A very AU angst-fic originally written for the CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND Challenge at HASA as the blueprint for a story I would never write. It's set in the movie-verse, but includes an OFC...
Part The First:
Poor Faramir is abused from childhood onwards by his horrible father. He's hit, caned, whipped, locked in closets and sent to bed without his supper. Denethor blames him for looking like his dead mother, since little Faramir has big blue eyes, auburn curls and that trembling lower lip just like Finduilas. Denethor is nuts; but no one notices, even when he starts writing "All work and no play makes Denethor a dull boy" on his proclamations.
Only Faramir's illegitimate half-sister Serena truly understands the lonely, sensitive Faramir. Serena is the product of Denethor's rape of a mysterious woman he had found lost in the mountains. The woman died in childbirth, never revealing her name. Serena is a hauntingly beautiful girl with golden eyes and raven hair and slightly pointed ears. Denethor keeps her around because her wonderful singing voice eases his fits of madness.
Serena and Boromir throw a big party for Faramir's twentieth birthday. Boromir makes a huge fuss over his little brother, embarrassing Denethor, who gave the kid a cheap grey cloak, the same gift he gives him every year. Boromir gives him a new ermine-trimmed velvet cloak, a month's free passes to his favorite brothel, the deed to their mother's beach cottage, and a kitten. In a fit of rage, jealous of Boromir's love for Faramir, Denethor grabs the kitten and threatens to throw it from the walls. Tears well up in Faramir's sapphire-blue eyes. Serena rescues the kitty while Boromir comforts Faramir. Denethor exiles Faramir to Henneth Annûn and the company of a few hundred bored, chilled and horny men. So begins Faramir's brilliant career as a Ranger.
Serena pleads with Denethor to recall his son to the City, and sings an aria from his favorite Númenorean opera. Denethor breaks down and tells her that Faramir is not his son at all! But he won't tell her who fathered Faramir.
Serena mounts her fiery Mearas stallion that she trained herself, and brings the kitten and a large basket of cookies to Henneth Annun for Faramir and the Rangers. There, she tells Faramir that he is not Denethor's son. Faramir cries. Anborn and Mablung fight each other for the privilege of comforting their young comrade, but Damrod sneaks around them to find and console Faramir. Faramir is so overcome by sorrow that he needs further comfort from Damrod and the other Rangers, on that day and in the years to come.
Meanwhile, far north, Aragorn and his best friend Prince Legolas are on the run from orcs. Unknown to the Ranger and the Elf, Saruman has spied them in his palantír and become interested in Thranduil's perpetually wide-eyed son. Saruman wants to capture Legolas and make him his love slave, and has sent forth some orcs to procure the elf for him. Aragorn and Legolas, huddling together in a tree, speak of Aragorn's time in Minas Tirith. Aragorn reveals that Finduilas had sent him a desperate plea for help and he had met her in her secluded cottage near Dol Amroth. Finduilas had been unhappy in her marriage - Denethor was insisting she wear black leather and she couldn't cope. Much wine was drunk, and Aragorn, who Finduilas knew as "Thorongil", woke up in bed with Finduilas. Faramir, supposed younger son of Denethor, was born nine months later. Aragorn has suffered in silence ever since, not wanting to upset the status quo in Gondor until he's ready, or tell Arwen that he cheated on her. The next day, Aragorn and Legolas elude the orcs and leave our story for another fifteen years. Saruman has to content himself with frustrated glimpses of the elven archer running gracefully beside his scruffy friend, long blond hair streaming in the breeze. He is not a happy wizard!
Ten years pass. Faramir keeps trying to find out who his real father is. Thranduil comes west for a seaside vacation in the elven beach colony of Edhellond, and stops by Minas Tirith with his entourage, to visit his favorite all-species brothel. Faramir runs into Thranduil at the brothel and they talk over drinks. It turns out that Thranduil was in town the year before Faramir was born. Faramir asks Thranduil if he could be his father. Thranduil is insulted, grabs Legolas and leaves. Faramir weeps, and Boromir comforts him. On his way out, Legolas trips over Serena, who has come to find Faramir. Legolas looks into Serena's eyes and is touched by her extraordinary beauty. He tells her she has elven blood. She is too love-struck to say a word, and flees, overcome by the power of Legolas-passion.
