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In Shadow (G) Print

Written by Geale

12 January 2019 | 5279 words

Pairing: Aragorn/Faramir
Rating: K
Warnings: very mild slash (nearly all of it implied), something of an ambiguous ending because the war has yet to be won.
Disclaimer: Middle-earth and all its inhabitants belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.
A/N: In order to make the timeline “work” I had to speed up Aragorn’s journey somewhat and push Faramir’s meeting with Frodo and Sam back a couple of days. In the books, Frodo leaves Henneth Annûn (and Faramir) on March 8, the same day that Aragorn takes the Paths of the Dead and reaches Erech.

In this story, Frodo leaves Henneth Annûn on March 6 and Aragorn & Co. venture into Ithilien (because reasons) on March 7. That leaves us with time enough for the events in this story to enfold before Faramir leaves Ithilien for Minas Tirith and the disappointment of Denethor on March 9 and Aragorn rides towards Pelargir on March 12.

Furthermore, as you should know by now, I find the copper-haired movie version of Faramir more interesting since we already have plenty of dark-haired, grey-eyed males in the story. My Aragorn is always less… passionate, shall we say, about his own heritage than he is in the books.

Finally, needless to say, I’ve taken some liberties in general.

If you survived that tidal wave of information and are still holding on to your surf board, please read on. I hope you enjoy the story.


In Shadow

I take no credit for the wholly unanticipated affection that appears to have blossomed between them in these last trembling days of this War of the ages. My role was but a small one and it has yet to be determined where this touching of hearts will lead them. Also, to further myself from the issue at hand, I will boldly state that these types of unions in such a time as the one we see now is complicated. We, simply put, cannot afford to be side-tracked.

Still, the Gods know I wish Aragorn every happiness and with the young Captain of Gondor I have no quarrel. I am thankful, even, for the respite and the small space of healing which he and his Rangers granted us in these dark times. If that had been all, I would make no more of this than I did of our time in Edoras, among the horse people. But this time around, the way in which Aragorn’s heart has been lifted is different and though I see how that very same heart benefited from our brief stay in Ithilien, I remain concerned. For as long as Sauron reigns in the East we live in shadow, and what a dense and suffocating shadow that is.


The Dead followed.

Aragorn had risen with the dawn – if indeed a dawn it could be called. It was a thin and dreary light that sifted through the lingering shadows of night, and even I shivered as I came to stand by Gimli. The Dwarf’s beady eyes were fastened upon Aragorn as he exchanged a word with Halbarad, and then with the brethren of Imladris, and there was no need to point out that he looked weary. Just as the shadows lay thick across the old withered grass of yesteryear, they lay across his face and hooded his eyes. I swallowed, then, for Aragorn was our core, the flame that kept the determination of the Grey Company burning.

We were to ride for Pelargir, as swift as a bird flew, but even ere we had set out that day it was apparent to me that Aragorn’s strength was waning. It was upon his shoulders that responsibility rested: a heavy duty and an even heavier fate. It was he who was singled out to face the enemy and set against it his light and the ancient power of his own blood. Perhaps, if the day had dawned bright and warm, and if we had been alone he would have fared better, but as we mounted the horses the fear that lay around us trembled, and the Dead rose, too, to follow.

I do not know who made the decision. Perhaps it was Elladan or Elrohir, who out of concern for their foster-brother, concluded that something had to be done. For as Aragorn rode as King of the Dead it chased the life out of him and he seemed to transform before our very eyes: the colour drained from his cheeks and his eyes shone no longer. When one more day had passed and we rode into Lebennin and the mountains pressed in on us from the north, we should have turned further south, but instead here we halted and a debate sprung up.

It was Halbarad who stepped forth, uneven gravel crunching underfoot, and spoke: “I shall lead the Shadow Host toward Pelargir in your stead, and there you shall join us when you are rested.”

It was not to Aragorn’s liking to be informed that he for a short time needed to turn his thoughts from his mission and gather his strength. But as he spoke against this, he stood weak and wearied leaning into a boulder, and this gave the others reason enough to press the issue further.

