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Fiction featuring Faramir & No Pairing

This page lists all fiction without an outspoken pairing. Because this is not just a smut archive, you know! (Though you might also find solo performances here… so still pay attention to ratings and warnings!)

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Written by Fawsley; with No Pairing

Written for the LJ sons_of_gondor Hallowe’en trick or treat fic exchange.

Posted Dec 22, 2006 | 1706 words | Comment

Written by Monica; with No Pairing

This is just a series of snippets, jumping back and forth in time. The first part of each chapter takes place during Faramir’s childhood. The second part takes place after the War of the Ring.

Warnings: gratuitous fluff

Posted May 09, 2005 | 4731 words | Comment [3]

Written by Illwynd; with No Pairing

Faramir is pursued by a fearsome creature.
Written for the Six Days of Spooky challenge at spooky_arda

Posted Oct 31, 2008

Written by Clairon; with No Pairing

What is the one thing the loyal Steward of Gondor would never dream of doing? Well batten down the hatches, hold on to your hats, pray for him because he’s going to…

Posted Oct 30, 2004

Written by Illwynd; with No Pairing

Companion to “Truce” just in case you were wondering about that…

Posted Aug 15, 2007

Written by colonelduckie; with No Pairing

My interpretation of Faramir’s dream between when he injured and when Aragon heals him.

Posted Mar 10, 2010 | 448 words | Comment [1]

Written by KC; with No Pairing

This is a sequel to ‘Grief’. For Faramir it is the day after. Also where you find out exactly what Legolas did to end up over Gandalf’s lap.

Warnings: Spanking

Posted Mar 30, 2004 | 5535 words | Comment [1]

Written by KC; with No Pairing

This is number six in the series that started with ‘Grief’, ‘Elf, Wasps and an Angry Wizard’ and ‘Stubborn Stewards and Bright Red Paddles’, ‘Human King, Elven King & One Stubborn Steward’, and ‘Sweet Revenge or Let Licking Dogs Lie’.

Warnings: Spanking

Posted Nov 06, 2004 | 58662 words | Comment [8]

Written by Illwynd; with No Pairing

Written as part of the Six Days of Spooky Series: Day 6

Posted Nov 05, 2007

Written by HeriTavaril; with No Pairing

Faramir gets sick and Aragorn and Legolas look after him.

Warnings: angst

Posted Feb 28, 2008 | 1514 words | Comment [1]

Written by Fawsley; with No Pairing

Drabble written for the drabblechalleng January 2006 image prompt.

Warnings: Includes explicit image

Posted Jan 04, 2007 | 117 words | Comment [1]

Written by Sivan Shemesh; with No Pairing

It is the first time without Finduilas around. How is the Steward’s family dealing with the pain? And what about the nearing holiday?

Warnings: Mention of Character Death. Some mentions of child abuse. AU, angst

Posted Jan 02, 2008 | 4509 words | Comment [1]

Written by Linda Hoyland; with No Pairing

Written for the Summer in Ithilien challenge

Posted Aug 25, 2007 | 215 words

Written by Fawsley; with No Pairing

A Hallowe’n tale. Can it be true that the dead do walk? Or is there a more down-to-earth explanation?

Posted Dec 22, 2006 | 2722 words | Comment

Written by arahiril; with No Pairing

Faramir and Boromir return home. Denethor welcomes them in his usual way.

Posted Jan 19, 2008 | 3288 words | Comment [3]

Written by Clairon; with No Pairing

Co-authored by Raksha. This is the sequel to and takes place six months after Made to Suffer. Prince Eldarion lies unconcious and bespelled and Faramir, Steward of Gondor blames himself.
This is the final part of a trilogy started with ‘Come to Harm’ and continuing in ‘Made to Suffer’, so if you haven’t read those it might be better if you do so first.

Posted Oct 29, 2004

Written by Eschscholzia; with No Pairing

Faramir has dealt with many challenges in his jobs as Ithilien Ranger and Steward, but he’s never had to deal with a ghost before.

Posted Mar 23, 2021 | 2561 words | Comment [1]

Written by Fawsley; with No Pairing

Written for the tolkien_weekly LJ North challenge.

Posted Apr 29, 2007 | 101 words | Comment

Written by Susana; with No Pairing

Aragorn and Arwen are celebrating their first Yule in Minas Tirith with their family and friends, and circumstances conspire to cause Lord Elrond to recall the first Yule he spent with the twins and his youngest foster-son in Imladris, when Aragorn was first Estel. In the days when Arathorn’s death was a tragedy for Gilraen and Aragorn. But it was also a tragedy for the rangers, and for their comrades in arms, the Lord Elrond’s twin sons.
Added: Part VII

Posted Feb 14, 2011 | 36497 words | Comment [1]

Written by KC; with No Pairing

Faramir and Legolas travel to Mirkwood and meet the Elven King. This is number four in the series that started with ‘Grief’, ‘Elf, Wasps and an Angry Wizard’ and ‘Stubborn Stewards and Bright Red Paddles’.

Warnings: Spanking

Posted Nov 05, 2004 | 20383 words | Comment [3]

Written by AlexanderW; with No Pairing

Faramir ponders his life at his brother’s party – where he’s being ignored, as usual.

Posted Oct 30, 2009 | 1367 words | Comment [2]

Written by FoxRafer; with No Pairing

Written for the faramir_fics Summer in Ithilien Challenge. This is AU in that I don’t think it closely follows either the books or the movies.

Posted Oct 15, 2007 | 550 words | Comment [2]

Written by Kamira; with No Pairing Faramir is called upon to fulfill a promise Boromir once made.

Warnings: Well there aren’t any really...but if even a humorous kiss between a hobbit and a man bothers you, don’t read this.

Posted Jun 09, 2004 | 7924 words | Comment [3]

Written by Melina; with No Pairing

Faramir learns that returning from war is not easy, but he finds help from an unexpected quarter.

Posted Jun 01, 2004

Written by Iris; with No Pairing, Haldir, Boromir, Denethor

Things are not going well between Denethor and Faramir. It’s so bad even that Gandalf and Boromir decide it’s better for Faramir to spend some time away from home.

Warnings: Implicit incestuous thoughts and implied violence

Posted Jan 21, 2004 | 5098 words | Comment [11]

Written by FoxRafer; with No Pairing

Faramir’s beloved memories of a long ago summer. Written for the “some like it hot” challenge at lotr_community at LiveJournal

Posted Jul 25, 2009 | 220 words | Comment

Written by Faramir_Boromir; with No Pairing

What every steward’s son needs to know when he’s six years old.

Posted Aug 06, 2004 | 558 words | Comment

Written by AlexanderW; with No Pairing

Faramir sorts out his feelings during Aragorn’s coronation

Posted Aug 16, 2009 | 785 words | Comment [2]

Written by Jade Blood; with No Pairing

Faramir defends his wedding cake with great valor.

Posted Apr 27, 2007 | 1136 words | Comment [3]

Written by Lille Mermeid; with No Pairing

This is a short sequel to my fiction Hostages to Peace.

Posted May 02, 2010 | 622 words | Comment [2]

Written by Shireling; with No Pairing

A face for the past haunts Faramir and threatens his newly found happiness

Posted May 21, 2008 | 8798 words | Comment [2]

Written by Minx; with No Pairing

Post-ROTK, a small trip brings more trouble than ever imagined, and Faramir is forced to confront old aches and new nightmares, spoilers for ROTK

Warnings: Angst, violence

Posted Mar 26, 2005 | 14519 words | Comment [1]

Written by Clairon; with No Pairing

Sequel to Come to Harm when Faramir risks all to regain his honour.

Posted Oct 29, 2004

Written by Berengaria; with No Pairing

Written for the Summer in Ithilien challenge

Posted Aug 31, 2007 | 1498 words | Comment [1]

Written by Clairon; with No Pairing

In war people make mistakes. The King tries to make Faramir see that he is on the verge of making a bigger one.

Posted Oct 29, 2004

Written by Alcardilmë; with No Pairing

Faramir is not quite as healed as Aragorn thought.

Posted Nov 02, 2011 | 302 words | Comment [2]

Written by Susana; with No Pairing

Faramir is an odd mixture of Finduilas, Denethor’s upbringing, and perhaps a bit of Aragorn. But sometimes, it is very clear to the King, that Faramir is very much his mother’s son.

Warnings: Spanking

Posted Apr 03, 2011 | 9076 words | Comment

Written by Faramir_Boromir; with No Pairing

Faramir goes to Rath Dínen to check that Aragorn’s crown is ready for the coronation. Along the way, he thinks about his family and the past.

Warnings: Angst

Posted Oct 28, 2004 | 1064 words | Comment

Written by Linda Hoyland; with No Pairing

Drabble written for the Summer in Ithilien challenge

Posted Aug 31, 2007 | 136 words

Written by Acacea; with No Pairing

For the “Endings” challenge on tolkien_weekly.

Posted Jan 16, 2006 | 101 words | Comment

Written by Shireling; with No Pairing

In the early days of the King’s rule Faramir is left in charge during the King’s absence and finds himself having to deal with unexpected complications.
Sequel to ‘Seeking’.

Warnings: Spanking

Posted Nov 15, 2005 | 22964 words | Comment [3]

Written by Shireling; with No Pairing

Sometimes, to heal, it is necessary to draw on lessons from the past.

Warnings: Spanking. Faramir Angst ( like that’s a surprise!)

Posted Aug 09, 2006 | 8879 words | Comment [2]

Written by FoxRafer; with No Pairing

Written for the tolkien_weekly “Different Decisions” challenge.

Posted Oct 15, 2007 | 278 words | Comment

Written by Shireling; with No Pairing

In the first days of the Fourth Age, Estel and Legolas seek to help Faramir to break away from the shadows of the past.

Warnings: Spanking. Non Slash.

Posted Jun 27, 2005 | 45981 words | Comment [4]

Written by Bell Witch; with No Pairing

Set of five Senses drabbles

Posted Mar 03, 2008 | 827 words | Comment

Written by Nerey Camille; with No Pairing

Faramir has ever found comfort in his six stars, but now that isn’t enough any more.
Written for the seventh anniversary of the Faramir Fiction Archive.

Posted Sep 04, 2011 | 954 words | Comment

Written by Minx; with No Pairing, Aragorn, Boromir

The war is over, Some things have changed and others have not. Everyone is slowly settling into their routines – some old, some new – of life, work, duties, family, friends and love. For Faramir life before the war was not easy, and he still needs to recover from all that he endured. But neither he nor those around him have realised that yet.

Warnings: violence; not safe for work illustrations

Posted Dec 12, 2012 | 29219 words | Comment [6]

Written by Butterballer; with No Pairing

Written for lotr_sesa 2009, for tackerama.

Posted Jan 12, 2010 | 4175 words | Comment

Written by AlexanderW; with No Pairing

quick drabble100 – based on the prompt “silence”

Posted Nov 05, 2009 | 127 words | Comment [2]

Written by HeriTavaril; with No Pairing

An incident from Faramir’s childhood based on the scene between Pippin and Faramir in ROTK.

Posted Aug 31, 2005 | 687 words | Comment [2]

Written by Shireling; with No Pairing

Faramir’s attempt to do a good deed leads him into trouble

Warnings: Spanking, Fluff

Posted Dec 13, 2005 | 4946 words | Comment [3]

Written by Hurinhouse; with No Pairing

For the Feast challenge on Tolkien Weekly

Posted Jan 11, 2009 | 129 words | Comment [2]

Written by Acacea; with No Pairing

For the “sharp” challenge on tolkien_weekly

Posted Jun 08, 2005 | 100 words | Comment

Written by KC; with No Pairing

This is number five in the series that started with ‘Grief’, ‘Elf, Wasps and an Angry Wizard’, ‘Stubborn Stewards and Bright Red Paddles’ and ‘Human King, Elven King & One Stubborn Steward’.

Warnings: Spanking

Posted Nov 05, 2005 | 1912 words | Comment [2]

Written by Susana; with No Pairing

The cats of Dol Amroth have a unique perspective on their human masters. And Faramir’s cat Trouble and her kittens are not Lord Denethor’s biggest fans.
Added: Trials, Trouble, and Torment

Warnings: Spanking

Posted Sep 03, 2011 | 6650 words | Comment [1]

Written by Lille Mermeid; with No Pairing

This story wanted to be written and I had to, even if it differs a lot from my usual style.
I was feeling mean.

Warnings: AU, death of major characters.

Posted May 15, 2010 | 1205 words | Comment [7]

Written by Faramir_Boromir; with No Pairing

Posted Oct 29, 2004 | 570 words | Comment

Written by Tal; with No Pairing

A Faramir vignette, written for the Aragorn Angst Group weekly prompts: King & Grateful.

Posted Sep 15, 2010 | 226 words | Comment [8]

Written by Tal; with No Pairing

A Faramir vignette, written for the Aragorn Angst Group weekly prompt: Listen.

Posted Sep 18, 2010 | 697 words | Comment [6]

Written by Tal; with No Pairing

A Faramir vignette, written for the Aragorn Angst Group weekly prompt: Warm.

Posted Jan 06, 2010 | 164 words | Comment [2]

Written by Faramir_Boromir; with No Pairing

Faramir cleans up the Steward’s library, and wonders why he does so.

Posted Oct 29, 2004 | 1131 words | Comment

Written by Clairon; with No Pairing

Faramir’s POV as he rides for Osgiliath and his reasons for doing it.

Posted Oct 30, 2004

Pairing Unknown

Contrary to the stories above (which have 'no pairing'), the following stories do not have a pairing assigned.

An Honest Ghost Print

By Eschscholzia

23 March 2021 | 2561 words

“Touching this vision here,/It is an honest ghost, that let me tell you.”
Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5
William Shakespeare

A gentle knock on the door startled Faramir out of his reverie. “Enter,” he called.

A matronly woman backed into the room holding a large tea service tray. She placed it on the table and brushed aside a stray lock that had escaped her otherwise-tidy black and silver bun. “Your tea, Master Faramir.”
Faramir set his paperwork aside. Tea time at last! He crossed the room to accept the proffered cup. “Were you able to find any more of the ginger cake, Tiraneth?”

She sighed. “I thought I had a piece set by for you, but it vanished overnight.”


“Clear gone.” Tiraneth wrung her hands. “There’s a nice lemon bun, though, that I brought you.”

Faramir rubbed his tongue on his teeth as he accepted the cup. Its warmth soaked into his hands as he returned to his seat. “Thank you, Tiraneth. I suppose it can’t be helped short of posting a guard dog at the entrance to the larder.”

Tiraneth threw her head back and laughed. She wiped her eyes on her ample white linen apron. “The poor dog would make himself sick eating all the pastries just himself.”

A rueful smile stretched his mouth. “No, I suppose you’re right,” he murmured into his cup. “Thank you, Tiraneth.”

She curtsied and took her leave. Faramir smiled into the air, thinking of the times he and Boromir had snuck into kitchens to steal sweets themselves. Some poor hall boy would receive Tiraneth’s ire now. The time she caught him and his brother helping themselves to an unapproved repast, they had scrubbed pots in the scullery for an afternoon, Steward’s sons or not. At the end, arms raw, they were given strict instructions that if they were going to steal jam tarts again, to take them from the batch that was leftover, not the batches counted for the evening’s banquet. He carried the lemon bun to the window, staring out the casement at the bustling courtyard below and the city beyond while he ate.

All too soon it was devoured. Faramir sighed and poured himself some more tea before resuming his place behind his desk. Despite diligent work of several hours, only a few things had moved from the “in” stack for review to the “out” stack for filing in the archives. He rubbed his forehead to unpinch his eyes. Purchasing winter wheat from the western ends of Gondor to make up for the destroyed Pelennor planting season, supplies vanishing from the palace larder, and a shortage of footmen for the new royal household. It was any wonder he could keep the country going while the new King solidified his support in the High Council.

He picked up the next piece of parchment. It was the report of the watch. Which reminded him, he had his fortnightly meeting with the captains of the night watch in less than a candlemark. Faramir touched the agenda laid neatly on the corner of his desk to reassure himself that it was still there.

Soon afterward a light tap on the door interrupted the soft scratching of his pen. “Come,” he said.

The two leaders of the night watch entered and took their seats in front of the Steward’s desk. One was a shorter man with brown hair indicating his origins amongst the western regions. The other was taller with dark hair. Both wore the beaten silver badges of captains of the Watch. After the usual pleasantries, Faramir picked up his agenda and dove in.

From duty rotations to coal for the night-time braziers to and the upcoming schedule for the week, they covered a wide range of topics. Soon Faramir’s finger reached the bottom of the page. They were nearly done. “Is there anything else you want to bring up?” Faramir asked.

The taller man twisted his hood in his hands. “Well, there is one thing, sir.”

“Yes, Ihuchion?”

“You see, we have a problem with a…” his voice trailed off as he stared at the hood crumpled in his lap.

Faramir leaned forward. “I beg your pardon?”

Ihuchion looked up. “A ghost, my lord.” He swallowed hard.

“A ghost.” Faramir’s pen fell from his hand to the blotter with a small plop.

The watch captains looked at each other. Someone’s feet shuffled in the reeds on the floor.

“For the last two weeks, around the time of the first bell, a spectre has shown itself upon the allure.” Ihuchion looked Faramir in the eyes. “It appears to wear the cloak of a Ranger of Ithilien.”

“And there are no other Rangers or guardsmen missing from their posts or barracks at this time? No other possible explanations than a ghost?”

“Everyone is accounted for, my lord,” Ihuchion replied.

“Has it a visage? Do we know who it is? Have you any idea what it seeks? What grudge it keeps?”

The other watch captain simply shook his head sadly.

“Its face is hidden within its cloak; none have seen his face,” Ihuchion replied.

Faramir turned to the second watch captain. “Gwaethor, what do you propose?”

Gwaethor spoke up, “If we lie in wait for it, perhaps we can confront it and question…”

“That’s rubbish, who ever heard of talking to a ghost?”

Faramir steepled his fingers. “Peace, gentlemen. Perhaps I should come see firsthand what you yourselves have seen?”

Gwaethor and Ihuchion nodded. “This is beyond our expertise,” Gwaethor acknowledged.

“And shades are part of mine?” Faramir laughed. And then he remembered his dream visions. He’d seen some odd things in his life. He sobered up. He took a deep breath, then exhaled. “Shall I join you this evening?” He raised his eyebrows at the two captains.

“Meet me at the watch office tonight at the changing of the guard, sir,” Ihuchion offered.

“Very well, then.” Faramir stood to show them out. He needed to retrieve a warm cloak from the clothespress before nightfall.

Faramir stared up at the sky. The constellations twinkled in the clear night sky overhead. The Dwarf, his favorite, stood ready with his axe. Faramir stomped his feet to keep warm. Looking back to the west, a thin wisp of clouds blurred the stars, but Carnil loomed over the tower’s edge.

He pulled his spare ranger’s cloak tighter around him. The thick wool smelled of woodsmoke and leather oil. It whispered comfort and familiarity of the caverns at Henneth Annûn.

“Here.” Something nudged Faramir in the ribs. He looked down. One gauntleted hand held out a flask.

“Oh, nnno, no thank you,” he stammered. “I don’t drink on duty.”

Brôgnorn shook his head. “This isn’t for recreation. This here is medicinal. Got to keep warm on a spring night like this.” Brôgnorn was a grizzled veteran of the watch, whom Faramir knew by sight but had never interacted with closely. It would not do to hurt his feelings.

Faramir let the merest drop wet his lips in politeness. He got a brief taste of plum before he handed it back. How much longer would it be? The first bell of the night had just rung; he had been sitting here since before midnight. An owl hooted in the distance.

“There, my lord!” The sentry pointed along the allure. A figure in a cloak emerged from an opening in a tower across the courtyard from them. It lurched unsteadily across the battlements, and then disappeared into the corner bastion.

Faramir sat back in dismay. He rubbed his chin. What could this be? “Is it gone?” he whispered.

Ihuchion laid his hand on Faramir’s shoulder. “Stay, my lord.”

In a few moments, the figure emerged through the archway at the bottom of the tower, having apparently taken the stairs. It lurched ungently across the flagstones. It passed under the archways, where it vanished.
“Does this happen every night?”

Maethor (Brôgnorn’s partner on this stretch of the battlements) nodded. “Not quite every night, m’lord, but often enough. The phantom varies in his path. Sometimes he’s one place one night and then somewhere else on another.”

“Will it come back?”

“That also depends.” Brôgnorn stretched his hands over the brazier.

“Sometimes it does, sometimes not,” Maethor shrugged.

Faramir turned away from the light of the fire and willed his eyes to adjust for another glimpse.

Ihuchion joined Faramir, peering into the dark. “You can begin to see what we’re up against.”

“Aye, I do.” Faramir turned to face Ihuchion. “Tomorrow I will return. We must try to make contact with it.”

After what felt like (and was) an abbreviated night’s sleep, Faramir plodded through his day of work. This time he met Gwaethor after nightfall; it was his evening as the officer in charge of the night watch.

Where Ihuchion had been jolly, Gwaethor was more reserved. Faramir only received a few words of answer from his attempts to make polite conversation. It was well enough. He drifted into a reverie, only half-listening to the jests between Maethor and Brôgnorn. In tone, if not substance, it reminded him of the days in the cave of Henneth Annûn. A log snapped in the brazier beside them, sending crackles of sparks into the air. Was the air on the wall walk beyond them growing misty? Faramir waved an arm experimentally outside his cloak. It did not feel damp enough for fog to grow.

No, there was a definite blur. He rubbed his eyes. When he looked back, the form of a cloaked Ranger looked back. Designed to obscure, the cloak faded into the dark, but there was yet a distinct silhouette against the stars.

The shade.

His companions fell silent as well. Faramir took a step forward.

“What do you want?” he called into the night. “Who were you in life?”

He gained no answer. The phantom receded along the walkway. It made no sound as it went, gliding smoothly as a swan upon the lakes of Dol Amroth.

Faramir leapt into pursuit. As quickly as he moved, it evaded him, with such an advantage of distance over him already.

Faramir increased his pace, but his soft-shod boots slid on the stone. He wrenched his back. A sharp pain stabbed through him where he had been wounded on the Pelennor. Faramir cursed his decision to choose stealth over hobnailed-traction. He stopped to lean against a convenient merlon. Panting, he clutched his incompletely-healed wound. The ghost continued on its progress, silently drifting away from him like a soap bubble carried on the wind, further and further out of his reach. Gradually it faded from view, until he was left staring into nothingness. He slid down the wall until he met the cold stone pavement. Faramir sat, willing himself to catch his breath. It had eluded him.

Faramir dozed off the next afternoon, after two short nights in a row. Tiraneth clucked her tongue when she found him inadvertently napping, clutching the report on refugee resettlement in one hand. He shook himself awake and gratefully accepted the tea, along with the second pot she sent up to the Steward’s office later.

After his evening meal and catching a brief moment of watching the sunset with the Lady Éowyn, he once again shrugged into his cloak and pulled on his gloves. For the third night he met Ihuchion, Brôgnorn, and Maethor at the guard office, rejoining them on the citadel wall. Once again he listened to their banter, accepted a third polite sip of plum brandy, stirred the coals in the brazier, and peered into the darkness.

Again, sometime after the midnight bell, the ghostly ranger emerged from the bastion opposite the courtyard.

Faramir caught the others’ eyes. He signalled to them: Go around the other way; encircle it. They nodded.

Faramir scrambled down the nearest staircase, while they headed the opposite direction. His scabbard banged against his legs as he tried to draw his sword while running. What good would a sword do against a shade? Who knows? But perhaps it would be stayed in its progress.

The caped figure picked up pace. Faramir and the guardsmen charged after it. The ghost scurried along the pavement, in the shadows of the colonnade. Faramir cursed protocol and darted across the grass, ignoring all the childhood injunctions to stay on the paved walkways. He cut it off before it could vanish into the darkness of the entrance to the storage rooms.

Tall as the tallest of the Númenoreans, it loomed over him, still a head taller than even he.

The trio of guardsmen pounded to a halt in a semicircle behind the ghost. It was surrounded.

Faramir carefully pointed his sword at where he assumed its heart would have been in life. “Halt, Spirit. How come you to traverse the Citadel? What business do you have here?”


“Who were you in life, that now in death you must disturb the nighttime peace?”

Did the phantom… wobble?

It uttered a low moan. Instead of sounding fearsome, it sounded like a cow stuck in a bog.

Maethor and Brôgnorn looked at each other from opposite poles of the circle.

“Right, then,” Ihuchion said. He stepped forward, and reached for the swale of the phantom’s cloak. It came away in his hand, revealing two hobbits. Pippin sat on Merry’s shoulders, clinging mightily to Merry’s head, distorting Merry’s eyebrows in a ghoulish grimace. Pippin flailed one arm, overbalanced, and crashed to the ground. Thankfully he fell to the side of the grass rather then the flagstones.

The first bell rang in the tower as they all stared at each other, stunned.

Brôgnorn hauled Pippin up by the collar.

Faramir sheathed his sword. He rubbed his forehead to buy time, then his mouth for good measure, too. Finally he regained enough composure to speak. “What are you doing out so late, past the time when anyone with legitimate business is asleep?”

“We were hungry,” Merry muttered.

Pippin nodded in the baffling innocent way that only he could. “Hobbits often need late night snacks. Many hobbits have segmented sleep, y-”

“Segmented sleep,” interrupted Ihuchion. “You want us to believe that you halflings wake up even to eat?” he scoffed.

Merry rubbed his elbow. “I’m sure Gandalf can back us up.”

Pippin nodded his agreement.

Faramir exhaled. Nobody should go hungry, but at the same time, stealing from the kitchens when they could just ask? Did they eat the last piece of ginger cake?

“Sir,” Maethor tugged Faramir’s sleeve.

Faramir threw him off. “Was it you who ate the last of the ginger cake? Do you have no respect for the cooks and their meal planning?”

“We have great respect for the Citadel cooks.” Merry stared at his foot, tracing the flagstone joints.

“Sir,” Maethor began again.

Pippin looked up at the wall walk behind them. He pointed up over Faramir’s shoulder. “Up above, what’s that?”

Faramir turned and followed his finger. Silhouetted against the slanting moonlight, glided a pale figure in a ranger cloak.

“But, if you’re down here, who’s up there?” asked Brôgnorn.

This story was an entry in the Joker 2021 contest on the October 2020 picture challenge prompt.

The inspiring picture can be found here

Thank you to Evilmouse and the Silmarillion Writers Guild for cheering me on. Thank you also to the readers of the Teitho Contest for considering my story.

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

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at https://www.faramirfiction.com/fiction/an-honest-ghost. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!

1 Comment(s)

That was wonderful and slightly spooky fun. The image was creepier than the story, but it was a good read and all the more surprising for showing up in March instead of near Halloween

— Bell Witch    Tuesday 23 March 2021, 6:28    #

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On a Stormy Night Print

By Ellynn

22 February 2021 | 3260 words

Big thanks to Erulisse (One L) for beta reading. hugs


The storm and the rain whipped the two figures bent over in their saddles. The strong wind kept throwing the rain in their faces, no matter how much they tried to protect them with their hoods. In the dark night, lighted only by occasional flashes of lightning, they could see absolutely nothing.

Aragorn and Faramir rode out from Faramir’s home the previous day, after making plans for a three-day hunt in the forests of South Ithilien. All was well in the Kingdom, and it was one of the rare occasions when they could take a short break from their numerous duties. The first day of their trip had passed splendidly. Wandering through the woods reminded them of their ranger days; the weather was sunny and warm, and the spring night was mild and pleasant. However, today, the weather turned bad during the early afternoon, and soon a strong storm started. Wishing to find a shelter or lodging, the two men went in search of a path towards the nearest village, but the darkness foiled their intentions. They failed to find the road; actually, they were not certain if they had passed it more than once – without realizing it. Their search was made impossible by the darkness, puddles and mud. Here, only a few steps away from us, the entire tower of Barad-dur could emerge, Aragorn thought, and probably we would not notice it.

“Obviously, we will not find the village,” Faramir said, raising his hood for a moment. “Yet we must find any other shelter.” However, he knew this was a countryside made of mild hills and meadows, and it would not offer an abundance of caves or other natural shelters that could be found in the mountain range. It would not be easy for them to find a good, protected place.

“We are in the clearing now,” Aragorn responded, yelling to override the whistling of the wind. “If we set our eyes on a notch or …” He stopped mid-sentence, narrowing his eyes as if trying to focus his sight so as to cut through the darkness. “What is that…?” He thought he could see a faint light some sixty feet from them, but he could not be certain. The contours of a house? he wondered. Of course, I am probably only seeing what I want to see, because I am wishing for a fire and a warm corner for rest. Nonetheless, he directed his horse towards the silhouette, giving a sign to Faramir to follow him.

The lightning speared through the night, and in a flash of a second Aragorn realized with relief that he was not imagining anything. Indeed, a house stood before them, with a small cottage that was leaning against it. Probably a place for animals, he thought. They dismounted and went under the overhang. While the water poured down their cloaks, he knocked on the wooden door.

Aragorn had barely finished knocking when the door was opened. A boy, about twelve or thirteen years of age, stood in the doorway. The fire from the hearth illuminated the room behind him. The boy opened his mouth, but he closed it immediately, not saying anything. Of course. We must look like highwaymen this wet and disheveled.

“My friend and I have lost our way in the storm,” he said in a mild tone and smiled, trying to look friendly. “We just wish for a dry place to spend the night, for us and our horses. Could we stay in your barn? Call for your parents, and we shall ask them.”

However, the fear did not vanish from the boy’s eyes. Then a girl, who he had not noticed before, leaped up next to him. She looked as if she was a year or two younger than her brother. “Are you a healer?” she asked in one breath. “Or you?” she added rapidly, switching her gaze to Faramir, at the same moment that the door to a room behind them opened. “What is…?” the voice belonged to an older man peeking behind the door – obviously the father of the two children. At that moment, from the other room moaning could be heard, followed by a painful cry. The man’s face seemed weary and nervous, and Aragorn felt in him the same fear as with the children.

“I am a healer,” he told the man immediately. “I just told your son that we were travelling; we lost our way in the storm and sought shelter for the night. You are asking for a healer? Do you need assistance?”

“Oh, thank the Valar,” the man breathed. “Our healer died a few months ago, before he had a chance to train someone new. My wife is in labour, but something is amiss. It is lasting too long and the baby is not coming out. Everything is…” he stopped then, looking at his children. It seemed as if he did not wish to say anything else not to scare them more, but Aragorn could see the man was beside himself.

“At noon I rode out to the village to fetch the midwife,” the boy spoke for the first time. “But her son told me she had been urgently called away to another village. He also said he would tell her to come here as soon as she returned, but she has not yet arrived. Then the storm got stronger and we could not look for anyone else because we would lose our way.”

Just then a new cry sounded from the room and everybody flinched; the girl ran to her father in fright. He put his arm around her, giving Aragorn a pleading, yet uncertain look. Aragorn did not wait a moment longer and had already gone back to his horse to bring back the bag with healing herbs that he always carried with him when he went on a journey. He hurried back, taking his wet cloak off along with his coat and placing them by the door, while Faramir did the same. Then he turned towards the man.

“May I?” he asked pointing towards one of the towels near the hearth. Seeing an affirmative nod, he quickly wiped his wet face, hair and hands. “I will need more clean towels and hot water.”

“I have that,” the man nodded, “although I do not know what to do with it.”

“Good. Please, put the water in the kettle for tea,” he told the girl. “As soon as the water boils, call me.” Then he turned to the boy. “I need you to settle our horses in the barn and take care of them.” He wanted to keep the children busy because sitting and waiting, in fear and uncertainty, was the worst that could happen to them. While the brother and sister hurried to comply with his orders, Aragorn gave a sign and all three went into the other room. A woman was lying in the middle of the bed; she was pale, her hair was sticking to her head from sweat, and her eyes were closed. Her face was a mask of pain. The sheet on which she was lying was dotted with stains of blood.

“It started this morning,” the man said quietly. “And when we heard that Haleth had to leave, we thought we could manage. That is our village mid-wife, I meant to say. The first two times everything went quickly and in good order. But now something is wrong. The baby is not coming out, and she is growing weaker.” His voice started to tremble. “Will you be able to help her?” His dark eyes were desperate.

“I do not know until I examine her,” Aragorn answered sincerely. “I do promise, however, that I will do my very best.”

They approached the bed. The woman opened her eyes slowly, as if even that small movement took a great effort. Her husband stroked her forehead and her hair.

“We are in luck,” he said, smiling encouragingly, or at least he was striving for that look. “A healer came. He will help you now.”

She tried to say something, but the attempt was interrupted by a new contraction and a spasm of pain evident on her face. Aragorn signaled the man, and they approached the door. “My assistant,” he stopped, pointing at Faramir, “he will stay beside me. It would be best if you left now,” he said to the man. As expected, he saw uncertainty and mistrust in man’s eyes, so he nodded soothingly. “I have lived in the North for a long time, in Arnor. I have learned the art of healing from the elves, and there are no better healers than they are.”

“He saved my life during the War when no other healer in the Houses of Healing could help me,” Faramir added.

“You…” His inner struggle was evident. “You live and work in Minas Tirith? In the Houses of Healing?” he asked doubtfully in the end.

“Yes,” Aragorn nodded. His words were not the absolute truth, he knew. But ultimately, he did live and work in Minas Tirith… although his job description did not correspond to what the man imagined. Besides, during the War he had really been helping in the Houses of Healing, so he tried to convince himself he had not said a complete lie. He saw that the man was studying them and his gaze was fixed on the White Tree embroidered on the sleeve of Faramir’s tunic as well as on his bag with healing herbs. Finally, he nodded.

“All right.” He caught Aragorn by the arm, then. “Please, save her,” he whispered, begging.

“I will do everything I can to help your wife. And you should be with your children. They are just as scared as you are. They need you.”

The man nodded and left. Aragorn washed his hands carefully and dried them by the fire that was burning in the room. Then he approached the bed. The woman’s face looked tortured, and her eyes looked sunk in. Her breathing was shallow. He smiled gently.

“What is your name?” he asked.

“Bereth,” she answered weakly.

“Bereth, I will examine you now to check what is happening with the baby, and then I will try to induce the labour. My assistant will be by the headboard.” He gave a sign to Faramir, who brought the chair closer, and took her hand. “Feel free to grip my hand when you are in pain.” She nodded and Aragorn started his examination, which was interrupted by frequent and painful contractions. She was a few centimeters dilated, and upon seeing the position of the baby’s head, Aragorn immediately perceived what the problem was.

“Can you push when I give you the signal?” She only nodded in exhaustion; she could not say anything. However, when Aragorn nodded to her, the baby did not budge and the mother’s stomach muscles did not compress at all.

It was just as he had feared.

There was a knock on the door. The girl brought two small pots filled with hot water and Aragorn thanked her. “I will need more,” he told her. “After you boil the new pot, you will bring it to me, alright?” She nodded, quickly turning to hurry towards the hearth.

Aragorn closed the door and in no time he came back to the bed with a warm herbal tea for his patient. While Bereth was moaning in pain, Aragorn gave her one small pot.

“I wish for you to drink this. It does not taste well, but it will ease your pain,” he told her.

She nodded weakly and Aragorn helped her to sit up a little in bed, but even those small movements caused her new and stronger bouts of pain. She could barely drink half a pot before another strong spasm shook her, and with a cry she fell back onto the bed, unconscious.

“I have to hurry,” he told Faramir worriedly. “If the baby does not come out soon, they will both die.”

“What is the problem? Why cannot she have a normal labour?” Faramir asked in a voice tainted with worry and fear.

“The baby’s neck is slighty bent and its head is turned incorrectly, so it is coming face first. In that position, the baby needs more room to pass through the birth canal, or it cannot pass at all,” Aragorn explained, simultaneously crumbling the leaves of athelas in a bowl. “I have never seen it, but Elrond spoke to me about it. Bereth has been in labour for hours now; she is just too weak and out of strength now, and she has lost a lot of blood. When I told her to push a little while ago, she had no strength for that.”

“So what will you do?”

“Elrond showed once me a special metal device he had made. It looks like scissors, but its two points are in the shape of spoons, completely smooth and curved so as not to injure the mother or the baby. Using the device, the head can be turned and gently pulled in the correct position. The labour can go back on its normal track. However, I do not have it here, and she is already so weak…” He stopped, frowning worriedly. He had never witnessed such delivery, let alone corrected the position of the baby’s neck by himself. His guts clenched in fear. Two lives were at stake here.

At that moment Bereth blinked and opened her eyes. The pain etched deep lines in her face. Aragorn bent over her. Seeing the terror and desperation in her eyes, where awareness and reason were vanishing before the agony, he suppressed his own fear. He had to help her. He had promised to do anything he could for her… and more, he added in his mind.

He brought athelas closer to her and it seemed to him that she was breathing a bit easier when the smell reached her, although, seeing how another contraction was straining her, he could not be sure. He caressed her forehead and bent over very close to her.

“Bereth, listen to me carefully,” he told her quietly and gently. “Your baby is not positioned properly, but I will rectify that. It will hurt, but it needs to be done, otherwise I will not be able to save it.” Otherwise I will not be able to save either of you. He suppressed a shudder. “When I tell you to push, do it with all your strength. Put every bit of strength you have into this one push. Do it for your baby. Do you understand me?” She blinked in allusion of a nod, and he smiled encouragingly at her. Once more he quickly washed his hands and then brought them very close to the fire to dry them. He nodded at Faramir, who caressed the woman’s forehead and kept talking to her consolingly and encouragingly, always holding her hand.

Then Aragorn took a deep breath, giving a silent prayer to the Valar in his mind, and pushed one arm towards the baby’s head. He did not know if he’d be able to align the baby with his hand, or how to do it properly; he only knew he had to do all in his power. His heart was beating rapidly. He was not even aware that he was not breathing. While Bereth screamed in pain, he gently enveloped the baby’s head; then, not breathing, he aligned it very slowly and tenderly, and when he felt it had lain correctly in the birth canal, he gave a sign.

“Now, Bereth, now! For your baby! Push, for your baby!” he cheered, releasing the long contained breath. And while she screamed and pushed, finding inside herself the last of the strength she did not even know she possessed, Aragorn slowly and gently pulled the baby out by the shoulders. As soon as the head was out, the body slipped out more easily. And when the baby drew in its first breath and cried shrilly, both men jumped for joy, laughing. “You did it, Bereth, you did it!” Aragorn exclaimed, beaming. “The baby will be fine!”

She could barely hear him; the effort had exhausted her so much that she was again on the brink of losing consciousness. However, as her eyes were closing from fatigue, the corners of her mouth turned into a small smile. At the same time, the door opened and her husband, followed immediately by the children, invaded the room. Their faces were reflecting the hope mixed with fear that would still not vanish. Aragorn turned towards them with a smile, holding the baby in his arms.

“Everything will be alright,” he said with a wide smile, coming closer to allow them to see the baby. “Here, this is your youngest son; and also your brother!”

The children started jumping and squeaking in joy, and then they snuggled next to their father who hugged them with both hands. Tears came down from his eyes, filled with relief and gratitude. “I will never be able to thank you enough,” he said in a low voice, touched.

“Let me see him,” Bereth’s weak voice came from behind their backs. She opened her eyes and looked at them. Aragorn took a clean towel and wrapped the boy in it and put the bundle into her arms. The little one did not cry so loudly anymore, he was beginning to calm down. Bereth hugged him with her arm, placing a kiss on his forehead.

“Oh dear!” the man exclaimed, slapping his forehead. Aragorn and Faramir turned to him in surprise. “When you arrived, I was so beside myself from worry that I completely forgot the basic manners,” he said, his cheeks blushing. “Not only did I not ask whether you needed anything, but I did not offer anything, and I did not even introduce myself. Please, do forgive me.”

“Do not worry, it was completely understandable in the situation,” Aragorn hurried to persuade him. “There was no time to talk, your wife needed urgent assistance.”

“No, no, I must apologize. I am Hador, my wife is Bereth, and these are my children, Valandil and Laniel.” Then he stopped to look Aragorn in the eyes, while his own filled with tears again. “Please, tell me your name. I would wish to name my youngest son after you.”

“That is a great honour. I thank you,” Aragorn replied, moved by the gesture. He turned to Bereth. “May I?” She nodded and he took the baby from her. The little head was covered with tufts of dark hair. The little boy blinked and through the eyelashes Aragorn saw two blue eyes, like his mother’s. They were not grey… but that did not matter at all. He smiled, looking up at Hador.



End note:
For the medical details and complications during childbirth, I consulted a friend who was a student of medicine. She told me about the aforementioned problematic positioning of the baby’s head and neck, as well as about the forceps – an instrument the doctor could use to align the head in case of complications. (The other possibility is a Caesearean section, but in Middle-earth it is not viable.) Considering that forceps had been used in our world since the 17th century, I believe it could be taken as a possibility that the elves, whose medicine is most advanced, could have acces to such a surgical instrument.

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Memories in the storm (PG) Print

By Ellynn

16 February 2021 | 1370 words

“I miss her.” The voice of a six year old boy trembled, but he didn’t start to cry.

“I know, little brother,” replied the older boy sympathetically. “I miss her too.”

Their mother died six months ago, and it seemed as if the sun that had been lighting their family died with her too. Since that day their father had become sullen and withdrawn. Warmth faded from his eyes; only rarely would he direct a smile to his firstborn son.

Boromir put his arm around his brother’s shoulder. Faramir sometimes had nightmares, just like tonight. Rain was pouring since last afternoon, and during the night the thundering began. Heavy raindrops hit the windows and streamed down the windowpanes, while lightning shed ghastly light into the dark room. A few moments ago Faramir knocked on his brother’s door, scared and on the verge of tears. Like many times before, Boromir moved aside and his little brother climbed to bed, seeking words of comfort.

For words of comfort they would not hear from their father.

“What do you think, where is she now?” asked Faramir in a weak voice.

“I don’t know. Nobody knows that,” sighed Boromir. “The elder say that after death the souls of Men depart from Arda and go to a better place, where there is no sorrow.”

A lightning that lit the room for a moment revealed a thoughtful face of the younger boy.

“What is a soul, Bori? Have you ever seen one?”

The older brother frowned. He was troubled by that too. He didn’t know the answer, nor had he ever seen a soul. But now he had to try to answer, for it was important to Faramir. He couldn’t let his brother down. He thought about it.

“I think the soul is everything that makes a person. His or her characteristics and personality and everything,” he said slowly, hoping he was not mistaken. “I am not sure, but I think that sometimes you can see the soul in the eyes of people. And in their smile.”

The drumming of raindrops on the window was the only sound that filled the room for a while.

“Yes, you can see it. You could see it in Mama. She had the most wonderful soul on Arda,” Faramir said with childish, but absolute certainty in his voice and a smile on his face.

“Yes, she had,” repeated the older brother wistfully. Although he showed it less than his brother did, he too missed her very much. Then he turned to Faramir. “And we’ll always remember that. We will always carry her in our hearts.”

They were silent for a while, but it was not an uneasy silence. The younger boy was calmed by his brother’s presence and his words of comfort.


“Yes, little one?”

“I think I can go to sleep now. Will you see me off to my room?”

“Of course.”

Only a few small candles cast weak, dim light in a long, large dark hall. The two boys crossed the short distance between their rooms in just a few moments. Their bare feet didn’t make even the slightest sound.

“Thank you, Bori,” said Faramir in his tiny little voice as he crawled into bed. He pulled the blanket up to his chin.

“You’re welcome, little brother. I am always here for you. Whenever you are sad, whenever you are troubled, just come to me.” Boromir smiled and kissed his brother’s brow. “Sleep peacefully,” he added, heading towards the door. He had already found his way to the door through the darkness and was almost pressing the handle, when a quiet call stopped him.

“Bori? Something just crossed my mind. I wonder…”

“What?” asked Boromir, standing next to the door.

“Do you think Mama can see us?”

“I believe she can,” replied the older brother, and he really meant it. It was an encouraging, comforting thought; if their mother could really see them, it meant that she was with them in some way, no matter how distant she was. “And we’ll do our best to make her proud of us, won’t we, little brother?”

“We will.” With those words he quieted down and fell asleep.

Lightning flashed in the night, and a moment later a thunder resounded throughout the palace. But none of those gathered in the Steward’s chamber took notice of the weather, least of all Faramir. The midwife has just laid a baby in his arms. Holding the newborn son in his arms, he shivered, overwhelmed with feelings. His heart beat like crazy. All sounds died out and faded away. He felt as if he were flying, all the way to the sky and even further, and his heart grew, full of pride and warmth. A father. I have become a father. The thought slowly entered his mind, though he did not fully comprehend it yet. He didn’t even notice the tears of joy rolling down his cheeks.

Raising his head a little, he met his best friend’s gaze and become aware of his surroundings and friends. Aragorn smiled broadly. Behind him were Legolas and Gimli, and next to them Prince Imrahil, his uncle. Their smiles were accompanied by merry congratulations and hugs. Everyone spoke at the same time, celebrating the happy event. Faramir couldn’t take his eyes off his son, exalted and enchanted. He started walking excitedly from one friend to another, showing them his little son with pride. He did not want to let him out of his arms even for a moment. Then one more thunder clap, louder than the one a little while ago, roared in the night, and Faramir startlingly felt this sound awaken the distant memories and carry him away from this special moment… into one other night, distant and almost forgotten. He closed his eyes and found himself in Minas Tirith, in his old little room in the palace.

The storm was raging then too. The thunder’s deafening roar resounded, the shadows were dark and menacing. A nightmare had crept once again into the dream of the small, frightened boy. But not everything was frightening. His brother’s low voice brought comfort and chased away loneliness and fear. It spoke of their mother, of her love for them, and of how they will always be together in their hearts.

Faramir opened his eyes and smiled, giving his attention again to the baby in his arms. In his son’s eyes he saw the eyes of his mother; in his mother’s image, so clear in his mind despite the years, he saw the eyes of his son.

“I hope you really can see us, mum…” he whispered almost inaudibly, staring at the distance. His sight was blurred with tears. “I will tell your grandson all about you.”

Little one, you will hear all about your grandma and how she was the best mother in the world, he added inside himself, speaking wordlessly to his son. And about your uncle, the best brother on Arda. And about your grandfather… who had a good heart hidden somewhere deep inside his rigid exterior, shattered forever by the death of his beloved wife.

Then he felt a hand touching his shoulder. Having turned around, he saw Aragorn standing next to him. The king’s face had altered; he sensed a change in his friend and concern replaced joy.

“Everything is fine,” Faramir answered the unspoken question wistfully. “Only a surge of memories of those who are no longer with us… especially of my mother.”

For a moment there was silence, filled with the murmur of the rain and the crackling of fire in the hearth.

“Your mother was a wonderful woman with a big and generous heart, always ready to help others,” said Aragorn softly a few moments later. “And she will always live in you and your children,” he added. Having heard of whom they spoke, a shadow of grief crossed Imrahil’s face.

“I know,” Faramir nodded and smiled again, watching his son. “She will always be in our hearts. The one who is loved never dies.”

I hope you can see us, mum, he repeated inside himself. And wherever souls of Men journey, I hope that one day we’ll all be together again.

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A Little More Effort for the Impossible (PG-13) Print

By Ellynn

13 February 2021 | 7212 words

Title: A Little More Effort for the Impossible
Author: Ellynn
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Faramir & Boromir

Set few years before War of the Ring. During a task in South Ithilien, Boromir is captured by Haradrim. Faramir will do all in his power to rescue him… in a mission against all odds.

Author’s note:

In this story, there are two names that are not on the map on Middle-earth. Small river Celion and fortress Harnost in South Ithilien are my invention; but Tolkien’s map has only a few settlements shown, and it seems reasonable that there are many other settlements, villages and fortresses as well.


A small camp set up by Ithilien rangers was well hidden in the woods. Actually, one could hardly call their current location a camp – it more resembled some sheltered spot where they stopped to take a rest and to wait for their remaining comrades. Their horses were hidden even deeper in the thicket. The eight men were cautious; they did not put up a fire. This was South Ithilien, far south of Minas Tirith, where the raids of orcs from Mordor and Harad men were frequent. The patrol was for the very purpose of identifying the enemy’s most recent activities. Faramir was concerned, for they had discovered trails of several bands, which seem to have been lingering constantly on this area. South Ithilien was becoming more and more unsafe.

He watched the sunset and awaited his brother’s return. Boromir led six men a little further south to check the area around the river Celion. They should be back very soon, and then they would immediately move northwards, sheltered by night. They were on the borderline, in dangerous area; they had done their task and it was better not to risk it any more by remaining unnecessarily in this area.

He looked at the face of the man beside him, now lit by a red glow. The sun gave Arantar’s usually pale face certain liveliness.

“When they return, we will start right away”, said Faramir and nodded. “Did everyone eat? We will not have time to stop later.”

“Some ate twice”, Arantar smiled. “You need not ever worry about that.”

“Hm, do not think I did not hear you”, replied Belegorn, giving him a side-glance. “Do I have to check my saddle bag for any missing things?”

“Even that could not help you, I am a ranger, I know how to hide my trails”, replied Arantar and looked at him innocently.

“And he, being a ranger himself, could not read if he is missing a piece of dried meat?” Faramir joined in, laughing.

“I think even my grandmother could find that out, and she’s no ranger”, teased Valandil, who was standing a little away from them.

“My mother would sometimes hide cakes and cookies so we would not eat them right away, especially when we were expecting guests”, added Mallor, still with his mouth full, just finishing his meal, “but my brothers and I would very soon discover all her hiding places and finished off with the cakes in no time.”

“I don’t have any other choice but to send you all home and take your grandmothers instead”, grinned Faramir. “At least they could cook, and they would be at least as successful as you in military actions.”

“Do you mean my cooking is no good?” asked Halmir, pretending to be offended. “That my dishes are not all dainty stuff?”

“Oh, let’s change the subject.” Faramir retreated one step back, as tough in fear. The others also realised the weight of the mistake they had made, for Halmir usually cooked when they were in campaign or carrying out certain missions, and he enjoyed it. He could talk about food for hours, even after being interrupted a number of times. He just needed a little nudge, and they had just made the introduction.

“No one changes the subject now”, continued Halmir, just as they knew he would. “The subject is food, which also indirectly implies my cooking. What do you have to say about …?”

“Your cooking is perfect and we will ask Lord Denethor to establish a special medal for the chefs and you will be the first to receive it and it will be more important than any other medal”, said Belegorn hurriedly in another attempt to change the subject. “Which one of you just mentioned that the other group was late? I hope they return quickly so we can start for Harnost soon.”

Faramir opened his mouth to say something about the fortress, which was their destination, but he was late.

“In order to eat there again when we arrive?” added Arantar, with an obvious intention to trick them all and return the subject to Halmir’s topic.

“Captain, send him on the watch to replace Eradan, because if he continues to talk like this, it will turn out he’s starved, poor thing “, said Valandil, rolling his eyes. “And he eats more than any of us.”

“That would be wrong, for what will Eradan be when he returns from the watch, but hungry?”

But before anyone could say anything, a tit call was heard from the woods, very near, which was a sign for caution and alarm. They fell silent in a second and took their positions, ready to fight, and Faramir hurried towards the guard who gave the sign, to see what was going on. He quickly approached the ranger leaning against a large tree, which was sheltering his guarding position. This was Eradan, a youth who just entered into his twenties, the youngest one in the group.

Without a word, the young man pointed with his head toward the source of a sound, his hand on a bowstring. Faramir himself heard the sound of a horse rider approaching, but just as he was drawing an arrow from his quiver, another whistle was heard – a signal that meant it was their scout returning. Just as he managed to form the thought that something must be wrong, for the rangers usually returned more quietly and sent in the signs of their approaching in advance, when a few moments later Dorlas, a ranger from the group which Boromir led into patrol, rode into the camp. It was enough for Faramir to take just one look at him to realize the man was in a great hurry and anxious. His hair was tousled and his cloak was torn on one spot. His horse was panting after a fast, strenuous ride.

Dorlas jumped off his horse and in one large stride approached Faramir. He was a tall and strong man, over forty-five, and a very experienced ranger.

“Captain, Lord Boromir’s group entered into the Southerners’ ambush. About thirty of them. He has been wounded and captured. The others are, sadly, dead.” He made the report in one breath, and his voice was solemn. The faces of five men who were with Boromir flipped through Faramir’s mind in a second; five men he knew well, who were his friends and with whom he fought side by side for. He felt pain.

The other rangers came to them now to hear what happened. A few moments of silence followed, and in their eyes there was sorrow for loss of their friends.

“How badly was Boromir wounded?” asked Faramir, fighting to conceal his concern and tension.

“He got a nasty stab with a sword in his right shoulder, as far as I could see. He tried to fight with his left hand, but there were too many of them. They overcame him quickly.” He stopped for a moment and then continued. “We checked the entire area around the river and started back. I separated from them, because I went to check something. Then I heard the sound of fighting and returned, but there was simply too many of them. That is why I did not reveal myself, but hid, so I could inform you of everything.”

Faramir nodded. To hide was the only logical and possible thing to do – otherwise he would be killed himself. Then no one could tell them what happened and call for help.

“Where did it happen?”

“Right after the fords, not far from the ravines leading towards east.”

Faramir frowned, analyzing the situation. They were attacked on the most dangerous spot, which they could not avoid, though. Celion was not passable elsewhere, especially not now in spring, when it was flooding because of the melting snows from the slopes of Ephel Duath. The spot was one hour of riding away.

“In which direction did they go?” he asked. However, even before he got an answer, he knew what it would be.


Of course, opposite side from where they were. Meaning, they now have at least two hours advantage. While his men immediately started packing for departure and removing the trails of their presence and one went to get the horses, Faramir split a few paces away, thinking.

The people who attacked them could just kill the whole group. However, they wounded Boromir and captured him alive. That could mean only one thing – that they know who he is and want to use him for a hostage. With Boromir in their hands, various blackmail possibilities were at hand. He supposed they would try to distance themselves as far as possible, so they would be closer to the safety of their territory, in order to send a messenger from there with requests and blackmail message.

The alternatives were numerous and equally difficult and uncertain. He tried to stay calm, reminding himself that Boromir was more useful to them alive than dead, but his concern would not completely go away. Especially because his brother was wounded and he did not know if he would receive appropriate care. Perhaps it was in their interest to keep him alive, at least at the beginning, but they probably could not care less in what condition he was. He did not expect anything to keep them from beating and torturing him.

His father might make the enemies think he accepted their terms of blackmail, but in reality, he will certainly prepare a rescue mission. However, that was not so simple. Any larger military engagement in the south, which could tighten up the relations, would weaken Gondor on all other sides; north Ithilien, Minas Tirith and Lossarnach would become much more vulnerable. Gondor could not stand battles on several fronts… and their enemies knew that. That meant that after a certain period of ostensible talks and blackmailing, they would no longer need Boromir alive. Harad did not need fear a significant retaliation.

It will be more difficult to carry out a quick, secret action, as the kidnappers got further away. If they entered the south deeper, the chances would be minimal. The wide wasteland plains south of Poros shattered all illusions about secret, hidden foray.

Even if the kidnappers were not from Harad, even if they were some band who inhabited Mordor and descended down the passes in Ephel Duath on predatory and murdering raids, that did not change a thing when talking about freeing a hostage. It was equally difficult to get to Boromir, were he captured far in Harad or taken across the mountains to Mordor. Actually, the latter was even more difficult.

And for that reason, the solution was simple: they must not let them get away too far. Right, really simple, he thought. The kidnappers had an advantage of whole two hours and there were thirty of them, as Dorlas said. Nine against thirty. No worries. He firmed his lips and wrinkled his forehead. Actually, eight, he remembered; he would send one as a messenger to the fortress of Harnost, the rangers had to be informed of what happened and about Faramir’s plan so they would send backup. However, they alone did not have much choice; they had to move, immediately. He did not want to think about the force ratio, he would figure out something. As long as they were in Ithilien, in this hillside forest country, they had chance. Eight against thirty? No problem. It only takes a little more effort for the impossible, right?

Faramir turned around. The traces of camp were removed and Girion brought the horses. Everyone was ready for departure and looking at him, awaiting his orders.

Who will he send to Harnost? He did not need to think, there was only one possible answer to that question. Eradan. If they got killed on this dangerous mission on which he was about to lead them, let the youngest one, who just entered his life, be spared.

“Eradan”, he spoke to the young man, “you will go to Harnost and inform them of everything. They must take care about the bodies of those who were killed. Also, send the reinforcement after our trail.”

An expression of disappointment for being excluded from this mission appeared on the young man’s face for a second, but in the next one, he solemnly nodded. “Ay, captain.”

“We will follow the kidnappers’ trail”, he said seriously, observing the rest of them. Their faces were determined. They mounted their horses.

One rider started north, towards the fortress. Eight of them chased their horses toward the south, full speed, forced by urgency.

And hope.

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The Gifts in Small Packages (NC-17) Print

By December

06 February 2021 | 50244 words | Work in Progress

Title: The Gifts in Small Packages
Author: December
Rating: NC-17
With: Pippin, Aragorn, Unknown
Summary: Pippin will never speak of it. And then he does.
Warnings: angst, erotica, faintly AU.
Disclaimer: I own none of this, only enjoy it.

Archivist’s Note: Raven22372 has illustrated this story:

Chapter 1.

At first, he had not known why he has returned. Or, to be more accurate, he prefers to think that he had not: it feels less silly this way. Although indeed he had never imagined it would go this far.

He had only felt a strange discomfort, a vague sensation of something lacking – like his stomach being empty, only he could not quite place the feeling. He had so yearned to finally come home after a whole year of absence, to see the beloved green hills and meadows, and familiar Hobbit-faces – to be back where he belonged. Only he did not belong there any longer.

It took him nearly a year to realise the restlessness and longing would not go away. He was not accustomed to having to figure himself out, and initially he had blamed it all on the state they had found the Shire in, had thought his heart ached for their defiled land. Time passed, and reparations were quickly made by many a dedicated pair of hard-working Hobbit hands, and the signs of the gone war were soon outshadowed by the fresh and crispy signs of a new – and safer – life. But Pippin’s dissatisfaction only gathered strength, and when one day in the first spring after the War he caught himself growing languid and morose at the sight of a young cherry tree in bloom, he knew something was wrong.

Then followed the endless inward monologues where he reprimanded himself for being weak, and selfish, and hard to please, for having unreasonable expectations from life. He had already had his Big Adventure, now was the time to settle down and enjoy the normal existence of a young and healthy hobbit that he was. And he had earnestly tried to do just that, to enjoy it – but no amount of supposedly satisfying physical work he piled upon himself and no amount of the cheeriest entertainments he tried to drown himself in proved to fill the odd void in his chest.

None of the things that had once brought him contentment and happiness held any meaning. It was wrong, it was simply all wrong. Everything had as though become shallow, devoid of substance, lacking a dimension…

Whatever Gandalf may have called him, he was no fool. He looked at Sam, bursting with affection and pride for his new family, for his new wife who consisted as though solely of smiles, dimples and cosyness; he saw Sam overflow with energy, so busy getting everything ready for when the little ones would start arriving – one could light a splinter off him. And he looked at Frodo, who seemed to be getting more and more lost in his own world, turning more and more towards the past and some strange lacuna of time between yesterday and forever; he saw Frodo’s increasing propensity for solitude, saw his seemingly unmotivated sadness. He was no fool, so he made comparisons – and conclusions.

Solitude is not healthy for a fellow.

Sam was always working blisters on his feet doing things for someone, and look how robust and happy Sam was, how firmly rooted, how content. Whereas solitude provided too much time to dwell on one’s own… On one’s own what? Problems? But he did not have any problems. Fears? But what was there for him to fear, now of all times? On one’s own – dreams…?

Not that this made too much sense either, although…

What he knew for certain was that when Peregrin Took is left overlong one on one with his own self, he is bound to eventually go and get this self involved in some highly imprudent typically Tookish endeavour. Just as it had later gone to show.

Slowly the decision ripened in him, and was made long before he knew it. When finally he acknowledged it, immense relief poured over him, and he felt clean and light, as though filled with air, with a cool fresh wind.

Maybe his Adventure was not over just yet.

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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68 Comment(s)

Wow, very promising – and finely written, as always. :) Hope to see more soon!

elektra121    Sunday 10 April 2011, 15:13    #

Love this…can’t wait for more.

— tree    Monday 11 April 2011, 18:12    #

It only becomes the more interesting! Well, there are certain shapes forming, but they stay in the shadow for now. I find you capture Pippin nicely and I’m very much looking forward to the Faramir of this story! ;) (And the reason it’s rated NC-17…)

elektra121    Tuesday 3 May 2011, 22:52    #

Many thanks to everyone for the ‘thanks’ and the kind comments :)
Elektra, Faramir is sure to come on stage shortly! And, well, yes, there’s obviously going to be some stuff that… you know, gives the story its rating ;)

December    Monday 16 May 2011, 8:18    #

Ah yes – there he is! :) And, man, Pippin is really smitten… I wonder what and if Faramir suspects anything. Can’t wait for more!

elektra121    Thursday 19 May 2011, 17:01    #

Nicely done! Looking forward to what develops!

— Kathy    Thursday 19 May 2011, 18:34    #

This is shaping into a very enjoyable story. I hate to be a whiner but… chapter too short. (I’m enjoying quite a lot.)

— Bell Witch    Wednesday 25 May 2011, 6:30    #

Love this line – “What he knew for certain was that when Peregrin Took is left overlong one on one with his own self, he is bound to eventually go and get this self involved in some highly imprudent typically Tookish endeavour” – and what you’ve conveyed so far. Looks like a lovely, though bittersweet, time for our Pippin.

Excellently written, as always!

Alcardilmë    Tuesday 14 June 2011, 21:50    #

Thank you a million, everyone, for the lovely comments!
Bell Witch, indeed, I’m trying a smaller chapter format for this story than I usually do. MAybe it’s got something to do with Pippin having the lead role here, he’s just so different from everybody I’d written before that I had to make a change for him.

December    Wednesday 15 June 2011, 16:46    #

I say, you do an amazing job making this constellation believable! Especially by pointing out all the difficulties, the social obstacles and Pippin´s realistic estimation of how people around must see him.

I think another interesting point is how putting somebody on a pedestal might turn into…well, not the opposite but certainly something to deal with. In Pippin´s opinion Faramir is so pure, so free of human flaws that serving this noble man becomes almost a burden for him – because there is hardly a chance to reach this ideal. I´m really curious how he will get out of this predicament…

And of course the local colour! I love the idea of Minas Tirith becoming a little multi-culural, including the porn version of multi-cultural. ;) Frankly I envy you for the fun you must have had making up each ethnicity´s sexual “speciality”! X)

raven22372    Monday 17 October 2011, 20:48    #

Well, FINALLY we’ve come to the REAL story! ;) After so much british 19.-century-butler-romanticism (which was fine in itself, but you promised an “R”-story!) now the not-so-completely-clean-ironed edge draws near…

elektra121    Monday 17 October 2011, 22:00    #

Thanks, guys, for taking the time! Your kind words mean a lot to me :)

raven, haha, I did indeed have fun. Since this is a Pippin story, it feels there should be more fun spots than otherwise warranted. And, funnily enough, I’d written that particular bit a few months back, and since then I’ve come to New Zealand – and my, the diversity of options here, teehee… I only then realised what my story subjected the ladies to xD

elektra, oh my, Pippin would be appalled at the notion, lol! He does take pride in his ironing you know :D

December    Saturday 22 October 2011, 9:40    #

I must say this ship grows more and more on me with each new chapter! And this time, beside the tender sensual atmosphere and the emotional warmth I can also feel a strange conjunction with the comments you recently wrote me. Especially what you said about Pippin + candles + libraries = very bad idea. Why yes, the Peregrin Took we used to know was if not a fool so at least a safety risk. One could almost see the warning sign placed over his head: “Don´t give the Took any matches nor anything sharper than a fish knife and for the Valars´ sake don´t tell him any secrets” (okay, I agree he carries a sword). Well, this Took obviously has grown-up eventually. Back then there was always somebody to put him out of the frying pan; I think he was just used to have a kind of fool´s license and be liked that way even if not taken serious. But now he has a reason to – well, maybe not impress but to prove he´s worthy. And Faramir must sense he´s gone through a profound change. As kind as he may be, he is certainly able to estimate the risk he takes by giving Pip permission to shave him (which imo is a wonderful image). And it´s fascinating to witness the inner development of this character, always logic, always realistic and yet so enchanting.

And then Faramir´s sadness. You depict it exactly the way I figured it: a profound loneliness that doesn´t make him bitter but gives him an aura of… oh, I think you put it down best as you wrote “To Pippin, Faramir in his patient, undemonstrative sadness is beautiful.”

I´m sorry I spammed you with ramblings again. Actually I just wanted to let you know how dear your story (your writing in general) is to me. Not only that it makes me feel – it also makes me think. There are so many aspects to ponder about – I can´t even put it in words. Thank you so very much for that. :)

— raven22372    Saturday 19 November 2011, 18:53    #

Oooh, Raven, thank you so much for that comment!

I’m very glad you find Pip’s character development all the nice things you say, and that in fact it comes across as development :D To me, personally, he seemed like one of the characters with the greatest potential for it. Take the Hobbits, for instance. Yes, of course, Frodo was never the same after the Ring Quest – yet at the same time, it felt to me the Ring had not altered anything fundamental in him, rather drew on what had been there all along. After all, he’d always been considered deep and strange in the Shire, long before any adventures. And it’s no coincidence he and no one other was chosen by Bilbo to receive the Ring, etc. And somehow the fact he stayed away from marriage also hints to me he was not of a very earthy sort.

Sam, too, had had this whole die-for-my-master thing going all along :)

Pippin, on the other hand, had been this jolly carefree lad who got involved into big epic quests out of sooooo-curious-wait-take-me-along-too and/or simply knowing no better (kind of like Merry, I guess). And then he sees the real other side of War, that people can die because of his foolishness lack of responsibility (Gandalf falling in Moria ultimately because Pippin threw the pebble and all the ancient evils awoke; and Boromir because Pipin was running amock screaming and attracted all the Orcs in the woods). Worse still, he sees that War does not necessarily unite everyone in the face of the common enemy – you know, the whole ‘my second son is an idiot, why o why do the Valar hate me so much’ incident. I must say that the rescue operation he and Beregond mounted for Faramir had secured for the two of them a very special place in my heart. One thing to fight courageously against the Nazgul and Shelob and stuff, entiraly another to perceive the wrong on your own side and have the guts to stand against it.

And I also loved it how Pippin had this moment of truth experience when he saw Faramir for the first time and his heart was touched with new and strange feelings. It had something of a meant-to-be, I always felt, because after all by then Pipin had met all sort of awesome folk, including Aragorn,w ho may have not been Kin yet, but still was pretty awesome :) But no, it was only Faramir who opened up something inside him…

So yeah, that’s why this pairing is so special to me. I don’t even necessarily mean in the sexual/romantic context, although there’s sure plenty room for thought in that department ;) It’s just that it feels like Faramir works as some kind of chemical reagent on Pippin, actually changing the stuff he’s made of. And that’s a theme extremely enjoyable to delve into :)

Because, you know, it seems to me Faramir is generally one of those people who can turn the course of another. Think of his impact on, beside Pippin, Beregond, and his own father, and then Eowyn. I am sure there were many others simply not included in the particular LOTR story-line.

And in Pippin in particular it felt to me Faramir had sparked the yearning for the romantic. Not only or necessarily in the love-romantic sense, but all things romantic, like going to battle with joy because you are following your beloved leader whom you trust infinitely, like opposing the system to save the man you think is good and true, etc. I guess what I’m thinking about here is the good old chivalry :)

One more fascinating fact to keep in mind about Pips: all this happened to him before he had even reached adulthood. Imagine a human 17-year-old going through all the same trials without losing it…

So on the whole, it’s always surprised and saddened we that the endless possible facets of the F/P relationship are rather underexplored in fanfiction. Much as I’ll be the first to cheer for a good F/Aragorn or F/Boromir story – where are all the hundreds of tales one could write about Faramir and Pippin…?

And as a final note – I love getting comments from you! It’s amazing, and it makes me happy, and it inspires my writing, and it makes me want to hug you. So yeah, please keep making them whenever you feel like it :)))

December    Sunday 20 November 2011, 0:44    #

May I hug you a little now? In a very careful way that makes sure your laptop won´t suffer any damage? :) Yes? (hugs) Thank you. :)

I´ll try to keep this short because it´s early in the morning and I have to catch a train/up to RL. ;) And besides; what is here left to say? You pointed out everything, from Pips being the Hobbit quivalent of a teenager to the influence Faramir has on this fellow people. All in all things I was aware of rather vaguely yet you have such a wonderful lively and clear-sighted way to put them down it makes all perfect sense. No need to say I could listen to you all day, sitting by the fire, having a nice cup of tea and a cookie or two. :) Considering your skills with words and storytelling I can only assume there was an Elrond or Bombadil among your ancestors. :)

The greatest eye-opener, to speak with Sam Gamgee, is maybe the fact that strictly following the series of action – reaction events Pippin is indeed responsible for the death of at least two people. Plus he acted extremely careless in Bree and we rather cast the veil of charity over the episode with the Palantír. For him, a guileless and benevolent soul this must have been very hard to realize. I could even imagine it was a kind of relief to get into a situation that forces him to well, prove his qualities.

And what you said about the evil next to you… not long ago I was watching the movies together with a friend and afterwards she said: “Somehow Denethor is the creepiest character in the whole story.” She did not say “evil” but “creepy” and I think what she felt about him was exactly what you mentioned. It is a motif Tolkien uses very often: the inner decay in face of an outer threat. The break-up of families, the growing mistrust among people who are supposed to be a safe haven for each other. We can only assume how much of this resulted from his own experiences during the wars (quite a lot I guess) but I´m quite sure the man must have had his share of nightmares.

Oh dear, The Great Wall of China again! What happened to time? Precious has to go now! Bye! (flees)

— raven22372    Tuesday 22 November 2011, 7:07    #

I love the Walls of China! Build me a labyrinth of them :)

Seriously, thanks for taking the time to come back and write a reply.

Indeed, Denethor is the creepiest of all. Personally, I’d always also found Galadriel quite creepy, but in a different way, of course. A classic Faerie Queen, incalculable, perilous, what can you say… But Denethor. I agree, I don’t see him as evil at all. Tricked and used by the evil, certainly, but not an inherent villain. And I try to put myself in his shoes – he’s deen on Skype with Sauron for over 30 years, considering that, he fared not poorly at all. Most other folk, I reckon, would’ve got a balfry full of bats much earlier than that. Let’s not forget that when going into his whole suicidal thing, he was sincerely believing that all was lost, and was only trying to go between he and the remains of his family would be enslaved or tortured and murdered.

Also, much as he’s a fascinating character, and must’ve been quite a shocker for Pippin who no doubt had not ever seen anyone remotely like that, Denethor won’t be making an appearance in this story except that in mention. Because it feels to me that Pippin’s whole experience with him could be termed as ‘unsatisfactory’, and bad things don’t stick in Pippin’s mind. Where I’m from, it’s called “like water of a goose’s back”. It had utterly filled me with awe how after their captivity by the Orcs, him and Merry sat and had themselves a snack in the corner of the raging battle-ground. I mean, honestly, man!

December    Wednesday 23 November 2011, 8:46    #

Great Elephants, you really mentioned my picture! Is… is this for real? What have I… how did I deserve this? Thank you, thank you so much! ♡ Take this bear hug, please! :D (crackle)

The more this story develops the more I want to settle down in it. All the gentleness and the deference people have for each other! It gave me a tiny pang in the heart to figure Faramir feeling a bit guilty because he had robbed somebody else of his night sleep, attendant or not. I think he´s totally the person who would rather get up and walk all the way to the kitchen himself than bundling a servant out of bed whose day was as long and exhausting as his own. In fact you describe his consideration and Pippin´s care so touchingly I find myself wishing for an happy-end… or at least for them having a little joy.

Which seems quite possible at the time… just that for some reason I suspect it is not necessary a lady Faramir´s desire aims to – at least not due to the characters mentioned in the header though of course I might be wrong… ;)

By the way, and just out of Took-ish nosiness: I´m curious whether you already knew where to land your ship when you set sail. I mean… even a short story might undergo some changes during the writing process and how much more a long one would, that comes in parts and is influenced by so much feedback? Oh, and please, feel free to skip this part – I do not intend to disclose your secrets! :)

— raven22372    Friday 30 December 2011, 20:46    #

Just a short comment to say that the more I read about this story, the more I get into it. Not much at first, and now I wouldn’t skip a new chapter! Also love the comments, I never before read such an in-depth analysis about Pippin (which was quite interesting) and I laughed my head off at some of the things you all said. Oh, and I wanted to mention that the last sentence in the 8th chapter: “And then, very gently at first, it begins to change, the texture of Faramir’s loneliness”, it’s beautiful, it’s perfect, it’s intriguing, I love it!
Hugs from here,

— Nerey Camille    Monday 2 January 2012, 16:04    #

Wow, Nerey, for some reason I never got a notification of your comment in the mail, so it was a complete surprise for me now!

Mm, yes, sadly enough, Pippin doesn’t get much spot-light in Faramir-related fiction. There are quite a few stories out there where the various aspects of Pippin-Merry relationship are studied, but not much regarding Pippin-Faramir. And the latter always surprised me, given what a numerous followship Faramir has, and how many of us like Pippin, and how Faramir, both Book- and Movie-wise, had a very profound effect on Pippin. Besides, as discussed above, Pippin undergoes quite a change during his travels with teh Fellowship and afterwards, so surely he would be a fascinatingly inspiring character to address in fanfiction… At least so it is for me, this story allows me a tone I could not use in my other works, and standing behind Pippin’s shoulder I can acquire a very special perspective on things, something none of my beloved Men-characters could provide… Anyway. Thanks so much for joining in on this story! I understand a lot of people have certain reservations when it comes to a Pippin/Faramir, so every additional reader is especially appreciated given the pairing!!

I wonder though, what it was in the preceding discussion that you found especially humorous…

Raven, I’ve said this before elsewhere, and I’ll say it to you now: for me as an author there could hardly be a reader response more gratifying than my fiction/art serving as inspiration for their own creativity. It’s one of the things I so endlessly love about Tolkien’s original works, that they are literally so alive that so many people simply can’t help but at least temporarily inhabit his universe and give birth to some tales of their own. In that respect, your illustration was the highest comppliment to it – and I believe it deserves to be seen and everyone who likes this story deserves to know there’s an artwork to go with it :)

Regarding the possible hint in the list of pairings, you may notice I have changed that (smiles pleasantly). To be frank, this whole pairing system is always a point of self-debate for me. On the one hand, readers should obviously be able to choose about which characters they want to read, and many of us have some pairings we prefer to avoid. But at the same time the listings of pairings might give away more than the author may wish. Of course, in some stories this is not a problem when there is only one pairing and it is already clearly stated in the summary. Similarly, a pairing, even coupled with a high rating, does not yet go to mean there’s going to be romantic or sexual interaction between Faramir and this character. The rating may be due to there featuring a high-violence scene, or one where Faramir sees someone else having sex, or whatever. But still, we do make certain assumptions basing on who is mentioned to feature in the story, and… Well, I don’t want to limit the readers in their musings, and for this particular story, Pippin and Aragorn are not the only people Faramir will be depicted with, so I thought it fair to expand the list a little ;-p

I hope this won’t scare off any potential readers – if they are willing to read an R-rated Pippin story, they ought to be quite tough cookies, heheh. I for one am rather cautious when it comes to the possibility of interspecies relations involving Hobbits… Frodo/Sam, though not something that makes my heart beat faster, is something I can at least understand the origins of, but when it comes to Frodo/Aragorn or Sam/Boromir or such like, I don’t know, I just get creeped out, haha. Not so with Pips though, I can quite well imagine him having a thing for either of the stewardly brothers (though not Aragorn, let alone Denethor, bless me soul).

