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The King and The Ranger (R) Print

Written by Minx

30 March 2004 | 60419 words

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Chapter 15

Faramir wove his way through the trees concentrating on reaching the citadel and trying to block everything else out of his head. He kept his eyes on the path and on nothing else, and lent his entire thought to simply putting one foot in front of the other over and over again. They had never even considered Mardinel, and he kept cursing himself for having overlooked him.

Then he heard the voices. Mardinel – he sounded snide. A fragment of his words to him came floating back to his mind. The gardens . . . then Aragorn’ s voice cut through, and Boromir’s. He felt his heart constrain and his already hitched breathing seemed to desert him completely. Black spots swam in front of his eyes as he lurched to a stop and almost fell. He grabbed at the nearest tree trunk for support and gasped for breath, while hiss mind raced.

Aragorn and Boromir and Mardinel! He had to hurry now. He heaved himself forward and followed the voices till he reached the trio. Mardinel had his back to him, and the others couldn’t see him as he stood in the shadow of the trees, frozen for a moment. His king and his brother were unarmed and possibly hurt from the way Boromir was leaning against a stone wall. But what really scared him was the sword hovering at Aragorn’ s chest.

He could not hear what was being spoken. All he could hear was a ringing in his ears. But he clearly heard the word ‘kill’ and there was sword over Aragorn’ s heart. Faramir could not see Aragorn’ s reaction, but he thought he heard a gasp, and it sounded like his brother. His heart seemed to thunder in his ears at the thought that Aragorn’ s life could be in danger. His head felt dense, the pain had become a dull, incessant throb and his limbs felt heavy. He stumbled forward out of the trees towards the three men.

“No!” the word left his mouth without his even realising it.

Mardinel whirled around in surprise, and the sword in his hand automatically slashed at Faramir, who had neither the time nor the strength to duck out its way.

“You!”

To the utter horror of both the king and the steward who stood frozen behind Mardinel, the sword lashed at Faramir’s chest, and a thin line of red appeared against a soiled white tunic.

“Leave him be,” Faramir said hoarsely and lunged at the other man, ignoring his pain as well as the fact that he was unarmed.

The force and unexpectedness of the action drove Mardinel down as Faramir’s weight bore down on him. The sword clattered out of his hand and came to land at Aragorn’ s feet, a thin trace of fresh blood clinging to it. That seemed to bring both him and Boromir to their senses as they moved towards the two struggling figures rolling around on the ground near the wall. Faramir was trying desperately to pin down the councillor but he was obviously too far gone to be able to do that. The two of them rolled into the wall, and Mardinel took the opportunity to slam Faramir against it violently. He rolled away only to find his king standing over him, sword in hand. Boromir stood next to him, a thunderous expression covering his face.

”Get up,” came the icy voice, “And get away from him. Boromir, call the guards.”

Boromir looked towards his brother anxiously even as Aragorn added, “And alert the healers.” He raced off towards the citadel.

Mardinel watched his Aragorn dispassionately and then shrugged. Aragorn glared at him. The other man simply crossed his arms and then glanced at Faramir’s curled up figure lying still, eyes closed. Aragorn followed his gaze and his heart wrenched at the sight. He wanted nothing more than to tend to the younger man but he could not let Mardinel go after what he had done. The guards reached them right then and the councillor was handed over to a shocked Tarlong, leaving Aragorn to tend to Faramir till Boromir returned.

He grabbed him in his arms, “Faramir!” he cried out urgently to the white-faced figure in his arms, “Are you alright? What has he done to you?” He stared in shock at the bruises that covered one side of the face, and the marks on the wrists, and he knew there were more injuries. He could see where the sword had cut through the tunic. Blood dripped onto the floor in a puddle beneath them.

There was a sudden soft moan, “My head – hurts,” Faramir mumbled incoherently, his eyes fluttering open as the warmth of the embrace surrounded him.

“Faramir,” he called out again as the eyes focused on him in confusion and fear. It was happening all over again. His worst fear was coming true. One he cared tremendously for was lying hurt and it was because of him.

“Aragorn!” came the almost soundless whisper, as fingers clutched at his tunic desperately.

It was a tone full of reverence and love that almost hit the king with a force. He pulled the injured man in closer and hugged him tight, ignoring the painful grimace that crossed the wan countenance.

“You’re hurt,” he whispered incoherently, “Again . . . Why do you do this always?”

“Aragorn – love -” it was the softest voice, a mumble, but to Aragorn the words seemed to have been shouted out loud and clear. Then it died away and the dazed eyes fluttered shut and the pale face lolled against his chest, even as Boromir, Legolas and Gimli came running towards them.


