Disclaimer: JRR owns Boromir, not I, sadly.
Sean Bean owns the blond hair and green eyes, but I don't own Sean, either, again, sadly.
Only the story is mine. It was inspired by a picture I saw of "Boromir" asleep in bed with a lovely tree of Gondor tattooed on his back. (I don't think it was really Sean, but whoever it was looked darned good!)
I sit at the foot of the bed and watch him sleep. He lies on his stomach, his dark blond hair fanned across his face, moving gently with each soft snore. I had nearly given up on his coming. Early in the evening, I had heard the trumpets announce his arrival into the city, immediately followed by the deeper note of his own horn. I waited, hoping. But the hours had passed and he did not come, so I prepared for bed. Just as I bent to blow out the candles, he came through the door. I hugged him close, and he laid his head on my shoulder. I could feel his weariness. He was so exhausted he merely pulled off his clothes and collapsed into bed. Now, I sit and watch my beloved at rest.
He has bathed, and carries no weapon, so I know he has already been to the Citadel and made his report to his father. I know hours have been taken from my time with him so that he can give the same information that he has been giving for years. The darkness is growing, the enemy is gaining strength. What point is there to once again say it? What good to repeat the same story? I sigh.
Taking a bottle of oil from the shelf behind me, I pour a generous amount into my hand and begin to massage his shoulders. The muscles are tight and as I rub I hear his soft groan. "Shh, rest." I whisper, working my way down his bare back and running my hand across his ribs. I marvel again at the many scars, some so old they are faint and white, some new enough to be pink and puckered. All his life he has known only battle, and he bears the marks of many struggles. I work the oil into his flesh, feeling the knotted muscles relax.
When I've finished his back, I move down to his legs. They are hard bunches of muscle, perfect for the work of carrying armor and bearing him toward war. His feet are flat and calloused. I knead the oil in between each toe and am rewarded with a sigh of pleasure. When at last I finish with his feet, I pour out more oil and return to his back, moving slightly lower as I go. He shifts slightly. An invitation? I see a slight smile on his lips, and so I return to my work. Soon the groans are more urgent, and suddenly, with astounding quickness, he turns and grabs my wrist, pulling me down onto the bed beside him.
Propping himself up on his elbow, his soft, sleepy eyes smile at me. "Can a man not get any sleep here?"
"I'm sorry, my lord." I smile back. "I thought only to make your rest more… pleasant."
He laughs, showing fine straight teeth. "Indeed. But you have not, lady. Rather, I am having trouble resting." He leans down and kisses me gently, his hand cupping my cheek. Few who have seen him in battle would believe he could be so tender. His lips travel from mine down my throat. I press his face against my breasts.
The tenderness lasts only a few moments, though, for he is at heart a warrior, and soon he is mounting an assault upon my weak defenses. I must confess they are not well-guarded. His love is rough, the frustration of battles lost and men killed poured into his act of passion. I let him overwhelm me, my cry of surrender mixes with his of victory. Afterward, he falls back asleep, his head pillowed on my chest. My fingers caress his face and comb through his hair.
How long have we had together? This summer will be twelve years. Twelve years since I first saw him at my soap stall in the marketplace. He had come with a companion, a fellow soldier searching for a gift for his wife. But when our eyes met across my baskets of herbed soaps and oils, I had somehow recognized my soul mate.
I do not know how he found where I lived, only that the next evening he had appeared at my door, and that he has continued to appear from that night on, whenever he is in the city and can get away. I have never made a claim on him, for I know I have no right. One day the Heir of the Steward will lead a lady to the White Tower, but it will certainly not be a soap-maker from the second level. All I can live for is whatever time he can give me.
Ours is not a complicated relationship. He speaks of battles and tells me of the manly talk in the barracks, I tell him the gossip of the marketplace and the city. He is in truth a plain man, and it pains me sometimes that his responsibilities are so many and his burden so heavy, when I think he would be so much happier living a common life.
He murmurs slightly in his sleep and I pull him close, molding my body to his. "Sleep well, my love."
The faint gray light that signals dawns coming creeps across the sky. I move slightly to slip out of bed and his arms tighten around me.
"Don't go." He whispers.
"I'm going to make you some breakfast." I say and his grip loosens. I smile to myself. Pulling on a light robe, I put out whatever food I have that I know is to his liking. Soon my table holds bread, the last of the cheese, the grapes purchased just yesterday at the market. I pluck the rest of the meat from the roasted partridge I had for my own supper last night and put it on a small wooden plate. A cup of wine, well watered from the jug by the door completes the meal. As I turn to wake him, I find that his eyes are already open, and watching me. He smiles lazily and gets up.
A soldier's life has left him no modesty and he pads around my tiny rooms naked and completely at ease, only returning to the bed for a blanket to wrap around him after finding my wooden chairs too hard for his bare backside. I laugh, this is a complaint I've heard many times. He eats as if food was a rarity, and we sit in the comfortable silence of those who know each other well. I open the window by the table to let in the soft spring breeze and we listen to the birds awaken. The sun will rise soon, but my little house is on the far southern side of the city, and my view mostly of the mountains behind. He says he does not mind, that it is a joy to not have to face the smoldering black sky upon awakening. As we eat, we watch the faint light go from pink to rose to pale yellow. Dawn is here.
