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12 January 2011 | 6050 words
Title: Cold Feet
Rating: R (it’s pretty mild, but just to be safe!)
Warnings: Slash, fluff, general silliness, mild sexual scenes and one use of crude language :P
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me. All written in good fun with no offence intended!
Author’s Note: I take full responsibility for the utter nonsense you are about to read. This began as an attempt to write a story in which nothing takes place with any characters in bed (because I have realised rather belatedly that this is a mainstay of everything else I have written. I make no excuses, but I feel I should explore new ground now and again…)…and then I caught a dreadful cold and everything took a turn for the silly around about the moment Aragorn asks Faramir if he has a fireplace in his bedroom. After that, well, all good intentions as to expanding my scene-writing abilites went out the window and I even dared an attempt at flu-medicine-addled humour. Enjoy, I think? Its very fluffy, and generally has no plot or point. You truly have been warned (I give up my bedroom scenes for no-one!)
Here is a list of the things Aragorn can see: a fireplace that is more smoke than fire, though it is hot so he does not bother to stoke it; a large painting hung upon the far wall of pines and the river and the sunset, greens and purples and oranges, though it is not his room so he has no further knowledge of the image, but he supposes it to be Ithilien; a stack of books upon the floor, topmost of which is dog-eared and much-read, with a title inscribed in such looping and faded script that it is nigh unreadable in the firelight; and finally, closest to him and most pleasant of all, the parting of coppery-blonde hair, a neat line in an otherwise rough and tangled sea, from crown to forehead upon the head of his dear friend Faramir.
It is Faramir’s drawing room, and in it, next to the hearth, is a large and comfortable chaise longue, upholstered in dark green velvet and standing upon four sturdy oak legs. Upon this sits Aragorn, and upon Aragorn leans Faramir, though it would be presumptuous, nay, scandalous to suggest any untoward goings-on. Familiarity does not necessitate intimacy, necessarily. And there are many types of intimacy, some more subtle than others. If Aragorn is absently winding a strand of Faramir’s hair around one finger while he reads then who is to say it has any significance other than the combination of restless hands and a close friendship?
Faramir does not notice, or perhaps, Faramir does notice but he doesn’t react, for he is dozing with his book lying open in his lap, pages tinted orange by the fire, one bare foot upon the couch, the other dangling. To say he is leaning on Aragorn is slightly inaccurate though not wholly untrue. ‘Lying upon’ is perhaps a more fitting description, though, in the pursuit of precision, ‘half on, half off’ might be used instead. The young man drifts deeper into sleep, and the knuckle-wound strand is released and captured once more, spiralling over a callus and a glinting ring. Aragorn is comfortable; he is not wearing the stiff Royal fashion on this evening, but a simple shirt, breeches, a belt of woven, black leather. Faramir wears what is possibly a nightshirt in actuality, and his legs are bare, though he has deigned to don an undergarment this evening. The hem of his shirt maintains his modesty, in any case. Scandal is overrated, and the door is locked, so there is nothing for prying eyes or sharp ears to record and spread. Aragorn and Faramir are close friends, that is all, and if Faramir had been convinced to abandon his notion of an early night by the arrival of his King at his door, books in tow, then what of it indeed? It at least explains the nightclothes and the lethargy.
Aragorn begins to read out loud, softly though, for slight guilt is harboured at keeping Faramir from his bed, and he does not wish to disturb him further. The elven words slip from his tongue, delicate, smooth, lilting in their poetry. Faramir only breathes deeper and turns his cheek to rest against his King’s chest. Aragorn continues, telling the slumbering Faramir of star-crossed Eldar lovers and the songs they sang to one another in the midst of golden forests. Faramir’s breathing does not change, and he does not stir. Aragorn’s hand slips from his hair and comes to rest in the curve between Faramir’s neck and shoulder, and that is how the two men remain for many long minutes.