As for how I write. When puttigna s tory in publication, and this one no exception, I already have the plot-line, including the mainpoints of development both event- and psychology-wise, worked-out. I have many, many-many more tales in the making, but their plots are rather half-baked, and I feel it would be irresponsible of me to put out there something that I might end up not being able to finish because the plot comes to a dead-end. So in the large scheme of things, the answer to your question is no, the comments I receive do not change the direction of this story. Which I think is only fair on the other readers – I mean, if some reader, due to their profound involvement and commentary, ends up changing the course of a story, it wouldn’t be nice to other readers who may have their own opinions but have for whatever reason not expressed them. I mean, if such were the nature of my writing, then I ought to be conducting polls at the end of each chapter, like,
“Dear blokes and chicks, who would you like to see Faramir shagging in the upcoming episode(s):
c)hey, how about Pippin after all?
d)his wife, because yes he does have one
e)Arwen, just because
f)Aragorn, because shagging Aragorn is always a nice touch
g)have we mentioned Pippin already?
h)a ghost of his dead brother, because that would be just so random
i)nobody, because I totally would rather read some more about Pippin doing household chores
j)other, (please specify)”

Do we want a poll like that, for real? :D

But naturally feedback does tremendously inspire me, and small scenes do insert themselves into the story every now and again, scenes that help (so I hope) make better logical connections between events, that make for a smoother psychological development and explain certain aspects of the characters’ behaviour, or simply scenes that would help (again, hopefully), make Pippin’s world more life-like an dinhabitable, that would make it easier to imagine what his days consist of.

Thanks again for the comments, my dears, and while there is no new chapter today, you may if you wish have this reply from me for now ;)

December    Wednesday 4 January 2012, 3:47    #

Uh-oh, this seems to become slightly unpleasant… NOT the story, of course! The situation at court, I mean. The tensed atmosphere during dinners must be a real strain to everybody, the more because those dinners are more or less public, so it´s easy to see who is close to whom and who has fallen from grace. It´s bad enough to have such a subliminal feud among the members of a family but here there´s even the possibility of other people using the situation to push their own political purposes.

I don´t know whether you intended it from the start but Pippin´s POV gives you a great opportunity to take a very refreshing look at things. For example: After getting over the usual “GUH!” reaction most mortals show when meeting their first elf he looks at Arwen from a rather pragmatic angle. Why yes, she´s beautiful. And glamouros. And, err… beautiful, yes. Aaaaaaand… what else? Is she especially intelligent or funny? Does she have the ability to listen to people and counsel them with her wisdom? Not really. Do people feel relaxed in her presence, does she give them the feeling of being alright the way they are? Rather the opposite, though that might not be her intention. Did she fight for her people during war, does she have some special skills, anything that would be useful? Nothing of them. Looking closely she is rather designed as a symbol of immortal beauty than a real person. I remember that when I read the book first I didn´t even notice there was something between her and Aragorn. Okay, that might depend on the fact that at the age of ten your radar for love stories is rather less marked; but I think the main reason was that, given you would take away the Elvish glamour, there wouldn´t be much substance left. It´s different in the movie where the roles of Arwen and Glorfindel are partly melded, but I doubt the book version would be able to peel some taters without a manual. ;) Your Pippin is obviously very clear-sighted when it´s about people and their relationships to each other – even clear-sighted enough to have no illusions regarding his own role. No matter how serious he takes his duty, for the “big” ones around he will always remain a feyness of his master, something in between a jester, a knave and an exotic accessory. I think knowing that and getting along with it – reads: getting along with not being taken too serious – requires a good portion of maturity and a very relaxed ego.

Tsk tsk tsk, now I wonder who it might be Faramir has in mind… could we talk about that poll again? ;)

— raven22372    Friday 27 January 2012, 14:26    #

Hi December!

I just came to leave a comment on your last chapter and I found your answer to my previous comment. How nice!

So: lovely tenth chapter, which at least for me, completely uncovers what is going on (but then I know a bit about how your mind works, I hope). I agree with other readers about Pippin’s point of view being very refreshing, and I am beginning to believe that maybe, maybe, there will be no sexual Pippin/Faramir which for me is perfectly OK. For personal reasons, this loving-without-being-loved story, furthermore between a servant and his master, which forces Pippin to be absolutely selfless and unobstrusive no matter his feelings, has recently acquired a much greater meaning for me. I am even more interested than before to see how it develops under your clever hands :).

As for the funny things: well, the poll :). But in the previous comments: ‘my second son is an idiot, why o why do the Valar hate me so much’, ‘we rather cast the veil of charity over the episode with the Palantír’, ‘the Great Wall of China’, the image of Arwen peeling taters with a manual, and so on. It’s just the way you all write about it, I guess.

Anyway. Last but not least, it has been said before but I repeat it because I couldn’t agree more with it: I love this story because it makes me realize how much there is to that Pippin-Faramir relationship, to Pippin’s personality and the transformation he undergoes and more generally, to Faramir’s transforming effect on people (not least on me, haha). Any story that makes you think about some aspect of the characters you love that you never realized before is… just great.

Hm, just noticed I didn’t say much about why I liked the tenth chapter, which would be what you would be more interested in knowing, perhaps. So: there’s an unbelievable sadness and emotion to it that makes it so deeply moving. Pippin noticing every small detail about Faramir’s relationship with the King and Queen, and that same relationship itself, especially the bit about Faramir’s life revolving around Aragorn, and then Faramir’s reaction to Pippin’s question… it just stirs tenderness and compassion and pain in my heart, the kind I can sense Pippin is feeling. Thanks so much for a great chapter and for the very substance of life that you pour into each of your stories, making us feel and suffer and be happy with the characters, forgetting the noise of the world around and seeing nothing (not even the letters on the screen) but the expression full of concern and pity on Pippin’s face and the flick of torment in Faramir’s eyes behind his serene, kind, beautiful features.

Wow, I’m getting lyrical but that just tells you how moved I am. Maybe I’ll tell you more about it by mail.


— Nerey Camille    Friday 27 January 2012, 18:49    #

Hello, my lovelies! Thank you for the kindest comments, and sorry it has taken me such an uncivilised length of time to reply. But now that a somewhat painstaking chapter of my life seems to be finished, I hope to have more time for writing and reader-conferences, heheh.

Pray forgive my urge to digress a bit before I get to answering your specific points. And when the answers do come, they will be long enough for you to now go get yourselves tea or a poison of choice and settle down for a read if you feel like embarking upon it :) Just have to say that time and again I’m fascinated by how Tolkien’s world never fails to provide an emotional sanctuary, at least for me but I get the feeling that for others too, how it gives such a healthy reprieve from all that sometimes wearies and ails a person a little too much. I wouldn’t call this escapism, although I reckon that many might, but to me it’s more about the – forgive me the pompousness of the word – about the cleansing power of art and beauty on the whole. Because when I interact with the Professor’s world, be it through his books, or discussing them with others, or writing fanfiction – I feel something in me come into proper alignment, if you know what I mean, as Sam would say :) Ah, if I were a doctor I’d porbably prescribe Tolkien-therapy to people xD

So, ahem, more towards the point now – because as you can see, the first row in yet another oriental world-wonder is already firmly in place. Raven, about Arwen. I’d been thinking about her quite a while lately, and came to realise that to me she is one of the most mysterious of the trilogy’s characters. Because it’s either that, or I would have to call her flat and inanimate, and I definitely prefer mysterious by far :D What I mean is that I feel extremely little personality in her, and I hope to think that this is not for the lack thereof but maybe rather for the fact that little of it is revealed to us in the Book. Much as I did not at all appreciate all the tampering with her character in the film, which to my mind had turned her into nothing but a brunette version of Eowyn, what with disobeying her elders and galloping around slashing monsters for her beloved, which in turn to my mind quite undermined Eowyn’s character, since there were two of them now and it made Eowyn seem kind of generic – despite all that, I must admit that at least this move gave her a certain 3D quality in my eyes. At least in the movie she has some spirit, she has passion, she has doubts, she has defiance even. Whereas in the Book…?

She seems to me, too, more of a symbol than a person, this aggregate of princess-ness, this whole wait-in-the-ivory-tower-stitching-tapestries-while-my-beloved-is-away-doing-important-things-to-deserve-my-hand. I reckon an Arwen fan would object here that she had made a courageous decision to part from her people and trade her eternal life for a fleeting human lifetime at the side of her loved one. To which I in turn would object that in the Book it was not shown as much of a choice, as an act of her will and volition – but rather a “Doom”, something that falls upon you and so strong it is that you have nothing else to do but go with it. Not to mention the rather popular point of view that at least in part she was simply copying what Luthien had done, seeing as Arwen had mentioned that whole thing more than once. Yes, she fell in love with Aragorn – but this hardly makes her special in my eyes either, seeing as pretty much everyone in the story had fallen into various degrees of love with Aragorn, including Eomer, Legolas, Faramir, Eowyn, etc etc.

And recently I’ve become quite bothered by this little question – what did Arwen do all those three bloody thousand years of her maiden life? Let us do a little analysis here.

First, let’s see how she compares to other fairy-tale princesses, the ones who also awaited their prince in humble patience. Say, the ill-famous Snowhite (or is it Snow White?) and Cinderella, whom everyone but the utterly lazy blame for setting wrong role-models for little girls. Well, at least those two ladies had something to occupy themselves with. Yes, scrubbing floors and cleaning all day, and taking care of seven men with questionable standards of personal hygiene in one case and catering to the desires of fussy step-sisters in the other – all that is hardly easy work, but it is work nonetheless. And don’t forget the evil step-mothers. One can argue that it is rather idiotic to do all this ‘with a smile and a song’ (or on the other hand we could say that it shows hope and resilience of spirit, but let’s not go too far into this right now). What I’m saying is that those two knew hardship, and danger, and injustice, they were hard-working and they preserved belief in the goodness of life despite all objective evidence to the contrary. Whereas as Raven points out – had Arwen ever peeled a potato? Or mopped a floor? Or anything, really? For all that we know, her domestic duties boiled down to making decorative napkins and tablecloths, seeing as she was good at needlework. I mean no offence to that craft, it’s hard work as I know well enough having observed the women in my family dedicate endless hours to embroidery. But unless one does it for a living, it is still a hobby, a way to spend time, a form of relaxation and meditation. A productive form of relaxation, yes, but relaxation nonetheless. And this is the only thing that we know for sure that she actually did. That – and sing. An Elven woman sings. Wow! Who could’ve seen that coming?

And even at that, her singing apparently doesn’t reach par with Luthien’s. If anything, comparing her with the women in her line will do Arwen no favour. All of them are at least equally as pretty as her, while both Luthien and Galadriel had far more on their record that Arwen. Both were willing to leave the security of their home to follow the desires of their heart, Galadriel dreaming of establishing her own kingdom and Luthien fighting for love. If anything, in Luthien’s story Beren had seemed to me the boring one – whereas for Arwen and Aragorn, Aragorn is madly awesome, and what is Arwen? Arwen is Aragorn’s beloved. Which is probably the only thing that makes her at all interesting to me, that a man of Aragorn’s calibre had loved her all his life from first sight to last breath. And here I truly hope, for his sake at least, that he got more than this hypnotosingly beautiful, infantile maiden who had not even been able to appreciate the full weight of her choice until the payback time came.

She can hardly be blamed for this, I think, given her extremely shaltered existence. Again, what did she ever do? Her human counterparts in our world, the noble-born maidens of the Middle Ages – those had plenty of issues to deal with. I do not know for certain for other countries, but at least in Russia as late as the 19th sentury, one would be officially dubbed a spinster if not married by 18. I’m quite certain the Elves had no such problem – no ageing, no biological-clock business, no worries :) You’ll get married when the time comes, don’t fret about it. Similarly, I get the feeling that since Arwen’s beauty was hereditary and she was an Elf to begin with, she did not have to spend hours keeping herself up to a standard. At most she would need to brush her hair and teeth (although maybe Elven teeth don’t get plaque and cavities and all that human nonsense), and cut her nails every now and again. Don’t think that she had to look after her health either. Not likely to have had much intrigue at court, any plotting to put an end to, etc. I wouldn’t imagine her spending much time on her wardrobe either, seeing as Tolkien had described her raiments as rather simple, and given their Elven quality it likely took them decated to get worn and need replacement.

Did she have many girlfriends with whom she whiled time away? Did she go on hunts or any of those errands Elladan and Elrohir had? Did she assist her father in estate management or healing? Did she compose new melodies and write new songs? Did she make statues like Feanor’s wife? Was she a poet? A philosopher? A cook (again, taters, blast them)? Never seen any mention of that, no.

The European maidens often dedicated a good deal of their time to being pious and following religious rituals – doesn’t look to be the case with Arwen though, given the absence of Church or any suchlike institution.

What did she do?

Actually, the more I think about this, the more depressing it looks. Little wonder she snatched her first chance at something exciting when Aragorn showed up…

And even with him. “She lived in great glory and bliss”. Wow, man. Glory and bliss. To me, that sounds like basking in the light of your own majesty, attending fancy suppers and rolling in bed with your awe-inspiring king. While Eowyn had spent a time with her brother helping him restore the country after the war (and maybe also taking a time-out to think it through re Faramir), and at least she had an intention to learn medicine, although we are not told whether that ever went beyond an intention – with Arwen there is none of that. Yes, she had at least three children – which is great, but not like those children were important enough to her to keep her from withering when Aragorn passed. Maybe we as humans can’t relate to that, maybe it’s an Elven thing. Like Celebrian had sailed, leaving her and Elrond’s three children in ME (along with her husband), and Galadriel leaving Celeborn behind – I mean, this whole ‘I am weary of this world’ business, despite my body being young and strong and there being beloved people who need me. But I don’t know, to me it seemed quite weird that Aragorn was literally the only thing in her life that was worth living for. It is equivalent to saying that she had no life of her own. Which is… scary?

So no, in my stories Arwen doesn’t get an overly romantic or reverential depiction. My apologies to anyone who might prefer otherwise :)

Wow. This is by far my longest post yet. I wonder if either of you or anyone else will ever read it through. But anyway, at least I myself am glad that you have spurred this character anaylisis to come forth. Character analysis is always helpful for writing :)

Now, Nerey, regarding your wondering what Faramir knows of Pippin’s feelings and what he thinks on that. Er… I must say I have a very precise point of view on that. But – I can’t tell you. At least not now XD That would be a SPOILER, wouldn’t it now? :)

And yes, there’s a lot of sadness in this story. I don’t strive for sadness in real-life, not at all. And like I’ve written to you, this whole unrequited-love business seems far less fascinating to me now than it once had. I have somehow become more pragmatic about it with time, when it’s me I try to cut it off and strangle it, and when it’s the other person I feel burdened and bored and it is very difficult to be sympathetic. I feel like I simply don’t have time for useless loves.

You have asked me if I rely on experience to write this – and the answer is yes, to an extent. On past experiences. It is no longer like that for me – but I can still relate to what it can be like. Any in either case, the ‘me’ is not at all important here, it is ‘them’, Pippin, and Faramir, and the others, that live in this story – so I’d say that more than anything it’s imagination and empathy with the character. Because Pippin is not me, he does not feel or think like me, so I can’t simply substitute his name for mine in the story, I have to aim to impersonate him, like an actor grows into their role, becoming that person. It is easier to achive if I had had similar experiences, but it is far from the same. Just like when writing those Faramir/Boromir stories – I don’t even have a brother to begin with. Or a sister. Or a cousin that I’ve ever actually met. So I’ve never, for a second, been in love with my sibling or had any kind of ‘relations’ with them. And yet I have a very precise sensation of what those two would have with each other, and how it could evolve through time.

Not to mention that there is Faramir in this story – I haven’t met Faramir in real life (oh, isn’t that a shame?), so I can only try to imagine what loving Faramir would be like. Beautiful and painful, I should think. Or, we could say, great and terrible. Haha

December    Friday 10 February 2012, 0:26    #

Dear God, this is so sensual! Black satin (or the ME equivalent of satin) and a pristine white cape… my mind tries to push aside the word “virgin”, because it´s laden with so many clichés but it always manages to escape and slips onto the tongue again… Plus a slightly ironical break (“plumed helmets” – ROFL XD) that takes off the “romantic” peak and grounds the scenery – is there anything more perfect?

I´d like to grab this opportunity to express my sincere delight about the fact that you are back in the arena – I wasn´t aware how much I missed you refreshing cascades until their return. :) Congratulations and spiritual support for dealing with severe issues – the way you describe it makes it sound like a personal progressing, which is always a good thing. :) And it´s funny you should mention the healing effects of the Tolkien oeuvre – for I´m currently about to make the same experience. There are various things I´m concerned with; none of it being a threat for my own person, mind you, though nevertheless affecting me. Facing an unpredictable and quickly changing world raises questions – questions the books are mirroring in miraculous ways. How to deal with issues of loss and letting go? How to find my own position when somewhere decisions are made that are obviously against my own moral standards? Will I surrender to bitterness and disappointment? Or will I stand up and fight, with the confined possibilities I was given?
I´m far away from taking Tolkien´s work an all-cure. But as you said: there was no time in my life when delving into the books did not soothe and steady me. It might depend on the personal history of the author. We know he has seen two wars. We know he has seen the industrialisation of the country – and therefore the destruction of many beloved places. We know he has seen his friends dying and lived under the terror of the German air raids – and yet he believed in what he called the Eucatastrophe, the sudden turn to good.
There are many things in Professor Tolkiens works I would question. His perception of women, of course (one that was certainly widely spread back then). His firm belief in blood lines and inherited rights (as Terry Pratchett once wrote: “The ability to penetrate a 100 year old rose thicket doesn´t make one a good king and husband.”). His allocation of people in “noble” and “lesser” ones (again, with the nobility coming by heredity). But I will never doubt his unwavering humanity, his true belief in a universal good and the importance of keeping both of it up to lead a “worthy” life. Amen. Cough Err… yes.

Before I was flushed away by emotional ramblings I actually intended to add that there is one sentence that stands out for me in this chapter, perhaps because it fits what I was recently pondering about.
““No, no, no,” he murmurs in the way he has seen the elderly and slightly authoritative servants use so successfully on their masters.”
The servants. There´s not much written about them, neither in fanfiction nor in the original source. So what are they doing? Carrying things, yes, fetching things, preparing meals, presenting clothes to wear, cleaning the rooms and so on. Mostly they are perceived as a sort of background noise, something that is essential for the working of the clockwork though gets only important once it´s missing. But. They´re also people who are around our protagonists day by day. They see, they hear, they think, they talk to their masters and develop relationships to them. They learn about secrets, they take positions and become confidents. Which means: They take influence. Something I often thought about was this: Even though Denethor might keep rejecting his second son – how is the rest of the court doing? Not the ones in a position that forces them to tell their lord whatever he wants to hear but the other ones, the people who wouldn´t even be asked. Room maids, servants, craftsmen, peasants. What would they think? Due to what we know about the brothers I would say they surely adore and respect Boromir – but they deeply love his brother. Faramir is kind, in a way that doesn´t make people feel like inferiors. Faramir listens to everybody, he is patient, he knows there is nobody he cannot learn from at least something. And seeing how his situation is – wouldn´t those people try to ease his life? It might have been started in his childhood; when no “official” cares for a neglected but friendly and clever child there might have been somebody else. Workers who shared their knowledge with him. Maids who found time to tell him stories. And later, when the severe impacts start to hit, a battle wound perhaps, or, just to relaunch an old topic, a punishment, it might go on in a more subtle way. A quicker handout maybe, to spare him a painful movement, a careful question, whether he needs something, tiny things an outsider would hardly notice. It might sound exaggerated but I think he´s intelligent and socially skilled enough to build a cocoon of love and care around himself, unintentionally yet nonetheless affective.

And another thing you mentioned in a comment before (I´m afraid I selfishly overran it, overwhelmed by my own flashback): what you said about getting so close that sometimes, when the barrier between the dimensions gets thinner, you can almost, almost see his face; that´s incredibly beautiful and – to use the word I started this comment with – sensual. :)))

— raven22372    Monday 13 February 2012, 20:47    #

Hi again!

To December: thanks for your answer! Yes, it works like that for me as well when it comes to imagining the characters’ reactions: I’m not them, it’s not so simple as that, but I try to imagine how I would react in their stead and of course personal experience helps.
Now, I just wanted to comment on two very interesting topics that have been raised. Arwen. What the hell did she do all these 3000 years? I never thought about that, but you raised an interesting question, and though I still don’t think her especially smart or interesting, she might be more mysterious than boring, as you say. You gave me the desire to explore her further in a future story, cause yes, working with a character on which there is so little information allows plenty of room for freedom. Now, regarding what she might do with her days, I don’t have the book here to check the exact references, but from what I remember:

- she can ride (she arrived to Gondor on a horse)

- she likes to walk

- she knows old legends (Lúthien and stuff)

- she can sing (and play an instrument? I don’t remember)

- there is great love between her and Elrond, and he’s quite wise, so I guess she can’t be totally stupid. She had a long conversation with him in the mountains before their parting, and besides Tolkien specifically says she’s wise (“for all her wisdom” she was overborne by her grief at Aragorn’s death)

- she can sow beautiful flags

- maybe she has foresight; she seems quite certain that Aragorn will succeed, though maybe that’s just love at work

- she has met a few other mortals before marrying him

- Aragorn says that he often must put mirth aside (speaking of seeing her), which would suggest she can laugh

- she has done some travelling, if only between Lórien and Rivendell

- she waited for 30 years before making her definite choice (between her first meeting with Aragorn and the second), so perhaps she even thought a bit about it

- Aragorn and her spoke together in Rivendell at the feast, and also spent a season together in Lórien, so they must have something to talk about

- by the way, before she died she learned the history of Númenor

- she can be kind and make people at ease, look at her first meeting with Aragorn (he mentions his lineage and then she says they’re akin from afar)

- she’s called the Evenstar of her people, which may be a tribute to her beauty or perhaps something more meaningful.

OK, that still doesn’t amount to much, but I guess it shows that she had some hobbies and occupations and that she spent quite some time thinking. Doesn’t look like too much, but hey, Galadriel has a bigger record but she’s also way older, and we can always suppose Arwen might have gone to rescue Aragorn if he had needed it. Which would mean, Beren couldn’t look after himself and Arwen chose her mate much better? And if you look at other elves her age, like Legolas – what did Legolas do for 3000 years, besides shooting and maybe riding? No politics, no travelling, no reading that we know of. Yet no one would say he’s got no personality.
Anyway, that’s all I can contribute for the moment, but it sure is a question worth looking into.
The other matter – the servants. Again, great insight. I had never thought about it, but servants have endless ways of making your life easy or difficult, enjoyable or awful, probably without you even noticing there’s something going on. Again, I can relate to some personal experience here, even if I am not a servant nor have one. And I would think Faramir’s servants would be ready to do anything for him, probably even more so than Boromir’s. After all, Boromir is admired for his prowess, but that would be mostly appreciated by soldiers. Faramir treats kindly even the most humble, and he is loved by all; probably his servants would be all as devoted to him as Pippin is.
Wow, another wall of China! Better stop here. Looking forward to seeing how this debate evolves!

— Nerey Camille    Monday 20 February 2012, 14:44    #

Thank you, my lovelies, for your unwavering flow of feedback!

First of, allow me to apologise for misleading you – a lot of new stuff shall be befalling me soon, so maybe I will not be all that regularly present here for a few weeks to come… But I’ll still be working ont he stories when I can and eventually plan to return to more frequent updates.

Now, to the point. You both mention the servants. Now that I think of it, I’m beginning to wonder why it is I’m so drawn to taking this perspective in a story. Just like Nerey, I’ve never been on either end of the servant-master relationship. Moreover, I would imagine myself being quite awkward if I were to have a personal assistant/body-servant suddenly bestowed upon me. It means so much less private time and space. No more lounging around one’s quarters in a tattered bathrobe, picking one’s nose and scratching crotch, eating chips froma bag and watching utube poop for hours on end. There’s always a pair of eyes set on you, always a mind directed at you. Maybe one grows accustomed to it and stops noticing – but to me it still feels that having servants makes one into more of a public figure than a private person.

Now, Faramir, I believe, would be especially conscious of his servants’ human nature, that they are not just a function, but somebody with their own personal dignity, and he should “behave” in their presence (not that he would pick his nose in private either, of course). I believe he would not be very likely to get too personal/sympathetic with them though, or try to rid them of their duties, as that would in a way put their professional ability in question, and of course he would not want to offend anybody like that. But he would never be cold or brash, and he would treat them with the same grace and mindfulness that he would direct at a social equal or superior. Yet at the same time I feel there would be more distance between him and what Gondorian help he may have than there would be between him and Pippin. Foreigners are typically allowed a greater slack in adhering to the rules of conduct, and generally Faramir and Pippin had known each other on a personal level before their professional contract came into force :) So yes, I would imagine that as a boy Faramir received quite a bit of attention and care from the older man-servants and female servants of all age – but as he grew older and rose in status, such interactions would diminish as suppressed by social norms, which is sad but what you gonna do…

Back to Arwen – wow, my monologue was read!! Thanks, Nerey, for speaking in her defence :) While I wouldn’t deny any of the points you mention, I do feel compelled to argue a bit ;) as many of them do however seem to me as not much of an achievement if put in perspective.

Yes, she could ride a horse. But. If we put that in the context of their time – it’s the same as if a woman today knew how to drive a car. Exceptional achievement :) And as a rider myself, I personally don’t think that it’s that evasive a skill, especially if you have a few centuries to master it. I mean, it’s not racing, not jumping, not dressage, not mountain-terrain crossing – it’s just riding on a road, on a well-trained and clever Elven-horse. Even Gimli the Dwarf could do that!

About making people feel at ease and being nice to Aragorn. Well, why wouldn’t she be nice to anyone? I believe it’s actually very easy to be graceful and encouraging if all you’ve known in your life is love, and respect, and cherihing treatment. I don’t believe anyone has, ever, been mean to Arwen, or showed dislike/lack of interest in her, or ever neglected her or chose someone else over her. Has anyone ever told her they wouldn’t be friend with her or wouldn’t let her play with them when she was a child? Has a young gentleman ever proved numb to her charm? I don’t believe so, no… And when all your experience tells you you are special and beloved and full of light and goodness, and you meet this young human man who stares at you all smitten – why wouldn’t you be nice and gentle to him?

As for her wisdom – Tolkien does mention it,but at the same time I never found much action/speech on her behalf that would actually illustrate her wisdom. It’s not enough just to say that someone is wise, as it is a quality that must manifest itself in action, otherwise what good is it? And as both Aragorn and Elrond loved her very much, I think for them it was not so much important how clever/interesting she was, just to be near her and see that all was well with her would be a joy to them. Same thing for when Aragorn lived with her in Lorien, for all we know they may have spoken quite little, and he simply revelled in her companionship and being “allowed” to spend time together with her…

Her beauty, yes. That’s an interesting subject. In many cultures, beauty, especially female, is associated with the supernatural in one form or another, be it devilish or angelic. Extremely beautiful people cannot be entirely ordinary, right? What saddens me though is that this is her foremost quality. Yes, she’s also notable for being an Elven princess and for giving up her immortal future for a present with a beloved Man. But let’s imagine for a moment that there is no beauty, that Arwen is your average frumpy, potato-nosed Elven princess with mild skin problems. You know, like a lot of people out there (not that there’s anything wrong with potato noses, god forbid). She’s still the daughter of the stupendous Elrond, she’s still willing to be a mortal’s wife. But… Would the story be nearly as enchanting?

I think not. And at the same time I think that if this were the case, we would tend to ascribe much more personality to Arwen. If she is not beautiful, not even pretty – then there must be some substance to her, some special inner qualities that drew Aragorn to her. But such as it is… Ah, I don’t want to be mean to her, you know. But even the niceness and kindness some believe her to possess seem to me not so exceptional. I mean, that Faramir despite his circumstances of life managed to remain caring and merciful – that’s quite amazing. That good old Bilbo took pity on the not-so-very-charming Gollum, that’s impressive. But Arwen being nice to Frodo or Aragorn…? I don’t know…

And one point of interest remains. For all we know, no one’s ever crossed her path. She’s always had everything more or less the way she wanted, or else she accepted the authority of her elders or general tradition, which she seems to do quite calmly, like that she needs to wait for Aragorn to become King, etc. We do see that when life hits her, like when Aragorn dies, she doesn’t deal too well with that. And what if there’s an issue that makes her unhappy – like in the story that you, Nerey, are writing? Would we expect her to still be “graceful” and sweet and “wise”?

December    Wednesday 22 February 2012, 7:05    #

Hi December!

No need to argue, I fully agree with you! Apart from her beauty and her lineage (hereditary things so no credit goes to her for that), there’s absolutely nothing special about Arwen. No big achievements, nothing. But you asked what she might actually do with her time and I racked my memories for any evidence about that. So, the answer is: horseriding, singing, sowing, walking, etc. And I think you’ve got a big point with the fact that probably no one ever crossed her before and when life hits her, she doesn’t deal well with it. Still, still… when someone is as adored as she has been, it would be easy to be terribly stupid and conceited: her answer to Aragorn showed that she was not aloof or touchy (personally, I would have been offended by his remark re “why haven’t I seen you before, did Elrond keep you locked in a tower” though perhaps to her the remark wasn’t shocking at all). Anyway, still willing to explore this character further. And I’m also thinking, her mother got waylaid by Orcs when she was travelling on the mountains, and that affected Arwen’s brothers deeply, so we might suppose it also affected her (so I might take back that nothing traumatizing ever happened to her; it did happen at least within her family). The fact that she kept travelling between Lórien and Rivendell would seem to indicate she was brave enough to face that danger, or that she was not willing to stop seeing her relatives because of that… (actually seeing her mother’s family might have been her own way of keeping in touch with her roots, seeing as her mother sailed into the West and that is likely to have affected her as well).

As for servants… I think a good servant knows how to be invisible and be only there when required, so that wouldn’t interfere with the master’s freedom. What would be really horrible is this tradition in some societies that important people always have to have attendants, for status reasons. That really would make it impossible to have privacy. But that needn’t be the case with Faramir, at least as long as he’s only the Steward’s second son, and I don’t think even Denethor would tolerate servants at his side all the time if he didn’t want to, no matter what traditions said about it.

I also guess there are all kind of different relationships between master and servants, depending on the kind of servant: I mean, the people who serve your meals in public are not as close to you as those who put you in bed or help you bathe and see you when you are really tired and unguarded, are they?

Wow, wow, the more one thinks about it, the more nuances there are…

— Nerey Camille    Wednesday 22 February 2012, 13:06    #

Oh, Nerey, thank you for that!

I feel compelled to answer straight away – and thanks for letting me know via email by the way, because for some reason I’ve stopped receiving comment notifications from this site…

Anyway, you raise here a point I haven’t given much thought to before. Compliments in middle-Earth.

You know, trying to imagine Arwen’s perception, I don’t feel she would have reason to be much pissed by what he said. Of course, in today’s world, many a woman, especially a Western woman, would not take kindly to the whole ‘hey sweet mama, where you bin kept locked away all this time?’ pick-up line. But in Arwen’s case – for one thing, it’s something that had happened to her g-g-gran, being locked away that is, so maybe for her the phrase has a different meaning. Besides, she can see he means well, and maybe she would believe that from a thunderstruck young human one could hardly expect something more elegant. Besides, it really is not the worst thing a man could say to a woman in an attempt to express his appreciation of her intellect looks.

What my point here is, they do make cheesy compliments, don’t they? Faramir’s to Eowyn about how no Elven words could describe etc. I mean, come on, man! She’s probably heard the likes of that 20 times already, anyway. But maybe such is the tradition in their culture that for a man to say ‘you are beautiful’ is just a way to say ‘I would want you to be my woman’, as in an expression of serious intentions, the way it is/used to be in some of our world’s cultures as well. In our modern society such compliments often mean more like ‘I get a bit of free sexual enjoyment straing at your boobs/arse’ or ‘I’d like to take you to bed and never see you after that’ – but in middle-Earth it was likely more innocent than that, so I’d expect the women would be more lenient to these somewhat clumsy expressions of awe :)

Yet at the same time, this subject makes me think of this story – maybe Pippin is worried overmuch that his ability to express his feelings is below par? This whole question is something that will come up in the course of the story, the speaking of love/other things, and our little discussion makes me more comfortable with the way I’ve written out that upcoming scene, so thanks for that!

And returning back to the innocence of their culture (what Tolkien has mentioned), it would seem that similar compliments coming from someone who is not traditionally expected to have romantic intentions, such as a loyal servant to his master, I think they would altogether be seen as platonic and uninsinuating. You see what I mean? That back to the point where you said, how can it not be completely obvious to Faramir?

Furthermore, like you say, there are nuances to the servant-master relationship. I would fully concur that Denethor would be much more pragmatic and bossy with his servants, although I’m not a believer in him being generally abusive to staff, at least in the physical sense and at least without some form of justification, like an actual fault on the servant’s behalf. Anyway, I do believe that Faramir’s servants would be let closer to his heart than either his brother’s or his father’s had been to theirs’ – while at the same time maybe indeed he did not have that many of them before becoming Steward. In the scene where he welcomes Frodo in the cave, we see he quite naturally receives service from his men, and has signs of distinction like his silver goblet, so I’d expect that overall as a man of high breeding he would be accustomed to the idea of having someone in his position be attended to, and receive it all with natural grace. Yet on the whole he would likely see this as something that comes with the status and not give it too much thought so long as he knows he is treating his staff well. So in that sense Pippin’s position to him is quite unique, as I don’t quite believe that any of the servants Faramir had had before the commencement of Pippin’s employment, would be nearly as… well what’s the word here? From the case with Beregond we see that in Gondor there is more formality in the hierarchical cases, obey your lord and that’s it – Pippin seems to have a more flexible perspective, so likely his standing with Faramir would be more all-encompassing as well – if that makes sense :) And that in turn would mean that on average Faramir would give more slack in the interpretation of Pippin’s behaviour than that of a fellow Gondorian…

Bah, you need a torchlight to read that?

December    Wednesday 22 February 2012, 20:08    #

How come I’ve only now discovered this wonderful story? Words fail me for how much I’m enjoying it.

What strikes me most is how the narrative embodies the title: the attention to small details, the building of a larger mosaic picture through focus on the small tiles. Your writing is so vivid and evocative.

I find myself joining the crowds who hunger for new episodes. In your own free time, of course. :-)

Thanks for sharing your talent and creativity!


— Tal    Sunday 4 March 2012, 2:16    #

Hi December!

No, I don’t need a torchlight because I am sitting in a sunlit street outside a bar (guess where?) but I’m having some trouble following the thread of your thoughts. Maybe my brains have been addled in the past few days, that could easily have happened. Anyway. Compliments? I always thought Faramir’s compliment was brilliant. He only speaks of her beauty after praising her courage and heroism, which is exactly what she wants to be valued for; and he says that he would love her even if she were married to Aragorn. How romantic is that? Only Gimli with Galadriel does better than that; I always thought he was the most romantic of them all. But well, I’ve always liked compliments about beauty when they are well-phrased, so maybe that’s why these don’t appear banal to me. And besides, Arwen and Éowyn and Galadriel are indeed strikingly beautiful, so why not pay homage to that? Their looks are the first thing that strikes those who see them (along with her sorrow in Éowyn’s case, which further shows Faramir doesn’t only care about looks). What I mean is, it’s not a cheap trick to flatter them (like in our societies most women get compliments about their looks, even though they’re just average), the women we are talking about are really outstanding beauty-wise. So, OK, Aragorn and Faramir and Gimli remark upon the obvious – what else can they be expected to remark upon, when they have just met them?

As for Pippin, I didn’t get what you were trying to point out – but I think you have a point in that his relationship to Faramir would be different, because he’s the only voluntary servant that Faramir has. I mean the others are surely more than willing to serve him, but they didn’t leave their own home of their own free will for that sole purpose. Which is also why Faramir must surely know that there is more to Pippin’s feelings than just devotion to him.
Anyway, I’m happy to know that you felt compelled to answer right away… now I’ll try to answer your email, LOL.

— Nerey Camille    Friday 9 March 2012, 18:13    #

Man, why did I do checking my mail today? Such busy life, can’t remember the last time I slept as long as I wanted to – but how can I not reply? lol

Tal, thank you so much! Always a pleasure to welcome a new reader. Episodes may not be that fast to come, I’m afraid, but oh well, heh.

Nerey, about servants and voluntarily going to places – Faramir knew Sam had come with his master Frodo through hell and to hell, without being forced… Was Faramir likely to think Sam loved Frodo…?

Compliments and such, you know, this is a strange subject. My standing on it has changed dramatically since moving countries. Even though even before I did not appreciate the stress so many cultures put on female beauty – now I appreciate it even less xD Coming from a place where a self-respecting woman simply must do everything in and outside her power to be hollywood-celebrity groomed and generally beautiful, I was quite strongly influenced by this attitude. It seemed unfair, but that’s how it was.

But here, here I see so many many couples where he is actually more attractive and often even more put-together than she, and still he obviously finds her hot and loveable and all. And looking at all this I come to reevaluate some things. Previously it had fascinated me that pretty much all the female characters in LOTR who matter are very beautiful (have difficulty finding any un-beautiful ones, except Ioreth perhaps, but she’s old – must’ve been a hottie in her youth) – in my eyes it added them something special, made them mysterious, meaningful. Even Sam’s Rosie – maybe not beautiful like an Elf, but Hobbits on the whole are not Elves, so for her kind she still seems above the par.

Back in Russia I wanted so hard to be beautiful and never felt remotely good enough. It’s difficult to relate to unless you’ve been there. So many women have as though stepped directly from a fantasy painting, these mesmerising sirens with bewitching eyes, slender, graceful and tall, perfect beyond what is normal for humankind.

But here, where the quality of life is different, and people’s benchmarks are different, I am seen as beautiful by so many. My beauty is spoken of as a thing understood. And now that I finally have it, I realise I don’t enjoy it remotely as much as I had imagined. It puts pressure on me, it tires me, it fills me with doubt re my actual intrinsic worth to people beyond what they see.

So now I find myself gravitating more towards literature descriptions of women’s appearance that pick out something else. Because beauty is such an overused term anyway.

Take, for example. “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realised it.” My god, how much power there is in that sentence. Try and beat a woman like that.

Or take “War and Peace”. I don’t remember the exact quote, and it would be in Russian anyway, but Princess Mary was described as overall mousy and unpretty, but she had eyes that shone with all the light and kindness in the world. Was she beautiful? Absolutely not. But nevertheless people were drawn to her by what they saw in her…

And in that line, I’m beginning to feel that describing a character as very beautiful in some way takes away from their personal merits. I’m not saying make them ugly and repulsive – just, you know, when they’re blindingly beautiful, it does steal your focus a bit. I feel now that if Eowyn were just a normal woman, just generally pleasing to the eye but within reason, her story would have touched me so much more. And Faramir’s love for her would have meant more to me as well. Yes, you say he praises her courage, that is true, but still – there is a doubt inside me that keeps saying, if she was average, he would not have noticed her… You see what I mean? It’s a doubt, it’s not something we could prove or disprove, because Eowyn is written beautiful, and who’s to say what would have been otherwise. But I reckon I would have liked it if in the book, it were not only the exceptionally beautiful women who got to be loved.

December    Friday 9 March 2012, 21:19    #

Only the king. Ah, how I adore your talent for understatement. X) Which is only beaten by your sense for suspense curves. I only hope you will never start to write mystery thrillers. Your readers will surely drop dead with anticipation.

My favourite part is Pippin tormenting himself with his lines of gloomy thoughts (including that little sidestep to uncle Saradoc and his poor potatoe peeling – oh, hello taters!). When he raves about being abandoned and left behind all alone I had to think of a story psychologists like to tell their patients. (Just in case you are interested: It´s about a man who considers to go over to his neighbour and borrow his hammer. But he´s still hesitating: Maybe his neighbour will say no? Maybe he will remember our man hasn´t given back his power drill yet and refuse to help him out? Without the hammer he is not able to finish his work so he will have to drive to the property store. And what if he will have an accident or the police stops him and finds out his driving license has expired? Without a driving license he cannot drive, if he cannot drive he will loose his work, if he looses his work he will sink into poverty… at the end he sees himself dying in a poor house, all because of this hammer.) Poor Pip, his current mental state would be a cupcake with a cherry on top for every headshrinker. X) Which doesn´t mean it would be different from everybody else´s. On the contrary, you perfectly caught the way our minds sometimes work, there, in the hours “between dog and wolf”.

By the way, the story ends with the man knocking at his neighbour´s door and when he opens the door he yells at him: “Why don´t you just keep your bloody hammer, you f***ing bastard?” Thank heavens hobbits are less impulsive…

— raven22372    Saturday 17 March 2012, 19:25    #

Oooh! Exciting!

— Laivindur    Wednesday 21 March 2012, 17:56    #

Only the king??! Well, you wicked wicked creature – what do you do with poor Pippin?! Making him suffer like this?
You better have something really really good in store for him in the end! ;)
Best wishes and happy Easter!

— elektra121    Saturday 7 April 2012, 21:25    #

Ooph (surfaces from work), time for some cosy with the readers!

Thank you, my dears! Every kind word is sweet music to me, and every kind word gives me hope this story will, step by step, reach completeness. Because, bah, so little time, hehe. New and unexpected turns in life, so rewarding – but nope, no time for rest.


Raven, you know, this is one of the thing I enjoy about working “with” Pippin so much. He lets me wallow in the “human” aspects of life. Meaning we can be donw-to-earth with him, exploring the sillier, less epic and less picture-perfect sides of our nature. As you probably know, I strive in my writing for a measure of some every-day realism, so to say. It is more difficult to get into stories that deal solely with the “Big folk”, seeing as we have to adhere to a certain measure of idealisation and romantism when it comes to painting the darling Aragorn, Faramir, and the lot. But with Pippin, even though we know he’s as much a hero as them and generally a wonderful chap – still, it doesn’t take from his charm (at least imho) to show him like this, fretting and unreasonable :)

Laivindur, thank you!

Elektra, and a very happy Easter to you too!
Couldn’t not answer what you said in your mail about the beauty discussion, because you just hit the spot! What you said about the rules of heroic epos requiring that the ones who are good inside look good on the outside – this is exactly what gets me! I mean, I do understand the rules and where they come from, and probably understand the reasoning behind Tolkien choosing to adhere to them, especially in the case of Rohan. Although not just Rohan, we can see it throughout LoTR and Sil. Morgoth and Sauron were no longer fair to look upon once they had gone all bad-ass. Even Boromir and Maeglin, though depicted as good-looking to say the least, had their looks described in such a way that conveyed a flaw int he character, a foresight of a hamartia to come. Even Frodo, though hobbits are not generally pretty, was said to be fairer than usual. Possibly it is only Sam, who is neither of noble blood nor much of a looker, who goes against the prevailing trend of the main heroes being dashing princes in billowing cloaks.

All that said, it annoys me that Eowyn as though had to be beautiful to qualify for the ‘goody’ league. I understand that the book is big on the whole higher-race-lower-race thing, the details and possible implications of which (say in another couple thousand years in ME history) I would rather not think about – but somewhere deep I have this feeling that it is as though her exceptional looks and her exceptional deeds took her from being a princess of Lesser Men to a woman who deserves to be loved and taken to wife by a man of higher origin (seeing as Faramir was a Numenorean plus with some Elven blood). If she were just Eowyn, just a regularly attractive woman with a good heart – would have she been good enough for him to love her? I cannot get rid of this question. Maybe it is silly and not really justified by the canon itself, but this doubt is there. So in that line, I never had too much belief in the whole Faramir+Eowyn happily ever after. Even though given what kind of man he is, I believe he would love her and (try to) be faithful to her, I always felt he might not actually find his true ‘other half’ in her if you know what I mean. Yes, yes, I know he had spent some weeks getting to know her before they had settled everything – but at the same time he had fallen for her from the very start, and… I don’t know, I guess maybe it also has to do with gender roles here. You know I always snigger a little at these popular yin-yan stories where the male from one culture is all rash and vain and hotheaded, and the woman from another is all full of wisdom and nurturance, and she “awakens him” and opens his eyes on what life is really about: take “Avatar”, “Pocahontas”, “Fern Gully”, “Beauty and the beast” – the theme is to some extent present even in “Shrek”. For Faramir and Eowyn it is exactly the other way around – he has the “yin” and she the “yan”, and maybe it is him loving a strong and man-minded woman that has led to him being portrayed from a somewhat wimpy perspective int he film. I’m probably getting the amazons throwing rotten vegetables at me right now, but I guess you can see what I’m trying to say.

This whole beauty thing, coupled with all the rest, just unsettles me, bah. And similarly with Aragorn and Arwen, although in a different way. So I guess that’s one reason I gravitate to all this slash writing, as with men beauty as such is not so strongly correlated with the inner goodness, at least in our popular culture…

December    Tuesday 10 April 2012, 0:30    #

Dear me, what a fantastic writer of dialogues you are! More, what a fantastic writer of poetry! And I must say; I love the idea of them both being – at least slightly – drunk very attractive. It wouldn´t be half as interesting with, for example, Boromir, because he´s somebody one espects to kick over the traces now and then. But watching two characters who are used to be rather stern towards their own personal urges, granting themselves a loop hole – that´s way more intriguing!

Ah, poor dear Pips – I wonder how he´ll manage to get out of this – or if. Either way, that´s going to be a night to remember! X)

— raven22372    Tuesday 26 June 2012, 21:13    #

Dear Raven, why, you compliment me overmuch!
Ah, thank you dear for your lovely comment, and for always being a faithful reader :) It feels like such a long time since we’ve had one of these converations…
This whole scene, starting with Faramir getting ready for the evening, pretty much wrote itself, cloaks, wine, poetry and all. I’ll fess up, I always have reservations when it comes to writing people drunk. I mean, of course it’s very easy to write someone as being unconscious-under-the-table-drooling drunk – but when it ocmes to people still talking and doing things, only not in the exact same way as they would have if they were sober. Staying true to character is one thing – staying true to character while portraying that character in a state of altered consciousness is a completely new kettle of fish, and I’m so pleased you are pleased with how it came out.
And as for poetry, while I wouldn’t dare write anything full-blown and serious, I have always felt that going into Tolkien’s world and not doing anything in rhyme is… well, not fully proper. I’ve read a story once, “The Song of the Steward and the King” it was called or something very much like that, and the people there spoke in rhyme and verse about, well, maybe not half the time, but a lot. And I remember thinking, well, this is very true to the genre and to the original, it is! So yeah, here’s my little jocular nod in that direction – fear, fear, there might just be more to come!!

December    Wednesday 27 June 2012, 5:20    #

Hi December!

Wow, long time no see! And here’s a chapter where things evolve. Poor Pippin! And what a cliff-hanger at the end! How much shall he have to witness? How will he cope with it? Will he be caught? So many questions!
He sure must be quite thunderstruck at the moment, and at the same time, I guess the idea is not completely alien to him. And then what will he think of his own chances with the Steward? Learning that Faramir can feel attracted to a man, but then that man being Aragorn… At least, he should be happy that Faramir won’t have to leave Gondor… Actually, the more I think about it, the worse the cliff-hanger becomes! Gnnng!
Anyway, I hope real life is great and that we’ll soon see other chapters, both here and on your other wips.


— Nerey Camille    Thursday 28 June 2012, 19:27    #

Hi again!

Great chapter: it was not easy to make a good job of Pippin’s feelings in this predicament. Very powerful final phrase, too, though I’m not sure what he means by “such beginnings” (but it sounds impressive all right). And why on earth should Aragorn be leaving? Is there an innocent explanation (like going for salve to heal Faramir or to get him breakfast in bed), or is he truly horrified at what he has done? Another cliffhanger!

— Nerey Camille    Sunday 22 July 2012, 16:51    #

Wow, yes. It’s a lovely story! Great work. Looking forward to the next chapters!

— Laivindur    Monday 7 January 2013, 20:07    #

Aaaw, poor little Pippin! All alone among those strange big men with their strange behaviour he cannot really estimate. Of course, after such a long time he must have settled in his role and know how to deal with other people, but when it comes to the minefield of sexual intercourse, he´s not quite well-versed – and there is nobody he could ask about.

Again, love all the small details that upholster the story and make the base solid. Also, it gets palpable how much life in the citadel is based on duty – breakfast has to be made and laundry has to be done, no matter what. The show must go on and the fact that you feel confused and bewildered does not mean you can take a day off. What a difference from laid-back life in the Shire!

Welcome back, моя милая! It´s good to have you around again – have a very happy 2013!

— raven22372    Saturday 12 January 2013, 14:27    #

Thank you for guys for the kind words and interest in the story! I’ve been a bit slow in replying, haven’t I…

Anyway, Raven, I’m glad to hear this is your perception of the chapter. You know, I had first intended to unite it with the following scene, i.e. what happens once Faramir gets out of his bedroom. But then I felt the effect is better when they are separate. After all, even if Pippin’s life more or less revolves around Faramir, this story is about Pippin more so than it is about Faramir, at least to the extent that we are following Pippin’s experiences, and we see only as much as Pippin sees. And since the previous two chapters, being off-duty, he has been pretty much an observer/bystander, I didn’t want Faramir to steal the show from him again, lol. Well, to be serious, I don’t want this to digress into another story of Faramir/Aragorn and their amorous adventures/struggles – I’ve written enough stories about that already, hehe. And little details, and mundane duties, and the larger duty that is made of these smaller ones – this IS what Pippin’s life is largely made of at the moment. As it is of anticipating things, and of constantly waiting for something else to happen. Which can sometimes lead to a chapter not being particularly “eventful” in the strict sense of the word – but otherwise I’m afraid the whole tone of the story might be damaged. So I felt this chapter in its own way is a very important one, despite its seeming quietness, and I’m glad you took a moment to say a nice thing :)

And a very happy new year to you too! Danke!!

December    Saturday 12 January 2013, 22:43    #

Oh my! This is good original work. So fascinating. I loved the description of Faramir first meeting Pippin the next day.
Good explanation of the Hobbit as well.
I am thrilled to read more.

— Laivindur    Friday 25 January 2013, 22:32    #

Oh, how mean you are leaving your readers with a first-class cliffhanger..! If only you would just extend the story without end, then one could at least blame you! But you do such an excellent job, filling the gaps between the ´action´with small and smallest details, so the reader can´t help but devour them one after another, knowing only too good they drag him deeper and deeper into the story. I hope you feel at least the tiniest spark of shame! ;)

But now to serious business.: This is certainly the saddest thing ever and right now it makes me feel a certain urge of hitting Aragorn with a big shovel. To speak the truth I must even say it badgers me to a degree close to uncomfortableness – which of course doesn´t change the fact that you´re a wonderful writer :) Of course I would love to see any kind of happy end but at the moment I can´t spot any hint there will be one… Anyway: I´m far away from trying to push you into any direction (am I not noble?), so I will spend my days biting nails until your next update (royally noble). No, seriously. (sob) I can (sob sob) manage that (whine)…

— raven22372    Sunday 27 January 2013, 22:45    #

Thank you, guys! You are the best (sprinkles shimmering love over you).

Oh, Raven, how noble of you indeed, to speak such kind words when it seems this update has given you little direct joy. And well, no, I can’t apologise for the cliff-hangers, I enjoy them immensely. You see, I am well aware of them showing up with dogged persistence, but somehow they feel appropriate in a Pippin-POV story. It always amused me in the Book and made me relate to Pippin very strongly that often he ended up left out of stuff, or at the very least not kept up-to-date with stuff, and that more often than not he would get himself involved by sheer accident (in turn often arising from a feat of curiosity/carelessness on his behalf), and when he did get involved, he would seldom get to see the full picture until much later on. So reading him always left me with a feeling of not quite knowing what in the world is happening, and things occuring with a certain startling suddenness – and therefore only further igniting his curiosity and wide-open-eyedness. So in a way to end in a cliff-hanged feels almost like paying homage to the character, like this is his element.

Not to mention that, well, I like to try and align the reader’s internal state with that of the POV character. So when the character is tense and uncertain, it feels a natural parallel to end an installment in this way. These cliffhangers are, so to say, in-the-story. Whereas when the character is experiencing no apparent tension/crossroads moment, and the cliff-hanger is put there in the form of stopping short of revealing to the reader something the character already knows, or sees as absolutely certain to happen in the nearest future – those cliffhangers do seem to me a bit effortful, yeah, and I try to be conscious of them.

Hehehe, your words about Aragorn made me grin from ear to ear. I can’t say why as that would be a spoiler, but you made me happy there, dear. And I must mention that while being extremely interesting to write in and of himself, being written from Pippin’s perspective, Aragorn becomes just a pure delight to work on as an artistic challenge. And I must mention here, while many analyses of the Book describe Aragorn as a perfect man, an absolute unattainable ideal of behaviour, I personally never quite saw him this way. Indeed he clearly has very powerful motivations and a strict internal code that guide his actions – but precisely for this reason… Oh well, wait, I probably shouldn’t be talking about this, or I might as well tell you how the story ends (insert big-grin trollface here).

Thank you again for sharing your impressions. And please do stick around, it despirits me immensely when I see someone leave. You’re always such an inspiration!

December    Sunday 27 January 2013, 23:22    #

Dearest trollface,

IT WAS TELEPATHY. Definitely. Err… have you ever done this with lottery numbers? (gets pencil and paper) I´m all ears!

I feel like I should mention that in no way I was going to say that I didn´t enjoy it! It´s just that you give my all kind of feelings for your characters (which says a lot about your skills as a writer) and seeing their suffering I cannot help suffer a little myself.
All you said about Aragorn I could subscribe without hesitation. Apart from my craving desire for revenge I never felt a real fondness for him. Of course he is admirable – but not a person I would like to spend a Saturday night out with. Yes, there´s `FATE`written over his whole exístence, yes, he has to manage the pressure of a huge responsibilty – but that also counts for Gandalf, who is still able to communicate with ´normal´people anyway. On the contrary, unlike the future king Gandalf is well aware that it´s very often the ´small´people that pull the right strings at the right time – even though they have no knowledge of the full picture (probably because people like Mr. Aragorn take them for too unimportant to brief them). The funny thing is (apologies in case I´ve mentioned that a thousand times before) that it wasn´t before the movies that I realized Aragorn was in love with Arwen. Of course there was the marriage but to me it rather seemed like something that had to be done to keep things going. Fact is that (book) Aragorn never seems to be in love with anybody – or have any personal feelings, preferences or fondnesses. Not even a little whim, like Gandalf and his pipeweed, Faramir´s love for books or Boromir´s annoying but at least human attitude. I agree, the man IS perfect – so perfect you wouldn´t even know what to talk to him.

A spoiler? Hear hear! No worries, my dear, there´s no chance I will disappear into my box, especially not now! I will continue lurking on your doorstep, waiting with anticipation for the shovel to turn up! >:)

— raven22372    Monday 28 January 2013, 23:38    #

Hehe, I wish I did. I had tried my luck at the races not far back, and well, it was sooooo close, and yet so far (beh-heh-heh). So I wouldn’t go to me for lottery numbers if I were you. However I’ve always been good at coming across ownerless money and lost jewellery in the oddest of places, so maybe we could go on a treasure hunt one day, ey? ;)

Well, I meant that the chapter didn’t do much in the way of giving you positive emotions. I personally do derive a great deal of enjoyment through sad art and fiction, and I always remember the most the stories that had made me cry — but sometimes I do wonder if people come here for a smile and a pick-me-up – and I’m often not giving them that. Cause I lurve to see you cry (insert high-pitched witch-laugh here)!

You know, I do actually very much love Aragorn, but… he’s a little, well, not “weird” exactly, but sometimes he’s just way over my head. Which is probably the way it is supposed to be. I remember reading him as a kid, I totally didn’t get him, kind of like Pippin – didn’t preceive that he wpuld be King, or the whole Arwen thing. Thinking of him, I recall Shrek telling Donkey about Ogres, specifically that they are “like onions – multilayered”. And I see Aragorn exactly this way, he’s got this dry outer husk, and he can be quite the Deadpan Snarker, so it takes quite a lot of thinking and observation to get into him. Or, as Pippin saw it in the Book, he was “incalculable and remote” in his nobility. Which does not mean he does not feel – Tolkien does speak of how much it meant for him to be leaving Rivendel (i.e. Arwen), and how he dreamt of her in Lorien, and how it pained him to reject Eowyn, and how he was worried that Arwen would not come after all when all was done and won. It’s just that he really is very reserved in terms of feeheelings, and even the text description of them is so sprase and subtle that it is very easy to not notice them at all. And I can concur with your view of him as cold in regards to the scene of his passing, where Arwen pretty much goes hysterical and clings to him — and he’s like, da man gotta go when da man gotta go, that’s the way the cookie crumbles, honey (dies).

In saying that, I still much prefer him to the emotional doubting ladies’ man of the movie, but still… If I met him in real life, I’m pretty sure I’d be intimidated and feel very awkward. Maybe that’s in great part the reason why I want to write him, to see him put in such circumstances where he’d have to get out of the “husk”. It would be interesting to see, for example, how he would have fared if he had the setting of Faramir’s life, such as being the second son of Arathorn, and therefore knowing he would not be King, but still loving Arwen and doing stuff in her name, and then his older brother is slain and at once everything is turned round, and he can both have so much more impact, but at the same time suddenly so many more demands to shoulder, and things looking completely desperate – would he still handle all of that with a stiff upper lip and a pipe stuck out of the corner of his mouth? Not to mention if Arwen had initially loved, say, his older borther, and then after he was killed, would not be interested in Aragorn’s “pity” love. (I think a challenge had just been born)

December    Tuesday 29 January 2013, 0:53    #

Hi, hi, hi! Cliffhangers are becoming a permanent feature of this story. And I loved this chapter. I must admit I much preferred it to the previous one. Perhaps because Faramir’s in it :). I also loved the difficulty of Pippin’s role: making his lord’s life easier while pretending not to know about his problems. And the decision to resign is so much in character for Faramir. La suite!
Interesting challenge, by the way :).

— Nerey Camille    Friday 15 February 2013, 17:58    #

Hi there!

Just wanted to let you know that I’ve been following this fanfiction since around the release of chapter 14, and that it is by far my favorite Tolkien fanfiction. It is of the highest quality of both depth in research into the subject of characters and setting, and in very intrusive thought on the main character, which is something that not only is rarely seen in this fandom’s works but in writing overall. This is truly a jewel that I’d love to see continued since I hold it so dear to my heart. It would mean the world to me, and I’m sure the others who have stumbled upon this work and also found themselves captured by it, if it could be continued! Your cliffhangers, though excellent, are completely unbearable when adding such a teasing wait of time after it. Also, I’d like to mention how impeccable your characterization of Faramir is; I love how you did it. And, the added background conflicts that present in Arwen and Eowyn; of course, Aragorn and Faramir’s surprising predicament as well! Now, /that/ was a shocker.

Thank you so much for already having gone so far and putting on the web such a wonderful piece of art for the rest of us to read and enjoy.

— Fionn    Tuesday 27 August 2013, 9:44    #

Oh my goodness, thank you Fionn!

Funnily enough, I’ve been thinking on this story just today. It is by all means not dead, just – well, I’m going to be really original now and talk about how life took over and I’ve not had much time/energy/inspiration to do much writing. But hopefully things are looking up now, we are finally settling for good in New Zealand, some of my professional commitments are getting done and dusted – and I’m virtually rolling up my sleeves to get some writing time in my schedule again, hehe.

Not promising any specific dates, but definitely have every intention of pushing this story (and the others of mine) along. Goodness knows I’ve missed it.

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, you’ve utterly made my day :)))))

— December    Saturday 31 August 2013, 6:58    #

Let’s hope I pressed the right thing to post this as a response, welp. I’ve never reviewed on any of the other fanfics on this website except this one, haha.

I’m so glad to hear that! And gosh, no, I really do understand what you mean; I write as well and sometimes incentive drains away no matter how much you actually do want to keep the updates going. But – you’ve moved to New Zealand? I’m jealous! For years I’ve been wanting to move there, so hopefully when I’m in a solid place I can start trying to actually make that happen.

Anyways, yeah! You really have no idea how happy that makes me to hear that it’ll continue. I’ll definitely be dropping in more than usual to look for any surprise updates, then. And really, it’s both no problem and my pleasure to have commented. Take care!

— Fionn    Monday 2 September 2013, 7:56    #

Hi December! I came here to see if there were any news about the swap and had the good surprise to discover your new chapter. Good to see that you haved taken this story up again! Aaaaand… surprising chapter to be sure, but it’s interesting and even startling to see Pippin in such a rage towards Aragorn. How are you, honey?

— Nerey Camille    Monday 4 November 2013, 14:09    #

Oooh an update! Even though it’s been a while I remember this story so clearly (though I think I’m going to re-read it now!) – and the latest chapter is as good as the rest. Thank you! :)

— jewel    Saturday 7 December 2013, 23:47    #

All I ask from Santa this holiday season was for this fic to update. :’)

Archivist's note: Please remember not to nag authors for updates.(Or at least, not just nag without saying something nice first...) Click the Rules & Help button under the comment form for more details.
— Fionn    Wednesday 25 December 2013, 9:37    #

Oh gosh guys, thanks for the comments! I’m sorry I’d been silent: my writing email account got blocked and I didn’t get any notifications or ANYTHING for 2 months… Thanks so much for following and wanting to see more :) I’ll definitely be working on that, though to be honest I’m currently 8 months pregs, so who knows what the update schedule’s going to look like… But anyway, your support means the world to me!

— December    Friday 31 January 2014, 18:55    #

I just wanted to tell you that this is one of my top favorite LoTR fics of all time; I feel as though it captures the characters and insightfulness of Tolkien in the cultures of Middle-earth flawlessly, and that I can almost see everything happen in my mind’s eye while I read, which I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve recommended the Gifts in Small Packages to a countless number of friends who in some way, shape, or form have always found at least one aspect that fully captivates them, and for the few days onward it’s all I’ll hear about! Even if this story isn’t going to end up being continued soon, or ever for that matter, thank you so much for putting the time and effort into this work that has given me much pleasure and entertainment through a countless amount of reads. It is truly a treasured work of fiction that I often think about. I hope that everything with the baby is well! Take care and stay well & healthy. :-)

— Buttercup    Wednesday 7 May 2014, 6:35    #

Dear Buttercup,

Thank you for taking the time to write this lovely review! It’s really so very heart-warming and inspiring to see that a work of mine touches other people like that.
Thank you, life is well – and very busy! What else is new? :)

— December    Monday 19 May 2014, 2:22    #

I just discovered this and wowie, of all the LotR fanfic I’ve read in my time, this has got to the very cream of the crop. The amount of background fills it entirely with life, even though we only see it through the eyes of a hobbit who mainly stays inside tending to one other person, and it is just so full of intrusive character exploration of so many more, and enticing drama that I want more than anything to read more of. But, with that said, what’s already done here is so much more than I’ve ever seen, so thank you for writing such a beautiful work… it is definitely an amazing experience to read.

— hals_hallow    Thursday 10 July 2014, 7:20    #

Just finished reading the entire thing, and I am in love with this story and anticipatory of when you write more, which I hope will be soon. You have me quite on the edge of desperately yearning to know what takes place, and if Aragorn does anything, if Faramir does return, or if Pippin searches him out. Just write more soon, please.

— AvidReader    Monday 22 September 2014, 18:44    #

I read this front to back last night, and can I just that that this is my favorite LoTR fic of all time. It’s beautifully done, your characterization is amazing, and if you ever decide to write more, I’ll basically scream with joy. Stay wonderful!

— DiaGloGlo    Wednesday 12 November 2014, 23:00    #

Had to re-read some to catch up to Chapter 18. Not sure if I’ve seen 17 either… Poor Pippin. I don’t even know what else to say. We know his heart so much more than Faramir’s in this story—we’re seeing Faramir through Pippin. Hoping things get better for both of them.

— Bell Witch    Saturday 16 September 2017, 6:18    #

I was so happy to see an update from you to this story, as I had given up hope that it would be added on to!

That said, I feel so sorry for Faramir and Pippin, and a bit frustrated at Aragorn. I love the part where Pippin missed supper and his attitude as he goes to meet Aragorn.

I do so hope for an update soon! You have me on the edge of my seat!

— AvidReader    Monday 2 October 2017, 6:41    #

I can’t even write in words how happy this made me, reading an update for this fic! I hadn’t expected to see one but just came along to reread for sentiment’s sake, and here it is! Thank you for continuing on in your work and sharing with us. You’ve always our audience with this wonderful work.

— Fionn    Monday 4 December 2017, 0:32    #

Oh how I am so thrilled to see an update. Your voice for Pippin is just perfect..it makes me smile and hope for happiness for them all..grin.. perhaps a little much to hope. rolls around in angst like catnip

— sian22    Friday 15 December 2017, 16:00    #

Screams. How did l miss all these lovely comments? Wasn’t seeing the notification somehow? This treasure was sitting here waiting for me all this time! Anyway.
hals_hallow wow thank you so much, that some very generous praise! Yes, it’s definitely an interesting challenge, given Pippin’s position provides a rather limited view. l’m so glad you find it life-like!
AvidReader thank you so much for your kind words, and coming back to check on the story! l hope you’ve seen the latest updates as well.
Bell Witch, yeah, it’s tricky to keep track with updates spaced out like that. l wonder if l can make the reading experience more cohesive somehow? Poor Pippin indeed, l (almost) feel bad for everything he’s getting put through.
Fionn, thank you so much! To think that people actually come back just to re-read. Squee! l definitely have every intention of continuing through to the finish line, just takes time sometimes…
sian22 thank you so much! Pippin is so fun to write. Oh, l hear you, angst is my catnip too. Obviously ;)

— December    Friday 6 April 2018, 8:53    #

Incredible as always, thank you for the update!

— Fionn (millionthline)    Saturday 12 January 2019, 7:02    #

Thanks so much Fionn!!

— December    Saturday 12 January 2019, 7:15    #

I love the quality of your writing. It is emotionally deep and there are plenty of places in this story that simply shine beautifully! That being said, I would be lying if I said I liked your version of Pippen here. I don’t. His obsession with Faramir has him acting like a spoiled child having a tantrum. I could break it down to explain why but I don’t think it’s necessary. It’s onky my reaction to the character.

Romanse    Sunday 6 October 2019, 4:10    #

I am thanlful because of your return! Your stories are the drogs of my heart!

— Eve    Sunday 7 February 2021, 16:01    #

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Visions After The Fire (R) Print

By LadyBrooke

01 September 2020 | 1115 words

Title: Visions After The Fire
Author: LadyBrooke
Rating: R
Pairing(s): Faramir & Aragorn, Arwen
Warnings: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Threesome

Faramir reminded himself to have the door fixed as soon as Aragorn and he were freed from the tower.

“The door will not open, Sire.” Faramir turned from where he had been inspecting the door knob. “We will have to wait for a guard to come seeking the King.”

“I did not expect it to open,” Aragorn said, rising from his examination of it as well. His lips twitched upwards as he continued to speak. “I do still expect you to call me Aragorn when in private.”

Aragorn saw a flush appear around the collar of Faramir’s shirt, cutting himself off before he could wonder further at it. “My apologies. This tower makes me-” Faramir stopped before he finished the sentence, trailing off and looking at the walls instead.

Aragorn thought of ways that sentence could have ended. “It would not be a shock to those who know you if you could control the palantir,” he finally responded, after discarding the other possibilities.

“It is your birthright, I could not,” Faramir said. “It is the King’s Stone.”

“Before it was the King’s, it was Maedhros’ stone, given to him by his father.” Aragorn took a seat by it, only feeling a tinge of guilt as Faramir hesitated to take a seat by him. “Arwen and I discussed such, along with her grandfather – if you wished, we would all agree to you using it.”

“Arwen?” Faramir said. “Why- Oh, because Maedhros was-”

“Lord Elrond’s foster-father, in addition to all else he was, along with Maglor.” Aragorn gestured towards the palantir. “But if you wish to use it, neither of us would stand against such.”

Faramir bit his lip, looking at the black stone. “And if I cannot control it?”

“I will help you, Faramir. I would not leave you to the flames,” Aragorn said. “You shall not fall back into darkness.”

Faramir looked at the stone. “Do you think it would aid me?”

“I think there is no reason to avoid your fears in this case,” Aragorn reached for Faramir’s hands, clasping them in his. This time Faramir did not move away. “I also think you would enjoy its use. You need not look for enemies. You’ve spoken of your dreams of Númenor. It is possible to use it to look across time, if you are skilled in the use. You could see Beleriand in all its glories, or seek for answers to questions you have found in the archives.”

Faramir looked at it again and nodded, taking a breath. “Very well.”

Aragorn moved to face the palantir, bringing Faramir with him. Arranging Faramir’s hands on the palantir, Aragorn stayed close to Faramir’s back. “You must concentrate on what you wish to see.”

Faramir nodded, tense and quiet. Still, the palantir pulled both of them into its visions, flashes of Ithilen and the plains of Rohan passing by, then Dol Amroth. There was a fire burning on the beach.

The images started to slip. The pyre was burning, then burning hands holding steady.

“Faramir!” Aragorn exclaimed, trying to wrest control of the palantir. “Faramir!”

Before he could, the images shifted again.

There was a bed. Aragorn could see himself and Arwen, but Faramir too lay there, nude and kissing them, hands entwined with theirs. In the vision, Aragorn leaned over and-

It ended as Faramir pulled himself away, overbalancing and falling to the floor, limbs splayed as though he had tried to catch himself only to collapse further.

Faramir did not look up. “My apologies.”

At the same time, Aragorn blinked and pulled himself together, reaching down to check on Faramir. “Are you hurt?”

“Nay,” Faramir said, still facing the floor. “I am well, Sire.”

“And yet you will not look at me, nor will you call me by my name.” Aragorn sighed, sitting on the floor, close enough to touch Faramir, but not yet doing so.

“I should think the reason for such would be obvious,” Faramir said.

“There are limits to the palantir’s powers. It has been known to look through time, to the past and to the future,” Aragorn said, looking at Faramir. “It will not, however, show visions that could not come to pass.”

“Could not any vision come to pass? Some are less likely than others, and it does those who behold such no good to pretend their dreams are likely to come to pass,” Faramir responded.

“Look at me.” Aragorn paused until Faramir finally lifted his head. When he had done such, Aragorn reached a hand to Faramir’s hair, holding onto the dark locks. “Your dreams are shared, not only by myself but by Arwen as well.”

With those words, he used the hold on Faramir’s hair to hold him still for a gentle kiss. Faramir did not resist, relaxing into it. Good, Aragorn had hoped for such, from the moment he had decided what to do.

When Aragorn finally pulled back, Faramir leaned into him, relaxing against Aragorn’s chest. “I had feared losing the friendships I had gained.”

“You will not,” Aragorn said. “You will simply gain more with us.”

Footsteps echoed outside the door, as the guards finally realized the King and Steward were trapped.

Aragorn took those last moments of peace to kiss Faramir once more. As he pulled away, those on the other side ready to force the door open, Faramir smiled softly. “Thank you, Aragorn.”

Aragorn laughed. “Finally you call me by my name. No matter. You must have dinner tonight in our chambers. Arwen and we have much to discuss.”

Faramir sat at dinner that night in Arwen and Aragorn’s chambers, after having discussed all the important matters, still thinking of the earlier conversation.

“What thoughts consume you?” Arwen leaned forward to ask, as Aragorn retrieved his pipe.

“Earlier, when we were discussing the palantir, Aragorn mentioned discussing the matter with your grandfather. While Lord Celeborn is accounted one of the wise, I did not think he was concerned with the palantir.”

Arwen laughed. “He is not.” She leaned forward, fingers trailing down Faramir’s shirt. “But Aragorn only said he asked my grandfather, did he not? And while Earendil’s fate is accounted for…”

“You mean?” Faramir’s eyes lit up at this new knowledge.

“We shall have to take a trip to the coast soon,” Aragorn said, joining the conversation, even as he looked somewhat amused, likely at how quickly Faramir was diverted from his worries by new sources of knowledge. “You can find history there, if you only know where to look. And as you are our lover, he will desire to meet you.”

“More like desire to adopt his newest grandchild,” Arwen mumbled.

Faramir blinked in shock.

“Ignore her,” Aragorn said. “Or do not – she speaks true, but it will not be that bad. He is mostly harmless to you.”

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This story is rated «NC-17», and carries the warnings «Non-con, torture, psychological torture, AU canon divergence, dark!fic».
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Unholy Light (NC-17) Print

By December

05 January 2020 | 6480 words | Work in Progress

Title: Unholy Light
Author: December
Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Faramir & Boromir
Warnings: Non-con, torture, psychological torture, AU canon divergence, dark!fic
Author's note.,Alright everybody,I am sorry about this. It's my first (and quite unplanned) dabble into the dark fic realm. I blame it all on watching too many compilations of the GOT most brutal scenes in one go. This may never live up to that standard

Things go pear-shaped towards the end of the quest to destroy the One Ring, and Boromir is left with impossible choices on his hands as his darkest hopes are dragged to the light.
Added: Chapter 5

‘Now it is a strange thing,
but things that are good to have
and days that are good to spend
are soon told about, and not much to listen to;
while things that are uncomfortable,
palpitating, and even gruesome,
may make a good tale,
and take a deal of telling anyway.’

“The Hobbit”

Part 1.

As the sun rises, the page comes running to tell the new Steward that his younger brother has finally awoken.

That walk to the Wards seems like the longest journey in Boromir’s life.

It is a bright morning, the empty corridor airy and full of light.

He stands silent before the shut door.

Gathering strength.

He draws a heavy breath, feels his fingers curl into his palms. He would rather face a horde of Uruk-hai, than this.

It had taken weeks, and all of the healing wisdom left in the land to nurse Faramir back to life, and Boromir should be rejoicing in it more than anyone, and yet…

The knot in his stomach is so tight there is a distinct possibility that he might literally be physically sick.

Without warning, the door opens in his face.

The erstwhile leader of the Fellowship, dressed all in white, steps out, wiping his hands dry on a towel as he walks.

His expression is pointedly contained, as though he has no reason to have anything other than practical tasks on his mind.

“I was just changing his dressings,” he explains. As though it is actually important.

Boromir purses his lips, nods. As though what they say now makes any difference.

The older man wipes his hands some more, then glances at him sideways, without quite meeting his eyes.

“Boromir, I…” he shakes his head at the futility of trying to put the unspeakable into words. After a moment of hesitation, he places his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Just remember, please. It was not your fault.”

“You were a good sport, my old friend.”

The Steward raised his head with as much pride as the iron collar around his neck allowed.

“I am no friend of yours, beast.”

The grey lips curled, showing the fangs.

“So clever, aren’t you just? Thinking you can provoke me into giving you a quick death. How adorable. You mortals never cease to amuse.”

“Your arrogance is pathetic.”

The armoured hand came close enough for Denethor to feel the raw heat against his cheek. He did not flinch.

“You would like this, old man, wouldn’t you? I could burn you to a shell in a minute.” The hand was withdrawn, another twisted grin. “But no, that would not do us justice at all, would it now? All those years you gave me, staring into your magic ball in your little tower. That was good fun.”

The Steward turned away in distaste.

“You will look at your master when spoken to, Gondorian scum.” An invisible force gripped him on the chin and forced his face to turn. Again that self-satisfied sneer. “What we have is special, it would really be quite ungenerous to kill you without repaying the debt. Let no one say I am not a fair-minded lord. Let me entertain you in turn.”

He called something quick in the Morgul tongue.

Denethor’s eyes widened as a young man was dragged into the chamber and thrown to the floor, but he withheld any further emotion.

“You seem unimpressed, your grace. How disappointing. My boys went to all this trouble.”

