Summary: Matters like these are not spoken of.
Pairing: Faramir & Elladan, Faramir & Aragorn
Rating: T, to be safe
Warnings: Slash, infidelity and some angst
Disclaimer: All characters belong to J.R.R. Tolkien
A/N: Here's a puzzle for you!
His companion's eyes glimmered. "Come."
Faramir had tried to make light of it. Thrice, by now, but he was running out of excuses. "El, I don't think…"
The elf's hand on his sleeve resumed its grasp. "You think entirely too much. It is a wonder you are at all standing here. Come now."
Faramir glanced around the crowded floor. The first number of dances had long since ended and now the impeccable rings of dancers had dissolved and couples had begun to form. It was most unorthodox – but so was dancing altogether in this hall.
"Is this how you do it in Imladris?" he asked Elladan, stalling for time, perhaps.
"Would you like to find out?" Elladan took a firmer grip on his wrist and tugged him closer. His grey eyes were dancing, all on their own, and his smile turned seductive in the way that made Faramir's belly turn itself into a knot. A not entirely unpleasant knot, if truth be told.
"Not here?" Faramir suggested on a quick exhale.
And Elladan, one of the twin Lords of Rivendell, rolled his eyes at him. But at least he was still smiling. "How do you ever get engaged, you Gondorians? Let alone lose your vi–"
"We do," Faramir blurted before he had to hear that particular word spill from Elladan's lips. "We just…" His gaze sank to the small sliver clasp that held the elf's tunic together at his throat.
Placating fingers brushed his chin and tilted it back. "I know." His mouth on Faramir's was equally soft, the kiss both somehow reassuring and a plea for forgiveness. The very tip of his tongue dipped into Faramir's lower lip but that was as bold as it got.
Elladan's hand, however, abandoned his wrist and came to settle in the small of his back instead, giving light pressure. "Dance with me?"
And Faramir relented.
They skirted the edge of the crowd, mingling just a fraction with the other dancers so as to blend in as best they could without ending up in the centre of the floor. Even Elladan could agree that it was wise to not provoke too forcefully too early. Minas Tirith was, after all, not a place where all-male love was elevated and celebrated.
Nevertheless, Faramir stepped into his embrace, rested his head on his shoulder and breathed him in. Elladan moved them both with ease through slow turns that maybe did not perfectly match the slightly livelier music but made sense to Faramir. The War was a thousand years away.
He slid an arm around her waist and laughed. "Come, Boromir, you are entirely too grave."
His Steward gave a grunt and turned his displeasure to him. "I suppose this is how you do it in Imladris?"
Aragorn smiled. "You have stayed in the Valley – why don't you tell me?"
"Under dire circumstances," Boromir reminded him. "I saw no such revelry then."
"Naturally." Arwen gave him her most conciliating smile and although it should not work on Boromir – by all means of logic – somehow it still did. "But you should not think of my birthplace as a land of seriousness and gloom," she continued, "for in truth it is not."
"My lady," Boromir inclined his head at the swaying crowd. "The proof is before me." There was silence between them for a moment until he added, "Well, at least my brother is happy."
Arwen followed his gaze and her smile graced her eyes. "And so is mine."
The silk underneath Aragorn's hand was warming to his touch. Faramir was wearing a plain linen shirt. He let her go.
"Come, Boromir, will you not dance with me?" She stepped up to him, and though she was tall he was taller still. "I am sure my husband could spare me for a while."
"My lady, my leg…"
"Is well healed. I know it troubles you some but did not my father advise you to use it, lest it turn stiff and lame?" It was perhaps a cruel tactic but she spoke with such sweetness that her tone took the sting out of her words, and perhaps also softened the memory of the elven healing Boromir had been subjected to and had been forced to praise.
"So he did, my Queen."
"So there." Arwen's beautiful smile carried to Aragorn, over her shoulder. "If our Steward's brother dances with mine, I might well dance with the Steward."
"Indeed." Aragorn smiled back at her, "but be gentle."
She did not reply but Aragorn kept smiling. Because he had no other option.