“The Dead will not follow you,” he tried, with more sorrow, perhaps, than conviction. “It is I who summoned them and it is unto me they have made their vow.”

A chill, capricious wind wound around us and lifted his own dark hair away from Aragorn’s face to better reveal the shadows there.

Then Halbarad smiled, though it was a pale smile that never touched his eyes. “I, too, am of the Dúnedain, and there is strength in my blood. If you, kinsman, order them to heed my call, it shall be so.”

For my part, I could form no useful words. It tore at me to see Aragorn so exhausted but I knew him well and would not willingly challenge him. I had hoped that he would find comfort in the presence of his foster-brothers, much as I myself had, but their light seemed not to reach him; my own heart had lifted at the reunion with the two Elves, but Aragorn appeared unaffected.

In the end, we mounted up again with nothing settled but as Aragorn slumped in his saddle, Elladan and Elrohir exchanged glances with Halbarad and carefully guided our company and the Dead eastwards, close to the roots of the mountains.

I cannot say exactly when I understood their plan but I knew I was grateful when the treeline came into view. The light was a dull grey and no sunlight was breaking through the clouds above. There lay about us a stale smell and I felt dirty, as though I had not washed in several days. Which, if I counted back, was also probably true. We still rode at a great speed, but Halbarad was in the lead now with Aragorn several feet behind him.

“There,” said Elladan, as he rode up beside me and Gimli. “The crossings of Erui. It will take us across Anduin and into fairer lands.”

I shot him a look he read with ease.

“You must see that this is necessary, Legolas,” he told me, his dark hair snapping in the cold wind. “I know not what awaits us in Ithilien but there is peace there still, and Aragorn’s soul is crushed under the weight of his bond with the Oathbreakers.”

I licked my lips. “I will follow him.”

“As will I, and Elrohir. Halbarad will raise the black standard and ride in Aragorn’s place.”

“Aragorn will not like it,” I warned Elladan.

“No,” he agreed, and briefly a smile broke the firm line of his lips. “And yet he will be grateful ere long.”

And so it was that Halbarad bent the purpose of the Shadow Host to his will and we parted ways for a short while. As they turned south and we set out for the promised sanctuary of Ithilien, I felt the iron grip on my lungs lessen and breathing came easier. But when I turned to look at Aragorn I could spy no change in him, and it twisted my heart painfully.

They found us at sundown. Men, hooded and masked, in well-worn gear of green and brown suddenly surrounded us and their weapons glimmered in the last remnants of the modest daylight.

“Halt!” they called, and demanded of us our names and purpose. Suspicious they were, with bright eyes as sharp as the tips of their spears.

Elladan, making no effort to reach for his own sword, slid from his horse. “I am Elladan son of Elrond, Lord of Imladris, and this is my brother.” He indicated Elrohir beside him. “Here also is Legolas of Mirkwood and Gimli of the Dwarves… and Aragorn son of Arathorn, Isildur’s heir.”

This caused a murmur to erupt among the Men and Elladan swiftly took advantage of their surprise and pressed on: “We have been chasing the enemy and known much fear and dread. We ask to enter your realm and find what healing we may here before we once again turn to our task.”

They would have preferred to debate this, that much I guessed from their restless mutterings, but the daylight was quickly dwindling and the shadows of the trees grew longer and longer. I exchanged a look with Elrohir and then I looked to Aragorn but he sat as if asleep in his saddle.

As though my concern for him had caught the attention of the Men, one of them stepped forward and nodded at him. “Isildur’s heir?” His voice was gruff, entirely without melody.

“Aye,” said Elladan, “but he has been beset by darkness and needs light to lift the veil from his soul.”

This made them doubt. Once again, I held my tongue, torn as I was between paths and options. So much had we been through this past year that a ride with the Dead could have been but another peculiar experience and yet this was what had finally beaten Aragorn. I did not want it. I wanted for him to stand tall and strong and proud, not succumb to the darkness.

The Man who had spoken turned on his heel abruptly. “You will follow us,” he said, even as he began walking. “Our Captain will know what to do with you.” Then he shot a hard look over his shoulder and his eyes gleamed of grey. “It will be a long journey through the night.”