The captor regarded the bound shape at his feet, struggling to get up against the many tight loops of chain, then gave it a disinterested prod with the pointed tip of his iron boot. Like a cat undecided if it will bother to play with a new toy.

“Oh, but that’s right, how very foolish of me. This one was never your favourite, was he? Good thing I have a back up option for you.”

At this, the Orc guards returned, dragging in a second man, so alike the first, if a little older.

“No!” Denethor strained against the chains even as his knees went weak and left him hanging by the hands and neck.

The yellow eyes in the visor lit up with interest, the narrow pupils widening into a hungry, gaping void.

“Well,” the heavy armour rang and scraped as Sauron came to stand over the two warriors. “We shall enjoy this very much, shan’t we?”

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11 Comment(s)

Intriguing and disturbing at the same time. Actually, I’m a bit into this kind of thing, disturbing and nerve-racking, so I’m happy with your choice of darcfiction genre)) Another ‘thank you’ for Denethor, I believe his character to be too complex to be wasted just as a reason of Faramir’s eternal sadness, so it’s nice to see him again. And I really like your choice of words. Please keep writing.

— LCD    Thursday 22 November 2018, 17:38    #

Thanks so much, LCD! Again, your commentary is very thoughtful :)

Well, we shall see what I can make of this genre!

Denethor is an interesting one. I’ve said this elsewhere before, he is indeed more complex than that. Can’t say I exactly like him as a person, but I definitely like him as a character. He is a flawed person who’d had a pretty rough run of it in life, with things getting progressively worse. It doesn’t mean he is an inherent tyrant and madman. If anything, he had endured and fought for a very long time before succumbing. And his relationship with Faramir was not entirely one-sided either.

Thank you for reading!

— December    Friday 23 November 2018, 8:30    #

Can’t wait for you to finish this fic! Perhaps you wouldn’t mind also posting this on An Archive of Our Own so that way readers can get chapter update alerts. I’m afraid I don’t check this site often.

Romanse    Sunday 2 December 2018, 7:05    #

Thank you Romanse! Yes, I always publish both there and here.

— December    Thursday 6 December 2018, 7:43    #

Please, carry on this story as fast as possible. But be merciful. Did you read “The War of the Ring? I’m reading now, and it’s fantastic, especially the relatonship of Faramir and Denethor. :)

— Liza    Friday 14 December 2018, 9:13    #

Thank you Liza! No, I have not… Where can I find it?

— December    Friday 14 December 2018, 9:56    #

It’s the 8th book of The History of Middle-earth series, edited by Christopher Tolkien.

— Liza    Friday 14 December 2018, 12:47    #

Liza, ah, of course it is. With my fanfiction tunnel-vision, l thought it was a fic and tried to look for it on this site! Can’t believe I did not know there was extra material on Faramir out there, and I didn’t know!

— December    Friday 14 December 2018, 23:02    #

Will you countine this story, dear December?

— Eve    Sunday 12 May 2019, 17:11    #

The first time in my life I beg for winter’s month to come back) Please, December, let us enjoy the next chapter, don’t stop your breathtaking storytelling.

— LCD    Wednesday 22 May 2019, 7:18    #

Thank you the new chapter dear December!
How much I was missing this story.

But Boromir… for Eru’s sake I like him but his very very stubborn.

— Eve    Sunday 5 January 2020, 15:58    #

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

By December

02 January 2020 | 6570 words | Work in Progress

Title: Wishful Thinking under the Summer Stars
Author: December
Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Faramir & Aragorn
Warnings: Sexual tension, angst & drama
Author's note:,Thanks for reading!,Now that one of my WIP stories is finally nearing completion,allowing myself the luxury of starting you guys on a brand new adventure. Let the madness begin!

Aragorn is tired of keeping a dark secret from his handsome steward.
Added: Chapter 2

Part 1.

The last remnants of evening light are melting away, settling into the dark shapes of the slender trees and fragrant shrubs, the tiny blooms scattered on them like first stars.

They tread softly side by side, the grass beneath their feet unpaved by stone, unmarked by a path of any sort at all. This element of the gardens’ design, this decision to impose no structure upon the visitor, Aragorn finds lovely and refreshing. He reads generosity and humility into this unassuming touch, and catches himself, once again, wishing to linger.

As ever, the man by his side knows his thoughts.

“I am glad you were able to stay another day, my lord,” Faramir says.

“So long as I am not over-stretching your kind hospitality,” Aragorn replies with a smile.

“My king, we are not in court,” the Steward reminds him in teasing reproach, “I might just take your pleasantries a little too seriously, and be wounded to think that you might indeed consider my hospitality to you a finite entity.”

“To me as High King?” Aragorn teases in return.

“To you as anything.”

Aragorn sighs inwardly, knowing he wishes to read into these simply spoken words more than he ought to.

“Were it not for your royal duties in Minas Tirith,” Faramir goes on, “I long ago would have had you moved in permanently.”

“Would have you now?” the older man laughs. “Would I not get a say?”

“Very well, would have you said nay?”

“Oh, probably not!”

“There we go then,” Faramir reaches to touch a low-hanging branch. “If you knew only, how lonely it gets in my halls at times – especially when the groves and the meadows are this fair.”

“But are they not this fair at all times?”

Faramir glances at him with a quick grin, and takes a hidden turn between two redolent lilacs. “Precisely, my king.”

“Where would you even put me?” Aragorn follows through the narrow space, breathing in a full chest of the blooms’ nectar mixed with the faint leather-and-spice fragrance Faramir leaves in his trail.

“Hm, where indeed?” the Steward looks him up and down appraisingly. “Let us see, I might just have a vacant bunk at the guards’ – or would your majesty rather a spot with the Wood Elves?”

“And be kept up all night by their rowdy singing?”

“Surely my king is not too old to stay up the night? It can be rather a lot of good fun in the right company.”

Aragorn looks at the dark silk of the grass beneath his feet to steady his step. The mere temptation to translate this inconsequential banter between old friends as flirtation is already like onto sweet mead. He should steer it into safer waters.

“You are quite like an Elf yourself, Faramir – this robe you’ve got, it is not of Gondorian make.”

“No indeed, the robe is a gift,” the younger man spreads his arms, demonstrating the old-fashioned cut of sleeve and collar. “Very convenient, too, I highly recommend it. Keeps one warm in the cold, keeps one cool in the heat, stays in place by virtue of a sash – I never before have been able to dress or undress this swiftly.”

Aragorn proscribes himself from imagining what that process would look like in practice. Alas, in all of his realm his own mind would seem the worst at obeying his orders. He takes a deep breath. If even casual conversation has become so much of a trial, like finding a dry route through the marshes on a foggy midnight – the time indeed has come, it can be put off no longer.

He has no excuses left. Has he not dallied and stalled enough, has he not told himself that it was for this exact purpose that he had come to Emyn Arnen this time, that he had to stay this extra day?

But the day is almost done now, and the solace of buying a few more safe minutes beckons all the stronger, and he finds yet another way to dance around the subject. “Speaking of the Elves, what is keeping them? Did they not use to frequent your gardens for nocturnal strolls?”

“So they do, and I oft join, for as you know I have grown rather fond of their ways,” Faramir says. “But I have asked that we not be disturbed tonight.”

“You have? Why so?”

Faramir looks at him thoughtfully. “I would’ve hoped that you would tell me that, my king, if that be your will.”

This is too close for comfort, too much of a coincidence, and Aragorn frowns as his pulse breaks into a startled gallop.

“Have I troubled you in some way, Faramir?”

The Steward tilts his head to the side in partial assent. “It could be said so, I suppose, even though it saddens me that such be your first thought. What troubles me is that I know that you have come with a heavy heart – also that it has long been so.”

“That is true,” Aragorn agrees carefully.

“You would agree also, it is rare, unheard of even, that you would nurse a concern alone and not speak your mind with me, whether for counsel or solace only. You are restless, and having assumed you were but waiting for a quiet time and place, I had expected you to mention it yesterday, after the hunt.”

“That is true also,” Aragorn confirms again. “I had meant to.”

He had. As the two men roasted the game far in the woods where the stag had led them, as they rested by the fire afterwards, as the sky blazed and the rosy glow of the setting sun hung amid the tall trees, as the day died and so did the embers, as Faramir unstrung his bow for the night and they settled to sleep, he had waited for the right moment. It never came. As it never does.

“I see,” Faramir says softly.

“It was… it seemed… it would have been inconsiderate to you, Faramir. If afterwards you wished to be alone, we were too far away and it was too late to head back. I had thought… today would be better.”

“And yet,” with a sweep of his hand Faramir takes in the dark closing in on them, “today has all but departed.”

“Well, what if… you do not like what I have to say?” Aragorn cringes at the vast inadequacy of the euphemism.

“If it causes you distress, I may indeed not like it. That matters little though, and I would ask that you not let it stay you – if that is all that stays you. Both as my king, and as everything else you have become to me, it is my greatest wish to see you joyful and merry, or at least at peace and free of worry. If there is any part I can play towards that, if even to listen only, I would that you tell me.”

Aragorn touches him on the shoulder in thanks, and nods.

Once it is done, he will not be able to do even this much, an otherwise innocent touch.

He wants to hold on, for a heartbeat more, to everything that will be lost once he has said what he must. To everything he had never truly had to begin with – but that was, nevertheless, his alone. It will be no more after tonight.

Aragorn knows that the loss will be raw and bitter, for it will be more real than all his phantom riches. So, he rakes through his warped, bitter-sweet treasure in one final frantic bid to preserve, to salvage at least something.

His steward, fleet-footed and strong voiced, can with much finesse out-sing, out-dance, and on occasion out-drink, many a seasoned Dwarf and Wood Elf. And what a joy that is to behold. Or the exquisite intellectual pleasure of observing Faramir’s brilliance at court, to sit back and let him sort out those self-important pedigreed buffoons twice his age. Faramir’s close personal understanding of what moves the hearts of each of the men at the table is like a compass, and he navigates the web of oft conflicting interests with an easy grace. Although his hand is well capable of firmness, he tends to choose patience even where Aragorn himself would have long ago barked at the lot of them in well-deserved exasperation. But he does not need evidence of Faramir’s merit to delight in his company, and likes him best one-on-one. Obligingly, their friendship is of the sort that most naturally lends itself to just that, to private conversation that never quite follows a straight road, to long stretches of silent companionship. To sequestered, private worlds.

He recalls the hot summer day in the groves of Ithilien, when the two of them had found a secluded bend of the Anduin for a private swim. Remembers his heart high and loud in his chest, the drunken anticipation of this stolen moment.

Remembers his own exclamation of surprise when the young warrior beside him pulled off his riding tunic to reveal an intricate charcoal-black tattoo of Gondorian motifs. Starting with a neat cuff at Faramir’s left wrist and lacing up a full sleeve up his arm, it spilled over his breast to the front and shoulder blade to the back, and thence trailed down his flank in one unbroken pattern. Only to slip out of sight under the waist-band of his breeches.

Aragorn was awash then with irrational, unreasonable jealousy, resentment almost, for the lucky bastard of an artist who got to lay this ornament in place, to have Faramir’s body for a canvas for an unholy length of time. With total permission to look, and touch, and leave his mark, and to know where this tattoo ends while Aragorn never will.

Then as Faramir, at first dismissive in his usual modesty, but soon warming under his king’s interest, took Aragorn through the designs, the jealousy was ousted by an even harder sentiment to stomach.

Faramir had had this done after the War, as a remembrance, he said, as a way to reconcile his sorrow. To pay tribute to the beauty and wonder he considered himself fortunate to have encountered amid the trials and losses of those times.

“It is no different, I don’t think. Some lay their heart into song, some plant gardens, yet others seek to assert their survival with a flock of heirs. Storytelling happens to be the path that appealed to me best, and I had always heard praise for the calming effects of needle-work,” the young man had said with an open smile. As though it were only trivial, the depth of sorrow that had driven him to seek out even further pain to process, inch by inch, everything that had befallen him, all of them, in so short a time.

Boromir, he explained, had used to have a banded sleeve inked onto his sword arm, a new band added for every score of Orcs he slew. Although Faramir’s angle on the patriotic sentiments he and his brother shared was different, and he chose to give no direct depiction to their defeated foes or the act of war itself, Boromir’s little tradition had been his inspiration.

This was where guilt hit Aragorn like a troll club on the head.

To be made privy, with such unguarded trust, to something so personal – but his mind’s eye in its wickedness persisted to leer through the graceful black lattice, to strip it off Faramir’s body with blatant lack of ceremony. To ignore the silvery sheen of mallorn leaves, so faithfully depicted. To gaze upon Boromir’s linked Elven belt engirdling Faramir’s arm, river waves flowing forth from beneath it, bearing the one dark leaf of the funereal boat to rest – and see instead the taut curve of a warrior’s bicep beneath, the blue vein pushed to the surface by the power of the muscle.

Show some respect – but he found something inexplicably, excruciatingly erotic in the way the design was so cleanly cut off at the wrist, the black sleeve like a real shirt, like decorative armour. Meaning, of course, that this man could never, under any circumstance, be completely, truly naked. Not that this would ever become a real problem Aragorn would face. Not that this was a problem Aragorn should even be contemplating facing.

He had to admit though, Faramir had chosen his ink-master well. Someone with both honed skill and true talent, with a gift to relate with striking precision the inner essence of things through the austerity of simple line and curve. And he is thrilled, proud even, completely beyond reason, to know that his own part is woven into this tale.

Upon Faramir’s breast, directly over the heart, sits the unmistakable shape of the winged High Crown, filled in with seven white stars, as though a slice cut from the night heavens. Nothing more, of course, than a symbol of fealty – but still. And upon the place between his shoulder and collar bone, the welted scar from the Southron dart is left uncovered almost as a badge of honour, the only blank space in the whole piece. So stark is its emptiness, Aragorn had wondered how he had missed it at first, a pristine area about the size of a man’s palm.

When he looked closer, he saw that this was, indeed, as though a man’s hand had been placed here in protection, and the ink had had to go around, as if this spot had been rendered forever invincible to anything.

“Is that…?” Aragorn had asked.

“Where you laid your hand upon me, when I lay for dead amid the wounded,” Faramir had confirmed, looking him straight in the face with those bright steel-grey eyes. Those eyes that looked as though they had shards of diamonds in them.

Aragorn had felt his fingers tingle with touch, and saw that unknown to himself he had raised his hand, as though it were the missing piece of a Dwarven jigsaw puzzle that he was compelled to return to its rightful place.

Faramir had looked upon the man’s open palm, inches away from his bare shoulder, then up to meet Aragorn’s gaze again. And a heat came over Aragorn, and breathed into his face like the fire of an open furnace, and he blinked and shook his head, and with a mumbled apology dropped his hand.

A strange look had come into Faramir’s eyes then, and he turned away, saying, “Come, let us bathe ere we are baked by the sun.”

Thankfully he had dived in as he was, clad in his breeches, thus excusing Aragorn to do the same and keep private the indecent strain in his loins.

This was years ago now, before the trees in Faramir’s garden were taller than the men who trod the unpaved paths among them. But the guilt is still hot and pulsing, like freshly slain game not yet gutted and bled. No guilt, however, can assuage the unleashed cascade of remembered indulgencies that flash through his mind whether he would have them or not. The way the high sun shone on Faramir’s bare skin, throwing dappled shadows on his beautiful archer’s back. How Faramir had come up for breath next to him, the untanned nape of his neck showing where his wet hair had parted under its own weight. The way he had slept on the green bank afterwards, lulled by the mid-day heat and the hazy humming of sapphire dragonflies above the dark water. Aragorn had sat beside him, and smoked his pipe, and watched him sleep – and those were easily his happiest minutes of that entire year.

He collects these memories like precious river pearls on a string, no two the same in shape or hue, a cherished toy to keep him company on the black nights alone in his regal bed. He would lie flat on his back counting through his rosary of transgressions, right hand upon his heart, the left under the fur-trimmed covers, hiding this even from himself, eyes tightly shut.

In between the pearls of remembered things, sit the translucent glass beads of things imagined. Things that can only be imagined because they are not the sort of things that can come to pass. But as his wrist stealthily polishes his shame into rigid hardness, so the boundaries in his mind soften and blur, and the difference between images reconstructed and altogether concocted becomes negligible enough to sacrifice to the greater purpose of grasping temporary release by the tail.

He is not quite sure which style of fantasy he is disturbed by the most, which would be fundamentally more insulting to Faramir. In either case, he has little control over the flavour that will be served to him on a given night.

At times he gets exquisite, gentle love-making. With all the unbearably life-like detail.

There is that morning they had taken Aragorn’s new boat for a sail on the River. It was built for open waters, with the structure and gear to work the sea winds and currents. But he had wanted to bring the curious Faramir with him, for them to awaken the mariner in the Steward’s Númenorean blood, so the river had seemed perfect.

The air had been bright but rough, and the blue water rippled heavily, shimmering with blazing silver. Faramir squinted against the sun, chuckling at the futility of his novice efforts and Aragorn’s assurances that he had it in him. Aragorn had stood close behind, a little too close perhaps but nothing new about that, guiding him how to work the ropes to tame the wind.

A sudden gust had torn the sail away and swung it back at them, and to avoid a hearty blow from the polished boom, Faramir had leapt back. Aragorn had not stepped away in time, and the young man crashed into him and knocked his feet out from under him, and they fell onto the deck, gasping for breath with laughter in a heap of limb and cape.

Aragorn had thought of this moment long after, the sudden physicality and inexplicable, boyish rapture of it. In his inner vision, when he lay sprawled on the boards with Faramir atop him, he took the young man by the shoulders and turned him over. He tucked Faramir’s raven hair behind his ear, cupped him on the curve of his jaw, and kissed him full on the mouth. As the unmanned vessel spun, and listed, and nestled them snugly against the starboard, Faramir responded in kind, tongue and all.

It may be so sickeningly disrespectful to envision his steward, himself a high lord and accomplished man-at-arms, giving in so tenderly, so sweetly to the weather-beaten ranger that he is, stubble, and scars, hairy chest, bony knees and the rest of it – but wait for the alternative. An alternative not remotely anchored to anything that had actually happened, and he was winded, left aghast by the vision of the two of them taking turns having each other from behind, next to the fireplace atop a lustrous bearskin, the flames casting an orange sheen on their sweat-glistened skin. The exertion of the coupling so vigorous it would almost seem violent were it not for the shared ecstatic abandon.

Sometimes he gets a longer script, a perfunctory measure of context worked in to make it a little more believable. There is usually some fantastical premise, but he only need suspend his disbelief the once, and agree that indeed, they could become stranded on the slopes of a winter mountain on some unlikely secret mission, and fall into an icy stream, and for sheer survival be forced to keep each other warm overnight naked under the one dry cloak in their possession – it could happen! Faramir clad in naught but the simple mithril circlet upon his brow, Aragorn’s woollen cape with a miniver of silver fur loose about the young man’s bare shoulders, his bewitching lips kissed blue by the frost.

It is but a glimpse, torturously brief, but he feels it so tangibly with all of his body that it rams through every rational gate he tries to erect in its path. Once the requisite sacrificial lamb of common sense is laid at the altar of lust, from there it goes easier and easier and faster and faster like downhill in a sleigh. Yet unlike in a sleigh, his fall will transcend the mechanics of the world and turn, miraculously, into flight, and he will soar up to the heavens above, and dissolve into bliss for one glorious instant.

The joy, such joy. Explosive, overflowing, blindingly sweet.

And how painful, how shameful the immediate aftermath. To fall asleep knowing he will wake up to the white light of day still smelling of his perverse pleasures, that as he lifts the covers the sour warmth will waft in his face. He has long given up on trying to wash it off, for just as Faramir’s tattoos, it stays etched into the skin – or else, directly into his conscience, what’s left of it.

Faramir’s indomitable spirit, the might written into his very frame, the bright, keen light in his eyes, the proud uprightness of his posture and acute sharpness of his mind all suggest to Aragorn a deep fire burning within. A capacity for this wild passion, a capacity to revel in these pleasures with remarkable intensity… And yet at once this pure, unsoiled quality to him, something lucid and clear, that thoughtfulness in his gaze, that care in his speech, that touch of sadness in his smile. It makes it akin to crime to think of him in this fashion, it makes it somehow a thousand-fold dirtier to think of him so than of anyone else.

He is brought back by a sudden grasp of Faramir’s hand on his arm, respectful but firm. He has nearly walked square into a tree in his distraction. It is dark, but not so dark as to constitute a legitimate excuse for someone with his length of experience in the woods.

Faramir says nothing, but his expectation hangs tangibly in the air. There is a taste of concern to it, even a tinge of reproach.

Aragorn sighs.

He will not find the perfect words. Perfection will not fix anything anyway. Might as well get it over with.


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9 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    #

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Of Men (R) Print

By Geale

15 September 2019 | 3251 words

Pairing: Aragorn/Faramir, implied future Éowyn/Amrothos (third son of Imrahil of Dol Amroth)
Rating: T
Genre: Romance
Warning: Slash
Disclaimer: All characters belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.

Of Men

Éowyn wipes her brow with the back of her hand, quite likely smearing dirt across her forehead in the process. She is warm though the sun is veiled behind a layer of white cloud but she has been labouring in these parts of the wood since before noon. She likes it. It is different from riding – another form of exercise entirely – but it wearies her just the same and she has always enjoyed physical exertion.

The men are dragging felled trees into the clearing and it is her task to cut off any branches small enough to be used for kindling, clear them of leaves, and store them to the side. Thicker branches and proper stems will be chopped for firewood and the rest burned come autumn. She looks forward to that: the bonfires blazing and, oddly perhaps, the satisfaction of seeing the result of all their work this summer vanish into ash.

She was hesitant to come but is, in the end, pleased with her decision. She has never run from danger but here in Ithilien, she suspected, she might meet danger of a rather different kind than armed men on horseback: the danger of tearing open wounds that have taken long to heal.

Whenever the memory resurfaces, a burning trail of mortification flames through her chest. Even after all this time.

She had gone to him only weeks after the War was ended. For the first time ever, she had been coy – not deliberately, but the circumstances had brought it out in her – and she had smiled shyly at him. The maids who had been hastily found for her had helped wash her hair and braid it and she had dressed in a fine, pale yellow gown that almost fit her.

He stood under the starlight, gazing down upon the lamplit, half-ruined white city below. The evening was quite cool but she was used to the wild winds of the plains of Rohan and she did not shiver. He had smiled at her approach and she had taken that for a good sign.

‘So,’ she had said, at last, ‘will you not ask?’

At first he only looked at her, as if he could not at all understand. Then, excruciatingly slowly, comprehension had dawned on his face and pity and regret rose to dance in his eyes. It was everything she despised.

‘Dearest Éowyn,” he had said softly, and then she knew that it would never be. ‘I cannot ask you. For it would not be fair on either of us.’

The most painful heat blazed into her cheeks. Humiliation tightened her throat and made her eyes sting with unwanted tears. She had read him wrong – of course she had read him wrong! Just as she had read adoration in Aragorn’s eyes when really it had only been sympathy.

She had stormed from the courtyard, meaning to put as much distance between herself and Faramir as she possibly could, but he came after her. When she blindly turned the first corner, he was only three paces behind, his footfall like the frantic beating of her heart, and he begged her to hear him.

There, between the stone walls of this city that she did not love, he came to face her and she saw that his cheeks were reddened too. As if he felt as embarrassed as she did.

‘I cannot ask for your hand in marriage,’ he had said without preamble. ‘For I love another.’

Time, blessedly, eased the wrenching of pain through her chest. Then to Minas Tirith came the youngest son of the prince of Dol Amroth to join his father in the restoration of the city and the surrounding lands. And his eye was ever upon Éowyn and he wasted little time. Before the moon had turned to full even once since his arrival, he came to her and spoke with her.

She told him almost everything. Perhaps to dissuade him.

But the son of Imrahil had looked long upon her before he nodded. ‘They are honourable men,’ he had said at last, his grey eyes searching her face.

And no competition, she knew.

Just when she thought he would leave it at that, he spoke again:

‘I will not now ask you to marry me, but I will court you, if you will let me, fair lady. And at any time you may tell me if you have seen quite enough of me. Then I shall leave you in peace.’

It was a peculiar way of going about something like that, she had thought. But Éowyn had always had a taste for the unusual.

The day is growing steadily warmer even though the clouds will not let the sun show itself and she thinks she detects a hint of rain on the wind. They still have plenty of work left. Straightening to allow her back a reprieve, Éowyn surveys the men who come and go, ducking under the low-hanging branches and stomping through the wild and tangled undergrowth.

How little she knows of men, she reflects, despite the fact that she has spent all of her life surrounded by them.

When Faramir told her the truth, that starlit night above the rooftops, she had been utterly shocked. Never had she even strayed near such a possibility in her thoughts. That something like that could be. When it, after a while, became public knowledge, she finally opened her mind to Éomer, relieved at last to be able to speak of it openly.

He had laughed at her. ‘Sister!’ he had cried. ‘You must be both blind and deaf if this is the first you have heard of such practices. It is common enough among soldiers and even among the Riders of the Mark.’

She had wanted to ask about that but a more thoughtful look came into his face then and he sobered.

‘It is unusual to hear of a king of such a disposition,’ he said slowly.

And Éowyn saw in her brother’s face the enchantment that seemed to have been laid about them all; how the allure of the Returned King, come out of the misty North and bringing strange, exotic customs with him, had affected Éomer also. Nobody seemed to realise that Faramir appeared to be just like his king in this regard and he was a Gondorian through and through.

It is Aragorn who comes up to her where she is standing among the felled trees and veritable walls of chopped-off branches and quickly decaying leaves. He is wearing a simple leather jerkin, thick breeches and high boots. He has pulled off his gloves and pulled his hair from his face.

“My lady,” he says to her in greeting. “Are you tired?”

Even if she were she would never admit to it. As things stand, she is not.

“No,” she says. She is also speaking with a king and therefore she adds, “Thank you for your concern.”

“We are making decent progress,” he says, lifting his shining eyes from her face to scan the clearing. “Though I fear we are far from done. These woods are wild.”

“It is good work, though,” she allows. “I am glad I came.”

She does not know how that slipped out of her. Maybe because a sea of time separates his rejection of her at Dunharrow, before he rode into the Mountains, and where they stand now, in a well-nigh cloying late summer heat, in fair Ithilien.

Surprise briefly touches his face but then he smiles warmly. “Then I am pleased.”

Once upon a time, she would have given her sword for that smile to mean something more.

Another dark-haired man walks into her line of vision and her thoughts of what will never be with Aragorn are scattered. She does not know that she is frowning before the king reclaims her attention. His smile has turned somewhat mischievous.

“I see that the young prince is eager to prove himself.”

It is so. Imrahil’s son is dragging a slender but tall rowan all by himself and only barely succeeds in avoiding snagging the heavy crown of leaves in the blueberry bushes. His trouble most likely due to the fact that his eyes are on Éowyn.

“He is a good man,” says Aragorn.

Unfortunately, he may be right.

“I think it might rain,” she says, keen to distract them both.

But Aragorn shakes his head. “It will not,” he says. “Not today. Trust me.”

He was a Ranger once. He should know, she supposes.

Faramir appears only half an hour after Aragorn left her to her work. He too is wearing high boots and leather and there is a generous scatter of crushed seeds and leaves on his shoulders and upper arms, and in his hair too.

“I thought I knew these woods,” he says, with a shake of his head. “But there is more here to be done that I could ever have foreseen.”

She offers him a drink from her waterskin and he accepts. She watches him and how the odd daylight seems to snag in his hair and highlight the reddish hue.

“Thank you,” he says, handing her back the skin. He flashes her a regretful, self-conscious smile. “But you should have kept it for yourself. It needs to be refilled now.”

“I will do it,” she says.

“Let me,” he offers.

“No,” she says, firmly now. “I will do it.”

What is it about these men that makes them treat her as though she has not been girt with a sword since she was strong enough to lift one?

The sun is a shimmering light behind the soft layer of white. She has rolled the arms of her kirtle up and rebraided her hair. She is just about to return to the clearing, knife in hand, when he walks up to her.

“My lady,” he says, in a tone she cannot quite place. It lands somewhere between command and concern. It is odd. “Are you done for the day?”

She holds up her knife for him to see, like proof. “I am not.”

He is tall and strong, but young. Only a year or two older than her.

“Well then,” he says, and now she reads a challenge in his clear grey eyes, and there is a cockiness to his smile. “You had best resume your work, my lady. For kindling does not make itself.”

She looks long at the son of Imrahil.

Of course, compared to Aragorn, everyone here is young.

Amrothos is not ugly.

Aragorn finds him examining an old birch. The lowest branches are gnarled and sooty black, here and there covered in a dusty-white moss. They look quite dead.

“If you are going to hold converse with every tree and shrub, this will take forever,” he says.

Faramir turns around. He is dirty and sweaty and the most beautiful sight Aragorn has ever rested his eyes on.

“Perhaps I intend to populate Ithilien with Ents,” says Faramir, raising an eyebrow.

“You will need an elf to achieve that,” Aragorn tells him.

“I could send word to Legolas.”

“You could also kiss me.”

Faramir grins. He takes a couple of steps closer and his eyes sparkle. “If you are come to offer a distraction, I decline. We still have hours’ worth of work left today and I think it might rain.”

“What is all this about rain?” asks Aragorn, spreading his hands. “It will not rain.”

“Perhaps we are afraid that we will not be done with everything by summer’s end. And as for today, we had a late start,” smiles Faramir.

It is true. The curtains had been pulled so tightly shut that it had been possible to pretend that dawn had not yet come while, in truth, it was long past. But Faramir was coming so beautifully, for the second time already that day, and duties be damned. Aragorn likes to think that he is making up for time lost.

The new king of the Reunited Lands had fallen in love with his new steward even before he knew him. That, of course, had been part of the problem. He knew not whether the notion of sleeping with another male was one utterly repulsive to Faramir or perfectly enticing, or even mildly interesting. It had taken almost a year before, on one evening no different than any other, Faramir had stepped up to him and smiled like that.

‘I know,” he had said quietly.

And Aragorn did not ask him what he thought he knew but had kissed him instead.

“I do not suppose I can persuade you to abandon this undertaking and come back to the city?”

The entire sky is now a gleaming white. The day, however, is still pleasant.

Faramir looks up at him. There is dirt streaked across his cheek and his hair, slightly longer now than when Aragorn first met him, has been twisted away from his face into a messy knot in the nape of his neck.

“No,” he says, after a moment.

It is partly Aragorn’s own fault. It was he who made Faramir prince of Ithilien for he had served this land better than well for many long years and so it seemed a good idea at the time. When Aragorn came to understand that this meant that Faramir intended to leave court to dwell there also, he had immediately regretted his decision. That had been before the kiss. After the kiss, Faramir had vowed to essay to divide his time evenly between the city and the wilderness and, to Aragorn’s credit, it was not at the latter’s behest. But Faramir is happy here.

Now, he is smiling. “You could stay, my lord.”

“For a time,” Aragorn allows. “Sooner or later I must return to Minas Tirith.”

Leaning his rake against the smooth grey-green bark of a towering laburnum overrun with its rain of yellow flowers, Faramir comes even closer. His eyes, blue like a summer sky, are on Aragorn only.

“I fear it will be sooner,” he says softly.

“It is always sooner,” says Aragorn and reaches for him, and is not content until Faramir’s mouth is on his and he tastes sweat and bark and dust and sweetness beyond.

It is probably nearing suppertime. Most likely, the rest of the men are assembling just about now, assessing their progress and considering whether that are likely to risk the king’s displeasure if they break off for the day now.

Not that the king cares.

For he is busy elsewhere, running his fingertips, dirt under his neatly trimmed fingernails, over Faramir’s flat belly and pushing the creased, damp linen of his undershirt up, as far as it will go. The king is breathing quite heavily.

Faramir’s eyes are closed. It proved a good thing that he brought his cloak with him for fear of rain for now it makes a decent substitute for a proper bedroll. His head is tilted back. Aragorn has opened his breeches and while the stuffy air does not cool his skin, at least he is not set aflame by the fire that is rising to life where they lie.

Aragorn swallows. This man, he knows, as he lowers his head to join them in another kiss, will keep his heart forever.

Faramir holds his head in place as they kiss, with fingers curled around Aragorn’s neck and lost in his dark hair. He smiles again, lingers with gentle teeth on Aragorn’s lower lip before sucking on it. His other hand is on Aragorn’s back, keeping him there. Keeping him pressed against Faramir himself in case the king might change his mind. Which he never will.

Aragorn has opened his own breeches too and his hard length pounds against Faramir’s hip. He cannot take him here for he has brought no oil or salve (despite what the younger man might think, he did not plan this) and he will not risk hurting Faramir. But that does not mean it cannot be pleasurable.

Indeed, that does not mean he cannot make Faramir arch his back and break the kiss in favour of a groan. Aragorn toys with his length, spreads Faramir’s precome over him and strokes him with every intention of making him gasp and groan again. He bucks his own hips, rubs himself against his lover and covers Faramir’s mouth with his own anew. This kiss is messy. It is entirely without direction. Faramir’s tongue is in his mouth before Aragorn knows he needs for it to be so. He loses his breath, his every thought, and can only sink deeper into the searing heart of the fire.

Faramir’s hand fists in Aragorn’s jerkin. He is shaking, encouraging even firmer strokes of his jerking length. Aragorn rolls on top of him. The thought that someone might find them like this never even threatens to cross his mind. He buries his face in the crook of Faramir’s neck and ruts against him like some wild thing. Some forest entity that has never heard of refinement or decency.

They peak together. As if he had indeed planned, or timed, this. But it is simpler than that for they are in love, and have been for some time, and somehow that is enough.

“We should return to the house,” says Faramir.

He is sated and supple now in Aragorn’s arms. They have wrapped themselves in his cloak and are sitting against an old oak. Scents of grass and bark drift on the evening breeze; the wind seems to be picking up.

“Before we are missed,” he adds.

But he makes no attempt to rise. Instead, he turns his head so that he can press a kiss to Aragorn’s chest. The latter wishes they were naked so that he could feel it sink into his skin.

“Why Ithilien?” Aragorn hears himself asking. In this moment it strikes him as strange that he has never asked before. “You are a steward’s son. How come you bear such love for Ithilien and so little for Minas Tirith?”

“Because it is beautiful here?” suggests Faramir. But then he shifts, twists around so that he can face Aragorn. There is honesty in his blue eyes, and they are piercingly clear. “Because here I know myself,” he says in a quiet voice. “Here is the truth of me.”

Aragorn cups his cheek. They need to bathe and to eat. He needs to invent a new excuse for why he should remain here for another few days. As if the steward needs the king to oversee the building of his house.

“We are but mortal men,” says Aragorn softly. A line torn from history, before Gondolin the Fair was betrayed.

Faramir regards him but there is only peace in his eyes now. “If this is what it is to be a man…” he says.

Aragorn brings him in for a kiss.

Lamps have been lit around the house and the open space which will one day be a tiled courtyard, if everything goes as planned. Dusk is not yet settling but it is late.

Faramir’s hand is in his. They walk slowly.

When they have almost reached the double doors, the first drop lands on Faramir’s shoulder.

It finally rains.


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Forging Old Links Into New (G) Print

By Eschscholzia

17 May 2019 | 4475 words

Title: Forging Old Links Into New
Author: Eschscholzia
Rating: G
Pairing(s): Faramir & Éowyn
Warnings: canon-typical racism

When the Gondorians attempt to resettle the old lands west of the Ered Nimrais after the Ring War, they run into a clash of cultures with the Dunlendings. Faramir is sent to negotiate a compromise with Éowyn’s help. But how does one determine the facts on the land of people without written history? This story placed second in the Teitho Picture Challenge IV 2019.

Faramir studied the drawing in front of him. Round heads on triangular bodies marched across the piece of parchment. They seemed hurried; some were bent over, others swooped like they were flying.

“Tell me about your picture.”

Elboron beamed, his stick of charcoal still clutched in his left hand. “It’s the procession of nobles at the parade.”

Faramir sat back in his chair; now he had a frame of reference. The annual opening of the Council of Thanes had been the week before. As much as Elessar disliked the pageantry, he agreed with Faramir’s suggestion that traditions be kept up. It was important to show that the King respected customs established in his absence to pacify those who were still skeptical in their support of the newly restored monarchy.

“Here’s King Elessar.” Elboron pointed to a scribbled head. “You can see his crown.”

Faramir pointed to the scowling figure at the head of the line. “Is this me?” He already knew the answer; it was his job as Steward to clear a path for the king.

“Yes, Ada.”

Did he really look like that? Did Elboron think he scowled all the time? What was it that Éowyn called it, his “Steward Face?” “It’s a very nice picture,” Faramir declared. “You will make a good scribe someday.”

The mid-morning bell rang in the courtyard. Faramir sighed. Speaking of the Council of Thanes… He stood up. Carefully handing the parchment scrap back to Elboron, he smiled at his son. “I must go to a Council meeting now, even. Why don’t you go see if your mother needs any help?”

Elboron skipped off, humming a children’s tune. Faramir let himself out the entrance, feeling his smile slip into “Steward Face” as he crossed the courtyard to the Council Hall. The scrap of tune stuck in his head, merrily playing over and over again like the crank of a hurdy-gurdy. He shook his head to clear it. He needed to focus on the agenda. But the Rohirric tune that Éowyn taught Elboron was stuck. He smiled to think that he himself had only a child’s understanding of Rohirric yet; the words went with a circle game where children held hands and others tried to break through the line.

Faramir greeted the other Council members who were there already and stood by his seat next to the head of the table. A few more trickled in as he looked over his notes.

“Good morning everyone.”

Faramir’s head snapped up. Elessar stood at the doorway. How did he move so quietly? It upset the seneschal that Elessar eschewed protocol and didn’t like to be announced, except on the most formal occasions. Or perhaps the seneschal was just like everyone else and found it unnerving when the King snuck up on him. Perhaps he could tie a bell around Elessar’s neck like Éowyn’s cat.

Elessar took his seat, and the company sat after him.

“First on the agenda, Old Business,” Faramir read. “Repairs to the ring wall. The Joint Committee of the Dwarven Stoneworkers and the Guild of Masons reports that they have finished sorting the stone that can be reused as facing versus filler. Reconstruction currently focuses on the east side of the Rammas Echor.”

The meeting rolled on, as the Council settled various matters and heard committee reports.

“Moving on to New Business,” Faramir continued. “We have a petition from Lord Traston regarding Dunlending incursions.”

Elessar straightened up at that. “Incursions?”

Lord Traston lifted his chin. All the better to look down his nose, Faramir decided.

Traston leaned forward, earnestly. “In my position as Marchwarden of the Enedwaith, it is my duty to protect the lands of the Gondorian settlers. Lately, the Dunlendings have been crossing the Isen and dismantling fences. They also drive their herds across the fields of the settlers’ farms. We have lost many hundreds of castars’ worth of grain to trampling and grazing.”

Elessar sighed, and rubbed his hand across his face. Faramir’s thoughts echoed Elessar’s face. We have enough troubles on our borders, without troubles within.

“We are grateful for your efforts on our behalf to expand the breadbasket of Gondor, Lord Traston,” Elessar said finally.

Lord Traston simpered.

“I am concerned though,” he continued. Lord Traston pursed his lips. “I thought we had received a promise from the Dunlending Chiefs at the end of the War that they would not cause further troubles.”

“We did.” Lord Traston rolled his eyes. “But what is the word of a Dunlending worth?”

“Has anyone tried talking with them?” Faramir asked.

“They say the land south of the Isen is their hunting grounds, that it belongs to them.” It was one of the barons from the Ered Nimrais fiefs. Subordinate in rank to Traston, he was a quiet fellow who rarely spoke in the Council. Faramir did not know much about him; a third son who unexpectedly inherited as a result of the war.

“Where are their cities?” Lord Traston interrupted. “Where are their land patents? What crops have they sown?” He held up his hands, questioning. “We need the army to enforce order!”

Elessar pursed his lips. “Traston, I understand how upsetting this must be for our settlers, to see their recent hard work come to naught.”

Lord Traston sat back in his chair, wearing the smile of the victor.

“…but I think we must have a further investigation before we commit to pacifying them through force.”

The smile fell off Traston’s face.

“To that end,” Elessar continued, “I will send my Steward, Faramir, with a company of soldiers to investigate the matter. ”

Faramir held his face steady. In his mind he calculated distances. How long would take to reach Adorn and the Greenway? At least the winter was past and the roads were open now.

When the meeting was over, Faramir stood to gather his papers. Elessar reached a hand out.

“Sire?” Faramir asked.

“I have faith in your ability to investigate the Dunlending situation, Faramir. I just wish I could accompany you.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Elessar’s eyes glinted. “You should take your lady wife along. You’ll need a translator.”

Faramir grinned. “Yes, Your Majesty.”

Éowyn was quite surprised to hear that the King was sending them on a working holiday to Rohan. She immediately began packing. Faramir let himself out to start his investigation where he always started: in the Archives. The Under Chief Archivist rushed forward to greet him when he arrived, wringing his hands.

“Prince Faramir! If only you had sent word of your coming, we could have pulled folios for you!” The man looked like he lived in fear of the Chief Archivist finding out Faramir had caught him unprepared, which was entirely possible.

“Peace, Nivrostion.” Faramir gave him his most winning smile, and held his palms up, placating the poor frazzled man. “I did not have time. I am only lately given a task by our King. I need to find out what items you hold about the history of relations between Gondor and the Dunlendings. Particularly, I am interested in treaties or land grants or their land tenure.”

Nivrostion wrung his mouth. “But the Gwathuirim have no system of writing. They won’t have any correspondence or history. They don’t even have bards.”

Faramir nodded. “What can you provide in any case? Do you have any copies of treaties? Land grants?”

“I will send Perfseronel with whatever we have.”

“Thank you, Nivrostion.” Faramir dipped his head in the deference due to a fellow scholar, but not so much as to diminish the precedence of a Steward. He turned and left the anteroom through the familiar arch. His footsteps echoed on the marble in the hallway leading to his favorite carrel. It was tucked one hallway down and half a flight up in the outer wall, with a window whose glass was curved with age but undimmed; perfect for a student who wanted quiet for reading and good light.

He took out a quill and parchment for notetaking from the little box on the desk. He sat drumming his fingers on the table for a few minutes, then stood to browse a nearby shelf. It was an uncustomarily long time before Perfseronel arrived. Faramir’s heart sank as he noticed her hands held only a few bound folios and a scroll. He took the top few from her arms, setting them at his place.

“This is all we could find, My Lord.” She put the remaining books on the table and stepped back. She looked down at the floor, then back up, as if too disappointed to meet his eyes. “There were more papers before… the War.” She paused, and then her words tumbled out. “They are in our catalogues, but they were lost in a ceiling failure during the Siege. Rain damage.”

“I suppose it can’t be helped. Thank you, Perfseronel.”

She placed one hand on her chest, and bowed. The edges of her sleeves were rolled back, but still had not escaped a few ink blots. Faramir smiled to himself. Lost in her work, like him. The Senior Archivist for the Outer Reaches turned and left. Faramir sighed. Let’s see what I can learn.

There wasn’t much to learn. There was one book written by an adventurer who sang the praises of fishing in the floodplains of the Gwathló and camping in the foothills of the Misty Mountains with the Dunlendings. He reported, in somewhat archaic language, that the Gwathuirim were sheep and goat herders who lived in tents, moving with the seasons and the forage. He spoke of their fierce and noble spirit, the joy of never being tied to one place, setting portents from the stars, and the noble character that could be built through suffering the plagues of summer midges in the marshes.

The adventurer also mentioned their gratitude to King Eärnil for freeing them from the tyranny of the Wainriders. “Our whole land is great and rich, but there is no order in it. Come to rule and reign over us,” the adventurer reported the Gwathuirim to have said. Faramir supposed the records written at the time of Eärnil were the ones ruined in the summer rains after the Siege. He copied what he notes he could onto a new parchment, then sanded it and rolled it up to take with him. He stacked the folios neatly in size order for the staff to reshelve later, carefully aligning their edges with the corner of the desk.


Lothíriel was waiting on the steps of Meduseld when they arrived. She offered the cup of welcome to Faramir and Éowyn in turn, with halting Rohirric.

Éowyn smiled. “Well done sister,” she said.

I have been practicing with the tutor,” Lothíriel replied, slowly.

Elboron peaked out shyly from behind Éowyn’s skirts, then smiled when he saw his uncle. Éomer scooped up his sister-son, swinging him around in a circle as Elboron shrieked in delight.

“I must admit, I was surprised to receive your letter announcing your visit and explaining its purpose,” Éomer said to Faramir later during the welcome feast. “We have not had trouble with the Dunlendings since the War.”

“Lord Traston and the other settlers are convinced that the Dunlendings are naught but unruly folk,” Faramir sighed, staring into his cup. He swirled the amber beverage. If only there were mead that excellent in Ithilien. He made a note to ask Éowyn whether their bees needed different fodder.

Éowyn grinned at her brother. “Some say the Rohirrim are an unruly folk.”

“But there is no love lost between them and the Dunlendings,” Éomer replied.

At that moment, the court skald Haramund was announced. He bowed to the head table, and then began his performance. He began by reciting a humorous poem about a dwarf and a runaway sheep that had the hall in stitches. Faramir cursed his limited understanding; Éowyn could only whisper so many of the jokes to him through her tears of laughter.

After finishing to an appreciative audience, the skald’s apprentice Thusnelda stepped forward. She handed the skald his lyre, and produced a bone flute from her pocket. Haramund strummed a chord, then began a plaintive melody in the language of Rohan, accompanied by the apprentice on the refrains. Faramir did not understand much of it; the vowels sounded different from what he was used to. During an instrumental duet between the flute and lyre, Éowyn leaned over.

“You’re not bad at Rohirric. It’s just an ancient form of our language.”

A flush of relief spread through Faramir.

“They’re singing of Eorl and the Fields of Celebrant. This is how we know our history; who needs written books and lonely reading in cells when we can hear it together in such an entertainment for all?

She had a point. Faramir still preferred his solitude, although the cozy glow of the fire cast a warmth across the enthralled company.


Faramir and Éowyn and their party stayed two days at Edoras, and then set forth under the ringing of the hunting horns. The sun was bright and the skies clear as they set their faces into the winds blowing through the gap. Elboron stayed behind for a visit with his cousins. They reached Helm’s Deep with ease, where they were welcomed by Hulda and Erkenbrand.

They only spent one night at Helm’s Deep. Erkenbrand gave them a small detachment of riders as local scouts, to help locate the Dunlending camps. After leaving the fortress, a two-day’s journey brought them to the Fords of Isen. Faramir stood back while Éowyn knelt at the foot of the cairn marking where Théodred fell. Finally, she stood, somewhat unevenly. She wiped her eyes on the shoulder of her blouse, and returned to the group. Faramir gently squeezed her arm, and she smiled at him. They remounted and continued on.

The travelers hugged the north side of the road. Or rather, the path that was once the North Road had faded out, and disappeared into the grass and rocks of the Gap. Faramir found himself wondering what his brother had felt during the journey. Did he water his horse at the Fords? Did he hear the whistling sound through the Gap that sounded like so many indistinct voices, whispering, calling? Did he think that peak looked like a cone of sugar from the kitchens that they used to steal nips from as boys?

They broke for lunch under the shelter of a high rock cliff that extended outwards from the mountain. The cliff face was pecked with all sorts of drawings. Did Boromir see these drawings? Faramir brought out his notebook and a pencil from his saddlebag to sketch them. There was a procession of long ghostly figures, some of whom held swords, while others were shooting bows and arrows. Other portions of the display were mountain sheep and large cats, horned animals that might be elk or deer. There were clouds with raindrops falling. Through the middle of it all, a line zigged and zagged from top to bottom.

Éowyn approached as he worked on his sketch. “What do you suppose this means?” he mused to her. “It seems like something Elboron might draw.”

She leaned her head against his shoulder, contemplating it for a few moments. “I don’t know. I am sure the Dunlendings drew it. There are carvings all throughout the hills, if you know where to look.”

They set up a temporary camp on the northwest side of the Gap, in the plains halfway between the new settlements of Lord Traston’s people and where they supposed the Dunlendings were to be found. Their campsite was at the brink of the mountains’ toes as they sloped to the marshes. Erkenbrand’s scouts rode out with Faramir’s translator Amardil, looking for the camp.

Finally Amardil returned. “We have found their principal camp. The village elders will meet with you tomorrow.”

Faramir nodded. He supposed this was a waiting game as well as a fact-finding mission. “Éowyn, would you be willing to accompany Amardil and I? You are observant; I trust what your eyes and ears find out while we parley.”

The next morning Amardil led Faramir Éowyn with two of the Rohir scouts and two Gondorian soldiers up a deer track. They came to a flat place next to a stream and the shade of trees. Large tents stood a ways into the trees, with curls of smoke rising from cooking fires in the open places.

Amardil held his hand up. “This is where we dismount.”

Faramir, Éowyn, and Amardil approached the rest of the way on foot. The soldiers waited with the horses. Dogs barked as they approached the cluster of tents. Women openly stared at the party as they cooked over fires in pits dug in the ground. A woman whose shoulders were wrapped in a blue scarf with bells at the edges approached them. Her attitude was wary; Faramir was certain she would not hesitate to use her staff to roundly rout them at the earliest sign of trouble. She spoke tersely; Amardil replied in her language.

She seemed satisfied, and the three were ushered into the largest tent. There were no chairs; Amardil whispered they should take their seats on the ground. Faramir sank into a pile of cushions and rugs, all made of wool woven in ornate geometric patterns. The air smelled of smoke and lanolin. A group of five elders sat opposite them, three men and two women. In the center was one whom Faramir hoped was the leader; he seemed to have a fancier scarf than the others. Their faces were ruddy and windblown, evidence of a life outdoors. He idly wondered if what they could teach him about life under the stars to surprise his rangers.

One of the women called out in their language, and a young man came in bearing a tray. They were served mugs of fresh sheep’s milk. Creamy-thick, it tasted like sweetness and green grass. They sat for a long time, contemplating each other.

Finally the elder with the red scarf spoke. Amardil translated for him. “Why have you come to see us?

“The farmers have complained that you are dismantling their fences, and that your animals graze on their corn, and trample what is left.” Faramir held out his hands in friendly supplication.

A woman with a brown scarf draped on her shoulders spoke. “We measure our boundaries by the mountains, and the streams. The fences prevent us from reaching our pastures.”

“The Marchwarden of this region is threatening to send soldiers to prevent you from moving.”

Do you bring war with you?

Faramir gestured to Éowyn, next to him. “I bring my wife with me. Would a Gondorian bring his family to battle?” The pillows lurched precariously; he was rather sure that Éowyn had just stifled a laugh.

The lands were given to us fifty generations ago, by your King Eärnil. The hill country is ours, and our summer pastures. The white wizard in the high tower affirmed his promise; what can you promise us?”

Faramir counted to ten in his mind, trying to think of a diplomatic answer. “My king has sent me to find a solution. The farmers and their lords have pieces of paper that they believe give them title to the land.”

Red Scarf held out a curious sash of string tied at his waist with cascades of other strings tied to it, knotted in places. “But we don’t need writing. We have our rock art, and our knot records. The agreement is recorded at the wall in the Saddle of the Mountains.”

Faramir picked up his knapsack. Drawing out the notebook, he flipped through pages of neat Tengwar until he found the sketch of the rock where they had eaten their noonday meal.

“Is this it? Tell me about the drawing,” Faramir requested.

The women leaned forward; the fringe of the brown scarf brushed his arm. She pointed to the battle scene. “That commemorates the battle of the chariots, many generations ago, as we told you. When the chariots came, we Hill People stood with the People of the Marsh and the Strawheads against them. The line represents the boundary of the Angren. We have lived for all these years in harmony with the People of the Marsh. The Strawheads, they do not respect us, but…” Brown Scarf’s voice trailed off as she shrugged.

The People of the Marsh moved away, but now the new people living at the Marsh do not respect the old understandings,” added the woman wearing the blue scarf. The bells on her fringe tinkled as she, dismissed the Gondorian settlers, too, with a wave of her hand.

Faramir blinked and counted to ten in his mind. What more could he say? “Thank you for your time,” he finally managed. “We will try to work out some common ground.”

He stood from the cushions, a bit unsteadily. His foot had gone to sleep and was now stabbing with pins and needles. Éowyn held out her arm; he was grateful for her support. As they left, the young man who had brought them the refreshments earlier handed Éowyn a bundle wrapped in plane tree leaves. She accepted it with a bow and a smile that only Faramir knew was forced. When they returned to their camp, they discovered it was a log of fresh goat cheese.


In the solitude of his tent, Faramir put his head in his hands. How was he going to solve this? His intuition said that the Dunlendings spoke the truth. But how could he prove it in a way that would conclusively settle the matter with Lord Traston? He traced a circle in the fabric of the table covering. Elboron’s circle song popped into his head as his finger went round and round.

Faramir’s finger stopped. “Éowyn!”

She poked her head through the tent door. She held a bunch of herbs she had gathered for drying to take home.

“The song!”

She pursed her lips. “My love?”

“The song you taught Elboron. What’s it about?”

Her shoulders relaxed. She seemed less concerned at his sudden whim. “When we were little they said it was about the War of the Wainriders. But you never know where children’s songs come from.”

Faramir’s face stretched with a grin. “I have an idea. I’m going to need to send some of the scouts back to Edoras to borrow a bard.”

She rolled her eyes, but ducked back out to summon the scouts. In the end, three of Erkenbrand’s scouts were sent on the fastest horses with a letter for Lothíriel. Faramir announced the court session for ten days hence. He spent the time visiting the settlers, talking to them about their needs on the frontier and encouraging them that they were not forgotten by Minas Tirith. As he went, he sketched plats in his notebook of farms and roads, seeking passages between holdings that would allow the herds to pass.

The court session went just like any other court day session Faramir had held as Steward. That is, apart from being held in the far reaches of the Enedwaith, many days from the White City or Ithilien. The Dunlending elders were given a bench along the wall with the other claimants. Faramir carefully put Lord Traston on his left, on the other side of the room from the Dunlending representatives. After a few smaller cases, the last and most important matter of the land claims was left.

“Please bring forward my witness, Haramund, Éomers-skald,” Faramir instructed. The crowd parted to admit Haramund, followed by his apprentice Thusnelda.

The elder with the red scarf started. “What is the Strawhead doing here?” His eyes narrowed to scowling slits.

Faramir placed himself between them. “Peace, my friend. You will see.” Did he do the right thing to send for the skald? He had to hope. He turned to his wife, seated in her place of honor at his right hand.

“Éowyn, would you please sing the play-song for your brother’s skald?”

“Certainly, my lord,” she said with a smile. In a melodious alto, she began:

Dunlending and a Dunedan

A Rohir and a Dale Man

Wagons North

Wagons South

The circle holds!

Thusnelda hid her smile behind her hand. The skald smiled as well.

“Éowyn, could you please ask the skald if he is familiar with that song?” Faramir hoped this gambit played out.

Yes, my lord,” was the bard’s reply.

“And what is the song about?”

The founding of the Éothéod, sir. That is a small fragment of the larger song.

Faramir pressed onward. “There are more verses? But I only know that part.”

Éowyn’s eyebrows raised to her hairline. “I didn’t know that, either,” she mouthed.

“Does any of it involve the Dunlendings?” Faramir asked Haramund.

Certainly, my lord. They speak of the double envelopment at the final battle, and the heroic efforts of the allies.”

“Please favor us with that verse.”

Haramund strummed his lyre for a chord to place his key, and then proclaimed a new set of lines to a tune with which Faramir was familiar.

The skald paused as the last notes died away. His eyebrows were raised questioning. “Is that enough, my lord?

“Does any of it record promises made between the allies afterward?”

Yes,” Haramund said. “It concerns territory and plunder.”

“Can you sing that verse for us?”

Thusnelda took the turn this time, with a nod from her teacher. The melody chanted a list of rivers and mountains, from the marshes of Tharbad to the hills of the Misty Mountains.

Faramir brought out the drawings of the cliff; he asked Amardil to show it to them. “And this,” Faramir asked, ”does this agree with what she just said?”

The elders all agreed.

Faramir returned to his chair. “Then by the authority granted to me by Elessar, King of Gondor and Arnor, I make this decree.” He smirked a little when he thought of how Arnor finally existed again, here in the marshes. “Since the claim of the Dunlendings is supported by the Rohir, and since the Rohir have no benefit from the claim, and in fact, are frequently at odds with each other, we find that the Dunlendings are speaking the truth.”

Traston spluttered next to him while Amardil translated for the elders.

“On the other hand, we also find that the Dunlendings have created havoc by dismantling the rail fences. We enjoin them to stay to the roads, and we enjoin our settlers to not duly impede them on their seasonal transits.”

The elders whispered amongst themselves. “We can abide by this,” the one in the red scarf announced.

Faramir felt the weight of fifty generations on his shoulders; he hoped this settlement would hold as long as possible. It would take patience and understanding by all.

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1 Comment(s)

what a delight to see this here…congrats

— sian22    Thursday 23 May 2019, 16:04    #

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Sweet Disbelief (NC-17) Print

By December

01 February 2019 | 3522 words

Title: Sweet Disbelief
Author: December
With: Aragorn
Rating: NC-17

When the King Elessar first kissed him, Steward Faramir was quite certain it was by mistake.

Even as Aragorn held him close and tight, his mouth gliding hungry-sweet against Faramir’s, it all seemed somehow improbable.

That they were alone in the royal rooms on the cusp of nightfall was immaterial, a random coincidence, naught more.

His body was swift to respond with long-restrained zeal, and he had been embarrassed and wished to hide it, for his lord could not possibly mean to go that far.

Following a rushed, dizzying blur of hands, lips, caresses everywhere, he found himself on all fours on the edge of the bed, naked as if he had just come into this world. Aragorn fucking him fast and deep from behind, as though it was the most natural thing on earth. Which it had indeed felt like, such breathless, easy pleasure, the king’s hands so firm and warm on his hips.

It had been surreal and yet made perfect sense, just as it had made perfect sense to be awoken all those nights ago from his fevered death-dreams and gaze up into the eyes of his healer, and love him on the spot. But this could not be.

Unlike most secret things, which Faramir learned from the pages of forgotten books or the quiet talks with Mithrandir, the concept of carnal congress between men had been introduced through the banter of his brother’s soldiers. Lewd jokes and half-hearted threats, never said in full seriousness, much like the drunken promises to strangle someone with their own intestines. This was one of those things that are technically possible but no one would think to actually do. Nevertheless, Boromir would swear and clap the culprit on the back of the head for putting evil notions into a young lad’s mind.

When Faramir became captain, all talk of such obscenities in his presence disappeared altogether. The last he ever heard of it was father making a passing comment some years ago, on one of his fouler days, as to how in the company of Northern men one ought to worry less about the honour of one’s wife and more about the safety of one’s own arse.

In the king’s bed, he forgot to worry about anything at all.

As always, Lord Aragorn knew what to do. Not only that – with an astounding absence of inhibition, he seemed unafraid to show the extent of either his desire or his delight. When Faramir glanced back over his shoulder, written in the king’s face was the purest rapture he ever did see.

To know the pleasure his liege found in his body was a miraculous gift. So little effort it cost him, and the returns were so great. He did not hold back, letting himself make as much noise as he would, to leave no doubt for the king as to the excellence of his loving.

“Oh, Faramir, I am so close,” Aragorn had panted. And slowed himself right down, and reached down and around to grip Faramir’s throbbing manhood, and fisted him with expert skill and frantic determination.

Until Faramir’s thighs were trembling, and he was crying out in warning. Then Aragorn once more drove into him, with renewed urgency, and again, and again. Till he had no control over anything anymore, and sobbed his ecstasy, and felt himself pour hot over Aragorn’s fingers, and Aragorn in turn slam into him and groan with the great relief of long-awaited completion.

Afterwards, they lay still. With Aragorn hugging him snugly from behind, the king’s sleeping breath close on the back of Faramir’s neck, bewilderment rose up in him like a desert storm.

The scent surrounding them was incredible. Musky, hypnotic, and like the home he had never known he had.

Over his shin, the older man’s ankle was hooked as though in silent claim of kinship. Against the back of his thighs pressed the front of Aragorn’s, so lean and hard with solid muscle.

Without waking, Aragorn sighed contentedly and pulled Faramir closer still.

A shimmer of peaceful bliss tried, tentatively, to unfold in his chest. A bright future ahead, a cloudless sky ready to welcome the rise of a new day.

Faramir squeezed his eyes shut.

Quietly the Steward eased himself out from under the King’s heavy arm, gathered his clothes from the floor, and saw himself out.

He had noticed no pain in the high of the moment, but walking stirred up a raw, low-burning soreness. Halfway back to his quarters, he felt something warm and wet, but there was no way to tell whether it was sweat, blood, seed, or the oily ointment Aragorn had used to ease the way.

As his disobeying fingers battled with the lock, Faramir thanked the Valar they had decided against keeping guards at the doors of private rooms. He did not know what he would do if someone had to see him like this, and at this hour, too.

He had never quite outgrown the austere ways of his upbringing, for a lord born into a time of war could not afford to go soft with luxury, and his quarters were cold.

Without undressing, without undoing the bed, Faramir lay on the fur-trimmed blanket and flipped the loose edge over himself.

He stared at the wall, grasping for the familiar landmarks of his inner world. He would find his way back, and come morning it would all return to normality, somehow.

But the fresh memory of Aragorn’s mouth shoved everything out of the way and sat square atop his senses. Who could have possibly foreseen that this stern, weather-worn man could kiss like this?

As though he called Faramir’s very spirit forth from his body, and made it dance in the breath of a space between their lips – made it glide to the tip of the tongue and fall from an impossible height to once again plunge into the all-encompassing ocean of his passion.

To be kissed like this was alone enough to show him everything, give him everything, be his forever.

Faramir exhaled heavily. It would be reassuring to find contrition, but the deeper he dug, the sweeter his transgression tasted, and already his body was longing, and he yearned to once again be in the royal bed, to feel those all-knowing hands on his skin.

To work that look of blessed relief into the king’s features, be so close to him, feel him melt, drown in him.

It would never happen again. Of course not. It could not. That it had happened in the first place already defied comprehension. How will he live with this hunger now that it has been awoken into existence?

The way he loved his king, to be perfectly honest, had never been quite right.

Ever there ran a strange undercurrent, ever a flame flickered where there should have been nothing to feed it. The devotion of a vassal to his liege was meant to be a thing simple and straightforward, like the wide highway in broad daylight. He, instead, had wandered onto an untrodden path through the enchanted woods, full of wonders and shadow alike. Beautiful eerie melodies whispering out of nowhere, faerie lights twinkling just out of sight – and it was his guilty little secret that he actually preferred it that way.

In the littlest things he would find hidden meanings. Sitting in Aragorn’s drawing room, playing chess for hours, well past nightfall – was that not, in its own way, a most intimate thing? Aragorn bending over the board with the look of utmost concentration on his lean face, humming to himself, glancing up at Faramir every now and again to try and read his plan. Faramir fighting to keep a straight face, for he could see the mischievous mirth dancing in his lord’s eyes, and it made him so inexplicably happy he wanted to laugh out loud.

Or escaping deep into the forests over the River with him, pretending to be rangers again. Long ago Boromir had had a hunting hut built in the foothills for the two of them, and Faramir liked to think his brother would have been glad for its new lease on life. The misty evenings, with just enough promise of upcoming autumn to make it so toasty to huddle into their cloaks, were filled with the smoke of Aragorn’s pipe-weed, and scents of wild herbs he took the chance to collect, and the stories of his travels which seemed to evolve with every retelling. When Faramir felt irreverent enough to point this out, Aragorn would only nudge him in the ribs and take another pull on his pipe.

Then there was the unspoken glory of those more sombre moments. Sunrises were early in summer, and Aragorn would come to the Court of the Fountain, high above the still sleeping city, to keep a silent vigil over the East. Waiting for the blazing disc to make its climb over the blushing mountains. And he would have it that Faramir stood beside him in that stark, crisp hour, gazing upon that place where once lay only death and despair.

When the day was done, sometimes they would return to watch the Valar paint the western skies with colours of wildfire as the silence of rest settled upon the land. Their eyes would meet, and Faramir would see the hope in his King’s heart, and happy pride, and unbending determination. But also the glint of deep-rooted apprehension. It was a great task that stood before them, and to restore the splendour of Gondor was impossible without reflecting on the majesty of the Númenor that had been, and that in turn was inseparable from the heartbreak and disgrace of its fall. He had rejoiced and marvelled that his mere presence seemed to hearten his liege.

They could do none of that anymore, not after this.

The softest, most unassuming sound stirred him out of the reverie.

Only his overwrought nerves, what else, but his feet were already carrying him to the door.

If there had yet remained a sliver of hope that he had imagined it all, to see Lord Aragorn again, and on his doorstep of all places, sealed everything with instant finality. To look into the king’s grey eyes was a lightning exploding within his stomach, and he knew he had failed to rule his features in that moment.

Before he could open his mouth, Aragorn raised his hand.

“Faramir, if you do not wish me here, one word, and I’ll be gone.”

“You Majesty, you are always wel-”

Aragorn winced at the formal address.

“Please. I am not here as your king.”

Faramir pursed his lips and nodded, as if he could just go and switch out of seeing his king as king.

“Of course. Would you like to come in?”

“I’d be loath to impose…” Aragorn glanced both ways down the corridor, clearly equally loath to be indiscreet.

“Please,” Faramir stepped aside and opened the door wider for him.

Aragorn drew his thick robe tight around himself as he stepped inside. It seemed he wanted to comment on the chill, but thought the better of it.

“My lord, what can I-”

“No, no, you need not do anything for me. I… I honestly don’t know where to…”

“I am sorry.”

Aragorn looked at him with – defeat? reproach? Suddenly it was so hard to read him, so hard to think.

“What are you sorry for, Faramir?” he asked quietly.

That was not really what the king wanted to know. Rather why Faramir thought he had anything to be sorry for at all – and what it would take for him to not be. Questions the answers to which the steward himself would have liked to find.

“My lord, you have come to see me – you had wanted to tell me something?”

He motioned for them to walk further inside, to not have Aragorn stand by the threshold like an unwelcome guest. The king hesitated, visibly doubting that this invitation would still hold once he had spoken his mind.

“Well alright, there is no way around it, I suppose. Faramir, I had dreamed for so long of making love with you, and then… It all happened so fast, and you seemed so eager, and I was so happy, and so I never stopped to make certain… Then I woke up – and you were gone. So I realised that perhaps I have done you a grave insult. Please, Faramir, do tell me if it – if any of it… Oh, Valar! Faramir, did you yield to me out of fealty?”

He never had thought his king could look so flustered, so vulnerable, and his heart went soft like butter in an oven. An urge panged him to take Aragorn by the hand. But the extraordinary intimacy that had passed between them so suddenly and so recently made it impossible to move. Faramir glanced down at Aragorn’s hands, and remembered the magic of their touch on him. Remembered himself taking those fingers into his mouth, then those fingers on his engorged cock, between his bare buttocks, working their way in. He felt himself go red in the face. He wished to speak at ease and freely, but it would not come.

“My lord, you have done me no insult,” he managed to say.

Aragorn watched him expectantly. “But…?”

“But… I am yet to make sense of what happened between us. Although I do think that fealty did help, if only in that if it were anyone else, I would have pushed him away before I had the chance to know if indeed I should. And I, too, have dreamt for a long time – I am not quite sure of what exactly, for I never had allowed myself to go into the detail.”

“I see,” Aragorn said carefully. “Well, do you wish me to leave you now?”

Faramir closed his eyes. If only he could will his face to relax, to make the stiffness drain away.

“That I do not. But I am afraid I have little to offer, and my rooms are cold.”

“Well,” Aragorn smiled, “perhaps that, something can be done about. Have you any wine?”

He did, and out of somewhere Aragorn found spices, and already the hearth in Faramir’s bedroom was alight, and a cozy little cauldron hung over the flames.

He stood over the simmering wine, giving it the occasional stir, when Aragorn came up from behind.

“How is it coming along?” he asked, leaning to look over Faramir’s shoulder. And as though it were the most natural thing, he also placed his palm lightly on Faramir’s waist.

Faramir inhaled, wondering if such a small touch should muddle his thoughts this much.

Why would Aragorn want him? Not that there was anything particularly wrong with him – but surely the High Lord of All Gondor could pick better? There was no shortage of noble maidens around, many of whom would be happy to die for the honour. And if the king indeed wished for a man, that too could be found in a package younger and fairer than Faramir, unmarred by war and sorrow. While if youth were not particularly important to Aragorn, then likewise he could get a more seasoned lover, better versed in pleasing a discerning lord.

Aragorn must have shifted closer to him, for somehow Faramir was leaning his back against his front. The king placed his other hand over his steward’s forehead, as though to calm a fever.

“There is so much on your mind,” he murmured.

“I am sorry,” Faramir said again, and again unsure for what. “It must be… I just, I do not understand.”

It was hard to breathe, but in a very good way. The aroma of the spiced wine was heady and rich, like a syrup of magic spilled through the air. He could not remember the last time it was so hot in his rooms.

“What would help you understand, do you think?”

He could not tell where his lord’s voice was coming from. Against his hair, ear, neck?

It seemed that the older man beckoned him to, but it was equally possible that he himself turned around – so slowly, like through an afternoon daydream.

Aragorn was so beautiful, his bright eyes so kind, so wise.

Aragorn smiled at him, raised his hand, tucked a strand of Faramir’s hair behind his ear.

Before Faramir knew it, he was kissing his king deep on the mouth, demanding, aggressive. He had not known he had it in himself to kiss like this, to want like this. He tried to at once push the older man backwards towards the bed, and keep him close, which seemed the easiest to do by gathering fistfuls of his velvety robe.

Aragorn seemed pleased and unsurprised, as he allowed himself to be felled onto the mattress, and pulled his younger lover down with him.

He felt his own stubble scratchy against Aragorn’s face. Aragorn’s long fingers exploring the lines of his shoulders, kneading appreciatively the curve of his biceps.

Aragorn did not rush this time, but neither did it take him too long to indicate the exact target of his interest.

The touch of his hand through Faramir’s breeches, feeling for the shape of the younger man’s erection through the fabric, was surreally familiar. Faramir had never expected to be caressed here by a hand as large and strong as his own, but again, somehow it made sense.

He could not believe how normal it felt, to be breathing each other’s breath, touching his tongue to Aragorn’s. It seemed his body knew before he did, and he found himself rolling aside and making room exactly when Aragorn made to crawl further onto the bed, to lie down properly alongside him.

He had lost a shoe somewhere along the way, and Aragorn jolted as Faramir’s foot touched him on the shin.

“You are still so cold!”

Faramir made to apologise, yet again, but Aragorn placed his fingers over the man’s lips. The king’s eyes were full of merriment, of warmth, of the knowledge that there was no need to hurry. “Shall we get some of that wine into you?”

Aragorn’s robe had come all but undone, and when he stood up he let it slide off. It turned out he had nothing on underneath save for his breeches, which too left little to the imagination.

The lines of his back, his long legs, his arse, were perfect. He seemed to sense Faramir’s eyes on him and half-turned his head, enough for Faramir to see him grin.

His king, half-naked and fully aroused, was in his bedroom in the middle of the night, pouring him hot wine while orange glints of the fire-light danced on Aragorn’s skin and in his hair with its royal dusting of silver. How in the world could this be.

His chest was heaving, bursting with the sweetest hunger, but there were still so many questions.

As Aragorn, smiling, perched on the edge of the bed and cast an admiring glance down Faramir’s frame as he handed him the goblet, Faramir frowned.

“My king, do you prefer men?”

Aragorn raised his brows, as though he had expected all of Faramir’s obvious bewilderment to express itself into something more complex than just that.

“I don’t think we should call it that, my Steward. Although we certainly can if you so wish, as I absolutely do prefer you – and you are, or course, among many other things, a man. But this heart of mine is a wild thing, and heeds no law written by the Edain, or for the Edain. Whether a mortal, or a deathless Elf, a maiden or man – it will love whom it will, and not much I can do about that.”

Faramir considered this. Although in a way his heart was glad, yet more questions were invited by this answer.

“Then, my lord,” he said seriously, “if you could love a maiden just as well, would that not be better? You could not beget an heir with me, and is it my place to rob you of that joy?”

A strange sadness touched Aragorn’s eyes, like the memory of a distant frost from a winter long ago. He took the cup back from Faramir and finished the wine. “You are not robbing me of anything that was not already lost, my most thoughtful friend. And of course you are right, that is not how one gets heirs – but life is long, we will think of something.”

Faramir knew then that he wanted to kiss the taste of the wine from his king’s lips. Wanted to kiss him till he forgot all the sadness in the world. Till he gasped and moaned in Faramir’s arms, and knew nothing but wild joy.

Maybe tomorrow he would indeed wake up to see this impossible dream had never been – but so long as he held Aragorn, and Aragorn held him, it did not matter.

The End.

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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2 Comment(s)

Somewhere in the middle of the story, tears started to run upon my face. I’ve been reading a lot of books, and sories sofar, but you write the most beautiful way, use beautiful pictures and words to discribe love. I’m thankful to you to play with Tolkien’s characters, and make me cry, or laugh from time to time. Thank you very much.

— Liza    Saturday 2 February 2019, 12:41    #

Thank you so much, Liza, what a beautiful thing to say!

— December    Sunday 3 February 2019, 10:10    #

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In Shadow (G) Print

By Geale

12 January 2019 | 5279 words

Pairing: Aragorn/Faramir
Rating: K
Warnings: very mild slash (nearly all of it implied), something of an ambiguous ending because the war has yet to be won.
Disclaimer: Middle-earth and all its inhabitants belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.
A/N: In order to make the timeline “work” I had to speed up Aragorn’s journey somewhat and push Faramir’s meeting with Frodo and Sam back a couple of days. In the books, Frodo leaves Henneth Annûn (and Faramir) on March 8, the same day that Aragorn takes the Paths of the Dead and reaches Erech.

In this story, Frodo leaves Henneth Annûn on March 6 and Aragorn & Co. venture into Ithilien (because reasons) on March 7. That leaves us with time enough for the events in this story to unfold before Faramir leaves Ithilien for Minas Tirith and the disappointment of Denethor on March 9 and Aragorn rides towards Pelargir on March 12.

Furthermore, as you should know by now, I find the copper-haired movie version of Faramir more interesting since we already have plenty of dark-haired, grey-eyed males in the story. My Aragorn is always less… passionate, shall we say, about his own heritage than he is in the books.

Finally, needless to say, I’ve taken some liberties in general.

If you survived that tidal wave of information and are still holding on to your surf board, please read on. I hope you enjoy the story.

In Shadow

I take no credit for the wholly unanticipated affection that appears to have blossomed between them in these last trembling days of this War of the ages. My role was but a small one and it has yet to be determined where this touching of hearts will lead them. Also, to further myself from the issue at hand, I will boldly state that these types of unions in such a time as the one we see now is complicated. We, simply put, cannot afford to be side-tracked.

Still, the Gods know I wish Aragorn every happiness and with the young Captain of Gondor I have no quarrel. I am thankful, even, for the respite and the small space of healing which he and his Rangers granted us in these dark times. If that had been all, I would make no more of this than I did of our time in Edoras, among the horse people. But this time around, the way in which Aragorn’s heart has been lifted is different and though I see how that very same heart benefited from our brief stay in Ithilien, I remain concerned. For as long as Sauron reigns in the East we live in shadow, and what a dense and suffocating shadow that is.

The Dead followed.

Aragorn had risen with the dawn – if indeed a dawn it could be called. It was a thin and dreary light that sifted through the lingering shadows of night, and even I shivered as I came to stand by Gimli. The Dwarf’s beady eyes were fastened upon Aragorn as he exchanged a word with Halbarad, and then with the brethren of Imladris, and there was no need to point out that he looked weary. Just as the shadows lay thick across the old withered grass of yesteryear, they lay across his face and hooded his eyes. I swallowed, then, for Aragorn was our core, the flame that kept the determination of the Grey Company burning.

