16 December 2010 | 2300 words
Title: Best Served Cold
Characters: Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir
Warnings: Boromir likes to swear. A lot.
Summary: The brothers have upped the ante. Aragorn knows how to handle that kind of behavior.
It’s “work on my story” or “strangle my seven-year-old”. Story first… strangling later.
And by the way… all the friendly and wonderful comments on these have made me very, very happy and I have not had this much fun working on something in a long time, so thank you to all for reading and for letting me know what you think!
“He’s not going to let this go,” Faramir warned, as he and his brother walked toward their rooms from the training fields.
Boromir shrugged. “He’ll be all right. He’s just sulking.”
“I don’t think Aragorn sulks,” Faramir said, thinking to himself that if there was sulking going on, it was nearly always Boromir doing it. “He’s planning something.”
“If he was planning something he’d have done it already,” Boromir said cheerfully, secure in his victory. “He didn’t even shout at us.”
Faramir frowned. Aragorn hadn’t shouted at them for their prank, but he’d also completely ignored both of them for the last three days, not saying a word to them or even glancing at them whether at dinner or in meetings, as if they had ceased to exist. Boromir seemed to see this as a sign that he had learned his lesson; Faramir highly doubted that.
The next official function at which the king and his steward were required to appear together was the formal presentation of awards of honor to several officers of Gondor’s army who had displayed particular courage and leadership during the war. The ceremony took place outside in the courtyard on a bright, balmy day, and a considerable crowd had gathered to watch. Faramir lurked off to the side and kept an eye on his brother as he stood on the platform at Aragorn’s right, listening proudly as the king extolled the merits of Gondor’s finest fighting men. Arwen, on his other side, held a velvet-lined box containing the handsome medals, courtesy of Gimli and the dwarves of the Glittering Caves, and as she handed the box to Aragorn he turned and, as usual, passed his ornate staff to the steward at his side.
Boromir dropped it.
The crowd fell entirely silent, shocked. Faramir watched as his brother, red-faced, reached down to pick up the staff, only to have it slide effortlessly through his fingers and hit the ground again. Aragorn glanced at him calmly out of the corner of his eye, but otherwise ignored the steward’s difficulty and went on to call names and hand out medals as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
“Rotten evil bastard…” Boromir growled, storming down the hall with Faramir on his heels. “He covered the whole handle of the thing with oil except the part at the top where he was holding it.”
Faramir bit back a smile as he listened to Boromir rant about being embarrassed in front of the entire city of Gondor and his troops. When they reached Boromir’s room, Faramir thought for just a moment about mentioning that his brother might want to proceed with caution, but he decided to keep his mouth shut. The door opened without incident, although Faramir did take a cautious step back. Boromir strode over to his chair by the hearth, and at least had the good sense to make sure it was not covered with some unpleasant or painful substance before flopping down into it with a sigh.
Boromir had not thought to look under the chair cushion, and if he had he might have noticed the large paper bag full of fine ash from the fire place which had been placed there. Since he didn’t look, however, he discovered this surprise only when he sat down hard on top of it, causing it to explode all over Boromir, his chair, and everything else within four or five feet of him, settling as a gray-white film of very fine, clinging dust.
Faramir took one look at his brother, sitting perfectly still in his chair with the dust clinging to his hair and eyebrows and every fold of his clothes, and took off for his own room, reminding himself to be very careful where he sat. Of course, his surprise was not in his chair, but instead in his house shoes, so that when Faramir pulled off his boots and stuck his feet into the softer leather shoes, he discovered too late that the lining was thoroughly soaked. He kicked the shoes off sharply, at which point he discovered that what they were thoroughly soaked with was blue ink, which not only had now dyed his feet blue but was also splattered generously across his floor, made even worse by the wet blue footprints Faramir left as he went looking for a towel.
Aragorn was relentless. Faramir, attempting to demonstrate some archery techniques to a group of novices on the training field, reached over his shoulder as he always did for an arrow from his quiver, only to discover that the arrows were stuck rather firmly. On closer inspection, this appeared to have something to do with the fact that his quiver had been filled with bread dough. Boromir was sent off during a council meeting to retrieve a book from the library so a certain law of some sort could be looked up; when he returned to the meeting he discovered to his annoyance that the pages in question had been removed and replaced with what appeared to be rather poorly drawn but vaguely pornographic illustrations. Faramir came home one afternoon to discover that his entire room smelled of something horribly rotten; after some searching he discovered that several deceased fish had made their way into his clothes drawers. The stench refused to go away entirely, even after multiple washings, to the annoyance of Faramir and everyone who had to sit next to him. Boromir, on the other hand, discovered that someone had put glue in his boots, which he didn’t notice until he discovered that he was unable to get them off.
“We’re going to have to keep an eye on him all the time,” Boromir growled at his brother, as he attempted to pry his boots off on the edge of his chair. “Catch him in the act. Either you’re watching him or I’m watching him. He won’t have time to pull off these stunts if we never give him a chance to be out of our sight.”
Faramir highly doubted this, but he agreed to Boromir’s plan, and one or the other of them made sure to be in the city and somewhere in Aragorn’s vicinity all day the next two days, making sure he did not go anywhere in the direction of their rooms or any of their belongings.
