19 June 2010 | 2394 words
Title: The Blue Rose
Rating: PG15 I guess…
Inspired by these pictures by Amir:
Written for the 2010 Midsummer Swap.
Request by Mira Took: I would like a Faramir/Aragorn story, based on an illustration by Amir on this website: either the one called ‘Faramir/Elessar’, the one called ‘So Tired’, or both. Sex is optional, but please have an ending that is at least hopeful for the pairing. No dark!fic elements. I’d like the story to match the mood of those two lovely illustrations. (Please also include a disclaimer/credit for the inspiring illustration.)
Aragorn stepped out onto large terrace outside his room and took a deep breath. The night air was crisp and laden with the fragrance of flowers. He glanced around cursorily and then stopped surprised as his gaze fell upon a lit window in another section of the citadel. There was someone sitting by the window.
He could well recognise the profile of his young Steward. He observed the drooped head and hunched shoulders and frowned. Faramir had excused himself after supper a few hours ago, saying that he would be sleeping early.
He’d noticed earlier in the day that Faramir had seemed a little strained. He’d had dark circles under his eyes, a sure sign that he hadn’t been sleeping. And he’d even been uncharacteristically short with Lord Mardil, when the old councillor had insisted on talking at length about the practise and then had almost growled at young Lord Iriel when all the poor lad had wanted was to ask Faramir to pass him a jug of water. He’d known from Gandalf that the Steward had had a similar problem in the weeks before and following the coronation. His sleep disturbed by nightmares, Faramir had often spent large parts of the night working in his study or sitting in the gardens outside his chambers.
On Gandalf’s advice Aragorn had then, most reluctantly, done nothing – overtly. He had however ensured that in all his dealings with Faramir, the younger man understood that he trusted him and valued his opinions. He had understood too from the few brief unguarded mentions that Faramir had let out involuntarily, that his opinions were less valued in Denethor’s days coming as they did from the perspective of the rangers. It had taken many days, but Faramir had finally come to understand that Aragorn was unlike Denethor or some of the older councillors.
Thinking over these carefully, he came to a decision and strode out of the terrace towards the citadel library. He felt a little worried about Faramir suddenly. In the few months that he had known him, Aragorn had come to be very fond of the younger man. He had realised too that he was never very far from his thoughts. Faramir tended to be a little shy and he found himself making every effort to draw out the quiet and capable man. He kept a protective eye on him as well; he had heard much from Gandalf and others that had told him that Faramir, although a brilliant tactician and strategist could at times be wracked by self-doubt on the most mundane matters. He had seen him expertly argue a point on water rights with a hardened old councillor, not backing down or even flinching when the older man had resorted to throwing veiled insults at him and yet the same evening, the younger man had been completely flustered when asked to suggest a suitable location for a picnic lunch with the Halflings.
Aragorn walked into the citadel library quietly. This late in the night, the lamps had been long extinguished. But the moonlight streaming through the tall arched windows was enough for him to watch where he walked. The citadel library was smaller than the city archives, meant to serve more as a reading room. A few shelves filled with books took up one section of the library while the other consisted of a set of comfortable cushioned chairs, a large rug and a few pillows strewn haphazardly in front of a large hearth.
Faramir sat on a window ledge at the far corner of the room. A small lantern hanging near the window provided enough light to reveal tensely hunched shoulders and furrowed lines on Faramir’s tired face.“Whatever are you doing still awake, Faramir?” Aragorn asked, trying not to let the worry show in his voice.
Faramir started, and an object he’d been bent over fell out of his hands. Aragorn stepped forward and stared in puzzlement at the thick book lying on the floor. Faramir jumped quickly off the window and picked it up.
“Sire,” he said, puzzled, “What – what are you doing here? Is anything the matter?”
“Why are you still awake?” Aragorn demanded immediately, “You said you were going to sleep. What ails you?”
Faramir looked up bemusedly, “It is nothing…” he started.
