Disclaimer: I make no money from this and do not own the characters or settings. I just like visiting with them. This is purely for the purposes of amusement. All rights belong to the Tolkien Estate/New Line and/or possibly other entities besides myself.
The Beauty of Memory
Faramir hands rested on the scrolls laid out before him. He seemed intent upon them, but closer perusal would have shown he was looking on them, but not at them. He realized he could hear voices in the background, but could not have said what the voices were saying. Not a single word of it. No, he was somewhere else altogether. He tapped his fingers on the desk, trying to bring his thoughts together, and could not. He felt as if he had a stone in his chest, his heart felt so heavy.Click… click… click…
He continued tapping his nails on the surface of his desk. He continued to stare at the maps. He continued to not see them. What he was seeing was something entirely far and away from this room, a memory as persistent as the spangles in one's visions when one has looked directly at the sun. Faramir had been ten years old, his brother a big and strapping fifteen year old, and already full of the fire that would later serve him so well. Even at this young age the soldiers loved him, admiring him for his skills and his fine grasp of military tactics. Strong in will, strong of heart and strong of spirit, young Boromir had already begun to build a name for himself. Faramir loved him for the obvious reasons, too, but he knew that few knew Boromir as well as his brother, and that many people didn't know that privately, Boromir was prone to unobvious weaknesses----and that children and helpless animals were two of them.Click…click…click…
He could see it before him as though it were but yesterday, the kitten on the parapet, and Boromir climbing out to rescue it. Yes, definite aspects of his brother's complex personality had been completely overlooked by too many people. Faramir recalled how Boromir had gently plucked the tiny ball of fur from its precarious perch and, cuddling it to his already developing chest, cautiously crept back into the window. He'd sat on the windowsill for a bit, stroking the kitten to calm it. Faramir could still see the sheepish grin on his brother's young face.
It seemed to Faramir now, looking back, that his brother had been painfully young to have accomplished so much as so young an age. And he had certainly been too young to die. How he missed him! It is hard to lose a brother, to know one will never see those eyes alight with mirth or passion ever again, never see him wed, never see a child from that union, no one to carry on that particular line. It made him wonder, at times, the use of such memories. For over and over, they played in his mind, sometimes pushing out all other thoughts. It was like the socket where a tooth used to be that one couldn't keep the tongue out of.
"…Faramir…Lord Faramir…? My Lord Faramir!" the page called rather loudly. It was only then that Faramir realized he had been summoned. How long had the boy been there, calling his name? "The King, My Lord, wishes to see you."
Faramir heaved a huge sigh, rose, and followed the boy. The walk down the familiar halls where he and his brother had played as youngsters only served to sharpen his melancholy mood. Still, he welcomed the interuption, for he could not seem to keep his mind on his tasks. Memories crowded around him at every turn. The page eventually led him to the fountain, where Aragorn sat beside a boy. No, No, not a boy, this was the halfling, Peregrin. He well knew the livery worn by the pheriannath; indeed, had worn it himself. Ah, yet more memories! Faramir sighed heavily.
Pippin's arm was still in a sling, a small bandage still bound about his brow. The halfling had nearly been crushed to death saving one of Faramir's most loyal soldiers, Beregond. There had been enough grief in Gondor: one more orphan, one more widow was one more too many, and Beregond was a most faithful soldier. Again, Faramir marveled at the heroism of Gondor's smallest soldier. Ernil i Pheriannath, he was called. Yes, it fit. There was something of nobility in the countenance of this little one, one could not help but respect him, for all his youthful personal charm. There was a certain posture in the halfling that stuck Faramir as that of one nobly born, and of at least some accomplishments. And there was something else he could not quite put his finger on, something oh so familiar…
The King and the halfling sat side by side until Faramir arrived, at which time Peregrin rose, and bowing low despite his healing wounds, greeted Faramir with respect edged in true affection and admiration Peregrin poured a goblet of wine, which he politely served Faramir. They raised their cups in a silent salutation for their hard won victory and the coming days.
"Soon the day shall come," Faramir said, unable to bear the silence, "that our halfling friends shall depart. Glad I am of the day Mithrandir arrived at the gates to the city bearing a future Guard of the Citadel. Would that you might tarry a while here, Sir Peregrin."
