10. Love O'erwhelming
Boromir toyed with the idea of spending the night in one of the inns on the Pelennor. Siriondil's advice had been good; it felt wonderful to be out in the open again with the breezes from the Anduin rushing through his hair. He pushed Arroch hard this day, reveling in the feel of the great beast under him. After finding Faramir in Ithilien, Boromir had neglected the mare and now, he showed her his love by letting her have her way. She ran with pure joy and that joy transmitted through her flanks to her rider.
At last, he slowed her pace, thinking on whether his brother would indeed be well while he took this short holiday. Dismounting at a nearby inn he and Faramir had oft frequented, he handed his reins to the stable hand. 'If naught else, I will have my daymeal here. I can return afterwards.' A sudden horn's call from the City made him almost trip over the postern that opened into the inn's yard.
"Faramir!" He ran back to the stable, took the reins from the startled stable hand and mounted, heading west towards Minas Tirith. 'Why did I ride so far?' he berated himself. 'I should have stayed nearer. Nay! I should have never left.'
He swore at himself near half the way home for he had to coddle Arroch. The mare, tired from the afternoon's run, needed water. Stopping at a familiar farm, Boromir swung his horse around at Mablung's greeting.
"Hoy! Captain Boromir. What brings you out this late in the day? Have you eaten yet? We were just starting the daymeal. Come, please, and join us." The soldier stopped as Boromir dismounted. "The horn call!" He shook his head. "I am a fool. It was for Faramir. Do you need a new mount? Your horse looks done in."
"Thank you, Mablung. Take Arroch and treat her well. Whatever beast you have that is fast, please, may I use it?"
Mablung turned towards his stable without a word. In a moment, he returned with his own horse.
"Nay, Mablung. Give me not your own mount. Just something fast."
"Hafoc is the fastest I have. Her eyes are as sharp as her namesake. She cannot misstep, something you will need now dusk is upon us. Send her back when you are done with her."
Jumping on the back of the steed, Boromir turned her face westward and gave her full rein. Pleased at her speed, he put aside all other thoughts and concentrated on his journey. As Mablung foretold, night covered the land only a short time after Boromir left the farm; thus causing Gondor's captain to slow his pace in order to see obstacles before him. He left the road to take the shorter route through farmsteads and fields, but that made the ride even more dangerous. Hafoc did indeed seem to have the eyes of a hawk; the horse never faltered and Boromir found himself in front of the Great Gate only two hours later. He winded his horn to alert the guard to open the closed gate and rode through it with nary a word. On his left sat the Ranger's headquarters. He drew up to the building and called for help. A soldier came to the door immediately and in only moments answered Boromir's plea for a fresh horse. Boromir mounted his third horse of the day and rode up to the Sixth Gate.
After leaving his horse at the errand-riders barracks, he ran to the Houses. Faramir's room spilled over with assistants and soldiers and... his father.
Denethor turned as Boromir strode into the room and took his son's arm. "He had some form of attack. Siriondil thinks it was a remembrance of what happened to him. He sleeps now, but only because he has been drugged."
Boromir stared at his father, then lifted a hand and ran a finger down his father's newly stitched cheek. "What happened?"
Denethor stayed Boromir's hand. "It is nothing. Faramir thought I was someone else."
Boromir's brow rose. "You did naught to harm him? I am sorry. I should not have asked. Of course you would do nothing to him. Forgive me."
"We are all disturbed by what has happened to your brother; though I am sore distressed that you would think thus of me, I will let it go."
Boromir bit his lip and went to kneel at his brother's side. Taking the cold hand into his own, he kissed it deeply. "I am here, Faramir. I am sorry I left you. Be at peace. I will not leave you again."
Denethor sighed and left the room.
Siriondil stepped forward. Boromir looked up and asked softly, "How bad was it?"
"Very. I am sorry, Boromir, we seem to have lost what healing we had. He is not asleep; he is unconscious."
Boromir drew in a deep breath. "Then we begin again."
"Are all these needed?" His hand swung to encompass the assistants and soldiers.
"Nay." Siriondil gave the order and the room cleared.
"Did he say aught?"
"Your father was with him. He said he was begging..." The Master Healer tugged at his chin. "He was begging for them to stop."
"Whomever was torturing him. I think he was reliving some part of it."
Boromir's shoulders sagged. "There is naught we can do to keep such memories from him?"
"If we do, if he wakes," Boromir looked up startled, but the healer continued, "if he wakes, he must speak of these things, else he will go mad."
Nodding, Boromir stood. "Would you have a meal sent here? I have not eaten. I would be alone with him."
"Of course," Siriondil moved forward and hesitantly embraced him. "You woke him once, Boromir. I did not think he would wake then, but I see now that he loves you dearly. He will wake, given time, with you at his side."
"Thank you." Boromir knelt once more at his brother's side, oblivious to the sound of the door closing behind the healer.
He traced a finger over Faramir's cheek, but with a gentleness that was not realized with Denethor, and down to his brother's chin, then up the other side. His heart so stricken, he knew not what to do. Finally, he placed a gentle kiss on Faramir's mouth. Boromir's breath was taken away by the touch of those sweet lips. "Faramir," he whispered in wonderment at the surge of love that flowed through him, causing him to sit back on his haunches.
Watching his brother's uneasy breathing, Boromir ran a hand through his hair, then stood at a knock on the door. A servant handed him a tray. Boromir took it by the window and began to eat, standing up, looking out upon the lights of the Pelennor. His hand trembled as he brought the fork to his mouth. He laid it down quickly and looked back at the man upon the bed. A cold sweat covered him. 'Fear,' he told himself. 'It is fear for him. Fear for what he must face when he wakes, that is all.' He calmed himself and finished the food, never tasting it, and walked back to Faramir's side.
He found himself afraid to touch Faramir. 'Afraid to touch my own brother?' What had come over him that he should fear such a thing! Faramir needed his touch, did he not? Then, he would have it, for comfort.
He hesitantly laid his hand upon Faramir's hair and ran his fingers through it, gently stroking him and whispering words of comfort, words of love. He shuddered again as some unknown fear assailed him, but he continued his ministrations. Slowly, his hand moved down to Faramir's neck, then to his brother's shoulders, massaging in little strokes, He found his whole body shaking and he pulled back, but Faramir moaned and Boromir once again began stroking him.
One beautiful gray eye opened and looked at him in wonder. Boromir leaned over and kissed his brother. Not a chaste kiss, but neither passionate. It was just a kiss. Faramir could do with it what he would. Boromir drew back and waited.
A/N - 1) Hafoc - ME for hawk; 2) tray - came into use around 1050 AD.