Reflection of Mania
Title: Reflection of Mania|
Author: Juxian Tang
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Disclaimer: The characters don't belong to me. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Alternative Universe. Boromir is alive. Frodo confronts him.
REFLECTION OF MANIA
This story is for Murbella
When he kneels in front of me, I kiss him. I almost can't believe how easily it happens, how naturally. But I did want to do it - and he... he looked like he needed it.
So I lean towards him, seeing how his eyes become dark and very wide, so close to me, and press my mouth to his, catching a small intake of breath he makes out of surprise.
His lips are soft, and his beard is rough, and my tongue nudges against his teeth trying to get in. Then he lets me in, and his mouth is warm and hungry, crushing mine, and his body reaches, strives towards to me, and I feel how a gasp is caught in his chest.
His arms never rise to wrap around me; but as I kiss him, thoroughly, first deep and then nibbling on his lips, he responds to me, meeting every little action of mine with his. Then our lips part and he slumps back on his heels, blinking, and his gaze is puzzled and somewhat vulnerable, as if I've done something that could hurt him, that is supposed to hurt only he is still in shock to feel it.
"Frodo," he whispers.
I look at him, my head tilted awry, and smile a little. His face is beautiful and pale, and I want him not to look so shaken... and so threatened.
"Boromir," I say. "Should I have not done it?"
It hasn't been my intent to trap him. I wanted to make things better, not worse. It is the day of joy for everyone, the day when Arwen arrives to Minas Tirith, and I don't know anyone who wouldn't feel happy today, who isn't celebrating. Tables are laid, full of tasty things, outside, in the warm evening, and so many people gather around, smiling and joyous.
I am enjoying food, and conversation, and the entire feeling of comfort and peace around - and there is no reason why I should stop doing it, at least until the late night when I get too tired and crawl to my bed, full, exhausted and content.
There is no reason; and then I see him, going away quietly, as soon as propriety allows him, stepping into the darkness away from the lights that surround those who dance, drink and rejoice. There is nothing new in his departure... and it's surprising how well I recognize it, and how I'm almost used to seeing that his brother's face falls when he notices it, and Faramir looks pained and helpless, torn between his wish to follow and knowing that it will change nothing.
I get up and go after Boromir.
The sounds of his steps on the stone are dull, echoing more loudly as we walk away from the noise of celebration. The lights get sparse, uneven flame reflecting against the white walls around us. All this stone, sometimes it seems to me it is chilly under my feet even when it still keeps the warmth of the hot day in it.
Boromir's city... He talked so much about it during our travel, of its beauty and greatness and its glorious past, and I remember how once he said: "I would give anything just to come back there," and there was such anguish and longing in his voice.
So, why now, when he is back, is he not happy?
Maybe it is not my business to ask this question. And maybe it is strange that it would concern me. But I can't help seeing it. How he looks around as if he's a stranger here, weary and not belonging - as if he tries to shield something inside him from others. Or the other way round, to shield them from him. I know Faramir notices as well, and it hurts him, and yet he can do nothing because - well, because Boromir is as mulish a man as I've ever seen, and he will accept no intervention, and Faramir is too subtle to be insistent.
*I'm* not subtle. And I know this loneliness, this wish to hide inside yourself, away from everyone else - because they don't know what you're capable of, and sometimes you don't know it either.
It's not the kindness of my heart that moves me. It is the knowledge that there is something between us that is akin. And it calls for me.
I think Sam wouldn't approve. He probably would argue passionately if he knew I thought about it in these terms, about Boromir and me having something in common. But it is a rare moment when he doesn't watch me, submerged into memories of the Shire with Merry and Pippin, and I manage to slide away without a dispute.
Boromir stops on a small platform up there, facing the East, and it is empty and lit only with a torch burning in the holder on the wall. Below, the lights of the celebration look like an odd scattering of sparkles and the bursts of laughter and music reach here sporadically.
He looks down there but I don't think he sees it. And I watch him.
He hasn't changed much, well, no obvious changes, from how I have seen him for the first time, all those months ago: he still has this 'don't forget my bloodline of hundreds years' look. And his hair is still such a mess, tossed against his face by a gust of wind. He is the man I traveled side by side for so long.
