rohanson: (Theo main)
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When Dave slipped his arms around Paris and pulled him close to kiss him goodbye, Paris smiled softly and gave himself up into the embrace, feeling more relaxed than he had in a while. The night before was still vividly etched on his mind. How he'd felt when Dave's hands had closed around his wrists and the complete sense of security and safety that had filled him to know that Dave wouldn't let go, in any sense of the word, no matter how he'd tested his grip. Paris had pondered on how he was feeling earlier that morning when he'd woken in their bed, all still wrapped up in Dave's arms. He trusted his lover completely, knew how strong their relationship was without needing any kind of proof, but perhaps what they'd done the previous evening had been a physical confirmation of that trust.

Paris could feel Théo at the back of his mind, obviously trying not to demand that Paris shift out, but antsy to be there all the same. Paris sighed and stepped back from Dave with an apologetic smile. "I guess I'll see you later." Paris let himself fall back into nothingness as Théo shifted in.

Théo gave Dave a curt nod, not having yet forgiven him for his rash suggestion about Éomer at the meeting at Pete's place. He watched, fascinated as always, as Dave's features formed themselves into Faramir's face, and his hair grew into the familiar waves.

"Faramir! It is good to see you! I only wish it were under better circumstances." Théo pulled his friend to him with a grin, and hugged him, slapping him on the back before releasing him while he investigated what was left for their breakfasts, and smiling at the large coffee pot which was still half full after Dave and Paris had eaten together. He poured out two mugs, and slid one across the table to Faramir, loading a plate with a couple of pastries to go with his. It was only after a sip of the dark aromatic beverage that he focused his concentration back to the matter at hand. He picked up a pastry and gesticulated with it as he spoke in between bites and got straight to the point.

"This enemy, the Ringwraith? How do we kill it without harming the man it shifts with?" Théo had been educated well by his grandmother, who had taught him herself to read and write and to enjoy books, but nothing he had found in her library in the time between the War Council ending and shifting back in had given him any usable information so far. He knew of Faramir's love of books, and thought his friend must have at least some insights into their problem.

Faramir was relieved to be reunited with his friend, it had been far too long since they had spent time together. He too wished that it could be a more lighthearted visit, but until this threat was eliminated, it was doubtful that any of the travellers from Middle-Earth would have the luxury of simply relaxing together, or partaking of Wellington's hospitality. He turned his coffee mug round and round in his hands, pondering Théo's simple question. If only there were a simple answer!

"I do not know, my friend. Jed's life is in danger. If the actions of his shift do not kill him, eventually one of us might have to. I heard this truth spoken yesterday, as our counterparts gathered to seek an answer." Faramir set his cup aside, his taste for food and drink washed aside by worry. "Yes, I listened, but I could not speak." Faramir looked up at his friend, his eyes darker, shadowed by a distant memory. "To kill the wraith is to kill the man. Long ago, before you arrived, Dave had another shift. He too answered to the name of Faramir, but he was not myself. It was a dark perversion, drawn from a twisted story, and he was very, very evil." Faramir's voice dropped to a whisper. It had taken much coaxing to draw this story from Dave. It was a painful time in the man's memory, and best left forgotten. But now... he wished Théo to know. "The dark shift struggled against Dave's friends, then fell on the knife he himself wielded. My--- my knife. He died." Faramir stood and paced nervously. "When that Faramir died, Dave died too. He was saved by a fluke, a rare circumstance, and it surely will not be the same for Jed." Memories of both good times and bad flooded Faramir's memory, of the trip to the South Island he had taken to work with Jed and others on Karl's movie. "He is my friend. I will not see him die before his time."

Théo listened with interest and concern as Faramir told the tale of Dave's previous shift. He knew that he was not the first incarnation of himself to shift with Paris, and although he had often wondered when the other had come from, whether he was younger or older than himself, Théo did not ask questions. He curbed his natural curiosity as he felt it was one thing that Paris was reluctant to discuss, and he did not want to press him. He owed the man too much to make him feel uncomfortable over something that was in the past, over and done with. He was disturbed to think that such a dark version of Faramir could exist, and glad that he was gone. He would not have liked to face up to evil wearing his friend's face.

