Warnings: Language, slash, mentions of rough sex, non-explicit sex scenes (all consensual!)
Disclaimer: These characters/places do not belong to me. All written in good fun with no offence intended!
Author's Note: So, the Fellowship spent 'days uncounted' in Lothlorien, but for the purposes of this story, I have stretched it out a little longer in the Golden Wood, perhaps a week or two, though it's not explicitly mentioned.
For Geale, who well and truly set the ball rolling in my mind for this (I will convert you!) :)
After a year, most people would begin to call it a relationship. But it wasn't. It wasn't really anything. And yet, it certainly wasn't nothing. And what it was exactly, neither of them could really say, for they had never spoken to each other about it, or thought about it much, and generally went about their own daily business as normal. Except every now and again, they would find themselves waking together, or finding an excuse to go out riding to some out of the way refuge and just so happening to get lost on the way. Going back to one another again and again. But it wasn't really a relationship. It was just a sort of thing.
Boromir made absolutely no secret of the fact he was courting any number of well-bred and well to do ladies of the city, though in private he had admitted he found these particular ladies' conversation so un-academic it made even his head hurt. Tiring of this he would usually seek out Faramir for company, though the younger man was now so enraptured with Eowyn that Boromir wasn't sure if his banter was any better. Aragorn had Arwen who was not yet his wife, but whom he apparently had had another thing with, though he had said one evening, quietly, a long time ago now, that he didn't believe they would marry. They certainly were not in love. And however long this thing carried on, Boromir knew he would never love Aragorn. Or if he did he wasn't going to do something so idiotic as admit it.
Keeping your distance meant no pain later. And there wouldn't be any pain, because he wasn't in love, and as Aragorn wasn't in love with him either then what did it matter? Bloody Rangers.
It had started in Lothlorien. Or Rivendell, to be utterly precise. Bloody Elves. Actually, they'd had a slight difference of opinion in Rivendell, so that didn't count. Right. Forget that. So, in Lothlorien-…well, it was in Moria that it really started…
Boromir didn't think about these things; you don't tend to dwell on such matters when you're not really bothered. His lady friend this evening was whittering on about poetry or something, and his mind tended to wander, that was all. Love, he thought, was a load of stuff and nonsense. Better not to get mixed up in it. Leave it for Faramir, who by all accounts was completely smitten and generally an utter pest to be around right now. He was happy. But so was Boromir. Happy and listening to poetry and daydreaming about Aragorn again.
As for Aragorn, he tried not to think of Boromir much when they were apart. He thought mainly of Arwen and the slow decline of their relationship. And when he couldn't think of that anymore, that's when he went in search of Boromir. But it was not too often, not enough to let himself think that he had any feelings for the man above good friendship. And he didn't want Boromir getting any ideas, though he knew that was unlikely. If he could get away with it, Aragorn knew that Boromir would have no qualms over actually kicking him out of the bed in the morning. But as it was, as dawn broke, the one whose room is was not departed without a word, sometimes without waking the other at all. It was easier that way. No mess.
Arwen knew about it, probably, but it was merely a symptom and not the cause of their drifting apart. The sea was calling, and Aragorn was letting her go little by little, as she closed her heart to him in equal increments. Her gaze turned ever West, as Aragorn's turned ever toward Boromir, though he would likely deny it if caught looking. Boromir was a constant, and would never leave the City.
It wasn't that they'd never been in love. When Aragorn was young, and Arwen already centuries older but of course, still ageless, they had loved each other with the same fire and fervour and indomitable spirit of any lovers in the spring of their relationship. But winter beckoned, and closing her eyes and turning West upon the balcony of their bedroom she could feel the sea breeze and taste salt on her lips. The gulls cried out to her. She missed her father, her brothers and her people. And she would miss Aragorn, in the end, which is why she had hesitated.
Aragorn had spoken of it, once, to Boromir, the closest they'd ever come to discussing anything to do with feelings. There had been no time for talk, as usual, during the act, and there was generally no preamble to it either. Aragorn had the key to Boromir's chambers after all, and the general routine after locking it again behind him was to divest himself of his clothes and climb into the bed silently. There were no kisses, or words of endearment, and though Aragorn wasn't bothered either way he knew Boromir would probably slap him if he tried any. Sometimes, in lighter moods, he thought of adding 'dearest' to a sentence just to see Boromir's face. But he had not been in a lighter mood this night. And afterwards, when Boromir had turned over as usual to sleep, he'd lain on his back, awake for some time, before speaking suddenly, only half-sure that Boromir was conscious.
