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08 June 2012 | 3190 words
Aragorn practices his healing skills on Faramir while attempting to find out what happened to him before Aragorn and Boromir returned; Boromir gets frustrated with paperwork but has a handy elf to take it out on. Follows Hands of a King.
Faramir tried to lay still and focus his eyes on the ceiling of his bedroom, chewing on his lip to distract himself from the pain of Aragorn carefully stripping the bandages away from the large burn on his side.
“I’m sorry,” Aragorn said, glancing up at his face.
Faramir shrugged. “The bandages have to be changed. I don’t think there’s any way to do it that won’t hurt, so there’s no reason to apologize.”
Aragorn rose and tossed the dirty bandages into a basket, going to retrieve the now-cooled herbs he’d set to brewing when he arrived at Faramir’s rooms. He stopped for a moment to study the younger man, stretched out on his bed, wearing only a pair of breeches pulled low at the waist to keep from rubbing the edge of the burn, arrow wounds still livid on his skin. He had turned his face away, giving Aragorn time to let his eyes move over the head of soft coppery hair, the narrow but wiry archer’s shoulders, the too-prominent ribs and hip bones, the dark shadows of bruises, now fading, some from the battle and some, Aragorn could tell, from before it.
He sat down on the bed again and poured the tea into a small wooden basin, taking up a clean cloth. Faramir tipped his head back and closed his eyes; the cleaning hurt terribly at first, but the herbs quickly eased the pain, and within a minute or two it was much more bearable. He lay still, muscles tense and breathing slow and controlled, until Aragorn had cleaned the wound and applied a fresh dressing and bandages to it.
“That’s all,” he said, rubbing Faramir’s shoulder.
The younger man smiled, relieved, and moved his arm, gingerly testing the injury.
“It is healing… slowly.”
“Burns take a long time to heal,” Aragorn said, stretching out to lay down next to Faramir on the bed. Faramir sighed and shifted slightly to allow Aragorn to slide closer, draping one leg gently over Faramir’s and tracing the healing wounds on the thin chest with his fingers.
“They will take longer to heal if the body is plagued by many other burdens,” Aragorn said, watching Faramir’s face. “Or if the mind is too troubled to allow proper rest.”Faramir groaned. “You are relentless, aren’t you?”
Aragorn sat up. “I want to know what happened here after you came back.”
“I told you. I spoke to my father about you. He was angry… and some of those loyal to him and with much to lose if the tales of the true king were true… and that’s all. My father wanted very little to do with me, and would probably have tried to charge me with treason, but he couldn’t figure out how, since technically the sole purpose of the Steward’s rule has been to wait for the rightful king’s return, so he just settled for making my life difficult.”
Aragorn shook his head and traced the younger man’s body with his fingers again. “Faramir, this burn is not the only wound I see on you that didn’t happen in a battle.”
Faramir sat up and reached for his tunic. “I told you, nothing to worry about. All soldiers acquire some injuries.”
Grasping him by the wrists, Aragorn pulled him back toward the bed and looked up at him. “Not in their own homes. You think that the people here don’t talk about your father… or about you?”
Faramir jerked his hand away. “I had hoped they would have enough respect for my dignity to keep my personal business to themselves.”
Aragorn sighed as the young man walked to the window, pulling his tunic gingerly over his shoulders and looking down on the courtyard below. After a moment, he rose and came to stand behind the younger man and slipped his arms around him, mindful of the still-healing burn. Faramir stiffened, but didn’t pull away.
“Why are you so persistent in knowing what happened?” he asked.
“Because I’m responsible for it,” Aragorn said.
Faramir turned, startled. “You? You’re not…”
“I sent you back here, knowing your father wouldn’t welcome the news you brought. I should have sent Boromir… your father would not have harmed him.”
