Of UNO and Thunderstorms

Chapter 42

Of UNO and Thunderstorms

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN LORD OF THE RINGS OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT I REFERENCE! NATALIE AND FRANCESCA OWN THEMSELVES RESPECTIVELY! I ONLY OWN MYSELF AND MY OCS!

Chapter Forty One

Francesca's POV

Sam and I had begun to make our way back down the stairs. To my great annoyance, getting down Cirith Ungol without tripping and falling down them was almost as hard as climbing up without falling. Sam and I were still crying and sniffling, Sam much more so than me, as we carefully made our way down the stairs.

Suddenly, Sam lost his balance and fell. I reached out to try and balance him, but ended up falling too. We tumbled and rolled down the stone stairs. Neither of us felt like moving after we stopped and reached the bottom of the stairs.

I groaned and tried to sit up, failing quite miserably. I looked over at Sam, who wasn't doing much better than me. I was going to have bruises everywhere for a while. I then caught sight of something familiar. Beside Sam, there was a crumbled bit of lembas in its leaf wrapping. The same lembas that Gollum had thrown off the stairs when he turned Frodo against us.

I glared at it. As if the lembas itself did anything. Sam picked it up and looked at it for a moment, before crushing the lembas. Sam then turned and looked back up the stairway. I looked too. It was a long climb. Oh no, don't tell me he's now deciding he wants to go back and save Frodo. Why couldn't we have come to this decision while we were still about halfway up? Sam and I exchanged looks.

"We're going back for Frodo, aren't we?" I asked.

"Yes, Francesca, we are. We can't rightly leave Mister Frodo with that villain Gollum facing goodness-knows-what." Sam replied. I nodded.

"You didn't call me 'Miss'! Finally!" I realized as Sam and I started to climb back up Cirith Ungol to save Frodo. Though, whether we were saving him from Gollum, or from himself, I wasn't sure.

*Natalie's POV*

The Rohirrim Army had stopped to make camp a little while ago. Eowyn and I had taken off our helmets, but kept our hair tucked into our armor. Somehow, we still passed as guys. King Theoden sent out some scouts to find out if we could see what was happening at Minas Tirith.

I sat down next to Merry and soon Eowyn got some food for the three of us. I smiled slightly and mumbled a 'thank you' before digging into the stew she'd brought for me.

"I feel like Mulan." I muttered. Eowyn and Merry both looked at me weird.

"Who is this Mulan?" Eowyn asked. Merry looked at me curiosly.

"Mulan is the title of a story in my world, set in ancient China. It's also the name of the main character. The story is centered on a woman named Mulan. In the story, she dresses up as a man, joins the army and goes to war for her country in place of her aging father who was injured in a previous war. The fact that I now find myself in a similar situation had me reminiscing on the story. It was one of our favorites."

"Our?" Eowyn furrowed her eyebrows. I nodded.

"Kate, Olympia and Francesca were really big fans of Mulan too." I replied.

"How does the story end?" Merry asked.

"Mulan is eventually found out, but at the end of the story the Emperor of China names her a hero because she saved her country. And then she lives happily ever after." I stated.

"Do you remember the story in its entirety? I would very much like to hear it." Eowyn responded. Merry looked up at me hopefully. I nodded. The following god-only-knows-how-long was spent reciting the entire Disney version of Mulan. Complete with me failing at singing the musical numbers.

"I like this Mulan character. I see a bit of myself in her at times." Eowyn smiled.

"I can understand that." I replied.

"I enjoyed the story." Merry stated.

"Part of me hopes we'll all get a happy ending like that. You know, being a hero and everything." I mused, looking out over the plains we were still on.

Merry was now eating a sandwich seeing as he finished his stew during the story. I saw three men on horses, riding fast towards camp. That can't be good. I thought. I nudged Eowyn and we both stood up. I stretched my legs a bit, preparing to get back on the horse I was borrowing. The riders came back and immediately Éomer rode to the king.

"The scouts report Minas Tirith is surrounded. The lower level's in flames. Everywhere, legions of the Enemy advance." Éomer told King Theoden.

"Time is against us. Make ready!" he shouted to the soldiers. I grabbed my helmet off the ground and held it under my arm. Eowyn glanced at Merry.

"Take heart, Merry. It will soon be over." She told him.

"My lady. You are fair and brave and have much to live for, and many who love you. I know it is too late to turn aside. I know there is not much point now in hoping. If I were a knight of Rohan capable of great deeds…but I'm not. I'm a Hobbit. And I know I can't save Middle Earth. I just want to help my friends; Frodo, Sam, Pippin. More than anything I wish I could see them again." Merry stated, smiling. I smiled at both of my friends.

"Prepare to move out!" I heard Éomer shouting.

