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Fic: "FOH: The Return" PG-13 (7/?) [Logan/Rogue, Scott/Jean, Ororo/Legolas, others]

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  • Nadja Lee
    Hi all, Still a part of the FOH series, still a crossover to LOTR. You need to have read the earlier parts to follow this. You can read it at fanfiction.net
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 23, 2004
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      Hi all,

      Still a part of the FOH series, still a crossover to LOTR.

      You need to have read the earlier parts to follow this.
      You can read it at fanfiction.net
      [http://www.fanfiction.net/~nadjalee%5d or my own webpage
      [http://www.100megspop3.com/scottororo/fiction/FellowshipOfHeroes.html%5d.

      Enjoy:

      Part 7:

      It was hard for Ororo to keep her mind on the upcoming battle for Gondor’s capital of Minas Tirith in the face of her concern for her friends. Neither Scott nor Logan’s group had returned and time was running out. Sauron’s army had lined up and the battle was imminent. Eomer and Haldir were standing to the right of Minas Tirith with their armies with the Orc army directly in front of the city. Ororo could see that Sauron’s army counted gigantic elephant like beings as well as flying birdlike beings of great size with riders on both animals besides thousands of Orcs. It was clear that if Scott and Logan’s groups did not return the city would be lost.

      Before Helm’s Deep she had never been in a real battle and this was the first time she was involved in this kind of warfare. Middle Earth had turned the X-men from defenders into warriors, a title she did not care for. She was afraid the battle might harm her unborn child but if Sauron won this battle all would be lost anyhow.

      Eomer shouted the last battle orders and his uncle and him got ready to lead the army into battle. Besides them rode Haldir, all dressed in goldlike armour and the sight of him and his elves send a pang of longing and pain through Ororo when her thoughts went to Legolas. She had already been given her orders which were to fly over the army and try to take out or at least prevent the flying birdlike beings that some of the Orcs rode from attacking the army. She flew a little above the army, letting the wind and the freedom of flight try to take away some of her nervousness, fear and worry for what was to come.

      When the battle did begin, after agonising moments of waiting, it took her by surprise. Suddenly the two opposing armies were moving. The Orc army began an attack on Minas Tirith which Eomer and Haldir went to intercept by attacking the Orcs from the right. She focused on the giant birds and their Orc riders, throwing lightning balls as she went. Whenever she could share a moment she glazed down at the battling armies and threw lighting balls into the Orc army. A part of her was glad that she could take to flight. She was spared the confusion, stench and agony that were a part of a battle of this magnitude.

      A flicker of movement below caught her attention and she saw Merry riding on a horse with another rider, his small form making him stick out. She could only think of one person who would go against King Theoden’s decision that the Hobbits should not be involved in the battle. It could only be the Princess Eowyn. As the battle raged on for what felt like forever Ororo tried to keep an eye out for Eowyn and Pippin, throwing covering fire for them whenever she could. She managed to bring several of the birds and their riders down as well as one of the giant elephant beings with her mutant powers but the effort left her exhausted and she had gained more than a few cuts, though none were too severe.

      She saw King Theoden fight against a darkly clothed figure that gave her shivers just by looking at him. Preoccupied with three of the flying beings that she in her mind had named overgrown birds, she threw a fireball near Eowyn to get her attention and when the princess looked up Ororo waved in her uncle’s general direction, glad that she wasn’t too far up not to be seen from the ground. Eowyn hurried in the indicated direction and for some time Ororo had only one thing in mind; trying to stay alive against 3 opponents. Finally, after having gotten an arrow stuck in her right shoulder that she tore out with a loud yell of pain, she managed to bring them down. Fighting exhaustion and blood loss her eyes found Eowyn and her uncle again and she saw that the darkly figure had been slain but so had King Theoden and the princess seemed to be in pain as she sat kneeling beside her uncle. Orcs were moving in on her and Ororo had a dark forbearing of everything being lost when suddenly in a flash of white light an army of nightmarish ghostly beings began to fight the Orcs. Ororo looked in the direction where the beings had come from and saw Aragorn, Legolas and Scott. She barely had time for a relieved smile before the battle again demanded her full attention. Time held no meaning as she fought to stay alive. At some point a second ghostly army joined the battle but this army held beings which had such an out of this world beauty that they reminded her of angels, especially the elves. She knew that Boromir, Logan and Rogue had now joined the battle and she even saw Boromir fighting. At one point she saw him get stabbed in the chest and was halfway on her way towards him in panic and fear as she remembered that he was immortal now and sure enough, he pulled the blade out and continued fighting. Knowing where his concerns lay she made a quick detour to shout to him where she had last seen Merry; he was guarding the wounded princess Eowyn and the body of her uncle. She hadn’t managed to locate Faramir or Pippin and hoped they were all right. When Legolas had joined the battle she had tried to keep tabs on him but the Elf was a far too quick warrior for her to do so. At one point she had seen him jump around on one of the giant elephant beings which he had ended up being able to bring down with his bow.

      Finally, after what felt like forever where she had felt several Elves die, each time worried one of them was Legolas, the battle seemed to calm down. Everything on the battlefield was a mess of confusion, dead and dying and there was blood everywhere. The stench of blood and death managed to reach her even though she was airborne. She searched for a familiar face, circling the battlefield with concern and worry in her eyes, both wanting and not wanting to find them because if they were dead she would rather not see their mutilated bodies. Her blood froze in her veins when she spotted Legolas on the battlefield. Blood was oozing from a wound in his stomach and his face was pale and pained.

      “Legolas!” She drew an agonized breath yet the pain was not from her wounds but from her heart. She landed beside him and knelt, taking his head in her lap. His eyes were glassy and unfocused and Ororo’s heart broke. She tried to give him her full attention while still keeping and eye out for any danger. Though the battle had calmed down it wasn’t over and screams of the dying and the fighting were still heard over the battlefield.

