As Boromir approached the shore, he was relieved to hear the sound of voices; his foolish fear that he had been left behind had been groundless. He would have an opportunity to set things right with the Fellowship after all. No doubt they were very angry with him after hearing Frodo's report of his betrayal, but it was no more than he deserved, and he would bear it. All he wanted now was to see Frodo again and beg his forgiveness.
Boromir paused at the edge of the wooded area that separated the beach from the taller trees of the forest, to listen to what was being said.
"...the fate of the burden is on him," Aragorn was saying. "It is not our part to drive him one way or another, nor would we succeed if we tried. There are other forces at work here, far stronger...."
"Well, I wish Frodo would come back and let us get it over!" Pippin interrupted. "This waiting is horrible. Surely the time is up?"
"Yes," said Aragorn. "The hour is long past. The morning is wearing away. We must call for him."
Boromir's heart sank in dismay. Frodo had not yet returned? How could that be? What was to be done now? His resolve to face the others wavered. All the imagined explanations and apologies he had rehearsed in his mind were useless now, for they had been contingent upon Frodo's declaration of what had passed between them. He had never thought it would be easy to own up to what he had done, but to confess now when they had no inkling of any such betrayal was infinitely daunting! Even so, it must be done. He could not turn back now. He would face them.
Boromir drew in a deep breath and stepped forward out of the trees. He walked towards the others without speaking.
"Ah, Boromir!" remarked Aragorn. "We were just wondering where you were."
"I am sorry if you were concerned for me," replied Boromir. "I... I felt the need to be alone for a time."
"Has something happened?" Aragorn questioned, stepping forward to lay a hand on Boromir's arm. "Your look is grim and sad. Is all well with you?"
Before Boromir could reply, a look of alarm crossed Aragorn's face.
"Or is it Frodo?" Aragorn said urgently. "He has been gone too long; has something happened to him and you have learned of it? Have you seen him?"
Boromir nodded heavily.
"Yes, I have seen him. I... I met him by chance in the woods while I was wandering. We spoke together of the choice he had to make. I... urged him to go to Minas Tirith, but he said no. I pressed him, but he would not listen."
Boromir hesitated. No one spoke, though he thought he heard a stifled sound of dismay from Sam.
"He would not listen," he repeated with a sigh. "For good reason! I know that now. I grew angry with him. Very angry. I... I threatened him...."
There were gasps all around, and Aragorn's hand on his arm gripped him tightly. "That does not sound like you, Boromir," he said, fear growing in his voice. "To threaten a friend..."
Boromir looked Aragorn full in the face and did not flinch. "It is not like me, perhaps -- but I did it, nonetheless. I threatened him, and he ran from me. He put on the Ring and disappeared."
"Oh, no!" cried Sam. "Put on the Ring? He ought'nt to have done that!"
The others stared at Boromir, aghast and at a loss for words. Boromir gazed back at them sorrowfully, considering what he should say next. When next he spoke, his words began haltingly, but then flowed more and more quickly as he poured out what was in his heart.
"The Ring," he said, shaking his head. "I was the one who understood it the least of anyone. For me, it was only a weapon to be used against my great enemy. No matter that it had been made by his hand -- what harm could it do me? Am I not Boromir son of Denethor, proud heir to the Stewardship, strong warrior who fears nothing and stands against any evil? I was ripe for the taking...."
"So it was the Ring!" Aragorn said sadly. "It drew you with its evil power…."
"Yes," replied Boromir. "The Ring took me, easily! I fear it has been working on me for some time, though I did not realize it until after I had already fallen. But that does not reduce the blame I must bear for seeking to harm Frodo. Yes, I did mean to harm him. I wanted him to give me the Ring, and when he refused, I would have done anything at that moment to take it from him. All my years of service to my people, my talk of duty and honor, valor and stewardship... they were nothing in the face of my desire to have the Ring and use it. I was prepared to take it by force from a defenseless friend whom I had sworn to protect, who was expecting nothing but kindness from me!"
Boromir shook his head as tears began to flow. "And for what?" he groaned. "A magical trinket, a piece of jewelry! No matter that I thought it a weapon of great power, that I thought it would give me what I needed to save my City and cast down Sauron!"
As he spoke, an image flashed clear before his eyes, of himself as Frodo must have seen him in that moment -- eyes burning with desire, face twisted with anger and hate. He shuddered and covered his face with his hands, no longer taking notice of those around him.
"I can still see the visions the Ring showed me -- myself as a ruler of men, benevolent and wise, strong against all that threatens my people. But a ruler of men must protect his people, not harm them! But now I have done just that -- I turned to harming instead of protecting. In my pride and convinced of my right, I used my strength to try to gain the advantage over a small one, one who trusted me! I have seen death, defeat and fearsome battle, but nothing compares to that look of bewilderment on Frodo's face and the terror in his eyes!"
