Everyone knows elves aren't real
"It's a work of fiction, of course." Boromir barely keeps from grinning at the bartender as he leans against the bar near his old mentor. "Everyone knows elves aren't real."
What everyone knows has changed over an Age, knowledge lost and found again as the world changed. As empires rose and fell, and the other races of Middle Earth faded or left. Mostly, anyway. Boromir can still think of a few elves who stubbornly refuse to leave, even as men poison the world in search of progress - and knows that they're even more paranoid about their secrets than any Immortal he's met.
"And beside, no one's ever dug up any evidence of this Middle Earth that Tolkien wrote about." He shrugs, reaching for the pint of beer that had been set in front of him earlier. "Nor does any Immortal remember stories of such a place."
No evidence because those who remember Arda before the Age of Men have been obsessively gathering every bit of the Ages past whenever they surface, hiding them away in the secret places of the world, still cloaked in old magic so deeply ingrained that it would take the Valar to reveal them. No stories save those that Boromir told a young soldier almost a century ago, or are locked away in Methos' mind. And no Immortal who remembers Arda save for the two sitting at this bar, denying that Arda is real.
The only one who remembers
"She was the last of those who remembers, other than us." Boromir doesn't look up at the familiar feel of Methos' Quickening against his own, though he knows the danger of leaving his back to his mentor. Knows that Methos has been hunting down the ancients, the Immortals who remember their parents and the world before magic faded from it. Before Arda became Terra. Became nothing but a world of men, save for some few hidden pockets and handful of Immortals.
He also knows that he's done a goodly portion of Methos' work for him, tracking down those he remembers from Arda, those who'd become his friends after he'd died at the hands of orcs at Amon Hen. His Quickening is unsettled from the influx, his heart heavy at this last death.
"Do you plan to be the only one who remembers?" he asks as he finally looks up, meeting Methos' gaze readily. He's not sure if it would be a kindness to take his head now, or if he'd fight to keep his life even against Methos. If he'd fight to make sure that the stories aren't all trapped in one man's head.
"My first memory?" Boromir looks into his beer, shrugging. "Heat and bright sunlight. I couldn't tell you how long ago that was."
His first memory is holding his younger brother, and silently promising he'd always look out for Faramir. The only blood-kin he's ever had, and that promise has extended to Faramir's descendants, as best Boromir can keep track of them. He's sure he's lost some of them over the millennia. Still, he tracks them, because they are, however distantly, family. Blood-kin, of a sort younger Immortals never know, because they claim all their gift at their first birth, even if they never know it until their first death and second birth. Never needing the spark of another Immortal to kindle the blue fire that binds their lives to their bodies.
A regret I may carry
"Why did you not return sooner?" There is no accusation in Aragorn's voice, only wonder and a weariness that speaks to his age. "Faramir would have welcomed you." As would have he, though Boromir doesn't think he'd have insisted on a change of Steward. Which is just as well, because the Steward should not so visibly outlive the King as Boromir will do.
"He would have. And I would have raged against my inability to do ought but watch him grow old, and die, as men must all do." He looks out the window, over the city of Minas Tirith, and the fields beyond it. Familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. No longer home, though it will always be his birth place. "Even if he had inherited this gift from our mother, he would not have woken again, not dying of age."
It is the only good thing orcs have ever done, as far as he's concerned, and yet even that is tainted by bitterness. He will outlive all he loves, including the city he'd spent his mortal life defending. Even the Age that the destruction of the Ring gave birth to will die before Boromir does.
"You would have more memories of him, happier memories to keep you company as years pass." Aragorn doesn't join him, remaining instead in the comfort of the padded chair he'd been occupying when Boromir came into the room. "Memories of all of us."
"I have memories of those I love," Boromir counters, turning from the window. "Of my brother, my father, my uncle. Of the men of Gondor with whom I fought. Of our Fellowship that sought to destroy the Ring." He sighs, leaning against the wall next to the window. "I would remember them all as they were, not as they became in their age."
"And me?" Aragorn raises one silver eyebrow, giving Boromir a piercing look that demanded he give the truth.
Boromir chuckles, and shrugs, though his smile isn't nearly as carefree as it might once have been. "Of Aragorn, I will remember the Ranger who forgave me as I died. Of Elessar, I will remember the king who scolded me for leaving my brother to think I was dead for the rest of his life." His smile fades, and he pushes away from the wall to approach Aragorn, dropping to one knee next to the chair he sits in.
"In truth, I feared that I would lose what honor I regained in death by returning too soon. For the lure of darkness, to do a great evil that I would have told myself was a great good, still lingers in me, and for my brother, I would have fallen to it. He would not have forgiven me what I would have done, and I would have regretted it in the end. So I waited, and now I find I have waited too long to say a final farewell to any but you. A regret I may carry for a time, but not for as long as I would have regretted making my brother as I am."
