just another 「 dreamer 」 (evocates) wrote,
just another 「 dreamer 」
evocates

[FIC] Lord of the Rings: A Captain's Duty [1/4]

Oh my god. I literally spent an entire month writing this fic. A whole month. I don't know how this happened. I saw the prompt and I was like, oh, this is fun to write! And I started outlining and it became three parts. Then I started writing and it's four parts. And.

Yeah, in short, it's pretty much a monster. Beta'd by halfthewords, the best of bunnies, who valiantly paddled through nearly thirty thousand words because I asked her to. I subtitle this fic: A Treatise on Homophobia (and Gender Relations) in a War-torn Country.

A Captain’s Duty

Characters/Pairing: Aragorn/Boromir, mentions of Aragorn/Halbarad, Aragorn/Arwen, and unrequited Boromir->Théodred. Cameos by the rest of the Fellowship.
Rating: NC-17
Words: ~27000
Disclaimer: Recognisable characters are the property of Professor Tolkien, the Tolkien estates, and New Line Cinemas. I’m just borrowing them for my inferior writings.
Summary: Boromir knows Gondor’s ways. No matter how it might break him to follow, he will, for the Captain knows his duties.
Notes: Written for this prompt on hobbit_kink about homophobia in Gondor and Boromir having had a one-night stand with Aragorn long ago.
Warnings: Internalised homophobia, conflict, massive angst, sex, canon character death.

Part I

Gondor was six hundred years at war.

The duty of a man was to fight for his country, the duty of a woman was to guard it, and their shared duty was to continue Gondor’s survival through marriage and the begetting of children. In the Third Age 2583, during the rule of Hallas, son of the great Steward Cirion, all sexual relations between two men or two women were outlawed. All Gondorians known to break such a rule would be exiled. Such a thing was but a matter of duty in the word of law until the days of Orodreth, son of Belecthor, son of Hurin, the second of his name. Then, it was ruled that relations between people of the same sexes were against the very law of nature itself, and not only a dereliction of duty. Thus any sexual acts between any two members of the same sex were made punishable by death, and their relations to the third generation were hence exiled from Gondor. If they were nobility, their names would be struck off from great registry of names stored in the Tower of Ecthelion.

Boromir was not a Man much for histories. His place was in the army as the Captain of the White Tower, and he learned the strategies of war employed by Isildur, by Cirion, great son of his own namesake, and even by the Ranger Captain Thorongil in his battle against the Corsairs two years after Boromir’s birth. Yet he was still the Steward’s son, and it was part of his duty to learn of the history of the laws that he would have to enforce one day. Boromir would much prefer to leave such problems of ruling to his brother who had always taken far more after Denethor, both of them great warriors and even greater diplomats.

He knew his duty. Boromir knew he would have to sentence himself to hang for the very nature of his own desires.

There was only one hope he had: that he would die an honourable death on a battlefield before he was ever caught.

He did not think he could bear the shame.

***

The peace of Rivendell disturbed him.

Its skies were too bright, so much they hurt Boromir’s eyes. The sweet song of the waterfalls, and the rich green of its leaves, the birds and nigh tamed game that ran amongst its woods – they were sights that Boromir had never seen before, and with each image of Rivendell imprinted onto the back of his eyelids, Boromir felt his resentment and anger grow. The Elves were known to be powerful creatures, who lived to be older than any Man even in the times of peace, and yet they had hidden themselves in this secret valley when down south Men had fought, and died.

There was a young boy in Osgiliath. A sweet child, having seen only seventeen summers, with bright eyes and a gleaming sword that was new-forged, never having touched blood even once. There were stars in his eyes as he stood next to his new comrades-in-arms, and Boromir had seen reflected in his eyes all of the tales that bards and minstrels told, of glory and honour in battle, and he had not the heart to tell him of the blood, the gore, and the grief of seeing good Men fall.

