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06 January 2005 | 4972 words
Title: A Place at His Side
Author: SallySimpson (email@example.com)
Pairings: Aragorn/Faramir (Éomer/Théodred)
Disclaimer: Not my characters. Made it all up. No offense intended to anyone.
Summary: Faramir finds the love he’s dreamed about.
Warning: Light bondage.
Timeline: Takes place several years before the Ring war. Aragorn is referred to as “Strider” throughout, as his true identity has not yet been publicly revealed.
Note: Written for the 2004 Slashy Santa Fiction Swap, without which challenge I likely never would have attempted to write FPS without Éomer. (Okay, so I snuck him in anyway!) Please do not get angry about the ending; we all know they’re going to see each other again!
Archivist's Note: continued in A Place At His Side: Reunited
He was a tracker, a Ranger, and he was a damn good one. Still, on that foggy, rainy day, he might have overlooked the dirty pile of rags buried in the brush by the path. If not, that is, for the pile of rags’ loyal horse, nosing the ground nearby. It was unusual to see such a fine stallion wandering free in the forest, even one that had obviously been ‘dressed down’ from its usual fineness in an attempt at inconspicuousness. As Strider approached, the horse brought its nobly-shaped head up and peered warily at him through unflinching eyes.
Strider put out a gentle, non-threatening hand towards the horse, but did not move closer, his attention now distracted by the bundle of clothing lying in the dirt and debris of the forest floor. Stretching out a cautious hand, he pulled a few of the rags away to uncover a dirty face, its eyes closed in unnatural sleep. Confident that he was unlikely to be suddenly attacked by his find, Strider continued his examination and confirmed that the filthy young man was feverishly ill and on the edge of danger. Finding no signs on his clothing or belongings that would identify him, Strider sighed. There was nothing for it. He stooped and gently shouldered the burden, laying the young man carefully over the horse’s back. The horse shied slightly at his nearness, but recognized the scent of its master and did not buck off its strange burden. Strider stroked a calming hand over the horse’s head, then began to quietly lead it deeper into the forest.
When Faramir woke he took in the unfamiliar sight of a low cave ceiling, flickering with reflected firelight, though the images before him tended to waver at the edges. He shook his head to clear his blurred vision, and instantly regretted doing so as pain slammed through his temples with the force of a marauding mûmak.
A low voice caught his attention immediately. “I wouldn’t recommend that. You’ve got quite a bump, and likely will be feeling its effects for another day or so.”
Struggling to rise slightly and brace himself on his elbows, Faramir managed to make out the dark hunched shape of a man kneeling close to the fire, silhouetted by its flames. He attempted to open his mouth and force out some question he had not yet formed, but the effort was too great, and instead he sank back down to the sleeping fur with a groan.
Strider laid a cool testing hand on the young man’s brow, nodding to himself in contentment that the fever had indeed much abated with rest, warmth, and the herbal brews he’d been patiently pouring into the unconscious man’s throat for the last day. Just as worrisome to him, however, had been the raw wounds on the young man’s body; he had obviously been severely beaten, and quite recently. It could not have been good for the man to travel so soon after his ordeal, doing so had likely exacerbated his illness, and yet more questions bloomed in Strider’s mind. With his gentle care, however, those wounds too were healing.
Taking his time now to consider his patient, the ranger settled back on his haunches. He gazed curiously at the silent face he’d cleaned of grime, willing it to wake and give him answers. As it did not, he found himself instead letting his eyes travel over the sleeping features. With his face appearing innocent and lineless in sleep, the young man did not seem much older than twenty years of age, despite the heroic attempts at a man’s beard and mustache. He had strong and noble features, somewhat betrayed by the boyish softness of full lips, and wayward chin-length reddish-gold curls. Strider searched his long memory, trying to determine if he had come across the young man in his travels before. He looked familiar, but... no. Perhaps he had met with a relative of the sleeping man’s. Strider shrugged, dragging a hand through his long dark hair, and after checking the furs were still carefully and comfortably tucked around the young man, he returned to the fire.
