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Boromir had always thought Faramir to be the wisest, most quick-witted man in all of Gondor. Since they had been children, Faramir had picked up knowledge as if it had only lain dormant in his mind, waiting for him to discover it. He had learned archery, horse-riding and sword-fighting in less than half the time it might take any other man to do so. Boromir had always been proud of his little brother, even if their father had not.

And for all that, Faramir still managed to surprise him with his skills of observation.

Boromir had been content to simply be Faramir's brother. He had been willing to be at his side, fight with him and for him, and to be in every way Faramir's closest friend. He had been content to be in Faramir's confidence unlike any other, had been content to think their close bond to be nothing more than any two brothers would feel.

Until Faramir opened his brother's eyes, on a sunny spring morning, when they both rode out of the city to simply be alone, and to feel the wind in their hair and the freedom of having no soldiers to train, no army to oversee, no duties to attend to.

It was on that morning that Boromir, oblivious to there being anything special about the day, had turned his head to speak of something instantly forgotten, and looked at Faramir. Truly looked at him.

The sun caught copper highlights in his brother's long mane of hair, sparkled in his laughing eyes, and gilded him in a near unearthly light.

And Boromir knew he had never seen anything more beautiful. Had never loved anything as much. Never wanted anyone as he wanted his brother.

He halted his horse, and Faramir followed suit, just at the edge of a forest.

Faramir was still smiling with pure joy when Boromir dismounted and walked up to him as in a dream, laughed when Boromir held out his arms for him to jump into. And let himself be held close with a sigh.

When Boromir - flushed and concerned how Faramir would react - simply looked at his brother, Faramir laughed again and reached up to brush a curl of hair from the broad forehead.

"It has taken you quite long enough to realise, Boromir," Faramir said tenderly and, standing on his toes, he wrapped his arms around Boromir's neck and kissed him in a way Boromir had never been kissed before.