Author's note: Well, here's the first Faramir fanfiction that I've felt is good enough to put on public display. Please review, as I'm always anxious to improve upon everything. I own nothing. If I owned Faramir I would be far too busy worshipping him to write fanfiction.

A Conversation

Faramir slowly shut the leather bound tome he had spent the last five hours reading. The library had grown steadily dimmer as the sun sank from its zenith to the horizon, and there was a reddish tinge to the book-lined shelves. The boy sighed and stretched, thinking about the two thousand years of history he'd just absorbed. Two thousand years of Stewards, down to the present one, Denethor, son of Ecthelion. Denethor, who was at this moment grooming his eldest son for glory in Gondor's army, and eventually as the next Steward, while his youngest was banished from sight. His father would no doubt lambaste him for whiling away so many hours in the library, but he preferred books to the bruises he obtained during the broadsword training that was now being forced upon him. He often wondered, while he was taking a beating from the swordmaster, whether or not he would ever be proficient with a blade. His father had not felt it necessary to begin his training at a younger age, and it had only been with his older brother's insistence that Faramir learned to use a bow. He had become content with that arrangement, for he had discovered, at the tender age of ten years, the world of learning and books. Evidently, in one of his increasingly odd moods, Denethor had decided that it would not do to have a scholar for a son, and Faramir had found himself, a fourteen-year-old who had never held a sword, attempting to not only lift the massive blade and hold it steady, but also to swing, stab, and parry with it. What was worse, Denethor occasionally stood and watched and had nothing good to say. It mattered nothing to him that his younger son was more than capable with a bow, that he could hit a target from two hundred feet away. It had been so long since his father had had a kind word for him that Faramir barely remembered. He watched the sun touch the horizon and slowly begin to sink beneath it, so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn't hear the soft footfalls behind him. Someone placed a hand on his shoulder, and he started, jumping to his feet.

"Calm down, little brother, it's just me."

"Boromir," Faramir sighed. "I'm sorry, I was just…thinking. You startled me."

His older brother laughed. "Clearly. Have you been in here all day?" Spotting the book on the table, he made a face and remarked, "I don't know how you can read that."

With a slight smile, Faramir replied, "It's a bit depressing, that's all. You should read it, Boromir. It will help you when you're Steward to know the mistakes that have been made."

This elicited another grimace from Boromir. "When I'm Steward. I've heard enough of those words today."

"It's very important to Father," Faramir said softly. He met his brother's eyes. "Does he know I'm here?"

Boromir lowered his eyes, and Faramir regretted having to ask. He knew the tension between himself and his father made his older brother uncomfortable. Boromir, no doubt, could remember a time when the Steward's family was normal--when their mother was still alive. "No, I didn't tell him that I suspected where you were. I can't stand to see him constantly disparaging you." Boromir was silent for a moment before asking, "You know that what he says isn't true, don't you, Faramir? Any man should be proud to have a son like you…and he is. He just…"

"I know," Faramir said, attempting to keep the bitterness from his voice. "He just doesn't know how to show it." Sighing, the boy added, "Or maybe I'm really not good enough. What use is Dwarvish or Sindarin? Or knowing every Steward since the days of Isildur?" He gestured to the book. "Father didn't think I was strong enough to handle a sword when I was younger, and I can't now." He clamped his mouth shut, embarrassed at having said so much. What would Boromir think of him? Faramir didn't want to lose his only ally in Middle Earth.

Boromir was gaping at him. "Not good enough?" he repeated. "Faramir, have you lost your mind? You shoot a bow better than anyone your age and better than most men twice your age. Better than me, certainly. I know you've been training with that old Ranger, which is rather ambitious. And for your information, I could barely lift the miniature broadsword I began training with, let alone swing it. I've noticed you can do both, and you're using a full size blade. When Mithrandir comes, he always asks to see you. I know he's spoken to Father about you, though I don't know what about." He put his hand on Faramir's shoulder. "Father acts unfairly towards you, but that's no reason for you to act unfairly towards yourself."

Faramir stared at him. "You couldn't lift a sword at first?" he merely asked.

Laughing, Boromir replied, "No, I couldn't. I was quite a disappointment to Father."

"But you aren't now. And anyway, I bet he didn't show it."

"Well. As I said, he acts unfairly towards you." Boromir paused and looked hard at him. "I don't want my little brother coming of age thinking his worth is less than it actually is."

Faramir glanced down at his feet, but then looked back up thoughtfully and questioned, "And Mithrandir always asks for me?"

"Always."

"Why?"

"Because you're the only bright one around here," Boromir teased.

The younger boy flushed. "That certainly isn't the case."

"Oh?" Boromir shrugged. "Suit yourself." He glanced out the window, where the last rays of the sun were disappearing. Giving his brother a reassuring pat on the shoulder, he asked, "How would you feel about some practice with a sword before it gets too dark to see?"

Faramir nodded slowly. "That would be good for me."

With a grin, Boromir put his arm around Faramir's shoulders and led him out of the library.