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23 December 2012 | 6614 words
Title: Across the Darkness
Author: Bell Witch
Rating/Warnings: NC-17 Adult content, sexual violence, interspecies, incest.
Word Count: 6519
Disclaimer: None of these people are mine and I’m getting nothing tangible out of it.
Author’s Notes: For the 2012 Midwinter, written Nov-Dec 2012. Beta by Nerey Camille, with remaining mistakes by me.
Written for the 2012 Midwinter Swap.
Request by Moit: Frodo/Faramir, Boromir/Faramir, or Pippin/Faramir; I like romance, angst, and H/C. Kink is really awesome, too, but not necessary. (If you want to take that route, slavefic is one of my favourite things.) I’d prefer you keep the characters in Middle-earth, as I’m not particularly fond of modern-day AUs.
“I love you, Boromir!”
The sharp sound of a slap cut through the air.
“What do you call me?”
“My lord. I… I love you, my lord. My Lord Boromir. I love you.” After so much stammering, Faramir had finally managed to get it right. That is, Boromir was smiling now. That wasn’t necessarily a good sign, but in this case Faramir had finally pleased him.
Sometimes it was easy to please him, just lying there was enough. Other times it was soul-wrenchingly hard. To say he loved Boromir—his lord—was difficult, but he did love Boromir. This… this was not his brother.
It had not been Boromir who returned to Minas Tirith, running into the Houses of Healing so concerned for his brother. So much like him, of course, that Faramir hadn’t noticed, especially in his still-weakened state. He’d been so relieved to see family, relieved that he would not have to take the title of Steward: he’d been called so, but no-one would tell him how his father had died. Boromir, of course, promised to find out and tell him.
Perhaps then he’d caught the first tiny spark that something wasn’t quite right with Gondor’s returning hero. Well, the lack of proper grief and the statement that Boromir would be staying in Minas Tirith and not riding as quickly as he could to catch up with the armies riding to the Morannon. It wasn’t that Faramir wanted him to go, but surely Boromir would wish to be there?
Boromir was vague on this, as he had been vague on how he had come to separate from the Fellowship. Faramir was able to tell him that Mithrandir had not truly fallen. Perhaps if he’d been paying closer attention then he might have noticed that Boromir was not particularly pleased about that. The White Wizard had gone north; not to the Black Gate, but to see if he could find out what had happened to Frodo and Sam.
The Black Gate had mysteriously fallen, what seemed to be the entirety of Mordor with them. The forces of the Enemy ran and scattered, to be hunted down later, while the somewhat confused armies returned to the White City. They saw no reason for the Gate to fall, not knowing that the cause for it was back in Minas Tirith.
Things had happened quickly, and Faramir didn’t know the whole of it. He’d still been in the Houses of Healing and not the Citadel, so he didn’t know where Aragorn had gone. He was the king; Faramir knew it, so where had he gone and why? Someone suggested that he’d gone back north to help Mithrandir, but that didn’t seem right. Éomer King had returned to Rohan with his uncle’s body, but his sister Éowyn had not gone with as originally planned. At first, Faramir had been pleased by this turn of events but later he found out that the lady he was so determinedly courting was not here for him.
She’d been tricked. They had all been tricked.
It seemed like an innocuous enough request, to not speak of his healing—or healer—to anyone.
“Of course I promise, Boromir. You need not go on about it. Have I ever broken a promise to you, or to anyone else?”
Faramir had guessed that it all seemed too miraculous, or perhaps it had to do with the king’s mysterious disappearance. Faramir smiled widely when he heard someone say ‘Your Majesty’ in the hallway, but it was Boromir who came into his room.
“Is Aragorn here to visit someone else?” Faramir asked when no one followed his brother into the room. How wonderful that he had returned already. Boromir’s expression turned hard.
“Aragorn is gone.”
