Where History Has Been Fixed
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End To Innocence, An: 6. Divergent Roads
Gandalf and Théoden had ridden off to find an Ent called Treebeard, leaving the rest of them to wonder over the very existence of Ents - walking trees, legends out of the most distant past, capable of destroying such a monstrous place as Isengard with hardly more effort than children tearing apart cardboard. Maggie stood near the archway, reluctant to enter that shadowy passage towards the water, holding Annin's reins and absently stroking the horse's neck. The lake ahead of her shone like polished pewter in the ashen light. Gimli, Legolas, and the Hobbits had gone in search of anything edible, though Maggie didn't expect they'd have much luck. Boromir and Aragorn had climbed to top of what was left of the wall, and she watched them where they stood silhouetted against the grey sky. She was so tired she felt as though she drifted, holding to her mount, weightless and insubstantial, and she gazed at the two men because they were the last thing in this wasted landscape to move.
"Christ," said Mira from beside her, "what the hell happened here?" Maggie turned, slowly, and saw the smaller woman, who strode towards her and flung her arms around Maggie, kissing her cheek. "We couldn't find you," she said.
Maggie blinked, and felt as though she were coming up out of a dream. "Oh," she murmured, "Mira, the walkie-talkie - it - "
"Not that," said Mira, shaking her head. "I mean we couldn't find you, like, at all - not even enough to get here. We got the stuff just fine - not yesterday but the day before - and we were going to bring it right over, but Janet kept getting all this interference, and never could get a fix on you. She said it was like trying to grab one specific fish from a bucket full of fish just like it. We didn't want to come, under the circumstances."
"That's good," Maggie said softly. "You must have been trying during the battle. It wou - it wouldn't have been good."
"It looks like it was a helluva fight," said Mira, gazing around and wrinkling her nose at the smell.
Maggie shook her head. "Not here. Helm's Deep. We got sidetracked. I - there - " she hesitated, then didn't finish.
Mira stroked her back. "Poor sweetie," she said, frowning. "Maybe we should have come on anyway."
"No," she snapped, then put her hand to her face. "No," more gently, "no, it was just, way too bad." Quick intake of breath, remembering, her eyes closed, and she shook her head and said, "You probably wouldn't have been able to find me anyway. Too many people. Anyway, that was Helm's Deep. This is Isengard."
"Yeah?" Mira paused. "Well, what happened here? It sure looks like a war zone." She hesitated, then said, her voice light but tense, "I guess if this was our guy back home, then - well, we'd have noticed a difference."
"I don't know," Maggie said thoughtfully. "I don't think he's dead. I think he's in the tower, and I don't think they're going to kill him or he'd probably be dead already. But it still doesn't help us know whether he's our guy."
Mira chuckled. "And we can't try to find out without risking blinking out of existence ourselves by changing - something or other. Oh," she said suddenly, "I brought you a present." She unshouldered a small knapsack and opened it to Maggie's gaze. "Ammo," she said with a smile, "for the Glocks. I thought you might've run out, so I went ahead and brought it with me."
Maggie smiled back. "Oh, Mira" she said, " you clever girl. Thank you." She took Mira's arm and the two started towards the gates, Maggie leading Annin. "Mira," she said, "three years ago, when you had to ... when you had to kill that guy who'd broken into your apartment," and Maggie could feel her friend grow tense, "how long did it take before you... I mean, are you...."
"Over it?" Mira asked. Maggie nodded. "Well, I guess that depends on what you mean," she said. "He didn't give me a choice, so in that respect I was over it before I did it, or I don't know if I'd have been able to." She paused. "But then, I still dream about it sometimes, or I'll see someone, something, that reminds me of it. And I'll feel, scared again, or - angry, or sorry. Not that I killed him exactly, but that he - that things worked out that way." She shook her head. "That Methamp26 was nasty shit - thank god that trend's over. I wish I could have killed his dealer instead." She sighed, and continued, "So in that, I'm not really over it still. But if you mean," she said, glancing at Maggie, "how long will it be before you get over killing someone, sweetie, I don't know. What happened?"
But by then they'd arrived at the archway, where Aragorn and Boromir had seen them and come down from the wall. "Welcome back, lady," said Aragorn. "What news? Are your comrades well?"
Mira nodded. "We got the shipment without so much as a scrape." She smiled. "It's amazing how far a few promises, a little magic, and a minimal amount of cash will take you with people who don't have any scruples to start with."
