Chapter 13 - Finding the ale

"She?" Boromir asked. "Galadriel?"

Faramir's head lifted in sharp surprise."Galadriel?" he echoed. "You don't mean... you couldn't mean...?"

Boromir frowned, realizing suddenly that he had yet to tell Faramir anything of his time in Lothlorien, or what had happened since. How the hell was he to explain about Aragorn? But then again, Faramir had always been the one who believed that they'd see Gondor's King return in their lifetimes. Of course, the last time he'd said anything about it he'd been only about ten years old or so...

"Boromir?" Faramir prompted.

"Huh?" Boromir turned back to him. "Oh. Yes, that Galadriel." He picked up the thread, ready for as much teasing as possible before getting down to the serious matter of how to figure out Minas Tirith and Denethor and Aragorn.

Garad stared, trading a look of utter disbelief with Faramir. "The Lady Galadriel, The Witch of Lothlorien?"

Boromir snorted. "She takes exception to that term."

"You were in Laurelindorinian?" Faramir demanded. "But, you couldn't have been, not unless you doubled back to Moria, which makes no sense."

"More sense than trying to cross Caradhras in the depths of winter," Boromir said with sour remembrance. "I went to Lothlorien after I was dead," he explained, again relishing the amount of teasing he could get in as he filled them in. "At first, my soul shared space inside, Arag- inside, another Ranger. A Man of Arnor."

"Boromir..." Faramir began, and there was nothing but deep concern in his blue eyes. A Healer's concern. "You were dead several days. You can't be remembering it right."

"Maybe that cave troll rattled your brains beyond saving," Garad said cheerfully and extended a hunk of bread to Boromir. "Not to worry, not much to save in the first place!"

"Thanks," Boromir said dryly. Then, suddenly aware that he was ravenously hungry, he took a bite. "Good bread," he said over a mouthful.

Garad shook his head. "It's three days old, at least. But I suppose anything tastes good after you've been dead."

"Do you have to keep reminding me?" Boromir complained and kicked him lightly on the shin.

"As it happens," Garad said, returning a smack for the kick. "Yes. Nasty scare you gave us there, Oh My Captain General!"

"I suppose so," Boromir agreed.

Apparently having decided he'd rather know less than more, Faramir had fallen silent. Boromir turned to look at him and found such an expression of joy and such a tender, sappy smile on his brother's face that his first reaction was to tease. But then he found himself returning the smile in equal measure.

The three of them sat in silence again for a time, eating bread and apples that tasted better than the finest fare Boromir had ever known. The sun was warm, the stream gurgled pleasantly over the stones, and the Forest of Fangorn failed miserably to live up to all expectations of ghoulish horror. Which reminded Boromir...

"Gandalf led you here?"

Faramir exchanged a look with Garad who only shook his head.

"No," Faramir said evenly. "Mother showed us the way."

Boromir choked on a piece of apple. Garad jumped up to aid Faramir in slapping him on the back. Boromir waved them off, his eyes running as he gasped, "Mother!"

"Mother," Faramir confirmed, eying him worriedly for the choking fit.

Boromir had to admit his ribs were still a little sore. Which was something, considering the state they had been in previously. He eyed his brother levelly a long moment, trying to figure if Faramir was just getting even for Boromir's dead then not dead routine. But, as their gazes locked, Boromir found more wistful sadness than teasing in his brothers' eyes. So it was true.

"She and Gandalf, hey," Boromir said, trying to lighten the mood. "Ghosts together. The Hereafter will never be the same."

"Ghosts!" A familiar gruff voice harumphed.

The glade filled with blinding whiteness, and Gandalf's shape began to reform before them. "Looks who's talking!" he said reprovingly.

Set to give as good as he got, Boromir's mouth opened then closed over a wordless cry, half pain, half joy. Gandalf had not returned empty-handed.

"Boromir?" Pippin asked.

"It's true!" Merry exclaimed. The gash on his brow had been tended, was already healing over.

"He is! He is!" Pippin pulled free of Gandalf's hold in a frenzy of excitement.

"What's true?" Garad asked as Faramir questioned at the same time, "These are the friends you feared for?"

"He's back!" Merry and Pippin finished as one. Then they charged at Boromir who went to his knees to accept their arms open embrace, their laughter tumbling with the ripple of the stream.

"I told you I would see them safe," Gandalf said, eying Boromir with reproof. "Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are also on their way here. Most of The Fellowship will again be together."

"Gimli has something for you." Pippin announced, drawing back to look up at him.

"Something he couldn't give you back in Lothlorien," Merry finished, looking up at him with as pleased a smile as any Boromir had ever seen.

"Eomer gave it to him to give you as a get well gift," Pippin chattered on excitedly.

"Eomer!" Boromir wondered how he'd gotten tangled in all this.

"He and his Riders helped us escape," Merry said.

"Then Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli found us and Gandalf told us about you..." Merry added.

"And we wanted to throw a party, but you weren't here, so ..."

"So, Gandalf brought us to you," Merry said, the two Hobbits dizzying Boromir as they juggled their turns at speech.

"And Gimli said no celebration would be fitting without..."

"So Eomer gave him..."

"Beer for you!" Pippin exclaimed.

"It was supposed to be a surprise, Pippin!" Merry complained, giving his cousing an elbow in the ribs.

"Come here!" Boromir laughed, and took Merry and Pippin into his embrace once again.

His life was back, and his life was good.

- End , or is TBC? You tell me! -Carolyn

Sorry this is a short update, I think I posted too much yesterday! LOL Want to tell you exciting news, Eleanor Tremayne has agreed to allow the prequel to Rapid Peril to be posted here! She's been impressed by all the reviews on this story, so thanks are owed are kind reviewers! DITHEN will appear here soon – it is a fantastic read! Lots of great character moments for Boromir, Faramir and Garad, set 20 yrs prior to Rapid Peril and telling the story of a Ranger mission for young Captain Faramir that goes distastrously wrong. Faramir risks everything to be sure the enemy don't triumph. Both he and Boromir have premonitions… oh, you'll have to read it! I had the privilege of writing some of the scenes, mostly action-oriented for this story! It was a lot of fun to write! So keep an eye out, it'll be here in the next few days! Keep those reviews coming and I can talk more people into posting not to mention that I might feel inspired to continue Soul Full! Where do you think the characters would go from here? I'm inclined to send Faramir and Garad along with Aragorn and Boromir to Edoras and onward…. - Carolyn