1. Mama and Ada
Denethor came back late that night, his mind strained from his confrontations with his father and Thorongil. It took all his power to keep his temper when they were combined against him in that manner. If only Thorongil would disagree with him in some way, it would be easier to dislike him. But alas, it was not the man's mind but his unknown origins that made Denethor suspicious—things that Ecthelion could forget all too simply. He could forget many things about his favorite, many more than he could forget about his own son.
There was still a light in his chamber, and as he walked silently towards it, he could not keep a smile from his face at the sight of what it illuminated: his wife and his infant son, the only two in the world who would never fail him.
Finduilas looked up from the cradle, her eyes warm and soft in the candle's glow, and whispered to him as he drew near: "I love to watch him while he sleeps."
Denethor put his hands on her shoulders, resting his chin in her dark hair. "He is wonderful, is he not?"
"He is perfection," answered Finduilas. "Just how I imagined he would be."
"I believe that I expected him to be a little larger," mused Denethor. "He is so tiny."
Finduilas giggled quietly. "Denethor, my love, he weighed ten pounds when he was born; that is three pounds more than Imrahil or myself were at birth. He is a remarkably large child."
"But still small," said Denethor.
Finduilas smiled and did not answer that. "I always wished to become a Mama," she said, "but my love for a child yet unborn could not compare to what fills my heart now. I believe I would even give up sleep if I could, just to look over him while he rests."
Denethor said nothing—words served no purpose here—but wrapped his arms around her slender shoulders, joining her in the watchful guard of his firstborn. Boromir stirred, his hands shooting up as if in surprise, and he opened his mouth to let out a half-cry.
"Hush, little one," cooed Finduilas, stroking his hand to soothe him. "Your Mama and Papa are here to keep you safe."
Denethor flinched. "Finduilas," he said very quietly as Boromir was soothed to restfulness again, "Ecthelion was Papa. I—I think I should like to be Ada."
Finduilas looked up, her eyes scanning his face, and she saw the hurt behind his eyes and recognized the unspoken thought: he did not want to be like his father. She nodded, and turned back to Boromir. Leaning down, she brushed a light kiss on his soft brow, whispering: "Never doubt, my little Boromir, that your Mama and Ada will keep you from harm."
Elboron yawned and stretched his arms wide, pushing the blanket away from him.
"Shall he not break in two if he yawns so wide?" asked Eowyn with a quiet chuckle.
"Nonsense," murmured Faramir, "he is a strong boy."
"And beautiful," added Eowyn, resting her head on Faramir's shoulder.
"And precious," answered Faramir.
"And perfect," whispered Eowyn, looking up into Faramir's face with a smile. "Can you top that?"
"Just like his mother," responded Faramir with a twinkle in his eyes.
Eowyn chuckled and nestled her head against him, while Elboron blinked slowly and yawned again, one hand reaching up to grab his own ear and the other one bringing the blanket to his mouth so that he might suck it. His eyes looked upwards, just a hint of confusion in them.
"He does not yet know who we are," said Faramir softly. "We must introduce ourselves." Putting one hand beneath his son's downy head, Faramir cradled his son, and said softly: "Do you see who that is, my Elboron? That is your Mama, and she is beautiful and brave."
Eowyn put her hand behind Faramir's, so that they were both supporting this little blessing that life had bestowed on them, and responded in a near whisper, for Elboron's eyelids had begun to droop: "And do you know who that is, my little one? That is your Papa, and he is wise and good."
"Ada," said Faramir. Eowyn looked at him curiously, but he smiled and put his other arm around her shoulders. "I am his Ada."
"And we will always love you," finished Eowyn. Elboron's eyelids made one last effort before veiling his blue eyes in gentle sleep. The blanket was still grasped by one tiny hand, covered in drool now but no less precious. Faramir and Eowyn sighed, finding a special peace that neither had known before, and they knew that they were glad to become Mama and Ada. And Faramir promised himself that he would never be anything else.
A/N: You might have noticed that in my young Boromir and Faramir stories, the boys call their father "Ada" and their mother "Mama". In Sindarin, which Tolkien says is spoken among the nobility in Gondor, Adar and Naneth mean mother and father, and Ada and Nana are the equivalent forms of Dad and Mom, or Papa and Mama. However, Tolkien never said which was the first language, Sindarin or Westron ("translated" to English in the book), so I decided that Sindarin was the second language learned by children, and so the natural titles for parents would be Mama and Papa. But I also imagine that, after a difficult relationship with his father, Denethor would have painful memories associated with "Papa", while he would still remember his own "Mama" fondly, and thus the mismatched names are explained. Denethor was never reconciled with his father after Ecthelion favored Thorongil over Denethor, but I imagine that Faramir was able to forgive his own father's faults, and therefore be comfortable with having his own children call him "Ada" by the time of his first child's birth. Also, in ROTK Faramir calls his father "Father"...I imagine that after Finduilas' death, when Tolkien says Denethor became "grim", his relationship was more cool with his sons and therefore a more formal title eventually took the place of the warmer "Ada" they had used before.
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