A/N Hello! After months of browsing and reading all of your stories, I have finally decided to post one of my own! I hope you like it;-) Please don't forget to review. This is not my first fanfic, but it is my first on this site, so I'd be very happy if I got some feedback! Thank you all, and enjoy!

Disclaimer Eowyn and Faramir do not belong to me, etc etc. The poems and songs in this, as well as the little bit of cannon from the movie aren't mine either, so if you want to know whose they actually are, go look up New Line or something;-)

Until the Stars are All Alight

By Dimfuin

I hurry up the steps two at a time, pausing only to catch my breath on the porch outside the house. I seldom remember that I have only recently recovered my strength from being so ill after the battle and am constantly pushing myself too hard. But nothing, nothing can be too hard now. Not today.
I take a deep breath and open the door slowly. After all, I don't want to be too overbearing. To think of the shock he must have received! I pause and look around the quiet room, then mount the big staircase gently. He must be in his study.
It was only ten minutes ago that Pippin came to me with the news that Beregond had told Faramir the tale of his father's death and madness. My immediate reaction was to be angry with Beregond. I of course knew the story---after I met Faramir I questioned Pippin sharply on his tale. But to have my own father try to burn me...what was Beregond thinking???
Pippin then went on to tell me that it was Faramir who asked to hear it. I should have known. Oh my Faramir I think, Ever you try to learn the truth, disregarding the fact that it may hurt you. Must you be so terribly brave?
So here I am, coming to comfort my betrothed on what must be a terrible, terrible day. I pause once again, this time outside his door, and knock gently.
"Come in," a soft voice says, and I smile at Faramir's reserved tones.
"My love?" I ask, going through the door. My eyes search the room, and I am astonished at what I see. Faramir sits quietly at his desk, pouring over a few papers. His study is always immaculate, so I am not surprised by this. But somehow I came here thinking that I would find him--- well, sad.
He looks up, and his face lights up. "Eowyn," he smiles. I love it when he says my name. It sounds like pure gold rolling off of his tongue. "What is it?"
What do I do? If he isn't shaken by this, it's not like I can bring it up. And yet I am so confused about this. Faramir always seemed to me to be a man whose emotions run deep, and something so horrible as the story he has just been told would surely shake him! "I-I just wanted to be near you, today," I cover up. He nods and says,
"You do not mind if I work for a little longer? After I finish here I will be free for the afternoon."
Always making time for me. Isn't there anything I can do for him? But I smile and begin to amuse myself by looking at the books along the shelves. Or at least...I pretend to. In reality I am studying Faramir, and before five minutes are up I have sensed something wrong. First off there is the way his hands are shaking. He has a very steady hand on the pen and bow, and his handwriting looks terribly shaky today. Then there is the way he keeps on putting one hand up to his forehead, as if trying to wipe something away. And his eyes are not fixed on his paper---they trail out the window often. I suddenly notice that he has written nothing for the past two minutes. This is not at all like my studious fiancée. I am going to take a leap of faith and ask him about it. Maybe it will be the worst thing I could ever do, but I'll have to take that chance
"Faramir?" I ask, keeping my tone casual and pulling a tome out of a stack. I flip through it without seeing the pages. "Pippin visited me today."
"Yes?" he says softly.
"He told me something. He said that---that Beregond told you of your Father's death today. Did he?" I look up and suddenly, I am staring into two wells of anguish that are filled with tears. But Faramir wipes the back of his hand over them and I watch as his Adam's apple bobs and he gains control over himself again.
"Yes, yes he did."
I am shaken. I have seen into Faramir's soul for a second, and what I saw has left me terrified. I knew that he had a lot of grief in his life, and I knew the tale of his Father, but can he really be that hurt? I scan over in my mind what I know of my husband-to-be. Bits and snatches of conversations from servants, Pippin, and Ioreth. But I have never had a heart-to-heart talk with Faramir about his past. Come to think of it, I have never told him about mine either. I shudder. I don't think I'm ready for that yet.
But what can I do? He has placed a mask on his face that the world cannot penetrate, unless it be for just a minute like I did. He is always so reserved. So unlike me. Should I try to draw him out? Should I ask him to confide in me? Will I hurt him? Will it help? Again, I will go for a leap of faith.
"My love," I say gently, coming up next to him, "I am so sorry about him. I am sure he loved you."
But whatever I thought my words might provoke in my betrothed, it was not this. Faramir quivers for a minute, trying to hold onto his dignity, and then I see him visibly break. He drops his head onto his desk and begins sobbing.
"Did he?" he chokes out, "Did he really? You do not know, Eowyn. You do not know."
What can I do? I have never seen him give into his emotions before. Yes, there has always been pain in his eyes, and I love him for it, but I suddenly get the feeling that he very, very seldom breaks down like this. And I feel honored that he would bare his soul for me. Immediately, I wrap my arms around him and lay my head on his shoulder. He needs me to stay silent now. And indeed, he begins to talk. His word pour out, and I know that he has been holding them inside his heart for years, just waiting to let them out.
"Eowyn, you do not know what it was like to grow up with Boromir. He was always the best at everything, and while I did not mind, I always longed for my father's praise. I remember my mother just barely, as a beautiful warm woman who loved me dearly. But try as I might I cannot recall her face." He pauses, catching his breath. His hand finds mine, or maybe mine finds his. I don't know. "Somehow after she died, my father dried up, and nothing I ever did was good enough for him. Have you ever felt that way, Eowyn? Have you ever striven to be good enough and not made it once?" He falls silent, but I know he has more to say.
"It didn't matter that I learned how to fight with the bow and sword. It didn't matter that I could outshoot Boromir hands down, or that he barely beat me in fencing. Whenever we lost another outpost or battle, it was always my fault. I was the one whom the blame was put on."
He was the one? Oh my Faramir, my heart bleeds for you! To have something so large as a battle placed on your shoulders...and with your sensitive nature too! I know you still hear the dead soldiers in your dreams. Do you hold onto everything your father said to you?
"It doesn't matter that it was true, Eowyn," he goes on. His tears are subsiding now, but his words are just beginning. "And it doesn't matter that Boromir always denied what Father said. Sometimes, in the dark of the night, I can still hear his words echoing in my ears, and I wonder why I was not killed at birth."
"Hush now!" My voice sounds strange to my ears. "You are speaking nonsense, born of long suffering. Were you killed when you were birthed, who would have been my salvation? Who would have rescued me from the shadow and who would be my one true love?" I ask.
Faramir sighs and leans against me. After a minute he goes on. "When Frodo and Sam came to me in Ithilien, I knew I had to let them go. There was never a competition. But I also knew that---that Father would blame me yet again. And now that Boromir was gone and I had to carry on as best I could without him..."
I glance up at him and am disturbed to see a dark memory moving across his features. "Faramir?" I ask timidly.
Without looking at me, he goes on, "Our last meeting was the worst it had ever been. He...no."
"Would it be better to tell me?" I ask gently, reaching up and brushing a curl out of his eyes.
"Yes," he whispers, and his eyes are far, far away in a land where I have not been.

