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07 January 2012 | 49161 words | Work in Progress
Many thanks to dear Alcardilmë for help with this chapter.
Previously in ‘After a Lifetime’
While young Faramir spends the better part of his day studying enlightening materials in the reading rooms, on the morning following their unplanned night of love it falls to Boromir to publicly allocate penalty to two young cadets caught engaging in disgraceful practices in the stables.
Chapter 8. Leprosy
The evening, grey and quiet, had come at last. That blessed period, so brief in the cold season, when the after-feel of the sun lingers, hanging weightlessly in the air – a soft halo without any specific source; when there is yet no need of torches but the natural light is ever so soft, ethereal. That blessed period of repose when the upper streets are empty, peaceful, free. That short period in his day when he can walk with a face that actually corresponds to the way he feels on the inside.
The rest of Minas Tirith would remember this day as typical for the time of year, crisp with a sobering, refreshing coolness, clear and mild. But he, had he not known otherwise in his mind, could have sworn in had been a scorcher, the sort that parches the skin and the throat, a merciless yellow eye nailed immobile to the dome of the sky, staring down with a million leaden beams. One of those days that are filled with nothing but dust and bitter sweat, hours of joyless toil and muscle pain, with dead, crippling heat.
He felt no relief for meeting no one on his path, no relief for being spared the chore of exuding confidence, vigour and his usual charm, somewhat lazy and derisive as it may be. All day, the sweat and the dust notwithstanding, he had diligently displayed an unquestionable contentment with the way of things, the sort of contentment akin to a stocky oak, too firmly rooted to be swayed by the flimsy winds. But now he was too drained to be comforted that for the next several hours this particular burden at least was gone.
However, he soon saw that either way his reprieve was not fated to last.
For no sooner than Boromir opened the door to their chambers, he could tell – feel – that Faramir had returned ahead of him, was expecting him, that the break was finished. And he knew he could not pull the mask back on, for his bright face had cracked and would not fit.
Worse still, when Boromir saw the all-trusting, radiant delight his arrival brought to his brother, to his young and still so perfectly innocent brother – the cutting, desperate tenderness of the morning overcame the man all over again. If anyone could only know how he ached to protect this boy, to shield him with his own body, to come stand between him and all the evils of the world – and by far the worst of all, he knew that nothing he could do would ever be remotely enough, for much as he would one day rule over all of Gondor, he had no power against the very way of their life.
Then Faramir, who had rushed to meet the older brother, stopped short and frowned.
“What is the matter?” he asked instead of a hello.“No, ’tis nothing,” muttered Boromir as a return greeting, “I am tired, ’tis all.”
He tried to walk around Faramir, but the boy stood in his way.
“Is it because of the flogging?”
“Huh…” the man wrinkled his forehead, aware he ought to come up with some swift and clever way to steer away from this topic, but his exhausted wit refused to make the effort. “I see you know about that,” he only noted, and his own voice sounded to him dull as last-year’s dust.
Faramir shrugged as though there was nothing out of the ordinary about his knowing – about the situation on the whole. “Rumour spreads fast, and such rumour twice so,” he merely said.“Yes. Well,” Boromir replied vaguely, and moved his shoulders like he would to ward off a chill. He had no energy to discuss this, to discuss anything, and would rather be flogged himself than let on as to what part he had played in the procedure, what things he had said. Lest his face somehow betray him, he pushed past Faramir.
But before he could make it to the bed and slump down as was his only desire in that moment, Faramir spoke to his back.“Boromir, please, they are doing better already.”
And Boromir stopped dead in his tracks.
Slowly he turned around, his features dark.
“What?” he asked very quietly.
“I heard what you said.”
For a moment more, the brothers stood motionless, holding each other’s hard gazes.“Are you insane?!” shouted Boromir. “You’d better not be telling me you’d bloody gone to see those two!”
