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Paying the Piper (G) Print

Written by Shireling

15 November 2005 | 22964 words

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Title: Paying the Piper
Author: Shireling (shirelinghpc@hotmail.com)
Rating: G
Warning(s): Spanking
A/N: Sequel to 'Seeking'
Summary: In the early days of the King's rule Faramir is left in charge during the King's absence and finds himself having to deal with unexpected complications


Chapter 1

Faramir, the Steward of Gondor, strode from the council chamber at the conclusion of another day’s business. He had waited in the chamber for the last of the Councillors to depart and had spent a few minutes going over the preceding hours’ business, mentally evaluating the discussions and the decisions taken.

It surprised him to find that he enjoyed presiding over these meetings, never having anticipated that the cut and thrust of political manoeuvring was similar to the duties he had held as a Captain of the Rangers. The skills were much the same: clear decisive reasoning, the ability to take account of the details without losing the over-view of any given situation, reading men’s hearts and reasoning, discerning weaknesses in men and proposals and having the courage to take decisions even if the decisions proved to be unpopular. Within the Council he thrived; his wit, intelligence and air of serenity had won over even the most recalcitrant of the ‘old guard’ as Estel had dubbed them.

Stopping in the corridor at a window that overlooked the Pelennor to where the river meandered south from Osgiliath. Faramir stifled a yawn; being responsible for the administration of the city and the security of the realm was exhausting, and try as he might there were just not enough hours in the day to keep on top of his own duties as well as those of the King. He worked long into the night and rose with the dawn, delegating where he could and prioritising when he could not. He had had nominal charge of the Kingdom now for a week and he would not be relieved of his charge until the King returned in another week. The King, accompanied by Legolas and Gimli and a platoon of the White Guard led by Beregond, had gone into Ithilien to scout out and deal with the remnants of the forces of Harad who still plagued the mountains and hillsides.

In the weeks after Estel and Legolas had finally broken through the isolating grief that had paralysed his physical and emotional recovery, Faramir had blossomed, finally accepting his place within the King’s circle. It had not been an easy or a smooth journey, doubts and fears that had been a lifetime in the making could not be wiped out overnight. On several occasions Legolas, or occasionally Estel, had taken Faramir aside and had demonstrated in a practical ‘hands on’ manner that Faramir was indeed worthy and deserving of their special care and that they would not allow him to lock inside grief or guilt, as had been his habit in the past.

That the King had left Faramir in charge was a great boost to his confidence. Lord Elrond and Gandalf both remained in the city and the Elf Lord had agreed to act as an advisor to Faramir, offering his wealth of knowledge and wisdom to the inexperienced Steward. Lord Elrond had declined to sit in on the council meetings, preferring to wait in the background for Faramir to call upon if necessary. At the end of each meeting Faramir would meet with the Elf Lord in the Royal apartments and would discuss the conduct of the meeting and the decisions taken, seeking reassurance that the decisions and judgements had been sound. At the end of these informal sessions Faramir came away buoyed up by Lord Elrond’s approval.

At the end of one such meeting Lord Elrond excused himself, leaving Faramir in the company of Arwen and her brothers. He was still a little uncomfortable when in the company of the Elves, his famed ability to read the heart’s of men did not appear to extend to the Elves, their calm and serene expressions foiled his oft vaunted skills. He noticed the gentle, almost teasing, smiles that passed between the siblings as they regarded him. He was about to excuse himself when Arwen waylaid him, tucking his arm through her elbow and leading him to the balcony.

“My Lady?”

“Faramir, I know that Ada is delighted that you show such confidence in his judgements,” she explained, taking a tighter grip on his arm when he tried to pull away from her.

“Of course. I am very grateful that he shares his wisdom and experience with me. It is a reassurance to know that there is someone infinitely wiser than me to oversee the King’s business,” Faramir explained, puzzled that his response seemed to elicit another expression of mirth between the Elven siblings. He didn’t like the feeling of being excluded from what was obviously a private joke at his expense and he pulled into himself, suddenly feeling defensive and unsure of his standing.

Arwen, sensing his emotional withdrawal, released her grip on his arm but replaced it with a hand upon his shoulder.

“Have I overstepped the mark, My Lady? Have I misjudged His Majesty’s intention? Imposed upon Lord Elrond’s time and patience?”

