This is my first attempt at a T rated fanfic story. It seems weird after years of never writing smut, to write it for several months and then try to write something without it. But I couldn't bring myself to write a lemon for Tolkein.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story takes place in the part in The Return of the King, after Faramir and Eowyn were healed by Aragorn at the House of the Healing. I wanted to elaborate on what happened during the weeks when they were both in the care of the healers while everyone else was fighting for the fate of them all. As far as being based on the movie or the book more, it tends to be more faithful to the book with the exception of the character changes made to Faramir to make him more human in his actions, allowing him a place to aspire to, instead of being a man of great esteem from the start. Also, much will follow in the vein of what happens after that point, but I am taking some creative license to fit in a little sport and have fun with two of my favorite characters! Hope you like what I cooked up.
Thanks to my super beta, A Cullen Wannabe. She got this chapter back to me lightning fast and helped push me to make it better. Thanks for the love, hon.
In the days and weeks that followed the Battle of Pelennor Fields, much changed for those in the care of the Warden. In their time together, The White Lady of Rohan and the newly named Steward of Gondor grew to know each other as Eowyn and Faramir.
Their daily walks in the gardens of the House of the Healing worked wonders on Faramir as his strength returned and he saw hope in the Princess that he had not yet known in his 35 years. Yet he saw the melancholy that had haunted her steps had waned but a little, and this troubled him greatly.
On one such day he went to the garden as he often did to meet his fellow captive, but this day he did not bring good tidings.
Faramir turned to see Eowyn dressed in a pale blue dress, his mother's robe of deep blue with the stars that filled the night's sky embroidered on the fabric that clung to her slight frame. "My Lady, may we not after all these days drop the formality? I have news for you, but I know not how you will take it."
"It isn't…dear God, not my brother. Please tell me that Eomer has not been harmed-"
Faramir took Eowyn's forearms in his hands, steadying her as he broke into her worried torrent. "Eowyn, your brother is well, and the news from the fields has not changed. The news is of me. The Warden has seen me fit to take up the charge of the Steward of Gondor while the Lord Aragorn is still in battle. Tonight I return to the chambers that once housed my father and take his seat on the lower throne in the Great Hall of Minas Tirith."
"You leave me here? I did not see your desertion coming, sir; but I understand it. I only wish that I was not left here alone. Even Merry has gone with the Fellowship to meet whatever end comes to them. When will I see the land beyond these walls, Faramir?"
"My dear Lady, you must give me a chance to take up my position. Do you not remember the promise I made to do for you whatever was within my power to do? The power is mine now to wield, and I swear to you that I will rattle the bars of your cage some. Keep faith."
Eowyn's eyes fell to the ground. "Forgive me, Lord Faramir, I should not have eluded that I think so little of you. Of course I believe you to be true to your word. It is just that I will miss your company and the walks we have taken. You don't treat me as though I was a glass ornament to be looked upon but never removed from its place of reverence."
"I do not think that your people see you in such a light. You are the great warrior of Rohan, the one who slew the evil no living man could kill. Even before then, your uncle asked you to take up his place as leader while he went to war, a duty you cast aside in following him to battle."
"Is it your intent to shame me, Faramir?" Eowyn pulled away and looked off into the mountains beyond the wall.
"No, that was never my intent. I was simply trying to illustrate that you are of value to many beside me. You know not what your friendship has meant to me. I fear that without your aid, I would be in far worse shape than I am at the moment."
"Once again, you give me too much praise. I am no healer, I do not have a light touch and I am far deadlier with a wooden spoon than I could ever be with a sword."
Faramir took her hand. He led her to a bench near the wall and looked deep into her eyes. "But that, my friend, is how you have healed me. Anyone can tend an injured body, but you have healed my very soul. I regret that I must return to the Citadel, but please remain here. I will come to visit as often as my position allows."
"I will wait for your coming, and any news it may bring."
Faramir took his friend's face in his hands and kissed her forehead before resting his upon it. Pulling away, he exited the House of the Healing and returned to the Citadel.
