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Casualties of War

by December

[Story Headers]

In the fair woods of Ithilien the ground was covered anew by a fresh emerald carpet, delicate fragrant flowers and bright glossy leaves were unfolding on the trees. And in far Rohan, as he had recently been told, the grasses were already high and juicy.

Yet the tall and proud City of Guard, especially its higher circles, lingered in an unwelcoming wintry chill.

It was still quite early in the evening, the dusk only just settling, the sky above a thick dove blue-grey, everything around silent as though with sleepiness. Beregond drew his long dark cloak closer about his shoulders as he walked through a deserted narrow side-alley, following his habitual shortcut home from his place of duty. This path was hardly ever used by anyone else: there were no back-doors opening onto the passageway, no clothes-drying lines, just a bare cobbled road, and sometimes it seemed to the guard that it existed for his benefit alone.

Much as he was generally an outgoing man, Beregond always enjoyed these few minutes of complete solitude in his day - and on this particular day more than usual. Although he had developed a great fondness for his young new companion and was veritably cheered by his presence - not to mention much moved by his strange tidings - Beregond was weary of heart. He had stood on the walls earlier that day, helplessly watching as the man he prized above all was chased by death itself, and defied the death - while he, Beregond, had been but a waste of space, a useless onlooker...

But then the guard raised his face and, to his great surprise and considerable unease, saw that this evening he was not alone in the street. A tall figure, the lines obscured by a thick long cloak, could be seen heading in his direction some way off.

Beregond was not a suspicious kind of person, yet in these gloomy days, when each new piece of news was queerer and grimmer than the previous, he was beginning to find himself wary and on edge more and more often. The stranger was a strong man, judging by his size and gait, and Beregond had noted the tip of a sheathed sword showing from beneath the rim of his cape.

"Show yourself!" Beregond called with authority, for, despite having finished his work for the day, he was still attired as Guard, and had every right to halt a passerby. He had stopped short and pulled himself to his full height, blocking the way as the unknown warrior came within several yards of him. The dimming light was behind the man, thus not letting Beregond see his face under the low-drawn hood.

Without stopping in his stride, in one smooth gesture the man pulled his hood back, and in another second was already right before Beregond - and the light finally fell on his wan face.

"Oh," Beregond felt hot colour rush to his cheeks at once. "My apologies, your lordship, I did not recognise you." Bowing respectfully, he hurried to step aside and let the Steward's younger son - and, as it had been learnt several days ago, heir - continue on his way.

Yet Faramir did not appear intent on leaving, and was now regarding him with a thoughtful and faintly amused expression. Beregond usually very much liked to see his lord's rare smile, yet as of late Faramir's face was on the whole so pale and weary, that every expression it bore acquired an unsettling tinge of irony and detachment.

"'Tis all right, don't apologise," the young lord said in a hollow indifferent voice perfectly matching his countenance. "Your vigilance is only praiseworthy - and, in any case, I did not wish to be recognised."

Beregond bowed again, desperately trying to think of something to reply, anything at all. It was such rare fortune to stand so close to his lord, to have a chance to talk with him, and now Beregond hated himself heatedly for this adolescent loss of speech.

"I am sorry... for your loss, Captain," he said to end the awkward silence, by then actually wishing Lord Faramir would just go, relieving him of the seemingly insurmountable task of gathering his bearings and acting like a sane cultured person.

Faramir lowered his face as though in thought. "Yes, I am sorry also," he said somewhat blankly, his gaze grave and absent, not even directed at the guard. Then the Ranger's eyes returned to Beregond's face, a flicker of recognition lighting in them. "You... you are called Beregond, right? It is in your company that my father has placed the Halfling who saw my brother fall, is that not so?"

"Yes, your lordship, that is correct," Beregond replied carefully, giving a bow of confirmation. "I spent almost all of today with Peregrin."

Faramir crossed his arms, growing even more thoughtful. And it seemed to Beregond that this elaborate connection he now had to Captain Faramir's slain brother had instantly brought him much closer to his lord than all the years of living in the same city and serving in the same army had managed to. He even felt a certain kind of companionship arise between them - and he wished to say something else, but again, his mind was like a freshly wiped slate.

So he just stood, looking at Faramir, waiting for the man to say or do something. After all, it was only to be expected that the heir would give him an absent-minded nod and continue on his lordly way wherever he had been heading before the oh-so-vigilant Beregond interrupted him. Yet the warrior stayed in his place, seemingly lost in thought.

"May I be of some service to your lordship?" Beregond said at last, when the silence had stretched so long his cheeks were beginning to burn with embarrassment.

Faramir looked up at him, and Beregond realised the captain must have completely forgotten about his presence. But now that the older man gazed at him, it seemed that he finally saw him properly for the first time that evening - probably for the first time ever. Faramir's black brows furrowed slightly as his keen steely eyes studied Beregond's flushed attentive face.

"Service...?" he repeated vaguely, as though weighing the word up. "Why, it is very kind of you to ask."

Beregond blinked in confusion. It was not `kind' of him to ask - Faramir was his lord, not his friend, and it was only a duty of courtesy to offer his assistance in whatever the captain may require. And he felt the heir's strange reply send a peculiar warmth through him, making something in his belly contract sharply. It is very kind of you - that had almost sounded like a compliment...


What are you thinking about?! Be careful and don't humiliate yourself. It is already written all over your face...

"Tell me, Beregond..." Faramir said, bringing him out of his reverie. The Ranger stepped just a little closer and lowered his voice for privacy, as though they were not already completely alone. "Well, I don't usually like bluntness in such matters, but these days... Really, I am rather weary, and time is short - definitely no time for elaborate courtesies. And I have just one simple question for you. Tell me, Guard - do you like men?"

Beregond would have expected any other question but this - and he just stared back at his lord. Faramir's clear grey gaze was boring right into Beregond's heart, or so it seemed to the younger man, for he could not break the contact, could hardly even inhale.

And he answered perhaps the stupidest thing he could have come up with. "I am a married man, and I have a son, my lord," he heard himself saying before he could bite his tongue. Now, just where had this come from? Not that he had ever seen his covert passion for the captain as infidelity to his wife...

Faramir, however, did not seem to react to the reply at all, as though, in not being to the point of the question, Beregond's words had not even registered with him. And Beregond added hurriedly, "But I very much do like men, Lord Faramir."

At this the older man tilted his head to a side, still not taking his eyes from Beregond's, and a faint smile came to his sensually-carved mouth - and again, Beregond saw irony in that smile.

"Well," Faramir said softly, "and what of me, Beregond? Do you like me?" His sharp eyes narrowed slightly as he asked this, and their gaze became both painfully penetrating and slightly derisive. Well, one had to be at least a little derisive when asking such things - to save oneself some ground for retreat, should it be required.

Beregond breathed in sharply. Had he not dreamt so many times of being asked this simple question, of hearing those words come out of the Captain's mouth...?

"You, my lord, are quite beyond compare," he said very quietly, but clearly. He knew his face must be a bright scarlet even in the blue powdery light of the evening, and his heart was beating so loudly he was sure the lord could hear it - but what did it matter, really? Lord Faramir was here, right before him, alone with him, and seemed to want him...

And Lord Faramir leant in to him, planting his hand on the wall just above Beregond's shoulder. Beregond shut his eyes and lifted his face up at once - yet Faramir did not meet the man's parted lips, but rather touched his nose to Beregond's neck just below the ear. He inhaled deeply - and drew away, staying the guard from virtually falling forward after him by lightly touching the man on the chest.

Catching his balance, Beregond looked up in bewilderment, searching Faramir's features desperately, fearing he had done something wrong, had insulted his lord, had made a fool of himself... But the Ranger only grinned with a corner of his mouth.

"Not here," he said as a way of explanation.

And Beregond understood. That brief contact, what it was for - Lord Faramir had wanted to know what he smelled like, to see whether this guard he hardly even knew could indeed arouse desire in him. And, judging by his words, he had liked the scent. He had not said `no' - he said `not here', which meant that, in the right place, he would have... Beregond felt his head beginning to swim. I shall touch you, and embrace you, and take your clothes off, and possess you, ravish you and drive you mad with joy - I shall, just not here.

For Beregond's part, that little gesture already had him aching with longing. Despite Lord Faramir's undeniably attractive appearance, and despite Beregond's unfading desire for the man, the guard had nevertheless always seen him as a being so faultless and above everyone else, that it was nigh to impossible to imagine the captain actually doing something remotely carnal or indecent. And that Faramir should in fact have an ostensibly strong feral side to him - which seemed to be the case, given he had just smelled Beregond like they were a pair of wolves and not the sons of Men - that was almost too much to comprehend...

The younger man managed to nod, mumbling vaguely, "Of course, my lord, I am sorry..." What a fool. Had he truly expected the heir of Gondor to just bend him over and fuck him in a back alley, the guard's silver helmet still on and his trousers around his knees...?

But the captain did not appear annoyed with him in the slightest - in fact, Beregond's flustered state seemed to pleasantly amuse him.