That child had died in Osgiliath, fighting to win back Gondor’s old capital with his life itself. His sword was covered in the brackish, thick liquid the orcs called blood, and the light had all gone out in his eyes. Boromir had cleaned and polished the boy's sword with his own hands before he laid him to rest, and now in this peaceful valley, he could not help but wonder, viciously, if the Lord Elrond would care a whit if he knew such tales of Men who died in a blink of an Elf’s eye.

The Council would be tomorrow. It would be another day lost when Boromir should have been back to his city, fighting alongside the Men, instead of searching for some hope so far away from home. It was his duty, Boromir knew, and yet not for the first time he thought Faramir would have been a better choice – that he would have been able to appreciate the beauty of Rivendell instead of looking at it with the bitter, war-weary eyes that Boromir owned. Despite their father’s harshness, Faramir had managed to keep some innocence and wonder in him, little different from the young child who had died. Denethor would scoff at such a thing, calling Faramir a “wizard’s pupil”, but Boromir admired his brother for being able to keep faith.

He had so little left. The battles he had been in were unnumbered and never-ending, and Boromir’s sword needed much care and constant sharpening, for it had pierced through the bodies of so many orcs.

The woods invited only dark thoughts, he knew, and Boromir turned away. The Lord Elrond’s halls were named The Last Homely House, but it was little homely to him. Home was Minas Tirith, a city of white stone gleaming in the night, and it was too far away from Rivendell. He took one more glance towards the woods, and headed inside towards the halls.

Darkness laid upon the halls of Rivendell, for the tall ceilings blocked out the sun. There was stonework here, but the architecture was too different for Boromir to even begin to believe it was Minas Tirith. He walked down the hallways nonetheless, his hands tucked behind his back to resist the urge to run his fingers over the cold stone, trying to find the pockmarks of living. Even the stones of Elves were smooth, without a single flaw. If it were not for the Elves he had seen on his way here, he would have thought Rivendell a beautiful and abandoned city.

His thoughts fled him as his feet took him towards a portrait. It was Elendil. Boromir’s breath caught in his throat, such was the surprise he felt at seeing a portrait of a Man in the house of Elves. He knew not that they honoured Men so, and Boromir’s fingers curved, and he fought the urge to reach out to touch what seemed to be the last sign of Men residing in Rivendell.

The hallway was dark, but Boromir had a warrior’s instinct, and he felt another’s eyes upon him acutely. It was likely to be an Elf, but he held back a sigh before he turned to face those eyes.

That was no Elf. It was a Man, full-bearded and richly dressed. He sat upon a chair with a large book in his hand, his eyes bright blue, piercing through the shadows that shrouded them both. Boromir’s memory tugged at him – he had seen these very eyes before.

“You are no Elf,” said Boromir. It was an invitation, a veiled demand.

“The Men of South are welcome here,” said the stranger, and within his words Boromir heard further more – that he was no Man of the South himself, and to him Boromir was naught more than a stranger.

“Who are you?” persisted Boromir.

“I am a friend of Gandalf the Grey.”

It took a moment for Boromir to place the name. In Minas Tirith they had called the Grey Wizard Mithrandir, the Grey Pilgrim, the Grey Wanderer, for he passed through the city like a ghost, a constant presence to its Stewards and sons of Stewards for centuries. Gandalf was his true name, the name he chose himself, and it was the name Faramir preferred for him, away from Denethor’s sight.

The Man had given him no name, but he was a Man nonetheless. Who was he to trust in this place, surrounded by Elves who knew nothing of the pains and struggles of Men? Even if he was no Man of Gondor, surely this stranger would know of his home, or mayhap even have seen it.

“Then we are here on common purpose,” he hesitated, “friend.”