When Faramir awakes the only sound he hears is the low crackling of the fire, now blazing merrily and comparatively smoke free. He does not turn, or speak; he merely makes note of three things and considers them silently. The first thing is the comfortable quiet of the room; he wonders perhaps that the words he heard were simply a product of his dream, now ebbing too fast to recall, though he thinks of gilt-edged leaves inexplicably. The second is the warmth; the heat of the fire, and the deep, seeping, steady heat of the body he leans against. Aragorn’s heat. The third is the hand that rests over his chest, Aragorn’s loose embrace, a slip of his arm as he himself felt the text before him blur as drowsiness overtook him as well. Faramir realises that this is really not an entirely appropriate way for the King and the Steward to arrange themselves when alone together, dozing or otherwise. But if Aragorn doesn’t mind, then neither does he.
They were comfortable with one another, and there was never any awkwardness, nor any hesitation or strange, questioning glances between them. In fact, the glances between them were of a different sort, though they were in themselves so fleeting and transient and without definition that neither man could have confirmed that they even occurred. Tactility, an arm over shoulders, a stray lock of hair pushed from grey eyes, a brief, soft kiss upon a copper-whiskered cheek. These things didn’t happen too often, but they occurred nonetheless; naturally, unconsciously and publicly.
“Forgive me, Faramir.” Aragorn yawns suddenly, shifting. He lifts his hand from his Steward’s chest but lets it rest upon his shoulder, and Faramir finds himself experiencing odd relief that it is not removed entirely. “I keep you from your bed only to fall asleep on your couch myself.” Faramir looks up and around at Aragorn, and the King smiles at him, eyes half-shut in sleepy content. The angles of Faramir’s face are set into sharp relief then by the firelight, and Aragorn feels a strange new fire kindle within him, somewhere deep down. He tries to dismiss it as familiarity, his high regard for a dear friend indeed. But even deeper down he knows it’s nothing of the sort.
“Nonsense, my lord, I have enjoyed this interlude,” Faramir smiles, his use of the title more of an endearment between them now than any indication of formality. “For what portion of it that I was awake, I should add.”
A soft laugh from the King, and Faramir finally, and he finds, a little reluctantly, sits up to allow the older man to rise, which he doesn’t do, not immediately. Instead, Aragorn sets his book upon the pile next to the couch and holds his hand out for Faramir’s tome, which he duly hands over, vague puzzlement dancing over his features for a moment.
“I enjoy spending time with you, Faramir.” Aragorn was arranging and rearranging his hands in his lap, nervous, perhaps, and Faramir looks at him quizzically.
“And I, you.” The younger man pulls at the lower edge of his shirt, suddenly and unexpectedly self-conscious. The King seems on the edge of asking a question, but he halts, and if Faramir wasn’t deceived by the low light or his own sleep-affected mind he might say that Aragorn was blushing.
Aragorn himself was unsure. What he wanted to ask was difficult, impossible, but he had to ask. Of course, if he was wrong… Disastrous didn’t quite cover it.
“I…I will leave you to sleep, my Steward.” He can’t do it. Instead, Aragorn reaches over and cups Faramir’s cheek with his palm gently, fingers encroaching into the auburn tangle, before he withdraws and rises finally. “Can I also leave the books?” The corner of his mouth twitches.
Faramir looks up at him and smiles. “I think you know the answer to that.”
“Quite.” That soft laugh again and one of those ephemeral glances, held for a heartbeat by both men, and then Aragorn turns and steps toward the door. Faramir gets to his feet and follows, intent on seeing Aragorn to the door, if indeed he is going to leave so apparently abruptly. His bare feet slap on the stone floor. His hand comes to rest on Aragorn’s elbow.
“Stay.” The hand hovers suddenly as Faramir realises that what he is saying makes little sense. “I mean…actually, I do not know.” Laughing nervously, Faramir steps back, releasing Aragorn from his touch and from his unexpected request. A strange aura seems to linger between them, intangible, expectant. All either of them has to do is take that final step, but Aragorn cannot, and it does not occur to Faramir that the unnamed, familiar flame down within his chest burns in the other man’s heart also. “I should probably retire, though I have enjoyed your company greatly, as always.”
“Is…there a fireplace in your bed chamber?”
“You know there is, my lord.”
“Is it lit?”
Faramir frowns. “…it is not.”
Aragorn leans against the door, arms folded and expression one of deep, and apparently genuine concern. “I would not like you to be cold, Faramir.”
The younger man looks up at him, perplexity wrought in his eyebrows. “I have bedcovers, blankets, you know,” He gestures vaguely. “I think I will survive.” He bites his lip, amused. “I thank you for your concern, my lord. I think.”