We were to ride for Pelargir, as swift as a bird flew, but even ere we had set out that day it was apparent to me that Aragorn’s strength was waning. It was upon his shoulders that responsibility rested: a heavy duty and an even heavier fate. It was he who was singled out to face the enemy and set against it his light and the ancient power of his own blood. Perhaps, if the day had dawned bright and warm, and if we had been alone he would have fared better, but as we mounted the horses the fear that lay around us trembled, and the Dead rose, too, to follow.

I do not know who made the decision. Perhaps it was Elladan or Elrohir, who out of concern for their foster-brother, concluded that something had to be done. For as Aragorn rode as King of the Dead it chased the life out of him and he seemed to transform before our very eyes: the colour drained from his cheeks and his eyes shone no longer. When one more day had passed and we rode into Lebennin and the mountains pressed in on us from the north, we should have turned further south, but instead here we halted and a debate sprung up.

It was Halbarad who stepped forth, uneven gravel crunching underfoot, and spoke: “I shall lead the Shadow Host toward Pelargir in your stead, and there you shall join us when you are rested.”

It was not to Aragorn’s liking to be informed that he for a short time needed to turn his thoughts from his mission and gather his strength. But as he spoke against this, he stood weak and wearied leaning into a boulder, and this gave the others reason enough to press the issue further.

“The Dead will not follow you,” he tried, with more sorrow, perhaps, than conviction. “It is I who summoned them and it is unto me they have made their vow.”

A chill, capricious wind wound around us and lifted his own dark hair away from Aragorn’s face to better reveal the shadows there.

Then Halbarad smiled, though it was a pale smile that never touched his eyes. “I, too, am of the Dúnedain, and there is strength in my blood. If you, kinsman, order them to heed my call, it shall be so.”

For my part, I could form no useful words. It tore at me to see Aragorn so exhausted but I knew him well and would not willingly challenge him. I had hoped that he would find comfort in the presence of his foster-brothers, much as I myself had, but their light seemed not to reach him; my own heart had lifted at the reunion with the two Elves, but Aragorn appeared unaffected.

In the end, we mounted up again with nothing settled but as Aragorn slumped in his saddle, Elladan and Elrohir exchanged glances with Halbarad and carefully guided our company and the Dead eastwards, close to the roots of the mountains.

I cannot say exactly when I understood their plan but I knew I was grateful when the treeline came into view. The light was a dull grey and no sunlight was breaking through the clouds above. There lay about us a stale smell and I felt dirty, as though I had not washed in several days. Which, if I counted back, was also probably true. We still rode at a great speed, but Halbarad was in the lead now with Aragorn several feet behind him.

“There,” said Elladan, as he rode up beside me and Gimli. “The crossings of Erui. It will take us across Anduin and into fairer lands.”

I shot him a look he read with ease.

“You must see that this is necessary, Legolas,” he told me, his dark hair snapping in the cold wind. “I know not what awaits us in Ithilien but there is peace there still, and Aragorn’s soul is crushed under the weight of his bond with the Oathbreakers.”

I licked my lips. “I will follow him.”

“As will I, and Elrohir. Halbarad will raise the black standard and ride in Aragorn’s place.”

“Aragorn will not like it,” I warned Elladan.

“No,” he agreed, and briefly a smile broke the firm line of his lips. “And yet he will be grateful ere long.”

And so it was that Halbarad bent the purpose of the Shadow Host to his will and we parted ways for a short while. As they turned south and we set out for the promised sanctuary of Ithilien, I felt the iron grip on my lungs lessen and breathing came easier. But when I turned to look at Aragorn I could spy no change in him, and it twisted my heart painfully.

They found us at sundown. Men, hooded and masked, in well-worn gear of green and brown suddenly surrounded us and their weapons glimmered in the last remnants of the modest daylight.

“Halt!” they called, and demanded of us our names and purpose. Suspicious they were, with bright eyes as sharp as the tips of their spears.

Elladan, making no effort to reach for his own sword, slid from his horse. “I am Elladan son of Elrond, Lord of Imladris, and this is my brother.” He indicated Elrohir beside him. “Here also is Legolas of Mirkwood and Gimli of the Dwarves… and Aragorn son of Arathorn, Isildur’s heir.”

This caused a murmur to erupt among the Men and Elladan swiftly took advantage of their surprise and pressed on: “We have been chasing the enemy and known much fear and dread. We ask to enter your realm and find what healing we may here before we once again turn to our task.”

They would have preferred to debate this, that much I guessed from their restless mutterings, but the daylight was quickly dwindling and the shadows of the trees grew longer and longer. I exchanged a look with Elrohir and then I looked to Aragorn but he sat as if asleep in his saddle.

As though my concern for him had caught the attention of the Men, one of them stepped forward and nodded at him. “Isildur’s heir?” His voice was gruff, entirely without melody.

“Aye,” said Elladan, “but he has been beset by darkness and needs light to lift the veil from his soul.”

This made them doubt. Once again, I held my tongue, torn as I was between paths and options. So much had we been through this past year that a ride with the Dead could have been but another peculiar experience and yet this was what had finally beaten Aragorn. I did not want it. I wanted for him to stand tall and strong and proud, not succumb to the darkness.

The Man who had spoken turned on his heel abruptly. “You will follow us,” he said, even as he began walking. “Our Captain will know what to do with you.” Then he shot a hard look over his shoulder and his eyes gleamed of grey. “It will be a long journey through the night.”

He had spoken truthfully. A bleak light through the trees heralded a dawn that brought little comfort. We had shifted Aragorn to sit in front of Elrohir and Roheryn was tied to my own horse. The Rangers of Ithilien, for this we had understood they were, had led us unfailingly through the land, guided us so close to the mountains that we sensed their jagged edges in the dark and then again into deeper grass and denser woods. At the first touch of light to the horizon we finally came to a halt near an immense tumble of moss-covered rocks and tall fir-trees and heavily leafed elms and oaks.

It was here that we dismounted and here that I first saw him.

He appeared seemingly from out of nowhere, sprung from the rocks and the trees almost, he, too, hooded but not masked. And there was a familiarity about him even though I had never met him before. Fairer than his comrades he was, with hair that gleamed dully of copper in that poor morning, and his eyes were not the steely grey of Anduin, but bluer, and softer. Yet he was guarded and looked upon us with much doubt, and with his brows drawn together as if we presented a most unwanted complication.

“‘Tis strange how in such a dark time so many secrets are uncovered,” he said by way of greeting, and it was only later that I understood that he also referred to the knowledge he had gained from his meeting with Frodo and Sam. “Here is a refuge of the Rangers of Ithilien. These are simple caves and not fit for a King, but here you may rest. Yet I would hear your tale if you will tell it.”

And Gimli spoke: “You do not know him yet, Captain, but for this King they will surely be good enough, and so also for this Dwarf! And plenty of tales we have to tell.”

It was simple quarters indeed, but safe and dry. The Captain offered his own bed for Aragorn and we lowered him into it and I spread two cloaks over him. Then I sat with him until I imagined that I perceived in his cheeks a slight rising of colour.

The Rangers brought us food and water, and a tea was brewed for Aragorn that I, by lifting his head into my lap, managed to make him drink. It was sometime later that the Captain himself appeared in the roughly hewn doorway to his chambers and looked long upon us.

“The Dwarf and the Elven brethren speak in riddles,” he said. “I have done my best to decipher them.” He had shed his cloak and stood now in a brown leather tunic that fit snugly over his broad shoulders and around his slim waist. Underneath he wore the green of the woods around him.

“Tell me, then,” I said. “Why is it that I feel as if I have seen you before?”

To this, he offered a sorrowful smile. “You knew my brother. For I am Faramir son of Denethor, who is Steward of Gondor.”

It was a surprise but, now that I knew of their bond, I could see some resemblance. Yet still I marvelled for Faramir was a different creature indeed, lacking the rashness of his brother and exuding a nobility and a steady silent strength that I had never noted in Boromir.

“Word of his passing reached me only days ago,” he went on. “Even if I had…” He paused, as if suddenly unwilling to continue. “I saw his funeral boat upon the waters.”

My heart sank at this and I inclined my head at him. “Then I shall answer the riddles for you for I was in the company of Boromir when he fell and it was I and Gimli and Aragorn who lay him down into the boat and gave him to the river.”

He nodded slowly and came into the room. He sank down to sit on Aragorn’s other side and he let out a sigh, but did not beg for me to go on. “Is he truly the heir of Isildur?” he asked, and his voice was softer now. “The blood of Elendil?”

“Aye,” I said, and before I knew what I was doing I placed my hand protectively on Aragorn’s shoulder, as if I feared Faramir would strike him.

But Faramir only looked upon Aragorn and his eyes, too, were soft and I saw that he was younger than Boromir. He sat like this for a while until he rose and left.

When Aragorn finally woke the day had progressed even further and now a silvery noon lay over the Rangers’ refuge. We had washed and eaten some more, and Gimli had fallen asleep in a secluded corner and was snoring softly. As much as I had doubted this course of action, I had to admit that it had been a wise choice to separate from Halbarad and the Dúnedain. The time would come soon enough, I suspected, when we would be forced to join with them again.

I had feared that Aragorn would not share this view and that we would have to contend with him and defend our choice, but when I knelt by him and began explaining he smiled faintly and shook his head.

“‘Twas wise,” he said, quietly and with eyes half-closed. “There is peace here.”

“And sorrow,” I said. “For we are in the dwelling of the Rangers of Ithilien, and Faramir brother of Boromir is their Captain.”

A small frown settled in Aragorn’s features and he made an attempt to sit. I slid a folded blanket behind his back so that he more comfortably could lean against the stone wall behind him. “Then I must speak with him.”

“He is not his brother.”

Aragorn’s grey eyes sought mine in silent query.

I smiled. “He is wiser than Boromir. I like him.”

Aragorn gave a smile of his own, slightly rueful. “Find him for me, please, Legolas.”

And I did.

They spoke for many hours. I spent my time with Elladan and Elrohir and discovered how deeply I had missed the company of some of the Elven race. We repaired our wear where it had been torn, sharpened our knives and swords and I counted through the arrows in my quiver. The brothers told me such news of Imladris and the western lands they thought I had not heard and I quietly answered any questions they had for me.

It was not until the shadows began stretching again that Faramir reappeared and he looked both content and amazed, but I paid this little heed for I could never have imagined that anything beyond the ordinary had taken place in his chamber. All I knew was that he had spoken with Aragorn and if I had contemplated the matter in depth I would have said that it was a natural thing for anyone to be overwhelmed upon encountering the heir of Elendil.

He approached us and I could read curiosity in his gaze as it lingered on our weapons, and even our forms.

“You look long and hard, Captain Faramir,” observed Elladan. “What is your judgement?”

This sent a rush of colour to his cheeks. “Forgive me,” he said. “But I have not had dealings with any Elves before.”

“I am sorry for your loss,” said Elrohir, and with such a serious demeanour that it took the Man a moment to see it for the jest it was and finally smile.

“How fares Aragorn?” I asked.

“He sleeps now,” said Faramir. “But we spoke of many things.” A shadow drew across his face and he sighed. “Some darker and some brighter. I fear that here in Gondor the darkness overwhelms us at times.”

Elladan nodded. “Yet Aragorn brings hope.”

Faramir turned to him, then. He said nothing but there was a wave of such powerful longing in him in that moment that even I could feel it.

A light rain began falling ere dawn and chased some of the dense silence of the woods away. I let the raindrops land on my face and in my hair as I breathed in the fresher air and finally allowed myself to relax into the embrace of the trees. So entranced was I that I did not hear him approach and for this I scolded myself long afterwards.

“You are from the Woodland realm?” asked Faramir, making me start.

I blinked at him. He had drawn up his hood and come quite close to me without a sound. I found my voice after a moment. “My father is Thranduil of Mirkwood, Taur-nu-Fuin.”

He gave a slight bow. “You are a prince, then.”

“I am,” I said, somewhat uncomfortably. “I do not…” I failed to say what I intended, which was not clear to me anyway. “I serve my father who is King.”

Faramir nodded. “As I do my father. Yet the stewardship of Gondor is failing.” He caught my gaze and again I was struck by his calm. “I would see the glory of Gondor restored. And power in the hands of the worthy.”

I held his gaze and tried to read it. “You speak of Aragorn?”

“I speak my heart’s desire.” He broke our connection and lifted a hand to indicate the woods around us. “In Ithilien reigns a false peace, and it is beautiful but treacherous. In my heart, I have served these lands for many years, more earnestly than I ever served Minas Tirith. I fear the hour the Darkness descends upon Ithilien.”

“Perhaps it will not.”

He looked at me again, then, and a small smile caught his lips. “You speak of Aragorn.”

I nodded. “I follow him.”

He, too, nodded. “I can see why,” he said, simply.

Perhaps I saw it first later that day when I sat with Aragorn and Faramir joined us. For I noted the way Aragorn’s gaze immediately fixed on the young Captain and how he, in turn, smiled and how there was colour on his cheeks, higher than usual.

“I disturb you,” said Faramir, blue eyes moving from Aragorn to me. “Forgive me.”

“No.” Aragorn pushed himself up and turned to me. “Legolas, I would speak with the Captain some more if you do not mind?”

Aragorn looked healthier. Many hours of peaceful sleep, a few meals and a wash had rekindled the spark in his eyes and he moved now to sit with more vigour than I had seen in him for many dark days. This gladdened me and eased my heart, and so I was keen to give him what he needed. Also, I had not yet analysed what I had just observed between him and Faramir.

“Of course,” I said, rising to my feet. “You may take over, Captain Faramir.”

Faramir inclined his head at me and then moved into the room as I left it. I did not wait to see him sit or if he remained standing for I had no reason to do so. It was only later, when I saw an exchange of looks between Elladan and Elrohir and during the conversation that followed, that it dawned on me that I had witnessed the beginnings of something that maybe lay beyond friendship.

It was that same evening. The rain had passed on and a few stars were turning in a darkening sky. I was joined by the twins under it.

“It is time we left.” It was Elladan who spoke, and almost cautiously too, as if he feared he would meet with great opposition. “Aragorn has healed well.”

I turned to him, suddenly struck by a deep unwillingness to leave these woods. It was the healing of Aragorn’s soul we had sought in coming here but the trees were comforting to me also, and their embrace most loving. “There is yet time…” I said, though I knew it was hardly the truth.

It was then that they looked at each other, the brethren, and there passed between them something very serious. It was Elrohir who finally spoke. “There is a connection being forged between Aragorn and the son of Denethor,” he said, quietly. “We have both seen it.”

I frowned. “But that is a good thing,” I said, confused as to why they should perceive such a development as something undesired.

“Is it?” asked Elladan, but there was no malice in his voice. “‘Tis a deeper bond, Legolas, than what you think.”

I stared at him. It was then that I understood, and even as my heart filled with compassion for Aragorn who for so long had laboured in solitude and wrested with the chains of his own heritage, I felt the sharp sting of sorrow that he should find such joy at the very edge of time. It seemed unfair to me and I wondered why Vairë would weave such a thread into Aragorn’s life.

If I had any lingering doubts that what Elladan had told me was untrue they were obliterated later that night when I made my way to Aragorn’s chamber to make certain that he was comfortable and sleeping.

For as I looked into the chamber and through the gentle darkness that filled it, I spied not only one but two figures on the bed: Faramir half sat, half lay with his back against the wall, with a bundle of cloth behind his head to support it. And Aragorn lay against him, with his head resting upon Faramir’s chest, his dark locks contrasting against the white of Faramir’s undershirt. The Captain’s arms were around him and they had pulled a blanket over themselves, halfway up Aragorn’s chest. What I heard was their breathing: soft and deep.

I backed away, almost unable to draw my eyes from the sight before me. If Elladan and Elrohir had not been wise enough to speak of this earlier my shock would have been even greater and so, even as I stared at Aragorn and Faramir, I knew a hint of gratitude.

Still, I was troubled and did not easily drift into slumber that night.

When next I saw Faramir the sun had just risen behind the clouds and the whitish dawn danced around us. He emerged from the cave, dressed and washed, but as I looked upon him I saw that his lips were reddened and that his eyes were brighter than I had ever seen them before. I pretended I noticed none of this, however, as I watched how he, after a moment’s pause, turned back and disappeared again from view. It was not long thereafter that I saw him again, but this time with Aragorn who leaned a little against him, but otherwise walked without trouble.

I would have gone to greet him, and maybe even embrace him, but when our eyes met across the rocks it became too difficult. I desired to speak with him and yet I did not know what I should say. There was desperation in his eyes, and pleading, but also such light that it struck my very soul. To me, this was his true nature that I beheld in that moment: here was indeed hope, in all its glory and pain.

There was no need for me to seek him out, however, as he would be the one to come to me. I watched him approach alone as Faramir remained by the mouth of the cave. Aragorn was somewhat pale but once more there was determination in him as I stood to face him.


I fixed his grey gaze with mine. “Does he heal your heart?”

Aragorn let out a long breath, and his smile was sorrow and love combined. “My heart is healed and yet broken. I would not leave him.”

There was only this: “But you must.”

He looked as though he wished to object but he said nothing. It was only when the messenger arrived that he spoke up and I understood how deep his feelings for Faramir ran.

He rose as his eyes scanned the parchment. He had been seated beside Aragorn on a rough slab of rock but they had not been touching. But now he got to his feet and half turned away from us.

As the day waxed towards noon, the sun had succeeded in breaking through the clouds and Faramir stood now with the bleak sunlight crowning his hair. Though when he moved to face us, there was a shadow building in his eyes.

“My father summons me to Minas Tirith,” he said, simply. “The enemy seems to have fixed its eye upon Osgiliath.”

“The ruined city?” Elladan leaned forwards a little. There was a furrow between his dark brows.

“Aye.” Faramir folded up the piece of parchment. “We shall make a stand there.”

“Why?” I heard myself asking. It was an inelegant reaction, but one born out of some sudden twist of fear for the young Captain. “To what end?”

It appeared Aragorn’s concern was of an identical kind. “Legolas is right,” he said, in a low voice that sounded tight to my ears. “Osgiliath is already lost. You would do better to defend the White City. Or Ithilien.”

Faramir’s face, when he turned to look at Aragorn, was veiled in sorrow. “These are my orders.”

Aragorn rose, too, at that. “Then we shall go with you.”

His foster-brothers would have protested if Faramir had not done so himself. He shook his head. “No, my lord. That is not your fate.”

“It is my fate to–” But he broke off, even as his eyes burned into Faramir.

“My lord…” And it was as though they forgot that we were watching – as if they were alone and their words shed in private. Faramir dropped the folded parchment onto the stone and held out his empty hands. “The White City stands shining still, in bold defiance of Mordor. I shall go there and hear my father and do his bidding.”

Aragorn, before our eyes, grasped his hands, then. “I would go with you.”

Once more, Faramir shook his head as a bleak smile touched his lips. “Do not stray from your path and into mine. But know this: Ithilien is the true living heart of Gondor, as I know it. And you have brought hope into it, and this I shall carry within mine own.”

There passed between them something more than just silence. Beside me I could sense Elrohir desiring to speak up but he never did. Then, at long last, in unspoken agreement, Faramir led Aragorn from the small chamber and we did not see them again until the sun had peaked above the trees.

When they reappeared, I found no reason to ask questions. I could have studied Aragorn’s form, perhaps noted how his hair looked more tousled or how his tunic was newly belted but what purpose would that have served? All I knew was pity as I beheld them as they emerged into the small clearing where we were saddling the horses. For there was sorrow in their eyes, and a silence about them that had an edge of finality to it.

Faramir approached me just when I had shouldered my quiver. We stood for a brief moment in hesitation before he inclined his head. “Thank you.”

I did not know how to ask precisely what he meant, or even if I desired to know the answer. “My own thanks,” I said. “You have unburdened his soul.”

“I fear not.”

A sweet scent from the trees drifted by just then. He produced a smile. “You are welcome in these woods, Legolas, should you ever have need of their shelter again.” Then, with a last nod at me, he turned away and went to Aragorn’s side.

I could never guess the pain their parting brought to Aragorn’s heart. I only know that his fingers were laced with Faramir’s until it became physically impossible for them to maintain the contact any longer as he finally needed to urge Roheryn into a careful trot.

My last glimpse of Faramir was that of his hair, a last shine of copper through the leaves. I hoped the Valar would keep him safe and that his fate would be a different one from Boromir’s.

It was not until later, when we had ridden for many long hours and turned our eyes to gaze southwards, towards the dark promise of reunion at Pelargir that Aragorn rode to my side. The sun had sunk beneath the horizon but still we pressed on, in cold starlight.

I did not know what to say as I looked into his eyes. They were shining with the starlight and more, and yet there was a firmness in his jaw that did not encourage me to speak words of comfort. Instead, it was he who spoke, and his voice was almost lost to the wind in our hair.

“You were right. He is not his brother.”

Then he turned his face away, and I could see it no longer for it lay now in shadow.


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1 Comment(s)

Geale, I just ran across this story and it is as beautiful as the rest of your fabulous writings. Legolas’ POV is a intriguing medium for telling this tale and allows the eloquence of your writing style to come through. I have greatly enjoyed your writings over a number of years and this adventure is another excellent example of your art and dedication. Thank you for continuing to enrich our world with your wonderful craft.

— SparkyTAS    Saturday 4 April 2020, 21:29    #

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This story is rated «NC-17», and carries the warnings «angst, somewhat AU, hurt-comfort themes, implied het relationship.».
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All Colours are Born of Grey (NC-17) Print

By December

11 January 2019 | 18156 words

Title: All Colours are Born of Grey
Author: December
With: Aragorn, Éowyn
Rating: R
Warnings: angst, somewhat AU, hurt-comfort themes, implied het relationship.
Summary: Just when the Steward and the King thought they could find a sliver of innocent comfort in each other, one evening it begins to turn into something more.

Every night begins with him being embarrassed – ashamed, even – practically begging the King not to.

Not once does Aragorn heed – and not that, in his heart of hearts, does he truly wish it were otherwise.

And so every night, starting from the very day of his return from that surreal journey to Rohan, the emerald plains of which he hopes to never again be forced to behold – every night the Lord of Gondor firmly shuts the door to the Steward’s chambers, sealing the wall between them and the world out there. The world that knows not only no mercy – no justice at all, so it would seem.

Grieved, burdened, uncertain – they are united as though specifically by virtue of their common guilt. What offence, really, is the little comfort they allow themselves in the face of their eternal, irreversible culpability.

Of course, they say ‘it is not your fault’ to each other many a time before the bleakness of dawn begins to leak through the curtains – but what can words change? As fallen leaves cannot be glued back on their tree, so appeasing statements cannot reverse the truth.

Only in the gut of night, when there is only the warmth and the breathing of a living person by his side, does it feel that there might yet be room for peace on his plate.

“My lord,” he says when three weeks have passed, and he does not look Aragorn in the face, for fear of seeing that Aragorn would actually agree with him, “I hear folk are starting to wonder.”

“Let them wonder,” Aragorn says simply, with the serene unaffectedness of one whose conscience is clean.

“But…” this time Faramir does look up, “what of the Queen?”

A shadow of a wince passes over the older man’s lean face, as though a recurrent headache has just threatened a comeback.

“Ah, that…” he only utters, and gives a slight dismissive shrug as though to assure Faramir that this, although an understandable concern, is in fact in no way related to their situation.

Faramir cannot see how it could possibly not be most directly related – nor does he wish his personal pain to cause conflict in the lives of others. His sentiments must clearly enough show in his face, for Aragorn sighs and crosses his arms.

“Well, it would be fairly sound to allow that, just as you have pointed out, she too could have heard I spend my nights outside my bed,” he says too levelly for the levelness to sound fully natural.

And so Faramir asks no more, for the screaming contradiction between the dryness of his liege’s tone and the inconceivable message in the actual words is a clear enough warning to not tread on this ground.

Then comes that night. On the face of it, it is little different from all the previous ones. Maybe he becomes aware of the one small nuance only because he happened to wake up at this particular point in time.

Just as before, they lie together under one fur-lined cover as though they are blood kin, only now in his sleep the King has shifted to him so that their bodies are, in fact, touching.

He has always been most mindful of his sire’s personal space, especially since Aragorn has taken to sharing his sheets, and by day it would have been beyond mortifying to merely imagine that they might come this close. Yet it is not day, and now that his propriety sensor seems pacified by the darkness, by the slowness of the sleeping King’s breath, by the deep warmth that has seeped into his very bones, he is unsettled not at all.

In fact, ‘touching’ is somewhat of an understatement. Aragorn has sidled up to him from behind and is hugging him around the middle, and maybe the top half of Faramir’s sleeping garments had hiked up, or maybe the King’s hand had crawled under it – somehow it does not seem important now – Aragorn’s firm dry palm is pressed right to the nakedness of his belly.

Faramir smiles. Quite likely, for the first time since – well, that day.

For a fleeting moment he is ashamed of his quiet joy – how dare he be happy in a time like this. But he is so weary – of shame, guilt, regret. Especially as he knows there will be no end of it – and this is such an innocent little light in the muted dimness of his days. To be held like this, in this protective, older-brotherly way… As though Aragorn senses a boy in him, a boy alone but too stubborn and cautious to accept this comfort in his waking hours – and therefore it has to be given him when he does not see. Faramir’s smile broadens at this thought.

When was the last time he had felt this wanted, this welcome?

I am tired, she had said. More than once she had. He should have heard. How could have he possibly not heard?

I am tired, she had said. She could not have given him this, for she had no strength for it, no warmth left to share when she did not even have enough for herself.

Not so with Aragorn. Aragorn has enough to share – needs to share, in fact, for he too asks himself these same questions – how could have he not seen, how could have he not begun to worry in time? That strange comment about the Lady Arwen, implying that only through hearsay would she learn where her husband abides by night. Which in turn would imply that she does not even anticipate him to be where the logic of marriage would suggest. Does this mean then, that just as Faramir has no one else whose warmth to feel and sleeping breath to hear, neither does his-?

With Aragorn’s tough, sinewy arm wrapped over his waist, and the man’s bony ankle hooked over his shin, he struggles to think of Aragorn in the terms of his formal titles.

Lord. His lord, he reminds himself before he slips back into slumber.

The next night Aragorn does not come.

It is only in that purposeless hour, as he sits on the edge of his bed at a loss what to do with himself, that Faramir realises how presumptuous he had been in his earlier resolve to tell his sire this very evening that there was no longer need for concern – and therefore for the visits. For he had felt so grounded, so soundly tied to this earth the previous night – although of course he would not explicitly refer to that – that it was bound to be quite beyond doubt that at least on his behalf there would no pining or withering. He was safe from that fate.

This was why they were doing it, was it not?

So that Faramir would not fall prey to the same stealthy, proditory menace. So that Lord Aragorn would keep an eye on him and through that be comforted himself in knowing his Steward is well – reasonably well, of course, as much as could be hoped for for a man in his circumstances.

But if that were so, if that were the full and only truth, why is he not come tonight?

Steward Faramir lies atop his bed, atop the unwrinkled fur-lined blanket, fully clothed and shod, thinking this thought, well into the night. It should not be so important, he understands, for of course any man, and the King tenfold so, is called on by many a matter and cannot be reasonably expected to be available every minute his company might be desired – and yet…

Not that it should matter, but the memory – the sensation – of that hand under his shirt, the long fingers resting so habitually on the plain of his abdomen – it is never far from the top of his mind. As time passes, it intertwines tighter and tighter with his question, and somehow he comes to be quite certain that his lord, too, knows of what has transpired. Except that nothing did – nothing of significance, at any rate.

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28 Comment(s)

A very interesting beginning of story! Especially the comment Aragorn made about Arwen (smirks).

But take your time, moving to another country can be a bit overwhelming sometimes from my very own experience. Judging from the note I truly hope you are in Australia at the moment (or would it be somewhere in S. America?), because that’s where I am!! :P

Good luck with everything and thanks for the story!

— Sherry    Wednesday 17 August 2011, 4:58    #

Thank you, Sherry, for your kind comment! An update will be here soon :)

I am, in fact, in New Zealand – but not too far from you, I suppose, at least in relative terms ;)

December    Sunday 21 August 2011, 1:13    #

I loved, loved, loved the image of Aragorn’s hand sneaking up beneath Faramir’s nightshirt; on purpose? Unconsciously? And the whole scenario itself is so lovely- the quiet, almost unacknowledged acceptance of this coping mechanism. Both are going through emotionally trying times and that Faramir just so blithely accepts the this temporary solution, this show of support and offer of comfort in the form of the King sleeping beside him I thought was so romantic in a gentle, unobtrusive way. I’m dying to read the conclusion, though I know I will have to be patient (not a huge talent of mine, sadly.) Your prose is always so thoughtfully crafted, and I do love how your focus on the inner thoughts and feelings, imagined possibilities and personal difficulties never wavers in its ability to draw the reader right into the mind of the character; I feel as if I were Faramir, and I feel the things he does as I read. As ever, I am in great awe of your beautiful writing and seemingly endlessly original ideas. More, more!

(How’s New Zealand? Fantastic, I hope!)

Eora    Thursday 1 September 2011, 0:13    #

Beautiful and very subtle! The long talk in the third part about things that could easily come across blunt or embarrassing if only you would turn the screw a bit more – you make it sound absolutely realistic and decent. More: to me it points out what is mostly neglected in mainstream stories because they generally end with “happily ever after”. How must it be to live with an elf? An immortal being, wise, perfect, literally untouchable. Probably you couldn´t even crack a dirty joke because a) she´d be way too pure and b) what is left to laugh about after 3.000 years? And you even managed to describe their dilemma without making her the bad guy which might have been the cheaper and easier way.

And I think you did a fine trick by revealing Éowyn´s early death not until the second chapter (I´ve read it all at once). Knowing there is a secret but not knowing what it is, that builds the tension until your reader goes “Damn, I MUST know what´s going on!”

Oh, and I like Faramir getting a tiny, just a tiny bit vulgar out of justified rage. Not only it breaks the tensed atmosphere, it is also one of the scenes I would love to see played in a movie!

Summary: You are a wonderful writer and I´m looking forward for the chapters to come (which is not meant as a push, perish the thought!).

Plus: New Zealand? Aaaaw, you are in Middle-Earth! Hope you have fun! :)

— raven22372    Wednesday 16 November 2011, 6:24    #

Eora, here’s my overdue reply and thanks. Also,the story’s becoming longer thanI initially intended, tee-hee. Not plotwise, I’m still keeping to the original concept, but details and nuances add themselves here and there, and I feel that for the sake of readability and a more or less regular update schedule, there should be a couple more parts. Anyways, I’m glad you appreciate the particular mood :) Much as I love spark-spitting fires of lust, sometimes I’m drawn to more thoughtful and complex moods, even not without sadness in places… I hope you like the latest developmetns ;)

Raven, thank you so much for that thoughtful comment! It made me happy in so many ways, for you address specifically the points I was worried about when writing this. Hence, you must forgive my enthusiastic ranting :)

As you say, ‘happily ever afters’ can pose a lot of questions. Personally, I think there’s no such thing as an inherently perfect marriage where everybody is happy all the time simply by virtue of default. There’s always some kind of issue in place – and, well, I always felt that in the case of Ar and Ar, there could be any number of things.

He may have grown up among Elves, but I don’t think it would necessarily mean he would know all the specifics of an Elven marriage, given some things are likely to be kept private in the Elven culture. Furthermore, I can easily allow the possibility that Arwen would focus on the platonic aspects of love, since a) for 3000 years she had managed to not rashly jump into a marriage with one of the abounding Elven hotties around her (she had the whole of Rivendell and Lothlorien to choose from, and take Glorfindel as just one humble example…) and instead waited for a fateful love b) when her husband passed, none of the earthier bonds held her to life, not even her love for their children. Much as his death must have grieved her, there were still plenty of other dear people to live for, many other good things she could have done in life, but all that mattered to her was apparently her feelings.

Much as I in no way state that it was thus and thus only, I strongly feel that it is a viable possibility that she would not be very developed in the corporal/sensual department. Aragorn, on the other hand, I feel might be a very passionate man – there are subtle hints all over the text ;) Plus, given he fell for her so early in his life and stayed so devoted he even told Gandalf he would remain celibate if she did not marry him, it’s possible to assume he had gained no experience in how to help a woman open up the sexual being in herself. Hence, I hoped that a situation as that in this story would not come accross as a stretch implemented for the sake of the boys ending up in need of comfort and lurve :) Thank you for supporting my hopes!

And indeed, I wouldn’t want anyone to appear a villain or a victim here. Not having this need herself and living among people who fare similarly, why would Arwen foresee any possible trouble arising from this matter in the future? If anything, it appeared to me that Aragorn’s being a Man rather than one of her own kind did not get too much thought from her, given how little time it had taken her to vow to stay with him. It may be a love of the lifetime, but still, there are all the practical aspects connected to swapping to your husband’s culture, one she probably did not know too much about, but it took her what, an hour tops? Not to mention that during that fateful meeting in Lorien when she fell for him, it was said he appeared more an Elven prince or lord or something like that rather than a Man, so it was not his otherness she was attracted to or intrigued by, but specifically that he seemed to her like one of her people.

At the same time, it said in the Book that she lived in great glory and bliss while his term lasted, so I figured that even if there was a mis-match in their temperaments, she would not be the one to be afflicted by it ;D Because as far as I remember, Aragorn’s bliss was not explicitly mentioned in the description on their post-war marital life…

And, yes, New Zealand is something something, and something else too. It’s been a few months now, but I still can’t help being overwhelmed. I’m venturing out from the city now and again – the majesty of the land is epic… Everything’s as though made at a different scale, and landscapes as though have meaning, I don’t know how to explain… You must come see!

December    Friday 18 November 2011, 9:36    #

Heheh, there is nothing to forgive at all! On the contrary, your rich and deep thoughts fuel my own rambling and you will surely rue that. ;)

When you said: “…it’s possible to assume he had gained no experience in how to help a woman open up the sexual being in herself.” it was what Sam Gamgee might have called an eye-opener. Like the missing link in a chain of conclusions, something I hadn´t realized yet. The way Aragorn is introduced, he way he is depicted all the time makes it easy to think of him as someone who just knows everything. But as you stated: How should he? If he spent his life among Elves and given this is a topic not very popular in Elven society – who should have taught him? Who should have given him any measures?
(I guess this is a good example for what the ideal of chastity can lead to. Finally you have a lot of insecure and unexperienced people who cannot help but wreck the entire ship, no matter howhard they try. ;) )

You know, it was great fun to me when Faramir freaks a bit about Arwen´s lack of knowledge. Yet I think you´re right, she probably hadn´t much reason to find out. I think this is the side effect of immortality; once you have all the time in the world there is no motivation to get anything started. Given I got Tolkien right this is also the reason why the Elven realms are finally doomed to fade. They are the keepers of the past yet they are obviously not able to go with the times and adapt to changes.

And I totally support what you said about the “perfect” marriage. Truer words were never spoken! And here we have two people who have been waited for each other for years and years. All the time they must have spent fancying how it would be once they would be together, all the endless nights. Until… well, until they were carrying around a huge bag of expectations. Expectations of something flawless and bigger than life because oh the love so pure. It takes some experiences to realize that no, love is not enough. Things don´t´t just wondrously slip into the right places by itself. It is work to build a relationship and there is an everyday´s life with it´s rather non-glamorous issues. Just that an everyday´s life is exactly what these two never had (I think Arwen´s life in Rivendell can´t be measured by human timescale) so how could the know?

I´m afraid it´s my turn now to ask your forgiveness. For this is surely a brickwall long enough to build a mural around all Mordor. However, it is not my intention to cause you any stress so please feel free to just skip this cascade of incoherent words. :)

One day I will surely come and see New Zealand! :D I´ve already made it to Australia last year and even though this is a completely different country with different landscapes and not Tolkien-related in any way (except some certain actors…) I think I know what you mean. The land, it does something to you… It sneaks beneath your skin and when you leave you take something with you… And gosh, I want to see the mountain ranges! And the windswept plains. And… oh, just everything. Have fun over there! :D

— raven22372    Saturday 19 November 2011, 21:04    #

Ah, the apologies are getting the fancier with every turn :) But you know what, I don’t WANT apologies from you :D I want awesome, long, ranting comments about many things at once :))))))) Because discussing things with readers is one of the main reasons I actually publish my texts instead of letting them just sit there clogging up the hard-drive :)

Aragorn as a man who just knows everything? I must say that’s a sentiment I strongly share :) And yet I’ve also always felt he was a man who wasn’t overeager to get himself directly involved into others’ personal business. Like he put no pressure on Frodo when it was time to decide Gondor/Mordor, which arguably led to some unpleasant consequences for certain party members. Likewise he never bugged Boromir about the latter’s apparent unease during their boat journey, nor even seemed to keep a particularly close eye on him – and maybe if he had done something about it… Also, Eowyn. Instead of just going no, lady, no, you can’t come with us, no – he could’ve tried actually approaching her to explain why he could not return her evident interest. Anything along the lines of it’s-not-you-it’s-me might’ve spared her a lot of angst. I mean, pretty much anything: I’m engaged/impotent/gay/actually a woman in disguise/mortally allergic to cooties – would’ve been better than letting her think the problem lay with her lousy self.

So, hm, following that line, I think he would not be particularly proactive about gaining skill-points in sexual expertise until the day he actually had where to apply it. Which canon-wise I think was supposed to be his wedding night. Elrond had told him not to get betrothed to anyone until the whole thing with Arwen was settled, and I feel that by Tolkien-rules, that sort of meant that ‘not screwing anyone while you wait’ kinda goes without saying :) Now, I’m quite lenient towards the idea he might’ve gotten some smex education before he met Arwen, since he was already 20 by that time, not exactly a child… Also, I can quite willingly entertain the idea he might’ve had same-sex relationships of one sort of another while he waited – because, well, that’s quite different, in my opinion, from having an affair with another lady and possibly siring her a kid or two. But either way, I think his practical knowledge of the female body would be limited at best.

Which is in no way to say that their wedding night or their sex life as a whole would necessarily be miserable. After all, it’s quite possible even for two entirely clueless virgins to have a first time that’s far from terrible. After all, all it takes is patience, willingness to explore, and careful attention to the other’s and your own reactions. However, there may arise some serious issues if in the process it turns out the people have fundamentally different expectations about the act or even absence thereof. Among other things, Aragorn’s use of the words ‘heirs of my body’, much as it is a common official phrase, kind of hinted to me he was looking forward to doing the deed, marryng Arwen not only out of romantic/platonic motivation, but also to have children through all the traditional steps – whereas Arwen… Well, we’ve discussed that above.

In today’s world they might’ve gone to counselling or something, but in their settings… Much as I love those fanfics where a third somebody is called to join ua unbalanced couple in bed and set things aright, somehow in this particular case it doesn’t seem like a solution that would be popular with either of the parties involved even if it did actually occur to somebody as a concept…

In that sense, it seemed to me that Faramir’s and Eowyn’s union was under far less stress and had good chances to actually fare better, even if with a sad finale like in this particular story. Because they both had just escaped death and were hardly counting on much good to happen to them when they met each other. For them it was sort of up from the dumps, because there was hardly anywhere further down to go.

Oh man, I actually feel so bad for Aragorn now (:,,-O

December    Sunday 20 November 2011, 6:17    #

I just want to say that I keep returning to this story over and over and am always so delighted when I see an update because it’s just so wonderfully paced, so measured and almost languid, but not so much that it becomes boring or too drawn-out. I love when a story is given it’s proper time to develop, and here the emotions flourish so slowly, sadness lingers, expectation, worry, shock too, they all unfurl slowly like a flower and come together quite beautifully. I also want to just take a moment to compliment you again on your wonderful phrasing and wording, it’s absolutely spot-on in theme and style, the dialogue especially. I had a little shiver run down my spine at Faramir’s “I believe we have lived side by side long enough, my king, for you to have seen proof I am not in the habit of speaking without meaning what I say.” – it was just so perfectly worded and in-character, and purely from a poetic point-of-view quite lovely.
Your writing is one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to style and wording and the exploration of feeling and emotion, which you do most excellently and so deeply without boring the reader in any way at all- I have to pace myself while reading so that I don’t speed through the story too fast, I’m so eager to find out what happens next but I don’t want to miss the next delightful turn of phrase or exquisitely sketched metaphor. More, please! This tale is far too tantalising :)

Eora    Thursday 22 December 2011, 18:51    #

Most likely I have said that before (and therefore a repetition will rather bore you) but your ability to keep up the measured rhythm of the master´s language over various chapters is incredible! It perfectly fits your calm way of storytelling and the positive undertone that characterizes your works. :)

I must say I have a huge liking for the way Faramir insists on keeping his dignity no matter who it is he´s dealing with. It fascinates me even more since generally he is not way too fixated on his state. I like the idea that even though he would not mind to make way for everyone he is blessed with a self-esteem healthy enough to pull the brakes before it gets beyond a certain point.

One thing that occurred to me while reading through our former conversation… given that Aragorn is probably not particularly experienced in the art of physical love it might become a very interesting night. I wonder who will turn out to be the captain of that ship. Not that I intend to push you into a certain direction ;) – but when he says „Undress and lie down“ (which I guess can be read as a command even if it is not uttered as one) and urges on turning off the lights – well, I felt reminded of a patriarchic society in which this is how women are expected to act (God forbid they might develop their own ideas about love-making!) and men confine to fulfill their God-given „duty“. Unfortunately the longtime result of this practice is that neither men nor women are able to learn anything about technique, not to speak of their own desires. Which leads to a constant insecurity on both sides and furthermore to an unhealthy climate of restriction. I am far away from accusing Aragorn to be a chauvinistic ignorant ;) but I could see him covering his own lack of experience with a behaviour more domineering than usual. The hint that he reveals a resemblance to Boromir when it comes down to deal with his own weaknesses underlines that theory. I think he is more scared of what to come than Faramir is – and a lot more scared that he might fail/make himself look like an idiot/give away what an innocent little flower he is. Though I would not completely rule out the possibility that I am just over-interpreting either… ;)

— raven22372    Tuesday 27 December 2011, 14:10    #

Oh my lovelies, thank you for your kindest comments!

Eora, please don’t be settling for a very long read though, this story is more than half-told, or at least that part of it which will be typed out ;) One problem with these slowly-unfolding tales is that I never conceive them as such, always somehow underestimating the time and length it is going to take for the story to ripen. Oh well, heh. Anyway, though you’ve said this a while back already, it still fascinates me that you name me among your inspirations… I do indeed feel a strong sense of kinship to your writing, so we must be riding a similar kind of wave, but nevertheless.. Very humbling. In a good way :)

And yes, writing their dialogue is a most interesting affair. I always feel Faramir would be very respectful with Aragorn, keeping clear of teetering on either rudeness or servility in tone. And personally, I think that would be one of the things that would specifically fuel Aragorn’s trust and love for him, seeing as thanks to such conduct Aragorn would feel that Faramir perceives in him not only the lord but also the man, and respects him as both lord and man, if you get my meaning…

Raven, buckle up for the endless reply!! First of all, thank you for saying there is a positive undertone! It’s nice to know that it does come through despite all the general morbidness.

Speaking of dignity, I agree that Faramir would not be fixated on his state, aka he would not be pampering his dignity just for the sake of it. He doesn’t have an inflated ego or an excess of pride, so he’s not over-sensitive to situations that might damage his ‘resume’. For example, he repeatedly offered his love to Eowyn although there was an obvious likelihood she would turn him down, which would have kept more touchy men clear off for fear of humiliation. So I think his unwavering dignity is more of a permanent inner trait that just manifests itself in his behaviour, be it with equals, those below or above him.

Re your other point, no, you are not over-analysing :) And definitely there is a big issue of restriction within the society. I’m not in any way arguing for a complete lack of boundaries, but it seems that there may be just a bit too many at the moment. What I’ve noticed in Tolkien’s works on middle-Earth is that the word ‘desire’ is typically used in negative context – except for when it is ‘desire of the heart’ which effectively means ‘love’. If we look at examples of desire in his stories, it is what Grima harbours for Eowyn, and Maeglin for his cousin Idril, and if I remember right, also Eol the Elf for Aredhel, which union does not end happily… It seems to suggest that desire is not a healthy and inherent part of love, but rather a somewhat separate and highly perilous thing… So in that line I think Aragorn would indeed be deeply contradicted about their situation with Arwen, on the one hand resenting his inability to consummate his passion, on the other feeling ashamed for being so grieved by it… This brings me to your point about him being somewhat domineering with Faramir. I would agree, I see it as mostly a defense reaction: he is troubled re his nonconventional feelings for Faramir, likely not altogether certain whether Arwen’s denying him intimacy justifies him seeking it elsewhere, embarrassed of asking it of Faramir so early on, and of course he is afraid that Faramir, too, would reject him. And right you are, he is not at all versed in the arts of physical love. He does plainly admit it, saying that while Faramir has been with many, he himself has been with no one. Also, he admits he has not even explored his own body until it began a reproductive necessity, which I think strongly suggests he has not explored anyone else’s body either… Such a degree of modesty may seem a bit unusual, I guess, but then Aragorn hasn’t had a very usual life. Besides, if we are to rely on canon, I have a feeling Tolkien’s saying he waited for her for so long was meant to imply Aragorn waited in all senses, including that he did not go wanking every now and again to ease the burden, heh. Seeing what a high chivalric love they were painted to have, even some harmless masturbation would likely spoil the atmosphere of romance and purity.

So I would say that being physically innocent is not something Aragorn is trying to make a secret of, for, given his story, him not being innocent would imply he had been unfaithful to Arwen at some point… If anything, he openly warns Faramir of his standing, even if he does not describe it as bluntly as ‘I’ve never gotten laid’, lol.

As for it being an interesting night – most certainly, I assure you! :) Funnily enough, it wasn’t until after I’ve begun publishing this story that I’d myself stumbled upon somebody who knows next to nothing of these things. A novel experience for me, it was intensely endearing, and naturally it’s quite gratifying to be told, no one’s done this to me before – but at the same time, it wasn’t until then that I began to appreciate the full amount of patience, care and tact it might in some cases require to help the other person learn what to do – without putting them on the defensive by making them feel inadequate or incompetent. I should expect that Aragorn especially, given what pain the situation with Arwen has caused him, would indeed be in need of tremendous support and encouragement, and it make take him a very long time to reach certain mile-stones.

Though a man of formidable character and willpower, I think he still has the natural human points of fragility. We have seen in the book that although he is not given to showing or talking about his feelings much, he can indeed be overcome with grief, and anger, as well as shame and annoyance, etc. So I try not to idealise him in my writing, and this story is definitely working to that end, rofl.

Oh my, I really must finish now, this is the longest reply ever…

December    Wednesday 28 December 2011, 9:07    #

I have just read through your reply again and it contains so many deep thoughts and refreshingly new aspects I just could not keep myself from boarding that ship again. :)

That´s an interesting topic… the way you point out Aragorn´s voluntary (more or less) celibacy being rather considered as a special act of virtue makes sense to me. What I had in mind was the societal expectations men have to face: being experienced, confident and always master of the situation (or at least pretending to be).

Poor Aragorn, not even a chance to get some temporary relief by helping himself. Quite a predicament Elrond put him into. I wonder whether that was not the purpose of this deal from the very start… X)
Or maybe not. Actually Aragon is consumed by so many tasks those things may rather play a subordinate role in his – allowedly not quite usual – life. And then I tend to agree, as you said due to Tolkien´s worldview masturbation is something virtuous people do not even think of (though I would like to find out what the good professor figured when he wrote about Gollum sitting in his gloomy cave and talking to his “precious”).

Oh, and that special event you mentioned… is it not amazing how art and RL mirror each other? I had a few of those experiences myself and meanwhile I am convinced there must be such thing as a greater plan. ;)
However, although you describe it as a very intense and entirely positive experience I must say I would run for the hills if somebody would offer me that responsibility. ;) Actually I was always wondering why people (and male people in particular) are so drawn to the “virginity” issue. As you said it demands a huge amount of empathy and patience to hold the key for somebody´s future (sexual) experiences.

One aspect I had not realized until now is that being rejected must give Aragorn a hard time not only because his desires are not to be fulfilled. As far as I got it Arwen´s declination does not refer to that business; no, she´s straightaway appalled by her husband´s personal physique. Even though the story is set in a society that generally judges only women by “beauty” – whereas men go rather unaffected by this measure – it must be a disturbing experience for him to be seen as unattractive or worse, repulsive. I don´t think Aragorn is somebody who spends any redundant thoughts on his physical appearance – a) he´s mostly concerned with issues more important, b) since a man´s looks is less questioned than a woman´s and there were no explicit complaints by now he simply might have assumed to be okay the way he is and c) since people used to judge him by his weather-worn ranger outfit he´s probably accustomed enough to their wry looks to not pay the topic any attention. Yet this time it is not about mud-stained breeches or a shirt so sweaty it would be able to walk away on its own. His lady feels repelled by the most private parts of his body, parts he did not even considered to be repellant. It must be an entirely new situation for him and and probably a source of uncertainty. If she feels that way, how would other people feel? How would Faramir feel? After all, nobody has ever prepared him for this situation!

Oops, now where does this brickwall come from? I did not call for a mason, did I?
Anyway, apparently I am still in the clutches of a persistent New Year hangover and my brain feels like something you might find on the bottom of mossy stones (the fact that I wrote this at work is one of minor interest). Please take my apology in case it comes across as the bunch of incoherent chaos it feels like!

— raven22372    Tuesday 3 January 2012, 11:36    #

Dear Raven,

thanks so much for your unwavering interest and inspiring commentary!

Indeed, Aragorn is pretty much ‘caught between two flames’, as a Russian expression would put it. I agree that in their society, just like it used to be and to a large extent still is in ours, it would be the man who would be expected to bring sexual experience and knowledge into the couple. I am quite certain a woman was supposed to go into marriage a virgin. Nowadays, of course, even a virgin can acquire considerable knowledge, even if only theoretical, since educational materials are widely available. (Of course, not all sources are qually good, and the majority of porn movies out there would ‘teach’ you that all it takes ot make everyone happy is to put a penis or penis-like object into any human orifice and bang away. But still, there are plenty of serious books and tapes that do contain a plenty of useful tips) Besides, with public attitudes towards masturbation steadily softening, one may at least come to learn the reactions of one’s own body before trying to understand another’s. But in middle-Earth… While they did not have the Church or any other celibacy-promoting institution that would say that basically sex = sin and thinking about sex = sin, I have a feeling that their societies would be far from the sensuality-embracing pagan cultures or druidic societies of the pre-Christian Europe. And Aragorn, having given his heart to another at such a young age, would likely be under a very strong pressure to not ‘stray’, and being Aragorn he most probably wouldn’t stray indeed – and this would leave him with what on the wedding night? While in other stories I like to play with the idea of Arwen possessing some of her own experience, not necessarily acquired through unlawful encounters with a male, it feels to me that canon-wise she did not know that much about the workings of a human male’s body – because where could she possibly have learnt on this topic? It could well be that the Elven culture, in all their millenia of existense, did produce some analogue of the Kamasutra, hehe, but surely it would not be meant for the eyes of unwed maidens, hehe again.

Speaking of Aragorn’s ‘self-esteem’ problems, though I don’t normally use that phrase in LOTR context given its strongly modern ring – you know, facing rejection, and specifically sexual rejection, from a loved one can mess up one’s brain in any number of ways. We don’t know whether Aragorn is the textbook male from “Men are from Mars…” for whom acceptance and admiration are the best gifts his woman could give, but it stands to reason that for any living person to be explicitly unaccepted and unadmired by their other half, even if only in one aspect, would still be very, very painful. If she accepts him only in part, does is it even count? Does selective acceptance qualify as acceptance at all? Certainly he cannot demand it of her, because acceptance given under pressure doesn’t really qualify either, heh – but what is he to do then?

Speaking of the allure of virginity, yes, that’s a complicated subject. I suppose there are a number of reasons. First of all, given our culture’s history, a virgin bride meant a good bride, a woman who lived according to society’s guidelines and would make a good wife. Secondly, it’s more ocmfortable for a man in the sense that if she hadn’t had any men before him, she wouldn’t be able to judge him in comparison to them, she wouldn’t be able to think that his ‘thing’ is smaller than of that other guy she’d been with, or that he’s not at good with his technique, etc. Thirdly, it would rid him of the rather unpleasant mental images of his beloved enjoying herself with someone else. I think this moment of jealousy is exceptionally strong, after all, are we not often torn by conflicting desires that our lover be experienced and know what to do and yet at the same not have been with that many partners before meeting us?

And no, I wouldn’t say that being with someone ‘fresh’ and ‘unspoilt’ is all roses. I mean, there are many good sides to it, and it helps to focus one’s attention on these sides, because naturally there are a lot of points of frustration as well. It is indeed quite a popular fantasy, of being the older woman/older man to a beautiful youth/beautiful lass, who are full of desire but also endearingly timid, etc. What this fantasy forgets to include is that often this would put the older or at least the more experienced person into the leading role all the time, and not all of us enjoy that. As for responsibility, well, really good teachers are hard to come by, we all know that, heh, so I reckon it might as well be me as the next person ;)

And yes, how would Faramir feel? For Aragorn this question must be answered before anything else. After all, one rejection can be written off on chance or an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but if it comes again from nother person, then that would mean that it is Aragorn that soemthign is wrong with, right? And of course he wouldn’t have questioned the normality of his make before this whole situation. Men, I agree with you, would not be judged so demandingly re their beauty, although all of Tolkien’s positive characters are at elast nice-looking, most of them actually ‘fair’ and ‘beautiful’. But most of all men would probably be judged on those aspects of their physique relating to performance, such as strength, for men were mostly warriors or workers or peasants, making their life with physical work. So yes, I would expect it had been quite a shock for him. And when it comes to it, I expect it is indeed possible for a man, after such an incident, to wonder if he’s okay. I’ve had men explicitly tell me that only the female body can be beautiful and the male body is inherently ugly… And well, as the super-talented creator of Oglaf joked, the penis does look like it’s been designed by H. R. Geiger (remember the backscratcher?) so certainly one could come to have self-doubts…

And omg, they made you work on Jan 2? Serves them right to have you write fiction reviews in work-time, hahaha.

December    Wednesday 4 January 2012, 0:40    #

I must say I´m incredibly grateful you put a few stones in their way… because everything else would have probably betrayed the characters. I´m not even so much waiting for them doing it – it´s s much more important that you have managed to let them act in a realistic way. Due to the conditions it could have hardly been a smooth and simple lay with everything being guns and roses, like: put a penis into an orifice and – YAY! – everything´s fine (just that unfortunately things refuse to work that way). I bow to your infallible instinct for story telling!

And I apologise for this unaccustomedly short drop-in. I´m more than just a little drunk and unable to produce anything more useful than a “smoking harms you” poster in Gandalf´s bedroom.

Plus: Also allow me to congratulate you on your sense for cliffhangers. According to my calculation your readers must be now at the point when biting into the edge of a table seems like a pretty tempting idea! XD

— raven22372    Sunday 15 January 2012, 21:51    #

Dear friend, is it a custom with you to apologise for your comments, whether it be for their length or their shortness? ;) Seriously, all comments I treasure, all comments spur me on, be it through encouraging or challenging me, so have no worries :) And I hope you haven’t gnawed any holes in your table ;)

Hm, yes, to think of it, I haven’t yet, in any of my stories, written a single sex scene, especially a first-time-sex scene, that would be devoid of stones and various other obstacles. Ah, poor poor characters, hehe, and evil evil me, gnehehe. But indeed, I must say that depictions of technically and emotionally perfect and flawless sex seldom touch me, be it in fanfiction, other works of writing or film. I may certainly appreciate the artistic skill put into creating such scenes, but it never really goes to my gut, if you know what I mean. And for me as an author, the main reason I give such prominense to the erotic themes in my wriitng is not the arousing aspects of writing and reading such fiction, but the fact that I find human intimacy, in and of itself, a remarkably fascinating subject. Just like no two snowflakes are ever exactly alike, I feel that every person has their unique sexual individuality, and given what extraordinary characters we meet in Tolkien’s world, I feel there must be a tale to tell about the more intimate sides of them, too. I also feel that romance, and the sexual side of it especially so (not that those two always go hand in hand, gnehehe again), is an extremely controversial ground, and to me controversial=intriguing=enthralling. Hence I prefer above all pairings where conflict of one form or another is inherent, such as Faramir/Boromir or Faramir/Aragorn or Faramir/Pippin ;p While I do appreciate the beauty of arrangements like Faramir/Legolas as well, I sense much less ground for complexity and difficulty in them, and therefore they touch me less.

I also feel quite strongly that in our popular culture descriptions of intimacy either focus too much on how physically pleasurable/not pleasurable an encounter was and how hot everyone looked, or on how much love-love-love everybody feels for each other. I make a conscious effort to steer away from that in my own works. The way I see it, sex (and by sex here I mean not only intercourse as such but all forms of intimate intercation with oneself and another) – is like music. There is hardly a human emotion that you could not convey through music, hardly a state of mind, hardly a sentiment, hardly a thought that you could not make into a melody. Talented composers can even describe landsapes and tell stories the way an artist would do in a painting. And I feel that the same level of emotinal and even intellectual expression is, ultimately, possible through narrations of the intimate experience. And just like it’s perfectly possible for a piece of music to be at once very candid and beautiful, I feel that descriptions of sex, even very detailed descriptions of sex, need not necessarily be profane. Even rough and loveless sex can be depicted in a beautiful, heart-stopping and poignant manner. You can write sex like a tragedy, like a comedy, an action-adventure, a trash-horror too, ha-ha – you can turn it into a farce or tell a person’s life-story with it.

So what I’m (ineffectively) trying to say here, is that “them doing it” is exactly what I’m trying not to make into the central point of any of my stories, even though most of those stories do indeed consist for more than 50% of descriptions of somebody doing something blithely indecent to somebody else.

See, I’ve more than made up for the relative compactness of your comment!

P.S. So long as I’ve started talking of music, this story is written to ‘Sanctuary’ by Secret Garden if you are interested :)

December    Monday 16 January 2012, 0:40    #

Indeed, it´obvious there´s an apologize kink playing its wicked game inside my head! XD And the tables are not what they´ve been before either. All chipboards instead of proper honest wood. BEH. XP

The comparison between sexual interactions and music seems quite fitting to me. After all more fitting than a picture or a verbal description that could only point out one aspect at once. Though, as you said, society (and I´m sure it´s not ours alone) tends to break the idea of sex and erotic down into a rather one-dimensional notion. Which might not only lead to disappointment – worse, there´s a good chance you will end up wondering what the hell is wrong with you (instead of questioning the system) when things won´t work for you that way.

Speaking of music, it seems we have just reached the point of an entre´acte. ;) I´m waiting eagerly for how they get ouf this… or if they get out of it at all. Poor characters, happy readers! ;)

No time for building brickwalls today (yes, I´m guilty of writing out of subject texts at work again).) But then, you´ve pointed it all out even better than THE MASTER himself could have done (though I doubt he ever referred to this aspect of character development) – so what else is there to say? :)

— raven22372    Monday 16 January 2012, 11:17    #

And that´s what happens when I´m writing comments at work… >.<

Regarding music: Hah, definitely the right score for a slow burning coming of age story! (Considering Aragorn´s state I think this is not so far from hitting the mark). Unfortunately the link didn´t work for me because GEMA (the German authority for copyright infringements – yes, that means you, buggers!) blocked the youtube vid, but I listened to one or two other songs to get an idea. Which leads me to a market niche: Fanfiction that comes with a “soundtrack” button! :D

— raven22372    Monday 16 January 2012, 16:31    #

This is absolutely gorgeous. I love your wordcraft and characterizations and I have to say when I read Aragorn’s explanation of his relationship with Arwen, I think my heart broke. I’ve also read your discussions in your review replies and they have given me much food for thought.

I look forward to the next installment of the story and its eventual conclusion. In the meantime I’m going to set the link to this as a favourite page and make sure I re-read it periodically.


— Dancingkatz    Monday 9 July 2012, 20:21    #

Oh, I cannot believe I seriously have left your words without reply, Raven. Little chance you will come across my response now, but anyway.

Indeed, fusion fan-work seems like such a sweet idea. If I were a more multidimensinally talented person than I am, and had a decent command of visual art, singing, playing an istrument and clipmaking, I would probably switch to making videos where text would go alongside with imagery, accompanied by music and nature-sounds, and the screen exuding heavenly fragrances all the while… I’d put together collages of assorted imagery and call them “What Faramir is to me”. I’d even do some cosplay if I could! But you get what you get, which is my stories ;p Speaking of music though, here’s my latest inspiratin for Tolkien fan-work, Selig by Helium Vola. This story already has its soundtrack, but this and their other songs go very well with all my Eowyn-related fiction. I know Tolkien is said to have fashioned Rohan after a celtic culture, but to me the Rohirrim had always been very strongly associated with the Germanic, and to some extent Scandinavian, heroic mythology. To think of it, the whole Silmarillion is to me very Germanic-like in feel – and also goes hand-in-hand with the pre-Rafaelite imagery the like of in the link. If I could, I would’ve painted something like that to illustrate this story.

Dancinkatz, you just literally made my day with your comment! It’s always a pleasure to welcome a new reader, especially to a story that’s been a while since updated. I honestly don’t understand where you get the faith to read something that’s been on hiatus for almost 3 months, but thank you so much! AND you read the replies, wow. Well, in that case, I’ll make a personalised rant dedicated to you :)

You mention food for thought – and I guess this is one of the fundamental reasons why I’m so drawn to the Tolkien legendarium in the first place. I mean, of course there’s also this sensation of purity, and ancience, and honour and nobility, of a truer and clearer life – but all that aside, his work is never failing to provide food for thought people-wise and relationship-wise. I feel the relationships he portrays, that of a master and dedicated servant, of two brothers, of battle friends, of fathers and sons, of a man and a woman – they all resonate with simple human truth.

Fair enough, myself and many other authors often re-write these relationships, or at least re-interpret them in ways different from that most readily implied by canon. But it is precisely this sensation of universal truth that drives me to do this reinterpretation, that promises that there is something inherent in these characters and their world that will give true life to these other, derivative stories. Funnily enough, we are not told too much about many of these relationships in the book, large parts of the lives of the involved people being described by a couple of paragraphs in the appendices – but nevertheless… When a story begins to take on life in my mind, there’s this clear certainty that Aragorn, or Faramir, or whoever, would respond to such and such in this particular way… It has always been a pity to me that Faramir and Boromir had been given so little space in the book, both on their own and especially together. Even though each of them plays a fundamental part in the fate of the Ring, and with it the world, they still come across to me as secondary characters, which sucks >:E But nevertheless they have such rich personalities, such clear personalities – endless resource for food for thought :)
Thanks for reading!

December    Tuesday 10 July 2012, 4:46    #

“…and there is something wondrously heathen about this, something full of the deepest, most sacral of meanings.”

Dear me. O.o Never. Do. That. Again. At least not without cabling me a warning. My poor poor neighbours..!

Joking aside and completely serious: This and the following ones are probably the most sensual sentences that caught me unprepared on a train ride ever. Okay, I might have not quite SQUEEEEEEEEed my fellow passengers away, but it was close… ;) As you said, there is a wonderful liberating power in this action, something archaic one would bring in line with bonfires and Beltane nights (too bad my ex-boyfriend didn´t see it like that – but that does not belong in here… X) ).

Please take my humble compliments for your writing again: I do not know how you did it, but you managed to deal seriously with a scenery that could have easily brought down to an ´American Pie´ level. Limbs at the wrong place, sperm and no idea what to do with it – it had been so easy to expose your characters to ridiculousness here, yet since you stayed so cloes to them (especially Faramir) and their own perception, their actions get an intense seriousness and dignity. Thank you so much for continuing that story! :)

— raven22372    Wednesday 8 August 2012, 22:16    #

Raven, love, thanks for the comment! Wow, you’re cheeky and bold, aren’t you – for my part I don’t think I’ve read anything much sensual in a remotely public place at all, hehe.

I’m sorry your boyfriend wasn’t into fire festivals, I always thought bonfires are quite fun ;P Seriously though, I do commiserate.

Well, sex is often like American Pie, isn’t it? Or sometimes even, what was that movie called, where she got plastered to the ceiling, Scary Movie? The more I live, the less I’m surprised by anything, hehehe. But you know what, I think that what fundamentally determines whether a potentially hilarious sexual situation is ridiculous or serious, is a combination of two factors: first and foremost, your attitude towards the other person, and then their attitude towards the situation.

Here’s a personal example (nothing NC-17, no worries). Once I was with this boy, and he couldn’t get it up. Don’t know why, doesn’t matter. I wasn’t in love with him, was in love with someone else actually, again, doesn’t matter. At first I did feel sorry for him, for what guy would want to be in a situation like that? I tried to reassure him, to help – but you know, I very soon got plain bored. As I lay there, pulling, in vain, on that overcooked carrot, all I could think was, what the hell am I doing here? I could’ve been at home now, watching TV, taking a bath, or chatting to my friends. I just fell out of touch with the situation. It was awkward, absurd, uninteresting.

Whereas some time later the exact same thing happened with someone that I did in fact have feelings for. And that’s one of my most anguished memories to date. His shame was my physical pain, and I felt so powerless as if I was caught in an earthquake – when you realise something terrible is happening, and you also realise that whatever you do, you can’t change anything. The degree of frustration and despair is something unspeakable.

With that first boy, it seemed ridiculous to me either way, regardless of what he felt. I did not laugh or tell him anything of the sort, but I felt that way anyway. Whereas with the second one, it could’ve been ridiculous only if he had taken it lightly and found it genuinely funny. You know, it’s like the famous fart in Sex and the City. She took it seriously, but he laughed, and that hurt her feelings.

So yeah, in our case, Faramir does care, and so, hopefully, it doesn’t turn into an American Pie :)

December    Thursday 9 August 2012, 2:37    #

Last night I sat for a good hour writing out an essay of a comment (one that, in hindsight, was probably incomprehensible gibberish due to the late hour- it began around 1am and got worse from then on) and of course when I, ready for bed, hit ‘submit’ …the internet ate it D: Pages, reams, gone! Half of which was the apology for how long it’s been since I last commented on this story…22nd December?! And it’s shameful because I HAVE been reading avidly every time you update, but I really have let my procrastination spiral out of control and I feel terrible for enjoying your updates and not letting you know. So, please accept my apologies (and yes, I’ve seen your reply on Luck and I will get around to replying to that too…I don’t know where the time goes really and I have no excuse.)

The best thing about this story is actually a combination of things; the build-up is tender, careful, the scene and backstory are set, we don’t rush into anything at all and proceed with a measured though curious pace. Like we’ve begun discussing in the comments to Luck about straying a little away from outright NC-17 to something perhaps a little tamer (okay, R! That said…I did just write a positively filthy paragraph or two (or three) in the story I’m currently working on :P) but with the focus shifting to characterisation, emotional groundwork, so that the reader becomes invested in the characters and therefore when the scenes do become heated, the pay-off is so much greater, and this story is such a perfect example of exactly that. I think I mentioned it before (too lazy to scroll upwards) in one of my earlier comments but I think one of my very favourite vignettes in this piece, and in fact in any piece, was that gentle moment where Faramir surfaces to find Aragorn’s arm is not only embracing him, but has slid beneath his shift to do so. It was a subtle, brief moment that was so steeped in romanticism, and going back and reading from the start (I do this whenever a new chapter is posted because I love to see that build-up!) something that was sweet to begin with becomes so bittersweet also. Aragorn gives comfort, but seeks it also, and we find out just how fragile he really is later on. It’s so sad how someone so beautiful (Aragorn!) would go without, and I love how as a reader we see through Faramir just how beautiful Aragorn is in that detailed and poetic description of his body, warts and all. Your delicate prose is absolutely breathtaking, an absolute love-letter to these two men and the turmoil that surrounds them, turmoil that is unseen but not unfelt.

Faramir here is not unburdened, he deals with loss, but I like how in this situation, he takes control, guiding Aragorn into this deserved new realm of sensation. I like the theme of the fragile king very much but without going so far as to make him seem weak. He’s so tentative, there is fear there, fear of the unknown, fear of his own desires, perhaps a fear of himself- is he so terrible that no-one might look on him with answering need? No! (And I already mentioned but we see here through Faramir’s eyes just how comely the king really is.) And Faramir shows him, patiently, kindly, but not without his own inquisitive foray into the unexplored- his curious thoughts at the end of the last chapter are so very sweet and so very real, who hasn’t pondered new experiences? The realism in this story as well I loved very much (the trapped hand!)…because sex is never quite as elegant as it is in the romance novels or films. The aftermath too…Aragorn has just shown the most private and untouched (literally) part of himself to another for the first time, and it is with Faramir…what emotions now thrum within the king’s heart? Aaah, it’s getting close to my bedtime once again and I’m not nearly finished with all the thins I want to say about this story, but I do want to spare you my rambling so I’ll just say that I love this so much, the inspiration it gives me not only with your perfect word choice but also in the mood and themes is boundless. Thank you!! :D I hope you are well; how is New Zealand doing? :)

Eora    Thursday 16 August 2012, 1:09    #

Oh, man, I feel your pain. I’d been there, the comment eaters had preyed on a comment of mine as well. Henceforth, whenever I’m making a big one, I back it up incessantly or altogether write it in a word-processor. Cause that’s terribly frustrating, that is. So doubly thanks for going over it again!

Please don’t feel obliged to comment on every update, which is not to say I enjoy it endlessly when you do <3 And you re-read it from the start every time? Whoah. As in, WHOAH. I just. Yeah. You know.

This is my biggest comment yet, but I feel you kind of asked for it :)))

Re characterisation – I guess that’s the reason we do it in the first place, isn’t it? I mean, writing fanfiction erotica/porn. Because otherwise we may call our characters Bob and Bill (or Susie), or altogether label them X and Y, and who cares. I don’t think I’d read any original-character heavy erotica on the Web for… I don’t even know how many years. I had read a handful of short stories back in the day, back when I had just discovered this genre, and was fascinated more than anything by the simple fact that somebody came up with such stories and more than that, published them for others to read. But as such, I’m not interested. I mean, if you want proper porn, then just buy a watch quality DVD, right? Whereas what I’m looking for here… I guess it’s a lived human experience, from the perspective of characters I love or at least am intrigued by in some way. And seeing as our own human experience is by default explicit, I don’t see why not have this fictional experience in similar detail. Because as soon as there is good characterisation, the act itself automatically acquires other meanings. Because in turn, even if we describe the encounter as purely recreational no strings attached kind of stuff, that in itself has certain psychological implications, right?

I like your point about the distinction between Aragorn’s vulnerability/weakness. I must admit I’m particularly drawn to vulnerability myself, or rather a person’s ability to evoke a certain type of pity in me. I even read somewhere that it’s a characteristic national trait of my people, to love through pity, or, more precisely, to love the suffering, especially so those unjustly suffering. I don’t think though that it’s any less common for any other culture – I mean, the universally popular hurt/comfort genre is predicated solely upon this premise, isn’t it? But there’s a line, at least for me: to love this way, I simultaneously need to be able to respect the object of my pity. And I… well, I can’t quite respect the weak. A person may currently suffer from some particular human weakness, but generally have fortitude of character, and a strong will, and healthy ambition, courage and the ability to recover from a fall, willingness to take on responsibility, that kind of thing. You know, like Boromir. Vulnerable? Yes. Weak? Hmm… Maybe not as clever as Faramir, but not really quite weak, I think not. Because he believed in the rightness of his own opinions, and he stuck to them. So stubborn rather than weak, I would say. In the grand scheme of things, it does maybe paint him as morally weak, you know, in Christian interpretation, as in easily tempted. But character-wise, he was quite strong. Not as strong as some, maybe, but even so. He carried a great burden, after all.

I guess if I were to select one criterion only, for not being weak, it would be that the person be trying to pull themselves together after a lapse. And in that sense, I don’t think any of Tolkien’s characters could be described as weak. Some never had a lapse to begin with, like Aragorn, he just does what he does. Even Grima has some self-respect left to finally rebel against Saruman’s oppression. Even Saruman himself, though it shows him as beyond salvation, has enough stubbornness in him to stick to his ways, lead him as they may to his demise. This pulling together may not always go in a healthy direction, yes, but they all of them are strong minds and strong wills.

So I have a very hard conviction that this strength must be communicated in fanfiction. That even when depicting a moment of weakness, we need to show that it is not meant to imply a greater weakness of character. And I’m so glad that’s how it came across to you!

New Zealand… I could of course talk about how amazing it is, but I reckon you already know that and it’s not exactly what you’re asking. So, it’s been a tough year. It’s going to get ugly form here, but since you asked ;p I haven’t really talked of it much, I think not, maybe only to one person before, relatively unanimously as well. Some observations are mostly curious, of course.

For instance. Like a person from a Northern land, you might appreciate this one. See, I come from a land with stereotypical, picture-book seasons. Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter. And for half a year at a time, everything lies in a comatose deathly slumber, even half the wildlife. Everything is dead and white. Or, in the big cities, everything is dead and dirty. You know, the poesy of winter, haha. And I’ve grown so used to this cycle, where this temporary suspension of all living activity is a normal part of the cycle. But here. But here, or at least the part of the island I live in, the land is… I’ve realised recently that I’ve slipped into a certain state of timelessness – as in it feels to me that I’ve been here for much less than I actually know by calendar. And I blame it in great part on the nature which is abundant here, because it’s… creepily enough, it feels as though deathless. It is always green. As in, St Patrick’s, photo-filter green. I’ve learnt not so long ago that it’s about a 2-hour drive from where I live to the set of Hobbiton. I think it’s something like $200 to have a tour. So it’s that kind of green. And any time of the year, something is always blooming. Always. Any big tree, it always has this flock of teeny itsy flowers in the grass around its roots, some yellow some white, ashamed not to know their names. It feels like, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Spring again. It makes you feel disoriented and a little… inconsequential, you know – not that I’ve ever entertained illusions as to otherwise, but even so. Thing is, the size of things here… I don’t know whether there’s something in the air, or the soil, or if it’s the solar radiation, but things on the continent don’t grow as they do here, I’m telling you. Some trees have flowers the size of melons, as in, you hold it in your hands, and it’s effing heavy. There’s this forest nearby where apparently the trees are over a thousand years old, and their girth is such you can literally carve a house in their trunk. It sounds cool but it’s kind of scary actually. It’s like, this whole ancient majesty, it doesn’t give a damn about your little petty human goings-on. It’s going to outlive you by another couple thousand years, and it just can’t be bothered.

I realise it might sound like I’m bragging in disguise, but it’s been pretty rough in fact, the transition. I’d say this to anyone who ever considers immigration to a better place – don’t be wary of the tough bits, be wary of the good bits. Because the tough bits, you brace yourself for them in advance, you anticipate uncertainty, and weariness, and fear, and loneliness at times. What you don’t anticipate is that it’s going to fucking enrage you to see that this kind of beauty and peacefulness is possible. It’s not something that you would talk of to anyone in person, because it’s a very embarrassing feeling, and you seem to yourself kind of crazy for entertaining it. Because when your surroundings are shabby, dirty streets and miserable-looking people, your anger seems easily justified. But when you stand amid all this greenness, and bloom, and birdsong, and the air is sweet, and you look upon it, and all of a sudden your vision goes black with anger – that’s the scariest shit, I’m telling you. At least I wasn’t prepared for it. The first time around, I went home, locked myself in the shower and wept hysterically, naked with the water hosing down on me. Because when on the outside it’s so peaceful, you are forced to acknowledge that it’s not the outside that’s causing this, it’s the inside. Like you’re carrying this glop of black slime in you that starts thrashing around whenever you are confronted with this injustice, with your own po-wer-less-ness — that where you come from, things are shitty and likely to get shittier, whereas here, you know, all daisies, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing you can do about anything. Of course it’s not all daisies and people got their own problems, but it takes a while before you can relate. And until then, psychologically you are still elsewhere – but at the same time a little removed, enough to see how that previous environment had left its mark on you. And that only makes you angrier, because you start wondering why your people have to live in a place that leaves a mark. Mind you, I had never been involved in politics, never held a position of power, don’t consider myself a fervent patriot, certainly not a person given to violence or even particularly aggressive. But man… I’m glad it’s passed now, it’s been insightful though, hehehe.

