This story is rated «NC-17», and carries the warnings «Slash, sexual scenes and my attempts at humour».
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17 March 2013 | 19768 words
Title: The Strangest of Dances
Rating: NC-17 (eventually)
Warnings: Slash, sexual scenes, my attempts at humour.
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me. All written in good fun with no offence intended!
Author’s Note: I tried for a very long time to even think of a title for this and I’m still not sure I’m entirely happy with this one but I feel this story has been sitting on my hard-drive for so long now that I better set it free before I forget all about it! This was originally about two pages long and long-abandoned until I found it again over a month ago I think and suddenly became possessed with the urge to finish it and it became rather long I’m afraid. The characterisation is wildly non-canon. It’s meant to be funny. But whether it is funny is another matter entirely. Just don’t take anything you read below too seriously and I’m sure we’ll be fine :) (To be honest, I think it starts out a little ridiculous and settles itself toward later chapters but that is entirely my own judgement :P)
There was a wryness about Faramir, a sense that the lifting of the weight of armour, and therefore the weight of war, from his shoulders had allowed and even encouraged his more likeable aspects to blaze forth. I realise that I never knew him in wartime, as a commander, the captain, the ranger; our first meeting was rather mundane on the face of things, he unconscious in a healing bed, myself unwashed (overdue for a bath by a day or three, I was told in no uncertain terms by a healer that I with some conviction decided was not much of a royalist) and harried by innumerable nurses. It was all so rushed and by nature of his condition we did not speak. In any case, it didn’t matter; once awake I liked him regardless of whether or not his mouth curved in what he probably thought, or hoped, was a hidden smile, privately amused at some thing or other, and one day a few weeks after my coronation (and a few weeks after the first of many, forced or otherwise, baths,) in pleasant exasperation I asked him what he found so funny.
“You,” he said simply.
I stared at him, and he stared back, before the smile widened into a grin that quickly disappeared from my view as he bent his head back to his task. We were sorting the old maps in the small library, my hands were full of decrepit sheaves but I’d lost interest in the face of this new information. Peacetime was having a remarkably attractive effect on my new steward (not, as I mentioned, that I knew him when he was, presumably, dourer. No, sterner maybe. I can’t imagine Faramir as unpleasant, not that I spend much time trying. Considering him attractive is apparently something I do partake of, however.)
“What’s so funny about me?” I asked, wondering if it was the fact that I asked stupid questions. (There hadn’t been that many, had there? It’s not every day one inherits a kingdom; one was entitled, I felt, to the odd bout of idiocy.)
“Nothing,” he replied, and equally stupidly I thought, for I judged him as too intelligent to be the sort of man to laugh at nothing. “Pass me the ink, would you?” Luckily for him I had foolishly instructed him in the lack of necessity of titles when alone with me. Foolish, because I might have used his easiness with me as arsenal in this bizarre affront to my (so far, for I know modesty is something of what, hopefully, makes me attractive) imagined dignity.
As it was, I passed him the inkwell without comment and resumed staring, even going so far a to put a hand on one hip though I refrained from raising an eyebrow. One can be too coquettish, even a king. I watched as he, with infuriating casualness, made a note in the ledger he held open with a finger. I noticed, for the first time somehow, for I had seen him write endlessly at council, that he was left-handed. Eventually, he looked up, the elevated brow his gesture to perform.
I waited, and after a pause Faramir straightened and shook the hair from his face. He set down the quill and raised his hand, placating what he thought would be my inevitably angry reaction. “Your…trepidation, it’s very becoming.”
An odd choice of word, that. Becoming. “And you find that funny?” Wait. I put down the parchments. “My trepidation?”
Was that a sigh? Of impatience? No, more the sort of exhalation one performs when trying to dig oneself out of the hole one has inadvertently excavated and then immediately fallen into whilst standing on the edge looking in, wondering how it got there. For no other reason than to bother Faramir, for his admission had certainly bothered me, I immediately became engrossed in the parchments again, sifting through them, ordering and reordering and laying them out beside one another, all the while avoiding eye contact with the man but nevertheless making my expectation of a response clear with many little ‘hmm?‘s and similarly facetious noises. As a king, I could get away with this. As a friend, I was sure Faramir would later find a way to exact revenge in a suitably squirm-inducing way, likely in public. Our war of words was one that would never be over and that was just one of the things I found likeable about him; he fought well. He always had an answer, and even when it was one I didn’t agree with it was one I usually somehow inexplicably found agreeable anyway. I’m not sure I can really articulate it. I’ll come back to this, I promise.
Faramir shifted, his boot heel scraping against the leg of the table. I studiously continued to ignore him. “How can I put it?” he began, and a voice inside my head did an accurate impersonation of him, chorusing ‘without signing my own execution warrant‘ involuntarily as if he’d ever be so brazenly cheeky and as if I’d ever command such a thing. Shamefully, I fought a smile and won for the most part; there would come a day very soon when Faramir would hit that level of (private) impudence and I‘d let it slide because in secret it delighted me. I think I’ve become a very good actor- for all Faramir knew the secret to eternal youth was scrawled on those parchments so welded to them was my gaze. In reality if I’d looked up at him I’d have just asked something stupid (and, I‘m going to be immodest here, I believe that I already come as close as one might get to eternal youth without being an elf). Then Faramir said something stupid.
