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28 June 2012 | 17698 words
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Pairings: Aragorn/Boromir, Aragorn/Faramir, Aragorn/Boromir/Faramir.
Warnings: Themes of m/m sex, incest and threesomes. (The story is based on the book-verse but is AU in many respects.)
Wordcount: 17,520 words
Disclaimer: The characters belong to JRR Tolkien and I am merely playing with them. This is a transformative work and not for profit.
Thanks to my friend Mistress Kat for the beta/proof reading. She did a brilliant job and any remaining errors are my own.
Note: Written for Rubyelf’s story swap, summer 2012. Minxkat, who made the request, should be acknowledged as joint author. The request was so detailed the skeleton of the plot was already in place and all I had to do was flesh it out. This is the first time I have written LotR fanfic so I was grateful for the guidance and hope I have given her everything she asked for.
The Paths of the Living
Back in the days when they’d just left Rivendell, when the world had seemed somehow simple and the quest had only just started properly, Aragorn accepted Boromir’s advances eagerly. As Strider, he had been lonely, often literally alone for weeks on end, and the experience left him with a craving for human companionship. It had also left him with sexual cravings which were only half-acknowledged, a physical tension that never left him, and a mental itch that badly needed to be scratched. Boromir seemed anxious to soothe both. Aragorn almost fell into the Gondorian’s arms, and into his bedroll.
He’d had experience from time to time, with both men and women, but it had always been fleeting. There had been serving wenches and a couple of willing grooms, but the coupling had only ever lasted a night and breakfast had seen him alone again. This was quite different. Boromir offered an ongoing relationship, at least for the duration of the quest.
The Captain of Gondor was handsome, strong, appealing. His brilliant amused eyes pierced Aragorn’s innate reserve and his strong hands roved across the ranger’s body without any permission being sought; he seemed to know it would never be withheld. He would adjust a pack strap, use a shoulder for unneeded support, run a palm across Aragorn’s back accidentally, or so it could appear. At first he teased, now inviting, now uninterested, until Aragorn was desperate. Then he came one evening to Aragorn’s side at the fire, and murmured suggestions about finding a place apart from the others.
“Strider,” he said, “I think you have some idea of my desires concerning you.”
“Have I?” Aragorn was uncertain. He didn’t want to seem foolish, assuming a desire that was not there.
“You must have. You’re a ranger and rangers are observant.” Boromir raised a calloused hand and toyed with Aragorn’s over-long hair. He should, he thought irrelevantly, get one of the others to cut it. Meanwhile, the slight pull of Boromir’s fingers felt good.
“And if I have?”
“Then you would understand if I suggested we lie a little way off from the fire tonight, you and I.” That was plain enough and Aragorn stopped thinking about his hair or about anything except the man beside him.
“Do you have a place in mind?” he asked.
“There’s a boulder over there that would shield us from prying eyes, but we’d still be near enough to hear if anyone needed help.” And so they moved their bedrolls quietly, saying nothing to anyone, merely fading into the shadows together.
They came together swiftly, trying hard to be quiet, not wanting to disturb elvish ears, or dwarvish sensibilities, and especially anxious not to arouse the curiosity of hobbits. The next morning Aragorn thought Gandalf might be aware of their new relationship; the wizard was difficult to deceive and looked hard at the sheltering boulder. But he never said anything, especially not anything that might give all Aragorn’s secrets away to the Steward’s son. When Gandalf fell to the Balrog, Aragorn, like everyone else, was distraught, but a tiny part of his mind whispered that now Boromir need not know everything about him until they had been together longer. Until his long past would not, Aragorn hoped, come between them.
A bedroll is a strange setting for sex. The cloth that hid them from prying eyes insisted on getting between their legs, and muffling their mouths. Kisses ended up close to suffocation, fabric pulled and scraped over and between arse cheeks and thighs, cocks somehow found isolated pockets of cloth instead of warm hands or lips. Moving involved monumental but worthwhile struggle. Both men would try for mastery over each other and would find not only a partner who competed for dominance but bedding that sided first with one and then the other.
Sometimes Aragorn wondered how they ever got naked, or naked enough to perform the night’s activities. Their clothes ended up on the ground in an untidy heap, as entwined as their owners, who, inside the blankets came close, skin touching skin, cock touching cock, hands and lips touching everything.
The first time Boromir fucked him Aragorn felt new, strange, as if all his life had been just an ante-room, waiting for this. Boromir won the silent wrestling match that night and held him face down, clever, sensitive fingers, coated in, of all things, a grease meant for boot leather, exploring an arse that gradually relaxed and welcomed him in. There was a burning and a feeling of fullness and then a knowledge of belonging and rightness. Somehow Boromir knew just how to angle his cock to touch an explosion of delight deep within his lover, and he was considerate enough to hold and stroke Aragorn’s erection so that they came at the same time and then lay breathless, still close, still almost one.
In Lothlorien they had to be content to lie side by side, in separate rolls of bedding, and Aragorn wished they could be together. He thought Galadriel could see into his heart but she said nothing, just gave him one of her loving but slightly pitying smiles. When they left, there were so few chances to be together again before the fellowship was sundered.
Aragorn was not too concerned about Boromir’s attempt to wrest the ring from Frodo, even when he found out about it. All of them, he thought, had yearnings about the ring. That was brought about by the ring itself, not by any flaw in the companions. And even if Boromir had flaws, that only made him a real man, not a storybook hero, and Aragorn thought perhaps he loved him anyway. Yes, loved, though he had never said anything at all.
In fact, their entire relationship was one of silence, of muffled sex at night and mundane conversation about tracks and baggage during the day. When Boromir was shot, defending the hobbits, Aragorn grieved bitterly, and wished he had told the Gondorian of his love. It was somehow worse that he did not even see the body, that orcs still roamed near it, that he had to leave without saying goodbye. And that he had to return to loneliness, all the harder now that he knew what could be, what had been.
The three who were left found plenty to turn their minds away from grief. Helm’s Deep, Rohan’s king and riders, missing hobbits and above all a missing ring bearer occupied their waking thoughts. Gandalf’s return was a matter for rejoicing but in his heart Aragorn could have wished for a different resurrection.
However, his responsibilities would not change and not would his destiny. He would, must, go where that led him. Gondor was his heritage and he must protect it. If that meant facing the oath breakers, then he would not shirk the task.
Gimli and Legolas were with him, of course, but the Paths of the Dead belonged peculiarly to Aragorn. He took his responsibility seriously and hoped his brave companions would manage to overcome their inevitable horror and follow the paths with hearts and hopes held high. At first he thought he was imagining things when another figure appeared at his side. Then his thoughts lurched and he wondered whether one of the dead had joined him, or even if he had inadvertently joined them. His fears increased when he realised that this addition to his small group resembled his erstwhile lover. He tried not to look, to pretend there was no-one at his side, tried to think that if he ignored whatever it was it would go away and leave him in peace. He succeeded to some extent, though he was shaken as much by his new companion as by their followers. Gimli and Legolas said nothing, and the figure stayed near but made no close approach.
Afterwards, heading towards the sea and camping well away from the ghostly horde, he was shocked to feel a touch on his shoulder in the middle of the night.
Then a well-remembered voice whispered, “So the heir of Isildur no longer wants to lie with the heir of the Steward? I thought we were bedmates, Aragorn.”
“Boromir?” He didn’t believe, not even when rough warm lips grazed his shoulder. “You’re…real? Alive?”
“As alive as you, my friend. Did you think me one of that dark crowd? No wonder you wouldn’t look at me. I’ll soon show you how much hot blood runs in my veins.”
“But the orcs…”
“…left me for dead. But I wasn’t. I lay between life and death for a while after they’d thrown me into a ditch and gone on their way. Then I had the task of catching up with you. Every time I thought I had you in my sights you managed to be somewhere else and it was a while before I could get the Rohirrim to give me a horse to make my pursuit easier. You led me a merry dance – visits and battles and all kinds of adventures. But I found you and I followed you.”
“Even into those paths.”
“Yes, even there. I’m part of the fellowship still, Aragorn, and I could do no less than Gimli or Legolas. But it was not a time for speech or explanations. I thought you would recognise me.”
“I did, but…”
“You thought I haunted you? If I’d known you believed me dead I would have spoken or made some other sign. I knew you’d gone ahead but I thought you knew I’d rejoin you.”
“If we’d known, we would never have left you.”
“Yes, you would. The quest is greater than any one of us. And you had to try to get Merry and Pippin back. But enough of that. If Isildur’s heir is merely fearful of ghosts and not mindful of his newfound dignity, may I join him in bed?”
Their reunion was fierce and joyful. Aragorn found himself brimming with a kind of amazed laughter, astonished at his friend’s survival and at his presence here so close to the shadows. He was glad, too, that hearing him declare his lineage had not apparently deterred Boromir. They kissed, hugged, shook each other and used the moonlight to find eyes, cheeks, ears to touch with lips and tongues. The bedroll heaved and swayed again and the pile of clothing grew by its side. Aragorn forgot to wrestle, let Boromir take charge and penetrate him, slicking the way with nothing more than saliva. He curled his legs round his lover’s waist and let the man’s long hard cock impale him. He gasped as Boromir grunted with satisfaction, spilled his own seed onto their bellies, and lay half-crushed in an embrace he’d thought he’d never feel again. They cleaned themselves on the blankets and fell asleep clasped firmly in each other’s arms. Aragorn woke once, and thought he’d dreamed but found Boromir real and solid, taking up more than his fair share of the bedding and a great deal more than any fair share of his heart.
There had been a few nights of pleasure since that reunion but little time to talk, other than of things like battle strategy and how the ring bearer was faring. Then there was the aftermath, with Boromir’s father mad and dangerous, his mind turned by the palantir and his beliefs about Boromir’s brother almost leading to tragedy. And at last they were all in Minas Tirith, safe, whole apart from Frodo’s finger, and the quest was over.
