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Tales of Life  by Aelaer

Prompt 71: Healing
Ficlet: The King's Hands
Rating: G
March, 3018 TA

The man's forehead burned as he lay utterly still in the dimly-lit room. It was he, Aragorn deemed, who needed his aid first. Without it soon, he would surely perish. It was a miracle and a testament of his will that he still lived.

Aragorn knelt beside the bed and placed a hand upon Faramir's brow. Taking a deep breath, he exhaled slowly and closed his eyes. The minute sounds made by the others in the room faded away, and when he opened his eyes again, he found himself in a barren land. Toxic gases emitted from gaping cracks in the earth, and there was no growth to make a stand against the dry air and sickly fumes. He looked around in dismay; somewhere Faramir lurked here, lost and alone.

No stars nor sun lit the sky to guide him through the wasteland. Aragorn followed his instincts, calling for Faramir with every other step. For a long time, he saw no sign of him.

When he had nearly given up hope of ever reaching him, he saw the silhouette of a figure in the distance, standing on the edge of an abyss. Quickening his pace, he went to the man, calling his name as he approached. The man did not look at him.

"Faramir," he said again.

The son of Denethor slightly raised his head, but did not turn to the call. "Look at what has happened to Ithilien. My beautiful Ithilien."

Aragorn watched him in dismay. He could never imagine his beloved lands in Arnor becoming so twisted and broken; for Faramir to see such a thing revealed the depths of the Shadow on his mind.

Looking down into the darkness below, Faramir continued. "The water rises. Many times I have dreamt of the great wave that brought down Númenor. Now it comes again to cleanse Middle-earth. It shall take me with it, but with my death, the world may see life again."

He shook his head. "Nay, Faramir, that is not so! Your death would only bring tears, and those tears would do nothing to help cleanse the earth. Only with your life will Arda see Ithilien restored."

The younger man said nothing for a moment, but finally he turned to face his speaker. His eyes widened in amazement. Aragorn could not have known what he saw, but to the son of Denethor he looked like one of the kings of old. A star shone on his brow and his eyes gleamed with wisdom and strength. Faramir took a couple steps forward and stared into his eyes. Aragorn kept his gaze before the other finally spoke. "My king. You have come."

He smiled slightly. "I am not king yet, Faramir."

"But you will be!" he said. "Gondor has no need for me now."

"You underestimate your value, son of Denethor," said Aragorn. "She has need of you. Her people have need of you. I have need you." He held out his hand. "Come, Faramir. There are many who await your return."

He hesitated for a moment, but when he saw the earnest look in Aragorn's eyes, he lifted his hand to his. The moment their palms touched, the barren world about them suddenly flew away.

Aragorn blinked, and when he opened his eyes again, he was back in reality. The athelas  he had requested earlier was there. He breathed upon it before crushing it over a bowl of steaming water, breathing in the scent gladly.
Not a moment passed before Faramir awoke. When he opened his eyes, he saw a weary, haggard man kneeling beside him. As he met his eyes, he remembered and knew him.

"'My lord. You called me. I come. What does the king command?'" -ROTK, Houses of Healing

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