Author: Juxian Tang
Fandom: Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers
Summary: While deciding to take Frodo to Gondor, Faramir gets under the
influence of the Ring and makes things he didn't know he was capable of.
The hell was behind his eyelids. The flame swelled - pulsed like the hood of
a giant cobra - flared with spikes of blinding light going right through his
eyeballs. The fire grew; from a small throbbing dot in the depth of his
consciousness, blossoming into a hideous flower until there was nothing else in
front of his closed eyes but this altering, blazing outline of bright gold and
sucking-in, unfathomable, endless darkness inside it.
The hell was the ring - and it called for him.
It seemed every nerve of his body had a voice of its own - screaming for attention,
driving him mad with insistent, discordant summons. Rough surface of the cave's
floor was digging furrows in his back as he writhed on the thin cloth of the
cloak; sleepy breathing of his men was like rasping of a knife against a
whetstone, reaching his ear even through incessant pounding of blood in his
He could feel it all; he could hear it all - much more than he had ever
heard; usually he fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. But now there
was no sound he would be spared of. There was quiet, almost inaudible breathing
of two halflings curled in small tight balls in the nook of the cave. There was
subdued, unending muttering of the creature they had so cleverly captured -
Gollum or what was its name - talking, talking to no one in its hushed,
And there was more he could hear. And it frightened him.
He was not used to feeling like that. Planning and careful devising - those
were things Faramir always relied upon; those were the things that brought him
success, assured his victory. His brother was the one to go for passion, for
acting before thinking - but Faramir knew better; always had known. He was not
going to fall into the trap Boromir had fallen.
He was not going to repeat Boromir's fate: was not going to fail... to die.
"Always the smart one, aren't you... little brother?"
How much he missed this voice... how much he missed the hand, roughened with
the hilt of the sword, tousling his hair - the warm touch that made Faramir's
insides melt into something mushy and his spine arch with pleasure, made him
lean closer, butting his head against the shoulder of his brother.
He wouldn't feel this touch again; he wouldn't see Boromir again.
It made him angry; anger was not a usual feeling for him. But now he felt
even angrier now than upon learning about Boromir's death. Maybe, the reason
was that little halfling - cute-faced but with the eyes in thunderstorm shadows
of exhaustion - who called Boromir his companion - but didn't even know he was
"Bad hobbit... Bad little liar... You know he's a liar, don't you,
This voice again. It seemed almost like he could hear Boromir talking to
him; only the voice sounded in his temples, not in his ears. It was low and
whispering - but familiar to the last note - and almost real.
Yet... Shouldn't Faramir know better than listening to the voices of those
who were gone? His fingers dug into the chapped rock so deep that sharp
crumbles slashed the fingertips - so deep as if he tried to root into the unyielding
ground to prevent himself reacting to this voice, from answering it.
It was a good thing they had captured that Gollum. Things the creature said
were invaluable. Faramir had almost taken the ring from the hobbit; of course,
it wasn't the halfling's pathetic buddy - a gardener, indeed - that stopped
him. Oh gods... how close the ring was... All the power one could dream about -
all the glory for his homeland - just within the reach of Faramir's hand. But
there was more than that. He felt it when he was ready to yank the stupid chain
from the thin neck of the hobbit: a blinding needle shooting from the
innocently looking glittering circle of gold right through his forehead - and
deeper, into his brain. He felt the ring. And he knew it felt him; it knew him
- it sliced though the things inside his mind buried so deep Faramir himself
It called for him; encouraged him to take it, to rip it off from the small
creature - surely the hobbit wouldn't be able to put any fight against him - to
shove his finger through it and feel... feel...
And that was exactly why Faramir hadn't taken it. Or so he told himself. His
astute mind made an obvious connection. There must've been some reason why in
the Fellowship consisting of powerful men, an elf, and a dwarf - the thing was
trusted to someone who seemed so small and frail that could be broken
Let the hobbit carry it - carry the enormous weight that Faramir managed to
feel even without touching it. He would bring the halflings to Minas Tirith
with him; and Frodo would carry the ring.
