A/N: Yey, I'm finally not grounded anymore! From the website, that is. Way to bust me on a story I posted like two years ago, ff.n. Ah, well, que sera sera.
There is slight Boromir-bashing in this little fic. Don't get me wrong, he's probably my favourite non-hobbit character. But some people are just easy to pick on…
Disclaimer: Middle-earth and its inhabitants belong to Tolkien. The game "What I Like About You" can be attributed to any of the many lame clubs/organizations I have been, or currently am, a participant in. (Whoo ice-breakers!)
What I Like About…
"I know I've seen that tree before," Boromir insisted, jabbing a gloved finger toward a crooked deciduous. The rest of the Fellowship groaned, partially because it did seem like they were lost but mostly because that was the third time Boromir had obnoxiously made that comment in the past ten minutes.
"And I know where I am going," Aragorn called from his position a few yards ahead of the company, looking very cool and in control as he scouted a path for the rest of them.
"And this tree says it hasn't ever seen us before, Boromir," Legolas called up helpfully, having hung back to confirm this. Boromir rolled his eyes heavenward and began to mutter under his breath, only a few phrases such as "know-it-all-Ranger", "poncy-Elf", and "talking-trees" entirely intelligible… to those without the Elven gift of super-keen hearing, that is.
"Boromir!" Legolas gasped in shocked, "I can't believe you. Gimli would never do that!"
Boromir appeared just as surprised and angry as the dwarf in question. "I didn't say anything about—"
"What about Gimli?" snarled the dwarf, his hand resting on the handle of one of the many axes located on his person. Legolas bit back a giggle and raced ahead to walk beside Aragorn.
The hobbits, subconsciously straying closer to Gandalf somewhere in the middle of the group as the "fight" continued, threw each other nervous looks.
"I think we could all use a rest," Gandalf told the hobbits conspiratorially. They nodded silently, eyes wide. The old wizard called his request to Aragorn, who paused and gazed up toward the sky.
"Yes…" he said, stroking his unshaven chin and narrowing his eyes at the position of the sun. "It is 2:47 PM which means we've been walking for a good seven hours. I suppose a rest would be all right. Provided it's a short rest…" Almost immediately the growing tension ebbed a bit as everyone set about finding a place to get comfortable on the ground.
"I'm out of water," Boromir complained, shaking his canteen despondently.
"Would you like some of mine?" Gimli asked. Boromir raised his eyebrows, nearly smiling at the unexpected kindness. Before he could reply, however, Gimli added, "Well so would I!" and finished the rest of his in a single gulp. He smirked and wiped his mouth dry with his beard. Boromir glared as fiercely as he could, but this only seemed to amuse the hardened dwarf.
"We are all tired, and the burden of our task is weighing heavily on each of us…" Gandalf began suddenly in his 'I'm making an important speech, so listen up,' voice.
'The burden of having to deal with these people day after day is weighing on me,' Boromir thought, but listened grudgingly.
"I think," Gandalf continued, "That we should play a game."
Legolas and the hobbits perked up. Aragorn seemed grimly determined to go along with whatever his old friend had in mind, and Gimli still appeared smug about his recent victory over the Gondorian captain. Boromir was somewhere between shocked and appalled.
"Pippin, what do you think?" the wizard asked, turning to the youngest in the gathering.
"'What I Like About You'!" Pippin squealed, clapping his hands. It took the rest of the group a few moments to figure out that his was naming a game for them to play.
"I love that game!" Frodo said.
"Good one, Pip," Merry agreed, nodding sagely.
The rest of the Fellowship, save Gandalf, faced them with blank stares.
"I'm intrigued," admitted Aragorn, "How do you play?"
"First we all sit in a circle!" directed Pippin. He appeared delighted to be the center of attention, and even more so when everyone grudgingly got to their feet to do as he said. Once re-seated, the young hobbit continued: "Then one at a time everyone tells the person sitting on their right something they like about them! I'll go first!" He looked to his right, where Frodo sat in anticipation. "What I like about you, Frodo, is that you're really brave!"
Frodo grinned. "You're brave too, Pip!" he said and hugged his cousin. Pippin giggled, looking ridiculously pleased with himself. Gimli looked uncomfortable, Legolas somewhat giddy, Aragorn was obviously not paying attention, and Boromir disgruntled. The person sitting on his right was Legolas…
"What I like about you, Sam," Frodo was saying, "is that you're the best friend a hobbit could ever ask for!"
Sam turned bright pink. "And what I like about you, Mr. Frodo, is—"
"Sam," Merry reminded him gently, "You're supposed to say something to the person on your right. That's me."
Sam turned even pinker. "Right," he said. "Well, what I liked about you, Mr. Merry, is that you're so smart!"
Merry smiled, obviously accepting such a compliment as his due. On his right sat Gandalf, looking completely serene and oblivious to the discomfort of the more macho members of the Fellowship. "What I like about you, Gandalf, is that you always know what to do."
"Thank you, Meriadoc," Gandalf said before turning to face Aragorn. Boromir narrowed his eyes suspiciously, mulling over this comment. Gandalf had been the one to instigate this game…
"What I like about you, Aragorn," said Gandalf to his friend, "Is that you're rogue-ishly good looking, king of the world, and dating the most beautiful Elf maiden of the Age and you don't let any of it go to your head."
Aragorn blushed, smiling. He had apparently begun paying attention in time to receive a compliment. On his right sat Gimli.
"What I like about you, Gimli, is that you're very loyal and determined."
This time everyone smiled, save Boromir who was a bit surprised. That had been a genuinely nice thing to say. Actually, everyone was saying nice things. This was probably the first time they hadn't all been fighting in days… These thoughts were dashed from his mind as he realized with a sinking heart that it was his turn now, and Gimli of all people was to say something about him…
"What I like about you, Boromir," the dwarf began in his guttural voice, "Is that you know what your priorities are and you stick by them."
The circle nodded in agreement. Boromir offered around a weak smile, too stunned to say anything just yet. He had been quite certain that the rest of the Fellowship found him… well… annoying. But no, even Gimli, who had played that awful trick with his water, respected him. And it was all true, what had been said so far. Frodo was very brave for undertaking the task he had. Sam was a good friend, Merry quite intelligent. Gandalf always knew what to do, in any situation. Aragorn treated everyone as equals and Gimli was very loyal and determined.
And it was true about himself, too. He had goals, and he would do whatever it took to accomplish them.
With a very light feeling in his heart, Boromir turned towards the Elf beside him…
And remembered earlier, when he'd purposefully embarrassed Boromir by showing off his Elven skills, and when he'd made that stupid Gimli comment…
"What I like about you, Legolas, is… is…" he floundered a moment before finishing lamely, "is… you have nice hair?"
The Elf seemed a little put out, but flicked his golden locks over his shoulder proudly none-the-less. The hobbits clapped and laughed now that the game was finished. Everyone felt much better.
"What happens now?" Gimli asked, his question directed toward Aragorn who would no doubt announce that the break was officially over. But Pippin answered instead, sounding just plain giddy.
"Now we play again! Everyone switch seats!" There was a minor frenzy as everyone found a new place to sit. Boromir found himself sitting between Pippin and… Legolas. Again.
"What I like about you, Boromir," said Pippin, "is that you're always looking out for others!"
True, the silly game had opened his eyes to how the others accepted him and each other, but just then picking up the journey once more seemed immensely appealing.
Post A/N: I just noticed this: every single one of Pippin's lines ends in an exclamation point. XD That was so not intentional. Leave me some love!