"So what's in this shipment?" asked Maggie. "What have we got?" Mira pulled a printout from her pocket and handed it to Maggie, who skimmed it quickly. "Heckler and Koch, Colt..." she murmured, "submachine guns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, carbines..." her eyes moving quickly over the paper, while Boromir and Aragorn waited, and Mira watched Annin, who regarded her calmly. "This is pretty impressive," she said, handing it back to Mira. "Any thoughts on how we're going to handle training?"
Mira smiled. "Get this," she said. "When we talked to Michael, he said he'd talked to this friend of his, Chip, who's been running his cell since he left it. Michael told him what was going on, and Chip volunteered to come with five of his guys to train people."
Maggie blinked. "You - you're kidding." Mira shook her head. "Okay," Maggie said, frowning, "now that's just weird. I mean, that he didn't think Michael was a lunatic in the first place, and then that he'd want to come along for the ride? what?"
"Well, not the whole ride," said Mira. "They've got, like, four, maybe five days they can spare, though they're pretty flexible on which days. But they're just going to do minimal training - that's all."
Maggie frowned. "But why in god's name - and what's he getting out of it? Does he just have that much faith in Michael's basic sanity? that much altruism?"
"Not so much that," she said, "as that apparently he already knew about this Sorrow guy. They've been trying to figure out what to do about him for a few months now, ever since Chip's sister's boyfriend got himself involved in that bunch of wizards and went off the deep end."
"What do you mean?" asked Maggie. "Involved how? what deep end?" Neither woman paid any mind to the two men watching them.
"Apparently he wanted to be a big man, wanted to do the whole wizarding thing, and he'd heard Sorrow was the guy to see. But Sorrow's just basically draining them all, using their power to augment his own, and they're all just wasting away. Like walking skeletons, but totally loyal to Sorrow. Chip's sister is really freaked out about it - her boyfriend doesn't even talk to her anymore; she's not sure he knows who she is - and Chip wants to fix it. He figures, he helps us take out the baddies here, we'll help him deal with Sorrow there. Sort of a back-scratching thing." Mira caught Maggie's uncertain glance and shook her head quickly. "We did not tell him that, we didn't even imply it, I promise."
Maggie shrugged. "Well, okay. If he wants to. Here's hoping he's right."
"Listen," said Mira, glancing at her watch, "I told Janet to give me about twenty minutes and then bring me back, so I can tell her whether we should come now with the stuff."
Maggie caught sight of Boromir and Aragorn out of the corner of her eye and remembered that there were others to be consulted. She turned to them, and said, "We've got a lot of weapons and ammo, and, in a strange and unexpectedly convenient turn, six people ready to come and train you and your soldiers on these weapons."
"And two trucks," Mira added.
Maggie glanced at her. "Two trucks," she said, and looked back at the men. "And two trucks."
"And Jack's motorcycle."
Maggie turned to her. "Jack's bike, too?" she said. "So two trucks and a motorcycle - any more vehicles?"
"Two Land Rovers if we want them."
Mira nodded. "But it would take an awful lot if we used all the vehicles. The trucks get pretty good mileage for trucks, but once we get the stuff here we'll do better to let the men carry the weapons, and if we want vehicles, just take the bike and one of the Land Rovers."
Maggie turned back to the men. "Gasoline is what the vehicles run on - it's a weakness akin to the guns' ammunition problem. Without it, they're just big ugly hunks of metal."
Boromir made a sound. "Is there anything in your world that does not share this weakness?"
"Not much," she said, consulting the printout in her hand, then continued, "So, we have a bunch of firearms, a bunch of ammo, some grenades - those are like explosives," she explained, "like that thing y'all said blew a hole in the wall at Helm's Deep, only not so powerful. And some vehicles - trucks, that I told y'all about, and optional Land Rovers, which are sort of like trucks but prettier and more comfortable, and the motorcycle, which either Mira or Jack or I can ride, and which can carry a passenger as well." No one spoke, so she went on, "There are disadvantages either way. If we wait until we get to where we're going, it's possible something will go wrong and we won't be able to get them over at all. For instance," she said,"if no one from our world is alive here by then." She didn't look at any of them when she said it. "On the other hand," she continued, "if we bring them over now, we'll have to get everything - everything - to wherever we're going. That's a big risk, to equipment and to people. We could hit impassable terrain, or enemy troops, we could run out of gas, have some kind of mechanical breakdown - there could be a number of problems. So," she said, clapping her hands together, wondering if either man had the slightest idea what she was talking about. "I think it'd be best if we took our chances and waited, rather than getting them here and trying to take so much equipment and people to - " and she paused. "Um. Where are we going?"
