Regret

by Iva1201

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I simply like it – writing my „what ifs." I sincerely hope you still like reading them as well. (-: This one is on LOTR, more precisely its subgenre "Boromir Lives AU." I have seen quite some pieces with this premise, precious few in character, the rest of them sadly very much out of it. But I have never read one where the Fellowship would land at Parth Galen and would not be attacked by the Orcs (at all or as soon as in canon) – while Boromir would still attempt to take the Ring from Frodo. That's said, here I offer my view of such an event. (-:

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I. Frodo

After waiting for what seemed like hours to him in the bushes above Parth Galen and not getting any opportunity to reach the boats unseen and secretly leave on his own, Frodo sighed in resignation and took off the Ring. He would return to the camp, he thought, thankful that Boromir hadn't reached it yet. Frodo was resolved to tell Aragorn and the rest of the Fellowship that he wanted to continue the journey alone. He prayed only that Boromir wouldn't return before he had a chance to leave – he didn't want to battle the much stronger man twice during one day, especially not when he had considered him friend until that very morning.

His distress must have mirrored itself on his face, as Aragorn hurried to him as soon as he appeared on the edge of the clearing and worriedly asked what had happened. Not able to conceal the truth from him, and actually not even willing to try, Frodo blurred out what Boromir had attempted to – and how he himself had fled the man. Hearing the tale, Aragorn closed his eyes and let out a painful sigh. "Oh Boromir," he whispered, "this shouldn't have happened."

Frodo saw how pained Aragorn's face was and suddenly wanted to comfort the man. Hesitantly, he offered: "He was sorry afterwards, I think; I heard him crying it behind me."

"And so he should be," Gimli grumbled from behind. "He was sworn to protect you, lad, not the other way around!"

"So were all of us," Aragorn said softly. "To protect Frodo and to help each other in need."

"Aye. But neither of us has harmed Frodo, Elessar," the fair voice of Legolas added from his place next to Gimli.

"Aye," Aragorn confirmed, looking straight at his Elvin companion. "But then neither of us was as desperate as Boromir lately. I...," the Ranger hesitated, "I fear for him."

The younger Hobbits were nodding eagerly, prepared rather to believe that Boromir was harmed than to see him as the aggressor. Sam, however, had his own opinion and was not afraid to voice it: "Mister Strider, sir, as I see it, nobody forced Mister Boromir to harm Mister Frodo. With all due respect, I think we should not worry about his well-being after what he has done."

"Oh Sam," Aragorn sighed, looking sympathetically at the uncharacteristically enraged Hobbit. "You have never heard Its call yourself, have you?"

When Sam shook his head in a proud denial, Aragorn nodded in understanding. "That explains a lot. I have heard It, Mister Samwise, and let me tell you that be it not for the bad example of my ancestor Isildur, I might have been tempted to reach for It myself. Do not condemn Boromir because he was lacking such warning."

Sam wanted to oppose him, but Frodo spoke first, softly but firmly: "I too have heard It, Sam. I think I understand what Strider is trying to tell us..." Looking at Aragorn, he continued: "Go and find him before something worse happens. This day was unfortunate enough."

"Thank you, Frodo. You are really a remarkable being," Aragorn smiled gratefully. "Where have you last seen him?"

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II. Aragorn

Aragorn found Boromir still on the very same hill where he and Frodo had parted, the great warrior of Men sitting broken on a heap of withered leaves, tears running freely down his cheeks.

"Are you alright, Boromir?" Aragorn asked, approaching the man and laying his hand on Boromir's shaking shoulder in support.

"Has Frodo returned to the camp?" Boromir ignored the question, asking hoarsely himself.

"Yes, he has returned," Aragorn confirmed quietly.

"Then you must know what happened between us. How," Boromir was shaking his head in disbelief, his eyes still avoiding Aragorn's gaze, "can you ask if I am alright? You should be holding your sword in your hand and making me pay for what I have done."

"And yet I ask you the question – and ask you to answer it as well."

Boromir looked up now, for a long while simply staring at Aragorn, not quite understanding. Then he shook his head, desperately trying to stop the tears to start flowing anew. "No, I am not alright, Aragorn. I have broken my vow, I have attempted to harm a person that I was sworn to protect. And that all for a golden trinket that I foolishly went seeking while the call was my brother's! If only Faramir joined the Quest instead of me, he would have been wiser!"

"Perhaps." Aragorn gave Boromir's shoulder a supportive squeeze. "And perhaps this errand was indeed meant for you. You cannot win against the Enemy if you are not wary of his deadliest weapon, Boromir. You now see that the Ring cannot be used and why, I assume?"

"Oh yes, I now see the Ring for what It is." Boromir grimaced in pain, averting his gaze. "But the price was much too high. I cannot live without my honour..."

"...and you don't need to for you have not lost it. Not in my eyes," Aragorn said firmly. "I don't see an unhonourable man sitting here in front of me and crying in despair over what has happened, Boromir. You might have lost some of your pride – but I would deem the piece of wisdom you have required instead a just price."

Boromir was quiet for some time, staring in front of himself. When he looked up again, his face was somewhat calmer. "You and Faramir, you will like each other," the Gondorian said quietly, amazed by the sudden revelation. "This sounds like something my brother would say... He would make a good Steward to you when you become King."

When, not if. Aragorn marveled at the change in the Steward's heir, but perhaps it was not so unexpected – not after Lothrien anyway. He smiled a little. "I think I already have a good candidate for that post. If I come to rule, I wouldn't mind a man on my side who is not afraid to argue with me over what is the best for our country and its people. With all due respect to your brother, I don't see him as someone being able of that."

"No, perhaps not," Boromir murmured in answer. "But he is still much wiser than me and would be able to offer you the best council..."

"...which would be highly appreciated if it comes to that," Aragorn nodded. "Yet now I believe I have a council for you, one that you shouldn't argue against, I think. We will rejoin the others now and I would advise you to speak to Frodo as soon as we return to the camp…"

"No!" Boromir cried horrified, abruptly standing and interrupting his companion's speech. Much softer, his eyes pleading with Aragorn to understand, he added: "I cannot speak to him yet, not so soon after what has happened between us. Please, don't ask it out of me."

Aragorn eyed his friend sadly. "It will harm you both if you wouldn't speak to each other. The longer you hesitate, the deeper the wound would turn and if you leave it that way, it would fester just surely as a wound to flesh. Don't do it to yourself, Boromir, and don't do it to Frodo, I beg you."

Boromir looked ashamed of himself, not answering for some time. "I am not ready to approach him, Aragorn, I cannot look him in the eye. Give me some more time at least," the Man whispered finally, eyes turned away.

Aragorn was silent for a moment, but then he nodded. "Don't take too long. We will be waiting for you." The Ranger moved forward to pat Boromir's arm one last time and turned to leave.

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A/N: One more chapter to come. Thanks for reading. (-: