The Wizard's Pupil
A/N: I deeply apologize to all my readers but I simply don't have any free time to finish my HP and GWTW pieces at the moment. )-: This is the only story I have managed to finish in the last half a year – a contribution to HASA birthday challenge of one of my most favourite LOTR writers, Linaewen. I once more thank to Linaewen for her great LOTR pieces at HASA and other LOTR fanfiction sites and offer to you all my very first LOTR fanfic. Enjoy and have a great year 2011!
Time of Gandalf's and Pippin's arrival to the White City of Gondor
"What have you done to my son, Mithrandir?" the Steward of Gondor barked as soon as the servants left the throne room where he, the Halfling and the Wizard faced one another.
For all his wisdom, Gandalf appeared startled. "I haven't seen Faramir in many months," he offered carefully, cautiously eying the enraged Steward.
"Not him, Mithrandir, do not play your games with me! You know very well that I do not mind to have a wizard's pupil for a son who shall once I am no longer here deal with the diplomatic missions for his brother." Denethor's eyes narrowed. "I mean my eldest, Boromir. I have thought we had agreed long ago that you are not to meddle with his mind."
"But Boromir is dead," Pippin peeped hesitantly and tugged at Gandalf's robe. Has the Steward lost his mind out of grief?
Gandalf himself was looking at the man pensively as if unsure how to proceed if the Steward indeed was not sane. Finally, he said slowly, carefully observing the reaction of his counterpart. "The companions of your son have seen him dying, Denethor. Please accept my condolences for your great loss..."
Gandalf had wanted to say more, Pippin thought, but the sudden outburst of harsh laugher from the Steward silenced them both.
"So you really are not omniscient, Mithrandir!" the man exclaimed with a badly hidden triumph. But soon his features adopted a more humble expression and he added in a more amiable tone: "Although, I have to admit that I am glad for it this time. Boromir was gravely wounded and is confined to the Houses of Healing for the time-being but the healers assure me that he shall live."
When Gandalf and Pippin continued to eye him incredibly, the Steward actually smiled. "Those companions you have spoken about, Mithrandir, likely saved my son's life, attempting to balm his deeply unconscious body, before sending it down the Anduin, with a plant that was at ancient times used also for healing, or so I am told. If you want any particularities, ask the healers – or Faramir, he understands it better. I can only add that Faramir dreamt about his brother's funeral boat traveling down the river when he was stationed in Ithilien and prompted by the dream reached the stream just in time to stop the real boat sailing down the Anduin with his unconscious, but yet living brother on board."
Next to Gandalf, Pippin released a sigh and grinned. So it was true and Boromir yet lived! The hobbit tugged anew at Gandalf's sleeve. "We have to go to see him, Gandalf, please!"
"Just a moment, Peregrin." Gandalf deliberated his arm and took a step closer to Denethor, contemplating the man sternly. "I would first know what it was that I have harmed Boromir with."
The Steward shrugged his shoulders. "Go and see him. You will understand immediately. And talk some sense into him, or I cannot have him leading the armies again. You know very well that we cannot afford that!"
"Mithrandir!" A young man with an emptied food tray exclaimed fondly and Pippin from the likeliness understood that they were meeting the Steward's younger son and Boromir's brother.
"Faramir," Gandalf nodded with a soft smile, his voice laced with equal affection. "I hope you are well!"
"Indeed, I am. More so now when I myself see you alive despite all the evidence that you were lost to us! Boromir and I could hardly believe father's messenger when he brought the news!" The young man smiled broadly and setting his load down, he offered his hand in greeting to the Wizard.
Gandalf took it and squeezed. "I am also glad that the news of Boromir's demise proved to be false," he said, sounding genuinely eased.
"Thank you," Faramir nodded gratefully. "And thank you also for your aid to my brother during your journey, yours and that of your other companions," he whispered suddenly, somewhat conspiratorially leaning towards Gandalf, "no matter what father has to say. I had loved the brother who had left for Imladris well enough but I shall honour the one who returned to me even more."
Pippin listened to the young man's speech – and couldn't help it but be confused by the words. Boromir was the one who provided help to them – not the other way around. A swift side glance at Gandalf didn't help either – the Wizard's face was as unreadable as ever. Any further musings were interrupted by Faramir's next words.
