Still a part of the FOH series, still a crossover to LOTR.
You need to have read the earlier parts to follow this.
You can read it at fanfiction.net
or my own webpage
The ride to Gondor had taken longer than Gandalf had hoped it would but it had luckily proved to be uneventful save for Pippins constant pleas to stop for food. While Gandalf had been worried about greater matters, the Ring, the coming war and maybe even the future of the universe itself Pippins mind was preoccupied with more personal issues. He missed Merry who he had rarely been separated from more than a few days and he missed Boromir, the man who had become so dear to both Hobbits. Boromir had first been angry and then sad as he had seen that he had to let Pippin out of his sight. His worry when he had seen Pippin off together with Merry had been so profound that his silent and controlled farewell had threatened to be more emotional than Merrys tears. Remembering Boromirs loving and plentiful stories and tales about his beloved homeland and the capital where he had grown up Pippin had been shocked to see not a glorious city but a battle worn one. The city seemed ready to fall any time; only held safe by its natural defences of mountains and stone walls. Everyone seemed weary of war and the constant fear they lived in. Yet, despite it all then Captain Faramir, Boromirs brother, still commanded his men with courage and honour. Gandalf and Pippin had been taken to the Steward, Boromir and Faramirs father, and he was indeed an impressive and unyielding man. Gandalf had been debating with the Steward for many hours now and even the Wizards patience was beginning to run out. The old ruler refused to believe that Boromir was still alive despite Faramir, Gandalf and Pippins promises to the contrary and he seemed sure that Gondor would fall. His grief had turned into an ice cold depression and anger flavoured with such illogic and inconsistency that Gandalfs thoughts were moving towards the suspicion that the Steward was going mad. On top of that, then his hostility towards his youngest son made Pippin understand why Boromir had asked the Hobbit to look after him, a task that had pleased the young hobbit and filled him with pride, knowing Boromir would ask such an important task of him.
Your Lordship must join forces with Rohan and the Elves. We must chose our own battle ground as much as such is possible, Gandalf tried for the nth time, his patience at an end. To both Wizard and Hobbits irritation then neither had been asked to seat. The Steward sat before them at a table where he had now been served food but his guests would not be offered anything as long as they continued this folly, as the ruler had put it. Not even Faramir who had been called to answer to these plans of Gandalfs had been allowed to sit but the young warrior seemed used to this and also used to his fathers brusque tone towards him though it was clear his fathers disapproval in him still pained him. Pippin had quickly grown tired of playing polite and had demonstratively seated himself on the floor when he got tired of standing. Gandalf and Faramir remained standing though, both standing tall and proud but both shifting their feet or moving around a bit to try and get as comfortable as possible.
If Boromir had been here he would have been able to hold the forces at bay at the outer borders, the Steward said with a displeased look at Faramir who, as always, took this offence upon himself silently. The outer borders of Gondor had been breached by the Orcs some days ago despite Faramir and his mens bravest efforts to thwart them. Only a few men had survived the bloody battle when Faramir had called for a retreat to save as many men as he could, seeing this battle was doomed as they had been horribly outnumbered.
I heard that Captain Faramir almost died trying to hold the outer lines, Gandalf reminded him before he continued more urgently. Your Lordship. By your own troops reports then the Orcs are moving in closer. If you set up a defence closer to home instead of trying to reclaim the outer lines we can battle the Orcs where we will have the advantage of having the higher ground. In the mean time then call for help from the forces I have helped gather while we still have a chance at controlling the battle. Maybe let a small force distract the Orcs by pretending to set up a heavy defence at the East while Rohans forces arrive from the West. While you build the distraction we can simultaneously work on the real defences and the real plan to get help from the West. If you allow help to be sent from Rohan and the Elves then we can still be able to do this before the Orcs dictate the terms of this battlefield.
Not another word, Wizard! the Steward snarled. Rohan will never come to our aid and Elves, the old man gave a short humourless laugh, they care not for the fate of men.
Father, please reconsider, Faramir got in. My brother obviously thinks this is
Do not dare say his name! his father cut him off, his tone final and angry. He gave him a stern look. Please you say. Ha! Pleading is for the weak and thus I gather that the word suits you well
Weak as you are and always were with your books and music. Im sure you would love to have those cursed Elves here giving how you have always been so fascinating by them but I will have none of it. You hear me? His eyes had taken on a mad look but despite it all he was still Steward of Gondor and still Faramirs father and thus had to be obeyed.
Yes, Sire, Faramir said softly, giving him a small nod of his head, fighting to hide his pain and shame at his fathers words. He fought to hold onto Boromirs kind and encouraging words to him but it was hard when he stood here before his father, feeling his rage as he had so many times before in his life.
