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The Battle of Cormallen (NC-17) Print

Written by Ithiliana

03 November 2007 | 9671 words | Work in Progress

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TITLE: The Battle of Cormallen
BY: Ithiliana
RATING: Adult
WARNINGS: AU, Dark, Rape, Torment
CHARACTERS: Aragorn/Faramir, Faramir/Frodo
AN: Story is set in Gondor, during spring of 2999 (Faramir is sixteen). I’m tweaking chronology so that the time Thorongil spends in Gondor overlaps with the lives of Boromir and Faramir.
FEEDBACK: Always Appreciated! Some explanation of what that means to me is here if you wish to see it
DISC: Characters and setting not mine, not written for money. Fair use!

Fic started (yes, it’s another WIP) in honor of strikethrough07 and as a bribe er gift for The Queen of Darkness herself!


Part 1

The earth reeked of blood and bile. Kneeling among the other captives from Cormallen Field, Faramir struggled not to spew. Stains from battle, some black, some red, all reeking, matted his hair and covered his arms and legs. The dark splotch on his chest, blotting out the White Tree of Gondor, had come from his brother. Faramir’s head still rang from the orc’s clout. His vision blurred as the setting sun limmed the ruins of trees and grass, of Gondor’s army. Thirst tormented him. He closed his eyes, tried to breathe over the pains.

“Him! There! Fetch him!”

Large hands grabbed his shoulders, yanked him to his feet. Iron claws sank into flesh even through chainmail as he was pulled out of the crowd and dragged, stumbling, across the field. Harsh laughter followed him.

“Kneel, boy!”

The voice grated, and the stink of orc sweat and blood was so thick he could taste it. As he was tossed to the ground, unable to catch himself with hands bound behind him, Faramir convulsed. The taste of blood and iron rose in his throat, flooded his mouth. Helpless on the ground, Faramir vomited.

Soaked in sweat, limp on the grass, Faramir waited to die.

Instead of a blade, cool leather nudged his face, tilting his head.

“And this is?” The voice was cool, smooth, seemed familiar.

Faramir struggled to open his eyes, blinked against the sting of sweat, but could see only a tall shadow over him.

The orc spoke from behind him. “Son of Steward. You wanted.”

“I wanted the heir. He would be wearing a collar of silver set with a white stone, bearing a great horn, bound and tipped with silver. This boy is not the heir of Gondor.”

The boot pressed against Faramir’s face. “Faramir, where is Boromir?”

The fog that filled Faramir’s head muffled sound and light. He knew that voice, fumbled for the named.

“Faramir!”

Pain pulled him out of that fog for a moment.

“Dead. Boromir’s dead.”

Sliding under the dark wave, Faramir felt a hot surge of satisfaction at those words. Boromir would be safe.

Darkness surrounded him, gripped with clawed hands. He fought weakly, hoping only for death. The pain in his head pulsed with his heart. There was no end.


A cool touch on his forehead brought Faramir awake, eyes startled open. The dim light in the small room did not hurt his eyes, and he could see a small figure kneeling beside him. He blinked, confused at seeing a child here.

“You’re awake.”

The child’s voice did not sound right, had a depth and timbre that did not match the smooth skin. Blue eyes under dark curls were large, frowning.

“Who—what?” Faramir struggled to sit, but his head swam so he allowed himself to be pushed down. He realized he was naked, clean, and lying wrapped in blankets. Had he not been chained, he might have thought he was in a Healer’s Hall.

The child rose. “I must tell Lord Aragorn.”

He stepped back as Faramir reached for him, desperate to know where they were. The sight of bare feet, hairy and large, froze Faramir’s gesture. This was no child.

The heavy door closed, the small creature having to brace himself to pull it shut behind him, and Faramir set himself the task of sitting, to see and learn what he could. It hurt to move, but his greatest problem was dizziness and blurring in his vision. Chains from the manacles on wrists and ankles were secured to the heavy posts of a bed. Leaning against one of the posts, Faramir scanned the room. Stone walls and floor were bare, save for his pallet and blankets. Heavy shutters covered one window. The only furnishings were a large chest, a rack holding armour and weapons, and a low table and chair made of the same dark wood as the bed. The table was covered with scrolls and stacks of parchment.

