This story is rated «NC-17», and carries the warnings «Slash, AU (Denethor!lives)».
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21 April 2013 | 40330 words | Work in Progress
Summary: In the months after the war, Aragorn and Faramir find themselves drawn to each other. But Faramir has issues that need to be resolved.
Warnings: Slash, AU (Denethor!lives)
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and places are Tolkien’s
A/N: This is AU. Denethor lives in it. Boromir is dead but leaves behind a son. Denethor is the Steward. Faramir as of now has no title per se.
I constantly have grand plans for this fic so it seems the only way to throw in some semblance of control over the storyline is to break into a series of fics. This fic is the first of that series.
This fic is my birthday present to the lovely and amazing Iris, who truly deserves many beautiful fics and pics featuring darling Faramir. This fic, like quite a few of my other ones, would in all likelihood have stayed in my head if she hadn’t asked for it to be actually written. Thank you dear Iris, for all your encouragement:)
The first chapter is also unbetaed because for once I want it to be a bit of a surprise:) All errors are mine and mine alone.
And much thanks to Iris for betaing subsequent chapters:)
The king of Gondor resisted the urge to throw something at his councilor from Lossarnach. The man had been speaking for well close to a half hour now on the turnip harvest in the valley, spilling over into the time reserved for discussing the pressing Corsair problem in Pelargir. They would finish late yet again, and he would again get to spend less time this evening with Arwen. He glanced to his right towards his Steward who was now frowning angrily at the vocal councilor, his long fingers tightening around the handle of the wine goblet in front of him. Aragorn almost grinned inwardly as he realised his steward appeared to be of the same mind on the verbosity of the councilor. He sat back a little now. He could leave it to his Steward to deal with this issue. Denethor could quell most of the councilors with a single glance if he chose to.
It never ceased to surprise him that Denethor had accepted his claim to the throne, and more, had agreed to continue serving as his Steward. He had been most wary of the Steward’s reaction when he and the others had arrived barely in time to help the besieged city. But his arrival it seemed had also served to restore some hope in the beleaguered Steward of Gondor. Gandalf had told him later that Denethor had nearly given up, not just on his city but also on himself and his kin. With his elder son Boromir dead on the quest, his younger son, Faramir possibly dying of his battle injuries, and with no news of his grandson Andreth in Pelargir, Denethor had succumbed to despair aided also by far too frequent use of his palantìr. Gandalf had more than once told Aragorn that he had arrived just in time, to prevent the Steward burning down half the citadel taking him and his younger son along, and later in helping heal the ailing Faramir.
Prior to the final war, King and Steward had met again in many the pre-war councils, appraised each silently, and found themselves to be of accord on all matters related to Gondor. They had fought alongside at the Black Gate and on returning, Denethor had informed him of his decision to support his claim. And Aragorn had asked him to remain as Steward, and counsel and friend.
The year after the war had been hard and strenuous, as everyone had worked together to restore the city to its erstwhile glory. In all these months, neither man seemed to give the other reason to doubt those decisions. Denethor’s counsel was invaluable and sound, and Aragorn was well-liked as a ruler. Now everyone looked ahead to a peaceful and happy summer this year, and Aragorn found himself feeling more relaxed and content than he ever had. Arwen was happy too as the summer neared and he often woke to the sound of her soft singing as she opened the windows looking out onto the terraced gardens in the citadel.
He looked around the table, letting the drone of the turnip harvest speech subside into the background. It had been a while since he had spent a quiet evening with his wife and friends, he thought. Perhaps they could do that tomorrow. He, Arwen, Legolas, Gimli, Denethor, and Andreth who had returned to the city now. His lips curved a little as thought of the boy. Andreth was similar to his father in so many ways that at times Aragorn couldn’t decide whether it made him happy or sad to see Boromir reflected so clearly in that joyful, laughing face.
If there was one thing that created a pall over their contentment that was the absence of Boromir. Yet, Andreth served in some ways a reminder that life went on. The charming young lad was the only offspring of a short-lived marriage between Denethor’s eldest son and the daughter of the lord of Pelargir, who had passed on giving birth to him. Boromir had spoken of him often to Aragorn and the others in the fellowship, in proud and loving tones. Fostered for most of his childhood in Dol Amroth while Minas Tirith struggled through the wars, the boy was completely doted on by his grandfather now. It would be most enjoyable to meet the boy again.
Aragorn glanced further down the table and noticing the dark head of hair bent over a sheaf of parchment, he reminded himself that they must invite Faramir as well. On the previous occasion they had all dined together, he’d forgotten all about Faramir and not remembered until he’d seen him the next day. Denethor had not mentioned the lapse nor had Faramir himself but Aragorn had felt contrite. Faramir tended to be so quiet and soft spoken, one tended not to notice him, he had realised. Aragorn only ever heard him speak at the councils when Ithilien was under discussion, and even then, he always seemed to glance towards Denethor and on some occasions towards Aragorn, after speaking; a tense, wary glance that Aragorn could not interpret. He was unlike Boromir on Andreth in most aspects – quieter, and his countenance always solemn, sober and expressionless. Aragorn couldn’t remember ever seeing him smile, except the almost loving one that his lips had curved into in the houses of healing when he had woken to Aragorn’s ministrations.
Faramir looked up suddenly now, and his grey eyes met Aragorn’s. They were startlingly intense eyes, Aragorn realised. The king smiled slightly but the younger man seemed to pale a little. His eyes dropped and he shifted suddenly in his chair, before pausing to grimace, and sit up, his back and shoulders tensing as though in pain. The sudden movement caused some of the councilors to turn towards him. Denethor too turned, and the younger man caught the full ferocity of his frown now. Aragorn thought he looked almost like a deer cornered in the midst of a hunt. He bit his lip and stilled his movements, turning his gaze back down to the papers, his back and shoulders completely stiff and rigid now. Aragorn could see a tinge of red on his cheeks and ears.
He wondered at the younger man’s reactions, but then turned his attention back to the council as Denethor grabbed the opportunity offered by the slight distraction by imperiously suggesting they turn to the corsair problem for now. He heaved a sigh of relief, and turned his attention back to the council.
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