Peace was boring.
In the months since the end of the war and the return of the king to Gondor, neither Faramir nor the king had found time for anything other than the seemingly endless procession of councilors and petitioners, of advisors and emissaries. It was a day for reading reports and checking accounts rather than hearing petitions and passing judgments, and Aragorn, called King Elessar now, had dutifully returned to his study after nuncheon, but his Steward could see the weariness in his eyes.
“My lord,” Faramir called as he entered the room two hours later, half a dozen more scrolls tucked under his arm. “The training reports you requested have been delivered,” he explained as he laid the parchments alongside the others on the desk. He stopped when there was no response from the king. “Sir?”
“I think I shall loose my mind if I read one more inventory of arrows and bowstrings,” Aragorn sighed, waving a hand at the cluttered desktop. “No more today. I’ll go through these, but pray, bring me no more.”
“As you wish, my lord.” Faramir bobbed his head in obeisance and turned to leave. At the door he paused. “Aragorn,” he said, trusting the deep friendship between them to excuse his informality, “there’s nothing that can’t be set aside for a time, if you need a respite.” He noticed the king’s smile as he closed the door behind him.
When next the Steward entered the king’s study, he found it deserted, unread reports still piled on the desk.
Faramir found his king hooded and cloaked, sitting in a dark corner of a nondescript tavern nestled against the wall of the city’s second tier. The only thing notable about this particular tavern was its sign — a rendering of the fattest pigeon Faramir had ever seen. The script below the painted bird was faded, but the Steward could just make out the words, “The Prodigal Pigeon.” Once inside, the smell of pipeweed drew his attention, as Aragorn was one of the few men in Gondor who partook of that particular vice. A half-emptied flagon of ale adorned the rough, wooden table, a wet ring surrounding its base. Silently Faramir slid onto the bench opposite the king. A glance and gesture at the serving wench brought him a full flagon, the foaming brew slopping over the rim as she set it before him. He tossed a coin onto the table, and she snatched it up immediately, only a bob of her head acknowledging the payment before she turned away to serve the tavern’s other patrons.
He drank deeply of the ale, and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, still not saying a word to the king. Aragorn sat just as silently, drawing on the long-stemmed pipe he held between his teeth.
“How did you know where to find me?” Aragorn asked, his voice barely above a whisper.
“I remembered the story Frodo told of his first meeting you.”
The king nodded and drank more of his ale.
“You are bored,” Faramir stated matter-of-factly.
“Why do you say that?”
“Because I am. It’s not that there isn’t work to be done,” he went on, “but it isn’t quite as exciting as life used to be.”
Aragorn smiled at his steward’s understatement. “What do you propose we do about it?”
“Short of starting a war with Harad,” Faramir joked, “I can think of only one diversion that we both might enjoy.”
An eyebrow rose questioningly over one of the king’s blue eyes, and he drew deeply on his pipe.
Leaning forward, Faramir whispered conspiratorially, “In private.”
A subtle gesture brought the barmaid to their table and Aragorn asked her to fetch the innkeeper. The innkeeper’s appearance approximated the sign that hung at the entrance. His eyes were small and dark, and his nose jutted from his face like a beak. As plump as the tavern’s eponym, he hurried across the crowded room wiping his hands on a dirty towel, and hovered over the table with the two hooded men.
“Is there a problem with the ale, sirs?” he asked anxiously.
“No, no,” Aragorn assured him, keeping his voice low so only the innkeeper and Faramir could hear him, the whispered tones effectively disguising the voice that had become familiar to all the people of Minas Tirith as that of their new king.
“My companion and I were wondering,” the king continued. “If there would be rooms we might take for the night.”
The innkeeper looked back and forth at the two men, though Faramir carefully kept his face shadowed by his hood.
“R-r-rooms?” the innkeeper stuttered. “I’m afraid I’ve only one private room available tonight.”
“How private?” Faramir asked.
“Oh, it’s private all right. It’s just overhead here, in this corner. It’s half a flight up from the other rooms, you see, since the ceiling here is higher than most.”
Aragorn drained his ale and knocked the spent ash from the bowl of his pipe. He stood, keeping his hood pulled forward. “Show us,” he commanded.
Caught off guard, Faramir hurried to follow the innkeeper and the king, his still half full flagon of ale in his hand. They were taken away from the public room of the tavern, up a narrow flight of stairs. The upper landing opened onto a long hallway lined with stout doors, and a second, shorter series of steps that led to a single door. The innkeeper opened the door and moved aside to give Aragorn and Faramir space to pass into the unlit chamber.
The room was dark, and the air still with a faint mustiness of disuse about it. Wrinkling his nose, Aragorn strode across the floor to the many-paned window and swung open the casement. Immediately the cool evening air wafted into the room, freshening it quickly.
Patting his pockets, the innkeeper shrugged. “I’ve gone and left my flint and steel downstairs,” he admitted sheepishly. “If you sirs wouldn’t mind lighting the lamps yourselves....”
“Not at all,” Faramir muttered as he struck a spark to the lamp beside the bed. The light from the lamp revealed a generous sized room, furnished with a large bed and a small table with plain wooden chairs. Firewood was laid in the grate of the hearth, and a washstand held a pewter basin and ewer. The window overlooked the city wall rather than the street, and afforded a view across the Pelennor Fields.
“This will do nicely,” Aragorn told the innkeeper.
He took a coin from his pocket and held it up before the portly man. “This should be enough,” he said. “A golden crown for the room and meals for the two of us.”
“Meat and bread should suffice tonight,” Faramir suggested. He drank again from the flagon he’d carried with him. “And more to drink as well.”
“Wine, perhaps,” Aragorn said. “Or spirits if you have any.”
The sight of the golden coin made the innkeeper’s eyes widen. “I have something new,” he proposed. “Wine from Dale that’s been fortified like spirits.”
Aragorn smiled. “You have brandy? That will be fine.”
“Straight away, good sirs,” the innkeeper said, bowing himself out the door, never taking his eyes off the gleaming coin still held in the king’s hand.
“This room and a meal would let for a tenth of that,” Faramir observed. “As your Steward, I must advise you when you overspend.” A broad smile split his face. “But I doubt the kingdom will be bankrupted by this extravagance.”
Aragorn shut the door firmly and threw the bolt, then turned and leaned against it, pushing his hood back from his face. “I will consider your advice,” he jested, then spread his arms wide invitingly.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Faramir stepped into the king’s embrace. Their lips met unerringly, the long months since their last liaison forgotten in a deep, prolonged kiss. There had been many meetings between them since the coronation, but they had been meetings of state, with advisors and councilors in attendance. As Steward, Faramir sat at Aragorn’s right hand, and as Prince of Ithilien he had his own lands and people to see to as well. Once wed to Éowyn, he had moved his primary residence away from Minas Tirith, overseeing the rebuilding and resettling of what was once called the Garden of Gondor. He spent as much time in the White City as in his new home, though, and the constant travel left little time for personal pursuits.
Nearly crushed in Aragorn’s embrace, Faramir gripped the king’s body just as firmly. Though they both gasped for breath when their lips parted, neither of them relaxed his hold on the other, each of them holding the other as a drowning sailor grips flotsam.
Faramir blushed at the intensity of his own ardor. They’d first acknowledged the physical attraction they shared on the night of Faramir and Éowyn’s wedding, and the celibacy from each other forced upon them by custom and circumstances had magnified those feelings into unquenchable passion.
“Why do you blush?” Aragorn asked, gently stroking Faramir’s reddened cheek.
“I feel like a school boy,” he answered, “running off for a tryst when I should be studying.”
The king laughed at the younger man’s confession, but his mirth was cut short by a discrete knock at the door. They moved apart instantly and Aragorn drew back the bolt to open the door after pulling his hood back over his head.
It was the landlord once more, a bottle of brandy and a pair of goblets in his pudgy hands. A scullery boy stood behind him laden with a tray containing two generous portions of meat and a large basket of rolls.
