The King of Hearts

by Sarah Eleven

Rating: NC17

Pairings: Aragorn/Everyone, Gandalf/Aragorn, Gandalf/Haldir, Legolas/Gimli, Frodo/Sam, Merry/Pippin, Faramir/Rumil

Summary: Hades gives the guys an ultimatum when they end up in Limbo.

Visitors: Hades, god of the Underworld

Disclaimer: The characters in this story belong to Tolkien and associates, not to me.

Part 3

Boromir's apprehension was visible when Aragorn sat down to their next breakfast. Standing before the fireplace, the elder son of Denethor rearranged the pokers for the fifth time in so many minutes. He jumped violently at the sudden appearance of Hades, who wrapped an arm around his shoulders and laughed with glee.

"It is the fate of this one to belong to me!" Hades claimed jovially. "Admit it, Aragorn! You do not care for him as you do the others! You wish me to take him and be done with him here. His insolence has earned him a spot in my service!"

Boromir jerked away from him, sneering. "I thought you were going to be away!" he accused. "Leave us alone and let us be!"

"You have caused considerable discord here in Limbo, Boromir," Hades said. "There is one man who could have saved you and you popped him in the mouth! Do you think he would care enough for you now to waste his precious seed in your body?"

The man of Gondor looked away with a grimace. "I care not what he does with his seed! He is not beholden to me!"

On his feet, Aragorn moved to confront Boromir. "You will care when you are in Hell and bent in the service of himself!" he said angrily. "I will not tell you lies, Boromir, I am angry with you, but I will not damn you if I can help it. I will not take you by force although at first, that was the only way I perceived to take you!" He pressed a hand on the other man's shoulder and gazed deeply into his eyes, "But if you will go willingly with me, I will try to ease your troubled spirit and give to you what you need to keep you here with us."

Boromir staggered beneath the weight of the hand. "You still offer this to me after all I have said and done?"

"I offer it freely, Boromir. Come with me and let me give you sanctuary."

Hades laughed gaily. "Aragorn, you are much too kind! This man has done nothing but cause you trouble since your arrival in Limbo, and you offer him love? I have wrongly placed you in Limbo. Your love and devotion to your companions has merited you a high place above in the Divine."

Boromir turned to glare at the god. "You intend to take him from us now, when they depend upon him so dearly?"

"I will leave it up to him," Hades answered. "I will also leave you in his tender care until he tells me to take you. Your fate is in his hands."

The dark god stepped close to him, taking him closer to the fire and laying a hot, heavy hand on the side of his head, which made him cringe. "Just to let you know, let me tell you a little bit about Hell, and you can take it from there. In Hell, you will service my partisans -there are many of them - most of them insatiable, craving kinky, brutal sex. That means you'll be tortured, disciplined, maimed, and mutilated to suit their particular kinks...actually, every horrible thing you have ever heard of in sexual torture will happen to you there, and it will keep on happening for eternity. And you will feel it, every nanosecond of it, and you will lose your mind. Unfortunately, losing your mind will not give you peace. It will continue forever, and you will suffer forever. So, how do you feel about that, Boromir?"

Boromir trembled. "Aragorn, can you ever forgive me?" he begged pitifully.

Aragorn heard a general sigh of relief from the others in the room and felt his own heart lighten with hope. He took Boromir by the hand and led him to the bedroom.

When they had gone from the room, the evil god grinned wickedly at those who remained. "So, how does everybody like it so far here on Limbo Island?" he asked.

They shrank back from him, but Gandalf spoke defiantly. "We have begun to enjoy our stay here, most of us. Tell us your plans for the future for us, if indeed we have a future."

"Like I said, Wiz, you're here for Eternity, so your future is firmly fixed," Hades answered, his wrist limber as he laid his palm on his own cheek. He chewed thoughtfully on his little fingernail. "The deal is good as long as your king chooses to live here among you and keep to his part of the bargain, okay? Everything's cool."

Frowns of wonder made him laugh. "You folks are so much fun! I'm so happy I finally landed some Middle Earthers in Limbo! You don't know how much I'm enjoying all the entertainment!"

"So happy we can amuse you," Gandalf said quietly.

"Good! Now, you hot old wizard, grab you an elf and go get you some! Life is supposed to be fun! God, I hate prudence! Just let loose and get it on!"

Gandalf looked around his company with a long sigh and met Haldir's shimmering blue eyes. Stretching out a hand, he invited softly, "Haldir?"

Haldir went to him without pause and was enveloped in a shielding embrace.

"Wonderful! Don't think you'll have it easy with the old guy, Haldir! I hope you've heard the one that goes 'just because there's snow on the roof doesn't mean there's not fire in the furnace!' He's a hot one! I think you're going to be very happy!" With a maniacal laugh, Hades waved at them and disappeared.

"Do you think they're getting along in there?" Sam asked pensively.

All ten were sitting around the living room, waiting for signs to give them a hint as to Boromir's fate. The room was not sound proof, but normal speech could not be heard outside the closed door. They waited, listening, but even the elves were unable to hear the two men in the sanctifying bedroom.

His arm around Haldir, Gandalf said finally, "We should go about our own business for now, and let Aragorn work his talents on our highly strung companion. Our good king has the power of love on his side. Have faith that he will overcome."

Their agreement did not make them any less curious, but they dispersed in pairs, each to their own distraction.

Boromir could not look at the king as he sat on the edge of the bed. "Hades is right. I do not deserve your kindness, Aragorn," he mumbled. "My manners have been dreadful."

Aragorn looked at him with longing. "Boromir," he whispered, stooping before him to touch his face. "Please, tell me what is in your heart."

"Why do you offer me your love?" Boromir asked without meeting his gaze.

The king coaxed his face up and forced eye contact. "My Boromir," he whispered as he leaned closer as if to kiss him, but stopped short. "Ask me instead why the wind blows or why life was given to us in the first place! Ask me why we have eyes to see and ears to hear, ask any of these questions and I will tell you that I do not know. I love you, and that is all. I love you, Boromir, and I do not know why. Nor do I question why. I accept it and I offer it to you. Will you have me now? Will you love me in return or am I alone in this?"

Boromir's fingers rose and clumsily skimmed his companion's lower lip. Seeing the healing cut there, he groaned with regret. "I am sorry for the blow, Aragorn. I will never raise a hand to you again. Please forgive me."

"All is forgiven." Aragorn took the fingers and kissed them gently.

The Gondorian's tortured look was unreprieved. He began to speak slowly as Aragorn moved to sit beside him on the bed. "When we were in Lothlorien and met the Lady Galadriel, she saw my attraction to you and thought it a natural thing. She spoke of my feelings at length and encouraged me to 'open my heart' to you, but she could not ease my conscience."

Aragorn considered his words a moment and asked, "Why do you think it is not a natural thing?"

"Because mating is to be done between men and women, between male and