Mine

Boromir looked up at the sky. The pale white light of the moon lit his face eerily, highlighting lines of sorrow and pain. A stream trickled past, its quiet sound crushed by the silence around him. Lothlorien was beautiful beyond description, it was said, but Boromir could not see. His days were made of endless, crippling silence, and his nights... They used to be so beautiful, full of companionship and friends. And then, through his own sinful means, loneliness, despair and longing, longing for what once was and what could have been.

He threw his body backwards, the ground thudding with the contact. Silence finally broken, he took a deep breath and watched the sky once more. Streaks of cloud crept across, masking the stars. Pain and worry crept across his mind, masking the memories of good. He winced at the feeling, at the faint taste of what he had begun. Silvery clouds seemed almost kind compared to his dark thoughts. Should he sleep? Should he try to block out this curse that plagued every moment of his life? This burden that caused each and every action of his to become sour and fail. There was no escape in sleep. There was no escape in waking, in awareness, and he could not hide even in rest. How could he go on, pretending that all was well with the world, that all was well with himself? He was wrong, he knew, he had succumbed to the lure of the One and he had begun the breaking of the Fellowship. The guilt was claiming him now, and he knew of no way to stop its icy grasp.

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Legolas watched the man fight with his problems internally. He had so far been unnoticed, shielded by a pearly mallorn tree, its golden leaves glinting occasionally in the fair light of the quiet moon. He himself was torn apart watching, the innermost pain of the man striking the Elf's heart. He had been observing Boromirs' actions for many a night now, piecing together the pictures playing in the man's own mind. In the middle of the night, during his restless, troubled sleep, the man would mumble snatches of sentences. Shouts, insults, apologies, all these the Elf had heard before but not nearly so earnest. Boromir rose frequently, rising suddenly and glancing around, as if watched by piercing, knowing eyes. Then he would sink back down to the ground and into uneasy sleep.

Legolas knew what it was that had troubled the warrior. He himself had felt it also, that day long ago in Rivendell. Its long, tempting finger had reached out towards him. He had, admittedly, pushed it away with some difficulty, but Boromir... The Elf had long perceived the mental torment the Ring was playing on the man's mind. The weak mind, Legolas found himself thinking. But then he watched as the man tore himself up over the Ring each night and he understood. Boromir knew it was wrong, but he could not stop his evil thoughts. Legolas felt the struggle and had decided many nights ago to speak with him about it. He felt that maybe his counsel would aid the man in this time of difficulty, when all the Fellowship were suffering. He gritted his teeth and made himself ready to face Boromir.

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Boromir, still facing the knowing but secretive wisps of cloud, felt a shadow standing over him. So He was here to torment him further. He knew all about the feelings that grew each day in Boromirs' mind, the temptation, the longing, the power and - Boromir caught his breath and forced his mind to stop these thoughts. He lay still and waited.

Legolas knelt beside Boromir. He kept back a small distance, just enough to escape if need be. Taking a deep breath, he began to speak.

"Boromir..."

The man shot up and grasped wildly for his sword. His name was known, the end was soon, he could feel it, he must stop Him, for the - breathing again, he tried to focus. Long, slender hands had taken hold of his wrists. They would not release him, not even when he tried to shake them away. Then he heard the low, whispering voice again.

"Boromir," it said. "'Tis me; Legolas."

Boromir sighed in relief. It was not the enemy, but his friend. His friend? Would his friend spy on him?

"What are you doing here?" he snapped. "Peering in at me, on my most private moments. What do you want, Elf?"

Legolas almost drew back in shock. He had never heard the man speak this way before, so cruel and malicious. But he could not leave. He had to help the man ease his pain, his burden. Although now he had to admit to himself that he was a little concerned at the extent of Boromir's problem.

"I am alarmed by your actions Boromir, and indeed your reaction to my presence. I came only to offer my aid to you. You seem troubled, my friend," he said gently and a little warily.

"That is not so," Boromir denied. "I...I..." He hesitated for a while, seeming to consider something. "I must confess, friend, that something has been preying on my mind for many a night now."

