Author's Note: Okay so this is a little weird, being Boromir's POV after his death... Oh, and it's slightly AU in that I have Boromir and Legolas meeting well before the Council - basically that's because I didn't want to inflict some weak-ass original male character on anyone and let's face it, I'll take as much Legolas as I can get :) And for those who know me from my last Fandom - if I can't plagiarise myself then who can I plagiarise? *giggles*

Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue. Oh, and yes, some (okay, all) of the dialogue is from the movie.


Eternity

By Lizzie Bateman

       

I do not understand. Yet, at this same time, I do. It is so strange. It seems so clear and its reasoning sound, and yet - yet this cannot be. This simply cannot be. I would reach out at my side and feel my lover's sleeping form there; I would wake him and have him make this right for me. I would know this is not real. I would lid my eyes and open them again to find this all a dream.

There remains just one problem. I no longer have eyes to open. I am dead. I am dead and I must now make a choice, which will live with me throughout the rest of time.

       

I died. I know not whether it was three seconds or three minutes, three hours or three days or - I could have been here for an eternity already and I would not know it. But I know I died. I remember the moment completely. I am dead. I no longer even have a body and I cannot understand how I may think and feel as I do when I have not a mind or a body with which to think and feel.

And I cannot see. There is either nothing here to see or I merely cannot see, and I know not which would be worse. I am just here and it is so strange. I wish to rub my eyes, my temples, to feel my hair upon my cheeks and the burning in my limbs as I run, cool air upon my skin, anything. But I cannot. It is as drowning without drowning, as lying in my bed with eyes closed, unable to feel anything, ever, outside of warmth and suffocating safety. And it is suffocating, like any second I may break into a panic; yet even this I cannot do. I am mere disembodied thought and pure feeling, and I cannot even frown to express my confusion at being in this state. I do not have a face with which to frown. I had one once, yet I have no longer. But I could have again.

For, though I know not how I know it, I know that I have a choice to make. I do not even think I wish to know how I know this; it seems to me almost an instinct, a natural understanding, akin to the danger in playing with fire or unarmed combat with an orc. Still, it does not seem right that this the most important choice of my life will be made in death, even if that is the way it must be. And while I may take as long as I will, forever if I need, I must choose. I must choose one moment from my life to live forever, again and again. One moment from millions. One moment in which I wish to exist for all time.

But how do I choose? How do I choose one single event from my whole life to live out forever? It is impossible. No man could be expected to have the wit to do this. Perhaps this is what hell is, to be forced to examine my life for one perfect moment. Or perhaps this is just the way the afterlife must be; some people would know their moment in an instant - the birth of a child or the meeting of their husband or wife, or their wedding, or the lifting of their first sword. Children may play forever. I may play forever. I could be a child again for the rest of eternity and forget the rest of my life even came to pass. This may be a good thing, because I could just forget everything I ever wanted to forget. If I go back far enough I could be happy forever and never know what my life became. I never knew that death is so forgiving.

       

I could perhaps live my sixth birthday forever. I was barely even aware that anyone else existed then, outside of my home and my family, and certainly I knew nothing of Mordor or of a Dark Lord. There was no Ring, there were no Elves and no Orcs; nothing existed outside of Gondor or even outside of Minas Tirith. All I knew was the White City, my mother, my father the Steward. I knew lessons that were more like play in archery, swordplay - It was all I knew and all I wanted. I was happy, blissful in my ignorance. I could do worse than play-fighting and feasting for the rest of time.

Or the first time I held my sword. The first time I rode a horse unaided. The day I finally understood my place in the order of things as the son of the Steward. The first time I lay with a woman, told her I loved her. My first battle, my first kill, meeting Legolas.

Meeting Legolas. He came to Gondor a messenger from Mirkwood, on some errand from his father that I never fully understood. We were introduced at dinner one evening and I cannot think my eyes left him for more than two seconds together. I had never before in all my twenty years seen an Elf, and I could not help but stare. There was a gravity to him, and a light I could not fathom, some quality that drew me to him like a moth to a flame. He, the flame. And yes, I was burned, as I knew I would be from the very moment I set eyes on him.

