Old and Wise

by Sasjah Miller

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"So sit on top of the world
And tell me how you're feeling;
What you feel is what I feel for you."

Dido - Take My Hand

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I'm twice the age you are. I realize that as I watch you fooling around with Merry and Pippin, practising their sword moves with them, teaching them how to defend themselves. You are professional in your teachings, a swordmaster by nature and practice, yet you manage to bring pleasure into their mastering so serious a thing. We have made our camp on the top of a barren hill, and there is time for some sorely needed rest and merriment. I sit perched on a bare rock, quietly smoking a pipe and watching the two smallest Hobbits throwing you on the ground, landing on top of you, each one of you laughing. It is the first time I've seen you truly happy, Boromir. The first time I see the laugh that brightens up your face, turning it from merely handsome into absolutely stunning.

You would be a great father. I see that in the way you deal with the young Hobbits, even if they are not children anymore; they respond to you with a certain boyishness that is absolutely adorable. I wonder why you never married.

I have an idea, but I dare not let it take possession of my mind because it would completely upset the balance of my life. For if what I suspect is true, if the looks and glances you throw in my direction when we sit by the fire at night, if the shiver of pleasure that coursed through my body as your eyes met mine in Rivendell, if your constant nearness to me when we are travelling are any indication that you feel about me as I feel about you I know why you never took a wife. And I don't know how to deal with that. I am betrothed, I have pledged my life to another, having already forsaken the love of one person and I cannot stand the thought of going through that again, even if Legolas and I have settled our issues long ago in Mirkwood and we are friends again.

And then there is this other thing, the fact that I could be your father, even if I know for sure I'm not. I might have been, though. I was there in Minas Tirith when you were born, I saw you when you were just a baby, suckling at your mother's breast, over forty years ago when I was not Aragorn, but Thorongil and your father vied with me for his own father's attentions. Denethor was always a harsh man and from what I gather that did not change during the time you and your brother Faramir were growing up. I feel for you, knowing that my being around when he was wooing Finduilas, your mother, must have caused you suffering. I am sure he has taken it out on you in one way or another. He has never forgiven me for the fact that everyone he cared for heeded my advice, wanted my company even if I did not seek them out. Not only your grandfather Ecthelion, Boromir, but your mother too preferred me over Denethor. She loved me and the fact that I did not return her feelings drove her into a marriage in which only you and your brother brought her any happiness. So you see I verily could have been your father, but I am very glad that I am not. It is confusing enough as it is, to have the image of a two-year-old toddler riding horsey on my knee being overlain with your presence of which I am aware every minute of the day. You've become a handsome man, Boromir, a leader of Men, a veritable Captain of the Guard, someone that I would gladly follow into battle and beyond were I a soldier of Gondor.

But I am not and that is yet another issue that will continue to stand between us. Eventually you will have to bow to me, recognize my claims to the throne of your Kingdom, however hard it may be to you. And for that reason my heart bleeds for you. Because I will hurt you, whichever path I choose.

There is only one path that would lead to shortlived happiness for me and you and even that path is strewn with sorrow. Chosing it would mean betraying Arwen, betraying the Fellowship, betraying the free lands of Middle Earth, in all probability casting them into eternal darkness. Were we to leave now, Boromir, run off in the night together, we might have a slim chance of escaping Legolas' sharp eye and Gandalf's wrath and maybe we would be able to make it to someplace safe. For just a short moment. Because our abandonment of the quest would mean the downfall of Middle Earth, I am sure of that. Our happiness would be shortlived indeed.

So there really is no choice, Boromir. We go on, casting furtive looks in each other's direction, hoping no one sees them, seeking out one another's company under the pretence of forming the rear guard, and acting as if we are merely discussing strategy when we are huddling close, bent over a crude map drawn in the sand, while all I want to do is kiss your face and feel your warm skin against mine.

I am the oldest, I should be the wisest, and normally I am in command of myself, but right now I just want to take leave of my senses and do what my heart tells me.

Boromir, I can only pray that you are wise beyond your years, because, truly, even though I am so much older than you I don't know whether I can manage being wise for very much longer.

The End

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