The eyes were familiar but the mouth was silent, but Boromir’s eyes were caught by a gleam of metal. It was Narsil, the sword of the last great King Elendil, wielded by his son Isildur. Boromir was no Man of history, but these legends he knew, and he thought once more of his brother. How pleased Faramir would have been to look upon this sword! He could already see his brother's face in his mind, Faramir’s grey eyes bright with awe. Even Boromir’s breath was taken away, and at last his hands refused his mind’s commands, and he took the blade. It seemed to glow in these shadows, and Boromir knew not the words he muttered as he ran his finger against the broken blade.

It cut through the calluses on his fingertip, down to the skin. The blood fixed his gaze for a moment.

“Still sharp,” said he, and for a moment he forgot about the Man still sitting a distance away.

A memory stirred. He knew those eyes. He had last seen them by the light of the moon as it pierced through the deep forests that surrounded the Anduin. Those eyes were fixed upon him now, and Boromir’s hands grew nerveless.

“But no more than a broken heirloom.”

The clattering of the great sword rang through the hallowed halls of Rivendell, but Boromir’s steps took him away.

That Man was a Ranger, he knew now. When Boromir had seen him last, his hair was slightly shorter, his beard more unkempt and dirtied by the road, but the face had remained unchanged. The eyes that looked upon him as he hurried out of the hallowed halls in shameful retreat had not changed, though they seemed grey the last he had seen them. Changeable eyes, they were, grey in sunlight and moonlight, as grey as his brother’s, or his father’s.

He was a Ranger with the blood of the Men of Númenor flowing in his veins. The name he had given Boromir so long ago remained engraved in the Steward’s son’s mind.

Strider.

***

When Boromir reached his twenty-fifth year he had been the Captain of the White Tower for seven, and he had seen battles for ten. The decade was short in the numbering of the years that a Man of his heritage could give, but even then he had felt weariness beginning to tug on his bones. But Boromir was a leader of Men, and it was to him that his people and his father looked for hope, and he raised his sword first in the beginning of every battle, and sheathed it last at its end.

There were orcs hiding amidst the forests of Anduin, and though Faramir had begged to take the task himself for he was as much a Ranger as Boromir was a Captain, Denethor had placed the charge of finding the orc pack’s hiding place upon Boromir’s shoulders. He had been hidden in the forests for days, his horse let loose to find its way to the nearest farmhouse, its bridle carrying the three stars of the Stewards’ sigil granting its safety. There were orc tracks found two days back, but that seemed so very long ago. Even as prideful as he was, Boromir had to admit that he was lost amidst these endless trees.

He had made himself a small camp next to a tree, and now he waited for dawn as he searched his pack for the dried meats packed by the Citadel’s kitchens nigh a week ago. His supplies were running low. Boromir knew he would have to hunt soon and he dreaded the thought. At least the moon was full tonight, though the light was still meagre when it managed to fight through the heavy canopies overhead.

A sound. Boromir’s eyes widened, and his hand moved immediately to his hip. His sword would be too clumsy to use in the dark, but he owned a hunting knife. It was given to him by his swordsmaster when he left his tutelage to enter into Gondor’s armies in his fifteenth year. Clenching his hand around the hilt, Boromir held his breath and stopped his chewing, his eyes narrowed as he looked out into the dark.

“These woods are dangerous so deep in the night, stranger,” a voice spoke from beyond the trees. Boromir whirled around, swallowing hard as he held out his hunting knife. This was a poor excuse for a battle, he thought to himself – he much preferred to face an army, whether in the dark or in the light, than one shadowy creature who hid himself. At least an army would make noise.

“Do not step any closer,” barked Boromir. He stood up, his back tight against the tree, brandishing his hunting knife.

Sheathe your knife, stranger, lest you attract the attention of the orcs. They have come through this path but three hours ago.”

Bewildered, Boromir looked at his feet. There seemed no path whatsoever, only grass and roots of trees. He parted his lips to speak in scorn, but the rest of the stranger’s words sunk into his mind.

You hunt the orcs, stranger?” His blade wavered slightly.

Aye,” replied the voice in the dark. “This pack heads towards the North, but I will not let them pass the Argonath.”

