Not Forgotten

by Queen of Gondor

Éomer ran amidst the browning hills of Rohan, followed closely by Éomund. Éomer ran between two hills, then stopped. He was in a small, but perfectly sized clearing. He grinned, and turned to face Éomund. “This is the perfect place for practising, Father!”

Éomer now walked through the same hills, as he had done all those years ago with his father by his side. He came here every year on this day, it was his own tradition. He stepped between the two hills, and stopped short. There was somebody else here today. The Halfling. He watched as Merry practised with his own sword, fighting invisible enemies. Éomer watched for a moment as Merry fought, not wanting to interrupt. Then, Éomer stepped forward.

“You have some skill.” Éomer looked down at the small creature.

“Not very good, I’m afraid. I’ve only just started with a sword, I never had to use one at home. I didn’t even have one at home.” Merry looked down at his feet, embarrassed that someone had caught him practising.

“Do not be ashamed of practising with your blade. For that is the reason that I have come to this very spot. Now, you do have talent, may I ask where you learned?”

Now Merry continued looking at the ground. But, in a small whisper, he answered. “Um, Boromir taught us, very briefly of course, but he taught me.” Merry could feel tears coming into his eyes, but quickly let them go back.

Éomer continued looking at Merry. “I am very sorry, it is hard to lose a friend, I know.”

Merry looked up at Éomer, and he saw them: tears glistening in his eyes. Merry was astonished, how could a grown man, a warrior, cry? Éomer felt these tears in his own eyes, and tried to blink them away. But instead, one by one, they dripped down his face. He turned from Merry. “Please excuse me.” He said, before rushing off.

Éomer ran up the stone steps of Medulseld, and walked quickly past Éowyn.

“Éomer! What is the matter?” Éowyn called. Éomer did not turn, he continued walking to his room, not speaking to anyone. Once he got to his room, he sat down on his bed, and put his face in his hand.

Someone knocked on the door. Éomer said nothing, and did not get up. Éowyn stepped into the room, and came quickly to him. “Éomer, tell me, what is wrong.”

“Do you not know what today is?” Éomer whispered, not looking at her.

“Of course I do.” Éowyn said slowly, feeling the approaching tears in her own eyes.

“Then why do you not show it?” Éomer looked up at her. And Éowyn saw in his eyes, and on his face, the tears shed for his father, their father. She dropped to her knees and looked up at Éomer. She could see so much of their father in him, and it hurt her heart ever time she looked at Éomer and saw her father looking back. She supposed that that is why she felt so afraid every time Éomer went away: because she had never gotten the chance to say goodbye to her father, and every time Éomer went away, there was chance something could happen, and she would have missed saying goodbye to him as well. When Éomer was around, her father was around. But no matter, Éowyn loved Éomer, and it hurt her to see him crying, even if it was for their father.

“I do not show it, because someone has to be strong.” Éowyn replied through her own tears.

“Do not be strong, sister, show your feeling, for you are the one who taught me to do so.” Éomer smiled grimly and pulled Éowyn into a gentle embrace.

And this is how Théoden had found the two. Crying on each other’s shoulders for the father they had lost. Théoden stepped into the dim room and watched them. He trembled as he reached out a hand to out on Éomer’s shoulder. When he looked at Éomer and Éowyn, he could see so much of his sister and her husband. It hurt him terribly to see them crying, but to not cry for the one’s your love was to be wrong. Showing your feelings was the brave, loyal, and respectful thing to do. And he was grateful that they were strong enough to cry with each other, and share their feelings openly.

“Your father would have been very pleased about the way you both have grown.” Théoden finally said. And both of them looked up at him, tears staining their faces. And Éowyn stood up and looked at Théoden, her uncle, nay, her father, and she smiled at him.

“Are you not pleased?” Éowyn asked through her tears. And those words meant everything to Théoden, for he had lost his own child, and his own niece was calling him father.

“Of course I am.” Théoden blinked away one of his own tears and smiled at her. And he pulled her into a gentle embrace, as well, before turning to Éomer. “Have you not practised today?” Théoden asked.

Éomer smiled now. “I’m afraid not. But the day is not yet over, and it would be lonely not to have someone to practice with.” Éomer now stood up. “Will you practice with me, Father?”

Éomer hugged his uncle, or his father even.

And Théoden whispered. “He is not forgotten.”