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Spring Thaw (NC-17) Print

Written by RubyElf

03 May 2011 | 9184 words

TITLE: Spring Thaw (Part 1)
AUTHOR: rubyelf
CHARACTERS: Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir, Legolas, some hobbits, a dog…
RATING: R
WARNINGS: AU (ruby-verse)
SUMMARY: Faramir finds himself unwillingly babysitting his brother’s puppy when he would rather be doing … other things. Elves, as usual, are good for nothing but trouble. Certain hobbits prove once again that they are NOT helpful. EVER. Boromir is going to be cold and wet and VERY ill-tempered when he gets home…
DISCLAIMER: Characters do not belong to me. They are just here to play.


Part 1

Faramir had decided before he reached his door that whoever was pounding on it needed a proper beating. He was fairly certain it wasn’t Merry and Pippin again; that pair had come by earlier, pestering Faramir to come and join them for lunch, seeing as how they’d just arrived and hadn’t eaten since second breakfast, but he’d sent them away, ignoring their demands for an explanation. He certainly wasn’t going to discuss with them, of all people, the fact that he had company and had no intention of going anywhere: after days of nearly climbing the walls with impatience to be free of the city, Legolas had finally received a clean bill of health from Aragorn, and had immediately retrieved Arod from the stables and made his escape, and after two weeks had just returned, not too long before the arrival of the hobbits. Faramir had been thinking that two weeks could not possibly seem as annoyingly long for an elf as for a mortal, but Legolas had been quite impatient and more than enthusiastic, making the hobbit interruption extremely ill-timed. Now this new unwelcome interruption had dragged him out of a pleasant half-doze from his warm bed and the even warmer body in it, and Faramir was not pleased.

Anyone but Aragorn would have received an unexpected degree of verbal abuse, but at the sight of the King, Faramir settled for a very Boromir-like scowl.

“What are you doing in your underclothes in the middle of the day?” Aragorn asked, distracted from whatever he’d intended to say.

Faramir raised his eyebrows as if to suggest that anyone who had to ask such a question was being significantly dense.

“Back already, is he?” Aragorn asked, smiling. “He must like you. I’d assumed we wouldn’t see him back in the city for at least a month.”

“Yes, and now you are more than welcome to go away and stop interrupting my welcome,” Legolas called from the bedroom.

Aragorn shook his head; there was no creature in Middle Earth more smug than an elf who’d gotten exactly what he wanted.

“This is slightly more important than your entertainment, Legolas.”

Faramir’s eyes narrowed. “What is it? Where’s Boromir? They were supposed to be back today.”

“Why do you always assume it’s your brother?”

“When is it NOT my brother?”

“Point taken. I’ve no reason to think any harm has come to him or any of his men, but with all the snowmelt on the Pellenor, the Anduin and its tributaries are quite thoroughly flooded, and still rising. I’m sure they’ve taken a different route to keep to higher ground, but it may take them several days to find a place where they can cross safely.”

“Safety isn’t usually my brother’s priority.”

“Not for himself, no, but he’d never put even one of his men in unnecessary danger.”

“I’ll go ride out and see if I can…”

“No.”

“What? Why? The healers have cleared me for my normal duties. No more headaches, no dizziness…”

“I know. But any small party trying to cross the Pellenor right now would be in considerable danger from the flooding. Boromir will bring them all back in fine shape, although he’ll be in a foul mood the whole time.”

“So what do you want me for?”

Aragorn smiled. “I need you to look after Finn.”

“You want me to babysit the dog.”

“Yes.”

“Don’t be silly. You and Arwen have been taking care of her…”

Aragorn made a face and waved his hand. “The Queen is not terribly fond of dogs, Faramir, especially noisy, destructive half-grown puppies. She’s tolerated it very well thus far, but if I tell her we’ve got to keep her another few days…”

“All right, all right,” Faramir sighed.

“Splendid,” Aragorn said, obviously relieved. “I’ll go get her.”

Faramir closed the door and sank into his chair by the fire. After a moment, warm arms twined around him from behind.

“More interruptions.”

“So it seems,” Faramir agreed.

“Next time, you’re coming with me instead of me coming here.”

“Maybe when it’s summer, but right now I’ve got a warm fire and a warm bed and hot water and hot meals…”

“Men,” Legolas sighed. “It’s amazing how any of you survive at all, as soft as you all are.”

“Soft? Come here and see what that groping of yours has done to me, and you won’t use that particular word again.”

Legolas made a disapproving sound. “Aragorn will be back very shortly. Anyway, I thought you needed a rest.”

“Hadn’t you heard that the Stewards of Gondor count a fair number of elves among their ancestors?”

“Well, then,” Legolas said, grinning. “But whatever you’ve got in mind, it’ll be nobody’s fault but your own if Aragorn shows up in the middle of it.”

Finn was delighted to see Faramir, her favorite person next to her master, and she bounced happily at him, barking, as soon as Aragorn let her off her lead. Faramir was completely unable to maintain any semblance of annoyance in the face of this onslaught, and couldn’t help grinning as he reached down to scratch the tawny ears.

“Good lass. Come to stay with Uncle Faramir for a few days?”

Legolas rolled his eyes. “Uncle, is it?”

“Well, I don’t see much chance of Boromir producing any human nieces or nephews for me, thanks to Aragorn…”

Aragorn shook his head. “You know as well as I do that wasn’t likely to happen regardless of my involvement in the matter, Faramir. Now, I must get back to my duties, which at the moment include assisting my dear wife in removing dog hair from the furniture.”

Legolas glanced at Faramir. “See? I told you wives are more trouble than they’re worth.”

“I’ll thank you not to talk about the Queen like that in my presence,” Aragorn said.

“Very well,” Legolas said cheerfully. “Go away, then, and you won’t have to hear it.”

Aragorn departed, but Finn continued to bound back and forth across the room, snorting and sniffing into every corner. She took a long moment to carefully inspect Legolas, as she was quite aware that her master disapproved of him, but at the moment the fair-haired elf smelled as much of Faramir has he did of himself, and Finn seemed to take note of him as a mobile piece of Faramir’s furniture before bouncing off again.

