Through A Child's Eyes by FoxRafer

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Story Notes:

Written for the "Lion & Lamb" challenge; my elements were lazy and energetic.

When he wakes there is no sun, and he turns his face away from where the beams of early morning light should fall. Bergil's tired of the war, tired of duty and responsibility. When others left the city he wanted to stay, practiced his argument for three days before trying it on his father who'd agreed with a touch of pride in his eyes. But some days he wanted to remain in bed, relax into a childhood he could now only see in dreams.

The rhythm of horse's hooves on stone, the steady drone of city life, he and his friends dodging through the bustling streets, scaling walls and balancing their way across the top until scolded to come down. Every sight, smell and sound is crystal clear in his mind as he sinks further into the thin mattress. He smiles and pulls the covers over his head, curls up on a memory of climbing trees and running through pastures in Lossarnach. Bright sun over golden meadows bursting with new spring growth, the smell of fresh baked bread filtering through the clean air, eating herb fritters and warm seed cake in his grandparent's hayloft until not even a crumb remained. Bergil can almost taste it, can almost feel the straw under his fingers.

Shouting from the street wrestles the past from his mind and he sits up, shaking off the last lingering remnants of sleep. He thinks it might be nice to sneak off to one of his cubbyholes for just a little while, spend the day collecting stones or playing marbles. But it would be wrong and he'd disappoint not only his father but himself. So he jumps out of bed and rushes off to start his day.

Everyone in the city was preparing for the oncoming battle, and as Bergil hurries through the streets and alleyways running errands for the healers the last of his sluggish morning thoughts burns away. He volunteers for additional duties, knowing the siege is imminent, and feels invigorated as he goes about his tasks, fetching plants and herbs and fresh linens, delivering messages and reports.

It's hard to tell the passage of time; all normal markers of light and shadow obscured by the darkness that has slowly been engulfing the city. He's fairly certain it's long past midday when he's sent to grab a small meal with the rest of the boys. This morning he would have relished the break but now it feels like wasting time and he rushes to finish so he can return to work.

Time passes with the speed of a peregrine and he knows that soon he'll be sent away for the night. A rush of activity and anxious voices draws his attention and he squeezes into the passage just in time to catch a glimpse of Lord Faramir, unconscious, his skin a sickly grey, as he's carried into the Houses. Bergil slips into an alcove outside the room and listens to the healers as they tend to their charge. It is quickly evident that Faramir is gravely wounded and Bergil finds it difficult to accept. He tries to sneak in to see the Captain for himself but is stopped at the door, sent off on another errand that now seems more like busy work.

The hour is late when Bergil's tasks are completed for the night. He walks slowly along the outer walls of the Houses of Healing, his thoughts dark and unsettled. He'd always thought men like the Steward's sons, like his father, could withstand any attack, their strength and skill beyond all measure. But if Faramir could fall what hope did anyone have? He hopes he will see his father tonight, tall and strong and invincible. For the first time since the shadow began to fall he needs reassurance, needs to know all hope is not lost.

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