It sounded so final that Faramir sat for a moment open-mouthed. No one could tell him before where Aragorn went, or perhaps they just wouldn’t. He must have fallen at the Black Gate. No! Aragorn had been here; they’d been so close to having Isildur’s heir on the throne. Now they apparently did have a king again, but of Anárion’s line.
“But… when, how? How did…” Boromir’s face looked so grim that Faramir’s voice failed him. Questions later, perhaps.
“You’ll be getting out of here soon,” Boromir said, shrugging. “I need you by my side now, little brother.”
Faramir nodded, his heart breaking at the loss of Aragorn. Of course Boromir would feel it more greatly, having travelled with him in the Fellowship.
“I can leave now if you need me. I will do anything I can, you know that.”
“I know you will.”
Not many weeks later, Faramir was struggling hard with restoring his health and harder on being Steward to the new king. Faramir found it rewarding, if difficult, but the strain of rule seemed to be adversely affecting Boromir’s temper, which added another layer of worry on his younger sibling.
One evening Boromir asked if Faramir might join him after supper—but no work tonight, please. Of course Faramir accepted and was very pleased to do so. It would be just what they both needed, to relax together as brothers again without all the confusing details of running and restoring a kingdom.
“I have missed this,” Boromir said, sitting comfortably with his glass of wine. He smiled across the room, raising his glass. “I’ve missed you.”
Faramir laughed and raised his glass in return.
“I see you every day, but I think I know what you mean.”
The king and the Steward met often, but the brothers did not. They were both used to being different people at need, had been all their lives.
Now it was Boromir’s turn to laugh.
“You’re over there. Let us sit together on the couch.” Boromir went first and clasped his brother’s shoulder solidly when he sat down.
“Together again,” said Faramir.
“As we should be.”
They drank and talked in peace for a short while, until finally Boromir set his glass down and Faramir followed, eyebrows up.
“Less tolerance for wine, more for ale?” he asked with a smile. His brother waved him silent.
“Enough of that for now.” Boromir looked so intensely at his younger brother that Faramir flushed red. He felt a bit uncomfortable when Boromir’s hand came up to touch his cheek. “It looks like you might have had too much, flushing like that.”
“I’m fine.” Though his head was spinning—just slightly—Faramir was not drunk. Or perhaps he was, as Boromir seemed to be terribly close. Closer. Why was he touching Faramir’s face that way, it was almost like he meant to…
Their lips met and Faramir’s eyes widened in surprise. He was fully sober now and pulling back sharply.
“I love you, little brother.”
“I love you, but…” Faramir shook his head. “Such things are not for brothers. Such things are not for two men, or at least not for me.”
He did not want to judge and knew that such liaisons happened, especially in the army. Boromir was such a favourite with the ladies that it hadn’t occurred to Faramir that his brother might enjoy intimacy with males as well.
“We are not like other men, and we are more than brothers,” Boromir said with his usual confidence.
“Well, perhaps. I don’t know. I still have Éowyn to consider, as little as I’ve seen of her. I have been so busy.” He had tried, but she seemed troubled the few times they’d spoken.
“Ah yes, the lady Éowyn. You love her, you say, and she surely loves you in return. Perhaps that is so.” Boromir sniffed and looked at Faramir with a completely foreign expression. “How much do you love her?”
“What? I do not know: that is not something that can be measured.” Faramir was confused and beginning to be somewhat annoyed. Boromir was becoming stranger all the time.
“I’m a man, Faramir. You know me. I want, have needs.” His eyes narrowed. “I want you.”
Faramir just looked at his brother in shock. This was not happening.
“I will have you. Unless you refuse, in which case I’ll have Éowyn—and she won’t be given a choice.”
Boromir’s open hand struck Faramir’s now-pale cheek.
“You will refer to me as ‘my lord’. As my brother you need not call me Your Majesty.”
“Are you deaf as well as a cringing maid?” Boromir looked angry now and, for the first time in his life, Faramir began to be afraid of his brother.
“I am not, mmmy lord.” That was difficult to say. Faramir’s mouth was dry and his head whirled—nothing seemed quite right.
