which is where I passed out.

Am I dead?

I place my hand on my chest. No, I’m not dead.

Where’s Frodo? He should be here with me, if not in the same bed at the very least in the same room. We fell asleep holding each other on that mountain. I was all set to die there with him…

A thought enters my head and I sit bolt upright. What if I lived and Frodo died?

I tear through the blankets, but he’s not there. I go around the room, looking under the bed, behind things, inside of drawers I know he couldn’t possibly fit into. Where is he? He has to be here! He has to! I scream as I search desperately behind furniture. Where is Frodo?

I feel a restraining hand on my shoulder and whip my head around, reaching for the sword that isn’t there. But it’s only Strider.

Strider!

“Strider!” I exclaim, pulling him down so I can hug him. He laughs and holds me out by my shoulders.

“Hello, Master Samwise,” he says. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m not sure,” I reply, laughing a little. “Well enough I guess, but that’s thanks to you no doubt, Mr. Strider.”

He grins and musses my hair. “You could say that. I’m glad to see you alive and in one piece, Sam. I feared what Mordor would do to you.”

I look at myself in a mirror hanging on the wall. Thin, malnourished, scars on my neck and arms – what I must look like to Strider, since the last time he saw me I was perfectly healthy. “I’ve had a trying time of it,” I say softly. “Not as much as Frodo, though.” If he notices I haven’t added the formality before the Ringbearer’s name, Mr. Strider doesn’t show it. I turn around. “Where is he, Mr. Strider?”

The ranger’s face falls, and a shadow crosses it. “He is nearby, restored to conciousness, but…” He sighs and rubs his temples. “There appears to be something wrong with him. From what I can gather from Gandalf-”

“Gandalf?!” I interrupt. “Mr. Gandalf’s alive? I thought he was dead!”

“He was sent back to aid us,” Mr. Strider replies. “But he says that Frodo seems to be… out of sorts. He shouted at Gandalf and physically attacked Pippin.”

That shocks me. “He’s scared,” I say, though I’m confused. “He doesn’t know where he is, and he doesn’t know where I am, neither. He needs me. Can you take me to him?”

Strider frowns. “Frodo is quite capable, Sam. I doubt that he feels he needs you for protection.”

I don’t argue, because he can’t understand what we went through together in Mordor. How I gave Frodo everything – food, water, my cloak to sleep under – or how in those agonizing nights filled with dreams of darkness I cluthced his hand and told him that everything would be alright, even though he was slowly dying. How I sheltered him in my arms and held him close when hope was at its lowest. How I loved him as a brother.

“He needs me,” I say firmly.

Strider nods slowly. “Very well,” he says. “Come with me.”

I follow him out the door to my room and down a corridor filled with such doors. “Where are we?” I ask.

“We are in the Houses of Healing, in Gondor,” Strider explains, “the realm whose kings I am descended from.” He stops before a door. “Do you want me to come in with you?”

I shake my head. He steps back a few feet, and I open the door and go in.

Frodo is sitting on his bed staring at the floor. There’s a pitcher in his hand for some reason, but it doesn’t matter. He’s safe. He’s alive. We have both returned from Mordor. “Frodo?” I call gently.

He looks up at me, and I smile. I take a step forward to embrace him, but he shrinks away. I pause. “What’s the matter, Frodo?”

“Stay away from me!” Frodo shouts. “I don’t know you!”

My heart seems to to plummet into my stomach, but I only say, “yes you do, Frodo. It’s only me. Don’t worry. Nothing will hurt you here.”

“You might.”

“I would never hurt you. You know that,” I cry desperately, beginning to panic.

He raises the pitcher. “Stay away from me!”

“Frodo, stop!” I plead. “Stop this, this isn’t funny! It’s me! It’s your Sam!”

The words are just leaving my mouth when the pitcher leaves his hand and smashes into the side of my head.

I wake to find myself back in the white room. Gandalf, Strider, Merry and Pippin are looking down at me. “Frodo?” I say weakly.

Gandalf takes a breath, as if to prepare me for the worst.

“Oh Sam, he hit you!” Pippin hugs me and kisses the bandages on my temple, where the pitcher hit me. “We’re glad you’re awake, but he hit you, Sam! He hit me, too.” The boy is crying.

“I believe,” Gabdalf says slowly, “that the Ring somehow affected Frodo’s mind in a way that would continue after it’s destruction.

Merry, Pippin, and I clasp hands as we wait for the news to come. “And?” Merry whispers.

“It would seem,” says Gandalf, “that Frodo has lost his memory.”

Pippin screams and letting go of me, falls into Merry’s arms. Merry hugs him, stroking his back while he weeps himself. I only stare at Gandalf, blinking, as what he has just said clicks in, Frodo has lost his memory. Of everything. Of me.

I start to cry.

Then I start to sob. Tears pour down my face as I realize that Frodo, who I love, Frodo, who I would die for, doesn’t even know either of those things. I glance at Merry and Pippin, holding each other the way I will never be able to hold Frodo again.

I raise my head to the ceiling and scream, “NOOOOOOOOO!”

~~~

9/1/15

Sam: Great job, H.G. Frodo’s lost his memory.

H.G.:This is how it had to be!

Sam: He won’t even let me hug him!

H.G.:Of course he won’t! He doesn’t know who you are!

Sam: *buries face in hands* Whyyyyyyy…..

Merry: Ahem, it’s time for my chapter now.

Sam: Fine. I’m going to go cry somewhere.

H.G.: Nuh-uh-uh, I might need you for the chapter.

Merry: Can we please get going?

H.G.: Sure.

@katoonirose – you can cry with Sam. He’s unhappy too and will appreciate sympathy.

Sam: Unhappy is a rather mild way of putting it.

New chapter time!

~~~

Chapter Three

Merry

When Sam finally stops screaming, Pippin sits down next to him and wraps his arms around him. I sit on his other side and take his hand.

“Do you want to talk?” Gandalf asks gently.

Sam shrugs, wiping away more tears. “About what?”

“Well, tell us what happened to you while you were off on your adventure,” I say. “We’ll tell you what happened to us.”

Sam takes a deep breath, and then he begins. He tells us about following Frodo down the river, joining him on the Quest, and heading off towards Mordor, just the two of them – for about three days, because he tells us that, while they were nearing something called the Dead Marshes, they were attacked by Gollum. Frodo pitied the creature and told him to lead them to the Black Gate. Throughout their journey, Sam mistrusted Gollum, and eventually they reached the Gate only to find it impassable. They took a new route, up a staircase, and into some winding tunnel, in the midst of which Gollum abandoned them, only to reappear in time to hold Sam back while something attacked Frodo.

“What?” Pippin asks. “What attacked Frodo? Sam?”

Sam looks like he might be ready to burst into tears again. “…I-it was like… sort of like a spider, but enormous…” he gulps. “I don’t really want to talk about it.

He thought Frodo was dead, so he took the Ring, but Frodo was alive, and he was taken away to a tall tower. By what means and what creatures he was taken, Sam refuses to say. He saved Frodo, returned the Ring to him, and they journeyed into Mordor together. Frodo grew weaker and weaker under the Ring’s influence. Sam looked after him, giving him all their food and most of their water. Apparently, they were really close, holding each other at night and shielding one another from the darkness, as if they were brothers or something. Then one day they were overtaken.

“By what?” Pippin asks.

“By – them,” Sam says vaguely. I get the sense that he wants to say more, but he can’t for some reason.

“By orcs?” Strider presses.

He says this very softly, but for some reason Sam and Pippin both cover their ears and start screaming. Strider and Gandalf exchange looks, then both pry Sam and Pippin’s hands from their ears. “Don’t worry, you’re safe here,” Gandalf says gently.

Sam sighs. “Anyway, we got away, we got to the mountain, Frodo was exhausted, Gollum came and bit his finger off, and Frodo fell off the edge with Gollum. Gollum died, I saved Frodo, the Ring was gone, the end we saved Middle-Earth.”

Gandalf looks at him curiously. “Is that all that happened on Mount Doom, Sam? It seems rather anticlimatic.” He says this lightly, as though he might be teasing.

Sam shakes his head. “The-there’s more. I don’t really want to talk about it.”

“Did Frodo say anything to you, after the Ring was destroyed?” I ask.

Sam looks away. “It’s kind of personal.”

Pippin looks at him sympathetically, then gives him another hug. “Do you want to hear what happened to us?”

“Not right now,” Sam says. “I’m not trying to be rude, it’s just that-”

“A lot’s happened,” I finish for him. “We’ll leave you be.” I usher Pippin off the bed ad out of the room.

Little Pippin takes my hand as we walk through the House of Healing. “Poor Sam,” he says. “He must be so sad about Frodo. I’m so sad about Frodo, too.”

I change the subject. “Where are we going?”

“The kitchen.”

“Of course,” I sigh.

“Then I have to check your arm, ’cause Strider doesn’t trust you to take care of it yourself and you need attention. Then we’ll go to bed. And I’m sleeping with you again, because last night I had bad dreams.”

Last night was the first time in a week that I had made Pippin sleep in his own bed. My thought was that he needed to learn how to be independent again. I had woken up in the middle of the night to hear him crying in his sleep, and though I had felt terrible, I had said nothing because I didn’t want to wake him. I can’t understand why he has so many nightmares and I don’t.

“Fine,” I say.

“Yay!” Pippin hugs me, and I kiss the top of his head.

“Come on, let’s go eat,” I say.

In the kitchen they serve us soup, bread with cheese, and teacakes because Pippin loves them. Then they give us a tray to take up to Sam. Pippin asks for another to take to Frodo, but they refuse, saying he has guards that will bring him his meals.

Pippin makes me get my bandages changed, and then asks the healer a million different questions as to whether or not I’ll be okay, need more medicine, or die. He answers them gently, saying I’m perfectly fine (which I already knew) and then recommends I get some sleep.

We drop off the tray at Sam’s room, then head off to bed.

~~~

9/2/15

I’ll make this brief before Sam can freak out:

@katoonirose – Thank you for the sympathy. Sam needs it.

Sam: *cries*

Anyway, here we go with Pippin being cute. ^.^

~~~

Chapter Four

Pippin

I snuggle down into the many warm blankets piled on my cousin’s bed. “The healers must like you better than me,” I tell him. “I barely have any blankets on my bed.”

“Maybe that’s because you never use your bed, silly,” Merry says, climbing in after me. “And lie a few inches away from me, because you kick in your sleep.”

I obediently scootch over, distanced from him. “Night, Mer-Mer,” I tease with the childish nickname.

“Night, Pip.”

“Merry?”

“Yes?”

“I love you.”

“I love you too, go to sleep.”

“Merry?”

“Yes?”

“I hope Frodo gets his memory back soon.”

Something is wrapped around me. What? It’s tight, and when I move, it tightens. It must be a rope. A rope, probably tied by orcs. Where are the orcs? I can’t see. I hear people screaming, and when I open my eyes, praying that was just a dream, I can’t see. Why can’t I see? I scream. Something is grabbing my arm, probably another orc. I look up to see I was lying facedown, and Merry is reaching for me, concern in his eyes. “Merry, look out!” I cry, pulling him down. “There are orcs!”

“No, Pip, you’ve been dreaming,” Merry reassures me.

“They tied me up!”

“Look at yourself. You aren’t tied up.”

I look at myself, as he directed, and sure enough, what I thought was a rope is just a blanket.

There is something wrong with me. We aren’t sure what it is, but certain words, sounds, smells, and images can pry a sudden reaction out of me. I can’t go into Minas Tirith without someone with me or I have a panic attack. I wake up screaming almost every night, which is why I have to sleep with Merry, so he can comfort me. Horses frighten me. Sudden noises can bring me to tears. I noticed Sam screamed just like me when he heard the word “orcs” but whether he has this problem too, we haven’t had enough time to determine.

I nestle closer to Merry, crying. He wraps a blanket around me, and kisses my head. I close my eyes. “I love you,” I whisper to my cousin.

“Shh,” Merry whispers. “I love you too. Don’t cry. Just go back to sleep.”

I close my eyes. Merry sings softly to me until I drift back into slumber.

A few days pass. Merry and I spend time with Sam, but he doesn’t want to talk. The three of us watch healers go into Frodo’s room, and Merry pulls me close as our cousin’s screams and threats echo from his room. Sam leans against the doorpost, his eyes closed, silent tears rolling down his face.

“Why does he stay to listen?” I ask Merry in a whisper

“Because he has to,” Merry replies softly, ushering me away.

Merry makes me go to the stables sometimes to face down my fear of horses by stroking Shadowfax, who knows me. Gandalf is there to make sure the horse won’t bolt, but he never does. Some of the other horses get spooked and make a lot of noise, though, which scares me, so I have to leave. Merry acts like his arm isn’t bothering him, but I can tell by the way he holds it, the number of times he needs medicine, that something is wrong. He says nothing, though, and neither do I.

Sam is always in his room or outside of Frodo’s. He barely eats. The times Merry and I go in to check on him in the night, he’s never sleeping. He just sits there, his head in his hands, sometimes crying, othertimes shaking from bad memories.

“Do you think he’d feel better if he went back to the Shire?” I hear Gandalf and Aragorn asking each other, along with, “how will we get Frodo’s memory back? What are the effects of the medicine on Merry? What’s wrong with Pippin?”

There are no answers.

I want to go home, but I know I can’t. Merry doesn’t live with me, or even near me, and right now I need to have him where I can keep an eye on his arm and he can hold me. As for Sam and Frodo, it’s obvious they can’t leave.

We’re all sort of trapped, in a way.

~~~

9/3/15

Pippin: Now back to Frodo.

Frodo: Ack! Who are you?

H.G.: Be nice, Frodo.

Frodo: Who are you? Ack, why are you in my room? You’re a girl!

Sam: See what you’ve done to him?!

~~~

Chapter Five

Frodo

I can see him standing there.

Usually the healers keep my door closed, but when they open it to come in, or go out, I see him there, leaning against the doorpost. Watching me with deep, hazel eyes.

The one who claims he is Sam.

I don’t know what I should think about him. I don’t know what I expected Sam to be. Maybe someone tough. Someone who would protect me.

Sam has red-blond hair, broad shoulders, a friendly face with soft features. Huge, deep hazel eyes. Deep enough that I could drown in them.

They are always watching me.

Except,  of course, for the times they are closed while he cries, which is almost worse in a way. The other, Pip and the older boy, stand with him sometimes, but usually he is alone.

When the healers leave, I bury myself under the blankets, trying not to see him looking at me as I struggle with my own mind. His eyes pierce through the walls, through the fabric, through my clothes and skin, directly into my soul. Part of me is curious, wondering why he looks at me this way, like I’ve done something many times worse than just hitting him with a pitcher. I almost want to go out to him, ask him these questions. But I hold back, hiding from him and his eyes, for reasons I don’t know. Why does he watch me? Why is he staring at me this way, like I’ve broken his heart?

