Boromir may have desired newer clothes, but it was with the greatest apprehension that he returned to Portland. They passed the mental hospital, and Boromir could not suppress a shudder as he turned away from its imaginary grasping fingers. An inane fear that Morgan was abandoning him there tormented him, until they had finally passed its bricks, mortar and barred windows.
Morgan had noticed his distress, and made a mental note to take a different route home. They were on their way to the Maine Mall. With 140 stores, they were bound to find something that Boromir would like, and help him fit in. He had wanted to dress as inconspicuously as possible on the shopping trip, so as not to draw unwanted "madhouse guards" to him, and so Morgan had recommended his black pants, and an old "I'm Bart Simpson. Who the hell are you?" t-shirt.
They stepped into the mall, and Boromir stood aghast at all his eyes would behold. Swarms of people, mirror-like floors, and stores farther than his eyes could see surrounded him. An exotic aroma wafted through the air, and Boromir could not help but allow his mouth to water at the sweet, tempting scent.
Morgan saw him sniffing the air and said, "Want a Cinnabon? They go right to your thighs, but they're worth it!"
"Perhaps later," Boromir said.
"Right then. Clothes!"
They strode slowly farther into the mall, as Boromir constantly wished to stop and examine all the wonders to observe.
"C'mon!" Morgan said, urging him on. If he was to stop and stare at every store they passed, they would be there forever. Boldly taking his hand, she pulled his arm toward American Eagle.
At first he started at her soft touch and firm grasp, yet he did not shy away. It was apparent that those in this land often held hands, and so he was not so embarrassed to show such an outward display of affection.
They stepped into the store, and Boromir was astounded by the amount of clothing so readily available. He turned to Morgan and said, "I assumed we were procuring cloth for you to make me some new clothes."
"I don't know how to sew, Boromir! No, no. It's much better to buy ready-made clothes. No one has time to make their own anymore. I'm not Martha Stewart!"
Thinking it wiser not to inquire who this Martha person was, he merely followed her to piles upon piles of garments.
"What do you think of this?" Morgan said, holding up a hoodie.
Boromir eyed it with dislike. "It is rather worn and stained," he said, feeling the cloth.
Resisting the painful urge to smile, Morgan replied, "No, it's new. It's just made to look old."
"Ah," Boromir replied, thinking it beyond ridiculous to wear out perfectly good cloth before one even uses it! "I think not."
"Alright. Let's check out the pants."
Morgan found the jeans, and smiled, knowing that everyone needs a good pair of jeans. "Ooh! How about these?"
Boromir eyes the pants with better favour, yet they still appeared used and worn. "The colour is not even."
"That's the style. Everybody's wearing them. Trust me. You'll fit in."
"Very well," Boromir said, relenting.
"I guess you don't know what size you are?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Your waist. I should have measured you before we left... Let's try you in a..." she said, examining his midriff to the point which made his cheeks turn pink, "a 34. We can go up or down from there." Morgan handed him a darker stain, and a medium blue stain, each bootcut. Directing him to the change rooms, she waited outside the door in anticipation.
Several minutes passed, and at last, Morgan couldn't wait anymore. "Well? How's it going in there?"
"They feel...fair enough."
"Can I come in?"
"Are you in them? Can I see?"
Boromir knew not how to reply, and his face grew hot. This was all too strange from the way he had ever been fitted for clothing. "Very well," he said, clasping the button upon his waist and unlocking the door.
Morgan stepped in, completely unaware of the faux pas she was causing. "They look great!" she said. "How do they feel? Are you comfortable?"
Boromir was far from comfortable, yet it had nothing to do with his pants. "They are well enough."
"Have you tried on this pair?" she said, pointing to the darker pair.
"Alright. Try them on, too, and I'll grab some more stuff for you to try on. Okay?"
Boromir nodded, and Morgan left in search of t-shirts.
Polos? No way, she thought, giving them a quick dismissal. Boromir wasn't a 'polo' kind of guy. She began to rummage through the piles of t-shirts, already in disarray from impatient shoppers, and found four that she thought were at least wearable.
Having tried on and accepted all that Morgan chose, they now waited in a strange line, the pile of chosen clothes on the counter in front of them. "What do we wait for, Morgan?"
"We still have to pay."
