Year 2988 of the Third Age, Minas Tirith
The Missing Lines
Little Faramir quietly padded to his bedroom with a goblet of milk in his hand. As he approached the doorway, he heard soft singing coming from the room next to his—Boromir's room.
Faramir knew well that Boromir was no great lover of music. He could occasionally be prevailed upon to sing a stirring war song, like those the Rohirrim sang when they marched into battle, or a short, brave lay when absolutely necessary, but this was different. His lilting ten-year old voice was murmuring a restful, beautiful harmony—one that Faramir recognized. Every once in a while Boromir paused, as though gathering himself, then started singing again, his voice breaking now and then. Faramir listened intently, and finally let himself into the room without a sound.
Boromir was sitting on the floor beside a wide window opposite the door, arms wrapped around his knees. He hadn't noticed Faramir's entrance. Quietly he continued to sing, sorrow written on his face. His little brother watched silently as Boromir struggled to remember a phrase, and then stepped forward and laid a hand on the elder's shoulder. Boromir didn't turn, but simply said,
"Thank you, Faramir, but I just can't anymore. I was brave during the funeral today, and I even smiled at Auntie Ivriniel and Elphir and that lord from Lossarnach, but can't I feel sad for Mother even for just a little while? Uncle Imrahil was crying! Why is it all right for him?" His voice was increasing in pitch, getting higher and higher.
"I feel sad all the time," said Faramir in his sweet young voice, tinged with childish grief, "but Father said we have to set an example and be brave and not cry in front of everyone."
"I know! And I didn't! But I don't want to care about crying in front of everyone anymore." Boromir finally turned around and faced his five-year old brother a little defiantly, unshed tears glimmering in his eyes.
Faramir was rather shaken, for this was the first time since their mother's death that Boromir had voiced such things aloud. Those first few days it had been Faramir crying, and Boromir comforting, though the same pain was clear in his eyes. Now, Boromir the strong was the one in need. This Faramir felt instinctively, and he squeezed Boromir's shoulder and patted the broad back with his little hands, saying nothing, hiding his agitation.
No tears fell, but Boromir finally began to sing again.
"That is Mother's song," Faramir stated.
"You are doing it wrong, Boromir."
Boromir looked up in surprise. "What? What am I doing wrong?"
"Mother never sang it all by herself. She said that the song was meant to be shared, so she always sang it when she was holding me. Or you," he added as an afterthought.
Boromir thought about this for a while. Then, he spread his arms a little bit, rearranged his sitting position, and motioned for Faramir to sit in his lap. Rather taken aback, it took a full five seconds for Faramir to regain his senses, grin with delight, and scamper onto his big brother's lap, a long prohibited place.
Boromir was at a loss. "What do I do now?"
"You put your arms around me," Faramir directed.
"No, no, you're hugging too tight! You put your right arm here," Faramir tugged it into place, "and your other arm there." If Finduilas could have seen them, she would have smiled at the sight of the small brother ordering the big one, who was surprisingly meek and docile.
"There, I guess that will have to do," said Faramir, satisfied. "Now you must rock back and forth, just a little bit—not too much, Boromir!—there, like that, and then you can start singing."
"But I don't remember all the words," confessed Boromir.
Faramir looked crestfallen. "I don't remember all the words either."
The two brothers racked their brains trying to think of a solution to this, until Boromir said brightly,
"You probably remember the parts I don't remember, and I probably remember the parts you don't remember, so even if we both don't remember the whole song, we can put it together and it will be as good as though Mother was singing it."
It took a while for Faramir's five-year old brain to process this, but when he did, he gave a nod of triumph. "Yes, that will work. But it would be so much easier if Mother were here. She remembered the whole thing."
"Yes, she said it was etched on her heart and she couldn't forget it even if she wanted to." And for a while, the brothers thought about the sweet, gentle mother they would never see again.
"I don't remember the first part, Boromir."
"I'll start it, don't worry." Boromir started singing in a voice barely above a whisper that even Faramir, wrapped closely in his arms, had to strain to hear it.
"The Sea calls my name ever softly,
Waves pounding rhythms on sand,
A heartbeat away, it pulls me—"
"Fairer than any green land," completed Faramir, recognizing the sweet strains with relief. "Mother never did explain to me how the Sea calls when it doesn't have a voice. She promised me she'd explain when I was bigger." The little boy sighed.
"I'll do it for her," promised Boromir. "Then it'll be like she kept her promise."
Faramir nodded, and continued,
"The boats rocking gently, so gently," and Boromir rocked him, exactly as Mother used to, Faramir realized with some detached surprise. "The calmness of waters divine—"
"The wind faintly sighs, so sadly," supplied Boromir, when Faramir paused.
"This beauty I dare not call mine," recalled Faramir. Then he twisted around and looked at his adored big brother. "I don't remember the next stanza."
"I do. I'll do it." Boromir scrunched up his face, gathering all the lyrics in his mind, and sang—
"The sun's rays of blood at its setting,
Glancing off the water like an arrow,
To the Sea I give my heart's keeping,
All the wonder, and joy, and sorrow."
"Then comes the stormy part," said Faramir, pressing closer to his big brother. "You must hug me tighter here, Boromir." Boromir obeyed, and his little brother sang in a quavering voice,
"The tempests that shake its tranquility,
The waves crashing, pulling them down—"
"The sea in all its wild beauty," continued Boromir, nodding at Faramir to sing with him.
"Then retreating with barely a sound," the brothers sang, their voices contrasting—one sounding older and deeper, but still young, the other very small but with a little winsomeness of its own.
"The gulls overhead circle swiftly," they continued on to the next stanza, "They wheel, straight into the horizon—" then both paused, and stared at each other in dismay.
"I don't remember the last two lines."
Boromir groaned at this flaw in his plan. "What are we going to do now?"
They both slumped in postures of utter despondency, defeated.
"I too, one day, will be free,
To soar far away to the sun."
Both boys jerked up, stunned at the strong, resonant voice. They whipped around and barely caught a glimpse of a black cloak swishing out of sight past the door.
Denethor walked away as quickly as he could, not trusting himself to meet the eyes of his boys without tears.
A/N: I have nothing against Boromir, and I'm sure he had a beautiful voice, but I've never really pictured him as the music-loving type. Tolkien said himself that Boromir enjoyed swords and battle above everything else, and Faramir was a "lover of music and lore". He never said one was uneducated and the other wasn't, just that their interests differed.
Finduilas has always interested me, and I'm sure she was beautiful—I mean, Arwen's originally intended name was Finduilas, wasn't it? (Or maybe I got it wrong? I've only glimpsed the HoME.)
Anyway, hope you enjoyed it, for I certainly enjoyed writing it.