59. Chapter 59
They had a long, awkward journey ahead of them, heading home to the Shire. The worst of it was that Fari wasn’t allowed any time alone with Goldi. Whenever he went near her, Sam would glare at him, which made Fari feel both guilty and a bit angry. Goldi would sneak him glances and smiles whenever her father wasn’t looking, but Fari missed being able to kiss her and hold her. She was the only thing that was going right in his life.
He was having nightmares again, nearly every night now. Always the same one, when his dad had nearly died. They felt different now, though. Rather than feeling sad or alone, he’d wake up angry. That scared him.
He noticed his father kept watching him, his dad’s eyes tired and sad. Fari felt guily about that, considering what he’d said to his dad. He wasn’t quite sure where the jab about Ivy had come from, because he knew how much his Dad loved her. And Ivy had saved him. His dad would probably be dead if it wasn’t for her. But those angry feelings were still there, and he didn’t want to be angry at his dad. So he distracted himself by riding next to Uncle Merry. That, at least, was a little like spending time with Theo, except not as many rude jokes.
Fari didn’t think this trip could get any worse. They had finally reached the Old Ford, the Misty Mountains looming ahead of them. His dad and Sam had gone down to catch some fish for dinner while Uncle Merry was building up the fire. Goldi took the opportunity to come over to sit by him, where he was sorting their food supplies.
“I’m not feeling good,” she whispered.
Fari peeked over his shoulder. Merry was busy at the fire and didn’t seem to notice they were together. He turned back to Goldi. “You’re sick?” he whispered back. “I’m sure we can stop for a while if you’re sick.”
“No,” she said, a bit desperately. “Smells are making me nauseous. I think I’m getting morning sickness.”
Fari resisted the urge to curse. Just what they needed. “Are you going to tell your dad?”
She shook her head. “No. I don’t want to say anything until we’re home and Mum can be there.”
Fari nodded. He understood that. Rosie would keep Sam mostly calm when he found out his unmarried daughter was pregnant.
“Hey you two.”
Fari looked up. Merry gave a glance towards the river, then looked back at them. “I don’t have a problem with you talking, but don’t get your dads upset, all right?”
Fari nodded. Uncle Merry was turning out to be very good about this whole thing. Maybe because things had turned out so well for Ivy. Goldi gave him a quick peck on the cheek and went back to spreading out their blankets.
Fari turned back to his pack and allowed himself a whispered Rohirric curse. He knew morning sickness varied quite a bit. Every one of Ivy’s pregnancies had been different, ranging from no illness at all to bedridden for days. He really hoped Goldi wasn’t going to be too ill.
He didn’t get his wish, though. His dad and Sam soon returned with their dinner, and as soon as the fish started frying, Goldi paled. “The smell,” she moaned, covering her nose and mouth. “I’m--” She scrambled up, ran over into the bushes, and got sick.
Fari watched his father and Sam exchange a knowing look. Of course they’d figure it out. Between the two of them, they had twenty-one children. Sam cursed, something Fari had rarely ever heard in his life, and got up to go to his daughter. His dad and Merry both looked over at him. Fari heaved a sigh and rubbed at the ache starting behind his eye. He was dead.
“How long have you known?” his father asked.
“Since the night before you found us. She told me then.”
“And you thought you could hide it?” his father asked sharply.
Fari looked up, feeling the anger bubbling again. Why was this his fault? “Goldi wanted to wait until we were back, so she could talk to her mother first.”
“Fari, you should have told us! She shouldn’t be spending all day on a pony. She needs more rest and we have to make sure she’s eating enough!”
He punched his fists into his thighs, frustrated at everything that seemed to go wrong at every turn. “Sorry! We’re sorry! But we thought it would be easier if we waited until we were home to tell you!”
“Spending long, tiring hours in the saddle could cause her to miscarry!” his father yelled. “You should care more about your child, not what’s easier!”
“Oh, you’re one to talk about that!” Fari shouted. Something let loose inside him, the anger exploding. He stood up and turned on his father. “You certainly found it easier to drown yourself in whiskey rather than caring about me! You found it easier to nearly kill yourself, rather than care how I’d feel if you died! You found it easier to send me off to Bag End or Buckland, than have to give up feeling sorry for yourself! At least I’ll have an easier time being a better father than you!”
He stopped, breathing hard, his whole body tense and shaky. They were all looking at him, poor Goldi even paler than when she had been sick. And his father, the look on his father’s face... Fari turned and ran off down the hill to the river. He collapsed on the bank, his feet in the cool water, and sobbed. What had he done? He couldn’t believe he’d said those things. He thought he’d pushed those feeling deep long ago, hid them away so no one would ever find out that he’d ever thought such horrible things about his dad.
It wasn’t long before someone sat next to him, putting an arm around him. Fari looked up into Merry’s concerned eyes.
“I’m sorry, Uncle Merry!” he cried, leaning into his embrace. “I didn’t mean it!”
