Eowyn sat up in bed a scream dying on her lips. Her breath came in ragged gasps as she fought for breath. The sweat soaking her body reflected the moonlight streaming in her window.
She could still feel... him. The Witch-King of Angmar. She could feel his metal plated hands closing around her neck, squeezing the life out of her.
Around her bed, the white walls of her room in Minas Tirith seemed to close in, suffocating her even more. She had to get outside...
Tearing the sweat-soaked blankets from her, Eowyn ran out of the room before she was choked completely. Up and up, she climbed, her bare feet echoing on the cold stone floors. Why did this infernal castle have so many stairways?
Bursting through another set of doors, Eowyn finally reached the frigid night air. Her breath misted as she panted from her run. She went to a bench overlooking the cursed Pelennor fields, and began to cry.
Every night now, her dreams were filled of death and darkness. Her brother had gone back to Rohan, requesting that she stay here to rest until she was fit enough to ride back to Edoras.
As stifling as Minas Tirith was, Eowyn couldn't go back to her rome in the horselands. Too much of theoden and Theodred still lingered there, and for her, the grief of losing both was still too near.
The moonlight fell on her pale figure, making her look even more pale and drawn than she did in sunlight. Slowly, she curled up on the bench, the cold lulling her into a frosty sleep.
Faramir sat in his study, unable to sleep. He wasn't eager to close his eyes, for he knew that nightmares that would find him there. Poisonous thoughts of his brother and father darkened his dreams as of late, and no sedative the healers could give him could banish these nightmares from his mind.
A scream ripped through the silence, causing the young steward to jump. He had grown accustomed to the screams every night, but each time he heard this despairing cry, his heart rended a little more. He had tried to ask the healers who made these cries in the night, but they just shook their heads sadly.
Running feet and sobs sounded right outside his door, heading up to the top of the castle. A woman. That would explain the scream.
He sat by the fire for a good ten minutes, listening for heavier treads to move along the hall after the woman. When none came, a stab of worry came into his mind.
Dressing in a warm cloak, he opened the door and began to traverse to the upper levels, unable to bear the thought of a woman alone in the night.
When he reached the top, the cold night air hit him like needles, and he wished that he had worn more clothing in preparation. Just ahead, curled on a bench, lay a pale woman in a nightgown, who was shivering and crying at the same time. Faramir rushed to her, sacrificing his cloak to wrap around her frail body.
When he got a closer look, Faramir realized that it was the girl from Edoras; Theoden's niece... Eolan? Eowan? Eowyn. Her lips were blue with cold, and her tear tracks were beginning to freeze on her white cheeks as the wind whipped along the courtyard.
Without a second thought, Faramir picked Eowyn up, surprised at her lightness, and carried her back to his quarters.
Once there, he pulled some blankets form his bed and made a makeshift mattress by the fire, wrapping Eowyn tighter in his cloak when he set her down on it. As she still shivered, Faramir bit his lip and lay down next to her, sharing his body heat. She stopped shivering almost instantly.
Being a gentleman, he rolled to the with a flush on his cheeks, not wanting to take advantage of the lovely young woman. He was a gentleman, after all.
Another few minutes, and Faramir decided he really wanted some tea. He edged away from Eowyn so as not to wake her, and pured some of the soothing brew from the kettle on his desk.
Dawn was another few hours away, and Faramir was beginning to feel the strain of exhaustion. He glanced at his companion, sleeply lightly on the floor. She looked troubled, even in sleep. When he had seen her from afar, she never smiled or laughed, only walked with her head held high and a cold expression on her face.
Was it true that this beautiful creature suffered nightmares? What had happened that could marr this perfect girl?
She stirred, and Faramir fixed her in his gaze. Suddenly, her eyes flew open and she sat up, gasping. Faramir lept from his chair and was at her side in a moment.
"Milady?" He asked. She fixed her wild blue eyes on him, which promptly widened when she recognized him. She flushed when she realized she was only in her white nightgown, and tried to cover herself up, then realizing she was wrapped in faramir's cape, she pulle dher knees to her chest, glaring at him.
"Why am I here?" She asked. Faramir held up his hands in surrender.
"You were in danger of freezing up on the courtyard. I did not know whence you came, so I brought you to my quarters. I mean no harm" Faramir said in a level tone, their eyes meeting. Eowyn relaxed.
"I see you as no threat, milord. Your intentions are good. Though I wish that you had left me to my own demise" Faramir frowned. This woman wished for death?
"Why do you despair so that you wish to die?" He asked before standing and retrieving a cup of tea for Eowyn.
"I am plagued by nightmares. They haunt my very soul, to where I cannot be happy" She spat, glaring down into her tea. Her words hit Faramir like an arrow.
"I understand all too well, Milady. I am suffering the same, as of late" Eowyn fixed him in her gaze, and he looked back. She sighed and sipped her tea.
"Battles leave even the uninjured scarred" She whispered. Faramir nodded in agreement, and the two lapsed into silence. The fire crackled on, and rain could be heard slowly beginning to beat against the window.
"Pardon me, Milord. May I stay the night with you? I do not wish to go back to my own quarters. There are shadows there" Eowyn broke the silence, setting her finished cup of tea down on the hearth. Faramir nodded.
"My bed is open to you anytime"
Eowyn gave him an odd look, and the young captain of gondor flushed as he never had before.
"I-I mean, I would never! In that way, I-I would respect your virtue- I..." Eowyn laughed. stopping Faramir short.
"I know what you meant, Faramir of Gondor. And I trust you to respect me" She smiled, and Faramir felt himself smile too, something that he hadn't done in quite some time.
Indeed, Eowyn was surprised that she was laughing at the young Gondorian man, her bell-like laugh carrying through the room. He began to laugh with her, and soon they were on the floor, laughing as they never had before.
Soon, they lay side by side on the blanket, breathless. The fire's embers smoldering lightly beside them. Eowyn rolled to her side and propped herself up on her elbow.
This is the most merriment I have felt in some many moons, Faramir. You have helped me greatly"
"As have you, Eowyn" Faramir replied, Smiling at the young woman in a way that made her cheeks flush.
"Come, we must sleep" She said, standing and pulling Faramir up by his hands. He protested as she led him to the bed, pulling him down next to her.
"I trust you not to tarnish my virtue whilst we sleep" She whispered, then pulled the blankets over them both and curling into Faramir's chest. Faramir blushed madly. He was in bed with a woman! Memories of sharing his body heat with her before rose to his mind.
Unsure of what to do, he put his arms around Eowyn, careful not to pull her too close to him. After some time, he began to feel drowsy, Eowyn's even breathing lulling him to sleep.
The rest of the night, the two slept peacefully, side by side. Not a nightmare to be had by either one.
This would not be the last time the two shared beds.