Distant Voices

A/N: I'm in a surprisingly good modd right now... which is really strange, because the guy I like is still a jerk, but I feel... happy... and I have Tarot cards.... I like doing readings on people. So I'm kinda happy for now.

(*^.^*): And if you didn't see before, she HAS read the books. Many times. She just likes the way the movie went better.

A: And I know I suck at writing, but I'm gonna try and improve. .

(gasp, current update! as i the above was done weeks ago, and I just got my lazy butt up to doing this chapter, and had to add something...)

A: BIG NEWS! I JUST SAW MIIB, AND I ONLY SAW IT FOR THE PREVIEWS FOR TTT, AND IT GAVE ME SO MUCH INSPARATION THAT I HAD TO TYPE THIS! IT'S STARNGE, AND IT SCREWS WITH THE PATH OF THE BOOK BUT WHATEVER! ARAGORN IS SO FREAKING HOT!!!!

Be calm my T.O........

(*o.o*): You perv...

A: Hey, it's not like everyone knows that t.o. means t-.... nice try. Oh, and despite the rumor, I have not fallen into the blackhole for dumb writers ^_^

Again, I'm sorry if none of you like what I do with this fic, but the age changing and everything just made it easier for me. I'm the youngest and shortest (though not the skinniest :P maybe just the one with the biggest *ahem* chest... ::Growl::... And not by choice either...) and it was easy to write because I could think of Frodo's viewpoint as my own. Although, I did screw with Frodo's appearance for a pretty strange reason, there will be a reason why she dun have harry feet and is skinnier.

Eee... My longest chapter... Go me...

*****

Frodo sat quietly, staring out at the calm sapphire water. Lately, she had been wishing that she had a female companion to talk to, or at least someone who she could relate to. Aragorn, Sam, and Legolas were all asleep, and considering that they usually never slept due to her, she didn't want to wake them. Gimli was the only one aside form her who was still awake, but he never seemed to want to speak to her much.

'I wish Arwen were here... She always seemed to know just what to say to make me feel better...' Frodo thought glumily.

Stealing a glance at her sleeping friends, Frodo hugged her knees closer to her chest. The clear water that was tinted with topaz was so calm and still that Frodo didn't even blink for a long while. However, really close to the shore, the water turned cerulean and its depths were a mystery.

Frodo shivered. She really hated deep water. Being in the boat all day had made her very nervous, but sitting by the water would do fine for her.

Something splashed, and Frodo released her legs in shock, nearly tumbling off of the slick rocks beneath her covered feet.

Gimli was at her side in a matter of seconds, axe poised for battle.

"What is it?"

Frodo frowned, staring at the water in shock, as if she expected it to jump at her, then looked up at Gimli.

"I... I heard something..."

Gimli grabbed her arm gently.

"It's not safe near the water. Come closer to the fire..."

Frodo nodded, standing in such haste that her slipper caught on one of the mossy rocks. She had forgotten that the shore was slippery, and began to fall backwards. She flailed her arms uselessly, evading Gimli's grasp in panic and accidentally knocking his hand away from her. The water rushed to meet her, stinging her skin with icy bites. Jagged stones dug into her back, but an unexpected drop-off appeared seemingly out of nowhere. As she tried to reach the surface, something latched itslef onto her ankle, pulling her down even further.

Memories bombarded her terrified mind, reminding her of what it was like to drown. She kicked desperately at the animal that was dragging her to the other side of the river, wishing that she hadn't left Sting with her bedroll.

With a burst of air from her lungs, Frodo slammed the heel of her foot into the animal, losing one of her slippers in the process. She floated to the surface, gasping for air as her face rose above the water. She began to cough, barely able to keep her head above the water level.

"Frodo!"

It was then that Frodo noticed just how far out she was. The shore was a large blur, filled with pandemonium. She was able to observe that Legolas and Aragorn were nowhere to be seen, and that Boromir was holding Sam, Merry, and Pippin back, while Gimli stood tense at the edge of the water. There was another splash, and Frodo felt the animal coming back.

