It was the first night Faramir had ever slept alone in the room he shared with his brother, the first night after Boromir had come of age and left the Steward’s residence for the barracks of the Gondorian Guard. The half-empty bedchamber seemed immense to the young Faramir. His brother had always filled his life, had always been his companion. Boromir had taught his younger brother to fight, to ride, to hunt, and had stood between the sensitive, caring boy and their obsessive, demanding father.
Boromir’s bed still flanked the hearth opposite Faramir’s bed, neatly made with a coverlet quilted with the design of the White Tree of Gondor, twin to the sigil on the uniforms worn by the guardsmen and now by Boromir himself. He would return to this bed, Faramir trusted, whenever he came home on leave, and later, when he took his place at their father’s side as the next Steward of Gondor. Over the past twenty years the room had changed from nursery to schoolroom, and now was a combined study and dormitory for the Steward’s two sons.
Faramir paced the room, a dressing gown covering his nightshirt and soft-soled slippers on his feet. Hovering on the threshold of manhood, his hair was still cropped in a youth’s style, his chin still smooth and unbearded. He had grown tall in the past year, but had not yet filled his body’s potential, and the awkwardness of adolescence was yet upon him. He stopped his pacing at the window, leaning on the sill to watch as a company of guardsmen marched across the courtyard below, their progress illuminated by torches surrounding the open space. For a moment he thought he recognized Boromir among the soldiers, but dressed alike as they were, helmets upon their heads, even he couldn’t tell one from another. He turned away from the window, intending to attempt sleep once more. His bedding was in disarray, testament to his discomfort at being alone.
Determined to put this childishness behind him, he tried to settle in his bed, the blankets tucked under his chin. Willing himself to relax, he silently counted backward from ten, a technique Gandalf had taught him the last time the wizard had visited the White City. Eventually the exercise was successful and Faramir slept the remainder of the night, albeit fitfully.
During the days he focused his mind on his studies, on his training, on avoiding his father except at meals. He became taciturn, answering his father’s inquiries with as few words as possible, keeping his own counsel. He spent hours in the archives, reading much more than his tutors required.
The months until Boromir’s first leave passed slowly.
“Boromir will have little time for your childish pursuits,” Denethor cautioned repeatedly. “He will have made new friends among his comrades in the guard.” The words cut deeply, as did all of Denethor’s remarks to his younger son. “He will come home a man.”
The seeds of self-doubt began to grow in Faramir’s mind. Perhaps Father is right, he thought. Boromir will not have time for me anymore; I am just a child. He withdrew even more, conversations with his tutors and arms instructors limited to the bare essentials. I’ll never be the man Boromir is, the small voice in his heart seemed to say. Father is right to be disappointed in me.
Finally the day came when Boromir was to return home on his first furlough. Faramir watched from the window of their room as the Steward’s older son — the Steward’s favored son — rode into the courtyard. From his vantage point Faramir watched his brother dismount, proudly bearing the Horn passed down to him from the earliest days of the Stewards. He seemed larger than before to Faramir’s eye, certainly more confident — older — grown-up.
Denethor burst into the courtyard, his welcome echoing from the stone walls. He embraced his older son, and Faramir drew back from the window, his heart aching as the words of his father whispered over and over in his ear. After witnessing Boromir’s arrival, Faramir kept to his room, not wanting to interfere with his brother’s reunion with their father. A centuries-old volume of history kept his interest, and the bell announcing the day-meal caught him unawares. Quickly he washed, running his fingers through his unruly hair on his way to the dining hall.
Denethor and Boromir were already seated at table when Faramir arrived, the first course half consumed. From his seat at the head of the long, mostly empty table, Denethor glared at him, not pausing as he methodically spooned soup from the bowl to his mouth.
“Little Brother!” Boromir cried, tossing down his spoon and springing up from his seat. The ornately carved chair fell heavily to the floor, but he paid no mind to it as he rushed to greet Faramir.
Strong arms gathered the young man into a crushing embrace, and Faramir tried to match his brother’s strength, but his slighter, less mature body could not. He felt tears sting his eyes, and he squeezed them closed, not wanting their father to think him any weaker than the Steward already did. He knew that he had missed his brother, but he hadn’t realized how deeply the feelings of emptiness had reached. For the first time in months he felt whole, the void in his heart suddenly filled, the ache in his soul finally eased.
“Come, Faramir,” Boromir said, stepping back from their embrace, holding the younger man at arm’s length. “Come eat your supper before it cools.”
He could not trust himself to speak; he tried to swallow the lump in his throat, but his wildly beating heart filled his chest and he could only nod and make his way to his usual seat at Denethor’s left, opposite Boromir’s place of honor at his right. A bowl of thin, dark broth was set before him, and automatically he sipped spoonful after spoonful, never taking his eyes from Boromir.
Denethor’s questions were unending, and Boromir seemed full of tales to recount to them. Faramir continued eating, hardly noticing when the soup was replaced by fish, and the fish with meat. He drank from his wine goblet more deeply than usual, trying to settle his pounding heart, but succeeded only in making his head swim. He pushed the goblet aside before the last course, and by the time they had all finished the sweetened fruit compote, his head had cleared and he trusted he would not embarrass himself in front of his father and brother.
