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20 June 2009 | 6277 words
Title: Unnamed Longings
Summary: Faramir longs for something
Written for the 2009 Midsummer Swap.
Request by Tal: Post WOTR. Faramir’s life has always been governed by all-consuming duty. Now, with the war over and his father gone, Faramir regains a measure of private life, only to find himself purposeless and adrift. The Stewardship is not enough to fill his days, especially the evenings, and feelings of inferiority prevent him from seeking the company of his peers. Driven to drinking and… other activities… with strangers of the lower circles, who take advantage of his despair, Faramir seems to be courting death. But secretly, all he wants is for someone to notice this downward spiral and put an end to it; someone with a firm but loving hand, someone who will release him from the need to govern his private time, will give him structure and home, acceptance and love. Enter Aragorn… (No Éowyn in this one — the reason is up to you. Might be nice to have Aragorn and Arwen as a couple take in Faramir.)
Faramir put down the parchment he had finished working on over supper, stared at his now neat table top and then placed his quill in its holder. He drummed his long fingers lightly at the edge of the table. Glancing out of the open window he noted the muted evening light. Rising, he walked over to one a long book-lined shelf that took up most of his study. He ran his fingers lightly over a few old books, pulled one out, stared at the painting on the cover, a swordsman on horseback, and replaced it.
Returning to his desk, he picked up the topmost sheet of parchment from the pile, and began reading the draft for a new regulation on guild taxes, for the third time. He read through the three pages of parchment, slowly, lingering over each word and figure. He added a comma in the first paragraph and then one more in the second. He read through the line where he had earlier scratched out construction and replaced it with building. Chewing at his quill, he reached for an old bound book of parchments, referred to a few well-marked pages; and then scratching out building, and replaced it with construction again. The regulation done, he placed it down again, and then picked up a thicker document on troop allotments. He spent the next half hour, reading through it for the second time, adding on to the tiny notes he had already made on the side of the sheet.
That done, he stared at his table again, and sighing, walked over to his window, taking in the view of the city spread out below him. The evening light had faded, and sparks of yellow lanterns shone across the city, the brightest cluster in the lower levels. The taverns there stayed open late catering as they did to travelers, and the frequent visitors to the many brothels that dotted the area.
He stared back at the table and bit his lip. His work for the day was done. In his first few months as steward, Faramir had found himself working long hours trying to get through a new routine that seemed to consist solely of paperwork and prolonged council meetings while at the same time, taking on the inspection of the work being done to rebuild the city. He had been busy through the days then and often well into the nights as well. The work had left him with little time to think.
His only respite in those first few months had been the small informal dinners that the king and his friends from the fellowship shared and even more than that the daily evening cup of wine that just he and the king would share after dinner, when would discuss more mundane matters. But that too had stopped after the queen had arrived, and the halflings and elves had left. Faramir had taken to supping alone as he worked.
And then over the months, as the rebuilding work finished and the numerous reports and requests and papers started to make more sense, Faramir suddenly found himself with days like this, when he would have nothing to do, in the hours after supper.
He poured himself a cup of wine, and settled into the chair with the book. He read for a while, and then closed the book. After a day spent poring through parchments, he didn’t really feel like reading any more. He stared morosely at his cup, then out the window, then back at his table, and poured himself another cup.
It was too early to sleep. He was used, from his younger days as a ranger, to sleeping late and waking early. He was also used, he realised, to having people around him. It was why he had always chafed at being in Minas Tirith, with a father who at best ignored him and a brother who would usually be too busy for little more than a meal. Even now, he had few acquaintances in the city. The rangers would have returned to their homesteads now. The few people he knew in the city had all been friends of Boromir, children of high-ranking lords and councilors, most of whom still appeared to hold by his father’s opinion of him. He had tried a few times to invite them for dinner or to join them for a hunt or ride, but he found himself unable to relate to their conversations which consisted of little other that either their infantry days, which Faramir knew little about, having always been with the rangers, or about hunts that Faramir truly abhorred as sport.
He tried to draw away from such dark thoughts. What the councilors or their sons thought of him mattered little now that Aragorn was there.