When his cup is empty, I go to fill it, brushing my hand across his shoulder as I pass by. He catches it and kisses my palm, then pulls me close, wrapping his arms around my waist. I kiss the top of his head, breathing in the smell of him. We stay thus for a long moment. At last, he looks up at me. "I love you." he says quietly. "And I you." I return. I see a great weariness in those dear green eyes, and it pains me. No night of restful sleep can erase it, I know. The shadow to the east grows every day, and it is his place to struggle against it. There is nothing I can give him save what I have; a quiet place to rest and my love. I touch his face, noting the worry lines around his eyes, and gently rub my finger across the scar on his forehead.
His calloused hand reaches up and pulls my head close and our mouths meet. His is warm and sweet, and his tongue gently probes as his other hand steals inside my robe and strokes my back. I feel the slow, sweet ache that I know so well, and lean against him. This time he urges me to the bed, and our love is gentle and unhurried. He waits for me, and his slow movement leads me higher and higher until I forget everything save him. I cry out in pleasure and then hear him whisper my name and give a slight shudder of his own. He rests his weight on me for a moment before rolling over onto his back, and we lie together listening to the sounds of morning, our hands clasped.
"I have to go." He says reluctantly.
I get up and fill the large bowl with water that I had warming over the fire so he can wash, then watch as he dresses. For just a moment I feel the familiar sadness. I wish that we could have a life together, a family. But I know it can never be, so I push the thought away. Even if he were a common man, the shadow in Mordor would still hold sway over us. I made the mistake once of wishing that he had no duties, was just a common soldier, and he had looked at me with astonishment. "No matter who I was, I would protect my city." He had said, and I knew it was true. He loves the White City, and if he knew spilling every drop of his blood would make it safe, he would not hesitate to take up his knife and slash his veins himself. It only makes me love him more.
He stands by the door and I can see his mind is already on other things. No doubt he has more meetings today, with his father and others, strategies to devise, battle plans to make. I am glad for what little time we have had. Abruptly he turns back and gathers me close. We hold each other tightly. Who knows how much time any of us has, with that black cloud in the sky growing day by day? With a last kiss, he is gone. He never promises to come back and I never ask. It is another of our understandings.
He will not return. My every fear is realized, my heart is shattered.
After the eastern shore of Osgiliath fell in June I heard talk that his father had sent him away on a mission of great importance. I listened for the sounding of his horn every day, but it never came. As the months passed with no word, I felt the panic growing in my heart. Never had he been gone so long before. Summer became fall, and winter followed with no news. The rumors in the street were many, mostly that his father was mad with worry. Twice I saw the younger brother as he rode through the streets, but no word of my beloved to be had from any source.
Then the gossip in the city said that the great horn had been found, broken into two pieces and floating in the River Anduin. I knew only death could part him from his badge of office. Sick with fear, I found myself wandering through the main marketplace each day, hoping to hear some word. Thus I was there 8 days ago, listening as a group of old women talked while I pretended to pick through some wilted herbs at a barrow.
"Split in two, it was." Said one, her grey hair pulled back behind her. "They brought it to his father."
"It will kill the Steward" said another. "He loves that one."
"Remember how it was when the mother died?" the first speaker shook her head. "He nearly lost his mind then…this will be worse. Hard on the younger one, too."
A shorter woman spoke up. "My granddaughter has a friend who works in the kitchens." The others listened attentively. A fresh source close to the Citadel would have valuable information. "She said the younger brother had a dream…he has visions, you know. He saw the older one dead, borne past in a boat upon the River." They all fell silent and pondered this bit of news. I bit my lip and told myself it was only old women telling tales.
The sound of hooves on the stone street interrupted all of our thoughts, and I looked up. It was the younger Captain of the Guard riding out of the city with his troops. I looked at him as they approached and my heart fell. His face, so like my beloved's, was drawn with sadness and instantly I knew. If anyone would know it would be he, they had always been so close. One look at him told me what was in his heart. My eyes filled with tears and I clutched the sides of the herb barrow weakly. Suddenly, the old woman with the tenuous link to the Citadel kitchen stepped forward. He halted his horse as she placed a hand upon his knee.
"We grieve with you, Lord Faramir." She said quietly, her dim old eyes meeting his grey ones.
His face crumpled with grief for a moment, then his mouth tightened as he mastered himself. Leaning down, he patted her hand. "My thanks, good mother." He said, using the term of respect among the common people. Swallowing hard, he urged his horse on and she stepped back.
I stumbled home and wept until my soul was empty.
The last days have passed somehow. Now they say there is to be a great battle, that we must leave the city. I care not. In truth, I would have left without the order. There is nothing within these white stone walls for me any longer. The old couple who live across my narrow lane have offered me a place for my things in their small cart. They no doubt knew my lover, yet they kept our secret all these many years. Whether for love of me or him I know not. It does not matter. They have always been kind to me.
They are going to a village in Lebennin, and that is far enough that I can send word to my sister to come fetch me. She lives along the River Serni and has often urged me to come.
I pack my things into a few small boxes. Everything reminds me of him, the blankets that covered him, the cup he drank from. The tears run down my face as I place each in the box. I take the pale pink seashell that he brought me once from the shore and hold it against my cheek for a moment before wrapping it carefully in a scrap of cloth and nestling it amongst the my soaps.
"It is time." The old man says quietly from my door. He helps me carry my things out and places them into the cart. The old woman pats my hand as we make our way out of the city and join the crowds moving south. The people chatter excitedly amongst themselves as we travel. There is talk of battle, and one who might be King. I listen, numb. None of it has meaning for me any longer.
I turn back once to see the city, shining white as the sun blazes down. Perhaps all will one day be well for others. Perhaps the King will return, and the shadow in the east will be destroyed. I will never come back to Gondor. The shadow in my heart will never lift. I am alone.