Disclaimer:I do not own any of these chacters. They all belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.
A/N: This is my first finished fanfic. I would be delighted to hear your opinions about it. I will accept every critic which helps me improving my non-existent skills in writing. Thank you.
Special thanks to Linda and Stephanie Batsakis who helped me with the grammar.
Night oft brings news to near kindred
The Sun set in the west, its last dying rays painting the sky crimson.
Faramir walked along Ithilia's path without a word. An hour ago he had heard something that made him restless, even frightened. He wasn't even sure if it was what he thought it was, or only some vile trick of his tired mind. It seemed to be the voice of Gondor's horn, carried here by the wind from far North.
It was a mournful, melanchony sound, calling for help. When it reached his ears, he froze. Fear clutched his heart. Even though he tried to conceal his feelings – because as a leader, he had to be strong, and steadfast –, those who knew him well could see through his mask and feel his tension.
The little group had been striding through the woods for hours. They knew they wouldn't reach their destination, the Anduin's shore, that day but they had to be there as soon as possible to strenghten its defenses.
Night fell. Faramir knew there was no point in pushing his men so hard, and called to halt. They set up camp at a suitable site, had dinner and settled down to rest. Faramir himself tried to sleep, but to no avail.
He tossed and turned, but found no peace. When he could not endure it any longer, he stood up and made his way to the trees. The guard flinched at the sound of footsteps and looked in Faramir's direction. He calmed down visibly, seeing it was only his beloved captain who walked there. He was curious as to what Faramir was doing, but knew better than to be rude and ask him.
Faramir strolled between the trees aimlessly, and let his thoughts roam freely. After wandering a long time, he stopped at a beech's slim trunk, and leaned against it. He looked up to the sky, and after searching a little while, found what he sought.
Two stars, hanging by each other closely. Although, they were slightly brighter than the others, they weren't remarkable in any way, except to Boromir and himself. Faramir bowed his head and smiled sadly at the memory.
The boy almost didn't hear his brother's cries, he just ran as fast as his little legs could carry him. Tears flowed down on his cheeks. His side hurt, but he didn't want to stop. He vented his anger and bitterness on this mad run. He passed by the guards, and they didn't stop him. They all knew what made the child so upset.
Finduilas, the wife of the lord of the City had been dying within the white walls. She had no malady to weaken her body, yet her soul was restless. She had always felt the desire to go back to Dol Amroth, her home, but she suppressed these feelings for Denethor and for her sons, whom she loved dearly. Even though she received no less love in return, she was not happy, and sadness slowly ate away her life. The city was already mourning. Everybody knew that she would soon die. That afternoon, news spread through the city like wildfire: Finduilas will not live through the night.
Faramir was there, when his mother departed. It pained him to see her so weak, so frail, and he was frightened, when she began to say farewell to his brother and father. When she turned to him, he tried to persuade her not to leave. However Finduilas only closed her eyes, exhausted, and said. "You will never be alone Faramir. Never. I may not embrace you again, but I will be with you. Do not weep! You have Boromir and your father. You will not be alone." Finduilas said goodbye to everyone she loved. Faramir was half choked by the tears he tried to hold them back. When his mother closed her eyes forever, he was not able to contain himself any longer. He rushed to her side, took her pale hand and pleaded with her.
"Please, mother, don't go! Don't leave me! Please wake up! Please!"
Denethor knelt beside his son, and with gentle fingers, he pulled Faramir's hands away from the deceased's, then hugged him tightly. He cried too, a sight that had not been seen since the birth of his sons. Faramir clung to his father's robes.
"Faramir!" he heard Denethor calling his name softly, with mourning deep in his voice, but he did not move "Your mother will not wake up, so leave her rest in peace. She is… she's … dead."
"NO!" yelled the boy. He wrestled himself from his father's arms, with such force that it surprised everyone. Then he ran… And ran… He was young, but deep down in his soul, he understood his father was right.
But he did not want to accept it he could not. He raced as fast as he could and fled from the sight, from the memory. Faramir did not notice that he was now in the courtyard, and that night had fallen. He paid no attention to where he stepped, he tripped, and then fell. He felt the pain of the fall, then the cold stone benath him, but he remained where he was. The long supressed sobs now broke out from him. The boy folded his arms on his knees, curled up as small as possible, and wept.
Suddenly he felt two arms encircle him, and he instictively snuggled into the warm embrace. Faramir was quivering from the sobs, and from the cold. He lay there, in the protective arms for a long time. As he looked up to the understanding eyes of Boromir, his face radiated so much innocence that he seemed to be younger, than he was.
