Thanks for the reviews, everyone! I know it took forever to get this chapter up, but now, it is finally completed.

Remember, words enclosed with dashes indicate that a character is thinking/dreaming. Boromir's dream might seem somewhat familiar, but it is simply a glimpse into the future (in FOTR). It doesn't affect the plot in any important way...

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Beregond dearly wished the hard stone walls of the room could melt away, allowing him to disappear from the cold eyes that seemed to bore through his head. It would be so much easier, running away from this scene, then facing the truth in the back of his mind. Yet escape was impossible, he realized, noting the iron grip upon his shoulder. Beregond winced momentarily, then began speaking in a shaking voice.

"Boromir......w-w-was down......near the g-g-g-gate," he stammered, "carrying Faramir. He did not appear injured....at that time......"

Denethor frowned. He realized that Beregond was attempting to speak slowly, using his words to stumble around the truth. The Steward wanted answers, now. "Where is Boromir?" he asked, a touch of anger ebbing into his tone of voice.

The boy paled. "The gate......closed.......I was there.....couldn't pull them both up the wall.....Boromir told me to take Faramir.....Haradrim....he was attacked." A rush of words fell from Beregond's mouth, fragmented pieces of a dark puzzle. It seemed impossibly unclear, even to Beregond himself, but somehow Denethor deciepered the horrible truth behind them.

"So Boromir....he is dead?" the Steward asked, his voice dropping to a whisper. "Killed by the Haradrim?"

Beregond began to nod, numbly; then stopped short at the expression on Denethor's face. "I saw him fall.....but perhaps........." He let his last words hang in the air, unable to finish them, for in his heart he could not find any real hope for Boromir. His gaze traveled to his feet, and remained there.

Denethor sighed deeply, seeming to age twenty years in the few moments that had passed. He realeased Beregond, and turned away, towards the healer that was caring for his last remaing son.

The sounds of the battle outside were audible, a constant reinforcer of the dispair that seemed to hang upon the White City.

********

Boromir lay upon the other side of the wall, the safe side. Around him, men were shouting as they aimed their flaming arrows at the invaders below. He tried to move, but somehow the message did not reach his numb arms and legs. Even the pain Boromir had felt only seconds before seemed to be fading.....

----- When Boromir came to his senses again, he found himself in the midst of a dimly lit forest. He heard the sound of a swift moving stream or river somewhere in the distance, yet he was unable to place it. Minas Tirith, and all the noise of battle seemed to have disappeared.

"Where am I?" Boromir wondered in his mind. "What has happened to the city, to my injuries, to Father? Where is Faramir?"

He glanced around, bewildered. He had no memory of ever visiting such as place, yet it seemed familiar, somehow. Perhaps he was dreaming....

Suddenly, a strange sense of urgency seemed to overtake Boromir. He unsheathed a strange sword at his side, and broke into a run. A new thought made its way to the top of his muddled thoughts - someone was in danger, and he had to aid them.

But who could possibly be in danger here? He had already helped Faramir, and surely Beregond had brought his younger brother to safety. Who was there to rescue in this strangely familiar forest that would cause him to run so quickly, so desparately to their aid....... -------------

Boromir opened his eyes, awakening from his unsettling forest dream. He gasped when he attempted to move, and came to the painful realization that he back in the midst of the battle. Mere feet from where he lay, the boots of the attacking Haradrim were visible through the small hole in the wall, once covered by the grate. For a moment, Boromir paniked, expecting the see the evil attackers sliding through the opening that had been created; then common sense told him that their heavy weapons and armor would make it impossible to fit. It had indeed been a close fit for the boy himself.

However, as he struggled to continue thinking, he felt a throbbing sensation spread across his head. Ah, the blow from the Haradrim, he thought to himself. In his relief at his sudden escape, he had forgotten the near fatal blow he had been dealt. Now, the darkness was threatening to reclaim his thoughts. Boromir struggled to keep his senses, to focus on the shouts from the soldiers nearby, but he found himself fighting a losing battle. Slowly, he slipped back into a world of dreams...

********

Back in the house of the healers, Beregond was sitting on the floor, staring numbly at his feet, and refusing to answer any more questions aimed at him. The Steward had said nothing more, but a few others had been present, trying to coax information from the striken boy. However, all their words had no effect upon him, for he was lost deep within his own thoughts.

During this time, a faint glimmer of hope seemed to finally be making an appearance over the city. Though the attack from Harad had been brutal, killing hundreds of men, the attackers seemed to finally be giving up. In their desparation, the men from Gondor were doing anything possible to save the city, and the firceness they displayed was begining to wear down the enemy. There had even been a mention of retreat in the message a soldier delivered to Denethor.

Even for Faramir, death no longer seemed a fact. As the healer had stated before, the poison used on the Haradrim arrow was not extrememly potent, and though he had been exposed to it for a long time, he was responding to treatment. Perhaps the healer, fearing the wrath of Denethor, had found some way of curing the boy; or perhaps the Steward was right when he said Faramir was strong.

