A/N: Darn little plotbunnies keep attacking me. I wrote this story in one sitting, which I don't normally do, so I'm irrationally proud of it (and myself). I suppose this particular short is a bit more Filmamir than Bookamir, and I know some of the language is pretty modern, but that's how the plotbunnies bite.

All I ever wanted was to know that you loved me.

I wondered, sometimes. I remember moments--few and long ago as they were--when you would look at me and your eyes would soften, only a little, and I would throw myself all the more feverishly into my next task in the hope that this time I would win your approval.

But really had eyes for Boromir alone.

Did you never see how hard I fought for you? Did you never see that I left the library and took up the sword to please you?

Nothing I did could ever be enough. You never saw me--never truly saw me--as anything but the little brother of your older son. I learned to be a Ranger and a captain that men could follow, learned how to fight for Gondor and defeat the Orcs that threatened our borders, and you said what a mighty warrior Boromir was.

I fought for you. I fought for Gondor, yes. But I always fought for you.

Did you ever know?

I wondered, sometimes. I remember your face in the window, once, gazing into the courtyard where my brother and I sparred with our practice blades. You were there for a moment and then you were gone, and later I pondered what I had seen in your eyes. I thought you remembered Finduilas, and the way she faded, and I wondered if you feared to lose another and so you had sealed off your heart.

But then you praised Boromir and his swordsmanship and said nothing of me, and all I could do was try harder.

They say you changed, before the end. They say--and in this I have no reason to doubt them--that under the Shadow and the enemy's onslaught, you believed that I had fallen into darkness, and it was your grief that drove you to your doom.

They say you loved me, before the end.

I wish I could have heard you say it.

What if you had realized, years ago? What if you had smiled on me, praised me, only once? What if you had believed my dream and sent me to Imladris in Boromir's stead?

Maybe you and he would not have died.

I guess we'll never know, will we?

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