Let Frodo be bent over under its burden.
It was reasonable and it was wise - yet in the sleepy darkness ruined only
by the muttering and moans of Gollum his reason stepped aside, giving the way
for something else. Something Faramir didn't want to think about.
How blue the hobbit's eyes were... like water in unfathomable lakes high in
the mountains. How soft his mouth seemed...
Muffling a groan against the collar of his cloak, Faramir sat up in the
half-darkness, pressing the heels of his palms to his eyes. It felt like grains
of sand under his eyelids - or small shards of glass - and there was no way to
get rid of this sensation.
"Don't you know what you want to do, little brother? Don't you know
what I want you to do?"
No... he was not going to do it. He didn't want to do it...
But the ring had the voice of his brother. And it urged him to act.
Gold circle of fire turned scarlet as he got up. The pounding of blood in
his ears was deafening but Faramir knew there was no sound for anyone else to
hear. The wall felt cold and rough against his shoulder as he swayed and
stumbled - and the few steps he made were like falling.
But he didn't fall; not until in the dim light of the dying fire he saw two
small figures curled on the floor. The bigger one was snorting softly - and the
smaller, frailer one seemed almost completely quiet - if not for the small
fists of the tied hands clenching convulsively, so hard fingernails were
drawing blood - if not for the shadows of a nightmare flitting over the pale
face in silence.
What am I doing here?
"You know, little brother. You know."
Boromir's bearded face, smiling, came into view in front of his eyes - for a
moment clearer than the brightness of the ring, closer than the childish face
of the hobbit.
No. It's wrong.
"Yes. It's right," the ring whispered. "Do it for
me, little brother."
He reached, clasped his hand on the thin upper arm of the hobbit - the bones
so light, bird-like; and his other hand lay on the hobbit's face, covering his
soft mouth. Faramir yanked, dragged the halfling away from his sleeping
companion, away from the others - to the far corner of the cave.
The hobbit fought - strangely desperately for someone who seemed so
defenseless - his short fingernails clawing into the backs of Faramir's hands -
but Faramir almost didn't feel it. It was too little to stop him when the voice
in his mind reveled in what he was doing, praised him for it.
He threw the hobbit against the rock wall, slammed him into it - and saw how
the dark-blue eyes, filled with wild terror, went unfocused. The hobbit slumped
down in a little heap, his already pale face going almost translucent.
Crouching in front of him, Faramir looked.
"Don't make a sound. Or I'll tear off the head of your stupid companion
from his fat shoulders. Do you understand me?"
It took awhile for the hazed eyes to clear up a little; in the sparks of the
dying fire the eyes seemed dark - black pupils surrounded with very thin bands
of blue irises. There was fear in those eyes - and also some kind of doom.
He looks like he thinks I'm going to kill him... But I'm not going to kill
Only... only to hurt him?
The longest curved eyelashes fell, hiding those eyes for a moment; and then
Faramir felt a small nod against his palm.
As soon as he let go, the tied hands went up immediately, digging under the
collar of the shirt, clasping on something - as if checking - and Faramir knew
what it was, what the hobbit was so worried about. The ring. Faramir could take
it now, couldn't he? And there was not a thing the hobbit would be able to do
about it. Even the ridiculous self-appointed protector of a gardener was not
there at the moment.
The hitching breath Frodo made was almost inaudible - and his words Faramir
rather guessed than heard. "What do you want?"
I don't want to hurt him.
"But you will, little brother."
He hit the soft cheek that was warm and vulnerable under his palm - and for
a moment, feeling how Frodo's head struck against the rock, Faramir sensed
horrible pleasure flaring up in him.
"I told you to be quiet."
There was no sound. Good hobbit. A little bit of blood appeared on the pale
lips - Faramir didn't know if it was because of the blow or because the hobbit
was biting his lip. The eyes were so huge - seeming to occupy half of the
hobbit's face; and they looked at Faramir so searchingly, so insistently.
