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"Proud and grave he stood for a moment as he spoke to the guard, and Pippin gazing at him saw how closely he resembled his brother Boromir - whom Pippin had liked from the first, admiring the great man's lordly but kindly manner. Yet suddenly for Faramir his heart was strangely moved with a feeling that he had not known before."
[from: Return of the King; The Siege of Gondor]
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Title: Sons of the Steward
Author: Kel (dragonbane4@aol.com)
Pairing: Boromir/Faramir
Rating: NC-17, I hope
Spoilers: For the extended scene in the Two Towers EE called Sons of the Steward.
Warnings: Incest.
Summary: Boromir has always loved his brother.

Notes:
1) the ending coda is based on a drabble written for the LOTR100 LJ community.
2) The calculation of Galat's speed came from this site: http://www.hypertextbook.com/facts/2000/AndrewSigal.shtml
3) The title of the fic is taken from the scene in the Two Towers EE that inspired the fic.
4) Dialogue from the scene taken from the script at JW's LOTR Fansite: http://www.angelfire.com/film/rings/
5) In the original Tolkien books, Faramir and Boromir both had a dream that sent Boromir to the Council, rather than Elrond convening the Council.

printable version

 

On the eve of Faramir's sixth year, Boromir found his brother crying in his bedroom. The reason for his tears was quickly apparent; across the foot of the bed lay a cheap wooden sword, a toy already a size too small for a boy of Faramir's size.

Boromir had had a real sword since he was five.

He was eleven now, and a year past fostering age; Denethor--their father--had refused to foster Boromir out to another family to raise, but he was already searching for a family who would take his youngest son.

Boromir brought his own present for Faramir into the room, and dropped the fine leather saddle to the floor as his arms hugged Faramir tightly, rocking him. After a moment, he took his own sword out of its sheath and gave it to his brother. "Happy birthday, little brother," he said quietly, and watched Faramir smile.


By Faramir's eighth year, Boromir was thirteen and growing like a weed. The two brothers were the best of friends, riding and racing their thoroughbreds against each other, sword fighting and sparring together, even lessons in reading and writing were taken together.

Denethor cared nothing for the glowing reports of his second son, who was progressing to the same levels of a brother five years his senior. Instead, he always found a fault to exaggerate and belittle, while at the same time praising Boromir's marks and lauding every accomplishment out of its scope.

Instead of creating a sibling rivalry between the two brothers, Denethor's ill treatment of Faramir only caused the brothers to bond more tightly together, Boromir hating his father for treating his brother so shabbily, and Faramir hating their father for never quite being good enough.

Faramir's birthday was that night, and Boromir made sure to bring his present to his brother in first. A round wooden shield, with a hard metallic spire in the center, blunted so as to do no harm, scaled to fit the growing body of an eight year old youth. Covered in studded leather and emblazoned with the White Tree of Gondor, the shield was a smaller mirror image of the one Boromir carried, and one he knew Faramir coveted.

By the time he got to his brother's room, however, the familiar sound of his crying filtered through the thick wooden door, and Boromir pushed it open. His father was just sweeping out of the room, and made a disgusted noise at the small shield carried in Boromir's hand. "You would do better not to waste your time on such things; he'll never be able to bear arms for this family."

Boromir tightened his grip on the shield. "You'll never give him the chance." He brushed past his father and waited for him to slam the door to Faramir's chamber shut before he came forward and held the shield out to his brother. "I brought you a present."

Faramir looked up at his brother. "He's going to send me away next year," he choked out. "He's already told me that one of the families in the court has agreed to take me off his hands." He looked up fearfully. "He's going to separate us, Boromir. Don't let him. He doesn't care about me, nobody else will take care of me, don't let him. Make him stop."

Boromir gritted his teeth, and put the shield to the side as he sat down on the bed beside his brother. The cries of a child, his brother, whom he loved more than his own life, and he nodded, hugging Faramir tightly. "He will not send you away, Faramir. I'll see to it myself." He pointed his brother's attention to the shield. "Look. It's for you, because I'm tired of the ragged leather you're carrying now."

Faramir smiled, and grasped the shield tightly to his chest. "Thank you!" He hugged it, and then hugged Boromir around it. "You're the best brother ever."


Boromir was nearing sixteen, and adult in the eyes of men when Denethor tried to foster a ten-year-old Faramir out.

As was the custom, Denethor had gathered the court and asked if there were any among their number who would take the honor of raising the Steward's son to be a fine man and warrior worthy of Gondor. Before the chosen family could step forward, however, Boromir did, and drew his sword to challenge any man, including his father, who called him unfit to train his brother.

Denethor could deny his eldest and favorite son nothing, and so it was that Faramir's care was bound over to Boromir, as it always had been, and Faramir became not only Boromir's brother, but his ward as well. Boromir swore, in front of the entire court, to protect Faramir from all harm, to train him to bear arms and defend the name of Gondor from all who would attack its purity, and to instill in him the honor and the virtue inherent in every man.

Denethor washed his hands--eagerly, Boromir thought--of his youngest son, praising Boromir's commitment and love of family, dedication to the purity of the bloodline and he droned on until Boromir could stand no more of it. With Faramir in tow, Boromir left the court, and began the next phase of his life as surrogate father to his brother.


Five years passed, and Boromir was twenty-one to his brother's sixteen. Faramir had grown into a large, strapping young man, broad through the shoulders and chest like his brother, leaner though in the hips, and he was expecting his last growth spurt to fill out his biceps, forearms and thighs.

His hair was long, wavy and tossed back over his shoulders when it wasn't tied back with a strip of rawhide or ribbon. His cheeks were disturbingly free of a man's beard yet, but he had hopes of it growing soon.

Boromir's face, on the other hand, was already bearded, his cheeks scruffy with a light dusting of bristle while the goatee that ringed his mouth and chin was already growing thicker and darker, matching the dark mop atop his head. His hair was long, matching Faramir's by no coincidence, but more often than not, he wore it free and dangling down his back.

Their shields still matched, but Faramir's sword had changed, to a longer blade and wider tang, a thicker hilt that was easier for his hands to grasp. He favored a lighter leather armor, while Boromir favored forged metal fitted to his body. The leather armor allowed him more flexibility with a bow, because his archery talents outweighed his skill with the blade. Boromir was better with the blade, and his metal armor was crafted to protect him from the answering clang and stab of an opponent's sword.

Both sets of armor, leather and steel alike, were emblazoned with the White Tree on the breastplate, announcing their dedication and allegiance to Gondor, and the White City. Boromir was already a captain in the city's army, and Faramir would soon join their ranks. Today, though…

"He's mine?" Faramir asked, stroking his hand down the horse's velvety muzzle.

"Of course," Boromir said with a nod. "What is a man without his horse? He's straight from the Riddermarck, and I worked for four months to break him to bridle and saddle. He's not gelded, so he'll have a strong kick, but he's a fine piece of horseflesh." He petted the horse's nose, and then smiled at his brother. "You'll need a good horse, little brother, and this one will serve you well."

"What's his name?" Faramir asked, his eyes shining brightly. Long years had passed since the last time Denethor had bothered to acknowledge Faramir's birthday, but Boromir had never let one pass unrecognized. A pair of fine leather boots, soft deerskin archer's gloves and hard rawhide gauntlets, a real quiver and hand-carved bow.

Everything that he could have asked for to become a man in his own right, Boromir had given him. Aside from the material goods, Boromir had trained him, cared for him, loved him and had faith in him. Trusted him and gave him responsibility, and he had grown into a good man. He couldn't stop stroking the horse's nose, and he laid his cheek against the animal's soft fur.

Boromir smiled at his brother, and clapped him on the shoulder, squeezing tightly. "That, my brother, is up to you. The horse is yours; name him what you will."

Faramir brought his hand up and covered Boromir's, then moved it to his shoulder in the traditional clasp of affection. "Galat," he said. "His name is Galat."

"A fine name," Boromir nodded, and broke the clasp to hug his brother tightly. "A fine name for a fine horse, and a fine horse for a fine man. Because you are a man now, little brother, and I could not wish you to be a better one. You are ready; in a year, you will take the oath of service to our city, and take your place in the ranks of the officers."

"And maybe our father will finally realize that I still exist," Faramir said quietly.

"No, little brother. Do not worry about our father. Do not judge yourself at his standards; you will always fall short, and you should *not.* You are a good man, Faramir, a *better* man in fact, and you must always hold yourself to the highest standards, not our father's." Boromir's hand tightened on his brother's shoulder.

"Then I will hold myself to your standards," he answered, looking up at Boromir. "Because you are the man I would like to become."

"Become your *own* man. And I could ask nothing more of you." Boromir was staring deeply into Faramir's eyes, trying to impart the seriousness, the necessity of coming into his own, and he barely noticed the blink of sandy lashes that briefly obscured his brother's gaze from his own.

Faramir nodded in understanding. "Then I hope the man I become is as good a man as you are."

"Better," Boromir said with a small shiver. "A far, far better one."


A year to the day later, Boromir stood proudly in his father's place by his brother's side as Faramir made the blood oath to serve Gondor until death.

At the end of the ceremony, Boromir stepped forward, as captain of the guard, and fastened Faramir's sash and badge of rank in place with his own hands. A loud cheer went up from the crowd as Boromir's face broke into a huge, proud grin and gave a victorious whoop. He raised Faramir's hand high overhead, clasped tightly within his own.

"Ale!" Boromir shouted. "Ale for everyone who would toast my brother's good fortunes!"