He could not tell where he was, or how long had passed since the battle, since he had held his brother in his arms. Squeezing his eyes shut, he held his head, trying to force the memory away. He had to remember. Boromir was dead.

Faramir jumped as the door opened, hitting the stone wall, and opened his eyes.

A tall man, dark hair falling to his shoulders, clad in greens and browns stood in the door, the small creature behind him. Faramir wondered if he was dreaming. He knew this man.

“Thorongil! What are you doing here—what has happened?”

“I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn, descended father to son from Isildur.”

Thorongil entered, followed by the other, and stood beside Faramir who had to learn back to see the bearded face.

Dizzy, Faramir could not reconcile his memory of the man who had served under his grandfather and father, although he had left Minas Tirith for Ithilien when Faramir was young, with the memory of what had happened at Cormallen.

“It was you?” he asked. “Leading Orcs and Haradrim against Gondor?”

Thorongil, no Aragorn, smiled, nodded. He knelt, set a hand on Faramir’s bare shoulder. “Where is Boromir?”

“Dead.”

“No.” Aragorn shook his head, increased the pressure of his grip. “The bodies were searched before burning. His body was not found. He is not dead.”

Faramir forced himself to look away from the grey eyes, focused on the small figure wearing blue and silver who stood behind Aragorn, hands clasped behind his back. He was watching Faramir, lips pressed together, eyes wide and concerned.

“Speak!” Aragorn shook Faramir, and his head struck the post behind him.

Faramir moaned, curling down on his side despite Aragorn’s grip, pain seizing him. If he’d had any food in his belly, he’d have spewed on Aragorn’s boots. Held by hand and chains, Faramir blinked, eyes watering, and forced words out.

“He was going to blow the horn, summon help. He was hit. Orc arrow. I held him till he died.” Faramir heard his voice sliding higher, forced himself to pause, breathe, push the memory of the weight in his arms, the black arrow sunk deep in flesh, the gold hair in his mouth, away. He spoke again, voice dull. “He’s dead.”

Aragorn released him, stood. “Frodo, take care of him. Make sure he eats and doesn’t sleep.”

In the silence after Aragorn had left, Faramir felt the cool touch on his face. He opened his eyes to see Frodo beside him.

“I’ll get food and water,” Frodo said, his voice low. He did not move his hand, and Faramir clasped it.

“What are you?”

Frodo licked his lips, looking over his shoulder, and tugged his hand free. “A hobbit. A captive, like you.” He jumped to his feet and left the room before Faramir could respond.

A hobbit.

The word was strange even though Frodo spoke the Common Tongue. Faramir rested a while, then pushed the hobbit from his mind, determined to test the limits of his prison. He could not stand, only kneel. There were no possible weapons within reach save the clay pot under the bed.

After contemplating it a moment, he shrugged and used it, then returned it to its place. It would be there if needed. The wool blankets, two of them, might serve to trip someone. The chains were not long enough to use as a weapon, he thought, twisting as much as he was able.

The rattle of the door interrupted his testing of how securely the chains were attached to the bedposts. He turned, sitting, and pulled the blanket over him.

Frodo entered, moving awkwardly, a bucket looped over his arm, a trencher of bread piled with stew held in his hands. He left the door open, showing a slice of torchlit passage.

The warm smell of meat and bread surrounded Faramir as Frodo moved to stand in front of him. Mouth watering, Faramir held out his hands for the food. He smiled his thanks and began to eat, scooping the meat and gravy-soaked vegetables into his mouth. He not realized how hungry he was, wished to cram the food in his mouth but forced himself to eat slowly.

Frodo set the bucket down and, after a moment, backed out of Faramir’s reach to sit cross-legged on the stone floor. Chewing, Faramir looked at the hobbit who stared back, blue eyes huge in his pale face.

