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29 March 2004 | 4507 words
Title: Dark Dreams
Author: Lilith (email@example.com)
Pairing: Faramir/Aragorn, Faramir/Gríma (implied)
Rating: R for slash
Summary: The Galadhrim depart for Valinor, much to Faramir's dismay.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to the Tolkien estate; all smutty ideas herein are my own.
Notes: Sequel to "Darkness and Light"; by Minx Kat and Lilith. Minx wanted to know what happened to Faramir when the fellowship arrived in Edoras and he was forced to confront Gríma and his personal demons. He finds that healing is a slow process.
Feedback: Please let me know what you think!
"Faramir, wake up!"
Don't listen to him, little brother, Boromir's booming voice filled his head. There are none you can trust save Gríma. Everyone else has abandoned you. He is the only one who loves you now. You will return to him soon.
"No!" Faramir cried out in his sleep. He wept as he felt strong hands shaking him.
Stay here with us, son, his mother urged kindly. That man will only bring you more grief. Haven't you suffered enough, little one? When you are with Gríma again you will find peace.
The voices of his loved ones should have brought comfort, but since Moria they had taken on terrible associations, pulling him back into the pain and fear of those nightmarish days. Still he dreaded to open his eyes. Awake he would feel the knotted lash as the Orcs whipped him relentlessly, would scream as they roughly forced themselves between his legs, would endure the shame of his body's betrayal as he responded to Gríma Wormtongue's insistent caresses. The darkness offered some relief, if only that of momentary oblivion.
But the very real voice that called to him through the darkness would not rest.
"Faramir, my love, please wake up. It's only a dream."
"No, it hurts," he protested, wrenching himself out of the arms that tried to encircle him.
The voice sounded so soothing, so promising, but how could he know who to trust? His loved ones always urged him towards the pale man. And Wormtongue himself often disturbed his dreams, his thin bloodless lips whispering that he was lovely, that he was loved. But Faramir knew this was a lie. The man's eyes were dull and lifeless, as if his soul had died. Faramir knew that if he looked into those eyes he would lose his soul as well. Don't wake up, he told himself.
But he could no longer ignore the arms shaking him to wakefulness. Finally he opened his eyes to see a dark face staring anxiously at him.
"Aragorn?" he asked in a confused voice. He could still hear the voices in his mind; they sounded familiar, but he could no longer make out their words. Faramir shook his head to clear them.
"You were dreaming again," the other man said softly, reaching out to wipe the tears from Faramir's cheek. "Everything is fine now."
Faramir shook his head grimly. "They get worse each night."
Aragorn put his arm around the young man's shoulders. "Was it about Moria again?"
Faramir nodded. "Before I often dreamed of things that were to come, but now in sleep my mind is trapped in the mines. I only think of what happened there –" He shuddered, and was comforted by Aragorn's arm hugging him still closer. "I thought the dreams had ended in Lórien – they did go away for a while – but they haunt me still."
Aragorn smiled. "At the risk of sounding like a certain elf, I must remind you that it takes time to heal your spirit, longer than your body."
"I know that," Faramir said, a bit irritably. Although he recognised the truth in these words, he grew tired of Aragorn and Haldir always counselling patience. "But I fear there is something more sinister. That man I told you about – Gríma Wormtongue – he is often in my dreams. He wants me for some reason. Do you think that means anything?"
Aragorn shook his head. "I do not know. I do trust the foresight of your dreams, for that is what brought you to Rivendell, but I do not know what part this man may still play in our future. Sadly we know very little about him."
"Only that he is a servant of Saruman, and an enemy. I fear there is more to it though." Faramir bit his bottom lip as he thought. After a moment he said, "I cannot think what it might be, but I am afraid our paths will cross again."
Aragorn looked the young man squarely in the eyes. "That day may come, my love, though I will do all I can to prevent it. I will not allow him to hurt you again even if it means my life. I swear this to you on the name of Isildur, and on Gilraen my mother." He searched Faramir's face, making sure his words had sunk in before he continued. "But know that you are strong, Faramir, and you are dearly loved. He has no claim on you. What he did to you he did without your free will; you gave him nothing and you are not bound to him in any way. Even if you encounter him alone, with none but yourself to rely on, you will defeat him. You are a strong and able warrior, Faramir of Gondor, and you have nothing to fear from any man."
Faramir smiled at that – a thin smile, but a smile nonetheless – and Aragorn kissed his lips softly.