Merry sighed. “Yes, you did,” he said calmly.
Fari sobbed harder. Even Uncle Merry thought he was horrible now.
“Fari, look at me.”
Fari wiped his eyes and looked up. But instead of disgust or hatred on Merry’s face, there was only kindness and understanding. “Fari, it’s all right,” he said, shaking his head. “Good gods, lad, you’ve been holding that in all these years, haven’t you?”
Fari shrugged and huddled down, wrapping his arms around his drawn up knees. “I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want Dad to know...” He sniffled and wiped his nose on his sleeve. “But I haven’t felt like this in a long time. I don’t know why it’s all come back now.” He tipped his head forward to rest his forehead on his arms. “Since we left the Shire,” he mumbled, “I’ve been so... angry.”
“I could bloody well kill Diamond for all she’s done to you two,” Merry muttered. “She’s hurt you both so much.” Merry put a comforting arm around him again. “And she’s hurt you again, hasn’t she? She’s brought all those feelings out, I bet. You bottled them up and put them away, but when you had to face her and everything she’s done...the cork came out of that bottle and you can’t just put it back in.”
Fari nodded. It had all started with Diamond. In fact, everything wrong in his life seemed to start with her--the same thing she blamed his dad for. But unlike his father, she had deliberately hurt him, had said things to make him angry at his father. And she’d succeeded in driving a wedge between them.
He wiped his eyes on his sleeve. “Is Dad all right?” he asked, barely above a whisper.
“He’s upset. Sam’s talking to him.”
He turned his head to look at Merry. “I thought you’d want to do that, being his best friend.”
Merry gave a crooked grin. “Did you want us to send Sam down here to talk to you?”
Fari cringed. “Definitely not.” Then he shivered and hugged himself. “Does Dad hate me?”
“Faramir, you need to get it through your thick Took skull that your dad will never, ever, hate you. He loves you, completely.” Merry sighed. “Fari, when he was drinking, he’d lost control. He was miserable and felt helpless to do anything about it. He never meant to do anything to hurt you.”
“But he did.” Fari bowed his head. “And he only stopped drinking for Ivy. Not for me.”
“He didn’t stop drinking for Ivy, either, Fari. Not really. Ivy helped him rebuild his life afterward, but he stopped drinking because he felt that bedding her at that party was the lowest thing he could ever do. And I agreed with him. That bruised jaw he had the next day gave me two broken fingers. He’d hit the bottom, Fari. But he could have easily drank himself to death at any time. He could have taken poison or drowned himself or fell on his sword. But he didn’t, because you were the only thing keeping him alive. Not being Thain. Not his sisters. Not me. Not even Ivy. You.”
Fari sniffled. “How can he love me so much, if I came from her?”
“I remember when you were born, Faramir. I’d never seen him happier in all his life. Though it was getting really bad with Diamond, he didn’t care about that when it came to you. You’re his son, Fari. He could care less who gave birth to you. You’re part of him and that’s all that matters.”
Fari turned his face back into his arms, ashamed. “I’ve been awful, haven’t I?”
“You’ve been hurt, lad. Deeply hurt. I can’t believe you’ve never gotten angry at him before this.” Merry paused for a moment. “Neither can he.”
Fari looked up at him, surprised.
“We wondered why you never got angry about it,” Merry said. “Your dad said you’d always just shrug it off when he tried to bring it up. Theo said you did get a little angry, but then you’d push it away and start telling jokes or find something else to do.” Merry frowned. “Why didn’t you tell your dad how you felt?”
Fari looked away. “I didn’t want anyone to know,” he said. “I didn’t want Dad to find out I was angry with him, because...” He took a deep breath. “I thought he wouldn’t want me anymore.” He bowed his head. “Just like... my mother,” he whispered. He looked up at Merry again. “He was all I had, really. I didn’t want to lose him.”
“I would never have let you go.”
They turned at the sound of his father’s voice. He was standing a few feet behind them, tears in his eyes.
“I think my son and I have a lot to talk about,” his father said.
Merry smiled. He leaned over, kissed the top of Fari’s head and ruffled his curls. “Tell him everything, Fari,” he said. Merry got up and went to Pippin. He embraced him and whispered something to him, then walked up the bank towards their camp.
Fari turned away again. He couldn’t meet his father’s eyes. He was so ashamed for everything he’d said to him.
His father sat in Merry’s spot, just close enough that their shoulders touched. “I’m so sorry, Faramir,” he said, his voice shaking. “I know I haven’t always been a good father to you--”
Fari choked back a sob and embraced his dad, and when his dad hugged him back, holding him just as he had countless times during Fari’s life, he realized that Uncle Merry was right. His father had always loved him, had always been there for him, even when he was hungover from the drink or weakened by pneumonia or angry over a fight with Diamond. He had always been there for him with open arms and a loving smile.
Fari clung to his father, both of them in tears. “I’m sorry, too, Dad.”
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.