Elladan's lips grazed his neck. "I miss you."
Faramir smiled, eyes closed. "I am right here."
"I miss you still."
The elf had not cut his hair for many months and the ends tickled Faramir's hands as he moved them up Elladan's back. They were dancing very close now, chest to chest, thighs pressing together and more than that. Faramir was not innocent – he knew where this was leading – but he did not want it just yet.
And Elladan knew him. Elladan, the King's foster-brother, who had ensnared Faramir's heart with one single glance as the Captains of the West rode through the City Gate as conquerors after the defeat of the Shadow, knew him. He knew that Faramir had no particular desire to be taken, brutally, forcefully, in the throes of passion, somewhere against a wall, but that he wished – genuinely – to be seduced, courted, and caressed, body and soul.
And so Elladan moved his palms to Faramir's hips and from there dragged them up his sides until he came no further but had to cup his head and cheek instead and try for a kiss. Faramir gave it to him and the traditions and prejudices of Minas Tirith be damned. He did not open his eyes again until it was over and Elladan's breathing was his own again.
"Will you join me in my chambers tonight?"
"Did you know?"
Boromir kept his distance to the Queen even as he spun her slowly, as his leg commanded. She was… overwhelming. He pondered her question – and his answer – before replying. "I do not know?"
She raised one fine, dark eyebrow. "You do not know if you knew?"
He considered that, too. "Precisely."
She gave him a teasing grin. "They say you are rash, Boromir of Gondor. Outspoken and thoughtless in personal matters. Where is your temper?"
He swallowed. "It must be your grace, my lady, which softens it."
She laughed at that, grey eyes glittering. Leaning in a little closer, she lowered her voice. "Shall I tell you a secret?"
He licked dry lips. "If it is your wish."
"You speak like a poet." She pulled back again. "But fear not, I shall tell no one."
"I'm afraid you are wrong," he told her. "My brother is the poet. He knows his words."
Her cheekiness melted into a sudden burst of true affection. "He is sweet indeed. And very much in love, by the looks of it. But you did not know that he likes males?"
"We never discussed it," said Boromir, unwilling to look at her. He fixed his gaze on the abandoned throne on the dais instead. "By the time he was old enough the War was upon us, at least in spirit. The days were dark and our father… lost himself to that darkness."
He never saw it coming but her fingertips suddenly skidded over his temple. "It is done. Everything is done," she said softly. "Yet you hide too much in your heart and never give it voice."
And he never would.
The wine was too sweet. Aragorn set aside his cup and wished it were otherwise. That he could drink till morning and sunset and morning again. But the wine was too sweet.
Faramir's copper curls were tangled in Elladan's fingers. Aragorn had never once, in eighty-eight years seen his foster-brother this happy. It had been Elrohir who had given Estel a shove towards some pretty elf, hissing in his ear to remind him to admire her beauty, compliment her smile perhaps and offer her a dance. Elladan had encouraged him, too, but it had not been the same. Never less informative and heartfelt, but different.
Estel had dreamed of elven females and later even mortal women, but Aragorn…
Aragorn blinked the years away.
"Did you lose your wife?"
Faramir was beside him, eyes bright and lips reddened. His face open. Aragorn looked away. "She is dancing with Boromir."
"My brother?" Faramir spun to spot them in the crowd. "My brother does not dance. His leg pains him and…" He turned back with a near-sheepish smile and shrugged. "He is not easily persuaded."
It had to be some jest between them, Aragorn assumed, when Elladan laughed. "Brothers indeed." His arm snaked around Faramir's waist. "Stubborn is he?"
Faramir's lips quirked into a peculiar smile. "I believe it is called 'Gondorian'."
Elladan kissed that smile away but it was Aragorn's eyes he met when it was done. "Good night, foster-brother."
Aragorn opened his mouth but the words did not come. Faramir's eyes were too bright, too close. Too searching.
"Elladan has offered me his bed tonight," he said, boldly, unwisely. Bloody dangerously.