He sat across from me at the banquet table, cutting his food into infuriatingly small pieces before lifting them to his mouth with an infuriating grace. Everything was so precise, so measured, as though each motion had come out of long practice, both intriguing and irritating me together. I knew then that I had never seen anything of such perfection in such a simple act as raising a fork to a mouth. And I caught myself staring as he lifted the glass to his lips, the blood red of the wine staining his lips. I knew he must have done it purposely, allowing the liquid to linger on his lips, simply because there was nothing he did which he did not intend. I wished to slip from my chair, walk to where he sat and kiss the wine from his lips. As the meal was ending, when he looked up at me over the rim of his glass and smiled, I knew that was what he had intended all along. Gazing into his huge dark eyes, I could almost imagine I tasted the wine from his lips and not my own.

He came to me not half an hour after that, and with sure hands on my trembling body he made love to me. There had been no other male for me before that night and there were none for a long time after. Yet this Elf, I could not refuse him. Gender mattered not when I was with him, as he seemed to somehow transcend it completely. He was not of my world, something ethereal, not quite real to me yet in some ways the most completely real thing in my whole life. In a world full of war and steel and leather, beauty as I saw in him had never before crossed my path. He was something exquisite, the only thing I knew I could not possess, and which instead threatened to possess me. Simply looking upon him made me shiver. And he made the night perfect simply by sharing it with me, sharing my bed and himself.

The knock on my door almost startled me as I stood alone in my room shrugging out of my clothes; I called out for whoever was knocking to enter, and it was him. I saw him in the mirror, followed him in it with my eyes as he moved toward me. He seemed almost to glow in the candlelight of the room, moving as though every rule of weight I knew eluded him, light upon the floor. It was near to gliding, that walk. He cocked his head and looked at me as I looked at him in my mirror, and I could not read the expression on his face. It seemed thoughtful, but I could not tell anything of what he thought. I doubt that I was meant to.

He lay a hand on my shoulder and though I had expected it, seen it in our reflection, I flinched at the touch. He smiled then, brushed his fingertips over my neck, my cheek, my lips. They lingered there a moment as he looked into my eyes, before his hands went to my waist and his lips replaced his fingertips.

I believe the moment we kissed and I tasted wine on his lips, from his mouth, was the moment I fell in love. Or perhaps it was before then, perhaps even the moment I first saw him. He was enchanting, had captivated every man, woman and child present in that banquet hall, could have had his pick of them all. Yet he chose me, nave eldest son of the Steward. I think perhaps I loved him for it, for being there, for choosing to share one shimmering moment from his immortality with me. And I had never felt so close to perfection than I did lying in my bed with him that night.

       

I had no illusions that what we had could last. I was aware at all times that he was not strictly speaking a part of the make-up of my world, that his life was many miles away with people who were not my own. He had little to detain him in Gondor and I knew he would leave, was resigned to the fact that once he left I would never set eyes on him again. So I intended to make good of what little time we were to have together. And that I did.

We rode together, long miles together outside of the city, about the Pelennor, all smiles and laughter. We hunted together, ate together, slept together. In the night we were just as inseparable as during the day, perhaps more so. I all the time awaited the moment I could lie with him, feel his slim form against my own, wind his long hair about my fingers and know every inch of his moonlit flesh. He would lie still and simply smile at me as my eyes and my hands and my lips explored him, voraciously, hungrily; there was not a single thing about him I did not wish to know, and as we lay there I would beg him to tell me of his home, his life before our meeting. His voice soothed me when all my life my one wish had been glorious battle. Being there with him in the comfort of my own bed brought on a longing for a simpler life, a quiet life, a life I knew I could not have. I knew it could not end well.

No matter the effort I made to convince myself that he would leave and we would part peaceably, no matter what evidence I had to convince me of it, I knew all along that there could be no good end. A moth to a flame. I loved him and I believe he cared for me, yet there was no love on his part. Sometimes I wonder if it was truly love on mine and not mere infatuation, some sort of intrigue with his beauty, but no, it was love. It was deeper than infatuation. I wished to spend the rest of my life by his side.