Not a happy account of NZ, eh? Speaking of turmoil unseen, snort. Again, not NZ’s fault, NZ’s awesome for all I can say. I do hope now that my national-identity issues are settling down, I’ll have more emotional strength to spend on more creative bethinking.

Ok, that’s more than enough about me, beh. How are you? What is up? Do tell.

And thank you again for all the kind words. I wonder how I can ever live up to such praise, and form a native speaker, too… I would also be more than happy to know any of those other thoughts you had on this story if you ever feel like writing them down :) And do reply on Luck.

December    Thursday 16 August 2012, 10:31    #

I hope you don’t mind that I quickly start by talking about your experiences in New Zealand and emigration and so forth first of all; I’m so sorry that it’s been tumultuous for you but I’m really glad you’ve spent the time to illustrate how it felt to you to be so far removed from the familiarity of home and the things that you don’t notice when you are home but when you’re away they creep in, like the lack of a real winter, something that I personally would say right now I might happily do without for the rest of my life and be better off emotionally for it. I do hate winter. But…I’m moving to Australia at the beginning of next year so there’s a possibility I won’t be seeing snow for a while, and I think there’ll be a time when I’ll eat those words.

Coming from reasonably northern climes as I do I do have a bit of sentimentality for winter (reminds me of childhood Christmases and so forth) but in recent years, because we’ve had such unusually bad winters it’s just been a huge difficulty even walking to work and so I dread the first of the long nights (sun sets at about 4pm maybe? It’s so depressing walking to and from work in the dark. At -15 degrees. Which is probably nothing compared to the winters of your homeland but it’s pretty chilly when you’re not used to it being quite so cold and have no winter-appropriate clothing, i.e. me.) For me, on my last trip Down Under last December, I seemed to experience a similar out-of-placeness but on a much smaller scale (I was only there for three weeks.) I was in beautiful cities and having a wonderful time on holiday but I just felt a bit…odd under the surface all of the time, partly due to jet-lag and also because it was hot in December, and something that is relatively easy to wrap my mind enough (seasons are opposite!) was really hard for my subconscious mind I suppose, having been on one day in a cold country and then suddenly, after a mind-bending plane ride during which I had no perception of time passing whatsoever, I was here somewhere hot and it was summer! I think as well though, adjusting to living somewhere completely new and different to where you’ve been used to can take any length of time. I felt very homesick on one day on my holiday, and pretty much spent the day in the hostel feeling very low (though I made myself walk along the beach later so that at least I was doing something new.) When I came home (it was a rather sudden adjustment…sunshine and summer and outgoing happy people, and bang, 24 hours on a plane to freezing late December, exhaustion and work the very next day and then it was Christmas day and then New Year and it was so cold and I just felt a bit lost really. Sad to be home, angry that the attitude of people here is so insular and miserable! Everyone moans, no-one seems to enjoy life! So I made a promise to myself this year that I would do my best to enjoy life as much as possible and try not to bemoan the rubbish weather (okay, it’s literally rained every single day this summer, argh) too much. Wouldn’t really be home otherwise.

Everything I’ve seen or heard about New Zealand (the LotR films non-withstanding) just exudes this ancient majesty, a millennia old landscape, otherworldly and potent with myth and the slow passage of time where civilisation is just a blip. I wouldn’t think you were the first to feel the immensity of the place in such a way, but I really do hope you are feeling more adjusted, at peace and not missing the passing of ‘normal’ seasons too much!

So yes, I’m pretty much about 99% (98%?) sure I will be off to Australia for a year (or two, or less if I don’t like it. Who knows? Nothing ventured!) I need change in my life, I’m really stagnating here in this job (I despise my job now, 7 years of monotony) and I think that as I near the cut-off age for an adventure such as this (I can’t apply for this visa after 30) I think I need to just take a leap into the unknown and see a bit more of the world. Also, the more I talk to people about it the more it seems real and the more scared I get! I hope I manage to see it through! There will be tears, I know that. Otherwise, I am well (well, have just gotten over a rotten dose of the flu, writers’ block too!) and have just been enjoying all the comedy shows and things in town this month!

And so, onto the story…I do pity Aragorn here, but it’s like you said, I find him still noble, of kind and strong and good character, and so I respect him, but he still has my sympathy. He is at possibly his most vulnerable here, but not weak, no, not at all. He seeks Faramir out. I’m not suggesting he has an ulterior motive for the initial comfort he offers Faramir but when the circumstance presents itself between them, he is wary, he almost falters but in the end he follows through, stays the course, sticks to what he knows is right for him, whether that be right or wrong in the grand scheme of things. He is strong, and all the more human for revealing that fragile side of his being to Faramir in this way, and so I respect him. I think because he is the king, he is meant to be strong, wise, infallible, that to see him so humanised as it were just draws me to him even more. That’s why I like Aragorn in particular when he is portrayed in such a way, one would think that with all that he carries on his shoulders (his birthright, the longest of long betrothals to Arwen, his part in the fate of Middle Earth and as part of the Fellowship and then after all is over and one with, he now must rule as king of men) he would falter in some, internal, private way, for he is after all human in the end, with the same emotional and physical and psychological needs as any. And there is that other sort of ‘weakness’ that just popped in my head, that of lack of self-restraint, which in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a moment where Faramir feels that no, the king should not ‘unravel’ so soon or so easily…perhaps they should wait, but he carries on, from his own want and from wanting to give this to Aragorn, who he himself pities but not in a patronising way; and Aragorn, whose self-restraint is fuelled by uncertainty, still gives way and allows the unravelling. I think also that ultimately, as you say, the human experience is nothing less than explicit and so the explicit is not out of place here at all, in fact, it only heightens and is heightened by everything else, a slow, lust-laden study of human experience that I found darkly magical.

Whenever I see the phase hurt/comfort my mind immediately (and possibly incorrectly) brings up sort of mushier scenes and the dreaded weak character (and I also used to think it really only referred to a situation when a character is physically hurt, like they broke a leg or something!) but now obviously I know that that hurt can be emotional, a hidden injury that either festers in silence or is picked at and eventually must be dealt with. This story is pretty much the perfect example of that done well. The comfort given and sought after and received is so touchingly and realistically envisioned. And as a native speaker let me take my hat off to you, I only wish I could write so beautifully. The language is so evocative, laden with emotion and delicacy, I fall deeper in love with every word! I really am so envious :) I’m also eagerly awaiting the next chapter (no rush!) because I’m desperate to see how Aragorn reacts to this turns of events.

Egads, the hour grows so late once again, I don’t know why time seems to just run away with me but I’m always running out of it in any case. I hope I didn’t just bore you to death! Much love!

Eora    Friday 17 August 2012, 1:57    #

Hey hun, nope, I don’t mind at all. If anything, when I read you’d be coming to Australia for a while, I nearly fell off my chair. We must meet! Seriously, when else would there be less geographical distance? Don’t tell me you want be coming over to explore the Zealand while you’re there ;p

In fact, your description of winters is exactly what I used to have. It didn’t really go below -15 very often, maybe for a week or two in the whole course of winter, and then of course the dark days, and the festive season… I must say it looks a bit preposterous to me, the whole holly wreath and Santa in a fur-coat thin when the crowd on the street is hardly dressed and not always shod, hehehe. But you might just miss it. We miss not the good things, just the familiar things, don’t we? I still prefer the taste of pasteurised milk to fresh one, for instance, as that’s what was around when I was little, even though in my brain I obviously know better…

But Down Under largely has a more continental climate, with more distinct seasons, even if “reversed”. But that you get used to. It is funny though. My own penname, for instance, has acquired a neat little double-meaning, and the summer holidays are all around Christmas, not bad, eh?

I really do hope it works out for you! With your passport, you can altogether relocate to pretty much anywhere in the Commonwealth, can’t you? NZ and AU for sure.

Do it! Do it! It can be difficult to get it off the ground, I know. From personal experience, the easiest way to go on an adventure is either when you’re running from something – that’s by far the easiest of all, at least in terms of getting your butt off the couch – or if it’s completely spontaneous and instigated by someone else. I had a combination of both, luckily. The instigator dropped off midway through, as they often do, but it was too late for me then. But do it. Whichever way.

Do you know, immediately after posting that adjustment rant I had felt quite embarrassed. For the ranting, and even more so for the subject of it. So many people would love to live where I live, and yet I dare complain. Well, I may have provided a rather one-sided picture I’m afraid. And since you say you found it insightful (hopefully not out of being polite, because here comes part 2), I feel compelled to explain. The negative always tends to attract more attention to itself, so I had left out all the positive things that more than makeup for my “hardships” hehe. Though it is a scientific truth that transition between cultures is often trickier than we expect. While I wouldn’t say that I had a culture shock as such, seeing as the culture is precisely one of the things I love, reassuringly familiar in its underlying Britishness add a more egalitarian twist and general serenity of mind. But the thing is that the very of fact the transition makes you reevaluate yourself. It’s like being a teenager all over again, so much philosophy, doh. Haha. You know, it’s like in those perceptual illusions, if you take a square of grey and set it next to a black block, and it looks light – put it next to white, and it’s dark. Same with you, prolonged exposure to a significantly different social context not only can and does bring out in you things that were up to now only dormant, but also puts different features of yourself into the spotlight. In a country like this, it’s all largely positive, but nevertheless, much of it is accompanied with anxiety.

I can’t quite remember the last time that I’d go through a week without having sleeping difficulties. Damn the anxiety, haha. I guess in part it comes from the fact that I’d lived for so long in a place with this constant sense of impending doom, that just like with winter, it’s become part of my system. And now I kind of am trying to recreate that feeling for myself, weirdly enough. But part of it is objective, too – when you feel the whole system is heading towards a collapse, there are so many issues it’s easier to just go into denial about. But here, interestingly enough, I find that so many social problems are receiving so much more public exposure than back in Russia where the problem is actually much more severe. You know, poverty, women’s rights, domestic abuse, all those. It’s not really an appropriate thing to discuss where I’m from.

But more than that, here I’ve actually found myself more at risk. Stupid, eh, obviously here the risk is actually lower. That is, objectively, but I don’t think objectively. The way it works for me, I always used to judge myself as a low-risk group for any assault kind of thing. Simply for the reason that I’ve always had this belief that predators choose the most vulnerable pray, and in my society I didn’t belong to the most vulnerable group. Of course I’d had my share of people trying to coerce me into unpleasant things I didn’t want to do, and even a partner (now long an ex-partner) explaining that he would beat me if I disobeyed – but through a combination of vigilance and sheer luck I’ve come through unscathed. As in, nothing was ever actually done to me – as opposed to a friend who was always the one to get attacked by deranged maniacs, and targeted by calculating predators, that sort of thing. I always assumed there was something in me that did not appeal to that sort of folk. Of course, this is all rubbish: anyone, regardless of gender, age or physical constitution can become a target of assault, including a sexual one. And it’s not always a serial criminal who’s doing these things, sometimes a generally good citizen may simply have their judgement clouded by alcohol/drugs, or entertain one of those caveman ideas like “women enjoy being raped” or “I’ve spent money on her, hence she owes me sex”. So no one’s, of course, off the list. But nevertheless, back there I didn’t feel like I stood out, and it gave me a sense of security. Just a foolish cognitive bias, really, but there it was.

Think of the most exaggerated horse-riding chick stereotype out there. That was me, direct, opinionated, confident in my right to want what I want and not want what I don’t, passionate and stubborn, not willing to take shit from anyone. If I didn’t take shit form a horse, who’s like ten times my weight and has four feet to kick me with, then certainly I didn’t have to take shit from another human person. And if I’d learnt one thing from horses, it’s that the more in charge you are, the less danger you are in. If anything, being this way, I naturally attracted the gentler sort of men who (while generally annoying me, for of course I wanted the rough and tough world-weary guy who in turn of course always went after the sweet compliant girl who was willing to tie all of her existence around him, ah, the injustices of life) nevertheless didn’t make me feel like they posed any danger. There was something in me that communicated strength, of character and body, more so than of the average girl. That sort of thing is disapproved of where I’m from, and it did weigh on me, but I simply wrote it off on my Cossack ancestry, telling myself and jokingly telling others that coming from a kick-ass cavalry culture where each and every man hauled himself up in the saddle and went to war when the metropole called, I’m entitled to indulging my own belligerent, freedom-loving genes, hehe. For that matter, the unpleasant incidents I referred to above all had taken place when for whatever reason I was acting out of character, putting forth the more traditionally feminine, fragile front.

The thing is, here I no longer fall into the “stronger than the average” group. There’s a greater ethnic diversity here, and most women are bigger than me. Most people are also darker than me. And you’d really surprise no one around here by confidence or “unfeminine” attitudes. All of a sudden I am the small, blonde, and delicate one. I’d never had enough of any of those things living in Russia, for who in Russia isn’t blond and delicate – but here… And it freaks me out. I feel like I’ve lost my familiar defence of knowing how others see me. My compatriot men always used to define me, from day one and to my face, as strong and/or clever and/or independent, which hardly ever comes out quite like a compliment where I’m from. No one ever defined me as a pretty one. But here the pattern is different. They still do come to the same conclusions character-wise, but only after a while and with some highly amusing wonder, because they start off by being sold on the looks, which to them are beautiful and “exotic” (snort). I literally thought people were mocking me the first times I was being referred to as beautiful, but now that I’ve come to accept that it must be their true perception, it makes me uneasy more than anything else.

For a couple months now I’ve had an obsession with assaults, especially violent sexual assaults by men upon women. I would research the topic, read about the psychology of it, reasons, consequences, the legal response, even how to help victims – virtually anything I can get my hands on. I couldn’t understand why the interest – I’m not a victim nor any close person that I know of. That friend from Russia, yes, but that was years ago, why this reaction now?

And now I understood suddenly. Because to me, the realisation that I’m seen as attractive, or at least more attractive than I’m used to, makes me feel vulnerable. I know, I know, anyone can find themselves in an unsafe situation. But now, for the first time in my life, I feel the need to protect myself. You know, as in, get the practical skills. Learn some karate, read books on the detection of underlying harmful intentions (e.g. The Gift of Fear), remember to carry something sharp in my bag late at night. An Australian friend back in the day had once taught me how to hold a kitchen knife properly, so as to be more likely to stab the other person rather than myself, haha. I remember experiencing a sensation of strange pleasure in that moment as he closed my hold over the handle, showed me the trajectory of the motion. It felt like an extension to my very body, and there was a sensation of power, not an aggressive power, but a steady, calm power, of self-control, of opportunity. I realise now that I want to experience it again. I want to feel like I can do what’s in my power avoid danger, and if not, then ward it off. There is no such thing as being perfectly foolproof, but at least I want to feel like I’ve done all I could.

This whole realisation is causing me a whole load of anxiety. I haven’t learnt any karate yet, you see. Haha. And talking of assimilation, and seasons, and natural majesty – I think it’s just another form of denial, focusing on those issues which are actually minor and cannot cause any real harm.

So much for a comment not centered on self-centered moaning. Well, I excuse myself by the assumption that since you soon might move countries for the first time, you might be interested in some things that might come up in the process. After all, there is a certain universality to human experience.

I am sure all of this anxiety is coming into my writing. I don’t exactly produce happy run-in-the-glen pieces, do I? Maybe in 10 years’ time we’ll see Faramir and Aragorn making a grand appearance eating strawberries in a field, or better, being hand-fed peeled grapes – and that would be the whole story. No angst.

I love your phrase, “non-patronising pity”, that’s exactly what I meant! I could fully love only a child or a pet with a patronising pity. Okay, maybe also a friend or an adult family member, though that would be far from an enjoyable love for me. But an adult in a romantic way – no way. And yes, I definitely don’t see Aragorn as being aware of his ulterior motives when going to Faramir, or at least not seeing them as such in the sense he is not exactly intending to act on them until it kind of just goes and happens, heh. I generally have difficulty imagining Aragorn acting on an ulterior motive as such.

“Humanised king” – love that phrase too. I love such humanisation of characters who have some stereotypical obligation to be strong and “manly”. As Oliver Mellors in Lady Chatterley or Vronsky in Anna Karenina (a complete coincidence that Sean Bean has played them both, that is). To me, it’s just magical. Maybe it’s one of the reasons I prefer to write male characters – that same humanisation is much harder to achieve with female characters who as a rule have less of that obligation placed upon them to begin with.

That even Faramir is under sway of this assumption – you know, I haven’t given much explicit thought to this. It just seemed like a natural thing. I mean, on the one hand, he like no one would be likely to see the human core of any person, no matter how lofty in their social standing. But at the same time, he like no one would believe, until the very end, in Aragorn’s inner strength, just because of the history of their relationship.

”a slow, lust-laden study of human experience that I found darkly magical.” Man, I can only hope that we’re not turning into a society for mutual admiration ;p Because I love so much these things you say, they bring me so much inspiration.

Hm, interesting perspective on hurt/comfort. I instantly saw a broken-legged Pikachoo form your description xD To be honest, I always associated it primarily with psychological hurt, and saw good emotional potential in it. You can go pretty deep here, actually. Some people have this savior-complex, which I find incredibly interesting. I’d met a man like that once, he had a disturbing family background, something like that. And he was only ever drawn to damsels in distress. Especially when the distress was romantic. I was dealing with a very painful rejection at the time, and he gladly… er, helped, all the time knowing I wanted someone else – and half a year later I meet him again, and here he is tenderly shagging some other poor soul to salvation. It was fascinating to me, the way their/my hurt triggered this need to give comfort in him.

My hour’s growing late too, and I’ve just beaten my own record on comment length, so I’ll let you go now. Just let me thank you again for putting all this thought here. Hope you haven’t drowned in the letters. O_o

December    Friday 17 August 2012, 11:52    #

Perhaps I’ve beaten my own record here, whatever that was. This is well over 2000 words, haha. A comment-fic, if you will :P

I will absolutely be coming to New Zealand for at least a holiday while I’m in Oz…I think it’d be foolish not to, seeing as I’d be in the neighbourhood. Oh, to step upon the soil of Middle Earth! :P As of yet I’ve no concrete itineraries about my stay…it’s all very vaguely something like fly to Melbourne (where I spent the majority of my stay last time and I must say I fell quite in love with it, and it’ll be a good idea to be somewhere somewhat familiar during the first days.) And then…I don’t know? Get a job? :P I have to fit in three months of farm-work to qualify for a second year visa, and I want to travel around the whole country, see all the cities and the gorgeous landscape and just go crazy, with a bit of incidental work here and there. And once my travelling is over I think I’d probably try and get a flat in Melbourne and just live the good life until my visa expires. I have a few friends there, and contacts and friends-of-friends in Sydney, Cairns and Brisbane, so I won’t be totally lost (I.e. I‘d have somewhere to stay if it all went wrong), but it’ll still be a huge change, leaving all my friends and family (seem to be the only person in the world who hasn’t got any blood-relatives who handily live in Australia!) And while I’m there I would definitely be planning a hop across the water to lovely NZ. I would love to meet! And discuss writing over a coffee or wine! :D Nearer the time we should talk about this! (Sometime next year?!?)

Moving permanently to AU and NZ IS possible (and easier with my particular passport? I‘d never actually looked into it properly but I know there are different working visas for say, Europe and then another for US citizens)…but unfortunately the requirements are pretty high. University degrees in agricultural science or you need to be a trained nurse or a teacher or all sorts of things that I am decidedly…not. So, at the moment the only thing I can do is the working holiday, and I think it’s a good taster anyway…I might hate being there! But it’s going to give me a great idea of what to expect if I ever did want to relocate…after extensive university courses, naturally. (Unless I find a lovely Aussie husband! :P) But I’ve felt lately over the past few years that I’m just at a loose-end, a brick wall in terms of what I want to do or be…no idea where to go next, I think that because I’m dead set on this adventure it’ll bring me so much more experience, wisdom and ideas about where my life should go next. Maybe I’ll go to university when I return (I went straight into employment after high school) It’s an extremely odd feeling having a goal to work towards, something I’m passionate about. I’ve drifted for a long time, stuck in a job I hate (but at least working, and I know I have it okay here, full-time job, a rented flat with a good friend, and I live in a wonderful city ) but I feel I’ve achieved nothing and seen almost nothing of the world. Travelling, right now, is my new passion. Can you believe that before Australia I had never been abroad? And I just took myself off there alone, complete with my terror of flying? And it was SO liberating. (And I was SO sick of flying by the end of the trip…let’s see…8 plane trips and one helicopter. Booooring :P) The world was my oyster, I couldn’t WAIT to see more of it. I went to Spain a couple of weeks ago and adored it. I think I’ve stayed at home for too long. Time to live a bit more!

It certainly feels like -15 most of the winter here, but I think it only gets that low either very late at night or on extremely bad days, though I remember a group of us were walking home form work and I thought, hey, it’s really cold this evening…and someone checked on their phone and it was indeed -15. And us all in normal coats and no gloves etc. I tell you, getting sunburn in Sydney while there were Christmas trees everywhere was extremely strange. I went on a walking tour of the city and the guide said he thought it was really weird to see Santa in a winter landscape, and snowy scenes at Christmas, so I think it’s the same all over the world. You find comfort in what you’re used to, and everything else is odd!

I’ve asked my friends if they think I’m just running from my ‘boring’ life here, my listlessness, that maybe I sould just pull my soskc up and try and make a go of it here and they’ve all said, no! GO GO GO! Live your dreams etc, so that’s reassuring. I’m not saying I won’t come back here, it IS my home and I will miss it, but I think if I at least come back a changed person I’ll know what it is in life I want to do. I have a fear of commitment, like a career I think I’ll be stuck in or whatever, so I never commit to anything. So I think this will be very good for me. And if I last the year (or even two) I can at least say I achieved that if nothing else.

I found the sort-of Britishness of Australia anyway quite reassuring, (they drive on the left! Aaah) but I think it’s the little differences that slowly can creep into your subconscious and make you feel very isolated in a new place. Things like going to the supermarket and not seeing any of the familiar brands. Or the tv shows being different (actually that wasn’t so bad, watching tv I discovered just how much UK tv is shown in AU!) Honestly though I suffer from terrible anxiety all the time, and often go three or four nights in a row sleepless, waking up in the grips of panic in the morning, worried about…what? I don’t know! I think it’s the feeling of ‘stop wasting your life! Get up and do something!’ that’s plaguing me. I am fortunate never to have been the victim of any attacks or anything of the sort, and I’m not sure what it is about me that deters any would be assailants but I think it’s possibly down to luck as much as anything else. Here, in my home city I know the streets very well, I know where I am and any number of alternate routes to get where I need to be and so therefore I walk with confidence and feel safe (the city is generally actually quite safe, but of course not 100%.) In Australia I felt much the same, weirdly enough. I think it was the inherent good nature of the locals, the willingness and eagerness to help out a clueless tourist that set my mind at ease. I never felt threatened or lost, help was only ever a question away. Perhaps I just find the Aussie accent extremely trustworthy :P I think though that if you are feeling ‘unsafe’ where you are, or in yourself, then no harm can come from say, taking those karate classes or something similar. The important thing is that you yourself are content, happy, satisfied with your situation, free from anxiety (as much as possible) and living life to the full. I think culture-shock happens probably in all cases, no matter where you’re from or where you move to. Sounds funny, but whenever I stay down south somewhere in England, which the culture is essentially completely identical, just things like the accents or the different banknotes (I won’t get started on this haha, same currency but the notes are different) not so much make me feel uncomfortable, but just serve as tiny little reminders that this isn’t ‘home’. I think too, that such odd feelings of homesickness really only show that you come from somewhere that you love, which is no bad thing. I can see where your anger comes from too, though, in the case of such social issues that are generally not to be spoken of in general conversation in Russia like you say, but in NZ they are at the forefront of various political agendas and getting much more attention. It would be hard not to feel angry I think about something like that, because things like domestic abuse and poverty and sexism and all of these things need to be addressed everywhere, and it’s sad that a lot of the time such tings are just swept under the carpet because they are taboo, or maybe ‘embarrassing’ for a political body to admit to (speaking in the most general terms here.)

Hand-fed grapes you say? There you go again with your inspiring challenges-I might just write this! :P

I think it’s just that fascination with the ‘strong becoming weak’ (but of course I don’t mean ‘weak’ if you know what I mean.) And I especially enjoy when a male character shows their vulnerability, and when it is written well (as it is here!) it’s something quite magical. Above all I like characters to be human. Aragorn is king, and a man, masculine, defiantly male I might point out actually, and his handsomeness comes into that too- he must know on some level his own attractiveness, and I think that in this case specifically the juxtaposition that comes from having that knowledge, and loving his wife and knowing she loves him…but then why won’t she love him in that way too? Surely then his preconceptions of self-image all these years must have been totally wrong? How disabling must that be! To suddenly think quite seriously that you are not worthy at all, not valid, judged, however gently, by the one that you love. And then, and I won’t call it an ulterior motive but I think like you say it must have been buried somewhere deep down as the vaguest of vague possibilities, even faced with this rejection and questioning himself he seeks out someone who will ultimately give him that validation, and when the situation presents itself he goes with it, terrified, maybe, doubting, but willing, and that makes him human and one of strong, admirable character at that.

I think I said before (or somewhere) that Faramir and Aragorn are so similar which makes them very compatible, and though I don’t see Aragorn as unkind or ungentle, or unwise or anything other than good I somehow see Faramir as being more of those things than the king, somehow. Like, he is a softer version (and there only seem to be weak or feminine connotations of ‘soft’ that spring to my mind but that’s not what I mean at all.) I think as well Faramir is another version of his brother, cleverer, like you said (not that I think Boromir was stupid!) but perhaps able to stand back and analyse things either differently or more thoroughly before making a contribution. Faramir is truly a good soul, but such goodness and gentle-nature don’t preclude the human desires either. Both characters are very human in this piece, but from different viewpoints. They swap roles, almost, it’s Faramir’s chance to show his ‘quality’ in regards to his kindness and his desire to aid, and under it all, beneath fear and wariness (Aragorn) and tentative self-restraint-becomes-the giving of a gift, shall we say (Faramir) there is that base lust that underpins their actions.

Oh dear, the briefest notion of there being a LotR/Pokemon crossover fic drifted into my mind there and I must say I stamped that out quite quickly! Although I’m fairly sure somewhere on the internet such a thing exists D: I’ve never really thought ‘I’m writing a hurt/comfort fic’ whenever I’m writing any of my fics, though probably going through them I’ll be able to point out which are and which aren’t. (They’re probably just all mush :P) But yes, the possibilities are almost endless when it comes to just how deep one can go into the ‘hurt’ aspect. I do draw from experience some of the time when writing, though nothing so specific, most of the time I dislike recalling the relationships that went sour so I counter that with a lovely romantic bedroom scene :P

Is that the time again? I should probably start writing these earlier! Hope it wasn’t too boring! :)

Eora    Saturday 18 August 2012, 0:38    #

Ooookay, I’ll address the whole relocation/life-change topic by mail, in a proper letter as it well deserves. I was quite strongly under the impression that there should be more flexibility for you re the immigration policies, but anyway, by mail.

Now, hurt-comfort. You know, I’m generally opposed to classifying stories by this criterion, or by any other, for that matter. As in, this is a hurt/comfort fic, or this is a darkfic. Because to me, it serves to denigrate the story, as if there is nothing else to it other than this label, as if it was written with the sole purpose of fitting into this format and appealing to those readers who have a fetish for this kind of thing. I mean, certainly, stories can and often are classified by genre, but that’s much broader than the format, and is in a way an altogether separate dimension. A story tied around the hurt-comfort theme can as easily be a comedy/farce as a full-blown drama. And the fact that there is such a theme in the text doesn’t automatically allocate this story into an according “folder”, I hope not, provided it’s deep enough. Because just like you say, it’s so enjoyable to see the characters as human, whereas if a story is all about following a format, this requires fitting their behaviour into a certain template which in part robs them of the human quality, does it not?

If we think of it, Aragorn and Faramir’s relationship is initiated as a sort of hurt-comfort to begin with, in the sense that Aragorn starts Faramir’s recovery from all his previous trouble, physical and even more so psychological. So I feel it’s a very natural direction to explore with these two, while of course they might appreciate being depicted in a way that doesn’t imply any sissyness on their behalf. And I do like to play around with things, to see the “weak” King. I understand the way you use that word, and use it the same way here :) I’ve always liked the hurt-comfort element to be double-bottomed, in the sense that the party currently engaged with the comforting side of the deal would be in need of comfort themselves. The wounded healer trope, I guess. As said before, I like it when I can sort of pity a character, respectfully, and in such an arrangement I can feel this way towards both of them, which give me double the joy, hehe.

Not to mention the obvious truth that often it’s precisely someone who’s hurt themselves, or been hurt themselves, who’s in best position to give help, and if not, then at least understanding. I think the Book itself perfectly illustrates this with the Gollum-Frodo situation. Who could’ve related to Gollum better? Who else could’ve related to Gollum at all, except Bilbo perhaps, which is much in the same direction anyway.

What you said in your latest post made me think on the question of validation. I haven’t explicitly analysed this before, but now I see why it felt imperative to have Aragorn as completely inexperienced in this story. Initially I had thought it was just an attempt to stick to canon at least in some way, hehe, as it had always felt to me that Tolkien implied a lot of celibacy to be going on in the story, and not just re Aragorn. And of course it would explain why he didn’t know how to deal with the Arwen situation. But now I come to think that the greatest reason was the question of validation. We so often need our close ones to validate us, don’t we, especially the romantically close ones. Although a lack of parental validation, especially a chronic one, can be extremely painful, at least we can tell ourselves that we don’t get to choose our parents, or they their children, and so it happens sometimes that people in a family simply have very different views on things. Whereas with a beloved, this is a person we chose, or at least our heart chose, someone we bet our money on, so to say, someone who has explicitly said that they do love us back, implying they approve of our ways, too. So when here suddenly the validation goes missing, that leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

My point here is, I think it usually requires some experience, and preferably with different people at that, to properly internalize the self-evident notion that a person’s reactions are always their own. Yes, the way we go about things can change a person’s reaction (imagine suddenly coming to your love-bed in a spiderman costume, bound to get a new reaction, eh?) – but it is still their reaction. Just as all our reactions are ours. And when we meet that one lover who makes us reel with bliss like none before, how often we grieve then afterwards if that lover exits our life, for it seems that only they possessed the gift to do that to us. Whereas if we think on it, yes, that person for whatever reason had found the buttons to push that others hadn’t – but those buttons are ours, not theirs, they did not take them with them when they left. It was us who experienced that joy, it is our nervous system that is capable of the sensation.

But when your first and only intimate experience results in rejection, especially a loving rejection, and your stakes were so high, how are you to reason yourself into the above? It is very difficult to believe then that the fact that one particular person does not want to do a particular thing with you means only that – that this person doesn’t want to do this with you, that’s it. It’s much easier instead to start making these statistical generalisations along the lines of, therefore no one can ever be expected to ever want to do anything with me. Which in turn means I am unattractive.

Which is bullshit. There’s really no such thing as unattractive, in an intransitive sense.

You know, the eye of the beholder, blahblah. But it’s true. I could never understand the point of those lists in the popular magazines, like the top 100 sexiest men/women on Earth. Sexiest to whom? OMG, who decides that this is the most desirable man alive? If another 1000 readers think he’s a complete douche, does that unsexify him? This is such crap. Even if 10,000 are dying to take you to bed, that doesn’t make you attractive, it only means that these 10,000 men want you. Of course, some people are found to be attractive by a greater percentage of the population than some other people. There’s such a thing as type, and there is a certain cultural fashion as to which traits are seen as desirable. But it’s still utterly subjective. And it’s never you, really.

I’ve seen firsthand how this works. A few years back I’d come across this number who for whatever reason couldn’t bear to touch me, you know, there, with any other part of their body than the one meant for it by mum nature. Hence no handjobs, no oral sex, zilch. Whereas right before that there was another character who was so fond of that region of myself that they requested, repeatedly, to take pictures of it to keep on their phone. I’m not even kidding you. That was perhaps the weirdest compliment I’d ever received, and I was like, thanks, but that’s so not gonna happen. But even so, thankfully by then I knew enough to not take either of those cases to heart. For all I know, each would treat any other specimen of my gender in exactly the same fashion, one being freaked out, the other setting up photo-ambushes. I had not had any genital surgery in between them I was exactly the same, and yet such a spectrum of reaction. Obviously, it had extremely little to do with me.

But now I feel real bad for Aragorn, you know, for he has seen none of this. On the plus side, he’s less cynical about sex, I would imagine, than most people of today – but that’s hardly a help at the moment. He hasn’t even heard about the “inelegant” nature of sex, as you mentioned it.

No, I really should do that one with the grapes. To restore social justice.

And I know what you mean by Faramir being softer, I think. Less calcified, one could say. I would imagine Aragorn is just as sensitive to others’ feelings and hurts, but he’s more likely to give people the respect of privacy, whereas Faramir is more openly and actively helpful. Like Pippin saw Faramir as being as noble, but less remote. I really can’t imagine, if Faramir were a leader of the remaining Eight Walkers, that he wouldn’t have pursued the apparently troubled Boromir until they had a sincere talk (assuming here Boromir were not his brother), or that he would have rejected Eowyn without explaining his personal circumstances to her, or at least giving her some outlandish Mel-Gibson consolation re I’m sorry I’m gay.

Thanks again for all the attention, love!

December    Sunday 19 August 2012, 3:24    #

If I be in love with somebody someday, I want to be it like as in your stories.
Why don’t you write books?

— Lizzy    Tuesday 14 August 2018, 15:52    #

Aww, Lizzy, what big, generous things to say!

Funnily enough, the sort of love l write about is, l think, not the best for us regular people. l used to chase love like that, but now l prefer to be loved like Rosie by Sam :)

As for an original book, since you ask, l do have a fantasy world and story half-baked in my head. But realistically, l don’t think l’d ever be able to love anything more than l love Tolkien’s world, even something of my own making. So l choose to dedicate my time to LOTR. But thank you :3

December    Thursday 16 August 2018, 10:03    #

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To See You Again (NC-17) Print

By December

31 July 2018 | 3656 words

Title: To See You Again
Author: December
With: Aragorn
Rating: NC-17
Summary: He had come to say goodbye, he had not expected to stay.
As the new King of Gondor is about to depart on his first military campaign, the Steward has a lot to come to terms with.

Disclaimer: The author claims no ownership whatsoever over the characters and settings of this story.

He leans his forehead to the glass, imagines he can feel the rain splattering against the pane on the other side. Autumn cold breathes on him from the window, and as the grey skies darken above the woods of Ithilien, he sits deeper into the alcove and closes his eyes.

Minas Tirith lies in his care now, and it is not often he gets to come out here.

To be alone to think, to be free to remember.

As though in silent reproach, the tall door stood shut before him.

The summer warmth did not reach into this dim corridor, the passage left untrodden for so many centuries that it as though still carried the loneliness of the now past age.

For all anyone knew, those times could return, all too soon.

He cursed, yet again, the upcoming campaign. Wished he could have said something at the council that would render it unnecessary. Or at least something that would allow him to be a little more useful than this.

He fingered the silver chain held tight in his hand, looked at the dim glint of the gem, then back at the door.

They had spoken so many times, in public. It was easy, in public.

Taking one last heavy breath, he smoothed the front of his tunic, and knocked.

The first thing he saw as the door opened was great tiredness in the king’s lean face, and he knew he should not have come. But Aragorn’s gaze fell on him and the man’s eyes lit up with gladness, and as he smiled, it seemed to Faramir that it was indeed summer, and the night was warm.

“Faramir, what brings you?” Aragorn frowned. “You look troubled, is something the matter?”

“My lord, forgive me for disturbing your rest, ‘tis late, l know. But on the morrow there might not be time, and I…”

Aragorn shook his head, smiling again. “Don’t you worry about my rest. Tomorrow – and for many days after – there will be nothing but riding with the host at a snail’s pace, entertaining the country-folk. If I can doze off in the saddle, all the better. Why don’t you come in?”

Faramir inhaled.

“My lord, I truly do not wish to keep you. Here. I would that you have this – if it would please you.”

He handed over the pendant, mindful not to let their hands touch.

Aragorn held it up carefully by the chain, so the stone spun slowly and caught the light from the torches, flicking with scarlet in its blood-red depths.

“I remember Boromir wore one like this – but white,” he said thoughtfully.

“He did. Only in truth it was mine – we had exchanged them before he went. To keep each other safe.” Faramir pursed his lips. “Clearly, his worked better than mine. And so I thought… I thought that if as steward I must stay behind and cannot be by your side in battle, then at least perhaps you could take it, so it might aid keep you from harm.”

“That is a very generous gift, I understand how much it must mean to you, being a keepsake from Boromir.” Then Aragorn grinned, “Well, looks like now I will have to stay alive, so that I can look after it for you and bring it back.”

But Faramir did not laugh at his wry humour, and the king sighed.

“Your doomsday face will haunt me if this is the last I see of you before I go. Come, let us take a drink of wine, help you remember how to smile.” He looked at Faramir very seriously. “It is a royal decree, Lord Steward.”

Faramir chuckled then, and bowed his head in capitulation.

They sat across each other at the small table in Aragorn’s drawing room, and the wine was a bit too warm, but it did not matter, and the fruit in the bowl a bit too ripe, and that did not matter either. The liquor mixed with the sweetness on his tongue, and Faramir wished he did not need to watch so vigilantly over how he spoke. In the orange glow of the single candle Aragorn looked especially kingly, the ancient nobility of his carven features so stark, his easy smile so broad, so reassuring. The line of his jaw so strong, the tendons in his neck… Faramir looked away. What if he does not return. What if after tonight, there will be no more of him. What if this dream will be gone as if it had never been.

“Faramir.” The king’s voice was so soft, gentle. “Faramir, ‘tis all right, I will come back.”

“You cannot know that,” before he could stop himself. He inhaled sharply and made to get up. “I am sorry, my lord, I had not come to ruin your last evening in the City. I should let you rest.”

“You should sit down.”

Faramir stared into his goblet as the king walked around the table to stand behind his chair.

“And you should also stop apologising to me,” Aragorn said as he laid both hands on Faramir’s shoulders. “It far from gladdens me to see you so downcast, but in its own way, it is a great comfort also, to know that… that someone cares so much to see me safe.”

Faramir frowned. “Of course we care, my lord. You are our… everything.”

“Well, you know what I mean. Don’t make this about everyone, to them any king would be precious – and rightly so. I should like to think that to you, with our friendship – that you see me maybe as just a man, too.”

Faramir hummed in a way that could be interpreted as agreement, so as not to have to put his voice to the test, talking about just how he saw his king.

He glanced down at Aragorn’s long fingers on his shoulders, so close. How could anyone have such beautiful hands? How could a man’s hands, so large, and strong, and battle-worn, be so aglow with warm gentleness, with this intelligent lightness? Be able to cure all of the world’s hurts.

As though through a fog, he became aware of the hands moving on him, subtly, rhythmically. Aragorn must be giving him a massage, to soothe his high-strung mind.

He breathed in, closed his eyes, told himself he would only allow a minute of this self-indulgence. A shimmer of gold seemed to trickle down his back from where Aragorn touched him, and he felt his muscles grow warm and soft with happiness. It was so much work to sit straight, and his head tilted back, and Aragorn slipped up under his hair to knead his neck, skin on skin now.

This was nothing, Boromir and he would rub each other’s backs all the time. After practice, after combat, after a night of bad sleeping on frosted ground. Forget that, with Boromir they would wash each other’s hair in the bath. He could do nothing of the like with Aragorn. Not just because they were not blood kin, and of unequal title. Boromir’s touch had made him feel hopeful and at peace – as did Aragorn’s, but with everything that Aragorn was and everything that Aragorn did, there was an undercurrent that he did not know what to do with. His blood ran hot, and his heart beat with ferocious joy, and he yearned, and longed, and knew not for what.

As his fingers tingled with the need to come up and slide over Aragorn’s hands on him, Faramir clasped his goblet tight, and without quite meaning to, downed the rest of his wine.

“That’s better, isn’t it?” Aragorn murmured as his touch at last glided down Faramir’s neck to return onto his shoulders. It seemed to Faramir that in his agitation, compounded by the wine, even his king’s voice sounded strange in his ears. Husky and mellow at once. That the king’s hands lingered on him. Purposefully, wistfully.

He shut his eyes, tried to think in full sentences again.

“I thank you, my lord, and truly I should go now.”

Aragorn sighed. “As you wish.”

He stepped back to make room for his steward, and Faramir slid past, all too well aware that he should look up at his lord, but not trusting himself to do so. He had stared down many a fell beast, played the looking game with death too many times to care to count – but in this moment that could easily be their last one in private, he would not dare to face this man who was the best thing to ever happen to him, to all of them.

Aragorn stood still and silent, and although Faramir could feel that he was not looking at him either, a strange sense of expectancy hung over him. An urge to take a big breath and say – something, quickly, before it was too late. He swallowed it down, looked further away.

He cannot remember now, cannot quite grasp what it actually was – Aragorn did not exactly sigh, did not shift his weight, but it had felt as though some fragile balance tipped conclusively then. There was this empty, deflating sensation, like a soap bubble popping. He recalls becoming aware of a chill, too, as though he had let Aragorn down somehow and the king’s disappointment manifested itself in a physical drop in temperature.

Without another word, the king walked him back to the door.

“I shall wear the gem, Faramir,” he said quietly. But as he reached for the door-handle, Faramir reached for his hand, and pressed it tight to his lips.

“How I wish I could give you more, sire,” he whispered against Aragorn’s knuckles. “Would that I were sharpening my sword now with the rest of the men, to ride by you tomorrow. To shield and serve you as should be my duty, not sit idle while you risk life and limb.”

Aragorn moved his hand from Faramir’s lips, but lingered oddly to hold it as though cupping him on the face.

“You are already giving me more than you know. And as my finest warrior and wisest counsellor – I need you here, to protect Gondor in my absence.”

“What good is all of Gondor to me without you? Please, be safe. I could not…”

Aragorn then stepped up to him, and gathered him close.

“Oh Faramir, I wish I did not have to go,” he said, and planted a kiss of blessing on Faramir’s forehead, and hugged him even tighter.

Faramir did not know what to do with his arms hanging by his sides, so he returned the embrace – and even though he stood tense and on guard, it felt too good to let go. The warmth of Aragorn’s back, its lean strength under Faramir’s cautious hands, the shape of his taut muscles through the thin velvet…

“My lord,” he laughed helplessly. “I have forgotten all my manners. Please, make me leave already.”

He heard Aragorn grin. “Maybe I don’t want you to leave.”

He had never been held this close by a man, other than Boromir. But with Boromir, they had been of a height and equally broad in the shoulders. He had gotten so used to that as the only possible fit, that now with Aragorn taller and leaner than him, there did not seem to be a natural way to stand. He shifted around awkwardly, and somehow ended up with the bridge of his nose pressed into the other man’s neck, below the place where the stubble of his beard began.

How impossibly soft was the king’s skin in this spot.

Would it be just as soft on his lower belly, that flat space below the navel? Or what about the upper inside of his thighs, just where the legs open from the hip? Would the scent be the same, or even sharper, muskier?

Faramir’s breath grew close and heavy inside his chest, and he struggled to keep it in, to prevent hot air from puffing at Aragorn’s throat. To his horror, unfathomably his lips brushed against his king’s skin.

He knew that it had not gone unnoticed by Aragorn’s sharp intake of breath.

A gasp of embarrassment, distaste, what else would it be – but his disobedient ear decided to hear it as pleasure.

Of all times, oh please not now. His heart sank as he felt himself grow hard, and he knew his summer attire would do nothing to hide it. But as he tried to turn his body aside, Aragorn pulled him in even closer.

Faramir stood frozen as a matching hardness pressed with hopeful insistence against his hip, trapped sideways in Aragorn’s breeches.

Aragorn’s hands curled into fists on his back, pulling at the fabric of his tunic.

How disgraceful, to provoke this reflexive response in his lord.

He had to assure his king that he understood it was naught, only a bodily reaction, the fault was fully his. Just as he raised his face to say something to the effect, Aragorn leant in to him, and their mouths sealed together, lip to lip.

They stood locked to each other at the mouth, at once in a kiss and in avoidance of one, as though if they did not move, did not breathe, then it was not real.

Aragorn’s lips held his hard and dry, but this was Aragorn, the very shape of whose mouth was so full of wonder, made of nothing but the promise of softness, the promise of sweet gliding heat. As Faramir tried to remember his oaths of fealty and pull away, his own lips softened and opened, and flat out refused to leave Aragorn’s, so he had to drag them sideways against the king’s mouth.

Valar, they were really not very good at this. As Aragorn did his own part to break out of their accidental entanglement, he happened to tilt his face in just such a way that not only cut off Faramir’s trajectory of retreat, but spread the steward’s mouth further open.

At last he willed himself to look up at the king, to help them coordinate out of this hot mess – only to see that Aragorn’s eyes were shut, his eyebrows tilted, as though in bliss or pain. In that exact moment Aragorn’s hands dropped to his waist, and he probed into Faramir’s mouth with his tongue.

Before Faramir could note to himself that it was almost as if his lord was doing this intentionally, his whole body jolted into Aragorn, who had to grip him hard on the waist to keep their balance. It seemed impossible to rein in his hips from pressing up to Aragorn’s, hypnotised by the obvious length and girth of the royal manhood. Equally impossible to keep his tongue from darting at the king’s, and when Aragorn did not withdraw but only pushed for more, from pushing boldly back so that it was now his tongue in his liege’s mouth.

It was when he not so much heard as rather felt the other man moan into his mouth, that suddenly Aragorn tore himself away – and as though to put further temptation at a distance, promptly tucked Faramir’s head under his chin.

“Oh, Elbereth, help us. Faramir, I… you… You are distraught tonight, the prospect of loss may drive you to things you may later regret. I could not avail myself… I cannot exploit you…”

“My lord…” Faramir said into the hollow dent where the king’s collarbones met. “Is that how it is for you then, driven by fear? Do you want me only now that you are about to leave?”

Aragorn snorted. “If only. Oh, if only, Faramir. I have loved you since the day you had first looked upon me.”

There was a long moment when he could not reply, for it felt too much like a dream. Surely he had not drunk enough to be hearing things? He stood only staring at his own hand planted on the king’s rising chest, his fingers on the fine velvet of Aragorn’s actual raiment, the small male nipple tangible against the centre of his palm. He had not dared even wish for this and yet it was true – his until the morning only.

“As have I,” he said at last.

A sense of fey freedom swept through them both as a wild wind, and from that point on he remembers things out of sequence, as visions from someone else’s life.

With a grunt Aragorn hoisted him up, and Faramir wrapped his legs around him as Aragorn held him by the arse. He was higher than the king then, and he took his lord on the face with both hands, and leant in down to him, and kissed him as deep as he could reach while Aragorn carried him through one dark room after another.

He remembers the weight of Aragorn’s body on him as they toppled onto the vast bed. Thin curtains were billowing softly in the breeze of the open balcony, the fabric a milky-blue in the moonlight. Some vision from Elven memories, not a blessing meant for mortal Men.

He remembers how hard, and hot, and alive Aragorn’s cock had felt in his mouth. How it seemed to need more room than he possibly had to offer, and accommodating it had taken careful thought and a bit of dexterity, and how wonderful that had been, how much he had wanted it.

Was that before or after Aragorn rolled him onto his front, and climbed on top of him, spreading Faramir’s legs apart with his knees? Faramir had misplaced his breath, more than a little uncertain how exactly he was meant to fit all of the royal glory up his backside. But Aragorn instead kissed him on the upper back – then slowly made his way down.

He remembers gasping, and crying out as his king worked his tongue into him from behind. Remembers hearing Aragorn hum and moan softly as he would lick up and down between his steward’s buttocks, before once again probing, and prodding, and shoving wetly into him.

Just when it had seemed to Faramir that he could bear no more, Aragorn’s mouth was joined by his fingers. First one, then two.

He made Faramir writhe on the mattress, push back into his face, onto his hand, spread for him, and demand in some rather coarse language that it not be forgotten that they had cocks on them, and that Aragorn ought to put his where it belonged.

Aragorn then said he wanted to see his face, and lay on his back, and pulled Faramir to him.

It seems strange now that he still had some scraps of modesty left at that point, and it was difficult to lift his eyes that first time, as he straddled his king’s hips, and sat stark naked atop him. To acknowledge this new intimacy, all they had just done for one another, and all yet to come.

Propped on the pile of cushions at the head of his royal bed, Aragorn watched him from the shadows. His eyes did not leave Faramir’s as slowly he ran his hands, so full of heat, up Faramir’s thighs, over his stomach and chest, traced down the muscular curves of his arms.

“How strong you are, my steward,” he murmured. “How beautiful. Why should I be this fortunate?”

Faramir did not know what to say, so bent down to kiss him instead. He took him on the face with both hands, and pressed his mouth hotly against Aragorn’s, and felt Aragorn’s lips curve into a smile against his before the king returned his kiss.

After this, he remembers only the hypnotic rhythm, the rapture of Aragorn’s presence inside him, the thrill of hearing the pleasure in Aragorn’s sighs against his face. Aragorn rolling them over, grinding Faramir into the bed with such desperate hunger, then jerking uncontrollably as release overwhelmed him. That sound his king had made, that roaring cry, as a warrior wounded in battle.

He remembers lying spread open on his back, breathless and steaming, so happy, so fearful, so dazed. Aragorn lying on top of him, in him, at once so awkward and so natural, so unbelievable and real.

Then slipping out of him, slowly, gently, to move down along his body. He was certainly dreaming by then, for how could it be, but he could not have imagined that sweet heat, that insane bliss of the king’s mouth on him. Aragorn guiding him to put his hand on the back of his head, grip his king by the hair, rock with his hips to push deeper into his throat as Aragorn…

Was the mortal body even designed to withstand so much joy? How was such glory even possible outside the Undying Realm.

He had meant to keep vigil all night, but his consciousness was sinking into the dark warmth of the night, overladen and drowning in Aragorn’s scent. Was it not equally a gift to sleep this once in Aragorn’s arms, wrapped in the safety of his love?

Faramir did not notice how his hold slipped, and all his thoughts spun out and dissolved, and the sweetness of Aragorn’s sleeping breath on his cheek was the last thing he had managed to grasp.

Author’s note: I live to bring joy to my readers. If you liked this story or have any thoughts on it, please do let me know. Thank you so much!

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

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at https://www.faramirfiction.com/fiction/to-see-you-again. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!

6 Comment(s)

Always amazing!

— Lizzy    Friday 3 August 2018, 21:52    #

Lizzy, thank you so much!

December    Saturday 4 August 2018, 1:25    #

Thank you so much for taking the time to also post here — so nice to see something new!
Your Faramir is adorable as always! Here’s hoping for a sequel because these two need to be reunited!

— iris    Thursday 16 August 2018, 13:52    #

Thanks so much iris!

Yes, l’ve begun working on that, but who knows if it will ever see the light of day, given all the other stories l should be finishing first… Oops.

This place is very special to me. It feels like home. Everyone who comes here, l already know they are coming with love for Faramir. I’m eagerly awaiting when we get the next wave of activity like we did in the early-mid 2010s. That was great times!

December    Friday 17 August 2018, 12:25    #

Precious gift to all the Faramir’s fans indeed to find a new story of yours. Hope your inspiration will find you again soon. Thank you for your talent.

— LCD    Sunday 14 October 2018, 18:06    #

Thank you so much for your kind words, LCD! Reader feedback is the best inspiration :)

— December    Saturday 27 October 2018, 3:05    #

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Hungry Eyes and a Blade of Steel (NC-17) Print

By December

16 June 2018 | 18315 words | Work in Progress

With: Aragorn, Éowyn
Rating: NC-17
Written for the 6th Anniversary Challenge: Éowyn by iris.
Warnings: het content, very explicit action, some obscene talk.
Disclaimer: Not mine (although I’m not entirely certain the rightful owners would want to have any dealings with the characters of this work either, given the state said characters get themselves into as the story unfolds…).

Notes: Thanks to Chloé for the beta on chapters 1-3!
Everything (except the obvious) is based on Book canon.

‘Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea, and one on shore,
To one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into hey nonny nonny.’

William Shakespeare

Chapter 1.

Éowyn had never minded getting a tad dirty.

Wet to the bone, boots squelching in the mud that pooled over the rutted forest footpath, she led her equally soaked mare by the bridle, and was in exceptionally high spirits. The grime did nothing but make her look forward to the comforts of their Ithilien estate: a good bath, a plate of warm food and… well, some other things afterwards.

She could have, of course, stayed the night at the village.

What with the horrible, chilly downpour and an almost complete lack of visibility, the men must expect her to have done just that. Who would think it would occur to her to try and take a shortcut through the woods, at this hour and in this weather? Except that she wanted to be home tonight, and if it came as a little surprise for a certain someone, all the better.

All the better, she thought emerging at last from beneath the dark, glittering canopy that swayed, and bowed, and in place of goodbye pelleted the horse and its mistress with yet another cascading curtain of liquid ice. All the better, she thought shielding her face with her elbow as they waded through the slick grasses of the open meadow, the wind throwing itself at them with the plaintive relentlessness of a denied lover. The ground had grown marshy, and even the smallest hill saw them sliding back and slipping in their step, but she pressed on, giving herself a teeth-clenched grin as she dug her feet sideways into the buttery slope, encouraging her four-legged companion along.

It was well past eleven when the woman and the mare treaded onto the paved road that lead to the stalls and barn.

Éowyn moved her shoulders under the dead weight of the sodden cloak and lazily wiped a flat strand of plastered hair from her forehead as she stood surveying, not without some hard earned pride, the building that loomed through the rain-mist ahead. White from porch till rooftop, for he could not understand how a house could be anything but white, it now seemed hardly a shade lighter than the weeping skies that served as its backdrop. Together with the colour, the night hid from view the airy balconies and elegant carven facades wrought with mythical beasts and leaf and flower of unearthly trees, and it stood sturdy and monolith, her new home.

Their home.

What a life they had built together. At times, she could still not quite believe it.

She would never weary of the sight, and was glad to have made the journey. The household, however, was fast asleep, if the dark windows overlooking the stables were anything to go by.

Faramir was an early riser, something about old habits, and he would have long since gone to bed along with the others. What a shame, that, she would have far from minded finding him awake now – or at least finding a certain aspect of him awake. A long day of riding always worked to that effect. Unreasonably fit for a lady of court, no amount of hours on horseback could tire her out, succeeding only at filling all her muscles, and especially those in the saddle region, with a pleasant awareness. Having felt a strong warm animal between her thighs all day, she would not be loath to experience a strength and heat of another kind as well. Not that she was ever loath, with him.

Even so, if he was asleep, maybe she could wait till morning. She was a sweet obedient wife, after all. That is, most of the time she was… Sometimes. On certain rare occasions. Well…

All the more, she ought not to wake him.

Éowyn unsaddled her mate, wiped her down, covered her with a long blanket, combed through her tangled mane and tail, checked the horse had everything for a comfortable rest, and wished her good night. Then finally she entered the people’s quarters, intent on grabbing a morsel in the kitchens, peeling off her soppy clothes, and heading straight for her own bed after a quick wash over a bucket. If she did not get to have the one thing that refused to leave her imagination, she could do without the foamy bath as well.

As she scoured her back with the rough washcloth, scrubbing out of her skin the smell of sweat, both animal and human, suddenly she remembered what she had witnessed earlier that day. In line with her interest in healing, Éowyn often went to the village to help the ailing, but this time it had not been exactly an illness. She shuddered lightly as she recalled the thick, heavy redolence of blood – the smell she had come to associate with death, but which could be a herald of life, too. Life brutally forcing itself through the woman’s body, spreading and splitting her flesh, making her pant, and groan, and growl. How horrifying it had looked, how beastly it had sounded – what a staggering, grim beauty. Merciless, primeval splendour.

As Éowyn passed the midwife yet more towels, the aged woman had winked at her. “And mens think they seen gore, eh, yer leddyship?”

She had smiled in return, and it was then that for the first time she consciously knew she wanted this to happen to her, too. To let nature work its course on her, have its way with her, fill and stretch her body beyond belief. Reduce her to her animal essence, make her suffer, so that in the end there could be glory and new meaning – to everything.

It was time. She knew she wanted it to begin this very night, to have the man in her life set this irreversible, unstoppable force in motion.

Éowyn threw the washcloth into the bucket, straightened up and looked down upon herself. Placing a palm on her lower belly, between the navel and the tuft of dark-blonde hair, she pressed thoughtfully.

This is where it would be, where it would lie, curled up, where it would sleep inside her, and grow. She felt firm to her palm, flat. All her youth, this flatness had brought comfort, for it bespoke strength, and in strength there was freedom and safety. But what she had now was better than complete freedom, and safety was altogether a given, so the flatness had turned into emptiness. A promising emptiness, a space that could be filled.

Weighing her bosom in her hands, she pictured it changing, too.

She had helped the exhausted mother ease open the front of her dampened shirt and pop out a breast for the wrinkle-faced newborn. It had taken her aback at first, how swollen, blown-up it was, the veins thick under the taut milk-white skin, the teat an intense purplish brown.

Pensively, Éowyn ran her thumb over her own nipple. The very thought of sharing her body with another human person, someone other than Faramir… A new connection, so deep, so natural.

Yes, this night would be perfect. She indulged herself in a mischievous smile. Their royal visitor’s guest bedroom was nigh across the corridor from Faramir’s and hers, and she liked to play around with the thought that if she took the trouble to scream loud enough, her husband might not be the only man to hear.

No, she was by all means in no mood for that nice unassuming wife nonsense.

Éowyn wrung the water from her tresses, arranged them into a towel-wrap on her head, went up to the upper floor where all the living quarters were, and headed for her wardrobe. It still amused her that she of all people, the Shieldmaiden of Rohan, had found it rather enjoyable, to have a whole room for a wardrobe.

Fishing in one of the drawers, she smiled again. If after all she was going to rob her unsuspecting spouse of sleep, she may as well do so in style.

She took out a matching set of powder-blue silk camisole and short bloomers. At the beginning of their marriage, it had felt more than a tad foolish wearing all such satins and laces, like a saddle on a cow. Seeing the effect it produced upon Faramir had quickly convinced her to reconsider. He had a thing for lingerie, her husband did, although the way he had of treating said lingerie resulted in it having become a rather tangible expense for their estate.

A pleasant shiver ran down Éowyn’s spine as she took a moment to envisage the exquisite fabric unceremoniously ripped off her, a breath of air caressing naked skin before he would cover her with himself, with his weight, with the hot strength of his body…

Nay, his fate was sealed, there was no way she could leave him in peace now, not a chance.

It did not bother her that her hair had instantly wetted the fabric on her back, the material sticking to her waist in a frigid grip. Soon, very soon she would be relieved of her attire. Faramir was a warrior – it never took him long to wake.

She walked back through her drawing room and bedroom to the small corridor adjoining to his chamber. It was usually he who visited her, and it was a thrill to take things to his corner of the house for a change – so different from her plushly decorated boudoir. As she knew he liked it, she kept the linens aromatised with floral sachets, lit sweet incenses before the night. There would be no lilacs or roses in his room, only manly scents, above all her favourite, his own. He would be so warm from his sleep, he would spread that warmth through her chilled body, bring sweat to her brow all over again…

Just as she was about to enter the connecting passageway, Éowyn staggered, jolted out of her reverie in a rather ungracious fashion.

What’s this now?

Narrowing her eyes and tilting her head to the side, she held her breath. Perhaps just the wind, trapped somewhere in the masonry – but the sound returned, longer and louder, unequivocal.

Éowyn’s nostrils flared.

A man moaning.

Faramir moaning. Very obviously not from anything remotely unpleasant.

She like no one knew what exactly would elicit that sound.

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

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at https://www.faramirfiction.com/fiction/hungry-eyes-and-a-blade-of-steel. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!

47 Comment(s)

This is simply fantastic! I really do have a soft sport for Eowyn and you’ve written her wonderfully, I love how she goes from anger to disbelief to curiosity right through to arousal!
This was very hot ;), and beautifully written, and I can’t wait for this to continue (I want to know what happens when Faramir and Aragorn realise they were being watched!)

Eora    Monday 13 September 2010, 19:35    #

Ты прости, дорогая моя, но вот эту историю я буду читать только тогда, когда она будет полностью завершена. Уверенна, она также великолепна как и Oxygen с After a Lifetime… ))))

— Anastassiya    Tuesday 14 September 2010, 5:08    #

Oh, how I enjoyed this! You write so well and this Éowyn of yours is great! And what a good idea to turn this request into a WiP :) I’m so looking forward to the next chapter!

Geale    Tuesday 14 September 2010, 9:25    #

Haha, I was so excited that I missed the 2nd chapter :) I love this! You are touching on some serious subjects here and I did find Éowyn’s reasoning back and forth quite realistic – you’ve made her into a real person of flesh and blood. And the added pinch of humour (‘She would even wear a flowery dress’) just makes it more entertaining. Thank you!

Geale    Tuesday 14 September 2010, 9:44    #

Eora, thank you, thank you!! I’m glad you like it, and I promise there is more to come :)
Yes, I also love Eowyn – and she’s a darling to work with, by the way: such intense reactions… Although, you know, I always thought her relationship with Faramir was in for some, well… incidents. Eowyn’s got quite a bit of spirit – and then Faramir… All his patience, kindness, etc. notwithstanding, I always had a feeling he would not be exactly the yes-ma’am-of-course-ma’am-whatever-ma’am-says kind of husband. Well, we shall see about that later ;)

Настасья, дражайшая моя, ну что ты, я ничуть не в обиде. Напротив, ты дала мне прекрасный стимул вплотную заниматься дописанием этой истории. Спасибо, кстати, за добрые слова про другие мои работы – и After a Lifetime я тоже, безусловно, закончу.
P.S. Я тут зашиваюсь маленько – но на письма ваши, барышня, в скорейшем времени непременно отвечу!

December    Tuesday 14 September 2010, 10:01    #

Oh, Geale, I was just in the process of typing my reply to the first two people and didn’t see your comment right away. Thank you very much for reading and for saying such nice things!
Frankly, initially I had meant to post the story only when it was fully ready, but then it stretched out long enough to be made into a mini-series – and I thought, why not? :)
As for Eowyn, I’m really glad you enjoy her character in this story. Actually, much as I am fond of her, I am also a total sucker for all things Faramir/Aragorn, and problem is she… well, sort of gets in the way. So this challenge’s idea struck me as a very clever way to try and fit everyone together somehow – and to see if they actually can fit together…

December    Tuesday 14 September 2010, 10:56    #

Ah ha! Wondrously written, as always.

But the best part was Eowyn’s need for glory… in childbirth! Incredibly insightful. And so Eowyn!

Can’t wait, of course, for the next chapter.

Alcardilmë    Wednesday 15 September 2010, 3:24    #

Wow! This was INCREDIBLE! I loved it all: the idea, the situation, the characters (well, Eowyn no far, she is simply brilliant, you did a great job at describing her thoughts and the way she passes from one feeling to another) and of course the excellent WRITING! congratulations for what you did so far, I can’t wait to see haw this will continue…

(I happen to be a big Faramir/Eowyn shipper with a secret passion for threesomes, so this story just tickles me pink! I really, really hope the three of them will all end up in that bed toghether and live out all kinds of fantasies…)

great job so far, it’s been a true pleasure reading it!

— LittleDwarf    Friday 17 September 2010, 22:40    #

Alcardilmë, thank you! Ah, people never truly change, do they? She’s still looking for glory, and in the most gory places at that… I wonder what she’d think of the whole thing after she actually goes through it…

LittleDwarf, I’m so glad it’s hitting the spot! I also fell in love with the challenge’s idea at first sight (it’s a very big secret, but I also happen to share your passion for threesomes…), and am getting quite a kick out of working on it. I hope it shows :)
As for the characters – yeah, we only saw Aragorn’s back so far, not much of character development here ;) There’ll be a change of angle though, I promise!

December    Friday 17 September 2010, 23:00    #

Ooh! You’re such a tease! I read chapters 1 and 2 only this morning, which left me yearning for chapter 3—so I was very excited when I saw you posted the third chapter; perfect timing, I thought.
But of course now I’m left yearning for chapter 4…

Thank you so much for taking up my challenge. I’m very glad you’ve found it inspirational, and I just love what you’ve done with it so far.

iris    Saturday 2 October 2010, 12:00    #

Thank you, iris, for your kind comment! I am very glad you are enjoying this!
And thank you again for the challenge itself. It is helping me let go of many a self-imposed limitation, and at that has already quite broadened the range of topics I dare tackle as an author.

P.S. Hope chapter 4 will leave you yearning for more, too… ;)

December    Tuesday 2 November 2010, 18:22    #

Yay, there’s more! :D (and I somehow managed to miss the third chapter being published?!) I really love this story and while I really, really want to find out the outcome I also don’t want it to rush to an ending either! Your writing style is so lovely; I love the introspective quality and I must say you are excellent at creating a rather steamy scene ;D I said it before but I really do love how you’ve written Eowyn, the way you’ve presented her thoughts and feelings really give the reader an excellent grasp of her character and her reactions are all justified (however varied her reactions may be!) I can’t wait to see what happens next; the revelation that Faramir and Aragorn aren’t just doing this for kicks is one I really want to read more about :) Fantastic!

Eora    Tuesday 2 November 2010, 19:17    #

This story is so intriguing! I find it amazing how you’ve posted four chapters in which, on the surface, only one thing is happening: a woman is spying on her husband in bed with his lover. And yet, beneath the surface there is this stunning whirlwind of emotions, reflections, realisations, ideas etc. that we are guided through. Your writing is – I’ll have run out of superlatives when this story is finished – so incredibly excellent! :)

Geale    Tuesday 2 November 2010, 20:12    #

I just love your writing. I start out thinking it’s sweet and fun. And then it hits me – you KNOW Eowyn. This is not a sad little woman, but a profoundly strong woman. I just love what you give us of her. What I learn about her. Profound!

Excellent tale. Can’t wait for the next chapter… and the one after that!

Alcardilmë    Thursday 11 November 2010, 3:54    #

Eora, thanks very much for all your sweet words! I can assure you this tale shan’t end too soon, we only have about a third of it published this far. As for Eowyn’s revelation, that is bound to be further explored in the nearest future – I can even tell you that this time it won’t be only her thoughts we’ll be getting on the subject.

Geale, glad to know you’re following and still liking it! I can promise you soon enough there’s going to be much more than just this one thing happening. Although I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s going to be altogether pleasant: you know what Eowyn is like. She’s always had more of herself than she could handle on her own – but who’s to talk sense into her in this dire situation?

Alcardilmë, thank you, thank you! But, honestly, dear, you were expecting something sweet and fun – from me? ;-p You know my mode, for every ounce of fun there’s bound to be a pound of angst and assorted observations about this and that. Besides, it’s Eowyn we’re dealing with: she never has it the easy way, does she? Well, we shall wait and see whether she can make the most of what she’s given…

December    Thursday 11 November 2010, 18:01    #

Ah… you know for days I’ve been meaning to reply to your email, saying ‘don’t feel obliged just because I asked’, and ‘don’t let my shameless begging pressure you into writing anything’ so I sincerely hope you didn’t feel pressured but still I’m glad you did add to, what I still sort of consider to be, in part at least, my story;) Though you’re such a tease!!
Thanks a lot for sharing!

Iris    Saturday 16 April 2011, 9:30    #

Well then, maybe it’s a good thing you didn’t send that mail after all ;) No, no, to be serious, your asking about it didn’t in any way weigh on me. If anything, it’s very helpful to get a reminder that regardless of the hiatus the story is still being waited for, at least by someone :) And now that the chapter finally came out the way that feels right to me, I really can’t see why it was such a struggle… guh.
Anyway, I’m happy you’re enjoying! And yes, of course it is your story too, that’s part of the pleasure of working on it, to know that it’s a product of more than one imagination :)

December    Saturday 16 April 2011, 10:04    #

Woah… what cock-block-cliffhanger!!! XD

elektra121    Friday 27 May 2011, 0:38    #

Oooooohh, wonderful sixth chapter! If you hadn’t done it before, now you’ve made sure anyone who reads this will have to read the next -as soon as you have it out!
What will happen now, WHAT, WHAT, WHAAAAAAAT? I want to know!

Nerey Camille    Saturday 28 May 2011, 15:20    #

Please, may she join the fun? :)

elektra121    Saturday 28 May 2011, 17:25    #

Holy molasses! I can only imagine the fall out from this! Wow – I’ve got my fingers crossed for a little for her! No – a lot!!!

Alcardilmë    Sunday 29 May 2011, 5:56    #

Wow, everyone, thank you so much! I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had reading your comments.
Elektra, hm, and a bit of a c%nt-block, too, come to think of it ;p
Moral: don’t bring cold weapons along on sexual expeditions – or, maybe, do? %D
Nerey, yey, you’re still reading this! :) Well, I can assure you that a lot of things are going to happen now. Of what nature and tonality, it remains to be seen ;)
Alcardilmë, oh, I wonder what she would say of the notion at this particular point in the story…

December    Sunday 29 May 2011, 7:11    #

Oh my- now there’s a cliffhanger! Many thanks for the latest offering — and I’m much looking forward to the next chapter (needless to say, I second elektra’s request… but you probably got that from the challenge;))

Iris    Sunday 29 May 2011, 8:02    #

Well! I really must begin by echoing Iris and saying What a cliffhanger! I won’t lie, I’ve been waiting for that moment for a long time; I literally can’t wait to see what happens in the next chapter! (the possibilities…)

I love the continuing back and forth description of what amounts to some very steamy action in the bedroom and what Eowyn herself is doing, and then her inner thoughts and assumptions and quick changing emotions, all coupled with her physical reaction and state. Teamed with the building suspense (for we know Eowyn must either going to be discovered or perhaps burst into the room at some point during the build-up) it makes for a really heady mix!

‘True enough, in the heat of his passion he could go hard and fast on her, could reduce her to convulsions and screams. Yet nevertheless he never crossed the line, ever remaining loving, respectful and mindful; never had he been in any way rough or forceful, never had he shown her this side of himself that so easily broke forth when he was with Aragorn.’ It’s this theme here in this paragraph that is so interesting, and what I feel is the real crux of the situation.
I love the aggression and roughness between Faramir and Aragorn, not so much between themselves as people, for all we know of their ‘relationship’ is what we see through Eowyn’s eyes and in her thoughts and deductions, but in the way they are with one another in the bedroom. We saw earlier on their more tender lovemaking, and now there seems to be a fire raging within them both, and it seems here, and Eowyn comes to the conclusion as well, that here is an opportunity for Faramir to be rough, or be treated more roughly; the way you touch upon her insecurities as a lover, questioning in what ways she must be inadequate for Faramir to both stray and ‘open himself up’ in such a way as you put it is very well written and put forth, and a very interesting issue to consider.
I am absolutely itching to see the conclusion to this wholly inexplicable conundrum, to find out the answers to Eowyn’s questions; why has Faramir strayed? Is Eowyn truly so lacklustre in bed, or is it something more? Or does he love her truly, and finds no fault in her skill, and then the question should be what has Aragorn offered him that would be so tempting as to make Faramir forsake his vows and be led astray? Does Faramir fight within himself the doubt over whether he is attracted to women or men, and is this some way of answering that question? These things, and more, are things that Eowyn and the reader have in the forefront of their mind, and I for one am really very eager to find out some answers! When I saw the ‘DE-KLANG!’ at the end, my heart leapt into my mouth; I knew things were about to get even more interesting! I can’t wait for the next chapter! :D

(You really make me want to write an Eowyn-centric story now, and though she has a part in another fic I’m writing I want to give her a story of her own, so thank you for the wonderful inspiration- again!)

Eora    Sunday 29 May 2011, 16:37    #

I really love the psychology of this. Eowyn is learning so much about her husband and herself in turn. Engaging the brain is so much better than just a voyeurism story. I’m into the brain-ing.

— Bell Witch    Monday 30 May 2011, 7:07    #

Iris, hm, I’ll be a little sassy now ;P What I’ve gathered from the challenge is ‘they ought to invite her’ along. True enough, they probably ought to, given what arses they’ve been to her – but will they? These two don’t seem to always be doing strictly what they ought. Besides, they might as well invite her – but what would her reaction to that be? Your request said nothing on the subject… X-P
Eora! I’m glad you see various directions for the situation to develop/be explained: working with a pretty much predetermined plot I still wanted the reader to feel like they do not quite know what exactly is going to come next. And I may assure you, many of thequestions you raise are yo be addressed in the upcoming updates 
I must confess that for me, too, this story has stemmed a couple more Eowyn pieces, where invariably she is in some complicated Faramir-Aragorn situation, not necessarily slashy, but complicated nevertheless. I find I can never in my mind untie her from Aragorn completely, believing that even though she did come to love Faramir and all, her history with the King could not have disappeared without a trace.
Bell Witch, thank you! Personally, I think all erotica is to some extent voyeuristic (except, perhaps, for that done from 1st person POV and therefore rather exhibitionist in nature), and to me the, so to say, emotional voyeurism seems as important in it as the sheer physical aspect. I think the reason we want to read sexy stories not just about anyone but our dear Faramir, Aragorn and the others is specifically the psychology and the depth it adds to the sexiness, otherwise it would be simpler to just put any random Bob, Bill and Jane in a story and see them go at it :D And I think the reason I was attracted by this challenge in the first place is not only that I always thought Eowyn would never fully get over the Aragorn incident, but also the endless multitude of themes and feelings that can be explored in this sort of seemingly straightforward situation.

December    Monday 30 May 2011, 16:20    #

oh… uncomfortable silence… I wonder how you’ll turn this around and move this forward (to me, that transition always seemed the trickiest part of the plot), and of course where you’ll take things from here.
Regarding your earlier comment: true, I didn’t specify whether Eowyn would accept any invitation – I suppose it simply didn’t occur to me that any woman could possibly turn them down! ;) But then again, I didn’t specify a lot of things – in my mind Eowyn realizes at some point while watching them, that she’s not angry or sad, but jealous, and then wonders whether it’s Faramir or Aragorn she’s most jealous of… But when you spell out a plot play by play, there are no more surprises. It’s far more fun seeing how you run with it! Keep up the good work!

Iris    Thursday 2 June 2011, 9:04    #

Oooohh, December, what a treat! I never hoped you’d post this so soon! Very good chapter, I’d say, and I wonder where it goes from here. Personally I think Faramir and Éowyn need to be alone if their relationship is to be healed; I can’t see either her or Faramir to let their raw feelings out in Aragorn’s presence. I don’t think she can really forgive anything while Aragorn is there, for one thing. But then of course I can’t see Aragorn leaving, it would seem like a retreat. I’d respect a Faramir that asked Aragorn to leave and dealt with his wife alone (I was a bit surprised that he didn’t come out of the room right away with Aragorn, or indeed without him). But your boys seem resolute not to feel sorry for what they’ve done, so I guess the three of them are stuck together. And then… I guess the only one who can do something about the situation is Éowyn. It’s up to her to forgive or not, for the men will do nothing to earn her pardon…
Still, I hope they will come up with something quickly, otherwise they are in for a very ridiculous situation where neither Aragorn nor Éowyn are ready to leave, Faramir can’t choose between them and none of the three has enough authority to get them all out of the awkward position, so they stay in the room looking at each other until they starve…
Interesting situation indeed: Aragorn is the King but he’s the intruder, Faramir is the host but he’s the unfaithful husband, Éowyn is in her own right but has been caught in the rather undignified position of spying… and she’s got no authority over either of them anyway. None of them really enjoys a safe or fully legitimate position.
Sure, despite this Éowyn could have the cheek to tell Aragorn to leave (even though he’s the King), but what if he doesn’t, if he and Faramir stick together? Emotionally speaking, she can do nothing against both of them. Faramir’s love for her is her only asset. And I guess the only thing that would make the boys feel sorry (and comfort her) would be to behold her suffering, but is she going to show it?
Heavens, what a mess. I hope you don’t mind my mentioning all those possibilities, but it’s always funny to see if we fanreaders get near what you’ve plotted for your characters.
Anyway, thanks a lot for this story that’s getting ever more interesting!