“So I did, just before heading home – and mind you, in the whole day I was the only one,” answered Faramir with defiance. Yet Boromir looked hardly impressed and would not even grace him with a reply, and Faramir implored, “Oh, hear me out. Think of it: I am ‘soft’, ask anyone. My checking on a whipped man couldn’t possibly raise suspicion; if anything, it would be deemed the stranger if I hadn’t – you well know I always visit them after corporal punishments.”
“There’s no ‘always’ here,” Boromir gritted out, and poked the boy on the chest with his finger, “don’t you understand this is different?!”
“Oh, I understand well enough!” Faramir shouted back. “But do you understand? Do you know what’s it like? Do you know that in the ten hours they’d been there no one’s offered them food, nor even a drink of water? That no one’s attended to their wounds, not even wiped the blood off? And when I confronted the healer in charge, do you know that he looked away and told me everyone’s so awfully busy and must’ve somehow overlooked? As though I was blind – or else altogether daft – and couldn’t see all the hands idling around with nothing to do… This… this…” he panted for breath, blinking angrily, then cried out in a trembling voice, “This isolation is cruel! And unwarranted! To treat them as though they’re filthy lepers, and I doubt they’d receive any more attention until I return tomorrow—”
Before the boy could utter another word, Boromir gripped him by the wrist and yanked him forth. “There isn’t going to be any tomorrow, Faramir. I don’t want you checking on them again – do you understand?”
Faramir’s nostrils flared and he squared his shoulders. “I am the Steward’s son,” he declared with such unstudied lordliness that in other context it would have surely gained his brother’s approval, and made to pull his arm free. “I shan’t be daunted – and I shall give them protection.”
“Well, I have news for you,” Boromir announced, leaning in to him. “I am the Steward’s son as well – and ’tis my word that’s been the one and only time you’ll visit those fools.”
“You don’t get to tell me around!”
“That’s exactly what I bloody well get to! Valar know I wish I hadn’t to – but you apparently know no better.”
“Oh, I do know better! I remember my lessons – have we not been taught that at times the best cover is to go against expectation, that moving towards the danger can be safer than running and hiding?”
“No one’s running and hiding!” Boromir bellowed into his face. “I’m only being sensible about this – because it looks like I’m the only one here who’s got any sense left. Do you not bloody understand what will happen—” he cut himself off and only exhaled through his teeth. “Honestly, you truly think being the Steward’s son works in your best interest here? Faramir, wake up! For fuck’s sake! I’m tired as… as fuck – and pissed twice as much, and here I have to walk you through the obvious truths! This isn’t warfare, risking your hide is no deed of courage, and losing your hide shan’t be remembered in song. We need all the protection we can get, we have none to spare for the other poor idiots! No, we don’t! Don’t take issue with me, Faramir – I know you can fence well with a blade and words alike, and I shall have none of it. And do yourself a favour and knock out of your head all this elaborate nonsense the theories of strategy teach. They’re all thought up by men who sit too far away from any real peril to know shit about anything.”
“But—” Faramir protested, still trying to wrench his hand away.
“You ought not to be so upset,” Boromir said coldly. “It cannot be helped – and it is not the end of the world. You have wasted too much breath on this already.”
“How can you say that?! You don’t even listen to me!”
Suddenly Boromir’s exasperation drained away, as drink from a punctured wine-skin, and he pulled the boy to himself to hug him tightly. Gently and with emphasis, the man whispered into his brother’s hair, “Faramir, let it go.”
He held firm while Faramir struggled wordlessly against him.
“Please, little one, listen to me,” Boromir spoke slowly and very calmly, as one trying to get an urgent message through to an unreasonable child. “We aren’t going to make friends with these boys. For they, indeed, are as lepers. They are done for, Faramir, and you cannot help it. It doesn’t matter how soon their welts heal or if not at all, for there’s naught ahead for them. Everyone else understands this, and so should you. They can only pray to the Valar for a chance to perish with dignity, ’tis all.”