The man who has been a threat to the Fellowship, despite his oath and maybe despite his own wishes. The man, proud, arrogant and disagreeable, who, I'm sure, cost Aragorn more than a few grey hairs.
Aragorn's gaze stops on him sometimes now, with worry that almost borders on sorrow; because Aragorn is not blind. He sees what it beneath the outward calmness. But, like Faramir, he probably can't do anything.
A bit presumptuous of me to think that I can... and I'm not even sure I really want to.
But I'm already here.
My barefoot steps on the stone are nearly soundless, so Boromir hasn't heard me. But when I stop and sigh loudly, he whirls back, his face angry, and alarmed, and immediately rejecting whomever he is going to see.
Then he sees me - and anger drains away from his gaze, replaced with something that looks almost like resignation.
He looks around as if he hopes to see someone accompanying me, even Sam who is still suspicious of him. Someone who will protect us from each other.
But there is no one, is there, Boromir? And you avoided me long enough.
He was very good at steering clear of me. For days after coming round I didn't even know he was alive. After talking to Faramir about the visions he had, of Boromir falling with black arrows in his chest, I was sure he was dead. And when everything was over, I don't know what others thought, that it could, like, traumatize me to hear that he was alive?
And then I saw him, stumbled on him by accident - and blood rushed away from his face, making him really look like a dead man, and the expression in his eyes was as if he expected me to do something horrible to him, to spit at him or to start accusing him.
I remembered him: as he had been with his eyes clouded with yearning, his face distorted, his voice cursing me. I don't think this picture will ever fade from my memory. But he didn't know I remembered other things as well. Of me hurting Sam. Of the dizzying happiness as I'd given in and put the Ring on my finger...
He looked at me with this guilt in his eyes and expected my judgment - he thought I would be able to judge him. And as I was silent, he seemed to take control over himself, came up to me and bowed, and Sam bristled up and looked as if he wanted to get between us bodily. Boromir's voice, as he said he was sorry, sounded calm and restrained - but there was nothing calm in his eyes, nothing peaceful.
Aragorn had saved him then, at Amon-Hen, and the arrows had been taken out of his body, his wounds closed up. But even then I knew he was not healed.
I knew it just as well as I knew it about myself.
It is that simple.
It is what makes us close; and I can do nothing to fight it. Even if I want to fight it. Even if I try. The Ring has used us. And now it is destroyed. And a part of me with it.
And I fear there is too much destroyed in Boromir as well.
"Frodo?" he repeats. As if wanting to be reassured.
It's strange that he is so strong and a real fighter - and yet there is something in him that always felt to me like exposure, even in the time of the Fellowship. With Aragorn I've always felt the young and small one, the one who has to be protected, guided, be taken care of. Boromir... Boromir made me feel like we were equal; and the was nothing wrong in being hostile and mistrusting each other.
Of course, he didn't think us as equal, I suppose... just take his annoying habit of calling me 'little one'.
And now he makes me feel as if I'm the stronger one, if only because I know what happens to us and he doesn't. He makes me feel as if I can help him, protect him - and yes, despite his strength and stubbornness and bad character, despite everything he's done, I want to do it.
"It was too noisy down there," I say casually. He doesn't relax, still looking like he would rather be anywhere but here. I add: "Do you mind if I say here for a while?"
"No," he says. "No, of course not," and his answer is hasty, and soft, and nearly pathetic, and he makes a motion as if going to pass round me.
"If I stay here with you," I say and walk a little closer.
There is softness in my steps; such careful fluidity as if I'm hunting a prey, must be watchful not to scare him off.
I just want to get closer to him. I just want him to stop looking at me as if I'm something both incredibly fragile and dangerous. I won't break, and I won't hurt him.
And I'm not afraid he'll hurt me. He didn't, even then, not really - not physically at least. Well, there was hurt inside, yes, but I think I can live with it.
"I'm sorry, Frodo," he says again, his voice quiet. He thinks it's what I want to hear from him - it's why I'm here.
"I told you," I say, "no harm was done. There is nothing for me to forgive."
I think I knew it at that moment when Faramir told me that he was dead, and enormous sorrow swept through me, and enormous regret that I wouldn't see him again, that nothing could be undone.
It's such a wonder, such a great gift that things could be undone, that he did survive. Doesn't he understand it?
"There is," he says. "But well..."
