Disclaimer: I do not own The Lord of the Rings.

A/N: This fic is not my typical fun, only-slightly-deep style fic. It is also written in a different way than my other fics are, so if you have not read any of my other things, don't judge them based on this. This is written in a kindof abstract way, and I only use Boromir's name at thevery end, so just because Ikeep repeating 'he' and 'warrior' doesn'tmeanthat I'm a rotten writer.I got this idea while doing some character study on Boromir. I took most of my ideas from the description of the afterlife from the tale of Beren and Luthien, so if you want to check that out, read The Silmarillion. For all those who read Prophecy, sorry, I just had to write this! I didn't get to kill off Boromir in that one, and I've always wanted to write something like this. Enjoy! And don't forget to review!

The Departure of Boromir

All was pain, pain and determination. How sweet it would be to slip away from such awful pain into the blissful realms beyond... but his will demanded he live, forced him to live... just for a little longer.

Someone was near, their breathing echoed in his ears. Slowly, and with much effort, the fallen warrior slipped his eyes open, to gaze at the beauty of Middle-Earth, one last time. A face was there, above him, eyes filled with tears. Deep pain and grief were dancing across that noble brow...

So much pain, if only that face knew how much pain he had caused. He needed to know... the face needed to know what he had done, what he had almost caused. Lips parted, precious breath blew out, but the words would not form. Oh! If only he could say these words, perhaps a piece at least of his soul might be redeemed. Painful moments passed, and still the words would not come.

"I tried to take the Ring from Frodo," he whispered at last. "I am sorry. I have paid." His eyes shifted from the noble warrior before him to the dark carcasses that marred the fair ground all about him. Indeed he had paid... but others had paid along with him. But they were gone... "They have gone: the Halflings: the Orcs have taken them. I think they are not dead. Orcs bound them." The effects of his efforts was too much to bear; his eyes closed one last time.

"Farewell, Aragorn!" he cried. "Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed."

"No!" the face, the voice, Aragorn said, clasping his hand and kissing him on the bloody brow. "You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!"

He smiled as these last words filtered in through the growing fog. Then the dark swallowed him, and he fled his broken body, adorned with the black-feathered shafts of the Enemy.

All about him, the rough world melted away into a soft, grey light, as the hour before the dawn. He knew where to go, there was no fear of being lost, or wandering astray in these lands, there was but one path for him to follow, and it was smooth and even, paved with the brightest pebbles of the Sea. The warm, clean breeze of the salty Sea breathed over the cliff upon which he stood. All was breathing here with the sigh of departed souls, living in the true meaning of Life.

Why did so many fear death so? he wondered as he meandered down the path. All was fair, all was lovely, why would they ever seek to stay in the tainted world into which they were born? Here was the cradle of Meaning, the home of Understanding, and the essence of Peace. And yet this was just a taste, a hint of what was ahead. He quickened his pace along the ledge above the Sea. This was not the end, not the final destination, one last journey there was to make. Then came true Peace, true Rest, true Joy. Beneath him, the Sea breathed as its waves washed over the shore, the boundary line. Oh! How he longed to sail away, over that crystal sea! A yearning grew in his bosom and it seemed his legs could not carry him fast enough to the Hall before him, from whence all ships departed.

Pearly doors opened before him in silent grace, and he glided in on the breeze.

Was he worthy to stand even here? What of all the wrong he had done? How he wished he could erase those horrid memories that so condemned him!

A peace descended over his mind, and it was as if a voice said to him in quiet tones, 'Be at peace, Son of Gondor, all is well, you have recovered your honor. You have conquered. Be at peace.' And he was at peace.

Many other souls were gathered around in the great Hall before him. Young men stood with swords still held in their hands, many of these he knew, and they came up to him, and greeted him warmly as friends, forgetting that they had died so terribly in battle. He was no longer their Captain, but their brother and comrade only, there was no need for ranks or orders here. Old men gazed about them with a fulfilled air, knowing that their time was long and well spent. Mothers sighed and looked away, back towards the lands of the living, where their children still played. Dwarves drifted about, blowing out deep breaths and chanting of the grandeur of the halls they had left behind. Young children wandered back and forth through the room, seeking nothing, but marveling with their joyous youth at all the wonders they were now immersed in. Elves glided around the others gathered there as they gazed at the stars only they could see and singing and sighing for their loss of the eternal life that was rightfully theirs. These were perhaps the saddest beings of all, for they would never fulfill the lives they were meant to live, or set foot on the white shores of Valinor.

No Dark creatures roamed here, all was good, tinged with the loss of mortal and immortal life and all that was once loved, but good.

A soldier, for so it was easily seen by the march of his step and the solidity of his gate, strode up to the departed soul and smiled warmly in greeting.

"In the life past, we knew each other, did we not?" the soldier-spirit asked.

"Yes," the other answered. "You are from Gondor."

"And you were my Captain," the soldier laughed. "The wonders never cease."

Then the soldier walked away again and spoke with other men of his company that had fallen in battle.

