1. Faithful Star
He smiled and stretched, arching his back, his jaw cracking in a yawn. He’d been awake all night and was feeling it now: his head felt fuzzy and his eyes were burning. Running a hand through his raven hair, he grinned at the sky; he had been too excited to sleep – he was not going to miss this moment. Not for anything in Arda.
Resting his elbows on the sill, he leaned out the window and took a deep breath, inhaling the fresh, sweet morning air.
‘Faramir!’ cried a voice.
He blinked and looked down. Legolas stood below, the sun glinting off his fair hair, laughing. ‘Have a care, mellon nín,’ he called. ‘If you lean much further, you will fall out!’
Faramir laughed. ‘Then it will be up to you to catch me.’
Legolas grinned and took a bite out of an apple he held in his hand. ‘I take it there is no news yet?’
Faramir grimaced and rubbed the side of his face. ‘Not yet.’
Legolas nodded thoughtfully and took another bite. At last he spoke again. ‘You look well – how is Éomer faring?’
The Elf’s face was too innocent by far. Faramir checked a smile that was starting to spread across his own face and glanced over his shoulder at Éomer, who was acting the part of the prospective father very well… except for the fact that he wasn’t the prospective father. ‘Not very well,’ Faramir answered after a moment, turning back to his friend. Yes, Legolas’ eyes were definitely sparkling.
‘I see,’ said the Elf. He bit into his apple again and stood still, chewing and laughing silently. ‘Well,’ he said after swallowing, ‘I shall return later with Gimli; I could not rouse him at such an early hour,’ he finished, shaking his head mournfully. With a wave, he turned and went off singing, leaving Faramir to wonder how the Dwarf was enjoying his visit with the Elves of Ithilien.
Taking a last look out the window, the prospective father turned his attention to his agitated brother-in-law.
‘Who was that?’ Éomer growled, rubbing a bearded cheek as his eyes darted to a closed door at the other end of the room.
‘Legolas; he wanted to know if there was any news,’ Faramir answered, opting to omit certain parts of the interview.
‘Mph,’ Éomer grunted; he was not a morning person – especially not after being awake and on edge the entire night. He scowled darkly at the closed door and started visibly as a muffled groan came through from the other side.
Even Faramir jumped, though he relaxed again almost at once; Éowyn had informed him, just before she had gone into labour, that he was not to worry.
Éowyn winced and placed a hand over her swollen belly, then looked up at him with clear grey eyes. ‘You are not to worry, Faramir,’ she said firmly. ‘At all. Éomer, I am certain, will do the job well enough for the two of you.’
He held up his hands in surrender, laughing. ‘Very well, my lady,’ he said, and bowed low. Straightening, he placed his hand on her belly and felt the child move. At the sensation, a sudden grin lit up his face. ‘I’m going to be a father!’
Éowyn smiled. ‘Yes, you are,’ she answered softly. Then taking his head in her hands she kissed him fiercely…
He could still taste her kiss on his lips and he smiled softly, sinking down into an over-stuffed chair – though he jumped up again a moment later. How could he sit still? He was going to be a father! A father!
The excitement had been growing steadily for the past nine months, and now it seemed to have reached the point where it had physically taken over his body; he couldn’t sit still nor, he found as he stood silently in front of the chair, could he stand still. I’m going to be a father… I’m going to have a child…
Running his hands through his hair in agitation, he started walking about the room, skirting couches, chairs, other furniture and a scowling Éomer whose fingers were nervously drumming the arm of the couch. It had been interesting to watch Éomer’s mood shift from annoyed to animated to nervous since the day before when he had arrived in the company of Ioreth and the Lady Arwen.
Faramir grinned as he remembered their arrival. He had the feeling that, had it not been for Arwen’s presence, Éomer might have said something rather impolitic to Ioreth…
He and Éowyn met their guests at the gate; all three had come on horseback from Minas Tirith, and Aragorn was to follow the next day.
Éomer dismounted swiftly and moved to help Arwen off her horse. Looking amused, the Queen accepted his offer and dismounted with a lightness and a grace that no mortal-born woman could equal.
And all the while, Ioreth kept up a constant stream of conversation.
‘So I said, “I’d be honoured to come and assist the Lady Éowyn.”. I was never so excited about anything – and then I heard that I was to travel with you, my lady Queen, and you, my lord King, and I said to my sister, “Sister…”’
Faramir bit back a smile as he helped the old woman off her horse. ‘You are welcome here, Ioreth,’ he said.
‘Oh thank you, my lord; you always were such a nice young man. In fact, I was saying to my sister the other day…’
Faramir glanced over at Éowyn who smiled and nodded her head at her brother who was busy tightening or loosening something on his horse that really didn’t need to be tightened or loosened.
‘Perhaps you would like to rest awhile, after your journey?’ Éowyn asked, stepping forward slightly. ‘There is a room waiting for you.’
