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The King and The Ranger (R) Print

Written by Minx

30 March 2004 | 60419 words

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Chapter 6

Aragorn came down to eat the next morning to find that Faramir had taken him at his word on joining the others for breakfast. It was as yet early, and the quiet dark-haired man was the only person there, in a black tunic and cream leggings, hair still damp, and arm still in a sling. From the stiff manner in which he held his injured hand, Aragorn concluded he must have changed into fresh clothes on his own. Idly he wondered why Denethor’s younger son had a strange affinity for such dark colours that made him look unhealthier by accentuating his pallor. Then he reminded himself that the pallor was after all not his usual look.

Faramir glanced up at his entrance, and his face coloured a little, making Aragorn wonder about it. He smiled in greeting and sat down.

“How do you fare this morning,” he asked pleasantly, all the while observing the other.

“Very well, thank you, sire,” Faramir replied softly and almost, or so it seemed to Aragorn, shyly. He dismissed it as Faramir’s intrinsic formality in all their dealings. Except of course, when he was sleeping. A small smile played on his lips as he remembered how Faramir had leant into his embrace the other night and taken all the comfort he had to offer.

“You are awake early. Have you slept well?” he asked, as he seated himself next to him.

Faramir raised his head slightly, the colour still tingeing his sharp cheekbones. After a slight pause, he spoke slowly and with some deliberation, “I slept as usual, sire, and awoke early.”

The phrasing of the words did not fool Aragorn. Faramir prided himself on his honesty, but he was not beyond playing with words while still maintaining the intrinsic truth in the statement. If the dark circles that stood more prominent now were any indication, the usual, as he termed it, could not be good. He said nothing however, and for a while the only sound to be heard was of plates and spoons.

The arrival of the others banished the silence. Boisterous greetings gave way to exclamations at Faramir’s presence, and the younger man squirmed in his chair, as he was chided in turn by Boromir, Legolas and Gimli for rising from bed.

“But I am fine now,” he protested weakly.

“You took a poisoned arrow,” Boromir retorted.

“It was a very mild poison,” there was a faint trace of defiance in the quiet voice.

“And your wounds?” Gimli growled out, as he sat down.

“I have hurt my shoulder, not my leg, there is naught to prevent me from rising from bed," Faramir said flatly, in a tone brooking little opposition. Faramir, at that particular moment, looked to be very much Denethor’s son.

Boromir’s bristled at the brusque note in his brother’s voice, “I think you should return to your room after you have eaten,” he said, clearly annoyed.

A single eyebrow arched up mutinously, and for a second it seemed Faramir were about to reply, but then he appeared to realise they were with company and instead turned to Gimli, “I am sorry, Gimli. I did not mean to sound impolite, but the healers did say I need not remain in my rooms.”

“I suppose the healers know what they do,” Legolas murmured attempting to rid the room of the sense of disquiet. The rest of the meal continued for the most part in silence, except for a little talk of the day’s schedules. Aragorn quietly updated Faramir on the decisions of the council the day before, and was very surprised to receive a look of astonished gratitude in return.

“It is kind of you to let me know, my liege,” the younger man replied formally.

“Call me Aragorn,” Aragorn suggested.

The faintest tinge of rose re-appeared on the pallid cheeks, “I – but, - it is not the custom in Gondor for captains to refer to their liege lord thus, my lord,” he said quietly.

“And what so the custom to address a friend?” Aragorn asked smiling at him.

“By name, sire, but when you are my king, you are my king first, and not my friend,” Faramir seemed a little flustered.

“Very well, then when it is not the occasion for me to act your king, such as now, will you not call me by name?”

Faramir chewed at his lip irresolutely, and then nodded hesitantly, “As you wish, sire.”

“I am glad to hear that,” Aragorn’ s eyes twinkled in response.

Faramir found himself reddening every time he spoke to Aragorn. He had had a restless night, dreams had plagued him while asleep and while awake, his mind plagued him – he could not forget the way he had felt like kissing Aragorn. He kept fingering his hand where Aragorn had kissed him. And he hung onto to the tiny shred of memory of a peck to his forehead two nights ago.

