A/N Thanks for all the amazing reviews. I know this chapter is long over due and for all that, it is still really short, but I knew if I didn't post something tonight I'd abandon the story. So here's a quick moment with the Brothers Mir.

Roof. Roof. Hammer. Hawk. Ox Tail.

Boromir quickly ran his sweat-soaked sleeve over his eyes and started hacking at the wooden post again, his arms shaking with exhaustion.

Roof. Roof. Hammer. Hawk. Ox Tail.

He'd been practicing the same combination for the past hour and still the staging of the final stroke eluded him. The Arms Master's baleful stare let him know there was no help coming from that corner, so Boromir sighed and lifted his blade to the starting position for another pass. Another failure.

With his mind he understood it, with his body he knew could accomplish it, but it was as if asking the two to work together…Boromir hung his head for a moment and glanced over at the youngling's practice ring to see how his brother was faring.

Though far too young for the pell work that was Boromir's bane, youth did not excuse Faramir from learning footwork and body mechanics. Even at five, he was graceful and light on his feet. The Arms Master often commented on how he could not wait until Faramir was ready for the sword. This little one, he exclaimed to any and all who would listen would be a joy to teach. The words unlike his older sibling were unspoken yet fully understood.

If there was such a thing as a natural swordsman, Boromir understood he was as far from it as one could get. But he had determination and the will to succeed. It was what kept him in the practice ring, long after the other boys of his class had mastered the day's lesson, until he too could step through the difficult and deadly combinations expected of him.

Hefting his sword for what he knew would be the final time, his arms wouldn't be able to raise the blade any more after this, Boromir emptied his mind and let his body guide him…

"Finally! Didn't think yeh'd ever get it." The gruff cry startled Boromir, who had not quite come out of his almost trance. "How many times do I need to tell yeh, the brain is for learnin', the body for doin'? Stop thinkin' 'bout it an' just do it! Don't I tell yeh that all the time?"

Boromir nodded. "Yes Armsmaster."

"Yeh let your mind do the thinkin' and that's all it'll be doin', for yer body'll be orc bait."

Boromir's brow furrowed as he tried to follow the twisted logic. He was too tired. It was enough that he'd mastered the combination once; now it would remain forever locked in his body. "Thank you Arms Master."

The old soldier nodded his acknowledgement. "Go tend yer armour anfd then off with ye to yer father." Boromir nodded a last time and walked toward the disarming area of the ring.

No Boromir was not a natural swordsman; but he was unmatched by any his age.

Settling down onto the sand floor, Boromir rolled his shoulders and neck to ease some of the kinks out and set about cleaning his weapon and armor. Engrossed in his task, he failed to notice a pair of wide-set enormous blue eyes following his every motion.

"Are you almoth done?"

"Eru's bum!" Boromir called out the worst curse he knew, as his finger was nicked by the point of his sword. It wasn't sharp, but still, if you weren't paying attention it was possible to injure yourself.

"Thorry," came the childish lisp.

"It's "sorry"," Boromir sighed.

The owner of the bright blue eyes tried again, "Saw-ree."

Boromir rolled his eyes, "Close enough. And you shouldn't sneak up on people, it's rude."

"I didn't. I walked right up to you. I even thaid…sh-aid your name."

"Whatever. Are you done with your lessons?"

Red curls bounced.

"Good, you can help me clean my armour." Boromir commanded, thrusting a gauntlet at his brother. Faramir took it and sat next to his grumpy sibling. He reached for a boar's hair bristle and started to work, trying to rid the tiny articulated joints of grit and debris.

The brothers worked in companionable silence, the mundane task soothing Boromir's fractious mood. After a time, Faramir finished one gauntlet and reached for the other. Boromir handed him an elbow cop instead, knowing that to clean two gauntlets would make his brother's fingers cramp later as they didn't yet have the strength to handle cleaning both.

Faramir took the cop without comment and set about polishing it to a mirror finish. Boromir was enjoying the quiet but knew it wouldn't last.

"Bor'mir?" And he was right.

"Yes Faramir?"

"When will mama come watch uth practithe again?"

Boromir closed his eyes as a deep pain knifed through him. He knew the answer to the question, but how did one explain never to a child? He didn't know, so he didn't even try.

"When she feels better."

Small hands stopped their labor. "When'll that be?"

"When the healers say so."

Faramir quieted at the mention of the mysterious black-robed men. They were so very serious and a little frightening. Faramir remembered showing one of them his very best card trick and not even a smile. His card trick always made Mamma smile. And when she smiled she seemed to feel better. Maybe the healers could bring in a real magician and he could make mamma better or..or maybe "…the king."

Boromir turned sharply at his brother's whispered word. "What did you say?"

"I thaid the king. Maybe the healers could bring back the king. The hands of the king are the hands of a healer."

Boromir stared at his little brother open-mouthed.

"Where did you hear that?"

"From Nanny."

Boromir snorted, refusing to remember a time not long ago when he'd held the same hope close to his heart. "It's an old fairy tale. There is no king. If there was, don't you think he would have come and healed mother?"

It was Faramir's turn to stare in open mouthed shock. "Of courthe there's a king."

"Yeah?" Boromir stared hard at his sibling causing him to recoil just a bit at the fierceness in his brother's gaze, "Yeah? Then where is he? Why isn't he here? Why isn't he here making mamma well?" Boromir's voice broke on the last word

Faramir shrugged, completely out of his depth, both with the question and his brother's uncharacteristic display of emotion. "I dunno. Maybe he's got thomething weally important to do?"

A ragged sigh, "And what could be more important than healing mamma?"

Faramir shrugged and shook his head. Having no answer for his brother, he started to polish his other elbow cop.