"Well, do you know a place we could spend an hour or two in comfort and privacy?" Faramir asked patiently, raising his brow in question.

Beregond inclined his head. "Yes, your lordship," he said before having even thought where such a place would be.

The Ranger made a little contented nod and gestured for Beregond to lead.

Beregond swallowed and walked on the way he had been going before meeting with Faramir, impulsively continuing towards his own house. Before he had made a dozen paces, however, he realised that it was out of the question: his wife must have already returned from her daily business, not to mention his ten-year-old son... In any case it would have been too risky. But he had to think of something - this was his one chance, and he could not let it slip.

And then he knew. His younger brother Iorlas lived less than a mile away from Beregond's family - and Iorlas would not be returning to the City for at least another day. Beregond, as always, had the key to his front door...

So this was it. Convenient and easy.

He could hardly believe it. He felt like that fairy-tale man who had been walking down a country-lane when coming upon a fist-sized diamond lying in the dust. What had Beregond done to deserve such a blessing, such a gift from fate? He could not remember how that tale ended, whether the character had benefited from his discovery - but who cared about that? No matter what happened afterwards, he was going to have his one moment of glory, his one dream come true.

Had he not berated and shamed himself so many countless endless nights for even daring to wish after such a thing? He may have long since grown to accept his inconceivable desire for men - inconceivable and unrealised desire, that is - yet with Lord Faramir?! Lord Faramir was perfection embodied, perfection in all senses, and especially as of late pretty much the last beacon of hope to most in Minas Tirith and Gondor on the whole. Quite like a talisman in the eyes of the people - as long as all was well with him, they could defy despair. And Beregond, a simple tower guard, dared to desire him?!

There! he almost felt like shouting out. I am not a pathetic deluded fool after all! It is going to happen, for real.

He could barely hear his unexpected companion walking just a couple of steps behind. Faramir was a tall man, taller even than Beregond himself, and must likely heavy at that, and his cloak was long and wide - yet the soles of his riding boots met with the cobbles of the street with hardly a sound, and the fabric of his cape never rustled, not even a faint whisper. The leather of his jerkin did not creak, the links of the mail underneath did not scratch at each other - a true Ranger he was, moving with the soundless grace of an Elf.

Beregond, for his part, felt like a mumak in full military attire stomping down the street, thud-thud clink-clank, for all the good people to hear and look, and laugh at his clumsiness. And he did not dare throw a glance over his shoulder to check that Lord Faramir was indeed there.

Oh, for the Valar's sake, you are not sixteen years old. Get a hold of yourself. If you keep on fretting like this, you'll be all sweaty and shaking by the time you get to the bedroom, and your prick will likely go into a stupor... Not that Beregond had ever actually encountered such a problem, yet he had heard it could happen if one was too high-strung. Needless to say, the notion was doing little to soothe his nerves...

The walk that could not have possibly taken more than ten minutes felt like the longest hour in his life. By the time they finally climbed the several steps to Iorlas' porch, Beregond was indeed having trouble fitting the key into the hole.

Perhaps I got it all wrong. How can he possibly want me, when he could have anybody, the fairest, the noblest, the freshest, the most skillful...? He probably just wants to have a bite to eat and have a talk about... about... what was his name... Peregrin, yes. He wants to talk about Peregrin, I am sure. Nay, he cannot possibly desire me...

Beregond sighed in relief when the lock clicked at last, and pushed the door, leading his lord into the dim corridor.

He knew he ought to say something welcoming, some perfunctory words, yet all speech was stuck in his throat, and he gave up on courtesy. Still not looking back at the captain, he quickly pulled his helmet off and put it down on a small bench, then just as hastily undid his cloak to hang on one of the hooks by the door.

But before he could even turn to the older man, Faramir decisively gathered him up in a strong urgent embrace and, simultaneously twisting him around and pressing him hard against the wall, in the next instant was already kissing him deeply. Beregond gasped - and melted at once. His lord's kiss was strong and masterful, and unlike anything Beregond had known before - and he returned it like he had never done before. Had he been able to retain some thinking ability, he would have perhaps marveled at actually having Captain Faramir's agile and demanding tongue in his mouth, at having those sweet hungry lips grind against his, at feeling that hot rapid breath against his face, at having the first hint of a stubble scrape against his cheek...

But he could hardly understand anything at all as his arms came to snake around the Ranger's neck - except that at least two of his previous concerns had been entirely ungrounded. For one, Lord Faramir apparently wanted him. And two, he was not going to disgrace himself as a man, for already he was as hot and rigid as a freshly forged blade, his groin hurting from all the boiling blood that had suddenly surged there. He was aware of nothing else: not of his full quiver biting painfully into his back, all the arrows cluttering drily; not of Faramir's long sword bumping unpleasantly against his leg and then thudding at the wall behind them; not of the way the two of them had knocked the bench, setting Beregond's winged helmet falling to the floor with a loud clank - only Faramir's mouth on his, only the lord's hands on him...

Then Faramir pulled away a little, although not slackening his embrace, and, letting out a long breath, grinned contentedly. Beregond stared up at him hazily, his own breathing so hard he even heard it himself. In Faramir's grey eyes he saw that expression again: appraising, sharp and faintly ironic, only now there was a new shade to it - hunger and overpowering masculine confidence.

Regarding the guard in thoughtful amusement, the Ranger pressed his lips together, as though to suppress a smile, and moved his hand to brush a lock of hair from Beregond's forehead.

The younger man closed his eyes and leant into the touch, immediately forgetting himself again.

"Now I want you to get something straight, my good guard," Faramir murmured and, when Beregond looked at him, gazed darkly right into the younger man's eyes. "In the course of the next hour or so, I am going to fuck you, and do it hard - and I shall damn well make sure you enjoy it. The only little thing I ask of you is to relax - all right? The less you worry, the smoother everything will go. I know this is all very sudden, and perhaps seems a little strange to you, but you are a man of war, aren't you, Beregond? You should've been trained to deal with the unexpected."

"I... I was," Beregond breathed out dreamily, still drowning in Faramir's eyes.

"Good," Faramir nodded with a dry grin - and let him go, then took a couple of steps further down the shady corridor, his cloak still on. "Now, I wager there should be a bedroom in this house."

"Yes, 'tis upstairs, my lord," Beregond replied, his voice still disobeying him somewhat. At least managing to abstain from leaning against the wall for support, he bowed his head, trying to digest it all. His lord had just... Had touched him, had kissed him, had said such things to him... Beregond felt his already straining manhood give a tortured twist at the mere memory. Faramir's easy confidence fascinated him, and the warrior's apparent and absolute lack of inhibitions - and shame - was so frighteningly arousing...

But Lord Faramir was right, he had to pull himself together. The captain, weary and busy as he was, was going to spend some of his precious time on Beregond - Beregond had to give him the most for it. Just breathe out and relax. This is all overwhelming and unfamiliar - but this is exactly what you have always hungered for! Just follow the Captain's lead and enjoy what you get.

Perhaps people who had the jitters regularly grew used to it somehow, and found a way to carry on regardless - Beregond's problem was, he had never been like this. He may not have been the most dashing man around, yet he had always secretly prided himself on being level-headed and confident in his abilities. He had never been scared in the face of mortal peril or daunted by the need to make an important decision, nor had big loud companies ever intimidated him. He had not suffered from any insecurities in the bedroom either, not even when losing his virginity with the girl who had been just as clueless as he.

But this...

"Lord Faramir, may I...? Would you perhaps like a glass of wine or water first?" he called after the captain, finally remembering some hospitality.

"Aye, that would be most agreeable, thank you kindly," Faramir replied lightly.

Beregond almost wished he had not suggested that. First he had trouble recalling where his brother kept the wine - then the corkscrew, and now he could not open the dratted bottle...

He barely heard the footsteps before he felt his lord come to stand inebriatingly close behind him. Beregond lowered his face a little, but, not knowing how to acknowledge their closeness, simply continued to struggle with the drink. At least he had had enough sense to leave his bow and quiver in the hall, and now they would not get in the way...

Without a word, Faramir laid his hands on top of Beregond's, and, in a couple of seconds and one strong movement, the bottle was open.

Relieved, Beregond laughed out softly. "I am sorry, lord, I am so nervous."

"'Tis all right, don't be embarrassed about that," Faramir replied quietly, his voice thick with warmth and amusement. "Your agitation quite flatters me," he added, letting his fingers linger for a moment on the backs of the younger man's hands. Then he stepped back, leaning against the counter used for cooking. "Water my glass down, if you please: on such occasions I prefer to have myself rather sober than not."

So Beregond poured half a cupful of fragrant dark-coloured liquid, and then filled the glass up with clear cold water. He was going to have some explaining to make to Iorlas - his brother looked well after the household, he would notice the absence of even one bottle. But all that Beregond would worry about later.

He passed the cup to Faramir, jolting faintly when their fingers met. Faramir acknowledged the younger man's reaction with a shadow of a smile. "Pray serve yourself also, Beregond - you surely need it."

