This story is rated «NC-17», and carries the warnings «AU, M/M Slash, Angst, Allusion to Mpreg. Un-betaed, but vigorously proofed.».
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25 May 2006 | 13263 words
Title: His Light Beneath...
Slash For 2006 Mistletoe in May Fic Swap
Rating: NC-17 (for graphic sex and some language)
Pairing: Faramir/Éomer (main); minor pairings Aragorn/Legolas (mild), Boromir/Théodred (mild)
Warnings: AU, M/M Slash, Angst, Allusion to Mpreg. Un-betaed, but vigorously proofed.
Disclaimer: Not mine...wish they were...can only dream!
Pairing: Haldir/anyone, Faramir/anyone (no dwarves or hobbits please)
Request: Something angsty but with a happy ending and lots of true love :) No hobbits, dwarves or character death.
Written For: Anorienbean
Summary: Faramir is a kind and good-hearted man who has learned to hide his true worth for so long that he can no longer see it in himself—despite the support from his devoted brother Boromir, loving cousin Aragorn, his uncle King Arathorn II and his many friends and comrades. This is solely due to his uncaring father Denethor whose constant, life-long derision has taken its toll. Can the care of a secret love show him the truth or will misunderstandings interfere, causing more heartache?
A/N: Title is taken from the Danish proverb "Sæt ikke dit lys under en skæppe." or "Do not hide your light (or talents) under a bushel" which is an allusion to a passage from Christ's Sermon on the Mount, cautioning against stifling ones talents or hiding ones good qualities. This story/short fic is set in a similar 'World' as my WIP 'Another's Guilt' which is an AU/Mpreg story, so could be an interlude or side-story to it; but, it is not necessary to read that one.
The AU world of this fic is as follows: The One Ring and Sauron were destroyed during the Last Alliance and the High King Arathorn II is the leader of the United Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor of which Rohan is a part. Aragorn is his sole heir and Finduilas (Faramir/Boromir's mother) was his sister. The blood of Númenor is as strong as it ever was from the time of Elros (life-span around 500) which will have a strong bearing on one element in this story that will be explained within. Character's ages are as follows: Faramir has just turned 20, Éomer and Boromir are 26, Aragorn is 21, Théodred is 24, Éowyn is 19 and Legolas is the mortal equivalent of 17 years (though he is 701 years).
Thoughts and stressed words are denoted by italics
Faramir smiled fondly at his cousin Prince Aragorn as he reached over and pulled his laughing spouse, the beautiful Elven Prince Legolas Thranduilion, from his horse onto the man's own horse, nuzzling his neck beneath silken, white-gold tresses. They all had been traveling many weeks from Gondor and had just come within sight of Meduseld and the Golden Hall of King Théoden; this allowed the newly wedded couple (and the entire party) to relax their guard as no Orc parties would be so close to the capitol.
Faramir loved and admired Aragorn, but a part of him could not help but feel envious of his happiness (not that he would begrudge the couple their joy). But the Steward's youngest longed for a love of his own—his one true love.
Perhaps, I am just tired, Faramir thought. He was also hungry. Just as he thought that, another voiced the sentiment.
"Why don't we tax the horses and make for the Hall at full gallop—I am famished!" Boromir exclaimed with enthusiasm.
"You are only famished, dear Cousin, because you have not been nibbling on sweet Elven flesh as I have. Of course, there are tastier parts that I would enjoy feasting upon, so let us do as you suggest!"
With that, Aragorn urged his fine Rohirric steed into full gallop, out-distancing his companions (the Elven mare close behind) until both Faramir and Boromir gave a loud hoot and made mad dashes to catch up. Their personal guards laughed indulgently at their young charges and immediately followed suit.
Théodred and Éomer were sitting in a corner of the huge kitchen of the Golden Hall; both handsome men having charmed the cook Fréawyn into giving them a small feast. She'd threatened and shooed, but had given in as she always did, since each had been small children.
"So, tell me Théo; what will you do first when Boromir gets here— pretend to ignore him or try and suck out his tonsils?" Éomer said deadpan as if discussing the weather as he eyed and then popped a morsel of batter-fried fowl into his mouth.
With equal nonchalance, Théodred said, "I'm not sure which. What about you; will you play the noble big brother and step aside while espousing Éowyn's good qualities or walk around mooning over Faramir with barely concealed lust?"
Éomer blushed a deep red as he looked at his cousin, wishing he'd never started their little bantering. But, before Éomer could come up with something to say to change the subject, a young guard came bursting into the kitchen excitedly and out of breath.
"My...my Lords..." He leaned against the table where the two sat and tried once more. "The...the party from Gon...Gondor are...approaching!"
