2. Yet More Questions
Disclaimer: I wish I were making money right now, but alas I am goofing off. Tolkien owns everything in this story except my arrangements of words.
Summary: In Hollin, Boromir is on watch, while Aragorn is watching him. Same as part 1, from Boromir's POV. Apparently, things aren't always as they seem.
Characters: Boromir and Aragorn
Notes: Mostly bookverse, a smidge of movieverse here and there.
Morning in Hollin. It is my watch again, and everything seems quiet and calm around our camp, but still I watch vigilantly. The weather has turned bright and clear, and I welcome the change from the gloom of the last few days. The rest of my companions are sleeping peacefully on the ground around me. The hobbits particularly fell asleep quickly and they sleep without stirring. It is good, they will need all their strength for the road ahead of us, but I cannot worry about the future at this moment. I feel a calm I have not often known as I sit watching the loveliness of the morning unfold on this land. I remember this feeling from when I was just a lad, on the rare occasions that I wasn't being admonished by my tutors or trained in swordsmanship, and could get away to just walk alone in the fields. When I grew up, other duties fell to me and then I was happy enough just to find myself in the warm crush and hectic noise of my men around me at the day's end, with ale in hand and songs to sing. Too rarely have I been in some fair and wild place like this, with nothing more to do than sit and think, but on all of the times it has happened, it has brought to me peace and comfort. Here I can forget that my land lies on the edge of a great darkness that threatens it in every moment, here I can forget my responsibilities to my people, for just a little while. Here I am just Boromir, not the Captain-General or the son of the Steward, and I am glad.
I realize suddenly that I am not, as I had thought, the only one awake. Aragorn seems to have given up on sleep, and has sat up, turned towards me. At first I think he will speak, and I wait, without shifting my eyes from the distant horizon. As the minutes pass, though, he stays still and quiet, gazing at me. Out of the corner of my eye, I can't decipher his expression. It seems to be an appraising and deeply absorbed look. I have seen that look on him before, when first we met, and I found it disconcerting then. This time it is no different, and I wonder what he thinks. After so many minutes, he has surely formed some opinion, good or ill. I want to turn to him and ask him what he sees that is so interesting, but I will not give in to this impulse. His eyes seem to pierce me, and the feeling nearly brings a flush to my cheeks, though I know not why. As the Steward's first-born I have had eyes on me for nearly all of my life; why should this be any different? Nonetheless, it is. Seeking diversion from his eyes, I realize my hands have been idly entwining themselves in the lanyard of my horn. As I disentangle them and stop their nervous motion, my thought turns towards home, and now I do worry. I have been away too long, and have had no news. I want to get up and rush homeward, but that would not be prudent while my road lies with that of my companions for such a distance yet through troubled lands. I swallow my growing panic, forcing my eyes to focus on the calming beauty of the land again. My hands, stilled but briefly, run along the edge of my shield, feeling its smoothness and its strength. They are more eager than I am for battle, it seems, in their restlessness. These fears would overwhelm me if I allowed them to, though I feel in my heart that no stroke of doom has yet fallen on my land. I have been concerned only with the survival of Gondor for so long I feel I would know it. I sit, reminding myself of this and gazing out at the sunlit land until I have calmed and regained control of myself. I resolve that I will look at Aragorn, though I'm not sure what I will say when I do.
At last I turn towards him, and for a moment I don't think he realizes that I am returning his gaze. I can see him clearly now. His form is folded, knees drawn up close before him, his arms crossed atop them, chin resting on one wrist, his whole posture self-contained. I feel suddenly the way I used to feel years ago when I listened to my eldest tutor, a bent and wizened man with white hair and beard. He appeared frail, but when he spoke, everyone listened. I remember him telling me some old tale of lore, and I believe I thought that he was old enough to have witnessed the events he told of, and I felt small and untried and very young. I feel something like that now, for Aragorn seems to see beyond me to some far place of sadness that I cannot see, contemplating secrets that I cannot guess. I shake off the feeling, and force myself to speak.
"'Tis not a bad place to have to watch. This is a fair land, and the weather is fairer still. Whether or not clear skies make us easier to spot in the wilderness, I welcome the sunlight that shows me this." It is the first thing my thought offers as words, and avoids all the questions I might have asked. I am not sure if I want to know the thoughts he pondered in silence.
I can see him considering my words as he unfolds himself, falling into a more open posture of ease.
"I agree." He says, nodding and smiling faintly.
"So is that why you do not sleep? This will still be here for your watch, later." I ask, though I doubt this is truly the reason. I wonder if he will say so.
"In truth I think my mind is restless with worry about our task." This reply I might have expected, though I wonder if I serve as distraction from these worries or if I am somehow among them.
"Tonight will come soon enough. Leave the worries for then, and enjoy some rest while you can get it, friend." I say, and he seems to take my advice as he shifts to stretch out on his blanket. "I will be sure to wake you first if there is anything you need to worry about." I can't help adding with a smile.
"You have my thanks for that, Boromir." He answers as he lies back on the ground. Now I am left alone again to watch over our company in silence, with the loveliness of this day for company. I want to return to that feeling of calm and peace, but now my mind is as restless as my hands. The worries he put aside have fallen to me, and I think of the long road before us, and I wonder if he will indeed turn aside with me and bring his sword to my land. I wonder if together we will be able to save my people. I wonder if indeed he will become King, and what then? Will I be Steward to this one, this enigma who has at last closed those eyes that affect me so strangely? I suppress a sigh and look again at the horizon, and let my thought drift back to the few times I have been in places like this, and I wish that I were still young and without cares, resting in the cool grass of the Pelennor and dreaming of a glorious future.
A/N I think Aragorn ruined Boromir's perfect day, huh. After I wrote the first part, Boromir appeared in my head and started complaining that "Of course I was fidgeting, you let Aragorn stare at me and creep me out!" and insisted I tell the other half of the story. While he was telling me about it, I told him he over-thought that situation. He said "Well, that's the first time I've heard that." So here it is, I hope he's happy.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.