written for a 2009 LotR Trick or Treat fic exchange.
Boromir looked at the man, the man who would be king, he
thought bitterly, and wondered at the way these Elves seemed to revere
him. The way they protected him. None of it made any sense. He hadn't
been speaking out of spite when he said Gondor needed no king. They'd
managed without one for so long, and the idea that these Elves were
convinced that Aragorn was his rightful leader seemed preposterous to
What right did a man who'd hidden away all these years have to such a
claim? What right did Aragorn have to Gondor, when he'd been nowhere to
be found while Boromir, Faramir and the other proud men who weren't
afraid to show themselves and even die in service to Gondor had been
the ones sweating and bleeding to protect her?
Aragorn had no right, as far as he could see. The man's bloodline,
despite what this officious and stern gaggle of Elves might think, had
little bearing on the whole issue. Blood was important to Boromir,
perhaps more important than anything else, but no matter whose blood
ran through your veins, if you stayed far away when you were needed the
most, it mattered little.
Boromir would be Steward one day, and he liked to think that having the
meaning of that position threatened by Aragorn was not what made him
feel so ungenerous toward the man. But he knew that was at least part
of it. He'd been the one there fighting for Gondor, struggling,
sacrificing. He deserved it. And if something should happen to him, or
if he should be forced to be absent from his home for any length of
time, Faramir would make a fine Steward in his stead. In fact, Boromir
knew that the order of their birth was the only thing that qualified
him as Steward more than Faramir. His brother was far more well-suited
for the position.
Which of them held the official title was inconsequential to Boromir.
With him as Steward, Faramir would play just as big a hand in ruling
Gondor. And he knew if the reverse were true, he would be his brother's
partner in leadership, as well. The two of them, together, made up a
force that he dared anyone to challenge. They balanced each other in a
way that he would not have thought possible, had he not been a part of
it. Where he was rash, Faramir exercised caution. Where he was
arrogant, Faramir was humble. Where Faramir adopted too optimistic a
view, Boromir could make him see the darker reality. And when Faramir's
confidence weakened, Boromir's certainty shored him up.
They were two halves of what Boromir thought would be the greatest
leadership Gondor had ever known. No king necessary.
The Ring wanted Boromir. Boromir wanted the Ring. Aragorn didn't know
which had come first, nor did he think it mattered. One desire would
feed the other until even Boromir didn't know which came first. Aragorn
exchanged a look with the wizard, relieved that Gandalf had apparently
noticed the pull within Boromir, too. And at the same time Aragorn
wished Gandalf hadn't noticed, because then it could be more likely
that he was simply wrong.
To Aragorn, Boromir was a puzzle. And understanding him had become a
pleasant distraction, unfortunately when he could barely afford such a
thing. Boromir was a proud man. Anyone in his presence for more than a
few moments knew this with certainty. But it wasn't a false or foolish
pride, either. And he had as much if not more pride in Gondor and in
his brother than in himself. He seemed rash at times in his speech,
perhaps even reckless. But he'd known enough to point out that they
could not just walk into Mordor--he was a strategist, and a soldier,
son, brother. And now, whatever he was to Aragorn.
Aragorn's introduction to Boromir had not been a promising one, and
anticipation of that level of animosity between them made him cherish
the coming months even less. Wasn't it bad enough that he felt like he
was fighting the world, a past that did not belong to him, and a future
that he wasn't sure should be his either? Wasn't it bad enough that he
struggled with all that and more within himself that surely he should
be spared fighting with this man, too?
Soon into their journey, Aragorn had been pleasantly surprised with how
well they managed in each other's company. He liked the man. And
despite his earlier impressions of him, found him more admirable with
each passing hour. As an adversary, he was formidable. He was kind to
the Hobbits. He spoke about his brother, Faramir, with such obvious
love. And his pride was there like a shining jewel in a crown. All of
it combined made Aragorn not just like him, but desire him. This was
fueled by the sense that Boromir desired him in return, a sense that he
hoped was not born in his imagination.
But Boromir's desire was tinged with something else. Aragorn did not
have the word for it yet. Discovering what it would be, that was part
of the distraction, and part of Boromir's appeal.
"No one can wield the Ring," Aragorn said, for at least the third time.
He was sitting on the ground, leaned back against a tree, pipe in hand.
Boromir sat next to him, his posture much less relaxed, and had turned
his body to face him. He held his hand up, palm out and squeezed his
eyes shut. Stop.
