Why did you die when the lambs were cropping?
You should have died at the apples' dropping,
When the grasshopper comes to trouble,
And the wheatfields are sodden stubble,
And all winds go sighing
For sweet things dying.
(from Christina Rossetti's "A Dirge")
It was forbidden that they should touch. The threat of death hung over them should they ever forget this. And as neither could bear the thought of losing the other, they kept it ever in their minds.
But the longing grew stronger. Year by year, month by month, day by day... Simply being in the same room became torture. To see but not touch. To sense the completion of their very selves, just out of reach. To be subjected, at every shared glance, to the feverish imaginings of passionate cries and the scent and taste of warm, familiar flesh... it was driving them insane.
They both felt it. Perhaps they always had.
When Faramir was 19 years of age, Boromir had gone to him and shared his secret. "I cannot bear deceit between us, my brother, so I must tell you this. I desire you, Faramir. More than I have ever desired anyone or ever will. But you must not fear me, for I will never touch you in any way that is inappropriate between brothers." His voice had been choked, and he had feared that Faramir's hatred would be upon him for the rest of his lonely days.
Instead, Faramir - his blue eyes sad and full of longing - had sighed and said, "I wish that you could, Boromir. With all my heart."
Boromir had choked on the sorrow of such impossible happiness, and since that day, their mutual craving had grown incessantly.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They sat by a winter fire in Boromir's room. Try as they might, they could not keep from sharing each other's company, even if they were not permitted to share more.
"I still wish it, Boromir." Faramir's statement hung heavily between them.
Boromir sighed. "As do I, Faramir."
They stared into the fire, heat reflecting back into their eyes in tiny flames, as if their desire was passed between them through the fire.
"I wish..." Faramir began, playing with a thin branch and letting the hungry flames lick at it. "I wish I could burn myself on you like this. To be singed until my layers are peeled away and turned to ash, leaving only the raw, fresh center of me, completely open to you."
Boromir gasped, watching the branch be slowly engulfed, until the virgin core of it was exposed to the fire, heat making beads of sap well forth from the wood. His lips felt terribly dry, and he licked them unconsciously. "Does it hurt to be so vulnerable?"
"It does." Faramir pushed the branch entirely into the fire, and they watched it burn - sizzling and crackling as its sap was consumed. "In the most rapturous way."
"Then I wish..." Boromir's eyes narrowed when the last sparks of fresh sap sprung across the grate. "I could incinerate you."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Do you not wish, brother..." Faramir cried, his arms stretched out at his sides as he stood atop the tall cliff. "That we could spread our wings like eagles do, and fly to where there are no laws to keep us from each other's arms? To leap into oblivion, wrapped in eternal embrace, until we soar into the stars themselves, to take our place among them as a single cluster of starlight?"
Boromir sat on the dewy spring grass beside his brother, crying silent tears as the wind whipped at his face. "I wish nothing more, sweet brother," he choked out. "Than to live among the host of stars with you, far from those that might harm us."
"Why then do we linger?" Faramir asked softly, and he dared to look at Boromir. Beautiful eyes full of longing drew him, and he leaned down, and though Boromir flinched from him in fear of his own reaction, Faramir pressed the tip of his index finger to his brother's cheek to pluck away a tear. He raised his finger to his lips and suckled the salty drop with closed eyes and a soft sigh.
"You cannot know how much of my soul has just become part of yours," Boromir whispered huskily, gazing up at his lovely brother.
Faramir looked down upon him, and it seemed that the blue of his eyes had taken on a touch of green. "I do know." He held his brother's eyes with utter devotion, until neither of them could bear it any longer.
Then he turned to look out over the valley below once more, and Boromir watched the pronounced swallowing motion of his Adam's apple. He watched Faramir take a step closer to the cliff's edge; the wind played with the copper curls around his face, and Boromir wished he was the wind.
"I can feel you within me," Faramir murmured, his voice sounding awed. "More than ever."
Boromir drew his knees close to his body, lay his head upon them, and cried silently.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They lay shaded beneath a huge acorn tree, one which had grown by the river since before they had been born.
