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26 September 2006 | 7744 words
Title: To Catch a Spy
Pairing: Aragorn/ Faramir
Warnings: Slash and crossdressing
Summary: Gondor appears to have conspirators and spies – in its highest council. Time is running out and when Amorthos devises a plan to weed out the suspicious character/s, it must be followed despite its complications.
A/N: Loads of thanks and hugs to Iris for her help and handholdng
As far as Faramir knew, he was merely doing his duty when he volunteered or rather insisted on being the one to spy on Aragorn’s invitees at the dinners he was holding that summer.
After all, he wasn’t supposed to be there. He was thought to be in Ithilien still dejected over Éowyn’s refusal of marriage. It was another matter entirely that he wasn’t really dejected. He had Aragorn’s love and that was all he needed, but he did have a lot of work in Ithilien. It was only Aragorn’s worried message that had brought him here.
And now he was glad he’d returned. Anonymous packages to the Queen of Gondor were no joke.
Someone had been sending these to Arwen every day, with nothing but a small note attached to them. The note usually said nothing, and simply had some strange doodle drawn on it. The gifts themselves were strange. A basket of apples one day. Sweet smelling flowers another day. Khandrim sweetmeats the other. Another day there had been a kitten, black and white with a blue ribbon around its neck.
It was the Khandrim sweets that had caused Amorthos, who was visiting to suspect a devious Khandrim plot. The letters he had declared confidently must contain secret messages for one of their spies in the citadel. What better way to deliver anything into the citadel than as anonymous gifts to the Queen?
But what worried everyone more were the gifts themselves. The apples were spoilt and so given to one of the hounds and the poor animal fell sick the next day. The scent sprayed over the flowers caused one of the maids to faint. The sweets caused another dog to fall sick. And the cat scratched everyone before escaping through the nearest window.
Aragorn’s worry was that this was indeed some plot. The symbol on the strange letters was not unlike one he’d seen in his travels in Rhun where secret societies thrived abundantly. His other worry was that what was delivered was so attuned to Arwen’s tastes that it was uncanny. She loved apples and that particular sweetmeat. And those particular flowers.
“What if the food was not spoiled but poisoned?” he asked worriedly, “And surely whoever sends these is one who knows her well. And there are few like that. Surely the servants would not know so much. Which one of them would know of those sweets for instance. And now there’s this state dinner tomorrow. As if we didn’t have enough troubles!”
“On the contrary, I think the state dinner is just what is needed!” Amorthos declared, “You have a spy in your midst. And the only way to catch him is to set another spy on him, or her. And the best place to do that would be the state dinner! I volunteer!”
Amorthos was rejected as too young, Legolas as too elven and Gimli as too Dwarvish. Aragorn could not even be considered. Faramir thought he was the obvious conclusion although he spent two days explaining that to Aragorn.
It was the next package that clinched it. There was a carved dagger in it. A wooden one but a dagger nevertheless. Faramir it was for want of an alternative.
“We’ll have to disguise him really well,” Legolas mused.
“Allow me,” Amorthos said with a flourish that induced an almost fearful feeling in Faramir’s heart. His cousin looked as though he had a brilliant idea. And from what Faramir had seen of his childhood, it was bound to end in disaster.
Amorthos had, in the days since the war, taken it upon himself to revive Gondor’s dying theatre tradition. Encouraged by Arwen during one of his visits to Minas Tirith and finding little use for his rather cursory warfaring skills in peacetime, Prince Imrahil’s younger son had begun by reviving the old theatre in Dol Amroth. The company had turned out to be a resounding success, for the young man had shown a real talent in the field. Aragorn had jokingly suggested that he do something about Minas Tirith’s almost defunct theatre company too, and the request had happily been taken to heart. The company had been reinstated and had even staged its maiden production under the patronage of the Queen.
Amorthos’ contribution to the company was duly acknowledged by all, although to many of his male relatives, primarily his brothers, Faramir and his brother-in-law Éomer, it had appeared that his primary interest in this field was due to the increasing enthusiasm shown in it by many young ladies of noble houses. The Queen’s patronage had ensured that that had happened.
“I know just what disguise Faramir must have. It will help him look around discreetly and at the same time, he can be near the queen without arousing suspicion!”
“And how would you do that? Disguise him as one of those singing birds that were sent from Harad?” Legolas asked sarcastically.
“I can’t sing,” Faramir said nervously.
“Oh, Faramir!” Legolas sounded exasperated, “It was a joke. Can’t you see?”
“No,” Faramir said unhappily, “Why do I need a disguise?”
“Aragorn just explained everything. If you want so desperately to personally undertake this task, you need a disguise! And if you don’t agree to one, Aragorn won’t let you do it. And anyway, he’s right, you should let someone else do it,” Legolas retorted.
Faramir glared at him.
