Thank you for the feedback, follows, favorites, and the time you took to read this! This is the final chapter of this threeshot, but not the last LotR fic. I currently have an idea for a multichapter floating around in my documents, and I have a parody published.
I am using a few lines from the book, and some of them are slightly changed.
Once again, the Ring's voice is in italics, and Boromir's free thoughts are in ' '-s. The memory is nonbolded and the bold is what is happening as he's dying.
An exemption to the above- under the last bolded heading is not a memory- it's Boromir's death scene. I just thought it'd be stylistically awful to have the last part all bolded.
Starts the night before the events on Amon Hen, and time-skips to right before Boromir follows Frodo. The last section, as I've said, is Boromir's death.
the third arrow hit Boromir like a punch in the gut, and he remembered the night before he fully succumbed to the Ring's power for the last time...
And here we are again, Boromir of Gondor. Here you are, here I am, and you still do not claim me.
Boromir froze in mid-motion, one leg petrified in midair as stopped stepping over a sleeping Peregrin Took. Aragorn looked at him oddly, and Boromir felt as if his soul was being examined. 'The Bearer sleeps, the Ring does not', Boromir thought to himself, his pulse racing. He gave Aragorn a smile, but it felt uncomfortable on his face. Boromir kept pacing around the camp.
I will never sleep until you give in. And neither will you. The man shuddered.
"I shall never give in," Boromir whispered into the night air, his voice hoarse and tinged with weakness, to his own horror. 'No, no, no!' he thought. 'You are not weak!'
Oh, but you have already given in, the ring told Boromir matter-of-a-factly. Have you already forgotten what happened in Moria? The Gondorian's blood turned to ice as he marched through the camp nervously.
"No, I have not..." he murmured, seeing red blood on his hands again. "I never shall forget."
Are you honestly guilty for that? How can you be? This self-proclaimed heir of Isildur only wants me for himself. You should have destroyed him, along with everyone else in your company. They care not of Gondor, or of you! You are only here to protect my Bearer. You are there to be strong for your weak Fellowship.
Sweat trickled down Boromir's face, and he fought the urge to bite his nails again. "They are my friends; I shall not harm them or see them harmed," he said quietly. He wiped off his forehead nervously.
And what have they done for you? The Ring's words cut into Boromir like the sharpest of knives. Nothing. Nothing at all. They are slumbering. Slit their throats! Do you remember how you felt when there was blood on your hands and you were near me? Remember the excitement in the pit of your stomach, the desire to see more of your deeds done?
"Enough!" Boromir hissed, feeling slightly sickened.
It is never enough, Boromir. You must get your revenge on them. They are enemies of Gondor, and therefore enemies of you. They think you are only good for your strength. They whisper about you behind your back and plan to abandon you soon. They hate you. They hate us.
Boromir felt the Ring's poisonous words soak into his mind, and then his rational side felt no more. "We must kill them," he said. "Now." Excitement rushed through his veins. They were enemies and he had to kill them. He would be hailed as a hero in Minas Tirith for slaying the foes.
Draw your sword, Boromir the Mighty!
Dimly realizing he had stopped pacing, Boromir unsheathed his long sword. He gripped the hilt with white knuckles. It was silver, and expensively forged. His eyes went crossed as he stared at the blade, eager to see it bite into someone's neck.
"Boromir!" a voice cried, interrupting Boromir and the Ring. "Sheath your sword at once!" The voice was sharp and commanding. Aragorn. The Ranger strode toward him with his familiar long-legged walk and glared at Boromir, looking straight into his eyes.
Instead of obeying, Boromir slammed the hilt of the sword into Aragorn's gut and knocked him to the ground. "Boromir!" Aragorn's voice betrayed pain. He got up, clutching at his newly-bruised stomach. Swiftly, he knocked the sword out of Boromir's hand. He grabbed the Steward's son by his tunic collar and started dragging him away from the camp. Boromir dug his hands into the ground and tried to stay where he was. In response to that, Aragorn grabbed Boromir and slung the younger man over his shoulder. Aragorn nearly fell under his weight, but kept walking determinedly, though he was stooped over greatly.
