29 June 2004 | 3857 words
Title: In the Sun
Author: Ruby Nye
Rating: PG-13 for discussion of sex, etc.
Author's email: email@example.com
Pairings: Faramir/Merry/Pippin; Faramir/Éowyn and Aragorn/Faramir mentioned.
Characters: Faramir, Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin. Others mentioned.
Summary: Faramir sits in the sunshine with hobbits on his lap.
Warning: probably excessive levels of shmoop. interspecies, slash, het, explicit nonmonogamy
Disclaimer: Not my characters, not my world, not my money.
Author's Note: I wrote this one in part to see how many different pairings I could reconcile in one story. Faramir so very much deserves to be loved.
It was an easy mistake, Faramir mused, and a dangerous one, to think of halflings as children. Their eyes were large, seemingly ingenuous, but if one looked into their depths one would find wisdom and knowledge, courage and pain. They embraced all their friends readily and often, but they might, if one were a particular friend, lick one's ear and fill it with smoky whispers of fully adult deeds they could perform with breathtaking capability. They might hoist one's broadsword with a child's two-fisted grip and a dazzled expression, but they could wield a blade fitted to their small hands with as much valor as any soldier twice their height. And they might, Faramir said to himself, one arm each round Merry and Pippin, sit on one's lap drinking from cups, looking for all the world like children refreshing themselves, till they lowered their mugs with matching lusty sighs and immediately began debating whether or not this ale were better than that of this inn or that pub in their home land.
Faramir smiled at Merry and Pippin as they cheerfully bickered, the echo of their clear voices ringing from the walls above, as the three of them sat in the sun on the porch of the hobbits' guest-house. Merry had just come from duty as a representative of Rohan, so he wore his livery; Pippin was preparing to go on duty as a Guard of the Citadel, so he was in his uniform as well, although he wore a crown of dandelions rather than his helmet. Faramir looked at their curly heads and their uniforms, and almost might have thought that he sat pillowing two pageboys, till he noticed a pointed ear or a knowing look or a scar his lips had traced, and remembered once more that his lap held two of the most valiant soldiers in Minas Tirith, as well as two of the most devastatingly clever lovers he'd ever had.
"Faramir?" Apparently the debate over the ale had been resolved, and Merry and Pippin now looked up at him with those large hobbit eyes. "Would you like some more ale?" Pippin asked, tilting his head, the dandelion wreath slipping rakishly. Faramir watched it slide, watched Pippin's green eyes widen as he caught sight of it and Merry's grey eyes crinkle in laughter, and laughed himself for sheer joy. "No, Sir Pippin, I need no more ale," he said cheerfully, watching Pippin's wide smile at the honorific; unexpectedly, it was Merry who kissed Faramir, and smiled at him when he sat back down, as Pippin beamed at them both. "You always remember our rank," said Merry gratefully. "Thank you for that, Lord Faramir."
"But he doesn't saddle us with it," said Pippin, poking Merry in the arm. Merry poked him back, and Faramir had to forestall a wrestling match with a hand on each collar, though he was laughing again, nearly too hard to hold on. "I will remember that you are knights so long as you act it," he cheerfully admonished, and Pippin and Merry laughed and wound their arms round his neck. Faramir leaned back against the wall and embraced his double armful of hobbit and felt warm and full of joy.
After a bit, Merry disentangled himself and sat on Faramir's knee again, but Pippin hung on for a long moment, and when he sat he slid down to lean his head against Faramir's chest. "Are you coming to Edoras?" he asked, taking off his dandelion crown, sounding just a touch subdued. Merry glanced at Pippin sharply, and took his ale-cup from his hand.
"Alas, no. I wish to, but I must stay." Faramir raised his hand to stroke Pippin's chestnut curls, and Pippin leaned into the touch. Merry laid aside the cups and leaned his head against Faramir as well, taking Pippin's hand between his own. "King Elessar apologized to me for it." Faramir smiled at the memory, and marveled once more at how good it felt to smile, something he had done so infrequently for long years and which he had done so often now since Pippin had looked up at him, since Éowyn had kissed him, since Aragorn had returned, since the world had changed.
