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.
The aftermath of a vicious battle littered and defaced the earth, the river carrying small streams of blood as bodies were taken by the current. A torrential downpour lent a grey air upon the day whose night had held nothing but death.
Eomer, of the House of Eorl, son of Theodweyn, sister of King Theoden of Rohan, could remember the days in which Rohan knew only peace. His father, Eomund, had once been the Chief Marshal of the Mark of Rohan, a position which Eomer eventually inherited once he became of age and proved his worth both to his king and his men, and Eomer knew that he would see worse days than his father ever had in this position. Not for the first time he wished that his parents were still alive, for he knew that they could have given him much sage council, but he would never fault King Theoden's upbringing. His uncle had adopted both Eomer and his sister Eowyn, raising them as his own children. They loved him dearly, as they did his son, their cousin, Prince Theodred, future king of Rohan.
And it was for Theodred's sake that Eomer rode in the torrential rain with his men, searching for his cousin, who'd led the group who'd tried to defend this village.
The Wild Men were attacking Rohan in strength and numbers they'd never had before, destroying villages, razing them to the ground and sparing not the women nor children nor the old. They were ruthless and bloodthirsty and tearing Rohan apart.
Eomer had led his group of Rohirrim Horsemen into battle to protect another village, and upon missing Theodred's group afterwards had ridden towards his cousin's destination only to find it in shambles, death and decay everywhere.
"Theodred." Eomer whispered to himself, dread slowly curling in his chest as he surveyed the carnage before yelling to his men. "Find the king's son!"
The Rohirrim walked amongst the arrow-pierced dead, checking the face of each one, praying that the crown prince wasn't amongst them and had by some sweet mercy managed to escape the carnage.
"Mordor will pay for this." A soldier swore, gazing down at his fallen brethren, and at the villagers who hadn't stood a chance.
"The Orcs with the Wild Men are not from Mordor." Eomer replied, kicking one of the dead Orcs to reveal the all-too familiar White Hand of Saruman.
"My Lord Eomer! Over here!"
Turning towards the voice, Eomer's heart raced in fear as he ran towards the riverbank, where the soldier was pulling a body out of the water, leaving him laying on his back on the bank.
Going to his knees, Eomer stared into Theodred's face, praying to all holy as he reached out and pressed a hand to his neck, feeling a faint throb. "He has a pulse." Relief shot through his like an arrow as he allowed himself to hope. "He breathes." He reached for Theodred and stood, holding his cousin's weight with ease. "Come. We must take the prince back to Edoras!"
"Wow." Lois gazed at the illustration being burnt onto the pages of Lord Eomer as he made his way towards his steed with his cousin's limp body in his arms. "He' really ot."
The Rohirrim rode straightway to Edoras, Eomer leading, carrying his gravely wounded cousin. Ever so often he'd check for a pulse, thanking all holy that it was still there, yet worry churning in his stomach as he realized that each time it grew fainter and fainter. There was little time. Theodred deserved to die in the comforts of his own home, surrounded by his family…not on a cold battleground surrounded by the long dead.
As the Horsemen rose into the city, the people cleared a path for them, mourning beginning to raise loudly as they recognized the body hanging limply from Eomer's steed.
He ignored them, tried to push back the feeling of failure which stuck in his throat, and descended his faithful horse, leaving others to tend to it. For the first time he would not do so himself, instead carrying his cousin up to his chambers and calling for the healers although he already knew it was too late. His cousin, the crown prince, was passing into the shadows. Eomer held back the rage and impotence, refusing to show how crippled he felt within at the soon loss of a man he'd loved as his brother.
The door to Theodred's chambers flew open and Eowyn rushed to their cousin's bedside, kneeling before it, leaning over him. "Theodred!"
Their cousin's head lolled, unresponsive to her desperation.
From the shadowed corner he refused to leave, Eomer watched the realization hit his sister as she drew back to the covers to see Theodred's fatal wound.
Eowyn gasped, eyes filling with tears as she dropped hold of the sheet, finally turning to look at her brother.
Eomer could only nod, seeing his own despair echoed in her eyes.
Lois sniffled, blowing her nose on some toilet paper she'd snatched from the bathroom.
She'd never read anything about this Theodred before, so while the fact that he was dying was sad it really wasn't what affected her.
What really tore at her was Eomer's feelings, and how well she could understand them. He was dedicated to his cousin, loved him like his own brother, and now that something had happened to him he blamed himself for not being able to be there to protect him.
Didn't Lois share all these feelings for Chloe?
She could empathize with the pain the man was going through right now, and it only amplified her fears for her own cousin.
