FIC: AT EASE

AUTHOR: Lily Baggins

PAIRING: Frodo/Faramir

RATING: R

Disclaimers. The usual. I make no money off of this and do not own these characters, much to my chagrin. They belong to Tolkien Enterprises and New Line Productions, and I only give them interesting---and usually unpleasant---ways to spend their time.

Author's note: Dedicated to Baranduin. Her LiveJournal comment regarding backrubs inspired several of us, me included. I just had to sit and write a short PWP based on her lovely observations. I apologize in advance for having absolutely *no* plot here whatsoever.

****

Faramir, captain of Gondor, hated the whole business.

It was bad enough that two halflings should have to creep stealthily into the Black Lands on their own, but their guide---this *Smeagol*---would surely only lead Frodo and Samwise into trouble. Cirith Ungol was a dark place, a vile place. But Frodo was indeed bound to the ill-favored creature in some strange way and refused to change his mind. When it came to counseling and assisting the halflings, Faramir realized he had done all that was within his power to do.

Well, perhaps not *all,* the man reflected as he passed the curtained-off recess wherein lay his sleeping guests. A low noise reached his ears: a soft sigh, followed by the sound of tossing and turning and hands trying to pat pillows comfortably into place. Peeking inside, Faramir saw that while Samwise slept soundly, Frodo wriggled restlessly as he stared at the wall of the cave in worried thought.

****

*I do hate the whole business,* Frodo said to himself as he tried, unsuccessfully, to fall asleep. Even now he could still remember Smeagol's pitiful cries as Anborn had fetched the creature from the lake. The men hadn't hurt Smeagol, but seeing the wretched thing tied up and questioned into a frightful state had still been disheartening.

Frodo had been sleeping as one dead before Faramir came to take him to the Forbidden Pool, but now rest would simply not come. He craned his neck around to look with envy at Sam, who was still as a stone and snoring softly. Their pallets of furs were much more pleasant than anything the hobbits had slept on since Lothlorien, but Frodo's worries weighed heavily on him and the stress seemed to reverberate down his spine, making his neck and back ache miserably.

The hobbit started when the curtain parted and Faramir stuck his head through. Thinking something must indeed be out of sorts for the man to seek him out again during the night, Frodo immediately sat up and began to speak, hushing only when Faramir put a finger to his lips and glanced at Sam.

"Ssssh, Frodo, nothing is wrong."

"Smeagol? Has he escaped?"

"No, indeed. My men have put him in a secure but comfortable area for the night. He has his fish and should do well. That is not why I have come."

"Why did you come?" Frodo asked, puzzled. He imagined the man was again planning to talk him out of heading toward Cirith Ungol. And, the hobbit reflected, Faramir was probably correct. But Frodo was tired and worn out and wished not to engage in that particular conversation again at this hour.

Kneeling down, Faramir sat back on his haunches and looked the hobbit in the eye, whispering. "May I be honest, Frodo? I heard you tossing and turning and became concerned, thinking there might be some way I could help you. It's obvious you have enjoyed little rest lately, and you have a great need of it tonight. You are not likely to find yourself as well-protected as this again for many weeks."

"I know." Frodo didn't want to think about leaving. "Thank you for your concern, but I'm all right."

"I see. And that is why you passed out in my arms earlier this evening?" Faramir's voice was serious, but his eyes were soft and kind.

"I passed out?" Realizing he was unable to recall exactly how he had indeed gotten to bed the first time, Frodo was shocked and embarrassed.

"Indeed." Faramir smiled, the corners of his gray eyes crinkling becomingly. "You were exhausted, Frodo . . . I caught you as you fell and bore you to bed, where you slept quite deeply until I had to wake you to accompany me to the Forbidden Pool. I am sorry for that."

"No, you had no choice but to do so . . ." A wide yawn interrupted the hobbit's words.

"Nevertheless, I should now like to make up for it." Reaching out, the captain squeezed Frodo's shoulder gently. "You are very tense. I may not be a healer, but I have some knowledge of ways to ease the body. If you will allow me to rub your shoulders a bit it should help to relieve the pain."

"Oh, no, really, you mustn't," Frodo protested, quite afraid of what his body might do if Faramir's large hands started rubbing all over parts of it. "I shall be able to fall asleep on my own soon enough."