Legolas lowered himself to a seated position on the soft Lothlorien grass. "Tell me, Boromir," he urged.

"I do not know if I can."

"You can trust me," the Elf continued. "I will tell no other if that is your wish. And I believe that whatever pain is affecting you can be eased by a friend's knowledge. I wish only to half the weight of your burden. Wilt thou confide in me?"

Boromir thought for many a long moment. Perhaps the Elf was right, it would be easier if a friend could know and aid. Legolas was strong and could easily prevent Boromir from endangering the company further if need be. At length he began to speak

"It is the Ring. I can feel it. Each day it draws me closer, pulling me into its evil circle. I fear, Legolas, I fear that it is claiming me. That I will not be able to turn back from this temptation. I have already betrayed the Fellowship," he broke off suddenly.

"How do you mean?" Legolas tried his best to sound as normal and unmoved as possible.

Boromir bowed his head. "Before Gandalf...fell," he said in a low voice. "I...I argued with him. As you must by now know, it is my wish to have the Ring brought to Minas Tirith, for safety. Gandalf did not agree with my idea and we disagreed quite strongly in Moria. Now he has fallen and I feel that he was right. In the back of my mind, I know that it would be wrong, that I only wanted the Ring in my city for my own greed. But I argued with him, Legolas. He was a member of the Fellowship and I called him some unspeakable things. He has fallen, one of the wisest of us all. Do you think that it was my fault?"

Legolas looked at the wretched man kneeling on the ground. He himself had heard these 'disagreements' and at the time had blamed Boromir. Now, seeing the warrior in this condition, he knew he was wrong. "No, Boromir," he ventured a hand on the man's shoulder. "I do not believe that it was your fault. Gandalf was strong and your words would not have pushed him."

Boromir visibly raised himself as the weight left his shoulders. "Thank you, friend," he said earnestly. "I cannot tell, my mind is so poisoned by the Ring, it is as if every action of mine is also poisoned. I do not know why I have not claimed it already."

"I do," said Legolas. Boromir gave him a puzzled glance. "Because you are strong Boromir. You have no need for it and you are strong, that is why."

"I have no need for it?" Boromir questioned. Legolas immediately regretted his choice of words. "It should be mine. The Ring should have passed down the line of my family, not some worthless halfling's! He does not deserve it, it should be mine! Why? Why does he hold it from me?"

Legolas withdrew his hand from Boromir's shoulder and brought it back to the man's face with an echoing slap. Boromir rocked and gaped in shock.

"Stop it, Boromir," the Elf said firmly. "Force these thoughts from your mind."

"I...cannot," Boromir seemed shocked, as if seeing himself for the first time. "I have started the breaking of the Fellowship, just as the Lady said."

"No, Boromir, no," Legolas took hold of the man's shaking shoulders. "Be strong, Boromir, it is in you somewhere. We are all here to help you."

"To help me?"

"Yes."

"No, no you don't," Boromir was still rocking back and forth. "You talk about me, behind my back. Do not deny it! I have heard you, you think I don't but I do, I can. I know what you say. I am not ill, I am stronger than you all, I -"

"Boromir," the Elf warned. "Do you wish for me to strike you again?"

"You just dare, Elf!" Boromir spat. "I will slice you right through." The man was snarling like a wild beast, caught up in a fantasy of the Ring. Legolas shook him hard, hating what he was doing, but deeming it necessary all the same. When he finally stopped, Boromir was sobbing. Clinging to the Elf as tightly as possible, he poured his eyes out, tears streaking Legolas' clothes and wetting the man's face.

"Shh, shh," Legolas soothed, rubbing Boromir's back gently. "I will stay with you, calm yourself. Shh."

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Boromir's tears continued well into the night. Eventually, he drifted into sleep in Legolas' arms, finally spent of the night's pain. Legolas held him close, looking down at the head of hair and wondering what was happening beneath in the man's mind. They stayed this way until morning, Boromir dreaming sweet dreams of times before, Legolas pondering a way to save the Fellowship.

-----------THE END?-------------------