11 October 2010 | 1805 words
Sinful Secrets – By Nerey Camille
Disclaimer: The characters are Tolkien’s. No profit is being made.
Written for the ‘Deathbed Confession’ challenge by December
Several years after the war of the Ring, Faramir is tragically wounded while protecting a careless Aragorn during a hunt. The King’s remorse is so great that Faramir, already certain of his own death, reveals a long-kept secret that will help Aragorn getting over the loss of his Steward…
I tend to write very canon-respectful stories, so this is my first comical fanfiction. I’m not so sure I got it right, it’s a wholly new style to write in. All the same I hope you’ll enjoy it, and I’d love to have your feedback about it!
By the way, it is also my first challenge story on Faramir Fiction Archive. Not that I lack plot ideas as a rule, but this challenge really appealed to me. Thank you December for posting it, and great thanks to Bell Witch for beta-reading!
Faramir lay in a makeshift bed stained with blood, while Éowyn, Arwen, Beregond, and all the other members of the company waited outside the tent, weeping by the fire. The King had sent them from his side, but he would not leave Faramir. To the very end he would refuse to submit to fate, to accept the unendurable, unescapable truth.
He wetted a cloth in warm water to mop Faramir’s brow.
The Steward opened his eyes and said faintly, “I am going to die, my lord. There’s no use wearying yourself trying to heal me.”
“If I don’t do it I shall go mad. To think that I drank enough to be kissing the Queen when the beast came, and that you, you idiot, had to come in between!”
“Well, it was the only way. The stag was in rut and you were in his path: he charged you.”
“Stop answering me, by Elbereth’s wrath! That you should die in a hunting accident, after all you’ve gone through! I can’t bear it,” said Aragorn in a broken voice.
Faramir smiled. “Well, it’s ironic enough. It seems that after all those sombre years, even old Fate has found its sense of humour again. I find it quite enlivening, actually.”
Aragorn gave him a very nasty look. “You may swallow your dark-humoured hints. You’re wasting your energy. I am the King and a healer, and you are going to die when you are old if I have to tend you day and night and keep you from talking by putting an apple in your mouth.”
He started removing Faramir’s bandages to examine the wound yet again.
“Please, my lord. I would rather have a quiet death. It hurts enough without you touching it, I assure you.”
Aragorn gave him a brisk tap on the head, then proceeded without heeding Faramir’s words of protest. All the while he muttered crossly and (at least for a Ranger’s ears) quite audibly, “Yes, you would like it so. The faithful Steward, sacrificing himself to save his stupid King from a stag. You’ve always wanted to be the better of us.”
“By no means,” said Faramir, looking mildly surprised. “Why do you say that?”
“Because!” cried Aragorn, suddenly flaring up. “You never gave me a chance to be as gentle to yourself as you were to me. You always outmatched me in everything, loyalty, selflessness, efficiency. You were the one always in the right place, never overstepping his functions, never showing the slightest weakness that would make you a common man. Always the same mocking smile on your lips, the same superior feeling in your heart, knowing full well that if my reign was a success it was because of you. And so proud, so self-satisfied that you never deigned to put yourself forward, you didn’t need or care for recognition from others, not even from me,” Aragorn stopped, and then suddenly started to sob. “And I… all the time, trying to rule in your footsteps… you’ve no idea… it’s been so difficult… and now you would leave me, and be always the one who sacrificed himself… everybody will think it was my fault, and I… I will feel so guilty…”
By this time Faramir was starting to get afraid. Repressing a gasp of pain, he half-lifted himself on the bed in order to look the King in the eyes.
“This is madness, Aragorn,” he said firmly. “I am very sorry that I gave that impression to you. It’s false, completely false. The truth is quite the opposite.”
He checked himself, but a new stab of pain reminded him of approaching death. He made up his mind and continued, “Listen, Aragorn, I never intended to tell you this but I can’t leave you believing what you are thinking right now. If all these years I have behaved as appropriately and efficiently as I could, it was not out of pride but of shame. I am not the wonderful man you credit me to be.”
He stopped again, whether because of pain or fear, none could have told. But Aragorn was looking at him intently now, and drinking in his words. He seemed so desperately in need of comfort. Faramir sighed; there was no way back now. Still he couldn’t bring himself to say it.
“What do you mean?” urged Aragorn softly. “Is there anything you’ve been holding from me?”
“Aye, there is. I am still not sure if I should tell you.”