"Nonsense . . . you are wound up tight as a bedspring. If you will remove your upper clothing and lie down on your stomach, I assure you I shall be gentle and see you off to a sound sleep. It is the least I can do."

A bit reluctantly, Frodo removed his cloak and weskit and began to shrug out of his shirt, pausing a moment when he remembered the mithril corslet underneath. Indeed, as he took his shirt off Faramir's eyes widened to see the glimmering mail beneath.

"It is mithril," Frodo said in reply to Faramir's unspoken question, "given to me by a dear old hobbit who sought to keep me safe."

"A priceless gift it was," Faramir answered, running a hand down the jeweled collar before helping Frodo lift the coat over his head. The man's hands brushed the hobbit's nape and stirred the heavy curls there, causing shivers to go up Frodo's spine. When at last Frodo was naked from the waist up, he grasped the Ring with one hand and self-consciously snuggled face down on his furry pallet.

***

Faramir took a deep breath at the sight of the hobbit's back laid bare to him; the skin a creamy expanse to rival one of the Fair Folk's, the captain was sure, even though he had never seen an elf. Gently at first---because he was not used to touching halflings---the man rubbed between Frodo's narrow shoulder blades, his thumbs carefully sinking in and eliciting a small grunt from the hobbit.

"Does that hurt?" Faramir asked, afraid perhaps that he'd used too much pressure.

"Mmmm . . . no. Please, do it harder . . . feels good."

The captain smiled, his hands working from the shoulders up to Frodo's neck, carefully avoiding the silver chain there, to bury themselves under the hobbit's mass of dark curls. Fingers worked up toward the pointed ears and back down to grasp the apex of the neck and delicate collarbone, gently massaging and eliciting a sigh.

Then Faramir moved downward, toward Frodo's ribs, his hands spanning the torso as his fingertips unwittingly brushed over the hobbit's nipples. Quickly, his face flushing, the captain moved his hands down to the curve of the hobbit's back where his breeches sat low on his hips, just barely revealing the dimples above his rounded buttocks.

Again, a small noise sounded from the hobbit, but it was obviously not one of pain.

Faramir continued to soothe in gentle---and sometimes not-so-gentle---circles, enjoying the feel of the satiny skin and the way the muscles relaxed under his hands. It was all he could do to keep from slipping his fingers inside the waistband of Frodo's breeches and massaging lower down as well. Trying to divert his thoughts, Faramir leaned forward to see that Frodo's eyes were closed; his lips curved upward in a contented smile.

****

Frodo hadn't realized it was possible to feel so relaxed after his trials of late. He'd imagined Faramir's hands would be hard and rough and awkward. But they were a bit softer and much more nimble than he'd expected; the warm skin of Faramir's palms grating ever-so-pleasantly against the hobbit's sensitive back.

When those fingers had brushed his nipples, Frodo was hard put to control his involuntary responses. A moan of pleasure and a feeling of fullness in his groin, however, were nice reminders that there was still a part of his mind---and body---the Ring had yet to affect. He could still wallow in the delight of a simple caress.

Now Frodo could feel Faramir leaning close, the man's breath hot on his neck as he applied a bit more pressure. Frodo squirmed, stretching his muscles like a cat, before relaxing again and feeling himself growing drowsy.

He groaned slightly as Faramir moved to the small of his back, fingers kneading masterfully, and for a long instant Frodo wished the man would unfasten his breeches and massage everywhere. Knead his tired backside . . . rub his sore thighs and overworked knees . . . But no . . . it would hardly be appropriate to ask, and at any rate, the current sensation was heavenly enough .

"Mmmm . . . feels wonderful," Frodo mumbled.

Faramir worked for a long time, and by the time he stopped, Frodo felt himself to be no more than a mere puddle of water melted on the floor. All tension had left, and even thoughts of the morrow were far, far away.

Gentle hands smoothed his hair and bearded lips kissed his brow chastely. The hobbit heard Faramir give a little exhalation of breath before warm blankets settled over him once again. Cracking his eyes open a bit, Frodo watched the captain's booted feet noiselessly exit the curtained area. Then all was quiet except for the sound of Sam's light breathing.

Frodo shut his eyes, soon oblivious to all but his dream world.

The End