11 January 2007 | 2719 words
Warnings: Singing elves. Aragorn swears a bit.
Summary: Legolas organises a concert. Aragorn gets stupidly jealous over nothing. Fararmir identifies with Melkor!
I know that it is written that the elves never sang of Fingolfin. But they do here!
An evening’s entertainment
Faramir liked Legolas from the start.
Initially he sought out the elf to learn more of his brother’s last days, but as his grief mellowed and their knowledge of each other grew, they found friendship and an unexpected bond in shared interests. They could talk of archery for hours and practice it together for longer. A love of all growing things had led to Legolas’s offer to help rebuild Ithilien from the ravages of war. And the elf was extremely impressed with Faramir’s knowledge of elvish lore and his grasp of the language, so when Legolas learned also of the steward’s love of music, he insisted that he arrange a concert of elvish choirs to perform in Minas Tirith itself.
The planning had taken months. Missives were despatched to Lothlorien, to Imladris, to Mirkwood, even to the Grey Havens, summoning the most skilful of singers. Legolas worked long hours selecting and rejecting the works to be performed.
And now the day had finally arrived.
The greensward of the Citadel was filled with the crush of bodies – it seemed that nearly every citizen had turned out to witness the unique occasion. Faramir was quietly excited as he waited for the performance to begin, whilst Legolas was as tense and jumpy as the steward had ever known him.
This would be an evening to remember.
The music washed over Faramir like a gentle breeze, lilting and caressing. He closed his eyes and let it take him, trying his best to catch the lyrics, though the high form of elvish and the fact that the words were sung rather than spoken made it difficult.
‘The story of Fingolfin!’ Legolas whispered to him, and Faramir was glad of the information, for he would not have guessed the tale being told. It was a story he knew well and he was somewhat surprised that this was indeed what he was listening to, for the music seemed not to give any expression to the fierce emotions of Finfolfin’s history.
The music continued.
Every so often Legolas would lean his head towards Faramir and offer him a note on the performance, though rarely any pointer as to where the tale had progressed.
‘There! The crescendo captures the meaning perfectly, does it not?’
Legolas smiled beautifully and Faramir did his best to nod and smile back, but hard as he tried he could discern no crescendo, no diminuendo even. Really, he could discern very little at all. Faramir was lost, and if he was honest with himself, he was getting rather bored.
Aragorn was sitting almost opposite them in the row that curved around the stage. Faramir tried to catch his eye, tried to see whether the king was enjoying the concert to the same extent as himself. At last he managed to exchange a glance and it was clear that Aragorn was indeed not at all happy, rising abruptly from his seat to leave and throwing Faramir a look which the steward could only interpret as one of extreme anger, though anger at what he did not know. He had a horrible feeling that it was anger with himself.
The music continued.
Legolas swayed happily, his hand occasionally swooping to express his joy, lost in the music. Faramir shifted uncomfortably against the growing hardness of his seat. There had been no pause in the music, no climax, no change. This must be, he thought, much as the music of the Ainur had been. Endless. Dare he even think of it as…monotonous?
Faramir was not often given to wicked thoughts but one wormed its way into his brain now and for the first time in his life he sympathised with Melkor, understood the dark god’s need to disrupt the harmony of the song of creation. He too felt like standing up and introducing a new theme. Even Gondor’s most solemn songs had more life in them than this, and one of the hobbits’ bawdy tavern songs would be the perfect showstopper. It was incredibly tempting, and if he had been a lesser man he might have given in, but as steward and prince he knew he could not.
Still the music continued.
Legolas’s eyes were closed and he was smiling blissfully. Faramir dared not disturb him to ask where exactly Fingolfin had got to yet. Dead and buried, hopefully.
A slight disturbance at the end of the row caught his attention, respite being provided by the sight of a small yet very serious and determined page pushing his way through the crowd. Faramir grasped at a slim thread of hope.
Come here page. Come to me. Bring me a summons. Take me away.
His heart began to thump with joy when he realised that indeed the page was heading for him.
‘From the king, my lord. Urgent business.’
Faramir unsealed the proffered parchment and read Aragorn’s words slowly, giving himself time to compose his features to express sufficient disappointment at having to leave.
‘My apologies Legolas. Aragorn calls for my presence. A particularly difficult problem, which will not wait. I must go to him.’
Legolas was all understanding, carried away as he was by the beauty of the elvish voices.
Faramir followed the page back through the crowd, breathed a great sigh of relief and headed towards the king’s private chambers.
