This story is rated «NC-17», and carries the warnings «References to predominantly incestuous rape; child abuse; violence. AU timeline.».
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12 January 2007 | 50694 words | Work in Progress
Pairing: Faramir / Aragorn; mention of prior Denethor / Faramir
Warnings: References to predominantly incestuous rape; child abuse; violence. AU timeline.
This is a sequel to One Last Time which gave an account of the last time Denethor molested his younger son. This sequel deals with Faramir’s recovery after the War. It features brief and mostly hazy references to the abuse, but we have chosen to not include any explicit flashbacks in this story so it will be acceptable to a wider audience. However, instead of such explicit flashbacks there’ll be a separate series of short Denethor / Faramir fics entitled the Past Times Series, of which Minx’s Force and Consideration is the first.
He didn’t even hear his father speak the words; the command so familiar to him that he knew what was expected as if by instinct. He moved without protest or hesitation, and felt the familiar pressure of the desk’s edge against his bare thighs and the well-known cool sensation of the polished top touching his chest and forearms. He pressed one cheek down against the smooth surface as he willed his thoughts far from the man moving behind him, ignoring the rustle of clothing being loosened.
He steeled himself for the pain he knew was to come; he’d barely had the time to prepare himself for the summons had been sudden. His eyes strayed to the papers next to him as cold hands came in contact with his backside and forced him to spread his legs. They were upside down from his viewpoint, so he’d have to focus to read them. All the better for it; anything to keep his mind away from the hurtful fingers that grabbed his hips to hold him in place, and the pain to ensue.
Re-… recon-… reconstruction estimates? Why would father have reconstruction estimates on his desk? The letters blurred as tears sprung to his eyes at the sudden ripple of pain running through his lower body.
Faramir blinked twice, letting the tears fall, but still found himself staring at the same reconstruction estimates as he had seen in his nightmare. He sighed as he peeled his face off his own desk and sat back in his chair. Luckily Éowyn isn’t here to see me like this, he thought as he watched his hands tremble when he reached up to rub his eyes.
The light filtering in through the open windows had him sitting up straight, groaning as his back and shoulders protested at the sudden movement. He’d slept through the night, he realised with alarm. He’d been working late the previous night, there was so much to do, and he’d obviously fallen asleep midway, which meant he still had all that work left to do.
Taking a deep breath he took in his surroundings once again. It was still early, he noted, the sun was barely over the horizon. If he could quickly freshen up and change, and grab something to eat from the kitchens, he could get back to his study without anyone noticing he had slept at his desk. There was so much to do… and if he could just get back to work again, he wouldn’t have time to think about anything else.
He gathered up the work he’d done so far after a while, knowing the king rose early. He could hand him these for his approval, and then perhaps, take a short rest, he thought suddenly feeling very tired, his head was throbbing dully, and his throat felt a little sore. He wouldn’t be able to sleep, he knew, but a short rest, maybe something hot to eat, soup, perhaps, and then he could finish the pending paperwork on the military allocations by afternoon, and then go through all those treaties.
“We plan to ride till the river today,” Elrohir announced, early in the morning, “Will you not join us, Aragorn?”
To the king’s foster brothers from Imladris and his friend from Mirkwood, the vast stone city of men seemed a stifling structure, and they often wondered how he, after his days as a ranger of the north, was handling life there. Aragorn had lived there earlier, as in many other places, yet after many work-filled days spent indoors, he too longed for the outdoors.
“It is a fine day,” he mused.
“Let’s leave immediately,” Elladan spoke up, “Before someone comes up with an alternate plan for you that involves sitting cooped up inside poring over dusty papers.”
A soft cough sounded from near the door.
Three loud sighs greeted a very puzzled Steward, who held a fat sheaf of papers in his hand. He stood uncertainly at the door, until Aragorn waved him inside, a little impatiently.
“Yes, Faramir?” he inquired politely, though he knew what had brought Faramir there, this early in the morning. Gods! Does he never sleep!
“The resettlement plans for your approval, sire,” Faramir spoke holding out some of the papers.