The battle of Pelennor’s Fields was over, the Last Battle, its very name conjuring darkness and fear even after it was won, was over. They had given the ring bearer time and he had used it well, helped by his faithful friend and by the unlikely Gollum. The One Ring was gone, melted in the Cracks of Doom and a new age was dawning. Aragorn was not sure he welcomed it. It was a wonderful outcome for his kingdom but he was not personally glad of the change from ranger to royalty. When Gandalf placed the crown on his head he thought his brow might bleed and was surprised to find that everyone was smiling.
Isildur’s heir took up his new duties with a celebratory smile but he suspected that a vast sea of loneliness awaited the ruler of Gondor. Kings were solitary beings, cut off from ordinary friendships. There would be a queen, for Arwen would come to Minas Tirith, and perhaps royal children, but he wasn’t sure they could compensate, not now, when he had learnt to love. He had thought he had known love before the fellowship, but it had only been a pale courtly love, delicate as the evening stars that shone on Arwen, not this burning rushing feeling that would catapult him into Boromir’s bed if he could only get rid of the pages and servants who got under his feet at every turn.
Their last encounter had been hurried and rough, a tumble in the stables, leaving him wanting more. But since then he had been very much the king, and effectively imprisoned by his court. They saw each other, of course, and even spoke, but not personally and never alone. Setting up any kind of privacy seemed impossible and Boromir seemed busy and distracted, much as he was himself. Boromir, now Prince of Ithilien as well as Steward, was engrossed in preparing the coronation and the royal marriage. Gandalf had crowned Aragorn in the aftermath of battle but the population, and the army, felt thwarted. They wanted pageantry and parades and probably a great deal of drinking. So the Steward needed to arrange something that would give the people what they wanted, and apparently that took a great deal of organising and time. Aragorn was besieged by some of that population; there were petitions and disputes that could not wait, inheritances that must be confirmed and oaths that must be accepted. Every time he turned around there was someone else demanding his attention.
He supposed Boromir was equally surrounded and perplexed. They couldn’t simply walk aside into the palace gardens and set up their bedrolls. And yet he couldn’t wait much longer. His balls ached and his mind buzzed with an anticipation that was never met. If he was going to get what he needed he would have to do something about it rather than wait for an opportunity to occur. Every day, and every night too, made the new routine of their lives more binding. The injured were released from the Houses of Healing, Boromir’s preparations for the coronation were in progress, and the king-in-waiting was desperate for his lover.
Aragorn waited until his valet and his page had settled him to their satisfaction for the night. He was undressed and clothed in a nightshirt of some gossamer substance that slid over his limbs and stroked his cock. There was water on the night table and a flask of wine on the window seat. The lights were doused and the window was open just a little, admitting soft night air and gentle starlight. He sat up in the huge bed and told himself firmly that he must make things happen. And so he got up and left the room, able to see enough by the star glimmer not to need a candle. He knew where Boromir’s room was; he’d memorised the plans of this level of the palace. He would surprise him, and Boromir would have no cause to think royal duties were coming between them.
He found the door and grasped the handle. It opened and he was inside before he realised he had heard gasps of shock. Did Boromir fear intruders? Hardly, or he would have locked the door. And then a lantern was lit and Boromir loomed from the shadows around the bed, a bed that contained another body, one with long curls and a high shriek of dismay. Whoever it was burrowed into the bedclothes and became just a mound, a hint of a person. Aragorn felt a curdling inside him. Someone else in Boromir’s bed? Why had he thought he had a right… Not the right of a king but the right of a lover.
And could it possibly be a woman? He felt a moment of nausea but raised his head proudly. Boromir was entitled to take a woman to his bed. He himself would have Arwen. But already?
Boromir was at Aragorn’s side and clasped his arm. The touch felt intimidating, not welcoming at all, but of course, he’d interrupted something. He backed towards the door and Boromir followed him into the passageway, manoeuvring him into a niche that was perhaps intended for a lantern or a statue and standing over him, face clouded and body language expressing dismay.
“What did you want that could not have waited till tomorrow, Majesty?” He stressed the title.
“I’m sorry, Boromir. I wanted to be with you. I was stupid not to have thought there might be someone else. I’ve neglected you shamefully. I wanted to make up for that but…”
“…but you didn’t think.” Boromir didn’t let him finish his apology but spoke in an exasperated tone. “Neglected me? Of course you’ve neglected me! We’re back in Minas Tirith, man. The war’s over, the quest is over and the fellowship is over. I hardly expected anything else.”
“But it could all be the same for us. We might need to be more circumspect, but what we had…” And again he was interrupted.
“What we had was what soldiers have on a long march. No more, no less. You’ve marched alone, Strider, or you’d know that. Here there are comfortable beds and the delights of female flesh. There are enough women in Minas Tirith to go round an army, or hadn’t you noticed? I found one of them tonight, and she isn’t the first to grace my bed. Now I’ll have to soothe her ruffled feathers and coax her back into what we’d just started before you came rushing in with your mad apologies.”
“It wasn’t just an apology.” Aragorn was anxious to explain, even though he felt the world he thought he knew falling away around him. “I wanted you. I thought you wanted the same. Boromir, please…” And this time he stuttered into silence of his own accord.
“I wanted you well enough, Aragorn, when we were journeying and when male company was all we had. Should that occur again no doubt I’d seek your bedroll once more. Here…” He shrugged and the gesture was more eloquent than his words.
Aragorn felt something like a stone forming where his heart had been, and scarcely noticed when Boromir loosened his grip and turned back to the bedroom door. All sexual arousal was gone, cut like the light of the lantern as the door closed, but the mental desire, the love, was there still, with no willing object, and he could have howled his grief to the night. Instead, he made a dignified withdrawal, or so he hoped, though he failed to notice that the little scene had been observed. Disturbed by the unwonted noise, Faramir had opened his door to check the source and had both heard and seen his brother with the king.
Ever since he had been a child, caught up in tales of heroes and history, Faramir had loved the rangers. Not any specific ranger, just the concept of those lonely brave men who watched over the world and strode through it noting needs and changes. As he had grown older he had wanted to become a ranger himself but it had been a want that Denethor had shown him was inappropriate. He was needed in Minas Tirith, and was accordingly trained as a soldier and guard. Still, he wished. Once he was a captain his men loved him but Faramir did not altogether return the love. He was a good captain, firm but fair, loyal to his land and his city – and his father – but he would often have preferred to be tramping the fields and hills and woods alone, rather than in a company of armed men patrolling the borders of Ithilien. So when he’d met Strider he’d already been half in love with the idea of the man. The reality had provided the other half of the equation.
And now Strider was shown to be Aragorn son of Arathorn, the lost king of Gondor, the one the stewardship was all about. He had turned the tide of the last battle, saved Minas Tirith (and possibly the world) and if he had not managed to rescue Denethor he had at least made sure Faramir did not perish on that awful pyre. Added to the legendary qualities and present day heroism, Aragorn had a beautiful face, a strong and supple figure and a voice that could cajole the dead (and had done) and that turned Faramir’s bones to water.
He was aware of his brother’s liaison with the heir of Isildur. The pair had hidden it from most but Faramir knew his brother well, knew his liking for male company on expeditions, and had glimpsed them embracing in the royal stables. He watched Aragorn closely, even when he didn’t mean to, and saw the way he looked at Boromir. He shared Boromir’s tastes and was jealous of his brother’s closeness to the man he still thought of as his very own ranger but knew he should bury those childish feelings of ownership and wish the two of them well. Except that all did not seem to be well, because Aragorn went round with his face long and drawn, furrows marring his brow, his eyes dark with misery. And Boromir seemed to be setting out to bed every available maiden in the city. Well, no, not the maidens; Boromir preferred his women experienced. At any rate, he was spending every night with a different woman and Faramir heard much of their pleasuring through the connecting door between their suites of rooms.
So when he saw and heard what Boromir and Aragorn said in the passageway, his sympathies lay with the king, although he loved his brother and wanted his happiness. There was no sensible way to let Aragorn know he was aware of that brutal midnight rejection, but he tried hard to be everything the king might need (other than Boromir) and to provide friendship and cheer. His new and still somehow surprising status as a Prince of Ithilien made it easy for him to be in the palace reception rooms talking to visitors, in the throne room advising on disputes, in the stableyard watching the way the horses were exercised and in the more private quarters to offer conversation and suggestions to facilitate anything Aragorn might need or might want to do.
He was aware, of course, that soon the king would have the Lady Arwen as his wife, just as he, Faramir, would wed Éowyn when she returned from Rohan where she was preparing for their marriage. But the thought of the women did not make him complete and he suspected Aragorn might also find an emptiness in his life. Faramir loved Éowyn and knew, or assumed, that the king loved Arwen. But there were other bonds than those between men and women, other ties than marriage. He had thought Aragorn and Boromir shared such a tie; if that was not the case, if it was all one-sided, the king must be sorrowing.
Soon, Ithilien’s second prince realised that Aragorn was lonely. It seemed an unlikely state for someone surrounded by people almost every moment of the day, but Faramir was good at reading people, a trait that had made him a good captain, and he could see the emptiness in his king’s eyes and sense his longing for simple friendship. The servants and the soldiers were correct and attentive but they were not friends. Gandalf and the hobbits were busy about their own affairs much of the time. Gandalf spent much of his time on the borders, patrolling with the army, seeing to it that the land was rid of enemies. The hobbits were enjoying every moment of their time in the city. They had made friends and their evenings were filled with ale and pipeweed. Faramir thought some of their days might be similarly occupied. Soon enough they would return to their distant rural shire; let them have this time as a kind of holiday, something to remember when they grew old. He smiled when he thought of them. Sometimes he found Frodo in the library, poring over maps, but often the others came and dragged him away into their pleasure-seeking. He hoped they had some success; the ring bearer was too solemn still.
The hobbits were also practising for their roles in the ceremonies to come. Pippin and Merry, sworn to the service of Gondor and Rohan, would accompany Faramir and Éowyn. Frodo and Sam, as ring bearers, would stand with Aragorn and Arwen. Frodo, he thought, would have some place in the coronation. Legolas and Gimli would represent their peoples at that ceremony. So all were occupied and happy, even Frodo, with his melancholy and his maps. They had little time to spend with Aragorn and perhaps the king had more need of the company of men.
