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60
Eight Weeks

This was inspired by a short scene from Altariel's Adrift: Boromir once tried to grow a beard. It took Faramir and Denethor eight weeks of being "quite without mercy" to get him to shave it off.

Roh_wyn had asked for functional adult Faramir-Denethor relationships, with humor if possible. Hope this sequence fits the bill, roh_wyn!


~~~

Week One

"Oh come now!"

Boromir dismounted, shaking his head as he handed off the horse and turned to his brother. One hand tucked beneath an elbow, the other rubbing at his brow with its frown line, Faramir stood grinning broadly.

"It's four months and a summer's campaign since last we met, and this is my greeting? 'Oh come now'?" Boromir grumbled, though he, too, smiled as he pulled his brother into an embrace.

"And I'm glad to see you. But you cannot keep that!" Faramir chucked his brother's new-bearded chin.

"Who's to say nay?" Boromir retorted.

"Father," came the prompt reply.

Week Two

He'd thought Faramir's bluff called, for their father greeted Boromir with his usual restrained affection, and without comment upon the beard. Peaceful, busy days followed, as Boromir burrowed through the many reports Denethor gave him. Faramir's daily jibes seemed a pleasant distraction, comparatively.

One evening, over a chess match, Denethor reached into a pocket and produced a slim, metal case and slid it to him.

"What's this?" Boromir asked.

"Your chess game I cannot improve, but it seems you're apt to lose other things as well," his father replied. Boromir opened it, and gazed upon himself.

It was a mirror.

Week Three

It began with his comb. One morning, he'd gone to his washroom and reached for it, only to find a razorblade had taken its place. The next morning, it'd been the washbasin itself. The third day, his scissors.

Clearly, the immediate culprit was his esquire. While Boromir wouldn't put it past his brother to invade his quarters, Faramir was both captain and lord's son: he knew the value of delegation and plausible deniability.

But given Denethor's habit of coming to Faramir's assistance whenever his brother began needling him at breakfast, he wondered whether there weren't three involved in this plot...

Week Four

Yuletide would bring Gondor's lords and the battle for the kingdom's budget to Minas Tirith. Thus increasingly, Boromir passed his evenings with brother and father, arguing strategy.

"The trouble," Faramir opined one night, "is that we need the appearance of sincerity to match the truth of need. Yet Father they mistrust for his motives, whereas they'll mistrust me for my reserve, and Boromir for his beard."

Silence. Boromir sighed. Faramir smiled. Denethor shook his head.

But to Boromir's dismay, the Steward said, wryly, "'A bearded face has much to hide.' So Proverbs of the Sindar has it. Pressing on...?"

Week Five

"'T'isn't that I have anything against the Dwarves," Faramir replied. "Far from it, I'd like to learn more of them, but they've so peculiar a sense of propriety, 'tis courting scandal to question one."

"Yet you cannot deny," Boromir retorted, "that they were willing to speak to Pengolod, else we'd not have his treatise on this very subject available to us."

"Granted, but brother," Faramir persisted, "if we accept the Dwarves' account of the meaning of the beard, I worry that even should we see you wed, we'd see no heirs forthcoming!"

Boromir glowered. Finally: "Look, Cirdan has a beard..."

Week Six

His move. Boromir advanced a captain. "Father," he said, as Denethor leaned forward, resting his elbows upon the table and his chin upon folded hands as he surveyed the board; "Might I ask you something?"

"Of course," Denethor murmured absently, still engrossed in study.

"I understand Faramir's motives in all this nonsense over beards the past several weeksóbrothers are naturally perverse in such matters. But you, sir..." Boromir shook his head. "I cannot guess your reasons."

Grey eyes lifted, considering him a moment. Then: "You assume my motives are different? Interesting," his father mused, and moved a knight. "Checkmate."

Week Seven

"Brother, will you not heed me? It is simply a fact," Faramir argued, "that the worst sort of women find beards attractive."

Boromir snorted. "Faramir, we've met the worst sort of women, and they are courtiers. I have not noticed they are much put off by my not having one."

"But you have seen them cluster about men who have them. They think such unsophisticated and easy."

"Those are courtesans, not courtiers!"

"What difference? A kingdom or a coin, is it not all a matter of bribery in the end for such?" Faramir retorted, then smiled. "Think on it, Boromir."

Week Eight

The Yuletide court arrived with a dusting of snow and a swirl of color as Gondor's lords and ladies descended upon Minas Tirith. The ladies especially came in droves, since both the Steward's sons were in attendance, and the bolder women considered the widowed Steward still quite eligible.

But as usual, most attention went to Boromir, who arrived in black and silver finery... and beardless.

"Success," Faramir remarked, as he and Denethor stood watching Boromir waltz with Forlong's eldest daughter.

"Indeed," Denethor replied, then raised his glass. "A well-laid campaign." Glasses clinked, and smiling, father and son drank to victory.

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