And Beregond gladly obliged.

They drank slowly and quietly, not even trying to put up a pretence of making small talk. Beregond had no doubt that Lord Faramir for his part could have easily chatted about a subject of any degree of difficulty, had he so wished. Likely, he was just sparing Beregond the embarrassment - the guard was quite certain his current inability to support a conversation was rather obvious.

So they just stood looking at each other - that much Beregond had been able to manage: their eyes had met over the rims of their cups, and the younger man had not let go. And once again he marveled at the turn things had taken, and at the way Lord Faramir was bearing himself. Beregond was not used to any of this at all: for one, he had always thought only women for sale got picked up on the street like that... And he had never thought his beloved captain (all right, it was time to start calling things by their proper names already, given the way the events were progressing) - had never thought Faramir would ever go finding company for himself in such a manner. Really, was it just the lord's weariness and lack of time that had led him to make this questionable proposition to Beregond? Well, admittedly, from Beregond's point of view, the proposition was a sheer blessing, and nothing questionable about it - but he had to face it, this was not the socially appropriate sort of conduct for a man, especially for a man of Captain Faramir's rank... Of course, taking into account that he was about to get laid, it was very tempting for Beregond to allow that his long-kept-in-secret feelings were actually reciprocated, that there was a deep personal reason - but he knew better than that. Lord Faramir may have known him by face, but had had trouble recalling his name earlier in the evening - oh please, what feelings could there possibly be?

And the way Lord Faramir behaved himself... Maybe it was simply Beregond's lack of experience in this area, really, maybe this was the usual mode for men in such situations. Not that he minded - far from it: the Captain's strong ungentle embrace, his bold marginally ironic glances, the way he said `I am going to fuck you' with such unassuming matter-of-factness... All of it was powerfully arousing in a faintly intimidating way, getting Beregond to think of how masterful and forceful his lord was going to be in bed, and thus making the guard even hotter between his legs than he already was.

Only somehow it did seem a little odd that the heir said and did things like that. No, it did not feel like Faramir's own, natural style. Beregond's impression of the lord had always been that of a reserved and rather gentle man, one touched by a ringing, radiant pureness, albeit stern of face - a man who had refined manners and was careful with the way he spoke. If anything, Beregond would have never deemed him capable of uttering things like `damn well', let alone `fuck', especially in its literal meaning... Of course, it was not uncommon among warriors. As far as the guard remembered, Lord Boromir, for instance, had used to say `fuck' and suchlike quite a lot, even when it was not entirely called-for - but Lord Faramir, certainly, was made out of a different sort of dough...

Beregond felt himself getting confused and actually growing strangely uneasy - and waved these musings away. He had not even as much as shared a kiss with a man until some ten minutes ago - what did he know of such things? What did he know of sex at all? He had wed early, and in all his thirty-two years had ever only been intimate with his wife, who had always been a good sensible person with serious kind eyes - he had never allowed himself any `indecencies' with her. Their style had always been that of quiet, careful tenderness rather than of unbridled passion - he had only ever dreamt of passion and unabashed lust, and the forms his dreams took had often perplexed and frightened him...

Well, very soon he was going to discover whether his fantasies had much in common with reality.

"You said upstairs, right?" Faramir asked casually, putting his empty glass down on the table and heading out of the kitchen.

Beregond drowned the rest of his wine in one draught, and silently followed.

As he went up the creaky wooden stairs after his lord, the captain's cloak swaying left-right, left-right before his face, Beregond once again felt a little surreal. These are Captain Faramir's boots I am seeing, this is Captain Faramir before me, and he is going to a bedroom with me to make love to me - how can this be...?

He closed his eyes momentarily. In ten minutes it was all going to happen - when was he going to get used to the idea already?

They entered a small corridor with a window at the end, and a few doors on each side.

Faramir threw Beregond a questioning glance over his shoulder, and the guard managed to utter, "That one, m'lord, second to the left."

This used to be the family house, full of people, even a few servants - until Beregond had moved out upon marrying, and the brothers' parents had died. Most of the chambers now stood empty and untended, so they would have to make use of the master bedroom.

The men entered Iorlas' chamber, and it felt utterly grotesque to Beregond that it was in this room which seemed so familiar to him that everything should happen. He was used to the exact places of the furniture: the single bed along the right wall, half-sunk into a shallow shady alcove, the wooden table before the narrow window, its pane set in a deep arch of dark stone, the two old chairs on either side of the table. There was also a small cupboard for personal belongings against the other wall - and hardly anything else. This was exactly the way Beregond remembered it, such a habitual everyday sight - yet what was about to happen within these walls was anything but ordinary, anything but imaginable...

The only unusual thing was the hour he had come here - dusk, after all, was a private time, and in his adult years he had never seen his brother's room in such light. The whitewashed walls were now a soft deep grey, the beige coverlet on the bed appearing almost blue, only the basin for washing, standing in its customary place on the table, was as though glowing with whiteness in the general gloom...

Only then did the guard finally become aware of the chill, and realised Captain Faramir had been wise in keeping his cloak on. Iorlas had been away for more than five days now, and none of the hearths had been lit in all that time. It was hardly any warmer inside than out in the street...

Beregond cast a doubtful glance at the little fireplace opposite the bed - there were new logs in there all right, yet Lord Faramir had spoken of `an hour or two', of which many minutes had already passed, so there was really no point in getting busy with the fire. By the time it would start yielding any real warmth, they would be done anyway...

"I apologise... for the cold, your lordship," he said a little awkwardly, addressing Faramir's back - the man had gone forth to look out of the window.

"'Tis all right, we'll keep each other warm," the Ranger replied casually. And Beregond saw he meant it not as a flirtatious or even a lewd remark, but simply as a fact: they were going to get warm, it was only logical.

The guard sighed, and came up to the Captain, a little uncertain as to how exactly he was supposed to act - but his uncertainty did not last long, for Faramir turned to him, and pulled him closer. Beregond's eyelids lowered at once, and another kiss was bestowed upon his pliant eager mouth. Faramir's hands came to caress his chest and sides, and Beregond strained against him, pressing himself hard to his lord's strength and warmth.

Merely a couple minutes later, however, Faramir pulled back. "Now, I gather this is not your house, and the bedroom is not likely to have `supplies'," there was a questioning note in his voice and he looked at Beregond keenly. When the guard made a vague gesture of confirmation, Faramir went on, "So, before we get going and lose all ability to think straight, I would ask this of you. Please think of where the owner would be keeping some sort of oil, and go fetch us a bottle."

When Beregond returned a short while later, a flask of Iorlas' finest cooking oil in hand, he was met by a most ravishing sight. His lord had wasted no time waiting for him, and had already rid himself of the better part of his attire, pulling his undershirt off just as Beregond reentered the room.

The guard's breath caught, and he stood silently in the doorway, watching.

Even though the captain was expecting him, to Beregond it still felt almost inappropriately private to witness the man undress - and horribly erotic for that. He actually felt sorry he had not seen all of it, the garments one by one gradually unveiling the lord's true appearance, his masculine beauty - a beauty both primally sharp and artfully refined. The proud posture, the taut curves of powerful muscle, the exquisite contrast between the breadth of the shoulders and the compact slimness of the hips, the skin so creamy and pale next to the smooth charcoal locks... To be allowed to feast one's eyes on all this, that alone was a priceless gift.

Faramir did not seem bothered by the cold in the slightest, moving freely and at ease. Not nervous or in a hurry at all, as though merely preparing for bed, he folded up the thin linen tunic and hung it on one of the chairs, on top of his other things.

He straightened up and lifted one hand to rub himself on the back of the neck, as though the spot between his shoulders was stiff with tension. Earlier that day the captain had fought back from his errand in Ithilien, and Beregond knew he had had a long talk with the Lord of the City afterwards. It was no secret that the Steward and his youngest did not get along all too well, especially since the tidings of Lord Boromir's death - and Beregond wondered what kind of an unpleasant exchange could have taken place during that talk...

Then Faramir turned around, and to Beregond that simple movement seemed almost epic in its significance.

Their eyes met, and a final confirmation passed between them without a word being uttered.

Then Faramir walked to the bed. He pulled aside the coverlet and sat down, looking at Beregond with the calm unperturbed confidence of a man who knows exactly what is going to happen next, just a trace of a smile on his lips - and nodded for the guard to come over, which Beregond did at once. He put the bottle on the sheets and leant in to his lord, and - as Faramir took him on the shoulders, allowed himself to do the same, and even slid his hands up the captain's neck.

They kissed, long and passionate, caressing one another, sighing into each other's mouths, and it once again fascinated the younger man how quickly and easily Faramir switched between complete composure and self-indulgent ardour.

