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Tales of the Telcontars (PG-13) Print

Written by Susana

19 September 2011 | 56124 words | Work in Progress

Title: This isn’t Working
Author: Susana
Series: Desperate Hours (set during Desperation’s Gift, so probably around Fourth Age Year 3 or 4.) A semi-sequel to Little Things
Feedback: Please use the form Below
Rating: PG-13
Warning: AU; aftermath of spanking
Disclaimer: All recognizable elements are Tolkien’s
Beta: None, please forgive the errors.
A/N: Set during Desperation’s Gift, after Aragorn knows that Faramir is his son, but before Faramir is really comfortable with the relationship. Around the same time period as ‘Little Things’, Chapter Three of Tales of the Telcontars. This story is in answer, and in thanks, to everyone who reviewed that chapter, specifically it is my attempt to explain what Faramir was thinking, why he seemed so blase. It turns out that blase is one of Faramir’s defense mechanisms… he has quite an arsenal of them.

Additionally, just FYI, Faramir and Dev were not lovers, they just were and are very close friends. Don’t want to mislead anybody, on that point. Dervorin (Dev) the character is in fact bi-sexual, or so my muse informs me, but he and Faramir were never romantically involved.

This isn’t Working

“This isn’t working.” Dervorin’s concerned voice interrupted Faramir’s light doze, bringing back awareness. Faramir frowned. Dev, here, might mean an emergency, and awakening brought the knowledge that Faramir was distinctly uncomfortable. His backside was still sore and and quite hot, though no longer actively throbbing. Faramir was more troubled by his earlier unresolved musings on power, and love, and trust. And by Dev in his room, staring at his naked, soundly spanked, bottom.

“Hmm, your continuing to sneak into my rooms to bother me even after my marriage? I can’t say that particular habit of yours is working for me either, friend.” Faramir said lightly, yanking the blanket Dev was holding up so that it again covered his lower half.

“No, not that.” Dev disagreed, “Besides, I have a care – I’d only come in unannounced if it were important. As it was, I came in the front entrance properly, saw the King to give him the report we got from Alesseo, and he said that you could probably use a friend. Then I came to your rooms, and saw Éowyn and Thea going out to the gardens. Éowyn said not to wake you, but that I could make myself at home until you awoke.” Dev patted Faramir’s shoulder, then disappeared into the adjoining bathing chamber, followed by the sound of running water.

Faramir raised himself up onto his elbows to peer at the level of the sun through the window. “Hmm. So you waited until my wife had left, and then came in here to talk to me?” He called out to Dev, a little put out. Faramir had only just fallen asleep, maybe twenty minutes ago.

Dev came out with a wet towel, answering, “No, I waited five minutes, to make sure she wasn’t coming back, then I came in, and I was deciding whether or not to wake you, when I noticed you were sleeping on your stomach, which is weird, for you. So I thought that you might have gotten in trouble with your father again, which indeed, you must have.” Dev explained, reaching to lift up the blanket again.

Faramir, still waking up, batted irritably at Dev’s hands holding up his blanket, “Do you mind, Dev?” He scolded, then sighed in relief as his friend put the cold, wet towel across Faramir’s still sore, hot bottom.

“You’re welcome, grumpy. Paddle?” Dev asked with sympathy, dropping the blanket as requested.

“No,” Faramir said with a groan, “that was from just his hand.”

Dev whistled. “Remind me not to get on your Ada the King’s bad list. Ethiron isn’t much better, but he isn’t my father.”

Faramir had known Dev’s father, about whom the less said, the better. Faramir also knew Dev’s uncle, who was a good man. But Lord Tyorvond was too straightforward a thinker to properly understand his nephew, Faramir’s best friend since their childhood days. Ethiron had taken on more of a father’s role in Dervorin’s life than his friend might like to recognize, but Faramir wasn’t going to say so. Instead, he merely commented that, “Aragorn and Ethiron are both a bit like bears with cubs. Only we’re not cubs. Aragorn was better, somewhat, for a time after ‘Darion and then Thea were born. Until,” Faramir waved a hand, to indicate the whole “son of the King” imbroglio.

“I still can’t believe you knew the King was your father for several years, and didn’t tell me.” Dev said, hurt plain in his voice.