In the Main Hall, Eomer watched as Eowyn hurried to their uncle's throne and kissed his cheek before kneeling before him in lament. Eomer stared at his king as he sat motionless on his throne, seeming years older than he truly was. The young warrior cursed all that had befallen his goodly uncle before going to kneel before him, head bowed.
"Your son is badly wounded, my lord." Eowyn's voice was teary yet strong.
"He was ambushed by Orcs." Eomer added, head bowed in respect and shame.
On his throne Theoden made no response, instead stared off into the distance.
Eomer clenched his hands tightly. "If we don't defend our country, Saruman will take it by force."
"That is a lie." A voice said behind them, and Grima Wormtongue appeared from the shadows. He walked over to stand beside the king, hand on the wizened old man's shoulder. "Saruman the White has ever been our friend and ally."
Eomer stared at the disgusting man in contempt, unable and unwilling to hide his feelings towards his uncle's advisor.
"Grima…" King Theoden mumbled feebly. "Grima…"
Wormtongue leaned down close to the king.
Eomer couldn't stand to see how his uncle had become a shadow of his former self, and he stood. "Orcs are running freely across our lands. Unchecked. Unchallenged. Killing at will. Orcs bearing the White Hand of Saruman." He motioned for Erkenbrand to bring him the Orc helmet and once it was in his hands he dropped it to the floor, and a severed Orc head rolled out of it, landing at the king's and Grima's feet.
It bore the White Hand or Saruman.
Wormtongue stared at it, obviously considering his words, before finally kneeling down next to Theoden. "Why do you lay these troubles upon an already troubled mind? Can you not see? Your uncle is wearied by your malcontent, your warmongering."
"Warmongering?" Eomer snarled, taking a menacing step towards the petty little insect before grabbing him and yanking him to his feet. "How long is it since Saruman bought you? What was the promised price, Grima? When all the Men are dead, you will take your share of the treasure?"
Those beady eyes glanced over Eomer's shoulder as Eowyn walked out of the Hall, most probably to return to her dying cousin's side.
Eomer followed that gaze before growling and tightening his hold on the disgusting man in his grip. "Too long have you watched my sister. Too long have you haunted her steps."
Grima looked over Eomer's shoulders as two guards approached Eomer and pulled him off. "You see much, Eomer, son of Eomund."
The king's guards blocked the way of Eomer's men as they tried to go to him.
"Too much." Grima sneered, straightening his clothes. "You are to be imprisoned in your uncle's dungeons and your men are banished from the kingdom of Rohan…and all its domains under pain of death."
Eomer doubled over as he was punched in the stomach by one of the guards, being restrained by others. "You have no authority here. Your orders mean nothing."
One of the men punched Eomer again.
"This order does not come from me." Victory was thick in his every expression, in even the tone of his voice. "It comes from the king. He signed it this morning." Reaching into his billowing black cloak, Wormtongue pulled out a document with a sloppy scrawl at the bottom. The document read:
Let it be known that Eomer, Son of Eomund, third Marshall of Riddermark is to be imprisoned pending trial for the charges of attempted deception and usurpation of the throne through means of deception. His men are banished forthwith from the King of Rohan and all its domains from this day forth, being the eight and thirtieth year of the reign of Theoden, Son of Thengel, King of Rohan.
The last thing Eomer saw as he was dragged out, was the sneer on that rat's face.
In the plains of Rohan, the dawning sun rose as the five hunters continued their trek across the fields at high speed until finally coming to a stop at the top of a rise as Aragorn once more examined the ground.
Chloe, body feeling numb, slipped from Clark's back and stretched.
Legolas gazed up at the dawning sun with dread. "A red sun rises. Blood has been spilled this night."
Clark turned to look at him, worried. "Are you sure?"
The elf returned his gaze, grim, as he nodded.
Chloe hugged herself, wary and uncomfortable. She'd gotten control of her emotions, knew what she had to do, and was trying her best to numb herself to Aragorn and everyone. She'd almost been successful when she'd thought Arwen was Aragorn's love and she knew that she could accomplish the task if she tried hard enough. How many people had she done this to in the past? How many heartaches had she managed to sidestep thanks to the ability to make herself numb to it? If she couldn't feel it, it couldn't hurt her.
It didn't matter that each time she did it a part of her was lost forever.
Suddenly Aragorn looked up and motioned for them to hasten behind a nearby formation to hide.
Wariness filled Chloe as she hurried to do as instructed, and only when her back was to the rocks could she hear the sound of a multitude of horses and feel the earth beneath them rumbling as they drew nearer and nearer before cresting over the hill and passing the rock formation, giving Chloe her first view of the men of Rohan. They were a large group of armored men on horseback, warriors, comfortable in their saddle as they were breathing.