"She is leaving me, Boromir."
There was a movement, and a breath that was almost an acknowledgement, but otherwise no response. Aragorn didn't mind. Even if he was asleep Boromir was the only one he could talk to about this. He realised suddenly that after Arwen, Boromir was the person he was closest to, though it was a distant closeness they had created, one where there were certain, unspoken rules of how to behave. And no talking after sex was one of them. He lowered his voice, the rule-breaking a little less blatant this way.
"She will sail soon. She agrees with me that our love has faded, it's friendship, now, if that. But I don't want to think about never seeing her again." He closed his eyes and thought of sleeping for a while before leaving for his own rooms. After a moment, there came a voice in the dark.
"If I'd known you were feeling like this I wouldn't have been so…you know, rough." Awkward, and the nearest Boromir had come to anything resembling or acknowledging affection. Then, after some thought; "I'm sorry."
"It's alright." Aragorn murmured. "And we don't talk about these things, do we?" He opened his eyes, adding softly. "I liked it."
"You always like it." Boromir yawned but otherwise didn't move.
"Reminds me of-…well, it helps me forget. Forget her, and remember you."
"Aragorn-" Boromir began, fearful of how close Aragorn was getting to a compliment, how close they were getting, but the King seemed to content himself with this, placing a hand on the younger man's shoulder and silencing him.
In Moria, to stave off the cold, Aragorn had turned over and buried his face between Boromir's neck and shoulder, and his arms had wound their way around him slowly, sleepily, and Boromir had surprised himself by letting him. It was bloody cold. And dark, and all the rest. Afterwards, as they trudged on, it seemed impossible to him that this strange, wild man, this Ranger, who now strode ahead of him, watchful, wary, eerily confident in his abilities as a survivor, would need to curl himself around another in the night-time. And Boromir himself deliberately acted aloof about the whole thing, and pretty much ignored Aragorn for the rest of the day, pitch black though it still was. The second night was just as cold, and Boromir was secretly rather glad that Aragorn returned to him after taking watch, and as they lay together his cold hands slid beneath Boromir's tunic, for warmth, of course, and they breathed in the scent of each others' unwashed hair. Not romantic at all, but a beginning. And Boromir wasn't exactly one for romance anyway.
He knew about Arwen leaving. He'd known for a while, or, at least suspected it. He knew when Aragorn came to him after being with her, for he would be wilder than usual, needing to forget, and his fingernails would dig into Boromir's arm and he sometimes even bit him, on the shoulder, or neck. Not too hard, but Boromir liked it anyway. Their lovemaking was never languid, relaxed; it was fast and a little rough, and though neither of them finished too quickly it was a fury of heat and lust and frustration. They were too similar, Boromir knew, and they sparked off of one another. In fact it wasn't really lovemaking at all; it was fucking, and it was fucking glorious.
He wondered, sometimes, how Aragorn was with Arwen. Was he gentle? He presumed so. This didn't count as thinking about Aragorn, he'd tell himself, knowing full well that it did. Did Aragorn and Arwen even sleep together anymore? It didn't bother him. The thing between him and Aragorn, well, you can't enforce monogamy on something that doesn't officially exist. This was another unspoken rule, and one he followed with enthusiasm, though lately he found sleeping with these witheringly dull ladies less appealing than before. It had begun to worry him just how many times in the day he would catch himself thinking about things he shouldn't. Like Aragorn, and the fact that he might have become fond of him, just a little.
"I could…love you."
"Good." Boromir schooled his features into a neutral expression, heart still jumping a little at Aragorn's unexpected comment. The King sat on the side of the bed, half-dressed, his back to Boromir. "You know, just because you're the King doesn't mean you can say things like that." Scare me half to death, why don't you?
"I'm sorry." Aragorn's turn to apologise now, though it was days since Boromir's mumbled, post-coital words. Gods, perhaps they were seeing too much of each other, Boromir thought. They were getting too close, too comfortable. But he didn't want to be the one to end it, and deep down, he didn't really want it to end at all. But he wasn't bothered. Not at all.