Nerey Camille    Friday 3 June 2011, 23:33    #

Wow- that was fast! And here’s me fearing I may have to wait a long time to see the outcome; though with a cliffhanger like that even one day would be forever :P

Talk about your awkward moments! (You know how I like those!) Like Nerey Camille has mentioned each peson in this most awkward scenario is in a uniquely powerful and powerless position; Aragorn obviously outranks everyone, but he is indeed the usurper in the marital bed. Faramir is obviously caught in the middle rank-wise but also he is Eowyn’s husband and has her love (ignoring for the moment any residual feelings she still harbours for Aragorn here) but he has apparently forsaken their marriage by being unfaithful, and with someone so utterly different to Eowyn both in rank and physically (and it brings to my mind the question of whether Eowyn’s feelings/reaction toward this whole matter would change if she had found Faramir in bed with another woman? Will Eowyn’s feelings toward Aragorn temper her reaction? She fantasises about him sometimes, though it is clear that Faramir has had her love for a while now.) And then, obviously, we have Eowyn, who, while wife of the Steward, is still outranked by him, and as has been said has only Faramir’s love for her as the card up her sleeve so to speak, along with, of course, the power she has been given by the two men as the jilted party, the person who has had her honour affronted in the most visceral way. She does not find out about the affair from gossip or hearsay or finding Aragorn’s smallclothes under the bed, no, she all but walks in on them in the act, and her right to anger is arguably the most powerful weapon here, though we’ll just need to find out how she chooses to wield it! (Is it too soon to beg for the next chapter?)

I giggled at the image of Aragorn just standing there with, ahem, the decency toward Eowyn to at least forego covering himself up, which is a rather strange sentence to type but as you’ve written; “[…] he must have already gathered she had just witnessed things far worse.” I think, though on its own standing there naked isn’t exactly what one generally does of an evening it at least says something for Aragorn’s…I don’t know if I want to say, ‘shame’ quite yet, as he and Faramir both, at the moment, seem quite unmoveable in their unapologetic stance. I’m not sure that quite made sense, but what I mean is that yes, Aragorn apologises for Eowyn having to find out about all of this in this particular way, but there is not yet any apology from neither he nor Faramir about the situation itself, though what apology can either give right now that would appease Eowyn or make anything better? Anything they said would surely ring false, because it seemed not five minutes prior they were not sorry at all. Hmm, yes, it appears I am in desperate need of the next chapter, once again you’ve left us on a spectacular cliffhanger! I’m eager to hear Faramir’s side of the story, his explanation or apology or whatever he is going to say, though from what I’m reading it seems we may not get much of the apology, I get the feeling that while he would not wish to hurt Eowyn he nevertheless is not sorry for his feelings toward Aragorn, and indeed does not feel that those two sets of feelings, those two different loves he has for Eowyn and Aragorn do not come into competition with one another, and are wholly separate, and surely something can be worked out in the end? But as Eoywn thinks, it does seem at the moment that Faramir is getting the best of both worlds here while she is usurped and Aragorn intrudes. How can she act now and come out on too? If she leaves Faramir she would arguably have her dignity intact but lose her husband, and most likely Faramir and Aragorn would continue their liaison. If she stays, what chance is there that she could split them up? As has been said her only real weapons (other than her sword, of course!) are her anger and Faramir’s love for her, but are they enough to get him to cast Aragorn out and try to mend something that is possibly un-fixable- their marriage? This whole incident would always loom over them like a black cloud, haunting Eowyn’s memory, and plaguing her thoughts. The trust between she and Faramir hangs on a particualrly thin thread at the moment, if it still exists at all. And of course, there is the question of, when the words are exchanged…will she want to split them up? Aaah, how complicated!

I am sure Eowyn is going to have some choice things to say to both Faramir and Aragorn…I wonder indeed how things will work out in the end (if they indeed work out.) So many different ways this story could go from here- as always I am eagerly awaiting the next chapter! Thank you! :D

Eora    Sunday 5 June 2011, 20:32    #

Her path and Aragorn’s simply did not cross in his heart for any competition to be able to arise, he somehow had enough love capacity for both a young woman and an older man, a lady he had once saved from her own demons and a lord who had saved him…

Let’s see how this will work out.

— ithilatta    Wednesday 8 June 2011, 9:45    #

Agrh, Nerey, I so want to answer many of your points! But really can’t without betraying the next events… And no, of course I don’t mind your versions/questions: to me that’s the best sign the reader is really in the story.
Well, I can answer this so far: logically speaking, of course it should not have been Aragorn to open the door. It was more than an anything just an accident, they were both totally startled and he acted instinctively, thinking there was some kind of danger (not too many years have passed since the War) – and Faramir didn’t interfere because… well, because he doesn’t interfere with Aragorn :) And he also trusts in Aragorn’s ability to handle anything, so when he realised who was behind the door he didn’t feel like he ought to get there and take over before Aragorn ruined everything :) Aragorn himself may be reasonable about his place in the situation and quietly step aside, and he would likely understand if Faramir were to request he altogether go to a different room – and indeed, if Faramir were having a random fuck with one of his Rangers, I believe he would have asked of the man just that. But in this particular case, especially as… rrrhh, no, I can’t go in there yet…! Hm, well, I can say this: Eowyn’s extremely distrusful at this moment, and she has seen there are feelings between the men, so if Faramir had tried to get alone with her, it might’ve only seemed the more suspicious to her. And Aragorn himself has his reasons for staying, too, impolite as it may seem.
Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment!

Iris, hm, that’s an interesting line – although to me, personally, your phrasing of her having a ‘crush’ on Aragorn bespoke a fundamental difference in her feelings for him and for Faramir. She’s got more than a crush on Faramir, right? Besides, Aragorn comes and goes, but with Faramir she has to coexist daily, for life, so it felt to me they would not weigh equally on her scales – she may feel great envy for each, but jealousy, hm, she’d long since surrendered Aragorn to another woman, he is not hers to be jealous of in the first place, while Faramir… Which is not, of course, to demean in any way the unresolved feelings she still harbours for Aragorn ;)
I’ll admit that for me, too, this is the trickiest point. From the very start I wanted to make this scene believable and true to character, not just a random kind of dialogue to move on to the sex. If Aragorn were to open the door and be like Oh, hello, look who’s here. Well, come on in now, I’ll put my penis in you, too I doubt anyone would have read past that phrase :) And for Eowyn, too, given her character and her history with each of them, it felt to me they’d have to try harder than flexing their muscles and dazzling her with their sheer irresistibleness.

Eora, indeed, trust is fragile now – and not only Eowyn’s trust in Faramir, by the way. The matter of ‘forsaking the marriage’ is complicated, too: from the beginning Eowyn had seen marriage as something that cannot even be forsaken since separation is not an option in the package, as in some cultures no crime is allotted the death penalty. But there remains the question of whether some offences are to be seen as unforgivable, and whether her understanding of this corresponds with the men’s, namely, did Faramir see starting a relationship with Aragorn as forsaking Eowyn, and does it change anything if he did/didn’t? As for your wondering about how it would’ve been had his lover been a woman, I think it would’ve been different. Remember, like in ‘What Women Want’, when Mel Gibson’s character tells the girl that it’s not her, that he’s simply gay, she just feels so very relieved :) I can, unfortunately, relate to that to some extent, and I’d say that it really can change things when your, hm, ‘opponent’s’ gender is different from yours. It doesn’t necessarily make it painless or simple, but it makes it different. And I remember, a friend once showed me a pic he took of his then girlfriend with another chic, and I asked, doesn’t it bother you that she’s actually kissing someone who isn’t you? And he said, han, not at all, it’s just too different to arouse any jealousy in me. Go figure, it’s complicated. Which leads to another question: in a society that sees monogamy as the only acceptable mode for a fully loving commited relationship, what are you supposed to do if you have a genuine love for two people (that happens, too), or a genuine sexual need for both genders, if either one is never enough without the other, if salt doesn’t satisfy your sugar cravings?
PS And I so giggled at the image you gave me of Eowyn pulling Aragorn’s silk gangsta boxers (black and spangled stars with ‘The King’ embroidered in silverthread across the rear, of course) from under the bed.

Ithilatta, thank you for letting me know you’re reading and looking forward to the developments!

December    Thursday 9 June 2011, 7:10    #

Mmm, mmm… still pondering ways of solving this difficult situation. If I found myself in such a situation, I guess I’d tell the lovers something like “Well, now you’ve done it, we’re all deep in mud, what do you plan to do about it? How do you expect us three to go on after this?” then I’d wait expectantly watching their blank faces (there’s a good chance I’d find some comfort and even a reason to laugh in that) then I’d tire of waiting and I’d tell them I’m going to sleep, or to eat, or whatever and I’d leave them to think about it while I rested (and they’d better not start making love again!).
But then if I was Éowyn, I’d care a lot about territory and honour. I would not show any weakness or indulgence. I’d tell them “My lords, I intend to sleep. I hoped for my husband’s company tonight but since he’s busy elsewhere, may I have my own bed and some privacy to undress, or do I have to sleep in a guest’s room?”. Then in all decency they could do nothing but leave me alone in the room, mistress of the battlefield, and go out to make love elsewhere or discuss the situation, whatever. I’d behave in the same way for as long as was necessary, just going about my normal life without Faramir. No questions, no demands, no reproaches, not even the slightest bit of attention in fact. I’d say Faramir would respect such an attitude more than anything else. And the fact of losing Éowyn’s love and wronging her into the bargain would eat him (moreover it would soon become a public scandal). Then he’d be bound to take the first step to resolve the situation.
Oh, am I near the mark? I expect not. In my mind such a situation would require time to be solved, but that wouldn’t fit the rhythm of your story, and I expect you’ll find a way to shorten the delay and keep the three characters together. Though how you’ll manage that I can’t contrive. In any case, I couldn’t resist putting on Éowyn’s shoes for a moment and sharing my impressions on the matter.

Nerey Camille    Sunday 12 June 2011, 11:18    #

Ooh, Nerey, you’re such a darling!
Interesting – I too, personally, am quite fond of the ‘ignore mode’. I’d much rather use that to communicate inexpressable outrage than swear and holler. And Eowyn as well, I think, was used to showing cold contempt for those who poisoned her existence like Grima instead of passionately confronting them. But Faramir to her is not like Grima, and… You see, the room is actually Faramir’s, not hers – she has her own bed chamber, where she was coming from through the adjoining private corridor when she heard the moans. So she can’t really demand that the men leave and surrender the ‘battlefield’ to her… If she wants to part at the moment, she would have to be the one to leave, and that wouldn’t be quite as victorious as kicking them out, wouldn’t it…? ;)
But I very much like the notion of her saying something like All right, I’m bored of you lot, I’m going to go and make myself a sandwich now. as though she’s too above them to even care.

December    Tuesday 14 June 2011, 11:39    #

Sorry that I might not be able to appreciate this story as much as I maybe should – it just touches some “raw spots” and in a way that makes me very uncomfortable and sad.
Besides, I really CANNOT understand this Eowyn fully. She/ her thinking is SO unlike me/mine I only can wonder at her motives and ideas… I really hope for some nice fucking to sort it all ;) and make some sort of a Happy Ending or I will always be very unconfortable with this story.

Really, I’m very much astounded that everybody (I’ve seen likewise situations in TV shows, films, songs etc.) seems to approach the “I’m too above to even care”-way. Beside the fact that it is highly doubtful you could act like this when catching your partner in the act of cheating, isn’t it one of the most wrong signals to send (= biggest lies): “Please go on, I don’t care, there is no problem”?

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elektra121    Saturday 16 July 2011, 21:24    #

elektra, honey, thank you for the comment!

Don’t be sorry, you are not obliged to appreciate everything I write, especially as this chapter had never been intended to make anyone happy or ‘comfortable’ ;) I mean, dealing with cheating can hardly be comfortable, or can it?

If anything, I am as an author am happy this bit has caused such an intense response from you, even if the emotion is not enjoyment – forgive my little sadistic streak, but I feel that when the characters suffer, it is good when the readers sympathise.

As for the ‘I couldn’t care less’, indeed, isn’t it such a common line of conduct for the people in hurt, embarrassment, even remorse? I’ve seen this in real life many times, too, and hardly ever does it actually make things any better, but it’s a very convenient defence reaction: to not show your own pain/fear/confusion lets you feel less powerless and humiliated in unpleasant situtations. And as for Eowyn specifically – remember, once before she had shown her despair to a man, namely Aragorn – had that made him change his mind about the matter in hand? With Faramir she had been far more cautious – and now he too has let her down…

And also a bit of a hint: ‘I couldn’t care less’ could be read as not only ‘there is no problem, go on’ but also as ‘you’ve fallen so low in my eyes now that I couldn’t possibly care for anything whatsoever related to you’.

December    Saturday 16 July 2011, 21:40    #

Well, it COULD. But can you afford running the risk in such a situation?
Besides, that statement is not very much more true than the other one. It is a lie and nothing but, not even so much to the partner but more to oneself.

Moreover: really, I doubt that not showing pain lessens it. A fragile show of unimpressedness can come at very high costs in the long run. Put aside that very few people would believe it.

Sorry to say, that my discomfort with that particular story does not come because of sympatising with the characters. It is a feeling I have gotten quite a few times, when I sense a story (-line) has the potential for something really deep/profound/brilliant, but misses it. It is worse if it misses it only by a hair – since a few chapters I wonder what exactly that point is and I just CANNOT lay my fingers on it, but something about this story just don’t feel right…
Does that make any sense? I’m afraid it does not. ;)
Maybe it is all my fault. :) Maybe because I myself/characters in my fanfiction would act totally different in this situation we just can’t get together…

As to the Eowyn-shows-her-despair-thing (which I of course had in mind): I’d argue exactly on the contrary – if it is about something/-one that is really important to Eowyn – she will let her masks fall and show her utter despair. If she has done it for Aragorn, how much more would she do it for Faramir?

elektra121    Saturday 16 July 2011, 22:12    #

Well, I won’t argue that you should see this story as brilliant – I perosnally don’t! :)

Anyway, I would agree that your dissatisfaction comes in part from the differences in our perception of Eowyn. I haven’t yet sent you the reply to your answer regarding your Eowyn story, but in that reply, in point of fact, I tried to lay out my understanding of how her head/heart work, and it’s very different from yours. I don’t know if either of us is correct – only Tolkien could say that ;)

What I think of Eowyn is she doesn’t always do what she did the first time. She had immediately turned towards Aragorn – but had been very cautious with Faramir. She had wanted to fight, and win glory and maybe even die – and then she wanted to fight no more but rather be a healer. So I feel that in a situation like this she might also behave not like she had in her previous moment of despair. Besides, much as she loves Faramir, she is also furious with him – he has just upturned her perfectly settled life, not to mention the rest – and there is also the question of her dignity at stake, especially with Aragorn being present – and she is a proud woman, after all. Not to mention that, albeit in her previous life, she had worked up quite a habit of concealing her sorrow and acting strong, and in moments of such stress old habits sometimes resurface.

But in either case, I perfectly understand what you mean. I also get this quite a lot, when I read something and like it, but then the character begins to stray from my idea of them, and I can relate to it no longer. Oh well :)

Thank you again for commenting!

December    Saturday 16 July 2011, 22:35    #

"had it been she whom Aragorn had directed his advances at, would have her resolve withstood?" - now that has potential! That'd be a great new challenge, and indeed could be a great new story! How would she react, and how would Faramir react to a decision either way? Oh my, lots and lots of great plots right there!

But let's not forget about this story! I really enjoyed this chapter- they way you describe Eowyn gearing up for a sparring match is perfect, and how her fighting spirit transitions to a daze. I love how you've made this purely a conversation between husband and wife, even with Aragorn (boned-up and all;)) right there, yet you don't let us completely forget about him, which adds some lighthearted sparks to this otherwise strained situation.

And, surprise, surprise, another cliff-hanger. You really know how to keep us at the edge of our seats!

Many thanks for this - brilliant as always!

Iris    Sunday 17 July 2011, 14:17    #

Hi December!

Only saw your last comment from June when reading this chapter. Good point about the room being Faramir’s (how inconvenient for Éowyn, isn’t it?).
As for Éowyn’s “I couldn’t care less” reaction, I partly agree with Elektra in that concealing pain does not suffice to eliminate it, but neither does the fact of letting it out. Right now only Faramir could bring healing to her, and by the look of things he isn’t going to. Then what remains for Éowyn but to accept the situation and move on?
Like December, I think “I couldn’t care less what you do now” doesn’t mean “I don’t care about you” or “I’m not hurt” but rather “You’ve hurt me so much and you’ve disgraced yourself so fully in my eyes that I’m finished caring for what you do”. To me, for Éowyn to renounce any claim on Faramir is no “good” solution, only the best possible option. She won’t obtain anything through asking, begging or insulting him, so why bother? At least thus she forces him to respect her. In any case only Faramir can decide to earn her forgiveness or not. She can’t force him to.

Now, this was all about the previous chapter, but now we have another one! It seems Faramir’s done what I expected Éowyn to do: rather than being rejected by her, he’s taken the initiative to leave her. That leaves Éowyn in a very difficult position, for now either she’ll have to accept to be chucked on top of cheated on, or she’ll have to soften and be ready to forgive him without him even asking. It is most clever of Faramir (however uncalculated it probably is), and rather unfair on her. I’m sure she must feel despair (she didn’t expect her husband to leave her, obviously) and at the same time her pride must be badly hurt as well (if he can let her go so easily, how much can he really love her?).
What will she do? Act on pride and say “OK, leave then”, however much she suffers inside, or act on her love for him and admit she wasn’t intending to leave him and she’d rather he doesn’t leave her? Both would be credible enough, though I rather think (and also hope) she’ll do the second.
It is unfair of Faramir to thus throw on her the responsibility of leaving him or taking the first step toward reconciliation, but at the same time… it’s also fair somehow, though I can’t quite explain why. It’s hard on her but she can take it, I don’t know if you know what I mean… I feel it empowers her, despite all appearances to the contrary, and it also gives her the opportunity of being generous and mature instead of just being very cross and throwing all the responsibility of what’s happened on him.
Oh, I’m very much looking forward to the next chapter. This development was something completely unexpected to me (as well as to Éowyn, I’m sure) and it opens new possibilities. It’s brilliant.
There are other quite interesting things in the chapter: Faramir saying he can’t decide whom he loves (yes, but he could decide whom to sleep with, couldn’t he?), and then the fact he’s convinced what Éowyn’s standing is, though he doesn’t really take the time to ask her… which probably shows he’s also hurt and not entirely master of himself… otherwise he would have taken time before directly assuming she’ll leave him and all is lost. Like her, he’s confused and suffering and afraid, and that is moving. Well… we’ll see how this works out in the end. Aragorn’s being rather silent, maybe it’s time for him to say something that’ll help them?

Nerey Camille    Monday 18 July 2011, 17:29    #

Awwww! Still no comfort to them (and all of us readers)?! My, you are a cruel one!
Still, this one seems to lead a lighter way than the chapters before (to my relief!). It would be to mean to have them suffer for very much longer, wouldn’t it?
I enjoyed the humor bits: Faramirs “private” virtues (hope to read more about them!) and the King who isn#t used any more (has he ever?) to getting no attention at all… ;)

elektra121    Tuesday 6 September 2011, 14:32    #

Hi December!
Wow, no real developments in this chapter, that’s cruel indeed! Still, my hunches were right: we learn that Éowyn has more sense than letting Faramir go; and obviously Aragorn is going to do something. He plainly thinks they’re both acting like idiots and he alone can save the situation now.

I wonder, what will he say? And how will Éowyn react to his speaking when he’s the lover?
He could, maybe, tell Faramir that he’s not going to authorize the separation, and ask them to think better about it. But in the end the problem has not changed: neither Aragorn nor Faramir are ready to stop seeing each other, and how can Éowyn be made to accept that? The trickiest part of the plot is still before us. I’m so looking forward to read it!

By the way, I loved this: white and gold to black and silver. How true, and to think I had never thought of it!

Nerey Camille    Sunday 11 September 2011, 15:22    #

Just happened to wander over here and what a delight to see. Ah ha ha… You have really got these three in a conundrum, don’t you? Can’t wait to see the next chapter.

Alcardilmë    Wednesday 14 September 2011, 5:07    #

Thanks for all the latest comments, guys! :)

Haha, yes, not too much development ;) On the whole, I must confess this is turning out far, far longer than I’d initially intended – and therefore less swift in pace as well. The thing is, whereas I had originally envisioned this story as a PWP focusing mainly on hotness bred of spying and spite, in the process of writing it I’ve become quite enthralled with the inner states of the characters (even though I’m mostly depicting Eowyn’s – so far at the least…). Which is not to say that I’ve forgotten about the hotness – not at all :D It’s just that it seems that all the details of their feelings and thoughts (including the reasons for why they behave as they do) deserve as much of the story’s focus as the “action” itself.

Special smooches to Nerey for noting the thing about black-and-silver-etc :) I’ve no idea whether Tolkien paired them up this way on purpose or rather it was a somewhat coincidental result of the overall harmony and integratedness of his writing themes. Either way, it feels to me this complementariness is two sided in the sense that, although symbolising how matching F and E are, at the same time it underscores that they are also, in a sense, direct opposites. You know, some of their character traits… And in that, sometimes it can be difficult for them to foresee the other’s response :D

Again, thank you all for your support and unwavering interest!! :)

December    Wednesday 14 September 2011, 7:20    #

(I have read all chapters at once so this comment refers to the complete story)

First: It is beyond my comprehension how you manage to keep three (3!) series going at once without getting the threads intertwined. I deeply bow to your feet, oh master of multifarious lore!

Second: I really appreciate the way you characterized Eówyn. Personally I must say I never came to terms with what the book did to her. That final twist, when from one minute to another she decides to marry a guy she does not know at all and goes “from now on I am not interested in men´s business anymore” always felt like a betrayal to me. As if all her former life, all her intentions, would be negated and diminished. More, it´s like putting her “in the right place” by only granting her some happiness if she agrees to act in the traditional “female” way (actually it´s somewhat disgracing for the character of Faramir, too. A man who is highly concerned of their people; a man who – now that there is a new guy in town – should be interested in the political situation and instead all he can think of is wooing a woman he has only seen once). For that I never felt quite comfortable with the character – not because of what she is but because the book subliminally tells us that what she is is wrong (at least that is how I understood it).

Well, err…seems I spaced out a little. What I actually wanted to say was: I love the way you gave her enough space to become a real person, even with a streak of very human spitefulness. Independent of the question whether her lawful state as a wife gives her the “right” to utter any accusations she has certainly the right to have her own feelings about the situation and express them according to her own personality (means beyond a seemly “Yes, Sire. No, Sire. What duty do you have for me, Sire?”). I think you perfectly pointed out her – quite understandable – position: Doomed to be excluded from experiencing strength and power in another way than being on the receiving end she might feel strongly drawn to this constellation in which both partners are absolutely equal and the submitting role can be exchanged any time. Thinking about it I had the idea that you wrote her as a very good example of how a fan-(slash) girl might perceive the situation. ;)

Oh, and please don´t get me wrong: All the protagonists are very rich and complex characters! It would have been much easier to reduce them to stereotypes (“the philandering husband”, “the lover”, the betrayed wife”) but you make their actions and emotional states absolutely comprehensible. I am waiting for the upcoming chapters with anticipation! :D

— raven22372    Thursday 8 December 2011, 7:36    #

Oh, and I almost forgot: I love that subtle hint that maybe – maybe – there is a tiny possibility Faramir enjoys his role as a martyr a bit more then he is supposed to. Actually he is too intelligent to not be aware of how his attitude affects people – and who knows? In his play with Aragorn there is more than a slight streak of BDSM… ;)

— raven22372    Thursday 8 December 2011, 10:04    #

Phew! A hot time tonight, perhaps! Lovely chapter. Poor Aragorn. Poor Faramir. And what of Eowyn? Nicely done. Can’t wait for the next chapter.

— Alcardilmë    Saturday 10 December 2011, 1:46    #

Will there be more in this serese. I wanna know what happens to éwen anf faramir. This story is really good!

— Evie    Saturday 31 March 2012, 19:40    #

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The Silver Crown's Temptation (NC-17) Print

By December

02 April 2018 | 2546 words

Title: The Silver Crown's Temptation
Author: December
Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Faramir & Aragorn

It was not his beauty that was Aragorn’s undoing.

Why had no one thought to tell him.

Thengel, Ecthelion, Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf, Thranduil.

He had had any number of misgivings, any number of what ifs that would queue through his mind as he sat on the edge of his vast bed in the still unfamiliar royal quarters, in those weeks preceding his coronation. They would not let him sleep till paid due attention.

What if his return were to bring discord to Gondor, what if the people had forgotten how to live under a king? What if he were to tire of the court and the city, and hunger to once again live in the glade and the hills? What if his subjects broke laws and he would have to sentence men to death in a time of peace?

Why had not one of his old teachers told him that these questions were not worth the wasted sleep, that all of them and more he would work through in due time and his own fashion. Why had they not told him to keep his eyes peeled for the real peril instead.

For the bearers of gifts that are not his to take. That are not anyone’s to offer.

Oh, how people love a saviour-king. How self-effacing some people can be in expressing their devotion. How unthinkable it is to accept some of this worship – how impossible to deny it.

He likes to think that if only he had been forewarned, then he would have known not to play with fire. Would have known to not invite in trouble, would have drawn harder the line between fantasy and reality.

As it were, he did not draw the line at all.

There was no need, for his fantasy would safely remain only that, always.

Aragorn knew by then that dreams could serve different purposes, and that coming true was not necessarily one of them. Some dreams were meant to inspire, to give sustenance and hope in the hour of darkness, then melt into thin air like night mist in the rays of morning. Others could be an innocent diversion, a defence against those dull periods when there seems to be nothing but mind-numbing routine and the slow killing of time.

Yet others are a bit of a mix of both, a sweet taste, a magical glimpse of some other world, so much like ours and yet truer, better, where joy runs like fountains in the halls of Elven-kings, where everything is possible if only the heart longs for it deeply enough.

It was not his beauty that was Aragorn’s undoing.

Because were it beauty alone, it would have been instant, like an arrow to the heart.

A quick way to fall, so much more merciful. Instead, he had set himself an elaborate trap, and tumbled into it with eyes wide shut, and ever since is clawing his way out.

There are many reasons to cherish him, Aragorn does not need to go through the list of Faramir’s merits. But if he were to try and put his finger on the one thing that allowed his kingly love to go one step beyond and transgress the definition of a proper bond between a higher lord and his vassal, it would have to be the knowledge in Faramir’s grey eyes. That look he has, so perceptive and direct that his gaze alone already feels like a physical touch. There sits unsettling wisdom in this gaze, not the wisdom of books, though he has read plenty of those – more like what Aragorn has seen in the eyes of the elder race. A resignation touched with gentle sadness, a profound inability to be shocked by anything any longer, this unfazed understanding of human nature, the unquestioning knowledge of what Men’s hearts ever hunger for.

It is so easy to desire him, for he as though expects it.

Not in the self-satisfied way that Boromir seemed to have seen adoration as his due. It was largely because of Boromir’s entitled manner that Aragorn had never found him nearly as alluring as his younger brother, despite how closely they resembled each other in looks. Faramir, on the other hand, appears to have no regard for his own person whatsoever – and whenever Aragorn compliments him on anything, although he will not argue so as to not disrespect his liege, nevertheless his eyes glaze over as though with discomfort. And in a strange way, it looks to Aragorn that Faramir’s awareness of his desirability comes not by recognition of his own inherent attractiveness, but is rather seen simply as a bizarre fact of life. A thing to look upon kindly but not make much of.

Something in the way he carries himself, in the way he speaks, makes Aragorn burn with a need to hold him, and love him into believing that there is nothing at all bizarre and inexplicable about him being wanted. He had long told himself that it offends the steward’s dignity to be viewed so patronisingly by his king – Faramir is a capable leader, an accomplished warrior, much respected by all, he has no need of an older man’s lustful pity. Which did not at all stop Aragorn from nevertheless playing with the idea late at night, with no one around to witness how flushed, and breathless, and even more frustrated these explorations left him.

But Faramir, as is his wont, of course had perceived it.

They had been watching a dance at one of the summer festivals, and the Steward had leaned over to him sideways to point out something about an element of the performance. It had been a hot day and Aragorn had hiked up the sleeves of his regal tunic, still not fully used to all those velvets and fine wools – and Faramir reached to place a light touch on his bare forearm. Little more than a pat with his fingertips. Little more than a casual gesture to request his king’s attention. But a strange, sweet warmth had seeped into Aragorn’s very blood at the point of contact, and he felt at once his heart jump with merriment and his breath catch with apprehension.

Aragorn had glanced over at him, but Faramir’s clear eyes had not left the show as though his comment was made but in passing and he paid little mind to how he made it. The light breeze touched the short curtain of Faramir’s black hair, and Aragorn knew his glance lingered overlong on the young man’s white face, on his half-smiling lips – just as Faramir’s fingers lingered on his skin.

And so the seed was sown, and the doubt grew in him as to whether the impossibility of his desires was actually, indeed, impossible. He had not meant to in any way to act on them – and had not accounted for the fact that being King, he would not have to act, would not have to ask. Nor even play the hinting game.

An unwary wistful glance was all it took, and his undoing would be served to him on a silver platter.

Faramir, as is his wont, had made it so easy.

The autumn was still young, the evenings a titillating mixture of warmth and the promise of a chill to come, dark enough to light the hearth bright. Faramir often shared the king’s private supper, laid out without much pretence in Aragorn’s quarters, away from the bustle of his busy court.

And so one night, when the roast was gone and the wine was drunk, Faramir set down his goblet and looked him straight in the face with his unwavering open gaze, and asked as though confirming some previously made arrangement, “Would you like me to stay?”

As simple as that.

Except it was exactly because of how direct and perfectly innocent-sounding was his proposition, because of how easily it rolled off his lips, that Aragorn still erred on the side of caution.

“I… you mean…” He tried to match Faramir’s casual tone, but felt his face betray him, and could find no more words.

Faramir smiled, and there was nothing but warmth in his smile, as if he saw no need to even acknowledge his lord’s flustered state. “With you. Tonight.” He paused and his smile deepened, became more intimate. “I think you might like that.”

“I think I might,” Aragorn repeated, then blinked and hurried to correct himself. “I would.”

As though in a dream, he watched Faramir stand up and walk around the table – and then altogether move the table aside with an easy push of his hand, his warrior strength never showy but ever ready to come to service. In much the same way, he turned Aragorn’s chair with Aragorn in it to face him, and in a rather habitual manner straddled the king’s thighs and sat deep in his lap.

Aragorn’s hands spread open with the hunger to touch – all of him, everywhere, to drink in his warmth, to hold him close. But in a strange way he did not feel a complete permission to do so, for it seemed odd to him and did not quite add up.

“Faramir, I…” His fingers drew a cautious caress up Faramir’s spine, feeling the taut strength of his back through the fine fabric of the garment. “Are you… is this…” But Faramir responded eagerly to his touch, and pushed with his hips forward, grinding against his crotch, and it became quite difficult to breathe, let alone speak.

“Faramir, I…” he tried again, closing his eyes for better concentration, even as both his hands had settled on the man’s hips now.

Faramir leaned down to him, put his hands through his hair, slid them around, cupped the back of his head, guided him to look up.

Again, the Steward smiled. “My king, we do not have to talk.”

Then he too lowered his eyes and shut Aragorn’s mouth with his own.

Most of the time, he leaves once the king is sated. Aragorn knows this is out of consideration and respect, so as not to disturb his royal sleep. Even though he would prefer Faramir to stay, somehow it feels not fully appropriate to ask, he senses it would stir confusion and embarrassment. But there are times when the young man is so spent pleasuring his lord that inadvertently he drifts off.

And as he lies there, breathing deeply, Aragorn watches his sleep, strokes his hair gently, and a sense of cold unease settles on him, like a winter’s first snow on a harvested field.

Where did you learn to be this way, my young captain?

Why do you know how to drive a man to ecstasy, why do you bend every intention of your mind and every part of your body to this task? Why do you wear not a shred of self-consciousness as you throw open to me your most intimate angles? Where are your boundaries, what happened to your vulnerability? Why do you act as though you are incapable of feeling pain?

Do you know that it is not your duty to do this for me? Do you enjoy my pleasure because of your devotion to me as your king, or in its own right? If I were but a ranger in the woods, would you still come to me?

Like a dark eel slithering in the cool silt at the bottom of a deep river, there lurks in the corners of his mind the knowledge that this is wrong, that he is taking advantage.

That something in Faramir is so vastly, so permanently broken, that the steward himself is incapable of seeing what the king sees. That it is up to Aragorn to do the decent thing and put an end to this.



But what would that fix, exactly?

If he is not able to get Faramir to believe that it is for his benefit that they are stopping, what is the point of stopping? And even if Faramir did believe it, it would be unlikely he would agree – if anything, he would only accept if Aragorn convinced him that it is for Aragorn’s wellbeing that they should not lie together anymore.

But what would that achieve other than hurting Faramir, telling him that somehow his affections were unwelcome and harmful to his king?

Perhaps he need not end it formally at all, perhaps he can just steer it – gradually, tactfully – into a more appropriate avenue. Redirect his steward’s eager attention, walk them slowly out of the thickets of lust into a clearing where there is only friendship, and companionship devoid of sensuality.

And he tries. Oh Valar, he does try.

He builds his resolve, talks to himself. Then the evening comes, and draws to an end, and he is full of determination – and then Faramir wishes him good night and leaves. And Aragorn stands alone in his empty rooms, and his disappointment is so bitter and sharp, whom is he fooling.

It is as if Faramir knows. As if he has some inbuilt compass telling him precisely which night to choose to invite himself for dessert. To walk up to Aragorn and place his white hand on the king’s hip. To familiarly tuck Aragorn’s hair behind his ear so it would not get in the way of their kisses. It is always the hour that Aragorn is the weakest, when his need gets the better of him, when he only sees Faramir’s eyes darken, and already the floor is turning to marshland beneath his feet, already he is sinking, drowning. Still, he puts up a fight. Places a staying hand over Faramir’s hold on his hip, cups Faramir on the cheek to prevent him from leaning in for his mouth.

A cloud passes over Faramir’s face, a memory of some unhappy place, an unspoken question how he has displeased his king.

It is so easy to reassure him.

In fact, it would require quite a bit of physical resistance to not reassure him. Anything that could possibly be interpreted as a cooling of interest on the king’s behalf drives Faramir to throw himself at him with fey abandon. To demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt just how much he desires to touch every inch of his lord’s skin, to lick, and rub, and suck on every sensitive spot, to offer for the taking every part of his body, whether hot and tight or soft and wet.

And before Aragorn knows it, Faramir’s hands are already gripping his bare buttocks, and his own hands are cradling the back of Faramir’s dark head. Those lips on him are so hungry, and he has no control over the frightening pace of his hips, over his hoarse open-mouthed breathing, over the last drop of his resolve trickling right down his steward’s throat.

When the tremors of release unshackle him from their clutch, when he can speak again, oh how he yearns to fall to his knees beside Faramir, and bring him close, hold him tenderly, as more than a lover. Put a warm blanket over his bare shoulders, wipe his mouth and kiss him softly, gently. Tell him he loves him, more than Faramir will ever know, more than he himself will ever understand.

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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4 Comment(s)

I don’t even know what to say. It is so beautiful and sad. Both men so strong, but still human and doubting. I enjoyed very much.

— bell witch    Wednesday 4 April 2018, 4:31    #

Thank you so much bell witch!

— December    Friday 6 April 2018, 8:38    #

I love the style you write. It’s very beautiful. When I read your work, I fall in love with Faramir again. Thank you.

— Lizzy    Saturday 9 June 2018, 11:26    #

Thank you Lizzy!
I guess being in love with Faramir is pretty much the sole reason l write, teehee…

December    Saturday 16 June 2018, 11:08    #

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Of Kings and Kine (PG) Print

By Eschscholzia

29 July 2017 | 3246 words

Title: Of Kings and Kine
Author: Eschscholzia
Rating: PG
Pairing(s): Faramir & Éowyn

While trying to manage both rebuilding a kingdom and organizing the upcoming wedding festivities for Aragorn and Arwen, Faramir the Steward misunderstands what a servant is trying to tell him. This leads to a nearly intractable situation with one of the wedding gifts, which he needs all his creativity and Ranger skills to sort out. From the June 2017 Teitho contest on “Misunderstandings.”

Faramir studied the tapestry on the wall of the king’s study as he waited. The scene depicted his ancestor Vorondil the Hunter slaying one of the wild oxen of Rhûn to claim one of its horns for the Great Horn of Gondor. Sometimes Faramir felt sympathy for the poor pale beast, but did this sympathy make him a traitor to his heritage, he wondered? Blinking to clear his daydream, Faramir returned his attention to his duties as Steward and the man sitting in front of him. Aragorn studied the sheet of parchment in front of him, dipped his quill in the inkpot, and signed it with a flourish: Elessar. He looked up at Faramir. “Are there any more documents to go over?”

“No, sire,” he replied.

“Thank the Valar,” the king replied. He carefully replaced his quill on the writing desk, and stoppered up the inkpot. He stood to go, and paused. “One last thing. How are the preparations for the wedding coming?”

“Very well, sire.”

“I am glad to hear it. I trust in your abilities, my friend.” The king clasped Faramir on the shoulder, and then left the room. Faramir sighed and thought of the day when he might be able to claim his own happiness with the White Lady of Rohan. He shook the last of the sand off the papers and put them back into the dispatch case.

As he walked across the courtyard to the Steward’s offices, he glanced at the sky. Not a cloud in sight. It was just before Midsummer, so no hope yet of a late summer afternoon thunderstorm. With one last look at the brilliant blue sky, he turned and went indoors.

His Aunt Ivriniel was already seated at the long table in the center of the Council Room, studying a scroll on the table, while holding a bouquet of slips of parchment with names in one hand. Her dark hair streaked with silver was pulled up in elaborate braids on her head. She looked up, and he leaned over to kiss her cheek.

“Good morning, Aunt.”

“Good morning, Nephew.”

They grinned at each other as Faramir seated himself at the other end of the table. He picked up his list of remaining tasks and sighed. He might be a leader of men, and master of harrying the Enemy, but arranging a seating chart for a banquet so that every noble had his proper place? Thank the Valar for his Aunt’s help! Meanwhile, Ivriniel pursed her lips and rearranged some slips on the table.

The morning passed quickly enough among reviewing plans for the rebuilt fortifications, dispatches from his scouts reporting stray bands of orcs to be hunted down, and tallies of the spring irrigation. A merchant from the guild of tinsmiths came, bringing a tinwork lamp as a gift for the new King and their future Queen.

Faramir thanked the merchant on behalf of the King, and the man bowed and left the room. Faramir couldn’t resist running his finger over the scalloped edge, and had to bite back an oath as one of the edges caught him. He whipped out his handkerchief and pressed it to his finger as he poked his head out of the Council Room door.

The attending servant seemed surprised to see the King’s Steward looking for a servant himself, instead of ringing for them properly. “Yes, sir?” he asked.

Faramir handed the box to the servant. “Herengil, please see that the gift of the Tinsmiths’ Guild is placed in the Great Hall to be displayed with the other gifts.” Herengil bowed and set off with the box.

Time passed, and the stack of items for his review began to shrink. The next report was an inventory of baked goods for the wedding feast. The visiting hobbits had insisted that the feast feature something called a “Cookie Table.” Only hobbits could invent something like this, which was apparently a table of sweet biscuits and tarts and small cakes. And why did hobbits call them “cookies,” when properly they should be called biscuits? Merry and Pippin had been detailed to instruct the palace kitchen staff in the recipes of all the cookies they could remember, with Sam’s help when he felt he could leave Frodo. Faramir sighed as he read down the extensive list. He felt his chest tighten as if a fist were closing around his sternum as he thought of how many eggs and butter must go into the baked goods.

By the time the sun had sunk low enough in the mid-afternoon sky to begin to shine directly in the window of the Council Room, Faramir was beginning to get a headache. There was yet another polite knock on the door, and Herengil entered. “Lord Rimush, the emissary from Rhûn,” he announced. Protocol demanded that Faramir receive the emissary, but Ivriniel rushed forward, extending both hands to the young man. They greeted each other as the oldest of friends, and Ivriniel spoke to him in a flood of Rhûnaic. As best as Faramir could understand in the torrent of words, she was asking after his mother, and the price of wheat? Or was it farro?

As Faramir politely remained standing, leaning on the back of the chair for support and waiting for their pleasantries to end and protocol to resume, Herengil tugged gently on Faramir’s sleeve.

“My lord Steward, the emissary brings with him a gift for the King as a token of Rhûn’s gratitude for his mercy after war.”

Faramir nodded his head. “Put it in the Great Hall with the other wedding gifts.”

Herengil’s eyes grew large. “My lord, are you sure? It is not…”

Faramir cut him off with a wave of his free hand. “I said, put it in the Great Hall with all the other gifts. From now on, my standing order is to put all gifts in the Great Hall.”

Herengil’s mouth went shut in a tight line. He bowed low, and left the room in silence.

At the end of the day, when all the audiences were over and the last menu finalized, Ivriniel stood to go.

“Until tomorrow then.” He stood as she left the room, then sank back down in the chair with his head in his hands.

He must have dozed off, because when he looked up again, the sun had shifted in the window casement again, casting longer shadows than before. He was just organizing his papers to leave to take his evening meal, when his cousin Lothíriel slipped in.

“Cousin! What brings you here?”

“I heard Mother say that the Belfalas pearl divers sent a casket of pearls for the King and Queen!” She smiled dreamily, as only a person in the vanity of youth could smile.

“Then you heard correctly,” he replied, trying to put the irrigation allotment parchments in the right order. Lothíriel swung herself up onto the table and sat perched on the edge, feet swinging beneath her.

“I know you have a key to the Great Hall. Will you let me in to see all the gifts?”

Faramir sighed. “Lothíriel, that would not be fair to everyone else in Minas Tirith who wants to see them. Should I make an exception for you, then what? Erchirion would want in, as well?”

Lothíriel giggled. It was clear she was imagining her brother. “Erchirion would never be interested in all those pearls. He only cares for his ships and sails.” She looked at Faramir from under her lashes, her pretty young face in a pout. “Please Faramir? I promise I won’t tell anyone.”

By this point his head was pounding, and he feared his churning stomach would be no fit for the evening meal.

“If I wait until everyone else sees it at the same time, there will be such a crush of people. I would have to hop up and down to see over anyone’s shoulders, and it would be most undignified to elbow the Lord of Lebennin out of the way. Please?” Her voice curled up at the end at just the precise pitch to make his ear throb. He decided he might as well give in, just so he could go back to his room with a cold wet cloth on his forehead, hoping for a breeze.

“If you put it that way,” Faramir smiled wanly. He offered his good arm to his cousin. “Shall we?”

They crossed the courtyard, and he used one of his ring of keys to open the door to the Great Hall. Faramir stepped to one side as he held the door open for her.

“Oooooohhhhhh-wuh!” Lothíriel exclaimed as she rushed inside. Faramir wondered if that was the sound engendered by a particularly cute casket of pearls, or a mithril candelabra. The noise she made was usually reserved for kittens or small babies, amongst the few women of his acquaintance. He took a deep breath and followed her inside.

There in the deepening shadows of early evening, as a beam of light slanted low across the hall, he saw Lothíriel kneeling on the floor, with her arms around the neck of a calf.

A red, fluffy, Rhûnaic calf. Just like a smaller (and redder) version of the one in the tapestry. It was tied to a pillar next to the tables of wedding presents on one side of the hall, but it was clear by the way it was straining that it very much wanted access to the hobbits’ cookie table.

“Is it not simply the most adorable thing you have ever seen, Faramir?” Lothíriel asked, as she stroked its soft back.

Faramir stared, mouth agape. His headache was forgotten.


In the Great Hall?

He felt his way to a nearby bench, and slid down the wall until seated, his chin on his hand, staring at the calf.

There was definitely a calf in the Great Hall. His father would have roared in anger at the disrespect shown to the seat of the Stewards of Gondor. He glanced at the empty Steward’s Chair out of habit.

And … was that … a dust bunny of red hair tumbling across the floor in the breeze of their arrival?

Cattle, shedding in the Great Hall?

A bark of laughter escaped him. Faramir supposed it could have been worse.

How did the calf get to the Great Hall, though? Faramir thought back to the events of the day. The emissary from Rhûn must have brought the calf, but he could not even begin to imagine how it was brought to Minas Tirith. Was it brought by barge down the Anduin? In a caravan from the southern edge of the Sea of Rhûn? In the talons of a Great Eagle?

Herengil, Faramir thought. Herengil had tried to warn him, and he had misunderstood. Faramir realized this was all his fault. He had snapped at Herengil, and had not given him a chance to explain. Next, Faramir concluded, he was going to have to get the calf out of the Great Hall and into the Royal Stables without anyone the wiser. He wondered if the cut of his Ranger cloak was generous enough to cover calves?

“Can we keep him?” Lothíriel turned to Faramir and asked.

“Moo,” said the calf.

There was only one thing for it. He had created this mess, he needed to get himself and the calf out of it. Finally, after so much paperwork of being a Steward, he had a campaign to win. The lure of a challenge began to loosen the tight feeling in his chest. His strategy was to remove the calf with no one (except Lothíriel and Herengil) the wiser. But what tactics could he use?

Faramir took a few steps forward and glanced around the Great Hall. They would have to take it down the back stairs.

“Lothíriel,” he said. “I need your help. We must move this particular present before it creates any more havoc than shedding.”

She looked up from her new would-be pet. A look of adventure glinted in her eyes. “Oh my, this is like something out of a children’s story!”

Faramir reached over and untied the calf from the pillar to which it had been hitched. Wrapping up the loose ends, he grabbed the rope of its halter close to its nose. He turned and started walking toward the back stairs.

He felt an opposing tug on the rope, and his boots skidded on the flagstones a bit. “Come on, sweetie,” he commanded. The calf did not budge. He turned again and tried walking forwards, without success. He felt the calf toss its head and take a step back. “Why don’t you understand me?” he begged it.

The calf stared at him with soft brown eyes.

“Maybe it only speaks Rhûnaic?” suggested Lothíriel.

Faramir paused and thought for a moment. Now, he thought, was a terrible time to try to brush up on his Rhûnaic. Why hadn’t he practiced more over the years, he berated himself. The calf looked longingly at the cookie table, only a few feet away. After running through 25-year-old exercises in his head, he remembered a useful phrase from an old lesson. Success! But then he remembered that in Rhûnaic, imperatives changed based on who was being commanded. He sighed, and carefully looked around the side of the calf. It was a female calf.

“Alki!” Farmir commanded. Astonishingly, this time the calf followed him. He was glad he had at least avoided one diplomatic incident this day by not insulting the calf’s gender. They made it across the Great Hall, and Lothíriel held the servants’ door open for him. The calf clattered down the steps, her hooves ringing against the stones: Clap-clap, clap-clap.

As they passed the level of the living quarters, they heard voices behind the access door. Faramir and Lothíriel froze. They could not be discovered! He looked around frantically. Behind him he felt a wall covering, and hurriedly grabbed one edge and shoved it over the calf. Lothíriel leaned nonchalantly against the large calf-shaped bump, waiting. Luckily, the footsteps paused, and then they heard the voices turn away again. Faramir and Lothíriel both let out their breath. He turned and looked at the wall covering. It was ancient and tattered, depicting the hated Queen Beruthiel of old and her cats. She did not seem happy to be put to such a use, let alone hidden away in a servants’ passage.

“Hey!” cried Lothíriel. “Give me that!” She jerked back from leaning on the calf-bump. The calf had taken up a mouthful of ribbon from her dress. “That’s my favorite dress, you, you, … Easterling!”

Faramir helped extract the slightly soggy and somewhat wrinkled sky blue ribbon. “We’ll have to give her a name,” he decided.

Lothíriel looked up from straightening her dress. “How about … Amrûniel?” she suggested. “Girl of the Eastern Sunrise, in Sindarin?”

Faramir chuckled. “Flowery, but it’s as good as any. She could be a thing of legends: Amrûniel Hobbitsbane, Devourer of Dresses.”

He pondered whether he should ask Lothíriel to sacrifice one of her petticoats to muffle the calf’s hooves, but decided moving swiftly was better than taking the added time to move stealthily. Faramir began walking again, and Amrûniel followed on her rope.

Miraculously, they reached the level of the kitchens without anyone noticing. They would have to pass out the back door, though. Faramir looked knowingly at Lothíriel and gave her the “Scout ahead” signal he had taught her many years ago on one of his leaves, when he had played at being Rangers with Lothiriel and her brothers. She nodded and sauntered confidently from the back hallway into the kitchens. As he tugged again at the calf’s halter rope, and headed toward the back door, he heard her bringing her mother’s compliments to the cook on a recent banquet, and asking for the recipe.

Like the good Ithilien Ranger he was, he paused at the door to survey the terrain for potential obstacles. From the back door of the kitchens, he could see the way to the royal stables, but he would have to cross some open ground to get there directly. Faramir decided to stick to the colonnade lining the walkways, with their deepening shadows providing better concealment.

“Alki, Amrûniel!” he whispered. He hoped he would not confuse her by mixing Rhûnaic and Sindarin. They proceeded stealthily along the darkening walkway. Suddenly, around the corner, the king appeared. Faramir stopped and did his best to nudge Amrûniel into an alcove with his hip. Faramir’s heart went up in his throat when the king noticed him and paused.

“Good evening, Faramir,” said Aragorn. “What brings you here?”

“Good evening to you as well, my Lord. I finished my paperwork and thought I would take a stroll. The Healers say that I need to keep up my exercise to restore my strength after my illness.”

Aragorn nodded and squinted into the charcoal darkness behind Faramir. “And what is that you have there?”

Faramir swallowed hard. He hoped it was sufficiently dark under the overhang. “A pony, my Lord, for the hobbits. I am just returning it to the royal stables after exercising it.” He hoped Eru would forgive his lie, but he had to get Amrûniel far away from the scene of her near-disaster.

Aragorn nodded. “I am sure they will enjoy it. Until tomorrow morning, then.”

“Until tomorrow,” said Faramir, trying not to betray the strangled feeling in his voice. He waited a moment until Aragorn was further away, and then yanked at Amrûniel’s halter.

“Moo,” she said.

Aragorn paused, cocked his ear to the air, and then continued walking.

From there it was clear scouting to the royal stables. It seemed that the Valar were smiling upon him, because he quickly found a free stall. Faramir made sure that Amrûniel’s manger was filled with good things to eat, not sweet biscuits, and was filling a bucket with water when Lothíriel arrived, out of breath. “Success?” he asked.

She laughed as she leaned against the wall. “The kitchen staff will be none the wiser, but I hope my mother is not too surprised when she unexpectedly receives Cook’s recipe via palace messenger tomorrow.”

Faramir joined her leaning against the wall, and laughed as he regarded the calf in her stall. He took a deep breath. His heart certainly felt lighter than it had in days.

“Do you realize we can never tell anyone about this?” she said. “Mother would faint.”

“I suppose I will need to apologize to Herengil.” Faramir shook his head. “It was unlike me to lose my temper. I have had so many new responsibilities as Steward.”

“This has been quite the adventure- more exciting than seeing ropes of pearls! At least we saved the pastries,” Lothíriel mused.

“But what a hobbitish sort of adventure,” Faramir interrupted. He closed the door of the Amrûniel’s stall, and with one last look behind them, they left the royal stables arm in arm.

A/N: This story came to be through the help of my friends, to whom I am very grateful. Sian22 and AnnaFan discussed technical Tolkien details with me, while our family babysitter S. explained calves to this city girl. Finally, and most importantly, the story owes a heavy debt to OnlyMton and D., who read early drafts of this story and staged an intervention to persuade me that the story was really about Amrûniel, and not a light-years-distant original premise.

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

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at https://www.faramirfiction.com/fiction/of-kings-and-kine. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!

3 Comment(s)

Just so thrilled to see this here. Bravo!! such a hoot

— sian22    Sunday 15 October 2017, 16:00    #

Very nice story and interesting story.I really enjoy with this story. Thank you for sharing.

Virginessay    Thursday 2 November 2017, 4:29    #

I also read once again your article with friends . I just say about this only.

Virginessay    Friday 3 November 2017, 4:42    #

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The Deepest Pain (R) Print

By Geale

20 March 2016 | 5491 words

Summary: It is a wonder how he suddenly came to be the strong one, how a mortal man such as himself can give comfort to an immortal being of the ancient world.
Pairing: Faramir/Legolas, Faramir/Legolas/Aragorn implied
Rating: R
Warnings: Slash and some angst.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: It’s been ages! I don’t know how active this archive is these days but I found this story I wrote several years ago but never published and now I feel like sharing.

The Deepest Pain

There is a vague sense of dread…

The blade tumbled to the ground when his stiff, bare hands were unable to close around the hilt any longer. Any sound the sword might have made as it went down was drenched in the cries that echoed among the hills. The earth beneath him, however, was silent.

The blood was sticky on his skin, mingling with the dirt and the sweat. A tendril of pain was shrieking in his leg. Something had sent him spinning a couple of paces back, made him turn his back to his enemy.

So many… Too many. Where is…?

He fought his way back. Maybe he had picked up his sword again, or perhaps he had found some other means of protection or retaliation. But the shock still rang through him. The fear. The stubborn notion that this was not truly happening, that he was still asleep. When he put his weight on his leg, the world was momentarily blackened out before his eyes.

That he is–

Faramir jerks awake with a harsh cry bursting from his lips. For one hellish heartbeat there is nothing to be understood about the world around him: he hears nothing, sees nothing, feels nothing but utter and complete panic.

Then a hand on his forehead. “Faramir.” Kindly, but sharply.

“All is well.”

He is urged back down. And his head clears.

He can feel his own heart thud rapidly in his breast but familiar shades and shapes are settling around him and he instinctively draws a deep breath.

The night stinks of blood.

But he knows his King’s touch and the realisation that it is Aragorn’s palm that is stroking his forehead and pushing back his tangled hair helps to ease him. Yet in the wake of the sharpest fear, the pain comes rolling back through him. Faramir groans.

And Aragorn chuckles. It is almost imperceptible, but it is not something that Faramir imagines. It should vex him, but in this hour it rather soothes him.

Then again: fear. And he pushes back up, against the constraints, provoking his lord’s healing touch.


“Is well,” the King says immediately. “That is, he is having an arrow shaft pulled out of his shoulder as we speak – it did not go very deep, though – and he was quite severely battered. But he will live and be well again.”

This new wave of relief makes Faramir’s frantic heartbeat slow to a kinder pace. He does not bother to turn his face away as sudden tears sting his eyes. The last he saw of the elf was his long, pale hair flashing in a last glimmer of proper daylight as he ran to fetch his bow and quiver.

In the face of the unanticipated attack, Faramir had been forced to push aside his worry.

“And you, my lord?” Faramir’s voice is somewhat raspy and his throat feels sore.

“Just a couple of scratches.”

For the first time, Faramir tips his head back and comes to understand that it is resting in Aragorn’s lap. He strains to look into his King’s face.

Aragorn looks weary and there are streaks of dirt across his cheeks. His hair hangs in a tangled, sweaty mess around his face. But there is a hint of a sweet smile on his lips.

Faramir regards him for as long as he may. “Thank the gods,” he says, finally.

His lord’s smile deepens just a little. “Aye, thank the gods.”

The Orcs appeared amongst the budding shadows, heavily armed and uncharacteristically soundless. The King’s company was taken by surprise, to say the least. Their foes were not many, but neither were the soldiers of the White City. Now, there are even less of them.

Faramir tries to ignore the smouldering pyre of blackened flesh to the north as he tries to find a comfortable position with his back against a boulder. Around him, those who came away from the battle alive and standing are making impossible decisions. Moans, tainted and desperate, creep across the barren soil and there is the cold song of the sword through the night air as someone is torn from their misery. Faramir closes his eyes and feels his head swim.

The sound of footfall does not penetrate his dizziness until his King is almost by his side. Aragorn bends to press his palm again to Faramir’s forehead. “Are you all right?”

Faramir smiles weakly through the faint ringing that seems to echo between his ears. He swallows against the bile that is rising in his throat. “Fine.”

But his King is not so easily convinced. “Did you take a blow to the head?” He sounds truly worried now.

“No… not that I know of. Usually one notices those…” Faramir grimaces as fingertips explore his skull.

“Faramir, do not be cheeky.” Aragorn’s voice is quite sharp. “I will have none of it. If you are injured you must tell me. And you must not fall asleep,” he adds when Faramir does not open his eyes to look at him. “Not before I have concluded that there is nothing the matter with you.”

Faramir nods, and immediately regrets it. He forces himself to blink his eyes open, however. “I am fine. Truly. There are others who need you more desperately, my lord.”

Worry gleams in the grey eyes before him. “You need me.” He speaks quieter now.

Faramir feels his heart swell. It always does when his King looks at him like that. “My leg, then,” he says.

When he assumes the role of the healer, Aragorn does not cosset. Producing a small knife that glitters dully in the flickering light of the pyre and the hastily lit torches, he deftly cuts away the leather obscuring the wound and Faramir grits his teeth as fingers probe the blood-drenched ridge that has risen in the skin.

“It needs a few stitches…” Aragorn warns him. “But I need to clean it first. We don’t want to lock any dirt inside your body.”

Faramir agrees with a grunt, and another groan as Aragorn explores the twitching muscle. The searing pain returns with such force that Faramir chokes on his next breath. He hears Aragorn bark some orders and when his vision has cleared anew he can see that steaming hot water has been produced and a set of small ominous-looking metal tools. With no care for what Aragorn might prefer, Faramir squeezes his eyes shut and tries not to bite off his own tongue as hot water is trickled down upon his skin and Aragorn scrubs the open wound with a piece of rough-spun linen. He is soaked through with sweat once more.

“Deep breaths,” mutters Aragorn, and Faramir tries to obey to the best of his abilities but he cannot hold back a gasp as a burning salve is liberally applied to the gash.

Then, from a small leather pouch Aragorn extracts the needle and it is little use trying to focus on other matters as its steely bite overwhelms him.

When Faramir opens his eyes again, he is lying on his back on a pallet with straps of linen firmly bound around his thigh. There is a heavy pounding in his injured leg that seems to reverberate in his very bones.

The night has progressed further and more torches have been lit. The air still bears the scent of death, and wisps of pyre smoke, thick and choking, still lingers around the camp, but the warm light pooling in places around him is comforting. He spies dark forms milling about and he raises himself up on his elbows. His throat is dry as old parchment and his body screams in protest, but he will not again succumb to unconsciousness.

“My lord?” A grim-looking soldier Faramir recognises as one of the Tower Guard, steps forth and becomes a silhouette against the dancing firelight. “Can I get you anything?”

Faramir clears his raw throat. “You have been watching over me?”

“King’s orders. He said to keep you under surveillance.”

Faramir has no energy to spare a blush. It always seemed to him that some soldiers can take the hardest blows time and time again, and yet scarcely feel it, but Faramir has always failed to endure much pain. As the Steward of the realm he ought to have suffered through the treatment and then risen to aid the others, not faint like some green weakling. Yet, there is nothing to be done about it now. At least his head is clear and his eyesight steady. He forces himself into a sitting position. “Can you tell me the body count?”

The guard’s face is a design of hard lines. “Five severely injured, marked for Mandos, it is said. Twelve dead.”

Faramir nods and swallows. “And the rest?”

“Much like yourself, my lord, to a varying degree. Injured but alive. Not many came away unscathed.”

“Faramir?” A new shadow appears in the dancing light and Aragorn himself bends down over him. “How do you feel?” He glances up at the guard who automatically has taken a step back out of deference. “Find some drinking water for the Steward.”

When he is gone, Faramir grimaces. “Sore… And I will admit to some pain. My thanks for treating me.”

“I would have no one else do it.” This time, Aragorn’s smile is more solid, though his cheeks sport an ashen hue. “And there is someone who would never forgive me if that wound festered and you lost your leg.”

“Is that so?” Faramir raises his eyebrows. “Apart from myself?”

“Oh, Aragorn…” a new voice interjects, a weary one, and only laced with the slightest hint of reproach. “It is not his leg that matters, though it is a fine one.” And Legolas the Elf steps out from the shadows that have gathered behind the King. His naturally pale complexion would easily rival a ghost’s this night. At the sight of Faramir, his shoulders drop “You live.”

In turn, at the sight of Legolas, the anxiety that has been eating away at him ever since they first heard the rusty clang of savage steel earlier that evening finally evaporates. Faramir feels light-headed. “I do.”

Circling Aragorn, Legolas comes to stand beside Faramir. As he sinks to his knees, he winces and blanches even further. His face is drawn and there are lines of tension around his eyes.

A new stream of worry trickles through Faramir and he lifts a hand to the elf’s elbow, so as to guide him, feebly. “How did you fare?”

Legolas shakes his head. His long hair is roughly pulled away from his face; it is tied up with a scrap of leather into a matted mess, with dried clumps of blood tangled in it. “I’m growing reckless… I left my bow in the tent and before I could get to it, some bastard had me shoved into the dirt and was of a mind to break my back.” With a flash of pain across his face, he comes to sit very close to Faramir.

Guilt assaults the Steward as he remembers their soiled bedclothes and the heady scent of lovemaking that had chased them out of their tent in pursuit of water and soap. Barely dressed, and certainly not armed, they had not been prepared for an assault of any kind when their enemy was suddenly upon them without warning.

“No broken bones,” says Aragorn grimly, somewhere above them, “but I mean to keep an eye on muscle and tissue for a while longer.”

Faramir feels the ground shift underneath him. He gently fingers the intoxicating softness of Legolas’ skin, near his collarbone. Even battle-worn and wounded, he is enough to make Faramir’s insides melt with yearning. Legolas catches his hand in one of his and presses a dry kiss to it. “Worry not.”

Faramir exchanges a quick look with Aragorn who does not appear wholly convinced but not desperately worried either. Even so. “I mean to keep an eye on both of you,” he says. Then he drops his healer’s mask and runs a hand through his dark hair. “I truly thought we were done with fighting.” And he may be King of the Reunited Lands, but now he, too, sinks to the ground beside them, and comes to stare out into the night.

“Not all of the Orcs perished in the war,” says Faramir emptily, as if this were some great wisdom. He is grateful for Legolas’ hand around his. “But I admit I, too, thought them beyond the capacity to strike again.”

“I’m too old for this,” mutters Legolas. “I was looking forward to sun-drenched, lazy days in Ithilien… not more blood-smeared blades and battle cries.” He looks oddly out of place, dressed as he is in his loose shirt without even a belt to hold it in place. Much like Faramir himself must look, he supposes.

They sit for a while in silence. Somehow, despite the horror that surrounds them, there is peace in this moment, too. Here, beside the boulder flecked by torchlight and the blackness of night, Aragorn is no King. There are no vows or commitments to be honoured.

Faramir throws him a furtive glance. The King sits deep in thought, perhaps. His beautiful face is almost expressionless. Then, as if the spell is lifted with Faramir as the audience, Aragorn sighs and rubs his forehead with the heel of his hand. He turns a faint smile to them. “I will check on you later.” His gaze is too gentle to support the wryness of his next words. “You should seek out some rest, both of you. And a change of clothes. Or simply clothes.”

Legolas flashes him a small smile.

Aragorn regards them for a long moment. He does not speak at once but when he does, his voice is very soft. “I would have you alive for many years to come.” His grey eyes are unusually bright when they settle first on Faramir and then on Legolas. “Many years to come,” he repeats, quietly.

Again, Faramir feels a warmth capture his insides. Legolas’ grasp on his hand strengthens briefly. In the corner of his eye, Faramir spots the elf incline his head.

“And you, mellon.”

Aragorn leans in, then, and Faramir is ready to believe that they have been made invisible for the sounds of the dying and the wounded fade away, and even the torchlight seems to waver, as Aragorn presses his mouth to Legolas’.


It is but a faint whisper, but it lingers in the air between the three of them.

Legolas and Aragorn part slowly. The air seems brighter between them. “Meleth,” Legolas amends, ever so quietly, and with a smile.


Aragorn’s lips against Faramir’s are dry and chaffed. But he treasures the kiss so deeply. Faramir’s eyes have fallen closed and he drifts off as Aragorn presses himself gently to him.

It is over too soon.

Aragorn’s eyes are liquid silver as he pulls away and wraps his duties about himself. “Now rest,” he advises them, in a voice that is both rough and kind.

“Am I allowed to sleep?” Faramir asks him, curiously.

It makes Aragorn chuckle, and his face transforms into something much brighter. “You already did. When I set the stitches about your wound. I cannot see that it harmed you.”

Faramir’s cheeks burn but Aragorn mercifully chooses to refrain from teasing him more artfully.
With a last, long, look upon them, the King melts back into the commotion. Faramir is about to ask Legolas to rise with him when the guard appears seemingly out of nowhere, carrying a water skin that looks promising.

“My lord Steward, forgive me, I was delayed.”

Faramir drinks greedily, willing himself not to wonder whether they were seen before, Legolas and the King and himself. The water is cool with a slight metallic tang to it that he can only hope is not blood. Yet he drinks his fill and then offers it to Legolas. Still with some worry churning in his stomach he watches as the elf claims his share of the water, blue eyes drifting closed.

“We’ll keep this,” Faramir gestures at the water skin. “Thank you.”

The guard nods. He looks weary, too, and his mail is spattered with dark blotches.

“Tell me,” says Faramir. “Is the camp undamaged?”

“Aye, my lord. Mostly.”

Knowing it is well beneath the regular duties of a member of the Tower Guard, Faramir still asks, “Please, would you find us something to eat – anything – and bring it to the Steward’s tent?” He shoots Legolas a glance. “And some more water. Half of it for washing. Never mind if it is cold.”

The man does not appear entirely pleased but he gives a curt bow. “Yes, my lord. Anything else, my lord?”

Faramir turns to the elf. “Shall we seek out our bed?”

Legolas’ hands have dropped to his lap and the water skin lies temporarily forgotten on the ground. “Yea…”

It is not particularly pleasant but Faramir has no choice. “I would ask you to aid us with that too, then,” he tells the guard.

Faramir struggles to hold back his gasps as he is half-dragged, half-carried to his tent. Fresh pain is coursing through him and though the journey is not long, he is dizzy after only a few staggering steps.

“My lord?” The hesitation is evident in the guard’s voice when Legolas finally, blessedly, pulls aside the flap covering the opening.

“Help me lie down,” Faramir manages through clenched teeth. “And I’ll pay you handsomely if you keep quiet about it.”

And Legolas laughs, albeit somewhat less gaily than usual. He proceeds to light the coals in the braziers as Faramir is awkwardly guided into the tent. As the coals splutter to life, the makeshift bed with the tangled sheets and the cushions still bearing the imprints of two heads comes into view. Under other circumstances Faramir might have preferred it if this very obvious piece of evidence of his relationship with the King’s closest friend remained unseen, but right now he is in too much pain to care very much. It is, after all, not much of a secret these days that he and Legolas are lovers.

The guard seems most unwilling to help him to bed, however. “My lord…” he says hesitantly, “I could find you some clean bedclothes if you would prefer…”

Faramir waves a hand dismissively. “Tomorrow.” He is pretty sure he will not succeed in standing on his own and he is not interested in finding out if his suspicions are correct. “We’ll sort that out tomorrow.”

In the corner of his eye he can see Legolas coming towards them, carrying the smallest brazier. “Please,” Faramir tells the guard, “just help me into bed and fetch us something to eat.”

Looking suitably miserable, the poor man does as he is told. Faramir gratefully stretches out on his back, biting back a hiss as his wound is tested under the dressings and having the world for a moment turning black before his eyes. When he is finally settled, the guard all but runs out of the tent.

“Oh, but by Manwë it hurts!” Legolas lowers himself down onto the mattress cautiously, his natural grace most definitely curbed. Yet, he sounds more like himself now. “I swear the younglings these days are more modest than they were only generations ago.”

Faramir turns his head to look at him. “You have known many?” He tries to speak casually.

“A few. And they only get worse.”

Faramir meets the blue gaze and he gathers some courage. “Long lost lovers?”

The idea does not hurt very much, and yet he has always tried to avoid the subject. Legolas has seen thousands upon thousands of sunrises and no doubt many of those have been spent in the arms of other men… Men and Elves.

Legolas begins to lift a hand but groans, and it falls back down to his side, defeated by pain. Instead, he maintains eye contact with Faramir and smiles. It is a strange smile, not very joyful. “Some of them… Does that bother you?”

“No…” Faramir bites his lip. “I don’t know.”

Legolas is given no time to reply for the guard reappears, carrying another water skin and a couple of leather pouches. “Dried fish, my lord. Well salted. And some bread. It was all I could find in the confusion.”

“It will do. Thank you.”

Neither of them speak as the man hurries to leave the food by the bed and bow his way out of the tent. Faramir means to say something, to jest maybe, to pierce the sudden bubble of tension that has closed around them, but Legolas’ sigh throws his plans off course.



“I love you.”

Dropping his gaze to stare at Legolas’ shoulder, Faramir swallows. This is difficult.

“I do,” Legolas says quietly. “And you know I do. As you love me.”

“I…” His heart seemed to wait an unusually long while before beating again. “Legolas, you do not need to… I mean, we are grown men… males.” He tried a shrug against the mattress. “We never really made any promises…”

“We never did.”

With a string of muttered curses seldom overheard by Faramir before, Legolas shifts beside him, comes as close to him as he possibly can. “Faramir, look at me. Please.”

Legolas’ own eyes are half closed. He lies on his side, on his good shoulder. There are smudges of blood near his temple, his own or someone else’s Faramir cannot say, and a deep furrow on his brow. His perfect skin is unmarred but not nearly as glowing as Faramir likes to see it. He raises a hand and brushes a stray strand of silvery-gold hair away from the pale cheek.

Legolas’ eyes flutter wholly open and there is something Faramir cannot define brewing in the blue. The elf does not smile this time. “I’ve never been hurt like this before,” he says quietly. “A few scratches… a broken rib, once, when I was little. But never like this. For the first time, I was truly scared.”

Faramir finds this hard to believe. “But you’ve fought so much,” he says, hearing himself how naïve he sounds.

“I have. And I am heartily sick of it.” Legolas reaches for his hand with a grimace that betrays the pain his wound must be causing him and Faramir hurries to give it to him

“But never before have I had my shoulder pierced by a black arrow, or my back nearly broken in two,” Legolas continues. Then pauses for a moment before he speaks again. “I was afraid for you, too. I saw when you were cut.” For the first time in the many months that have passed since they finally fell into a bed together, after long glances, and sweeping brief touches, and much hesitation (and some of Thranduil’s finest wine), Faramir spots something that looks very much like tears forming in the elf’s eyes.


“Forgive me, Faramir…” Legolas’ gaze drifts to their entwined fingers resting upon Faramir’s chest.

“There’s nothing to for–”

“I cannot seem to imagine letting you go.” Legolas speaks very softly but his words are very clear in the aching night air. “If you had fallen today…”

“But I did not.”

Legolas brings their hands to his lips. “You did not.” His words are warm against Faramir’s skin. “You did not.”

Faramir’s heart is doing strange things in his breast. It is certainly still beating but does not bother about keeping a steady pace. “What are you saying?” he asks at last.

“I am saying, that I love you. I am saying that you are precious to me, Faramir of Ithilien. That I could not bear losing you.” He looks up. “You, or Aragorn.”

The image of the King’s face drifts before Faramir’s eyes. “Aragorn,” he repeats.

His lord. There is so much love in that thought, yet so much pain.

Legolas’ eyes meet with his, and no more needs to be said.

When they finally kiss, Faramir forgets his pounding leg or the way that his wound itches. His hand finds Legolas’ cheek, then his waist, then his hip, and the elf moans into his mouth as Faramir cups it and rubs circles with his thumb into a spot near his groin.

“I wish you would take me,” the elf whispers in between kisses. “I just wish you could take me…”

His mere words are enough for heat to collect deep down in Faramir’s belly. “Soon,” he promises, and reaches further to cover the bulge in Legolas’ leggings with his palm.

The elf moves awkwardly against his hand, presses into it with a hiss of pain. Faramir ought to stop, he knows, but finds himself beyond that ability. As Legolas’ tongue sweeps through his mouth, he tears open the leggings and wraps his calloused fingers around his lover’s swollen length.

He strokes Legolas to completion from an awkward angle; it does not take long this time. When the elf is in that mood, he can make himself last for an entire night, but not so this time. He comes shuddering into Faramir’s side, his seed easing the friction of Faramir’s strokes.

Faramir’s own length is straining inside his breeches but with his shoulder hurt, Legolas finds no way of touching him properly. Instead he lies watching as Faramir takes himself in hand and teases the skin that hides the head back, and gives his flesh a tug, seeing tiny silver stars at the edges of his vision.

Legolas’ voice is raspy for an elf’s, “I wish I could taste you.” He gives a small moan as Faramir slides his hand down the hard length. “I want you.”

And he keeps repeating those words, like a song or a poem, in Faramir’s ear as the man pushes himself deeper and deeper into the searing hot sea of pleasure. And then release.

They lie breathing.

Faramir does not know if it is the deepest night or near dawn when he eventually speaks, “I love you,” he says, simply.

Perhaps Legolas has drifted for he stretches a little against the mortal body beside him before he seems able to respond. When he does, his voice is low. “I am no female.”

“I know that.” And despite everything, Faramir laughs. “Neither am I.”

Legolas does not share in his mirth. “I am serious, Faramir. I will give you no children…”

“Little do I care about that,” says Faramir. He cups Legolas’ cheek and brushes his thumb over a pale cheekbone. “It is you I want.”

His words are greeted by silence. The elf looks so tired and so battered, and yet there is something shining in him that has not been there before.

“Do not leave me,” Legolas whispers. “Never leave me, Faramir.”

Their kiss is long and slow. With it returns some of the warmth from the morning past. Faramir shifts even closer, trying as best he can to not disturb his wounded leg, but only partly succeeding. He tastes the fear lingering on his lover’s tongue, and it takes a long while before it has been banished. There is still tension in the way Legolas lies against him but this, Faramir hopes, is more due to pain than anything else. When they part, he cannot ignore the traces of tears on Legolas’ cheeks. He leaves them be.

Legolas sighs against his cheek. “I would speak with you more,” he mumbles, “but I am so tired.”

“Then sleep,” whispers Faramir. “Sleep properly, and heal.”

As Legolas breathing gradually evens out, Faramir is left pondering this: how he suddenly came to be the strong one, how a mortal man such as himself can give comfort to an immortal being of the ancient world.

It is sometime later that the opening to the tent is disturbed and a figure appears in the wasting night.

No words are spoken as Aragorn slides soundlessly into the tent. He is shrouded in a heavy cloak of the same non-colour as the fading shadows of night. Under his hood, his face is drained of everything. As he approaches them, his gaze skids over Faramir’s groin. He has covered himself up but his laces remain untied.

