Home: Part III
Disclaimer: Faramir, etc. are not mine.
Note: I know this took longer to write, so sorry about that. I hope that it was worth the wait.
It was a simple story: both of his sons had been fighting the Haradrim at that small fort near the Poros. Both had been captured; both had been recognized. Both had been taken to Harad.
Yes, it was a simple story. He could even still hear the messenger's voice in his head, as the man told him that both sons had been taken – both. It would have been a terrible tragedy for Gondor if they had not found their own way back. Who would have been left to rule? There was no one – and that was why it was so important that Boromir live. Faramir as well, of course. But especially Boromir – for it was Boromir who was the Heir. Faramir was – well, Denethor loved him of course. He was his son. But he wasn't exactly needed. Not when he still had Boromir.
Granted, Faramir had a mind for military strategy and was an excellent bowman, and his swordwork had improved significantly, mostly due to real experience in the field. But anyone could see that he was no soldier. Besides, with Boromir standing beside him – who did not pale in comparison with that golden warrior?
That very same golden warrior came into the Hall, and Denethor rejoiced. Containing his happiness was not an option. Boromir's very radiance lifted his spirits in a way that no other could possibly do. Practically giddy, he embraced his eldest, and whispered joyful greetings in his ear, as Boromir whispered back just as happily. Everything around them seemed to fade, and Denethor relished in this one opportunity to have his son all to himself. No battles, no other soldiers, no titles, no complications – just a father who was glad to see his son after a long and painful separation. There was a normality that neither was accustomed to, and neither seemed willing to leave the embrace and enter the world of all those hardships once more.
But the embrace was eventually broken, and the Hall closed in around them again. Faramir stood there as well, and Denethor spoke his other son's name proudly. Faramir had done well, after all. Denethor had originally just received a simple message that the pair had found on their way to Pelargir, safe and relatively unharmed, trying to elude the Haradrim scouts. Included in the next day's message was an account from Boromir of their capture. Much was left unsaid, but the main events had been included.
Apparently, it had been Faramir who had discovered a small crack in the walls of the fort in which they had been held during one of their 'questionings'. Denethor cringed still at what may or may not have been done to his sons during those 'questionings' – but that was a secret that he knew the brothers could keep. Faramir had managed to distract the guards during their escape by blatantly attempting to flee, which of course resulted in him being shot with an arrow. However, Boromir had been able to escape through the crack at that time, and Faramir, somehow, had been able to follow him. Again, the details had been vague, and he meant to ask Boromir about that as they ate a celebration dinner.
Faramir had indeed made him proud, saving his brother like that. It was a noble act on his part – something to be expected from a Hurin. Something that another Faramir from another time might not have done.
And that was why he did not understand why his other son's spirits suddenly dropped. Faramir should be proud of his willingness to sacrifice his life for his lord and Captain, not languishing in melancholy just as he arrived home. And after all, wasn't Denethor doing his best to welcome the both of them? He was trying (and succeeding, in many ways) to overlook the fact that there had not been enough Rangers to defend the fort in the first place, and that could be blamed on his other son. But… that was in the past.
They were both here, now, in front of him. His arm wrapped safely around his golden warrior, his fingers entwined with his other son's, Denethor smiled happily, thoroughly prepared to enjoy the evening.
But no, of course not. Because things would never be that simple. Not with Faramir. Faramir would have to let his sudden depression take control over his manners and ask to leave. Denethor became annoyed – a little more than annoyed, actually – and though he gave him his blessing to leave and go see the Healers, he did so with a notable disapproval in his eyes. Even Denethor, however, was proud of his words, for he showed a great deal more patience than he normally would have. But the circumstances did require some – delicacy.
"Yes, of course, Faramir. I hope you find the healing you seek."
Faramir left, and immediately the atmosphere of the Hall changed. Denethor couldn't understand it. Why should the departure of his other son change things? In fact, it should have made everything easier, for that root of the difficulties between himself and his eldest was now gone, and now he could concentrate on Boromir without any distractions. But now there was a sense of sadness pervading the air that had not been there before.
Boromir twitched slightly. Clearly he was itching to follow his brother. Denethor sighed inwardly. Things could never be that simple.
But Boromir, whom he could normally read so easily, surprised him. He was actually angry, not sympathetic or caring. He was angry with his brother.
Denethor considered the implications of this for one moment, as he watched his first-born, still wrapped in his arm, grapple with a new emotion. If Boromir could be made to see his brother's faults as Denethor did, then his life would be so much easier. No more conflicts, no more arguments, no more taking sides.
And Faramir's faults were so many – this was only one small example of the larger problem. He wore his feelings on his sleeve like a child. Previously it seemed as though Boromir found it endearing, but perhaps now he was finally seeing the danger that it posed.
Boromir spoke coldly. "Father, I do not know what troubles him, but he should tell us himself, instead of feigning trouble with a wound. I will bring him back."
Denethor watched his eldest leave the Hall. He was alone again, just as he had been for the last few weeks. And now this truly was his other son's fault. Sighing angrily, he went back to sit in the Steward's chair, holding the White Rod in his hand. If it weren't for this office, he would be able to act as most fathers do – loving, supportive, happy.
But he was Steward, not some common baker from the third level. He had to prepare his sons for what lay ahead – his golden warrior for the White Rod, his other son for… well, for something. Most likely as advisor to his brother. Right now he was just trying to keep Faramir from making a fool of both himself and of his House.
And – Valar – if they have a confrontation outside… Denethor practically leapt from his chair and ran faster than he had in a long time to the doors. He threw them open, only to see Faramir trying to get around his brother's larger frame. It seemed as though no loud words had been said, thankfully, and that the pair was sorting this out on their own. He breathed a silent prayer to the Valar for their tact.
Leaving them to sort out the difficulty on their own, Denethor turned to go back into the Citadel, but felt the urge to look back once more. And he did so. He watched as Boromir grabbed his brother's shoulder, forcing him to look at him. He was too far away to see either of their expressions clearly, but they said a few words. Faramir shook his head, and then walked away, unhindered. Boromir watched him.
Clearly, Boromir had failed to raise his brother's spirits, which was itself something new. Vaguely, Denethor wondered if he should try to speak with his other son in an effort to discover what troubled him so deeply, for it was obvious now that something was truly wrong. Faramir continued walking.
Denethor sighed at himself. Such foolishness. Such a fuss over nothing. Faramir often had these little fits of sorrow. It was just another example of his lack of self-control. He turned and went back into the Hall, and did not look back.
That really is the end. Really. Honestly. It is.