"Look," He half sat up in the bed, leaning on an elbow. "If you want to talk, lets talk. Or at least turn around, I've done nothing but look at the back of your head all night." It had been Boromir on top, this time, and the teeth marks on Aragorn's shoulder were still visible. He felt like reaching out to him, running his fingers down Aragorn's smooth back, pulling him back into the bed, and not even for sex. He wanted to wrap his arms around him and kiss his neck, his jaw, his mouth. This was getting ridiculous; they didn't bloody kiss. But he had an awful feeling that Aragorn would let him if he tried.
"Thank you, but…I will go." Aragorn stood, and his voice seemed so sad that Boromir, instead of turning over as usual, indifferent and sleepy, furrowed his brow as Aragorn pulled his shirt back on.
"She's leaving very soon, isn't she? She's told you when."
"Aye." Aragorn looked around at him, gaze difficult to hold. "Aye." He half-smiled, and ran a hand down through Boromir's hair unexpectedly, almost tenderly, and then he was up and out of the door, closing it with a click.
I could love you. I could love you! Boromir fell back onto the bed and ran his hands over his face. Aragorn, you fool. And he was a fool himself, too. It was fucking, that was all. No feelings, no attachment. And yet he ran his hand over the warm part of the bed where Aragorn had lain as if to conjure him back.
It was difficult, almost impossible, but Aragorn managed to lift each foot in turn and nod his head at guards who bowed theirs as he passed. He knew what they were thinking, what everyone was thinking; Arwen Undomiel, the not-Queen of Gondor, had left Minas Tirith and would soon leave the world of Men. And she had left Aragorn.
They had ridden out from the city together, for the last time. She would meet with some of her people on the borders of Ithilien, and bid her final farewell to the man she had once thought she would love for all time. They hadn't spoken much, but he had held her hands and brought them to his lips and kissed them, softly. The Evenstar still hung about his neck, and she bade him keep it, for it was indeed a gift, freely given and now all he would have to remember her by. Her eyes betrayed a pain that he knew only too well; the pain of loss, of what might have been but would never be so. The pain of parting forever, of the death of love. She kissed his forehead, and he held her for the last time and whispered words that only she could hear. Then she stepped away, and looked at him once more, and then turned and led her horse toward the escorts waiting for her beneath the trees.
He waited until she was out of sight, lost in the forest, and then turned his horse for home, alone. His tears had dried by the time he passed through the gates.
In his rooms, finally, he stood by the window and his mind wandered forlornly; he thought of her, and the long life of elves, and the mallorn trees of the Golden Wood.
Boromir and he had spoken, properly, without disagreeing, for the first time accompanied by songs of sadness. The Grey Pilgrim had fallen into the darkness, never to return. The trees swayed quietly, and starlight dappled the earth. That first night they spoke of Gondor, or rather, Boromir had talked and Aragorn had listened, and he saw a little more of the man beneath the warrior's façade; there was honour, and loyalty, and a good heart when you got past the quick temper and the pride that was so easily mistaken for arrogance. This was no natural thing though; Aragorn knew he saw these qualities only because Boromir was letting him, allowing him past a guard so rarely set down.
How far would Boromir trust him? He had let Aragorn place his hands upon his skin, though it seemed so long ago. It had felt good; his skin was smooth and warm, the muscle beneath lean. Aragorn had wanted to do it again, but it wasn't as if he could just ask. And it wasn't cold in Lothlorien.
They had walked together for a long time, some nights later, when they came to the pool. The water was still, and clear, and glistened with a thousand reflected stars. Water-lilies bobbed. They sat on the bank, and didn't speak, as if frightened to break the silence that surrounded them. Aragorn looked out over the water for a time, then turned to Boromir, who had been staring down at the grass between his knees. His hair had fallen into his eyes, and he seemed haunted by something. His words from nights before still rang through Aragorn's head.
I will find no rest here.
