It was not a hard decision, based on Faramir's condition, but it was one that bore such ramifications that Boromir carried little hope his father would not banish him outright, once he heard Boromir's decision. 'Well,' he thought to himself as he lay in the tub, 'there is naught to do but tell him.' He swallowed. He had never before defied his father. Sudden thoughts of a thrashing, even at his age, caused his breath to catch. 'Father would not; yet again, I am throwing everything he ever hoped for back at him.' The water grew cold as he reflected upon his decision. He wished he had someone to talk to. Faramir had the wizard; why did he not go... No. His father's scorn for Mithrandir made it impossible for the heir to dally with such a man.
He stepped out of his bath and shivered. Winter was coming. For a moment, he stood still, stark naked, at the thought of Faramir having been lost later in the year. He would surely have died for Ithilien was bitter cold in winter and the winds blew ragged and sharp. Another shiver ran through him and he quickly wrapped a robe around him, though naught would stop the thoughts that tore through him, raged inside his brain as he remembered when first he had looked upon his little brother in Mablung's arms.
The Captain of Gondor fell to his knees, leaned over, and retched, tears streaming all the while from red-rimmed eyes. "Faramir," he whispered brokenly, "Faramir, my beloved." His shuddering was so great the robe fell from his shoulders. "Elbereth," he moaned, "Do not let him die. He is purity itself. Will you not speak to Manwë and ask for mercy?"
Not oft did Boromir of Gondor give any thought to the Valar, but tonight, as he knelt in his own vomit, he cared not for grown-up reality, he only cared for Faramir. And that care and love brought him back to childhood need, to pleas lifted up as taught by his mother. He might feel ashamed, on the morrow, for succumbing to such a ploy, but he cared not. If the Valar would listen to him, would intercede for his brother, he would build a temple such as at Meneltarma and spend the rest of his days in service to the One.
A sharp knock on his door brought him to his senses. He pulled the robe around his still shuddering body as he called for entrance.
Imrahil opened the door and stepped in. He stopped in surprise, noticing the mess on the floor and Boromir's haggard look.
Boromir turned to hide from his uncle, as he would do as a child in Dol Amroth, when he was ashamed of something he had done.
"Boromir, come to me."
Reluctantly, his nephew turned and walked forward. Imrahil embraced him, held him, whispered into his ear words of encouragement and love, and then kissed him gently. "Your brother would be distraught if he knew you suffered so."
Nodding his acknowledgement, Boromir could only sob.
"You shiver. Are you cold?"
Shaking his head, Boromir did not look up, engulfed as he was in safety.
Imrahil took a deep breath. "Faramir is awake now. And that is a good thing. His body has begun to heal, and his mind will too. It will take some time, but with love around him, especially yours, he will heal quickly. Mark my words."
Boromir put his hands to his face and sobbed uncontrollably.
"You need healing as much as he, do you not?"
"I look at his face; it... it screams of what other things were done to him. The empty eye... Uncle, I cannot bear to look at him, and yet, I force myself to, so that he does not suffer at my hand."
"That is a hard burden to carry."
"He is wo - worth it," Boromir blubbered as if a child once again. "He - is precious."
"I know," Imrahil smiled sadly as Boromir's words caught and tangled. It reminded the prince so much of when the boys lost their mother and had come to him for comfort.
"I need someone to talk to, Uncle. I must do something and it will kill Father, but I must."
"Wait, Boromir." Imrahil turned and pulled the bell, then walked Boromir to his cupboard and opened it. "Here, put this on." He pulled out a pair of black leggings and a cream colored shirt.
Boromir dressed quickly, then bent to clean up his mess. When he was done, he threw the towels and robe into the basket and walked over to the table where Imrahil sat. A servant entered a moment later with tea and biscuits.
"I ordered these before I came in. I did not think you have eaten lately?"
Boromir took a sip of tea, then turned to his uncle. "I am going to Father, when you leave, and resign my commission." His cheeks turned red.
"What will be your reasons?"