"Somebody he-"

Her words were drowned out, and she found herself choking on water. She could no longer kick as her lungs screamed for oxygen. The only reason she knew she was crying was the sharp sting in her eyes.

Her struggle died down as the water filled her lungs.

'I'm sorry...'

There was a sudden rush of being pushed upwards, and Frodo felt herself coughing up water and inhaling the air again.

"Frodo, are you alright?!"

It was Aragorn, who had been the first to enter the cold water, and had managed to fend off the strange animal.

"W-what was that?!"

"I don't know. Come on, let's go back to shore..."

Legolas appeared next to her, looking slightly disgusted with himself, yet relieved. Frodo coughed again, clinging to Aragorn and Legolas as if her life depended on it, which it most likely did.

Her mind grew wary, but it was in the slow and agonizing trip bacl to shore that Frodo felt the sudden need to hold the ring. She moved one shaking hand to her neck, and cried out.

"What is it Frodo?" Aragorn asked in shock.

"Th-the ring! Where is my-the ring?!"

Aragorn frowned at Frodo's attatchment to the ring, knowing exactly where it was.

"I have it, Frodo... I'l give it back when we get to shore. I do not want you losing it along the way."

Frodo turned to Legolas accusingly, eyes desperate.

"Give it back!"

Legolas binked, but was all too happy to hand the ring over to Frodo. Just holding it made him feel unclean. The moment Frodo held the ring in her own two hands, her eyes snapped shut and she began to cry again.

It wasn't the loud type of weeping that made other people want to cover their ears, but the silent and remorseful type that meant wanting to be alone. In one hand, she clutched the ring of doom, and in the other, she clutched Aragorn's arm.

*****

"Frodo? Frodo, are you going to be alright?"

For what had to be the twentieth time, someone tried to get Frodo to respond, and for that exact same number, Frodo ignored them completely. Instead, she just sat, wrapped in a warm blanket with the ring burning into the palm of her hand. The scene in the river continued to play in her mind even as the night darkened so much that she couldn't even recognize the many members of the fellowship who tried to get through to her. She may have been able to hear the voices, but the words were lost to her ears.

Again and again, the vision of her bloodstained hands, the bodies of her most cherished loved ones, and the fall of Gandalf into Shadow replayed in her tortured mind. The sound of her own voice drowned out the others who tried to speak to her, and she could hear herself telling

Legolas to give her the ring. The look of surprise on his face was enough to make Frodo want to run away screaming. She was tainting him, Aragorn, Sam, the entire fellowship. Soemwhere in the back of her mind, she had wished that Galadriel's words had been false, but seeing her own reaction to the ring in someone else's hands...

Legolas taking the ring...

Legolas dead at her feet...

Sam looking at her in horror....

Sam running from her in fear...

Aragorn treating her with distrust...

Aragorn's death at her hands...

"Stop it..." she whispered aloud.

Merry looking on in terror...

Merry turning his back on her...

Pippin pushing her away...

Pippin losing his child-like innocence...

"Please no more..."

Gimli glaring at her in anger...

Gimli being killed at her command...

Boromir taking the ring from her...

Boromir killing her after taking the ring...

"Please stop it..." Her voice was still no more than a whisper, but to the other members of the fellowship, she was speaking loud and clear.

Gandalf and Bilbo disowning her...

Gandalf and Bilbo drowning in the blood from the ones she had killed.

"No... Please no more..."

The ring consumed her until the only thing in her mind remaining was an endless black void.

*****

A scream shattered the night air, before Frodo collapsed, eyes unfocused, into Sam's arms.

"Strider! What do we do?"

Aragorn frowned again, at a loss for words.

"Someone's got to do somethin'!" Merry cried.

Legolas moved for the first time in a good while, grasping Frodo by the shoulders.

"Frodo, wake up! I know you can hear me!"

When Frodo didn't respond, Legolas decided to try one last thing. he pressed his lips to

Frodo's gently, not caring that the entire fellowship was watching. When Frodo continued to

stare ahead blankly, Legolas gave up hope.