“So what disguise is it going to be, Amorthos?” Legolas asked.
“He’ll be Arwen’s new companion,” Amorthos said happily.
Faramir who was half sitting on the desk, and picking at a loose thread in his tunic, fell off, while Legolas first stared blankly at Amorthos and then clapped delightedly, “That’s brilliant,” he beamed.
“Indeed,” Amorthos replied, “The queen is to get a new companion, Faramir is slender enough and with a little modification, he can make a very comely lady!”
Aragorn was delighted at the idea. That, he felt, would be enough for Faramir to get rid of the silly notion that he should take on this task.
“It’s prefect,” he assured Amorthos, as the young man anxiously put forth the proposal.
Faramir glared at him, “You’re just saying that because you think I’ll refuse to do it,” he said in irritation.
“Yes, I am.”
“Well, I won’t you hear?” Faramir retorted, “I will do this task, and with some other disguise. I will not dress as a maiden!”
“A handmaiden,” Legolas said.
“No, a companion,” Amorthos said mechanically, watching dazedly as his once diffident and quiet cousin turned into a fiery, young man who was, dear Eru, shouting at the king!
“Is there a difference?” Faramir snarled at the younger man.
“Yes,” Amorthos said with rather more enthusiasm than the situation warranted, “All maidens are not handmaidens after all, and companions are…” his voice trailed off uncertainly as Faramir growled something indistinguishable at him and turned back to Aragorn.
“Well, you can’t go as anything else,” he continued, sulkily, “Who else would have closer access to Arwen, and –“
“I think he should be her companion,” Legolas said suddenly, “Can handmaidens attend gatherings with the queen?”
“Handmaiden, companion, whatever!“ Aragorn retorted, “I’ll ask her to send for her seamstress and get him some clothes made.”
“Be reasonable, you idiot,” Legolas said, “Whoever aids the queen must do so inconspicuously and if not you, then someone else must dress as a woman. So why don’t you step down as Aragorn suggests?”
Faramir simply glared in response.
The quarrel went on for nearly an hour during which Faramir began with suggesting he be a footman (wouldn’t be able to attend gatherings, Legolas pointed out) a seamstress’ apprentice (not only was Faramir too old but surely he knew no seamstress of repute in Minas Tirith would openly have a male apprentice) and many other suggestions, all of which were shot down.
There was no other way, Faramir realised. He had resolved to do this, and if it meant for him to act as a lady for one day, he’d do it, he told Aragorn emphatically.
They were in a hurry to swing into action, so Arwen was let into the plan that very evening. She burst out laughing at first and Aragorn was only too grateful Faramir had not entered the room yet. However, she did think it a very good plan, although she was a little concerned for Faramir. But she promised to help and sent for Elwin who actually was her handmaiden, hairdresser and many other things roiled in one. She had to be let in, she declared.
Elwin arrived soon and took in the explanations with great solemnity and promised to help. She was a short, thin, sharp faced woman with prematurely greying hair whose husband, an erstwhile ranger from the North, now led Aragorn’s personal guard.
When Faramir came a few minutes later though, Arwen had regained her composure enough to thank him very solemnly and even gave him a small kiss on his cheek, which quite naturally made him blush.
“He’ll need new clothes,” Arwen said very happily, “I’ll call the seamstress. He’ll need gowns of course for the party tomorrow and the one the day after and a walking dress and a riding habit perhaps? In green, or in wine red. I think it will suit him.”
“Or blue,” Aragorn murmured thinking of how much the blue sheets in the royal apartments suited Faramir when he sprawled his naked body over them.
“Dresses?” Faramir squeaked out, “Why do I need dresses?”
“And he’ll need his hair seen to, but I will get Elwin to do that. And she can help me ready him too.”
Arwen looked like a young girl who’d been given her first doll as she walked around Faramir, tugged at his hair and then cocked her head to one side and studied his now wilting figure. The usually stern-faced Elwin was actually smiling, as she agreed with her mistress.
“The hair is a little lanky, but ribbons will take care of those. He’ll need some jewellery too, my lady, a pretty pin perhaps,” she added.
“Please –“ Faramir bleated, and then yelped very loudly as Elwin pinched him at his waist.
“Very nice waist indeed,” the older woman said approvingly, “Would put some of those fat young girls to shame. And it’s good he keeps himself well-shaved. Not that there I haven’t seen ladies with hair all over their face… one would think they’d care a little more to look like women than horses… there’s only so much a man can do with a horse after all!”
“Aragorn!” Faramir cried out, almost white faced, as Elwin stood back and stared at him more closely.
His friends however were openly laughing now. Legolas in particular seemed very amused.
“And er—what about the rest of his body structure,” he asked now, with a gleam in his eye that others might have called interested, but Faramir thought, rather sourly, was malicious.