      “You came… nîn meleth…you came,” he whispered, his voice filled with love and joy as he tried to keep the pain from showing in his face.

      “Oh, Legolas. I am so sorry,” she felt tears stain her cheeks as she laid her hands over his wound, trying to stop the bleeding.

      “Do not grieve. This death will be easier for me to bear,” Legolas said softly and gently but firmly removed her bloodied hands from his stomach. She shook her head in denial.

      “This is a light wound. You can heal.” Her eyes found his and there was fanatic insistence in her voice. “You must heal!”

      “I do not wish to,” Legolas admitted and continued before she could speak. “You chose to dissolve our marriage as is your right but my heart cannot let you go. I choose this death instead of withering away. I have lived long and my only regret is not being able to see Estel sit on the throne of Gondor.”

      “Legolas…please don’t do this,” she cried, her hands grasping his right hand between them.

      “Nîn meleth…my life or death is one thing you cannot control,” he said softly but firmly.

      ”Legolas,” the rest of what she wanted to say drowned in tears. The battle, the deaths, the realization that after all her sufferings she would still lose him came back to her with a vengeance.

      “Shh…do not cry. I can take anything but your tears,” Legolas said softly and stroked her cheek, leaving a red trail of his own blood on her skin as he did so. “Nîn meleth… nîn meleth…my love.”

      Ororo’s eyes found his in surprise. “Nîn meleth means my love?”
      Legolas nodded, the movement an effort for him. “Yes.”

      Ororo’s voice was filled with wonder as she spoke again, “You…You loved me from the day we made love?”

      “Before that but especially that night. I would not wed a woman I did not love,” Legolas confirmed. Ororo gave a short hysterical laugh. All her suffering, all her sacrifices…it had all been for nothing. From the day they had made love he had bonded himself to her forever and her leaving him had not saved him but condemned him.

      “Legolas,” she fought to get her tears and her turmoil emotions under control. “I love you. I have for a long time.”

      “You requested our marriage be dissolved,” Legolas reminded her, pain in his voice.

      “I know,” Ororo admitted miserably. “I thought I was saving you.”

      “I don’t…understand,” Legolas admitted and his voice began to show the strain his wound was giving him. Seeing this Ororo knew her time was running short. He had to heal himself now or it would be too late. She stroked his cheek lovingly, her tears falling on his face. There was no need to talk about her reasons…that she would have to go back to her own world. Nothing mattered; not even going home. Now all that mattered was that he lived and knew the truth.

      “It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that I love you. I always will. Please…stay in this world with me. I will remain by your side. I would not leave you,” her voice broke down and she lay her head on his shoulder. ”Please don’t die. I love you.”

      “Ororo…” he began and his hand stroked her hair.

      “No, please…You have to know,” she raised her head and tearstained eyes locked with his. “I’m pregnant with your baby.”

      “Mine?” he said in wonder. He had always wished for a child and the miracle of life had always fascinated him. A child…a child with the woman he loved…his wife. He smiled widely in joy.

      Ororo nodded and smiled a little; still worried for him.

      “Stay with me,” she pleaded and she smiled widely as he nodded.

      “My heart has healed. Our marriage pledge still holds,” he said solemnly.

      “You’re healing?” she asked in happiness and drew back to check it herself. Sure enough, the wound was no longer oozing blood.

      “I love thee, wife of my heart,” Legolas whispered lovingly before he with a hand at the back of her neck drew her down into a loving and gentle kiss.

      “I love you too. Always,” she whispered in joy as she drew back. The battlefield had for a moment disappeared and nothing existed but their happiness.

      “Do not leave me again. If you stay let it be forever,” Legolas demanded, his eyes finding and holding hers. She nodded, knowing as an immortal forever might just truly be forever but she now knew that she would do anything to keep him safe.

      “Forever,” she agreed and their lips met again. For one brief moment in time there was no pain, no death, no sadness. There was no future to worry about and there were no obstacles. There was just this moment and their love.

      * * *

      The trip to Minas Tirith had been uneventful and Boromir, Logan and Rogue had found the handsome Elven commander to be an interesting companion as he spoke of how things had been thousands of years ago. However, Logan had noticed with concern that Rogue had begun to become more and more obsessed in her talking about power and she had even once, presumably accidentally but Logan wasn’t so sure, touched the ghostly elven commander with her naked hand only to find that she could not take any powers from him. Like with a ghost her hand had gone right through the elf. Now that she had realized that she couldn’t take powers from Boromir or the ghostly elves and men her interest had been on Logan. In her moments of clarity she understood what was happening to her but like a drug addict she could not forsake the powers she now possessed. Logan had a theory that if Rogue refused to accept the powers then they would dissolve and she would no longer hear Sauron’s whispers but as it was she could not give up the power she now held. It was too tempting. She fought to keep the magical powers she now had, wanting to use it for good but Logan was sure that she couldn’t keep her powers without paying too high a price. Just like Boromir before his fall she could not see her own danger.

      When they had reached Minas Tirith the battle had been explosive and nightmarish ghostly human fighters betrayed the fact that Scott and his group had already arrived. Not one for the chain of command if he could avoid it Logan let the elven commander order the other ghosts around and with Rogue and Boromir he began to attack the Orcs. Rogue had to use her magical powers intensely to defend herself and her friends and as they fought on Logan noticed with worry that a red glow had entered her eyes and she was smiling, enjoying the killings of the Orcs. When they weren’t in immediate danger Boromir requested Logan’s permission to separate from them and search for his Little Ones and his brother. Knowing how much he worried for them Logan had agreed and Boromir had disappeared into the chaos of the battle after he had requested Logan be careful, his eyes settling not only on the Orcs but on Rogue as well.

