Faramir is saved just in time and Aragorn is one of the rescuers ... and after that cuddly h/c scenes happen:)

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Chapter 9: The Dark and the Quiet

this page added by Lexin lexin@tiscali.co.uk


Even through it all, he could not understand why he was crying; it hurt, but he'd been hurt more at practise, it was humiliating, but he'd not cried even that time his father had found his diary and made him read it out loud. Suddenly, there was a confusion of noise behind him; he could hear voices, Elrond's and Thorongil's among them, but they were speaking that language he couldn't follow.

He was freed, and tried to pull himself upright, but his legs wouldn't work. A hand on his face, and he was looking into Elrond's eyes. He would have pulled back, but Elrond had a firm hold on him; he spoke, but not to Faramir. "What did you give him?"

"Nothing." Arwen's voice.

"Do not be foolish, my daughter. You are already looking at banishment, and not to anywhere pleasant. What did you give him?"

"He deserved it..."

"With every word you condemn yourself further. Now, tell me quickly: what did you give him!" Silence. "Haldir?"

"I do not know."

"So there was something. Estel, take him to your talan; I will come to you when I know more."

Still weeping, he felt Thorongil's arms go round him and help him up. Thorongil pulled his leggings up, fastened them, and then took him by the hand. He said, "You're safe now."

Faramir looked around and saw a crowd of elves. "I don't feel it," he just wished he could stop the tears; he hadn't cried like this when his mother had died.

Thorongil did not attempt to say anything more; perhaps he could see the justice in Faramir's words. He led Faramir to the talan and to the bed, but Faramir didn't want to lie down. He sat on the edge of the bed, and after a moment's hesitation Thorongil sat beside him and slid an arm around his waist. Long minutes passed, and the darkness grew deeper. Faramir could hear only himself, his own gasping breaths, and occasionally a movement from Thorongil.

Then, Elrond's voice, "Why are you sitting in the dark?" He lit one of the lamps the elves used. "How is he?"

Thorongil said, "The same..."

Faramir interrupted him. "Alive," he said. "Tired of being ignored." It took him three breaths to get through just these few words.

Through Faramir's tears Elrond looked a bit blurred, but he saw the elf nod. "I am sorry, Faramir. For my daughter's actions and for treating you as less than you are." He sat down opposite them. "I have not been able to get Arwen to tell me what drug she gave you or when, though I suspect it was something fast acting and probably on her ring. Haldir told me she hit you."

"Will it kill me?" Two breaths.

"No. If it were going to do that, it would have already done so."

"Pity."

He felt Thorongil's arm move and he took a breath, but before he could speak Elrohir entered; he was holding a tray on which was a jug of some kind of blue liquid and a goblet. He said, "This is the draught you asked for, father."

"Thank you." Elrond took the tray and put it on a nearby table. He turned back to Faramir, "The drug will leave your system naturally, but I don't know how long the effects will last. This should help, at the very least it will make you sleep, but you do not have to take it and I will understand if you do not trust me."

"I'll take it."


He woke in the darkness before the dawn: he'd always been able to tell the time just by the feel of the air. He lay still for a time, and listened to the night birds, but then Thorongil said, "You're awake. Your breathing has changed."

"Yes."

He crossed the talan and sat on Faramir's bed, Faramir felt it dip with his weight. "Are you feeling better?"

"I've stopped weeping like a hysterical maid-child if that's what you mean."

"Partly. Are you in any pain? I wouldn't let Elrond examine you again; I saw how much you hated it. I just let him check there was no blood." Thorongil sounded uncertain, which was unlike him. "I hope that was what you wanted."

"That was thoughtful. Thank you."

"So...the pain?"

"Oh. I am a little sore, but everyone came in time to..." Faramir stopped. He remembered the crowd of curious elves who had seen him with his leggings round his ankles. "I shall entirely understand if you no longer wish to..."

"Don't worry about that."

"Why not? It's the only thing about me that matters to anyone here," Faramir did not trouble to keep the bitterness from his voice.

There was a silence, and then Thorongil said, "Yes, I can see how you would have gained that impression. I'm sorry."

"I don't even know who you really are, though I gather you must be important for everyone to make all this fuss."

"Again, I owe you an apology. I'm sorry."

Faramir was slightly mollified, but he said, "Are you now prepared to tell me the truth?"