Aragorn gritted his teeth slightly as he took the proffered papers. A part of him almost felt like snapping at the younger man and asking him why he should have a Steward if he needed to approve everything himself. And really did he have to decide everything himself all the time? Why should one have a Steward if said Steward couldn’t make a single independent decision?”
“That’s not much,” Elrohir spoke relieved, “Hurry up and finish that Aragorn, and then we can leave.”
The apologetic expression on Faramir’s face however had caught Elladan’s attention, and he put up a hand on his twin’s shoulder to stop him speaking, as the Steward held out another bundle.
“And these are the troop commanders’ reports.”
And then another lot, “These are the reconstruction estimates.”
Aragorn took all of them with a silent sigh, “Is that all?” he asked unable to keep a touch of sarcasm out of his voice. Faramir however seemed not to notice it at all, or if he did he ignored it quite well.
“I’ll have the military allocations ready for your approval by afternoon, Sire,” he said quietly, “We need to sit over them.”
Aragorn groaned mentally. He needed those for the meeting with the Council on the morrow. Which meant he’d have to spend some time going through them today. Which meant… no, he resolved mentally… he was not going to stew indoors whatever happened.
“No, Faramir! I am going on a ride later in the afternoon. I’ll go through these later, you can get those allocations for me by mid-morning, and we can go through them before I leave,” Aragorn said very calmly. He needed fresh air desperately, and he wouldn’t get any today if he sat down with Faramir to pore over old records, and definitely not the next day if he was to meet the council. Besides, Faramir knew more about these things, surely.
Faramir seemed to hesitate a moment and Aragorn prepared himself to hold out against any protest but then the Steward simply nodded in assent and left.
“Has not Faramir found work an enjoyable pastime of late?” said Elrohir, once the door had closed behind the Steward.
The others looked to him puzzled, and he continued in clarification, “Since a certain lady returned to Rohan?”
“A little louder, son of Elrond, and perhaps your aim to be heard in Rohan may be achieved,” a very cross wizard stood at the door.
“Well, perhaps it is well he heard it,” spoke up Gimli, “He seems to be heavy of heart.”
“It does not befit one who is counted among the leaders of a land to look so,” agreed Legolas.
“You would have him leave his work and go riding with you instead?” Gandalf snorted, “I suppose you think the land governs itself.” But he looked very thoughtful.
Aragorn almost felt a pang of guilt at that, but then he looked out of the window, and saw the sun had risen over the mountains. It was a fine day indeed.
Faramir stared dully at the reports lying on the table. He was yet to read them. He had barely gone through a quarter of his usual daily paperwork. It was a fine day outside, and he could see that for the window was open. He craved the fresh air but he had little time to enjoy it thanks to the meeting the King had suddenly scheduled, a session he was definitely not prepared for. He had learnt the day before that the King wished to go through all the reports dealing with military allocations over the years, something he himself had little idea of. That was something Denethor would hear nothing from him about. He had had enough struggles managing to sustain the Rangers on their meagre allocation.
Finding the information had taken him most of the night, searching through the archives for old reports and then through his brother’s rooms for his papers on the same, an exercise compounded by the fact that Boromir, although an organised soldier, was a very disorganised scholar. He had had to rifle through Denethor’s papers too, an act he had dreaded even before he started. Finding old letters from his mother and his brother, and then his own concise missives from Ithilien had been a hard blow.
He’d meant to have them ready by the morning, but he’d fallen asleep over the plans instead until the same terrifying dreams that haunted him nearly each night had woken him. If he had till afternoon… but then the King wanted them now. He should be working at it right now. Elessar had seemed annoyed at the delay. Faramir hadn’t missed the sarcasm in his voice. And he has every right to be annoyed, he thought as he bit his lip unhappily. There was already enough to do without creating a backlog because he had been stupid enough to fall asleep last night.
Faramir sighed unhappily. He knew he shouldn’t let his thoughts wander so much. But he did wish he were in Ithilien now, sitting in its wooded glades, feeling the air on his face, listening to the birds and the rustling of the trees.
He sighed again and sat with the papers, trying to reduce all the details into a concise report. Perhaps they could finish early, and he too could slip out for a small ride before the day ended. He hoped the good weather would hold. Ignoring the headache that was building up, he resolutely picked up his quill and began reading, only to be interrupted by Gandalf.