“But in the first instance when you climb into bed, before body heat seeps into the sheets, you will be cursing the flagstones for chilling your feet.”
“Aragorn, what on earth are you talking about?” Faramir folds his arms and looks at his King as if he is mad. Aragorn laughs.
“You-” He says, stepping away from the doorframe and standing directly before Faramir. “-are the one who asked me to stay. And I-” He places a hand on each of Faramir’s shoulders. “-am making the executive decision to stay in your bed tonight. To warm you up, of course.” He kisses Faramir in the space between his eyebrows. “Coming?”
Aragorn doesn’t know where the sudden confidence and flirtatiousness and certainty come from but he doesn’t wish to dwell on them too long lest they evaporate just as quickly as they appeared. His heart feels obvious in his chest, thumping like hoof beats on soft turf and his stomach is a knot of fiery nerves. Subconsciously he has had a realisation, and this realisation is that becoming tangled with Faramir on the couch is something he’d like to do more often. A lot more often, and not necessarily always on the couch.
He doesn’t wait for Faramir to answer, nor does he wait to see what facial expression his poor Steward eventually decides upon. Aragorn spins on his heel and strides toward Faramir’s bedroom door, heaving it open and, with a quick glance and a grin over his shoulder, steps into the cool darkness beyond.
It’s a good minute or so before Faramir can process what has just happened. His heart batters itself against his ribcage but no heed is paid to that; did Aragorn just say he was spending the night? In his bed? It was true, Faramir had asked him to stay, but even he hadn’t known what he really meant by that. Perhaps the King would have read for a little longer, or they could have talked, and perhaps while doing so Faramir would have finally found the opportunity to let Aragorn know that while he genuinely liked his company regardless, it was the intimacy that the King granted to him that he liked especially. Faramir has an awful feeling that while he refuses to consider the words falling for, he may well be attracted to Aragorn, the very same Aragorn who is now likely making himself comfortable in his bed, and he has now a very sneaking suspicion that this is Aragorn’s way of telling him that he is attracted to Faramir. He tries not to think of the myriad reasons why this is a very bad idea and has taken two steps toward the bedroom door before he realises he has even done so.
What is he expecting to find through that door? The end of innocent tangles on the couch, for certain. One way or the other, those sweet moments will be consigned to the past. He takes a very deep breath, then one more for luck, and steps through the door into his bedroom.
Aragorn was right, the floor is like ice, and Faramir’s toes curl against the freezing stone as he stands in the doorway and takes in the scene presented before him. Candles have, somehow, been lit on the bedside table, and the curtains have been drawn. His bed…-Faramir takes a very deep breath.
His bed is spacious, with a comfortably firm mattress and copious amounts of warm blankets, soft furs and smooth sheets spread upon it, or they were smooth before Aragorn got a hold of them. Faramir refuses to look at Aragorn yet, and instead manages to stare confusedly at his clothes-chest at the foot of the bed, now buried beneath a layer of Aragorn’s crumpled and inside-out clothing. Faramir wants to say something about this not being why the clothes-chest is so named but he holds his tongue, far more preoccupied with another realisation: if Aragorn’s clothes are on the clothes-chest then he is not, himself, wearing them. Faramir looks up.
Aragorn is in his bed. Faramir knew this the moment he stepped through the door, of course, but he has been trying to quash that reality from existence as best he can, not because Aragorn in his bed is something he doesn’t want, but-…and then he realises that he cannot think coherently past the part where it so happens that his King is in his bed waiting for him to join him. Or haul him out of it, and those are really the only two choices available. Faramir meets Aragorn’s eye finally and looks at him helplessly.
Aragorn is making a great effort to control his breathing, a successful effort so far, but he knows that soon enough, whatever Faramir decides to do, it will not last long. Choice number one, the far more logical one: Faramir comes to his senses, strides over to the bed, places his arms around Aragorn and throws him out of the bed. It is small comfort to know that despite Faramir still being physically fit after years as a Ranger they are both probably evenly matched when it comes to strength, so any throwing out of beds would have to be a mutually agreed arrangement.
