Boromir knelt beside the wounded Frodo, who lay with his eyes closed, wincing from time to time due to pain. Boromir removed his cloak, and rolling it up, carefully tucked it under Frodo's head to serve as a cushion and to hold his head in place. Checking him over meticulously, Boromir made note of every cut and bruise, blood-encrusted and swollen. Frodo's limbs and head had borne the worst of the damage. Thankfully, the mail shirt he wore had protected him from hurt to his vitals.
"Can you tell me what happened, Frodo?" Boromir asked as he drew out a flask of water, poured some into his hand and gently began to wash the hobbit's face clean of blood. "Do you remember how you hurt your leg?"
"I... I'm not really sure how I fell." Frodo's brow furrowed as he concentrated on trying to remember. "It seems hazy... I remember the orcs surprising us, Sam shouting. The orcs were trying to capture us, we both fought them off... I was struggling with one of them, then the next thing I remember is waking up. I was on the ground, Sam beside me. You were fighting... I don't really remember falling, but I must have. My head... feels odd...."
Frodo turned his head as if to test his statement, and groaned. Boromir grasped Frodo's face between his hands and held his head steady.
"Look at me, Frodo," he said. "Open your eyes as wide as you can and look straight at me."
Frodo obeyed, and slowly opened his eyes.
"Good," said Boromir. "Now hold your head still and do as I tell you. Keep your eyes open and continue to look at me." Cupping his hands, Boromir placed them on either side of Frodo's eyes, and held them there briefly before quickly removing them. He did this several times, all the while gazing into the hobbit's eyes. "Now look to the right, then to the left, without turning your head. Is there pain when you move your eyes? Can you see clearly?"
Frodo's voice was faint when he spoke. "It's hard to focus... The light is too bright at times, and other times dim. It doesn't really hurt to move my eyes, but... well, when I look to the side, I see flashes of color. It... it makes me feel ill when I do that."
"Close your eyes then, Frodo," Boromir said soothingly. "Keep them closed if that is more comfortable for you, but do not sleep. It is important that you do not sleep just yet."
Frodo smiled weakly. "I doubt I'll feel like sleeping any time soon. The pain in my leg will help with that!"
"Later, you may not find that pain to be enough to keep you from slumber," Boromir replied. "But Sam is here and he will help you stay awake. Do what you need to do to accomplish that, Sam, short of shaking Frodo. He must be kept very still."
"Yes, sir, Mr. Boromir, sir!" Sam drew closer to Frodo and laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. "What's wrong with him, Boromir? Is that cut on his head bad, then?"
"No, not so bad," answered Boromir. "The blood from that wound is fearsome-looking, but the cut is not deep and will mend quickly and cleanly, I deem. But the blow to his head from the fall must have been quite jarring. I fear Frodo has a concussion."
"Is that why you were checking his eyes like that?"
"Indeed. By doing so, I could tell that his eyes were not focusing as they should -- a sign of a concussion. His description of flashing colors and troubling brightness and dimness are also indications of that kind of injury. Add to that the fact that Frodo's speech is slow and labored at times, and he has difficulty recalling what happened. He seems to have lost consciousness after the blow, too, if only briefly. I am certain that Frodo is concussed."
"Earlier you seemed to be sayin' you only knew a little first aid. You sure do seem to know a lot about such things, even so," Sam said in awe. "Are you sure you aren't really a healer after all?"
"No, I am no healer," Boromir laughed. "But I have seen many men wounded and later cared for by the best healers Gondor has to offer. One such healer often travels with my company. His skill is very great, and he never loses an opportunity to instruct those around him while he is applying that healing skill. Even the Captain-General of Gondor is but a student to him -- and often as not, a patient!"
Frodo stirred, but did not open his eyes as he spoke. "Have you ever had a concussion, Boromir?"
"Yes, I have -- when I was a child. I was climbing a tree, and was careless about placing my feet; I fell and landed badly. I was forced to stay in bed for a week, as I recall. Normally, it would have been a hard punishment for me to be abed for so long, but I still remember how sick I felt as a result of that blow to the head! So you see, Frodo, I can definitely sympathize with what you are feeling right now. And I can speak with authority about how important it is for you to stay still for the time being."
"I believe you!" Frodo murmurred. "But it's getting to be more and more difficult... I must be laying on a stone or something, it's boring into my back! I've just begun to notice... Do you think I could move just a little to be free of it?"
"Of course!" exclaimed Boromir. "But you must let me do the moving; it is your part to lay still and relax. I will do my best not to hurt you too much, though I fear there is no way we can move you without some pain to you."
"It's all right," replied Frodo. "Please go ahead."
"Sam," Boromir directed, "when I lift Frodo's head, I want you to take my cloak and put it back under Frodo after I have him comfortably situated."
