Disclaimer= I do not own, nor will ever own, Lord of the Rings and its characters, places, etc.
Summary= An ancient ghost haunts Faramir's dreams. Will he learn the truth before it is too late?
A/N: This is AU, because the years for the flashback are not correct, but they had to be changed for the purpose of the story. It also deals with ghosts and I had trouble writing that since I don't believe in 'good ghosts'. But I love ghost stories so I put aside my troubles and wrote this. The title means 'Nightmare', literally 'seeing darkness'. I couldn't find a word for dream. Hope you like it, and please review!
Ten-year old Boromir lay curled up in bed, trying to block out the heart-breaking crying coming from the other bed in the room. Little five-year old Faramir was trying to stifle his tears, but in vain. Yet the small boy refused to let his older brother comfort him, turning away from the loving embrace offered. So each suffered alone.
Boromir tensed as Faramir quietly cried out a beloved name. "Mumma. Mumma. Want Mumma." The older boy covered his ears, a childish gesture he knew, but no one but Faramir could see him. Suddenly an icy chill seemed to brush by Boromir, causing him to pull his covers tightly up to his chin. It was now a choice between freezing and listening to Faramir. //Why didn't I tell Papa I wanted my own room?// But he knew why. He didn't want his own room; he needed Faramir's warm, if sad, presence as much as he knew Faramir needed him.
The cold didn't leave, but Boromir felt himself get used to it, almost comforted by the strange chill. As he drifted off to sleep, he vaguely recognized that Faramir was no longer crying. Had he looked over at his little brother, perhaps he would have noticed the misty figure holding Faramir and rocking him to sleep.
Boromir noticed the change in his brother as each day passed. Gradually Faramir returned to his normal, sunny self, smiling for the first time since his mother's death. Yet there was something strange in his behavior. Servants would hear him play-fighting in a field, hear the wooden swords clank against each other, but when they saw Faramir, he was alone. The little boy was also often found singing to himself, but he sang nonsense words to strange tunes. As for Boromir, nights were a peculiar time. Even in the midst of the hot summer's night, an icy chill would sweep into the room, freezing him to his bones. Yet Faramir seemed not to feel it, but instead would calmly fall to sleep to the soft whispers of the wind.
Indeed, though Boromir thought his brother's actions strange, he did not worry. He attributed most of it to their mother's death, heartbreaking for one so young. One thing confused Boromir, though, and that was Faramir's insistence of the existence of an imaginary woman whom he called 'Ámee Miriel'. The elder boy had always thoughts his little brother to be too unimaginative for that sort of thing. Faramir preferred stories to playing, the finite to the make-believe. So his belief in this Ámee Miriel startled Boromir, but still it did not worry him overly…until a fateful day when he saw exactly what Faramir's 'imaginary' friend could do.
"Pull. And release!" The arrow hit the edge of the target and Boromir sighed. He and several other noble's sons were being taught how to fight with a bow and arrow. //I hate archery. I would much rather be using a sword.// Actually, Boromir was doing quite good compared to his peers. Since it was the first time using a bow for most of them, arrows were flying everywhere, usually no where near the targets.
Most of the boys did better as practice went on, though not all. The archery instructor, Cugildor, had taken aside one boy in an attempt to help him at least draw the bow back correctly. The rest of the boys were joking around, talking more than practicing. It was then that Boromir noticed the small figure of his brother wandering near the targets. He frowned, knowing how dangerous it was to be walking in the target field. "Faramir!" Boromir tried to wave his brother away from the field, but the five-year old didn't understand and just waved back.
Hearing Boromir's call, Cugildor looked up and spotted the young lord. Before he could do anything, however, the boy he had been helping lost his hold on the arrow he was aiming. Boromir watching in horror as the arrow sped toward Faramir.
In that split second, Faramir suddenly fell to the ground as if pushed. To the amazement of everyone there, the arrow stopped in midair. Boromir ran to his terrified brother, faltering only once when the motionless bolt inexplicably broke and fell lightly onto the grass. Again Boromir felt the icy chill that haunted his nights, this time growing stronger, colder. A wind picked up and soon everyone on the field was shivering uncontrollably.