He doesn't finish but I know what he means; he'll acknowledge my words and stay with his own opinion. 'Stubborn' just doesn't cover it, does it?
I look at his tired, pale face, his lips pressed tightly, and behind the shadows in his eyes I can read the answer so clearly. How can he regret being alive? Doesn't he know what his death would do to his brother, to Aragorn?
Is it the Ring that still burns his heart making him crave for things that are long gone? Making him tie himself to the cold of the past against the voices and light of the present. I *know* it because it is what I fight now, what I will probably fight all my life.
"It's not like I don't understand," I say quietly. There is an offer in my words, an offer of what I can give him - and this understanding, it's not so little, I think, I wish someone could offer it to me.
I think if he won't accept it, then I... then I'll give up on him, finally, because how pigheaded can the man be, after all?
And then he makes a step towards me and kneels in front of me, and it is what I've expected less of all.
I start back, for a moment, because it's so sudden - and oh, the hurt in his face... It exchanges with resignation - as if there is nothing else he could expect from me. I get really angry. He doesn't understand anything. I'm not a child, not a weakling, I'm not afraid of him, he doesn't dare to take it for granted that I'm vulnerable in front of him.
I want to slap him - and then I kiss him instead.
And his mouth melts under mine, and he tastes wonderful, and he kisses me back as if he hasn't known anything sweeter in his life, even though I think I taste with spices and pipe-weed.
Then he pulls back and looks at me disbelieving and runs his hand over his face, as if wondering whether his mind play tricks on him.
"Should I have not done it?" I ask.
He shakes his head, his hair falling onto his face. When I met him first, his hair was of such strange color, all strands different, some blond, some dark golden, some brown. Now it looks all light brown, as if muted.
Does he mean 'no, you shouldn't'? Or is he just trying to deny something? He raises his terribly intense stare at me and says:
Please what? 'Please don't play with me'? 'Please release me'? 'Please stop it because it is wrong - or because I don't want you'?
Strange... it hasn't come to my mind when I kissed him - that he might not want it. I think... I think I knew he did, just like I wanted it, even though I never admitted it until now. Even while we traveled together... there was something, and a part of me was afraid of it but a part cherished it and hoped.
And that was why, when lust sounded in his voice, and it was the yearning for the Ring, it was such a betrayal.
I reach my hand to Boromir, not quite touching his face, and notice only then that it is my mutilated hand - the one I try not to show too often. He looks at it as if expecting that I'll strike him.
"You know you want it," I say. "Don't tell me you don't."
His want is both in his eyes and, when I look down, even his clothes can't quite conceal it. My hand descends to his face, touching it - and he leans into it, and yes, it is what I want, what I need, it is why I've come here.
It is what he needs too.
"Frodo." His voice falls to a low moan, hoarse and trembling, and heat rushes to my cheeks, my whole body flushing. He's so close... and the truth is that if he is helpless to deny his need, then I'm helpless too. Boromir shifts on his knees, and we brush against each other, and I feel dizzy. What if I'll collapse right into his arms... so much for my strength.
In the faint light of the torch his face is sharp with shadows. There is a long frown between his eyebrows and his stare is so fervent, so focused - on me. I breathe, my mouth slightly opened, and my lips feel as if something is missing, as if I'm incomplete without his mouth on mine. Kiss me again, I think, and his lips so close, I can do it, just lean a little...
In this light Boromir's eyes look dark blue, like the deepest water, not pale green, as usual, and it is strange, and I think I can look into them for ages - and I don't think he'll move either. I think he wouldn't move even if hot iron were pressed to his body. I touch his hair and crumple it in my hands, roughly, and oh, his hair is so soft, I didn't think it would be... strands entwining through my fingers are just slightly flickered with gold.
"Frodo," he says again, and now his voice is almost gone, hitched, so faint that I can't help but take pity on him. I pull him closer to me, pressing him to me, even if he doesn't dare to hold me. "Frodo, are you sure?" he asks breathlessly.
"Let me think," I say. "Why, yes. And you?"
He makes a huge intake of breath, and his chest touches mine. So close... so close that I can feel every restrained vibration of his body, can feel how he swallows, his almost awed nod.
"Then what are we waiting for?" I ask.
