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04 March 2015 | 14732 words
Faramir shows Eowyn a green and lovely corner of their demesne she has never seen. Along the way they discover love and desire can conquer (most) fears. A Ranger, his Shieldmaiden, a cliff rated 5.2 and rope. A birthday gift for Annafan.
Thank you so much to JuneGloom and Wheelrider for beta’ing.
Chapter 4 and 5 now up! Its finally complete
“Faramir!” The shriek that echoed across the pool was one of utter panic, furious and fearful, and quickly drowned by the falls’ great roar.
No sooner had Éowyn felt water flood her eyes and nose than Faramir had found his feet again. Strong arms quickly pushed her up, and gasping, they broke the surface. She coughed and spluttered as he held her fast and close against his chest with one large hand. The other hurriedly pulled long wet tendrils of golden hair from out her eyes and mouth.
‘Are you well?’ Faramir asked anxiously, spare hand now ready to thump her back in case the coughing did not stop. It did, but not before the lady felt as if half the pool had rushed ingloriously out her nose.
“Yes. No. I mean, I think so.” came the flustered and aggrieved response. She was fine, but really she felt she should not be after such a fright.
The worried grey eyes brightened. Her husband now bore the slightly startled expression of a man attempting to school his features into seriousness.
“What is so very funny?” she asked suspiciously, twining her hands around his neck. She shook her head to clear the water dripping in her eyes.
Faramir shifted his grip and scooped her up to rest before him in both arms. Smiling, he leaned in to plant a wet and weed-scented kiss upon her nose. “Well, I can say with complete certainty I have never been quite so spectacularly interrupted in all my life.”
A chuckle rumbled against her chest. Éowyn frowned, brushed angrily at the little rivulets of water that ran down from his wet black locks to splash upon her cheek. The last thing her heart desired in that moment was to be yet more wet.
“You have to admit min heorte, it really is rather funny.”
“No it most definitely is not!” the Lady of Ithilien replied. Pursed lips and the tiniest shake of her head were all the movement her caution would allow.
As always, her husband could not resist the beauty of her thunderous gaze. A warm and callused hand brushed softly at her pouting, angry bottom lip. “Because you are wet or were interrupted?” The clear grey eyes now brimmed with more than laughter.
Bema preserve her from a man thinking with his pintel. Worried he might entertain other plans Éowyn pulled back the tiniest little bit. “Get me out of here!” she pleaded.
No more encouragement was needed for the Prince of Ithilien to realize retreat was the better part of valor. He waded slowly across the pool and placed his fair drowned rat upon a lip of stone beside the water’s edge. It jutted out just below the green and steaming surface, draped behind by moss and stripped in pink and gold.
“There.” He said, setting her down as carefully as a goblet made of glass. He stepped back and stood, hands on hips, to survey his handiwork. “You are safe upon no prettier throne that I can find.” This time the look was teasing. “And no matter how hard you wriggle my Lady the ledge shall not shift beneath you.”
“It was not my fault!”
The corner of his mouth twitched as Faramir worked hard to keep a straighter face. “No, I confess, dear heart, ‘twas mine. I was far too distracted by the sweetness of your mouth to notice where your soeaÞ was going.”
She giggled and made a face, but quite happily he ignored it. With a last quick kiss upon her brow he turned away and walked languidly through the pool toward the foaming curtain.
“What are you doing?” Éowyn called out quickly, not minded to be left alone. Already she missed his smooth broad chest and the safe haven of his warm embrace.
Faramir turned back and flashed a broader smile. “I am going to investigate the waterfall.”
Of course. Of course he was, she thought, watching anxiously as he reached up to find a hold upon the slick rock beside the churning flood. Around its edge the pink and purple rime shimmered opalescently, catching every ray of sunlight from off the foaming water.
“Be careful!“ she sent out an anxious thought.
“I will.“ His reply was wrapped in a blanket of complete, untroubled confidence.
Reassured, she gradually relaxed and let herself enjoy the warmth of the water lapping at her ankles. Mindful of the tangles, she busied herself carding small and nimble fingers through her sopping hair.
As she watched, he climbed smoothly up the face and reached a larger ledge. Arms set apart he pressed upward and in a blink was standing, at ease and grinning upon the lip.
The smile of smug triumph that flashed back down made her heart skip a sudden beat. Drinking in the sight of her husband’s lithe, svelte body upon the rock, she admired once more his naked form. There was no part of Faramir that was bulky and yet he moved with a latent strength that spoke of power kept quietly at harbour, not obvious to the eye, but assuredly ready to be harnessed.