Hugging Faramir tightly, Boromir watched in both delight and terror as a dark mist condensed before them and moved angrily towards Cugildor and the boy who had shot the arrow. Faramir, who before had been frozen by fear, stirred and cried out. "Ámee!" Strangely the mist seemed to hesitate. "Ámee Miriel, don't hurt him!" Almost as quickly as it appeared, the mist dissipated.
The frozen boys looked to Cugildor for answers to what had happened. The archery master looked as if he were pondering something surprising but not unknown. Finally, he tried to smile reassuringly. "I have heard from those smarter than I that mist can be caused by a drastic change in temperature. That sudden cold wind must have caused it." The children, desperately wanting to believe that it had been caused naturally, took his word for truth. Calling class off for the rest of the day, Cugildor hurried and knelt beside Boromir who held a shaking Faramir in his arms. "Lord Faramir, are you hurt?"
Faramir shook his head. "Ámee Miriel saved me," he whispered. After what he had seen, Boromir was almost inclined to believe him, but the elder boy was startled to see that Cugildor seemed more troubled by this admission than skeptical.
The archer looked into Faramir's intelligent gray eyes. "I think your father should be told about this."
Faramir vehemently refused that option. "No! Ámee Miriel said not to tell Father. He wouldn't like it." Frantic eyes pleaded with Cugildor. "Please don't tell him."
Against his instinct and beliefs, Cugildor reluctantly agreed. "Very well, my lord. Unless asked directly, I will not speak of Ámee Miriel to the Steward."
Boromir walked a still shaken Faramir back to their room. Unsure of what to do, Boromir said what he hoped his mother would have said. "You should rest, 'Mir. You'll feel better after a nap."
Although Faramir usually rebelled against taking naps, having an arrow shot at him had made him loose his will to argue. Curling up on his bed, Faramir reached out his arms. "Hug." Of course Boromir couldn't refuse his little brother's pleading eyes. "I was scared Bem," he confessed, using the name he had called Boromir when he was younger.
Boromir gently tucked the cover over the child and ruffled his dark hair. "So was I, 'Mir." The icy chill brushed past him and he shuddered, as much from fear as the cold.
"Ámee Miriel won't hurt you. She'd never hurt anyone who I care about."
Faramir's words did not make Boromir feel better, but he didn't let it show. "Go to sleep, little brother."
Boromir spent the rest of the day wandering around. He tried to forget what had happened in archery practice, but every light breeze brought his mind back. What, or who, had saved Faramir? Boromir had seen the arrow speeding toward his brother, see it stop before it hit. //Is Ámee Miriel more that just an imaginary friend?// He shook his head angrily. //That's silly, of course she's made up. It was just a strange accident.// Yet still Boromir's heart was troubled.
That evening as usual, Boromir met his father in the dining hall for supper. After pausing and looking to the West as was customary, they sat down to eat. Boromir noticed that Faramir was not with them.
Steward Denethor seemed to notice the same thing. "Boromir, where is your brother?"
"He is probably still asleep, Papa."
Denethor frowned. "Asleep?" Boromir nodded. "I suppose that bit of excitement at the archery field today tired him." Boromir head shot up, eyes widening in surprise. The Steward gave a grim smile. "Yes, my son, I know. Cugildor spoke to me about Faramir's close escape from a wayward arrow, though not in detail." Denethor's sharp eyes narrowing in on Boromir. "Perhaps you would wish to speak of it to me?"
Boromir squirmed under his father's stare. Denethor's stormy gray eyes always seemed to compel the boy to say things he didn't want to reveal. "It was just an accident. One of the other boys was getting helped by Cugildor when he lost control of the arrow. Faramir had wandered into the field and it was luck that kept him from being hit." The thought //or Ámee Miriel.// came unbidden to his mind.
The Steward seemed to see this and knew his son held something back. "That is not all that happened, was it?"
Denethor's steely gaze finally broke Boromir, and he blurted out the truth. "That arrow was headed straight towards Faramir but it just stopped in mid-air." Denethor's forehead creased, but he didn't interrupt. "Then it got really cold and a dark mist formed on the field and headed towards the boy who had shot the arrow, but Faramir shouted at it and it disappeared."
