"For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Their father sends for them at daybreak and that terrifies him, though he's been long awake. Faramir looks hope at him, but he knows better...
"Use the potty first, Faramir! Cannot find my slipper. My eyes sting!" (Which was true), but Nurse Naliel will have none of that and off they go.
"Slow down, Faramir!" he whispers, and clutches at him for good measure (He dares not go on alone).
The heavy door opens and out comes the sweetest sound.
"Mama!" Faramir cries, disappearing into her embrace.
"The worst is past, son," Denethor replies to his unspoken question, and smiles.
When Faramir was ten, a wizard came to Minas Tirith. His name was Mithrandir, and he was a wizard, though his mother scolded him for saying such, and his father would hear none of it.
With all the flurry about Boromir's upcoming †Corp-choosing, it was easy to give his tutor the slip and sneak out to meet him, though he repented of it when his parents found out.
Next morning, his mother sat with him to his lessons-- always did whenever Mithrandir came to the city.
That was not when the quarrels began, but it was then he first noticed.
Faramir's Corp-choosing quickly became a state matter.
"If Boromir will be Captain-General, let Faramir choose the sea. Pelargir."
"Belfalas, with the Swan Knights-- surely Faramir's capabilities will flourish there?"
"The Tower for a Steward's son."
"And the precedent for service in Rohan?"
Denethor lifted a hand, turned to him. Boromir loved Faramir; but, close, he would vie with himself; far, he could raise a following. Rohan was out of the question. So was Pelargir.
Only one place for a younger brother to go.
"Belfalas," he said, where both had ties and quelling uprising would be easy, should need arise.
He waited for Boromir to return from Imladris, but his son never came. He set camp, instead, beyond the Rammas and ignored all summons. In this Denethor read much, but men flocked to him daily, and he knew to tread carefully if there was still hope of salvaging a future.
So, swallowing pride, and fear, he rode to camp where an aide had him wait outside Boromir's tent.
"Father!" he heard when ushered in. "Preparations are underway."
"Not all wisdom comes from books."
"To defeat Sauron you need certain knowledge I can provide."
The city is aflame with one cry: "The King has returned to Minas Tirith!"
Even without Mithrandir's presence shadowing all, he knows who it is-- who it has to be. He has seen this nightmare for years; he has been his life's ruin.
After already taking all that mattered but Denethor's power, the Eagle has finally come for that. What now? Stalling for proof would be deemed dishonor; surrendering, unthinkable.
Alas, that such should be his fate! Yet duty fulfilled is its own reward and he has never served for praise.
Thus, in dying, he will be selfish at last.