This Lord of the Rings story is slash fan fiction. That means it may contain adult concepts and sensuality between men.
If you're underage or offended by such things, you have been warned not to read the fiction.

This written for a challenge at dave_uncensored at Livejournal for Ravenrosen. She asked for Faramir/Aragorn story with a little lightness and humor.

In Bloom

Cousin Shelley


Faramir was dreadfully late for the meeting, embarrassingly so. His face felt hot as he approached the doors to the large room which doubled in the evenings as a sort of banquet hall for the poor souls who had to attend the meetings during the day.

All eyes turned to him when he entered the room, and he flushed even more. He looked at Aragorn and gave a respectful nod.

“Forgive my lateness, sire,” he said softly, and took a seat on the king’s right, barely able to suppress a wince when he realized he should not have sat quite so quickly.

“Is everything all right, Faramir?”

Faramir smiled at Aragorn’s innocent tone. “Yes, my lord, everything is fine,” he answered, just as innocently.

“I see,” Aragorn said. “Hmmm. A late night, perhaps?”

Faramir realized that Aragorn was pointedly looking at his neck. A line of bruises circled the flesh there, much of it hidden by the slightly high collar, but not all of it. He thought Aragorn’s smile was entirely too self-satisfied.

He would have done more than blush at coming in so late to such an important gathering and being under such scrutiny, if he had a different reason for his lateness. He would have at least tried to explain, had it been mere fatigue, or some kind of emergency, but picturing himself explaining the real reason only threatened his composure.

“I do apologize, sire, perhaps if you hadn’t insisted on taking me, what was it, three times? until approximately four in the morning, and then been called away this morning without waking me, well, I could have been the first one here.”

He supposed it would definitely make the morning less dull to announce that in front of the crowd. Perhaps every meeting from then on would be livened up a bit.

He bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing, and damn his fair skin for pinking so easily. “Yes, my lord,” he said, “it was a bit of a late night, but I assure you, tardiness will not become a habit.”

“Very good,” Aragorn said, still smiling. Faramir held his gaze until the king looked away, and returned to the matters at hand.

The litanies and arguments and pleadings began, and continued for what seemed like hours. Yet, between Faramir’s and Aragorn’s bargains, appeasements and explanations, each merchant left there satisfied that his or her best interests were being considered.

After all were gone but the king and his steward, they sat in silence for a few moments, looking over the last of the documents and signing what needed to be signed. Then each leaned back in his chair and sighed.

"These meetings are the part of rule I find the most tiring, Faramir."

"Aye, but they’re almost over. For a while." Faramir was relieved that they only had two more days of such ceremonies. He smiled at his king, noting that he did look far more tense than when they'd arrived. “By the way, thank you for making the time for a quick bath this morning before leaving, and yet managing to forget to wake me.”

“I had to wash before facing anyone, I looked and smelled like a wet horse, thanks to you.” His smile faded a little. “I merely intended to let you get more sleep, and I forgot to ask someone to wake you. I’m sorry for that. You did look quite fit to be tied when you came in here this morning, though. I’m going to be tempted to see that look again, you realize.”

Faramir chuckled. “As long as my reason for lateness is the same as last night’s, you’ll hear nary an argument from me. Sire.”

They looked at each other, matching grins on each face. Faramir loved Aragorn’s face, had the first time he saw it, even though he’d spent months doubting his own motives for feeling that way.

It was no secret that Aragorn was with Boromir when he died, heard his last words, even seen to his body after death, sent him down the Anduin. And Faramir had loved no one or nothing, not even Gondor, more than his brother.

So for months, he wondered if his feelings for Aragorn originated with Boromir. As if being close to him, would somehow make his brother’s loss less sharp.

Finally, he realized there was nothing that could dull that pain, nothing except time, he supposed. And his feelings for Aragorn were genuine, not born merely in longing for Boromir. Even after that, it had taken him weeks to truly show it, even though he suspected that Aragorn felt a similar attraction to him.