“Can’t you get her to lay down and go to sleep?” Legolas said impatiently. “I did have plans for this afternoon.”

“She’ll settle down in a bit.”

“We could go into the bedroom and close the door.”

“That’s fine, if you want her to cry and howl like she’s being tortured.”

“Hasn’t Boromir taught her any manners at all?”

“He claims he has,” Faramir said, chuckling. “Finn, sit!”

The puppy grinned up at him happily and showed no intention of sitting.

“Finn, come here.”

Again, he received only a delighted puppy expression as a result.

“You don’t sound enough like Boromir,” Legolas advised.

Faramir shook his head, but lowered his voice and put a harsher tone to it before he spoke again.

“Finn! Sit!”

Finn plopped her rear end on the floor, tail wagging wildly.

“If you want her to settle down and sleep, we ought to take her down to the garden and let her run for a while,” Faramir said, reaching for the lead.

Legolas yawned. “Sounds terribly exciting, but I do believe I’ll wait here.”

Finn had been meandering down the hall, sniffing at puddles, but when she heard familiar voices ahead, her ears raised and she froze, looking excitedly in the direction of the disturbance.

“And you know, Pip, how men are about such things.”

“And how many men do you know in that sort of way, Meriadoc?”

“Hmph. Perhaps I’ve been to bed with all sorts of men and just haven’t told you about it.”

“Well, if you have, that would explain a few things.”

“Like what?”

Pippin must have whispered his answer, and it must have been extraordinarily dirty, because when the pair came around the corner Merry’s face was as red as Faramir had ever seen it.

“Hello, lads,” Faramir said, smiling.

“Don’t talk to him,” Merry said. “He’s filthy and horrid and shouldn’t be allowed among decent people.”

Pippin, looking very pleased with himself, glanced around and grinned. “I don’t see any decent people around here, though, so it should be all right.”

Finn whined eagerly, and Pippin chuckled and scratched her ears while she squirmed happily. Suddenly, she stopped and began sniffing avidly at his hands and the pockets of his trousers. Pippin laughed.

“What have you got, Master Peregrine?” Faramir asked.

Pippin held out his hands, letting Finn lick them. “Butter.”

“In your pockets.”

“Well, yes.”

“Afraid you’ll be hungry later?”

Pippin grinned slyly at Merry. “No, but certain foolish young hobbits forgot to put any oil in either of our packs, and when we went to the kitchen to ask for some, the girls tossed us out.”

“Why would they do that?” Faramir asked, puzzled.

“Perhaps it was on account of Pippin having to mention that it needed to be a particularly nice, slippery oil, and preferably with a nice taste, and without any sort of spices in it that might be uncomfortable if applied to the skin…” Merry said.

Pippin laughed, still scratching Finn’s ears. “I did manage to steal some butter from a dish on the counter on our way out the door, though. Not that I’ll need it, apparently… after all, Merry’s been with so many men, he’s probably as…”

He was cut off abruptly as Merry tackled him to the floor. “You dirty-minded, evil, rotten creature!”

Pippin bounced to his feet and bolted down the hall, shouting over his shoulder. Merry scowled and took off after him, muttering threats. Faramir shook his head.

“Shall we get back to our walk, then?”

As the gate to the small garden came into view, Finn’s tail began to wag and she began squirming and tugging at the lead eagerly.

“Just a moment, lass… let me get this gate open…”

Faramir attempted to work the wet, half-frozen latch, which was made more difficult by having only one hand to use, the other being occupied keeping a tight grasp on Finn’s lead as she pulled at it excitedly.

“Settle down! I’m working on it, lass…”

The lead in his hand went suddenly limp, and Faramir looked up just in time to see Finn at a full run vanishing around the corner of the hall. He stared blankly for a moment at the empty collar still attached to the end of the lead, and was suddenly hit by the memory of Pippin’s hands scratching and rubbing at Finn’s ears and neck… Pippin’s butter-covered hands…

“Finn!” he shouted.

The hall was alarmingly silent. Faramir dropped the lead and the slippery collar and raced after the dog, but she had a head start, and by the time he rounded the corner, she had darted down one of the side hallways and was nowhere to be seen.

“Finn?”

There was no sign of the puppy.

“Bloody hell,” Faramir muttered. Then, spotting one of the guards at the far end of the hall, he shouted and motioned for him to come over, quickly explaining the dilemma and attempting to ignore the man’s broadening grin.

“So you’ve lost the Steward’s dog, then.”

“It was all the hobbits’ fault. No one should let those two have butter. Or anything else they can do damage with.”

The man attempted to look solemn. “I’ll go track down the other guards on duty, Captain Faramir. She can’t get down to the next level of the city without going through the gates, so I’ll have them keep an eye on those, and then the rest of us will start looking for her.”

Faramir sighed. He couldn’t very well go back to his room and let Legolas do all the things he’d suggested earlier, not while Boromir’s dog was missing under his care.

“Any foods we might tempt her with, sir? What does she like?”

“She’s crazy about Boromir. She’d come in a second if he called her. But since he’s not here…”

“Of course, sir. We’ll start looking right away.”

With a last thought of the warm bed and warm hands awaiting him, Faramir shook his head and walked off in the direction Finn had gone.

TITLE: Spring Thaw (Part 2)
AUTHOR: rubyelf
CHARACTERS: Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir, Legolas, some hobbits, a dog…
RATING: R
WARNINGS: AU (ruby-verse)
SUMMARY: Hobbits get drunk, Aragorn gets a visitor, and Legolas gets the tables turned on him.
DISCLAIMER: Characters do not belong to me. They are just here to play.


Part 2

After spending the rest of the afternoon unsuccessfully hunting for Finn, Faramir made his way dejectedly back to his rooms, expecting that Legolas would have gotten annoyed and left hours ago. To his surprise, he found the elf sitting cross-legged in one of the chairs by the fire, flipping through one of his books.

“You have appalling taste in literature,” he said, without looking up.

