1. Joy and Sorrow
The days after the war of the ring were not just happiness and languor. When things had settled down somewhat, came a time for introspection. The euphoria died down, and other feelings came to the fore. It seemed life returned to normal where barely a few weeks ago, all had seemed on the brink of destruction.
There was a great deal of work involved not just for Aragorn as the king, but also for many around him. Faramir, as his steward helped greatly, but he too, was new to what he did. Running a kingdom could be heavy work.
But long hours spent awake instead of asleep were not what a kingdom in recovery needed, nor tired men with minds distracted by thoughts of other matters. His steward’s cure was to work so much as to prevent his thoughts straying elsewhere for his thoughts were sorrowful, and it was a time to rejoice.
In a time of victory - no one, he thought, would wish to see grief. Besides, he knew not how to grieve.
The king watched silently for a few days. He was no less a reader of other men’s faces than his steward. And in that face he could read strain and withheld pain. He watched as each night the younger man walked restlessly for longer and longer hours through the gardens. He had seen him there earlier, but with his lady, and it had seemed that in her recovery, the steward’s ailment had been hidden. Now she had returned home, and it came back to the surface. Grief laced the aching eyes, but tears he had seen none.
Faramir was young still, and of a line of men who lived long, not as long as the kings, but long nevertheless. If he did not relinquish his burden then, he would carry it for years. And Aragorn who would live for more years would be forced to watch him struggle under its weight.
He strode out into the garden. The hour was late. The younger man stood by a wall, his drawn face pale in the moonlight, each furrow and crease standing out in his unhappiness.
“There were shadows,” it was a whisper, barely audible, “And I thought I was all alone. And then you came.”
He helped him into the bed, as one would a very young child, with great love and care. Tenderly he grasped his hand, and bade him sleep peacefully. Grey eyes beheld him painfully; eyes touched with despair and unhappiness. They had lacked hope once. Now, they lacked peace too.
He stayed by the bedside a second more, and then, with purposeful motions removed his boots and lowered himself against the upraised pillows. He pulled the unresisting body into his arms and held him close.
“You grieve still,” it was a mere statement.
There was no response.
“You helped others overcome their sorrow but who helps you with yours?”
He was sure if the other man could, he would have moved away, but he could not.
“Mourn them, my lord steward, for they deserve it. Shed your tears, as you have not done earlier. There is none to see you here, save I.”
The dark head nestled against his shoulder, unmoving, save for the barely visible rise and fall of the chest.
“Let out your sorrow,” he commanded softly.
He pulled him closer still, letting the tired head rest against his chest. The eyes were closed, dark lashes lining a worn face. Soft, almost silent breaths hit him at regular intervals; warm currents of air that comforted him and made him yearn to return some of that comfort.
"You are alone no more," he whispered gently.
The tear trickled out from behind closed eyes, wetting the lashes, down a cheek and fell onto the king's tunic.
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.