Aragorn was pacing with a nervous energy Faramir had rarely if ever witnessed, eyes narrowed to slits, obviously furious and no doubt about to explode. What on earth was wrong?
The king stood still and regarded his steward. Then it began.
‘You’re all over him, aren’t you?’
‘Legolas. It’s disgusting. You never stop pawing at him.’
‘Aragorn, what are you talking about?’
‘Don’t think I didn’t see you. Everyone saw you.’
Faramir almost laughed, but Aragorn was deadly serious and his anger was only growing.
‘You want him, don’t you?’
‘You want him in your bed, want his smooth white body don’t you?’
‘Aragorn, I can assure you that what exists between Legolas and myself is simply friendship.’
Faramir didn’t feel like laughing now, and the realisation hit him that Aragorn was horribly jealous of something that didn’t exist. He sighed and drew breath, his mind hurrying to find the right words to reassure and pacify his friend.
‘Aragorn. I’m sorry. I did not realise that you felt this way. Legolas and I are good friends, nothing more. I do not desire him and never have. Believe me, if I had known your feelings I would never have done anything to upset you. I did not know that you felt desire for Legolas and I would never wish to stand in your way…’
Faramir’s words were interrupted forcefully.
‘I desire Legolas?! I do not desire him!’
Now Faramir was totally confused. The two men faced each other in silent confrontation.
Finally the steward spoke again.
‘Well, if you do not desire him, and I do not desire him, then why are you shouting at me about him?’
He looked hard at Aragorn, demanding an answer.
The king had stopped pacing and now began instead to kick violently at the wooden settle he had paused before.
‘Shit. Shit shit shit. Fuck.’
Every word was a kick. Then Aragorn sat down on his unmoving victim, his head buried in his hands, shaking with emotion.
Hopeful that the worst of whatever crisis it was had passed, Faramir sat down beside his friend and offered a comforting arm. Aragorn flinched at his touch but did not resist.
‘Can you tell me, Aragorn? Please explain to me what is wrong. I hate to see you like this and would help you if I could, but I do not understand why you are so unhappy, or so angry.’
Aragorn still hid his face, but a small voice escaped from behind the mask of hands.
Faramir did not respond but waited patiently for Aragorn to continue.
‘I’m sorry I shouted at you. I knew, deep in my heart I knew that it was not so. But you and Legolas… You have become so close recently, especially because of the concert… I was so scared… Scared that… That you would fall in love with him, that he would hold you in his arms. And that I would never be able to… I couldn’t tell you. All I could do was shout at you…’
Slowly the king’s body began to convulse with long slow sobs.
Faramir held him tighter, trying to calm the other man, but feeling that if Aragorn meant what he thought he meant, then he might also be in need of some comfort.
‘Couldn’t tell me what, Aragorn?’ he whispered.
Aragorn could only snuffle wetly for a moment, trying not to dampen Faramir’s tunic any more than he had done so already, fighting to control his breath. Faramir continued to hold him close, waiting.
‘Couldn’t tell you… tell you how I… what I… oh shit, Faramir… ‘
‘Tell me that you wanted to hold me?’ Faramir ventured ‘Was that it?’
Aragorn buried his face somewhere deep in his steward’s neck, still seemingly trying to hide from the truth of his emotions. Faramir stroked Aragorn’s tangled hair and felt the head give a tight, nervous nod under his hand, continued stroking as much to help him gather his own thoughts as well as to aid his friend.
‘Aragorn, dearest friend, how long have you felt like this?’
The king snuffled again, finally surfaced and accepted Faramir’s proffered kerchief, although he could still not bring himself to look his steward in the eyes.
‘Oh, I don’t know. Always, I think. I loved you as a loyal steward first of course, then as a friend, and that just got deeper and deeper. It was only when I thought that you… Legolas… then I began to realise what I felt and… Scared I suppose, scared of all sorts of things.’
He sniffed then blew loudly and wetly into the kerchief. Finally Aragorn managed to look up, eyes red and puffy, cheeks streaked with tears.
‘Well I think you’d better have a wash and a drink of water before anything else.’
‘Is that it? Is that all you can say?’
‘You’ve had more time to think about all this than I have.’
‘So you’ve never felt… you didn’t… I wasn’t…’
Faramir had never known Aragorn to be so inarticulate but then speaking freely of their deepest inner feelings was not something either man made a habit of doing. But the pain was all too clear in the king’s face and Faramir knew he must be honest with himself and with his friend. Despite his renown as an intelligent and skilled orator, now was not a moment to speak with words but with actions.
