Author’s Note: I feel I’m on shaky ground, here… like I’m not doing a good job of keeping to the book. Please let me know if my telling of Boro and Dawn in Minas Tirith is ok, or if it needs work. Feels weak to me.
The Gift of Death, Part 19
“Should I be pleased or worried that you were devious enough to keep owning a house secret from your father all these years?” Dawn asked Boromir as she joined him in the back garden, kissing his forehead before seating herself at the table groaning from the weight of all manner of food, thanks to Pippin.
Pippin was trying to usher Boromir into a seat and press a loaded plate into the warrior’s hands. “I just can’t express how pleased I am to have a proper number of meals every day, and people to stuff them into!”
Boromir cast the Hobbit an amused glance before turning back to Dawn. He’d slept for two full days, bathed, shaved, and eaten everything placed in front of him and looked so handsome she was hard-pressed not to push him into one of the bedrooms and indulge in a major make-out session. As he smiled at her, leaning back in his chair with his dark-gold hair gleaming in the dappling of sunlight through the trees, he looked relaxed, and happy, if only for a short while until the brutalities of this war came back to them.
“You should be pleased,” he told her gravely. “If I were not devious, we would have had to beg Shadowfax and Timon to share their bit of straw in the stables, and Pippin here would not be able to stuff us with—what is this one, Pip, elevenses?”
Pippin rolled his eyes at the Gondorian’s ignorance. “Elevenses was, oddly enough, at eleven,” he told Boromir with a sniff. “It’s now half-one, and we’re having luncheon.” And he foisted a laden plate on Dawn, who took it happily.
“I don’t know what this stuff is,” she mentioned around a mouthful of lumpy brown goo, “but it kicks ass.”
“Kicking ass means it’s good?” Pippin asked cautiously, and at her nod, blushed with pleasure. “We call it pottage. It’s naught but beef cut small, moistened with a dab of cream sauce, flavored with herbs, and thickened with a few toasted breadcrumbs.”
Dawn followed the pottage with a generous helping of salad, an apple, two slices of thickly buttered bread, and a huge wedge of pie, washing it all down with a tall mug of sweet mead. When she was done, she collapsed back against her chair and sighed in satisfaction. “Pippin, if I weren’t already in love with Boromir, I’d marry you.”
The halfling blushed so hard the tips of his ears looked like they’d burst into flame, but before he could reply a sound echoed above them and stole the words from his lips—the arcing, echoing cry he had heard last back in the Shire as he and the other Hobbits had fled from an unimaginable evil.
“Nazgûl,” he whispered, and the sound of his own voice speaking the name sent a shudder up his spine.
Boromir had been lounging in his chair, tilting it back onto its two rear legs; now he snapped it upright and leapt to his feet. Leading the way, he dashed from the garden and down the street to the wall surround this fifth level of the city. shielding his eyes against the sun’s glare, he gazed out over the fields of Pelennor below. “Eru,” he breathed in dismay.
Dawn couldn’t see a thing; she groped in her pocket for her sunglasses and perched them on her nose before looking where he was pointing. Pippin hopped up and down, but couldn’t see a thing; she lifted him to sit like a child on her hip and he too gasped in shock.
Circling in mid-air just out of bowshot were no fewer than five black flying… things… that looked like massive, hideous, cruel vultures. And just like vultures, they were circling something that caught their interest.
“Can you see, there?” the Hobbit demanded. “Men on horses!” Another piercing shriek rent the air around them, and Boromir looked torn between embracing Dawn, who was starting to look nauseous from the sheer nastiness emanating from the Nazgûl, and dashing through the tiers of the city to help the approaching riders.
Then a horn sounded, and he blanched. “That is Faramir’s horn,” he whispered. “I must go to him.”
“I’m coming too,” she insisted, and he grabbed her hand and began pelting down the street, wending their way through one gate after another, Dawn with one arm wrapped around her waist to settle her stomach and Pippin running frantically to keep up with them.
‘Open the gates!” roared Gandalf as he clattered out of the stables on Shadowfax, just as Boromir and Dawn dashed around the last corner. Speeding by, the wizard grasped Dawn by the arm and swept her behind him onto the Meara’s back. “Hold tight!” he cried, and as her fiancé and Pippin stared in horror, they flew as if on the same wings as the Nazgûl to meet Faramir and his companions, who now rode with frantic haste toward the haven of Minas Tirith’s strong walls.
“Stay here!” Dawn screamed at Boromir as they bolted past him.
He didn’t waste a moment, but ran for the stables and grabbed the first horse he could lay hand to, and took a running leap onto its back before wheeling out of the courtyard and following Gandalf and Dawn.