"My brother is dead," he whispered. "Because of you."
Was it real - or did it seem to him that he noticed relief flooding those
eyes, dispelling the darkness in them a little? There were tiny speckles of
gold in the depth of Frodo's pupils - reflections of the fire, of course - but
for a moment Faramir thought he saw the familiar outline of the golden ring
"You killed him, hobbit."
"That's right, little brother," the voice hissed in his
Boromir hadn't ever talked like that, he thought weakly. Boromir was strong
and feared nothing and never blamed another for his decisions.
Boromir wouldn't want it.
He touched his temple sharply, as if trying to tune the voice better - to
make it say things he, Faramir, could believe.
"You're going to pay for it."
The hobbit's sad eyes, so big in the shadows of tiredness around them, held his
gaze. There were no tears in his eyes - and it surprised Faramir. Surely the
creature size of a child had to behave like a child, too? Yet Frodo's eyes were
dry - as if the moisture there was burnt out with the same fire Faramir could
see in front of his own eyes as soon as he closed them.
Then the hobbit nodded; like agreeing with Faramir's words. Like agreeing
with whatever Faramir was intended to do.
No! Don't... don't let me...
Anger rose in him, stronger than any other feeling. Pay for Boromir's death?
There was no way such a pitiful creature could ever pay for it! Boromir was
beautiful... and kind... and everything Faramir would never be... joy of their
father... hope of Gondor...
Defeated in the battle where Faramir was going to succeed.
He had learned Boromir's mistakes well; he wouldn't let the ring to rule
"Of course, little brother."
Blood in the corner of Frodo's mouth was warm and wet under his thumb. The
lips were silky and so soft...
So wrong... so wrong - how could he want it? How could he want it from a
creature twice smaller than him... it would be like wanting it from a child...
Suddenly Faramir wanted for the hobbit to struggle - to make enough noise to
wake up the others, to prevent him from going on.
He wanted to wake up in his place, with the cloak crumpled under his
sweating body aching from inconvenient position, with the residuals of a
nightmare draining out of his mind...
But he was here - and Frodo stared at him with those
defenseless-oh-so-stubborn eyes of a child... of a sacrificial maiden... and
his mouth was so sweet - so kissable that it made stars shoot in front of
Or, maybe, there was just one star - hidden under the little palms clasped
on the hobbit's chest, on the silvery glittering chain. And this star - the
ring - made everything possible. Made it possible to live with Boromir's death
- to turn this death into something so wrong and twisted - to forget the casual
touch of Boromir's fingers brushing through his hair - to replace it with
another touch, another closeness...
To take and slam and crumple and squeeze and spoil...
The hobbit's mouth tasted with blood - but it was sweet, too - Frodo's lips
warm and accepting - more that than the lips of any woman Faramir had kissed.
He could feel how those lips trembled, parting under his tongue, crushed
against his teeth. But there was no sound.
Silence was blissful.
The little hands, squeezed between their bodies - Faramir's leaning down and
the hobbit's pressed against the solid rock - were fluttering, still trying to
cover the only thing that seemed to have meaning for the silly creature. The
Why not to have both, Faramir thought suddenly - both this mouth, trembling
but opening for him - and the ring, so full of power, of glory? He could peel
these clenching hands away and put his finger into the thin band of gold. He
wanted to do it so much. The little body bucked against his, convulsively, in
torment - the whimper never leaving Frodo's lips as it was caught in Faramir's
mouth - and it was enough to send Faramir into action. His hands had the mind
of their own, ripping the clothes, twisting, turning.
He's so small, I'll hurt him...
But it'll feel good.
"Say 'good-bye' to me, little brother."
The voice whispered it - and at the moment Faramir's body thrust forward,
tearing, getting in - he knew it was the last time he'd heard this voice.
And it hurt to know it.
But he knew the little creature under him was hurt unimaginably worse. The
fathomless eyes were screwed up tightly, the little swollen mouth quivering in
I don't want to do it... I don't want to see him like this...