"I only say it again because you're not listening."
"I am listening," Boromir said. "But you keep saying that, without
answering my question."
"I have answered--"
"How do you know?" he asked again. "Everyone who dares breathe one word
about the Ring points out how no one can use its power without being
corrupted. How no one can wield it. But how do you know? No one
who has tried has been able to do so. Does that mean that no
one exists who is capable of it? Someone with pure motives, Aragorn--"
"No! That's the biggest flaw in your argument." He sat straight and
tried not to become angry at the man's stubbornness. "Someone with
absolutely pure motives would not want the Ring in the first place. How
can something so vile be used for pure motives?"
Boromir's voice was calm, but Aragorn sensed he was struggling to keep
it so. "Weapons kill. They can kill for vile purposes, and they can be
used to defend, to save lives. Fire--fire is a deadly force that also
clears a path and purifies."
Aragorn almost smiled at the clever argument. Had their argument been
about anything else, he would have. How different this was than
debating with Legolas, who came at every argument from a position of
power and knowledge, with no doubt about which of them was right. Even
as Boromir gave these examples, Aragorn could sense that he wasn't
speaking with complete surety. He wanted Aragorn's agreement, his
He couldn't give it. "Fire. If you want to empty a room, you can remove
everything piece by piece. Or you can light a flame in the center of it
thinking that you'll burn it away, but you'll stop it before it
destroys everything else. Once the single flame becomes a fire,
Boromir, only a fool would think he could wield it according to his
will, no matter how pure his motives might be."
He saw Boromir's back straighten and braced himself for a flash of
anger, but instead they were distracted by a sudden shout from the
campsite, not far away. Aragorn thought they were being attacked until
he realized it was Gimli, shouting once about fire, and then much more
loudly about Elves, followed by Legolas' voice, a little louder than
normal but far from a shout, obviously trying to appease the angered
Dwarf. It soon became clear that a spark had popped from their campfire
and landed in Gimli's beard, and Gimli wasn't at all satisfied with the
manner in which Legolas tried to help extinguish it.
Boromir's eyes were on the ground at a spot not far in front of them
when Aragorn looked at him again. "I did not intend to sound as if your
motives were corrupt, or as if I thought you a fool."
"I know this."
Aragorn continued looking at him, still unsure if he'd offended the
man. Finally, Boromir turned his head and gave him a half smile.
"I took no offense, Aragorn, because my only motives are to protect
Gondor and her people. And I know I am no fool. I would have a supply
of water ready at hand before I even thought about setting a spark."
His half-smile became a full one, and Aragorn returned it.
The smile continued with no words passed between them. They both looked
away at the same time, just as Aragorn started to feel that the moment
could grow awkward, even though it had not yet. "No, you are no fool.
But you are easily the most stubborn man I know."
Boromir laughed softly at that. "Besides yourself? The most stubborn
man, perhaps, but there's a stubborn Elf and Dwarf battling it out
right now that I'm not sure either of us could best on that matter. And
the Hobbits, they're stubborn. If small." His laugh returned.
"That they are."
"And dangerous with a sword. This I know from experience."
They spoke for a while in a similar way about the Hobbits and Gandalf
and how Aragorn had rarely ever seen Legolas need two shots to hit
anything, so he was amazed that the Elf had thought it necessary to
douse Gimli three times. They had to quiet their laughter after
Gimli's shouted observation of the same sentiment and the, "It appeared
to be smoldering," Legolas offered quickly in defense. Once that moment
passed, they made little observations and spoke of other humorous
moments they'd shared, avoiding all discussion of the Ring.
Whatever they were saying was secondary to the communication going on
between them in other ways, Aragorn knew. He was more aware of the pace
of his heartbeat than he had been in some time. He was excited, but not
just physically. Everything about Boromir triggered a response in him
that he didn't yet fully understand. The word he sought, the word that
fit Boromir's regard of him, it still would not come. Whatever it was,
it made him feel more alive and in the moment, more real than
he thought he ever had.
He touched the pendant that lay against his chest. Arwen would not have
begrudged him this feeling, would she? Was it wrong to want to grasp at
whatever it was that quickened his pulse and made him so utterly aware
of his entire body, as well as his mind? He kept asking himself these
questions, and answering no. But he did not act.
