1. But It Always Rains When I Get There
"But It Always Rains When I Get There"
A/N: A one-shot I wrote while listening to music. Slightly Dark, and a Frodo-centric LotR fanfic, slightly AU due to appearances. Enjoy!
Looking beyond the embers of bridges glowing behind us
To a glimpse of how green it was on the other side
Steps taken forwards but sleepwalking back again
Dragged by the force of some inner tide
Encumbered forever by desire and ambition
There's a hunger still unsatisfied
Our weary eyes still stray to the horizon
Though down this road we've been so many times
-"High Hopes", Pink Floyd
Darkness. Stifling, suffocating Darkness, a roiling sea of fear and anguish fed by the agonized tears of the oppressed and broken. Screams echoed in the silence of solitude, horribly loud in ears susceptible to the slightest sound.
They were his own cries that he heard when awake in the dead of night, when he lay gasping and choking and weeping upon the coverlet of his bed in Bag End, overcome by the memories of the Quest. These moments happened more often than not, and tonight was no different. There would be no break from the memories, no respite from the pain and wounds, both physical and mental.
Shuddering, Frodo sat up, drenched in clammy sweat that filled his nose with a sickly scent born from fear and exhaustion. He had visited the tower of Cirith Ungol again in his nightmares, remembered the Orcs that had found him and then interrogated him for information. Funny, that he had nightmares about a time he could barely remember. Sick from the spider that had bitten him, he had been half-delirious and spent when he woke, and even now his memories of that day were jumbled and muddled in a haze of terror and confusion until Sam found him. It didn't make sense that he would have nightmares about something he could barely recall.
Looking out his window, he realized what had set off the nightmares-- rain. Of course. Rain, even a shower such as this, could set off his mind and memories. He could clearly hear the steady pounding of rain on the ground outside his window. It was a sound that would have normally been soothing and peaceful for him, but now only filled him with trepidation and a feeling of deep unease.
Standing on shay legs, he clamped down on a cry of pain that tried to escape him as muscles remembered phantom pains. His legs were stiff and throbbing, and he was feeling dizzy like he had when he awoke amongst the Orcs. He ruthlessly shoved aside the memories, and the feelings hounding him, and made his way out into the halls of Bag End. The wooden floors felt cool on his feet and the air felt gloriously refreshing against his face. It wasn't stale, dank air like the tower. It was sweet and full and alive with the scent of home. Here, he had lived and grown and laughed and loved. It was his shelter, his life.
It was what he had sacrificed himself for.
And it was at that very moment that that realization fully hit him. He had always known, deep down, that he had left the Shire and Bag End to save it from Sauron and the Darkness. But now it hit him with the force of a hammer blow. Surrounded as he was by what he loved most, he realized just what he had given himself up for. He had allowed the Ring to focus on him instead of others and the rich, fertile soil of the Shire, and he had been utterly scoured by iIt—although he would have had it no other way. He had allowed It to weave Itself with his soul to keep his home safe.
Even now, the memory of the Ring and It's Darkness remained—as well as the tainted wanting for It. He still held a piece of Darkness within his own soul.
Even now, he felt contaminated, sullied by that which he had held for nigh twenty years.
His steps echoing in the silence of the smial, Frodo made his way out through the hallway, catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror as he did so. It was his face he saw, still his, still thin and delicately-featured, framed by familiar curls of dark blonde that shone silver in the night. His eyes, still stormy grey flecked with green, looked back at him. It was the same face that had looked back at him for the past fifty-one years, so why did he feel so uncomfortable looking now?
He shuddered knowing why: what had his face looked like during his madness with the Ring? What had he looked down on Sam upon in his moments of delusion and insanity? Had he looked at his dearest friend in hatred and mistrust—or had he seemed a stranger, the familiar features a pitiless mask? What about when he had claimed the Ring for himself? He didn't know. He didn't want to know, so he had never dared ask.
He felt pain stab him again, in his shoulder, and he stifled an outcry, clutching at the wound with a shaking hand. Would he never escape the pain? Would he never find rest?
The pain seemed to grow worse, but he knew he wouldn't want to go back to his room. The pounding of the rain on the roof drew his attention, and suddenly he felt a strong pull looking out the windows. Silently, his breath almost stilled in his throat, he walked like one possessed to the door, and slowly he reached up and unlatched the handle. The door swung open, and a strong wind laden with the scent of rain hit him in the face. He nearly retreated, but the pull of the rain was too strong.
He stepped outside.
He was drenched within a few feet of the doorway, his hair plastered to his head, but he didn't feel it. Beyond the horizon, he thought he saw a strange glow from the West, even through the dark rain clouds that still hung above the Shire. What in the Valor--?
In the gardens, he was hit again with another wave of pain, and he nearly doubled over. Still the rain beat down upon, but he was insensible to it, becoming caught up in Dark thoughts. The dawn was approaching, lightening the sky with dark blue. Frodo thought he saw shadows moving among the plants, and he grew increasingly uneasy and confused as his mind became riddled with fever. Thunder clapped, sounding as if it were shattering the sky apart, and he cried out, his voice lost in the deafening sound. He slipped on the wet grass, and fell heavily on his knees there, and he found he did not have the strength to get to his feet. Weariness settled on his limbs, and slowly he collapsed upon his side as the rain continued beating down.
Sam would find him there, lost in delirium and fever, his body riddled with pain and his shoulder cold as ice.
It was October the sixth.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.