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A Handful of Valentines  by Branwyn

After a few stolen hours of sleep, Aragorn returned to the Houses of Healing to see how his charges had fared during his absence. The young steward slept heavily, stirring only slightly at the touch of Aragorn's hands on his face, but all signs of fever were gone. Sleep is a skillful healer his foster father once told him, and he deemed that Lord Faramir would soon recover his health.

The tall guardsman still sat hunched over the bedside. His face was white under soot and dried blood, and numb with weariness, he was scarcely able to reply to Aragorn's questions. Handing him a coverlet, Aragorn ordered him to get some sleep. As proof of his utter exhaustion, the man obeyed the order without a murmur, falling into a heap on the floor by the foot of the bed. Aragorn took his seat.

He could linger for only a moment, for other sick and injured folk were still in need of his care. Yet he felt strangely restored as he watched Lord Faramir sleeping. The elves found rest by gazing on green leaves or into the star-dappled heavens, and so he found new strength as he looked at his charge. He lifted one of the sun-browned wrists and, with the ease of long practice, found the steady pulse. He caught himself smiling as he felt its strong beat. By some marvel, Aragorn had healed the deadly hurt to his body and mind, so now for both of them, there could be a new beginning. What other marvels might come to pass?

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