Author's Notes: Sorry it's taken so long to update this. School death. On another note I have been tempted into writing RPS fan fic involving everyone's favourite Daisy and Bean by the lovely, diabolical Sindahise who is twenty times the writer I am. If you'd like to see it drop me a line.
Also, WOW for the amount of reviews I got for the last chapter. This one is kind of a tie up. Another age jump is fast approaching.
Faramir had fallen into a light doze in the well padded chair before Boromir's warm fire. His wrist ached still; he had refused to drink the healer's draught until he had spoken with his brother as he knew he would sleep the night through once he took it. The flames and their warmth made him drowsy though, he was so wrung out emotionally he was near limp with exhaustion now that he let his guard down. Boromir could see him like this, no other.
He heard the doors open to this, the inner room of Boromir's apartment, but did not stir having finally found a comfortable enough way to sit. It minimized the dull constant throb that grated at him. He wondered, with a slight cringe, what Angon would say come the morn. He did not want to think about it, glad Boromir waited to speak, knowing his brother would not begrudge him the few moments of almost peace.
There were footstep, no speaking, and then silence, complete silence. Faramir's heart stilled a moment. Surely Boromir would be clattering about with plates and such; he could not help but do so, he was always loud and full of just... presence to him that was absent in the room.
But there was someone there. Faramir knew that even before he opened his eyes to see his father standing before him, his face as still as stone and illuminated by the flames. Faramir shivered, some elusive trace of pain skittered through his mind and disappeared before he could grasp it.
Denethor did not speak and his eyes looked as before, as if he did not recognize his own son. Faramir was afraid but did not think his father would raise his hand to him again. No, this was a different fear, one he was too tired and too muddled to place. He said nothing but felt himself sink back further against the pillows of the soft chair.
Denethor's face did not so much as twitch but suddenly Faramir saw his hand reach out to touch his face. He flinched as it brushed gently against his cheek, unable to stop the reaction he had not known would come.
Denethor snatched his hand back and a spasm passed over his face. Before Faramir could understand what was happening his father had turned and was hastening from the room.
"Father" Faramir called; dread seizing his heart and squeezing hard.
Denethor did not pause, did not acknowledge even hearing his son and Faramir could not bring himself to leave the chair fast enough he had begun to tremble so violently. A shade flitted over his mind but did not take hold and Faramir wondered for a moment what was the matter with him before lurching to his feet.
He did not cry though his eyes burned and the lump in his throat felt as large as a boulder. He was not sure if he intended to go after his father or... something but the room tilted when he was on his feet and the bottom dropped out of his stomach. He could barely stumble to his brother's bed and grab at the empty chamber pot before he was retching.
He heard new footsteps but could not move; he did not trust his stomach enough. Relief flooded him at the sound of his brother's worried voice. There was movement and Faramir would have grinned had he not been so busy casting up everything he ever ate; Boromir moved about so loudly, it was comforting.
A scrap of wet cloth was held against his forehead and Boromir's other arm slipped under him, helping to hold him up. By the time Faramir was through heaving Boromir had taken most of his weight.
"Faramir? I am sending for a healer" Boromir was muttering. Faramir realized he had been calling to him since he arrived; it had been lost in all the buzzing of his head.
"No, no, I am well" Faramir murmured. "No healers."
"No healers, Boromir, please, they cannot help." Faramir tilted his head back so it rested against Boromir's shoulder.
"What happened" Boromir questioned, deciding to press it, if he was going to, after he got answers. He could feel Faramir tense. "Tell me."
"Father came here." Faramir felt Boromir stiffen, felt rage rolling off his body. His hands were gently massaging Faramir's neck and the contrast felt strange. "He did not hurt me, Boromir. He was looking for you."
"What did he do" Boromir asked, his voice terribly controlled.
"He was shocked to see me, I think. He touched my face" again that simmering rage boiled "gently, brother. He was not seeking to hurt me. I... flinched. I could not help it. I did not know I would. Then he left. He said nothing to me."
