"You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right."
Write a story or poem, or create a piece of art on the theme of leaving or returning home.
Title: An Unexpected Welcome
Author: Linda Hoyland
Characters/Pairing: Aragorn, Faramir,Arwen
Book/Source: LOTR book-verse
Disclaimer - These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain
For once the sight of the White City did not gladden Faramir's heart. Minas Tirith still looked forlorn with the broken gate and damage to the walls. He chided himself inwardly for his low spirits and tried to think of cheerful things; it had been enjoyable to visit his Uncle in Dol Amroth, men were busy rebuilding the walls and now a King dwelt within the City.
It had been at the King's insistence that Faramir had returned home with his uncle after King Théoden had been laid to rest. Concerned for his Steward's health, King Elessar had insisted that he take a short holiday.
Now there was no delaying his return to the Citadel any longer, back to his empty rooms, so close to those once inhabited by his father and brother, and now abode to the King and Queen. It would have been far different if Éowyn had been at his side, but she was still needed in her native land to assist her brother. It was still hard to take in that never again would Boromir warmly embrace him, nor his fathers take him to task for some failing, real or imagined. And this was his only home now, until his new house in Ithilien was built. The Steward of Gondor could no longer dwell amongst his Rangers simply as their Captain.
It was not good brooding though over what could not be changed. Faramir decided that he dedicate himself to serving Gondor and her new lord. The first moment he had beheld Aragorn he had loved him, but his love was mixed with overwhelming awe and a fear that Aragorn would be no more pleased with him than his father was, for all his kindness. Faramir knew he owed everything to Aragorn, life, land and titles. The Steward still felt sometimes that he must be dreaming and he would wake up and find it had all vanished again.
Faramir made his way through the streets, responding to friendly greetings called out by the people. He took a deep breath on the threshold of his rooms and smiled a warm greeting at the servant who took his luggage.
“You have guests, my lord,” said the man. “They are waiting for you in the living room.”
“Guests? Who is visiting me?”
“Your pardon, my lord, but they gave no names.”
Faramir debated whether he should first wash and change his travel-stained clothes first, or greet his mysterious guests. He decided to do the former would be lacking in courtesy. He made his way to the living room and opened the door. To his amazement the King and Queen were sitting by his hearth. They both rose and Aragorn warmly embraced Faramir while the Queen took his hand.
He froze, yearning to accept the affection offered to him, but bewildered that his new lord and his lady should greet him thus, and uncertain how to respond. His father had always insisted on being greeted in a formal manner and derided displays of affection as being only for women and small children.
“Welcome home, my Steward!” said Aragorn. “I forbade your servant to tell you who was visiting you, we wanted it to be a surprise.”
“Indeed, my lord, it is good to see you,” said Faramir. “Please forgive me that I have neither washed nor changed my clothes after the journey.”
“That matters not,” the Queen smiled.
“We are here only for a few moments,” said the King. “When we heard you had arrived in the City, we feared this might be a lonely homecoming for you without your lady or the brother you loved, so we hastened here.”
“We should like you to dine with us tonight,” said the Queen.
Faramir hesitated. He yearned to accept the invitation, but surely the newly wed couple would rather be together and were simply trying to be kind? He thought too of all the times his father had berated him for saying the wrong thing at the dinner table. What if he offended the King and Queen?
“That is kind of you, my lady, my lord,” he said. “I have much work to catch up with, though.”
“You should not exert yourself so soon after a long journey and when still recovering from your hurts,” said Aragorn. “I forbid you to work tonight. Unless you are too tired, we shall expect you in an hour.”
“Until then, “said the Queen, smiling at Faramir again.
His every excuse overruled, the Steward called to the servants to bring water for bathing and lay out some of his best clothes.
Later that night after a simple but delicious meal of carrot soup, poached salmon and a fruit pie, and agreeable conversation concerning old lore, Faramir could only reflect how different his homecoming was to what he had expected and rejoice. His admiration for the King had grown ever greater. Truly Aragorn was the greatest man of the age, and he, Faramir was most fortunate to be his Steward.