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
His touch glides over the lean tautness of Aragorn’s breast muscle, his fingertips probe the softness of the small nipple that tightens and hardens as though with apprehension. So he repeats the caress, again and again until he feels the King, ever so subtly, press himself into his hand.
How has it come to this?
What will this come to?
Is he doing the royal family a favour, trying to give the Queen a happier husband?
Is he doing himself any favour at all?
He lets the questions slip away into the surrounding blackness, where they belong. He feels the other shiver above him, and a puff of warmth caresses his cheek as the King’s breath hastens. He turns his face towards it, half-expecting, half-hoping Aragorn would erase the distance between their mouths – but the man does not, for he is waiting.
And so Faramir continues with his task. For his part, he believes he could skip the introductions, but he knows his lord will not accept an answer that is not supported with hard data.
He wishes, though, that he were not so limited in methods, and the wish itself strikes him as curious in its oddness, seeing as a mere hour ago he had not detected any probability whatsoever of finding himself yearning, and yearning so clearly and consciously, for a taste of his king’s skin, for the feel of the man’s clavicle as he would try to enfold it with a kiss – for the scratch of the dark stubble against the softness of his wandering lips. Let alone for the gasp the King would no doubt fail to withhold were Faramir to pull that distrustful nipple into his mouth. But he has already gathered that even more so than everlasting loneliness his lord dreads profanity, and he has to allow the possibility that to someone of Aragorn’s history even a lick to the throat may come across as quite vulgar indeed. Furthermore and more to the point, it would be unfair on Aragorn to start bestowing such pleasurable little promises before providing the man with a reliable assurance. For now, he must make do with his hands, and not allow himself too much even at that.
There is a vastness and a sweep to the plains of Aragorn’s body, to the steely span of his shoulders, to the way the long muscles of his back stretch on and fall away beneath Faramir’s palms. This is not a matter of merely height or girth – there is freedom and scale to the very make of the King’s body, there is inner, bone-deep iron strength, reticent and uncompromising, like unto that of a tree growing atop a field hill in proud solitude.
This man is all as though made to leap only, to heave, to swing a deadly, double-edged weight, to withstand, endure, and conquer. His is a practical, applied beauty – there is no place on him for pretty bits, no parts catering to the leisurely purpose of pleasing the eye, nothing to cushion the self-effacing zeal of a ravenous lover, and what modest curves he does sport are all spiced with a bony angularity. He is made for action, and just maybe, he is also made for stoic patience in the face of a bigger purpose, for staying the course with his gaze fixed unblinking on the ultimate aim. What he has not been tailored for is lingering – suspended, tethered, without direction, without logic, as a sleek battle-ship forgotten in harbour sways, and nods, and rocks with the sempiternal, self-absorbed waves without moving an inch from the place of its timeless confinement.
Bizarre, outlandish thoughts begin to flicker through Faramir’s mind. Is this how it was, how he had felt to his unfortunate Éowyn – too big, too long, too tough, too hard, all fire and sparks, no place to cosy up against, to find peace?
Would have she, perhaps, fared better in the care of the tender Queen?
As his hand slides across the long road to the King’s lower back, the bumpy valley of Aragorn’s spine lying between two solid ranges of muscle, Faramir sees his wife resting her head on Lady Arwen’s chest, a quiet smile upon her white face. Thick strands of their unbraided hair fall together, like lustrous ropes of sunshine and midnight, like a complete solar eclipse.
Have they, all of them, made a mistake?
Lazily he speculates if this is an old family friend, auntie Madness, come to pay him an exploratory visit, to try and ease herself in between the links of his reason like he heard she does, building connections between assorted bits of nonsensical randomness, immersing her helpless host into one of those absurdist dreams that easily make perfect sense so long as they are being dreamt. When she packs up and leaves, he might well regret his choices – but tonight all his concerns swirl away and dissolve like sugar in hot tea, and his fingers slide lower still.
The Princess of Rohan had never been the sort of woman whose backside would stretch a dress taut, and Faramir had never minded – he had often felt he could fit all of it into the palm of one hand, which somehow had endeared him almost to tears.
And likewise learning the shape of Aragorn’s lower body by blind feel, he is filled foremost with affection and gratitude, desire remaining in the background as a welcome side-effect. This with him is a mature man, not a young woman, and there is even less rounded voluptuousness in his king’s behind than what little had been in his wife’s, and somehow he likes this. It seems to him he can feel the history of his beloved friend, his beloved king, in the man’s make, the many decades of toil and lonesome pilgrimage, cold rock his armchair and hard ground his bed, icy stream his bath and empty sky his roof. Decades of carrying a full load on his back, of practices that temper muscle and bone as a forger tempers battle steel, as loyalty to a dream tempers the spirit. No, Faramir would not wish for the perky flesh of a light-hearted youth instead, for the flawless curves that bear no meaning, for a body that has known nothing but ready pleasures.
His fingertips lick over the underside of the man’s buttocks – so lightly, barely skimming over skin – but Aragorn gasps, and jolts, and much as there remains a safe measure of space between their naked bodies, for a moment, before it is hastily withdrawn, Faramir feels a hot nudge to the stomach. The realisation takes a moment, for of course this had never happened with her.
Aragorn is panting above him, and although he utters no sound, Faramir hears his lord’s shame, if only in his difficult breath. The young man reaches up to touch him on the face, to reassure, but the King turns away, shuddering.
So Faramir makes to settle this elsewise, to affirm his acceptance – furthermore, his willingness – in a most unambiguous manner. Yet with no warning at all, Aragorn bats away his grasping fingers, so precisely as though the King can actually see his aim.
Faramir knows better than to insist – and so as to assure his lord of his complete obedience, of his respect for the King’s perfectly understandable sensitivity, he altogether takes his touch away and lies back on the sheets.
This is a long journey, and long journeys can seldom be made in one go.
Now that his hands rest idle on the linens, he comes back to himself a little to grow aware of how tense and flushed he himself is, of his head spinning and a droplet of sweat sliding down his temple, of a hot dryness burning in his gut – and also of the scent of his own desire rising as steam from his skin. He marvels how the King cannot smell it on him, how there is still place for doubt.
Faramir shuts his eyes.
He cannot be certain that he has not erred in his judgement, going too far too soon – but once an arrow is shot, there is no altering its flight, and knowing Aragorn, they might not get a second chance at all.
“If you do not let me,” Faramir reasons quietly, “we will never know what might have been.”
He does not know whether it is the rational grain in his words, or something else, the very sound of his voice perhaps – but slowly, the King nods.
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Thank the author
The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: alecia , ebbingnight