When they could, they managed these quiet moments alone, talking about
everything and nothing. For a few days, they hadn’t spoken of the Ring
at all. But Boromir longed to make Aragorn see his point because he
sincerely felt he was right, and that everyone else saw the thing
through a veil of fear and dread that colored their perceptions.
Aragorn had so far told him nothing to convince him otherwise.
As they sat, Boromir watched Aragorn for a while, concentrating on the
way his lips wrapped around the pipe and then parted as he exhaled
curls of smoke. He swallowed hard, but did not hide his fascination.
Aragorn had been the object first of his resentment, then his anger,
and now his desire. He briefly wondered what more Aragorn could be to
him, if he allowed it. And what he could be to Aragorn.
King's consort, he thought, the bitterness this time
surprising him. He still believed as he had about Gondor and her rule,
she needed no supposed king, but he had softened toward the man
himself. Though, even as he sat here watching smoke spiral around
Aragorn's head, wanting to taste the heat of it on his lips, something
inside him, the soldier, he guessed, perhaps the loyal son,
figuratively tapped him on the shoulder and whispered the Ring into
And getting the Ring meant convincing Aragorn of the wisdom of using it
to protect Gondor and defeat the darkness spreading across the land. He
would convince him, as that appeared to be the only way of laying claim
to the thing and accomplishing his mission. And pleasing his father.
He thought back on his father, telling him to bring it to him. And not
for the first time he wondered if that was wise. He had been acting . .
. differently. And he was more cold and cruel with Faramir than ever
before. Could a man who treated his own son with such disdain wield the
power of the Ring, when so many others had failed? Perhaps not,
he thought, with some guilt. But if he could take the Ring to Gondor,
he would not have to give it to his father.
He and Faramir could share it and use it to protect Gondor, to exalt
her. His father could still enjoy the glory of it, but without the risk
that he would be too weak and too cruel to master it.
A quiet voice asked him if it were possible that Aragorn was right,
that no one could do so. That convincing Aragorn to give him the Ring
or to even carry the Ring himself to Gondor could be the ruin of them
all. His breath hitched when he realized the soft voice was Faramir's,
explaining what he knew to Boromir like he had so many times in the
past . . . .
"You shouldn't be here," Faramir said, his adolescent voice wavering
between the timbre of a boy and a man, as it had for the past two
months. "You know I'm being punished. You'll get caught! And then I'll
get in trouble for it."
Boromir laughed at the sound of Faramir's voice, at the way it broke as
he raised his voice. He pushed all his weight against the door that
Faramir held fast from the other side, forcing the shorter, slighter
boy back and making his way into the room. "Don't worry, Father had too
much wine at dinner. He's not going to catch us." He grabbed Faramir
and wrapped his arm around his neck, then held up the cask of wine he'd
brought. "Perhaps it will soothe your throat and you'll sound less like
Faramir had pushed him away, though he laughed, and Boromir said,
"Don't feel too badly for yourself. My voice sounded even worse than
yours, I swear, for almost half a year!"
As they sat on Faramir's bed, drinking wine which tasted sweeter than
anything Boromir could remember both because he was not supposed to do
it and because he shared it with Faramir, they spoke of the things that
had been going on that had their father drinking more than his share.
Conspiracies, Denethor had said, conspiracies against him and the whole
of Minas Tirith. He was being forced to rewrite law and disrupt the
city's operation all over some shopkeepers and merchants who had banded
together to be able to sell their goods at a higher price, without one
of them undercutting the others. Denethor had not been pleased.
"Thieves," Boromir said, refilling his and Faramir's cups. "Thieves and
conspirators. Do they not understand that by doing such a thing they
threaten to ruin those in the city who cannot afford their prices?
Things like this must be crushed before they spread, like a disease."
He downed the contents of his cup as if angry at it.
Faramir did not speak for a moment, but sipped at his wine and then
said, "Where is Boromir? Where has my brother gone?"
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm just wondering where my brother disappeared to, for a moment,
because I could only hear my father's voice."
Boromir's nostrils flared. "But he's right!"
"Whether he's right or not is beside the point. You do not truly know
that he is right. You're only speaking his words because you think that
is the right thing to do. You do not have to agree with him, Boromir,
or parrot him. You are your own man."