Perhaps there was doubt for Aragorn’s motives, too. Guilt over Boromir’s death, drawing him to the surviving brother. Faramir couldn’t deny that possibility had occurred to him often, before they became lovers.

Once they touched, though, all those doubts fled, and Faramir knew that what they felt for each other was real, and not the product of guilt, or grief. As he thought about that first time they kissed, in the middle of the night, in front of the white tree, Faramir found himself wanting to touch Aragorn again, right there, despite the lingering soreness that reminded him just how much they had touched the night before.

“They’re going to want the room shortly, to prepare for the meal,” Aragorn said, with a sigh. As he shuffled the parchments in front of him into a sort of pile, his quill fell to the floor. Faramir lowered himself from his chair to one knee to pick it up, and was inspired to act on his wish. What was the best way to relax a tense king, after all?

Aragorn smiled with a mixture of delight and disbelief as the dropped quill was handed to him, from beneath the table, and between his legs. Faramir!” the king said in an astonished whisper, but stopped short when he felt Faramir’s hands on him, then he was drawn into a warm, wet mouth, and his They’re going to. . . want to prepare this room came out more like a moan than individual words.

Faramir’s tongue was a wonder, and Aragorn had to fight to be quiet. He was so close, so close. . . and then the doors opened to a buxom serving girl carrying a stack of table linens. Fortunately, she faced the empty end of the long table while Aragorn sat at the opposite end, and not the side of the table, where she would have seen Faramir kneeling beneath it. As it was, it appeared Aragorn sat alone, across the room.

Only he wasn’t just sitting, he was practically writhing in the chair when she opened the doors. He and Faramir both froze.

“Could you give me a few moments?” Aragorn managed, in a strained voice. “I’m not quite. . . finished here.” The last two words came out in a higher pitch than the rest, because Faramir licked him in a particularly sensitive spot at just that moment, upon realizing that he was hidden, and the girl obviously had no idea what was happening.

“Yes, my lord, of course,” she said, and when the doors closed, Aragorn slumped, letting his head fall back as he laughed. His laughter was cut short when Faramir sucked him in deeply. Aragorn’s hands clutched the arms of the chair as his lover pulled him easily over the edge.

Later that night, after they had returned to their rooms, washed and dressed in finery and shown up at the banquet as was expected, Faramir, Aragorn and a few of the local merchants sat at that same table, drinking ale after a hearty meal.

“So, Faramir,” one of the men clapped his shoulder, clearly made more friendly with drink, “a late night, eh?” He chuckled and nodded at the rest of the gathered men. “By the looks of your neck, she must have been quite a spitfire.” The man winked at him, and Faramir found himself trying not to laugh. He looked at Aragorn, and smiled sweetly before answering the man.

“She was. A saucy little wench, that one.”

The men barked laughter, not just at the answer, but at Faramir’s willingness to say anything. He was not known for telling such tales, so Faramir guessed they considered themselves in his confidence, which obviously pleased them.

“Looks like she almost ate you alive. Was she pretty? She wouldn’t have a lonely sister, would she?” Laughter all around.

“She does not, as far as I know,” he joked back. “And she is quite beautiful. If a bit spoiled. Delicate little thing.”

The merchants all nodded and grinned, as if they’d had many similar conquests.

“Is that so?” Aragorn asked. “Delicate? Do tell us more, Faramir.”

“Well, she’s a bit bad-tempered in the mornings. Quite a cross thing when she’s not had enough sleep. And mouthy, oh, she’s got a quick tongue.”

The double entendre drew more laughter from the men, and even Aragorn laughed. Faramir’s fun ended when an argument broke out among two silk merchants who had too much drink. They were sitting across the table from each other, and were being held back by a few men on each side as apparently one had thrown his drink at the other and both drunk, portly men were attempting to crawl across the table to reach each other, with no success.