Faramir made a sound of disagreement, but Boromir shook his head. “No, Faramir, I know what I’m saying – I know how these things work. You want to be kind, I know, but I saw the faces of that crowd. Don’t you let yourself be fooled thinking that after they’ve done their term, they’ll come back and everyone will just forget about what’s been. In word they may be cleared – but that’s no more than pretty talk… This is a brand, Faramir – it is unwashable. Time doesn’t erase anything, punishment doesn’t erase anything. Quickly enough some excuse will be found why they are unfit for the military service – and there isn’t a single door that’ll welcome them then.”
For a long while Faramir stood still and quiet, his face pressed into his brother’s shoulder.
“I am sorry,” the boy said at last. “I should’ve preserved my composure. A row with you is the last thing I wan—”
“I know. It’s fine,” Boromir interrupted flatly. “But promise you’ll do as I say. Promise you won’t go there again.”
Faramir kept his eyes low. He stood so pale and forlorn as though he might faint. But slowly, he pursed his lips – and nodded his acquiescence.
“Say you promise,” Boromir persisted. “Swear.”
“I swear,” the boy whispered.
“Good. Now – I don’t want to talk of it anymore. I don’t want to talk of any of this ever again,” and Boromir let go of him, showing the debate was once and for all over.
Faramir nodded again, blankly, as though the meaning of the man’s words no longer registered with him. He stood withdrawn and so listless that it could seem that together with his brother’s restraining hold all will left his body. His face was at once stern and indifferent, and Boromir could not fail to recall the look of undefiled open-hearted gladness his own arrival had brought to this same face mere minutes ago.
The man sighed, rubbed himself on the forehead, and swallowed against the stubbly feeling in his throat. The agitation of the argument had refreshed him, but he hardly felt the better for it.
“Ah, fuck,” he observed with a sour grin, in way of an offer of reconciliation, combining eloquence, expressiveness and succinctness to the best of his current ability.
“You don’t say,” Faramir agreed grimly. He raised his hand, folded his fingers into the palm and studied his nails. “Do you,” he cleared his throat, “do you maybe want me to go to the kitchens, get us some tea?”
Boromir heaved yet another sigh. He wished he were tired enough to become numb to guilt. But being as he was not, everything was progressively becoming a source of irritation to him.“No, I don’t want tea,” he replied testily – caught himself mocking his brother’s intonation – and grew even more irritated. “Fuck this,” he added, just for the sake of the trace of reassurance it gave him to defy at least something, no matter how vague or obscure.
He managed to withhold himself from making any unpleasant remarks when he heard Faramir follow him to the bed, hoping Faramir would know better than to try and cheer him up.
However, “Boromir,” Faramir called very gently as he lowered himself on the mattress’s edge by the man’s side.
Sitting down evened their height, and Faramir felt strong and confident as he reached out to put his arm around his brother’s shoulder. But Boromir shrugged him off, and a stern frown settled on his brow.
“Boromir,” Faramir said a little reproachfully, “please, don’t.”
“What do you want of me?” Boromir cried. “What?!”
There was an ill crack in his voice, and Faramir stared at him, wide-eyed. Boromir stared back, speechless. The boy may not have shrunk back, but the strange new look in his eyes instilled a gripping fear in Boromir’s heart.
“Do you know,” he said very, very slowly, “on second thought, tea doesn’t sound half-bad.”
“All… alright,” Faramir conceded cautiously, his eyes holding his brother’s as he stood up, as though the boy half-expected Boromir to pounce or pull some other unhinged move. Faramir chewed on his lip, then made an attempt at a smile before turning to go. “I won’t be long.”
“Nay, take your time,” Boromir called after him. “Get something to eat, too! I haven’t supped much.”
At the sound of the main door closing behind the boy, Boromir sunk at the shoulders, puffed his cheeks, stared ahead of himself. With Faramir out of sight, a grey cloud was swift to cover his sky, and then, in one flashing instant, it crashed onto him, the collective hatred he had witnessed early that morning – a hatred the sheer force of which was enough to make anyone doubt anything.