Aragorn hesitated a second, sending Chloe a look, before stepping out calmly from hiding and calling out to the retreating men, who had yet to see them. "Riders of Rohan, what news from the Mark?"
The head horseman signaled the group with his hand and as one, with astonishing speed and skill, the Rohirrim checked the steeds, wheeling around and charging towards the five.
Chloe pressed harder against the rock, feeling threatened by their attitude.
On the other hand Legolas, Gimli and Clark joined Aragorn in the forefront as the riders approached and circled around them and the rock formation, basically trapping them, pointing their spears at them.
Aragorn held up his hands in surrender as the head horseman rode forwards and addressed them from his steed.
"What business does an Elf, two Men, a Dwarf and… woman…?" He paused for a moment, seeming quite thrown by her presence before shaking his head and returning his scowl to Aragorn. "What business do you have in the Riddermark? Speak quickly!"
Gimli raised his chin defiantly. "Give me your name, horse-master, and I shall give you mine."
The man handed his spear to another rider and dismounted his horse, approaching the dwarf menacingly. "I would cut off your head, beard and all, Master Dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground."
In a lightning fast move, Legolas nocked an arrow, pointing it at the man. "You would die before your stroke fell."
As one all the spears trained on Legolas.
Clark pulled out his sword and stepped in to defend his friend should need be.
This was all getting out of control!
"Please." Chloe finally spoke as she pushed away from the rock, slowly raising her hand in a show of submission as she pulled off her bow and sheath of arrows, laying them at her feet. "We mean no harm." The leader had shown hesitation when he'd realized she was a woman and she was hoping that that meant that the Horsemen of Rohan had some sort of code of honor when it came to not harming a woman. She was depending on it as she moved closer, finding herself standing at Aragorn's side, staring into the head Horseman's face pleadingly. "We are searching for friends whose lives are in danger. Our quest has led us to your kingdom. We have no fight with you and wish for none in return."
The man eyed her in silence.
Aragorn, sensing that the danger had been stayed, (even if only for a moment) reached behind her and slowly lowered Legolas' bow. "I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn. This is Gimli, son of Gloin. He is Legolas of the Woodland Realm, and his ready swordsman is Clark, son of Jonathan." The hand that he'd used to put down Legolas's bow rested on Chloe's shoulder, surprising her as he didn't normally touch her. "She is Chloe, daughter of Moira Lane."
The man's eyes widened.
Whispers filled the Horsemen's ranks.
Aragorn's grip on her shoulder tightened. "We are friends of Rohan and of Theoden, your king."
The man stared at them for a moment before removing his helmet. "I am Erkenbrand, and it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that King Theoden no longer recognizes friend from foe. Saruman has poisoned the mind of the king and claimed lordship over these lands. The king's son lay dying last we knew of him, his nephew, our Lord Eomer, unjustly imprisoned, while Lady Eowyn is trapped in the castle with such filth as Wormtongue." Disgust filled his face. "My company are those loyal to Rohan, and for that we are banished." He leaned in closer, speaking quietly to them, accusing. "The White Wizard is cunning. He walks here and there, they say, as an old man hooded and cloaked. And everywhere, his spies slip past our nets."
"We are no spies." Clark assured him.
"We track a party of Uruk-Hai westward across the plain." Aragorn informed, never once letting go of his hold on Chloe. "They have taken two of our friends captive."
"The Uruks are destroyed." Erkenbrand declared. "We slaughtered them during the night."
"What?" Chloe whispered, something dark and twisted churning in her stomach.
Gimli sprung forwards, his face betraying he felt the same as her. "But there were two hobbits. Did you see two hobbits with them?"
"They would be small…only children to your eyes." Aragorn tried.
Erkenbrand shook his head. "We left none alive. We piled the carcasses and burned them." With his gloved hand he pointed to where smoke rose from a pile in the distance.
Chloe stared at the smoke in shock, feeling as if something had ripped her heart right out of her chest. "No."
"They can't be dead." Clark whispered, tears beginning to moisten his gaze as he too stared at the smoke in shock.
Legolas put a hand on Gimli's shoulder in grief, elf and dwarf as one in their suffering.
"I am sorry." Erkenbrand nodded before turning and whistling. "Hasufel! Arod! Frol!" Three steeds moved to the forefront and he lovingly placed his hands on them before passing the reigns to Aragorn. "May these horses bear you to better fortune than their former masters." He put on his helmet and returned to his horse, mounting it expertly. "Look for your friends, but do not trust to hope. It has forsaken these lands." He turned to the Riders. "We ride north!"
The Rohirrim quickly rode off and disappeared to the North.