Aragorn glanced at Boromir, whose eyes were fixed on the featureless ground some distance away, then said, "We go to Dunharrow to rally the army of the Mark, and from there to Minas Tirith." He paused, then continued, "However, it might serve us well for you and Boromir to ride together to Minas Tirith straight away and gather your comrades. We will follow from Dunharrow with what army we can muster." Boromir looked at his companion, surprised, and Aragorn met his gaze. "It would do your father and Faramir good to see you," he said, "and your men. They need you. You can do much good there," and he nodded to Maggie, "and there you'll be able to see to the training of Gondor's soldiers in these new weapons."
Boromir's eyes had widened as Aragorn spoke, and his expression was one of both delight and dismay. "But my - " and he hesitated. "Aragorn," he said finally, "I... would not leave the company while you have need of me."
Aragorn reached out and pressed his hand to Boromir's shoulder. "I will miss your presence, friend," he said, "but there is more need for you to go to Minas Tirith. You, of us all, have the best chance to bring Maggie safely there, and they will be looking for your return from the White Tower. There will be no delay if you are with her, but with another, there would be questions, mistrust." He shook his head. "No, you and she will go to Minas Tirith and begin training Gondor's soldiers. We will rally the Rohirrim, and will come there as soon as we can." Boromir nodded, but Maggie could feel the strain in him, though whether to protest, or thank Aragorn, or both, couldn't tell.
After a moment's silence, she said, "Good then," then turned to Mira and continued."Tell Janet to wait. We'll be there in -" she glanced at Boromir, "how long?"
Boromir considered briefly. "If we do not linger too long here, nightfall of the fourth day hence."
She turned back to Mira. "Four days from now, nightfall our time." She paused. "Have we figured out the time difference yet?"
Mira nodded. "You're ahead by about seven hours. We'll do the math. Four days from now, nightfall your time."
"All right. One of you come, just like this time, 'cause we'll be in a city; we'll figure out how and where to bring the stuff then. Sound good?"
"Yup." Mira glanced at her watch again, then at Aragorn and Boromir, then back at Maggie. "Walk with me?" she said.
Maggie nodded, and the two women started back towards the spot where Mira had arrived. When they'd gotten a little distance away, Maggie said, "So what's up, sweetie?"
"Hey, do you want to take one of the Land Rovers? It'd be quicker than horseback."
Maggie shook her head. "Nah, I don't think so. I don't know what the country's like between here and there, and - well, say there's a big river and the only bridge is horse-width. Y'know? And no one here will be able to tell us whether the Land Rover could make it, they don't know what those things can or can't do." She glanced at her friend. "But that's not why you wanted to talk to me alone, is it?"
Mira squeezed her arm, then took Maggie's hand in hers and held it. "I just wondered if you're okay. What you asked me earlier, and... well, this whole thing is just so weird."
"I don't think about that," said Maggie with a small smile. "If I thought about it, I'd decide I was probably crazy, and then I wouldn't be able to get anything done for wondering whether I'm in a padded cell somewhere."
Mira chuckled. "You're not, babe," she said. "But," and she hesitated, stopped where she was and turned Maggie to face her. "What's going on, sweetheart? Why did you ask me how long it took me to get over it?"
Maggie shrugged. "It was - there was - another part of Théoden's army, or - or his allies or something, were retreating to Helm's Deep, this big - fortress thing in a mountain. The enemy's forces were following, so Théoden took the company there to help." She paused, then shook her head. "There was a - what I thought was an Orc, during the first skirmish, while we were trying to hold them back from the fortress. I fell off my horse, he tried to - hurt me. He would have killed me. I - my arm was fucked up, I couldn't aim very well. I had the knives. It was ... messy. I shot him, in the leg I think. I cut him, but I couldn't kill him, I kept missing and just getting - soft parts." She hesitated, but Mira didn't speak, just kept holding her hand, stroking it gently. "I got him to the ground," Maggie went on finally, "took the mount. He was too strong, though, he started to sit up so I st-" her voice hitched and she closed her eyes briefly, then went on, "I stabbed his throat to push him back down, and then I shot him in the face." She felt the tears coming again, and let them. "But he wasn't an Orc, Mira, he was a man. An enemy, but a man. Though I don't know what difference that should make - Orcs aren't animals, even if they are kinda freakish-looking and mean." She hesitated, then said, "And it felt - Mira, god help me, it felt good." She looked at her friend. "It felt - it felt like - it felt like when you get a big, deep scrape, and it gets infected, and you yank the scab off to get the puss out, and it's disgusting and gross and it hurts like hell, but it feels good too, the pain and getting that nasty shit out of your body. It felt like that, only a million times more." She stopped. "And - and the nasty shit isn't out yet. I think there's more of it." Her breath caught in her throat. "He tried to hurt me, and I killed him for it, and it felt good," closing her eyes. Her voice low as a whisper, tight as a bowstring, "What the hell am I?"
