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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 fic for my own enjoyment (and, hopefully, yours too).

Credit: homeandgardenguideonline dot com.

Summary: Just as Frodo is finally separated from the Ring, Sam finds himself with faced with a new dilemma …

A double-Droubble and a half (450 words - just for a change …)

Chapter Fourteen: Quandary

Time itself wavered as the fate of Middle Earth hung in the balance - and Bag End's little gardener was torn about how to proceed.

What to do now?

Rush to his newly liberated master's side and help to somehow ease his pain - pain from the stump of a finger that the gardener had managed to deprive him of despite his silent promise not to?

Make a wild dash to throw the Ring over the edge of the precipice that he was so very, very close to, and thus topple the Dark Lord forever?

Or turn and defend his master from the terrible Nazgūl soaring up behind them?

Such grand decisions weren't meant to be made by such as he! He was a gardener. A simple gardener! By all rights, what he should be doing now was turning soil and removing the winter mulches to replace them with fresh ones. Or bringing a nice cup of hot tea to Mr Frodo as he translated one of his elvish poems in the study, and making sure as he had enough firewood to see him through the last of the winter's biting cold. He shouldn't be standing here on the very edge of the world itself making choices better left to the likes of Gandalf or Strider.

But Gandalf was dead and - for all he knew - Strider might be as well. It was Sam who had to choose now - and he'd better do it fast!

Nazgūl screeched ever closer at his back and time slipped steadily away as he wavered …

Frodo.

The Ring.

Or the Nazgūl?

Tick tock; tick tock; tick tock.

"I don't know what to do! I don't know what to do!" Sam thought wildly; anxious to comfort his sobbing friend, to apologise for what he had done, but knowing that time was against them. Already he could feel the disturbances in the air caused by the wings of the fell beasts …

A booming noise shook the Sammath Naur, making the cavern tremble. Sam crashed to his knees, trying desperately not to spill the remaining fluid within the Lady Galadriel's pretty Star-glass.

"GAMGEE!"

The voice of Sauron the Terrible, still reeling from the assault on his trinket, snapped Sam from his indecision after what had seemed to him like an eternity, but was in truth a matter of seconds.

Precious seconds …

"Up with you, now, Samwise! Stop doddering about like an old gaffer when there's danger snapping at your master's heels! Get yourself up and do the job that needs doing!"

But just as he readied himself to lunge at the Ring, something snapped at the fabric of his shirt.

A fell beast!

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