“Fine, fine. I didn’t want you to suffer. But really, it’s most humiliating for me to confess it, after all the complimentary things you’ve just said about me. What you’ll say of me next I dare not think about.”
“Well, here it goes. There are no two ways around it. I’ve slept with the Queen.”
Aragorn’s incredulous expression on hearing this was something impossible to describe. He remained speechless while his eyes asked for confirmation. With the Queen?
“Yes, with your wife, with the Lady Arwen.”
Aragorn was still staring at him, wordlessly and seemingly unable to fully understand the meaning of Faramir’s words. Faramir fell back on his bed and his eyes were sad.
“You must not blame her, my lord. Promise me. You were gone to the war, to chase the last remnants of the Dark Lord’s armies. She felt so lonely without you, a Queen in a place she did not know, where she didn’t have any friends, nor any chance to make some. For who would dare to approach her, so fair and royal, Elf-woman of marvellous beauty in a city of Men?”
He smiled reminiscently, and Aragorn was revolted by that smile. But Faramir didn’t notice it.
“She came sometimes to see me, when I was working, and I tried to ease her solitude by telling her of your prompt return. But you stayed away so much longer than we expected. Then one night her maid found her crying and called for me. When I arrived she was standing in the middle of her bedroom, her eyes sparkling with tears. She looked at me… and well, you know,” he ended with a half-uneasy, half-shameless smile.
Aragorn watched him for a few moments in silence, his body shuddering, strong emotions contending on his face.
“Now you’ll be consoled of my death,” said Faramir in a satisfied though feeble voice, before fainting on his bed, exhausted by this deathbed confession.
A few days later his mood was entirely different. He was altogether alarmed to see that he had not died, and what was worse, that he was on a good path to recovering. Aragorn’s relentless efforts had managed what Faramir would never have thought possible –that he survived a horrible wound with almost no permanent damage– and he was now convinced that his confession had redoubled the King’s will to save him; to take full revenge on him, no doubt.
In the meantime Aragorn was tending him with unwearying care, but his face always wore a wry smile that didn’t bode well at all in Faramir’s opinion.
“Why do you smile in that way, my lord?” he asked one day. “Are you imagining how you will torment me once I am healed?”
“Indeed I am,” replied Aragorn, laughing freely. “I will never let you forget now that you are a common man.” He arranged a pillow with particular care before adding, with the tiniest wink, “I am very grateful that you told me what you did.”
“Grateful?” gasped Faramir.
“Of course. Now I know that you are no better than the rest of us. I feel much less guilty for having let you put yourself between that stag and me.”
“But – but – you don’t resent my sleeping with Queen Arwen? Though of course,” he added, quickly catching himself, “it was only once.”
“My dear Steward, I can’t resent that. It wouldn’t be honest. You see, I did no better than you in that respect.”
Faramir looked suspiciously at him, his expression suddenly darkening. Aragorn gave him a playful smile.
“Why, I did sleep with the Lady of Rohan the other night. Or should I say, with the Princess of Ithilien.”
Faramir looked dumbstruck.
“Really, you mustn’t blame her. She was so convinced you were going to die. She was beside herself with sorrow. She came to me –you know she had always a liking for me, even before your marriage– and I comforted her and, well, you know.”
Faramir lay speechless for a few seconds, then burst out, “And she would reproach me for consoling the Lady Arwen! I am going to kill her!”
“Do you mean that you told her?” asked Aragorn in utter amazement.
“Of course I did. She was in Rohan at the time, but I made the mistake of telling her when she came back.”
“Aaaaaah,” said Aragorn, realization dawning on him, “of course. That was about the time when you were reported ill for a fortnight. But you sure were mad to speak to her; I would never tell the Queen. Did she hurt you much?”
“Did she hurt me? After what she did to me, I could no longer be afraid of your anger. I was loath to disappoint you, of course, but mostly I held my silence to prevent you from suffering, as I told you the other night. Well – I swear I will kill her.”
“There will be no need for that, dearest,” said the Queen of Gondor, entering the tent. “I’ve heard everything. Now that we all know each other’s little secrets, the King will no longer object to us all taking pleasure together, as I have wished to since I was honoured by the Steward’s regardful company.”
NB: Please do not distribute (by any means, including email) or repost this story (including translations) without the author's prior permission. [ more ]
Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at http://www.faramirfiction.com/Fiction/sinful-secrets. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!
Thank the author
The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: December