Faramir lifts a hand, holds it out to him and so beckons him closer. His King takes it, allows it to guide him to crouch by the simple bed. He does not even bother to remove his cloak as he pulls a blanket over them all and lies down, curling around Faramir’s side and letting out a long breath.

“Just for tonight…” he mumbles into Faramir’s dirty hair.

Faramir presses a kiss to his forehead.

On his other side, Legolas sighs in his sleep. Faramir yearns to pull him on top of him and wrap his arms around him. As soon as they are healed…

Ithilien, with all its glory is waiting for them, in a world that seems so far away this night.

So far away…

Elsewhere, another is waiting.

When Faramir thinks of the Queen of Gondor, he thinks of Aragorn’s honour. Of his promises. He wonders if she ever suspects, ever sees the shades of longing in him. He is true to her, and that is a beautiful thing, Faramir knows this. So does Legolas.

This is why they do not speak of it.

But here and now, while they are still safe in the dark, he presses a new kiss to Aragorn’s brow.

And his King sleepily turns his face up to him and Faramir seeks out his lips with his own. They do not kiss deeply but their mouths join and they share a heartbeat, two heartbeats, three…

Just for tonight.

Dawn is grey and dreary. Faramir wakes to the first call of the soldiers outside and the bleak daylight which filters through the canvas. He knows at once that he is alone with Legolas in their tent. That the King is again their King.

He rubs his eyes with the heel of his hand and then wishes he had thought the better of it. He is filthy and reeks of dried blood, sweat and dirt. And traces of his and Legolas’ release are visible on his skin, too. Still, he cannot help the smile that curves his lips as he presses a kiss into the matted blond hair. Legolas’ soft breathing is just peaceful enough to make him believe that he might soon see some glorious sunlight again.

“I love you so very much,” he mumbles, breathing in Legolas’ presence.

The elf moves against him. “I feel as though I’ve been trampled by a hoard of Mûmakil.”

Laughing, Faramir run his knuckles down his cheek. “And I could use a bath.”

“A bath,” says Legolas longingly. “Oh, what a blessing that would be…”

“Indeed. Do you think Aragorn will mind very much?”

His lover sighs. “Aye, to tell you the truth, I believe he would. He gave me strict orders not to disturb the bandages or rinse off whatever foul-smelling paste he covered me in last night.”

They have not moved in their sleep, but now Legolas very gingerly withdraws from him and winces as he attempts to sit, the blanket falling away from him and exposing his slender frame. In the greyish light, Faramir can clearly see how his shirt is torn and spattered with mud and dried blood. He swallows hard.

But Legolas groans. “I am beginning to think that all of this consorting with humans has made me more susceptible to pain…”

Though he knows it to be a jest, Faramir is unable to smile at it. “Perhaps…” he begins, his throat grown tight.

“Perhaps…?” Legolas carefully turns around to raise an eyebrow at him. Then his face falls and he speaks urgently. “No, Faramir, you must not say what you think. There is no such magic in this world.” He traces Faramir’s stubbly jawline with a forefinger. “I do not regret coming to Gondor.” He cocks his head to the side. “I love you, adan nín.”

As Faramir looks up at him, and Legolas’ eyes do not leave his, he wonders if perhaps they are both wrong. If perhaps they, too, have made promises, unknowingly.

If they have, he knows he will be like his King: he will be ever true to his love.


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Impatience (NC-17) Print

By Annafan

16 August 2015 | 3681 words

Title: Impatience
Author: Annafan
Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Faramir & Éowyn
Warnings: anal fingering

Eowyn is not a patient woman, not when it comes to getting what she wants from Faramir. And he knows this. And plays on it! But it turns out to be a game two can play.

Éowyn has not always been impatient. It’s a relatively new thing. She knows exactly when she became impatient. The why, and indeed, the whether of it are perhaps more complex. More complex because she isn’t sure whether her impatience really is something entirely new, or was always there, hidden beneath the surface, suppressed by the need to be constantly on her guard. Sometimes she tries to remember how she felt as a young girl, but she is not sure whether she would describe her character then as impatient, or simply as impetuous.

But when, when is easy to answer. The night of her betrothal in Edoras, she lay in bed, tossing and turning, wondering where her betrothed was, wondering why he had not come to her. She sought him out, hurt and frustrated, the next morning. He was shocked to discover he had hurt her. It turned out to be yet another of those cultural misunderstandings. He had expected to have to wait for their wedding. Misunderstanding diagnosed, he wasted no time; breakfast was abandoned in favour of making amends. The mere thought of just how thoroughly he made amends still has the power to make her pulse pound at the juncture of her thighs. She has been impatient ever since. And, strange to say, the impatience seems to have escaped the confines of the bedchamber and spread through the rest of her life. After so many years of holding herself tightly coiled, she finds this new impatience strangely liberating.

She is certainly impatient now. She lies with the sheet wrapped round her, for the first hints of autumn are creeping into the air, and, alas, it is too cool to spread her limbs naked across the bed. A shame, for the sight of her naked limbs, spread out ready and welcoming, is one of the ways Éowyn entices her husband and thus deals with her impatience. But at the moment, her husband is, for want of a better word, pottering. He is pottering and she fears she may be on the brink of losing her reason.

Worse still (or perhaps better: she is not sure whether to place the extra layer of frustration on the positive or negative side of the experience) he is pottering naked. He has just bathed, and is wandering round the bedchamber naked as the day he was born, humming absent mindedly. There is a striking incongruity between his air of scholarly other-worldliness, and the lean, hard planes of his warrior’s body, the muscles rippling beneath his skin as he moves, the clean lines of his long limbs.

Éowyn tries her best to content herself with admiring the view. It is a fine view, she has to concede, and familiarity with the vista has in no way diminished her appreciation of it. She has already admired his legs – his sculpted calves, his muscular thighs – and now her eyes drift higher. His arse: how she loves his arse. The sight of it alone is enough to bring the feel of it to her mind, almost as clearly as if her hands ran over the skin, feeling the firmness of his buttocks beneath. And above, his back, with the lean muscles of an archer, and dusting of rusty freckles, his auburn curls now loose after his bath, and falling over the nape of his neck. As he half turns, searching for something – almost certainly a book – she catches a glimpse of his cock, swinging heavy and promising against his thigh.

She must have made a noise, she realises, for he turns fully, brushing a lock of hair back from his eyes, and gives her a knowing look.

“Have you seen something you like, my lady?” He still calls her my lady when he wishes to tease her, especially when in bed, and most especially when she has just said something she supposes most matrons of Gondor would judge to be disgustingly filthy. Faramir, she has long since discovered, finds the contrast between her earthy words and his own courtly manners deeply arousing. The more she uses words like cock and ride and fuck, the more courteous his speech becomes. She will whisper in his ear that she needs his cock in her quim, that her wem is wet for him. And in return he will murmur of the beauties of his lady’s skin like alabaster, his queen’s hair like spun silk, his goddess’ thighs of satin. It is a game they play: she knows when she has won – victory comes when his language suddenly becomes as earthy as hers. When suddenly he says ride me hard, fuck me till I spend myself deep inside you – then, then the field of combat, the bed with its tangled sheets belongs to her, and her husband with it.

Lost for a moment in this train of thought, Éowyn forgets to answer. Faramir prompts her. “My fair face, perhaps? My eyes? My nose?” His mouth quirks into a smile as he searches for the most ridiculous suggestion he can come up with. “My left ear? Or perhaps the right is more elegant?”

She smiles back at him, deciding that the blunt approach is best. “Your cock.”

“Oh,” is the reply, but accompanied by a smile of his own, blue eyes sparkling. He comes and sits on the bed, annoyingly just out of reach. “Would I be right in thinking my lady is her usual impatient self?”

Éowyn casts the sheet aside. Some things are worth braving the chill autumn air for. Besides which, she has a feeling that she won’t be cold for long. She stretches languorously, watching Faramir’s face. He definitely takes in the way her breasts move as her arms reach above her head towards the gilded bed frame rising above the pillows. This bed is Éowyn’s one, uncharacteristic piece of opulence in their chamber. She loves the beauty of the carvings, the finely woven linens, the shining, iridescent silk spread from Harad with its rich embroidery and heavy fringe. Revelling in the feel of smooth, cool sheets beneath her body, she points her toes, then lifts one knee to part her legs in what she hopes is a tempting way. With another smile, she brings her hand back down, brushing her fingers across her breast, feeling her nipple harden under her touch.

She glances across at Faramir. He is definitely interested now, pottering finally forgotten, even the book forgotten. As she brushes her nipple once more, then lets her hand drift down over her belly and glide over her hip, she sees his lips part, then his tongue run along the lower one, seemingly without him being aware of this. With her other hand, she reaches out in invitation. She lets her attention shift from his face, down over his chest, scattered with a few coppery curls, following them down to where they converge to form a line down over his taut belly, with its cords of muscle, then to where the coppery curls thicken into a forest… And there, no longer lying heavy against his thigh, but curving up towards that taut belly, is his cock, hard and veined. Oh yes, there will be no more pottering tonight.

She looks up again, only to meet his questioning blue gaze once more. He repeats his earlier words, but they are no longer a question. “My lady is her usual impatient self.” The corner of his mouth quirks. “Now, should I pander to that impatience, or see what can be gained from playing upon it?”

He leans across the bed, reaching out to run his hand slowly up from her ankle, over a shapely, smooth calf, to caress a hidden hollow behind her knee. “One has to make the right tactical decisions before taking to the field of combat.” Now he let himself half fall, half roll onto his stomach, bringing his face close to his hand. His lips, just a little roughened by so much time outdoors in the sun and wind, brush the outside of her knee. His short beard rasps across soft skin as he trails kisses upwards, mouth following the outside of her thigh as his hand ghosts up the inside of her thigh.

Éowyn gives a soft moan, and, as his hand nears the triangle of blonde curls at the top of her thighs, arcs her hips upwards to meet his fingers. But at the last moment, tantalisingly, annoyingly, they veer aside to slide over her hip bone, leaving not just a trail of fire where they have touched, but a fierce blaze of need where they have not.

“Gods, Faramir, touch me. I need you.” Éowyn’s voice shakes with want. “I need you to fuck me.”

Faramir slides his hands up her sides, shuffling up her body till his face is level with hers. “Not yet, my lady, not yet. But I promise you, it will be worth the wait.” He slides one leg over hers and rolls on top of her, and she can feel his hard cock against her lower belly. But instead of settling himself between her legs, to her intense frustration, he spreads his own thighs to settle astride her. Éowyn stops moving, puzzled by this position.

“What are you doing?” She can’t help herself asking.

“Well, my precipitate love, I intend to take my time. I shall start, I think…” Here, Faramir pauses to trail kisses along her jaw, before running his tongue down her neck till it comes to rest in the hollow at the base of her throat. “I shall start by celebrating the beauties of your neck.”

“Damn my neck, it’s the beauties of my wem I want you to celebrate…” Éowyn’s words are cut short Faramir brings his mouth down on hers, mounting a slow and deliberate attack with lips and shallow, teasing thrusts of his tongue. Fingers find their way into hair, and Éowyn loses herself for some moments in the sensuality of the kiss. Pausing for breath, Faramir again turns his attention to her jaw, and Éowyn seizes the moment to collect her thoughts.

A counter-attack! Nothing short of driving him wild with impatience will do. She runs her hands slowly down his back, taking note of shoulder blades and ribs on the way, the powerful muscles round his waist, then down over his buttocks. She lingers on the hard flesh there, before letting her right hand make an exploratory foray between his legs. Maybe this unusual position does offer some possibilities. Her fingers run over the hard region between his legs. This part of his body has always fascinated her, from the moment she first encountered it. So starkly different from her own body, with its soft folds and moist opening. His is so firm to the touch. She lets her fingers stroke to and fro before letting them drift to the soft, puckered vulnerability of his balls. Her hand cups his balls for a moment, and she is rewarded by a sudden stilling of his lips as he becomes lost in sensation. He’s definitely registered her questing fingers now. She lets them make a further foray to slide against the base of his cock, letting her fingernails slide gently but insistently over the velvet skin. She is rewarded with a sigh, an intake of breath, then, true to her new strategy, withdraws slightly. Her hand runs back over balls, feeling them tense and tighten under her touch, then retreats over the hard juncture between his thighs, then back up over muscled buttocks.

Faramir has stopped making any attempt to kiss her now, his whole attention seemingly now captured by the slow and deliberate movements of her hands. She can feel his hair against her cheek – his brow rests on the pillow beside her, face hidden behind the auburn cascade. This time both hands slide down over his buttocks, between his legs, fingers following the creases at the tops of his thighs either side of the firm flesh. Again, she strokes his balls, lingers just for a teasing instant on the shaft of his cock, then retreats. But this time, feeling bold, her exploration on the return journey charts new territory. She lets the pads of her fingers run up the hidden, forbidden cleft between his buttocks.

Éowyn finds her impatience has gone, replaced by intense curiosity and a feeling of erotic power that seems to have almost as strong an effect on her body as would Faramir’s touch. Her blood runs faster in her veins, and she feels her pulse throb in the swollen flesh hidden between her legs. It seems suddenly as if her imagination alone is producing an arousal as great as if his fingers were actually to touch her, to slide through the slick moisture she can feel pooling. Her breathing becomes shallower, more rapid, and she can hear the sharp sound of his breaths, matching hers. Her cheeks feel aflame with desire, her whole body on the brink of catching fire. Intent on his body, she continues her journey of discovery. Her fingertips encounter the ridges of muscle round the entrance to his passage. Softly, driven by curiosity and desire, she strokes the ridges, and Faramir’s whole body jerks suddenly.

“Nienna…” He breathes a low groan, and his hands move to cup her cheeks before he covers her mouth with his own and kisses her with a fervour that leaves her breathless.

She is fairly sure she knows the answer, but can’t resist teasing him with the question. “Should I stop?” Her hands hover over the taut planes of his arse once more.

“Gods, no, don’t stop…”

Once more she starts from his balls, up between his legs, then her fingers again slide slowly, oh so slowly up towards his entrance. This time she stops with her fingers resting there, pressing very gently against him. Faramir shifts his hips, and Éowyn feels as if her breath is stuck in her throat as she feels him press up against her finger tip. She’s almost afraid to ask – this seems to take them into such new territory that she worries they may founder upon a hidden reef, or drift without compass into some wide, wild uncharted ocean of stormy lust, to be lost, never to find their way back to the safe harbour of their normal loving.

But she, who was impatient, is now bold. Tongue loosened by the strong wine of desire, she asks. “What do you want me to do? Do you want me to…” And now she pauses. She does not have the words. But since that day when first she girded herself with sword and breastplate, her life has ever been defined by actions, and this is no exception. “Do you want?” And she presses, a little more firmly.

“Oh gods… yes… yes…” His voice tails off into a helpless groan. Then, moving his hips slightly away from the pressure, he whispers, barely coherently, “The lamp… oil – on your fingers.”

Éowyn wriggles her top half from beneath him till she is lying slightly skew. At full stretch, she dips her hand into the reservoir of oil at the base of the lamp, feeling the oil slick between her fingers. Oil dripping from her fingertips, she brings her hand back and settles it on Faramir’s arse. He moves slightly so he can press a kiss to her lips, then whispers a single word into her mouth.


Gently but firmly, she presses against him. At first there is resistance, but then her finger slips inside. Faramir gives a ragged gasp of pleasure laced with desire, and his hips give a jerk, up against her palm. She releases a breath she wasn’t aware she was holding. There is something overwhelming about this, that she is the one inside him. And something contrary – that he is atop her, and yet she is the one driving this… this new adventure. His passage is hot and tight around her finger, and she can feel his muscles clench. Is this what it would feel like to be him, to have his cock inside her? As if in answer, his cock twitches, and juts against her stomach, hard as an iron bar.

Only the very tip of her finger is within him, up to the first knuckle, but even this seems daring to her. Daring is not the word for Faramir’s response, though. The way he moans and writhes against her, the heavy lust in his voice. “Yes, oh yes, oh, gods, yes…”; his words speak of an intensity of sensation, of exquisite pleasure. All hesitation, all uncertainty seems to vanish with the passion of his response: there is nothing here except skin against skin, sensual pleasure and utter trust. His hips press upwards again, and she sinks her finger deeper inside him.

His cock is still there, still hard against her belly, and she knows now that she needs him. There is a moment of ungainly squirming until she manages to get one leg at least out from under his thighs, and move herself to meet the moist, hard tip of his cock. For a moment she isn’t even sure if they can manage in this slightly strange arrangement, one of his hard, lean thighs still between hers, but somehow there is enough room. His cock presses into her – not as smoothly as it would do if she’d spread her legs, but the very restrictions bring with them a wealth of new sensations.

And all the time she keeps her finger within him, moving slightly in and out, as if to mimic what she wants him to do to her. Her palm is flat on his arse, her other fingers splayed across his buttocks, and she pulls him into her. As she quests within him, suddenly he gives a loud, inarticulate cry of pleasure, and almost convulses against her.

“Oh sweet mercy of the gods, there, just there… again, please.” With a movement of his hips, he moves his thigh so that now he lies between her legs. Now he needs no urging from her palm. He pushes deep and hard into her, hard enough that her swollen, needy nub grinds against his body. Now it is Éowyn’s turn to writhe, stroking her finger inside him, seeking for that spot again.

She lies, feet braced, pushing her hips up against him as he drives into her, again and again. There are no thoughts, only sensation. A fire, a swelling pleasure, waves of desire in every part of her being. Each time she slides her finger inside him, he gives a ragged groan of pleasure and an answering thrust. Their actions mirror each other. With each thrust, his hardened cock presses hard against her folds, the front of her passage and in answer she gasps with pleasure. And it seems from his reactions that there is a hidden secret place within him which elicits the same response. She feels heat radiating in waves, outwards from that nub, settling in her belly, spreading down her legs until even her calves tingle with the sparks of desire. It is almost as if a pressure is building within her, a wave of liquid want ready to explode. She is close, oh so close.

And this time, as her finger slips out, ready to thrust back in, she adds a second finger, taking a moment to gently ease through his entrance, then questing to find that spot again. With a cry of pure need, Faramir drives deep into her, shuddering as his pleasure comes washing over him. She feels his muscles spasming and clenching around her fingers. Is this what it is like for him, inside her, when she screams her release? And the knowledge that she has done this, that she has been within him, inside him, in possession of him, that she has made him cry out, his voice breaking with pleasure – this is enough to drive her over the edge, exploding in a climax which goes on, wave after wave, heat and liquid and pulsing need, until she shatters, completely limp beneath him.

She lies, gradually coming back to her senses. She lets her hand slide up to nestle in the small of his back. His skin is slick with sweat. She can feel beads of sweat between her breasts too – hers, his, mingled. She knows that their skin is probably fused with the liquid sheen. He is heavy on top of her, as boneless and spent as she feels. His face remains buried in the pillow. She screws her eyes shut. There is something about the intensity of the experience which makes her unable to meet his gaze as yet – she thinks that from the way his face is hidden that he feels the same. There is a complete openness, a feeling of becoming one that leaves her completely undone.

Eventually he lifts his head and looks at her for a moment, before shutting his eyes and resting his forehead against hers for a space of time. Then he rolls onto his back, eyes still shut. Éowyn wonders what he is thinking. The silence stretches out. She doesn’t think he has any regrets – his face looks peaceful, sated, spent… happy. But his silence leaves space for a tiny, nagging doubt.

Then he gives a chuckle, his soft baritone voice rumbling. Éowyn is taken aback. This is not at all what she expected. She leans in towards him, lying on her side. He opens his eyes and looks at her.

“It seems all those years past, Cynefrid and his friend were right.”

Éowyn is puzzled. She can’t think why he’s mentioning her sergeant at arms after what they’ve just done. Faramir sees her confusion and smiles.

“Back when they told you the men of Gondor liked to take it up the arse. It seems that they were right…” His grin broadens. “Though this particular man of Gondor only likes it when you’re the one giving it to him.”

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

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at https://www.faramirfiction.com/fiction/impatience. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!

4 Comment(s)

What a wonderfully charming, sexy, naughty couple you’ve created here! Love them! Well done! I hope to see more of their adventures…
Thanks for sharing!

iris    Sunday 16 August 2015, 17:56    #

Reading this again posted here it seems even more brilliant than the first time. Wow..they are fun and sexy and naughty and so utterly in love. It is not just the wonderful descriptions..it is the details. him searching for a book blithely naked..their wordplay… his voice breaking. Thank you so very very much for this

sian22    Tuesday 18 August 2015, 14:39    #

Hi! I really enjoyed this fic! I love so much their mutual love and trust in each other… and it’s so sexy… incredible!! congratulations and thanks for sharing your talent!!

— Andrea    Monday 21 December 2015, 14:10    #

Thanks for the lovely comment. Glad you enjoyed it. I have quite a lot more stuff over in AO3, if you’re interested in reading it. Regards, Annafan.

— annafan    Tuesday 22 December 2015, 22:55    #

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Under the Influence (R) Print

By sian22

12 April 2015 | 14784 words

Title: Under the Influence
Author: sian22
Rating: R
Pairing(s): Faramir & OFCs

Caught in the grip of a powerful drug, Gondor’s young Captain finds he reveals more of his heart and fantasies than he would ever have imagined. What will he and the object of his hidden attraction do ?

A birthday present for Wheelrider.

This story, set in T.A. 3018, is an AU to my chapter fic, Captains and Pawns, in which a woman, Amerith, Duchess of Lossarnach works both for and against Denethor on council, trying to counter his worst inclinations and support her young friend. For the purposes of this story all you really need to know is that she is a decade older than Faramir, they are best friends and at one time he thought himself in love with her. Though in the original fic they never get it on..here for WR’s birthday is one possible way it could have happened.

Linhir is borrowed from Thanwen’s wonderful fic Through Shadows

Young Linhir may have been the House of Healing’s newest annointee but already he had learned one of a healer’s most important skills: to come fully awake from the soundest sleep no matter the time of day or night. They all caught sleep when and where they could. After the last of the afternoon’s hurried rounds he had simply dropped upon the hallway bench, suddenly too tired to reach his room and uncertain when the next chance for rest would come. Lulled by the drumming of the rain on the metal roof, he had closed his eyes. It would only be a moment….

At the sound of loud thudding he jerked awake and cocked an ear. A muffled cry could be heard above the wind’s howl and the dull rap of sword on wood. The gate. Someone was pounding urgently on the House’s oak and iron door, closed this night to protect its denizens from the wild and bitter storm.

Gathering his robes, the young man hurried down the hall, grasped the heavy latch and slowly swung the door, careful to keep the wind from ripping it too wide.

The gust-driven rain slashed against his face as he peered out into the darkened court. Three horses, miserably hunched in the cold and wet stood in the weak light of the few torches that were lit.
A dripping-wet, cloaked and darkened form approached. “Master, we have wounded.”

Linhir threw the door full wide, slipped the brace quickly home. Two of the ghostly mounts were laden. One rider sat his horse sagged forward, as the rain sheeted off his cloak. Clearly he was too hurt and cold and wet to move. But upright still. Lips moving in silent prayer, he thanked the Este for that mercy. The second rider sat straight-backed with the head of another man lolled against his shoulder. One green guantleted hand was raised above soldier’s pale, wan face, futilely shielding his unconscious charge from the worst of the weather’s temper.

The young healer paused but a moment to call and rouse the House before striding quickly out, heedless of the puddles that soaked his lighter shoes. Quickly he felt the cold descend. In his haste he had forgotten a cloak and already his light grey robe was stripped by streaks of darker damp.

“Help me!” he shouted as he looked to the dismounted man for aid. The fierce wind nearly took his words but the soldier seemed to know what he had meant. The unconscious man looked bad. Even in the dark his face appeared bloodless and his lips near blue. Together, they raised their hands and gently lifted the wounded man down from his companion’s arms.

In but a moment the small courtyard had erupted into motion. Two stretchers had appeared with porters and Linhir glimpsed his master, Varan, helping the second mounted patient down. The older man’s long dark hair was already plastered to his face, but he did not flinch as a sheet of water fell from the rider’s sodden cloak.

Hustling into the warmth of the waiting hall Linhir spared a thought for the other soldier. Should they call for grooms to take the horses? Was he uninjured too? He had assumed so but now he doubted, glancing backward through the dim. The man still sat his horse, eyes closed, his warm breath gusting upward to in wispy clouds and hands flexing repeatedly. Cold. He must be stiff with cold and holding his companion for so long. He should be fine. Relieved, he turned his attention back to the Houses once again.

Hours later Linhir sank gratefully once more down on the hallway bench. The third bell of night watch had come and gone. It was late and his feet were cold and surely wrinkled from hours in shoes so soaked that the leather had yet to dry. They had laboured long, he and his master, to save the unconscious man. Brand. His name was Brand. He should remember that, it was the same as his sister’s boy.

Linhir scrubbed wearily at his neck and rolled his head upon his aching shoulders. With a sigh of relief he stretched out his long legs, trying to ease the cramp in his damaged foot. His limp mattered little here, but after hours standing he felt as if every other part of his body was sore and stiff.

The sound of soft footfalls reached his ear and he looked up. Varan lowered himself gratefully to the bench and at the younger man’s raised eyebrow nodded once. “You did well… He will live. Almost he was gut-pierced but thankfully the blade missed the most vital parts.”

The young man flushed. It was heady compliment from his usually quiet-spoken mentor. It had been a very near thing. To be taken through the stomach was yet nigh a sentence of sure and lingering death. It was rumoured that leeches in Far Harad tried to save such a one, cutting the body open wide to close the piercings in the gut. He shuddered at the thought. One day. Perhaps one day he would be tired enough of losing men to take the risk.

“Where was the skirmish?” Varan asked, unscrewing a metal cup from a leather flask and pouring out a steaming brew. His master was a man of detail. He always wanted to know more.

“Druadan, the sergeant said. Beyond the gate at Forannest.”

“Orcs in Druadan? They have become so bold?” The grey-flecked head shook slightly. “Ill tidings. Yet more for these troubled times.”

“Nay, “ Linhir gratefully took the cup that his master proffered. It held sweet strong tea. Not wine, but as he sipped he found it revived him just as well. “Wild men. Drûgs. They attacked with little warning. Though sergeant Anborn said once they heard the Captain’s call in the higher speech they pulled just as quickly back. Unusual for them to be so bold and riled he thought.”

Seemingly satisfied Varan reached for and took the empty cup and filled it once again. He offered it over but the younger man shook his head. The weary pair then sat in quiet peace for many moments until a sudden gust of wind made the rain patter on the roof. Varan looked up and made a face. The storm had not abated yet.

“Where are they now?” The older man looked up and down the hall. Both the sergeant and his Captain had waited anxiously for news, but had vanished once again. It would be a wet walk down if their mounts were already at the soldiers barracks.

“Anborn said he would go to his sister’s home. Said that if word got back they’d been in a fight and she’d not seen him for herself he’d never hear the end of it.”

The two men grinned. They both had sisters, though following long tradition neither took a wife. They understood.

“Captain Faramir did not say. To the Citadel I suppose, though I imagine there’d be not much fussing there. His Lord father is well used to his sons arriving bound.”

“Bound?” Varan sat straight up and frowned. “You didn’t say that he had been tended.”

“Nay, master. We didn’t tend him. They bound him on the field.”

“On the field?” Piercing blue eyes snapped to his face. “Where was he hurt?” Linhir now flushed with embarrassment to be the focus of the stern, dark gaze.

“Flank. He said it wasn’t deep.” An ill feeling prickled at his nape. Varan had risen to his feet, a look of anger on his narrow, wrinkled face. Valar, he was in trouble and well he knew it. All wounded were to be tended to and at least inspected to be sure that they were well. Particularly the Rangers. They had a tendency to be indifferent to all manner of hurts out in the wild.

Linhir rose and offered a swift apology. “I am sorry sir. I know you’ve ordered we check everyone who enters with a wound. But the Ranger’s leather armor is usually proof from arrows. The Captain insisted he was fine and that the bleeding had already stopped.”

Swiftly, the older man’s look of anger was replaced with one of urgent worry. “Arrow?! It was an arrow wound? Morgoth’s teeth!”

Linhir stood shocked and speechless as Varan turned on his heel and all but ran down the hall to the herbal room. So swiftly did he move that his robes flew behind like great grey wings.

Linhir behind broke into as fast a lope as his twisted foot would allow. He found his master hurriedly searching the pots of salve and herb upon the shelves, muttering under his breath.

Grabbing and discarding different leaves and hastily pounding them in a mortar. Varan spared a moment to eye the younger man. “You should have said. Do not ever let a wounded man go again.” He pounded harder, sniffing at the pulp and grunting distractedly. Finally satisfied, he scooped the mess into a pot and screwing the lid tightly on.

“Come.” he barked and now the young healer struggled to keep up with his master’s longer stride.

A roll of bandages was grabbed and a heavy cloak from the pegs beside the door. “I must find him. I will try the Citadel first. You have the watch here. Watch for fever in young Brand and see that the others rest as best as they are able.”

At Linhir’s stricken look Varan relented. “I also blame myself. I should have asked. You could not know.”

“Know what?” The young man held the pot and roll while the cloak was pinned in place. Varan opened the oaken door and turned his dark face back from a bitter gust of wind.

“Drûg arrows are always poisoned.”

To be continued

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)

Oh I’m so excited to see you’re posting this. It is way, way too good to remain hidden in a set of e-mails.

Anyone new to this who has reservations about an OC/Faramir pairing: give it a go – this is one of the hottest pieces of het you’ll get the chance to read. And if you need help to picture it, just imagine that lush, incredibly erotic opening scene of Strauss’ s Rosenkavalier, only with Faramir in place of Oktavian.

— Annafan    Saturday 28 March 2015, 7:36    #

Woohoo… The hurt, comfort and more comfort bit. And Varan letting Amerith know his inibitions will be lowered: “is that all?” But my goodness – uninhibited Faramir! What a treat. I have melted into a post-coital puddle and we haven’t even got to the coitus yet.

— Annafan    Sunday 12 April 2015, 20:16    #

What wonderful, wonderful smut. Can I just say that the whole “consensual bodice ripping” (well, strictly skirt-ripping bit) is my new absolute favourite trope in romantic fiction. Everything about this is great – the table, the towering thrusts, the whole lot. And I hope they are going to make good use of the replacement sandalwood oil when they get back to her townhouse.

— Annafan    Sunday 12 April 2015, 20:18    #

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This story is rated «R», and carries the warnings «oral sex, outdoor sex ».
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Hot Spring (R) Print

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.”

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

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at https://www.faramirfiction.com/fiction/hot-spring. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!

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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El lamento de Faramir (NC-17) es Print

By G-Skywalker

04 January 2015 | 37505 words | Work in Progress

Title: El lamento de Faramir
Author: G-Skywalker
Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Faramir & Boromir, Denethor
Warnings: incest, rape, non-con, death, underage

AU. Faramir es el menor de los hijos del Senescal de Gondor quien por derechos de nacimiento está destinado a vivir bajo la sombra de su hermano, y sufrir en silencio los maltratos físicos y psicológicos perpetrados por su propio padre en nombre de la lealtad a su sangre y al nombre de su familia. INCESTO: Hermano/hermano, padre/hijo.


Eso fue lo último que el más joven de los hijos del senescal de Gondor escuchó de la boca de su hermano, antes de ser empujado a un lado para apartarlo de la veloz flecha que tenía como objetivo clavarse directo en su corazón.

Una horda de orcos se había acercado demasiado a Ithilien, y los dos capitanes de Gondor apoyados por el grupo de exploradores bajo el comando de Faramir, fueron tras su caza.

La situación comenzó a tornarse más oscura cuando una segunda horda llegó por la retaguardia. En medio del caos, nadie pudo explicar cómo un grupo tan grande de orcos había logrado pasar desapercibido del primer grupo; sin embargo, los Hombres de Gondor estaban altamente cualificados para responder adecuadamente en aquellos casos de crisis y necesidad, manteniendo el ritmo y llevando la ventaja. No obstante, mientras Faramir se ocupaba de mantener al margen a los grupos que se habían dispersado, uno de los líderes de la compañía inmunda apuntó con su arco desde una distancia muy considerable para evitar ser visto por el joven Lord y disparó.

La flecha rompió el aire, e iba dispuesta a matar de un solo golpe, sin embargo Boromir quien instintivamente se mantenía siempre cerca de su hermano, reaccionó con rapidez y se interpuso al ataque.

La flecha se clavó con ferocidad en el hombro del hijo mayor, cayendo inmediatamente inconsciente en medio del campo. Los ojos de Faramir observaron horrorizados la escena.

“¡MI HERMANO!” chilló “¡MI HERMANO A CAÍDO!” corrió hasta donde el cuerpo estaba tendido y con lágrimas en los ojos y preso de la furia más pura que pocas veces en su vida había sentido, defendió con su espada y con su propio cuerpo a su misma sangre.

Cuando los dos bandos anunciaron la retirada, se dirigieron a galope tendido hacia Minas Tirith.

“¡MI HIJO!” exclamó el senescal de Gondor, Denethor II, al ver a su favorito tendido sobre una cama con el pecho cubierto de sangre. “¡Mi amado hijo!” – sus amargas lágrimas caían hasta chocar contra las mejillas de Boromir, sus ojos permanecían cerrados, como si estuviera sumergido en un profundo sueño.

“Mi Señor…” dijo uno de los curadores “debe salir de la habitación, tenemos que tratar a Lord Boromir de inmediato.”

Denethor, preso de repente por una violenta ira, tomó al hombre del cuello y exclamó “¡mi hijo muere, y juro por los dioses que les cortaré la garganta a todos ustedes!” en seguida se volvió a Faramir “¡Tú! ¡traidor de tu propia sangre! ¡será mejor que me sigas, si no quieres que te mate a ti primero!”

Las plateadas lágrimas de Faramir se deslizaban por su maravilloso rostro rebosante de pena y angustia por la condición de su hermano y del más autentico temor ante el castigo que recibiría de su padre. Lo siguió de inmediato. Denethor se volteó antes de salir de la habitación y exclamó “¡Traigan a ese maldito brujo! ¡Responsable de la locura de enviar a mi hijo a una muerte segura!”

Faramir siguió en silencio a su airado padre hasta la sala de audiencias. Denethor se volteó y tiró violentamente del cabello de su hijo menor, obligándole a caer de rodillas “Tú deberías ser el que estuviera en esa cama, ¡TÚ!” gritó con odio. Faramir observó con temor aquella cara deformada por la furia y el desdén que siempre había estado presente cuando intercambiaban siquiera un par de miradas.

“Padre…” sollozó.

“¡No me llames así! No tienes el derecho. Tú debes defender a mi hijo aunque te cueste la vida. Solo así tendría sentido tu muerte, de lo contrario no me sirves para nada más. No haces más que torturarme. Te encargas de destruir todo lo que amo.” Las lágrimas no cesaban de brotar de los hermosos ojos de Faramir, alimentadas por las crueles palabras de su padre, quien demostraba, desde las profundidades de su alma, cuanto le odiaba.

“¡Detén esta locura, Denethor!” La voz de Gandalf cayó como un rayo sobre el salón y el senescal quitó las manos de encima de su hijo.

“¡Tú! ¡Maldito brujo! Que no traes más que desdicha a estas tierras. ¡Encárgate de curar a mi hijo y no vuelvas a pisar mis dominios nunca más!”

“Faramir…” – la suave voz del mago llegó hasta los oídos del joven Lord “ven aquí.”

“Atrévete a moverte de donde estás, Faramir, y haré que te arrepientas profundamente.” Ante la amenaza de su padre, el capitán solo dedicó tal mirada al mago que le laceró terriblemente su corazón, y deseó acercarse al hermoso joven y protegerlo sobre su regazo.

“Tu hijo estará bien, Denethor, es fuerte y resistente. Debo salir en busca de unas hierbas que necesito para neutralizar por completo el veneno. No pasará mucho tiempo antes de que se levante de nuevo.” Exclamó con la intención de calmar la desenfrenada ira del senescal. “Goza y celebra la salud de tu otro hijo, Faramir, que es igual de valioso.”

“No hay valor en la debilidad.” Contestó observando al joven Lord con desdén “no hay nada en este hombre que sea igual de valioso que MI hijo. Deja de perder el tiempo Mithrandir, y busca eso que Boromir necesita, si no quieres que mi justicia y mi dolor caigan sobre ti con tal ira que nunca habrás conocido antes. “Y tú,” continuó dirigiéndose a su hijo menor “haz algo útil por primera vez en tu vida, aséate y repórtate de inmediato a tus deberes. Ahora.” Faramir se levantó enseguida, con sumisión.

“No seas cruel con tu propia sangre, te lo suplico.” Susurró Gandalf.

“Tú me has robado el amor de Faramir. Ser tu pupilo no ha hecho más que cosecharle el desprecio hacia su propio padre y te tome a ti en reemplazo.”

“Eso no es verdad, Padre.” Expresó la suave voz de Faramir “Nada puede compararse al amor que siento por ti y por mi hermano.”

“¿Dejándole al borde de la muerte para salvar tu propia vida?” inquirió el senescal soltando un bufido, y sin esperar respuesta, salió de la sala a paso rápido y firme. Gandalf, con compasión en sus ojos, se acercó al joven Lord y le puso su mano sobre el hombro. “Nada de lo que ha pasado a sido culpa tuya, Faramir” susurró “espero que lo entiendas.”

“No, Mithrandir, mi padre tiene razón.” Los ojos azules del Hombre estaban cargados de culpa y de insondable tristeza, esa que parecía ensombrecerle el corazón mientras corrían los años. “Mi deber es también proteger al futuro senescal de Gondor. La vida de mi hermano vale más que la mía.”

“No hables con las palabras de tu padre.” Contestó el mago “No permitas que su sombra te absorba. Eres tan valioso como tu hermano. Y estoy seguro, porque te conozco y porque lo escuché de la boca de tus hombres, que peleaste con valentía y extraordinaria habilidad en el campo de batalla.”

Faramir parecía observar otras escenas que desfilaban solo delante de sus propios ojos, y Gandalf supo que sus palabras no eran escuchadas. “Debo volver a mis deberes.” Susurró el capitán, levantando la vista hacia el viejo mago y esbozando una falsa sonrisa. Antes de verlo desaparecer por la puerta, Gandalf se dirigió a él por última vez “No te alejes del lado de tu hermano. Le alegrará el corazón ver que estás bien en cuanto despierte.”

Faramir fue hasta sus aposentos, se despojó de sus ropas manchadas por las huellas del combate y se metió al cuarto de baño. La bañera de piedra lo recibió con ternura, cubriendo su cuerpo mallugado con agua caliente y aromatizada. Cerró sus ojos e imaginó que en cuanto saliera de la bañera, todas sus penas se deslizarían de su cuerpo como lo hacían las gotas, y no volverían a atormentarlo nunca más.

Era la primera vez que herían a Boromir por su culpa y el tormento por su sufrimiento era desconsolador. El inmenso amor que sentía por su hermano no podía ser explicado con palabras, y cuando le vio caer, Faramir también se sintió herido, e incluso en aquel momento, sumergido en la quietud del agua, sentía como si su corazón de hecho hubiera recibido aquella flecha maldita.

“Yo debería estar en el lugar de mi hermano” pensó con mucho dolor “esa debió ser la hora de mi muerte.”

Luego de asegurarse de haber limpiado bien su cuerpo, Salió de la bañera y cogió la toalla más cercana enrollándosela a la cintura. Decidió ir a visitar a su hermano antes de comenzar con sus deberes, para asegurarse que las cosas se mantenían estables desde su salida con su padre.

Sin embargo, aquello tendría que esperar.

Su corazón se disparó al ver a su padre sentado a la orilla de su cama. Cualquier atisbo de esperanza que hubiera mantenido en aquel trágico día desapareció por completo. Faramir no dijo nada, se mantuvo de pie al marco de la puerta, paralizado. Denethor se levantó y recorrió las estancias de su hijo con la mirada. Se acercó al pequeño escritorio delante de la ventana y rosó levemente el montículo de pergaminos y libros que estaban sobre su superficie.

“Nunca has sido un buen guerrero.” comenzó “Desperdiciaste tu tiempo escribiendo poesía.” Faramir pudo percibir la burla en la voz de su padre. “Eres débil de corazón y vacilas a la hora de clavarle la espada a tus enemigos. Boromir nunca duda. Boromir nunca descuida sus espaldas.”

“Eran…” su voz se perdió. La inseguridad de que si debía o no defenderse impidió que dijera más, y aquello hizo que el enfado de Denethor comenzara a encenderse.

“¿Eran qué?”

“Eran demasiados enemigos. Más de los que teníamos noticias, nos doblaban en número y no eran orcos comunes. Ellos no le temen al sol, y son mucho más resistentes.”

“Excusas. No son más que excusas.” – inquirió con desdén.

Faramir no respondió, sabía que sea lo que sea que dijera, su padre encontraría alguna manera de hacerle ver el error que había cometido. Denethor tampoco continuó, y su vista estuvo fija en el montón de papeles sobre la mesa. Luego de unos momentos de pausa, volvió a dirigirse a su hijo, y Faramir reconoció que el tono de su voz era diferente…

“¿Piensas en mí cuando escribes estas poesías?” preguntó el senescal en susurros.

“Si, mi Señor.” Mintió.

“Recítame algo.” Le ordenó. Su mente estaba tan nublada de miedo que no fue capaz de encontrar ni el más básico de los versos. Su boca permaneció cerrada y tras la acuchillante mirada de su padre supo que no le quedaba más que apagarse y esperar a que aquel tormentoso día terminara.

“Acércate a mí.” Faramir caminó a paso lento hasta llegar frente Denethor. El Señor de Gondor lo observó. Estaba desnudo, lo único que le protegía era la suave lana que rodeaba su cintura y Faramir vio lujuria en los ojos de su padre.

Denethor rosó sus dedos por el duro abdomen de su hijo. “Nadie va a amarte, Faramir. Tu debilidad no hace más que causar lástima y repulsión.” Los dígitos luego se posaron en la mejilla del joven Lord y en un movimiento brusco, haló de sus hebras doradas y le obligó a caer de rodillas.

“Por favor, Padre…” imploró con su voz suave, sabiendo lo que estaría obligado a hacer a continuación. Sus ruegos no fueron escuchados y Denethor sacó su erección por entre la túnica. Atrayendo con violencia la cabeza de su hijo, le obligó a llenar su boca con su hombría. “Chupa” susurró, y Faramir contuvo sus ganas de vomitar, sabiendo que su padre le obligaría a limpiarlo él mismo como había pasado en ocasiones anteriores.

Su padre jadeaba de placer, y aquel sonido repugnante llegaba hasta los oídos de Faramir y le torturaban. Denethor sacó su hombría de la boca de su hijo y le obligó a mirar hacia arriba. “¿Entiendes por qué hago esto? Me arrebataste al amor de mi vida, Faramir. Desde tu nacimiento, no ha pasado un solo día sin que tu rostro me recuerde a ella. Mi Finduilas…” susurró y su cara se deformó por el dolor “Este es tu deber. Es lo menos que puedes hacer por torturar a tu propio padre.”

Tomó a su hermoso hijo por sus cabellos dorados de nuevo y lo arrastró hasta el escritorio frente a la ventana. En el camino, la toalla que protegía la cintura de Faramir cayó al suelo. Denethor le golpeó la mejilla sobre la mesa y le separó las piernas. El joven Lord no dijo nada, sabía que no importaba cuanto rogara que se detuviera, su padre iría hasta el final. Sus lágrimas aterrizaban en el escritorio y mojaban los pergaminos que habían grabado aquellas palabras hermosas que le salían del corazón.

Su padre lo penetró profundamente y Faramir gritó. El terrible dolor de ser tomado con tanta brutalidad le hizo desear, una vez más, que aquella flecha hubiera terminado con su vida. Su cuerpo sangraba y su corazón palpitaba como si se tratara de una herida que tenía sobre el pecho. “Eres hermoso…” jadeaba Denethor sobre su espalda “Este es tu lugar, hijo mío.” Las veces que Faramir había escuchado que su padre le llamaba “hijo” eran en estos momentos. Quizás, pensaba, los únicos momentos en los que Denethor se sentía orgulloso de él.

Sintió como la semilla de su padre llenaba su interior y pensó que no importaba cuantas veces intentara quitarse esa horrible sensación, no lograría hacerla desaparecer, así como no lograría que su padre dejara de ponerle las manos encima. La hombría de Denethor salió de su interior y segundos después escuchó como los pasos se alejaban y el sonido de la puerta cerrándose los hizo desaparecer por completo.

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

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at https://www.faramirfiction.com/fiction/el-lamento-de-faramir. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!

2 Comment(s)

Ahhh, en vez de estudiar me puse a leer fics, que novedad. Suerte que me topé con uno magníficamente escrito, como éste.
Pobre, pobre Faramir. Espero que, si continuas, encuentre consuelo. En brazos de su hermano. :P

Bueeeeeno, estaré esperando. Me ha interesado :)

— N    Tuesday 26 November 2013, 17:54    #

me encanta tu historia y espero ver lo que sucede en tus próximos capítulos. Soy fan de los hermanos de Gondor aunque Boromir se adueñó de mi corazón. Esa historia de amor y respeto entre hermanos me encanta, y si va a pasar a ser incestuosa no sería dañina si restaura la paz en el alma de Faramir… espero ver mas de esta historia muy pronto!! felicitaciones!!

— Andrea    Sunday 27 July 2014, 15:38    #

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Losto Mae, Little Brother (PG) External Link Print

By LordHellebore

02 January 2015 | words

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The Marital Bed (R) Print

By Iris

01 November 2014 | 2598 words

Title: The Marital Bed
Author: Iris
Rating: R
Pairing(s): Faramir & Éowyn
Warnings: het, mentions incest
This could do with a bit of a polish,but since only today is Minx's birthday,cleanup can wait.

Faramir and Éowyn share secrets.
Written to celebrate Minx’s birthday. Have a lovely day, darling!!

Suddenly Éowyn turned to face him, propping herself up on one elbow, looking at him with that stare that he recognizes immediately, after three months of marriage. She’s still flushed, covered in a sheen of sweat and her hair ruffled, but there’s no doubt she has something important to say.

And yet she doesn’t. His blushing bride seems to be hesitating just now… maybe even embarrassed? Well, there’s something new, Faramir thinks, raising a bemused, quizzical eyebrow.

She’s biting her lip now, narrowing her eyes slightly, in doubt whether or not to…. He doesn’t get to see her like this often, doubting. If she does, it’s usually about which line of attack is preferable, whether in sparring or during a game of chess. But she’s adorable when she does, he thinks.

“I have a confession to make,” she blurts out suddenly. Yes, well, that much he had guessed. But she doesn’t say what she needs to confess, biting her lip again and now even looking away from him. He waits patiently for her to continue, and as time stretches on wonders if he should ask or—

“I wasn’t a virgin when I came to you,” she finally all but whispers.

Well, he wasn’t expecting that! Had she been fretting over this? Why would she think he’d –what – think less of her somehow? Regret marrying her?

“Nor was I,” he decides to answer, deadpan, flippant almost, trying his hardest to convey this is not an issue for him at all. Wasn’t she the one who was always complaining how unjust it is that mores are so different for men and women?

“But you’re a man,” she answers, surprising him further, “and much, much older than I am. It would have been peculiar for you to still be a virgin at the ripe old age of thirty-seven!”

His young bride likes to tease him about their age difference, calling him an old man and such. Each time she does, there’s a fleeting moment where he thinks he ought to point out that he’s less than half the age of their king — considerably less than half – and she doesn’t seem to mind that age gap at all. But he knows better than to open old wounds; he has nothing to gain by reminding her that he might have been her second choice.

So he just shrugs.

“Aren’t you going to ask who it was?” she asks after staring at him expectantly for some time.

He doesn’t particularly care. Definitely doesn’t care to tell her about the awkward fumble that turned into his first time proper.


Perhaps his mind is going there simply because he was thinking of him just then… but surely, she doesn’t mean—

“Do you want to tell me?” he asks, still as casually as he can.

He listens as she tells the tale of a drunken night, worrying him at first – “Did he take advantage of you?” – his frown turning into a knowing smile as she admits that if anything, it was the other way: she’s had a crush on him for as long as she could recall. He’d met Théodred just once, when he was visiting Minas Tirith on a diplomatic mission while Faramir happened to be in the city and Boromir insisted he’d join them both for a night’s drinking. He never had much to do with diplomacy in those days; Denethor trusted those tasks to Boromir – amiable, instantly likeable Boromir who was perfectly suited to the task of charming the neighbours into trusted allies. So it was Boromir who always went on missions to Rohan and thus knew Théodred quite well. They seemed much alike to Faramir; they both has this glow about them. He could certainly see why Éowyn liked him.

“He’s my cousin. Was my cousin,” she adds hesitantly.

“In my family, it’s common for cousins to marry cousins,” he says, shrugging again, making light of this point which clearly carries some weight with Éowyn. “If Boromir was still alive, he’d probably be married to Lothiriel by now.” He ponders that for a moment and adds, “Hmm… she’d still be your sister-in-law then. Curious how some things work out, is it not?”

“If Boromir were alive, what makes you think I wouldn’t have married him instead?” she quips, a little obviously trying to lighten the mood.

“True,” is all he can say. No girl when given a choice would ever have picked him over his brother, he knows that. But it has never occurred to begrudge him this; after all, he himself would make the same choice in that position.

“You don’t mind then?” she asks, though her nervousness has dissipated now.

“No, I don’t mind,” he answers honestly.

After a moment’s thought, he adds, “I hope I compare favourably.”

Éowyn lets out a dismissive snort. “He was drunk. He fell asleep right after, or maybe even during. It was all quite disillusioning.”

He smiles at her and counters, “I too may have been a little tipsy on our wedding night. After all those toasts.”

Now she’s positively giggling and he can’t help but join her, recalling the endless well-wishers, drinking to the couple’s health and happiness, to Rohan, to Gondor, to the victors and the victorious dead, to peace and to prosperity, to the happy couple’s future offspring, to all and sundry it seemed to them, late into the night, when all they wanted to do was sneak off and get started on the offspring.

“Yes, I may have been a little inebriated too, that night. But we’ve made up for it since, haven’t we?”

She lights up the room with that glorious smile of hers and rolls over, closing the small gap between them and pressing herself to his side, then slinging one long slender leg over his. And now and her hand snakes over to draw lazy circles on his stomach and chest. This is also how he had woken up this morning, not yet half an hour ago, and it’d be so easy to let things progress as they did earlier, as the circles slowly but surely make their way down.

But now anxiety is building up inside him. Should he tell her? He’d been waiting for an opportune moment for a while, telling himself he’d do it as soon as one arose, and he couldn’t imagine a better time than this, now that she’d shared her secret. Though now that there were no excuses, saying what he wanted to say out loud seemed more complicated than he had anticipated. Perhaps he really wasn’t quite as brave as his wife.

“I also have a confession to make.”

She looked at him eagerly, probably expecting some titbit of juicy pillow talk, he estimated.

One more deep breath and—“I slept with Boromir, and not just once or twice either.”

She looks baffled now. This was clearly nowhere near what she was expecting. Utterly confused, she first wants to make sure she understood correctly. “Slept with?” she stresses, “You mean,” she pauses as she grapples for an appropriate euphemism, “had intercourse with?”

Faramir just nods; he doesn’t think she needs anymore details now. He watches her as she’s struggling to organize the millions of thoughts that seem to run through her mind. This isn’t going as badly as he’d feared: this is a lot worse. He shouldn’t have told her, not this soon anyway. But now there’s no going back.

He watches her as confusion turns into suspicion. “You’re not one of those, you know,” she waves her hand about in a way he’d seen men do in crude mockery, and he wonders how much salty soldier talk she’s been exposed to, “men who like men instead of women, are you?”

He reaches out to her, trying to recoup some of the intimacy they had just a moment ago. She’s lying on her side now, facing him, and he runs a hand slowly over the curve of her hip, dipping down to follow her slim waist, and up again to the rise of her breasts. “I like you, don’t I?” he offers in explanation.

Éowyn lets out a relieved sigh and dips her head so their foreheads touch, an simple but intimate gesture she often makes and he likes very much. “Yes, of course. I know you do,” she admits.

The room is quiet for a while, both of them doing nothing more than breathing, absorbing.

“I always knew you were close,” she says breaking the silence, “but not that close.” Her tone isn’t scolding or accusatory or even disappointed. It’s gentle – she just wants to learn more about him. They’d spent many long nights just talking like this, learning more about each other. She’s always been eager to learn all sorts of insignificant details about the life he’s lead before she entered it. Things he’d nearly forgotten himself, like what his mother looked like, what she wore, how she smelled, what she sounded like.

“We didn’t have many other children to play with when we were younger,” he starts. “And of course our mother died when I was quite young. I used to sneak into Boromir’s room and get into bed with him whenever I couldn’t sleep or had a nightmare or there was a thunderstorm out, or I was sad or scared for whatever other reason. I wasn’t supposed to of course, our father never liked it when we showed any kind of weakness. But it was nice not to be all alone. And when we got older, when we were teenagers, one thing led to another.”

She nods, understanding. She’s told him about growing up in very close quarters with Éomer. She knows what teenage boys can be like. ‘Horny as hell,’ she’d called him, adding he’d jump just about anything that moved. She even made crude jokes about what the current king of Rohan may have got up to with his horse in his younger years.

He can see her face change as she stumbles on to another thought. It makes her blush. She’s embarrassed, but also curious, and he can guess what she wants to ask but he’s not going to help her out. If she wants to know, she’ll have to ask. He can feel himself starting to smile as he watches her squirm. Finally, she comes out with it: “Did Boromir also…, uhm, put his… uhm, up your bottom?”

Faramir just nods, still smiling.

“Doesn’t that hurt?” she wants to know.

“No…,” now he is blushing, not from embarrassment but from the memories that this topic evoke, “it feels very nice actually.”

She looks doubtful.

Faramir snuggles closer again, kisses her neck, her shoulder. He lets his hand caress back up her hips then down, between her legs, finding her still moist from their earlier activities, or perhaps from this talk?

“You have to go slow at first,” he explains, rubbing her with his thumb the way he knows she likes it, “and you have to use oil because it doesn’t get wet like you do,” he adds, emphasizing his point by moving his middle finger, moistened with her own wetness, further back, letting the pad brush lightly over her anus, not quite penetrating but circling with the slightest hint of pressure, making her gasp.

She’s distracted, but not enough to quell her curiosity. “Have you ever,” she asks without defining, “with any other man, besides Boromir?”

“No,” he answers simply, not letting up his ministrations and moving to kiss her.

But she’s not that easily dissuaded. “But would you have wanted to, with any man other than Boromir?

“No…,” he says again, but if he can hear the hesitation in his voice, so can she. And indeed, she raises an eyebrow at him. She’s clearly not convinced.

Now he knows he looks embarrassed. His hand stills and he looks away from her.

“What? Lots of men? Any man you meet?” She’s getting anxious again now.

“No, no! Not at all!” he replies emphatically. He rolls away from her onto his back, staring at the ceiling. How did this go wrong again so quickly? But she’s not letting him withdraw and climbs on top of him, sits astride him, mirroring the position she took earlier that morning. A true daughter of the Riddermark, she loves riding him, rocking back and forth while Faramir can do nothing but look up at her in awe. Now it is Éowyn who is studying him closely, then it dawns on her.

“You have a crush on someone! A man!” she says, pointing one index finger into his breastbone, not accusingly but teasing him, as she likes to do.

“I love you. You know that. I would never cheat on you.”

“Who?” is all she says, still studying him intensely, as if she could somehow decipher a name if only she looked close enough.

“It’s… inappropriate. And I would never do anything about it.”

Now she frowns, thinking a moment before looking positively triumphant. “I know who it is! It can only be one!”

He looks away, biting his lip… bracing himself.

“It’s the king!” she squeals. “You want the king to bugger you senseless! Is that the right word,” she asks with a big grin, not really expecting an answer. “I’m right aren’t I?”

He lets out a sigh of relief at her excited reaction. “When I first woke up in the houses of healing, when he released me from the shadows, I felt.. something, “ he struggles to explain. “But then I met you and then it didn’t matter anymore because I had you. I would never…” he hesitates, “…and he would never be interested, but it doesn’t matter because I would never cheat on you. I love you.”

“But what if he were interested? Would you want to? If I didn’t mind?” she asks excitedly, bouncing up and down as she does when she’s excited, seemingly forgetting where she’s sitting and not realizing what this is doing to him.

“You wouldn’t mind?” he echoes incredulously.

“Not if you let me watch!”

Now he has to laugh out loud. “You!” he says at his lovely wife, “I love your dirty mind!”

She bends down to kiss him and grinds her hips against him, realizing very well what it does to him.

But now he thinks of something and withdraws ever so slightly from her enthusiastic onslaught. She may be able to read his mind, but he also knows a little about hers.

“Would you?” he asks slyly, “If he were interested? If I didn’t mind?”

“But that’s different.”

“Is it?”

“If I were to get with child,” she explains, completely serious now, “the next steward would be the king’s bastard. It can’t be!”

Yes, that’s a valid point, he thinks.

But clearly she’s a quicker thinker than he is. “But…,” she adds cunningly, “if he were to take me as he would take you…”

She smiles instead of finishing her sentence.

He can do nothing but smile back at her, wondering what he’d done to deserve this wonderful, devious, clever and utterly sexy woman in his life.

“You really wouldn’t mind?” she asks.

“Not if you let me watch!”

Sequels that are never going to happen, but are fun to think about none the less, include but are not limited to:

  • what happens when these two get their hands on Aragorn,
  • what happens when miraculously.undead!Boromir returns to Minas Tirith (if Gandalf can do it, so can he, I say),
  • what happens when Arwen/the twins/Éomer/character of your choice gets involved…
NB: Please do not distribute (by any means, including email) or repost this story (including translations) without the author's prior permission. [ more ]

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at https://www.faramirfiction.com/fiction/the-marital-bed. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!

8 Comment(s)

Aww…thank you ever so much for this lovely piece. It’s so Faramir in its voice and tone – so calm and collected and honest! :) And those sequels oh my! Imagine 1 & 2 & 3! A/B/F with voyeur women. Yum :)

Minx    Sunday 2 November 2014, 17:16    #

I love your feisty inquisitive Eowyn and by turns hesitant/bold Faramir.

— sian22    Saturday 15 November 2014, 21:23    #

This is marvellous – funny and sexy. And as a writer of comedy, I love a well crafted joke and this is just perfect: great comic timing, a marvellous play on the symmetry of the situation, great use of the reader’s imagination (I’m certainly now picturing the dirtiest things imaginable) and a great punchline. All this and true to the characters.

— Annafan    Sunday 16 November 2014, 8:34    #

@minx — ooh, i hadn’t even thought of voyeurs for the a/b/f reunion! Good point!
Glad you like it and I hope you’ve had a great day and will have a great year!

iris    Friday 28 November 2014, 16:18    #

@ sian22 — thanks! Feisty and inquisitive sounds just right for Eowyn, me thinks. Glad you liked it and thanks for taking the time out to comment!

iris    Friday 28 November 2014, 16:20    #

@ Annafan – thank you so much for your brilliant review! Really made my day! Glad to hear you enjoyed it (and also very pleased it made you picture all sorts;)).

iris    Friday 28 November 2014, 16:23    #

omg this was intense! and funny! I loved Éowyn hahaha Is TOTALLY comprehensible fantasize about watching her own sexy husband having sex with the king hahaha

— g-skywalker    Friday 2 January 2015, 5:28    #

Thanks for your great comment, g-skywalker! I’m very pleased to hear you enjoyed it! Always great to make someone laugh ;)

iris    Friday 2 January 2015, 12:24    #

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Silence (R) Print

By Geale

20 July 2014 | 3320 words

Summary: Matters like these are not spoken of.
Pairing: Faramir & Elladan, Faramir & Aragorn
Rating: R, to be safe
Warnings: Slash, infidelity and some angst
Disclaimer: All characters belong to J.R.R. Tolkien
A/N: Here’s a puzzle for you!


His companion’s eyes glimmered. “Come.”

Faramir had tried to make light of it. Thrice, by now, but he was running out of excuses. “El, I don’t think…”

The elf’s hand on his sleeve resumed its grasp. “You think entirely too much. It is a wonder you are at all standing here. Come now.”

Faramir glanced around the crowded floor. The first number dances had long since ended and now the impeccable rings of dancers had dissolved and couples had begun to form. It was most unorthodox – but so was dancing altogether in this hall.

“Is this how you do it in Imladris?” he asked Elladan, stalling for time, perhaps.

“Would you like to find out?” Elladan took a firmer grip on his wrist and tugged him closer. His grey eyes were dancing, all on their own, and his smile turned seductive in the way that made Faramir’s belly turn itself into a knot. A not entirely unpleasant knot, if truth be told.

“Not here?” Faramir suggested on a quick exhale.

And Elladan, one of the twin Lords of Rivendell, rolled his eyes at him. But at least he was still smiling. “How do you ever get engaged, you Gondorians? Let alone lose your vi–“

“We do,” Faramir blurted before he had to hear that particular word spill from Elladan’s lips. “We just…” His gaze sank to the small sliver clasp that held the elf’s tunic together at his throat.

Placating fingers brushed his chin and tilted it back. “I know.” His mouth on Faramir’s was equally soft, the kiss both somehow reassuring and a plea for forgiveness. The very tip of his tongue dipped into Faramir’s lower lip but that was as bold as it got.

Elladan’s hand, however, abandoned his wrist and came to settle in the small of his back instead, giving light pressure. “Dance with me?”

And Faramir relented.

They skirted the edge of the crowd, mingling just a fraction with the other dancers so as to blend in as best they could without ending up in the centre of the floor. Even Elladan could agree that it was wise to not provoke too forcefully too early. Minas Tirith was, after all, not a place where all-male love was elevated and celebrated.

Nevertheless, Faramir stepped into his embrace, rested his head on his shoulder and breathed him in. Elladan moved them both with ease through slow turns that maybe did not perfectly match the slightly more lively music but made sense to Faramir. The War was a thousand years away.

He slid an arm around her waist and laughed. “Come, Boromir, you are entirely too grave.”

His Steward gave a grunt and turned his displeasure to him. “I suppose this is how you do it in Imladris?”

Aragorn smiled. “You have stayed in the Valley – why don’t you tell me?”

“Under dire circumstances,” Boromir reminded him. “I saw no such revelry then.”

“Naturally.” Arwen gave him her most conciliating smile and although it should not work on Boromir – by all means of logic – somehow it still did. “But you should not think of my birthplace as a land of seriousness and gloom,” she continued, “for in truth it is not.”

“My lady,” Boromir inclined his head at the swaying crowd. “The proof is before me.” There was silence between them for a moment until he added, “Well, at least my brother is happy.”

Arwen followed his gaze and her smile graced her eyes. “And so is mine.”

The silk underneath Aragorn’s hand was warming to his touch. Faramir was wearing a plain linen shirt. He let her go.

“Come, Boromir, will you not dance with me?” She stepped up to him, and though she was tall he was taller still. “I am sure my husband could spare me for a while.”

“My lady, my leg…”

“Is well healed. I know it troubles you some but did not my father advise you to use it, lest it turn stiff and lame?” It was perhaps a cruel tactic but she spoke with such sweetness that her tone took the sting out of her words, and perhaps also softened the memory of the elven healing Boromir had been subjected to and had been forced to praise.

“So he did, my Queen.”

“So there.” Arwen’s beautiful smile carried to Aragorn, over her shoulder. “If our Steward’s brother dances with mine, I might well dance with the Steward.”

“Indeed.” Aragorn smiled back at her, “but be gentle.”

She did not reply but Aragorn kept smiling. Because he had no other option.

Elladan’s lips grazed his neck. “I miss you.”

Faramir smiled, eyes closed. “I am right here.”

“I miss you still.”

The elf had not cut his hair for many months and the ends tickled Faramir’s hands as he moved them up Elladan’s back. They were dancing very close now, chest to chest, thighs pressing together and more than that. Faramir was not innocent – he knew where this was leading – but he did not want it just yet.

And Elladan knew him. Elladan, the King’s foster-brother, who had ensnared Faramir’s heart with one single glance as the Captains of the West rode through the City Gate as conquerors after the defeat of the Shadow, knew him. He knew that Faramir had no particular desire to be taken, brutally, forcefully, in the throes of passion, somewhere against a wall, but that he wished – genuinely – to be seduced, courted, and caressed, body and soul.

And so Elladan moved his palms to Faramir’s hips and from there dragged them up his sides until he came no further but had to cup his head and cheek instead and try for a kiss. Faramir gave it to him and the traditions and prejudices of Minas Tirith be damned. He did not open his eyes again until it was over and Elladan’s breathing was his own again.

“Will you join me in my chambers tonight?”

He nodded.

“Did you know?”

Boromir kept his distance to the Queen even as he spun her slowly, as his leg commanded. She was… overwhelming. He pondered her question – and his answer – before replying. “I do not know?”

She raised one fine, dark eyebrow. “You do not know if you knew?”

He considered that, too. “Precisely.”

She gave him a teasing grin. “They say you are rash, Boromir of Gondor. Outspoken and thoughtless in personal matters. Where is your temper?”

He swallowed. “It must be your grace, my lady, which softens it.”

She laughed at that, grey eyes glittering. Leaning in a little closer, she lowered her voice. “Shall I tell you a secret?”

He licked dry lips. “If it is your wish.”

“You speak like a poet.” She pulled back again. “But fear not, I shall tell no one.”

“I’m afraid you are wrong,” he told her. “My brother is the poet. He knows his words.”

Her cheekiness melted into a sudden burst of true affection. “He is sweet indeed. And very much in love, by the looks of it. But you did not know that he likes males?”

“We never discussed it,” said Boromir, unwilling to look at her. He fixed his gaze on the abandoned throne on the dais instead. “By the time he was old enough the War was upon us, at least in spirit. The days were dark and our father… lost himself to that darkness.”

He never saw it coming but her fingertips suddenly skidded over his temple. “It is done. Everything is done,” she said softly. “Yet you hide too much in your heart and never give it voice.”

And he never would.

The wine was too sweet. Aragorn set aside his cup and wished it were otherwise. That he could drink till morning and sunset and morning again. But the wine was too sweet.

Faramir’s copper curls were tangled in Elladan’s fingers. Aragorn had never once, in eighty-eight years seen his foster-brother this happy. It had been Elrohir who had given Estel a shove towards some pretty elf, hissing in his ear to remind him to admire her beauty, compliment her smile perhaps and offer her a dance. Elladan had encouraged him, too, but it had not been the same. Never less informative and heartfelt, but different.

Estel had dreamed of elven females and later even mortal women, but Aragorn…


Aragorn blinked the years away.

“Did you lose your wife?”

Faramir was beside him, eyes bright and lips reddened. His face open. Aragorn looked away. “She is dancing with Boromir.”

“My brother?” Faramir spun to spot them in the crowd. “My brother does not dance. His leg pains him and…” He turned back with a near-sheepish smile and shrugged. “He is not easily persuaded.”

It had to be some jest between them, Aragorn assumed, when Elladan laughed. “Brothers indeed.” His arm snaked around Faramir’s waist. “Stubborn is he?”

Faramir’s lips quirked into a peculiar smile. “I believe it is called ‘Gondorian’.”

Elladan kissed that smile away but it was Aragorn’s eyes he met when it was done. “Good night, foster-brother.”

Aragorn opened his mouth but the words did not come. Faramir’s eyes were too bright, too close. Too searching.

“Elladan has offered me his bed tonight,” he said, boldly, unwisely. Bloody dangerously.

Aragorn’s throat was tight and his voice even more so. “We shall have to find you somewhere else besides your soldier’s quarters. I’m sorry, I…”

But Faramir, damn him, caught his eye and shook his head. “Good night, Aragorn.”

They left the Great Hall hand in hand.

Elladan’s chambers were large and airy. Normally. Tonight they were sweltering. Or perhaps it was Faramir’s skin that blazed under his touch.

“Here.” Elladan guided him into the darkness with kisses and caresses. ‘Come’, he would say, too, or ‘now’, or ‘please’.

Faramir dragged his lips over his smooth cheek and pressed a kiss into the corner of his mouth. The elf was a pulsating presence among the shadows that fell in hushed patterns on the floor. Hands were on Faramir’s hips, guiding him. Elladan rubbed that smooth cheek against Faramir’s stubble and went for his shirt. “I want all of you.”

Faramir had no words for any of this. He should have, in theory, but he lacked them sorely in reality. He nodded, rendered mute by the wave of expectation that rose in his breast.

He let Elladan undress him, and then aided the elf to shed his own clothes. They were more alike in stature than he had once thought though Elladan’s skin was creamy rather than freckled and near-hairless, save for the thatch of dark, silky hair around the base of his risen length.

“Please,” he said now. “Please, Faramir.”

Elladan had not been his first. He had been his second. The first was a Ranger who subtly had let his Captain know of his preferences and so Faramir had given in against all better judgement – if only to find out if he was right in his suspicions about the nature of his own desires. And he had been but that had not been love.

Faramir had not known true love until he woke in the Houses but that had resulted only in a dream. By the time the City Gates had opened for the Captains, he was ready for something that might actually be possible.

Elladan lifted his long ink-black hair aside and even in the darkness, Faramir knew every detail, every shift in his face. “Yes,” he said, that word at least coming easily to him.

They moved onto the bed as one, Elladan bringing Faramir down with him, to cradle him and touch him. Faramir swelled in his hand and searched for his mouth and the kiss was their longest yet that night.


There is a sliver of moonlight slashed across the bed. Faramir lies in his arms, face to his, their legs tangled. There is silence, except for their softened breathing. Elladan’s eyes are pools of muted summer starlight among the shadows.

“Do you oft think of him?”

“I think of you.”

The elf’s gaze never wavers. “But him?”

Faramir sighs. He is determined to keep his own gaze just as steady. “I cannot say. I think of you always. Both of you. You are… always. Constants.” He lifts a hand to brush one glossy black strand over Elladan’s shoulder. “But different. I do not think of you as I think of him.”

For the first time there is a sharper edge to the silvery grey of Elladan’s eyes. “You are mine.”

Faramir rolls on top of him, quite effortlessly. He drapes himself over him and leaves a kiss on his mouth. “With pleasure.”

Then, a smile, and the elf’s arms come around him and hug him tight. “Just remember that. Please.”

“Always.” Faramir lets himself be enveloped, skin to skin.


There is moonlight spilling in from the open window. She is radiant, awash in silver, even in her sleep. She is ever his.

He rolls out of bed and despite the warm night the tiles are cool under his bare feet.

He throws on a robe and wishes he had never done it. He leaves their bedchamber, he leaves their apartments wishing he were wise enough to still be in bed beside his wife.

Minas Tirith lies swathed in midnight shades. The carpets mute his steps and no one sees him. He wishes someone would. Almost.

The party from Imladris is housed in various parts of the Tower but as their Lord Elladan was given a set of the finest chambers available. Aragorn steals towards them now, closer and closer, and it is his pounding heart that bears him thither, more so than his legs and feet.

The door appears all too real to him in the gloom. By now his own breath is crushing him, his need too great and his shame a choking collar around his throat. Still he lifts a hand and ghosts his palm over the wood, taking a moment to maybe reconsider. But it is futile. It is already done.

The door slides open as if by magic. Faramir is pale in the night. Their eyes meet and Aragorn can think no more. He backs away, gives Faramir the space he needs to step out into the hallway and close the door behind him. He too is wearing a long robe, only loosely wrapped around his middle and barely held together by some sash Aragorn cares nothing for.

There is an alcove only a few steps down the hallway. At the very end there is a window where starlight and moonlight blend well enough to give Faramir’s hesitation a face. Aragorn swallows. Then the moment passes and all is as it should have been.

They meet in a kiss only half-heartedly confined to the shadows. Aragorn walks Faramir sideways, backwards, walks him into the alcove but never breaks the kiss. He tries not to think of the fact that by all means of logic, Faramir tastes of Elladan.

The stone cradles them silently. Faramir’s hands slide down Aragorn’s back, tugging at the silky robe. Aragorn reaches for the younger man’s hips, pushing at the lush fabric, and finding that underneath it Faramir is completely naked.

“I need you,” Aragorn rasps out, his mouth half-buried in Faramir’s hair, near his ear.

Faramir’s responding shiver is what presses them even closer together. Skin grates against the wall as Aragorn seeks to cover all of him.

In the end, it is Faramir who calms it down. His expression is almost compassionate as he turns his face to the wall and reaches behind him to take Aragorn in hand and steer him between his thighs. Aragorn slides in between them, slick and throbbing, and desperate for anything that Faramir will give. He presses scorching kisses into Faramir’s neck and refuses to acknowledge the tears that sting his eyes.

I love you.

“I love my wife,” he whispers. “You know I love her. I love her so.”

Faramir nods.

In this moment, Aragorn would give his soul to slide properly into Faramir. Where, beyond a doubt, his own foster-brother has already been tonight. It does not matter. It never will.

Faramir grabs his hand and brings it to his groin. Aragorn finds him hard and waiting.

When all is done, Faramir turns in his arms and catches him. They linger in the stony silence of the hallway, breaths evening out and pulses slowing. It is only when Faramir gently tilts his head back a little that Aragorn opens his eyes. He is weary now and his heart is heavy. Faramir’s eyes, almost silver in the ethereal light are soft.

His voice, however, is low but firm. “I love him.”

Aragorn nods, mute.

Faramir runs his fingers through Aragorn’s tangled hair.

There is nothing else to say.

Faramir finds Elladan dozing in the moonlight. He has washed the traces of Aragorn’s need off his skin and longs to lie down. The elf makes room for him as he stretches out and finds a corner of the sheet to pull over himself.

They lie awake, face to face. Elladan watches him.

“It’s…” Faramir finally begins.

“Don’t.” The fingertips caress his cheek lightly. “Do not give it voice.”

Because matters like this are not spoken of.

No matter how many times Boromir rinsed his mouth with water
afterwards, the taste on his tongue is still bitter.

The night is far progressed but sleep will not take pity on him. His leg is pounding dully. He should never have danced. It was ill-advised and thoughtless. He should never have danced with his Queen. But Boromir of Gondor is a fool – it is as simple as that.

There was a moment upon the slopes of Amon Hen when Boromir should have died. He had lost Frodo, he had lost the halflings, had lost his honour and his pride and his heart to greed. He should have died, then, leaving Faramir to carry the line of the Stewards into the future.

It would have been cruel on Faramir, to be sure, but was this, his own fate, any kinder?

Who of the Gods laughed now – just now – at him?

His bloody leg.

‘My lady, I’m afraid… my leg…’

She smiled. ‘Of course. I shall not tire you.’

She was light in his arms, like a melody herself. So he endured a little while longer. Took her for another slow turn. She smiled at that as well. Their eyes caught and Boromir swallowed. Her lips parted just a little, as if she had thought of something to say but did not have the wish to speak.

And Boromir the fool had moved his hands then. Or they had moved by themselves. Had tightened their grasp on her waist ever so slightly. He had never looked away. He followed every shift in her grey eyes. The sudden shock at his boldness – the realisation. Everything. And Boromir had not dared to breathe.

He was blind to all but her in his arms. He was touching her, holding her. His Queen. And her smile was suddenly gone almost shy even as relief blossomed in her face and Boromir of Gondor who should have died upon Amon Hen would have kissed her then if he’d had the courage. But braver the elf than the mortal, and more fool the human, for she dipped her head and moved up close and her lips to his skin, just beneath his earlobe, were warm. And then they were gone.

Then there was silence.


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1 Comment(s)

Oh my.
“Do not give it voice.”
Can’t tell if that breaks my heart, or makes me fall deeper in love, or both. Painfully, I think it’s both. Followed by the unfinished silence of Boromir and Arwen. Just…oh my. Thank you.

