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Hot Spring (R) Print

Written by sian22

04 March 2015 | 14732 words

Title: Hot Spring
Author: sian22
Rating: R
Pairing(s): Faramir & Éowyn
Warnings: oral sex, outdoor sex

Faramir shows Eowyn a green and lovely corner of their demesne she has never seen. Along the way they discover love and desire can conquer (most) fears. A Ranger, his Shieldmaiden, a cliff rated 5.2 and rope. A birthday gift for Annafan.
Thank you so much to JuneGloom and Wheelrider for beta’ing.
Chapter 4 and 5 now up! Its finally complete


T.A. 3020 Emyn Arnen

“A braid? Well of course I don’t mind wearing a braid, Nera. But why ever would the Prince request it?” Éowyn, Lady of Ithilien, stood puzzled and a little nonplussed. Her husband, who habitually wore whatever he had dropped upon the floor the night before, had planned ahead what she should wear that day? How truly odd.

Nera, their normally serene household chatelaine, looked equally surprised. “I know not, my Lady, only that he asked so this very morn and requested Guthild to lay out breeches and boots for you. Not riding wear mind, but short boots and a tunic, not your usual blouse.”

Éowyn, paused in the act of picking up the tunic, looked carefully upon the older woman’s face. She was not hiding something was she? Nera knew her husband better than she did, had known him for every one of his thirty-eight years. She was somewhat at a disadvantage, having known him for only one, yet that was sufficient in her experience to know that the one thing Faramir, Prince of Ithilien, did not do was fuss with clothing.

Her voice was muffled as she pulled the stiff garment over her head. “When was I to be ready for?”

“Mid-morning, my Lady, he said he would be back by then.” Up well before the birds, Faramir had apparently already gone with Beregond on some errand in the village. For once she wished that they could rise at the same time. She might have had a chance to find what all this was in aid of. He was up to something. She meant to find out what.

Nera gave a quick apologetic smile and bobbed a curtsey before gliding off to resume her work. Éowyn pulled on the soft dark breeches and leather tunic and wriggled her toes into the soft hide boots. With the ease of long practice she wound her waist-length, golden hair into a pair of smooth braids and coiled them up into a bun. There, out of the way as instructed.

Giving her handiwork a quick tug to make sure it was secure she scooped up her riding gloves from the dresser and went to find Windfola. At least the other male in her life was somewhat more predictable.


“‘Wyn, are you ready?” Faramir’s voice was warm and very loud, he must be near. She could hear the sense of anticipation in it, and the ringing of his boot heels on the stone floor.

“Oh!” She turned out of the sitting room right into his arms. Quickly he caught her shoulders and held her steady. He also had on an old leather jerkin and pair of decidedly faded breeches. He smelled faintly of pine and bow oil and smoke, the scent that clung to anything he had worn in his Ranger days.

Grinning, Faramir dropped a quick light kiss upon her lips. “Perfect… you are all set.” She could feel the low chuckle rumbling in his chest and heart beat strongly. His normally serious gaze was slightly hooded, grey eyes twinkling. He looked entirely too pleased with himself.

“Set for what?” she asked, a little breathlessly. Mischief. That look she was learning to associate with the mischief her normally reserved and carefully composed husband was quite capable of undertaking.

“An adventure. You said you wanted an adventure.”

“I did?” What in Arda was Faramir referring to? Éowyn quickly racked her brain but nothing came to mind. This put her at a decided disadvantage: she knew that she could make an off hand comment and it would gone moments after. He never forgot anything.

“You did.” The grin broadened as her husband nodded and he reached for her hand. He was clearly not going to enlighten her. She found herself being pulled quickly along the hall toward the courtyard. Éowyn could hardly keep up; in his excitement Faramir took his natural pace, long legs eating up the distance.

Once outside, she frowned: it appeared most of the household was in on the escapade but her. Two of the young guardsmen, Bergil and Wil, stood waiting, placidly holding Windfola and Mithros, their own lighter mounts beside. Faramir gratefully took packed saddle bags from the cook and tied then onto Bergil’s horse. A pair of blanket rolls peeked out of another pack already tied behind the big grey. Most curious were the large coils of rope that lay upon the ground.

“But where are we going?” Éowyn looked upon the scene in surprise and consternation. This was no hastily planned morning’s ride. “To the river?” They had been there many times, that hardly counted as an adventure. Yet where else would they go and why would she need lighter boots?

Eyes positively dancing with excitement, Faramir shook his head and refused to answer, shouldering the long lengths of rope. He tied them carefully to Mithros’s saddle pack and then turned toward Windfofa, held out his hands, ready to give her a leg up.

She crossed her arms and refused to budge. “Bergil? Will?” The young guards flushed and turned away, busying themselves with needlessly retightening their girths. Will was very fair and she could see the tips of his ears were red.

A black eyebrow raised. The Prince of Ithilien crossed his arms. “That is quite unsporting, my lady. They are under orders to keep quiet.”

“Eryn Lasgalyn?” Éowyn turned to ask the cook, but the good woman had adroitly hustled back inside.

Mouth quirking, Faramir shook his head and gestured for her to mount once again. “You will not get it out of me so easily. If we do not start soon Éowyn, you will have less time to enjoy yourself.” He looked so smug.

Maddening man. Reluctantly she took Windfola’s bridle and let him boost her up.

As she settled into place, Faramir’s hand lingered for a just moment on her calf. Capriciously she backed away.

The clear grey eyes below her flashed darkly for a moment, but she raised her chin defiantly nonetheless. “Enjoy myself my Lord, at what?” Her tone was light, but its honeyed sweetness did little to disguise the steel behind. He knew full well that waiting for Mettare, and Haligmonað and birthdays made her crazy. This was torture and he was enjoying her discomfit far too much.

Faramir swung up onto Mithros’ back and wheeled the stallion round to face her. His voice, when he spoke was taunting. “That is for me to know, my impatient Shieldmaiden, and you to find out.”


Chapter 2

A drift of nodding bluebells covered the forest floor as they wound their way up through the hills behind the house. Éowyn could not see any track that Faramir was following, but heard a stream gurgle brightly before them; presumably they were following its winding course. As they drew near it glinted in the morning sun, tumbling with abandon over rocks and caressing the withies by the bank.

A familiar upturned treeroot came into view and suddenly she knew exactly where they were. Faramir had shown her this spot before, here the wild leeks and watercress grew. She smiled with pleasure; it seemed slowly a map of their demesne was settling within her head. Faramir knew always where he was, had ranged these woods and slopes for twenty years, but for her this was still a foreign land. She looked forward to the time when it was truly home, when she need not have a guide to find her way about.

Often before they had stopped at the clear and snowfed stream to drink of icy water, but today they pressed on, climbed higher through the trees, oak and lebrethon giving way quickly to evergreens. As they rode, Faramir pointed out fox holes and nests and birds that she could not see; his keen eyes were attuned to every feature in the land.

Now and then Éowyn glanced behind, checking the pace and progress of the younger men. Bergil, in particular, seemed amazed by the land that they traversed. She suspected he was thrilled to help the Prince: he had had little chance to venture far from the village in the months since his family had moved from Minas Tirith. She knew he had been homesick, missed the city of his birth, its bustle and noise and his many friends. Now, surrounded by the green and fragrant countryside, worlds away from the dust and stone left behind, he began to look at ease.

The bracken thinned out as they climbed and Éowyn began to notice the soft green buds upon the spreading pine and tamarack. The scent of dusty, earthy bark and dry old pine was heady, but overlaid with a gentle sweetness. Drifts of white faennan lay underneath the boughs, their tiny stars of bloom just beginning to burst forth. Soon, she knew, Ithilien would be alive with the gorgeous scent of early summer.

The stream led up to one of Emyn Arnen’s many waterfalls. At this break in slope the dark rocks suddenly rose up and Faramir led them now along the level. For several candlemarks they rode quietly in single file as he concentrated on the route. Éowyn was about to ask for the umpteenth time where were they going ,when suddenly Faramir pulled the grey stallion up.

“Here.” he said, with quiet certainty. Éowyn, perplexed, saw nothing different about the spot other than perhaps a larger burr on one side of a particularly large tree.

Faramir turned back. His eyes caught hers, a light of anticipation and something she could not name glimmered in their depths. It made her stomach flutter, and for a moment she felt as if she were drowning, caught in their luminescent, storm-tossed grey.

With an effort she broke the spell. “Here what, my inscrutable Prince?” She found neither her voice and nor her hands were entirely steady. Windfola sidled, his mistress swore and the Prince grinned even wider.

“Here we dismount and walk.” He sprang lightly down and Bergil and Will quickly followed. This time Faramir did not offer her his hand, but even more maddeningly ignored her, setting about organizing their kit and unsaddling Mithros. The big grey caught Faramir’s excitement and danced around as his master fought to untie the ropes and loosen the girth. “Ion sedryn roch, gerin thala” The gentle Sindarin plea for the horse to settle was finally successful: saddle and rope at last settled on the ground.