*****

'Legolas...Legolas...Legolas...LEGOLAS!'

The name repeated itself in her mind until she felt the black void shatter. Her mind instantly filled with happy memories and the promise of a bright future. Arwen's voice entered her mind, reminding her that Aragorn and Legolas would never betray her, and in her own heart, she knew that no one in the fellowship would.

Yet... *****

Frodo closed her eyes, pulling away from Legolas slowly. When she opened them again, everyone stared at her curiously.

"I am truly sorry for what happened, but I am better now. Thank you everyone for staying near me... and for not giving up on me..."

Merry and Pippin practically tackled the forlorn hobbit maiden, knocking Legolas and Sam over in the process.

"Don't you be scarin' us like that anymore!" Pippin cried.

"You sure had us worried sick!" said Merry.

Frodo managed a half-smile, tears trapped behind her closed eyes, as Sam glared into the distance.

*****

Frodo looked around silently, noting that no one was asleep anymore. Legolas would look over at her every few seconds, and she chose to avoid his gaze. There was no way she could explain the way she had reacted earlier, and she still had no idea which of the fellowship was tainted more.

'I don't want to cause the death of others with my selfishness...'

"Hey Frodo?"

Startled, Frodo found herself staring straight at Sam.

"Yes Sam?"

"May I speak to you... In private?"

Aragorn stood, shaking his head.

"I do not think it is wise for you to be off alone, especially after what happened earlier."

Sam nodded, "I do not mean out of sight, but just out of earshot of the others."

Frodo smiled slightly, gathering her blanket around her tightly to hide her almost nude form as her clothes dried, and moved away form the campfire with Sam.

"Yes?"

Sam frowned, looking back at the others for a brief moment.

"Are you afraid of us?"

Frodo bit her lower lip, not quite knowing how to answer.

"Do you not trust us... Me anymore?"

Frodo's eyes widened.

"Of course I trust you Sam! The others too! It's just... I... I do not know what to do anymore..."

"Does this have anything to do with Galadriel... And the mirror?"

Frodo gasped.

"You know of...?"

Sam sat down guiltily. "I admit I followed you that night. I was worried. What did she say to you, Frodo?"

"S-Sam..."

"What did she say to make you hate us? Why-"

"Sam, stop it!" Frodo cried shrilly.

The remaining members of the fellowship shot alarmed glances their way. Legolas' eyes narrowed at the tone of Frodo's voice, and he proceeded to glare at Sam, even though he could not hear what the two were sayng.

"Frodo..."

Sam turned away, eyes filled with confusion. With a soft sigh, Frodo placed herself beside him, the huge blanket engulfing her thin form.

"Sam... I'm sorry... Just please, no matter what happens, never believe that I hate you. Any of you..."

Sam turned back to her with soft eyes, understanding in one moment every deep fear or doubt in his best friend's mind. And in return, Frodo could see his acceptance.

A wordless agreement passed between the two, and Frodo felt herself being surrounded by warmth. The warmth of Sam holding her close once again.

"Will you tell me? What scared you so?"

Frodo buried her face in Sam's shoulder, sobbing at the memory. She held him as if she feared he would disappear the moment she let go.

"Sam," Frodo choked back a sob, pulling away. "Don't let the ring consume me! Never let the ring consume me!"

With a pained expression, Sam pulled Frodo close once again, wishing that his fragile companion could just return to being innocent and naive.

"I won't let it Frodo... I promise you that I will never let you fall to the ring."

By those words, Frodo fell into a blissful and dreamless sleep.

*****

"What was that all about, Sam?" Merry asked.

Legolas rose an eyebrow, casting a worried glance at Frodo, who lay asleep in her bedroll.

"We heard her yelling," said Aragorn, giving Sam a curious look.

Boromir, who also looked somewhat concerned or curious, as well as Gimli, stayed silent.

"Well... It seems the ring is more of a burden to Frodo then we thought."

At the other's silence, Sam continued.