Aragorn looked towards the smoldering pile in the distance.
"They can't be dead." Clark repeated a little louder, a little firmer, shaking his head in denial. "Merry and Pippin can not be dead."
"There is always hope." Gimli's voice broke with his emotion.
The sound caused Chloe to feel sick, the fatigue from the days of chasing the Uruk-Hais and the Orcs finally collapsing in on her as her knees gave way.
Aragorn moved swiftly, catching her around her waist and holding her to him as she sobbed against his chest. His arms were strong and his embrace warm, protecting. He kept her up while her own feet wouldn't, and he whispered encouragements into her ear in elvish that she couldn't understand and yet still knew due to the tone. She clutched him tighter, forgetting for a moment that she needed to harden herself against him. It was impossible to do so when she needed him now more than ever.
"They can still be alive." Aragorn finally returned to english, one hand around her, the other in her hair as he whispered into her ear. "Don't give up on them yet. The hobbits are a small yet sturdy breed."
"We'll find them." Gimli's voice was thick was emotion. "We will."
Legolas, who had apparently taken the reigns from Aragorn, passed one to Clark. "Can you ride?"
Clark nodded. "I'm a Kansas boy."
That, of course, meant nothing to people from Middle Earth but Legolas accepted it nonetheless.
"Not the hobbits." Lois begged the book, pacing the floor as a picture of the five of them riding towards the pillar of smoke in the distance burnt onto the page. Clark was the only lone rider, hope fighting to stay alive on his countenance. Legolas and Gimli, who shared a horse due to the dwarf's inability to even get his feet in the stirrups, were much more resigned though, their expressions blank. Chloe was surprisingly enough riding with Aragorn and not Clark, leaning against the Ranger's chest, seeming very much as if she was going into shock. Grief was etched on her every feature. And the Ranger…the Ranger's expression was that of pain and worry.
And that gaze rested on Chloe.
"You can't kill the hobbits off. Not Pippin and Merry." Lois fought with the book, unable to understan why his would happen, unable to believe it. "They're the sweetest, cutest, most non-depressing haracters in the whole story! You can't do this! You stupid! STUPID! Damn book!"
"Yo do realize that you can't blame books for what is written in them, don't you?" A voice asked from the doorway.
Lois looked up, eyes wide. "It's about time! Where the hell have you been Sabrina?"
Zatanna frowned as she strode forwards. "I'm a very busy woman, Lois. Now where's Chloe? Oliver has his persistent League chasing me down and I need her to tell me what the hell he wants this time." She then stopped, eyes wide as she gave the book a better look. "That book…I sense great magic from it."
Shaking her head, the brunette couldn't believe it. "Well, someone give the girl a prize."
"So, what have you been thrown in for?" The man who'd already been inhabiting the cell when he'd been imprisoned within wanted to know as he sat calmly in the corner. "Did you jaywalk? Chew a fingernail? Breathe?"
Eomer frowned at the odd accent and speech of this stranger. He didn't seem of Rohan, and his clothes were the oddest apparel the warrior had ever seen. "What misdeeds have you committed to be thrown into our dungeons?"
"I'm still trying to figure that one out actually." The stranger replied, leaning his head against the wall. "See, all I did was appear here, in this cell. I thought the book actually liked me. But no. It took me from being with Lane to being in solitary in a jail somewhere in Middle Earth." He paused. "Then again, it could have been taking pity on me."
The man was obviously a lunatic, speaking incoherencies.
"I mean, she's hot, and I dated her way back when..." The man thought for a moment before shaking his head. "But I was about to have a nervous breakdown, being left alone with just her." He then flinched. "Oh god. She's going to read that." He brought his hand to his face. "I won't survive to get out of this story. If Chloe wasn't in it she'd burn the book out of spite." He went still before looking up at the ceiling as if expecting to see someone. "Not that I'm saying she's spiteful!"
Most definitely someone touched in the head.
Eomer sighed, gazing towards the bars.
"So, what's your name?" The man addressed him once more, seeming to have finished speaking to the ceiling about the arid road he'd somehow marked a date upon…though with what date in time (and the importance of this date) was never specified.
Eomer paused and eyed the stranger, wondering if he should entertain a madman, before realizing his own predicament and sighing. "Eomer, son of Eomund."
The man smiled, reaching out his hand. "Oliver, son of Robert."
Eomer eyed the hand before reaching out and shaking it.
On horseback they made it to the burning carcasses with relative quickness, the scent of burning flesh searing itself into Chloe's nostrils and making her stomach roll with nausea. It was a scent she was unaccustomed to and unprepared for, barely managing to keep the bile from racing up her throat in disgust and desperation. Somehow she kept it in check as she dismounted from the steed, staring at the pile as Gimli hurried towards it, shifting through the smoldering bodies.