“Oh, he can just be a rather well-built lady. We’ll just pad up his chest a little.” Arwen said, never one to mince words, “And he can always wear a corset to accentuate the right curves.”
“Of course,” Aragorn said in a strangled voice.
“We’ll have to buy him one,” Arwen added, “I don’t have one of course, since I don’t need one.”
Arwen did not always lack for vanity, Faramir decided sourly.
“Please, do we really need all this?” he said now, pleadingly.
“Of course,” Arwen said enthusiastically, “Oh this will be such fun. Come now, Elwin let’s see about a dress for him. I have some jewels and clothes I don’t wear, they don’t suit me, but they might help accentuate his figure a bit.”
“I haven’t had this much fun since my mother made a doll for me when I was five,” Elwin said rather dreamily.
Arwen woke early the next day and had Faramir woken up early too. She had given Legolas some scented soaps and oils to give to Faramir and told him to ensure the Steward used them. Otherwise, she had said well within Faramir’s hearing, she would send Elwin to bathe him. When Aragorn reached Faramir’s chamber the young man was just getting out of his bathing chamber and cursing Legolas rather roundly. He smelt very different Aragorn decided and not his usual self. He didn’t quite like that.
When Elwin arrived a few minutes later and asked Faramir to hurry along so that she could trim his fingernails, Aragorn and Legolas had decided there was nothing that would keep them from watching Faramir being readied for the dinner later in the day.
“Don’t say a word,’ Faramir said sharply and then walked out.
When Aragorn and Legolas reached Arwen’s dressing room, after having had a leisurely morning meal they pulled up short as a loud squealing noise came from inside followed by a series of short huffs of breath, and then a rather loud groan.
Legolas gave Aragorn an inquiring look. Aragorn shrugged and pushed open the door to the sight of Faramir and Elwin engaged in some sort of tug of war even as Arwen watched bemusedly.
Faramir wore only his undershirt. It was his tunic that was being tugged at so ferociously.
“Madam Elwin,” Faramir was shouting exasperatedly, “Let go of my shirt.”
“Quiet boy,” the woman said imperiously and finally pulling the shirt away shoved him gently onto the cushioned sofa behind him.
“Oh good! Aragorn, Legolas, do help us!” Arwen said in a relieved tone, “Faramir needs to wear this,” she pointed at a fat wad of cloth, “And that. We went to such trouble to find that.”
‘That’ was the corset. Aragorn nearly choked. It was not often worn in Gondor, he knew being a rather recent import from Khand and therefore shunned by most women as unnecessary and forward, so to find one would be difficult indeed.
“Madam, you’re touching me,” Faramir shrieked as Elwin began wrestling with his undershirt.
They soon heard cloth being ripped and Elwin soon stood with the pieces of Faramir’s thin undershirt in her hand, even as Faramir stood naked from waist up glaring at her. Aragorn burst out laughing openly and collapsed onto the bed.
“My apologies, my queen,” Faramir said with great dignity and hurriedly pulled on the long pink silken undershirt Elwin handed him.
It was a level of dignity he tried to maintain even as the ‘padding’ went on. It was not overdone he realised thankfully although Arwen did say she’d prefer her companion to be at least a little well-endowed in the upper quarter. To his horror, Elwin patted him lightly on his crotch and said he seemed all right down there.
Aragorn and Legolas were nearly howling with laughter now.
And then Elwin held up the corset, “You need to put this on.”
He looked at her and then at Arwen and then at Aragorn and Legolas and their extremely amused expressions.
“Get those fools out of here first,” he said mutinously.
“I may need their help,” Arwen said firmly.
The corset was worse than Faramir imagined and he could understand now why it was so unpopular. It was made of some kind of metal and cane, and had silk ribbons to help tie it in place. Elwin placed it around him, letting it rest lightly on his hips and then ordered Legolas to help her. Faramir was made to place his palms on a heavy table and lean forward. Raising his head slightly, he noticed Aragorn staring at him and then remembered the last time he had stood like his over a table and Aragorn had taken him from behind even as he’d urged him on and they’d collapsed together on the table and almost broken it.
Don’t think of that now, he told himself almost horrified. And then all those thoughts fled from his mind as he felt his chest being constricted.
Legolas and Elwin were together pulling at the ribbons.
“Harder,” Elwin grunted and Faramir blushed.
“Too tight,” he gasped. The padding around his chest began to bulge up a little, “Please stop!”
“Just a little more,” Elwin muttered, “You need to look ladylike enough if you are to help my lady!”
When it was done, Faramir stayed where he was breathing in soft, painful gasps.
“Don’t breathe too heavily,” Elwin cautioned him as tears sprung to his eyes.
“Is this necessary?” Aragorn asked quietly.
“Unfortunately, yes,” Elwin said equally quietly and then handed Faramir a bundle of skirts and gestured towards a side door.
