10. Marco Polo
At first, they had scoured the Internet fruitlessly and found nothing but articles about the "middle of the earth". Morgan switched to examining maps, to see if some speck of land somewhere looked like Boromir's home. It had already been several hours of disappointment when Boromir strode back to the computer bearing hot cups of tea, for he had finally overcome his fear of the electric kettle.
"What is that?" he said in astonishment as he placed the mugs on the computer desk.
"This?" Morgan said, pointing to the screen. "It's a map of the world. Or at least, what it would look like flat."
"Is it not flat?" He had never heard of such a thing! He blinked at her in earnest awe, awaiting her wisdom.
Morgan was now used to Boromir's quirks and innocence, and no longer shocked when he appeared surprised at the most trivial of information that she so lightly took for granted. Smiling, she simply said, "Nope. Round like a ball. Well, not perfectly round, but...never mind. The world is round."
Peering at the map, Boromir's heart quivered. It was not like any map he had ever before seen. "Is it so very large?"
"Even larger than you think. Does nothing look familiar?"
Despondently, Boromir shook his head, nay.
"Well, what are some land features of Middle Earth? We can work with that. Are there any mountains?"
"Aye. The Misty Mountains, Mount Doom..."
"Oh! That sounds foreboding..."
"It is," Boromir said with all seriousness. He rubbed his temple, trying to remember back to his childhood lessons. "I believe there are mountains in Mirkwood..."
"Can you draw me a map?"
Boromir was ashamed. The sketch he had painfully drawn out appeared nothing like his homeland, and he knew it. It was far too general, and he knew the Anduin did not travel so far east! He cast the pencil down in frustrated resignation. "I cannot! This looks nothing like! I was never an artist!"
"Don't worry about it. Why don't you go take a break? I'll study the maps a little bit, and see if I can find something that resembles it."
Boromir strode away, mug in hand, mumbling that horse droppings would be only thing to resemble what he had drawn.
Reluctantly, Morgan gave up. There was nothing, nothing that had the slightest resemblance to Boromir's map, and Morgan had been very liberal in her matching similarities. Several mountain structures in the Himalayas looked similar, as did some mountainous regions in New Zealand, but neither had the forests that Boromir had labeled, or the long barren plains nearby. However, even if they did match, it still did not explain how Boromir had travelled from Timbuktu to Maine alone on a boat, shot full of arrows.
Morgan shook her head in guilty surrender, and resolutely turned off her nearly overheated computer.
- - -
Having to work the following day, Morgan left Boromir to research on his own. Morgan had given him a brief introduction to the computer, and wrote down step-by-step directions, but his manner proved invidious. In the end, he strode away from the wretched machine in a huff, not even knowing how to turn the insufferable thing off!
He resigned himself to a much easier means of study: a book. It was large and heavy, and carried with it much knowledge and history of this land. In his flipping, he could not help but think of Faramir. Had he been here, so knowledgeable in legends and folklore, he would have known the best course. That thought tarried a moment, and Boromir did not enjoy it's sensation. Had Faramir come instead of he, it would be him now with Morgan, instead of himself! Gifted with words, and soft in speech, Faramir would have known easily how to woo Morgan's heart, and claim her for his own. Casting the thoughts and book aside, he ceded himself to taking Moglie for a walk.
"Any luck?" Morgan said, tossing her keys onto the little table by the door when she had arrived home from work.
"Nay, and that infuriating device was of no use at all!" Boromir said, heart full of venom at the humming computer, which was still waiting to be turned off.
"Never mind," Morgan said, smiling. Obviously, mechanical things and Boromir did not mix. He still had problems with the dishwasher. While at work last week, he had the alarming experience of accidently turning it on. Lights began to flash, and a torrent of water began to foam about inside. Frightened and not knowing what to do, he fled from its angry noises, and hoped for the best.
- - -
The next day, they rode to town and took advantage of the local public library. They soon exhausted any references of 'Middle Earth', or 'Gondor'; all proved a dead end.
Boromir sat quietly skimming a large tattered book on water currents of the planet, and Morgan closed her own book in disgust. In all their hours of unsuccessful searching, they had come up with zilch. She turned to Boromir, watching him idly turn each page after giving it a brief passing glance. She could not help but smile looking at him. How happy she had been these weeks since taking him back! He was so full of life, boldness and spirit! To hear him speak of Gondor's hardships and sorrows, her own heart had cried too. She was beginning to appreciate what devotion his soldiers would have felt for him, and how much his family must be missing him.
And, what if they did find a way back? The thought immediately sobered her spirits, and she grew distressed. He would leave. He had always said as much, and never spoke of returning. Even if he did try to come back, who's to say he could? She felt sorry for his family and people, but not enough to be glad to see the back of him. If he truly loved her, he would stay.
