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Seasons of Wonder

Chapter Text

In later years, Eowyn will claim that she understood her heart at last when Faramir told her that he loved her. At that moment, she will declare, she comprehended finally that what she felt for Aragorn was not love but admiration: the childhood pretend-game of a girl who wished to be a queen.

But in truth, her heart changes after Faramir kisses her.

His arms are strong, and his hands warm her skin when he draws her to him. Although much about him resembles Aragorn -- a lesser form, she has told herself, lacking the blue-gray eyes and broad forehead of Elendil's line, and not the king, not the king -- she sees then that Faramir reminds her of another as well, not in face and feature but in his resilience. He might well be a Rider of the Mark.

"For a moment you made me think of my brother," she whispers, before stopping to think how unseemly such words may sound to a man she has just kissed. Yet Faramir looks startled only for a moment before he smiles.

"I had thought that you brought me to mind of my mother, but it is not so," he tells her. Eowyn knows that he sent for his mother's mantle to cloak her, a robe the color of summer night with silver stars about the hem. She thinks that Faramir must look upon her as a delicate beauty like Finduilas of Amroth, for he has never seen Eowyn wield a sword.

Still, he kisses her once more high upon the walls of the City of Gondor with less courtesy and more passion, and he says, "I often came here with my brother. He was proud and determined, and sometimes terribly grave, but the sun made him splendid. When I am with you, I do not feel his loss so keenly."

The breeze ruffles Eowyn's hair and her long flowing skirts, so different from the safe armor of Dernhelm. Perhaps, she thinks, Faramir might truly wish to know her, even the secrets she would hide forever from the King of Gondor. Lightly, but with defiance in her voice, she confesses, "It was my brother who taught me how to kiss."

For a time Faramir gazes at her in amazement; then he smiles, not the adoring beam of a suitor but the conspiratorial nod of an ally. His head bows. He does not meet her eyes as he admits, "So did mine."

Perhaps this should be a greater shock, though Eowyn feels only the relief of Faramir's understanding, and, perhaps, his unease. Hand on his arm, she speaks: "Then no matter your losses, you had your brother's love to trust in, as I did."

"Yes." Faramir trembles in the wind. How lost he must feel, Eowyn worries, without father, without brother, though he is filled with joy at the coming of the King. And he has grown to care for her as well, not as a distant vision of beauty but as a warrior wounded like himself, who has come through shame, loss and despair just as he has.

An aching thaw begins to swell in Eowyn, though she can only stare at first at the sudden flush rising on Faramir's handsome face. She begs him, "Show me," and raises her head when his mouth moves over hers like a spring storm, fierce and inescapable. Then she knows that she could love him as she has loved none before, not even Aragorn.

"I think that perhaps I envy your brother," she sighs when they have drawn apart.

"No, but pity him," replies Faramir wistfully. "For you are here, while he is not. And your brother shall be King of the Mark, while I stand here in Boromir's stead."

Putting her hand to Faramir's chin, Eowyn tilts his head in the sunlight. "As Steward, perhaps, you shall stand in his stead. But in my heart there shall be none before you," she murmurs before she kisses him again.

"I pity the Lord Aragorn," sighs Faramir when they separate, their chests heaving with quickened breath. "For he may have the throne of Gondor, but he will not have this."

"But will you pity his bride?" Eowyn teases, laughing with him when he shakes his head and twines his fingers in her hair. "I shall pity her, for I think none could help but envy her a little. And when we smile and whisper together, perhaps they shall envy us as well."

Faramir smiles merrily and draws her close. "I do not ever want you tamed, wild shieldmaiden of the North," he promises. "But I would see you joyous in a garden in Ithilien, never more to look upon the darkness of war. Will you take my hand and walk among the flowers with me?"

And Eowyn answers him, "I will."

Chapter Text

The hours stretch interminably as petitioners come forward with requests for better storage, proposals for new roads, demands for assistance in repairing homes and buildings. Yet King Elessar holds his smile firmly in place, refusing to yawn, despite the constant drone in his ear of the scrawny southern farmer who seems to have a plan to irrigate the entire region. His Steward keeps handing him scrolls that require his seal, though the King barely looks at the documents as he wades through the pile.

Then Aragorn glances down at the latest page put in his hands, only to discover that it is a distorted, roughly sketched drawing of the tedious would-be water bearer of Gondor about to be kicked in the backside by a giant boot. Choking back a laugh, he glares fondly at Faramir, who winks at him without allowing his parted lips to curve in a smile.

With the stern expression, and with the autumn sun through the high windows lighting blazing strands in his hair, Faramir looks so like his brother that Aragorn's throat aches.

The King meets Imrahil's eye by the door and holds up two fingers, then watches as the Prince of Dol Amroth whispers to the guards. It is early to dismiss the petitioners but Aragorn cannot bear to spend what may be the last warm day of the season indoors, particularly since Faramir has promised to show him a hillside where cascading red leaves create the impression of a raging wildfire. Tomorrow they will meet with Gimli and the dwarves about the rebuilding of Minas Tirith, but this afternoon they will ride.

The air smells like the apples coming ripe on the trees down in the orchards. As always seems to happen when he is with Faramir, Aragorn forgets the passing of the hours. First they ride the horses hard, racing one another across flat fields, then they slow and move together as they urge the tired animals uphill. Eowyn has been telling Faramir about the mid-winter festival in Rohan and Faramir describes it to Aragorn, clearly hoping that the King will approve a similar celebration for Gondor, though the darkest nights are not so long in Minas Tirith as in Edoras.

Were he with Boromir, thinks Aragorn, they would undoubtedly be speaking of Gondor's soldiers and the great battles of old. Boromir delighted in weapons and warfare, and would have been less tolerant than Aragorn of the tiresome farmer's irrigation schemes. Instead of riding together, they might now be practicing with swords in the courtyard, to an audience of cheering, gasping men and women, and afterward, when they went together to wash and change their clothing...Aragorn banishes the thought and concentrates on the pleasures of the present moment, the crisp fall air scented with ripe fruit.

But Faramir has observed his King's distraction. "Are you well?" he asks, foregoing the "my lord" as Aragorn has asked him to do when they are alone together. With his curly hair blowing about his face, Faramir looks less like his brother, and the concern furrowing his brow is more open than Aragorn ever witnessed on Boromir's features.

Somehow, despite the antipathy of his father and the pain of losing his mother and brother, neither bitterness nor caution has wormed its way into Faramir's heart. He gazes on Aragorn with the same warmth that was in his eyes when Aragorn first commanded him to return from the shadows, and Aragorn feels an echoing tenderness in his own chest. "I was growing sentimental, thinking of other celebrations," he tells Faramir. "And if you will stay in the city through mid-winter, we shall celebrate it together."

When, finally, they turn back, the sun has set below the horizon and Faramir groans that they will have missed the evening meal. "You are only concerned that the cook will not have saved you any biscuits," teases Aragorn, having often witnessed Faramir's craving for sweets. His Steward had once devoured an entire bowl of berries that a well-wisher had left for the King.

With a wicked smile, Faramir pulls apples from his pockets, tossing one to Aragorn, and they arrive at the stables with juice making their fingers stick to their horses' reins. Reluctantly Faramir gives up his remaining apples to their mounts before they walk together to the kitchens, where they sneak cheese from the larder until they are scolded like naughty children by the cook, who will serve them only cold soup and hard bread.

"She has known me since I was a child," sighs Faramir. "She would chase Boromir and myself from the pantry with the hammer she used to pound meat."

"Did you try to steal her apples even then?" Aragorn asks, satisfied with the small shared meal and the guilty flush turning Faramir's face as red as the fruit.

When Aragorn finally returns to his rooms, warm and content despite the chill of the season, he finds Arwen sitting on a couch covered in woven blankets, reading an adventure story. She looks up and smiles as he approaches. "You're very late."

"Am I?" he asks innocently. "I lost track of the time. How did you spend the afternoon?"

"The maids were discussing embroidering new gowns for autumn. I feigned interest for as long as I could bear, then went for a walk in the gardens." Arwen often stops to tend the flowers, and Aragorn thinks that though it is autumn, she is like an apple blossom -- ever sweet and lovely, soft and curved with the promise of ripeness. "I saw Imrahil when we dined," she continues. "I assume that the council has not been meeting all this time?"

"Oh, we did meet. For a long while. And then I dismissed them."

Arwen smiles and nods her approval, offering Aragorn a bowl of fruit the maids have left for her. "Did you go riding with Faramir again?"

Finding an apple in the bowl, Aragorn blushes faintly as he beams at her. "We did. It was such a beautiful day. I did not want to let it pass me by while I sat in the council chamber."

"And when it rained last week, my love, you dismissed the council early so that you and Faramir could trudge out in the mud to observe the repairs to the city wall." Merriment tugs at the corners of Arwen's lips, curves of scarlet like ripened fruit.

"The repairs... needed to be observed," Aragorn replies, and bites into his apple.

Brushing her hair behind the pointed ears that she knows fascinate Aragorn so, Arwen leans forward. "Could not one or the other of you have gone alone?" she asks with a raised eyebrow.

Aragorn ponders this, watching Arwen's fingers upon her ears. "He is my Steward," he says simply, and offers the apple to her.

Arwen takes the fruit in her hands, turning it over and tracing the impression of Aragorn's teeth where the skin has torn off to reveal the damp yellow fruit. "He is Gondor's Steward," she corrects. "Meant to stand in your place in your absence."

"Well, yes," Aragorn admits, "but I am here. I see no reason why I shouldn't involve him."

Taking a bite of the apple, Arwen chews thoughtfully before speaking. "If he dotes on you too hopelessly, my love, he may have difficulty taking your place should you be absent or injured."

Aragorn chuckles softly, leaning forward and biting into the other side of the fruit, his fingers curling gently around Arwen's wrist. "Oh, he hardly dotes on me, love." This apple is very juicy, smaller and softer than the one Faramir gave to Aragorn earlier. Its sap flows down his chin, into his beard, tickling him like his wife's teasing fingertips.

Arwen's laugh is barely perceptible but there is no mistaking the delight in her eyes as juice drips over her hand. "Faramir adores you. He gazes at you as though you were one of the Valar. Surely you must see it."

Aragorn lifts his eyes to meet Arwen's, his eyebrows nearly meeting his hairline. "He does not," he says incredulously, then absently licks the juice from her palm.

Ducking her head to hide her smile, Arwen turns her palm to slide a sticky finger into Aragorn's mouth. "He has looked on you so from the day I met him. His voice shakes when he tells people how you saved him in the Houses of Healing. He loves you, Aragorn."

Because Arwen's finger is between his lips, Aragorn does not have to respond to this statement immediately. He is grateful, for his heart has begun to hammer and his eyes fall closed. After passionately sucking the juice from Arwen's skin, he releases her finger and replies, simply, "And I love him."

"I know that you do." Pulling back her hand, Arwen takes another bite of the fruit. Pensively she says, "You look at him the way you looked at his brother."

This makes Aragorn pause, frowning. "Surely not." Putting down the apple, Arwen takes his hand and he twines his fingers with hers, but he says, "No," more firmly, then kisses her.

Arwen kisses him back, smoothing his hair with her fingers. "Is it myself whom you fear to betray, or Boromir's memory?" she asks.

Aragorn blinks in surprise, wrapping an arm around his wife's waist. He is not certain that he wants to talk about this. "Betray?" he echoes. "Arwen...I am not certain what you mean. Faramir is only a dear friend." Moving closer, she rests her head against him, laughing under her breath, and Aragorn's hand comes up to let his fingers trace her ear. "Why do I suspect that you do not believe me?" he murmurs.

Glancing at him without guile, Arwen observes, "I might ask you the same question, for you do not sound at all convinced." There is no taunt in her voice, though a moment later she looks down to hide the teasing smile that curves her lips. "The next time I see you gazing at him as if you would swallow him whole, I will be certain to tell you."

Aragorn's face feels warm. "Please do," he says.

Arwen strokes her fingers across his cheekbone. "You are blushing, my love." He mumbles a denial, turning to kiss her fingertips. "And you are excited." This Aragorn cannot deny; he knows that she can feel the heat rising all over his body, radiating through his clothing.

"Yes, I am," he admits, and his fingers stroke her ear, her cheek, and her neck.

Tilting her head, Arwen kisses his jaw. "What are you thinking?"

"About you, of course," he replies, "and how good apple juice tastes on your lips."

Finally Arwen laughs aloud, flicking her tongue over Aragorn's mouth. "You did not become this aroused from sharing an apple."

Grinning impishly, Aragorn moves his hands down to her waist. "And why not? Perhaps it was an enchanted apple." He leans forward and licks her mouth in return. "Mm, apple."

As Arwen rises and settles in Aragorn's lap, she frames his face in her hands. "Does it taste different here than it did in Imladris?"

"Does what taste different?" He strokes her back, his other hand inching up under her gown. "Your mouth?"

"The fruit." Then she pauses. "And my mouth. Am I different to you, now that I am your wife, and no longer an immortal Elf?"

"The fruit grown here does taste different," he says, "but your mouth remains as sweet as it always was."

"You have tasted much bitterness since we were together in my father's house," she reminds him.

"I do not see why that should change my love for you."

"Even among the immortals, love is not constant and unchanging," she reminds him. "It is no longer springtime in the golden wood. I imagine that you will love me differently when I am the mother of your children than you did when you first knew me..."

He presses his face against her neck. "I imagine you are right."

"And I do not imagine that I am the last person you will ever love that way." She lifts her head, drawing his face away from her skin. "Why should that trouble you?"

"Faramir does not love me that way." A moment later Aragorn wishes to curse himself for revealing that his thoughts have returned so swiftly to his Steward, and for failing to deny his own feelings.

"Why do you say so? Because he loves Eowyn? The one does not replace the other. No more than your love for another could change your love for me."

"Yes! Arwen," he pleads, almost petulantly, and looks at her helplessly.

Sliding her arms around Aragorn's shoulders, Arwen leans her forehead against his. "I do not understand why this should trouble you so. It does not trouble me. He loves you, and you love should be happy!"

"I loved his brother," Aragorn says softly.

"I do not think Faramir will fault you for that, for so did he. Nor can I imagine that Boromir would be anything but delighted for you. He adored Faramir so. We had few chances to speak, but when we did, his brother's fondness for Elven lore was always Boromir's favorite topic." She kisses the bridge of Aragorn's nose.

Aragorn grasps for something to say, for some excuse. "I cannot possibly have you both," he whispers.

"Why not?" Arwen whispers back. He blinks a few times, but cannot come up with a response to this. "Why should you not be happy?" she continues. "If you want him, and he wants you, and if his bride does not have both been through such pain, my love, and you are good for one another."

"You're encouraging me," he says in disbelief.

Easily she nods. "I encouraged you with Boromir as well."

"That was before we were married. When Boromir and I were going away on a quest from which we might never have returned." Looking down, Aragorn takes a painful breath. "One of us didn't return."

"Are you telling me that your love for him was only in desperation? That if he had survived, your feelings would have altered?"

"No, of course not!"

"Then why should you be so surprised if I encourage you to follow your heart now?" He sighs and hides his face against her neck again. "Do you fear," Arwen asks quietly, "that if you love another, it will diminish what is between us?"

"I do not want it to," he murmurs against her neck.

"Then that is what you are afraid of," she murmurs. "Aragorn, I left my people to be with you. There is nothing that will diminish my love for you. What happened between you and Boromir did not change how you felt for me, nor I for you." Her fingers stroke his hair. "It would not trouble you so to learn that I enjoyed the attention given me by another, would it?"

Aragorn shakes his head. He has always known that she lived centuries of life before they met, and that no passing attraction will ever take her from him now. Nor would he want to deny her any pleasure that she might wish to experience, now that she shares his world.

Sighing, Arwen strokes his hair again. "But I worry that you are uncertain of your love for me, if you are afraid even to understand your own feelings."

"No! Arwen, that is not so." Aragorn closes his eyes and holds her a little tighter, letting his fears come clear in his mind. He sees Faramir as he looked in the council chamber, looking so very like his brother, and then as he appeared on the hillside, his gray eyes filled with light. He recalls sneaking into the pantry to steal honeycakes with him, hiding there pressed up against him and shaking with silent laughter as the cook came through, then growing lightheaded in a meeting with nobles and princes as he tried not to laugh while Faramir gestured with his fingers that they should run away and filch more desserts.

"I am...weak, when I am with him," he confesses slowly. "I am lost. It is too much. I can barely comprehend the depth of the way I feel about him."

"And yet you cannot bear to be without him for two hours to inspect the walls of the city," she teases, running her fingers through his hair and down his back. "Of course you are disturbed. He is your Steward, the son of a man who bore you no affection, and you loved his brother. But why could you not even speak of this to me?"

Aragorn is silent for a long moment before he admits, in a small voice, "Perhaps I thought that if I did not say anything, it would go away."

"I tried that once," she murmurs soothingly. "But it did not, and I am now married to the man I thought to ignore."

He glances up at her, then smiles at the sparkle in her eyes. "You are far more patient with me than I deserve."

"Ah, but I am so much older and wiser than you are," she laughs. "Though I no longer have eternity to wait for my desires. You will not make Faramir wait until he is an old man, will you?"

"No..." The flush in his cheeks spreads, heating his chest, settling in his groin, where he knows his wife can feel the telltale swelling. "No. Arwen, I know what you gave up to be with me. I would not wish to hold you back if you desired a different taste of mortal life, and I am so grateful that you do not begrudge me this. If he truly desires it, I will not make him wait long."

A mysterious expression crosses Arwen's face, turning her beauty into something eerie, and Aragorn wonders what curiosity she has developed about the lives of men and women since she chose to live among them. Her eyelids lower seductively. "And how long will you make me wait?"