Boromir was more guarded since the midnight conversation and provided less daytime companionship. Faramir knew Aragorn wanted Boromir, but that was simply not going to happen. And the king’s loneliness needed someone to assuage it, even if whoever it was could not totally replace Boromir in his affections. Besides, Aragorn was still young enough to have strong physical needs, ones that Boromir was refusing to meet. Faramir knew from his military experience that men deprived of sexual comfort became surly and unhappy, less competent at their tasks. Perhaps he, Faramir, could offer himself. He would do anything to be close to the man he adored and whilst he didn’t aim to supplant Boromir he did aim to lessen Aragorn’s misery. He would offer himself body and soul if he could make the king’s life happier. But he wavered, unsure of how to approach the matter, and unsure, too, of his own appeal.
Things came to a head when he came into the main reception room one afternoon, having just bidden farewell to a visiting group of elves, and overheard Aragorn and Boromir talking.
“I wish you would not follow my every movement with your eyes. It is unfitting for the king to be so concerned with a mere subject.”
“Am I not to look at you then? That will make for some very artificial conversation, I think. And you are no mere subject. I have named you a prince.”
“Prince of your bed?”
“I named your brother too. I would have preferred to continue our relationship, Boromir, but as you would have it otherwise I have acquiesced in that decision. I treat you as I treat the rest of the fellowship and others like Faramir and the army captains. To think otherwise is to be too sensitive to something that is not in fact going on.”
“You came to my room…”
“… once, and I have said I am sorry. Allow me some dignity, my friend. There is nothing further between us but I would have your friendship still.”
“You have it, my king.” The response came readily enough but Faramir could sense tension beneath his brother’s words and remembered childhood squabbles when Boromir was quick to anger and slow to calm. There was tension in Aragorn’s voice too, and it was clear he still wanted Boromir and regretted their parting.
“Then accept that if I look at you it is with the eyes of a friend,” Aragorn went on.
“As long as you accept my desire for the womenfolk of your city.”
“It is your city too, and I do not blame you for finding its women fair.”
“Do you not? And yet you don’t look at them. They have commented to me, Aragorn. Some of them feel slighted.” Boromir grinned as he spoke, perhaps to take the sting from his words.
“You know quite well that I am handfasted and that my queen will arrive before long. I would not look at the women of Minas Tirith only to look away again.”
“But you would look at me.”
Aragorn shrugged. “Men are men and women are women. I do not find the need to keep strictly to one or the other but I am faithful to my choices within each group.”
“Meaning I’m not?”
“I believe you have a different woman every night and before you say anything, no, I do not see it as my concern; I merely wish to explain to you the difference in our ways.”
“Difference indeed. Well, I have assured you, I hope, of my friendship, something that should never have been in doubt. And I have an assignation in the city so if we are done…?”
“We are done, Boromir.” Aragorn sighed and Faramir, listening, sighed with him. “We were done before you started this conversation. Go to your assignation and enjoy your bedmate, whoever she is.” He turned to the window as Boromir headed for the door, then turned back again as Boromir spoke.
“Faramir. I didn’t see you. Our conversation was somewhat private. You should have made your presence known.” He sounded blustering, knowing quite well he should not have had such a conversation in such a public place.
Faramir smiled. “I heard little of it, brother, and what I did hear stays with me. It is not my business, though I hope you and the king part on good terms. Your tone…”
“…is merely the tone of one who is tired of playing the courtier. I’m off to the town.” And Boromir left, in a haste that left a prince-shaped emptiness in the room, and Aragorn and Faramir staring at each other.
Faramir thought he should fill that emptiness, take advantage of the moment. But he felt tongue-tied and awkward, like a youngster only just leaving childhood. Then his own overwhelming need forced him to speak.
“Aragorn, I think you are sad… and lonely… and if there is anything… I would not presume to replace my brother but I would have you know there is one who desires you.” He felt himself blushing but pressed on. “I heard only the tone of your conversation just now but I have been close to both of you, I am aware of how things stand, or stood, and I have longed to comfort you. Although you might not wish… And I would not press my suit… But…” He ran out of words and merely stepped towards the king, who was smiling.
“Faramir, I am touched by your concern. But I would not have you think there is a need to take Boromir’s place. I am a grown man and can learn to live with my loss. I have your friendship, after all, and his, as he has promised.”
“No need, perhaps, but I would be honoured above anything. Even being made a prince would fade beside the joy I’d feel if you could see me as… well…as…”
“You are trying to seduce me, I think.” Aragorn’s voice was soft, a little wistful and a little amused. “I wish I knew what your true desires were. I am in need of some close companionship but not that which stems from duty. And I cannot simply switch my feelings from one prince to another, you know.”
“I know that and I don’t expect… well, anything, really. I just want…” He had reached Aragorn’s side and suddenly, emboldened by his own stumbling declaration he reached out and pulled Aragorn towards him. Their lips met in a clumsy kiss and then Faramir clung to his king, his ranger, holding him in an embrace that showed, he hoped, his very real feelings. For a long moment he was afraid he had gone too far, that Aragorn would be disgusted with his effrontery, but his embrace was returned, gently, and another, more practised kiss ensued.
“Faramir.” He heard Aragorn through a haze of relief and hope. “If this is not the place for private conversation it most certainly is not the place for anything more intimate. There will be servants soon, clearing the goblets and plates. And I have people to see, places to be. We will have to explore this later, but I seem to be assured of your intentions.” He smiled, that beautiful smile that made Faramir tingle from head to foot. “Leave me now, my prince, and I will seek you another time.” There was a promise in his eyes, and Faramir had to be content, as indeed servants were entering the room and there was no more opportunity to talk.
“I am at your service, my king,” he murmured, hoping the dual meaning would reach Aragorn’s ears. Then he left the room and was unsure later what he had done or where he had gone.
He found himself in one of the courtyards, trailing his hand through the drops of a fountain, muttering, ‘He kissed me,’ to himself as if the phrase were a talisman to keep him safe, though from what, he did not know. Then he shook himself and went about the business of the day, seeing to his men and the horses and allowing his manservant to dress him for the evening meal. He hoped ‘another time’ would be very soon indeed.
There were guests at dinner and they drank long into the night. Aragorn had no time to seek out Faramir though most of the fellowship and court were somewhere at the table, and he knew the prince would not presume to come to his rooms as he had gone to Boromir’s. He had little time to think about the new situation. Faramir was attractive, certainly, and it seemed he really did want more than friendship. Aragorn couldn’t decide how much he could bring to the relationship but he was desperate for something. Mostly, he admitted to himself, for sex. He would not demean himself to dally with the loose women Boromir favoured, he would not raise the hopes or importance of servants, grooms or common soldiers, and he knew he couldn’t suppress his needs much longer. His own ministrations were inadequate; he needed a partner, and Faramir seemed to be perfectly willing. He had explained, he thought, how his feelings were not engaged, and the prince had appeared unconcerned. Their kiss had been sweet, but Aragorn wanted something more than sweetness.
As for seeking Faramir’s room, that was not a choice he was capable of making. He fell into his bed some time in the early hours, not quite drunk, because he had not matched goblet for goblet with his guests, but dizzy and tired, asleep as soon as he was lying down, restless but unconscious for most of the night. He woke determined to find Faramir some time that day and take things further; much further.
The opportunity came in the library. Aragorn knew how Faramir loved the scrolls and maps that were held there and when he couldn’t see him in the public rooms or the stableyard he thought to look for him in that treasury of knowledge. He saw the young man leaning over one of the map tables, his pants stretched tight across his arse, delectable and desirable. No doubt it was an unintended pose but Aragorn was aroused by it and knew, or hoped, the library would be a less frequented place than most. He closed the door. It was heavy and the latch would click loudly if anyone entered. There were bays, formed by the shelving, and he thought he could get Faramir into one of those and they would be effectively private.
He watched for a moment and then spoke. “Are you merely reading the map or are you intending to offer yourself to me. It’s very seductive, that position. I might have to take advantage of you here.”
Faramir jumped, came upright, and whirled around, blushing, his eyes fixed on Aragorn’s, pleading for…something. Time? Understanding? Physical contact? Aragorn chose to assume the last, and then surprised himself at the way he took things forward.
“Take your clothes off,” he said, his voice a low growl.
“Here?” Faramir tried for a nonchalant query but managed a startled croak.
“Here.” Aragorn confirmed the command but gestured to a bay that would be out of immediate sight of the door. Faramir stepped into the protection of the bay and undid the laces of his tunic. He drew the garment over his head and dropped it to the floor, looking at Aragorn for approval. He was smooth-chested, well-muscled, golden where the sun had caught his arms and shoulders. He gleamed in the shadows.
“All your clothes,” Aragorn insisted, not willing to approve a partial undressing. Where had this come from, this need to dominate? And why would he risk Faramir’s reputation this way? He looked at the door then joined Faramir in the bay, undoing the front of his breeches as he moved. The dark excitement he felt made his cock stand proud and he watched as Faramir slowly undid his own breeches and let them fall around his ankles.
When he’d entered the library he’d thought that if he found Faramir here they could embrace again, exchange more kisses and perhaps more conversation. But he found himself grabbing the offered body desperately, slamming the young man against the shelves, gripping his hips, forcing their cocks together and glorying in the friction of the movement. Faramir was hard, too, and gasping, taking huge gulps of air as though drowning. As a first time between them it was strange, lacking any gentleness or finesse, but Aragorn couldn’t stop. They set up a rhythmical motion that brought them closer and closer to completion, and neither could now have paused if half the palace had entered the room. Faramir seemed to have got his breathing under control and was saying disjointed things like, ‘Yes,’ and, ‘More,’ and, ‘Oh, Aragorn,’ which made Aragorn harder than ever and more determined to control the young man in his arms. Not that Faramir was objecting, but his very submission provided its own delight and spur. He knew the buckles on his jerkin were rubbing against Faramir’s nipples and somehow the knowledge made him even more excited. The sensations mounted until they both climaxed and spilled their seed across Faramir’s naked belly and Aragorn’s unlaced pants.