Boromir blinked. As son of the Steward of Gondor, he had never been required to pay for anything he had desired. "I am sorry, Morgan. I do not have any gold."
It was Morgan's turn to blink disbelievingly. "We don't pay with gold," she whispered so that no one else would hear. "Don't worry. I'll take care of it."
Their turn had come, and the checkout girl eyed them with a incredulous gaze. Here was a girl, buying her boyfriend clothing?!
Morgan's bank account now $200 lighter, they walked out of the store, and Boromir sighed. "Are we to return home, now?"
Morgan smiled. "We're just getting started! C'mon!" she said, pulling him further into the mall abyss.
Boromir felt more at ease in Eddie Bauer. The clothing seemed more crisp to him, and finely cut. Morgan also noticed the finer price tags, too. However, she knew he was starting from scratch, so it was a bullet worth biting.
He effortlessly chose a red jacket, brown oxford shoes, and two button down shirts. Smiling, he turned to Morgan and said, "Would these aid in my concealment?"
"They're great," Morgan replied, again willingly picking up the tab.
Bags in hand they left the store, and it was now Boromir who reached out, grasping Morgan's hand. He would not dare look at her, lest she tease his tender heart. Yet, she said naught, and they strode silently onward.
Each had been deep in thought. So much so, they bumped right into a little person, who had a shaved head and braided goatee. "Watch where you're going!" the little man said fiercely, and Morgan was quick to apologize. Boromir merely gaped at the strange Dwarf, and turned to Morgan. "I had not thought you had Dwarves here!"
Without warning, the little person ruthlessly kicked Boromir in the shin, causing him to shout out in pain.
"I'm so sorry!" Morgan said to the stranger. "He's not from around here. Honestly, he doesn't know any better," she expressed, red-faced and mortified.
The little man eyed Boromir disdainfully, and then walked away in a huff.
Boromir gazed at Morgan, saying, "Why should you beg pardon from him, when I am the one attacked?" However, he took an instinctive step backward when she glared at him with a countenance of pure fury.
"I've never been so embarrassed! What are you doing calling a stranger insulting names?!"
Boromir could not help but be much taken aback. "I had no intention of causing insult. Is that not the name of his race?"
Morgan shuttered again, and just said, "Okay, just shut up. We can't talk about it here. You'll get beat up."
She grabbed his hand again, but without the savouring sensation felt before.
- - -
So much excitement during the day, Morgan had suggested a quiet evening instead of their usual movie or game of Yahtzee, which Boromir had quickly grown so fond of.
They sat on the couch facing inwardly toward each other, their noses each buried in a book. Moglie whimpered in his sleep on the rug, while Penny sat directly beside Boromir, whom she had quietly adopted as her own.
Boromir turned another page of his small, worn book. Morgan had recommended Shakespeare to him, and he read 'Hamlet' with an enthusiastic thirst. Morgan had been delving deeply into 'The Overactive Imagination of Olivia Joules', but somehow couldn't get into it tonight. She and Boromir had each been glancing at each other from over their books, until at last, Morgan ruthlessly shoved her bookmark into the binding, and dropped it on the floor with a thud. "Alright. I give up. Tell me about the little people, or...Dwarves," she said, though it felt like a dirty word.
"Do you not call them Dwarves?" Boromir said, placing his book likewise on the floor.
"They don't like it," she said, feeling again as though she were explaining to a child. "It's...not a nice name."
"Oh. It is not so in Middle Earth. They are a race different to us."
"Okay, but it's not like that here. They're not a different race. They're people. We're all just...people."
Boromir nodded. The Dwarf had been oddly hairless, Boromir thought. It was no more a Hobbit than a Dwarf, and so Boromir surmised that such little people must be central to this location of country. "It was not my intention to cause any offence. Not to you, or the...little person."
Instantly softening her demeanor, Morgan said, "No worries. So, you have Dwarves in Gondor?"
"Not in Gondor, for the Dwarves dwell in the mountain halls far in the north. I had thought the little man perhaps a Hobbit, but he did not seem so pleasant as the Hobbits of my friendship."
"What's a Hobbit?"
"No Hobbits in Maine?" Morgan shook her head, so Boromir continued. He could not help but smile, remembering his little friends. "They are a stout-hearted little people, who bring a warmth even on the coldest of days. They can carry such heavy burdens and are not meant for war or battle, yet still have mirth and light in their hearts. I have known four in my lifetime, and gladly call them friends."