Éowyn, meanwhile, had stubbornly stayed put. “Here? We are in the middle of nowhere. Faramir, where are we going?” Surely now he will tell her what is going on?

Her husband seemed to be aware than an explosion of temper might upset his careful plans. His wife’s frustrated tone required and received an answer.

“Down.”

Down? With his back toward her, intent upon the packs, she could not tell if Faramir was jesting.

“Down? Where…?” Reluctantly she dismounted and looked all around. Down the slope led only back to where they came from. All else she can see lead up.

Bergil and Will took their horse and led all four to an open glade beside. There they hobbled the mounts and unrolled a blanket across the forest floor; clearly they planned to bide a while. Once the young guardsmen sat they laid their daggers beside. Faramir noted with approval, they were smart lads. The lands were clear of Orcs, but it never hurt to be alert and ready. He passed them one of the larger packs and bid the young men “Enjoy your lunch.”

“You too, my Lord, my Lady.” Bergil responded shyly, flushing slightly at the Lady of Ithilien’s fuming gaze. Will, two years younger and less ready to brave his mistress’s displeasure, hid his head and investigated the basket as if it held a feast worthy of Merethrond.

The Prince then set about making himself busy, strapping the remaining blanket onto a second shoulder pack, studiously ignoring the sight of his frustrated wife as she stood, hands on hips, clearly not mollified by the crumbs of information he had laid out. She caught him risking a sidelong glance. Her lips were set, proud brow and elegant nose were in the air. The look in his eyes was admiring; he has said before that she was even more lovely when angry. Clearly, her lord was enjoying her flushed and furious beauty a little too much.

Éowyn knew by the muscle quirking in Faramir’s cheek that no more information would be forthcoming for the moment. Resigned, she walked over to stand beside and help to hold the buckles clear. The quirk became a smirk, and emboldened by her reluctant surrender, his fine long fingers brushed across her wrist.

She snatched her hand away. Foolish man to think this was truly a surrender, not the feint it was; designed to gleam more needed information.

Mindful of the guards still in earshot she sent out a thought. “You will pay for this, you know.” With relish she imagined torturing him, tickling his ribs, until gasping helplessly, he told her what was going on.

The smirk broadened into a lascivious grin. “Oh I hope so.”

Bema preserve her from gifted Dunadan. Of course, he had caught her thought.

Settling the straps of the pack across his shoulders he passed her the coils of rope. “Would you mind carrying these? It is not so far.”

Desperate straights required desperate measures. She tried her most extravagant, pleading pout. “Faramir?”

His bark of laughter was quickly stilled; she had placed a hand upon his arm, caressed softly the corded muscles that held the pack.

“That is not playing fair, my love.” he whispered, a little breathlessly. Carefully he turned his back to the two young men. Before she could answer his spare hand reached up and cupped her cheek. A callused thumb brushed lightly across her pouting lip.

Desire and determination warred for space in the grey depths that met her own flashing, stormed-tossed gaze. She was a shieldmaiden; she knew how to remain unmoved in the face of an implacable enemy. “It is only what you deserve, you cruel-hearted, stubborn cur.”

“For that insult I will take a penalty.” Swiftly, his dark head dipped and her lips were pressed with a fierce and searing kiss. Tumbling, weak with a sudden liquid warmth, she grabbed his arms, molded her body next to his, searched blindly for a foot hold in the storm of his desire.

But as quickly as it came the storm passed on. Dizzy and gasping, starved of needed air, she was released from the onslaught of his mouth. His voice, when he spoke, was low and teasing; he knew full well the effect he was having on her senses. “Patience. Patience my furious, fair flower. You are only serving to delay us even more.” Once again, he shook his head and grabbed her hand.

“Bema’s balls.” It seemed nothing could entice him to spoil the surprise. Her oath was lost amongst the trees. He pulled her along behind, and heaving a sigh, she followed his tall form, dodging the sharp boughs and occasional dead tree that littered the forest floor.

They walked for while but gained only a little height, until the trees thinned out and they came suddenly on the edge of another slope.

The land fell away and before them lay a deep, steep-sided ravine. From its edge she could see across a few hundred yards to the farther side: the rock was very dark, its straight layers easily discerned through the few green plants that held purchase on its sheer, forbidding face. All within the ravine itself was green, the tops of the trees lay below its rocky shoulder. Clearly it was very deep.

“Here, my love, the adventure begins.” Faramir grinned and gestured for her to pass him the coil of rope.

A slightly queasy feeling settled in her stomach. Oh Bema. Down. He had said down. They had rope and there was a ravine and they were to go down.

Suddenly the memory of Amrothos swam into view, slightly tipsy at their wedding feast, laughing and telling one of many stories of her bridgegroom’s childhood. “Faramir climbed to the top of the frieze in Merethrond one Yule and Uncle Denethor thrashed him soundly for it.”

“We are going to climb down that?” she squeaked, watching him tie both the ends of the larger coils of rope around a tree nearby. “The surprise is at the bottom?” The thought set her heart to pounding and her palms became slightly damp.

“Uhummmm.” Faramir was busy concentrating, using an odd looking array of knots to secure the lines, mind only partly on what his now frankly terrified wife was saying.

“But I don’t know what to do!”

He peered over the edge, adjusted the ropes to lie upon some bracken near the lip. “I will show you, love. It is perfectly safe and not that far.” He looked up, face shining with excitement, picked up a shorter length of rope. “I happen to know from experience how strong your arms are, min heorte, you will have no trouble. Here, let me tie you in.”

From within the pack he took an iron ring. She stood still and hardly breathed as the rope was passed through and he laid it across her hips, twined the ends around her back and crossed them down through her legs and up the ring again. The loose ends were wrapped around again and finally knotted across one thigh. It made a sort of cradle and was not uncomfortable, merely awkward. Faramir tugged hard upon the knot to test it strength, it did not budge. Satisfied with his handiwork he reached for the other short rope and ring and tied a similar kit around himself.

For several eternal minutes she listened, heart thumping, as he explained in detail how they were to descend. The loose end of the longer rope was passed through the iron ring, around her waist and up to coil several times about her forearm. He showed her how to grip the rope to stop; how to let it slide slowly as she moved. It felt rough and unfamiliar. Suddenly, she was thankful for the thick riding gloves and leather tunic.

When he grabbed the coil and tossed it out, let it disappear over the edge of the precipice, her heart pounded even faster. This was in earnest, she was truly going to follow its steep descent.

“My brave Shieldmaiden. Here we go.” Faramir went first, demonstrating the motion and the hold. Secured by the rope, she followed; mouth dry and heart now positively hammering in her chest. She tried to imitate his movements, to remember what he had said, stepped her feet lightly down on the dark rocky surface and let the rope run through her fingers bit by bit. Nervously, she rested her weight against the loose harness at her waist.

Perched for an endless moment right at the edge, with his urging she took the biggest step, moved out into the clear air of ravine. It felt exciting and terrifying and liberating all at once. She hung suspended, feet flat against the wall, enveloped all around by blue.

“Follow me love, feel for your footholds and don’t forget to breathe.” Faramir’s smile was encouraging. He had no doubt that she could do this. She, however, was not quite so sure.

The soft boots gave her a better feel for the rock and where to step, yet still she found herself wishing to be back up on top, back standing once again.

Éowyn watched Faramir move beside. He was so at ease with his body and what it could do, so sure of his footholds and touch and balance that he made it look as if he was dancing on the rock. It would have been maddening if it wasn’t so ludicrously attractive, watching a man so centrally present within his body, reveling in what he could make it do.

She tried to follow his instructions, stepped lightly down for each new foothold, tried to find a rhythm to the work. All was well, until after several minutes of steady descent her toe jostled a loose pebble on a tiny ledge. Suddenly her body jerked, she gripped hard the coil; the rope stretched and tightened. Unexpected and unfamiliar, the motion made her body shake like a leaf. Fine, it is fine, she told herself, as she took several deep calming breaths.

She resettled her feet. Slowly her body stopped its trembling, her heart left her throat and risked a glance at her husband just a few feet away.

Faramir was singing. She had not heard it in her nervousness. Of course. Of course, he was. Shaking her head, emboldened by his apparent total lack of concern, Éowyn started down again. This time she found that the farther down she moved the more precarious she felt. ‘Do not look down!’ she told herself. It was not the idea of the height nor her position that was frightening. She didn’t want to know how very much farther it was; the bottom was out of sight and it seemed a long, long way to the very bottom.