"Now you should rest. We must leave early if we are to reach Edoras tomorrow."
"Nay, I have no desire for sleep now," Faramir replied. "I will take the rest of your watch so you can rest."
"Sit with me a while then as I finish my pipe."
Faramir wrapped his blanket around him and followed Aragorn to a fallen log where his long pipe sat, already stuffed full with Longbottom Leaf. They sat beside each other, their arms just touching. The nearness of the man's body warmed Faramir and he breathed deeply of his smoky scent. White threads floated from the pipe, scattering in the cold winter air as surely as his dreams.
The next day the company rode hard across the plains – Gandalf leading them on the mighty Shadowfax, the two men and Legolas with Gimli on sturdy mounts borrowed from the Marshall of Riddermark. Finally, as the sun began sinking beneath the faraway hills, they reached the road leading through the mounds of the dead and on to the courts of Edoras.
"We must ride more warily from this point on," Gandalf cautioned the riders. "Be careful what you say. Do not look for welcome here."
"But the Rohirrim have long been our friends, Mithrandir," Faramir protested. "They are oath-bound to provide aid to Gondor, as we are to them."
"That is the way it has been, Faramir," Gandalf said with a trace of sadness. "But of late the King of Rohan has fallen under Saruman's spell. I cannot see how this has happened for my vision is clouded; something is hiding Théoden's court from my sight. I urge caution as we approach the Golden Hall."
His words echoed in their ears as they passed through the outer walls of the city. Suspicious eyes followed them as they rode, and Faramir felt strangely vulnerable. At last they came to the steep steps leading up to Meduseld. They dismounted, handing their mounts over to the waiting stable keepers before starting the long climb.
When the company reached the top, their way was barred by a large man in bright chain mail. "I must bid you lay aside your weapons before you enter, travellers, by order of Gríma Wormtongue."
Aragorn turned quickly to Faramir as the young man gasped. All the colour had drained from his face – he looked as ashen as the day he was rescued from the mines. His knees seemed unsteady and Aragorn prepared to catch him, fearing that he would fall down the steps they had just climbed. But Faramir did not move. Ignoring the waiting guards, Aragorn lingered until Faramir steadied himself and met his eye. Not until the young man nodded slightly did the ranger hand over his sword.
Faramir unbuckled his own belt and handed it to the Rohirrim guards in a daze. I must get a grip on myself, Faramir thought. I must be strong. He had known this day would come – had even seen it in his dreams, much as he dreaded it. He looked into Aragorn's questioning eyes and read the worry there. I must be strong for him, he thought, as he reminded himself of the older man's words. Wormtongue has no claim on me.
After the travellers were dispossessed of their weapons, they followed Gandalf into the great hall. At the far end sat a bent and aged man in a golden throne. Faramir was overcome with pity as he looked at the once great King Théoden. He was no longer the mighty horse warrior that Faramir had admired years before. Now his face was pallid and wrinkled, and his eyes were cloudy as if covered by an opaque veil. Faramir started as he recognised the same soulless eyes that haunted his dark dreams. He has been bewitched by Wormtongue, he realised.
Faramir stood half-hidden behind the wizard, forcing himself to breathe as his eyes moved to the man sitting beside the king. Gríma was exactly as he remembered – the unearthly white skin framed by dark greasy locks of hair, the bloodless, thin lips that hid crooked teeth and that long forked tongue that had tormented him physically and mentally. Faramir knew each detail of the man as well as he would knew his own lovers.
As you well should, came the unbidden thought.
He felt physically sick. His reeling mind could not register what Gandalf was saying to the king, or Théoden's reply. But his thoughts swirled into focus when he heard Gríma speak. "Why indeed should we welcome you, Master Stormcrow? Láthspell I name you, ill-news; and ill news is an ill guest they say." The king's counsellor laughed grimly then, the sound piercing the base of Faramir's spine.
As Gríma stepped forward then to apprise the rest of the company, his pale eyes rested on Faramir. "Well, what do we have here?" He scurried over to him, and try as he might to move away Faramir could not budge. He felt as if he had been paralysed by the presence of his old enemy.
"My precious son of the steward, you have finally returned to me!" Gríma's voice held a note of glee. "I never believed Lurtz when he said he did not eat you. It seems that I owe him an apology."