Sunlight reflected off the sheeting spray and caught in the waves of raven hair as he gently shook his head, flicking a stray lock out of his eyes. He felt his way closer to the cataract. Once there, he reached up to touch the water’s cascade and she admired the smooth curve of sculpted shoulders, the sharp triangle of muscle in his lower back, the pale fineness of his skin and taut dimpled buttocks astride the narrow hips. She had never truly considered that a man could be so very beautiful, yet here he stood, so very irresistible a flush of tingling heat rose once again.
Before long Faramir was down again, flipping with abandon one last time to surface right before her perch, like Ulmo risen from the deep to catch her in his green and shining nets. His arms were strong and his hands warm against her skin as he scooped her up and stepped lightly to the shore.
“Happy now?” he teased as he set her down upon the soft green moss. “The air is dry and there are no little fishes.”
“You rogue…” She stopped his words the surest way she knew.
They spread their blankets on a carpet of thyme and purple vervain and sweet green gallet. Lying happily naked in the dappled sun they shared the bounty in the basket. As usual Eilin had outdone herself. There were cold meats, sharp cheeses, fresh bread and a few small dainty cakes that had miraculously survived intact. Truly, Éowyn thought, they could have fed a small company had one appeared by magic through the mist.
Faramir poured two cups of rich dark wine and passed her one, lost in quiet contemplation of their oasis as he lifted the goblet to his lips to take a first small sip. Éowyn watched with no little enjoyment of her own his unabashed delight and naturalness to be alone here in the wilds; to revel in their skin, their love, and the hidden glade around.
A hand raised up to cup lovingly her cheek and she turned toward it, set a soft kiss upon his palm. It was callused, roughened from the sword that had for so many years fought to keep these lands from falling under shadow. She knew the feel of those calluses, the shiver they raised as they mapped the freckles upon her skin. Faramir, she had discovered, was a rather sensual person: for him it was second nature to touch, to run a hand absently along her back, to twine fingers in her hair or stroke them gently across her nape. Lazily, he traced a finger along her jaw to tangle in the gentle waves of her drying hair. Wrapped thus in the warm scented air and his loving touch, the sound of birds a bright counterpoint to the water’s song, for a moment Emyn Arnen and her morning cup of tea felt worlds away.
While Éowyn nibbled quietly, enjoying the taste of rich food in the warm, clear air, Faramir, as always, ate more quickly. Before she had even finished her bread and cheese he was reaching for a sweet: Eilin’s cakes were, she knew, his greatest weakness.
“Not until I am done.” she admonished, strategically scooping up the basket and hiding it behind her back.
“Worried you will not get a taste?” A black eyebrow raised and a half-grin quirked, but the grey eyes studied carefully her defense.
Leaning in, with a half-hearted air of innocence he left a string of tiny kisses to tingle against her collarbone. “I only want a taste of you, sweet one.” he murmured, quite deadpan, as a warm hand lingered hopefully beside her waist.
Snorting at his prose, she was not fooled. “Oh no you don’t. And you have fallen quite short of your usual linguistic precision.”
“My linguistic precision….” The dark head fell back and he laughed. Remembered as well as she the first time he used those words. “Game and match to you, my Lady, for yours.” The grey eyes glimmered thoughtfully as he picked a plump red berry from her forgotten plate and raised it to her lips. “‘Tis a pity we have no peaches…”
Soft lips returned and retraced their path, wandering from collarbone to throat, lingering over her beating pulse, before trailing up to nuzzle in the warmth behind her ear. She let her head fall forward, let him think her lost in the feeling of his ardent play. Almost she was. Almost.
Fast as a darting minnow the hand that snaked behind her back reached for the basket handle; fast but not fast enough. Before he reached his prize she had him pinned: the questing hand was caught inside her own, held fast behind her back. “You will have to try much harder if you want to steal from me.” She smiled and pulled him close, claimed a kiss as forfeit. He tasted of wine and honey, sweet and heady as their afternoon.
Allowing her the round, with a studied nonchalance Faramir lay back upon on his side, head supported on a hand. He watched as she plucked a small pink cake from out the basket and began to lick the icing off.
Dark avid eyes followed the trail of her tongue upon the glistening smooth, sugared surface. She picked out another cake and just as slowly a perfect white icing rose was lifted from off the top. She swallowed, watched him lick lips gone suddenly far too dry. His eyes had not left her mouth. I have him now.
“Oh you do, do you?” She groaned; he had caught her thought and now would come the retribution.
Arms crossed behind his head, Faramir lay back, a study in unruffled calm. “My love, it occurs to me we could work to calm your fear. Perhaps more frequent visits, more time spent within the pool.” She paused in the act of biting into the soft cake. Oh that was unfair.
“Wading.” he explained with feigned utter innocence. “And t’would be best if I taught you to swim before we visit Dol Amroth in the summer.”
