Author's Note: Well guys, here it is. The final chapter. Makes me sad to think I won't have this to work on anymore! Not too sure about this chapter though. It was very difficult to write and I went through a variety of scenarios (some quite grim!). Usually, I don't do that, so now I'm not sure I like how this finally came out in the end. I really felt that it should take a little time for Sam to get over his ordeal and I wanted to portray that here. Anyway, I hope you're not disappointed.

I truly want to thank all of you who have read my story, and special thanks to those of you who have taken the time to review (and extra special thanks to those who actually reviewed each and every one of these 34 chapters!). You guys are the ones that make this so rewarding and fun (and why I keep coming back to write these tortured Sam stories! I really need to get a life!). Thank you.

Gamgeefest: Glad you enjoyed the last chapter! It is always nice when they get back together. I like happy endings!

Bronwyn: Yep, this is the last one. I'm not sure about another one anytime soon. Life is pretty hectic right now (which is partly why this chapter took awhile to get up). But, I always say that, and I seem to keep coming back!

Baileymag: I really am glad that after all your incessant demands that I get that hobbits back together that you felt the last chapter was worth the wait! LOL! Thanks again for all your wonderful support!

Kriszta : OK, here is the last chapter! Hope you have fun translating and posting it! Thanks for being such a faithful reader!

Lauralsjr: Well, here is the end of my story now. Sigh. I hate I don't have this one to write and yours to look forward to! Anyway, yes, there is more Sam and Frodo interaction in this one! More angst! More happiness! Hopefully I have wound up all those loose threads! Thanks for all your wonderfully supportive reviews!

Szhismine: Glad you liked the last chapter! Here, I am sorry to say, is the last.

Merimas Gamgee: I really don't know what I'll write next. I keep saying I'm done writing Sam angst, but I keep coming back with more! Due to my hectic schedule right now, it will be awhile, but I am thinking about possible stories. Maybe something with Boromir in it. So, we shall see!

Bloodroses9: Whoa! Didn't mean to upset you by ending the story! I mean, I could go on and on and on, but after awhile, it would get pretty tedious ( you might get a little bored by chapter 576!) ! I hope this chapter at least will appease you a little bit (I can't take much more sugar!!!!)

FrodoBaggins87: Well, there is a bit more angst in this chapter. Maybe not as much as you'd like, but I did try to stick some in just for you!

AuoraMaiden: I am very pleased you liked this story so well! It makes me feel good to know people have enjoyed it! I hope this last one is to your liking as well! Thank you for your wonderful reviews and comments!

LalaithoftheBruinen: I'm glad you liked these last chapters! I often find the ending is the hardest to write (and this was no exception!).

Sam: You know, I kinda felt the same way. The stuff that happened in Minas Tirith seemed so long ago! In a way, that's why I felt I had to recap what had happened there to remind everyone how Sam got to where he was!

Janna Hawkins: Here it is. We hopes the Precious is happy!

RenaissanceGrrl: Yes, the fear of rabid Sam fans banging on my door with torches and pitchforks deterred me from killing Sam there on the gallows! Brings down the property values! I hope this chapter wraps things up for you (although we don't hear anything further on Uzelle. I will admit that. Maybe someday they would hear, but under the current circumstances, no one is there to update them! Anyway, here is the end and I want to thank you for all your amazing reviews! They often made me laugh!

OK, for what it is worth, here is the final farewell chapter of "At the End of All Things"

Ch 34 The Good in the World

Sam spent many hours catching up with Frodo, Merry, and Pippin. He had been ecstatic to learn they had chased the ruffians from the Shire and that Saruman was gone forever. He was especially pleased to hear that Bill Ferny had not survived the fighting. He spoke little of his own ordeals and adventures. Some were simply too painful to recount. His near-hanging was especially difficult for him, but he beamed at Rosie when Frodo told him of how she had raised the hobbits of Hobbiton to come to his rescue. Rosie just blushed, but was pleased that Frodo made sure Sam knew.

As glad as Sam was to see his friends, at times he still felt it difficult to accept that everything Frodo said had been true. He did so want to believe it, but with growing frequency he felt a cold depression threatening to overwhelm him once more. So many bad things had happened, he mused sadly to himself and he couldn't help but feel somehow responsible for much of it.