However, even the hopeful news of Faramir, coulped with a possible retreat of the Haradrim, could not bring happiness to Denethor. He seemed wrapped up in and overwelmed by his own thoughts. Boromir, his beloved eldest son, was dead. He would never grow up to be a great soldier, admired by the people, nor would he take the scepter of the Steward in the future years.

********

Boromir awoke suddenly to a strange feeling. His vision and thoughts were hazy, yet he could distinctly feel someone tapping him on the shoulder. The boy attempted to speak, but no words emerged from his mouth.

"Awake now, are you?" asked a voice. "So many among us are dead, but we have just recieved word that the Haradrim are leaving. It appears impossible for them to break through the second wall, so they have given up...for now." The last words were spoken in a half whisper. "My instinct tells me they will return someday."

Though his head still ached, Boromir understood most of the words spoken to him. Somewhere in the back of his thoughts, he noted that the man's voice sounded slightly unfamilar, as though he had not grown up in Gondor. He did not have the remaining strenght to think much more, however. He gasped in pain as he felt himself lifted off the cold ground, his head feeling as though it might split in two.

Apparently, the man realized immediately the state of Boromir. He murmured something in a musical language unfamiliar to the boy, and took some unusual looking leaves out of a pouch. Prying open Boromir's mouth, he forced the boy to eat the leaves, which, despite their bitter taste, seemed to ease some of the pain he felt. His head became a little clearer.

Then, Boromir felt himself being carried, though he did not know the destination, and found that he did not have much strength to care.

********

The pained thoughts of the Steward were interrupted suddenly by a loud crashing noise. A shadowed figure burst into the room, apparently after kicking the door open. Denethor found such an extrance immensely irritating, considering the state of the people in the room, yet all angry thoughts left his head when he spotted a second figure, being carried by the first.

"Boromir!"

His son was not yet dead after all. Denethor noted that his injuries were moderate, especially one particulary nasty swelling on his forehead, but still, he breathed. In fact, the strange leaves given to Boromir had begun to have a powerful effect on him. He still felt pain throughout his body, but he was slowly regaining some of his lost strength.

The healer who had been attending to Faramir rushed over, and took the boy from the mysterious man. Boromir was placed in a bed, next to that of his brother, and, while Denethor looked on, he was examined.

A stunned look appeared on the face of the healer. "He should have been dead," he finally stated. "These wounds are grave, yet still he lives on. It appears to me that your son has recieved some form of treatment already, likely an herb with powerful healing properties, though I know of none like this."

Denethor and the healer both turned towards the door at the same time, but the man had vanished as quickly as he had come. No trace of him remained. For a second, both were silent, then Denethor spoke, "Never mind him; what of Boromir?" he asked, a hint of impatient creeping into his voice.

"He will live," answered the healer, "and I believe the same is true for his brother. Whatever was used upon Boromir has saved his life. As for Faramir, he is slowly improving, though it will take time for both to be fully healed."

It mattered not to the Steward how long the healing process took, so long as the end result was the complete recovery of his sons. For the first time since the battle with the Haradrim had begun, his face did not have the look of a man who has just lost everything. Instead, a new emotion showed through in his eyes, one that had rarely been present in all his years of ruling Gondor. Hope.

********

The city itself was slowly rebuilt. Shattered by the Haradrim, the outermost gate had to be replaced, and repairs were done where the walls had been cracked. The dead were mourned and buried by the people, and black banners were hung all over the streets to honor their memory. Eventually, things began returning to normal for Minas Tirith, although the Haradrim still remained on the minds of many.

Indeed, as the healer predicted, both Boromir and Faramir recovered fully from their physical injuries. It took even longer for Faramir to finally accept the death of Mergil, for he continued reliving the scene in his nightmares many times in the future, and it plagued his thoughts during the day. Finally, the reassurance of Boromir convinced him to move on, bringing the brothers even closer together than before.

Around three monthes after the attack, Boromir and Faramir could be found standing atop the White Tower, gazing across the land that was Gondor. The sun was just setting over the distant mountains to the west, and both boys were sillouetted against the light. "It's a great view, isn't it?" said Boromir. "No matter what happens, we'll always be able to come up here, and look out across the land. Just like the sun, it will be here forever."

"Forever?" replied Faramir. "Things change. It won't be here forever, but it will last awhile, I guess."

"It will be here forever," Boromir insisted, momentarily mimicing his father's tone of voice. "I say it shall never change."

"All things have to change. It's just the way it is."

"Disagreeing with me, little brother? Very well then, take out your sword, and we'll settle this like soldiers. Come on now!"

Faramir laughed when the other boy drew his sword and pretended to be ready for battle. "I still say the land will change over time," he replied, grabbing his own sword, "but I take back what I said. You're right."

Boromir was surprised by this response. "Why's that?"

Faramir pretended to lunge at Boromir with his sword. "Some things never change!" he said, grinning.

****El Fin****