The anger was still there but not so terrible. Faramir pressed on. "I do not know what happened to me exactly. It... It felt like a vision but it was not or unlike any I had ever had before. It..."
Faramir's eyes widened slightly. Boromir knew then his brother had figured it out for himself and went half mad for a few moments before he continued. "It was not mine. It was like a vision but it was not mine, so it was different."
"I did not know Estel had visions" Boromir said after a moment. He was not entirely sure what to think of all this. If it had not been Faramir... well, many things would have been different had it not been Faramir.
"It was not Estel. It was like him, somehow but not him. He feels different" Faramir told his brother.
Boromir was silent for a long moment. His hands stilled, hesitated, and then he hugged Faramir close. "This scares me, brother mine."
"I do not believe" Faramir began slowly. "I do not think it will happen again. I do not understand it or how I know but... it will not happen again or if it does it will not be like this."
"How can you be sure" Boromir questioned.
"I cannot be" Faramir told him"but I trust this... this feeling that it will not. Trust me."
Boromir snorted, loosened his hold and Faramir knew that he did. He was silent again, thinking. "Faramir? What happened when you had the vision today? Not in the vision but what happened to you"
Faramir frowned. "I do not know. I was entering the training grounds when it happened, there was a... a flash behind my eyes, it seemed, and then I saw it. It felt long but could only have been moments. Then I was in front of the weapons building."
There were something like ten steps from the entrance to the training grounds to the building where Angon kept the weapons. It was not a great loss of time but it was there. Boromir frowned. "Did you feel like you did tonight"
"No" Faramir told him. "No, it surprised me and frightened me but I did not feel sick or shaky from the vision. Seeing you get hurt... that was unpleasant."
When Boromir said nothing Faramir shifted so he could look at him. "What are you thinking, brother? Tell me"
Boromir shook his head as if to clear it and smiled faintly. "If the visions do not hamper you it is no matter."
Faramir frowned. He thought of how much he disliked the idea of taking life, of how often had wished he did not have to be a soldier, of his brother's wounding, of his father, of Gondor and at the last felt the deep steady pride he had always felt. "I will be a soldier, Boromir."
His brother nodded. "I know you will be but for now it has been too long a day. You need to eat something then rest. And you are drinking that vile thing the healers left you, no arguments."
Faramir slept. It had been a quick thing after Boromir had fed him the draught the healer had left. Boromir had scarcely gotten him into the large bed before his eyes drooped and shut.
Boromir stayed with him even after he slept, sitting beside him on the bed and studying his dreaming features. Boromir hoped he only dreamed and pleasant dreams at that. No visions tonight, he prayed.
He wondered at the changes he saw in his little brother. He had noticed them, of course, since he had been home and lucid but tonight... tonight was different. Faramir was at that age when boyhood clashed with the need to be grown up, the awkwardness of youth was to be expected but tonight Boromir had not seen that.
Despair and confusion, yes, but no more than Boromir would have expected of anyone in the circumstances. More alarming to him was the way Faramir thought ahead to cover for their father as even Boromir did not in his anger. Faramir should not have had to think that way. He was only a boy still, Boromir's little brother, none of this should have happened.
Boromir touched his hair gently. It was still soft, like a child's, and his cheeks had not yet the need for the touch of a razor in the morning, but what Boromir had seen in his eyes that night... No child dwelt here any longer. No, childhood was but a dream now.
Boromir had always known that Faramir would fight and bleed and maybe even die for Gondor, like he would. They had never belonged to themselves, not even in childhood, but to their people and their land, such was the lot of the ruling family. It was painful knowledge but one that filled Boromir up with a fierce pride.
He feared for his brother. As much as he thought of him, and he did, despite what his father thought and what Faramir thought of his own abilities, Boromir feared for him. One wrong step, too late a turn, still illness... these things could take down the best warrior. No matter how strong a man a carefully placed arrow could fell him.
