Summary: "Twenty-five years…" he said. "That seems to me a very long time."

Pairing: Faramir/Arwen/Aragorn (sort of), though primary pairing is Faramir/Aragorn

Rating: M

Warnings: Het, slash and something of a threesome. A perfectly healthy dose of angst.

Disclaimer: All characters belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.

A/N: I don't want to give too much away beforehand so forgive the awfully vague information concerning pairing and warnings. Hope you enjoy!

That which is yours

"Since when, if you will say?"

The blue light of evening lies wrapped around the room. The wind is in the North.

"Since first I looked upon his face."

It is a small chamber, intimate of sorts, with windows facing the garden. Recent rains have made the long, withering grass slippery and the falling leaves are turning from bright yellow to a decaying brown. Night falls quickly now, after the harvests.

The light in the grey eyes is sharp, but by the latest admission somewhat blunted by first surprise and then bewilderment. But there is silence for a while.

"It seems to me… a very long time," Eldarion says at last.

"Aye."

The King's son is dressed for riding. His hair, a dark, dark brown that looks almost black, is tied back – as much as his curls will allow. The crest of Gondor is embroidered in silver thread upon his breast and his boots are neatly polished. He is on the edge of his seat but sits very still. He is cleanly shaven and his shoulders are broad.

"Tell me," he says finally, the labour of wresting with all his questions evident on his young face, "does mother know?"

-ooo-

He is about to slide the door closed but a pale hand rises in a forbidding gesture.

"Nay. Not so. You do not come to check on me only to take your leave a heartbeat later. I command you enter and stay, Steward."

Faramir pushes open the door again and inclines his head in a show of obedience.

"As my lady commands." He steps inside the solar and slides the door closed behind him. Then he smiles. "Is my lady bored perchance?"

"Bored!" She spits the word at his feet. Even vexed the Queen is stunningly beautiful. "Do tell me, Faramir, why would I be bored, hm? For I have spinning and weaving and embroidering and sewing enough to last me a lifetime." Her grey eyes narrow dangerously. "An elven lifetime."

"It is a good thing then, madam, that you seem to be taking on mortal traits."

He ducks as a bundle of yarn comes sailing through the air and nearly strikes his shoulder. Picking it up, he tosses it back at her and she catches it deftly.

"And what is that supposed to mean?"

"I am sure that your conduct was far more proper in your father's house."

She arches a dark brow. "You presume to know my past?" She pats the seat next to her. "Now, come and sit with me or I shall have you hanged." Her smile is sweet. "Or worse, I shall force you to embroider the tabard my husband intends to wear to the Equinox celebrations."

"Worse indeed, for everyone involved." He makes his way over to the low couch where Arwen is close to drowning in yarn, thread and a hundred other items Faramir could not for the life of him name. "My lady," he bends down and kisses her cheek. "What would you like crushed?"

"My waiting-women?" She catches his hand in hers and kisses his knuckles. "Shove it all aside and be seated, please."

He does as she orders but does pick up a few stray needles and deposits them in safety on the table. Outside, the first lamps are being lit in the courtyard and the bluish autumn evening is appropriately chilly. But the air is also rich with the scent of ripening apples and herbs. The fire in the royal sitting-room is crackling contentedly and he leans back and lets out a long breath. The Queen resumes her work and he closes his eyes.

"They are alive?" he asks after a while.

"Who would that be?"

"Your waiting-women?"

Her laugh makes him almost truly wonder. But then she relents.

"Yes, and keen as ever to show me new stiches. In truth, this life has yet to reveal its appeal to me."

He opens his eyes to regard her. In his humble opinion she has not changed in the slightest since her arrival in the City last summer, though she supposedly is mortal now; there is still an ethereal glow about her that suggests she is beyond reach of any mortal doom. Before the assembled court, he quickly noticed, she always takes care to hold her head high and smile blithely, but behind closed doors her sharp tongue can whip up a storm. It is a good thing that her heart is kind.

"Minas Tirith is lucky to have you, madam," he says finally.

"Aye," she says. And then looks as if she is about to say something more on the matter but in the end chooses not to. Setting aside what Faramir supposes is to be Aragorn's tabard, she sits back instead and sinks into the cushions. She is bare-footed, as she always is when in private. "Speak to me of your day, Faramir. What have you accomplished?"