Faramir has a nightmare about surfing a five-hundred-ft. tidal wave, orcs in Ithilien, and Denethor chasing him through a mausoleum with a torch in his hand. He wakes up crying. Damrod and Mablung comfort him. Thanks to Faramir's dream, the Rangers ambush the orcs and defeat them. Unfortunately, Faramir didn't dream about the Haradrim who were the orcs' rearguard. The Haradrim take Faramir captive. They rough him up, then threaten him with torture and other nastiness. The Southrons are too busy fighting over who gets to ravish Faramir first to notice Boromir coming to the rescue with a thousand troops. Happy reunion! Boromir holds Faramir's hand while band-aids are applied. Faramir weeps. Denethor is enraged at the amount of men that Boromir took to rescue Faramir. He makes Faramir do guard duty on the walls of Minas Tirith in the rain. Faramir gets sick and nearly dies of fever. Serena, who has an instinctive talent for herb-lore and trains with Ioreth in the Houses of Healing, comes up with a potion that saves Faramir's life.
Five years later, the Ring War is brewing. Faramir has the "Sword-that-was-broken" dream, along with a nightmare featuring Denethor roasting marshmallows. Boromir has the same dream, minus Dad and marshmallows. Serena has the dream too, complete with a vision of Legolas in danger. Denethor sends Boromir off to get The Ring. Denethor humiliates Faramir in front of his men at Osgiliath. Faramir weeps and is comforted by Boromir before he leaves. Serena trims her long hair and follows Boromir, disguised as a boy.
Boromir and Serena make it to Rivendell in time for the famous Council. Serena, still posing as a male and calling herself Seren, proves her worthiness to join the Fellowship by besting Legolas in an archery contest, and defeating Figwit with her trusty sword (Boromir taught her to fight). She also becomes Arwen's best friend and they exchange recipes. Wackiness ensues, and the Fellowship departs with a Tenth Walker and her basket of lembas cookies.
Part The Second:
Serena notices that Boromir is troubled. She learns that the Ring is troubling him. Thanks to her tea and sympathy and cookies, Boromir does not succumb to temptation and never tries to grab the Ring. He dies anyway; because Serena is too busy protecting Legolas from the Uruk-hai to notice that Boromir is in trouble. Serena blames herself, and thinks that her love for Legolas is Doomed. Back at Orthanc, Saruman curses at how hard it is to find good help - he'd told that moron Lurtz to fetch the elf along with the halflings! Still not a happy wizard!
Faramir sees his brother's body in the boat, and realizes Boromir is dead. He weeps and cannot be comforted, though Damrod, Mablung and Anborn and twenty other Rangers and even the cat try their best to console their blue-eyed Captain. Faramir weeps even harder when, after he tells Denethor of Boromir's death, Denethor beats him with the White Rod, mumbling about sparing the rod and spoiling the child. Anborn picks Faramir off the floor and brings him back to Henneth Annûn.
Eventually, Faramir and the Rangers stumble across Sam and Frodo and Gollum. Faramir is briefly tempted by the Ring, but thinks of his brave brother and Serena, and resists temptation. He sends the three travelers off with a basket of Serena's stale cookies, a six-pack, and a bottle of his strawberry-scented shampoo.
Gandalf comes to Minas Tirith with Pippin. Faramir returns from overrun Osgiliath with his surviving Rangers. Mablung is dead, but Faramir doesn't have a chance to cry over him before Denethor calls him on the carpet. Actually, the floor is marble, but who cares. Denethor sends Faramir out on a suicide mission; Faramir is so depressed he barely protests, and gets all of his men killed. But the orcs think he's too cute to kill, at least immediately - not even Sauron's Finest are immune to the charm of Faramir's pouty lower lip. They toy fiendishly with him before sending him and his horse back, in perforated condition, to the City.
Denethor decides it's time to have that nervous breakdown he's been staving off since Finduilas' death. He retreats to the White Tower with poor unconscious Faramir.
