First Meeting

To be or not to be ?

These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien .This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain. Some lines are taken directly from the book.

Aragorn suddenly dropped on his knees and knelt by Faramir's side. He placed one hand on the sweat soaked brow and clasped the other which lay limply on the coverlet in his own, seeking to somehow connect with the dying man.

"Faramir, Faramir!" he called, "Wake up, come to me!"

Faramir made no reply but was there was just the slightest pressure on Aragorn's hand as if some corner of the sick man's mind responded or was it just wishful thinking on the part of his would be healer?.

Aragorn reached out, using the gift of his Line, seeking the younger man's Spirit with his own. He could sense great weariness and despair, a wounded soul that had endured too much and was now willing to embrace death as a welcome release from his grief and pain.

Aragorn felt as if he were trying to hold a drowning man who was being swept away by the current.

He felt such overwhelming compassion for this man of sorrows and found himself willing his own strength into him, an ability he knew he possessed, but which Elrond had warned him was far to dangerous to use, especially without athelas.

Over and over he called Faramir's name as he searched for the lost and wounded spirit to bring him back.

He was oblivious to all else, what had begun, as a favour for the Wizard had become a highly personal quest. He wanted, nay needed to save this man.

He could sense now that here was a man of quality, a man that Gondor needed and that he would need too if he ever became King. He would value this man's friendship and the opportunity to try and make up to him for all he had lost or been denied.

When Boromir died, Faramir should have been named as heir to the Stewardship and Captain General of the Army in his stead but Denethor obviously had prized this younger son so little that even his birthright was denied him as he was still but a Captain.

Aragorn's strength began to wane and he turned grey with weariness to the alarm of his companions. He continued to call Faramir, but now his voice was so faint it seemed that he too was wandering in some dark vale calling for one who was lost.

He looked as if he were about to collapse and Eomer placed a hand on his friend's shoulder to prevent him from falling.

"Strider!" Pippin exclaimed anxiously, "Are you alright!" Aragorn did not hear he was so locked in the healing trance.

Alarmed, Gandalf shook his protégé," You must stop this!" he ordered. "You have tried and no man could do more, but to persist, you will risk you own life and you are needed for far greater deeds! Faramir is a worthy man but not so much that you should hazard your own life for him!"

Roused from his trance, Aragorn turned on his mentor, eyes flashing," I shall do this thing!" he snapped, "And my will not be gainsaid! What I have begun, I will finish!"

Pippin shivered, this was not Strider, the somewhat dour and reticent guide whom he had grown to love once he knew the man's true worth but someone altogether different with his newfound air of authority. He would not like to ever feel the man's wrath directed against himself as he feared he would be seared by the fire in his eyes.

As if there had been no interruption, Aragorn resumed calling Faramir.

Faramir lost in dark dreams and gripped by the fever, which threatened to consume him, was dimly aware that someone was calling him but he was weary, so very weary, that he lacked the will to respond. He longed only for death so that he could be reunited with Boromir; the only person apart from his mother whom he had ever felt truly loved by.

They had been inseparable, best friends as well as brothers and Boromir had always protected his little brother, even though he had never delighted in the arts of warfare any more than Boromir had enjoyed books.

He could hear other voices calling now as a sense of peace enveloped him and he felt he was being drawn towards a tunnel in which a bright light seemed to beckon him to the other side.

"You will never be as good as your brother, yet I would have you both beside me!" That was Denethor's voice, yet what was his father doing here? Was he too no longer amongst the living as this surely was somewhere beyond the circles of this world?

"My dear son! You are so precious, too precious to be here yet!" That surely was his mother's voice; strange he should remember it so well after thirty years.

"Faramir, go back, you are needed by your King, he is a good man and you can trust him. You will always be with me, little brother though you remain on Arda for a while yet!" That voice was Boromir's, Faramir now wanted more than ever to join him as there was no doubt now that they would be reunited in death.

He heard other voices too, those of his loyal men whom he had led out to die at Osgiliath and seen fall all around him.

Aragorn realised he was losing Faramir as the death rattle was now in his throat and once or twice he had stopped breathing completely only to be kept alive by the sheer force of Aragorn's will but it was becoming harder to keep him alive as his own strength waned.