Perhaps he could go for a walk in the gardens, he mused. But then he walked in the gardens before breakfast each day. But the more he thought of it, the more the clear night air beckoned him. He would go out alone, he decided; perhaps visit a tavern or two, there was a fine one on the second circle his rangers often spoke of, The Blue Simbelmyne, he thought – somewhere where there would be people, talking, laughing.
Faramir pulled on a thick cloak and set out. He had been walking through the city streets at night often in the last few weeks. He would walk through the city all the way down to the first level, stop at a tavern, spend some time there, drinking ale and watching the myriad other patrons, and then after a few hours, walk back to his chambers in the citadel.
At first he preferred to spend more time sitting in a few of the larger taverns in the first and second levels. He would sit there and sip the homebrews slowly, welcoming the slightly relaxed and pleasant feeling that the bitter ales left in him, watching the lower levels come to life as night descended. The taverns were frequented by a cross section of people – soldiers, rangers, tradesmen, craftsmen, farmers, travelers from near and far lands, and on some occasions, Faramir was sure he had recognised some of Boromir friends there. Faramir always ensured he would not be recognized, wearing his simplest garb, removing his signet ring, and always keeping his cloak on, an easy task as the winters neared.
As the days went by, some of the innkeepers even acknowledged him, as did some of the other regular patrons. They spoke little amongst themselves, but Faramir liked the almost feeling of sharing the place with them. Sometimes, a stranger would offer to buy him a drink, or garishly dressed men or women would coquettishly ask him to buy them one, Faramir, aware that they sought more than just his company, would refuse politely.
Faramir stared morosely into the potent brew. He had had four cups already, having come down earlier than usual. The council meeting that had been scheduled for the day had ended early today. Faramir would originally not have minded this so much, for he had in fact been invited to join the king for supper.
“It has been weeks since we saw you at our dinner table!” the king had said, a day earlier, after one of their meetings, “Would you give us the pleasure of your company for supper tomorrow?”
Faramir had agreed readily, and looked forward to little else all day. He liked the king and great deal, and the queen as well, even though he still found himself in awe of her, even after all these months.
And then that morning, Aragorn had given him the bad news.
“I am afraid we cannot dine together tonight,” the king told him, wearily, “The new envoy from Harad insists Arwen and I join him for dinner tonight. It is some celebration for them, it appears. I wish the man would tell us earlier! It appears it is customary to carry gifts for the host on this occasion, and now Arwen has Hador searching through the citadel for some suitable token, when I would rather have him scribing for me!”
Faramir tried not to let the disappointment on his face show. After the council meeting, he had instead tried to see if any of his fellow councilors were interested in joining him for an early supper, but they all seemed to prefer returning to their families. Faramir had returned to his chambers, feeling strangely annoyed, at the thought of an entire evening alone.
“May I sit here?” A warm, well-modulated voice with the faintest trace of an East Rhunic accent, interrupted his thoughts. He looked up at the tall, dark-haired man, and the now crowded inn, and nodded.
“Thank you. Would you allow me to buy you a mug of ale?”
Faramir shrugged in response, still trying not to think of the way the evenings events had left him feeling.
“And what is such a charming youngling like doing here all alone?” the man asked.
Faramir snorted, but smiled anyway. He looked up at the other man, taking in the handsome weather-beaten features, the untidy sprawl of dark hair, warm grey eyes.
“Surely someone would love to have dinner with you?”
“Not really,” Faramir snorted, “I asked, but no one would,” he said suddenly, and then wondered whether he may not have had too much to drink.
“I would,” the man said frankly, and placed a hand over Faramir
“Very well,” Faramir replied softly. It would be nice to have company, he thought.
The older man led him into the dining alcove, to a table by a warm fire. The tavern food was surprisingly tasty, and Faramir realised he had been quite hungry. They spoke a little as they talked. The man was a trader from Rhun, and would be moving on to Pelargir from here the next day and then to Harad. Faramir told him his family was from Dol Amroth, and that he had been a ranger. He was feeling quite sated and pleasant when the other man placed a hand on his thigh.
