Disclaimer: Don't own Smallville/Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
Sequel to - The Metahuman, The Ranger, and the One Ring
Fandom: Smallville/LOTR: The Two Towers
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: The broken up Fellowship are still trying to complete their respective missions, the League are still trying to find Zatanna, Chloe and Aragorn still have a couple of roadblocks to pass before they can actually have a relationship, and Lois is *still* trying to get into the book. Cue battles, jealousy, and some sexiness.
A/N: I just wanna thank all those who kept reviewing and PM'ing me to let me know you still cared about the sequel (and demanding I write it posthaste)! 3
The first book was completely finished.
Each of its once blank pages were filled with beautiful, yet legible, cursive or breathtaking (or heartbreaking) illustrations of the perils and adventures the heroes written within had had to go through during the first half of what promised to be a trilogy. There were moments of uncertainty, moments of tenderness, moments of lust, moments of fear, and moments of great sadness. Enemies had been vanquished and comrades had fallen. Too much blood had already been shed for just being the beginning voyage. It didn't bode well for those of whom the story was being told.
It was why Lois never left the book's presence. If she had to go anywhere the book went with her, even if it was to the bathroom. She didn't know why in the world it'd taken Clark and Ollie yet left her, but she wasn't going to give it the chance to do that to her again.
What did the book have against her?
Then again, this was the second book now.
Maybe this one would like her better.
Never had she ever thought she'd have to worry about being in the good graces of a book.
Damn Smallville and the wacky crap that went on here!
It didn't help that Ollie's people still couldn't find Zatanna. The magician was seriously making herself scarce, and Lois was going to give the woman a piece of her mind once she decided to stop with this disappearing act of hers.
"I like Frodo and Sam…really…I do." Lois declared as she laid on Chloe's bed, chewing on a strawberry Twizzler. "But I'm so not that interested in their part of this story." She wondered when she'd started talking to the book as if it was actually listening to her. "Why don't you show me what's going on with my Baby Cuz? And Smallville? And even Ollie. They're the whole reason I'm reading you you know."
But the book had a mind of its own as it continued to tell how about how Frodo and Sam were fairing since they'd separated from the Fellowship to continue on their own towards Mordor.
Apparently, the hobbits weren't doing all that well. Not only were they terribly lost, but they were running out of rations and Frodo kept having nightmares about the day Gandalf died. Also, the Ring was slowly but surely starting to weigh on Frodo. Lois had to give the little man props for having withstood its power and magnetism for so long though, and so she didn't blame him at all for it.
And then the Gollum creature appeared…and if its attack was anything to go by it was off its rocker and strong to boot. Considering all this, Lois still couldn't get how Frodo had decided that Gollum was the best person to trust as their guide. She completely agreed with and supported Sam's position on that Gollum wasn't trustworthy and should be gutted (okay, so maybe the gutted part was an embellishment of hers…but she was sure that if she'd suggested it Sam would totally back her up on it).
"Oooh! Oooh!" She couldn't contain her excitement as the next chapter began inscribing itself. "The Fellowship! Finally!"
They'd been traveling almost nonstop for three days and night without any food, and Chloe hated to admit it, but she was in the back with Gimli and about to give out any minute now. She hated the thought that she was bringing the group down, Merry and Pippin's lives were at stake here, but she didn't know how much longer she could go on like this. She was about to collapse as it was and it didn't seem like they were getting any closer. Every time they stumbled upon the monsters' camp it'd already been abandoned hours ago. Their hopes were dashed time and time again, and as time dragged on there was less and less chance of finding their companions alive. That realization was never spoken aloud, but it was obvious on everyone's countenance that they knew it to be truth.
As it was, if they even found the Uruk-hai's and orcs in an hour or so Chloe would be no good to her companions. She'd just faint or be so tired she'd accidentally shoot one of her own comrades or just plain and simply get herself killed within seconds of the battle beginning.
It was why she'd thanked all holy when Aragorn stopped to do his Ranger thing, which consisted of him lying on the ground with his eyes closed and his ear pressed to the ground, listening. She didn't know how he could pick up stuff like that but he seemed to and she trusted it.
She hoped though that his hearing would be a little off so that she could have more time sitting down on the ground and try catching her breath.
Gimli looked like he really wanted to do the same, but since Clark appeared a little tired yet still strong to go, and Legolas seemed completely unaffected…the dwarf's pride was keeping him on his feet.
Chloe couldn't care less about her own pride.
She was lying down panting and she didn't care who saw her.
Damn the others for being able to take this better than her!