Warmth. For the first time in-- how long? Faramir felt warm. Furs draped him, a fire crackled nearby, he was leaning against something solid and comforting, and a warm hand gently massaged his throat, helping him to swallow--
Abruptly Faramir sat up, half-choking and desperately attempting to spit out the vile-tasting brew. He felt a hand gently tapping him on the back as he gasped for air, casting out the last dregs from his mouth. When he could catch his breath, his head whipped around, and he stared wildly into the closed but concerned face of his... rescuer? Healer? Captor? Perhaps all three.
“Who- who are you?”
Strider considered the man before him, seeing now that he was older than he had at first thought. “I am a healer,” he replied levelly.
Well, one suspicion confirmed. But questions, oh did he have questions... “Where am I?”
The other man quirked a curious eyebrow. “You are still on the border of Rohan, in the Eastern edge of the White Mountains. Where did you expect to be?”
Confusion and distress showed plainly on Faramir’s face. “Rohan,” he murmured softly, almost to himself. He looked warily at the older man, shaking his head. “But you are no Rohirrim.”
Strider tilted his head in acknowledgment of this. “No. And neither are you, son of Gondor.” Seeing the suspicion that flared in the young man’s eyes at these words, he immediately attempted to soothe. “I have traveled,” he said simply. “Your accent is not unknown to me.”
The wariness did not leave Faramir’s eyes at these words. “You are not Gondorian, you are not Rohirrim; what business have you in the White Mountains?”
Strider shook his head. “All that is important for you to know is that I am not your enemy. Rest, and let me tend to you. You must regain your full strength.”
The hours of silence stretched into a day, then another. Faramir healed under the skilled hands of his mysterious keeper, though he found no more answers to the questions lingering in his mind. He had yet to summon the courage to break the oppressive mood of the rain-washed cave and ask them, though.
He did have one need in particular that was swiftly becoming too sharp for comfort, and he knew even less about how to deal with it. Though he’d certainly been trying to convince himself otherwise, he could no longer deny the intense attraction he felt for his closed and stoic keeper. The man said so little, mere necessities of communication, but each brush of his kind blue eyes over his patient felt like a fiery brand to Faramir. This inappropriate attraction above all choked off any attempts the younger man could make at communication. He was still weak, still stranded in the middle of a vast storm, and he had no desire to drive away what seemed his only ally in the world at that moment. Besides, the memories of the beatings he’d recently received in Minas Tirith were far too fresh.
Faramir’s musings were beginning to wear grooves in his mind with their unchanging desperate quality, and he was relieved when the man ducked into the cave with an armful of wet firewood.
Setting down his burden to dry, Strider turned to his patient to find himself being watched closely by eyes as blue as the Evenstar’s. He quickly knelt and laid a questioning hand on Faramir’s brow, testing for lingering fever. The younger man tried to remain composed under the scrutiny, but could not prevent himself from flinching shyly, just a bit. Strider looked concerned. “You are well?”
Faramir raised his head and felt like he was drowning in those deep pools of clear blue. “Yes,” he managed. He swallowed and nodded. “I am well,” he confirmed.
Strider sat down opposite him, their legs nearly touching. “The storm will last at least for one more day. If you are well enough at that time, I will help you on your way.”
The younger man nodded fretfully. “Yes, thank you. I have been away from home too long; I must get back to Gondor.”
This statement was met by a curious eyebrow. “I had thought you
were traveling to Rohan.”
Again the name of that land caused a wave of distress to wash over Faramir’s face. “I- yes, well,” he stammered, and trailed off into silence. He tried again to force some explanation from his lips. “Gondor is my home. I must go back.”
Strider nodded in acknowledgment of this, but the gesture went unnoticed by the younger man, who was busy slipping into a miserable reverie. Rohan! If only! Faramir’s thoughts whirled in a confused blur. He had visited Rohan once, in his teenage years, tagging along after his brother Boromir on some diplomatic mission. It was there he had seen a sight to change his life and make him yearn. Their Rohirrim hosts had been congenial, and Faramir had taken an instant liking to the young warrior Éomer, who was full of fun and mischief and clearly happy to meet the young Gondorian contingent. Faramir enjoyed the company of the young man, so near to his own age, and had gladly ducked any attention from the serious-eyed heir to the throne, Théodred, much preferring to stay out of the way and let Boromir handle the more political aspects of the visit.
