Title: Paint It Black
Disclaimer: Faith belongs to Mutant Enemy and Boromir belongs to the Tolkien estate.
Ratings: PG-13 for implications
Summary: Boromir comes across a strange woman in Rivendale, a fellow warrior in the fight against the coming dark.
Notes: For Sonya for the_fund
~~~ Paint It Black~~~
Voices drifted from the courtyard. A young woman’s voice, brash and demanding, echoed with laughter. Dropping his saddlebags to the low bed, Boromir dusted the trail grime off of his breeches and strode to the balcony to see what the all commotion was about.
The arched doorway to the inner sanctum of Rivendale led to a small landing overlooking a lushly grown garden. In the center of the courtyard, a young dark-haired woman was fighting with a pair of elves. She ducked and whirled, the staff hissing over the heads of her companions. One jumped out of the way with a shout before returning the blow with his weapon. The woman didn’t flinch, executing a back flip that made Boromir’s stomach drop.
It was incredible. She lashed out with contained violence, moving like something animal rather than human, breathtaking and utterly unnatural. From this angle he couldn’t tell if she were an elf, but she seemed far too slenderly built to be wielding the staff as elegantly as she did; she barely came to up to the male elf’s shoulder.
Boromir removed his gloves and turned his back on the scene. He hadn’t wanted this mission to the elves but his father all but demanded it, and he would fulfill his duty. As he unpacked his bags and checked his weapons for travel damage, he idly wondered what she was doing here. He certainly didn’t want to get involved with whatever strange creatures cavorted in these halls.
Especially not one so distractingly clad as that one. Tight leather trousers, high boots, a tunic revealing more skin than it covered; he had never seen a woman dressed that way, not even the whores in the White City and other places. And whores hardly moved like that woman did, in her dance of death.
It was of no consequence. He wouldn’t allow himself to be distracted; after all, he was here for a purpose. He would probably never see her again.
He was wrong.
Later that evening, full of fine food, drink and argument, Boromir was returning to his assigned rooms in Rivendale. The tension in the air had encouraged not a few to over-imbibe and he was no exception. The food, while strange, had been filling but the mead had been even better.
The twisting hallways gleamed with soft silver light, some magic of the elves he assumed, and it was far too easy to lose his way. He wandered down a narrow corridor searching for a way outside to get his bearing. Approaching the archway at the end of the hallway, he was surprised to hear singing.
It was not
a beautiful voice, he decided, but it was powerful. He’d not heard the song before and didn’t recognize where it could possibly have come from. The words echoed down the corridor, dark with sadness.I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes
I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black
With flowers and my love both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a new born baby it just happens ev’ry day
I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and it has been painted black
Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts
It’s not easy facin’ up when your whole world is black
He peered around the corner carefully. The woman from the courtyard was standing with her back to the doorway, facing the far wall. To her left was a small table covered in silver throwing knives. As she sang, she picked a knife from the table. He watched as she slung the blade with casual ease, embedding it with perfect aim in the middle of the forehead of a beleaguered elven warrior on the mural on the far wall.
It was surreal, this woman in this room, moving like a hunting cat. It made him wonder if he were still at the table, passed out into his leg of mutton, enduring the jokes of his traveling companions. That would certainly make much more sense than watching her sling knives like most women sewed stitches.
She kept singing with that temper-filled voice and did not turn around. He moved as silently as possible to stand just inside the doorway, cloaked in shadow. Whether she heard him or not, he couldn’t tell. As before, he found her movements fascinating. As a warrior, he could appreciate the training she must have had to be able to move as she did, the discipline it took to become the competent fighter she apparently was.
Again he wondered who she could be. None of the other guests at dinner had seen her; none had any answers for him. He’d never seen any human women warriors, neither among the Rohirrim nor in Gondor, and it was apparent she was no elf, despite her familiarity with Rivendale.
As he watched, he realized she was crying, tears running down her face and shining softly in the moonlight streaming in the windows. Every few strokes she’d raise her hand and wipe her cheeks. Eventually she ran out of knives, and dropped her hands to her side.
