1. The Morning After
However, things took a decidedly surreal turn when the door to the bedchamber suddenly swung open and his brother emerged wearing Faramir's stolen bathrobe, threw himself into the chair opposite, and greeted him with a suggestive waggle of the eyebrows and a "That was some night, huh?"
There were a few minutes during which Faramir attempted to decide which was the most disturbing part of this repertoire: that Boromir had just emerged from his bedchamber, that Boromir had just emerged from his bedchamber wearing a bathrobe, that Boromir had just emerged from his bedchamber wearing his bathrobe, that Boromir had just emerged from his bedchamber wearing his bathrobe and had waggled his eyebrows suggestively at him, that Boromir had just emerged from his bedchamber wearing his bathrobe and had waggled his eyebrows suggestively at him and made bloodcurdling references to unknown nighttime excursions, or that Boromir had just pilfered his cup of tea and was now proceeding to drink it.
Eventually, Faramir concluded that the really alarming part of the whole business was the fact that Boromir was there at all, given the fact that he was (deplorably, sorrowfully, unfortunately, disappointingly, lamentably, but quite irrevocably) stone dead.
He tried to think of something sensible to say about this, and ended up saying, "Nggrf."
"Yes, that was my favorite part, too," replied Boromir, winking at him over the rim of his teacup.
Faramir gaped ineffectually for a moment as he tried to avoid considering the implications of this statement, and then asked in a strangled voice, "Where's Éowyn?"
Boromir frowned. "Éowyn? Éowyn…" He turned his gaze swiftly toward the closed door. "Oh, right, Éowyn! She's still in there, I think."
"In the bedroom?"
Feeling very distinctly uncomfortable at the—well, it could only really be called heated—way his brother was staring at him, Faramir gulped and hastily poured himself another cup of tea.
The growing tension was somewhat dispersed as the door opened a second time and Éowyn herself appeared, wearing a bright, if groggy smile and a bathrobe that Faramir could not help but notice was on backwards. "Good morning, Faramir!" she cried cheerily, flinging her arms around his neck and planting a firm kiss on his startled mouth. "And Boromir!" she added, turning and doing the same to him before straightening and, with a coy smile, saying, "That was some night, huh?"
Faramir's jaw dropped. "Mmgrph!"
"Quite," she replied, sitting herself in a free chair to Boromir's left with a barely perceptible wince. "Is that tea?" Before Faramir could reply, she reached across the laden table with a slender arm and snatched the cup from his slackened grip.
Resignedly, Faramir lifted the teapot for a third time as the door opened yet again.
"Erky!" exclaimed Éowyn as the newcomer approached the table. "So nice of you to join us. We were just having breakfast."
"I can see that," replied Erkenbrand, throwing himself heavily onto a vacant chair with a noticeable wince, before glancing around the table and declaring, "That was some night, huh?"
There were murmurs of assent from Boromir and Éowyn. Faramir, meanwhile, choked on his tea and, after a few moments of coughing and wheezing, slammed the cup angrily on the table and spluttered, "What is going on? Éowyn, what are they," (he gestured furiously at Boromir and Erkenbrand), "doing here?"
"It might be more appropriate to ask 'who'," snickered Erkenbrand.
"Erky love, please don't try and make puns at this hour of the morning," said Éowyn.
Boromir, meanwhile, looked deeply affronted. "What d'you mean, 'what are they doing here?' I'm your brother, for Eru's sake!"
"You're also dead!" fumed Faramir.
"Do I look dead to you?" asked Boromir incredulously.
"Well, no," admitted Faramir grudgingly.
"Then that's settled, then," replied Boromir with an air of finality.
Deeply frazzled, Faramir reached for his tea and saw that Erkenbrand was drinking it.
The bedchamber door flew open with a bang and Éomer marched out in a loincloth and a war helmet. "Did someone say 'brother'?"
"Oh, that was just Boromir and Faramir having a lover's tiff. Come and have breakfast, 'Mer," said Éowyn, gesturing toward the table.
"Thanks, 'Wyn. Whoo, that was some night, huh?" her brother replied, stomping noisily over and flinging himself into the chair on Boromir's right with a very pronounced wince. "Is that tea? Fantastic." He snatched the teapot out from beneath Faramir's outstretched hand and proceeded to guzzle the contents straight from the spout.
The door opened again, and someone marched out to declare, "Oh, do stop that, Éomer; it's making me all hot and bothered."