      With no sense of time and place Logan began to fight with Rogue by his side, slashing away with his claws and jumping up on the Orcs so he could plunge his claws through their chests. As the battle raged on Logan grew more and more concerned by Rogue’s behaviour. She was literally getting high on her own power as she send waves of energy out from her hands towards the Orcs. She began to go after one Orc at a time, toying with them a bit before killing them. She was supposed to watch his back and he almost became a head shorter when she was more into toying with an Orc, laughing at his futile struggles against her powers than doing so. Logan frowned as he saw that Rogue’s powers seemed to grow the angrier and the more evil acts she committed.

      When there was a short break in the battle Logan ran to Rogue and put his hands on her arms, shaking her back and forth.

      “Snap out of it!” he ordered sharply, his worry hidden under anger. It had been hard and strange to see his normally calm and gently wife tear Orcs apart limb by limb with an amused smile on her lips. He knew well that everyone had a bit of darkness in them yet he had just never seen it in his wife.

      “Why should I?” she laughed wickedly. “I have power. More power than ever before.” With ease she pushed him away, creating distance between them. “I am a Goddess…I am…”

      Logan closed the distance between them and slapped her face, hard. “Shut up and snap out of it!” he demanded harshly, Jean’s transformation to the evil Phoenix playing before his eyes. He had promised her he would not let that happen. That he would rather kill her than let it happen…Yet could he really go that far? “This isn’t you,” he insisted.

      “You’re wrong,” she said darkly and suddenly her naked hands were on his face, her gloves long since discarded. Logan began to feel his powers and his life being stolen from him and he sank to his knees before her. “All your powers…All will be mine!” she proclaimed with glee.

      Pain rushed through him but he found he could not scream.

      ‘Do not let me become something I’m not’. Rogue’s words came back to him as did his promise. She had trusted him with her love and her soul. He could not betray her now. With a strength he did not know he had he managed to tear himself free from her and using her momentarily distraction to his advantage he hit her hard in the face. She fell with a stunned expression to the ground and the red glow in her eyes disappeared. Pained and weak after her attack Logan managed to get to her and gathered her in his embrace.

      ”Rogue?” he asked guarded. Suddenly tears filled her eyes and she lifted a hand to stroke his cheek, stopping only to cover her skin with the long cape she had been wearing so that he felt the rough material of her cape against his cheek instead of her deadly touch.

      ”I am so sorry,” she whispered brokenly.
      Logan took his hand and pressed it against her clothed one, fighting tears himself. ”It wasn’t you.”

      Rogue nodded, agonised at the truth. ”But it was. It was a part of me.”

      Logan didn’t know what to say and simply held her as he whispered, ”I love you.”

      She smiled through tears but it was a sad smile. ”I do not deserve your love.”

      ”You do and always will,” Logan insisted and softly kissed her lips. As they drew apart Rogue’s cheeks were wet with tears.

      ”I love you,” she whispered. ”I could have killed you. I was going to kill you.”

      Logan felt uncomfortable with the whole subject. ”It wasn’t you.”

      Rogue didn’t seem to hear him. ”Nothing is as important to me as you,” her eyes held his. ”I don’t need any powers. I am content to remain the way I was.”

      As the words left her, as she felt the truth in them, she also felt a burden lift from her shoulders. Her face glowed with wonder. ”It is gone.”
      ”What is?” Logan asked puzzled.

      ”Sauron’s voice in my head. I no longer hear it.” She lifted her left hand and tried to call her magical powers to her but nothing happened. ”My powers have gone.”

      ”Are you sad that they are?” Logan asked, trying to contain his own joy at this news.

      She looked thoughtful for a moment before she shook her head. ”No, they had to go. They were never rightfully mine.”

      Logan nodded satisfied, feeling a wave of love and peace despite holding her in the middle of a battlefield. ”Good.”

      ”Boromir was right. It took something dramatic for him to see the truth about the Ring and it did the same for me,” she mused, feeling a new kind of kinship with the tormented warrior.

      Logan gently touched her cheek where he had hit her, using his own cape as protection against her mutant powers and she couldn’t contain a grimace of pain at even this gentle touch. A wave of shame and regret filled him. ”I’m sorry I hit you,” he said softly.

      She smiled warmly, forcing away her anguish at the memory with an attempt at humour. ”Lov, you have my permission to hit me any time I try to kill you.”

      Logan smiled back, relieved at getting her forgiveness and pressed a kiss to her hair. His heightened senses warned him of approaching Orcs and in one swift motion he was on his feet, having dragged her up with him. He picked up a sword from a dead elf, one of Haldir’s Logan could see by his colours, and threw it to her. Elven swords were lighter than human swords and she would be able to handle this one easier. She hadn’t carried a sword since her magical powers had surfaced, not seeing the need for it. She sent him a hand kiss.

      ”I’ll cover your back,” she promised, a bit hesitant, fearful that he might not trust her now that she had failed him earlier but he quickly laid her fears to rest. He smiled in acceptance and promised, ”I’ll protect yours.”

      Soon they were fighting back to back, feeling closer than ever before, feeling happier than ever before despite the serious and dangerous situation. If they were to die in this battle today they would die together and die as themselves…die with their love still intact in their hearts. That was enough…it was all they could ask for.

      * * *

      Boromir rode through the chaotic battlefield, fanatically trying to locate his brother or Merry or Pippin. So far he had had no luck. His dark forbearing about Faramir made him both eager and anxious to locate his brother. He wasn’t sure if he could handle finding his baby brother’s dead body. On their mother’s deathbed he had promised her he would take care of his brother; that he would always protect him. He had to fulfil that vow.

      The battle was large, bloody and noisy. It was almost impossible to locate anybody. Since he had left Logan and Rogue he had only just spotted Haldir and Aragorn but had been too far away from them to ask them if they had seen his brother or the Hobbits. The battle was intense and the Orcs were cruel but efficient warriors. He had already received three wounds that would have been deadly had his body still been alive and not connected to the Ring. However he was also fighting with a disregard for his own life that he wouldn’t have done had he known severe wounds would prove fatal to him.

