This story is rated «R», and carries the warnings «Slash, het, threesome. ».
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16 June 2011 | 5067 words
Summary: Not all roads lead to home, but those that do are well-tended.
Pairing: Faramir & Aragorn & Arwen
Rating: R, I think. I seem to have a problem with ratings these days
Warnings: Slash, het, threesome. Some general angstiness and a pinch of fluff :)
Disclaimer: Geale Tolkien is not my name. Though I must say it has a nice ring to it. Not mine!
A/N: This one has been lying around for ages, moving hard drives and been put back on the shelf. Today was the day to finish it.
I’d like you to envision a slightly less radiant version of Minas Tirith for this one. This takes places at a real, proper medieval court.
Bringing him home
There were four hands waiting.
The sky above was raging. One of the maidens had let it slip that afternoon, as she sat spinning with the Queen, that no one would be surprised if the very roof was struck down by lightning or if the Tower itself shook and fell when the thunder made the whole City shiver. At the sight of the Queen’s white lips, pressed into a thin line, and the warning in her eyes, the girl had looked down and said no more.
And the rain. Looking out through the window-glass meant seeing only a moving wall of dark and silver. Aragorn had said once that the walls of the King’s Houses in places were as thick as his arm was long but Arwen was not worried for her own safety. Indeed it was a long while since she had worried about herself. Long life and immortality did that to you, she supposed. Many years ago she had worried for her mother… and consequently her father. Her brothers she had constantly worried about for any fool could see that nurturing a lifelong hatred against the Orcs put one in situations where life and death were equals. She had worried about Aragorn – a man, for Elbereth’s sake! – who should have had her respect but never her love. Or so others had said. She had never agreed.
She knew the tale, of course… Of how she had appeared to him like Lúthien herself in her father’s gardens and how he had fallen in love with her right then and there. He had been the valiant one, the burning one, and she the cool-hearted maiden who made no promise. But as every tale was twisted to inspire the teller and please his audience, so also this one had been slightly altered.
She looked little like Lúthien, she thought, though, naturally, she had never seen the lady who loved Beren. Furthermore, how could one compare oneself to one who had seen the glory of the Valar? And Arwen knew the burning of desire as well as any male. Aragorn had gone from her to her father, seeking his consent, but he had hardly left her balanced of mind and unmoved. No, she had loved Aragorn fiercely since that first moment.
And she had not been a maiden.
Old Heores was speaking again and she heard Aragorn humming along. She turned from the window and it was odd how that familiar wave of relief still swept through her when she saw that her husband was safe by the fire and not likely to be attacked by anyone and torn to shreds. Had Heores not developed a talent for wielding swords and hiding them well behind his stooped form, that was.
Aragorn’s eyes were distant where he sat on the low settee, his shoulders slumped and his nodding automatic. Heores was leaning towards the fire, reading from a parchment that looked like it had caught some of that sickly yellow light of the waning moon that had sailed across the sky yesterve before the storm came.
She crossed the floor and, gathering her skirts about her, sank down onto the cushions at Aragorn’s feet. She felt his relief in turn: in the way he immediately reached for her and drew her close against him, in the way his fingers wove themselves into her hair, uncaring of any braids or pins. The long exhale that escaped him could have been her own. He was safe, she was safe and there should have been no reason to worry… had fate not taken its little turn.
“Therefore, my lord, I advise a reform of the tax system though no doubt the provinces will make some fuss.” Heores rolled up his parchment and looked expectantly at the King. There were deep lines in his face and his light blue eyes were deeply set.
“I shall consider it,” said Aragorn in a voice that suggested his thoughts were far away.
“Consider it, my lord? I beg your pardon, but myself and the Steward–”
“Well the Steward is not here, is he?” Aragorn interrupted him hotly. “And what with this weather we cannot be sure when he will be back.”
Heores took a small step back, but was mindful of the flames behind him. “Sire, I am sure…” But apparently he knew not of what he was sure for the words seemed to die on his tongue.