She couldn't be that out of shape…could she?
Suddenly, Aragorn's eyes opened. "Their pace has quickened." He climbed to his feet. "They must have caught our scent." Desperation cloaked his voice. "We must hurry!"
Legolas took off running.
Gimli groaned before staggering behind.
Clark turned to Chloe, reaching out his hand. "It's time."
"Time?" She looked at that hand, her whole body numb and sore.
"Time to swallow your pride and come aboard the Kent Express." Clark replied, face serious. "Everyone's worried about you, but apparently from what Legolas told me you've told Aragorn that you refuse to be carried, that you, and I quote 'hate it'. It's why there haven't been any offers despite the fact that I know that both Aragorn and Legolas have the strength and the willingness to help you." His eyes narrowed. "Since when do you hate being carried around anyway? I always carry you around."
For a moment Chloe couldn't understand what in the world he was talking about…and then she remembered the time when she'd thought Aragorn and Arwen were a thing and she'd told him that lie so he'd stop offering to carry her.
The blonde wanted to smack herself. "I said that because I was jealous and wanted to distance myself from him." She ran a hand through her hair. "If you were reading the story you should remember that."
For a moment he appeared confused, and then he flinched, apparently remembering all too well. "Chloe, I wanted to apologize for all I put you through, emotionally. I-."
"Clark, it's in our past. It doesn't matter anymore." And to prove it, she accepted his hand and help to her feet. "I miss the Kent Express…but can you handle it?"
"I might have lost most of my powers, but I still have my endurance and my strength." He flashed her a smile. "I think I can manage under your bulking weight."
"Hey!" She laughed, slapping his arm before using the last of her strength to jump onto his back piggyback style, arms around his neck as his hands reached back to help support her weight by grabbing purchase of her upper thighs. "Onwards Mister Kent."
"Hold on tight, I don't want you falling off."
"You can't superspeed anymore you know." And yet she tightened both her grip around his neck and her thighs around his waist.
Clark seemed to take that as a challenge because he took off as fast as he could, causing her to laugh and rest her head against his shoulder as they started covering ground. He mightn't have super speed, but Clark was definitely faster than a normal human, and Chloe wondered if he'd been like this since coming or if his power were slowly regenerating. It was something to think about and discuss with him later. If there was a chance for the laser-eyes returning…
In the distance they could see the group, which had stopped and were looking back at them, but Chloe didn't pay them any mind, laughing when Clark rearranged her weight by giving her a little push upwards which caught her by surprise and caused her to hold on tighter with a little squeak.
They finally reached the remainder of the Fellowship, who were watching them oddly. It was probably the fact that, as Clark had mentioned, they thought she hated being carried and yet here she was obviously having just finished laughing, and Clark had been laughing at her squeak.
"Are you hurt, Lady Chloe?" Gimli asked in pants, worry showing on his bearded face.
"I'm fine Gimli, don't worry." Chloe gave him a genuine smile. "Clark just decided I was going too slow for his liking."
"Hey! I offered to help you out of the goodness of my heart!" Clark protested, the smile twitching his lips proving he was far from annoyed like he tried to portray.
"You told me to climb on top of you. There was no question involved." Chloe snorted, giving his neck a little squeeze.
"That's because it was silly for you to be so tired when I always carry you about anyway." Clark responded, giving her thigh a little slap before holding her properly with both hands again. "I've been carrying you around for years. I don't see why it should change now."
Aragorn was silent, his features drawn before he returned his gaze ahead of them. "We need to go. Now."
And with that he was off once more.
Chloe held on as Clark and the others followed, as sigh escaping her lips as she watched Aragorn ahead of the others.
It'd been many days since that kiss in Moria and yet neither she nor Aragorn had been able to talk about it at all. Thanks to that (and so many other reasons) things were somewhat awkward between them, and while Chloe wished they could just talk about it and be over with it, she was also relieved that they had this distraction. It wasn't as if she had gotten used to the fact that she was Isildur's daughter and Aragorn's very distant ancestor. She couldn't wrap her head around that and until she did she couldn't bring it upon herself to tell him about it. So yes, she was relieved that they were too busy trying to save Pippin and Merry to straighten out the mess between them. That might make her selfish and somewhat of a bad person, but it was true.
"No rest…no sign of our quarry but what bare rock can tell." Gimli huffed to himself, out of breath, as he lagged slightly behind them. "We're passing the boundaries of Emyn Muil into Rohan. Shall these creatures have us chase them to the ends of the world?"
