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The King and The Ranger (R) Print

Written by Minx

30 March 2004 | 60419 words

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Chapter 16

Faramir stared at the queen in alarm, his heart racing furiously. How long had she been there?

“Arwen!” Aragorn spoke first, and Faramir marvelled at how steady his voice seemed to be, even as the hand around his waist faltered a little.

“My queen,” Faramir began, “I – I was –“

She smiled gently at them, “Here you are! They are searching for you inside, Faramir. Your brother is quite distraught,” she chided gently.

“You sneaked out!” Aragorn said reprovingly. The hand remained around his waist.

“I – I just wanted some fresh air,” Faramir murmured unhappily.

“I know,” Aragorn said reassuringly.

He dropped his eyes to the ground. His head began to swim again. The queen didn’t seem angry. Perhaps she hadn’t seen anything then. He shivered slightly as another cold draught of wind rustled through the trees. The only thing that was keeping him standing was Aragorn’ s grip, else he would probably have fallen to the ground. He heard faint voices around him, and felt Aragorn tighten his grip around him and lead him back inside. By the time he reached the room, he was exhausted and seemed to have aggravated every injury he had sustained.

Outside his room, the warden, his brother and Legolas came forward to meet them. The warden snorted at the sight, while Boromir groaned.

“Where did you find him?” Boromir asked with a sigh.

The warden stood with his lips pursed in disapproval.

“In the garden,” Aragorn said as he swept past them, into the room and helped his now half-conscious charge into the bed.

“You had us all worried!” Boromir chided him.

“I told you it was cold outside!” Legolas added from behind Boromir.

Aragorn gave them a stern look as he sat down by Faramir on the bed, “I think he should sleep now. He looks weary to me.”

“Well, he wouldn’t be if he listened to the healers, would he?” Legolas pointed out reasonably.

“That was extremely irresponsible of you,” Boromir scolded, “You know they do this only so you may get better soon.”

“I’m sorry,” Faramir whispered. He was beginning to regret having gone outside himself. Then he wouldn’t have met Aragorn and he would not be feeling as confused and dazed as he did now. Aragorn had a hand wrapped protectively around his shoulder and try as he might, Faramir could not draw away.

Having tasted the nearness of the king after so long, he could not give it up so soon. And yet, he knew he would have to sooner or later. Aragorn’ s grip around his shoulder tightened and he looked up into the grey eyes.

“Rest now,” Aragorn said to him softly as he rose. He then eased Faramir against the pillows and helped him cover up. The warden shooed them all away after that, except Boromir who insisted on staying back and sitting with Faramir a while.

As the other three left, they could hear the warden muttering something about barring the houses of healing to the steward’s family.

“How’s the lad?” Gimli asked Boromir when they met for the evening meal.

“A little tired, but otherwise, he is as well as can be,” the steward replied as he filled his plate, “And annoying the healers excessively.”

“I thought Ioreth enjoyed having him around to mother him?” Legolas asked grinning.

“Even she is annoyed with his restlessness,” Boromir sighed, “Perhaps I should be a little strict with him and force him to obey their orders.”

Aragorn raised an eyebrow at that, “You were stern enough with him today. Surely that was enough?” he remembered how small Faramir’s voice had become at his brother’s chiding.

Boromir stared at him in surprise, “He has heard stern words before this, Aragorn. And he knows well what he did was not right.”

“He would not have heard such words from those he loves,” Aragorn retorted, “And that when he is so unwell.”

His friends stared at him in surprise. Only Arwen maintained her composure.

“You are right,” Boromir agreed after a pause, “I did not mean to scold him so. But it was very childish of him to exert himself so when he has been told to rest.

“He’s tired of the city,” Legolas mused, “He told me so himself.”

“Tired of the city?” Gimli exclaimed, “but this is such a lovely city you have my friend and did he not, like you grow up here?”

“He did,” Boromir hesitated slightly, “But – Faramir had a – he preferred to spend his time away, mostly in Ithilien. Aragorn, he wishes to rejoin the rangers.”

“He is yet to recover,” Aragorn pointed out, knowing well that he was one of the reasons the younger man wanted to go away from the city.

“I think he will recover better should he be in Ithilien.” Legolas said in a serious tone.

The others turned to him in confusion. He sighed and began to explain, “He seems to crave fresh air and trees. I can understand. Living within walls – can be – difficult. Aragorn, you have been a ranger, you should realise, and Boromir, you have been a soldier too. He is used to open spaces.”

Aragorn stared at his plate unhappily. He knew what Faramir’s difficulty was. He had seen it in his eyes, and heard it in his half murmured words days ago.

The rest of the week went by in a whirl for the peace treaty with Harad had opened up trade between the two lands and the court found itself swamped with requests to send and receive trade delegations and resolve related issues. A new tax was creating problems and at the same time, Gimli’s people had more or less finished work on some of the new establishments in Emyn Arnen in Ithilien so that those who wished to return there would have somewhere to set up in. As of now, it was mostly being used by the company of rangers and it seemed logical to now allow their families to move there too.