"She seems to think that she might betray us herself, or that one of us may betray her. She thinks... That the ring is consuming her. Especially without Gandalf here to..." The words became to painful, and Sam let them trail off.

Pippin looked away, tears forming in his eyes.

"I thought as much..."

The group turned to look at Aragorn, who looked past them at the ringbearer's sleeping form.

"She was too young. It was my responsibility, and because I fled like a coward, her innocence is being torn apart."

"She knew what she was doing," Sam interrupted. "According to Gandalf and Elrond, men fall to the power of the ring easier than hobbits."

"And that must be why she hasn't given up," Gimli continued.

"Is there anything we can do for her?" Merry asked.

*****

"I heard rumors that she isn't even full hobbit."

"I don't know why she was named Frodo. That's a boy's name."

"She has no hair on her feet."

"She's much to skinny. It's unhealthy."

"I heard that she hates the dark."

"Her ears are much too pointy. Guys will never like her."

"I don't know what Samwise and Rosie see in her. She is so odd."

"She likes spending time with Gandalf."

Frodo sat up slowly, eyes darting around nervously. She wasn't dreaming, but she wasn't awake.

"My parents told me that one of her grandfathers-"

"How disgusting to-"

"What would a hobbit see in an-"

"It's just unnatural to-"

"What a disgrace-"

"No wonder she's such a-"

"She has-"

"What? No wonder I have what? No wonder I'm what?" Frodo whispered.

"I heard he was-"

"They met against-"

"Broke the law to be-"

"In secret-"

"Exiled-"

"Took pity-"

"Let their children-"

"Killed by-"

"Who was exiled? Who was killed? What children?" Frodo cried.

"So obviously a-"

"Wonder how long she'll live?"

"Do you think she's really part-"

*****

Frodo awoke with a start, missing the one word she wanted to hear.

"Frodo?"

As always, Aragorn was still awake.

"You should really sleep more, Aragorn."

Aragorn moved to sit beside her, looking grim and serious.

"Frodo, I'm sorry. I never should have let you take the ring."

Frodo girnned. "I said I would take it. I knew full well what I was geting myself into. After all, I had managed to carry it from the Shire to Bree, and then to Rivendell."

"Still, I-"

"Aragorn, understand this. I know I may be young, and I know I do not always make the right choice, but this is something I was meant to do. If I hadn't been meant to do it, I wouldn't have ever had to do it."

Aragorn paused, actually hearing her words.

"Even so, I'm sorry you had to grow up so fast. Sometimes fate just isn't as fair as it should be."

"That may be true... But I don't want you to have to ever experience this either..."

Both paused, staring out at the lake again.

"Tell me, what exactly happened earlier? All I rememeber was waking up to Gimli shouting that you had fallen into the water and that some mysterious creature had taken you."

Frodo stared into the sky wistfully.

"I do not know... Something grabbed me, and I only managed to get away after I kicked it. The bad part is, I lost my slipper."

Aragorn nodded.

"I noticed that. Will it be a problem?"

"No. I don't need them. I just wore them to hide... To hide the fact that I'm deformed."

"Deformed?"

Aragorn stole a curious glance at Frodo's feet, nodding.

"The strangest part is, I had a dream of some sorts, where every taunt or rumor melded together.... But from each one, some words were cut off. 'Is she really part-' was one of them. That's when I awoke."

"Hmm..."

There was a slight breeze that caused two things to happen. Frodo shivered, pulling the blankets around her closer, and Aragorn hugged her close.

"I do not know what you will choose do, but I will do my best to protect you in the end."

Frodo, for the first time in a long while, really looked at Aragorn. He was still regal, still handsome, and still looked at her, not the ring.

But still, the ring changed many people, and she wasn't sure whether or not it would change him.

"Thank you, Aragorn."

Frodo blushed suddenly, crimson hues staining her cheeks.

"Aragorn... May I have my clothes back?"

Aragorn chuckled, reaching by the fire and grabbing a bundle of semi-dry clothes. Among them, was a silver mithril shirt.