“Glad to see you too.”

“No luck finding the dog?”

“What do you know about it?”

“Heard the guards talking. They’re all quite terrified what Boromir will do if she doesn’t turn up before he gets back.”

“Well, at least he’s not supposed to be back for several days, with all the flooding. Would you like to come have dinner?”

Legolas raised one eyebrow. “Don’t we have better things to do?”

“Some of us do need to eat occasionally,” Faramir said.

“Of course. Silly me. But you know, you could have your dinner brought here, couldn’t you?”

“I could. Boromir does that all the time, if he doesn’t feel like seeing anybody.”

“Why don’t you do that? And while you’re at it, ask them to send some honey with it.”

“I’m not terribly fond of honey.”

Legolas grinned and stretched out his long legs suggestively. “No, but I am. And trust me… by tomorrow morning you will be too.”

“I can’t believe Aragorn told us to leave,” Merry complained, as he and Pippin meandered down one of the upper city’s many streets.

“He wouldn’t have, if you’d been able to behave yourself,” Pippin declared.

“I was behaving just fine,” Merry argued. “You’re the one who got us in trouble. I told Aragorn not to give you any wine.”

“He gave you more than me, and that’s why you said all those appalling things.”

“You’re the one who said… hmm. What did you say, anyway?”

Pippin burst out laughing. “I don’t remember.”

Both hobbits fell suddenly and uncharacteristically silent as a large figure in a dark, hooded cloak came stalking down the hall with a determined stride. They stepped uneasily aside, hoping the man would pass them by, but instead he stopped, and they could feel the eyes studying them from the darkness under the hood.

“You’ve been drinking again, haven’t you, lads.”

“Boromir!” Pippin exclaimed happily, and both hobbits launched themselves at the man, embracing him.

“You’re soaking wet!” Merry said, tugging at the cloak. “What have you been up to? We heard you’d be gone for days.”

Boromir pushed back his hood; the temperature had dropped as the sun sank, and his muddy hair was beginning to harden into dark blond icicles.

“Don’t worry about me, little ones. I’ll come fetch you in the morning for breakfast, I promise.”

Merry glanced at him suspiciously. “What sort of trouble have you gotten yourself into?”

“Not nearly the kind of trouble you two are going to be in if you don’t get on your way,” he said, his smile making a lie of his stern tone. “I’ve got somewhere to go at the moment.”

“He’s going to see Aragorn,” Pippin whispered loudly.

Boromir raised an eyebrow. “What would make you think that, little Pippin?”

Pippin opened his mouth to answer, but Merry, who was accustomed after much practice to keeping the two of them out of trouble even when he’d had a bit too much to drink, caught him by the arm and gave him a warning shake. Boromir always had a smile for his hobbits, but he was clearly not in a mood to be taunted or pestered.

“Breakfast, then,” Merry said, leading Pippin away.

“Or second breakfast,” Pippin added cheerfully. “Or both.”

Aragorn had nearly dozed off in his chair, a book open on his lap, when someone knocked briskly at the main doorway. Arwen looked up from the patch of burgundy cloth she was embroidering with an image of the White Tree of Gondor.

“What would the guards want at this time of evening?” she asked.

Aragorn frowned and stood up, but before he reached the door it swung open and Boromir strode in, his wet, muddy cloak clinging to his broad shoulders, frost sparkling in his beard.

“Boromir? What… where did you come from?”

“Sent my men further north to find a safe place to cross with all the equipment, don’t worry.”

“And what about you?”

He shrugged. “My horse and I made it across at the bridge.”

“The bridge that’s underwater?”

Boromir shrugged. “Only part of it.”

“Have you lost your mind? Why would you do that?” Aragorn demanded, alarmed.

“Because if I didn’t get back, either you or my brother or both of you would have gotten nervous and come looking for me, and it would have been dangerous. If I could trust either one of you two not to do daft things any time you thought I might need help, I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry.”

Aragorn flushed. “For your information, I told your brother this morning it wasn’t safe to go out after you and that he was to stay here.”

“How long would you have waited? Till tomorrow, maybe, without hearing from me? And then you’d have come out after me?”

Aragorn stared at him for a long moment, until Arwen spoke gently but firmly behind him.

“Estel, it doesn’t matter how he got here; he’s here now, and safe, but he looks nearly frozen. The stove in the bath should still be burning. I’ll send for something to eat to be sent to his rooms.”

“I’m fine,” Boromir muttered, but his chattering teeth gave him away.

“You’ll be better when you’re warm and clean,” Arwen said sensibly. “And my husband will attend to you and make certain you’re fully recovered.”

Aragorn glanced at her; she returned his questioning expression with a patient smile.

“Are you going?” she asked.

Aragorn shook himself out of his daze. “Of course we are.”

He took Boromir’s arm, feeling the muscles tense as if the other man intended to resist this gesture of familiarity, but he was too exhausted to be difficult, and allowed Aragorn to steer him out into the hall and toward the bath room. Inside, a dim ruddy glow came from the iron grate of the small woodstove, its belly still full of coals and a large kettle of water on its flat top, filling the room with humid warmth that swirled and condensed in the cold air as they closed the door behind them. Aragorn took the kettle by its coiled handle and poured the hot water into the bath before filling it again and setting it back on the stove. He turned to find Boromir still standing by the door, looking nearly asleep on his feet.

“Are you all right?”

“I told you I was fine. Why don’t you just go away and let me have my bath in peace?”

“You’re mad, you know that?”

“Heard it before. I believe it was from you.”

Aragorn tugged at the wet laces until the cloak came undone and fell to the floor, and then proceeded to the soaked woolen tunic, working quickly and efficiently as Boromir watched him, weary and mildly amused.

“Do you plan to strip me naked?”

“I do, yes.”

“And then what do you plan to do?”

“Warm you up and scrub all that mud off of you, and then make you eat something, and then make sure you go directly to sleep without getting into any more trouble.”

Boromir chuckled to himself. “I do believe you may have skipped a step.”

“Oh?”