He had decided to leave Aragorn be, this day. And then he had changed his mind, and then changed it back again. He would wear a hole in the rug, at this rate. The would-be Queen was gone now, forever, but Boromir knew that going to the King now would smack of a fondness he could barely admit to himself. He didn't want to come across as caring too much. And then, he would change his mind, and fear that ignoring Aragorn would sully their, well, it really was a relationship, wasn't it? Call a spade a spade, and all that. Buggeration. It was that too.
He found himself halfway along the corridor that stretched from his chambers and along the upper floor of the Steward's Houses. Near Faramir's old rooms. Faramir himself was safely holed up in Ithilien with Eowyn, holding hands and giggling, most likely, and Boromir found it darkly amusing that the first thing he'd ever become envious of his brother for was his ability to fall in love and have none of this skirting of the subject and dancing around one another that he and Aragorn had been doing for goodness knows how many months now.
Love? Boromir shook his head, as if to clear it of such foolish fancies, and walked on, past the old familiar tapestry that had hung on the wall there for as long as he could remember. Faded golden leaves fell over the heads of men and horses marching through tall trees. Little silver birds sat in the branches. No elves, for this was an image of Gondor, not Lorien.
Lying beneath towering mallorn trees, on soft grass, with Aragorn beside him. Water lapped near their feet, and Boromir could have slept forever, right there. It was so quiet, so serene. Safe. They'd hardly spoken, but it'd been an easy silence, though Boromir's thoughts were still troubled by what the voice of the Lady had said to him and him alone.
They'd kicked off their shoes, and Boromir had lain on his back and stared at the sky and Aragorn had sat close by and rather unsubtly stared at him. After a while, Boromir had closed his eyes, not unsettled by Aragorn's gaze as such, but perhaps by his own reactions to it. He heard Aragorn shift, and felt it too, for he had been sitting very close, and he opened his eyes again at length to see Aragorn leaning over him, and his eyes looked right into him and brooked no argument.
He'd looked as if about to speak, but didn't, instead bringing a calloused palm to rest against Boromir's cheek as he lowered his head slowly, permissively, ever closer until there was no doubt as to his intention. The first kiss, and the only one in the long months of their coming together. It was deep, and long, and Boromir had kissed him back after a moment, and he'd felt Aragorn's sigh of relief as their tongues twisted together. They made love, and it was lovemaking, for in peaceful Lorien it didn't seem possible for anything as carnal as a fuck to occur. Boromir felt a sense of liberation, and he knew deep down he had been waiting for this since the cold, deep dark of the dwarven halls. Aragorn's body was supple and lithe and strong, scarred in places, like his own. His hair was darker, but they fit together well. A good match. Aggressive, sometimes, though it was aggression that came from passion and lust. The combination of two powerful wills. And it felt amazing.
As the days passed it became rather obvious to nearly everyone where they kept disappearing off to. The younger hobbits remained oblivious. Legolas kept giving Boromir a look he wasn't sure he liked much, but he let it go, for as the stars came out Aragorn would give him a different look, one that meant he would shortly be running his own calloused palms over Aragorn's chest and stomach and hips as they bit back moans together.
No kisses. Kisses meant affection, and affection meant a prediliction for falling in love. And he absolutely, definitely and categorically wasn't in love.
A shambles of a knock at the door and Aragorn looked up from where he had stood at the window, his heavy heart lifting more than even he'd anticipated when the source of the door-battering entered the room without invitation.
The younger man paused near the door for a moment, then gathered himself and walked further into the room, stopping a few feet short of Aragorn and looking at him. He seemed oddly uncomfortable.
"I came to…I came to see if you were alright."
Aragorn wanted to embrace him, be embraced by him- but he didn't move, and he bit back the relief in his answer. "Thank you."
There was avery awkward silence, and neither seemed willing to break it. Boromir looked over into the fireplace for lack of anything better to do, and he felt Aragorn's gaze burn into him as the seconds lengthened. "Do you want me to-…I mean, I could…stay, if you like. Or if you want to be alone…" Well done. Of course he wants to be alone, that's why he's clearly overjoyed at being left by Arwen. He glanced up, and the redness of Aragorn's eyes only compounded his foolishness. "I'm sorry. You know I can't talk about this sort of thing. Not gracefully, anyway."
Aragorn only smiled. "It's a little bit of a mess, isn't it?" Boromir laughed dryly.