The raucous clamor increased as Boromir called for ale, and he hugged Faramir close as he shouted into his brother's ear. "Happy birthday, little brother. You are a good man this day; never let anyone tell you otherwise."

Faramir nodded amidst the noise, and dragged his brother's ear down to his mouth. "I love you, Boromir."

For a moment, all the shouts and din seemed to fade into nothingness as Boromir looked down at his brother, who had grown to within inches of his own height, and ghosted a light caress of fingers down Faramir's cheek. "I will always love you, little brother."


By the time Faramir was twenty-one, he'd risen through the officer's ranks until he was Boromir's second in command and one of the most trusted men in the Rangers.

On the eve of his twenty-second birthday, Boromir found Faramir in the stables, currying Galat's coat until it shone.

Faramir had finally grown into the slightly gangly limbs he'd carried as a youth. That look was gone now, replaced by the wide shoulders and lean hips of adulthood. He had the beginnings of a beard, but even with it, Boromir could still see without trouble the bright-eyed young man inside. Arms and legs had filled out firmly and there was not an ounce of excess flesh anywhere.

He was speaking in a low hush to the horse, and Galat whickered softly in response.

"You've a way with him," Boromir said quietly, leaning against the door to the stall. "Riord isn't nearly so quiet. He's quite the cranky bastard in fact, but we work well as a team."

Faramir smiled without looking up from Galat's coat. "He needs exercise; I didn't get the chance to ride him out today and he's eager to run."

Boromir walked into the stall, a troubled look on his face as he picked up another currycomb and started to work on the other side of the horse's coat. "Do you think he's ready for a ride to Osgiliath?"

Faramir paused in mid-stroke. "Osgiliath?"

Boromir nodded as he brushed the horse's silky mane with steady strokes. "Yes, Osgiliath," he confirmed. "I'm to be posted there next week, in command of two garrisons with the orders not to let the city fall." A quiet pause. "You're going to be promoted to captain and put in charge of the Rangers here in Minas Tirith." He didn't lift his eyes from the horse's coat.

Faramir still hadn't resumed his brushing. "He did this, didn't he? To separate us?"

Boromir nodded. "Mordor is on the rise again. Barad-Dur is awakening and the Orcs are marching. We have been fighting these skirmishes on our borders for the last twenty years, and beyond them for all this age. But now the battles are growing larger, the hordes stronger, and they close in on our cities. Our people are dying. They look to Father for answers, for succor, for protection and defense, as is their right and his duty. I must go, little brother. For Gondor, as I am bound by my oath, just as you are." Rising emotion choked off the last of his words, and he fought to speak them clearly.

"And even if you were not bound you would still go," Faramir replied. "For you are a man of Gondor, and your honor would allow nothing else." He reached over the horse's back and stilled Boromir's brushing hands. "Let me go to Osgiliath with you. Stand by your side, as I have always done."

Boromir's fingers tightened spasmodically on the currycomb. "It is not within my power to defy the orders of the Steward, and even if it were, I would not do so. You are my second, little brother. My other half. I trust no one else with the welfare of the White City while I am away. But ride, ride with me now when Father cannot tell us no. Ride with me now to Osgiliath. See the situation, help me report back to Father."

Faramir kept his grip tight on Boromir's wrist, keeping him from brushing the horse or pulling away. "I will ride to Osgiliath with you. And when we return, I will not deny the orders of the Steward, but I will ask my father not to part me from my brother."

Boromir shook his head, and clasped his brother's shoulder over the back of the horse. "He will deny you, Faramir, just as he has denied it to me."

The shock of that hit Faramir hard, but he shook his head. "In the twenty-one years that I have lived, I have not asked him for anything. One thing he will surely grant me."

Boromir said nothing, just tightened his grasp on Faramir's shoulder.


Osgiliath was no longer the white jewel it had been. The quarried stone was deep and dingy with soot from burning fires, crusted blood of the men who had died defending it, and dirt from months and years of neglect.

Many of the towers were half-demolished by catapult stones, and were in the process of being quickly rebuilt. The people looked tired and drawn as the brothers rode through the city streets, and headed towards the garrison house.

The soldiers left in the garrison gave a loud cheer to see them coming, and as Faramir slid off his horse to stand beside his brother, his hand tightened on the hilt of his sword. "You need my help, Boromir," he said quietly, looking at the men in front of him. Their faces were deeply weathered, lined with creases and worry, and in their eyes burned the dull coals of hopelessness.

Boromir looked around, seeing the toll that the battles and skirmishes had taken, and he squared his shoulders. "I will send these men back to Minas Tirith, for rest and food," he said softly. "I'll send word to Father again, but I do not expect him to change his mind." Seeing this destruction to the crown jewel of Gondor made him all the more certain that he would do whatever it took to ensure that the city would be restored to its former glory. "I'll tell him to send a fresh garrison tomorrow, and the second on Monday. I'll ride back to the city tomorrow night, and give a full report."

Faramir nodded. "I'll stay with you tonight. Galat is the fastest horse in the Rangers--if we're attacked, you'll need his speed to alert Minas Tirith in time to send out riders." He kept his hand tight on Boromir's shoulder. "I'll help you hold the city."

Boromir nodded, and the men around him broke into small smiles. "Don't worry, my friends," Boromir called out, raising his voice. "Tomorrow, you go home to be replaced by fresh men! You've earned your rest, and you'll have it!"

The cheers that went up were heartfelt, but tired. They'd lost almost half their number to the brutal Orc attacks on the city, and they were well ready for relief and replacements. Some of them would gladly come back to fill the ranks as the fresher soldiers were killed, others would have died before returning to the city. In that moment, it didn't matter. All that mattered to them was that Boromir was sending them home, and by that action had earned their loyalty for whatever orders he might give.

One of the men showed Boromir and Faramir around the barracks, and both brothers traded dark looks at one another at the small rooms, the dark halls, and the broken stockade that surrounded it. "The men that are left," Boromir finally asked. "How many are there?"

"There were a hundred and twenty of us when we first came; we've lost almost fifty in the battles and in the fights to keep the bridge open. We're down to just seventy of us, and we're getting to be lucky if we can repel the attacks on the gates themselves."

"Tomorrow, I want you to take half the men out into the forests across the river. Take the wagons and the horses with you; harvest enough of the trees to repair the stockade. If you see trouble from Minas Morgul or from Mordor, don't fight there. Come back to the city, get behind the walls and the garrison will be here in half a day's time. The men that don't go with you, send them to Minas Tirith." He paused. "I'll write you a letter to Wulthane. He'll get you fresh provisions, lamps and lamp oil, and have the men cut the scraps from the stockade repair into torches, because we all need light to live by. We're not Orcs. We don't live in the dark."

The man's weathered face broke into a grin. "Aye, sir. I'll make sure'n tell them tonight. They'll be happy to hear that." He gestured down a hallway that ended in a locked iron door. "There's the captain's livin' space. Not much, but two rooms all to yerself and it's private enough."

Boromir nodded. "Thank you. Faramir and I will go out into the city and look around, have supper at the tavern."

The old soldier smiled. "Aye, sir. I'll pass the word on." He moved with a slight limp down the hall, and Boromir waited until he was out of sight.

"'They're all walking wounded here, and they've all lost hope," he said quietly to his brother. "Our father should have replaced these men weeks ago, if not months ago. He can't hope to win a battle with disheartened troops too few in number."

"You've given them heart, brother," Faramir pointed out. "You've given them hope, a worthwhile job to do meantime, and you will be sending them home to rest. You've won their loyalty, but there's so much more to be done here."

"I know it," Boromir answered with a sigh. "So much neglect to make up for."

"Apparently, his city and his people matter as little to him as his son," Faramir said bitterly. "And in both cases, it is you who has come to our rescue, not him."

Boromir turned to look at his brother. "I did not rescue you, Faramir. I merely loved you, supported you, gave you the tools to become the man that stands before me today. Do not idolize me because of that, brother."

Faramir gripped Boromir's forearms tightly. "I idolize you because you are my brother, and everything that I could wish to be. And I love you because you loved me when no one else did." He let go. "Do not underestimate what you have done for me."

Boromir was silent for a long moment, then in a swift motion he brought Faramir in close and pressed their foreheads together. "If Father does not let you come with me, Faramir, you must be strong. Do not let him know that he hurts you; he will look for signs of weakness in you and he will use them to tear you down. Osgiliath is less than half a day's ride; send for me and I will come to you. Whenever you need me, I will come." He shifted to press a long, hard kiss onto Faramir's forehead and released him quickly. "Come. We both need food, and ale."


Night had well fallen over Osgiliath. The lone sliver of moon ruled the sky, high in its nighttime orbit. It fought for dominance over the hellish fires that rose from Mordor, coloring the clouds and skies vitriolic orange. The stars twinkled brightly, lending their light to the moon as they bathed Osgiliath in pure white light, bringing out a luminous glow in the city that not even dirt and blood could obscure.

The two brothers staggered out drunkenly into the night. The rousing songs that were usually sung at great volume were somewhat muted by fear and threat of war that loomed over the city, but the appearance of the Steward's sons had rallied the spirits of the people and carousing songs and happy voices followed the brothers out onto the streets of the city.

Both were thoroughly drunken, full of good food and rich mead. Roasted game bird, fire-toasted vegetable, hearth-baked bread and flagon after flagon of sweet honey-mead to wash it down, and it was the best food they had eaten in their lives. More delicious than anything they'd been served in the capital city, it was hearty food, simple and filling, made for fighting men.

The mead was stronger, the sweet kick of honey disguising the strength of the grain alcohol in it, and they drained cup after frothy cup with the men of the city, the soldiers of the garrison, and as they left, they left with the best wishes of everyone in the city.

