This story is rated «R», and carries the warnings «angst, somewhat AU, hurt-comfort themes, implied het relationship.».
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04 November 2016 | 11924 words | Work in Progress
The younger man feels a sudden constriction in his chest. The firm grasp on his arm is so warm, too warm to be possible to stop being aware of… It is as though at the point of contact of their bodies, there is mead seeping through his skin into his very blood, and he catches himself growing light-headed.
“My lord, pray forgive me my forwardness, this conversation is not headed in a proper—”
“This conversation has long not been headed in a proper direction,” Aragorn agrees amiably. Then in a flash his face grows strict and proud, and much as he is lying on Faramir’s bed more undressed than not, Faramir is at once reminded why he had accepted this man as his sire without a second of peradventure.
“Answer me!” Aragorn orders in a voice as quiet as it is imperative. “Did you mean it?”
Faramir squares his shoulders and replies in kind, for albeit a vassal he is a lord, too, and not one without dignity. “I believe we have lived side by side long enough, my king, for you to have seen proof I am not in the habit of speaking without meaning what I say.”
Some string too deep inside him is pulled when he feels his liege’s fingers tremble on his arm, and he can say no more.
“Well, that’s a change of heart,” Aragorn pronounces a last, with a cough. In this moment he more than ever reminds Faramir of Boromir – Boromir who too would get hoarse and wary when his hidden vulnerabilities were threatened with exposure. “Just the night before last you were disinclined to have me stay – and now this,” Aragorn observes in grim wonder. “I…” he closes his eyes and slowly, very slowly exhales.
He makes to say something else, but does not. Faramir waits, and to his dismay sees the King’s face turn grave, closed.
“I should go now,” Aragorn says curtly. “I should have gone long before. It was indecent of me to brandish my woes at you to begin with – and even more so to subject you to this kind of attentions. You,” he tears his hand away, with such visible reluctance as though it hurts his flesh to break the contact. “You are confused now, grieving, it would be…”
Faramir reaches out and touches him on the face, gently, frames the King’s cheek with his fingertips. There has been more than enough talk for one night.
Aragorn stares at him aghast.
Faramir registers the light-headedness return, twice the stronger, but keeps his hand in place. Boldness is a virtue, he has been taught this as a warrior.
“’Tis is a strange thing, is it not?” Aragorn murmurs cautiously as slowly he raises his own hand to bring it over Faramir’s. The touch is uncertain, skittish, and he holds Faramir’s gaze with his own, as though thus he can prevent the younger man from entertaining second thoughts.
Faramir offers him an unsmiling grin.
“My wife died a strange death,” he says. “All my closest blood-kin did, come to think of it. Am I then in a position to not even give a chance to an offer of what might be a new beginning on account of it coming in strange circumstances?”
“A chance…?” Aragorn echoes him as though from a distance. “Well, fair enough, I reckon.”
“Nay, I worded that poorly—”
“No, ’tis better thus,” Aragorn closes his eyes again. “’Tis, quite likely, how it should be,” he speaks thoughtfully, his palm sliding over the back of Faramir’s hand and up the man’s forearm. “That two should begin not with a pledge and a troth, but with naught more than hope in heart and caution in step.”
And at that, with a conclusive decisiveness Aragorn slides out from under his steward’s hovering form, and heads for the one candelabra keeping the room alight.
“If you would undress and lie down,” he says in a tone that makes certain Faramir will not forget that he is in the presence of the King – a king kind and patient, but king nonetheless.
“My lord?” Faramir cannot keep his voice entirely level.
“I apologise if this is somewhat – how did you put it? – forward, but I want you to know for certain – straight away,” Aragorn turns to him before snuffing out the last candle. “I cannot take it, Faramir, to have my hopes rise again – for naught. You have known many, but I have known none, to me it… it has…” he swallows. “If you do not desire this after all, then tell me now – we’ll be done with it once and for all, and leave it at that.”
“Will you not let me see?” Faramir calls, pulling his collar open as he has been asked to. He hears urgency in his own voice, but decides it is maybe for the best.
Aragorn hesitates, his fingers pausing mere inches from the flame. His gaze follows the ministrations of Faramir’s hands, takes in the freshly exposed triangle of the young man’s chest, the chiselled rectangular elevation of a warrior’s pectorals so different, no doubt, from the white roundness of his wife’s maiden breasts he is not allowed to touch. There is longing in the King’s eyes, but also sadness, wistfulness even, and it occurs to Faramir that perhaps his lord is thinking that maybe if he had taken care of the candles back on that festive midsummer’s night when all the City had been filled with lights and music and garlands of field flowers, if he had thawed her with the heat of his love before her sight could decide for her, maybe then things would have taken another course.
Aragorn’s gaze returns to his face. “You look so lovely with a blush,” the King says softly, and again there is sadness, as though this loveliness is not for his eyes to behold. “But no. Mayhap some other time – but tonight, let the darkness guide your hand.”
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: alecia , ebbingnight