Dawn blinked a hank of Gandalf’s long white hair out of her eyes for the third time before tiring of it and stuffing the mass of it down the back of his grey cloak. Her own hair was streaming behind her, and the wind stung her eyes. Goddamn this horse was fast! The powerful shifting of his muscles under her, the motion of his legs as they ate up the ground and bore them swiftly toward her future brother-in-law was astonishing.
“Why did you grab me?” she asked, shouting to be heard over the increasingly loud cries of the Nazgûl’s flying creature thingies, and wishing she didn’t need to clutch him with both hands to stay on Shadowfax, so she could hug her gross-feeling belly. “I’m not well. I feel all oogy.”
They were bearing down now, just as the Nazgûl were, and the glint of sun on metal told Dawn that Faramir and the others had drawn their swords.
“Do you remember when we met in Fangorn?” Gandalf hollered back at her, and now it was his beard that slapped her in the face. Spitting it out, she grunted in the affirmative. “I said I would help you with being the Key. That time has now come.”
She wanted to ask him more, but there was no time; Gandalf had placed them between the Nazgûl and Faramir’s group; those five knew instinctively to make for the city, and Dawn looked back to watch their progress. She was not at all surprised to see Boromir riding hell-for-leather toward them, his mount lagging far behind the magnificent Shadowfax. She hoped he’d be smart and help his brother back to Minas Tirith instead of joining her and Gandalf; she had no idea what the wizard had in mind but she was fairly certain it would be dangerous.
Then she sighed, for after shouting instructions to Faramir, her boyfriend (who she was totally going to yell at later) started riding toward them again. “Great, we’re not even married yet and already he’s not listening to me,” she grumbled.
Her attention was drawn from Boromir, however, when one of the Nazgûl swung in an ominous arc toward them, the jaws of his airborne mount wide and dripping saliva as it screeched its soul-piercing cry. Gandalf moved then, faster than any old guy had a right to, Dawn thought; he grabbed her left hand with his, and dug his fingernail into the soft flesh of her palm until it drew blood. Crying more from surprise than pain, Dawn struggled to free herself from his grip but he was inexorable.
The moment the first drop of blood fell into the air, a pinpoint of green light appeared, and with the second drop, it grew. By the third drop it was the size of a plum; with the fourth, an apple; with the fifth, a good-sized grapefruit, and just large enough for Gandalf to put his hand through.
He released her then, and plunged his left hand into the flat, shimmering glow of green while the right he held, palm-out, toward the advancing Nazgûl in what Dawn privately called ‘the Supremes position’. “Stop in the name of love!” she shouted, then began giggling.
Gandalf shot her a puzzled, and exasperated, glance even as a column of white light, purer even than Shadowfax’s shining coat and crackling with immense power, sliced through the air toward their foe. The flying beast wailed and swerved, and apparently the whole group of them decided then that discretion was the better part of valour, for they flapped their mighty black wings and rose in lazy corkscrews until they vanished into a dark, ominous cloud hovering above.
Gandalf remained there, his posture stiff and tense, until he was sure the sound of their wingbeats had faded to the east, over the river and mountains. Then he relaxed and Dawn took it as her cue to tumble from Shadowfax, clutch her middle, bend over, and puke up all the luncheon she had only just ingested in a spectacular display of projectile vomiting.
Boromir, who had just reached them, pulled his horse up sharply. “Urgh,” he said, or something like it. The delicately green tint to his face said he wasn’t a very good nurse where queasy patients were concerned. “Gandalf, you will help her, will you not?”
Gandalf was cleaning the small smear of Dawn’s blood from his hand, and barely glanced up to shoot them an amused smirk before resuming his task.
Dawn was a most unappealing shade of mint herself, and she frowned at Boromir. “If you can’t handle me being nauseous, what are you gonna do when I have morning sickness?”
“Morning sickness?” he asked faintly. “What is that?”
“It’s the daily fun-time when a woman is pregnant. During her first few months, she barfs like every day.” She stomped over to him and held up her arm for him to help her mount behind him.
“You mean to do this every day, when you are breeding?” Now Boromir was pale, as well as green, and pointedly ignoring her outstretched hand.
“Not like I’d want to,” she said grumpily, waggling her fingers in his face. “And don’t call it breeding; sounds like something you do with poodles.” He frowned, and she could almost hear him think, What are poodles? She sighed. “Just help me up, Mr. Pesty.”
He eyed her with trepidation. “You will not be sick again?”
“And if I were?” Dawn demanded testily. “You gonna leave me out here to walk back alone?”
Now it was Boromir’s turn to sigh. “You know I would not.” He grasped her arm at last, settling her behind him. “And I do not think I like that nickname.”
“If you are quite finished, Mr. Pesty?” Gandalf inquired politely. “I believe you would like to speak with your brother, would you not?” He ignored the sour look Boromir leveled on him, because he was grinning too hard.
