TItle: The Metahuman, The Ranger, And The One Ring
Fandoms: Smallville/Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Disclaimer: I do not own Smallville or LOTR
Summary: When Chloe bleeds into a Lord of the Rings book printed with kryptonite ink she finds herself sucked into that world, with only Aragorn as her protector and friend. But now a war is upon Middle Earth, and everything points to her playing a vital role...
“You are still dragging it slightly.” Aragorn announced, head tilted to the right, observing her critically. “Hold it higher, steadier. No orc will be scared of you if you can barely hold your sword in your hand.”
Three weeks had passed since Chloe had been thrust into the odd and dangerous world of Middle Earth, and every day Aragorn had lived true to his word and taught her to the basics of fighting and self defense. The morning was dedicated to archery, the midday to swordscraft, and the evening to hand to hand combat.
Surprisingly enough Chloe found herself naturally gifted when it came to the bow and arrow, and since Oliver had already given her some self-defense lessons she was pretty good at that too, but she sucked when it came to the sword. Mostly, though, it was because she could barely lift the thing. It was so heavy! How could Aragorn use this thing as if it weighed as little as a feather?
“No orc will be scared of me any way you put it, whether I have a sword or not.” Chloe retorted. While her healing powers kept her from having the sore muscles she knew she should be experiencing right now, she was still tired, and annoyed. She just wanted to throw the sword at the handsome yet amazingly irritating teacher of hers.
“Milady…” Aragorn sighed, sounding a little drained.
“And how many times do I have to tell you to stop with the milady and my lady and instead call me Chloe?” The blonde wanted to know, finding the strength to point the sword at Aragorn accusingly. “Say it with me. Chlo-e, Chloe-e. Someone with the name Aragornshouldn’t find my name so difficult!”
A small smile tilted the corner of his lips as he shook his head at her, already used to be outlandish antics. “Milady, why is it that only when you are annoyed you are able to hold the sword upright?”
Chloe pouted. He wasn’t giving into her. He—he was one of the most thickheaded and stubborn men she’d ever met! He was dead set in his way and---. “If you don’t stop calling me by those ridiculously outdated titles I’m going to start calling you Milord, you got that, sparky?”
She stabbed the sword in his direction for good measure.
Aragorn’s smile turned even more amused, as if she were some child whose antics he found cute.
It was absolutely infuriating.
“Gandalf left you in my care, milady, and I am going to teach you to take care of yourself, whether you are inclined to learn or not.” Aragorn smiled, standing and brushing off his pants, picking up a staff and extending the other to her. “Why don’t we practice with these instead for now?”
Dropping the sword a little childishly, Chloe reached for the staff and took the position Aragorn had taught her. She took in a breath, smiling at him, enjoying her training sessions despite the countless complaints she knew she threw at him every day.
When Aragorn moved she moved with him, and she could tell that he was going easy on her at first since she was able to block all of his hits with ridiculous ease, yet as they twirled and dodged and struck at each other things got faster, and it was harder and harder to knock the wood away from her and keep it from tripping her up.
With an extra savage thrust Aragorn tore the staff from her hand and sent it flying to the right. Chloe gasped, eyes wide, only barely managing to dodge his thrusts, and then she fell and tumbled, rolling in the dust before making a ash to where the wooden staff lay on the ground.
Fingers clasping around the wood, she threw herself onto her back and held up the staff in time to block the strike as Aragorn brought the staff down at her. When he rose it to hit her once more Chloe brought her staff into his stomach as hard as she could, and with a surprised expression Aragorn dropped his staff.
Chloe’s eyes widened in shock as they just stared at each other. “I beat you.” She whispered, beginning to giggle in happy disbelief. “Ibeat you!”
Rubbing his stomach and wincing through his pain, Aragorn suddenly chuckled as he lowered himself to the ground until he was sitting next to her. “I have never hit you that hard.”
She snorted in laughter, turning to him. “I beat you.”
“Congratulations.” Aragorn was still rubbing his stomach, though he smiled, his hair falling in his face and shadowing it from her. “If only you could show the same determination when it came to the sword, I could truly boast of being an excellent mentor.”
“I just beat your butt, mister, you should be praising me right now.”