“You look lonely,’ he said softly, “As am I.”
Faramir let the other man kiss him, a gentle fleeting touch of lips.
“I leave at first light,” the man said, “But I have a room in an inn nearby, if you are agreeable?”
“Very well,” Faramir replied huskily, as the man’s bristled jaw brushed against his cheek.
Once in the inn, the other man disrobed rapidly and then helped a much slower Faramir remove his clothes, before nudging him down onto the rough but clean bedclothes. The man turned out to be a fair enough bedmate, brusque in his movements but not hurtful, and Faramir found he felt alternately awkward at spending the night with a complete stranger and alternately pleased as the other man’s hands and lips reminded him of sensations that he hadn’t felt in months now.
When they were done, and the other man lay slumbering in the damp bed, Faramir rose, pulled on his clothes, ignoring the stickiness on his buttocks and inner thighs and left the inn quietly.
He returned to his chambers and collecting fresh clothes, had a quick but thorough bath. He stood in his bedchamber with a towel tied loosely around his hips and glanced down at himself. His lower body was speckled with reddish marks wherever the stranger’s fingers had dug in too deep and a not unpleasant soreness lingered inside him.
He found he could not really remember the stranger’s face. He changed into his tunic and pants, and headed for the breakfast room.
A few days later, Faramir sat in huddled in the corner in another tavern, nursing a large mug of ale, after a long day spent trying to get two guildmasters to sign an agreement. He felt exhausted.
When a tall, large man with dark hair, graying at the temples approached him, he found himself agreeing to share first a drink, then another, then supper in another tavern, followed by more ale, and then a glass of wine, and then a few rough and quick kisses in the alleyway behind the tavern, ignoring the stench of rotting food, mingled with stale liquor. When the rough hands moved below his shirt to undo the ties of his pants, Faramir thought of batting them away.
But then the fingers closed around his half-aroused flesh and he found himself thrusting up into the touch. The other man stroked him rapidly into hardness, moved his hands away and leaned against him, rubbing up his own erection against him. Faramir ignored the rough surface of the wall behind him, biting into his back. They thrust rapidly against each other, until they found release. Once they were done, they came apart panting rapidly. Faramir leaned back heavily against the wall behind him, trying to catch his breath. When he looked up, the other man had done up his pants. He muttered a brief greeting to Faramir, and walked away. Faramir slouched back against the wall, his pants pooled at his ankles.
As the weeks progressed, he continued to visit the lower circles daily. But he found he sought more variation now and began frequenting more taverns, even the smaller ones, usually a different one each day, and there were enough in the lower circles to ensure that he would not need to visit the same one twice a month. He was accosted every now and then, some men, some women, all strangers.
He began to welcome the more polite overtures more frequently, especially from older, tall men with dark hair and grey eyes; though he made sure he avoided the more sinister looking ones, well aware that he was alone here. He would accept invitations to the alleyway outside or a garden nearby or a room at inn in the vicinity. He willingly agreed to their requests, letting them take him, or taking them in his mouth, or just thrusting against them. They would part, mutually satisfied.
He found he welcomed these fleeting encounters, and at times as he lay in his own bed at night, he would think back to their weathered hands kneading his member, and get aroused again, especially as he pictured another dark haired, grey-eyed older man with weathered hands and the lingering aroma of pipeweed.
There had even, on one encounter that Faramir almost blushed thinking about, been two men, a set of twins from Harad, who had convinced Faramir to join both of them. He had ended up between them in a small room in a seedy tavern, pleasuring one with his mouth, while the other thrust into him, and then letting them exchange places. When he had left, they had bid him a cheerful farewell, and even suggested meeting him again the next time they came, when they could perhaps both take him together. He had thought they were joking but on realizing they were not had left hurriedly.
He stopped seeking company among his peers, and stopped taking evening meals at the citadel altogether. The king commented upon it once but Faramir simply changed the subject. The king would invite him and some other noble to dinner. The noble would bring his wife or betrothed, and Faramir would be left as the odd one out. Or worse, the queen might invite a young lady as company for Faramir. Faramir was unsure whether the king and queen knew that his preferences leaned more towards men. It was not unacceptable in Gondorian society but then the higher ranking families also demanded marriage and heirs.
