1. A Memorial in Four Parts
Title: Memorial in Four Parts
Summary: In brief glimpses, Faramir, Merry and Pippin, Frodo, and Aragorn are reminded of Boromir after he is gone. Somewhere between bookverse and movieverse.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything in this story except my arrangements of words. Tolkien owns the rest. I'm not making any money either. All I'm getting is enjoyment. Don't sue me; I'm a turnip.
The Dead are Mists
Faramir would not sleep this night. He was weary after the day's events; much walking, then battle, and at the last, a thing that wore on his mind,finding the two halflings. They slept nearby while Faramir sat in silence, watching and thinking. He wasn't entirely focused on the mysteries and problems and decisions that he faced here and now, though he tried. His thought kept shifting back to his brother. He meant to mourn his brother properly when there was time, if time would ever come again for anything but weariness and strife. Now, in the dark of night, he was overcome with grief. In telling Frodo of the vision he'd had of his brother adrift on the elven boat, and of the discovery of his cloven horn, the memory of these things came afresh to his mind. In hearing the hobbits' tales of their journey with Boromir, his memory brought forward images of his brother in life, all the times, good and bad, that they had shared. Of all the memories, one now stuck in his mind like a nightmare that stays until waking.
It was only a small thing, from a time when they were both young. He couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 years old, and still in the habit of crawling into his brother's bed on cold mornings. The morning he was remembering, he had not quite fallen asleep again when he felt Boromir beside him stretching and yawning. Boromir swung his legs off the bed and quietly stood. Faramir snaked a hand through the blankets, pulled down one corner just far enough past his eyes so he could peek out, shivering in the cold air. His brother stood before the window, looking out as the faintest light of dawn appeared. As Faramir watched, his brother quietly pulled on his breeches and tunic. He was reaching for his cloak when Faramir spoke.
"Where are you going, Boromir?"
Boromir turned to him, smiling as if he had been waiting for Faramir to open his mouth. "The mists are heavy on the ground this morning. I want to walk in it." At Faramir's tiny frown, Boromir added jokingly, "Hurry up or I'll go without you." Faramir knew he would not, but he leaped out of bed anyway, not even complaining about the icy-cold stones of the floor as he hurriedly dressed.
In five minutes flat they were creeping outside into the streets of Minas Tirith. The city seemed deserted and lost in clouds, as if it had been borne away by the wind and floated heedless of the world below it. The fog seemed to soak up sound, and the steps of the two boys were silent as they walked hand in hand. After a few minutes walking, the chill seemed to leave them, and their expressions spread from innocent solemnity to wide grins, and they started to whisper to each other.
"It's like being in a cloud! I can hardly see my feet!" Faramir chattered happily.
"I know. I can't even tell we're in the City!"
"But… maybe we're not!" Faramir's all-too-serious tone sounded strange in his young voice.
"Maybe in the mist, everything is different, and we're really someplace else." At this, Boromir had paused and turned to look at his brother. The droplets of the fog had condensed on their hair and faces, leaving them both looking a little bedraggled.
Boromir smiled, "Where would you want to be, if you were someplace else, little brother?"
"Anywhere. Somewhere else," Faramir said, adding quickly, "somewhere that's not here. We could…"
"We? Don't go volunteering me for your little adventure!" Boromir protested with a laugh of false indignation.
"Well, you'd have to be there too! We have to stick together!"
"Very well," Boromir nodded, "So what would we do?"
"Whatever we wanted." Faramir said simply.
Boromir stopped walking again, laughing softly, and turned, placing a hand on his brother's shoulder. "I like this plan of yours, Faramir. Which way shall we set out? North, south or west? Ah, it doesn't matter, lead on!"
