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30 September 2010 | 88324 words
Now we have reached the end.
To all of you who have read, or read and commented: thank you. Your faith in this story has been a blessing.
Emyn Arnen, Lairë 19, IV 5
There was birdsong and not a cloud in sight, and the Sun had wandered over to the south-western sky. Faramir tried to reckon how many hours were left until sunset but failed. His fickle thoughts fled him, nervous as he was where he waited at the foot of the stairs. He smoothed out imaginary creases in his shirt for the hundredth time and regretted not taking a second look in the mirror before he hurried outside. He had been too eager to stay indoors, and consequently he had been too early. Still, he had not abandoned his place by the stone steps – he had not even sat down. He was sure that someone was laughing at him somewhere but he did not find it in him to care.
At last there was some commotion by the gates and the air stirred. Faramir’s stomach turned over and his heart picked up a mad beat. A party of riders approached, ever so slowly, commanded by a man Faramir had only met once before but whose piercing blue gaze was as intimidating now as it had been then.
“King Elessar and Prince Eldarion seek to enter the house of the Steward of Gondor,” the man announced stiffly and in a low voice that still managed to carry.
Faramir must force himself to look only at the herald and he managed a smile. “They are most welcome.” Somewhere among the riders were…
But Beriand narrowed his eyes at him until they were mere slits. “Steward Faramir.”
Chancing it could be a greeting, Faramir inclined his head to him. “Sir.”
“This escort is under orders to leave as soon as the King and his son has dismounted and have had their luggage carried into your… house.” He spared the house before him a challenging glare. “I trust the security here is excellent?”
Ignoring the badly hidden contempt, Faramir would have liked to try a grin this time but he could distantly understand the herald’s obsession with the King of Gondor’s safety. “You will have no reason to worry.”
Beriand grunted a reply and spun his mare around to speak with his men. Faramir craned his neck to look past him, knowing it must make him look like a curious child, but ready to explode if he did not see Aragorn soon. The longing had been tugging at his heart for too many lonely nights and was now a bone-deep aching in him. He could not see… but then:
Roheryn carried the King proudly, and he sat tall in his saddle, and his eyes were searching too. When their gazes met, Faramir could not help the smile that he had so longed to smile. He saw Aragorn slide off his horse and come rushing towards him, he heard Beriand shouting and voices raised in the ensuing confusion but then knew no more for Aragorn’s arms were wound tightly around him and their mouths were crashed together.
Faramir breathed in his scent, the mixture of sunshine, dust and stone. He kissed Aragorn for all he was worth, giving in more to desperation than love, or even lust. When they finally parted, Aragorn cradled his face in his hands and his eyes shone.
“By Elbereth, I have missed you Faramir!”
“And I you. So much.” He leaned his forehead against Aragorn’s and listened to his own pounding heart; he found the wild flow of his lover’s heartbeat, too, and closed his eyes in relief.
They shared a new kiss, slower, softer this time, and not until this one also was over did Faramir note that there was bustling all around them. Self-consciously, he pulled back a little. “Well, no doubt Gondor shall have some new rumours to feast on now.”
Aragorn smiled but his hands drifted to Faramir’s waist. “I have hid nothing from the Council,” he said quietly. “They have been informed of my intention to come here as often as I possibly can… and still I am King and respected, I think.”
Faramir fastened a strand of dark hair behind an ear. “I too have made my choice known but I know of no result yet.”
“You look well,” said Aragorn, “and so I gather you have not been assaulted?”
“I have not…” He dropped a new kiss to Aragorn’s lips. “I am so happy that you have come.”
A movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention and he turned to see Eldarion handing over his bags to a servant and casting a quick glance at his father. Faramir released Aragorn and inclined his head to the boy. “Eldarion,” he mumbled and Aragorn took a step back.
The boy warily came over to them and his gaze darted from one man to the other. “Faramir.”
“It is good to see you again. Welcome back.”
As the boy nodded, Aragorn turned to speak with Beriand and Faramir marvelled at the ease with which he went from lover to King.