Faramir was taken to a large, comfortable room in the houses of healing. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli watched as one of the healers’ assistants laid him down gently on the bed and then departed. Boromir was with the warden.

Aragorn knelt by the bedside and gently pushing away the hair strewn over Faramir’s cheek, gave him a small kiss on his brow. Looking up, he noticed Legolas watching him curiously but ignored it. He carefully pulled the blankets up over the slight frame. Boromir arrived with the warden of the houses of healing and, as Aragorn noticed with amusement, Ioreth, still her usual voluble self.

“Now what has he done to himself?” she exclaimed as she saw Faramir’s swollen and bruised face.

The warden pursed his lips tightly and then looked to Aragorn before sending Ioreth off for the herbs. He then tried to pack off everyone from the room but they refused to budge. Legolas and Gimli left with great reluctance but Boromir refused to leave, while Aragorn seated himself on a chair by the bed. Left with no option, the warden set to undressing his patient so that he could see what other injuries he had. They turned out to be quite a few.

The cut to the torso that had so worried Aragorn and Boromir turned out to be merely a mild scratch, and the least of the warden’s worries. Purpling bruises covered the entire torso and back and half his abdomen was covered by a particularly ugly looking discoloration. A few ribs seemed to be bruised too. The arms and chest were a riot of small cuts and scrapes caused by the sharp stones. The entire left side of his face was a collage of discoloured yellow, blue and red skin. At least three large bumps were easily felt on the back of his head, and the large bruise over the right temple was only too clearly visible. The wrists and ankles were inflamed and they were easily able to deduce that it must have been caused by rope burn.

Boromir winced at the sight of the discolorations and bruises colouring his brother’s pale flesh and looked at the healer in worry, “Is he going to be alright? Why has he not woken up yet?”

“He has hurt his head in more than one place. It is better he be allowed to sleep a while. When he wakes up I will know if it is serious or not. The other injuries look worse than they actually are,” the warden opined, “He will be in discomfort but if he rests as required he will be on his feet again soon.”

Aragorn watched on, his eyes hard as steel. He knew Faramir had been hurt but to see the extent of the injuries angered him greatly. That anyone could even think of raising a hand on the young man had him seething with fury. And that all this had occurred because Faramir had sought to protect him once again made his heart constrict.

When the salves had been applied and bandages tied, they dressed their patient in a thin robe and covered him up with blankets to ward off the cold. The healers left while Aragorn and Boromir stayed behind. Both were suddenly feeling very tired after everything that had happened. Aragorn moved to the bed and sat by the prone figure. He picked a lock of dark hair and twirled it around his fingers as he watched the steady rise and fall of the younger man’s chest under the thick blanket. Arwen came by soon after, gave Boromir a reassuring look, and then gently squeezed Aragorn’ s shoulder, as he gave her an unhappy look.

They had to leave shortly afterwards since the council meetings would still have to go on, and the treaty would be signed in an hour’s time. The warden assured them that Faramir would probably sleep peacefully for some more hours. Leaving strict orders to be informed should he awaken earlier, the two men left reluctantly to return to their duties.


It was only after everything was finalised with the envoy in the presence of a rather strained group of advisors that Aragorn met Mardinel.

“I know why you did what you did,” he said without preamble, “And I can understand but your methods I do not care for,” he said trying to keep his temper in check. He would have forgiven this man if it had not been for what he had done to Faramir.

“I do not regret it,” came the reply.

“I did not think you would,” Aragorn replied coolly.

“They massacred that band of soldiers,” came the reflective reply, “My brothers were among them. My father died soon after. He never recovered from the grief. I will never regret what I did. I can only regret that I failed in it.”

“I am going to exile you from Gondor,” Aragorn said quietly.

“Exile!” Mardinel stared at him disgustedly, “I would rather face execution!”

“I know. That is why I prefer to exile you from this land you love so much,” his king said a little harshly.

Mardinel glared at him, “Is that all I get for injuring your dear lover?”

Aragorn almost spilled the ink at his table at that, but managed to maintain his composure and stared back at the other man levelly.

The councillor sighed and shook his head, “I did not mean to,” he said softly.


When Aragorn returned to the houses of healing, he found Faramir still asleep.

“You look so peaceful when you sleep quietly,” Aragorn murmured as he bent over the sleeping form and brushed the stray strands of hair off his face. The gesture woke up the younger man. His eyes flew open and the face took on a frantic expression.

Aragorn knelt by his side quietly, “’Tis just me,” he said softly.