His clothes rustle noisily as he gets up, with such desperate decisiveness that it can't be anything but touching. How tall he is while standing... He looks down at me now and I think I liked seeing him on the same level with me much better.
And I'll be really pissed off if he calls me 'little one' now or does something equally condescending.
He doesn't, though. There is almost frantic single-mindedness in his face, the concentration like before a battle. I nearly feel like saying something reassuring to him.
Then he gives his hand to me, palm up. I take it, clasping it hard - a bit too hard, to remind him I'm stronger than I seem.
He leads me into the tower, and it is so quiet there, corridors empty and dark. I think there is no one here apart from us, even the guards are not in this part of the building. He pushes a door and we enter.
It's his room. It is lit grey and slightly yellow with the light coming from the high window. The bed is quite enormous, and I gulp audibly, suddenly frightened but even more aroused with the thought of what we can - what we will do there.
Boromir lets my hand go, and only at this moment I realize my palm is wet and maybe his is too. He lights a candle on the nightstand, taking just a little longer for it than necessary, but finally I see how the warm light makes his skin pale golden. He turns to me and frowns slightly, seeing me stare at him.
I don't know what he tries to read in my eyes but suddenly he bows his head and there is this deliberately unshielded look in his eyes - as if he's ready to listen to my judgment and take any punishment I'll decide to deliver.
I can't bear it; why is he doing it? It's painful, seeing how he always expects something bad from me. What am I doing here, with someone so wary of me, do I need any more hurt in my life? But I can't turn him down... I want to be here, with him.
I walk up, keep looking at him, almost defiantly, almost indecently, licking my lips, and his breath falters.
Yes, this is better. Boromir frets - I didn't think he actually could *fret* - but he readjusts the clasps of his tunic unnecessarily, pushes away the hair from his face, as if only now noticing that it is in his eyes. A part of me sings at seeing him like that, so taken with me. I never look away from him as I approach, and he looks like he at the same time wants to step back, only there is the nightstand behind him, and pounce on me.
"So, shall you help me to get onto this huge bed of yours?" I ask, and it is almost like I've burnt him, he flinches so hugely.
And here is goes. He steps to me, and he's fast, I've almost forgotten how fast he is. He sweeps me from the floor, his arms wrapped around my body, clenching me to his chest, and for a moment his embrace is so tight that I can't breathe.
But I think I don't need to breathe; not particularly. The ornaments on his tunic jut into my body but I don't mind it either. Boromir's chest heaves against mine, and his hair smells with the Eastern wind, and I bury my face into it.
It's not the first time Boromir holds me. He did it several times on our journey, catching me when I fell, carrying me when needed. And there is that time when his hands mauled my shoulders as he tried to get hold on the Ring, as his body thrust its weight over me, pinning me to the ground.
I forgot nothing of it. But it was nothing like now - and now it is what I want. Boromir is panting, his breath very hot against my shoulder, and finally the crushing force of his embrace eases. I wrap my arms around him.
"Frodo," he says in a tormented, almost plaintive voice. "You're so..."
"If you say 'so small', I'll kick you," I whisper loudly.
To my relief he laughs a little, a low sound that I feel resounding through my whole body.
"So fair," he says. "There is light reflecting in your skin."
"Oh," I say, raising an eyebrow. "Is it a compliment?"
And the truth is that he looks not bad either. He looks oh-so-good. I clutch my legs around his waist. His breath catches - I don't know if it is with the force of my grip or because this way he can feel my erection pressed to his body. I clasp his hair and pull his handsome face closer - not kissing him, just our foreheads touching, his feeling exactly as burning as mine.
"Boromir," I mutter, "come on," pulling the clasps of his collar. I've waited enough.
We fumble for a moment as he tries to help me to cope with the fastenings - and my own body clinging to him prevents us in our task. I huff in exasperation.
"Let me go."
He finally understands, turns to the bed and puts me onto it, almost reverently. I land onto my feet - oh, this way I'm even taller than him, and now nothing impedes me. The clasps just tinkle pitifully as I tear them open. Boromir gasps and looks surprised and pleased and then starts on my own clothes.
His palms are hard. And big. And hot. And I shiver when feeling them on my shoulders and claw into his clothes like an animal. Why does he have to wear *so much*? I'm already naked, see? Boromir sucks in a breath, looking at my groin. Well, I hope that'll put the end to his 'little one' nonsense.
