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by Victoria P.

     Subject: [glass_onion] Fic: (LotR) Absolution: 1/1
     Date: Wednesday, August 21, 2002 4:48 PM
     Title: Absolution
     Author: Victoria P. []
     Summary: "He's trying desperately to be the son his 
     father wants, the hero his people need."
     Rating: G
     Disclaimer: All LotR characters belong to er, lots of 
     people who aren't me, starting with JRRT and his estate, 
     New Line Cinema, etc.; this piece of fan-written fiction 
     intends no infringement on any copyrights.
     Archive: Lists, Muse's Fool
     Feedback: Oh yes, precious, we likes feedback.
     Notes: Thanks to Jen, Melissa-n-Pete, Dot, and Meg. And 
     also to Gail and Match, who took me on sight unseen and 
     whipped me into shape. g 
     This is my first, and likely only, LotR fic. But it 
     grabbed hold of me as I was watching the DVD. All 
     dialogue is taken directly from the movie.
     Started: August 6, 2002
     Finished: August 21, 2002


It preys on his mind. Since the day Frodo first set it upon the table at Rivendell, he has thought of little else in the few spare moments he has.

He rescued it from the snows of Caradhras, felt its weight dangling on the chain the Halfling wears about his neck. He carried Frodo as well, caught him on the steps as Moria crumbled around them.

It appears to be an unadorned band of gold, nothing more, and yet the weight of the world rests upon it, upon him and the others. He is willing, even eager, to bear that weight, but they won't let him.

It haunts his dreams, its venom leaching slowly into his mind and heart. A dream set his feet upon this path, and dreams lead him astray.

He dreams of its power -- his power, his glory.

His birthright.

And yet they keep it from him.

First Gandalf, then Elrond, and the Elves.

He knows that they think little of the race of Men, blaming Isildur for doing the sensible thing and keeping the Ring to fight his enemies. He sees them counsel with Aragorn, a Man who has turned his back on Gondor, who has abandoned everything for which Boromir would fight to the death, and yet he could claim it if he wished. Claim the throne of Gondor, which Boromir secretly believes should be his father's, and his after him.

He watches as they defer to the Halfling, who knows nothing of the White City and the peril his people face, and anger rises in him.

He is a son of Gondor, and his city is on the brink of destruction. They can save it with the power of the Ring, and they will not.

He has heard the stories -- every boy in Gondor grows to manhood hearing of Elendil and Isildur's battle with the hordes of Mordor; how Sauron himself came out to fight, and leveled whole companies of warriors with the might of his sword and the Ring.

He believes that if they let him take up the Ring himself -- or even have Aragorn or Gandalf do so -- he could save his city, his people.

It's such a small thing to ask in the grand scheme of life. He would hand it back to be destroyed once Gondor was safe.

It's been so long since they've had any hope at all in Gondor, that to see it dangled before his eyes and then snatched away by these cowards posing as wise men, seems almost as great an evil as the one against which they fight.

He's trying desperately to be the son his father wants, the hero his people need, and he is thwarted at every turn. In the moments before sleep each night, he ranks his place in the hierarchy of the Company, comparing himself to the others and always, always coming up short.

He is not Isildur's Heir.

He is not the Ringbearer.

He is not worthy, a voice inside his head whispers, sounding remarkably like his father.

He was chosen for the journey to Rivendell, but his place in the Fellowship of the Ring is almost incidental. He would have had to go home regardless, and better this way, with at least a chance of convincing them to go West to Minas Tirith before they destroy the Ring utterly. Had he returned home alone, with nothing, he wouldn't be worthy even of calling himself the Heir to the Steward of Gondor.

Not worthy.

The words sting, as such half-truths carried on from childhood always do, especially for one so proud as he.

He was always his father's favorite, but there were times when even that was not enough, and that is what he's reminded of now, as the others disregard him in favor of Aragorn or Gandalf, or, even worse, the Halfling.

'But with the Ring you would be worthy,' promises the voice in the back of his mind. It still sounds like his father, which makes it all the more difficult to resist.

The thought gnaws at him as he submits gracelessly to Gandalf's leadership. He feels true grief when the wizard is lost in Moria. He isn't heartless, after all, and Gandalf's guidance was their best hope for getting to Mount Doom safely. But part of him -- in the subterranean vaults of his soul -- knows that there is one less obstacle between him and his goal.

