Boromir turns his head and looks down at the Hobbit leaning against his shoulder.
"Yes, Pippin, what is it?"
"Your brother... what's his name again?"
Boromir is still for a moment, then speaks the name softly.
"His name is Faramir."
"Yes, Faramir, that's it."
"What about him, Pippin?"
"It must be nice to have a brother!"
Boromir smiles at the wistful exclamation.
"Yes, it is quite nice having a brother. I do not know what I would do without my brother; he is very dear to me. Have you no brother, Pippin?"
"No...” Pippin sighs. “No, but I have three sisters. They're nice and all, and dear to me, too – but it's not the same as having a brother, is it?"
"Well, no, not quite the same, perhaps. But I cannot speak of this, for I have no sister, only a brother."
"Merry doesn't have any brothers either, do you, Merry?"
Boromir turns to Merry, who sits close upon his other side, listening with interest to the conversation.
"Is this so, Merry?"
"It is, Boromir. No brothers or sisters, either – but I have lots of cousins!"
"And I'm one of 'em!"
"Ah!" Boromir nods in understanding. "Cousins are special, too – having a cousin is like having a brother, sometimes. In my country, cousins who are close often call themselves brothers. A brother is someone whom you love very much, someone you trust and from whom you draw much strength, and when you are separated, it is... it is painful. You and Merry are like brothers, are you not?"
Merry pauses thoughtfully.
"Yes, Pippin and I are like that – cousins who are brothers!"
"Indeed," replies Boromir. "You are close in love and trust, I can see that clearly. May you never know the pain of being parted from one another!"
There is silence for awhile, then Merry speaks, cautiously.
"Do you miss your brother?"
Boromir is quiet for a long time, so quiet that the hobbits are afraid he does not intend to answer them. At last he speaks.
"Yes, Merry, I miss him. Every moment we are apart, I miss him. That is the part about having a brother that is not so nice – for it hurts to be separated from him. When we are together that pain is forgotten, but only until the next parting. Alas that duties to our people keep us separated so often in these days!"
Boromir sighs. The Hobbits shift uncomfortably next to him, afraid they have said too much about a sensitive subject. Boromir looks down at them and smiles.
"Do not be sad, my little ones, and do not regret your questions. I miss Faramir, but I do not fear to speak of him – for remembering him helps lessen the distance between us. Shall I tell you a tale of some of our adventures together?"
"Oh, yes! Please do!"
The Hobbits press trustingly against him, and Boromir's longing and loneliness for his absent brother is eased.