Faramir was still panting softly when he entered the small dressing chamber. He quietly removed his leggings and pulled on a thin lacy underdress and came out again.
Aragorn and Legolas had left to get ready for the dinner Arwen told him. She too left after that to ready herself, while Elwin helped him finish dressing.
The rest of the attire was easy. There was long, silken gown with ribbons strung through it, the shape enhanced by a studded belt that rested on his hips. Elwin brushed his hair back and held it in place with more ribbons and a spray of flowers and added a bunch of false curls that fell over his shoulders. Anything else she said would merely make him seem taller. Gloves covered his hands and his feet were encased in soft silk slippers.
There was face colour too, to Faramir’s horror. He certainly needed it, Arwen declared, it as the best disguise. Elwin marked his eyebrows darker, and added some redness to his cheeks and painted his lips a light shade that she called peach. And then handed him a small silk bag, where he was to keep a mirror, and Arwen suggested brightly, he could keep some needlework. Before the dinner while the guests would mingle, he could sit in corner with the needlework and watch everyone, Elwin told him. The jewellery he had to wear consisted of a stone necklace and carved pins in his hair.
“Remember what I told you about your voice. Keep it thin, we’re telling everyone you have sore throat,” Elwin said as she finished off with a silk scarf that she draped loosely around Faramir’s throat, “You still look a little big but there are enough large women in Gondor!”
When he was done and presented before his friends, Aragorn and Legolas stared, while Amorthos didn’t recognise him at all and nearly started flirting with him.
The gown was rich wine colour and perfectly suited his dark hair. The ribbons and scarf were a deep green.
“You’re very pretty,” Legolas finally squeaked out.
Arwen made a small huffing sound and muttered something about companions needing to look simple and sober and more dainty.
“I liked the old you better,” was all Aragorn would say.
When he stepped into the grand dining hall, quite a few heads turned, and more than a few men smiled effusively at him as he was introduced by Arwen as her young friend, Miriel, from Dol Amroth.
And so it was that Faramir, Prince of Ithilien and Steward of Gondor, Captain of Gondor’s elite company of Ithilien Ranger’s, one of the land’s best archers, and the king’s foremost advisor found himself that evening in the little get-together before the dinner, sitting in a corner of the grand dining hall, attired in a silken dress poking the fingers of his bow hand with an embroidery needle and making conversation with men who had once been his father’s contemporaries and now had no qualms about flirting with a young lady half their age. Or rather a young man pretending to be a young lady. And all the while he was supposed to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour!
The dinner was no better. The older but still very handsome and much about town lord Carastir sitting to his left kept talking to him about Dol Amroth roses and brushing his hand at the slightest pretext each time, even as his wife glared daggers at Faramir and once audibly hissed ‘made-up hussy’ in his reddening ears, and another time managed to make a veiled reference about tall, largish women not being pleasing enough to many men. Meanwhile the younger but still older than Faramir man to his right kept offering to fill his glass with sweetened watered wine. Watered wine! Faramir was extremely annoyed at that. The women were not served ale, or even wine, they were served watered wine, although he was sure he could see more than a few of the older and more formidable women, being served ale by frightened young footmen.
“Don’t be shy, Lady Miriel, try these grapes, all they way from Lossarnach I hear.”
“Oh yes, Miriel is very shy!” Arwen said happily from two places away.
Faramir may have replied but he found himself distracted by the sensation of something crawling up his foot, lifting the hem of his gown. He started worriedly only to notice a rather leery glance pasted onto the face of Carastir. He pulled his legs away shaken and turned his attention to the relatively less demanding man to his right, keep his ears open for new s all the while.
It was fairly late when Faramir finally pulled his skirts together and walked away fuming. This was getting ridiculous. The outfit was tight around his chest and hips, and getting progressively more and more uncomfortable. The false hairpieces and pins attached to his hair were beginning to hurt tremendously, and he suddenly felt an enormous degree of sympathy for Éowyn, and a greater deal of understanding for her desires.
He had no idea how women were able to ride in these volumes of cloth that they draped themselves in. It seemed a very foolish waste of time to him for them to wear so many clothes. And all the paint that they seemed to put on too! And he hadn’t heard a single useful thing in all the chatter that he’d forced himself to listen to.
He rounded the corridor furiously, coming to an abrupt stop as he found himself literally walking into the open arms of Carastir.
“Hello, dear,” the old man said in a smooth voice, as he helped Faramir restore his balance.
“My – my Lord,” Faramir stuttered, remembering to keep his voice thin. Thankfully, due to his increasing nervousness that was beginning to be less of a problem than anticipated earlier, “Th –thank you!”
“It was my pleasure dear,” Carastir replied, his hand still gripping Faramir’s arm.
Faramir gave him a weak smile, and tried as discreetly as possible to move away from the grip, “I – I – ummm… I would not detain you further from the festivities, my lord,” he said.
