Written after watching the FotR extended version my cousin got for the Holidays; I'm terribly moved, always, by Boromir's death, but I never quite know how to express it properly. Enjoy! Please, R&R.


When Boromir died, there was a look of incomprehension in Legolas's eyes. It was touching but Aragorn's vision was too blurried to see it. It was the same sort of look that he had when Gandalf fell - when Gandalf's old fingers let go of their desperate clutch. It was a puzzled expression, really, one that did not grasp the gravity of the situation because it did not have the vocabulary to be able to. It was puzzled and terrible, terrible because it was trying so hard to understand. It was terrible also because Legolas did not fail in much, but he failed in this. Death was looming but distant for him; he understood that those he cared deeply for feared it and grieved its destructive nature, but to apply that same fear and that same grief to himself was impossible. He was immortal and thus death was a mere story to him, a sort of riddle. He could see it happen in others, but he did not have experience with it, in his own heart. Though he was young he had still lived a very long time, far longer than any of his companions had, or ever would.

And Boromir was dead, and the grief in Aragorn's eyes was too much for him to bear.

When Boromir died, the look of sadness and longing in Legolas's eyes went unnoticed. It was not a result of death itself but rather of Aragorn's reaction to it: the way he moved over Boromir, and kissed his forehead, though the man was still and white and bloodless. Legolas could not still the ache in his chest as he watched this, though he was not mourning Boromir's death. Indeed, when Gandalf had fallen into Shadow, it was his first experience, so close to his fingertips, with this sort of occurrence. It pained him indeed to see the strength which Aragorn forced upon himself, for someone had to see to it that they moved on, that they survived to honor Gandalf's sacrifice. Legolas had grieved later, when the grief of the Elves in Lothlorien stirred him near to tears. But Aragorn's strength had kept him moving, had kept him ever alert. Aragorn had not given in to the clutch of immediate grief and so Legolas weighed his own reactions with Aragorn's, trying to feel what Aragorn felt. (Though it was always so hard to tell, behind that mask of strength, untiring perseverance, what it was Aragorn was feeling at all.)

And now Boromir was dead, and there were tears in Aragorn's eyes, and Legolas did not know what to think, much less what to feel in his heart.

He had never before seen Aragorn cry.

At his side Gimli had bowed his head, his gloved hands resting upon his axe. Legolas watched as Aragorn held Boromir's face so tenderly and in that moment, Legolas felt a strange tearing at his heart, a clutching at his chest from within. It was jealousy, Legolas could label it that much, and he wondered why he was jealous of a dead man. Because he was so human, perhaps. Because Aragorn could touch him so easily, since he was so human. Because in dying this way, Boromir could have more than Legolas ever could. Legolas's fingers tightened their grip on his bow. Aragorn was crying still, his head bowed. There was nothing beautiful about the way he mourned and yet Legolas loved it so, the broken line of his back, the helpless hang of his hands. There was blood all over Aragorn's face, his mouth, his cheek, his neck, even, a great smear of dark Orc blood on his neck. At least it was not his own blood. His hands were bleeding, calluses broken from so much sword use, and his shirt was torn, stained red. He was covered in his own sweat, and now, his own tears. Legolas could smell him so distinctly on the sober air that he was almost overpowered by the familiar scent of him, as even that was filled with his emotion, his overpowering grief.

They had lost two of the nine in their company, and the Fellowship was broken. But that was not what Aragorn mourned. Simply, he was lamenting the loss of a fellow man, someone who, perhaps, reminded him all too much of himself. The tears came because Boromir, a man of flesh and blood, had died, not because the idea of Boromir had been destroyed. It was so tangible. Legolas wanted to cry. But Legolas did not, indeed, no how to cry: not at this moment, not here, not now. It was not his own grief that stirred within him, but a grief brought about by at last seeing Aragorn grieve. Legolas would have wished to clean the dirt and the blood from Aragorn's face and hands but it would have ruined what appealed to Legolas the most: how much like the darker side of the earth Aragorn was. Legolas watched a bead of sweat roll down the bridge of Aragorn's nose.

Gimli laid a hand on Legolas's wrist, a touch perhaps to remind the Elf where he was, who he was. Legolas closed his eyes, and when he opened them again, Aragorn was taking Boromir's gauntlets off, undoing the straps as delicately as he could manage.

It always astounded Legolas: man's constant reverence and respect for the dead. It was hard, sometimes, to grasp why one must honor these lifeless creatures, no more real than stone, with no more feelings than a tree that would not blossom again. Why some gave more tenderness to a man after his death than they ever gave him in life had some complicated, unexplained reasoning that Legolas could not work out for himself.

When Boromir died, Legolas was both jealous and remorseful of his jealousy. He was sorrowful. He wanted to reach out, and touch Aragorn's shoulder. He wanted to curl in around Aragorn from behind and rock him, to and fro, to kiss his sweat-dampened cheek and feel the roughness of him up against his lips. He wanted to be stained with Aragorn's blood; he wanted that to make him human enough to be mourned, this way. He wanted to tangle his fingers in Aragorn's hair and feel suddenly alive enough, real enough, to cry the way Aragorn was crying. Hot tears, burning from a heavy heart. He wanted to taste Aragorn's tears, if he could not cry his own. Hot tears, bitter and salty and mixed with sweat and blood. It was the strangest of hungers, the most sudden of desires.

He did not do any of these things.

He took Gimli's hand, and held it very tightly, and watched Aragorn straighten himself.

When Boromir died, Aragorn laid him out in one of their no-longer useful boats, and let it go over the fall of water, like some great glistening fish. Boromir's sword caught the sunlight; it gleamed once, and was lost in the spray of water. It was a burial fit for a king. The memory of it would forever be remembered, if only by the three of them. Aragorn's cracked fingers tied Boromir's gauntlets about his own wrists, the motion familiar. He did so while watching the place where Boromir had been, and now was, no longer. The blood that had been on Boromir's lips stained the collar of his shirt. Legolas saw him change, saw the steel come back to his jaw and hands and eyes.

Legolas dreamt about Boromir's death so often afterwards, whenever he found pause to close his eyes. He dreamt not of Boromir but of Aragorn, bent over the earth, questioning their fate in the wetness of his eyes. He did not dream of moving to Aragorn's side, of touching his shoulder, of burying his face against it moments later, though it would have been very nice to dream of that. He dreamt instead of the coarse comfort of Gimli's hand in his own, and the trembling in his heart.

He dreamt of that wrenching in his stomach as Aragorn put on those gauntlets. Aragorn bore the markings, the emblems, of two others upon his person: constant, devastating reminders that Legolas was not, would not be, could not be, a part of Aragorn's life, because he did not, would not, could not understand Aragorn's heartache at death.