‘Oh my yes, but that would be wonderful my lady. Traveling at my age can be wearisome…’
Still chattering, she followed the servant indoors and as soon as the door was shut behind them Éomer heaved an explosive sigh of relief. ‘I doubt not that she has a good heart, Faramir, but I do not think she drew breath from the moment we left the city,’ he muttered.
Arwen laughed and the sound was like the clear ringing of silver bells. ‘I am sorry, Éomer,’ she said, ‘but while I have some of the skill of my father at healing, I am no mid-wife.’ Her lips twitched. ‘Nor is my husband.’
‘I should, perhaps, have sent for her earlier,’ Faramir offered, linking his hand with Éowyn’s as they strolled into the garden.
Arwen looked closely at Éowyn and smiled. ‘No, Faramir,’ she said, raising her eyes, ‘she would have been too early… but soon, I think, very soon she will be needed.’
Éomer’s eyes widened and Faramir looked down at his wife as a jolt of anticipation raced down his spine. ‘Soon,’ he murmured, a little stunned.
Éowyn only smiled.
His circuit of the room complete, Faramir stopped and stood before the empty fireplace, running his hands through his hair and shifting from one foot to the other. How long, exactly, had it been? Ordinarily he was a patient man – but he’d never been awaiting the birth of his child before…
Dazed, he fell down onto the couch beside Éomer. How many times had he thought the same thing and been overwhelmed and overjoyed by it? He was going to be –
The door opened.
Faramir and Éomer jumped up from the couch as fast as though they’d suddenly discovered they’d sat down on a briar patch.
Arwen smiled at them. ‘Faramir,’ she said softly, ‘you have a son.’
Faramir stared at her an instant and felt a smile so wide it hurt stretch across his face. ‘I’m a father,’ he breathed. ‘I have a son.’ Then he laughed. When he looked at Éomer and the ridiculous grin plastered over his face, he only laughed harder. ‘You’re an uncle, Éomer!’
When he could speak again, he turned to Arwen. ‘May I go in?’
She nodded, smiling, and stepped aside to let him pass.
The sun was streaming through the windows and dust motes floated lazily through sunbeams. Ioreth was washing her hands in a basin of water and grinning from ear to ear. But Faramir saw nothing save for the woman in the bed.
Her lovely face held lines of weariness and contentment and her golden hair fell in a shining river around her shoulders. Her clear grey eyes were focused on the child in her arms. Their child. Their son.
At the sound of his footsteps, she looked up and gave him a smile whose radiance outshone its weariness. ‘Faramir,’ she said, and held out her hand.
He came and knelt by the bed, closing her hand in his own as he gazed on the sleeping face of his son. The baby’s face was red and wrinkled and on his head were small tufts of wispy dark hair. One tiny fist was curled tightly around the front of Éowyn’s nightgown. Faramir stared at him in wonderment and gently ran his hand over the baby’s fist. My son, he thought and smiled softly. Then he looked at Éowyn questioningly.
She nodded and kissed the baby’s forehead.
‘Elboron,’ Faramir said, his voice low.
‘Elboron,’ Éowyn repeated and smiled again.
At that moment, Éomer peered in the doorway. ‘May I come in?’ he asked.
Éowyn nodded, and he came to stand on the other side of the bed. He stared down at the little wrinkled face and smiled. ‘I have a nephew,’ he murmured. He rubbed his cheek. ‘He’s ugly.’
Faramir choked and began to cough as Éowyn pitted her brother with a steely glare.
‘Éomer,’ she said crisply, ‘I did not endure sixteen hours of hard labour to bring this child into the world so you could disparage his appearance. Think carefully before you speak again.’
Faramir didn’t see or hear Éomer’s reply; he’d buried his face in a pillow to keep from laughing out loud.
Too soon, Ioreth came to drive Éomer and Faramir away. ‘Out!’ she commanded. ‘The lady needs her rest! I’ll not have you over-tiring her! Why, I remember…’
With a significant glance at Éowyn, Arwen gently took Ioreth by the arm and led her out of the room, behind Éomer. Faramir made to rise but Éowyn shook her head. ‘Stay,’ she whispered as the door closed softly.
Smiling, he kissed her hand. Rising to his feet, he kicked off his boots then sat down beside her and slipped his arm around her shoulders. With a tired sigh, she leaned into him and closed her eyes. Moments later, the sound of her deep and even breathing could be heard.
Gently, he stroked her hair and looked down at his son. His son. ‘My son,’ he murmured. Then he closed his eyes and fell asleep.
When Arwen came up some time later to see if there was anything Éowyn needed, she found them still asleep, raven and gold hair mingling on the pillow. Surprisingly, the baby slept on blissfully.
With a smile, she closed the door and went downstairs.
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.