“Peace Faramir, of course not. I’m sorry; it was not our intention to tease you or to make you feel uncomfortable.”

“Arwen is right, forgive our thoughtlessness.” Faramir wasn’t sure which of the twins spoke; he was still unable to tell them apart. Faramir again tried to make his excuses and leave but Arwen had no intention of letting him get away until she had cleared the air between them.

“Faramir, my father has said many times this last week just how impressed he is with how you have handled the extra duties placed upon you; how naturally you have taken to standing in for Estel.”

“He has?”

“Yes, Estel will be very proud of you when he returns, though I am sure he never doubted your capabilities; it will be a weight off his mind to know that he has you to help him share the burden of rule.”

“Thank you, My Lady. But I don’t understand….what was causing you such mirth.”

“Oh, Faramir, we weren’t laughing at you, it was the situation.”

“I still don’t understand.”

“Faramir, everyday, after Council, you seek out Lord Elrond. Yes?” Faramir nodded, looking anxiously between the Elven siblings.

“Why?”

“For his advice and guidance,” Faramir explained. “I need to be sure I haven’t made any grave errors or made any foolish decisions.”

“I see. And what advice did he impart to you today?” Arwen asked.

Faramir stilled, looking off into the distance as he thought back over his discussions with Lord Elrond. There had been many matters he sought advice upon, several decisions upon which he was unsure of the judgements he had made.

“Well….Um….I!” Faramir turned his puzzled gaze to Arwen; she graced him with a smile of reassurance.

“I don’t remember” he stuttered. “I….” he shook his head to clear his confusion.

“Think, Faramir.” One of the twins encouraged.

“He never….never gave me any advice, nor questioned any of my decisions,” he muttered, realising the truth of his insight. “He never did, did he?” Arwen leaned over and kissed his cheek, adding to his confusion.

“No, Faramir, he never did.”

“But then why?….He must resent me for wasting his time.”

“No, Faramir, never that. It is just Ada’s way and he would never view it as a waste of his time. You made those decisions, Faramir. You made those judgements and talking them over with Ada only helped you to clarify your thoughts and confirm to yourself that those judgements were sound.”

“But what if I had made an error?”

“Then he would have guided you and prodded you in the right direction until you recognised the error and came up with a solution.”

“But he wouldn’t have made the decision for me?”

“He would have had no need to, Faramir. He has confidence in you, just as Estel does.” Arwen whispered.

“So I should stop pestering him with my insecurities?” That comment earned him a non- too gentle cuff on the shoulder from Arwen.

“Faramir, we pointed this out to you to show you that you ‘are’ making the decisions and that you don’t ‘need’ to keep doubting your abilities. Ada is happy to be a sounding board for you as he is for Estel and if it gives you reassurance to talk through your concerns then he will be there for you. But you don’t ‘need’ him.” One of the twins explained.

“Do you understand now, Faramir?”

“Yes, My Lady.”

“Good, then we will say no more.” Arwen concluded. When it seemed that Faramir was still intent on bolting for the door, she halted him, her question a gentle order. “You will, of course, be joining us here for supper, Faramir.”

“If it will not be an intrusion, My Lady.” Seeing the look on Arwen’s face, Faramir beat a hasty retreat before she could take him to task for his reticence.

Faramir was still trying to process the whole interaction as he made his way back to his chambers. He greeted Tamir, his young adjutant, with a bemused grin, handing over a handful of papers.

“Is everything alright, Sir?” Tamir asked, waiting to take Faramir’s formal court tunic and helping him to don more comfortable attire.

“No…yes, thank you, Tamir, everything is fine, the meeting went well.”

“Can I get you anything, Sir? You seem a little distracted….will you be eating here again tonight?”

“No I will be joining Her Majesty’s party for supper. It appears that I am taking the evening off!”

“Not before time, Sir. You work too hard.” Faramir chuckled as the young lad realised what he had said and blushed. ”Forgive me, Sir. I meant no disrespect.”

“None taken, Tamir. You are not the first one to say so and her Majesty’s invitation was couched in terms that I would find very difficult to refuse.”

“You mean an order rather than a request?”

“Exactly so. Queen Arwen can be most persuasive. Now run along, Tamir, it seems only fair that if I am playing hooky for the evening that you should also have the opportunity.”