“Oh Faramir, will you not tell me?” Aragorn said worriedly, “I wish, my friend, that you would. I’ve been worried about you all day… I know you haven’t slept much last night either, and you were so short with the councillors…”
“But I’m not… but wh – why are you so worried?” Faramir said uncomfortably. Even in the faint light, and unmistakably tired, Faramir looked as beautiful as ever. Aragorn ached to pull him into his arms, and allay his fears.
And he would do that, he decided. He had waited enough.
“Have you not guessed?” he said softly, placing one hand on the younger man’s shoulder, and running his fingers over the pale, drawn features, slowly and gently.
Faramir let out a soft gasp at the touch, his eyes flying up to the king’s face, hopeful yet confused.
Aragorn nodded reassuringly.“I hoped,” Faramir said hesitantly.
Aragorn pulled him closer and Faramir willingly moved into his embrace.
Aragorn sighed gratefully, glad that he had read the tiny gestures from Faramir correctly. He looked down at the younger man’s face, touched by the mix of emotions flitting behind the shy, hesitant smile and the deep grey eyes – relief, gratitude, hope, pleasure and surprise.
He bent his lips to Faramir’s. When they finally drew apart, Aragorn looked down at Faramir’s face closely and sighed.
“Now, please Faramir, tell me what is wrong.”
“But, Aragorn! Truly, there is naught wrong with me!”
“Then why are you still awake? It is well past midnight.”
Faramir stared at him in surprise. He seemed about to answer when he suddenly flushed.
“You are awake too,” he said, a little petulantly.
“You know I always sleep late!”
“I wanted to finish my book,” Faramir blurted out.
“What?” Aragorn knew his tone sounded disbelieving, “Whatever are you reading that cannot wait another day?”
Faramir pulled the thick volume out of his robes and handed it over to him.
It was the new book by Master Agriel, a very well-known Gondorian writer of numerous mysteries and a handful of rather scandalously graphic second age romances.
“The Blue Rose?”
“I started reading it last evening… which was a most foolish thing to do for of course one must never start an Agriel unless one knows they have the time in hand to finish reading it in one sitting, but this is his first book in three years, and the last one was a little disappointing… but this one, it’s really good… as good as The Hidden Arrow… I couldn’t keep it down last night, but I couldn’t finish it either… so I started again tonight… you see I thought I had guessed the plot… there were only two people who had access to the envoy’s secretary, but then the second murder happened, and really there was no clear motive to kill the guildmaster’s cook…”
“You have been up the last two nights reading a book?” Aragorn interrupted, exasperatedly.
“It’s not just a book,” Faramir said hotly, “It’s the latest Agriel! And yesterday, Lord Iriel saw me with the book… he always goes and reads the ending first so he kept threatening to tell me what happens!”
Aragorn sighed, “How much is left?” he asked patiently.
“Just the last chapter,” Faramir said, a little sulkily.
“Ah yes… the famous denouement with all the characters present! Very well, finish that first and then we can get you back to bed.”
Faramir grinned happily at that, “I should like that,” he said in a soft, husky voice.
“To sleep,” Aragorn said firmly, pulling him closer into his arms, “You clearly need it!”
Faramir snorted and ran a hand over Aragorn’s face, “Perhaps you could read it out to me, aloud.”
“That is a fine plan,” Aragorn agreed.
“‘It would ruin the book for you.”
“I must tell, you, lad, that I know the ending too… and no, unlike Iriel I do not turn to the last page first. I merely received the book much earlier.”
Faramir let out an indignant squawk at that, “He never sends me an advance copy. I asked him so very nicely too!”
“Oh hush!” Aragorn said and covered Faramir’s mouth with his. They kissed gently and for long, running their hands over each other. Faramir felt his robe being slipped off his shoulders, and fingers tracing his skin slowly.
“Come,” Aragorn said, gently tugging the younger man towards the bechamber.
Faramir let himself be guided towards the bed. He felt so tired! The sheets were soft and clean, and a welcome change after the hard window ledge.
