Ellin saw a bleary shape sitting next to the bank. Boromir heard her coming and raised his head.
"Would you come back?" she asked timidly. "There's a fire in our camp... and I'm a little cold."
That was a lie; although it was a little chillier after sunset, she wasn't cold at all. In the thick darkness she couldn't see his face, and she didn't want to talk to a dark image; she wanted to see his eyes so much. Boromir silently stood up and followed her. A little later, they were sitting in their small camp, next to the fire. The flame gave a reddish glare to the space around them. Boromir was right next to her and if she extended her hand just a little she could touch him, but she dared not. Ellin raised her gaze from the flickering flames and looked at him. They looked at each other for several long moments. She couldn't read the expression in his eyes; it was as if he had raised a wall. She felt fear. Finally, she took a deep breath and found the strength and courage to speak.
"I never wanted to hurt you. The very thought that I hurt you or destroyed something for you is difficult for me." She lowered her head. "Yes, I thought of myself too much, but... I'll try to explain." She raised her eyes towards him again and shook her head, leaning a little forward. "You gave my life a meaning. What was its meaning once? Fighting against orcs because they killed my parents? Revenge? That can be a driver, and only just for a while... but it can't be a meaning. Revenge and hatred leave a very bitter taste... they are evil. And I don't want that. I want to live my life filled with love... with you."
She stopped for a moment, looking for the right words, wondering if there were the right ones which could explain how she felt.
"What is immortality?" she continued sadly, thoughtfully looking into the distance. "Does immortality mean happiness? I do not know... surely many found happiness, but those two don't necessarily mean the same. There are many elves for whom immortality and long years mean only a burden. Yes, I know, you'll say I'm too young to say something like that. But do you know how many elves there are, older than me, who can envy me because in hundreds or thousands of years they didn't find what I did? Do you know how it is when each new day means nothing but sorrow?"
Ellin fell silent. The only sound surrounding them was the crackling of the fire. She looked at him again. Boromir's face was still inscrutable. She nervously clasped her hands in her lap. But she had to continue, to open herself to the last thought and feeling.
"Probably we all wonder what the future brings us, what awaits us; so do I. Sometimes I was afraid, afraid of being alone. All that I ever hoped for was to have a family and live a fulfilled life; that was my wish, and in a way – choice. I didn't see the immortality as a gift, to me it was only important how I'd live. I thought I could use the grace which was given to me: to choose my fate, which is something most cannot. If I ever regretted I was not born as a human, I do now, because everything would be different and no one would suffer..."
She bit her lower lip, feeling discomfort and fear.
"Men perceive the immortality differently than the elves do; they think of it as something very precious and many long for it. On the other hand, to some elves it doesn't mean anything. What would all those long solitary years mean to me? To me, immortality is totally insignificant, it's a mere trifle, compared to the happiness I could have with you, in this lifetime." She took a deep breath and looked in his eyes. "But, I can understand that my choice is a burden for you, and that you don't want to accept it, because I can imagine how you feel. I love you. All I want is to be with you. If my choice is what stands between us, if you say I have separated us that way, then I take it back... because I don't want to live without you. If your wish is that I go on, if that is what I can give you... then I'll do it. Because I don't want to do anything that would hurt you. And I know that my choice would."
Her voice slowly diminished. She looked in front of herself, hardly breathing, waiting for Boromir to speak, and expecting the judgment.
Boromir didn't even blink, but just kept staring at her, as if he hadn't heard what she had said at all. And as the seconds passed, she was more and more convinced that what had happened to them was something irreparable, that everything had been destroyed forever.
"You have tiny golden spots in your eyes..." said he, bemused, just in the moment when she thought to get up and run from the tension surrounding them. "Interesting. That must be the reason why they are so brightly green, because of that combination."
She wasn't able to speak a single word, completely frozen for a moment. What? What spots... what eyes... what is he talking about?