With a sigh, he suddenly understood that this was exactly what the group that had gathered last night were dealing with, along with Faramir. Théo reached out a hand and took hold of Faramir's wrist, tugging him down to an empty chair at the table.

"There will be a way to save him, Faramir, we have only to find it." Once he felt his friend relax a little, he let go of his wrist. "But we need to make sure the wraith is not a threat to others in the meantime. Jed needs to be restrained, for his own safety. If he is loose, then so may the wraith be, and I cannot put my faith in tea alone."

Faramir settled into the chair, grateful to have Théo here. His friend made a good sounding-board for ideas and concepts, and to his credit, did not seem to mind when Faramir wove a tangled web of thoughts and words. Théo's patience was a precious gift that Faramir tried not to abuse... but sometimes the man simply needed to let his thoughts out, let them flow like the Anduin.

"It is ironic, isn't it? That those of us borne with hearts and souls, we creatures who walk the earth, shaping it as we please, believing our world to be created for our existence... but are we the masters of our own fates? So often our destiny depends on small, seemingly simple objects. A cup of tea. A... ring. What does this say of us, as men, Théo? Why were certain powers trapped within a band of gold? Why does athelas hold the power to cure? Why is it that magic can be trapped within an object more often than within a man, in our world? It is not this way in this place, this Wellington." Faramir sighed, turning his cup around and around in his hands. "The only magic in this world is what came from ours, and now they pay the price, and they do not know the reason why."

Théo listened as Faramir talked, picking up his pastry and chewing a bite of it slowly as he took in what his friend was saying. He did not often muse on fate and destiny as his was set. To protect his people and follow his father onto the throne of Rohan. But Faramir had obviously questioned them a lot. A small furrow appeared on his brow as Faramir mused on tea and rings, and he remembered what Paris had talked about the night before. Théo pondered, and took a long slow sip of coffee.

“If that is the case, then only magic from our world can be used to defeat it this evil. The ring you speak of? Is there some way we could harness it’s power and use it against the wraith?”

“No. You must never think of that, Théo. It is but small trinket, or so the eye believes, but the power within the ring can bring us no closer to triumph. It would instead destroy you, just as it has taken other fine, goodhearted, well meaning men.” Faramir’s eyes had grown dark as he spoke, a haunted expression briefly touched his face. “Another path must be found to help Jed, and this world.”

Faramir fell back into thought, nibbling idly at a pastry as his mind worked. Suddenly he looked up pointedly at Théo. “You have taken well to many trappings of this world. Think upon this. What of the machines that flourish here? I know of the motorcycles, and boxes that travel up and down within tall buildings. Have you seen other machines that we might turn against the fell beast? Perhaps we can at least eliminate it, freeing us to focus our attention fully on the wraith.”

Knocking on the door, Sean glances about, wondering if Dave’s home, or if he’s come at a bad time. Driving out without ringing first, Sean thought he’d visit with Dave a bit, get his friend’s take on all this insane business with the wraith, maybe share a cuppa tea or whatnot. Turning back as the door swings open, Sean looks in surprise at Paris, then grins because he shouldn’t bloody well be surprised at finding Dave’s lover answering the door.

Right, well, maybe . . . not. There’s something familiar about the man before him, but Sean’s guessing that he’s not dealing with Paris at all. Before he can ask Théo introduces himself, ushering Sean deeper into the house. Sean nods, smiles, thinks he definitely should’ve rang first before barging in, but Théo only smiles and invites him in for breakfast, if he’s interested.

Exchanging a few friendly words as they make for the kitchen, Sean stops short. Right. Dave is definitely out at the moment, and before he can offer Faramir a greeting he feels it happening . . . Boromir, pushing, prodding then finally asking to be allowed time. Sean relents, but only after gruffly extracting a pledge of a short shift from the Gondorian, and reluctantly he lets go, slipping into a deep calm well of darkness.

Blinking against the bright sunlight streaming in through the windows, Boromir’s gaze moves over Faramir, a long look filled with warmth and memories of the last time they met in this world.