Days passed with little but the change from day to night to alert Eowyn of the passage of time. Faramir had not come to see her, and her privileges had not been extended. She did not blame him for leaving her while more pressing matters were at hand, but as her mind grew restless, her body grew weaker. She continued to fade slowly until the day, some five days after his release from confinement, did Faramir see the Warden himself waiting in the outer chamber of the Throne Room. Faramir's smile grew as he thought of the tongue lashing that would have driven the Warden to inquire about any changes in Eowyn's care, but the words that were soon spoken stilled his heart.
"My Lord Steward, Lady Eowyn is most unwell."
"What is it, a relapse?"
"No. She has been stoic since your departure, but it wasn't until one of the ladies went to rouse her this morning that we realized the severity of it. She will not rise."
The doors to the Citadel soon flew open as the Steward ran across the square and into the House of the Healing. Following the familiar halls, he soon reached the room he had arranged for Eowyn to have after they first met, for it had the best view eastward. Opening her door, he saw her form in the bed and rushed to her side. "Eowyn? Please, awaken."
Her eyes fluttered for a moment before the grey of her eyes met the same shade in his. "I told them not to worry you with news of me."
"Why would you do such a thing? It is a great worry for me to see you such as this. It is unbearable. I would take your place in that bed if it were within my power…" then a thought entered his mind. "Yet, I know some things that are. Warden?" He called as the man entered the room where Faramir knelt beside the woman he now knew would be the only one to hold his heart. "This House will be a residence for the Lady, but she will no longer be confined. Each morning, I, or one of my guards, if I am unable, will come and fetch her. She will spend the day seeing our city under a watchful eye and will return here each evening. Now, fetch me a small carriage, for I fear the Lady is too weak to walk the streets today."
Faramir wrapped his mother's robe about her shoulders. He then swung her into his arms as he carried her towards the front doors and to the waiting cart, which was padded with a down mattress and several pillows to make it suitable for riding in. Eowyn was lowered into the cart and Faramir climbed in as well, wrapping her in blankets for propriety and warmth as they set off for the lower levels of the city.
As they explored, color returned to her cheeks and a smile graced her lips. Her laughter peeling and echoing off the high walls of the city. "This reminds me of the races in Rohan as a child. A majority of them were simply a man and his horse, but for those too weak to ride, they fashioned carts and they had a race of their own. That was my first race, although I do not remember it much myself."
"Who told you the story?" Faramir was excited to hear this story as it brought some true animation out of her.
"My brother, Eomer. It was a race between the members of the royal family. My father rode with Eomer and me with him while my cousin Theodred rode with King Théoden. According to Eomer, my father gave me the reins and I was the one driving the cart when we won. He always tells me I was the youngest Rohirrim to win an official race."
"Did they make the royal race an annual event?"
Eowyn looked out at the buildings they rode past. "No. My father was killed my Orcs a few months later, and my mother died soon after. The King still allowed the cart races, but we were made to ride on our own. When I was too young, Eomer bore me on his horse, so that I would know how to carry myself on a horse when I was allowed to take lessons. My brother and cousin took particular care to teach me riding and swordplay. They are largely responsible for my skill."
"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to bring up painful memories." Faramir took her hand and she turned back to him.
"Do not apologize. It may not be the happiest time to think on, but it is what made me who I am today. It is what led me to Windfola."
"Windfola?" Faramir looked down where Eowyn had rested her head against his shoulder.
"She was my horse. My uncle had her sired for me and when I was old enough to take a new horse, I was presented with her. She was a fine horse, easy to disguise, which is an important thing for a Princess that would sneak out to ride. I won many races paired with her. Besides my King, she was the most tragic loss I suffered on the fields of Pelennor."
"Windfola was your horse in the battle?" Faramir looked on in sadness, for he knew that to the people of Rohan, their horses were revered as cherished member of the family. "If I had known…"
"There is nothing you could have done for her."
"But I could have done something to ease your pain. You've lost so much."
"I will endure it, as the women of my land have always done."