Then there is choice number two, the one that is as likely as it is not: Faramir comes to his senses, strides over to the bed, places his arms around Aragorn. And then Aragorn would place his arms around Faramir, and then what? Would he kiss him? What would that be like? He shivers at this thought; he’d not actually thought this through past confounding poor Faramir and diving into his bed. Then he comes up with an even more salient question: does Faramir feel the same way toward him that he does toward Faramir? Tangles on the couch were one thing, and perhaps Faramir honestly didn‘t see anything in them beyond some strange aspect of their camaraderie. Perhaps he was just going along with what he thought might be his new King’s peculiar habits. It had been, after all, Aragorn who had first slung an arm around Faramir’s shoulders as they studied old maps together in the library, so many months ago.
He decides to apologise at the same instant that Faramir manages to speak.
“Faramir, I think I may have made a mis-”
“Are you wearing any undergar-”
Aragorn almost laughs, but Faramir’s eyes are darting between him and the clothes piled upon the chest with the look of a man who has suddenly thought of something pertinent to the situation. Aragorn barks out a “Yes!” rather more loudly and urgently than he had intended, then bites his lip as Faramir mulls this over.
The floor is truly cold beyond reckoning and Faramir is, for now, fighting the desire to step onto the fur rug before him, for while his feet would surely thank him the rug itself is somewhat nearer the bed than his current position, and he has not decided what to do about Aragorn yet. That his King has indeed retained some sense of modesty while at the same time taking the liberty of making himself comfortable is small comfort, but insofar as alleviating Faramir of his predicament it is merely a detail. He was secretly rather thankful that they had interrupted each other.
He steps toward the bed, not quite making it to the refuge of the rug.
“I…am not sure I should get in the bed with you, my lord.”
Aragorn visibly swallows, but his voice has a King’s confidence. “And why is that?”
Faramir reaches up and scratches the back of his neck absently with a hand; it is either that or fiddle with the hem of his shirt, and he doesn’t want to give Aragorn any ideas, just yet. “Cold feet.” He catches himself, realising that his words have meaning that he perhaps doesn’t truly stand by, though as he is still figuring it out himself it would not do to show Aragorn all of the cards just yet. “Literally.” Aragorn follows his Steward’s downward gaze and sees that Faramir is indeed still barefoot on the icy stones.
“Do you have no house-shoes, Faramir?” Aragorn raises his eyebrows at him, and folds his arms. He has pulled the bedcover up to his chest, and the thought comes to him that he may well have usurped his Steward’s preferred side of the bed as well as made extreme assumptions about the poor man’s preferences in other, more private, matters.
“I do not wear my house-shoes in bed, my lord. Or, is that something that only Kings do? For I would say it goes along quite well with the leaping-headlong-into-the-Steward’s-bed aspect of ruling that you seem to have embraced so enthusiastically.” There is something that is not quite a smirk upon Faramir’s features as the younger man takes another step toward the bed.
Ignoring the mild jibe, Aragorn smiles, feeling that victory is his, though what battle they were waging he doesn’t know. He certainly doesn’t want to fight with Faramir, but what he does want to do with him he isn‘t exactly clear upon either. “So, by that I take it to mean that you are, while we are both, hopefully, still somewhat young, going to get into the bed?”
Faramir throws him a pained expression, but he clenches his fists briefly before finally closing the distance between himself and the bed. His toes thank him for the pelt-lined reprieve. His hands lie flat on the topmost blanket and he looks at Aragorn with an expression that betrays wariness, temptation and indecision all at once. The way Faramir’s fingers do not fidget with the bedclothes gives Aragorn some small hope that his Steward is not as nervous as he himself is currently feeling; over-stepping the mark didn’t quite cover it if Faramir were to reject him now. He swallows, again, and makes one last attempt. He all but whispers; “Will you stay the night with me?”
Despite the fact that it is the Steward’s bed and that it would indeed be Aragorn staying the night with Faramir, that still clinches it. Faramir feels as if there is molten lead in his belly but he ignores the strange heat within him and climbs into the bed, pulling the covers open and sitting beside Aragorn, who jolts suddenly as if scalded by a hot iron. Faramir stares at him.
Aragorn regains some composure, as much as he can while seated in his Steward’s bed barely-dressed and answers with a half-smile; “Cold feet.”