      Just when he was about to lose hope Ororo flew down and let him know where he could find Merry. Boromir managed to fight his way to the little Hobbit and saw that he had been wounded though it did not look fatal. Merry had beamed with joy at seeing him but with Orcs closing in on them they had no time for heartfilled reunions. Boromir had lifted Merry up into his arms but the Hobbit had insisted he would not leave the wounded and unconscious princess. Boromir had put Merry on his horse and had then taken Eowyn in his embrace, Merry leaning against his back. Ignoring Merry’s weak protests that he could still fight Boromir fought his way through the chaos and didn’t release his grip on the unconscious princess or Merry until they were some distance behind their own lines. He carefully lifted both the princess and Merry of his horse and placed them under a tree. Giving Merry a warm embrace he asked him to watch over the princess, making sure he had his sword with him, before he left them to try and find Pippin and his brother. Pippin had ridden to Minas Tirith with Gandalf and Boromir hadn’t seen the old wizard either so he made his way to the city.

      A sudden sharp pain in his mind and heart made him gasp in fear.

      “Faramir,” he whispered pained and guided his horse through the warring city to find the source of his brother’s pain. He reached the palace and dismounted. Cautiously, his sword drawn, he entered the large audience room. The room was a large stone room with the old royal chair standing at the end wall and the room had only two exits, the large entrance door he had just entered through and a small door behind the throne.

      The scene that met him filled him with shock and terror. At the end of the room his father sat on the throne, his eyes holding a clearly mad look. After the death of his wife he had fallen further and further into his own paranoid and cruel world but not before now had Boromir seen his father’s madness shine so clearly in his eyes. At his right hand side stood Phoenix, her beauty as deadly as ever, her eyes holding a satisfied gleam that said clearer than words that this was her revenge for his betrayal of her. In the middle of the room was a large funeral pyre where a beaten and bloodied Faramir had been tied to a pole in the middle of the large stack of wood. Sorrow and compassion flowed through Boromir when he saw his brother’s sorry state. He looked only half conscious and had obviously been wounded in battle as well as tortured. Boromir could recognize and separate each wound from what was a battle wound and what was from torture, most likely inflicted by Phoenix, on his smaller brother’s body. He looked very young and vulnerable, his body bloodied and his clothes torn and dirty. His unfocused gaze locked with Boromir’s and he tried to smile. Boromir´s uniform was bloody and dirty and he looked very weary. His choice of a tunic in regal dark red was characteristic for him, but Faramir did not need to see it to recognize him, he would have been able to recognize his brother anywhere, if nothing else then from the look of love and concern on his tired face.

      “Brother mine,” Faramir whispered weakly, his pained voice almost being Boromir’s undoing. Boromir was suddenly very glad that Faramir was tied so that he was facing away from the throne and therefore could not see the mad gleam in their father’s eyes.

      Around the fire stood several soldiers with torches, only held at bay by a very determined looking Pippin, his small sword drawn and Gandalf who stood beside him, all facing the throne and thus his father and Phoenix. There was no doubt that it was Gandalf’s magic that held the soldiers at bay but Pippin seemed determined to protect Faramir with his life if need be.

      “Boromir! You’re here!” Pippin said joyfully and almost forgot he was supposed to watch the soldiers in his happiness at seeing the man.

      Boromir walked across the hall, his steps echoing in the large room. “What is this madness?” Boromir demanded to know, pointing at his abused brother on the stake with his drawn sword. He wished nothing more than to free him and take him in his arms but the situation was dangerous and Faramir’s comfort would have to wait; first he had to be safe.

      His father turned mad and angry eyes at him. “Lady Phoenix has told me all about you, demon who wears my beloved son’s face. I will not allow you to stop me from doing what I must.”

      Boromir went to stand besides Gandalf, giving a short respectful nod in greeting and giving Pippin a one armed embrace, keeping his sword drawn and pointed towards the nearest soldiers. “I am Boromir but you are making me ashamed to call myself your son.”

      “Ha,” his father said with contempt. “No son of mine will act this weak…showing respect to that dreaded wizard and such affection towards a lowly Hobbit. Emotions are for women and weaklings; no son of mine would act as either!”

      Boromir had to fight to control his anger. “Your anger and your poison almost ruined me. The only pure thing in my life was my love for my brother and for my deceased wife. You did your best to ruin both of those loves but your words will not make me fail now.”

      Phoenix gave him a dark smile. “Brave words for a man in your position.”

      Boromir fought not to recall his torture at this woman’s hands as well as the pain he felt for the loss of his wife, having now been gone for many years and the agony he felt at seeing his baby brother in so much pain.

      “Why are you here?” he asked her directly, trying to control his nervousness at being in her presence again.

      “I did say this was not over between us, no one betrays me without it having severe consequences. Since you continued to elope me I found your brother to be a suitable, however temporally, replacement and it gave me plenty of opportunity to see if the whispers I hear are true, that you do have a kind of mental connection with your brother so that you share your pain,” she explained coldly.

      “If it is I you wish to harm then let my brother go and I shall give myself up to you,” Boromir offered, spread out his arms to amplify his offer, unable to bear the thought of his brother suffering anything more because of him.

      She smiled evilly at him and shook her head. “This way seem to bring you much deeper and much more painfully to your knees than anything else I might do to you.”

      Boromir fought to stay calm. Phoenix was very powerful, he knew that well and therefore he could not risk upsetting her here where she could easily kill his brother and everyone else. “Can you defeat her?” Boromir whispered to Gandalf who was beginning to look strained as he focused to maintain a magical shield around the pyre, Pippin, Boromir and himself.