He mollified the king, however, by dining with him the next day. Thankfully, the only other people invited were two minor nobles from Lebennin, whom the queen promptly took under her wing.
The king spent much of the evening talking to him, which left Faramir feeling quite happy. He talked a little more than usual on a petition for cropping rights as he held out his cup for more wine as the servants cleared away the food.
“That is the fourth cup of wine you’ve had today,” the king said suddenly, interrupting him.
Faramir stared at him blankly.
“Oh,” he said.
“And you had two cups of it at luncheon with the council as well.”“Well, yes, it’s a very nice wine… from Lebennin, isn’t it?” Faramir asked.
“Esgaroth,” the king said.
“Oh I have tasted something similar from Lebennin in one of the taverns here, stronger though.”
“Which tavern was that?” the king asked, filling his pipe some more.
“I can’t recollect that now, sire,” Faramir said, suddenly feeling a little wary. He glanced up at the king’s face but saw nothing but the customary calm impassiveness there. Turning towards the queen, he noticed her hurriedly glance away from them.
The king began to speak of the cropping issue again. Faramir found he wanted another glass of wine, but decided he would wait till he returned to his own chambers.
It was nearly six weeks after his first sexual encounter in the lower circles, that Faramir found himself at the same tavern, with another trader, from Khand this time, a man barely able to speak Westron.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a tall man in a dirty cloak that had once clearly been a bright shade of yellow coming towards him. The filthy fabric covered the entire face, but what Faramir could see of the matted black hair and the stumbling walk convinced him that this was one of the men he was better off avoiding. Wrinkling up his nose at the smell that seemed to precede him, he moved closer to the Khandrim man, who seemed quite delighted by the move, judging by the sudden smile on his face. Rising, he indicated to Faramir to follow him out of the tavern. Faramir did so readily.
The man took Faramir down to an abandoned stable yard behind the inn, helping him stumble up the stone path, for Faramir had had a few ales too many. Once behind the cover of the crumbling walls, the stranger undid his pants, nudged Faramir to the ground, and pointed at his impressively sized erection. Faramir frowned a little, and made to rise, but the other man nudged him down again, very gently. He grunted out a few soft words that Faramir did not understand but the man’s face seemed kind and encouraging, and Faramir felt pleasantly comfortable after all the ale, so he sat back. He took him in his mouth slowly at first and then more swiftly as the other man began thrusting into him. Faramir struggled and tried to pull away, but the other man’s large hand held his head in place. Moaning, he opened his mouth wider, taking in more of the large erection, licking and teething gently until he felt the bitter liquid spurt into his mouth. He pulled away and the other man let him, spurting his release into Faramir’s mouth and chin.
When they were done, Faramir stayed kneeling, his head bent as he tried to get his breath back. He felt the other man stroke him gently on his head, sensed him moving away, and then he felt something being placed in his hands. When he finally looked up, the man was walking away towards the inn, and a small velvet bag lay in Faramir’s hands. Opening it, he found a handful coins inside.
He stared at the coins in shock, then rose, and then sank back to his knees again, clutching his roiling stomach, and then doubling over, retched into the storm drain. Tears streamed down his face.
He flung the bag away and the coins spilled out clinking as they rolled across the stones. He stayed huddled by a dilapidated trough for a long time, before finally rising and stumbling back to the citadel.
The next morning, he rose with a dull headache and eyes red from crying through the night. He washed his face twice, because after the first time, he started crying again, as he remembered the way the coins had glinted dully in the lantern light.
He mustn’t think of the coins, he told himself desperately. It had been a mistake, a stupid error on his part, nay, the stranger’s part.
After the incident, he stayed away a few days, spending his evenings alone in his chambers, barring one evening that he spent with the king and queen.
Sitting back against the cushions piled in front of the fire in their chambers, Faramir watched the interaction between them sleepily. They seemed… comfortable with each other. It showed in the glances they exchanged, in the fleeting touches, and even the soft, lilting tones they used with each other.