Anxiously she held taught to the rope and tried to steady her feet once again. Faramir’s forearm held the rope beside and it lay just beyond her elbow. It was comforting to have him near, but it could not overweigh the mounting anxiety she felt. Her heart hammered harder with every passing minute; fear was winning over exhilaration and she knew not how to change its course.

Faramir looked over and his smile faded as he caught the expression on her face. She was white and panting, struggling to master the feelings that had taken over.

“Stay there.” he sent, and quickly worked his way down to perch just a foot below. Almost she was cradled by his hips and thighs; she could feel the warmth of his body against her back. His forearm flexed and now he moved up to meet her, his body strong and steady, a shield from the forest floor below. She could feel the muscles of his chest move against her. His lips were soft upon her ear and his breath huffed against her cheek. “I have you my love, lean back into me.” His voice, warm and reassuring, brushed her thoughts. “I will hold you.”

She took a deeper breath and steadied herself against his embrace for several minutes. They stayed perched that way while her heartbeat slowed and she breathed more freely once again. A feeling of determination bubbled up; she was not going to have him carry her all the way down.

“I want to try again. I think I can do it.” She felt his proud smile against her cheek. An encouraging, breathy kiss behind her ear was her reward.

“As you will, min heorte, but let me know right away this time if you need help.”

Slowly and steadily they both moved their feet downward together once again. Now she was more sure, less anxious each time that her feet moved on the warm black rock.

In time it became a rhythm: slip the rope, move her feet and stabilize. Before long she found they had passed the tops of the spreading trees and the forest floor had come into view. This sent a thrill of anticipation through her veins. Just a few feet farther, she thought with great relief.

Unlike the dusty pine understory they had left above, the ground she could now see was lush with yew and laurel. Drifts of purple violet, white anemone and blue foamflower surrounded a carpet of glossy, dark green periwinkle leaves. She felt warmed from the exercise but also she realized, from the air around. It was heavier, moist and warmer, with a scent that was heady and intense. The closer they came to the ravine floor the more it filled her senses. There was also a scent she could not place, slightly bitter, acrid but moist.

After what seemed an age, her feet reached out and touched flat, solid ground. The relief was almost overwhelming. Her knees gave way a little, her legs shook with tension and the unaccustomed effort. Quickly Faramir reached out to steady her with an arm about her waist.

“Well done!” The quick hug he gave was reassuring, as was the kiss upon her cheek. She felt proud and thrilled and terribly relieved.

Carefully he undid the ropes and rings and laid them beside the guide ropes at the bottom.

Released at last, she looked around at the hidden, lush and fragrant world they had entered. The trees were softly green and the dense carpet of flowers lay all about. It seemed miles away from the drier spring woods up above. She thought she caught faintly the sound of rushing water. There must be another waterfall nearby.

“Faramir, this is beautiful.”

“Indeed it is, but we are not there yet. Come see.” Her husband was practically bouncing in his excitement.

Still panting a little from the effort and thrill of something new, she followed as he walked towards the sound of the waterfall, pushing aside the bushes as they moved. The floor of the ravine was covered by green and grey mosses; they were soft underfoot and she thought she caught the scent of early thyme.

They walked for several minutes and as they did, the hiss and gurgle of running water became a roar; the bright trills and song of the many birds were quickly drowned by its voice. The air grew heavier yet again; the slightly bitter, sharp scent was now all pervasive as steam drifted through the trees toward them.

As they stepped from the forest cover out into a wide, steam-blurred glade, Éowyn looked up, mouth open, rapt in wonder. A curtain of green and steaming water fell straight from the precipice high above, tumbling and foaming, a thundering cascade that case to rest in a broad, mist-shrouded pool. On the rocks and about the water’s edge moss grew thickly, softening the tiers of shining pink and gold and purple rime that coated the pool and rocks behind.

Faramir, eyes shining, turned and swept his arm through the warm, moist air. “This, my Lady of Ithilien, is your very own private hot spring.


Chapter 3

“My own?” Éowyn turned a slow circle, marvelling at the colours and scent and sound of the hidden glade about her. Tiers of pink-gold travertine sparkled in the dappled sun. Glossy green and silver ferns waved gently; the force of the fall’s pounding spray made them dance, arrayed by tiny rainbows where the sunlight caught a thousand spinning drops. The air against her skin was soft and warm and so heavy with promise it almost felt alive. Wrapped in its green and humid embrace, the descent and its nervous moments seemed but a little thing in return for such a gift.

Faramir’s hands came to rest upon her shoulders; they stopped her twirl and with a sigh she nestled back against his chest. An arm snaked around her waist to hold her hip; a dark head bent to rest against her hair. For a moment, they stood together, mesmerized by the pounding of the falls. When he spoke again, Faramir’s voice was quiet, pitched for the just the world they two enclosed.

“Yes love, yours. This lies within the ancient bounds of the Húrin lands. My father bequeathed these woods and hills to me long ago, and now I have ceded half of them to you.”

“Truly?” Surprised, she turned within the circle of his arms. Hers alone? Did he understand how much that meant to her, having grown up in the loving charity of her Uncle’s house? In dread always of becoming a pawn to the politics of marriage?

She searched his face. Oh yes, he understood. How could he not? Faramir, she realized knew better than most the importance of being treated equally, he who had always been second best, deprived of his father’s fair regard.

“Truly.” Fine, long fingers tightened gently on her hip for emphasis. “This is our home; a new home for both of us. We will steward its lands together, equal partners in all things in practice and in law.”

A gentle kiss was pressed upon her lips, to seal with touch the promise Faramir had signed into law that very morning. Éowyn found her heart so full she could not speak, her tongue behind her tingling lips was yet tied in knots. A low chuckle filled the expectant quiet.

“It is not often that with words alone that I can render my feisty shieldmaiden speechless. You may now do with these lands as you see fit my Lady, although I very much hope you will let your Prince pass about them unhindered. I would hate to not visit here as often as I can.”

She matched his teasing smile. “On one condition.”

A black eyebrow raised in query. “Which is?”

“You teach me the trails and trackways and refuges so that I too may find my way about as well as you. I want to know how to find this spot again, to know these lands and all they hold.” The thought thrilled her, to ride freely about their lands, knowing their shape, their denizens and seasons. To know the land in her very blood. Aldburg had been so, but never Edoras.

A delighted grin greeted her fiercely earnest plea. “That is little enough to ask, my love. It would be well to share its knowledge much more widely. At the moment only myself and Mablung and maybe Damrod could find this spring.”

“They could? They have been here?”

A fleeting shadow darkened the pale grey depths. Madril. Madril could find it too, but he is gone. Almost she spoke of it. Watched with relief as the pain faded quickly, replaced by the happier memory of long ago.

“Yes, the last time I was here twenty sore and weary rangers were soaking their aches and pains within the pool.” His mouth quirked; black locks brushed her cheek, he shook his head wryly at the thought. “It was not nearly so peaceful, nor were they so very lovely.”

Now it was Éowyn’s turn to laugh. She pictured tired, dirty, rumpled rangers climbing down the cliff and spreading through the glade. No, it would not have been quiet and surely they would have been a rowdy lot, freed for a blissful few hours from their dangerous patrols.

“But they deserved the respite and I am sure they were very thankful to you for it.” She reached up, brushed a stray lock from off his cheek. “As am I.”

“You are welcome, min heorte.” This time the kiss he claimed was lingering, tasting faintly sweet; of apples and sun and morning dew. Éowyn found that her arms of their own volition had reached up, pulled his dark head urgently down and their tongues had swept together. A long breathless minute swirled away before Faramir sighed and broke the contact to speak again.

His gaze has strayed longingly towards the falls. “What say you my Lady? Shall we have a soak and then investigate Eilin’s picnic basket? The hand upon her hip caressed gently, insistently, tracing slow and languorous circles. The rough leather of her jerkin could not blur its message: what might happen should they found themselves upon the strand.

“I am hungry, but I think if I settled down beside you on a blanket I might not make it to the pool.”

“Hungry? What for, my Lord? Must I compete with Eilin’s honeycakes?”

The fine, long fingers ceased their circling to roughly pull her close. She felt his rising heat, twin to the flush upon her cheeks, stronger than the torrid air.

“You.” The hoarseness in his voice set her shivering. “If you keep tempting me Éowyn, I may well exact a punishment of my own. Then you will know just how very patient I can be, how very persuasive can be my tongue.” Grey eyes glimmered in the misty air.

“Is that a promise or a threat?” The creamy skin in the hollow of his throat was flushed. Pressed thus together, she could smell the salt of his sweat and a dusky maleness that was all his own.

“Both! But after we have a swim!” Black brows strove to meet across the furrow of his brow. His mouth was set. Éowyn knew that look: her husband fixated on something he simply had to do. She saw it when a new book arrived from Minas Tirith or some point of law sent him hunting in the archives. Now he must test the spring and nothing could move him from it.