He would have swooned had he not felt steadying hands on his shoulders, supporting him, Eomer's no doubt as he sensed his friend nearby.

A young boy ran into the room pushing towards Aragorn, carrying a cloth, tightly grasped in his hand. "It is kingsfoil, Sir," he said, but not fresh I fear. It must have been culled two weeks ago at the least. I hope it will serve, Sir?"

He then caught sight of Faramir and burst into tears.

Pippin hastened to his side and placed a comforting arm around him, "Don't worry, Bergil!" he said, "Strider is very good at almost everything, if anyone can cure, Faramir, he can!"

As if revived by the very presence of the athelas, Aragorn turned to the boy and smiled at him, "It will serve," he said. "The worst is now over. Stay and be comforted!"

He then took two of the dried leaves and breathed on them and then crushed them in his hands. He then cast the leaves into a bowl of steaming water, which stood, on the table by Faramir's bedside and straightaway a living freshness filled the room, filling it with joy.

Aragorn now stood tall and strong as one invigorated and his eyes smiled as he held the bowl in front of Faramir's face and called him again.

Faramir suddenly felt himself being pulled back through the tunnel again and the bright light faded. He tried to reach out towards his mother and brother but they seemed to be moving further and further away from him as he was forced back into the world of the living. Another, unknown hand

reached out towards him and he grasped it as an unfamiliar yet compelling voice called his name and the air was filled with a wonderful fragrance.

The voice called his name again and this time he knew who it was that called him, as he had seen him many times in his dreams. It was the heir of Elendil, the long lost King of Gondor and Arnor!

Faramir could no longer resist the summons, he wanted to see the King, the man who called him repeatedly and yet he feared to meet the man and offer his heart as his foresight sensed great danger surrounding him.

Would his heart not be broken again by the loss of yet another he loved, for he knew should the King return, an event he had dreamed of and foreseen, he would offer him unquestioning love and fealty as this man, mightier by far than Denethor, would be the long desired saviour of Gondor. Yet how could he not answer the call of his King?"

Aragorn waited, dimly aware of Ioreth chattering in the background. He had kept Faramir alive long enough for some athelas to be found as that herb in his hands alone could cure Faramir of the Black Breath.

Faramir was no longer struggling to breathe and the flush of fever was leaving his cheeks. He should awaken any moment now. Aragorn decided it was best not to tell him yet who he was.

Better to wait until he was stronger when he would decide either to recognise him as King or dismiss him as a Pretender as his ancestor Arvedui had been rejected in the past. From what he knew of Faramir's father and brother, the latter seemed the most likely outcome as the Council would follow his lead when he made his claim to the crown.

Faramir then stirred, slowly opened his eyes and looked at Aragorn who was still bending over him, smiling at him encouragingly.

Faramir first looked dazed, then as his eyes focussed he looked directly at Aragorn with such knowledge and love in his eyes that Aragorn was amazed .He felt even more drawn to this man as a kindred soul, whatever he decided in the future concerning the return of a King to Gondor.

TBC

A/N A big thank you for your reviews. I am delighted by the response to this short story.

In answer to your queries.

I would never leave a story without a proper conclusion, I just have a tendency to forget to add "TBC " !

Aragorn would not refuse to help Faramir. He is just very tired, unsure if he can do anything and annoyed at Gandalf's attempts to manipulate him before he even had chance to answer. He says in the book that he has only come because Gandalf begged him to/

All my stories link with each other and can either be read separately or as one long story.

Boromir does not acknowledge Aragorn as King in the book and Faramir tells Frodo in "The Window on the West" that they had not yet come to the "pinch". He seems to think that Boromir would not accept a King easily.

A Beta reader is someone who checks your story for mistakes before you post it.

I would never think anyone writing a story about this same subject was copying me, as after all the plot is Tolkien's.

I agree everything could not have been fitted into the film but I feel this scene was vital for if Aragorn is not acknowledged as King by the Ruling Steward, he appears to be staging a Coup! Peter Jackson has announced a plan to release deleted scenes in two or three years, so we will just have to keep hoping to finally see this scene.

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