This attempt, besides leaving Boromir bored out of his mind and extremely irritable, had absolutely no effect on the ongoing attacks. Faramir climbed into bed one night, having inspected the sheets carefully, and fell back contentedly onto his pillow, only to receive a nasty lump when the back of his head discovered that his pillow case now contained a large rock as well as a pillow. Boromir was wakened in the middle of the night to find that all the torches and candles in his room had gone out; when he got up to remedy this, his unprotected toes and shins had numerous painful encounters with various pieces of furniture that had been moved to places where they were most likely to be kicked or tripped upon in the dark. Faramir discovered that someone had replaced his favorite riding gloves with a pair of pretty pink laced ones, but only when he sent one of the stable boys to retrieve them from his bag and bring them back to him in front of a party of Rangers preparing to ride out for the day. On the same day Boromir, having worked up a sweat taking out his aggression on a training dummy by hacking at it with a dulled sword, grabbed for his water jug and took a generous gulp of it before realizing that it tasted rather bitter. He wondered what nasty thing Aragorn might have put in it, but suffered no ill effects, at least until he came back to the city and began receiving a number of very odd looks from people. He finally ran into Faramir, who completely failed to maintain a straight face as he informed his brother that apparently the bitter taste in his water had been due to the addition of a significant quantity of dye, which had apparently had the effect of turning Boromir’s mouth and lips a very odd shade of green that ended up taking several days to completely wash off.
Aragorn, of course, took absolutely no notice of this or any of the other misfortunes that befell the two brothers. In fact, the more unfortunate incidents that the two men encountered, the more Aragorn seemed to get over his previous annoyance with them and regain his usual welcoming disposition, greeting them heartily at meals and chatting with them happily about the events of the day, apparently oblivious to the fact that one brother’s mouth was completely green and the other smelled like rotten fish. Even when both men could swear that the king had been nowhere near the location of the incidents, they continued unabated.
On one of the last warm, golden days of summer, the two brothers sat in one of the quieter gardens, overlooking the pond below where a number of children were taking advantage of the warm sunshine to splash and swim and dunk each other in the cool water while the mothers of the youngest ones sat on the grass and watched over them. Faramir always enjoyed watching the children play in the water, recalling days he and Boromir had escaped their duties and gone off to splash and dive with the other children. Boromir seemed to relax somewhat as they sat; they had been in the garden nearly an hour and nothing had exploded, bitten them, glued itself to them, or turned them odd colors, so perhaps they were safe for the moment.
Both men sat up abruptly when a cry of alarm rose above the general racket from the pond, and the children began to splash toward the banks, looking frightened. The cause of the disturbance was a fair-haired girl in the same white summer under-dress that most of the female children wore to swim, flailing in the deepest part of the water as if struggling not to go under.
“Bloody hell!” Boromir exclaimed, and before Faramir could even react, he was untying his boots and throwing off his leather tunic and racing down the stone stairs toward the pond. Faramir watched from the side as he dove into the water and struck out swimming in the girl’s direction; Boromir had always been a strong swimmer and with a few powerful strokes he was close enough to throw an arm around the struggling girl’s chest and pull her to the surface.
The moment his hand felt the lean, wiry figure beneath the wet dress, Boromir already knew, and he could only groan in frustration as the rescued swimmer turned in his arms and planted a soggy kiss on his cheek.
“This is why I bloody hate bloody elves!” Boromir roared, shoving away.
Legolas beamed at him. “What? You wouldn’t have rescued me?”
The stream of anatomically impossible and extraordinarily vulgar curses that Boromir hurled at the wet elf only served to make him grin more happily, but the mothers on the banks were motioning anxiously to their children and covering the littler ones’ ears as they hurried them away from the verbal onslaught.
“That’s no way to greet a friend you haven’t seen in months,” Legolas said, pretending to be offended as he splashed to the shore and began wringing the water out of his hair. “Even if I am wearing a dress, that’s no reason to make inappropriate comments about my sexual preferences, either.”
“How long have you been here?” Faramir asked suspiciously, as he held out a hand to help a dripping, furious Boromir out of the water.
Legolas shrugged. “A few days, give or take. By the way, Boromir, how long did it take that green dye to wash off? I brought it from Lothlorien on my way through… Aragorn requested it specially.”
“You filthy son of a…” Boromir launched into another tirade, but Faramir raised a hand to stop him.
“Requested it. From Lothlorien.”
Legolas nodded cheerfully.
“But it would have taken quite some time for the message to get there, and for you to get here…” Faramir said.
“Of course,” the elf said merrily. “That’s our Ranger… always thinking ahead!”
He gave Boromir an affectionate pat on the back as he strolled by.
“Look forward to seeing you both at dinner! Oh, and be rather careful what you eat… that dye isn’t the only thing Aragorn asked me to bring…”
Boromir stood with clenched fists, too furious to speak. Faramir tried very, very hard not to laugh, because he strongly suspected that at this moment it was not unlikely that Boromir would strangle him for it.
“He does play the damsel in distress rather well,” he said finally, unable to resist.
Boromir closed his eyes, obviously fighting the urge to reach for his brother’s throat. Faramir grinned to himself and hurried back up the stairs before Boromir could make up his mind either way.
Continue to Truce
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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: ebbingnight