Surrender, it seemed, was inevitable, but that did not mean she should throw all caution to the wind. “Is the water deep?” she asked, pleased to find her voice steady and not too high.

“No, chest deep is all. You will be fine.” With an encouraging nod, Faramir started towards the water’s edge, looked back, clearly hoping he had been followed. At the water’s edge he crouched down and ran a palm across the softly steaming surface; the ripples he made lapped against the coloured rime, joined the wavelets from the foaming cataract. His smile was so full of happy anticipation that for a moment she saw the wide-eyed, tousle-haired little boy Nera had described.

She followed the prints his footsteps had made in the damp green moss, but stopped a prudent few feet farther from the lip. Quickly she unlaced her clothes, hoped courage for the plunge could be found in speed. One by one she pulled off her jerkin and lighter blouse, folded them neatly and placed them flat upon a rock. Breeches, boots and smallclothes were next, until soon she was standing naked in the warm moist air. It felt soft against her skin, even sensual, and she revelled in the feeling. Almost, for a moment, she forgot her nerves.

Éowyn glanced over to find that her husband had not bothered to fold his clothes; the old worn jerkin now lay in a jumbled heap right beside the water. Shaking her head, she opened her mouth to comment, watched his shirt and belt fly haphazardly to join the pile “Faramir!”

He straightened, and suddenly she could no more have formed a sentence than fly herself.

The sight that greeted her was so familiar and yet no less enticing for it: broad shoulders wrapped in lithe and supple muscle, a drift of soft dark hair across his arms and chest, skin as smooth and fine as the morning’s cream and just as pale. This early in the season he was not yet tanned, the puckered mark of the Haradrim’s dart stood out red and mottled upon his chest. Other battle scars lay as raised white seams, the expected imperfections, the common map of twenty years of soldiering.

Faramir bent down once again to untie his boots and the muscles rippled across his naked back. She had to bite her lip. The heat of his exertion still lingered, it made her dizzy to imagine running her hands over the warm, hard ridges of his upper arms, across his chest and down the taut plane of his lower belly.

He sensed her longing gaze and looked up; smile curving slowly along his lips, half hidden by the black curtain of his hair. This was not the wry half-smile that the rest of Gondor knew as Faramir’s. That was his work-a-day smile, the one taken out on all occasions. This was the wide and warm, almost giddy grin that was hers and hers alone: the one that she would see when he made some private jest between them or would feel against her thigh as she lay shuddering from his tongue and had cried his name to the stars.

His voice brushed lightly on her thoughts, an eyebrow raised. “Am I undressing too slowly, oh impatient one?”

She flushed with the rising heat that even this smile could raise. “Oh no.” was all the thought she could put together in that moment.

He saw and the brilliant smile only widened. It amused her husband greatly that his blushing bride could not get her fill enough of seeing him unclothed.

Once more her gaze transfixed upon the very core of him. Slowly and quite deliberately he hooked his thumbs within his waistband; breeches and braies slid down athwart his hips, dark hair and soft pink skin exposed. The last of Faramir’s clothes landed in a heap.

The defiant teasing grin quickly softened as he, in turn, drank in the sight of her; golden amid the silver-white rising mist. Clear grey eyes widened to dark avid pools; only the barest sliver of grey still visible.

She flushed. Éowyn had yet to get used to being fully naked in the daylight. In truth, until her marriage, she had never given much thought to her own self. She would have said that she was rather flat, strong yes, too tall, even a little boyish. Faramir, she knew, would say that she was perfect; slender and strong and elegant, that her body’s beauty need not be showy for it could not compete with the glorious crown of her golden hair.

The sunlight that dappled through the trees played across her milky skin, cast little shadows that made duskier her gentle curves. She followed his roving gaze and flushed all the more. The sun had highlighted the constellations of little freckles that he delighted in mapping with his mouth. Wide eyes traced one curving band across her hip, lips parted in mute anticipation.

A flame of longing and desire crackled into life; she saw it flicker red-gold and pure within his eyes, felt it kindle in her core, ready to flare madly at his slightest touch.

Suddenly, she craved that touch, craved Faramir so intensely it startled her. How much she wanted him; how quickly again the craving rose again once slaked.

Standing rapt, her body singing like a harp within the wind, Éowyn wondered yet again how they two were so perfectly attuned in this. She had a temper and was admittedly impatient. He was precise until it made her want to scream and oh bema he was messy. They were both stubborn. But these were little indeed next to the bedrock of their love, the music they made together. Faramir had simply smiled and held her tighter when she wonderingly mentioned it late one night. For him, to come undone together, to be so vulnerable and in such need, was the purest reflection of their love.

Pulled inexorably by her longing, Éowyn reached to take his hand, sought again the warmth and softness of his mouth. Faramir smiled into her kiss. His hands quickly grasped hers, defending the territory they would have traversed. He shook his head, eyes shining, voice husky with ragged need. ”Love, I dare not, else we will never reach the water!”


It was the most natural thing in Faramir’s world to swim. He and Boromir had played for hours so when they were young, both at the sea and in the great river. To the Prince of Ithilien, steeped in the knowledge of its many waterfalls, creeks and pools, every body of water, however cool or deep or fast, was something to be explored.

He did not hesitate; lept and dove, disappeared under the steaming, blue-green water all at once. Éowyn held her breath, counting frantically in her head, relieved to find how quickly he resurfaced. Faramir shook his head to clear his eyes, the slick raven hair whipped and clung wetly to a cheek. With a whoop and a splash he had flipped once more, stood up and shook again. He looked, she thought, just like a river otter.

The Lady of Ithilien, by contrast, stood unmoving, upright at the water’s edge, a marble statue gilt by the shafts of sun and covered by nervous gooseflesh. The water lapped gently against a clear patch of dark stone before her. Her toes were almost in the water.

Her husband was not fooled.

Faramir had already discovered that his lady of the plains was more than simply hesitant when faced with deeper water: she was terrified. In her experience one waded quickly in the shallow, icy Sherbourne, one didn’t play in it. And although Éomer had assured him their father gave them lessons, they did not take. She does not know how to swim.

He did not laugh but reached out a hand, wondering how best to coax his nervous filly.

”There is no current ‘Wyn. It is perfectly safe and not deep at all. Come in. It is lovely and warm.” He stood straight up to show the water came only to his ribs; expression hopeful, but not yet insistent. It would not do to push too hard quite yet.

“Are there any fish?” she asked, eying warily the breadth of the pool. She, the valiant shieldmaiden who killed the Witch King, was, in truth, petrified at the thought. Wading in the Anduin had been an act of will. Only experience had proved its inhabitants had little interest in touching her.

A teasing glint flashed in the grey eyes half hidden by the stream. “No, no little fishes here to nibble at your toes.”

It was, of course, the wrong thing to have said: the very thought made her toes curl. Quickly, she stepped farther back. Her expression, entirely distrustful, spoke volumes about her experience with the lauded honesty of Gondor’s noble Steward.

“What is on the bottom?”

“Just sand. I promise.”

Her mutinous expression showed more encouragement would be required. Faramir waded through the mist, reached out and stroked his palm along her calf. The touch was feather light, gentle and caressing. His skin, super-heated by the water, felt like a brand upon her leg.

“Come down and I will hold you.” His gentle voice was heavy with things unsaid. Hold. A knowing smile graced his bow-shaped mouth. Hold and keep and cherish in all the ways that made her body sing.

That body, as usual, betrayed her. A tendril of purest need snaked up her leg to settle in her belly. Oh he was not playing fair. How could she resist a promise such as that?

Surely this was easier than Anduin, it was shallow and warm, no pools and eddies to worry on. Really, it was just like a giant bathtub. Éowyn took a deep breath, clenched her fingers and mentally shredded her reservations to little pieces. She let out a long slow breath and at last stepped down, met the surprisingly warm, rough sand of the hidden bottom.

Faramir now beckoned with both hands from the middle of the pool, careful not to disturb the surface too very much. She took a step and thrilled to feel the pure joy of the warm, soft slide of the blue-green water against her skin.

It was truly lovely, but there was still the issue of the unseen bottom. She moved toward him, wading with all the exquisite care of someone walking around dung in a horse paddock.

Faramir schooled his face to stillness with utmost care, moved a little closer with each step she took. “That’s it love, keep coming, you are almost at the deepest part.”

All went well. She moved slowly across the yielding sand; felt a tickle of little bubbles upon her feet as each step disturbed the layer underneath. The water played across her hips, then her belly and finally her breasts as the pool deepened toward the waterfall. Between the thunder of its spray and darker green about its base, she thought she would go no farther than Faramir.

Emboldened by the placid surface, relaxed by the water’s warmth, she took a longer step, placed her heel upon the one loose stone underneath. Unhelpfully, it jostled.