      “No. I can hold her off for a little while but she will eventually find a way to bypass my magic. I am not more powerful than her but at the moment she is not used to dealing with white magic and needs time to find a way to defeat me,” Gandalf whispered back, concern evident in his voice.

      “Father, stop this. He is your son,” Boromir tried to reason, realising that in a fight the odds would not be on their side.

      “He was never my son!” his father thundered. “He was always weak…weak! Wanting peace…wanting to read and be like the Elves. He was no warrior!”

      “My brother is a fine warrior but war should only be fought if it cannot be avoided and only for the right reasons,” Boromir tried again, fighting not to get upset over his father’s words as well as his way of addressing his brother in the past tense as if he was already dead. His father was extremely unpredictable; there was no saying what he might do.

      “He is no son of mine!” his father thundered and pointed an accusing finger at Faramir’s figure, his back bound to the pole, his face turned away from him. “It is his fault…his fault my wife died.” There was a hint of sorrow in his voice before the anger was back.

      “Our mother died from complications received during childbirth which she never recovered from. It was no fault of my brother’s,” Boromir tried again, trying to keep his voice soft and reasonable as to not agitate his father further. Though he had always tried to be the dutiful son he had long ago lost any hints of love for his father. He had always been a strict and cruel master and his mistreatment of Faramir had earned him Boromir’s distaste.

      “Lies! Lies!” His father yelled furiously and waved a hand at the soldiers who moved closer to the stake.

      “Boromir?” Faramir’s weak voice, holding an edge of fear made Boromir’s blood boil with rage. He took a step towards the throne, his sword raised and pointed at his father but his eyes swept across the soldiers.

      “Men, soldiers of Gondor. There is an enemy to be fought outside the city walls. Your fight is not here.”

      “Sire, our Steward rules the city still and he commands differently,” one of the officers said, his voice betraying that he far from enjoyed the assignment he had been given but honour and duty bound him for life to obey his Steward, even if he was mad.

      “Madness releases you from your bond of honour,” Gandalf said.

      The officer shook his head. “Only the Steward can release us.”

      Boromir’s eyes fell on his father. “Release these men from their bonds or command them to stay away.”

      His father leaned forward in his chair, a challenging look in his eyes. “Or what?”

      Boromir’s eyes darkened. “Or they will recall that the death of the Steward also releases them from their bond.”
      “Only to me. They will be bound to you instead,” his father reminded him.

      “True.”
      “You only wish to run my army! You seek to betray me! You, the demon who wears my beloved son’s face!” his father cried.

      “I may be your son but I was never beloved by you,” Boromir said steadily, his sword not moving an inch from where it was pointing towards his father. He wasn’t sure if Phoenix would interfere if he threw the sword at his father or tried to rush him but he knew if she did he would already have lost. He knew better than anyone did of the extent of her powers.

      “You are thinking of ending your father’s life to save us,” Gandalf whispered to Boromir, his eyes on the Steward, simply stating a fact, giving no hint of what he thought of this. Boromir nodded grimly, the thought having crossed his mind. In his maddened and tortured state death might possibly be what his father would have chosen for himself if he had been given a moment of clarity.

      “Yes,” he whispered back. “Yet he is my father. Do not ask me to take the life of the man who gave it to me.” It was more duty and a sense of honour that made him request this and not love. It was hard to love the hand that would feed you but only if you showed unquestionable obedience and who’ll beat you if such a mood should strike, for no apparent reason.

      “I shall not. I would never make such a request of anyone, least of all you,” Gandalf assured him sincerely, having never even considered such a request. “However you must defy him. Remember that he may have given you life but that was all he ever gave you for love and care he gave not. Life is no debt you are to keep for you never asked to be born.”

      Boromir considered these words and found truth in them. His father had never done any fatherly duties, why should he do a son’s? Yet if he did not would he not prove to be as bad as his father?

      “Lies and treason! Wherever I turn!” His father yelled furiously, breaking Boromir’s trail of thought. “See? Conspiring against me, the lot of you!” he insisted, pointing towards Gandalf and Boromir who drew apart again and looked at him. His cold eyes settled on Boromir. “Will you betray me also?”

      “If you are asking me to choose between my brother and yourself there is no decision to be made. I made that choice the day he was born when I gave my word that I would protect him unto my own death,” Boromir said evenly.

      “Traitor!” his father yelled enraged. “Kill them! Kill them all!”

      The soldiers slowly closed in on the three men and the stake. The ones who didn’t carry torches drew their swords.

      “Any suggestions?” Boromir asked Gandalf, easing Pippin behind him despite the small Hobbit’s protests that he could fight.

      “They are your men. Can you not break their bond to your father?”

      “Only by his death,” Boromir said softly, not liking the prospect of seeing his father dead despite everything he had put them through. When he was honest with himself he knew that a part of him that he had thought dead long ago would always love his father and would always desire his love and respect.

      Gandalf caught Phoenix’s eyes but her gaze were as if fixated on the door to the throne room and not on them. “She almost seems to be waiting for someone else,” Gandalf said, almost to himself.

      “Let us hope this will mean she will not fight us,” Boromir said before he quickly glanced at Pippin. “I need you to do something for me. Something very important,” he asked of the Hobbit and Pippin eagerly nodded, happy to be given such an important task even though he did not know what it was.

      “Anything,” he vowed.

      Boromir lowered his voice to a whisper. “On my signal free my brother from his robes and when Gandalf and me lets you know that it’s safe try and get him off the stake and place him up against one of the stone walls. It will give you one less flank to guard.”

      Pippin nodded solemnly. “You can count on me.”

      Boromir smiled and gave his shoulder a gentle pat. “I know.”