“Sire,” came the weak whisper, accompanied by what seemed like a flinch away from the touch. Aragorn moved his hand away, and the expression changed to one of disappointment mingled with craving.

“You are alright,” it was not a question, just a statement said with great relief.

Aragorn nodded reassuringly and walking to the door called out to a passing attendant, “Send for the Steward.”

He came back and sat by Faramir, “He did this to you,” he said in a steady voice.

“Is he alright?” came the fearful question.

He nodded, “Everyone is all right, save for you,” he chided softly.

Faramir stared at his sheets. He suddenly felt like a weakling over what had happened. He had been so stupid, he thought miserably. Aragorn was sitting by him now and looking at his face closely. He looked away unhappily.

“He hit you?” it was a clam but steely voice.

“He knew,” Faramir whispered.

“What -?” Aragorn stared at him confused.

“About us – I mean – that we – that night – your chamber, he thought I, he –“ Faramir muttered brokenly still staring at his sheets.

“I know,” Aragorn told him quietly, “I spoke to him. He will not say anything if that is what you fear. He does not want anything to happen to Gondor.”

“He – he seemed insane. He said - he touched – “

His next words dissolved in the strong hug that enveloped him as his tired mind finally broke down. He collapsed against his king, exhaustion finally overwhelming him completely. They were sitting like that when Boromir, Legolas and Gimli reached the room. Faramir broke away from the embrace with great reluctance, and once again, Aragorn had an uncomfortable feeling that Legolas’s keen eyes lingered on them a fraction longer. As did Boromir’s. But neither said anything, preferring instead on greeting Faramir with relief. He rose and let Boromir take his place knowing his steward had spent all day worrying over his brother’s health, and watched indulgently as Boromir fussed over his brother tenderly.

“What happened?” Gimli asked finally, “How did he get hold of you.”

“Later,” Aragorn said firmly, noting the dark circles and sheer lines of exhaustion.

Faramir however shrugged and said, “There isn’t much to tell.”

In his quiet, soft voice, quietly explained what had happened, omitting just the words Mardinel had said about him and the king as well as Mardinel’s touches. But even then, what he revealed was enough to anger the others. Boromir especially was noticeably furious.

“I know that house,” Gimli growled, “It was on the verge of collapse!”

“What about the servant?” Faramir asked suddenly, “I left him nearby.”

“He is well,” he was told.

Ioreth came soon after to drive them out so Faramir could sleep. When they, Aragorn lingered on at the door till he was sure he slept. The others gave him a curious glance but said nothing.


The warden’s calculations on Faramir’s recovery proved wrong when he developed a fever the next day. The exposure to the cold had caused it and it only slowed down the healing process. He spent the next three days unable to sleep or eat properly. He was unable to eat solid food and had to be content with broths and healing potions, all of which left him irritable. His sleep was clouded by the fever and dreams causing him to thrash out and increased his aches. Movement of any kind always involved one part or the other of his body protesting in pain.

Boromir sat by him at night, and every now and then Aragorn took over for a few hours watching the suffering figure disconsolately and wishing he could comfort him forever. But each night, he would be forced by one of his friends to return to Arwen.

When the fever abated, Faramir was able to sit up and move around with greater ease but still not allowed to leave his bed. He chaffed greatly at that, but discovered after attempting to leave the room once that the healers were right. His injuries were very slow to heal.

The healers had blamed it on his recent run of ill-health and injury. Or as the warden had said, “If Lord Faramir would obey the healers and allow himself to recover completely before injuring himself or falling ill again, he might heal faster each time!”

He had not had the strength to argue.

His friends came to visit him regularly. In fact they were in his room all his waking hours. He put up with them as good-humouredly as possible. But there was only one he liked to see. And when that one came, his eyes would light up, but then he would remember that he must not react like that and promptly distance himself. Aragorn’ s eyes would cloud over at that but there was nothing either could do. Aragorn’ s very presence sent his heart racing and it took all his control to not fling himself at the older man and ask to be just held in those arms, to just be close to him and feel his touch. He knew if he so much as touched Aragorn he would lose control. So they maintained their distance. After the day he had first woken up, they had not come physically close to each other again. Aragorn had tried to stroke his face once, but he had turned away, and to his sorrow, his king had understood and had withdrawn his hand.

Arwen visited him often too and at such occasions he always found himself embarrassed. Thankfully, she and the others passed his reaction off as inherent shyness. She would smile gently at him and speak softly, something he welcomed because both Gimli and Boromir could be loud and boisterous and in their company Legolas too could be quite loud. Aragorn usually stayed silent. Faramir craved to hear his voice but kept telling himself it was better that way.