The adulation of his fans
The adulation of his fans is familiar and unfamiliar at the same time - he's often in his life had the affection and respect of a people, but never before for the reason he does now. He's been a warrior, a hero, a king. Brave in the face of the enemy, leading men to victory against odds that no one thought could be surmounted. Respected, feared, beloved.
But this? No, never before. And he's not sure he'll do it again, though it has been fun. Will be fun for some while yet, so long as he can pull off making others believe he's aging. A slightly more difficult prospect with close partners or make-up artists, but he's managed them both as yet.
And that this has allowed him the chance to remember his mortal life again is both a boon and a hurt, as memories always are. The hurt, bright and sharper than expected, had been most about his brother, and the resemblance of the actor who played Faramir to that long-dead kin of his. He doesn't know if there is some relation, and if there is, it is only through one of those that Boromir lost track of in the intervening time. The resemblance, though, had been enough, and he hadn't wanted to actually know if he'd been one of Faramir's descendants, and thus blood-kin.
Her dusky skin and the shape of her face proclaim her Haradic blood, even as her height and gray eyes speak of the Dúnedain and of Númenor. The Faithful or Black Númenorian, it doesn't matter, for from either could have come the gift of blue fire in her blood. That echoes his own gift, dances against his mind as his mentor's does when they come close after being away from each other's company.
She watches him with a faint smile on her face that reminds him of his mentor, and a curious tilt of the head, though she makes no move to cross the hall they both stand in to meet him. After a moment, she nods, and turns away, commanding the attention of those closest to her, and returning once more to whatever entertainment or councils she had been tending to before he'd entered.
They're too young to have met his lover
"I've lost count of the number of women I've married." Boromir shrugs, leaning comfortably back in the arm chair that's paired with the worn but well-padded couch and battered low table that make up the furnishings of the room. It's an easy place to relax with friends, at least when none of them are his mentor. "Not one of our own, though."
He's only ever loved one Immortal enough that he might have wed her, if she had been willing to make such a vow. In the end, he'd also loved her enough to make sure she didn't fall to Methos' hunt, though his heart still bled - if sluggishly now - for his ending of her long life. Better, though, that she's his own forever than trapped in the strange halls that are his mentor's mind.
His guests watch him for a moment before Gina smiles, knowing and sad, though she can't possibly discern his secrets, and Robert just raises the glass of wine he holds in the hand not wrapped around Gina's shoulders. Whatever conclusions they've come to, they're sufficient to keep his secrets hidden for a while longer. They're too young to have met his lover, Harad and Númenor wound together in her blood with blue fire.
I will dance with you
"Why?" She stands on the edge of the temple grounds, just inside the boundaries of Holy Ground, and he will not drag her out. He's not as certain his mentor won't, if Methos comes hunting.
"Because he'll come seeking your death, and I do not know if I could best him for taking you from the world." Boromir's sword is still sheathed at his hip, and he stands on the far side of the border from her, his gaze locked with hers. Two sets of Dúnedain gray eyes, he and she of a height with each other, for all that her blood is mixed. Númenor bred true in her.
"You would instead have me to yourself, forever, and more heavily bound and hidden than Umbar kept its slaves." Her voice is cool, almost cold, ice that she didn't inherit from her Haradic father. "If you can indeed best me in a contest of such skills as we possess."
Boromir doesn't bother to point out he'd been bred and raised for war, and practiced such all his long life from one Age into another, through the fading of Arda into Terra. For she had been born of a harsh land that had never in her long life ceased to fight, and still does the same in places, though it bears new names.
"I swore I would protect you in any way I saw fit, though you spurned my suit," he says instead, his voice steady despite the ache already building in his heart. "If you best me, perhaps you will best him as well, but neither of us might best him alone."
"So we fight him as two." She shrugs. "I care not what these children prattle about some foolish game that demands I be bound by their rules and idea of honor." Only for survival, as his mentor had cared for as the magic faded from the world, and stole from the younger children their kin and homes. Only three of them still recalled kin and home, and of them, Boromir isn't sure which is the greatest evil - and he cannot help but think he is something of that. Not as Sauron had been, to blight the land around him, as his mentor does in companionship with younger children, but shadowed enough.
"And then he allows these children he calls brother to fight us as well, and we still yet lose." He holds out his hand to her, waiting for her to take up the offer and challenge. They must dance, and one of them must win, either to defy his mentor and keep the memories of the others from him or to take his mentor's head and become a better custodian for the memories than Methos might be.
She hesitates, and he smiles a moment, his voice soft as he speaks in the language of the mortals she's taken up with. "Please, Ishtar. If I keep you in cool northern stone, or you hide me in southern sands, it matters not."
Her smile is nearly as sad as his own, and she sighs, taking his hand before she steps out from her temple. "Then I will dance with you, Dúnadan, and let Morgoth take the old man, for I'll not be wrapped in his shadows, and nor shall you."