He had spent most of his waking hours trying to analyse the strange feelings he had felt building up inside him. He liked being close to Aragorn, he liked feeling his touch, and hearing his voice, and seeing the grey eyes of the king rest upon him while the lips curved in a gentle smile. To his eyes, Aragorn’ s face had as much of an ageless beauty as any elf’s. He had never felt like this for anyone else, man or woman. Once he had been inducted into Gondor’s ranks, there had been no time to build a close relationship with anyone at all. The only person he was close to in an emotional sense was his brother, a fact made all the more necessary as their mother had passed away in their childhood.

And then Aragorn had come, and Faramir found himself feeling extremely unsettled. Here was someone whose company he craved. A man who was brave and noble and kind and gentle all at the same time. A man of duty and honour. A man who was soldier and scholar. A man who was the best king the land could ask for.

Aragorn respected everyone around him. For here he sat telling Denethor’s youngest son the details of the decisions taken by the council. In his father’s time he had considered himself lucky to receive even news concerning his own command. And then Aragorn wanted him to call him by name.

Some deep recess in his mind already did that all day and night, especially night, when he was awake, unable to sleep from restlessness. Somewhere it kept repeating that seemingly magic name. His heart was singing by the end of it all. Aragorn had called him a friend!

Trying to maintain the seriousness of the situation he uttered the only question he could think of, “What news of the archer?”

“None,” Boromir replied from across the table, “None at all. But, Tarlong has sent some of his people into the markets and the streets to pick up some intelligence on the matter. So, perhaps we shall learn more. Until then, Aragorn, Tarlong insists your guard will remain doubled and on alert at all times.”

Faramir frowned unhappily, “That does not bode well. The man is still at large.”

Aragorn shrugged. He was still annoyed about the over protective steps Tarlong had implemented and found that thinking about it simply made him more annoyed.

“How did he enter?” Faramir asked.

“It would not have been very difficult,” Legolas replied, “He would have entered in a dark cloak similar to what the soldiers wear, and would have passed the gates unhindered. ‘Tis only now that they apply more caution.”

“After the horse has bolted,” Gimli muttered darkly.

“They are unused to such underhand dealings,” Faramir said in defence, “We have long been at open war, and yearned for peace. They thought it had come at last.”

“It will,” Aragorn said suddenly, in his well-modulated sincere voice, his eyes locked with Faramir’s, the promise of his statement shining out clearly.


Later in the day, the emissaries Aragorn had sent into Harad, Khand and Rhun returned with their reports, and he found himself closeted with those matters until late into the night. Boromir sat with him too, and king and steward read the lengthy exhaustive dispatches in detail, and spoke long to the envoys to gauge the situation.

“Harad has requested that they send over an envoy to call on you, sire,” the man who had been sent to Harad said.

“And we have decided to extend him an invitation,” Boromir told him, “but at the same time we will increase vigilance in Ithilien.”

The reports were long an detailed covering nearly everything about each of the lands from their military strength, as could be observed by the emissaries, to notes on various important personages of the land. When they had finished both Aragorn and Boromir were tired, the steward more so because he had spent the entire day indoors. It was not that he disliked reading. He had read most of the books on military and strategic issues that the city had to offer, but a breath of fresh air was something he craved.

They had lunched with the emissaries and partaken a small dinner later in Aragorn’ s study so as to complete reading the reports for another council had been convened the next day. Boromir had inquired news of Faramir’s whereabouts from the servants who had brought the food, and had been told he was in his room. Before retiring Boromir had mentioned he would check on him, and almost on impulse, Aragorn joined him too. Opening the door to the younger brother’s room, they observed his reposing figure on the bed, blankets drawn to his chin, face against the pillows, so that the only thing lit up in the moonlight streaming through the chinks in the curtained windows was a dark mop of hair. Unwilling to disturb his sleep, they left silently.

And Faramir released a long breath, opened his eyes, and went back to watching the pattern the stray moonbeams made around his room.


The council was short and precise as they deliberated over breakfast. Faramir had come too, his arm still in a sling and his face a little pale as he politely brushed aside queries about his health. Aragorn noticed he was the last to arrive, probably deliberately so that he would not have to spend too much time in exchanging pleasantries with the others, most of which would consist of replies to questions about his health.

The emissaries spoke quickly and precisely laying down all the pertinent facts, and the one who had returned from Harad reiterated their request.

“I am sure we can agree to that,” Boromir said and mentioned their plans regarding the envoy as also the precautionary steps they would take including watching the situation in Ithilien carefully, as the road from Harad ran through it forests and dales.

