Silently, he sent a prayer to the Valar and great Illuvatar that Faramir was not one of them. He did not know how he would have managed becoming King of Gondor, how he would have kept his sanity these past three years, if not for the younger man’s support. Although he had been to Minas Tirith before, using the name Thorongil, there was still a great deal about the White City that he did not know.
But now, here in the dead of night of the Citadel, he pushed such thoughts aside. Now was a time for a quiet celebration between friends.
Faramir had just returned to Minas Tirith, in the dead of night no less, after he and his White Company had been off on an extended mission to dispense with an unruly, invading hoard of Orcs in Ithilien. The Steward had wasted no time in coming to the Citadel to greet his wife and year-old son. Eowyn and Elboron had been staying with the King and his family while Faramir was away for the child had begun to make something of a bother of himself, ever getting into things and making typical infant fusses during the night. Eowyn, Faramir had deemed, needed more than just the assistance of the servants in their own city in Ithilien; she needed the company of another understanding mother. Queen Arwen fit that description well enough, as she was now caring for her first son, the Crown Prince Eldarion who was only half a year younger than Elboron.
Finding Eowyn fast asleep when he had gotten to Minas Tirith, Faramir had been unable to bring himself to wake her. She slept so peacefully that he had not wanted to break the seeming spell. But, of course, Elboron had been awake enough to react when he had entered and had pulled himself up by the bars of his crib when he set eyes on his father. So, Faramir had brought him out into the courtyard, the night being warm. He walked with the toddler in his arms.
Aragorn had to laugh to himself when he finally came upon them. So eager to spend time with his son had Faramir been that he hadn’t even taken off the leather jerkin of his Ranger gear. The King heard the Steward softly singing to his son, words that seemed to be of an Elvish sort as he drew nearer. Every once in a while, Faramir would stop, point to the star-filled sky and murmur something to Elboron in Westron, then continue his song.
“The Lay of the Stars?” Aragorn finally asked as he approached the two, feeling somewhat as though he was intruding.
“I’m certain the pronunciation is quite base to your ears. My lord, I thought you asleep,” Faramir said in greeting.
Aragorn gave a shrug, indicating that it was unimportant. “How fared your company?”
“Well,” Faramir replied, “the Orcs were routed easily. Legolas’ archers were of great help and we lost not one man.” He was interrupted when his son began to fiddle with the ends of the ties of his jerkin. It began to come unlaced and Faramir had to push Elboron’s tiny hands aside. “I trust my son has not been such a sneak as this the whole time I was away.”
Aragorn gave a chuckle and they began to stroll the citadel, finally ending up by the fountain beneath the White Tree. “Nay, Eowyn would not let him. She is far more controlling than you, my friend. Indeed, she remarked several times that you spoil him far too much.”
“There is no such thing as showing a child too much love.” Faramir gave a slight laugh of his own and sat down on the edge of the fountain, settling Elboron on one knee. The child’s hands were still curled around the laces of his jerkin and when they were pulled away, the laces came along with them. Faramir worked to untangle the two. “Elboron, your father needs those.”
“He is into everything, these days!” Aragorn commented, down next to Faramir. “I fear for my sanity when Eldarion reaches such a stage. When I hold him, I find that I do not wish to let him go. But it would hardly do for an infant to pull the King’s crown off his head in front of the Lords.”
“Indeed, it might be taken as a sign of a coup!” Faramir said around a laugh. Elboron had grown bored of the laces of Faramir’s jerkin and now squirmed to be let down to the ground. Faramir obliged and the toddler stood on his own, holding on to Faramir’s hands for balance.
Aragorn took another moment to watch the two of them. He noted that Faramir seemed wholly unable to take his eyes off his son. Aragorn couldn’t blame him.
“Ai! Such a wonder, children! Are they not?” the King mused.
“Aye, my lord. Ever changing, ever growing, never seeing the evils of the world. There is joy to be seen in them and nothing else.”
“Just so.” Aragorn paused for a long moment and sighed. “Sometimes I wonder at the world we will leave them. Faramir, do I make proper choices? Will I leave naught but a mess for my son to clean up?”
“That is not for us to decide, my lord. Our tasks are in the here and now. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. Let your son decide what to do with that which is given to him.”
“You speak as Gandalf might have.”
“A compliment. Thank you.”
“Still, I speak not only as a king, in this. I will never know if Eldarion will have the strength to walk on his own, without me beside him.”
It was then that something miraculous happened. Elboron, who had fixed his gaze on something on the horizon, suddenly let go of Faramir’s hands. Wobbling slightly, he staggered forward slowly, his hands reaching toward the stars in the sky. A moment later and he was off and moving, taking step after step. Faramir came to his feet in astonishment and chased after him. When Elboron finally lost his footing and sat back down on the ground with a tiny thump, the Steward scooped him up and held him in his arms once again. With a smile to rival the sunrise, he looked back to Aragorn.
“Nay, my lord. You will know it sooner than you think.”
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.