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Wishful Thinking under the Summer Stars (NC-17) Print

Written by December

11 October 2023 | 8431 words

[ all pages ]

Part 3.

The hidden path through the cliff is cool and dark, water murmuring through the pebbles beneath their feet. They do not walk for long before they reach a matching curtain of vines blocking the way out, and Aragorn sees a faint light seeping through the leathery leaves.

Then the man in front of him pauses.

“What is it, Faramir?”

Faramir lowers his ethereal lamp.

Even without seeing his face, Aragorn can sense the change in him, his earlier nonchalant determination giving way to hesitation, the well-worn chainmail of outward composure revealing a vulnerability beneath.

“Faramir, we do not have to do this,” he offers. Whatever ‘this’ may be, he has never never at once dreaded and hungered for something so much. But his guilt is heavy enough as it is, without adding the suspicion that Faramir may go forth anything but freely.

“And then what?” Faramir asks wearily, his back still to his king. “We may yet turn around, that is true, but there is already no going back.”

“No, there is not,” Aragorn agrees, and does not know whether he regrets that it is so.

“Whatever tonight may bring,” Faramir says, “the price must be paid upfront. But I must hope, nay, I must believe that what lies ahead could be even greater than what has been.”

Aragorn wants so much to take him by the hand, but he only says, “Then I shall try to believe with you.”

Faramir stays still for a moment more, and unbeknownst to himself, Aragorn holds his breath.

“Very well, my king,” Faramir says at last.

He steps through, and holds the ivy aside for Aragorn.

Aragorn catches back an exclamation of surprise as he walks out and looks around. He knew these lands like the back of his hand – how did such a wonder stay concealed, if not by some ancient magic?

It seems to him that in a matter of a few steps they had traversed an age back and fallen through to a place outside the grid of modern maps. Private and sealed off from the passage of time outside, it feels a remnant of how the world had once been meant to be. Technically, they are in a spacious domed cave – but it does not feel like one. It is free of musty, stagnant smells, and breath comes easy and sweet, with a glimpse of starlight shimmering in like gem-dust from an opening far overhead.

While below… Brilliantly coloured emerald mosses of every conceivable variety cover the uneven floor as though a velvet rug, like an enchanted forest seen from far, far above. The light is dream-like and soft, and he can hear yet again, far in the distance, Elven voices singing – or perhaps it is only the water humming a melody to itself. It may be the Age of Man out in the world, a world where their titles have replaced their names, but they can take refuge from it here.

The air is warm and gently muggy against his skin. The source of the warmth is not only apparent but altogether the centerpiece, the very point of this place.

Several heavy stone steps, formed from the body of the cave itself and parted by the stream running down the middle, lead up to an overflowing pool. The water moves around, agitated by unseen heat bubbling from within, and a hazy mist hangs over the glowing surface. It is a bathing pool that could very comfortably fit one – or in very close proximity, two.

The unspoken implications run hot through Aragorn’s blood.

His heart high in his chest, at last he looks back to his guide.

Faramir stands facing him squarely, watching him with great intensity. The lamp pole which had served a handy distraction before, is now put out of the way, planted securely into a crevice between two boulders.

Clad in his Elven robes, in this faery setting, it is as though he comes before Aragorn anew. Suddenly the King is reminded of Noldorin Elves, their lucent ivory of skin and absolute black of ebony hair, hearts hidden safely away behind studied blank expressions. So, too, has the Steward learnt to meet any monumental upheaval with a straight face. Chin held high, he stands tall and seemingly unabashed as his daring tactic is finally laid plain for the High King to judge. But in the Steward’s grey eyes swells a stormy darkness, and colour rises high in his cheeks.

“Faramir…” Aragorn is not quite certain where even to begin. When has Faramir conceived of this plan, how long had he dwelled on it just as Aragorn delayed putting his desire into mere words? The absolute leap of mad faith it must have taken to execute tonight.

Faith or else utter desperation.

A frown touches Faramir’s brow and he shakes his head in warning for Aragorn not to spook the moment. The air between them is taut like the bowstrings of an Elven host.

“I have loved you so hard, for so long,” Faramir says flatly, almost like an accusation.

Something falls away in Aragorn at the fearless simplicity of these words.