Arwen felt the tide of fear rising anew, just as she could feel how an identical one rose in Aragorn. They reacted differently and neither way was better than the other. He became easily angered and she spoke less and lay sleepless.
But where his anger quickly dissipated, she could not so easily go back to sleep. Aragorn raised a hand and sighed. His voice was steady but fell flat to the floor. “My apologies, Heores. Certainly you are right and I should be agreeing straight away, but we shall speak of this again when Faramir has returned safely.”
It was the obvious dismissal but Heores lingered by the fire, his bleak eyes wandering between King and Queen. “My lord…” he said hesitantly, “if I may be so bold as to… It is a very strange arrangement…”
But Aragorn spoke firmly, as he always did when anyone dared to bring the matter up. “Call it strange if you will, but it is a necessity. Or you would have no King.”
Or no Queen, Arwen silently added.
To that, Heores finally bowed awkwardly and made for the door. When he was gone, with a last suspicious glance at his sovereign, Aragorn slumped back in his seat and ran a hand across his jaw.
“I shouldn’t have…”
Arwen twisted around and he parted his legs so that she may sit between them and rest her head on his thigh. “You are worried.”
He slid a finger under her chin and tilted her head backwards so that he could look her in the eye. “So are you.”
She sighed in acknowledgement and he caressed her cheek with calloused fingertips. No matter how many years he spent as a King he was doomed to have hands like a warrior. “I am,” she admitted. “He was expected three nights ago…” She could hear it so clearly herself: how her voice held that desperate need of reassurance.
But he could offer her no such thing. His hand slipped back into her hair and she lowered her head back down. “I am only calm and happy when the two of you are under this roof. Breathing, healthy…” He sighed, too. “Oh, my love, how can such great happiness be kin to such great pain?”
She caught his hand in hers and kissed it. “We have known pain, that is true, but we know it no longer,” she said firmly. “By the grace of the Valar, Faramir will have found shelter along the road and is in this moment rolled up in furs by a fire.”
She said nothing about the cold creeping into his bones, rendering him stiff and making his muscles scream. Nor did she speak about the approach of midnight whose darkness so easily was taken for the memories of the Black Breath that had beset him during the final stages of the War. She did not have to – Aragorn knew this as if it were himself it concerned.
He drew her up onto the settee and she snuggled into his embrace. He spread a blanket over them both and she closed her eyes, but the crackling of the fire could not drown out the beating of the rain and the rolling of thunder coming steadily closer; it worked its way into the very core of her body, spreading its icy cold through her flesh and bones.
Is this where fate has lead us?
Are we lost?
Sometime later she jerked to a loud call and muffled banging on wood. Aragorn started and released her, cursing under his breath. But when the door to their chamber was thrown wide open and a dripping wet guard emerged from the darkened hallway and called out that the Steward had passed through the Great Gate, curses quickly turned into praises.
Mindless of the slashing rain they hurried towards the entrance doors, Aragorn barking orders that they should be opened no matter the temper of the weather. And he was obeyed and suddenly all that darkness and rain thrust inside. They ran, Arwen’s bare feet making almost no noise at all upon the stone. She felt the cold tiles grow slippery underfoot and the wind tore at her gown and her hair, but she would not be chastised by any of her women, huddling by the windows and wrapping their shawls about them.
Torches hissed as they were quickly lit and the small courtyard erupted into action as the sound of hooves finally reached the King’s dwelling. Aragorn was already drenched when Arwen reached him. He wound an arm around her waist and together they waited while the rain made quick work of ribbons and silk. Her dwindling immortality no longer guarded her blood and so she shivered where she stood but nothing could make her retreat into the warm house. Not until they were three again.
Two horses picked their way towards the flickering lights and stable boys appeared out of nowhere, ready to take over the reins. Arwen stood on tiptoe though she was almost as tall as her husband and tried to shield her straining eyes with a hand. There were two riders also, one with his back straight, leading the way, and one hunched over, sagging behind. Gleaming black and surely heavy as lead with water, their cloaks made them look like phantoms moving through the madness of the rain. The first rider swung himself off his horse when they were only a few feet away and without a word for the boy who took his horse, hastened over to the royal couple.
