Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Characters: Boromir and Faramir, Captains of Gondor
Rating: Ranging from PG through NC-17
Warnings/Squicks: Incest, incestuous thoughts, angst, character death—the usual for this pairing. *grin* Also, many sentences contained herein are of a very dangerous length, and should not be attempted without proper medical jaw and lung supervision.
“And when he returned, you would not have known your son,” Faramir told his father, and the taint—the pain—that he still felt from the Dark Lord’s weapon was as nothing to the agony of truth in his words.
Faramir stepped into Boromir’s chambers, empty now as they never had been, and as his footsteps echoed in the stillness, he reflected bitterly that the knowledge his brother had died well was not the comfort that others thought it would be.
Boromir lay, arrows invading his flesh, trying to recall the last words he spoke to his brother; when he did, he almost wished he had not, for grief filled him that he had bidden Faramir to remember that day, that Faramir had not heard how deeply he was loved.
“Open it,” Faramir urged, eyes shining and fixed on the parcel, and Boromir could not but smile at the delight suffusing his little brother’s face, as if it were his birthday, not Boromir’s.
He bent low over his horse’s neck as they raced across the Pelennor, whispering “Faster, faster,”—“Faster, Boromir,” he groaned, clutching his brother’s broad shoulders, fingers skating over sweat-slick skin—then he let the reins fell slack as he gave the horse its head and told himself the tears in his eyes were only from the stinging wind.
The very air denied him, pressing on his chest as if the sudden tumult of emotions had formed a storm in his room; when he opened his eyes, he looked into Faramir’s troubled gaze and hoped he had not imagined the feather-light touch of his brother’s lips on his.
Several minutes after Boromir had decided that this—lazing together on the bed as he combed his fingers thought his brother’s hair, and not worrying about the aftermath—was the best part, Faramir spoke, sounding awestruck; he said it felt like flying without wings, and Borormir could not disagree.
The way to Rivendell was long and the nights were chill, and at times only the long-ago memory of his little brother crawling into his bed to sleep curled up next to him warmed Boromir enough to continue.
Boromir had told him that red was not a color that suited him, and Faramir assumed that it was due to the coppery cast of his hair; but when Boromir was wounded, and he saw the blood trickling down his brother’s side, felt the fear clench in his own chest, he understood at last what he had truly meant.
Faramir’s face always grew flushed when he imbibed too much ale, and he lost his serious air; he did not notice that Boromir never finished a flagon, as if his brother would much rather drink in the sight of him than any other, less potent brew.
As a child, never had the dreams come to him but in the middle of the night, cold and dark and silent; on waking, he stumbled tearfully down the corridor, to his brother’s chamber and his soothing, warm embrace, to reassure himself that the dreams were false.
Hair that curled in the heat, gleaming golden-red, shoulders that were neither too broad nor too narrow, body lean with muscle and skin that had turned almost tawny from the sun—swallowing hard, Boromir found he could not look away from the sight of his brother at sword-practice.
From the top of Mindolluin, the Pelennor spread out at their feet, and Osgiliath and Anduin sparkled in the distance; then Boromir wrapped an arm around him, whispered, “This is our land, little brother,” and Faramir was unable to choke down the lump in his throat.
Faramir closed his eyes, biting the edge of his hand to stifle the groans and whimpers that tried to escape, but Boromir longed to hear them, for there was no sound more pleasing to his ears than those his brother made in the throes of his desire.
Her hair was soft and fine, a cloud of sunlight about her face, but Faramir could hardly bear to touch it, nor her tender skin, for what he longed to feel beneath his fingers was flesh roughened from the elements, muscles battle-hardened, the tangled strands of his brother’s golden hair.
At last Faramir stretched out on top of him with a sigh, as if he were the bed instead of lying atop it, and Boromir chuckled, thinking that he’d never had a more . . . pleasing blanket.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Boromir drew the knife across his palm and pressed his hand to Faramir’s, and together, as his brother wished, they spoke the words that bound them to defend their homeland and prepare for the coming of the king.
Faramir awoke, his shirt soaked with cold sweat, his chest aching as if someone was squeezing his heart, his mind filled with grey mists and a small grey boat, and knew his brother was truly dead.
Boromir slept heavily, his skin ruddy and gold in the single flickering flame of light, so Faramir paused to drink in the sight of him at rest, as he so rarely was, and store it away with his other cherished memories before pulling on his leather jerkin and stealing away from the bedchamber.