I hide in the blankets while he eyes keep me in their gaze. No matter where I go, he is looking at me.

In dreams I see things I can’t understand. There is a mountain, but fire is coming from the top. I am climbing this mountain, wearing dirty clothes, filthy and bleeding. Where is this place? There is a chain around my neck. I can feel it cutting into my skin. Something heavy bumps against my chest as I walk, something hanging from the chain. But what? I only see this dream over and over again, climbing the mountain while this thing rests on my chest. It repeats again and again, until finally, I wake up sweating and give a scream. I sit there, gasping for a minute, confused as to what I have just seen, Suddenly the door swings open. My head snaps up, and I see Sam standing there, looking at me curiously.

“Go away,” I tell him through tears, my voice shaking.

“Are you alright?” he asks gently.

“I’m fine. Go.”

He walks into my room and up to my bed.

“Go away and I won’t attack you,” I say, shrinking back against the headboard of my bed. This is body language for, “I’m frightened, leave me alone,” but Sam maybe doesn’t understand body language. He sits on the edge of my bed.

“What’s wrong?” he asks gently. There is a softness to his voice, a tenderness that makes me want to spill everything out, ask him who he is and why he watches me. I can’t stop staring at his warm eyes. I reach out my hands to strike him, but part of me hesitates, hesitates just long enough for him to grab my wrists. I gasp and try to wriggle away. He holds my wrists tighter, and then draws me close to him and wraps his arms around me.

I stop fighting and freeze. This doesn’t feel aggressive. Then he doesn’t want to attack me?

Then suddenly I’m back on the mountain, and he is there beside me, holding me in this exact way.

“You’ve done this before,” I whisper. “Haven’t you?”

He cups my chin in his hand and tilts my head to face him. His eyes search through mine for a minute. Then he says, “yes.”

I stare up at him. “Who are you?” I ask.

“I’m your brother.” And then he bends down and puts his mouth on my forehead.

I’m startled and confused. This is new. My brain is screaming to fight, but it feels so good, so, so good for some reason, even though it doesn’t make sense, that I stay still and let him do it. Finally he lets me go and looks into my eyes again. There are a hundred questions in my mind, such as “what was that? Why did you do that? Why are you here?” I only ask, “what’s a brother?”

Sam lets me go, tears starting in his eyes. He climbs off my bed, stares at me for a long minute, and then turns and runs. I curl up on my bed, running my fingers over my forehead. Part of me wants to run after him and ask him to do that again. But the sensible, defensive part wins over and I stay.

~~~

H.G.: See Sam, at least he let you give him a kiss!

Sam: But he doesn’t know what it means.

H.G.: So? You got to give it to him!

Sam: I miss Rosie.

H.G.: Sorry, but she’s in the Shire.

Sam: Well, I know that.

H.G.: Hey, tomorrow’s your chapter.

Sam: True. *sighs* Till then I shall cry in a corner with katoonirose.

H.G.: *gives Sam hug* You do that.

9/4/15

H.G.: Merry, Pippin!

Merry&Pippin: Yes?

H.G.: From now on you’re on comment duty.

Merry: Okay…?

H.G.: I’m too busy, Sam cries too much, and Frodo would attack me if I asked him. So I’m appointing the job to you two.

Pippin: Okay. *picks up long roll of paper*

H.G.: Whoa wai wai wait. Is that all the comments?

Merry: No, this is a list of all of the mean things you did to Sam.

H.G.: The list is that long?!

Pippin: Nope, longer. This is the second roll of paper.

Sam: See what you’ve done to me?

H.G.: Sorry, Sam. So do we have any comments?

Merry: Uh-huh, another one from katoonirose.

Pippin: She’s doing awesome keeping track of the story, so thanks katoonirose!

Merry: Hey Sam, she was trying to cheer you up!

Sam: Thanks, katoonirose. *smiles weakly*

Pippin: Aww, Sam, we’ve missed your smile!

Merry: You have a great smile, Sam!

Pippin: We love you, Sam!!!

H.G.: Yeah, I love you too, Sam.

Pippin: Oh, and Anne Marie’s been emailing you a lot too!

H.G.: Yes, thank you, Anne Marie!

Merry: She’s been great.

Pippin: Indeed.

H.G.: So back to the story?

Sam: I guess…

H.G.: Oh technically PTSD didn’t exist in Middle-Earth, but whatev.Also not that sure about where the Houses of Healing are, I think they’re outside of Gondor, though, right?

~~~

Chapter Six

Sam

I rush out of Frodo’s room and down the hall. Now that I’m gone, I feel terrible. I should have stayed. I should answered his question. I should have kept holding him. But I left, and now that I’ve rushed off, I can’t go back.

I’m wandering towards my room when suddenly I run into Merry and Pippin. Pippin has clearly been crying, his cousin’s arm slung over his shoulder. I feel a sudden pang at that gesture, which I’ll never be able to give to Frodo again.

“Sam?” Merry says.

I force a quick smile. “Hello, how are you two?”

Pippin collapses into sobs, hiding his head in Merry’s shoulder.

Merry strokes his back. “We’ve… found out what’s wrong with Pippin.”

I blink. “Something was wrong with Pippin?”

“He has nightmares and flashbacks all the time,” Merry explains.

I’m startled because I do too.

“He wakes up screaming,” Merry continues.

So do I, the rare times I sleep.

“And Aragorn says it’s something called ‘Post Traumatic-Stress Disorder’,” Merry says, “which means words, sights, sounds, and smells can affect him.” Merry takes a deep breath. “And… judging from some of the things you’ve done, we’re assuming you have it to.”

I stare at them. “Post Traumatic…?” I say, trying to figure it out.

“Stress Disorder,” Merry finishes gently.

“Can it be cured?” I ask desperately.

“I think so,” Merry says. “Except… we don’t really know. It’s different for everybody. But it takes a lot of work – Sam? Where are you going?”

Suddenly I’m running, ignoring their shouts that follow me. I run down the staircase in the Houses of Healing, out into the night. It’s pouring rain, but I don’t stop running. I run until I collapse on the grassy field outside the Houses.

Frodo doesn’t know me. And now I have this… Post Traumatic thing.

Rosie loves me, but will she still want me, in this state I’m in? Even if she did, her parents would never agree. Unless they’ve already made her marry someone else. They must have. They’ll think I’m dead – not that they ever liked me much. So I have no one. I’m alone.

I can’t go back to that place. I can’t go back into the Houses. I can’t watch Frodo looking at me without knowing me anymore. I realize I’m sobbing, though maybe I didn’t notice it because of the rain. So much rain. I close my eyes and give out all the screams I couldn’t bear to hold in anymore. Then I fall forward, my head against my knees, my eyes closed.

“Sam?” I hear a soft voice saying.

I turn around and see Legolas. I’ve noticed him here and there in the Houses of Healing, and he’s visited me once. He smiles at me weakly. “I heard you running out,” he says gently.

I nod, but my eyes are fixed on the weapon on his shoulder. “Legolas?” I say, standing. “Legolas. Y-you have a bow.”

“Yes, of course. I carry it with me always,” he says, confused.

“Shoot me.”

Legolas’ mouth falls open. “Sam – what? You’re not thinking straight!”

He’s probably right, but I hold out my arms to show I’m serious. “Please. I can’t stay here. There’s too much pain here.”

“Sam, you are my friend. I would regret it forever – I’m immortal.”

“Please,” I beg. “Please.”

Legolas takes off his bow slowly, then throws the weapon as far as he can. Then, slowly, he sits down by my side and embraces me.

“What’s wrong, Sam?” the elf murmurs. “Is this about Frodo?”

I nod, laying back against him. “I love him, Legolas. And he doesn’t even know me. No one cares about me.”

“What about Rosie?” Legolas asks. I’ve told the members of the fellowship about her, but I only shake my head.

“She won’t when she find out.” I take a breath. “I have some disorder.”

“And that would make her stop loving you?”

I hesitate. Would it? No. I know Rosie. She would not abandon me. “No,” I say softly.

“And neither will it stop me, or Aragorn, or Gandalf,” the elf promises. “So why do you want to die?”

“I don’t know.” I wipe my eyes on my sleeve, which doesn’t do much, because that’s soaked too. “I guess I don’t.”

Legolas hugs me tighter. “Sam, I am certain Frodo will get his memory back. Aragorn is going to begin working with him, and he is the best healer I know.” He lifts me gently to my feet. “Let’s get you back inside,” he says.

~~~
Okay, that was extremely angsty. But tomorrow is Merry! More angst, woot!

9/5/15

Merry: H.G., Pippin and I have a new roll of paper that we made entirely based on all the terrible things you did to Sam yesterday.

H.G.: Come on, I wasn’t that bad, was I?

Pippin: Yes, you were.

H.G.: Were not!

Merry: You almost killed Sam!!!

H.G.: So? I didn’t end up killing him.

Pippin: Doesn’t matter!!!!

H.G.: *sighs* Look, do we have any comments, yes or no.

Merry: Let’s see, there are some emails from Anne Marie and a comment from Laureyulma.

Pippin: Who asks why you have to be so emotional.

Merry: Good question H.G., why do you have to be so emotional?

H.G.: Because I love angst and Sam.

Pippin: For someone who loves him, you’re quite mean to him.

H.G.: Well what do you want me to do?

Merry: Let him give Frodo a hug and a kiss.

H.G.: I just let him give Frodo a hug and a kiss two chapters ago!

Pippin: Fine, well give him a flashback of his girlfriend.

H.G.: But it’s Merry’s chapter.

Merry: Oh my gosh H.G., just give the guy a break already!

H.G.: Fine, but in payment for his happiness, you have to suffer, Merry. This fanfic is a wheel of suffering and no one gets to be happy until the end.

Pippin: If we’re even still ALIVE at the end.

Merry: Find, I sacrifice my chapter to pain and torment, but you have to let Sam be happy.

H.G: Agreed. *shakes Merry’s hand.* Let’s get started.

~~~

Chapter Seven

Merry

Sam comes back in with Legolas, soaking wet, his clothes plastered to his body, his hair matted against his forehead. Pippin and I jump up from where we were waiting outside his room. “There you are!” Pippin exclaims. “We were so worried about you! What happened?”

Sam says nothing.

Legolas whispers something to Sam. He nods and goes into his room, not acknowledging us.

“Is he okay?” Pippin asks the elf.

Legolas nods. “He’s fine. He was just a little disoriented, and not thinking straight.”

“What’s he doing now?” I ask.

“I think he’s drying off so he can go see Frodo.”

“Really?” Pippin asks. “That’s great!”

“It is,” Legolas says, smiling. “No if you’ll excuse me, I’d better go dry off myself.”

I laugh because this is the first time I’ve seen Legolas looking a degree less than perfect, his blond hair hanging in damp, tangled clumps, his boots and breeches muddy. He laughs a little, too, and then leaves to go clean himself.

Pippin and I go to our room, where Pippin jumps up onto my bed. “Isn’t this great? Sam’s going to talk to Frodo! Maybe he’ll tell him who we are and then he’ll get his memory back!”

“I don’t think it’s going to be that simple, Pip,” I say gently.

Pippin gives me a hurt look. “It might be.” He takes my hands and pushes me down, and bending over, lifts the sleeve of my nightshirt to expose my arm. “How is it?”

“Fine.”

“How’s the rest of you?”

“Fine,” I lie. The truth is, I feel like something odd is coursing through me. I’ve felt this way for two days, when my bandages and medicine were changed, but the healer insisted it would help.

Pippin looks at me. “You’re lying to me.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Tell the truth.”

“I feel a little sick, is all.”

“Maybe you need more medicine.”

“No, I don’t,” I say.

Pippin picks up the bottle and spoon on the nightstand and pours out a bit. “Come on,” he says. “Drink it and it’ll all be done.”

“I don’t want it.”

“You drink it, or I’m not ever going to hug you again,” Pippin says. This must seem like a serious threat in his mind. I smirk slightly. “I mean it!” he says, prodding my lips with the spoon. “Open up or no hugs ever for the rest of your life.”

I sigh, exasperated. “Pip….”

While my mouth is open, Pippin shoves the spoon into it and dumps the medicine down my throat. I cough and sputter, and he clamps his hands over my mouth. “Swallow,” he directs. He leaves his hands there till I obey, then bends down and gives me a kiss on the cheek and a hug. “Good job.”

I smile and hold him closer. “Alright, can I sleep now?”

“Yes,” Pippin’s voice mutters drowsily from somewhere near my shoulder. He drifts off. I try to follow, but the odd feeling is worse. It’s almost like there’s a tiny knife working its way through my veins. I tell myself to get over it and go to sleep, and eventually I manage to join my cousin in slumber, but the unease remains in my dreams.

I wake up in the middle of the night, and instantly I can tell something is wrong. There is something inside of me that should not be there, and my body is going into defense, working to get it out. I wake Pippin, who is still cocooned in my arms. “Pi-p-p-pi-p!” I say urgently.

He yawns and sits up. “What’s wrong?”

“I – I” I can’t speak. “I!” I exclaim desperately, trying to get my point across.

“You’re turning green!” Pippin shouts. He hauls me out of bed and tosses my arm over his shoulder. “We’ve got to get you to Strider!”

“I – I – I -”

“I get it, you can’t go that far. The healer’s just down the hall, we’ll go to him.” Pippin half leads, half drags me down the hall, while my blood boils and my stomach churns.

“Help!” my cousin screams, bursting through the healer’s door into his workroom. Fortunately, he’s awake, mixing up some medicine, which he sets aside when he sees me. “Meriadoc?” he exclaims. He turns to Pippin. “What’s happened to him, Peregrine?”

“I don’t know!” Pippin cries. He catches me as I slump to the ground, cradling my cheek in his hand. “He woke me up and he was turning green, only now he’s dead white!” He wipes away my tears, ignoring his own.

“Did you give him medicine?” the healer asks.

“Only a spoonful.”

“He’ll need more.” The healer pours out some of the stuff and holds it out to me. “Swallow this, lad.”

“I – I c-c-an’-ant!”

“You must, lad. Don’t fret now. Peregrin, please release him.”

Pippin lets me go when I want to scream for him to keep holding me, and the healer pokes the spoon into my mouth. My stomach lurches as the medicine enters it, and I throw up all over his shoes.

The healer jumps back, peeling off his soiled shoes with a cry of disgust. I throw up again. Pippin starts to cry as I keep throwing up, so much they can’t even get close to me. I taste acid and bile, but I can’t stop. Then eventually I hear Pippin screaming and realize that the vomit is streaked with blood.

The blood fills my throat, pouring from my mouth. Pippin screams and screams. The healer tries desperately to get close enough to me that he can set a bucket in my way, but each time he gets close I throw up again. My stomach squeezes itself for everything it can give, and the blood comes out of my throat. I feel disgusted, but I can’t stop. The door bursts open, admitting Strider and Gandalf, who pull Pippin away as he tries to crawl to me, but can do nothing to help.