‘Stay here, I’m not going far’ was all he said as he rose, his hands lingering upon Aragorn’s shoulders for as long as they could before their contact broke. Quickly Faramir poured water from the jug by the king’s bedside, found a clean cloth and returned with brimming basin and goblet to where the crumpled figure huddled.
‘Drink this. Slowly’.
Aragorn accepted the goblet and sipped at it, whilst Faramir wetted the cloth. Aragorn’s tortured eyes were ever upon him. First he lifted the right hand and cleaned it gently, back and palm then between each finger. Finally he lifted the hand to his face and gently kissed it before guiding Aragorn to swap the hand that held the goblet and allow Faramir to minister to the left. Again he wiped gently and efficiently, again he ended with a kiss which this time elicited a slow exhalation of breath from the king.
Faramir rinsed and wrung the cloth, looking deeply into Aragorn’s eyes as he began to cleanse the dried tears from his friend’s face. Aragorn could not hold the gaze, whimpering gently as he felt his steward’s touch upon him.
‘Faramir!’ he whispered ‘Faramir, do not torture me so! You know I want you – do not do this to me if you cannot return my love. It is too much! I beg of you…’
But Aragorn’s last words were silenced as Faramir’s mouth claimed his own.
By the time their kiss broke Aragorn was crying again, but this time with joy.
‘Sung elvish is beyond me. Do you know where the story has got to? Surely they must have moved on from Fingolfin by now’.
Their first kiss had evolved into many, into long and tender embraces and whispered words of admission and reassurance.
Returning to the subject of the concert – the music still winding upwards to them – provided relief from their tumbling emotions, but they could not truly escape the truth of what they had discovered.
Aragorn listened intently for a while then shook his head.
‘No, I’m afraid not. Still Fingolfin. He’s just about to start crossing the Helcaraxë.’
‘What? He can’t be! They’ve been going for hours!’
‘Elvish songs do go on for hours. Believe me, I grew up with this sort of music. Fingolfin has a long way to go yet.’
Faramir was stunned and slumped in despair at the thought of having to return to the concert, then laughed as he remembered his earlier rebellious thoughts.
‘When I was down there, listening, and it went on and on, nothing seeming to happen, I thought… Aragorn this is awful, but I thought, well I felt that I understood what Melkor did, you know, raising uproar and discord in the music of the Ainur. I wanted to do it as well, I wanted to stand up and sing something, well, something with a bit of life in it. A couple of choruses of The Wench of Woody End seemed very tempting!’
Aragorn stared in disbelief at his steward for a moment then roared with laughter.
‘Faramir you are full of surprises this evening!’
The steward laughed also but then grew more serious.
‘Aragorn, I really don’t think I can go back down there yet. It’s going to go on for hours more. I’m going to go mad if I have to sit there through it all, remembering what has just happened, what we’ve talked about…’
‘Hours more. Yes, you’re right. Hours. We can return, you to your seat beside Legolas, myself to sit across the circle from you, my eyes fixed upon your every move, wanting you. We can return for many more hours of elvish singing where emotion appears hidden and passion subdued. Or….’
By the time king and steward re-emerged from their lengthy political discussion many of the crowd had melted away and there was space enough for them both to be seated next to the concert’s organiser.
‘Legolas!’ Aragorn whispered.
‘My most abject apologies for our prolonged absence. I required Faramir’s presence most urgently, a particularly difficult problem, but one for which we have happily found a most satisfactory answer.’
Legolas smiled and shook his head.
‘Your apologies are unnecessary, Aragorn. I understand completely the demands upon your time. Indeed, many of the citizens have chosen to leave early. I expect they do not wish to spoil their enjoyment of tomorrow.’
Both king and steward spoke together.
Legolas regarded the pair of them.
The problem they had been working on must indeed have been particularly knotty for they both appeared somewhat distracted and even dishevelled.
Faramir was trying unsuccessfully to hide a large red mark on his neck by means of collar and hair. The elf hoped that steward and king had not come to blows, but it did look sadly as if that might have been the case.
As for Aragorn, Legolas had not realised before that it was acceptable to wear one’s tunic back-to-front in public.
‘Yes, tomorrow. This evening sees just a quick rehearsal. Tomorrow we will enjoy the full performance!’
Sometimes Legolas wondered whether he would ever truly understand the race of men.
The look that passed between Aragorn and Faramir was beyond any interpretation he could begin to attempt.
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: KisaMura , Shikyo-sama