Rain, go away, come again some… other day.' Faramir sighed. Even remembering such a simple childish memory as a nursery rhyme taxed his mind, for he had seldom heard the fairy tales and sayings most children know by heart.
He did not like rain. It made everything grey and nasty, and his cloak and shirt clung to him unpleasantly.
Why wouldn't the stupid key turn?
'There! I'm finally in.' he thought. 'Now… Eru, please, please don't let that be what I think it is. Oh, please let some one have buried… it.'
He gulped, looking at the charred remains of his father. 'It is what I think it is. No one had time or cared.' He tried not to inhale as he lifted the body down from the fire damaged stone table. The stench was overpowering as it filled his lungs. He hated death. He could feel tears forming as he thought of the horror and hopelessness of this death, but he scrubbed them away with the back of his blackened hands. He tenderly folded the fleshless hands over the mighty ribcage.
His father had been a great man. A strong man, built like a bear.
On an impulse, he tenderly kissed his father's forehead in farewell, choking back a sob as he felt the coldness of the flesh under his lips.
The man was gone. Perhaps it was for the best.
But, oh, what he would not give for his father to speak to him, to tell him what a failure he was. He wanted that so badly, he wouldn't even mind the pain.
"Oh, Ada." He whispered. "Ada, I'm so sorry." He wrapped the body in a clean shroud he had brought with him. He had feared he would find it so. He carried the body outside of the burned shell of a building, and down to where his horse stood waiting.
He lifted Denethor's body onto the saddle and swung up behind, checking to see that his shovel was fastened to the back of the saddle.
The bell rang for midnight as Faramir left the city.
Dawn was painting the sky when he came to his hill, the hill where his mother lay, and where two innocent little boys had buried their dog. Faramir began to dig next to his mother, his injured shoulder racking in pain. It did not matter, though.
They should be together, with Orc to guard their feet. Yes… away from the city, where they could be happy and carefree.
He would one day join them, his blood and bones would rejoin the earth beside theirs. The sooner, the better, although the thought of a white maiden in the houses of healing gave him a pale sort of hope…
His shovel hit a stone, and he cursed. "Now, Captain, that's not proper!" Faramir's head snapped up, and he stared at his lieutenant and the four men with him.
"We're here to help." Anborn said firmly, hefting his shovel. "Can't let you do this by yourself. No man should bury his kin alone."
"No talking." Eledain 'the silent' growled.
The rangers began to dig, and at a cloudy noon they lowered the Steward in. Faramir took the stones he had gotten from the river and laid them over the top of the mound. No beast would desecrate this place!
They all stood together facing the West, heads bowed.
His throat felt tight. He wanted to scream, he wanted to just lie down and die here, next to his parents. He was so alone…
Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day.
Grief, grief, go away, come again some other day.
He wanted to scream that at the top of his lungs. GO AWAY!
But he didn't. Anborn grabbed him before he could fall and pulled him into a tight embrace, and the walls came tumbling down. Faramir put his head on his Lieutenant's shoulder and wept, unable to hold himself in any longer. He could feel tears coursing down his face, and was only vaguely aware that Anborn had seated himself on the ground, and was all but holding his young captain on his lap!
He could feel his hand gently rubbing his back, and hear his voice soothing him. His men, he could sense them near, lightly touching his shoulder or head in comfort. He should be ashamed of his weakness, he knew, but he wasn't. He couldn't be.
He had loved his father!
He had loved his rangers!
He had so dearly loved his brother.
Hot tears soaked into Anborn's shirt, but the rain was cold, and his captain was shivering. Anborn frowned. Faramir was too light for a man of his height, and now that he was holding him so close, he could feel the bones in the slender body. Slowly the sobs seemed to lessen, and Anborn pulled back to look at Faramir's face. "Better?" He asked, gently finger combing the tangled dark hair from Faramir's cold wet face. Faramir nodded.
"I'm sorry." He choked, pulling away from Anborn. "I didn't mean to-"
"Captain, everybody cries!" The lieutenant protested. "There is no shame in grieving for someone you loved."
"I can't cry. It is shameful." Faramir in a small voice, sounding so unlike the strong captain and daring soldier Anborn knew that the man felt like protecting his young captain as he would a child. "Never mind." Faramir stood up shakily.
"I shall not 'never mind'! Lord Faramir, look around you! Every last one of us has cried on your shoulder at one time or another. I know I certainly have more than once. Are you saying that what we have done is shameful? Do you think we would condemn you for tears that are justly shed?"