And yet, he could not go back. Even had he truly wished to, which he did not. Could not go back to seeing Faramir as he had seen him all his life. Whether they carried on sharing a bed did not matter that much: going back was not optionable the way there is no refolding a blossomed flower into the tightly wound bud. A day and a night ago – then, perhaps, something could have still been done to veer them off this course, but not thereafter.
Not that Boromir could entirely understand where they stood now, for in the language that he knew he could not find one proper term for two people like them. Loads of insults, certainly, a good plenty, but not a word that would explain to him what they were, or what he was. He only knew that Faramir was not simply his little brother with whom he chanced to sleep, a friend turned lover.
This was something else, something more – something worse.
And he was stuck in it – stuck no less than the miniature figurine of a seafarer on the battle-galley model uncle Imrahil had had built inside an empty bottle, glued for good to its unsailable vessel.
Intuitively he sensed that the lying together, being as all their trouble seemed to revolve exclusively around this part of their new routine, was not the point, although without argument it had been a turning point. Much as what he had experienced in Faramir’s arms the previous night was in itself worth dying for, ending their affair would rob him of something far more paramount than the physical pleasure. The preservation of his very entity, of his integrity of self seemed to have come to depend on being with Faramir – being with him in some larger, broader sense than just sleeping with him. Although without the ‘sleeping with him’ part it would not work either, would not do the trick at all, for the merging had to be complete, had to realise all the means for togetherness that nature had so helpfully supplied them with.
Boromir lowered his head and pressed his palms to his face. His heart ached so badly as if it were literally weeping blood, and he, too, wanted to weep, to choke on the burning bitterness of his own tears.
Boromir squeezed his eyes tight, twisted his features, even pushed out a cough, seeking to trigger the sequence, to get himself going. He let out a pained sigh of misery and even began to rock back and forth.
They were there somewhere, his tears, tormenting him, robbing him of all ability to think, like a spiked tip of a poisoned dart broken off and stuck deep in the tissues of the body. Boromir growled, pressed his fingertips into his eyelids and rocked harder.
Nothing. His head was surely about to burst with the pressure of the pain.
Then abruptly, or at least as abruptly as he could in his current state, he stood up, swaying as a man drunk. With disobeying hands he rid himself of his boots and trousers. His tunic reached well past his hips but his legs were left uncovered, and so he put one foot on the bed, spreading open, exposing the most sensitive inner side of his thigh. Holding his belt by the buckle, he swung back and struck as hard as his warrior’s strength would only allow.
The shock dashed through him like a heated razor.
At once his perception clouded over. It felt so incredibly good he almost reeled.
He hit again, aiming at the same spot. A convulsive shiver shook him, instantly followed by a warm relaxing wave.
He hardly paused to take a breath…
The pale skin of his thigh was beginning to burn in earnest – and to witness this blush of shame, this blush of atonement blossom through his flesh heightened his satisfaction tenfold.
This was, in fact, a far better approach.
Tears, filled with ire as they might be, yet always were brethren of misery, defeat, surrender.
Tears were the last resort of the weak, of the beaten – whereas this here, this was a spectacle of brilliant flashes of scarlet, this was aggression, violence, this was joy amid wrath.
Doing this, with every strike he proved to himself he had retained some power over his life.
And before Boromir could blink, Faramir was before him, hardly able to inhale for the blazing anger written sharply across his fair young features.
“You give me that!” he spat, tore the belt out of Boromir’s hold – and flung it far across the room, to stand glaring at Boromir in burning incredulity.
“Do I not get to have ten minutes of privacy in my whole day?” inquired Boromir gloomily.
Faramir shook his head, “Not if you choose to spend them like so. What’s that word you have, brother: what the fuck?! Boromir! I thought you told me to be done with it. And fair enough! But what’s this?!”
“Faramir…” Boromir began in a tone of warning, for he did not appreciate being spoken to in such manner, not even when his conduct might have warranted it, but Faramir was not to be stopped.