What have I told you before, so many times? He treats you like a child, and expects you to bow to him!
"We shall never bow to him!" Boromir heard himself snarl, his clenched hands thunking into Aragorn's thighs as he was carried off. "Never!"
"I said nothing of bowing," Aragorn said, breathing heavily as he carried Boromir right to the edge of the Anduin. "And you are your own man, Boromir. There is no 'we'. Only 'I'." His voice was firm, and though he could go no farther, he held Boromir over his shoulder still.
"We hate you!" Boromir heard his own voice spit. "We hate you!" His fists pummeled at Aragorn's muscled legs. "We... hate..." he murmured. Then his body went limp, and he felt his face flush in hot realization. "Oh, holy Valar..." he said, tears prickling in his eyes. It was a familiar feeling- after the Ring's influence left him, he was always reduced to tears.
"Shall I let you down now?" Aragorn said, yet he had practically dropped Boromir already. The Gondorian was a heavy burden.
"I cannot apologize this time," Boromir said miserably, hating the weakness in his voice. "I must leave. Aragorn, I am too weak to be here. Let me take one of the boats! I cannot even keep watch peacefully without hearing it." His voice shook, and he tried not to weep.
In response, Aragorn knelt to the ground and set Boromir down on the ground next to the Great River. "Hush, Boromir. I will hear no more of that. You are one of the Fellowship. You shall stay with us."
"I am a traitor and a danger to you all," Boromir insisted. In one angry motion, he swiped the tears off his face, ashamed by them. "I sound like that creature you told me of back in Moria! I cannot sleep, I can barely force food into my stomach, and I hear the Ring so often my head aches!"
Aragorn sat down next to Boromir, a concerned look on his face. "Boromir, it is all right to weep. No one is awake. You did not cry out loudly enough to wake them from their deep slumber. No one but you and I."
It was as if a dam broke. Boromir's held-back tears slid down his face, and he choked back a sob. "And the Ring," he said. "It is always awake, it tells me so, and says both it and I will never sleep until I take it..." He pressed his face into his hands, embarrassed by his crying.
"We are far enough from it that it cannot influence you," Aragorn reassured him. "No matter what the Ring tells you, we are your company and your friends. We would not hurt you unless you hurt us." His words were meant to be reassuring, but Boromir only heard the Ring saying the opposite of what he was saying.
"But I did hurt you," Boromir mumbled, nearly all cried out. "I tried to kill you, and for a second time."
The Ranger could find no words to say to that. So he just said, "I shall watch alone. Sleep here. It will be a much more peaceful sleep, I can assure you."
"Aragorn?" Boromir asked as the Ranger got up to leave.
"Yes?" said Isildur's heir.
The other man hesitated, wiping tears off his face. He looked up at his friend. "I would never attempt to hurt you if it were not for the Ring," the son of Denethor told Aragorn. He felt it needed to be said.
"I know, Boromir," Aragorn told him. His voice sounded a bit melancholy, and Boromir felt terrible, knowing he had caused that sadness.
That night, Boromir slept so close to the Anduin his clothes were splashed with water occasionally. And, despite the absence of the Ring's voice, he dreamed of unspeakable evil.
the man toppled over and leaned up against a tall tree, plagued with visions of when he tried to seize the Ring...
Now is the time, Boromir. The Bearer is alone, vulnerable, weak, and you would easily overtake him. For you are strong, you truly deserve to bear me...
'I cannot!' he thought, 'kill a hobbit!' He knew he must not speak aloud, for everyone was awake around him.
You would not even have to hurt him. Just snatch me off the chain on his neck and run.
Boromir ate the words up like poisoned honey, and all his reason left him. 'Then I shall', he thought. 'Now is the time, indeed.' He was anxious to get the Ring, at last it would be his! His fingers itched to feel the cold surface of the Ring of Power.
He took a fleeting glance around. For once, Aragorn was not looking at him. He was talking to the rest of the Fellowship about their possible destination intently. Speaking of Gondor. Boromir felt almost happy for a second. Gondor... how he missed his land...
Go, now! the Ring fairly screamed at him.
And as silently as an owl flying, Boromir got up and walked into the forest.