With a shriek of surprise she threw herself bodily at her husband. Faramir caught her quickly in his embrace; her legs wound tightly at his hips, her arms clasped desperately around his neck.

“What was that?” Éowyn gasped, when she could speak again.

“Just a rock.” he explained; strove to soothe her with caresses along her back. One hand tried to gently loosen the death grip that clutched his neck. “Min heorte, much as I love to feel you near, I cannot breathe.”

Chagrined, she relaxed her arms just a little but did not let go. Like a limpet upon a rock beside the sea, she draped upon him, moulded and pressed so close not even the water could slide past.

“Ok now?”

She nodded sheepishly. It was comforting to feel his lips move against her hair, feel his heart beat steadily against her chest. “It surprised me a little is all.”

“A little?” Smiling, he held her close and sank deeper into the water. As they drifted slowly across the pool the water warmed, the steam became a fog, blurring the pink and green to hazy shadows.

Faramir stopped just short of the foaming curtain and turned them both about in a slow and languid circle. Gradually, relaxed by the heat and the safety of his arms, Éowyn eased her grip still more. Her hips shifted a little lower. She brushed against his hard and velvet length, pressed against the taut plane of his lower belly.

She smiled. It appeared he was quite happy to have her close.

A sigh huffed against her neck. A nose nestled in her hair where the wild lunge had loosened the braids and bun. “I am not complaining, love.”

This close to the boiling churn of the waterfall, cascades of little bubbles rose up steadily from bottom of the pool, massaging her skin gently, tickling her back and buttocks, even as his lips nuzzled the ticklish hollow at the bottom of her throat. She wriggled her hips, delighting in the frizz of bubbles across her skin.

Faramir groaned. Her motion obviously had had rather an effect. The ardour of his lips and tongue intensified. She was lost in the sensation of strong arms across her back, strong hands that cupped her pert, smooth bottom. The liquid, blue-green and warm blanket lapped her tingling nipples, sent shivers to her very core. “’Wyn.” His voice was rough with longing, drowned almost by the thudding sheets of water right behind.

One hand released a buttock to pull fervently at her braids, fingers threaded through her hair, loosed the waving tendrils to float free upon the water. His palm reached up to hold her head, pressed her closer and held her fast, while his lips left a trail of fierce, demanding kisses along her throat and hair. She was caught, suspended in two bubbling pools, one blue-green; one dark and swirling with desire.

Faramir’s mouth at last claimed hers, hard and wild, devouring her and giving little quarter. Small moans of pure delight escaped her lips, as the fierceness of his need sent a cascade of tingling, yearning fire to settle in her belly. She wanted him, needed his beating, pulsing warmth to fill her, now.

She shifted her hips yet again, seeking blindly the smooth, hard length that bumped against her core, desperate to envelop him, capture and enclose him in her aching need.

The sudden shift took Faramir by surprise; he had been so lost in the moist, hot cavern of her mouth he was aware only of her, oblivious to the surface underneath. All at once a rush of bubbles signalled the shift of the sand. Not expecting the surface to move in any way, he lunged right, trying to regain his footing. It was too late. With splash and great whoosh of steam they were swallowed by the surface of the pool.

Chapter 4

“Faramir!” The shriek that echoed across the pool was one of utter panic, furious and fearful, and quickly drowned by the falls’ great roar.

No sooner had Éowyn felt water flood her eyes and nose than Faramir had found his feet again. Strong arms quickly pushed her up, and gasping, they broke the surface. She coughed and spluttered as he held her fast and close against his chest with one large hand. The other hurriedly pulled long wet tendrils of golden hair from out her eyes and mouth.

‘Are you well?’ Faramir asked anxiously, spare hand now ready to thump her back in case the coughing did not stop. It did, but not before the lady felt as if half the pool had rushed ingloriously out her nose.

“Yes. No. I mean, I think so.” came the flustered and aggrieved response. She was fine, but really she felt she should not be after such a fright.

The worried grey eyes brightened. Her husband now bore the slightly startled expression of a man attempting to school his features into seriousness.

“What is so very funny?” she asked suspiciously, twining her hands around his neck. She shook her head to clear the water dripping in her eyes.

Faramir shifted his grip and scooped her up to rest before him in both arms. Smiling, he leaned in to plant a wet and weed-scented kiss upon her nose. “Well, I can say with complete certainty I have never been quite so spectacularly interrupted in all my life.”

A chuckle rumbled against her chest. Éowyn frowned, brushed angrily at the little rivulets of water that ran down from his wet black locks to splash upon her cheek. The last thing her heart desired in that moment was to be yet more wet.

“You have to admit min heorte, it really is rather funny.”

“No it most definitely is not!” the Lady of Ithilien replied. Pursed lips and the tiniest shake of her head were all the movement her caution would allow.

As always, her husband could not resist the beauty of her thunderous gaze. A warm and callused hand brushed softly at her pouting, angry bottom lip. “Because you are wet or were interrupted?” The clear grey eyes now brimmed with more than laughter.

Bema preserve her from a man thinking with his pintel. Worried he might entertain other plans Éowyn pulled back the tiniest little bit. “Get me out of here!” she pleaded.

No more encouragement was needed for the Prince of Ithilien to realize retreat was the better part of valor. He waded slowly across the pool and placed his fair drowned rat upon a lip of stone beside the water’s edge. It jutted out just below the green and steaming surface, draped behind by moss and stripped in pink and gold.

“There.” He said, setting her down as carefully as a goblet made of glass. He stepped back and stood, hands on hips, to survey his handiwork. “You are safe upon no prettier throne that I can find.” This time the look was teasing. “And no matter how hard you wriggle my Lady the ledge shall not shift beneath you.”

“It was not my fault!”

The corner of his mouth twitched as Faramir worked hard to keep a straighter face. “No, I confess, dear heart, ‘twas mine. I was far too distracted by the sweetness of your mouth to notice where your soeaÞ was going.”

She giggled and made a face, but quite happily he ignored it. With a last quick kiss upon her brow he turned away and walked languidly through the pool toward the foaming curtain.

“What are you doing?” Éowyn called out quickly, not minded to be left alone. Already she missed his smooth broad chest and the safe haven of his warm embrace.

Faramir turned back and flashed a broader smile. “I am going to investigate the waterfall.”

Of course. Of course he was, she thought, watching anxiously as he reached up to find a hold upon the slick rock beside the churning flood. Around its edge the pink and purple rime shimmered opalescently, catching every ray of sunlight from off the foaming water.

Be careful!“ she sent out an anxious thought.

I will.“ His reply was wrapped in a blanket of complete, untroubled confidence.

Reassured, she gradually relaxed and let herself enjoy the warmth of the water lapping at her ankles. Mindful of the tangles, she busied herself carding small and nimble fingers through her sopping hair.

As she watched, he climbed smoothly up the face and reached a larger ledge. Arms set apart he pressed upward and in a blink was standing, at ease and grinning upon the lip.

The smile of smug triumph that flashed back down made her heart skip a sudden beat. Drinking in the sight of her husband’s lithe, svelte body upon the rock, she admired once more his naked form. There was no part of Faramir that was bulky and yet he moved with a latent strength that spoke of power kept quietly at harbour, not obvious to the eye, but assuredly ready to be harnessed.

Sunlight reflected off the sheeting spray and caught in the waves of raven hair as he gently shook his head, flicking a stray lock out of his eyes. He felt his way closer to the cataract. Once there, he reached up to touch the water’s cascade and she admired the smooth curve of sculpted shoulders, the sharp triangle of muscle in his lower back, the pale fineness of his skin and taut dimpled buttocks astride the narrow hips. She had never truly considered that a man could be so very beautiful, yet here he stood, so very irresistible a flush of tingling heat rose once again.

Before long Faramir was down again, flipping with abandon one last time to surface right before her perch, like Ulmo risen from the deep to catch her in his green and shining nets. His arms were strong and his hands warm against her skin as he scooped her up and stepped lightly to the shore.

“Happy now?” he teased as he set her down upon the soft green moss. “The air is dry and there are no little fishes.”

“You rogue…” She stopped his words the surest way she knew.

.

They spread their blankets on a carpet of thyme and purple vervain and sweet green gallet. Lying happily naked in the dappled sun they shared the bounty in the basket. As usual Eilin had outdone herself. There were cold meats, sharp cheeses, fresh bread and a few small dainty cakes that had miraculously survived intact. Truly, Éowyn thought, they could have fed a small company had one appeared by magic through the mist.

Faramir poured two cups of rich dark wine and passed her one, lost in quiet contemplation of their oasis as he lifted the goblet to his lips to take a first small sip. Éowyn watched with no little enjoyment of her own his unabashed delight and naturalness to be alone here in the wilds; to revel in their skin, their love, and the hidden glade around.