“You in my bed, or Éowyn?”
Faramir did not have such a great amount of experience. Enough, but nothing like the conquests Boromir had made. He knew very little about what two men did, aside from having heard crude jests that generally stopped when the captain walked into the room. Still, he could not save himself at Éowyn’s peril; not at any woman’s.
“I… will lie with you, Boromir. My lord.” Having spoken, and seeing the most unpleasant smile on Boromir’s face, Faramir began to feel somewhat nauseated.
It only got worse with the touches and kisses. Faramir was accustomed to gentle, sweet kisses that he gave a lady, not forceful, lip-bruising things that tried to dominate him and left him gasping for breath. He was undressed roughly, prepared in a crude and extremely embarrassing fashion, then…
Faramir could barely think through the pain, but it did reach through to him that the grunts sounding over the lusty thrusts sounded cruel to his ears. Perhaps that was only because he felt he was being torn asunder, but surely he had caused no woman this agony. It hurt miserably because it was unnatural and men were not supposed to couple like this. Innards on fire, at first Faramir did not hear Boromir speak actual words. A cuff to his head accompanied by an agonizing ram into his body got his attention.
“Say that you love me. You love me, little brother.” Silence, so another hit and ram.
“I love you, Boromir!” Faramir half-screamed as the ramming continued.
“What do you call me?” Boromir said for the first, and far from the last time.
“I love you, my lord.”
Faramir just wanted it to end.
The second time that Boromir demanded sexual favours from his brother, Faramir was not nearly as surprised and he fought harder. That is, he fought until Boromir grabbed his wrists savagely and held them down while proceeding to grind his hips into Faramir’s, moaning into Faramir’s ear ‘Éowyn’.
The first time, Faramir had been face down on the bed when his brother undressed; not so now. At first, his mind did not register what he saw on his brother’s chest, dangling from a silver chain. As unthinkable as the situation was, how much worse was it that…
Boromir had the Ring. He had broken his vow, done Eru only knew what, and had brought the Enemy’s greatest evil home to Minas Tirith.
“Boromir, what…” That was as far as he got before the strong hand raised against him, smacking him painfully on the cheekbone. “My lord! Pardon me for forgetting.”
He got no further before Boromir was upon him.
It became a common thing, though Faramir’s heart broke a little each time. He knew it was not his brother doing these vile things. It was not: it could not be. It certainly was not Boromir that told him to sit on the edge of the bed and put his mouth there.
“My lord?” He couldn’t do it. The word no was written all over his face, even if Faramir dared not utter it. When Boromir grabbed him by the hair and pulled him forward, rubbing his face into his brother’s manhood he did dare.
“You talk too much, my brother,” Boromir said with a sneer.
“No!” But it did no good. When Faramir opened his mouth in this last protest, Boromir pulled him up and shoved in.
It was worse than the pain of being ripped in half. Faramir was sure he’d choke, he couldn’t breathe, and Boromir certainly couldn’t be saying how sweet this was as he pumped in and out of his brother’s mouth. Faramir was sure it lasted forever, and the final hard thrust that brought Boromir’s release with it made him gag. As soon as the softening shaft was removed, Faramir twisted, managed to release his head from his brother’s grip and was violently ill.
Boromir laughed at that, then said that Faramir had put his clever tongue to good use for once. After a short rest, he did it again. Then he did something worse.
Boromir had tied Faramir several times, just his arms once and spread on the bed on a few occasions. This was different, as he was tied face up. His eyes were closed and he tried to ignore the soft petting on his chest. Being hit was easier: this had a frightening ring of false tenderness to it that fluttered like a demented butterfly into Faramir’s stomach and stayed there.
“My beautiful little one, you’ve never felt anything like this,” Boromir said. True—Faramir had been touched with gentleness, he’d been touched by his brother, but not so gently. He tensed when hands were replaced by lips, cringed when Boromir’s tongue began to tease at his nipples, and opened his eyes wide in panic when he began to move lower.
