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08 October 2005 | 9762 words
Disclaimer: Tolkien's world, I just play in it
Timeline: after ring war
Warnings: super angst
Beta: Skonichek is a good and decent woman
Summary: scars from war are long to linger
Part one: Scars
"He will not let me touch him."
The statement hung between the two men; a dead thing in the air that refused to be ignored. Aragorn closed his eyes, and turned away from the other man. There was truly nothing he could do then. "I am so sorry Imrahil. I wish I could help him…" He trailed off as the words trailed off. Wishes were useless.
"It hurts; to see it in his eyes, the same hatred of himself that Denethor bore him. It's as if even though he has died, the man has won from beyond the grave." Imrahil hung his head and breathed deeply. "There are times, my lord, when even I feel that the cost of this war was too high to pay."
An arm found its way across Imrahil's shoulder and the prince turned and leaned his forehead against his king's chest. "Is there nothing you can do, my lord?"
"He refuses to discuss it with me, and I fear that my presence in this matter will only make it worse." Imrahil, Aragorn thought silently. What would you have me do? Even the Elessar cannot force someone to change their minds. Sighing, the king told his friend that he would try once more.
It was the second week of the fourth age, and already there were problems that the ruler of Gondor felt unable to deal with. His steward's intense and unforgiving hatred was one. If Faramir had hated anyone else, Aragorn could deal with it. If it were for Aragorn himself he would try to appease his steward. But there was nothing he could do, for the one Faramir hated could not be separated from the prince of Ithilien.
Faramir hated himself.
Or rather, the scars that his insane father had inflicted upon his body. The flames had enveloped part of his chest, and grew quickly on the oil soaked flesh. His back, his left arm, and down his left leg to the beginning of his knee.
Aragorn had seen them; had treated them when begged by Pippin to come to Minas Tirith and tend to Boromir's dying brother. The stench of cooking human flesh still made his gorge rise on days when he dwelt on it overly much.
He had watched Faramir's eyes, the way they had lit up when he had opened them to behold his new king. The way they shattered and held shards of broken things when he saw himself in the mirror that first time; and the way they dulled completely when a healer foolishly told him that yes, the scarring was permanent.
Both Imrahil and Aragorn had watched in horror as he had slowly got up, and walked off. Perhaps that was the worst of it; the silent defeat in the man's eyes. The burning hatred of the scarring forming almost as quickly as the flames had.
The first to change was his clothing. Long sleeves, high collars, and dark clothing. The next, was the removal of all the mirrors in Faramir's house; though it had taken time for Imrahil to realise it for he had not visited his nephew in some time.
The eyes never changed, though the disgust in them deepened with each day that Faramir carried the marks of his father's insanity. The next was the aversion to being touched; his scars were never discussed and any topic that included them was swiftly silenced.
It had gotten to the point where Faramir refused to have anyone touch him, and Imrahil who was tactile with his own children mourned the loss keenly. So he had gone to Aragorn; and the one they called the `Renewer' did nothing. So they mourned Faramir together; mourned the man he could have been, if his hatred had not consumed him.
The king paused at the doorway, putting his hand on the wooden frame. "Faramir? Are you in here?" A pause, then:
"Yes. I am here."
Aragorn entered and closed the door behind him. "You should light some lamps in here, you can barely see in the darkness."
"That was the general idea," a dry voice answered him. Then a sigh. "I am sorry. You should not…suffer because of me. Here."
A light sputtered into existence and Aragorn walked over and stood next to the man near the window. "You need to stop this," he murmured softly. "It isn't healthy, and it's making you ill."
"I cannot. Do not even try to understand it, for it has nothing to do with vanity." Faramir replied calmly.
"I believe it does, for what else can it be? Though, it you were never vain to begin with and I do not think that you are now."
"I could not be even if I wished to; not now anyway. You Majesty…"
"Aragorn," the man reminded him quickly.
"Aragorn. You should stop wasting your time with this. It is not, I am not…worth this amount of time and attention. It is my…problem." Faramir, who was usually the more eloquent of the two seemed to be at a loss for words at the moment. "It is my situation, and I shall deal with it as I can. Do not feel obligated to help me with this, my lord."
"I do not feel obligated, Faramir. I feel like I am losing one of my friends to a darkness that is entirely of his own making."
Faramir suddenly stood up. "Do you think these are from my own making? That I am responsible for them? That it was my-'' He didn't even get that far before the king interrupted him.
"No! Of course what your father did was not your fault! Faramir, the man was insane, he had no idea what he was…"
"Yes he did!" Faramir shouted. "He knew, that is why he did it. For even now after everything, after war, and illness and death and…." Faramir slumped and sat back on the bed putting his head in his hands. "After all is said and done, he has still won; and I am alone, and always will be."
"You have me." Aragorn said simply, knowing that it would not be enough. Never be enough for the young man who had so much more of life to live.
"That was not what I meant, I meant that I would always live alone. Éowyn, she could not touch me; and I do not blame her. I cannot even look at them without feeling the need to be sick. No woman should have to marry such a hideous…" Faramir trailed off, shaking his head.
"You are not hideous, you are not in any way disgusting. She…Éowyn was a fool." Silently he called her more than that; called her words that he would never repeat out loud, not even when he railed against Éowyn of Rohan to Imrahil. Her love was nothing anyway, for had she not sworn to love him until her dying day while they were leaving for the battle of Pellonor Fields? Did he not hear her tell her uncle that she would stay behind with the women and children for love of her king? Yes, better that she leave and go back to her brother than remain here. Faramir was far too good for her.
"Not too foolish to wish to leave me. All those who care about me seem to do so." Faramir said softly and stood once more so that he had room to pace quietly.
"Boromir would not have wanted you to be like this. He would have wanted you to carry on, and live with the dignity and happiness that he knew you for." Aragorn replied, ignoring the increased speed in pacing.
"It is easy to say what Boromir would have wanted when his is not here to deny it, isn't it? You don't understand, you haven't seen."
Aragorn stared at Faramir; was the man's memory leaving him or did he truly not recall his own king's presence when the healer had taken off the bandages. "I have seen them; the scars. All of them, I mean. There is nothing you could show me now that would horrify or disgust me."
Silence; and then: "They disgust me. I cannot look at them, cannot touch them. The feel of them against my clothing makes me ill until the smell of food is sickening. What shall I do, for they shall never leave me. How do I cope with this last…gift…of my father's which is like a taint? Tell me Aragorn, what would you do if so cursed?"
Aragorn dared greatly in standing and walking over to his very disturbed young friend. He dared even greater to place a hand on the man's left shoulder where the scars first began. "I would ask that my lover kiss them. To love them as I do for they are a part of me that I cannot leave, not deny. They are just like my temper, my stubbornness and my great capacity for love. They make me who I am; and if they are too much of a coward to touch them, me, then I do not want their love." With that he kissed Faramir softly on the neck, where the smallest mark of a burning that ember stood out from the pale skin.
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: LeNnyA , , Mel