Finishing the bread, soaked in juices, Faramir licked his fingers. The bucket next to him held water, and he could lean over, scooping some to drink, rubbing damp hands over his face.

“My thanks,” Faramir said, winning a brief smile from Frodo. “Where are we?”

“Osgiliath.”

He felt as if someone had gut-punched him. Osgiliath! Gondor’s forced had held the west bank for years.

Lips numb, Faramir forced the words out. “He’s taken Osgiliath?”

Frodo nodded.

“What about Cair Andros?”

Frodo looked away. Faramir waited, feeling the sweat on his back.

“Not yet.”

“What else has been lost?”

Shrugging, Frodo said, “I hear only scraps of talk when I serve them.”

Faramir looked at the bowed head and wondered about his companion. “How long have you been his captive?”

“Nearly three years now.”

Swallowing disappointment at not being able to learn more, Faramir sought diversion. “Will you tell me of your land, your people? I have never heard of hobbits.”

“My land is, I come from the Shire. It’s far to the west and north, beyond the Misty Mountains, even beyond Rivendell—”

“Rivendell? Imladris?” Faramir had seen the names in old scrolls that spoke of a a lore master, half elven, far away. He had thought it legend only, not truth.

Frodo nodded, smiling at Faramir’s knowledge, going on to tell of a fair land where his people lived and farmed, of their love for ale and something called pipeweed. At the dim light faded, Faramir listened to stories of sun-drenched hills, little rivers, and trees, forgetting where he was for those moments. When Frodo paused, after describing his home, what sounded like an impossibly luxurious hole, Faramir asked, “How did you come to this captivity?”

“I found him, wandering, lost in the woods of the Shire.” Thorongil’s, Aragorn’s, cool voice filled the room. He stood in the door, a dark shape against the warm light behind him, his shadow reaching across the stone floor.

Faramir jerked, heart beating fast. He had heard nothing. He watched Frodo jump up, hurry to Aragorn’s side to stand, head bowed.

Straightening his back. Faramir tried to match Aragorn’s tone. “So you helped him when he was lost?”

Aragorn nodded, running his fingers through dark curls.

“But did not return him to his people?”

“He wished to stay with me.”

Faramir stared. Frodo did not move.

“Fetch us some wine.”

After Frodo had left, not speaking, Aragorn took a few long strides to stand over Faramir. “Now. I wish to learn more of your brother.”

Wary, Faramir waited.

“Not what happened in the battle—of his life these past years.”

“Since you left the Steward’s service?” Faramir had been barely ten when Thorongil had left. He remembered one of the last days before a hasty departure in the dark, one that was never explained.

Faramir was sitting in the buttery, eating, after archery practice. He heard laughter first, then the clatter of leather against stone floors. Thorongil swung around the door, laughing, flattened himself against the wall. He was clean-shaven, damp hair slicked back, white shirt open to his waist. He ducked as Boromir jumped inside, fists swinging in what Faramir could see was mock battle. Boromir’s red tunic was slung over one shoulder, the skin of chest and belly gleaming. Neither was carrying weapons. After greeting Faramir and getting their food, they sat, Thorongil on the low bench, legs sprawling, and Boromir perched on the table, feet braced on the bench, talking more than he ate.

Faramir could not remember what they spoke of, but now, looking back on that boyhood memory, he thought he understood the source of their laughter, their hunger. “Why did you leave?”

Silence. Aragorn sat, suddenly, silently, folding down onto the floor. With the light at his back, Faramir could not see his face. Neither Boromir nor their father had said why the most renowned of the commanders had left the City.

When Aragorn spoke, his voice was so low Faramir barely heard it. “Denethor claimed I was corrupting the Heir, seducing him from his duty. I could leave or be publicly stripped of my honors. Boromir chose your father over me.”

“He—” Faramir bit his own tongue, aghast. He loved you had nearly come unbidden from his mouth. “He never told me. I do not think he laughed as often, after you left.”

Leaning forward, Aragorn laid a hand against Faramir’s chest. “You look much as he did, that last summer.”