Beregond found himself liking his position, standing above his lord, for even like this he felt Faramir's complete and utter superiority over him - and the notion gave him freedom, for he saw that no matter what he did, he would not inadvertently challenge the captain's rightful dominance, for that was simply impossible. And he took Faramir on the face, and boldly kissed him all over: the corners of the Ranger's mouth, his cheeks, his jaw and the underside of his chin. The captain had obviously not shaved since morning, and his skin had a faintly sand-papery feel against the guard's lips. Beregond knew if he were to continue in this manner for much longer, on the morrow his mouth would have a suspiciously chafed appearance, yet he cared little. His lord obviously liked the touch, tilting his head back and closing his eyes, and nothing else was important.

The guard then tasted the heir on the side of the neck, and behind the ear, and on the hollow of the throat, meanwhile letting his hands descend to the warrior's bare shoulders and chest, reverently caressing the taut muscles. And all of it Faramir welcomed, although for his own part hardly doing anything at all, merely receiving Beregond's attention, his hands resting on the younger man's leather-clad shoulders.

Beregond was so engrossed in his service, so hypnotised by Faramir's contented sighs and deep intakes of breath, that for the time-being he even forgot about the ache in his own loins. From the moment the Ranger had first kissed him, the younger man's erection had not subsided a notch... It had never been like this for him, and his manhood was by then positively bewildered by the combination of such persistent arousal and utter lack of badly needed stimulation. But the way his lord inhaled sharply and arched towards him when Beregond sucked on his left nipple - it gave the guard such joy, that he felt in no hurry to relieve himself of his own need. He would go slowly, and relish every second...

Faramir moved his legs to let Beregond stand between his thighs, thus giving the guard better access to his body - and eventually Beregond knelt before him, kissing the lord's taut stomach, reveling in the taste of his skin licking at the dent of his navel, whence a trail of dark hairs began only to disappear below the waistband of the Ranger's trousers. Standing above Faramir had been sweet - being below him was by far sweeter... And the fragrance of his lord's desire, which was overpoweringly strong with Beregond's face so close to his crotch, was making the guard delirious and dizzy. Yet, despite all his previous liberties, he did not dare actually lay his palm on the prominent bulge between his lord's legs, caress and gently massage it, or even rub his face against it...

Breathing heavily, Beregond made to take off the captain's boots instead - but Faramir moved out of his touch, spreading his legs yet wider apart and shifting closer to the edge of the bed, his fingers slowly kneading the bend of the mattress, his whole pose eloquently expectant.

Then his hand lay gently on the back of Beregond's neck, stroking slowly and gently, as though not even intending to urge him forth - but Beregond felt the unmistakable need behind that touch.

The guard's breath caught and heat rushed to his face when he perceived what exactly was wanted of him.

Beregond looked up at his lord, just to make absolutely sure. Faramir was gazing down at him darkly and hazily, lips bright with colour and parted a little... There could be no ambiguity, and Beregond nodded his understanding, unable to draw his eyes away from Faramir's.

"You have beautiful lips," Faramir whispered huskily, his thumb slowly caressing the younger man's chin just below the lower lip.

Beregond swallowed.

No one had ever told him he had beautiful anything.

He would do it. Of course he would. Had it not been, after all, one of his fantasies, albeit one of the most shameful and disreputable ones, when he allowed himself to dream about the captain? A proper man of Gondor did not go putting his face between another person's legs - especially if said person was equipped with a cock and a pair of balls. But being a proper man of Gondor was the last thing he worried about at that point.

And his fingers came to tug hurriedly at the lacing of the Ranger's breeches, and the captain shifted even closer, tilting his hips up - and suddenly it was free, Faramir's power reaching towards the younger man in all its splendour, in all its demanding, glorious might, in all its raw beauty.

Beregond gasped raggedly, staring, his lips parted in awe.

It was an honour, such an honour... How could he dare accept it...?

And Faramir encouraged him, with one hand cupping him firmly on the jaw, and with the other grasping his own erection and tilting it to rub the silky tip against Beregond's cheek, then across the guard's mouth and just below the lower lip. Grinning sternly, the heir then used his hardness to lightly slap the younger man on the face - then once again, a little harder. Beregond gasped in delighted trepidation, strangely entranced by this treatment. And before he knew it, Faramir's manhood was right under his nose, and he was licking all over the head, poking his tongue into the slit - then sucking the shaft into the warmth of his mouth, so eager to protect it from the chill.

After this he needed no more prompting, everything happening as though off its own accord, and his lord sighed deeply, and rested his palms on the guard's shoulders, letting Beregond pleasure him as he would.

Beregond had of course heard all the nasty words used to describe this service and the people who performed it - especially men who performed it... If anything, it was considered even more self-disgracing than actually parting one's legs for another man. Yet he did not feel that it humiliated him in the slightest - on the contrary, it was a privilege, and he found himself savouring every little detail.

He even caught himself humming and moaning enthusiastically as he slurped fervently on the hot responsive hardness, going quickly up and down, up and down, adding a twist each time, his hand gripping the long shaft at the base and following suit. It had turned out so easy to lose himself in this...

Faramir's hands were languid and as though dreamy on him, slowly caressing his shoulders, the nape of his neck, burying in his hair, massaging the back of his head and behind the ears... They were not forcing him to take in deeper, yet their touch was so arousing that he hardly needed any actual prodding. Planting both hands on the captain's spread thighs, Beregond swallowed all of him up, barely able to inhale for the strain in his throat - but so elated...

He would burn to death with shame if his family were to know of this experience, of the way he was indulging both the lord and himself - not because he himself was ashamed, which he was not, but rather because he knew they would never understand, never see it for what it truly was. It was beautiful, this whole arrangement, so much so that it felt almost chaste in its beauty. The powerful living heat in his mouth, the divine taste on his tongue, the sweet pleasure his lord was apparently experiencing, the soft deep moans escaping the captain's flushed parted lips, the way his hips subtly strained into Beregond's kiss - there was nothing profane, nothing dirty about this. There was warmth, and great trust, and care, comfort and intimacy, solidarity and understanding, and the ultimate joy of giving pleasure to another. Desire, too, of course - but what was wrong with desire? What idiot had ever thought up to despise this form of love?

But then -

Faramir's hand tugged gently but insistently at the back of Beregond's collar.

"'Tis enough," the captain said quietly, but very clearly and firmly.

Startled, Beregond drew back at once, letting the hot moist length slip out of his mouth - and looked up in bewilderment. It had seemed to him Lord Faramir had been enjoying his ministrations...

Faramir was smiling down at him, and the older man's hands slid from the back of Beregond's head to the guard's face, cupping it on each side, Faramir's thumbs caressing the corners of his mouth.

"Your treatment is most delightful," the lord murmured thoughtfully, looking at Beregond's lips with faintly narrowed eyes. "You are so eager... And you have a very clever tongue, too. It is merely that I do not wish to spend just yet."

He let go, and planted his hands on the bed behind himself, leaning back and sighing deeply.

"Why don't you go undress and come back here, mm, Beregond? I wager 'tmust have been quite a trial, carrying that erection trapped in your breeches all this time."

"Yes, m'lord... of course..." Beregond murmured disorientedly, rising heavily to his feet. He realised then his knees were aching from standing on the hard floor, and indeed he was painfully stiff and swollen between the legs. He ran his tongue over his lips, and grinned to himself.

Happy, oh, how happy he was...

He was tempted to just tear his things off where he was and jump right into bed - but he remembered how carefully Lord Faramir had laid down his own garments, and knew he ought to do likewise.

He divested himself of everything, hanging his clothes over the empty chair and laying his weapons on the table alongside the captain's sword and daggers, paying careful attention to doing everything neatly, thus trying to keep his mind busy, to divert it from his progressing nakedness. He had seen Lord Faramir's body - and its faultless masculine grace had made him doubt his own comeliness for the first time. He had never considered himself particularly handsome - or otherwise, for that matter - he had never given the subject much thought at all. Beauty had never seemed like a proper thing to occupy a top line among a man's merits, yet now he was beginning to reconsider...

The captain had followed the guard to put his own trousers over his other things and leave his boots by the table - and now that they stood completely unclothed and so near, albeit not yet looking at each other, Beregond felt an acute need to cover himself up. He was painfully aware of his swollen reddened sex jutting forth uncouthly, the curly darkness around its base insufferably vulgar in its abundance, and it struck him as unforgivable that he should present his lord with such a sight. The vespers had deepened, and everything in the room had acquired a dreamy ethereal shade of soft dark blue, the light in the chamber so gentle and ambient - yet to him even that little seemed too much, and he reached for the curtain to draw it over the narrow window.

"Nay, don't close it - I like to see everything," Faramir said quietly, coming to stand right behind Beregond, and Beregond's hand dropped.

"Would your lordship wish for more light, then?" he asked bravely, indicating the single candle in a brass holder which stood next to the washing basin.

