This story is rated «R», and carries the warnings «Angst, angst, and a little more angst to boot. Serious emotional issues, self-mutilation. Graphic violent imagery, not for the sensitive. But lots of Hurt/Comfort, and some fluff. Yes, fluff. No sex. Deal with it.».
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29 March 2004 | 29961 words
Title: Chronicle of Scars: Cuts
Author: Dernhelm (email@example.com)
Rating: R (for violent imagery, not sexuality)
Summary: Sometimes the deepest wounds cannot be seen by the eye. Only by the soul.
Disclaimer: Characters, locations, and mythos are the property of the estate of Tolkien and New Line Cinema. I make no claims to them, I only borrow them for a bit of mischief.
Warnings: Angst, angst, and a little more angst to boot. Serious emotional issues, self-mutilation. Graphic violent imagery, not for the sensitive. But lots of Hurt/Comfort, and some fluff. Yes, fluff. No sex. Deal with it.
Authors Note: Takes place several years after ROTK. This story ties in with a previous fic,Love Me and Despair, although it is not necessary to read it first to understand this story. Mix of book and movie canons.
Thanks: Extra, extra-special thanks to Spouse, who is the world’s best Beta-reader and giver of unbiased feedback…esp. from a guy who doesn’t read slash.
Faramir awoke alone again for the third time that week. He did not need to reach his hand out to know his wife did not lay beside him, the hollow that held her lithe body in the mattress long since turned cold.
The morning sun had not yet begun its ascent in the sky, and the moon still shone her pale face over Ithilien. Regardless, he had been robbed of sleep, as the knot that had been forming in his stomach for months twisted itself even tighter. Sighing, he rose from the bed, knowing it would do him no good to lay in the sheets that still smelled of her, making his wait for her even more torturous.
Not needing his robe, for the nights were balmy in this time when the spring ripened into summer, he settled himself into the large chair by the open window, letting the warm breezes dance upon the bare skin of his chest and arms. The view looked out upon the green hills of Emyn Arnen, upon which his fair house was built, but the peaceful view gave him no comfort this night. He picked up the carefully bound book on the table beside him and flipped through it, the fire-light long dimmed to smoldering coals and the moon too faint to truly read by, but still, it gave him something to do while he waited.
The sky had begun to blush a tender violet when Faramir heard the door to the bed-chamber slowly open, and he held his breath as his beloved, his wife, the White Lady of Ithilien, whispered into the room. So intent was she on closing the door silently behind her that she did not notice the empty bed, nor her husband seated by the window.
“Good morning, Éowyn.” Faramir’s voice was calm and gentle, as he always was with her. Éowyn froze, clutching her chest in surprise, her eyes as wide as a frightened colt’s.
“How long have you been awake, my husband?” Éowyn’s voice trembled, but it was not faint. She had opted then, for the route of honesty. Faramir had always loved that about her.
“Long enough, my love.”
She turned her face away from him as the endearment passed his lips, and the knot in Faramir’s stomach tied itself a brother in his throat. He knew the truth then. All he had to do was hear it from her lips.
“You were with her again, weren’t you?” His voice held none of the hurt or accusations of a jilted lover, but the same placid tone he always took with her. This was going to be difficult enough. Hasty words would not lessen the bitterness.
She looked up at him after what seemed an eternity of silence, her eyes bright with unshed tears.
“Yes. I was.”
“You dreamt of the Lady again, didn’t you?”
“Yes. I did.”
Faramir sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose, hiding his sorrow behind fatigue. She had confessed of her dreams one moonless night months before, after Faramir had woken in the darkness to find his wife’s face wet with tears, crying out a name softly as she slept: “Galadriel…”
In the morning he asked her why the great Lady’s name brought such pain, and after much careful persuasion, she had told him of her brief time in Lothlórien. She spoke of the radiant healer who had brought her back from the brink of death. She had wept openly when she told him about the burning nights they had spent in each others arms, and as Faramir held her tenderly, she told him of how the queen of the Elves had broken her young heart. The first love is always the cruelest. He had kissed her after she had finished her story, her lips salty with grief, attempting to soothe the ache that had never truly mended in her heart. He hoped to be able to heal her, to be able to fill the void in her soul with his endless love for her.