“Take a picture, it’ll last longer,” she snapped out after a few ragged breaths.
“I beg your pardon, lady?” he answered, pushing off the wall. She’d given no indication that she’d heard him, how had she known he was there? Another piece to a puzzle he couldn’t solve.
She spun around, fierce light in her eyes. “I said, why don’t you take a picture? It’ll last longer. But I forgot- no cameras. No film. Not even any fucking Polaroids.”
He had no idea what she was talking about but he did take an unconscious step backwards when she stalked toward him. “My lady, I didn’t mean to upset you. I was just…”
She narrowed her eyes and tossed her hair back over her shoulder. “You were just watching. Men, always wanting to watch
She shuddered then, wrapping her arms around her waist. He realized then how young she must be, not much over twenty years old despite the ferocious age in her eyes. She shook herself and turned to walk to the mural, removing the knives from the faces and bodies of the painted elves.
“I guess you can’t help it. None of us can help being what we are.” She laughed, hollowly. “So what are you?”
Boromir thought for a moment, moving to help her remove knives. “I am Boromir, a Man, a Son of Gondor. I am a warrior that will fight for my people against the rising darkness.”
She paused, one hand on a stuck knife. Softly, she murmured, “Well, we have that in common, then.”
She tilted her head to the side and dropped the knives on the table. “Well, Boromir, now that I’m done with my little pity party, how about a drink? The elves have got some great stuff around here, but no one wants to drink with the little human girl.”
Boromir closed his eyes for a moment, the mead he drank at dinner muddling his thoughts. His fingers ran over the knife holes in the wall, testament to many nights spent this way, throwing daggers at whatever pain haunted her.
When he opened his eyes, she was watching him closely, a cautious mix of hope, hunger and jaded insecurity on her face. In the gloom of too much alcohol and not enough sleep, he tossed caution and protocol to the wind and nodded. Whatever rules he played his life by, it was clear this woman was going to throw them all away.
She grabbed his hand and pulled him out of the room. She didn’t appear lost at all, moving with a dreadful purpose through the winding corridors until she reached one of the low rooms full of supplies. She left him in the entryway, picking her way through the stacks and sacks until she found what she wanted: a keg that she hefted over one shoulder before grabbing his hand again. He was too fuzzy to be surprised that a tiny little thing like her could carry it with such ease.
Eventually he found himself in a dark room. She dropped the barrel on top of an intricately carved wooden table and gestured for him to sit. He watched her rummage around in a drawer for a moment and admired the way her backside moved in those leather breeches.
She seemed to feel him looking, and glanced over her shoulder. “There you go again, watching.”
When he sputtered to respond, she just laughed and handed him a mug. “Relax. I’m just thrilled to see another human being. Watch all you want. Elves, you know?” she said, waving a hand.
He accepted the proffered mug and asked, “So, this is not your home?”
She blinked and burst out laughing, throwing herself down on the bed. “Here? With these sticks-in-the-mud? No. I mean, Elrond’s a great guy and all, but this is not
home.” She took a long drink, then added, “Well, it wasn’t before, anyway.”
The Man drank as well, considering his next question. “If you are not from here, I am sure you are not from Gondor or Rohan. Are you from the East?”
She thought for a second, tapping her foot on the end of the bed. “Maybe, it’s hard to say. Let’s just say it’s different than here, that’s for sure.”
“Some place with, how did you call them, Polaroids?”
She snorted, rolling onto her back. “Yeah, Polaroids and radios and air conditioners and showers. What I wouldn’t give for a shower.” She sighed and looked at him out of the corner of her eye. “You know, with the right person, showers can be lots of fun.”
She looked as if she wanted to eat him, and Boromir flushed, his trousers suddenly much tighter. “Do you have a name, Lady?”
“Faith. People call me Faith.”
“A noble name. So, Faith, how did you come to be here, in this hall, serving beer to an increasingly inebriated Gondorian?” He gave a winsome grin, one he knew made the court ladies swoon. Not that he usually took them up on their offers of companionship—he was always too busy or too noble. He never really thought about which.