Faramir froze as Aragorn’s hand slid up around his throat, stroking. Hot breath touched his face, Aragorn’s scent, of leather, smoke, wine, and the heat of his skin, filled Faramir’s lungs. He could not move.

The sharp sound of glass breaking shocked them apart, Aragorn leaping up, turning, as Faramir sucked air deep into aching lungs.

The door was wide open, allowing more light into the room to sparkle on the shards that littered the floor, striking red glints from the flask of wine that Frodo held.

“Frodo! Don’t move!”

Aragorn moved to take the wine, to lean down and gather the small figure into one arm. He carried Frodo across the room, setting him on the bed behind Faramir who tried to curl more deeply into his beding. Behind him, Faramir heard small sounds—chinks, rustles, but he dared not try to move, feared to see.

“Are you all right?”

“Yes, my lord.”

Aragorn’s voice sounded impatient, but Frodo’s was cold, Faramir thought.

“What happened?”

A pause, then Frodo said, “I was clumsy.”

Aragorn grunted, but said nothing further.

Burrowing deeper under the meagre protection, Faramir listened as Aragorn called for someone to clean the mess and bring another glass, as he tried to coax Frodo to drink, as the door was swung shut, the heavy thud of the bolt loud in the small room. Slowly, Faramir began to relax, so weary despite the pain in his head that he began to slip into sleep.

But the soft sounds, rhythmic and urgent, from the bed behind dragged him awake, to stare dry-eyed into darkness, the taste of blood and iron bitter in his mouth.


The slam of wood against stone behind him roused Faramir from sleep, his heart pounding. He was twisted in blankets, lying over his chains, too stiff to move.

“Up, boy!”

The voice was unfamilar, and Faramir struggled, pushing himself up on aching arms, tugging at the blankets which were wrapped around him and the chains.

He did not know when he had slept last night, but the light shining through unshuttered window clearly showed it was day. He turned and saw two heavily-armed orcs, taller and darker-skined than the Mordor orcs he had fought, standing behind a man wearing the same greens and browns as Aragorn had. His hair was longer than Aragorn’s, his beard thinner, but Faramir thought the resemblance too strong for chance.

“Here,” the man said, tossing a mass of cloth at Faramir who tried but could not catch it. It wrapped around his face, and, before he could pull it free, hard hands gripped his arms and legs.
As he strained, uselessly, he felt the manacles fall from his ankles and wrists and was released.

Yanking the cloth away, Faramir found himself holding short pants and a rough tunic, undyed wool, stained but clean. He looked up, confused. The orcs were standing one to each side of him.

“Put it on,” the man said, voice rough.

Mouth dry, Faramir scrambled to his feet, kicking away bedding, and pulled on the pants. They were too short as well as too wide, but he pulled the drawstrings tight and knotted them, fingers clumsy. He tugged the shirt over his head. Before he could draw a breath, the orcs seized his arms, marching him forward, following the man who must be their commander.

Faramir half-ran, stumbling, trying to keep up with the long, rapid strides, hardly able to look around. A dizzying impresson of a passage opening onto a court littered with fallen columns and walls. The pain in his arms was matched by the bruises and cuts on feet from the broken stone underneath. Faramir had not spent much time in Osgiliath so could not recognize where they were.

They left the courtyard, passing into a narrow street which had been cleared of rubble. The air was warm, the sun bright, making Faramir squint. After several more turns, they climbed a short flight of stairs and came into a large, echoing hall. The echoes were of the shouts from men who were clearly housed here—the bedrolls, barrels, stacks of foodstuffs, and carefully placed weapons showed the use to which the hall was being put.

The men were mixed, Faramir saw, as he was hauled through the room—some tall and dark, wearing cloth of red and gold, hair wrapped in cloth. Other were clad like Aragorn. Faramir was relieved to see no orcs besides the ones beside him as they jerked to a stop. The two stood, silent, towering over him, waiting for the man to unlock a door. The key, large and heavy, creaked in the lock, and he struggledd.