"Go away," he begged, as he squeezed his eyes tightly shut to block out the man's presence. It had taken all of his strength to say these two words that now sounded infinitely small within this great hall. Still it was to no avail. The silky voice permeated his consciousness, filling his entire being with its insidious tones.
"Oh, no, dearest, I cannot do that. You belong to me now."
Aragorn looked at Faramir's frightened face. "Leave him alo –," he started, but felt the words constrict in his throat.
"Silence!" Gríma commanded.
Faramir's eyes flew open to see Aragorn straining to move, but not coming any closer. Their panicked eyes locked and Aragorn silently mouthed the words, "I'm sorry." Then his face disappeared as darkness consumed Faramir's vision, leaving only Gríma's face before him.
"I have been calling for you, you know. Do you not still dream of me?" Gríma asked in a fawning voice that sent chills rippling through Faramir's body.
"No!" Faramir was not sure whether he spoke aloud or not. It was all he could do to focus on the word – to register his protest against what was happening, no matter how ineffectual his resistance.
"Oh, but I know that you have," Gríma continued, sidling up beside Faramir and stroking his cheek with his bony fingers. Faramir flinched at the touch, but could not pull himself away. He found himself mesmerised by the man's sallow eyes. "I have dreamed of you, too. I cannot forget the taste of you, nor the pleasure I gave you. Now I have you again."
"I – hate – you!" The words cost him a tremendous effort; Faramir felt weary and sore, as if his body had been soundly beaten. As he had felt in Moria.
"Your body never hated me, Faramir son of Denethor. Oh, yes, I felt you respond to my touch. You wanted me as much I wanted you. Your friends may believe that you were used horribly, but we know differently, don't we?"
All of Faramir's doubts began to resurface – the fear that he had somehow encouraged Gríma, the self-hatred from thinking that he had somehow taken pleasure from him.
"No!" Again the word came out only after a struggle. He wasn't sure whether he spoke to Wormtongue or himself, but he saw a shadow pass over the waxy eyes. Somewhere deep inside he realised that his objections bothered his tormentor. Faramir's resolve was strengthened and he repeated the word, more forcefully this time.
"It is useless to protest," Gríma said, his breath hot against Faramir's ear. "You cannot escape me again – you are bound to me."
His last words reminded Faramir of something he had heard far away, in another time, before his thoughts were clouded. He tried to pin down the thought, but it was elusive. And each time he thought he had it within his grasp, a blinding pain split his head in two.
The obsequious voice whispered into his other ear now. "You gave yourself to me freely. And now you have come back to me of your own free will."
Free will. There it was again – but what was it? Again Faramir clutched at the words, rolling them around in his mouth as he tried to connect them with the illusory images flickering through his anguished mind: a golden elf and golden trees, a strong man's soothing arms around his shoulders, swirling smoke floating from the glowing embers of a long pipe. He could almost smell the pipeweed....
"You will have nothing more to do with these others. I have claimed you as my own."
Wormtongue's mouth was dangerously close to Faramir's now. The young man fought to control the rising bile in his stomach. Suddenly from the depths of his memory he heard an unrecognisable yet comforting voice say, He has no claim on you. What he did to you he did without your free will; you gave him nothing and you are not bound to him in any way.
With a tremendous roar that emerged straight from the pit of his stomach, Faramir screamed "No!" He threw up his arms and pushed Wormtongue away; the surprised man fell at Gandalf's feet, almost knocking the wizard over. Suddenly the darkness disappeared from his eyes and Faramir could see the anxious looks on his friends' faces.
As if waking from a dream, Gandalf flung off his grey robes, revealing the shining white garb hidden underneath. "Enough!" he commanded. "So you are the forked tongue that has poisoned the ears of the king of Rohan." He raised his white staff and Faramir heard rolling thunder fill the hall, followed by a lightning-like flash. Then all was silent; Wormtongue lay sprawled on his face before Gandalf.
Aragorn rushed over to Faramir, who stood staring at the man on the floor. "Faramir, are you all right?"
With a confused look, the young man turned towards Aragorn. "I – I don't know – what happened?"
"We were all enthralled by the charm of Saruman's agent," Gandalf said calmly. "It is my fault. I should have known what to expect after seeing King Théoden. I am sorry, Faramir. Fortunately for all of us you had the strength to resist him."
Gandalf approached the throne. The others could not hear what the wizard said to Théoden, but after a few moments the king rose and walked over to Faramir. The young man's eyes had returned to the figure on the floor. It looked small and helpless now, just a thin, still body outstretched on the elaborate parquetry.