"Nay, 'tis perfect as is. Let the dusk enfold us: it does a good job of taking shame away, for nothing seems truly real in the twilight, now does it?" Then Faramir's fingers came to lightly trace the lines of Beregond's back. "You have a good body," Faramir murmured thoughtfully, lustfully, yet there was also a note of unbiased professional approval in his voice. He was, after all, a warrior, and he could appreciate another soldier's properly developed physique. "Strong and healthy," he noted as though to himself, his hands moving from Beregond's shoulders down along the line of his spine to his waist and the small of his back. "But not too heavy. You've got agility and grace, too," the Ranger spread his fingers in a light grip over the guard's hips. "And this, of course, is quite a sweet gift," Faramir whispered with a chuckle, giving Beregond's pert backside a probing squeeze. Beregond gasped, his muscles flexing involuntarily under the older man's palms, and Faramir chuckled again. "I have chosen well, you are indeed very attractive all over, not just in the face."

He is just saying it to make me feel better and curb my anxiety. He cannot possibly really see me like that...

But then Faramir added, wrapping his arms firmly around Beregond's middle and pulling him close, "What saddens me, though, is that you carry yourself as though you are entirely unaware of your own appeal. Can it truly be so?" he whispered straight into Beregond's ear, already beginning to press his rigid erection against the guard's buttocks in a subtle rhythm.

Pressing back, yet still keeping his face timidly low, Beregond managed to reply between his catching intakes of breath, "But I... had always thought... just the same of you... my.. nnh... my lord."

"Oh, really?" Faramir murmured in amusement, and bit him playfully on the lobe of the ear. "But you see, my gentle Beregond, in my case it has long since been but a pretence, or rather a habit, for I well know that a certain sort of men are aroused by such unassuming modesty on their partner's behalf."

"Well, I take it... you are also... such a man, m'lord," Beregond answered, tilting his head back as Faramir leant in to kiss the side of his neck, and vaguely wondering at his own boldness.

"At times I can be, yes," Faramir allowed with a grin, and kissed him again. "Only I wager your modesty is genuine, which makes it so much more exquisite to the taste." Then one of his hands left its place on Beregond's waist and slid down along the younger man's abdomen. "And I also wager it may be rather short-lived..."

The Ranger's fingertips brushed over the underside of Beregond's erection, veritably making him jump. Faramir hummed with amusement and stroked the throbbing length, his touch just a fraction more substantial this time.

Beregond looked down, then hurriedly shut his eyes and tilted his head back, fearing the sight would be too much, and would push him right over. His lord's hand, the hand that was used to wielding the sword and pulling the bowstring, both of which it did without fault, could actually be so gentle...

"How delicately smooth," Faramir whispered against Beregond's arched throat, "as though you've got the finest silk instead of skin. More fit for a nobleman, I'd say."

Another light caress upwards, then back down. Just a touch, really - but done by a man, it felt entirely different, like Beregond's very heart was open to be looked into, like he could not hide anything, for of course Faramir knew exactly what sensations he was giving...

"But I suspect there be some steely strength beneath such tender covering," Faramir added playfully and, wrapping his long fingers around the length, gave it a single milking stroke, squeezing carefully and pulling upwards, with just a hint of a twist.

Panicking, Beregond jerked within his lord's embrace - but it was too late, the guard's manhood had already overflowed, his warm seed copiously leaking over the captain's hand.

"My, your desire is strong indeed," Faramir observed amusedly, and gave Beregond's prick another squeeze, making it yield some more cream.

Beregond shut his eyes again, his thighs trembling faintly with residual tension, his face burning. "I am sorry, my lord," he murmured for the countless time that evening.

And for the countless time, Faramir smiled. "Don't worry about this. I take it as nothing but a compliment to my allure. And in any case, by the time I put my cock up your arse, you shall have grown hard all over again. We have a little time."

Beregond only nodded in reply. He wondered if it was possible to actually faint from the mixture of bliss, fervour and anxiety...

"Do you know..." Faramir whispered huskily, "what your pleasure tastes like?"

Beregond shook his head mutely, and the Ranger said, "Well, I would have you know it."

Letting go of the guard's manhood, Faramir lifted his hand to Beregond's face. The younger man stared at it, the mere vision already stirring his arousal anew. He was not accustomed to actually seeing his seed, usually spending it deep within his wife's body, and was now staggered by what a luxuriously salacious sight it presented when smeared all over a lover's hand.

Then the heir's index finger, fully covered in the milky essence, briefly slipped past Beregond's unresisting lips to brush against his tongue.

The younger man's eyes shot wide open.

"Sharp!" he breathed out, a shiver of pleasant shock running through him.

Faramir chuckled contentedly, and let the moment linger - then his unbashful hand, covered richly in the evidence of Beregond's release, slid around the guard's body to pry between his naked buttocks. With a strained sigh, Beregond arched up to meet the touch - indeed, he did not seem to have all that much shame in himself when it came to it...

For a long delicious moment they did not speak, Faramir massaging him curiously between the legs, exploring the privacy of his body, rubbing the man's own seed into his skin, Beregond breathing deeply, eyes closed, nothing except Faramir's masterful warmth real in his world.

Then Faramir murmured playfully into his ear, "Or, on second thought, I could just bend you over this very table without any further ado - what do you say to this, Guard?"

"Anything your lordship wishes," Beregond breathed out dazedly, by then positively grinding himself back at Faramir's palm, "anything..."

Faramir probingly pressed the pad of his thumb to the place where Beregond's body would yield to him - and Beregond heard himself whimper softly, surrendering at once, opening up to his lord's power and strength...

But Faramir chuckled softly, and the touch was gone. "Nay, I am too weary for something like this, and the floor is a little cold, too - the bed seems a better choice in the circumstances. Come," he took the younger man by the wrist and pulled him towards the shady alcove.

There the captain paused, and Beregond understood he was supposed to lie down first, which he did, resting his back on the cool mattress and bending his knees. Faramir lowered himself on top of him, their unclothed bodies finally touching front to front.

"I am going to be your first, aren't I?" the heir murmured, curving his brow, and Beregond gave a silent nod of confirmation. He did not know whether his innocence in this area would be seen as a gift or rather as a nuisance, but in any case, there was no use trying to deny it. The captain, at least, apparently knew what he was doing.

And Faramir kissed him, the lord's hair falling to Beregond's face and tickling it softly, and Beregond embraced him across the upper back - and for a while they lay like that, slowly moving together, testing out the rhythm their bodies would work out between each other.

It felt unexpectedly comfortable, even reassuring to be in this position. Having been so overpowered by Faramir's decisive confidence earlier in the evening, Beregond had been quite certain that actually having the man lie atop him would daunt him, and render him jittery and clumsy. But it did not, for although it did feel strange and at that faintly unsettling to play the recipient part, it also felt safe and proper, like it had felt proper to be kneeling between the captain's parted legs. This was a position aptly matching their standing with each other, matching the roles naturally appointed to them in this encounter, and the appropriateness of it was calming. And even if he did feel a little afraid, the fear was of a pleasant, exhilarating variety, only sharpening his desire. Besides, Beregond simply liked the new sensations. Faramir was warm and heavy on top of him, heavy not in a bulky and oppressive sense, but in a dependable and arousing kind of way.

He may have never done this before, yet Beregond discovered that there was, at least this far, nothing difficult to the matter. Faramir was moving on top of him, and the mild unhurried rhythm of this motion, the touch of his skin against Beregond's skin, the way his arousal ground hotly against Beregond's loins - all of it was making Beregond's body feel both acutely alive and sweetly, druggedly relaxed at the same time - and it was so easy to move together with him, to return his caresses, to dissolve in the softness of his skillful lips...

Sliding out of the kiss, Faramir bit Beregond playfully on the neck, then sat up and reached for the bottle lying close at hand. First warming the oil in his hands, he spread it generously all over Beregond's intimate area, including even his half-erect cock, and thoroughly slickened his own hand before lying back down atop the younger man.

The next part seemed to require a little concentration on the heir's behalf, and he did not reseal their kiss as his slippery hand moved down between their bodies, his gaze turning inwards as all his attention was apparently focused on the sensations at his fingers.

He caressed the guard between the buttocks searchingly, then his touch grew more confident and purposeful, and then he smiled.

"There we go," the Ranger murmured smoothly.

Beregond stifled a gasp, trying to adjust to being touched on the inside. He looked into Faramir's face keenly, hoping to see affirmation that his lord understood it was a little difficult for him, that he would appreciate some patience and care. Not that he was afraid of pain, he merely did not wish his lord, whom he so loved, to disregard his feelings in that moment. And Faramir looked back at him - again, with that strange smile, only now his eyes were distinctly dilated with ripe avidity, and his face seemed to have become somehow sterner, almost hard. But his touch was not inconsiderate or ungentle, and just one finger, even though it had already gone quite deep into the younger man's body, was not much of a challenge to accommodate.

"You have a good arse, my dear," Faramir muttered a little hoarsely, his up-to-then unfazed even tone now distinctly giving way to lust. "Very pert - and very tight. Oh, it shall be such a joy to take you."

"And you are very generously made, my lord," Beregond said in return.

He had meant it as a compliment, but Faramir apparently interpreted his words otherwise.

"Oh, don't be alarmed. This is a good match. This way we shall both find great pleasure. And I won't harm you if we prepare you properly, tomorrow you shall be perfectly fit to resume your duties."