They leaned on each other to stay upright, laughing at nothing, at the staggering walks of one another, at their own stumbling steps and fumbling claps on the back.

Faramir was the slightly less drunk of the two, having had such little experience with mead that he'd drunk only half of what his larger, older brother had gone through, and he was the one who was attempting to steer them back through the roads to the barracks. He couldn't help but be shocked and awed by the silver city all around them, reflecting the light from the moon all around them, eliminating the need for torches in the night wherever the white stone walls led.

Boromir, on the other hand, was well into his drunkenness, but not so far gone that he hadn't noticed something during supper. "Was the wench not to your taste, little brother?" Boromir asked with an exaggerated wink. "You were definitely to hers, if her bosom was any accounting."

Faramir flushed, but as his face was already bright red with drink and excitement, the blush didn't show. "No, brother, the girl was fair as could be asked for, just not to my liking tonight."

Boromir roared with laughter. "Why did you not say so, then, brother? You could have called that boy from the kitchens and had your way with him!" Another loud bray of laughter, and Boromir hauled his brother in close and hugged him drunkenly.

"A boy is not to my taste either, Boromir," Faramir answered lightly, his face still flushed brightly red. "I have taste for a man tonight, and none can slake it." *But one,* he thought to himself with a deep flush of guilt.

Boromir fell quiet after that, slumped against his brother's shoulder as he chuckled softly. "Should have known you'd take after your brother on that, of all things. The softness of a woman doesn't feed the hard lust that burns inside you," he finally said, surprisingly lucid for the amount of drink he'd had. "The hardness of a man's body, one that won't break beneath your touch, that can give you as hard as you take from it, that is the only thing that sates you."

Faramir exhaled heavily at that, feeling hot fingers brush over the back of his neck, then they fell away to grasp his shoulder. "Tis that exactly," he breathed. "A woman is good before you fall to sleep, or for a soft comfort, but isn't what my taste prefers."

By the time Faramir had said that, they were at the barracks, and Boromir walked by himself through the halls, staggering ever-so-slightly to the good-natured laughing of the men already in the building, teasing mercilessly but glad to see that their captain was a man just as they were, who enjoyed his food and his drink.

Faramir steered him gently down the corridors, sobering not nearly fast enough, and groaned mentally when Boromir finally wrenched the door to the two private rooms open and on the small table in front of the fireplace was a tall pitcher of the same frothy mead from the tavern and two flagons for drinking. Grinning broadly, Boromir thumped his brother on the shoulder and headed for the table, pouring the flagons full and thrusting one into his brother's hands. "Remember this day, little brother, and know what it is like to be loved by your people."

Faramir nodded to the toast, raising his cup and draining it just as his brother did and looked around. The first room was a sitting-room type, with a fire roaring in the fireplace, the small table and two chairs, a larger table in the corner cluttered with books, maps, parchments, quills and ink bottles. It was obviously a planner's room, for a captain watching two borders and planning his attacks.

The other room was the sleeping chamber. A large bed, made with plain but comfortable linens, four posts rising from the four corners of the bed frame. Hooks on the wall beside the bed, to keep weaponry and clothing close at hand, and a large trunk at the foot of the bed, to store clean clothing in.

Only one bed.

Boromir didn't seem at all bothered, and laughed when Faramir balked in the middle of the room. "Come on, little brother, we have shared a bed before. We can do so again." He waved his hand vaguely towards the bed as he unbuckled his sword belt, lifting it up three times before he actually hit the hook.

Faramir snickered, and started to do the same, taking his belt off and hanging it on the hooks, after only two tries, and he felt very much superior to his brother. He took off his boots next, then the heavy wool socks that kept the boots from rubbing his feet raw. The leather armor was next, then the jerkin, then woolen over-shirt, leaving him in just a long-sleeved linen undershirt. His leather pants were next, then the wool layer under it, and kept only the linen underwear that matched the undershirt.

When he turned around, Boromir was nearly naked, tawny skin shining warmly in the dim room as he took off even the undershirt, and climbed into the bed. "Tis a warm night, Faramir, and I am your brother. You have nothing I have not seen before."

Faramir paused, and then shrugged, agreeing that his brother was right and he pulled off the undershirt, folding it carefully on his side of the bed and rolling in, so that he was back to back with his brother.

"Faramir."

"Yes, brother?"

Boromir was quiet as he stared at the stone wall. "Promise me we shall always be like this, back to back as brothers, in arms as well as blood."

Faramir swallowed, wondering what darkness his brother expected that he would ask such a thing. "You know it, my brother, but I give you my vow. Brothers in arms as well as blood."


The moon had not yet sunk below the horizon yet when Faramir woke. He couldn't at first realize why he was waking, couldn't realize *what* had woken him far before the time he should have woken, and then he felt it.

There was a hand on his stomach, stroking in small circles, fingers spreading out to follow the line of hair that barely crested below his navel. At the same instant, he registered warmth all along his back, down his legs as well, where hairy calves rubbed against his own. In the next second, heated lips pressed to the back of his neck, nudging his hair aside to lick wetly against his skin.

Faramir couldn't help the shiver that racked his body, the hot spike of heat that slithered through his blood, or the moan that slipped out of his lips. "Boromir."

"Aye, little brother," was whispered raspily into his ear.

Faramir arched into the inviting, welcoming body, and Boromir's fingers took the opportunity to slip lower. As soon as they did, however, Faramir stiffened, his brain catching up with his body and realizing what was going on. "Boromir!" He tried to pull away, roll away from his brother's entirely too tempting body.

"No," Boromir said, almost plaintively, letting his fingers slip away from his brother's shaft and hold his hip instead. "No. I know what I'm doing; I've not yet lost that much of my senses to drink." His thumb stroked over the peak of his brother's hipbone. "But if it makes you more pliant, you can believe that I have." His mouth moved back to Faramir's neck, then trailed the nibbling kisses down his brother's shoulder as he urged Faramir back against him.

It was the quavering note of almost-sadness and need in Boromir's "No" that undid him. Faramir rolled onto his back, looking up into Boromir's shadowed face, hair dangling down so that it almost brushed Faramir's cheeks. "Yes."

"Yes?" Boromir breathed, as though he were unable to believe it, and he smiled brightly, sliding his hand down his brother's cheek, dragging his thumb over Faramir's mouth in asking.

Faramir nodded, feeling the small cracks in his lips catching against Boromir's skin, then Boromir's hand was withdrawn and they kissed for the first time. It was softer than he'd expected, wet and deep as Boromir's tongue swept gently, but possessively into his brother's mouth, hands going up to stroke through hair that was amazingly soft despite the elements it was exposed to day in and out. In contrast, Boromir's hands were calloused and rough, but they felt sinfully good as they stroked over his scalp, then stroked down his shoulders in long, desperate strokes.

Faramir shuddered at the strong strokes over his skin. He'd felt Boromir's touch before; they'd bandaged each other up more times than either of them could count over the years, and he knew very well how gentle, or rough, those hands could be, but until this moment, he'd had no idea how soft and worshipful. Their lips were still pressed together in deep, drowning kisses, but Boromir's hands had moved and were touching every scrap of Faramir's skin that he could reach.

Calloused thumbs scraped roughly over his nipples, bringing the little nubs to hardness. The same thumbs brushed gently over Faramir's ribs, worshipful touches that explored the shallow lines of muscle that rippled over his torso. The brush of thumbs turned into flat palms pressed against Faramir's chest, stroking down over a firm stomach, fingertips tracing well-defined muscles, teasing a shallow navel, curling carefully in the little sprinkling of hair that led down.

Boromir's hands separated there, one sliding back up as he opened his eyes, looking down at Faramir. His brother's eyes were bright in the moonlight, shining like the city's walls and the just-kissed lips shimmered with wetness as Faramir licked them. "Faramir…"

"Please," he answered, arching into his brother's touch.

Boromir closed his mouth, moving over the bed so that he could press hot kisses down Faramir's chest. Slow licks to Faramir's collarbone that turned into kisses that went down his arm, and the kisses turned into gentle sucks, first over the pulse throbbing in Faramir's wrist and then over each calloused finger.

He sucked each finger in turn, then pressed a kiss to the palm before pressing it to his cheek. Faramir's fingers moved to cup Boromir's cheek, and he let the gentle pressure guide him across Faramir's stomach, peppering kisses over the taut muscle there before starting at the fingers of his left hand and moving up, sucking and licking his way to Faramir's shoulder.

Faramir moaned at each rough lick, and when Boromir arrived at his shoulder, Faramir turned his head and captured his brother's mouth for another kiss. This one was rougher than the one before it, deeper and harder because of the desire that Boromir was slowly awakening in him. He wanted so much more, he wanted everything, because this with his brother was nothing like the fast, hard, and impersonal liaisons he'd had with other men, where it was quick rut to orgasm without a meeting of eyes.

This, what they were sharing between them now, felt so much like love that Faramir wanted to drown in it. He knew he loved his brother; knew that every man, in his mind, was measured up to Boromir and always fell short. He knew now that Boromir loved him, felt the same way, felt the same desire to know and possess in the only way they hadn't before.

That thought deepened the kiss even further, Faramir taking possession of Boromir's mouth so completely and Boromir allowing it, letting his hands roam and stroke and pinch, tugging carefully at Faramir's nipples until he gasped, and finally, reluctantly released his brother's mouth.

