1. The Other Thing--by Ygrain
The door of my chamber is a shield from the outer world: I secure it with the bar and lean against it. My legs tremble but mere pride keeps me from sagging to my knees even in privacy.
Never, ever, not even in the worst dreams, would I think...
I stare into the merciless darkness. It was not supposed to go like this. Not that I had expected Father to be pleased, not that I had not experienced the outbursts of his anger before... I did expect, though, that he would listen to my account, inquire about every minute detail, while supporting his chin with his fingers and looking somewhere past me with narrowed eyes, thinking and probing his vast knowledge and memories.
I expected that in the end he would, grudgingly, admit that my decision was right. Whereas -
I shut that memory out, shut my eyes to keep that look he gave me out, but I cannot shut my ears. "I do wish indeed," I hear him say again as if he were standing next to me.
I realize that I've been pressing my hand against my mouth so hard that I can hardly breathe.
I stagger from the door and after many attempts I light a candle. Then, as I watch the tiny flame, I ponder the other thing of utmost urgency that I should have reported. First I was too stupefied by the twist of the debate to bring it up, later... I could not find the strength to do so.
I could not find the strength to face him, after what he said. I cowed from the idea what else he might tell me.
I will tell him tomorrow, after I have recovered, there will be enough time to do so.
After I have at least partially forgotten, and forgiven him, that sentence which even now burns in my mind as if branded by red-hot iron.
After I have composed myself enough so as not to tell him things I would pity later.
Later, I will tell him later, or...
I chuckle at the sudden thought that I might not tell him at all. The look on his face when that Heir of Isildur arrives with his claim -
The image of my father with dropped jaw drives me to laughter - laughter which has nothing to do with amusement, I realize as my body convulses uncontrollably.
I take a few deep breaths, clutching and releasing my hands, until I stop shaking. No more of this. I need to rest, to sleep - I wish to sleep, not to think, not to feel -
More deep breaths, in and out.
Tomorrow, I will tell him. Tomorrow, there will surely be time to talk.
Time to talk, to set things right. Tomorrow.
Author's note: According to LOTR, the following day Denethor summoned his council in very bad mood. There was definitely little time for private talk, and after the council Faramir was hardly inclined to confer with his father. Denethor's knowledge of the Ranger who was supposed to replace him must have come from another source, be it the palantir or more conventional ways.
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.