Then as they quietened it occurred to him to offer a kiss. He took Faramir’s face in his hands and pressed his mouth against the slightly parted lips. Soon his tongue was tangling with Faramir’s and he knew he had gone about this the right way, claiming his prince and dominating him. If Faramir had shown any fear or resentment… but he hadn’t. The relationship was far from the one he had had with Boromir but it was also good and he felt, not love, but a deep satisfaction that was not wholly physical.
It took them a while to reach any kind of regular arrangement. Sex in the library was not, Aragorn thought, a sensible daily practice. There was far too much chance of interruption and while that sparked some hidden love of peril within him it accorded ill with his position as king. Their days were full of the duties of rulers and princes, and their evenings were taken up with entertaining, elves, men and dwarves from afar, and the higher echelons of Minas Tirith society from nearby. Every night, Aragorn hoped to get rid of his guests early and spend an hour or two with Faramir, and every night he failed. Once he went to Faramir’s room before changing for the evening and they managed a quick bout of sex, just holding and stroking each other, nothing more, before Faramir’s manservant interrupted them with hot water and clean clothes for his master. Then when Aragorn stormed back to his own room in a foul mood his own manservant expressed silent disapproval that he was late.
The following day he called Faramir back as the courtiers left the room after a session of dispensing civil justice. He noticed Boromir pause and look inquiring but he ignored him and waited till the room was empty of all the others before speaking.
“We need to be together,” he said abruptly, and was pleased at the glow in Faramir’s eyes. “Every time I try to see you something interrupts. There are no obvious times, as there are when men are out on a mission. And at night I am so very tired. When you offered yourself to me I thought the only problem was one of your will, not of the wills of almost everyone in the palace.”
“I’m tired too. I could wish fewer people wanted your attention. But Aragorn, maybe if we shared a room, if we woke together, that could work. If you truly wish it.”
“I do, Faramir, and I think I shall have to take my servant into my confidence so that we can have time uninterrupted.” He did wish it, wished to have this appealing young man in his arms, in his bed, giving him comfort and release. “But it can only work until my coronation and my wedding.” He watched Faramir, wondering how mention of the forthcoming marriage would affect him. Faramir merely smiled.
“When you are married you will not need me as badly, but I hope you might still want me from time to time. I’m sure we can work something out.”
Aragorn found himself liking the hopeful note in Faramir’s voice and simply said, “I’m sure, too. Meanwhile, come to my rooms instead of your own tonight. I’ll smooth the way with the servants and we can see if we can perhaps stay awake long enough to enjoy each other. If not, as you say, there will be time in the morning.”
And so they settled into a new way of living, sharing a room, sharing a bed, sharing nights of tired kisses and mornings of enthusiastic sex. Usually, Aragorn woke first, and found Faramir pressed up close against him. It was good to stroke him awake, force his cock into erection, penetrate him before he had time to think or speak, then kiss the sleep from his eyes and hold him firmly while they both recovered. That first time in the library had taught Aragorn something about his own desires and sometimes he constrained his lover, binding him to the bedposts with belts or scarves. Faramir would accept the bondage wide-eyed and willing, and the sex would be at once more violent and more tender. One morning, the restraints were in place when he awoke and Aragorn watched him find that he could not move and saw acceptance dawn across his face but no fear.
Then there was the morning when Faramir sat up suddenly and took a deep breath. “Aragorn,” he said, and Aragorn sensed there was something momentous coming. “Aragorn, my king, would you ever let yourself submit to a lover as I submit to you?”
“You mean to any lover, or to you, my prince?”
“I meant to any, but particularly to me.” That faint blush that never failed to delight Aragorn spread across the prince’s face. Aragorn laughed and handed him the oil flask, then lay down, waiting. Faramir was less experienced in this role, hesitant, but very determined. He spent a little time caressing his thighs and arse, featherlight fingers drifting across sensitive places and exploring reactions. When Aragorn shivered he was rewarded with a tentative smile. So he let himself murmur aloud when a touch pleased him and every time he did, Faramir’s smile broadened. It felt good to be able to let his feelings show, not to have to worry about others hearing them, and it felt good to give up control and simply enjoy himself in Faramir’s hands.
When he finally entered him Faramir paused. “So this is how it feels,” he said. “I’ve done this before but not with one I wanted as I want you.” And then he was thrusting wildly, riding him into a maelstrom of sensation. He grasped Aragorn’s cock almost as an afterthought but it only needed a quick pull and Aragorn was coming hard. Then Faramir bucked and came inside him, shouting his name as he did.
After that, Faramir sometimes took charge, but more often Aragorn was the one to initiate their lovemaking and to find ways of making Faramir submit to his control.
The servants were discreet but Boromir could not but notice the way his brother and his king both came from Aragorn’s rooms. At first he seemed startled, then amused, and then, Aragorn realised, there was a slight hint of jealousy in his manner. He said as much to Faramir but they both laughed and thought nothing of it. Then it became clearer.
“Taking my place, little brother?” he said one morning as they were all about to break their fast and Faramir was slipping into a seat. It was clear from his voice that he did not mean the dining chair, and Faramir was at a loss as to how to answer. There were others around, hobbits intent on their plates, Legolas smiling, and Gimli raising a shaggy eyebrow in the way of dwarves. He decided against answering at all and merely started to eat, with a shrug and an apologetic grin. Then Aragorn was there, raising both eyebrows at Boromir’s question but saying nothing.
“Where did you get to last night?” Legolas addressed his query to Boromir. “You left us again. You ought to take more of your share of entertaining. The whole fellowship is responsible for the visitors who throng to the palace.”
“I had a lapse in my membership of the fellowship if you remember,” said Boromir. “And I was entertaining one of Minas Tirith’s finest, all by myself.”
“One of its finest womenfolk, brother?” Faramir asked, knowing the answer but wanting to tease. Boromir nodded.
“Was it such a chore, then?” Legolas smiled at both of them. “You look sour, this morning, as if you had bitten an unripe plum.”
“The plum was ripe for the plucking, friend, but the harvest palls. There are too many plums and the flavour is less exciting than it was. Much less exciting, I sometimes think, than the harvest others reap.” Boromir reached for a slice of bread and the honey pot and no-one said anything for a while.
After breakfast Faramir went to his own rooms to change into his riding clothes. He intended to exercise his horse himself. Court life was making him lazy and besides, the new mare he’d been schooling before he began his liaison with Aragorn would forget his touch and grow undisciplined in the hands of the grooms and stable lads who catered to her every whim. As he walked to the stableyard he thought about his brother’s remarks. It seemed Aragorn was right and Boromir was jealous. How would that play out? Would Boromir wrest Aragorn back from him? He knew Aragorn’s feelings for Boromir were deep although they never spoke of such things. Yes, he was taking his brother’s place but he thought he was only a pale copy of his older brother, always had been. Even their father had preferred his older, more boisterous son, the one who went drinking and wenching and so often gambled with disgrace. Aragorn must surely prefer Boromir, vibrant and handsome, and, after all, his first love. Yes, he admitted to himself, Aragorn loved Boromir. Aragorn was, he thought, happy with him, Faramir, in his bed, but only liked him, did not feel that abiding sense of belonging that he found with the older prince.
He would fight for Aragorn’s love if he could but he didn’t think he had ever possessed it. And he would do anything to ensure Aragorn’s happiness, even give him up to Boromir. But perhaps that day was some way off, and perhaps, he told himself, there would be changes, with a coronation and a wedding to confuse the issue.
He took Moonlight out of the city and gave her a hard gallop, letting the wind in his hair blow the uncertainties from his brain. What would be would be. At present, he was welcome in Aragorn’s bed, and that alone was something to be profoundly thankful for. He brought the mare around and headed home, leaving his brother’s insidious remarks behind him.
He had not expected to see Aragorn in the stables, but there he was, looking at some of the horses and chatting to a couple of the stable lads. They had had to replace some of the horses lost in the last battle and the newcomers were gradually training to be true warhorses, as well as ceremonial beasts for times like the coronation procession. Aragorn was naturally interested and was concerned to let the lads know how well they were doing. He looked round as Faramir entered and sent one of the lads to help him with Moonlight. The mare was quickly rubbed down and stabled, her feed and water checked, and Aragorn was watching them work. He had sent the other lads off on some errand, or perhaps for an early midday meal, and now he patted Faramir’s helper on the shoulder and suggested he should join the others.
The boy closed the heavy doors on his way out, leaving just a small opening in one of them for people to pass through, but Aragorn closed that too, and then returned to where Faramir stood, by the empty stall next to Moonlight’s. There were rays of sunshine slanting through the high windows and the king was standing in the path of one, gilded in light, his hair shining. The inevitable dust of the stables glistened on his skin and his ordinary clothes, worn for the stables, not the reception rooms, looked richer than they should. Faramir’s breath caught in his throat. This was his golden king, his lover, and he was perhaps already losing him. Yet Aragorn didn’t seem in the least bit interested in moving away.
On the contrary, he stepped out of the sunbeam into the direct path of the prince, crowding him into the empty stall and closing the bottom half of the door.
“Take your clothes off.” It was the same as that first time in the library and Faramir’s arousal was instant.
“Here?” He thought that was what he had said then and must have got it right because Aragorn grinned triumphantly.
“Yes, right here. I need you. You’re beautiful, Faramir, and honest, too, a piece of fresh countryside after the twisting byways of the city and all those city courtiers.”
“I’m city bred too.”
“But somehow you lost its tarnish. I need your freshness. Take your clothes off.” He didn’t move nearer, just waited. Faramir wasn’t sure how patient he would be but decided not to find out; he quite liked his riding clothes. He unfastened them quickly, jacket, undertunic, breeches, and stepped out of them, naked except for his close-fitting boots. Then he looked for somewhere to sit or lean to pull them off. There were some large bales of straw, presumably stored here waiting to be taken to the occupied stalls as needed but as he moved towards one Aragorn grasped his arm. The king shook his head, and Faramir found himself bent over one of the bales, his boots anchoring him to the stone floor and the rest of him bared and ready for his lover. There was another spear of sun and he could feel its warmth on his back, then a heavier warmth covered him as Aragorn held him and pressed his legs apart.