Once he was free, Boromir placed a quick, chastely teasing kiss on his brother's lips, then dragged his mouth down Faramir's throat and sternum to give each pebbled nipple a hard suck. He bit each one gently, tugging it between his teeth and letting go as Faramir cried out, arching and tossing his head to the side, offering a strong throat without thinking.

Boromir took it, kissed and sucked until a livid mark appeared there, bit around the edge of it to mark Faramir as his own. A breathy moan followed the mark, and Boromir nipped rewardingly at Faramir's throat before sliding back down to his sternum, and then further down.

The bed linens had long since been tossed aside, and slowly, Boromir eased down the only piece of clothing that hid his brother's body from his view, and dropped the thin linen to the side as Faramir lay naked under him. Boromir delighted in it, smiling down at his brother, bringing Faramir's shy hands up to touch Boromir's chest in return, and the hand not guiding his brother slipped down to stroke the proud erection that stood tall in a nest of soft hair a few shades lighter than on Faramir's head.

Boromir stroked through the hair, watching with half-lidded eyes as Faramir shivered, pleading with wet lips for more as expressive eyes promised love, companionship, trust and loyalty. His hand moved to stroke Faramir's cock, his hand fitting around the shaft perfectly as he started to stroke, teasingly and slowly to accustom his brother to the feel of another hand on his cock. "You've been taken before?" he asked softly, breath ghosting over Faramir's ear as he leaned over, nibbling the soft lobe and sucking hungrily at it.

Faramir nodded, his voice lost to speech as his eyes pled, his hands going up Boromir's biceps to pull his weight down. One leg hooked hesitantly around Boromir's hip, and when he wasn't denied, he used the leverage to pull his brother down, so that their bodies touched, chest to chest, groin to groin, thigh to thigh.

It was Boromir's turn to moan as the head of his erection, which he'd been ignoring completely in favor of the novelty of his brother's body, surged with blood and throbbed against Faramir's. The heads stroked together, the shafts rubbed against each other, their balls lay pressed tightly in the same space as Boromir moved, tiny thrusts that rocked their cocks together.

Faramir shuddered, lifting both his weight and most of Boromir's as he thrust back, rubbing against his brother with almost frantic motions. "Please, please, brother," he begged, unashamed to do so because he knew he wouldn't be denied, not here and not now. "Please."

Boromir's hands went up to gently frame his brother's face, thumbs stroking the cheekbones as he gave Faramir desperate little kisses, speeding their thrusts up. "Know always that I love you," he gritted out between kisses, then rose to his feet. He went quickly through the pack that he'd brought with him, and when he found nothing in it, he growled and stalked to the chest at the foot of the bed, and jerked out several jars and bottles before grunting and bringing one back to the bed.

It smelled faintly of almonds and spice, and Boromir left the stopper on the small table by the bed as he climbed back in, and on top of his brother. "If you do not want--"

Faramir half-sat up in the bed, dislodging his brother and pushing Boromir further down his legs. "I do want this," he answered, fingers going over Boromir's mouth to hold them closed. "Even if this night is the only night, or if this is some dream that comes from too much drink, I want this."

Boromir might have made a noise of some kind, but if he did it was swallowed in the soft, probing kiss that Faramir took from him, then he watched as Faramir took the bottle of almond oil and poured it in his palms, warming it before rubbing the slick oil over Boromir's fingers before lying back against the pillows, spreading his legs wide and inviting his brother--his *lover*--between them.

Boromir accepted the invitation as quickly as he could, settling himself between Faramir's thighs as stroking his bearded chin along the shaft as slicked fingers sought and found his lover's opening. "Let me have you tonight," Boromir asked, looking up. "And you will have me later," he promised.

Faramir acquiesced with a nod, and his fingers ran urgently through Boromir's hair as his cock twitched against his lover's face. He gave a moan that started deep in his chest, rumbling out in pleasure as Boromir's fingers found his opening and pushed inside, gently but firmly stretching him open. One finger he felt, and then two, both moving inside, in teasing mimicry of the act to come. The rumbles in his chest sounded like muffled purrs and half-choked cries of Boromir's name, then turned into sharp gasps as a third finger entered him, widening him further.

Boromir was stroking carefully, calmly, biting his lip and keeping his tense body locked in place so that his movements were slow, controlled, and careful. There was a raging need inside that wanted to take the beautiful, hard body beneath him and rut fiercely until they were both spent, but Boromir refused it. He would not take his brother in such a harsh way. He made himself calm, collected his energy and pushed it down, pushed it into giving Faramir as much pleasure as he could possibly give.

Faramir couldn't take it any longer. His body was arched, his hands were tugging at Boromir's hair and shoulders, and to finally get his point across, he used his legs to roll Boromir onto his back, pushing him up on the bed the same time Faramir crawled down. They met in the middle, Faramir's head reaching Boromir's groin at the same time, and he smiled, licking the tip of the oiled organ once before meeting his brother's eyes. "Trust me to know my own pleasures, brother," Faramir said with a wolfish grin.

One hand steadied Boromir's shaft, slicking it with quick strokes of his hand before guiding it to press against his stretched opening. His other hand balanced on his brother's shoulder, and Boromir's hands came up to his brother's hips, holding them steady and helping to push down as Faramir let his weight drive him down on the thick shaft.

It pushed a deep, guttural moan out of them both as Faramir slowly settled himself on Boromir's cock, muscles spasming around the shaft as he situated, grinding and rolling his hips until the entire length was seated inside his body.

Boromir's body arched, raising himself up to meet Faramir's push downwards as his brother rode him. Their bodies seemed to meld together, as though they were two broken parts of a whole that had finally found their way back together. Faramir's body was hot, open, and receptive to him, and he couldn't help thrusting up, helping to fill his brother completely. His eyes were squeezed shut, stars appearing in the darkness behind his lids because he was afraid of what he would see.

Faramir looked down and he leaned forward, his hips sliding up his brother's cock as they lay chest to chest, face to face, and Faramir tilted Boromir's face down to kiss each eye open. He wanted to see into their depths, wanted Boromir to look into his and see the same feelings they shared reflected as their hands clasped and bodies moved. He was patient, moving shallowly as he waited for Boromir to open his eyes, kissing the silky eyelids periodically until they fluttered open.

As Boromir's eyes opened, his hands slid along Faramir's sides and down his arms until their hands linked together, and met light blue orbs that hid nothing. They were darkened slightly with lust, need, want and desire. But past that, as Boromir stayed caught in them, they showed craving, love, need, respect, a long denied want of this very thing, and a reveling in the acceptance.

Faramir's fingers tightened in Boromir's grasp, and he started to move in earnest as he saw the thoughts and the emotions flickering across his brother's eyes. Saw the admitted realization that Boromir had wanted this as much as Faramir, and probably for longer. He just smiled and kissed his brother deeply, sliding his body hard against Boromir's, squeezing tightly around his cock and massaging it as it pushed inside.

Boromir growled at the tight clasp around him, and when Faramir's eyes crinkled at the corners and nodded, Boromir rolled them over, ending up on top with Faramir's legs wrapped around his waist as he lunged in. Hard, shaking strokes as he drove to the hilt, then slide easily back out and pushed back in. The tight clasp welcomed his every thrust, clung to his cock as he pulled out, helping tug him back in as Faramir's body refused to release him.

Warmth, satisfaction, *pleasure.* Boromir was swamped with them all as he made love with his brother. Their hands stayed linked tightly together, his cock sliding harder and faster into his brother's body, mouths sealed together and kissing deeply, tongue delving and tasting everything he'd ever been denied.

Faramir moaned, using the clasp of legs around his brother's waist to pull Boromir harder into him. Urged him to push harder, reach deeper with every stroke, pulled him closer and taking all of Boromir's weight onto him with every rock and thrust. He wasn't fragile, and didn't want to be treated that way. Every time Boromir thrust into him, Faramir made sure to squeeze his muscles tightly around the shaft.

And each squeeze wrung a gasp out of Boromir as he lunged faster, dropping his head to break the desperate kisses, licking Faramir's hard nipples as one hand disengaged itself and started reaching for his brother's cock, hard as stone and weeping for a touch as Boromir's fingers wrapped around it.

At the touch to his shaft, Faramir cried out his brother's name at the top of his voice. In that instant he could feel every rough callous on Boromir's finger, the scar across his palm from a blood oath taken years ago, the wrinkles and ridges of fingertips and even the ghostly hint of fingernails as Boromir dragged his hand over the shaft.

It wasn't nearly tight enough, and Faramir wrapped his hand around Boromir's, squeezing it tightly and increasing the pressure on his shaft. Boromir's grip tightened, and Faramir moaned, pushing his hips up, squeezing Boromir's cock with his ass as his own cock slid through the hard grip of his brother's fist. The firmer grip was exquisite, and a back corner of Faramir's mind wondered if the tight hot hard slick grip of Boromir's fist was anything like Boromir was feeling as he pounded in and out.

Then suddenly, thought was totally stripped from his brain as Boromir nudged his gland with the head of his cock. Fireworks seemed to explode in Faramir's vision as his eyes stayed open, glassily watching Boromir take him as he cried out. They were sharper than before, more pleading in nature, and Boromir gathered him close, each thrust continuing to rub over that same spot. Each rub elicited a new set of fireworks, and Faramir gave his brother blind, desperate kisses after each explosion.

Boromir knew what he was doing, because Faramir's body had lurched like a hot brand had been applied to his skin, and he grinned, burying his sweaty face in his lover's shoulder. He gathered Faramir closer, greedily accepting the desperate kisses as his hips picked up speed, escalating to almost brutal strokes as he brought his brother closer to orgasm. Faramir's hand around his was hot and made his palms sweat, and that mixed with the liberal strings of fluid that pulsed from the tip of his lover's cock. The slick mess coated his hand and Faramir's cock, letting him squeeze harder and stroke faster, friction reduced to almost nothing as his hand flew over Faramir's hard shaft.