`Properly' meant, above all, without rushing. So for a while the Ranger carried on with his ministrations, twisting his finger this way and that, pushing it in to the knuckle, then, much to Beregond's distress, withdrawing completely. Now that he had established the contact, he was kissing Beregond again, sucking on the guard's lips and hungrily pushing his tongue inside the younger man's mouth.

When Beregond had fully relaxed, eagerly pushing back, finding he could feel quite a sweet, albeit unusual, pleasure this way - Faramir began to work another finger into him alongside the first.

"Breathe," he told the guard, when Beregond squirmed uncomfortably beneath him, "breathe deeply, Beregond - it helps."

And it did. Not at once, but eventually it did, and to his considerable amazement Beregond discovered he could take two fingers almost as easily as one.

"You are... so patient with me," Beregond murmured tenderly. His lust, coupled with the way he trusted his captain to handle his body thus, had filled him with great warmth and affection for Faramir, far greater even than before. He let himself thread his fingers through the loose locks hanging alongside the older man's face. He had always admired the lord's hair, its pitch-black colour so deep, so intense, nothing like Beregond's own warm chocolaty brown. The guard had always liked the way sun shone on this hair, as though scattering stars over its glossy smoothness, argent on sable - and now it looked like a sheet of midnight, lightless and impenetrable, coolly streaming over his fingers.

"Of course I am patient," Faramir replied gently, looking at him a little curiously, as though surprised his patience, even amid all his apparent need, was not taken as something to be expected. And for a moment his face seemed softer and sadder, more like the face of the man Beregond had always hungered for.

Then Faramir propped himself on his elbow, keenly watching the guard's face. "Now, this should feel nice," he said expectantly, curling his fingers up inside Beregond's body.

"Oh, it does," Beregond breathed out in wonder, his eyes widening.

"Good," Faramir grinned with a corner of his mouth, and gave the sweet spot another forceful stroke. Beregond sucked his breath and arched up against him. "When I take you," the Ranger added, "it is this place we should strive to bring in contact with my prick. Then you shall come like you would not imagine it."

"Yes, my lord," Beregond murmured dreamily, shutting his eyes. "Thank you, my lord..."

While his fingers were exploring Beregond's inner softness, warming up his muscles, and teaching him to enjoy it, Faramir was grinding his whole body against the guard's front, pressing strongly and tightly, as though already claiming him. And now that the enjoyment had reached such an unforeseen degree, quite without planning to Beregond reached down to lay his palms on Faramir's delectable backside, and gripped its firm flesh in an effort to bring them even closer. The touch, however, seemed to have startled the captain, and instantly Beregond withdrew.

"Oh, please excuse me..." He had definitely allowed himself too much. It was, after all, his own arse, and not the lord's, that was going to yield to a cock.

Faramir looked down into his face. "Nay, go ahead," the older man said with a toss of his head. "Seeing as I am in your bed, you may as well touch me."

"'Tis not my bed, 'tis my brother's," Beregond replied a little dumbly, before realising his lord had been speaking to some extent figuratively.

But Faramir only snorted, and retorted merrily, "All right, then I shall fuck you in your brother's bed." At this he leant in and bit into Beregond's mouth with a hard demanding kiss. Beregond found it a little odd that Lord Faramir should deem his clumsy reply so amusing, as though it was some highly witty double-bottomed joke - but as he returned the kiss, all irrelevant thoughts left his mind.

Faramir's fingers withdrew one last time, and Beregond felt his lord fumble with himself for a moment - and then the younger man's entrance was introduced to a far more taxing intrusion. He gasped, but the cock's head had already slipped into him, and quite without difficulty.

But just as the younger man's eyes widened in realisation of what was happening, Faramir abruptly withdrew.

"Yes, you are ready," he said in a satisfied and almost business-like manner. "Now, I'd like you to turn over," and he raised himself up to give Beregond space for the maneuver.

Beregond obediently flipped onto his front - and immediately came to feel intoxicatingly vulnerable underneath the captain, practically defenseless, what with his backside perfectly accessible in this arrangement, while his general freedom of movement was rather limited. It was so liberating, so... relieving to be like this. He was used to ever being the strong one, the one on top and in control. He had been taught to take pride and pleasure in being a warrior, to enjoy the sensation of security provided by thick dependable armour, the aggressive power yielded by the sharpness of his sword and arrows. And now he was willingly giving it all up, casting it aside to come uncovered and unprotected to another man, to taste the other side of life.

Perhaps it was simply desire robbing him of inhibitions, but he was entirely unembarrassed of himself. It did not seem to him that by forfeiting his dominating position he was becoming somehow less of a man - in fact, it felt quite the opposite, for offering himself up like this, fully entrusting himself to the design of another let him in turn partake of the other, who was also a man. There was not an ounce of effeminateness between the two of them, only strength and masculine energy, only similarity in form and function, so what was there to be ashamed of?

No, he was not ashamed. He was not afraid, either - not even nervous anymore. He totally wanted this.

More than that - now that his body had been unlocked and opened, he actually desperately needed it to be filled up...

And Beregond arched back and up towards Faramir, spreading his thighs and raising up his hips, yearning for the man, yearning for what was the whole purpose of their being there. Another portion of oil was applied to him, and he pressed himself back at the warm slippery hand sliding up and down between his buttocks, wondering whether his lord could properly see his intimate places in this light, whether the sight aroused the captain...

He shivered in anticipation as Faramir's palm lay confidently onto his hip.

Whatever was going to happen afterwards, he did not care.

"If you would rather not do this after all," Faramir said, teasing Beregond's entrance with the blunt tip of his cock, apparently slickened also, "now would be just the moment to say so. I am sorry, but I won't have it in me to ask you again."

Beregond gasped, his eyes rounding. "No! Please, don't stop. Please, my lord, take me! Fuck me!"

Faramir did not say anything to that, yet Beregond was sure he knew exactly what sort of grin curved his lord's beautiful mouth.

And then Faramir pushed into him.

The girth, so staggering in its fullness, was a divine blessing. It hurt, too, and Beregond liked that also, for the pain was more than bearable, and it made everything more real, so that it did not feel entirely like a dream. It was not the sort of pain he would wish to draw away from - soon it was no more than a hot discomfort, really. And how could such immense presence be entirely comfortable, anyway?

The way the younger man's now once again fully erect cock was rubbing against the bed, dragged back and forth by Faramir's rocking movements, was also faintly disturbing. It had been oiled, but still, the linens were far coarser than what it was accustomed to coming in contact with. But it did not occur to Beregond to reach underneath himself to take it in hand and thus protect the sensitive skin - no, everything was as it ought to be, including the spicy hint of roughness.

He knew Faramir must be in great need, having been hard without break all this time, yet the captain was still patient with him, gripping him hard on the hips as he raised himself up above Beregond, but going slowly and steadily - and the knowledge that it was for his sake that the lord was withholding himself was infinitely reassuring to Beregond. So he relaxed and did not even strain against the thickness as it gradually delved deeper and deeper into him, going just a little further in with each onward movement of the Ranger's hips.

At some point it began to hurt again, his entrance having been worked on, but his innards still unused to such treatment. Again he felt the need to breathe slowly and thoroughly, and it seemed to him that his whole body was switching to, slipping into some special mode - a mode that had little need of his reason, thus making his mind melt and muddle, practically robbing him of conscious awareness of himself. But in return it presented him with an extraordinary sentience of his lover's body: even without seeing him, Beregond knew exactly how Faramir's shoulders moved, knew just how the muscles in his arms flexed as he supported the weight of his upper body on his hands, how his back and thighs strained with measured effort as he worked himself into the younger man's body, how his knees sank into the mattress. Even how he tossed his head to accompany the gasp escaping his lips as Beregond's tightness enveloped yet another inch of his noble length...

Beregond sensed it with his flesh, with the very core of his being, and it seemed to him that he was more with Faramir than with himself.

At last he felt the captain's hips come in contact with his spread buttocks, and then push some more, reaching even deeper, Faramir's full sack pressing against his exposed perineum. Beregond smiled disorientedly - so he had sheathed all of his lord...

"Well?" Faramir asked hoarsely, a note of smugness in his strained voice. "Does the captain have enough for you, my good guard?"

"Ahh... Oh yes..." Beregond breathed out in reply, eyes half-closed, his vision completely obscured.

"Or perhaps..." Faramir mused aloud, drawing back a little, and then again burying himself to the limit, "you would rather... I had put... my tongue into you? I could... make you scream... that way... Done it before... I'd have you know."

Beregond jolted beneath him at the suggestion, and groaned uncontrollably, the image flashing through his inner vision like lightning.

"Nay, m'lord. You're... loving me... perfectly..." he managed to mumble, effortfully fishing the words out of the verbal part of his memory. Talking was so complicated...

"You're sure?" The teasing question was accompanied by another slow thorough thrust.

"Please... never stop..." Beregond murmured deliriously, kneading and twisting the pillow in time with the movement of Faramir's hips.