Smiling, Aragorn says teasingly, "For what?"

"For this." Arwen pulls his head to her and kisses him. "I do not know if I still taste of apples..."

Aragorn hums, his tongue brushing her mouth. Even in the winter, Arwen will taste like springtime -- like fruit that is slow to ripen, dripping with promise, without the taint of mortality staining its fragrance. "I will find you delicious forever," he murmurs, and kisses her again.

Chapter Text

They ride with a host of men, princes and soldiers and squires, some from Ithilien, some from Minas Tirith. It has been a long and tedious trip to make sure that Gondor is prepared for the winter, both its defenses and its stores. While others converse about the coming storm, the King gallops to the lead with his Steward at his side. As they reach the crest of a hill, Aragorn grins at Faramir and leans forward in the saddle, urging his horse onward.

Then Faramir, who under Éowyn's tutelage has become as skilled a rider as any among the Rohirrim -- more skilled than his father or brother ever were -- gives chase. Over hillsides spare and brown from the last night's frost they race, until their companions have slipped far behind them...until they are red-cheeked and laughing, slowing together under a dark, metallic sky that shows no trace of the setting sun.

And Faramir circles around with a bemused expression, and asks, "Are we lost, Aragorn?" as the first flakes of snow begin to fall.

The blizzard comes on with astonishing speed. It nearly blinds them and their horses long before they can make their way back to the others. They ride close together, much more slowly than is prudent given the need to seek shelter, but they cannot risk becoming separated in the whiteness; or, rather, Aragorn will not risk it, though the Steward begs the King to ride to safety if he can.

They find the barn by accident, looming dark in the glare only when they are so close that their horses shy away, sensing the solid structure before them. Faramir shouts in glee when he discovers that the doors are not bolted, and realizes only when they have rushed inside that this is because the building has long been abandoned. There are no animals, no nests with eggs nor troughs of water. Still, there are mildewed hay bales stacked to one side and an intact bucket, and despite cracks in the old wood of the slats, the walls keep the snow and wind from freezing them.

Aragorn fills the bucket with snow and churns it with the handle of a rake to make it melt, apologizing to their horses for having no crops to feed them while Faramir removes the leather harnesses, rubs the animals down with his hands and spreads their saddle blankets over their backs. Despite their heavy cloaks, he and Aragorn have both become covered with snow and are soaked to the skin when they warm up a little. "We should lay our clothes out to dry," Aragorn suggests, shivering as he pulls wet layers of velvet and silk off himself and lays them on a stale bundle of hay. He spreads his cloak wide on the barn floor over a layer of straw, placing his boots, his breeches, his heavy stockings along the wall nearby.

Faramir begins to remove his own drenched clothing, wishing they dared build a small fire but knowing that they would likely burn the barn down, if the straw were dry enough to start one in the first place. The light is growing very dim, despite the glare of the snow through the cracks in the door. "We shall have to keep one another warm," says Aragorn, "for this storm may last the night."

He does not voice his fear that their soldiers will stay out looking for them past the point of safety, but Faramir knows what the King must be thinking, and tells him, "The men will have gone back to the city, and by the time they realize we have not arrived there ahead of them, surely they will guess that we took a different path, and remain inside through the worst of it."

Nodding, Aragorn smiles gratefully, then flips his head upside down and shakes the water from his hair like a wet dog. Nearly undressed, he seems more a Ranger than a King, though his eyes are the clear gray of his ancestors' and he stands tall, unashamed of his nakedness. Faramir strips to the final layer of clothing and hesitates at removing his undergarments, but Aragorn has peeled the damp wool from his own skin, now pink and raw in spots from the scratchy fabric. The King looks no different than any other man, with the same scars and imperfections marking his body, yet Faramir cannot resist the impulse to gaze, and must force his eyes away as he removes the last of his own clothes while Aragorn tugs his mantle over the straw and sits on its damp fur.

"Bring your cloak," the older man says. Grateful, though the suggestion is only practical, Faramir drapes the warmly lined garment over his body before he turns, keeping it pulled around himself until he has sat beside Aragorn in the dimness, offering to wrap it over them both. Aragorn slides beneath the heavy cloak and draws Faramir down with one arm so that they are lying together on the fur lining of the royal mantle with Faramir's cloak over them like a blanket. Aragorn's feet are very cold where they brush Faramir's, but his chest and arms are warm. He puts them around Faramir, who reciprocates after a moment, spreading his palms uncertainly over the smooth hard muscle of the King's back.

Though he is still shivering, Faramir no longer feels the bitter sting of the icy storm. Instead he finds his chest vibrating with Aragorn's heartbeat, his face tickled by Aragorn's hair. They have never been so close before, and though the frigid air has numbed his nostrils, he can almost taste Aragorn's scent in his throat. He fights an urge to let his lips brush the King's shoulder. Feeling him tremble, Aragorn pulls Faramir closer still, hooking an ankle over his calf and bringing Faramir's head beneath his chin.

For a moment it is like being held by his brother, many years earlier, after a bad dream, in the bitter rooms their father would not allow to be properly warmed. The emotion of the memory overwhelms Faramir. He presses the bridge of his nose into Aragorn's throat and concentrates on not losing control of himself, weeping or clinging like a child. Long fingers stroke his hair, and he feels Aragorn press a kiss to the top of his head, asking, "Are you still so cold?"

Nodding, for he does not trust himself to speak, Faramir tries to relax his grip on the firm shoulders. His cock has come to rest against Aragorn's thigh, and when Aragorn shifts, the movement sends blood pulsing through it. He tries to pull away but Aragorn holds him close: "Stay, I need your heat." The other man's cock stirs as well, crushed between their bodies. That gentle prodding sends a powerful surge through Faramir; his fingers and toes curl and flex, his breath hitches and he grows fully erect, hiding his burning face between Aragorn's chin and collarbone.

Aragorn's fingers remain in his hair, combing through the damp curls, seemingly trying to soothe him. After a few strokes they cup his head, tilting it back, and though it is nearly too dark to see, there on the floor between the rotting hay bales, Faramir thinks that Aragorn's eyes are blacker even than the dimness warrants. His lips have parted in a semblance of surprise, his breathing is ragged, and his hands clench convulsively on Faramir's skin.

The King, Faramir reminds himself, this is the King; but what he intends as a warning has the opposite effect. He aches to surrender to whatever Aragorn might want of him -- would plead, in fact, if he could spare the breath for it, though his chest has constricted, being nudged from below by Aragorn's cock, the hottest part of all his flesh. Faramir thinks of the other spot reputed in soldiers' jokes to be the warmest on a man's body, and he twitches again. He has never let another man take him, and has not been touched there since he was a teenager when he and Boromir found themselves isolated and spent a summer experimenting, but if Aragorn wished it...

The dark eyes seem to have grown larger, and Faramir realizes that his mouth has drifted closer. They are breathing one another's humid air, pressing into each other in a subtle yet steady rhythm. Aragorn's hand has not left his head, and Faramir thinks that he must be encouraging him forward, for his chin is tilting, his lips are moving, and suddenly their mouths have come together.

A moment later the gentle touch is gone, though the fire it has sparked throughout Faramir's body remains. With a small whimper he lifts his head, returning his lips to Aragorn's as he feels the other man press into his belly. His own hips shift helplessly, rubbing his cock up and down, back and forth on Aragorn's skin, desperate for relief from the building pressure in his groin. They kiss, twice more, with their eyes open, staring at one another as if waiting for a rebuke. Then Aragorn leans in with his lids shut and his lips parted, brushing Faramir's mouth with his tongue. Faramir cannot hold back the groan that escapes his throat when he yields, clutching at his King.

Aragorn returns the sound before sealing his lips to Faramir's, probing at first cautiously, then eagerly, letting their tongues slide together. When they break apart to breathe, he keeps his eyes shut, murmuring, "You feel so warm now." Faramir cannot reply; all his focus is on controlling his hips, which keep trying to thrust his cock against the rigid thigh muscle that pushes at him in return.

"Faramir." Urgently, he stills himself. "The winter night is long, and death waits beyond that door..." For several heartbeats Aragorn falls silent, and Faramir thinks he must be seeking words to place a barrier between them, to explain away this intimacy. Yet when Aragorn speaks again, his voice quavers, afraid and hopeful: "May I touch you? Will you touch me?"

"Please," Faramir begs, wishing the entreaty sounded less like a sob, though a moment later it no longer matters, for Aragorn has wrapped a broad hand around Faramir's cock and irrepressible cries bleat from his throat as the fist strokes him steadily. His fingers fumble across an expanse of smooth skin, groping for Aragorn in turn, but before he can establish any sort of rhythm, Aragorn (the King) runs his thumb just so into the fluid spilling from the tip and makes Faramir burst, causing him to spurt onto Aragorn's hip and thigh and over his own hand on Aragorn.

"Faramir," another choked whisper, and the King's wet fingers surround those of the Steward, closing his grip harder than Faramir would have dared around the precious flesh. Kissing Faramir's face, Aragorn thrusts into their slippery hands, now joined in their task the way their fingers cross when Aragorn passes the staff of his office to him at ceremonies. Trembling, Faramir moans with Aragorn until the King's pleasure pours over his chest and belly, so hot and abundant that it is impossible to believe that icy death could wait outside the barn.

Aragorn holds him close, like a lover, with his face resting in Faramir's damp hair, until their breath has stopped coming in grunts and their heartbeats no longer pound like orc drums in their chests. With one hand he reaches behind himself, drawing some wet, chilly layer of clothing between them and using it to wipe off first Faramir, then himself, before discarding it again. His grassy-scented fingers stroke Faramir's cheek.

"You are not sorry?"

"I am not sorry at all," Faramir replies, thinking that it would not be proper to tell the King that he has never been less sorry about anything. Cautiously he inquires, "Are you sorry?"

"No, I am very happy," Aragorn murmurs, kissing the corner of Faramir's mouth. And Faramir is overjoyed, thinking: Perhaps he has imagined this before. Perhaps he would do it again.

Aragorn lowers his head into the soft lining of his mantle and quickly falls asleep, his breath warm against Faramir's chest. But Faramir lies awake as the last traces of light fade from the barn, wrapped between their cloaks in a radiant, peaceful haven. He thinks of how greatly his father despised him and how tenderly his King cares for him, of how he misses Boromir yet how he might never have known this happiness had his brother lived.

Sleep is slow in coming, and his dreams are strange, for he moves through waves of light and dark, of hot and cold, where he might be afraid if he could not feel Aragorn's hands curled protectively over him.

Later Faramir wakes to blackness, yet the thick fur surrounding him and warm body beside him have made the frozen night turn cozy. He thinks of Éowyn, wishing that she might be sleeping soundly rather than fearing for him. They have had to spend many nights apart since their marriage, when his duties have taken him too far from home, and he hopes that she does not fret overmuch.

Aragorn has rolled onto his belly with the knuckles of one hand nudging Faramir's back. Comfortable yet alert now, Faramir begins to recall what transpired earlier in the evening. His body squirms pleasurably and his breath comes faster when he thinks of kissing Aragorn, touching Aragorn, coming to completion in Aragorn's hand...

He lets himself imagine that it had been Aragorn's tongue instead of thumb brushing the head of his cock, the King on his knees, taking him in with a smile...imagines that he had done the same to Aragorn, taken the thick muscle into his mouth, worshipped it with his lips and tongue and throat and fingers until the seed of Elendil's line gushed out...swallowed it down, taken it into his body no matter how bitter, that way or any other, any way Aragorn wanted...letting Aragorn have him, on his back or on his belly, sweetly or forcefully, just to hear his name spoken again in that urgent, reverent voice...

The mantle bunches against his back as Aragorn turns, hip brushing Faramir's backside, which makes him shiver. A heavy arm encircles him, fingers splaying across his belly before the side of the King's hand bumps into his stiff cock. Faramir feels his face start to burn but the huff of laughter behind him holds no scorn.

"What have you been dreaming?" Aragorn whispers, his words like a warm caress in Faramir's ear. Faramir's hips shift of their own accord, rubbing the tip of his cock into Aragorn's open palm.

"Of this," he admits.

"Only this?" The voice hums with amusement, and the hand lowers, brushing up and down the length of Faramir's erection. Even this light touch makes him shiver and moan.

Aragorn's other arm squeezes beneath Faramir's body, pushing through the soft fur to creep over his hip. Fingers trail down his groin to circle his balls, still barely making contact with his skin, teasing exquisitely. "You did not dream of this also?" murmurs the breath in his ear.

"Of this, too."

"But would you never dream," suddenly Aragorn's moist grip captures him, "of my mouth on you?" Faramir's entire body jolts; he whimpers aloud, and Aragorn chuckles, spreading the dampness blooming at the tip of Faramir's cock down the shaft with his palm while continuing to taunt his balls. "Have you?"

Faramir shudders again, recapturing his earlier image of Aragorn on his knees. "I have."

"Tell me," Aragorn commands, but Faramir can speak no more, groaning as Aragorn's hands begin to work on him in earnest, summoning pulsing-hot blood to his groin. For several minutes they are silent, with only the sounds of flesh stroking flesh and rapid, gulping breaths to echo in the darkness.

So quietly that Faramir could almost believe he has imagined it, Aragorn whispers, "I would do it. I would take you in my mouth, my Steward," and how does Aragorn know that these words, even more than his relentless touches, will make Faramir cry out so harshly? "I would suck you, I would lick you," fingertips laving delicately over and around his balls, lapping into the creases between groin and thigh, and Aragorn's lips are closing over his earlobe, tongue plunging into the surface of his ear, "here, and here," as Faramir shouts a helpless warning.

And as the hand on his cock twists with each thrust, as the fingers cupping his balls reach back to spread his buttocks and stroke around the hole, as Aragorn croons, "Let it happen, do it for me," Faramir tosses his head so hard that they roll backward together, and lies half on top of Aragorn, jerking in his grasp, spraying his release across his own belly and onto the King's mantle, blurting the King's name.

When he can inhale, when he can pull away from Aragorn's arms enough to sit and turn, Faramir finds himself being watched by a face flushed with desire and eyes bright with merriment. "You called me Elessar," Aragorn teases. "Do you want me, or would any King serve?"

Elation works like strong drink in Faramir's blood, loosening his tongue. "I know my duty to my King, but it is you I love," he avows, then quickly bends and kisses Aragorn to cover the wonder on his face. Kneeling between Aragorn's legs, he moves his lips and hands down the unresisting body until he reaches the much-desired goal, and as he takes Aragorn's cock into his mouth and feels Aragorn's hands come around his head to cradle his skull, he is fervently grateful for this chance to adore this man as he wishes -- his friend, his savior, his King.

When brightness begins to creep between the cracks of the wooden slats, Faramir wakes again, damp with sweat between two layers of fur, with a thick, strange taste in his mouth and muscles lazy with contentment. He and Aragorn have drifted out of the tangled knot of limbs in which they fell asleep after Aragorn kissed the bitterness from Faramir's tongue and tried to brush the drying stickiness from his skin, but their ankles have remained bent around each other, and Aragorn mumbles and reaches out when Faramir rises to seek a corner in which to relieve himself. He is thoroughly chilled by the time he finishes, and crawls shivering beneath his cloak, letting Aragorn warm him with rough chafing of his arms and legs.

"If the snow has settled, perhaps we will be able to ride," he says.

Faramir thinks that if they are trapped in the barn for another day, even without food, he will not complain. This is the longest time he has ever spent alone with Aragorn, uninterrupted by ministers, soldiers, or their wives; he is in no hurry to end it, even if Aragorn loses all desire to touch him in the light of day. Tilting his head, he regards the King, who smiles suddenly and leans in to kiss him.

"If you want to pretend that none of this happened..." Aragorn begins.

"I want never to forget a moment of it," interrupts Faramir. They lie close for a moment, forehead to forehead, noses bumping, before Aragorn sighs and rises, beginning to struggle into his icy clothing.

When they open the barn door, they discover that the snow has indeed settled, and is not so deep that they cannot traverse it. The horses whinny quietly, hungry and chilled, but they are healthy animals and should have no trouble walking for several hours. Faramir is more troubled by the gray, featureless landscape, but he and Aragorn are both trained scouts and should be able to guess their path once they set out.

"Will you tell your Queen where we spent the night?" he queries as he pulls his cloak into place, hiding the evidence of their pleasure in the folds against his back.

That is not, of course, the question he truly wishes to ask, and it is not the one Aragorn answers when he glances over. "I won't need to tell her," he replies with a smile. "She will know." He does not elaborate, and Faramir wonders whether some Elven sense will allow Arwen to smell him on her husband or if some inner bond between the King and Queen of Gondor has already given them away.

"Will she be very angry?"

Still Aragorn is smiling. "To see us alive and contented after such a storm? She will be happy for us." Then his brows lower, guessing Faramir's thoughts. "You are worried about your wife. Will you tell her?"

"I think I must." It is no secret that his wife once loved the King, either between himself and Éowyn or between Éowyn and Aragorn. Faramir has never been envious of her feelings, for he has all that he could want in his life, but he has also never tried to share with her his own hesitant longing when Aragorn is near, so formless for so many months that he had almost come to believe that all men felt the same way in the presence of the King.

He does not know whether Éowyn will be bitter, but he thinks that even if it wounds her, she will understand; she asks him sometimes to tell her of soldiers on campaigns, far from their women, and he suspects that such stories arouse her. With a wicked grin, Aragorn suggests, "Perhaps she will have spent the night with Arwen," and Faramir blushes helplessly. He has not allowed himself to think of the Queen, Aragorn's wife, in such a manner, but...he shakes his head to clear it, and Aragorn chuckles. "My wife is centuries older than I am. There is little we could do to shock her."

It occurs to Faramir to ask another question, a more dangerous one perhaps. Aragorn sees his hesitation, waits for a moment, then moves to the horses, beginning to adjust their saddles. "What is it?" he asks over his shoulder.