Faramir patted the bed beside him, and, when Dev had laid down, explained again softly, “I didn’t tell anyone but Éowyn, Dev. Kasim only knew because he was there, when his grandfather told me.”

Dev sniffed critically. “I still could’ve helped, y’know. I could have found out if it was true, for one thing.”

“That would have been a trick, without tipping Ethiron off, or the Queen’s brothers.” Faramir murmured, “besides, to my mind, it didn’t matter if it was true. Éowyn and I were pretty sure it was true, because I have the same food sensitivity that Aragorn does. I didn’t want anyone to know, because it makes the political situation too messy. I still wish Aragorn had not acknowledged me.” Faramir was personally hoping the baby Éowyn carried was a girl, or at least half-hoping so. He would love to have a son as well as a daughter someday, but he was worried. Any son of his could be a target for an uprising, and that was something Faramir did not want.

“You’re not alone, in this, Fara.” Dev reassured him gently. “Not you or the King. Now that I know, my men and Ethiron’s are keeping watch for those kind of plots. We shouldn’t be taken by surprise. Sauron being gone doesn’t mean that all of the evil in the world passed with him, but we’re not as outmatched, anymore. I think you should relax and enjoy having a father who loves you, instead of pushing him away. He caught you out again, coming back from the city without having taken your guards, didn’t he?”

“Aye.” Faramir confirmed, wincing as much at the memory of Aragorn’s disappointment as at the spanking, though physically, he could only still feel the effects of the latter. “We were to sit for a family portrait, today, Aragorn, Arwen, Eldarion, Éowyn, Thea, Elrohir, Elladan, and I. One for the gallery, and one to be sent to Lord Elrond, in the west, with a friend of Arwen’s family who is preparing to sail. Éowyn forgot to tell me the time, else I would have tried to rearrange our meeting with Captain Alesseo.”

Dev winced. “Éowyn tends to be more forgetful, when she’s pregnant.” He observed.

“Don’t say that around her, please, Dev.” Faramir pleaded. Éowyn felt badly enough for having forgotten to tell him to clear his schedule for the morning, though at least the portrait had worked out. The painter had estimated Faramir’s height from Aragorn’s, and just added him in at the end. Fortunately, Faramir had gone directly to his office upon returning from his meeting with Alesseo, and his squire Herion had frantically told him that the King was looking for him, and that he was wanted in the gardens. Fortunately, the painting session had been salvaged. Faramir would have hated to have had Arwen’s planned gift for her father be ruined, though he still did not know how he felt about being part of Aragorn’s family, or what Lord Elrond would think when he got word, for that matter. Faramir’s wife and daughter had no such doubts, both had adjusted well to being the daughter-by-law and granddaughter of their friends the King and Queen. And Faramir had to hand it to Arwen, she had convinced Thea to wear a pretty dress for all of four hours, without even getting it dirty in the garden, even with Faramir having been several hours late. Arwen was a marvel.

“I won’t, though I don’t think Éowyn would take offense. She’s not like most women.” Dev noted. He and Éowyn generally got along quite well, and Dev viewed her as a sister.

“Please don’t test that theory while she’s pregnant.” Faramir pleaded.

“Fine, though I think you’re underestimating your wife. And I think we’ve both been underestimating your father and his minions.” Dev said, squeezing Faramir’s shoulder in apology.

“Probably.” Faramir agreed, “In what respect?”

Dev looked at him as if Faramir were a bit slow, this day. “He caught you coming in, did he not?”

Faramir shook his head. “No, but when he asked where I’d been, that they hadn’t been able to locate me, I told him I’d gone for a walk in the city.” Faramir winced at Dev’s softly mumbled curse, but Dev hadn’t been there when Aragorn, nearly frantic, had greeted Faramir, when he arrived several hours late to the painting session. Faramir continued, “I explained that I’d wanted to get Éowyn a present, a surprise for her birthday, which was true- I did that earlier this morning, two new saddles. One made for a mother with small children, another the smallest of saddles, suitable for teaching Thea to ride, in a year or so. Aragorn said that he was not unsympathetic, but truly did not understand why the presence of two guards would have prevented me from running such an errand. Or, if I did not trust the guards’ discretion, the presence of himself and his brothers.” Aragorn had actually called Arwen’s twin brothers Faramir’s uncles, but Faramir really wasn’t sure of that one, yet. Though Theodwyn claimed them happily enough, cheerful little heathen that his daughter was.

