This ficlet/short story was written for morelindo for her birthday. Happy Birthday, morelindo!
Thanks also to Tarion for the beta!
Thanks also to Tarion for the beta!
The library door creaked as he pushed it open slowly. Its hinges need oiling badly, but then it also added to the charm and ambiance of the large, quiet room. Faramir drank in the sights and smells of the library, a soft smile touching his lips. Shelves of leather-bound books lined the walls, and rows upon rows of shelves filled the room with orderly paths in-between them. Dust motes floated in sunbeams, and he took a deep breath. The smell of dust mingled with aging parchment and a hint of leather tickled his nose. He could also detect furniture polish and noticed that the cleaning staff had to have been through here recently. Out of all places in Minas Tirith, this was his refuge. Here, he could find the peace and solitude he sought after a long day of sword practice. Faramir grinned and laughed shortly. Boromir would try to turn him into a warrior yet, but that was not what he wanted. At least, not today.
Crossing the room, he sat down in the corner seat and picked up the nearest book. Leafing through pages of elegant script, he found where he left off and continued on. Mithrandir had given him this volume not long before he went off again. These were ancient tales of life on the ill-fated isle of Numenor. Within moments, Faramir was so engrossed in a story of the great Tar Minastir, that he didn’t hear the steady footsteps of his brother approaching him.
“You read too much,” Boromir chided fondly, snatching the book from Faramir’s hands. “Most fifteen-year-olds wouldn’t be caught within sight of such novels!” His brow wrinkled as he read the script, then closed the book with a definite thud.
“Just because you didn’t read a lot when you were my age, doesn’t mean I am obliged to do the same.” Faramir reclaimed the book and found his place again. He readily ignored the heavy sigh coming from his dear brother.
“Come on, Fari. Let’s go to the archery field.” Boromir made another attempt to take the book, but Faramir was ready for him. Just as his brother’s hand was about to close over the top edge of the prized volume, he grabbed it away to hold it firmly against his chest.
The two glared at each other for a long while, each aware of why Faramir was in the library in the first place. It wasn’t just because sword practice ended up with Faramir eating dirt a lot more than he should. It was because this was the day their mother passed away. Thought it still pained them deeply ten-years later, it still seemed to affect Faramir the most.
“Come. Let’s not waste the day! You need to practice your archery anyway.”
“No, Boromir. I’d rather be alone just now.”
“I know.” His brother sat down in an empty chair close by. “It hurts to see you still suffering, baby brother. I’m only trying to help, you know.”
“I know, and I thank you,” he tried smiling, but it didn’t quite work and Boromir could tell. “I miss her.”
“So do I,” came the whispered reply. “I remember when I’d find the two of you in here in the evenings when you were just a young stripling of a lad. You’d be in her lap as she read another story about knights and dragons and fair damsels in distress. I think you liked to watch her reading to you more than the pictures in the books!”
“And I remember that you would sit at her feet and listen as raptly as I was.” Faramir paused, laying the book down on the pile next to him. “Sometimes I can still hear her voice when I read.”
“Even when you’re reading those old boring texts on Gondorian economy?”
“No. Then I hear father’s voice.”
They shared a laugh at the expense of Denethor and then fell silent again. Straightening in his chair, Boromir’s eyes focused on a small stack of books on the nearby table. Faramir saw a grin appear as his brother took one book from the pile. Boromir dusted off the book, leafed through the old pages, closed the book and handed it over to him.
“Remember that story?”
His hands lingered over the aged green leather. On the front, the form of a dragon was tooled, and even some of the silver paint still remained in the grooves. Faramir nodded before even trying to speak. “I asked mama to read this to me every night!” Inspired by a whim, he glanced up at Boromir. “Want me to read it to you?”
His older brother pretended to act offended as he spluttered about being able to read for himself, but Faramir knew better. He could read his brother’s eyes and expressions as well as Boromir could read his. There was a sparkle in the grey-blue eyes, and there was a bright smile widening with each feigned protest. But, just as he’s known his brother would do, Boromir crowded a little closer to him and waited for the story to begin. He had the urge to laugh at the sight of his twenty-year-old brother with wide eyes and rapt attention, eager to hear the tale.
Opening the book, Faramir leaned back to use the best of the afternoon sun as he turned to the first page.
“Once upon a time, there was a mean, old dragon that loved his treasure…”
And for the duration of the story, it felt as if she was with them, reading the story and laughing along with them.