And yet... And yet somehow, sometimes, when his mind chanced upon that awful thought something more than pain made him shield away from it. Something more... a... a feeling. Boromir's breath caught in his throat momentarily, a feeling, and he trusted those, he trusted this one certainly for the pure want of it to be true.
Faramir was made for times of peace and he would see them. He would see them; Boromir felt it to be true with all his heart. He knew not where this feeling came from, but it awed and comforted him. Faramir would live to see the end of the dark days, he was sure of it.
The fire popped suddenly and Boromir looked up startled. It had settled again and had not disturbed Faramir, but there was another figure standing in the door, face shadowed by the glow of the flames. Boromir's face darkened at the sight of his father.
Denethor said nothing, only stood there and looked at him, no, not him, at Faramir with unreadable eyes. Boromir was not sure his father registered he was in the room until he shifted and slipped off the bed.
Denethor did not move and if a flinch of something akin to longing passed over his face when Boromir stooped to press a kiss to his brother's brow it met his son's back and not his eyes. His eyes were blank when Boromir turned to him and in those eyes there was rage.
He walked passed his father with a curt nod toward the outer rooms. Denethor said nothing and followed. Boromir led them to his public study, far enough from his truly private rooms that Faramir would not wake even if they screamed at each other until dawn.
"You struck him" Boromir began in a low terrible voice. "You struck him"
Denethor flinched but said nothing. He would not meet Boromir's eyes which glittered with their own type of madness. Denethor recognized it even if his son did not. He had it often enough in his own eyes when one of his children was hurt.
"Give me a reason I should not tell our uncle of this, father. Give me some reason why I should not report this as I would any other common crime I observed. You struck your own son, father! Why" Boromir demanded. "What did he do that was so horrible for he did not understand it nor do I"
"I was... not myself, when Faramir came to me this morning" Denethor replied quietly. "I would never..." He sighed, and shook his head. "I have never wished to cause him pain."
"Whether you wished to or not you have done so" Boromir shook his head, his eyes flashing. "You have given me no reason and I doubt there is one other than your cruelty. I will not see this happen to him, I care not what position you hold, he is my brother and that means much to me even if you think nothing of his bond as your son. If you ever strike him thusly again I will not hesitate to strike back for him, for we both know he will not"
"If I ever strike him again, Boromir, I would have you seek retribution" Denethor told him quietly without looking at his son.
Boromir glared and continued to pace like a caged animal. He raised his hands to his head, gripping at his hair and said in a low, strange voice"Do you know why he was coming to you this morning, father? He never got the chance to speak to you, did he"
Denethor said nothing. For once he dared not seeing the glare in his son's eyes. If ever something could set Boromir against him it was this.
But Boromir's anger was losing it's intensity if none of its pain. His shoulders slumped and he looked at his father with a bleak expression. "He had a vision, of me injured, likely of the injury I just suffered and that was no pretty thing. He had it as he walked to weapons practice and it frightened him."
Denethor paled and sat abruptly in the nearest chair, staring at his eldest son. He had promised Faramir he need never fear coming to his father when a vision troubled him. "I did not know..."
"You gave him not the chance to tell you" Boromir said coldly.
"I did not mean..."
"You did, father" Boromir told him. "You struck your son. Was it the first time"
Denethor looked up sharply at that. "Do you dare..."
"You speak to me of daring? Of course I damn well dare! I was gone for months before I was injured and I have come back to find my family acting as if they were strangers to each other. Faramir fears you and you act as cold as marble to him and he knows not why" Boromir retorted. "I doubt, in fact, you have ever lifted a hand to him before but more from his shock that you have now than aught that you say! Still, a man may do damage without using blows."
Boromir paused, sighed"Faramir leaves to complete his training soon enough. It could have been delayed had he broken his wrist instead of sprained it this morning."
"What" Denethor demanded, looking up.
"If you had helped him when he fell this morning you would have known he was injured" Boromir said coldly, his grey eyes smoldering coals of reined in anger. He looked away from his father. "I want Faramir to go to Dol Amroth early."