The Steward's face didn't change except whitening slightly. "What did Faramir say?"
Boromir looked down, ashamed that he had said so much already. "He…he just called out something, Papa. It probably didn't have anything…"
"The boy knew he couldn't hide it anymore. Though he remembered how Faramir was so against revealing anything to their father, Boromir could not stand against him. "He yelled at it, calling it by the name of his imaginary friend."
"And this friend's name?"
"Faramir calls her Ámee Miriel."
If Boromir hadn't known better, he would have thought his father was afraid. As it was, Denethor stood abruptly and stalked away from the table. Not knowing what to do, Boromir hurried to catch up to his father's long stride. They stopped in front of the boys' room and the Steward pounded on the door. "Faramir!"
"Just a moment," answered Faramir in his small voice. It took only a few, short minutes for the door to open. Denethor stormed into the room, Boromir slinking in after. Faramir, who had obviously just woken up, was surprised by the unexpected intrusion. "I'm sorry that I'm late for supper, father. I fell asleep…"
Denethor didn't let him finish. "What is this about an imaginary friend?"
Faramir looked from his father's angry face to Boromir. The older boy glanced down, shamed that he had broken Faramir's confidence. "I don't know what…"
"Do not lie! Your brother has told me about this Ámee Miriel and I tell you I will not stand for it!" Denethor paused and took a deep breath before leveling a glare on his youngest son. "You are not to speak of, or to, Ámee Miriel ever again. Is that understood?"
Faramir's eyes widened. "But…"
"Is that understood!"
The little boy fought back tears. "Y…yes, father."
"Very well. See that you do not disobey me." Without a backward look, Denethor stalked away, leaving the brothers alone.
Boromir stood awkwardly in front of his teary-eyed bother. "Mir…I'm sorry. I didn't mean to tell him, it just…came out." Faramir turned from him and walked shakily over to the window, staring out into the East. "Mir!"
As the older boy moved closer he realized that little Faramir was quietly crying. "She wouldn't hurt me, Bem. She wouldn't…wouldn't hurt anyone. Why is father scared of her?"
Boromir put his hand on Faramir's shoulder. "Papa isn't scared."
"Yes he is! He's scared and because of that I'm going to lose Ámee Miriel!" Faramir's voice dropped to a whisper. Just like I lost Mumma."
Kneeling to be eye level with his brother, Boromir hugged him. "You have me, 'Mir. I'll always be here for you. Always."
Contrary to Boromir's belief, the Steward of Gondor was afraid. //This can't be happening. Not now, not to my son.// Denethor held his head in his hands as he stared down at the papers he had pulled out. //150 years. Ámee Miriel. My son. Oh Valar, my son!// Again he read the papers, looking for some tiny glimmer of hope, but there was none. Nothing, in all the parchments detailing the secret history of the Stewards.
Denethor found himself coming back to the same paragraph written by Steward Thorondir, his great-great grandfather.
*~* She reappears to the next victim in childhood, and no one thinks anything of it for what child has not made up a friend? Yet it is an omen of ill portent, for exactly 150 years after the last victim, the one she appeared to falls to her evil. Always her victims are of the House of Hurin, the most recent actually the Steward himself, my father Belecthor II. None suspected until it was too late. He hid the nightmares that plagued him, and disappeared the night of the half-moon. The body was found the next morning and the White Tree was dead. *~*
//And the White Tree was dead. The greatest symbol of Gondor, destroyed. And now that same evil is after Faramir.// A determination came over Denethor. //I will not let this Ámee Miriel have the blood of my son! I will kill him myself before I let him fall to her.// He threw the papers into a small chest, locking it with the bronze key. After only a brief hesitation, the Steward threw the key into the fireplace where the flames burned hot. He watched as the key melted slowly. //You will not have him, Ámee Miriel. I swear it.//
As Denethor fumed, his sons stood together by the window, unaware of the cold mist in the room behind them. Ámee Miriel smiled invisibly at Faramir. *This is not the end, young one. We will meet again.* Silently, the mist disappeared as an unknown darkness grew in the green forests of Ithilien.
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