He waited for it, holding his own orgasm off as he worked towards his brother's. Faramir's cock was throbbing in his grasp, his breath was choking in his throat, and Boromir knew he was close. "Ready?" he whispered, across his brother's lips, sucking the answering whisper into his mouth, stroking over his lips with his tongue. Boromir's hand kept stroking, but he moved his thumb out of Faramir's grip and rubbed it over the head, blunt thumbnail teasing the slit and putting pressure on the head as he stroked down. In the same moment, Boromir thrust deeply, making sure the head of his cock rammed over the little protrusion inside his brother that brought him so much pleasure.

Faramir felt like his entire body was exploding, not just his cock. His toes curled as his feet planted flat on the bed, raising his body up to meet his brother, his shoulders and arms going limp as his fingers locked tightly around his brother's, his chest feeling tight and muffling his breathing as he came. He felt the muscles around his brother's cock contracting, squeezing them sharply and causing Boromir to swell inside him.

That only made him come all the harder, his neck arched to expose his throat again as his eyes snapped shut. He could feel the thick strands of come falling onto his belly and his groin, but only for a second as the feel of Boromir exploding inside him overwhelmed everything else. It was as though a tongue of fire had been lit inside of him, spreading tendrils of heat and flame throughout his body, snaking and winding themselves around his heart.

Boromir's orgasm was no less intense, feeling Faramir clench tightly around him, holding him in and refusing to let him go until he was spent and empty. He held his brother's body close, riding out the bucking waves of pleasure they shared together, shuddering in unison as he spilled his seed in hard, rapid gushes that filled Faramir completely.

Where Faramir's body had gone slack, Boromir's had tensed, holding himself involuntarily rigid as his cock drained as well as his energy, and when it was done, his arms gave out on him and he collapsed onto his brother's chest.


Faramir woke in the morning with a still-sleepy smile on his lips and the light ache of a body well-used. A tawny head was resting on his chest, one arm over his shoulder and he was still more than half covered by his lover's weight, as though Boromir had rolled off him at some point in the night and snuggled back against him later in the cool morning air.

Then the realization hit him, his entire body tensing and his heart pounding in his chest. His brother. They'd done--

"Stop thinking, little brother," came Boromir's sleepy voice. "Think later. Sleep now."

Faramir's body relaxed under the gentle admonition. As he felt the tenseness drain out of his body, he felt Boromir relaxing back into sleep as well. He started to gently card his fingers through Boromir's hair, watching the strands slide through them like silk.

He stroked Boromir's hair for a long while, watching the just-rising sun play over it, deepening the shadows and making the highlights shine like gold. Before he knew it, Faramir had fallen asleep, his hand tangled in his brother's hair.


He woke again, hours later, and his brother hadn't moved. His chin rested on Boromir's hair, his fingers were still tangled in the silky mass, and his body hadn't lost any of its well-used feeling.

Now that he was awake, Faramir kept stroking Boromir's hair with one hand while his other explored as far as he could reach. In the light of day, Boromir's skin was warm from the sun--and Faramir's body--and still supple. His shoulders were broad and tanned, his back was strong and scarred with the history of a physical life.

Many of the scars Faramir knew. Here was where the stableman's whip had cut deeply when they'd tried to steal their father's horse to ride and Boromir had taken both their whippings. Faramir had tended the wounds to the best of his nine-year-old ability.

There was where his sword had slipped under Boromir's armor during training and sliced him open; down the forearm was another sword cut.

Here on his side, a hoof mark from where he'd broken Riord to saddle, an injury that had also broken one of his ribs. A little below it, an Orc knife had been thrust between Boromir's ribs during a skirmish a year ago, as Boromir's patrol had policed the White Woods as the base of the mountains.

He paused in his touches over that scar, and nearly jumped out of his skin when Boromir spoke quietly. "That was a poisoned blade if I remember, and took an age to heal."

"You're awake," Faramir said unnecessarily.

"Only barely," Boromir answered. "You didn't have to stop."

"I didn't want to wake you up," he confessed, risking a kiss to his brother's head.

Boromir murmured his appreciation, then woke himself up entirely, raising himself up on his forearms to look down at his brother. "How do you feel this morning?" he asked, loading the question with every possible meaning.

"A year older," Faramir teased, running his fingertips lightly over Boromir's strong arms. "And I have no regrets." His hands tightened around his brother's wrists, then slid his hands back up again. "Well…one."

Boromir's mouth quirked slightly, but his eyes were serious. "Name it. I would not have you regret this nor do anything you do not wish."

"Nothing like that," Faramir hastened to reassure. "My only regret is that I didn't tell you before that I wanted you in all ways it is possible to want another."

Boromir lowered himself back down to Faramir's chest, his chin resting on his brother's shoulder as he looked into sparkling blue eyes. "Do not regret that," he finally said after a moment's consideration. "It only gave you the time to make sure that you knew your heart, and did not act on a whim." He paused, and drew a finger down Faramir's sternum. "Gave us both the time to come to terms with our own minds, and know our wills."

Faramir just gave a soft smile, one usually reserved for Boromir alone. "And is this my birthday present then, brother?"

At that, Boromir laughed loudly, and rolled onto his back, grinning up at Faramir as he rolled to rest on Boromir's chest. "No, little brother, your present is in my chest there, and I will give it to you tonight."

Faramir met the laugh and the smile from his brother with one of his own, because smiles from Boromir were so rare of late. "You have more than one thing, then, to give me," he said meaningfully, pressing their lower bodies together.


Denethor sat in the Steward's chair, below and to the side of the king's throne. The room was empty, except for the Steward and his sons, and Boromir was standing quietly as Faramir spoke.

"We have seen what shape the city is in, Father. The new soldiers and the new supplies will not be enough. It's nearly deserted as it is, the people have fled to Minas Tirith, or gone downriver to seek protection elsewhere." He paced back and forth. "Boromir has already called for the repairs that are needed on the defenses, but Father, please, he cannot do it alone. Let me go with him; the people of Osgiliath are already used to seeing us working together as we have been over these last three days. Even you cannot deny that my brother and I are one of the most successful pairs we have working in your name. We have yet to fail on any task you have set before us, and together I know we can rebuild Osgiliath into the crown jewel it once was."

Denethor sneered. "Too long have you hidden behind the accomplishments of your brother. You have endeavored to attach yourself to his every success and by his love for you he has allowed it. But no more. I will not allow you to cling to your brother's name and service any longer . We will see precisely what your uses are."

"Father, please! I have never asked you for any indulgences in my life and I will not after this. Do not separate me from my brother." Faramir wanted to look at Boromir, take strength from him, but didn't dare show weakness in front of Denethor.

Boromir stepped forward. "Faramir has not attached himself to anything. The accolades and honors that he has earned he has earned entirely on his own merits and I have trained him myself. I know his worth, and his skills are second only to my own. Faramir is deserving of your respect, not your derision." Boromir was no longer afraid to stand up to his father, and he could not let the slur on Faramir pass.

"If he is good as you would have me believe, then it would benefit Gondor to have him remain behind while you are in Osgiliath. It will be nearly like having two of you."

Boromir grimaced, and silently cursed the old bastard's cunning. "Father, please."

"You are defying the Steward's orders, Boromir?" Denethor asked shrewdly.

"Of course not," was Boromir's deflated reply. "Only asking my father's indulgence."

Faramir moved to stand beside his brother, refusing to allow the hurt to show. "Our father's indulgences reach only as far as his own desires," he said briskly. "So much so that none is left for his sons."

At that, Denethor rose angrily to his feet. "You dare to speak to me in such a way, ungrateful son? Begone, get out of my sight. I am sick of the sight of you."

"Father! Do not say such things!" Boromir yelled angrily.

"Leave my sight, the both of you, and let me not see you again until you are more tractable to your father's wishes!" Denethor yelled after them.

Faramir dragged his brother out of the throne room, and clasped him tightly round the shoulders. "Come with me; I have a gift for you before you leave."

Boromir seethed silently as he followed Faramir back to his room. "He had no right to speak to you like that!" he finally ground out.

"That has never stopped him before, nor will it in the future," Faramir predicted as he entered his bedroom, drawing Boromir in behind him and then locking the door after them both. He pressed his brother against the locked door and kissed him, deeply and a little wistfully, tasting as much as he could before letting go and turning away. "I found this during the last year's inventory of the armory. I had thought to hold it until your birthday, but now seems to be a better time." He reached into the chest at the foot of his bed and withdrew a package wrapped in plain linen.

"You do not need to give me presents, little brother," Boromir protested even as he accepted it. He licked his lips again and caught Faramir's hand gently against his shoulder, keeping it pressed tightly for a moment before releasing him.

"You've gifted me every year," Faramir said. "Allow me to return the courtesy." He squeezed Boromir's shoulder tightly, then moved to look out the window as Boromir unwrapped his gift.

Boromir pulled the linen wrapping away to reveal an ivory horn. It was obviously a single tusk, from an oliphaunt or other great creature, hollowed out and hand-carved, heavy with ornate gold work at the bell, and a silver mouthpiece. The tip of the horn had been colored black, but the rest of the horn was ivory. It came complete with a twisted leather shoulder strap. "This is the Horn of Gondor," Boromir breathed. "To blow it summons the armies of Gondor to your aid."