He felt his earlier restlessness return to him after that. The next evening, he returned to the lower circles. He kept to himself for a few weeks. He would drink a few cups and leave earlier than usual, in a bid to avoid anyone accosting him. On a few occasions he saw the man with the dirty yellow cloak, his face only partly visible, speckled with spots and marks as were his hands. But he made no bid to near Faramir, so he held his peace.
He found himself staying late one evening, after a day spent negotiating just the first page of a new treaty with the envoy from Harad. Exhausted from the ordeal, and chafing from a day spent indoors, alone with a man he considered a clod, and with his head full of the wine during the talks and the ale now, Faramir found himself feeling extremely petty and annoyed. Spotting the man in the dirty yellow cloak, he glared at him, causing him to nearly drop his pipe. Smirking in satisfaction, he turned away.
A thin, old man with grey hair and blue eyes dropped into the seat next to him.
“I’ve seen you here before,” he said, his mouth reeking from the rancid stench of the cheaper liquor that the tavern sold.
Faramir nodded briefly, avoiding eye contact. He had noticed the man oft times earlier, usually groping roughly at any of the younger prostitutes that frequented the taverns. He hoped if he stayed silent, the old man would turn away. Instead the man placed a hand on Faramir’s, long, knobby fingers clasping at him.
“You’re a pretty one,” he leered at him. Faramir turned towards him, and took in the wrinkling face, the two missing teeth, the lanky grey hair, and the lust-filled gaze that was raking his body.
“I can’t say the same for you,” Faramir said, pulling his hand away. The rancid smell of alcohol overwhelmed his tired senses and he rose, stumbling as he did so. Regaining his balance, he strode out of the tavern. He slipped into a quieter pub and stayed there a while before leaving. He shuddered as he thought of the old man who had accosted him earlier, and then had a cup of mead in a bid to forget him instead.
He heard the footsteps behind him when he turned into a quiet narrow cobbled lane in the second circle, his head buzzing from the assorted liquors he had had that day. Aware that the stretch he had entered was lonely, with nothing but shops that would be closed this late in the night, he tried to quicken his pace though his legs refused to move now after all the liquor he had had.
The older man responded with an agility that belied his age. He caught up with Faramir, shoving him down onto the ground.
“I’ll teach you to speak to me like that!” the man hissed into his ear.
Faramir scrabbled up, pushing him away onto to fall again, as his ankle was clasped roughly. The old man turned out to be far stronger than Faramir had imagined and he soon found himself pulled up and pushed up against the wall, his wrists clamped behind his back in the vice-like grip of the other man’s hand.
“Such a pretty little thing,” the old man crooned, running a hand down his face and neck, and leaning forward. Faramir gasped in protest, and tried to bat him away, but his hands were completely restricted. He kicked out a foot ineffectually.
“I’ve seen you with others before,” the old man told him.
“No more,” Faramir mumbled, “I don’t, any more…”
And he didn’t, he realised. He didn’t really want all these pathetic encounters that he kept having.
He smelt the older man’s rancid breath as the mouth descended towards his. He tried to move away sobbing harshly, but then a bony knee was lodged painfully into his crotch. He howled at the pain, arching up, and then cried out again as he was slapped hard causing his head to hit the wall. The man slapped him again, then again and again and a fifth time, each time causing his head to hit against the wall, leaving him even more dazed.
Wet lips and tongue laved his jaw and neck, as desperate fingers tore away his tunic exposing his chest. The fingers grasped a nipple, squeezing it and twisting it lightly yet painfully. He cried out, as teeth scraped the skin on his collar bone before descending towards the sensitised nipple, and latching over it. His attacker’s free hand worked on the ties of his pants, loosening them and pushing them down, exposing his lower body. The cold air stung his groin.
He was shoved onto the stony ground again, his tunic half undone, his pants pooling at his claves. The older man’s hand snaked between his legs, pushing them further apart. Something was wound tight around his wrists… a belt, he realised dazedly, as the buckle stung his skin.