This was new territory.
"Do you know anything about Rohan?" She whispered into Clark's ear. "Did the book give any hint about it?"
He shook his head.
The blonde sighed, wishing that at least one of them had a general idea about what was going to happen in the story they found themselves stuck in.
But there were moments that she was beginning to wonder if this was actually only a story which Kryptonite made alive. For one, there was her mother. If this was just a story, how had she managed to get pregnant? And if so, did that mean that Chloe herself was just a character from a story and not real herself? Or were the kryptonite/magic books something else? Were they a portal into another dimension?
Somehow…this idea was sounding more and more plausible to her with every breath she took.
Suddenly Aragorn stopped and bent down to pick up something…lifting it for them all to see.
It was Pippin's brooch, the one given to him by the elves when he'd gotten a new change of clothes.
"Not idly do the leave of Lorien fall." Aragorn announced as he slowly stood to his feet, pocketing the brooch.
"They may yet be alive." Legolas smiled, gazing on ahead.
Aragorn studied the ground. "They're less than a day ahead of us."
Legolas turned to Gimli. "We're gaining on them!"
"I'm wasted on cross-country." Gimli bent over, taking in deep breaths, face nearly crimson from the exertion. "We dwarves are natural sprinters. Very dangerous over short distances."
"There's something strange at work here." Aragorn frowned, gaze off into the distance. "Some evil gives speed to these creatures and sets its will against us." He turned to Legolas. "They are less than a day's run ahead of us, with your elven eyes you should be able to make something out."
Legolas nodded, and then he was off, running so fast it was obvious he'd been holding somewhat back before.
Gimli stayed bent over, panting.
Chloe felt a little guilty for getting a ride but knew that the dwarf would be mightily offended if she offered to switch places with him so she bit her tongue.
"I need…to visit the bushes." The dwarf finally wheezed before making his way to some bushes off to the side.
"Maybe I should get down for now." Chloe commented, feeling a little uncomfortable for some reason, especially given the fact that Aragorn was decidedly not looking at them.
"Nah." Clark tightened his hold visibly on her, oblivious to the tension. "You're comfortable. I'm comfortable. And you'll just have to jump back on when Legolas comes back. So it makes more sense for you to stay on." He shrugged. "Not like we're not used to this anyway."
Finally Aragorn turned to look at them, eyes and countenance darker than usual. "Am I to understand that it is a common occurrence for you to behave in such an improper manner as this?"
"Huh?" Clark asked what was in Chloe's head. "Improper?"
A muscle jumped in Aragorn's cheek. "Highly. You are damaging My Lady's honor with your behavior and she is allowing you to."
There was some accusation in that tone as his gaze flashed towards her.
"You offered to carry me once." Chloe couldn't understand the reasoning behind this surprise attack. "How would that have been proper yet this isn't?"
"I would never have compromised your honor or integrity by touching you the way he does!" Aragorn glared at her. "I would have carried you in the respectable place in my arms, not having your curves pressed into my body and holding you by placing my hands on places that no gentleman would even think of touching!"
"That's ridiculous." Clark laughed good-naturedly, shaking his head. "Look, I know you think you're trying to protect her virtue Aragorn, but Chloe isn't from your world and neither am I. The things you all find dishonorable or scandalous are norms for us."
"Clark…" Chloe felt nerves building in the pit of her stomach.
"It's not to say we're moral-less as people, but, well…" Clark seemed to not have heard her. "I mean, look at the way we dress. Its completely different. And women are rulers in our world. We have Queens who govern over their husbands. And female presidents. And men and women can hang out and be like this without people talking or even thinking its weird." He made a face. "It's actually encouraged."
"I cannot understand your world." Aragorn let out a sigh of pure aggravation. "I cannot understand your customs. I try, but I find it hard to believe that there is a society that values its women so little."
"They're valued! And a lot more than they are here!" Clark had apparently taken offense at that. "In my world women aren't just wives! They're rulers! They can vote for rulers! They don't have chastity belts around them because if they're not a virgin at the wedding it's not a big deal!"
Chloe felt her whole body go numb.
"Not…a big deal?" Aragorn whispered to himself. "How can you say that? You can't truly say that you believe this…that if your future wife had intimately known another man this wouldn't affect you or how you saw her!"
"If men aren't expected to be virgins on their wedding night why should women?" Clark countered in a surprisingly deadly calm voice. "Only a fool would let something like that change his feelings for the woman he loves…and if he truly does love her…something like that won't matter. Nothing will matter except that she is his."