“You want comeuppance?” the boy demanded, advancing on him so that Boromir had to take a step back. “Well, what can be swifter to arrange?” Faramir spread his arms. “Go! Go, and tell Father you’ve taken me for a lover – that’s bound to bring upon us all the justice you could ever wish for in your wildest dreams.”
Boromir darkened in the face. “Do not taunt me so,” he muttered threateningly. “For there’s little that humiliates me more than huddling like a rabbit in a hole, fearful to declare my purposes for all to hear,” he made a wide angry gesture with his arm. “Yet of this I can speak to no one, and least of all to Father.”
“That’s just as well!” Faramir retorted. “For Father’s life, I am sure, is difficult enough as is. And if your judgement has not been reversed and such is still your choice, however forced by the lack of alternatives, to love me in secret, then so be it – follow it proudly and without shame, like everything else that you do. For you, brother, are the best man in all our land, the bravest, the toughest, truest of heart! If such is your line, then what is left to the rest of us? I try to ease you with gentleness, and you bite at me, but for a second I turn away – and look what you do to yourself!”
“Aye, look what I do to myself!” Boromir cried sarcastically, throwing his arms up. “Foolish Boromir! Tell me, dear brother, how would you have me be proud? Should I maybe go soak my feet in rosewater and congratulate myself on what a clever chap I am, how I’ve got everything figured out? If the cat eats the cream, but no one finds out, it’s all right, right? Are you out of your mind?! How could I be proud?!”
“Is that it then – are you ashamed of me, Boromir?”
Boromir tilted his head to the side. “Come again…?”
“Ashamed. Of me. Of being this way with me. Of loving me. Because I think that’s what this all boils down to.”
Boromir looked away. “Don’t put it like that,” he muttered. “Where’s that accursed tea, anyway?”
“You are wrong!” Faramir exclaimed with sudden force. “There is naught to be ashamed of! What we have done – ’tis sacred. They may not understand, the others, and so we won’t try to explain, but that changes not the nature of things. ’Tis one and the same that each and every man in our noble line – dating back to the very creation of Man – has done unto his beloved. ’Tis what has kept the continuity of our life through time, what made our existence, yours and mine, possible.”
“Great. You’ve just made me feel so much better,” groaned Boromir and sank onto the bed, bowing his head and dragging his hands through his hair. “Thank you for opening up my eyes, o wise one.”
Faramir crossed his arms. “Fine, mock me,” he said. Then his eyes narrowed and he leant in a bit. “Is it how you’d prefer it then?” he asked quietly, in that dangerous kind of quiet their father had so perfectly mastered. “Is it, Boromir? To excuse yourself of the guilt? To have both the indulgence and a clean conscience? Maybe next time you’ll ask me to take the belt to you? You know, to help you with the places you can’t reach? You call on me to scrub your back in the bath, why shouldn’t I take up this duty as well? ’Tis said some men enjoy that, can’t accept the pleasure unless it hurts. Is that what you want to come to? Because at this rate, it’s certainly where it looks to me that you’re heading.” He took a breath, then finished with firm conviction, “I would love you always, Boromir, always, and I would never turn from you – but if you bear on treating yourself thus, in all honesty I don’t think I could continue to admire you.”
For the longest time he let his words stay in the air, and when at last Boromir looked up, hunched and dishevelled as he was, and his grey eyes searched the boy’s face, still Faramir said nothing.
Boromir’s mouth curved into a parody of a grin. “Do you know, this actually hurts worse than I could manage with the belt.”
“I am so sorry,” Faramir said quietly, lowering his face. “But you needed to hear it, and someone had to say it.”
“But it is true. I ought to be a man about this.” Boromir closed his eyes for a moment, then said with more firmness, “I ought – and I will. I shall take it in stride. If anything, I owe you this much – this and so much more…”
Faramir frowned. “And when have I ever asked for anything of you?” he countered with disapproval. “All I need is that you let me love you, even in hardship – especially in hardship. This wish you are at full liberty to grant me.”