Boromir looked down into his cup and swirled it, only then realizing it
Faramir spoke without a hint of condescension. "The merchants in
question do not even sell goods to the poorest in Minas Tirith. They
all supply goods for the government, for Father . . . for those who
have the most yet are accustomed to paying virtually nothing for the
labors of others. The merchants have been forced to sell at unfair
prices for some time, and are merely trying to get a fairer wage and
rate of trade. Should that be crushed?"
Boromir looked at him with amazement, not for the first time. And not
for the first time he wondered how it was possible for a boy/man of
only thirteen years to sound and feel like so much more. He
almost asked Faramir how he knew all this, when clearly it wasn't
something his father had told him. But he'd asked such questions before
and knew he'd get the same answer. Faramir stayed quiet and listened
where others only wanted to be heard.
Much of what Faramir knew about the operations of Minas Tirith he'd
learned in such a way. What Boromir knew, he'd been taught by tutors
and Denethor. And long ago, he'd decided that he'd simply distill the
knowledge Faramir passed on to him, because Boromir, as hard as he
tried, did not like remaining quiet in a din of voices. His urge was
usually to join them, and then become the one that quieted them all. A
skill Denethor told him he possessed more than any other man he knew,
and that he should not waste--leadership.
He grinned at Faramir, and shoved his shoulder gently. "You are
your own man, Faramir." I cannot afford to be. Not for the
first time, he wished one day he could, and that Faramir could hold
more favor in their father's eyes so that it would be possible. But he
regretted the wish immediately, as always. He would not wish that on
Faramir, even though he knew Faramir longed for his father's love. He
merely told the boy that Denethor did love him, and that he didn’t know
how to express it to him, perhaps because of their mother's death. In
truth, Boromir did not know how his father felt.
He wanted to tell Faramir the truth. Perhaps he does not treat you
well, perhaps he is cold toward you. Do not wish for the opposite. Be
grateful . . . . But he knew, though it was true, it would be
cruel to say it. To tell him that Denethor's love and admiration was
too heavy for his shoulders, because Boromir could barely stand beneath
the weight of it. To tell him that even though he had not flourished in
the coldness of their father's regard, he should be glad that it left
him free to grow beneath a softer light than the one shone on Boromir.
Boromir dropped his voice an octave. "My own man," he said slowly. "Say
it just like that." Another soft shove.
Faramir laughed and tried, his voice breaking, causing his cheeks to
flame and sending them both into a fit of laughter.
Boromir was smiling when Aragorn's voice finally broke into his
reverie. He blinked a few times, and for a moment could have wept at
how desperately he wanted to go back into that memory and just stay
there, do things differently. Do them right.
. . . the Ring . . . .
It was his father's voice, and not his father's voice, and he shook his
head slightly. "Daydreaming."
"You were far away, I could see that," Aragorn said.
. . . tell him . . . the Ring . . . .
He nodded. "Very far."
Do you want it for Father . . . or yourself? Whose quest is
He blinked a few times, straightened his back. I don't know, he
admitted to himself. And he wanted Faramir right there beside him to
once again explain the way things really were. Thinking of his brother
let him finally push the voice and thoughts of the Ring aside. And he
decided that right now, in this very moment, he would follow his own
quest, this one time. He whispered to Faramir in his mind I am my
own man . . . because of you, and then he stood, holding his hand
out for a bewildered looking Aragorn.
"Walk with me?" he offered.
Aragorn, surprised, took the man's hand, wondering what it was he'd
been thinking about that had given him such a look of joy, and then
such sorrow once pulled away from it. He would ask, but felt it was
something not to be intruded upon. And besides, he was too intent on
what was happening now.
When Boromir had helped pull him to his feet, he did not release
Aragorn's hand and Aragorn did not pull his away. They didn't go far,
but enough to offer privacy. When they stopped, Boromir put a hand on
Aragorn's shoulder, cupped the front of his breeches with the other. As
Boromir moved closer with a strangely stern look on his face, Aragorn
forced himself to look into the man's eyes and to not try to push
Boromir's hand away--a hand that was demanding. More than that. Just
make a point, perhaps, Aragorn thought.
"You don't come at anything sideways, do you?" Aragorn breathed. "You
charge ahead, rush forward, straight as one of Legolas' arrows, and
obstacles be dam--"
Boromir's tongue pressed into his mouth then, and he welcomed it. He
felt a measure of relief at being in a better position now to protect
Boromir from the Ring, to help him fight its influence. If Boromir
trusted him enough for this, or if any small trust grew out of this
act, then he knew he could help the man resist its call.
