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Agape's Attempts  by Agape4Gondor

 #56 -Farewell - A Thousand Word Moment

He rode into the encampment, his eyes searching, but not finding his brother. “He is yonder,” one of the men standing at attention said in answer to his query, “there.” Boromir acknowledged the direction pointed out to him with a nod, left his horse in the care of his brother’s men, then strode purposefully towards the small hill north of the encampment, grateful for the moment to be doing something with purpose instead of thinking. The long ride from Minas Tirith had deteriorated from one of peace at the thought of the ride, into one of sorrow at the thought of what he must now say.

Faramir stood, tall, straight and confident, his arm lifted and his hand pointed eastward. Damrod listened in profound respect. Boromir noted the crease in Faramir’s brow and knew he spoke not of simple things, but of war. He bit his lip, then shrugged. He had never wanted Faramir to go to war. Nor had his father, of that he was certain, but here they all were; in the midst of the most hideous war ever he might have imagined. That he and Faramir had even survived the destruction of the bridge less than a fortnight ago still amazed him. There was no staying this moment. ‘Twould not be the first time he interrupted Faramir in matters of import.

It was Faramir who noticed him as he walked up the hill. The brow’s crease deepened. “That is all for now, Damrod. I will return to camp shortly. We leave for Henneth Annûn on the morrow.”

Damrod saluted, turned – and stared in surprise. “Captain-General.” He gave a crisp salute, looked back towards Faramir, then nodded his head and left them.

“You are still angry.”

Faramir clenched his fists and turned towards the Anduin.

“Tell me what angers you most – father’s giving me the quest or me taking it?”

“Neither. My own inability to budge either of you. For all my long years.” He collapsed his legs under him and sat hard on the green expanse. He took a tuft of the long grass in his hands and began to shred the unfortunate stalks.

“That is not entirely true. What else angers you?”

Faramir began to weep. “I see things, yet you will not listen.”

“I know,” Boromir sat next to him. “I would that you would keep such thoughts to yourself, at least where it concerns me. I must go, firm in myself, not quaking at what might be.”

Faramir swallowed. “I know, but if I went in your stead, mayhap what I see would not come to pass.”

“I did not come to speak upon a matter which is already decided. It was my hope you would have stayed in Minas Tirith until I left.”

“I could not. I could not bear to look at you, nor father.”

“Faramir. You cannot, you must not think you are all that lies between life and death. Father is failing. The years have not dealt kindly with him. I do not know if he will be alive when I…” He stole a quick glance at his brother. “If I return.” His brow knotted. “There is naught you can do for him, beyond giving him the love you have always shown him. I have spoken, in the past, of your friendship with Mithrandir. I have asked you to discontinue it, for father’s sake. I was wrong. The last time he was here, I saw his deep regard for father and his love for you. Whatever father might think of wizards, I believe this one is a good one. Keep him close, if you can, and heed him.” He took a deep breath.

“As for father, every now and again, I see fear in his eyes. And knowing your penchant for astute observation, I know you have seen it too. I know not what will happen whilst I am away, but I must caution you – do not take to heart anything he says or does if fear shines in his eyes. I have seen men driven mad by fear; my hope is in father’s great mind. I hope he will fight any such madness. Faramir,” he took his brother’s hand in his. “He loves you deeply. Not as he loves me, but deeply, nonetheless. He respects you. Give him what council you may, but then step away – I do not want you caught if he is. You have ever shown your respect and love – and obedience – to him. If he falls, I do not want you to fall with him.”

“Faramir,” he dropped the hand and knelt in front of him, taking his face in his hands and holding it. His great gray eyes bore into his brother’s “Protect yourself. You cannot save him if madness wins, but you can save yourself.” Great tears coursed down his cheeks. “I cannot bear leaving you with this burden, but you are better able to handle it than I.”

“Come,” Faramir whispered. “Stay the night with me.”

Boromir nodded; they walked back to the encampment. After supper, pickets were relieved and the men sat around the fire. Though they were glad and proud to have their Captain-General with them, sharing their meal and their fire, his demeanor and that of their captain’s showed great strain. Long before the usual hour, the men dispersed to their bedrolls.

Faramir offered his to Boromir. “Nay, little brother,” Boromir smiled. “I would share it with you, if you do not mind, as we shared my bed on the nights right after mother’s death.”

Faramir nodded and crawled in next to Boromir. He laid his head on his brother’s chest and felt Boromir’s warm arm about his shoulder. Sometime, right before dawn, he felt Boromir’s hold tighten.

“I love you, Faramir. Always remember that and know I am and have always been proud to have you as my brother.”

Faramir felt a tear fall as Boromir leaned over and kissed his brow.

“Farewell,” Boromir whispered and left him.

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