As the first warrior watched the assorted gathering, he observed many souls quietly slipping away through another set of doors on the opposite side of the room. The way to these other doors passed before a gilded chair, upon which sat Mandos, he who watched the way into eternity. Other spirits sat along the walls, in a shadow, dwelling on their thoughts and the life they had lived. It was only after much time was spent in such meditation that they rose and crossed before Mandos to the door to the docks, for this was what the warrior knew it must be.

Silently, he walked to the wall nearest him and sat down carefully on the smooth floor of the great hall.

So much he had done wrong in his life, or could have done better, and much he wished he could simply try over again. But this was the in-between that stood between the life known to Men and the afterlife. There was no going back from this place, only forward. Only two had ever returned from this place to mortal life, and those had been Beren and Luthien, spared by the generous mercy of Mandos, who was moved beyond tears by the beautiful lament of Luthien's song.

He had never met his love. Perhaps he was never meant to, or perhaps no love had been made for him, and fate had been kind. Much he had done wrong, but he hoped that none other suffered for his own iniquities.

Ah, but at least one other would truly suffer, his brother. Long hours had they spent together in childhood and manhood. Now his little brother would face all the evil and darkness of the world alone, without his aid. It grieved him deeply that he would never see his brother's wedding day, and the lovely woman he was sure to marry. He hoped he would be remembered, there was no greater loss than to be utterly forgotten by those one loves.

What would his father do? He would be mourned by at least one other, but not as he would wish it. His father would undoubtedly raise a great cry and lament for his lost son, while smiting the younger all the while, and that was not how the elder would wish it.

Would he be remembered as a hero or a villain? Did he really deserve the honor paid to a hero? Had his friends cared for his remains, or had they left them for the wild beasts, as he truly deserved?

The evil his hands had wrought was totally unbefitting of the Son of the Steward. The Ring had corrupted his mind, nearly utterly. It could have been so much worse; but wasn't what he had already done enough? What would the little Hobbit do now with the One Ring, the single most powerful object in Middle-Earth. Oh, what had he done? Yet here... here his mind was cleansed as if by pure snow of the terrible deed his hands and tongue had committed. All was peace, all was pure, all was right and righteous.

His eyes watered as he looked about the gleaming and ethereal hall that shone about him. What had he done to deserve to so much as step his foot in a place such as this? Many had trusted him, and he had failed them all so awfully.

Deep inside, he felt his spirit was cleansed of what he had so foolishly done, and every other miniature crimes he might have committed in his past. His sins bore on him, true, but he was to pass beyond the realms between, and enter into forever.

The ships called to him from their docks. In his heart he felt his own pulling restlessly against its tether. Oh! How it wished to fly over the foaming waves and race over the mirrored surface of the deepest blue. The Outer Sea was calling for him, whispering at the edges of his mind, toying with the restless edges of his thoughts. And yet... Boromir, Son of the Steward, had learned patience.

He rose from the flawless floor and walked across the expanse between the two doors, passing the gilded chair, where sat Mandos. Upon closer inspection, he could see the Mandos wept from his ageless eyes, he wept for the lives left behind, for the lovers mourning futilely over the graves of their beloved, for the mother who watched from her window for the son that would never return from the war that had pulled him away. He wept for all the injustice of death, of all the wrongs inflicted on the living, and for the pain of parting. As the warrior passed him, Mandos turned his fathomless eyes upon him and said, "Many have you conquered, bravely have you fought, courageous was your heart, and noble was your demise. Pass through the doors and cross the Sea to the future awaiting you." And Boromir passed through the doors.

The ship swayed with his step, and rocked merrily in the waves as it waited for the ropes to be let loose, waiting to fly over the waters to the far shore. And the warrior let it set it free.

The loving caresses of the Outer Sea lapped gently against the prow of the boat as it turned out of the quiet harbor. Before him, stretched the endless blue of the Sea, shifting from aqua to a deep, soulful sapphire as it spread out to the horizon. Love sang in the waves, silently and smoothly. The warrior was filled with the care and peace of all the souls of the world, and it felt to him as if his heart would burst. A wind rose and filled the white sail, and he skimmed along the surface of the deep.

He watched from the prow of his boat as the sun set over the Sea. Blue turned to red, and grief moaned in the air, and the warrior wept for the loss of all those who had died by the sword. Wailing sighs entwined with his and all the Sea cried for the blood that watered the earth.

The sun set, and the stars peeked out above him, herded across the sky by the majestic moon. The warrior slept not, but watched the sky dance with the gleeful lights of the stars, and he saw as the Elves did, he saw the heavens as they were truly made to be seen. And he was joyful.

The warrior sailed all through the night, watching the stars dance, and the moon sing, as he guided his craft across the Sea.

Dawn tinted the world grey, and Boromir felt his heart beat to the rhythm of the waves as they lapped at the rising sun.

And before him the sun's first light shone on a green land.

And so Boromir Son of Denthor, the Steward of Gondor departed from the realms of the living and came at last to the end of his journeys.

A/N: Yes, it was short, even for a short fic. But I dearly hope you enjoyed it! As always, don't forget to review!