I still don't own or profit from these characters. I can live without the profit, but I want to own them. Especially Faramir....

I WAS THERE

I was there almost from the beginning when he was but 30 minutes old, and even though I was merely a child of 5 years, he seemed so small and helpless, and I knew that I wanted to take care of him. When his tiny hand tightened around my finger, I vowed to be the best big brother possible.

I was there when he took his first steps, our mother gently propelling him in my direction, and I remember the sheer determination on his face, and the shriek of babyish laughter as he reached my outstretched arms.

I was there when our mother passed from this world, and I thought he didn't understand why she was no longer with us, but he knew she wasn't coming back, and it was he who tried to comfort me.

I was there when he watched from a distance as children of Gondorian officers played near the Citadel, and I saw his loneliness as I realised that he needed more than I alone could give. Taking care not to be seen, I followed him as he edged closer to the group of boys, willing them to include him in their carefree pursuits – and maybe they would have done so had it not been for the biggest boy, who pointed at my precious little brother and said "It's the Steward's second son.....the spare!" How badly I wanted to hurt that boy, but somehow I restrained myself, for I knew that Faramir would not thank me for it, and it was the right decision, for it wasn't so long after that he was accepted into their ranks.

I was there on the countless occasions he suffered the rough edge of our father's tongue, and I would watch him suffer inwardly with quiet dignity, and later I would try to reassure him of his worth, but his self-esteem remained low, and I began to suspect that in some ways, he actually needed to believe those cruel words, for by doing so it justified the criticism levelled at him. To convince him that he was the special person I knew him to be, would have been to convince him that he was rejected for no good reason, which would have been so much harder to bear.

I was there in Osgiliath when he fought like a hellcat to retake the city – his courage, his awareness and his strategy were all of the highest quality but received no recognition from our father, and when shortly after, I left on my journey to Rivendell, I was haunted by his expression, which was of sadness, fear and loss. My brother's gift of foresight told him I would not return.

I was there when he released the hobbits, showing the strength and restraint that I did not. How I longed to take him in my arms and tell him how proud I was, for despite knowing full well the probable consequences of his actions, he displayed bravery and wisdom which few men would, or could, have done.

I was there when our father told him that he wished he had died in my stead, and despite acknowledging his grief over my death, at that moment I despised the man who had given me life, for his cruelty and indeed for the years of injustice and neglect my brother suffered at his hands.

I was there when the Southron dart hit him, and when he hovered between life and death....the temptation to call him to me was so great it took every bit of my will-power to resist, for how I wanted to be with him again. How it heartened me to see that precious little hobbit Peregrin, alive and fighting to save my brother. It was said he felt indebted to me and whilst that may be true, I know he would have behaved thus even if he had not felt that way.

I was there when he was healed and welcomed back to life by the King Elessar, who thereby proved his unquestionable right to the throne of Gondor.

I was there when he fell in love with the shieldmaiden of Rohan – indeed I knew it before he, and I cursed that he could not hear my cries of "Tell her, for pity's sake!" Though not exactly shy in the company of women, my brother was generally overly- protective of their feminine virtues and gentility.

I was there when they wed, and two lonely and insecure souls came together in love and in friendship that would endure for eternity.

I was there when my little brother became a father, and I watched him raise his son with all the paternal love and protection that he had lacked in his own life.

I am there now, by his bedside as he waits for death to finally claim him. He knows not that I hold his hand and try to reassure him that there is nought to fear, only the joy of reunion with all those he has lost. He is of a great age now, and has been deservedly blessed. I grieve for those he will leave behind, but I await anxiously that joyous moment when he will stand by my side once more. My brother, my ally, my friend, bonded by more than just blood.

I am still there. I always will be.