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Great Fondness (G) Print

Written by Raven22372

23 January 2012 | 1548 words

Technique: Pencil, Watercolours
Character: Faramir/Boromir, Aragorn
Rating: K
Warning: None

Aragorn´s POV

It is said “There was great love between the brothers” and I do not doubt that. But what if one brother finds himself already on the brink to manhood while the other one is still a child?

Thank to my wonderful beta lacerta for endless patience and encouragement. I owe you a warehouse of cookies. :)

Great Fondness

We made camp in the wastelands southwesterly of the Redhorn Gate. The place was barren, a cluster of brown rocks, barely enough to shield us from evil eyes, and the mood was crestfallen. Hardly a day had passed since we had escaped the perils of Caradhras and there were more to come before we would reach the gate of Moria.

The two young hobbits were the most jaded ones. Even though Boromir had carried them downhill by turns they were tired to the bone when we halted at dusk. Now they were sleeping in a niche between two boulders, covered with most of Boromir´s blankets and unaffected by the bitter wind. The proud man had turned out as a blessing for the little folk. Despite his vein for overbearance, he took infatigable efforts to ease their path and cared for their urges that had to seem puerile and small-minded to the man of war he was.

I took my pipe and tobacco pouch and walked over to their place. Boromir sat windwards of the niche, his broad body being an additional shelter for the sleeping ones. When he heard my steps he looked up to me with the same blend of vulnerable mistrust and hopeful approval I had met in Rivendell before. The toil of the day had passed him without leaving an outer mark of exhaustion. His welcome appeared warmer this evening though, his smile more eager. He was yearning for a friendly word and I was happy to share one.

“You have great fondness for the little ones,” I said and sat down beside him. “They can consider themselves fortunate they have found a companion such as you.” It was meant to be a sincere praise and I was surprised to find him frowning under the streaks of tousled forelocks.

“Is that not why we are here?”

“Why we are here?” I did not understand and apprehended to spoil our talk before it had even started.

“Us.” He suggested a nod in my direction. “Warriors. Men of strength used to fight and privation. Is it not our task to protect those who cannot protect themselves?”

He had spoken with unusual gravity and that roused my interest.

“True,” I said. “And an honourable task for sure. I just had not expected tender care being a much-valued trait for…”

“… a soldier?” He gave me an amused smile. “I have a younger brother.”

“I see.” Indeed I remembered he had mentioned him at Elrond´s council. “How much younger is he?”

His smile brightened. It was obvious I had come across a subject that was dear to him.

“By only five years. Meanwhile he has become the captain of Gondor and leader of his own division. But back then…” His face took a distant expression, as if he dwelt in a well-beloved memory. “…back then we were inseparable. I dragged him everywhere and if I did not, he dangled after me anyway. I showed him how to hold his first sword long before the armourer considered giving him a blunt blade. There was hardly a time I did not protect him from any kind of troubles. Sometimes I even stood up for him and took a penalty he deserved.”

I could not help but smile. Since he had joined the fellowship, Boromir had shown himself to be a man of great passion and generously given affection – sometimes given beyond the borders of good reason – and taking a weaker one´s place to spare him humiliation and pain suited him. Secretly I had my doubts whether this might be the right way to prepare a young boy for his future responsibility, so I asked, “Why? Why did you bear the punishment for something he did?”

The answer was unexpectedly brusque.

“Because I have once seen it the other way around and I shall never have that again.”

Boromir had fallen silent. It was obvious he did not want to continue our talk and I cursed my lack of tactfulness. My question had been neither very polite nor very wise and with a bit more eloquence his sudden retreat could have been avoided. Our moments of privacy during this journey were few and I would have appreciated to gain if not this noble man´s friendship then at least his trust.

For that reason I felt relief when suddenly he spoke again, softer this time and, as it seemed, with effort.

“There was a time when our band grew… thinner. I was fourteen and about to become a soldier of Gondor. My numerous duties left me little time to pay my brother the attention he formerly had.”

