Disclaimer: Frodo, Sam and Smeagol belong to the Tolkien Estate, New Line Cinema and anyone else who owns a share of the magic, but most of all to the hearts and minds of fans everywhere- and even more to the creator himself, the great and powerful JRR Tolkien himself. *worships*

A/N: I've never written a story with Frodo or Gollum before! ^_^ My first. Please tell me if I've mangled anything!

For A Drink of Water

By Thalia Weaver

Frodo stiffened. There they were- so near, so near!- his parents stood before him, laughing. They beckoned for him to join them.

Frodo ran towards them, a young hobbit again. Some small part of him recognized it could not be- but what pertains reality to a dream?

Drogo smiled at his only son, that same broad grin that had always made Frodo feel that he and his father were the only ones in the world.

They were so close! Frodo saw Primula hold out her arms, welcoming, waiting for him to run into her embrace.

Then- a great wind began to blow, a storm enveloped the sky- beneath Frodo's feet a great sea appeared, dark and murky. His parents stood on the far-distant shore, smiling still- but the sea grew wider and wider, and Frodo felt the widening rift as though it were being ripped through his heart. Primula waved a forlorn goodbye.

And as Frodo stood rooted to the spot in grief and terror, a great tide of water rose, ready to engulf him-

* * *

Frodo stirred in his sleep, and a moan escaped his lips. His hand clasped tightly around the Ring, as though he were afraid it would be taken from him while he slept.

"He hasn't had a proper sleep since we left the Shire," Samwise Gamgee muttered, addressing a mute and uninterested rock. "I'm worried about him."

Sam's worries were not unfounded; with every step they took, Frodo became weaker and wearier. They were not yet in Mordor, though Mount Doom loomed ever closer on the horizon. A sulfurous mist hovered in the air of the night; the borderlands of Mordor were dark and shadowed. Sam kept a vigilant watch on his sleeping master. Frodo was no longer the hobbit he had once been; suffering and hardship had made him gaunt and haggard, his eyes haunted with fear and- something darker.

Sam gazed sadly at his own hands. He knew there was nothing he could do to help his master.or- was there?

It would be very easy to take the Ring for himself- Frodo was sleeping, he would not know-

-and Sam could use the Ring- Sauron would be defeated, and his master would return to what he had been before the Quest had come upon them all- they would come back to the Shire as heroes. Rosie would marry him; nothing would ever trouble the Shire-folk anymore-

Sam's hand had crept close to Frodo's fist, clenched so tightly around the Ring. One swift gesture, and then-

A soft, hissing voice sounded in Sam's ear. "The nasty hobbit wants the precious, does it?" Gollum hissed.

"I don't want it!" Sam cried, snatching his hand back as if he had been stung. "It isn't right to sneak about so, like some filthy snake!"

The creature grinned, maliciously. Even in the stink of Mordor's borderlands Sam caught the reek of breath that smelled of corpses and decay.

"Smeagol sneaks about, yes precious," he hissed softly. "Smeagol sees the thieving hobbit. Thieving, yes.stealing the precious."

"I am not a thief!" Sam cried, indignant. "I only wanted.I only wanted to see it."

Smeagol laughed, a cruel sound. A strange hungry light was in his eyes as he leapt closer to Sam. "See the precious? The hobbit wants to see the precious. Perhaps it wants to see how it would look around its pretty finger! What does it want, precious?"

"Nothing!" Sam exclaimed, lifting a hand to strike Gollum. "Nothing!"

Smeagol shielded his head with his hands with a little whimpering cry. Sam lowered his hand, breathing hard.

Frodo gave a frightened cry in his sleep, curling up into a shivering ball. For a moment, two pairs of eyes fixed on him: the cruel, pale ones of Gollum-once-Smeagol, and the worried, troubled ones of Samwise Gamgee.

* * * The flood was gone. Instead a circle of flames had leapt up before him: in the middle of it, his parents danced. They leapt and turned, having eyes only for each other. They had been so in love!

Frodo walked closer to the fire. A wave of heat rose up as he drew near: the flames would burn him should he try to reach them. Primula looked at him, and beckoned lovingly. She laughed, a merry tinkle that blended well with Drogo's deep chuckle.

"Why do you mock me so?" Frodo tried to ask, but nothing came out of his parched throat. He suddenly felt that he would die if he did not have a drink of water.

Drogo and Primula stopped dancing and gazed at him concernedly, wondering why he did not join their dance. Frodo steeled himself and stepped forward, wanting only to be in his mother's arms again.

The flames leapt up around him, burning him. He cried out in anguish as they seared his flesh, the pain greater than anything he had ever felt before. He dimly saw his parent fade away at the edges of his vision.

* * *

"Mr. Frodo! Mr. Frodo, wake up!"

The flames faded away, replaced with the worried face of Samwise Gamgee. Frodo smiled weakly, his body shaking with relief. He looked quickly down at the Ring to ensure it was still safely in his grasp.

"Thank you," he whispered, his throat still sore with screams. "Sam- please.water?"

Sam hastily fetched one of the bottles from his pack, handing it to Frodo. His master eagerly drank half of it.

"We'd best save the rest for harsher times," Frodo said, handing it back to Sam.

Smeagol hissed. "Come, hobbits. There is a long journey ahead, yes precious."

The three companions set out again, walking towards an unknown fate. Mount Doom loomed ominously before them, an ever-present reminder of the peril that lay before them.

With every step the Ring grew heavier, the burden harder to bear. Frodo could not help feeling that, no matter how much he drank, he would never stop thirsting again.