Do you not hear anything I say? Gandalf asked harshly. This is our only chance. Signal Rohan for help. Ignite the fire that will travel to reach Rohan. Call reinforcements.
Gondor will not beg for help from anyone, least of all Elves and certainly not from the cursed Aragorn who thinks himself to be King of Gondor! The Steward snarled.
Sire, my brother has accepted him as king, we have both been told as much
Faramir began softly, not daring to address him as father again.
Your brother is dead and
His father seemed to consider for a while how to continue, momentarily stopping his angry rebuke.
And? Faramir prompted softly, fearing he knew what his father would say but still wishing it wasnt it.
And I wish it was you instead, his father ended in a soft and flat tone, all his anger gone, now it only held cold grief and hurt. Faramir felt like arrows had been shot through his heart. He had always known that his father despised him but never before had he directly said he wished him dead though he had often feared it through the years. Faramir looked his father in the eyes.
If your decision still stands that the outer borders shall be reclaimed then I shall lead my men there, Faramirs voice was strong and sure, betraying none of his conflicting emotions.
It stands, the Steward said evenly, knowing fully well what this would mean.
No! Youll die! Pippin protested and ran to Faramir, holding tight around his legs to prevent him from leaving. Not only had Pippin taken to like Faramir, especially since he had made sure he had been given a second breakfast when he had arrived to the capital but he also had a promise to keep. Faramir bent down so they were eye to eye, a sad look in his eyes. Gandalfs eyes held compassion and sadness while the Stewards eyes were hard and unreadable.
Then so be it. There is nothing I can do about it now. I have a duty to perform, his voice was soft and kind as he explained before he hugged the small Hobbit and whispered in his ear, making sure his father could not hear it. If you see my brother again then tell him that I shall await him in the life beyond this one and ask him not to blame himself; this time he could not have saved me. With that Faramir rose despite Pippins protests and looked his father in the eye. I hope after this you will think kinder of me, father, he said softly, the pain clear in his voice as he gently undid the vice grip Pippin desperately had made around his legs and walked out of the room and towards his doom.
No! Pippin protested but didnt even make it halfway across the room before the heavy wooden door closed behind Faramir.
You have just condemned your youngest son to death and all of Middle Earth to ruin! Gandalf said angrily.
Gondor is already lost. We all are, the Steward replied calmly with that mad gleam in his eyes which were very unnerving even to a Wizard. Desperate to keep his promise to Boromir Pippin knelt before the Steward.
My Lord, let me wear your colours and serve you, he began, hoping this would enable him to reach Faramir and if not, then uphold the life oath he owed Boromir by fighting for the country he loved so much.
No, Pippin, Gandalf protested but too late.
I pledge myself to you and to Gondor, the Hobbit continued, ignoring the Wizard.
The old Steward looked amused. Such a small creature as yourself wishes to aid Gondor? Well, why not? The world is falling apart anyway.
Pippin looked directly at the Steward. Know though that even though I swore an oath to you and to Gondor then I do this for Boromir who has shown me the kindness that can exist in a humans heart
his voice died away and silently he added, despite all your attempts to drive it out.
With your permission I will take my leave of you and take your new
squire with me for now, Gandalf said and indicated the door to say he wished to be dismissed and talk privately with Pippin. The Steward nodded his consent while finishing eating as if nothing was amiss. Gandalfs eyes clearly showed his displeasure to Pippins puzzlement. He kept silent until they were walking through the city.
Pippin began but Gandalf interrupted him.
You little fool! Gandalf said angrily, his concern as so often before coming through in anger. You are not a soldier! Gandalf knew that Boromir had asked Pippin to look in on Faramir to make the Hobbit feel better but it was to him Boromir had turned when he had asked him to take care of the small Hobbit and see him safe, something which would prove very difficult now.
I had a debt to pay to Boromir and this way I can be near Faramir as well, Pippin protested, as if that was very logical.
Not likely, Gandalf said shortly as they rounded a corner and they saw the soldiers with Faramir in the lead beginning to walk through the city and out towards the outer borders and approaching their death. Gandalf got up alongside Faramirs horse.
Gandalf, the young man acknowledged respectfully and Gandalf uselessly wished he had been in charge of Gondor and not his father for if he had been Gandalf was sure he would have listened to his advice and called for help when help was so obviously needed.
Do not do this. You know I am right. This will only accomplish your death. Your father has no honour when he gives such an order as this.