He shakes his head against the back of the couch. "I have engaged in quarrels, considered pressing issues, tried to convince some people to give us more time... And then I argued some more. The King is still at it, I believe."

Her eyes are keen on him. The firelight is nothing to the glow in them. "What do they want? And who are they?"

"Everything? And everyone?" Sighing, Faramir rubs his eyes with the back of his hand. "My lady, it takes time to implement a new order and I fear my accomplishments so far have been poor. I was never meant to succeed my father as Steward and the King spent most of his life tracking and fighting, as you well know. Neither he nor I excel in statecraft, I am afraid."

"And the Council?"

She shifts a bit closer and threads her slender fingers through Faramir's copper tresses. He lets his head fall forwards slightly and her fingers drift down to his neck.

"The Council is nothing more than an assembly of grey, withered men who have never once looked beyond the walls of this City."

"That is harsh, Faramir." Her voice has softened considerably and it makes him regret his words.

"Aye... Forgive me. But at times I feel as though they are of little aid to us."

She finds the knots in his muscles and he shifts a little to give her better access. At her touch, it is as if light itself moves from her and into him, making his entire body relax. He sighs as a welcome warmth spreads out just underneath his skin as the tension in his neck gives way.

"Have you told them as much?"

"I might have implied something of the kind today," he admits, not particularly proud of that moment. "I do not mind them cursing me behind my back but your lord husband is King and should be shown more respect."

"He must earn their respect," she tells him gently. "And beware what you say for curses are best never spoken. You do not wish to be cursed, Faramir."

He smiles at that. "My Queen threatens the life of her waiting-women, I seem to recall."

"I question your memory, Steward." Her hands move so that her fingers come to fan out over his shoulders instead. "You have no proof."

He both feels and hears her shift again behind him and she comes very close. His eyes fall closed once again as she brushes the hair away from the nape of his neck and leaves a soft kiss there. Her mouth is warm and her lips linger there, soft as her breath upon his skin. He makes an attempt to lean into her but she gives a small sound of protest and pushes against him instead. He can feel her breasts against his back, and her arms come around him as a new kiss melts into his skin.

"I missed you," she whispers.

He takes one of her hands in his to press his lips to it. "And I you, my Queen."

It is not a lie. He could probably never lie to her for she would know it instantly. Yet, and this is known to Faramir, she is desperate. Not in the way he knew desperation before he met her but in another way. It is not the raw, bloody desire for survival or fear-mixed-with-agony. No, but she needs what he can give her.

Another one of her kisses melts into the nape of his neck. "Lie down with me?"

He straightens. Turning around to face her, he smiles. "Here?"

She shrugs. There is some colour in her pale cheeks now and her eyes are shining. "Why not?"

"The door is unlocked."

"So lock it, then."

"Your husband will wonder."

"Aragorn is King. Does he not have a key to his own chambers?" She eases back into the cushions. "Now, come."

He cannot refuse her. Not when that glimmer has burst into her eyes and when she licks her lips. And so he sets about trying to find a more forgiving arrangement. Leaning down over her he smiles. It is peaceful in here: no envoys, no ambassadors, no visitors running hither and dither with demands great and small, wanting what none of them can give right now. He lifts a hand and runs his fingertips down Arwen's cheek.

"My Queen..."

He sees her smile deepen before they kiss. It is a soft brush of lips against lips and Faramir feels the tension drain out of him at the sensation. That is her gift to him, perhaps, in return for what he does for her: always she makes his cares and worries melt away in favour of a building sense of peace.

Her mouth lingers against his in a silent affirmation of devotion. When they finally part, Faramir is sure the light in the room is softened and that the colours of the thick carpet, the velvet curtains and the smooth satin of her red dress are warmer.

"Better," she says, observing him. "I like to see you smile, Faramir, and hear your laughter. That is why I behave so ridiculously in your presence."

"Is that so?"

"Aye."

She draws him down again and this time her kiss is deeper. His hand lands on her waist and he slowly slides it upwards over the silk of her gown. When he cups her breast she lets out a small content sigh. Her fingers weave themselves into his hair and her mouth opens on his. He slides his tongue inside, tasting her fully. When they finally part, her gaze is keen on him.

"I wish to be equal in position to my husband," says she, and he does not object.