Finally it’s over. Strider comes to my side and sweeps me up before I can fall forward into the contents of my stomach. He feet are getting disgustingly filthy, but I don’t think he cares.

“Set him on the bed,” the healer directs, leading Strider into the patient’s wing, which is blessedly empty. Then – “Lord Iluvatar! His arm!”

I am barely conscious enough to notice my arm is streaked with red lines, though the rest of my skin is dead white. “Pip….” I groan.

Pippin takes my hand and kisses it, soaking it with tears as he holds it to his cheek. “I’m here, Merry!” He addressed the healer. “Is he going to die?!”

That’s the last thing I hear before I black out.

~~~
9/7/15

Merry: That was totally not worth Sam being happy!

H.G.: Whatev, I need you all to give Anne Marie and katoonirose a hug now.

Pippin: Eh?

Sam: How come?

H.G.: Anne Marie did a ton of work on my book and katoonirose left yet another comment.

Frodo: I don’t like hugs…

H.G.: Unless it’s Sam, of course.

Frodo: Meh.

Sam: *hugs Anne Marie and katoonirose*

Pippin: *hugs Anne Marie and katoonirose*

Merry: *hugs Anne Marie and katoonirose*

Frodo: Fine. *hugs Anne Marie and katoonirose*

H.G.: *hugs Anne Marie and katoonirose*. Now, onward!!!

~~~

Chapter Eight

Pippin

“Is he going to die?” I ask the healer desperately as Gandalf holds me back so I can’t run to Merry. He probably needs space, but I want to hold him so badly. I know I can’t, though.

“People do not die from vomiting,” he says, wiping his feet on a towel.

“But there was blood!” I exclaim.

“The force tore some blood vessels in his throat, but he will be fine,” says the healer.

I look at Merry, tossing and turning on the bed. “What happened?”

“We don’t know, Pippin,” Strider says gently.

“Aren’t you going to help him?” I ask. “He should wake up soon.”

“What would you have me do?” the healer asks, exasperated. I glare up at him. He sighs and mops his brow, as though he’s the one who has been through an ordeal. “He is reacting poorly to the medicine, yet he needs it to heal. What shall I do?”

“Could you give him some tea?” I suggest. “To help his stomach?”

The healer stares at me, a wry smile twitching his lips.

“That’s what we do in the Shire,” I explain, annoyed.

“I do not know of the treatments of the Shire,” the healer says, smirking a little. I want to slap him. “Bring me someone who does, and perhaps we will be able to come up with some idea.”

“Fine!” I say, wriggling away from Gandalf. I go out of the room befor ehtye can stop me and start down the hall. I can almost hear the healer snickering. I hate him. He made Merry sick, and he’s not even trying to make him better, acting like the treatments of the Shire are useless and simple. We’ll see about that. I’ll make sure Merry gets better if I have to spoon-feed him and breathe for him! But I don’t know much about Shire healing either. I don’t know how to give it, I only know how to take it. So I’ll need someone who can direct Merry’s treatment for me.

I know Sam will be in Frodo’s room, and sure enough, when I open the door, there he is, lying beside my cousin and stroking his hair. Frodo’s eyes are closed. Normally I would be jumping up onto the bed and tackle-hugging Frodo after this change in his actions, but I only whimper, “Sam?”

Sam glances up, and noticing me, he smiles. “Hello, Pippin,” he says gently. “Is something wrong?”

I nod. “It’s Merry. He threw up blood, but the healer won’t do anything for him.”

“Did they give him tea?”

“No. The healer only laughed at me when I suggested that.”

Sam frowns. “I’ll come see if I can help,” he says. “Hold on a second.” He shakes Frodo’s shoulder gently. My cousin opens his eyes. “I’m going with Pippin for a bit, alright?” Sam says.

Frodo looks at me. I give a little wave. “Will you be back?” he asks Sam.

“Soon,” Sam promises. He brushes a kiss on Frodo’s forehead. “Just go back to sleep.”

Frodo sighs and sinks back down. Sam takes a candle from Frodo’s nightstand comes to my side. “Lead the way,” he says.

I guide him down the hall to the healer’s room, the light cast by the candle flickering and eerie. I shrink closer to Sam as the shadows snake across the floor , licking the edge of the light. He puts a hand on my shoulder to steady me and we go on. Finally after what seems like forever, we arrive at the healer’s room. Merry is lying in bed still, his eyes open. “P-ip… S-ss-a-a…” he gasps.

I rush to him, ignoring the healer and the servant who is cleaning the floor, and stop beside Merry’s bed. “Shhh,” I soothe him, the way he’s soothed me at night. I touch his forehead. “You have a fever.”

Sam looks at the healer. “What have you been giving him?”

“Only some medicine, master Halfling,” the healer says with an almost mocking bow. “It is highly effcient in most -”

“Show it to me.”

Holding Merry’s hand, I watch the healer take out a bottle and hand it to Sam. Sam examines it and gives it a sniff. “What’s in this stuff?”

The healer begins to rattle off a long list of herbs, but Sam stops him. “I’ve never even heard of those, so right away we have a problem,” he says. “We don’t have those in the Shire. His body doesn’t know what to do with them. Also, you probably gave him the dosage you’d give a human, which is bad because you’re adding twice as much of this stuff to him when even a small amount was unhealthy for him, since he’s clearly allergic. Now his stomach’s just as bad as his arm. Congratulations.”

I’m delighted to see that the healer looks startled and uncomfortable. Still, “what would you have me do, sir?” he asks, adding a touch of venom to show that he’s still superior.

Sam draws himself up to his full three feet eight inches. “Stop treating me like a child, for one thing, and then make him a mug of chamomile tea and have him drink it, and right away he’ll be better than he was under your care.”

“Excuse me?”

“Then wait a few minutes, and if that stays down boil some Athelas leaves and let him breathe that while he drinks more tea.”

“He learned that from me,” Strider tells the healer.

If all’s well let him rest a minute, put the Athelas leaves on his arm, because that appears to have some infections. Show me all the medicines you have and all their ingredients and I’ll let you know which one’s that best. Put him on that, have him take a bath with Athelas leaves in the water. Oh, and get lots of fluids in him. Water and tea and milk, if his stomach’s alright with that. Put him on soft foods like porridge and soup.”

“Anything else?” the healer stutters, dumbfounded.

“Let Pippin give him as much love as he can and don’t try to stop him,” Sam says. I smile.

“I beg your pardon? Love?”

“You heard me. Hugs, kisses, let them sleep together, I don’t care, but Pippin knows what he needs more than you and I do. They’re cousins after all.”

I smile and give Sam a hug.

“Love amongst hobbits is different than love amongst humans,” Strider tells the healer. “It is purer, deeper, and fuller than anything we understand. The four I know are as family to each other.”

“Right, because Merry, Frodo, and me are cousins, and Sam’s Frodo’s brother,” I explain.

“You can start making that tea now,” Sam tells the healer, who leaves, still looking startled.

“You should be a healer, Sam,” I say.

“I’m a gardener, that’s practically the same thing in the Shire.”

“Sam, while you’re here, could Gandalf and I talk to you in the other room?” Strider asks. “We have an idea about Frodo.”

“Alright,” Sam says. I think working on Merry’s cure distracted him from Frodo for the minute, but now the sadness has returned to his eyes.

“Can I come?” I ask.Ganda

“Your job is to give Merry love, remember?” Strider tells me. “Sam’s is to give it Frodo.”

I sigh. “Okay, but if something important happens, tell me.”

“Of course,” Gandalf says. They go into the medicine room to talk.

“Thank you!” I call after Sam.

I go to Merry’s bed and kiss his forehead. Then I frown. “You’re sweaty,” I say, brushing at his damp curls.

“I-I’m f-fine.”

“If you say so.” I look over at the healer. “Hurry up with that!” I look down at Merry. “Do you want sugar or something?”

“S-s-su-sure.”

“Add some sugar,” I shout to the healer. “And don’t go adding any of your crazy herbs, or I hope he’ll throw up in your face next time.” It’s fun to be angry at him and boss him around, especially because of how sick he made my cousin. He comes over with a mug of tea and holds it while I prop Merry up with pillows. I take the mug and set it into Merry’s hands, but take it back when I see how shaky he is. “Never mind, I’ll hold this and you just drink.” I hold it to his lips and give him a sip. A little slips down onto his chin. I ask the healer for a napkin and dab it away.

Slowly, Merry drinks the entire mug of tea, and the healer boils Athelas leaves. I can hear Sam, Gandalf, and Strider talking in low voices, but I can’t make out their words. I set the mug aside and lay Merry’s head in my lap, singing lullabies from the Shire.

“Pip?” Merry murmurs.

“Yes, Mer-Mer?”

“Thank you.” He closes his eyes. I smooth his hair and direct the healer to prepare another mug.

Sam knows how to heal Merry, and he told me to give him lots of love. So that is what I’ll do.

~~~
9/8/15

H.G.: Better?

Pippin: Better. We have comments from katoonirose and laureyulma and emails from Anne Marie.

H.G.: Saying?

Pippin: They love it, they hug us, the silly healer doesn’t know what he’s doing. *hugs commenters*

Sam: *hugs commenters*

Merry: *hugs commenters*

Frodo: I still don’t like this… *hugs commenters quickly*

H.G.: *hugs commenters.* Now to torment Frodo!

~~~
Chapter Nine

Frodo

I lie in bed after Sam leaves, thinking. It’s odd. Originally I had thought he seemed weak, someone who wouldn’t protect me. But then he came here when he heard me crying and held me so gently. He ran out afterwards, though.

But he came back.

When I heard the door opening a second time, I looked up, and there he was. His hair was a little damp for some reason. And so were his eyes. I don’t know why, but I can’t stop staring at his eyes. He caught me looking and smiled, and I dropped my gaze, only to return it two seconds later.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hello,” I replied. “Why did you run out?”

“Did you want me to stay?”

“Yes. No.” I shook my head. “I don’t know. Aren’t you worried I’m going to attack you?”

He came to my side and took my hand gently, and held it to his lips. “No,” he said after a moment. “I’m not. And you aren’t going to, are you?”

“No,” I realized. “So why did you leave?”

“Because… I was just scared for a moment.” He shrugged. “I guess I just couldn’t face you not knowing me anymore.”

“I don’t know you,” I said slowly. “But… I trust you.”

He smiled. He had a beautiful smile that lit up his eyes. “Thank you.” He gave my hand a squeeze.That was when I noticed something.

“You have more fingers than me,” I said.

“Yes.”

“Why?”

He thinks for a minute, as if trying to determine the best way to explain this. “You lost yours,” he says slowly. “In a… struggle. With Gollum and the Ring and all, in Mount…” His voice trailed off. “None of that made sense to you, did it?”

“No.”

“I didn’t think so.” He sighed.

“What was that thing?” I asked.

“What thing?”

“That thing you did to me. With your mouth.” He looked confused, so I touched my forehead, then my hand.

“Oh. It’s called a kiss.”

“Is that what brothers do? You still haven’t told me what a brother is.”

“It’s hard to explain. I’m going to show you, alright?”

“Alright.”

He kissed me on the forehead and turned to leave.

“Sam?”

“Yes?” He turned around.

I gulped. “C-can you stay here?”

He looked at me curiously for a minute. 

“Please?” I asked.

For a minute I thought he was going to cry. But instead he only looked down at me, then smiled sadly. “Yes,” he whispered. “I’ll stay with you.” He came to my side and climbed up slowly onto my bed. “So, um…”

“Good night.” I closed my eyes, relieved and comforted. Sam ran his fingers gently through my hair and kissed my forehead again.

“I love you,” I heard him say softly, before my dreams took me.

Now I hear him open the door, coming back from whatever he was doing to help Pippin. I look at him. “Is everything okay?” I ask.

“Everything’s fine.”

“What did he need?”

“His cousin was sick. Merry.”

“Which one’s Merry? The tall one?”

“Yes.” He lies down beside me again.

I nestle closer to him for warmth and protection. “How much longer until morning?”

“Maybe an hour.”

“Only that? I’m so tired.”

“Did you sleep at all while I was gone?” Sam asks, exasperated.

“No.”

He sighs. “Well, sleep now.”

I nod and lay back, closing my eyes, while his fingers work through my hair. I fall asleep again, there beside him, sheltered in the safety of his arms.

In the morning – in an hour technically – I open my eyes to find Sam already awake. He’s propped up on one elbow, still stroking my hair.

“Did you ever even go to sleep?” I ask, annoyed that he stayed up all night for me.

“Hello to you too.”

I sit up. “Hello. Answer my question.”

He smiles slightly. “I like watching you sleep. You look…”

“Yes?”

“Well… normal.”

“If that was a compliment, then thank you.” I throw off the blankets and climb out of bed. “Can you leave? I have to get changed.” I’ve been assigned two sets of clothes, along with the nightclothes I’m wearing right now. Every other day some servants come to collect them. I’ve attacked them before, but I don’t think I will in the future. Sam has had an almost calming effect on me.

Sam nods. “Okay. I should probably check on Merry anyway.”

“Can I come?”

“I thought you were getting changed.”

“When I’m done getting changed,” I say impatiently.

“Okay. I’ll come back to get you in a couple of minutes.”

“Sam?”

“Yes?”

“Is something wrong?”

Sam hesitates. “What makes you say that?”

“Your eyes. They look sad. And you didn’t sleep last night,” I say.

Sam shakes his head a little too quickly. “No. No, I’m fine.”

I go to him and put my arms around him, the way he’s done for me, and stand on my toes to kiss his cheek. “I hope you’ll be better.” I shove him. “Now go on!”

Sam smiles at me and heads out the door. I get changed into a grey shirt and black breeches, tossing my nightclothes messily into a corner. Then I sit down on the bed to wait for Sam to come back and get me.

Sam. I don’t know why, but I trust him. And he loves me.