When they returned to the city, they learned that Faramir had gone immediately in to Denethor to report on his activities during the past ten days of his absence from Minas Tirith. Gandalf insisted upon joining them immediately and stalked off, his face set grimly. Boromir and Dawn, meanwhile, returned to his house, where she set about brushing her teeth for a half-hour straight.
“Finally,” she said with relief when she exited the small bathing chamber off her bedroom, to find a strange but eerily familiar-looking man sitting before the fire with Boromir. Must be Faramir, she thought, because he resembled her honey so closely she could almost think they were twins.
Both men stood and Boromir took her hand, smiling warmly at her before turning to his brother. “This is Dawn,” he told Faramir proudly. “We are betrothed.”
Faramir reached for her free hand, pressing a brief kiss of greeting to it, studying her all the while. His hair was darker than Boromir’s, and his eyes were a lighter blue, and he had grown a full, short beard while his brother merely possessed a goatee, but the resemblance was uncanny. “You two must get your looks from your mother,” she blurted out, then gasped in horror, mentally kicking herself. Stupid, stupid, she chastised, but they only laughed.
“Indeed we did,” Faramir replied, and smiled, then greeted Gandalf as the wizard and Pippin entered the room.
“How fared your meeting with our father?” Boromir asked, his eyes hardening.
Faramir turned away then, his back to the others as he stared into the crackling flames in the hearth. “He is as venomous as usual,” he murmured bluntly. “He feels Gandalf has poisoned you against him. He wished it had been me who had joined the Fellowship in your place, so you would still be ruling by his side, and I would be the one exiled from the house of Denethor.”
There was a brief, horrified silence before Gandalf spoke, his voice rumbling in the darkening room. “In other news, however, Frodo and Sam still live, and are well on their way to Mount Doom.”
“Oh, good,” Dawn replied with heartfelt relief. She’d worried quite a bit about them ever since they’d parted from the rest of the Fellowship. “How’s Frodo doing?”
Faramir’s expression turned even more grave, somehow. “It strains him deeply,” he answered. “I fear for him. Glad I am, though, that Sam stays by his side. He is ever a stalwart ally.”
Boromir grinned down at Pippin. “Hobbits are a hardy race, it would seem, and a loyal one.” he said. “We cannot make this one go away, no matter how we try.”
“If you would have me take my leave, milord, you have only to say,” replied that halfling stiffly, only to eep in surprise when Dawn caught him up in her arms and hugged him fiercely.
“You’re not going anywhere!” she declared. “Who’s gonna feed me if you leave?”
“You really should put him down now,” Boromir told her, trying not to laugh. “Tis not proper to maul a Hobbit.”
“You’re just jealous that he’s getting snuggles and you’re not,” Dawn accused, leaning over Pippin to plant a kiss on Boromir’s chin.
“Yes,” he agreed blandly. “I am jealous Pippin, indeed. If only you would pick me up like a child and kiss me chastely! Ah, how happy I would be!” He clasped his hands dramatically over his heart and heaved an exaggerated sigh, fluttering his eyelashes.
Dawn set Pippin down and took a few steps until she was only a hair’s breadth away from Boromir. “You,” she informed him, “are a drama queen.”
He frowned. “I do not know what that is, but it does not sound good,” he said, and glowered a little at her, his gaze intent on her face, turned up to him. Gandalf gave Faramir and Pippin a credible smirk and motioned for them to follow him out; he and Pippin would find other lodgings for that night.
“It means that you love making a big deal out nothing, that you like causing a scene,” Dawn told him, a faint sigh escaping as his arms came around her and pulled her tightly against him. She slid her hands up the broad plane of his chest to encircle his neck, and she delved her fingers into the thick, curling locks at the nape of his neck, shivering a little at the low growl that came from his throat at her actions.
“And if I do?” he asked, nipping with strong white teeth along the line of her throat. “Then what?” And his hands roamed down her back to cup her backside in his hands and lift her snugly against him.
She did not answer; dazed blue eyes stared at him when he pulled back to see her response. “Huh?” she asked, voice slurred with desire.
Boromir only smiled down at her, and placed a kiss at each corner of her mouth. “I love you,” he said. “Are you sure you are ready to lie with me? Because if we do not stop this soon, I will ravish you to within an inch of your life, sweet.”
She grinned impishly up at him. “Would that be a promise, then?” And she raised up on tiptoes and planted a deep, passionate kiss on him that he returned with great enthusiasm, not breaking it even when he swung her up into his arms and carried her into his bedchamber. “I just love it when you take charge, you man, you,” she gasped when he tossed her to the bed and shut the door behind him before beginning to remove his layers of tunics.
And Boromir just grinned back at her, eyes gleaming.