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Wishful Thinking under the Summer Stars (NC-17) Print

Written by December

11 October 2023 | 8431 words

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Part 2.

Faramir awaits, with calm attentiveness. It is even harder to speak in the light of his gaze.

Aragorn looks away, takes a steadying breath.

“I value, dearly, our friendship, Faramir, and… I ask only, I ask of you to trust me that this is not by intention. I dare hope that you would not turn away from me entirely – but I shall understand if it is impossible not to. It has taken a long time to come where you are with me as with a friend or kin, not lord only. And I wish, nay, I hope, I cannot ask but I do hope, that in time perhaps…”

If this is painful for Faramir to watch, as Aragorn suspects it must be, nothing in his countenance betrays as much. Instead, he gently takes his king under the arm and resumes their walk. Aragorn allows himself to be led along, and with movement the words come a little easier.

“Faramir, you must know this – for some time now, I have not been fully honest with you. Not directly, by omission only, and not by design – but through bewilderment alone. And I wish you to know also, that I place no expectation on you… on the premise of your service to me, of any debt you might ascribe to yourself…”

He needs some kind of reaction from Faramir, at the very least an acknowledgement, but for an age the younger man only treads alongside him in composed silence.

As finally he speaks, there is no change to his leisurely pace, and nothing prepares Aragorn for his words.

“Is it then, my lord, that you have resolved to speak of the fact that your feelings for me go further than you believe they ought?”

Of course, Faramir already knows. How could it be otherwise.

What little was left of Aragorn’s hope to get through this with some measure of dignity, goes out like a white bird shot down from the sky.

It is too late, he has left it too late, what could have at least been the decent thing to do is now only damage control, a cornered admission of what is long past deniability.

Panicked thoughts swirl up in him like silt stirred up from the riverbed. How long has Faramir known? Long enough to master himself, to wrap his disgust in courtesy.

Long enough to even choose kind words for it. What a forgiving, considerate way to describe the monstrosity that Aragorn harbours beneath the shroud of propriety.

How can Faramir even stand touching him?

He pulls his arm away, although this, too, is too late to make any difference.

Faramir glances over at him.

“I take it, my lord, that I am not wrong?”

“Alas, not.” He hates himself for this, but he must ask. “How… how long?”

The Steward shrugs, as though to say that it is immaterial, that his liege should not worry about such inconsequential detail.

“I suppose I might have been wondering for some time. For a long while I had my doubts, for my king is a master of disguise, but since the incident with our guest from Harad I have grown ever more certain.”

“Ah, that.”

Aragorn still cringes to think about that night.

The old king of Harad who had waged battle on the Pelennor Fields as part of the Dark Host had not outlived his master’s defeat by long.

His son, upon taking his place, had come to Minas Tirith to pledge allegiance to the High King of the newly Reunited Kindgom. He came in style, too, with a never-ending retinue of advisors, concubines, servants, heralds, camels, horses – his entire estate, it seemed.

He also bore many gifts. Weighty gilded chests full of coin and gem, rolls of carpet and fine fabric, scrolls of poetry, seedlings of sweet fruit trees. Even some fresh wives for Aragorn, which the King had politely declined, although he was touched by the thought.

It was only proper to reciprocate with a feast.

The Southern lord, noble in bearing and educated in speech, was eager to benefit from alliance with the powerful Gondor, and being free of his father’s wounded pride he seemed a natural fit in court. With Aragorn at the head of the long table, he was given the seat of honour to his left, across the Steward on the King’s right.

He sat tall and straight, unfettered by all the eyes drinking in his exotic persona. Strong and lithe, with skin of polished dark-wood and twinkling, laughing eyes, he clearly saw it as an act of public service to flaunt his striking looks for the enjoyment of others. He kept his whole head shaved to the scalp, except for a narrow strip running from forehead right to the nape of his neck, which was grown long and plaited through with gold-thread. The folds of his robe wound curiously about his lean frame, showing much of his sinewy arms and the entire left side of his chest, where a golden hoop was set through his nipple.

Aragorn would have judged the evening a solid success – if only it were not for Faramir.

The Steward, in Aragorn’s opinion, was rather overdoing the part of the welcoming host.