His statement was not met with overall approval. There were many frowns, for the memories of the war still lingered heavily on everyone’s minds as they slowly ate their meal. But with both Aragorn and Boromir favouring the proposal, the dissenting voices were not vocalized, and more than once in the days to come, Faramir wondered if that had swayed the turn of events in days to come.

Faramir was still feeling immensely tired. He had quietly seated himself in a place away from the windows, in the shadows, knowing his face still looked haggard. His wounds were healing slowly, his waist throbbed a little and his arm hurt him every time he took off the sling. He supposed it was due to a lack of rest, but he could not afford to lie idle any longer. He had meant to finish his long overdue paperwork the day before, but had found himself tiring out midway, even though he had used a scribe for the actual writing as his arm was immobilized. He had finished reciting everything to be written and then dismissed the man, deciding to go through them later.  He suspected he was more drained from the experience of slowly reciting everything for the man to write.

Once the short meeting was over, he slipped out quickly and went through the papers carefully and methodically, checking them for accuracy. There were many requirements to be seen to for his troop, especially if they were to be put on alert on the Harad road, and if he could finish the paperwork now, he could tender it to Boromir, who received all such requests as captain general. And then, in a day or two, he could journey down himself, perhaps. Or by the end of the week. After partaking of his noon meal, he collected the prepared papers and wended his way through the corridors till he reached the room Boromir used as some sort of a makeshift study, next door to Aragorn’ s. He was rarely found there, preferring to be out most of the time, but he was there now, looking through the requisitions another captain had dropped in.

“Faramir,” he exclaimed in a pleased tone, “Where did you vanish earlier? I searched for you!”

“I have brought you the requirements for the Ithilien company for the next three months,” Faramir handed him the sheaf of papers.

“You were working?” Boromir’s eyes narrowed, as he drew forward a comfortable chair for his brother to sit on, “you were to be resting!”

“Nay, I had a scribe write them out for me,” Faramir said quietly, as he sat on the proffered chair.

“And I will ride out to Ithilien as soon as I may remove this sling,” he continued.

Boromir stopped rifling through the papers and slipped off the table he had been half sitting on.

“Ithilien? You wish to ride to Ithilien?”

“Yes,” Faramir relied simply, “I have not visited my company for well nigh a few weeks now. They are few and scattered while the rebuilding progresses but all I have seen of them of late is Mablung when he came here two days ago.”

“You will do no such thing of course,” Boromir snapped back at him.

Faramir raised his head in surprise, and stared back at his brother’s face in surprise. Boromir seemed – angry? And upset?

“If the Ithilien Company needs to be visited I will do it. You will stay home for a few weeks as per the healer’s advice. If you wish to ride, you may – till the Rammas. To Ithilien? Definitely not! You have not the strength.”

“But it is my company. I command it. I cannot stay away so long!”

“Whether you can or you cannot is not the issue. I say that you may not.”

“But, Boromir, I am fine now, and it is not a very long ride. And I do not ride out for a few days yet. I will be completely fine by then.”

“In a few days? Were you not listening to the healers? Your arm will take a few weeks to heal! And your other wound is not minor either.”

“But the company needs-“

“I will go in your stead.”

“No!” Faramir raised his voice angrily.


It was loud enough to be heard by Aragorn in the study next door, and he raised his head in surprise. Through the walls floated the rest of the argument, as both brothers had raised their voices greatly without realising it.

“It is my order that you may not!” there was an undercurrent of frustration in Boromir’s voice, reminding Aragorn that his steward had slept late and risen early like him and was probably feeling as irritated as he was.

“And need I remind you, Captain Faramir, of the penalty for refusing to obey one ranked senior to you in Gondor’s army?” the loud voice continued.

“You would not – but - but Boromir, I will not let you go in my stead,” Faramir’s voice took on a pleading note, “It is not yet altogether safe in those parts. Harad road runs through it, and the times are still uncertain.”

“Safe! You stop me on the grounds of my safety?”

The sound of a chair being scraped back reached Aragorn’ s unwilling ears as he placed his papers down unable to concentrate as the voices floated in. Against all the etiquette and polite behaviour he had been taught, he listened, as his instinct told him to.

