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In All The Ways There Were is a Lord of the Rings fanfiction, written by Molly Ostertag. It is a retelling of the events of the LotR trilogy from Sam's point of view, centering his and Frodo's growing affections and romantic relationship.

It is a spiritual sequel to Molly's prior fancomic depicting the two reuniting at Valinor, although the events are adapted differently in this fic.

It can be read on Archive of Our Own here.

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In All the Ways There Were provides examples of:

  • Ascended Extra: Rosie Cotton plays a much larger role in the post-quest portion of the story, compared to the books and films where she barely appeared.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Frodo has a lot of guilt about being together with Sam, who he wants to live a happy life, and there are many times where he tries to urge Sam to leave for his own safety, whether from the dangers of the quest or from homophobia in the Shire.
  • But Now I Must Go: It becomes clear that Frodo cannot stay in the Shire with Sam because of a broken piece of the Witch-King's blade is still in him, which can only be treated at Valinor. The move takes several years, but it is inevitable.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The elfin leaf token Legolas gives Sam, which he uses to buy passage to the Undying Lands.
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  • Childhood Friend Romance: Sam and Frodo started out as friends as kids, leading into Sam's decision in adulthood to become his gardener so he can always hang out with Frodo.
  • Dark Secret: After Mordor, Frodo loses most of his memory of what happened at the Cracks of Doom. For a time, Sam keeps it secret because he doesn't want Frodo to know he succumbed to the Ring, but eventually he tells him the truth.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Frodo promises to marry Sam after the Ring is destroyed, before they're seemingly going to be consumed by Mt. Doom's lava. He admits afterward that he said so out loud because he thought they were going to die, and after they both lived has become hesitant about the matter again.
  • Everyone Can See It:
    • Merry and Pippin already picked up on Sam's affections for Frodo well before Sam tells anyone, snickering when Sam refers to himself as just Frodo's gardener.
    Pippin pointed a sausage at him, shaking his head sternly. “We are on a mission of utmost importance , isn’t that right Gandalf?” The wizard nodded sagely behind a cloud of pipe-smoke. “Venturing into the direst of dangers, in the darkest of times...and you two sit here - flirting !”
    • A elf cook at Rivendell makes a special treat for Sam and his melethril ("lover" in Sindarin), which Sam doesn't understand at first but figures it out moments later.
    Cellian: It’s not hard to see love. Estelnote  shines in your eyes when you look at him.
    • Gandalf casually remarks on Frodo loving Sam, and brushes off any of Sam's anxious speculation.
    "Oh,” said Sam. “Do you think he is? In love with me? He’s never exactly said - ”
    “Yes, yes, of course he is,” Gandalf said impatiently.
    • Subverted with the rest of the Fellowship, who didn't realize until Pippin blurted it out.
    “I thought that hobbit was the cook,” said the dwarf - Gimli, Sam remembered.
    “I thought he was Frodo’s bodyguard,” said Legolas.
    Boromir looked confused. “I thought they were all children.”
    • Inversely, Sam appears to have been the only one who didn't realize his own sister May is a lesbian, being surprised when Rosie casually reveals such in conversation.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: In Moria, Sam forgets his sword at first and smacks out several goblin with his frying pan, which he remarks worked surprisingly well.
  • The Heart: After Sam brings the various members of the Fellowship together through preparing dinner, Frodo remarks on Sam's ability to get all these different people to unite amicably.
    Frodo laughed and pulled his hands down. “This Fellowship - they hardly knew each other, except for us hobbits, and Aragorn and Gandalf I suppose. Everyone was ready for an awfully grim journey and lots of arguments.” Frodo cocked his head and looked at Sam in a way that made him squirm. “But you’ve got them talking to each other and working together. You’re something of a leader, Samwise.”
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Frodo encourages Sam to go after Rosie Cotton instead, viewing Sam as having a better chance at a happy life without homophobia and Frodo's depression.Sam eventually does, with Frodo's permission, when Frodo makes it clear he's going to leave for the Undying Lands.
  • Let's Just Be Friends: Sam's initial expectation as Frodo's gardener is to just be a good friend with him. After Frodo cuts off their romance following Moria, Sam tries to content himself with just being Frodo's friend again, but finds he can no longer settle for that.
    “Well, if I thought that, it’s only because you told me as much yourself,” Frodo said with exasperation. “You told me you would be happy with whatever you could have of me.”
    “I was wrong,” Sam said.
  • Love Confession: In Rivendell, while Frodo recovers from his poisoning at Weathertop, Sam tells him he loves him. Unfortunately, Frodo first mistakes it for something more casual
  • Love Epiphany: It finally hits Sam why he's sought to be around Frodo all these years when he sees Frodo being taken away to treat his wound from the Witch-King. Consequently, he becomes determined to tell Frodo before he could die and never hear the truth.
  • Love Redeems: Gandalf is uncertain about what effect the Ring will have on Frodo and Sam's growing romance, as no other Ringbearer was known to be in love while they possessed. Gandalf worries that the Ring could possibly corrupt their relationship and put them in greater danger, but he urges Sam to do his best to have his love keep Frodo remembering who he really is.
  • Love You and Everybody: How Frodo first misinterprets Sam's declaration of love at Rivendell, partly because he doesn't think Sam might actually mean it in a romantic way. Fortunately he figures it out by the following night.
  • Patchwork Fic: The fic is largely derived from the films, but includes elements from the books, particularly when it comes to what characters were present for important holidays.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: This fic takes place from Sam's, recapping the books' events and adding some new ones filling in the blanks in between.
  • Rage Breaking Point:
    • Sam, typically so meek towards Frodo, throws a pinecone at Frodo and pins him down when Frodo acts like he has no room for love toward him while burdened with the ring.
    • After returning to the Shire, Sam loses his temper at a hobbit who sneers that he's still Frodo's servant.
  • Romantic Asexual: Frodo is often up for pleasuring Sam, but doesn't ask for any for himself even when Sam offers.
    Frodo: I know you want to. But would you understand if I told you it’s just...not something I want for myself? Sam, you feel so much, and being close to you - it’s like warming myself at a fire. But I don’t have a fire of my own, at least not in this way.
  • Second-Act Breakup: After Gandalf falls in Moria, Frodo breaks up with Sam, insistent on making the Ring's burden solely his own. Sam respects the decision at first, until Frodo tries to leave the entire Fellowship but can't leave Sam too.
  • Sleep Cute: Oh so many times, and with illustrations too!
  • Title Drop: Comes after Sam and Frodo reunite after the breaking of the Fellowship.
    He hooked a hand around Frodo’s waist and pulled him close. And despite everything; the terror of being in such a wild place, the grief of leaving their friends behind, the weariness of the road; despite it all, he found himself wanting Frodo in a way he never had before. Because he didn’t just want to make Frodo happy. He wanted to make Frodo understand, in a way he would never, could never forget, that they belonged to each other. They belonged to each other in all the ways there were.
  • Wham Line: "Read the last page." This is what Frodo tells Sam before leaving Middle-Earth, referring to the Red Book, whose last line includes a hidden invitation for Sam to join Frodo at Valinor.
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