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Ghosts in Osgiliath (PG) Print

Written by Butterballer

08 November 2007 | 1695 words

title: Ghosts in Osgiliath
author: Butterballer
fandom: LotR
pairing: boromir/faramir
rating: PG
disclaimer: Tolkien made me do it.
etc.: for ithiliana for the annual All Hollow’s Eve fic and art exchange. :)
references to Aragorn’s saving Faramir in RotK; the exchange between Faramir and Éowyn in the Houses of Healing also in RotK. this has not been proofread but i reread it around three times just in case. i might not have gotten everything though. lastly, this is my first try at a “darkfic” and i had a good time trying. i sincerely hope you enjoy it. PLEASE CRITIQUE! many thanks!


Ghosts in Osgiliath

The scorched sky huddled above while the mud splattered his boots and the cold pushed his arms back and farther into his cloak. He felt his bones respond to the surprising, blank white of the ruined city. Arroch, his horse, nuzzled him. The older men around him jostled him forward and down the street while he looked up at the burning heavens, thinking that he heard the faint music of a bird on a branch or a leaf in the wind, but, like Minas Tirith, Osgiliath, was a heart of stone and it did not shudder and, once broken, it refused to beat. The silence around him, alone, was undefeated as the men and horses clattered down the white cobblestones; the men under cloaks were hunch-backed in the city where the earth was sealed from the sky.

The men disappeared from his sight as they turned a corner with the path down to the part of the city closest to Anduin where they would make camp and rest before crossing the river and head out to East Osgiliath and, eventually, into Ithilien where a band of orcs had been spotted. Arroch sniffed the air and pawed the ground as he stood alone, rooted to the spot in the silver dusk. It was cold but he slowly removed the black leather glove from his left hand. Moving off the street, he shouldered his way into a small building whose roof had half-collapsed. A narrow passageway went off on his left even as part of the house had destroyed it. An arch led into what was once a small courtyard where he could see the remains of a fountain, benches and a small concrete pond. He moved towards the wall and ran the tips of his fingers over the smooth brickwork. He had heard stories of a city full of ghosts. The air was still and he breathed loudly through his mouth, the ice clattered in his heart.

Through his window, he had seen this city. Mithrandir had told him that, once, it had glowed in the sun during summer and the green fields around it had heaved under the cries of children who sought to escape the heat of stone walls and stern mothers. He had been eight and the white walls of his bedroom had expanded around him, he had shivered at his history. He had held out his thin arms and thought, I am the descendent of they who fled and survived, they who are haunted by ghosts. The crumbling streets of white stone had protected the soft earth of the river from the Kin-Strife, the Great Plague, the exodus of the Gondorians from the growing evil of the east and here, now, his heart turned and his mind quaked, floundered, trying to comprehend the history around him. The strange silver reflected by the white of the ruined walls was in the eyes he closed as he stepped back and into someone. He whirled around, hand on the hilt of his sword but Boromir was looking around at the walls, breathing in the still air.

“What are you doing here, Faramir?”

“Looking for the ghosts Mithrandir told me about. Do you remember his stories, brother?”

Boromir chuckled, hands akimbo. He shook his head. He did not know why Faramir wanted to accompany him into Ithilien to hunt a runaway orc band in early winter.

“No, brother, I do not recall.” Boromir’s eyes flashed. “I was never home for his stories. He was never home for me.”

Faramir walked around the room even as he heard Arroch pace outside.

“Mithrandir told me about the ghosts that haunted the last stone bridge. He said the river ran red as blood when the Kin Strife began and then, when it ended, the Anduin was stopped with the bodies. The sky was black for days. The sun disappeared when Minas Arnor was taken, concealed by the ray less moon.”

Faramir shivered. His bones were cold in his cloak, in his gloves, underneath the leather tunic and his fingers on the stonework began to tremble till he balled them into fists. Boromir observed him from across the room. He remembered his brother seven years ago, a ten year old shivering from watching the pain of men in the Houses of Healing. He was the sort of child that did not hold his guardian’s hand in the market place but, returning after being lost, always gripped the walls of his house before journeying back outside. Therefore, Bomomir stepped forward as Faramir wandered outside to the courtyard.

“Boromir. So much death, Boromir, leaving behind such emptiness.”