“Mithrandir!” Faramir stared up in surprise at his old mentor, wincing slightly as his aching head protested at the sudden movement, “It is good to see you. How do you find the house?” Gandalf and his companions now stayed in one of the houses in the city that had remained unaffected by the battle, so he was not as often in the Citadel now as he had been earlier. Faramir had found himself missing the wizard yet at the same time a part of him had been glad for he knew there were things the wizard would want to talk to him about that he had no desire to even think of.
“Quite adequate, thank you,” the wizard responded as walked in, “I was hoping you would join us there for supper today. The hobbits in particular are unhappy they do not get to see you as often as they did while they were in the Citadel.”
“Me? Oh! That would be wonderful,” Faramir started, and then winced as he remembered, “But I cannot. I have to meet with the king shortly, and then I still have much work pending here. There is a session with the Council tomorrow.”
“Well, perhaps another day,” Gandalf said quietly, and then came and stood in front of Faramir, “You seem to have a lot of work nowadays?”
Faramir shrugged, a little uncomfortable at the scrutiny his friend gave him, “You know how it is…”
“Yes, indeed. There must be much to do, of course. Have you been sleeping well?” he asked abruptly.
Faramir started at that, looking up from the mess on his table and then shrugged, “There is much work to be done,” he said evasively.
He looked quietly into the face of his old mentor, who shook his head before speaking, “You must sleep more. You have not yet fully recovered. I can see it in your eyes.”
“I am quite well now, Mithrandir,” came the bemused reply, “The healers released me from their care many weeks ago.”
The wizard sighed, before speaking, “You can not simply push this aside and expect it to go away. Please, if you won’t talk to me then find someone else to confide in.”
Faramir gave him a mirthless glance, “But there is no-one else left! I stand here where my brother ought to, my father is dead of his own hand and a fire ate the house of Stewards in Rath Dinen.”
“That is all what troubles you, child?”
“That is what troubles me, yes. The fire… I was there. He set the fire and he sought to take me too.”
“He was under the shadow of the palantír then,” his mentor began to speak, but the Steward cut him off, as he sat down heavily on a chair.
“I know, but that lessens the pain no more. It was my failure to hold Osgiliath that gave him the final push.”
“You did not fail,” Gandalf began soothingly.
“I caused it. I caused his death.”
“You still miss him then, after all he has done to you?” Gandalf latched on immediately.
“He was my father.”
“What he did –,” Gandalf started cautiously.
“What my father did was to take his own life. May I not rue that, Mithrandir? Surely, I am allowed to grieve?”
“That is not what I speak of, child.”
“I am no child,” the voice was quiet yet hard as steel.
“No, you’re not. And yet, you have your life ahead of you, and I would that you are no longer haunted by all that your father did to you.”
“I am not – haunted. What was done, was done. It is over. There is nothing to be done now. Whatever should have happened, should have happened then,” Faramir sank back in his chair tiredly, “But it didn’t.”
“I blame myself.” the wizard sighed, “I’ve been here so many times; I should have noticed.”
Faramir stared up sharply at the words, his face creased in puzzlement, “How could you have? Boromir never knew either. The days that either you or Boromir were in the city were the only happy days I ever had here, I didn’t want those to end.”
“But we could have helped you, Faramir. Why are you so afraid to accept aid?”
“I already told you I wouldn’t have left Gondor. And I tried reasoning with him myself once, and that didn’t end well. He would have done as he wanted. He would get what he wanted,” he said distantly, as though trying to rid himself of some terrible memory, and Gandalf found himself wanting to reach out to the younger man and hug him.
“If I had known, I would have pressed Aragorn to claim the throne earlier. Then, perhaps, much of this might have been averted.”
Faramir turned away from his mentor at that, his grey eyes reflecting grave unhappiness.
“I wish you had,” he said quietly, “He was here as Thorongil. Why did he not speak then? Why didn’t you? You knew all along. You knew who Thorongil was.”
“Yes, I did,” Gandalf spoke.
“Why did you not urge him to accept his claim then? Even without knowing about how father treated me. Boromir would still be alive, and father too. Why did he stay away so long? Why now? When everything is over?” Faramir’s anguished voice was soft and full of hurt.
