Author's Note ; Thankyou all for the wonderful reviews! You make me feel so special! *hugs to all*. PS : This chapter is AU. In this story….The Fellowship encountered Haldir and CO differently.

CHAPTER SEVEN ---- Welcome Voices….Hallucinations?

I struggled to focus when I heard Sam's voice but it had been no use. The most I could do was open my mouth so that Aragorn could help me to drink the mixture he'd prepared. I fought back tears…everything was hazy…like a mist without any light. I could feel pain…but it was a numb feeling. Was that really Sam….or was I just dreaming?

"Shh…Mr. Frodo." I heard Sam…yes…definitely Sam. So they'd found us…if I wasn't dreaming. I moaned a little as he tucked blankets around me. More than before. Where was Pippin.

"Pippin….slow down there." Merry's voice….I wished I could see him.

"I've not had…r-real food for …d-d-days." Pippin retorted to his cousin. I could tell that he was returning to his old self…still…I could hear the frustration in his voice as he was trying to form sentences. "Potatoes…" he didn't quite form full sentences -yet-, but it was obvious where his mind was.

Then there were other voices that I couldn't recognize. Elves? I didn't know. There was one voice I didn't remember.

Legolas was talking with Aragorn nearby, "What happened…?"

Aragorn was more than a little nearby…his voice was clear as though he might have been only a foot away. If only I could see straight. "A couple of his ribs were broken…at first it was nothing serious…but then he started coughing…and a fever was brought on. I think he swallowed too much water…and perhaps a couple of things he shouldn't have. I gave him something that will stop the coughing. We were afraid for a while there…I thought he might have begun to bleed internally…but it was just his ribs."

"Poor Mr. Frodo….Don't worry." Sam put something soft underneath my head, and brushed my face with a cool cloth. "We were worried sick about you! Thought you'd drown'd. But you're okay. You'll get better. You just lie still."

"Sam…Who's that….Who's with us? I don't know him…" I fretted, wondering if I was hallucinating.

"One of the elves from Lorien, Frodo. Lord Haldir. An aquantence of Aragorn's. He and a patrol were scouting for us and led us to you. Relax now." Sam ordered gently. "Don't try and talk. Just rest. We're going to stay here for a day ."

I complied, resting against him. Sam, wet as he was…was warm…and at least I knew Pippin was okay. I was tired though…and confused. Too many people….too many shadows. I reached out and Aragorn clasped my hand between his, holding it gently.

Everything's going to be alright Frodo." Aragorn assured me.

I wasn't okay...that much was clear to me now. There was something dark swimming in my mind and I couldn't shake it away. It was lurking in every shadow that played in the mist that obscured my vision. Even with the cave filled entirely with people who were there to protect me...I was afraid.

Light was places...but it was though it was the afterglow of a lanturn. I think I saw Sam's face briefly. "Aragorn...Mr. Strider...he's cold..."

And I was cold...but it was not due to anything that was wrong with my body. I was cold because I was afraid. Something was waiting for me....seeking me....I could feel their eyes upon me even now and I shivered.

"...He's Hallucinating..." Aragorn's voice drifted in and out…

"Frodo..." I heard a crackling sound. "Frodo Baggins..." it was like a whip as it struck out into the night and penetrated the darkness. "Frodo Baggins of The Shire..." Feminine...not evil..."Return to the light..."

It felt suddenly easier to breathe…and my vision began to clear a little. Sam's face came into focus…dimly at first…but clear again. "Sam!" I gasped…holding my hand up to cover the Ring, grasping it for dear life.

I felt relieved….great power surrounded us…drawn to the One Ring…but it was not there to take it. Everyone was looking at me…my eyes were clearer than they had been in days I supposed…I leaned back…calm now. The chills were gone…and the only thing that hurt was my ribs. I was a little frightened still…but I knew that the Lady of the Wood had found me. I could not decide yet whether this was good or ill, for I knew very little about the elves of Lorien. I knew though that the danger had passed. Her presence had driven away the shadows…and brought me back.

I had been dangerously close to death…but I was reminded of the purpose of my journey in that moment. I was reminded of who I was and what I was meant to do…of what I had to do.

The Ring had to be destroyed…and I was the only one who could see the task done…no matter what I had to go through to see it through. I only hoped that the Lady of the Wood had some grain of hope to give me.
"You've got a lot more strength in you than you give yourself credit for." Aragorn told me gently.

I smiled and laid my head against Sam's shoulder, drawing peace from the comfort of his arms and the knowledge that we were not lost.

We had been found.

* * *