She shook her head, thinking herself an idiot, and quickly wiped away a cheerless tear. Que sera sera, she thought humourlessly to herself. What will be, will be. She loved him too much be so selfish. If she found any answers to their riddles, never could she in good conscience keep it from him.
Reason...logic...truth. Her old philosophy professor's mantra paraded again through her skull, but this time, it had an astounding effect. Perhaps, that was it! Maybe they had been looking in the wrong place all the time! Morgan shot out of her chair, startling Boromir, but not noticing. She made a bee-line for the computer database and typed away. Immediately finding what she was looking for, she scanned the bookshelves and found a treasure trove of information! She knew this was it! Filling her arms with her newfound wealth, she carried them back to the large wooden table, and released them with a blaring thud.
"Of what have you found?" Boromir asked, casting his useless book aside.
"This is it! I can't believe I didn't think of it before! Thank you Professor Hedges!"
Boromir picked up one of the books. "'The Philosophical Probability of Multiple Dimensions?' I barely comprehend a word of it..." he said with a baffled look.
"See," Morgan said proudly, "this answers everything! Well, not quite everything, but a lot! This is why we could never find a land mass similar, or why your civilization is so...different." She was going to say 'primeval', but quickly stopped short.
"I fear I do not follow."
Morgan sat and lowered her voice after receiving a threatening glare from the hawk-like librarian. "Another dimension, or universe. Another world going on with no idea that the other one even exists!"
"And this will explain this?" Boromir said, opening up the book, and looking at it with skepticism.
"I hope so."
"Will it say how to return?"
Morgan could not help but be crestfallen despite herself. Boromir was right, though he didn't appear to even know it. Even if these books were right, and they had stumbled upon the answer, there was no possibility of them containing instructions on how to build a Stargate to transport them to la-la-land.
Regardless, Morgan signed them all out.
- - -
At first, Boromir and Morgan each chose a book, and read on the couch together. However, Boromir became easily frustrated. Morgan told him not to worry, and that she'd let him know if she learned anything useful.
Feeling idle and useless, Boromir escaped to the outdoors with Moglie. Chopping wood had its merits, he thought. It humbled him to a degree, as any simpleton in Gondor could easily do this duty. There was no valor in it. However, in this complex world, he relished in simple tasks that did not require machines, or incomprehensible knowledge to complete them. Fighting an army was naught compared to fighting his way back to Middle Earth.
Morgan understood. She couldn't think less of him for missing a lifetime's education in modernism. She loved him just the way he was.
His inability to understand terms or philosophies reminded her of a Star Trek episode in which Leonardo da Vinci is asking Captain Janeway to explain something way too complicated, and she said she could no more explain it to him than she could a bird.
Morgan shook her head, waking herself from her delusional tv-inspired thought. If Wyatt knew what effect Star Trek was having on her, he'd never let her live it down.
- - -
"But what does it mean?" Boromir asked, biting into his favourite of Morgan's dishes: beef stew with potatoes.
"It's really cool! It spoke of parallel universes right beside each other, and that scientists think these universes are 1 mm apart! That's like, that big," she said, pinching two fingers tightly together. "I looked into this theory some more, and when I Googled it, you wouldn't believe the amount of info out there on it! It gets complicated, I mean, I never took physics in school, but this isn't an insane lead we're on, here. I really believe we've found the answer!"
Boromir could see that Morgan was excited. He was too, deep down, but with every step closer they came to discovering the secret, the farther he grew from her. What use would it be to love her if he would only have to go? "Does it say how to breech these universes?"
"That's just what I couldn't find out. They think cracks, or holes in time, or something. No one knows when or where they're ever going to strike." This felt like the end of their search, and Morgan couldn't have been more happy. She had tried really hard to do what was right, but it all worked out! They found the answer! They found the reason, and yet, he still couldn't go back!
She reached out her hand to his, squeezing it, and for the first time in days, Boromir's heart soared. Perhaps there was still hope, but hope for a different purpose...
"We should think about what if, Boromir. I mean, what if we can't find you a way back."
Their moment of warmth was rudely interrupted by the ringing phone. Morgan answered it, still smiling. "Hello?" she said, but didn't hear anything at the end of the line. "Hello?!" she said again, and then, heard the distinctive guttural breathing at the other end of the line that she was now disgustingly used to. "Derek? Is that you?" When no reply was given, but for some disgustingly creepy moans, Morgan shouted, "Stop calling me, you fucking pervert!!!" She clicked off the phone.
"Morgan, what goes on?!"
"Oh, nothing. Ex-boyfriend. Don't ask..." Suddenly, the phone began to ring again. "Hello?" Morgan said with a little more force and warning than usual. However, her demeanor suddenly changed. "Doctor Larkin!" she said, turning to look at Boromir. His spoon dropped with a clink in the bowl, and he sat, gaping at her with a look of utter panic.