Though he didn't fight the hand or the kiss, they both hardened as if
he had been resisting them. Boromir was taking, taking as if it might
not be completely given, though it was. And the word finally came to
Aragorn, the word describing Boromir's regard of him, and the thing
that kept coming between them while drawing them back together.
The more forceful Boromir's kiss became, the more Aragorn relaxed and
accepted it. The harder the hand gripped him, the more he pressed
against it. Soon the hand was replaced with Boromir's stiffness pressed
against his own. The man's hands moved down his sides and flanks, and
with the agility of a well-trained soldier, Boromir soon had Aragorn on
his back on the ground. He knelt above him, panting hard, and pulled at
Aragorn's clothing to bare him.
When gentle hands touched Aragorn's hips to roll him over, he resisted
and grabbed Boromir's forearms, because he sensed it was necessary,
some measure of struggle between them. Boromir's hands roamed over him,
squeezing and kneading, until finally they went back to his hips,
turning him in a way that left room for no resistance.
Aragorn rose up onto his knees, offering himself, and even without
looking he could feel Boromir's hesitation. Then spit, not enough to
make this easy, and a hand firm on his hip. He groaned a little too
loudly when Boromir pushed inside him and had to bite his lip. And then
Boromir rode him, the fast, hard strokes in the beginning giving way to
something slower within just a minute or two, and then he was ridden
hard again, his thigh muscles aching with the strain of keeping him up
on his knees as Boromir took him.
He pushed back, fucked back, as much as he could, but he never
challenged Boromir's control. He knew the man didn't intend to hurt
him; this wasn't really about pain. It was about challenge. And
desire. He knew there would always be desire between them. More even
after this, than before.
He let Boromir take whatever he needed, or whatever Boromir expected
him to surrender, had pleasure thrust upon him and pulled from him and
coaxed from him and accepted from him, and the lines blurred between
Boromir lay over Aragorn's back, panting hard, shaken not just by the
pleasure but by . . . what, exactly? He hadn't expected this.
Or had he? Had he at least hoped for this? Maybe. But hadn't expected
to be met with anything but a rivalry for every touch, every thrust.
He'd expected a volley of moves and gestures between them, swordplay, a
challenge. But Aragorn had let him touch, take . . . .
Aragorn had let him. It hit him like a warm wave. He went under
at first, because it was sudden, but soon righted himself and broke for
air. Aragorn had let him take, and he was still Aragorn, still the
Elves' Hope, still . . . the heir to Gondor's throne.
This man had just submitted to him, given, allowed, and by
submitting showed how strong he truly was. Leadership, his father had
said, you must show others that you can be a leader, that you can rule
over them with a firm hand, and close the crushing fist when
necessary--and it will be necessary. It's simply how things must be.
He heard Faramir's voice again. Father does not always tell the
whole truth, Boromir. But in matters concerning him, you do not see
clearly . . . .
You must go, his father had said. Bring me back this
mighty gift . . . .
Boromir blinked, batted away the tear on his cheek, and thought he
could see clearly now, perhaps for the first time. He moved off
Aragorn's back, helped him right his clothes, and then with fresh eyes
he dared to really look at the man. A man most likely wiser than his
father, with more nobility in his rough ranger's garments and unshaven
face than his father had in all his robes and fineries. A man stronger
than his father--stronger because he could allow without
becoming weak. Give, without losing himself.
No one can wield the Ring . . . .
But what of a strong man . . . one who understands the danger and power
of its corruption? One who clearly does not even know the full extent
of what he can do.
A voice, and not a voice: . . . the Ring . . .
But with Boromir behind him, and beside him, Aragorn would discover all
he was capable of. Boromir and this man and Faramir would see the White
Tree bloom again. He kissed Aragorn then, perhaps more softly than he'd
ever kissed anyone's mouth, as softly as he'd kissed Faramir's forehead
when he'd found him asleep. He only needed to convince . . .
. . . the Ring . . . .
. . . . to convince Aragorn of his own power, his own wisdom, his own
ability to succeed where others have failed. He may have to confront
him with the opportunity, challenge him, just as he'd done moments ago.
But he knew he could, he'd take it if need to be, convince him with
action. And then, if Aragorn could see it all as clearly as he did
right now, Boromir knew that Gondor could be saved. Saved by her sons,
and her King.