Perhaps if I had wished to leave the White City and travel with him to his home he would have taken me with him - and perhaps we would have been happy together. Yet, the night before he was to leave, as he spoke of his life and his family, about his home, it stirred again in me those passions for my own home, my own people. I lay my heart bare before him, told him I had a wish to be Steward one day, rule as my father before me, that I would bring back to my land and my people the glory they had once known.

He merely smiled at me, a condescending smile that spoke to me of how he truly saw me, and he told me that he had met Aragorn. Aragorn, son or Arathorn, heir to the throne of Gondor. And he would rule. I realise Legolas never meant to dash my hopes that evening, but that he did. I asked him to leave. He did not understand, we quarrelled and we parted on bad terms. He told me that my love of power would one day be my downfall, told me I was proud and selfish, a nave child; he broke my heart and he left the city the next morning. I felt sure that he was wrong, and I felt sure that I should never see my love again. I was wrong on both counts.

       

The night I met Aragorn is a good memory. Standing there holding the broken hilt of Narsil in my hands, realising I was not alone, seeing him sitting there, distracted from his reading, watching me - For an instant I was not even sure if he was a Man or an Elf. There was a familiar gravity to him, pulling my eyes to him, drawing me close to him, and awkward as the moment was, I could feel there was to be something between us. I was proved right when he came to my room, as we spent one perfect, feverish night inside each other, hot and hard and passionate. I should have been sleeping, weary from the long journey to Rivendell, but instead I spent a night committing to memory the every curve of the body of a man I hardly knew.

But morning came and everything was spoiled. First I take my seat at the Council of Elrond only to find none other than Legolas sitting there staring oddly at me, and then - then I find that this man with whom I spent that night is Aragorn, son of Arathorn. I almost wished I had allowed my brother to make the journey in my stead. Legolas' being there changed everything.

He was in appearance the same Elf I had known twenty years before, and looking at him I felt everything as keenly as I had the day he left. So there I was, trapped in this Fellowship with an Elf I had once loved, a Man I desired and a force of evil I did not understand that tempted me every second of every day. Torture is too light a word. Half the time, when the Ring was not speaking to me, I felt like I was in danger of losing my mind. I was sure I loved Legolas still.

There was a moment, not long after we had first set out, by the light of the fire as the others slept, that Legolas came to me, lay me down, touched me as he once had. He knew every inch of me still, though twenty years had passed. He knew how to please me, and physically he did; his tall, lean body above me, warm hands and lips moving over me, wrapping me up in that same soft feeling of both love and safety as he always had. Yet this time - I felt something amiss. I did not feel a part of his beauty as I once had, did not even feel close to it, felt so divided from him that though oh so familiar, his very caresses felt alien. He pleasured my body and stirred my mind to unrest.

For in my mind, in my heart, he was not what I wished for. My traitorous heart desired Aragorn. And, in spite of everything that had passed between us, arguments, my childish struggle for authority, he desired me still.

I believe that for a short while Legolas could not bring himself to believe I could desire another over him, or perhaps he did not want to believe. Yet as time passed and we travelled further, as I spent more time with Aragorn, be it smoking, talking or arguing, he began to realise that it was not he whom I desired any longer. He came to me one night, in Moria, told me that when he left me before he had been careless with my affections and that he regretted this deeply. But he said that he understood, that he had been watching me, us, and if I loved Aragorn he would let me be.

If I loved Aragorn. I had not known it til I heard the words aloud, and even then I wished it were not so. In love with a man I had thought to hate. It was more than I could bear. I longed to feel that love for Legolas instead, but I knew it was useless. I was in love with Aragorn, yet sleeping with Legolas. He seemed not to care that half the time I was imagining he was someone else, that his face was not so smooth, his hair not so light, his eyes so dark.

I am not saying I did not love him, because I did. I still do, strange as that may sound. Perhaps love truly can live forever. Except I do not think I shall see Legolas again, for he still lives. Maybe. I do not know how long it has been. Perhaps he is dead now and it is just that I do not know it. But I am never to see him again. I am never to see anyone ever again. It is just me and my memory for whatever is left, and that does not seem right. The afterlife is false. It is as a dream from which you can never wake, that you do not know is a dream, that you are living over and over without even a mere idea of what your existence truly is. I do not want that. There is some appeal in it, to live your one fondest memory forever, to think that you are with your loved ones and truly believe that you are there, but it is false. If I truly had a choice, I would not desire this.