“’Tis a long way still to the statues of the Great Kings,” said Boromir, but he could not keep his uncertainty out of his voice.

Only two days more of hard riding, and they sit upon wargs.”

Perhaps it was a poor decision to let go of his horse, Boromir thought. He had done so for he did not wish to have to erase the marks that a horse would make – a solitary Man was far easier to keep hidden, rather than a Man and his horse. He shook his head hard.

Come into the light, stranger,” barked the Captain of the White Tower. “I tire of speaking to shadows.”

A pair of blue eyes appeared, as bright as the sea on the shores of Dol Amroth on a clear day, and Boromir started slightly. Unbidden, his hand drew his hunting knife, the rasp of the blade clear in the silence of the forest.

I come in peace, Man of Gondor,” the stranger said. He had a strong face, easily visible in the moonlight despite the heavy coat of untrimmed beard that covered his jaw. His hair was lank, hanging just below his ears. “I am called Strider, a Ranger of the North.” Boromir had heard of the Rangers, known in the tongue of the Elves as the Dúnedain, and his eyes narrowed immediately. The Lord Steward his father had spoken of them in disdain, calling them cowards who fought only in shadows. Yet now Boromir doubted Denethor’s words, for it took a great deal of courage to appear in front of a warrior with no weapon held in his arm. Strider’s sword hung on his hip, the leather scabbard old and worn, but it only took a single glance for Boromir to judge that the blade within must still be sharp and well cared for.

You have come far from the North, Ranger,” said Boromir, and he sheathed his hunting knife once more, but he did not stifle the slight scorn in his voice as he continued. “Is the North so empty of enemies that you must search so far South for orcs to hunt?”

There are many orcs in the North,” replied Strider, and Boromir was irked to hear the calm in his voice. “I head South for news of Mordor, and on my way here I found that many a farmland had been attacked by the foul armies of the Enemy. Their tracks lead here, to these forests. ‘Tis not my intention to interfere with the workings of Gondor, stranger.”

I am Boromir,” said the proud Steward’s son, jerking his head upwards. He knew ‘Strider’ was not likely to be the Man’s true name, but he would not hide his own. “Take a seat, Strider. I am tired of straining my neck.”

Strider gave him a peculiar, lopsided smile, but he took a seat near Boromir, with his back to a tree. Plants grew wild and thick in these forests, enough that Boromir could reach out at this moment and touch the stranger.

This is a lowly task for the Steward’s heir to do, Lord Boromir,” murmured Strider. “Have I been gone from the South for so long that the hunting down of orcs near the Anduin is no longer the task of the Ithilien Rangers?” “Orcs threaten all that Gondor holds near, and these are still Gondor’s lands,” Boromir snapped back. “There are few tasks unworthy of a Captain, not if it is for the good of Gondor.”

Brilliant blue eyes widened for but a moment before Strider lowered his eyes, inclining his head. “Forgive me, my Lord.”

Boromir waved a hand. What would a Ranger of the North know of Gondor and its needs?

“What news have you travelled so far to hear, Ranger?”

I seek the Grey Pilgrim, known by some as Gandalf and Mithrandir by others,” replied Strider. “I hear that he was last seen in Gondor.”

Mithrandir left our city weeks ago,” replied Boromir. His scowl deepened. “You will not find him here, and I know not where he has gone. He wanders through these lands freely, as you know.”

Strider frowned, and a look came into his eyes that startled the young Steward’s son. The Man sitting before him could not be more than ten years Boromir’s senior, and yet at this moment he looked as if he had lived for far longer, with the weight of all of his years weighing upon his shoulders. Distantly, Boromir remembered that the Elves were strange, ageless creature, for they might live a thousand years and not look older than the youngest, newest recruit of Gondor’s armies. Surely Strider had too much the look of a Man to have so much Elven blood, and Boromir dismissed the thought.

