Chapter 1: Nightmares and New Beginnings

Sméagol sat in the boat watching as the worm between his fingers wriggled in an attempt to escape. After a few more seconds of watching; he slowly and carefully placed the worm on his fishing hook before casting it out and waiting for a fish to bite. He heard his friend, Deagol, shouting in excitement before his words finally made sense to him.

"I've got one, Sméagol! I've got one!" his friend said grinning and giving shocked giggles.

Sméagol felt excitement for his friend and happiness as he said, "Pull, pull!"

Then he watched horrified as Deagol was dragged into the lake water, he fell forward as the boat rocked from the sudden movement. When he could finally sit up he searched the waters for his friend, all he saw was his fishing hat floating upon the water, soaked.

"Deagol!" he cried out fearfully, no answer came.

After a few more minutes of calling his friends name, he decided to row to shore, perhaps he was already there after swimming toward it. He came to the shore, and after not seeing Deagol he went further inland, looking around for his friend. After coming up empty handed, he went back to the shore thinking perhaps he had missed him. As he came nearer and nearer to the location he had pulled the boat ashore, he saw the outline of his friend who was soaked from head to hairy toe.

He ran forward a grin coming to his face, as he came closer he went to say something but felt his eyes drawn to what was in his friends hands, he began to hiss, "Give it to us precious."

Deagol gave a jolt and closed his fist over the ring that lay in his hand putting it behind his back and stepping back, Sméagol felt contempt and hatred for his friend. He remembered speaking to Deagol, but afterward became a blur. When everything was clear once again Deagol was on the ground, his eyes open and glazed, with Sméagol's hands around his neck. He looked down horrified, but then remembered the ring and quickly opened his fist before he took it and slipped it on his finger.

What happened after that was vague and he heard Gollum speaking to him, narrating the time and singing nasty rhymes in his head.

Sméagol woke with a jolt, screaming out in terror and pain at the memory. He quickly stifled it when he saw the sleeping forms around him. He jumped up quickly, quietly, and walked out of the teepee like shelter he had found for them. He climbed to the top before sitting astride it as if it were a horse and stared as the skies began to darken. He heard a shuffling beneath and ducked down so that he would not be seen. He peeked over the edge to see Sam standing there and glancing around.

"Sméagol," he heard the sandy haired Hobbit call out softly.

He took a deep, strengthening breath before he jumped down beside the Hobbit making him jump, "Yes?" he asked, his voice was too shaky for his liking.

"Are you alright, I heard you tossing and turning and then scream when you woke up," Sam said softly, wrapping a comforting arm around the healing Hobbit's hunched shoulders that were slowly straightening as the days passed.

"Yes," the Hobbit whispered, Sam turned to him and looked him in the eyes, searching.

Finally Sméagol broke, he fell forward into Sam's chest and sobbed out his nightmare, shoulders shaking. Throughout the whole telling Sam rubbed Sméagol's back and made soothing noises in his ear as he listened closely. When Sméagol finished Sam held him closely for a few more minutes before he pulled back slightly to look Sméagol in the eye.

"I'm goin' to tell you this now Sméagol, you are not Gollum," Sam told him seriously looking him straight in the eye, his green flaked gold eyes sparking with determination and love, "You didn' kill Deagol, it was the Ring. You are innocent, an' you 'ave no blood on yer 'ands."

Sméagol looked up with a tear stained face, hope filling his eyes, "Really?" he asked hesitant to believe the gardener's words.

Sam nodded, "Now all you have to do is believe it, an' Gollum will never be able to use you again," he told the little Hobbit before kissing him on the forehead and bringing him close to his chest.

Remus watched this from their little shelter, Frodo asleep on his chest, the Black ring in his hands as he slept. A small smile crept to the former lycan's lips before he called out to them, "Come back inside and get some more rest my cubs, we still have time yet before we must set off."

Sam turned to him and smiled before nodding, he pulled back, but kept an arm around Sméagol's shoulders and led the little Hobbit back into the shelter, "Come along then Li'l Brother, you need some rest if your ta lead us ta the stairs," before he lay down on his bed roll and pulled Sméagol down with him.

Sméagol gave a squeak and looked up at the sandy haired Hobbit questioningly, Sam smiled gently and whispered, "So you don' 'ave ta face the nightmare's alon'."

A smile came to Sméagol's face and he snuggled into Sam's chest and slowly fell asleep once more. An hour passed before Frodo awoke and stretched quietly, yawning as he did so. He gave a jolt when he heard Remus chuckle and looked up quickly before relaxing once again.

"Did you not sleep Papa?" the clear eyed Hobbit asked.

Remus smiled gently and shook his head before he looked out once again over the horizon, "I've had too much it would seem," Frodo said his own eyes following Remus's.

"No, it's not yet midday, the days are just getting lighter cub, soon I assume there will be no sunlight at all," the wolf Animagus said, his voice sad.

Frodo nodded before he finally stood and went over to wake Sméagol and Sam, as he did so Remus reached into the pack and pulled out a piece of Lembas bread, breaking it into three equal pieces. When the Hobbits were fully awake he handed the pieces to them, they took them eagerly.

Sméagol paused, "What about you Papa?" he asked the bread an inch from his lips.

"I am fine cub, I ate a few days ago, I should be well until we are finished with the journey," Remus said giving a reassuring smile.

Sméagol seemed hesitant, but soon nodded and ate the piece he was handed. As they were about to set off, Remus noticed Sméagol's uncomfortable demeanor.

"Are you alright Sméagol?" he asked quietly so as not to draw any unwanted attention to the healing Hobbit.

"Sméagol, I mean, I feel uncomfortable with nothing but a loin cloth covering me," the Hobbit whispered.

Remus smiled at the blush that covered the poor Hobbit's face, he took his wand from his hollister and waved it over the Hobbit. Sméagol gave a gasp as tingling went up and down his body, when he looked down he was wearing a pair of trousers and a dark red shirt, a short sword sheathed at his side. He looked up at Remus surprised but found the former lycan smirking and holding back a chuckle at his reaction.

"Thank you Papa!" he shouted, drawing the attention of Frodo and Sam, who had walked ahead of the two.

Remus gave a laugh; it was strained but full of happiness and carefree love none the less. This journey would soon be over and his cubs would soon be safe and he would be able to be with Faramir and Harry once again.