“Thank you, Sir. Are you sure there is nothing I can get you before I leave?”

“No, I am quite content.”

Dinner that evening was a jolly affair, the Hobbits were on fine form and Arwen and her brothers seemed keen to outdo the Halfling’s merriment. Faramir was happy for the most part to be a passive observer although he surprised the others and himself when he beat them all at a nonsense word game that Frodo introduced. By the time they all retired to Arwen’s parlour Faramir was more than a little tipsy on wine and laughter.

It was Pippin who instigated the next game and before long the Hobbits, the twins and Faramir were tussling over a soft leather ball. There were no rules, no boundaries and no quarter given and it was soon clear that despite the declared object being to keep possession of the ball, the un-stated objective was to down and attack Faramir, reducing the poor Steward to a giggling heap, made breathless by the tickling, insistent fingers of the Halflings. The more he pleaded for mercy the more persistent the attack until finally Arwen and Lord Elrond took pity on him and hauled the Hobbits away.

“Thank you for your timely assistance, My Lady,” Faramir gasped trying to catch his breath. He looked down and realised to his mortification that he was more than a little dishevelled; at some point in the melee he had lost his tunic and one of his shoes and his hair flopped in damp ringlets around his face.

Arwen noticed his discomfiture. “You are a delightful mess, My Lord,” she teased.

“Perhaps now would be a good time for me to retire, Ma’am,”

“Do not go so soon, Faramir. It is so good to see you enjoying yourself, please stay a little longer,” she urged.

“If you insist, My Lady.” It was hardly a gracious acceptance, for he would rather have retreated back to the sanctuary of his own chambers.

Arwen grinned and knelt down in front of the still breathless Steward. She placed her hands on each side of his face, taking a firm pinch of each of his earlobes. Faramir squeaked.

“My Lady?”

“Faramir, to every other citizen of this land I am ‘your Majesty’ or ‘your Highness’. Here, in private, when I am relaxing amongst friends I am Arwen.” Faramir blushed more brightly and tried to turn his gaze to the floor. Arwen was having none of it. “Am I not your friend, Faramir?” she asked.

And for Faramir that was the heart of the problem.

In the weeks following the Coronation it had taken much persuasion on the part of the King and Legolas to break down the barriers of formality Faramir used to assimilate his place in the new order; breaking down a lifetime of rigid adherence to protocol instilled in him from the time he could walk. They had made progress but the process was by no means complete and it did not yet extend to his Queen.

If one excluded the servants, Faramir’s experience of interacting with females was almost non-existent; he had entered the military academy at the age of twelve and from there had spent his entire life in the barracks or out in the wilds of Ithilien with his rangers. The few occasions when filial duty called him to the city afforded him little opportunity for frivolity or socialising and, with Boromir unwed, the wives and matrons of the nobility had no interest in the younger, unfavoured son the Steward as a prospective husband for their daughters. They left him alone and he escaped back to his ‘real’ life at the earliest opportunity.

His mother was only a phantom of memory, a presence of warmth and scent but no substance; he had no image to recall and no real memories of her to draw upon. He had been too young and Boromir’s shared remembrances, whilst cherished, were like the fireside tales of a lost generation.

Lady Mimaver, his nanny, was a clearer presence though he had pushed away his memories of her until the King had bidden him to recall his childhood and he had reconnected with his memories. She had been the one who nurtured and cared for him as a child, loving and teaching him, there to kiss away his tears, chase away his nightmares and tend his bumps and scrapes. But she had abandoned him too, sent away without notice on his eighth birthday when his father deemed him too old for the nursery. From then there had been no female presence in his life and he had grown to manhood without realising the lack, he was a man in a man’s world and that world filled with constant conflict and dire threat. He had no time for romancing and he had no time to regret the loss; he thought little beyond survival.

Faramir used the armour of formality to ease the discomfiture of his interactions with Arwen and now Arwen was asking him to discard that protection, asking for his friendship, and he knew not how to give it. As during his tentative and hesitant courtship of Éowyn he simply didn’t know how to be ‘friends’ with a lady. He felt tongue-tied and awkward. He had no reason to feel intimidated by Arwen’s presence, she was kindness itself, serene, calm and endlessly supportive but she was a queen, his Queen and an Elf and the combination had the power to reduce him to a blushing, inarticulate simpleton.

