This story is rated «R», and carries the warnings «slash, angst».
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09 January 2009 | 77501 words
Pairing: Aragorn & Faramir
The story: This is a sequel to Of Pain and Sweetness and is to be read as one, or this won’t make much sense. Aragorn and Faramir are struggling with their relationship as winter brings both snow and unexpected events.
Warnings: Angst and slash! (Lovely combination.) If this is not to your liking, please leave! There are lots of other stories to read out there.
Disclaimer: Tolkien invented them, they’re his — I just thought they’d make a great couple.
Archivist’s note: There’s now a sequel: Tale Telling.
Chapter 1 – Snowing
Minas Tirith, III 3019
Snow was falling heavily on Minas Tirith. Cold winds blew in from the north, passed over Mirkwood, sped through the lands of Rohan, and wrapped Gondor in a bitter embrace. Streams and lakes froze and night settled quickly. Every blanket and rug was looked for and produced from chests, attics, lofts and cellars. Children were kept indoors along with the elders and the sick. Even the horses grew cold in their stables and needed constant supervision. When they had absolutely no reason to venture outdoors, people stayed inside to huddle, close together, in front of the hearth fires. It was, by far, the coldest winter anyone in the White City could remember.
In his office, Aragorn was seated behind his desk. A fire was crackling cheerfully in the fireplace to his left, but even with it, the King had drawn a woollen blanket around himself to keep out the chill. Normally, his desk would be covered with letters, maps and documents of every kind, but the weather prevented most messengers from extensive travelling.
In a way, one could say we are isolated
A white city, lost in the white snow.
It was, however, still important to make sure that the people of Gondor did not suffer. That was why Aragorn had ordered a somewhat large number of his men to ride out, despite the aggressive winter, and report back to him anything of importance. Those were the only kind of messages he received now. They were not many and he knew them by heart, but still he eyed them again: a small bridge had given up underneath the weight of the snow and several trees had fallen in Ithilien, due to the winds.
Thankfully, no word of spreading illness had reached him yet. Since the cold had come upon them swiftly and taken them by surprise, Aragorn feared that the Gondorians were not at all prepared. Autumn had been beautiful, with clear blue skies and gentle sunlight. It had seemed like it would last forever, but then, suddenly and brutally, winter had arrived without warning.
Everything would be seen to in due time, Aragorn comforted himself. His men had orders to immediately repair any houses or bridges that could not stand against the wind, and the trees would be dealt with when the weather was kinder to cheeks, hands and feet. In the meantime, he could only concentrate on affairs regarding his city, and he could only hope that Éomer and his people fared well in Rohan.
Hurried steps in the hallway claimed Aragorn’s attention and he looked up as the door opened and a dripping, snow-covered Steward stepped inside the office. Faramir raised a gauntleted hand and brushed his hair out of his eyes. He was breathing heavily and looked completely drenched. Water was slowly forming little pools and puddles on the stone floor underneath him, and the firelight eagerly mirrored itself in them.
Faramir quickly shed his long cloak, hung it over a chair and placed his gloves on top. Then he pulled his arrangement closer to the fire. He inspected his boots but apparently found nothing wrong with them and so, he raised his head to meet the King’s gaze.
“It. Is. Freezing. Outside,” the Steward informed him with a shudder. “It is completely impossible to see anything because of the snow, the streets are icy and hideously slippery, and when you finally imagine that you are in no risk of slipping, some wind attacks you and topple you over!” he finished and threw his arms out in a gesture of frustration.
“And the people?”
“They seem fine. We repaired a couple of windows and made sure the stables are warm enough for the horses, but all in all, everything is under control,” said Faramir.
“But you are cold, soaked and hungry,” Aragorn surmised.
The Steward really was an endearing sight where he now was standing, too far away from the fire to get warm, trying hard to be effective and so, sacrificing his own comfort.
Faramir shifted slightly. “I sent the men away to their homes or rooms, and I came here directly to report to you, my lord.”
“And so you are here: cold, soaked and hungry?” Aragorn ascertained, and felt a small smile tug at his lips.
