Frames by Poncing Ponies

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Sam was in two minds. Sauron has come along and cleaved Middle Earth in halves, home was Northward but hope lie dim in the South. Gandalf never meant for this to happen, of that Sam was sure, Frodo weakens and the world has taken on the colour of rain, it wept for days on end, as the Hobbits traveled in circles.

Gollum was captured under a bitten moon and Sam saw that as a sharp omen of deceit and treachery. He told Frodo as much, but Frodo would not listen. Sam was bewildered to see Frodo's face pinch at the sight of Gollum thrashing on the Lorien rope.

Frightening is this state of in-between, so little divided Frodo from the realm of the dead, what warmth and surety there was is now only separated from the wraiths that lie beneath by a thin veneer of water; and when Frodo looked into the shallow abyss, he faltered. The Ring and history would have Frodo, no matter how on guard Sam remained. Yet, loyalty and faith must be enough to keep Frodo from being dragged down and entombed by the weight about his neck.

They quarreled, nose to nose, "You know nothing!" Frodo's spittle landed on Sam's bottom lip. Sam licked it and tasted his own tears, he could take the torture of lembas for weeks on end, but not the sourness from Frodo's mouth.

"Please, Mister Frodo, open your hand," Sam coaxed, wriggling his bedroll towards Frodo.

"I am sleeping, Sam," Frodo twitched away. "Leave me be."

"We would be warmer if we shared," Sam tried to cover Frodo with his cloak.

"I am safe enough, I do not need to be coddled," Frodo huffed angrily and threw Sam's cloak off.

Sam stood up and stepped over Frodo, stooped down and grabbed Frodo's clenched fist. Frodo kept his eyes squeezed shut, in the dark Smeagol snickered, Sam traced the tight fingers. "I do not want it, I just want you to stop stroking it. You toy with it and you look on it, with a bad love," Sam said. "I want it destroyed - then you might look on me again."

"Let go," Frodo whimpered plaintively, his lashes heavy and wet. "Sam, you are hurting my hand."

"Perhaps it is good that you feel pain, to hurt is not to be entirely broken, yet," Sam let Frodo tuck the Ring inside his vest. They squirmed together, with arms interlaced. Sam eased his thumb over and down Frodo's eyebrow, until Frodo fell asleep.

Sam could not see how in his wickedness Smeagol might be saved, to sway between the darkness and the light is to be stray; and one of them will have to give, and then Smeagol could not be trusted and he will cheat Frodo to his doom! In Smeagol's changeable eyes, flickering from blue to black, Sam fancied he could see the figure of an uncertain King, besieged by enemies on both sides of the gate.

"How can you pity him?" Sam questioned. "He does stink. And he turns my stomach."

"Do you know what it must be like to be him?" Frodo trembled, so angery. "Do you think anyone would care to be his friend? You could not, you'd like it better if he was dead."

"I don't mean for us to kill him, he did drag you out of that swamp," Sam exclaimed but Frodo turned his back and marched away after Smeagol's lead.

At the Blackgates, for shame, Sam took a nosedive into the rank of Mordor's guards and Frodo threw himself right after Sam, shielding him from the sentries. Pressed together and trying to breath all quiet like, Sam felt his insides churn, he should not have fought with Frodo, Sam could smell the tobacco in Frodo's breast pocket, Bags End laundry from Frodo's shirt and the soft curls in Frodo's hair tickling Sam's neck. It was like back in Hobbiton, long ago, when Frodo and Sam sat in front of the fire, hugging one another as Mister Bilbo read them the scary dragon-parts of his story. Sam felt Frodo's terror and determination, the pressure of Sting's helm on his side and held Frodo's arm tight.

The world has come to dragons and wolves, Frodo and Sam looked over the pallid sky and the city of Gondor was white as bones. The man who has lost his brother is close to the edge, the call of the Ring works on Faramir, a steady, irresistible torrent, tossing to cast him over. The white tree blazes from his chest and Faramir twists on the chain, torn between love of his city and his soul.

Frodo growls, the Ring speaks from his throat, hissing. "They are coming," it said, melodious and still sweet with Frodo's voice. Frodo swoons, showing the whites of his eyes and Sam's hands itches to strangle him, to pull on his black hair and squeeze his tender neck, because that is the Ring who climbs the battlement, who holds Frodo's body enthralled.

And Sam does, knocks Frodo down senseless, they struggle and Sam is reminded, with shock, of Smeagol, Frodo is thrashing with all his strength, his teeth clattering to get Sam. Then, Frodo remembered his sword and Sam is looking at Sting from an angle he never did before. Frodo had murder in his eyes, "But I'm your Sam," after all they have been through, is this how it ends?

Inside Frodo's head, has the enemy gained charge? Who looks out from behind those eyes, a new Ringwraith or Sam's Frodo? But the Ring's hold cannot be irreparable, Smeagol has had it for five hundred years, Frodo, less than that many days, Sam could not believe Frodo would strike, however violent the will of Sauron, even as Frodo pulled back his arm to deal the killing blow.

Whilst Sting sang above his head, Sam thought upon Rosie. That he liked her and had thought about marrying her. That he fancied himself raising a clan of little Hobbits. Sam would be a reliable husband to Rosie and now and then, the thought of such a life gave him comfort on his journey into the dark.

Yet, undeniably, more real and insistent than the power of the Ring, in the face of Sam's commitment to live and die in the Shire, to marry, pervaded deeper feelings for Frodo. A forbidden pond that has heretofore sat stagnant too long. Two Sams, whose wishes were contrary, found the truth which both accepted gladly. He loved Frodo, he desired him.

Sting clamored to the ground, the clearing bade the departure of black wings. Frodo collapsed, gasping and ashen. Sam let out the terror in his lungs. They surveyed the ravaged city and a strange sweetness was in this scene of the ruins, a wideness of the sky and high elation.

For cities may fall and strongholds breached, lives forfeit and the last candle extinguished, it is only heralding the dawn which will come, to light the aftermath, to give witness. And in the unbearable glare Captain Faramir came to himself, cutting loose the Hobbits.

"He might come back," Sam pointed his nose at Smeagol, sitting beneath a rock, covered in shadows. "But then again he might not."

Frodo tensed, pulling away from Sam inside their bed roll. "No Frodo, come here," Sam wound his arms around Frodo's waist, Frodo turned his face up, his eyes full of grief and regret. Sam leaned down and pressed his lips to Frodo's, Frodo whimpered and began to cry. "Frodo, dear Frodo, lets not have any of that."

Clasping Frodo, Sam rubbed his back soothingly.

"You do not understand, Sam, I will become like Smeagol if I hold the Ring long enough. I am already like him, I have become foul like you find him, and I know you can smell it on me, I make you sick, don't I? But you'll stick around just because you are you. So loyal, so vigilant, so good. Sam, I love you, I will not take it well when you leave me, when you find I stink," Frodo sobbed, smearing his tears on Sam's shirt.

"Oh, don't worry about that, Mister Frodo," Sam kissed Frodo's cheeks. "You will come back, all right. I'll be here, urging you on, calling at you and no evil Ring is going to let me lose you. Not when I've come to realize, I love you too. So much Frodo, it burns in my stomach until I kiss you!"

Frodo's eyes took on that soft, down turned look which he reserves especially for his Sam, wordlessly they put their hands around each other's necks and kissed lingeringly into the night.

They are strangling each other! Smeagol thought excitedly, they are hurting one another, listen to the bad Master's little screams! We will have the Precious when they have killed each other and we will eat the fat, nosy, cooking Hobbit for breakfast, all raw and sweet-juicy, the way the tricky Master dines on his rump now.
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