Whatever that means.

~~~

Sam: Wow.

H.G.: Wow, what?

Sam: Are you giving us a break or something? You’re being awfully nice to us.

Frodo *hugs Sam*

Sam: See? *hugs Frodo back*

H.G.: That all ends tomorrow, so enjoy it.

9/10/15

Sam: What happened to “Tomorrow”?

H.G.: I was busy!

Sam: I bet you were.

Merry: Break it up you two lovebirds, we have comments!

Sam: We’re not lovebirds!

H.G.: Although that wouldn’t be too bad…

Sam: I’m a lovebird with Rosie.

Merry: And I have a girlfriend.

Pippin: And I have a crush on that girl, Diamond, from the Shire.

H.G.: You boys are impossible. Hey Frodo, you’re single! *tries to hug Frodo*

Frodo: Sam, the girl is attacking me! *shrinks closer to Sam*

Sam: *wraps protective arm around Frodo* H.G., leave him alone until he figures out who you are.

H.G.: Merry, you were saying about the comments?

Merry: Indeed, katoonirose rejoices that Frodo is coming back around, Laureyulma begs you to let the happiness continue, and Anne Marie says Sam would never kick butt like that before Mordor.

Sam: I kicked butt? When?

Pippin: When you told off the healer.

Sam: Oh, that. *grins*

H.G.: Sam chapter time! By the way, we’re going with book LotR here, where Saruman still lives.

Merry: Saruman? *groan* I sense suffering…

~~~
Chapter Ten

Sam

I look at Frodo as we walk to the healer’s room. He looks almost normal. However, if his gaze is less panicked than it has been lately, it is nowhere near as normal as it was before the quest; if he stays close to me, there are still about six inches that never would have existed otherwise. Such a small space, but so vast, and so wrong. Whatever closeness he felt to me last night is gone. Part of me fears it will never return. Maybe it won’t.

It is for these six inches I might die in less than a week.

“What?” I asked, closing the medicine room’s door behind myself, following Gandalf and Strider into it, leaving Merry in the arms of Pippin and the hands of the rude would-be healer.

“Sit down,” said Gandalf gently.

I sat at the table in the middle of the room.

“We think we may have an idea as to bringing Frodo’s memory back,” Gandalf began.

“How?” I interrupted excitedly. Since returning from Mordor to find him in that state, it’s been like half my heart is missing. In that moment I almost felt it returning. “How will you do it? And when? Will he remember me? Everything?”

“Calm yourself, Sam.” Strider drew a breath. “We do not know how to return his memory. However, we may be able to ask someone who does.”

“Who?”

“Saruman was deep in the enemy’s counsel,” said Gandalf. “He knew all the workings of the Ring, and all its history – or shall I say, he knows. He lives still, and not more than four days’ ride from here. If we were to ride to him we might be able to persuade him to tell us of the cure.”

“Really?” I couldn’t breathe. “Then what are we waiting for? Let’s go! Let’s go right now!”

“Sam, it will be dangerous.”

I waved the comment away. “Mordor was more-“

“There will be orcs.”

Gandalf put a hand on my arm to steady me as Strider spoke this word.

“Saruman dwells in a tall tower guarded by his servants, and likely several Uruk-hai. The area is flooded, and the odss would be against us. We are planning to take a large party of soldiers, and go ourselves, but we may still fail.”

“Who?” I ask. “Who’s going?”

“I am, naturally,” said Strider, “along with Gandalf, Legolas, and Gimli.”

“Everyone strong enough who cares about Frodo,” I said. “Except me, of course.”

“Sam,” Strider said, “please try to understand. This would affect you, and it would be highly dangerous for one so small.”

“I love him more than any of you ever will!” I shouted, hoping the walls were thick enough that I wouldn’t bother Merry. “He’s like my brother, and you won’t let me save him?”

“Sam-“

“And I’ve seen what that thing did to him!” I screamed on, ignoring Strider’s attempts to rein me in. “I watched It cutting into his neck and his soul and I held him in my arms while It sapped the life from him and I couldn’t even do anything! I was completely helpless while It took him from me. You have no idea what that’s like, watching someone you love dying, and if I could have switched places with him so it was me dying, I would have, but I couldn’t, and it was the worst thing I have ever felt, knowing I couldn’t save him. Now I can do something, and I mean to, and if I have to hide myself in your luggage or tie myself to the underside of your horse, I AM COMING WITH YOU!!”

Strider and Gandalf watched me for a minute. I saw a few tears come from Gandalf’s eyes, but he said slowly, “he may be right, Aragorn. We do not know of the ways Frodo has been affected. Saruman may not be able to explain the cure to us in a way we would understand, and we in turn will not be able to explain it to Sam.”

“Right!” I said. “I’m the only one who will understand it!”

“But Sam, you may die,” Strider said softly.

I was rattled for a second, but then I said, “it doesn’t matter. Dying for Frodo isn’t a ad way to die at all.”

Strider smiled sadly. “Then prepare yourself. We ride the day after tomorrow.”

Now, reflecting on it, I have to admit I’m terrified. I watch Frodo creep cautiously to Merry and touch his cheek while Pippin says quiet words to him. Pip gives Merry the medicine I selected with the healer. I ask a couple questions, not really focusing on the answers. Frodo pulls his hand away sharply every time he touches Merry, only to bring it back down. This goes on for about ten minutes, before he creeps back to me. I kiss the top of his head. “You stay here, alright?” I say gently. “There are some things I need to get done.”

“Will you come back?”

“I’ll always come back,” I promise, even though I might be forced to break that promise in about five days.

Frodo goes back to Merry, and I slip out the door and head to my room. Once there, I get out some sheets of paper and sit down to write a letter to Rose, just in case I die. There will be no time to write while I’m riding, and after that I’ll either be alive and won’t matter, or I’ll be dead.

Better safe than sorry.

I pour out my soul onto that paper, telling her that I love her more than anything in the universe and that I’ve been in love with her since we met all those years ago. I tell her that I’ve met the Lady Galadriel, who the elves say is so beautiful she is like the morning, and that I’ve met Arwen, who’s supposedly the most beautiful maiden in the world, but really I think that Rose is more beautiful than either of them because she’s simpler, and purer. They’re both beautiful, but dramatic whereas Rosie is the sort of girl who doesn’t need to be dramatic to be captivating. She just is.

At some point while I’m writing, Frodo comes in. Without a word he snuggles up against me and puts his head on my shoulder. I wrap my left arm around him but continue the letter with my right. I tell Rosie about him, about Mordor, about how I have to go on this mission for him because I need him to get his memory back the way I need air to breathe. I tell her that he is like my brother and that if I die, it’s because I was trying to save him, that she shouldn’t feel in any way that it is her fault, and that it isn’t his either, just the Ring’s. I tell her about that, too, summarizing the Quest as best I can, and though I’ve filled five sheets of paper it’s not enough, so I just fill a sixth with the words, “I love you I love you I love you” repeated over and over again. But then on the seventh sheet of paper I explain that I love Frodo too, but in a different way and for different reasons. That I have to save him.

That I’m sorry.
She’ll understand.
I finally finish on page eight with, “if I die, you’ll be on my mind even as my heart stops beating. I just wish I could tell you that one more time, and feel you kiss me and know that I hadn’t broken my promise. But if you’re reading this, I already have. I’m sorry. I love you more than words could ever tell you.
-Sam.”
I stack the sheets of paper and look at Frodo. He lifts his head.
“What time is it?” I ask.
“After noon. I went and ate lunch with Pippin. He’s really nice, actually. I feel bad for hitting him that day.”
“When was lunch?”
“Three hours ago.”
Maybe writing a letter with this level of thought process wasn’t a terrific idea.
But I had to do it, so I don’t regret it.
Frodo lays his head against my chest. “Talk to me.”
“About what?” I ask, embracing him.
“Me. You know a lot about me. Don’t you?”
“Yes. What do you want to know?”
“What’s my favorite color?”
“White.”
“Really?” He thinks for a minute, then shrugs. “White’s nice, I guess. What’s your favorite color?”
“Blue and green.”
“Like water?”
“No. Green like grass.” I kiss his forehead. “Blue like your eyes.”
He smiles a little.
“You’re smart, too,” I tell him. “Smarter than I’ll ever be. You speak Elvish and you write books.”
Frodo touches my letter to Rosie. “You write stories.”
I laugh a little. “That’s not a story. It’s a letter.”
“To who?”
He asks so many questions, but no matter how many I answer, it’ll never be enough. “To Rosie,” I say.
“Who’s Rosie? A hobbit like us?”
“Yes.”
“Boy or girl?”
“Girl.”
“Is she your sweetheart?”
The way his brain works is crazy. He has no idea what a brother is, yet somehow he remembers the word sweetheart. “Yes,” I say.
“Are you going to marry her?”
“Maybe.”
“I hope you do.”
That sounds so normal. I hug him tighter. “Thanks.”
He touches the letter again. “Do I write letters?”
“You used to.”
“Did I ever get any?”
“I don’t know. Sometimes. You wrote songs, though. Lots of songs. You have a wonderful voice, and you said I do too, but I don’t. And you wrote poetry. And it was beautiful.”
Frodo nestles into my chest again, closing his eyes. “Thank you for telling me.”
That night while he sleeps, I write a letter to him too. It’s much shorter than the one I wrote to Rosie – only a page – but important. I tell him if I die it will be to save him, and I will die knowing he is safe, which won’t be so bad at all. Then I set it aside and go to him, and lying down beside him, take him into my arms. I kiss his forehead and cheeks and tell him that I love him, and even though he’s asleep, a small smile crosses his face. I brush a curl behind his ear and hold him tighter. I don’t sleep. I can do that on the journey to Saruman’s tower. Instead I stay awake and watch my brother in my arms, his head on my heart, his eyes closed, his face peaceful. He trusts me enough to go to sleep in my embrace.
I could die right now and I’d die happy.
~~~
9/12/15
Sam: H.G.!!! How could you do that?
H.G.: I beg your pardon?
Sam: I’m going to die?
H.G.: Hey, at least you got to write a letter to Rosie.
Sam: I’d rather see her for real!!! But if it will get Frodo’s memory back, kill me in the most dramatic way you can.
H.G.: Oh, thanks, I shall take you up on that offer.
Merry: Sam, don’t give her ideas!
Pippin: We now have seven and a half rolls of paper, H.G.
H.G.: *facepalm*
Merry: Oh, and laureyulma says that’s a bit better, and Anne Marie said it was so beautiful she had moisture in her eyes, which no fic has ever done. That is the ultimate compliment, H.G.
H.G.: How sweet!
Pippin: I think our commenters recognize that despite your cruelty, you are a somewhat okay writer, H.G.

H.G.: If that was a compliment, then thank you.

Frodo: Hey, that’s my line!
~~~
Chapter Eleven

Merry

I’m surprised that Frodo managed to keep his control.
He stayed to touch my cheek, and then went to eat lunch with Pippin at the table in the corner of the healer’s room (I’m still not well enough to go back to my own room, according to Pippin. The healer left us to follow Sam’s instructions on our own.) Frodo left eventually, probably to go find Sam, but he stayed for a while, which is reassuring enough.
Now Pippin nestles close to me, even though the healer told him not to. Sam told him he could, and we’re going with Sam’s advice, not the healer’s.
“I’m so glad I get to take care of you, Merry,” he says drowsily. “Are you going to be alright?”

Am I going to be alright? Probably. My stomach and throat feel settled, but my arm is still irritated, with red streaks across it. I don’t tell him this, though. The new medicine seems to be helping, so I assume I’ll be completely better soon. I only tell Pippin, “I’m going to be fine.”

Pippin smiles.
I hear the door swing open and I look up to see Sam peeking in.
“Hello?” Pippin says as he comes in.
“Hi. Can I ask you a favor?”

“Sure,” I say. “You saved my life, after all.”

“Can you look after Frodo for me? I’m going away for a while, and I don’t know when I’ll be back.”
“Going away?” I ask, at the same time Pippin says, “but you will come back, right?”

We gesture for Sam to sit and tell the story, and he does, coming to the edge of the bed and sitting there.

Sam sighs and musses his hair. “I can’t tell you where I’m going. It might not be safe for you to know. But whether I’ll back or not… I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.”
“Is it to save Frodo?”
“Yes. To make sure he’s safe… that’s all I’ve ever really cared about. It wasn’t about destroying the Ring, though I wanted that too. It wasn’t about going home. It was always about protecting him and keeping him safe.”

“Where is he right now?”

“In his room.”