But that can never be and they both know it. For even if her heart would sing only at the sight of her Steward and never at the sight of her husband and King, and no matter how deeply she desires more, Faramir may only kiss her and caress her; and it is Arwen who must decide if that, in the end, gives her more pleasure than sorrow.

-ooo-

Faramir resists the urge to stare down into his half empty wineglass. Instead, he meets Eldarion's a-little-too-bright gaze straight on. Slightly feverish, almost. Except he is not ill.

"Yes," he says. "Your mother knows."

He gets up. He is almost as tall as his father. He looks around the room, as if answers and explanations might be got from the corners. When nothing else moves, he looks again to Faramir.

"For how long has she known?"

"For a long time," he says, the words leaving him in a weary exhale. It has been so very long indeed since all this began. "But you must speak with her and hear her tale as she will tell it. It is not my place to speak for her."

"But…" Eldarion frowns, still staring at him. "I have worked with you in your gardens… We have ridden out together, hunted together! Why did you never tell me?"

There is an edge of pain now, breaking through the confusion. Disappointment perhaps.

"Because…" He sighs, suddenly and falsely feeling as though perhaps it would have been for the best if he had not finally been blessed with his one, deepest wish. "Because I never thought that it would ever come to this… That it would be possible."

This, at least, is honesty.

-ooo-

A pale sun is gleaming behind the thin shifting clouds. The branches stretch, bare but brazen, towards the growing light. It is chilly but then spring has only just arrived.

Eldarion scrambles out from under a large elm, carrying as many sticks and branches as he may. They are old, a gleaming black and already half rotten. He dumps them onto the large pile and peers up at Faramir.

"Does it not seem cruel, to burn them?" he asks.

Faramir smiles. "Aye, in a way. But…" He takes off one of his gloves and rakes a hand through his sweaty, tangled hair. "But these are old branches, long since fallen to the ground."

"But all the rest of it?" The boy indicates the bonfire not far away. "Not everything we burn is old and dead already."

"True," says Faramir. "But sometimes I think that nature does not much mind when we clear up a little."

"But cannot these woods take care of themselves?"

Faramir lifts his eyes from the boy to breathe in the steady presence of the trees. "They can," he says. "And yet I find it is good for some lands to be gently governed. Not cruelly so, and bent to the iron will of its masters, but… lovingly cared for. In some places that have been left to their own devices, we have seen wicked things come to dwell."

"Like in Mirkwood!" cries Eldarion, with a shudder of delight. "Legolas has told me all about the spiders."

Faramir raises an eyebrow. "Has he now?"

"Yes," says Eldarion, lifting his chin. "I am not a child any longer, you know."

"Indeed you are not." He smiles. "Or your father would not have sent you to help my men with the burning. Come! Let us return to the fire."

They tread through the almost wakening undergrowth, ducking now and then under low-hanging branches. The spicy scent of the wood-fire mingles with the breeze and Faramir smiles into it. Soon, Ithilien will be greening again.

Eldarion catches up with him just as they reach the fire. His cheeks are reddened by the exertion and fresh air, and his grey eyes are wide with excitement. But when Faramir's gaze locks with his, he gives a crooked, self-conscious smile.

"I am terribly happy there are not any spiders," he admits as he slides his small hand into Faramir's.

-ooo-

Eldarion has not yet touched his wine. Faramir has not dared to ask him to stay for supper. It would be awkward, he assumes, and yet letting the Prince go with the risk of alienating him forever seems all the more frightening. But despite this, Faramir has not dared to ask and now he cannot see how this conversation could ever take them smoothly to the dining hall.

"It is twenty-five years since the War," says the Prince slowly.

It is so.

Twenty-five long years, bright and blazing, dark and full of despair. Twenty-five years of the deepest, most powerful longing a soul can endure, Faramir thinks. But he did endure.

He has laughed, it is true. Lived a life so different from any he could have dreamed up while his brother and father still lived. But now he is weary of dreaming and hoping and wishing. Now he only wants to finally revel in the realisation that the time of longing has come to an end.

-ooo-

He is just about to slide off the cushions when the lock clicks. No servant will enter before knocking but some Council member might, or some ambassador that has yet to learn the layout of the King's Houses. Whichever, should they find the Queen and Steward like this, it would certainly cause a commotion unlike any other.

