Disclaimer: Why do I still have to write this? Okay well in case you're new to the game, I don't own it. A cool cat named Tolkien does.

A/N: Because I never tire of E/F one shots. Read, enjoy, let me know what you think.


"I stand upon some dreadful brink, and it is utterly dark in the abyss before my feet, but whether there is any light behind me I cannot tell. For I cannot turn yet. I wait for some stroke of doom."

Eowyn -The Steward and the King

I

She is restless.

She tires of marble, of the tall rigid towers that match the men who reside in her Lord's city. Tall, proud, kingly, a proud people with the stars touch, pale and dark, strong and fragile, a people who contradict themselves at every turn.

She envies them, watches them from her high place as they dwell in content happiness, adjusting to the peace of the New Age. They have remade themselves turning into creatures of peace, shedding the scarred war roughened skins and bathing themselves in the quiet.

She watches with hard eyes the women who cast themselves willingly in her husband's path, with soft hands and softer hearts, bellies that swell triumphantly before them, everything round and warm as the new age of man slumber within their wombs. She presses her calloused palm into the flat flesh of her stomach until there is a sharp pain and she must relieve the pressure.

They taunt her, these people (her people now).

She is empty of life, contentment, her insides a tangle that will not come undone. The shadow has swallowed her too deeply; she thinks as she walks her gardens, scarred her inside as much as it has outside. War has penetrated her flesh, broken her bones, saturated her blood; it has torn her soul and branded her mind as though with a hot iron.

She is a prisoner to the past.

At the height of the summer heat she tosses in her bed as the sounds of battle fill her ears: war cries and dying moans, singing set to thundering hoofs, the ring of steel and laughter, her own laughter as death swept the field. She covers her ears with her hands and clamps her eyes shut wishing away the night and the heat and the dread that rises in her throat with each scream that she pushes down.

Faramir she calls silently. Help she pleas without words and she feels arms go around her, steady and strong, feels the raised flesh of long healed wounds and the rhythmic fall and rise of his chest against her back.

She struggles to find her way back, away from the open, bloodied fields of Pelennor and back to her bed and her husband.

II

He dreams of fire.

Flickering flames that swallow her whole as she stands still, silent as a child's shrill cry fills the smoke filled air. He wakes with a distinct pain in his shoulder, a coldness lingering in the pit of his heart.

Another year lost to time and he finds himself without peace.

He is haunted by the past, phantoms that remain in every corner of his mind. Besides him she sleeps peacefully, unaware of the world around her, her face relaxed as she dreams. He places a hand against her navel, fingers tracing the tiny white lines, all that remains of their winter loss. He thinks of the crib they have put away, the poppet sent by their little friends.

He finds the quiet intolerable, knowing that they should be woken by the sounds of a babe now rather than their own nightmares. He looks at her with regret knowing how it plagues her.

I am damaged Lord she says her voice distant and choked the shadow has rendered me barren. No life will come here.

He thinks that she is not so wrong. Years of war and shadow have tainted them both, the back bile that dribbled from their wounds then has left some mark on them, sullied them even past the Renewal.

They are grey, an in between, still bound to the darkness of the Third Age, dwelling in the light, the life of the Fourth. They have become the shadows that trail these people, the clatter and the bang that disrupt the peace. They do not fit and every day that passes is a little more unendurable than the last as this becomes clearer.

For this he loves her, in this selfish way, knowing he is not alone in the spaces that fall in between.

III

They walk together.

It is cold, and the birds do not sing and the flowers sleep in their beds of brown and snow as the water of a near by stream is frosted over, broken by her touch, freezing water that stabs like needles against the sole of her foot.

He laughs; a deep and sturdy sound that breaks the quiet of the natural world, a sound that warms her insides and causes the corners of her lips to turn up slightly. The hem of her blue gown (white has become an overrated thing and none call her the White Lady of anything, save for him who calls her his) is damp and her stocking sticks uncomfortably to her skin.

Her breath appears in wisps of smoke before her mouth, little clouds that vanish too quickly. She wonders if she should speak, would the words form as they dropped from her lips. She tells him this and he says her name in a whisper, his raven hair dotted with flakes of white. Eowyn.

The word hangs in the stagnant air between them and she shakes her head, eying the new snow at her feet, white and untouched, glittering in the pale sun light. At sun down the red light will strike and it will glow red, as though covered with blood but this thought threads too closely to the tender soft in her heart and she dismisses the thought.

The wind blows and the snow dances around their feet, her still soaked foot beginning to ache at the ankle. She looks at him uneasy. He reaches toward her and she pulls at his cloak, wrapping herself around him, leaving no room between them for cold or silence or the past. Her name falls off his tongue and she feel the hum of the word as it travels through her veins, settles in her bones, a word spoken against the shell of her ear, more felt then heard.

His own name she breathes into his lips, hands tracing it on scarred flesh, weaving it into the dark tresses of his hair, the snow melting against her fingers. Her back arches away from the cold, towards him, always towards him and they let their hurried breathing break the silence, uncaring what else it may shatter.

IV

The weather turns cold again and what was once green turns orange and brown, the vibrant hues dulled and warmed as the land once again readies itself for its winter rest.

She stands out her windows, peering up at the sky which is clear and distant, the moon's waxy face glowing peacefully in the dark sea of stars. The fire wanes in the hearth but she makes no move for it, allowing it to fade away, content with the cool air that passes through her window.

Come to bed he says against the nape of her neck, his palm coming to rest on the her belly, the flesh pulled so taunt that were he to hold only the tips of his fingers to it he would feel the heart beat of the babe that sleeps within.

Tonight however their son does not sleep and she smiles faintly as she maneuvers his hand to the spot where he might feel the pressure of an elbow or the heel of a foot. She feels the heat of his hand through the white material and even as it falls away she wishes to check, sure that he has branded her somehow. Instead she follows him to bed, taking her place besides him, remembering the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest against her back, his breath warm on her shoulder, his arm weightless around her waist.

She does not hear the battles cries so often now, drowned out by the sound of life that filters around them, the hum that runs in her blood, the beating of three hearts, the constant ripple of anticipation in the air.

Here there is comfort and love and the grey is slowly fading, like the fire, and they become shadows less every passing day, taking their places in the new lives presented.

End


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