Disclaimer: I do not own Lord of the Rings or any characters and/or places thereof
The moon shone silver on the newly fallen snow, and Faramir stood by the window, watching the tranquil world. The wallowing trees and flickering shadows meant little to him, save what they might conceal. He looked for some sign, some visitor to enter Imladris. No one came: Faramir remained. When the moon touched the horizon, he swept away from the window, and slept without rest.
Faramir watched the thin blue lines appear on the old parchment. He did not feel responsible for those lines, did not connect the words and the hand writing them with his heart and mind. He wrote a story, the tale behind the tapestry which, over the past two weeks, he had watched the threads form under Arwen's careful tutelage.
"What are you writing?"
Before looking to see who had asked, Faramir snapped the book shut. Arwen flinched, but kept her eyes fixed on the boy. "It's dumb," he said, then leapt to his feet, took a step forward and knelt to look through the threads in the basket on the floor. The elven lady again said nothing, keeping to herself the fact that she saw respect in Faramir's eyes when he set the book down. "This one?"
"Yes." She took the deep red from his hand.
"Why do you use the red threads so often?" Now he was standing and tracing the few green leaves she had woven, the tiny blue bird.
"I use dark reds to make the other colors brighter. A more ideal color might be black, but with black rooms grow smaller and less cheerful."
For a time he watched her hands move, watched the picture grow. Around Arwen Faramir was comfortable: he found her calm, quiet strength a beacon of hope. He respected her without fear, and felt safe beside her. Yet he knew, more and more as the feeling of a snake in his belly grew, that Arwen could not give him what he needed. She could raise him an artist, a lover, but never a warrior. Not for the battles he knew he would fight.
'I am not a traitor,' Faramir told himself, silently watching an elf at swordplay. Over the course of the past month, Faramir had learned two things about this particular elf--his name was Glorfindel, and he was a hero. 'I am not a traitor to Arwen, or to Gondor, if I learn from him.'
"Can you teach me?" Faramir asked. "Can you teach me how to do that?"
Glorfindel regarded the boy. Small for his age, timidity hiding behind a mask of determination, over the past few weeks Faramir had been growing, whether or not he noticed it himself. Why teach weapons arts to a boy hardly able to handle his own arms and legs?
Glorfindel nodded. "When would you like to begin?"
Glorfindel knew he had made the right choice.
Another week passed. Snow continued to fall. Faramir stood by the window every night and, unknown to him, Elrond stood in the doorway and watched him. Thorongil did not come. Faramir began to leave the window earlier and earlier.
After yet another week, Faramir hadn't the energy to stand by the window. He spent every minute he could spare with a sword in his hand. "What drives you?" Glorfindel asked one day, impressed by his student's swift progress.
Faramir turned to Glorfindel and met his eyes, and he answered with one word: "Hatred."
Faramir had been surprised to find her sitting in the kitchen where she often baked bread, beside a small fire and reading a book by moonlight. "Sunshine." She looked up at him and smiled, not only with her lips but with her eyes as well. "You could not sleep either?" He shook his head and went to sit beside her. "Shall we bake bread?" she asked.
"What do you mean?"
"Come on." She closed her book and set it in a corner, then hauled Faramir to his feet with surprising strength. Before Faramir could fully get his mind around the situation at hand, he was mixing dry ingredients in a clay bowl. Watching Arwen work, he could not focus on the bowl before him. She used no traditional measures, only what seemed right. When she hefted a bowl to measure by its weight, Faramir nearly moaned at the slight bounce of her breasts. This disturbed him greatly, and he looked at mix of flour and salt and only Arwen knew what else, which he ought to have been stirring.
"Sunshine?" Arwen said, and he looked up with such severity that he splashed a crescent-moon of flour onto the floor.
He froze, then quickly apologized. "It is nothing," the elven lady assured him. "Hold the bowl steady."
"Should I not clean the... the flour?"
"No," she answered, "there will likely be more of a mess before we are through. As it is said, Weep not over beer not yet spilt. Please hold the bowl steady." This time Faramir obeyed, and Arwen poured the milk into his bowl. He watched the liquid slither over the flour, forming a slimy cover. "It is interesting, Sunshine..." Arwen dragged a finger through the slime, scarring its cover to reveal the same powdery flour within. "No matter how the outside may appear, it takes something more to have a last effect."
He began to stir, not sure what else to do. "Fold the batter; that will help."
For a good while they worked in silence, then Faramir, feeling impulsive and brave stood on tiptoe to sprinkle a pinch of flour into Arwen's hair. She knew at once.
"Little rogue!" In retaliation she coated her finger in batter and swiped at Faramir's nose. He again used flour against her, and Arwen scooped up a handful of flour to drop directly into Faramir's hair. This time he used her tactic and painted stripes in bread dough on her cheeks. Before they knew what had happened, both had fallen to the ground in laughter, covered in dough and flour. "So much for baking bread," Arwen commented, motioning to the empty bowl.
Faramir only smiled. He could not feel that he had done anything wrong, could not believe that the mess he and Arwen had created between them was anything further than good fun. It was nearly midnight, in winter, but Faramir felt warm inside. He was in a foreign land filled with people and languages he was only beginning to know, yet he felt so at home his heart ached for happiness.
Then, quite suddenly, Arwen stood and began brushing the dough and flour off of her; Faramir had only to glance at the face of the Elven lord in the doorway and his happiness evaporated. Elrond began to speak, and Faramir pelt out the kitchen's back door, into the night.
"Sunshine!" Arwen was only a moment later calling him back, but he would not come. He could not return. He could only run.
The funny thing about running: after the ache and burn ebbed, the rhythm took over and there was, for Faramir, a moment of profound understanding. He understood that he could make the pain pass, that only if he held the ache close would it remain with him. He understood about Arwen and the flour. More than anything he understood that there were many things beyond his control, that he was only a boy, a thirteen-year-old half-man, half-boy who could not, for all he wished, control the world.
He was smiling when his heart stopped.
To be continued!
Oh, how I love cliff-hangers.
A lot of people have asked for an update: I haven't updated in so long because I've been on holiday. But now I'm back, and quite ready to write to the ending! I'm sorry to leave you all hanging like that, but there really wasn't a choice.
Also I am currently in need of a beta reader for this story, so if anyone can help me with that I'd much appreciate it.
Lirenel: The story will and will not go to the War of the ring. Any more specific answer would be a spoiler!