His hands came up, fingers clumsy with cold but familiar with the territory, and tugged at Aragorn’s loose house shirt.

“I don’t think you’re in any condition to be doing anything of that sort,” Aragorn said.

Boromir grinned lazily. “I didn’t say I was going to do anything. I said YOU were going to do something.”

Aragorn laughed and slid his hands down to tug the clinging wet breeches over Boromir’s hips. “I did say I’d warm you up, didn’t I?”

Legolas smiled indulgently up at Faramir as the young man moved his wrists toward the wrought iron bars at the head of the bed.

“What do you think you’re up to?”

Faramir bit his lip lightly, his attention focused on the thin rope he was winding around the slender wrists and then around the metal bars. After a moment he sat back and raised his eyebrows.

“What do you think of that?”

Legolas shook his head. “I hate to ruin your clever plan, my friend, but I’ll have that rope broken before you can even move on to whatever you had in mind.”

“Oh, I doubt that.”

Legolas wasn’t entirely sure he liked the triumphant expression on the man’s face. “Why do you say that?”

“Because that’s not rope. It’s woven mithril.”

Legolas frowned and tugged at his bound wrists. “I see.”

“Two weeks after you left was far too much time for me to think,” Faramir explained easily, and he reached down and took a firm grip on the elf’s bare ankle. Legolas felt a hint of alarm and thought about kicking the man, but something in the back of his head kept him still as Faramir loosely secured each of his legs to the foot of the bed. “I had decided within a few days that I intended to find out how you liked not being in complete control of every situation.”

“I’m not certain I like it at all,” Legolas said.

Faramir glanced at him and smiled gently at the wide and slightly alarmed blue eyes. “Tell me to let you loose, and I’ll do it.”

He felt muscles twitch uncertainly in the wiry body under his hands as the elf’s instinctive panic fought against his intimate understanding of the man looking down at him. After a long moment, the muscles relaxed slightly.

“This isn’t the first time you’ve proved to be more resourceful than I expected,” Legolas said.

“I hope it won’t be the last,” Faramir said, leaning down to kiss him.

Loud pounding on the door echoed through the quiet rooms. Faramir scowled and attempted to ignore it, but the disturbance persisted.

“What do you want?” he shouted.

“Ho! Faramir! It’s us! Let us in!”

“Hobbits,” Faramir muttered. “Go away! I’m busy!”

“Faramir! Let us in! We’ve got wine…”

“I told you to go away!”

“We’re celebrating! Boromir’s back!”

“Drunk hobbits,” Legolas said.

“It’s true! We saw him with our own eyes!”

Faramir gritted his teeth. “I don’t care if the Valar themselves are in town! I told you to GO AWAY!”

Unhappy mutterings moved off down the hall. Legolas looked up at Faramir curiously.

“So I suppose that means you’re going to run off and get back to looking for the dog, right?”

Faramir sat back and sighed, trying to imagine what Boromir would say if he found out that Finn had been off running loose somewhere while Faramir was shut up in his room with his brother’s least favorite elf. On the other hand, he was quite certain he wouldn’t take Legolas by surprise like this again, and if he didn’t make proper use of this opportunity, he wasn’t likely to get another one.

“Every guard on this level and the next one has an eye out for her,” he said. “She won’t get too far, and no harm will come to her. Besides… I’m busy.”

“Are you,” Legolas said, grinning and arching up as much as the mithril bindings would let him.

Aragorn had just finished steering Boromir into the warm water and was busily removing his own clothing when he heard voices outside the door.

“Boromir! Are you in there?”

Boromir chuckled as he sank gingerly into the bath. “Bloody hobbits. Tell them to bugger off.”

“Boromir! We’ve been looking for you! We brought you some wine…”

“I don’t want any wine!” he called. “Go away and let me have some peace. I already promised I’d come fetch you for breakfast.”

“We’re having a very early breakfast,” Merry said.

“With wine,” Pippin added.

“More wine?” Aragorn muttered. “They both had some at dinner with Arwen and I, and they started chattering on about something vulgar having to do with Pippin discussing what sorts of thing he thought would fit in Merry’s arse…”

“Ugh,” Boromir said. “Go away, little hobbits!”

“If we don’t, will you come out and punish us?” Pippin asked hopefully.

“No,” Aragorn said sternly. “But if you don’t, I shall tell the kitchen that they are not to give either of you anything but bread and water for the rest of the time you’re here!”

Silence for a moment.

“He wouldn’t,” Pippin said.

“Oh, he would,” Boromir called. “And I’ll tell them to make sure the bread is moldy.”

“Will there be butter?” Pippin asked hopefully.

There was a grunt that probably indicated that Merry had punched him in the arm, and then the sound of rapidly departing hobbits arguing over which one of them should be carrying the wine bottle.

Aragorn dropped his pants next to the bath and stepped in. Boromir watched him intently in the red glow from the stove.

“Are you warming up?” Aragorn asked.

“Starting to,” Boromir said. “You could speed up the process if you wished.”

Aragorn laughed and slid over to straddle him, one knee on either side of his thighs. Boromir leaned forward, intending to kiss him, but Aragorn neatly dodged the kiss and leaned over Boromir’s shoulder for a cloth and a bar of soap. Boromir growled, but Aragorn ignored him and worked up a lather between his hands.

“Close your eyes.”

“If I wasn’t so tired I’d throw you to the other end of the bath.”

“I know. Close your eyes. I’m not kissing you until I wash this mud off your face.”

“Hmph. There was a time when you were always the filthy one, and I never complained about it.”

“You complained about it constantly,” Aragorn reminded him.

Boromir’s response was lost in a low moan of contentment, his muscles going limp as Aragorn’s fingers began to rub at his temples and forehead.

“Relax, love.”

“It’s never safe to relax when there are drunken hobbits about,” Boromir mumbled.

“I’ll protect you.”

“From hobbits? How very noble of you.”