As Aragorn sampled the bandy, Faramir told the lad to put the food on the table, and slipped a coin into his hand before dismissing him with a ruffle to his short-cropped hair.
The innkeeper impatiently waited for Aragorn’s approval and payment of the promised golden crown.
“Your taste in wines is excellent,” Aragorn commented, nodding to himself at the quality of the brandy. He flipped the coin in the air and caught it deftly, then flipped it again to the innkeeper.
“We will break our fast at dawn,” the king advised as the innkeeper pulled the stout door behind him.
“Yes, sir,” he acknowledged. “Breakfast at dawn.” With a bob of his head he was gone, and Aragorn threw the bolt once more.
Faramir shed his cloak and took Aragorn’s from the king’s shoulders. Hanging them from a peg on the back of the door, he took Aragorn by the hand and led to the table. “Come,” he said. “I’m famished.”
“And I thought it was me you hungered for,” Aragorn teased, raising their joined hands to his lips for a kiss. He tried to pull the younger man into his embrace but Faramir resisted.
“You should eat, too,” he said. With his free hand he picked a slice of cold beef from the platter and offered it to Aragorn. With a sparkle in his eyes Faramir had not seen in months, the king took the meat between his teeth and bit off a portion. Smiling in return, Faramir popped the remainder of the slice into his own mouth.
Aragorn raised the goblet of brandy to Faramir’s lips, tilting the glass to allow the dark amber liquid to flow into the Steward’s mouth. Looking into each other’s eyes they shared the simple repast, then quietly set aside their goblets before undressing. As they were both dressed simply, it wasn’t long before they embraced again, their bodies meeting unimpeded.
The bed welcomed them, and they lay face to face, kissing deeply, caressing each other until they were both panting and gasping for breath. Aragorn took his kisses along Faramir’s throat and chest, teasing the sensitive nipples, tickling the spot over his left hipbone that made the Steward squirm and shudder.
Faramir let the waves of passion flow through him, felt the fire in his belly flare as his manhood filled and stiffened. He became aroused much faster than he did in his wife’s bed, her hesitant touch and chaste kisses leaving him cold inside. When Aragorn touched him, though, it was with strength, the desire behind the caresses undeniable. He moaned aloud when the hot wetness of Aragorn’s mouth engulfed his organ, his fists clenching in the sheets.
“Oh, yes,” Faramir gasped, raising his hips to thrust deeper, sensing his imminent release coiling deep within him. The touch of oiled fingers to his entrance was expected, and he sighed as Aragorn opened him, the long, strong digits probing and scissoring inside him. He willed himself to relax, to welcome the sensations he knew would become nearly unbearable pleasures.
A nudge from Aragorn’s shoulder against his thigh told him to raise his legs, and he locked his forearms behind his knees as the king positioned himself, his weeping erection oiled and ready. He moaned as the king entered him in a single, long, slow thrust. Their breaths came in matching gasps as they held for a moment, adjusting to one another.
Faramir held his breath as Aragorn pulled back, readying himself for thrust after thrust, then gasped in time with the building rhythm Aragorn set. No more could he control his own responses, no more could he stop his own body’s responses, and his orgasm soon overwhelmed him, the name of his king on his lips.
Even after Faramir’s release, Aragorn continued thrusting, his hands gripping Faramir’s hips, his head thrown back in his own ecstasy. With one final thrust, the king poured his seed deep into Faramir’s body before collapsing in the Steward’s embrace.
They lay in each other’s arms, heedless of the sticky semen that congealed between them, barely aware that their bodies were no longer joined so intimately. Spent and sated, sleep overcame them both, bringing each of them dreams of the other.
The lamps had burned themselves out, and the night was still and dark, a cool breeze chilling the two men, as sleep abandoned Faramir. He felt Aragorn’s breath waft across his chest, and he turned his head to press a kiss gently to the king’s brow. Aragorn stirred, snuggling even closer, but did not awaken. Faramir pulled a blanket over them both, then kissed his lover again before welcoming sleep once more.