"Oh, don't you worry about that," Faramir muttered in a single breath, and lowered himself full on top of Beregond, gripping him on the shoulders for support, resting his weight on the guard's body and pressing him hard into the mattress. "But don't say I hadn't warned you," he added only half-playfully right into Beregond's ear, the heir's hips already picking up speed.

Faramir had been, in fact, very accurate with his choice of words earlier in the evening. He had promised to fuck Beregond hard - and that was exactly what was happening.

The bed was swaying and creaking madly, Faramir's breath rapid and harsh on Beregond's cheek, Beregond himself panting, not entirely sure who he was or where he was...

And then, as Faramir changed the angle a little, his cock crushed into the center of Beregond's pleasure, and ecstasy rammed through the younger man, and he moaned at the top of his lungs. Had he been able to hear himself from aside, the guard would have, no doubt, been bemused to no end by his own ability to produce such sounds.

"Ah, that hit the mark, didn't it?" Faramir growled into his ear, repeating the thrust with perfect precision.

"Ah, yes!!" Beregond shouted, bolting violently underneath him.

After that, he could not stop moaning, practically suffocating from voicing his own pleasure. His body was on fire, melting, liquefying, being beaten on the inside with such merciless, delightful power...

Faramir was groaning hoarsely in time with his thrusts, his grip on Beregond's shoulders so fast, there were likely to be bruises afterwards. But Beregond was hardly aware of the discomfort - and neither was there was any real pain inside him. A thick dull ache, yes, but it was not of an alarming or even disturbing kind - in fact, it felt welcome, for it was accompanied by that radiant sensation of unraveling bliss...

Faramir nuzzled the back of his neck, rubbing his face into Beregond's tousled tresses, apparently trying to get to the man's skin. Then he gave up on it and, momentarily releasing the hold of one hand on the younger man's upper arm, in a swift rough caress brushed his hair aside. He then licked hotly at the guard's straining neck, making the man gasp amid his moans.

And then it was time for yet another novelty in Beregond's intimate life, for Faramir turned his face slightly to the side - and suddenly bit the younger man forcefully on the curve of the neck. Entirely involuntarily, Beregond bucked underneath him, and let out a loud desperate cry - he had never felt such sharp, searing pleasure in all of his life. The pain had hardly registered with him as his lord's teeth gripped his flesh - he was aware only of the madly arousing effect it had on him, cuttingly intensifying all his sensations. And with the next thrust Faramir nailed into him, Beregond cried out again, this time from the bliss unfolding in his loins. He spent generously onto the crumpled sheets beneath him, thrashing against Faramir's muscular form.

If anything, Faramir only bit harder on him, as though trying to hold the man in place as the Ranger's hips continued their labour, burying his burning length time and time again into the tight depths of Beregond's unresisting body. This time, Beregond really felt the pain in his shoulder - only in his current state, where everything seemed to have turned upside-down and inside-out, there was nothing wrong or unpleasant about the pain, and it only heightened his ecstasy. He had never wished to hurt or be hurt in bed, and this he did not see as hurt, either - it was only a most primal and profound expression of passion, of ownership, of love.

And, much as he would have never thought it possible, in just several more thrusts on his lord's behalf, Beregond came all over again, this second climax so much more forceful and unexpected than the first, that it was almost agonising. But at the same time he felt so inconceivably happy, so unbelievably loved. He had as though only then felt what life was like, what it felt to be alive. He screamed wildly, baring his teeth and clenching the sheets so hard his knuckles whitened. His body convulsed as though in waves, and he very acutely felt the muscles in between his legs contract, and release, and contract once more over and over again as a fresh portion of seed leaked forth from his euphoric manhood.

Apparently, Faramir felt it too. For once, the older man seemed to have lost rein over his actions, his hips planting a couple more awkward thrusts into his partner - and, burying himself to the hilt in Beregond once again, he as though gathered up for a jump, going desperately tense on top of the man, gripping the guard's shoulders so hard as though he actually wanted to dig his fingers right into the meat of Beregond's muscles.

And then he finally released the hold of his teeth on the man's neck, and let out a strange, pained sound, most like a choked fearful sob, and, as his climax overpowered him - he screamed.

"Oh, Boooromiiir!!!"

Had this wailing cry of such utter, bottomless woe, despair and longing seemed like anything out of the ordinary to Beregond?

Paradoxically, no. Not in the slightest. Still in the throes of his pleasure, he was in that borderline state of being where everything, strangely, makes perfect sense. Like in a dream, where one person can change into another, the deceased walk among the living and the most unconnected events follow logically together - and none of it feels in the least out of place to the dreamer.

Beregond still lay beneath the captain, now almost motionless as his body grew mellow and peaceful from the deep carnal heat that had just burned through it, merely receiving Faramir's slowing residual thrusts. The younger man had not gasped, had not jolted, had not tried to wrench himself away when he heard the lord's exclamation - again, he had seen absolutely no reason to.

It was not that he had misunderstood - if anything, his state rendered him strangely, acutely perceptive. People did, of course, cry out all sorts of odd things in the peak of their passion. His own wife, for instance, was especially fond of whispering `oh, mother', when things were going especially well. But then again, his wife said `oh, mother' in response to pretty much anything: a dish falling to the floor and breaking, Bergil coming home with a nosebleed, the neighbours' cook falling pregnant yet again. Beregond was sure Lord Faramir did not go calling his noble brother's name on any of similar occasions.

No, he had understood it all too well.

And he was not even surprised at all. Of course it was like this - how could have it been otherwise, really, if one came to think of it?

But then Faramir went still inside him, and finally drew out, breaking the short-lived physical bond between them to slump down heavily to the side of him - and all at once Beregond's delirium dissolved, and his senses came back.

The man's eyes flew open, breath dying in his chest. It was staggering - the immensity of his lord's loss, the depth and rawness of his grief. Beregond had just shared his body with this man, and thus the degree of empathy the guard had for the captain was so high, that it felt to the younger man as though a brick wall had just collapsed onto him, crushing all of his bones. How was it possible to live with such pain...?

Had he come to learn this truth about the Steward's sons in any other circumstances, had he heard of it when even-tempered and level-headed - who knows, perhaps he would have recoiled, appalled, shaking his head desperately: no, it cannot be, it is sick, horrible! Yet the timing of the revelation had been such that he felt no shock at the nature of such love. It filled him only with woe and piercing, wrenching sadness.

And then he finally understood everything. His lord's sudden interest amid all the hopeless grimness of their days, the determination with which he carried it all through - and then the odd intimate conduct. The weariness, the irony, the detachment, the derisiveness, the vulgarity, the shamelessness. Nothing but pain, emptiness and vulnerability stood behind it all. And loneliness, of course - such loneliness... Nothing but a perfectly understandable human necessity to find at least a short reprieve from all of one's suffering.

And Beregond knew also that it was not in his power to provide such reprieve - it was not in anybody's power, for the one who alone could have done so was gone. Captain Faramir had wanted just one single moment of peace - and even in that moment he had been unable to forget.

Was this not a nightmare come to life: even in the moment of uttermost intimacy to be starkly, inescapably alone?

Yet it was obvious, too, that Lord Faramir, if only fate was merciful to give him the time, would keep seeking this unreachable peace, for what else could he do?

He would win people over, people who were nobody to him, only the better if it required some effort on his behalf - wishing to cure his loneliness, to share the burden of his pain, to cling to someone - only to get himself hurt and frustrated again. And as though Beregond saw it all written out on the pages of a book of destiny, it was clear as day to him that it was going to be like this, and could not be avoided.

No, of course, none of this had been about Beregond. Anyone else could have chanced to be in his place. Yet he felt no bitterness at this thought - it was not his fault things had happened this way, nor was it Captain Faramir's. Captain Faramir had no use for Beregond's love - not because there was anything wrong with him, or with Beregond - but simply because he had no use for anyone's love, because his own love now lay in cold ashes, with no chance of resurrection.

And at this notion Beregond's heart suddenly flooded with boundless rapturous compassion, and he wanted so desperately to show in some grand and beautiful way that he understood, that he cared, that he was and always would be loyal to his lord. You cannot take my love - but take my devotion, my respect, my sympathy, my utter acceptance of you. Nothing you could do could ever make me turn away from you. I'd do anything, whatever, I don't care. I would never abandon you.

Following this urge, Beregond finally raised himself up, not even noticing the ache and soreness in his lower body, and turned to his resting lord - not yet knowing what exactly he was going to say, yet fully intending to express it all somehow.

The gaze he was met with made him feel like he had just slammed himself face-first against a wall of ice-cold rock.

What would a man in Faramir's place be feeling?

There could have been a wide array of possible reactions, ranging from apprehension, fear, anger and spite on the one end, through defiance, bitterness and weariness to regret, shame and even hope on the other.

Yet not one of these emotions could Beregond read in the heir's face. He could read there nothing at all. As though carven of marble, it was hard and impenetrable - it was closed to him, shut and locked up. He had already learnt too much - nothing more would be allowed to him.