“Were you with him?”
“Yes.”
“And he didn’t attack you?”
“No.” Sam smiles a little, hugging his knees to his chest.
I crawl over to him and put my hand on his arm. Pippin kisses his head.
“Please come back,” he says tearfully.
Sam stands up, pulling himself away. “I didn’t come to make you upset. I came to ask you ask you to take care of my brother for me once I’m gone.”
“When are you leaving?”
“Dawn.”
We both embrace Sam, knowing he’ll want to spend the last few hours of his time here in Gondor with Frodo. He hugs us back quickly, and then slips away, and I’m thinking that this might be the last time we ever see him again. Pippin and I crawl back under the blankets and hold each other tightly, both of us crying a little bit.
“Sam’s going to die,” Pippin murmurs into my chest.
“Maybe not.”
“I hope not.”
 Pippin nestles closer to me. “Why is he going on this mission if he might die?”
 “He said it was to save Frodo.”
“But why?”
“Because he loves him, Pip.”
When we wake up, we know that Sam is gone. I can hear Frodo screaming and screaming from his room down the hall, and we go to comfort him, only to find him sitting on his bed sobbing absolutely hysterically, and when we go in, he turns away from us. I put the blanket around his shoulders while his body wracks itself with sobs. He looks up at me. “He left,” he whispers.
“Yes.”
He smacks my hands away, and Pip and I run while he throws things from his nightstand at us – the same water pitcher he attacked Sam with, a candle, the candle stand, and bits of parchment which don’t actually hit us, but flutter to the ground regardless. Then Frodo collapses back onto his bed, still screaming.
I collapse onto my bed in the healer’s room, and Pippin takes my hand.
“Take your medicine,” he says gently.
“I don’t want it.”
He pours it out and tips it into my mouth, kissing my forehead. We sit there for a second until my arm starts acting up again and Pippin has to go get the healer.
I don’t trust the healer. I trust Sam.
But he’s far beyond my reach, or, for that matter, anyone’s.
~~~
9/13/15
No comments, so I moveth onwards….
~~~
Chapter Twelve
Pippin
I fling open the door to the healer’s medicine room and head in.
“Hey!” I call. “I need you!”
He looks up from his table, where he is mixing some blue-ish medicine that probably will make some poor unsuspecting person throw up. “What do you require?” he asks.
“Merry’s arm is bothering him. I think it’s infected.”
“Why do you come to me rather than your gardener friend?”
“Sam’s off trying to save Frodo,” I explain. “Find some medicine to help Merry.”
He looks at me, daring me to sass him further.
“Please?”
He sighs. “Very well.” He leads me deeper into the medicine room and begins examining bottles.
“How will you know if Merry’s allergic to it or not?” I ask, when I see him taking out a sheet of paper bearing a list of suitable herbs. Sam has thought of everything.
“This should do it,” says the healer, handing me a bottle of pulpy green liquid. “Give him this in addition to his current medicine. Half a teaspoon. When I finish mixing my tonics I shall come to apply a poultice to his arm.”
“Thank you.”
I go back to Merry’s room and snuggle up against him, lifting his arm and examining it. “Your arm is all red, Merry,” I say, fingering it gently. “Does it hurt at all?” I glance at him as I finish this sentence, horrified to see he is unconscious yet again. “Merry!” I shake him. “No! Come on Merry, wake up! You just got better! You can be getting sick again!” I collapse over his limp form. “Come on, wake up!”
The healer comes over and silently slips me the bottle of medicine. I give it to Merry and nestle down beside him, crying into his chest like the helpless child I really am, behind what war has twisted me into. The healer steps forward to apply the poultice to Merry’s arm, but suddenly I pull him away, crying, “no!” It could be poisoned! Why won’t they leave him alone? The orcs have hurt us enough and….
“Peregrin, please do not fret,” the healer says, cutting through my flashback. “Allow me to heal your cousin. Please.”
I look up at him, then slowly tilt Merry towards him again. The healer’s brow is furrowed as he washes Merry’s arms, places the poultice on Merry’s arm, and ties a cloth bandage around it to hold it in place. I watch as he does this. “What’s your name, anyway?” I ask.
“Envin.” He wipes a sheen of sweat from his forehead.
“Are you sure this recipe is safe?”
“It is not mine.” Envin cuts the ends of the bandage away and discards them in a wastebin. “Your friend Sam left it for me should Meriadoc need it.”
Sam. Where is he right now, I wonder? “What else did he give you?” I ask.
“He wrote the list of herbs you have already seen, as well as the recipe for the poultice, and some common treatments from your kingdom I was to use before applying my own methods.”
It’s funny to hear the Shire described as a kingdom. I lay my head on Merry’s chest again, slipping under his poulticed arm. Envin spreads a blanket over both of us. “Let me know when he awakens,” he says, heading back to his mixing.
“Thank you,” I call after him.  I’m grateful to him, but more than that, I’m grateful to Sam. He saved Merry’s life, thus by extent saving me. And now he’s going to save Frodo, with no regards for himself. I wish I had thanked him before he left. Now I’ll never get the chance. I doubt Strider, or Gandalf, or Legolas will be hurt much, but Sam’s Post-Traumatic-Whatever-It’s-Called might make things worse for him. I know mine would affect me in that situation.
But at least, thanks to Sam, I still have my Mer-Mer. I watch my cousin sleeping, make sure his breathing is steady. Envin boils some athelas leaves and gives me a cool, wet cloth to wipe Merry’s sweaty brow with. The room is actually quite peaceful, filled with the smell of herbs and steam from simmering pots. The lullabies I sing to Merry harmonize with the bubbling, sloshing liquids and Envin’s humming. Bunches of dried lavender hang from the ceiling. We could almost be happy here, if Merry were awake, sipping chamomile tea and recovering. If Frodo and Sam were here too, both perfectly safe and happy, Frodo with his memory back, Sam with a complete heart instead of just a half. If I didn’t have this Disorder.
But if none of those things had happened, or were real, there would have been no quest in the first place. Would that be better? I don’t know. We met so many friends and we learned so much. I kiss Merry’s nose and puzzle over these complicated thoughts while the heady aromas of the herbs carry me to safer days in our secure “kingdom” of the Shire.
~~~
9/14/15
Pippin: Oh my gosh, H.G., if you don’t heal Merry soon, I… I… I literally can’t even.
H.G.: Ugh, that expression is so dumb.
Pippin: Well, sorry you feel that way, but I mean it.
Merry: Anne Marie thinks you are evil, H.G.
H.G.: I’m sure she was kidding.
Pippin: We have seventeen rolls of paper on our list of evil things you did to Sam!
Sam: Please don’t bring me into this…
Merry: By the way, what’s up with the wacko formatting?
H.G.: WordPress is having issues. *shrugs*
Pippin: Hey Frodo, want to come talk to us?
Frodo: *cries in corner because Sam left*
Merry: H.G., isn’t there anything you can do about the formatting?
H.G.: There is nothing. Now to Frodo’s chapter.
~~~
Chapter Thirteen
Frodo
Two days have passed since Sam left. I haven’t left my room because of how afraid I am. I can’t go to sleep because when I wake up he won’t be there. I cry and cry because he’s not here to dry my tears.
I’ve known him for only two weeks, but somehow I’ve come to trust him. His name was the only one I heard besides mine. That must mean something.
And he loved me when I so badly needed it.
He never told me what a brother was, but he’s walked away from me three times. Does that mean brothers leave? I’m hurt and confused. And for some reason, lonely. I don’t go to see Merry or Pippin. I just sit in my room crying.
Why does this abandonment cut so deeply?
For the rest of my life, however long that will be, I will remember how much it hurt to fall asleep in his arms, then wake up and find myself alone. Did he kiss my forehead before he left? Say goodbye? Couldn’t he have woken me up for it?
I hear a knock on the door, and Pipcomes in. I reach for something to throw before I see the tears in his eyes. Then I pause. Pippin is friendly. I don’t think he wants to hurt me.
“Hello, Frodo,” Pip says softly. “Can I come give you a hug?”
I nod assent hesitantly, and he comes to me and puts his arms around my neck. “Sam told me I have to take care of you, okay?” he says.
I push myself away from him. “Sam talked to you before he left?”
“Yes.”
“He didn’t talk to me.” I feel fresh tears spilling down my face. “He loves you more than me.”
Pippin bursts into tears and hugs me again, saying, “oh, no, Frodo! He loves you more than anybody, except Rosie. But she’s his girlfriend. And I think you come even with her, to be honest, ’cause your his brother. And his best friend. And… he loves you, Frodo, more than I can say. He’s leaving so he can fix you.”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“He’s going to try to get your memory back. So that you’ll know everything without having to ask him about it.”
“Couldn’t he at least have said goodbye?”
“Maybe he thought you wouldn’t let him leave.”
I would’t have. He’s right.
Pip lets me go suddenly. “Look.” He hops of the bed and goes to my desk, which I haven’t used because I don’t know how to write. “What’s this?” He picks up a sheet of paper and looks at me quizzically. “Did you write this?”
“No.”
Pippin scans it, then, fresh tears forming in his eyes, looks back up at me.
“What does it say?” I ask.
“Do you want me to read it?”
“Yes.” I sit down on the bed. Pippin sits next to me and begins to read.
“Frodo,
I am leaving for Saruman’s tower, and by the time I get back, you may know who that is. If I ever do get back. You see, Saruman may have an idea of how to bring your memory back. He will be highly guarded however, and will not willingly give up the information. It is possible, then, that in trying to regain your memory, I will lose my life.”
I let out a little gasp. Pippin takes my hand and keeps reading.
“If I die, I will die knowing you are safe. More than anything I want to return to you and see you healed and whole, but if my return can’t happen, I will accept that. I’m doing this for you. Please don’t blame yourself if something happens to me. It was my own choice. You are my brother and there is nothing I would not do to save you. There’s no distance I wouldn’t ride, no war I wouldn’t fight, no mountain I wouldn’t climb. Your safety has always been the most important thing to me ever since the quest began, and even before that. I hope to see you soon. If not, I hope others who see you will pass on this letter. I love you. Be safe.
-Sam”
Pippin drops the letter and wraps his arms around my shoulders to keep me upright while I collapse into sobs again.
After a while he lets me go. “I have to go check on Merry,” he says, wiping his eyes. “I’ll see if he can come visit you, okay?”
I nod. He kisses my head and leaves.
I pick up the letter and crawl back into my bed, holding it to my heart.
The nightmarish day pases and another comes. I visit Merry in the healer’s room and make the healer, Envin, teach me how to mix up medicines for him so I have something to occupy my mind and hands. Pippin watches me, hugging me when I cry. Merry is apparently very sick, so the medicines are extremely helpful. He listens to what Pippin says more than the healer. Envin tells me Sam wrote out a recipe for some poultice that helps Merry’s arm. He’s a gardener, Envin says, and he knows much about plants and healing.
He’s so good. I want to embrace him and tell him he saved Merry’s life, which Pip told me yesterday.
Come back, Sam. I need you to come back to me.
~~~
I think we’ll just dive right into this chapter… if it has a horrid ending forgive me.
Sam: *gulp*
~~~
Chapter Fourteen
Sam
“It is time, Sam.”
I looked up at Strider, standing in the doorway. “We must be off,” he said gently. “I see you have packed. Grab your satchel and we shall depart.”
Nodding, I turned my gaze down at Frodo, still sound asleep beside me. I bent down and placed a kiss between his eyes. “Goodbye,” I whispered. That was all I could say. He didn’t stir, just turned over a bit in his sleep, smiling slightly. I tucked the blanket more securely around him and slipped away.

Tomorrow, if all goes well, we should reach Saruman’s tower. I draw my cloak tighter around myself, shivering, though Strider has built a high fire. Now he