Sam nodded, and positioned himself ready to grab up the rolled cloak. Leaning over Frodo, Boromir placed his arm under his shoulders and lifted him up slightly. As he did so, Frodo's shirt gaped open, and the Ring on its chain slipped out, winking brightly as a ray of sunlight shone upon it. Sam gasped and froze in place, but Frodo made no sound, fixing his gaze on Boromir's face as the Gondorian stared at the Ring. Frowning, Boromir watched as the Ring glittered and glowed seductively, sliding slowly towards him across Frodo's chest as the hobbit stirred in his arms.
"So!" Boromir addressed the Ring, his voice filled with irritation. "Trying to tempt me again, are you? Alas for you, I am no longer interested. Keep your golden glittering out of sight!" Reaching forth, Boromir grasped the Ring and quickly tucked it back under Frodo's shirt. He looked up to see Frodo smiling at him and Sam wiping his brow in relief.
"Well done!" said Frodo softly. "Did... did you feel anything when you touched it?"
"Nothing," replied Boromir, shaking his head. "I suppose that is rather surprising, come to think of it. Only a few short hours ago, to touch it was all I wanted, even though it would have been the end of me! But now... I felt its weight, nothing more."
Sam released a huge pent-up sigh and looked at Boromir thoughtfully. "You could have had the Ring fair and square right then -- it was offering itself to you sure as anything!" he observed slowly. "But... well, I'm guessin' you've been tellin' the truth about not caring about the Ring no more, if you can let it go so easy."
Boromir scowled at the bulge in Frodo's shirt where the Ring now lay hidden, but when he turned back to Sam, he was smiling. "I am indeed telling the truth, Sam. It may seem strange that it should be as easy as that, but knowing what I know now and having made my decision, rejecting that offer is the only course of action possible. I am glad the wretched thing gave me this opportunity to prove that to you, at least for now. I rather doubt you are fully convinced, even yet. Am I right?"
Sam looked abashed, but then met Boromir's gaze squarely. "You're right, sir, beggin' your pardon. I want to trust you all the way, but it don't come easy just yet. You mean well, I know that -- but the Ring is big and it got you before, right? Still, you do mean well, and you were strong against it just now. And that's enough to go on with, if you know what I mean."
Boromir nodded. "I do know what you mean, Sam, and I welcome that much trust from you, as I welcome your eye upon me. It will be easier to walk the straight path knowing you are on the watch for any slipping."
"I'll watch for that, sir, to be sure!" Sam replied, looking both relieved and determined at the same time.
"Thank you, Sam," Boromir said with a smile. "Now then, let us get Frodo settled so I can have a look at that leg of his!" He spoke lightly, but he had already taken note of the leg's awkward angle and the white look of pain on Frodo's face that no amount of gentle treatment could ease. Sam had seen it, too, and could not hide his concern as he carefully replaced the cushioning cloak under Frodo's head. Boromir laid Frodo back down and resumed his examination of the hobbit's wounds. His face darkened as he slowly straightened Frodo's leg, gently feeling along the length of it for signs of broken bones.
"Is it pretty bad?" Sam asked, watching Frodo's strained face with a worried grimace.
"I fear it is pretty bad, Sam," Boromir answered with a sigh. "His lower leg is most definitely broken, here below the knee. It seems to be a clean enough break with no puncturing of the skin, but even so it is bad. Even once the bone is set, he must not put any weight upon it for some time lest it be damaged beyond repair and Frodo end up crippled because of it. I assure you, I am not a healer, but I have seen broken bones before and I know this much, at least. It is likely his ankle, too, has been hurt -- if not broken, then badly strained."
"Shall I fetch wood for splinting?" Sam asked, looking around the clearing for branches that might serve.
"That would be good, Sam," Boromir nodded. "Gather what you can, but do not stray out of sight in your search, and do not spend much time at it. It is just as important for you to stay by Frodo's side to keep him awake as it is to gather wood. I think I will not set the splint myself, however; I will leave that for Aragorn when he comes. The setting of this bone calls for better skill than mine, I fear."
"Will they come soon do you think?" Sam wondered.
"I will call for them," Boromir said, rising to his feet. "If I sound the Horn of Gondor, it will bring the others here to our aid. Frodo needs Aragorn's care, and we need to decide as a Fellowship how to proceed. Frodo's wounding has changed everything."
"What... what do you mean?" stammered Sam.
Boromir sighed heavily. "Frodo's injuries are serious -- both the concussion and his broken leg will take some time to heal. That will delay the Quest at a time when delay is most to be avoided."
"But what else can we do?" cried Sam. "The Quest can't continue without Mr. Frodo!"
"I know, Sam, I know." Boromir sighed again. "But let us not fall into despair just yet. When Aragorn comes, he will see to Frodo and then we can take counsel. Go now, gather wood for splinting, while I call the others to us."
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.