Aragorn, being sat between the two of them, was left feeling decidedly in the way, so much were they leaning across him to speak to each other. And Faramir, too, listening with such rapt, undivided attention to the visitor’s tales, related though they were with great flair in that deep voice with its expansive accent. The tales, in Aragorn’s opinion, were not particularly good.

When later in the night Faramir was called by duty to check on some other noblemen further down the table, the Southern chieftain had turned to Aragorn. His white smile was broad, but Aragorn did not like the look in his amber eyes as the man indicated Faramir to him with his gaze.

“I must say, Lord Elessar, your steward is a most beautiful man,” he confided in a chummy, king-to-king way. “Of all your crown jewels, which are many, perhaps the brightest.”

His gaze lingered on Faramir as he spoke, and as the Steward leant forward to someone, his tunic stretching over the taut curve of his backside, the Southern king’s eyes unmistakably followed.

Aragorn made a noncommittal noise in response and was about to reach for more food, but the other man would not take the hint and pressed on. “I regret to have learnt he was wounded in battle by one of ours – could I hope he holds no personal grudge?”

Aragorn gave his guest a gracious smile. “That you certainly could, we place no tax upon hope. And I shall tell you more,” he leant in closer, lowering his voice companionably, “whatever be the custom of your people, you lay one finger on my steward, and I shall have your kingdom laid to waste and you nailed to my city wall.”

In the morning at breakfast, Faramir had remarked with a raised brow, “The young king of Harad seems to have departed rather abruptly.”

Aragorn had shrugged, and sipped his tea.

He looks upon his steward now, manages a grin.

“The king of Harad, Faramir, unfortunately was rather stupid.”

“He meant well, and he lacked the benefit of experience,” Faramir points out leniently. “Yet I was always curious – did your wrath come solely from the danger to my virtue, or was it that you begrudged him the boldness?”

Aragorn stops in his tracks. “That boldness is nothing to envy!”

Although he doubts it as he says it. It should be nothing to envy, and yet… to want so freely, with such unreflecting entitlement…

Faramir looks at him quietly, with a full turn of his face so that Aragorn can see the faint glint of starlight reflecting in both his eyes.

“My king,” he says, speaking seriously now. “I do not hold it against you that you had travelled a long road to open your heart to me. If anything, I have not been fully honest with you myself, for I had not said a word either, even in light of the knowledge you had let me glimpse. Perhaps that makes us even.”

Aragorn spreads his arms. “Even? I do not think you understand. That I attempted to keep it secret is nothing to be proud of, but it is not why I bring my apology to you. I did not think you would still be standing here, speaking with me, but instead you take this insult to your honour so calmly that I must wonder if I am failing to make myself clear.”

“I do not take it calmly,” the younger man says flatly. “But I will not take it as insult, for it is not. If my king may have it in him to find men attractive, it does indeed fail to offend me.”

Aragorn crosses his arms. “I do not find men attractive. Not… as a general rule. This is an exception.”

There was never anyone else, nothing like it.

“If the distinction makes a difference to you, my lord,” Faramir agrees, clearly humouring him, and turns to continue on their stroll.

“Of course, it does. I am not like that!” Aragorn finds himself calling at his back as he is made to go after him.

“Not like what?” Faramir asks casually, hardly glancing over his shoulder.

“Some… some dirty old man. Lusting after fair warriors half my age.”

“Please, my king. I am no youth, to be endangered by a grown man’s desire. Nor are you old, in any way at all and certainly not in the way that could possibly put a man past the yearnings of heart and body. If anyone could take his pick, it is you, my lord. To think that you would choose to look my way.”

Aragorn has an urge to grasp Faramir on the shoulders and give him a good shake, to make him see past the ever-charitable excuses that he seems to keep in inexhaustible supply.

“I did not choose to look your way, Faramir. It came upon me unbidden, though it would be a lie to call it unwelcome also. For even to think of you has brought me such bliss that no years of the Valar could atone for. I am so sorry, my friend. I honour you above any man who lives in this day, and yet my thoughts of you are selfish and unclean. I cannot make it not be so.”

Faramir slows his step, looks around.

“When you say, unclean,” he probes carefully, although as if a little distractedly, “what do you mean by that, my king?”

Aragorn takes in a chest-full of air but has difficulty breathing it back out.

“Faramir, I… I do not mean anything good by it.”