Frodo's trail was not hard to follow at all, but Boromir was not looking for footprints. He was following the voice of the Ring. It got louder as Boromir got closer to Frodo, and soon the Gondorian found him. He was sitting on crumbling stone stairs, looking eastward. His back was to Boromir, so the man calmly stood there. Perhaps it was the Ring speaking to its Bearer, perhaps it was instinct, but Frodo turned then and saw him.
Boromir forced a broad smile onto his face. It was not hard. He was not smiling for the halfling, after all- he was smiling for the Ring. "I was afraid for you, Frodo," he told the hobbit. Frodo had a wary look on his face. "If Aragorn is right and orcs are near, then none of us should wander alone." He walked closer to Frodo, his fingers still itching.
"My heart is heavy, too, Frodo," he said quietly, sitting down next to the hobbit. "Do you mind if I talk with you, now that I have found you?"
Very good, Boromir! the Ring told him.
"You are kind," said Frodo. There was still that annoying distrust in his voice, Boromir noted. "But I doubt that any speech would help me. I know what I must do, where I ought to go. But I am afraid, Boromir... afraid..."
Boromir saw an opening and took it. The Rauros-falls roared near to the two, but nothing was loud enough to drown out the Ring. "I wish to help you. Will you take my counsel? Surely you will need it."
Frodo looked a bit scared, and he shivered in the cold winter wind. "I know what you will say, Boromir. It would seem like wisdom," he said, "but for the warning in my heart."
Boromir bristled, offended. "Warning? Against what?" he asked. His voice was sharp with anxiety. He could not stand to wait another minute: he wanted the Ring! And he was not in the mood for waiting.
"Against trust in the strength and honesty of men," Frodo said bluntly. Boromir inwardly flinched at the words that felt so obviously directed at him. Ire made his blood curdle and boil.
"We have kept your quiet little country from being overrun with war," Boromir said angrily.
"I know," Frodo said simply. He looked at Boromir in an odd way.
He is suspicious of you! Quickly, now, Boromir! You may never get such a good chance to seize me again!
"But Minas Tirith is not strong enough," Frodo continued. Boromir felt like smacking the hobbit for his insolence. He doubts in Gondor, Boromir... your beloved Gondor! the Ring told him.
"There is still hope we shall not fail," said Boromir in a firm voice, defending his city and the brave men in it. He had a feeling that he would be willing to defend that with his own life.
"There is no hope," Frodo insisted, "as long as the Ring lasts."
Boromir felt a grin creeping onto his face at mention of his Ring... his precious Ring... "The Ring!" he said, and he spoke with excitement. "It is a strange fate that we must suffer so much fear and doubt for so small a thing. Such a small thing!" He shook his head in wonder. "I only got a small glimpse of it during my stay in the House of Elrond. Could I not have a sight of it again?" He wanted to see that smooth, lovely gold...
Do you remember Bilbo's poem? How he said "All that is gold does not glitter"? That is not true, is it? I am gold, and I glitter with a light like you have never before seen.
The man strove to keep his face friendly and kind. He knew that he must appear oddly happy, though. Boromir could not conceal it, for all he tried.
"It is best that the Ring remains hidden," Frodo said. He shivered suddenly as he looked into Boromir's eyes.
"As you wish. I care not," Boromir said. He found himself talking of the enemy, the Ring, and Minas Tirith, saying that the Ring would be of use in Gondor's able hands. His voice spun the evil, stinking straw that the Ring truly was into the loveliest of gold. He spoke that he himself would be a powerful, wise ruler and all would obey and respect him. He paced around Frodo in a circle like a wolf cornering in on its prey. Boromir planned alliances with other lands, the new towers that would be erected in Minas Tirith. All the while, the Ring whispered in his ear, speaking the same words.
He stopped all of a sudden. "And you tell me to cast that aside!" he said with spite. "It is folly! Come to Minas Tirith, hand the Ring over to the house of the Steward! We shall use it well, and destroy Mordor!" One of Boromir's eager hands seized Frodo's shoulder, and Frodo flinched and turned away. "Lend me the Ring! I shall use it for good only, I swear! Lend me the Ring, Frodo!"