"Do you want to know how I feel right now?" Boromir continued in a gentle voice, still completely unrecognizable. For the first time, ever since she knew him, she couldn't feel what he really thought; he shut himself behind this mildness and complete politeness. His voice and eyes were empty of every emotion. She managed to make just a slight nod, completely aghast.
Boromir slowly stood up, but didn't move towards her. He went to the river and that scared her even more. Now she was sure that everything was over. He stopped close to the bank, and peered into darkness.
Somehow Ellin managed to stand up to and found strength to follow him. A part of her still hoped, although she sank deeper and deeper. She stood in front of him, unable to speak. He stopped her just a step away from him and gently embraced her face with his hands. Without a word. The fire was behind his face; again she couldn't see him, nor his eyes, but only a dark shape in front of her.
But she could feel how his hands trembled while he caressed her face.
"I came back thinking I had lost you, Ellin... never in my life was I so scared of something, never before I thought that I could be so insane, so messed up, so... destroyed."
His voice was still and broken and now she could feel him behind his words... and her eyes filled with tears for him.
"I was too scared to believe you'd say what you did. Yes, I still had just a little bit of hope, but while going back, I was afraid that everything was over and lost... and still I'm trying to understand that you really accepted my request. I'm not quite successful in that, as you can see. I'm a little..." He stopped and took a deep breath, and shook his head. "I'm a little crazy right now. But you can see it anyway."
"The tiny golden spots that I didn't see till now", Boromir whispered several seconds later. "It probably sounds stupid, but that example clearly shows some things that I came to understand now. Events ran too fast to leave me enough time to get know you deeper, there was simply no time for that. That had to come later, by itself. I just loved you", he continued as if talking to himself, even quieter. "There was no time for anything else. No time for memories, for mutual thoughts and habits. That's where I made a mistake and almost ruined us both... because what happened is not your mistake, I see that now, my love; but I couldn't understand it before. I didn't listen to you, I didn't even ask for your opinion or what this all meant for you. I didn't even bother to ask, understand or accept. I just ran away. I almost..."
Boromir's voice broke and he was silent now. He pulled her close to himself and held her, and she could feel him trembling, fighting to regain control over himself and continue talking... but he couldn't say a word any more.
Ellin held him in return, so tight, and the tears flowed down her face. It was only important that he held her, that the future was not lost. She wanted to scream, jump, cry and laugh at the same time.
"Don't apologize", she whispered. All that he said applied to her, too. "Because I didn't ask what my choice would mean for you, either. I am the one who almost ruined us..."
He still didn't speak, he just held her tight, caressing her hair and face. Ellin found his lips and kissed him with more passion than she ever had, and more desperately than in their last kiss in front of the Black Gates, when it seemed that everything would come to end. She gave her whole self in this kiss, she wanted him to feel that she belonged to him with all her being. Finally she felt that he had stopped trembling, and although she couldn't discern in the dark for sure, she knew that smile was back to his face. He lifted her, spinning her through the air.
"I'm going to feel dizzy, my love!" she cheered. Now that she began to realize that everything was ok, she couldn't stop smiling.
Boromir then stopped and looked at her. Now he was turned with his face to the fire. She could see guilt in his eyes.
"I turned my back on you and left. Forgive me."
"There is nothing to forgive, my love..." She gazed at him and sighed. Her face became serious, but still full of tenderness and warmth. She filled in every detail of the beloved face she almost lost... because of her selfishness.
Ellin held him closer and kissed him again. Without a word, Boromir led her to their small tent. Once she was in his arms, she forgot about the whole world. All that mattered were his kisses, her body bursting with flame and desire. Surrendering to a wave of passion that carried them both higher and further, she was thankful that tonight was not the end but the beginning of the life in front of them. The whole world was at hand for them.
Later, while she was resting, with her head lying on his shoulder, she was smiling. They still had much to discover about each other... and it will last a long time; a lifetime, perhaps. No, they'll never be bored. Each day could bring a new surprise. Her smile became wider. Yes, the whole world was at hand.