“Faramir,” he says with a smile. “I am glad to find you here, again.” Noticing Théo, Boromir reins in his memories and inclines his head toward Théodred politely.

The last person Faramir had expected to see this day was Boromir, though his mind had strayed to his brother many times already since arriving in the cabin. His thoughts had been of darker memories of his beloved, though… memories that were stolen from watching a movie made in a world not their own. He had felt both privileged and cursed as he witnessed Boromir’s final moments, watched him take his last breath, and felt jealousy towards the man who was allowed to give his brother that final kiss. All this talk of the ring had these memories rising up again. And now that dear one strode into the room, smiling at his little brother.

Faramir calmed himself as best he could, and returned the smile. Théo did not know of what this cabin had witnessed the last time the brothers had met here. “It is good to see you, my brother.” It is a truth, but there is so much of the current conversation that Faramir would shield from Boromir right now. “There are pastries and coffee, enough for three.” He hesitated, then queried gently. “Will you be allowed to stay a while? The warm summer nights here are pleasant now, if you wish to stay past sunset.” In spite of the troubles at hand, or perhaps because of them, Faramir held a small hope of finding comfort - perhaps Théo would wish to seek Éomer after food and conversation had dwindled. He fidgeted slightly and chided himself for such impatient thoughts, when in truth he was quite enjoying Théo’s company and counsel.

“Yes, I will stay a while.” A reckless promise, this, but one Boromir gives freely. In truth, he has promised Sean a ‘short shift’, though no clear time interval was agreed upon, and so Boromir is left to define it for himself. Which, of course, isn’t strictly true . . . he could summon Sean if he wished. Yet, he knows he will not, though neither in manner nor deed does he wish to truly offend Sean, but there is Faramir to consider.

Faramir, beloved one, his brother, and the last time they occupied this place, his lover. He nods gratefully to cover the rush of warmth he experiences, as no doubt Faramir’s guest does not know of their treasured secret. “Ah, yes, coffee. This I must have again,” he says, and reaching for a pastry sprinkled with chocolate shavings, adds, “and a one of these.”

Gladdened a small bit by the slightly amused look on his brother’s face, Boromir offers, “How fares it here this day, in our corner of this strange world?”

As much as he wished to shield Boromir from the current dilemma, Faramir found it a difficult feat to tell a lie while gazing upon the face of his brother, who was now contentedly munching what surely would only be the first of many pastries and looking at his little brother in happy curiousity.

But it was that happy expression that ultimately won out in Faramir's mind. Boromir would have precious few happy days left in his life, and this world was intended, at least by Faramir, to be a safe haven away from those dark days to come back at home. The lie came to his lips easier, when he considered the grander view.

"It is a fair day, my brother - the weather is warm, and the company is good. It is even better now that you have joined us." He gave his older brother his most sincere smile, and if he had known more of the superstitions of this world, Faramir would have crossed his fingers behind his back.

"Good to see you again, Boromir." Théo grinned at him across the table, noting with a smile his healthy appetite and snagged another pastry for himself. He followed the exchanges between the brothers without comment, letting them have a moment to themselves.

But when Faramir spoke again, Théo drew breath to contradict him, then let it out without speaking. Fair day? A ringwraith loose in the city, and no-one guarding the man who acted as his portal to this world? This was a fair day? He glanced at Boromir, then glared across the table at Faramir. Why did he seek to hide the truth from his brother?

"A fair day?" Théo drummed his fingers on the edge of the table. "Perhaps you should tell Boromir of our discussions? See what his opinions on the matter are?"

As much as Faramir admired his good friend Théo, right now he was sorely tempted to smack him. But the cat was as good as out of the bag now, it would be near impossible to continue on blithely. "Perhaps you should tell Boromir of our conversation, you seem quite anxious to get it all out in the open."

There would be no escaping the situation into the comforting arms of Boromir this day. Faramir was surprised at himself, and at the almost childish resentment he felt at losing that pleasurable opportunity.