Faramir looked confused. "No, no it was not, but… I can't, that's all."
"Yes you CAN, sir!" Mablung said, leaning his massive weight over onto his left leg. His right had been shot through the previous week, but was healing nicely. "If you don't, if you keep locking yourself away from help for your pain, one of these days they will have to drag you off the field or court, a raving battle casualty, and then they'll lock you in the healers basements with all the other broken soldiers."
"Mablung, your active imagination never ceases to amaze me. Be quiet." Damrod sighed, punching his brother on the arm. "What the lunk is trying to say, captain, is that if you don't accept our help, this grief will slay you." His jaw hardened. "And I will not allow another of my friends to become a casualty of this abominable war. So stop being so bloody proud and accept the helping hand you have always given to others!" Faramir turned away, covering his face with his hands. "Sir." Damrod ended.
"I should have died. I should have died with them."
"Don't EVER say that!" Anborn snapped, shaking Faramir by the sound left shoulder. "Not ever, captain. What has been, has been, and what shall be, shall be! Wishing that you had died does none good, and a great deal of harm. Not to mention the dishonor done to those who fell. It is akin to saying you are not pleased with their sacrifice, that it was not enough that they died for you. I know that you do not wish to say that, that you never would, that your grief makes you say what you would never even whisper. But still, the affront is there. Say it not again."
The young Steward bowed his head. "I'm sorry. I shall not." He murmured, "Oh, Eru!" He fell to his knees, sobbing convulsively, and all the rangers converged on him at once, hugging him tightly, and allowing him to weep, and weeping with him, for they knew that the tears were not all for the fallen Steward, but for his men, their friends; and the tears had healing power in them.
Finally he stood up. The grey rain was still dripping disconsolately down. "Come then." He said softly. "Let us go… home."
"Just a minute, captain, you're a sight to behold." Mablung pulled out a handkerchief. "Spit on it." Faramir complied, and his face was scrubbed ruthlessly.
"Ahhgh!" Faramir yelped. "Leave some skin!"
"That's for scaring us all so bad this morning when the healers could not find you!" They laughed, and the feeling was good after the tears.
They got on their horses, and rode back to the City. Faramir dismounted before the house of healers, and sighed. "I go to prison." He moaned. "Promise to write me?"
"Keep your chin up, eat your vegetables, go to bed when the nice healers tell you, wipe your nose, wash behind your ears, and stay out of drafts, and you'll be freed within a few years, sir." Anborn told him sensibly. Faramir snorted.
"You forgot 'say your prayers', Anborn."
"You won't forget that, ever, Captain." They led his horse away, and Faramir went indoors. When he shut the door behind him, he leaned against it tiredly, bracing for the impact.
"FARAMIR!" The head healer pounced. "WHERE WERE YOU?" He shrieked. "You have no IDEA- You're dripping wet. Go to your room and get out of those wet clothes immediately! Oh, RANGERS are the WORST, oh, my, your eyes are red, and you're favoring your arm… tell me you did not lift anything, what are you waiting for, GET THEE TO THY ROOM!" He commanded, and Faramir allowed himself to be dragged to his room, stripped, bathed, bandaged and fussed over.
"Beregond should never have told you!" The healer hissed as he bandaged his shoulder after heating it. "You could have died. You still might if you caught cold…You must swear not to leave here again before I release you."
"I swear. But do not blame Beregond, he did not tell me. I saw it in his eyes." Faramir sighed, and the healer was silent. "Please, healer, I am tired."
"Eat first." He then allowed them to drag him to the dining hall, and shoved him in a chair in front of the Lady Eowyn, who handed him a bowl of oatmeal.
'Oog. Yummy.' Faramir thought to himself. 'Cold porridge. My favorite.'
Eowyn raised her eyebrow. "Horse feed." She said softly, poking her own with a spoon. Faramir surprised himself by smiling.
She bravely took a mouthful and swallowed. "Needs sugar for this horse to eat it!" she gagged, and Faramir grinned.
They were silent in a friendly way for the rest of the meal, and afterwards, he was hauled to his room, undressed again, and put to bed. However, after they had left the room, he got out of bed, went to his window, staring at the stars. He began to hum softly.
The steady dripping had stopped, and the moon was shining over the glimmering field of the pelennor.
The rain had washed away the filth and blood of the battle.
The tears he had shed had done the same for him.
'Come again some other day.'
He didn't hate it anymore. H would not mind if it came again.
But he was glad it was gone for now.