Back when they had been children, Boromir - older and taller than Faramir - had often reached up and plucked acorns from their branches, then taken the bulbous, leafy part and peeled its two halves open until they were like sticky little wings. Those he had stuck on Faramir's delicate nose and cried out delightedly, "Look, Faramir! I've given you wings and made you an angel!"
And Faramir had laughed and thrown himself into Boromir's arms, and Boromir had spun him around until he almost did fly, and only when they had both been too dizzy to keep on spinning, had they fallen to the soft grass beneath the tree, where Boromir had plucked the sticky leaves from Faramir's nose and tucked them into his pocket surrepticiously.
Back then, they had been allowed to touch. They remembered this whenever they lay under the tree now, which was not often, for the memory hurt too much.
"Oh that you could give me wings still..." Faramir mused this day.
"Would you take my hand and let me fly away with you?" Boromir asked in a choked whisper.
"I would." Tears ran down Faramir's cheeks as he stretched out his arm at his side and his fingertips found Boromir's in the grass.
Shivers ran through them both at this gentlest of touches, and they laboured to remain as they were - flat on their backs and gazing up into the corn-blue summer sky.
"Day by day, this cruel fate eats away at us," Boromir said sadly. "How much longer, Faramir? How long can we endure?"
"I know not, sweet brother." Faramir's fingers curled around his brother's, cold for all the summer warmth around them, trembling with need for other touches more fervent. "Not long," he whispered softly.
"Not long," Boromir agreed, swallowing the unspent tears which, were they to be released, would surely burn his face.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They stood together on the edge of the stream where it was most remote and sheltered by trees. Late autumn had ravished a path through the thicket, and storm-tossed trees were bending and groaning beneath the twilight sky like ancient creatures too tired to go on living.
Winter threatened to be upon them any day now. Winter which would bring with it frosts, and ice-cold nights, and the need for closeness before a blazing fire. The sons of Gondor knew they could not deny it for another winter. Not when it had torn at them throughout all the seasons, growing only stronger and stronger and leading them, finally, here. To this precarious perch of sanity.
"There will be no more waiting, Faramir." Boromir smiled.
"Not another single day. Not an hour." Faramir whispered, his voice filled with anticipation.
They turned towards each other, simply gazing at the stillness of the other, with the storms howling about them and their wavy hair and noble garments being tossed as though the wind itself was angry with them.
Winter had ever been in Faramir's blue eyes, though often tempered by spring, while Boromir's eyes held the seasons in between - the rich green grass of summer, faded and softened by autumnal gold. In their locked gazes then, all seasons came together, and when they took each other's hands, all time fell into place.
They waded into the shallow water by the bank, mindless of the cold enclosing their legs and hips, lapping at their waists. Then they stopped and stood before each other, both hands clasped, and their lingering warmth kept the green water's chill from their blood a little longer.
"I wish..." Boromir began, his voice trembling with cold.
Faramir smiled, and all the stars not yet risen in the sky for the soon approaching night were in his eyes. "Yes, my brother. One last wish for us both."
"Then for us both I wish..." Boromir stepped closer, releasing one of his brother's hands to cup a cool cheek. "That we may make this kiss last until the end of time."
"And so we shall," Faramir whispered, tilting his head. And his parted lips breathed but a moment's worth of cool forest air before the velvet of his brother's lips was upon them, closing them, then parting them once more, softly, tenderly lingering there, the moist rosy blush of one pair conquered by the lush ripe fabric of the other.
The river lapped at them, not strongly enough to disturb, and the forest seemed to still around them. Even the raging storm ceased as though reconsidering its anger in the face of such love, when within their open mouths, their tastes did finally mingle into a sweet, eternal brew, the sweetness untempered by the sin of it.
Boromir whispered against Faramir's lips, "And so to sleep, and may we wake in each other's arms at the beginning of eternity." A contented sigh answered him, and he kissed Faramir once more and drew him close, and in their embrace, the brothers sank beneath the cool waters, so that their sin may be washed from Arda's conscience.