"My brother," Faramir begins before growing uncertain about what he wants to ask; and indeed, when he sees Aragorn's shoulders stiffen, he thinks that this subject is best left to the past.

But Aragorn turns. "What of Boromir?" His eyes are stormy gray, intense, and Faramir cannot look away.

"Did you love him?"

Slowly the King steps away from the horses, coming to stand before Faramir. After a moment he puts a hand on Faramir's arm and draws him nearer. "I would not have you fear that I seek his ghost in you, nor have you resent one whom you loved so much in life."

That answers his question, yet does not, for Faramir can see that Aragorn is in pain. His brother never knew the King of Gondor; his brother knew only a Ranger of Elendil's line, a man with whom he journeyed and quarreled as an equal. Faramir shakes his head. "There is nothing you could say that would make me love my brother any less. And I do not fear that you seek Boromir in me; I am too unlike him, though at times I wish it were not so." He halts, studying Aragorn carefully. "Sometimes I think that perhaps I seek him in you."

Quite suddenly Faramir finds himself drawn into a tight embrace. "Thank you," Aragorn whispers. Faramir clasps him around the waist, and they stand together for the length of many heartbeats, each lost in memories. Then Aragorn murmurs, "Yes, I loved him. From the moment I saw him in Rivendell, I was drawn to him. But, Faramir, never worry that I wish he were here in your stead. I wish that he had not met such a fate, and that we could all be together in Minas Tirith, somehow...laughing and drinking ale and speaking of the world we knew..."

There are tears in Faramir's eyes, and when Aragorn's voice breaks they spill down his face, but he is not ashamed. "We share the same dream, then," he murmurs.

"I think that perhaps we share many dreams." One of Aragorn's hands finds Faramir's face, stroking gently, and the embrace changes from one of comfort to a sweeter consolation. Faramir raises his lips to steal a last kiss, finding his King welcoming and eager.

After a few minutes they pull apart, for they have a long journey through the fresh snow before they can rest comfortably again. But Faramir has no fear, and thinks perhaps he never will again; for now he has Aragorn, and he knows the way home.


Chapter Text

Awareness drifts back soft as the silk pillowcase under Faramir's head and the velvet bedcovers tangled around his ankles. Gentle fingertips trace a pattern on his shoulder, and a calloused toe creeps along the outside of his calf muscle, snagging in the hair on his leg. The Steward of Gondor sighs and shifts onto his side, facing the warm body whose weight draws him toward the center of the sagging feather mattress.

"Are you finally going to wake up?"

Eyes still closed, Faramir smiles, tilting his head in the direction of Aragorn's voice. "I am never going to wake up." A huff of laughter breezes across his face and he cracks his lids. "I am dreaming that I am in bed with the King, and the King is touching me. Who would want to wake from such a dream?"

"Someone whose attention the King required immediately?" Aragorn prods his erection into Faramir's thigh, sliding his arms around Faramir's waist. Their lips open together in a delicious kiss, though Faramir's mouth is sour with sweat and seed.

Beyond the curtains the sun glows pale gold in the winter sky, so he cannot have dozed for very long. Indeed, they do not have much time before they will need to return to a somber discussion of provisions, for the nobles believe that the King and his Steward have chosen to share their dinner over a private discussion of Ithilien's battered stores. They cannot know the contents of the last note that Aragorn had handed to Faramir earlier in council, which made Faramir request an urgent consultation with his King as soon as they rose for the meal.

Two days hence, when this council ends, Faramir will ride to Ithilien, and will not see Aragorn again until the spring. He is loath to waste a single moment that he could spend here, in Aragorn's arms.

"The blood of Numenor must be strong indeed, for you to require my attention again so soon," he taunts now. Aragorn's stamina would be impressive enough in a man of Faramir's age, but in one with nearly a century of hard life behind him it is astonishing. So is Aragorn's restraint; he never pushes Faramir too far, or for too long, and can time his pleasure to the brief moments available to them.

Faramir aspires to crack that control, to see how completely he can reduce Aragorn to frantic incoherence, but this is not the moment for that. The council will be waiting for them, and the Queen will tease them both for all of their remaining days if they are late again.

Aragorn had spoken truly when he told Faramir that Arwen would guess at their impulsive coupling. When they had ridden home, it seemed that the entire city had come to greet them, though they had been absent for less than a day and the Queen had shown no fear for their safety.

As they dismounted their horses, she had come forward to greet them, first a quick kiss for the King, then a warm clasp for Faramir. As he had glanced at her wide, amused eyes while Aragorn explained that they had become lost in the storm and had sheltered in a barn, she had nodded at him and thanked him for keeping her husband warm. And then she winked. Faramir saw that beneath the serene dignity of her exterior, Arwen had a mischievous imagination.

His own wife had greeted both himself and Aragorn with a cry and a breathless embrace, laughing with them as they explained that the love of the chase had led them astray. "This was all your doing," Faramir had teased, for Éowyn often led him on merry rides far from their intended destinations and encouraged him to give his horse free rein when he could.

Later, when they had been alone, he had taken her hands and told her what had transpired between himself and Aragorn. He had expected perhaps to become the target of Éowyn's fury or quiet unhappiness. He had not expected to have every detail wrested from him in eager queries -- what they did, what they said, what it felt like, whether he was frightened or ashamed or elated. And he had certainly not anticipated that he would end the evening with Éowyn flushed and urgent in his arms, loving him with such abandon that the next day Aragorn had teased that all the servants were gossiping of Faramir's ability to make his wife scream.

Everything has changed among the four of them since that night. Although Éowyn locked away her attraction to Aragorn after her betrothal to Faramir, dismissing it as a girlish fancy, she has recently taken to flirting with the King when her husband is present. And after brief initial uncertainty, Aragorn has begun to return her attentions, which rather than angering his wife seems to entertain her. The Queen, in turn, will now capture Faramir's arm in her own when she goes to walk in the chilly gardens, asking him to tell her stories of his childhood in Minas Tirith and the legends of Men as he has learned them.

Faramir knows that Arwen and Éowyn, too, have spent time together, for they are both accomplished riders and skilled with swords. Arwen has been teaching Éowyn what she knows of the healing arts and herb lore, which is considerable after several hundred years of life in these realms. It delights him to see them growing close, not only because it means that Éowyn will never object to coming to Minas Tirith with him, but because he thinks she has lived too long without a female companion. Soon, he hopes, they will both bear children, which will give them all another common joy.

Despite their happiness, despite their comfort with one another, Faramir had assumed that the night he spent in the barn with Aragorn would never be repeated. Though he spared little time on regret -- for he knew that he would still see Aragorn often, and understood then that the King looked upon him as a friend, not merely his Steward -- he had been suffused with joy on the day Aragorn had invited him to a private chamber, presumably to discuss festivities for the New Year. There Aragorn had leaned over and kissed him, murmuring, "I missed this."

Unable to resist the opportunity, Faramir had pulled him close, and, as had happened in his dreams a thousand times, Aragorn had sunk slowly to his knees, murmuring, "Let me." The reality, the chill from Faramir's open breeches melting beneath the heat of Aragorn's breath, the soft hair brushing his hip and the rasp of beard against his thigh as Aragorn's mouth moved over him, the way Aragorn held him close at the end before kissing his way up his trembling had been a greater gift than Faramir could have imagined.

They had spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying one another, moving from the floor to the table to the bed. Aragorn ducked his head bashfully when Faramir discovered that the room had been stocked with towels and ointments as if prepared for hours of lovemaking, but gradually they discarded all their shyness to admit their mutual desires. When Faramir had told Éowyn afterward, blushing in shame at his inability to cloak his inclinations, she had only shaken her head and asked what he would say if she did the same with Arwen. And then, at his stammering arousal, she had laughed and kissed him.

Today, when the meetings are finished and he rejoins Éowyn to dress for the evening meal, Faramir will tell her of these stolen minutes with Aragorn, of his acute pleasure and gratitude that she does not begrudge him this time alone with the King. Probably she will laugh at him, and tease him when he blushes, and let him hide his face against her neck, and gasp when he kisses the pulse in her throat and moan when his hands slide beneath her gown, seeking to discover whether this tale of forbidden gratification has aroused her as much as the others. Then he will make love to her with all his passion, thanking the Valar for such a wife.

"What are you thinking?" Aragorn asks, tracing Faramir's smile with a fingertip while his other hand, lower on Faramir's body, draws him fluidly back to the present moment. Joy is as real, warm and solid in the bed as Aragorn's muscular torso and restless hips. Faramir kisses the King with his eyes open, wishing to remember every moment with all his senses, until Aragorn pulls back curiously and Faramir answers him:

"I am thinking that of all the Men, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings and Wizards who may be passing through this realm at this moment, there is none so lucky as I am."

Whispers follow the Steward and his shield-maiden that evening when they walk hand in hand into the dining hall, where they sit beside the Queen, who has insisted on their company on most of the nights since their return. They have arrived late, and as they hurriedly begin to eat, Arwen asks Éowyn sweetly, "Are all women among the Rohirrim so uninhibited in their pleasure, or is it a skill of your husband's that makes you so vocal?" Aragorn doubles over with laughter while Faramir chokes on his soup and Éowyn hides her flushed face behind a napkin that cannot disguise the glow of happiness shining from her.

The stares of all the court are on the four of them, fascinated by the secrets of the King and Steward with their exotic, untamed wives. Faramir smiles in welcome at the eyes that meet his, certain that no matter what may befall him, he will never forget this season and will hold his memories more precious than any treasure.

Chapter Text

"Here?" Faramir stares incredulously. Yet Aragorn only offers the same unfathomable smile he wore when he requested Faramir's presence for a few minutes of private consultation before they would each address the assembled dignitaries, nobles, and scribes gathered for this council. Many of the fields remain scarred from the ravages of war, and Faramir had urged Aragorn to summon leaders from far away to discuss how they could help one another.

"Why not?" Aragorn's voice is calm and reasonable, as if he had just suggested an accounting of the grain stores rather than quick, furtive loving with his Steward in a little-used entrance chamber right beside the great hall. "No one can see us."

"There are a hundred and fifty men through that door!" Faramir does not add that the door has no lock, and that they have no towels, water, soap...

"Yes," agrees Aragorn pleasantly, "and I am certain that none of them can hear us because they are talking amongst themselves." His hand slides warmly along Faramir's forearm as his smile moves closer. "Of course, if you would rather not..."

With a breathy groan, Faramir feels himself begin to harden under the heavy finery in which he has dressed for the celebration. There is not really enough room to pace in the small chamber, yet he must move. "They will be looking for you. They are all here by your invitation." He dares not look at the King; to look at the King would mean to be lost.

"That is why we can duck into another room for a few moments," reassures Aragorn, following Faramir's movements with his eyes.

This temptation is painful yet unsurprising. They are too seldom together, with Faramir in Ithilien, and wearisome court activity seems to excite Aragorn rather than quelling his desires. Turning, he looks at the eager blue eyes studying him and feels himself weakening. "We rarely spend 'a few moments' alone," he points out.

"True." Aragorn's expression turns from naughty to nostalgic as he moves close, leaning in until their foreheads are touching. With his thumb and the backs of his fingers, he touches Faramir's cheek. "Then...will you find me, afterward? Meet me in my rooms?"

Faramir cock has grown fully erect, stretching his breeches and tenting the bottom of the White Tree on his vest. He sighs in frustration. "Now I cannot walk out there!"

Wicked amusement flickers in Aragorn's eyes. "Then I will give you a few moments by yourself." He turns as though to walk away.

"You will drive me mad!" blurts Faramir. "If you were not the King..."

Aragorn glances back over his shoulder, wide-eyed with false innocence. " would...?" he prompts.

The first several responses that rise in Faramir's throat, most of which involve shackles, are not things that he can utter, certainly not just before an important meeting with dozens of nobles. "It is no matter," he stammers, then adds, "Why must you do this to me at times like this!"

"Because you look so lovely when you blush," declares Aragorn with amusement as he spins and steps to Faramir, dragging him close for quick kisses on each burning cheekbone.

"I doubt that the nobles, captains and dignitaries outside would agree. You are cruel to tease me."

The humor fades from Aragorn's expression, though his eyes remain bright with inner heat. "Oh, I am not teasing. I would have you right now. Yet you balk at the suggestion."

"What do you plan to do if Imrahil steps in to fetch you? Or Halbarad, who frowns to let you out of his sight, or that thick-necked bully who commands the patrol of the lower Isen?"

"You do have a point, I suppose," sighs the King. "Shall we go, before someone comes?"

"You should go," Faramir tells him, gesturing helplessly at the bulge pushing out the roots of the White Tree on his vest. "I cannot be seen in public at present."

"Ah, Faramir." With a delighted chuckle, Aragorn pulls him close and drops to his knees. "Then I shall remedy that for you."

"Aragorn!" Faramir gasps as the King's hands move up his thighs, sliding beneath the hem of his vest and pushing it to the side. " would not be seemly for you to be found like this if we were would be less seemly than if you were discovered...doing what you said you wanted to do..."

"Indeed?" Aragorn glances up from beneath his lashes, for his concentration is elsewhere as he opens Faramir's breeches. Faramir shivers at the cool air, the gentle movement of cloth, and then the touch...

"The King!...should not be on his knees to anyone!...especially not..."

He breaks off with a groan as Aragorn's tongue trails over his hard cock. "Tell me more," Aragorn whispers onto his skin, the warm breath making Faramir thrust forward instinctively.

"Y-you cannot be seen as...supplicating to anyone...least of all me..." he stammers. Aragorn makes a sound of agreement, but his mouth is moving lower, taking Faramir's balls into his mouth one at a time, sucking on them as one hand strokes up and over Faramir's surging cock. "A-a-aragorn..." Faramir hears himself practically wailing, and tries to modulate his voice. "I am Denethor's son. Some of them know how much he despised you-u..."

"Is that so." The King does not sound as if this is of any great concern to him. He moves his mouth back up, his tongue and lips sliding wetly along Faramir's erection.

Grabbing a fistful of Aragorn's hair before he can stop himself, Faramir stutters, "Y-yes, and you are still a s-stranger here to many...King you may be, but they...aah!" For Aragorn has sucked Faramir's cock into his mouth, taking him in as far as he can. Trying to retain his sanity, Faramir presses a hand down on Aragorn's shoulder so he can stay upright while Aragorn's clever lips and tongue and hands work on him. "Your wife is an have brought Dwarves and Halflings to this court...your ways are stra-a-ange..."

Aragorn hums softly and lets a hand sneak around to Faramir's buttocks, squeezing one gently before his fingers dip in to seek out the opening to his body. Gasping, Faramir tightens his hand on Aragorn's shoulder and spreads his legs wider -- for balance, he tells himself, even though his hand in Aragorn's hair slides to cup his head and urge his mouth forward.

"It is too dangerous," he hisses again.

"Mmffmm," Aragorn replies, sucking harder. His finger presses against Faramir's hole, not seeking to penetrate, merely teasing him.

"You cannot...walk out there...with your mouth covered in my..." Faramir shudders all over and cannot finish the sentence. It takes all his power not to explode into Aragorn's mouth at the thought of the King greeting his court with the taste of Faramir's seed on his lips.

Aragorn pulls him closer, breathing heavily through his nose as he takes Faramir's cock into his throat. It is evident that Aragorn is half-choking around him, swallowing convulsively, yet Faramir does not pull back. Once again he imagines the King stepping from the room with lips red and shining from pleasuring his Steward, and he keens, turning the sound into a silent cry so that none beyond the door can hear. But the effort expended to keep from shouting drains the last of his control, and he begins to spurt into Aragorn's mouth.

Aragorn pulls back a little, allowing Faramir's seed to flood over his tongue. He moans softly, swallowing it down, milking Faramir's cock. After a moment he sits back on his heels and licks his lips, lacing Faramir's breeches again.

Faramir's knees are unstable and he cannot move his hand from Aragorn's shoulders, lest he collapse onto the floor. "Oh," he gasps, embarrassed and elated. "Aragorn. I cannot resist you."

Aragorn keeps steadying hands on Faramir as he rises to his feet, pulling him into his arms for a kiss. "And I do not object to that, not in the slightest," he says with a conspiratorial smile.

Faramir kisses him back far more passionately than Aragorn should accept, for while it would cause scandal enough if it were known that the King used his Steward for his pleasure, there would be greater uproar if the men learned that Faramir loved Aragorn in much the same way that he loved his own wife. "This is far too dangerous," he whispers again when they break apart, though his treacherous hands are moving over Aragorn, pushing aside his clothing.

"Shh." Aragorn takes Faramir's hands in his, and lifts them to his mouth. "I can wait," he says.

"You never wait," objects Faramir, stroking Aragorn's lips with his thumbs as he shuffles Aragorn backward to lean against the wall.

"But I want to have you," Aragorn protests, though he is unresisting. When his back hits the wall, he adds, "In my bed. I would spread you out on the sheets and taste every inch of your body..."

"And you will, later," Faramir promises with a groan. How is it that merely with words, Aragorn can make him ache again so quickly? He leans against the supple body, feeling the prod of Aragorn's erection through the layers of his clothing. "But now you are in no condition to stand before the court."

"Mmm," Aragorn replies, closing his eyes briefly, unwilling to relinquish the fantasy. "I would lie between your legs, and lift your hips, and I would take you with my tongue. Push it inside you...would you like that, Faramir?"

Faramir's fingers are fumbling with the fastenings of Aragorn's clothes, his mouth moving along Aragorn's throat, careful not to leave any marks. "I would," he groans.

The King reaches down to help Faramir open his breeches. "And when I was done, I would have you..."