“It’s the way you, well, not hesitate, and it‘s not about quietness either, but how gentle you are when you speak. A king needs to be loved, not feared, and you inspire confidence with your manner; you’re very accommodating. I mean, today you asked me if I’d rather we do this in here or the great hall or maybe my study, and then when we got here you wondered if you should send for food or could I wait for lunch. Did I want wine or light ale? You are allowed to command me, you know, delegate. Make decisions to suit you; you have that right because you are the king. But you don’t. And it’s charming.”
I didn’t know what to say to that. So I said “I thought it was becoming.”
“Can it be both?”
Faramir shrugged and bent over the ledger again, free of my interrogative shackles. And I described his speech as stupid because it set in motion some hitherto unused and undiscovered wheel in a back alley of my brain which prompted me to perform acts and say words and instigate and participate in a whole manner of unpredicted circumstances that would eventually culminate in his hand closing around mine three weeks and four days from that very day in the library. And as he did that I said something extremely stupid but I’ll come back to that too, don’t worry.
“So,” I said, drawing it out. There was no reaction to my prolonged silence, so I blundered on, eyes boring into the back of Faramir‘s head while my mind decided right then and there was the optimum moment to argue with itself over whether he was blonde or red-haired or whether it really just depended on the light. “My charming you is funny.”
Faramir nodded without looking up. Maybe the secret to eternal youth was the thing he was so diligently inscribing, so at ease with ignoring me as he was. Or maybe it was the fact I’d phrased it as a statement and not a question. He underlined something, satisfied, and answered me anyway; “Not in a ridiculous way, though.”
“In what way then?”
“A charming one.” I was about to give up on this useless nowhere-conversation and ask, no, wait, I should probably delegate something to him (but then my so-called charm would evaporate and though the thought of my being becoming was an alarming one the thought of not being so was now equally undesirable) when he closed the ledger with a snap, startling me. “I find you very agreeable.”
What an odd thing to say. “Agreeable?”
He seemed undecided. “Likeable.”
“Likeable?” Today I was mostly going to be repeating everything that Faramir said.
“I like you.” Suddenly I realised it wasn’t indecision, it was nerves! What was happening? He laughed, and I opened my mouth to probably tell him I liked him too, but in the time it took me to work out how to say that without just parroting him again someone else said;
“My lords, lunch is being served in the lesser hall.”
And that was the end of that excruciating conversation.
A fortnight later and I was pretty certain that I had fallen in love with Faramir. Now, I need to explain this a little, so bear with me. It wasn’t the sort of love where really it’s just lust and all my getting to know him better was just a poorly wrought excuse to shove my hand beneath his shirt. I mean, I can put that very hand on my heart and swear to you that I have never had thoughts of that sort about any man in my life, real or imagined. And I absolutely was not having those sorts of thoughts about Faramir (except it falls apart here slightly because I absolutely was).
I found myself lying awake thinking about that afternoon not long after his release from the healing houses, where, in the privacy of my office, he had, without so much as a blush, dug up the hem of his shirt from its burial beneath belt and breeches to show me the burn mark on his waist when I enquired if he had recovered fully. It wasn’t bad at all, rather neat in fact, and as he ran his hand over it to show that it didn’t pain him I got an uncensored glimpse of his ribs and belly as his shirt rode up with the movement of his wrist. For some reason I remember leaning in closer as if to deliver the final, official royal verdict upon the neatness of the scar. “It’s healed very well,” I declared, and Faramir made some sort of satisfied grunt of acknowledgement and lowered the hem. It was at that point I retreated behind the desk again; the only possible conclusion to my continuing to stand so close to him was to capture him in an all-encompassing and life-igniting kiss and I’d only just found out about my need to shove my hands beneath his shirt and that was quite enough for one day. I sat down and thanked all the gods in existence for keeping the lower half of my body ignorant of my mind’s rash decision-making. (The decision being that I was now going to be attracted to Faramir, or that I was always attracted to him and only now was my brain planning on revealing that to the rest of me. Either way, it posed some obvious difficulties.)
I’ve not really explained it, have I? I think I wanted to prove that it wasn’t just uncouth lust but I suppose in the beginning it was. I was just lucky that everything else about Faramir, the things you couldn’t see, suited me too.
Now, lying in a storm of sheets I realised I was obsessing over whether the hair on Faramir’s stomach had been blonde or red (you know I hadn’t even really bothered to look properly when I had the chance, and when else was it likely that I be presented with various unclothed parts of Faramir’s body? But then what is there to recall? He was not as if carved from marble but his belly was flat and mostly toned and his waist dipped inwards and that was good enough for me; I am not chiselled from stone either) and I’d decided also that it was merely the proximity to another man’s bare skin in such an intimate scenario that had somehow muddled my brain into thinking this was something erotic. There must be an aura, or some sort of undetectable scent people give off that draw others in like a magnet, this was obviously the reason for my confusion; I was newly crowned, we‘d just won the war, baths were almost daily occurrences now, what man wouldn‘t fall prey to such intoxicating pheromones? I tried desperately to think of occasions where I’d been in similar nearness to reasonably handsome men and not fallen in love with them (the reasonably-handsome bit I had trouble with.) Of course there were none, or rather I mean there were many I had not fallen in love with, all of them in fact, and rather irritatingly I had to abandon my paltry theory (mainly so I might get some sleep) and surmise that while I didn’t prefer men on the whole I might prefer Faramir but it didn’t matter anyway because I wasn’t going to be so stupid as to actually tell him.
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