“If you had sent my brother, you wouldn’t find a city as ready to welcome you as it is now. My brother is torn… all his life, becoming the Steward meant becoming the ruler of Gondor, but now it means becoming the servant of the King, and he knows it’s his duty, but…”
“But he doesn’t like it,” Aragorn said, raising a hand to rub at the back of Faramir’s neck. “And it doesn’t matter what Boromir might have said or done… I still made the choice to send you back here.”
“You made the choice a King should have made.”
“Maybe,” he murmured, pressing his lips to the skin of Faramir’s bare shoulder. “But I allowed you to be harmed.”
“And why would you want to know the details of that?”
“Because,” Aragorn said, shaking his head, “the things I can imagine haunt me. The truth can’t be worse.”
Faramir glanced over his shoulder at him, eyes solemn and dark. “Are you certain of that?”
Boromir attempted to glare the elf into going away, but Legolas just leaned against the wall of the Steward’s office, arms crossed, grinning.
“You look rather cross,” he said.
Boromir scowled at the stacks of papers and rolls of scrolls scattered all over the vast surface of the desk. “It appears my father did absolutely nothing before his death other than collect rubbish that I’m now expected to sort through.”
Legolas shrugged, and Boromir took a moment from glaring at the papers to appreciate the lean figure in close-fitting breeches and a loose tunic with the laces rather carelessly tied at the neck, although the ever-present smirk above it brought the sour expression back to his face.
“You can stand there looking smug. You don’t have a bloody thing to do but wander around Minas Tirith being stared at like you’re some sort of magical creature.”
“I am an elf. They’re not common around here.”
Boromir pushed a stack of papers across the desk and reached for a quill. “All of these… these are all letters requesting assistance from Minas Tirith from every town, territory, outpost, and corner of the kingdom. None of them have been answered. And these ones over here… all of them are requests for supplies from the captains for their troops… all ignored. What am I supposed to do with all this? It’s taken me two days just to figure out what was here, and I haven’t even started on the scrolls.”
Legolas strolled over, looking down at the stacks of papers, and reached out one hand to touch the stack, making it wobble at the edge of the desk.
“Elf…” Boromir said, his tone warning.
Legolas smiled and, very deliberately, tipped the stack of papers. They scattered into a pool across the floor, spilling everywhere and ending up strewn across most of the floor of the study.
Boromir was on his feet with a low growl and an irresistible urge to wipe the smirk off the elf’s face; in a moment he was around the desk and in another moment one large hand was around the elf’s throat, slamming him violently back against the wall and nearly lifting him off his feet.
For a brief moment he was alarmed at his own aggressiveness, but when he looked at Legolas, the elf was watching him, and the smirk was gone, but it had been replaced with an intent, focused stare, blue eyes gone very dark, and Boromir had learned what that look meant. Loosening his grip on the elf’s neck only slightly, he slid his other hand down and grinned; Legolas was already half-hard and pressed himself into Boromir’s palm, eyes darkening even more.
“Someday I’m going to do you a genuine harm,” the man rumbled.
“I doubt that,” Legolas said, his voice low and intense, “but feel free to keep trying.”
He jerked Legolas away from the wall and spun him toward the desk, shoving him face-down among the papers, no longer caring what sort of order they were in. Legolas heard him groping in one of the desk drawers and chuckled.
“Don’t even think about using ink… I doubt it works, and the results might be difficult to explain if either of us have to undress with someone else around…”
Boromir growled and gave the elf’s blond hair a sharp jerk to silence him. Legolas inhaled sharply, pressing back against the man’s hip.
“Look in the pocket of my tunic.”
Boromir chuckled as he groped and then located a small bottle of oil. “Elf, is there any time you’re not interested in being fucked?”
Legolas cocked his head thoughtfully. “Hmm. While talking to hobbits, certainly. And definitely not while having dinner, especially with Elrond… can you imagine the look on his face?”
Boromir let him talk while he jerked the tight-fitting breeches down and then tugged at the laces of his own.