"I'll bet it does," replied the horselord in question, relinquishing the teapot with an audible squelching sound and wicked grin before slamming it down on the table once more. Faramir lunged forward and grabbed hold of it before anyone else could lay claim to it and attempted, with no small amount of disgust, to scrub it clean with a cloth napkin.
"Morning, Théo," said Éowyn in the meantime, waving to the newcomer in welcome. "Help yourself to some breakfast."
"My thanks, cousin. What a night, what a night…" He lowered himself into the nearest seat with the utmost care, though he still could not restrain the slightest of winces. "Any chance of that tea?"
"No!" cried Faramir vehemently, hugging the teapot to himself protectively.
"Don't be ridiculous, Faramir," his wife chided. "You can't have all the tea to yourself. Let Théodred have some."
"Look, if you pass me the tea, I'll hand you the tray of biscuits," said Théodred reasonably, proffering the dish in question. "It wouldn't be the first time we traded favors…"
Faramir let out a small strangled sound and nearly threw the teapot across the table.
"Théo, if you don't stop flirting with my baby brother I'm going to have to kill you," growled Boromir.
"Oh, so you're the jealous type, eh?" ribbed Théodred.
"I should have thought you'd remember that, of all people," replied Boromir, and the two deceased would-be heirs traded glances that were entirely too knowing.
The door to the chamber opened yet again to emit a gaggle of scantily clad hobbits. Boromir's chair was yanked out from beneath him, and he vanished underneath the table as Merry and Pippin clambered over his stolen seat and onto the table.
"That was some night, huh? We're famished," pronounced Pippin, catching hold of the tray of biscuits that Faramir had adamantly refused to touch, while Merry helped himself to the tea.
"You're always famished," said Erkenbrand.
"And yet you keep feeding us," countered Merry before turning to address the other pair of hobbits, who were presumably still standing behind the table, obscured from view. "Do you and Frodo want anything?"
"Hell yes," came Sam's muffled voice, followed by an audible giggle and a few other strange sounds.
Faramir suddenly felt something brush his foot and nearly yelped as Boromir emerged abruptly from beneath the table at his side. "Hello again, little brother," he said brightly. "The Halflings have commandeered my chair… would you mind sharing yours?" Before Faramir could reply, his brother had shoved him half-out of his seat and scooted in beside him. Sighing with irritation, Faramir steadied himself and cast his eyes around the table. "Boromir, since you're here, would you make yourself useful and pass me that teapot?"
"Anything for you, little brother," replied Boromir in what Faramir considered to be an unnecessarily husky tone of voice, and stretched out an arm, thwacked Pippin on the top of the head, and snatched the pot out from beneath his nose. "Here you are." Faramir accepted the teapot gratefully and meticulously poured the contents into his mug. Before he had a chance to take a sip, however, he was distracted by yet another arrival, as the door swung open to reveal…
"'Morning, Saruman," said Éowyn cheerily. "There's breakfast over here…"
The Istari strolled purposefully toward the table before tripping over some unseen obstacle and falling flat on his face. "Witless Halflings!" he snarled as he rose to his feet, dusting off his robes impatiently. "Are you utterly incapable of behaving with anything remotely resembling common decency?"
The disjointed and largely incomprehensible reply did not seem to satisfy Saruman, who shook his head, said, "We will settle this later," and proceeded to make his way over to Faramir's side of the table. "Boromir, I have something particular to say to your brother. Would you mind moving?"
"Yes," Boromir answered sullenly.
"Well, then can I sit in your lap?"
Boromir considered this for a moment and then shrugged. "Be my guest."
Without further ado, the formerly-White Wizard plopped himself onto Boromir's knees with a wince and helped himself to Faramir's tea; Faramir himself was too shocked at the sudden appearance of the former proprietor of Isengard in his sitting room to put up a considerable fuss. "Young Faramir, I have a confession to make."
With a sudden surge of panic, Faramir found his voice. "For the love of Eru, please don't tell me that this something else about 'last night'!"
"Certainly not!" scoffed Saruman, sounding mildly affronted. "I never discuss such things over breakfast!"
The Steward tried not to read too much into this statement and reached once again for the tea that wasn't there.
"What I have to say, rather, has to do with your paternity," the Wizard went on.
Faramir's eyes went wide. "M-my p-paternity?" he stuttered.
"Yes. Faramir, I am—at the risk of sounding somewhat clichéd—" Saruman said, "your father."
There was a moment of silence, and then both Boromir and Faramir began to speak at once.