"Gladly." Théo replied, wondering what had come over his friend at the arrival of his brother. Théo had not missed the looks that had passed between the pair, and began to wonder if their reunion would have taken an altogether different tone if he had not been there. He had no proof other than glances that there was anything deeper between the two men than simple familial ties, and if there were, it was none of his concern. Perhaps that was the reason for Faramir's sudden change in demeanour, and if this had been any other day, he would have made his farewells and left the brothers alone, but he could not abandon the reason he and Faramir had met in the first place. It was a pressing reason that needed to come before personal considerations, whatever they were. The safety of Wellington needed to come first. He turned to Boromir.

"I wish your visit could have been at a better time, my friend, but there is an evil from our world here in Wellington. A ringwraith shifts with a friend of Faramir's and we were deciding what to do about the problem. I would greatly value your counsel on the matter."

"Aye, it is good to see you as well, my friend, in spite of the fell news. A ringwraith, truly?" Théo nods and Boromir leans back in his chair, gaze sliding between the two men as he considers all that has been said and the sudden edge in both their tones. He wishes he could be alone with Faramir, though for slightly different reasons than a moment ago, still, this would have to wait.

"Any counsel I can offer is, of course, yours for the asking." In truth, Boromir suspected his brother could well offer better than himself, though from his long ago lessons he knew what foul creatures ringwraiths were purported to be. He never could have guessed he would actually have reason to possibly encounter one.

There is a moment of silence, then, "An evil from our world, indeed. It seems we must do something before this creature does harm." The somber expression upon Faramir and Théo's face delivers the news. "What has it done? And does your unfortunate friend even know what is happening to him?"

Before anyone can answer, Boromir's practical mind latches onto the more pressing point. "More importantly, where is he now?"

"Our friend is aware of the ringwraith, and is anguished about its existence. Jed is here, in Wellington, and continues to work and try to live his life. The wraith can be subdued by keeping it dampened with frequent doses of athelas tea. Though, it is thought by many that we are holding the wraith in a cage with very thin bars."

Faramir's tone was regretful, even miserable. "Jed is a fine man, and did not ask for this curse. Had Dave been more skilled at physical tasks rather than acting, it could very well be a wraith that he contends with, instead of me. This could easily have been true of Paris, as well. He is not an actor by trade - why did he not take work as a stunt man too? It is a fine line that is drawn between the shifts of good, and of evil. And it is a line that constantly seeks to divide us, and turn us against each other."

Théo saw the unhappy look on Faramir's face and sought to reassure his friend. "We are not turning against Jed, Faramir, we are seeking a way to help him and rid him of this onerous shift. And until a way can be found to do that, surely it is for his own protection that he is kept safe and secure somewhere where the wraith cannot use him to hurt others? He must already bear the burden of what the wraith has done, and stopping it from acting again must be our priority." Théo glanced from Farmir to Boromir and back again. "This elvish tea may subdue the thing, but in my mind is no substitute for a lock and key."

There is a small silence as each man digests all that has been said. "I agree," Boromir says finally. He has no difficulty in recognizing the sense in having the unfortunate man kept secure and safe from causing more damage, although, "Will we not have to rely on our counterparts here? I have promised Sean I will not linger more than a few hours this day, hardly time enough to do much good."

Boromir's gaze settles upon Faramir for a moment as he thinks of the hours ahead allotted to him, and what might have been had it not been for the foul interference of the ringwraith. Still, Boromir feels honor-bound to give aid to his friends, and their counterparts here in this world. He finds himself deeply resentful that even here, in he and his brother's newfound haven of sorts, darkness reaches for them. Can there not be even a moment's ease? He shoves these thoughts aside, as there is no good in lingering in them.

"The path seems clear, at least in what needs be confronted first. We must secure Jed, though someone will have to look after him after I've -we've- shifted home, yes? We cannot simply bind him and leave him, and," Boromir trails off a moment, considering, "I cannot imagine Sean, or his Karl, would be willing to give me leave for more than a day or so to shift. I am not familiar with many of the others here, would they be willing to aid us in this? It is their world, of course, yet dealing with a creature such as this is no small thing."