But Faramir and the Queen are lucky. For when the door opens the King is revealed: broad-shouldered, dark of hair and with his eyebrows rising at the sight before him. And he steps inside, closes the door behind him and locks it.

"Have you no compassion, Steward?"

Faramir can summon desire for the Queen, he can, but he needs make no effort where his King is concerned. Aragorn is everything he wants. The King flings his ceremonial cloak off his shoulders and his tabard ends up in a pile on a nearby table. His woollen tunic hugs his chest and arms tightly.

Through his utter devastation at the sight before him, Faramir pushes a weak rebellion. "It was you who sent me away, my lord."

"To pleasure my wife?" There is a flash in the King's eye.

"What better pastime?" Arwen stretches out on the cushions. "Come here, Aragorn, but leave your complaints at the door."

"No." The King remains by the threshold to their secret. "From what I deduce it is not I who must make up for any transgressions."

Faramir slides off the couch and gains his feet. "Here are no transgressions," he says, and he is not sure if a small part of him is not pleading with the King. "You command. I serve, my lord."

"And this I commanded?"

"Aye." Faramir is walking up to him, closing the distance between them. "You desired to speak alone with the ambassador."

"That is not the same thing, Steward, as asking you to seek the comfort of my wife's embrace."

He is close now. He can see the heat building behind the King's eyes. Then distance is no more and the King's mouth is hungry on his. It is the only thing Faramir has desired since morning.

"I should have lain you out on the table before them all and taken you there," his lord growls as he unlaces Faramir's tunic. "The Valar know I wanted to."

And the Valar know also that Faramir might not have protested. The Kings walks him backwards until he can push him down and Faramir ends up on the floor with his back against Arwen's couch. The Kings does not even pause to kiss her. He has already opened his breeches and Faramir reaches to pull out the royal flesh, already hard and twitching. As if Aragorn has spent the last few hours since Faramir left Council imagining only this, fantasising about what he was going to do once he had tracked down his Steward.

Faramir strokes him with both hands as if that would satisfy him better. The King breathes deeply and sways towards him. Then, without warning Aragorn is on his knees before him, between Faramir's outstretched legs. If he takes a moment to think about it, he can guess what is happening behind him. He has seen it often enough: how the Queen touches herself, prepares herself, makes it as easy as possible for Aragorn to perform his husbandly duties.

But right now the King is seeking out Faramir's mouth and this is all he wants to think about. They kiss long and deep and the King's cock leaks at the tip as Faramir continues to stroke it. Then Aragorn breaks away and works open-mouthed kisses to Faramir's ear instead.

"I command and you serve?" His voice is raspy as it rushes against his Steward's burning skin.

"In whatever way you wish."

"Then take me."

Aragorn has brought the oil. Faramir is barely the master of his own fingers as he tugs at the strings to open his own breeches. He is hard himself, and the Kings looks down at this revelation and his gaze is greedy. Faramir prepares him, sliding fingers into him and twisting, and nearly losing his sanity to the tightness that is the King of Gondor. Meanwhile, his lord presses against him, leaving scorching kisses on his throat, in his beard, on his lips.

When Aragorn finally sinks down onto Faramir's hard flesh it is both relief and agony. His King surrounds him, engulfs him, and Faramir lifts his hips as high as he might in response. He takes care to not go too deep at first but soon Aragorn is rolling his hips, mouth on Faramir's and sharing his breath.

And they chase each other. Aragorn lifts himself up, then pushes down. Faramir groans as he drives deep inside. A shudder runs through the King and suddenly it is time. With a whimper of regret and a long kiss, Aragorn fights to regain his wits enough to be able to change position. He slips off Faramir who scrambles aside. He is burning and aching and wishes that they could just continue uninterrupted.

But that is not how this works.

-ooo-

They had been careless. But for once – for once – they had been alone and far away. Save for Faramir's servants, of course, and only in Emyn Arnen, but in the moment that seemed like enough. And it was the first time that Aragorn visited him since… Since that day, in the King's Houses, and Arwen's sad smile. Her courage shining through her tears.

"I only…" Eldarion is spinning around, helplessly. Half a circle. "I wanted to surprise you."

"You did."

It is an awful jest. The King's son stills and stares at him.

"Forgive me," says Faramir.

"I do not understand," says Eldarion.

