I own nothing, I earn nothing, I know nothing! Please please please review!
This is a bit piece that can stand alone or fit into 'There are many paths to tread'
To have a Friend
The dawn was beautiful.
Grey and rose tints in the sky pushed back the blue black of the night sky. Soon the rose grew to a deep red and orange, and the sun peered over the fields, bathing the White city in the ruddy glow.
Faramir leaned against the wall, on the precipice, silently drinking in the calm and cool before the morning began. It was a matter of courtesy in the City that one did not speak before the sun was quite up. It was the time of day one prayed, and remembered those who came before. Those who had fallen defending the White city…
There. It had risen. The day could begin. First, he would do that paperwork for the army, (what a lot of shuffling!) then the council minutes from the sessions he could not attend due to his injuries, and then he would write to Eowyn, and then go practice with his cross-bow…
"Beautiful, is it not?" the King asked softly. Faramir barely turned. When one is a ranger a long time, one learns to hear even the softest of foot falls.
"It is, my lord."
"Faramir…" Aragorn sighed. "We need to talk." The younger man turned away from the drop where his father had ended his life. He stood 'at ease'; his feet directly below his shoulders, and his hands folded behind his back. His head remained bowed even after he had done his duty to his lord.
"I am at your service, as always, my liege." Faramir replied.
"Please." The king swallowed. "Just call me Aragorn."
"You are my king." Faramir said. His father would have thrown a fit if he had called him just 'Father' and no one other than his own father, and Finduilas had ever called him just 'Denethor'!
"I KNOW I am your King. You are immensely fond of reminding me!" He huffed. Faramir's expression did not change, but he eased his weight to his left leg. In anyone else, that would be the equivalent of scuffling his feet with embarrassment or nervousness. Aragorn sighed. No matter how hard he tried, he could not seem to get this young man to trust him, or talk to him. Legolas said he had a good sense of humor, Eomer said he was a good warrior, Gimli said he had excellent taste in food, Elrond had told him that Faramir was intelligent, Gandalf he was trustworthy, and Eowyn… well, they were lucky if they could get her to stop talking about him!
But none of this had he seen first-hand. He seldom i saw /i Faramir do anything! He knew that he was working all but non-stop, and he knew he was trustworthy, but… Well, he would like to actually talk to him, not just command. And maybe even work cozily in the same office, instead of alone in that HUGE vault that was his private office.
The King had to admit it; he was lonely. He had no friends currently in the City, and while he loved Arwen to distraction, he wanted a male friend to talk to and joke around with. Faramir seemed to him the most logical choice, since it had been pointed out that to be boon companions with a commoner was not seemly. His only response to that was to think expletives.
Besides that, Faramir was lonely as well. His men loved him; everyone did. He was a good man. But he had no friends, really. Anborn or Beregond were the closest thing he had to friends outside of Legolas, Gimli, and Eomer. (And Eowyn, but that almost went without saying.)
And to another sore spot; whenever they (Legolas, Gimli and Eomer with Faramir) were doing anything together, Faramir would take the first opportunity to leave if Aragorn came.
Aragorn did not understand. He sighed. How could he ask Faramir to talk to him?
"Sire?" Then he realized he had been staring off into the distance for the past five minutes. Faramir stood before him, slight worry on his face. "Are you well?"
He decided to tell the truth. "I'm lonely." He sighed. Faramir raised his eyebrows in consternation.
What to do? He had been exhaustively trained in Court and Military etiquette, yet he had no answer for that simple 'I'm lonely' from the most powerful man in the free lands.
Lonely? Faramir thought, glancing into the kings bleak eyes. Yes, he could sense that the man truly was. And he had to admit, he was as well.
Not that he had ever been anything but. That was life according to Faramir; hard, lonely, painful, and filled with duty; if he enjoyed it, well and good. And if he did not, too bad for him. Be silent, smile, and bear it were the standing orders.
He had done all but smile.
Growing up he had not been permitted to play with the other children, save during that precious quarter hour at lunch, and then in the military…
Well, the man who had been his best friend was dead; the other who had saved his life was as busy as a bee.
And his brother and father as well…. So yes, he was lonely.
But what could he do for the King? "I am not sure what to say, my lord." He stammered.
"Try not calling me 'my lord'." Aragorn replied. "Please, Faramir, I really, really need someone who won't kiss up to me, and to treat me normally in private. I need someone to be honest with me, someone to help me do this job that I don't think I can do. I believe you could help me."
"I try to help you, Lord King." Faramir said. "I do my best to be a good steward-"
"I don't need just a steward." Aragorn interrupted desperately. "I need a friend. Will you… would you please consider becoming my friend? You can say no if you want." He added as Faramir looked confused.
