I was re-making Boromir's bed. The chambermaid had already been in, but whoever taught her to make a bed clearly had no idea the proper way to do it. The coverlet was crooked, the pillows were flat, and there was a hard lump under the covers at the foot of the bed -- a boat, unless I missed my guess. Muttering, I pulled the bedclothes off, reminding myself to have a word with the head maid.
I could hear Boromir chattering, and Faramir occasionally chirping a reply. Boromir was very proud that I would leave him alone with his small brother for any amount of time, and he took the task very seriously. I had watched him when he did not know I was there as he followed a crawling Faramir around the room, like a shepherd with a very small flock. I never left them for too long, for no matter how pleased Boromir was for the responsibility, he was not yet six, and would soon grow bored with what he called "baby-games".
There was an odd noise from the playroom, and I stopped, listening. "Boromir," I called, "was that the door?"
"Yes," his cheerful voice drifted in. "I was putting the cat in the hallway."
"Oh, all ---wait. Boromir, you do not have a cat."
Now he sounded irritated. "That's why I was putting it out in the hallway. Father said we cannot have pets in our room."
I considered for a moment, then shrugged and returned to tending the bed. He was correct; the Lord Denethor did not want even one small kitten in the children's room, but cats being cats, one occasionally slipped in. I supposed it was possible that Boromir had even smuggled one of the stable kittens in under his tunic and then turned it loose in the Citadel. He had done worse things.
I made short work of Boromir's bed, then returned to the playroom. Boromir sat in the midst of a tumble of blocks, seeing how high he could stack them before they toppled. Faramir was --- "Boromir, where is your brother?"
"He's in the hallway," was the unconcerned reply.
I stared at him for a moment. "He is in the hallway?"
"Uh-huh," Boromir nodded, wholly focused on his tower. "He's being a cat."
I flew to the door and jerked it open. Sure enough, there was Faramir, merrily crawling along as if he had some place very important to be. That boy could crawl faster than any child I'd ever met -- he was nearly around the corner at the end of the corridor.
I went and retrieved the little runaway -- who only smiled blissfully at me -- and returned to the room. "Boromir!" I exclaimed, making him jump. "Your brother is not a cat!"
"He was pretending to be a cat," Boromir explained patiently. "Faramir, say 'meow'. Meeeeeeyooooow, Faramir. Meeeee-yooooow." He sounded distinctly cat-like, and Faramir echoed him obediently.
I chuckled in surprise, and Boromir grinned as I set Faramir down on the floor, but the expression faded when I turned to him. "Boromir, he is just a baby! You cannot leave him alone like that!" I was more than a bit exasperated with him. "What if he had gotten to the stairs? Do you know what would have happened to him them?"
"Ummmm -- he would have fallen down the stairs and broken his neck?"
I bit my lip to keep from smiling -- I could not count how many times I had warned Boromir of doing that very thing as he tore up and down the staircases. "Yes," I said severely. "He very well could have. He is still far too little to be let out on his own. We have to watch over him."
"But I was!" Boromir protested, eyes starting to well up. "I was playing with him, and he was being a cat, and --"
"I understand you were playing," I interrupted gently as I went to kneel by him, keeping one eye on Faramir's progress around the room, "but if you agree to watch Faramir for a few moments, then it is your duty to keep him from doing things which might hurt him, even if it is just a game. Were you playing a game when you climbed up on the back of that chair?"
"Y-yes," Boromir replied reluctantly.
"And what happened?"
"I fell and broke my arm," he said, absently rubbing the arm in question. Oh, what a tense few days that had been, too. I was sure at any moment that I would be shipped back to Dol Amroth for my negligence, but I was not, to my surprise. Later, I discovered that Lord Ecthelion had managed to calm the Lord Denethor by reminding his son of a similar incident when Lord Denethor was a child.
"We do not want Faramir to have an accident like that, do we?" I asked, and Boromir shook his head, chin trembling as he tried to hold back tears. "So we must take care of him, because we are both bigger than he is, do you understand?"
"Yes," Boromir choked out, "I'm sorry, Nanny. I don't want Faramir to break his neck." Then he did start crying, and I put my arms around him.
"I know you do not," I soothed, "you just have to remember to be careful with him when he is little, all right?"
"All right," he managed. "I will take care of him."
Of course, for the next week Boromir would hardly let Faramir do anything at all, for fear that Faramir would harm himself. But that over-protectiveness faded, and soon Boromir developed very good instincts about what would and would not be an appropriate manner of play for his little brother. He never grew too overbearing, which I had feared he might do, and most days, Faramir was perfectly content to do as his brother commanded.
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.