As the last was finding its way out of him, the two Royals had already jumped to their feet and were heading out to go greet the subjects of their discussion.
As they reached the outside, they paused on the large portico, looking out beyond the gates at the large dust cloud moving fast across the plains.
"Looks like Boromir will be missing his tonsils..." Éomer paused only briefly then continued, "Or you'll be missing yours."
They both laughed loudly and ran down the stairs, jumping astride the horses that they'd ordered to be made ready when the other members of the `Princes Band' (a name that King Théoden had dubbed Théodred, Éomer, Boromir, Faramir and Aragorn—and now Legolas) were near. The citizenry of Meduseld gave a wide berth as the two barreled down the road and out the gates to greet their friends.
Faramir wrinkled his nose and swatted at some unseen insect that was near to face. He tried to ignore it, not wanting to awaken just yet. Then, he swatted again at the bothersome menace that was now crawling about his ear; as he swatted up and over his head, he hit something much bigger than a small bug. Without opening his eyes, he reached his hand in the direction of the object he'd hit and felt warm, clothed flesh.
His eyes cracked open, squinting against the bright sunlight streaming through a nearby window, reflecting off pale-gold hair like a halo. Faramir focused and found himself staring into Legolas' amused cerulean blue eyes.
"Good morning, sleepy one," Said the elf in his husky, sweet voice.
"Not so good, Prince," The red-haired man said, his violet eyes closing against the sight of the annoyingly happy Elda. Wait, if the elf is before me, then who have I been grasping behind all this time...? Aragorn!
To confirm this, he felt his ear being tickled again. "Leave me be, Aragorn! I am not ready to get up." Faramir groaned as he was ignored, the maddening tickling continuing at his ear and then his nose again. He smelled honey, which meant that Legolas was—had been— using his hair to torment his face.
Elbereth, save me from Elves! The younger man included his cousin, for the older `man' was actually a Peredhel (Half-Elven) and also immortal. Didn't they care that he was still recovering from last night's revelry and free-flowing ale? What did they care—they did not feel the effects of over-imbibing, having the natural ability to recover faster than he.
Last night's feast of welcome had been most fun and carefree and lasted well into the wee hours—which is why his relatives should be more sensitive to his plight. "Go and rouse Boromir and Éomer and Théodred—they are older and can hold their ale much better than I, being much older and more seasoned to it. After they are all dressed and awake, come back for me."
"It would seem that your time has come, Little Brother, for these two Children of Evil have already struck." At Boromir's declaration (laced liberally with irony), Faramir opened his eyes to take in the sight of his brother, his shoulder holding up the handsome, but sleepy, head of Théodred, Second Marshal of the Mark, and Éomer who was standing next to him, yawning loudly without shame.
"Good morning, sleepy one," Aragorn said, exactly repeating what Legolas had said to him. "Get up and get dressed—we've things to do and to see!"
Faramir attempted to pull the covers over his head, but was thwarted by the two sitting on his bed (how he got in bed, he had no idea—his last memory being the underside of the table situated next the large barrels of Dwarven ale). As the two pulled away the covers, Boromir came over to help Faramir's tormentors, saying that if he had to be up, so did Faramir.
In less than an hour, the youngest Steward-prince found himself dressed and riding astride his chestnut mare heading to Eru-knew- where across the plain in the opposite direction from whence they had come the day before.
Everyone except the blissfully happy couple (and the guards) was in a fowl mood—Faramir included. He glanced up at the late morning sky and swore under his breath, not at all pleased to be there. The day itself was beautiful and the weather was pleasant; but he had issue with the sun and its insistence on shinning infuriatingly bright in the cloudless sky.
His brother and the Rohirric cousins were equally displeased, varying levels of grumbling coming from each.
"Tell me, A'maelamin (my beloved); have you ever heard such whining in all your years?" Aragorn asked the blond elf riding before him upon the man's horse.
Grinning mischievously, Legolas answered him. "Nay, My Heart— never! I mean, not even I, who as an elfling, was lost in the forest for hours groused so—it is most scandalous!" This was followed by the two speakers unsuccessfully trying to hide their chuckles.
"Do you suppose beheading to be overly painful?" The Rohirric Prince looked at him with a look of surprise, but smirked when he noticed mischief in the Captain-general's green eyes.
"I have heard that it is the most compassionate way to go; I suppose it would depend on the wielder of the sword or axe. Why do you ask, Dear Friend?"
"Well, it is the preferred mode of execution for Gondoran nobles and as a member of the Royal Family, I will more than likely meet my end this way. I mean, it is no small thing to assassinate the Crowned Prince!"