He had spoken truthfully. A bleak light through the trees heralded a dawn that brought little comfort. We had shifted Aragorn to sit in front of Elrohir and Roheryn was tied to my own horse. The Rangers of Ithilien, for this we had understood they were, had led us unfailingly through the land, guided us so close to the mountains that we sensed their jagged edges in the dark and then again into deeper grass and denser woods. At the first touch of light to the horizon we finally came to a halt near an immense tumble of moss-covered rocks and tall fir-trees and heavily leafed elms and oaks.

It was here that we dismounted and here that I first saw him.

He appeared seemingly from out of nowhere, sprung from the rocks and the trees almost, he, too, hooded but not masked. And there was a familiarity about him even though I had never met him before. Fairer than his comrades he was, with hair that gleamed dully of copper in that poor morning, and his eyes were not the steely grey of Anduin, but bluer, and softer. Yet he was guarded and looked upon us with much doubt, and with his brows drawn together as if we presented a most unwanted complication.

“‘Tis strange how in such a dark time so many secrets are uncovered,” he said by way of greeting, and it was only later that I understood that he also referred to the knowledge he had gained from his meeting with Frodo and Sam. “Here is a refuge of the Rangers of Ithilien. These are simple caves and not fit for a King, but here you may rest. Yet I would hear your tale if you will tell it.”

And Gimli spoke: “You do not know him yet, Captain, but for this King they will surely be good enough, and so also for this Dwarf! And plenty of tales we have to tell.”


It was simple quarters indeed, but safe and dry. The Captain offered his own bed for Aragorn and we lowered him into it and I spread two cloaks over him. Then I sat with him until I imagined that I perceived in his cheeks a slight rising of colour.

The Rangers brought us food and water, and a tea was brewed for Aragorn that I, by lifting his head into my lap, managed to make him drink. It was sometime later that the Captain himself appeared in the roughly hewn doorway to his chambers and looked long upon us.

“The Dwarf and the Elven brethren speak in riddles,” he said. “I have done my best to decipher them.” He had shed his cloak and stood now in a brown leather tunic that fit snugly over his broad shoulders and around his slim waist. Underneath he wore the green of the woods around him.

“Tell me, then,” I said. “Why is it that I feel as if I have seen you before?”

To this, he offered a sorrowful smile. “You knew my brother. For I am Faramir son of Denethor, who is Steward of Gondor.”

It was a surprise but, now that I knew of their bond, I could see some resemblance. Yet still I marvelled for Faramir was a different creature indeed, lacking the rashness of his brother and exuding a nobility and a steady silent strength that I had never noted in Boromir.

“Word of his passing reached me only days ago,” he went on. “Even if I had…” He paused, as if suddenly unwilling to continue. “I saw his funeral boat upon the waters.”

My heart sank at this and I inclined my head at him. “Then I shall answer the riddles for you for I was in the company of Boromir when he fell and it was I and Gimli and Aragorn who lay him down into the boat and gave him to the river.”

He nodded slowly and came into the room. He sank down to sit on Aragorn’s other side and he let out a sigh, but did not beg for me to go on. “Is he truly the heir of Isildur?” he asked, and his voice was softer now. “The blood of Elendil?”

“Aye,” I said, and before I knew what I was doing I placed my hand protectively on Aragorn’s shoulder, as if I feared Faramir would strike him.

But Faramir only looked upon Aragorn and his eyes, too, were soft and I saw that he was younger than Boromir. He sat like this for a while until he rose and left.


When Aragorn finally woke the day had progressed even further and now a silvery noon lay over the Rangers’ refuge. We had washed and eaten some more, and Gimli had fallen asleep in a secluded corner and was snoring softly. As much as I had doubted this course of action, I had to admit that it had been a wise choice to separate from Halbarad and the Dúnedain. The time would come soon enough, I suspected, when we would be forced to join with them again.

I had feared that Aragorn would not share this view and that we would have to contend with him and defend our choice, but when I knelt by him and began explaining he smiled faintly and shook his head.

“‘Twas wise,” he said, quietly and with eyes half-closed. “There is peace here.”

