A/N - Written for an AU Challenge. Boromir must survive Amon Hen, and Aragorn is separated from the group. If you're interested in the challenge site, either email me or ask in reviews.
Disclaimer: I own no part of Lord of the Rings, it's all Professor Tolkien's.
Edit to correct a typo.
"Frodo! Frodo! Where have you gone?"
Aragorn searched the woods of Amon Hen, his gaze downward at the ground, the unheeded calls echoing around him. Perhaps the Hobbit had not gone far, but he felt as though he was searching for a needle in a leaf pile. The darkness over his heart was growing, and he began looking about as often as he searched the ground. Finally, he stopped altogether.
There was something very wrong. The woods were too silent.
The Horn of Gondor broke the deadly quiet like thunder in the night.
The Ranger took off at a dead run toward the sound, and soon saw black beings running through the woods. Aragorn drew Andúril and charged into battle.
The Uruk-hai were much larger and fiercer than Orcs, but they could not match the skill of Aragorn, son of Arathorn. Each one he fought was an opponent worthy of his sword- that is, his sword's edge.
To his left came the Elf Legolas, firing arrow after arrow. Aragorn blocked a sweeping blow from the bludgeoning swords carried by the Uruk-hai. He parried the weapon to the side and switched direction back at the enemy. The Uruk's neck was severed, and the sound of broken flesh and bone came from behind him.
An Uruk-hai stood strait, sword raised, but soon collapsed with an arrow embedded in his back. Aragorn nodded his thanks to Legolas before they joined Gimli and moved on in search of Boromir.
Merry and Pippin had taken up throwing rocks, and were proving themselves very able with the primitive weapons. The two had caught up with Boromir during their frantic search for Frodo. Boromir, in turn, was impressed with their hardy courage. The Son of Gondor fought with vigor, intent on redeeming his worth to the Fellowship. His heart hung heavy with shame that he had been taken by the Ring's power.
Boromir finally understood that the Ring must be destroyed, and taking it to his father would be a profound mistake. The Ring truly was evil.
The Uruk-hai came in waves, seemingly intent on taking the two Hobbits. Boromir would not let that happen. He blocked as many Uruk-hai as he could, but the task was becoming overwhelming.
Boromir barely dodged the quick swipe the Uruk made, and his block to the next swing was sloppy. His blade rattled and stung his hands, but he kept a firm grip.
"Fall back," he called to Merry and Pippin, who promptly complied and he sounded his horn three more times.
The man turned and followed the two Hobbits, who were charging up a hill.
"No, we know not what is on the other side," Boromir yelled.
Over the crest of the hill came Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli.
"Now we do," Pippin said, relieved to see his friends.
"There are more coming behind us, I know not how many," Aragorn said to Boromir.
"We must hold them off, they cannot find him," Boromir answered, "We must win."
The six remaining Fellowship members charged down the hill with a loud battle cry. The Uruk-hai stood ready to meet them. Swords clashed and clanged, heads and limbs fell, but no agent of Saruman present that day seemed able to meet the fury of their attack.
"We are driving them back," Boromir shouted.
Gimli embedded his axe in an Uruk's chest, "Bring me more! My axe is hungry for your blood!"
Cresting the hill behind the brave fighters came several more Uruk-hai. They wasted no time in charging and cutting off Aragorn, Merry, and Pippin from the others. Aragorn realized the danger first and moved the two Hobbits behind him so the enemies made a half-circle in front of him.
"Stay behind me, let no Uruk come around my back," he told them.
Aragorn managed to cut off any side flanks, but he was becoming tired. He would not be able to fight at this intensity for much longer. Merry bent to pick up a rock and an Uruk swung his blade.
"No!" Merry cried.
Aragorn ducked, but only enough for the blade to graze his head. The impact knocked him out. He collapsed on the ground and Merry and Pippin dropped by him. The Uruk-hai grabbed the two Hobbits and Ranger, slinging them over their shoulders. A group gathered and they began to run down the valley.
"Aragorn!" Legolas cried.
Boromir and Gimli tried to follow, but the remaining Uruk-hai were too many. Legolas managed to hit a few retreating Uruk-hai with arrows before he was forced to fight the immediate enemies.
The remaining three Fellowship members fought their best against Saruman's finest, and soon there were only a few left.
Gimli swung his axe into an Uruk's stomach as Boromir decapitated another. The last remaining Uruk-hai looked around in growing anger. He raised his sword, roared a battle cry, and charged the three. Boromir cut him down.
Boromir looked in the direction that their kidnapped friends had been taken. He knew not where Frodo was, and he knew that destroying the Ring was the first priority. But if Frodo had been taken too...
The implications were chilling.
The Gondorian looked at Legolas and Gimli, "Come, we return to the boats for supplies. Perhaps fortune is with us and Frodo has returned to our camp unharmed."
The three quickly made their way back to the river-side. Only two boats were there; the third was no where to be seen. They saw two packs were missing, both Frodo's and Sam's. The conclusion was rather obvious.
"Frodo has gone alone," Boromir murmured.
Legolas looked at the sand, "A Hobbit waded here, though I cannot tell when. Sam has gone with him."
"So it has finally happened," Boromir murmured, staring at the eastern shore, "The Fellowship is broken."
Gimli asked, "What are we waiting for? Let us cross and follow. Frodo and Sam cannot have gone far."
"Frodo and Sam are on their own now, and quite capable they are. We have another path to follow," Boromir said as he began packing food in a small backpack, "Three of our friends are in grave danger, we will not leave them to a hopeless fate.
"Yes!" Gimli said, and he and Legolas filled their own packs as heavily as they would dare.