      “Ready?” Gandalf asked as Boromir stood beside him again. “I will hold Phoenix back and try and keep the soldiers from reaching the stake with my powers but this means I cannot fight them. You must disarm the soldiers before Phoenix intensifies her attack and I lose my hold on the magical shield I have put around the stake and your brother,” Gandalf explained.

      “Understood,” Boromir nodded. He caught eye contact with Pippin before he yelled, “Now, Pippin!” and ran towards the nearest soldier, his sword raised. He did not wish to harm or kill his fellow countrymen who were just doing their duty so he did his best to disarm the soldiers and knock them down but not permanently harm them. Soon he was fighting against several soldiers and was once again glad that he could not die. However there were too many soldiers even for him as an immortal to be able to handle as each wound slowed him down. He saw that Pippin had managed to cut Faramir’s bonds but there were soldiers all around so Gandalf had called the Hobbit to his side. Pippin now stood besides Gandalf, doing his best to hold a weak and disorientated Faramir on his feet. Supporting Faramir meant that Pippin couldn’t hold his sword and only Gandalf’s magic kept the soldiers at bay since there were too many for Boromir to keep them all occupied.

      “Boromir I cannot hold my shield any longer,” Gandalf warned him, his voice strained and pained. Phoenix sent him a triumphant smile.

      “I cannot reach you,” Boromir warned, caught up in a fight with five soldiers at the same time. He cast a quick look at Gandalf and saw that several soldiers stood before them with their swords raised, ready to strike the wizard, Pippin and his brother down as soon as Gandalf’s shield fell.

      “My hold is slipping,” Gandalf warned and as he spoke he moved to stand before Pippin and the weakened Faramir who seemed about to pass out, only held up by Pippin who was having difficulty supporting the larger and heavier human.

      “I cannot reach you!” Boromir warned again, his voice beginning to hold a note of panic and fear. “I…cannot…hold…her…back,” Gandalf warned pained, fighting against Phoenix but her mutant powers were alien to him. As in slow motion Boromir saw Gandalf’s face twist in agony, saw Phoenix make a hand gesture and suddenly Gandalf’s magical hold broke and the wizard fell unconscious to the stone floor, leaving Pippin and Faramir defenseless against the soldiers.

      “Nooo!” Boromir cried and without thinking threw his sword towards his father.

      “Phoe…” he began, seeking her protection but she merely gave him a cold look.

      “I am here to get my revenge and because it amuses me and helps make the time until this pathetic army falls pass quicker. Your death at your own son’s hand will serve me well. I am not here to aid you in your mad schemes,” Phoenix said coldly.

      Boromir’s sword flew through the air and embedded itself in the old Steward’s chest, killing him instantly and stopping any more words from crossing his lips. The soldiers Boromir had been fighting had stopped at once when they saw the old Steward were dead and were now moving away from him. His gaze swept over them to assure himself they were no threat and as if on cue they knelt on one knee before him.

      “Hear me!” Boromir yelled, gaining the other soldiers’ attention as well who had moved in on Gandalf, Pippin and Faramir. “My father is dead and the Stewardship passes to me.”

      The soldiers saw that the old Steward indeed was dead and they created some distance between themselves and Gandalf, Pippin and Faramir before they too knelt on one knee, facing him as they did so.

      “With our life or death we shall serve you until your last breath. Long live the new Steward of Gondor, Boromir,” the officer who had spoken earlier proclaimed and the soldiers repeated the old vow.

      “We have no time for this,” Boromir waved irritated at them, uncomfortable with the whole process. He had no time now to mourn his father or to feel guilty for what he had done. Though he regretted what he had had to do he would have done it again in a heartbeat if his brother, Pippin and Gandalf were in the same kind of danger. However that did not mean that he wasn’t aware that when he had a moment’s pause his actions here today would haunt him forever, something Phoenix had been well aware of. “You two,” Boromir went on, pointing to the officer and a soldier at his side. “Take my brother to his chambers and get a healer to see him.” As the men rose and the officer carefully took his brother into his arms and they began to move away, leaving by the door behind the throne, Boromir drew a relieved breath, seeing that Phoenix still seemed uninterested in them, her gaze at the door. "You five,” Boromir indicated five soldiers with a wave of his hand. “Go stand watch at my brother’s chambers. Should the walls be breached protect my brother with your life yet if you see all is lost then do not let my brother fall into enemy hands.” It was a hard command to give but he knew his brother would prefer a quick death at a friend’s sword than spend years as a prisoner of the Orcs, living the life of a slave with pain and humiliations flung his way every day. That was no life for a young man as fair and emotional as his brother. It was no life for anyone. Should the walls be breached he himself would fight till the end but he feverishly hoped that if all was lost he would find a way to kill himself instead of falling into enemy hands. He had been Phoenix’s prisoner once and never wished that again.

      Gandalf came around and Boromir went and helped him to his feet. Gandalf quickly figured out what had happened and put a calming hand on Boromir’s shoulder, his voice sympathetic. “You did what you had to do. You had no choice.”

      Boromir nodded. “I know.” Yet there was still a hint of guilt in his voice.

      Pippin, sensing the danger was over, embraced Boromir’s legs happily. “I feared you had perished,” he said.

      Boromir gently released his grip and bent down to embrace him properly. “I would not perish before I had made sure you were safe.” His voice and face grew serious as he drew back so that they were face to face. “Listen carefully. I have found Merry and he is safe for now.” Pippin’s face light up in joy and Boromir foresaw his next question. “However I cannot take you to him at this time. He is behind our lines.”

      “But he is safe,” Pippin insisted, needing to be sure of this fact.