Boromir rubbed his hand upwards over his face. “That doesn’t sound like much,” he pointed out, and a smile begged entrance upon his lips. He could not understand how it happened, but before he knew it all darkness had left him, and vitality had filled his body anew, and all he could see was the warmth in his brother’s eyes.
Faramir stepped up to him, reached out to touch him on the face, and smiled in return. “But to me it is everything,” he said softly.
“But it is not that simple,” Boromir argued gently, for now he wanted to be gentle with Faramir, for now that the storm had passed it brought him pleasure to be gentle. “I am responsible for you.”
“Then so am I – for you. I am not a child, Boromir, and you are not answerable for the choices that I make.”
“Not a child,” Boromir repeated with a snort. “Now where’s all your renowned humbleness, young lord?”
And he caught Faramir by the arm and felled him down onto the bed, and Faramir, laughing, fell into his arms. But the sensation of his little brother’s lithe strength against his body was so profound, so full of life and heat that by some warped logic it made a wave of languid melancholy wash over Boromir. His grip on the boy’s shoulders slackened and he gazed up at the ceiling – and now that he was unprompted, the words came of their own volition.
“What kind of man am I becoming, Faramir?” he mused slowly, in idle wonder. “I sleep with my own brother, and persuade myself that needing it this bad somehow excuses me. I know that even if it is not wrong, it’s stupid given the danger, but I can’t find strength to put a stop to it… I can no longer even make myself believe I should try and put a stop to it. How easy it was to accept it in the morning, when I was high from making love to you. It has that effect, you know, your wits cloud over and you become all placid. But it wears off… and what do you see then? You say do it with pride, but where would I find so much pride, Faramir, if it is the very currency in which the payments for this bargain are taken? Each day I must give tribute. Pretend, lie, watch my back among my own men, say one thing and do another. How can I respect myself after that…? And how can I care so little?”
He turned his head to look at Faramir, and Faramir was looking back at him, seriously, his thoughtful eyes mere inches away from Boromir’s.
“Why?” Boromir asked of Faramir’s eyes. “Why, Faramir, does it have to be like this? Why me? I had never wanted such complicated shit in my life. I’m a straightforward man, you know that, a little on the rough side perhaps – I like things brutally simple. I like pure colours. Aye, I know, Father says that being the high lord is ultimately about choosing between bad and worse, and that everything is always very-very intricate, and that pure colours are garish… I used to think that was merely the sort of talk that comes with the territory and age, but… Why?”
Faramir raised his hand and ran a caress over the stray lock of Boromir’s black hair.
“I don’t know,” he said sincerely, and that was all he said, but such love shone in his voice that Boromir took his words as an answer, and was comforted.
They lay for a while more, and when Boromir’s fingers began to play with Faramir’s hair in that absentminded manner that Boromir had, the boy knew the hard part was over.
“I almost forgot,” Faramir murmured raising himself up on his elbow. “The servants have set up a bath for you. Why not go check on it? ’Tmust have cooled, but there’s a full cauldron hanging in the hearth.”
The offer was nothing if not tempting, and Boromir felt he could do with a hot bath indeed, to melt away the day’s distress, weariness, and all other unpleasant things. But as he sat up he remembered something and looked at Faramir with suspicion.
“Wait. I’d already wiped myself down at the quarters, as you know I always do after a day with the men. And I’ve never asked the servants to set a…”
Pursing his lips, Faramir quickly looked away.
An expression of delighted amazement came upon Boromir’s face, “You knew! You had known all along I was going to come here all wretched and acrid, and you’ve arranged it with the bath!”
The boy stood up and pulled him by the hand. “So I have – and I’m going with you, to help you wash.” He sounded both playful and decisive, a promise twinkling in his smiling eyes.