"Which is why this should belong to you, my brother." He turned back from the window so that he was haloed by the sunlight, and wrapped Boromir's fingers around the neck of the horn. "Sound the call, and I will come to your aid, wherever you are."

Boromir tightened his grip over the horn, and using the leather strap, draped it diagonally over his chest. Rising to his feet, the Horn falling to rest by his side, Boromir kissed his brother goodbye.


The first whisperings of trouble at Osgiliath came not quite eight months later.

Smoke rose in billows from the eastern half of the city. The few hundred people that remained living in Osgiliath were evacuated to Minas Tirith, under the protection of two men--all that could be spared--along with a plea to the Steward for more men to hold the city.

Half the garrison had been slaughtered by the first onslaught of Orcs from Mordor. By the time the alarm was raised and the west garrison had crossed the river, the eastern half had fallen. The men that were left fought the Orcs street by street, losing as much ground as they gained.

The soldier relating this to the Steward was half-dead with exhaustion, and by the time he'd done relating his news, Faramir had already sent word to muster his Rangers. He didn't bother to ask his father's permission this time.

"My men and I will ride to Osgiliath within the half hour. Send the rest of the men out as soon as they are ready!" He was shouting orders to his father over his shoulder as he ran. He burst out into the courtyard, where Galat was saddled and ready, while another boy stood by with his cloak, bow, and quiver, which he donned as he spoke.

"We will cross the river outside of Osgiliath," he continued, raising his voice so that the cloaked riders that waited could hear him. "We'll cross on the southern side and come up behind the Orcs. We'll trap them between us and the city."

"For Gondor!" rose the cheer for the Rangers, and the city gates were thrown open. Faramir threw himself into the saddle, Galat rearing once before his hooves hit the paving stones and led the rest of the Rangers down. They rode hard, clearing the circular levels of the city with all haste, and thundered across the wide plain that separated the two cities.

One of Denethor's lieutenants hurried up to him. "Sir, aren't you going to warn him about closing so closely to Cirith Ungol and the creature that dwells over the pass?"

"No," Denethor replied. "Let the fool discover its evil on his own. Finish mustering your troops; I want them ready to ride at the soonest possible moment."

"Yes, sir."


Faramir and his Rangers rode like demons towards Osgiliath. One of the advance riders had fallen back into the column, shouting his reports of burnt bridges over pounding hoof beats. Without hesitation, Faramir wheeled the column back towards Osgiliath and the main causeway.

He'd spurred Galat to the head of the line, shouting orders as they grew closer, and then fell silent.

Carried like smoke on the wind, the lone sound of a horn trumpeting rang clearly in his ears.

Faramir pulled so sharply on Galat's reins that the horse reared, trying to throw Faramir to the ground. He hung on, and as soon as the horse's hooves touched the ground, Faramir dug his heels into the horse's ribs, spurring him to ride harder. Soon, Galat had pulled minutes away from the other riders and was just hitting his stride as his gallop swallowed the scrubby terrain.

Twice more he heard the blast of Boromir's Horn, and each time he dug his heels into Galat's sides. The horse obliged, riding faster yet until he seemed to be almost flying over the ground to answer Boromir's call.

He entered the city without impediment, and left Galat to be tended in the western stables as he listened to the information being reported to him by the last few men in the barracks. As he listened, practiced hands donned his hooded cloak and deerskin gloves, leather gauntlets and quiver over his back, and gloved fingers strung his bow as he planned his attack.

Boromir and the others were pinned down in two places--right on the eastern side of the bridge, and then mid-city, under the Silver Dome. The soldier had no idea which one Boromir was with, or how many Orcs had come into the city, or even how close to the bridge the horde had them pinned.

As soon as Faramir had finished getting himself ready, he held up his hand to stop the outpouring of useless information. "My men will be following close behind. Tell them when they arrive that Captain Faramir says the wind is northerly, then send them by my command to the bridge. Once the bridge is taken, I'll meet them there with further orders."

Without waiting for a reply, Faramir pulled his hood up, then loosely notched an arrow to his bowstring. Keeping in the shadows, he followed the main street until he came to the bridge.

Most of the city on the east side had been sacked and scoured. Structures were half-destroyed, domes collapsed, and at every volley, more chunks of white mortar fell from the heights. The air was heavy with smoke, the black stench of Orc blood, and the pungent copper of human blood. The trumpeting of Boromir's horn was close by, so close, and as the wind shifted the smoke to the south, he caught sight of his brother.

Boromir was standing behind a ruined statue of Isildur, swinging his sword and blindly cutting at the Orcs that tried to reach him around the cover of the statue. "Fire!" he cried, ducking down behind the stone.

A weak rain of arrows--no more than twenty--rose into the sky behind Boromir, falling into the pack of Orcs holding them down in their position. Their aim was blocked by smoke, stone, and fear, but Faramir's was not. A steady hand drew the bowstring taut and let the notched arrow fly.

It pierced the armor of the Orc closest to his brother's position, and the foul creature's corpse fell into the river. A ragged, tired cheer rose amidst the next hail of Orc arrows. "Faramir and the Rangers!" Boromir shouted, rallying his men's spirits back to the fight. "I told you my brother would not fail us!"

As though in answer of Boromir's cheer, a loud whoop sounded on the other side of the bridge as the Rangers rode hard across it. The Orcs screamed in unholy terror, and surged forward across the bridge, Boromir's men forgotten in their lust for fresh blood and manflesh.

Boromir raised his sword. "Behind them! Trap them between our forces, leave not one alive!" The raised sword thrust into the air. "For Gondor!"

"For Gondor!" echoed the cry on both sides, and Boromir's tired men charged forward for one last fight.


It was over.

Hours later and Osgiliath had been re-taken. The corpses of the slaughtered Orcs were being burned for fuel and warmth as half-dead soldiers shivered with shock and injury.

Denethor had sent kitchen-boys from Minas Tirith, laden with sides of meat and baskets of vegetables, and huge cauldrons of hot, simple stew were being tended and served, along with chunks of bread and flagons of warm, spiced ale.

The most seriously wounded soldiers were being housed in the barracks, the others making camp where they could. Faramir picked his way cautiously through the injured, murmuring quiet congratulations to the Rangers among them, carefully balancing two trays as he walked.

Out of respect, the healers and the other soldiers had left the hallway to Boromir's rooms clear, and the rooms themselves housed only one injured man--Boromir himself. Faramir had deliberately left the door cracked open when he'd left to fetch dinner, and used his hip to push it open the rest of the way. "You're lucky the men like you," Faramir told his brother, kicking the door shut. "There's so many who have been wounded." He sat the trays down on the chest by Boromir's bed and sighed. "So many who may yet die."

Boromir looked up at his brother. One of Boromir's arms was in a sling, bound tightly to his chest to keep it immobile. His shoulder had been pierced with an Orc sword, and he had at last been felled by a poisoned arrow in his thigh. On top of all, he'd taken a sharp blow to the head, and so despite his exhaustion, he had entreated Faramir to help keep him awake. "How many did we lose?"

"Three hundred and eleven," Faramir reported. "Thirty more are expected to die before the night passes, and twenty more on top of that are not expected to survive the week. Five of them have already asked for the soldier's ease." Then he closed his eyes. "Fifteen of the dead are Rangers."

"I am sorry, brother," Boromir said softly, knowing all too well the pain of losing men that you knew well. He held out his good hand, and drew his brother to sit on the edge of the bed, trying to ease the pain in his eyes. "I knew when I sounded the Horn that you would come. My men had lost heart until you arrived. Had you not come before the Rangers, given them those few moments of hope, the city would have fallen. Osgiliath stands because of you."

Faramir disregarded the trays, and his brother's injuries as he crawled into Boromir's bed and rested his head on his brother's uninjured shoulder. "Father is furious with me because I rode without his consent and took control of the city garrison he sent." He pulled a crumpled sheet of parchment out, sealed with the Steward's signet. "I am to take my Rangers at the end of the month and patrol the Ithilien marches. Stop the flow of Southrons into Mordor and make sure none of their boats reach Osgiliath."

Boromir let his arm slide around Faramir's shoulders. "Don't worry about our father; giving you the Ithilien marches has put you under my command, not his, because those lands are under the governance of Osgiliath, not the Steward." He squeezed Faramir tightly. "Come. We eat, we drink, we talk. And we do not think of Father."

Faramir nodded at that. "Aye, brother. We do not think on him."


It was nearly a year to the day when Mordor attacked Osgiliath again. This time it was Faramir, not Boromir, who was holding the city.

A little more than a month prior to the attack, Boromir had sent a messenger summoning Faramir to Osgiliath. Spies to the north had seen a great host of Orc leaving the Black Gates of Mordor. They had already marched around the northern curve of the Mountains of Shadow and would quickly be reaching Osgiliath if they were not stopped.

Boromir took half the city's men, leaving the other half under Faramir's command. There would be no reinforcements for either of them; the settlements in Gondor had been all but abandoned, save for a few scattered here and there. Even the great city of Minas Tirith had fewer men than years past, because every casualty in this war could not be easily replaced as the race of Men dwindled.

Old alliances were dead--Rohan was nearly as weak now as Gondor, Théoden was failing, and Théodred his son was barely old enough to consider the throne. They could not be called upon for aid. The Elves that had once allied themselves with men cared nothing now for their struggles, and kept to themselves in their forest homes. The Dwarves kept themselves buried in their mines, digging for riches and precious metals. Gondor stood alone, and Boromir knew it. They could not wait for the horde to attack the city--they had to take the offensive and crush the Orcs before they could strike Osgiliath.