“Beautiful,” he murmured, as he grasped the limp organ in his hands. Faramir whimpered, trying desperately to move. He let go of the Steward’s limp member and parted the legs further, cupping the rounded buttocks, stroking them. He parted the buttocks and ran a finger lightly between them. Faramir let out a gasping sob as he felt the feather-like touch. He lifted his lower body involuntarily at the touch, tugging at the restraints.
The older man slid a finger into the unprepared entrance, causing Faramir to scream in pain. The tiny entrance was dry and tight, and the long, large knobby finger pushed in.
And then there were rapid footsteps, a shout, and the finger suddenly pulled out of him and the restraining bulk of the other man moved away followed by a thumping sound.
Faramir rolled over hurriedly, trying desperately to rein in his senses, his hands still tied behind his back. He stared at the prone figure of the other man lying facedown on the cobbled ground, and then at the tall man in the dirty yellow cloak, brushing his knuckles.
The man pushed the cloak off his head.
“Oh Faramir!” he whispered softly.
“A— Aragorn?” Faramir said fearfully, seeing the familiar face behind the spots and marks.
He made to move, suddenly, horribly aware of how he looked, and of all that the king had seen. The movement sent pain shooting through his head and he fell to his knees instead. A vague fogginess drifted in front of his eyes and he made no effort to fight it, letting himself drift into it. He felt himself fall further, the cobbled stones coming closer and closer and then he felt no more.
When he woke the next morning, it was on a soft large bed that he knew was not his. He had on a soft white nightshirt. His own clothes were nowhere to be seen. He rose and then moaned as a dull ache shot through his head.
A sudden movement from the other side of the room caught this eye and he turned suddenly again, crying out once more.
The king was at his side in seconds.
“There, there,” he said, his voice strangely soothing to Faramir’s aching ears, “You have quite a few bumps on your head and I fear perhaps a little too much ale in you. You need some rest, and some food. What would you like? Broth? Or do you think you’d rather have something heavier?”
Faramir sat back heavily against the pillows, and stared at the mottled purple bruises on his wrists.
“How did you find me?” he murmured, his gaze still fixed on his hands.
“I followed you out of the tavern but then I lost you. Then I went looking for that man, but I couldn’t find him either. I asked a few urchins on the road, and then I heard your shouts, and then…” he shrugged at that.
“Oh,” Faramir said.
“Faramir,” The king’s voice was as soft and gentle as ever.
Faramir continued to gaze down at his hands.
“Faramir,” the king repeated, still as softly. Faramir felt something stinging in his eyes.
He looked up into warm face, now cleansed of any spots or marks, smooth but for the faint lines, blinking back the tears that threatened to spill, “Forgive me,’ he mumbled.
“Whatever for?” the king queried quietly, his grey eyes calm and thoughtful, “You were attacked, child. You hardly need ask for forgiveness in that!”
“No, for— for—,” Faramir gulped through the words.
“There is nothing you need to seek forgiveness for,” the king said suddenly, almost fiercely. He had moved closer to Faramir now. The Steward looked up at him, into gentle, protective eyes and fell into the embrace, crying softly as he did so.
The king held him close, stroking his hair and face slowly, and rubbing his back gently. When the tears finally stopped, he helped Faramir sit back against the pillows.
“I’ll have some food brought up,” he said.
He had the broth that was sent up from the kitchens, and a cup of herbal tea that the king poured out of a kettle over the grate. The warm, tasty food left him feeling a little better and when the king suggested he try sleeping again, he agreed quietly. He woke up late in the evening, only to be plied with more food and tea, after which he slept again.
He woke up breathing heavily, staring out into the darkened room, tears streaming down his face, as he remembered the clutching touch, the knobby fingers digging into him, groping him, running over his bared chest and stomach, slipping between his legs, fondling him deliberately and slowly, merely intrusive at first and then turned insistent and hurtful.
He felt the arms go around him.
“Aragorn,” he whimpered, unable to keep the fear out of his voice.
“Ssh,” the king said gently, “I’m here.”
Faramir slouched into the large chair by the fire, curling his legs under him and hugging the blanket, Aragorn had spread over him. The king had led him here after he had calmed down, lit the fire, poured out some more of the sweet, herbal tea for him and then sat by him.
