The story: has been with me for a long time. Now I let it go.

Warnings: Mild slash and sorrow.

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

Where you go

They say that in his old age, the King of Gondor grew… confused. That his eyes were sometimes unfocused and that he seemed lost in daydreams and visions. They say that at times he raised his hands before him, or smiled, as if he saw beings invisible to others. That he spoke softly to the night, so softly that none caught a word.

They say all this and they smile. Those who still live to remember his days of glory speak kindly of him before their sparkling eyes turn to behold his son, the dark-haired and beautiful Eldarion. And they say that he is a fine King now, and a worthy successor.

Yes, they smile for they hold much love for the warrior who dispelled the shadows and reunited the lands. Yet they know those days to be long gone, and that a bright future lies at their feet, to be claimed easily by the young and the brave.

Fondly they speak of the old King, before they hasten along down the road.

-ooo-

The summer night was warm with the skies painted in a deep blue shade, and generously decorated with glittering silver stars. The breeze was not even chilly but nevertheless they had insisted on draping several thick blankets over him. Probably they would have preferred it if he stayed inside, but Aragorn would have none of that. He knew they cared for him, but their smiles were too soft and too indulgent for him to be completely comfortable.

He sighed and wished again that his legs bore him as easily as before. He must be content with watching from his favourite chair.

'You would not believe how they torture me,' he complained as more glowing lights in the City below sprang up in the open windows.

The lean figure by the railing turned to him and smiled. 'Is it really that bad, Aragorn? Really?'

'Yes!' he said with some fervour . 'You can see for yourself how they hide in the corners, bringing tea and pillows constantly. Never mind that I need neither tea nor pillow.' He knew he was grumbling but he could not help himself.

A warm, gentle laughter eased his heart's troubles a little. 'My poor King.'

The slim form left the railing and so gracefully came to stand closer to him. Aragorn raised his eyes and met the loving gaze of his companion.

'I am too grumpy,' he admitted. 'I am sorry... I destroy this night we have together.'

'You were always grumpy, Aragorn.'

The kind tone, with a tinge of humour, drew a reluctant smile from him. 'Let us speak of other things,' he suggested. 'Such as this night and all its beauty.'

The man sank to his knees in front of Aragorn. In this hour, his pale skin contrasted starkly to his copper hair and his eyes shone with an ethereal glow.

'Then speak to me, Aragorn,' he whispered. 'Speak to me of life.'

An unwelcome sting of something cold pierced Aragorn's soul but he chased it away. Instead he smiled and lifted a hand to trace the contours of this most beloved of faces. 'I cannot speak of the beauty of this night for it diminishes in your presence.'

He cupped a pale cheek and stroked it gingerly with his thumb. 'My love,' he whispered. 'My Faramir.'

He longed to kiss the lips before him but he knew that of late, Faramir was reluctant to show much emotion in public. He would pull away with a smile and ask him to wait, and Aragorn found that he followed wherever his love led. He always would.

But it seemed that tonight was different for Faramir leaned into the touch and a veil fell over his features. 'I miss you, Aragorn. I am lonely without you.'

Something heavy settled on Aragorn's heart and weighed it down, and this was not so easily ignored. He knew he had experienced this feeling before but after a while it dulled – only to return all too often. He cringed uneasily in his chair and hoped it would go away and leave him in peace.

'I am with you, Faramir,' he said, wanting to comfort his lover who was so clearly distressed.

Faramir's expressive eyes reflected the light of the stars and there was sadness in them when he spoke. 'Sometimes I wish it were so,' he said quietly.

It saddened Aragorn to see his love like this. He caressed Faramir's cheek and played with a loose strand of hair that shifted in the breeze. 'I am yours, you know that. I would do anything to ensure your happiness.'

Faramir did not reply at once and he looked no less troubled. 'I cannot ask of you, Aragorn, what my heart so deeply desires,' he said at last, his voice low.

'I will give you anything,' Aragorn insisted.

But Faramir shook his head. His hair that was so soft to the touch seemed darker now as the night steadily waxed. 'I have your love. I shall be content with that for now.'

'You have all of me,' repeated Aragorn and words continued to flow. 'I know my son does well but the times are changing. This world is no place for an old man such as myself. I belong to another era.'

Faramir grew serious and his gaze sharpened. 'Say not so, Aragorn. Life is yours too.'

He should have known his lover would protest. Always wise, always calm, Faramir showed him that he was still a man worthy of respect and love. Yet, it became easier and easier to drift off, to let go a little and release the firm hold he had on everyday matters that before had seemed so important. Aragorn's mind had begun to wander, and he knew they knew it too. They patted him on the shoulder and smiled.

'Forgive me,' Aragorn sighed. 'It is this night... I lose myself in it.'

'I lost myself in you.'

The implication was uncomfortable. 'Say not so...' Aragorn cradled Faramir's face in his hands as the stinging increased and sudden despair raced through him. His vision faded as hot tears filled his eyes. His heart grew more desperate and a sharp stab of pain stole his breath. 'Please, my love, say not so... Do not say that.'

A searing ache, born so very long ago, caught hold of him and he clung to Faramir. It was pain that never left him, never let him rest, always pursued him, bottomless beyond understanding.

'Please, love...' His hands grasped for his lover and they trembled with a need that he was sure had replaced the blood in his veins. 'Seas, meleth, seas...'

Faramir was still there, somewhere. He must be, for Aragorn willed it to be so. He was dependant on it. He did not function without Faramir.

What would happen that day Faramir left him, he did not want to know.

Aragorn was older now but so was his lover. His hair was sometimes pale like mithril – like the white locks that framed his own face. Other times Faramir seemed to mingle with the air itself, but Aragorn's eyes were not as keen as they once had been.

When Faramir came to him like this they were together and it was as it should be. It was night and soon they would fall into bed, laughing and kissing. When they lay sated in the moonlight they would lazily explore each other's bodies with fingertips and lips, bringing back desire and feeling it mount again. Then they would sleep in each other's arms, close together, never letting go.

Tonight, though, he was tired and longed only to lie down in that embrace for now it seemed to him very long ago that he had done just that. The ache transformed into yearning and he searched for Faramir on the balcony. Maybe it was best if he slept now?

'Love?' Aragorn's eyes travelled the over the stone but they found not what he was looking for. Were he not so tired and his legs so heavy he could have risen to his feet and continued the quest in their bedchamber, but this was not possible.

'Faramir?'

He tried to turn in his seat as his heart grew worried. 'Please love, where are you?'

Upon raising his gaze, he saw the stars in the darkened sky above and they looked to him unusually clear and bright. There was a scent of herbs in the wind and he knew his knife was in his belt and that the hare he had caught that morning would make a welcome supper. The small cooking-fire was burning cheerfully behind him.

Aragorn closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the tree trunk. Faramir was kissing him and he smiled into that kiss, giving all he was and had. The sun's rays were melting in his love's hair, setting it afire with a stunning glow.

'I love you,' he whispered against Faramir's lips. 'I offer you my life. Where you go, I follow.'

Faramir threw his arms around him and hugged him close. Aragorn let out a long breath. He felt so very light.

-ooo-

They say that the King's passing was quiet. That his last breath left his lips on a warm summer night when the breeze was mild and the stars filled the midnight blue.

They had left him on the balcony for a little while, giving him some time alone with the world. When they came to check on him, they found that his head was resting against the back of his chair and that his eyes were closed.

They say that in his passing he must have felt joy, for there was a smile still on his lips. His hands lay in his lap, empty, but open, as if he had offered a gift that had been accepted.

They say that the King of Gondor knew love and sought it beyond death.

Fin

Sindarin:

seas – please

meleth - love