Only later would Boromir realize what a trap this was. Two weeks' march out of Osgiliath, and the force they'd been met with was less than a mere token resistance.

Boromir's first thought was for his brother.


The eastern half of the city fell to Mordor within days. Their every position was overrun by the hordes that had come at them from Minas Morgul. Three times the number of men at Faramir's disposal, and the Orcs pillaged the defenseless city.

Only by destroying the bridge that linked east to west and patrolling the shores of the river were the men able to hold their half of the city. Even with the addition of Faramir's Rangers, they still had less than a third of the manpower that the Orcs had.

He could spare no man as messenger to the city, and there was no help from the Steward--the lone rider that Denethor had sent was barely more than a boy, and said that Minas Tirith could barely defend itself and that Faramir was left to repel Mordor on his own.

Faramir had lost all hope after that message, overwhelmed by the Orcs and losing more men every day, until the eighth day of the siege. There was a lull between attacks, longer than had been for the whole week, but he was too exhausted to question it, and so were his men.

During the lull, he heard it. The Horn of Gondor. All around him, tired and weary heads were rising slowly, blinking in shock as though they weren't sure of what they were hearing. The Orcs must have heard the Horn too, because their howls of rage rose to drown it out.

By the ninth day, the Horn couldn't be drowned out any longer. Faramir and his men could see the Orcs moving, shifting in preparation for a march.

The tenth day brought a deafening trumpet of the horn, and at the farthest edge of the city, the first white flag of Gondor was re-raised.

The sight of the flag and the sure knowledge that Boromir's men had returned and doubled their numbers seemed to give Faramir's men new hope, because they fought harder, crossing on temporary bridges to take the eastern shore again.

Faramir deployed his men quickly, creating a wall of soldiers that pushed the Orcs forward, trapping them between Boromir and himself.


The press lasted for three days. Faramir's men were exhausted, but the scent of impending victory kept them going. They held strong, keeping the Orcs from retreating, instead moving them always towards Boromir, slaughtering as they went.

At the end of the third day, Faramir caught the first sight of his brother. Boromir was fighting in the forefront of his men, Horn slung carefully over his shoulder, right arm hacking and slashing as his left held his shield high. Boromir's armor was dented, he was covered head to toe with splatters of mud and black Orc blood, and he met Faramir's eyes with a smile.

In that moment, Faramir felt as though he could have wept.


Finally the siege had ended.

Not long after seeing Boromir, Faramir had been in the middle of directing another attack, and had collapsed from exhaustion.

When he woke after the siege, Faramir found he was not alone. He was in one of the half-ruined buildings, where other soldiers who had collapsed as he had were resting. His lieutenant, Madril, was sitting by his bedside, a red-stained bandage wrapped round his head and his arm in a sling. "Captain, please. Remain still. Your brother is here and he is driving out the last of the Orcs as we speak. The city has been re-taken; it's nearly nightfall now, and he isn't expected back until morning. Boromir's given orders you're to rest until then, you and all the men under your command. Half his men have been left behind to defend the city and help the wounded as he leads the rest in a charge to push the Orcs back towards Mordor."

"And is he well?" It was all Faramir had the energy to ask as he let his head fall back on the thin pillow provided on the narrow cot.

"He is well, and at last report suffered no injuries in the siege. He is the only one, and it is said that that he fought as though possessed once he heard you and the city had fallen." Madril said no more on it. "You should rest, Captain. All is well, the wounded are being cared for, and kitcheners from the Steward are even now feeding those able to walk and eat."

"Good." Faramir turned his head. "You've been wounded. Go and have your injuries tended to and eat. You've earned it, just as all of us have." His eyes closed then, and he fell back into sleep.


Faramir was wakened the next morning by the loud, overwhelming cheering of a crowd gathered nearby, and his heart gave a leap when he heard his brother's voice speaking.

"This city was once the jewel of our kingdom! A place of light, and beauty, and music! And so it will be once more!" Another cheer of the crowd rose, drowning out Boromir's words, but that was all right with Faramir. The only thing that mattered was Boromir, alive and unhurt.

He pulled himself easily out of bed, feeling much recovered after sleeping for nearly a day and a half, and as soon as he gained his feet, he smiled. Boromir was standing atop the highest dome in the city, sword in his hand as he cried out his speech. The flag of Gondor flapped proudly in the breeze beside him, and Faramir watched as Boromir steadied himself with a hand on the flagpole as he shouted out the last words, then fell to a rousing chant of "For Gondor!" which was echoed with thundering precision by the crowd beneath him.

He saw his brother starting to descend from the high platform where he was standing, and by the time he was on the ground, Faramir had reached the same spot, pushing a soldier out of the way to clear a small path between him and his brother. "Good speech. Nice and short."

Boromir's face lit with a grin of intense brilliance, and they met in the middle of the cleared space, hugging tightly as though they'd been separated for years instead of months. "Leaves more time for drinking!" he shouted to the men around him, and that won another laughing grin from his brother as Faramir's hands still gripped his arms, refusing to break their physical contact. "Break out the ale, these men are thirsty!"

The cheers were deafening, and out of the first barrel tapped, Boromir took two foaming goblets, one for himself and one for Faramir. He handed the metal cup to his brother, raising his own in a toast and smiling. "Remember today, little brother. Today, life is good." Boromir's eyes were devouring Faramir, and he frowned when Faramir's attention was drawn from him. "What?"

"He's here," Faramir said with a quick nod of his head, and his own good mood fell considerably.

Boromir followed Faramir's glance, and he felt the bottom of his stomach fall out. "Oh, one moment of peace, can he not give us that?" The disgust in his tone was obvious.

Denethor was shaking hands and pushing steadily towards Boromir, eyes glinting as he finally caught sight of his eldest son and broke through the crowd of well-wishers. "Where is he?" Denethor called out, opening his arms to Boromir. "Where is Gondor's finest, where is my firstborn?"

With a weary smile and a surge of disappointment, Boromir schooled his face into a smile and moved into the small archway, coincidentally blocking Faramir from Denethor's view in the hope of protecting his brother from his father's scorn. "Father!"

Denethor pulled Boromir into a proud, elated hug, black-gloved hands patting his back ecstatically. "They say you vanquished the enemy almost single-handedly!"

Strangely, Boromir noted that his father seemed to be in a very good mood, and he tried, once more, to include his brother, as he always did. "They exaggerate! The victory belongs to Faramir also!" More defense of his brother was on the tip of his tongue, but Denethor's next words made him swallow them back down again as whatever love he held for his father shriveled a little more.

"But for Faramir, this city would still be standing." Denethor's gaze went from adoring to accusatory in a heartbeat as he trained it on his youngest son. "Were you not entrusted to protect it?"

Faramir swallowed hard, pushing down the bile that rose at his father's hateful words. "I would have done but our numbers were too few."

"Oh, too few." Denethor's tone was scathing, meant to cut to the quick. "You let the enemy walk in and take it on a whim! Always you cast a poor reflection on me."

It cut, but Faramir refused to show it; he would not show weakness in front of his father and shame his brother's teachings. "That is not my intent."

Boromir could stand it no longer, and he shoved angrily past his father, spitting his next words out over the old man's shoulder. "You give him no credit, and yet he tries to do your will!" He stormed into one of the empty rooms off the celebratory archway, and to his consternation, Denethor followed him. "He loves you, Father," Boromir started, only to be cut off by his father's rude words.

"Do not trouble me with Faramir. I know his uses and they are few." Boromir's face was completely crushed, but Denethor spoke on regardless. "We have more urgent things to speak of. Elrond of Rivendell has called a meeting. He will not say why, but I have guessed its purpose. It is rumored that the weapon of the enemy has been found."

"The One Ring?" Boromir asked, worry for his brother pushed to the back of his mind for the moment. "Isildur's bane."

Denethor nodded. "It has fallen into the hands of the Elves. Everyone will try to claim it: Men, Dwarves, wizards. We cannot let that happen. This thing must come to Gondor."

Boromir couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Gondor?"

Denethor confirmed it with a nod. "It's dangerous, I know. Ever the Ring will seek to corrupt the hearts of lesser Men." Denethor didn't notice the little frisson of uncertainty and fear that skated up Boromir's spine and across his features to lodge deep in his eyes. "But you, you are strong," he continued, voice dropping to a whisper. "And our need is great. It is our blood which is being spilled. Our people who are dying. Sauron is biding his time. He's massing fresh armies. He will return. And when he does we will be powerless to stop him. You must go. Bring me back this mighty gift."

Boromir's mind was filled with the sights that he'd seen in their battles; Orcs devouring the bloody flesh of his own men, the ache in the pit of his stomach when he heard that Osgiliath--his brother's city--had fallen, a soldier's sorrow at seeing the lifeless faces of the men falling under his command, sent to their deaths by his words.

He couldn't bear the images any longer, and he left the little room, going back out to his brother, where he belonged. "No. My place is here with my people. Not in Rivendell."

Denethor followed. "Would you deny your own father?" he shouted after Boromir, but was stopped short by Faramir, who had stepped up beside his brother.

"If there is need to go to Rivendell, send me in his stead." Faramir's voice was firm, and he was brave in the face of his father's disdain.

"You? Oh, I see. A chance for Faramir, captain of Gondor, to show his quality." A sneer from Denethor at the thought of it. "I think not. I trust this mission only to your brother. The one who will not fail me." He looked back at Boromir. "You will do this for me."

At the order, Boromir's face fell, though he nodded. "I will not defy the Steward's orders."

"Good. You will leave this afternoon, before night falls." Denethor swept away at that, disdaining his youngest son entirely.