"I'll turn away so that you may dress," Aragorn said, his voice speckled with amusement.

"Laugh if you want, but I'll have you know Legolas will get you back for it."

Aragorn chuckled again, then turned away. Frodo pulled her clothes on, taking extra time to adjust the mithril shirt and un-tangle her hair.

"Many thanks."

Aragorn sighed.

"You are very welcome Frodo."

There was a heavy silence.

"Get some rest Frodo," Aragorn commanded.

Although his voice was firm, his voice was also gentle, and she knew he meant well.

"If you insist."

*****

Once Frodo was safely asleep and seemingly at peace, Aragorn turned to Sam.

"How long do you intend to lay there and listen to nothing?"

Sam choked, sitting up in shock.

"And how did you know I was still awake?"

"I have my ways. What is it that troubles the great Samwise so?"

Sam let his eyes drift to Frodo's sleeping form.

"I did not tell her, but I also looked into Galadriel's mirror, at the Lady's request."

Aragorn raised an eyebrow. The night had gone quiet, the water completely still. Niether trusted the water much. It simply betrayed them too many times.

"I was aware that Frodo had looked into the mirror, although I do not know what it is she saw. What did you see?"

Sam looked down. "Many things, but the only one that has tormented me constantly is the one of Frodo, pale and unmoving under a cliff of some sorts. I didn't see the surroundings much, but I know that she was either asleep or... Or..."

Aragorn nodded.

"You do not need to say it. Although it is a possibilty, that is what we are trying to prevent."

"Yes.. Yes it is... But it troubles me that I was not with her. I promised never to leave her, Strider. I do not know if that vision means that I will fail her..."

Legolas sat up, eyes full of concern. Emotions deep within him began to rage and storm, conflicting with one another.

"Is everyone still awake?" Sam muttered.

When only the sound of bugs and animals answered, Sam sighed.

"I heard," Legolas whispered.

"Then I suppose you are troubled as well."

Legolas and Aragorn exchanged glances.

"You know me well, old friend."

"There is nothing we can do at the moment, besides making sure that we don't allow ourselves to be taken by the ring."

"I owe that much to her, and to Gandalf," said Sam quietly.

Sam then turned to Legolas suddenly, eyes serious.

"Do you love her?"

Legolas blinked, confusion and anger flitting across his features.

"And just what do you mean by that?"

For a moment, Sam just continued to stare at the elf prince's expression.

"I have known Frodo all her life, and even though I may not have been by her side through her infancy, I knew her, and still know her. I love her deeply, and I must know that you do too."

Aragorn stole a glance at Sam's clenched fists. The tension grew to an almost unbearable level, before Legolas broke eye contact with Sam.

"I do love her, Samwise. That I cannot deny any more than I could deny that my heart beats inside my chest. Even before entering Moria, when Frodo asked me why I joined the fellowship, the fact that the fate of Middle Earth was at stake didn't even occur to me until after she asked if it was one of my reasons."

Sam continued to look on in slight anger. "She is only thirteen."

Legolas looked up again, meeting Sam's fiery gaze.

"I am well aware of that. However, I have all the time in the world to wait for her."

Again, Sam's eyes darkened. "And what of her life? She will be shunned, and will one day die. What then would you do?"

Legolas winced.

"I know of that too."

Aragorn, being his wonderfully aware self, noticed the sparks of anger that were beginning to ignite. He placed a hand on each companion's shoulder.

"Although both of you have pure intentions, you are both acting like children."

Both Legolas and Sam turned away, scowls on their faces.

"I do not like this, but if it makes her happy, I will accept it. But hear this Legolas, if you ever hurt her-"

"I would never!"

"Just be warned. I may be timid and I may not be strong..."

"Know that I would rather die than see her hurt."

Aragorn nodded. "Resolve the matter. You both should sleep, and I'm sure the others would like to stay asleep as well."

Slightly embarrased, Legolas and Sam both lay back down to sleep.

*****

"We should be going, quickly now."