“No. Please, my lord, you don’t mean to do that.” He was pulling frantically with both arms and legs but the bindings were too solid. “My Lord Boromir, please. You must not do that, please, I don’t want it.”
The smile on the older man’s face was pure wickedness. Boromir couldn’t look like that, Boromir couldn’t do this, not with his beloved little brother begging, pleading that he just stop.
“No, no, it’s not right.” Faramir could not escape and his mind would not accept it. “No, aaaahh!”
His voice broke off into a gasp as his manhood was engulfed. Eru, it was true that he’d not felt anything like this before, not such heat and strange movements from what had to be Boromir’s tongue doing things that people should not do to each other. At least not to their brothers.
It continued, as endless as when it was his own mouth surrounding his brother, and with as little control. It started off as new and terrifying, but Faramir’s protests had died away as he tried to bear it in silence. When the feelings changed, when his body began to respond to what was being done to it, he began again.
“I do not want this. Please stop, my lord.” Of course it did not stop, though Boromir did pause after a while and smile that horrible smile again.
“Shut up. Your body knows.”
“But I do not want this!”
Oh, he thought he’d succeeded when Boromir backed away but it was not so. Boromir went to one of the many books on the desk and tore out a page, crumpling it. He stuffed this into Faramir’s mouth as he stared wide-eyed. Then Boromir returned to his task, chuckling.
Didn’t want it, didn’t want it, but it felt so good that Faramir began to blink as his eyes stung. When Boromir hummed and Faramir’s sex jumped in pleasure, the tears began to fall.
Faramir sat nervously at his desk in Boromir’s office. He did most things nervously now, never quite knowing when Boromir would take it into his head to order him to the bedroom. He didn’t always order him there, either, sometimes it was right here. Sometimes he was forced to use his mouth on other men, to Boromir’s amusement. None of them were allowed to take him in other ways, or really to touch him much—that was all for Boromir alone.
Today he was ordered to his own rooms, a regular enough occurrence, though more unpleasant even than when they were in Boromir’s rooms. Faramir felt even more invaded in his own space. What was surprising is that there was someone waiting when he arrived.
“Pippin?” he asked, confused. “What are you doing here?”
“I was ordered here, same as you,” the Hobbit returned, a small frown on his face. His uniform was slightly dirty and his eyes were narrow. Pippin was the only one of the Fellowship Faramir saw now. The others were gone somewhere, even as Éowyn was hidden away from him. She was still in Minas Tirith; at least Boromir hinted that she was. About the others, Faramir didn’t know. They both jumped when Boromir came in.
“My two little pets,” he began. “It is high time that you got to know each other better.”
Faramir’s face was very red as, at Boromir’s order, Pippin undressed him. He had a few bruises on his body, more on his thighs, but was largely unmarked. Pippin wasn’t. Apparently he also received a caning from time to time.
“He’s yours, little brother. You’ve been remarkably compliant lately and I feel as though you’ve earned a small gift.” The word ‘small’ was sneered, and Pippin managed to roll his eyes without Boromir seeing.
“What do you mean?” He was fairly certain, and prepared to argue—not that it helped any.
“Take him. He’s even tighter than you, though less inexperienced.” Boromir laughed.
Faramir felt ill.
“I cannot take him, it would hurt him too badly.” Boromir just waved this protest off.
“You’ll not be the first Man he’s had. I’ve been there, and quite a few others.” The Ringmaster seemed amused by all of this.
“It won’t be so bad, Faramir,” Pippin began, but Boromir quieted him.
“Fine. You won’t use him properly, so I know you won’t dare refuse his mouth.” The words carried a threat on them and Faramir was sure that if he refused Pippin would bear the punishment—while he was forced to watch.
It was a neat trap, and Faramir closed his eyes for a moment before nodding. He hated this, he hated it and the way his body responded. No matter what Boromir said, he did not want it.