“I was lonely,” Faramir said abruptly.
The king said nothing, but he wrapped an arm around Faramir’s shoulders, and pulled him close.
“I didn’t know what to do,” he continued quietly, “After the war, there was so much to do, I had no time to think. And then I found I had the time to think, I didn’t want to. I have never spent much time in the city, and what I did, was mostly spent at work or with my father or brother. The lower circles seemed so different from the city I’d known. There were so many people from so many places, and no one knew me…”
He paused to sip some tea. Aragorn stroked his hair gently.
“I didn’t really like the ale,” Faramir told him, tiredly, “but it gave me something to do, and it was bitter and I thought it helped me clear my head, but perhaps it didn’t. I did like it at first when – when – people – when I was – asked… I,” he flushed and had some more tea.
“It had been so long since I -,” he flushed some more, “During the war, I was with the rangers… I had nowhere to – to seek relief, and then afterwards, it is unbecoming to visits the brothels, and I had no one… there was this trader from Rhun, and he… I – I did not mind it,” he mumbled, “I know I should have. I did ill, but…”
“No,” Aragorn said gently, “You need not have minded, if you desired it. There was no ill, in what you did.”
“But I shouldn’t have done that,” Faramir mumbled worriedly.
“Shouldn’t have done what?” Aragorn demanded, “As far as I see, all you sought was to assuage your loneliness. There may be other ways to do that, but I see you may not have had the scope for it. And for that, perhaps I am responsible.”
“You!” Faramir exclaimed, “No!”
“I thought you might be lonely,” Aragorn said quietly, “Arwen said as much to me, for you stopped dining with us and I knew you had few fiends here, yet I never asked how you fared, or why you stopped joining us. You have always been very dear to me, but I realise now, that perhaps I should have said that more often, and that we always welcomed your company.”
Faramir shook his head tiredly, “Nay. I fear it was more my doing. I have been alone for long now though I would not have admitted as such. Even earlier, there were only father and Boromir and we rarely had the time to be together. I am quite unused to behaving around company.”
He sighed heavily, “I think I knew what I was doing was not necessarily what I sought, but for a while, it felt … different… and not unpleasantly so, that anyone would care to be with me… even if it was only briefly…”
“I would care to be with you, for much longer,” Aragorn said quietly.
Faramir turned to gaze up at him, “And I would welcome it, but you have a queen now, and…”
“And she would not discourage it,” Aragorn told him, “The elves look at these matters differently. Would you let me… try and help you?
Faramir stared at him.
“I have lived alone many years, and I think I understand a little of what you may feel. Although, yes, I will agree that I had always had a welcoming home to return to in Imladris, but away in the wilds… it was easy to forget that.”
“I should have told you who I was, much earlier,” he continued, “I have often visited the city in disguise… it reminded me of my days with the Dunedan, and it gave me a chance to see how the people fare for myself. When I first saw you in The Blue Simbelmyne, I think it was, some months ago… you were sitting alone, just watching the people, and you looked calm and relaxed, and not as you seemed during the meetings. You didn’t see me then. I thought perhaps you might have felt the same way as I did, within the confines of the citadel – restless and confined. And then I – well, I would hardly see you in the citadel outside of when our work demanded it, so I was glad when I’d see you here at other times… I thought I understood what you sought, even when I saw you sharing a drink with others and leaving with them… But then later, you seemed different, not so much at peace, …I began to worry a little, and last night… I have seen that man with others… so I went looking for you.”
“I wondered how you found me,” Faramir admitted, “But I’m grateful you did. I fear I could not understand what I sought. I thought it may have been release, but I think I desired more – comfort, perhaps.”
“As we all do,” Aragorn told him.
He raised a hand to Faramir’s face and gently brushed away a lock of hair.
“This is your home,” he said gently, “And should you desire it, I assure you that you shall get now all the comfort and love you seek from me.”
“I think I would desire that greatly,” Faramir whispered, laying his head against the king’s chest, as the strong arms closed gently around him.
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