“So,” said Faramir slowly, “how are you?”
Eldarion’s grey eyes reflected the blue sky above. “I am well…” Guilt flashed across his face and he dropped his gaze to the ground. “I was happy to leave the City and the Tower… It is a bit dull there, you know…”
“Yea…” Faramir smiled. “Tomorrow is Midsummer and we will see the bonfires and… eat, if that pleases you? I made no elaborate plans for I did not know what you preferred,” he went on, the words simply rushing out of him. Finally.
“I would like to see the fires.” Eldarion glanced up. “They have such celebrations in Rivendell too.” He prodded the ground with booted toes. “Sir, Faramir,” he quickly corrected himself, “is Nena here?”
Forbidding himself to smile, Faramir nodded. “She is in the kitchens, I think, helping to prepare dinner.” When he saw the look of disappointment, he added, “Of course, if you happen to know how to bake honey cakes…”
Eldarion caught on quickly, “Could I..?”
Faramir grinned and gave him a small push in the right direction. “Go.”
An unexpected rush of warmth flooded his heart when Eldarion returned his grin before he dashed off towards the kitchens.
“Was he bored of you already?” Aragorn stepped up to him with a gleam in his grey eyes. He had unclasped and rolled up his cloak and tossed it over a shoulder.
“Apparently I am not very interesting…” Faramir tried a miserable look but failed utterly when Aragorn smiled. “Or it could have been because I mentioned food.”
Beriand had mounted his mare again and was now giving out orders. Aragorn came a fraction closer to Faramir and eyed him suspiciously “Or, thanks to your scheming, he thinks only of girls these days… Maybe one girl in particular..?”
Faramir glanced over at the escort and decided they were all too concerned with themselves to pay their King and Steward any attention. He slid an arm around Aragorn’s waist and, pulling him close, murmured, “My lips are sealed.”
Somewhere, in some world far, far away, Beriand was shouting out his final orders and the royal escort was set in motion, having now no one to escort anywhere. Emyn Arnen had accepted the temporary intrusion but exhaled slowly as the eastbound wind drove the riders on towards the Road. The sound of hooves died away and left were only the whisperings of the trees and the uneven rhythms of two hearts beating nervously.
Faramir hardly knew where he ended or where he began. Aragorn stood pressed against him and there was a suggestion of heat building. Still, the kiss was tentative, stumbling… Now, with no mortal eyes on them, the boundaries grew muddled and the possibilities multiplied. Faramir sucked very gently on Aragorn’s lower lip and then let him go, opening his eyes to the bright day.
“Would you… like to wash or… unpack..?”
Aragorn shook his head, a flicker of uncertainty finding its way into his eyes. “I would like to be with you.”
In silence, they had come to Faramir’s chambers and by some unspoken agreement sunk down on the sofa in the inner room. The sun was slipping further west but it was not yet time for dinner. Aragorn’s cloak hung abandoned over the back of a chair. They sat facing each other and the silence was dense around them. Faramir’s thoughts were swirling and yet he was sure his mind was blank for he could think of absolutely nothing to say. He should be professing his love, time and time again, letting Aragorn know just how much he had been missed. He should be, in this very moment, speaking of the long nights when he had been craving company, comfort…
There was a void between them and he needed a bridge. He saw his own hand hover in the air as he reached out and brushed his fingertips against Aragorn’s stubbly cheek. The older man trembled at the simple touch and he opened his mouth but did not speak. Faramir shuffled a bit closer, cupping Aragorn’s cheek and urging him to lean in. They met somewhere mid-movement and Faramir instigated a kiss he dazedly thought would have chased Aragorn back to the City only some weeks ago. He felt his own breathing speed up but the kiss only deepened; Aragorn’s teeth grazed his lower lip and Faramir felt his fingers tangle in the dark locks. Meanwhile, Aragorn was tugging him closer still, his hands running up and down Faramir’s back, drifting down again… until they were fingering his belt, sliding along the leather, tearing at it until it fell away completely.