"Some few days more shall our friends yet remain here," said the King, "and even then, this one at least I do not release from his duty. You shall have time to visit with Pippin a while longer. But that is not why I wished to speak with you today. For some time now, you have not spoken of your brother, and Pippin agrees with me that this cannot be a good thing." This, Faramir thought, was not untrue, yet had he dreaded this very thing: to speak of Boromir too much was to admit to himself that his brother would never return.
"Actually," Pippin said, "I was just telling Aragorn how much I miss Boromir, and how much I wished he could have lived to return home to his brother. I am so terribly sorry for his loss, for my part, and most especially, Sir, because I know how much he loved you, and how much you loved him. It seems wrong that he is not here. Have I ever told you about the time he carried me down Caradhras? You should have seen him, digging through the snow like a great bear, then carrying me and my kin on his back..."
Pippin gave Faramir the full account, even the parts where Boromir would say or do something to cheer up his halfling friends. Enthralled by the tiniest details of memory that Pippin had remembered and carried, apparently, with a great deal of fondness, Faramir sat silently and listened as Pippin went back further yet, describing his first encounter with Boromir, then simply taking the tale of the journey in full account to the final conclusion. The conversation was a long and winding one, told in a lively fashion by by Peregrin, who had loved Boromir from the first, and who had sworn to Gondor to repay his debt in return for Boromir's sacrifice of his life. Years later, Faramir would recall this conversation time and again. Now and again Aragorn would add details here and there, but Pippin seemed to have the best grasp of the tale and did not tire in the telling of it, his bright eyes sparkling with emotion. Tales were told of the many great deeds of his brother, and some very amusing anecdotes were shared as well. Faramir found that time flew by, and soon he was smiling and even laughing at the little stories. The dread Faramir felt had faded now and still the halfling spoke, a natural storyteller if ever there was one. His gestures were limited by the arm in the sling, but nonetheless animated and very heartfelt. Time seemed in a hurry, and the shadow of the tree grew swiftly longer. The wine was getting low, the conversation slowed, and all too soon the King, noticing the shadows under Pippin's eyes deepening, ordered Pippin back to his sickbed.
It was when Pippin saluted him in farewell that Faramir again saw that odd familiarity in him again, and having just been discussing his brother, he then saw what that familiarity was. Somewhere in the bright eyes, he saw it, there in the bright green eyes and squared shoulders, the sudden nobility of posture and gesture upon the halfling's goodbye… Faramir realized that certain gestures and postures, certain looks…
Well, there was no other way to put it! They belonged to Boromir. Obviously, Boromir had been more than a friend to the small soldier, he had been a teacher, and an influence in no small measure. And Pippin reflected that, emulating Boromir's behavior as well as a halfling may. As Pippin walked away, Faramir noticed something in his walk as well. It wasn't quite a strut, it resembled more the walk of one who is sure of himself, of a certain self-confidence, but didn't lack much to qualify it as such. He suddenly burst out with laughter. Pippin looked over his shoulder and lifted a hand in a short, chopping gesture that bid farewell. Even this had been a gesture Boromir had used.
The Boromir-like mannerisms of Pippin struck within Faramir like the sounding of a bell, that in this lay great beauty: life would go on, and so would his brother, in the small but brave form of Gondor's unlikeliest soldier. No, there would be no children from his brother, exactly…only there was! There, in that small form, in that brave heart and clever mind of the halfling, his brother yet lived. And if Boromir lived in Pippin, then he could certainly live in Faramir as well. Wise indeed was King Elessar! He knew when it was well to bide a while in silence. No words were spoken for yet a while. Then Faramir turned to the King, bowed low with a smile and thanked him.
The King returned the smile in kind. "There is the memory of beauty, and then there is the beauty of memory, Lord Faramir. Never forget the halfling, Peregrin."
"It was good to see him again, my Lord." Faramir replied.
"The halfling?" asked the king.
"Yes, Pippin; it was good to see him. Good also to see Boromir again." He could smile now, even through his greatest grief, thinking, 'I will see you again, Boromir, and that very soon.'
Yes, the hands of the King were the hands of a healer. So, it seemed, was the heart of the Ernil i Pheriannath.