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The cold stone walls of Minas Tirith never seem more oppressive than they do in his absence. Much like there is no summer without the sun, no night without the moon, this ice palace is no home when he is not here.

Faramir has been away for nearly three months this time, on one of the useless errands father delights in contriving for no purpose other than to keep his younger son busy and away from Gondor. How can our own father hate so intensely what I love with equal intensity? At times, I find myself thinking that he keeps us apart so much because he knows the dark secret hidden within my soul. But that thought is too unsettling to even consider it.
When it enters my mind now, I decide to concentrate on something positive instead: Faramir's return, only yesterday. Instantly, my heart feels lighter, yet heavier all at once.

"Boromir! Join us!" my brother calls from outside, where he is practising his fencing with one of the servants, right beneath my rooms.

I move to the arched window, where I lean my arms on the stone and partly recline on the cushioned bench below it. "How did you know I was up here, Faramir?" I call back, amused.

His face lights up with a great smile. "You forget, my dear brother, I always know where you are." With a mischievous wink, he adds, "As well as what you do. And what you think."

I laugh heartily, though to me, it sounds hollow. No, Faramir is many things, and all of them are good, but he is no seer or mind reader. And for that, I thank every deity in existence.

"It's a beautiful, warm day, Boromir. Come down here!"

His eyes are sparkling up at me, and I am sorely tempted. And that is the very reason why I must not go below. Ever since he has returned from his latest assignment, I have found it harder than ever to act natural and light-hearted in his presence. I have missed him too much this time, and too many shameful thoughts have been haunting my mind - all of them focused on my brother, my own kin. I feel certain I shall suffer dearly for this impurity of thought one day... Suddenly, I become aware that Faramir is still awaiting a response from me. I inwardly curse my distraction, for it will certainly betray me one day.

"I prefer the chill indoors, Faramir," I call back to him. "You know I don't share your fondness for the summer heat." I am lying, of course, as I would sit inside a roaring furnace if it meant being near him.

"Very well then," he calls light-heartedly. "You can watch my technique while you freeze in your draughty chambers, and let me know later how I may improve it." I force a smile, and he turns away with one of his own, back to his practice. He takes up his stance, his pale shirt sleeves fluttering in the soft breeze as he raises his arms. The folds of the smooth linen part as far down as his ribcage when he lifts the sword and positions his long, black-clad legs a good step apart.

No, I shall not be freezing, watching him fence from the safety of my room. I shall be dying from the heat.

The sudden clanging of blades causes me to jolt guiltily. I must watch this inattention, the way my mind shifts out of focus when I see him, hear him, even only sense him nearby. The only thing I fear more than Faramir learning my secret, is that our father will one day find me lost in the vision that is my brother, my eyes showing my desire for him as clearly as if it was written upon my face in ink. That must never happen. Father is not a good man. And when it comes to Faramir, he can be monstrous. I know deep down that even though the shame is all mine, he would make him suffer for it as well. He would somehow blame the very purity of his hated son for the disgrace of his once loved son, and that I could not endure.

But here, alone within my chambers, I may allow my attention to drift back to Faramir. I have a perfect vantage point to watch his swordplay. If I lean on the banister just so, I can support my chin on my forearm and see him without the obstruction of the high treetops. His fencing is excellent. He embues it with a grace and finesse I, like most men of Gondor, lack. Yet there is much skill in his technique as well, deceptively hidden by his almost dance-like style.

I find myself dreaming with my eyes wide open. The same, cursed dream that haunts me every time I watch Faramir so. For when I see how exquisitely he moves in this sport, I cannot help but imagine how exquisitely he would writhe beneath a lover's touch. Beneath my touch. How his head would fall back and his spine would arch as he was being ravished. How the curve of his slender neck would stretch into a tightly strung bow while his full lips would part in a silent gasp... Groaning, I press into the cushion I have been leaning on, and I realise to my dismay that I am achingly hard.

Faramir's laughter rings through the air like silver bells. Does he mock me unknowingly? But no, not he. He is far too kind and gentle. But then, how would he react if he knew the state I am in for watching him? Perhaps that is where even Faramir's kindness would have its limits?

