Memento

by Sasjah Miller

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"The garrison sleeps in the citadel
With the ghosts and the ancient stones
High upon the parapet
A Scottish piper stands alone
And high on the wind
The highland drums begin to roll
And something from the past just comes
And stares into my soul."

Mark Knopfler - "What it is"

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This he remembered as he lay next to Arwen in their cold wide bed, while she dreamt unseeing of lands forever beyond her reach, in the misty grey hours before dawn.

That the blood on Boromir's tunic stained the fabric into a shade of red he would never forget. That the shape of the warrior's body was utterly wrong, as he lay slumped ungracefully against the tree. That Boromir whispered hoarse, pain-filled words to him and that they drowned out the moaning of the dying Orcs that lay around them.

That it did not rain just then, and that the winter sun filtered through the tree tops, casting a sudden ray of light on Boromir's face. That the blood of them both mingled on Aragorn's lips and that it tasted like his tears, like the sea that had salted his lips when he raided the Corsair ships so long ago, his sword singing and bloody.

That Legolas came running, but did not draw near, giving them for the last time the silent space they had never been able to fill with anything other than high-strung words of honour and bloodlines. Meaningless. It had all been meaningless, even if Boromir's death had been the pivotal point of their journey, breaking up their Fellowship and ensuring that each of them were in the right place at the right time.

"Out of something bad, something good may come."

She was wise, his wife, perceptive and understanding. And he hated her for that. For she was not the one who had stood beside him in Moria, witnessing Gandalf's fall and screaming his name, taking the lead and rescuing them all from certain death. He hated her for not dying in a mossy glade in his shaking arms, the bloody broken sword between them, burning blood and cold steel separating them forever. As it had done during their short time together.

For being here.

***

This the High King of Gondor remembered when he stood on the White Tower of Ecthelion in the evening, watching the sun set over blood-red mountains and the western sea, where maybe now he drifted forever in a little grey boat, alone, with nothing to accompany him but the weapons of his vanquished foes.

That Boromir had accepted him as his king in the end, thrusting the fate of his people into a ranger's hands, entrusting him with the lives of the White City. That the Man had gripped his hair in agony, pulling him so close to him that Aragorn had screamed inside when he finally realized that this was what he had yearned for all along. But that it had been denied to him by duty and honour and stubbornness. That death was giving him the only thing he had never thought he wanted. That death was taking it away from him forever. That he could kiss him only after death had ensured that his kiss could never be returned.

That Gimli had stood by, respectfully, eyes shimmering with tears, as they sung their lament, finally pushing the boat over the shimmering Rauros Falls. That he had wanted to stay there forever, but that he had he had felt the image of the White Tree under his fingers when he put on the dead warrior's bracers. That duty and pledges given had driven him on to fulfill his fate.

***

This he remembered whenever they would host a banquet in honour of distinguished guests, feasting on strong wine from the South and delicious dishes, laughter and merriment ringing through the high-ceilinged hall, soft music playing to enlighten the mood.

That they would go hunting together like a pack of wolves and that for once they would not fight for dominance, but work together in perfect unison to bring down a deer or snare a rabbit so they all would eat that night. That their eyes would meet suddenly, as they lay under cover in the underbrush, dirty and tired, but delighting in the hunt and each other's company. That sometimes, suddenly, Boromir would smile at him then and that he could do nothing but return it.

***

This he remembered when Merry and Pippin finally came to stay with him in Minas Tirith and they spoke of times gone by, remembering fallen comrades and those who had long since left this earth.

That he was the only one who truly remembered him. That even Pippin, who had liked Boromir well enough, had lost his memories of him, the warrior just a dim mirage from a long distant past. That the Hobbit had given his firstborn son the name of Boromir's brother. That he himself had not even dared to name his son so. That Boromir's name would disappear forever from the memories of mankind when he would forget him too.

***

This he remembered as he lay in Faramir's arms: secret stolen moments on his journeys to Ithilien to handle matters of state. This he remembered as his hands caressed the scars on his lover's body.

That Boromir had died in his arms, riddled with arrows in a mossy sun-dappled green glade and that his healer's hands could not save the one he most wanted to save.

The End

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