Éomer had laughed at Faramir when he had confessed he found Théodred somewhat intimidating. “Théodred? No, he is not so serious. One merely needs to know how to loosen him up,” Éomer had replied, with a wicked gleam in his eye.
Left to his own thoughts, Faramir could not help but wonder what kind of “loosening” the young Rohirrim had been referring to, but his question was answered that night when he unintentionally stumbled upon the two cousins in a darkened passageway. Ducking quickly out of sight so as not to disturb their discussion, Faramir could not help but give into his curiosity and peek at the couple as he realized they were not talking at all, but rather locked in a passionate embrace. Théodred’s low, lusty chuckle had sent shivers up the young Gondorian’s spine as Éomer’s tongue had played teasingly over his lips, and the heir had pulled his cousin to him fiercely as the younger man’s hands had dipped into his breeches, caressing and coaxing the erection he found there.
Eyes glued to the passionate tableau before him, Faramir had watched as Éomer dropped to his knees and lovingly took the whole of Théodred’s hard cock in his mouth, sucking skillfully as Théodred tangled his hands in the younger man’s long blonde locks. After eventually quietly slipping away, Faramir had replayed the scene in his mind over and over as he lay in his bed in the guest quarters that night, stroking his own erection at the thought of the two handsome warriors tangled together. He felt elated, ecstatic-- finally he knew that he was not alone in the world, not a disturbed anomaly; there were other men like him, who preferred the touch of their own fellows to the comforts of the female sex.
It had been these memories which had driven him to travel to Rohan, weak and bleeding, admittedly running away from the harshness of his father’s censures. Faramir had been a fool, a fool to trust in the glowing new friendship he had found with one of the other Gondorian soldiers, a soldier he had so hoped would share his inclinations... When the Steward had learned of their tentative liaisons – and who had told? Faramir would like to know – the punishment had been swift and decisive, the message made absolutely clear: no son of Denethor’s would take such a twisted and unnatural path. The disgust and abhorrence his father felt for him was made plainer on that day than had ever been before in their turbulent relationship.
All thoughts in Faramir’s mind after the ordeal had been of salvation, peace-- could he find it in Rohan? Acceptance? Hope? Could he find a loving partnership as Éomer and Théodred had? But no. As he sat here now in this cave in the foothills, a darkly attractive and mysterious healer as his only company, he knew that he could not forsake his duty. He was a son of Gondor; he would return to his home and fulfill his role in life. Alone, if must be.
Strider watched as anguish settled on the young man’s expressive face. His heart clutched at the pain he saw there, and he desired so strongly to soothe, to comfort... a desire he was fairly sure was not springing solely from his healer’s training. The suffering of his young patient called to him as strongly as did his beauty, and Strider wondered if the other man would let him give him comfort.
Moving closer to the Gondorian, Strider placed a gentle hand on his jaw, coaxing the young man’s eyes up to meet his own. “You are suffering.”
Faramir blinked in surprise at the contact, and tried to shake off his embarrassment at being caught in such a vulnerable state. “No, I-”
His attempted denial was cut off. “Let me help,” the dark ranger urged him.
Caught in the intense blue gaze, Faramir could do no more than stare at his rescuer. “I do not know what help you could give,” he replied slowly, dazed.
Strider read clearly the hazy desire in the younger man’s eyes, and knew the moment for what it was. “I do,” he replied, leaning in to kiss Faramir firmly.
Faramir awoke the next morning nestled snugly in Strider’s arms, marveling at his sudden turn of fortune. Had such things been real as he had experienced the night before? Did this darkly handsome and compelling man truly desire him? Had he really kissed him, taken his arousal in hand and lovingly stroked him to completion, held him sated through the aftershocks...
At the young man’s blissful sigh of memory, Strider stirred and nuzzled the ginger hair at the nape of his neck. “You are well now, my sweet?”