Merry and Pippin laughed. "What did he say?" asked Pippin and "that is so like him!" said Merry, and Faramir pressed his hand gently into Merry's side and continued. "He said that he was sorry to lay upon his Steward such a heavy duty, and to delay his friend's seeing my betrothed again, but that as his Steward I must hold the City for him. I told him he was a tyrant, and cruel besides." Faramir smirked as the hobbits hooted their approval of that reply, Pippin nearly tumbling off Faramir's lap. "Oh, good! Very rich!" cried Merry; Pippin donned his dandelion crown again and looked up sideways out of his green eyes and said impishly, "I hope you kissed him."
"Pippin!" Merry swatted him indignantly. "Peregrin Took, Faramir is betrothed to Éowyn, to say nothing of the Queen Arwen, and besides, whom either of them kisses is none of your business."
"Faramir's tumbling with us, isn't he?" Pippin retorted, then looked up at Faramir again. "Don't let Merry worry you. Queen Arwen was betrothed to King Elessar before any of us were born, she knows what he's like. Lady Éowyn is magnificent, but a lad can use another lad's company every so often, and I don't see why Men should be any different."
Faramir laughed helplessly at this relentless logic and kissed Pippin, but when he turned his gaze to Merry the hobbit looked troubled, and Faramir knew why, and squeezed him reassuringly. "Merry, fear not. I am marrying Éowyn, and I take that vow as seriously as any I've sworn to my King. Perhaps more, since I know she can thrash me soundly with one arm held behind her back."
Merry grinned at that, and clapped Faramir on the back. "Oh, Faramir, I trust you; I knew you were a capital fellow even before I knew Pip loved you. I just want Éowyn to be happy, is all. She's seen dark days, she's earned some joy."
Faramir nodded seriously. "That she has, and I intend to do my unworthy best to bring her joy." Merry wound both arms round his waist and embraced him for reply. Pippin smiled at them until he caught Faramir looking at him, whereupon he put on a pout so hilarious that Faramir and Merry nearly fell over with laughter. "Well, I know what I saw," said Pippin, putting his free hand on his hip; Faramir cocked an eyebrow, and Pippin continued, more softly, "I was there when Aragorn called you back up out of the shadows, Faramir." Merry plucked Pippin's hand off his hip to hold it again as Faramir held them both closer. "And I saw you open your eyes, which I'd feared you might never do again, and look up at him, and fall in love. Just the way Merry looked up at Boromir in Rivendell and fell in love." Merry snorted, and blushed, but did not deny. "Just the way I looked up at you under the gate-arch," Pippin said, voice soft as his curls, the look in his wide green eyes making Faramir's heart ache sweetly, "and fell in love."
Faramir smiled and pulled Pippin up for a kiss, and then kissed Merry, the halflings holding each other's hands all the while. "I have woken to love time and again this past spring," he said wonderingly, looking into grey eyes and green. "I have woken to joy for so many mornings I might almost lose count but for the wonder of it. My King has returned, my City is thriving and fair, I am awash in love, and yet..." And yet joy and pain entwined into one bittersweet ache.
"And yet you miss Boromir." Merry nodded, laid his head against Faramir's chest, and the ache in Faramir's heart began to fade beneath that curly head. "Of course you miss Boromir. He was your brother, and he loved you, and you wanted him to see all this glory, share all this joy."
"He told us about you, have we told you?" As ever, Pippin smiled so cheerfully Faramir couldn't help but smile back. "He told me once, he looked forward to watching us bring you laughter and gladden your heart."
"That you certainly have done, Pippin and Merry." Both hobbits pressed themselves to him, and Faramir held them tightly as the ache dissolved fully into joy.
"There you are," said a voice behind them, and Faramir turned to see Frodo walking out from the house. "I should have known you two would be manhandling my guest."
