West of the Moon
A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive
A companion piece to First Watch. Faramir keeps a vigil over his unexpected guests, and ponders the natures of trust and devotion.
An Elvish air indeed: Faramir found it difficult to turn his sight from Frodo--and from Frodo's noble servant, no simpler. Faramir's opinion of Samwise had been sealed by the look in his eyes as Frodo fell in a faint. If Faramir had not caught him, the devoted little gardener would have. Sam sat anxiously on his pallet, biting his lip as Faramir bid him good-night. Faramir hesitated, too, and finally let the curtain fall shut behind him. He turned in time enough to see, cast by the lamplight within, Sam's shadow creep silently forward and settle not in his own bedding, but in Frodo's. A murmur, some soft stirring. A single, if not lumpy shape finally set itself to comfortable rights.
Faramir sighed and strode a short ways off. He hadn't a mind himself to sleep--not yet, at least. He was oddly compelled to stand guard, after a fashion. If Sam didn't intend to sit awake himself, this time, who would? Certainly none of his men, unless ordered. In these halflings, they took little more than amazed amusement, had no realization of what had just been revealed to him. And would remain thus, Faramir decided, if it meant guarding them with his life.
No desire for it--he wished neither to glimpse, nor to touch. In grieving for his brother, this Faramir grieved also. That such a thing should be permitted, let alone in the hands of the innocent. Faramir closed his eyes, found them burning with the faintest trace of tears. Ai, but fate had turned chance into direst cruelty. None who had been touched by the Bane's presence would not suffer--
Faramir sighed heavily. This he knew, also, that his own existence, now tinged, had no hope of being purged. Upon him, too, the curse might come. Would come. If only for sheltering two brave souls that in the first place should never...
Faramir wondered on their own loss, wondered what they would find when all was said and done, if one or either at all lived to tell it. Faramir shifted and tugged his cloak tighter about himself, as if taken in a chill.
If one or either at all lived to tell it. Could either survive without the other?
Faramir considered himself many things, and least among those was blind. A bond as deep as that the halflings shared--ai, such a rare thing. He wondered if Boromir had seen it. He wondered, too, if the others--wherever they had come to be, and Mithrandir, oh, Mithrandir...--had seen it. Faramir wondered if, in so observing, they had taken strength. He smiled in spite of the memory: no servant had ever addressed him so, let alone from scarcely waist-high. If a lord's army had the determination of Samwise alone, indeed, that lord might count himself lucky.
And Frodo, son of Drogo. A creature strange among even his own, surely; if Sam was any constant by which to judge, then these halflings were certainly no fey. Yet there was a light about that one, so dark and so fair. Frodo's strange, bright eyes could hold, even in evasion. Faramir sighed again--he'd been held by them as surely as Sam, but not a fraction as dear. Something sparked, Faramir had noticed, whenever the halflings' eyes met and lingered. Familiarity. Comfort. Something like remnants of hope, like...
Wishing, perhaps. Faramir yawned and turned to one side, stretching full-length on the stone, pillowing his hood under his head. They were safe, and surely he might take his own rest...
A stirring roused him sometime later, rustling softly from beyond the curtains. Perhaps a gasp, perhaps a sharp breath taken in dreaming. Faramir opened his eyes when the sound repeated, this time a fraction louder. And, quite clearly, a whisper in reply:
"Shhh, Frodo. You'll wake him."
Faramir sat up slowly, narrowing his eyes in the semidarkness. The halflings' lamp burned low now, the flame a thin shudder that cast odd, sporadic shadows on the curtains. There was movement from within, slow and careful, and breathing rose to frame them. Had Frodo taken a nightmare, perhaps? Faramir crawled forward silently, sidled along the cool, damp wall of rock until--
"I'm not the only one pressed for quiet, it seems."
"Hmph. Oh--oh, just--"
Faramir tilted his head, eyes widening. This, he hadn't quite expected. Well, if this was indeed what--
Yes, there. A parting of the curtain where it met with the wall of the cave. Just enough to glimpse them now and again, just enough, and if Faramir moved this way--
Frodo on his side, eyes closed, breath hitching in soft pants. Sam curled behind him, mouth molded tenderly to his master's neck, bestowing wet, unhurried kisses. Whatever had made Sam cry out was not immediately apparent, as Frodo lay limp and yielding, fingers clawing at the mattress. His trousers were gone, jacket, too, and his shirt unbuttoned to grant Sam's hand access to gently explore. Frodo whimpered and writhed a bit; Faramir lowered his eyes. Perfectly clear, where he wished to be touched.
Sam's reply was soft and wordless, pleased. He shifted to hitch a leg over Frodo from behind, teasing with a slow press of his hips. Faramir had looked up again, against his will, half to verify if his eyes had deceived--no, not in the least. Sam lay as bare as his master, if not more; his shirt had slipped down off his shoulder, perhaps at Frodo's previous tugging.
Frodo squirmed and buried his face in the pillow as Sam's hand reached his belly, mouth reached the delicate point of his ear. "Sam, this isn't really...polite..."
The last word rose on a gasp, soon forgotten. Sam murmured low in response, "Seeing as he weren't so polite to us right from the off, I figure this'll bring us even..."
Faramir bit back a laugh in spite of his embarrassment. Never a dull moment with Master Samwise, it seemed. He found he couldn't blame--
Frodo stifled a long moan into the pillow, and Sam's hand had nestled in a place indeed worthy of forgetting all else.
"Frodo-love," Sam whispered, kissing behind Frodo's ear, lips trailing soft down the nape of his neck. "Here, now..."
Faramir couldn't have torn away this time, not even if he had tried. Sam was pressing into Frodo from behind again, unhurried and gentle, encouraging Frodo's own helpless movements against his sure hand. Faramir thought for certain that Frodo wouldn't last now, not with his fingers clenched and twisted white in--
"Stop," Frodo gasped, "stop...I wa--mmm--Sam..."
"Yes," Sam whispered, and Frodo wriggled out of Sam's grasp and turned to face him, and suddenly everything slid flushed and hot and blank, even as Faramir perceived it. Sam tugged Frodo in with a soft cry, welcoming the heat of his mouth, the shelter of his body. How easily they merged--limbs in a somehow logic defiant tangle, bellies and hips pressed flush, arms wound 'round shoulders, fingers already lost and tangled in each other's curls...
And then, then it was over quickly, in a few deep, sobbing kisses and tightly-clenched thrusts. Desperation broke upon them in a cooling sweat only once stillness had settled over...Sam nuzzled his master's cheek blindly; Frodo's breath escaped in a final moan, knee sliding loose down Sam's side, hands slack behind his neck...Sam's own hands moving already, tender down the length of Frodo's back, then smoothing his shirt up and away, only to stroke down again, settling them close, and closer still...
There, at Frodo's throat. Cradled in his collarbone, the glitter of palest silver--
Faramir closed his eyes slowly and returned to his own rest, such as he could find it. He doubted not that he would wake before them. No warmth had he to call lover, after all, but in the halflings' joy lay the promise of content--if only the storm might pass.
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