Théodred, Éomer and Faramir were having a hard time keeping their mirth under control. "Ah, I see—your are correct in that."
"And, what of Aragorn's Prince-bride, Boromir—will you be dispatching him as well?" Éomer hooted loudly at Faramir's statement, especially at the `Prince-bride' quip; frightening some nearby fowl into taking flight.
"I suppose; after all, they can only execute me once." Boromir conceded logically.
Then Éomer joined in on their little game, saying, "I don't know, My Lord; Even though Legolas is a citizen of Minas Tirith now, he is originally from Greenwood the Great and his father the King may not be too pleased at having his little ion done-away-with."
"What manner of punishment is meted out for murder in Greenwood?" He asked conversationally.
"It would depend upon Adar's mood; it could be anything from stoning to tossing the offender into a fiery pit. In this situation, however, he would insist on a most unpleasant end." Legolas said just as conversional.
"Such as, Your Highness?"
With barely concealed laughter, the Sindar said, "Taking Boromir to the ruins of Dol Guldur where he keeps Olog-hai cave trolls as pets; he usually feed them Orc and Goblins, but I think that they would enjoy the chance to dine on Adan-flesh."
When this statement was met with silence, the elf glanced back over Aragorn's shoulder to witness four identical looks of shock, they not knowing if Legolas was serious or not. But they erupted into riotous laughter split seconds after the Sindarin and his spouse did.
"Perhaps..." Chuckle, "Perhaps I'd better leave you be, Legolas; besides, you may be carrying the next Heir to the Throne since there will be a vacancy soon! Tell me, Your Lateness—does the beauteous Prince Little Leaf have a loaf on the hearth?" Boromir inquired irreverently.
"Not as of yestereve; this morn may be another matter as I was most attentive in my husbandly duties last night in the wee hours." The dark-haired Gondoran bragged.
"Most attentive, indeed," Legolas concurred.
"Well, that settles it—it will be just you, Aragorn and our faithful guards; for they will no doubt try and save you. My apologies, Good Men of Rohan and Gondor," Boromir said `regretfully.'
The `Good Men' joined in the mirth flowing about.
Then Faramir asked Aragorn, "Where are we going, Cousin? You never did say as you were dragging me from my comfortable bed."
"Why don't you ask Théodred—it was his idea?"
"Mine? How is it mine, Aragorn?"
"Did you or did you not promise my Sweet Love you'd take him to see the White Falls last night?"
"I don't recall that." He said, looking about to his companions for confirmation. "Did I?"
"It was between trying your best to see the bottom of the ale cask and flirting with my husband. Isn't that right, Pen velui (lovely one)?"
"He was most attentive, too." Said Legolas.
"So to answer your question, Cousin Faramir, we are off to the White Falls to frolic and swim and eat and love beneath the beautiful sky!" Aragorn informed just before nibbling on Legolas' pointed right ear, making him moan and sigh.
Shaking his head, Faramir told his brother, "When we get to the Falls, let us drown them—we can say it was an accident. That way, we can save you—who will provide Gondor with its Heir—and we'd be free of these annoyingly happy immortals!"
"Hear—hear!" Éomer cheered. They continued their bantering for some time as they moved closer to their destination. Then Boromir, who had been riding next to Théodred, held back to ride next to his little brother, who had been next to Éomer until the Gondoran ever so gradually lagged behind.
"What is wrong, Little One?" Boromir asked, nudging Faramir playfully with his balled hand.
"Nothing." The good humor of a few moments prior was gone.
"It is indeed something, Love—for you are moping."
"I do not mope," He contradicted then blushed at Boromir's knowing look. He was silent, but then said, "They are a wonder to behold."
The Steward's eldest followed his gaze to Aragorn and Legolas. "Aye, that they are. Is it they who bring you such sadness?"
"I love them both, but I can not help wishing that I, too, were so blessed with a deep and passionate love." His voice was wistful.
"So, why aren't you, Brother Mine?"
"Because I am no wizard who can cast a spell to capture a heart to me!" Faramir said forcefully through clenched teeth, struggling to keep his voice down.
"Oh, I don't know about that; I would say that you managed to do just that with our Third Marshal there with nary a Maia's trick."
"You do not know of what you speak, Boromir; Éomer does not want me— no one does." Faramir's voice was defeated.
"How can you say that," His brother said incredulously. "He has barely left your side since our arrival. Surely you must know how he feels—a blind man could see it."
"A blind man and everyone else would be—have been—deceived. He does nothing but talk of his sister Éowyn; how much she cares for me. Just now, he spoke of how pleased she seemed in my company last eve as we danced. If Éomer wants me, it is as a brother-in-law—not a lover. And why would he settle for me, when he can have anyone he desires?"