“M’lord!” The hood was pushed back and Beregond’s face revealed, lined with worry but with eyes gleaming with urgency. “He needs a change of clothes and some food for he would have nothing on the road today, claiming he had no appetite.”
Torn between listening to the guard and craning to see Faramir still atop the horse, Arwen felt her heart beating wildly. “Has he taken any injuries.”
“No, lady, none.” Beregond shook his head. “No, but he walked with difficulty already on our fifth day.”
Aragorn, swearing, broke away from them and with a few, long strides he was by Faramir’s side. Some guard or other aided him and together they pulled Faramir down from his saddle and into the King’s arms. There was too much rain, too much wind, so Aragorn only slung one of Faramir’s arms around his shoulders and tried to coax the Steward to walk. When this would not work, the nameless guard stepped up and with Faramir between them, they dragged the younger man towards the doors.
“Thank you, Beregond,” said Arwen, breath almost lost to the tearing winds, “without you–“
“Hush, lady, and say no more.” He kissed her cheek.
“Then go to your own home,” she said, “and I will thank the Valar for your return.”
With a bow he was gone and she spun around to join the other men. They were aiding Faramir across the threshold and she hurried in after them, and soon the doors closed behind her and shut the night out.
“We’ll need boiling hot water, wine and warm soup,” she instructed one of her women while she still knew how to speak properly; fear made her throat tight and her stomach turn over. “And some of those linen rags we use for binding wounds. Make haste.”
Aragorn and the guard had halted by the door to the King’s private chambers. “Love,” Aragorn called out to her, “come here!” She tried to ignore that his voice was steeped in panic.
Even indoors it was hard to see much; there was only torchlight as no one had had time to light any lamps.
“Now,” Aragorn beckoned her to his side, his eyes wide and shining. “We shall have to remove his cloak and boots or we’ll drag the water in with us. If you can unclasp it and lift it off him.” By the way he spoke, she understood that Faramir must be unconscious or very nearly so and a cold hand clenched around her heart.
Still she managed to keep her fingers steady as she sought for the clasp under his chin. In the end she must tip his head to the side and it fell heavily against Aragorn’s shoulder. She tried not to look at his pale skin, the lips that were slightly parted and the shadows under his closed eyes. When the cloak had come off, she bent to drag the boots off his feet and met with very little resistance. Meanwhile, one of her women had appeared with two dry robes, one for her and one for the King. Without hesitation she let herself be undressed down to her shift and with hands wanting to shake, she pulled on her robe.
It was trickier with Aragorn for he must disentangle himself and let Arwen steady Faramir while he changed. Finally, however, the woman was sent away with a basket full of soaked linen, leather and silk. The guard that had stood silent all the time, only courteously turning his face away when the Queen was undressed, was thanked and dismissed by Aragorn, and King and Queen were left to support Faramir by themselves.
Together they laboured to jostle Faramir as little a possible and could finally ease him down onto the royal bed. Aragorn was pale too, when Arwen looked at him, and for one dreadful moment she wondered if it all had come to this, that she would lose them both: Faramir to darkness and endless sleep, and Aragorn to death by mourning. Then she shook herself and took her husband’s hand and squeezed it.
“Remove all his clothes and pull the covers over him.”
It was all Aragorn needed for the healer in him to wake. While he worked, she went to the fire and did her best to wring the water out of her hair. Hurrying into the adjacent bathing chamber, she tossed her robe aside and dragged her shift over her head. When she had dried herself off, she found a new robe and a towel and robe for Aragorn as well. When she returned to the bedchamber, she found Aragorn crouching by the bed, whispering softly in the younger man’s ear.
“Here. You’ll help him better if your hair isn’t dripping wet.”
