What Could Have Been
by SkyFire

Disclaimer: Not mine, wish they were. *dreams* Elf-Lords... chocolate... feathers... rope....
*ahem* Yeah, they're probably glad that I'm just borrowing them for a while! ;o)

A/N: Just a small random scene that popped into my head, about how the whole Sauron-Returns
fiasco could have been avoided. This takes place at the end of the Second Age, when Elrond and
Isildur are in the Cracks of Doom, and Elrond is trying to get Isildur to throw the Ring into the
Fire. Descriptions are taken from my memories of The Movie, and could be a bit off. Luckily, it
isn't a key point.

2) Thoughts are in / /.

3)Warning: Dark & twisted humor, character death.

Please, please review!

*****
What Could Have Been
by SkyFire

They stood there in the Cracks of Doom, the rising thermals from the bubbling lava creating a
hard updraft that tugged at hair and clothing.

"Isildur! Cast it into the Fire!" Elrond commanded. He was covered with dirt and ash and blood
from the battle that had ended with the fall of not only Sauron but also of Elendil and Gil-galad.

Isildur, easily as dirty as the Half-Elf, looked at the Lord of Imladris as is he were speaking
the language of the Noldor. He looked to the Ring he held in his hand, then to the glowing
molten rock that bubbled so near to them. The Ring... it spoke to him of power, of greatness.
It told him that with it in his posession, his name would be remembered long into the coming Age,
long after he was naught but ashes himself. That his kingdom could be both vast and mighty, and
be a place of peace for all. That it could be a place of even greater beauty even than the Elven
realms....

"Isildur!" came Elrond's voice again.

Elendil's son looked again to the Half-Elf. /He wants me to destroy the Ring,/ he mused. /But
it is such a little thing. Surely, *this* wasn't the source of the Dark Lord's power./ His dark
eyes narrowed with suspicion fed by the nearly imperceptible whisperings of the Ring itself.
/Surely, the greater part of that came from within himself. If, as the Elves said, Sauron was
Maia, what need would he have for such a small trinket? But then, why does the Half-Elf want so
badly to see the Ring destroyed? Why do the Elves fear it?/

/They do not want to see my kingdom grow greater than their own, perhaps,/ he thought. /They are
jealous of it, that I have it and they do not./ He stared at the Ring again. /Cast it into the
Fire? No, I think not. This shall be an heirloom of my House, of my Line, and a symbol of our
victory over the Dark Lord and his forces! Let the Elves stew in their jealousy. My kingdom
shall not be diminished for the sake of their pride!/

He wore a small smirk on his face as he looked once again to Elrond, who stood there, buffeted by
the heat-made winds, staring at him with a hint of growing desperation in his grey eyes. "No,"
was all he said, all that he *needed* to say.

With that, Isildur turned, started to walk away.

"Isildur!" came Elrond's half-outraged, half-desperate shout from behind him. He ignored it,
walked on.

He was only a few steps away when he felt the Half-Elf grab hold of his elbow and pull him back
around to face him.

"Cast it into the Fire, Isildur!" Elrond said once again.

"Is that all you know how to say, half-Man?" Isildur sneered, making the title seem an insult.
"All you have said since we entered the Cracks has been 'Cast it into the fire, Isildur, cast it
into the fire.'" He snorted. "And I *had* thought Elves to be so gifted with words!"

"Please, Isildur," Elrond said, nearly begging. "Destroy it!"

"No," Isildur said again. He made to turn and leave, but Elrond did not release his elbow.
"Release me," he ordered.

"No," Elrond said. He looked sorrowfully to the Man. "I can not allow the Ring to go
undestroyed," he said softly. "Valar forgive me."

Then Isildur had barely time enough to let out a shriek of surprise when the deceptively slender
Half-Elf pivoted on his anchor-leg, throwing the bulkier Man off balance, then threw him over the
edge of the ledge on which they stood and into the fire.

There came a brief hiss as Man and Ring went into the Fire, soon followed by a deep rumbling as
the boiling molten rock began to be even more agitated, its level beginning to rise sharply.

Elrond turned and ran then, knowing that the destruction of the Ring had destabilized the firey
mountain and that an eruption was imminent.

It was only later, after the camps had been moved to a safe distance from the mountain that the
question was raised as to where Isildur was, and what had happened to the Ring of Sauron.

"The Ring went into the Fire," Elrond told those who asked. It was only to a small few that he
spoke: "The Ring went into the Fire... with Isildur."

END

Perhaps all of Middle-Earth would have been better off if Elrond hadn't acted so civilized
instead of doing *this*, hmm? ;) Anyways, the plotbunnies live for feedback, so please leave some
for them, hmm? :)