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The Cusp of Victory  by Kara's Aunty

Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings is owned by J.R.R. Tolkien, his family, New Line cinema, etc. I have written this for my own enjoyment.

Summary: With Ring-Frodo ready to end his life, Sam is faced with an impossible choice

A double-Droubble (400 words)

Chapter Nine: Decisions

"You would use our own sword against us?" hissed Ring-Frodo. With Sting set firmly against his neck, the gardener didn't dare move. "You would steal our Precious from us?"

"It's not your Precious! It's his! Frodo, listen to me: it's your Sam. Your Sam, sir! You know I'd never lie to you! I don't want to hurt you - I'd never do that! But you need to take it off! We need to destroy it afore it's too late - Sauron'll know as you have it! You'll never be able to escape with it now - not when you're wearing it here of all places!"

Ring-Frodo pressed him to the ground, leaning heavily on his shoulders with his good knee so that Sting dug a little deeper into Sam's neck. A hand clamped over his mouth.

Sam swallowed hard. Ring-Frodo's head was almost tucked into his neck as he hissed scornfully in his ear.

"Be silent! It is not for you to concern yourself with our fate, traitor! We are the master of the Ring now, not you and not him. We! Us! It is ours, no other's!"

Sam didn't hear him, so aware was he of the sudden coolness of metal pressing itself tantalisingly against his lips.

The Ring!

Evil emanated from it in waves, warping Frodo's mind, relishing in the conflict between the two hobbits.

It was toying with them! It knew where it was. It knew its true master was near.

And it knew it only had to play for time until the Dark Lord's servants arrived to claim it

Ring-Frodo had to be stopped. But how? What was a simple gardener to do? His master was so far gone he wouldn't listen to reason; Sting was millimetres from ending his life, and Frodo's own would be forfeit soon after.

He had to do something - and he had to be quick about it!

Ring-Frodo continued to goad him, pressing Sting's sharp blade deeper into his skin, clamping his right hand tighter across Sam's mouth to silence his protests

The Ring-hand.

And so it came to him: there would never be another opportunity as good as this. Time was pressing, the enemy was ready to strike, and the Ring was so close.

Close enough to taste.

If Sam wanted to separate his Frodo from its deadly thrall, a sacrifice would have to be made

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