“I’d probably let Gandalf watch,” Legolas mused. “But definitely not Elrond. And not the dwarf. I think he’d faint. You know how he is about…”
“Shut up, elf,” Boromir interrupted.
“Oh, are you ready, finally?” Legolas asked, glancing over his shoulder.
Boromir had long since stopped worrying about hurting the elf; the rougher the man was, the more Legolas seemed to approve of it. He took his cock in hand and drove forward, Legolas grasping at the edge of the desk for a moment as he accommodated the sudden entrance, but then relaxing again.
“Carry on, mortal. You won’t hurt me.”
It was certainly a good thing elves were so resilient, Boromir thought to himself, because he was in a very bad mood, and he had quite a bit of extra stress that needed releasing, and he intended to take every bit of it out on the elf’s deceptively slender frame. Legolas seemed more than agreeable, broadening his stance to steady himself and voicing no complaint; in fact, it was the least obnoxious he’d been since he walked into Boromir’s office, and all he had to say at the moment was the occasional muttered demand or muffled curse.
Aragorn laid Faramir back onto the bed and pinned him gently, mindful of the younger man’s injuries. Faramir, eyes closed, submitted silently to Aragorn’s kiss and to the hands that came up to rest on either side of his face.
“Talk to me, please,” he murmured.
“I already told you. My father and some of those loyal to him were angry with me, and they made my life difficult.”
“Difficult? Why were you so much thinner when I found you here than in Rivendell? And where did the bruises come from? Those aren’t from battle; those are from a beating, or multiple beatings.”
Faramir opened his eyes, but refused to meet Aragorn’s gaze. “I was warned to stop talking about the return of the king.”
“And when you didn’t stop talking?”
“I ran into some… unfortunate accidents. Somehow managed to take a nasty tumble down some stairs. The balustrade on the balcony outside my room collapsed when I leaned on it… very nearly fell. Some rather questionable equipment failures… several of my bows broke at rather important times, and one of the bowstrings snapped and nearly took my head off.”
“Your father was responsible for this?”
Aragorn frowned. “And?”
“Apparently I was harder to dispose of by accident than they anticipated. So it was somehow arranged that by some sort of ‘mistake’ I was arrested and thrown into the common prison for a few days, and the other prisoners seem to have been told they were free to do whatever they pleased to me. I had some nasty fights with several of them and took a few beatings, but generally they weren’t really quite the bad lot of fellows my father’s advisors assumed them to be, and most of them really didn’t seem to have any interest in doing me any harm. When it became inconvenient for my father to fail to notice that I’d been tossed into prison, he of course immediately had be brought out with all sorts of public scoldings of those responsible, and I hoped that perhaps the situation was resolved.”
“Hmm. It wasn’t, though,” Aragorn said.
Faramir shook his head. “After that, I started to notice that on occasion, the food that was sent for me from the kitchens made me extremely ill.”
Aragorn stared at him. “They tried to poison you?”
“I don’t know if they intended to kill me or just make me miserable enough to be quiet. Either way, I had to stop eating anything that was prepared for me. The only food I could eat safely was food that I went to the kitchen and took from the group servings before they’d been taken out for the meal.”
Aragorn shook his head and kissed the younger man’s forehead. “You are resilient, young one.”
“Well, when that plan didn’t work, a convenient attack on Osgiliath proved a good enough excuse to send me out and hope that the situation would resolve itself. I wasn’t expected to come back alive, and when I did, my father… well, you know. And I suspect it was probably my father’s advisors who ordered me to be set aside as a hopeless case and to be denied treatment… they didn’t know you and Boromir would arrive.”
Aragorn sat up and studied the young man carefully. “Faramir, are you still in danger?”
He laughed. “With you and Boromir in the city? I doubt it. Boromir is well-known for taking insults to his little brother personally and solving them with sharp objects or fists. If he knew what my father and his advisors…”
“There should be punishment for them.”
Faramir shook his head. “There’s no need. What difference does it make now? The true king has returned.”