Aragorn went serious, and a little concerned. “Beating me once is not the same as going up against a brutish orc or bloodthirsty goblin, milady. They will show no pity, no discernment or compassion because of your sex. I---I only drive you so harshly because when the dreaded time of your first encounter with these beasts arrives, I wish to not be as fearful for your life as I am now.”
Chloe sighed, the smile falling from her face as her gaze rested on her staff. “I know that, Aragorn. I—I know you’re pushing me for my own good, I do, and I want you to know that I appreciate that---much more than I show.”
There was silence as they sat next to each other, listening to the sounds of nature and of each other’s breaths.
“Did I hit you really hard?” Chloe finally asked, breaking the silence.
“Do not worry, I have sustained worse injuries than this.” He chuckled, standing and pulling her to her feet as well.
Their hands lingered for a moment.
Roheryn, Aragorn’s horse, neighed.
Chloe broke away at the sound, slipping her hand from the ranger’s and clearing her throat, refusing to look at him. “So, you should probably go hunting for something to eat before it gets too dark, right?”
There was a moment’s silence, and Aragorn’s intense gaze upon her, before he sighed and nodded, looking away. “Yes. I should.”
Chloe followed him silently back to the fireside and sat down, waiting until he’d gotten his bow and arrow and left before she sighed and let her melancholy show.
Adding more twigs to the flames, the blonde forced her gaze to remain on the living heat before her and not return to the direction handsome ranger (whom it was getting harder and harder to resist) had left. Not that, not that he was giving her anything to resist. Aragorn was alone with her, a needy female, in the wilderness…and he hadn’t made one move.
Hell, the ranger hadn’t given an indication that he realized she was female other than the fact that he felt an almost insufferable need to protect her.
He was worse than Clark and Oliver combined! And that said something!
He---he acted like her big brother or something.
And it was good too, because any little misunderstanding and she’d find herself into another Clark situation. It’d taken her a long time to get over her onesided love for her best friend, and she wasn’t about to fall in love with the only friend she had in Middle Earth.
She wasn’t going to ruin things like that.
And anyway, despite the fact that when she’d nosily asked Aragorn if there was a Mrs. Strider somewhere out there, or a future Mrs. Strider, he’d said there wasn’t and there’d never been one----Chloe couldn’t get her hopes up.
And anyway. It wasn’t as if she was going to spend the rest of her life in the wilderness of an alternate universe---of a book.
As soon as her friends from home figured out what’d happened to her they’d find a way to bring her back.
She’d go home.
“Why doesn’t that thought make me smile anymore, Roheryn?”
The horse snorted as if she should know the answer by now.
Chloe sighed. “Shut up.” She stoked the flames of the fire, sighing.
It’d been a week since Chloe had disappeared without a trace.
Since there was no signs of a struggle it didn’t look as if she’d been taken by force, and yet all of her things were still there, nothing touched.
Oliver and Clark were scouring the city looking for her, looking for some clue of what had happened to her.
And despite her desire to do the same, Lois felt that maybe the clues they needed were in the apartment, under her nose.
She didn’t know what it was, but she knew it was there.
All she had to do was look.
Since the police were viewing this as a runaway more than a crime, the apartment wasn’t off limits as a crime scene, and Lois was in there most days, going through every thing over and over again, sure she was missing something.
Sighing, Lois plonked down on the sofa and closed her eyes tightly, fighting the desire to either cry or scream.
“Chloe.” She whispered. “Where did you go?”
Opening her gaze, it landed on a trilogy of books on the coffee table, and not for the first time since Chloe’s disappearance did Lois wonder when her cousin had gotten into Tolkien. A bracelet covered hand reached for one of the books, The Return Of The King, and she idly browsed through the pages…
…only to realize something that had her hazel eyes narrowing in surprise.
The pages were blank.
Sitting up straight, Lois put the book down next to her and reached for another, this one called The Two Towers. Browsing through the pages proved that they were all completely blank as well.
By now Lois felt that somehow she’d come upon something important, a clue, but as she reached for the last book, The Fellowship of the Ring, she was unprepared for the surprise that she’d stumble across, for while most of the book was completely blank, there was a couple of chapters written in ancient writing.
But that in itself wasn’t what shocked her to her core.
What shocked her was the fact that writing was appearing right before her eyes, and then she saw what was being written.