“I did warn you.” Faramir looks at him apologetically and tries not to think of how to proceed once they have run the course of this little conversation. He hugs his knees to his chest beneath the bedcover, and wonders in quiet horror if Aragorn expects them to make love this evening. Horror, not at the prospect of making love to Aragorn, but horror at the prospect of doing it tonight, so soon. Then he wonders what so soon means, because if this is the beginnings of what could be possibly the strangest relationship he has ever come across, then what? He bites his lip again, for a moment, then decides that the direct approach would be prudent now that they are both here and looking for all the world like two idiots in a bed.
“Three things, Aragorn.” Faramir raises his hand and counts each point off on a finger as he goes. “Firstly, are you-…is this-…are we entering into some sort of…courtship…affair?” Faramir bewilders himself, but he is nothing if not persistent. “Secondly, are we going to…-” His pause in the search for the next word is so long that Aragorn almost attempts to finish his sentence for him before Faramir finally has out with it, and its bluntness is all the more unexpected for that. “-…fuck?”
Faramir stares at him, not in fear, but Aragorn can hear the indecision in his voice. He reaches up and curls his hands around Faramir’s, still counting off his points in mid-air, and brings them down to the valley between them in the blankets. “Faramir.” His voice is low and kind and he runs his thumb over the back of Faramir’s hand soothingly. He says the only thing he can think of while his mind whirls. “What was the third thing?”
“I do not want things to change.” Faramir says, eyes upon their joined hands. He wriggles his own hand free slightly in order to weave his fingers between those of his King. “Between us, I mean. I cannot explain properly.” He frowns, then looks up at Aragorn. “Was everything between us, and I think you know what I mean, was it all seduction from the start? I know I played my part, but you were the instigator.” He doesn’t accuse, and Aragorn is sure his Steward squeezes his hand a little more firmly as he speaks.
“No, it-” Aragorn pauses, then decides to answer what is probably the foremost question in poor Faramir’s mind. “I would like to stay with you tonight, Faramir; I would like to lie beside you, keep you warm, kiss you, if you would let me. Nothing more until dawn, I promise.” And with that, Aragorn supposes he has answered another of Faramir’s questions. “To clarify, I do intend for this to be a…courtship affair, as you so eloquently put it, my dear friend.” Faramir scowls at him, but there is humour in it, and Aragorn laughs. “Of course, it all depends on whether or not you would have your King for a lover.” He frees his hands and sweeps one through Faramir’s hair fleetingly, brushing the waves from his face and noticing as if for the first time how fair his complexion is beneath the Rangers’ tan; pale freckles and red-blonde hair. “It was not seduction from the start, but I do confess that it became seduction, however subtle, rather shortly after. I did not expect it to ever come to anything, and I know not what has possessed me tonight. For that, I am truly sorry, but the truth is that I have been falling in love with you for quite some time now.”
Faramir’s mind reels, and then he shakes his head as if to clear it and it seems, surprisingly, to work. There will be no lovemaking, yet, if he doesn’t wish it, and he trusts Aragorn enough to know that the King would honour his inelegantly expressed apprehension. This is ridiculous, he thinks. He is no fool, nor is he weak-willed or a coward. He is not afraid of making love to Aragorn, but it is too soon, so soon that it is still a strange although not unwelcome fantasy to even consider making love to Aragorn to be a distinct possibility. And as for confessions of love, he wonders how Aragorn knows he will not run away from such an unabashed display of keenness, as if the invasion of his bed weren’t quite enough.
But Faramir will not run away. Instead, and he knows he has left Aragorn hanging, waiting for his response, instead, he reaches across and pulls the bedcover up and over, drawing Aragorn down into a safe, dark, warm haven beneath the blanket where it is just the two of them lying together, even more intimate than before. Faramir breathes in and the scent of the linen and of Aragorn fills his lungs and he knows in that instant that to have Aragorn’s scent upon his bedclothes is not something he could ever take offence at.
“Would you do me the honour of warming me up?” The smile in Faramir’s voice is impossible to miss and Aragorn finds himself grinning back, though their eyes are yet to adjust to the dimness of the land beneath the sheets.
“Come here then.”