“Don’t worry about it. I’m a Hobbit, you know,” Pippin said. Faramir did not know how the young creature managed to keep any trace of bitterness from his voice. “If there’s anything Hobbits can do, it’s eat. I can swallow a sausage whole and have room for more.”
So there, Boromir.
Faramir half-smiled at this. It was black humour, but Pippin was doing his best.
Not so long after, Pippin was doing his best again, and Faramir was trying not to move or make things more difficult. His body wanted to buck up but he couldn’t allow that. How could Pippin manage to…? He couldn’t take all of Faramir in, but the way he used his hands in conjunction with his tongue drove Faramir out of his wits. For a moment he even forgot that Boromir was in the room and all of this was for his sick entertainment. After, when Pippin was wiping his mouth, Faramir could almost swear there was a smirk on it.
“Now you do for him,” Boromir ordered. “You don’t come like that for me. Then again, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Pippin that enthusiastic before.”
The Hobbit looked at the floor while Faramir blushed madly. He could not resist the feelings of this one thing. When Boromir took him and made him say he liked it, it was much easier. His body did not respond when that happened, or barely did. The pain overrode the pleasure when Boromir brushed over that strange thing inside of him. There would be a flash of bliss, then it was gone. Not so when he used his mouth, and Faramir hated that.
Pippin’s smaller size meant that Faramir could take all of him. He did his best, though he felt guilty that he was forced to do this to his friend—the only friend he had left. Pippin must have been ordered to respond, because he was as loud as, well, Pippin was often quite loud about things. He seemed most appreciative of Faramir’s efforts, though he looked guilty when it was over. Faramir and Pippin managed to exchange a quick glance while the Hobbit was getting dressed.
“Go about your duties, Pippin. Faramir and I have some business.” The tone was strange, and so was Pippin’s expression as he left the room. Faramir braced himself, knowing that the encounter would likely be violent.
The moth fluttered against Faramir’s window, making him look up from where he was taking his boots off.
“You’ll tear your wings to pieces if you keep on like that,” he said, going over to the window. He opened it, expecting the little creature to fly away. It did not: it flew into his room and over near the door, where it landed on the knob. Faramir just stared for a moment, then went back to try and remove his boots. As soon as he bent down, the moth flew around him, not close enough to touch, but distracting.
“What is going on?” He was beginning to think that he was truly going mad, talking to a moth. Then again, the moth was acting oddly. Was there even really a moth there, or were the loneliness and heartbreak over his brother’s actions finally taking their toll?
There was a moth, there was, and it stopped flying when he stopped trying to take off his boots. Faramir looked about his room for a moment, but of course there was no one there to offer help. He opened the door.
The moth flew out, and back in, then out again. Faramir followed it. As though in a dream, he followed the moth through the empty halls of the Citadel into an area where only a few servants lived. Almost no one saw him, and those who did had to assume that he was going where he was told to—everyone knew that Boromir watched closely over his brother. Finally, the moth alit on another door knob.
The room beyond was dark, as expected. It held furnishings for a servant, and through the open door would be the small bedchamber. As Faramir’s eyes adjusted, he noticed a person standing there perfectly still.
“Mithrandir?” No, it could not be.
“Indeed.” The old wizard nodded and stepped forward, opening his arms to welcome Faramir in a warm embrace. “I do not even know how things must have been for you all this time.”
Faramir held tightly, hiding his head against the remarkably strong shoulder like a child.
“You are here, I do not believe it. I thought you would not be returning.” At last Faramir stepped back and looked up at his dear friend. “Nothing is right here.”
“I did not know when I would be, if I would be,” Mithrandir returned. “I did not know what I might find. Things will be changing.”
Faramir shook his head.
“Boromir has the Ring. There’s nothing we can do against it and he never takes it off. He lets few people near him and he’s always careful when…” Faramir blushed and looked away. Not giving him a chance to tear the dreaded Ring away, that was part of the reason Boromir tied him so often. He only raised his head when Mithrandir put a hand to his chin and lifted until their eyes met.