“I see…” Faramir stops momentarily, looks back, then shakes his head and carries on. “So, for instance, something along the lines of yourself and I, alone, and I am standing on my knees before you, and –”

“Faramir, don’t!”

“– and you lift up your tunic for me, and I cradle your cock in my mouth?”


“Is that not a thing you wish from me then?”

The King barely resists the temptation to bury his face in his hands. “Perhaps not quite in such terms?”

Though of course this is exactly how he would wish for it.

This and so much more, so much worse.

It seems Faramir is about to say something else, but thinks the better of it.

He steps to the side, and for a moment Aragorn thinks that Faramir is leaving, but in the shadows it looks like he is reaching up to a tree and then pulls something down. An ornate Elven lantern comes alive in Faramir’s hand, lit without a flame. He places the end of a long forked stick through a hoop in the metalwork and raises the light above their heads.

“It was getting dark,” he explains conversationally, as if the entire prior exchange has never taken place, and continues on their way.

As Aragorn goes after him once again, he looks around in the soft yellow-green glow only to see that they have long left Faramir’s gardens behind. They are deep in the older parts of the woods now, the wild places untouched by the designs of Men. The undergrowth is thick and the trunks of the mature trees are powerful and gnarled with age. Moss-covered boulders crowd underfoot and tall fern-trees open their many frond-hands overhead, casting a latticed net over the stars above.

The air tastes different here, purer, sweeter.

His ears then pick up the faint sounds of distant singing in the Elven-tongue, coming from many places at once, and then the music of cold water running over rocks.

They will not be returning to the Emyn Arnen seat anytime soon.

A strange calm comes over him. The worst has been said aloud, and all that is left now is to wait, for clearly his host is not yet done.

Quietly he follows in Faramir’s footsteps as the path through the trees grows narrow. Faramir points out when to look out for a root or a burrow, but otherwise does not speak.

The trees around them grow taller, or rather the sides of their path rise and turn into banks, and they find themselves walking on the bed of a small glen. This then opens into a clearing, a private little meadow under the stars.

Aragorn thinks that this is an old night, like one of the nights in Middle-earth before the Valar had made the Anor and Ithil to sail the skies, when there were only the stars of Elbereth overhead.

A wind breathes through the dark grass and it caresses their legs as they pass, leaving a coolness of night dew in the fabric of their clothes.

He sees a stream of clear water running down a rocky trail in the grass ahead of them, coming seemingly from a solid cliff-face at the other end of the clearing, from under the feet of an ancient willow.

The grand old tree, its dangling slender branches lit up from beneath by the Elven lamp in Faramir’s hand, seems a vision from the long-gone days of his childhood. Everything is as though coming together now. Who would have thought there would come a day in his lifetime when one could walk through Ithilien in the dark without a drawn sword. Who would have thought this noble young man, a little less young now but just as noble, whom he first saw on the verge of death, blood aflame with poison – would be the one taking him on the winding path.

Who would have thought that the Elvendoom of his youth, which is disappearing from Middle-earth like mist after sunrise, could be found right here, a day’s ride from the shining glory of Minas Tirith, and a thousand years away.

Faramir turns to him, takes a deep breath, closes his eyes for a moment as the night breeze blows a couple of strands of his hair across his face just as it rustles the long tresses of the willow behind.

“I understand you, my king,” he says. “I understand your shame – even as I refuse to validate and multiply it. And I am so sorry that it has kept you from understanding me in turn, and has made you tread such a long road. Now that you at last take to me a confession, it is not so much a confession as an apology. No matter how I tried to hearten you, you only beat yourself the more. For a long time I had waited, trusting that if you wished to speak with me, you would – and behold. Of all the things you could ask of me, you durst not go above forgiveness – do I not get a choice of what I would give?”

“Faramir, I have already said, you owe me no debt of gratitude. I could never accept…”

Faramir shakes his head sternly, and Aragorn trails off.

“My lord Aragorn, I had feared that nothing I could say tonight would have the power to let you see – so I have brought you here, so maybe you can see for yourself.”

Aragorn nods.

“I am sorry also, Faramir. I will come with you.”

Without another word, Faramir ducks under the hem of the willow’s foliage.

Aragorn follows the soft glow of the light, and finds Faramir at the cliff face behind the tree.

Faramir runs his fingers across the green garlands of vines running down the rock, and they shift and sway under his touch, revealing a void behind.