Swim? In the sea? Now that surely was going a bit too far. An embarrassing image came to her mind: his cousins watching while she tiptoed nervously in the water, Elphir’s little son yards ahead. Storm grey eyes tossed darkly at the thought.
A hand raised to stroke her hip this time, to calm her as though she were a skittish horse. Annoyance bubbled up. How is it that she finds herself at such a disadvantage? He knew her fears, her childhood escapades, her worst embarrassments. He has had Éomer to question over long winter evenings and mugs of ale. She has had only Imrahil and Amerith to speak with and Éowyn is not quite comfortable interrogating her.
Turnabout would perhaps be fair play after all. She studied her husband with an entirely serious expression. “It is not right min gemæcca. You know far more about me than I do you. What are you afraid of? Are you not afraid of anything?”
An eyebrow raised in startlement; she had surprised him. Faramir has had long practice keeping feelings, good and bad, in check, as if his world were a finely balanced top, nothing wanted to unsettle it either way. Something flitted through the clear grey eyes but he was not prepared to give voice to it just yet.
“Am I, my lady wife, to give up my secrets so very lightly?” An ironic grin flashed cool and swift. He meant, she saw, to teach her another lesson in greater patience.
The hand upon her hip stilled as the challenge was thrown down. Slumping back as if conceding, Éowyn regrouped for just a moment. It is long past time for him to learn the penalty of such resistance.
Lightning fast she pounced, reached for his silken and still heated skin, trailed maddening feather touches across his chest to catch his most vulnerable domain. Two fingers reached an armpit and Faramir bucked wildly, howling. In a flash she was athwart his hips, fingers teasing harder the sensitive soft flesh.
“Surrender, my Lord, or I shall not stop at torture.”
Helpless tears of laughter collected in the corners of his eyes. “Éowyn, you do not fight fair!” He gasped and pleaded for the punishment to end.
“How else am I to best your greater strength, save with smarter strategy?” Eyes dark with determination, she reached down and ran the lightest of touches across the ridges and valleys of his ribs, content to pause and let his breathless gasps quiet for a moment.
He squirmed, watched warily, panted slightly through parted lips as her hands strayed farther down. A look of now hopeful expectation followed their every move. Though she yearned to linger, to stroke the pale velvet of the hollow of his hipbone, she was not done. Both hands now brushed the corded muscle of his thighs. With a long slow sigh he relaxed and laid his head back down.
Silly trusting man. In an instant her body switched from gentle to intent. She darted her hand behind his knee and attacked unmercifully once again.
“Wyn!” Twisting and squirming, he choked and gasped, unable to defend himself while she crowed in triumphant exhultation. He laughed and laughed, could find no air and of course he had to surrender.
“Dogs!” Faramir at last gasped out, a note of defeat within the undertone. “I am afraid of dogs!”
Éowyn was so startled by the frank admission she drew back and let him go. The thought was rather ludicrous. Her brave and steadfast husband, renowned warrior and Steward of all Gondor was afraid of dogs?!
“Why?” She could not help herself, a bubble of laughter trickled up. She could not keep it in.
Hastily gathering legs and arms together lest another attack was launched, Faramir pulled away and placed a foot or so of defensive ring between them. With chagrin she saw his expression was decidedly put out. He bared his soul to her and she has laughed.
Just as she was about to offer an apology, Faramir ruefully shook his head. Of course it sounded ridiculous. With relief she saw him chuckle too. The good-natured grin appeared again.
Without warning he flipped over to lie face down upon the blanket, gestured to the dimpled buttocks she had admired not so long before. “Can you see the marks?”
Running her tongue across the tempting pale, fine skin inappropriate to the gravity of the discussion, she concentrated on peering closely, bending her head and squinting. Faintly visible on one side were two rows of old white scars. Little puncture wounds by their size and shape.
“You were bitten?” The rounded white marks were rather large….
“I was too little to remember, but Boromir told me that one of Grandfather’s great wolfhounds did it. I am told I teased the beast and pulled its tail. It was banished to the stables afterward.”
A suspicion niggled and so she asked. “And where was your brother in all of this?”
“Encouraging me of course! He was sent to bed with no supper while Mother carried me to the Houses.”
She thought of Éomer’s hunting hounds and the times Faramir had stood beside, stiffly to attention, while her brother stroked lavishly their sable fur. I thought he was just being formal. She grinned and shook her head. “What about Arwen’s little terrier?” The image of the Queen’s small and white, fiercely protective little dog making a grown man quake nearly sent her over the edge again.
“It is just instinct,” he explained, defensively. “I can stand to be around them but I don’t have to like it. I don’t have to pet or stroke them or pretend to be their friend.”
“But they cannot hurt you now. You are so much bigger! And they do not bite unless you bother them.”
This time the wicked grin was his. “The same can be said for little fishes!”
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