      “Yes. For now.” Boromir shared a look with Gandalf who nodded towards Phoenix. Though she was no danger now she could become one at any moment. She had after all broken through Gandalf’s magical shield, showing she was a great threat if she chose to be. “Pippin, I wish you to go with the soldier over there,” Boromir pointed towards a soldier, “and stay with my brother. If the Orcs breach the walls and enter the palace…”

      “I know,” Pippin said grimly. “Neither he or I will become the objects of the Orcs’ sinister amusement.” Boromir felt a wave of sadness at knowing that the young Hobbit would have some idea of the cruelty the Orcs could do. However though he could try and protect his Little Ones from bodily harm he could not save their innocence when they were in the middle of a bloody war. Innocence was always the first thing that got sacrificed in a war and Boromir felt the loss of it more than ever.

      “Thank you,” he settled with. Pippin embraced him again before he went to the soldier who showed him to Faramir’s room. In the doorway behind the throne, Pippin turned and waved at him. Knowing that if the walls fell he would never see either Faramir or Pippin again Boromir waved back with a great sense of melancholy.

      Boromir took a deep breath to gather his wits around himself, feeling himself grew weary from the battle and all the emotions and fears he had been through in such a short time. “The rest of you go protect the city. If the walls have been breached then form one last line of defence around the palace,” Boromir ordered of the rest of the soldiers who saluted him before hurrying off to do as he bid, disappearing through the large entrance door to the throne room. Boromir and Gandalf shared a look that spoke volumes as now only they and Phoenix remained. They could try and fight her but despite Gandalf’s magic and his own inability to die he very much doubted they could win. Something other than brute force was Phoenix’s weakness yet he wasn’t sure what.

      “Who is she waiting for?” Boromir wondered out loud, beginning to find Phoenix’s fixated glance at the entrance door to the throne room, disturbing. Suddenly the doors opened and a tired Scott entered, his sword bloodied and his clothes dirty.

      “She is waiting for me,” he said evenly, though his face showed a world of emotions.

      * * *

      The trip to Minas Tirith had felt long and the ghosts had made Scott feel uncomfortable. They seemed to be evil minded, only held back by Aragorn’s power as rightful heir to Gondor’s throne. Finally they had reached the city and they had found the attack was already under way. Scott had searched for his friends but the battle had been too big and confusing for him to locate them. A sudden sharp pain followed by dark images of torture and death assaulted his mind, making him barely escape with his life intact. Only Aragorn’s quick intervention saved him from becoming a head shorter. He repaid his debt soon after when he managed to blast one of the gigantic elephant beings to kingdom come. The painful attacks on his mind began to come with regular intervals and he identified it as a twisted and dark version of the mental report he had shared with Jean. Letting the mental pull guide his way he had come through the city and now stood face to face with a stranger wearing his beloved’s face.

      “You took your time, lover,” Phoenix teased darkly. “But if I know you, dear husband, you probably stopped on the way to help some old lady across the street,” the last sentence was said with an air of pure contempt.

      “Jean would help anyone in need, enemy or friend. We have this in common,” Scott reminded her softly, moving further into the room, his sword still raised and held out before him. He fought with a Gondorian sword and had to use both hands to be able to balance it perfectly since he hadn’t had sword practice on a daily basis the way human males native to Middle Earth had.

      “Ha,” Phoenix snorted. “Jean was weak. That was why she had to die.”

      Scott closed his eyes briefly in pain, his grip around his sword tightening. “She was the strongest woman I have ever met and she was my wife.”

      “Scott,” Gandalf began, about to offer his assistance.

      “Go. Go defend the city. I will take care of…this,” he couldn’t make himself say her name.

      Boromir cast a worried look from Phoenix to Scott. He couldn’t see how Scott had much of a chance even with his powerful eye beams. “You are certain?”
      “I am.”

      Gandalf and Boromir began to slowly leave the room, cautious of Phoenix though her full attention was on Scott.

      “Be careful,” Gandalf warned and Scott nodded, his eyes only on Phoenix.

      Boromir hesitated for just a second, remembering his torture at Phoenix’s hands and not wishing Scott to be subject to that. Scott sensed his hesitation and added softly, “Aragorn has need of you…Gondor has need of you.”

      Boromir nodded understanding. “May Eru be with you,” he said simply and Scott nodded his thanks for the religious prayer. With a loud sound in the sudden silent room the door fell shut behind them and only Scott and Phoenix were left, locked inside with the lifeless body of the old Steward. Scott cast him a fleeing glance and saw little resemblance to his son and from Boromir’s words there were even less of him in Faramir…thankfully as Scott had heard enough about the old Steward to not wish to meet him; not that there was any chance of that now.

      “We’re finally face to face and you have nothing to say?” Phoenix taunted as she moved towards him.

      “I have dreamt you will kill me,” he said calmly, his sword following her movements.

      Phoenix raised an amused eyebrow at him. “Perceptive dreams you have, dear husband of mine because death is all that awaits you here.”

      She had reached him and they now stood with only his sword between them. Something in the way she said those words made Scott formulate a theory…A theory that could help save Middle Earth and his wife’s life and soul. “I feared my dreams. I feared my own death,” Scott said slowly, thoughtfully. “But I see now that my death will not be my failure but my victory.”

      “And how’s that?” Phoenix asked with a hint of curiosity in her voice. With a soft smile Scott let his sword fall to the floor, now standing defenceless before her.

      “Because a part of Jean still lives inside you and the pain and regret she will feel over my death will finally free her,” he said softly, determined, sure of Jean’s love for him and that it was still alive somewhere, buried deep within Phoenix.

      Her eyes darkened in rage. “Do not count on that. Jean was weak and I killed her. There is only me now.”
      Scott shook his head. “I don’t believe that. You would not hate me this intensely if not a part of you still loved me just as intensely and that part of you is Jean.”

      “You’re deluding yourself,” she snorted but there was a hint of doubt in her voice. Could she really only hate him this much if a part of her still loved him?

      “Jean, I loved you from the first day I saw you,” Scott began softly, his voice honest and open. He had accepted his fate; he had no regrets.