“Not so much longer. I have brought someone who can help.” A very small smile graced the ancient face. “A distraction for Boromir, and Frodo will reclaim his charge. He stands ready to destroy it, with aid from powerful friends.”
“How? It must still go through Mordor. Something happened there, the Black Gate are destroyed, but so is the whole country and no-one knows where Sauron is.” He’d heard from people so many different things but the truth was unknown.
“The Gate is destroyed, and the armies of Mordor. The Enemy himself is diminished, though not dead and gone. That will not happen until the Ring is unmade.” Mithrandir stood tall. “It was your brother who brought down the Black Gate, though this did not happen for the reasons he thinks it did.”
“Boromir! But he was not even there.”
“He did not need to be, he had your father’s palantír. His anger, hatred and fear reached out over the distance and decimated the Enemy’s forces. He might believe he did it to save Gondor but the Ring would not have helped him do that. It only destroys, and that is what will happen—to him and to this land and all of Middle-earth if the Ring is not taken soon to Mount Doom.”
Faramir’s face lit up with hope.
“You mean, Boromir can still be saved?” he asked. Boromir, who had painted the city walls black with orc blood. “You can save him?”
Mithrandir shook his head.
“Frodo can save him, by destroying the Ring. He is here, in hiding.” The wizard took a deep breath. “I hate to ask this of you, Faramir, but you are the only one capable of distracting Boromir enough to give Frodo a chance. Can you do that?”
As mortified as he felt with Mithrandir knowing, somehow it wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be: the floor did not open up and swallow him.
“I can. If it will end all of this, all of these evils, I can do whatever you need me to do.”
“You know already what you must do. My poor child, you know.”
The brothers sat in Boromir’s office, working. Faramir stopped and looked over at Boromir, a tentative smile on his face.
“My lord?” he said quietly.
“Yes?” It was very rare that Faramir interrupted, so Boromir’s expression was half annoyed, half curious.
“You haven’t… that is, we haven’t…” Faramir was nervous and showing it most deliberately. This was the first time he’d ever done this. “I was wondering if you might askmetoyourroomstonight.”
As though it was asking—they were orders. Boromir was smiling now.
“My brother, does this mean that you finally see things my way?”
“I’ve missed you.” Odd how true it was. He missed his brother—his real brother. If this went well, he might win him back. “I would like to spend time with you tonight, if it pleases you.”
Faramir knew what he would have to do and was prepared to do it; at least he hoped he was prepared. This would be more than a passive thing and he was afraid that Boromir would see through the ruse. Perhaps it could be done, if Faramir only showed love. Somewhere in the thing masquerading as Boromir, his brother was locked away. That was the man he loved. If he had to make a mockery of the physical act one more time with this other one, then so be it.
“After we dine, my little one. You will join me then.”
Faramir leaned back on the bed, reaching up for Boromir with pleading eyes.
“I need you now, my lord,” he moaned thickly. He had never before done this willingly and hoped it would be the distraction needed. Valar knew what he looked like to the small hidden figure waiting for his chance.
He couldn’t have known how distracting this was, not just to Boromir. For a moment Frodo completely forgot the real reason he was here—to take the Ring so it could be destroyed. All he could see was the needy body of the figure splayed on the bed. So beautiful, so wanton, just begging to be taken; it seemed like everything he ever wanted in a lover was right there. With Boromir between them: Frodo didn’t like that. If he had the Ring, he too could have Faramir. He just had to get that Ring…
“Please, please, kiss me, take me, use me.” Faramir’s eyes were half-closed as his head rolled from side to side on the pillow. “Fuck me now, Boromir!”
Boromir could take no more of this: he was so distracted that he didn’t even notice that he’d been called by name. How many times had he wished that his brother would respond so? Here he was, hands grasping, legs spread wide, and all for him without any prompting at all. In a swift motion, he moved forward, plunging into the willing flesh below him.
“You are so perfect, my Faramir,” Boromir gasped, his eyes closed in bliss as he found his rhythm. “Hot, tight…”
Out of the corner of his eye Faramir saw movement.