"You're just being foolish, Samwise Gamgee," he muttered to himself one night in growing irritation. The pain from his injuries was keeping him awake and his thoughts were not happy ones. He couldn't help thinking how Jolly would still be alive if he hadn't joined up with those rebels. He worried about Hertig. No word had come yet and Sam harbored a deep and horrifying fear that he was dead. Olwyn's shining face would rise up before him in such instances and Sam would fight the urge to cry out. The pain and fears he had nurtured for so long did not simply disappear just because Frodo had come back and in some ways that was the most frustrating of all.

Rosie watched Sam with growing concern. He had been so happy those first few days after he had awakened, but lately, he seemed to be brooding and depressed. He merely picked at his food now and Rosie, whose room was nearest to Sam's, had often heard him cry out in the grip of some horrible nightmare. She wondered if Frodo saw these things, but Sam's master was so happy to have Sam back again, she doubted it. Plus, Frodo was gone much of the time. Now that Sam seemed to be doing better, Frodo spent many hours with the other hobbits trying to put their lives back in order. He and his cousins were working on repairing Bag End so that he could move back home, and Rosie knew he hoped to bring Sam with him. She tried to speak to Sam about what was troubling him, but all he would say was, "Don't bother about me, Rosie! There's so many worse off than me. I'll be fine as soon as I can get out of this bed!" But with the way things were going, Rosie worried that day might never come.

One afternoon, she stood outside by the well watching the lane. She was very tired. Sam had been especially bad that night and she hoped to catch Mr. Frodo to speak with him. He had spent the night at Bag End working late and had not yet come by. She slumped down on the seat near the well, pulling her shawl around her against the bitter wind. She leaned back and closed her eyes. "Rosie?" She jumped in surprise, but smiled when she spied Mr. Merry coming up the lane towards her.

"Mr. Merry!" she said self-consciously, "I didn't hear you comin'"

He smiled in return, then frowned as he noticed her haggard face. "Is something wrong, Rosie?" he asked in concern.

Rosie bit her lip in dismay. Should she confide her fears to Merry? He was a good friend to both Frodo and Sam. Perhaps he would be the best one to talk to. She twisted the ends of her shawl with her fingers. "I'm worried about Sam," she sighed wearily.

Merry studied her for a moment, then settled down beside her. Oddly enough, he had heard the same thing from Dr. Smallburrow just that morning. That was actually why Merry had come. He wanted to check on Sam, but now with Rosie echoing the doctor's concerns, Merry was more worried than ever. "What is wrong with him?" he asked quietly.

Rosie brushed away the tears that seemed to come so easily these days. "He was so happy at first," she said worriedly, "but lately, he's changed. Oh, when you or Mr. Frodo or Mr. Pippin come by, he still acts happy and all, but it's just that – an act. When no one's lookin' he's altogether different. He has bad dreams all the time and he hardly eats. It's as if he can't let go of all the bad things that happened to him."

Merry sighed, shaking his head wearily. "I know what you mean," he said. "I see the same things in Frodo. He has his own demons to fight and coming home hasn't dispelled them." He glanced back at the house. "To be honest, I have felt that all was not right with Sam, but I couldn't tell Frodo that. He is so relieved to have finally gotten the truth out, he wants to believe Sam will be fine. So much has happened to them that we can't even begin to understand." Again he paused, brushing the hair from his eyes. He gazed out into the distance.

"Frodo carried the Ring of Power and it was slowly but surely consuming him with its dark power. He told me many times that without Sam, the quest would have failed almost from the start. As for Sam, in some ways I think his journey was the hardest of all. Pippin and I always had someone helping us. Even when the orcs had us, we knew Aragorn was coming. But Sam, Sam had no one. Frodo had his Ring and by the end, Gollum understood Frodo better than did Sam. Sam had to make all the decisions. When he thought Frodo was dead, he was forced to make the decision to take stay with Frodo or take the Ring himself and attempt to destroy it ...alone. Alone, he rescued Frodo from the orcs, got him across Mordor to Mt. Doom and then was faced with a master who had turned into a monster. Again and again Sam has been forced to deal with horrific situations with no one to help him, even after they were rescued, he was still alone."

