In my end is my beginning.

The characters are the property of the Tolkien Estate.

With grateful thanks to Raksha

Warning – Some readers may find this story distressing.

I wept until I had no tears left. I could hardly grasp that you had left me, dearest and best of friends.

My head knew it was your time to leave the circles of the world, to seek your destiny beyond them, while my heart would have pleaded for you to stay, selfish, though that would have been.

You were a hundred and twenty years old, older than any Steward of Gondor since the old White Tree had withered and died. Always wise, you gladly accepted the Gift of Men when those years became a burden.

No longer could I heal you and renew your strength; for time devours all Men. I knew you were eager to seek your Éowyn and those others you loved and had gone before: Boromir, your mother, your old comrades, even your father whom you had long ago forgiven.

In late autumn, as the leaves were falling, you lay upon your bed and summoned me to witness your surrender of the White Rod to Elboron, your eldest son.

Your children and their children's children all came to bid you farewell. They wept. You told them they should be happy for you that you chose to gladly receive Eru's Gift.

You then asked all to leave save your eldest daughter and me. You loved all your children dearly, but she, your firstborn had always held a special place in your heart and mine too. Arwen and I were so happy the day she wed Eldarion and our families were joined by marriage.

"Be strong," you told us; "and do not yet seek to follow me. Live for the love we bore one another for so long. I die content, my only regret in leaving those whom I love. "

We promised, that you might depart in peace. We each bestowed a final kiss of blessing upon you, then held your hands as you breathed your last. The years seemed to fall from you in death. We knew you had found what you were seeking.

Then Arwen and Eldarion came in. She held me close. Eldarion tried to comfort his wife. She, the little girl I once knew, was now an old woman. A lifespan, thrice that of lesser Men, can be a doubtful blessing, when you see those far younger than you grow old and fade.

Arwen led me forth from the room. She understood the depth of my loss like no other. Faramir had made our marriage possible by hailing me as his King and relinquishing his claim to rule Gondor. He was ever at my side to advise me how to be the King I wanted to be. I came to look upon him as my eldest son. We were kindred souls, alike in so many ways.

Our friendship began when I saved Faramir's life. Love sprang between us, a bond of both friendship and fealty when he had first opened his eyes and looked upon me. It were as if he were reborn as my chosen son. His own father had sought his death while I renewed his life. He repaid the debt many times over. My soul felt torn asunder at his passing.

Arwen led me to our chambers and clasped me in her arms while I wept. She sang a lament of her people, which gradually soothed me into sleep.

I saw you then, Faramir, strong and hale, untouched by the passing years. Éowyn was at your side and you looked to be in bliss. You embraced me and told me how happy you were and to rejoice for you. "I will never be far from you and will see you again, dear friend," you told me. "Be of good cheer and greet the new heir of our family with love and joy." Éowyn then led Faramir away into a fair garden and I awoke.

My heart was still heavy with loss, yet I was somewhat comforted by what I had seen.

A knock came at the door and Eldarion entered, his countenance a mixture both of joy and sorrow. " I am a grandsire," he announced. "Elthalion's wife has born him a fair son, a little early, but both are well. We shall name him Elfaron."

"A fitting name for the heir to great Houses," said Arwen. " Faramir's name shall never be forgotten."

I manage to smile. In this darkest hour we have been granted new hope.

The End