Boromir heard his own voice screaming at the halfling, felt himself tackle Frodo to the ground. Felt Frodo dodge him. "You cannot keep me from taking it! I am too strong for you!" he shouted. He still could not see the Ring, but he could hear it and feel it.
Then for one instant, he saw the Ring. Its gold sheen was so wondrously beautiful and entrancing to Boromir's eyes that he stared at it in amazement- but then Frodo put in on and dissapeared. And he knew he had been tricked...
"Curse you!" he howled, stalking around, trying to feel for the hobbit. "Curse you and all halflings to death and darkness!" He was so intent on getting his hands on the miserable trickster -and, if he could, the Ring- that he tripped over a stone and fell flat on his face.
You still can run! Get up... the Ring started.
Then the Ring's voice ceased- its Bearer had gone too far from Boromir for him to be influenced by the Ring's power.
Boromir felt as if he was an insect trapped inside amber. He did not budge from the ground. He felt his hands trembling. All happiness and excitement had left him, and he was truly himself again- a weary traveller with a mind that had just been corrupted.
'You are going to weep', he told himself in his thoughts, as if trying to warn himself.
"No, I am not," Boromir said aloud. He knew he was wrong- the Ring never failed to make him weep after its words were gone from his mind.
But as soon as he spoke, he burst into guilty tears so loud and gut-wrenching he was afraid that he might be sick from them. His fists pounded out a rhythm on the forest floor that was accompanied by the sad music of his weeping. He did not see any blood on his hands, but he knew he must have done something terrible.
"What have I said? What have I done?" he wailed. "Frodo! Frodo, come back! A madness took me, but it has passed. Come back!" Hot tears ran down his face, and he vowed something there and then:
"I shall pay for this. And the only price for what I have done is death, so Valar please allow me to pay for my behavior in that way..."
Boromir heard his own voice, in his mind, vowing that he would pay for his mistakes, and he thanked the Valar for letting him keep his promise...
Boromir heard a voice and slowly forced open his eyes. He felt as if his eyelashes were tied together, making his eyes stay shut. At last he saw who had approached him: Aragorn.
'Aragorn!' he thought. 'I never have said it before, and I doubt I can say it now, but I admire you, and you are more than worthy to be King...'
He struggled to talk. His lungs were on fire, but he said, "I tried to take the Ring from Frodo." That much he recalled. His eyes filled with tears again. "I am sorry. I have paid." 'I have paid for quite a few things. I have paid for when I attempted to kill you in Moria. I have paid for when I stood idle when Father belittled Faramir. I have paid for trying to take the Ring...' he thought, but did not have enough energy to say it. 'And I have paid for it in three arrows'.
"They have gone," he continued, his right hand gripping the hilt of his sword tightly like it might numb the terrible pain he was feeling. "The halfings. Orcs have taken them. I think they are not dead. Orcs bound them."
Eyelashes tangled together again, and he shut his eyes as a burst of pain went through him. He struggled not to cry out or weep. "Farewell, Aragorn!" he said, opening his eyes. "Go to Minas Tirith and save my people. I have failed." He thought of his city, of Gondor, of Faramir, of Denethor, of the Fellowship, of the terrible Ring and its alluring voice... and a tear trickled down his cheek.
"No!" Aragorn said firmly. He took Boromir's unoccupied left hand in his own and held it tightly. He leaned over the Gondorian and placed a tender, brotherly kiss on his brow. Boromir felt Aragorn's sweat and blood trickle onto his forehead, but he did not care. "You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall." Aragorn's face was earnest.
Boromir saw it then: his lovely White City, fair and splendid, not clouded by the Shadow of Mordor.
But he did not see anything more of his surroundings. He heard the Rauros-falls and felt one of Aragorn's tears land on his face. Boromir smelled his own blood. But he only saw the wonder of Minas Tirith, Aragorn forgiving him for his losses of control, Faramir forgiving him for his selfishness, the White Tower in its full glory... For he knew he had paid for each incident with an arrow, and now he was redeemed.
And for the last time in his short life, Boromir of Gondor smiled.