The shouted comments, some in another language, some in the Common Tongue but strangely uttered, made Faramir stare straight ahead. He could feel the blood rising in his face as the men commented on his size, his suitability for bedsports, and traded boasts. He was glad when the door swung open and he was half shoved, half tossed, inside. He managed to keep his feet and turn to see the door shut, hear

“Remember what Lord Aragorn said. Nobody touches him. He’s got to be able to fight.”

“What if he loses?”

The voices carried easily through the door which had an opening at the bottom. Faramir listened, heart pounding.

“Who knows? There will be new orders. Remember, give him food and water when you eat, and nobody opens this door without orders.”

Faramir stood, listening to the rumble of voices and laughter. His new prison was small, with a small opening high on one wall, showing blue sky and admitting the only light. A pile of blankets was in one corner, a slop jug in another. As he watched, a dented plate with bread and cheese was pushed through the opening in the door, followed by a couple of apples. He ignored the mocking comments and stepped forward the few paces necessary to gather the food. A bucket of water stood just inside the door.

At least there were no chains here. Faramir sat on the blankets, forcing himself to eat the food.


To his surprise, he was left alone for some time. Rough barracks food was given him twice a day, and once a day the man who resembled Aragorn came with the orcs, unlocked and opened the door, supplying fresh water and a clean jar. No one spoke to him, and after the first day or two, the men seemed to forget he was there.

Faramir slept when he could, did what drills he could manage alone, in the small cell, and tried not to think about what had happened on Cormallen or after. Boromir had fought with their father several times about the forces stationed in Ithilien and along the River, Denethor always refusing to send more men. He said that the Nameless One slept after Boromir’s victories.

Instead, Faramir searched his memory for information about the man he had known as Thorongil in childhood. He thought the first came from when he was about five years old.

Light filled the great Hall, welling like water, as Faramir stood beside his mother. His best tunic was hot, and his back itched, but he ignored it, excited to be seeing the return of the commander. He stood as straight as he could as the large doors swung wide. The man who paused a moment in the arch, framed in light, was tall, dressed in rich black, the muted gleam of mail showing under the billowing cloak. The image of the White Tree of Gondor moved with his breath. After a moment when all were still, shouts began, and Thorongil moved forward to kneel before Denethor who was robed in rich reds and golds. When the Hall fell silent, Thorongil spoke, his cool voice easily filling the vaulted space.

“Lord Steward, we have pushed back Mordor’s forces across the River. We hold Osgiliath.”

Faramir felt warmth against his side, a hand gripping his shoulder, and looked up to see Boromir standing beside him, green eyes intent on the kneeling man.

“I will have that someday,” Boromir murmured, his voice too low to carry. Faramir leaned against his brother’s side, content to watch the spectacle.

Only now did Faramir wonder what it was his brother wished to have that day.

His mother had died soon after that victory, and Faramir had thought little more of what his brother had said.

Thorongil had served as commander in Ithilien after retaking Osgiliath, and Faramir saw him rarely the next few years. But Boromir left the Citadel to join the company of the Ithilian Rangers some years later.

Faramir sat cross-legged on the bed, watching Boromir pack. His clothes, a jumble of wool tunics and leggings, all in greens and browns, had been dumped hastily into a saddlebag. Now, he was carefully checking his mail and weapons, packing them in oiled cloth and sturdy cases. He had been asking their father’s permisison to join the Rangers for months now, ever since his thirteenth birth day. Faramir tried not to let his emotions show when he spoke.

“When will you come back?”

Boromir carefully sheathed the gleaming sword and turned, smiling. He crossed the room to sit beside Faramir. The smell of clean wool and oiled leather surrounded Faramir, and he inhaled.

“I don’t know. Rangers serve at least a year. Maybe more.”

“But you’re the Heir!”

Boromir shook his head, stretching out beside Faramir, propped on an elbow. “I’m serving under Thorongil, learning how to command men in the field. I would not ask for anything more, not even for my brother!”