A hand raised up to cup lovingly her cheek and she turned toward it, set a soft kiss upon his palm. It was callused, roughened from the sword that had for so many years fought to keep these lands from falling under shadow. She knew the feel of those calluses, the shiver they raised as they mapped the freckles upon her skin. Faramir, she had discovered, was a rather sensual person: for him it was second nature to touch, to run a hand absently along her back, to twine fingers in her hair or stroke them gently across her nape. Lazily, he traced a finger along her jaw to tangle in the gentle waves of her drying hair. Wrapped thus in the warm scented air and his loving touch, the sound of birds a bright counterpoint to the water’s song, for a moment Emyn Arnen and her morning cup of tea felt worlds away.

While Éowyn nibbled quietly, enjoying the taste of rich food in the warm, clear air, Faramir, as always, ate more quickly. Before she had even finished her bread and cheese he was reaching for a sweet: Eilin’s cakes were, she knew, his greatest weakness.

“Not until I am done.” she admonished, strategically scooping up the basket and hiding it behind her back.

“Worried you will not get a taste?” A black eyebrow raised and a half-grin quirked, but the grey eyes studied carefully her defense.

Leaning in, with a half-hearted air of innocence he left a string of tiny kisses to tingle against her collarbone. “I only want a taste of you, sweet one.” he murmured, quite deadpan, as a warm hand lingered hopefully beside her waist.

Snorting at his prose, she was not fooled. “Oh no you don’t. And you have fallen quite short of your usual linguistic precision.”

“My linguistic precision….” The dark head fell back and he laughed. Remembered as well as she the first time he used those words. “Game and match to you, my Lady, for yours.” The grey eyes glimmered thoughtfully as he picked a plump red berry from her forgotten plate and raised it to her lips. “‘Tis a pity we have no peaches…”

Soft lips returned and retraced their path, wandering from collarbone to throat, lingering over her beating pulse, before trailing up to nuzzle in the warmth behind her ear. She let her head fall forward, let him think her lost in the feeling of his ardent play. Almost she was. Almost.

Fast as a darting minnow the hand that snaked behind her back reached for the basket handle; fast but not fast enough. Before he reached his prize she had him pinned: the questing hand was caught inside her own, held fast behind her back. “You will have to try much harder if you want to steal from me.” She smiled and pulled him close, claimed a kiss as forfeit. He tasted of wine and honey, sweet and heady as their afternoon.

Allowing her the round, with a studied nonchalance Faramir lay back upon on his side, head supported on a hand. He watched as she plucked a small pink cake from out the basket and began to lick the icing off.

Dark avid eyes followed the trail of her tongue upon the glistening smooth, sugared surface. She picked out another cake and just as slowly a perfect white icing rose was lifted from off the top. She swallowed, watched him lick lips gone suddenly far too dry. His eyes had not left her mouth. I have him now.

“Oh you do, do you?” She groaned; he had caught her thought and now would come the retribution.

Arms crossed behind his head, Faramir lay back, a study in unruffled calm. “My love, it occurs to me we could work to calm your fear. Perhaps more frequent visits, more time spent within the pool.” She paused in the act of biting into the soft cake. Oh that was unfair.

“Wading.” he explained with feigned utter innocence. “And t’would be best if I taught you to swim before we visit Dol Amroth in the summer.”

Swim? In the sea? Now that surely was going a bit too far. An embarrassing image came to her mind: his cousins watching while she tiptoed nervously in the water, Elphir’s little son yards ahead. Storm grey eyes tossed darkly at the thought.

A hand raised to stroke her hip this time, to calm her as though she were a skittish horse. Annoyance bubbled up. How is it that she finds herself at such a disadvantage? He knew her fears, her childhood escapades, her worst embarrassments. He has had Éomer to question over long winter evenings and mugs of ale. She has had only Imrahil and Amerith to speak with and Éowyn is not quite comfortable interrogating her.

Turnabout would perhaps be fair play after all. She studied her husband with an entirely serious expression. “It is not right min gemæcca. You know far more about me than I do you. What are you afraid of? Are you not afraid of anything?”

An eyebrow raised in startlement; she had surprised him. Faramir has had long practice keeping feelings, good and bad, in check, as if his world were a finely balanced top, nothing wanted to unsettle it either way. Something flitted through the clear grey eyes but he was not prepared to give voice to it just yet.

“Am I, my lady wife, to give up my secrets so very lightly?” An ironic grin flashed cool and swift. He meant, she saw, to teach her another lesson in greater patience.

The hand upon her hip stilled as the challenge was thrown down. Slumping back as if conceding, Éowyn regrouped for just a moment. It is long past time for him to learn the penalty of such resistance.

Lightning fast she pounced, reached for his silken and still heated skin, trailed maddening feather touches across his chest to catch his most vulnerable domain. Two fingers reached an armpit and Faramir bucked wildly, howling. In a flash she was athwart his hips, fingers teasing harder the sensitive soft flesh.

“Surrender, my Lord, or I shall not stop at torture.”

Helpless tears of laughter collected in the corners of his eyes. “Éowyn, you do not fight fair!” He gasped and pleaded for the punishment to end.

“How else am I to best your greater strength, save with smarter strategy?” Eyes dark with determination, she reached down and ran the lightest of touches across the ridges and valleys of his ribs, content to pause and let his breathless gasps quiet for a moment.

He squirmed, watched warily, panted slightly through parted lips as her hands strayed farther down. A look of now hopeful expectation followed their every move. Though she yearned to linger, to stroke the pale velvet of the hollow of his hipbone, she was not done. Both hands now brushed the corded muscle of his thighs. With a long slow sigh he relaxed and laid his head back down.

Silly trusting man. In an instant her body switched from gentle to intent. She darted her hand behind his knee and attacked unmercifully once again.

“Wyn!” Twisting and squirming, he choked and gasped, unable to defend himself while she crowed in triumphant exhultation. He laughed and laughed, could find no air and of course he had to surrender.

“Dogs!” Faramir at last gasped out, a note of defeat within the undertone. “I am afraid of dogs!”

“What?!”

Éowyn was so startled by the frank admission she drew back and let him go. The thought was rather ludicrous. Her brave and steadfast husband, renowned warrior and Steward of all Gondor was afraid of dogs?!

“Why?” She could not help herself, a bubble of laughter trickled up. She could not keep it in.

Hastily gathering legs and arms together lest another attack was launched, Faramir pulled away and placed a foot or so of defensive ring between them. With chagrin she saw his expression was decidedly put out. He bared his soul to her and she has laughed.

Just as she was about to offer an apology, Faramir ruefully shook his head. Of course it sounded ridiculous. With relief she saw him chuckle too. The good-natured grin appeared again.

Without warning he flipped over to lie face down upon the blanket, gestured to the dimpled buttocks she had admired not so long before. “Can you see the marks?”

Running her tongue across the tempting pale, fine skin inappropriate to the gravity of the discussion, she concentrated on peering closely, bending her head and squinting. Faintly visible on one side were two rows of old white scars. Little puncture wounds by their size and shape.

“You were bitten?” The rounded white marks were rather large….

“I was too little to remember, but Boromir told me that one of Grandfather’s great wolfhounds did it. I am told I teased the beast and pulled its tail. It was banished to the stables afterward.”

A suspicion niggled and so she asked. “And where was your brother in all of this?”

“Encouraging me of course! He was sent to bed with no supper while Mother carried me to the Houses.”

She thought of Éomer’s hunting hounds and the times Faramir had stood beside, stiffly to attention, while her brother stroked lavishly their sable fur. I thought he was just being formal. She grinned and shook her head. “What about Arwen’s little terrier?” The image of the Queen’s small and white, fiercely protective little dog making a grown man quake nearly sent her over the edge again.

“It is just instinct,” he explained, defensively. “I can stand to be around them but I don’t have to like it. I don’t have to pet or stroke them or pretend to be their friend.”

“But they cannot hurt you now. You are so much bigger! And they do not bite unless you bother them.”

This time the wicked grin was his. “The same can be said for little fishes!”

Chapter 5

A shriek of purest indignation echoed in the dell. The Prince defended his naked body from the blows but laughed so long and hard it was impossible to orchestrate a meaningful defense. Of course it was no contest. Éowyn had found yet another ticklish spot and Faramir could do nothing but writhe breathlessly and squirm.

Amidst the melee, quite by accident, two fine long fingers brushed the soft curve and dusky peak of one pale breast. All at once there was a shift upon the air. The sweet-scented warmth grew muskier, heavy with something altogether different and the sweetness of their laughter shifted too. She was the hunter, he the hunted, but now their teasing became sharper and more urgent. Caresses overflowed, poured across silken skin and sought to soothe the torment.