"Make haste! We ride through the night!" King Theoden added. Then someone started to blow a horn. Merry looked up at Eowyn curiously and Eowyn nodded.

Merry put down his sandwich, picked up his helmet and put it on. Eowyn followed his lead and put her own helmet back on. I took mine out from under my arm, popped a crick in my neck and put it on.

"To battle." Eowyn stated.

"To battle." Merry replied.

"To battle." I said. The three of us then hurried to our horses and clambered onto their backs. Not a moment too soon, apparently, seeing as the second I was on my horse, we took off galloping for Minas Tirith.

*Francesca's POV*

Sam and I climbed for a good majority of the day. When we finally stopped to rest, I randomly remembered where we were in the movie.

Oh shit! Sam and I are going to have to save Frodo from that giant ass spider thing! Shit! And Natalie and Kate and Olympia are going to fight in Minas Tirith! It doesn't even matter if they went there with Gandalf, or stayed with the Rohirrim or went through the Paths of the Dead! Double, triple and quadruple shit! That also means that we're almost, almost done. We've still got to sneak into Mordor and Frodo needs to destroy the Ring. Natalie, Kate and Olympia still have to fight in Minas Tirith and at the Black Gates. Then Aragorn gets crowned King of Gondor and we're done…Then what?

I decided it was best to keep these thoughts to myself. One reason being that Sam might have been traumatized by the overuse of the word 'shit' in that thought process. It also wouldn't do Sam any good to start freaking out of he knew what was going to happen. And if he did, he'd probably try to change it, which would completely fuck up everything. A third reason was that I promised Kate and Olympia that I wouldn't purposely fuck up the canon. I'd promised them that in Lothlórien, what felt like forever ago now.

I rummaged through my pack and dug up my lembas. I smiled to myself and gave some to Sam. Sam just looked at me weird.

"Gollum didn't touch my bit of lembas when he turned Frodo against us. So I still have whatever I had left at that point." I explained. Sam's face changed from one of slight surprise, to anger when I mentioned Gollum, to a small smile when he realized we still had a decent amount of food. I smiled and munched on my lembas.

"Sam, could you tell me about the Shire? I feel awkward. You know all about my life, but you never talked much about the Shire." I stated.

"Of course I'll tell you about the Shire, Francesca!" Sam exclaimed. I grinned.

The rest of that day was spent with Sam telling me all about the Shire. I learned that most Hobbits tended to keep to themselves and didn't go on 'adventures'. Apparently, Bilbo was considered quite odd and Gandalf had been labeled as a disturber of the peace.

"Why is Gandalf labeled a disturber of the peace?" I asked.

"I'm not quite sure. I think it's got something to do with the fact that when Gandalf shows up in the Shire, folks end up leaving and going on adventures or wanting to go on adventures." Sam explained. I nodded.

Sam also told countless stories about Gandalf's fireworks, which were famous in the Shire. He also talked a lot about how much trouble Merry and Pippin used to get themselves into. I laughed out loud at a lot of these stories. Sam also talked about Rosie Cotton a lot. I know I really shouldn't have teased him about it, but I did anyway.

"Sam, do like Rosie Cotton?" I asked, quirking an eyebrow

"Of course I like her! She's a good friend!" Sam replied.

"That's not what I meant." I answered.

"What did you mean, then?" Sam asked, furrowing his eyebrows in confusion.

"I meant to ask if you fancy this girl, Sam." I re-phrased. Sam blushed tomato red and started stuttering over his words.

"Well, I-uh. Uhm. It's…uh…..Yes. Yes, I do. I love her." Sam finally admitted. I smiled.

"Have you told her this yet?" I asked.

"No, no I haven't." Sam whispered.

"Why not?" I continued.

"Well, there's so many other lads that fancy Rosie. I figured she wouldn't notice one like me. I never told her because I was afraid of what she would say." Sam told me. I bit my lip.

"Samwise Gamgee, you need to have a little more self confidence than that. When we get back to the Shire, promise me you'll at least start talking to her. Please." I told him.

"Alright, Francesca. I'll talk to Rosie when we get back to the Shire." Sam replied. I think he sounded a little exasperated as he said it. I beamed at him.

"Good! I think maybe we should get some rest, I think it might be getting late." I responded. Sam nodded in agreement and we set up camp after that. I curled up on my blankets and lay awake for a while. I haven't been able to sleep properly since we got so close to Mordor.

Author's note: *head-desks* Arrrgh. I don't like the way this chapter ended at all. The muse for this story left me about halfway through and I just completely half-assed the rest. I don't like it but I couldn't think up anything better. *grumbles to self about uncooperative muses* On the other hand, all my other muses are being hyperactive…Damn Fëanorian muses… *grumbles to self some more* Please ignore the fact that I have lost my mind. READ AND REVIEW PLEASE!

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