Stinging Words
By Meldewen Ilce

Rated: G
Spoilers: Spoilers for "The Return of the King"

Summary: Sam's thoughts after rescuing Frodo from the Orcs and after Frodo's harsh words to him...

Disclaimer: Of course I do not own the characters of Sam or Frodo or anyone found in Middle Earth but instead they belong to J.R.R. Tolkien! I am just borrowing them both for a bit and NO copyright infringement is intended by the writing or publishing of this story!

Mr. Frodo didn't look too worst for the wear after I found him in the tower where those stupid, filthy Orcs had held him prisoner. There was a queer scarlet glow, looking like a flame, about his neck, but he told me it wasn't painful. I was worried more about his spirits than anything else as I asked him if he could walk out of that dreadful place. His spirits seemed to be lifted until he said to me:

'They've taken everything, Sam!'

He had no need to go on for me to understand that he spoke of the Ring. I watched my master's spirits fall again as he spoke of all hope being lost for Middle Earth because the quest was failed.

Even though at that moment I felt an odd reluctance to tell him that I had the Ring about my neck, I did so anyways. I had a hard time taking the Ring and its chain into my hands to give back to Mr. Frodo and I don't understand why. Could the Ring have woven a hold over me in just the brief time I had been forced to keep it safe from the Orcs? I didn't know.

'You've got it? You're a marvel!' Mr. Frodo said.

I smiled.

However the next words my master spoke were those of a stranger, not of the friend I had known all of my life. 'Give it to me!' He spoke as though I were a thief. 'Give it to me at once! You can't have it!'

I says "All right, Mr. Frodo.' in reply and gave it to him feeling startled. "Here it is!"

I remembered that we were in the Land of the Dark Lord and so as I passed the Ring on its chain to him, I said: 'But you're in the Land of Mordor now, sir; and when you get out, you'll see the Fiery Mountains and all. You'll find the Ring very dangerous now, and very hard to bear. If it's too hard a job, I could share it with you, maybe?'

Never in all my days afterwards could I remember what Mr. Frodo said to me in reply with the words bringing tears to my eyes because what he said truly stung my heart.

'No, no!' he cried, snatching the Ring from my hand, 'No you won't, you thief!'

Moments passed as I stared at him, and finally I fell to my knees, as I felt tears pooling in my eyes. How could he have said such a thing to me?

'O Sam,' Mr. Frodo cried horrified at himself, 'What have I said? What have I done? Forgive me!'

Yes, I would forgive him for what he had said because surely it was not my master speaking but the evil power behind the Ring. Could he had really thought such betrayal of me on his own?

'After all you have done. It is the horrible power of the Ring!'

Yes, I thought so! I knew that he could have never meant those words! I could understand what he meant by the horrible power of the Ring as I too had felt it terrible power what little time it was in my hands!

I wiped my eyes with my sleeve, determined not to let the power of the Ring or his stinging words come come between us. We had a job to finish and his friendship meant too much to me, and so I spoke after he had finished, offering what little I could even as I let him know it was all right.

'But can I still help, can't I?'