Closing a fist around Aragorn's erection, Faramir slides his other hand down inside the clothes to cup Aragorn's balls. He teases, "In your own bed? What of your wife?", knowing what the response will be.

"Arwen would very much like to watch. Perhaps...join us," Aragorn replies, groaning and thrusting forward into Faramir's hand. He remembers lying between the King and Queen, with Arwen's surprisingly strong thighs cradling him as Aragorn drove mercilessly into his body, and Éowyn crouched behind Arwen's head, smiling at his helpless sobs of pleasure before her lips descended upon his to breathe a laugh into his mouth. He wonders what the court would think if any of them ever learned of that, wonders if the servants might have gossiped...wonders what Aragorn is thinking as the fluid gathering at the head of his cock wells and trickles over Faramir's fingers.

"Although she and...Éowyn...said they might be very busy this after...ooh...noon." Fingers card into Faramir's hair, pulling him close for a kiss as Aragorn's thrusts pick up speed.

"They are rarely too tired to watch us," Faramir observes merrily while he falls to his knees, glancing up. He cannot blame the women for wanting Aragorn; there is no man in all of Gondor at whom he would rather gaze, especially like this, dressed in the finery of Minas Tirith, flushed and happy.

Though Faramir has felt this way since the day he met the King in the Houses of Healing, many months passed before he acknowledged the current of burning desire running through his brotherly affection and admiration. He is happy with his wife in Ithilien and he thinks that she is happy with him, yet in the King he finds salve for his wounds, abundant joy that eases the loss of his brother and the spitefulness of his father. As his tongue descends into the wetness dripping from Aragorn's cock while his hand continues to move in rhythm, he wonders what Aragorn seeks in him.

The other man gasps, and a shudder races through his body. "Faramir," he says in warning, "I will not last."

"Good, because we have little time." Faramir's mouth closes, sucking eagerly. Aragorn buries his fingers in Faramir's hair and lets out a soft cry, spurting into his mouth as he trembles. The bitterness of the taste and the thickness of the fluid always startle Faramir no matter how often he does this. Yet he loves the sounds Aragorn makes, the way his body tenses and quakes, and he wraps his free arm around Aragorn's waist as he gulps down the hot liquid.

Aragorn draws in a breath, then lets out it, slowly, relaxing against the wall. He strokes Faramir's cheek. "How did I get so lucky to have you?"

"I am the lucky one," Faramir murmurs, dropping his eyes as he rises to his feet.

"That is not so," Aragorn says as he laces his breeches again. After smoothing his clothing, he reaches out to brush the hair from Faramir's face. "You are wonderful, Faramir."

Faramir presses his fingertips over Aragorn's mouth, letting his own lips drift across Aragorn's cheek. "You must not say such things." One day, he thinks, he will blurt out everything that is in his heart -- perhaps in the presence of his wife, or Aragorn's -- and he is not sure that any of them will forgive him.

"But it is true," Aragorn insists, and tidies Faramir's clothing and hair, making him look presentable again. "But now we should go face those assembled before they start to worry."

Faramir nods, begins to pull back, then glances up at Aragorn's smile and is lost once more. He leans in and kisses Aragorn, pressing the King against the wall in his fervor, bunching newly straightened clothing in his fists. And Aragorn does not stop him, wrapping his arms around Faramir's back as though he does not mean to let him go.

The sound of a door opening causes Faramir to leap backward as if touching Aragorn has scalded him. Thankfully, it is the Queen who has stepped inside, with eyes averted and laughter in her voice. "The court is waiting for you, my lords."

"Are they?" Aragorn laughs, and casts a look between Faramir and Arwen. "I seem to have forgotten about them."

"Éowyn and I have had to interrupt a lovely walk through the gardens to search for you," she taunts. "We hope to be rewarded later for our diligence."

Faramir's face is scarlet, but he cannot help grinning at Arwen. "I am certain that Faramir and I will be able to think of some way to repay you," Aragorn replies, grinning as well.

"Wait one moment." Stepping back through the doorway, Arwen leaves Faramir and Aragorn glancing quizzically at one another before she returns with goblets in each hand. She comes forward, handing one to each of them with a tiny knowing smile. "Perhaps you should have some ale before anyone else comes so close."

Taking a goblet from Arwen, Aragorn nods thankfully. "I probably would not have thought of that," he admits, and drinks deeply before kissing his wife.

Faramir drinks as well, feeling the burning ale wash away the taste of Aragorn. "Please give my apologies to my wife for me," he tells Arwen earnestly, until he cannot maintain the pretense of somberness and ducks his head to hide his chuckle.

"I will," she replies, gifting Faramir with a smile that is nearly as naughty as Aragorn's. "Then you may apologize to her properly later."

"Come, my Steward," Aragorn orders in a regal voice, before all three of them break into laughter at his command. "Let us get to the business of protecting Gondor. Perhaps something interesting will happen today."

"Very well." Faramir holds the door for the King and Queen, as is fitting, and they sweep through hand in hand, as is also fitting. And when he steps through himself, he sees his wife across the great hall, her face full of mirth.

Chapter Text

The King, Faramir has discovered, is violently ticklish beneath his ribs.

This is a weakness that Faramir can use to his advantage, for it leaves Aragorn winded and limp, unable to fight Faramir off when he pins Aragorn down and wrestles him into submission. Faramir's fingers are long and he can put his hands and mouth in places that make Aragorn tremble and moan. Not even Arwen can bring her husband to such helpless surrender.

Though he knows that Aragorn has lived more than twice his own lifetime, Faramir fancies that this is his own private secret; he pretends to himself that no one has ever been able to make Aragorn choke with laughter in just this way. When it happens, it brings him great joy, though he tries not to torment Aragorn very often, lest it become an annoyance.

Then one day as the two of them are lying happy and sated in Faramir's rooms in Minas Tirith -- the chambers saved for the exclusive use of the Steward of Gondor when he rides to the White City -- Aragorn says something that changes everything:

"No one has ever enjoyed tickling me so much, except your brother."

Abruptly, Faramir finds his throat closing over and his eyes prickling with tears.

Aragorn had been smiling but he grows silent, stroking Faramir's hair, with the fond nostalgia of his expression turning to regret. "Did he tickle you so, when you were children?" he asks Faramir, who can only nod, afraid to speak.

He misses Boromir with a pain that is physical, lodged in his chest and behind his eyes. And he also knows that he will never share this simple pleasure with Aragorn again without thinking of his brother -- of the life Boromir has lost, and the life Faramir has gained in his absence.

Aragorn wraps both arms around him, rocking him gently until he bows his head against the King's chest. Faramir wonders whether Aragorn ever held Boromir so, for he doubts that his brother suffered such moments of passionate grief.

Indeed, Faramir did not allow himself to feel them, either, while his father yet lived and his city needed defending. At no time since his mother's death, when his tutors told him that he must accept her loss with the dignity befitting the Steward's son, has he felt strong enough to mourn.

"I miss him, too," Aragorn says softly.

Remorse pushes at Faramir. He has no wish to add to the King's burdens, particularly not where Boromir is concerned. Yet it is Aragorn who has summoned his brother's memory. Perhaps he, too, needs to purge himself of regret.

"Everything I have now is mine only because he is not here," Faramir murmurs. Keeping his head down, he adds, "Even you."

Aragorn hugs Faramir tighter to his chest, clearing his throat before he speaks. "No. Faramir, that is not true. I would have loved you regardless."

With a resigned smile, Faramir lifts his head. He has wondered about this before, not often, and not with any bitterness toward either the King or his brother, the two Men he has loved most in his life. Yet certain truths seem unavoidable.

"You cannot say that," he answers Aragorn. "If he had lived, you would have had him. He would have been your Steward, not myself. And...I would have loved you, because you are my King, and because you are the finest man I have ever known...yet how can I know how I would have felt, seeing him at your side, and you at his?"

Aragorn's eyes fill with tears. "Please, Faramir..."

"No." Shaking his head, the Steward refuses to heed the King's plea for his silence. "Do not tell me not to say such things. I have the life for which he was intended, and he is gone. I can no more deny him this than I can deny my own memories."

"I'm sorry," whispers Aragorn, his voice shaking. "I'm so sorry I could not save him."

Suddenly aware of how much pain his words have caused, Faramir leans close once again, stroking Aragorn's face. "You must not think I blame you for that!"

Yet Aragorn flinches and bites his lip. Watching, feeling the tremors wracking the King's body, Faramir understands for the first time that Aragorn speaks not out of sympathy but from the depths of his own guilt. Aragorn has tried to tell Faramir before that he holds himself responsible for Boromir's obligations -- he rode into Minas Tirith wearing Boromir's vambraces -- but Faramir had not understood until now that Aragorn thinks he should have been able to prevent Boromir's death.

"I have heard of his last hours from others besides you," murmurs Faramir soothingly. "I know what the Ring did to him, and that he gave his life to protect the hobbits. It was his choice, and his sacrifice to make."

"Yet I saved you, and Eowyn, and Merry. I should have saved him!"

"How could you have saved him? Not unless you could have flown, or worked miracles! Eowyn and Merry and I were not as gravely injured as he was."

Then Faramir ducks his head again, struggling with his greatest fear, which has haunted him since he learned how his brother died. Finally he gives it voice:

"Perhaps...after all that had happened...perhaps he could not believe that he deserved to be spared. And so the Horn of Gondor could not summon aid to him, and he could not be saved...not even by you."

Aragorn cannot speak for a moment, staring up at Faramir. Then he closes his eyes and covers his face with his hand, taking in a deep, shuddering breath.

Faramir slides to Aragorn's side and pulls the King to him, burrowing his face beneath Aragorn's chin, aware that the gesture may seem childish or weak but quite unable to prevent himself from doing so. He remembers clinging to Boromir so when, as a child, he held himself responsible for their mother's death, even though Faramir's teachers had assured him that his birth had not brought on her illness.

"You've thought it too," he breathes to Aragorn. "That my brother died because he did not believe he was meant to live."

Aragorn nods, still unable to form words. He wraps his arms tightly around Faramir and hides his face against his shoulder.

It is wrong, thinks Faramir, that he should take comfort from uncovering this pain. He should wish the King free from sorrow rather than his partner in grief. Yet he feels as though a burden that has weighed upon him since he first learned of Boromir's fate has shifted, shared now, like the burden of Gondor's safety.

"He died with a plea to save his city," Aragorn whispers. "He died sending me to Minas Tirith in his stead. It is not you but I who took the role for which he was intended. He had spoken of coming with me to the White Tower, yet I did not come until he was no longer at my side..."

The King's tears spill over Faramir's chest, hot as blood.

Faramir knows his duty, his own legacy from his brother: Gondor and her King are in the Steward's care, so he must take action in the King's name. "There should be a memorial to Boromir," he declares abruptly. "In the city. In the Tower, if you wish."

"Yes," replies Aragorn in a voice thick with emotion. "I...I will...will have Gimli..."

"Shh," whispers Faramir, unable to bear the anguish in Aragorn's voice. "Later."

"I'm sorry," Aragorn whispers again, brushing his lips over Faramir's skin. "Your own suffering must be more than enough to bear."

"Do not be sorry! Not for this. Not for me. If you had not known him, there would be no one with whom I could remember. My uncle and the princes remember the Captain of the White Tower, but they do not remember my brother."

"I remember, Faramir." The King lifts his head, his words like an oath. "I always will."

Then Aragorn squeezes his eyes shut and kisses Faramir's neck. The lips tickle, as does the beard, and Faramir twists, instinctively moving his hands to Aragorn's sides to retaliate before he catches himself in the gesture.

Aragorn's head pulls back, red-rimmed eyes meeting Faramir's, and they gaze at each other uncertainly. Minutes pass before Aragorn speaks, his voice ragged from weeping but no less certain for it.

"He would want you to be happy. He loved you so much...he spoke of you to must never believe that he would begrudge you anything. Nor that he would think you unworthy. He would want you to remember him in joy."

Slowly Faramir nods. "And you as well, I am sure."

Impulsively he bends to press a kiss beneath Aragorn's ribs, hearing Aragorn's breath hitch as he squirms. Faramir rests his face there with Aragorn's hand on his cheek, thinking of his brother and the debt they owe him. He tries to imagine Boromir in his place, happy in Aragorn's arms, and hopes Boromir died in the warmth of such a memory, knowing that he was loved by his brother and his King.

"I do this," he says solemnly, "in honor of Boromir." And he tickles Aragorn until they are both laughing through their tears.

Chapter Text

The Queen of Gondor and White Lady of Rohan rest on the balcony outside the Queen's rooms, where her curtains billow back and forth in the breeze. When the weather is warm, Arwen always leaves her doors open; she says that the breeze reminds her of Imladris, where leaves waft into the halls from open archways and the scent of the woods permeates every room.

On this bright summer day it is warm even in the shade. The wives of the King and Steward remove first their heavy underskirts, then their gowns, until they sit wearing only sleeveless shifts, though they are not entirely hidden from view of anyone in the courtyard who might peer between the balustrades.

"Did you know that your husband once took my husband out on the parapets him the glory of Gondor?" Éowyn asks in a coy, amused voice, for though Arwen has very few inhibitions in private, she is reluctant to present any image where she could be seen that might contradict her image as the elegant, dignified Queen of Gondor.

Indeed, despite her smile, she shakes her head at Éowyn's words, and Éowyn feels triumphant. "I think that it was more than once."

"There you have it, then. And the parapets are far more public than here."

"I would never claim that my husband chooses appropriate places to risk being seen in non-regal positions," Arwen laughs lightly. "Perhaps he believes that he is celebrating his life after witnessing so much death. Though I have heard that Men are often similarly imprudent in youth, and I am sure that Aragorn never had such an opportunity growing up in my father's house. Elven expectations are far sterner than those of Men."

"Perhaps that is because Elves do not die in childbirth or fall to diseases of the flesh," Éowyn replies, stung. She is uncertain whether the Queen, now mortal, will be subject to the pangs of labor or the discomforts of illness; Arwen seems to her eternally young and flawless, untroubled by the aches of a mortal woman's body. "Of any woman in Gondor, you should be least afraid to be seen unclothed," she adds with a trace of envy. "Your skin is perfect, your breasts are lovely...every man in this city secretly wishes to enjoy you."

"Surely not every man," Arwen contends, ducking her head apologetically. "There are still some who resent having an Elf for a Queen. I have heard the legend that my female parts have teeth, and that I use them to keep Aragorn my slave..."

"That would certainly explain his lack of interest in others," Éowyn laughs, her merriment returning. She winks at the beautiful Queen whose generosity continues to astonish her. At Edoras, the virtue of Théoden had been a source of private speculation among those of the Rohirrim who did not understand why he took neither wife nor mistress in the years after Théodred's birth. It was not unusual for men to seek comfort in the arms of other women and sometimes other men when their wives were absent or sometimes simply not to their liking.

Before meeting Aragorn, Éowyn had thought to avoid marriage. She had wanted to live and die a shieldmaiden, and did not think that her uncle would have forced her to marry, not even to cement an alliance or to further her family's bloodline. Yet she had been curious about the ways of men and had made both her cousin and her brother tell her stories of their escapades. Sometimes she had persuaded Théodred to touch her as well, and one night he and Eomer taught her to kiss. But they had both cautioned her to act with care, for Théoden would never have forgiven his beloved niece if she bore a bastard child.

So she had learned to pleasure herself, until the shadow of the Dark Lord fell over Rohan, took her cousin from her and stole even that fleeting joy, leaving her to spend nights weeping herself to sleep. Then she had met Aragorn, and later, Faramir, and though they did not wait until their wedding night to taste one another, Éowyn had come to her husband a virgin. She is not sorry but occasionally she envies her closest companions their greater experience, while she has only imagination to reflect upon.

There seems to be a tacit agreement between Aragorn and Faramir that, while they might enjoy the private company of one another's wives, there will be no intimacy beyond kisses and caresses. It is too vital that their children carry the proper lineage -- that Aragorn and Arwen conceive an heir to the throne, that Faramir and Éowyn produce the next Prince of Ithilien, and that their lines never cross and corrupt the bloodlines, for the future of Gondor and Rohan. So Aragorn continues to withhold from Éowyn the passion that he gives her husband.

But Arwen is under no such constraint. Smiling sweetly at the Queen, Éowyn says, "I do not understand why it should trouble you to sit unclothed on this private balcony. No one will see us."

"Shall we merely sit, then, and bask in the sun's rays?" Now it is Éowyn's turn to blush, as Arwen strokes her hair back from her bare shoulder and leaves her fingertips resting on Éowyn's bare neck. "Among the Elves, intimacy is kept very private. Though Elves are not shy when bathing, we do not frolic together naked in the woods, as I have heard some of the maids speculate." She tilts her head thoughtfully. "Is it common in Rohan to be so visible with one's affections?"

Blushing a bit more, Éowyn replies, "No, it is not."

"I thought not." Now Arwen looks directly at Éowyn with her deep, ageless eyes, and Éowyn sees that the Queen can read her motives. "Perhaps you have been influenced by your husband, who has been influenced by my husband."

Éowyn smiles again, wryly this time, though without rancor. "Aragorn is a terrible influence."

"Yes, he is. My father has told me so for years." Sudden, distressing pain flickers across Arwen's expression. It is unfathomable to Éowyn what the Queen must be feeling. Éowyn has lost her own father and the uncle who was like a father to her, but Arwen is hundreds of years older than she is, and expected to have her father in her life forever -- the fabled Elrond of Rivendell, an Elf who fought to save the race of Men when other Elves had left them to their fate, who raised Aragorn and sent the Ring into Mordor.

Sometimes it is easy to forget how very different the Queen's life has been from her own. Éowyn strokes Arwen's arm reassuringly, hoping to distract her. "Faramir is really quite fond of Aragorn's influence," she admits in a hushed tone.