Aragorn smiled and kissed Faramir again. “Last I heard, your brother had fired them all anyway. Something about them being a bunch of useless old bloody idiots who didn’t know a damn thing about anything.”
“That sounds like my brother.”
Aragorn’s kiss was deeper this time, and Faramir yielded willingly.
“I tried to help him with some of the work your father left yesterday, but he threw me out of the study and called me some rather unflattering names.”
“That also sounds like my brother,” Faramir agreed, returning the kiss, his body stirring to full awareness under Aragorn’s increasingly intimate touch.
“He seemed to be pleased enough when I saved your life.”
“True. But I suspect he would have preferred it if you didn’t follow that up by luring me naked into your bed at every opportunity. I am his baby brother, after all… I was protective even when it was girls who were interested in me. I doubt the idea of another man sharing my bed sits well with him.”
Aragorn rolled his eyes. “It may not sit well with him, but there’s a certain elf I know of that your brother spends a bit of time with, and it’s a miracle Legolas can sit at all.”
Faramir chuckled. “When I asked Boromir about it, all he said was that the elf was an arrogant bastard and the only way to put him in his place was by using extreme measures.”
Aragorn looked down at him. “No extreme measures have every been necessary with you, young Faramir. You are beautifully compliant.”
“Hmm. Please… feel free to test just how compliant I can be, my Lord.”
Aragorn’s breath caught in his throat as Faramir reached down to stroke him through his breeches.
“You’re supposed to be resting, Faramir, or that burn will never heal.”
“You say this as you’re lying on top of me.”
“Hmm. I really must stop letting you distract me, young one, or I will never get anything done.”
Faramir laughed and drew him down for a kiss, and Aragorn allowed himself to be distracted, at least for now, from what Faramir had told him. He did not intend to forget, however; someone knew who had been behind all the dangers Faramir had faced, and while Denethor might have wanted his son silenced, he doubted that the old man had given orders to have him killed.
“You know,” Legolas said, absently re-stacking piles of papers while Boromir watched him with lazy contentment from his sprawled position on the rug. “There are easy ways to deal with most of this.”
“Oh? What would you know about it, elf?”
Legolas snorted. “Oh, that’s right. What would a prince know about diplomacy or the management of internal affairs?”
Boromir rolled his eyes. “All right, then. What did you have in mind?”
“Well, look. These requests can be sorted by date. Any that are older than, oh, a month or so ago can receive a standard response to the effect of ‘We regret that due to such and such and such, the resources you requested could not be sent to you’ and you don’t even have to sign them… some young scribe can write them out and sign them for you and you don’t even have to look at them. And the more recent ones you can have a look at, and most of them can probably get another standard letter, something like ‘due to the recent siege of the city and such and such and such, the city is not able spare any resources at this time, but please submit your request in… oh, three months’? And the requests for supplies from your captains can all receive the same response as well; something regarding the extreme honor and diligence and courage of the armies of Gondor and a promise that now that the war with Mordor has ended, such and such honors will be dispensed to a variety of heroes, and such and such supplies will begin arriving by such and such date’… you’ll probably want to at least sign them yourself, although you don’t have to write them… so there’s that whole stack taken care of. There are lots of scribes in the library looking for some extra money and they can have these knocked out by tomorrow. Where do you want to start on the rest?”
Boromir looked at the elf for a long moment.
“Of course I’m serious. Three or four scribes can have half that desk emptied and the letters addressed and sealed by tomorrow at supper if I write them up an example of what the letters they’re writing should say and they just have to copy it.”
“You… that would save me… I don’t even know how much time that would save me.”
Legolas smiled. “What do you intend to do with all that spare time you’ve just discovered?”
“I intend to take a nap, you lust-crazed idiot, and then after that, maybe we’ll see about a way to reward you for actually being helpful for a change.”
Legolas grinned. “Don’t get used to it.”
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