Boromir hated the way Faramir looked when they left their father’s presence—pale, pinched, staring at the floor as if he were unable (or perhaps unworthy) to raise his eyes—so he put a hand on his brother’s shoulder, whispering, “You can do something he can never deride . . . you are my happiness,” and his heart swelled as Faramir’s face lit up.
Even though they did not speak, the space between them was not noiseless; there was always the clash of sword on sword, the twang of an arrow leaving the string, the screams and moans of dying men, echoing all around them, but when Faramir touched Boromir’s shoulder, somehow, those unheard sounds died away.
The way to Rath Dínen seemed to grow longer as his age advanced, but Faramir still made his way to the House of Stewards every day; there, he laid a hand on Boromir’s empty tomb and wondered why he had not yet been called westward to join him.
It was rare indeed that Boromir could be in Minas Tirith at the same time as Faramir, and it was no different this chill eve; where he had been expecting the heat of his brother’s embrace and the light of his desire, there was only the blaze taunting him by crackling merrily in the hearth, and it could do nothing to warm away the cold and emptiness within.
Father pinned Gondor’s hopes on him, Boromir knew, and dismissed Faramir as a naught but a dreamer; but Boromir had looked into his brother’s eyes, into his heart, and saw that in him there was no weakness—rather, a courage that put his own to shame.
Without the blood of Númenor, however diluted, Éowyn withered and died too quickly, and it was only with her passing that Faramir understood what she had known all along—that for all the years of their marriage, he had turned a false face to her, to the world, that the pain of his brother’s death had created in him a wound that never healed.
“If there is need to go to Rivendell, send me in his stead,” Faramir offered, and the terror that struck Boromir at those words turned his blood cold and solid in his veins; that sudden fear, that if Faramir left Gondor he would die, was, in the end, the only reason he obeyed his father’s command.
In the spring after the year in which Faramir came of age, he departed Minas Tirith to command a company of rangers in Ithilien, and it was not until the autumn, when he returned to the White City, that Boromir lost the harsh edge of temper that had set his men trembling with dread.
There were days—when he was engrossed in his duties, or in reading, or in some physical activity—that his grief at Boromir’s death was not a constant ache in him; he would look up when the ghost of his brother’s voice struck his ear, expecting to see his easy, broad smile and only then would Faramir recall that Boromir was gone past returning.
Advance, retreat, advance again, each movement precise, measured; listen for the quiet gasps as his brother panted for air, each half-sobbing breath telling him to press harder; a fierce joy filled him, mirrored in Faramir’s face as they circled the practice ground, swords in hand, and Boromir knew no one matched him as well as his brother.
Sometimes, Faramir knew, he embraced his wife with too much fervor for her frail form, knew that he was somehow expecting when he opened his eyes that his brother would be the one he held, well able to bear his strength; even when she bore bruises livid and purple against her pale skin, Éowyn did not make a single complaint, and Faramir knew it was because her own ghosts also shared their marriage bed.
Considering himself naught but a soldier, he had always left fair speaking and pretty words to Faramir; perhaps that was why he found himself at such a loss when Faramir looked up at him that way, eyes blue and clear and unable to hide his feelings—it made him go weak, and filled him with the sense that the love between them was unutterably holy and could never be defiled.
The plate mail was heavy, an unaccustomed weight on his shoulders, as his mount made its cautious way down the cobbled streets, but it was not nearly as heavy as the burden of the many goodbyes he could not utter, nor those that would never be heard.
“It is a vast place, this Middle-Earth,” Boromir said quietly, his voice and eyes flat, lifeless, “and one day, little brother, you will find someone with whom you would rather . . . who is better suited—” but he got no further, as Faramir smiled and shook his head, and delivered him a kiss that left no doubt as to what he thought of the matter.
Boromir grumbled about the heavy embroidery at his collar scratching his neck, about the way the dress tunic bound his arms and shoulders, about the discomfort of his new boots, but Faramir merely smiled at his complaints, for he knew well that his brother enjoyed their father’s great banquets only slightly less than he did a good fight.
Boromir lay in his bed, staring at the ceiling, and desperately trying to think of something—anything!—other than how he burned with unnatural desire . . . how he longed to touch and yet could not bring himself to admit he did . . . how his brother looked with the sun in the waves of his red-gold hair.