— VanwaHravani    Sunday 26 April 2015, 13:26    #

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Better of two evils: An alliance with a high lord (NC-17) Print

By Laivindur

03 July 2014 | 1033 words | Work in Progress

Title: Better of two evils: An alliance with a high lord
Author: Laivindur
Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Faramir & Boromir, Denethor
Warnings: Rape, incest, deceit
Notes: One of my ideas that needed to be written down and shared,and I gladly accept comments.,I still don't have a BETA reader; I think I need one since I do not know that much about English writing,though I hope it's not that bad,but I learn as I go

How much destruction a man with power and lust can make sure of. Poor Boromir is having a hard time with morality.

When a lord wants something, he gets it; it’s hard to avoid taken the fact that every breathing object within his realm bows to his wish and sometimes risks not only its own life, but its dearest once as well. Poor Captain Boromir had no idea he was to make the hardest decision in all his life when entering his brother’s room. The pledge of loyalty to his father was strong and heavy like the greatest mountain, and little did he know until this night how far that pledge could take a man. The regret pierced him as his position of an protective older brother could not stand up to that pledge this particular night.

The books lying scattered on the floor and the messed parchments lying around the unforgivable deed on the desk made the oldest brother imagine what battle his little one had been through before being slammed backwards down on the brown wood. The steward was not letting this disobedience be forgotten easily. Seeing his little brother’s half naked body lying on his desk with his head bent backwards while screaming in pain by the piercing and thrusting between his legs made the Captain jerk back and raise his hand to his mouth not to scream in agony.

The dark cloaked man ravaged his brother hard while grasping his tunic by the chest to keep him steady. Faramir seemed to be in explicit pain by the short cries with hurried sobs in between, but Boromir didn’t act because of the third person in the room and the fact that he knew his little one had settled with the deed when he perceived the clenching fists accepting instead of fighting.

Faramir always strived to show his father he wanted to serve and obey, and obey he had at last done. His fists clenched as hard as they could at the edge of the table in acceptance for the act while enduring the torment with eyes shut and body tensing.

Boromir backed silently to the wall in shock and was on his way to the door. His father turned to him without ending his youngest son’s growls and cries. The steward’s lips formed a smirk as Faramir’s outbursts of pain shifted to slow relieved and almost pleasurable moans at two deep and slow thrusts.
Boromir felt small and weak as he did not dare to step forward and break the Steward’s actions. Denethor was quite amused at the power he held over his sons.

Faramir growled between clenched teeth in sudden pain as the thrusts got more violent. The young man was coping with too much to get any idea of the silent conversation going on between his father and brother. Denethor gave his sturdier son a warning look while Faramir was trying hard not to beg for the torment to stop. The steward beckoned his Captain to leave by jerking his head at the door. Boromir stretched to grab the handle, but lingered as something in him fought still for him to do something.

Boromir left his little one weeping and dishonored in their father’s grasp.

Faramir, the coming captain of the Ithilien rangers wondered about his brother’s retired behavior. He thought perhaps the reason was war and need that had made him cold and untouchable, or perhaps he was not good enough for him anymore, but the truth was that Boromir could never make himself to face his little one again for a long time as the shame of his own weakness and deceit lingered strongly inside of him.

Boromir sat one night in his General tent with one candle to light up his desk. He was about to write a letter of report to the Captain of Ithilien, but he was thinking about that terrible incident back home in Minas Thirit. He heard a sudden sound and jumped up from his chair to see Faramir standing by the bed taking of his cloak with a smile “Forgive me for scaring you. I just needed other entertainment than gossip and bushes. And your face is a pleasure to look upon when surprised,” he laughed. “What are you doing here?” Boromir asked taken aback.

Seeing that his brother was not ready for jokes right then, he straightened his back and spoke firmly “The forest and valley is cleared of enemies. We hunted them down and met up with one of your scouts. I met with your commander on the way here. He told me you were tired so we took care of everything. I’m sorry it was rude of me to come unannounced and surprise you like this-”

Boromir hated to see that worried twitch in Faramir’s brow so he waved his hand and smiled while taking steps closer to him “No, no. It’s good news, brother. Forgive me for this cold greeting, come.” He embraced his younger brother and lingered as if trying to check his health. Faramir looked puzzled at him when breaking the hug and said chuckling “I’m fine, Boromir. It’s alright. You’re weary, shall I get you some water?”

“I am weary you say. Didn’t you just come from a battle and a long walk?” Boromir exclaimed with a grin. Faramir chuckled awkwardly, he wasn’t used to being taken in consideration.

Boromir’s guilt for not protecting Faramir from their father grew stronger and stronger and finally, after tormenting moments of insecurity and excuses for not asking, he finally did; “Are you alright, brother?” He asked in such a manner that Faramir’s smile vanished. For some reason the ranger suspected the General knowing how the Steward had used him, but he stood still not speaking until the air was too silent for him to handle. “Yes, I am,” He said and waited for Boromir to offer him something to drink or eat, as the courtesy demanded.

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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2 Comment(s)

Very poignantly written. I do believe you are my favorite writer on this site, and I do so look forward to seeing what else comes out of your brilliant mind. :) As for you not knowing much about English writing, I more than compliment you on your skill. Would I be correct in assuming then that you are not a native speaker of the English language? If so, you write as well as a native speaker, and even better than many I’ve seen on various fanfic sites.

— AvidReader    Saturday 28 April 2012, 5:56    #

Oh my god! I am trembling over here in Norway by your fantastic and wonderful feedback! Thank you so so much!!! I’m gonna start crying, haha x3

— Laivindur    Monday 30 April 2012, 16:00    #

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I Can’t Breathe Without You (And I Don’t) (NC-17) Print

By eyeus

25 April 2014 | 15372 words

Title: I Can’t Breathe Without You (And I Don’t)
Author: eyeus
Pairing: Boromir/ Faramir
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Faramir hears tell of a village, forsaken by the Valar, that can bring loved ones back to life. He sets out to determine the truth of this rumor himself.

A/N: Assumes that Boromir and his Elven boat make it over the Falls of Rauros intact, and that Faramir sees not a vision of Boromir, but finds his physical body. Inspiration for the village drawn loosely from the movie Black Death and other concept designs, seen here and here. Title from Josh Groban’s Love Only Knows.

Chapter 1: I Can’t Live Without Love (And I Won’t)

“This is a fool’s errand you embark on,” Gandalf tells him.

Gone are the days when the wizard was known as Mithrandir, Gandalf Greyhame, or Gandalf the Grey; he has shed those visages in return for wisdom and light, and his gaze now is ever more keen and piercing.

Faramir does not stop in his preparations for his journey. “I must try, regardless,” he says. He has told the others that he plans to follow the River Anduin out to the Great Sea, where he will see Boromir out with the grandest of funeral barges. That he will not suffer to see his brother endure the long, slow sleep of death embalmed.

“You go to your death, Faramir.” Gandalf’s hands tighten about his staff as he speaks. The Maiar are known to be wise, with the power to see most, if not all ends, and Faramir wonders if Gandalf has indeed seen the end of his journey. “You have much to live for; why spend your life on this quest, when nothing will come of it?”

Faramir’s hands give pause in their work, in the packs he has laden his horse with. The wagon the horse will carry behind it, stacked with wood he claims will be used to build the barge. With a soft, inward breath, Faramir lets his gaze rest on the wagon’s other, more precious cargo, a casket newly moved from the Houses of the Dead. He is glad for the move; could not bear for Boromir to remain another day in the tombs where kings and stewards before him had been interred.

“If nothing comes of it, I will have tried,” Faramir says. “I will have honored my brother—”

Gandalf strikes the base of his staff into the ground as his voice rises, the very air around them crackling with power. “You search for a village that has long fallen into rumor! Do you think I do not know what you intend with your brother’s body?”

His ruse uncovered, Faramir turns from his horse and stands before Gandalf, uncowed. “If you know, do not stand in my way.”

Gandalf’s voice gentles, then. “Faramir,” he says, his eyes inordinately kind. “I say this not as your mentor, nor your comrade-in-arms, but as your friend.” He lays his palm across Faramir’s brow—a gesture of long ago, when Faramir had been his pupil, eager for Gandalf’s knowledge of history and lore, before the threat of Mordor loomed large at Gondor’s doorstep. A thread of magic, soothing and warm, emanates from Gandalf’s palm. “Let him go, Faramir. He sleeps in peace now; do not wrest Boromir from slumber to ease your own grief.”

But there are some hurts that run too deep, that even Gandalf’s touch cannot heal.

“If there was but a shadow of a hope,” Faramir says softly, “that the Valar might restore him to me, as they did Beren to Lúthien, I would find another way. I would not seek this village.”

Gandalf only bows his head in response, a clear answer that no such hope exists; the Vala, Mandos, keeper of the dead, would not be moved to pity twice. Would not grant the gift of reincarnation to another ill-fated pair. “Faramir,” he says, in warning and sorrow both.

“Then this is my only recourse,” says Faramir, resolute. He hitches the wagon to the shafts on either side of the horse, checking that the connections are secure.

Gandalf keeps his silence after that, pausing only to shake his head mournfully before taking his leave.

Arwen and Aragorn, the rulers of Gondor newly coronated, come to speak with him next. Faramir supposes that this is their manner of seeing him off.

“I know what it is you seek,” Arwen says softly. She cups Faramir’s face in her palms, smooth and cool. “And I understand your true purpose.”

Faramir looks into her eyes, grey and infinitely sad, and sees that she does. He shakes his head, to deny; he would not have the Lady Arwen remember him this way. “My lady, I am not—”

Arwen presses a kiss, gentle, to Faramir’s brow. “I know your heart’s wish,” she says. “That you would rather share one lifetime with him, than face all the ages of this world alone. I know it well.” She looks toward Aragorn, as they share a moment of understanding, unspoken. Something wrenches in Faramir’s chest at the sight, a sore reminder of the connection he once shared with Boromir. “But there are those who would seek to harm you,” Arwen continues, turning back to Faramir. “I ask only that you have a care on your journey.”

“I shall try,” says Faramir, with a respectful nod. He blinks, stunned, when Arwen gifts him with a hamper filled with lembas and a flask of the Elves’ precious miruvor—the fragrant cordial said to renew the strength and will of the drinker—before remembering to bow more deeply, thankful.

Aragorn does not tarry for long; he has been in the company of Men enough to know when his counsel falls on deaf ears. “I cannot give you my blessing for this journey,” he says before he leaves with Arwen, “but know that you will always have a place here.” His eyes are as sad for Faramir as his fair queen’s.

“Thank you,” says Faramir, trying to sound grateful, but his smile does not reach his eyes. They have long been devoid of any emotion, save grief; little wonder none will believe his lie.

The White Tree, ever a symbol of Gondor’s hope, sends a flutter of fragrant petals toward Faramir as he sets out. Draws his eyes toward the sight of Minas Tirith’s splendor, from his vantage point in the city’s highest circle. Implores him to stay. Faramir pays the view little mind, however; his hope lies beyond Minas Tirith now.

I have played my part in this war, Faramir thinks, even as he rides out. I have suffered my losses, and I have known my sorrows. There is nothing left for me here.

As soon as he is out of sight of the city, Faramir jettisons the wood meant for the barge. It will lighten the wagon and make the crossing easier.

Until now, he has heard only whispers of this rumored village, vague in their telling. Knows only that it lies to the north, and so continues northward, keeping to the known paths, those cleared of remnant Orc bands and agents of Sauron that had not perished at the Black Gate.

“Please,” Faramir tries, at every place he stops, “I seek only the village that can restore life to—” before stones pelt his back, his wagon, and the onlookers scatter, like mayflies in a summer storm.

“Away with you!” one woman snaps, brandishing a pan at his retreating back. “You will bring ruin upon us all with such nonsense!”

Soon, whole villages regard him with suspicious eyes and tight-lipped mouths.

You go against the Valar, they mutter darkly. Against the will of Eru.

Other whispers, unkind, begin to circle, of how a Son of Gondor came to fall so low. Was it not so long ago that he was named a Prince, of Ithilien? Why then, would he ask of things none spoke of, except in shadows, in the darkest of places of the land?

When, at the fourth village, even the children assail him with stones and twigs, Faramir makes a note not to pass this way again, should he return. The people of this land are deep-rooted in their beliefs, in what is right and just.

He wonders briefly how many of them have known grief for a fallen loved one—the crippling kind, mind-numbing, and all-consuming—before deciding it does not bear dwelling on, and continues onward.

The only aid Faramir receives comes in the form of an elder from a small warrior village, just before the forest realm of Lórien. He hobbles out to meet Faramir, when all the other villagers have shuttered their homes against him and shunned him.

“You must follow the river north, just past the northwestern edge of Mirkwood,” he says. “There, you will find a marsh, shrouded by fog. The village lies just beyond that.”

“Thank you,” Faramir says, grateful beyond compare. “Thank you.” He could weep, for this small clue, for this chance that he has been given.

The old man leans heavily on his cane of gnarled oak, the wood worn and bent from age, and shakes his head. “Do not thank me. Only death and ruin lie beyond that marsh; the village it veils has been forsaken by the Valar. You will not find the solace that you seek there.” He pauses as his eyes rove over the wagon’s contents, thoughtful. “The solace you desire.”

Faramir only acknowledges this with a half-nod. Sets his mouth, grim, and continues on. His precious cargo lies behind him, preserved by Gandalf’s magic: the fallen Son of Gondor, his brother, his life.

As the horse trots along, Faramir remembers how he had bore Boromir and the craft carrying him to shore. Had begged a spell of Gandalf, upon reuniting with him at Minas Tirith, to preserve Boromir’s body in a state of stasis, until he could start his pilgrimage. Gandalf had done him one better, mending the most grievous of Boromir’s injuries—arrow wounds numbering three, that had taken his life—before weaving a spell to fulfill Faramir’s request.

Perhaps Gandalf had seen what he intended, long before Faramir himself knew. Had thought he might dissuade Faramir, even before the end.

Faramir’s travels take him past the old fortress of Dol Guldur, along the outer edge of the newly named Eryn Lasgalen. Leads him around what once was known as Mirkwood, to lands just before the Grey Mountains. It occurs to Faramir then, that he is indeed following the Anduin as he had said he would, though in the completely opposite direction, and he allows himself a chuckle at the irony.

As he journeys farther and farther north, he realizes he no longer hears the excited twitter of birds or the scampering of woodland creatures here. It is silent and still, with only the grey sky above and his horse ahead for company.

“Only a little further, brother,” Faramir dares to say, turning to the wagon’s contents, in the absence of any others. Only a little further, until Boromir can join him in life again.

Faramir dares not consider the alternative. Not yet.

It is the journey of another day before Faramir finds the aforementioned marsh. Once he arrives, it takes all his focus to navigate the narrow, stone-littered paths, to keep the wagon from sinking into the bog.

As the wagon rattles over uneven ground, Faramir wonders if the surrounding waters are filled, like the Dead Marshes, with those who have passed. Staring into the sky with their unseeing eyes, from beneath the murky waters’ surface.

Faramir shivers, his fingers tightening on the reins; there is only one of their number he needs worry for now, and he keeps his eyes resolutely forward.

Another half-day passes before Faramir sees the outline of thatched roofs and small cottages through the fog. Before he has a chance to question whether he has arrived at the right place, a band of villagers, armed with an assortment of spears, swords and rope-bound hatchets bar his way. Several peer curiously at him, and others still at his cargo. Faramir glances at them, wary; he will defend Boromir from them, if need be.

“What is your purpose here, traveler?” asks one of the Men at the front of the pack. He has not drawn his sword, but his palm rests on the hilt, cautious, all the same.

“I am searching for the village that is rumored to—to restore loved ones,” Faramir tries. “Perhaps I have wandered too far, and have gotten lost. I shall turn back at once.” Faramir is certain this is the place, but has been met with so much animosity on his journey, that he must test his theory in this manner.

One of the village’s garrison steps out from the others, tall and broad of chest. “No one who comes this far is lost,” he says. He watches Faramir appraisingly, before nodding. “Follow me.”

Faramir urges his horse into a walk, keeping pace behind the Man. “Is it true, then?” he asks, hopeful. “The rumors?”

The villager only smiles, mysterious, in a way that accentuates the scar at his jaw, and leads him deeper into the fog.

When he and Faramir reach the village proper, another Man approaches him.

“You have come a long way, friend. Will you not take some rest?” He eyes the horse drawing Faramir’s wagon. “I can stable your horse for you, if you wish.”

“You have my thanks,” Faramir says gratefully. “But I will find no rest, until I accomplish what I came here to do.”

“I understand,” says the villager with a nod. “I shall find you the one you must speak to.”

A lady arrives next, and Faramir thinks she must have elfin ancestry in her blood, for she is pale, her dark hair drawn away from her face, the ends of her ears tapered to a point. Her lips are too bright in their redness; whether they are stained with berry juice or blood, Faramir prefers not to ponder.

“I am told that I am the one you seek, son of Gondor.” She tilts her head at an angle, and looks at Faramir, assessing. “I am sure we could use another warrior,” she says finally, in approval. “Especially one such as yourself.” The sleeves of her dress, midnight blue, billow in the wind as she extends a hand, lithe, graceful. “You may call me Manadh.”

Faramir nearly starts even as he touches his lips lightly to her hand; he is well-versed enough in Sindarin to know the meaning of her name, but has composure enough to hide his surprise. She has done away with traditional suffixes, using only the base Sindarin word for final fate or final bliss for her name.

It is oddly fitting for a place such as this. With a purpose such as his.

“I know what you have come here to do,” Manadh says, as she casts her eyes toward the darkening skies, “but the moon is not yet suitable for what you ask.” She lays her palm against Faramir’s cheek, her fingers cool. Faramir takes comfort in the fact that she does not try to imbue magic, however needed, through this touch. “And though I understand your haste,” she continues, “preparations must be made for these rites, if they are to be done correctly.” Manadh looks toward the wagon, considering. “Who lies there, that you wish to restore?”

“He was—he is my brother,” Faramir manages, and the way his voice breaks on brother tells her all she needs to know.

“Your brother will hold for one more day,” says Manadh softly, careful. “My men will ensure that he is kept safe. And prepare him for what we will need to do.”

One more day, Faramir thinks. I have travelled for so long, surely a day is but a drop in the sea, to bring Boromir back to me. To bring him back in his entirety. He nods, grim. “Very well, then.”

Manadh waves her hand in subtle gesture toward a group of villagers, who unload the wagon’s contents carefully. “Before we continue,” she says, “you would do well to know that there is a price to be paid for such…spellwork as this.”

“Whatever the price is, I will pay it.” Faramir makes to draw forth a satchel, laden with his life’s wealth. For Boromir, there is no price he would not pay. Nothing he would not give.

“Your gold has no power here,” Manadh says, shaking her head. She beckons Faramir closer. “This is what it will take to bring him back,” she whispers, telling him of things dark and deep and terrible. “And that is what it will cost you to keep him.”

“Yes,” rasps Faramir. He closes his eyes and breathes; he had known the cost would be great. He opens his eyes again, with the knowledge of all it will take to bring Boromir back. All it will cost Faramir to keep him. “Yes.

“For the ceremony,” Manadh informs him when dawn next breaks, “we will need a vial each, of your blood, and your tears.”

“Why is that?” asks Faramir, puzzled.

“We will need the blood that bound you,” she explains. “And the tears of a brother, at the loss of kin and beloved both.”

Faramir thinks to argue her assessment of his relationship with Boromir, but her gaze is sharp, as if it bores straight to the heart of him. He gives both blood and tears willingly.

“We will also need something that was precious to your brother, in life.”

“I…have this,” Faramir says, hesitating even as he presents Boromir’s cloven horn. He is loath to part with it, the prized, silver-tipped heirloom of the house of the Stewards of Gondor. But what use is there in the horn now, when the line of Stewards has been broken?

Manadh cradles both sections of the horn, as she studies it, thoughtful. Even one such as she could not mistake the Horn of Gondor for any other relic, and Faramir waits with bated breath for her verdict.

“This will do,” she nods.

By nightfall, when the necessary preparations are deemed complete, Faramir leaves the small log cottage the village allows him to stay in. He had not slept well, choosing instead to clear the long-unused cottage of cobwebs and dust; it is a small favor for those who might help him in this impossible task, and busywork to turn his mind from what is to come. He finds Manadh waiting for him now beyond the entryway, robed in white, a dark mask of feathers and carved runes adorning her face.

She leads him through clusters of bone-thin trees, steps quiet past winding streams. The ever-present fog of the forest clings low to the ground, and tendrils of it coil, whisper-light and wraithlike, around his boots. They stop once they arrive at the edge of a clearing, the breadth of it reminiscent of a small pond.

“Wait here,” Manadh says, guiding him to a small grove of trees. It is within viewing distance of what appears to be the ceremonial site.

What follows is darkness, men in masks and eerie chanting in the twilit night, an ancient rite in which Faramir wants no part. They whisper old words, wild and fey, until their final incantation, which even Faramir can puzzle out the meaning of.

Return, they chant. Return. Return. Return.

It chills Faramir to the bone, in this already damned damp, and makes his hair stand on end. But by the end of the ritual, only one thing matters to him, and when the others leave the clearing, when Manadh tilts her mask up, nodding for Faramir to come out, he rushes toward Boromir, heart in his throat as he cradles his brother’s form, careful. Slips his hand into Boromir’s, hoping for the slightest twitch of fingers, the shallowest breath, anything to show that Boromir lives.

There is no movement on Boromir’s part.

Faramir feels his heart drop to his stomach, a leaden lump of bitter disappointment, when suddenly, there is a small, insistent tug at his chest, and yes, there’s the connection, a tiny flicker of flame, sparking, then roaring to life.

The ritual has, beyond his wildest expectations, worked, and the final proof comes in the form of Boromir’s hand closing tight over Faramir’s wrist. His draw of a sharp, shuddering breath.

“Thank the—” Faramir breathes, before he remembers the Valar have no part in this. “Thank you,” he says to the air. He clutches Boromir tight to his chest, and cradles his head, gentle. Brushes debris of earth and leaves from his hair. “Boromir,” he whispers, kissing his brother’s brow. “Boromir.”

His brother is cold as ice, his hair damp, and he is too pale in the light of this waxing moon. Faramir winds his hand more firmly around Boromir’s, rubbing to chafe warmth back into it.

“Faramir?” Boromir croaks, his voice rough with disuse. “How came we to be here?” He clutches at Faramir’s cloak. “I could have sworn…at the forest of Amon Hen, I fell.”

“Do you remember anything else?” Faramir asks, urgent.

Boromir furrows his brow in concentration. “I remember a light,” he says slowly. “And fields, the likes of which I have not seen before—wide and lovely, with green the hue of the Anduin, and gold the color of wheat fields.” His mouth twitches, attempting a smile. “You would have loved the sight, Faramir; it rivaled the beauty of the Elves’ lands themselves!” He shakes his head then, and frowns. “Beyond that, however…beyond that, there is nothing.”

Faramir’s heart twists in his chest, guilt at having torn Boromir from his rest, for surely he had made his way past the Halls of Mandos, and found his final reward. That Boromir recalls little of his time beyond the veil is a boon, however, and Faramir breathes out at once, relieved.

“Faramir?” Boromir tries again. “How did we…?” His voice is small and scared, as he clutches at Faramir’s arms, his neck, and Faramir’s heart aches at the touch of familiar fingers in his hair, on his shoulders. He presses his lips to Boromir’s brow again, to reassure and soothe.

“We travelled,” Faramir says at last. “Far and across distant lands to find medicines that could heal you. And rumors of herbs and healers more powerful than any other led us here.”

“Oh, Faramir,” Boromir nearly sobs. His first words after that are not of how impossibly hale he feels nor of their strange circumstance. “I have missed you so.” His fingers, trembling, close around Faramir’s shoulders, seeking the comfort and strength that Faramir has been for him, for so long.

Faramir holds him through their tears of relief and shaky laughter both, and thinks, Not as much as I have missed you.

They have only just returned to the cottage, when Boromir kicks the door shut behind them and crowds Faramir against it.

Boromir,” Faramir scolds, even as he huffs a breathy laugh. “You have just—” He gasps as Boromir’s tongue touches his, his mouth warm against Faramir’s. “You have just barely recovered,” Faramir manages, between breaths, as Boromir kisses him again and again, slowly, intimately, with just a hint of tongue.

He kisses as he once did, all softness of lips and warmth of breath, but as Faramir yields beneath him, his kisses morph into desperate nips, bites, all roughness and teeth, as if he is making up for lost time, and oh how Faramir has missed this, how he wants Boromir, needs him—

“Boromir,” he protests again, drawing away, even if his traitorous hands have worked their way into Boromir’s hair. At the sight of his brother, with hair mussed and his lips swollen red from their kisses, a wave of desire stirs anew within Faramir. He swallows, hard. “You—you must regain your strength,” Faramir says, steeling his resolve and guiding Boromir to the bed. “There will be time enough for this later.”

“Oh.” Boromir blinks. He looks down, uncertain, his voice small. As if unsure of where he stands with Faramir now. “I am sorry. I did not realize my attentions were…unwanted.” When he dares to look at Faramir again, his features are lined with hurt and rejection. Have you found another, in the months I was away? he seems to ask. Am I no longer the apple of your eye? The jewel of your desire? “I shall cease at once.”

Faramir’s chest aches at his expression, that Boromir could think he would give him up so easily, and he loops his arms around Boromir’s waist, in reassurance. Rests his forehead against Boromir’s. “Forgive me, brother,” he says. “I want nothing more than to be in your arms—to be one with you. But I have not the strength at present.”

Faramir himself is exhausted and drained; bringing one back from beyond is no easy task, and not with the price he must pay for it. He wavers then, nearly toppling to the floor, but Boromir catches him before he falls, and lays him down on the bed.

“Rest, Faramir,” Boromir says, pressing him to the bed, insistent. “We shall find rest together.”

His hands are rough and calloused, but as gentle as Faramir remembers, and Faramir reaches out to clasp them in his own. To press small, feather-light kisses to each fingertip. Then he burrows into Boromir’s side as best he can on the small bed, and slides his hands beneath Boromir’s tunic. Revels in the scent of Boromir’s hair, and the touch of his skin, pale and cool. Feels the telltale rise and dip of Boromir’s old scars, each of which he knows the story by heart.

“Faramir,” Boromir murmurs. He lays a kiss to his brother’s hair, soothing the trembling. Wraps his arms around Faramir’s waist, to calm, to reassure. “Sleep now.”

And for all that Faramir wishes to cling to consciousness, to touch and stroke and kiss, as if sleep might steal away this gift, that Boromir has been returned to him, he curls deeper into Boromir’s side with a soft, grateful noise. Slips finally into slumber, to the quiet susurrus of kisses to his hair and whispers of his name.

Even when both brothers regain their strength, they while away long hours lying curled around each other. Shift slowly out of tunics and breeches, to share kisses and less-than-innocent touches.

Faramir marvels at the cadence of Boromir’s voice. The softness of his hair and the smoothness of his skin. He lets his lips rediscover the hollow of Boromir’s throat, then the dip of his belly as he traces the curve of Boromir’s ribs. Swivels on hands and knees so Boromir’s fingers can reacquaint themselves with Faramir’s hips. The arch of his thighs, lean and strong.

Boromir hums as he nuzzles into soft curls below, and Faramir moves instinctually into the touch, barely repressing a moan, before he remembers himself.

“Not yet,” Faramir whispers, regretful; he is unsure if Boromir can withstand the strain of lovemaking just yet, and would not lose his brother again for the sake of a single night’s pleasure. Sensing Boromir’s disappointment from the way his grip falls slack, Faramir adds, “Perhaps later. When your body has had time to mend.”

“Later, then,” Boromir nods. He presses a kiss to the back of Faramir’s thigh in acceptance.

When they have righted themselves again, and traded kisses enough to atone for the long months apart, Boromir sighs softly, his hand stilling in its stroking of Faramir’s hair.

“Boromir? What troubles you so?”

“It is nothing,” Boromir says, shaking his head. “I only wonder what became of the One Ring. And my friends from the Fellowship.”

Faramir strokes his jaw, thoughtful. “The Ring was destroyed, when cast back into the fires of Mount Doom. Of the original Fellowship, I know Legolas and Gimli have taken their own pilgrimage, Gimli leading his people to the caves below Helm’s Deep. And the Halflings, all four of them, set out for their home in the Shire.”

“All four of them!” Boromir exclaims. His smile blazes brighter than the sun’s light upon the White Tower. “Then—Merry and Pippin, they—”

“Yes,” Faramir laughs. He brushes a kiss against Boromir’s cheek, his brother’s happiness catching. “They are well, Boromir. They are safe.”

“And Aragorn?” Boromir asks. “Has he finally acknowledged his birthright? He swore to me, before I…he swore to me he would not let our city fall. Nor our people fail. Has he fulfilled his oath?”

“Aragorn has ascended the throne, and taken the name of Elessar,” Faramir nods. “He is a wise and able ruler, from what I have seen.”

“What of our father? How does he fare?” Boromir chuckles. “I suspect he must chafe under Aragorn’s rule. He was always prouder of bearing and sharper of tongue than most could endure.”

Faramir drags his fingers lazily over Boromir’s chest, as he cannot get enough of touching Boromir, now that he has him back. “Our father found his end in battle,” he says, careful.

In truth, their father had been driven mad by his use of a palantír; in the final hour of darkness before the dawn, rather than stand and fight for Gondor to the last breath, he had chosen to douse himself in flames and burn as the heathen kings of old. Had nearly taken Faramir with him in this madness.

Faramir spares Boromir this knowledge, however, a small kindness to preserve his peace of mind.

“In battle,” Boromir repeats. “I see.” He catches Faramir’s hand and twines their fingers together, until he thinks better of it and simply clasps his hands behind Faramir’s back. Hitches him closer, aligning their bodies at hips and knees and toes. “If our father has passed,” Boromir says, after a long silence, “and both of us are here, who now serves as the ruling Steward of Gondor?”

“There are no longer ruling Stewards of Gondor,” Faramir says. “Only Stewards to the King.”

Boromir huffs, impatient. “And who serves as such during this time?”

Faramir does not say he has abandoned this title, has left this post behind him. “Gandalf serves as Aragorn’s advisor at present. And Aragorn has his lovely queen to guide him as well.” He hates to spin these elaborate tales, a layering of lies upon a thin web of truth, to round out his story to Boromir, but they are a necessary evil for now.

In return, Boromir tells him of what passed in the days after he left for Rivendell. Of the Elves he met, the majestic halls in the depths of Moria, and the Balrog they escaped from. The wonder he felt at the breathtaking sight of Caras Galadhon, Lothlórien’s chief city.

He weeps into Faramir’s shoulder, when he finally dares speak of the Fellowship, his erstwhile companions. Of how his folly had hastened the sundering of the Fellowship.

“I tried to take the ring from Frodo,” he whispers, for the hundredth time. His voice is burdened with the weight of a thousand guilts and even more apologies unsaid.

Faramir holds him through it, kissing Boromir’s hair, his brow, with gentle, soothing presses of lips. “You have paid,” he murmurs each time. With your life. “You have kept your honor, in defending the Halflings. And you have shown your quality, which I know to be of the very highest.”

He threads nimble fingers through the fine hair that falls to Boromir’s shoulders. Strokes it gently, reverently. It is no longer the sheen of Boromir’s once honey-gold, but darker, richer, the shade of oak—perhaps a permanent keepsake of Boromir’s time beyond the veil. Faramir hardly minds; he remembers only its softness. Recalls the long-practiced motions of his fingers through Boromir’s hair, which he now uses to comfort, as Boromir burrows into his arms with a faint, hurt sound.

“Do not carry the weight of your guilt any longer, Boromir,” says Faramir, gentle. “The Ring is destroyed, and Gondor’s rightful king restored. All of Middle Earth is at peace.” The Halfling who carried the Ring has long since returned to the Shire; Faramir will give his brother absolution now.

For he knows the weight of guilt well, carries the burden of his own: he had not been there for his brother, at the most crucial moment; had not been there for Boromir, who had weathered all of Faramir’s hardships, their father’s cruel words and blows, as if they were his own.

Had not been by Boromir’s side at Amon Hen, when he had fallen, leagues away from home.

This, then, is his penance, this half-life with his brother. But as Faramir murmurs soft, soothing nothings into Boromir’s hair and rocks him into peaceful slumber, he finds it is not much of a penance at all; that Boromir is here, safe in the cradle of Faramir’s arms, is absolution enough.

In the days that follow, Boromir convinces Faramir to practice sword-fighting with him, at ever-increasing force, to build up the strength and speed he had before. It is after one such session, while Boromir catches his breath, that he folds his arms over his chest and presses his lips together, indicative of a forthcoming request.

“Faramir,” he says, quiet.

“What is it?” Faramir asks, looking up from his book. Books are scarce in the village, and this one, a guide on the local faunae, is a treasure he brings with him always.

“When are we planning to return to Minas Tirith? I am nearly healed now; surely we can ride out any day!” Boromir turns a beseeching smile upon him. “I would see Gondor at its finest hour of victory again. Bask in the sheer presence of our city. And I have long wished to tread the halls of the White Tower of Ecthelion once agai—”

“We cannot leave yet,” Faramir says quickly, his mouth dry. He swallows hard, to form words, to speak, even as his heart beats double time in his chest. “I—I have errands I must do for the village, in return for their treatment of your wounds.”

“Oh,” Boromir says, beaming. “Why did you not say so earlier? I would help them also. It is not every day a man comes back from death to breathe the free air once more!”

Faramir laughs weakly at that; Boromir does not know how true that is, nor will he, if Faramir has anything to do with it.

Time seems to move differently here, more slowly, somehow. Regardless, they earn their keep in the village, Faramir by joining the band of warriors that defend their home, and Boromir by doing odd jobs, like fixing chicken coops, repairing cottage roofs and supports, and gathering firewood until he is completely well again.

They are welcome here, but it is only after one other occurrence that they realize how much so.

It is when Faramir returns from a skirmish on the outskirts of the village; he and his garrison are to prevent attacks on the village core, but a small rebel group—one with lofty ideals regarding life and death, condemning those who lay in between—had bullied its way through a sparsely guarded entrance at the eastern border. Had attacked those nearby without mercy until Faramir and his men raced their way there to dispatch them.

“Have you seen my brother?” Faramir asks one of the village’s seamstresses as soon as he returns to the village proper.

“No, m’lord,” she says, “but you might try the chicken coop by the old well. I heard tell he was mending a hole the hens pecked into it again.”

“‘Faramir’ will do,” Faramir says. “And thank you.” He smiles, grateful, before rushing off. Continues on single-mindedly, driven by his overwhelming need to seek Boromir out, to know he is safe, that he is well-protected within the village.

Boromir is not at the chicken coop.

Nor is he near any of the livestock pens, or their log cottage. Faramir searches each common area, time and time again, asking each villager he encounters if they have seen Boromir, his steps faster and faster until he is running the length of the village—

“Boromir,” he says, hoarse, when he finally finds his brother, now helping to rebuild one of the fallen shelters, its boards long rotted by damp and snow. Drags him to the side of a nearby barn, sliding fingers into Boromir’s hair as he mouths kisses to Boromir’s cheeks and mouth and jaw. “Thank the Valar,” Faramir breathes out of habit, though he knows he no longer has the right to invoke their name. “After the last attack, I thought—I thought I’d lost—”

Boromir’s arms wind immediately around his waist, a comforting weight. “Still here, little one.” He presses his lips to Faramir’s brow between the flurry of Faramir’s worried touches and kisses. “Still here.”

“Oh, another thing, Boromir—” says a voice, one of the villagers, and Faramir makes a choked noise, pulling away instantly, but he is far too late; they have been seen.

Boromir turns his body, positioning himself in front of Faramir. “Gamel,” he nods, as if he and Faramir have not just been caught in shameless embrace behind the barn. “What is it you require of me?”

“I was only going to say I could use your assistance with another fallen shelter on the south end, near the docks.” The Dwarf’s lips curl upward in a near-smile. “But it is a request that can wait.”

“You are not going to reprimand us?” Faramir cannot resist asking, incredulous, even as Boromir winds fingers tight around his, in warning. “To tell us that what we have goes against Eru?”

Gamel only snorts, sending the braids of his redwood beard flying. “This whole village and its occupants go against Eru.” His voice, though normally gruff, softens. “What right have I, or any of the others, to judge?”

Only then does Faramir notice the visible, bloodless gash low on Gamel’s barrel chest, reminding him how difficult it is to tell who has been restored. He has heard tales of Gamel’s valour in the Battle of Dale from others in the village, but until now has only been on nodding terms with the Dwarf and his son, Gwelin. It occurs to Faramir then that others, not only the realm of Men, had suffered greatly; others who had endured the same crippling grief, who sought comfort here.

Boromir seems to have noticed the Dwarf’s old injury as well, and steps forward. “What do you mean?” he asks slowly, though Faramir’s fingers curl reflexively over Boromir’s forearm, keeping hold of him in warning also.

Thankfully, Gamel only holds his portly stomach and chuckles, before waving them off. “Oh, to be young again,” he sighs, wistful, as he walks away. “Just remember to keep it down, laddies. Us old ones need our sleep too!”

Faramir breathes an instant sigh of relief, his secret of how he brought Boromir back still safe. A guilty flush creeps into his cheeks soon after, however; they have not had the chance to make love as Gamel implies, busy as they are. Careful as Faramir is with Boromir. But every night, he slides close to Boromir, pressing his face into the hollow of Boromir’s neck. Wraps arms around his waist, and legs about his calves, to warm Boromir with his own body.

On this night, when Faramir curls around his brother, he winds his arms over shoulders and belly. Takes care to be gentle near the arrow wounds upon Boromir’s flesh, the scars upon skin ugly and twisted. He is always tempted to avert his eyes at the sight of them, a constant reminder of how close he had come to losing Boromir forever, but it only takes Boromir kissing him, soft and sweet and gentle, for Faramir to remember that he has him back. That this is enough—for happiness, or something like it.

“Faramir? Is something wrong?” Boromir asks, after one such kiss. He turns fully in Faramir’s arms, and Faramir suddenly realizes he has been lying stock-still, watching his brother steadily.

“No. Nothing is wrong,” Faramir soothes. He kisses the curve of Boromir’s brow and his lips, bringing a pleasured flush to Boromir’s cheeks, their apple-brightness only a shade paler than before.

Boromir warms quickly to Faramir’s touch, and Faramir likes to believe, in such moments, that they are both warm, and have always been so. He bundles more blankets and furs, purchased from the more talented hunters in the village, around them. Makes sure no part of his brother is exposed to the cold that pervades their cottage, on the darkest of nights. At present, a humble wood stove in the corner keeps both cold and darkness at bay, a fact Faramir is immensely grateful for.

When Faramir tugs the corner of yet another blanket close, tucking it in around them, Boromir laughs and kisses the tip of Faramir’s nose. “Are we to live in a fort of furs and blankets for the rest of our days, then?” he wonders, teasing.

For the rest of our days, Faramir thinks fervently. For as long as I can keep you. He only grins back in response, feigning easy carelessness the best he can, and answers each of Boromir’s kisses with one of his own.

They are content, and it is all Faramir can ask for, for now.

Boromir chafes at being idle when the village is short on repair work, so after much debate and no short amount of pleading on Boromir’s part, Faramir allows him to join the village guard alongside him.

“Have a care if you must fight, though,” Faramir says drily. “I would not see you injured again for the sake of a diversion.”

“I am no child,” Boromir laughs, circling Faramir’s shoulders with his arm. “But I shall have a care, if only to appease my little brother.”

The next attack sees Boromir injured, though it is but a shallow score of a knife across the back of his hand. He waves Faramir off with a laugh, when Faramir tries to inspect the injury. “It is nothing, little one,” Boromir says, touched by Faramir’s level of concern. “A mere scratch.”

Faramir only nods and gives him a cautious smile. Better not to give Boromir a reason to suspect anything, he decides. He hides his own hand, with its matching wound, in his tunic. Feels it heal sluggishly beneath its bandage, in the days that follow.

Another fortnight passes before Faramir first notices Boromir’s growing unease. Soon after, Boromir corners him near the old quarry, just after Faramir has finished his patrol of the village’s western border.

“Faramir?” Boromir says, his voice uncertain. “I must speak with you about—I have begun to notice, well—things.”

“What sort of things?” asks Faramir, careful.

“Little things. Oddities, here and there,” Boromir replies. “My old wounds, they…they pain me still. As if they have never quite fully healed.”

“Such is the nature of old wounds, Boromir,” Faramir says, with a wan smile. “I would not expect you to be the young sapling you were before.”

“No, there are other occurrences also,” Boromir insists. “The injury I sustained to my hand, not two weeks past—it heals so slowly, as if my flesh refuses to knit together naturally. My wounds have never taken this long to close.” He shakes his head, as if unable to believe what is happening. “Faramir,” he whispers. “What am I? What have you done?”

Faramir’s heart twists in his chest, breaks, now that Boromir has discovered the lie their life is built upon. Something of his sorrow must show on his face, because Boromir stumbles back from him, shaking his head more vigorously than before.

“So it is true,” Boromir whispers. “There were neither herbs nor healers, as you claimed. The end I met at Amon Hen was indeed the end.”

Boromir,” Faramir says. He reaches out to grip Boromir’s shoulders, hard. There is no time to regret the loss of Boromir’s blissful ignorance, because if Faramir does not explain himself now, he will lose Boromir, and he cannot bear to lose his brother again—not ever. “Boromir,” he says again carefully, ushering him to a nearby thicket of trees. “You must listen to me.”

“No, no,” Boromir groans. He braces his hands on Faramir’s shoulders, as if torn between keeping Faramir close and pushing him away. “This is,” he manages, before his throat locks with a dry click. “This is unnatural.”

Faramir grips Boromir’s shoulders more desperately, his fingers digging sharp crescents into the cloth of Boromir’s tunic. “I did what I had to.”

“Why did you bring me back?” Boromir asks. “I could have—I should have gone to the Halls of Mandos by now! Perhaps on to the halls of our father. Of our father’s father. Why, Faramir?” he presses on, hands tight on Faramir’s shoulders in an identical grip. “Why?”

“Because I was selfish in my need of you,” Faramir whispers. “Because I loved you, as I do still.” He hangs his head, unable to meet Boromir’s eyes. “Please, brother, do not fight me in this.” Faramir closes his eyes against the tears that threaten to spill, bites his lower lip in an effort to quell its trembling. “Everyone else has.”

You go to your death, Gandalf had said at their parting.

I, too, have lost comrades to the war, Aragorn had said, shortly before Faramir’s departure. The weight of his disappointment in Faramir was evident. Could you not let this one death go, even if it is that of a brother? But the truth of it was that Faramir could not; Boromir had been everything to him: his brother, his lover, his life. And when he died, he had dragged with him all light from Faramir’s life, left nothing but a void where the stars had once shone, bright. Faramir’s only beacon of hope, the one thing he had clung to, was that after the war, he might seek the truth of the rumor of this village. To reclaim what little of that light he could.

And Arwen—she had said nothing to discourage him, but he remembers the grief in her eyes, misted with tears, in her knowing, her understanding of Faramir’s plight.

Faramir feels the sting of tears rise to his own eyes now, the spill of them over his cheeks and down his jaw, hot and bitter and wet.

It says something about Boromir, that his brother’s sadness moves him more than the strangeness of his new existence.

“I wish for nothing more than your happiness, little brother,” Boromir says softly, his grip loosening to a snug hold. “But you must return to Minas Tirith. You have a life there, and a title—the Steward to the King! And I am sure Aragorn saw fit to grant you lands of your own.” For a moment, Faramir thinks Boromir will push him away, but Boromir’s hands betray him, his fingers pressing back into Faramir’s shoulders, insistent. “Leave me and go back, Faramir. There is nothing for you here.”

“There is nothing for me there,” Faramir replies, adamant. “What need have I for lands or titles? My life is here. With you.”

“Faramir, no. You must go back. Look around you,” Boromir says. He gestures toward the simple cottages, the makeshift livestock shelters and ruined wells, all of it a far cry from Minas Tirith’s grandeur, even in its later days of decline. “This life we lead here is no life at all. It is a wretched half-life, and I…” Boromir sighs, mournful. “I do not know what you gave in return for this, but it was too high a price.”

No,” argues Faramir. “No price was too high to have you back by my side. Do not ask me to leave you.” He takes Boromir’s hands in his, scarred, battle-worn, and kisses each knuckle, as if each is a precious gem, a brightness he will hoard for the days to come. “I cannot bear to be without you. Not again.”

“Is this what you truly wish?” Boromir asks finally, and Faramir cannot see his expression, for his hair hangs low, shielding his eyes. “You are saying it is your wish, to love a dead—”

“Do not say it,” Faramir pleads, his voice a bare whisper. “I beg of you, Boromir. Do not say it.”

Boromir shakes his head. “It must be said, Faramir. For the rest of your days, you wish to love a dead man?”

“If that is what you believe, then we are both dead men,” says Faramir, his voice hollow. “My heart withered to ash the day I saw your body in the waters of the Anduin.”

“No, Faramir.” Boromir steps in close, pressing his palm to Faramir’s chest, and Faramir can feel the rapid hammer of it against Boromir’s hand. “Your heart still beats. You still live. You have a life ahead of you; a life without me. It may be hard, but—”

“My heart beats for you,” says Faramir, his hand closing around Boromir’s on his chest. With his other hand, he cradles the base of Boromir’s neck, willing him to see, just how much Faramir loves him, that he would bring him back from beyond. That they should not waste this chance they have been given. “What little of my heart that has started again has been because of you. So let me love you, brother. I have made my choice.”

When Boromir says nothing for the longest time, Faramir fears the worst. Fears that Boromir will leave him, regardless of what knows.

“Then I too, will be selfish,” Boromir says finally. “Your happiness is mine, and if staying here with me is your wish…” He stops then, as if words are insufficient to remedy what lies between them, and tugs Faramir close, his arms settling tight around Faramir’s waist.

“Yes,” says Faramir fervently, daring to hope. “I wish this.”

“So be it,” Boromir whispers, his hand rubbing soothing circles into Faramir’s back, a comfort and reassurance both. “If this is to be our fate, I will love you—with every beat of your heart, and every breath that I draw—until the end of days.”

And with that, he kisses Faramir, his mouth warm and dry, like autumn air, when for so long he was the heated summer breeze, but Faramir hardly cares because he has his brother back, truly has him, and he will not let him go again.

It is not long after, just when the trees have begun to flower again, allowing the lazy drift of white petals, that the alarm comes.

The peal of the bell, sounding from the tower at the center of the village, comes too early in the morning, hurried and frantic and loud—a signal of impending attack. Faramir and the group he leads are stationed at the south end of the village when it goes off.

It seems a band of warriors have overpowered the first stationed garrison, and made their way into the village. Without time to mobilize all those from the guard against the sudden attack, Faramir’s group is the only one that stands between the enemy and the village core.

Faramir spares a moment to be thankful that Boromir had gone to the north end of the village’s forest to cut and gather firewood; he had set out that morning dressed only in a light tunic and no chain mail, a fact they had quarreled over, until Boromir had kissed him breathless, assured Faramir that no harm would befall him in the scant hour he would be gone, and went on his way.

“You defy the will of Eru,” a warrior hisses at Faramir now, pointing a sword at him. His eyes are wild, glowing with a strange fire of self-righteousness. “Your ways will bring death upon us all!”

Faramir says nothing in reply, darkly irritated that the only ‘bringers of death’ are those who disturb the village, taking up arms against those who hurt no one. He twists out of the way as the Man lunges for him, his momentum carrying him past Faramir and impaling him on a carved stake, part of the village’s rudimentary defense.

“You will burn!” cries another warrior, and Faramir spies a torch flying through the air, falling short of a barn. He stamps it out immediately, horrified. These Men are not only here to maim and kill: they intend to raze the entire village to the ground. To erase the existence of his friends. His allies.

His Boromir.

“Smash their torches!” Faramir shouts, above the din of battle cries and clashing swords. His men take the order to heart, shattering the flaming heads of the torches before they can set ablaze precious buildings and homes.

Even as Faramir slashes and stabs and dodges his way through the advancing throng of enemies, cruel words are flung at him from every direction, ranging from abomination and travesty to against nature. He wonders if any of these warriors have known grief, the depth of which could drive one to seek this village’s help. If they have known sorrow, the crushing weight of which could impel one to defy the laws of nature, and the will of the Valar themselves.

Faramir feels no pleasure in cutting them down as they attack; he does what he must, to protect what is his.

By the time their attackers lie dead and others of the sentry have stamped out the last wayward torch, Faramir sees one of his men, another of the guard duty, distressed at the wound spanning his torso. It is from the telltale arc of a sword, one that has scored an angry red line from shoulder to belly, the wound shallow, but bleeding.

“Come here, Hâdhron,” Faramir says. “Let me see to that.” He has already hastily dressed his own injury, a bloody graze on his shoulder, and now feels compelled to care for those under his command.

Hâdhron, the guard who first led him into the village, obeys without a word, wincing only when Faramir presses cloth to the wound to quell the flow of blood.

“Does it pain you?” Faramir asks, gentle. He takes care not to probe the cut too deeply in his assessment of it. It will heal, but will leave a scar in its wake.

“No,” Hâdhron says stoutly. “My only regret is that my mother will now bear this hurt as well.”

“Then I should have taken this wound,” Faramir says regretfully, tearing strips of an empty chicken feed sack to use as a crude bandage. He sets to winding it about Hâdhron’s torso.

Hâdhron stills Faramir’s hand, momentarily. “No. I would wish this on no other; had you taken this hurt, your brother would bear it also.” His mouth curves into a teasing half-smile as Faramir secures the last of the makeshift bandages. “Surely such injuries would dampen any attempts at ardour.”

Faramir goes very still. “You know nothing of us,” he says flatly.

Hâdhron’s eyes are kind when he speaks next. “I know the look of a Man who came bearing the body of his brother here that day. The look of a Man who had lost the light from his life.” He grips Faramir’s uninjured shoulder in understanding, before rising to his feet. “I know enough.”

When the wounds of those in his garrison have been treated, Faramir makes immediately for the north of the village’s surrounding forest; he must know that Boromir is safe and unharmed, before he can see to the disposal of bodies and the strengthening of their guard. In case Boromir has finished his task of gathering firewood, Faramir decides first to stop by the cottage. Reflects, on his way there, on his exchanges with Hâdhron, with Gamel, about how universal grief is; how it had laid them all low here, from the humblest laborer to the Captain of Gondor.

He has just returned to the cottage when Boromir arrives also, his breath labored, a swirl of leaves trailing his ankles and mud flecking the soles of his boots, as if he had raced to return here, hastened back in a desperate search for Faramir as well.

“Faramir,” Boromir whispers, urgent, hushed. Does not sail into Faramir’s arms as he expects, but pulls Faramir inside instead. “Faramir,” he breathes again, pushing him into a corner of their thatched cottage, crowding him in, kissing him in frenzied panic. He kisses every inch of Faramir he can reach, pressing hard, frantic nips to neck and jaw. The corners of his eyes. The light bruise at Faramir’s hairline. Claws at Faramir’s tunic, his fingers wrenching the lacings from their eyelets, desperate in their need.

Faramir tries to twist away before Boromir spies his wound, fending him off with a half-hearted hand, but Boromir seizes his wrist.

“As I thought,” Boromir murmurs, his gaze settling on the poorly dressed injury. When he looks up at Faramir, his eyes are immensely sad, as if something more than just his body has broken inside him. He kisses Faramir gently now, touching lips to his brow, his cheeks, and his mouth. “Oh, Faramir.” Slips his arms around Faramir’s waist and holds him close, as if he is something precious and dear.

“You—you could not possibly know,” Faramir says, his voice hoarse. That Boromir was able to pinpoint his injury with such accuracy and speed, it could not mean—

Boromir undoes his own tunic, until Faramir is left staring at his upper body, an identical wound on his shoulder. “I have oft wondered what the price you paid for this…existence was,” Boromir says, gesturing between them. “But now…” Something in his voice breaks. “Now, I think I know.”

Faramir remembers Manadh’s warning, then: Your brother shares your life now. He will age as you age. Live as you live. It only follows that Boromir will be hurt as Faramir is hurt, and he pauses briefly to consider the truth behind Hâdhron’s words.

“Do not think to reprimand me,” Faramir says, adamant, before Boromir can speak again. “I knew the price, and still I gladly paid. I would pay it a hundred, a thousand times over, if only to have you by my side.” He eyes Boromir’s matching injury, and grazes his thumb over it, gentle. “But I shall be more careful, in the future. You will not bear such hurts again, if I can help it.”

Boromir only leans in to press their foreheads against each other, and they stand together, motionless, silent. He says all he needs to through that: Have a care with your life, Faramir. You live for us both. Or perhaps I love you. Perhaps all of that and more besides. He kisses a tender trail down Faramir’s jaw, the hollow of his throat, and his next words surprise Faramir, as much as they wring the air from his lungs.

“It is not I that I worry for, but you,” Boromir whispers. “Have more care with your life, Faramir—not for my sake, but yours. Please.”

“Oh,” says Faramir, dazed. He should have known that Boromir’s only concern would be for him alone, and something about that lights a fire within him—that he has made the right choice, that his sacrifice has been worth it—and he surges up into Boromir’s mouth. “Yes, I swear it,” he whispers. Pushes his tongue against Boromir’s, rough, wanting. “Now, more. More.”

Boromir only chuckles and draws away from him, moving to get a basin. “First we must dress your—our wounds.” He peels away the bloodied makeshift bandage from Faramir’s shoulder, and cleans their wounds with hot water. Applies a cooling salve, before winding new bandages around them, identical, his hands moving in the long-practiced motions of treating his brother’s hurts.

Beautiful, Faramir decides, appreciative. Boromir has always been so, but never more so than now, in this moment, when he should be the wounded lamb seeking comfort, but is instead the lion, protector and healer both. He reaches for Boromir’s face, to cup his jaw and bring their mouths together, desperate in his need to touch, to reaffirm, to taste.

Boromir stills his hand yet again. “Impatient rascal, I told you to wait,” he huffs. “Now be still, or this will take longer than it ought.”

When at last he secures the bandage around Faramir’s shoulder, Faramir surges forward again, kissing Boromir like he has wanted to, all teeth and tongue and burning heat. “I want you,” Faramir breathes. “I want you.” They have not made love since the night before Boromir set out for Rivendell, and Faramir needs him, wants him, aches for him.

“Yes, I—” Boromir whispers, urgent. “Yes.”

He starts from where he left off, nipping at Faramir’s throat, peppering his shoulders with kisses, before lifting Faramir’s hand to his mouth. Touches lips to the back of Faramir’s hand, his forearm and elbow, a series of reverent, worshipful kisses that leave Faramir feeling treasured and loved. Draws Faramir toward the bed until they are sprawled along it lengthwise, pressing his tongue to Faramir’s lips, the roof of his mouth, slipping inside, and oh how he wants Boromir, wants him inside, wants him so much, in every way.

Faramir pushes his brother onto his back, straddling his hips and tugging at the edges of Boromir’s tunic. Hesitates when he lifts them just past Boromir’s shoulders, catching the sight of arrow-scars on skin. “Wait,” he says, drawing away. Every fiber of his body yearns for this, but he is paralyzed by his fear of hurting Boromir, fear of—

Boromir’s hand closes tight around his wrist, pulling him close. “I am no wilting flower, Faramir,” he says, mouthing reassuring kisses at Faramir’s throat. “You cannot hurt me.”

Faramir sighs, nods his acquiescence into Boromir’s hair. “Very well, but at the first sign of discomfort, you will tell me,” he says. He prods Boromir’s shoulder, insistent.

“Yes, yes,” Boromir says, huffing a sigh. He shrugs his own tunic off, before grasping the loose ends of Faramir’s and tugging him close for a kiss, hot and wet and filthy. Drags the edge of his tongue along the column of Faramir’s throat. “Hmm,” he muses, smiling. “You taste like leather. And metal.”

“Oh?” Faramir buries his face in Boromir’s neck, vindictive, to bite, to mark. Breathes in the smell of scorched earth, leaves and fire. He decides for now not to reprimand Boromir for walking too near the dragon-burnt wastes of the forest far beyond the village again—a habit Boromir has grown accustomed to before gathering firewood, when he needs time to think. “Perhaps you can find out what I actually taste like if you kiss lower,” Faramir says instead, shifting his hips forward, suggestive. Grinds the front of his breeches against Boromir’s slowly, teasing, as he drops his tunic on the floor.

Boromir rises to the challenge, sitting up and surging forward to press stinging kisses to Faramir’s chest, his sternum, and the highest part of his belly. Undoes the lacings of Faramir’s breeches with far more grace than Faramir does his.

“Can you—” Faramir asks, still fumbling at the lacings of Boromir’s breeches. He draws out Boromir’s length and palms it, gentle, hoping for proof of his brother’s desire. “Can you still—”

“For you—for you, yes,” says Boromir. His breath is warm in Faramir’s ear, and yes, there’s the press of heated flesh against Faramir’s palm, hot and hard and wanting, just as it has always been for him. Faramir could weep with relief for this one miracle, this one thing, that allows them to join as they once did.

A wooden crate doubles as their night table, and Faramir reaches out for it, grasping the vial of oil used to clean their weapons. Slicks Boromir’s length with it, and shifts hastily on hands and knees until he is poised to take Boromir within him.

“Faramir, wait—we both know that is not enough,” Boromir frowns, and Faramir has the good grace to flush at forgetting to prepare himself, in his desperation to have Boromir again.

Dipping fingers to the oil, Boromir traces the edges of Faramir’s entrance, gentle. Slides one finger in, then another, working Faramir open, slowly and carefully. His other hand he twists in Faramir’s hair, dragging him in for kiss after kiss, sealing their mouths together and stealing the breath from his lungs, a distraction from the pain below.

Faramir nearly laughs at the care Boromir takes with him now; it is a far cry from how Boromir first used to take him, his fingers overeager and reckless in their probing. But their years together have tempered Boromir’s carelessness, and banished his disregard for Faramir’s comfort, their touches grown more focused on love and pleasure both.

The thought is gone as soon as it appears, when Boromir slides a third finger deep inside him, and Faramir breaks away from their kiss, gasping hard. Trembles, unable to hold in the keening noise he makes as Boromir crooks them within him, pressing on that elusive spot inside.

“Boromir,” he begs, “there. Right there.” Shifts until Boromir’s fingers dig into that place again, sharp.

“Oh, you like that, do you?” Boromir grins, and he draws his fingers away, teasing, before returning to stroke Faramir there, over and over, until Faramir’s knees buckle beneath him.

“Need you,” Faramir pants, hating how much it sounds like a whine. “Need all of you, Boromir, please.”

As Boromir nods and withdraws his fingers, Faramir strokes him back to hardness, Boromir’s length a heated brand against his palm once more. He guides Boromir to his entrance, letting him slip just inside; cries out as Boromir presses up and into him at the same time Faramir sinks down. It is a tight, slow slide, and Faramir thinks to breathe, to rest when their hips are flush against each other, but Boromir tries a shallow thrust that has him tightening, painful, against the unexpected dig.

“Wait, wait,” Faramir gasps, trembling, and Boromir stills, allowing Faramir to adjust to the length inside him. Cradles Faramir’s shoulders in his hands, for support. Faramir tries to breathe, to slow his short, pained gasps enough to draw a full breath; it has been too long since he took his brother within him, and it burns, even with oil to ease the way. He is glad Boromir thought to prepare him, at the least, and leans in to rest his forehead against his brother’s.

“Easy, Faramir,” Boromir whispers. He rubs Faramir’s shoulders, the length of his back in soft, circular motions to relax him. “We may take our time now. There is no one here to rush us. No one to please but ourselves.” He presses soothing kisses to Faramir’s lips, cheeks and the corners of his eyes, and together they breathe in unison, silent in their stillness, in the wood-fuelled heat of their cottage.

When at last Faramir is ready, he rocks against Boromir, slow, experimental, until they have built up a steady rhythm, enough for the pleasure and friction and closeness he has craved for so long. “Yes,” Faramir breathes, closing his eyes, “like this.”

Faramir,” Boromir rasps, his fingers digging deep into Faramir’s hips as they rock together, moving as one. He scrapes nails across Faramir’s back, heated, eliciting a moan from Faramir as he presses into the touch. Closes his mouth, warm, around one of Faramir’s nipples, pebbled in the cold.

An abrupt twist of Boromir’s hips has Faramir choking back a cry, the impact on his sweet spot sudden and sharp. He arches into Boromir’s grasp, hands scrabbling at Boromir’s shoulders, and upon finding purchase on his chest, rides Boromir, hard.

“Careful—careful,” hisses Boromir, even as he steadies Faramir’s arms with his own, and Faramir remembers then that his brother’s injuries from Amon Hen pain him still. Recalls the stiffness of Boromir’s shoulder, the shallowness of his breaths when they have traveled too far, too quickly—consequences of the wounds he will bear for the rest of his life. He slides his grasping hands beneath Boromir’s shoulders, bracing them against the bed. Thinks better of it and curls his arms under Boromir’s shoulders instead, slowing his pace, as he presses light, feathery kisses to Boromir’s mouth in apology.

Boromir allows the sweet press of kisses for all of a moment, before sealing his lips tight over Faramir’s, winding his arms behind Faramir’s back and wrenching them over in the bed. Faramir cries out, startled, when the motion drives Boromir deeper within him.

“That’s—that’s good,” Faramir gasps. He loops his arms around Boromir’s neck and parts his lips to let Boromir touch their tongues together. Digs his heels into Boromir’s back, encouraging.

“Good,” Boromir nods, relieved. He urges Faramir’s hips farther apart, pushing forward and spearing him open with each thrust. Rocks deep into Faramir through his strangled moans of pain and pleasure both. And when Faramir whispers, his voice wrecked, Boromir, please, I can’t—I can’t, Boromir only hitches Faramir’s leg higher at his waist. Strikes the spot inside him, again and again until Faramir cries out, trembling, shaking, dizzy with the sweet burn of it.

They cannot move as hard and fast as they used to, but Faramir finds he likes this change. Likes how Boromir will move against him, slow and purposeful, each motion meant for deliberate, mounting pleasure, cresting like a wave. It is not unlike the way they had come together in the mornings, between campaigns for Osgiliath and long before Rivendell, sleepy and unhurried, with eyes yet unfocused but each knowing where the other was, through touch and taste and sound. Knowing what the other wanted, as if it was something natural, intrinsic, as unthought of as blinking or breathing.

He is startled from his thoughts when Boromir closes a fist around Faramir’s cock. Bites back a cry when Boromir circles fingers along the length of his shaft, thumb stroking the hood in the easy, familiar motions of lovemaking past.

At the dual pleasures of Boromir’s touch and sensual thrusts both, Faramir clamps a hand over his mouth, hard. Stifles his cries because he is so close, and Boromir is hitting him in just the right place, but Boromir twines his fingers into the hand Faramir has pressed over his mouth. Pins it to the pillow beside Faramir’s head.

“I would hear the sounds of your pleasure, little brother,” Boromir rasps. And with that, he hikes Faramir’s leg higher, changing the angle of his thrusts until Faramir seizes in his grip, choking, wheezing, gasping for air as stars burst behind his eyes. It takes only a clever twist of fingers to the head of his cock, a sharp dig of thumbnail to the slit for Faramir to arch against the bed, shaking as he cries out, breath shuddering hard as he spills.

“Boromir,” he sobs, legs twined tight over his brother’s back. “Boromir.”

The word is like benediction, like freedom, like redemption, and Faramir breathes it once more, twice, before Boromir buries his face in Faramir’s neck, sinks teeth deep into the muscle by his shoulder and spends, flooding Faramir with his seed.

“Faramir,” Boromir murmurs after, as their breaths even out. He strokes Faramir’s hair, cups his face in caress. As if he is a marvel, a treasure.

And even if Boromir does not think so, the word, Faramir’s name, tastes like forgiveness in his mouth as they kiss, soft and slow and leisurely; forgiveness for the fact that Faramir had not been there for the end, at Amon Hen, because he is here now, and will be, for as long as they both shall live.

“Tell me,” Boromir whispers later, in the near-dark. He traces soft, lazy circles on Faramir’s shoulder with his finger, one of his gentler motions in their long hours spent abed this day. “Tell me everything. If we are to start anew, I would know what this life entails.” He kisses the hollow behind Faramir’s ear. “What it costs for you to keep me.”

The words are too reminiscent of the village shaman’s, and Faramir shivers, a full-body shudder that has nothing to do with the spring chill sweeping through their cottage. But Boromir moves to wrap him in broad arms, chasing the chill away, and Faramir, not long accustomed to keeping secrets from his brother, shares everything with him: of how he came to find Boromir as he swept past in the Elven craft, nearly hidden by its high prow on the Anduin. How Faramir bore him to shore, and kept him safe and hidden, until the War of the Ring was over. Until he could make his journey, over land and stream, to bring him here.

And finally, he tells Boromir of what he gave in exchange, because the Lady Arwen had spoken true, had seen what was in his heart: that he would rather spend what little was left of his life with Boromir, than face all eternity without him.

“We live without the blessing of the Valar,” Boromir murmurs, after all is made clear. He nuzzles into the safety of Faramir’s neck, as if instinctively seeking warmth. And though his nose is cold, when Boromir winds his arms low around Faramir’s waist, kissing his shoulder, slow and sweet and worshipful, whispering I love you and Thank you in the dark, Faramir finds he does not mind at all.

“We would have lived without it regardless,” says Faramir, equally soft. He turns to curl arms beneath Boromir’s shoulders, and sighs, the heat of his breath escaping as a small plume in the cool air. Already his own warmth leeches away, a little each day, but it is a price he gladly pays. A quick glance at their wood stove shows the fire has long since gone out, but neither of them wishes to leave the haven of their blanket nest or each other’s arms to relight it.

“And if you could make this choice again, would you?”

When Faramir laughs, Boromir winds his arms tighter about Faramir’s waist, gently reproachful for the absence of a serious answer. For a moment, Faramir can almost remember what his embrace felt like when Boromir had a warmth of his own, but he does not lament the loss of it for long.

“Not for all the gold and riches you could imagine would I wish any different,” he breathes, an oath, against Boromir’s lips. “Not for all the stars in the sky, nor the lands or titles bestowed upon me would I be parted from you.” Faramir presses kisses to his brother’s cheeks, his brow, and says softer still, “I would not suffer another glorious dawn without you.”

“Oh,” says Boromir quietly. Contemplative.

And when Boromir is silent for longer than is his wont, Faramir peers into his face, curious. Finds Boromir’s eyes bright, brimming with unshed tears.

“Boromir, love, what is it?” He cups his brother’s face in his palms, worried. That Boromir will say he cannot live like this. That of all days, Boromir will choose this one—the one after they have made love in this new life of his—to forsake him.

Boromir only shakes his head, his smile trembling through the myriad tears he allows to fall. “Never did I think, that in a choice between life or love, you would choose love.”

“No,” Faramir says, folding Boromir into his arms, gentle. “It was never a choice for either.” He kisses away the tears, the salt streams of Boromir’s sorrow and happiness both. “I chose a life with love.”

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Refuge (R) Print

By Iris

08 March 2014 | 2456 words | Work in Progress

Title: Refuge
Author: Iris
Rating: R
Pairing(s): Faramir & Unknown / Surprise Characters
Warnings: dubious content
This story is made up of a series of short fragments,which I'll post one at a time <del>in a shameless ploy to buy myself a little more time</del> for dramatic effect;).

Originally posted to celebrate the birthday of fabulously fantastic Minx, founder of this archive. Happy birthday darling!
Added: Part 7


It was a glorious Autumn’s day, with the low-set sun shining through the leaves that had just begun to turn every colour between green, yellow, red and brown. The ground was wet and mud was flying up behind the riders, but Faramir didn’t care.

Faramir revelled in being outdoors again, feeling the wind in his hair, experiencing the freedom he always felt on horseback, and perhaps most of all, feeling the sun’s rays on his face. The past weeks had been cold, dark and wet, and even though he’d hardly set foot outside, the weather always affected him. Even at his usually bright and sunny spot by his study’s window, he had needed the aid of a lamp morning, noon and night. And the draft and damp could be felt everywhere in the citadel, despite of the thick walls.

He hadn’t expected he’d have the opportunity to go out to Ithilien again so soon. When he’d pulled aside the curtains in his bedchamber that morning and saw sunshine instead of clouds for the first time in weeks, he had felt a sudden yearning for his old life, out in the wilds of Ithilien. But that life was over now, he had told himself. Today would be another day spent at his desk, bent over proposals, minutes, records and reports – thus was the life of the Steward of Gondor. He had sighed, but then quickly berated himself: compared to the sacrifices others had made in the war, how could he complain?

Though when the queen’s brothers and Prince Legolas had come to his study, unannounced and quite unexpected, and asked him to act as their guide and introduce them to Ithilien that very afternoon, he had jumped at the opportunity, records and reports quickly forgotten. He could see to those when he returned, he decided. He’d happily work throughout the night if necessary, for a chance to visit Ithilien. Besides, he could hardly refuse the request of such high guest of Gondor, now could he?

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

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at https://www.faramirfiction.com/fiction/refuge. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!

14 Comment(s)

Wow, the gift comes in with impressive wrapping paper and all, but do we also get to see what’s inside? ;-) Couldn’t wait to see the rest of the story and surprise!

— dream.in.a.jar    Tuesday 1 November 2011, 12:21    #

Yippee!!! Thank you so so so much! This is so wonderful to see… you know I’ve been waiting to read this:) and thank you for the wrapping too:)) You’re the best ever! hugs happy happy happy

Minx    Tuesday 1 November 2011, 20:11    #

Wow, this certainly is an interesting turn! Can’t wait to read more :P

— Sherry    Saturday 5 November 2011, 11:11    #

Meow, that was hot! And this got me all worked up with hair on my back all standing up like a cat ready to fight! Way to go Iris!

— dream.in.a.jar    Monday 7 November 2011, 5:18    #

dream.in.a.jar, Sherry – Glad you like it so far (more turns up ahead!) and many thanks for your feedback; it really means a lot to me.
Minx- doing a very good job at looking surprised! ;) Have a great year!

Iris    Wednesday 9 November 2011, 15:58    #

everyday there is a cliffhanger.

— dream.in.a.jar    Thursday 10 November 2011, 10:20    #

dream.in.a.jar – more turns up ahead! Thanks for taking the time out to comment!

Iris    Wednesday 16 November 2011, 20:38    #

I’m soooo loving this:)

Minx    Thursday 17 November 2011, 16:07    #

Yay!!! thank you so so much :)

Minx    Thursday 1 November 2012, 17:58    #

Wow, this is growing more and more exciting.
Keep up the good work. I hope it turns out to the better for Faramir

— Laivindur    Saturday 17 November 2012, 13:03    #

Thanks Laivindur! Great to hear it’s appreciated – thanks a lot for taking the time out to comment!

— iris    Sunday 18 November 2012, 16:51    #

Yay! More yumminess!:)I like A’s meanness:) that he uses Faramir but keeps him out of the inner circle, and that he’s rough. Very, very nice!

Minx    Monday 19 November 2012, 17:49    #

Ooh! I just saw this. And I love. Faramir’s hesitant, overeager to please replies and the twins’ lovely callousness, all of it is splendidly yummy.

Minx    Tuesday 11 March 2014, 19:09    #

Glad you like it! Next chapter I’m going to be nice to Faramir again (and then again nasty in the chapter after that).
(and sorry I haven’t been in touch lately — it’s no excuse but i’ve been terribly busy.)

iris    Tuesday 11 March 2014, 19:59    #

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This story is rated «R», and carries the warnings «Slash and sexual scenes.».
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Good Enough (R) Print

By Eora

16 January 2014 | 590 words

Title: Good Enough
Pairing: Faramir/Aragorn
Rating: R
Warnings: Slash, sexual scenes.
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me. All written in good fun with no offence intended!

Author’s Note: A little bit of PWP with some added feels :P

I wrote this in literally ten minutes (so you can be assured of its quality…) because my writers’ block is chronic now but I needed to do something. Hopefully this will encourage me to finish something longer soon.

He remembers Faramir in the beginning, how shy he was, how he would wait to be touched, or kissed, how he would never initiate anything through a misplaced fear of rejection, of being unworthy. It took time to cure him of that, and time was the only cure, and Aragorn knew this and was patient with him and showed him through those touches and kisses that rejection and the embarrassment of it were an unfounded fiction.

Now, Faramir’s ways have altered. He is not brazen, nor is he forceful or rampant. He is as he ever was: gentle, tender. When Aragorn returns to their chamber late, when he undresses quietly so as not to disturb Faramir who sleeps in their bed, when he lifts the blankets and slides in beside him as carefully as he can, when he lies back and closes his eyes there will come a slithering of sheets, a movement and an arm that snakes over his middle and the sandy scratch of an unshaven cheek against his shoulder. A kiss in the crook of his neck, and sometimes nothing more as they both drift into a shared dream, heat mingling together.

And sometimes Faramir asks him for more, gently, tenderly. The fingers on Aragorn’s chest fan out and draw patterns and move downwards carefully and without hurry. The kiss on his neck moves, lips find his pulse and print a greeting there, the ice of a nose-tip presses behind his ear. He can feel Faramir’s breath on his skin as it quickens, hear the moan that is drawn from him, low. Aragorn will turn over and lie facing him, worming an arm beneath him and draping the other atop. He will push his thigh between Faramir’s legs and find rigid proof of his intentions. He will move his hips against him until they align and trap Faramir’s arm between them with a sighing laugh that disappears as a hot tongue curls around his own. His hands will measure the firmness of a backside and grasp and haul closer and the hand that lies betwixt them will grasp him in return and rub and stroke and twist. It is at this moment that Faramir forgets he is shy, it is at this stage that he will push Aragorn over and climb astride him, ride him, grind against him and allow his hair to be tugged in fistfuls. Or he will roll onto his own back and pull Aragorn with him, spreading his knees, encouraging a mouth to descend between them, rolling his eyes and head back and finding speech impossible.

When they are spent Aragorn will pull Faramir to him again and kiss him deeply, deeply. You are the light of my life. And Faramir will gaze at him afterwards with a question in his eyes that he never voices and Aragorn never answers, not in words. Another kiss perhaps, or a tendril of hair pushed behind an ear and arms encircling him forever because he knows Faramir will never change, but he will always be good enough.

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)


— Laivindur    Friday 17 January 2014, 23:28    #

Oh, how good is this! A treat of cream and honey gently melting on the tongue… and you did it in ten minutes!!! Verily, you must have had Elvish helpers – or a first class seat behind the curtains of the royal bed chamber and a dictaphone to not miss a single detail.

My personal favourite: “the ice of a nose-tip presses behind his ear” – Indeed regarding temperature nose-tips and toes seem to be the poles of the human body, so to say (wonder where the equator might be then…). If a touch like this is welcome, the love must indeed be of epic extent! – Okay, err, out now – before the comment gets longer than the fic!

— raven22372    Sunday 19 January 2014, 18:01    #

Oh, I’ve missed this!!! I’ve missed reading your writing! (Which is entirely my own fault because I strayed from the LotR fandom in favour of other stuff but I don’t want to talk about it ;))

Ah, this is lovely! So sweet and soft and I promise you I’m melting! I adore your way with words. Truly you have a gift! And then in the midst of all that sweetness: “He will push his thigh between Faramir’s legs…” had me, um, well, suffice to say I liked it ;D

Sorry for this incomprehensible mess of words that are supposed to constitute a review but I can’t do any better right now. This little gem makes me feel like I’ve come home. Thank you. And lots of love to you.

Geale    Sunday 23 February 2014, 9:47    #

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