A/N: I don't usually write AU stories, but when a plot bunny for this story attacked me, I felt like I had to! Hope you like it!
"Ai, ai!" wailed Legolas. "A Balrog! A Balrog is come!"
Gimli stared with wide eyes. "Durin's Bane!" he cried, and letting his axe fall, he covered his face.
"A Balrog," muttered Gandalf. "Now I understand. What an evil fortune! And I am already weary."
The dark figure streaming with fire raced towards them. The orcs yelled and poured over the stone gangways. Then Boromir raised his horn and blew. Loud the challenge rang and bellowed, like the shout of many throats under the cavernous roof. For a moment, the orcs quailed and the fiery shadow halted. Then the echoes died away, as suddenly as a flame blown out by a dark wind, and the enemy advanced again.
"Over the bridge," Gandalf cried, recalling his strength. "Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way. Fly!"
Aragorn and Boromir did not heed the command, but still held their ground, side by side, behind Gandalf, at the far end of the bridge. The others halted just within the hallway at the hall's end, and turned, unable to leave their leader to face the enemy alone.
"He cannot stand alone!" (1)
All the members of the Fellowship froze as they realized who had spoken.
"He cannot stand alone," Frodo repeated. His voice was not clear and high as was it's usual wont, but instead had grown deep, hard, commanding.
Eight pairs of eyes turned slowly to gaze at the curly brown head of the Ringbearer.
Slowly, Frodo laid his hand on his breast, slipping it inside his tunic. Stepping away from his companions, he drew slowly nearer to the bridge. In a movement to quick for even Elven eyes to track, he snapped the chain which bound the Ring bout his neck. As he held it aloft his hand trembled, but when he spoke his voice was as steady as the earth itself.
"I was sent to destroy the Ring, but now I choose not to do this thing. The Ring is mine!" (2)
In a flash of gold, Frodo slipped the Ring onto his finger; however to the amazement of all present, he did not disappear from sight. (3) Instead, he seemed to grow; a great figure, wrapped in shadow, but with a great light shining from within the shadows. It held aloft a wheel of fire, fiery red light sprang forth, painting the walls of Khazad-dum with color, till the very stone seemed to bleed. The shadowy figure strode forward, coming to the very edge of the bridge.
"You shall not pass." A dark voice rang out, echoing loudly throughout the caverns. "The Dark Fire will not avail you, Flame of Udun! Go back to the Shadow!"
The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped slowly forward onto the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and it's wings spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree in the onset of a storm. (4)
But Gandalf was not alone.
Suddenly, the figure which was Frodo seemed to throw off the shadows he was wrapped in. As they fell away, the white light, which had previously only peeked through, shone out brilliantly. The light from the wheel of fire flared up in response, blending the two lights into one, greater, light which none present could look upon.
The white fire grew till it shone into every part of the chasm. The blackness of the Balrog billowed up, trying desperately to fight the light, but it was driven back.
At last, the shadow was gone; all that remained of Morgoth's most evil creation was a burning fire, cloaking a black figure, horrible in it's dark beauty. (5)
As the figure was revealed, Gandalf drew back, clutching his staff with both hands; he looked old: very old.
The shining figure at the edge of the bridge held the wheel of fire aloft.
"Go back to the shadow, Flame of Udun. Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master!" (6)
As he spoke, the Ring shot out a great tongue of flame. It leapt hungrily towards the dark figure cowering down in terror. As the flame wrapped itself about the Balrog, the creature's inherent fire tried desperately to make one last stand, to defend itself. But the fire of the Ring was greater than the flame of Udun.
With a mind shattering wail which even the keening cries of the Witch King could not match, the Balrog of Morgoth, Durin's Bane, the Flame of Udun, was destroyed.
For one very long moment, no one moved; indeed, no one seemed even to breath.
Frodo moved slowly back from the edge of the chasm. He no longer shone so brightly, his light was dimmed, but it was still present. As he moved back, Gandalf followed, clutching his staff tightly, the wizard looked tired and very old.
A noxious smoke rose from the place where the Balrog had stood. When it fell, the orcs had fled in panic. It was unlikely they would return, but Legolas stood watching, his bow slightly bent, in case any decided to try.
(1) Sorry, Aragorn! Frodo needed a good opening line! :)
(2) Stolen from RotK, Mount Doom.
(3) I think that the Ring, or indeed any of the Rings only made their wearer invisible if they wished to be, or if they wearer was to naive to command the actions of his possession. A person with a strong enough will could command the Ring; bend it to his will.
(4) This short passage was stolen from Gandalf and given to Frodo, I hope he liked it...
(5) The Balrogs would have been beautiful in the beginning, even as Morgoth himself was beautiful. They were Maia once, but now: twisted: deceived: ruined. Instead of creatures of light and beauty, they became monsters of flame and shadow.
(6) Stolen shamelessly from Gandalf. RotK, The Siege of Gondor.