ITLE: Spring Thaw (Part 3)
AUTHOR: rubyelf
CHARACTERS: Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir, Legolas, some hobbits, a dog…
RATING: NC-17
WARNINGS: AU (ruby-verse)
SUMMARY: Hobbits are out looking for trouble. Everybody else is inside looking for other things.
DISCLAIMER: Characters do not belong to me. They are just here to play.


Part 3

“That’s not how that song goes,” Merry said.

“It certainly is,” Pippin retorted.

“I’m quite sure it’s not.”

“I’m quite sure you’re an idiot.”

Merry snatched the nearly empty wine bottle from Pippin just before he dropped it. “That’s not how it goes, because when we learned that song there was nothing in it about men, and definitely nothing in it about men doing things like THAT.”

Pippin rolled his eyes. “So I’ve improved it. So what?”

“If there’s a song improved by your singing it, it must be a really terrible song indeed,” Merry observed, but did some damage to his dignity by missing his mouth and banging himself in the nose with the wine bottle as he tried to take a swig from it.

“See, you’re drunk too!” Pippin declared.

“I may be drunk, but you’re drunk AND stupid.”

“I’ll show you which of us is the stupid one, you brat!”

Pippin lunged at him and Merry dodged, but due to their inebriation both of them ended up on the ground, laughing as Merry attempted to retrieve the wine bottle that was rolling away, clinking on the cobblestones.

“Hey! Our wine’s getting away, Pip!”

“What? How dare it?” Pippin giggled, reaching for the bottle as it rolled out of his reach. “Come back here immediately! We’re not finished with you yet!”

The bottle stopped rolling. Merry looked up and discovered that this was because it had rolled to a stop against a pair of muddy paws, which belonged to a filthy, mud-covered puppy.

“Oy! That vicious beast has our wine!” Pippin exclaimed.

The puppy cocked her head and studied the two small creatures curiously.

“That’s not a vicious beast, idiot. That’s Boromir’s dog. You’re Boromir’s dog, aren’t you?”

Finn recognized her master’s name; her tail whipped happily and she barked in excitement. She recognized these two noisy little people as well, and in her experience they were generally happy to pet her and scratch her ears, and they occasionally were covered with tasty substances such as jelly. She bounded at Merry and took an enthusiastic swipe at his face with her tongue. Merry laughed and patted her head.

“Good dog! Lovely lass. What shall we do with you?”

“Maybe she’d like some wine,” Pippin suggested.

“Peregrine Took, you cannot give wine to a dog.”

“Why not?”

“Because then there won’t be any left for us,” Merry said sensibly.

“Oh,” Pippin said. “Well, what shall we do with her, then?”

“Well, we can’t just leave her to wander around. We should take her with us.”

“Why? Where are we going?”

“I’m not sure,” Merry said. “But when we get there, I’ll tell you. Are you coming with us, lass?”

Finn beamed and wagged her tail. She’d had almost enough of sniffing and lurking all over the top two levels of the city and had been considering making her way back to her master’s rooms and her dinner, but her experience had taught her that hobbits and food were often to be found in close association, so when the pair went stumbling off down the street, motioning for her to follow, she gladly padded along behind them, curious to see what they were up to.

Legolas had made it clear that he would tolerate Faramir’s little stunt, but had no intention of enjoying it. Faramir had accepted the challenge and had no intention of losing. Thus far Legolas had managed to avoid making a sound or giving Faramir any sort of conscious encouragement, but to his tremendous annoyance his body had more interest in the activities at hand than in maintaining his dignity, and it was embarrassingly and enthusiastically betraying him.

“I’d think you’d be getting tired of this when it’s not getting you anywhere,” he said, gritting his teeth.

Faramir laughed. “It’s annoying you. That’s getting somewhere.”

His hands continued their slow, deliberate wanderings over the pale white skin, while the elf tried very hard not to twitch and squirm.

“You can surrender any time, and I’ll let you loose.”

“I certainly will not.”

“All right, then,” Faramir said, grinning as he leaned over and reached for something on the floor.

“What have you got there?” Legolas asked uneasily.

Faramir sat back up. “Just that honey you asked for earlier.”

“I thought you didn’t like honey.”

Faramir twisted the cork out of the small bottle. “Hmm. I’ve had honey on bread, and I’ve had honey on fruit, and I’ve had honey on cakes… I don’t believe I’ve ever had honey on elf before. I suspect it might be very tasty.”

“Oh, no. That wasn’t the plan. I don’t want that stuff all over me…”

Faramir ignored him and tipped the bottle. Alarmed blue eyes and patiently amused gray ones watched the honey creep slowly through the neck of the bottle and form a large golden drop that hung in the air for a long moment before falling. Legolas twitched as it landed on his stomach.

“That’s enough of that,” he protested.

“Not quite.”

“It’s sticky!”

“And what were you planning on doing with it?”

“That’s different. You’re a man. Men like being dirty and messy.”

“Oh, stop complaining,” Faramir chuckled, moving the bottle slowly and leaving trails of honey up and down the lean body even as the elf tried to squirm away.

“Ugh! It’s sticky! Faramir!”

The man relented and sat the bottle back on the floor before moving to lean over Legolas, one hand on either side of the pale chest that was rising and falling rather quickly despite the elf’s attempts to hang on to his composure.

“Now what?” he protested.

Faramir grinned, leaned forward, and slowly licked a broad stripe from the elf’s navel to his throat. Legolas muttered a protest, but his body had completely given up listening to his brain and was arching up eagerly into the firm stroke of the man’s tongue.

“That’s not fair,” he said reproachfully.

Faramir grinned and moved back down, starting another long trail through the honey, this time continuing up the elf’s neck and over his jaw to his mouth to claim a kiss. Legolas scowled and turned his head slightly.

“Don’t be difficult, or I’ll go find the hobbits and let them come in here and clean you up.”

“You wouldn’t do any such thing,” Legolas said, trying not to laugh.

“You’re right. Dirty-minded little creatures… not likely to properly appreciate a fine sight like this one.”

“Well, get back to appreciating it,” Legolas said, relenting and turning his face back to the kiss. “How’s the honey?”