“Well,” began Faramir, but he was silenced by Aragorn who raised a hand. His Steward could most likely be well on his way to freeze to death before he chose to admit it.
“Come here,” he beckoned and watched as Faramir made his short way to the desk, rounded it and stopped in front of him.
Aragorn inspected the man’s features. He was still so young and he was so eager to please, very anxious to be of service and to prove his worth. Denethor had not been a kind father to him. Aragorn sighed. Then he lifted his hand again and as Faramir bowed, he let his fingers brush against the damp forehead. Water ran in small trails from the masses of copper hair and made their way down Faramir’s throat and neck.
“I have missed you today, I am glad you have come back,” Aragorn said softly.
“I confess I am pleased to be indoors again,” admitted Faramir.
Outside it grew darker every second, and soon the black of night would surround the whole City. It was hard to know precisely what time it was but from the growl that escaped Faramir’s stomach, Aragorn decided it was dinnertime.
“We should find you something to eat,” he smiled, letting his fingertips travel down to the unshaven cheek of the Steward. “But first, I think…” he trailed off as Faramir stepped nearer and bowed his head even lower.
“You think..?” Faramir spoke in a very low voice.
Aragorn raised his other hand and placed it on the other cheek. Water, transforming into steam, rose silently from Faramir’s cloak and boots, and drifted lazily around the room. The firelight gleamed in his Steward’s hair and tinted it with a golden hue. Aragorn could feel the other man’s breath wafting over him, and his heart swelled with joy at the closeness. It was never easy, but it was beautiful.
Aragorn slowly pulled him closer, and closer, until their mouths touched in a careful meeting. For all the water, Faramir’s lips were warm and soft. The King held him like this, with a hand on either cheek, as he let his tongue slip out and caress the lips so tenderly pressed against his own. He felt Faramir’s hands work their way into his own hair, and then the younger man sank to his knees and Aragorn became the one who must bend down. Faramir kissed him back, opened the King’s mouth with his own tongue, leaning in and asking for more. Aragorn shivered as a pleasure long denied announced its presence.
‘Perhaps I can do this,’ he thought dizzily. Courage grew within him as Faramir claimed his lower lip and sucked on it demandingly.
He knows me, he will not judge…
Faramir now tugged gingerly at his hair, pulling Aragorn towards him, evidently wanting to deepen the kiss. The King of Men plunged his tongue into the open mouth and felt every intelligent line of thought flee his mind.
I can… do…
When the two men broke apart, Aragorn felt like he was floating in the air, much like the snow outside. Faramir was gazing up at him with burning eyes and such a rare smile on his face that Aragorn was almost taken aback. He cleared his throat.
“We should get you out of those clothes.”
Faramir raised an eyebrow, but kept on smiling. “If you insist, my liege.”
“I mean, you should change and then we will have dinner,” said Aragorn and felt his courage waver as reality crept upon him again. “Will you assist me?”
He saw Faramir’s stunning smile slowly fade as he rose and helped his King to stand. Aragorn felt wobbly as he took a few steps and he leaned on Faramir for support. The Steward willingly gave it and he escorted Aragorn towards the door. He stopped, though, when they were only a couple of feet away.
“Aragorn,” he said, “for how long will you fight this?” He turned and looked straight into Aragorn’s eyes.
The King felt as if he was hit by a club. “I… Faramir,” he began but having no idea what to say next, he fell silent.
“Remember that night, Aragorn, when you fell? You asked me to stay and I will, but I will not deny – no, that is not what we are doing — I cannot accept — this. Kisses, maybe some quick embrace, but nothing more, and I know we both want more.”
With that, he reached out and opened the door. Aragorn found he could not speak, and when he, a short while later, was seated behind the table and awaiting dinner, he still had no words to offer. Not that it mattered, since he seemed to be dining alone.
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: Janet , kabaue , Minx , Ebbingnight , Sue , Laurel , Vanwa , ophelia , Minkicat , Annette , Jenny Elffan , Minx , Lily Of the West , Elianna Eldari , alecia , alecia