“More, my lord, harder,” he panted. “Oh, please. More.”
The tentative movement became swift and sure, causing Faramir to throw his head back, exposing his neck in a perfect picture of lust. The gesture made room for small Hobbit hands to get to the chain around Boromir’s neck.
Boromir was so enraptured by the sexual encounter was he did not even notice anything amiss until the tug of the chain alerted him: it was too late—the chain broke and the Ring was gone.
Boromir’s eyes flew open and he twisted to see who had done this, only to be grabbed more tightly than he could have imagined by Faramir, with strong arms on his back and legs around his waist.
“Don’t leave me, brother,” Faramir begged. He was truly desperate, not for the swyving, but for Frodo to succeed in getting away. It rang true and Boromir froze, looking down at his brother as though seeing him clearly for the first time in months.
“I… I won’t leave you,” Boromir stammered with a confused smile. “You can let me loose now. I won’t leave you.”
“Just please stay,” Faramir pleaded, relaxing slightly. He still held on, only not enough to keep his brother from moving. “I’m here for you.”
Boromir continued, his strokes slower than before. The rutting was now a much gentler thing and tears began to form at the corners of Faramir’s eyes. Frodo was safely away and he would not have to do this again. That made it so much easier, and the pain he always felt when Boromir took him fell away.
“I love you so much, big brother. By the Valar, I love you.”
“I love you too, Faramir.”
The brothers slept together that night, holding close in the large bed Boromir had claimed for his own. In the morning, Boromir slept long after Faramir woke. He had not needed so much sleep before, and Faramir was worried. The Ring was gone—was his brother still here? After last night, would there be only an empty shell left?
It was mid-afternoon when the ground shook and Boromir finally stirred.
“Where am I?” he asked, half-lidded eyes finding his brother in the elaborate room. “I do not feel well.”
This was a strange admission from any Boromir.
“Brother?” Faramir asked, coming close and risking being struck by being so informal.
“I’ve had the most awful nightmares, my brother,” the older man said. “I begin to understand why yours disturb you so.”
He looked about again.
“What room is this?” Boromir began to take in details and frowned.
“It is…” Faramir could not say that these were Boromir’s own rooms: they were in the king’s apartments. “Do not worry. As soon as you are better we can go to the Houses of Healing and they can look at you.”
“I do not want to go to the healers!” Boromir rose, his naked form slipping downward towards the floor as he stood; he caught himself in time. “Why are you…?”
Boromir waved at Faramir’s own nudity, causing the younger man to dress quickly. The more Boromir looked about the greater the clarity grew in his eyes and the deeper his frown became. At last he turned to the wall and spoke.
“I know what I did,” he said. “My dreams, they were not dreams, were they?” He did not turn around.
“It was not you, Boromir. It was the Ring’s doing. I do not blame you and I never will.” Faramir spoke very quickly. “I always knew that it was not your doing. It will be better now, you will be yourself again.”
Mithrandir had told him so and Faramir desperately needed to believe it.
“You say so now, Faramir. You do not know all I have done.”
“I know enough.”
“Just wait, little brother. Perhaps I have lost the right to call you that with my vile actions. As soon as I am dressed—in my clothing, not these things. These are not mine, they never were and never will be.” The royal clothes he’d worn the night before were lying scattered, so desperate had been Boromir’s need. “Things must be made right again, if that is possible. When you see the people come up from the dungeons, then you may not be so willing to forgive.”
They were all there, from Merry who still ailed from the Black Breath to Aragorn himself, who said that he would do his best to heal it. Aragorn looked determined about that: about many things.
Éowyn looked furious. Her eyes flashed blue fire after the first sturdy embrace with Faramir. Her brother would see Boromir executed for this. She wondered how could it be that he did not already know things had turned to disaster and done something. Faramir tried to tell her that it was not his brother’s doing. The Ring was not a part of the history of her people and it would take time for her to understand what it could do, what it had done. For a while, a long while, she would need to be kept away from Boromir.
