A Bad Habit

Coughing, Faramir batted at the cloud of smoke that the shifting breeze had blown into his face yet again. "Must you?"


"That vile weed of yours. Can't you step outside even once without getting out your pipe?"

Aragorn shifted position, his elbows on the balcony railing, and made a show of considering his steward's question; then taking another puff of Longbottom Leaf, he said, "No."

Faramir offered his liege a pained look and after a short silence asked, "You do realise that you're scandalizing the entire population of the Sixth Circle, not to mention the even more staid merchants and craftsmen with this uncouth habit, don't you?"

"Of course." Aragorn hid another smile as he heard Faramir sigh in aggravation. After two more draws on his pipe he tapped the ashes into one of the decorative planters attached to the balcony and took pity on his friend and Steward. "Let me guess; Arwen has been after you to talk me into quitting, hasn't she?"

Faramir flushed and looked away, finally admitting, "Yes. How'd you know?"

"You used the exact words, save for a change in geographic location, that I've been hearing from her for more than sixty years on the subject." The pipe cleaned, Aragorn tucked it into his belt pouch and turned to face Faramir. "I don't smoke inside so as to avoid offending my wife's sensibilities or those of my councillors. Unfortunately, my councillors don't seem as intent on not offending mine."

"I suppose I'll just have to get used to it then. I refuse to stay in there," Faramir indicated the Council Chamber on the other side of the balcony doors where most of the members were busy politicking while the session was in recess, "if you get to escape them at regular intervals."

"Then you'll have to put up with the smoke." Aragorn suddenly grinned and added, "Of course, I'm given to undertand that it's nowhere as annoying if you're actually smoking your own."

As the sounds of another vociferous argument became audible even through the glazed panes and wood of the balcony door, Faramir grimaced. "I'll think about it."