Faramir looked up at his brother's face. "You do not want to go to Rivendell?"

Boromir shook his head negatively. "The very thought of it sends fear to the deepest parts of my heart and makes me dread the thought of sleep tonight. For many nights now I have dreamed of the broken blade of Isildur and my own blade shattering during battle, when I need my courage the most." He put a hand tightly on his brother's shoulder and pulled him into a tight hug. "I fear this trip, brother."

"Then let me go in your stead," Faramir pled. "Or at least let me ride with you."

Boromir shook his head again. "No, little brother. You must stay behind. Guard the Ithilien marches well, make sure that none of the Southrons are able to march through our lands to the Black Gates. When I return to you, I will have a weapon in my possession such that none have seen in an Age, and Gondor will be the power in the world of Men that once she was."

Faramir's grip on Boromir's forearms tightened. "You are leaving soon." It was a statement, not a question.

"You heard. Before nightfall." He brought his own hands up to grip Faramir tightly. "I have little time left," he said, and in his heart, he knew that he wasn't referring to just the time before he left. "I would have you know, my brother, how much I love you."

Faramir nodded. "I know how much."

Boromir looked around at the carousing crowd, because nobody was paying attention to the two of them, and he drew Faramir closer. "Come with me. We must find a place for privacy."

"The barracks still stand," Faramir said quickly. "Meet me there, as quickly as you can. Say I am helping to prepare you for your ride to Rivendell."

"Yes," Boromir nodded, and let his brother go as they were jostled apart by the sudden surge of the crowd. "I will find you, brother!" he yelled over the rising tide of people that came between them.


True to his word, Faramir was preparing Boromir's things for departure when his brother arrived. Food had already been packed--water skins, a small flagon of honey mead for cold nights, shield polished, a fresh cloak laid out, and he was currently working on sharpening Boromir's sword when his brother finally burst through the door.

Boromir said nothing, but fell upon his brother ravenously, kissing him as fiercely as he could, devouring all. His armor had already been removed, and given to the blacksmith to repair, and he was standing now in leather breeches and his tunic as he kissed his brother.

Faramir had barely had time to put Boromir's sword aside before the assault, and he bent eagerly to it. His mouth was open in offering, and his hands slid under the loose leather tunic to find the lacings of his brother's breeches. Experienced hands unlaced the fly quickly and Boromir gave a short groan as Faramir's fingers slipped into open pants and brought out his erection.

Calloused fingers wrapped around Boromir's swelling cock, the rough places stroking all the right places as he whimpered, pushing against his brother and nudging him towards the bed as his kisses moved to a stubbled cheek, a lightly-bearded jaw line, then a strong neck.

Faramir was desperate for his brother's kisses all over his skin, and he eagerly shed his clothes, reluctantly releasing Boromir's cock as he stripped, then teased with nibbling bites until his brother did the same, and they were naked, together, behind the locked doors of Faramir's bedroom.

They fell upon the bed together, Boromir rolling over his brother and lying on top of him, rubbing their slick erections together, grunting as he bit Faramir's ear, sucking the delicate tissue in his mouth as his fingers rolled and teased prickling little nubs.

Too much skin to touch and not enough time to touch it all, Boromir gave a deep whimper in the back of his throat as he felt Faramir's hands skimming down his body. Coming to a quick decision, he rolled onto his back, pulling Faramir on top of him and pulling his brother's mouth down to his for another kiss. "Please," was all that he said, but his hands moved to guide Faramir's hips as they thrust against him.

Faramir nodded against Boromir's cheek; it was rare that they changed positions like this; they'd done it perhaps a handful of times and Faramir treasured each of them because it meant Boromir was giving *everything* to him and he was touched more than he could express. He wasn't at all surprised that Boromir would want this now, and he kissed his lover reassuringly as he could as his fingers stroked tremblingly over his brother's flesh.

The small container of almond oil remained close by the bedside and never went empty, and it was a fact Faramir was grateful for as he reached out easily and brought it to rest between their bodies, balanced carefully on Boromir's stomach. He slicked both fingers and erection as he watched the rise and fall of his brother's chest, counting out the beats of his heart and the breaths that he took. He knew time was short, that this had to be fast, but he refused to make it less than exquisite because Boromir would do nothing less for him.

Smiling again, Faramir's fingers probed quickly but gently, opening his brother's body with swift strokes of his fingers, crooking them and rubbing gently until Boromir arched in pleasure, panting and giving a short, hoarse cry.

Satisfied, Faramir moved between his brother's open legs, sliding his cock into Boromir's tight opening and gasping as he was gripped tightly and pulled forward. Couldn't stop himself as he drove to the hilt, pausing only when he was completely sheathed, and his hands slid up Boromir's chest and down his arm to squeeze his brother's hand tightly.

Boromir's eyes were closed as he arched into Faramir's strokes, their fingers linked together tightly as he met each push with a rock of his hips. Their mouths met over and over again in hungry kisses, devouring and sucking voraciously as their bodies moved together. He sought Faramir's weight to press him down, rubbed his chest against his brother's to stimulate himself, moaned roughly into the starving mouth pressed against his as his fingers were finally released.

They locked immediately in Faramir's hair, pushing his head back and exposing his throat to Boromir's lips. He nuzzled the strong column, licking over the bobbing Adam's apple, sucking the throbbing pulse that pounded in concert with every twitch of Faramir's cock in his body. Raw red marks were left in his wake, as Boromir left his claims on his brother's skin.

Faramir grunted with each thrust, his eyes crossing with the need to be buried deeper in Boromir's body, to take him faster and harder than ever before, while his body was already at its limit. His cock was hammering Boromir mercilessly, his thumbs grinding the hard nipples back down into his skin with every lunge, and the hot clasp of Boromir's body pulled him back every time. "Touch yourself," Faramir demanded hoarsely, shaking Boromir's hands out of his hair and dropping his head to suck his own claiming marks onto Boromir.

A throaty cry of acquiescence met Faramir's demand, and Boromir obediently let his hands drop, one to wrap around the steely hard cock jutting from between his thighs as the other reached down and cupped the back of his brother's head, holding Faramir's mouth to his skin as he stroked himself off.

Faramir shook Boromir's hand off again as he raised his head, eyes focused not on his brother's face but on the hand stroking his cock. A tight fist that slid easily along the length, and only then did he meet Boromir's eyes head-on. Saw the deep welling of passion and love in his brother's eyes, there for him alone to see, and that thought alone sent him over the edge, spilling his seed inside Boromir's body with a cry muffled by his teeth sunk hard into Boromir's shoulder.

The hard bite coupled with the hot rush of his brother's orgasm sent Boromir spiraling after. He shuddered as his cock twitched and jerked, spitting stream after stream between their bodies, falling back on his hand and stomach as he panted, accepting the nibbling kisses that Faramir dropped on his lips as he stroked the last of his orgasm out.

Faramir let his weight rest mostly on his brother, his forehead pressed to Boromir's shoulder as he spoke softly. "When do you return to me?"

Boromir shook his head tiredly. "I know not; the Elves of Rivendell now possess the One Ring, and I am sent to fetch it. Our father would have the Ring come to Gondor." He kissed the top of his brother's head, and held him close. "I would you were accompanying me, but I know you cannot." Another kiss. "I will return as soon as I can."


Not a half hour later, Boromir was dressed, his shield thrown over his back and he was sitting atop his destrier, watching the rest of the column file out--ten men in all, and he was the last to leave as he looked longingly at his brother, then up to the flag that was whipping in the wind.

His eyes fell to his brother again, and there was such love and adoration in Faramir's gaze that it was almost painful for Boromir to tear his own away. "Remember this day, little brother," he said softly, and having tarried as long as he could, Boromir urged his horse forward, leaving Osgiliath and his brother without a backward glance.


Faramir looked at the object in his hands with horror.

Cloven in two, the Horn of Gondor still retained the fine metalwork that had given it its distinctive look. Washed up on shore near his position the day before yesterday, it had only been found and given to him this moment, and his first instinct was to drop it, fling it as far away from himself as he could as he fought to deny the news it imparted to him.

His brother lived no longer.

Faramir knew it, as soon as he touched the destroyed Horn.

When his men came to him later that evening, in the hours before dusk, and told him that an Elven boat approached, no one else would dare to follow him as he left the camp alone and waded into the Anduin. Up to his thighs in frigid water, Faramir waited for the boat to sail past him on the current.

For hours he waited, until the white boat came into sight. Further out he waded, and when the current brought the boat to him, his entire body was frozen in despair. He gave a wretched cry as he caught sight of Boromir, gripping his sword with arms crossed peacefully, face blue and cold in death.

He wanted to reach out, to bring the boat to him, to gather Boromir's lifeless body in his arms and weep over it, return it to Gondor for a soldier's rites. But even as he moved to do it, he could not. His body failed him; cold tears rolled down his cheeks to splash into the water, causing ripples that shattered into nothingness as they lapped against the hull of the departing boat.

He felt broken inside, unable to move as he watched the boat sail further down the Great River, taking what was left of his hopes and his dreams with it. He knew that he had lost half of his soul, and the wound was raw, harsh and gaping, and he did not know how he was ever going to recover from it.

He stayed in the Anduin until the boat bearing his brother's body was out of his sight, stayed until he could no longer feel his legs, stayed until Madril entered the water behind him. Madril drew him the shore and lit a fire to warm him, laid meat, bread and mead by the fire, then left his captain to his grief.

Faramir did nothing but stare at the ruined Horn in his hands, and knew that in this moment, he would never be the same again.

 

 

 

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