-Note- Hmm…this is the first new thing I've written in a long time. I survived my first subject tests! Faramir is about 3 and Boromir is about 8.

Anyway, this fic was a long time in coming, and I was saving the idea for Mother's Day. Because if I've learned anything at all this year, it's that we have to tell the people we love that we love them today- tomorrow is a great, wide unknown. Cheers, all, and happy Mother's Day!

-Disclaimer- All characters and settings belong to Tolkien.

With Flowers Like Stars

"You splashed me, Boromir!" shrieks the littlest one, turning away from the shore to face his attacker.

"Me?" asks the older boy. "It was Father!"

"Papa!" cries the little one indignantly. "It is not nice to splash someone whilst their back is turned!"

Denethor shrugs. "My sincerest apologies. But you are a fierce warrior- where is your counterattack?"

The little boy giggles.

"Faramir!" cries the older boy. "Get him!" And the older boy leads the charge, slogging through the knee-high waves. The little one, confined to the shallows on orders from his mother, gingerly inches forward. It is Boromir who reaches Denethor first, diving forward for a tackle; in vain, though; strong arms sweep him up and around, spinning a circle in the air.

"Faramir!" cries a voice from the beach. The small figure, now up to his knees in water, freezes. "Go no further! You can hardly swim!"

"But Mama!"

"No buts!"

"It's alright, Finduilas," says Denethor, marching over with Boromir hanging from his shoulders. "I've got him." Leaning backward, he drops Boromir on his bottom in the water and picks up Faramir under his armpits just as a wave rolls in. Tiny feet skim the crest, then are clear.

Shaking her head and smiling, the woman on the beach takes up her embroidery again. She wears a white dress and a pale blue shawl, her bare feet stretch off the end of the blanket she sits on and her toes work into the sand. Yesterday's sun has brought some color to the winter-pale of her cheeks, and she smiles more easily now that they have reached her beloved sea.

They are staying at a guest house on the property of her brother, away from (nearly) all matters of state. The path to the beach leads out their back door, across the sandy soil, through windswept dunes, and at last onto the open sand. Presently it is low tide, but the waves arebeginning to come back into the shore. The distance of hard, damp sand between Finduilas and her family is slowly closing.

She breathes in deeply, inhaling the clear, salty air. It is springtime yet, but the weather is nice enough and the water has been warmed by currents from the Southlands.

She looks down at her stitching: the last star on the shirtsleeve had taken on a careless, flopping sort of look, and she fixes it deftly. In the water her sons shriek happily, Boromir looking on as his father hoists Faramir above his shoulders. She laughs a little to herself.

She hears a soft padding of bare feet across the hardened sand. Faramir now stands before her, soaking wet. As she watches, a drip slides off the tip of his nose and onto the shirt she has been embroidering- his shirt.

"Faramir!" she says brightly, "You're certainly wet!" Setting the fabric aside, she reaches for a towel and stands, wrapping it around her son's shoulders.

"I was swimming!" he says proudly. "Well, almost. Papa held onto me so I wouldn't sink."

"I doubt you'd sink, dear."

Faramir shrugs, his wide eyes looking up into hers.

"I'm going to go play over there," he says, pointing to the sand dunes a short distance away. Sea grass grows there in small, dowdy tufts and white-flowered vines creep across the sand.

Moments later, the big boys emerge from the water.

"I'm hungry!" Boromir states plainly, his hands on his hips. "Is there any food?"

"We'll head back for lunch soon," says Denethor, looking into the dunes where Faramir is playing. "Go play with your brother."

With a long-suffering sigh, Boromir departs. Denethor sits next to Finduilas on the blanket, putting his arm around her.

"Perhaps they'll nap this afternoon."

"One hopes," says Finduilas, smiling. "I promised them they'd see their cousins today."

Denethor laughs. "All right, then, we'll let your brother have them for a few hours."

"Precisely," says Finduilas. "That is a marvelous idea. I'm sure Imrahil thinks the same!"

Denethor squints at his sons. Boromir is standing above Faramir, who sits fumbling with the vines. Boromir gestures to his stomach and makes a pleading face. Faramir shrugs, stuffs something in his pocket (sand, perhaps? Strange boy!) and together they make their way back to the blanket.

"Mama!" says Boromir. "It's lunchtime."

"On whose clock?" asks Denethor, an eyebrow raised.

"My tummy's clock!" says Faramir earnestly.

Finduilas laughs. "There's no arguing with that timepiece, Denethor! You ought to know!" She folds her embroidery into a canvas bag. Dnethor stands and holds out a hand for her, and she rises.

Faramir stands in front of her once more, holding out a handful of slightly crushed white flowers. "I picked these for you, Mama," he says. She kneels to his level and takes the offering, kissing the tip of his nose.

"Thank you, my dear."

Their noses touch and Faramir giggles, picking a flower from her hands and pushing it behind her ear.

His stomach growls. "I'm hungry," he says as Finduilas leans back on her heels and laughs, the flower like a star in her night-colored hair.

(l)

Thanks for reading!