"No, we could never simply bind him and abandon him. If we were to do this thing, we would need the aid and cooperation of everyone. He would be missed by his family and those he works with. At the very least, Peter should know of this plan, so that he could make excuses for him at work. His family... reasons could be given for his absence, I would think. An illness. A sabbatical. Something." Faramir was thinking out loud now, comfortable enough with his brother and his friend to let his thoughts flow.

"If he were secured within his own home, his friends could take turns watching over Jed and tending to his needs. We could set up a schedule of watch-duty times. It is as the Rangers do, to guard their most secret places in the woods, but instead of watching for danger from without, we would be guarding it from within. Athelas tea would be needful in great abundance, to still the shift that would surely rebel against this confinement."

Faramir looked into the faces of those he plotted with. "It is not a permanent answer, but it might buy us time."

Théo nodded at everything that was being said by his two friends, glad that they were all of the same mind. “I believe we could rely on our counterparts to aid us in this venture and assist in watching over Jed. From what I heard and saw last night, they are so far at a loss as to how deal with this wraith, and I know that Paris, for one, is happy to accept our help.”

Paris had told Théo what he had told Dave the night before, that he saw Théo as the Middle Earth equivalent of an electrician. There hadn’t been time for Théo to query what exactly an electrician was, but he was taking it as a compliment.

“So now we are all in agreement, how do you wish to proceed?” He glanced from brother to brother, wishing that Éomer could have joined them. It was odd to visit Wellington and not see him, and Théo would have welcomed his participation in their plotting. “Faramir, Dave no doubt knows where Jed can be found?”

Faramir smiled wryly. "I know where to find him. The irony is that Jed and I are closer friends than he and Dave were. The last person Jed would expect to stalk and capture him would be his 'stuntie' colleague, who worked by his side for a few weeks in this country's south island."

Polishing off another pastry, considering all that has been said, Boromir nodded. "This is good, then, that he has trust in you. We must take care that Jed understands we mean him no harm, and do all we can that he does not lose his trust in you, we may well need it later."

Turning their plan over in him mind, Boromir asked, "Should we see to any arrangements needed in Jed's home to make ready for his . . . confinement, or perhaps it is more pressing that he is found and his movements limited?"

"We should find him first and ensure that the wraith poses no threat to anyone through him." There was no doubt in Théo's mind what their priority should be. "Then we can turn our minds to his imprisonment." It was a harsh word to use when talking of one who through no fault of his own had become caught up in such a terrible situation, but the evil he played host to merited the utmost caution. Théo sighed, unused to such grave talk in a place that was usually a sanctuary for him, and wished that another sat with them around the table, sharing pastries as they discussed strategy. He felt the lack of not having Éomer there with them since it was rare that he visited Wellington without meeting him. He refilled his coffee mug, and sipped on the dark liquid.

The somber mood diminishing his appetite, Boromir sat back, sipping his coffee. "Our path is fixed, then." He felt sympathy for the man Jed, for both his current situation and that of which that awaited him. Still, there seemed to be no other suitable course of action. He looked to Faramir, glad to have his brother by his side, though at the same moment he rather that his beloved was not even involved. Still, Faramir was a warrior, and Boromir well knew his skills were considerable.

"In my brief contact with Sean, I sensed that, for both he and his lover's sake, they do not wish to be involved in these dark dealings, if they might avoid it. A wise choice, I say. They would to well to allow us to do what we must. I have but a short while allotted to me this day," Boromir said, watching Faramir for a long moment before turning to Théo as well. "Yet I am with you, and offer my sword . . . er, well, whatever may pass here in this place for a sword."

It seemed an odd moment for one, but Boromir grinned anyway, more than ready to break the heavy air weighted with all that they had decided.

"We have swords here, my brother, but let us hope that it does not come to that." Faramir was in agreement with Théo and Boromir, yet he could find no satisfaction in their decision. It was a necessary one, but far from desireable. With luck, Jed would cooperate, and understand. If he did not, Faramir was grateful he would have both his brother and his close friend with him, to help him keep his resolve. "I have never had need in my life to capture a friend. This world brings many new experiences, not all of them good. But we will do what we must."
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