“You have saved me a journey, Lord Boromir,” said Strider. He lifted his head, his eyes piercing as they fixed upon Boromir’s. “I thank you.”

There was a retort on Boromir’s tongue, but all breath had been knocked out of his lungs at the look that seemed to scorch his insides. His hand ached, and he tore his eyes away from Strider’s to stare at the ground. There was a pebble stuck underneath his nail, and Boromir rubbed his fingers together, dislodging it. He continued to stare at his hands as if he could find the answers he sought in the pattern of dirt encrusted underneath his nails. Or more aptly, his thoughts turned bitter, if he could find a way to rid himself of these errant thoughts and desires. Even now, his heart beat loud in his ears, and Boromir’s skin burned to cross the short distance that separate him from Strider, the Ranger of the North.

“’Tis but a small favour,” muttered Boromir, his words directed to Strider though he kept his eyes on his hands. “The information costs nothing to give.”

Strider stood, taking two steps forward before he bent his knees and knelt in front of Boromir. Boromir tilted his head up, and his gasp was loud in the silence of the forest as a pair of lips touched his. It was a brief kiss, the most fleeting of things, and if Boromir was not so aware of Strider’s heat so close to his skin, he would have thought it a dream.

What are you--” His eyes were wide and all thoughts were chased out of his mind. Boromir was left speechless, and he licked his lips unconsciously, trying to chase the taste.

“’Tis long since I have visited Gondor,” said Strider, and his eyes were fierce, boring into Boromir’s as if he was attempting to strip him down to his very core. “Yet I do not think the minds of Men can be changed so quickly.” “No,” whispered the Steward’s son, and he felt the burdens of his rank press down on his shoulders even further. “No, naught has changed ‘bout this. This is unclean.”

He should be angry at Strider’s gall. He should be furious that a mere Ranger would take such liberties with the Man who would eventually rule Gondor. Yet Boromir could only yearn for further touches, and his fingers disobeyed his mind and all senses of decency, reaching out to close around Strider’s wrist.

There is no honour in this,” said Boromir, and his own voice came to him distantly, as if from an entire ocean away.

Strider lifted his arm, turning his wrist in Boromir’s loose grip until he could place a gentle, beard-roughened kiss on the back. “Such desires are not punished in the North, Lord Boromir.”

Do not call me by that name!” The words tore out of Boromir suddenly, and he jerked his head away, staring down at the forest floor once more. “If… if ‘tis be the path we will take tonight, I beg you to call me ‘Haradion’.”

Son of the South,” whispered Strider. He leaned forward, his hand cupping the edge of Boromir’s jaw, rubbing against the short, uneven stubble there. “If ‘tis your wish, then I will call you so.”

The name will serve,” said Boromir. Meeting Strider’s gaze once more, he found himself surging forward, his hands burying into lank dark hair as he crashed their mouths together. Strider’s lips were too thin to be a woman, his grip strong as fingers bunched Boromir’s tunic and shoved him against the tree. His beard scraped against Boromir’s skin.

In Boromir’s twenty-five years of life, he had tumbled a barmaid or two, and even visited the beautifully-decorated bordellos on the fifth level of Minas Tirith. Yet none of the women, no matter how skilled or wanton, could set him on fire so, until Boromir felt entirely nerveless and gasping for air, burning and drowning both. Strider’s kiss scorched him, and Boromir closed his eyes and knew that he could not turn back from the unclean road, not now that he knew the pleasures it could bring.

There was no honour left for him. He was dirtied, besmirched, his crimes branded on his skin as clear as any common criminal to his own eyes. Yet Boromir opened his mouth to allow Strider’s tongue entrance, his body arching up to fiery fingers that slipped beneath his tunic.

If this was to be his fate, then so be it. So be it.

***

Elrond’s Council had been dismissed, and the Fellowship would set out in a week once the Ringbearer had recovered his strength. There was a bitter gratitude in the base of Boromir’s throat – perhaps the Elves truly knew the desperate nature of the War, even though they were foolish enough to attempt to destroy the Ring instead of using it as the weapon it should be. Boromir attempted to cling onto the thought, but his mind wandered, fixating upon the Ranger.

