“What happened? Shoulder hurts-my head!” Faramir opened his eyes and saw Aragorn kneeling beside him and was aware of the King checking his pulse. Reassured, he closed them again.
“ It is good to see you awake! You have been unconscious.” Aragorn’s tone was full of relief. “You were wounded in the skirmish.”
The Steward opened his eyes again and the world began to spin. He retched violently. A bowl was held for him, while a gentle hand rubbed his back soothingly. He realised that someone had removed his shirt and tunic and the upper part of his body was swathed in bandages,
“Easy now, you hurt your head.”
Faramir sank back exhausted. Aragorn allowed him a few moments rest, before holding up three fingers of his hand. “How many fingers?”
“Do you know me?”
Faramir grabbed frantically at Aragorn’s sleeve. “ Of course I do, Aragorn! Who won the day?”
“We did, mellon nîn, thanks to your courage. Easy now. You took and arrow and hit your head falling from your horse. You are safe now. We took shelter in a barn while we wait Beregond to bring help.”
Faramir lay back, his meagre strength exhausted. He appeared to be lying on a makeshift bed of straw covered by several cloaks. The pain in his shoulder grew worse and a groan escaped his lips.
He felt Aragorn pull aside the coverings and a comforting, healing warmth from the King’s hands permeate his injured shoulder.”
“Is that easier now?” Aragorn’s tone was full of concern.
“Thank you. So cold!” Faramir could not stop his teeth from chattering as he spoke. ”I am thirsty.”
“You have a fever,” Aragorn said. “Come, drink this.” Supporting Faramir’s head, he held a cup to his lips.
Faramir’s fuddled brain recognised the bitter taste of willow bark, a proven remedy for fever. He forced himself to swallow the bitter brew.
“Very good,” Aragorn offered another draught, this time plain water.
“Is it safe here for you?” Faramir fretted. “What if the enemy returns?”
“We routed them, and just in case any are fool enough to want to taste our swords again, there are guards outside the door. Beregond was most insistent. Now go to sleep until he returns”
“Too cold,” Faramir murmured fretfully.
Aragorn did not say anything. Instead, he lay down beside Faramir on his uninjured side and enfolded him in warm arms. Removing his outer tunic, he spread it over them both. His warm hands chafed Faramir’s cold ones.
“There, does that feel any better?”
Faramir settled and rested his aching head against Aragorn’s shoulder. After a few moments he sighed contentedly. “Much, but you will be cold now?”
“Not half as cold as I would be if I allowed any harm to come to you! Remember, I promised both our ladies that we would return to them together in one piece. They will have me sleep in the stables henceforth if I do not keep my word!”
“Éowyn might when you came to visit, but surely not your lady?” Faramir murmured sleepily.
“Arwen would take it very ill if any harm came to the man who saved her husband’s life! Do you not recall that arrow you took was meant for me? How could I lose such a gallant foolish friend either?” Aragorn’s voice was slightly unsteady as he held Faramir more tightly. He shuddered at the memory of the one of the fleeing Haradrim rebels loosing the arrow directly at him and Faramir selflessly hurling himself in the arrow’s path. At his insistence, his men had seen off the rest of the enemy while he tended Faramir’s wounds,
Faramir did not reply as he had fallen asleep. Aragorn felt his friend’s forehead; the fever was abating. Faramir would recover. He offered a silent prayer of thanks to the Valar. All would be well.