Then Arwen's expression brightens with conspiratorial mirth. "So was his brother." Éowyn feels her eyes widening, for while she has heard much of the legend of Boromir of Gondor, from Faramir and Aragorn as well as Legolas and Gimli, none of them have ever mentioned this aspect of his relationship with the man destined to rule his land. "It is curious, because they seem so unlike one another. I did not know Boromir well, though he seemed much graver than your husband." Her eyes become distant, and Éowyn realizes that although the Captain of the White Tower lived in Minas Tirith nearly all his life, his path never crossed here with Arwen's. "Perhaps it seems so only because I met Faramir after the war had ended."

"Perhaps it seems so only because you met Faramir after he had met Aragorn," Éowyn replies. She intends for the comment to be witty, yet as she speaks the words she hears the truth in them. Faramir had glowed with joy when she first walked with him in the gardens, not only because he had been falling in love with her, but because he already loved the King for whom he had waited all his life.

Arwen touches her face gently. "Perhaps it seems so only because I met Faramir after he had met you," she murmurs, and Éowyn feels herself blush under the soft, smooth fingers. "You make him very happy. All can see it in his eyes whenever he looks at you." Still caressing Éowyn's cheek, she smiles. "I am glad to have this time alone with you."

Éowyn slides her own hand up Arwen's pale, slender arm, wondering whether Arwen will be subject to sunburn and age spots now that she is mortal. "Your skin is so fair," she murmurs. "Like mine. I think perhaps we should stay in the shade..."

"But then I shall not get any sun," Arwen observes, pulling strands of Éowyn's golden hair across her own shoulders as she leans close.

"I did not realize that the sun was why you came up here," teases Éowyn.

"It is not." Arwen smiles again. "I came up here to be alone with you. What is it that women of Rohan do, when they are alone? We have brought no embroidery, nor books. Not even swords."

"What a pity. And those were my first suggestions." Smiling rather naughtily, Éowyn combs Arwen's long, thick tresses across her own shoulder. "I cannot even wash your hair, not without soap and a brush."

"You wish to wash my hair?"

There is mystification in the Queen's voice, and for a moment Éowyn thinks that perhaps Elven hair does not need to be washed or brushed but will remain naturally beautiful like Legolas'. Then she remembers walking beneath the trees with Arwen in the fall, watching bits of leaf and acorn become caught in her shining, coiled braids. This is surely an absurd notion.

"You have such lovely hair." Éowyn's fingers brush through it, wrapping several strands around her finger in a ring-shaped curl. "Does it ever need washing?

"Oh, certainly, when I have been out riding through the trees or rolling in the leaves..."

"Indeed!" Éowyn laughs aloud. "Then I will have to take you out riding through the trees. Or perhaps for a roll in the leaves." Lifting the hair in her hands, she feigns removing dirt from it.

Arwen is laughing as well. "If you want to wash my hair, you do not need to soil it first. Though if you wish to take me for a roll in the leaves..." Her smile turns enigmatic as Éowyn traces her ear with a fingertip, and she tilts her head.

"I will have to to visit in the autumn?"

Moving surprisingly quickly for an Elf whose steady, unhurried grace has won her comparisons to celestial bodies, Arwen brazenly puts her hands on Éowyn's shoulders and flattens her. "We could always practice rolling in the leaves, without the leaves." She leans close over Éowyn, the heat of her body radiating through the thin fabric of her shift, and one of her nipples brushes over one of Éowyn's, making it stiff. As Éowyn laughs breathlessly, Arwen adds, "How did you roll in the leaves in Rohan?"

"Quite like this," sighs Éowyn, trailing a finger down Arwen's back. "I imagine that there are some things which do not differ so much from one place to another. Nor even between Elves and Men."

"Ah, but I know so little about human women." Leaning over, Arwen brushes her lower lip against Éowyn's upper lip, making Éowyn gasp and open her mouth, which Arwen seems to take as an invitation to taste her. When she withdraws her tongue, the Queen murmurs, "I do not think that your ears are as delicate as mine. Yet you and Aragorn both have extraordinarily ticklish spots right here..." She strokes lightly inside Éowyn's arm just above her elbow, making her giggle and squirm. Dropping her voice, she whispers, "Are your nipples as sensitive as those of Elves? Can you reach your climax just from having them this?"

The fingertips tugging her through her shift, squeezing not so gently as to be teasing yet not so hard as to be painful, create an echoing ache in Éowyn's pelvis. "Oh!" she exclaims. "I have never..." Her hand comes to rest on Arwen's cheek and she kisses her tenderly, laughing lightly. "Though you are welcome to try."

Effortlessly Arwen slides a thigh between Éowyn's, which part eagerly at the slightest pressure. "Perhaps I will," Arwen says serenely before lowering her head to lick the stiff nipple through the thin fabric covering it. Moaning, Éowyn lets her fingers run through Arwen's hair, closing her eyes. The warm tongue runs along the underside of Éowyn's breast until she arches up to Arwen's mouth. Then Arwen sucks experimentally, pushing up with her thigh between Éowyn's legs.

"Ah!" Éowyn gasps, and presses against Arwen's thigh. She strokes silky-soft skin, delighting in the way it feels under her hands. Sighing happily, Arwen moves her mouth to the left nipple, raising a hand to continue to stroke over the right breast and around Éowyn's side. Her thigh shifts back and forth. Éowyn's breath comes in hitching gasps as she lifts her head to watch, but then her eyes close and she lowers her head back down, arching her back once more as she rubs herself against Arwen's thigh with little shivers rushing through her body. "Oh," she says again, and somehow manages to say "Arwen" before breaking off into a soft moan.

Smiling, the Queen lifts her head and shifts upward so that her mouth hovers near Éowyn's. As her legs move together, Éowyn can see that she has left a dark damp spot on the fabric of her shift and blushes, but Arwen smiles, sliding a hand down her belly and beneath the shift. "You feel very wet against my leg," she whispers.

"You have a delightful mouth," Éowyn whispers back, lifting her hand to Arwen's face again, stroking her cheek. "Is it not like that for Elven women?"

"Oh, it is," Arwen assures her. Then she closes the space between them for a long, slow kiss while she kneels between Éowyn's thighs, urging them further apart. When Éowyn has no choice but to bend her knees, Arwen slides her hand up to brush her fingertips lightly across the patch of curly hair, moving slowly downward again until she finds the source of the wetness.

Éowyn moans into Arwen's mouth, wrapping her arms around her as she squirms against Arwen's fingers. The fingertips brush across again, lightly, before parting the damp folds of flesh and seeking gently between them. "We are not different here," she whispers.

"I hoped we would..." Éowyn's voice trails off as Arwen's fingers stroke her. She bites her lip, whimpers and kisses her again. "...would not be," she finishes after a moment. She is growing so slick that Arwen's fingers slip easily into her delicate flesh. Arwen sits back slightly, letting Éowyn's arms slide from around her, so that she can look, which makes Éowyn feel shameful and shameless all at once.

Arwen parts the hot, swollen flesh again and finds the quivering knot at the top. Her touch is expert, and Éowyn finds it difficult to believe that she has never been with a woman of the race of Men before. Then she asks, "May I taste you?"

Éowyn's breath catches in her throat. "Yes," she whispers after a moment, "oh, yes!" Without moving her fingers, the beautiful Elf shifts backward, bending over so that her hair sweeps over Éowyn's belly. She tastes the skin there and inside Éowyn's thigh, licking the overflowing moisture there, before sliding her tongue toward the center of the wetness.

Little noises of pleasure burst from Éowyn's lips, moans and whimpers and gasps. Her fingers play with Arwen's hair, something to focus some attention on so that Arwen's tongue does not drive her to the edge too quickly. She would much prefer to savor this. Slowly, carefully, Arwen slips the tip of one finger deeper into Éowyn as she circles her tongue around the sensitive knot without actually touching it. Encountering no resistance, she sheathes the finger more deeply, pressing upward. "Do the women of Rohan, like the females of my people, have a spot that heightens their"

Éowyn cries out, shuddering. "Oh! Arwen!" She tries not to tug on the soft hair in her fingers and reaches up to tease her nipple with her free hand. Her hips move, bucking in encouragement. Shifting her shoulders so that her hair cascades across Éowyn's thighs, Arwen presses her face down into the thick moisture which dampens the end of her nose and slicks over her chin. She tugs gently at Éowyn with her lips. Having by this time lost most ability for coherent thought, Éowyn merely moans and gasps, shuddering and writhing from Arwen's sweet ministrations. She thinks she cannot possibly last much longer, but can only cry out softly as a way of vocalizing this.

Arwen curves a second finger into Éowyn alongside the first, sliding smoothly along the slick inner wall until they encounter the responsive spot and press it. Her tongue moves relentlessly over the swelling bulb at the top of the slit. Éowyn shudders, then cries out as her body surrenders to release. She gasps for breath as tremors run through her, clenching and unclenching her fingers in Arwen's hair.

Arwen slides up Éowyn's body, wiping some of the moisture from her face in the thick curls below her belly and kissing her way between Éowyn's covered breasts. She lifts her head when she reaches Éowyn's chin. "How does that compare to how the Rohirrim do this?" she smiles.

Wrapping her arms around Arwen, Éowyn smiles quite contentedly. "I would have to say that it compares splendidly," she replies, and flicks her tongue over Arwen's lips.

Arwen laughs breathlessly, letting her legs fall open around one of Éowyn's. "You are not as quiet as an Elf. I like that."

"I was taught that pleasure at a gift is something to be shared," replies Éowyn, pressing a thigh up against Arwen, "and so why not share that I am enjoying myself?"

"But you do share it," Arwen assures her. "Your taste grows sweeter, your skin becomes warmer...there are so many small changes."

Éowyn smiles. "Should pleasure not be a feast for all the senses?" Her fingers are drawn again to Arwen's ear, tracing its delicate point. Arwen makes a soft noise of agreement as she arches around Éowyn's thigh, twisting her head toward the hand teasing her ear. "Does that feel good?" asks Éowyn breathlessly, continuing to rub her thigh between Arwen's legs.

"Yes." Arwen's breath comes faster as she presses down onto Éowyn who kisses her again, slipping her tongue past Arwen's lips to taste herself. She sighs softly, then says, "I want to touch you."

"I want you to touch me," Arwen responds warmly. She shifts off Éowyn's body, lying down beside her and rolling Éowyn into her arms.

Smiling, Éowyn ducks her head to press her lips against the hollow of Arwen's throat. "You are exquisite, Arwen...and you smell like..." She pauses, and then laughs softly, "you smell like trees." Her lips trail lower, and her tongue teasingly flicks over Arwen's nipple. "There are not many tall trees in Edoras..." She smiles before licking Arwen's nipple again. "More shrubs and rocks," she adds.

Then Éowyn lifts Arwen's shift off her body and over her head, until the Queen lies naked before her, so perfect that she might be a sculpture. The flesh swelling between her legs is already slick and glistening; Éowyn strokes a finger over it as she sucks at Arwen's nipples, first one and then the other, unclad and warm in her mouth. A quavering cry interrupts her own pleasure, and she smiles up at Arwen. "Faramir accuses me of will let me know if I tease you?"

"You may tease as much as you like, so long as you do not stop," Arwen moans, twisting closer to Éowyn. "No one has ever told me that I -- oh! Smell like trees, before."

"I don't know how else to describe it," Éowyn admits, and then closes her lips around a nipple again, sucking gently, as her fingers comes up to tease its mate. Arwen twists again, moaning, and Éowyn remembers that she had said her nipples were exquisitely sensitive. She does not want this to end without touching Arwen, everywhere. Lifting her head, she reaches for Arwen's hand, presses a kiss to her palm, then trails her tongue up one finger before sucking it into her mouth. She repeats this with the other four fingers before kissing the inside of Arwen's wrist.

Arwen has thrown her head back, eyes closed; her belly arches, her thighs press together in rhythm. Releasing her hand, Éowyn starts to work her way down again, trailing feather-light kisses over Arwen's skin, her fingers stroking lightly in the kisses' wake. She runs her tongue around Arwen's belly, and kisses her hips, before moving further down, across her thighs, as her hands stroke down over Arwen's legs. As Arwen arches toward her mouth, she feels her long hair fall across Arwen's side. The Queen plunges a hand into it, sliding it over her skin as if it were liquid.

Soon Éowyn's mouth makes its way up the inside of Arwen's thigh, but her fingers are already slipping between her soft folds. While she strokes Arwen, she moves back up her body and takes a nipple into her mouth as she slides one finger slowly inside. Arwen tosses her head, sighing deep in her throat, pressing down on Éowyn's fingers as she arches up to her mouth. Éowyn smiles, sucking gently on Arwen's nipple as she moves her fingers without and within her, wanting to hear another sweet sigh. Her tongue traces around Arwen's nipple before she moves her head to taste the other, drawing it into her mouth just as she slips another finger inside.

Arwen wraps her leg over Éowyn's hip, rocking back and forth, trying to press against Éowyn's palm without dislodging her fingers. Arwen's hand comes up to cradle the back of Éowyn's head while her body tightens around the touch within her each time Éowyn sucks on the taut flesh in her mouth. As Arwen rocks, Éowyn presses the palm of her own hand forward, pushing her fingers in deeper. Her lips and tongue move between Arwen's nipples, not lingering for very long, in the hope of prolonging her pleasure -- this is an exquisite task that Éowyn does not yet feel ready to end.

Yet Arwen's inner walls are contracting already. She trembles and cries, pushing herself down upon Éowyn's fingers and rubbing against her thumb. Éowyn presses closer, her lips closing around one nipple and sucking more insistently upon it, as she feels the other woman shuddering. Arwen climaxes silently, with her mouth open in a soundless scream, but she spills thick fluid over Éowyn's hand and her nipples knot even more tightly.

Éowyn smiles and rains feather-light kisses over Arwen's breasts, then moves up higher to kiss her neck. "Ah," sighs Arwen finally, finding her voice. "Ah, Éowyn!"

Éowyn hums softly, still kissing Arwen's neck. "Arwen..." she murmurs.

A sudden noise from just below the balcony makes them both jolt. Someone is very near in the courtyard, some noble or maid, perhaps, and the Queen is unclothed while Éowyn wears only a thin shift stained from her own arousal and Arwen's. Reaching back to where she had discarded Arwen's shift, Éowyn wonders whether they should try to struggle into their gowns or if it would be better for them both to pretend to be asleep, as if they had dozed off in the warm afternoon light.

But a moment later it no longer matters, for as Arwen shrugs her shift over her head, Aragorn vaults silently over the balcony, moving with the stealthy grace of a Ranger rather than the decorum of a King. He goes perfectly still when he sees the two of them sitting together with the curtains billowing behind them, and Éowyn is sure her face is flushed as scarlet as the fading bloom of passion on Arwen's chest and throat.

For a moment the three of them stare at one another, with Aragorn wearing the same surprised, impressed expression he offered Éowyn at Edoras when she parried his blade. Then he smiles at her and at his wife. "I had thought to steal a few minutes alone with you," he tells Arwen, "but I see that you are otherwise engaged."

Arwen lifts her neck proudly, looking very much a Queen despite her state of near-undress and the locks of hair tumbling in disarray about her shoulders. "We had thought that the King and Steward would be meeting through the afternoon, my lord," she says in a calm, elegant voice that anyone overhearing would take for deference; only Éowyn can hear the faint emphasis on "meeting" and the breath of laughter as she falls silent. Aragorn's grin widens, and he nods.

"We decided to take a break from our work and walk in the courtyard." Turning suddenly, he leans over the balcony railing and shouts, "Faramir!" Éowyn hears her husband's voice call an answering greeting, and a moment later she can make out his running footfalls as Aragorn waits, leaning one hip against the railing and grinning broadly. Looking down, he calls, "I do not think that you will find your wife in your rooms. Come and join us for...tea."

Éowyn swallows a laugh as she watches Aragorn extend a hand over the side of the balcony, helping her husband to scramble over the rail. He catches his balance at the precise moment that he sees her with Arwen, and only Aragorn's arms prevent him from stumbling forward. Seeing how at ease the men are with one another, Éowyn understands immediately how she and Arwen must look to them.

"We grew tired of fencing and embroidery, so we thought to lie in the sun, or perhaps to go for a roll in the leaves," Éowyn explains to Faramir, whose merriment turns to confusion:

"But it is spring. There are no leaves on the ground..." And then, at Aragorn's chuckle, he laughs as well. "I see. Well. Perhaps we might join you?"

Faramir steps forward and extends a hand. Yet he seems to realize, at precisely the same moment as Éowyn, that it would be improper to raise his own wife to her feet before the Queen, and so he bends to Arwen, gingerly drawing her upright until they are both standing, holding one another's forearms.

By the time they have stepped apart, Aragorn is approaching Éowyn with his hand outstretched to her. "May I?" he asks, smiling, and to Éowyn's surprise, her heart leaps within her chest, much as it did when she first knew Aragorn, before she understood that he was not the only person she could ever love. Almost shyly, she gives him her hand and lets him help her to her feet, leaving her fingers in his when she sees that Arwen still has a hand wrapped through Faramir's elbow.

"Shall we?" Faramir inclines his head toward the curtains billowing from Arwen's rooms, waggling his eyebrows swiftly at Éowyn to make her giggle. Aragorn gestures for the Steward to take the Queen through first, so Éowyn remains behind, watching her husband step inside with the lovely Elf. Then she looks up at the King, whose gaze seems surprisingly intense before he offers her a now-familiar, flirtatious wink. Clasping her hand more firmly, Aragorn strides forward, taking her with him into the warm darkness of his wife's chamber.

Chapter Text

For a moment, when Aragorn takes her in his arms, Eowyn is afraid.

