Before His Eyes, by Lbilover

A wee bit of fic based on this moment in Moria that caught my attention during a rewatch of FOTR.

before his eyes
before his eyes

In his wildest imaginings, Sam Gamgee has never pictured anything like Moria burning. Ghastly as it is in the dark, with a lurid red glare throwing its awful majesty into relief, it beggars description. And now Mr. Frodo and Aragorn, framed by fire, stand swaying on a crumbling rock stair, separated from the rest of the Company, so near and yet too far. Even as Sam watches, horror-struck, another massive piece of the stair is sheered off by falling rock and plummets with a deafening crash into the depths.

Aragorn's lips move; Frodo nods in acknowledgement of whatever the Ranger has said, but his gaze is fixed on Sam. In his master's eyes Sam sees neither fear nor panic, only calm acceptance of whatever fate has in store for him.

But Sam's hands are clenched into aching fists as if preparing for a fight, yet how can he fight the yawning gap between him and Frodo? Even on Weathertop and Caradhras he hadn't felt this small and helpless.

'I slew the boar, but my entire life flashed before my eyes when he surprised me and charged.'

They were sitting huddled among the stunted trees in Hollin, eating a meagre meal and waiting for evening and the resumption of their journey. Trading stories was the best way to pass the time, and Boromir was telling them about some of his adventures on the long road from Minas Tirith to Rivendell.

'What do you mean, Boromir?' Merry asked. 'Your entire life flashing before your eyes.'

Boromir looked surprised. 'I mean precisely what I said, Master Meriadoc. At moments of gravest danger, when your life is truly in jeopardy, the entirety of it can replay in your mind, in a matter of seconds.'

'I suppose we hobbits aren't used to our lives being in jeopardy.' Merry grimaced. 'Except for poor Frodo here.'

But even at this moment of gravest danger, Sam doesn't think Frodo's life is flashing before his eyes. The same cannot be said for Samwise Gamgee. What flashes before Sam's eyes, however, is not his own life, but the history of his life with Frodo, or such of it as Sam recalls, from the childhood friend with the shy, uncertain smile whom dear old Mr. Bilbo brought to live at Bag End; to the mischievous tween who shared Sam's lessons; to the most generous, wisest and kindest of masters; to the brave and selfless Ring-bearer, who took on a task no one else could or would.

Frodo Baggins in all his guises appears to Sam, and each one is dearer to Sam than life itself. If Frodo were to die...

'Mr. Frodo, no,' Sam whispers, the paper-thin sound lost in the tumult of falling stone and roaring fire.

And then with a groan that seems to come from the very bowels of the earth, the staircase moves, forward and down, aided by Aragorn and Frodo, who lean perilously forward. After a few agonising moments the gap is bridged, Ranger and hobbit flung into the midst of their companions. Boromir catches Frodo, Legolas steadies Aragorn, and without a word they are off again, bounding down the crumbling stairs.

As they go, Sam finds himself weeping tears of relief.

'It's all right, Sam,' Frodo says breathlessly. 'It's all right.' He reaches out to grasp Sam's hand, and together they run on, to the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.

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