"Tell me something, baby," said Mira, still holding her hand. "If he hadn't been trying to kill you, do you think you would have shot him? Do you think you would you have killed him just for hurting you?"
Maggie shook her head.
"Right. You didn't kill him for trying to hurt you, you killed him because if you hadn't, you'd be dead now." She reached up and stroked her friend's hair. "It was your lizard brain, baby," she said gently, "that primitive part taking over because it had to keep you from dying. It's not you, it's just a part of you, like it's a part of all of us. It's just the lizard brain, keeping you alive, like it's supposed to."
Maggie nodded, pushing the tears away with one hand. "It just...." She sighed. "Well," she said after a moment, getting as much brightness into her voice as she could, and smiling shakily, "it did give me the chance to let Boromir be all manly and comforting."
Mira laughed. "And how is he with that?"
"Oh," Maggie raised her eyes to the sky, "he's... just... great with that." She looked at Mira again, who leaned forward and kissed her cheek.
"Let him be good to you," she said with a smile, and then she took a step back, and was gone.
Maggie stood quietly for a moment, then turned and walked back to where Aragorn and Boromir waited with Annin. The dull mirror that was the lake of Isengard far behind them shone through the arch where the gates used to hang, lighting the men darkly, their faces shadowed. Standing so close together, silhouetted by the ashen glow, their shadows seemed to melt into each other where their bodies almost touched, one dark force, halo'd by the pale light of Saruman's defeat.
They fed and watered their mounts, then ate quickly themselves before saying their goodbyes to the company. Boromir seemed awkward with Aragorn as they spoke, unsure how to address this man who had not yet been crowned his king, but to whom he'd already submitted his will, in front of others, and who was by no means merely his comrade. Aragorn seemed only slightly more sure of himself, clasping Boromir's hand, then pulling him into a rough embrace. "Ride hard, friend," he said as they released each other. "The land is covered in shadow, and a darker shadow approaches. You must reach Minas Tirith." Aragorn started to step back, but then, suddenly, reached up and gripped the back of the other man's neck, hard. Boromir started, but didn't pull away. "Be alive when I reach you," Aragorn said, his voice harsh, and raw, then he leaned close, but the soft words carried in the still air. "I thought by my failure I had killed you once, at Amon Hen; be yet alive when I come to you at the White City. I will not tarry."
Boromir nodded once, clasping his hand over Aragorn's. "I will," he said. "I swear it."
They rode the rest of that day and far into the night. Maggie had lost all track of time, and had no idea how late it was - past midnight? close to dawn? She couldn't tell. She held on to Annin as well as she could, but after long hours with no indication of stopping, she called out to him, "Boromir, can we rest, please? just for a little while?"
He reined in Hanûn and turned his mount to meet her, as Annin came to a gentle halt. Maggie felt near tears, exhausted, wishing she'd taken Mira up on the offer of the Land Rover. Boromir shook his head. "A little further, my lady," he said gently, but she could hear impatience beneath his soft tone. "We cannot stop in open land. Ahead is a place I know, a cave my brother and I found some years ago. We will rest there." She leaned heavily on the pommel of her saddle and nodded, and Boromir made a small sound. "You must stay wakeful," he said. "I cannot have you injuring yourself in a fall."
"I won't," she said tiredly. "I'm not much of a rider, yet, but Annin's only let me fall once, and that was when an Orc was trying to take her reins. I would have reared up too."
He patted Annin's neck, then urged Hanûn forward. "Ride now," he said. "We'll stop within the hour."