“Quite good. I think it’s really entirely wasted on silly things like bread.”

He leaned over and picked the bottle back up again. Legolas eyed him warily.

“What are you up to now?”

“Thinking I’d like to see how it tastes when licked off other parts of you.”

“No!” the elf protested. “Stop that! I’ve got hair down there… ugh!”

“Legolas?”

“Yes?”

“Stop complaining. If you didn’t like this, you’d be out of those ropes and ten miles away by now, so please just shut up and stop pretending you don’t.”

Legolas laughed. “Are you sure you’re not an elf in a man’s body?”

“Hmm. Not sure. You can check on that later.”

By the time Aragorn had finished patiently scrubbing the mud off Boromir’s skin and out of his hair, rinsing off the soap, and pouring another kettle of hot water into the tub, Boromir appeared to be very nearly asleep. Aragorn was not at all expecting the muscular arms to shoot out and wrap around him as he slid back into the bath.

“Hello, there. I thought you’d dozed off.”

“As if I’m going to doze off with you climbing all over me naked and rubbing me with soap,” Boromir muttered into the side of his neck.

“Perhaps we should go back to your rooms.”

“Oh, no. You’re not going anywhere.”

“We can’t stay here in the bath all night.”

“You promised you’d warm me up.”

“You feel quite warm to me.”

Boromir grasped his hand and led it downwards, wrapping it around his shaft.

“See? Got some parts that still need proper attention.”

“I see that,” Aragorn said, squeezing lightly. “What did you have in mind?”

“Oh, I can think of a few parts of you that are particularly nice and warm…”

“Hmm. Well, for one of those, you’ll have to get out of the bath, since I’m not a fish and don’t breathe very well under water…”

“Especially with your mouth full,” Boromir said, grinning.

“And for the other, we ought to have some oil or something, and I don’t think there’s…”

Boromir shook his head, regarding Aragorn lazily with one eye. “Silly man. Has it been that long since we’ve had a bath together? There’s a jar of some very nice salve behind the stove… all nice and warm, too.”

Aragorn laughed and retrieved the small jar, which Boromir grabbed out of his hands and set on the edge of the bath.

“There it is. Now…”

He moved much more quickly than Aragorn had expected, and before he knew it one broad hand was between his shoulders, bending him forward over the edge of the bath, while the other hand had a firm grasp on his hip and was impatiently arranging him on his knees. He smelled the fragrance of the warmed salve as Boromir twisted the lid off the jar, muttering curses, and then the hand was back between his shoulder blades, and the other one was now sliding downward, slick fingers probing wet skin, finding the muscles already warm and relaxed from the hot water, sliding in easily. Aragorn gasped and pressed his forehead against the cool stone, hearing Boromir’s low chuckle.

“Very warm. Excellent. Now… come here.”

“You’re awfully demanding,” Aragorn said.

“Like you expected anything different, love. Get over here.”

TITLE: Spring Thaw (Part 4)
AUTHOR: rubyelf
CHARACTERS: Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir, Legolas, some hobbits, a dog…
RATING: NC-17
WARNINGS: AU (ruby-verse)
SUMMARY: Boromir gets what he wants. Certain young hobbits find out that there can be too much of a good thing, especially when that good thing comes in a bottle.
DISCLAIMER: Characters do not belong to me. They are just here to play.

Hmph. Well, it’s an ending. I am not super-happy with it, but I can’t seem to make it so I’m happy with it… oh, well. There is A / B smut in it, so at least that part ought to be worth reading. That’s what I get for starting something without the vaguest idea where it’s headed… oh, wait. That’s what I do with everything. Never mind.


Part 4

Merry wasn’t quite sure at what point the situation had changed from a dog following to hobbits to two hobbits following a dog, but Finn seemed to have a destination in mind, which Merry and Pippin did not, so it seemed logical to allow her to take the lead. Pippin was still carrying the near-empty bottle of wine, which Merry had decided a while ago he wanted nothing to do with. Pippin had insisted he was going to finish the bottle and had argued with Merry when the older hobbit attempted to take it from him, so Merry had given up. As a result, Merry was actually beginning to sober up slightly, while Pippin was having a difficult time putting one foot in front of the other.

“Ask her where we’re going, Merry.”

“What, the dog? She’s just as likely to answer you as me.”

“Well, I wish she’d hurry up. I’m tired and my head hurts. Are we almost back to our room?”

“Pip, Arwen will have locked up hours ago, and you know she won’t open the door for us till morning. As soon as I figure out where we are, we’ll go to Boromir’s room and he’ll let us in.”

“He’d better,” Pippin muttered. “I don’t feel very well.”

“I told you not to drink all that wine.”

“You’re always telling me things.”

“And you never listen to any of them.”

“Well, if I didn’t listen, you should have made me stop drinking it.”

“I tried. You argued with me.”

“You should have tried harder,” Pippin said reproachfully. “I don’t like things going round and round like that, Merry… make it stop. I want to lie down.”

“That’s likely to make it worse,” Merry said, but seeing that Pippin was really rather miserable, he took pity on him and grabbed his arm. “Here, hang on to me.”

They continued down the darkened street after Finn until their path was suddenly blocked by a tall, bony man with a shuffling gait and a scowl.

“Little bastards! I knew if I waited up late enough I’d catch you!”

“Catch us?” Merry repeated, bewildered.

“Thought you little beasts could come about and break my windows at night, eh? I’ll give you a proper beating before I fetch your parents!”

Merry dodged the man’s intoxicated lunge, but Pippin could only squeak in terror as the man grasped him up by his shirt and shook him.

“You’ll wish you’d never come near my store, little…”

Pippin gave a small cry of alarm, and Merry shouted at the man.

“We’re not children! We’re hobbits! Let him go this moment!”

“Hobbits, eh? And I’m a unicorn!”

The young hobbit squirmed and cried out in protest. Before Merry could move, though, the man had abruptly released Pippin with a loud howl of pain. Merry raced forward, grasping the neck of the wine bottle Pippin had dropped, as the man spun around and turned his attention to the half-grown dog who had just buried her sharp little teeth into the back of his calf. Now she was crouched low, growling deep in her throat, eyes fixed on the man.