The air vibrated with the sound of a stone falling and their voices.

“I know.” But Boromir did not and even now, he felt himself feel about for danger.

Close as they were, Boromir could only feign understanding and it was purely luck that he offered advice when he had to, he opened his arms for Faramir’s shaking or he remained silent with Faramir’s solitude. Faramir’s silence was often an island for his grief. Boromir looked across at Faramir under the light of the moon that shown through one of the glassless windows of a bone-white tower that creaked and stumbled out of the dark as clouds passed the moon. Boromir stepped forward and he took off his cloak, laid it on the ground behind Faramir. The world turned.

“Tell me a ghost story, Faramir.” He put an arm around his brother’s shoulder and led him to sit on his cloak with him. “Let me see if Mithrandir schooled you well.”

With Boromir’s arm about his shoulders, Faramir relaxed in the cold. “I did not think you would be interested in ghost stories.”

“Humor me.”

Faramir shifted, looking around him, limbs heavy with superstition. “I do not think this is the best place for ghost stories.”

“Where else, brother?” Boromir looked about them. “Here, they can hear you. Here, the stories won’t be told in vain. They will hear them and know they are remembered. It will put their spirits to rest if they know they live on in other ways.”

Faramir shifted closer to Boromir. He put an unsteady hand on Boromir’s thigh. Boromir stirred, restless and waiting.

“All right.”

“Excellent” And Boromir smiled. He kissed Faramir’s hair and waited, cross-legged on the stones. He looked at the moon and closed his eyes. Faramir’s hand tightened on his thigh.

“I cannot believe after all these years, I am still afraid of ghosts.”

Faramir’s head fell on Boromir’s shoulder.

“We are all afraid of something. Death for us is different. It is unknown to you, a thing in the dark, the things that are not silent in the dark. But you will conquer your ghosts once you find the courage to answer the voices in the darkness.” Boromir closed his lips.

“I thought she would come for me as a ghost, you know.”

“I know” But he did not. She had left him, not cold, but warm. They had tasted the earth, the sun, the rain and the wind together. Faramir had only tasted her blood.

Faramir turned his head, his cheek on Boromir’s shoulder and he breathed on Boromir’s neck.

“Brother, it is cold.”

“You are cold, Faramir.” Boromir clasped his brother’s face in his hands and turned it up to the moonlight. “Faramir!” His eyes were open and full. The hand on his thigh was rigid.

“Boromir!” And Faramir’s cold breath was in his mouth and down his throat. Pushing him back, Faramir’s eyes were savage in the dark. “Mithrandir said you are fire. He told me you were passionate, that you would guide me and, when I needed it, you would save me. Boromir!”

Faramir’s hands were on his neck. “I am so cold.”

Boromir had never believed that is brother would need him this way. There had always existed, between them, a strange sadness, a distance. They always paced around each other, waiting, in limbo, always one step away. He had been waiting for Faramir to take that step, being in himself, too proud to believe he would ever need Faramir. He had always taken care of him, he had always been the protector. He realized, now, staring into the eyes, black in the darkness against the silver of the moon, that he would be pushed by his own desire to protect. His own desire, he realized, for the distance between them to separate. He was passion and his brother had always been cold, slow to react, slow to touch. He was fire, he was burning. If his brother needed him close, he would take that one step. He would be brave.

He thrust his head forward. He kissed Faramir and Faramir’s cold flesh. He seared him as light touched the darkness. He kissed him deeply, fully and his hands were on Faramir’s throat. He would exorcise the ghosts in Faramir’s flesh and drive a stake through Faramir’s heart. There would be nothing in that blessed, beating organ but his kiss, his fire. There would be nothing between them, his heat would fuse them together and Faramir will taste of the earth, the sun, the moon and the wind. He would have days and his nights would not be populated with ghosts or history but heat, lightning and thunderstorms.

He broke off slowly, gently, sucking on Faramir’s lower lip.

“There are no ghosts, Faramir. Only memory. And would you want me to make for you memories to live by?”

“I would.” And Faramir smiled in the darkness.

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Beautiful done! Heat and cold – eternal opposites. Very nice!
Thank you!

— Anastasiya    15 January 2010, 09:47    #

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