"No" Denethor answered swiftly. "No."
"I was not making a suggestion, father" Boromir told him quietly. "Faramir thrives there, you know this. He would have been leaving in less than half a year as it stood before this morning. This will give him a change to be free, awhile, before his life becomes the army's and perhaps uncle can help him adjust to these waking visions."
"I was not aware" Denethor said bitingly"that he was your son."
"And uncle is not aware you hit him, shall I change that father" Boromir replied. "Push me on this and I will. Shall we see what happens then"
Denethor's face was grim. Imrahil would challenge him over this, he knew, and could very well make it public if he was mad enough and found the backing. There was more to this than Denethor striking Faramir, as bad as that was for his family to deal with. What would matter more was that he had not been in control; he had admitted he had not been himself. On that grounds Imrahil could challenge his authority and with Boromir initiating this...
"That would likely" Denethor said carefully"be best for Gondor."
Boromir laughed bitterly. "No, I doubt it would be but if something like this happens again, father? To Faramir or someone else? What if it is a page who annoys you? What then? Your temper lately... it changes you in ways I do not fully understand. I have seen it, this change in you, though I do not understand its source, not fully. It cannot be allowed to happen again we, both of us, know this."
Denethor did not agree, did not look at his son who spoke too close to what he already knew. Denethor was a proud man and prone to paranoia; if he did not know that Boromir truly would give all for Gondor, if he did not know that Boromir's reaction was amplified by the victim of his rage having been Faramir, thing may have been very different.
He did know that, though; he did not doubt Boromir's loyalty to Gondor and, truthfully, some whisper of him doubted himself though he ignored it, largely. He had only been forced to acknowledge it for a moment when his youngest son flinched away from him.
"Faramir goes to Dol Amroth" Denethor said in a toneless voice. "I shall write to your uncle and arrange it. It will take a few weeks to be done in the proper manner."
Boromir nodded"I wish to accompany him on the journey there. It should be before I am to be sent back to active duty."
Denethor nodded. "I will see if it can be arranged."
Boromir frowned. He did not want this; he wanted... not this! He sighed; there was nothing more for it. He left without another word and went back to his brother. Faramir slept still, and it appeared his dreams had not turned dark. Boromir hesitated, fearing he would wake his brother, then climbed into bed beside him. It had been too long a day for both of them. Boromir wished to sleep now; he would think about tomorrow when it came.
Denethor went silently to the tall tower he had spent so many past nights in after his son left him. He stood there a long while, staring at the seeing stone without looking into its depths and then looked away again, knowing even as he did that he would use it again. He was certain of it.
Aragorn sighed wearily and sat back into the plush chair. Glorfindel said nothing, but curled his fingers around a cup of tea and took a seat himself.
"You could not reach him" Glorfindel commented calmly.
"Not yet, no" Aragorn admitted, sipping the tea, glad for the warmth. "Perhaps if my brothers were here to work with we could draw him out of it. He will come back to us, in his own time."
"I think it may be better that way" Glorfindel said. "Did you get a glimpse of the vision"
Aragorn grimaced and licked his lips. "It was a battle; I did not recognize which only that it caused him much pain."
A grimace marred the timeless features for a moment. "I thought so, feared it."
"He never speaks of it" Aragorn murmured. "I know he will rejoin us but my heart worries."
Glorfindel smiled sadly. "As it well should. He will suffer for this, though he will not show it."
Aragorn inclined his head in acknowledgement and drank a large portion of his tea. Glorfindel was silent for long moments but moved his hand to take a sickly pale one in his own, holding it tenderly in both of his.
"I followed after him, up the mountain" Glorfindel said quietly, well aware this was a story Aragorn had never heard before. "He should never have done up there after Isildur. The fog nearly poisoned him; he was hardly breathing when I got to him. He was weak already for he had tried to heal our Ereinion."