He moves the greenery aside and slips through, and after a moment, Aragorn follows.

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10 Comment(s)

Thank you your work! I’m waiting the next chapters. Faramir has tattoos! Amazing idea! He inspirated my first one.:)

— Liza    Sunday 11 November 2018, 17:03    #

Thank you so much, Liza! Wow, you actually have a Faramir-inspired tattoo? That’s amazing.

I’m afraid I can’t take credit for the idea, as a few years ago I remember reading a story where Faramir and/or Boromir had tattoos. I really likes the concept, like, can they get any more sexy??!

— December    Tuesday 13 November 2018, 9:00    #

Beautifully done. Such an exquisite piece of writing, such a smart metaphors, the thing with pearls and glass beads almost made me jealous I wasn’t one to create it. I must admit, I’m tempted to use it in my Text Interpretation classes, if only I were fearless enough)) Really, I feel as if I’m there, in the picture, I can understand all the anxiety of Aragorn, so more so that object of his feelings is such a lovable one. Hope to find more soon, please, December.

— LCD    Saturday 17 November 2018, 18:13    #

Oh, thank you so much, LCD!
I just love the community on this website, such thoughtful commentary!

Thank you for the reassurance, I always feel a bit conflicted when writing the feels for the boys. On the one hand, they are tough, reserved men living in quite a strict conservative culture, and I want to do justice by their toughness. On the other though, they both are strongly affected by romantic feelings, and Aragorn in particular tends to go a bit OTT, both of which I would expect to be even more so when the feelings are “inappropriate” in terms of their object. I’m really glad you found Aragorn’s anxiety to be relatable and not out of character.

Thank you for the kind words about my writing, I hope I am improving with time, haha. I’m still afraid to reread some of my earlier stuff, eek! I worry sometimes that I go too heavy-handed with the metaphoring, so thanks for that. Please feel free to borrow and use wherever, I’d be only proud!

Thanks for reading!

— December    Sunday 18 November 2018, 8:11    #

After this story I’d plucked up my courage and went to the tattoo artist. Now I wear faramir’s name on my left arm, it was written by tengwar. Thank you the inspiraton. You write beautiful.

— Cornelia    Thursday 21 February 2019, 10:21    #

I have read… wait, no, I have devoured your writing just now. Yes devoured, because it was like sitting at the finest feast ever laid out to men and elves. The metaphors you used were just beautiful, I am sure Elrond himself would be proud to have them written in his library… And your portrayal of Aragorn, his anxiety and the irresistible pull he feels towards Faramir, even if he knows that it is inappropriate, is sooooo good I’m still sitting here dazed. I’m in awe. And Faramir’s tattoo? A dream come true! If there is a chance that you will be writing the next part to this already wonderful story, I’d like you to know that it will be greatly anticipated and loved. Big hugs!

— Tora    Friday 29 March 2019, 18:08    #

During i was reading this chapter,the newest, I wish I could be there. Be a rabbit, or a headoge, or an other animal who lives in the night, and follow these amazing men, on that breathtaking place.
Thank you you share it! ( On the borthday of the Prof. What a fine scence of humor do you have!)

— Eve    Friday 3 January 2020, 15:21    #

Dear December,
thank you for the much-anticipated second part of your wonderful story. In my humble opinion, you mustn’t hesitate anymore, if you are capable to catch on ‘’the feels of the boys’’. From my point of view of ‘’seasoned reader’’ they are just the right balance of restraint and passion, of tenderness and ‘’filth’’, and I adore them to be as you re-create them.
For no particular reason I also like the part with elven lantern, for me it magically gave the utmost credibility and some coziness to the entire scene.
And, after reading the old texts of yours here, I seriously consider you to become more and more clever with words. It’s not a matter of me trying to be polite, it’s a fact I want you to be aware of:)

— LCD    Saturday 18 January 2020, 16:27    #

The lantern (above) was a source of credibility. For me it was the description of the night. Not that we have Valar, but some nights just feel old. Don’t know how else to say it. It adds to the feeling that relationships and misunderstandings about them are as old as time.

— Bell Witch    Thursday 16 April 2020, 20:22    #

This is absolutely lovely! Thank you for writing!

— atonau    Friday 19 January 2024, 4:41    #

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