Disclaimers in chapter 1.
Well, let's see about one year to finish one chapter... What?
Very well then. As a reminder this is AU movie-verse some line blatantly taken from the book and mangled to fit my own little bit of fic.
For a few days, Faramir continued to meet with Eowyn in much the same manner as before. Always it was a stroll through the gardens, barren as they were due to the neglect cause by war. Always they did end up staring at the darkness or Mordor. Eowyn seemed to take some type of comfort from it, but all Faramir felt was that the darkness accompanied his own spirits.
He was not by nature a morose person. Yet when he saw Eowyn stare so avidly at the looming darkness, he could feel his very heart develop tiny cracks in its shell of hope. He was entranced by her to the point of wishing to see nothing else, but she did not return such favor to him. In her mind, his importance was listed somewhere below the darkness, but this was not what bothered him.
That the efforts of man came before his own happiness, he was used to as it had been so for much of his life. Those who called Gondor home in his generation had not known what it was like to live without the threat of shadow. Always had Boromir put the cause of Gondor first place, and this had never bothered Faramir. Faramir himself had always put the needs of Gondor before his own interests.
He supposed that he could easily dismiss the thoughts by saying that it was not the same situation. Boromir, beloved as he was by his brother, did not have the same sway over a heart as a lover would. It was a different type of love, surely that would account for Faramir's new worries.
But in his heart, Faramir new that that was not what truly troubled him when Eowyn stared out at the darkness. To trouble him more was the fact that he was not by nature a dishonest man. He found it hard to lie, even to himself and even when he desperately wished to do so.
The truth of the matter was that he could not bear the thought that her heart already belonged to another.
Faramir had heard whispered rumors of her favor towards Aragorn. The men of Rohan were discreet in their talking, but injured men cooped up in the Houses of Healing had to do something to ease the discomfort of waiting, and Eowyn was the perfect subject upon which they could spend much time expounding.
And Faramir could not help but listen to whatever was spoken. In the same breath he had both listened to the words of men and cursed his ears and ability to hear those whispers. For the words that poured out of innocent men's lips had slowly thrust a dagger into his own heart.
With trepidation, he had continued to woo the fair maiden of Rohan with his own gentle ways. Hoping for the chance that the wildness that was ascribed to her people would be attracted to the genteel ways of his own constitution, he constantly looked at her countenance for any sign that she was as besieged with the feelings of helpless love for him that he felt for her.
The defeat of Sauron could be seen from the White City and indeed was viewed by Eowyn and Faramir as they took their accustomed walk in the gardens.
When the initial burst of joy had flooded through Faramir's bones, a distinct nervousness quickly followed. Soon those who remained of the troops would be coming home. Those who remained of Rohan would come, and the King of Gondor, if he yet lived, would also return. Faramir had naturally begun the preparations for the return of Gondor's King as befit his position as Steward, but his nervousness was for another reason.
He would soon declare his love for the golden haired maiden. He would soon know whether his heart would sing of joy or whether it would be forever sing a mournful song of loss. He would live through such a disappointment, but it would change his life. There was no doubt in his heart that he would never again love another as he loved Eowyn.
There was no person that could replace Boromir as his brother. In turn, there was no person that could replace Eowyn. For though he had known her but a short time, as far as life went, he loved her more dearly than he had ever loved another.
With a deep breath, Faramir turned and strode form his room to go and meet Eowyn in their accustomed place. Today would be the day. This hour would be the time of his sentencing. For soon, she would judge him to either love her or to spend the rest of his life pining from afar.
Eowyn shivered from the cold wind that blew through the gardens. There were other matters to which she should be attending, no doubt, yet she still waited for Faramir.
She was not disappointed when she felt his warm hand lay upon her shoulder.
"You are late, my lord," Eowyn spoke with a teasing tone in her voice.
"Only because of a great task I must complete." Faramir's answer was more solemn than her statement had been, so Eowyn turned to face him.
"Something troubles you?" She asked with more gentleness than was her normal way.
"Yes and no. I believe you would find my mind confused at the moment," Faramir tried to say lightly.
"Do you wish to share your burden?"
"More than anything, I would wish it, but I tremble with fear at the thought of it."
Eowyn smiled and placed her hand on his arm. "You need not fear me."
"I wish that it was truth that came from your lips, but by the very nature of my concern, it cannot be."
Eowyn tilted her head to one side clearly confused.
Faramir cleared his voice and continued. "I do not fear you, but rather I fear what your reaction maybe, for on it hangs my future happiness. Yet I am vexed either way, for I know not whether it is more torturous to know or to not know, yet have hope…"
"Your speech puzzles me, Lord Faramir. I am not used to such riddles from you. Speak plainly to me of what troubles you. I think I do not have it in me to be harsh towards anything you say."
Faramir moaned and looked down at his hands. "Harsh you will not be to me, I do not doubt that, but sometimes the softest answer still brings pain."
"Now I am the one who is vexed, for I can think of nothing that I could say to bring you such pain. Indeed, if there was such an answer to any question, I would endeavor to keep it from you."
"No," Faramir said harshly, "I would not wish a deceitful answer in this no matter how much I may wish to hear it. It is better to bear such pain myself than to know that you live in misery because you wished to spare my feelings."
"Then I swear that I will be honest with you even if it should pain you, for I do not wish to see such worry mar your features when such hope lay before our peoples."
Faramir nodded then let his gaze wander out over the now bright landscape. Gone were the shadows. Gondor was fortunate. Would its Steward see such fortune in confronting his own shadows?
"I would say that you are beautiful, but to say such an obvious thing would be pointless. Long and often have been our talks, but of one subject I have been most afraid, for if your heart is no longer your own, if your heart has become the property of another's I shall be forever dismayed."
Eowyn turned and stared off in the distance. "Why should you wish to know the workings of my heart?"
"Because my own is in peril, for I have lost it to you. Eowyn, do not you love me, or will you not?"
Eowyn turned quickly to stare defiantly at him. "I desire no man's pity. I wish to be loved, but your method of asking me is disturbing. You have heard rumors of my love for the King and as his Steward you wish to sacrifice yourself for him, no doubt. You have no need of such worries. I no longer wish to be a queen."
As she turned to stalk past him, his hand shot out to grasp her own.
"Then it is a good thing that I am not a king," he whispered softly.
Eowyn hesitated and looked into his eyes.
Gathering his courage, Faramir spoke again. "I would have you as my wife, if it be your will."
"You would have me leave my own people? You would dismay your own and listen to the murmurs of disapproval that you chose so wild a woman who chose a blade instead of a sewing needle?"
"Oh," Eowyn felt her heart begin to pound at the thought.
"Forgive me for my insistence, but I had wished for something a bit more revealing in your response," Faramir spoke lightly as he tried to balance his surge of hope with the possibility that she may not love him.
She smiled radiantly at him. "There is no other who would capture my heart as you have done. No other man shall ever know me as you do, and I would be the most foolish of women to deny us both such happiness."
"Then you will be mine?" he asked softly as he stepped closer to her.
"I would," she replied softly as she tilted her head slightly and brushed her lips against his own, and both hearts rejoiced.