As soon as it had touched his lips, the fragrance charmed his nose and in that instant his brother was before him.
The salve was a gift from Dol Amroth in the first place. The fishermen used it against those small cuts that are plagued by salt water, and to smooth over lips that the wind would otherwise chap raw.
Boromir, never a man to make much of small hurts, hated the inconvenience of sore lips and always used their uncle’s remedy of beeswax and calendula. Later, Faramir had recognised the touch of athelas in the unguent as well
It was ten years to the day that Boromir had ridden from Gondor, only to be returned borne on the bosom of the Anduin, as it cradled him down to the sea. Ten years that dissolved away like mist before sunlight with the smell of the balm. Faramir smiled. He breathed deep in the memory of his brother.
He remembered the first time Boromir had smeared it across his face, after he had played too long in the sun when on a visit to his uncle’s house. He recalled the scoured knuckles that his brother had anointed whilst delivering a lecture on swordsmanship after his first fencing lesson. He remembered a journey to the peaks in winter; when, caught in a sudden blizzard, they’d spent the night huddled together in a deserted shepherd’s cot. Embarrassed at first, as only very young men could be, they had each been grateful for the warmth of the other’s body. How angry Denethor had been that they had risked such a trip alone and in winter.
But most of all, most precious of all, he recalled the last kiss his brother gave him before he left forever. Faramir closed his eyes and inhaled, and the fragrant balm on his lips became as balm for his soul.
“Ada -”, a young voice called for his attention as a small hand tugged at his sleeve, “Do we go now?”
“Hush! O impatient one!” murmured Faramir . He dipped his finger in the small pot and smeared the protective wax across his young son’s lips inasmuch as he had his own; a son who squirmed in a remarkably similar manner to that in which his father had done in times past.
“Hold still, this is for your own good.”
Faramir unconsciously used the precise words spoken to him so many years ago when he was first so anointed. His son ceased wriggling for a moment and eyed his father curiously as Faramir burst out in soft laughter when he realised his brother’s voice echoed in his own words. The boy was scooped up into strong arms and held tightly; held all the closer so as not to see the tear that of a sudden came to his father’s eye. The youngster soon pulled free to run back and forth, a merry gadfly.
“Do we go to the river now?”
"Yes. We go to the Anduin.”
“Can I light the candle?”
“Yes. If you are careful.”
“And will you say the blessing?”
“Yes – I will say the blessing.”
“For Uncle Boromir?”
“For – Boromir.”
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.