1. Aid Unlooked For
FOTR: The Ring Goes South
With a swift intake of breath, Boromir felt his feet fly from beneath him. Whump! And the man of Gondor landed full upon his back, the great shield slung across his shoulders cracking the thick ice under him. He groaned; his face screwed up in disgust. A frigid wind whipped flakes of ice into his face as he lay there.
'Ah! That hurt! Of all the foolish – '
His boots slid against the ice, clearing swathes of snow to lay bare the dark hard surface below. To his relief, his first tentative movements revealed that he had sustained no injury more than bruises. But then, Boromir's eyes flew open at a sudden thought. He grabbed at the Great Horn and, lifting it, sighed in relief. It was unharmed. He had no desire to be forced into an attempt to explain to his father how he had allowed an heirloom of their house, passed down from one generation to the next from an age before the Stewards came to rule Gondor, to be so carelessly split asunder.
Laying it gently aside, he rolled against the bowl of his shield and set his boots and elbows to the frozen stream, only to have them slip from beneath him. He lay back, teetering on the round boss of his shield, trapped.
"Boromir!" a clear voice called through the shrieking wind.
Looking up, Boromir fell still and groaned anew beneath his breath.
Legolas stood poised at the edge of the far bank, his fair face both anxious and amused as he peered through the curtain of falling snow that whipped between them. Behind him, Frodo and his kin grinned back at him from a small huddled group as they pulled themselves onto firmer ground. Further beyond them, Gandalf's eyes glinted from beneath the thicket of his brows as Gimli, leaning on his great axe, chuckled beside him. Even the stern visage of their Ranger had relaxed into the semblance of a smile.
The great beetle of Gondor lay upended, rocking against his carapace and slowly flailing his limbs in vain attempt to come to his feet. He endeavored something of a crooked smile in return, hoping to convey a sense of the rightness of things as they were.
A scuffling came from above his head and he strained back to find Sam shuffling toward him. Boromir cursed lightly. It seems that even the little folk were near as surefooted as that dratted elf who had skimmed easily across the frozen surface of the mountain stream after them.
"There now, Boromir, sir," the hobbit said, sliding and catching himself with a jerk, "That was a nasty spill you took, sir, and no mistake."
"I am quite all right, Master Gamgee," Boromir mumbled and laughed stiffly, his eyes more on those of the company watching him than on the hobbit.
"Are you sure you've not broke something, sir?"
"No, only my pride, Sam." He waved away the hobbit's proffered hand and renewed his efforts to gain his feet. Twisting his shoulders away, he attempted to rock off the apex of his shield.
"Well, that's a relief, sir. But, I shouldn’t worry about that."
When his efforts merely thrust him into the hobbit's knee, Sam dropped to the ice. "Here, now, Boromir, sir, let me help you with that."
"Really, Sam, I can manage, I'm quite unhurt."
But, the hobbit ignored his protests and hauled the man's arm across his chest by the elbow.
"That was a mighty crack when you fell," Sam continued, oblivious to his companion's discomfiture. "I thought for sure you'd not come away with all your limbs sound. A fright that would have been, hurt out here in the wilderness like that."
Boromir could not have agreed more heartily, his knee slipping along the ice.
"Here, sir, just get your elbow under you there, that's it."
Between dint of pulling and pushing, Boromir crept to his hands and knees. After Sam rose, he cautiously lifted himself to his feet and promptly slid into the hobbit. Small but sturdy arms grabbed the man about his waist.
"Careful there, Boromir, sir! That snow don't cover not but the slickest ice I've seen since Sandyman's mill pond froze over." The hobbit set himself to brushing away the clumps of snow clinging to the man's clothing and gear.
To Boromir's relief, assured of his well-being, the company had turned their amused faces away from the sight and had set upon the path again, the hobbits clinging to each other and outcrops of rock to steady themselves.
"Yes, I think I had already discovered that," Boromir said wryly, easing his gear back into place.
Sam abruptly looked up at the tall man. "That you did, sir, but no fault of your own that was."
Boromir looked down into brown, earnest eyes and then smiled. "Thank you, Master Samwise. I am in your debt."
Sam blushed and muttered with one last, awkward swipe at the man's cloak, "There, that should do you, sir."
Ice pricked against their faces as a chill blast whipped down through the mountain pass.
"Ah, is it cold!" Boromir said, shrugging down into his fur-trimmed mantle and squinting apprehensively across the frozen stream. "We should get you off this ice, you with your bare feet, no less."
"Oh, it don't bother me none, sir. I wouldn't want to go clomping along in those great big boots of yours. Begging your pardon, Boromir, sir, but I'd rather be able to feel where's a good place to step."
"Well, then, Master Gamgee." The man of Gondor cast a skeptical eye at the snow skating over their frozen path before grinning down at his small savior. "Lead on!"
"You just keep close to me, sir," Sam said, scooting up to Boromir's side, "and we'll see our way safe."
With the hobbit's arm firmly wrapped about Boromir's waist and the man clinging to his shoulder, warrior and gardener scrambled and slid their way across the ice, one keeping the other from harm until they were once more on solid ground and within the shelter of the fellowship who awaited them.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.