It had not crossed his mind to call it that, too hallowed a name for his untamable hunger. But spoken by Faramir, it makes immediate, irrefutable sense, and he accepts it at once. He knows it shows in his face, too, because he sees it mirrored in the change in Faramir’s expression, the winter melting away.

“Why must it hurt so much?” Faramir asks in a half whisper, as though not trusting his voice.

“Faramir, I am so sorry.”

“No, nothing to be sorry for, serves me right for the audacity to desire the High King’s heart,” Faramir says with an attempt at mirth. Then he grows serious again, “But know this – you have already given me more than any man could hope to find in a lifetime. For years, you have carried my dreams, you have been my star in the sky. Since I laid eyes on you, I knew you would bring Gondor peace – just as that you have taken away my peace, or what chance I had for one. Yet the impossible love that you had set alight in my heart without your own knowing – it has led, and shielded, and carried me through. It gives me reason to rise on mornings insurmountably dark with the weight of old sorrows, it gives meaning to every loss, it makes every joy tenfold the greater. And for this I could never thank you enough. But I am only a man. And I have grown weary of waiting, and watching, and wanting…”

“Faramir!” Aragorn exclaims. “If only but for a minute had I known. If I could have dared imagine…”

“Dared imagine, my king? Do you not know what you are, how inescapable it is to love you? Will you not believe me when I tell you that the selfsame dreams that haunt your waking nights – that I have seen them, too? That when I wake on the morrow after a restless non-sleep – your presence lingers with me still. To think of being with you is a headier drink than any Elven wine. That time by the river, when we swam and there were dragonflies, and you almost touched me but didn’t, and I walked away – I have cursed myself, forever after. We do not choose what calls to us, only if we should heed. I have led you here, my lord, and so you have followed. But to this moment I still do not know what… What will you say to me?”

Aragorn does not know how it happened, whether it was his feet or Faramir’s that have cut the distance between them, but there is nearly none left. And for once it does not rouse shame or bewilderment. Daring swells in him with surety, a hot resolve he has not known since his days of charging into battle with bared sword.

“Yes. I say, yes.”

The barrier that had stood impermeable between King and Steward, is all at once no more.

He is holding Faramir by the hands, without knowing how it happened either, but it does not matter. Against the feeling of Faramir’s skin on his, nothing can matter. How can such an everyday, innocent touch be so entirely rewritten to take on all the meaning in the world?

Years fall away, like a heavy winter cloak cast aside with the arrival of spring, and suddenly, overwhelmed with joyous relief, he laughs – and Faramir laughs in return.

As Faramir cleaves to him with cautious eagerness, Aragorn wonders at the living warmth of the younger man’s body through the thin Elven silk. The arresting reality of his touch, a shock to all his sense. The warrior strength sleeping in him, unneeded in this time of peace but forever set into his frame by years of dark vigil past. This is what he had always known it would feel like – only better. He cannot think straight any longer, but he recognises a sense of completion, a relief so tremendous he wants to weep for joy.

Then once again, they are on the move, now with unconcealed urgency – and this time it is Aragorn leading, pushing Faramir up the stairs to the hot water. There is no grace to trying to walk and embrace at the same time, and certainly no king who could be bothered to remember his reputation would care to be seen stumbling along with the haste of a smitten youth, entangled with his steward in a mess of bodies trying to stay aligned and roving hands trying to find purchase.

Somewhere along the way his fingers fumble across the sash of Faramir’s robes. The only natural response to such discovery is to pull at the loosely done knot. At which point he meets proof that Faramir had not been exaggerating in his earlier comment that this form of attire is exceedingly fast to be relieved of.

He feels rather than hears the fluid fabric fall to their feet.

A soft gasp from Faramir’s lips confirms that his steward was wearing nothing beneath.

The moment stands still, and it seems neither one of them even breathes. Then, before Aragorn can lean away to let his eyes confirm what he already knows with the rest of his body, Faramir takes him on the face with both hands and kisses him full on the mouth, hard and deep.

As he kisses Faramir back, Aragorn finally knows that his hope beyond hope, which he had dared not give shape nor form in words or image, is not only graciously tolerated, but fully returned.