Reaching out to tug Faramir’s hair, Boromir continued. “You’ll serve in Ithilien soon, I know. Perhaps I’ll still be there. We’ll fight the Nameless One together.”

Biting his lip, Faramir dared not speak further. In the years since their mother died, Denethor had grown darker, frowning more often than not when he saw Faramir, saving all his smiles for Boromir. It was two years before Boromir came back to the City, and Thorongil came with him.

Boromir was named commander of the city troops, and worked with Thorongil. But as the months passed, Denethor’s smiles grew fewer. In the evenings, in the Great Hall, he would sit in the black chair, watching the two heads, gold and dark, together.

One day, the anniversary of his mother’s death, Faramir took refuge in one of the small gardens behind the Citadel, the one she had made her favorite during the warm months. It had lain mostly untended since she died. The grass grew long and tangled, but roses bloomed along the walls, blooms smaller and thorns larger from neglect. Faramir had climbed a tree that stood in the center, one with smooth grey bark and silver-green leaves. He was puzzling out an old scroll, one that spoke of places of power in the West. His father grew angry when he saw Faramir reading, so he had a number of hiding places.

The warm air was making him nod, the faded runes swimming before tired eyes, when he heard voices over the wall. Too low for him to make out the words, the voices were rough. He recognized Boromir’s laugh, stirred uneasily. Then one voice rose, clear and cool. “You’ll like it. I promise.”

More laughter, and the sound of footsteps moving away.

Afterwards, Faramir told himself he had been half asleep, had misunderstood.

Now, lying on a stone floor, watching the light move across the wall, remembering, Faramir began to understand.

The door slammed open—as always—making sure any one who tried to stand behind it would be stunned. But it was much earlier in the day than usual. Wary, Faramir sat to watch the exchange of buckets and jars. He was surprised when the man stepped inside the cell. Usually, he stood outside, saying nothing. Now he gestured. “On your feet.”

Faramir stood, kicking the tangle of blankets away.

“You’re going to be fighting today. Give us any trouble, and it’ll start earlier than planned. Do I have to chain you?”

Fighting. Faramir did not understand, but he welcomed the chance to get his hands on a weapon.

“Well?”

Faramir shook his head, stepped forward slowly, hands loose at his sides. “No trouble,” he said, his voice hoarse. As he walked down the empty barracks and through the stone passages, he tried to remember how long it had been since he had spoken to anyone.


The orc carrying Faramir slung over one shoulder kicked the door open, ducked inside, and bent over to let him drop to the floor. Before he could move, the other orc dumped a bucket of water over him. Choking and half blinded by the water, Faramir could still hear laughter as the door slammed shut.

He lay back, too tired and sore to lift himself from the puddle. He was still alive for whatever that was worth.

He’d been marched out into the barracks and tossed boots, a leather breastplate and weapons—the longsword of Gondor and a belt knife—which he’d fumbled on. No helm. Then down a passage and out into a bare courtyard that was crowded with men and orcs, shouting in voices that hammered against the walls and his ears.

Boromir’s voice rang in his head as he stood, the sun hot on his head, surrounded by enemies. Fight as though each fight is your last.

Drawing sword and knife, Faramir drew a deep breath, letting all his fears and regrets drop away. His last fight.

Groaning, Faramir pushed himself up, sat, head spinning. He tried to count his wounds, none too deep save for the one on his thigh. He hadn’t been able to walk when Aragorn had stopped the fight, had to be carried back to his cell. He’d hoped to hide at least the knife in his clothes, but the orcs had stripped him to his skin in the yard.

There’d been at least four fights, he thought, trying to match wounds to fighters. Hard to tell because there was no pretense at setting up bouts. Whoever felt like taking the challenges from the shouting spectators had gone against him, both orcs and men, some singly, others in pairs.

It was pure blind fate, he thought, rolling carefully over to crawl, painfully slow, toward the pile of blankets which looked like the softest bed he’d ever imagined. Fate and perhaps their overconfidence, some showing off to friends, that had kept him from death. He hadn’t killed that many of them, though the memory of some of the wounds he’d given made him wonder if those would thank him.