Faramir drove forward, drove his tongue into Aragorn’s mouth, pushed him back against the linen, and he gave up reason and caution. He broke the kiss only to nuzzle the other man’s neck and his open-mouthed kisses melted into warm skin. From Aragorn’s hands, heat flowed into him… they were pushing, too, pushing his shirt up over his shoulder blades, forcing him to draw back and lift his arms. He heard Aragorn’s breath catch before they crashed together again and Faramir parted his lips and let their tongues slide together.
He wanted more, wanted to be so completely consumed by the fire that was waking in the core of his body. Aragorn pushed back, inviting him to wind his arms around the slim waist.
“Wait.” Faramir broke the kiss and must blink several times to clear his vision. “Just…” His heart was pounding. “Stay here.”
He ignored the questions that dulled the light in Aragorn’s eyes and pushed himself to his feet. On shaky legs, he hurried into the bedchamber and returned only seconds later with a vial of oil.
“Oh…” At the sight, Aragorn visibly relaxed and some colour rose in his cheeks. His lips were reddened and his hair dishevelled. “I thought…”
Faramir kicked off his boots and slowed his pace a little. He fixed Aragorn with his gaze and said, deliberately slowly, “Never think I do not want you.” He came to stand in front of his lover and with his free hand ghosted over the bulge in his leggings. He raised one eyebrow. Aragorn looked up at him, grey eyes wide and overflowing with almost every emotion one could imagine. But he nodded and accepted the oil.
Faramir pushed down his leggings, exposing himself, his semi-hard member twitching when Aragorn leaned forward and his lips brushed the heated flesh, leaving a first kiss upon it that made Faramir shudder. But this was no time to honour patience. He heard his own voice rough and raspy, “Next time.”
Then he was straddling Aragorn’s hips, his leggings forgotten on the floor. The older man slid down low and they were kissing again as the sky turned a bright crimson outside, shot with gold. Faramir cupped the bulge in Aragorn’s leggings and cherished the moan that twined around them. He pulled at the lacings and Aragorn bucked his hips and gasped. With desire spiralling through him, Faramir both saw and felt himself swell and he nearly cried out when a slick hand wrapped around his length, only increasing his hunger.
Aragorn’s thick length filled his hand just as a first finger breached his body and he felt himself melt into the waves of warmth that lapped at him. He tried to pleasure Aragorn but was lost as the guardian muscle was tested and coaxed into relaxing. Aragorn’s head had fallen back but there was an expression of profound concentration in his features. Faramir smiled weakly through the haze of desire. He edged forward, clumsily, heavily, pushed himself up and felt the fingers slip out of him. Aragorn opened his eyes, the grey having turned into a shining silver, and Faramir felt the blunt head of his lover’s arousal press against him. He sank down, air rushing past his lips as something else pushed in. Aragorn groaned as the world closed in on them and everything else lost its meaning.
This – the suggestion slid through Faramir’s mind – was perfection.
The shadows had begun stretching and the sky was now a light purple. Soon they must rise and go to dinner but for now they lay entwined on the sofa, having found a blanket to cover them.
“For how long will you be staying?” Faramir had dreaded the question ever since he had received Aragorn message revealing the exact date of his arrival. He steeled himself against the reply, determined to be happy even if it was only a matter of hours.
Aragorn swallowed and there was a hint of insecurity about him. “Would you have me for a fortnight?”
“A fortnight?” Faramir stared at his lover. “Two whole weeks?”
Aragorn shrugged awkwardly against the pillows. “It is Midsummer and all of Gondor will be feasting or lying in a daze, or both. I brought some paperwork and if you could spare a messenger at times, and put up with me–”
“Put up with you?” Faramir echoed him and then he must shake himself. The flicker of fear in Aragorn’s eyes he never wanted to see again. “I would house you for eternity. I was prepared for three days at the most.”
Gradually a sweet smile curved Aragorn’s lips. “Will you have food enough? Eldarion eats for two these days.”
“I will send you hunting. Or, no, I will send someone else hunting.” Faramir grinned. “I never want you out of my sight.”