....."Here do I swear fealty and service to Gondor, in peace or war, in living or dying, from this hour henceforth, until my lord release me, or death take me.

"And I shall not forget it, nor fail to reward that which is given. Fealty with love, valor with honor, disloyalty with vengeance.".....

"I do not think we should so lightly abandon the outer defenses. Defenses that your brother long held intact."

"What would you have me do?"

"I will not yield the river and Pelennor unfought. Osgiliath must be retaken."

"My Lord, Osgiliath is overrun."

"Much must be risked in war. Is there a captain here who still has the courage to do his lord's will?"

"You wish now that our places had been exchanged. That I had died and Boromir had lived."

"Yes, I wish that."

"Since you are robbed of Boromir, I will do what I can in his stead. If I should return, think better of me, father."

"That will depend on the manner of your return."

"Faramir?" My voice obviously breaks through to him and he stirs abruptly. He smiles at me bravely, but I know he is thinking of his father's last words to him.
"Pippin told me that too," I say softly. "I know what he said to you. And Faramir?" He meets my eyes and I inhale deeply before continuing. "You are worthy of more praise than I could lavish on you in a lifetime. Believe me. Eowyn of Rohan is not an easy judge of men, and do you think I would so lightly abandon my heart to a man who is not worthy of me or my lineage? Nay, my pride is greater than that. And rest assured that my brother, the King, thinks highly of you as well, for if you were not worthy he would never consent to our match."
Something akin to hope springs into Faramir's eyes, and I watch as he wipes his face roughly. "I am sorry, Eowyn. I did not mean to trouble you with my woes. I am a burden to you."
"Never!" I say fiercely. "I am honored that you opened your heart to me. It is still months until our wedding, but I love you more and more every time I am with you." And I see that he believes me. He trusts me. Oh Eru, may I never have to break this trust in any way shape or form, for I love him with all the fire of my heart.
We are silent for another minute, and in that space of time I begin to hear old voices calling to me from my past---voices that I thought long dead. What could have brought them on?