And in that most unlikely moment Faramir seemed a true lord to Beregond: high, noble and powerful, and coldly unreachable in his majesty. Suddenly he came to very closely resemble his older brother, only appearing even more lordly, almost royal. He was sitting in a careless uncomfortable position on a messed-up bed in a stranger's house, leaning his bare back against the cool white-washed wall of the alcove. His long raven hair was in somewhat of a disarray, there was sweat on his brow, and his manhood, still flushed and rather swollen, albeit resting limply over his hip, was glistening with oil and his own seed. Yet the expression in his face rendered all that absolutely irrelevant, and Beregond was instantly filled with humbleness, and lowered his face, knowing he could never say any of the things he felt so acutely.

He saw with perfect clarity that he could not try to express any of his sentiments in some nonverbal way either - instinctively he felt he no longer had permission to touch Lord Faramir, to embrace or kiss him. The span given for such liberties had expired - they were but a lord and a guard again.

The fairy-tale was over. The diamond in the dust... Perhaps he ought to have known. Jewels never lie in the road just like that, for no good reason - and messing with them hardly ever leads to the augmentation of general happiness in the world. And this particular jewel, as Beregond had just learnt, already belonged to somebody...

But something had to be done, it was inadmissible to just remain as they were, letting that unintentional exclamation hover over them. He could feel dislike and distrust brewing in the room, the air now almost brittle with tension and cold.

Beregond looked up at his lord again and opened his mouth to speak, to break the silence somehow. At once he saw the tendons in Faramir's neck and jaws flex taut, his nostrils flaring - and the words died on the younger man's tongue.

Faramir's glare told him clearly enough to keep it shut. I may have just bedded you, Guard, but that does not go to imply you get admission to the private corners of my heart. You have no right to pass judgement on me, to express your opinions on my intimate life. Whom I love is none of your business. My love is precious to me, and don't you dare either trample it down with scorn, or soil it with condescension.

And then Beregond realised that he was actually the first person to have ever been let on to the lords' secret.

No one had ever accepted this love and taken it as normal and natural - and Lord Faramir did not fathom that someone ever could. Whatever Beregond could say, it would not get across, it simply would not, especially in a moment of such painful, exposed vulnerability.

Ironically, the kindest thing he could do would be to not acknowledge its existence at all.

Lowering his eyes, Beregond put a modest smile onto his lips. "You called my name, your lordship," he forced his mouth to say.

Faramir's gaze grew detached, and he grinned grimly. "Yes, I called your name: I like you," he replied with hardly concealed sarcasm.

His tone bit harshly, making Beregond suddenly feel very cold and very naked - but the shadow had lifted, and the gathering clouds dissolved.

Another long moment passed, then the bed sprang quietly as Faramir got up. He walked to the table and, dipping the small washcloth in the basin, rubbed himself down with icy water.

Beregond allowed himself to remain where he was for a while. There was only one basin in any case, and he would do his washing when he saw the lord off. He would heat up the water and do everything properly, with soap and towels, too, and afterwards he would eat - after all, he was, at least in part, at home in this place. And then it hit him how fortunate he truly was. He had a family, his beloved son and wife, to come home to that very evening. He was infinitely, blessedly rich... Of course, they could all yet lose each other in the coming war, but for the present he had them. And who did Lord Faramir have to come home to...?

When the captain was done and began to dress, Beregond went to do likewise. They did not speak, and the guard kept his eyes on his hands. He was putting on only his clothes, leaving the armour for later - the washing aside, once he saw the captain off he would have to go back inside to put the house in order after their visit.

Suddenly Faramir's nimble fingers touched him lightly and gently on the back of the neck. Beregond froze, unsure what it was all about - and Faramir moved his hair aside, then pulled at the collar of his shirt, exposing the curve of his neck and part of the shoulder.

"I have left a mark on you," the Ranger said thoughtfully after a moment. "It must be a bad one, I can see it even in this light," he sighed wearily. "You had better take care to keep it covered in the coming days - 'tis a strange spot for a proper man to get bitten on," he added, this time without his usual irony, even though the words clearly called for it.

"Yes, thank you, my lord," Beregond replied quietly, giving a small nod. And in that moment he saw the matter in a new light. Faramir had bitten him not so much out of lust, but rather for fear of saying what ought not to be said, and thus, above all, simply trying to keep his mouth shut...

"Thank you?" Faramir reiterated with a mirthless laugh-snort. "Good Valar, man, `thank you' for what?"

For a moment Beregond was afraid the captain may be losing it. A bout of uncontrollable hysterical laughter at the absurdity of their whole encounter was the last thing either of them needed right then.

Nevertheless, the guard turned around and, looking the lord seriously in the eyes, said earnestly, "For everything."

Faramir stared at him expressionlessly, and Beregond wondered if perhaps he had crossed the line, if he had allowed himself too much...

But a sad gentle smile appeared on Faramir's lips - and even more so in his eyes. The sort of smile that the captain whom Beregond had thought he knew would have smiled.

"You are a kind man, Beregond," the lord said with warm weary sadness and, taking Beregond's face in his hands, leant in to him.

A small firm kiss was planted on the guard's brow.

"And it is I who should be saying thank you. May fate have mercy on you," Faramir whispered before drawing away and letting him go.

Beregond's heart contracted painfully. Only in that one moment out of the whole evening had Faramir been open to him, present and available. Not when they had spoken in the street, not through everything that had followed, not even during the lovemaking - only now. And only this chaste kiss on the forehead gave Beregond the feeling that his lord had truly touched him.

He knew then that perhaps Faramir was in truth far more like Beregond had initially imagined him, at least when the lord could be himself, with the one whom he indeed wished to be with. For him this whole meeting had likely been just as unusual and bizarre as for Beregond...

They walked downstairs silently, only the silence was not caused by awkwardness, which there was little of between them. It was simply that everything had been done, and there was no need to speak.

Only in the doorway, when the fresh air of the street breathed into their weary faces, did Faramir turn.

"Thank you. For your hospitality," he said firmly and evenly, and if some neighbour of Iorlas' heard him, he would have no doubt taken the words at face-value, and no suspicions.

Beregond bowed politely. "'Twas a pleasure, your lordship."

Faramir nodded, and already began to descend down the porch stairs, when Beregond - after a moment's hesitation - added in a perfectly unaffected voice, "I am sorry for your loss, Captain."

Faramir paused in his step, and glanced back over the shoulder.

"Yes, I am sorry also," he replied almost expressionlessly, his face stern and unreadable, the sadness in his eyes perhaps only a trick of the dim light.

Whether he meant the official `I am sorry for the loss of my brother', or the more corresponding to the truth `I am sorry for the loss of everything we were to each other', or actually `I am sorry you have come to know of it all', or even the more general `I am sorry about the way things are nowadays' - which it was, there was no telling. The lord had closed up again, and Beregond could only go guessing at what he truly felt and thought.

And Faramir continued on his way, wherever it lay, heading down the empty street towards his unknown purpose.

At once the vespers enfolded him: the brown of his boots, the tobacco-green of his cloak, even the jet-black of his hair - all appeared a bland uniform grey in the dusk. But he seemed very real and material nonetheless, and somehow even the more forlorn for it.

His stride was collected and purposeful, and not once did he turn to look back.

Still standing on the porch, Beregond drew his long cloak closer about his shoulders, his grey eyes deeply thoughtful as he watched his beloved captain go.

I shall never know what he is truly like, what it is to be his lover.

It was cold. The young man's belly was all confused and aching dully, and he rubbed it absentmindedly. The guard's face was even and calm, although very pale - but that could not be noticed in the gloom. In another minute or so, when Lord Faramir's shape would be completely consumed by the shadows, he would turn and go back inside. He would strip his brother's bed of the damp soiled linens, and rinse out the empty glasses, and put himself in order, don his black-and-silver uniform and clasp his weapons back on.

Perhaps, at some point in the course of all this, he would squat down and weep bitterly and inconsolably. Weep at everything that was irreversibly lost, and at everything that was yet bound to be lost.

Perhaps he would - and perhaps he would not.

What did it matter? None of this was or had ever been about him.

Please post a comment on this story.

Fandom:  Lord of the Rings
Title:  Casualties of War
Author:  December   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  NC-17  |  *slash*  |  85k  |  10/12/10
Characters:  Beregond, Faramir
Pairings:  Faramir/Beregond
Summary:  A chance encounter in the twilit streets of Minas Tirith gets a certain tower guard lucky – and thinking…
Notes:  Warnings: angst, kink.
Disclaimer/Other:  Disclaimer: The usual, not mine (although don’t I wish…)
Thanks to Alcardilmë for the beta!
This little tale came knocking on the back-door of my mind in the sleepless grey hours of a cold rainy morning, and would not leave me in peace until set down on ‘paper’. So there you go. I hope you enjoy!
As always, based exclusively on Book canon (gah, they didn’t even put Beregond in the Movie anyway…).
And as usual, feedback is most appreciated!

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