Boromir knew he perhaps ought to marvel at how quickly his little brother had found a sound footing in a world that was changing with nauseating speed, whereas he, Boromir, the older and the hardier of the two, was struggling so helplessly. But he decided he would marvel some other time, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, because for the time being he had had more food for thought than even an aspiring scholar, which Boromir was definitely not, could fit on his plate.
And in the spacious bathroom adjoining the bedchamber Faramir waited on his brother, and Boromir enjoyed it like he could not remember himself enjoying a bathing before. When with a little gasp the man lowered himself into the steaming fragrant water, Faramir hiked up his sleeves and soaped his brother’s hair, and rinsed it with cool herbal infusions, and dried it with a towel, and brushed it gently with a wooden comb.
Boromir sighed deeply and sank a little deeper still. Faramir sat down by his side on a low wooden stool and closed his eyes, leaning his head against Boromir’s forearm that rested on the tub’s rim, and for a long time neither brother as much as stirred. The water smoothed out like a pane of looking-glass, only swaying subtly in the slow rhythm of Boromir’s breathing, reflections of candle-light sliding across it like faerie-lights. The outer world was far away, safely shut out by many a closed door; in that moment all was well, and it were such moments that would have to make it worthwhile – moments that were to be treasured like the most precious of precious gemstones, Faramir thought dreamily.
When wisps of vapour were no longer rising from the surface, the boy took a rough washcloth and scrubbed Boromir’s neck, shoulders, and back, careful to avoid the scratch-marks of his own making from the previous night. Then the young man stood up, water streaming down his body and dripping back into the tub, and Faramir washed the rest of him. Massaging the lather over the plains of Boromir’s body, Faramir kept his eyes low, assuming a mien as no-nonsense and business-like as he could, sensing quite strongly that if he were to as much as glance up at Boromir, both of them would swiftly end up in the tub or on the cold wet floor, either of which would be far less comfortable than the vast mattress beckoning in the next room.
He had waited all day, patiently, it had seemed to him, he had even thought he had inured himself to the possibility that his brother might not be in the mood for anything at all tonight – how could these last few minutes be so trying? The anticipation so sweet and sharp it threatened to suffocate him, Faramir could barely walk in a straight line as he followed the content, unwary and seemingly unsuspecting Boromir to the bed.
Stepping up to him from behind, the boy enringed the young man’s waist with his arms. He pressed himself hard against Boromir, inhaling the clean humid scent of his damp hair, snuggling to the broad cozy strength of his back. He felt as a weary battered boat coming at last into its home harbour, and he could have stood in this unreflecting peace forever but for his love being young, and restless, and hungry. He smiled – and set to undo the knot of Boromir’s bathrobe girdle. At this the young man tilted his head back and exhaled deeply, and Faramir took it as a welcome to his unambiguous advances.
“Why did you even do it up? You knew it would have to go right away,” the boy murmured with a chuckle as his fingers untied the sash. But Boromir heard his voice catch and falter, and knew his brother’s nonchalance was but a pretence.
The man turned around – and his darkened, hazy gaze made Faramir’s pulse race and heat rush to his face.
Boromir leant to him with decisive swiftness and squeezed his mouth with a close hard kiss, ungentle a prickly, a man’s kiss. In a moment he drew away – and as they looked at each other, both knew that it was right, that it could not be otherwise.
As Faramir gazed into his brother’s eyes, his chest swelled with violent, uncontainable happiness. They loved each other, and tonight they were safe. And they would not be in a hurry, for much as they were both men and ignited easily, this love was too dearly bought to rush it. The night lay before them – a whole night to be together, to be happy, to love, a night that was theirs, only theirs, each and every heartbeat of it.
The boy smiled at Boromir and pushed the robe open, off his lover’s shoulders, and it slid to the floor with a soft rustle – and Faramir’s hands slid down the man’s body, very lightly and very slowly. And when his fingers came to below his brother’s navel, he saw that Boromir was ready to love him.
To Be Continued
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: pi , Petey