Author’s Note: Another 3k+ chapter, they seem to be gradually getting longer. Lime alert. Boro n’ Dawn lime, to be specific. Tell me if it’s hot, or if it’s not.


Just in case you’re wondering what my ‘mood’ music is for naughty scenes: Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber. None better, darlings… I’ve never in my life heard anything that sounds more like a musical representation of the act of lovemaking: gradually, relentlessly building to a sweetly piercing climax and then drifting softly down to that muzzy realm of deep satisfaction, breathless and complete… ah, good stuff, darlings, good stuff. I recommend it whole-heartedly. Especially when thinking about Haldir, or Sean Bean, or Haldir, or Spike. Or perhaps Haldir.


Trying to do something a little artsy with this chapter, at the end specifically with all the switcheroo of the scenes; tell me what you think: affected, or effective?


The Gift of Death, Part 20


Two days later, in spite of the deepening of their relationship in a most delightful way, Dawn’s heart was heavy with fear. Denethor had sent Faramir out again, his only response to his son’s plea to think better of him when he came back being, “That depends on the manner of your return.” Boromir had wanted to go as well, but the younger brother had insisted he stay and protect Minas Tirith and Dawn. Seeing the wisdom in that, Boromir agreed, but grudgingly—he hated to miss a good fight.


Speculation was rife about Faramir and how he fared; it was no secret how Denethor scorned his younger son in favour of his elder, and now that Boromir had repudiated his birthright there were rumors flying left, right, and centre about whether the Steward of Gondor would simply replace one son with another, or if he would bend his proud knees and make the necessary apologies in order to mend the break between them.


The next day, a messenger came with word of a mighty force approaching Osgiliath from Minas Morgul, the tower at the foothills of the Mountains of Shadow that separated Gondor from Mordor. Worse even than that was the news that the Black Captain led them, and the spirits of the people of Minas Tirith dipped even lower.


When Gandalf heard how severely outnumbered Faramir was, he hied himself off to join the Man at once. Near frantic with apprehension, Boromir seemed to forget how he’d turned his back on his duties and spent almost all of his waking moments preparing, equipping, training, advising, and supporting the forces remaining at the White City, and Dawn and Pippin spent most of the night cuddled in thick blankets against each other on the wall, staring eastward.


“I don’t know what it will do to Boromir if Faramir is hurt, or killed,” she murmured, her cheek pressed to the Hobbit’s curly head. “He’s already freaking out, hardly sleeping or eating. I’m worried about him.”


“I don’t know what it will do to me,” Pippin sighed. “For just as Merry was struck with the nobility of Theoden, and pledged himself to the service of Rohan, I am likewise stricken. Faramir is a lord one follows to the death, so strong and wise is he, and…” he trailed off then, a little shy until Dawn poked him in the side. “I too have taken a vow.” She looked at him enquiringly. “A vow of fealty,” he clarified. “I am Faramir’s man, as Merry is Theoden’s, and would even now be at his side, but he insisted I stay here and protect you.” Pippin looked very morose indeed at this turn of events


 “Am I such bad company?” she griped teasingly, poking him again and making him squirm. Hobbits were, it turned out, very ticklish, and they nearly plummeted off the wall as Pippin struggled to escape their cocoon of blankets and her invading fingers.


“Say uncle!” Dawn insisted even as they tumbled backwards to land in the dusty road. “Say it!”


“Why… would I… say uncle?” Pippin demanded breathless his giggles. “What does… my uncle have.. to do… with anything? Or… my aunt, or my… great-grandfather, or my… third cousin twice-removed…” And so distracting her with his blabbering, he took advantage of her pondering to lunge on top and worm his hands under her arms, tickling her fiercely.


“Noooooooooooo!” Dawn shrieked, screaming with laughter. Footsteps ran up to them and stopped abruptly, and she and Pippin slowly stopped torturing each other and slumped back, exhausted and gasping. They looked up to see Boromir glaring crossly down at them, sword in his hand.


“Are you feeling better, then?” he asked dryly, resheathing his weapon and raising a dark-gold brow at her. She’d been uncharacteristically glum that morning when last he’d seen her, barely mustering some interest in the heated wake-up kiss he’d bestowed upon her.


“Besides terror about everyone’s safety and a general feeling of impending doom? Yeah, I’m not doing too bad.” she told him, standing and hoisting Pippin to his feet, then setting about dusting his small body off until he slapped her hands away. Grinning at her little friend, she stepped up to Boromir and more than made up for her lackluster smooching earlier that day.


“Bleh,” said Pippin at their display, and turned away to stare once more over the wall while the other two made their way back to their house for… some ‘alone time’.


Gandalf returned the next day with wounded men, but swiftly told Boromir that his brother was still in good health. The pinched look left the Man’s face then, and he was able to return to his tasks a little lighter of step. The wizard spent long hours closeted with Denethor, arguing about tactics and the need for a sortie from the city against Mordor’s forces. When at last he left the Steward, his bleak expression told all around him without words that Denethor was not thinking or acting wisely any longer.