Aragorn's throat was tight and his voice even more so. "We shall have to find you somewhere else besides your soldier's quarters. I'm sorry, I…"
But Faramir, damn him, caught his eye and shook his head. "Good night, Aragorn."
They left the Great Hall hand in hand.
Elladan's chambers were large and airy. Normally. Tonight they were sweltering. Or perhaps it was Faramir's skin that blazed under his touch.
"Here." Elladan guided him into the darkness with kisses and caresses. 'Come', he would say, too, or 'now', or 'please'.
Faramir dragged his lips over his smooth cheek and pressed a kiss into the corner of his mouth. The elf was a pulsating presence among the shadows that fell in hushed patterns on the floor. Hands were on Faramir's hips, guiding him. Elladan rubbed that smooth cheek against Faramir's stubble and went for his shirt. "I want all of you."
Faramir had no words for any of this. He should have, in theory, but he lacked them sorely in reality. He nodded, rendered mute by the wave of expectation that rose in his breast.
He let Elladan undress him, and then aided the elf to shed his own clothes. They were more alike in stature than he had once thought though Elladan's skin was creamy rather than freckled and near-hairless, save for the thatch of dark, silky hair around the base of his risen length.
"Please," he said now. "Please, Faramir."
Elladan had not been his first. He had been his second. The first was a Ranger who subtly had let his Captain know of his preferences and so Faramir had given in against all better judgement – if only to find out if he was right in his suspicions about the nature of his own desires. And he had been but that had not been love.
Faramir had not known true love until he woke in the Houses but that had resulted only in a dream. By the time the City Gates had opened for the Captains, he was ready for something that might actually be possible.
Elladan lifted his long ink-black hair aside and even in the darkness, Faramir knew every detail, every shift in his face. "Yes," he said, that word at least coming easily to him.
They moved onto the bed as one, Elladan bringing Faramir down with him, to cradle him and touch him. Faramir swelled in his hand and searched for his mouth and the kiss was their longest yet that night.
There is a sliver of moonlight slashed across the bed. Faramir lies in his arms, face to his, their legs tangled. There is silence, except for their softened breathing. Elladan's eyes are pools of muted summer starlight among the shadows.
"Do you oft think of him?"
"I think of you."
The elf's gaze never wavers. "But him?"
Faramir sighs. He is determined to keep his own gaze just as steady. "I cannot say. I think of you always. Both of you. You are… always. Constants." He lifts a hand to brush one glossy black strand over Elladan's shoulder. "But different. I do not think of you as I think of him."
For the first time there is a sharper edge to the silvery grey of Elladan's eyes. "You are mine."
Faramir rolls on top of him, quite effortlessly. He drapes himself over him and leaves a kiss on his mouth. "With pleasure."
Then, a smile, and the elf's arms come around him and hug him tight. "Just remember that. Please."
"Always." Faramir lets himself be enveloped, skin to skin.
There is moonlight spilling in from the open window. She is radiant, awash in silver, even in her sleep. She is ever his.
He rolls out of bed and despite the warm night the tiles are cool under his bare feet.
He throws on a robe and wishes he had never done it. He leaves their bedchamber, he leaves their apartments wishing he were wise enough to still be in bed beside his wife.
Minas Tirith lies swathed in midnight shades. The carpets mute his steps and no one sees him. He wishes someone would. Almost.
The party from Imladris is housed in various parts of the Tower but as their Lord Elladan was given a set of the finest chambers available. Aragorn steals towards them now, closer and closer, and it is his pounding heart that bears him thither, more so than his legs and feet.
The door appears all too real to him in the gloom. By now his own breath is crushing him, his need too great and his shame a choking collar around his throat. Still he lifts a hand and ghosts his palm over the wood, taking a moment to maybe reconsider. But it is futile. It is already done.
The door slides open as if by magic. Faramir is pale in the night. Their eyes meet and Aragorn can think no more. He backs away, gives Faramir the space he needs to step out into the hallway and close the door behind him. He, too, is wearing a long robe, only loosely wrapped around his middle and barely held together by some sash Aragorn cares nothing for.