"You are very welcome in Meduseld, Faramir son of Denethor," the king said. Faramir shifted his gaze to the king and saw that the brightness had returned to his deep blue eyes. These eyes now searched Faramir's smoky ones and recognised the same suffering at Wormtongue's hands. "Dark have been my dreams of late," he continued gently, "as I suspect have yours."
"Yes," Faramir replied simply, bowing his head. He felt sorely embarrassed that he was not kneeling before the King of Rohan. Decorum demanded it, but he was uncertain his knees would support him if he tried to move.
Théoden seemed not to notice, though. He clasped his firm hand on Faramir's shoulder. "It is over now, my son. You have proven yourself to be a great warrior. Rohan needs strength like yours in our friends if we are to triumph in the battles ahead of us."
"Your fingers would remember their own strength better if they grasped your sword," Gandalf said, beckoning one of the Rohirrim guards to bring forth the king's neglected scabbard. With one hand, Théoden drew his mighty blade. Faramir's heart filled with hope as he saw the man's power return.
Then two guards grabbed Gríma by the arms and held him up before the king. In a burst of anger, Théoden raised his sword to strike him, but Faramir put out his hand to stay him. "Let him go," he said. "Enough blood has already been spilt on his account. Let us not darken our dreams further, King Théoden."
Théoden looked again into Faramir's eyes. He saw grief there, and much suffering, but he also saw compassion. He smiled at the young man as he slowly lowered his sword. Taking his arm, he led him towards the throne as Gríma was escorted out of the hall and away from Edoras.
There was much rejoicing that night. The subjects of Rohan celebrated their king's recovery with their finest ales and the grandest feasts that could be arranged with such short notice. The travellers were hailed as heroes and innumerable toasts were made to their health. Even King Théoden could be found in the midst of the festivities, laughing with the people of his court and partaking in copious amounts of drink.
Faramir's dark eyes followed the king as he wandered around the room. Théoden seemed to have completely recovered from Wormtongue's enchantment. Faramir felt envious; he wished that he could bring himself to celebrate Gríma's demise. But he couldn't. The man had reached deep into his mind, leaving it raw and aching. It hurt to be that open; Faramir felt exposed and vulnerable even amidst this happy hall.
Now King Théoden was talking to Aragorn and a fair, blond woman. The woman was talking animatedly to the ranger. She is beautiful, Faramir realised, wondering with a sudden pang of jealousy if Aragorn thought the same. As the woman flipped her long hair over her shoulder and the men laughed with her, Faramir felt a tight knot in his stomach.
Of course he would like her, Faramir thought glumly. She is everything that a man would want. Or should want. He had no longing for a woman's touch. Another legacy of Gríma? he wondered sadly. Would he never be free of that evil man?
As if sensing his thoughts, Aragorn looked directly at Faramir and gave him a questioning smile. The young man returned a wan smile that did not satisfy the ranger. He excused himself from the others and came to sit across the table from Faramir.
"Beloved, are you well?" he whispered, his finger lightly tracing Faramir's hand that held his nearly full cup of ale.
Faramir nodded and gave him another thin smile. "I'm just a bit tired. I will be fine."
"Of course you are tired. I have been thoughtless – you should not have to be here."
The woman came over to them then. Addressing Aragorn, she asked, "My lord, is there anything you need?"
Aragorn looked up in surprise and quickly moved his hand away, blushing slightly. Faramir felt his stomach constrict into tighter knots. "Lady Éowyn, I would like to present Faramir, son of Denethor the Steward of Gondor. Faramir, the Lady Éowyn is King Théoden's niece."
The fair woman bowed her head low to him. "We are all indebted to you for restoring my uncle's health, Lord Faramir. You are a most welcome guest in Rohan."
As she lifted her head, Faramir looked into her eyes. They were a brilliant deep blue colour, almost identical to King Théoden's, and in them he saw great intelligence and compassion.
It's no wonder that Aragorn wants to be with her, he thought miserably.
"My lady, my friend is ill," he heard Aragorn say. "Is there a quiet room where I can take him to rest?"
The woman looked curiously at Faramir. "We have healers in the city. Would you have me call them, my lord?"
"No, that is not necessary. Quarters far from this noise will be sufficient."