He rose reluctantly to his feet, fingertips lingering on Faramir’s forehead, drawing invisible patterns. “He should have been brought to the Houses… it would have been quicker, smoother…” But even as he spoke, desperation blossomed in his eyes. “Arwen, I want him here… Here with us.”
“I know, I know, my love,” she soothed him, “we’re all here.”
He would have pulled her into his arms but a knock at the door startled them both.
“My lady?” one of the Queen’s women carried a basin of steaming water inside, and she was followed by a servant carrying both wine and soup. There were straps of linen too, and Arwen thanked them both and they were soon gone, but not before having stolen a few curious glances at the King and the Steward.
A heavy silence descended as they set to work, adding crushed herbs to the water and soaking some of the linen in it. Pulling back the covers, Arwen draped the warm straps over Faramir’s chest, changing them as soon as they chilled. Aragorn added the rest of the herbs to the wine, pouring it into a tin cup and warming it until it, too, was steaming. Coming to sit by Faramir’s side, he slid an arm under the younger man’s shoulders and lifted him up. Arwen hastened to stuff some pillows under his head.
“There…” mumbled Aragorn and bent over Faramir, lifting the cup to his lips. “Come, love, you have to drink…”
When there was no reaction, Aragorn dipped a finger into the brew and pushed it between Faramir’s parted lips and coated his tongue with it. Holding her breath, Arwen waited for a reaction, and when it finally came, her shoulders dropped and the icy sheen around her heart was crushed.
Faramir drew a ragged breath and then he coughed. A frown caught his brow and he breathed again, without coughing this time.
“Elbereth…!” Aragorn placed kisses all over Faramir’s forehead and when his eyes met Arwen’s she saw them shining with tears.
“Some more,” she administrated and watched intently as Aragorn tipped the cup and tried to make Faramir drink properly this time.
The younger man moaned something and twisted his head away. Arwen took one of his hands and cradled it to her breast. “Come Faramir… you have to drink.”
Aragorn tried once more, quietly whispering. “Sweetest… you’re home… you’re here…” He smiled in relief when Faramir finally stilled and swallowed down some of the wine. “Yes, love… that’s it…”
Arwen lay down the pale hand and busied herself with a change of the cooling linen on Faramir’s chest. The water would have to be re-heated if they wanted to avoid the Steward catching a cold or worse. She gained her feet and walked over to the fire, a prayer to the Valar on her lips while she worked.
When she turned back to the bed, she saw that Aragorn had lain down and pulled Faramir into his arms. The younger man’s face was concealed by his drying copper tresses and Aragorn was holding him like he would disappear at any moment.
Arwen set the basin on the floor and smiled down at the two men. Her blood was regaining its warmth as cold fear left her and she could feel her cheeks growing warmer.
Aragorn was speaking softly, whispering words of comfort and love that would weave a web of light around Faramir. Arwen sank down beside them and did not think twice before she also lay down, pulling the covers over all of them. She pressed against Faramir’s shivering body and softly began to sing an old lullaby she doubted even Aragorn had ever heard.
Slowly, slowly, the light from the fire and the singing chased the shivers from Faramir’s body and he relaxed between them. Arwen was beyond grateful when no unnatural heat grew in Faramir to replace the chill and she curled around him, burying her face in his damp curls and let kisses melt into them. She knew Aragorn was shifting, pressing closer, he too. A first, soft moan challenged the raging night and starving, lips sought naked skin, and hearts reassurance.
“I was so scared…”
She had never said it out loud and nor had Aragorn, but now he admitted to it; like a tangible echo of her own thoughts, his admission hung low in the air around them. They would always be scared – all of them – when one of them was needed elsewhere.
She felt Faramir move, move against her, move against Aragorn.
Something in her melted at the sound of Faramir’s voice, however weak it was. Aragorn lifted his head and cocked an eyebrow. “Sorry?”
Arwen let go a little, just a little, to give the younger man some space. He shifted onto his back, with Aragorn’s arms loosening their hold on him slightly. Faramir’s blue eyes turned to her.
