Faramir turns down the proposal
Chapter 10: The King's Claim
this page added by Iris
I wrote most of this on the go, away from computers or internet, and in my memory the options in the previous chapter were Faramir agrees to the proposal / Faramir does not agree to the proposal. I wrote the second one, only to find out on return to an internet connection that the second option was in fact “Faramir refuses the proposal”.
So… in this chapter Faramir does not in fact refuse the proposal, but he does not agree to it either. I’ll leave it to Minx to either accept it or not as a valid continuation of her brilliant chapter.
Aragorn had almost made it all the way back to his offices when he realized that in his hurry to give Faramir some space and privacy, he had left his copies of the treaty papers back in the throne room. He stood in the hallway undecided for a moment. He could send a page to fetch them, but no, then he’d just be sitting in his office aimlessly waiting for them: reviewing the final drafts of the treaties one last time was the only thing he planned to do today. Best turn back and collect them himself.
So he retraced his steps, mentally berating himself for being so absentminded. He wasn’t comfortable with this situation at all, marrying Faramir off like this. That is to say, if only it were a proper marriage, then it wouldn’t be a problem at all. Not that he knew Faramir very well, but still, he was a son of the steward, Boromir’s brother. Oh, there’s another issue: what would Boromir say? He wouldn’t be very happy to see his brother go to Harrad, surely. But that Denethor was so ready, eager even, to go along with it all, that he really couldn’t understand. He at least had wanted to leave the final decision to the boy, but with his father calling him a traitor if he refused, what choice did he have?
With his mind preoccupied, chaotically jumping from one thought to the next, Aragorn hardly noticed he had already reached the doors to the throne room until a low –barely above a whisper– but piercing voice penetrated his thoughts.
“I told you I’m not used to being refused.”
He knew that voice. Still silken, but now with a harsh, menacing quality to it that Aragorn had never heard before. Prince Marek had returned to the throne room.
He had returned, pushed Faramir against a wall, and was now roughly groping and pinching the boy just about anywhere he could reach, or so it seemed to Aragorn who had a clear view of goings on from behind the partially open door.
“I also told you I always get what I want in the end,” the prince continued in the same threatening tone before he bent his head down and bit Faramir’s neck. As Marek moved down, Faramir’s face appeared in Aragorn’s line of sight for the first time: the fear was obvious with the grey eyes wide and tears streaking; pain too when the prince bit down, but there was something else as well, a forlorn look, as if Faramir had given up on everything and everyone in this world and had already resigned to his fate.
“It was easier even than I had expected. Your father especially seemed very eager to be rid of you.”
There was no reaction from Faramir, not that Aragorn could observe. Not a sound, no change in his expression. His father had no more role in his life, his opinion mattered no longer. The man in front of him ruled his life now.
“You’ll be mine tonight, and for the rest of your days, to do with as I please.”
That got a response. Fear flared in Faramir’s eyes and he started trembling. Aragorn couldn’t see exactly what Prince Marek was doing with his hands, but it caused Faramir to try to crawl up against the wall, make himself as flat a possible, try to escape where no escape was possible.
He’s seen enough of this. What was he, the King of Gondor and Arnor, doing anyhow, lurking around, hiding behind doors like a thief or serving maid eager for gossip? For a second time that morning he rebuked himself for being so preoccupied. Agreed, between the meeting with Denethor and getting reacquainted with Boromir, it had been a late night last night, but today he was very easily distracted.
In then, he decided. Kings do not lurk in hallways. “Prince Marek, greetings. Trying to convince young Faramir to accept your offer, I presume?”
The prince turned away from Faramir right away, putting on his widest grin for his host. “King Elessar! Yes, I was indeed, but now I think we best give him some time to make up his mind. I will see you both tonight, yes?” And with a bow to the king, and a nod in Faramir’s direction, Prince Marek turned on his heels.
And for a second time that morning, Aragorn and Faramir were left alone in the throne room. Again, Faramir had tears in his eyes, and again, Aragorn had no idea what to say to comfort him. “I came to collect my papers,” was what finally came out after an uncomfortable silence, Aragorn awkwardly gesturing towards the long table, where indeed his papers still lay scattered.
The afternoon passed slowly and the different draft versions of the trade treaties all seemed alike. Aragorn failed to focus on the small but crucial modification, as his mind time and again strayed to the lost, forlorn look he had seen in Faramir’s eyes that morning.
The more he tried to rationalize, the less he seemed able to. There was no way around it: they were giving him away to warm this man’s bed, Denethor’s exact words, and only for the financial gain of the kingdom. They would turn Faramir into a prostitute. No, worse still, for a prostitute is free to choose another client if one threats her badly. Faramir would be nothing but a sex slave, a catamite.
Aragorn was the last to enter the throne room that evening. Denethor did not bother to rise from his seat at the council table as he entered. Prince Marek bowed, yet the confident, almost gloating grin and posture did not speak of much deference. Faramir did not seem to have noticed the king’s entry to the throne room at all: he still stared at the floor, unmoving, head down.
So they all think this has already been decided.
“Prince Marek,” he spoke a little louder than necessary, jarring awake both Denethor and his youngest son, “I am very sorry to have wasted your time, but your proposal has made me reconsider my own situation. I have changed my mind. I cannot let you have Faramir for I want him for myself.”
The prince raised his eyebrows in surprise, making his features, the green eyes especially, even more striking. “For yourself? But I was under the impression the elder brother-“
“True,” Aragorn quickly interrupted the prince as he noticed Denethor recoil besides him: the relationship between Boromir and the king was hardly a secret, but discussing it as openly as this was another thing altogether, “but you will understand I have to think of my future. As the eldest son of the Steward, Boromir will be expected to produce an heir; we are already searching for an appropriate spouse for him. It is uncertain how long he will still be available to serve my needs.”
Now Denethor was about to speak, but again Aragorn was quicker, “I hope you will not let this matter come in the way of our other business. Harad will also profit from peace and trade with my kingdom, as much as we would, if not more. I propose we reconvene in the morning?”
“Ah yes, I understand your situation. We are both men of the world, are we not? But maybe arrangements can still be made. I have a cousin, well taught, a little younger than Faramir still, who would serve your needs very well. Perhaps we could agree on a trade?” Prince Marek’s grin had not yet faltered, and he still eyed Faramir greedily every few seconds.
“I am sure your cousin is very charming,” Aragorn answered him determined, “but I am afraid my mind is made up. The similarity, you understand: one brother to the next.”
Marek nodded understanding, clearly with a whole new level of respect for Gondor’s king, “It is a pity, but of course you, as his king, have first rights. Then tomorrow morning we discuss the trade treaties further?”
“We do that. Goodnight prince Marek.”
As soon as the door closed behind the crown prince of Harad, Denethor was out of his chair, “My liege! With all respect, but what of the peace with Harad, and the trade treaties?”
Aragorn didn’t bother to look at his steward but instead smiled at Faramir, who was staring at him from across the room looking stunned and shocked.
“You heard. We will discuss those in the morning. Harad has much more to gain by them than we do. We can defend our borders, we can live without trading with Harad, but can they say the same? Marek may drive a hard bargain, but he’d be a fool to refuse an agreement altogether.”
“But we could have signed the treaties tonight! Who knows what he will ask for in the morning.” Puzzled by the –considering the grim circumstances- silly smile Aragorn was sporting, Denethor turned to see what he could be looking at, only to find Faramir’s shy return smile quickly fade.
Denethor turned back to the king immediately, “And then this nonsense of you wanting Faramir for yourself; surely that was merely a ploy, you cannot be serious?”
What happens next?
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