The sound of the crickets and night birds were Chloe’s only companion other than Roheryn, Aragorn’s faithful steed, as she sat alone by the campfire. Though her mind was on the ranger currently hunting in the darkening forest, she looked up as she heard the rapid sound of hoofs in the distance.
Someone was coming.
Lois’ eyes widened.
It---it CAN’T be!
Flipping to the front of the book, Lois noticed the words The Fellowship of the Ring tinted in what seemed like blood.
Suspiciousness filling her, she turned the page and began to read about a mysterious blonde who’d crossed the veil separating the worlds and had fallen into the lap of a ranger named Aragorn as he traveled with the great wizard, Gandalf the Grey.
Chloe had heard the sound of hoofs beating furiously against the ground, and had moved quickly. She’d reached for the sword Aragorn had left while he hunted for her to use to defend herself and sunk into the shadows outside of the ring of light cast by the fire.
Roheryn tossed his head from side to side as the sound grew larger, more vicious, and then the rider broke through the darkness on his white steed.
As the light of the fire shone on the face of the man, Chloe breathed out a breath of relief and emerged from her hiding place.
The old man turned to her and his expression was worried, desperate. “I know why you have crossed over.” He came and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Come child, we have much to talk about and little time. I must journey to see the head of my Order. He---he must know of what is about to befall us all.”
They turned at the sound of rapid footsteps, and then Aragorn appeared from the shadows. He looked worried, and like he’d run as fast as he could.
“Chloe!” His gaze finally swung to the old man who had his hands on her shoulders and that fear dissipated into bone-deep relief. “Gandalf.” He closed his eyes and sighed. “I---I sensed a rider heading towards camp, I---.” He opened his blue gaze and it rested on Chloe before he suddenly smiled. “You’re holding the sword right.”
Shocked by his sudden entrance and his obvious terror for her safety, Chloe was broken from her trance by that remark and she smiled back, shaking her head at him.
Gandalf looked from the ranger to the blonde before sighing, his face serious as he shook his head. “Apparently history repeats itself.”
Chloe turned to look at the old wizard in confusion. “Huh?”
“There is no time for that now.” Gandalf seemed to be talking to himself as he motioned for Aragorn to come closer. “I have discovered the reason for Chloe’s arrival. And I stumbled upon it by chance while attending the feast for my friend Bilbo Baggins. The ring, the One Ring of power, it is real, and Frodo has it.”
“Frodo.” Chloe frowned. That name was familiar, so he’d obviously been an important character in the book. She concentrated, trying to remember who it was. Hadn’t---hadn’t Elijah Woods played that character in the commercials? “He’s a hobbit, right? The Ringbearer?”
Gandalf turned to look at her in utter concern. “The Ringbearer?”
“A hobbit?” Aragorn asked in surprise.
Gandalf gave Chloe a look of utter concern before he turned to them and spoke once more. “While I was at the Shire I discovered that my good friend Bilbo had in his possession a magic ring, and yet it wasn’t like any normal magical ring I had yet to encounter. He seemed drunk on it, addicted as one gets to fine spirit, and he was loathed to part from it. It was as if the ring were the one in control, and his manner of speech, his words, they reminded me of something I’d studied as a child, and it filled my heart with fear and great anxiety.”
Gandalf could be quite the storyteller.
“I persuaded Bilbo to leave the ring with his nephew, Frodo, before he journeyed to Lothlorien to be with the elves, and I entrusted Frodo to keep it hidden, to keep it safe.” Gandalf let go of his hold on their shoulders and went to stand before the fire, looking within the flames. “I headed to the Grand Library, and I immersed myself in the scrolls of old, reading, searching for that scroll which I feared because it would confirm my deepest fears. It was the account of Isildur before he marched north to his death and lost the Ring.”
He turned to Chloe and Aragorn once more, the fire backlighting him in an eerie way. “I hurried back to the shire and with Frodo I tested the ring in the fires, and while at first nothing appeared and my heart leapt with joy, a fiery Tengwar inscription in the Black Speech of Mordor slowly immerged from the golden band. One ring to rule them all.”
Aragorn looked up at that. “The One Ring of Sauron?” His gaze was horrified.
Chloe looked from Gandalf to Aragorn and back. “The One Ring?”
