Written after rereading the scene where Faramir returns to Minas Tirith for about the tenth time and finding that it still reduces me to tears.
Dedication: This is going out to all of the screwballs at the cannonballs LOTR role playing game. Love you guys and the chaos we create!
Faramir walked to his rooms, careful to maintain his dignity as long as possible. Denethor’s words today had been nothing he hadn’t expected but still they had hurt. He had always known that Boromir was the favorite son and that Denethor held him in much higher regard. Over the years he had learned to become resigned to the fact that his father would never care for him the same way he cared for Boromir, if he cared at all, but to hear it confirmed, to think that Denethor would actually tell him that he wished Faramir was the one who was dead. It cut deeply, striking a blow that sword or spear could not.
Faramir supposed that he should have known that Denethor’s little speech was coming, he was a fool for thinking that it wouldn’t. That maybe this time things would be different between them. But it seemed that this scenario was not to be. It was a fool’s hope that his father would actually care, but one that he still had clung to, as if it were an anchor. That is, until today.
Faramir still wasn’t sure how he had managed to hold his composure as Denethor had ranted, he had fought to keep the combination of anger and pain from his voice as he had asked those fateful words. “Do you wish then that our places had been exchanged?”
Perhaps it was something he had picked up, however inadvertently from his father over the years, the ability to pretend that everything was fine, that he could handle the endless comparisons to Boromir and the disparaging comments and occasional blows that fell his way. Over time Faramir had come to learn that this was just the way things were and there was no point in trying to change any of them. It would have been fighting a losing battle really.
Most of the time, the way Denethor treated him, didn’t bother Faramir anymore. He either ignored, or put up with it knowing that things would never change, but still hanging on to that hope that someday things would be different.
Since Boromir’s death however things had become worse, now more than ever Faramir keenly felt his father’s disdain for him. It had still been something to put up with because he had to, but after his conversation with Denethor tonight, Faramir didn’t want to have to put with it anymore.
I shouldn’t have to do this. He thought bitterly, entering his chambers and sitting down at the desk. I shouldn’t have to live in my brother’s shadow for the rest of my life. I loved Boromir but I’m not him. Why can’t he just accept that and for once appreciate me?
Faramir shook his head, disgusted with the direction his thoughts were going in. He hated to admit it to himself but even after Boromir’s death, he was jealous of the shadow his brother had cast. A shadow that Faramir would always be locked into, in the eyes of both Denethor and Gondor as a whole.
What kind of brother am I? Faramir mentally scolded himself, to be jealous of Boromir, to even be jealous of his memory. No wonder they all think less of me, I deserve that for even thinking this way. Maybe he’s right, Denethor, maybe I should be the one. I know I deserve it. I’m nothing that Boromir was, and to even feel this way about him…what in Eru’s name is wrong with me?
Faramir sighed again and ran a hand through his longish hair. The fact that he wanted to be appreciated for once perhaps? But was that so wrong? Why did Denethor persist in treating him this way? Was it really because he was unworthy? On one level he was sure that this was it, but on another deeper level, Faramir knew that this was as far from the truth as possible.
I only want to be appreciated. he silently raged, is it so wrong to want my father to love me? To have his respect instead of his scorn?
In that moment Faramir hated his father, with a fury that he had never known possible, never even imagined he could posses. Not even when he had been a teenager and generally mad at the world had Faramir felt this, a seeming surge of anger that rose up, threatening to overcome him. To an extent it was rather frightening, to think that he could be so overcome by such rage. But perhaps it could be put to good use. .
I’ll show you, Faramir thought suddenly and fiercely , still a bit surprised at his own intensity, I shall ride east as he wishes . I will make him respect me for once.
With this thought firmly implanted in his mind, Faramir finally allowed sleep to overtake him. Tomorrow and in the days that were to come, he would prove his worth. No matter what it took.