He had been cooped inside feeling miserable for more than a week, still in pain and still wont to feel feverish and ill when Arwen came by with some books. Aragorn and Boromir came just then to visit him. Seeing her smile cheerfully at them and noticing the love that lit up in her eyes when she spotted Aragorn made Faramir hit himself mentally for even thinking of the king. When Aragorn neared him, he steeled himself and glanced back at him expressionlessly. Aragorn stopped in his tracks and after a few cursory words, left with Arwen. Boromir stayed back and sat watching over him. Faramir wanted to be alone. But his brother would have none of that. So he gave in and went off to sleep his mind heavy with sadness.


They had spent a quiet night in each other’s arms. Their nights were usually like that – quiet. So was their lovemaking. It was just as quiet, there was no hurry about it. Aragorn knew their nights together would always be like that. Even if she had given up her immortality, his wife still was an elf. There was no hurry to jump into bed and make love each night. Most nights they just lay content in each other’s presence. She still had that patience that her kind had developed after having lived for so many years. There was no hurry. That they had each other meant enough to her.

Most nights he worried about another too.

Aragorn sighed as he leaned against his pillows, taking comfort from the feel of just holding his wife in his arms. His head was still a mire of confusion. Dawn had just broken outside.

“You worry for him,” she spoke suddenly.

He nodded quietly, “His recovery is slow. And he would not be there but for me. I can see he is unwell and it hurts me that he is so because of me.”

Arwen sighed, “I do not think he would like to hear you speak like that. He thinks much of you. If he hurts, comfort him,” she said in a pragmatic tone, “You are a healer.”

Aragorn looked up at her, “I do not think I can offer him the comfort he needs. He needs more than a healer of wounds.”

“You are right. He needs a healer of hearts,” his wife said as she rose for the day.

Aragorn stared after her, even more confused now.


Faramir sighed and tried to sit up on his own but his back hurt him too much. The bruises were healing very slowly. He tried once again to ease himself up, releasing an involuntarily loud groan.

“What are you trying to do?” he looked up to see Legolas hurrying in through the doorway.

“I was just trying to get up,” he said lamely as he sank back against the pillows tiredly.

“You are supposed to stay in bed for another week at the least!” Legolas chided, “And you are lucky Boromir did not see you like this. He was about to come here but he had another errand so he asked me to stop by on my way to the stables.”

“Is something the matter?” he asked, a little worried.

“Yes, Arod has hurt his foreleg.”

Faramir raised a brow in resignation.

“Oh, you meant Boromir? Nay, he is just irked that he could not come and see you this morning.”

“Oh.”

Legolas watched as the younger man turned his face towards the window. The look of yearning did not escape the Elf’s keen eyes, neither did the meaning of the expression. He knew what the look said and he could understand it. Having grown up in the woods himself, too much time within stone enclosures bothered him too.

“It looks beautiful outside,” came the wistful words.

“Nay, it is quite cold,” he said calmly.

Faramir raised an eyebrow at that, “I thought elves did not feel the cold,” he said with a faint hint of a smile.

Legolas smiled back at him and went over to the window. Looking out at the quiet gardens below, he noticed Aragorn walking there. Then he glanced back at the forlorn young man who was twisting the hem of his blanket in his hands and sighed silently.

“It will still be beautiful outside in a few more days when you feel better,” he tried.

“I need to return to Ithilien,” came the morose reply.

Legolas sighed and placed a hand on his shoulder gently, “Then rest and get better soon.”

When Legolas had left, Faramir bit his lip, and looked out of the window. It was probably cold but the thought of stepping outside overruled that, and he made up his mind quickly. The room was stuffy and left him feeling stifled. He could not think of a place he now hated more than the houses of healing. They would not even let him move to his own chambers, stating that he was too weak to be moved.

He rose with no little difficulty and somehow managed to drag himself out to the gardens of healing thankful for the fact that one of the doors outside was right next to his room. It was not a path much frequented so he had no fear of being spotted by any of the healers. He was breathing heavily from the effort but the fresh air and the sound of birds chirping made him feel much better.

It was then that he noticed the tall figure striding towards the healing houses, stopping short at the sight of him.

“Should you even be outside?” Aragorn chided, as he turned and walked towards him.

Faramir looked away unhappily, “It is tiring to be inside all day,” he said softly.

Aragorn sighed at that, “Yes, but –“ He stopped as he noticed the younger man slump a little and darted forward.

Faramir felt his knees buckle under him. His back was hurting him once again. Walking out had exerted him too much. Aragorn hastily draped an arm around him, inadvertently brushing his bruises. He gasped in pain, for the injuries were raw and even a slight touch made him wince. Aragorn cursed under his breath, and shifted his arm down to Faramir’s waist.