There is pain, still, in his voice, and into it is sneaking also a hint of desperation. Aragorn had taken him aside immediately. Steered him around a corner and away from Faramir who was left with his tingling lips and burning hands. The memory of the oak pressing into his back as Aragorn claimed him in a searing kiss worked its way through his body but his head had already been emptied by shock.

"You have loved him for twenty-five years – as he has loved you?" He is fighting his way through this. "And mother is aware." A heavy silence threatens to fall but then his gaze searches Faramir's face yet again. Perhaps it is wishful thinking but Faramir feels it softer now.

"You never did wed the Lady Éowyn."

He shakes his head. "I never did."

-ooo-

The King's hold on the edge of the couch looks precarious. His length is jutting out, reassuringly hard still, and his eyes are glazed over by desire. Faramir tugs at his own flesh, watching numbly as the Queen spreads her legs and the King groans. He is close to release now, and close, too, to her body. Almost too late Faramir finds his agency and hurries, with limbs the weight of lead, to kneel beside his King, ready to help if the latter should falter.

When Faramir looks he can see that she glistens with wetness. Aragorn takes himself in hand and the head of his cock touches her softness. Then there is a dangerously long pause and Faramir snakes a hand in between his King's thighs to urge him to adopt a wider stance. The King complies with a moan as Faramir slides his fingers between his legs to brush the sac below his cock. Then the King falls forward, and suddenly Faramir's fingertips brush Arwen's soft, wet flesh. He pulls back immediately. The King is inside his wife. She lets out a long moan as Aragorn tries a first thrust. Faramir shifts, comes to kneel behind his lord to rub himself against him. He nestles his cock between the King's buttocks and cannot help his own groan.

Arwen slides down a little to give her husband better access. She has opened her dress and is stroking her nipples and cupping her breasts. Faramir knows the feel and weight of them. So also, naturally, does the King although his body fails to respond to them. Just as it fails to respond, truly, to the wet depth that he is now sliding deep into. But he desires Faramir.

Faramir presses apart the King's arse and to his own drawn-out moan pushes inside. Faramir sheaths himself deep in the King's body and cannot help the shaking that overcomes him. He wraps his arms around the King's chest, as though they were the royal couple and maybe it is fine if he pretends for a moment. Then he feels the other man coming.

As his lord empties himself inside his wife, Faramir thrusts in and out of him. The movement transfers into the Queen and her husband pleasures her as best he can even as he succumbs to his own climax. He is nothing if not ambitious. His hand is between her legs and moving but Faramir closes his eyes to that. He has no desire to see everything. When she peaks, he can physically feel the relief in the man he is holding.

-ooo-

The knock on the door is soft. The first stars glimmer in the sky as Aragorn gently slides it open and steps inside. Like the silver stars, there is silver at his temples now. It is not much, but it shimmers when Faramir pushes his hair from his face to see him properly. To wonder at this man in his arms. At that which is his.

"Dari?"

His son regards him in silence. It was a long time before they came back to the house after Eldarion stumbled upon them in the garden but Faramir knows not how much – or of what exactly – they have spoken.

Aragorn's gaze flickers to Faramir. "Love?"

Love.

Eldarion's head whips around so that he can stare at Faramir.

Faramir who has loved Aragorn since he first looked upon his face in the Houses of Healing. Who has yearned for him each hour of every day and who never truly believed that he would be the only one. But the heart of the Queen is kind – kinder than the summer stars – and she has let go.

-ooo-

The King pulls out of the Queen.

Faramir ought to swallow his smile but he cannot for now it is done. His body is pounding, his head is spinning. He knows she is watching as he pulls Aragorn to him and wraps his arms around his chest. As he claims the husband before his wife. The King collapses against him, almost sits in his lap as Faramir chases towards completion. Tiny stars dance before his mind's inner eye as he comes deep inside Aragorn.

But this is not the end. Aragorn barely lets him shudder through his pleasure before he pulls off and pushes Faramir to the floor. The carpet is a thick wool and Faramir loses his breath as the King stretches out on top of him. Hungry lips move over his throat and collarbone and Faramir arches towards the ceiling. Aragorn nestles one of his legs between his Steward's and rubs their groins together.

"Your command," the King breathes into his hair. "Please."