“That beast bit me!” he exclaimed. “Come here, you brute… I’ll…”

Merry lunged forward and slammed the bottle as hard as he could into the back of the man’s knee, and he collapsed like a puppet without strings. He tugged Pippin to his feet as Finn darted past them, shooting Merry an urgent look.

“Pip! Come on, now!”

Finn trotted briskly around a corner and then disappeared into a darkened doorway. Merry followed her, and the smell of hay and horses immediately told him where they were. He could hear the slightly puzzled animals shifting and snorting in their stalls, but he kept his eye on Finn’s shape in the dimness, and soon she had ducked into an empty stall, freshly bedded with sawdust and straw.

“Look, Pip, she’s found us a place to sleep,” Merry said, tugging the younger hobbit into the stall. Finn sniffed for a moment and settled down in the middle of the stall, facing the door with her head on her paws. Merry sat with his back against the far wall and let Pippin rest his head in his lap.

“There, see? She did know where she was going.”

“She bit that man…”

“That she did. Boromir will pretend to be angry with her, but really he’ll be very proud. Sort of like he always pretends to be angry with us, even though he’s not.”

“He’ll be angry with us for stealing his dog.”

“We didn’t steal her. We found her, remember?”

“Oh, right.”

Merry yawned and petted Pippin’s curly hair. “Now that we’re at the stables, I know where we are. We’ll be back in time to meet Boromir for breakfast.”

“Ugh. I feel terrible, Merry. Don’t ever let me drink wine again.”

“Hush, silly hobbit. I told Frodo the same thing the first time he let me get drunk. Now go to sleep.”

By the time he had finished speaking, Pippin was already snoring. Merry glanced at the puppy warily guarding the stall door and grinned.

“Good night, Finn.”

Recognizing her name, she wagged her tail happily for a moment before returning to her guard post.

Boromir grinned and leaned back in the warm water of the bath as he impatiently tugged Aragorn to him.

“Hurry up, old man.”

“If you’re going to call me an old man…”

“Hush,” Boromir muttered, hands strong and demanding on the other man’s hips, pulling him determinedly into his lap before grasping him by the hair and tugging his head down for a kiss.

“What do you want?” he asked.

“What do I always want?” Boromir growled. Aragorn laughed and let his hand sink down to rub his palm over the hard shaft that rose against his stomach.

“That’s not a bad start…”

“No?” Aragorn asked, grinning.

“Damnit, love, get on with it please…”

Relenting, Aragorn raised himself on his knees and smoothly lowered himself down; Boromir gasped and arched up against him, then relaxed with a sigh.

“That’s better…”

Aragorn rested his forehead against Boromir’s shoulder and breathed deep for a moment, slowly adjusting to the familiar stretch and burn. Boromir waited, running his fingers through the other man’s hair, until Aragorn sat up and grinned at him.

“You look like the cat that caught a mouse,” Boromir muttered breathlessly.

“I’ve got you where I want you now.”

“Do you,” Boromir said, grasping his hips tightly with both hands and thrusting up, rewarded with a sharp hiss and the sight of Aragorn’s eyes drifting closed almost against his will. “Perhaps I’ve got you.”

Aragorn opened his mouth to speak, but Boromir’s massive hands had a firm hold on him now, lifting him up and pulling him hard back down as he thrust up to meet him.

“Thought you were tired,” Aragorn forced out, before another sharp plunge stole his breath again.

“Never too tired for this.”

Aragorn grasped the other man’s broad shoulders, pushing him back against the side of the bath, then reached down and clasped the hands that had a vice grip on his bony hips. Boromir laughed and reached up, long fingers wrapping around Aragorn’s waist instead, sturdy thumbs pressed into the lean belly. Aragorn leaned forward to kiss him and then sat back and began to rock slowly, keeping the motion steady but letting Boromir’s hands dictate the pace. Boromir’s eyes slid closed and he slipped further into the water, his knees rising against the backs of Aragorn’s thighs, tipping him forward until he was within range of a demanding mouth that found a grip on his throat. Aragorn thought briefly about protesting, knowing if Boromir kept this up he’d be wearing a high collar in public for at least a week, but then Boromir braced his feet and began to thrust himself up to match Aragorn’s motions, and he forgot about everything except trying to keep the rhythm that allowed him to capture the full force of Boromir’s hips slamming up to meet him, fingers digging hard into Boromir’s shoulders as Boromir’s mouth released him, now open and gasping as his head arched back. Aragorn reached to touch himself, but Boromir brushed his hand away and grasped him firmly, stroking hard.

“Please, love…” he breathed.

Aragorn would have answered him if he’d been able to, but he had lost the ability to form words, and in a moment Boromir had too, and both of them could only groan as Boromir’s insistent hand pulled Aragorn hard over the edge, taking Boromir with him.

Aragorn slumped onto Boromir’s chest, and the other man’s arms came up to wrap around him, gentle now, tugging lightly at the wet hair that fell down his back.

“Are you all right?” the deep voice rumbled.

“I’ll tell you as soon as I can put a proper sentence together.”

Boromir chuckled softly. “This bath will have to be drained and refilled before anybody uses it again.”

“It’s your bath. The only other person who uses it is your brother.”

Boromir grumbled. “He’d better not have ever had that bloody arrogant elf in here with him.”

Aragorn laughed, sitting up and freeing himself from Boromir’s grip. Boromir leaned back and put his hands behind his head, yawning.

“I do believe I’m ready for a proper sleep in a proper bed,” he said.

“Are you interested in some company?”

“Might as well, since you won’t have to fight Finn for a spot. Wonder if she’s driving Faramir crazy yet?”

“You are the most stubborn creature in existence,” Faramir exclaimed, exasperated.

Legolas gave him a sharp look, but refused to speak; he was fairly sure that if he didn’t have a firm grip on his lower lip with his teeth, his attempt to keep himself silent would immediately fail.