"You mean that Denethor isn't my real father?!" gasped Faramir.
"You mean that we aren't full brothers? Damn, this ruins everything!" objected Boromir. "Incest isn't nearly as kinky when you're only half-siblings!"
"How on Arda did this happen?" they demanded in unison.
"Well," said Saruman, "it was a dark and stormy night…" The scenery began to shift and fade…
"Why is everything shifting and fading?" asked Faramir.
"Because it's a flashback."
"I don't want to see a flashback!" screeched Faramir, shoving Saruman out of Boromir's lap with all his strength. Saruman picked himself with as much dignity as he could muster and, straightening, said, "It may be difficult to believe, I know. But, really, it's true. Why else do you think I set my Uruks on Boromir? I wanted to secure your place as heir to the Stewardship so that I could use you to infiltrate Gondor from within!"
"You bastard! That hurt, you know!" pouted Boromir.
"Well, you were the one who didn't want to use the oil!"
"I meant dying, idiot!"
The chamber door opened for the eighth time.
"Hello, Gandalf, we're just having a spot of breakfast…"
"Thank you, Éowyn," replied Gandalf, and promptly tripping over something lying on the floor. He rose to his feet, bristling. "Fool of a Took! … and a Brandybuck! …and a Baggins! … and a Gamgee! Can't you get a (censored) room?" He staggered over to the table. "And what's all this I hear about you being Faramir's father, Saruman?"
"It was a long time ago, Olórin! It meant nothing!" cried Saruman.
Gandalf frowned. "But I thought that I was Faramir's father!"
"No, you're Boromir's father, remember?"
"What?" gasped Boromir.
"No," disagreed Gandalf, "because Imrahil is Boromir's father, isn't he?"
"What?" gasped Faramir.
"Oh, didn't you know about this?" said Gandalf. "You see, it was a dark and stormy night, and Imrahil was paying a diplomatic visit to the White City…"
"I remember that visit!" said Denethor as he entered the room.
"I should hope so!" stated Imrahil as he followed suit.
"Hello, boys, come and have breakfast…" said Éowyn.
"But… but our mother was Imrahil's sister! He's our uncle!" protested Faramir.
Boromir put a hand on Faramir's shoulder. "And I'm your brother."
"Exactly!" said Faramir, shrugging the hand off.
The door flew open. "Hello, hello, everyone!" The Queen of Gondor approached the table, skirting expertly around the tangle of hobbits that had rolled onto the threshold.
"Arwen! We were just having breakfast! Come here!" said Éowyn, and the two shared an affectionate sisterly kiss that lasted nearly ten minutes.
"Éowyn!" cried Faramir, shocked.
"Yes, dear?" asked his wife, breaking away for air.
"Oh, never mind," muttered Faramir, stealing his cup of tea back from Saruman, only to have it apprehended by Boromir on the way across.
The door opened again. "A red sun rises! Damn, was that a night!"
"Good morning, Legolas!" said Éowyn, detaching herself momentarily from Arwen once more. "And Gimli, too! Breakfast is on the table!"
"Speaking of which: Legolas, I have something important to ask you," said Éomer.
"What?" replied the Elf.
"Er… are you a man or a woman?"
Legolas appeared miffed. "Well, I'm a man, of course."
"Oh." A pause. "I was just wondering. Given that you appear to be pregnant."
"Oh, yes, that." He peered down at his swollen belly. "These things happen sometimes."
"Ah. I see."
"Beware the consequences of not using proper protection, Éomer," said Legolas, waggling an admonitory finger. "But no matter. Little Fundin shall be a wanted child."
"Fundin?" Éomer sounded puzzled. "That sounds rather Dwarvish."
Looking up from his salted pork, Gimli cleared his throat pointedly.
Éomer blinked. "Oh. I get it."
"I don't approve of these inter-species relationships," declared Gandalf, frowning.
"That's not what you said last night," hissed the Balrog, poking his head into the room and cracking his whip suggestively.
"Oh, Flame of Udûn, behave," giggled Glorfindel, tugging the Balrog back into the bedchamber. A second later, the door opened again, and out came…
"Estel!" cried Arwen.
"Thorongil!" cried Denethor.
"Strider!" cried the Hobbits.
"Aragorn!" cried Boromir.
"Pookums!" cried Éomer.
"I thought I told you not to call me that in public," said the King.
Éomer blushed furiously. "Sorry, shnoogie."