“And sorrow,” I said. “For we are in the dwelling of the Rangers of Ithilien, and Faramir brother of Boromir is their Captain.”

A small frown settled in Aragorn’s features and he made an attempt to sit. I slid a folded blanket behind his back so that he more comfortably could lean against the stone wall behind him. “Then I must speak with him.”

“He is not his brother.”

Aragorn’s grey eyes sought mine in silent query.

I smiled. “He is wiser than Boromir. I like him.”

Aragorn gave a smile of his own, slightly rueful. “Find him for me, please, Legolas.”

And I did.


They spoke for many hours. I spent my time with Elladan and Elrohir and discovered how deeply I had missed the company of some of the Elven race. We repaired our wear where it had been torn, sharpened our knives and swords and I counted through the arrows in my quiver. The brothers told me such news of Imladris and the western lands they thought I had not heard and I quietly answered any questions they had for me.

It was not until the shadows began stretching again that Faramir reappeared and he looked both content and amazed, but I paid this little heed for I could never have imagined that anything beyond the ordinary had taken place in his chamber. All I knew was that he had spoken with Aragorn and if I had contemplated the matter in depth I would have said that it was a natural thing for anyone to be overwhelmed upon encountering the heir of Elendil.

He approached us and I could read curiosity in his gaze as it lingered on our weapons, and even our forms.

“You look long and hard, Captain Faramir,” observed Elladan. “What is your judgement?”

This sent a rush of colour to his cheeks. “Forgive me,” he said. “But I have not had dealings with any Elves before.”

“I am sorry for your loss,” said Elrohir, and with such a serious demeanour that it took the Man a moment to see it for the jest it was and finally smile.

“How fares Aragorn?” I asked.

“He sleeps now,” said Faramir. “But we spoke of many things.” A shadow drew across his face and he sighed. “Some darker and some brighter. I fear that here in Gondor the darkness overwhelms us at times.”

Elladan nodded. “Yet Aragorn brings hope.”

Faramir turned to him, then. He said nothing but there was a wave of such powerful longing in him in that moment that even I could feel it.


A light rain began falling ere dawn and chased some of the dense silence of the woods away. I let the raindrops land on my face and in my hair as I breathed in the fresher air and finally allowed myself to relax into the embrace of the trees. So entranced was I that I did not hear him approach and for this I scolded myself long afterwards.

“You are from the Woodland realm?” asked Faramir, making me start.

I blinked at him. He had drawn up his hood and come quite close to me without a sound. I found my voice after a moment. “My father is Thranduil of Mirkwood, Taur-nu-Fuin.”

He gave a slight bow. “You are a prince, then.”

“I am,” I said, somewhat uncomfortably. “I do not…” I failed to say what I intended, which was not clear to me anyway. “I serve my father who is King.”

Faramir nodded. “As I do my father. Yet the stewardship of Gondor is failing.” He caught my gaze and again I was struck by his calm. “I would see the glory of Gondor restored. And power in the hands of the worthy.”

I held his gaze and tried to read it. “You speak of Aragorn?”

“I speak my heart’s desire.” He broke our connection and lifted a hand to indicate the woods around us. “In Ithilien reigns a false peace, and it is beautiful but treacherous. In my heart, I have served these lands for many years, more earnestly than I ever served Minas Tirith. I fear the hour the Darkness descends upon Ithilien.”

“Perhaps it will not.”

He looked at me again, then, and a small smile caught his lips. “You speak of Aragorn.”

I nodded. “I follow him.”

He, too, nodded. “I can see why,” he said, simply.


Perhaps I saw it first later that day when I sat with Aragorn and Faramir joined us. For I noted the way Aragorn’s gaze immediately fixed on the young Captain and how he, in turn, smiled and how there was colour on his cheeks, higher than usual.

“I disturb you,” said Faramir, blue eyes moving from Aragorn to me. “Forgive me.”

“No.” Aragorn pushed himself up and turned to me. “Legolas, I would speak with the Captain some more if you do not mind?”

Aragorn looked healthier. Many hours of peaceful sleep, a few meals and a wash had rekindled the spark in his eyes and he moved now to sit with more vigour than I had seen in him for many dark days. This gladdened me and eased my heart, and so I was keen to give him what he needed. Also, I had not yet analysed what I had just observed between him and Faramir.