It was not enough. He had never been enough.
He knew what Éowyn needed. It would be the hardest thing he had ever done to actually give it to her now.
“You know that she has long since left this land, gone across the sea…”
Éowyn sat on the edge of the bed, and though it was only a few feet from Faramir’s chair, he felt as if a chasm had opened between them, so distant was the look in her eyes.
“I know. But, I, I can’t stop dreaming of her eyes, her voice, her…” she snapped out of her reverie, and flashed Faramir a nervous look, fear not masking her desire quickly enough before he saw it burning bright.
It was at that moment that his heart truly broke. He knew she would never speak of him with such reverence, such awe, such love. He was but a man, noble though he was, just a man. How could he ever measure up to such a fair and ancient creature? How could he ever compare with her first love?
“Then you must try and find her, Éowyn.” His voice remained even, determined not to betray the hot feelings roiling under his calm veneer.
Her blue eyes filled with disbelief. Did she truly understand him? Was he toying with her?
“You must stop these troubled dreams, my wife, or you will never know peace again.”
There was nothing but love for her in his eyes, and she knew his words were true.
“Faramir…I, I couldn’t do that to you.” She protested anyway, for although her love for the Lady overshadowed her love for her husband, she stilled cared deeply for him, hating herself for causing him such pain. “What would the people say of you? ‘There goes the cuckold Steward of Gondor, whose own wife left him for a living ghost?’”
“No, my dear. They will say, ‘There goes a man who loved his wife so much he could let her go to find her true happiness.’”
With those words, the tears she had been fighting fell fast and hard, though she did not sob or wail. She wished she could love him as he deserved, he was such a fine man. But she knew, in her heart of hearts, that no man could ever tame the grief her lost love had left her. Not even good Faramir.
She rose from her seat then, and kissed his cheek, his fine ginger stubble tickling her lips. Faramir closed his eyes and savored the kiss, asking nothing more of her, trying to ignore the sticky-sweet aroma of the handmaiden’s passion upon his wife. He clasped her hand tightly, and when she pulled it away, her golden wedding band lay in his palm, the metal still warm.
“Éowyn, know always that there is a place for you here in Gondor. If your quest should fail, and I pray it does not, do not be afraid to return. If you need my aid, do not be ashamed to ask it of me. You will always be my wife, and I will always honor that bond, if not in love, then in duty.”
His eyes were as dry as his throat, and words seemed to come from his mouth as if he were puppeting them. Already he had faded into numbness, for he would not show her his heartache.
He then quietly rose, and wrapping himself in his robe, for suddenly the morning air chilled him to the bone, he left her to gather her belongings. He did not look back as he left the chambers they had shared. He doubted he would ever sleep within their walls again.
Faramir watched from a high sentry post as his wife rode away over the lush hills, the orange light glinting off the morning dew and painting the normally green grass with hues to rival fire itself. He tasted copper in the back of his mouth, and only then realized that he had his tongue clamped tight enough between his teeth to draw blood.
She stopped and looked back at him once, her flaxen hair also capturing the blaze of the sunrise, making her appear ethereal, dreamlike. He raised his hand in farewell, the golden band on his finger flashing a beacon of thinly veiled hope to her, a reminder of what she left behind. And like a dream, she passed out of his life, his last vision that of her hair unfurling in the wind like a banner, burning itself forever on Faramir’s mind.
The first love is always the cruelest.
Only when she was out of his sight, only when he had strode back to his chambers, head held high, ignoring the curious glances from the early morning guards who had witnessed their Lady’s departure, did he truly acknowledge his grief.
Sinking into his chair, he stared at the ring on his hand, which seemed to blur slightly the longer he looked.
He felt hollow, as if a storm had swept through his soul, leaving nothing but a rattling husk behind. A cascade of raw anguish threatened to fill the void, to wash him away on the torrent.
He would not let that happen. He would not lose control of himself. He was the master of his emotions, not their slave.
With trembling hands, he opened the drawer on the table beside him, and pulled out the instrument of his denial. Cradling it like an old friend, Faramir eased his pain the only way he knew how.
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: Macalaure , Tal , Ingrid , , Mel