Eowyn spoke no more of Rohan that afternoon and Faramir did not press the issue. When it was time to return for dinner, Eowyn joined Faramir for dinner in his home before he personally escorted her back to the House for the night.
And so it continued for the next few days, each one showing a marked improvement for the shieldmaiden of Rohan and in return for the Steward, even though he saw her less than he once did. It was on one such day as they sat together and spoke of their childhoods that news came from Cormallen.
"Lord Aragorn sends news. Things are well, in fact Lord Eomer requests his sister's presence if she can be spared." The sentry stood after passing the letter that held far more detail about the events that had transpired on the field to Faramir. He read them as Eowyn spoke her response.
"Tell my brother, that while I am glad he is well, I will not be joining him on the field. I will, however, see him upon his return to Minas Tirith."
Faramir looked up from the letter he was drafting in response to his future king's requests with a bright smile. Finishing the letter, he passed it off and then returned to his lady.
"Eowyn, why did you not ride out with them to meet your brother? Surely you know I would not have prevented it?"
"Yes, I know you would not have stood in my way, but I am enjoying my time with you too much to ride off as I would have once. I have searched for happiness in glory on the battlefield, now I search for it somewhere it may be easier to discover."
Eowyn smiled at her lord and returned to her chambers early that evening.
Two days later, the Warden arrived at Eowyn's room with an outfit that had been made specifically for her and a message from Faramir. "The Steward requested that you change into this and meet him in the garden."
Eowyn dressed quickly, realizing the outfit was similar to the traditional riding outfit worn by noblewomen of Rohan, a dress with high slits in the front and back and a pair of slacks underneath so she would look feminine and refined while still being able to properly straddle the beast.
Setting out to meet him, she saw his silhouette near the wall and joined him promptly. "What is the meaning of this attire? I thought I told you that I didn't want to ride out to the field."
"That's not what we're doing. Can you see down there, out past the walls of the first tier?"
Eowyn looked down and saw the large circle worn into the earth and the men who sat atop horses around it. "You mean the makeshift racetrack?"
He nodded and began leading her away. "I have found you a horse, it may not be your loyal Windfola, but he should serve you well. Today you're going to show me what the women of Rohan are made of."
Leading her through the tiers of the city, the two rode slowly down so as not to spook the horse that was still acquainting himself with his rider. Making it to the entrance to the city, they rode out and were soon within shouting distance of the racers.
"I have a new entry into the field." Faramir called out as the men of Gondor quickly bowed.
"My Lord, we would be honored if you would race any one of us."
Faramir smiled as he looked to Eowyn quickly, giving her a silent show of support so as not to weaken their view of her. "It is not I that I wish to enter, but the lady."
"My Lord, this is not a sport for a woman to enter into."
Faramir's raised hand silenced the man. "This is Eowyn, The White Lady of Rohan and a hero in the battle that took place on this very field. She has spent her life on a horse and I will not have you slight her. Now, is there no man here who will race her?"
"I will." A younger man called out. "Join me, my Lady, and do your worst."
Eowyn smiled and trotted her horse over to the starting line and waited for one of the men to lower the flag.
Taking off, she quickly had the advantage, and never relinquished it. The yells from the surprised men roused her spirits as Faramir sat in awe of her skill. The way she rode that animal was unlike anything he had ever seen and his admiration for her grew even more that afternoon.
The cheers grew attention from the people of the city, and by the time Eowyn began her fourth and final race of the day, she had amassed quite a crowd. Even some of the women had ventured out to see the Princess of their ally claim an easy victory. Every turn on the track, every move of the horse, seemed an extension of Eowyn herself. She connected with the horse and they moved beautifully together. None of this escaped Faramir's notice as her was mesmerized by her all the more.
Riding to meet Faramir, she looked out over the field. "How come you did not race?"
"Because I knew there was no way to beat you in that distance."
She smirked and motioned with her eyes toward the open field. "Then, perhaps, you would be willing to partake in a longer run, say to that small hill and back?"
"Is that a challenge, Eowyn?"