She wondered what about her now was ladylike. Yet the change she had undergone was permanent and she had been split into three: one part of herself still clinging fiercely to her heritage and her identity as she had known it for nearly three thousand years, the others belonging, in turn, to her husband and their lover.
Her father had seen it too when they said their goodbyes, and she had known it herself for sure, when they embraced and only a part of her feverishly prayed for him to stay. With the scent of the great sea already weaving itself around him, he had wiped the tears from her cheeks and smiled a smile free of the deepest grief.
“I was so far away…” Faramir’s lips were reddened where Aragorn’s lips had pressed against them.
“But not too far,” she smiled. Seeing him move, hearing him speak was enough to coax some of the dormant joy in her heart to stir again.
“I am sure it was dark even at midday…” His eyes fell closed. “It was Beregond who forced me to eat… to walk… and ride.”
“Beregond is a blessing,” she said.
Faramir’s lips curved into a bleak smile. “Aye…”
Under the covers, Aragorn’s arm encircled the younger man’s waist and he found Arwen’s hand. They laced their fingers together and for a little while they lay silent.
“I had nightmares…” Faramir said at long last, his voice but an echo of its usual self. “I was drowning… or tried to flee… and all the shadows wrapped around me and I fell to the ground…” He shifted uneasily in the bed. “I see them always.”
“No.” Aragorn propped himself up one one elbow and now that his worst fears had been driven away, he spoke with much more determination. “No you don’t.”
Faramir turned his face to him and Arwen saw how his eyes opened. “Not when I am here.”
The King bent his head, bent to brush their lips together and the lines were gone from his face. At first, the touch was light, but soon Aragorn pressed down a little, breathing in through his nose and revoking what had nearly been lost. Arwen felt the shudder that ran through Faramir and she knew the second he would part his lips and let Aragorn claim what was his.
It was as though she could feel for herself the way her husband’s tongue pushed into his lover’s mouth. On her own lips she could taste the budding desire and in her own blood the heat of their reunion flashed. She let go of Aragorn’s hand and tugged the covers closer around her.
They were kissing deeply now, uncaring that Aragorn’s tousled hair fell into Faramir’s face. She considered brushing it away but could not find it in her to move. It was only when an eager hand threatened to dislodge the linen placed on the younger man’s chest that she protested.
They parted, reluctantly, she could see that. There was a feverish glow in her husband’s eyes that had nothing to do with any sickness. Faramir, however, gave a rueful smile.
“Forgive me, lady…”
She returned his smile. “Nay, I ask not for myself but for your own sake. I would not see these disturbed.” She ran a finger down his chest sensing the remaining healing energy imbued in the linen.
Faramir’s eyes drifted closed at her touch but his smile did not go away. Arwen caught Aragorn still looking at her and from him radiated the agony of being denied what he most of all wanted. She opened her mouth to make him see reason but their hearts were of one kind, and their love too intimately intertwined; his silent plea threatened to bring tears to her eyes. At her nod, the tension flowed out of him like a tidal wave. He dropped his head to Faramir’s shoulder and she knew he was breathing deeply once more. Somewhere under the covers, Faramir found her hand and squeezed it lightly.
It will be well. The assurance drifted through her as Aragorn gently helped Faramir onto his side. The linen fell into a heap in front of him and Arwen scooped it up and dropped it onto the floor. She reclaimed her hold on Faramir’s hand and held it to her heart as Aragorn dragged off his robe and bent to kiss his lover again.
Faramir’s lips were soft. He had not shaved for some time and his beard rasped against her cheeks and chin as her mouth replaced Aragorn’s. Faramir’s tongue was lazy as it slid against her own. Or more likely, he was tired. Exhausted, she knew in her heart, and yet the heat that was waking in him quickened his breathing and his hand cupped her breast.
The light touch of fingers to her cheek made her end the kiss and she looked up to meet the smiling eyes of her husband. Aragorn was leaning over Faramir, and fully aroused, too. In this show of perfect virility and splendour, Arwen saw the boy he had once been, and the old man he would one day become.
