On The Fourth Of July
1. On The Fourth Of July
Notes: This thing would not have been written, let alone finished, had Kari not spawned the plot bunny by reminding me exactly what had happened in Middle Earth on that day, and without her Boromir, whom my Faramir muse has decided is his brother, I don’t think I would have been able to understand them quite so well. So, Kari and Bory, here’s one for you from Miri and I.
The Fourth of July, and Faramir waited. He sat out in the gardens alone, staring at what seemed to be nothing. For as long as Elboron could remember his father had done this, had sat gazing out in the direction of Minas Tirith, his silent vigil uninterrupted, save for the years when the force of rain or a summer storm had forced him inside, to stare out the window instead.
Elboron wondered, though he did not ask. He wondered why Mother just let this happen, why she didn't talk to him. Why even Uncle Beregond didn't try, Why Father sat there, seeming so lost, as if he were part of another world, as if he did not belong here, as if there were something pulling him away, with the same look on his face, as when he spoke of Grandfather or Uncle Boromir, only so much stronger now...
He wondered why no one said or did anything...Had they all stopped caring? No, that couldn't be it. Every other day they seemed to understand. Every other day things were normal. Every other day Father would ruffle his hair and smile, would kiss Mother as Elboron looked away in disgust and was ...Father. Today though, things were different, and he didn't want them to be. There had to be something that someone could do. That he could do.
Elboron looked around, and seeing no one who would stop him now, crept out into the garden and towards the lilac bush and the bench where Faramir sat now. Staring...always staring, but into what? At What? Elboron wished that he knew. Elboron walked closer, then sat at the end of the bench, glancing at Faramir. So far there had been no sign that he had been seen. Scooting closer, Elboron waited, waited for the sadness in Faramir's eyes to fade, for him to turn around and smile, for everything to be all right again, but so far, nothing.
He waited a bit longer, feeling as though it were an eternity, as though he had been sitting here for hours, and finally sneezed. Beside him, Faramir jumped a bit, then glanced towards his son.
"Boro..." Faramir forced himself to smile now, as he looked at the boy. "Did you need something?" If he didn't look half like Boromir...No...he shouldn't think about that now, wouldn't do this with Elboron here, just...
"Father..." Elboron hesitated a moment, then with eight year old candor, pressed on. "You seem so sad..."
Faramir blinked hard. He hadn't meant for things to become so obvious, and pasted on a larger, and even more false smile. "I am perfectly fine Boro...Just a bit tired and.." He stopped, seeing the boy's raised eyebrow. Faramir had never been very good at keeping things from him, Elboron seemed to just know things. Like Boromir, and...
"Alright..." Faramir conceded. "I suppose I am a little sad today..." Elboron nodded sagely, or as sagely as he could muster.
"Well, because I..." Faramir hesitated, "Because I have memories of today...of something that happened a long time ago. Something that was very sad..."
"Oh.." Elboron nodded and scooted closer, planting himself in Faramir's lap. "Do you want to talk about it? I remember when you said that talking can sometimes make you feel better even if your problems won't go away."
Faramir smiled in spite of himself, at his son's attempt to act grown up. "I don't know if talking will help this time Boro...It's been a long time, and I really just came to remember."
Remember. Remember Boromir riding out of the city on the wings of his own dream, remember hearing the horn, remember the funeral boat as it floated past, somewhere in between the stages of dream and reality. Remember that he should have been the one to leave, remember that Boromir would have done better here, remember that he was the one Denethor would prefer to see dead, and rightly so. Sometimes Faramir still felt as if he would give up everything, Eowyn, Elboron, his very life, so that Boromir could be here now. Boromir who deserved this happiness much more than he did. Boromir who...
“Then I’ll remember too...Remember what?” Elboron tugged at Faramir’s sleeve. “Father?”
Remember the last moments they had spent, together at the gate. remember Boromir’s promise to come back, Remember the feeling when he knew it had been broken. Remember...always remember. It felt as if Faramir spent most of his time remembering, but today...today was always the worst of it. He had promised himself last year that he would stop this, that he would learn to move on, to look past July 4th as a day of mourning what was once, and to search for peace. Every year he made that promise, and every year, he found himself breaking it.
Faramir blinked as his son’s voice cut into his thoughts again, finally. “Remember who Boro.” he said at last, “Remember someone special to me.” A shadow passed over his face again as he sighed, suddenly looking older than his years. “Remember saying goodbye...”
“Uncle Boromir?” Elboron asked, noting the look as similar to the others Faramir wore when thinking about this person, this hero he would never meet. Somehow the thought made him sad too.