She has learned so much of love since she first thought that she loved Aragorn, when she first imagined this. She has learned so much about herself, and about him, that she might almost be another woman with a different man. And yet she is not. Somewhere within her is the girl who fell in love with the Ranger -- the girl who believed that he was the only man she could ever love. And when she looks at Aragorn, she still sees, beneath the King, the man he had seemed to be then.

His kiss is hungry, curious; it is not like any of the kisses he has given her before, which were always affectionate but cautious, in gratitude to her for sharing Faramir with him. Eowyn cannot explain even to herself why it excites her to know that her husband gives himself to the King. She had envied Arwen before she ever met her, because Arwen was beloved of Aragorn. Yet inexplicably, the knowledge that Aragorn craves Faramir's touch has changed Eowyn's feelings about the man she once loved, though not about the man she to whom she is now pledged.

Whatever residual resentment or regret she might have carried has been transformed, for Eowyn now sees that Aragorn can never give his heart fully to one person, not even his own wife. His love belongs to all of Gondor, to his long past among the Elves and Dunedain, and to all the people he has ever lost, from his parents to her own uncle to her husband's brother.

If she were Aragorn's wife, Eowyn doubts that she would share him as generously as Arwen does. With Faramir, she has no such concerns. Oh, he may love Aragorn, who is also his King and his savior and the hero of prophecy for whom he longed throughout his childhood, as well as his final tie to Boromir. But she knows that Faramir loves her no less, and when they have children together she thinks their bond will only become stronger, replacing the painful memories of Denethor's family, of whom Faramir is the only survivor.

He loves her enough to keep his eyes averted when she puts her arms around Aragorn and returns the King's kiss, tasting for the first time his passion not as something deferred or shared, but as it might have blazed between the two of them, had things been different. In his arms, for one moment, she is the Queen of Gondor, and the admiration that she is certain she once saw in Aragorn's eyes glows undiminished from him. It is as though Arwen and Faramir have never existed in their lives as they do now.

It is not a feeling that she relishes. She pulls back from Aragorn, and reaches for her husband's hand.

Faramir is touching Arwen as if she were a fragile sculpture, fingertips barely grazing her fine cheekbones and silken hair. Though she has always found the queen impossibly lovely, Eowyn understands at once that were Arwen not Aragorn's wife, her ageless beauty would hold little appeal for Faramir. But she is Aragorn's wife, and Eowyn thinks Faramir might be aroused not by his own hands and lips on the beautiful Queen in his arms, but by imagining the hands and lips of her husband touching her so.

Glancing at Aragorn, she sees a smile playing on his lips and wonders whether he suspects the same thing. He meets her eyes, but waits for her to pull him toward her and toward the other pair before kissing her again. Faramir's hand slides from hers to circle her waist, and Arwen's palm brushes her cheek on the way to clasp Aragorn's shoulder. Eowyn's fingers find Arwen's on Aragorn's arm and link through Faramir's around her own waist so that they are all knotted together.

Her husband turns her, capturing her mouth from Aragorn's, and Eowyn wonders whether he is tasting his lover on her. He must have been able to taste her on Arwen, for she can taste herself very faintly on his lips, and it makes her ruin the moment by giggling. But Faramir only laughs with her, while she can feel Aragorn's chest shaking with amusement behind her, and she looks up to meet Arwen's smiling eyes over Faramir's shoulder.

The girl who fell in love with the Ranger fades away, not through any force of will but because Eowyn does not wish to be that girl any longer. Nor does she wish to be the Queen of Gondor. She smiles back at Arwen, at Faramir, then at Aragorn behind her as she steps aside, embracing the beautiful elf so that her own husband can move into the King's arms.

Though Eowyn has seen Aragorn and Faramir kiss one another before, she is unprepared for how the sight makes her ache anew. There is such need in the way they hold one another when Faramir's fingers dig into Aragorn's arm more roughly than he would dare to touch her and Aragorn grabs him possessively around the waist. There is a kind of violence in their clasp, but also a sense of completion, as if neither of them had known how empty his arms were until the other filled them. For an instant she feels the presence of a phantom, a man she has never met -- Faramir's brother, once beloved of the King, whose loss left them both with wounds that will never fully heal. Yet they pull back to gaze at one another, hands finding each other's faces, and as they smile together, Eowyn thinks that Boromir could find no more loving tribute than this.

Arwen is stroking her hair and Eowyn turns her attention to the Queen, who appears to have become just as aroused watching the men. From his reading, Faramir had told Eowyn that Elves were not as passionate as Men -- that they married and bore children while they were young, and the cravings of the body faded for them in time. Yet Arwen is descended from Men as well as Elves, and her desires, though perhaps not as impulsive as Aragorn's, seem no less intense. Kissing her, Eowyn is again reminded of trees, and running water, and the scent of flowers newly pressed in damp soil.

In a single, elegant gesture, Arwen tugs Eowyn's shift upward and over her head, discarding it behind her, leaving her clothed in nothing but long disheveled hair. A moment later she does the same with her own shift, and their breasts brush together as Eowyn moves close to slide her hands over the flawless pale skin of the Queen.

Aragorn falls to his knees on the braided rug that covers much of the floor, kissing first his wife's hip, then Eowyn's. Instinctively her body turns toward his mouth, and a whimper escapes her throat. She sees Aragorn glance up at Arwen with a mirthful smile and feels Arwen nod beside her. Then Aragorn reaches up and turns Eowyn to him, pressing his lips along her belly before dropping down, tonguing the wetness that has spread down her legs and soaked the hair between them. She keens, and arches against Arwen, and tosses her head back to see Faramir watching wide-eyed, with his breath panting between his lips and his hips rocking in thoughtless rhythm.

Suddenly, painfully, she wants him inside her. "My love," she moans, and none of the three of them have any difficulty ascertaining to whom she speaks; Arwen steps sideways to let Faramir move behind Eowyn, while Aragorn turns his head to nuzzle her thigh. Eowyn hears Faramir's clothing drop to the floor piece by hurried piece, and then, just as she feels her husband's heat and the pressure of his body against her back, Aragorn flings aside his vest and shifts again, pushing Eowyn's legs further apart to dive between them. She can feel from the jolt that runs through Faramir the moment when the King's tongue touches his Steward's cock.

They stand so for a few exquisite, excruciating moments -- Faramir twitching against her and groaning loudly, Aragorn humming and licking at them both, one hand on Eowyn's hip for support and the other on his own wife's belly, Arwen with her arms around Faramir and Eowyn both. Then Aragorn sits back, letting his fingers slide down Eowyn's body to find Faramir's cock and guide it against her. She moans loudly again, spreading open and rising on her toes, the moan turning to a shriek as Faramir grabs her waist and presses inside, pushing her open with each shove of his hips until he is deep within her, holding her upright with his hands.

Arwen nudges Aragorn out of the way to kneel before Eowyn, moving her mouth against damp hair and flesh until she finds the swollen knob just above the point where Faramir's cock is stretching Eowyn open. He rubs Eowyn inside as Arwen's tongue strokes over them both, making her tremble, though she thinks Faramir's legs must be quaking as well from the effort of holding both himself and her upright in this position. A moment later Arwen's breath gusts over her in a cry, and Eowyn opens her eyes to see that Aragorn has driven himself into his wife, with one hand cupping a breast and the other between her legs, though his eyes are focused somewhere behind Eowyn's face...on Faramir, she realizes, though a moment later he gives her a strained smile before letting them drift closed in concentration.

None of them will be able to keep to this position for long, for Faramir's thighs are shaking in earnest and Eowyn knows that both Arwen's knees and Aragorn's must be sore from supporting their own weight, but she gives herself up to sensation for a few moments...her husband's cock, the Queen's mouth, the rhythm triggered by Aragorn's thrusts which pulses through all of them. Crying out over and over, Eowyn cannot repress a single scream, and their tempo disintegrates as the others laugh breathlessly.

"Now everyone in Minas Tirith will know what we are doing," Faramir snickers, sliding his swollen cock out of her and stretching his legs upright with a groan, while Arwen's amusement puffs against Eowyn's belly as the Queen straightens and Aragorn sits back on his heels, grinning. He takes great pleasure in hearing of how Eowyn's screams have scandalized the maids, and Faramir reports to her -- with pride, she notes -- when Aragorn has teased him about it.

"You are only pleased that I am as incorrigible as the two of you," she wheezes, helping Arwen to stand, as Aragorn rises smoothly to his own feet despite his erection and holds out a hand:

"We are all of us without shame. So let us go someplace more comfortable," he says. Yet he pauses, looking at Arwen, as if to be certain of her willingness to invite others into the bed they share, and it is only after the Queen smiles and takes his arm that the King leads them all across the room and between the hanging tapestries fluttering in the wind from the open doors.

Aragorn takes off the rest of his clothing and makes love to Eowyn with his mouth as Arwen holds her open for him and Faramir watches, stroking himself, regarding the two of them intently. Aragorn's beard is coarser than Faramir's, and he is less aggressive with his tongue, or perhaps it is simply that he does not know her body as well as her husband does; it feels good but strange, with Arwen's soft, soft skin against her thighs. The ascent to climax is slow, and it is only as Faramir's breathing becomes audible, hitching as he watches Aragorn devour her, that she feels herself shattering.

As she begins to scream again, the Queen kisses her, swallowing the sound before the court can come running to see what has befallen her. When the tremors wracking her body finally cease, Eowyn is breathless and giddy. Then Arwen sinks onto her husband's cock and rides Aragorn while, head elevated on Eowyn's knees, he sucks Faramir who straddles his upper body, leaning over to kiss Eowyn who in turn reaches around him to caress Arwen's breasts. With her eyes closed Eowyn focuses on the contrasting sensations: the velvet softness of Arwen's skin, the prickly dampness of Aragorn's hair, the familiar feel and smell of Faramir as he pants against her with his eyes and hands wild on her face.

After Aragorn climaxes, much more quickly than the two he is pleasuring, he has the Queen lie down in his place and puts his mouth between her legs, lifting his hips in the air behind him so that Faramir can slick himself with oil and press into the tight channel that sends him over the edge very quickly. Watching with Arwen's head against her thigh, her hair like a warm blanket of silk, Eowyn presses a hand against herself and convulses from the sight of her husband's face as he spills himself inside the King.

Aragorn and Arwen make love again while Eowyn and Faramir lie sleepily together, rocking with the movements of the mattress, too tired to enjoy it directly but content to smile at one another and sigh with pleasure. Arwen cries out in Elvish, her words musical as a song. When finally Aragorn has exhausted himself, he moves behind Faramir, wrapping his arms around his dozing Steward and smiling at Eowyn with open affection.

"Are you happy?" murmurs Arwen as she settles behind her husband, looking into Eowyn's eyes. Eowyn nods easily, glancing from King to Queen, wondering whether this copious generosity can have spread from the rulers into the soil itself, remaking Gondor into a land of bountiful lushness. The breeze is gentle from outside the snug confines of the room, and love, she thinks, must swell with the same abundance.

Eowyn has known much darkness, death, and her hands are not unstained. But here there is only joy, and she wonders why she was ever afraid.

Chapter Text

Faramir wakes sweating in a pile of furs with a warm body curled against his back. Whether this is dream or memory, he cannot say, for it is too dark to see and he is not even certain whether he has opened his eyes. Sighing contentedly, he murmurs, "Aragorn."

There is movement, a shifting of skins and fabric, pulling the blackness from his eyes. Then a hand that is too small and soft to be the King's descends upon Faramir's arm. "Not exactly," Eowyn's high, musical voice breezes into his ear. "'Tis only your wife, my lord."

Grinning, Faramir turns and rolls on top of her in retaliation for teasing him with the title. "Yes, I remember you," he says thoughtfully. "Aren't you the woman who dressed up as a man to ride into battle?"

With a squeal of outrage, Eowyn pushes up, throwing him off. "Yes, I am, and very dangerous with a sword," she replies. Her eyes narrow with amusement. "Would you like me to put on armor again? Then you can pretend that I am Aragorn..."

She is not fast enough to leap aside as Faramir dives at her, catching her heavy winter nightgown in his hands and pulling her laughing down to the bed. While his mouth tastes the sweetness of her throat, he traces the curves of her body, lingering over the soft swell of her breasts and belly. "I could never pretend that you were a man," he breathes, "and I would never wish to."

"I suppose that I had better not call you 'Arwen' then," she giggles, pushing her long, soft hair back from both their faces. "Not that I have any difficulty telling you apart..."

"I am glad," Faramir begins, gazing adoringly at her, until she continues:

"...for the Queen smells sweeter than you."

"That may be true, but the Queen would not look nearly so handsome with a beard," Faramir retorts, rubbing his between his wife's breasts and wresting another giggle from her. Lowering his voice suggestively, he adds, "Nor could she fill out my breeches."

Eowyn presses against him, nudging his swelling cock beneath layers of clothing. "Oh, that is certainly true," she agrees. "Though the King could fill them." Her hands come around Faramir's body, squeezing his backside. "Is that why you long to feel him filling you?"

"Eowyn!" Faramir blushes, laughing with her. He wonders whether the wives of other men become so aroused imagining their husbands with other men, though whether it is common or not, he is deeply grateful to be married to such a woman. Arwen is at ease with Aragorn's affection for him but Faramir does not think that she derives the same degree of satisfaction as Eowyn from hearing the details of their intimacy; it is enough for the Queen to know that they are happy and devoted to one another, to their wives and to Gondor.

Faramir's own wife, however, is as flushed as himself, wriggling against him, licking her lips in anticipation. "Why are you embarrassed?" she asks. "You have never tried to keep it a secret from me. Well, you did try to pretend it was only being cold and naked that brought you to him the first time, and not that you loved him so much..."

"I was very foolish at the time," Faramir nods.

"And you thought I would be angry." Giggling, Eowyn strokes her fingers over his pink cheeks and tucks his hair behind his ears. "Perhaps I was a bit upset that you couldn't have waited until some time when I was there. But I don't suppose that could have been helped."

"It was rather spontaneous, as you know." The first time is Eowyn's favorite to make him recall, though she has heard the tale dozens of times now. For a while Faramir had tried to remember details he might have forgotten, lest she should find him tiresome in the retelling, before he had realized that the familiarity put her at ease even as the passion of the story thrilled her.

Tonight, however, Eowyn does not want to hear about the delicious warmth swelling between himself and Aragorn on the cold floor of a barn, nor about the first time Aragorn took him to bed and showed him things that he had never wanted to learn from any other man. Stretching out beside him and leaning her head on her arm, she says, "Tell me about the first time you made love to him."

Faramir blushes heatedly, turning his face downward though he is smiling helplessly. Remembering that night with Aragorn never fails to make him ache with pleasure, for it had felt like a slow, intense seduction, and Faramir now knows that Aragorn had intended all along to persuade his Steward to take him. "Would you like to hear the full story or only the enticing parts?" he asks his wife, knowing what the answer will be.

"All of it," she whispers, rolling her head back against the pillows, prompting, "He invited you to his rooms for wine..."

Settling against Eowyn, Faramir places a hand on her side just below her breast, rubbing his thumb up and down on the fabric of her nightdress. "And we drank," he assures her. "We sat before the fireplace, and we talked...of what, I do not remember, but then he reminded me of our night in the barn, when we could not make a fire."

Faramir's hand is moving, slipping beneath Eowyn's gown, stroking over smooth skin prickling under his fingers with excitement. "Aragorn laughed, and told me that I was blushing, though I told him that the fire must be the reason that my face was burning. He asked, 'Does this make you uncomfortable?' and I told him that it did not. Then he beckoned me closer, and I went to kneel before my king."

Eowyn shifts, letting Faramir's arm move higher, until his fingers are brushing the underside of her breast. "And did you...touch him? Unlace his clothing? Take him in your mouth?"

"First, he leaned forward, and he kissed this..." Faramir leans forward to demonstrate, brushing his lips gently over Eowyn's. "And again...and again...then I pushed him back in his chair, and I unlaced his breeches." There are ties at the front of Eowyn's nightdress, and Faramir pulls his hand free to tug at them, pushing the gown down her shoulders. "He was hard already, and I touched him..." Her nipple, too, is rosy and warm under his fingers, and she moans as Faramir cups his palm over her breast.

Ducking his head to lick and kiss Eowyn's neck, Faramir wraps a leg over her body to press his cock against the softness of her clothed thighs. Breathlessly she laughs, arching upward, trying to bring her breast in range of his lips. "Then I took him in my mouth," Faramir continues, ducking his head to suck the firm pink nipple. For a moment he is distracted by the caress of her hands in his hair, the press of her thigh against his cock and the stiff bud in his mouth, imagining the wetness that he knows is pooling between her thighs. He is, he thinks for the hundredth time that week, the luckiest man in Gondor.

"And did...did he...what did he...?" Despite how rapidly she is breathing, Eowyn will not be content to be silent. "Did he tell you that he wanted you? Were you hard for him?"

"I was," Faramir admits, moving to lick her other nipple as his palm rubs away the wetness his tongue has left on the first. "He groaned my name, and asked me to stop, and said that he was almost too tired to move, and that I would have to do all the work. I was prepared to suck..." Again he pauses, mouth latching onto the nipple, until Eowyn gasps and squirms, pushing his hand down from her breast toward her belly. He slips his other arm beneath Eowyn's back, pulling her close against his body as he sucks on her nipple again for a long, sweet minute.

"Then he said, 'I want you to take me.' And I nearly spilled myself, though I did not even have a hand on my breeches." He chuckles softly, and rubs his nose over Eowyn's breast when she whimpers and pushes again at his hand.

