This is a little filler scene that came to my mind during a Role-play. However, I was unable to use it in the game, so I decided to write the story here because I did not want to loose the idea. The story takes place between the time the Hobbits and Gollum leave the Dead Marshes and before Gollum's conversation with himself over Frodo. I think we needed more Gollum fics out there.

Thank you to Legolas Little Angel (Lenna) for proofreading and giving me absolutely no help with the corny title! Lol. Reviews and critiques are welcomed. Thank you

~ Frodo Baggins1982 ~

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Once Frodo, Sam and Gollum left the murky swamps of the Dead Marshes, they traveled two days or more into the No man's land, just before the towering mountains of Mordor. The sky was grim and the air reeked with a smell that pinched the Hobbit's noses and the fumes inhaled made their mouths parched and yearning for water. Once they could find a place to rest, then they both could share a few drops of water from their canteens. But for now, both remained silent as they followed Gollum through the dessert.

The Ring was a constant mark on Frodo's mind; it was heavy around his neck. The whisperings of power ever in his thoughts, though Frodo knew he could not use it. He did not even want to touch it until they came to the Orodruin. The consequences would be too great for the Hobbit to even imagine.

But, why couldn't he use it? If the Ring was so powerful, could he not use the One Ring to help stop the Dark Lord? No, that is what Boromir wanted to do and Frodo saw first hand, how the Ring played with the man's mind. Even The Lady of the Wood would not dare touch the Ring. How could Frodo expect to be able to use it if she could not and would not? Frodo became tired of the constant inner questions. Every one leading to a dead end or more questions that would enter his mind and stay there, unanswered.

It was not long before the three travelers came to a wide, crater like pit. The sun was beginning to rise and Gollum would travel no further for fear of the scouts guarding the skies. As they came out of the Marshes, Frodo and Sam both heard the terrible screeches of the Nazgul. It saddened Frodo's heart knowing that the Nine were not destroyed back at the Ford. He knew this, of course, but the reality that the hobbits were now in Nazgul territory burdened him much.

Helping themselves to a few drops of their water, Frodo and Sam sat down in the crater and looked about. Gollum had slithered off on his own, as he normally did when the two Hobbits rested. "Well, I must say, I am glad we are out of those Marshes." Sam commented as he laid back and closed his eyes for a moment.

"As am I Samwise, though I can not say I enjoy this place any better." Frodo replied in a tired voice. He looked up to the mountains a few miles ahead of him. On the other side of the jagged, black rocks lay Mordor. Perhaps he should not think this was the worse place to be at the moment. Surely the barren lands of Mordor would be enough to drive any one mad, before the Ring had a chance too.

"Should I take the first watch Mr. Frodo?" Sam asked as he took the pack off of his shoulders. He let out a yawn of exhaustion but tried to appear well enough for his master.

"No Sam, you sleep. I believe it is my turn to watch this time." Frodo protested as he too, took off his pack and laid it by Sam's.

"Very well, master Frodo. But be sure to wake me in a few hours. And let me know if that Gollum tries anything funny."

"I doubt he will Sam, but I shall call if I need you." Frodo yawned a little and then moved over to a spot a little ways from Sam as the other Hobbit laid back for a nap.

As the hour passed, Frodo stared up into the sky. He could see feint black shadows stalking about up there but heard to sound of the Nazgul. Suddenly, however, a few rocks fell to the left of Frodo. He turned and saw Gollum. He was watching Frodo for a moment in the shadows but once Frodo caught him, the creature began to slither off on his own again.

Feeling the need for company, Frodo whistled softly. "Sméagol!"

Gollum looked up and hissed at Frodo but came to him as a dog would to his master. "Yes, nice master want something of Sméagol? Sméagol obeys the master of the Preciousss..." He stated.

Frodo gave a half smile and yawned a bit. "Just some company Sméagol, if you could spare the time." Said Frodo softly, not wanting to wake Sam.

"Sméagol is very hungry. Wants to find food he does, yes precious, nice food for nice Sméagol." Said Gollum as he came and sat before Frodo. He looked up and cocked his head curiously at Frodo as if studying him, wondering why he wanted to talk to Gollum.

Frodo looked down to the pitiful creature before him. Gollum's large, round eyes starred back at Frodo with a strange glint that Frodo could not place. It was neither friendly nor evil. Frodo picked up his canteen and offered it to Gollum slowly. Accepting the water, Gollum took a few sips and handed the water back to Frodo. There was only enough water left for a few mouthfuls. Enough for Gollum to surely have drank but he did not. He left enough for Frodo, which surprised the Hobbit. After a few moments of silence, Frodo finally spoke again. "It would only be for a moment. I was just wondering how much longer before we reach the boundaries of Mordor?"