Faramir nodded, a bit reluctantly. “I suppose you’re ready to hear more about him...you’re old enough now. Today..” His voice cracked a bit, “Today, so many years ago, was the last day that I saw him...”
“You miss him.” Elboron snuggled closer, patting Faramir’s arm.
“I do...” he said quietly. “And I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if he were here now, to see you, to learn that in the end everything did get better.”
“He knows.” Elboron looked up at the sky, his expression serious, making him seem far older than just turned eight. “Of course he knows.”
“Perhaps.” Faramir agreed, “I like to think so anyway. That somehow some part of him still lives on, in all of us. “ He slipped an arm around Elboron’s shoulder. “Anything else you would like to know?”
“Tell me about him.” was the request, “Tell me a story.”
“Any sort of story?”
“Well...if you could..” Elboron hedged, “One about today?”
“About today...” Faramir closed his eyes, seeing the scene as though it were yesterday. Watching as old memories swirled around him, memories that had been buried for so long. The dust settled as they were brought to the surface and then, taking a deep breath, Faramir began.
“It all began when I started to have this dream . I’d had dreams before...but this one, the things it told me seemed so real, so urgent that I had to act soon.”
“Seek the Sword that was broken...” Elboron whispered. “In Imladris it dwells. There...” he screwed up his face in concentration. “I can’t quite remember the rest...”
“You have the general idea. Anyhow after the dream came to me, the first person I told was Boromir. He was the first to believe me too. Dene...Your grandfather, seemed convinced it was some fleeting sort of fancy. After all. I was somewhat drawn to those...”
“But it was real. Wasn’t it?”
“To me it was. And then, after the same dream passed onto Boromir, it only continued to prove what we had thought all along. “
“Did grandfather listen then?”
“Finally after what seemed like forever he did. It was decided that one of us should go, to seek out this Imladris and the broken sword.”
“King Elessar’s sword right?”
“Yes Boro.” Faramir smiled, “King Elessar’s sword.”
“Elendil!” Elboron shouted, brandishing an imaginary sword. Again Faramir was reminded of how much his son looked like Boromir. Strange to see his brother again in his own son’s eyes.
“That part doesn’t come until much later though.” For some reason telling this story, passing it along was helping. Maybe Elboron’s coming out here had been a good thing after all. It was nice, Faramir decided, to have something of Boromir to share at last.
“First it had to be decided which one of us would make the journey. Both of us wanted to. Boromir if only to spare me from whatever danger he imagined was out there. Boromir...always tried to keep me from danger. But this time. Well, the dream had been mine first, and I wanted to prove that I could make the trip, that I could do a few things on my own. Of course he didn’t like the idea one bit...Which lead to a small bit of...I’m not sure I should be telling you this part...”
“Oh very well, We had a fight. One of the few we ever had.” Faramir didn’t think it wise to go into too much detail here, as it had also been the worst fight they had ever had.
“You had a fight?”
“I’m not proud of it.” Faramir answered, “But yes. We did.”
“And Uncle Boromir won and that’s why he went?”
“No, though it was the longest we had ever stayed mad at each other. We didn’t speak until the day before he was to leave. July the third.”
“We went for a walk along the battlements...he had said he wanted to talk to me, and then suddenly, when he explained. When Boromir said that he wanted me to stay, that he thought I would be of some worth at home, and when I could tell that he really meant it, everything changed.”
He smiled at the memory of the way Boromir’s words and Boromir’s faith in him had somehow made everything better that day, and the next, as he vanished from sight. Boromir’s faith that he would make it in the end, that he was going to be all right. Even this fleeting whisper of the past seemed to warm him now, and as he looked around the gardens, towards the house where Eowyn waited, and to the black haired boy studying him intently, Faramir knew that he had been right all along.
“The next day..” Faramir finished slowly, “Boromir left the city and that was the last we ever saw of him...”
“That’s a sad story.” Elboron paused, then screwed up his face in thought. “Would you change it if you could? Would you go back in time to before it happened. I would want to...”
“I did at first. I did for so long...” Faramir’s voice grew softer, “And I would dearly love to see him again. To say goodbye. But no. “ He shook his head, “I have you, and your mother, and Ithilien and...it’s all right now. Somehow everything is all right.”
Elboron nodded as if satisfied and slid from Faramir’s knee. “I think I’m going to go for a walk. Would you like to come or would you rather remember?”
As a sudden breeze lifted his hair, Faramir stood, leaving his post early for once. Or maybe, just maybe he didn’t need it anymore...
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.