Thank you for reading! To be continued…

NB: Please do not distribute (by any means, including email) or repost this story (including translations) without the author's prior permission. [ more ]

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10 Comment(s)

Thank you your work! I’m waiting the next chapters. Faramir has tattoos! Amazing idea! He inspirated my first one.:)

— Liza    Sunday 11 November 2018, 17:03    #

Thank you so much, Liza! Wow, you actually have a Faramir-inspired tattoo? That’s amazing.

I’m afraid I can’t take credit for the idea, as a few years ago I remember reading a story where Faramir and/or Boromir had tattoos. I really likes the concept, like, can they get any more sexy??!

— December    Tuesday 13 November 2018, 9:00    #

Beautifully done. Such an exquisite piece of writing, such a smart metaphors, the thing with pearls and glass beads almost made me jealous I wasn’t one to create it. I must admit, I’m tempted to use it in my Text Interpretation classes, if only I were fearless enough)) Really, I feel as if I’m there, in the picture, I can understand all the anxiety of Aragorn, so more so that object of his feelings is such a lovable one. Hope to find more soon, please, December.

— LCD    Saturday 17 November 2018, 18:13    #

Oh, thank you so much, LCD!
I just love the community on this website, such thoughtful commentary!

Thank you for the reassurance, I always feel a bit conflicted when writing the feels for the boys. On the one hand, they are tough, reserved men living in quite a strict conservative culture, and I want to do justice by their toughness. On the other though, they both are strongly affected by romantic feelings, and Aragorn in particular tends to go a bit OTT, both of which I would expect to be even more so when the feelings are “inappropriate” in terms of their object. I’m really glad you found Aragorn’s anxiety to be relatable and not out of character.

Thank you for the kind words about my writing, I hope I am improving with time, haha. I’m still afraid to reread some of my earlier stuff, eek! I worry sometimes that I go too heavy-handed with the metaphoring, so thanks for that. Please feel free to borrow and use wherever, I’d be only proud!

Thanks for reading!

— December    Sunday 18 November 2018, 8:11    #

After this story I’d plucked up my courage and went to the tattoo artist. Now I wear faramir’s name on my left arm, it was written by tengwar. Thank you the inspiraton. You write beautiful.

— Cornelia    Thursday 21 February 2019, 10:21    #

I have read… wait, no, I have devoured your writing just now. Yes devoured, because it was like sitting at the finest feast ever laid out to men and elves. The metaphors you used were just beautiful, I am sure Elrond himself would be proud to have them written in his library… And your portrayal of Aragorn, his anxiety and the irresistible pull he feels towards Faramir, even if he knows that it is inappropriate, is sooooo good I’m still sitting here dazed. I’m in awe. And Faramir’s tattoo? A dream come true! If there is a chance that you will be writing the next part to this already wonderful story, I’d like you to know that it will be greatly anticipated and loved. Big hugs!

— Tora    Friday 29 March 2019, 18:08    #

During i was reading this chapter,the newest, I wish I could be there. Be a rabbit, or a headoge, or an other animal who lives in the night, and follow these amazing men, on that breathtaking place.
Thank you you share it! ( On the borthday of the Prof. What a fine scence of humor do you have!)

— Eve    Friday 3 January 2020, 15:21    #

Dear December,
thank you for the much-anticipated second part of your wonderful story. In my humble opinion, you mustn’t hesitate anymore, if you are capable to catch on ‘’the feels of the boys’’. From my point of view of ‘’seasoned reader’’ they are just the right balance of restraint and passion, of tenderness and ‘’filth’’, and I adore them to be as you re-create them.
For no particular reason I also like the part with elven lantern, for me it magically gave the utmost credibility and some coziness to the entire scene.
And, after reading the old texts of yours here, I seriously consider you to become more and more clever with words. It’s not a matter of me trying to be polite, it’s a fact I want you to be aware of:)

— LCD    Saturday 18 January 2020, 16:27    #

The lantern (above) was a source of credibility. For me it was the description of the night. Not that we have Valar, but some nights just feel old. Don’t know how else to say it. It adds to the feeling that relationships and misunderstandings about them are as old as time.

— Bell Witch    Thursday 16 April 2020, 20:22    #

This is absolutely lovely! Thank you for writing!

— atonau    Friday 19 January 2024, 4:41    #

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