But what was there to decide? Until now, Faramir had believed he detested the thought of lying with any paid woman, no matter how beautiful. The very idea made him ill. And yet -- and yet, if he were honest with himself, the idea of lying with this particular woman, with Isilwen, he found tantalising. The more he tried not to think about her, the more his mind refused to focus on anything else.
And why should he not lie with a prostitute? Other men did it. Men he otherwise respected: his brother, for one. It seemed they all took pleasure from it, and were none the worse for it. And denying himself was keeping him from enjoying his holiday, or focusing on whatever he hoped to accomplish that day beyond thinking about her. Isilwen had chosen this life freely; Boromir had made that perfectly clear. No one had to know he went, if he decided to. Only himself.
Yet who mattered more than he? He did not live with other men's condemnation buried deep in his heart. It was not their consciences that would keep him awake at night or let him sleep soundly. For several nights he sat on a bench outside his uncle's castle, gazing up at the stars, convincing himself one way or the other, only to change his mind at the last moment.
Boromir is right, he thought miserably. How much longer can I control myself? And 'tis best to accept my failings. Who am I, to do what other men cannot? But, aye, how can I do otherwise? How can I simply choose not to live as I believe? To which the other part of him replied: Yet are you not more than merely your loins, Faramir? Whatever your choice, shall you not remain the man you always were: a son of Númenor of the highest quality?
And so he wavered.
Several more days passed, and still Faramir did not broach the subject with his brother. Then at last one morning, as Boromir and Faramir were leaving to go swimming down near the bay they were hailed by Imrahil. "Boromir," Imrahil called, "and Faramir, may I speak with you?" The look on Imrahil's face showed this was less a request than a command.
"Yes, Uncle," Boromir answered. Faramir saw from his brother's expression that Boromir was just as confused as he was. The brothers followed their uncle down the corridor and into Imrahil's private study. Imrahil sat down and motioned to two chairs on the other side of the desk. Once they were settled Imrahil handed Boromir a folded piece of parchment.
"The Silver Fox," Boromir said, eyeing the insignia at the top as he unfolded the document.
Faramir's eyes scanned the sheet, stopping on the second entry. Boromir clearly did not guess the problem. Faramir, less accustomed to using Imrahil's accounts and enduring the oft-associated inquisition, was quicker to determine the cause of his uncle's displeasure. But that charge is entirely too much for my visit alone…
"But what of it?" Boromir was now saying. "You never questioned my using your account before."
Imrahil glanced at Faramir, clearly wishing to confirm his belief, before he accused his elder nephew, that the younger had no part in this. For many reasons, Faramir did not wish to disabuse his uncle of that notion. He made sure his eyes revealed neither guilt nor innocence.
"Boromir," Imrahil said, "I love you as a son, but even you must show some restraint."
"I am sorry, Uncle, but I do not understand --"
"Read," Imrahil ordered, so Boromir read. Still Faramir waited for the realisation to hit his brother. The bill reported one visit more than two weeks prior, but that was before either of the brothers had arrived and Boromir could not expect to be blamed for that. That only left the eleventh, three days ago.
"Really, lad," Imrahil said, "twice in the same night?"
Boromir opened his mouth -- Faramir guessed to object -- but then he apparently thought better of it. He looked back down at the bill, and his lips twitched in what Faramir knew to be the sign of a suppressed smile. So he knows, Faramir thought. Two visits in one night -- yet Boromir had only made one of them, and it was clear now that his uncle had not made the other.
"My apologies, Uncle," Boromir said, bowing his head slightly. "I will try to exercise more restraint in the future."
Imrahil nodded, apparently accepting the apology. As the brothers turned toward the door, Faramir felt Boromir's arm wrap around his shoulder. "Thank you," the younger brother whispered in the ear of the elder, and Boromir gave Faramir's shoulders a little squeeze. He knew, and he approved. That was enough.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.