Today, by just_ann_now
Today, the messenger brings word of a single rider, a powerfully built man in livery and tack of the White Tree, and bearing an ancient horn – Boromir of Gondor rides to Meduseld.
For once skittish as a girl, Theodred orders preparations: his chamber to be dusted and aired, the lumpy horsehair mattress turned and plumped, fresh linen brought, basket of fruit and flagon of mead set ready. His old nurse laughs at him, then takes on the duties herself: it is she who leaves the bowl of spiced hazelnuts, Boromir’s favorite, and sets the bottle of sweet almond oil by the bedside. Why should her darling not snatch his happiness when he can?
When the visitor arrives, there will be cool ale to soothe his parched throat, then a bath, remembered always as his first request. Their first coupling will be there, in the bathhouse, where joy and hunger will drive them quickly to breathless release. Afterwards, Theodred will sluice the dust and sweat from his lover’s body, stopping to examine each new scar, laughing over each grandiose tale of valor or folly or luck. For a soldier, used to rough living, Boromir is strangely fastidious, and so will sigh blissfully as he lowers himself into the tub, closing his eyes, murmuring dreamily. At the end, Theodred will wash his hair, as tenderly as a father with his child, and Boromir’s eyes will shine with affection.
Tonight the king will join them at table, for a time, and news will be exchanged: ravages of orcs over the Westfold; precious horses maimed or stolen; reports of new terrors from the East or South. These cares are for tomorrow: tonight there will be songs, and tales, and the waiting bed. Smiles will bid them goodnight, but no teasing laughter: as if all understand the preciousness, the rare gift of their time together.
By candlelight, in the wide bed, they will once again drink deeply of each other’s taste and scent, rediscovering with lips, tongues, teeth. Calloused fingers, surprisingly gentle; unbearably, exquisitely rough. Long limbs entwined, until it is impossible to tell one from another except for sensations on the skin. Memories to be hoarded like treasure against the dark nights, and the morning that will come too soon.
Later, Eowyn will ask him, for she does not understand. Should he not, instead, be seeking a bride, fathering a heir, forging a link to Rohan’s future? He will not tell her what he knows: that there is no future for him or his lover; that death waits, catlike, watching their every breath; that they will live forever young in the songs and tales of Rohan, warrior princes bound by ties stronger than blood.