"You might say that. She's gone then?" Tactful, ever tactful.
Aragorn lowered his eyes, turning and stepping back to the window, resting his hands on the stone sill. "I was talking about us, Boromir. You and me." He glanced over his shoulder briefly. "If I'm allowed to say 'you and me'."
Which he wasn't, of course. By decree of Boromir, who shied away from any attachment between them to almost the point of idiocy, or so Aragorn thought. So what if they were fucking? But he knew, oh how well he knew, that shouting that from the top of the tower wouldn't be the best idea he'd ever had. A little closeness, that's all he'd ever wanted, or needed. Instead he'd hidden that all away and covered it all up with an aloofness to rival Boromir's, a shrug of the shoulders, a dismissal in the mornings. I could love you, he'd said, and he knew he'd scared Boromir but he wanted a reaction, he wanted something from him. The fact that Boromir hadn't pushed him away utterly had been enough at the time. And he'd spoken the truth. He could, if Boromir would let him.
"Look, Aragorn," Boromir ran his hand through his hair, though Aragorn was looking out through the window again and couldn't see the anguish on his face. He didn't want to either, for nothing good ever came of a converstion that began with those two words. "I…wanted to talk to you about that. About-…about you and me."
Ah, more words that spelled only doom. Today was clearly not destined to be kind to his heart. "I thought there was no 'you and me'?"
"But you just said-"
"I know what I said, Boromir." Aragorn turned, and his voice had been harsher than he intended, but he was so weary of this endless chase. "We exist, and yet we don't. You let me lie upon your body but you don't let me anywhere near your heart."
Boromir frowned, and there was more than a little venom in his reply. "We mirror each other too well, Aragorn. You push me away just as regularly." His own fault, of course, but alluding to that served no purpose. "I need not remind you that you have the key to my rooms, not the other way around."
Perhaps they never spoke of these things because they would ultimately end up arguing? Perhaps this really wouldn't work? After all this time… "Then what, Boromir? Why is it so unacceptable to you for me to tell you I might need you sometimes?"
Boromir winced and look away. Need, not want. And he didn't even know the answer himself. Fear of commitment, of discovery? It had been at least a year and no-one had found out, and those who suspected didn't seem to mind. What was it then? Pride? The fact that, after all they had gone through together, that being with Aragorn would mean admitting he'd been wrong in Rivendell? He almost laughed at the ridiculousness of that thought, though there was some small part of it that was true.
Aragorn seemed to grow tired of his silence, and crossed over to him, expression softening a little. He put his hand on Boromir's arm and looked at him questioningly. "We can't go on like this. I need to be let in, Boromir, and you would be let in too. Or else we might as well end this now. I must look out for my heart after all, in the end."
Boromir looked up at him. He stood so close, and his hand held his arm gently. "I must look out for mine, Aragorn." He pulled away, turning toward the fire, but before Aragorn could respond he spoke again. "It's difficult, you know. Speaking…of this." He rubbed at his eye. Aragorn stood dumbly behind him, waiting for the end, it seemed. "It's just-…I love you, a bit." He looked up. "More than just a bit, actually." Excrutiating, but necessary. He'd realised in the last ten seconds that he really was bothered about all of this. He expected another silence, for Aragorn to drag it out, but no.
"I have loved you for a long time, Boromir." Boromir almost spun on his heel. Aragorn just looked at him simply, but not unkindly. "A very long time. But you wouldn't let me, so I shut you out, too." He stepped toward Boromir, slowly.
Boromir seemed rather lost. "You…you said you could love me. I never thought that you actually did." He laughed nervously. "I thought you were tying to scare me."
"I was." Aragorn smiled at him, standing in front of him at last. "Well, just a little." And it had worked, hadn't it?
Boromir just gave him a look, and then, without even realised he was doing so, lifted his hands to rest on Aragorn's chest. There was a pause, a heartbeat in which they seemed to come to the exact same decision at the same moment, for Aragorn's hands slid up to Boromir's shoulders, and Boromir wound his fingers into Aragorn's hair, and their heads tilted and they came together, lips and mouths and tongues pressed so firmly into one another in a passionate, deep and seemingly endless kiss. The second, ever. But instead of the flurry of grasping fingers and biting teeth, there was a slow caress of skin, a tender tangling of hair, and they drew apart finally, though not too far. An eyelash rested on Aragorn's cheek, and Boromir removed it with a gentle sweep of his thumb.