That hurt too, but much less. Faramir drank in the familiar smell of Aragorn’ s nearness almost eagerly. The feel of the hands around his waist made him tremble slightly. Aragorn noticed the tremble and mistook the reason thinking the cold was causing it.

“Back inside now, I think. You know the warden told you not to get up for a week at least!” Aragorn said sternly, as he tightened his grip around the slim waist.

Faramir nodded weakly. His head was beginning to swim and he felt extremely nauseous. The healers were right, he should not have tried standing up and walking about so soon.

“Come,” Aragorn said with great tenderness, “Let me take you back to the room.”

He took a step forward very slowly. His back was on fire now and a dull ache had started up in his abdomen. His head began to hurt.

“Can you walk?” Aragorn inquired worriedly.

He tried to reassure him but all that came out was a pain-filled whimper, and he felt himself slouch forward. He could see worry light up his king’s eyes at his reaction.

“You look very tired,” the king murmured softly, as he brushed his head with his hand.

“It is nothing. Merely a –“

“Oh dear one, this is all because of me!” Aragorn said softly, still holding onto him.

It was the endearment that brought the wetness to his eyes, and he found himself gulping softly, as Aragorn continued to gaze tenderly at him.

“I miss you so much,” he blurted out suddenly.

Aragorn stared back at him for a second, still holding him around his waist. Their lips brushed. Faramir gave out raspy sigh as he felt a delicious warmness course through his jaded limbs from just that slight touch. How he had longed for this through each long, lonely night! His aches lay forgotten as his head clouded over with desire. The taut, firm muscular body enveloped his own slender figure as he stared at Aragorn’ s deep grey eyes. Their lips were almost touching. He could think of nothing but how those lips would feel over his mouth.

A sharp gust of wind brought them both back to reality. Faramir turned his head away reflexively from the icy cold breeze, even as Aragorn loosened the grip around his waist a little. The moved a little apart even as Aragorn continued to support Faramir’s weight.

Faramir stared at the ground berating himself for what had almost occurred. The backache returned with a vengeance and he bit his lip in agony.

A soft cough sounded. He looked up and noticed Arwen standing at the entrance to the houses.

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Thank the author

The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: Ophelia , traveller , maeglina , Lily Of the West , Radical , kasumi , Stacia , Melogale , , Mel

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11 Comment(s)


NB: Comments span all chapters and may contain spoilers!

This story was AMAZING! I loved how
1) There WAS a plot!
2) There was actual chracter development between Faramir and Aragorn…my FAV couple!

Great Job! Keep it up!

— FA4ever!    15 December 2008, 06:16    #

Hi FA4ever! Thank you for your kind comments. I’m really, really delighted that you liked this story so much!:)

— minx    18 December 2008, 22:06    #

Hi! I loved your story! =) It’s really great, Faramir and Aragorn are perfect, so are the other characters. Especially Legolas who is wonderful! ^^ (Arwen is scary! XD)
I read other fanfics you wrote, and I loved them as well. Your writing is very good!

(hum… Sorry, English is not my first language! :S )
Bye, Lily

— Lily Of the West    11 February 2009, 21:16    #

Thanks Lily! I’m very glad you liked the fics.

Thanks for reading and taking the time out to comment!

— minx    12 February 2009, 20:10    #

I so love your fics!!! I am very addicted to Fara/Ara stories. Perhaps is there a sequel awaiting. Please, say yes!!!!!!
Hugs
Ca.

— camille    24 February 2009, 19:16    #

Thank you Camille:) I’m not sure of a sequel to this one but yes, there are lots of A/F stories on their way:) thank you for reading this!

— Minx    1 March 2009, 18:42    #

Oh! It was gorgeous! It was simply unique! Especially the ending! You are a great writer!
Oh, poor Faramir… No, poor Aragorn… How long he waited that!!!
Thank you very much, Minx!

— Anastasiya    10 September 2009, 16:08    #

Thank you Anastasiya:) I’m really glad you liked it.

— minx    12 September 2009, 21:22    #

Wonderful story! Thank you for posting it!!

(Even though I know it’s been awhile…)

— Radical    28 May 2010, 03:46    #

Thank you Radical! I’m very glad you liked it:)

— Minx    4 June 2010, 20:19    #

Hello, just wanted to stop by and say how much I adore this fic. I must have read it a dozen times over the years. I hope Aragorn has been making it up to our sweet Fara all this time ;-)

— Laurelote    19 August 2012, 19:32    #

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Minx

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