“I ought to just untie you and throw you out and go to sleep,” Faramir said.

Legolas grinned; they both knew that if Faramir did that, he would have lost the game that was being played between them without any conscious decision to begin it. To his surprise, though, Faramir leaned over him with a knowing leer.

“If I can’t make you admit you enjoy it, you impossible creature, I’ll just have to go ahead and enjoy it without you.”

Legolas cocked his head curiously, but his eyes widened when he realized what the man meant as Faramir stretched out lazily on the bed next to him and began, slowly and almost absently, to stroke himself. Faramir glanced over at him and grinned.

“Well, at least one of us might as well have a good time,” he said, shrugging. Legolas found himself unable to take his eyes off the hand that continued its steady motion. Faramir caught him looking, chuckled knowingly, and then closed his eyes and set about his task properly. Legolas scowled at him, but Faramir took no notice. The man was listening closely, but he wasn’t about to let the elf know that.

Since Faramir wasn’t looking, Legolas allowed himself to stare, both annoyed and fascinated. He twisted his hands, still tied above his head, and felt himself twitch in response as the man’s breathing changed, became faster and more urgent.

“Damnit, Faramir!” he burst out, almost without meaning to.

Faramir’s hand went still, and he opened one eye and glanced at the elf. “Is there a problem?”

“You know perfectly well what the problem is!”

“Well, I’m not going to waste the rest of the night playing games with you. I’m going to finish my business and go to sleep.”

“That’s not fair.”

“Oh? Did you have something else in mind?”

“You’re evil,” Legolas said reproachfully.

Faramir raised his eyebrows. “That’s not going to get you anywhere.”

“You expect me to beg?” the elf said indignantly.

“No. I just expect you to tell me what you want.”

Legolas studied him for a long moment before smiling to himself.

“That can be arranged. I think you should untie me, though.”

“Why would I do that?”

The elf grinned broadly. “Because I do believe it’s your turn.”

Aragorn frowned, peering around Boromir’s door at Arwen. His wife rarely stopped by Boromir’s rooms looking for him; it could be a bit awkward for all involved.

“They didn’t come back at all?”

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “The guards haven’t seen them, and neither has anyone else I spoke to.”

“I’d have expected them to come here looking for Boromir if they were shut out of our rooms,” Aragorn said. “Haven’t heard from them, though, and they’re not exactly quiet. Why don’t you go home in case they turn up there, and Boromir and I will go look for them?”

Arwen nodded. Boromir growled and rolled out of bed, groping for a pair of pants.

“Now we’ve got to get up and go looking for bloody hobbits, do we?”

Aragorn was about to close the door when he spotted the figure approaching down the hall.

“Hello, Faramir. Have you seen any hobbits?”

Faramir shook his head unhappily. “No. My brother in there?”

Boromir stumbled out of the bedroom, grumbling to himself. “What do you want? Where’s Finn? You didn’t leave her with that stupid elf, did you?”

Faramir took a deep breath.

“Boromir… Finn got out of her collar yesterday and ran off. I’m sorry… everyone’s been looking for her everywhere… I know we’ll find her…”

He trailed off as Boromir, instead of flying into a rage, grinned widely.

“Is that all? She does that all the time. Getting damned good at slipping that collar, isn’t she?”

“All the time?” Faramir repeated, jaw dropping.

“That’s right,” Boromir said, laughing. “And I know exactly where she is, too. Let me get a shirt and my boots and we’ll go fetch her.”

“We’re supposed to be looking for hobbits,” Aragorn reminded him.

Boromir gave him a sharp look, and Aragorn shrugged.

“All right, then… we’ll get Finn and then look for hobbits.”

“Well, look at that,” Boromir chuckled.

Aragorn peered into the empty stall and laughed. Merry was curled up in the corner, head leaning against the wall; Pippin was tucked securely against his side, face buried into the front of Merry’s shirt and Merry’s hand still tangled in his cherry-brown curls, and draped across both of them, snoring softly, was a very dirty and very contented puppy.

“Hello, lass,” Boromir said fondly.

Finn’s eyes stayed closed, but her tail flopped happily against Pippin’s side. Merry raised his head and looked up at them, a smile spreading across his face.

“Good morning, Boromir. You did say you’d come fetch us for breakfast, didn’t you.”

Pippin groaned and tried to bury his face even deeper in Merry’s shirt; the older hobbit patted him sympathetically.

“I do believe this may be the first time I’ve ever said this,” Pippin muttered, “but I don’t think I want to go anywhere near breakfast.”

Boromir frowned, concerned. Merry grinned and mimed drinking from a bottle, and the man lau
ghed.

“Too much to drink, little Pippin?”

“Ugh! Stop shouting!”

Boromir shook his head and reached down, lifting Pippin like a small child in spite of his pained groans of protest.

“Come on, you. I’ll put you to bed on my couch and Aragorn can give you some willow-bark tea for your head.”

“I warned him,” Merry said. “He never listens.”

“I don’t know anyone like that,” Aragorn muttered, glancing at Boromir.

“I certainly don’t either,” Boromir said, returning Aragorn’s look.

“I am the King, you know. I don’t have to listen to you.”

“True. But when you were a smelly, filthy Ranger you still didn’t listen to me.”

“That’s because he thinks your head is full of rocks,” Merry said helpfully.

Aragorn scowled at the hobbit. “I didn’t say that.”

“You certainly did!” Pippin said, glancing out from the safety of Boromir’s arms. “In fact, what you said was that there were so many rocks in his head that they hadn’t left any room for a damned ounce of common sense.”

“And after that,” Merry added, “you said that he…”

“Enough,” Aragorn exclaimed.

“Oh, no,” Boromir said, grinning. “Come on, my little hobbits, and on the way to my rooms you can tell me all these things our good King says about me while I’m not around.”

Aragorn watched them go, frowning.

“Hobbits,” he muttered.

Finn rubbed her nose against his leg, and he swore her expression was one of sympathy.

“You had to put up with them all night, didn’t you? Poor lass… you know how I feel.”

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RubyElf

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