Except I know that if choose not to choose, I will lose everything. I will be blank for all eternity and that scares me more than living a lie. So, I have to choose, even if it is simply because it is the lesser of two evils. And after all, I know that once I am there in the moment I will not know the difference between fantasy and reality. It will not matter that it is not real. It will not matter that I am in truth alone and there is no one there with me. It will not matter that I will never truly see them ever again.

I loved Legolas and I do still; he is special to me, holds a dear place in my heart and in my memory. Yet I know I remained with him simply because I needed consolation. I was in love then with a man I knew could never love me. He may have lain with me, may have touched me with heat and passion, but his heart I knew lay in the hands of Arwen Evenstar. He wore her jewel about his neck and to my memory never once removed it. Even in the woods, in Lothlorien, that night when he came to me, that night we spent together, a memory I have treasured, he did not take it off. It hung there between us, a reminder of what could not be. He could not be mine. I may have been his, but he could never be mine.

But that night, knowing what I knew, understanding he was not for me, I promised myself that I would not waste one second that I could spend with him. Even if that meant that in the end I would be hurt. I cared not. I simply wanted to be with him for as long as I could. And I was. I was at his side almost every moment from then until the day I died.

       

This is not at all what I imagined the afterlife to be. While I was living I was never even sure it existed, no matter what I may have been told as a child. I have always seemed incapable of believing in something if there is no evidence of its existence, and the afterlife was always one of those things. But, I imagined that if there was a life after death then surely there must be an order to it, places to go, and your afterlife would depend on the kind of person you were and the deeds you did. That does not seem to be the case. There is nowhere, there is nothing.

So I'm not in some sort of hell, unless this is what hell is like. Maybe this is what you make it. This could be heaven or hell depending on the way you look at it. This place gives you the chance to forget or the chance to remember. Depending on your choice you could be happy or tortured forever. Or you could agonise in your choice for all eternity. Or you could just simply choose oblivion. This really is what you make it. And I am making it all too hard on myself.

I simply cannot think I led a particularly good life. I may not have been a bad person but I was never a terrifically good person either. I may not have raped or plundered or anything of the sort, I did not commit genocide or mass slaughter or even simple cold-blooded murder. And I did not flatter or lie or lust in excess, I did not cheat and steal and I did not otherwise intentionally hurt people. Yes there were times when I may have hurt unintentionally, like Frodo - but that was unintentional. I never meant for that to happen, did not wake one morning and decide I meant to hurt him. I am not trying to shrug off responsibility, because I know I hurt him and I know it was my fault. I was a weak, stubborn man, with a weak, weak mind, and the Ring took advantage of that. I was not strong enough to resist it, and it would have had me kill Frodo, innocent Frodo, one so much better and stronger than myself. I carry the guilt of that day with me still. No, I was not a good person.

So I deserve to punish myself. For a while at least, even if I do not in the end choose something deliberately hideous from my past to live forever. I cannot think I am quite so masochistic as to do that. Besides, this choice has been given to me, so you would think I can choose whatever I wish to choose without having to agonise over it. And after I have chosen I know I will not remember anyway, so why do I even think on this? This is folly. I should just choose my happiest moment and get on with reliving it, over and over until the end of time.

There remains just one difficulty. I do not know what my happiest memory is.

       

I wish I knew how long ago it was that I died. I do not know the process here. Perhaps I died just now or perhaps I died a hundred years ago. Perhaps it is this way by design, so we are all disorientated and do not understand. Perhaps we are supposed to feel disconnected and alone. But still I wish I knew when I am. Maybe then I could understand a little more. Was I here, not feeling, not truly conscious for a time before I woke after the shock of my death, suddenly knowing all this and having to choose? Was it something I knew the second I died? I need to know this, because I need to know if I have to grieve now for the people I loved. I do not know how long I have been here, or even what or where here is.

But I do know that I died. I remember the moment completely; I do not think I could ever forget. At least not without choosing a moment.