But it was too late.
He didn't stop - frozen in the inconvenient position, the size difference
too big - only his pelvis moving, slamming forward, unceasingly. Darkish curls
of the hobbit were wet with sweat, plastered to the pale forehead.
Faramir wanted to touch this forehead with his lips - but knew he had to
stop himself from doing it - wouldn't add this indignity of caress to what he
was already doing.
The hands clasped on the ring kept pushing against his sternum - and under
Faramir's arms wrapped around Frodo's body the hobbit's sharp shoulder-blades
felt like amputated wings of a bird who would never fly again.
Yes, it was what he, Faramir, had done... added another weight to the burden
the hobbit had to carry... and he, Faramir, would have to live with it, as long
as it was left for him.
He closed his eyes - and for once the blinding, singeing brightness of the
ring in his mind eye exchanged with the dull grey of a stone - a grave stone,
he knew... and trying, struggling very hard, he almost believed he could read
what was written there.
"Here lies Faramir, son of Denethor, whose life was ash in the wind
and whose soul was dew under the sun... who tried and failed and left nothing
to be remembered by..."
He gasped and didn't want to have read it; didn't want to believe it. He
wouldn't fail; he would succeed; he would do what Boromir hadn't be able to.
Suddenly the tightly closed eyes under the huge eyelashes opened - blue
darkness looking at him from the pale face of the hobbit. The eyes were nearly
black with pain - and yet as clear as always - and then whitened lips parted,
"Not the ring."
And all of a sudden Faramir understood - so definitely as if it was spelled
for him in the fire letters over the dark wall: saw the little hands slightly
unclenched over the sparkling band of gold - fingers holding it... almost as if
about to put it on...
It was not him the ring was calling for all the way. He was just the means
to push its bearer over the verge of endurance, to make him want to do anything
to escape what Faramir was doing to him... to make him put on the ring...
The thought was bitter and dark, shrinking the dazzling fire of the ring -
leaving a huge, sucking emptiness instead of it. Frodo looked at him - with
this inexplicable sweetness in his tormented eyes - but trembling fingers never
moved again, never put on the ring.
"Not the ring," Faramir whispered, echoing - and saw a small nod
of the hobbit.
Frodo was stronger than the ring; he, Faramir, was not.
He closed his eyes in shame, knowing with deadly certainty that he would
never be able to prove that he was better than Boromir, more successful. And
not only because Boromir was dead. But because Faramir would never succeed.
Spikes of pain under his eyelids finally crushed through, making moisture
slide over his cheeks, tasting salty, mixing with the sweetness that trickled
onto his lips from the hobbit's small mouth.
After everything was over, he was hunched over the small figure curled in a
tight ball. There was blood; too much of it. The hobbit didn't cry - through
the messed-up strands of curly hair his blue-grey eyes were dark - and dry. He
just trembled - and the little clattering sound Faramir could hear was the
chattering of the hobbit's teeth.
"You won't tell anyone," he whispered.
Or I'll wrench the head off the shoulders of your buddy... or I'll use your
Gollum creature for shooting practice of my archers - it remained unsaid.
The hobbit looked up - and then moved, scrambled onto his knees, with effort
but not hesitating - and Faramir saw how the small tied hands worked
feverishly, pulling the pants up. Blood was beating in his head with tidal
wave, making him reel slightly. He wrapped his arms around himself.
The hobbit met his gaze, unflinching.
"I won't tell."
The dark-blue eyes stared at Faramir, with the strangest expression in them
- questioning? trying to make sure?
We have an agreement, don't we? We both resisted the temptation of the ring
- and for now, we both won, right?
Faramir couldn't stand it - lowered his head, whispered almost inaudibly,
"Go back to your place."
There was so little noise the hobbit made.
In front of Faramir's eyes the ring continued its hideous dance of blazing
up and falling - and now it was getting closer; his brain flared with pain -
almost as if the ring was tightened around it.