      “Shut up!” she thundered and slapped him across the face with such force that he landed on the floor before her. She stretched out her right hand towards him, gathering her powers about her.

      Scott fought down the fear that threatened to rise and feverishly prayed that his gamble would prove right…only he would never know. He hoped Logan, Rogue and Ororo could get safely home…he hoped Aragorn would win this war. Yet he wouldn’t be there to see either. Though he had accepted his fate he still mourned what he was missing out on more than what he was about to face. This was not how he had wanted to die yet he got to die together with Jean so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. “Jean…I forgive you,” he said softly, meaning it.

      “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” she yelled furiously and used her telepathic powers to destroy his mind while she used her telekinesis to strangle him. He made a suffering sound for a second before he lay still, never to move again. At the moment of his death, though he had known it would come, a look of surprise and shock was still as if caved into his face at seeing the woman he loved be the instrument of his own demise.

      Phoenix took some deep, calming breaths but found that she couldn’t relax. Her eyes settled on his face and her eyes followed the small twinge of blood that was on its way slowly out of his mouth. She knelt beside him and looked at his lifeless body. Scott’s lifeless body…her husband. Memories resurfaced. Scott smiling at her. Saying he loved her. Taking her out for dinner…Their wedding. How he had never once complained that she worked strange hours because she worked on the nearby hospital as a doctor as well as the school’s doctor. How he had never once felt threatened by her position as a doctor contra his own as a high school teacher. How he had simply ignored the evil whispers when someone commented on their age gap of 12 years, making him much younger than her. She recalled how lucky she had felt she had been when they had started going out. She recalled how sad and broken up she had been the last time she had returned from having become Phoenix…she recalled how Scott and Charles had brought her back from her own power trip. How could she have allowed herself to become evil again? Charles had bound her powers down so it shouldn’t have been possible…Sauron of course. He must have freed the full potential of her powers and tempted her with power and glory. Her eyes fell again on Scott’s face and tears began to fall from her eyes.

      “Oh, Scott,” she whispered brokenly. Oh, how the mighty fall…All this sorrow for what? Power? It was not worth it. Nothing was worth losing Scott. “Oh, dear God…What have I done? What have I done?” She took Scott into her embrace and cried by his shoulder. “Forgive me,” she repeated over and over again, not really sure who she was asking forgiveness from since there was no one left to answer her. It could have been forever or just a few seconds but a sudden sharp light outside the palace brought her back to reality and she gently laid Scott’s body back on the floor. She planted an endlessly gentle kiss to his forehead before she rose, her eyes glimmering with power, darkness and tears.

      “I am too powerful to return to what I was,” Phoenix said softly, a determined look in her eyes. “But I shall do the only thing I can do for you now…I shall revenge you.” For a brief moment her grief and pain had killed her hunger for power, replacing it with a thirst for revenge but she knew it was only a question of time before her grief would not be strong enough to hold the temptation of power back. Yet she didn’t think of that now. All she wanted to do was to get her revenge…everything else didn’t matter.

      With those words she opened the door to the throne room with a wave of her hand and took flight. She saw that the battle had broken up, the remains of the Orc army were fleeing towards Mordor. She guessed the flash of light she had seen had been the disappearance of the ghosts Scott had brought with him. She had felt them when they had entered the battlefield, their minds were a dark and twisted place even she would not wander into. Now their presence was gone from the battlefield as well as her mind. However the beautiful angel like Elves and men that Logan had brought with him remained. Their minds in contrast were pure, filled with warmth and light and because of this she did not wander into them. Their light was disturbing to her. She caught a glimpse of Logan and Rogue and knew they had spotted her as well as she flew over the battlefield. She fleetingly wondered why Ororo was not airborne but was just happy that she needn’t fight with her to get to her destination. Filled with guilt, anger and power she flew across the lands. As she spotted the fleeing Orcs she began to lash out with her powers at them, killing as many of them as she could and afterwards she felt better though they weren’t the ones she wanted to kill.

      “Sauron, I shall kill you and eat your heart if you have one which I doubt,” Phoenix vowed as she flew towards Mordor and what she knew would be her final fate…one way or another.



      TBC

      Author’s notes:

      I know I keep saying this but some of you seem to keep forgetting it. This is a crossover between the Lord Of The Rings movies and the first and ONLY the first X-men movie. This means that if it wasn’t in those movies then it doesn’t count. It furthermore means that any additional information about the characters that the LOTR books or the movie X2 and the comics provided is disregarded unless I choose to try and work a few of the facts mentioned in one of these works into this novel. Besides my beta and myself I sometimes have a few others who’re looking these chapters over and helping me keep as close to the LOTR books as possible but this is only a courtesy and one which, with this being a crossover, I cannot always provide. The same goes with the X-men where I try to keep as close to the comics as the first movie and the nature of this novel allows.

      Recap: As a crossover between the first X-men movie and the LOTR movies anything not in those films doesn’t count and thus it then falls under author’s freedom. Given that we only have a few chapters left I hope I need not specify the specifications from which this novel arose again. Thanks for your understanding.

      With this out of the way I’ll remind you that in a chapter, far back, Boromir mentioned a deceased wife and she’s the one he thinks of here as well. And yes I know that the books never gave him a wife but given his age I found it strange and unlikely that he, as the heir to the title of Steward had never married. Anyway, call it author’s freedom then if nothing else.

      And yes, we lost Scott in this chapter, making him the first X-man to fall in this story. Had you guessed his fate? If you’ve read other X-men fics of mine you probably should have. *smiles*

      Thanks for keeping with me. We’re almost there. Don’t give up on me now *grins*

      Thanks as always to Jonas for great beta and help with keeping to the LOTR lore. A special thanks to x-Storm-Goddess-x for poking me so that I kept on writing this. Thanks, lov *hugs and kisses*



      Love

      Nadja
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