Anything you recognise belongs to the late, great J.R.R

My first Boromir fic, make of it what you will. Set just before the mines of Moria.

This is what you get when you watch Goldeneye and can't sleep. I blame the tv although that might not stand up in court…

So still the nights out here on the plains, the stars as luminous and coldly beautiful as any elf maiden that graced Rivendell. The hobbits are sleeping, childlike in stature and childlike in their innocence, they are as ill equipped to fight as I am to ignore the pull of the ring. Sweet words it whispers, dark and soft as wood smoke, promises that haunt my dreams and pulse thick and black as the deadliest nightshade through my blood.

In the icy darkness the dwarf breathes loudly, what he lacks in height he more than compensates with the snuffles and snores that rend the silence. A week ago Pippin and Merry would have complained, splashing Gimli with water to awaken him with a roar and incomprehensible threats. The young hobbits are tiring now, and even Gimlis' snores cannot stir them from their slumber.

In contrast the elf seems unaffected by the hardship of our journey. Do elves sleep? Legolas sits as still and unfathomable as the moonlight at the edge of our camp. Golden hair gleaming and his pale eyes shadowed, it is difficult to tell if he is dreaming or merely lost in thought. I feel his eyes upon me sometimes, the smoothness of his skin belying the ancient wisdom in his eyes. He knows the power the ring holds and a part of me wishes for a fight, a confrontation, anything but that sad silent understanding.

The journey has been hard, and it is but a taste of what is to come. Aragorn sleeps close enough for me to see the mist of his breath rise in the icy air. He walks the empty black paths of utter exhaustion by night, yet still awakens at the faintest sound that might signal a threat to the fellowship. That I the son of Denethor would fight beside the man who would usurp his father sometimes feels as bitter as bile in my throat, yet I follow him as meekly as the hobbits. Gondor needs no king, those were my words, but I follow Aragorn against my will. I fight the pull of the ring, and deep in my heart I know that this is the beginning of something – the rebirth of mankind or it's utter destruction.

There was a girl once. In the cold anonymous silence of the early hours I wonder if she looks at the same stars and thinks of me.

Sweet she was, dark hair and defiant eyes, skin softer than the wolf skins that covered the floor. We first met when my horse was lamed during a hunt. I had thought I had known the forest well enough to return to Gondor, I was wrong. In the eerie shadows of the dense woodland her cabin had seemed a safe haven, the setting sun gilding the rough-hewn timber gold in the gloom. She had refused me shelter, spitting like a wild cat and brandishing a knife so short and dull I almost burst out laughing. I stood at least a head taller than her and outweighed her considerably; my sword sharp and smooth with use made a mockery of her paltry weapon. That night I slept upon the bearskin in front of her fire, my title the only protection against her blade and my promise the only safeguard of her virtue.

I woke before her, curled in the rough-hewn chair her face was as still and calm in slumber as the portraits of my ancestors that grace the hallways. She had not meant to fall asleep, lips parted, arms wrapped around her chest and defences down. A brief moment of unrepeatable vulnerability.

Linya. Sometimes it seems the wind whispers her name to me. I left her in the morning and returned by sunset. She opened the door to me wordlessly and her breath was as hot and fast against my cheek as her heartbeat beneath my palm. Later when we lay in a tangle of limbs, the copper smell of the blood shed as I took her maidenhead still permeating the cabin, I asked her why.

She would not answer, just a slow sad smile, soft fingers against my jaw. Her father had died the winter before, she had told me that much, perhaps she was lonely, certainly she did not take an interest in my title. I was called away to Rivendell before I had a chance to truly understand her or realise what she had meant to me.

In the silent darkness her memory is a fragile anchor to my past. I have seen the wariness in Frodos' eyes and the distrust in Sams' when he looks at me. They are right to be afraid. I had a brother, a scholar, brown eyes, brown hair and so sad. He and my father seem to be fading lately, even Linya sometimes seems to have been an old dream. In the dark hours of the night I fight sleep and do not dare think about the future, Frodo has my sword, and with all my heart I hope it is by his side rather than his throat.