He loved this, loved the feeling of being controlled, mastered, loved the thought that Aragorn wanted him so much. Even if that desire was less than Aragorn’s feelings for Boromir at least he, Faramir, had these moments, these delicious times of total submission to his king.
They usually used scented oils but Faramir could tell that this time he was being slathered in some kind of saddle oil and the astringent smell added to the atmosphere of animal lust. Aragorn was panting, ready to breach him but concerned to prepare him properly. He was a careful lover, and Faramir trusted him to make the whole experience wonderful. A royal hand held the cheeks of his arse apart and royal fingers quested in the opening they found. He felt himself melting into readiness and heard himself sigh. That was evidently the signal Aragorn needed because Faramir sensed, rather than heard, laces being undone, and then felt the bluntness of his lover’s cock as it slowly entered him.
He knew he called out, Aragorn’s name and some endearments, and he listened avidly to the whispers of encouragement. He groaned his delight and tried to reach his own throbbing cock but Aragorn pushed his hand aside and held him in his own fist, stroking him in time to the rhythm of the thrusts into his body. He screamed as he came but it was a scream of pleasure and he found himself babbling as Aragorn continued to move within him.
“Aragorn…yes…so good…harder…all yours…fill me…” He wasn’t sure what he was saying, just sure that this was perfect.
“How very touching.” Boromir’s voice from the other side of the half door stilled Faramir’s tongue but Aragorn was too near completion to stop. He finished with one last push and a gasp of relief then lay across Faramir’s back, his face nestled into the prince’s shoulder and his hands clasping Faramir’s hips, steadying him, gentling him. They were both trembling and Faramir couldn’t tell whether it was the aftermath of orgasm or the reaction to being seen. He thought Aragorn courted danger at times, but for himself, he would have liked to sink into the straw and disappear.
“I’m glad my brother pleases you, my lord,” Boromir said, in a voice that implied the exact opposite. Then they heard footsteps and the soft creak of the little door, something they hadn’t noticed in the fullness of their passion.
Aragorn recovered first, stood, tied the laces that brought him back to being respectably dressed, then helped Faramir re-don his riding gear.
“I didn’t mean anyone to see us.” Aragorn sounded oddly worried, concerned more for Faramir’s reaction rather than the fact of Boromir’s presence. He knew his lover to be shy, to avoid touches in public, and clearly felt uncertain about how this would affect them.
“I know.” And he did know. He knew Aragorn would do nothing deliberately to hurt him, would not wittingly expose him to Boromir’s… Boromir’s what? Scorn? Anger? Jealousy?
“He sounded jealous.” Jealousy then. Aragorn would not have courted that. Or not this way.
“He has no need. He must know I would not keep you against your will and that I know you favour him above all others.”
“Hush, love.” The endearment, so long desired, slipped so naturally from Aragorn’s lips that Faramir only heard it afterwards, in memory. “That lovemaking we just shared was precisely what I favoured today.” And yes, Faramir thought it had been perfect for Aragorn too.
So it hurt even more when Aragorn murmured, to himself, it seemed, “But I wonder…” and then left, striding out into the stableyard, leaving Faramir alone with Moonlight and the sunshine on the straw.
Faramir expected Aragorn to draw away, to confront Boromir and to resume their relationship. But the king didn’t seem disposed to do that at all. Instead, he spent more time than ever with Faramir, making sure that whenever they had a spare moment they were together, talking, drinking, or just in each other’s company. When they were alone his attentions were more concentrated and their lovemaking reached new heights. Aragorn’s emotions seemed thoroughly engaged and Faramir basked in the amount of care he was receiving. His arse was sometimes sore from a night of wild fucking, and his cock was at times too sensitive to the pressure of his clothes but he gloried in it, in the way Aragorn treated him, the possessiveness, the intensity and even the roughness.
He was rarely allowed, now, to control their coupling. Aragorn came at him like a whirlwind, pressing him to the bed, arranging his limbs as he pleased, pushing his way in with less preparation than formerly. Faramir decided he didn’t mind. He was in a state of constant arousal, ready to be penetrated by his lover. And he enjoyed the dark edge to their joining, although he would have preferred the occasional gentle session as well. But if this was what Aragorn needed, then he was more than willing to provide it. Anything to please Aragorn, to make and keep him happy.
“You don’t seem to mind when I treat you badly.” Aragorn sat on the windowseat one evening, drinking wine straight from the flask, looking across at Faramir who was tied to the bed, not tightly enough to cause pain but not loosely enough to let him escape. There were no dinner guests and they had escaped to the royal apartments earlier than usual.
“You don’t treat me badly. You mean this?” He looked at his bound wrists. “I like knowing you want to do this to me. And you have never hurt me.”
“I would never want to. But I do want to keep you bound to me, and I admit I love to have you as mine to command.”
“You can always command me, my king, and not just because of your status as my liege lord.” He knew it was true; he would do anything Aragorn said, including leaving him if that was Aragorn’s wish. It would never, he thought, be his own wish. But there was Boromir in the background, hovering over his happiness.
That night, Aragorn came across and straddled his hips, sinking onto his erection and riding his cock hard, rising and falling with urgency, and with cries of, “Yes, my prince,” and, “My beautiful Faramir,” until he writhed and thrust and came, still tied to the bed, still at his lover’s mercy even as he filled him with his seed. Then Aragorn thrust against him until the friction brought him to climax too, and they lay together sticky and hot, until at last Aragorn thought to untie him and let him bring damp cloths to clean their spattered skin.
These days Boromir looked at him dourly when they met. He was perfectly polite but not the brother Faramir remembered. Something lay between them and that something had to be Aragorn. Faramir regretted the estrangement but could not regret the cause. He loved his brother and was glad he had survived the quest. He had heard rumours of his death and had grieved but those rumours had barely reached him when Boromir himself returned, hale and fit, with new scars from the orcish arrows and a new look of maturity in his eyes. For a short time he had resumed their childhood habit of coming to Faramir’s rooms at night, sitting on the bed and regaling him with the day’s doings, then the women of Minas Tirith had taken up more of his time and Faramir had rarely heard the door open. He had heard plenty of other things, and knew his brother was enjoying himself, but he had also seen the way the relationship with Aragorn had changed, and had worried. When his own liaison with Aragorn began he didn’t think Boromir would mind. After all, he didn’t want the man, had said so unequivocally, and Aragorn seemed to be free for the taking.
But now… Boromir tended to walk out of any room where he found the couple together. When he had to stay, at meetings and official occasions, he spoke little and eyed Faramir much as he might a snake in the stables. Whereas at first after rejecting Aragorn his ill-temper had all been directed at the king, now it turned on his brother, who had no idea what to do about it. Except that he didn’t intend to walk away from Aragorn unless and until Aragorn told him to. Especially because he didn’t altogether trust Boromir, after that overheard rejection, to keep Aragorn, his Aragorn, permanently happy.
Aragorn liked to mark his lover. Faramir often found his shoulder or his arse or the area around his nipples wearing the speckled bruising of a bite given in passion. He wore the marks with pride and sometimes touched them through his shirt or tunic, remembering the way he’d come by them and enjoying the memory. Normally, they were hidden by his clothes. But one morning Aragorn paid attention to the soft skin at the side of his neck, raising a fine brand that showed him as owned and wanted. None of his collars were high enough to hide the mark and he smiled at Aragorn’s contrition.
“Why should I mind? You own me body and soul. If you care to make that public, then that is your right.”
“I had not intended to make it public. But your skin is so tempting, and the way you hold your head, just so…”
“So it’s my own fault?”
Aragorn groaned. “It’s all your fault. You seduced me, remember?” And they both smiled as they recalled that awkward conversation in the reception room.
He snatched a hasty breakfast then went about the day’s business. There were still patrols to organise, even though the war was over. A few orcs were still at large in Ithilien and some goblins had been seen near Minas Morgul. There would be mopping up operations for some time and Faramir’s men, used to scouting and beating the bounds of the land were in the thick of the activity. Faramir went with them most days, but sometimes he let his second in command take charge, thinking the man needed the experience. Besides, Gandalf would be there, too, and perhaps the elf or the dwarf. This was what he was intent on arranging as he headed for the barracks, but Boromir passed him and whirled round, gaping and saying, “Faramir,” in such a tone that Faramir stopped and waited to hear what his brother had to say.
“It holds up my head. What of it?”
“You are injured.”
“No.” It was not a lie, but he felt the blush creeping across his face. He hated the way he blushed so easily. Now Boromir would think he lied.
“Brother, someone has misused you. Aragorn?”
“He did not misuse me, Boromir, and it is no concern of yours. He was a little rough, but not against my will, and if I bear the mark of it well, it will soon fade. I did not suppose anyone would care to comment.”
“Most would not comment out of courtesy, but I’m your brother. So it does concern me.” He stepped forward and grabbed Faramir’s wrists, pulling him closer for a better look. Then as Faramir winced he looked down and saw the faint bruises from the ties that Faramir had pulled against. “You say it is not against your will…”
“I assure you it is not.”
“You play strange games, Faramir. And I wonder why he thought fit to mark you where I would be bound to notice it. I will be watching you and if he hurts you he will suffer for it.”
“Boromir, this is foolish. Did you never do anything of the kind with him? With anyone?”
Boromir shook his head slowly. “Never, but then I never felt the need to show the world that anyone belonged to me. Evidently he does. He flaunts his ownership.”
“He owns me, yes, but I am freely given and of my own accord.”
“Well, don’t forget that you are mine, too, my brother, and I have a care for you; a care that is disturbed by such marks.” He dropped Faramir’s hands abruptly and strode away.
Faramir watched after him for a moment then continued to the barracks. Did his brother really care so much about him? Or was the disturbance rather caused by Aragorn’s claiming and what that said about the king’s emotions? For once, he did not enjoy his mark; he hoped it would fade quickly, and with it Boromir’s new mood.
