"Thanks, Daddy!" yelled nine-year-old Boromir, ripping the gift-wrap (covered in white trees) off his new shield.
"Wow! A boat!" he said, looking at it and envisioning himself floating down the Anduin on it.
Denethor looked sour.
"It is not a boat! It is a shield, young man, and I expect you to learn how to defend yourself with it."
"Why would I want to do that when I could sail down the Anduin on it?"
Finduilas laughed again.
"Exactly, Denethor. Let the child do what he likes."
Denethor scowled at his chuckling wife and bewildered son.
"You are expected to become a brave warrior of Gondor! You must learn how to defend yourself!"
"Brave piece of Warg fodder is how most of your men end up," commented Finduilas dryly, shaking with laughter.
Denethor turned to her and froze her with a single glare.
"He. Will. Learn. To. Fight."
"Yes, dear," Finduilas said weakly. Denethor's glare could seriously terrify a Ringwraith, she thought. It didn't do much for her composure.
"Well go on, then," said Denethor, unusually kind, "I expect you're dying to show your brother."
"Yes," agreed Boromir, desperate to escape. He raced out the door.
A few minutes later, Boromir and Faramir were looking doubtfully at the shield.
"I still think it's a boat," Boromir said. "But Daddy will get mad at me if I say so."
"Why don't you just take it down to a fountain and see if it floats?" suggested Faramir. He was unusually perceptive for a four-year-old.
"Good idea," agreed Boromir.
"Do you think it will float?" asked Faramir.
"I don't know. It seems rather heavy," Boromir replied doubtfully. "Still, I suppose you could always try."
Boromir was an unusually optimistic child.
"Come on! What are you waiting for?" squeaked Faramir, getting excited. He had never been on a boat before.
They hurried down to a conveniently placed fountain to test the idea.
Boromir and Faramir prepared to lower the shield onto the water. Faramir was excited.
Boromir was a little uneasy. Something was missing.
"Do you have a bottle?" he asked Faramir suddenly.
"Why would you need one?"
"They break bottles on ships before they sail. I saw Daddy doing it. And then they name them."
"I'll go and steal a bottle from the kitchen," offered Faramir.
He was back in exactly three minutes – Boromir timed him.
"Here you are," he chirped, handing Boromir a green bottle.
"This is empty," said Boromir. "I think they usually have stuff in bottles."
"Stuff?" asked Faramir. "Does it matter what kind of stuff?"
"I don't think so."
Faramir quickly dunked the bottle in the fountain and handed it back to his brother.
"Cool!" exclaimed Boromir. "That was a good idea!"
"I know," said Faramir modestly.
Boromir picked up the shield and smashed the bottle against it proudly.
"This ship is the SS Gondor!"
"SS?" queried Faramir doubtfully.
Boromir shrugged. "It sounded good."
"Do you want to try sailing it?"
"Obviously." Boromir snorted and rolled his eyes.
"Do you want to sail it or should I?" asked Faramir.
Boromir looked at Faramir. He looked down at himself. Faramir was a lot smaller and lighter than he was.
"You sail it," he said. "I might sink it."
Faramir managed to clamber into the shield. It wobbled and wavered a bit.
Faramir was worried. He clung on bravely.
"Look at me, Boromir!" he called.
"Before I drown would be nice," he added nervously.
"You look nice, Faramir!" Boromir called admiringly. "Now just hang on!"
Faramir wasn't convinced.
"I'm going to die! I'm going to die! I'm going to – "
At that moment, a tiny wavelet, the sort that would only have impressed an ant with a surfboard, lapped against Faramir's 'boat'.
Faramir was paranoid.
"Tsunami!" he shrieked. He toppled off his shield, into the raging six-inch-deep water.
"Uh oh," said Boromir in alarm.
He then realised.
"Help!" he yelled. "My brother's drowning! Faramir's going to die!"
Beregond rushed over. He was shorter than Boromir.
"Oh no!" cried Beregond. "Help! Faramir is drowning!"
The boys yelled. Faramir flailed. Nobody seemed to realise that the water was barely deep enough to wet his toes in.
"Oh dear," said Boromir nervously. "Not good."
Denethor crossed the lawn. His expression was inscrutable, and Boromir could not tell if he was cross.
"So," he said.
Boromir was tempted to say 'So what?' but rejected the idea on the grounds that it was suicidal.
"What is happening?" he asked, examining his favourite fountain with a twinge of despair.
"Father," quavered Boromir, "Faramir drownded in there."
"Drowned, Boromir. How many times must I tell you?"
He then fished Faramir out of the fountain by the collar. Faramir spluttered.
"He's alive!" squeaked Boromir.
Denethor smiled thinly.
Boromir hugged Faramir.
Faramir coughed up water.
Denethor stood to a side getting all misty-eyed.
And Beregond sneaked off silently.
Next time Boromir told him someone was drowning, he decided, he was going to check first.
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.