The men who had been laughing at Faramir’s story now ran to their friends’ sides. Aragorn and Faramir stood, but paused before rushing in.

“My lord? Should we just throw water on them? Or attempt to actually talk it through?” he said with a sigh. Before the king had answered, the men had been pulled in different directions, and were being escorted out by their fellow merchants, with apologies, which, of course, Aragorn accepted.

They sat again, and a few of the men returned, eager for their private audience with the king and the steward in such an informal setting. Soon the topic had turned from saucy wenches to a particular stubborn merchant in the lower level, who didn’t want to cooperate with the other salesman, all for their greater good.

When they’d pleaded their case and rose to leave, Faramir and Aragorn discussed it softly amongst themselves, and it was decided that Faramir would speak to the man in the next few days.

“How do you think I should approach the matter with him? He is particularly obstinate,” Faramir said.

“When you talk to him, I have no doubt you’ll charm him,” Aragorn said. “The way you charm me.” He smiled and took a sip of ale.

“Are you suggesting I slip beneath his table and curl his toes, as well?” Faramir whispered, with a smile.

Aragorn spit his ale a couple of feet down the table, sputtering and coughing. Faramir clapped him on the back, clearing his own throat and appearing concerned to cover the laugher that threatened to bubble out of him at any moment.

“Are you all right, sire?”

“Yes, mm hmm, yes, thank you, Faramir, merely tried to swallow and breathe at the same time. Quite all right, thank you.” He waved off those who had hurried over to check on him, and managed a sort of delighted glare at Faramir.

“Are you trying to kill me?” he managed to whisper.

Faramir cocked an eyebrow and did his best to appear menacing. “I am your successor, my lord.”

The next two days passed at a crawl, as they always did when the only time Aragorn could manage to spend with Faramir was in the company of others. Ceremonies and their various duties managed to keep them apart. And so many issues had come up at the last meeting, that the entire set of proceedings had been extended another two days, which Aragorn was sure would feel like an eternity.

On his way to one more official meal, this one he knew would be with some particularly windy self-important men who never seemed to get to a point, he spied Faramir in the hall, also dressed in his finery, on the way to the same sure-to-be-endless meal. He stood in front of a window, staring out, surprisingly unaware of Aragorn watching him.

Faramir’s experience as a ranger generally made him extremely sensitive to his surroundings. It was that awareness, that sense, that often kept the men alive in the field. Now, though, he stared out into the night, expressionless, and Aragorn was caught, rapt, watching him. He was in profile, and the king thought again just how beautiful and fine a man Faramir was.

Even in grief, he glowed. And grief, he supposed, had brought them together. At least it had hurried what he thought would have been their eventual relationship, even without it.

He’d been attracted to Faramir from the moment he’d touched him to heal him. Not just his appearance, his essence, the spirit of the man he’d called back from the dark was simply so bright and full, Aragorn couldn’t help but love him.

But after that, their contact had been mostly official, with very few private moments between them, and when they were alone, often the conversation was about Boromir. Of course, Faramir wanted to know everything, and as difficult and painful as it was, Aragorn gave him every detail.

When life began to slow, and their duties were less urgent, the rebuilding and recovery from the war falling into a more steady pace, it seemed they managed to see each other even less.

Aragorn’s grief, and despite his love for Arwen, his loneliness, threatened to overwhelm him. He often had great difficulty sleeping through the night, so it was not uncommon for him to take walks in the moonlight. And more often than not, he ended up in the courtyard, at the tree.

And sometimes, before he reached it, he saw a figure standing there, looking at it as he often did. The first few times, he merely watched Faramir for a moment before turning back. But one night, a shroud of unmistakable grief seemed to slump Faramir’s shoulders, and Aragorn thought the sight of him standing there, alone in the dark, was the most heartbreaking thing he’d ever seen.