Faramir couldn't recall thinking anything terribly intelligent at that moment; he had been overwhelmed by excitement, and had taken his brother's hand again and started off, nearly shouting, "Yes! Let us go, the sky grows lighter and the mists will soon lift! Hurry, Boromir!" He began to run through the lanes of the City, utterly wrapped up in his determination and his joy at setting off with his brother into an unknown future. At some point, Boromir's hand slipped away from his, but he continued to run, calling out to Boromir and urging him on. It wasn't until he paused for breath that he turned to find his brother gone, and the mist thick and close about him. As he stood, waiting for Boromir to emerge from the whiteness surrounding him, the wet chill found its way into his clothes, and he found himself shivering. He tried to retrace his steps, stopping every few paces to speak Boromir's name in a voice that seemed to have dried up into a faint whisper. He could see nothing, nor was there any sound, and he began to believe that he was indeed somewhere else in this mist, and that he was alone. The moment before he began to despair, tears welling up in his eyes, he felt a pair of warm arms wrap around him from behind and lift him off his feet into a playful embrace.
"I thought we were supposed to stick together, little brother," Boromir whispered behind his ear.
Faramir, fears forgotten, laughed and replied, "I'm sorry, Boromir. Maybe we should try this again when we can see where we're going." At this, both boys had burst into giggles. Boromir had then nodded, taken his hand, and led him home through the slowly lifting mist.
Faramir still sat, listless and haunted by memory, while a heavy mist closed in about Henneth Annun. A scent in the air roused him, the familiar scent of sour earth and wet grass that comes with fog. Pausing only for a brief word with Anborn, he walked out on the path into the mist. As the mist clung to his skin and dulled the world around him into a formless grayness, he tried to believe as he had years ago that in this mist he could be anywhere, and that once again, Boromir would find him. As he stood, cold and alone, he could almost believe that he felt warm arms around his shoulders and warm breath at his ear. He could almost believe he heard a familiar voice whispering,
"We will stick together, brother."
The Dead are Mindful
It had been a close call, one of many for the rest of the Shire-hobbits that day, but one of very few for the two Captains, Meriadoc and Peregrin. During the Battle of Bywater, just after Merry slew the big brutish leader of the Men trapped in the lane, they had both heard a shout and turned just in time to spoil the ambush by a small force that had crept up onto their flank. It seemed a few of the Men who had escaped had gotten clever and decided to sneak back to do what damage they could. With a holler and a short blast on Merry's small silver horn, the two, along with Jolly and a few others, rushed to attack the ambushers. The ambushers were few, though, and once Merry and Pippin were alerted to them, they were easily dealt with without casualties to the hobbits. One evening later that week, the Travelers and a few local hobbits had gathered at the Cottons' to enjoy some of the first ale to be discovered in the ruffians' stores. Finally able to sit and think over the events of the battle, Merry and Pippin asked everyone present who had cried out and alerted them. No one admitted to having seen anything before the two tall hobbits had turned, and no one else had heard the cry.
"Well, it wasn't the Men, that much is for certain." Jolly said, "I think you two just have luck in proportion to your new inches." He tipped his glass to them once more before excusing himself and stumbling away to bed. Merry and Pip weren't satisfied with this answer, but as no one would admit to the shout, there was nothing more they could say about it. A good deal later, Merry and Pippin were themselves stumbling home together, at first talking in high spirits, and falling silent as they walked. Pippin was the first to break the silence.
"Do you know, Merry," He said, far beyond tipsy, leaning on his cousin for balance, "Do you know who it sounded like? Good ol' Boromir, that's who." He turned to Merry, who looked as if he wanted to deny that he agreed.
"It's not possible, of course." Merry said softly.
"No, I guess it's not." Pippin swayed, looking skyward, then locked his eyes on Merry's. "Do you ever…"
"But I didn't finish asking."
"Still yes. If it's about Boromir, at least."
"I miss him, Merry." Pippin said solemnly, to which Merry only nodded.
"Let's get home, Pip."