“Oh, that whole “Faramir doesn’t like to lie,” thing again.” Dev made a face, “That’s part of what I meant, actually, when I said that this wasn’t working. Having you meet with Captain Alesseo wasn’t so bad, that was mostly under our control, here at the docks of Minas Tirith. And Alesseo, himself, is as good a man as you’ll find. But, Faramir,” here Dev turned to face him, “at some point, one of these times someone with valuable information asks for “Faran the Merchant,” something is going to happen, such that it comes to the attention of your father the King, or almost as bad, Spymaster Ethiron, that you are “Faran the merchant,” and they are going to be livid.” Not to mention, though Faramir and Dev were both aware, that Faramir took his life in his hands on some of these trips. “We can’t keep having you sneak back in to the citadel, not when you get caught, for one thing.” Dev noted, unhappy his friend had been in trouble for that, and that Aragorn thought Faramir merely neglected to take his guards on a whim. Faramir and Aragorn had enough to deal with, what with Faramir’s ingrained distrust of father-figures, and, oh yes, and running two kingdoms.

“I’ve only been “caught” this once.” Faramir clarified, “the other times I’ve had to meet a contact, all went smoothly. When I went out drinking with my cousins, and Aragorn and Uncle Imrahil turned up at the same bar, well, that didn’t really count.” Even Aragorn had agreed with that. The point of the guards was to keep Faramir safe; if three cousins and a new brother-by-law weren’t enough to do that, then two guards wouldn’t make a difference. “Still, I’d prefer not to be “caught” again.” Aragorn had made it quite clear that this was Faramir’s last warning on the guards question; future “mistakes” on his older son’s part would result in a paddling.

“It’s up to you, Fara. He’s your father, and this would be your call anyway.” Dev said thoughtfully, “but it might be best to make a clean breast of this one.” Dev also did not like risking his best friend, King’s son or not, when Faramir had occasional fits of idiotic nobility in the most stupid and inconvenient of places. Umbar, for instance.

“Perhaps I should,” Faramir mused aloud, getting up and pulling on leggings over his sore backside with an uncomfortable hiss, before tugging on a velvet tunic. Not an embroidered one, but it was late enough in the day for the fine fabric to be sufficiently formal without wearing one of his tunics which had been recently modified to reflect the Telcontar coat of arms, as well as Ithilen’s. Faramir and Éowyn had slowly over the past few years modified or replaced his garments and hers reflecting an affiliation to the House of Hurin, though Faramir had been, by law, his brother’s heir. Finduilas had drafted the document, and left it with the Chief Archivist for when Boromir came of age, and Boromir had signed it.

“Tell me if you tell him.” Dev said, also getting up. “Unless you want me to accompany you?” Dev tried to look willing and brave. He was willing; but he did not want to be present in the room when Aragorn, better known as King Elessar Telcontar, learned exactly how involved his beloved newly-found first born son had been in the southern spy network.

“No.” Faramir shook his head, accepting Dev’s help to re-don his boots with a small smile of thanks. “I’m not absolutely sure the time has come to tell him… but I will sound him out about it. How are you coming with getting one of your men into the King’s guards?”

Dev made a face, “Don’t expect it anytime in the next decade. I’m not kidding – Captains Magordan and Orohael want to have known a man for at least twelve years, before they even consider him. Most of the guards were taken from the northern rangers, some are even your kin, on your paternal grandmother’s side.”

Faramir sighed, and nodded. “Well, unless I tell Aragorn and he and Ethiron think differently, we will just have you and Kasim and someone else sweet-faced and kind-hearted go with us when we meet with the contacts who still demand to see Faran. Hopefully we can transition someone else into my role, sooner rather than later.”

Dev quirked his head, “I think there’s an insult in there, Faramir-my-friend. I’ll have you know that I am both sweet-faced and kind-hearted.”