Faramir feels as if he should be shaking now, but he isn’t. There was suddenly nothing so strange about this, nothing notable at all about sliding closer to Aragorn beneath the bedcover, nothing at all out of the ordinary about the way Aragorn’s hand brushes his arm on its way to the cleft between his shoulder blades. Aragorn pulls him close, winding and pushing his lower arm beneath Faramir’s side to embrace him fully. There is a moment of uncertainty; how close does one press themselves to their King when in bed with him? Then Faramir remembers that they need not dance along this line of innocuousness any longer, and he arranges himself suddenly, with a soft, deep breath, looping an arm around Aragorn’s back and forcing, gently, a leg between the King’s own two. This results in a soft ‘oh’, and Faramir finds that it is now that the shivers come. He hooks his chin over Aragorn’s shoulder, closes his eyes, and breathes.
Aragorn is trying not to let Faramir excite him, but it is a battle he knows he will lose, eventually. At the moment, he tries to concentrate on the fact his face is buried neatly in the niche between Faramir’s neck and shoulder, and he breathes in, properly for the first time, a lungful of fragrant, soft, wavy hair. The scent is so inimitably Faramir; soap and leather and somehow, the wind. He holds Faramir close and feels the younger man settle against him, one hand spreading against the King’s back; the other is trapped between them, fingers splaying over Aragorn’s heartbeat. Aragorn feels his Steward shudder. Seducing Faramir had never been an altogether serious endeavour, he never thought it would actually work. His intentions have always been true, his admissions, the honest truth. He has been falling in love with Faramir, and now he can’t quite believe that what began as an innocent flirtation with lovely, companionable results could ever blossom into this.
Faramir pulls away gently, but not far, a decision set upon his face, unseen in the gloom of this secret cavern. Aragorn brings his hand up to tangle in the auburn waves.
“What is it?”
Faramir’s voice is low and a little halting when he eventually replies. “I…maybe I-…my stance on certain matters may have…changed, somewhat. A little.” He punctuates this by pushing his hips forward, causing his thigh to slide further between Aragorn’s legs and for his slowly burgeoning arousal to press against his King’s lower stomach.
A low ‘Mmmh,’ is Aragorn’s response, and then, as his hand sweeps back through Faramir’s hair, curling around the back of his head, he adds, smiling; “I think the time has come for me to kiss you.” And then he does just that, and the long, low, rumble that escapes Faramir’s throat fuels Aragorn’s slowly building desire and he feels his own flesh stir down below. Faramir kisses so delicately, and Aragorn knows that this is because he is nervous. He doesn’t dare deepen the kiss yet; this, right here, is perfect enough. He presses his lips to those of the younger man, and lets Faramir discover for himself the new sensation of stubble against his cheek.
It seemed so silly, hiding beneath the bedclothes, right up until Aragorn’s lips came up against his own, and he dared kiss back, and then, it wasn’t so silly after all. It was their own space, a place where Faramir has the rest of his life to dissect in his mind the differences between kissing women and men. He would have thought it preposterous, mere hours before, if someone had suggested that he would be spending this evening with his King. In bed, kissing him. His is very aware of the heat resting atop his thigh, and he pushes forward again, only a little, unable to halt the urges pusling through his body as his instincts awaken.
Aragorn pulls away this time, pressing a soft, last kiss to Faramir’s mouth before drawing back. “Are you alright?”
Faramir nods, realising he is panting slightly only when he speaks. “It is too hot under here.”
“Escape then? Or do you wish to und-” But Aragorn gets no further, for Faramir has wriggled away and back, an arm thrust upward awkwardly as he maneuvres himself out of his nightshirt. That accomplished, he pulls the bedcover down, exposing himself and Aragorn to the slightly cooler air of the room. The nightshirt he flings over the end of the bed before leaning across and kissing Aragorn so deeply on the mouth that the King has little choice but to part his lips and accommodate Faramir’s exploratory tongue as it slides wetly and hungrily against his own.
A moment of passion, so often felt and so rarely acted upon. Faramir decides to act this time, to kiss Aragorn as boldy as he dares, and he will deal with the rush of tangled trepidations afterwards. Kissing his King, after all, is actually quite wonderful, most especially when he is kissing back..