Rosie sighed unhappily. "It didn't change when he got home to the Shire," she said. "His friend, Hertig, was caught. Sam had to then deal with that vile Lotho Pimple alone. Jolly and I helped as much as we dared, but still. Then, he escaped and joined the rebels and many of them ended up dead just like Jolly and Sam had to turn himself in to save the rest of us. Then, he was alone with that devil, Ferny."

"But, he's not alone now." Merry and Rosie turned quickly in their seat to find Frodo standing behind him, his face full of anguish.

"Frodo!" cried Merry getting to his feet, "I..."

"No, Merry, it's all right," said Frodo sadly. "I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but I heard most of what you said and it is true. Sam was alone, more so than any of us. At least I had that accursed Ring. And Gollum, poor company though he was. So, even when I was with Sam, I was of no help." He looked glumly at the damp ground at his feet. "I have noticed Sam has not been doing well," he said suddenly. "I just didn't want to believe it." He stood silently for a moment, then looked at the house. "I think I'd better go see him," was all he said.

Sam lay in his bed staring at the ceiling. His dinner sat untouched on the bedside table. He felt guilty wasting the Cotton's food, but he had no appetite. A sound at the door caused him to turn his gaze towards the doorway and he watched as Frodo slowly entered. Oddly, there was no welcoming smile this time, just a sad, worried look.

"Mister Frodo?" he asked. Sam's voice was still raspy, but he had use of it now at least.

"Hullo, Sam," said Frodo quietly sitting down beside his friend. He studied Sam's puzzled face. It was a face he knew so well. He had seen it happy, furious, and full of grief. He smiled faintly as he recalled the relief he felt when that same, warm face hovered over him in Cirith Ungol signaling his rescue from the orcs. But, the face was different now. It was thin and distant and there was a defeated look in the eyes that Frodo had never seen before, even during the darkest days of Mordor. He took Sam's hand.

"What is wrong, Sam?" he asked now looking into Sam's eyes. "Please. Tell me."

Sam opened his mouth to protest that nothing was wrong, but one look from his master told him that would be futile. Frodo knew something was amiss and after what happened in Minas Tirith, he would not let up until he found out.

"I..I'm not really sure, Mr. Frodo," Sam finally admitted. "I thought after you had explained everything to me that things would be back to the way they were, but..." he paused here, his face full of pain, "but they're not! I can't help but think of all the people that would still be alive it weren't for me! Jolly, Largo and the others, perhaps Hertig. I was so foolish and blind that I ran away and look what happened! I don't see how the Cottons can stand to look at me much less keep me in their house!" He stopped again, shaking, his breaths coming in gasps. Frodo stared at him in alarm.

"Sam!" he exclaimed, "None of this is your fault! Saruman had them killed, not you! You gave everyone hope where there was none! You stood up to them and fought back, then you were willing to give up your life for theirs just as you were willing to do for me. How could you think anyone would blame you for what happened? Sam, didn't what happened in Minas Tirith teach you not to jump to conclusions!"

Sam smiled weakly, but looked away. Minas Tirith. Would that name forever conjure up unwanted nightmares? Sam bit his lip then reluctantly replied, "I want to believe what you told me, Mr. Frodo, about what happened there and all, but somehow, even that is hard to do. Those words just keep echoin' in my head, over and over. I can't shut 'em out, much as I want to. I know you said you were talkin' about Gollum, but...but were you really? I must know the truth!" This time, Sam turned his eyes towards Frodo, so full of desperation and pleading, Frodo couldn't speak.

"I...I don't know what to say to you, Sam," Frodo finally said, his voice barely above a whisper. Tears were now glistening in his eyes. "I would rather cut my throat than hurt you. Everything I told you before was true! How can I make you believe me?"

Sam said nothing. He didn't know what to do. Why was he doubting Frodo's word? He never had before. Merry and Pippin had told him how much Frodo suffered after Sam's disappearance. Shouldn't that be enough to convince him?

"I guess I'm havin' a hard time believin' anything good can happen to me," Sam finally sighed. "I'm afraid if I finally trust in somethin', it will turn out just like everything else – dead or destroyed."

Frodo nodded. He understood that only too well. He had felt that way himself so often since the beginning of the Quest, but he now he had to help his friend. "Sam," he said more firmly now, "You mean more to me than anyone else in the world. You mean just as much to Rosie. It's not just your body that needs to heal. Your heart and soul need it just as much. Please, give yourself that time, Sam. Try and see the good that is around you and not just remember the bad of the past. You and I destroyed the Ring so that the world would still have some good in it. Don't let everything we did be for nothing. Don't leave me, Sam."