Gandalf nodded. “The One Ring was created by the Dark Lord Sauron during the Second Age in order to gain dominion over the free peoples of Middle-earth. In disguise as Annatar, or “Lord of Gifts”, he aided the Elven smiths of Eregion and their leader Celebrimbor in making the Rings of Power. He then forged the One Ring himself in the fires of Mount Doom.”
Chloe frowned, listening intently to the backstory. Now she was beginning to understand why Tolkien would named the trilogy Lord of the Rings. The Lord of the Rings wasn’t a person, but it was that One Ring that ruled the others…or maybe she was wrong, but it seemed the most believable at the moment.
She sat down by the fire, gazing up at Gandalf, paying close attention to his words, knowing that they were going to be of the utmost importance.
“The Dark Lord Sauron intended his One Ring to be the most powerful of all Rings, able to rule and control those who wore the others. Since the other Rings themselves were powerful, Sauron was obliged to place much of his own power into the One to achieve his purpose.” Gandalf looked from Aragorn to Chloe as he too sat down, resting his gaze firmly on the blonde. “Creating the Ring simultaneously strengthened and weakened Sauron’s power. On the one hand, as long as Sauron had the Ring, he could control the power of all the other Rings, and thus he was significantly more powerful after its creation than before; and putting such a great portion of his own power into the Ring seems,” he gazed up at Aragorn as he said this. “It seems to indicate that Sauron may still be alive, still tied to the Ring.”
Aragorn went pale and said something in Elven that she was sure meant God help us. Chloe wasn’t fluent or versed in Elven, but Aragorn and her would spend most of their nights lying by the fire talking till they were just too tired to keep their eyes open. Elven was one of the things Chloe wanted to learn, and Aragorn, who’d surprised her by explaining how he’d been raised amongst Elves, (his foster father and foster sister both Elves) was only too happy to teach her the language.
“The only good thing is that by binding his power within the Ring, Sauron became dependant on it---without it his power is significantly diminished.”Gandalf sighed. “But Mordor is coming alive again. He is searching for his Ring, of that I am sure.”
“What about these other Rings?” Chloe asked. “How many of them were made?”
Gandalf looked up at the sky and began to quote a poem.
“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Morder where the Shadows lie.”
Gandalf sighed. “Those words were evidently also part of the spell that imbued the One Ring with power, as the Elven smiths heard Sauron utter the words of the inscription “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them” during the Ring’s creation. They realized what his purpose in the creation of the Rings and the Ring was, and they took off their own Rings to foil his plan.”
Aragorn’s face was hard, unlike anything Chloe had ever seen it before. “I understand the necessity of the situation, Gandalf, but I fail to see how this has aught to do with the purpose of milady here in Middle Earth.”
Gandalf’s gaze was serious and on Aragorn. “The only other person to ever cross over the veil was a young woman naught older than Lady Chloe, named Moira daughter of Lane, and she helped King Isildur defeat Sauron on that great battle of old. She disappeared, said to have returned to her own time, when Isildur refused to destroy the One Ring and kept it instead.”
Aragorn went pale.
Chloe didn’t notice, for she too was pale, looking at Gandalf. “Moira Lane?” She whispered, unable to believe it.
Both men turned to her in surprise.
Gandalf frowned. “You know of this name in your world?”
“Know of it?” Chloe’s eyes watered, unable to focus on the wizard and ranger anymore. “She was my mother. It was her books that I fell into.” Unable to believe it, Chloe shook her head. “She---she left them to me when she---when she died.”
Gandalf’s eyes were wide as he looked from Aragorn to Chloe. “It repeats itself through the descendants.”
Aragorn sent the wizard a hard look that told him to mind what he said.
But Chloe once more didn’t notice, too filled with her own thoughts, doubts. What if this hadn’t been an accident? What if her mother had left these books to Chloe so that she could finish the work that she herself had been unable to finish?
To destroy the One Ring?
Or make sure it was destroyed this time?
It seemed like pure foolishness considering this was only a book, and yet it’d obviously meant so much to her mother if she’d kept them for all of those years and made sure that they arrived in Chloe’s hands after her untimely death…
“So,” Chloe wiped at her wet eyes, gaze focused on Gandalf. “What do you want me to do?” She asked, saying goodbye to her hopes of returning home soon.
