Heirs of the Stewardship Part I: A Treasured Gift

Summary: On the night before Faramir's eleventh birthday, Boromir has to leave for Osgiliath on their father's orders. But he still has time to give his brother his gift. Part one in a series that delves deeper into the mind of Faramir, his relationships to Boromir and Denethor, and his reflections on his brother's untimely death. All reflections take place during "The Two Towers".

Disclaimer: I do not own Faramir or Boromir, for they belong to Tolkein.

A/N: Hey, guys! I haven't written for Lord of the Rings for quite some time, so I thought that I would give it a shot again. I had the idea for this series of oneshots (there will be five parts) when I was watching "The Two Towers" with one of my friends. Faramir is one of my favorite characters, so this just fit. No flames please, since this is my first Faramir and Boromir story. Faramir's ten and Boromir's about fifteen. Of course I don't write slash, so please don't get the wrong idea. Enjoy!

Faramir cast his eyes to the door as his brother entered his dark room. He quickly shut them again as he turned over in his bed, trying to hide his face from the older boy. His hand clenched tighter around his blanket as he put it over his head when he heard his soft, gentle laughter.

"I know you're awake, Faramir," Boromir said lightly as he sat down on the bed beside the small form. "Come now, I want to see my little brother one last time before I leave."

"I don't want you to leave," Faramir muttered, his voice muffled by his pillow and the blanket over his head. "You could get hurt."

Boromir laughed a little more as he reached a hand forward and lowered the blanket, revealing Faramir's face. The boy slowly opened his eyes and cautiously looked up at his brother, blinking a little in the moonlight. "I will not be harmed, Faramir," he told him gently when he saw that he had his attention. "Father is merely sending me to Osgiliath to hone my skills with a blade. I will return home before you even know that I am gone."

Faramir thought his words over for a few moments, and then his expression saddened. "You still won't be here for the eve of my birthday," he said.

"I want nothing more than to see you turn eleven," Boromir said heavily, gently placing his hand on top of Faramir's head. "I wish I could, but sadly I cannot. You know how Father is. But I have something for you, which I want to give to you before I leave."

Faramir watched as Boromir opened the bag at his side and pulled something from its contents. As the young boy looked closer, he could clearly see what it was.

It was a stuffed wolf with entirely gray fur, its deep green eyes shining in the moonlight coming in through the window. Boromir smiled a little as he watched Faramir tentatively reach forward and take the wolf, holding it close to him when he felt how soft it was. "This wolf belonged to me when I was your age," he explained when the young boy looked up at him. "It is only right that you should have it. Happy birthday, little brother."

Holding back tears, Faramir leaned forward and embraced his older brother. He wished to tell him how he felt; how he didn't want to spend his birthday alone with their father, how the older boy was the only one he had left…

Boromir sighed as he put his arms around Faramir's small form, wishing that he didn't have to spend his birthday alone with the steward. His brother was clinging to him like a lifeline, and he knew him well enough to know what his action meant…

"Father will not spoil your special day, that I promise you," Boromir said quietly, running his hand through his brother's hair. "Take care of that wolf. I want to see it in the same condition when I return home. But now, I fear I must be off. They are waiting for me."

Faramir reluctantly let go of Boromir, surprised when the older boy leaned forward and kissed him on top of his head. "Stay strong, little brother," Boromir whispered, slowly getting to his feet. "I may make a captain out of you yet." Then, he walked out of the room and shut the door behind him.

Holding the wolf close to him, Faramir got to his knees on the bed and looked out the window into the moonlit night. He watched as Boromir climbed onto his brown horse after receiving a warm, loving embrace from their father. With soldiers surrounding him, the older boy then disappeared into the shadows of the night as he headed for Osgiliath.

Faramir sighed as he lay back down on his pillow, covering himself up with his blanket. The young boy held his brother's gift close to his chest as sleep came back over him, the moments drawing him nearer and nearer to his birthday.

The only thought now on his mind was the dreadful feeling that Boromir wouldn't be able to spend his birthday with him.

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Faramir gasped as he quickly opened his eyes, looking around him as he realized that he was lying on his blanket on the stone floor of their cave. He could hear the distant sound of the crashing waterfall guarding their hide out as he sat up, wincing when he felt the muscles in his neck were cramped.

"Good morning, Captain Faramir. You slept well, I hope."

The young captain looked up and saw that one of the soldiers that was with him was standing near him, looking at him curiously. "Yes, thank you," Faramir muttered with a slight smile.

The soldier smiled in return, but he still remained. "I… I have heard from the other men that your birthday is approaching in a couple of days," he said, almost hesitantly. "Is it true?"

Faramir looked back at the man, the smile slowly vanishing from his face. "Yes, what you have heard is true," he told him. "But I do not wish to celebrate. Life will go on as normal when the day arrives."

The soldier nodded, seeming relieved that Faramir wasn't angered by his questions. "Yes, Captain Faramir," he said before he hurried off to take care of business elsewhere.

Faramir sighed to himself, laughing a little as he got to his feet. His neck protested painfully to his movements, but he tried his best to drive the pain from his mind as he grabbed his cloak. As he fastened it securely around his shoulders, his eyes landed on the bag at the foot of his stretched-out blanket. It was a bag that not even his most loyal of men dared to look in…

With a heavy sigh, the young captain of Gondor knelt down before the bag and slowly opened it. He cautiously looked inside at the bag's only content.

The deep green eyes of a stuffed wolf looked back up at him; the same eyes he had seen years before when his brother had given the wolf to him as a gift for his eleventh birthday. Faramir tentatively reached inside and pulled it out as he had done that night years before. It seemed like it had been so long ago…

Boromir… how he had wished his older brother could have been with him that day. His father hadn't even acknowledged that the day of his eleventh birthday was different than any other day. In fact, he had hardly acknowledged his presence at all as he normally did. Faramir held the wolf close to his chest, knowing that his eleventh birthday was the only birthday that Boromir had ever missed. Now, he would never be there for another one…

"Captain Faramir."

Faramir gasped when he suddenly heard his name, keeping the wolf out of sight as he quickly looked over his shoulder. He saw his closest friend, his advisor, standing a few feet behind him. "Warn me next time you decide to sneak up on me," he said with slight humor, his racing heart slowly returning to its normal rate.

"I'm sorry to have startled you, Captain," the older man replied with a quick nod. "I just wanted to inform you that the men are prepared to leave to scout the area. We wait for your command."

"Thank you. I will be there shortly," Faramir told him.

The advisor nodded again and quickly disappeared from sight.

Making sure that he was alone once more, Faramir turned back to the wolf that he held in his lap. He looked at it one last time before he finally put it back into his bag and closed it securely. Then, he got to his feet and grabbed his bow that was leaning against the stone wall near his blanket. The captain put his hood of his cloak over his head as he walked toward where he knew the soldiers were waiting for him, but as he got farther and farther from his treasured gift, Faramir could still hear his brother's words on the night before his eleventh birthday echoing in his mind…

"Happy birthday, little brother."

A/N: Well, that's the end of part one! This reflection takes place the morning of the day where Faramir and his men find Frodo and Sam. I hope you liked it! Thanks for reading! Your reviews are much appreciated.

Next time: Missing