He’d used every move he knew, some of which he’d learned in Ithilien during his first year there when the older Rangers had tested him every way they knew short of killing him. The fighting in Ithilien was different than the structured ranks of the battlefield, knights and archers and infantry organized to compete in a dance of death. In Ithilien, amidst trees and brambles, the Rangers hid in Henneth AnnĂ»n, coming out at night to fight. When they had warning, they could ambush forces marching to the Dark Lord’s land, but mostly their battles were against larger forces lured into the trees and brambles, broken formations turning into scrambling lethal fights.

He let himself down on the blankets, face pillowed on his arms, slick from sweat and blood. The water had cooled him but not cleaned him.

He’d killed the last man he’d fought, coming up from a roll to throw dirt in his face, the longsword sliding under the short curved sword of Harad to slide through bone and heart. But the short club the man dropped had tripped Faramir, and he fell under the bleeding body.

Dizzy and breathless, he hadn’t been able to move when a large orc had lifted and tossed the body away, lifting an iron mace.

“Halt!”

Snarling, the orc stepped back, shaking his weapon over his head. If there were words in his growls, Faramir could not understand them. He turned his head, blinking, to see Aragorn sitting in a balcony above the courtyard. Beside him, Frodo stood, only his face and arms, folded on the stone railing, visible. His blue eyes were huge in his pale face.

He had not known they were there, thought the fight was amusement only for Aragorn’s army.

Aragorn stood, leaning over, the rich green and gold of his tunic glowing against the shadowed walls. “Take him back to his cell. We’ll see what he can do next time, against another type of fighter.”

Faramir lay still, ignoring thirst and hunger. He did not move when the door creaked open, not until he heard what the man’s voice. “I’m off duty, Halfling. You’re here for the night. Up for it?”

“I told you, Halbard, Lord Aragorn sent me. I’ll see you in the morning.”

A muttered comment was cut off by the door.

Shocked, Faramir raised his head, turning stiffly.

Frodo stood, skin luminous in the dim light, a pack beside him.

Faramir forced the words out. “Why are you here?”

“Punishment.”


“For what?” Too sore to keep twisting his back and neck to watch Frodo, Faramir let his head rest on his arms again. He did not hear any sound of foot on stone, jumped when light gleamed next to him.

The sound of the men outside was a muted roar, words blending into nonsense.

Faramir turned his head with care, resting his cheek on his arm, to see Frodo kneeling beside him, a burning candle on the floor. The uncertain light made it hard to tell, but Faramir was sure he saw bruises, faint and blue, on the white skin of neck and upper chest. Frodo wore only blue-green trousers and a loose white shirt, gaping at the neck.

Shrugging, Frodo tugged the pack next to him open and began rummaging in it. “For the other night. I didn’t want him touching you.” He pulled out a metal flask and a cloth, opened the flask and moistened the cloth. “Hold still.” He bent over Faramir’s back

“Wha—” Faramir jumped as coolness slid down his skin, stinging.

“You’re hurt. Hold still.”

Confused by the stern tone combined with the small face, Faramir subsided, breath sighing out as Frodo tended him, body relaxing. The sting of the liquid, whatever it was, in the scrapes and cuts soon eased, leaving coolness behind.

He half dozed as Frodo cleaned him.

“Turn over.”

Unthinking, Faramir rolled over, stretching, only to find the blood rising in his face as he looked into blue eyes. He’d forgotten he was naked, made a movement to turn away, but Frodo set a hand on his chest, pressed down. Faramir lay still, eyes closed, feeling the heat burn through his body as the cloth wiped his face, neck, and chest, then lifted away.

The noise outside the locked door seemed to fade as Faramir breathed in the sweet spiciness of the warm body pressing so close. The soft cloth moved along one leg, then the other, moving up toward his belly, and Faramir felt thigh and buttock muscles tense. Mouth dry, he forced himself to sit, raising an arm between Frodo and himself, breath tearing his his throat.

Frodo sat back, stained cloth in one hand.