The cave, when they came to it, had a tall, narrow entrance, hidden by vines and undergrowth. Boromir lit a torch and went in alone; when he'd determined that the space was free of snakes or other dangers, they led the horses in, and she was surprised to find how large it was inside, the ground sloping gently downward into to a shallow bowl. Boromir pulled the vines and brush back over the entrance, then set about lighting a small fire. "Faramir and I have slept here on more than one occasion," he said, "on the road between Minas Tirith and Edoras. It shows no light from the outside, it's big enough to conceal our mounts, and only on close inspection does the entrance reveal itself." He paused, unbuckling his sword belt and laying it on the ground beside him. "We only found it because Faramir's favorite dog chased after a fox, and the animal ran in here. Faramir came chasing the dog, and I came after Faramir." He smiled to himself. "A fine parade," he said softly.
"Did the dog catch the fox?" Maggie asked, sitting down wearily.
Boromir glanced up. "Hmm? Oh, no. The fox was too clever. Faramir found the dog snuffing about a crevice in the back of the cave," and he nodded towards the shadowed south wall. "The beast must have slipped out into another part of the caves, and escaped."
"That's nice," she said, and lay back.
He chuckled, and crossed to her. "Come lady, you cannot rest easy thus." He unbuckled the gun belt around her waist and she sat up to take it off, then he helped her with the braces on her arms, the leather and chain corslet. When they were off, he set about removing his own cloak and the armor beneath it, and she watched him in much the same way she'd watched him with Aragorn on the wall the previous day, as the last thing to catch her tired gaze. The armor came off to reveal the rough tunic beneath, and beneath that, cotton shirt, stained, with a tear at the shoulder, but embroidered with a pale and delicate pattern of leaves at the throat and cuff. "It's safe enough," he said, glancing at her. "We'll rest here the day, and ride again at nightfall."
"Day?" she said, looking towards the entrance of the cave.
"It's near dawn, my lady," he replied with a smile. "I'm loathe to travel in the day, now," he went on, tugging off one of his boots. "The enemy is in these lands," starting on the other, "and though no great force is yet come this far from the East, I'd hate to see the two of us try to hold off even a small company of Uruk-hai."
"Mmm, indeed," she murmured, lying back again, and closing her eyes.
She woke gradually, first to warmth, then to the soft press of another body to hers, then to Boromir's steady breathing, light on the back of her neck, his arm across her waist. He held her gently, his cloak covering them both. As carefully as she could, she turned beneath his arm, opened her eyes to his sleeping face. He stirred slightly, but didn't wake, and she lay there for some time, smiling softly, considering him in the dim light that filtered into the cave from the day outside. Eyes half-lidded, she didn't notice when he opened his, didn't see him as he watched her. After a while, he brought his hand up to touch her hair, and she met his gaze. "I thought you would not mind my presence," he said. "I hope I am not too presumptuous."
She smiled and shook her head, touched a finger to his lips. "It's been a long time since I slept with someone beside me. It's nice." Then she realized what she'd said, what it implied, and what kind of world Boromir seemed to be from, what society. She didn't imagine women here did things like that, much less confessed it, and she felt a little chill pass over her skin, and dropped her eyes.
He kissed her forehead, and said softly, "For me as well. The nights can be lonely, but not so lonely as when they're shared with one for whom you do not care." He turned her onto her back and kissed her mouth lightly, then again, still gentle, but with more insistence. She opened her lips to his, felt her body rise beneath him as she breathed in his breath, slipping her arms around his waist. "You are a marvel to me, Maggie Dunshay," he said, his voice low, his grey eyes locked on her blue ones. "So strong in battle, so quick to command when need dictates, yet so soft and yielding in affection." She tried to smile, but the irony of what he said, how much he didn't know, crushed it, and she turned her face from him. He didn't allow it for long, though, and cupping her cheek in his hand, he turned her back to him. "What is it, sweet? Tell me."
She couldn't meet his gaze. "It's the soft and yielding that gets me in trouble," she said. "Do you remember how I told you my love affairs are usually that I give myself to someone, and then he leaves?"
"I do," he said gently.
"Well, when I said, 'give myself' I didn't mean just my heart." She tried to turn her head again but his hand still held her. "I mean, it's - it's after we - after that, that the men in my life tend to leave. I know it's not because I'm no good, 'cause most of them come back wanting more of that. It's the rest of me they don't want." She hesitated, but he didn't speak, his thumb softly stroking her cheek. "I think I give it up too soon," she said finally. "Too 'soft and yielding'. I guess they figure if it were worth having, they'd have to work a little harder for it."