My skin tingles. I think I feel everything at once - the slightest draft coming from the open window; the warmth coming from the candle; the burning sensation of Boromir's gaze on me. I can't wait. I need to feel his chest against mine, his skin pressed to mine, his fingers on my nipples...
Then he sheds the rest of his clothes finally.
His chest hair is as golden as the lightest strands of his hair. And he's big. I knew he would be but still, I'm somewhat astonished; but not in a bad way, not at all. I like what I see.
There are scars marking his skin, some thin and pale, some jagged, and the freshest ones, on his shoulder, chest and side, look tender and cruel even now, four months past. I recall how he still moves favoring his left side - and sometimes, after a rough motion, can't help but clasp his hand on his shoulder.
My own scar is small and looks well healed - and it is healed, mostly - apart of the times when cold from it spreads through my body so fast and encompassing that it seems nothing of me is left except for this cold.
No... don't want to think about it now.
"You're so beautiful," I say softly.
He picks me up - his arm under my buttocks and have I ever known the skin there is so sensitive? - and yanks the bedcover away. I kiss him. He lowers me, and his lips on my chest are burning - and how can it feel that he's kissing me all over at once, that his hands are everywhere?
My legs are thrown apart, making room for him. It's a bit too much - too wide - but I think I can handle it. His cock pushes bluntly, against my thigh, then against my perineum, not trying to get in, just seeking contact. It's warm and thick and wet, and I cry harshly when Boromir's hand wraps around my own cock.
"Here, here, little one," he whispers. I bite his lip hard enough to draw blood; well, I think there's nothing can be done to break him out of this habit. And I don't even quite care much how he calls me, as long as his hand slides up and down my shaft.
Then a wave of heat rises in me, the spasm so sweet that as long as it goes, nothing else in the whole world matters, nothing can be better that this. I want it to go on and on, only I think my heart will stop if it lasts even longer.
And at this moment of the greatest pleasure, inevitably, as I know it always will be, no matter how many years will pass, no matter who will be in bed with me... at this moment the brightest circle of gold flashes under my closed eyelids. At this moment the Ring comes back to me.
My semen coats Boromir's fingers as he keeps stroking my cock, and I moan pitifully, my head tossing on his oversized pillow. I don't want to see the Ring. I want to be free of it - want nothing but the glowing pleasure of my body to matter.
Boromir kisses my face; cradles me in his arms, his touches not so much harsh and passionate as comforting. He's gentle - I didn't know he could be so careful.
His hair is moist falling onto my face. And my face is wet - with sweat and there is some wetness in the corners of my eyes, and Boromir kisses it away, and I don't even know if he notices it.
Sometimes I think I can bear it - bear the knowledge that the Ring is gone and will never come back to me more than in a flicker of a memory. I think I can live without its cold smoothness in my palm, under my caressing finger - the finger that had touched it so much and is gone now. But sometimes it seems it is more difficult to live with it than I can endure.
I open my eyes. Boromir looks at me intently, questioningly. And with a little effort I snap out of these thoughts and cup my palms around his face, stroking his lips with my thumb.
"Why did you stop?" I ask.
"What?" he whispers.
"Kissing me. Don't you want to any more?"
I hear a low chuckle of his, and then he suddenly goes very serious.
"Kissing you is like... like..." Thankfully, he never comes up with a comparison, for I dread to imagine what it would be. "I'll never kiss you enough."
He slumps a little onto me, pressing his forehead to mine for a moment, and then nudges my chin slightly up and kisses my neck. It's tickling and I giggle, and he looks up and asks:
"What's so funny?"
His cock is still heavy and hot pressed to my thigh.
"Wait," I say, "wait."
He doesn't resist - so big, so tame and oh-so-mine - as I push and prod him, making him turn onto his back. His chest is heaving, slick with sweat, skin smooth except for the rough traces of his scars - and his cock is dark and veined heavily and a thing of utter beauty.
I lean and let my lips wrap around its tip, and Boromir makes this sound, half a sob, half a cry, that makes me feel triumphant and happier than I've been in ages.
