Summary: Whatever we are, and whatever life has become, I will hold on to you.
Warnings: slash and maybe a few clichés.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: This was written in immediate response to Eora's otherwise lovely Aragorn/Boromir fic 'Old Habits' in which she had the nerve to include a mushy Faramir. Mushy, I ask you – will this be tolerated? No!, I answer my own question. It will not. He shall be redeemed!
I wish to thank Eora for writing the otherwise lovely Aragorn/Boromir fic 'Old Habits' in which she had the nerve to include a mushy Faramir. Without it, I doubt my muses would have returned for a while yet. Thank you! :)
Actually, I have no idea how this story shows Faramir isn't mushy, but I'm just happy and grateful for the spark of inspiration!
All That I Am
Most things in Eä have their own roots, either stretching out wide atop the ground and only hiding under a few inches of soil; others digging deep into the earth and stretching down to reach her very core; others are grounded in the heavens, leaning down only to brush against the faces and senses and hearts of those who inhabit the open plains, the rolling rivers and the swaying woods.
Faramir, son of Denethor, whose memory no one seemed to bother keeping alive by song or poetry, was rooted, too, but in something rather more fickle and capricious. He wasn't his temper for this was even and he seldom knew ire. Nor was he truly his motivation – for which he was glad because, more often than was expected from a Steward's son, he found himself motionless before the Moon or the stars, or glued to a window when curtains of silver rain sped it by, and he was lost in dreams.
Aye, Faramir son of Denethor was his dreams. His desire, his longing. He was skilled with a sword – or at least, he had not died by one and that was, in the end, what counted – and when he must, he knew how to rein in his fleeing thoughts and focus on urgent matters steeped in politics, survival and death.
Yet even death held a certain amount of attraction. He did not want to die – he did not crave it as some who had no more laid eyes on a blade before they spoke of the glory of the fallen warrior and how the world beyond would embrace them as true sons of the race of Men. No, this was not what fascinated him about death. Very long ago he had made peace with death and they were now, if not on friendly terms, at least respectful towards one another when they met. When Death had taken Boromir, the pain had been close to insufferable and yet Faramir knew, even in his darkest hour, that there was a trace of reason in the horror. He never came closer than that to understanding his brother's death, but it had been enough. Ever since the War ended, however, Faramir and Death had slid apart. Little by little, they released their holds on the other and both busied themselves elsewhere.
Now, survival was another thing completely. Survival had none of that fantastic, alluring glimmer to it that death had. Survival was dirty and raw. Surviving to Faramir meant being constantly weary. Whereas dying was so perfectly balanced with living, surviving was not living at all.
Politics, then, was strange. It encompassed both living and surviving, and Death itself, though it spun a complicated web around them and pretended it knew exactly the right way to treat them. But in the confusing web that was politics, these concepts were indeed mere concepts and their ties to true existence were severed.
Faramir notched another arrow, aimed, and let it fly. The westering Sun was painting the horizon a light green and the lanterns around the training field were being lit. A few people were milling about, some soldiers, a handful of curious citizens and the pages and footmen. A chill but weak wind was slipping through the fences and Faramir shivered. Another arrow tore through the air, and then another one...
One for Boromir... one for Théoden...
One for Frodo, whose eyes no longer shone... one for Sam who knew fear again as he looked upon his dearest friend...
One for Éowyn and one for Éomer, too young to be ascending the dais in Meduseld...
It was not so much Aragorn's order as the immediate response from the crowd stopping in their tracks that jerked Faramir out of his trance. The King stood on the other side of the fence, wrapped in a thick woollen cloak. The stretching shadows of evening battled with the flickering light from the lanterns upon his face. As soon as Faramir had lowered his bow, Aragorn beckoned him closer and the surrounding onlookers thought it safe to move about again.
Faramir leaned his bow against the fence and his hands fell into the King's larger, warmer ones. Face to face they stood; Aragorn looked younger these days, as if he were employing a spell that made time run backwards.
To Faramir, Aragorn was politics. He was parchment and quills and ink bottles. He was late night councils and treaties and together they had figured out the proper wording when addressing an ambassador. Aragorn was taxes and border control and a relieved smile when the door to the council chamber finally swung shut and they were left alone. Aragorn was the glow of low-burning candles and wax.
He was survival. Dirty, sweaty, bloody... exhausted. He was the eternal and unyielding fire of determination in a soul that had lost all sense of direction. One step after another in an endless flow... Aragorn had made it to Minas Tirith, and he was also death.
It was during Aragorn's quest that Boromir was slain. It was in Aragorn's war that Denethor perished, though undoubtedly, his madness was not Aragorn's creation. Still, the Houses of Healing had for many long weeks stood overcrowded because Sauron had wanted to kill the heir of Isildur, who was Aragorn.
But Faramir had made peace with Death and they saw each other no longer.
"I know that expression," said Aragorn softly. "It tells me that if I do not persuade you to come with me now, you will remain here until daybreak."
They met in a kiss above the fence. Faramir closed his eyes to the field and the weight of his quiver, and let Aragorn's warm tongue tip tease his lips to part. He let out a breath against Aragorn's skin and let it mingle with the settling darkness. Even though the kiss was slow to begin with, Faramir reduced the pace to almost nothing. For a moment they held completely still, even, until Aragorn drew back with a smile.
"I brought your cloak."
The small crowd was thinning out and more lights were springing up in the City.
Aragorn ran the pad of his thumb over Faramir's knuckles, over the cold skin. "Will you come back with me?"
"Yea..." He made to reach for his cloak that hung over the fence but the hold on his hands strengthened.
"Faramir?" Unmasked anxiety had risen in Aragorn's eyes. "I do not wish to sleep alone tonight."
Faramir spoke gently, his reply not foreign on his tongue. "But you never sleep alone, my lord. I share your bed always."
Aragorn cast his eyes down. "I know." He nodded almost imperceptibly. "And yet, some nights, when you are lost in dreams, I cannot shrug the fear that one day you will not come to me and I shall have lost my foundation." He looked up and caught the younger man's gaze. "In you I am rooted, Faramir, and for you I live."
His hands fell open, letting go. Faramir watched them open up to the sky, in a wordless plea that what one has offered, one shall gain in turn. He brought them to his lips and kissed them.
"In my dreams, I see you."
His bow and quiver he left with one of the pages and he exited the field just as the first stars appeared in the sky. Dark, shapeless form they were now, all of them, with their heavy cloaks concealing arms, waists, hips and legs. A thin layer of frost was coating the withering grass in places where it was less trampled and it crunched underfoot.
In silence, they left the training field behind and the few knots of people lingering beside it. By those who thought to not take a closer look, they were considered a nameless pair, walking the City streets, probably making for a fire and hopefully a warm meal somewhere. Faramir avoided the pools of light that spilled out through the windows and drew closer to his lord.
There were some things in life that did not make sense and this was one of them. How was it that a blessing such as this one had been bestowed upon Faramir?
He wanted no answers. It was enough for him to know that each night and each day, he was able to chase a little more of that immense loneliness from Aragorn's heart. In return he had given up his freedom – but that was not at Aragorn's command. No, Faramir had made the vow one morning, as a ray of sunlight fell across his lover's pale skin and made him smile in his sleep.
And Faramir had promised that for as long as he lived, he would work endlessly to extinguish that fear in Aragorn's eyes and show him that beyond survival lay life.
For Faramir was a creature of dreams and wishes, and Aragorn was everything he had ever wished for. And not before Faramir's every dream had come true, would he turn away and call upon Death, and walk freely into its outstretched arms.