He was no Ranger. Aragorn, son of Arathorn. Isildur’s heir, and heir to the throne of Gondor. Boromir’s fingers might break with how hard he was clenching his hands. His words Boromir remembered well: I am called Strider, and it was no lie at all, for the Hobbits used the name easily for him. Yet it was an omission of truth, and Boromir felt his anger welling up again from the base of his spine, a sick heat that twisted in his chest and shortened his breath.

It was, at least, an omission of truth, and though Boromir knew he was a hypocrite as there were lies he told to his father, his brother, and his whole city, he could not rid himself of the thought that he had been betrayed.

Boromir’s feet led him to the very gardens he hated, with its becalmed streams and sweet scents of budding flowers and newborn leaves. Or it was not his feet but his mother’s blood that tugged at him, sending him strange riddles and stranger sights without answers.

They drew all eyes. If Aragorn was like a silver of the sun as it peeked from underneath the moon, undeniable in his brightness, then the lady with whom he was standing with on the garden’s gently arching bridge to had to be the stars that scattered around the skies. Boromir was no poet – that was Faramir’s predilection, not his own – but he could not help himself. They were beautiful, and Boromir need no introduction to recognise Arwen, daughter of Elrond, the only Lady of Rivendell. She was absent from the Council, but even Boromir’s ears had picked up the voices of the Elves who spoke about her, the most beautiful of her race.

His mind spun with possibilities even as his breath shortened. There was a strange ache in his chest, easy enough to dismiss at his disappointment at Isildur’s heir, a man who was faithless as well as dishonest for having a lady who was beloved to him and whom he loved. Boromir watched as they exchanged a kiss before he could not take the scene any longer. He turned away from the sight and walked towards the tall halls of Rivendell, away from the gardens’ disconcerting beauty and the sight of the lovers.

Fear had lingered in Boromir’s mind, like a worm creeping amongst his thoughts, ever since he recognised the Ranger Strider in the wide room that contained Elendil’s sword, and it had only strengthened when he was told Strider’s true name of ‘Aragorn.' Now even as his heart sickened further, he felt his worries ease slowly.

There was much he would need to do.

*

Two days passed before Boromir sought an audience with Aragorn, and he found the self-proclaimed heir of Isildur in the gardens. Despite his beard and the obvious signs of age writ within the wrinkles around his eyes – ever unseen amongst the Elves except Lord Elrond, who was said to have the blood of Men in his veins – Aragorn in his simple tunic and breeches looked as if he belonged in this ageless land of Elves. He was sharpening his sword, his back against one of the many waterfalls that littered the valley, and Boromir made his steps loud before he took a seat on the rock cropping opposite the Ranger.

Aragorn’s eyes turned up to look at him, the rasp of whetstone on rock loud in the quiet clearing. It seemed nigh unnatural, that such silence could hold even as waters fell behind them, smashing and slowly wearing away at the rocks. Boromir wondered if the Elves had ever noticed the pond beneath the waterfall deepening, or if the waters were like the rest of Rivendell, never-changing.

“You wish to speak to me, son of Gondor?” Aragorn’s voice broke through the tense silence between them, and his eyes were a duller blue now, under the sunlight and away from the strange twilight captured within Elrond’s halls.

Boromir did not answer. He only cocked his head slight to the side, his eyes not leaving Aragorn’s even as he drew his own sword and whetstone.

“’Tis strange indeed, the news the Elves will tell a stranger of a house,” Boromir murmured quietly. His sword was already sharpened and polished from the morning he spent in thought, but he laid the whetstone upon the sword and drew it down, nonetheless. “How fares your Lady this morn, Strider?”

“Arwen fares well indeed,” replied Aragorn, and Boromir could not help but bristle at the assured calm in his voice.