"He is waiting for you," the young captain said simply, stepping back and once more taking the tray. "The second door to the right. I will be back as soon as I return this tray to the kitchens."
It was with a great curiosity that they stepped in Boromir's room, not exactly knowing what to expect.
Pippin first took in the heavily bandaged body of his friend and Boromir's haggard face that spoke volumes of a long illness and sighed in regret.
Gandalf, who had understood from the Steward's and Faramir's speeches that Boromir was out of danger, saw primary the many scrolls of the ancient parchment that covered all the free surfaces in the room. Not a sight he would be used to from this man's chambers! Then his eyes found a leather box sitting on a small chest next to Boromir's bed – and immediately widened in disbelief. The Wizard had seen the box previously and knew well that it contained the crown of the kings of Gondor – what a sight in the rooms of the Steward's eldest son who had once asked his father (as Gandalf had later reluctantly been told) when their house would reach royalty!
"Boromir!" Gandalf admonished the ill man who was staring at some piece of parchment so deep in thoughts that he hadn't yet noticed their arrival.
Boromir looked up from the document and his face brightened in delight. "Mithrandir! Pippin! Welcome to Minas Tirith! I am very glad that you are alive, Gandalf."
"As I am glad to see you yet between the livings, my boy," Gandalf smiled slightly. Then his eyes fell on the leather box again and his features darkened in a frown. "But I cannot tell that I am happy to see what you are attempting here. I can hardly believe that Faramir would approve of this madness!"
"This madness?" Boromir repeated uncertainly, lowering the hand holding the parchment to his sheets.
"Yes, this madness." Gandalf was stern. "I could understand your question all those years ago – but to proceed with your desire now – and to persuade Faramir to assist you! If you don't want me to call it betrayal, then madness is the best word I can find to describe your doing."
"I fear I don't understand you, Mithrandir," Boromir shook his head sadly. "I thought you would approve."
Pippin was once more confused. Why would Gandalf – and the Steward both – disagree with Boromir's reading? As far as he was concerned, the man was in no shape to fight and he was welcomed to help dealing with the paperwork as much as he liked – until he was sufficiently healed to lead his men again.
"He will approve, brother. Do not fear," Faramir's voice said suddenly from the threshold of the room, once again interrupting Pippin's thoughts. "But as I have told you before, it takes time to get used to your sudden altruism. We were all too used to a somewhat different man in your place. Not that it's a bad thing with the father – it will give him time to get used to the idea of a king ruling in Gondor again."
He approached the bed and handed to his brother a glass with some bitter drought, judging by the grimace that appeared on Boromir's face as he dutifully emptied the container.
"I was also not used to have a nursemaid for a brother," Boromir grumbled but when he returned the glass to Faramir, his face was smiling gratefully. "Here, little brother," Boromir handed his parchment to Faramir. "I hope you shall like these changes."
Faramir scanned the parchment and nodded. "Yes, father will appreciate that he doesn't have to recite all the speeches by himself. No matter how this little play of yours makes him inclined to accept the new order…"
The younger man approached Gandalf then and offered him the document. "I hope you will now understand – and approve, Mithrandir."
Gandalf looked at the parchment; Pippin at his side trying to get at least a peek. But before he could, the Wizard started to laugh. "That is indeed an unexpected – and very welcomed – altruism, my lord Boromir," he said fondly and respectfully bowed to the Steward's heir, a gesture Pippin couldn't recall Gandalf would have honoured anybody with. Then, as if knowing that Pippin couldn't wait to know what was on the parchment, the Wizard handed the document to the Hobbit. "Please, give it back to Boromir, Pippin."
Pippin happily nodded and as soon as the parchment reached his small hands, he gazed at the topmost line. Black on white stood there "The Coronation of Aragorn II. (or whatever Elvish name the King decides to use)." And Pippin too grinned in delight.
Faramir exchanged a smile with his brother and mischievously added towards Gandalf: "There are two wizard's pupils in Gondor now, I fear. Let us hope that we can persuade father that it's not a bad thing!"