Glorfindel shook his head. "Never have I seen such a thing, before or since. He admitted later that he knew not how he did it but somehow, in his desperation to save our King, he gained some of his injuries. There were burns on his hands and arms because the body was still smoldering but on his chest and back? Those came from his frantic attempts to heal him. I am only glad it did not start from the inside out else we would have lost him."
"He was broken on that field though none of us knew it... til much time had passed" Glorfindel continued. "He hides such things well."
Aragorn sighed, looking at his foster ada who lay on the bed looking too much like a corpse. The stubborn Elf lord had insisted on getting up after a night that did nothing to rest his weary mind. He had been in his study, with Glorfindel hovering nearby, when he had let out a soft moan, clutched at his head for a moment and collapsed.
He had not woken since the past and the future had rushed in on him through a tiny connection he had forgotten had been forged; not since the moment Faramir had flinched away from his father's touch and cemented the future.
The twins, Aragorn knew, would not be pleased to return home from their errand, they were escorting a group of Lorien elves from the borders, to find their father unconscious and as pale as the snow that still cloaked the grounds. He was not happy about it but when he touched Elrond's forehead he knew he was there, knew he was coming back to them, and quickly but some scars never healed and the shock of having them ripped open took time to recover from.
Dagnir Erynion: Thanks! Hope you liked this one too!
lindahoyland: I gotta tell you it gets worse before it gets...uh...yeah, it never does really get better, does it?
shie1dmaidenofrohan: Hee, yeah, updates happen sporadically while school is going on. Denethor is still remorseful but...it's not really enough, is it? Boromir's old enough, in his mind, he's not going to stand for it and after this...Faramir isn't going to oppose him. It just makes things...very difficult to overcome.
Rosie26: Glad you're liking it so much. I don't think Denethor was a cruel man just...all the circumstances stacked up against him and he did have certain character flaws that don't exactly work to his favour. There will be more Faramir and Aragorn scenes soon, I promise. Got stuck on Elrond for awhile there!
Rocks-my-socks: Thank you! Yeah, shocked me a little when my Denethor!muse told me that as well. Just...not a nice thing all around.
Aranna Undomiel: grins Updating as fast as I can with school and the like! Sorry it takes so long! Boromir is rather fantastic, isn't he? Faramir certainly won that life lottery...except that he does lose him in the end. I'm not toying that much with canon, sorry! Yeah, Faramir gets pulled along for his father's moods too often, doesn't he?
sidheranma: Hope you enjoyed what happed! It's funny, originally the moment of fate...thing was going to be when Denethor hit Faramir but it didn't quite work out that way...
elvingirl3737: More! I hope you like this as well. The brothers Mir (thanks Mandi!) are really just two cute, aren't they?
Jedi Buttercup: Feel free to ramble! I love hearing what other people think about my work! Denethor...makes a lot of sacrifices, for himself and others, as Steward. I don't think he even thinks about it that way but that's what he does. He really is, in the end, a very, very desperate man clinging to the edge with his finger nails as much as Gandalf was in Moria. He is a very Lear type character...only I never had much sympathy for Lear so...bad example!
I'm going to explore Faramir's waking visions a lot but, no to the first...he might have IF they had had a better connection but, especially now, there's so little true connection between them that it isn't something he picks up on. He does dream of other past things but none so clear as Numenor. That is the best picture of a historically relevant event that he sees but there are...flashes of other things in visions he has while sleeping, mostly. As for the ambushed? We'll see...grins
Nonce: Thanks! Really, anyone that noble has to be complex, I think. It's hard to be noble, I'd think. They are all very complex characters. It gives me a headache trying to get into their heads!
Susan W: Heh, I hope you do! Reviews really make my day and it's been a rather low month because of all the school work I've had to do. (11 assignments were due in 4 days, I was going nuts!) I loved both Faramir's but they really were two different people. As for DW...I just adore Daisy! So, how'd you like what Denethor did? What you were expecting?
espergirl04: Denethor...is a complicated man. I'm not sure he deserved to die they way he did but...he did some pretty cruel things in his life, didn't he?