“Hmm.” Faramir said in response, stifling an amused grin, as he teased, “I suppose that you could pass as kind-hearted, with those who don’t know you…” Laughingly dodging his best friend’s answering smack, Faramir departed his rooms for the King’s study, knowing that his wife would not expect him until dinner, since she had left him to sleep.

As he walked through the halls of the Citadel, so different now, then during his father..Denethor’s reign, Faramir pondered his relationship with the King, his father, thinking to himself, “I’m afraid to tell him the things that he wants to know, and ashamed to admit that, even to myself. But the best way to do deal with a lot of my past is to pretend that it didn’t happen, and make sure that the children I love are well cared for, that they never go through anything like I did with my father Denethor, and those he … trusted, to look after me. And to make sure that I am the caring brother for Aragorn’s children, my half-sibs, that Boromir was for me. That is how I deal with it. My lady understands, and does not press me. Éowyn has her own ghosts, though I am glad to say that she knew more love during her childhood, first in her parents’ home, and then in her Uncle’s, than I did here in my father’s, Denethor’s, house.”

“My friend Aragorn, the King, on the other hand, has always pressed me, since the first we met. He has always demanded I have a better care for myself than my father ever required. At first it was like acquiring a slightly more reticent Boromir, but one with a lot more authority over my life (since Aragorn was always my King). Aragorn always has asked to know more of my past, and more of well, everything, about me. And as I grew to know him, and count him a friend, and a brother, there were things I found myself sharing with him, that I had never thought I would tell anyone but Boromir, Dev, or perhaps my cousins. But, being Aragorn’s Steward and “tithen gwador,” there were times when I could -and did – tell the King, “No, you are not my father, and you have no right to press me on this matter.”

“Now, well, that particular excuse has rather come back to haunt me. I deeply regret having ever uttered those words to him, in fact, as Aragorn my father delights in throwing them back in my face. “Oh, well, Faramir, you had said I had no say in this as your King and your gwador, and I was forced to agree with you, however reluctantly. But you implicitly agreed at the time, that were I your father, as we now know I am…” So I, Faramir, formerly of the House of Hurin, now Telcontar, oldest son and second heir of the King, find myself, at the age of nearly 40, accountable to a father who cares very much about me – my health, my well-being, my happiness. I know that he acts so because he is a kind, caring, man, but it is very unsettling and frustrating nonetheless.”

“The more so because I doubt him, not as friend but as a father. Aragorn my friend, my King, I had come to have confidence in, having served him for several eventful years without losing his faith. But Aragorn the father… Denethor did not think much of me. The old Steward gave me many chances, but always, I would disappoint him again, and he would push me away, outside of the circle of his affection. I could not bear that from Aragorn, as I have come to love him dearly. So, I can acknowledge, at least to myself, that I am keeping him at a distance, or trying to, in part to prepare myself from the inevitable pain of his desertion, once he realizes that I am not what he wants in a son.”

“But Aragorn does not seem to understand this, though I can tell, from the way in which he grinds his teeth from time to time when I act as I am accustomed, that he very much thinks he is being patient with me. Arwen has told Éowyn that she thinks we both are being foolish. Éowyn, who is not shy about sharing her opinions, also tells me that our King acts as he does because he loves me as a son, just as much as he loves our dear Eldarion. I cannot see how that could be- Eldarion is lovable, and I know myself to be something of… a cold fish. If my father – if Denethor, who knew me as a young child, as strange a young child as I recall I was – did not love me, then how could Aragorn, who has only known me as a man, come to love me, let alone love me as a son? I suppose that time will tell. But as the King’s Steward, and now his son, I do arguably have a duty to tell him of my continuing to go on trips as one of Dev’s agents. Additionally,” Faramir’s lips quirked in rueful amusement, “I would like to avoid any further trips over my father’s knee, coming back from such excursions.”

Faramir smiled to see the door to the King’s study admitting a pool of light into the dimmer hallway. Entering the open door, Faramir announced his presence by softly calling his father’s name.

Aragorn smiled to see his first-born son and Steward, though he looked a bit startled, as well. “Faramir, I thought that I had given you the rest of the day’s leave.” The King greeted him, quiet joy in his eyes.