Boromir had no idea why he was so worried. He had rejected Aragorn for the delights of Minas Tirith female society and those delights were proving somehow unsatisfying. But he was not a man to look back, and the rejection had been both intentional and complete. Still… When he saw how happy Aragorn and Faramir were together he felt something. Jealousy? A kind of longing? He wasn’t sure but it irked him and he tried hard to shake off the feeling that his life was not altogether as he wanted it.
And then the morning encounter in the palace grounds. What had that been about? He had seen the mark on Faramir’s neck and had felt impelled to comment, and to worry about his younger brother. Yet Faramir was a grown man, a capable captain of men, and perfectly able to organise his own life without brotherly intervention. If he enjoyed rough love play with Aragorn that was their right. But a sneaking voice at the back of his mind insisted that it should have been him branded by the king. He felt as if perhaps he was losing both his king and his brother. They seemed to belong to each other now and he wondered if there was any place for him.
He shook his head, thick shaggy hair flicking his cheeks. He had no idea where these thoughts were coming from or what they might mean.
For a few days he managed to suppress the thoughts. Mostly. Sometimes, on the verge of sleep or when he saw Aragorn or Faramir unexpectedly he had to batten down the strange coils of envy that were threatening his mind. Of course he was concerned. He owed loyalty to his king and a different kind of loyalty to his brother. That was all. He was sure. Almost sure.
The weather grew hot and sultry. Everyone expected a storm and old men with nothing better to do were forecasting lightning and telling whoever would listen about the storms that had raged through Ithilien when they were young. There had been storms since, centred on Mount Doom and a long way off but still menacing. The weather since the last battle had been calm and it had seemed as if nature was resting too. Now the rest seemed likely to be interrupted.
Aragorn had declared a holiday, dismissed petitioners, sent serious auditors and fiscal officers scurrying back to the treasury, and told the army to entertain itself for the afternoon.
“We have worked since we won the war,” he said, loudly so that as many as possible would hear him and then pass the message to their colleagues. “It’s time we rested. And if the skies tell the truth we shall soon be pent indoors with nothing to do but work. The coronation approaches, too, and that will take our attention. Be carefree for the day. Enjoy either the city or the countryside while you can.” Then he turned to his courtiers and advisors and said, “I’m going to the river. I need to wash the scent of work from my skin. Join me if you wish.”
Boromir wasn’t surprised to see Faramir follow the king. Gandalf muttered something about the gardens, Legolas and Gimli talked of a goblin hunt which would, they declared, be pleasure, not work, and the hobbits were instantly off into the streets of the city, still ready to be entranced by the novelty of it all. He hesitated. He could join any of the others and be sure of a welcome. Or he could find companions in one of the city’s taverns. He made his way slowly out into the streets, onto the level below the palace, and entered the first establishment he came to; the sign swinging outside the door proclaimed the place to be ‘The King’s Pleasure’. He hardly noticed it but when he was sitting near a window with a beaker of ale he saw it from the corner of his eye. His mind had evidently taken in both the name and the underlying meaning. He was sure the tavern keeper was merely referring to the pleasure his ale could bring, but there were other possibilities and when he had drunk the ale, quite quickly, he flung a coin on the table and found his feet heading for the stables and then his horse heading out of the gates in the direction of the Anduin. He supposed his hands on the reins were directing their journey but he rather thought the horse sensed where he needed to go.
When he reached the river bank he stopped and dismounted. His horse stood quietly, waiting for instructions. He had no idea which way the king might have gone and in any case, if Faramir was with him they probably wanted privacy. Privacy! There was mocking laughter in his head. After their display in the stables, would they care about privacy? But they had not expected anyone to be there, and he had stepped softly, he reminded himself. So he would make no effort to be unheard, but the river bank was free for all, and Aragorn had declared they should enjoy themselves. He had every right to be there and if he came across a private moment, well, he would worry about that when it happened.
The river, broad here so near its journey’s end, was calm and flat. The currents rolled beneath the surface lazily and a few leaves were spinning gently. There were no waves, no frothy bubbles. The basic colour was a deep blue, reflecting the sky, but Boromir could see the faint images of dark clouds. He walked slowly, leading his horse, enjoying the river and the moment.
At first he thought he saw logs floating in the water then realised the shapes were men. The swimmers neared the shore and he knew them for Aragorn and Faramir. He wanted to join them, strip off his riding gear and feel the cool water on his skin, but was strangely shy. He thought perhaps he had forfeited the right to join them here by the way he had spoken to both of them. If he wanted to swim he should do so alone, further upstream. As he hesitated the two men came out of the water, Aragorn glistening with moisture and Faramir shaking himself, throwing drops of river water in a wide arc.
He could see more marks now on his brother. There were finger-shaped bruises on the prince’s hips and a ring around one of his nipples that could have been made by teeth. Aragorn was saying something, laughing and tugging at Faramir’s hand. Suddenly Boromir felt angry and could not tell where the emotion came from or what he felt angry about. His beautiful brother – for Faramir naked was sculpted and honed, like a statue brought to life – bruised and marked for the king’s pleasure. Aragorn, too, as glorious as he had been when Boromir had thought him a mere ranger, stood proudly in his unclothed state, his body at ease but his cock at attention for the prince. Boromir raged soundlessly and could not tell what the centre of his fury was. Or the centre of his increasing arousal.
He didn’t intend to hide, but he knew there was a willow tree between them, and that the long weeping branches would dapple and shade him and his horse. He didn’t intend to watch, but he couldn’t drag his gaze away.
Aragorn pushed Faramir down onto the earth of the river bank. Faramir rose slightly, to offer a kiss, and Boromir could see mud streaking his shoulder blades. Aragorn held him and got mud on his hands. They were both laughing now, and they rolled until they were further from the water’s edge, on soft grass. Both had mud on their backs and Aragorn used Faramir’s hips as somewhere to wipe the earth from his hands. Then he moved swiftly till they were lying head to toe, each with each other’s cock near enough to kiss, mouth, lick, swallow.
They pleasured each other desperately, their movements growing more and more intense until at last Aragorn screamed his release to the sky and the river, and as he did so left Faramir’s cock unsurrounded. But Faramir followed him into climax and a pool of stickiness on his belly testified to his satisfaction. Aragorn got up and went to the water, splashing himself, but Faramir just lay on the grass, watching. A leaf drifted down from the willow tree and stuck to his ribs, and the seeds of some plant disturbed in their endeavours freckled his cheeks. He looked like some spirit of nature, and Boromir was reminded of elves and ents and dryads, but this was Faramir, a soldier and his brother.
Now Aragorn was back, laughing at Faramir’s decorations courtesy of nature, and pointing at the river. Faramir grinned and tripped him with his foot so that his lover was on top of him once more and sharing the seeds, the stickiness and the mud again. They kissed, and the tenderness was obvious.
Boromir could not move. The scene spoke to him in a way he at once understood and did not understand. Two men, both handsome and both dear to him; unselfconscious nudity that showed a confidence in both, and a oneness with nature; a sexual display that advertised the equality of the relationship. Then his horse whiffled quietly, her lips trembling, and Aragorn looked round, sensing that he and Faramir were not alone. Boromir felt a sudden deep shame that he had watched without permission, mounted quickly and rode off. Then his head cleared but filled at once with conflicting thoughts. They could think what they liked. Perhaps he should say something later to let them know it had been him, and not another of the court or army. But to make love in the open like that… They had to know they risked an audience. How aroused he was. How shameless they were…
…then nothing but how the rain had started and he would be soaked before he reached the stables. As for his king and his brother, they would no doubt come laughing to the hall tonight telling how they had been caught by the river in the storm, but not what had kept them there and turned their attention from the skies.
There were few guests at dinner, and those who were there seemed more anxious to chat to the hobbits than to the men of Minas Tirith. When the tables had been cleared and everyone was less formal and more likely to move seats to indulge their preferences, Boromir took advantage of the king’s lack of conversationalists. Faramir seemed to be deep in a discussion with Legolas about goblins and orcs, and was not near enough to overhear.
“I have a confession to make.” No sense tiptoeing around the matter; he had determined to tell Aragorn of his spying.
“A confession? What have you done, my prince?” Aragorn smiled, and Boromir felt an unexpected pang. That address stung; suddenly he wished he was still Aragorn’s prince, or soldier, or fellow-on-a-great-quest, or anything that would lead to a title suggesting that they belonged together.
“I rode down by the river this afternoon,” he said, and then stopped, unsure how to word the next part.
“And you watched us from behind the willow tree.” No need for confession then, but perhaps for apology.
“You knew I was there?”
“I knew someone was there. Oh, not at first, but when your horse made a sound. Then when you rode off I saw it was you.”
“I thought I should admit it. And I thought I should apologise. I should not have spied.”
“We chose a public place, Boromir. You are not at fault for coming across us at the wrong moment.”
He could feel the blush that was more usually Faramir’s problem turning his cheeks crimson. “I didn’t just come across you. I was looking for you.”
“I had told the whole garrison we were going to the river and issued an invitation to join us. Well, not join us in that particular activity but in a general sense.” He grinned. “I can’t blame you for taking my word seriously, Boromir. I could wish your embarrassment had not prevented you from making yourself known. You could have joined us swimming.”
“I should have come forward. I should not have watched so long. And as for joining you, I was soaked riding back as it was. I did not need to swim.”
“You feel guilty? You should not, but I suppose you do. I absolve you, my friend. You would have enjoyed our later swim. The rain was beating down on the water and the whole world seemed wet and wild. We rode home wrapped only in our cloaks and smuggled ourselves from the stables into the palace before we dried and dressed. We were lucky not to have a whole army spy on us.”
“Does Faramir know who disturbed you?”
“Yes, but he is as unconcerned as I am.” Aragorn paused then said, “Your brother is a very beautiful man, as well as a good companion. You did me a favour when you rejected me, my prince.” Again, that use of the possessive, maybe not meant to tease but certainly doing so.