A short while later and the King and his Steward have arranged themselves into a neatly comfortable position; Faramir lies on his back, arms folded over Aragorn’s hand which rests lightly upon his chest. The King himself has recaptured the hollow between Faramir’s neck and shoulder and his breath rushes hotly over the younger man’s skin.
How indeed does one allude to the fact one is still rather excited in a certain department without being crude or demanding? Faramir doesn’t know whether or not he wants Aragorn to rectify this situation either.
“I…may need to see to myself.” Faramir cringes, and a small part of him notes how funny this would be were it not himself currently experiencing this predicament. Aragorn looks up at him with such innocent concern that he forgets his awkwardness and laughs. Comprehension visibly dawns on Aragorn, and he grins.
“You need only ask, you know.” As he speaks he frees his hand from beneath Faramir’s folded arms and slides it slowly southwards, beneath bedclothes and creeping beneath the waistband of Faramir’s undergarments before the Steward covers the King’s hand with his own and halts him.
“Perhaps…not tonight. Not yet.” He looks at Aragorn apologetically and he knows his cheeks are a little flushed. “I am sor-” But Aragorn silences him with the lightest brush of lip against lip and Faramir melts into him, turning onto his side to face his King and flinging an arm around him. They kiss softly, almost chastely, with only the most playful flick of the tongue, and then Faramir leans back and looks at Aragorn through heavy-lidded eyes.
“Are you truly in love with me?”
“Yes, I believe so.” Aragorn’s eyes dance across Faramir’s features, committing the lines of his face to memory. “Is that so strange?”
“Yes.” Faramir laughs, and Aragorn smiles at him, eyes half-shut in sleepy content.
“Do you think that is something you could live with, Faramir? The knowledge that your King loves you as more than his Steward and friend?” He pauses, and his hand turns and tightens around Faramir’s. “Do you think one day you could love me in the same way?” He knows he probably shouldn’t have asked that, but it’s done now.
Faramir bites his lip and then nods. He looks into grey eyes and lets out a long, slow breath. “I must admit that I looked forward to spending time with you, not only because of our similar temperament, but because there was always a part of me that took enjoyment from seeing how close we would end up by the evening’s end. I had no name for that feeling, I still cannot define it. But I would find no shame and no dishonour in loving you, Aragorn.” And he knows, with that said, that part of him has already begun loving Aragorn. He is a good King, a wise man and a dear friend, and Faramir can see no reason why he cannot love him.
Aragorn laughs suddenly, and at Faramir’s raised eyebrows he elaborates. “I do believe I have now kept you up for possibly half the night? You should sleep, Faramir. I really am sorry.” He pushes a strand of hair behind Faramir’s ear and shifts. “Lie on your other side.”
Faramir complies, though willing to indeed spend the whole night with Aragorn he will, however, construct no argument if the King is insisting he go to sleep. As if to settle the matter, he yawns, and the reason for Aragorn’s wish that he lie facing away from him is quickly made clear. The King aligns himself behind Faramir, an arm slung over him and a kiss pressed to the back of his Steward’s neck. The heat in his groin has not quite abated, but he shushes Faramir’s apology and halts the half-turn of his head with another kiss upon his cheek.
“Sleep, Faramir. That is what you should be thinking of.”
“Instant sleep is not something I am particulary skilled at, you know.”
“Call yourself a Ranger, Faramir?” Aragorn buries his face in the younger man’s hair again and closes his eyes.
“Perhaps, though if you would be so kind as to cease bestowing titles upon me for one month I might have a better grasp of what it is I am actually meant to be.” Faramir yawns again, and settles finally, eyes sliding shut and his King’s warmth at his back. “What happens tomorrow when your servants come to deliver the hot water and find that you are not in your bed? Moreover, what happens when mine come and find that you are in here?”
“That is a mere triviality.”
“Scandal, more like.”
“Sleep, dear Faramir. Or else I will knock you over the head myself.” Aragorn tightens his armhold on Faramir for a moment, then relaxes. Faramir sighs in laughter. Soon, he feels his own breathing slow into sleep’s rhythm and he drifts at the edge of slumber for unknown minutes. Aragorn is already asleep, quiet and still, warm at his back. The last thing Faramir remembers is the contrast between the cool air of the room on his cheek and the heat of his King’s breath upon his neck. He knows no more until sunrise.
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