His eyes lift upwards, and I am dazzled by his smile. He is waving up at me in a brief pause in his training as his opponent regains his strength, and I wave back dazedly, attempting a smile of my own. By the time he averts his gaze once more and takes up his stance, I have grown harder still. The depths of his sapphire eyes have pulled me deeper into my shame, and I fear there is no other cure now but for me to retreat back into the privacy of my room, out of Faramir's sight and hearing, and take care of my trouble.

I see a flash of sunlight reflecting off a particularly enticing strand of his copper hair, and I know I cannot give up such a perfect opportunity to gaze at him openly and without raising suspicion. To indulge like this... I feel my face burn with embarrassment, but before I can think better of it, my hand has already slipped between the brocade cushion and my pressing arousal. I cannot help the sound of relief at that first touch and, squeezing my eyes shut, I pray that Faramir cannot hear me.

It seems I am in luck. The swordplay has covered up my soft cry, and Faramir thus continues unawares. I fight down my self-hatred for using the pure image of my beloved brother in this way, but I am too weak to prevent my own actions, and so I begin to stroke myself through the rough fabric of my clothing. I am already so aroused that the friction is painful, and I do the only thing I can - I slip my hand inside the loose linen and grasp myself more firmly. Perhaps I can at least make this a brief, rushed disgrace.

A cry from below the balcony makes me fight to focus my eyes, and I realise that Faramir has deftly outmanouvered his opponent. The sound continues to ring in my ears where it shapes itself into a cry of passion. Is this how Faramir would sound if one... if... I... closed my hand over his arousal and began to stroke him as I am doing to myself? Would he cry out again, softly, if I were gentle? What if I held him hard, aroused him into desperation... would he then groan wantonly, causing me to shiver with his reflected pleasure?

Faramir... sweet brother... if only you could know the pleasure I feel now, without my having to admit the guilt which accompanies it... the dark secret which seems, for a few moments of pure delight, almost bright enough to bring into the open. But it is only in moments like these that my senses leave me so utterly, for I cannot reveal my secret. The hurt would be too great if you were to reject me - and reject me you would, as there is nothing else you could do, for you are not depraved as I. Compared to me, you, sweet Faramir, are purer than an angel. And how like an angel you seem to me... the glistening of your eyes as you throw your head back laughing nearly moves me to completion, but foolish as I am, I pause and continue more slowly, for I do not yet want to relinquish my hold over this fantasy I have created...

You, Faramir... laid out on my bed like a gift from the heavens... your arms spread wide to receive me... your lush mouth curved into a teasing smile... I sigh at the images my mind conjures, and concentrating on you - the real you, beneath my window - I notice how your slender hand tightens around the hilt of your sword, and my own hand tightens in response, wringing a deep groan from me. How easily you can undo me with a simple gesture. What power you have over me. I am so near to release, I find it hard to keep quiet enough to avoid embarrassment. Within moments, I will erupt to the sight of your lithe form, the way your red-gold locks shift with each step you take towards or back from your opponent. The way your long, muscled legs move and part and once more come together will make me find my guilty release within my own grasp.

But in the end, it is none of those things. What tips my willing body into the abyss is nothing other than the curve of your throat and the tightening of your jaw as you throw your head back and turn it ever so slightly, your cry of victory reverberating through my clenching muscles like a cry of release.

My release comes as you lower your sword, signalling the end of your match, and stand, panting harshly, looking up at me.

Looking up at me! As I am wracked by shock after shock of pleasure, your heated body is partly exposed to me, your wide eyes - shining hotly from your recent exhaustion - gaze up at me, and I climax with our eyes locked, willing myself not to cry out, close my eyes, sob, or die of shame.

While my seed runs hotly through my fingers, you, sweet Faramir, let me fall into your eyes, unwittingly catching me.

It is not until I taste the bead of sweat upon my lips that I shift my attention to your lips and realise... they are curved into a knowing smile.


The End