The blush was not just a visible thing; Faramir could feel it burning over his flesh, prompted by the stunning combination of remembered lust and charmed endearment. “Yes,” he murmured softly. “I am much better, thank you.”
“You did not tell me what had upset you so. Are you missing someone in Rohan?” Strider rose and began to restoke the fire, but glanced back at Faramir to assure the young man he had his attention.
“No,” Faramir denied quickly, not wishing for Strider to think he was merely a passing fancy. “It’s not Rohan. It’s-” but he could not bring himself to complete the statement.
“Gondor.” Strider said the word quietly, but without doubt. He then asked the question that had been nagging him most since he had begun to care for the lovely young man. “Who beat you?”
Faramir attempted to shrug off the question, looking away, searching for something else to focus on in the cave, anything but those blue eyes pinning him so neatly yet with such kindness... he sighed. He could not refuse this man anything. “My father,” he whispered, ashamed of the admission.
Strider swallowed and sighed, aggrieved. “Why?” he asked simply.
Faramir shrugged, and likewise sighed. “It hardly matters. It’s always something. But this time... he knows now that I do not- that I do not desire women.” Faramir paused in his explanation, struggling for some semblance of understanding of the brutal hatred his father had shown. “I think it somehow insults him, to know that a son of his...”
The ranger nodded in understanding and sympathy. “I have heard of such- perceptions. I understand they are not so uncommon among men.”
The young Gondorian looked up at him curiously. “You speak as if you were not one of us,” he prompted, questioning with his eyes.
Strider hesitated, aware of his delicate footing and uncertain as to how much of himself to reveal. “I was raised much among the elves,” he said haltingly. “They are not as concerned with gender boundaries as are men.”
Faramir was shocked. “Elves?!” He attempted to absorb this surprising statement. His own life was so much defined by his lineage, his rank; he could not imagine being raised among an entirely different race of beings. “But, what is your place? Where do you belong?”
The ranger stood abruptly and strode to the mouth of the cave. “I have no place.”
That evening, Faramir sat chilled against the cave wall, anxiously regretting his words of earlier in the day. Strider had shown him such kindness, such pleasures, and he had clearly brought the man unhappiness in turn. He turned his gaze now to the man, who was seated several feet away and gazing introspectively into the fire.
As if pulling back from a trance, Strider slowly raised his eyes to meet those of the young man. “You watch me quite intently,” he murmured, the first words he had said in hours.
“I’m sorry,” Faramir blurted out, unable to bear the tension any longer. “Sorry about... Sorry.”
Strider’s gaze narrowed thoughtfully. “You have nothing to apologize for, Faramir.”
The young Gondorian hung his head in shame. “I did not think. I did not mean to-”
Strider cut him off by gently caressing his cheek. “I begin to believe, my sweet, that you are in a habit of apologizing.” Faramir looked down at his lap guiltily, uncomfortable under the scrutiny of this mysterious man. “Do you play the submissive with me?” Strider asked him thoughtfully.
“What?” Faramir was genuinely stunned. Did he? He hardly knew; all he knew for sure was that he was retreating into his usual survival tactic, withdrawing from the displeasure he had caused another. “I- I just do not wish you to be angry with me.”
The older man sighed deeply and carefully considered his next words. “I am not angry. But neither does it please me that you are suddenly so nervous at my touch. Perhaps...” he trailed off, pondering his course of action.
“Perhaps what?” Faramir asked meekly, longing to do anything which would ease the tension between them.
“What do you think of a man who is tied up, bound, unable to defend himself from another’s advances?” Strider asked abruptly, pinning him with his gaze once more. “Is he a victim?”
“Yes, of course he is,” Faramir responded, confused by the sudden turn in the conversation.
Strider took his chin firmly in hand. “You are wrong.” He gazed a moment longer at the younger man, taking in his confusion and distress. His voice grew hard, commanding. “Take off your clothes.”
The shock was plain as day on Faramir’s face. “My lord?” he asked uncertainly, slipping into old habits yet again. Strider merely arched an eyebrow at him, and Faramir quickly began to do as he’d been ordered.