“The time was not right then,” the wizard tried to soothe the distraught young man, but he would have none of it.
“And now it is?” he asked bitterly, unleashing his frustration on the older being, “Of course it is, the shadow is gone now. Now is the time. What matters to him that so many have lost their lives?” He knew as he spoke that his words were harsh and more so that he was hurting his old friend by uttering them, but he found he could barely think before the words came out. His head ached greatly now, and he felt cold and uncomfortable. He felt a slight shiver pass through him, his chest seemed constricted and he found he needed to take a very deep breath at the end of his outburst.
“You must not speak like that! He has faced up to many dangers too. And do not forget he saved Gondor from worse than you can imagine. And he saved your life!”
“Well, I wish he hadn’t!”
“Why should he care about my life?” Faramir laughed unhappily, “What use has he for me here? I cannot even do my duties competently. And he knows it. These constant delays are irking him, and now he no longer bothers hiding his discontent. I can hear it in his voice when he speaks to me… and why do you care either? Your work is done. What care you for a craven fool like me?”
“Faramir, child —”
“My father spoke truly. I was ever unworthy. If it weren’t for my failure, he would still be here. As would Boromir, and Gondor would have the Steward she truly deserves!”
Faramir was not listening. He had sunk his head in hands.
“All gone,” he muttered softly, “They are all gone. And there is nothing left for me here.”
Gandalf gave him a studied glance and then finally walked up to his chair and knelt in front of the dejected man. He gently pried the hands away, and took the now flushed face in his hands, noticing the warmth of the skin and the short gasps of breath that confirmed his suspicion.
“You are unwell,” he said calmly.
Faramir seemed to flinch at the statement, “Unwell? Am I unwell because I refuse to denounce my father?” he asked softly.
“You are unwell because you have a fever,” Gandalf said firmly, “We will speak more of this later, but first you must recover from this fever.”
“I am well,” Faramir responded and rose, pulling away from his mentor’s nearness, “Would you excuse me Mithrandir? I must go meet the King. He awaits me.”
The room swirled around him, and he nearly fell over, caught just in time by Gandalf.
“I’m sorry, I – I tripped,” he started saying but when a cup of water was pressed to his mouth, he found himself swallowing it instinctively, accepting it with great relief.
Gandalf guided him into his chair, “Stay there!” he cautioned. He nodded miserably, as he held his head in his hands.
Aragorn drummed his fingers on the table impatiently. He had specifically Faramir asked to be present at this hour. It was a beautiful day and certainly not one to be wasted on spending inside a cold stone room, waiting for a tawdry Steward, so they could discuss military allocations, something that, he thought irritably, Faramir should be able to work out with his eyes closed!
It was important he knew, but he was still having trouble adjusting to the administrative side of being a King. He had been an advisor and councillor in his earlier days, but he had also then been a captain and he had still spent more time outdoors than indoors. Now he found himself more inside than outside, forever going through papers and reports.
Elladan had laughingly commented that Faramir every time he appeared had more papers for Aragorn, and the King thought rather irritated that that was increasingly true. He never knew being King would entitle so much paperwork –he’d never seen Elrond do even half this much!
He finally arose in annoyance, intending to find Faramir and subject him to a few well-meaning remarks about punctuality. Then perhaps he should find a way to transfer the rest of the days work to him, in payment so he could finally ride out.
He will probably prefer to stay inside anyway immersed in all that paper, he thought sourly, and then felt a little ashamed at his own unfairness in thinking so. Faramir might be caught up in something important. Though what could be more important than their meeting, he could not fathom.
He soon found himself in front of the room Faramir was temporarily using as a study, knocked, but pushed the door open without waiting for an answer, finding his steward alone and calmly gazing at papers on his desk. The sight only served to inflame his already frayed temper and his voice came out much louder and harsher than he’d originally intended.
“There you are! Do you even realize I’ve been waiting for you? Our meeting could have been over by now, and I could have been out riding. You probably haven’t noticed, but it’s a lovely day outside, and I don’t very much enjoy spending such days indoors, waiting around for my Steward, who obviously has no notion of punctuality!”
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