Boromir loved his father, but his constant disapproval and criticism of Faramir made Boromir angry; and over the years his mistreatment has caused the younger Steward-prince to feel unworthy and undeserving of love. No matter how many times he or his other family members tell him differently, Faramir accepts the Steward's opinion of him.
There was nothing that Boromir could say to convince him of Éomer's attraction (the man would have to do that), but he could try and get his moody sibling to smile. "I will tell you this, Dear One; if he is too blind to see your charms—both without and within—then he does not deserve you as an in-law or as a lover. You are so beautiful, it breaks my heart!" Reaching over to Faramir, Boromir whispered, "Now give me one of your dazzling smiles before I tickle you mercilessly."
Faramir smiled brightly at that; it was a trick that his older sibling had used often since he was a little boy—Boromir taking on the role of mirth-maker after their mother Finduilas died.
Éomer had been surreptitiously looking back towards the two brothers as they talked. He couldn't hear their words, but he could read the play of emotions on Faramir lovely face (he could only think of that word to fit), catching his breath when the younger Gondoran Noble beamed at something Boromir said.
"How long are you to keep silent?" Théodred asked him. He would have spoken to Faramir himself, but he made a promise to Éomer that he would not—Boromir making a similar one to his brother.
"As Long as necessary for him to declare himself to my sister or Éowyn lose interest," he stated flatly, looking forwards again. They could now hear the White Falls and the entire group drew closer to enter the narrow glen.
Théodred knew better to try and talk to his cousin when he was like this, so vowed to speak with him later when they'd settled and were enjoying their outing.
The guards halted the group at the mouth of the glen; four dividing off to climb the sloping hill that led to the top overlooking the waterfall. Once they were positioned, one gave a shrill whistle and four more guards and rangers entered to scout out the area surrounding the pool for Orc, interlopers or dangerous animals.
After a time, the all-clear was signaled and the Royal charges were allowed inside and their protectors returned to the mouth of the glen to stand guard while the others remained in their positions atop the rock face just above the horizontal crevice where the water emerged; it shot out so forcefully that its jets appeared white as cow's milk—thereby giving it its name.
Faramir was the last to dismount and he positioned his mare next to the others, all riders relieving the animals of their saddles and other burdens before feeding and allowing them to drink from the beautiful blue pool at the bottom of the White Falls. Once the horses were taken care of, the males moved over to gaze upon the beauty of the falling water.
Éomer and Théodred were no strangers to this place, but they were just as impressed by its loveliness. Faramir, Aragorn and Boromir had been to Rohan many times, but had never before seen the Falls, so it was as new to them as it was to Legolas who exclaimed with delight at what he saw.
"Ai, My Lords—what a truly beautiful place! I have seen waterfalls before, but never one where the water spring from the very rock itself; how is this possible?" Legolas turned to Théodred, a smile beaming from his exquisite face, stunning the man so, that it was a moment before he (or any) could speak.
Visibly shaking himself, he answered, "We are not quite sure; as far as any have been able to figure, it comes from an offshoot of Entwash or the River Anduin itself that, managing to work its way under ground and exit as you see here. We simply enjoy its splendor that has today only been enhanced by the splendor that is you, Highness." He was still captivated by the elf, so was quite surprised when Boromir grabbed him from behind, his forearm around the younger man's neck.
"I can not trust you for one moment! First last night and now here— I will have to punish you, my faithless lover," He growled mock- menacingly, making the Second Marshal shutter in anticipation.
"Aye—I have been most disloyal and deserve the worst of punishments." He shivered as Boromir's tongue swiped at his ear, the man's warm breath ghosting the area, arousing Théodred and making him quite hard.
"The worst or the best—they are one in the same!" Boromir turned the younger man into his arms and devoured his mouth making him near- swoon under the onslaught. Before long, the two were tearing each other's clothes off, barely breaking the kiss.
Aragorn and Legolas had begun kissing moments after the other two had, leaving the final pair to stare at their amorous companions.
Éomer looked longingly at Faramir, but the young redhead did not notice as he was looking at his brother and cousins (the elves had removed their clothes and had joined the mortals in the pool) as they made love to their partners. As they kissed, frolicked and played, Faramir's sadness from before returned.
The Third Marshal of the Riddermark wanted desperately to hold him, but he thought of Éowyn who was in love with the young Gondoran. If he could not be happy, at least he could further his sister's cause.
"Éowyn desperately wanted to come; she asked to, but I told her no. She is not ready to witness Boromir and Théodred together thusly nor our Elven lovers, for that matter."