Faramir obeyed the healers implicitly but still with reluctance and stayed indoors all the while, eating what he was given, and doing as told to. It helped him get better physically but did nothing to improve his mood, until finally, he was allowed to return to his chambers but still with strict orders to limit his movements for some days.

Aragorn had little time to spend with him, given the amount of work he now found himself loaded with but whenever he did not miss the open craving in the grey eyes that beheld him.

A week later, Boromir asked him if Faramir could leave for Ithilien.

“The work there is as yet entirely administrative. There is not much physical labour involved and I have spoken to Mablung and his other men,” Boromir said calmly, “Any sign that he is not recovering and they will let me know. And the warden agrees with Legolas. He thinks the air would aid him better there than here.”

“Do you truly think he will be happy there, away from you and all his friends?” Aragorn asked.

“He can always return whenever he feels like it. It is hardly that far. But I do know he likes it better there, Aragorn,” came the steward’s reply.

Aragorn stared down at his papers unseeingly, unsure whether he liked the idea of not having Faramir within his sight each moment. And then winced at the thought. There was little he could do even then. And he was merely hurting him by doing that.

“Aragorn?” Boromir was speaking. He looked up at him.

“Faramir did not have a very happy childhood,” Boromir spoke hesitantly, “It was not that it was unhappy. But it was not happy either. My father was a stern man. And sometimes he was sterner with some more so than with others. But then, you know this. You knew him.”

Aragorn nodded silently, watching Boromir’s face curiously.

“He is my brother. We are different, yes, but he is very dear to me,” Boromir said softly, “He is hurting now. And it is not just the memories that do that to him. There is more and he cannot cope with it. And I cannot see him getting hurt anymore,”

“He will not be. Ever.”

Boromir looked at him closely then turned away with a nod, “As long as he is happy, it matters not to me what he does.”

“He will be,” Aragorn stated though he knew he was merely being hopeful.

“I hope so,” Boromir smiled almost wistfully, “I cannot remember the last time I have seen him smile. And I had not even realised it.”

Aragorn could not either.

It had been almost a month since Faramir had left for Ithilien. A long month where Aragorn had ended up immersing himself in tedious reports that he normally passed onto one of his secretaries. The entire functioning of the king’s household changed. He never spared a moment for himself. If he wasn’t seeing to his duties or with Arwen, he would indulge in archery or swordsmanship. He did his best to keep his mind occupied at all times, and not think of a man who was now in Ithilien.

Every two days, reports came from Emyn Arnen with a courier. They were blunt and short listing the information required. There would also be letters for Boromir every now and then. And each time, Aragorn would wonder if there would be any other missive for him. Each time he would shake through the reports searching for an extra piece of paper that might have something else inscribed in it. Anything.

He knew what was written in the letters because invariably Arwen or Legolas would ask Boromir if Faramir had anything to say.

“He used to write more entertaining letters, “Boromir sighed one day after reading through the short missive.

Aragorn kissed his wife gently. When they pulled apart, she ran a hand through his hair and brought it down to his cheek, “I love you,” she said softly.

“I love you too,” he replied quietly. And he did, he knew that.

“I know,” she said smiling, as she wrapped her arms around him. He leant his tired head against her shoulder, and let her play with his hair.

“It is different,” she said suddenly.

He stared up in surprise. She continued as she saw his puzzlement, “When one lives so many years, one makes things go slowly. It is different now,” she said almost sadly.

“I-,” he stared down not knowing what to say.

“It is different but as long as I know you are there, I am happy,” she said softly.

He leaned into her embrace.

“But I cannot give you all you desire, can I?”

He sat up at that, “I desire you greatly,” he said after the slightest of pauses.

“You need him. And he needs you,” she said.

“Arwen -,” he gaped at his wife as she looked serenely out of the window.

“It is different for mortals, Estel. I understand that now. The years are not many and much has to be done. Do you not love him?”

He stared back at her almost in shock.

“You do, do you not?”

He nodded soundlessly.

“Tell him then. He has hurt enough all these years. Anyone can see that. Heal him now.”

“I love you too,” Aragorn whispered softly.

“I know.”

“And I love him too –“ he continued dazedly.

“I know, love,” his wife replied softly, “But does he know that? He needs you Aragorn.”

“I cannot do that to you!” he gasped out shocked.

“Do what to me?” she asked calmly.

“I would be cheating you!”

“No. I cannot give you all you desire. But he can give you something of what you want. And that will make you happy. Would you rather be unhappy and have everyone else around you saddened. If he makes you happy, it should delight me, love. And it is better done this way, than you keeping it secret from me.”

“I would never hide anything from you.”

“Yes, that is why he pines away for you in Ithilien and you pine for him here.”

“I do not understand –“ he mumbled.