Chloe realized why Clark was behaving this way, realized that in his own way he was defending her and her honor. He was trying to get Aragorn to see differently, to open his eyes to their culture, because Clark had read their story and he knew the feelings she had towards the Ranger. Clark knew she was falling in love with Aragorn and was scared as to how the Ranger would react when he found out about her.
She was going to be sick.
By some grace, Legolas returned at that moment, stopping before them. "The Uruks turn northeast. They're taking the hobbit to Isengard."
"Saruman." Aragorn whispered as Gimli hurried back to them, their more pressing matters returning to the forefront. "We must hurry and intercept them before they can reach him."
They were off again, running.
Chloe closed her eyes and held on tightly to Clark, her stomach a tangle of nerves and a bitter taste in her mouth. The topic she'd feared so much had finally been raised and Aragorn had made his feelings known pretty obviously. Sexual purity was important to him in a woman, and once he knew that she was far from a virgin he'd become disillusioned with her. Maybe even disgusted.
The realization brought tears to her eyes.
Just like her mother and Isildur, whatever it was Chloe and Aragorn had between them was only going to end in tragedy…
…so she couldn't let it go that far.
"No! No! No! No! No!" Lois ranted and raved on the bed, throwing a pillow at the wall in absolute fury. "Goddamn it Chloe! Stop doing this to yourself! Stop chickening out of something great and putting so many obstacles in front of yourself and never fighting for what you want! Stop it!"
In a way she could understand her cousin's trepidation since Aragorn was obviously a man of old virtues and morals and such, and Lois had a feeling that the Ranger wouldn't take the news of her cousin not being a virgin too well, but Lois also knew that there were always ways around ways. One just had to really want something. And go after it with all their heart. But that was the problem with Chloe. Her heart had been hurt too many times and she tended not to do anything that could endanger it in any way. She played it safe, protected herself, never did anything that could lead to herself getting hurt. But Lois was scared that this time it would lead to her cousin losing a man who truly cared about her.
Words began to engrave themselves in the page, but they weren't about Chloe anymore. Instead they were about that snake Saruman.
...Night crept across the sky, painting it like a canvas of purple and orange, yet in the Tower of Orthanc, standing amidst the smoking caverns of Isengard, Saruman paid it no heed. His gaze was on the smoke issuing forth from the now ash-colored land within the Ring of Isengard, contemplating the change that had occurred. He continued to contemplate this as he made his way to his chambers, and once he did he placed his hand over the Palantir, which was a crystal ball of sorts which allowed him to communicate with his master. Within this dark orb were swirls of fire, a constant reminder of whom it was he was connected to.
"The world is changing. Who now has the strength to stand against the armies of Isengard and Mordor?" He announced, thinking of the vast army of Orcs and Uruk-hais. "To stand against Sauron and Saruman and the union of the two towers? Together, my Lord Sauron, we shall rule this Middle Earth."
The Flaming Eye of Sauron sat atop its tower in Mordor, watching the world…fire flashing in the dark orb in Isengard.
Outside his window Saruman had a view of the beautiful trees of Isengard being hacked down by Orcs, axes hacking into the trunks, their carcasses thrown into the pits. They would hack into the trunks and throw the logs into furnaces to heat the molten metal which would soon become swords and helmets. And as these weapons were being created Uruk-hai were birthed as well.
"The Old World will burn in the fires of industry. The forests will fall. A new order will rise. We will drive the machine of war with the sword and the spear and the iron fists of the Orc."
They were to be armed and ready to march within two weeks, and while his Orc overseer had declared that there were too many who couldn't be armed in time, Saruman would hear no petty excuses. A dam was to be made by blocking the stream, and the furnaces were to work night and day, fueled by the few remaining trees in Isengard…and by the beautiful and enormous Fangorn Forest which engulfed the nearby mountainside.
"The Wild Men have rallied to our cause, swearing their allegiance to us." Saruman could feel his master's pleasure through the Palantir and it was all he needed. "The Horse-men took their land, drove their people into the hills to scratch a living off rocks. The Wild Men want vengeance. Want blood." He smirked evilly. "They will take back the lands and burn every village. We have only to remove those who oppose us. As we speak several forces of the Wild Men charge across Rohan towards the villages. It is beginning." He caressed the Palantir. "Too long have the peasants stood against you." His eyes narrowed. "Rohan, My Lord, is ready to fall."
"This is so not good." Lois fretted, biting her thumbnail, before suddenly narrowing her eyes in realization. "Uhm…where exactly is Ollie?"