“I would hardly feel detained were it in your lovely company my dear,” came the still too smooth reply, the hand still gripping Faramir’s arm, tighter now, “Will you not show me the terrace with that fine view everyone has been saying so much about?”
“Terrace?” Oh – I – I should – I was just on my way to -,” Faramir hedged around. Why would Carastir want to go to the terrace? It was the highest terrace in the palace, and while the view was indeed beautiful, it was also too far away from where everyone else was to be found.
“Such a beautiful young lady as you should not be wanting for company on such a fine evening, my dear,” the voice seemed to be turning so smooth as to sound positively oily now. To his horror, Faramir felt a hand slide around his neck, and then realised that Carastir was adjusting his cloak around him, “Come, it is a chilly night, and this shall keep you warm!”
It didn’t escape the Steward’s notice that the hand lingered a moment too long on his throat, and slipped just the barest inch down onto his torso. His arm was still being held fast in that tight grip, and there was nothing he could do to fight it.
“Uh – perhaps, you would – uh – like to see the gardens instead?” Faramir stuttered out, thinking quickly. The gardens were nearby, and more open. They could be seen by others there, and it would be close to where Aragorn and the others were, “We have some excellent flowers and some particularly beautiful new varieties all the way from Rhun, that bloom only at night.”
“I have seen many gardens dear lady, and many beautiful flowers from many lands. But I fear none of that beauty compares to the beauty of a fair woman,” came the silky reply as a hand slid around Faramir’s waist and propelled him towards the passageway that led to the upper flights.
“But – but –“ Faramir tried without success to squirm out of the hold.
Carastir ignored him, and clasping him tighter began talking about all the lands he had visited and the flowers he had seen. He was describing a particular variety of climbing rose he had seen in Lossarnach when Faramir felt the hand on his waist slip down to his hip. The grip on his arm still remained as forceful as ever.
They continued walking upwards. They had just negotiated a particularly winding flight of steps to the tune of the description of a variety of orchids that could be found only in the realm of Khand. Carastir had felt compelled to pull Faramir closer to him, for the stars wound around a great deal, and often took a step turn.
As they walked along a wide open-air passageway winding around the castle wall its open side facing the cliffside that skirted the water’s edge, Faramir felt a rush of hot air over his neck. He almost froze as he realised that the silken voice was now down to a soft whisper, yet he could hear it clearly for Carastir was speaking right into his ear. His lips were almost touching Faramir’s ear, and the Steward found he could smell the oils and perfumes that the other man had obviously used.
“But, I still declare, all that beauty would pale before that of the women of Gondor!” Carastir said softly. They had reached the terrace now. It was a flat stone embankment with walls on three sides that looked out over the water. Faramir felt himself being pulled closer to the other man, the muscular grip keeping him completely in place, “I am glad to see that there are still women in Gondor who can look healthy yet ravishing.”
“Those are kind words, indeed,” he began nervously, unsure of where things seemed headed.
“I can do more with my mouth than just speak, dear lady,” Carastir said whirling Faramir around to face him.
Faramir could feel his chest constrict, the sensation alleviated by the restricting attire he had on. He thought his ribs might burst from under the corset. Carastir’s ex-pression as hungry, and he suddenly wound his arm around Faramir pulling him to his chest.
“My lord!” I – I –“
“Surely, dear lady, if you wanted to attract my attention, all you had to do was say so!”
Faramir found his hands trapped against his sides as Carastir enveloped him in his embrace. The hand on his hip, slipped down to cup his buttocks, even as the mouth swooped down on his own open, panting lips.
Faramir was in too much shock to react. He felt himself falling back into the tiny alcove at the corner of the terrace, till his back came to rest against a wall. The hand was squeezing his buttocks ruthlessly, the lips were pressed down on his suffocating, and much to his mortification, and something seemed to be poking into his stomach. Somewhere in a corner of his mind, he hoped his own body wouldn’t react!
There was little fear of that happening though for Faramir was truly terrified of being found out. The hand on his buttocks was now lifting up his voluminous skirts. The other hand still wound around his upper body was snaking around his chest. His lips were being ground on painfully. He had to open up and give access to the tongue that pushed into his mouth and began exploring him thoroughly. It was dark all around them in the shadows of the alcove, yet Faramir could sense the feral gleam lighting up the older man’s eyes.
“Ah dear, you are such a lovely piece of work,” Carastir was moaning slightly now. He released Faramir’s panting mouth, and began a trail of kisses down his neck. His hand came hungrily up to the throat of Faramir’s garment, intending to tear away the offending barrier, causing the slighter man to react finally.
“Come now, love. Be not so shy! I know you would like nothing better than for me to make you mine. I am sure that your parents will marry you off to some ageing old thing who can offer you no satisfaction. You are too wondrously beautiful to be wasted on one such! Let a real man show you how a real woman should be treated, my dear one!”