“Tell me more of this punishment.”

Frodo shrugged, dropping the cloth. “After the other night, I told him I didn’t want him touching you. So he decided to set you to fight instead.”

“Instead of what?” Faramir’s head ached.

“He was thinking of taking you as a lover, thinking that would lure Boromir out from hiding.”

Faramir’s arm dropped. Remembering the soft sounds from the bed, hearing Frodo’s words, Faramir had to know. “Are you truly a captive?”

Frodo flushed, looking away.

Head spinning, Faramir tried to choose what to say next. He had known Boromir’s injury severe as he held him, still feared he might have spoken truth although Aragorn’s claim of not finding a body had sparked some hope. This other mystery seemed much more important here and now.

“Frodo?”

“Let me finish, and I’ll tell you. That cut on your thigh needs stitching.”

Faramir stared at Frodo, but the set of the soft mouth soon pushed him to lie back and turn. “Tell me while you’re working,” he said, remembering the time Boromir had told him stories while a Healer stitched a similar injury.

“I told you of the Shire, where I lived. I was out walking one day, exploring the woods.”

A pause, breath held, as Frodo set the first stitch.

“It was silly. A storm came on, and I thought one of the trees was chasing me. I’m sure it was just the wind in the branches, but I ran.” Another stitch.

Faramir quivered, feeling the soft hands against his skin more than the needle.

“I ran over a bank, fell into a stream. I hurt my ankle, the rain was pouring down, lightning and thunder danced all around me. And then he came right out of the night. He picked me up out of the water.”

Frodo paused, hands still against Faramir, who frowned at the caressing tone of the soft voice.

“He was tall, so tall, but his hands were gentle, and he smelled of pipewood. He knew Gandalf, he said. He built a fire, sat up with me that night until I slept. We talked until the moon set.” Frodo took another couple of stitches.

“And it’s true, I begged to go with him. I was so bored in the Shire, and I’d heard so many stories from Bilbo about his travels. I wanted to see the mountains, to see a dragon even!”

“So you went with him freely?”

“At first.” Frodo fell silent, stitching.

Faramir endured the small pain until it stopped. Frodo wrapped a clean cloth around his thigh, knotted it.

Rolling over on one side, Faramir reached out, wrapping a hand around Frodo’s arm. “At first?”

Frodo did not move. “I never thought he’d keep me this long. I thought we’d have an exciting journey, there and back again, but he never returned to the Shire. Since he planned to come here, to fight against your City, to try to take Boromir, I’ve wanted to leave. But not now.”

Soft cloth covered firm muscles, and Faramir realized Frodo was not trying to pull away, was leaning forward. The news that Aragorn had come for Boromir was important, but even that disappeared from Faramir’s mind when Frodo kissed him, one small hand wrapping around his neck, twined into loose hair, lips and tongue moving warm against his mouth.

That kiss was long and deep. When Frodo finally released him, Faramir had to catch his breath before asking, “Not now?”

Frodo shook his head, pinching the candle flame out. “Not now, Faramir of Gondor. Why do you think I’m here?”

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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: karai , Jessy

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6 Comment(s)


NB: Comments span all chapters and may contain spoilers!

Awesome start, just wanted to continue reading! Need to know who that familiar voice is – more please!!

— Leea    17 June 2007, 03:29    #

Yeah! An update just as intriguing – Can’t wait to read more!

— Leea    17 June 2007, 19:47    #

I now curse you roundly, even as I did to Minx, for involving me in another WIP. I curse you and your interesting story! Must now wait for updates. Grr.

— Bell Witch    21 June 2007, 05:47    #

You’ve got me checking for more – there is allot going on here and I need to know that Boromir will be coming to the rescue!

— Leea    20 August 2007, 00:41    #

sweet… I really want to know what’s going to happen now to Frodo and Boromir, but above all to Faramir… More please.

— Gaia    3 September 2007, 12:02    #

Quite interesting and different story. Exciting.

— Laivindur    31 March 2012, 01:44    #

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Ithiliana

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