“Lie back, lie easy.” He had raised his head to find her lips, but she stilled him with a single touch, lay down and draped her softness across the supple taut muscle of his belly. Below her hips his length pressed warm and hard as any brand

At first their mouths joined time and time again, slowly, in little darting kisses that were playful, teasing, oh so very gentle. They stoked with every touch the little flame that flickered, danced slowly on the warmth and softness of lips that pressed and nipped and licked. There came a sigh and his eager tongue teased its way past reddened lips to dance gently with her own, to stoke the fire even more.

All at once Éowyn could not wait. She kissed Faramir’s lips hungrily, felt them spread into a wry and sudden grin. Of course he had expected she would be incapable of waiting; she was the impatient one. He was more thoughtful, instinctively tender, inclined to savor every moment. He had patience. Had learned and nutured it, along with hope, through the months and years of endless struggle, the daunting effort, the constant disapproval. She would never wish him otherwise.

Breathing deep and even, Faramir reached up and tenderly tucked one stray hair behind her ear. The warmth of his smile was blinding, caught also in his eyes that sparkled in the dappled sun.

Éowyn kissed the corner of his mouth and bent her head. Her low and husky voice whispered hotly against his throat: “What would you have…?”

“You.”

His hands had been upon her back but now they slowed and slowed again, lingered on her temple, threaded through the golden waterfall to spread her tresses around them like a curtain.

Their kiss this time called the sweet heaviness and the yearning drumbeat back within. When at last they broke apart, still hungry, she tasted Faramir on the side of his neck, behind his ear, on his small and improbably neat earlobes. She felt his breathing change, felt the pulse below her tongue begin to pound as the once languid river of his need now rose inexorably and surged.

The air was heavy, now filled with the sweet perfume of white gallet, crushed by the blanket and their bodies. His spicy musk and the warm, green sweetness made her delirious and dizzy. Pulled by scent and memory she followed with lips and tongue the smooth plane of his chest and lower belly, the gentle hollow at the curve of his hip and thigh. She inhaled his sharper scent, stroked the urgent pulsing beat cradled there. It was fast and mirrored hers, wild and trammelled in her blood. A raw power coiled, within her hands and in the hot throbbing of his muscled core.

She reached and her touch at first was feather light, played around him where he lay proudly nestled in soft dark hair. Hair as black and lustrous as the dark lashes that grazed his cheeks; lashes that laid down as he sighed with the pooling heat stirred by her now urgent touch. She could almost feel the tongues of warmth and desire flicker each time she dipped her head, each time soft lips and tongue melted kisses onto the pure fineness of his skin.

His length had risen, arched up over his belly, and her hands shifted of their own accord. Held both hollows of his hips as she nuzzled a cheek softly against the velvet of his cock. He was silk upon steel, warm and unyielding against her touch, the tip flushed as hotly as his cheeks and lips. Perfect; enticing.

A mischevious smile played about her lips. She peeked up from beneath the cascade of fine gold hair too see his head thrown back, lips parted in anticipation, pulse beating ever faster in the smooth hollow of his throat. She let her fingers trail lightly across his inner thigh, touched the secret and soft expanse of skin behind his balls.

“I think I could just stare at you forever, my love.” It was her turn to tease. The bright gold head dipped down again; the barest breath of warmth trailed over his trembling skin, but her lips did not touch the tip quivering but a fingers breadth below.

“Please…”

Faramir shivered and his quiet plea hung green and yearning in the humid air. It wound its way with the river of their desire, pooled around his straining length. Slim hips made tiny rocking motions he could not stop.

She smiled a secret smile. He was hers; her prince, dark and needy, and helpless now before her storm. He thought her incapable of any patience, but this time he was wrong.

The delicate pink tongue reached out and licked the dusting of fine black hair upon his lower belly, a bare inch above the trembling length. It twitched, called by the siren wet and warm caress. Faramir’s fingers clutched helplessly the blanket below and a strangled moan set an ache within her breast. Perhaps she should not torture him too very greatly…

She slid farther down to kneel between his knees and as she went, brushed the golden curtain across his skin, felt him shudder with the touch. Small fingers reached behind stroke the quivering muscles of both strong thighs as she sucked gently at their inner skin. A trail of small fluttering kisses coalesced as she moved still higher, toward his inner heat, lit now by a fire no less primal than the spring.

“Wyn….”

Oh so very gently she laved his balls, sucked and enveloped them, as one hand stroked and pressed the velvet space behind their heat. Back arched and lost, Faramir moaned and gasped, as one hand reached blindly to touch the surging length.

Now.

Éowyn, at times impatient for the need to simply feel, took always great delight in making her composed and calm husband lose all control. She would pause in running a wet stroke of tongue along his cock to watch as all the face he presented to the world, the unflappable, careful, logical mask, shattered in the face of her attack.

Sheathed in a cloak of softest velvet, the pink and throbbing tip now rose, too urgent to hide in its cocoon, as her mouth set a fire in his blood, roved rhythmically over the silken, heated skin. Up and back along the taut and singing length she played, wild like a summer storm, wild and just as inescapable.

The moans became a ragged groan. She picked up her pace and smiled around his surging need and watched as the hot wet cavern of her mouth, fierce and insistent, pulled need and song from every nerve, every straining inch.

Upon his face was the exquisite, almost painful fire that said she had caught him once again, tipped him from the fine edge of control to the abandon of utter need. The dark locks tossed and thrashed as groans and gasps and deeper breaths fragmented through the air. Tongue coiled upon the sensitive underside, she felt a shudder run, felt his hands grasp helplessly on her hair, maddened by too much and not enough at once.

And then she licked the slit.

With a jerk and strangled yell, he came and she welcomed the surge of his pure and liquid strength. “Oh love.” The words were a chant, song, a benediction.

Éowyn raised up, molded her body beside Faramir’s trembling flank. Longingly he sought her mouth and in the aftermath, their kiss at first was bitter, the taste of him was on her lips, but soon it was sweetness once again. Soft hands caressed and soothed the flame to quietude once again.

With an effort, Faramir opened his own eyes and met her darkened gaze. His own light grey was just the thinnest band about the great dark pupils, almost gone, lost to the ardor and delight. Those eyes, once dull with anguish, now ever shone. All their nights, their love, held safe in their longing tide of grey.

Faramir reached and brought her down to him, to cradle and to touch, to pull her toward his warm and solid chest. He could not help himself, raised a hand to a brush a single dark curly hair from off her cheek and a golden strand from off her shoulder.

“I love you, min heorte,“The words, a sigh of deepest longing, ran down with his caress to flow along her skin.

“As I do you.” Éowyn let herself relax, to lie beside, offer sweet nothings to the small neat ear that lay next to her mouth. Faramir’s cleanly shaven cheek against her chin was smooth and soft. The raven hair tickled her shoulder as delicate airy kisses began to fill her collarbone. He was so very gentle and she knew him, that he would do this, a tacit apology for teasing her.


Éowyn knew that their love for each other was deeply rooted, matured with each passing day, yet to her surprise their passion grew no less intense. It was to her so blissfully inexplicable: made of ardor and tenderness, sudden fire and lingering sweetness; kindled by the barest glance, or touch, or brush of lips. She had expected pleasure to come from loving, yes, but not that it would be a well for something altogether more intense: an abandon, a belonging, a oneness that even her husband could not dream of capturing in words, he who so often tried to catch dreams in words to hold them fast.

Faramir was, of course, the only man she had ever known, and if she had wondered at his past, he had so rarely spoken of it. She knew that for many years all his passion was subsumed in the need to be vigilant…shelved and stored, held in abeyance for another time. At first she worried it would put her at a disadvantage: he clearly knew how to make love to a woman when they wed. In time she came to understand that he was learning how to make love to her.

She knew and treasured, for he has told her, that all the passion they held between them is as precious and unexpected to him as her. She now knew what he wanted and needed from their loving, this man who had little interest in slaking his own need for the sake of simple satiation. Faramir’s desires at heart were gentler, more honest, more focused than that; strove always to bring the two of them together.

The world lay green and gold and warm around them, the only sound the soft sussurration of the falls and their heartfelt sighs. He had cradled her in his arms as they had dozed, had inhaled the fragrant wisp of thyme that lay upon the sharper lavender of her hair. It was the scent he loved, holding as it did a memory of belonging, certainty and whole.

A slow smile now quirked and warmed his voice, he felt again the steady throb of her, warm against his hip. “I could feel smug, be convinced that it is I that drive you crazy, Éowyn. But I am not sure. Perhaps you are a Maia made of fire after all?”

She laughed and shook her head but could not respond. His mouth came down to hers, hands reached to cup her bottom and pull her swollen, yearning heat against his own. His kisses, once sweet as the small, wild strawberries that burgeoned in the summer sun, now crushed hard against her lips, tongue delving for her own and setting the fire to tingle in her silken skin. They alone could make her wet, could make the sweet heaviness flow across her skin to settle, trembling, in her heated folds.