When the young man was nude, the ranger had him lie by the fire to ward off any chill. He then swiftly and efficiently bound Faramir’s hands together, stretching his arms above his head. Faramir watched him nervously, feeling like he’d been set adrift on some vast sea without any sense of direction. Strider began to pull off his own clothing, never letting his eyes stray from the young man’s. When he was naked as well, he knelt down and straddled the Gondorian.
He brushed a gentle kiss over the younger man’s lips. “I am going to teach you that surrender is not always a weakness,” he murmured softly. “I am going to show you your own strength.” With that promise, he gently bound Faramir’s eyes, and then rose, leaving the other man on the ground.
Faramir had no idea how long he lay like that, feeling the warmth of the fire near him, hearing the crackle of the flames, and wondering what on earth Strider had planned for him. This wasn’t weak? Rarely had he felt so vulnerable. His ears strained for any telltale sounds of the older man, but he heard only the fire and the night sounds outside the cave, the rain and the wind.
Then, so gossamer-slight he wondered at first if he was imagining them, the touches began. Whisper-soft, teasing, stroking gently along his naked body. A flick of a hard nipple here, a caress along a silky hip there, and Faramir began to feel as if his skin were igniting. What was this spell the ranger had him under? Hyper-sensitized by the loss of sight and movement, the young man’s ears strained for an indication as to where the next touch would land, his skin burning and longing for more.
When Strider knelt down and began to play his tongue sweetly along the younger man’s ribs, Faramir was so startled he nearly bucked him off. He then relaxed against the furs once more, groaning in his arousal as Strider lavished his body with attention. The older man’s hands continued their tantalizing stroking as his mouth and tongue moved ceaselessly, branding, tasting the silky flesh laid out before him. Awash in sensation, Faramir could do nothing but respond, feeling each shudder of arousal intensely in his core as his healer brought him closer and closer to peak.
Strider caressed down and then up one long leg, then the other, enjoying the sight and feel of the reddish-gold curls against his fingers. He traced a gentle finger along the base of Faramir’s arousal, fighting to keep himself from throwing restraint to the wind and taking all in a moment. Gazing at the lovely bound man from under his lashes, he knelt and took Faramir’s hard cock in his mouth, licking along the length and into the slit, stealing the pearly drops at the tip. Such torment was too much for the young Gondorian, who began to shake, overcome with stimulation.
“Please,” he whimpered helplessly. “Please, I-”
But his plea was quickly silenced as Strider’s lips claimed his own in a passionate kiss. “You never have to beg me, Faramir,” Strider whispered. “Never.”
Returning his attentions to the young man’s arousal, the ranger dispensed with his teasing and focused on bringing Faramir as much pleasure with his mouth as he could. Still so unfamiliar with such loveplay, it took only a few brief moments before Faramir’s body jerked like a plucked bowstring and he found himself releasing into Strider’s hot luscious mouth with a shout.
Feeling as if he were floating, Faramir hazily came back to himself and gradually became aware through the mists of a wet finger gently stroking his nether entrance. He tensed reflexively, unable to help himself, though the careful touches made him realize his body still ached for something more.
Stretching himself full-length atop the younger man, Strider quested in his mouth with his tongue and removed the blindfold, all the while keeping up the motions of his skilled finger. He looked searchingly into the young Gondorian’s eyes, seeing lust, but needing more. His question was straightforward.
“Do you want me, Faramir?”
Faramir nearly melted under the onslaught of those eyes, that finger, the simple question. That Strider would even ask...
“Yes,” he breathed. “I always want you.”
Lowering his head once more, Strider began to lick along those luscious full lips, nibbling and sucking as he began to ease his oil-covered finger into the younger man’s untried entrance. At the feel of two fingers pressing their way in, Faramir tensed up again, to be soothed with a whispered, “Relax, love.” Trusting the man above him, taking comfort in his weight and warmth, Faramir did relax, even as he felt the blunt head of Strider’s arousal nudging against him. Bending his knees as he was coaxed, Faramir gasped at the sharp pain of Strider’s entrance, then nearly wept with the lovely feeling of being filled, cherished. As Strider began to rock within him, simple joy and gratitude blossomed over Faramir’s expressive face, and his eyes began to slip shut in ecstasy.