"Yes. What do you wish to know?"

"I suppose I should start with something simple. Your name?"

"My mother named me Aragorn," said Thorongil. Faramir groaned: yet another name. "As a child I lived in the house of Elrond and to protect me he called me Estel, which as you have seen he still does. I did live in Rohan and Gondor for a time and was there known as Thorongil. In..."

"There are more?"

"Yes. In the north I'm sometimes known as Strider and very occasionally as Hope. Estel means hope. I had yet another name in Harad, which I won't trouble you with because it's unpronounceable and we won't be going there."

"You're sure that's all?"

"I don't think I've missed any."

"And I thought 'what is your name' would be a simple question. I'm almost afraid to ask anything difficult."

"Such as?"

"Why do you need me?"

"I cannot wed Arwen. As you may have learned I was to do so but over the last few years she has become increasingly...unstable." Thorongil stopped and Faramir mentally supplied, 'insane'. "Galadriel showed me that the only remaining hope of uniting Gondor and Arnor is that I wed the virgin son of the Steward.

"I have a degree of foretelling myself, and I knew then the meaning of the troubling dreams I'd had ever since Arwen started to..." he trailed off, sounding once again uncertain.

"But how would our marriage unite Gondor and Arnor."

"Oh..." Thorongil sounded embarrassed to admit it, "I'm the King of Arnor."

Faramir, who had been lying on his side, flopped onto his back. "I'm not sure I want to be a queen."

"As I didn't want to be a King, I entirely sympathise. Though as you're not a woman, you would be Prince Consort, and I think you will look far more the part than I." Thorongil fell silent.

"What do you mean?"

"I... When I first wore the crown of Arnor, Elladan - he's Elrond's other son - said I looked like a tramp someone had dressed up for a joke."

Faramir felt a sudden surge of protectiveness, "I'm sure you don't."

"Given how I've treated you, your confidence gives me heart." Thorongil reached out and took Faramir's hand. "I'm rather afraid, though, that he had a point."

Faramir asked, "If you're King of Arnor, how came you to grow up in Elrond's household?"

"My father died when I was two. He left his brother Ancir as Regent; it would have been more sensible to leave mother as Regent, but he didn't like her much. There was an attack on my life. Mother suspected Ancir and took me to live in secret with her friend Elrond. As mother and I had disappeared, Ancir named himself King of Arnor, and even with Elrond's help it took me some time to wrest the crown back from him."

"Ancir...is he about your height, with greying hair and eyes the colour of river mud? Thinks every woman should be grateful to share his bed whether she wishes it or not?"

"That does sound like dear Uncle Ancir. How do you know of him?"

"He's my father's closest advisor. It was almost certainly he who suggested I be sent off to captain the Ithilien rangers."

"How comes he in Gondor? I last saw him in Harad. And how did he rise so fast?"

"To the first, I've no idea. To the second, he's resourceful, determined and not overly possessed of morals. My father likes the first two and is blissfully unaware of the third. Boromir can't abide him, but he had the sense to keep it behind his lips. I didn't."

There was a silence, and then Thorongil laughed quietly and shook his head.

"What?" said Faramir.

"It occurred to me that any other man alone with his betrothed in a darkened room would be in their bed sharing honeyed words of love. I hold your hand and talk to you of politics."

"I don't know that I'd know what to do with honeyed words, or someone in my bed."

"You will wed me, though?"

"Is that a proposal?"

"I suppose it is."

"Then I suppose I accept."

Thorongil smiled, Faramir saw the white of his teeth in the early dawn light, and he raised Faramir's hand to his lips and kissed his fingers. Faramir smiled back and returned the gesture.

"If this were a lay," said Faramir after a moment, "you would press kisses of burning passion to my sweet lips."

Though still holding his hand Thorongil backed away slightly. He looked a trifle worried, "Do you want me to?"

Faramir laughed, "No."

"I am relieved. I am not sure I can live up the standard set by a lay."

"I doubt I can, either."

Elrond walked in. He said, "I'm comforted to hear you sounding so well, Faramir." He was followed by Mithrandir.

"The trouble with living on a talan," said Thorongil to Faramir, "is that nobody ever knocks before entering. Good morning, ada. My betrothed and I were just discussing kissing."

"As long as it was only a discussion," said Mithrandir. "We have news for you."

"Oh?"





What happens next?


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