"Faramir will need a great deal of care these next few months. I would be by his side, to help and to encourage him. He relies upon me; he always has. I cannot do my duty to Gondor and to Faramir. Faramir comes first."
"Have you considered your father's reaction?"
Boromir laughed sourly. "He might flog me. Or have me banished. I will endure a beating, but I will take Faramir with me if he banishes me."
"Would Faramir survive long if he was removed from the Houses? From the care he is receiving?"
Boromir looked up with such grief and horror upon his face that Imrahil stood and knelt at his nephew's side. "I will stand with you, Boromir, when you go to him. If he suggests banishment, I will take you and Faramir to Dol Amroth."
"You would suffer his anger?"
"I would. As you would. Faramir is in need of love at this moment. The healers are wondrous at medicines, but at healing a heart wounded as Faramir's has been is beyond their purview."
"May we go now, stand before Father before I lose my courage?"
Imrahil smiled. "Of course."
But there was no need as at that very moment, Denethor stepped into Boromir's room without introduction.
"I am glad to see you both here. Imrahil, were you able to speak with Faramir? Ascertain the state of his mind?"
"I did not, Denethor. He has been sleeping since Boromir left him. Thankfully. I think Siriondil gave him some poppy to stifle the pain. He is horribly wounded. More so than I had first understood."
"So I have been told. Will you still stay?"
"I think I will be leaving shortly. He will have little need for me as Boromir has just told me."
"Boromir?" Denethor turned to his eldest son.
Boromir stood. "I am resigning my commission, Father. I plan to spend the next few months caring for Faramir."
The Steward's jaw clenched. "I will not allow it." At the look of stubborn determination in Boromir's eyes, he sighed. "Faramir will never heal enough to live with any measure of use. I have given this much thought. There is a building on the First Level that houses soldiers hurt in battle. I am going to move him there. They are used to dealing with such cases and will be able to give him the care he needs."
Imrahil stayed Boromir's raised hand. "Do not," his uncle hissed. "You will be put in irons."
Sighing, Denethor sat in a nearby chair. "Faramir is already ashamed of what has happened to him and knows that his face mirrors that shame. When he is with others of the same ilk, he will be more comfortable. It is for the best, Boromir."
"You would relegate him to some 'home' for those not suitable for Gondor's high society?"
"It is for Faramir's own sake, but I see you have quite lost your senses over this, Boromir. We will not discuss it further."
The Steward made to leave, but Boromir ran and stood in front of him. "I will not let you put him away! If you do this, I will take him to Dol Amroth and you will never see either of us again."
Denethor's gray eyes grew hard as steel. "Do not threaten me, boy. I am your father and your Steward. I order you to return to Amon Dîn and to your duties as captain of that garrison. Leave within the hour."
"I will not." Boromir said between clenched teeth. "I resign."
"And I will not -- "
Imrahil interrupted. "Denethor, Faramir is not a hopeless case. He will mend, though not to full mobility. He will still be valuable as a clerk or some such. Let Boromir take a month off and care for him. Then, when Faramir's recovery is assured, you may send Boromir back to Amon Dîn. Surely, you can give him a month's time off?"
Denethor bristled, but found himself accosted on all sides. "Very well. One month." He turned and left the room.
"I cannot do this. A month is not enough."
"Boromir, take what you can. You know battle strategy in Ithilien, short raids over straightforward battle. Sorties instead of full-blown maneuvers. This is a start. When the month is over, and your father sees Faramir's progress, then he will give you more time."
Boromir slumped down into a chair and held his head in his hands. "I will do as you council, Uncle. But if Faramir is hardly improved, I will sneak away with him in the night and you will find two poor bedraggled nephews on your doorstep, as once before."
Imrahil pulled Boromir into his arms. "And this uncle will accept you and hide you. But I do not think it will come to that. Your resolve in helping Faramir is strong medicine and will help him recover quickly. I will leave on the morrow, but send a missive if you need me. Just write, 'bedraggled,' and I will come myself and help you spirit Faramir away."
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.