The ranger would not permit this, however. “No, Faramir,” he urged softly. “Look at me.” When the young man’s blue eyes met his once more, he nodded. “This,” Strider said, “this is what you must know. Feel me as I worship your body with my own, as my own passion is dictated by your response. You are no victim, Faramir. Surrender to me, hold nothing back, and let me give you everything.” Faramir could only stare at him in a love-filled daze for a moment before Strider’s hand closed over his newly-weeping erection and his eyes involuntarily slipped shut once more.
And he surrendered, giving himself up to the glorious sensations of being loved by this man, feeling completed, cherished, cared for as he never before had in his life. As Strider stroked him further into ecstasy and released his own seed within him with a muffled groan, Faramir gazed hazily at the shadowy cave ceiling above him, tears of joy clouding his vision.
The next day dawned clear and cool, and true to his word, Strider made ready Faramir’s horse for the journey back to Gondor. Faramir himself fought to keep his voice light, his countenance cheery; he did not want Strider for a moment to think he regretted any of their encounter of the night before. Inside, though, his heart was breaking, as he wondered at the cruelty of fate. How could he have stumbled across such a glorious love only to have it just as suddenly snatched away from him?
The journey lasted a mere couple of days, and though both men were constantly on their guard against danger, they savored the time together as well. Faramir basked in the feel of Strider’s strong arms around him as they rode together during the day, and at night when they made camp Strider would take him again in his arms and shower him with adoration.
But when they paused along the border between Rohan and Gondor, Strider
knew he could no longer put off the inevitable. As Faramir continued
to regard the view of his far-off home, Strider dismounted from the
horse. “This is where I must turn back.”
Faramir looked down at the older man with surprise. “You don’t have to leave now. Come, I’ll show you my home,” he encouraged, trying not to let the panic in his throat edge his voice.
The dark-haired man shook his head firmly. “No. I cannot enter Gondor. I must go now.”
“Go? But-- you cannot possibly return to Rohan on foot!”
Strider chuckled at the ludicrousness of the statement. “Of course I can.”
Faramir shook his head, desperately trying to hit on some argument that would sway the other man. “That will take you many days, at least!”
The older man shrugged. “I have the time,” he said simply.
Now Faramir dismounted from the horse and stood close to Strider. His eyes burned into the other man’s. “No. Come with me.”
Strider sighed and shook his head once more. “Faramir, I have already said-”
“You have said you have no place among your people,” the younger man interrupted. “You have a place at my side. Stay with me. Be my mate.”
His attention arrested by this passionate plea, Strider looked deeply into the other’s eyes. He laid his palm upon the man’s cheek, and spoke softly but firmly, willing Faramir to understand. “Faramir, you know I would not be welcome in Minas Tirith.”
“I am so rarely there-”
“No,” Strider cut him off with a word, gently said. He gazed steadily, locking onto Faramir’s blue eyes with his own. “You will ever have my heart, Faramir.” He bent his head and took the younger man’s lips in a loving kiss, trusting it to say all he could not with words. When Strider lifted his head again, he could see that not just understanding, but pained acceptance had dawned within Faramir. “Go now. Be a great and noble man, a leader of your people. They need your strength, your heart.”
Faramir returned the gaze steadily, not bothering to attempt to blink back the tears that were welling. He shook his head slightly in negation of this last. “They cannot have my heart. You will take it with you.” This time it was he who claimed Strider’s lips, fearing he would never again have the chance. The older man permitted it, desperate himself for a last touch, though trying to remain rigid and strong for the parting he knew was inevitable.
The tastes of their joined mouths were savored, until Faramir forced himself to disengage from Strider’s touch, feeling he would be unable to bear it if the other man pushed him away first. He flicked his blue eyes up to the other man’s, but could no longer stand to hold his gaze. Without another look back, he quietly mounted his horse and continued his journey into Gondor.
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