He's huge, and tastes salty and bitter, and I slide as far down as I can, which is not far, and his hands fly up convulsively, as if torn between the wish to touch me and fear to do it. Just for a moment I think that he will grab me, and I will feel the strength of his hands again, crushing my shoulders, as he will be trying to get what he needs.
But he doesn't - I knew he wouldn't. He's almost too desperate not to do anything wrong, not to be violent with me. I wonder if the shame will ever stop burning in him, the shame that sets him apart from everyone else - *he* sets himself apart. From his brother who loves him so much, from his comrades in the Fellowship who care for him. He doesn't think that the arrows that had torn his body are enough. He will never accept anything anyone can give him just because he thinks he isn't worth it.
I know it, and I wish I could change it, but at the same time I know that this single-mindedness, this boundless passion, this fieriness in him is what attracts me to him. It is melting the cold inside me.
I'm not cold when his body is burning next to me, when my lips slide over the silk of his shaft, and he clenches his fists on the sheet... and a part of me does want it to be my body he would hold onto.
He starts shivering, and it's so good, to feel my power over him - oh how deeply I can affect him. Harsh sounds are caught in his throat - and then, between gasps, he mutters:
"Oh Frodo, careful, I'm..."
His gesture is weak as he tries to push me away a little; at first I don't know what exactly he means by it. Oh, he's coming. He probably thinks I will mind.
But I don't, I lean even closer, and his fluid fills my mouth, so much of it. I swallow, and Boromir shivers and sounds almost as if he's sobbing.
He tastes bitter and strong but I like it. I think it proves to me that everything is real.
"Frodo," he whispers in a shaken voice. So easily shaken, my stubborn, proud, silly man of Gondor.
I kiss his chest as he pulls me up. There are so many places of him that I haven't had time to kiss. His nipples; the thin line of down going from his solar plexus; his balls; the insides of his thighs.
"I think I would like to explore you in a greater detail," I say. He looks at me as if trying to figure out whether I'm joking. But I look serious - as serious as one can look with his lips puffy and kissed pink and hair tousled.
He looks like he's going to say something, and I'm afraid he'll say something wrong now, something that will separate us, will remind me that I'm a hobbit and he is a man, and it's just an accident that brought us together in bed. I might be an amazing hobbit, as they never stop repeating... but being an amazing hobbit is still less than being a lover.
"So would I," Boromir says quietly. "So would I."
The candle keeps burning, a single small flame flickering in the shadows, when we lie with our eyes closed. The blanket is over us but there is less warmth coming from it than from Boromir's chest under me. He's so cozy like that, cozy to be wrapped into him, his hand combing my hair slowly.
Far away, the sounds of celebration have gone down - I think everyone is going to sleep now. I don't feel much sleepy. I don't think Boromir does either.
"I hope no one is looking for you," he says.
"Will they be looking for *you*?" I ask.
"Why should they look for me then?"
Because everyone thinks that I need protection, need to be taken care of to make it up for me - for everything. But I don't want Boromir to participate in it.
Given time, I'll break him out of his habit to patronize me. I hope so. He can't sleep with me and baby me at the same time, right?
"Explain it to Sam," he mumbles and I can't help laughing.
There is something in me that still feels lonely and cold - as if I'm standing naked, like I was in front of orcs in Cirth Ungol. This feeling reminds me that my main task is fulfilled, and there is little for me left to do. Everyone has someone close and important; Aragorn has got Arwen, and Faramir has Eowyn, and Sam soon will have Rosie, he talks about her more and more. Legolas and Gimli are friends, and Pippin and Merry never part. And only I have lost the only thing that mattered for me - it was melted away in the boiling lava of the Mount Doom. Together with Gollum who probably was the only one understanding me... And all is left is shame and regrets.
I shift convulsively, trying to burrow myself deeper against Boromir's body. My hands claw into his skin, trying to get a grip onto him, trying to make sure he's real, and here, and won't leave as long as I need him. Boromir's hand caressing my head stops for a moment and then presses me even closer. And holding onto him, being held by him finally makes me calm down a little.
"Then you don't need to leave, Frodo, do you?" Boromir asks. "You can stay."
I nod butting my forehead against his chest.
"Stay," he whispers very quietly. I turn my face slightly, pressing my lips to the hot, tender new skin covering his chest wound. I breathe in his smell and warmth and hold onto him tightly.
Of course I will stay. Here is where I want to be.