"Not long, a few days, not long with Sméagol. He knows the way...doesn't he, preciousss? He has been there before, yes he hasss..."

It was then Frodo noticed that Gollum was rubbing his hands as if they were in pain. It was a ritual Gollum often did when he was around Frodo for too long. Frodo had noticed it earlier but never mentioned it due to their situations and need for haste. "They hurt you; your hands. Don't they?"

Gollum hissed a little, and stopped rubbing his hands as if he had not realized he was doing the gestures. Suddenly, there was a change in Gollum and the way he talked, there was a different light in his eyes, a sad, pitied light that seemed to make Gollum almost look normal.

"Black evil things hurt poor Sméagol. His...my hands...my precious hands..."

Frodo seemed to stare blankly at them, remembering that Gollum had been captured in Mordor and tortured. That was how the Wraiths knew to come to the Shire for the Ring. Gollum would have never willingly told them about the Ring and Frodo shuddered to think about what they had done to him and what they would do to Frodo should they capture him on this quest.

"You should not go to the Dark Land." Gollum finally said, breaking another silence among the two. His voice was sincere and kind and his eyes looked at Frodo with his own pity for the Hobbit before him.

"Unlike you Sméagol, I have no choice. I have to go to Mordor; and the sooner I go, the sooner I can return home." Frodo argued in a calm voice. He bowed his head and stared down at the rocks below him. What was he thinking? He would not be returning home; that had been a fact from the beginning. He knew that he would most likely not return home from the moment he left the Shire.

However, the thought of returning to the rolling green hills of Hobbiton and the woods of Buckland raised his spirits. Gollum saw this and frowned. "Sméagol has no home to return too."

"You have no home?" Frodo asked a little half mindedly. He could only remember little about what Gandalf had told him about Gollum. But surely he lived somewhere before he found the Ring. Perhaps places like the Shire? Did Gandalf not say his kind was related to Hobbits?

"Sméagol's family rejected him, they were jealous of Sméagol. They wanted the precious." The sad tone that filled Gollum's voice depressed Frodo. Even after his parent's death, Frodo had Bilbo to turn too. But Gollum had no one. But was it not his fault? The greed brought on by the Ring pushed him away from his family, and even caused him to kill his own best friend.

It was then that Frodo looked hesitantly to Sam. The younger Hobbit was still sleeping soundly a few feet away, unaware of the conversation between Sméagol and Frodo. Frodo began to wonder if he would do such a terrible deed to Sam. Would he kill his own friend for fear of him taking the Ring? The possibility was too much for Frodo to comprehend. Shaking off the thought, he looked at Gollum and nodded his head to show Gollum he was listening.

"But we don't needs family, no precious." Gollum then hisses. His once soft and almost gentle personality was gone and his eyes burned with a weary and angered sparkle. "The precious is our only family, yes it is...."

Frodo looked at Gollum, pity still filled eyes. Even after being free from the Ring for so many years, it still plagued him. Is this how it would be when Frodo was finished with his quest? Would the thought of the Ring still eat at his mind? Would he become a danger to his friends? To Sam? He was tired of conversation now, and wished to be alone with his thoughts. He frowned and waved his hand casually. "Go find food Sméagol. That is, if you can find any in this wasteland." He commanded. "I will trouble you no further."

"As the master wishes." Gollum then replied. He hesitated for a moment but then turned away from Frodo and crawled off to his own business. "Sméagol will return and he will take nice Hobbitses to the Dark Land as promised. Yes he will, preciousss...." At that, Gollum turned and disappeared in the distance.

Frodo sat alone once again. He was cold, filthy, tired and hungry. He watched Sam sleeping once more. All thoughts of keeping the Ring had now left his mind. The actual thought that Frodo could harm Sam, is best friend, scared him. He could not let the evil thing survive. Though he was tired and almost all his hope was gone, Frodo still had one thing to drive him on in his quest: He refused to turn into someone as wretched as Gollum. And he refused to have anyone else suffer the fate of the Ring. He would do his best to do what he was able to do. And if it meant dying in the process, so be it.

It was not long before weariness plagued Frodo and his thoughts. He was aware that Gollum was still watching him in the shadows, but Frodo did not care if he was or not. He knew as long as Gollum had made a promise by the Ring, he would be unharmed until the bargain was at an end. Letting out a yawn, Frodo laid down at his spot on the crater and fell deep into sleep.