All Over Again

by Camilla Sandman

Disclaimer: Not mine. Tolkien's. May he rest in peace and not haunt me.

She was old now. Her hair had greyed, her skin wrinkled and her strength had all but fled. Daughters fussed around her, but she did not listen. She was tired of their pleas to eat more, to talk to them, to get up and see the sun. She had seen more sunrises than they could imagine and she doubted the sight had changed much.

She wanted to sleep now and to wake up in his arms. She wanted to feel young again, to ride again, to hold her son for the very first time and see Faramir's eyes twinkling in the newborn face. She wanted to live her life all over, once more.

Even with the pain. Even with all the pain. The cage of Edoras, the loss of her parents and the slow living death of her uncle. The dream of Aragorn broken. Oath broken. Despair and grief and the Witch-King's breath. And healing. Even healing was pain when you did not desire it.

And no healing could bring an end to all pain. Her marriage had brought it, a despair she thought she would never know again. A life taken. Her child claimed by illness. And Faramir had grieved in solitude and she had been alone. But then he had stopped her in the cold night from going to Edoras. They had stood until dawn, tears mingling until all tears had gone and only the calm pain of loss accepted remained. Would always remain. Even now, in her own slow death.

But she would bear it all again.

For beyond pain there was her brother, strong and dear to her heart and in his rule, an echo of Théoden had lingered and she had rejoiced. Fair and strong Éomer had ruled and her people had seen peace. And then there were her children, running in the grass of Ithilien, free of shadow and cages.

She hoped they would not grieve her passing too long.

And Faramir... For Faramir she would have borne all her pains and his also to live their lives again. Live to love. Live to marry him and shyly kiss him under the arches of Edoras. Live to lie with him in the grass under a burning sky and sunrise at Henneth Annun. Live to see life born of her life and merry children's laughter in the halls of Emyn Arnen. She would have borne all the pain again for the love given and gifted.

She closed her eyes, letting darkness in. She was so tired now. Faramir was gone and she had lived om memories a little while longer. For her children. As Faramir had lingered for her, even in sickness. But now it was time to sleep. Their children were strong. Ithilien was strong. She had not fled to death in despair as she had once before. This time she had stayed.

Faramir would love her all the more for it, even if she had made him wait.

Tears, fears and darkness. But also laughter, love and light. This had been her life, Éowyn of Rohan, Éowyn of Ithilien. And she would do it all over again.

Sleep now.

And in the twillight, a faint star, glimmering like a distant jewel, guided the moon towards horizon and nightfall. Until the night would pass and morning would come all over again.