“I do not need you to take my stead yet again! You have done that once, and it was once too many to my mind,” someone was pacing up and down, and from the sound of the hitched voice that spoke, it must have been Faramir.

Aragorn obeyed instinct yet again and striding to the other room, pulled the door open. Neither brother noticed him.

“It is merely a short trip to Ithilien,” Faramir was saying, “You make too much of it!” his dark hair flopped over his face. The grey eyes were flashing with annoyance, but the circles underneath remained and had gone a little deeper it seemed. He came to a stop by the fireplace.

Boromir suddenly moved towards him in a swift motion, and grabbed his arms, inadvertently pushing him back against the fireplace, “I will not see you get hurt ever! Do you hear me?” When the smaller figure pinned against the stone structure spoke, his voice came out in hitches.

“Nor I you,” Faramir said closing his eyes a little. All of a sudden he was reminded of his conversations with his father, except that he would never have dared to reply so to him. He would have obeyed implicitly.

Boromir had not finished his say, however, and his next words struck Faramir deep, “Father is dead, Faramir!” he said quietly, “Do you not understand? You need no longer risk so much for so little. You need no longer indulge in senseless ventures searching for a few pitiful words of acknowledgement. Do you understand, brother?”

Aragorn stood frozen in the doorway, and watched the range of emotions flicker across the ranger’s face. Then Faramir heaved his brother’s hands off his shoulder, straightened himself up, and spoke equally quietly, “And you need no longer take on such ventures either, and cement your place in his heart!”

Leaving a shocked brother standing in front of the hearth, he walked out, brushing past Aragorn as he left, and realizing for the first time, that his king had heard every word. His countenance took on a horrified look and he backed away muttering incoherent apologies, and then, turning away, he swiftly walked down the hallway, almost racing away.

Aragorn stared at him a moment and then at Boromir who too had realised his presence, “What have I done? What have I said?” came the anguished whisper, “I must find him.”

“Not now,” Aragorn blocked the doorway, “for now, my friend, you get some rest, and let your brother do the same, you are both weary and spoke with little thought.”

“I should not have,” came the unheeding reply.

“Nay, but you are tired, and so is he. Leave him be and speak to him when you have greater control of your emotions, and he of his,” Aragorn urged. Boromir finally glanced up into his face, and then nodded slowly.

“You speak words of wisdom. Much like he did. I would be a fool not to heed you. I will see him later as you say.”


Dinner was a lonely affair for the king. None of his friends joined him. Boromir he knew, had spent the rest of the day working out his anger at himself by practicing his swordplay, and had retired early in a fit of despondency. Of Faramir there was no news. Legolas was tending to Arod, after the magnificent horse had sustained a slight injury, and Gimli had joined some of his kin for the meal.

It was a very bored Aragorn who finally rose a little grumpily from the table, and decided to see if he could find any of them. Boromir he found sleeping, as also Legolas, while Gimli, he deduced, had not returned from his night in town.

He decided he would pay Faramir a visit, and his lips curved in a small smile. He hoped the younger man was in a better frame of mind now, for he realised he had come to be quite fond of him. He had heard much of him from Boromir, and found all he had heard of to be true, and much more. His steward’s younger brother seemed to be one of the most endearing people he had ever met, and one whose company he liked. Now that he had gotten Faramir to be a little less formal with him, they might spend more time together. The thought pleased him greatly. Stopping the boy lighting the candles along one of the hallways, he inquired for Faramir’s whereabouts, and received a hesitant reply that he might find him in his chambers.

The chamber was a little neater now. The books had been piled away somewhere. It was a partly cloudy night outside, but the moon was still spectacular. The light shone through the open windows and balconies of the room illuminating the light grey sheets on an empty bed, when he entered.

He heard the soft breathing first before he saw the resting figure, dark hair splayed out over the papers, cheek resting against the yellowed pages of a large book, while the shoulders leant against the edge of the heavy wooden table. One leg was curled up on the chair. A quill and some ink lay nearby, along with a half-written parchment. A small spot of ink rested on the tip of Faramir’s nose but it was the faint tear streaks lining the cheeks that caught his eye.

“Faramir,” he called out softly, gently placing a hand on one bony shoulder.

The grey eyes flew open alert and watchful, and then bewildered as the ranger found himself not lying in bed but sitting at a table. Unmistakable tinges of red surrounded now fully open orbs as the younger man stiffly straightened up and stood.