Faramir just stared at him in silence. Never in his thirty-six years had someone actually asked him to, well, to be friends. He had asked his one friend to be friends with him, and the others had just happened. "I- I don't know quite what to say." He finally managed.
"Well; 'yes', 'no', or 'maybe' is acceptable!" Aragorn said.
"Let me see if I understand." Faramir began to pace. The sun warmed to his heart, but he still felt cold. He could see the day beginning as children ran to school, and he could just hear the anvils tapping. "You, the king, want me, the steward, to be friends, as in, sharing of confidence, fraternizing and generally go together? Almost become brothers?"
"Well… yes." Aragorn nodded.
"I see." Faramir looked down over the City. "Brothers."
This man was his liege lord. He could command Faramir to do anything he wanted him to do. But he had asked, even pleaded…
Faramir was touched. He had not been commanded, he had been asked… oh, but that felt good! He didn't have to! It was not his duty, it was his choice!
Well; he had made his choice.
Aragorn watched, and saw the slight frown on Faramir's face, and misunderstood. "Never mind, Faramir." Faramir looked back at him. "I should not have put you on the spot like that. I don't want to take Boromir's place. I'm sorry." He walked back toward the Citadel.
He had only felt so utterly alone when he had left Rivendell so long ago to brave the wilds without a human companion.
Faramir frowned, thinking.
A friend, a brother Aragorn had said he needed. And because he had hesitated, he had likely ruined any chance of being friends with the man he respected so much.
It was just… awkward. Aragorn looked so much like Denethor, and even sounded a bit like him. It hurt Faramir to see him, for it reminded him of his loss. And it frightened him.
He imagined Aragorn felt the same, seeing him. He looked enough like Boromir to make people look twice. Then you noticed the height and weight difference.
He sighed, and turned around. Aragorn was just entering the Citadel, and the door clanged shut behind him.
They needed to be friends. Brothers… He wanted a brother. He missed Boromir so terribly! Aragorn would never take his place, but maybe he could make his own place.
The more that he thought about it the more he liked the idea.
But Aragorn thought he had been refused… His face lit up suddenly with a smile. Perfect!
Aragorn rubbed his aching head. He had spent the morning working in court, and the afternoon kicking himself for putting Faramir on the spot and doing paperwork. He should have known better. But it was just that he was desperate for someone he could actually talk to…
"Estel?" Arwen entered. "How are you doing, melanin?"
He told her about his day, and she smiled. "Come with me, dear, I know just the thing for you."
"Surprise." She replied with a grin.
She led him out to the garden. There, seated beside Aragorn's favorite chair was a massive brindle hound. When he saw them, the dog rose, and bowed. Aragorn laughed, the strain of his day forgotten.
"His name is Troll." A soft voice said, and Aragorn whirled.
Faramir stepped forward from where he had been leaning against the wall by the gate. "I trained him for Boromir." He smiled sadly. "Heel to him, Troll." He pointed to Aragorn.
The dog walked to Aragorn and sat by his left side, looking up with mournful brown eyes. "He's yours… Aragorn?"
"You mean he's for me?" The king gasped. "Faramir, I couldn't possibly take him, I-"
"Yes, you can, and you shall." Faramir told him.
"But he's your dog! I mean, you trained him for your brother, and he means a lot to you!"
"That's why I am giving him to you." Faramir replied plainly. "He is very dear to me. Truly, he is one of the dearest things I have ever had. So, I freely gift him to you, as a token of friendship and love."
"But… wait. Did you call me Aragorn? Token of friendship?"
"Yes." Faramir stated.
"You… you want to be friends?" Aragorn choked.
"Yes, if you will have me. As a token of that, I've given you Troll." Faramir patted the massive black and brown head. "Take good care of him."
"Talking to the dog, or me?" Aragorn asked.
Faramir looked up, his face blank. "The dog." He deadpanned.
Aragorn snorted with laughter. "Thank you."
"For the dog, or the insult?" This time Faramir did smile, and it lit up his eyes.
Aragorn understood what others meant now. "Both." He rejoined.
"I was wondering if you would care to come with me down to this nice little tavern I know on the fourth level… the food is great!" Aragorn grinned and ran to change into his old ranger clothes.
After the meal, they sat up on the citadel, watching the sun set, it's last beams painting the city in brilliant colors. Aragorn was smoking, and Faramir was simply keeping him company now in speech, and now in a comfortable silence. Troll was snoring at their feet, and bone tucked between his paws.
"You know, I think it's true." Faramir said finally.
Aragorn raised an eyebrow.
"To have a friend, you must first be a friend." He stated. "I really believe that."
Aragorn smiled our over his city as the last flaming colors faded to deep purple blue. "So do I, my friend. So do I."