This is for all the readers that reviewed my other story, The Healing of the Heart, especially Lilan and Rosie26 who wanted me to write about a softer, more misunderstood Denethor. I fear that Denethor is not quite at his softest in this fic, but it still portrays him as a bit misunderstood. Well, maybe insane is more the word for it. Ahh, well.

This draws inspiration from the scene in RoTK, when Denethor was getting ready to burn himself and Faramir. Enjoy! Oh yes, and this is a slightly AU story.

Disclaimer: This all belongs to Tolkien.

Flames. They were the bane of his life, ever haunting him since his childhood. They arose around him, a wall of treacherous fire that lit the way to his destruction.

It had started when he was but a small boy, when he had burnt his hand when reaching out to touch the fire that crackled in his hearth. The flames had danced so enticingly, telling, begging him to touch them. When he had, a great pain gave birth in his fingertips, and the child had leaped back, howling with agony. Ever since then the flames had continued to follow him, continuing to dance their mockery in his eyes.

Than, yet again, they came to him, bringing about the death of his beloved wife. He had been forced to watch, powerless, as the flames scorched hot beneath her skin, burning her alive as her screams of pain echoed throughout his home. Echoed throughout his mind. She had screamed until her dying breath, when she left the world of her torment to enter into the journey of death. But his world of torment had just begun. For he was beginning to feel despair.

Despair is flames, a spark that is awoken in your heart when all hope is lost. Despair does not help your sorrow. It does not help anything. It can only help itself by spreading; growing, ever eating it's way in your heart. Despair is flames, the flames that he feared, the flames that he saw ever reflected in the eyes and heart of his youngest son.

The flames that were in his son were the same flames in him, the very same despair that ever grew within his soul. The flames were reflected there. He saw his lost hopes, his fears, but most of all, his flames. He did not wish to see them. He did not wish to see himself. He wished only to avoid his youngest son and turn, instead, to his elder one.

His elder son was different. He did not hold the flames of despair. No. Instead, his elder son held a courage, a hope, an affection that he wanted. His older son was all that he strived to be, what he wished for. So he protected what he wanted, nourishing his elder son with an affection that befitted a him. He might have learned to care for his younger son, his flames, also, had it not been for the palantir.

The palantir spoke to him. It told him, in a voice buttered with seduction, of his younger son, and the poison that was being bred within him. Your son is filled with flames, the palantir would whisper to his heart, you must rid him of them. Beat them out of him. He would nod and, going up to his rooms, summon his youngest son to him. There, the screams of his son were muffled by walls of stone as a whip set about doing its evil works. Later, when he was done, he would stare at the crumpled body of his younger son with horror, wondering in anguish at how he could have done such things to his own child. But the palantir would always reenter his mind, reassuring him. You are helping him. You are ridding him of the flame. Then, in the subconscious of his mind, You are helping yourself.

And so he continued to beat his youngest son, wavering at times, but getting back to work when the palantir told him that what he was doing was justified. But the flames were not destroyed or weakened. Instead, they only grew. So, to numb his mind of the fire, he began to drink more and more liquor, allowing his reason to turn to mush as the alcohol conquered his brain.

The flames rose to its highest when he learned of the death of his elder son. The palantir showed him all, to the last seconds of his dearest son's life. He had cried out, wondering how the flames could be so strong, how they would not go away. If only he had known that the only way the flames of despair could be destroyed would be through love. For love is like water, and soothes all burns, destroying all fires. If he had learned to love his youngest son, he might have been saved, but he never learned. And in the end, he was destroyed.

In the end, Denethor, son of Ecthelion, was consumed by flames.

Everything burns

In my crumbling heart

As Fortune's Wheel turns

My life is falling apart

And when the sea of tears churns

And the end starts

Everything, everything burns


Hoped you liked! Please review! And no flames, please. I am just like Denethor, in that respect. I don't like 'em.