"It is, Faramir." He smiled brightly at the open change in her and they set up for their race. As they rode out, laughing and enjoying themselves, it was at this time that the Lord's who had been out on the great fields of battle returned to the city. Upon arriving at the racetrack, the men inquired to what had drawn such a crowd and were much surprised to hear of the unlikely victor in the early races. When Eomer asked where his sister had gone after she had finished one of the ladies told him that the Steward had raced her out into the open field.
At once, Eomer was worried for his sister's safety, but soon found he had no cause as the two galloped back into view and as soon as her horse came to a stop a good twenty feet ahead of Faramir's, she dismounted with grace and ran into her brother's waiting arms.
"Eomer, you are well!"
"As are you, dear sister, and it is good to see. I do not think I have seen you this free since before the shadows fell."
"The shadows have been run off." She looked up and saw Aragorn for the first time since she awoke in his care and blushed, causing jealousy to build in Faramir's chest.
Eomer looked to the Steward and requested he ride with him for a short time to discuss arrangements for the care of King Théoden's body. As soon as they were out of earshot, the conversation turned to much more pressing matters.
"Lord Eomer, you shall soon be crowned King of Rohan and I know as a Steward I may not have a place to make this request, but I have grown to care for your sister much over the past weeks and I would want nothing more than to have your permission to ask her to be my wife."
Eomer looked at Faramir with unreadable eyes. "You have no need to make such a request of me. I am not her father, nor our uncle."
"But you are the only family she has left, and I wouldn't feel right about asking her to live with me in Ithilien as my wife, without first coming to speak with you."
Eomer smiled at the man who he was now proud to regard as brother. "Faramir, if I may call my future brother that, you have awoken my sister from her despair. There is no man in Middle-earth that would be better matched for her. As long as my sister is happy, we shall have no quarrels."
The two turned back soon after and Faramir left to make his preparations.
That night, Eowyn and Eomer visited and when she woke the following morning, there was a bouquet of wild flowers sitting on the table near her bed.
Eowyn dressed and set out for the garden as she often did while waiting for Faramir to finish his duties, but was surprised to see him sitting there on a bench near the wall. She approached, careful not to jar him from his thoughts, and joined him as he turned to look at her.
"Eowyn, there is something I must ask you, but I am worried as to how you may respond."
Taking his hands in hers, she ducked her head and looked into his eyes. "Then speak it quickly, so we may move on to happier things."
Faramir smiled at her and took a steadying breath. "I know I have been plain in my intentions. My affection for you grew quite suddenly, and has only increased with time. I spend each day working to get through my duties so I could see you, and every night I lie in bed counting the minutes until I can be in your presence once more. I have watched you open before me as a flower that has survived the winter's snow. So now I ask you, will you grow with me in the gardens of Ithilien? Beloved Eowyn, for my beloved you most certainly are, will you marry me and wear my mother's ring as beautifully as you wear her robe?"
"I will." At her affirmation, Faramir threw propriety to the wayside. He swung Eowyn into his arms and kissed her with all the passion he felt for her. Setting her down, he kept her close, looking into her eyes. "Faramir, when did you know you truly loved me?"
Faramir smiled, remembering the day in detail. "It was the day the Warden came and told me you were ill. I had been trying to formulate a plan to free you, but when I was told that they weren't able to get you out of bed…I couldn't get to you fast enough. I had to do everything in my power to make you better." Eowyn melted into Faramir's chest and he held her to him. "What about you?"
"You'll laugh at me." She whispered, causing Faramir to pull away to look at her.
"I promise you, I won't."
She exhaled and then met his eyes. "Yesterday, when I won the race against you. Most people would have let me win because I'm a princess or a woman. Races in Rohan are long distance because short races leave too much to chance. You're the only person who I've ever raced that I knew wasn't even thinking about letting me win, except my brother. I knew then that you would take care of me without placating me. I would still have my freedom with you. I can be the woman I want to be at your side."
Faramir smiled as he kissed his betrothed again. "You're a wild horse, my love, I would never dream of taming you."
"We are both wild horses, Faramir, that's what makes us perfect. We can run alongside each other until the end of our days."