With that he tore at the garment, ripping it open, while simultaneously, lifting his leg and thrusting his knee between Faramir’s legs.
“No!” screamed Faramir, desperately trying to left his own leg in an attempt to knee the man in his groin.
Suddenly he felt Carastir sag against him, and the grip on him came loose. Carastir collapsed at Faramir’s feet, a large piece of Faramir’s bodice in his hands. It had torn loose when he had fallen, the flimsy material tearing off with little difficulty.
“What?” Faramir stared down, puzzled. He had not even touched Carastir. He had been far too surprised by the sudden assault on his dignity. Looking up, he found himself gazing into the patient eyes of Legolas, a thick staff of wood in his hand.
Legolas was staring at Faramir and trying hard not to laugh, as he took in the sight of the torn dress, and the outline of the metal and bone frame that had ensured Faramir’s shapeliness. A padded, frilly undergarment barely covered it. And his skirts were in disarray too, from where Carastir had been attempting to slip under them. The belt holding them hung loose, and the entire garment seemed in danger of slipping off entirely.
However, Gimli when he came panting up the stairs that led to the terrace from the other side was not so polite. He burst out laughing at the sight.
Faramir glared at them angrily.
“Legolas! I did not expect to find you of all people up on this lovers’ hideout with such a ‘wondrously beautiful’ lady. But dear friend, what have you done to ‘her’ clothes?”
At that Legolas too burst out laughing as Faramir continued to glare at them, even as he attempted unsuccessfully to gather his torn clothes around himself. The belt came completely undone now, and the tattered dress slipped off, revealing in totality the metal and cane supports and shapers covered by a lacy undertunic. The others laughed even harder at the sight.
“What are you doing here?” Faramir hissed out suddenly, “And why did you hit Carastir! What do we do now?”
“Forgive me,” Legolas said between gulps of laughter, “I was merely trying to save your honour, lady!” Gimli let loose and explosive burst of laughter at that.
“You shouldn’t have!” Faramir said annoyed, wondering how he would, in his capacity, as Lady Miriel, he would explain to Lord Carastir what had happened there later, without inciting the man’s suspicions. He knelt down to examine the man, suddenly conscious of the fact that he should first confirm whether he had indeed been knocked out cold or not. Carastir lay in a dead faint, the reason apparent in the large bump on the back of his had. He was breathing a little heavily but otherwise seemed fine enough. He was definitely out cold though.
“I shouldn’t have saved your honour?”
“You should have let me handle it!”
“A fine handling you were doing!” Gimli retorted, “Letting him paw you around like that. No respectable woman would have stood for all that. And what if he’d seen you like this?”
Faramir coloured at that. He stood up hastily grabbing up the garments that had pooled around his waist, and trying to cover himself, causing Gimli to snort.
“He surprised me!” he said defensively, “I was going to stop him!”
“Yes, after he would have torn your bodice off and realised he was making love to a man!”
“He – he didn’t make love to me!” Faramir said feeling his face flush.
“No, but he did kiss you very nicely, didn’t he?” Legolas said in a voice brimming over with mirth. He seemed unable to understand the seriousness of what he had done, Faramir thought sourly. They were so lost in their arguing that they did not hear the footsteps until the newcomers reached the alcove too.
“What ever is going on here?”
“A-Aragorn!” Faramir yelped, letting go off the garment and revealing his state of undress once again. He could see that Aragorn was having a very tough time trying not to laugh too, as was Amorthos who was right on his heels.
“What happened?” the King asked in a suspiciously choked voice.
“I believe Lord Carastir wished to show our dear friend here how a real man makes love to a wondrously beautiful man…er…I mean woman,” Legolas said, still laughing.
“And Legolas chose to defend my honour by hitting him over the head,” Faramir said crossly, “So, now when he wakes up, I’m, going to have to explain to him why it is that one moment he should have been the kissing Lady Miriel, and the next moment he should have been kissing grass!”
“He kissed you?” Aragorn asked incredulously, moving closer to Faramir. He dragged him out of the alcove into the open terrace and examined his face in the fading light. Lifting a hand he traced the now bruising lips, and took in the marks on the throat and arm.
“Aragorn, someone might see me!” Faramir protested unhappily.
“Here let me restore your modesty to you,” Amorthos offered him Carastir’s cloak giggling all the while.
Faramir grabbed the cloak in annoyance. Aragorn gave him an inscrutable look, and an uncomfortable silence filled the air.
“It’s a good thing you came when you did, Legolas,” Amorthos said brightly, “Imagine if Carastir had gone further!”
“I wouldn’t have let him,” Faramir said angrily turning his glance away from Aragorn. He felt terribly tired. He’d hardly eaten a bite that day, even at dinner and now he found he felt quite awful, after being groped around by Carastir.