“Of course,” I said, rising to my feet. “You may take over, Captain Faramir.”

Faramir inclined his head at me and then moved into the room as I left it. I did not wait to see him sit or if he remained standing for I had no reason to do so. It was only later, when I saw an exchange of looks between Elladan and Elrohir and during the conversation that followed, that it dawned on me that I had witnessed the beginnings of something that maybe lay beyond friendship.


It was that same evening. The rain had passed on and a few stars were turning in a darkening sky. I was joined by the twins under it.

“It is time we left.” It was Elladan who spoke, and almost cautiously too, as if he feared he would meet with great opposition. “Aragorn has healed well.”

I turned to him, suddenly struck by a deep unwillingness to leave these woods. It was the healing of Aragorn’s soul we had sought in coming here but the trees were comforting to me also, and their embrace most loving. “There is yet time…” I said, though I knew it was hardly the truth.

It was then that they looked at each other, the brethren, and there passed between them something very serious. It was Elrohir who finally spoke. “There is a connection being forged between Aragorn and the son of Denethor,” he said, quietly. “We have both seen it.”

I frowned. “But that is a good thing,” I said, confused as to why they should perceive such a development as something undesired.

“Is it?” asked Elladan, but there was no malice in his voice. “‘Tis a deeper bond, Legolas, than what you think.”

I stared at him. It was then that I understood, and even as my heart filled with compassion for Aragorn who for so long had laboured in solitude and wrested with the chains of his own heritage, I felt the sharp sting of sorrow that he should find such joy at the very edge of time. It seemed unfair to me and I wondered why Vairë would weave such a thread into Aragorn’s life.

If I had any lingering doubts that what Elladan had told me was untrue they were obliterated later that night when I made my way to Aragorn’s chamber to make certain that he was comfortable and sleeping.

For as I looked into the chamber and through the gentle darkness that filled it, I spied not only one but two figures on the bed: Faramir half sat, half lay with his back against the wall, with a bundle of cloth behind his head to support it. And Aragorn lay against him, with his head resting upon Faramir’s chest, his dark locks contrasting against the white of Faramir’s undershirt. The Captain’s arms were around him and they had pulled a blanket over themselves, halfway up Aragorn’s chest. What I heard was their breathing: soft and deep.

I backed away, almost unable to draw my eyes from the sight before me. If Elladan and Elrohir had not been wise enough to speak of this earlier my chock would have been even greater and so, even as I stared at Aragorn and Faramir, I knew a hint of gratitude.

Still, I was troubled and did not easily drift into slumber that night.


When next I saw Faramir the sun had just risen behind the clouds and the whitish dawn danced around us. He emerged from the cave, dressed and washed, but as I looked upon him I saw that his lips were reddened and that his eyes were brighter than I had ever seen them before. I pretended I noticed none of this, however, as I watched how he, after a moment’s pause, turned back and disappeared again from view. It was not long thereafter that I saw him again, but this time with Aragorn who leaned a little against him, but otherwise walked without trouble.

I would have gone to greet him, and maybe even embrace him, but when our eyes met across the rocks it became too difficult. I desired to speak with him and yet I did not know what I should say. There was desperation in his eyes, and pleading, but also such light that it struck my very soul. To me, this was his true nature that I beheld in that moment: here was indeed hope, in all its glory and pain.

There was no need for me to seek him out, however, as he would be the one to come to me. I watched him approach alone as Faramir remained by the mouth of the cave. Aragorn was somewhat pale but once more there was determination in him as I stood to face him.

“Legolas…”

I fixed his grey gaze with mine. “Does he heal your heart?”

Aragorn let out a long breath, and his smile was sorrow and love combined. “My heart is healed and yet broken. I would not leave him.”

There was only this: “But you must.”

He looked as though he wished to object but he said nothing. It was only when the messenger arrived that he spoke up and I understood how deep his feelings for Faramir ran.


He rose as his eyes scanned the parchment. He had been seated beside Aragorn on a rough slab of rock but they had not been touching. But now he got to his feet and half turned away from us.