He speaks the truth when he tells Aragorn he cannot rest in Lorien. Thoughts of his father, his people, and always -- always -- the Ring, circle like ravening wolves in his mind. What he could do with it upon his return to Minas Tirith. The sound of silver trumpets welcoming him home. The acclaim of his people and the honor of history would be his. Instead of Isildur, Men would speak of Boromir of Gondor, and his triumph over the fell hordes of Minas Morgul. His father's pleasure and blessing.

All that and more would be his.

The Ring speaks to him -- knows his darkest desires and how to grant them.

He knows Galadriel has seen his heart, and he's afraid. Afraid of what she saw, of what he feels. Of what will happen if he gives into the demons lurking in his heart and in his mind.

He is strong, but stronger men than he have succumbed. He can admit that to himself with a candor he rarely indulges in. He has become an expert at lying to himself, at telling himself he doesn't want it, doesn't need it, cannot have it.

The path of sanity, of honor, narrows with every step they take toward Mordor, and self-deception is the only thing keeping him on it. He vows he will not stray, and every day is a test of his will. But the closer they get to the split in the road, the stronger he believes he's becoming.

Until he finds Frodo alone at Amon Hen.

A fever clouds his mind, and he can no longer tell the difference between waking and dreaming. His dreams are there for the taking, and he uses what guile he possesses to try and convince Frodo to give him the Ring, or, failing that, come to the White City himself and be hailed as a hero, a savior.

He threatens the Halfling, and Frodo vanishes at his harsh words, disappears from sight like a wraith. He's no longer sure what's real and what isn't. He turns, searching for Frodo, and stumbles to the ground. A few moments elapse as he lies there, and the shadow passes from his mind.

"What have I done?" he cries, distraught that he -- the best Gondor has to offer -- has failed, and worse, doomed Gondor to ruin.

And then he sees them -- Merry and Pippin -- being chased by orcs the likes of which he's never before encountered.

He blows the horn of Gondor, summoning aid, and then draws his sword. He fights like a madman, letting rage and anguish guide his movements, felling his enemies, protecting his friends.

That is his mission now, his only chance of redemption. The first arrow strikes him in the chest. He continues to fight with fury. The fate of the world rests on the strength of his arm and his ability to keep Frodo safe from the orcs. From the others. From himself.

He goes down again, stinging pain and blood loss making him dizzy, and still he rises. His pride is no longer the first of his concerns -- the Halflings are more important than even his father's blessings.

He falls and is preparing himself for the end when Aragorn leaps from the trees and defeats the orc captain, beheading him in a spray of blood and gore.

Speech is hard, but he manages. He is strong enough for that. "They took the little ones."

"Hold still," Aragorn says, kneeling before him and pushing the lank, sweaty hair off his forehead. "Shh."

"Frodo? Where is Frodo?"

"I have let Frodo go."

"Then you have done what I could not." He feels shame burning in him, more painful than even the wounds that are killing him, but he needs to confess, to gather what's left of his honor around him like a tattered cloak before the better man. "I tried to take the Ring from him."

"The Ring is beyond our reach now."

He reaches up and grasps Aragorn's shoulder as tightly as he can. "Forgive me. I did not see it. I have failed you all."

"No, Boromir. You fought bravely. You have kept your honor."

He is not worthy of Aragorn's kind words. His pride, his belief in his own worth has led to this, his downfall. And he knows now that their Quest is more important than his honor, or even his city. Had he been more worried about Middle-Earth, instead of his own glory, he might have realized that sooner.

Aragorn's hands move over his chest, seeking to remove the arrows and staunch the flow of blood.

"Leave it," he manages. He knows he is dying. "It is over. The world of Men will fall, and all will come to darkness, and my city to ruin." He grabs his hand in supplication, the taste of blood bitter in his mouth.

Aragorn looks at him, his eyes shadowed with pain and sadness, yet the promise of great wisdom resides in them, too. "I do not know what strength is in my blood, but I swear to you, I will not let the White City fall, our people fail."

"Our people?" he asks, and a ray of hope, so long banished from his sight, appears. Aragorn nods, and Boromir knows he is a man of his word. "Our people," he says again, sighing in relief. The king will return to Gondor, and his city shall not fall.

He makes the smallest of gestures with his hand, using up what's left of his strength. Aragorn is a warrior; he understands. Aragorn places the sword in his hand, and he brings it to his chest in a silent, heartfelt salute.

"I would have followed you, my brother. My captain. My king."

"Be at peace, son of Gondor," his king whispers, and the light fades.



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