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Reflections On Absent Men

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Wishes work like curses, thinks Faramir as he watches his wife teach their son to gallop a horse. Everything that he holds dear was originally intended for another -- his adored brother, who insisted on trading fates with him on that long-ago morning after they shared a dream.

Had Boromir lived, he would now be the Steward of Gondor. He would command the armies, oversee the rebuilding of the cities and find himself greeted with the respect of men everywhere. Had he lived, Boromir might very well have married Eowyn and fathered children on her.

And the King would love him. The King loves him still, yet only as a memory. He never held the living Boromir the way he touches Faramir, with the passion of one who has learned not to keep his desires in check until it is too late.

Faramir has never stopped mourning for his brother, but he comprehends now that Boromir's death was the price for his own life. He has everything he ever wanted and many things for which he never dared to wish. The wife, the heir, the home filled with light and music, the respect of the council, the cheers of the people, all fill him with joy. And to see Aragorn smile at him, to follow his summons...Faramir can imagine no greater pleasure.

Perhaps he sealed his brother's doom on the first night he ever dreamed of the scepter in his own hand, a princess at his side and a King on the throne of Gondor. Boromir always remained indistinct in such fantasies, a beloved and distant figure from Faramir's childhood. An icon rather than a man.

Perhaps there was never a place for Boromir in his vision. Now Faramir has everything and his hands have remained clean in claiming them. All that he has ever wished for has come to pass, just as surely as if he had cursed his brother to death.