Looking up, Boromir saw stares of dismay, and faces written with anger, fear and pity.
"He trusted me, and I failed him!" Boromir cried. "I would do anything now to erase what I have done, to make it as if it had never been. If only..."
Boromir passed his hand over his face and sighed heavily. "No," he continued sternly. "There is no 'if only.' It happened and I cannot change that. I hurt Frodo, and betrayed you all. I cannot restore the trust we had before; I can only do my best to make it up to him -- to you -- if that is even possible. I do not expect you to forgive me, but I beg you! Please let me continue to serve you!"
The whole time Aragorn had not loosened his hold on Boromir's arm; now he let his hand fall with a sigh.
"This is a hard thing, for all of us! I do not know what to say. This is unexpected... and yet it should not have been. Did we think the Ring was only at work on Frodo? Now we know better."
Aragorn sighed again. "We will speak of this further, Boromir. But now, we must take thought for Frodo. He is in danger while he wears the Ring, and could draw danger towards us by wearing it. I fear the enemy is close by...."
Merry spoke up, alarmed. "He wouldn't keep the Ring on once he was out of harm's way, would he?"
"Why hasn't he come back?" worried Pippin. "He's been gone ages!"
"How long since you saw Frodo last, Boromir?" asked Aragorn.
"At least an hour," he answered. "I searched long for him afterwards, to seek his forgiveness. I have wandered for some time since."
"An hour since he vanished!" shouted Sam. "That won't do at all! He could be anywhere by now, he might've done anything! We have to try and find him at once. Come on!"
"Wait!" cried Aragorn. "We must take thought for how to organize the search. The little ones should not go alone -- here, hold on! Wait!"
It was no use. No one was listening. Sam had already disappeared into the trees, Merry and Pippin following close behind. Gimli and Legolas were running as well, but Aragorn called after them sharply.
"Gimli! Legolas!" Aragorn called sharply. "Search for any signs of Frodo, but keep the young Hobbits in sight if you can. If there are Orcs about, they will be in danger if they are alone! Come back here if you discover anything."
Gimli raised a hand in acknowledgment and then they were gone.
"I hope we shall not be scattered and lost!" groaned Aragorn.
"I am sorry it has come to this," Boromir said sadly. "It is my fault. But I am here and ready to aid you, if you trust me to help you search..."
Aragorn grasped Boromir by the shoulders. "Look at me, Boromir."
Boromir lifted his eyes to meet Aragorn's gaze. Aragorn looked at him long and searchingly, but at last the fear in his eyes receded. He shook his head sorrowfully.
"I am sorry for my part in this, Boromir," he said sadly. "I gave little heed to your struggle, even though I knew the Ring to be at work within our Company. I have felt its call myself."
"But you did not yield."
"No… no, I did not. But I understand the burden of it. Yet I gave no thought for how it might be affecting you. If I had...."
"No!" interrupted Boromir. "Do not attempt to take any blame for this, Aragorn. It helps to know that you suffered as I have done, yet I am still the one who yielded, where you did not. I am the one who opened myself to temptation and walked down that path. But no more! I will go that way no longer. I abjure the Ring!"
"I believe you!" answered Aragorn. "Your eyes speak clearly of what is in your heart, and I see no deception or evil desire there. As shocking as this tale of betrayal has been, I know I can trust you to help me now. We must find Frodo quickly, before harm befalls him. And the other Hobbits are also in danger, for they think only of Frodo, and will pay little heed to other dangers."
"Tell me what to do."
"I will head uphill, following Sam. Legolas and Gimli will keep the other Hobbits safe, if they can find them in the woods -- but I would feel better if you, too, would look out for them as you are able, while you search for Frodo. Above all watch for signs of Frodo. If you find him, bring him here and I will do the same."
All of Boromir's desire up until now had been bent on finding Frodo and seeking his forgiveness, but now the thought of facing him and bringing him back to the group caused his heart to fill with doubts.
"What if... what if Frodo will not heed me?" he said softly. "He may well run from me again...."
"It is possible, I know," replied Aragorn. "You will find a way to explain it to him, Boromir -- you must, for I fear there is no time to waste in making certain of Frodo's safety. If you have opportunity to speak to him as eloquently as you spoke just now before us, then I believe he will heed you and understand. More than anyone, he knows what it is to be drawn by the Ring."
"That is indeed my hope!"
"Go then, Boromir. I will meet you here soon."
Boromir nodded wordlessly, and leaped to obey.
Let them all be found, he thought as he ran. Let me not be too late….
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.