Summary:  Boromir's thoughts as he leaves for Imladris.  A moment between brothers.  Boromir/Faramir friendship.  No slash.

-------------------------------------------------------

Little Brother

It is odd when I catch sight of him sometimes.  I expect to see the child he once was—nose in a book; sword forgotten at his side; his gray eyes far too large for his face.  Upon such occasions, I often would yank the book from his small fingers and unceremoniously plunk him into the Anduin—or whatever water supply was readily available.  He would surface with red cheeks and bright eyes, sputtering and laughing, and try to pull me in after him.  How small he was!  How he would laugh!  His boyish strength was great, but did not match my own.  He was never able to best me and pull me into the river.  I greatly miss those carefree days.

The man before me has his looks, but little of his spirit remains.  The innocent childishness has left him.  That grieves me more than I can say.  I have often thought that somewhere along the way, I became his father.  Denethor loves him—I am sure of it—but Faramir's gentle spirit needs more than what his true father offers him.  I take interest in him as a father would.  I council him and offer advice, and though his council is often wiser than my own, he never fails to listen.  I watch him train and practice with pride in my heart.  I listen to his thoughts on philosophy and politics and marvel again that the boy has now grown into a man.

He is my little brother, and I love him like a son.

When had he grown so tall?  When had his talent with a bow and arrow far surpassed my own?  When had he stopped laughing?  Even as we celebrated the victory at Osgiliath, his laughter was not the heartfelt kind.  Perhaps it was because of the presence of Denethor.  No doubt it played a part, but there was something deeper there.  An old sadness hides behind his world-wary eyes.  Valar help me, I do not know what to do about it.

He helped me prepare for the journey to Imladris.  We stood by the Anduin in the ruined city, and together we burdened my horse with packs of provisions.  I knew he did not want me to go, for having had the dream first, he felt it was his burden.  His face was so very grave, and I noticed for the first time that he was beginning to show the signs of age.  Small worry lines creased his brow and pulled at the corners of his eyes.

It did not take long for the sharp Ranger to notice that I studied him.  Faramir cocked a questioning eyebrow in my direction.  I chuckled and pressed a gloved finger to the center of his forehead, where the deepest of his worry lines lay.  "You are getting old, little brother.  You worry too much."

"And if I am getting old, that means you are older still," Faramir responded.  "I would be careful about saying such things.  You will only insult yourself."

I laughed and clapped him on the back.  "Imagine when we are in our eighties.  We shall both look like Denethor."

"Do not say such things!  I beg you!" he exclaimed in dismay.  His hands moved to touch his worry line gingerly.

"It is truth, and you know it," I said, laughing all the more.  We then moved away from my horse, for we were done packing.  Both my brother and I dislike long-winded goodbyes, but I felt most acutely the need to embrace him and tell him how greatly I valued him—as though I would never again have the chance.

"You are loved, Faramir," I told him, gripping his shoulders tightly.  "I hope you realize how much."

A sad smile pulled at his lips.  "You have my love as well.  You will be greatly missed, Boromir.  Please come home soon."

Smiling warmly, I turned towards my horse and prepared to mount it.

"Oh, and Boromir?" he said, and I noted the slight sparkle behind his eyes.  "There's one last thing…"

"Yes, little brother?  What is it?"

I'm not sure what I expected him to say or do—perhaps bestow another one of his short-winded but ever-poetical goodbyes.  What I did not expect, however, was for him to smirk mischievously and shove me backwards into the Anduin.  Not expecting the attack, I fear that I flailed most comically before I inevitably hit the water.  It was lucky that I was not wearing armor, for I would have sunk straight to the bottom.  When I surfaced, I was greeted with laughter, and I saw that the men had gathered round.

Faramir's eyes were shining as he kneeled at the river's edge.  "Sorry, brother.  I was dared."

"Were you indeed, little brother?" I said, placing much emphasis on the word little.  "Then by all means, do join the fun."

I pushed up from the water and gripped his tunic.  I noted with great satisfaction that his eyes melted into a moment of panic before he was thrown over my head into the river.  There was a great splash and a resounding roar from the men.  Faramir surfaced, and his cheeks were red and his eyes bright—as they had been when we played as boys.  Something pulled anxiously in my chest as I laughed with him.

Father had returned to Minas Tirith, so there was thankfully no one to scold us for our childishness.  The men howled with mirth at the sight of their captains in such a state.  I smiled and pushed Faramir's head beneath the waves as I made for the river's edge.  Pulling myself out of the water, I looked despairingly at my soaked garments.

Behind me, an equally soaked Faramir chuckled.  "I see your mind, brother.  Do not despair.  I have brought you extra clothes.  I may be mischievous, but I would not have my brother ride off wet and cold."

The garments provided were far grander than the ones I originally planned to wear.  An embroidered shirt of deep maroon was gifted to me, and a rich cloak was placed around my shoulders.

"You look like a king," Faramir said, beaming with pride when I finally mounted my horse.  He handed up my shield, and I placed it upon my back.

"Not a king, I think."

It was then that the sadness fully hit him, and his gaze fell to the ground.  I sighed deeply and lifted my eyes to the white flag that flew over the city—a triumphant sign of our reclaim of the ruined city.  How long would it remain there?  I realized then that I would do anything to save this troubled land I loved so dearly—to keep my brother from harm.  Perhaps it would mean my downfall.

Casting my eyes down upon Faramir, I swallowed with difficulty.

So be it.

"Remember today, little brother," I said.

His downcast face rose to look at me, and he smiled.  He is two inches taller than me, and still he looks up to me.  I reared the horse around, and after a final glance, I set off.

He is my little brother, but he is also a man.

He will be all right.

---------------------------------------------

The end.

Why two inches taller you ask? The actor David Wenham is 6'1, and Sean Bean is 5'11.  Alas, I adore them both.

Please visit, A'mael Taren—a fanfiction site dedicated to Faramir (there are Boromir stories there as well!)  ithilien.morningstar-rising.com

Please review!