“It pleases me to know your lady beloved is well,” said Boromir, with poison tingeing his words. Aragorn lifted his head, and his eyes were narrowed and darkened under his lashes.

“’Tis unlike you to circle around a subject, Boromir,” began Aragorn.

“Rich now, Strider! You now admit to ‘knowing’ what I am like, when you have refused to acknowledge me days previous,” Boromir cut in. To his great shame, he could not keep his tone as calm as he liked. He took a deep breath, looking down at his broadsword once more and drawing the stone over it. “I have heard much of you in my days here. It seems the tongues of Elves are as loose as those of the fish-wives on Dol Amroth’s shores.” Except for things of true import, like the fate of the Free Peoples, Boromir continued bitterly in his mind, but he kept the words in his throat, for it was not what he wished to say to this Man.

Aragorn was silent, though Boromir noted with satisfaction that his hand was clenched tight around his own whetstone. He fixed his gaze upon those bright, changeable eyes, and his next words came forced through gritted teeth.

“Know the Lady Arwen that you take the unclean road and you dishonour the vows you have made to her? Know her father that you have not kept yourself chaste for his daughter as Elves must, but instead lower yourself like Men do with whores?”

Boromir stood, sheathing his sword. The rasp of metal sliding into the scabbard echoed in the clearing, silencing every other sound, breaking the gentle peace. He could not help but be pleased at it, though it was surely but a childish pleasure.

Aragorn rushed to his feet, and Boromir felt himself being pulled towards him, a piercing gaze staring into his own. “Boromir,” Aragorn tried to begin, but Boromir pushed him away, stepping backwards. His own lips were drawn into a snarl, and he grabbed onto Aragorn’s collar, forcing their faces together until there was but an inch separating them.

“Continue to pretend that you knew me not until the Fellowship's leave-taking, Isildur’s Heir.” The title was twisted into a cold insult. “There is naught I wish more than to not see your face until we set upon the road. ‘Twill be a long journey, Strider; perhaps upon it you might find yourself beset by a Man’s needs once more. If Men of the North walk along the unclean road without shame, perhaps you should plead for one of your fellow Rangers to follow the Company as whores might follow behind an army.”

Boromir’s lips twisted further, and he turned his back, his hand clenching so tight around his whetstone that he felt his bone jar against the unmoveable rock.

“You will not find any further comforts here. The Man named Haradion no longer exists.”

Aragorn’s gaze burned between his shoulderblades as he left the clearing, but Boromir refused to turn back. His fear abated some, but in payment Boromir felt as if his skin had been coated with dirt that he could not erase. Perhaps it was a fool’s path he had taken in speaking to the Man who might be his King so, but Boromir had meant his words at the Council – Gondor had spent near a thousand years without a King, so what need had she to have one now, especially one who had not once fought and bled for her? His words rang through: Aragorn was but a mere Ranger, and how could he rule Gondor better than her Steward, who had given his life and his sons’ lives for her protection? There was naught Boromir had to fear – Aragorn was ill-fitted to be King, and Boromir would not give up the Steward’s guardianship of the throne so easily.

(There was another accusation that he laid upon himself, deep within his own mind: that he behaved dishonourably for the sake of his own fear, and how was his behaviour suited for the Captain of the White Tower, the Steward’s Heir? Not for the first time in his life did Boromir regret his actions in the forest that one night; not for the first time he despised his own desires. Lies and lies he had told, and further lies he must tell, but it was a burden he had to bear, and it was no heavier than the weight of Gondor that was laid upon his shoulders at his birth. It was no heavier than the victory at Osgiliath, or the inevitability of her loss.)

Boromir could find no rest in Rivendell tonight, and he doubted that he could find any rest in this strange Elvish valley where there was no death, not when blood and death had surrounded him ever since his childhood.

Part II

Tags: fic: lotr: a captain's duty, fics, lord of the rings, lotr: aragorn/boromir
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