"Your guest?" cried Merry indignantly; Pippin tossed his hair as he retorted, "I'll have you know I specially asked the King to grant Faramir leave to dine with us!" Faramir found himself laughing again, and wondered why he ever bothered to stop. Ignoring his kinsmen's protests, Frodo bowed to Faramir, who inclined his head in return.
"And how does your day here?" Frodo asked Faramir, who smiled and pointed with his chin at his lapful of hobbits as he replied, "Companionably." Frodo looked the three of them over and returned the smile. "I remember sitting like that myself," he said, "only they were both a bit smaller then."
Merry groaned, and Pippin rolled his eyes. Frodo implacably continued, "In fact, until Pippin was ten he used to suck his thumb."
"Frodo!" Pippin lunged, and was caught by Merry, as Frodo regarded him with twinkling eyes. "Trollsbane you are, Pippin," Faramir chided gently, "and Guard of the Citadel, but the King might have to reprimand you if you attack the Ringbearer."
"I suppose he would," Pippin said with a heavy sigh. "At any rate, I should be going, and I need to find my helmet first. I'll see you both at supper-time."
"I could do with a smoke, so I think I'll go in with you and find my pipe." Merry and Pippin helped each other up, and Pippin made a solemn face and saluted Faramir. "My Lord Steward."
"My knight Peregrin." Faramir saluted Pippin back, and they regarded each other for a moment before Faramir felt his face stretch into a wide grin and Pippin's shining smile answered it. Pippin threw his arms round Faramir's neck and kissed him so soundly and sweetly that the blood began to pound in Faramir's ears and he could barely hear one of the other hobbits snort; when he released Faramir, Pippin bent to embrace and kiss Frodo, who held him tightly even though he admonished, "and brush your hair before you put your helm on." Pippin rolled his eyes and took Merry's hand; Merry brushed his free hand over Faramir's shoulder and Frodo's upraised hand, and the knights of Gondor and the Mark wandered back into the house.
Frodo looked up at Faramir and held out one of the cups. "May I trouble you for a mug of ale?"
"Oh, certainly." Faramir made a long arm, tugged the now half-full barrel closer, and filled the mug. Frodo nodded thanks, took a long drink, and looked down into the mug. "I appreciate the honor," Frodo said slowly, turning the mug in his hands, "from you more than anyone save perhaps Mithrandir and the King, but, truth be told, I loathe that honorific."
"The honorific---oh. Oh. My apologies, Frodo." Feeling his cheeks burn, Faramir held out his hand; Frodo looked up, smiled, took Faramir's hand and squeezed it gently. "You couldn't know." He moved over a bit, so he sat warmly against Faramir's side, and they sat and looked out over the walls and City below, the Pelennor and beyond. The sky above them was a blue bowl filled with light; far off, Faramir could just make out one small scrap of cloud, and for a moment his memory prickled at the sight, but the cloud was white and the day was fair and against all hope he sat beside Frodo in the sunlight. Contentment welling within him, Faramir sighed and smiled.
After a time, Frodo spoke again, his voice low but clear."You were right about Smeagol."
"Gollum. Ah." Faramir looked at Frodo and saw that he was looking at his left hand, at the space where his finger had been; Faramir was not going to ask, but he was fairly sure that the creature Gollum had something to do with the disappearance of that finger. "I did not wish to be right." He slowly raised his arm, to give Frodo time to move away, and Frodo looked up, smiled brightly, and tucked himself against Faramir's side, very much as Pippin had and yet very differently. "I know," said Frodo, reaching up to tug Faramir's hand forward on his shoulder. "And I had no other choice. But I thought I owed it to you to tell you, you were right."
"Frodo, we are friends, there is no debt between us." Frodo squeezed Faramir's fingers, and Faramir gently squeezed his shoulders, and they sat for awhile longer in warm silence. Faramir looked at Frodo from the corner of his eye, watching him as he watched the sky, noting that, compared to when they had met in Ithilien, Frodo's face was less careworn, less angular, filling out a bit again; however, Frodo still wasn't rosy-cheeked like the other halflings, but pale, almost translucent, as if a light shone through him, of star rather than sun.
