This story is for my mother, who I love dearly, though she is prone to unnecessary panic over her children much too often;
my father, who sometimes finds communication with his daughter an extremely challenging task, but with her help copes;
my poor younger brother, shadowed a little by his bright and successful sister, but being such a dear no girl can resist him;
and, above all, my seven-year-old dragon-and-princess-loving friend Oksana, a little blond blue-eyed girl who listened to my very abridged bedtime version of The Hobbit with a fascination that would inspire even the dullest person to write at least an SMS…though it may be some time before she learns English and can read this my gift to her.
The thing most unbearable for me is waiting.
And waiting now… who knows what for…
No, it would be a lie to say so. I know what I still hope to hear with the shreds of my long-forgotten hopes.
I want to hear his voice. And I want him to hear mine, one last time.
Then, I would finally tell him everything I kept to myself all those long years. And, maybe, he could forgive me.
I keep wondering when it all began. When did I start to lose my child? Many would say it was after his mother’s death, and yet I know it was not so…
She died. Four days had passed, and I still was— well, stunned and bewildered by the cruel truth of it. Her absence proved to be a lot more evident that her presence. She had been exactly the kind of wife I needed; never intruding upon my work, ever so patient even if I was sometimes forced to stay away from her for long evenings, to come to her bed only in the small hours of the night, and somehow she managed not to be asleep, waiting for me to lean into her gentle embrace, to whine about the cursed last King who for some curious reason would not take a cursed wife and have at least one cursed son; no, he had to start the cursed position of the Steward instead. She would chuckle at this and reprimand me for the lack of reverence towards the age-sacred traditions of my homeland. Then I would let her take my clothes off me and fall onto the bed, exhausted but oh how happy to feel her fingers softly tracing the contours of my face and hear her comment on the additional touch of manliness my new stubble gave me…
But she was no more. And there were two children I now had to raise alone.
And I had no clue how I would do that.
To add to all that, they were so different one could doubt their kinship, were they not so alike in appearance. Boromir was the easy one to deal with. A child quick-tempered, driven to tears or laughter within a split second, wreaking havoc anywhere he went – but oh, so wonderfully plain and open! Whenever he broke anything or bumped into a busy servant or tripped over a sleeping cat and onto a long flight of stairs, there would be a hellish wail that would not stop for hours, and his mother and nurse had to give him endless sweets and honey cakes…
Faramir used to produce no fewer calamities, but in a way so different from his brother’s! One of them was scrambling into an old chest in a storeroom, and then the lid fell shut, and he was not discovered until late at night. Finduilas happened to be sitting at Boromir’s bedside – the boy had measles – and I bravely dismissed the nurse venturing to look after my child myself, having less matters of state to attend to that evening. What happened was this: to my shame, I dosed off in front of the fire, and my little son simply disappeared! He would do a thing like this with great care, so I had had several hours of sound sleep before awakening to see my wife glaring at me.
It was I who found the boy, and quite by accident. He had been so silent, and all thought the child would surely cry out, so… I still remember the deadly chill that took me at the thought of what might have happened to him had it not occurred to me to check upon the dusty room.
He gave me a look filled with such horror that for a moment I was short of breath. I held the child tightly to my chest, feeling his small hands clutch at my tunic, his heart beat as wildly as a frightened bird’s, his shallow breaths hitting my neck. And yet, he did not make a sound.
Finally, I heard a faint whisper, too faint to make out the words.
“What is it, child? Are you hurt?” I tried to keep my voice firm and calm, so as not to alarm him still more.
“Dark… Father, so dark…” With that, he pressed still closer and started to shake.
“Shh, I am here, love, we will go to your mother, there is nice warm big fire there, and candles. Hush, let us go. All will be well, I promise.”
He had started to sob quietly when I took him to the nursery. My wife was already there, informed by some servant that her younger child was safe and whole. Having cast a furious glance at me, she hissed, “I have been told that it takes certain people forever to make a father, my lord, but even in my worst nightmares never have I thought you one of such! Give my son to me now!”
I knew better than trying to reason with her just then, subdued as I was with the realization of my own inadequacy and my son’s fright and overwhelmed with relief as well. Silently, I passed Faramir into her arms and fled.
“All right, I think I could forgive you.” She was frowning at me, but I noticed a hint of a laugh in her eyes. “Go and see your son. He wants to make sure we are reconciled, otherwise he might not sleep.”
I was already leaving the chamber, but then changed my mind, returned swiftly to her and kissed her with all the passion I could summon. Just when she had started to respond to the kiss, I broke off, laughed, and hurried to the nursery, followed by the sound of her amused chuckle.
Faramir was in bed, pale still, but contented. He already looked sleepy, but smiled and held out his small hand in my direction. I sat down on his bed, stooping to kiss his sift cheek.
“How do you feel, my little one?”
“Mother angry with me?”
I nearly fell off the bed. “You! Whatever makes you say that, son?”
He sniffled, huge tears escaping his eyes and rolling down the temples. Alarmed, I gathered him from the bed and held close, stroking his dark tangled hair.
“Hush, your mother is not angry with you in the least! She is a little mad at me, though. You know, I was supposed to look after you!” I gave him a little squeeze and a shake. He did not speak for a while, then looked up at me with big moist eyes.
“Mother is angry because I was naughty,” he said, looking absolutely heartbroken. “I don’t want Mother to be angry with you because of me.”
I could have laughed, had I not been so deeply touched at his concern. “Faramir, your Mother is not angry any longer. This is what she sent me here for – to tell you this. She was just so very worried about you, and Boromir too – he is ill, remember? – so she said some angry words that she did not really mean. People do so sometimes, you know. But, even if your Mother is angry, that does not mean she does not love us all.”
He still looked unconvinced. Then I lowered my head to his and whispered into the little ear, “She let me kiss her. Now, would she do such a thing if she were still angry?”
“No,” he gave me a small smile, immediately followed by an enormous yawn. “Can I see Boromir tomorrow?”
“No, not yet, son. You might fall ill too. We will have to wait a little longer. Sleep now, my little one. You are tired; it has been a long day for all of us.” I put him back into his bed and moved to blow out the candles. “Does the fire bother you?”
It was burning high, bathing the nursery in rich orange glow. The flames were springing up, twisting playfully with one another; the wood gave an occasional soft crack.
“No,” Faramir answered. “It was so dark in there…” He shuddered, and I stroke his cheek soothingly, but then he smiled again. “Fire is so beautiful…” His eyes were closing, but he murmured yet before falling asleep, “I… love…fire…”
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.