He was drawn to Faramir, and walked up behind him, intending to offer what support he could. Faramir obviously sensed him there, and without turning, spoke.

"For so long, we dreamed of the day it would bloom. It’s so unfair that he never got to see it.”

Aragorn wanted to remind him that Boromir helped to make it bloom, that if not for his efforts, there would be no tree left, no city at all. But he knew that no one considered Boromir more a hero than his brother, and none of those words were really necessary, even though the instinct was there to comfort him. He might even suggest that wherever Boromir was now, he could see it.

Yet, he had watched some people try to comfort Faramir with similar words, and though Faramir appeared gracious and grateful when they did so, Aragorn knew their efforts didn't have the desired effect.

Those, at least, were better than the ones who did nothing, because they knew not what to do. While their silence could be understood, their absence from Faramir's life could not. It seemed that in their uncertainty how to comfort a man who had lost both his father, not just in body but in spirit before the man died, and his beloved brother, they simply avoided the man completely, rather than attempt to comfort him, and make things worse.

Aragorn would do neither.

He simply stepped up behind Faramir and slowly put an arm around the man's waist. Faramir turned his head slightly, surprised, but he did not resist or move away. Aragorn crossed his other arm around Faramir's chest. And he simply stood there and held him this way, resting his face alongside Faramir’s.

Faramir took a deep breath, and then everything seemed to drain from him. He relaxed back against Aragorn and simply let the tears fall. Aragorn wept as well, not just for Boromir, but for all of Gondor, Faramir, himself.

When no more tears came for either of them, Aragorn simply kissed the side of Faramir's face, slowly released him, and walked away.

They met at the tree after that often during the night, both awake with worries, or unbeknownst to them, want for each other. Their talk was little more than idle chatter, but most of the time they didn't talk at all, merely stood by side looking at the tree, an understanding and empathy between them as deep and strong as its roots.

One night, Faramir entered the courtyard to see Aragorn standing before the tree, and like Aragorn had weeks earlier, he sensed something in his king, perhaps a restlessness, a need, that he could not walk away from. It was as natural as breathing to approach him from behind and, without words, embrace the king in the same way Aragorn had held him.

Neither man moved for a time, and then Aragorn turned within Faramir's arms. When Faramir felt him move, he loosened his hold but did not released him, and as Aragorn remained close, it was clear he had not intended for Faramir to let go.

"Come to regard the tree again, Faramir?"

"The tree draws me here, my lord. As do other things."

Aragorn hesitated only briefly before sliding his arms around Faramir's waist and kissing him.

He had never known a kiss, or an embrace, that made him feel as complete as that. And now, watching Faramir look out the window, he knew he could not wait two more days to feel it again.

Not caring who might walk by, Aragorn walked up behind him and embraced him gently as he had done before.

Faramir covered the hand at his waist with his own and sighed. Aragorn’s embrace worked its usual magic, and shortly, his sad mood lifted. Aragorn sensed this, and pulled Faramir gently into a small room off the hall. He grabbed him from behind and pressed their bodies tightly together this time, with purpose, his hand already scrambling for the waistband of Faramir’s leggings.

“Oh, how I’ve missed my wench,” Faramir teased.

Aragorn answered with a nip to the neck. “I still owe you for that all that, don’t I?”

“We’ll be late, sire.”

“I’m the king, what are they going to do? Scold me?” His fingers worked at the fastenings of Faramir’s shirt.

Faramir laughed and batted at his hand. “Oh no, Aragorn, I just got this damn thing completely hooked, correctly, all the way up to the neck, you know how long that can take," he protested.

Aragorn ran a finger down the seam on the front of Faramir's velvety shirt. He made a slight hmpf, then found the waistband of Faramir’s leggings and with one quick pull, bared Faramir to him. He slipped a finger into Faramir’s crease, teasing him, and cupped him eagerly with his other hand.

“All right,” he said, his voice wicked. “You can leave the shirt on.”