This was simple enough, with Aragorn ordering Boromir to his rooms—his own, when he had been Denethor’s heir. There were guards set, but with the guilt now emanating from the man they were there more to keep anyone from harming Boromir. Including himself.
In the morning a pair of Great Eagles alit on the great keel of the city. The windlord and his lieutenant bore Gandalf and a pair of Hobbits to the White City.
“It is finished,” said Frodo, supported by a much thinner Samwise than most remembered.
Boromir remained locked in his rooms for more than a week. Aragorn knew it would be safer to keep Boromir there—not so much from the ordinary people, who really hadn’t known how bad things were—but from those who had been his friends. Aragorn was fairly certain that Boromir would not have raised a hand to protect himself from Gimli’s axe, and certainly not against Lady Éowyn. The problem would not wait forever. He addressed this to a small gathering of friends and counsellors.
“I may have to banish Boromir for what he has done,” Aragorn said with great sorrow. “The greater number of people are unaware of what truly happened to him, but certainly those in the Citadel know at the very least that he was behaving in a manner far beyond unseemly for Steward or king.”
Most around the table nodded sadly, though the members of the Fellowship were the most deeply troubled. And one other.
“My lord, perhaps it is not my place to speak,” Faramir said, rising. He kept his head high though he was sure all present knew what his situation had been while Boromir had called himself king. “I was not there in Imladris for the great council, but I know stories of the Ring. I have seen myself what it can do to a person, even one so strong and valiant as Boromir.”
There were a few nods.
“Isildur himself fell to the power of the Ring, and he was a great king of Men. How could any of the rest of us, more flawed, succeed where he failed?” Faramir closed his eyes briefly, remembering. “I saw someone that looked exactly like my own brother carrying that evil thing, but when I looked into his eyes it was a stranger there.”
People were listening, although Sam frowned deeply.
“It was the Ring who claimed rule here. The Ring’s power destroyed the Black Gate using hate. The Ring turned my brother into a prisoner in his own flesh and even now he cringes at the memories of what he still believes he did.” Faramir shook his head. “It was not he. If Boromir is banished, I will go with him. After all the time he spent alone with only the Ring’s company, I cannot leave him again.”
There was murmuring.
“Húrin of the Keys1 might not have the knowledge that we Denethorion do, but he is a fine man and could be a good Steward if King Elessar so desires.”
Aragorn silenced the muttering.
“I would not lose you both, though you know that Boromir can never be Steward. No matter that it was not he himself who performed atrocities here these past months.” Aragorn was not a creature of politics, but he knew that much. “You will be my Steward, Faramir, if Boromir is to be allowed to stay. He shall spend his time aiding those he has hurt. This is not a punishment, but a way for him to redeem himself. You know that any of us are more likely to forgive him than he is to forgive himself.”
Though there were several sour faces around the table, it was decided that this would be for the best. Certainly it was better for Boromir to perform acts of atonement than for the land to lose him and Faramir as well.
When they were dismissed, Faramir went directly to Boromir’s rooms to give him the news.
“You will make a fine Steward, little brother,” Boromir said. “Though it might have been better to let me be banished. I cannot bear to look at you knowing the pain I have caused.”
Faramir knew what Boromir meant, though the words would never be spoken. He stood as tall as he had before the king and spoke his heart.
“I will allow you anger and hurt over what happened to me, but will blame you not that it happened—you did none of it.”
“No, Boromir. You are my brother and I love you. We shall speak no more of this, because I know you and I know that my older brother did not harm me in the slightest way.”
Boromir nodded, looking at the floor. He was stubborn, but had no right to insist upon anything here. His guilt would need to be borne in private, with regard to his behaviour with Faramir. One day, perhaps, after years of trying, the guilt over what he had done might lessen.
1 Not having any canonical evidence as to Denethor’s two older sisters and their families, I am considering Húrin of the Keys to be a cousin, thus having the right to be Steward.
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