Sam lay there in silence staring at the ceiling. Then, with a tremulous smile, Sam nodded. "I will try, Mr. Frodo. For your sake and for Rosie's, I will try."

And he did. Not every day was easy for Sam, but he tried to see something good in every day and soon, he was able to see more and more. He slowly began to regain his strength and his spirits lifted immediately the first day Dr. Smallburrow allowed him out of bed. Granted, it was just to sit in a chair by the window, but to Sam, it was the first sign he would someday be himself again and his friends began to feel more hopeful.

Mayor Whitfoot, although he had temporarily turned over his position to Frodo while recovering from his incarceration in the Lockholes, had decreed that there would be a festival at the end of November to celebrate the Shire's victory over Sharkey and his men. Special honors would be awarded to those that had played an integral part in the overthrow of the ruffians. Pippin preened upon hearing that news. "Maybe we'll get medals!" he said to Merry excitedly. Merry just shook his head and exchanged grins with Frodo.

It had been several weeks now since Saruman's demise and Sam was up and about and able to help Frodo with some of the simple tasks at Bag End. He knew about the upcoming festival to honor him and the others, but he was reluctant to attend the festivities. He felt very uncomfortable when local hobbits came by to give him their thanks for all that he and his rebels had done for them. "Sam," sighed Frodo once again. "You must come. You have no choice! The citizens of Hobbiton wish to honor you and you must respect that!"

Sam looked uncomfortable. "But, I really didn't do anything," he protested weakly. "I helped the others. It was all their doing! They should be honored, not me!"

"Well, it does not matter," replied Frodo looking at him in exasperation. "They want you there!" Sam sighed and finally nodded. He glanced up and spied Rosie watching him from across the room, a fond grin on her lovely face. Sam blushed and looked down.

The day of the festival was a beautiful one. It was clear and unseasonably warm. Although the Party Tree long longer existed, tables and tents were set up in the field just the same. Sam vowed to plant a new tree as soon as spring came. He couldn't bear the look of the desolate field. Lights were strung and there was music and dancing and food galore. Once Sharkey's stores were opened, there was more than enough food for everyone. Merry and Pippin, resplendent in their armor, were at the center of attention. Many a lovely hobbit lass gazed longingly at them as they recounted their many adventures. Frodo and Sam were content to sit quietly off to the side and watch the others celebrate their freedom.

"Seems right somehow," remarked Sam looking up into the clear, star-lit sky. "that our adventures end with a party seein' how they started with one!" He smiled at Frodo. "We're just missin' some o' Gandalf's fireworks!" Frodo laughed and wondered where Gandalf was.

Finally, it was time for the speeches to be made. Much to his delight, Pippin and Merry were indeed awarded medals for their heroism and service to the Shire. There was much cheering and toasting in their honor. Mayor Whitfoot was about to move on to Sam and Frodo when his eyes grew wide with wonder as he stared off down the road.

All the hobbits turned and with small cries of amazement, they spied two figures making their way towards the gathering. One, looked like an old man but he and his magnificent stallion were as white as the purest snow. Beside him, on an equally majestic chestnut steed, sat a tall warrior, his armor gleaming in the torchlight and his blond hair flowing down his broad shoulders. "Gandalf!" cried Frodo in surprise, leaping to his feet. He was followed by Sam who gasped, "Hertig!" The hobbits made way for the horses and watched excitedly as they realized a couple of hobbits rode behind. It was Ilberic and Ferdinand riding none other than Bill the Pony and Trofast, the Sam's pony from Rohan.

Gandalf and Hertig dismounted and greeted hobbits left and right as they made their way to the stage where Frodo and the others sat. Gandalf beamed up at them with as much pride as father whose children had finally proven themselves. Gandalf embraced each of the four hobbits, giving Sam an especially warm smile. "I was worried we might not see you again, Sam," he said softly. "I am pleased that I was wrong!" Sam simply blushed, but he looked up eagerly when Hertig approached.

"Well, Sam," grinned the soldier after embracing the dumbstruck hobbit, "It would seem that your safe little Shire was far more dangerous than I was led to believe! I think perhaps I should return to Helm's Deep where things were less hazardous!" Sam grinned back, then looked uncomfortable.