Time passed. Still the everlasting night was upon them, and it was uncertain what was the hour of the day. Pippin was seemingly glued to his patch of wall, gazing toward the mountains of the east for some sign of Faramir, and it was his cry of fear that alerted them to the first onset of the enemy. As they watched, individual flickers of light converged, grew, lengthened, until they looked like rivers of flame, and they were all flowing toward the White City of Minas Tirith.


“They come,” Boromir said woodenly, and Dawn turned to look at him. His face could have been carved from stone, so still and grave was it. “I do not know what to do,” he admitted, hands pressing hard against the top of the wall. “My brother is out there alone, my father is slowly going mad, and I… I stand here, helpless.”


Dawn’s heart ached for him, ached to find a way to ease his sorrow. "When it's dark,” she said at last, “and I'm all alone, and I'm scared or freaked out or whatever, I always think -- what would Buffy do?"


He looked at her then, and the corner of his mouth lifted in a faint smile. “She would fling herself in every direction at once, tell some terrible jokes, become drenched in gore, die several times, and wake up in a mood so excellent we would kill her again just to get some peace.”


“Sounds about right,” she agreed, forcing her tone to be light and chipper before becoming serious again. “She’s always saved me, Boromir.” Dawn slid her arms around his waist, kissing a line up his throat to his chin. She really liked his chin. It was strong, and she suspected there was a dimple under his goatee. “I know how she thinks. This isn’t about evil or good for her any more, it’s about protecting those she loves. She’s got people she cares about, and she won’t let anything happen to us.”


Boromir smiled sadly down at her. “It is good that you have such faith in your sister, Dawn, but—“


She cut him off. “No, you don’t get it, Boromir.” She pulled back a little to look him squarely in the eye. “I mean, Buffy will never let anything happen, not to me, or you, or Legolas, or Haldir or Aragorn or the Hobbits. She has more power than you can imagine, and she’s the most stubborn jackass in the world. There is nothing in Middle-Earth, or my Earth, or any other planet for that matter, that will prevent her from keeping us safe.”


He looked skeptical. “It’s ok if you don’t believe me,” she told him, snuggling into his embrace once more. “But you haven’t seen how she fights when her friends and family are involved. The way she died for us, and Haldir? It was nothing compared to how it’s gonna be when she gets here.”




Hours later, they were down at the Great Gate of the city, still fervently working to organize the sortie, when Denethor made his appearance. “I had wondered how the men were so orderly and well-prepared,” the Steward said as he approached his eldest son. “Ever have you been unable to resist the role of captain, Boromir. You should not fight it; it is in your blood, a part of you like your hand or foot.”


“It is not my nature that I fight, milord,” Boromir said mildly, not meeting his father’s eyes as he continued to inspect the weaponry waiting to be wielded in the battle to come.


“Let us not be at odds, my son,” Denethor said expansively, spreading his hands wide in a gesture of reconciliation. “For these times are dark enough without harsh words between us. I would have things as they were before you left for the elven city so many months ago.”


Boromir did look at him then, and his eyes were cool and distant. “You would, would you?” He nodded to the soldier next to him, signaling his approval, and turned to face his father fully. “And would you also change your demeanor toward Faramir, and be not harsh and cruel to him any longer? Would you welcome Dawn to your bosom, as a daughter?” He took in Denethor’s narrowing eyes and thinning lips, and shook his head, squeezing gratefully the hand Dawn slipped into his. “If you cannot show some mercy and affection to them as well as to me, then it would seem you are ever destined to disappointment. For I cannot be the son of he who abuses those he should love.”


“Enjoy your orphan status, then,” Denethor snarled. “For my son Boromir is dead to me, and I have but one other, and he is Faramir.” His cruel gaze raked over them, lip curling as it passed over Dawn, and he stepped back as if he could not bear to pollute himself with their proximity. “Get you gone, children, for the sortie is about to take place, and only men of Gondor may take part in it.”


Boromir blanched then, two livid spots of red on each cheek the only colour in his face. “You mean to make me stay behind, while the others sally forth?”


“Do not cry foul, Boromir,” his father said mockingly, “for you have purchased this fate with your own coin. Defending Gondor is a privilege only a faithful son of this land can earn, and you have stripped yourself of that honour.” He stared at them a long moment, his eyes flat and black, before turning his back on them and facing the gate.


A muscle ticked in Boromir’s cheek, and his free hand gripped the pommel of his sword almost convulsively until Dawn tugged him back. He stared blindly ahead of him the entire time she led him back to the house, and seemed somewhere else entirely as she struggled to remove his armour. Worried at the force of his anger, she reached up to him, thinking to soothe him with a kiss, and was surprised when his arms banded around her like iron, clasping her tightly as his mouth ravished hers.



The little streams of flame grew into rivers as they came closer, and Faramir’s forces started to retreat back to the city, but the hordes of torch-bearing orcs and wild-haired Southron men screeching in their guttural languages were making his men nervous. Full-fledged panic broke out when the Nazgûl swooped from the sky like vultures toward particularly fragrant carrion, and Faramir’s soldiers either turned heel and ran in terror, or dropped their weapons and fell to the ground, overcome with fright.


