Disclaimer: I do not own Lord of the Rings or any characters and/or places thereof

Author's note: This chapter isn't great, but I've had trouble getting anything written, so expect a new version soon but for now, here's the first chapter! Hope you enjoy. Oh, and the prayer formatting will not be used in further chapters, only I liked it so for this one.

*****

Our father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name...

"Faramir?" said Boromir. The younger boy sat in the corner, his head hanging between his knees. Uneven tendril of mousy brown hair formed a curtain around his face. Boromir looked oddly at his brother, cocking his head to one side. Boromir and Faramir were alike in their features, brown eyed and brown haired as both were, but Faramir had a softer look, a compliment to his effeminate build, while Boromir had the build of a proper warrior, as he already considered himself at seventeen years. Now Faramir lifted his head to meet his brother's gaze. "Will you do me the honour?" he extended his hand.

Boromir's sword hung from one hand, resting but at ready. The other hand, which he extended to his younger brother, was empty save calluses. Faramir not only disliked sparring, he was awful at it. His calling was more clearly in books, yet their father insisted that the boys practice one and one half hours each day--"See if you can't teach him something worthwhile," Denethor had instructed Boromir regarding Faramir. Boromir loved his father, and he loved his brother, and so he spoke as he went through the motions of a proper fight, well knowing that Faramir was ignoring him, yet pleasing both members of his family. Now he offered his hand, hoping that Faramir might take it and take up his sword.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…

With a sigh Faramir took his brother's hand. Boromir's face broke into an immediate smile and he hauled his brother up, clapping the boy on the back. Less than half his heart was applied to his ready stance, and so Faramir seemed more like a sleepwalker than a warrior. "Spread your feet a little more," Boromir instructed, and Faramir did. "And your sword should be higher. It is a weapon, remember that, and hold it with care. Tighten your grip," Boromir said, and again his brother complied.

Faramir was not a simpleton. That is not the reason he did what his brother told him. On the contrary, he had a sharp mind and was a quick learner. But if he showed the merest potential with the blade, his father might have him join the armed forces of Gondor. Was there any fate worse? For the steward's youngest son, there was not. Faramir abhorred as violence, and with adequate reason--which will be later made clear. Were he braver, he might defy his father to his face and refuse to practice sparring, but Faramir was not so brave, and so he continued to sit and watch his brother practice, occasionally partake, and waste ninety minutes of every day.

On earth as it is in Heaven.

Faramir squinted his eyes, dreading the impact with which Boromir would strike and expect him to defend. His arm would likely be numb for hours after, he knew, for he never held the sword with enough power--he had not enough power with which to hold his sword against Boromir. Faramir was only a skinny, effeminate twelve-year-old, nothing to Boromir, who had the strength of a cave-troll (as far as Faramir knew about cave-trolls), though no temper to match. Now the cave-troll looked into the eyes of his brother, who reminded him now of a fearful rabbit, quavering as he sensed danger but unable to hear the bowman pull his strings taut. He lowered his weapon.

Faramir gaped. Boromir was…not going to fight him? Had the Valar smiled upon him today? There was no other possible explanation. The boy lowered his sword with a smile of thanks for his brother. "Why?" he could not help but inquire.

Boromir smiled kindly. "Because you have no wish to fight. You do as I say, Faramir, but your heart is not in the battle. You shiver as you anticipate my strike. You are prey, not predator. Perhaps Iluvatar has other plans for you, but Tulkas has certainly no intention of turning you into a warrior. Meaning no offense," he added quickly. "Perhaps you would be better suited spending this hour in the library?"

Give us this day, our daily bread…

And so Faramir had left the practice room, his fortune for once happy. A pleasant, mild smile set upon his features as he trotted down the corridor, heading for the library. As he came to one particularly deserted corridor, it occurred to Faramir that the day was pleasant. The corridor was dimly lit, but light streamed in through windows placed at equal intervals. Every particle of dust seemed caught in their lazy forces, lit cheerfully as they floated through the rivers of light, then out again and to the next. Were those same particles passing on to the next bit of light? Faramir could not tell, but he was entranced by them. For a moment he stood, watching, then he sank to his knees in the corner of the corridor.

From here he had a clear view of the entire hallway; he could see if anyone entered at the opposite end and could watch them pass through the clouds of light. This pleased him, but his blind spot--the door through which he had entered the corridor--was not to his liking. Where could he hide that no one would ever see him? Surely there was some place. Faramir searched the space methodically, unwilling to sacrifice his sanctuary so easily.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Just as Faramir was preparing to admit defeat, finding no better spot in which to hide than beneath a chair, a quite exposed spot into which he would likely not fit, he heard rapidly approaching footsteps and voices. One of the voices seemed to be angry, the other worried. The angry voice shouted harshly, and the worried voice squeaked out swift words. The angry voice Faramir recognized easily as his father's, and his pulse began to race. If he was caught truant, with his father in such a temper--

Preferring not to consider the consequences, Faramir ducked beneath the chair as the door beside him slammed open. It was a tight fit, but being scrawny had its advantages, and Faramir had himself folded neatly beneath the chair and out of sight--obvious sight, at any rate. His heart was pounding so hard he was certain someone would hear it, but as Denethor and his chief advisor hurried past, Denethor's stride confident and irate, the advisor fighting to keep up and advise at the same time, neither even glanced at Faramir. When the door at the opposite end of the corridor was slammed shut, Faramir breathed a sigh of relief. He had gone undiscovered.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Quickly, Faramir unfolded himself, taking extreme precautions not to overturn the chair. His heart had not slowed. What if Denethor had spoken with Boromir? What if he knew that Faramir was not practicing his swordplay? He would be angry, that much was for sure. Worry distracted him, and just as Faramir was standing, his foot latched onto one of the chair's legs. It fell to the floor with a resounding crash. Faramir cursed under his breath and sought to right the chair at once. Surely someone had heard the crash, and he would be found out…!

Faramir fled the room. He ran until he crashed into the practice room and bent double, holding his side. His face was red and he could scarcely breathe, in the most part from fear but certainly not aided by an amount of running. Boromir dropped his sword at once and knelt, holding onto Faramir's shoulders. "Are you all right?" he asked. "Did something happen? Faramir, speak to me, brother!"

"Boromir, has--I--"

"What are you doing?" demanded a voice from the doorway. Both boys looked up to see their father standing there, and Faramir's heart sank. Boromir would tell the truth. He would not know to lie.

But, surprisingly, he did lie. "Faramir and I were practicing hand-to-hand combat, Father," Boromir said. "I fear I have injured him."

Denethor raised an eyebrow, then spat, "See the healers, Faramir, and both of you get cleaned up. We have a visitor."

Amen.

There was only one person capable of making Denethor so spiteful simply by existing, and the moment his father was gone from the doorway Faramir broke into a grin. Mithrandir had come to visit!

*****

To be continued

Concerning the prayer: My mum's a Jew and my dad's a Protestant. I'm not religious. Because of this, the prayer is only a poem to me. I use it as an atmospheric device, as similarly I might write, "Tyger, tyger burning bright/In the forest of the night," and there's no William Blake in Arda, either. It's not a glitch or a matter of ignorance, it's just for atmosphere. No one is saying this prayer; had I wanted someone to pray, I probably would have written a few lines to Elbereth. It's only a poem.