"No, Aragorn, I don't want to go," Faramir said plaintively, realising his voice sounded childish. I can't bear to have you send me away, he thought to himself. I can't bear to think of what you might do with the Lady Éowyn once I am gone.
"Nonsense," Aragorn said as he rose from the table. "This has been a difficult day and you need to rest."
Faramir did feel exceedingly weary. He even faltered a little as he stood up, causing Aragorn to clasp his arm around his shoulder to steady him. His touch should have been a comfort, but instead it made Faramir feel even more despondent.
They followed Lady Éowyn up a long flight of stairs and then down a hallway to the far end of Meduseld. She opened the last door and turned to the men. "This was the chamber of the king's son, Théodred. No one will disturb you here."
"Thank you, my lady. There is great hospitality in this land."
Éowyn watched from the doorway as Aragorn guided the young man to the bed and knelt on the floor to unlace his boots. After gently pulling them off, and the woollen socks underneath, his fingers gently massaged Faramir's feet. The dark man who had seemed so sullen now shone with love. Éowyn was astonished by the intimacy of the scene. Although she yearned to continue watching, she suddenly felt embarrassed and wanted to give the privacy she knew the men desired. Clearing her throat, she said, "Is there anything else I can get for you before I go?"
The two men turned to her as one, looking surprised as if not realising she was still there.
"No, we have everything we need," realising the trust of his words as he spoke. "Thank you again, my lady."
As soon as the door closed, Faramir said, "You do not have to stay with me, my lord."
Aragorn frowned. "Do you want to be alone?"
A look of panic flashed across Faramir's face. That was the last thing he wanted, but he would not have Aragorn stay solely on his account. "I want you to be happy, my lord," he finally answered. "I think you would be happier celebrating with the others."
"How can you think that, Faramir?" Aragorn said crossly. "Do you think so little of me that you believe I would rather be at a party than here at your side? I am offended that you hold me in such low esteem."
"But you were enjoying yourself, and enjoying the company of the Lady of Rohan," Faramir hoarsely replied. "You do not need to protect me now, my lord."
Aragorn's dark eyes glistened with tears at the young man's words. He had felt such guilt at not being able to protect him from Wormtongue. He had fought to speak, to move, but the enchanter's spell was too strong. It had made him ill to watch the evil man circle closer and closer to Faramir, stroking his fine features with his gnarled fingers, but he had been helpless to prevent it. He knew he had let the young man down, and now he knew Faramir felt the same way.
Sadly he asked, "Why do you call me 'my lord,' Faramir? Is that all I am to you now?"
"No, no," Faramir replied quickly, surprised by the sadness in the man's voice.
"I know that I have failed you, Faramir. I broke my oath to protect you, and I understand if I have forfeited your love." The words almost choked in Aragorn's throat. "I will leave you if that is what you desire. I would not cause you any more pain than I already have."
Aragorn stood up and started to leave the room. Faramir was dumbstruck for a moment. The ranger already had his hand on the door handle before he was able to cry out, "No, Aragorn, please don't leave me."
Aragorn turned around. As soon as he saw the tears in Faramir's face, he rushed back to the bed and pulled the young man into his arms.
"Darling, don't be sad. I am not going anywhere unless you want me to."
"I don't want you to go, Aragorn," was the mournful reply. "Never leave me."
Aragorn pressed his lips against the dark ringlets of Faramir's hair. The young man's body was curled tightly into a ball. Aragorn wrapped his arms around him as wet tears dampened his tunic. The ranger murmured soft endearments in elvish. He praised him for overcoming Wormtongue's charms, telling him repeatedly how strong he was. He told him how proud he had been when Faramir saved them all, and spared his enemy with compassion. He reassured him of his love, promising to be with him until the end of time. He knew that although Faramir could not understand the words, he was soothed by the musical language. Gradually the sobs subsided. His hands still clutched Aragorn's tunic for a while longer, but finally his hold relaxed as Faramir slipped into a deep sleep.
Aragorn gently pulled warm blankets around the young man before quietly undressing and sliding into bed beside him.
"Good night, my dearest love," he said as he kissed Faramir's forehead, but the young man didn't notice. He was far away, standing before the citadel in Minas Tirith. The courtyard was filled with people dressed in their finest attire. Boromir was there, and Mithrandir, and even the hobbits and their other companions. In the midst of it all stood Aragorn wearing the crown of Gondor. And then the king smiled at him.
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: LN Tora