Boromir had long since learned the need for occasional levity when confronting others, especially those with whom one would rather not speak, but Faramir had not; he preferred to let laughter stand for true high spirits and good humor, and refused to let it become a façade for him when his heart was not light.
Propping himself up on one elbow, he ran a hand up Faramir’s flank, letting the pads of his fingers skirl lightly over sun-burnished skin, rousing him from his light doze; when Faramir glanced at him, eyes drowsy but oh, so blue, Boromir smiled, his hand resting on Faramir’s shoulder, and tried to fool himself into believing this day would never end.
He had been very young, but Faramir could remember his mother’s gentle presence, and how Boromir had cried at her death; after that, the only love he’d ever felt had been that of his brother, their deep bond broken by death, and now, as he bowed his head by Boromir’s tomb, he wondered if the only thing that truly lasted forever in this life was pain.
It was too much to bear, to wake from the dreams—where his brother held him, stroked his hair, gave him his unconditional love—into the cold light of day and let reality take hold him again; as the weak morning sunlight danced across his eyelids, Boromir groaned and rolled back into his cloak, hiding his face and hoping the dream could continue but a little longer.
Boromir’s breath hushed hot over his sweat-damp skin, and Faramir shivered at the sensation, biting his lip to keep from making a sound; then he felt teeth nipping at his neck, his ear, heard Boromir murmur, “Let it out, little brother,” and he gasped, a silent gulp of air, as his brother’s movements, his soft words, urged him to his climax.
Even to those who knew him well, he gave the appearance of being healed, complete, of eagerly anticipating the birth of his first child, but in the depths of his soul, Faramir knew well that life had stopped for him the moment he’d learned of his brother’s passing, and now all he was doing was marking time until death claimed him as well.
It was not often that there was a need for words between them—each knew the other so well that every nuance of emotion was clearly visible in Faramir’s eyes, in the set of Boromir’s mouth, and most of the words they spoke were for the benefit of those around them.
Lost in the throng of soldiers, he had heard Boromir’s speech, had seen him standing upon the ruined wall, his armor gleaming dully in the sunlight, but finding him and making his way to him were quite different matters; Faramir pushed roughly through the milling officers and caught his brother in an embrace of undisguised joy.
Lothlorien seemed to Boromir an oppressive place, filled with the despair that poured from Galadriel’s piercing blue eyes; he turned away from that gaze, unable to bear that she should know the secrets he bore, the longing in his heart for his home and his brother, the crumbling belief that he could save Gondor.
The only light in his bedchamber was the moonlight through the window, obscured now and again by passing clouds, then it shone on Faramir, turning his skin milky pale as he slept face down, head buried in the crook of one arm, and Boromir marveled at the contentment that filled him at the sight, for it subsumed all other thought.
Perhaps the matter was as weighty as Father believed, and the Elves would use the One Ring for themselves, that they would give no consideration to the blood that Gondor had shed to keep Middle-Earth safe, and perhaps he thought Boromir could bring them to see other alternatives, but that all seemed so insignificant when Boromir looked down into his brother’s somber eyes.
His life had ever seemed a road, arrow straight—Boromir would become Steward at their father’s death, and he would be his brother’s advisor, his trusted Captain; now all was changed, and at times he despaired that the road had a thousand branches and turnings, for he knew not which one he should travel to find his brother again the sooner.
He often wondered—for how could he not?—what he would have done in Boromir’s place, if he could have stood firm in the face of death, with heavy arrows impaling him and his life draining away; and would Boromir have dreamt of him as he floated down Anduin to the sea . . . and would it have made his brother feel as bereft and lifeless as he now felt?
He knew other warriors carried tokens of their loved ones into battle, to keep them strong, to remind them of those for whom they fought—a scrap of fabric, a piece of jewelry, a lover’s knot of their twined hair curling upon itself—but he had nothing, nothing of Faramir to comfort him as he died, only the memory of blue eyes fixed on him, filled with trust and the belief that he would return.
Though he drifted in and out of awareness, he knew Éowyn sat quietly beside him, could sense that Aragorn was there as well, urging his laboring lungs to take another breath, another, one more; then there was a golden light behind his eyelids, and through it he could see Boromir, tall and strong of limb, wearing his familiar broad smile, reaching out to him, whispering, “Don’t breathe, little brother,” and, smiling happily, he obeyed.
January 29, 2006
©randi (K. Shepard), 2006