"Come on, Fari!"
They ran down the empty hallway, the elder brother practically dragging the younger behind him.
"But we shouldn't, Bo'mir. Nanny said we should sleep."
Nanny was still asleep; unaware the brothers had escaped again. The younger brother slowed down, but it didn't help much. He had to keep running or fall flat on his face in his brother's wake.
"If we sleep, we'll miss them dancing, Fari," Boromir said with the tones of long-suffering. "You know they rarely dance anymore."
Faramir couldn't say anything, being too occupied to keep a hold of his big brother's hand and trying not to fall. He thought it heinously unfair that Boromir should have longer legs and better balance. Then again, Boromir was ten-years-old.
Turning around another corner, and racing down the long hallway, they finally reached the staircase. Faramir knew it because his brother stopped so suddenly that he ran right into him, almost causing them to fall down the stairs. A glare from his brother silenced him, and then they crept down one step at a time. The music sounded grand, but loud, and there were only a few couples waltzing across the floor.
"You said there would be lots of people, Bo'mir," he said in his brother's ear.
"The party's almost over. Hush, Fari. I'm trying to find them."
Boromir crouched down behind the cover of the banister, watching each couple as they danced by. No, it looked more like they were floating rather than dancing. Ladies wore dresses of rich fabrics that touched the floor. He wondered if they really had feet underneath those gowns or if they were really floating. Luckily, Fari was just as enthralled as he was and kept quiet. They weren't supposed to be here. Mama and Papa had seen them in their beds, kissed them and tucked them in, bidding each pleasant dreams and a good night. But Mama was dressed is a beautiful gown of dark blue and silver. Papa was dressed in his finest black doublet and trousers, edged with silver trim. They were attending the ball, and Boromir just knew they would be dancing.
He was intent on seeing them. So intent, that he almost cried out in alarm when he felt something fall on his back. But he knew it was his little brother, and Fari had fallen asleep. Boromir held in an exasperated sigh. He loved his little brother, but wished he could have been older than four-years-old right at the moment. The excitement of seeing their parents dance, even when they should be asleep, kept Boromir wide-awake.
His attention focused once more on the floating ladies and their lords who kept them from flying away. One by one, couples drifted off and out of sight. The musicians were slowing down as well; the music eased in volume until it sounded almost like a lullaby. The ball was almost over. Risking discovery, Boromir slowly stood up, bending down to lift his baby brother in his arms, and then turning to look out over the railing. His eyes alighted on the pair still dancing.
Mama and Papa.
They wore smiles on their faces, and he thought that there really couldn't be anything more amazing than seeing his parents smiling. Papa waltzed Mama around in graceful circles, holding her close, and making her laugh. The silver in the clothes and in Mama's hair glimmered in the candlelight, making it look like they danced with stars.
"Fari, wake up."
His brother stirred, rubbed his little face on his tunic, and then settled back down.
"I don' wanna."
"You'll miss them, Fari. Wake up!"
He jostled his brother enough so that the little head came up. Fari was not amused, and glared at Boromir. Grinning, the elder brother turned the younger so that he too could see mama and papa dancing. Little eyes opened more, and a tiny smile appeared on the little face.
Both pairs of eyes were riveted to the couple, never wavering for an instant. Neither brother spoke, too enthralled by their elegant parents to say much of anything. Closer and closer, mama and papa danced, and it never occurred to the boys that they had indeed been caught. Not until they stopped right in front of them.
"Sneaking out again, are we?" papa asked, lifting a quizzical brow.
"We wanted to watch," Boromir defended. Mama looked up at Papa and they grinned, knowing full well that it was all their oldest son's idea, and that he'd brought his baby brother along to share the guilt.
"No matter," mama said, bending down to pluck Fari from his arms. Papa reached down and took Boromir's hand. "I think we have time for one last dance."
The musicians indulged the young family, playing music that sounded like lullabies. Fari had fallen asleep again, content in mama's embrace. Boromir tried to hold out, but soon he grew too tired to do more than shuffle his feet. He was remotely aware of Papa's strong arms lifting him up and carrying him back up to the nursery. He was vaguely aware of the blanket being tugged up to his chin and the kisses he received for the second time that night.
As sleep carried him away, he dreamt of watching his parents dance. It was a memory he'd hold dear the rest of his days.