As if he felt Faramir's gaze, Frodo turned his eyes to Faramir and smiled. "You clean up well," he observed. "No wonder my cousins threw their randy little selves at you."
Faramir felt himself blush like a boy; Frodo's smile tilted towards impishness. "Well," was all he managed before Frodo began laughing. "Oh, Faramir, you should see your face! " Faramir set his features in a longsuffering cast, which only produced more peals of merriment from Frodo. "Oh, I haven't seen such a blush since I last teased Sam." After a few more giggles, Frodo quieted to a smile. "You have been very good to Merry and especially Pippin," Frodo said warmly. "Thank you."
This was not ridding Faramir of his blush; Frodo noticed and grinned. "I feel," Faramir said slowly, trying to ignore his burning face, "I feel I should thank you, Frodo. Merry and Pippin are so easy to love. They loved my brother and sweetened his last days; they make these bright days of mine even brighter, Merry with his cheer leavened with wisdom, Pippin the soldier with flowers in his hair. How could I not be good to them?"
"Even when they're impertinent?" Frodo and Faramir laughed together. "I heard Pippin's advice on how he feels you ought to serve the King." Faramir shook his head, still laughing, until Frodo's expression abruptly sobered. "Pip doesn't always realize he doesn't see the bottom of the Brandywine. I mean, he doesn't always know that he doesn't know the whole situation. He does mean well, though."
"I know he does, and I am glad Pippin cares so for the welfare of the Steward and the King." Frodo smiled again at that, and leaned into Faramir's embrace, then tilted his head with a speculative look. "I do think Merry and Pippin had a good idea before. Your knee looks like a better seat than this rock-cut bench."
"But that leaves me seated still on this bench." Faramir grinned, and Frodo grinned back. "Ah, but you're a soldier, Faramir, you're used to hardship."
That comment made Faramir's smile tilt and sag; he knew he did not, would never, know all of Frodo and Sam's tale, but what he did know told him that Frodo knew as much or more of hardship as any veteran soldier of Gondor. Frodo saw this in his face, and smiled ruefully and patted his knee; then he held his head higher, held out his hand imperiously. "Come, Faramir, give me your hand." Faramir obeyed, and Frodo gracefully climbed up and settled himself; though he was smaller than Merry and Pippin, no one would have mistaken Frodo for a child as he sat straight-backed on Faramir's knee.
"So, are you going to Edoras with Merry and Pippin?" Faramir asked, and Frodo tilted his head. "Yes, and we won't be back. It's high time we went home."
"Oh." Faramir felt a childlike pang of disappointment, though he made himself smile. "Yes, you have earned a triumphal return home." Frodo smiled wryly at that, and shrugged. "We've done what we came to do, and we're all still alive, that's enough triumph; we just want to be home, and Sam and Merry had lasses who are doubtless still waiting for them, if I know Rose and Estella. Even so, we'll miss Minas Tirith, and we'll miss the King and Queen, and we'll miss you, Faramir."
Faramir wrapped his arm round Frodo, squeezed him gently. "And I will miss you, Frodo, and Samwise, and your fair kinsmen. I never thought I would meet Halflings from distant legend, let alone converse with them and count them my friends."
"Let alone bedmates," said Frodo, as he poked Faramir in the ribs, and Faramir squirmed away and laughed. "You are merciless," he protested, and Frodo grinned up at him. "Yes, I am," he said unrepentantly. "And as long as we're off to Rohan, may we bear messages for you?"
"Thank you for asking. I do have a letter for my lady Éowyn, and I would be grateful if you'd bring it for me, and even more grateful if you kept Pippin from reading it."
Frodo smiled, a faraway look in his eyes. "I only met Lady Éowyn briefly, between when I was well enough to be about and she and King Éomer had to leave. But she's.like a shaft of sunlight, given a woman's form."
Faramir smiled proudly. "She is. She and I, we both spent long years with little happiness, and now we've woken to wonder and joy, so she shines with it."