From across the room Elrond observed, his grey age-wise eyes taking in the interaction and missing none of the emotions that flickered across Faramir’s troubled countenance. While he knew a little of Faramir’s history, the significance of the Steward’s discomfort did not escape him and he recognised, as his daughter did not, that in pushing her offer of friendship she was in danger of pushing him further away. With the flicker of a glance Lord Elrond signalled to Elladan to rescue Faramir. Elladan picked up Faramir’s discarded tunic and reached out a hand to help him to his feet. In the mean time Lord Elrond used the distraction to draw Arwen away.

“Arwen, you have a kind heart and I realise that you are acting with the best of intentions but I fear that you are in danger of overwhelming our young Steward with your attentions.”

“But, Ada, I only wanted to offer him my friendship; he seems so lonely, so alone. It breaks my heart to see him hovering on the periphery of our company, as though he fears to join in.”

“I know,” Lord Elrond affirmed, “I see it too but you cannot force him to feel at ease in our company. You must let him make the first moves; welcome and reassure him of your own good intentions but let him dictate the pace of his integration. He will join in, in time.”

“But I don’t have time, Ada!” Arwen whispered, with tears in her eyes; she buried her head against her father’s broad shoulder. “Soon you will all leave and I will be left here with only Estel for company and the occasional visits from Legolas and my brothers. I will need his friendship.”

Elrond swallowed down his own tears and tilted up her chin until he could look into her eyes. “And he will give it, my daughter, you could not ask for a more generous and loving heart than Faramir’s. When you get the chance, explain to him your fears, I deem that you will engage his friendship more quickly if he thinks it is for your benefit rather than him seeking it for his own comfort; he would give all for another, and his friendship and loyalty, once given, would be safe against all threats or dangers. Just give him time, my daughter.”

Faramir breathed a sigh of relief at Elladan’s intervention; he accepted the Elf’s assistance and once on his feet attempted to straighten his appearance.

“Lord Faramir, did you manage to speak to the master-at -arms about our offer to assist with the cadets’ archery lessons?” the Elven warrior asked.

“I did, indeed. He would welcome your assistance in training the recruits in using a shorter bow, one more suited than the long-bow of the Rangers to use from horseback. The Rangers rarely used horses in the past but Beregond and I have decided that in future the White Guard of Ithilien would be more effective and versatile as a mounted troop. Your expertise and experience would be most welcome. He suggested that you and I demonstrated to the cadets the differences between the two types of weapon.”

“That could be fun,” the Elven warrior grinned and then sobered, remembering the Steward’s recent recovery from his battle wounds. “Are you recovered enough for such a demonstration? I know your injuries must have affected your use of the bow?”

“As long as I do not overexert myself I will be fine; my speed of draw has not fully recovered but I have not lost much in the way of accuracy.” Faramir explained. “Have you used a long-bow?”

“Not in many, many years. A shorter bow has always been more appropriate for the kind of situations we usually find ourselves in,” Elladan explained, sharing a look of past remembrances with his twin.

“The master-at arms suggested that the day after tomorrow would fit in well with his training schedule, if that is acceptable to you.”

“What time?”

“Afternoon.”

“Excellent, we will look forward to it, won’t we, Elrohir?”

Faramir, in the process of donning his tunic, turned to see the other Elf’s reactions. In the process he caught his unshod foot on the leg of a chair; he recoiled in pain and lost his balance. With his arms still entangled in the sleeves of his tunic he couldn’t put his hands out to save himself, he toppled over, banging his chest into the arm of a wooded chair as he fell and striking his head on the corner of the hearth.

The darkness was a familiar friend and he felt no fear as it enveloped him in its velvet embrace. Where once the darkness had been threatening, smothering, an ice cold band of fire around his heart, here there was no threat and no pain. He allowed himself to float upon the waves of nothingness.

Now there was PAIN; it sliced through his senses, pinning him like a captured butterfly on a specimen table. He could not escape, to move was to invite the pain to multiply; the weight forcing his chest down onto the ground left no possibility of crying out or calling for aid, barely left him the option of breathing. Fear was curling around him, smothering him.

Not enough breath.