“I am glad you are happy, my king.” Two could play that game of titles. “I have always wanted your happiness.”
“But not above the happiness of the ladies?”
“At first. I don’t know what I was thinking of except that I had been away from here for so long and I had a reputation before I left and one thing led to another and… But their beauty has palled.”
“You have not found one to marry, to rescue you from this ceaseless round?” Aragorn seemed amused at the thought that Boromir felt trapped in a sea of feminine loveliness.
“No, none. I know you will marry, and Faramir too. How will you go on with each other then?” He had not meant to ask such a searching question but it seemed necessary that he should learn the answer.
“I will keep much of my life in two compartments, and I shall be honest with my queen. Faramir, I believe, has similar intentions. I hope so, indeed, for I do not think I could give him up easily. But why do you care?”
“He is my brother, and you were…” But they were interrupted by Gimli who was insistent on sharing details of his day’s hunting.
It was the middle of the night when Boromir, for once alone in his bed, woke from a dream that followed the events at the river but continued the sequence. In his dream he came out from the willow tree and joined the pair; the dream couple welcomed him. He sat up and reached for the water he always kept nearby, hot with shock at the indecent thoughts he had had. He could not say it was a nightmare; it had been far too enjoyable for that and his body had reacted even in sleep. To his horror his main enjoyment had come not from being with Aragorn again, but from touching his brother. Thinking about it aroused him again, and he started to realise that he really did think of Faramir that way, as a very desirable young man. His dream had merely served to show him the way his thoughts were tending and to bring into the open something he had not acknowledged. So, he was jealous of Faramir, for his closeness to Aragorn, and jealous of Aragorn who was bedding his brother. Boromir was not one to hide from something that was staring him in the face, but he had no idea how to come to terms with this new aspect of his situation.
He tossed and turned, worrying about his emotions, about whether they might show on his face, about how Faramir would feel, about how this might be a sin, some kind of madness, a problem for everyone. Night thoughts grow larger with each passing hour and by dawn Boromir was consumed with anxiety and dismay. He rose early, unable to deal any longer with his sweat-soaked pillow and his swirling mind. He dressed and went out into the gardens, trying to suppress his worries with activity.
The natural storm had died in the night even as Boromir’s personal storm had raged. Some of the flowers and small trees were battered and waterlogged, but others were turning freshened faces to the early sun. The grass was sodden and his sandals completely failed to protect his feet and ankles which were soon as wet as if he had been wading in the river. There were no gardeners around this early, and he had expected to have the place to himself so it was with surprise that he saw a figure sitting in one of the little arbours, on a wooden seat surrounded by vines and roses.
He turned down a path leading in another direction but a voice hailed him and he knew it was Gandalf. All at once it seemed the most natural thing in the world to join the wizard and tell him his troubles, hoping for some kind of wisdom or judgement. Boromir was not in the habit of seeking advice, but somehow this seemed right and he knew Gandalf would always keep confidences intact.
Soon Gandalf’s eyes were twinkling as he considered the prince’s disjointed and almost incoherent tale.
“You still care for Aragorn,” he said. It was not a question but a statement and Boromir said nothing. “Have you told him?”
“You should, you know. Men cannot be expected to make choices if they are not in possession of all the relevant facts. But then there’s your other problem. Faramir. You care for him too.” Another statement which Boromir did not try to contradict. “And you care in much the same way. Again, have you said anything?”
“Of course not.”
Gandalf’s eyes grew stern. “There’s no ‘of course’ about it. He is entitled to know how you feel.”
“But he’s my brother.”
“So he’s your brother. What’s the problem with that? You’ve heard mutterings against incest? There are lands where it is positively encouraged, where kings marry their sisters, and where princes have a harem of their daughters. Not that I would suggest that would do for Minas Tirith.” He glared, as if Boromir had put forward any such idea. “But the mere fact that he is your brother should not count in this. He is also a man.”
“…and the rules of incest are usually restricted to relations between men and women, for the protection of offspring or inheritance. This falls outside that territory.”
“You think I should feel no guilt at desiring my brother?”
“None at all. Your only guilt would arise if you used your family connection to press your suit against his wishes. Tell him your feelings and let him choose, but let him choose freely; don’t pressure him.”
“I would not…”
“…but you might if you didn’t get your heart’s desire, Boromir. You are hasty and can be overwhelming. You are both older and stronger than Faramir. Not wiser, of course.” The twinkle was back.
“But I want both of them.” There, it was out. The heart of the matter.
“And they might very well feel the same way. Now go and have some breakfast then devote all that energy to thinking how to go about finding out.”
Boromir heard the dismissal in Gandalf’s voice and rose to take his leave. He thanked the wizard and went back to the palace to seek dry footwear before going to the dining room.
Faramir was not particularly worried about Boromir’s spying by the river in the sense that he was proud to be with Aragorn and not ashamed that his brother knew it. But he did wonder what it denoted about Boromir’s feelings for the king. Were they changing? Had they ever really diminished or had he simply allowed himself to be distracted by the lures of the city when they returned from their quest? And if Boromir still wanted Aragorn or wanted him again, and if Aragorn was willing… Faramir’s thoughts went round and round and got nowhere.
Even after Aragorn’s marriage, and his own, which would follow soon after, he could not imagine giving up his pleasure in the king’s bed. Their brides, soon to set out from Rivendell and Rohan, were beautiful and charming and he was sure they would be happy, but this was something else, something totally different. They had discussed it at length and he thought they were in agreement. But if Boromir came between them things might change. He had already decided that he would not give Aragorn up easily, and that he would have to be sure Boromir’s change of heart was serious. He would have to be sure, too, that Aragorn really wanted him to step aside.
He had seen them talking after dinner. They had looked at each other as though they were hunter and prey though he was not sure which was which. Aragorn had come to bed in a thoughtful mood and had said nothing about the conversation. This morning Boromir had looked at him in the dining room with such a strange expression that he had finished his bread and honey abruptly and hurried out towards the barracks. Whatever was going on, he thought he did not want to know until it was absolutely necessary.
However, Boromir followed him and caught him at the small gate that led from the private gardens.
“I told Aragorn I saw you by the river,” he said, placing himself so that Faramir would have to push his way past to get through the gate. “I apologised to him and I wanted to apologise to you.”
“That’s not necessary.” Faramir heaved a sigh of relief, hoping this was all. “But I accept the apology if it makes you feel better, brother.”
“It does. But I wanted to tell you what I told him.” Faramir didn’t answer, just raised an eyebrow so Boromir continued. “The beauties of Minas Tirith have ceased to appeal to me. The female ones, at least. I was wrong to think I could be satisfied with them.”
“You want Aragorn back? What makes you think I’d let you have him?”
“What makes you think you could keep him?” Boromir’s temper was, as usual, quick to rise.
Just as quickly, Aragorn appeared. He must have seen Faramir’s hasty exit and watched Boromir go after him. His face had taken on that haughty regal look that neither brother had ever thought to see directed at them.
“Do I get no say in the disposal of my royal person?” His voice was chipped ice. Faramir’s first thought was to melt that sound with assurances and contrition. His second thought was that it was probably safer to say nothing at all. Boromir seemed to be of a like mind.
Aragorn seemed to be waiting but Faramir was not sure what for. He remained silent. Boromir started to speak then thought better of it but moved away from the gate. The silence lengthened.
Faramir broke it. “If you two, if you wish to be, if it would truly make you happy…you know, both of you, I would never do anything…” He stopped and flung himself through the gate, meaning to get away from both of them as quickly as possible, but then he heard Aragorn ask Boromir, in a voice that was so very much not ice, that was more like hot honey, whether there was something he needed to know, and he could not help but turn and look at them.
Boromir stepped towards the king and there was a moment when the world stood still then they were hugging, kissing, and Aragorn’s hand was on Boromir’s arse, and Faramir felt his face flaming with distress, with longing, and with shame that he could not look away.
The embrace was over quickly and then Faramir almost ran to get to anywhere where his brother and his king were not.
So he would need to retreat gracefully, let Aragorn know he would stand aside without complaint. He became aware that tears were streaming down his cheeks and he stopped to get himself under control before he faced his men. There was a morning briefing to give and he had not decided yet whether to join their patrol today or not. He thought not. He was in no state to make decisions or give orders.
The basic orders were given and then he had to look as if he had somewhere important to be. He didn’t want to return to the palace; too much danger of meeting either Aragorn or Boromir in the gardens or halls. He didn’t think he could face either of them yet. He headed to the stables and sought refuge with Moonlight. The big mare looked at him soulfully but he suspected she hoped for an apple and was not particularly sympathetic to his mood. He had brought nothing with him and she seemed to sense his lack of charity, snorting at him and turning her head away.
“Here, give her this.” Someone slipped a small apple into his hand. No, not just someone; Boromir. Why was his brother here? He let Moonlight have the apple; she must have seen it and there was no need to deny her the treat. She took it as her due and crunched contentedly while he leaned on the half door and wondered whether Boromir would speak.
“You saw me kiss him?”Yes, that much, Faramir thought, was obvious. Why else would he have fled? Or had they been so wrapped up in each other that they hadn’t even noticed that he was not quite out of sight when they came together? He nodded, not trusting himself to talk.
“That must have hurt you, little brother, especially as you didn’t stay to hear what I had to say.”
“No point.” He whispered it, knowing it sounded childish and weak but unable to make himself turn courtly phrases.
“Every point.” Boromir sounded insistent but he couldn’t think why. “I was explaining why I’ve been so unpleasant to you.” Faramir waved his hand in a gesture of brushing the idea aside. “No, Faramir, it matters. You don’t understand.”
“Tell me then.” Boromir was clearly determined to tell him something, something that might count as an apology or an explanation, and there would be no peace until he did. This was his brother and he knew him well. He resigned himself to listening.
“I’ve known for a while that I should never have rejected Aragorn, that he and I were made to be together. But there was something else. Something I didn’t understand. I was angry, with him, with you, with the world. I’ve worked it out now, Faramir. I don’t just want Aragorn. For that matter, I don’t think he just wants me. If you left him because of me I doubt I’d ever be forgiven. But that’s not the whole of it. It’s what I really want and I haven’t dared tell you but I should.”