She had something she needed to do.
“No.” Aragorn shook his head, voice harsh. “No! You will stay somewhere safe and I will do whatever it is Gandalf wishes.”
“You weren’t brought here from another world to do this!” Chloe countered, standing and glaring at Aragorn.
Aragorn glared right back at her. “You aren’t reading a book anymore, milady! You will be killed! I will not allow you---!”
“And who says you have any power over me to allow me to do anything or not?” Chloe snapped, hands on her hips. “You’re not my father, brother, boyfriend and you’re definitely not my husband! You have no say in what I can or can’t do!”
Aragorn’s usually tranquil and calming blue eyes were now icy fire as he stepped up towards her. “If I have to throw you over my shoulder and ride in the opposite direction to keep you safe, you stubborn, mule-headed woman, I will do so right now!”
Chloe blinked, a little shocked out of her anger.
Aragorn had never spoken to her in a tone that wasn’t respectful and gentlemanlike, even if at the time he was annoyed with her.
Now he was throwing his masculinity in her face, his strength, his power, his---his---.
She should be furious, and she was, but she should be more furious. It wasn’t helping that seeing this more take-charge, slightly aggressive Aragorn was a major turn on.
“Strider.” Gandalf stood, getting in between them. “It is her destiny to do this. Even if you do force her away, this battle will follow and find her no matter where you hide her. You cannot keep her from her destiny…just like you can’t keep hiding from yours.”
Aragorn shot Ganalf a look.
“Destiny?” Chloe asked, looking from one male to the other.
“Now is not time for this.” Gandalf scolded, changing the subject. “You must ride to Bree posthaste and head to the Inn of the Prancing Pony. There you will find Frodo and Samwise Gamgee, who are traveling from the Shire as we speak. They have the Ring, and will need a guide to Rivendell. Nazgul trail them looking for the Ring even now.” He sighed. “I would do so myself, but I find it of the utmost importance that I inform Saruman of the happenings. He and my Order must know that Sauron is alive, that they must prepare for the War which will come upon us.”
“Okay.” Chloe nodded, going to get the things in the camp ready.
“Chloe will go with you to see Saruman,” Aragorn told Gandalf. “She will be safer there.”
“No.” Gandalf’s voice was darker, filled with authority. “Aragorn, son of Arathorn, you will not stand in her way! You will help her fulfill her destiny, and she will help you fulfill yours!”
Again with this destiny thing, but since she realized Aragorn nor Gandalf wanted to share the ranger’s destiny with her Chloe didn’t ask, although the questions were bubbling up in her.
Aragorn sighed and bowed his head. “You have always been wise, Gandalf, and I will bow to your desires.”
Gandalf sighed and smiled weakly, placing his hand on Aragorn’s shoulder. “I know that this is hard for you, Strider, but you will see by the end of this that you are stronger than you believe. You were destined for this.” And with a ‘take care’ to Chloe Gandalf turned and hurried to his horse and was once more galloping away into the silence.
There was silence between them as Chloe gathered the things by the campfire and Aragorn just stood there, watching her.
“Milady.” He finally spoke, his voice low.
“Yes, milord?” Chloe asked, gaze on the things she was folding, throwing that title right back at him. If he refused to call her by her name she refused to call him by his.
“I am only trying to protect you.”
Sighing at the softness with which those words were uttered, Chloe turned and smiled tenderly at the ruggedly handsome ranger. “I know that.”
He opened his mouth, seemingly wanting to say something else, before he sighed and shook his head, looking away. “Come, I will help you pack and we must be off posthaste to Bree to meet the young Master hobbits.”
They worked in silence together, Chloe watched as Aragorn hooked everything to Roheryn’s saddle and motioned for her to join him so he could lift her unto the horse.
Chloe made her way towards Aragorn and closed her eyes for a second as he went behind her, his hands going to her waist. They were so large, so masculine, so strong and so warm.
And then she was being lifted, her eyes opening as she fixed herself onto the mount and cleared her throat as he mounted behind her, his arms going around her to grab the reins.
“Are you ready, milady?” His breath was by her ear, and lower than usual.
Chloe gulped, nodding. “Of course.”
He chuckled softly before giving a flick of the reigns and saying something to Roheryn in Elven, the steed took off.