"How are you?" Morgan asked, eyes firmly planted on Boromir. "Fine... Oh, he's fine. Things are going really well... Yes, I'm sorry about that. I've been so busy at work... Okay... Um humph. Can you hold on a sec?" Morgan covered the mouthpiece of the phone with her free hand, and turned solemnly to Boromir. "He wants to speak to you."
"I think you should."
"Morgan, I cannot go back there! It would kill me to be locked away so again!"
"I think he just wants to see if you're alright."
However, Boromir was not to be convinced. He shook his head, a resolute, no!
"Boromir, I think talking to him will prevent you from getting locked up, so get over here, and speak to him!" Morgan had said the magic words, for Boromir slowly rose and edged closer. "Now," Morgan instructed, "hold it right beside your ear, and talk into that part."
Boromir held the phone as instructed, his hand almost shaking with terror.
Morgan couldn't understand why he was just standing there, not saying anything, until it suddenly occurred to her. "Say hello!" she whispered sharply.
"Hello!" Boromir said loudly into the phone.
"Ah, there you are, Boromir," Dr. Larkin said. "And how are you feeling today?"
"I am well," Boromir replied, half his mind urging him to flee, and the other half wondering how the magical phone worked.
"Good! Good," Dr. Larkin replied. "Glad to hear it. And how are things going with Ms. Harris? Are your living arrangements alright?"
"Aye. She is very kind."
"Oh, very good! I must tell you, we still haven't been able to find any more about where you came from. Have you had any flashbacks at all? Any memories?"
"No, I fear I have not," was Boromir's reply. He could only hope it was the correct one.
"Ah...oh well. Sometimes it takes a while. They may come back suddenly, or bits and pieces here and there. Give it time, alright? Don't lose hope!"
"Alright," Boromir said, starting to feel more relieved. It was just like their old sessions, but now he was free of madness, and bars, and the prospect of straight jackets.
"Say, listen, Boromir," the good doctor began. "I'd really like to set up some more sessions with you, either weekly or biweekly. What would you say about coming in to see me this week?"
Boromir's breath caught in his throat. They are going to do it, he thought wildly! They are going to shut me away again! He dropped the phone, and backed away, his eyes wild with fright.
"Boromir! What's wrong?" Morgan asked, picking up the phone.
Yet, he could not speak, he merely shook his head, and escaped down the hall.
"Doctor?" Morgan said, putting the phone to her ear. "I'm so sorry! What happened?"
"I'm afraid I asked Boromir to come in for another session. Does he appear frightened at all?"
Morgan craned her neck down the hall, but Boromir was nowhere in sight. "You could say that. Look, I'll be straight with you. I think he's really scared of getting locked back up again, and I can't say that I really blame him."
"I hope you know that it was only for his best interest, and that we have no intention of doing so again..."
"Yeah, I know. It had to be done. I know we had to be sure." Morgan sighed. "It's just that he's made so much progress. Honestly, I'll work on the idea of him going just for a visit, and I'll even wait for him in the reception room if he wants. Maybe, would you mind, calling back next week, and we'll see?"
"That would be fine."
"And Ms. Harris, I feel I must ask you, has Boromir been a trouble at all? That was one of my fears..."
"No, not at all," Morgan said honestly. "He's like family."
After hanging up the phone, Morgan stepped down the hall, and peeked into Boromir's bedroom. He was sitting on the bed, his back to the door, and looking out the window.
She sat beside him and wrapped a warm arm around his back, caressing it back and forth.
"I would not have you think me a coward," he began. "It does not make sense, and I know it. I have seen the slow coming of armies, the wind catching their banners in the evening breeze, heard their call to war, and have felt no fear. Many times have I come near death, and given it to many a foe, and felt no trepidation. And still... Have you ever been incarcerated, Morgan?"
Boromir shook his head, and fought back unnerving tears. "I cannot express... I cannot relate to you the feeling...the agonizing, unbearable experience of imprisonment when one had done no wrong. The inability to escape, and the despairing thought of never being released!"
"I'm so sorry, Boromir," Morgan's voice whispered, her heart plagued with guilt for the pain she had caused. In recollecting those days, now months ago, she didn't think she had any choice. But those words were of little comfort to her, when Boromir continued to suffer for it.
"Why, for you do not require forgiveness? What is your crime, pray? All you have done, is do me the greatest service I could ever have wished for." He knew he should not, that it was not proper, but he was beyond caring. He drew her close to him, tightly wrapping his arms about her. He had longed to feel her near, smell her sweet skin, and become totally entranced by the closeness of her body.
A/N: What did y'all think? PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!! The more reviews I get, the quicker I post the next chapter (which is already finished, btw). I know it's shameful of me to bribe you, but it's all I have in life.
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.