I had never fought so hard in my life, or with such a fever in me. Merry and Pippin could not defend themselves against such a number of - Orcs? Were they Orcs? If they were they were unlike any I had ever seen. And I fought for the little ones because they could not defeat such an enemy alone. But in all that time I could not forget what had passed with Frodo, what may have happened had he not escaped me. I could almost feel my hands closing around his neck, squeezing tight against soft flesh, feeling his small body struggle beneath me, his strength dying away with his breath. And I am so, so glad that did not happen. But I feel so, so guilty. I was not sure how I would be able to live with myself knowing what I had done and what I had been about to do. Perhaps I am lucky that I did not live.

The pain was sudden, sharp, though not unexpected. I had seen the orc take aim and while I could have turned and fled and he would have missed me, I could not abandon Merry and Pippin. Even after the first arrow hit, pierced my flesh, bit deep into my muscles, I could not leave them. But I could not hold off the orcs. Hit three times I could hold them off no longer.

"They took the little ones".

Aragorn was kneeling by me, kneeling over me. I was trying to tell him to go, to find those orcs, rescue Merry and Pippin. And I needed him to know that was my fault. He did not understand. I was not enough to stop it. I should have been but I was not. And Frodo - Tears stung my eyes as I thought on what I had done.

"Stay still".

"Frodo. Where is Frodo?"

"I let Frodo go".

"Then you did what I could not", I sobbed. "I tried to take the Ring from him".

I looked at him, expected his reproach, but it did not come. All I could think was he did not understand.

"The Ring is beyond our reach now".

Except he did understand. With just those simple words he showed me he knew. He may have been stronger than me, but he had been tempted just as I. Just as he had known we would be all along.

"Forgive me. I did not see. I have failed you all".

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

"Leave it", I said as he reached for the shaft of an arrow that was in me, in my chest, bloody and unnatural. "It is over. The world of Men will fall, and all will come to darkness. And my city to ruin".

And that was when I saw it. In his eyes. Because he knew I was about to die. And in that moment I know he realised something. I was going to die and he would miss me. Not only that, he would mourn for me, grieve. Because of - of the love he had for me. It was true. What I felt for him was requited. I was just overcome. How I could feel that much joy and that much pain together is beyond me, but I felt it, in every inch of me.

"I do not know strength is in my blood, but I swear to you, I will not let the White City fall - nor our people fail".

"Our people". My heart swelled. I believed every word he said to me because of that look there in his eyes, the catch in his voice. There were tears in my eyes but, but - "Our people". *Our* people. He knew it. He had finally accepted it. Brothers.

"I would have followed you, my brother. My captain". Yes, finally, I knew it. "My king".

And he held me as I died, as all the life drained from me, just watching me, holding me, everything I could possibly have wanted to know then right there in his eyes. I died knowing he loved me. And I that when I died he knew that I loved him.

       

I do not know what would have happened between us if I had not died that day. I would like to think we would have stayed together, happy. And perhaps we would have been, but I will never know. Neither will he, and that is the tragedy. I killed all of our hopes just as we could have begun to realise them. I killed our passion. I saw it in his eyes the moment I died, mingled with the love and complete sadness.

Oh, that's it. That's the moment.

I do not need any more time. I have it now. My choice is made.

Give me the moment I died forever. Let me live in that moment looking into the eyes of my lover, my king, feeling the pain and seeing that look. I might as well have killed him then and taken him with me, that is what that look told me. And it hurt. It hurt so much. My chest hurt and my heart hurt and everything was aching as I lay there staring into his eyes. It was pain beyond anything I had ever felt because it was not just my body; it was cutting into my soul. He had realised what he felt and immediately he was losing me. Because I could not fight them back.

Give me that moment. I care not for what other happiness I could have. I care not that I will live forever feeling that same guilt, that burden on my heart over Frodo, over Merry and Pippin, over my weakness. I will resent myself forever but if that is that price I have to pay then so be it.

Because it was then that I could finally feel how he felt. He loved me. He did not think it was wrong, did not question it. He just loved me. And I loved him. There was no doubt and there was no more hiding. There was no longer a shadow cast over us. We were meant to me.

So give me that moment forever, until the end of time. Give me the moment I knew that he loved me. Give me the moment I died.


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