There is an alcove only a few steps down the hallway. At the very end there is a window where starlight and moonlight blend well enough to give Faramir's hesitation a face. Aragorn swallows. Then the moment passes and all is as it should have been.
They meet in a kiss only half-heartedly confined to the shadows. Aragorn walks Faramir sideways, backwards, walks him into the alcove but never breaks the kiss. He tries not to think of the fact that by all means of logic, Faramir tastes of Elladan.
The stone cradles them silently. Faramir's hands slide down Aragorn's back, tugging at the silky robe. Aragorn reaches for the younger man's hips, pushing at the lush fabric, and finding that underneath it Faramir is completely naked.
"I need you," Aragorn rasps out, his mouth half-buried in Faramir's hair, near his ear.
Faramir's responding shiver is what presses them even closer together. Skin grates against the wall as Aragorn seeks to cover all of him.
In the end, it is Faramir who calms it down. His expression is almost compassionate as he turns his face to the wall and reaches behind him to take Aragorn in hand and steer him between his thighs. Aragorn slides in between them, slick and throbbing, and desperate for anything that Faramir will give. He presses scorching kisses into Faramir's neck and refuses to acknowledge the tears that sting his eyes.
I love you.
"I love my wife," he whispers. "You know I love her. I love her so."
In this moment, Aragorn would give his soul to slide properly into Faramir. Where, beyond a doubt, his own foster-brother has already been tonight. It does not matter. It never will.
Faramir grabs his hand and brings it to his groin. Aragorn finds him hard and waiting.
When all is done, Faramir turns in his arms and catches him. They linger in the stony silence of the hallway, breaths evening out and pulses slowing. It is only when Faramir gently tilts his head back a little that Aragorn opens his eyes. He is weary now and his heart is heavy. Faramir's eyes, almost silver in the ethereal light, are soft.
His voice, however, is low but firm. "I love him."
Aragorn nods, mute.
Faramir runs his fingers through Aragorn's tangled hair.
There is nothing else to say.
Faramir finds Elladan dozing in the moonlight. He has washed the traces of Aragorn's need off his skin and longs to lie down. The elf makes room for him as he stretches out and finds a corner of the sheet to pull over himself.
They lie awake, face to face. Elladan watches him.
"It's…" Faramir finally begins.
"Don't." The fingertips caress his cheek lightly. "Do not give it voice."
Because matters like these are not spoken of.
No matter how many times Boromir rinsed his mouth with water afterwards, the taste on his tongue is still bitter.
The night is far progressed but sleep will not take pity on him. His leg is pounding dully. He should never have danced. It was ill-advised and thoughtless. He should never have danced with his Queen. But Boromir of Gondor is a fool – it is as simple as that.
There was a moment upon the slopes of Amon Hen when Boromir should have died. He had lost Frodo, he had lost the halflings, had lost his honour and his pride and his heart to greed. He should have died, then, leaving Faramir to carry the line of the Stewards into the future.
It would have been cruel on Faramir, to be sure, but was this, his own fate, any kinder?
Who of the Gods laughed now – just now – at him?
His bloody leg.
'My lady, I'm afraid… my leg…'
She smiled. 'Of course. I shall not tire you.'
She was light in his arms, like a melody herself. So he endured a little while longer. Took her for another slow turn. She smiled at that as well. Their eyes caught and Boromir swallowed. Her lips parted just a little, as if she had thought of something to say but did not have the wish to speak.
And Boromir the fool had moved his hands then. Or they had moved by themselves. Had tightened their grasp on her waist ever so slightly. He had never looked away. He followed every shift in her grey eyes. The sudden shock at his boldness – the realisation. Everything. And Boromir had not dared to breathe.
He was blind to all but her in his arms. He was touching her, holding her. His Queen. And her smile was suddenly gone almost shy even as relief blossomed in her face and Boromir of Gondor who should have died upon Amon Hen would have kissed her then if he'd had the courage. But braver the elf than the mortal, and more fool the human, for she dipped her head and moved up close and her lips to his skin, just beneath his earlobe, were warm. And then they were gone.
Then there was silence.
As always, comments are welcome.