Clark, apparently unable to look at the pile of burning death, decided to better spend his time tying up the horses so that they didn't escape.
Aragorn was a couple of steps away from the pile, seeming almost too horrified to draw closer.
Gimli retrieved a charred belt and dagger sheath, his voice breaking, his accent deepening. "It's one of their wee little belts."
Legolas closed his eyes tightly as he lowered his head, wishing in his mother tongue for the hobbits to find peace after death. "Hiro hyn hidh ab 'wanath."
Aragorn let out an agonized, self-hating sound as he kicked at the Orc pile.
"We failed them." Gimli whispered in disbelief, in mourning.
What good was she doing here?
As Chloe stood by herself, staring at the burning pile of bodies, she asked herself that question. It'd been a nagging doubt in the back of her mind ever since she'd realized that coming to Middle Earth hadn't been a freak coincidence but premeditated. Her mother had been a great warrior, had helped win a war, and yet what exactly had Chloe contributed to the land of Middle Earth and its new battle? She couldn't fight with most weapons, was only barely competent with the bow and arrow…and not once had she managed to save anyone. She'd fainted before the Witch King stabbed Frodo, merely watched as Gandalf sacrificed himself for them, and she'd been able to do nothing but cry as Boromir died a hero's death for the hobbits that she'd let get taken by these foul beasts and get…oh dear god…the horrors he'd been told that Orcs and Uruk-hai's bestowed on their captives before killing them…!
How was her being here helping anyone?
How could her mother and Galadriel believe that she was here for a reason? That she could help Middle Earth and its people?
She couldn't even keep up with the others as they ran!
Maybe if she hadn't been lagging behind so much they'd have been able to catch up to the Orcs and Uruk-hais before the Rohirrim and would have been able to save Merry and Pippin!
Their deaths were of her!
Her side throbbed, giving her a sharp reminder of yet another circumstance that proved how helpless and useless she truly was, able to feel those black and purple veins slowly growing once more.
Aragorn turned away from the pile, self-hatred on his countenance, before suddenly something caught his eye. "A hobbit lay here…and another." He turned completely towards the tracks he followed. "They crawled with their hands bound." He bent down and picked up remnants of cut rope. "Their bonds were cut and they ran over there, and were followed." His gaze rose to the formidable, dark forest looming over them. "Their tracks lead away from the battle into…Fangorn Forest."
Chloe's breath caught as she wiped at her eyes, looking at the forest and then back at the horses.
By now everyone was turned towards the Ranger, eyes wide, hope once more daring to return.
Until he said the name of the forest.
"Fangorn?" Gimli reached the Ranger's side. "What madness drew them there?"
"Who cares?" Chloe grabbed her bow and sheath of arrows from the horse's saddlebag. "Merry and Pippin are still alive."
Aragorn turned towards her, his expression slowly turning to a crooked half smile. "I knew My Lady's spirit was not broken."
She fought the pleasure his pleasure gave her, shaking her head as she started stomping towards Fangorn Forest.
As one, the men shared smiles behind her before hurrying after.
"Oh, I like him." Zatanna declared with a grin as she lay on her stomach on the bed next to Lois, gazing at the illustration being burnt onto the page of Aragorn smiling tenderly at Chloe, who was visibly conflicted. "Does he always call her "his" lady?"
"Yep. I don't think she realizes he's saying "My Lady" and not "Milady" though." Lois despaired, relieved to finally have someone else with her who could understand how fangirly she felt as she read. The boys just could never understand the moments she'd wanted to squeal and clap her hands. But Zatanna? Her reactions were very promising. "Chloe's too oblivious sometimes. And she puts herself down. And now she has it in her mind that just because she's not a virgin she can never be with Aragorn."
The magician shook her head. "I've noticed that about her. She needs to snap out of it. This Aragorn fellow is hot and seems to really like her. She needs to stake her claim." An evilly little grin took over her features. "She should also show him all the advantages not being a virgin gives her."
Lois' smile was blinding. "I agree! She needs to sex this man up!"
"Leave him unable to walk straight for days." Zatanna agreed with a smile just as large.
The women, who'd never really seen eye to eye before, were suddenly high-fiving and laughing, completely at ease with the other.
As words began to burn onto the page, Lois immediately caught sight of something that caused her to scream and jump off of the bed.
"What?" Zatanna's eyes widened as she turned to look at the page in worry as Lois quickly put on her shoes and reached for something by the side of the bed.
That was why the magician never witnessed the moment Lois Lane disappeared.