When Éomer began talking, Faramir glanced away, so Éomer did not see the frustrated look that crossed the Steward-prince's face. Plastering on a pleasant enough smile, he turned back. "No one is ever quite ready to witness such lustiness."
"Perhaps you and I could take her for a ride and we could bring along some food and a blanket—though I know she would prefer just your company." Éomer's smile was forced as spoke of these things, not really wanting to share Faramir with sister.
"Éomer, I..." The Steward's youngest paused. He thought of what Boromir had said about Éomer's feelings for him and decided to broach the subject—perhaps it was true? "Éomer; there is something that I need to discuss with you—about Éowyn."
"So, you do care for her, then? She will be pleased to hear this..." He was set to extol her virtues to Faramir once again, but he was interrupted.
"No!" He burst out; then calmer, he tried again. "I mean, yes—I do care for her, but not in that manner. Do not get me wrong; she is quite lovely and sweet, but I do not think of her that way."
"In what way do you think of her? I mean, the way that you have been so attentive and considerate, I thought that you loved her as she loves you." Éomer was conflicted; he was sad and disappointed for Éowyn, but hopeful for himself, but Faramir's next words changed all that.
"I care for Éowyn, but as a friend or a sister which is as it should be; anything more would not be fair to her as it would not—could not— lead to marriage."
"And why is that?"
"Because a marriage between a Dúnadan male and non-Dúnadan mortal woman is forbidden. This is especially true for the nobility and the Royal family as we stand to lose the most by giving up our titles and any claim to the Throne." Faramir watched as the man he cared for became incensed.
"You are telling me that your people think yourselves too good for us—that you are too good for Éowyn?"
"No, Éomer—that is not it. The gift of long life granted by the Valar is sacred to the descendants of Númenor and they vowed long ago to preserve that Gift. Any union where there will be offspring must be between two mortals that are Dúnedain or the Gift will be diminished by each generation that indulges until the blood of Númenor is spent."
"I see; so, does Boromir know that he is cavorting with a lesser mortal?" Éomer inquired sarcastically. "Théodred is in love with him, you know?"
"It is not the same with those two." Faramir did not mean to upset Éomer, so he tried to explain and allay his concerns so that he could tell the man of his feelings. "There can be no children between Boromir and Théodred; besides, they are the firstborn males of their families and Théodred is the Heir. Both are expected to marry and produce to carry on the line."
"In other words, it is alright for them to carry-on so long as there is no chance that Théodred's Rohirric blood will taint the precious blood of Númenor?" This last was spat out so venomously, that Faramir recoiled from its sting. "You have led on my sister all these years knowing how she felt about you! I would have thought better of you Prince!
"I have ever been considerate of your sister—never once have I behaved in a manner that was misleading. I have treated her with courtesy and respect just as Boromir and Aragorn and Legolas have. If anyone has been leading her on, it has been you, My Lord—not I." Faramir was near tears with the unfairness of it. This more than anything told him that Éomer did not and never have loved him.
"Whatever you tell yourself to sleep. I no longer consider you my friend and would ask you to keep away from Éowyn!" With that, he walked away from Faramir who turned aside to hide the tears that pooled in his eyes.
When he turned back, he saw Éomer remove the last of his clothes and plunge into the water. He could just make out Aragorn and Legolas directly beneath the waterfall before they ducked behind its curtain; and he saw Boromir pinning the Rohirric Prince to the side of the pool as he suckled on a pert nipple. Faramir spun away from the sight, seriously considering jumping on his horse and fleeing. He instead chose to take the blankets and towels and spread them out for when the swimmers emerged. After placing the packs with their repast on the ground nearby, he sat upon a blanket the furthest away and nursed his breaking heart.
The five eventually emerged from the drink, the lovers with sated grins upon their faces. Only Éomer was unhappy, his hostility towards Faramir palpable. Boromir and Théodred noticed how quiet the two were, but each was thwarted in their attempts to discover what happened between them. Aragorn and Legolas didn't notice as they had eyes only for each other.
As the day wore on, Faramir and Éomer put on brave fronts and joined as best they could with the others; alternating between swimming, sunning themselves and eating. Eventually, they packed up and headed back to Meduseld so that they could join King Théoden for dinner.
The ride back was much quieter as all were tired from their play; but whereas most were in high spirits, Faramir and Éomer were not, the younger still hurting from his love's accusations. He did not know how he would endure the coming weeks in Rohan, but Faramir was quite good at hiding his pain—being well-trained at Denethor's knee.
A/N: The White Falls mentioned is completely made up.
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: yukika , Morna