“It has to be the secretary of course… ,” he mused, “It certainly can’t be the wife… it would have been far too risky for her to have killed him, and the motive is too flimsy, and… ,” he stopped as Aragon undid his robe and threw it onto a chair.
“Oh!” Faramir exclaimed a little loudly as he stared at the king’s bare form, “Oh my.”
The king smirked slightly, “Here, take that robe off… you’ll be far more comfortable,” he suggested.
He settled down comfortably on the large bed and pulled Faramir into his arms. The younger man sagged against him, resting his head on his chest. He read through the final chapter slowly, running his fingers through Faramir’s soft hair and the smooth skin of his shoulders and back, feeling the play of warm breath on his bare skin.
“Well, there you have it,” he said after he’d finished reading, “It was your secretary after all, and for all the reasons you thought!”
Faramir sighed happily into Aragorn’s chest, “I’m glad he’s got his touch back. I think falling in love ruined his writing.”
“Oh, that’s not fair now… I hear it’s actually improving his romances. It seems the last one had a very well-written scene involving a stablehand, a pirate and a basket of cherries, which seemed to indicate a very high level of experience, and I wonder … if you aren’t sleepy…”
He stopped as he heard a soft snore and smiled when he realised Faramir had been tired enough to fall asleep against him.
He leaned back against his pillows, watching Faramir curled up against him, the dark strands of wild hair splayed over his face, the rhythmic rise and fall of his thin shoulders and back. He lovingly ran his fingers over the younger man’s head, neck and shoulders gently. He’d been truly worried for Faramir earlier and it relieved him greatly to know that his worries had been for naught.
It relieved him too to know think that he need no longer hide his true feelings from the younger man. Faramir was such a beautiful and kind being. He had all these days, ached to hold him closer, and show him how much he was loved. He would do all that and more, Aragorn resolved. He would love him, take care of him and protect him, for he knew even if there had been no worries this day, the younger man had been through much.
It wasn’t until after two days, most of which they had spent in each other’s arms, Aragorn ensuring that Faramir got to know just how much he loved him, and learning too that the younger man was not too unskilled himself, that Faramir realised Aragorn had read out the ending he’d wanted to hear, one that he himself had improvised and not the one Agriel had written.
They had finished supper and had retired to Aragorn’s chambers. Lord Iriel, much to Aragorn’s annoyance, had decided to discuss the book with Faramir and slipped out the fact rather innocently.
“The mistress? That’s ridiculous… She was supposed to be with the children in the garden…”
Faramir continued in the same vein for a while even as Aragorn listened patiently.
“And why did you recite me an incorrect and imaginary ending?” Faramir asked petulantly.
“So you wouldn’t spend the night worrying about a fictional character’s lack of motive in a fictional incident!” Aragorn retorted.
“Oh! Well, but … on very well! Yes, I suppose I would have done but you see, don’t you? It’s just so silly, and…” he came to an abrupt stop as the king’s lips met his.
“When there is so much more a living, breathing person can achieve,” Aragorn murmured though their kiss.
He pulled the younger man closer, as they kissed, long and deep, tongues playing gently, hands fumbling with clothing and bindings. They managed to stumble over to the bed and Aragorn spent a significant portion of time showing him how much they could achieve.
“Forgive me,” Aragorn said as they lay back in his bed later, Faramir curled up in his arms, looking quite cheerful. “You were so tired that day!”
The younger man sighed and began doodling his fingers over Aragorn’s chest, “No, you’re right. It shouldn’t really matter! It is merely a book. There are far more important things to lose sleep over!”
He bent his head down to lick along the path he’d traced with his fingers. Aragorn gasped in delight. Faramir rose in a graceful motion, bending over the king’s body, his tongue following wandering path all the way down. He crouched between the king’s legs and looked up with a playful grin, “Perhaps though, I should try a change of genre instead. Read his romances instead. I hear they can be quite instructional!”
Aragorn laughed gaspingly in response, “I would say you need little instruction!”
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