“You did, but I… could not sleep, and thought I might join you, if you do not mind.” Faramir explained, with an answering smile.

“Of course I do not mind. You are always welcome. Please, sit… or stand, if you would rather.” The King offered.

Faramir stood. He was not sure how to sound out his father, concerning the spying issue. Then Faramir frowned, “You seem worried, Aragorn. Is aught amiss?”

Aragorn sighed, and handed his son a report from Ethiron, and another from a Captain near their border with Harad. “These came in during the past few hours. Dev filled you in on his news, as well?”

“Aye.” Faramir agreed, eyes widening in unhappy surprise as he read. “It sounds like the Haradrim are testing us. Seeing if we have the stomach for war. But that is just… stupid.”

“I know.” Aragorn agreed, glad for Faramir’s cleverness, that he immediately grasped the nuances it had taken Aragorn several hours to put together, “they are less ready for it than we are, aye. It would be stupid, as it would give Gondor the excuse the Lords of the South have been wanting, to make Harad a client state by force of arms.”

“Which would be short-term smart, long-term idiotic, on our part, at least.” Faramir observed with a sigh, taking a seat beside his father with only the slightest of winces, as he perused the correspondence and maps the King had been looking at in greater detail.

“Hmm.” Aragorn commented, his own sense of humor tickled by Faramir’s frustration with Lord Tarsten of Lebennin, in specific. “That sounds a fair description of any proposal Tarsten comes up with, save for those that are just plain objectionable. I take it that you, too, have a long list of reasons why it would be a bad idea for Gondor to govern Harad?”

“At this point, yes, Aragorn.” Faramir answered, looking up. “It would strain our resources past an acceptable point… do you not agree?” Faramir hesitated in confusion. Aragorn was giving him that look again, the one that simultaneously scared and warmed him. As if Faramir were the most precious thing in the world, to the King.

“I do agree, but it is taking me longer to put my thoughts into writing than I had hoped.” Aragorn replied. “And I had thought to take ‘Darion for a walk, before dinner.”

Faramir smiled, all thought of talking to his father about the role he still played in the spy network having left his mind, once he realized the extent to which Harad was becoming a worry for Aragorn. It just wasn’t the right time to bring that up, but another offer, “Go, Aragorn, play with your son. I can take care of writing a first draft of this.” Faramir urged.

“You are my son too, disobedient yet caring soul that you are, tithen gwador… ion nin.” Aragorn replied, catching himself at the last moment.

Faramir hid a wince. He had know how to be tithen gwador, to the King. Son was a new and terrifying prospect, only a few months old. Faramir replied carefully, “I know. And I am proud to be your son. But I think that Eldarion would be happy for an hour of your time, and I can take care of this. I cannot solve the problem of Harad in general so easily.”

“Thank you, Faramir.” Aragorn said, clapping his older son gently on the back, and leaving him to make sense of the profusion of papers which had grown on the King’s desk during that afternoon. “But come join us, if you tire of this. It can probably wait until tomorrow, if it must. And Eldarion and I would be happy of your company.”

Faramir nodded, though he had no intention of poaching any of the small amount of precious time Eldarion got with his father. But the nod seemed to satisfy Aragorn, though he hesitated. Then he bent to give Faramir’s head a kiss, before leaving the room. Faramir shook his head. He really didn’t know how he felt, about a lot of this.

NB: Please do not distribute (by any means, including email) or repost this story (including translations) without the author's prior permission. [ more ]

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6 Comment(s)

Oh these are wonderful. Eldarion is such an astute child :)

— Maria    Thursday 14 October 2010, 1:28    #

A very interesting beginning. I look forward to reading more!

— Ria    Thursday 14 October 2010, 3:05    #

I love these father-son moments, they’re so perfect and heartwarming.

— Anna    Monday 20 December 2010, 17:55    #

Just lovely!

— Linda    Tuesday 11 January 2011, 9:58    #

This is so lovely to read! It’s light and bright and makes me smile or chuckle during reading. Very enjoyable, I hope you update soon.


— Aneyrin    Wednesday 2 February 2011, 15:56    #

Cute, cute, cute story.
Thank you for sharing it with us.

— lille mermeid    Monday 16 May 2011, 15:50    #

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