The bluish light of evening filled the sitting-room and Faramir turned over another page. Eldarion, too, had found a book and so peace had settled while they both read. The night was warm and so no fire had been lit. The house was quiet and it was easy to drift… into dreams and visions… and yet something always pulled him back; and he knew, deep down, that dreams no longer were needed. They had brought him what he now treasured above anything else he could name. Now was not the time to dream.
He lowered his book and found that Eldarion was watching him. “Yes?”
“I was just wondering… This winter, will you be travelling to Rohan with us to Éomer King’s celebration?”
“Ah, yes… I had forgotten about that,” said Faramir earnestly. He had, truthfully, not spared the matter a second thought after he had discussed it with Aragorn some month earlier. “There will be a great feast when Lothíriel has born the child, I assume… As Steward of Gondor I will go but we shall have to speak with your father regarding the details…”
A brief look of distress passed over Eldarion’s expressive face and he dropped his gaze to his lap. His reply was too low for Faramir to catch.
“Eldarion?” Faramir frowned. “What is the matter?”
The boy fiddled with the hem of his shirt, his book quite forgotten. “You too could be like my father,” he mumbled at last. “Like my second father…” He looked up at that; large grey eyes filled with anxiety. “If you do not mind…”
It was true that Faramir’s love for Aragorn was like nothing he had ever before experienced. It flooded him, filled him, made him feel like he encompassed the entire Universe, but this timid confession spread another light completely through his heart and rendered him speechless. He knew of no words worthy enough in response.
He reached out and stroked the wild curls. “Thank you,” he whispered at last.
Eldarion swallowed. “It would be okay with you?”
Faramir shook his head slowly. “I know very little of boys your age,” he confessed. “Mablung, my friend, has two children but even the eldest is only barely past her third birthday. I never planned to have children of my own.”
“But you were a child too, and you had a brother,” said Eldarion, curiosity gradually replacing his anxiousness.
“That was… different.” Faramir hesitated. “The times were different… and my brother was a promising warrior at a young age – I was not…”
“I do not much like swords,” offered Eldarion. “I have tried to, but I do not think it went very well… They are very heavy.”
“That, they are.” Faramir scooted forward in his seat, not wanting to lose track of the conversation before Eldarion had fully grasped what a blessing he had bestowed upon him. “Listen, Eldarion, if you will indeed in the future consider me your father, a second one, I will be honoured beyond understanding.”
“Father says he loves me…” Eldarion murmured. “I did not see him much before.”
Faramir’s heart clenched. “Your father loves you more than you know. So much more.”
Eldarion lifted his grey eyes to Faramir’s and the unspoken question in them was so clear that it could not be interpreted as anything else.
Faramir smiled, readily, easily. He slid off his seat and pushed his chair as close as he might. Then he gathered Eldarion up in his arms and poured all the love and security he could summon into that embrace. “I will love you too, little one. Just like I have come to love your father. And you will always have a home in Ithilien should the stone walls of the City grow too confining… and even if they do not.”
Eldarion said nothing but he buried his face against Faramir’s chest and stayed there. Faramir stroked his hair, thanking the Valar for trust freely given.
And as the silver of the Moon spread across the floor and the shadows contently sank into place, he gave thanks for love and courage. Eventually, Eldarion’s breathing evened out and softened.
Faramir looked up as a familiar shape appeared in the doorway. Aragorn crossed the floor on silent feet with the moonlight skating across his dark hair. He sank to his knees before them and pressed a kiss into his son’s hair. Then he looked up at Faramir and there was finally peace in his eyes.
“You have healed us both, meleth nín.” His whisper caressed Faramir’s heart.
Faramir let his gaze travel over Aragorn’s face: his stubbly cheeks, his proud chin, his soft eyes and full lips.
You, I love.
He hugged Eldarion a little closer and the boy gave a small sigh in his sleep.
In wonder, Faramir thought he must have been gifted with two hearts for though he had already given his to Aragorn, Eldarion had stolen it too.
Aragorn lifted a hand and stroked his cheek. The Ring of Barahir reflected the moonlight and spun a web of shimmering silver around them.
All three of them.
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