“It’s cold. I’m going down,” he said quietly wrapping the cloak around himself as a covering, “We might as well leave Carastir here, perhaps he can assume he fell over somehow?”
They all filed down Legolas, Amorthos and Gimli still laughing but Aragorn strangely silent.
The other three decided to return to the dinner where a few people still lingered.
“I should return too,” Aragorn said calmly, “I am the host after all.”
“I need to change,’ Faramir murmured, feeling a little queasy at the distant tone Aragorn was adopting.
“Love,” he said quietly, “May I spend some time with you tonight?”
There was an unspoken arrangement that they spent their time together on Aragorn’s frequent visits to Ithilien or when Arwen was away from Minas Tirith. While Arwen was there, Aragorn’s nights were hers. But tonight, after the dinner, Arwen would be tired and would prefer to stay alone.
Aragorn nodded briefly.
Faramir returned to his chambers and got out of the torn clothes. It took him a great deal of difficulty and even a little pain to get the corset off. and managed to remove the corset. He then went to Aragorn’s room and waited for him to return.
“You came,” was all Aragorn said when he returned and began removing his formal robes. Faramir moved forward to help him.
“Of course, where else could I go?” he said lightly, feeling better when he saw Aragorn.
“I don’t know… perhaps to Carastir? Your little tryst with him was so badly interrupted of course!”
“What! Why would I go to that old fool?” Faramir demanded moving back startled.
Aragorn turned on him scowling, “I saw how you two were behaving at dinner! He couldn’t keep his hands off you!”
“I didn’t ask him to keep his hands on me!”
“Yes,” Faramir retorted, annoyed.
“And obviously he must have forced you to take him up to the terrace?”
“He asked and I could hardly say no, could I?”
“Why not? And you let him kiss you. You couldn’t say not to that too I suppose?”
“I had no choice did I?”
Aragorn’s gaze was wandering over Faramir’s upper body, the bruises from the encounter standing out against the pale skin, and the clear signs of Carastir’s mouth upon his neck and throat.
“Didn’t you?” Aragorn retorted, angered at the thought of Faramir being pawed by the other man.
“Without letting him know who I really was?”
“So you just stood there and let him fondle you?”
”I was about to stop him,” Faramir grated out, “If there is something you wish to say, say it clearly, Sire.”
Aragorn shrugged non-commitally.
“I didn’t want to wear this disguise, remember?” Faramir said angrily, “You asked me to do it.”
“I’m greatly obliged,” Aragorn replied sarcastically, “So you think it is my fault that you stand back passively while Carastir seduces you?”
“I was going to stop him,” Faramir repeated, “I really was, Aragorn. You do not think I would enjoy that?” he pleaded as he saw the uncertain look on Aragorn’s face.
Aragorn stared at him silently and then turned and entered his sleeping chamber shutting the door behind him, leaving a tired Faramir standing alone, depressed.
He stood there a while, wondering what to do, walk into Aragorn’s chambers but he’d never been there uninvited. Finally he trudged back to his own chambers, changed into a nightshirt and fell into bed where he lay until the door scraping filtered into his dazed mind a few hours later.
“Are you asleep?”
Faramir opened his eyes and stared blearily up at Aragorn, “No,” he murmured tiredly.
“I brought you some salve to rub on to your bruises,” Aragorn said quietly.
He reached out a limp hand for it, and received Aragorn’s hand in his causing him to look up in surprise.
Aragorn squeezed his hand gently, “Let me,” he offered holding out the salve in his other hand.
Faramir nodded, and made space for him to sit, before turning towards him.
“I’m sorry, love,” Aragorn whispered, “I know it’s not your fault but I was so angry at what he was doing to you.”
“I love you,” Faramir murmured softly and shut his eyes.
He felt the older man’s fingers rub the cool substance over his body, and sighed softly. His last sensation before succumbing to sleep was of Aragorn running his fingers lightly over him and bending down to kiss him on his lips.
The next day the five of them and Arwen sat to discuss the party. No one had noticed a thing at all. There was little suspicious behaviour other than the usual gamut of new affairs and fights and gossip.
“Perhaps another party?” Amorthos suggested brightly.
“No!” Aragorn and Faramir said immediately.
The ensuing argument was interrupted by Elwin who wished to speak to Arwen. Arwen left the room and the argument continued.
“No!” Faramir was saying even more forcefully now, “I will not dress as a woman ever again!”
“You won’t have to,” Arwen spoke from the door, “We have my secret admirer here.”
She entered the room with Elwin who was clutching a skinny, young boy with hay stuck on his hair.
“You’ll hurt him, Elwin,” she said concernedly, as the older woman twisted the boys arm sharply to pull him in.
“He deserves it, the fool,” Elwin replied.