“Tell me, then.” Dared? Since when had anything made a coward of Boromir? His handsome, clever older brother, hero of his childhood and close companion until the quest and the war separated them. Then there was one word, and he knew.
“Me?” But even as he asked he knew the answer. Boromir, however, was saved from giving it by the stable lads who came clattering in with shovels and buckets, laughing and joking at the start of the day’s work. The older prince just gave Faramir a look that spoke louder than any words then left, striding across the yard and through a gate in the wall that led down into the city. And Faramir, his wits not quite in order, was left dealing with the lads clamouring for instructions and telling him all about the training of the new horses although later he couldn’t recall a single word.
Aragorn could find neither of his princes. He dealt patiently with petitioners and court official, with hobbits and other friends, with servants and with a lunch party that he could have done without. Every spare moment he tried to find either Boromir or Faramir but failed. They weren’t in the palace and nor were they in the garden; that was completely visible from the throne room windows and from the end of the dining room where he sat. He had sent word to the barracks and heard that Faramir’s troop had gone off without him. He had sent a message to the stables only to have word come back that both men had been there earlier and had gone again.
After lunch he returned to the throne room, wondering where they had gone. One of the things he liked most about both brothers was their independence but this was annoying, that both were missing just when he wanted to talk to them and sort out this absurd triangle that was developing. He was about to ring for a servant to allow more petitioners to enter – something to distract him – when Boromir rushed in.
“Have you seen Faramir?” He looked angry and worried and spoke abruptly.
“No, and until this moment I thought I might have lost both of you. Where have you been?”
“In the city. In a tavern. And no, I’m not drunk; I’ve spent more time gazing into my ale than drinking it. I told him, Aragorn; told him I wanted him, then hadn’t the courage to stay by him to hear his response. Well, and the stable lads interrupted us.”
“He isn’t in the stables.”
“I know. I went there on my way back here, though why I thought he might still be there I don’t know. Is he in the palace?”
“Nobody has seen him. I hoped he was with you. Are you sure he understood you, Boromir?”
“I’m sure. But he’s so certain he needs to leave you that I’m not sure he understands the implications. You understood straight away.” He looked at Aragorn who smiled.
“Yes, but I wasn’t worrying about losing anyone. Not at that moment, anyway. Now, I’m not certain. Where do you think he might have gone?”
“Almost anywhere. But Moonlight is missing too, so maybe he rode out on her. He likes to ride alone when he needs to think.”
“We could ride out after them. Use our tracking skills.” He was already heading for his room and in a few moments they were both in riding gear and running to the stables. Finding Faramir had begun to seem urgent. Aragorn felt a weight in his heart as he thought that his lover might have misinterpreted everything, might think himself unwanted. They saddled horses and hastened down through the levels of the city, out onto the plain. Then it was hard to decide. The ground was still wet after the storm and there were too many hoofprints and footprints to tell anything definite. The scouting patrol had passed that way but Aragorn knew Faramir had not been with them. Then Boromir called him and pointed to tracks leading towards the river, made by a single horse and not quite so long ago as the maelstrom of prints left by the soldiers.
“It’s the only clue we’re likely to find. We can scour the river banks then think again if he isn’t there.” Boromir looked worried and Aragorn had a momentary fear that they would find a riderless horse. But no, Faramir would not do anything stupid. He would simply want to be alone to deal with what he thought was his loss and come to terms with his brother’s declaration. The king found himself unable to guess how the prince would react to either.
They came down to the river at about the same point Boromir had reached it the day before and dismounted, as he had done. There were tracks leading along the bank, hoof prints and footprints beside them and both men heaved sighs of relief. They followed.
There was an old willow that had fallen. It lay parallel to the water, forming a kind of seat, rough but sturdy, and there Aragorn could see Faramir, just sitting quietly, lost in thought. His horse was tied to another willow, little more than a sapling, that was trying to fill the fallen giant’s place, and Aragorn handed the reins of his own horse to Boromir, signalling him to tether their beasts, too.
He joined Faramir on the tree trunk, uncertain whether they’d been noticed although they hadn’t hidden their arrival. He didn’t speak but placed a hand on Faramir’s thigh.
“You don’t need to comfort me.” The desolation in Faramir’s voice gave the lie to his words.
“Such was not my intent. Faramir, look at me.” Faramir looked. His eyes held all the hurt in the world but his face was held proudly.
Aragorn moved his hand, stroking the thigh and then moving upwards. The intimacy of the caress seemed to shock Faramir, who startled like a nervous horse. Aragorn couldn’t bear the thought that his lover had not expected such tenderness from him. He had never meant to hurt him or drive him away, had never intended to create any misunderstanding. But the misunderstanding had happened anyway and now he had to mend it.
“Take off your clothes.” He growled the words, desperate that they should be heard and obeyed. Boromir was walking towards them now and he knew the older prince would hear and understand. This was the third time he had ordered Faramir so. It was, he thought, the most important.
“Here? Now?” Faramir was incredulous, looking at one then the other, crimson flooding his cheeks.
Boromir joined them on the tree trunk and slipped an arm around his brother. “You heard what I said in the stable,” he said, and his voice was loving and hopeful.
“Yes, but Boromir, you’re my brother.” Faramir didn’t sound shocked or dismayed, only puzzled and perhaps yearning. Aragorn thought perhaps it would all be all right but was unsure of just what to say. He need not have worried. On their ride Boromir had told him of Gandalf’s words and used them now.
“Faramir, you’re my brother but I know I feel more than a brother’s love for you. I understand if that worries you, but consider. There are lands where kings or queens wed their sisters or brothers, or even their children. I know that would not do for Minas Tirith but I also know I need you, Faramir.”
“I…” Faramir seemed lost for words but his face was betraying him and he leaned further into Boromir’s embrace.
Aragorn renewed his stroking of his lover’s thigh, moving his fingers to the sensitive crease between hip and groin. “Take your clothes off,” he whispered.
Faramir looked from one to the other. Aragorn watched the change from boyhood adoration to adult desire flicker across the prince’s features and gave a satisfied smile.
“We can’t very well make love to you properly unless you do as he says.” Boromir joined in, his rougher voice gentle with need.
Aragorn grasped the laces on Faramir’s breeches and the young man seemed to realise they were in earnest. He slipped off his jacket, then bent to pull off his boots. The others watched, holding their breaths, then Aragorn undid his own jacket and suddenly the ground in front of the tree was a flurry of clothing thrown this way and that until Faramir was naked in Aragorn’s arms and Boromir was holding them both.
There were no questions, no doubts. It was awkward at first, as they tried to work out how to move together, to let everyone touch everyone else’s skin, to share kisses equally, and to make sure nobody felt left out. They ended up on the ground, which was muddier since the storm and soon they were laughing at the smears of earth and the grass stains everywhere. Somehow Faramir had willow leaves in his hair, and Boromir, kissing the side of his head, got a mouthful of them. Aragorn thought they looked more like children of the woods than princes, mud streaking arms, legs, bellies. They wrestled joyously until Aragorn tugged Faramir onto his hands and knees. He didn’t even have horse liniment so saliva would have to do. He moistened his opening and used his fingers to stretch him, murmuring endearments as he did. Faramir was ready almost at once, responding to him eagerly, submitting with love. He thrust into the welcoming heat and tightness, then stilled, waiting till Faramir relaxed to accommodate him. That was immediate and he could feel his lover trembling with need. He started to move but at the same time felt with his hand for Faramir’s cock. He need not have bothered. Boromir was there before him and had his mouth wrapped around Faramir’s erection, one hand teasing his brother’s balls and the delicate skin behind them. Aragorn promptly changed the direction of his hand and managed to reach Boromir’s arse. Having cupped the cheeks firmly he left it for a moment to wet his whole hand on the grass before replacing his clasp. Then his questing fingers found the place and slipped inside, knowing their way unerringly to the place that would have Boromir helpless with pleasure.
He thought Faramir came first, his cries hoarse with amazement and happiness. Boromir swallowed and then gradually released him as Aragorn followed into climax and called out the names of both his lovers. Then Boromir took Aragorn, careful to prepare the path with copious spit and water from the grass, and perhaps some of Faramir’s seed mixed in. He rode him hard while Faramir watched wild-eyed, not quite believing what they had just done. Aragorn gloried in having Boromir again but also in having Faramir as part of the arrangement.
At last they lay in a tangle of sweaty limbs, sated, dirty and together. Aragorn pulled his two princes as close as he could.
“So it’s all understood?” he said. “We belong together, you two and I.” Faramir nuzzled the side of his throat in response and Boromir kissed somewhere near the opposite ear. “Then I can get on with the business of ruling and being crowned and getting married without worrying about either of you,” he continued, “or about myself.” There was still no audible reply but there were hands clasping his, and nobody made any move that would suggest a return to the palace was imminent. The horses champed the grass beneath the willows with obvious appreciation and the afternoon sun shone down warmly on the king of Gondor and his princes of Ithilien.
As the shadows lengthened they moved at last. They raced each other into the river to wash off the mud and grass. Boromir won and dunked the others as they joined him. Then he reached out to grope Faramir, who splashed to the safety of Aragorn’s arms. But Aragorn was too pleased with this new relationship to let him draw back. He picked him up, grunting slightly at the weight of a grown man, and threw him at Boromir, who caught him and cradled him in one strong arm, stroking his flanks and then, when he looked likely to protest, kissing him soundly. Aragorn watched the brothers grasp their altered status, smiling at Faramir’s wide eyes and Boromir’s grin. They would get used to it; he would see to that.
Everything seemed right now, and he sighed with satisfaction before leading them out of the water. They dried themselves on their cloaks and dressed. The horses were untethered and the trio rode back to Minas Tirith, which shone its welcome, white walls gleaming in the early evening. They had come a long way, Aragorn reflected, from the boulder near Rivendell where he and Boromir had first lain together, but while some of the paths had been hard, he was pleased beyond measure at the destination they had all reached.
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