“It is a rout,” Pippin breathed, scarcely daring to speak at all as fear broke over him like waves upon the shore. But then there was the call of a trumpet, and the gates were flung open, and the sortie was away. Pippin’s heart flew up to his throat when he heard a second trumpet blast, and joining the mounted forces of Gondor were those of Dol Amroth, their Prince leading them, his banner of gold and white and blue gleaming brightly even in the gloom.


And one amoung them broke away, a flash of quicksilver in the night. Gandalf charged the Nazgûl as he had before, and another column of pale flame burst from his hand. Startled, the Nazgûl pulled up hard, their beasts wailing horribly in their confusion. Inspired by this show of weakness, the Gondorians took heart and began to thrash their opponents. The torches borne by the orcs and Wildmen dashed out as their bearers fell, and the battlefield was wreathed in greasy smoke, but still they fought.




Dawn was startled at his vehemence at first, until she realized that he was channeling all his fury and frustration into the kiss. She stroked his face, his hair, his shoulders, until the violence of it gentled. “I love you,” she told him over and over, and it took the edge off his mood even as it whetted their desire.


Bothering to light neither lamp nor candle, they stumbled to the bedroom, knocking into walls and doors as they made their way blindly. Eager hands wrenched at stubborn buttons and lacings until they fell away; greedy mouths drank deep kisses from the other. At last, skin was to skin, and they sighed at the relief of it.





Despite their initial success, even the stalwart nature of Gondor could not withstand the sheer numbers of the enemy, and Denethor called another retreat. As each company re-entered the city, those remaining without the walls endeavored to protect the ones within and keep the open gates from being breached.


It was in the company farthest from the gates that Faramir fought, the Prince of Dol Amroth at his side. Shield upraised, sword dripping black and red, he slashed and parried, hack and stabbed, and still more came at him. One of the Nazgûl pounced upon him, crashing a hard blow against his shield that rocked him to his toes, and he staggered back knowing his shoulder was dislocated at best, and broken at worst.


Filled with agony and despair, struggling to keep his shield aloft as he swiped with increasing desperation with his sword, Faramir battled on. The Nazgûl’s mount reached with razored talons and grazed his forehead just where his helm left him bare; blood coursed down his face and occluded his vision; Faramir strove still.




Boromir covered Dawn’s body with his own; settling himself between her long thighs, he captured her mouth in a searing kiss and sheathed himself in the wet heat of her body. “Eru,” he groaned, eyes almost crossing at the pleasure of it.


Dawn only sighed, and raised her knees to lock her ankles around his waist. “Yessss,” she hissed in his ear, then nipped it, making him rear up over her. “Yes, Boromir, yes.”


His pace, smooth at first, began like his breath to grow ragged. “You clench me tighter than any fist,” he muttered into her hair, burying his face in it, breathing in her scent, feeling the silken strands catch on his sweaty skin and stubbled cheeks. “You wrap me in yourself, I am trapped, I cannot escape.”




“We must retreat!” shouted the Prince, but Faramir ignored him, his sword arm seemingly possessed by another entity, for it was not still even a second but always moving, slicing, carving. Hot, dark blood jetted from a cleft he made in the beast’s side, its scream of outrage and pain seeming to ring off the very metal of their armour. “Come, Faramir, we must go now!”


Faramir flicked his gaze from the Nazgûl for a moment; the briefest, merest splinter of a second, but it was enough. A dart shot from a second Nazgûl, hurtling toward the lord of Gondor. He saw it arcing toward him, and had he been whole and rested it would not have troubled him to avoid it, but wounded and fatigued as he was, his sluggish swerve only served to bring him more fully into its range. It seemed to hang in the air, there, as if daring him to try and escape, as if it were giving him a head start on a race to which there was only one possible end.




Dawn’s face creased into a frown of deep concentration, as if she were working very hard to achieve a long-sought goal, and Boromir dipped his head to capture her mouth in another kiss, tasting her passion. His hips flew, and he felt himself moving against her in a near-frenzy, elbows digging hard into the mattress beneath her as he buried his hands in her hair and framed her face with his long fingers, holding her head still for the onslaught of his mouth.


Eyes squeezed tightly shut, Dawn’s entire conscious whittled down until it was focused entirely on a specific portion of her body; all sensation, all blood, all thought flowed toward it like a migration, a pilgrimage. Her body thrashed up against him, and with a hoarse cry her eyes flew open to stare at him blindly, shock and wonder plain on her features in an endlessly long moment of joy.


“I love you,” Boromir groaned, overcome, and joined her in release.





Faramir thought of his childhood then, of swimming in the river with Boromir when they were boys, of his first swordsmanship lesson, of his mother’s smiling face before death had claimed her, even of his father looking with approval instead of censure at his youngest son. He thought of these things, and a smile came to his lips.


And then the dart hit him, and he dropped to the ground like a stone, and knew no more.