He frowned, and after a moment said, "A man who would lie with a woman, but desire her less because she lay with him, is no man, but a child. A child who has not yet learned that his mother is also a woman, and no less to be cherished because she desired his father, nor his lovers less to be cherished for following their own desires into his arms." He stroked her hair back from her forehead, letting his gaze travel over her face, and she felt it as though he touched her where he gazed. "I am no such child," he said. "Nor does when, or whether, you choose to lie with me have any bearing on my regard for you," and he paused, looking back into her eyes, "nor on my affection. Whether you lie with me now, or months from now, or never, that remains."
"So - you don't think I'm... I mean, you don't think - " she hesitated, and he smiled, and touched her lips with his fingers.
"I think you are brave," he said, "and honorable, and valiant." He stroked her lips, slipped his fingers over her temple and into her dark hair. "I think you have eyes like the blue of the sky on a summer evening," he went on, "and a heart as vast; skin like the first bloom of a white crocus in winter, and a heart as pure and full of hope." He kissed her again, lingeringly this time, and barely raising his lips from hers, he whispered, "You have the beauty of a goddess in your heart, and though the enemy were waiting outside with sword and spear and fire, and had you had a hundred lovers before me, I would not be anywhere this moment but here, with you."
She brought her hand to his face, her fingers lightly tracing the line of his cheek, of his strong jaw, his ear, and he closed his eyes, a soft sigh escaping his lips. With her other hand she touched his throat, slipped her fingers around the curve of his neck, pulled him close and kissed him, took his lower lip between gentle teeth, kissed him again, and then with a soft pressure on his shoulder she reversed their postures, she now resting on his chest. She stroked his eyebrows, his cheek, kissed the corner of his eye, felt his lids flutter like moths beneath her touch. "You know the right things to say," she murmured.
He breathed in as she kissed his throat. "I do not merely speak the words," he said, reproach beneath the arousal she could hear in his voice.
"Shhh," she whispered, "I know." She gazed at his face, traced with her fingertip the soft hollows beneath his eyes, touched his lashes. She could feel him trembling, and she wondered what she'd done to make this man, this warrior, so vulnerable. She smiled gently. "You tremble," she said. "Am I so fearsome?" and he laughed to hear her say his own words back to him.
Opening his eyes he smiled at her. "It has been long since I felt a gentle touch," he murmured, raising his hands to her shoulders, and then without warning he toppled her over onto her back, and was rewarded with a startled yelp and a giggle as she flung her arms around him. "But you are not too fearsome for a soldier of Gondor to conquer," he said with a grin, capturing her wrists with his hands and pressing them to the ground, covering her mouth with his. She gasped, then returned the kiss, which became more insistent, and she met his growing ferocity with her own. Her arousal spiked as he took both her wrists in one of his hands, and stroked the other down the length of her body to her hip, and back up, slipping beneath the blouse she wore, and she sighed into him. He raised his head, her wrists still pinned, and smiled as she writhed beneath his exploring touch. "You are a marvel," he whispered. "Open your eyes, look at me."
She obeyed, and the desire on her face was evident - she could feel the lust in her eyes, saw the answering passion in his. "Boromir," she said with a soft moan as his fingers teased over her stomach, "please...." She pulled against his imprisoning hands, relishing the strength that held her. She would not escape unless he let her, and she knew he would only let her escape if she wanted him to.
"'Please' what, my lady?" he asked, still smiling, and she struggled to reclaim her hands so she could touch him. His fingers were maddening, tracing circles on her abdomen and making the skin shiver, and she squirmed under him. "Please don't tease you?" he asked, continuing to do so. "Please touch you here?" his fingers sliding upwards, and she moaned, closing her eyes again. "I told you to look at me," he said, pinching her skin lightly, and she whimpered. "Don't disobey me, my captive." She looked at him and he was smiling still, and he leaned forward to kiss her again. She pressed into the kiss, her body rising, hands still trapped, and he whispered into her mouth, "Please what?"
"Please," she gasped, "I want you."
"Here, in the cold cave? You wouldn't rather wait for the silken sheets of Minas Tirith?" She heard humor in his voice, and she shook her head.
"It's not cold," she said. "And all the silk I need is you. Please, Boromir...." She turned her face and kissed his forearm, pressing her lips to the only part of him she could reach. "I want to touch you. I want - " she hesitated and looked at him, and he gazed back at her with desire and affection. "We don't know what'll happen between here and Minas Tirith," she said. "I want this. You. Now, while we can, while we're safe, even if it is in a cave in the middle of a war. Let me touch you."
He hesitated only a moment, then released her wrists and kissed her softly as she wrapped her arms around him, the kiss growing more urgent, and in the dim light of the cave they claimed each others' bodies for their own.
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