“You will not,” she said with a sigh, “He is young. Let him not face such sorrow that he is left grief-stricken and broken-hearted.”

Aragorn continued to stare at her confusedly.

“You give me all I need, Estel,” she said softly, “But you do not get all you need.”

“I should have told you,” he muttered brokenly.

“It would have achieved nothing,” she said calmly, “And what would you have told me? That you have two loves in your life?”

“I do love you,” he repeated.

“Oh, Estel, love . . . I know that! But you love another at the same time, and I have accepted that. I am happy, though, that it is not another woman!” she said trying to get him to smile.

He smiled a little at that and she was glad. His morose expression troubled her.

And he stayed just as unhappy the next week, when they journeyed to South Ithilien where Legolas’ kin had started arriving to build their settlement. They would stop by Emyn Arnen for a short while on their way back to change their horses.

Boromir was to stay back in the city, since Aragorn would be travelling, and when Aragorn arrived at the stables to mount his horse he found his steward and wife in conversation. Boromir looked a little doubtful, and the smile he gave him seemed a little strained.

Arwen led her horse off leaving Boromir to speak to Aragorn.

“Would you have any messages for Faramir?” he asked.

“Just my wishes,” came the reply.

The visit to South Ithilien went well and everything seemed to be progressing finely. But Aragorn could not forget that their return journey would take them through Emyn Arnen.

When they reached there, they found Faramir waiting for them on horseback to escort them along. It was a small settlement, still being built, and his quarters were not very large. But the rooms were airy and spacious and stood on the topmost spur of the hills, commanding a view of all the land around.

They waited there while the new horses were readied by the escort and the old ones taken off to the larger stables at the bottom of the hill. It had been a long ride and since it had been chilly outside, the warmth of the indoors was a welcome change. Faramir met Aragorn’ s gaze briefly, a polite inscrutable look, but it was a look that lingered upon the king, a brief second more than usual. Aragorn watched him quietly, taking in the lines of strain around the mouth and eyes, not realising that his face too held similar marks of anguish.

They talked in strained tones without so much as meeting each other’s eyes, of desultory things such as when the snowfall might start until they were informed that the horses were ready.

Arwen rose after the messenger had left, and brushing down her clothes smiled at her husband saying, “I shall see you in Minas Tirith then, my lord?”

They glanced at her blankly for a while.

“It was felt, Estel,” she said patiently, “That you must spend a few days in Ithilien, so you can learn more of it. Your secretaries must have forgotten to tell you. Faramir, you will take care of him will you not?”

Faramir continued to look blank. Inwardly however his heart was setting up a furious beat, as she smiled gently at him.

“I know you will,” she said softly, “You cannot see him unhappy and neither can I.”

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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11 Comment(s)

This story was AMAZING! I loved how
1) There WAS a plot!
2) There was actual chracter development between Faramir and Aragorn…my FAV couple!

Great Job! Keep it up!

— FA4ever!    Monday 15 December 2008, 5:16    #

Hi FA4ever! Thank you for your kind comments. I’m really, really delighted that you liked this story so much!:)

— minx    Thursday 18 December 2008, 21:06    #

Hi! I loved your story! =) It’s really great, Faramir and Aragorn are perfect, so are the other characters. Especially Legolas who is wonderful! ^^ (Arwen is scary! XD)
I read other fanfics you wrote, and I loved them as well. Your writing is very good!

(hum… Sorry, English is not my first language! :S )
Bye, Lily

— Lily Of the West    Wednesday 11 February 2009, 20:16    #

Thanks Lily! I’m very glad you liked the fics.

Thanks for reading and taking the time out to comment!

— minx    Thursday 12 February 2009, 19:10    #

I so love your fics!!! I am very addicted to Fara/Ara stories. Perhaps is there a sequel awaiting. Please, say yes!!!!!!

— camille    Tuesday 24 February 2009, 18:16    #

Thank you Camille:) I’m not sure of a sequel to this one but yes, there are lots of A/F stories on their way:) thank you for reading this!

— Minx    Sunday 1 March 2009, 17:42    #

Oh! It was gorgeous! It was simply unique! Especially the ending! You are a great writer!
Oh, poor Faramir… No, poor Aragorn… How long he waited that!!!
Thank you very much, Minx!

— Anastasiya    Thursday 10 September 2009, 15:08    #

Thank you Anastasiya:) I’m really glad you liked it.

— minx    Saturday 12 September 2009, 20:22    #

Wonderful story! Thank you for posting it!!

(Even though I know it’s been awhile…)

— Radical    Friday 28 May 2010, 2:46    #

Thank you Radical! I’m very glad you liked it:)

— Minx    Friday 4 June 2010, 19:19    #

Hello, just wanted to stop by and say how much I adore this fic. I must have read it a dozen times over the years. I hope Aragorn has been making it up to our sweet Fara all this time ;-)

— Laurelote    Sunday 19 August 2012, 18:32    #

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