"I'm sorry about Arwen." Boromir was looking at him with an expression Aragorn had never seen on his face before. It was tender, concerned, a little vulnerable. Aragorn pulled him closer for a second, though their bodies were already pressed as close as possible. Well, almost.
"Come," Aragorn drew away, catching Boromir's hand in his own as it fell from his shoulders. "Come." He led him toward the door in the corner, the one that led to his bed chamber. His eyes never left Boromir's face, even as his palm fell flat against solid oak and pushed.
It wasn't fucking. It was a tongue sliding along a jawbone; a hand placed flat against an equally flat stomach and moving downwards; it was heat, and it was movement, and it was slow and careful and shuddering; it was salt and it was smoke and it was flesh and muscle and skin; it was hair falling in front of eyes clenched shut, it was pressure and union and a jolt in tandem. A set jaw, and an unearthly groan. The sensation of a knuckle sliding within. A bitten lip. A kiss that never ended, that trailed from lips to jaw to throat, burning with restraint. A fire, an explosion, an inferno that raged; a collapse and a shiver that didn't abate until long afterward. It wasn't fucking at all. But it was still fucking glorious.
"That-…" And Boromir seemed to have nothing else to say. He panted hard, cheek against Aragorn's chest, ear filled with a rapid heartbeat that rivalled his own in speed. Aragorn's head was thrown back against the pillow, long hair spilling out across his shoulders, atrociously messy. His eyes were shut, and his fingers were woven in Boromir's own tousled strands. Boromir managed to rouse himself a little. "That was-…Aragorn." He nudged the other man a little, grinning. Aragorn opened an eye. "We're idiots."
"Hmm?" They'd agreed to do away with the no talking rule, but Aragorn hadn't counted on the strength of afterglow in regards to forming a coherent sentence.
"We could have had that-…that…so long ago." Boromir reached up and ran a fingertip along Aragorn's jaw line. His hand still shook. He'd never come so hard in his life.
"Be glad we have it now, dear one." Boromir's head shot up at this, brow furrowed and retort already forming in his throat when Aragorn suddenly laughed and shoved him over, pinning him beneath against the bed.
"You're a bugger." Boromir struggled feebly, laughing.
"And you're an oaf, but let us not talk of such obvious matters." Another kiss, and when Aragorn drew back again, his hair dancing across Boromir's chest, his smile made Boromir's heart jump. They were both becoming hard again, but Boromir fought his body's impulses for a moment longer.
"I hope you're not imagining that I'm going to be all…you know…" He waved his hand around in a fanciful manner. "With you I mean."
"Like Faramir?" Aragorn smirked.
Boromir snorted. "I love him dearly but one does get a little tired of all that…mushy talk. It's never been my sort of thing."
Aragorn lowered his head. "Nor has it been mine." He left a light kiss upon Boromir's lips. "There is one thing though." He rolled his hips against the younger man's. "I just need to make sure…" He did it again, more insistently.
"Yes?" Boromir had closed his eyes, fists clenching in the bed sheets. Torture.
"We will talk." Aragorn moved against him again, and again, and it was becoming rather difficult to concentrate. "Us, together. Afterwards, and before. We will talk to each other. About us, about everything." He stopped for a moment, and Boromir squinted up at him, breath quickening. "Will you promise me that?"
It was a long time before Boromir answered, but it was because he'd pulled Aragorn into another deeply slow kiss, and their arms wrapped around one another, and they rolled over so that Boromir was on top, pressing his own hips down onto Aragorn's. Aragorn moaned, and Boromir pulled away; he couldn't hold on much longer either. He wanted Aragorn. He needed him.
"Promise." He said, and they collided together with none of the finesse of before, none of the elegance. It was the ungainly mess of limbs that comes from need and need alone. It was almost fucking, but not quite. They spoke to each other, whispered and moaned and shouted words that were not always intelligible, but they spoke, and they kissed, and they loved. And both would admit to anyone who dared ask that it certainly wasn't just a thing anymore.
Or if it was, then it was now most definitely their thing.