He couldn’t move.

Nothingness beckoned with its promise of oblivion.Perhaps this was the death he had cheated in the past; the presence on the edge of his awareness the grim reaper come to gather him back into the bosom of his sundered family. But the presence didn’t seem grim. It was offering him ….something; calling to him. Boromir, perhaps, coming to usher him home.

But no, not Boromir! This fey spirit radiated a calm that could not possibly be Boromir. Boromir had been many things in life: bluff, courageous, loving, supportive, full of life but never calm, never serene. Serenity he had only seen once on that beloved face and that had been in death, as the grey Elven bier had born him away into the mists of a shadowed river.

The spirit beckoned but he couldn’t move …he didn’t want to move…the darkness of his surroundings echoed the shadow in his spirit. He retreated into himself and banished the spirit, allowing it to float away from his consciousness.

A moment’s inattention and none had been close enough to prevent his fall. Only at the last moment had the twins seen him stumble and even their Elven reflexes had not been speedy enough to save him from the impact. Their Elven senses registered the grunt of forcibly expelled air as his chest hit the chair and the awful, sickening thud of flesh and bone impacting with the stone of the hearth.

And then for interminable, endless seconds, absolute silence.

“Faramir!” The shout of alarm broke the paralysed silence and, as one, the Elves moved with the choreographed ease of past experience; instinct taking over from shock. Arwen whipped a folded napkin from a side table and handed it to Lord Elrond who was already bending over the fallen figure. That deed done she moved away from the focus of attention and ushered the stricken Hobbits back to give the healer more room to work. Pippin was weeping silently into Merry’s shoulder and Frodo and Sam, pale faced with shock clung to each other as if that simple contact was all that was keeping them from shattering.

Faramir had fallen face down, his arms still caught in a tangle of sleeves. He lay, silent and motionless, his forehead resting against the hard stone, a spreading red stain pooled beneath his pale face.

“Elladan, Elrohir, help me to turn him,” the Elf Lord ordered, releasing the Steward’s arms from his tunic. “Keep his neck straight…gently, turn him gently.”

With practiced ease the Healer examined his patient, palpating around the wound for signs of damage to the skull and mopping away the blood that flowed freely from the laceration just above the hairline. He pressed the napkin to the wound, applying gentle pressure to slow the bleeding

“I do not think the skull is broken but it was a nasty fall and we must wait to see if he has sustained any serious damage.”

“Why won’t he wake up, Sir?”

“Pippin, he has a nasty concussion; his brain has taken a severe shock, we will have to wait for him to wake up in his own time,” the Elf Lord explained gently to the youngest Hobbit.

“But he will wake up, won’t he, Sir?”

“I can give you no guarantees, Merry. Much depends on his own strength.”

“Please, Sir, you must do something…you healed Frodo from the Morgul blade, I know you must be able to help Faramir!”

“I thank you for your faith in my abilities, Merry. I will help him as I can. First we must get him to his chambers…”

“Not the Healing Houses, Ada?” Arwen asked.

“No, this young one has seen enough of those rooms; I deem he will be more at ease in his own bed.”

As Elrond knelt down to hitch the pale limp body into his arms Faramir groaned and started to retch, they rolled him onto his side and waited for the spasm to pass. Only when the risk of him choking had passed did Elrond lift him and cradle him to his chest, oblivious to the blood staining his fine embroidered robes.

“Come Arwen, Elladan, I will require your assistance. Elrohir would you stay with the little ones. I will send word as soon as there is any news.” With his instructions given the Elf Lord swept out of the chamber carrying his precious, lifeless, burden.

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3 Comment(s)


NB: Comments span all chapters and may contain spoilers!

I didn’t think it could be better, but you have outnumbered yourself. Truly, this two stories “Seeking” and “Paying the piper” are so wounderful and so full of love and care, I can’t thank you enough for writing them

— Ingrid    26 May 2009, 11:23    #

good lord. I never thought i would read a lotr fanfic with full grown men being spanked, but i admit it, i lol’d pretty hard XD cool story bro XD

— Power Of Funk    22 June 2010, 03:43    #

You could have kept this story going on and on and we your readers would have been thoroughly entertained the entire time! Thanks for your work.

— Treedweller    26 January 2019, 04:00    #

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