“Sire.”

“Will you not be more comfortable lying in bed?” Aragorn said lightly.

Faramir continued to stand stiffly even as his face fell a little, and then he nodded slowly. Aragorn stepped forward, and clasping him by one good shoulder steered him into a small couch near the open balcony. He nudged the surprised man into it and then sat by him, as a cloud flitted over the moon and dimmed the light.

“You were crying,” he stated simply.

Embarrassment flooded across the anguished face in front of him, “Nay,” came the weak response.

“It will be all right,” Aragorn suddenly said, not even sure himself why he said it.

Faramir bit his lip uncertainly. Aragorn slowly lifted a hand to his hair and watched the colourless face with concern. Faramir sniffed and bent his face yet again.

“He is not angry with you,” Aragorn said, trusting entirely to his finely honed instincts to provide him the correct words.

The grey eyes looked back at him hopefully, “No?”

“No,” the king said softly, stroking the soft dark hair beneath his hand. The cloud must have flitted away from the moon because the pale silvery glow suddenly shone through the window they sat by, and lit up the younger man’s quiet face, marking out the furrows, ridges and lines, the circles dark against the chalky face. But none of it took away from the ethereal beauty of the young man, and Aragorn almost gasped at the sight.

“How could anyone be angry with you?” he demanded softly, and was dismayed to note the grey orbs turn bright, as they filled up. He continued to stroke his hair softly, and observed the tense face. Faramir seemed confused and almost distressed, his eyes were held shut, and he was breathing a little raggedly. A thin scar stood out under the left eye, and Aragorn fingered it lightly. At the touch, Faramir gasped suddenly and the shining eyes brimmed over as tears flowed down unchecked and he seemed to crumple within himself. Aragorn grabbed him in his arms, surprised at the reaction, and held him there till he had cried himself out; the silent sobs wetting his shirt as the younger man folded into his embrace completely.

It stopped as suddenly as it had started. Faramir jerked away suddenly and began stammering his apologies, “I –I do not know what came over me, my liege – please, please – f-forgive me, I was tired and –“

“There is something on your nose,” Aragorn heard himself say.

Faramir stared back at him in confusion as Aragorn hooked a finger under his chin and pulled his face forward and wiped away the ink spot. He continued to hold his chin, while slipping the other arm carefully around his shoulder, mindful of the injuries.

Grey eyes stared back at grey eyes in close proximity. Faramir sniffed again, and Aragorn tightened his hold around his shoulder, still holding the chin up gently. And the moonlight continued to play on their faces. Faramir was looking at him, and the expressions in his eyes could only be described as one of rapture. He had never before noticed how beautiful the younger man was, and instinct took over again.  He did not know why he did it, perhaps he felt later, he was drunk in the moonlight. Perhaps they both were.

When their lips met it was with mutual accord, and within seconds Aragorn’ s experience in the matter became apparent so that Faramir simply submitted to him completely, and lost himself in a heated and passionate kiss. He felt himself fall back against the couch, and ignored the pain that shot through his shoulder and waist with the sudden movement, as an immense pleasure flooded through his brain. His lips were being claimed hungrily, and Aragorn’ s tongue was frantically exploring each and every region of his mouth.

They came apart in confusion. Aragorn in dismay and Faramir still dazed from what he felt had been the most wonderful moment of his life to date.

“Forgive me, I should not have,” Aragorn said breathing hard.

Faramir placed a finger on his king’s lips and shook his head gently, “Do not ask for forgiveness, my liege.”

“I should not have – you must – I should leave now,” Aragorn said distractedly, after gently removing Faramir’s hand.

“No!” Faramir cried out, and then taking a deep breath, said softly, and almost pleadingly, “Stay. Please?”

“No –“ Aragorn said weakly, trying to stand up.

The slim hand was gently placed on his, not grasping, not demanding, merely resting gently there, as the soft voice pleaded, “Just- just stay. Please . . . I ask no more than your company, I vow. It is restful. Just this once.”

Grey eyes stared soulfully back at Aragorn, their unfathomable depths seemed such that he felt he thought he could drown in them. He stayed.

NB: Please do not distribute (by any means, including email) or repost this story (including translations) without the author's prior permission. [ more ]

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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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