Disclaimer: Characters and places all belong to Tolkien.

Author Note: So, here I am in the middle of exams writing my third one shot in two weeks; no one gave the House of Hurin permission to invade my brain – they just did it. Anyway, just a quick scene between baby Faramir and Denethor, perhaps warmer than their relationship is normally portrayed. I just don't (or refuse) believe Denethor hated his son; as Gandalf said, he loved him and at certain points, especially before the death of Finduilas and using the palantir, I think it would have shone through.

Description: Denethor is on his way to the Stewards office when he hears baby Faramir crying... fluffy.

A First

The Captain of the White Tower walked down the corridor, some scrolls of state in his hand. Having returned just a few days before from fighting skirmishes against the orcs of Mordor, he was perhaps a little tired. His head throbbed slightly and his back ached where it had not done ten years before hand. Having past fifty, he was beginning to have to take a 'mind over matter' attitude to bodily discomfort, which during and after battle was frequent.

His destination was the office of the Steward; Ecthelion and he had been getting on well since the departure of Thorongil and he was eager to not upset the apple cart between them. He did not relish the days when they were not getting on so well. In fact, due to the fact they made him feel like a failure, he loathed them.

He had been about to turn the corner when he heard a small cry; he knew its origin, for he had just walked past the nursery. The steward, who doted on his grandsons, had insisted it be close to his own office, and Denethor knew his father was a regular visitor. Perhaps more regular than he himself was.

Turning back around, he headed for his boys rooms though, knowing he was only going to find one of them there. His pride and joy was off in the stables, having begun his riding lessons the month before hand. Boromir's training for his later life had begun.

Denethor hesitated. He did not as a rule like to go into the nursery when the elder lad was not present. He would not lie to himself as he did to the others, even as he did to his wife. He did feel a greater connection to the elder of his two boys. He had been there for Boromir more in the early days of his life than he had for Faramir, for the times they had been living in had been more peaceful. It was a rare thing he had had two consecutive months at home these days. Between spending time with his wife, playing with Boromir and reporting to the steward, he did not seem to be able to spare much time for his second son.

But that day had to be different, for Faramir was crying harder now; Valar only knew where his nurse. He could not walk away. Putting down the scrolls he had been carrying down as he went into the nursery, Denethor crossed to the crib.

On sight of his father, Faramir did not stop crying, but neither did he cry harder. There was just a steady wail.

Perhaps he was hungry, or needed a change, or ... well, his father didn't know. All he did know was he had to settle him until someone who could interpret infant came along...

The problem was... he didn't know how to settle Faramir. Again, if it was Boromir, he would have known what to do but... He remembered how he felt when he failed his father, for that feeling settled in his stomach right then – but it was worse. Failing a son was worse than failing a father.

How had he distracted Boromir when he had cried thus as an infant?

Covering his face with his hands, Denethor wished he had checked there was no one around. It would not do for a Captain of the White Tower to be engaged in such foolishness. But it was too late then...

"Boo!" he exclaimed as he uncovered his face to the baby.

Faramir hushed instantly asides from a few hiccups. He was looking at his father with an intense curiosity for a moment, but soon his little face screwed once more.

Denethor was not going to be beaten by an eleven month old baby though.


This time, having caught Faramir off his guard, Denethor watched as the baby seemed to try and resist relaxing. The gurgle that came out of him however, hinted to his father that he was indeed doing something right.


Faramir didn't just gurgle. He laughed. Out loud. At his father.

And then he clapped his hands.

Whether it was intentional or not did not seem to matter at that moment. Denethor had never seen him do it before and so it was a first. He had been there for so few of Faramir's 'firsts'.

He had missed the first time he had been nursed by his mother. He had missed his first smile. He had missed the first time he had rolled over under his own will.

But when he had clapped his hands for the first time, something he was sure Finduilas would have reported to him had it done it before, Denethor was there.

With pride in his heart, Denethor leant down and picked the baby up, cuddling him close to him, almost with the ease he had held his brother with when he had been so small.

"You are so clever, little one," praised Denethor. "And you have given your papa much joy this day," he said as he kissed his forehead.

Faramir leant up and gently grabbed his father's nose, causing the captain to chuckle.

He may not be Boromir, but that did not mean that Denethor did not have a true and deep affection for the boy.

"On the contra, your papa loves you very much," he whispered as he kissed the baby's chubby cheek, matters of state and his father forgotten.

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