By Bradley Whitecliffe
Word Count: 1451
Summary: Boromir and Faramir, both young boys, are excited for Christmas, but something is off on this day that is supposed to bring joy…
A/N: Merry Christmas! I am imagining Faramir to be around eight. The story, plot, and dialogue here contained is the sole intellectual property of Bradley Whitecliffe. The characters and setting are borrowed from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
Boromir cracked his eyes open. The room was still dark and quiet. It must have been very early… The young dark-haired boy closed his eyes once again, wishing to return back to sleep. His bed felt so soft, the blankets so warm as they wrapped around him, falling loosely over his shoulders. He quickly began to fade back into the dream world…
A small, firm pillow suddenly landed atop his curled form, bringing him out of the mist he had been entering.
A whisper came over from Faramir’s side of the room. “Boromir, are you awake?”
“Yes,” Boromir answered his younger brother whilst flipping around to face the other side of the room where, in the dim light, he could barely distinguish a faint outline of Faramir sitting up in his own bed. “What are you doing?”
“It’s Christmas. I’m looking if we got snow,” Faramir excitedly whispered.
The young boy’s feet lightly touched the floor as he slid out of bed and made his way carefully to the shuttered window. When he opened the dual wooden covers, gentle grey light suddenly flooded the room they shared. A slight chill came to the air.
Boromir just watched as his brother’s face lit up. It was obvious that there had, indeed, been snow last night. Deciding the sight was worth getting up for, he pushed back his silky sheets and quickly made his way to his brother’s side.
Outside, a blanket of thick snow covered every conceivable flat surface. Long, sparkling icicles dripped from the eaves of several archways and roofs. The many-faceted spears glimmered in the subtle grey light.
The two brothers were captivated for a brief moment as they beheld the wondrous sight before them. Finally, Boromir tore his gaze from outside, glancing at awe-struck Faramir beside him. His younger brother’s face was one of pure excitement.
“Merry Christmas,” Boromir said.
Faramir grinned. “Let’s go check out our presents.”
The elder brother snorted. “Already?! But its scarcely an hour past dawn! We should go back to sleep.”
“Oh, come on, please?” Faramir grabbed Boromir’s hand and squeezed. He looked up into his older brother’s grey eyes longingly.
Boromir only had to meet Faramir’s pleading gaze for a handful of breaths. He sighed. “Fine, but we have to be quiet. Father cannot wake up or he’ll be angry.”
Faramir nodded. He knew that they couldn’t wake up father. That much was plain, but he was so excited to see if he got anything special. Last year, he had received a pair of leather gauntlets.
The two young boys immediately put on their night robes and quietly made their way to the hallway, then down the large stairway spiralling from their room. Their bare feet made hardly any audible noise as they padded along the long hallway leading from the stairs to the main room, where days ago, a Christmas tree had been erected. The two stealthily stole into the chamber to be greeted by the magnificent spruce. The large area was dominated by the soaring evergreen, which was garbed with many embellishments and dazzling ornaments. Many well-tended candles set within alcoves gave the room a golden hue that slowly shaded into a silvery grey as it travelled up the tall white walls to the domed ceiling, where many arched windows showed traces of daylight.
Boromir and Faramir did not seem to notice the magnificence of the halls, however. Their eyes only beheld the many beautifully wrapped presents under the giant tree. Instantly, the two brothers raced to the large pile of gifts.
There were myriad wrapped boxes piled over one another, forming a glorious display of splendorous wealth and comfortable living. The two brothers, of course, did not recognise the sheer bounty. Faramir grinned with glee. Boromir’s grey eyes scanned over the many name tags adorning the presents. There were certainly a large number of gifts signed to prominent individuals other than the two brothers, but many belonged to the boys.
“Don’t open any yet,” Boromir warned, catching Faramir lifting a hefty box from the floor.
“I know,” Faramir answered. He was desperately searching for a gift with his name on it. Surely, there was one. He just had to find it.
The two continued going through the presents, completely unaware of anything else for a long while. Boromir was in the middle of shaking one particularly heavy box when his father strode into the room, smiling.
“Merry Christmas!” Denethor said with uncharacteristic cheer.
The two whipped around to face him. Boromir had not expected to see his father up so early… unless they had spent longer than he thought looking at the gifts. Seeing the royal attire of his father, he suddenly remembered that he was still in his nightclothes. Oh well. There was no changing into something presentable for his father now. This would have to do.
“Merry Christmas, Father,” Faramir told Denethor happily.
Boromir echoed his brother’s sentiments. “Merry Christmas.”
Denethor gave a bright smile. “I see you are ready to open your presents. I suppose you can start now.”
The two brother’s faces lit up instantly. “Okay!” they said in unison.
Boromir quickly began to scour the pile for the gifts he had found earlier. His presents were ripped apart in an anticlimactic frenzy of motion. He received a pair of new leather gauntlets and shin guards; a sword sheath; a shimmering knife; a pair of boots; a sling shot with a leather bag full of beautiful, stark-white glass pellets; a whet stone that glittered in the sunlight; a duck call; a wooden duck decoy; a golden buckle for a new leather belt; and several embroidered tunics.
Faramir watched as Boromir unwrapped every single present. He was happy for his brother, and patiently waited till Boromir slowly unwrapped the last gift.
Boromir raised his head to meet his father’s gaze and politely said, “Thank you, Father.” The fact that his younger brother only held one gift in his hands was not lost on him, but there was no point of asking about it.
“You’re welcome,” Denethor said happily.
The clock standing on the far side of the room began to chime, marking the start of another hour. The steward’s eyes darted to the clock face. “It is late and almost time for breakfast.” He rose magnificently. “I should probably begin cleaning up. Don’t stay too long. I expect you both at breakfast.”
The two nodded. “Thank you again, Father,” both Faramir and Boromir said.
Once their father was gone, Boromir turned to face his brother. “You going to open your present?” he asked gently.
Faramir grinned and immediately began to unwrap the gift. The young boy relished every moment of tearing the beautiful paper from the box. Quickly, he tore the box open, revealing a gorgeously embroidered deep-blue tunic. Across the chest blazed a white tree and seven stars. For a moment, the two simply stared at the stunning piece of clothing.
Faramir wanted to cry. He had not expected this, and hoped he had not accidently opened someone else’s present. No. He had checked the tag. Assurance comforted Faramir when he held the tunic up to his chest. This was his size, indeed.
Boromir reached out a hand to stroke the velvety fabric. “It is nice,” he commented.
Faramir nodded to himself, still in awe.
For a moment, the two sat in the huge chamber admiring the single present until Boromir broke the silence. “You only received one, though,” he said, scanning his own pile of gifts.
A stirring need to help his brother came over him. It wasn’t right that he had all the presents, and he could tell that Faramir was beginning to feel the weight of the statement by the look of his eyes and face. “We can share them. Father won’t know. Come on, let’s bring them to our room and get dressed. Then we can go play.”
Faramir felt comforted by the words of his brother. This was a magnificent Christmas, one gift or none. The one he had received was more than enough. “I can’t, Boromir,” he said clutching the tunic against his chest. “Those are your presents.”
Boromir’s gaze filled with merry determination. “No, they are both of ours. Now, help me bring them up.”
Faramir smiled. “Okay,” he said, getting to his feet and beginning to help his brother.
Boromir always had a way of making him feel good.