With the end of the meal, Denethor seemed to lose interest even in Boromir’s exploits, and with a freshly refilled goblet of wine in his hand he pushed himself away from the table and left the dining hall without a word to either son. Boromir watched after him, then turned back to Faramir. “He seems more distracted than before,” he commented.
“No more than usual,” Faramir assured him, though to be honest, he had noticed their father’s moodiness. He was thankful for it, as it offered him additional opportunities to avoid spending time with the old man. He moved his empty plate aside, but before he could rise from his chair Boromir had come around the end of the table, pulling him from his seat into another embrace.
“It is so good to see you again, Little Brother,” he said. The embrace made Faramir’s heart race once more. He knew he was happy to see Boromir after so many months, that he had missed him terribly, but the intensity of his responses surprised him. There was a heat deep inside him that he attributed to his drinking too much wine, but his head had cleared, and still the fire burned within him.
“Will you be off to the taverns with your comrades?” Faramir ventured as they left the dining hall to the servants. “Father says...” He steeled himself to spend the rest of the evening alone, fully expecting Boromir to desert the Steward’s residence for more entertaining venues.
“You should know better than to listen to Father’s ramblings,” Boromir chided. “I have spent enough time with soldiers in the past months; it is you I have missed.” He slung an arm over Faramir’s shoulders and together they made their way to the room where they had both grown up.
Finally apart from their father, Boromir asked his brother question after question about the months they’d been separated. He wanted to know the details of his studies, what books he’d read, what songs he’d learned, of his training with the sword and bow, in woodcraft and horsemanship, that prepared him to take his place in Gondor’s defense forces along with his older brother.
It grew late as they talked, lounging on the thick carpet in front of the hearth. They had both shed their boots for comfort’s sake, as well as the heavy, embroidered surcoats Denethor required they wear to dine. Boromir pulled a pillow from his bed and leaned on it, his legs stretched to the side. Their heads were close together, and they talked in the same whispers they had when they were children — whispers that had kept nannies and governesses confident that they slept soundly like good little boys. The fire blazed merrily, warming the room, casting a golden light on the brothers, the shadows further chased by flickering candles in wall sconces and beside the head of each bed. As the first of the candles guttered out, Faramir asked about Boromir’s new life in the barracks.
“It is different,” Boromir answered. “Like having twenty brothers instead of just one.” He ruffled Faramir’s hair as he often had when they were younger, and touched their foreheads together. “No one will ever take your place in my heart, Little Brother,” he vowed.
“I know,” Faramir whispered. He would never know what prompted him to gently touch Boromir’s lips with his own, but kiss him he did. After the first brief touch they drew apart only enough to breathe, then kissed again hungrily. Boromir’s lips were warm and soft, and he tasted of honeyed fruit and wine. The tongue that slid into Faramir’s mouth was slick and hot, and the heat that had smoldered in his belly all evening burst into flame once again. He returned Boromir’s ardor, letting his own tongue be drawn into the other mouth. Other than a brief buss from a tavern wench, Faramir had never kissed — or been kissed — like this before. His head swam as feeling flooded though him that he’d only read of in ancient poetry.
The poetry his tutors had assigned him to read was trite and chaste compared to the verses he’d found buried deep in the archives. The loose sheets of ancient, brittle paper were covered with dust, but with great care Faramir read the intensely erotic writings of long-dead lovers — songs they’d sung to each other, letters they’d sent when then had been separated, poetry that expressed the depths and strength of a timeless love, and finally, a heart-rending eulogy.
The brothers parted again to breathe, ragged, gasping breaths that did little to slake their passion. They clutched at each other, bringing their bodies and limbs together. Boromir held his brother’s face between his hands, planting kisses everywhere — on Faramir’s brow, his eyelids, his cheekbones, his nose. “I thought my time away,” he said between kisses, “would ease the longings I’ve had for you.” Once again he claimed Faramir’s mouth, threading his fingers into the younger man’s hair. “But when I saw you tonight they returned all the stronger.”
Faramir was astonished. Never had he imagined his brother harbored these feelings, never before had he acknowledged his own yearnings for Boromir’s touch. He’d never mentioned the lover-poets to his tutors, knowing they would chastise him for reading unassigned — and unapproved — works. He kept them to himself, hoping he would one day find such a perfect love, and such a perfectly matched lover with whom to share his life. “I never knew this is what I wanted — what I needed,” he admitted as Boromir kissed a path down the tendon of his neck.
Boromir raised his head, his eyes dark with desire. Tenderly he touched his fingertips to Faramir’s lips, then to his own. Suddenly he pushed himself away from his brother and jumped to his feet. At the open window he breathed deeply, leaning both hands on the sill.
Faramir didn’t move. What had he done? What had he said? He had never felt such joy and pleasure as when Boromir kissed him and held him close, but now he was cold and alone, abandoned and rejected. It would have been better, he thought, if they had not kissed. The passion that now filled his heart could break it, he realized. He had understood the words the lovers had written, but until this moment they had been only words. Now he knew what the two men had felt, what they had endured, what they had enjoyed because of their love for one another.