That may be so but he is still my Steward and I still have my honour and thus I must do as he orders, Faramir replied softly, his voice calm but his eyes showed fear underneath his bravado. He was a young man and he would do what he had to do but he didnt wish to die
None of the men who rode out of the city wanted to die, yet they knew they would. All there were left was to hope they got as many Orcs with them as possible and to pray that their own demise would be as quick and painless as possible. Gandalf sighed and stood still, letting the men ride off while Pippin looked lost and helplessly after them, saddened to realise that Gandalf had been right; he couldnt protect Faramir at all.
This was why I didnt want you to pledge yourself to Gondor, Gandalf said softly, now more afraid than ever that he would not be able to keep his promise to Boromir that he would make sure Pippin was safe. The Steward can now also order you about like this and you will be honour bound to obey him.
Pippin swallowed. He didnt want to die and he didnt know much about fighting, only what Boromir had taught him. Not enough to protect him against so many Orcs.
I only tried to help, Pippin said in a small voice. Gandalf smiled sadly.
I know. With that they went back to the room assigned them in the palace. Gandalf helped Pippin look out through the window and they say Faramir and his men ride towards their deaths, against impossible odds. Neither able to watch this massacre they turned away. I fear Captain Faramirs attack may very well provoke the Orcs to attack the city sooner than we had thought and planned for. The Orcs will now know that they have already killed Gondors best warriors, Gandalf mused out loud.
We should call the others here, Pippin suggested innocently, not knowing he was suggesting that they defy the ruler of Gondor and break laws and oaths, going against the Stewards orders.
Gandalf was thoughtful. Night had broken and by now Faramir and his riders had to be dead, a thought that pained the Wizard. Even if their attack had not moved the Orcs attack on the capital city ahead as Gandalf was sure it would then he was sure that joining forces was the only hope for them. Alone Gondor would fall within days and that was if he took a positive outlook on things. Gondor has a tower. On top of it is a pile of wood. Ignite it and similar towers will be ignited when they see the light, all the way back to Rohan where Aragorn and our forces will see it, Gandalf explained slowly, thoughtfully.
Pippin grinned. I saw the tower when we came into town. Ill crawl up there and ignite it, he promised.
Their minds made up, Gandalf and Pippin went out of their rooms and towards the tower. I will follow you there. Soon they stood beneath the tower and Gandalf helped Pippin begin his climb. Be careful.
I will, the Hobbit promised and was soon lost to Gandalf in the darkness. Seeing that he seemed all right Gandalf walked back to the palace to see if he could persuade the Steward to see things his way or at least distract him from getting suspicious about Pippins whereabouts. Gandalf had met Faramir before this tragic day and he had always cared a lot for the silent but intelligent and peace loving young man. It grieved him deeply to know that he was gone and the thought of saying this to Boromir
a part of him hoped that the older brother died before knowing this. He wasnt sure how much more Boromir could take after his own painful death, resurrection, torture and finally escape. Gandalf send a few more grieving thoughts Faramirs way, knowing his father would send none. The old Steward had always been cold and hard towards his children. He had been demanding, most of all with Boromir but he had always seemed to hate Faramir, maybe because his calm ways reminded him of his deceased wife. However, these days there was a gleam of madness to the Stewards eyes which had the Wizard very worried. The night was dark and filled with light rain that formed like teardrops as Gandalf made his way back to the palace and the old Steward, awaiting the troops from Rohan that he would give Pippin time to summon. As he walked Gandalf cast a dark look at the heavens and found the weather fitting for this sad day as more names had been added to the long list of lives that had been lost in a war that Gandalf felt should never had been allowed to come to pass
and which could have been avoided if not the greed of man had meant that the evil and tempting One Ring hadnt been destroyed all those years ago.
Yes, the X-men will be back soon. This was for whoever wanted to see the Hobbits a bit more. Now, Im not much of a Hobbit fan and with so many characters its hard to give all an equal share of the action but I try though I dont deny that I play favourites. With such a long story as this one I think that such a thing is unavoidable.
To the person who wanted to know about Logan and Rogue: Yes, they can kiss on occasion but Rogue still has her powers. How come they can kiss? In X-men 2 (the movie which this story pretends never happened as this story was started long before the movie came out) Rogue and Bobby kiss and the only effect this has is that she gets his powers for a little while. He doesnt get ill or weak at all. I also thought that a very brief kiss would be such short skin on skin contact that her powers only barely or not at all would manage to take some of Logans powers from him. So, that is how they on occasion can kiss. And of course Logan can always kiss her on the hair or on any clothed body part without any ill effects as seen in the first X-men movie.
Again recall that LOTR politics isnt my cup of tea. I did this to fit my story and not the very complicated universe that Tolkiens books built up (and also recall that this crossover is based ONLY on the LOTR movies where the politics werent very well explained).
Comments/suggestions are always welcome if you can use a civil and kind tone.