The three set off then, following the rather obvious trail the band of Uruk-hai left behind. Long into the night they ran, hoping to keep the group within the sight of Legolas. They would follow them to Mordor if they had to.
When Aragorn regained consciousness, he found he was tied hand and foot to a long pole that was carried by two Uruk-hai. Glancing around, he saw Merry and Pippin carried on the back two Uruk-hai. Both were looking at him worriedly, afraid but unharmed.
The troupe traveled long into the night before pausing for a short break. The three prisoners were kept apart. Aragorn watched each moment with calculation, and also the night sky. He hoped to determine the direction of movement and their location by the stars. He would find a way to escape with the Hobbits, taking nearly every chance he could.
Later, a fight broke out among the Orcs and Uruk-hai. One was killed, and his body fell on top of Pippin. The attention of the enemies was still on the spat, and the Hobbit took his chance. He sliced the knot on the binding on his hands, and then quickly covered the cut.
The fight was broken and the Orcs and Uruk-hai settled down. Aragorn was familiar with some Orcish, and heard broken bits of conversation.
"What will we do with the man? I say we eat him," one said.
"No. My orders were to bring any back to Saruman. He will have his prize," said the one who seemed to be in charge.
"Then let's have a little fun with them. Give them some piercings," said one.
A few laughed, "They are ugly now and no piercing will make them appealing to our eyes, save only as a good dinner."
"I say we give the man a nose ring, and the two halflings a row of brow rings."
The Uruk leader rose angrily, "What part of alive and unspoiled do you not understand?!"
"Alive? And unspoiled? Why? Do they make good sport," and Orc asked, directing his gaze at the Hobbits.
"Saruman wants them. When he is through with them, he has promised their flesh to us, in both sport and food. Pierce their noses, ears, or whatever you want. After Saruman has them. No more talk of this!"
None seemed inclined to disobey the larger Uruk-hai, and the camp was very quiet until they readied for the next day's travel.
Long they ran again, and Aragorn wondered where Andúril was. He did not feel comfortable escaping with two small and unarmed Hobbits, let alone himself, without a weapon. He would have to steal one from the Orcs.
Another break was spent listening to Orcs and Uruk-hai argue among themselves. They were very near the eaves of a great forest. Aragorn guessed it to be Fangorn Forest, by the stars and by the darkness inside and the thick overgrowth. He doubted that they would venture inside the Forest; even he would not dare to do so unless he was so pressed.
The group halted again and set up a camp. This time, Aragorn could guess by the tone of the Orcs that he was being discussed as their dinner that night. If he was to survive, he had to make his move that night. Pippin and Merry were placed nearby and Pippin allowed a brief show of the cut bond.
Aragorn smiled, "You are more wily than I thought."
"'Tis a gift," Pippin whispered.
One Orc came over in front of the three and kicked Pippin, "Shut your mouth or I'll cut your throat."
He raised his sword threateningly. A soft whooshing sound was heard, and then a cry from the Orc. Horsed riders began to flood into the outer edges of the camp, shooting arrows and throwing spears.
The Orcs raised a defensive line and held off the attacking horsemen for the moment. Pippin took his chance and removed the rope around his hands. He picked a knife from the dead Orc's body and cut the rope around his feet, then Aragorn's binds, and then Merry's. After Aragorn grabbed the Orc's sword, the three moved unobtrusively away from the battle and into Fangorn Forest.
For two days and a night, Boromir, Legolas, and Gimli had run, just trying to keep up with the Uruk-hai group. It seemed to none but Legolas that they were gaining on them. They rested on the second night, only a few short hours, and Legolas roused them.
They set off again, and Boromir recognized the land.
"Rohan," he said, "We are entering the land of Rohan. I was here months ago during my trip to Rivendell."
When the sun had nearly crested the sky, a large group of horsemen were seen in the distance.
"Riders of Rohan," Boromir cried, only hoping to be heard.
They were far off, but could see the three intruders to their land. Only when they rode close did one recognize Boromir.
"Boromir, son of Denethor," Éomer said, "Long has it been since we have met. What news do you carry from the North?"
"We are tracking a band of Orcs west across your land. They have three of our friends. We found their weapons, two Elven knives, and Narsil, the Sword that was Broken and forged anew. I am not its wielder and will not draw it forth. That privilege is reserved for another," said Boromir, who carried Andúril on his sword belt, by his own blade.
Éomer nodded to his right, "We slaughtered the Orcs last night. We left none alive."
"There were two Hobbits and a man. Did you see them?" Gimli asked.
"We did not find any signs of a man," Éomer really meaning signs of his remains, "But I do not know of Hobbits. It is a strange name."
"Halflings," Boromir said, "They are no more than children to your eyes, though when called upon, their courage is greater than that of men."
"We found none but Orcs and strange goblin-like creatures. We counted them and despoiled their bodies. Then we stacked them and burned them to ashes. It was on the eaves of the Great Forest, if you wish to seek them out."
With that, Éomer called for two horses, "Take these, search for your friends. But do not trust to hope. It is forsaken in these lands."
"Twice I am in the debt of the Men of Rohan, you have my sincere thanks," Boromir said.
"Always we will aid the Men of Gondor," Éomer answered, bowing his head slightly.
With that, the éored left with great speed. The Rohirric horses were swift, and the trio soon came upon the battle ground, though they smelled the burned flesh long before they saw it.
They found no sign of Aragorn, Pippin, or Merry at the camp, but Boromir's eyes were drawn to Fangorn Forest.
"If they were not here during the battle, and we cannot find them elsewhere, perhaps they escaped into the Forest," Boromir said.
The three approached the dark eves of Fangorn Forest.
"What madness drove them there?" Gimli murmured.
"We shall find out," Boromir said, taking the first step in.