As his palm slides into the hair covering her sex, Faramir thinks back upon the one conversation he has never shared with his wife. He had shivered at Aragorn's suggestion, and Aragorn had asked him why. When Faramir had pointed out that Aragorn had never made such a request before, Aragorn had said that he'd assumed that if Faramir had wanted to do it, he would have asked for it. Then Faramir had shivered again, replying that he had never thought to be so bold, and Aragorn had sighed, stroked Faramir's face and murmured, "Must I be the King all the time, even with you, my Steward who has stolen all my berries and my heart?"

And Faramir had drawn Aragorn to his feet, his fingers grazing Aragorn's cheekbone and lips, saying, "You must teach me how to rule your heart, for mine has been yours since the first moment I saw you." He does not know why he keeps these words secret from his wife, for he does not think that they would anger her, but he holds them like a private treasure, known only to the Steward and the King.

"We kissed again, standing before the fire, then I led him to his bed," Faramir whispers to Eowyn, her insistent rocking bringing his thoughts, and the aching desire in his groin, back to the present moment. "And he stripped away my clothes, and I helped him with his, though my fingers shook terribly. He asked me to wait, and he found a jar, and when he returned, he handed it to me. I had been with him often enough that I knew what to do."

"Aah!" Eowyn has been whimpering breathlessly while Faramir has been speaking, and now she spreads her legs wider as she tries to coax Faramir's hand between her thighs. "Is it...the same, for you fear that it will hurt, the first time, or that it will change you? The first time you let him have you, did you wonder what he would think of you afterwards?" One of her hands wraps around the back of Faramir's head, bringing his mouth back to her breast.

Pretending to pause in thought, Faramir lifts his eyes to peer up at her with a naughty smile. "Very good questions. I should ponder these." And he slides his hand up Eowyn's thigh, his fingers slipping between her soft folds, teasing her with light touches. "I was a little bit afraid that it would rip my insides, the first time, and leave me weak," he says after a drawn-out hesitation. "But I had faith that Aragorn would not hurt me, and he did not. Then there was a moment when I feared that he would look upon me and see only this submission to him, but that moment passed, and I never felt it again."

"Then what...what did you see, when you looked at him..." Eowyn is soaking his fingers, warmer and smoother than the ointment he and Aragorn have used together in the past. Faramir cannot help but want to kiss her; he slides up to find her mouth and nudges her lips open with his, slow and hungry. When he had touched Aragorn with slick, shaking fingers, he knew that had been at first too gentle, then too rough, though Aragorn had pushed against him without complaint, telling him not to be afraid.

"I saw that he wanted it -- wanted me -- and that he trusted me enough to let me know it," he whispers to his wife. "So I kissed him again, and moved between his legs, and let my fingers tease him until he groaned, and I pushed one inside." As the words leave Faramir's lips, one finger slips into Eowyn, sliding easily in her copious wetness.

She cries out loudly, pressing down until Faramir's palm nudges the sweet spot just above her entrance, and her hands grope blindly at Faramir's nightwear. "Did you...kiss him there? Did you suck him? What did he...ohh!" she wails.

"Oh, no, I did not put my mouth there until sometime later," Faramir says as he moves his finger within her, his own breath now coming much more raggedly. "I pushed another finger inside him..." He does the same to Eowyn, feeling her arch and stretch around him. The opening to her body is so much softer, without the tight resisting ring of muscle beneath the flesh, though he knows that it will squeeze and clamp down on his fingers if he continues to stimulate it so. "Aragorn twisted his hips, trying to guide me to the spot he wanted me to touch, crying out to let me know when I had found it. And he kissed me all the while, so hungrily. Then...he pulled away, and rolled onto his belly, and said he wanted to feel my cock inside him."

With a cry Eowyn plants her hand on Faramir's shoulder and pushes, flipping him onto his back. Pulling away from his fingers, she straddles him while she works his clothing free and flings her gown away. "Please...let me..." she gasps, rubbing herself over his cock, hotter than the salve he had rubbed onto his skin to prepare himself for Aragorn. "Tell me...oh! What it felt like, and what he said..."

Aragorn had insisted on leaving the candle burning on the table beside the bed, twisting his head to look at Faramir, who had assured Aragorn that he would do whatever would make him the most comfortable. "The first time I did this, I was younger than you are now," Aragorn had confessed quietly. "You will not hurt me." Faramir had been less afraid at that moment of causing him pain than of spurting his seed over Aragorn's back before he could enter him, giving himself a brief, breathless moment before moving to cover Aragorn's body with his own.

"He said, 'This is one of those things, like riding a horse, that one does not forget when one settles in the saddle,'" Faramir recalls with a quiet laugh, squirming beneath Eowyn's urgent press. "He was clutching at the bedcovers beside his face, pressing up to me. Then he reached back with one hand and held himself open for me, and he said once more that he wanted me, and I began to push..."

Eowyn is breathing through her mouth, hair falling about her face as she leans over Faramir. Raising herself up with a loud gasp, she sinks down upon Faramir's cock, taking him deep into her heat in a single movement. Faramir gasps as well, staring up for several breathless moments as he presses blindly into her. "Oh, love, slowly," he begs, thinking that he will neither finish the story nor bring her to climax before he must burst.

With Faramir sheathed within her, Eowyn tosses back her head and touches a nipple with one hand, pressing the other where their bodies join. "Go on," she moans, "tell me..."

Faramir groans, his hips bucking upward of their own volition before he can gain some control of himself. It had been much the same with Aragorn, whimpers and murmurs of want, biting down on his lip, squeezing his eyes shut; after a moment he had pulled a pillow from above their heads and squeezed it beneath Aragorn's hips, raising him up. "I love you," he had gasped, gathering the King in his arms and clutching at his chest as he had begun to thrust.

Faramir thinks it unfair of Eowyn to expect him to be coherent now. He reaches out for her hips. "When...I moved...he kept pushing against me...I thought I would die of the pleasure..." The fingers of Eowyn's hand stroke over her own skin when she glides down on Faramir, over his shaft when she pulls up; she moans continuously, slumping forward against him, her hand flattening on his chest and then tugging at one of his nipples. Closing his eyes, he lets the sensation carry him back to the passion of making love to Aragorn, Elessar, his King, taking him, feeling his body beneath his own...he is shaking terribly, as he was then.

"Ah...he kept. Squeezing, with his inner that I could not finish too soon...he said that he had dreamed of it, and waited for it. Eowyn!" Faramir shudders, wishing there were some way to describe this experience and think about battle tactics to distract himself at the same time, because he is dangerously close to losing what control he has. Gingerly he pushes Eowyn's fingers from his nipple. "He said--ohh! Love, please!"

Eowyn goes perfectly still on top of Faramir, keeping him deep inside her, nothing moving but the hand between her legs which rubs relentlessly, trapping her sensitive flesh between his cock inside her and her fingertips. She is contracting around him, crying out with each breath, and when Faramir nudges her fingers from his chest she pushes down on her belly just above the thatch of hair, rolling her hips. Then she spasms hard and shrieks, shuddering, her eyes squeezed shut, rubbing herself and clenching against Faramir inside her.

Faramir stares up at his wife, sucking in desperate gasps of air, now far past any ability to speak. As she clenches around him, he grasps at her hips, bucking shallowly up into her. Then he cries out wordlessly, spurting deep inside her, his hips jerking helplessly again and again. Afterwards he lies still, gasping for breath, and as soon as he thinks he can move, he lifts a shaking hand up to her face.

"Your passion is like nothing I have known," Aragorn had said to Faramir when he had come, too soon, to pour his seed into Aragorn's body with a sob. He had brought Aragorn to completion with his hand afterwards, kissing his neck, his shoulders, his back, and licked the King's pleasure from own his fingers as Aragorn turned to watch wide-eyed. With an odd wistfulness on his features, Aragorn had whispered, "I do not know, sometimes, when you look at me, whether you see me or the King to whom you have sworn an oath."

Then Faramir had replied, "The Steward's oath is to the King, my lord, but I pledge you my love." And Aragorn had closed his eyes to kiss him, but not before Faramir had seen the tears that glittered there.

Eowyn is leaning into Faramir's touch, gasping for breath. She lets her hands fall away from her own skin to stroke up Faramir's body, draping herself across him, letting her hair fall over her shoulder as she leans over with him still inside her. Their kiss is a sweaty, sticky affair. When she pulls back to breathe, she leans her forehead against Faramir's damp one and asks, "Did he tell you he loved you?"

Faramir wraps his arms around Eowyn, cradling her to him. "No," he whispers, "not those words, not that night."

She shifts, taking some of her weight off her knees and planting one hand on the mattress. With the other she strokes through Faramir's hair. "I am sorry," she says.

"There is no need," Faramir replies, catching her hand and pulling it to his mouth. "Because I know now that I have more love than any man could hope for. I do not know if I deserve such bliss."

Eowyn kisses his temple, his cheek, his wrist holding her hand. "We are very lucky," she sighs.

Faramir's other hand comes up to run his fingers run through her hair as he strains to meet her lips. "I love you, Eowyn..." He strokes her cheek, and her mouth, and he smiles teasingly. "Even if all you want to talk about lately are my exploits with Aragorn."

Eowyn laughs warmly, sliding her hand behind Faramir's head to lift it. "You know that is not true!" she insists. "I spent many patient hours listening to you describe to me your plans to resow the fields of Ithilien. And you are just as curious about what Arwen and I do when you are not there."

Faramir laughs as well, trailing fingertips lazily down Eowyn's back. "Oh, yes, that's true. I quite enjoy hearing about how you and Arwen occupy one another."

Sliding to the side, Eowyn disengages from Faramir's now-soft cock, leaking a wet puddle onto the sheets. There are already fresh ones piled on a bench near the window; the maids, having tired of changing the bedclothes at all hours of the night, have taken to leaving new sheets in a discreet stack before nightfall. Eowyn rolls Faramir to face her with a hand on his shoulder. "It is indeed a joy that we share so many hobbies," she says seriously, before breaking into giggles.

Faramir bites his lip and buries his face against her neck, his shoulders shaking with his own laughter. "Yes, though my fingers are too clumsy for embroidery. I am glad that Arwen has not objected to this."

"She is happy that we are happy, my love," Eowyn says, sighing contentedly. Her fingers move across Faramir's collarbone to his throat and up to his chin, teasing his lower lip. And then she wiggles, making Faramir groan.

"I see that I am not going to be permitted to sleep and recover."

"You could tell me a bedtime story," she replies earnestly before breaking into soft laughter.

"Do you know, my sweet..." Faramir smiles at his wife, though his eyes are falling closed. He draws her tightly to him. "I believe that it is your turn."

Chapter Text

When the council breaks for the afternoon, Faramir can think of only two things: getting to the grapes left over from dinner before they have all been eaten, as they were the day before, and then sneaking away with Aragorn while there is still time before the evening meal.

But as he steps through the doorway toward the outer chamber, he sees his uncle, Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, turn away from his son Amrothos to nod in his direction.

"Will you walk with me?"

It is not a request that Faramir can refuse, and indeed, he has missed the company of his uncle, one of the few of his father's men who never seemed to share Denethor's low estimation of his younger son. But Faramir has seen Imrahil's eyes on him recently -- on him, and on the King -- and his back stiffens with unease, even as he falls into step with the older man.

"You seem happy here in Minas Tirith," observes Imrahil as they stride through the garden. "Do you not miss Ithilien?"

"Of course I do." Faramir tries to keep his voice flat, lest he should sound as if he speaks falsely. "But I spent my childhood in this city. It is familiar to me."

His uncle looks at him thoughtfully, then looks away and lowers his head as if preparing to speak frankly. "I had not thought that all your memories were happy ones."

"Some are not. But this was my brother's home as well, and it is here that I best remember him." Imrahil nods, not commenting on the fact that Faramir has not mentioned either of his parents. "And look around us. The city is different now. All Gondor is different."

"You are different as well." They have wandered to the far side of the garden, where they are unlikely to be overheard by any others. Imrahil raises a hand to one of the bright-blooming vines, brought from Rivendell, now growing along the walls of Minas Tirith's gardens. He looks at Faramir and takes a breath, his eyes grave. "They say that you love the King."

Faramir refuses to allow his shoulders to tense. His uncle has known him since he was a small child, and will read his moods easily. He dares not lie, for his face will give him away, but he might easily misunderstand Imrahil's words. "Indeed I do," he declares wholeheartedly, with an expression that he hopes will suggest incredulity that any might doubt it. "Surely you will not find me disloyal to the line of Stewards if I say that all of Gondor owes devotion to Elessar."

The Prince is not fooled by this diversion. "I think that you perceive my meaning, my lord." This formal courtesy in private speech is unusual, warning Faramir to respond with caution. He realizes that he must temper his affection for his mother's brother, for Imrahil never openly questioned Denethor's poor judgment of Faramir. However, Imrahil has never questioned Faramir's fitness to serve as Steward until now.

"Uncle," Faramir says firmly. "Gossip has haunted these halls since long before Aragorn's arrival. Have you heard that any hold the King in less than the highest esteem? Are there complaints about my role at his court?" When Imrahil neither nods nor dismisses these questions, Faramir presses, "Is there jealousy among the nobles that I have been given a princedom, or that my wife is the sister of a King? If you have cause to believe that any are speaking against myself or Aragorn, I ask you to tell me."

"I do not know," Imrahil replies in a voice that is quiet yet intense. "I have overheard no anger, but there is speculation. I wish only to warn you, Faramir. All eyes in Gondor are upon you. This kingdom will survive no more betrayals."

A childhood of unspoken suffering has taught Faramir not to speak when he fears that he may lose his temper. Instead he studies the flowers blooming on the ground, waiting until he is certain of what he wants to say. "You need fear no betrayal by myself," he tells his uncle. "I have always known where my duties lie, and I have never shunned them. As for the King, he has offered up his life in service of Gondor. I will not believe that any dare question his fitness to rule."

Faramir silences himself before he accuses Imrahil of doubting Aragorn, choosing to believe that he has made his point. But Imrahil steps close, forcing Faramir to meet his gaze. "I do not question his loyalty and strength, nor yours. But the good will of a leader cannot preserve the faith nor win the love of his people. We both watched your father's decline. If I speak plainly, it is because I know that you want peace for this kingdom as much as I do. I ask only that you be careful."

A nearby footstep startles them both. Glancing up, Faramir realizes that he should not be surprised, for Aragorn still has the stealth of a Ranger when he wishes, and he has crept unseen into their presence, smiling. Though Faramir forces the grin of delight from his own lips, he is certain that Imrahil can see his pleasure as he looks upon the King nonetheless. Aragorn's smile is subdued, but when he turns to Faramir, there is a familiar question in his eyes.

"Indeed, these flowers grow well in the city, though they come from distant soil," Imrahil declares as if this has been their topic of discussion. "I must rejoin my sons. I thank you for your time, nephew." With that, the Prince bows his head to the King and departs, leaving Aragorn and Faramir standing together in the garden.

"Are matters well between you and your uncle?" inquires Aragorn.

Faramir sighs. "It would be prudent for us to stop passing private notes between ourselves in council," he murmurs flatly. The King cocks an eyebrow but says nothing, instead indicating with a gesture that he would like to walk back inside. With another sigh, Faramir follows.

"'I want to see you alone' could be a perfectly innocent query," Aragorn points out in a perfectly innocent voice.

"Not when accompanied by a sketch of two men in a bathtub," notes Faramir, drawing a guffaw from Aragorn.

"We could not even be recognized in that sketch. Other than the size of my..."

Turning, the King offers a naughty grin, making a gesture in the air that Faramir fears would look as suggestive to any passerby as it does to him. "It is not that big," he says straightfaced.

"Are you certain?"

"In the drawing from this morning? It was as long as your forearm!"

They have reached the doorway, and Aragorn laughs aloud as they step through, turning heads throughout the hallway. Men smile and nod in their direction, and Faramir thinks that his uncle must be wrong about the gossip; these people seem content to see their King and Steward so close, with such obvious commonality of purpose. As they walk away from the crowd, Aragorn reaches into a pocket in his robe and pulls out a folded square of parchment. Opening it and squinting at it, he says, "This is not an unreasonable portrait," and hands the page to Faramir, making him blush scarlet as he sees the sketch he drew carelessly on the back of a list of provisions for the armory.

Keeping his eyes focused directly in front of him, he retorts, "Only because you can't see the part that is in my mouth."

"Oh. Mmm. I see," Aragorn replies. Then he grabs Faramir by the elbow, hustling him down the hallway and into his private rooms before Faramir has stopped laughing.

"This is not a very good drawing," he chuckles as they step inside. "I seem to have given myself six fingers on one hand."

"What a pity." Reaching out, Aragorn lifts his wrist, pressing a kiss to his palm. Then he sucks Faramir's pointer finger into his mouth, letting his other hand drift over Faramir's cock beneath his breeches until it stiffens.

"I have been meaning to tell you..." Faramir hears his voice catch, and tries to keep it steady, the way he tries to keep his hips steady rather than thrusting into Aragorn's hand. "It is very distracting when you touch me like this under the table."

Releasing his finger, Aragorn steps back to regard him. "Of course it is. That is why I do it. You start blushing...and you look so lovely when you blush." The backs of his fingers stroke over Faramir's cheek.

"Everyone notices when I blush, and I do not believe that they think I look lovely." Still, he cannot resist turning his head to try to get Aragorn's fingers in his mouth.

"Well, when they are running the meetings, they can do as they please." Aragorn kisses his nose. "And anyone who does not think that you are lovely is very foolish."

"I am afraid that they think we are very foolish..." But Aragorn is smiling warmly, and somehow Imrahil's concerns suddenly seem very distant. Faramir opens his mouth and starts licking Aragorn's fingers with great enthusiasm, giving him a naughty look.

The King's other hand starts moving over Faramir's cock -- light, teasing strokes that he can feel through his clothes. "You worry too much about what people think," Aragorn says sternly.

