Title: Fate Spares Him For Some Other End
Rating: PG-13 for a few gruesome images.
Characters: Boromir, Faramir
Categories: Angst, Drama
Summary: Caught alone in the wilderness, the sons of Denethor are suddenly attacked by a band of orcs, leaving one brother gravely wounded and the other to ensure his survival. Disclaimer: Boromir and Faramir are Tolkien's. The situation is mine.
Note: I was rereading The Two Towers the other day and was inspired by a single line – that which I've used for my title – and also by the preview of the Extended Edition DVD due out in November, which showed the bond between the two brothers. Feedback is craved for and greatly appreciated! Please, let me know what you think!Fate Spares Him For Some Other End
Chapter One – The Sacrifice of a Brother
"Faramir? Faramir, you must stay awake. Just a little further, and then we can stop. It should be safe then."
The only answer the worried voice received was that of a painful moan. Boromir, son of Denethor, tightened his grip around his younger brother's slumped body, careful to avoid the arrowhead that protruded out of the back of his shoulder, and urged his horse on.
The attack had taken the brothers by surprise. One moment, they had been riding at the foot of the mountains, relishing their freedom from the White City's confining stone walls and enjoying each other's company, and the next…It had been as if the very rocks of the mountain had spat forth the Orcs. The foul creatures had surrounded them in but a few short seconds, snarling and hissing at them in their hideous tongue, bristling with spears, knives, swords, and crossbows. The battle had been fierce – two against twenty at least, possibly more. Even now, a few hours later, Boromir could not begin to comprehend all that had taken place. His memory of the battle was shrouded, cloaked, as if a thick, gray fog had settled there to hide his memory of the ordeal.
But not all of it.
No, one moment of the battle stood out in his mind, stark and clear amongst the dense clouds.
The moment his brother had shouted his name loudly and maneuvered his horse in front of his own.
The moment the arrow had pierced Faramir's shoulder…an arrow that had been aimed and meant for him, the elder of the two.
How could you do such a thing? Boromir silently questioned the figure before him. Why did you do this? You had no right to jeopardize yourself for me. If such a deed were to be done, it should have been I who had done it, not you!
A slight movement in his arms brought Boromir out of his reverie. He emerged only just in time, for Faramir had gone completely limp and begun to slide sideways in the saddle, Boromir's strong arms catching him only moments before he tumbled to the hard, unforgiving ground.
"Faramir," he spoke firmly, though with a tinge of panic. "Faramir, do you hear me?"
There was no answer, not even a moan or the tiniest hint of moment.
Fearful now, he gave the younger man a hard shake, hoping to provoke some small response. Instead, the wounded man's head lolled back limply to rest on Boromir's right shoulder, the pale face only partially visible beneath the strands of shoulder-length dark hair. Quickly, he raised his right hand to brush back the hair and was shaken when the hand touched skin that was cold and clammy, devoid of both blood and warmth.
"Faramir!" he cried out, swinging his legs over the horse's side and slipping to the ground, cradling his brother to his chest as best he could while still mindful of the arrow. Carefully, gently, he laid him upon the ground on his side, awkwardly holding him there with one hand, while tapping his cheek with the other, all the while calling his name to rouse him.
Fear filled his heart as a memory rose unbidden in his mind, remembering another whose body had grown cold and still and silent, the long, dark, silky hair splayed out upon an elegant pillow, the beautiful sea-gray eyes closed forever.
No! he thought, pushing the memory violently aside with a franticness borne of desperation. He is not dead! See, his chest still rises! And indeed, it was true. His brother still breathed, though it was shallow and unsteady.
At long last, he felt the body under his hands shift slightly. Faramir's eyelids fluttered open and two glassy, pain-filled eyes stared up at him blankly. It took a few moments for the gaze to focus and recognition to dawn. "Boromir?" he mumbled weakly.
"Yes, Faramir, I am here. No," he ordered as the younger man moved and cried out in pain. "Do not move. Be still, brother."
"It hurts," came the breathless reply. "I…the pain…never felt this…way before."
"I know," the older man soothed. "And it gladdens me that you have not, otherwise this would have happened before, and I would not like that."
A faint smile curled about the wounded man's lips. "I am…glad about that…as well." He stiffened as a wave of pain appeared to flow through his body, forcing him to clench his teeth to hold back a cry. Boromir automatically clasped his brother's hand in his own, a grip that the young man returned tightly. Finally, the pain seemed to subside. Faramir's body relaxed a bit, the tense muscles loosening, allowing his weary body to sink farther down onto the ground. "Boromir?"
Faramir swallowed. "Are you wounded?"
The older man glanced down briefly, seeing the numerous cuts and bruises that covered his arms and legs, and then shifted his gaze over to his brother, seeing the exact same cuts and bruises on his body as well. To some unused to combat or a soldier's life, the wounds would have been cause for alarm, but Boromir was all too familiar with such things. Although only age twenty-two, he had been fighting for nearly seven years, the last two of those having served with the rangers of Ithilien, a dangerous assignment given only to the most stealthful and skilled warriors. As a child of Gondor – even though the son of the Steward and Steward's heir – he had learned at an early age that fighting was constant and unrelenting. Rarely would a soldier emerge from battle unscathed…it was a fact of life. There was no need to mention his minor wounds because, in truth, they did not matter.
"No, I am unharmed," he answered, squeezing the cold hand that he still held in his grasp. "Do not fear for me."
"Good. I thought…I had feared – "
"It is all right, Faramir. Do not trouble yourself on my account," he said in a reassuring tone. "Now, be quiet and rest for a bit. We are safe here." With a sigh, Faramir nodded and followed his advice.
Kneeling at his brother's side, staring into the white, bloodless face, Boromir warred within himself about what to do and how to treat Faramir's wound. One thing was certain…the arrow had to be removed. Every second that the shaft remained inside increased the chance of fever and infection. He knew from bitter experience how deadly the pair could be. Knife and sword wounds were dangerous, but the steel that caused them seemed to be…cleaner, somehow. Soldiers with arrow wounds were immediately at a disadvantage because the wood of which the arrows were made seemed to breed infection. He had seen it before – two men wounded in the same place at the same time, one with the sword, one with an arrow – but only the one pierced by the arrow had succumbed to death. Indeed, for that reason alone, the arrow must be removed. And then there was the fact that Faramir was unable to even lay flat until the wretched weapon was withdrawn.
But could his brother endure the agonizing process of the arrow's removal as weak as he was already?
He has to, he decided grimly. There is no other choice in the matter.
"Faramir, I need to retrieve our supplies from our mount. I
will be back presently," he added hastily when the gray eyes opened to meet his
own, filled with uncertainty. "Stay still. Can you remain this way on your own
or should I search for a few rocks to help hold you?"
"N-no," Faramir stammered, looking vaguely appalled by the suggestion. "Go. I will be fine."
Boromir hesitated until he felt the limp body strengthen slightly beneath his hands, and then nodded in agreement before moving off.