Faramir brings his arms up and around him. He is blind to the world as he tightens his hold on Aragorn until he wonders if his arms will break from the effort. But gradually, the ferocity of Aragorn's kisses dwindles into a slow-burning heat that laps at Faramir from all sides. Gradually, they find a sweeter pace. And Aragorn lifts his head to look into Faramir's eyes and this is what might have been in another world where there is no need for heirs or continued bloodlines.

In between kisses, they shed their tunics, undershirts and breeches. In the leaping firelight Aragorn's muscles flex as he moves and Faramir reaches for him again, unable to refrain from touching. Unable to resist his lord. Aragorn hardens again and so also does Faramir.

Aragorn smiles into their kisses. His hands are tangled in copper hair. He moves on top of his Steward who is his lover and his beloved. Faramir sometimes thinks it should be impossible to love someone as deeply as he does Aragorn. When they are finally simply only two men on a carpet in a stone house somewhere in Gondor, the younger one of them finds the older man's opening and tests it. At Faramir's touch, Aragorn gasps. Not a breath can come between their bodies after that. They move together and all that rings in Faramir's ears is their mingled breathing: it is wild like a late autumn storm and a sound he adores. When they come a second time that night, they are alone.

-ooo-

Autumn dwindles slowly, almost regretfully, into a frosty early winter without snow. Faramir spends long nights staring up at his bedroom ceiling, devoid of dreams for the future. He only lies there, with his mind blank. But just when he has begun to wonder if he is slowly going mad, there comes a change to the weather and the sound of hoofs through the trees.

-ooo-

There are fine lines around his eyes. So many years of toil and laughter etched into his face. But he is the most beautiful man Faramir has ever known.

He pulls the woollen blanket tighter around them and sinks deeper into Aragorn's embrace. There is a snap and a crack from the fire in the hearth and the light of it dances on the walls. Outside is moonlight and a wet, chill autumn mist lies wrapped around the sleeping trees and nestled in the trampled grass.

Aragorn gives a sigh, but it is full of contentment. "This is all I ever wanted."

Faramir lifts his head to be able to look him in the eye. "We have wanted many things over the years," he says.

"Not so many." Aragorn's eyes are the silver of ice and rain and starlight. "I have wanted health and happiness for my family, and I have wanted you."

"And peace… And good harvests and happiness for our friends an–"

"You. I have wanted you."

There is peace. And there is passion. A new shade of passion that burns as bright as those of old did, but there is a sweetness to this one and Faramir treasures it so very deeply. When they kiss, he can taste it: fearlessness and the freedom from bonds.

He rests his head on Aragorn's broad chest and his eyes have drifted closed when the other man lifts a hand to run it through his hair.

"Will we have enough ale?"

Faramir smiles into his shirt, senses the promise of warm skin underneath. Their lovemaking is slower nowadays – now that they have more time.

"How many men will he bring?"

"No more than ten."

"Ten?" Faramir again lifts his head. "A royal escort indeed."

Aragorn's smile is warm like the crackling fire and there is a gleam in his eye. "My son is a King."

"But it is an informal visit?"

"By the King of Gondor."

"Very well…" He lies back down. Yet cannot resist. "King…" he mutters. "I have forgotten what it is like to house a King."

Aragorn's chuckle moves through him and hands slide from his back to move over his backside. On impulse, Faramir jerks his hips, grounds them down a little, and Aragorn's mirth turn into a soft moan. His hands repeat the motion and he adds some pressure, causing the first sting of heat to lick its way along Faramir's spine. He kisses Aragorn's chest, his worn shirt, and battles his reluctance to leave to find some oil with the promise of even better things to come if he does so.

But Aragorn is tugging at him and Faramir was ever weak to his will. So he adjusts his position even as Aragorn slides a bit further down, deeper into the cushions, and there, on the couch before the fire, they find each other in a glowing kiss. Faramir covers all of him, kisses him so deeply that he does not hear the first tapping of rain on the window-glass. For this man, this man in his creased shirt and simple leggings, is his and he is here with him.

Aragorn's kisses melt into his skin and his voice rasps deliciously through Faramir:

"Your command."

But it is not. For the man with the wildly beating heart is no steward and the man with devotion shining in his face is no ruling king. For there is another, younger and more eager, who now bears the Winged Crown and he has chosen his own servants; and they dwell in a white city across a Road.

Yet there was never any command sweeter to give.

Fin