“I love you.” His words were a whisper that went straight to her soul. She watched him as he bent down and dropped a kiss to Faramir’s temple. “And you, sweetest.”
Faramir grinned without opening his eyes. “It is good to hear it, Aragorn, while I’m touching your wife.”
“Ah, well…” Aragorn nuzzled his neck. “She is in good hands then.”
Faramir’s chuckle was soft as Aragorn lowered himself down behind him. After that, Arwen more sensed and heard than saw what happened, for Faramir drew her to him and they kissed anew. Slow and heavy were his movements and also his energy. She liked that. He trembled against her as Aragorn prepared him, and his soft moans sent shivers racing across her skin.
Then Aragorn eased him forwards some more and she reckoned that she would be more comfortable in a similar position. Just like Aragorn’s robe had, hers ended up in a pile on the floor and Faramir’s arm wound around her waist as she lay down with her back against his chest. For the first time this night she realised that he, too, was aroused. His hardened shaft pressed into her lower back and a jolt of pleasure shot through her. Then suddenly, his groan, and her husband’s, shook the walls of the bedchamber and she knew that Aragorn was sliding into him, pushing into something so hot and tight that it engulfed his whole being. She sensed his mind reeling and his heart pounding, and Faramir’s breath was fiery hot against her cheek. With no thought for bloodlines and history she let Faramir seek out her wetness and she thought she had never been this blessed when he pushed into her.
It was Aragorn’s thrusts that set her rocking. Weariness still clung to Faramir and he did little more than to hold her. She treasured his embrace, though, and let Aragorn’s power flood into her.
Time settled back into its normal rhythm again as gasps and moans rose and fell around her. As of tomorrow, the days would not be unnaturally long and nor would the nights be so bitterly cold that it seemed to them all that winter had come again, too quickly, to haunt them. Arwen fell back against the men behind her, knowing that she would welcome any child Elbereth sent her. Proudly would she carry a babe through the hallways of the House, and to her it would not matter if the soft curls were dark or auburn.
As Aragorn’s roar echoed in her very bones, and Faramir’s strangled cry rushed through her blood, she decided that preferably she would have at least one of each.
His release trickled down her thighs as she moved to sit. Faramir rolled onto his back again and a lazy smile played upon his lips. When he opened his eyes, though, his gaze was clear. He lifted a hand to her cheek and traced the curve of her cheekbone with his thumb.
She turned to kiss his palm. “Welcome home.”
She knew that in his dark dreams he still despaired, seeing no future and knowing no life, and yet in this moment she could see nothing but happiness in his features.
Behind him, Aragorn was struggling free of the covers. Finally he was able to drape an arm over Faramir’s chest. His expression was serious, however. “I mean to keep you in Minas Tirith from now on,” he said, his voice soft but firm.
Faramir turned to him and there passed between them something that not even Arwen could name. “You cannot do that,” he said. “I too have duties…”
“Aye, but when you do not eat, nor sleep, there is nothing–”
Faramir cut him off with a kiss. A shadow had pulled across his face. “I know,” he said quietly. “I know… but…”
There were no words.
Twice had Arwen felt the shock of pure hate. The first time had been when she had learnt of the attack on her mother, of how her beautiful fëa had been twisted into a rotting darkness that consumed her from within; and was a force unstoppable. The second time had been when she had discovered just how deep Faramir’s wounds ran. Already had her husband fallen in love, and she was well on her way herself, and the discovery of the young man’s agony was like a knife through the heart. And to Faramir himself, a thousand times worse.
But only once had she been powerless to help.
As the winds continued to howl over Gondor and race the icy rain over the plains, she twined her fingers around Aragorn’s, his arm still a protective barrier over Faramir’s heart. Two hands at work, two more to add should the need arise.
There would always be four hands waiting.
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: Vanwa Hravani , LN Tora , , Mel