Boromir had more or less taken command for the morning, considering that Aragorn was still quite tired, and most of the fellowship was dismayed. He had needed a task anyway, having spent a long while trying to forget about a certain ring.

Merry and Pippin glanced at him warily, and he smiled reassuringly. At least he had the two hobbit companions. Their innocence alone was enough to keep his mind in check, and they were always good at making someone laugh.

Frodo hardly noticed the tension between Legolas and Sam, while almost everyone else felt it coming off in waves.

The two hardly talked, and glared constantly, as if silently battling with some sort of decision.

Frodo grimaced as she placed her remaining slipper into her pack. There was no way she would ever find the other.

"Perhaps Rose would make another for me one day."

Sam smiled for the first time that morning at the mention of their best friend's name. Frodo, in attempt to lighten the mood, giggled.

"That's right, you fancy Rose, don't you Sam?"

Sam's eyes widened and his face turned pink.

"Rose Gamgee. Nice ring to it!" Pippin taunted.

"Knock it off!" Sam sputtered.

"His face is as red as a tomato!" Merry exclaimed.

The three hobbits giggled as Sam turned various shades of red and pink, and the other members of the fellowship chuckled.

"That's right, he did dance with her at the party."

"Yes, but he also danced with you Frodo."

Frodo glared. "That was because Windmoon..."

Frodo's eyes darkened suddenly, as if remembering something she'd rather not think about.

"Windmoon?" Legolas enquired.

The flicker of jealousy on his face was clearly visible.

"He's Tulip's brother. But unlike Tulip, he was simply cruel," Merry put in, his protective instinct kicking in.

Although the older hobbits hadn't realized the awful conflict between Frodo and the Grubbs trio, Merry, Pippin, Sam, and Rose were deeply involved.

"I remember one time, he tied Frodo up and threw her into the back of a wagon that was leaving the Shire," Pippin said grimly.

Frodo shuddered involuntarily.

"Yes, and if it hadn't been for Rose, I would have been in the back of that wagon for weeks before anyone would have found me."

"What about the time he put that snake down the back of your dress?" Merry asked.

"There was that time when he pretended to be the ghost of one of your parents," Pippin added.

"Once," Merry spoke directly to Legolas this time. "He grabbed the hem of her skirt and ripped it all the way up to her shirt in the middle of town."

"And the time he and his sisters tried to make you sleep in the pigpen..." Pippin said to Frodo, forgetting that the incident had been the day before the party.

Pippin looked up again.

"Or the party, when he asked you to dance, and-"

"Pippin, Merry, I'd rather not think about it. It's in the past."

Legolas had to stop himself from growling aloud, and made a mental note to ask the other halflings about the infamous Windmoon sometime later.

"We should be going now," Aragorn spoke, coming to Frodo's rescue as Pippin opened his mouth to argue.

"Yes, that would be a good idea," Sam said quietly.

And on that final note, the fellowship of the ring departed.

*****

A/N: Wow... My longest chapter...

Don't expect much more for a while, because I have to bust a move on my Algebra... Blah... Please R/R?

(*^.^*): She meas R/R or I'll kick yo asses!

A: ::Glare:: Have you been hanging around ChnkyPnutBtr?

(*^.^*): ::innocent smile:: no?

A: ::twitch:: Is that so?

(*0.0*): NOT THE FRYING PAN!!! ::runs for dear life::

::Arwen chases after, calling for PG in a singsong voice::

A: I'm not going to huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurt you! I'm just going to stuff you into the blender, hit puree, bake you into a pie, then feed it to the social worker, and when he says "mm, what's your secret?" I'm gonna say...

::Social worker appears out of nowhere::

A: Love... and... I need sleep... Lilo and Stitch.. ::snore::

Luv Mithril C.o.L.

Aragorn's Luver, Arwen Elessar ^_~

Elijah Wood's stalker and self-proclaimed future bride ^_^

::PG snorts:: (*-.-*): Keep dreaming.

A: It could happen......

(*^.~*)