Meanwhile, back at Edoras, Serena helped persuade Theoden to muster the Rohirrim and ride to Gondor's aid. She and her new best friend Eowyn take Merry and join the Riders. They reach the Pelennor Field and start the battle. Eowyn tries to fight the Witch-King, but breaks a fingernail and faints with the horror. Merry and Serena finish off Angmar.
Denethor takes feverish Faramir to the Hallows, and sets up the pyre. Pippin runs for Gandalf's help, and brings him back just as Denethor sets the wood afire. Pippin pushes the slightly toasted Faramir off the pyre. Faramir awakens in time to call for his supposed father and see Denethor catch on fire. Overcome with emotion (and the thought of the bill for the therapy he will need for the rest of his life), Faramir loses consciousness. Denethor burns.
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli and the green dead guys arrive via Umbari Cruise Lines and mop up the Pelennor. Gandalf drafts Aragorn for the medical duty in the Houses of Healing, where Faramir is sinking fast and Eowyn and Merry aren't doing too well either. Good nurse Ioreth shoos away several young female apprentices jamming the doorway in their fervor to wipe the oil from Faramir's unconscious and shirtless body. She takes care of that chore herself, so Aragorn doesn't have to get his healing hands messy. Serena comforts Eomer, who is depressed from the death of his uncle and the condition of his sister. Eomer starts to fall in love with Serena, who has revealed herself as a woman.
Aragorn is finally reunited with the man he believes is his son. But Faramir doesn't look anything like him or anyone in his family. Faramir hails Aragorn as King and also asks if he could be his father. When Aragorn says no, Faramir weeps. Since Boromir and all the Rangers are dead, Faramir has lost his usual hurt-comfort support staff. Suddenly, HúrinWarden of the Keys, appears. He wasn't in the movie, but is some kind of official in the book. He blushes as he tells Faramir and Gandalf how, thirty-six years ago, Denethor had locked Finduilas up in the highest room of the White Tower to force her to wear black leather, and had sent Húrin (who has the Keys, remember?) to check on her and bring her something to eat. Húrin checked her out thoroughly and stayed the night, since the lady was begging for comfort. Faramir was born exactly eight months later. Hurin reveals a star-shaped birthmark that he has on his shoulder - surprise, Faramir has the exact same one. Ioreth confirms that Finduilas told her, while Faramir was being born (Ioreth was the midwife of course), that Húrin of the Keys was the father of her second son.
Aragorn heals Eowyn, who is still depressed from the loss of her fingernail and her uncle; and Merry. Then he takes everyone who's still standing and not depressed and heads out to challenge Sauron at the Black Gate and divert the Eye from the Ringbearer. Serena comes along in her armor and kills a troll before it can finish squashing Aragorn. While Frodo, Sam and Gollum play Ring Toss, Eomer and Legolas get shirty over who has a better right to court Serena between battles.
Faramir and Eowyn comfort each other in the Houses of Healing so well that by the time Aragorn returns to the City to be crowned, Eowyn is in a delicate condition and she and Faramir must plan their wedding. Faramir bonds with his real father, Húrin of the Keys. Húrin is possibly the dullest man in Minas Tirith; but he's not abusive, thinks Faramir is wonderful, and takes him fishing on the Anduin.
On returning to the City, Legolas and Serena figure out how to restore the dead White Tree to life with elf-magic. Legolas falls thoroughly in love with her. Oh bliss, oh rapture! Serena charms Thranduil, who's in town to kid his old rival Elrond about the Evenstar slumming with a scruffy mortal. Thrandy just loves Serena's cookies and they make plans to open up a lembas bakery in Minas Tirith. Eomer and Gimli console each other.
There's a triple wedding at Midsummer in Minas Tirith: Aragorn and Arwen, Faramir and Eowyn, and Legolas and Serena. Elrond reveals that Serena's unhappy mother was actually the legendary Mithrellas, the absent-minded elf-maiden who went missing for a thousand years. So Serena can choose to be an elf or a mortal. She happily chooses immortality with Legolas - wouldn't you?
AUTHOR'S NOTES: All characters belong to the heirs of J.R.R. Tolkien except for Serena, and I wish I could give her away! Mithrellas was actually mentioned in THE HISTORY OF MIDDLE-EARTH v. 12 as the possible ancestress of the Dol Amroth line, from which Faramir's mother descended.