He’s magic and myth
From a spot behind one of the high shelves, he looked through a hole between the books and watched Faramir read.
Boromir felt foolish. Childish. A twenty-five-year-old man hiding behind a bookcase. It felt wrong, but he could not move, either to leave or to approach him. He'd been trying to do one or the other for the last twenty minutes, and still he stood there, watching.
He didn't know what he would do if Faramir looked up from his book and peered at him. Saw his eyes between the books. Heard his sharp intake of breath. He had no idea what he would say, how he would make it right.
He supposed he would explain that he'd never done this before--assure Faramir that today was the only time he'd watched him this way. Still, he would have no explanation as to why. Why he watched from a hidden place.
They watched each other all the time, that was no secret. Faramir had watched Boromir do almost everything since he'd been old to enough to reach his arms out and call after his brother. Boromir had always enjoyed knowing his brother was there. Faramir had watched him learn to read, to fight, to flirt. . . When he'd brawl after a little too much ale, Faramir watched him, smiled and patted his back. Daubed a wet cloth on a split lip. Sometimes, scolded.
When Boromir trained the troops and Faramir wasn't off with business of his own, often he'd watch, smiling in approval. Boromir would wave or nod at him, Faramir would return the gesture. And after, his younger brother would comment on the things he did and said, praising his leadership and skill.
And Boromir had always watched him. He did so literally when Faramir was small when after much pleading he was left in charge of keeping him out of trouble. He would first demonstrate for Faramir how to climb a tree, fold a shirt, swing a wooden sword, release a bowstring, and then he would watch his brother make the attempts himself.
He watched him try so hard to win his father's approval, and never get it. He watched him finally stop speaking up in the man's presence, stop smiling when their father walked into a room. He watched the eager bright-faced look with which he'd always faced his father become an almost emotionless stare, protection against the disapproval that would doubtless be sent his way.
He'd watched his skill with the bow surpass everyone, including himself. Often during competitions, Boromir would watch, and with each bulls eye Faramir landed, he would turn and grace his older brother with that soft, slight smile of his that Boromir imagined was only ever aimed at him.
Yesterday, Boromir and a friend had found a quiet spot in one of the gardens, peeled off their tunics and sparred, practicing some moves Boromir hadn't even thought about in a while, the war necessitating the use of swords over bare-handed combat. Before half an hour had passed, they were both sweating and finding it difficult to get the upper hand against the other. At one point, sweat dripped into his eyes and he'd stopped to wipe his face with the edge of his tunic, and saw Faramir.
Usually his brother watched from feet away, a close spot, almost in the action himself.. This time he was on a balcony that didn't even afford a good view, but Boromir could clearly tell Faramir watched him. He lifted his hand and waved, and Faramir's answering wave was strangely hesitant and long. Yet, Boromir was pleased to have him as a spectator, as always, and continued until he'd bested his opponent, unwilling to lose in front of Faramir, no matter what.
As he rose from the ground and looked up to where his brother stood, he waved again, smiling triumphantly and Faramir returned it, in that same tentative way as before. Then rather than shout down a tease or praise, or come to join him, Faramir quickly turned away and went back inside.
Boromir stood there, wondering at that--they always talked afterward, shared a meal, ale, conversation--until his friend clapped him on the back and said good match He nodded, still looking at the empty balcony.
Boromir thought all evening about this strange turn, and he had plenty of time to think because he didn't see Faramir again until dinner. They talked, then, as they normally would, but sometimes he would catch Faramir's eye, and something in that look made Boromir swallow hard, and wish for the meal to be over .
Now, he walked quietly to the end of the bookcase, meaning to round it and approach his brother. And he stilled there, not knowing what to say, or do, or why he even felt the need to do anything at all.
And Faramir lifted his face from his book, cocked his head in Boromir's direction. Boromir held his breath, waiting for Faramir to speak and ask him why he was watching him. But instead, Faramir rose and walked toward him, a look on his face Boromir didn't think he'd ever seen, and he thought he'd seen every expression his brother could produce.
He had to fight the urge to run, or babble out some explanation. If it had been anyone but Faramir, he might have simply walked away or made up some lame excuse. But it was his brother, so he stood his ground. When Faramir rounded the case and looked at him, that same strange smile-that's-not-a-smile on his face, Boromir swallowed and then opened his mouth, just barely, more to breathe than to speak.
Faramir took a few steps closer, until they were toe to toe, and looked into Boromir's eyes, looked down at his lips, back to his eyes. And with a rush, Boromir realized that he'd spent years watching this man, hoping, searching, for just this look on his face.
He'd worried needlessly about what would happen if Faramir discovered him here. Boromir knew exactly what to do.