"I am sorry, Master Hertig," he began. "I should never have let you come with me. You were almost killed!"

Hertig looked solemnly down at his small friend, then kneeling before him, placed his hands on Sam's shoulders. "Sam, you turned yourself in to save my life and those of your friends, the Cottons. Fortunately, I had already escaped, but you had no way of knowing that. Many times I have saved comrades in the heat of battle and they me, but never has someone willingly surrendered themselves to the enemy and offered their life in exchange for mine. I will always be in your debt, Samwise Gamgee." Sam just blinked in embarrassment, then shyly smiled in return. It would not do to insult his friend. He then noticed the horses.

"Bill! Trofast! Manelys!" Sam cried in delight. "Where did you find them?"

Hertig laughed. "A horse of Rohan is no ordinary horse, my friend! It would take more than those puny ruffians to capture and hold one such as Manelys! Even one as small as Trofast, is not easily taken. Gandalf said that Shadowfax called them to him and thus they were waiting for me in Bree when I awoke. Your pony Bill, I was told, just appeared one day at the inn. I am sure he will be very glad to see you again!"

Hertig stood up and regarded the assembled hobbits. He turned to the Mayor with a welcoming smile. "May I be permitted to speak?" The Mayor equally pleased to see his old cellmate from the Lockholes stepped aside and allowed Hertig to take his place on the platform. Hertig looked down at the four hobbits and Gandalf, then turned to his audience.

"My name is Hertig. I am a Rider from Rohan, although I doubt many of you have ever heard of my land." The hobbits laughed a little at this. "I know today you are celebrating your freedom from your oppressors and have been honoring your four companions, Merry Brandybuck, Pippin Took, Frodo Baggins, and Samwise Gamgee for their fight here in the Shire. However, I am here to tell you that is only the beginning of their brave and noble deeds. I am here to tell you of two hobbits considered so brave that one was chosen to be a Rider of Rohan, one of the Rohirrim and the other as one of the elite guards of the Citadel of Minas Tirith Both fought most bravely against the fiercest warriors the Dark Lord could muster as well as defeated a mighty wizard." Merry and Pippin blushed in pleasure as they noticed the villagers staring at them in renewed awe. "But, I am also here to tell you of two other hobbits, who alone and unprotected, made their way into the very heart of Sauron's dominion, into the very fires of Mt. Doom itself to destroy the one thing that could return the foul lord to his full strength: The Ring of Power."

The hobbits were enthralled. Hertig was a gifted story teller and his tale of the travelers' adventures and fight against the Evil trying to take over the world was beyond anything heard in the Shire before. Having such an obviously noble and courageous warrior such as Hertig telling the story brought even more credence to the tale. Knowing that great kings throughout Middle Earth called these four hobbits their friends was something that would be talked about in the pubs for months to come.

When Hertig was finished, there was a moment of silence, then almost as one all the hobbits rose to their feet cheering and applauding. Merry, Pippin, Frodo, and Sam looked to one another and smiled in embarrassment. Although Merry and Pippin has spoken some of their adventures, most of the other hobbits seemed skeptical that such events could have ever taken place. Pippin gave Merry a nudge in the ribs and a smug smile. Now they'd have to believe them!

There was a wonderful party afterwards and much to Sam's delight, Gandalf managed to conjure up some of his magnificent fireworks. Hertig had become the center of attention for the younger hobbits who were full of questions. The Rider enjoyed every minute of his new found fame and would delight in telling his children of his adventures in the Shire.

Sam sat at a table with Frodo and for the first time in many, many months, felt at peace. Hertig's return had lifted such a weight from his shoulders that he almost felt giddy with relief. He hadn't realized how his fear for the Rider had been consuming him. But now, now it was time for Samwise Gamgee to start living again. Time for him to look now to the future and all the wonders it might hold. Looking up, he spied Rosie helping her mother at one of the serving tables. Frodo glanced at his friend and frowned slightly as he noticed the sudden look of grim determination on Sam's face.

"Sam?" he asked with a touch of concern. "Is there something wrong?"

Sam took a swig of ale from his mug, and stood up. "No, Mr. Frodo," he replied taking a deep breath. "But I think it's about time I asked Rosie for that dance!"

Frodo grinned as he watched Sam make his way across the field. Sam was back at last.