The woman sat up, fiddling with her mug. “You know how you said you were a warrior against the coming dark? Well, I guess you could say that’s me, too. That old guy, you know, Gandalf? Well, he called in some favors with friends of mine and they sent me here to help.”
She rolled her eyes. “Short straw, no reason to stay there any longer and so I’m here. Playing footsie with Elves who think I’m ‘positively unnatural’ as one of them put it. Sure, they’re nice enough, but…” She shrugged.
Boromir nodded, standing to go sit next to her on the bed. “Yes, but they’re Elves.”
She clinked glasses with him. “Exactly.”
Her expression grew sly. “So, B-man, what’s a girl to do for fun around here?”
He arched an eyebrow. “I’m sure a smart girl like you could figure something out.”
She took both glasses and plunked them on the bedside table. He was a bit startled when she pushed him back, straddling his lap and grabbing his hair in one strong hand. She licked up the side of his neck, nibbling on his earlobe. She tightened her grip on his hair to just the pleasure side of pain and whispered, “Oh, you are in for a treat.”
With that, she pushed herself against him, covering his mouth with hers, undulating her seat against his lap. With a moan, he yielded himself up to the inevitable. Faith was more than happy to show him exactly what she had in mind.
In the morning, he woke with a groan. He was still blinking away the crust of sleep when a slim arm reached over his chest and grabbed a jug from the nightstand. He sat bolt upright and pulled the sheets closer. The woman rolled her eyes and took a drink.
“You’re…real,” he whispered.
“So they tell me.” She slid out of bed, naked, and Boromir couldn’t avert his eyes fast enough not to see the scars that traced their way across her body. She stretched, lithe and strong, and snagged his shirt from the floor.
She slid back onto the bed bonelessly, sitting at his feet. “Then again, I’ve been lied to before. Do I feel real to you?” With that, she grabbed his foot and tickled the sole.
He yanked his foot back with a yelp. “What are you?” He hadn’t meant the words as harsh as they felt and frowned when her face fell.
“I guess you could say I’m just a girl in the world- your
world now- and I’m doing the best I can.” She didn’t try to reach for his foot again.
As he looked at her, he thought of all the times he’d held himself apart from the world. The commander could not afford to become entangled. He was a warrior, through and through, and it left little room for levity. For all that she appeared young, he could see the same weight reflected in her face and for some reason it made him feel a bit freer. If she could let go for a few moments, maybe he could do the same.
He tossed a pillow at her and grinned when she plucked it neatly out the air. “Someday, lady, you’ll have to show me how you do that.”
“Only if you’re lucky,” she countered, pouncing on him and pinning him down with a kiss.
They saw as much as possible of each other while he remained at Rivendale for the Council. It was clear she avoided contact with people, spending her days with only a few select Elves whom she said bored her to tears but at least they gave her a good workout while filling her in on her role in the coming fight. She did not interact with the rest of the beings selected for the Fellowship of the Ring, and Boromir was strangely glad to have her all to himself. They made love each night like it was farewell and each morning like there was no tomorrow.
When he informed her that he would be leaving, she did not act as he expected normal women would. She looked at him across the expanse of sheets and touched his face gently. “Sorta figured that, you know? People in our line of work, well, we’ve got duties.”
“And yourself?” He asked, smoothing the hair back from her face. The dawn glow lit up her skin and made her look almost like one of their magical hosts.
“I’m gonna go somewhere else, I think. War’s coming all around, you know? There’re some people that need my help. But maybe we can see each other again.” She managed an ironic smile. “Try not to get dead. If you do, I’ll have to hunt your ghost down and kick its ass.”
“I’ll do my best,” he murmured.
But when he rode away a few hours later, he knew there were no guarantees. He searched the balconies in vain for Faith’s form as he left the gates, but didn’t see her. He was aware that she knew there were no guarantees as well.
After all, duty called.