"What do they look like?"
"They appear like children at first glance, curly haired, and short in stature. However, they have a jubilant playfulness, and an endless desire for food that cannot help but cheer one despite the grimmest of hours. You have none here by that nature?"
"No, unfortunately." Morgan shook her head. It was beginning to sound like a fairy tale. "Um, what other people live in Middle Earth?"
But Boromir was quickly cut short. "Elves?!" Morgan cried. "Don't tell me! They're also little men, with long white beards, and they make toys for good little children?"
Boromir sat horrified. What Legolas would say to hear Morgan's account of the Elves... "Nay. I know not what Elves are in your land, but in mine, they could not be more dissimilar! Elves are...mysterious. Long ago, Men and Elves were once allies, yet it is no more. We are not enemies, but estranged from one another. I have only known one Elf well in my lifetime, and yet, I feel as though I hardly knew him at all."
"What was he like?"
"Tall and thin...graceful and elegant...wise, and cautious. Legolas was an Elf of outstanding ability, yet quiet and inward."
"Tall? Really? Elves are...tall?" Boromir nodded affirmative, and Morgan said, "So, you have Dwarves, Hobbits, and Elves in Middle Earth. Are there any unicorns?" She had not the heart to ask about fairies or leprechauns.
Boromir furrowed his brow. "What are unicorns?"
"No, huh? Never mind. What about trolls?"
"Aye, have you trolls too?"
"Only in Fairy Tales."
"What are Fairy Tales?"
"You know, children's stories about creatures that..." she stopped dead, not being able to say, 'don't really exist.' Yet, Boromir sat waiting. "Uh, you know. Stories about mythical creatures. Dwarves, elves, trolls, goblins..."
"Aye, there are Goblins, too, though they are known to us as Orcs."
"'Kay, I haven't heard of Orcs. Are they bad?"
"They most fulsome beasts ever to be conceived," Boromir said with much wrath. "They run rampant in my land, and with a destructive thirst, kill and destroy everything good in their path. For generations it has been this way. We fight back, only to have them strengthen even more, and slaughter our armies, or burn our villages. Every year there are more and more. The army grows so greatly that we know we cannot hold it's forces back much longer. Osgiliath, a city in my country; do you recall? Once noble and beautiful, it now lies beaten and in ruins. My father looks to me to drive back our greatest foe, and I will do it, yet I know I cannot defeat them. More and more shall come. My men die, my people lose hope, and there is no dawn."
Boromir shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Had he remained too long in this wilderness? Weeks have already passed since his release from captivity, and he had not even begun to search for a route back to Middle Earth.
"Boromir, what's wrong?"
Boromir gazed at her, and knew well the reason for his delay. It had been her. Every moment with her had been his joy, his one true happiness. Recalling his failed duty merely reminded him of the hopelessness of his land and people. He had failed them, and whatever for? A lady beyond his measure, who may never grow to love him?
He rose, his face abash, and avoided her gaze. "Morgan, I am sorry. I recollect a duty that was not right to cast aside..."
Morgan stood and quickly seized both of his hands. He was obviously in great distress. He had spoken with so much spirit and heartache. She didn't doubt him anymore. He was telling the truth.
"Boromir, listen to me. I know you're feeling guilty. I know you want to help, but how? We don't even know how you got here. We don't even know where Middle Earth is!"
"It is my duty. I must go back." He closed his eyes, nervously running his fingers through his hair. "I've lingered to long... My father, of what will he say? Osgiliath burns, Minis Tirith is in peril, and yet I delay! Cannot you fathom my torment, Morgan? All will be destroyed if I do not return!"
"Then, what have you been waiting for?"
Boromir looked away, embarrassed. He dared not speak. He dared not even look at her, for she would quickly see through his thin guise and discern his true feeling.
Regardless, she did not have to look into his eyes to know whom he had stayed for. Without another word, she reached out to him, wrapping her arms around his strong back, and lay her head on his mighty chest. He sighed, and could not contend with his heart's desire. Go he must, but he could not refuse his love for her. Enclosing his arms about her, he closed his eyes in an enrapturing embrace.
Author's Note: Thank you so much for all the feedback last chapter!!! Must I continue to beg?
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.