"Why?" he whispered.
Boromir bowed his head, and let a tear run down on his cheek. He embraced his brother tightly, and stroked his hear.
"I don't know… I don't know." He muttered.
"What are we going to do now?" he asked quietly.
When he heard his little brother childlike, broken voice, Boromir felt as if someone had driven a dagger deep into his heart. He did not want to say, he had no idea. He knew he had to be the 'older brother', the 'supporter'. So he swallowed down his own bitterness as well as he could, and said with a shaky voice.
" We'll live our life, as she told us. It will never… never be the same again, but" he gulped "I don't know, Faramir!" he burst out, and hugged Faramir even tighter fearing he might loose him too.
"I'm glad you are here with me," whispered Faramir to Boromir's ear.
"Me too, my little brother."
Faramir smiled slightly, but it was quickly replaced by fear.
"You'll never leave me, will you?"
"Never!" Boromir answered determinedly " And will you stay here with me too?"
Faramir nodded without saying a word.
"Shall we make a vow?" asked Boromir seriously.
"Yes! Let us make one! But… to what?" asked Faramir uncertainly. He did not have much expeience in matters like this. Boromir pondered a minute, and then raised his head, smiling sadly. A good idea flashed through his mind.
"Faramir, look!" The little boy glanced up at the sky, to where his brother had pointed earlier "Can you see those two stars? They look like as if they are paired together, and are a little brighter than the others. They are our stars."
When he saw Faramir did not understand his words, he continoued "You can't remember, because you were only a baby…But one night, while you were sleeping in our mother's arms, she and I talked; about you, about me, about a lot of things.
Then mother showed me those stars, saying, let them be our lucky stars, and she wished that someday we would shine like them, and would be guides on the earth as they are in the sky." Faramir listened with a lowered head. "And I thought…" There was no need to finish the sentence; Faramir knew what his brother wanted to say. He touched his brother's arm.
"Say it!" He spoke in a voice, which was unusually serious and ceremonial for a boy his age.
They knelt before each other, Boromir taking Faramir's little hands into his own, and with a slightly trembling voice, he started to speak.
"I, Boromir, son of Denethor, from the House of Hurin do solemnly swear to guide our people and to always be together with my brother, Faramir, till our stars shine in the sky."
Faramir repeated those words. And for a minute they remained on their knees facing each other. It was as if time itself would have stopped to stenghten the noble pledge, which these children made. If someone had seen them then, perhaps, they would have seen more than two little boys. It seemed as though they became a symbolic statue of solidarity, covered by the silver veil of the moon. That night the two boys seemed to have grown a lot older, and became more mature. As their eyes locked together, Faramir and Boromir knew this night would have a great influence on all the years that lay ahead.
The magic of the moment passed, and they were again only two children who had just lost their most precious thing. Faramir sniffled.
"I miss her so much" he mumbled.
"Oh, Faramir, I know! I miss her too very, very much!" said Boromir sadly. Tears began to flow down Faramir's cheeks again. They huddled up against each other, Faramir's little hands clinging to Boromir's clothes.
"Boromir? How long must I endure this pain? Will it ever cease to hurt?" he asked. Boromir thought it over before answering.
"The pain will never be entirely gone. It will fade with time, and you will learn to live with it. I hope so…"he added softly. Boromir suddenly realized his little brother was shaking, and not only because of grief.
"Come" he said gently, and stood up. He helped Faramir to stand, and the two of them set out for the palace.
The guards just watched the two children, a sad smile playing on their lips.
Faramir blinked. He had not noticed the tears in his eyes. It was so many years ago, yet, the emptiness he felt when he thought of his mother still pained him. He shook his head, and sighed. Life was so hard, and he had to admit that Finduilas was right. His greatest treasure was Boromir and his support. His father… He didn't want to finish the thought, his face darkening.
Faramir recalled the voice of the horn they heard that day. His foreboding… He felt as if evil had risen, and his brother needed help… As if he had been in trouble… As if…
No! There is nothing amiss! If something had happened to Boromir, I would know it... I would feel it…Wouldn't I?
He glanced up to the sky, waiting for an answer from the stars. He smiled slightly at the comforting sight of the heavens.
Then suddenly he stiffened, his nails cutting desperately into the crust of the beech, his smile froze on his face. No! This cannot be true! He fell to his knees, and buried his face to his palms.
Boromir's star fell from the sky before his very eyes.