Aragorn rolled his eyes and looked about. "Whatever. Breakfast, I see! Any seats available?"
There was an instantaneous tumult. "Ooh! Ooh! Sit with us, sit with us!" squealed Boromir, bouncing up and down next to Faramir, who, though still attempting to recover from the sight of a Balrog in his sitting room, had enough presence of mind to be shocked at the fact that his brother had really just squealed.
"No, no, over here, over here!" cried Denethor and Imrahil.
"With us! With us!" objected Arwen and Éowyn.
"Don't you want to snuggle, pookums?"
"You can sit here! Here! Here!"
"Down here!" cried all four Hobbits in unison.
"Hmmm… choices, choices…" Aragorn smirked. "Maybe I should just lie out on the table so that you all can bask in my not unremarkable glory?"
Incensed at the idea of Aragorn climbing all over his furniture, Faramir stood up. Boromir pulled him back down. Faramir shook him off and stood up again. "Look, what in the name of the Valar…"
"Are the Valar in there, too?" said Legolas, gesturing toward the door.
"Are the Valar in there, too?" Aragorn stepped back and popped the door ajar, peering within. "Yes, the Valar are in there, too. Well, not all of them. Ulmo couldn't make it. He doesn't do well outside of water."
"Look, forget the Valar!" cried Faramir. "I want to know what all of you are doing here! I never invited you! And I certainly won't tolerate such… such acts of… wanton… wanton debauchery under this roof!" He stamped his foot for emphasis.
"Ooh, someone's getting feisty," purred Théodred, sipping his tea.
"And stop drinking all of my bloody tea!"
"As for why we're all here, Faramir," said Gandalf gravely. "Well, do you mean to say you don't know?"
"No, of course I don't know! What is there to know?"
The countenance of every person in the room, even the Hobbits rolling around on the floor, sobered instantly.
"It's the Ring," said Éowyn gravely.
"We sought to use it for good, but it corrupted us in the end. Now we are slaves to its will," said Boromir.
"It forces us to commit… vile acts!" said Aragorn.
"Vile!" agreed Legolas.
"Depraved!" added Saruman.
"Despicable!" added Arwen.
"I actually thought they were rather f…" began Éomer.
"Shh," said Aragorn.
"Look, what on Arda are you all talking about? There is no Ring!" argued Faramir. "The Ring was destroyed!"
"No, it wasn't!" gasped Aragorn. "Boromir took it from Frodo at Amon Hen, remember?"
"I most certainly did not!" objected Boromir. "Frodo gave it to you!"
"No, I didn't!" said Frodo from the floor. "I gave it to Galadriel!"
"And then I stole it when I sacked Lórien!" supplied Saruman.
"You never sacked Lórien, you pompous windbag!" said Arwen. "Frodo gave it to Galadriel, who gave it to Aragorn, who had to give it to me when he lost the wedding bands before the ceremony!"
"But I thought you had the Ring, Faramir!" said Legolas. "Didn't you steal it from Frodo after you seduced him at Henneth Annún?"
Faramir nearly gagged. "WHAT? I never… I never seduced Frodo! Ever! Where do you get these preposterous notions?"
"Well, Fari, you can hardly spend five minutes teasing Frodo's ring with the point of your sword and then not expect us to suspect anything," said Boromir reasonably.
"But… but…" Faramir's mind reeled as he desperately tried to cling to the last remnants of his sanity, which appeared to been stolen away along with each and every one of his cups of tea.
And then he had a sudden Inspiration.
"You're right," he said.
Boromir looked puzzled. "What was that?"
"I said you're right. I do have the Ring. I've had it all along." He turned to address the room at large. "I am the Dark Lord of Middle-earth, wielder of the One Ring To Rule Them All. And everything I say must be obeyed." He paused. "And I say that we should all go back into that bedroom for another round."
There were whoops and cheers and hollers as everyone threw down fragments of breakfast and dashed into the bedchamber at full tilt. Faramir, pretending to follow behind, waited until the last stragglers crossed the threshold, and then swiftly slammed the door behind them, bolting it firmly.
Gloating inwardly, he made his way over to the table to pour himself a cup of victory tea.
And discovered that the pot was empty.
Faramir held the empty pot in his hands and contemplated it for nearly a quarter of an hour. Then, putting it aside at last, he rose to his feet, said "Ah, what the hell", unlocked the door, and went in.
The larger population of Middle-earth was quick to offer the tea-bereft Steward all the comfort it was within their power to bestow.
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.