Boromir turned and sat on the window sill, half the room between them. Only one side of his face was illuminated by the firelight, leaving the other half of his face and body in shadow. Faramir sat up, settling into a cross-legged pose, an elbow on each knee.
“You know this is wrong,” Boromir said, his voice still pitched in whispering tones. “It is one thing for soldiers to lie with one another from time to time, but brothers? No one will condone our loving each other like this.”
“Do you condone it?” How could this be wrong, he asked himself, when he felt alive for the first time in months?
Boromir’s chin dropped to his chest and he nodded. “It is dangerous,” the older brother went on. “The ancient laws are strict.”
“The ancient laws have to do with brothers and sisters who couple,” Faramir heard his own voice say, the words coming to him from deep in his memory. “Or with parents who abuse their children. They don’t concern us.”
“Still,” Boromir protested. “It cannot be right.” He turned back to the window, the view of the courtyard no more than an abyss of blackness in the night.
Faramir rose silently and approached Boromir. He lay his hands flat on the strong shoulders, and leaned his head against the center of the warrior’s back. “I have never felt anything was so right in all my life, Bori.” The childhood pet name had not been used between them for years, and only Faramir had dared utter it after Denethor banned its use as undignified. “It is as though we are one being, split in two so long that we do not recognize that we belong together.” The long silent words of the ancient lovers came to him, and he knew Boromir was the soul mate he had hoped for.
Slowly Boromir turned, slipping into his brother’s embrace. With a finger he lifted Faramir’s chin and brought their lips together once again. “We must be careful, Little Brother,” he whispered. “If you mean to continue with this, we cannot risk being discovered.” He led them away from the window to his bed, and threw aside the thick coverlet. “This must be our secret,” he reiterated. “For ever.”
“Forever,” Faramir vowed.
At the bedside, Boromir shucked off his shirt, leaving him clad only in snug-fitting riding breeches. Faramir followed suit, dropping his linen shirt to the floor.
Boromir sat on the edge of the mattress and drew Faramir to stand in the space between his knees. Deftly he loosened the drawstring at the waist of his brother’s trousers, and slowly lowered them past slim hips, lean thighs and still knobby knees.
For the first time in all his fifteen years, Faramir blushed to be naked in front of his brother. They had always been at ease around each other, having bathed together as boys, and shared the single room all of Faramir’s life. But he had never been aroused before his brother, and his stiffening member boldly reached toward Boromir. The fire in his belly intensified, setting off a throbbing ache deep inside him.
Boromir lifted his gaze past Faramir’s groin and chest to his face, and smiled. He ran the palms of his hands over the now-bared skin to rest on sharp hipbones, and pulled Faramir closer to him, taking the straining erection into his mouth without warning.
It was all Faramir could do not to cry out with the sudden, intense wave of pleasure that coursed though him. He had pleasured himself from time to time, and was comfortable with the touch of his own hand, but Boromir’s mouth was incredibly hot and wet, surrounding him with the softness of his lips and tongue. Faramir sighed when he could contain himself no more, and combed his fingers into his brother’s hair. He fought the urge to thrust his hips farther forward, but was soon undone as a strong suction pulled his very soul through his organ, and he poured his seed deep into Boromir’s throat.
Blackness seeped into the edges of Faramir’s vision, and his knees buckled. Releasing the spent manhood, Boromir caught him and rolled with him onto the bed He cradled his little brother in his arms, holding tightly as the spasms of his climax faded.
As his breathing returned to a more normal rate, and he relaxed, Faramir’s hand brushed across the growing bulge in Boromir’s breeches, the touch bringing a gasp from the older brother. Wanting to bring his brother the same pleasures he’d just enjoyed, Faramir fumbled with the lacings, finally releasing the leather thongs and opening the breeches’ fly. Tenderly he eased Boromir’s erection from the confines of his clothing, reverently stroking the hard column of flesh. Encouraged by his brother’s sighs and moans, he lowered his head to take the organ as Boromir had taken him.
“Careful,” Boromir cautioned. “Watch your teeth.”
Faramir paused for a moment, then understood the danger. He wet his mouth with his tongue, then being careful to keep his teeth covered with his lips, he took the velvety head of Boromir’s manhood into his mouth. Though the love-poems he’d read were explicit, their descriptions of fellatio had not totally prepared him for the taste and texture of his brother’s organ. The heated flesh was sweeter than he had imagined, and he thrilled to feel the pulsing vein against his tongue.
“More,” Boromir begged, and Faramir slid his lips farther along the shaft until he nearly gagged himself. He eased back, breathing only though his nose, then took even more of his brother’s organ. Boromir’s scent filled his lungs, and his head swam with the heady aroma of musk. An even deeper breath relaxed him, and he found he could suck and swallow without gagging. He felt Boromir’s hands on his head, and sensed the building tension just before his mouth and throat were filled with his brother’s seed.
Boromir’s strong hands dragged him back to be thoroughly and deeply kissed, and they fell asleep in each other’s arms, their lips still pressed together.