One callused hand now cupped a breast and the other reveled in the silkiness of her long fair locks as he devoured her breathy sigh. Éowyn wished to be fierce but the heat of the spring and her ministrations had made her feel boneless, lazy as the heated air. In that moment she was content to feel him pour himself, his mouth, his touch, his love and attention over her tingling skin.

“Ahhh.” She inhaled sharply and arched towards him. His hand had descended to hold her hip and his mouth had dipped to suck a nipple. The soft warm tongue licked and laved around the darker pink, so lavishly, with such sharp and pure focus, her shoulders twisted unconsciously. The other nipple was impatient of his attention.

She felt him smile, he gave the other rosy peak its due and then he trailed his tongue lower, along the freckles that spread from the gentle curve of breast to the hollow of her navel. As he mapped her body with tongue and hands, jolts of pure pleasure made her writhe and take yet more ragged breaths.

Her own pink tongue darted out and licked her slightly parted lips. She had to remember to exhale.

Faramir was in no hurry for himself and took his time. The slow, lingering caresses left by his mouth upon the taut curve of her stomach were nearly torture. They made her hips begin to press rhythmically upward, needily, wantonly. Seeking to keep the blessed balm of his lips upon her heated skin.

A fine, strong hand now moved to caress and still her questing hip. It played about the creamy skin in ever widening, slow circles. Lightly. Reverently. Striving with touch alone to unite both sense and soul.

The warm weight of him now slid down to lay his chest athwart her thighs. His hands followed, lifted from her hip to thread the long fingers gently through her golden hands that could wield a sword, be nimble with an arrow’s fletching, respectful with a map or page, were just as gentle with her soft skin and softer folds.

Má, díere.“ Came the breathy, almost whimper. Her body sang under the music of his touch. She who has been wild and so impatient, stilled and whimpered once again before the onslaught of his mouth, the caress of soft raven hair across her hip and warm breath upon her thighs.

Faramir’s hands snaked up, left their hold upon her trembling thighs to clasp tightly her fingers where they lay upon the strand. Éowyn felt in that moment that his hands might be the only thing that held her close to earth, kept her from floating away with the rapture of his lips.

Suddenly the fire she had tried to resist for half the day flared up, towering and unquenchable. She allowed herself at last to surrender, to let the pure, white hot need course through her, consume her in its heat, and like a fire, rob her of her breath. She panted, hands roved searchingly, longingly over anything she could reach, his arms, his hair, hungry to feel again the shape of him. To assuage the greater need, though she knew it would not satisfy for very long..

Her hips quested upward once again, yearning and blind need all pooled together by the soft sucking of his knowing lips. She sighed as skillful fingers found her folds and lips were replaced by something more substantial. Like a prayer the great emptiness was filled but it was not enough; could only stem the torment for just a moment. She was not full, the empty ache flared around the stroking.

It was, Éowyn found, her turn to plead. “ Please, love, please.” Voice a husky moan, she no longer cared if she had become impatient. She needed him there.

From somewhere above there came a quiet chuckle. “Impatient one.”

The emptiness returned. She whimpered at the sudden lack, but then, at last, felt a welcome weight as Faramir shifted above her.

“Oh Wyn.” His hard hot length slid in as gently as his sigh. She held him fast, enveloped by her wet and warmth, as hungry lips claimed hers. They hung for what seemed an age suspended in the feeling; the fullness, the oneness, the perfect surfeit of completion.

And then he moved.

She gasped. Inch by inch his hardness and his warmth filled the endless void, thrusts slow at first and shallow. They both reveled in the simple feeling of being joined, let the pure and liquid heat flow between them like the spring. He set a gentle rhythm, rocking almost lazily, and all at once the shields were gone, she could hear in his thoughts all of their love and ecstasy reflected back again. Hearts and minds dissolved. She knew not nor did she care if it was her in him or him in her.

With a groan of greater need Éowyn pulled Faramir’s now grinding hips closer, urged him on. The thrusts sped up, their pressure and their fire brought her focus back: he was all hard smooth muscle and she all lustrous warmth. Her own hips tilted and ankles locked, she pulled him deeper and ever harder, strove to temper the raging need. Each time he drove she could not help but gasp. The small needy cries rose and fell as inside both the fire and its fuel combined and devoured bit by bit the emptiness.

“Harder.” she breathed, and so he pressed forward to meet each cry. Between them there was now only warm slick skin and licking flames of need.

Her panting cry became a keen. He knew that change, knew what it meant and soon the pitch of his hips had changed, driving deep and fast and far. His face above was tight, eyes closed, brow furrowed, focused, she knew, upon the feel of her muscles clenched around him. He could not hold much longer.

All at once with a longing, piercing cry, she clung to him, crashed upon his shore, and their heated fire burst, sent blazing rivulets to every toe and fingertip. She crashed and he too must fall, could not resist her sweet and pounding tide. His own long, ragged cry then broke down in helpless gasps and disconnected thrusts as he too came again.

A gentle smile lit the clear grey eyes as Faramir dipped and pressed their two foreheads close together. A sheen of sweat glistened across collarbones and hips and shoulder blades. They both took panting breaths. She felt his heartbeat gallop and start to slow. The smile against her cheek was hers alone again. He laid his head down upon her shoulder, kissed softly at the pulsing hollow next her collarbone.

They lay still for many moments, let the deep, neap tide of peacefulness surround them, wrap its cloak of oneness about two hearts still thudding quietly while world came back again.

Éowyn felt his expected shift of weight and held him still. “Not yet.”

She would not lose this. And so he stilled and they lingered on, molded heart to heart: dark to light, softness to steel, cool reason to temper’s fire.

At last she felt the fullness fade and drain and smiled a secret smile. He had shuddered for so long he would be sore upon the morrow. She wrapped her arms tightly round the broad and muscled back, captured all she could of their warmth and closeness before it too faded with slowing hearts and cooling skin. He felt that moment too and she sighed as strong arms held her tight.

“I love you, min heorte.” The words flowed down through her thoughts to tremble in her heart.

“As I do you, cariad.”

This was what shook him to the very core each time. That all their love could be held, ever growing, safe within that joyous, fleeting feeling. To her, whose feelings were once an early spring held fast by frost, it was it was more simple. What she felt she could no longer keep inside; the oneness, the rightness and belonging were never far from shore.

The waning light of afternoon slid across the dell and sent shafts of green and gold across the forest floor. It was, they knew, time to go. The world without waited and they must rejoin it once again.

Picnic packed, hand in hand, the Prince and his Lady wandered silently through the trees toward the rocky face. Éowyn sighed, it had been a nearly perfect afternoon. She tried as she walked to imprint each detail, every flower and mossy rock upon her memory, uncertain when they would come again.

They came back to the two lengths of rope and Éowyn looked at Faramir for instruction, wondered how they would ascend again. She noted the suddenly wistful expression on his handsome face, a far away look in the clear grey eyes. He was somewhen else, saw something and a time that was not then.

“What? What is it?” She worried for just a moment that some fleeting memory marred his happiness, called him back from to their secret green and golden world within the wild.

Faramir shook his head and broke the spell, reached for her hand, the wide and happy smile shone once more. “No, love. I am just amazed how different a place can feel when inside you that have changed.” He cleared his throat, eyes shining with emotion. “I have been here, surrounded by friends, comrades in arms and felt unutterably lonely. Now I am here with just one person. The spring is private, empty even, yet it feels more full and complete than ever it had before.”

Éowyn nodded, she thought she understood, knew it too, each time she rode the long straight road across the Pelennor. No longer did it feel a field of misery but a welcome link between two halves of their life and home. She reached for his hand. “We will come again, and in time that new feeling will replace the old.”

Faramir nodded and chastely kissed her brow, then turned to wind the ropes once more. Éowyn let out a nervous breath and looked up thoughtfully at the grey decline.

“Faramir, how ever did you get a half a troop of Rangers down this cliff?

“I didn’t.” he answered absently. The clinking of the iron rings and soft slither of the rope rose upon the air.

She turned, startled at the sudden dawning realization.

“A hiking path leads down on the far side of the waterfall.”

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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3 Comment(s)

Thank you so much! Looking forward to the next two chapters. I love the way your take on Faramir is so good at teasing his impatient Eowyn.

— Annafan    Sunday 16 November 2014, 8:37    #

Thanks Anna! Just wait and see what he has in store. Hope your birthday day is fantastic

— sian22    Sunday 16 November 2014, 17:37    #

Dear sian22,
Could you give me your premit to translate this amazing fic and show my best friend? She can’t read English, and doesn’t know LoTR, but I’m sure she must have enjoyed it! Thank you!

— Lili    Monday 14 March 2016, 11:52    #

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