is passing around strips of dried meat and a loaf of bread that everyone tears a hunk from. I look at my companions – Strider, Mr. Gandalf, Gimli (dwarves don’t use formality) and Legolas (who told me to stop calling him Mr., as did Strider, Merry, and Pip. Frodo told me to stop a long time ago.) There are also several soldiers, all heavily armored.
“I apologize for the poor fare,” Strider says as the loaf reaches me. “It is all we have left.”
I smile wryly. “In Mordor I made it through four days on a quarter-square of lembas and two sips of water,” I say, tossing the loaf to a soldier. “That and the reassurance that Frodo was safe. If someone had walked up to me and said, ‘here, have some bread and meat’, I’d’ve been so happy I’d cry, and that’s a fact.”
The soldier looks uncomfortably at the large chunk he has just ripped off. No one quite seems to know what to say, so I change the subject to how exactly an Uruk-hai will be identified from a regular orc, and Strider jumps onto that eagerly.
Finally the conversation and the fire die down, and a soldier goes off on watch. I spread out my blanket roll next to Legolas, who smiles at me.
“By the way,” I whisper. “Thank you for not killing me that day.”
“I never would have.”
“Because even if I die tomorrow, I got to have more time with Frodo.”
He nods. “You will not die. But you’re welcome, Sam.”
I pull a blanket over myself and fall asleep.
“Behold,” Strider whispers as the tower comes into view. “The tower of Saruman, called by most Orthanc. A fearsome place and very deadly. Be on guard.”
I nod from my place behind him and grip him a little tighter. My Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is going crazy, seeing a tower, but the prospect of jumping off and bolting is worse. I grit my teeth and tighten my hold on Strider, yet again.
We stop at the foot of the tower. So far, no orcs. “Bend your bow,” Gimli whispers to Legolas, who nods and nocks an arrow.
“Saruman!” Gandalf calls out in a sonorous voice. “Come forth!”
Nothing happens, but from within the tower, a voice says, “leave me. I do not trade with the fools who brought about the ruin of my master.”
“The Ringbearer has lost his memory,” Gandalf shouts. “Tell us how he can be cured!”
I hear foul laughter, and instantly my hand goes to my sword that someone would laugh at Frodo losing his memory. Saruman steps out onto a parapet, still laughing. Finally he stops and leer down at us. “The Ring has given him what he deserves,” he says.
“Don’t you dare  –  !” I start, but Strider, lays a restraining hand on my arm.
Saruman sneers. “Who speaks?” he says. “If it is another of the halflings, he is hidden by one greater in stature. Let him come forth.”
I dismount before Strider can stop me and march up to the front of the group. I glare up at Saruman, one hand planted on my waist, the other pointing at him accusingly. “Look you,” I say, “if you know how to fix him, you’d better tell us, or you’ll pay for it, as sure as I’m standing here!”
“And who may you be?” Saruman asks.
“Samwise Gamgee, Frodo’s brother, and if you don’t set him right, I’ll… well I don’t know what I’ll do, but you won’t like it.”
Saruman laughs. Then suddenly I hear footsteps, and turning, I see several Uruk-Hai coming and forming a circle , so that the tower is in the middle and all of us are in between Saruman and his forces. All my bravery seems to have shrunk to the size of a peach-pit. I want to run back to the horse and climb on. They’d shoot me before I reached it.
“Well then, I shall offer you a deal,” Saruman says. “You may come to the top of the tower, where I will tell you the cure, and your friends shall be spared. If you refuse, however, all shall die. Let it not be said that I am unfair. You may have two minutes to discuss among your friends. After that…”
The uruks draw their swords and release a war cry.
“Sam, no!” Legolas is at my side in a second. “If you go into that tower, you’ll never come out again. He means to kill you!”
“But if I don’t go in, Frodo will never be healed,” I say softly. “And you’ll all die.”
Strider joins Legolas. “We could hold off the Uruk-hai easily, Sam. And we can surely find the cure ourselves.”
There are so many Uruk-hai, though…..
“This is madness!” Gimli says, hopping off Legolas’ horse. “Lad, it’ll be the death of you to go in there. Stay here. Don’t throw your life aside when it’s barely begun.”
“Sam.” Gandalf grips my arm. “You cannot do this.”
I pull my friends down and embrace each of them. “It’s okay,” I tell them as they cry, even Legolas who is always so strong. “I don’t want to die. But I love Frodo more than I love myself, and anything that happens to me will be worth it if only he is cured. And truly, until he is cured, I am already dead. I’ve died every day, a thousand times, looking at him and realizing he doesn’t know me. That is torture beyond what Saruman can do to me, torture beyond any war.” I laugh a little. “Not that I’ve ever been much good at war. I don’t know how to fight, you see. I’m a gardener, and I value life. But the life of my brother is the one I’ll gibe up mine for. You have to do different things to grow different flowers. To grow Frodo’s soul back to what it was, I have to die. But it will blossom, and that’ll be the most beautiful thing I ever grew. So it’s okay. It’s okay.”
Legolas bursts into tears, which I have never seen him done, and embraces me again. “Goodbye.”
I let him go, fearing the two minutes are almost up. “Thank you again for not shooting me that day.” Turning away from my friends, I head into the tower, and I don’t look back. Even as I leave them though, I can feel one single tear streaking down my face.
The iron doors close behind me.
I take a torch from the wall and climb.
The staircase is long and endless. I feel sweat forming on my brow even though I’m freezing. Orcs leer out at me, laughing when I cry out. “That is the one who calls himself brother to the Ringbearer,” the whisper. “Who has come to die for his safety.”
“They say his name is Halfwise, fool of his realm.”
“My name’s SAMwise,” I shout at them. They only laugh. “And I’m not a fool.”
They only laugh.
I climb up, up, up, past one score of them to the next. Don’t stop at the landing. Don’t go into that room. Saruman is waiting. Climb. Climb and die. My heartbeat suddenly takes on a new rhythm. Not a beating, but a name. In fact, two names.
Rose and Frodo.
I climb again.
Rose and Frodo.
Keep on going.
Frodo and Rose.
Don’t look back.
Rose and Frodo.
Don’t you dare look back.
Frodo and Rose.
Ignore the orcs.
Rose and Frodo.
Ignore their taunts, they only mean to unnerve you.
Frodo and Rose.
Climb and die.
Rose and Frodo.
Climb and die.
Frodo and Rose.
No one can touch you anymore.
Rose and Frodo.
You are a creature of iron and steal, and they cannot hurt you.
Frodo and Rose.
Frodo is safe, you go to save him.
Rose and Frodo.
Rose is far away, accept that you will not see her again.
Frodo and Rose.
Don’t think.
Rose and Frodo.
Just climb.
Frodo and Rose.
Don’t think of your brother.
Rose and Frodo.
Don’t think of your lover.
Frodo and Rose.
Don’t think of the best friend you ever had.
Rose and Frodo.
Don’t think of the most beautiful girl in the world.
Frodo and Rose.
Don’t think.
Rose and Frodo.
Just climb.
Frodo and Rose.
Just climb and die.
Rose and Frodo.
Frodo and Rose.
I have reached the top of the tower.
I push open the door and climb the last few stairs onto the open platform.
Saruman is waiting there, smiling. I glance down and see my friends, so small, like ants. “Tell me the cure!” I cry, my voice wavering, blown about by the wind. There’s so much wind up here.
Saruman smiles. “Before you came,” he says, circling me like a vulture, “did your friends tell you of me?”
“They said you were a wizard.”
“I am. However, Gandalf has so kindly deprived me of my staff.” He stops in front of me. “But I have another power. Do you know what it is?”
“No.”
“It is my voice.”
And then he begins to tell a tale of Frodo, on his knees as he is cut apart, the Ring tearing through his soul, the feeling of his body going stiff in my arms as the life leaves it. He moves onto the Shire burning, Rose being slaughtered, shot, trampled, drowned. I fall to my knees as he describes my little sister Marigold, sweet, innocent Marigold falling t the sword of an Uruk. He can read minds. How else would he know of these things?
“STOP IT!” I plead. “STOP IT!!!”
Saruman pulls me up by my hair and leads me to the edge of the tower, pressing a knife to my throat. I hear a collective gasp from my friends, and Legolas shouts, “I’ll shoot!”
“Shoot me and I’ll cut his throat,” Saruman cackles. I gasp as the blade tickles my neck.
“Saruman!” Gandalf calls, a hint of desperation in his voice. “Release him!”
“Certainly.” Saruman takes off the knife, grabs my shoulder, leans forward and whispers into my ear, ” you wish to know the cure?”
I gasp for breath, massaging my sore windpipe. “Y-yes.”
“Return to Frodo what the Ring stole from him.”
I puzzle over this. The Ring stole so much. What should I return? His memory? His finger? His sanity?
And then I’m falling, free-falling through the air as Saruman pushes me off the tower, laughing.
My life flashes before my eyes. Frodo in my arms. Legolas dropping the bow. Merry and Pippin giggling with my sister Marigold. Rosie twirling in a blue dancing dress. I hear terrible screams that bring tears to my eyes. And I think they might be mine.
I haven’t even hit the ground yet, but I pass out from sheer terror.
~~~
9/16/15
Pippin: OH MY GOSH H.G. YOU DID NOT JUST DO THAT.
H.G.: Yes I did.
Merry: You just killed Sam?
H.G.: *runs to hide behind Frodo*
Frodo: *slaps H.G.* I HATE YOU!!!
H.G.: Eek!
Pippin: katoonirose and Anne Marie will be up in arms if he’s dead. He’d better not be dead!
H.G.: I say nothing.
Pippin: DON’T TELL ME…..
Frodo *SCREEEEEEEAM!!!!!*
~~~
Chapter Fifteen
Merry
I open my eyes to see Pippin gazing down at me. “Pip?” I whisper.
He kisses my nose. “You’re awake, finally
“How long have I been unconscious?” I ask, attempting to sit up and rubbing my head.
“Two days.”
“Two days?!”
“Shhh.” He pushes me back down into bed. “Envin and I have been watching you”
“Two days, but when I fell asleep Frodo was here.” I try to calculate. “So Sam’s been gone for -“
“Six days.”
I look at the fresh poultice on my arm. “He’ll be back in two, then.”
Pippin says nothing.
“Why am I sleeping so much?” I ask, turning my gaze from the poultice back to my cousin.
Pippin props up pillows behind me. Fluffing them he says, “we don’t know, Mer-Merl You’re very sick and you can’t get better until Envin makes a stronger medicine for you. But he’s going to wait for Sam to help him with that.”
Basically, if Sam dies, so will I.
“Don’t let me sleep to long, then,” I murmur. Pippin slips under my arm and closes his eyes. “By ‘don’t let me sleep to long’, I didn’t mean, ‘go to sleep yourself,'” I say, amused. Too late, he’s gone. “Envin?” I call.
The healer sweeps over with a bow, bearing my medicine. “Yes, Meriadoc?” He holds it out.
I down it. “Give me something to keep me awake.”
“Such as?”
“You must have some sort of stimulant.”
“Yes, but I am not sure Master Samwise would approve…”
“Well, find something he would approve of.”
 Envin thinks for a minute. “Chocolate?” he suggests finally.
I smile. “Really?”
“It can delay sleep somewhat, along with heavy quantities of meat and spices. Perhaps if I made you a meal of la,b with several strong seasonings…?”
“And chocolate?”
“Yes.”
“Go ahead. Thank you. But I should probably wake Pippin up, because he won’t want to miss out on chocolate, even this late at night.”
Envin makes me an enormous meal of lamb with so many spices it’s hard to eat. I wake Pippin up and give him chocolate, and then eat my own. Then Envin brings me some books so I won’t be bored and fixes my poultice while I read. Although technically the chocolate is for me, Pippin eats the remainder of it and still manages to fall asleep even with all that sugar in him, one arm slung across my chest, his head cradled against my shoulder.
I stay awake that night, and the next day. Frodo drops in once and seems interested in the books, so I let him read one and give him some chocolate (Envin managed to find more and keep it rationed so not all went to Pippin, who sits beside me munching his allotted square.) Frodo seems distracted, though. Almost as if something has been taken from him.
“Sam,” I think. “He misses Sam.”
“Sam will be back tomorrow,” I tell him while he reads.
Frodo looks up. “Really?”
“If he’s not, then he’s not coming at all.” That was harsh, I didn’t mean to say it like that.
But Frodo only replies, “then we’ll see him tomorrow,” and leaves. I use Envin’s lamb-and-chocolate trick that night too, but skeep manages to take me for a few hours before Pippin wakes me in the morning. I’m surprised and relieved that I wasn’t gone for too long.
“I woke you up!” Pippin giggles, throwing his arms around me and showering my face in little kisses.
I hug my cousin tight. “I guess you did.”
Suddenly the door bursts open, and we release each other, startles. Frodo stalks in and without a word, flings the book at me. It hits me on the head
“What was that for?” I ask, rubbing my skull.
“You said he’d be back!” Frodo’s blue eyes are full or sorrow, anger, and tears. “You LIED to me!”
“Frodo, he’s just not -“
“Not coming.” He turns and runs. “I hate you!” The door slams shut behind him and his sobs fade down the hall.
I look at Pippin. He sighs and kisses me where the book hit my head. “Will he be back, Merry?”
“I don’t know.”
Suddenly Pippin cocks his head. “I hear horses!”
We both jump up and run to the window. “Is Sam there?”
“Too early to tell.”
We change hurriedly out of our nightclothes and into proper attire, and run out the door, down the hall and front steps of the houses of healing, waiting in the entryway. The horses have been stabled now. I see Strider, I see Legolas, I see Gimli, I see Gandalf, I see…
“SAM!”
Pippin and I dash across the grass and run towards Sam, tackling him to the ground in a great hug. Pippin kisses his cheeks, his nose, his neck, his arms, his eyes, his forehead, and his temples, saying in between kisses, “wemissedyouwemissedyouwemissedyou!”
Sam laughs and hugs us back. “You’re safe!” I exclaim, hugging him tighter.
“And so are you!”
We get to our feet and embrace again. Pippin takes Sam by the hand and goes to greet Strider and the others, while I follow.
Sam is technically not related to us by blood. But he and Frodo are so close. They’ve called the,selves brothers since as long as I can remember, and if he was Frodo’s brother, he’d be cousins with me and Pip. So we’ve always considered him family. I kind of like that, that all four of us are related.
“We were really worried about you, Sam.” Pippin squeezes his hand. “We thought… you might die.”
“I almost did,” Sam says softly.
“How?” I ask.
It was the work of Saruman!” Gimli grips his axe tighter. “The foul demon! I shall never forgive him this monstrosity.”
“Were it not for Gandalf’s slowing spell, we would have lost a dearly beloved friend.” Aragorn smiles at Sam. “But you made it.”
I look at Gandalf. “You saved him?”
“The slowing spell is quick, and quite simple,” he explains. “I barely had enough time to recite it, but I managed.”
“I would have shot Saruman, but in my fury I missed, and he made it inside before I could fire a second,” says Legolas. “It amazes me the lengths Sam will go to protect Frodo.”
“Oh, Sam! Frodo!” I grip my “cousin’s” arm. “He thinks you’re dead! You have to go to him right away!”
Sam’s already off. Pippin smiles. “I think they’ll be alright.”
“So do you knwo the cure?” I ask Strider.
He sighs. “Not quite. It is confusing. I cannot tell what to make of it.” He eyes us. “But Merry, you are supposed to be resting.”
Pippin giggles. “Oops!” He wraps an arm around my shoulders and leads me back to Envin’s healing room.
~~~
Merry, Frodo, Pippin: *sigh of relief*
9/21/15
Sam: Sheesh H.G., where were you?!?!
H.G.: A much-needed weekend in the Adirondacks.
Merry: Where’s that?
H.G.: Never mind.
~~~
Chapter Sixteen
Pippin
Merry and I climb the stairs. “I’m really glad Sam’s alive,” I say. “If he died Frodo would be so sad. I’m so sad too.”
“Frodo doesn’t even remember him, though.”
“But he trusts him now,” I press. “That’s i portant. And now Gandalf and Strider can work on getting his memory back!”
“Right.” Merry doesn’t sound convinced. I stop him and look at him.
“You don’t believe me.”
Merry sighs and rubs his head. “Strider said himself that the answer is confusing. They don’t know hoe to fix him, and they might never figure it out. He and Gandalf are the smartest people we know.”
“Besides me,” I tease, to ligten the suddenly dismal mood.
Merry isn’t in the mood for jokes. “They haven’t healed him. Who’s to say they ever will?”
“Sam’s to say that. I’m to say it. And I will say it. Frodo’s gonna get his memory back. Trust me, Mer-Mer. I saved your life fifty million times.”
He smiles. “Not fifty million.”
I giggle. “Sixty million then!”
“Less.”
“Okay, fifty nine million!”
He pokes me. “And none of them will matter if I die right here, so…”
“So let’s get you back to Envin!”
We continue up the stairs. Despite my cousin’s words that he doesn’t believe Frodo will get his memory back, I feel confident. I have to, or else it’s all for nothing. Sam almost died to save Frodo. Whatever is out there looking after us will see to it that that doesn’t go unnoticed. It can’t. He will heal. He has to. And Merry has to. And… I have to, too. But I can get over my Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder far more easily than Frodo or Merry can overcome their ilnesses. So it’s them I’ll worry about for now. I wrap my arm tighter around Merry’s shoulder and we walk on.
We walk past Frodo’s room. I resist the urge to open the door. The urge overtakes me and I let go of Merry and dash back, opening the door just a crack and peeking in. Sam and Frodo are holding each other like nothing else in the world matters, wrapped in one another’s arms. I smile and close the door before the brothers notice me. With love like that looking out for him, Frodo has no choice but to come back.
We reach Envin’s room, and I tuck Merry back into bed, even though he protests. “It’s only eleven!”
“Which means Elevenses and a nap for you and Elevenses and no nap for me,” I say cheerfully. “Envin, can we have a snack?”
“You had one nought but eighty minutes ago,” he says.
“But Merry missed it. He was asleep. And besides, that wasn’t a snack, that was second breakfast. There’s a big difference.”
Envin sighs.