"And you glow with it," Frodo said. "Merry says so, if you don't believe me."
Indeed, Faramir wondered why he ever bothered to stop laughing when the Halflings were nearby. "And what else does Merry say?"
"That he never saw anything so magnificent and fair in his life as Éowyn standing like a pale golden flame before the Witch-King, save perhaps Boromir standing amidst a black tide of orcs, his sword flashing in his hand." Frodo laid his hand on Faramir's arm. "I think my cousin has taken a liking to soldiers."
Faramir smiled at that, the images of his beloved's and his brother's valor bittersweet in his mind. "Then I know not what he sees in me; I am only a soldier by need, but a scholar in my soul."
Frodo smirked. "I could tell you what Pippin sees in you, but both our faces would burn. I despair of his language sometimes."
Faramir laughed at that, and shook his head. "I think I might imagine," he said, and Frodo laughed. "Even so. I've ever been drawn to soldiers, perhaps because of my brother. Now I have as betrothed the most valiant shieldmaiden of the War of the Ring, and count two of the fairest knights in the White City as my friends, and serve a King whose valor is only exceeded by the healing in his hands. Sometimes I can hardly credit my fortune."
"Is it mere fortune if you've earned every bit?" Frodo asked with a smile. "For you have earned your joy, Faramir. Every bit of it." Faramir blushed at that, and smiled. Frodo returned the smile, then cleared his throat. "Something you said earlier reminded me...there's been something I've meant to ask you, as a fellow scholar." Faramir nodded, and Frodo continued. "As long as I'm here I thought I might explore the libraries, but I've hit a dead end in my research. You obviously read of us, Halflings, before you met us; what do you know of our pre-history, before we came to the Shire?"
Faramir grinned. "We might be talking awhile. Let's refill our mugs first." Frodo smiled and held his out.
They were still talking an hour later when Sam came out to them; Frodo turned and saw him, and his eyes brightened like stars. "Hullo, Sam!"
"Hullo, Mr. Frodo, Lord Faramir." Sam had the clearest look in his brown eyes, Faramir well remembered. Sam took Frodo's hand the way anyone else would give a kiss, and bowed to Faramir, which made him grin. "Samwise son of Hamfast, you need not bow to me."
Sam tilted his head and smiled indulgently, as if he were used to being told to dispense with niceties, and to ignoring that and keeping track of the niceties anyway. "I've come to let you know, sirs, that tea will be ready in a bit less than an-hour. I've made it for three, for Mr. Merry is taking a nap."
"I had wondered where he was," said Frodo, before he gave Sam's hand a tug. "Come sit with us, Sam." Faramir patted his knee invitingly, and Sam looked faintly scandalized. "Mr. Frodo, I couldn't, now."
"But Sam, you must tell Faramir all about the Oliphant you saw. He was ill during the battle, he missed them." Frodo whispered conspiratorially to Faramir, "He nearly danced a jig when he saw it." Sam looked quite put-upon. Faramir hiccupped to cover a laugh, and perhaps he'd had a bit much ale?
"You must tell him the Oliphant rhyme," Frodo said in wheedling tones, and Sam heaved a sigh. "It's nowt but a bit of child's doggerel," he protested, but he stepped up onto the bench as he did; Faramir lent him a hand, and between Frodo and Faramir Sam climbed up, not quite as gracefully as Frodo had but just as charmingly, to perch on Faramir's knee.
"I can't stay but a minute," Sam said. "I've a tart and a loaf in the oven, and pears stewing." Faramir nodded docilely; Frodo smiled delightedly. "Come on, Sam, we want to hear the poem." He squeezed Sam's hand, which he had never relinquished, and Sam's smile slowly unfurled, before he drew a breath, and set his shoulders, and very solemnly began to recite; Faramir smiled as well, as he sat in the sunshine with a warm lapful of the West's greatest heroes.
"Grey as a mouse/ Big as a house/ Nose like a snake / I make the earth shake..."
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: Amy , Amy