He did not face me while talking. I wondered what a story it was he had to tell if rocks and scrub were easier to look at than I was.

“It was not only my new tasks that kept me away even though my love for him had not lessened. In my opinion I was already a man and wasting time with a little boy seemed inappropriate to me.”

I did not doubt that. Boromir´s greatest foe was none that came from any outer place.

“My brother suffered of our separation. Finally I agreed to grant him one day a week. One day that should be dedicated to him with nothing getting between us. It was a poor gift, rather worth a miser than a future steward. Nevertheless those days became the source of great pleasure to him and I would lie if I said I did not enjoy them, too.”

“What happened?” I asked quietly for there was now a bitterness in his tone, too grievous to be caused by a blurred childhood memory, even a shameful one.

He turned to me and his face became grim and sad.

“I smashed a statue,” he said plainly. “A figurine my mother had once brought from her kingdom by the sea. After her death no one dared to remove it until I came along.”

A joyless laughter almost broke his voice and his composure wavered.

“I should have known better. The bow was never my weapon. My brother tried to dissuade me from using it though I would not listen.”

For a moment I feared he would relapse to silence. Sword against sword, this was the way he knew and understood. Facing his own weakness of heart, no matter how long ago, was an ordeal he had not learned to ply.

“Nevertheless I had reason to not expect a too severe penalty. Our father had always been lenient towards the skittish games of his first born. Yet these days I was busy exploring the world and my friends and I were planning on a ride across the Pelennor. We intended to spend a few nights by the river, a purpose I needed my father´s permission for. Which, considering my misconduct this time was more severe than torn clothes or a broken toy, he might decline.”

Still he avoided my gaze. It pained me to see his struggle, yet it was not on me to meddle with the path he had chosen.

“It was temptingly easy. I did not even have to blame him. All I needed to say was “It was not me”. Everybody knew it was Faramir who would become the archer. I saw the fear in his eyes when they brought him to my father yet he did not object.”

“Why?” I said adding the last question he needed to accomplish his confession, “Why did he not?”

He looked me straight in the eye and I have seen men dying on the rack who suffered less.

“He thought it was the price for our mutual days,” he replied. “The tribute he had to pay to spend time with someone he loved. He was nine then.”

He wrapped his furred cloak tighter around his shoulders and leaned back against the discomfort of jagged crag, leaving it to me to pass his sentence. But who was I to judge? A selfish and cruel deed, allowedly, and still the deed of a child. Who, were he even born among noble men and raised by kings, could absolve himself of any misdemeanour, the more so in such an early age? An issue insignificant for a man might shake the world of a child – and yet it was not on me to grant him forgiveness. And if it had been – who could have said whether he was able to accept it, this son of great lords, neither seeking for acquittal nor pleading for it.

I had no comfort to offer him – none, except the will to stay by his side and endure whatever the night would bring. And so we sat in silence until dim turned into darkness and the voices of the Wargs became audible in the wailing of the wind.

NB: Please do not distribute (by any means, including email) or repost this story (including translations) without the author's prior permission. [ more ]

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4 Comment(s)

Wow! What insight into Boromir’s point of view. Great!

— Ria    Tuesday 24 January 2012, 11:44    #

Thank you! That´s definitely the most wonderful message I´ve got today! :D (No, seriously. The rest of the day was kinda BLARGH.) The funny thing is that whenever I start an attempt to write about Faramir I finally find myself with a heap of paper concerning Boromir. Must be his proneness for, erm, attention. He just can´t have not being the most important one. X)

— raven22372    Tuesday 24 January 2012, 18:32    #

Wow! I was on the merge to cry! I love the way you have written about the brothers in this story

— Laivindur    Friday 27 January 2012, 0:40    #

Thank you thank you thank you! This is such a great feedback and I´m so amazed that I managed to touch you like this… though I´m sorry for (almost) making you cry! Well, actually… it makes me a bit happy, too… oh, you know what I mean, don´t you? :)

— raven22372    Friday 27 January 2012, 13:29    #

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