“You can bring us apple-cakes and tea and cherry preserves with thick bread, please,” I say cheerfully, climbing into bed after Merry to give him his medicine. “And you can be quick about it.”

~~~

Piipin: addbratlove225 wants a hug!! *hugs addbratlove225*
Merry: *hugs addbratlove*
Sam: *hugs addbratlove*
Frodo: I think I’m getting better at this… *hugs addbratlove*
H.G.: *hugs addbratlove* By the way, Happy birthday, Frodo!

Frodo: Today’s my birthday?
H.G.: Well, in the fic it’s not, but in real life it is.
Frodo: Oh.
Sam: *kisses Frodo’s forehead* So maybe she’ll go easy on you in your chapter.
Frodo: That would be nice.
~~~
Chapter Seventeen
Frodo
“Sam? Sam!” I ran to him as he opened the door. He met me halfway and we fell to the ground embracing.
“I thought you weren’t coming back,” I wept into his chest while his strong arms tightened around me. “Why did you leave me?”
He cupped my chin in his hand and looked through my eyes again, as though there might be something there. Apparently there was nothing, because he sighed and kissed me gently on my forehead. I closed my eyes and sank down into his arms again.
“I left,” he said gently, “because I wantred to save you.”
I looked up. “Do I need saving?”
That made him smile. I reached up and kissed his cheek. “I love it when you smile like that,”
I said.
“If that was a compliment, then thank you.”
That made me smile, his use of my phrase.
“Hold me,” I murmured, listening to his heartbeat against my head.
And he’s still holding me now. I hear the door creak open. Someone – I think it might be Pippin – giggles, and then it closes again. I’m honestly starting to fall asleep when I feel Sam lifting me to my feet. He kisses my eyes and releases me gently.
“You can’t stay here all day,” he says, brushing back one of my curls that hangs over my cheek. “Do you want to go outside or something?”
I shrug. “I stayed here most of the time while you were gone.”
He seems startled. “Really?”
“Well, I visited Merry a few times, but not many. I missed you.” I think for a minute. “Is there a garden outside?”
“Yes, but I’ve never been in it.”
“Me neither. Let’s go see it.” I take his hand. “Only, I don’t know the way out of this place, so you’ll have to lead me.”
My brother guides me out of my room. I know this hallway, having gone down it to visit Merry, but after that everything is new to me. Sam guides me down a staircase and out a side oor into a new hallway. I see the old man strolling along it, and Sam calls out to him. “Gandalf?” he asks. “Do you know how to get to the garden?”
Gandalf. Why do I know that name?
“Hello, Sam. Up and about, Frodo?” He smiles. “Down this hall, and to your left. Then take the door on the right.”
“Left, then the right door. Thank you.” Sam leads me on. I look back at the old man, who watches us with a smile.
“He was there when I woke up,” I tell Sam and we turn left.
“That’s Gandalf. He’s one of your best friends. He sent me with you in the first place.” He opens the door, and I step outside into…
“Oh, Sam,” I breathe.
Without a doubt, this is the most beautiful thing I have seen, and if I ever saw something more amazing than this, I can’t remember it. There is a high stone wall around the garden, the top of which is grazed by branches. I see trees of all different kinds, some with light green leaves, some with a green that is almost yellow – there’s even a tree with pink flowers for leaves. Beds of flowers cover the ground, some in the trees shade, others in full sun. Small dots of color so beautiful I almost feel inferior and ugly. Green carpets of grass rolling beneath it. Cobblestone paths lead the way through these lands of incredible detail, each flower so unique, but not a single one anything less than perfect. I look over at Sam, whose watching me with a smile on his face. “Why haven’t we been out here?” I ask.
“I have no idea,” he replies, smiling.
Holding his hand, I venture tentatively into the garden, feeling the sun-warmed cobblestone beneath my bare feet. The heady fragrance of the plants is intoxicating and nearly overwhelming, but not in a bad way. In a way that makes me wish it could overwhelm me completely. I walk up to the pink-flower tree and touch the rough bark. “what’s this called, Sam?” I ask.
“It’s a cherry tree.” He comes up beside me and presses his strong fingers to the trunk, stroking in expert rhythmic movements. “They need a lot of care, but clearly, in the end it’s worth it.” He sits down on the bed of pink flowers that has formed on the grass beneath the tree. I flop down onto the grass beside him, and scooching closer to him, lay my head in his lap. A few flowers float and land on my face. Sam brushes them away with a touch as light as the petals themselves. I smile and close my eyes. Once the petals are gone his fingers run through my hair, gently smoothing away the tangles. I haven’t really been looking after myself, but Sam sets my mess of curls back into an orderly array, reaching down to remove a flower if one falls.
“I love you, Frodo,” he says softly, brushing away another pink flower. “I love you so much.”
I look up at him. “Why are you crying, Sam?”
“I’m not crying,” he says, too quickly.
“You are.” I watch, alarmed, as one tear slides dlowly down his cheek. “Why?”
“I’m fine.”
“Sam, what’s going on? Why aren’t you happy?” I sit up and embrace him while he cries quietly.
“I’m  being selfish,” I hear him say. “I know you’re safe, and that should be enough. But I want you back. I want you to know me.”
“I do know you. I’m your brother. See?” I kiss his head.
He shakes it. “But.. you don’t know why. You don’t know what’s happened to us. And you don’t know that you love me.”
I open my mouth to protest.
“Say it.”
“What?” I ask.
“Say that you love me.”
I try, but I can’t for some reason. I pause. If everything he does is love, then love will hold you in its arms but then leave you;love will hold and kiss you, but then run away in tears. And I don’t understand it. I truly don’t.
“Go on. Say it.” Another tear escapes him. “See. You can’t.”
“Sam, that’s not fair,” I plead. “If you want to hear it so much, you say it to me.”
“Alright. I love you.” I can’t bear to watch him crying anymore, but I don’t look away. He laughs sadly, then shakes his head. “No. I’m sorry, I’m being selfish. It doesn’t matter if you don’t love me. I just- No. No. I’m sorry, Frodo.”
“I’m sorry too.” I lay my head back down in his lap. “I’m sorry too.”
We spend a few more hours in the garden. Sam tells me about flowers and trees, since apparently he’s an expert. He doesn’t say he loves me again, and I don’t ask him too. I can tell by the way he looks at me that he does, but that his heart is breaking too much for him to say so. We visit Merry and Pippin and tell them about the garden. Merry’s recovering nicely, so Pippin suggests we all go sleep under the cherry tree.
A few minutes later, we’re trudging outside, laden with blankets, pillows, and a basket. We eat its contents – cheese, bread, nuts, and jars of tea – and then roll up in blankets to sleep. I lay there shivering for about thirty seconds, then throw off my blanket and go crawl under Sam’s. He looks at me as I nestle down beside him.
“Do you mind if I sleep with you?” I ask. “These blankets are completely tattered.”
“No, I don’t mind.” He wraps an arm around me.
“I agree, they are very threadbare.” I feel Pippin coming up to me on my other side and snuggling against me. Merry follows him. They layer their blankets over Sam’s, then lie down and fall asleep almost instantly.
“Sam?” I whisper.
He turns to face me.
“I’m sorry about what happened in the garden today,” I say. “I just can’t love anyone until I figure out who I am and what it means.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry for,” he tells me, reaching out to stroke my cheek. “I’m not angry. You’re my brother.”
In his eyes, I see acceptance. I can’t tell what he accepts. Or why I shouldn’t be sorry. There’s a lot I don’t understand about Sam, in fact. But somehow that acceptance is heartbreaking, and I reach up and press my lips to his forehead. I feel myself breaking as he embraces me, but I keep kissing his brow, and don’t let go for a long while. Then finally I slip under the blanket to find his heart, and place my head against it. In his posture, the way he holds me, I can tell he is suffering, but why and what what I can do, I don’t know.
“I will never stop loving you, Frodo,” Sam whispers. “I will love you now and for always, whether you come back tonight, tomorrow, or never at all. I will always love you, and you will always be the brother of my heart, no matter what happens. Nothing can break this bond between us. Mordor could not. This will not either.”
I fall asleep right there, right in his arms, securely held, loved, and protected.
~~~
9/23/15
Pippin: Will bad things happen?
H.G.: Yes and no.
Merry: What’s that supposed to me?
H.G.: Trust me, if you’re reading this, go get kleenex.
Pippin: ?
H.G.: Making people cry is my life’s mission. Ready, Sam?
Sam: I guess.
H.G.: Good hobbit. Now come on!
~~~
Chapter Eighteen
Sam
I hate myself right now. I hate that I tried to force Frodo into saying something he didn’t mean. What’s wrong with me? Never, ever in my life have I ever even considered making him do anything he doesn’t want to. And now I’ve begged him to say he loves me when his mind’s such a wreck he doesn’t even know what love is.
I just wanted to hear it one more time before I gave up.
Now I’ve given up regardless, though, and I didn’t hear it before that happened. I feel the way I did that day in the rain with Legolas – I want to die.
“You still have Rosie,” I tell myself.
But what if I don’t?
Rose… can I really bear losing her AND Frodo?
I was willing to die for Frodo. I starved and suffered in Mordor for weeks, I free-fell from a tower, and I loved him even after all the Ring has twisted him into. And it wasn’t enough.
Why is this happening to him? He doesn’t deserve this! He should be here, happy and healthy, completly whole, completly sane. Everything he did for Middle-Earth leads for him to deserve that! But it isn’t. I look down at him, nestled in my arms, safely held and sound asleep. I kiss his brow gently and murmur, “I love you,” again. My tears fall from my own eyes and trickle down his face, leaving wet streaks against his pale skin, which is even paler in the moonlight. I prop myself up on one elbow and watch him. His skin looks very pale, his hair very dark, his feathery eyelashes casting shadows down onto his face. His cheeks sparkle in a few places from my tears, which I brush away, keeping my touch soft so as not to wake him. In sleep he looks normal – but his brow is still creased with worry. More tears sparkle on his cheeks, and I realize they are his own. Was I really so cruel? What have I done! Maybe I shouldn’t have said I loved him. He doesn’t even know what a brother is. Did I overwhlem him? What’s the matter with me?!
I bury my face in Frodo’s thick curls, dampening them with my tears. “I’m sorry,” I whisper. “I’m so, so sorry.”
“For what?”
I look down at him. “You’re awake.”
“Yes.”
“I’m sorry I woke you,” I say, trying to ignore the tears on my face. “Go back to sleep.”
“I don’t want to.” He glances at Merry and Pippin. “Sam, can I talk to you for a minute?”
We sit on a bench nearby so that Merry and Pippin won’t wake up. I bring my blanket and wrap it around him. He lays his head against my shoulder and we sit there for a minute, before he says softly, “Sam, tell me what’s going on.”
“Nothing is going on. Nothing you need to bother yourself with. You needn’t worry about me.”
“But I do.”
“You don’t have to, Frodo. Really. I don’t want to bother you with my problems.”
He takes my hands and strokes one of then. Then he reaches up and takes my face into his hands and looks into my eyes. “Sam.”
I’m crying as he penetrates my soul with his beautiful blue eyes. “Sam,” he whispers again.
“Yes, Frodo?”
“Tell me everything.”
So I finally spill it all. I tell him about how close we were, not sharing the horrid details of the Ring, just explaining the love we shared. I tell him about how it felt to wake up and realize I had lost him, about wanting to die, about going on the mission to Saruman’s tower and free-falling while he was on my mind. I tell him about how I was mirculously saved by Gandalf, and then realizing he still didn,t know me.
As I speak I realize more than ever that he is truly gone. He will not come back. I have lost my brother forever.
And it’s okay.
Why wouldn’t I tell him about the Ring? Because I don’t want him to know. Memories of me and memories of the Quest are intertwined. I love him and I want him restored, but that might not be the best thing for him. All those bad memories… would he want them, if he could choose?
“And I’m not just so upset because I’ve lost you,” I finish. “You deserve so much more than this. It should be me and not you.”
Tears are trailing slowly down his pale skin, but no other change comes across his face.
“You never should have had to go on the Quest,” I say.
He looks at me. “Why?”
Nice going, Sam. “Because…”
“Something bad happened.” His hand tightens on my arm. “Didn’t it?”
Then he screams.
“Frodo!” I cry.
Frodo gasps as his body begins to glow with a red light. Something is speaking to him in a hideous tougne, but I can’t understand. I think he does, though, because he cries, “why?”
The hideous voice continues. Frodo shrieks again and falls off the bench. I run to his side and try to take him in my arms, but it doesn’t work. He runs from me, although the movements don’t seem to be voluntary.
“What’s going on?” Merry and Pippin sit up, confused. Pippin bursts into tears as he hears the hideous voice continue to scream things to Frodo, who sobs as he listens.
“His eyes!” Merry says. “Look at his eyes!”
I get as close as I can and look. Frodo’s eyes should be reflecting the garden. I stead they show scenes of mount Doom, the Ring, some orcs in their tower, and other creatures from my nightmares. I fall back, my Disorder, going crazy, but even stronger than that is the instinct to protect him. I get to my feet and run towards him. “Let him go!” I scream to the voice. “Whatever you are, let him go!”
I hear only sinister laughter. “He must decide!” it screams back.
“Leave him alone!” Merry and Pippin sob at the same time.
He must decide…
Is this the Ring?
Has the Ring somehow left itself inside Frodo’s body, removing his memory and now forcing him to make some sort of decision?
What other explanation is there?
Frodo looks at me as the Ring continues to whisper hideous words. “Sam,” he says weakly, tears pouring down his face. He holds out his hand.  I grab it and hold on, running beside him as the Ring tries to tear him away.
“Don’t let it take you from me!” I say, locking his gaze with mine.
Frodo hesitates.
“Don’t let go of me,” I plead. “Don’t you dare let go.”
It whispers one more word. And then Frodo closes his eyes, his face grim, and whispers something back.
The Ring screams, and so does my brother. He goes flying through the air as though something has thrown him, and collapses to the ground in a heap at the base of a tree.
 I run to him and turn him over gently, holding him. Quickly my hands tighten around his wrist, feeling for a pulse.
“He’s dead,” I say in disbelief.
Merry and Pippin run over. Pippin snatches Frodo”s wrist and holds it. “I don’t believe it!” he wails, falling over Frodo’s body, burying his face in my brother’s chest. Merry touches his cheek, tears pouring down his face.
My grief is beyond tears. I can feel my face contorting in shock as I look down at Frodo’s limp form. In my arms he looks so small and fragile, and yet so peaceful at the same time. Almost as if he were sleeping.
“No,” I whisper. “I won’t believe it.”
Suddenly his pulse starts up again. Pippin lifts his head from Frodo’s chest as his heart re-starts, surprised. Frodo gasps and his eyes fly open, and he looks up. I help him to his feet. He reaches out and touches my face, and in his eyes, I see peace, so much peace.
“Sam,” he says in a clear voice, not tainted by madness or fear. He smiles in a way that he hasn’t smiled since the sweet days in the Shire. “Sam. I remember.”
I stare at him for a second. “What?” I whisper.
“I remember, Sam.” He can’t seem to dtop smiling, though tears pour down his face and I feel them covering mine. I reach out to touch his cheek, then withdraw my hand, almost frightened.
“Touch me,” he says gently. “It’s okay.”
I touch him, feeling his tears on my fingers. Then suddenly he throws his arms around me, and I don’t hesitate to embrace him back.
“You saved me,” he whispers. “Thank you, Sam.
“I love you.”
The exact words we spoke in Mordor. He is truly back.
Merry and Pippin laugh and cheer. I slowly release Frodo and look at him, and bending down, kiss the tears from his face. But his cheeks are still wet, because I left my own tears there. “I love you too,” I whisper back.
Merry and Pippin join our embrace, and my heart shatters, because it’s so happy it can’t stay together anymore.
Frodo is back.
~~~
9/29/15
Sam: Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes!!!!! *tackle hugs Frodo so hard they fall over*
Frodo: *hugs Sam back*
