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Duty Bound  by Bodkin

A Question Asked

‘Are you not married, then?’  Pippin asked chattily.

It had been a wearing session – not least because it would appear that hobbits were remarkably good at being where you did not expect them to be as well as at holding conversations about food and family throughout activity that should have left them speechless.

‘Why do you ask?’ Boromir enquired cautiously.

The youngest hobbit looked at him with the frank gaze that was surprisingly disconcerting.  ‘Because you are here,’ he said, readily enough.  ‘Sam would say nothing to Rosie, even though she was expecting him to – because he could hardly leave her to go off with Frodo.  And Merry, even though he would deny ever having thought of it, has been casting sheep’s eyes at a certain Bolger lass since before he came of age, but he couldn’t ask her to agree to a courtship either, not since we were all watching Frodo like hawks to see when he would try to slip away from us.’

Merry’s large foot shot out to prod his cousin in the back.  ‘As if you knew anything about it,’ he objected.

‘So…’ the youngest of them continued with logic that seemed indisputable to him, at least, ‘you cannot be married or you would not have left your home to come on such an uncertain journey.’

‘Well – I cannot say that I would happily have left a wife and family behind,’ Boromir admitted, ‘but needs must at times – and when Gondor demands, I cannot refuse to heed her call.’  He looked at the sprawling hobbits, wondering briefly what it must be like to live in a land where considerations of marital harmony could take precedence over the requirements of war.  ‘But I have spent most of my adult life in the field – and so have many others.  Soldiers’ wives have learned to wait and hope and do without their menfolk most of the time.  It is not a happy situation – but there is little alternative.’ 

Pippin inspected him, sharp eyes narrowed.  ‘So are you married, then?’ he asked, rephrasing his original question.

Memories two decades old stirred up and choked the man of Gondor, like the dust in a long-abandoned room.  ‘No,’ he said, ‘but I was once.’


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