The Dead are Mute
All was well in the Shire, and things were returning to normal. It was the end of a warm autumn day, and Frodo could still hear echoes of the mirthful laughter of Merry and Pippin, who had left hours before. He sighed deeply and set down his quill, staring out the window at the failing light. He had finally sorted out everything in his head, the things that had happened to all of his friends after they parted, and had started to write the story down in the big book. But for the moment he could write no more. He was thinking, as he had been doing all too often, of all the things that had been lost. So much was gone. There were two losses, though, two hurts that laid on his mind most heavily, pains that would not cease. His wound from Weathertop ached. His soul ached, and the comforts of the Shire calmed him only briefly. He knew this hurt; it had been with him for months. Only now had he realized the other hurt, and it cut him deeply.
Of all my friends, of all the Fellowship, the only one I can't see again is the one I would speak to. Frodo had seen in the depth of a night's dreaming the moment of decision that had changed his path; the moment Boromir had found him there on the side of Amon Hen. He had seen in the dream the face of Boromir as he pleaded and cajoled and finally lashed out, trying to take from him the One Ring. He remembered his fear at that moment as if distantly, a thing of little importance, and he saw clearly Boromir's face, the need and desire that it had held, but it was not anymore a threat, it was the painful marks of the man's torment. Now, in waking, the image lingered, and he remembered his own hand clutching the Ring closer to himself at the heart of Mount Doom, clutching it and claiming it. He felt it slipping onto his finger and felt his own smile twist his face even as he vanished before Sam's eyes. He could not condemn the dead man for a weakness that he himself had fallen victim to, in the end. He had long kept his thoughts on his own failure at that moment hidden. The others would not have faulted him, he felt certain of that, but they still would not understand. There was only one who might have been able to, and he was gone.
Frodo buried his head between his folded arms and closed his eyes. The image of the dead man appeared on his eyelids, his expression unreadable, tinged with tenderness and something that was either sadness or pride. Had he seemed so fair in life? Frodo's thought wandered, doing what he could not. He fingers twitched on his own arms as he imagined embracing Boromir, and looking into his eyes and seeing a brother, then clasping the larger hands in his between them and speaking in low tones about the things that only they knew.
"Do you know, Boromir, we were both lost." His voice felt bitter and caught in his throat. "Why do you not speak?" he asked, as if this were a waking dream over which Frodo had no control. He saw Boromir's brow furrow for a moment in what seemed either worry or confusion before he raised Frodo's hand to his lips and kissed it just above the missing finger, then drew the Hobbit close to press a gentle kiss on his cheek. Impulsively Frodo threw his arms around the man's neck and held him again. After a long moment they released each other and Frodo saw a small, wistful smile on Boromir's face and realized that he was reflecting it. He could think of no words to speak, and words were unneeded. A lifetime of words seemed hidden within this moment they shared. With shining eyes and a smile grown wide and joyful, Boromir raised his hand in farewell, and the vision dissolved into darkness.
A few moments later Frodo shook himself, sat up and gripped his quill again. Turning to a new page he wrote with a firm hand.
"The Departure of Boromir…"
The Dead are Memories
I am steeped in memory. I am used to being close to those whose memory encompasses a whole age of Middle Earth. Even now, one of these sits beside me as my Queen, but the memories that I walk in today are of a different sort. The lives of men are short, but their memories are full, and this city is formed of them, built into the stone. In the short lives of men, the image of greatness burns bright, and the memory lingers long after, like the image of the sun in your eyes that shines still when you look away. At my hand, Faramir remembers. Sometimes I ask him to tell me stories of himself and Boromir when they were young. The ache in him has passed and he smiles to tell of his lost brother. I smile to hear his tales, although later I find myself walking through the city, wondering if there are any here who do not remember their great Captain. I stand looking out over the lands, and I try to feel in the memory of the stone I stand on if Boromir ever stood here, looking out upon a darker land. I wonder how many still weep for his loss, as I do. Never will I see the White Tower, or hear the City's silver trumpets without recalling the man in whose eyes the glory of Gondor shone bright, for my memory is long, and he will ever be in it.