Sam: I missed you!
Frodo: *laughs* I missed you too! How could I forget you?!
Sam: H.G., I love you.
H.G.: Just because I gave you Frodo back?
Sam: *grins, helps Frodo up*
Frodo: So THATH is over?
H.G.: Not quite… *smiles evily, rubs hands*
Merry: Oh no, my chapter…
Pip: Here are the hugs for the commenters.
Hobbits: *hug commenters*
Sam: *hugs Frodo*
Pip: Are you two just going to hug until H.G. starts the chapter?
Frodo: Yes. And possibly beyond that. *hugs Sam back.*
Merry: Awwww, that’s cute…….
~~~
Chapter Nineteen
Merry
When Frodo, Pippin, Sam, and I finally let go of each other, Sam claps Frodo’s face in his hands and looks into his eyes. “I missed you,” he murmurs. They bend forward and their foreheads touch, and their arms tighten around each other. Pippin is jumping up and down grabbing Frodo’s arm. “Frodo!”
Frodo lets go of Sam with one arm and looks at Pippin. He uses his free hand to caress his hair. “Yes, Pippin, love?”
“I love you so much and I’m so happy you’re back.”
“I love you too, dear Pip, and I’m happy to be back too.” He glances at me and smiles. “And I love you too, my sweet Merry.”
I run to his arm, keeping another around Pip. Frodo kisses each of us on the forehead.
Finally we release each other again and sit down again. Frodo lays his head in Sam’s lap, and Pippin takes his hand. I lay my palm against his arm. Sam strokes his hair gently.
“Frodo, I love you,” I say.
“I love you too, Merry.” He smiles at me. “What happened to you two while Sam and I were in Mordor? I know you’re sick, Merry.”
I nod. “I was fighting with a Nazgul, and he stabbed my arm.”
“A Nazgul?!”
Pippin and I glance at each other and spill our entire story. How orcs kidnapped us, but we escaped, how we reunited with Strider, Gandalf, Gimli, and Legolas, only to be seperates again.
“That’s right. I keep forgetting Gandalf’s alive,” Frodo says. He smiles.
I tell him about my new friend Eowyn and how she and I faced down the Witch-King of Angmar, but he stabbed my arm. Frodo knows better than anyone what that blade can do to you – he knows more than me, because as a Ring-bearer, it affected him more greatly. He smiles sadly and squeezes my hand.
“And then Envin almost poisoned Merry, so Sam stepped in and saved his life,” Pippin finishes, cuddling his head by my shoulder.
Frodo looks up at Sam. “You did?”
Sam nods. Frodo pulls him down and presses his lips tightly to Sam’s forehead. Sam smiles at him, and after returning the smile, Frodo lays back down in his lap.
“Are you better now?” he asks me.
“I will be. Envin thinks he’s finally found a new medicine, but Sam has to approve it.”
Frodo smiles. Then his forehead wrinkles in a frown. “What’s wrong with me?” he says. “I have to go find Strider and Gandalf!”
We scramble up, forgetting the blankets, and dash out the garden path to find our friends. Sam keeps his arm wrapped around Frodo as they walk. Pippin walks in between Frodo and me, holding our hands and chattering away happily.
We reach Strider’s room. I raise my hand to knock, but Pippin bursts through the door, runs to the bed, and jumps up right onto Strider’s sleeping form. “Strider wake up! Wake up! Frodo came back?”
“Unnh?” Strider mumbles.
“Frodo! Came back!”
Strider looks up at Frodo, who smiles and comes to his side. “Hello,” he says.
“Hello…?”
“I haven’t seen you since the day the fellowship split.”
Strider gapes at him. “Wha-“
“I’m back, silly!” Frodo hugs him. Strider seems confused for a second, before laughing and hugging him back. He tousles Frodo’s hair.
“Frodo, Strider’s girlfriend is going to come soon and they’ll get married!” Pippin chirps as they hug. “And you’ll be the Ringbearer!”
Frodo’s smile falls. He turns and looks at Pippin.
Pip giggles. “Just kidding!”
Strider hops out of bed. “I must find Gandalf,” he says.
“Should we come?” I call after him.
He’s already gone.
“We can’t run as fast as him,” Frodo reminds me. “Should we wait here?”
“Uh-uh, let’s go in the hall. It smells like sweat in here,” Pip says.
We all laugh, and go into the hallway. Frodo lays his head on Sam’s shoulder and closes his eyss, a smile on his face. Sam holds him tightly and strokes his hair, kissing his forehead every now and then. They love each other so much. For a minute I feela twinge that I have no brothers, only to realize I have three. Three cousins that became brothers a long time ago.
Gandalf comes rushing down the hall with a rustle of white fabric. “Frodo!” he exclaims. “Is what I have heard true? Has it come to pass that you have been freed?”
“Yes, Gandalf.” Frodo lifts his head and smiles. Gandalf kneels before him and places a hand on his brow, and gazes into his eyes.
“I see it,” he murmurs. “To cure you, what had been stolen from you had to be returned… love.”
“When Sam tried to tell me about it, the Ring told me all these terrible things and said if I regained my memory, I would have to face them too. I could forget all or remember all. But I chose to come back because… Because Sam told me not to let go. And somehow I knew that he’d said that before.”
Sam kisses Frodo’s cheek. “I love you,” he says gently.
We all embrace Frodo again. I have never been happier in my whole life.
~~~
Sam: Last chapter!
Pippin: Woo hoo!
Frodo: And then the hobbit angst-fest is over, ad we can all be happy!
H.G.: Well….
Merry: What.
Sam: What.
Frodo: What.
H.G.: I’ll tell you after the chapter. Let’s hug the commenters.
Hobbits: *hug Anne Marie, katoonirose, Carillia Prynn, and laure*
Pippin: I get to wrap this whole thing up!!!!
Merry: Go for it, Pippin.
~~~
Chapter Twenty
Pippin
Frodo has been back for a week, but it’s still hard sometimes.
Merry still needs medicine. Sam and I still get flashbacks. Frodo still hides in his brother’s shadow. And we all wake up screaming now and then.
We’ve taken to sleeping in the same bed so that when one of us wakes up crying, the others can offer comfort.
Sam holds Frodo’s head to his heart, keeping his arms wrapped around him. Frodo holds him back with one arm. His other hand reaches across Merry to find mine. Merry’s arm wraps around my shoulder, his other around Sam and Frodo, fingertips brushing Sam’s hand. I hug him tight and squeeze Frodo’s hand, and we all sleep like that, holding each other close all night. Only cousins and brothers can love each other this much.
Strider’s sweetheart is coming. They will be married, he will be coronated. We will remain in Gondor for a little while, and then we will go home. Home to the Shire. I can’t wait to go home.
I hear Frodo screaming, and I pull myself away from Merry’s arms to kiss Frodo’s cheek. He looks at me, before his eyes clear and he smiles. “I love you, my Pippin,” he whispers as I give him a hug.
“I love you too, cousin,” I reply.
Sam and Merry are awake, and they both give Frodo a kiss on his brow and join our embrace.
I hold him out by his shoulders. “What do you know?”
This is routine we go through when he wakes up and for a minute, seems to have forgotten again. He lists everything he knows to be true – not the visions of his nightmares, not the manipulations of the Ring, not the echoes of fear in his heart. Only what he is certain of.
“The Ring is gone,” he says.
“Good. What else?” Merry says.
“Sauron is defeated. I am alive. You are alive. Smeagol and Boromir are dead.”
Sam nods, brushing the tears from Frodo’s face. “What do you know that’s most important?” he murmurs.
Frodo is crying so hard by now, as he always is. We always need to help him with this part.
“Pippin loves me,” I urge, not releasing his shoulders.
“Pippin loves me,” he repeats.
“Merry loves me,” Merry says.
“Merry loves me.”
“Sam loves me,” Sam says.
“Sam loves me.” Frodo smiles. “And I love you all, too.”
We lay back down.
In fifteen minutes I wake up, but I don’t need to talk about what I know. I just need to feel their hands caressing me and their lips pressed to my brow, to feel at peace. As soon as I realize they are safe, I am too.
Sam usually cries so quietly that only Frodo can hear him. But that’s alright because Sam loves Frodo the most, and he needs him more than he needs us. We are his cousins. Frodo is his brother. One night I was still awake when Frodo was comforting Sam, and Frodo told him that soon they would be home, soon Sam would be able to see Rosie and marry her, and soon the hauntings of Mordor would be only a memory. He kissed Sam’s brow and held him close and sang to him in Quenya. Then I stopped pretending I was asleep and sat up to listen.
Now, as I drift back into slumber, I whisper, “Frodo, can you sing that song to us?”
Frodo smiles, strokes my cheek, and sings softly,
“Auta i lome
Aure entuluva
Va haryvalve ture
Anin anta eseltya.
Meldanya
A lore vande
Melinyel.”
He kisses my brow as my eyes close, then Merry’s. Then he nestles back into Sam’s arms and lets himself be held.
“I love you,” I whisper to each of my cousins.
They reply the same to me. Going back to Merry’s arms, I close my eyes, squeeze Frodo’s hand, feel Merry’s heart beneath my head, and drift into sweet slumber.
No matter how bad things get, my cousins are here.
And soon we will go home.
THE END
~~~
Translation of Frodo’s Lullaby.
Auta i lome                           The night is passing,
Aure entuluva                       Day shall come again
Va haryvalve ture.                 We will have victory.
Anin anta eseltya,                 Give your trust to me,
Meldanya                              My dear.
A lore vande.                        Sleep well.
Melinyel.                               I love you.
This is a slight adjustment to a battle song I wrote a while ago. The first part was the same, but rather than “sleep well, I love you” it said, “and I love you, my darling.” or “my love.” I thought sleep well seemed better, since “my darling” or “my love” would be a little redundant, and also because it’s a lullaby, so “Sleep well” is highly appropriate.
Frodo: No more angst, yay!
H.G.: Well, I do have plans for a book three…..

91 thoughts on “The Land of Shadow and To Hurt and To Heal

  1. Okay, I sat here for like an hour reading this. I really cried at one point- I don’t remember what point in the fanfic I was at- but anyway, my dad gave me this look. LOL. Anyway, Sam wouldn’t mind giving me a hug, would he? After all, you can tell him who I am…………. and I want one from Frodo too. Would they be my size, you think? Anyway, WRITE MORE!

    Carynn

    P.S. *Nothing exists. Nothing has ever existed except for you and me and Mordor. And nothing will ever exist until you put me on. And then all the things you’ve imagined will become real. And you’ll be safe. You’ll be rich. You’ll never have to lie shivering in a ditch again. You’ll always be safe. Always be warm.*

    Always be warm…

    *Always be happy.*

    Always be… happy… Yes precious, that sounds nice…

    “Frodo?”

    Something is coming towards me. A figure. I shrink back, frightened.

    *It doesn’t exist.*

    It doesn’t?

    *No.*

    Are you sure? It looks pretty real.

    *I’m positive.*

    It scares me! It’s coming closer! How do I make it go away?

    *You have to fight it. It’s just your mind tricking you. Fight it.*

    Okay.

    I don’t even wait to see what this phantom resembles. I leap up, tossing the blanket aside, and attack it, lashing out with my fists, punching everything in reach. I expect my hands to go right through it, and it will vanish.

    It blocks me!

    And then it grabs my wrists to stop me from hitting it!!!

    *It’s not real it’s not real it’s not real…*

    I sink to my knees, screaming. I can’t fight. Why isn’t it going away? Tell me!

    *Oh… um, I lied, it’s real.*

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh goodness. I will sit on a beanbag watching paint dry until I can hear more. I love this!!!!!!!! I mean the fanfic and stuff, not watching paint dry. Which is boring.
    Carynn
    P.s. which color will be more interesting, purple or green?

    Like

    • I’m so glad you liked it. However:
      The “I Love You” is not meant in a romantic way. You can love your best friend, the way you would love a brother. This is how Sam loves Frodo. I did not mean for it to sound odd or creepy, and I’m sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable. Now you can rest assured.

      Like

  3. Liked the entire story; didn’t like the way it ended. But I understand that’s how it had to end. Well-written. Skipped over extra-long narratives sometimes. Had to.

    What’s your next piece of literature?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I may write a sequel to the Land of Shadow where Frodo loses his memory, or I might write Zelda fanfiction, or whatever. Probably something Zelda first, since I’ve just done this long LotR fic.

      Like

  4. 😄 I was teasing /that/ time. But seriously- don’t you dare kill Merry, or I will- well, I’ll think of something later.

    Like

  5. *screams head off* I’m with Sam. In other words, NOOOOOOOOO!

    I don’t even know why I keep reading this. 😄 Maybe because I want to know what happens. You’re such an evil writer and yet I read everything you write. I wonder why?

    Like

  6. Well, it’s a bit better at least… *hugs Sam* Don’t worry, Sam, H. G. wouldn’t be so evil as to leave Frodo like that forever.

    Like

  7. That’s a little better than at the beginning. Why do you have to be so emotional??? Actually, I love it, you really have a talent for writing.

    Like

  8. You were right to hide from my wrath, Eruanna. Don’t you dare let Sam die. Or else. (I don’t know what that “Or else” entails. Yet…)

    Like

    • In book three? You shall see… let’s just say, more love, more angst, more torment, more Sarose… a lot more Sarose… because Rose herself will be a narrator.

      BOOM goes the dynamite!

      Like

      • Oh, and in book three, Frodo will be captured by orcs. The orcs will invite Sam to come say goodbye to Frodo. They’re going to kill Frodo, make Sam watch, and then send him home scarred and brokenhearted for eternity. Rosie thinks it’s a trap, but Sam goes anyway. He gets to spend one last night holding Frodo and telling him he loves him and then at dawn, the brothers are torn apart, Frodo is bound, and… well, I won’t spoil what happens next.

        Like

      • Uh-huh, uh-huh, oh, and Frodo cries all night in Sam’s arms because of how scared he is, and the orcs watch them and laugh at him until Sam snaps at them to go away and threatens to frame them for disobeying their orders if they refuse. They leave and he gives Frodo more comfort. But Frodo can’t stop crying.

        Like

      • In the morning when the orcs try to rip them apart they cling to each other screaming, until the orcs pry them away from each other and carry Frodo off while he screams and screams, and Sm is forced to watch helplessly.

        Like

      • Because can’t you just imagine them clinging to each other and weeping while the orcs laugh and pry them apart? Can’t you imagine Sam screaming that he loves him and Frodo being dragged off before he can reply? And can’t you just imagine the look on Sam’s face as the door swings shut, slamming, separating him and his brother forever…

        Like

      • Because
        Frodo: No! Sam! SAAAAM!
        Orcs: Let go now. Let go!
        Sam: NO! FRODO!
        (Orcs pull on the hobbits)
        (Frodo and Sam cling to each other. Frodo digs his fingers into the fabric of Sam’s shirt. Sam presses his lips to Frodo’s forehead.)
        Orcs: *laugh, pull*
        (Frodo begins to lose his grip on Sam)
        Sam: Let go of us!
        (Frodo topples out of Sam’s arms. The orcs pick him up and carry him off.)
        Sam: LET HIM GO! DON’T HURT HIM!
        Frodo: SAM!
        Sam: Frodo, I love you!
        Frodo: I –
        (The door slams shut).
        (Tears pour down Sam’s cheeks as the orcs march him off to the execution space. They gag him so he can’t cry out to Frodo.)
        (Sam closes his eyes and cries harder.)

        Like

      • (Sam is led into Frodo’s chamber. Frodo is huddled on the floor, crying.)
        Sam: Frodo!
        Frodo: *looks up* Sam?
        (Sam gathers his brother’s trembling form into his arms.)
        Sam: Shh, it’s alright, your Sam is here now.
        Frodo: *clutches him* They’re going to kill me.
        Sam: *begins to cry*
        Frodo: I wish I were brave but… I’m so scared…
        (Sam places a soft, tender kiss on each of Frodo’s eyes.)
        Sam: So am I. I asked them to take me instead but… they wouldn’t.
        Frodo: *lays back in Sam’s arms.* Hold me forever.

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      • Sam: Of course. (He kisses Frodo on the forehead once, very gently.)
        (Frodo lays his head against Sam’s chest where he can feel his heart beating.)
        Orc guards: Awww, how sweet.
        Sam: Go away.
        Orc: Or what?
        Sam: Or I’ll tell your leader you attacked me, which is in direct violation of your orders.
        Orcs: *glare, then leave*
        Frodo: Thank you, Sam. I love you.
        Sam: I love you too, more than you’ll ever know.
        (A tear falls from Sam’s eyes and lands on Frodo’s forehead.)

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