"We need...unity..." Faramir gives up trying to be coherent and goes back to sucking Aragorn's fingers, groaning around them and wriggling his hips to get more friction with Aragorn's fingers.

"Indeed? And what else do we need, love?" Aragorn pulls his fingers from Faramir's mouth, trailing them over his chin and down his neck.

"Peace...prosperity...the hands of the King," Faramir decides, reaching for the fastenings on Aragorn's vest.

"Mmm...the hands of the King are rather busy," murmurs Aragorn, sucking briefly on Faramir's lip. Closing his eyes, Faramir kisses him deeply while he continues to remove Aragorn's clothing. However, when he reaches the laces of his breeches, he finds that he cannot untie them without looking, and pulls back, blushing. Aragorn smiles at him. "Do you need something?"

"I need you to stop tying knots in your laces," Faramir growls, kneeling to use his teeth to untie them.

Aragorn laughs, reaching down to touch Faramir's hair. "But the sight of you like that..." Faramir licks over the material, pressing down on the cock beneath. Groaning, he sticks his tongue out, wriggling it between the laces.

Aragorn groans as well. "Faramir," he says, "you don't know what you are doing to me."

"," Faramir suggests between licks, taking Aragorn's buttocks in his hands. Cursing softly, Aragorn fumbles with the laces. They slip from his fingers a few times before he finally manages to work them loose.

With one tug, Faramir yanks Aragorn's breeches down to his knees, letting his cock spring free. He pushes Aragorn backward to sit on the bed, taking him into his mouth immediately, sucking and humming in pleasure. Aragorn lets out a muttered string of obscenities; his fingers grip the bedcovers. Faramir continues to suck as if Aragorn is honeycomb, groaning and slurping in enjoyment. His hands run up Aragorn's body.

"Faramir...oh, love, if you keep doing that..." Aragorn says in warning before his breath catches in his throat. He shudders and lifts his hands to grasp at Faramir's.

Reluctantly Faramir raises his head. "If I stop, will you take me on all fours and let me ruin your pillows?"

The King tugs his Steward up and kisses him, long and slow and searching. "Yes," he gasps, "yes, I'll take you." Holding on tightly with one arm, Faramir fumbles at his own clothing with the other. Aragorn tugs as well, as much as he dares without ripping the delicate fabrics. He finally manages to pull away the tunic, but his fingers keep bumping into Faramir's when he tries to unlace his breeches. Faramir laughs, pushing Aragorn's hand up to his chest while he finishes untying the laces and pushing the rest of his clothing to the floor.

"My lovely Faramir," Aragorn murmurs, rolling him onto his back. "Sweet..." He kisses him between words, then begins to work his way down Faramir's body, licking and sucking on all the flesh his mouth encounters. Faramir buries his fingers in the King's hair, rolling his hips and sighing in pleasure. Aragorn presses kisses down Faramir's belly, then pauses, his mouth hovering just above his cock. "Do you realize," he says softly, "that it has been nearly a week since I last did this?"

"Do you realize," groans Faramir in response, "that you had better not do it for more than a minute?"

"If I do..." Aragorn's tongue moves teasingly around Faramir's cock, "will you promise to fill my mouth?"

"But you promised to fill my...aah!" Faramir cries out as Aragorn's tongue strikes the spot just beneath the tip.

Aragorn licks Faramir's cock again. "We have time," he murmurs, his lips moving against Faramir's sensitive flesh.

"Oh, unfair," Faramir groans. "You wouldn't let me..." The very tip of Aragorn's tongue teases along a vein. Raising himself up on an elbow, Faramir glares down, though his harsh breathing only becomes faster when he sees Aragorn licking his cock. "You wouldn't let me finish!"

"Oh, I promise I will let you finish. You may finish all over my face, if you like."

"That is not...what I meant..." With a groan Faramir lets his head fall back. "We cannot miss the evening meal, and I want you to fuck me!"

Aragorn slides back up Faramir's body, pushing him onto his back. "You want me to fuck you?" His eyes are dark and serious, and this is the point at which Faramir always loses whatever shreds of control to which he clings. Fortunately, he knows as well how to make Aragorn respond.

"I want you to fuck me. Now. Please. Fuck me, my King." Faramir's hips press upward urgently.

Stretching his arm out, Aragorn gropes on the shelf above the bed for the little jar of ointment. "Do you want a pillow beneath your hips?" he asks as his fingers dip into the jar.

"I want two pillows," replies Faramir with a grin, gathering them in his arms from above his head.

"Greedy," Aragorn teases, and waits for Faramir to push them under him. He leans over and licks his nipple. "Very greedy." His finger finds the opening to Faramir's body, teasing the muscle there with feather-light touches.

"I am only impatient," Faramir retorts, trying to push himself down onto Aragorn's finger.

"You are always impatient, love," Aragorn says, his voice a purr. "But it is part of what makes you so very endearing." He chuckles softly and licks Faramir's nipple again, the finger slipping inside him.

Faramir groans, holds Aragorn's head down and tightens around him. "We never...have enough time..." he whimpers.

"No," Aragorn agrees, pushing a second finger inside. He holds his hand still as his tongue moves over and around Faramir's nipple. "Never enough...there could never be enough."

After another moment, he begins to move his fingers within Faramir's body, slowly, far too slowly. Faramir rocks downward to encourage Aragorn, moaning shamelessly. "Please," he begs, "Fuck me, give me your cock, now."

A groan rises up in Aragorn's throat, and he pulls his fingers free. "I love it when you talk like that," he gasps, fumbling with the ointment to slick his cock. "Words like that...spilling from your lips!" He moves his body between Faramir's legs, guiding his cock into him, one arm next to Faramir supporting all his weight. He is shaking, suddenly, and very breathless. "You don't know what you do to me."

Faramir has the heel of one foot planted on the mattress to push him against Aragorn, the other in the air pressing against Aragorn's body; he cries out when Aragorn enters him, half in discomfort and half in surprise at how little his cock cares about his stretched lower muscles. "Aragorn," he croaks. "More, please...let me have you..." Aragorn pushes all the way inside, burying himself in Faramir, filling him. "Is this what you want, love?" he whispers, his mouth now against Faramir's chin. "Tell me this is what you want. Tell me to fuck you. Please."

Faramir is trembling at being so open, having Aragorn so deep inside, aching and urgent. "Yes, fuck me," he begs. "I love you. Have me." And Aragorn does. The hand that was guiding his cock into Faramir now grips Faramir's hip, and he begins to move. He is slow and gentle at first, but cannot keep that rhythm; soon, he takes him harder, harder, driving deep before pulling nearly all the way out and thrusting home again.

Faramir shouts each time Aragorn sheaths himself fully, digging his toes into the mattress. He grabs at Aragorn's hand, trying to push it to his own leaking cock before giving up and grabbing himself, thrashing his head back. "Yes," Aragorn gasps, his voice strained. "Touch -- touch yourself." He shudders above Faramir, his hips moving faster now. "Make yourself -- oh, Faramir!"

With a wordless cry Faramir jerks his hips upward, shoving himself into his own fist. His seed shoots over his hand to splatter onto Aragorn's belly and his own. Feeling the hot splash on his skin is enough to send Aragorn tumbling as well. His hips jolt helplessly as he shoves himself in deep, deeper, coming inside Faramir with a shout.

"...oh...yes...Aragorn," Faramir groans when he can find his voice, feeling himself impaled as Aragorn surrenders his pleasure deep within. "Give it to me..." He will ache all evening, and the ache will make him smile.

Aragorn collapses on Faramir's chest, gasping for breath. "Sorry...I'm sorry, love. I couldn't...couldn't stop."

Faramir's arms go around him despite the sticky dampness of his fingers, holding on tightly. "What could you possibly be sorry for? I did not want you to stop!"

"I wanted to make it last. At least a little longer." Aragorn pulls out carefully, biting his lip. He falls to his side, still breathing heavily. "I cannot drink my fill of you, it seems."

Turning, Faramir pushes the pillows from beneath him and tangles his legs with Aragorn's. "I could not have lasted another moment," he admits. Shifting closer, he feels wetness slide down his thigh and grins ruefully. "Nor am I certain that I would be able to sit, later, if we had."

Aragorn wraps his arms around Faramir, tugging him as close as he can. "If you could not sit, my dear Steward," he says softly, "I would feel terribly guilty."

"Well, I would feel wonderful," answers Faramir defiantly. "Even when my wife laughed at me. But this way I will feel wonderful enough to do it again tomorrow."

Aragorn laughs then; a soft, throaty chuckle. "But perhaps tomorrow, I will want you to fuck me."

"Perhaps I will," Faramir nods agreeably. "If you will let me clean you now, and taste you before we go to dine."

"Oh, yes," says Aragorn, "you may do whatever you please."

"Whatever I please?" Faramir kisses his lips, then his throat, moving his mouth slowly down to Aragorn's collarbone where he sucks the unprotected skin hard, leaving a mark. "May I tell the Council that I love you? Shall I shout it from the parapets? Then I will no longer need to fear that all can see it in my face."

Aragorn moans softly, stroking Faramir's hair. "I do not know that I would try to stop you," he admits.

Faramir lifts his head to meet the King's eyes. "It does not bother you that I need you this way? I do not know if you wish me to seek you less often. If, as your Steward, I make you feel trapped."

"Of course it does not bother me," Aragorn replies, touching his cheek. "For I love you desperately, Faramir."

Closing his eyes, Faramir slides his face into the space between Aragorn's chin and shoulder. "Then I am glad," he murmurs happily.

"As am I," Aragorn says, stroking his back. "You are not in pain?"

"Not very much."

"Shall I see if I can kiss it away?"

Faramir lifts his head to stare, thinking that Aragorn is certainly making a joke. But his eyes are dark and serious again, and Faramir dares not laugh.

"You...want mean that you would..."

Aragorn pulls away, and Faramir thinks for a terrible moment that he is offended. But he is still holding Faramir's hand, and tugs him over onto his belly, folding his arm beside his face. "Move your legs apart," he says quietly and crawls behind him, out of view. Faramir does not obey at first, still fearful that Aragorn does not really wish to do this, until he feels hands trailing up the backs of his legs. "You have the most delectable backside I have ever seen," Aragorn says in a lighter voice, and he presses kisses to the twin dimples in the small of Faramir's back.

Faramir shudders. He is still sore, and his balls feel tight, yet his cock is trying to stiffen again, making the tip tingle uncomfortably. He thinks it is entirely possible that he will scream if Aragorn puts his tongue any lower, and he also thinks he does not care.

Aragorn murmurs endearments, some in Elvish, as his lips travel downward from the base of Faramir's spine. Lower, and his fingers part Faramir's buttocks. "Ohh," Faramir whispers when he can feel the King's hot breath gusting against the raw, damp space where it seems that every nerve in his body is now focused. Aragorn whispers his Steward's name, reverently, before his tongue touches him there, seeking traces of his own seed. "Ahh!" Faramir bites down onto the pillow beneath his face to stifle a wail.

"Faramir? Love, tell me you like this. Tell me you want this."

Faramir can feel Aragorn tremble as his tongue pushes inside him, and he groans raggedly. "I...aiee!" It is the most coherent sound Faramir can make, and he makes it again, more loudly, as Aragorn penetrates him more deeply, sending an ache so pleasurable that it feels almost like a cramp through his groin. His cock is throbbing against the mattress. And Aragorn's tongue seems to be impossibly thick as it moves within him, tasting, exploring, making Faramir quiver. He shudders all over, almost bucking Aragorn's mouth off him. Gasping in a harsh breath, he lets it out in a silent scream that turns into a real one.

Aragorn pulls back at the sound. His hand comes up to rest on the small of Faramir's back. "Are you all right?" he asks softly.

"I''s too much," Faramir gasps. Sweat is pouring down his face, and he is shaking all over.

Aragorn moves to lie at his side, a hand still comforting his back. "It's all right, love," he whispers, "don't apologize." Faramir turns into his arms, burying his face and soaked hair against Aragorn's body. He opens his mouth to taste Aragorn's skin, not kissing, just letting his tongue rest against the flesh so that the salt and sweet take over his senses. His lover's arms are warm and tight around him, and his soft, soothing voice covers him like a blanket. "Faramir," he murmurs, "you are so good. So perfect. I love you so much."

"Love you," Faramir breathes. He does not think he can speak, and moves his mouth more deliberately on Aragorn so that he has an excuse not to try.

"Mmm," says Aragorn, "...nice." He moves restlessly against Faramir, tugging him closer. "Are you certain we cannot miss the evening meal?"

"We will be missed," Faramir groans. "By everyone. Imrahil..."

Then Aragorn sighs, gently pushing away from Faramir. "We will be late if we stay here much longer." Faramir shakes, fighting the urge to pull Aragorn back to him until he can breathe again. He nods, rolling onto his back, trying to gather his wits as Aragorn sits up and goes to get a small washbasin and cloths. The King begins to bathe Faramir, dripping water onto the already soiled covers.

Reluctantly Faramir stops him with a hand on his face. "You should go," he says quietly. "I will not be missed as quickly, and it would be better if we did not appear together. I will join you soon."

Aragorn nods, and leans forward to kiss Faramir. "I will watch for you, then," he says, rising to his feet to wash himself. He begins to dress in regal finery, watching Faramir the entire time. "We are fortunate," he murmurs, "that I have as much self-control as I do."

To this, Faramir cannot help but snort, "I will remind myself of that, the next time I feel your hands on me under the table."

Aragorn grins boyishly. "That is, indeed, self-control, for if I had none, I would take you on the table."

"Perhaps we should sit on opposite sides," Faramir laughs, sitting up slowly. His head throbs for a moment, and he pauses to take a breath.

"That would not help," says Aragorn, straightening his clothing, "for I would spend hours gazing at you."

"And we could not possibly hand one another notes," replies Faramir. "Though it might be safer if we stopped, even now. One day, one of them is certain to be intercepted."

"You know," Aragorn muses, "I think I would enjoy seeing the reactions to your artwork."

Faramir glares, stretching and putting his feet on the floor. "It would be amusing for perhaps two minutes. And we would pay for the rest of our lives. As would our wives, our families. Too many suspect already."

Aragorn nods. "I know."

"And do you plan to worry about it?"

"I think," says the King gently, "that you worry enough for the both of us."

"Someone must." Faramir stands and pulls Aragorn against him. "Because I could not bear to lose this, and we would have to, if we were discovered."

"I know." Aragorn wraps his arms around Faramir, and kisses him tenderly. "I could not bear to lose this, either. You mean far too much to me."

Faramir is very tempted not to release Aragorn, but to keep him there. He dares not try to explain what the King means to him, not if he expects to be able to face him while dining a few minutes hence. "Then go," he says. "Quickly."

Aragorn kisses Faramir again before pulling away. "I will see you soon," he says, and quickly leaves the room.

Painstakingly Faramir pulls on his clothes, shaking out his shoulders and stretching his arms to try to make himself relax. Eowyn will know at once what he has been up to, and the thought makes him smile; but his uncle will not smile, nor his cousins, and lately he thinks that Legolas does not smile at him so readily either. Perhaps he believes he should be defending Arwen's honor.

For his part, Aragorn seems content to deny the reactions of all but their wives. Certainly he knows the way others regard them, or at least he acknowledges that he does, yet the King is far too reckless.

Faramir takes his time walking to the great hall where the council is dining, detouring to his rooms, where one of the servants has hung the portrait of his father that once adorned his private chamber, probably thinking it would be a kindness to Faramir to show him that Denethor was not forgotten. He shifts his eyes away and reminds himself to have it moved in the morning to a darker corner. As he dresses in clothing that is less wrinkled than what he wore to the council, he hopes that Eowyn will perhaps come looking for him, but when she does not appear, he walks to the great hall.

A seat is empty to Aragorn's left, with Eowyn seated on its other side. "My lady," he murmurs, bowing low and kissing his wife's hand. She turns to him with her eyebrow cocked, and he knows that she must already have been tormenting Aragorn about the cause of their lateness. Further down the table, Imrahil glances in their direction, and Faramir turns all his attention to bestowing flirtatious kisses up Eowyn's arm.

"My lord Steward," Aragorn says, his voice light, "I do not believe that the Lady Eowyn has spilled her soup on her arm. Yours, on the other hand, is growing cold."

Not daring to look at the King, though failure to acknowledge him is a breach of propriety, Faramir sinks into his seat between them. He turns past Aragorn to nod to Arwen, who smiles reassuringly. His cousin Elphir is seated across the table, and Faramir nods to him as well.

"I was saying to Elphir," Aragorn says, stirring his spoon about his soup, "that it would appear we will have a bountiful harvest this year. A good sign, I think. Don't you, Faramir?"

"Indeed," Faramir nods agreeably, taking a spoonful of cold soup. "We should make certain that none goes to waste. Our neighbors in Rohan still have many fields that have not been restored from the battles."

"A brilliant suggestion," replies Aragorn. "We will be certain to make plans for that at our next meeting."

"Hardly brilliant, my lord," Faramir says, wishing that he were not blushing. He looks at Eowyn, not Aragorn, as he adds, "It is hard not to remember the misfortune of those near to us."

"Very true," Aragorn says as Eowyn smiles at Faramir.

Imrahil appears to be listening, but he has turned toward his younger son, and Faramir relaxes a bit, just as Eowyn whispers, "Are you sore?"

Now Faramir no longer minds that he is blushing. "Perhaps a little," he admits, sipping at his soup.

"I will rub you later, if you will rub me later," she murmurs in his ear, and they giggle together, turning heads down the table.

His uncle nods to him, inclining his head and smiling faintly. Faramir nods back, taking a covert glance about the room. Several pairs of eyes are on him, but they are twinkling in appreciation of his closeness with his wife and the King. Faramir meets the gazes of a few and smiles, raising his goblet in acknowledgment, and suddenly he feels safe and happy once more.