As the day waxed towards noon, the sun had succeeded in breaking through the clouds and Faramir stood now with the bleak sunlight crowning his hair. Though when he moved to face us, there was a shadow building in his eyes.

“My father summons me to Minas Tirith,” he said, simply. “The enemy seems to have fixed its eye upon Osgiliath.”

“The ruined city?” Elladan leaned forwards a little. There was a furrow between his dark brows.

“Aye.” Faramir folded up the piece of parchment. “We shall make a stand there.”

“Why?” I heard myself asking. It was an inelegant reaction, but one born out of some sudden twist of fear for the young Captain. “To what end?”

It appeared Aragorn’s concern was of an identical kind. “Legolas is right,” he said, in a low voice that sounded tight to my ears. “Osgiliath is already lost. You would do better to defend the White City. Or Ithilien.”

Faramir’s face, when he turned to look at Aragorn, was veiled in sorrow. “These are my orders.”

Aragorn rose, too, at that. “Then we shall go with you.”

His foster-brothers would have protested if Faramir had not done so himself. He shook his head. “No, my lord. That is not your fate.”

“It is my fate to–” But he broke off, even as his eyes burned into Faramir.

“My lord…” And it was as though they forgot that we were watching – as if they were alone and their words shed in private. Faramir dropped the folded parchment onto the stone and held out his empty hands. “The White City stands shining still, in bold defiance of Mordor. I shall go there and hear my father and do his bidding.”

Aragorn, before our eyes, grasped his hands, then. “I would go with you.”

Once more, Faramir shook his head as a bleak smile touched his lips. “Do not stray from your path and into mine. But know this: Ithilien is the true living heart of Gondor, as I know it. And you have brought hope into it, and this I shall carry within mine own.”

There passed between them something more than just silence. Beside me I could sense Elrohir desiring to speak up but he never did. Then, at long last, in unspoken agreement, Faramir led Aragorn from the small chamber and we did not see them again until the sun had peaked above the trees.

When they reappeared, I found no reason to ask questions. I could have studied Aragorn’s form, perhaps noted how his hair looked more tousled or how his tunic was newly belted but what purpose would that have served? All I knew was pity as I beheld them as they emerged into the small clearing where we were saddling the horses. For there was sorrow in their eyes, and a silence about them that had an edge of finality to it.

Faramir approached me just when I had shouldered my quiver. We stood for a brief moment in hesitation before he inclined his head. “Thank you.”

I did not know how to ask precisely what he meant, or even if I desired to know the answer. “My own thanks,” I said. “You have unburdened his soul.”

“I fear not.”

A sweet scent from the trees drifted by just then. He produced a smile. “You are welcome in these woods, Legolas, should you ever have need of their shelter again.” Then, with a last nod at me, he turned away and went to Aragorn’s side.

I could never guess the pain their parting brought to Aragorn’s heart. I only know that his fingers were laced with Faramir’s until it became physically impossible for them to maintain the contact any longer as he finally needed to urge Roheryn into a careful trot.

My last glimpse of Faramir was that of his hair, a last shine of copper through the leaves. I hoped the Valar would keep him safe and that his fate would be a different one from Boromir’s.

It was not until later, when we had ridden for many long hours and turned our eyes to gaze southwards, towards the dark promise of reunion at Pelargir that Aragorn rode to my side. The sun had sunk beneath the horizon but still we pressed on, in cold starlight.

I did not know what to say as I looked into his eyes. They were shining with the starlight and more, and yet there was a firmness in his jaw that did not encourage me to speak words of comfort. Instead, it was he who spoke, and his voice was almost lost to the wind in our hair.

“You were right. He is not his brother.”

Then he turned his face away, and I could see it no longer for it lay now in shadow.

End

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About the Author


Geale

Greetings,

This is me and this is where all of my Faramir stories are posted. I write mostly Faramir/Aragorn, but like to toy with other pairings as well. Hopefully, you will find something you like!

If you should feel like it, visit my livejournal Wildwood or find me at FanFiction.net or contact me via email: wildwood@live.se

Have a pleasant stay, wherever you end up on your journey.