23 February 2007 | 1567 words
Beta: The fabulous Akasha
Summary: A poem can be worth a thousand kisses.
Disclaimer: We all know full well I don’t own these fellas. Quite the opposite, in fact. They own me. It could even be argued that I am merely a figment of their imaginations, existing mostly to provide them with an excuse to cozy up and have a happy ending. ;^)
I never truly learned to appreciate poetry before I became king. Like anyone raised among elves, I grew up with it. Poems were shared in the Hall of Fire nightly, alongside stories and songs (themselves a form of poetry) but it never stood out for me then. I remember liking epic poetry. Like most boys, however, it was the stories they told that were the main appeal. Pretty verses just seemed like part of the overall scenery of home, like open, flowing architecture or the constant song of the waterfalls. I missed it when I left but only as part of the general homesickness rather than a true nostalgia for it.
It was Bilbo that taught me something of the wit it takes to construct a good poem. We used to make a fine sport trading verses back and forth. It was like combining a purely intellectual game such as chess with the fast pace of a child’s game of tag. I enjoyed the challenge of finding solid rhymes on the fly and began to get a feel for the rhythm, the way the words flowed when spoken.
But it was Faramir’s love of words that brought the true revelation. When he reads poetry, it’s more than words on a page, more than just a cunning craft of language. It lives. His voice breathes passion into the lines, gives them a deeper meaning than I ever perceived before. It’s as if I’d been looking through glass all those years, never realizing the pane was filmed with grease until Faramir came along and opened the window.
Nowadays, I’m willing, nay happy, to forgo the pleasures of fine spring day outside to stay indoors if it means Faramir will read to me. I used to look upon this sort of thing as a sappy side effect of romance, more silliness than substance, but no more. Now that I’m experiencing it personally, I see how moving it can be to hear poetry from one’s love. Truthfully, I am besotted enough that even the most mundane military supply list seems somehow special coming from his lips, but even so, Faramir’s clear love for the subject matter sets his reading of poetry very much apart.
I don’t have the words and whether that’s because they don’t exist or I simply lack the wit to find them, I cannot say. Still, I feel I must try to describe what he means to me. It is his birthday and my Faramir is not a man to be impressed by expensive gifts. People often say it is the thought that counts in the giving of gifts, but Faramir is one of the few who actually mean it. He would be grateful for any gift I gave him, true, but he knows the difference between the gift of an item and a gift of the heart and treasures the latter over the former.
There is a collection of rare books I had copied from Ada’s library in Imladris that will be his public gift. I know he will be delighted with them and would be quite content if that were the only gift he received from anyone all day. A more unselfish soul I have never met and it makes me want to spoil him. I could easily get carried away with gift giving at every opportunity if I didn’t know that extravagance would embarrass him. So I restrain myself and aim for quality over quantity.
When it comes to personal, private gift giving, however, I refuse to hold back. I have plans for a very intimate sort of gift for him tonight in this very chamber that both of us undoubtedly enjoy greatly as a finishing course to the day’s festivities. This morning, however, I am nervous about my first gift.
For several weeks, I have spent most of my free time when not in his company composing a poem for my dear Faramir. I am not happy with it. It seems a pale reflection of my heart and I could not even make it rhyme, but I have given it my best effort and am not able to improve upon it further. It will have to do.
He looks so peaceful in sleep; would that he could always be so untroubled. The day creeps steadily in on us through the window and half of me wishes he will sleep late and hang onto the peace while the rest of me hopes he will wake soon and relieve my anticipation. I know not if it is a blessing or a curse that I awoke first. It gives me time to build my courage, but also time to fret. It’s silly for a man my age who has faced as many dangers as I have to be so nervous over simply sharing a poem with his lover. Knowing this does not unknot my stomach one bit.
There is no reason to fear. Faramir would never mock me. He can be a truly wicked tease when the mood strikes him, but always in the spirit of good fun, never hurtful. On the rare occasions when he does deliver an insult, it is always deliberate, surgically precise and quite richly deserved. I have only actually heard him do so once. My steward’s wit is a formidable weapon in Gondor’s arsenal and the only edge of tongue I never wish to be on the receiving end of.
“What has the coverlet done to earn your ire this morning?” comes Faramir’s sleepy but amused voice to interrupt my woolgathering. My face warms as I realize I’ve been worrying the bedclothes with twitchy fingers for several minutes now.
He smiles at me, one of his best that seems to fill the room with his happiness. It’s not often that he can make me blush and it pleases him immensely when he succeeds. I smile back at him, chagrined but unable to resist his amusement. My pride pales beside his pleasure.
I lean in to taste that bright smile, savor it as I roll off of my back and onto my front so that I lie half atop him. I pull back to look at his face and seeing the warmth in his eyes, I remember how safe it is to share anything with Faramir. No matter how mean the verse, he will appreciate the idea and that I was willing to try for him what I have attempted for no other. So I take deep breath and deliver my gift before I have a chance to start thinking too much again and risk losing my nerve. The words come easily, as if I had never agonized over them for a moment.
“I love the way
you smile at me
like the dawning of a clear spring day
when I walk into a room
like you know exactly what I’m thinking
when I haven’t said a word
like the wicked spark that lights two bodies on fire
when no one else is looking
I love the way
you look at me
as if I could do no wrong
you humble this imperfect creature
as if I am a secret that only you know
you’re the only one who truly unravels me
as if I am the brightest star in your sky
you inspire me to be the man you see
I love the way
you trust me
to guard your back
as fiercely as you guard mine
to hold your secrets
as dear as my own
to keep your heart
with all it’s fragile strength
I love the way
you’re always there
to lift the burdens from my brow for a time
and let me be just me
to offer your support, your honest council
and be the star that guides me when I’m lost
to be all that you are without reserve
and just let me be near you”
Faramir’s eyes are bright and moist and I know he doesn’t need to be told that the verse is mine or that he is the first to hear it. His hand is warm on my cheek as he strokes it. His voice is warmer and a little unsteady as he says, “You astound me.”
He pulls me down into a deep, soulful kiss. I fall into it gratefully and reflect silently that the old cliché about giving being better than receiving is very true at times. Then I cease thinking anything coherent for quite some wonderful while.
We are late for breakfast and it is a struggle to keep a straight face and claim there were affairs of state that needed attention early this morn. If anyone notices the slight pause I couldn’t quite contain between ‘affairs’ and ‘of state’ they are kind enough not to show it. My surreptitious wink at Faramir and the grin he hides behind his napkin pass equally unremarked. All in all, this is a fine beginning to what I’ve decided will be Faramir’s newest birthday tradition.
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