“That’s the spy?” Amorthos asked surprised, “They come younger nowadays, is it?”
Explanations when they came were so simple as to almost be stupid. Aragorn on thinking back decided that it was Legolas and Amorthos who had complicated matters by bringing in talk of spies when the miscreant, or rather the admirer was just a small boy, the youngest son of one of Aragorn’s councillors.
He thought the Queen was a very pretty lady and so he sent her gifts, he said. He tried to send something every day as the young men did in the books his sisters used to read but he couldn’t really find gifts every day. He sent apples one day which his father had received from Lossarnach, weren’t they nice? They didn’t tell him they were spoilt. The sweets had come from Khand, he said proudly, many months ago. No one would eat them at home, so he sent them to the queen. And the kitten was the pride of his cat’s litter. The dagger was his most prized possession. His father had taught him to carve it. He would teach him to carve a ship the next month, he’d said. And this, another basket of those same sweet smelling flowers, he got them in the gardens of the houses of healing, didn’t they smell nice? He’d heard the Queen talking to her horses in the stables where he helped exercise the horses every week. She used to tell the horse what she liked!
Elwin had caught him when he’d sneaked into Arwen’s sitting room to leave the flowers.
They didn’t have the heart to tell him that the apples and sweets were both spoilt and therefore not touched in his own house or that the flowers which were the reason for his capture were a special herb and the pollen allergic for most people.
“Well!” Faramir said heavily to Aragorn, when everyone had finally wandered out of the king’s study after all the excitement had died out, “That’s that then. Thank Eru, I didn’t have to wear those awful clothes again!”
“Arwen is going to Dol Amroth with Amorthos when he returns tomorrow,” Aragorn said, “I hope you will lengthen your stay here?”
“If I don’t?” Faramir said playfully.
“I might have to command you to…”
“Could I ever disobey you?” Faramir said huskily.
Aragorn gave him an intense look and then said softly, “I wish to tell you something, I do not know what you will think but I must tell you…”
“If you wish me to do something for you, I most certainly will,” Faramir said intrigued.
Faramir lay underneath Aragorn his mouth dry with anticipation as the king’s long fingers pulled out of his entrance after coating it thoroughly in a sweet smelling oil.
“Hurry,” he muttered.
“It’s these skirts,” Aragorn complained, “They’re everywhere!”
“Cut them off,” Faramir suggested shortly as the corset seemed to tighten even more around him. Silk rustled as Aragorn moved the ripped skirt away and slowly entered him felling him with that exquisite feeling he could get only when he was with Aragorn. It was that trust and love that had him agreeing to this.
Aragorn had with in a small voice explained that one reason for his anger the other day had been the sight of Faramir in the torn underclothing. The shredded silk and laces had turned him on more than anything he could imagine, and the sight of Faramir red-faced and half-undressed had thrilled him like nothing else.
“You looked exquisite in silk,” he said quietly, “And it was torn… I’ve wanted at times to do that… tear off your clothes and make love to you wildly. You’re always so calm and restrained, and that day the torn clothes… you half-dressed… I even wondered how you’d look wearing torn riding breeches.”
“I can be wild,” Faramir had offered in a quiet voice.
And so Faramir had dug out the torn clothes and the corset and put them on. He’d left out the padding though! As Aragorn had bent over him, he felt just as turned on himself. He moaned lustily now as Aragorn thrust into him alternately slowly and hurriedly, repeatedly striking that one place, even as he stroked Faramir’s erect member.
“Faster,” Faramir urged as he felt his own release impeding. He came before Aragorn did and felt his muscles clench around Aragorn’s thickness. The king moaned loudly above him and thrust in once more. He came loudly and long inside Faramir and then collapsed heavily over the younger man’s clothed back.
“You were lovely as always,” he murmured.
Faramir felt the weight descend upon him even as he sagged from his own release and grunted as the breath was knocked out of his already constricted chest. He waited patiently for Aragorn to rise but the king was too busy nibbling gently at his ear, his entire weight resting on Faramir’s back.
“Aragorn” he cried out in panic and felt almost dizzy as his chest began to feel even more constricted.
There was a cry of alarm from Aragorn who raised himself, quickly and turning Faramir around, took one look at the tight corset. Faramir took in small gasping breaths of air.
“Why are you wearing that monstrosity,” A4rgaorn demanded as he began fumbling at the laces.
“You said – just – like – other – day,” Faramir managed to gasp out.
“Without the corset!” Aragorn said, “Oh love, I’m so sorry! I didn’t realise.”
He ripped off the undergarment and turning Faramir over, tugged hard at the ribbons of the corset, tore a few and finally pulled out his hunting knife and used that to cut away the ribbons, then pulled the casing away and helped Faramir out of it.
The Steward took in a few gulps of air before he was enveloped in a deep kiss which left him nearly breathless again though he had no complaints there.
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