"Oh, he must have died sometime in the night. What a tragedy for the King to lose his only son and heir. I understand his passing is hard to except especially now that your brother has deserted you."

"Leave me alone, snake!"

"Oh but you are alone. Who knows what you've spoken to the darkness in the bitter watches of the night, when all your life seems to shrink. The walls of your bower closing in about you. A hutch to trammel some wild thing. So fair and so cold like a morning of pale spring still clinging to winter's chill."

"Your words are poison."

"Eowyn?" this time it is Faramir's voice that breaks through my thoughts. I open my eyes and look around at the bright sunshine streaming through the windows, so different from the darkness of Meduseld, in those days.
"I am fine. I too have...memories," I say slowly. My tongue is still bitter with the tartness of those days.
"Eowyn, you never told me of your past. Does it pain you?" he asks.
"No," I lie. Of course it does. It always will. But this man before me---he has gone through just as much. He too has lost his mother, father, brother...only I never lost my brother. Has he been through more? I at least had the comfort of my uncle, cousin and brother. He had nothing. Perhaps this is why we are so perfect for each other, I think. We understand things about one another that no one else can comprehend. With a deep breath, I begin to spill out the tale of my youth. How my father, Eomund, died when I was so young, and my mother, Theodwyn, followed soon after. Then my uncle's sickness and Theodred, my cousin's death, and finally my thirst for vengeance and death, and the battle. He, of course, knows of this, but he has not heard it told from my lips, and I tell him anyway. I tell him of Uncle Theoden's death and the terror of death closing about me, and then about waking in the Houses of Healing. Suddenly, I realize that these words have been pent up in my own heart, and that I have been waiting to spill them out too.
"It was very bad, until I met you," I say, "But you changed my whole world, Faramir. Do you think," I muse, "that Eru brought us together because we have both suffered so very much?"
"I am sure of it," he murmurs, and we fall silent again. I feel as if so much has been said and shared that I might just fall apart at the seems. It has been stored in me for too long. Suddenly, my eye falls on a parchment laying on Faramir's desk:

Heo naefre wacode daegred
To bisig mid daegeweorcum
Ac oft heo wacode sunnanwanung
Thonne nihtciele creap geond moras
And on thaere hwile
Heo dreag tha losinga
Earla thinga the heo forleas
Heo swa oft dreag hire sawle sincende
Heo ne cuthe hire heortan lust.

"Faramir! It's---Rihirric," I stutter. He stirs and looks at the sheet, turning a little red.
"Yes," is all he says.
"You know my language?" I ask incredulously.
"I have studied it some. Eowyn, you might as well know that this was to be a present to you. But now that you have seen it..." he hands the sheet to me.
"She never watched the morning rising
Too busy with the days first chores
But oft she would watch the sun's fading
As the cold of night crept across the mores
And in that moment
She felt the loss
Of everything that had been missed
So used to feeling the spirit sink
She had not felt her heart's own wish," I translate. Something twists in my heart, and I look up at Faramir. "How did you know?" I ask.
"Know what?" he looks confused.
"You have just put my life into words. Up until I met you, that is. How did you know?" I repeat. Faramir just smiles.
"Because it reflects my own life so well," he replies.
For the first time, I realize that not only have we both had such terrible pasts, but we have also both overcome them. But it was only by meeting each other that any hope sprang into our barren and battered hearts. Eru led us to each other to help and heal, I think with a smile. Somewhere, a bell tolls out in the city and we stand to go. But deep down inside of me, I will always treasure this afternoon and the first time we had a long, deep, twisted emotional talk with each other. But I know...I am sure there will be many more to come.

Home is behind, the world ahead
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadow, to the edge of night
Until the stars are all alight
Mist and shadow, cloud and shade
All shall fail, all shall fade.

But we shall overcome the obstacles, one by one. And we are not afraid of the dark.

The End