The Prince of Ithilien

Minas Tirith


She was in the stable yard, dismounted and starting to lead her horse to its stall when he arrived.

"Hello," he called. She looked up, saw him, and he saw her face brighten before something wary dropped over her eyes.

"Hello," she said back. "What brings you down here?"

"I saw you ride in; I wanted to come down to meet you." He took her arm, leaning in and kissing her lips gently. That made her smile brighten, even if it did not banish the wariness.

"It's nice to be..." She stumbled over her thoughts. "To be met," she finished softly. It wasn't what she had intended to say, but it would do for now.

She led the horse into its stall, but he caught her before she started on its harness. "Can one of the grooms do that?" he asked.

"I don't mind," she said, concentrating on the buckles. "I like doing it."

"Yes, I know you do. But–" He covered her hand with his. "But I would speak with you. Privately."

She stared at their joined hands, momentarily speechless, then looked into his face. He didn't know what she read there, but whatever it was, she nodded and let go of the harness. She stepped away as a groom moved in to take her place. The stablehands had gotten used to this horsewoman with her different, independent ways. But if they thought it strange that she would let someone else tend her mount, they said nothing.

They left the stables and walked up to the Citadel, silently. Faramir could feel her eyes on him and he looked at her, smiling reassuringly, or at least he hoped it was reassuring. He took her hand. She slid her hand up his arm, settling it in the crook of his elbow, and he covered her hand with his.

They were silent until they reached the Steward's apartments.

"Here, why don't we...?" He ushered her into the salon and closed the door behind them. She sat on the settee and he sat next to her, taking her hands.

Now they were here, now the time was come, he felt his mouth dry. He licked his lips. "I owe you an apology and beg for your forgiveness. I have been a fool."

He saw the slightest of smiles touch her lips. "Why do you say that?" she asked.

He sighed. "Aragorn came to see me this morning. Gave me a thump on the head and made me see what I'd been too ashamed and too afraid to see."

"And what is that?"

He gazed at her. "How much I love you," he said softly. "How losing you would be the worst thing I could imagine. And how I will lose you unless I set my fears aside and let you in."

Her mouth opened and he heard her intake of breath. "You will not lose me, love. I was afraid I had lost you."

"No," he shook his head. "Never. You are the best thing to ever happen to me. But when I...when I could not be intimate with you, I–"

"You could not achieve your own pleasure," she corrected. "You were intimate. It was only when you turned away from me that I feared–"

"I turned away because I was ashamed," he said. "I knew how disappointed you were and–"

"Not disappointed. Never disappointed." She shook her head. "It only pained me to see how it pained you. If I was disappointed, it was for your sake, not my own."

He closed his eyes and sighed. Suddenly her looks, her reactions, his own actions, all clicked into place. He opened his eyes. She was gazing at him, a small smile on her lips.

"You know a lot of this could have been avoided if we'd only talked to each other," she said.

"I was too ashamed," he admitted.

"Of what?"

"Of my...inabilities."

She slid her hands up his arms, clasping them. "Faramir, my love, I honestly never expected to make love with you that night. You were the one who insisted. I was not surprised when you were incapable; I'd have been more surprised if you had been able.

"It was the next night, and the next, when you didn't even try...when you turned away.... That's when I thought it had to be me. I must have done something wrong for you to stiffen at my touch."

In spite of himself, Faramir laughed at her choice of words. "If I'd stiffened, my love, we wouldn't be having this conversation."

She smiled and looked down, flushing slightly. "I was afraid you no longer desired me," she whispered.

"Oh, Eowyn," he sighed, "nothing could be further from the truth."

She raised her head, and the light of hope in her eyes took his breath away. He drew her close and kissed her, gently, then passionately, his arms encircling her, her hands coming up to hold his head, fingers threading through his hair. When the kiss broke they stayed in each other's arms, heads on shoulders, drinking their fill of each other. Silent but totally connected.

Eventually, he eased her from his arms, his hands on her shoulders, his good hand stroking her cheek and neck. "We still haven't solved my problem," he said.

"Your problem?"

"Our problem."

She frowned, considering. "You talked to Aragorn about this?"


"Does he think there is a physical reason for it?"

"Beyond my still recovering? He doesn't know. He seems to think that all I need is time. But he also said that there is no knowing how the poison may have affected me." The idea that he could be permanently damaged was one that had been too much on his mind, and every time he thought of it, he went cold.

Eowyn felt the shiver he couldn't stop and put her arms around him again, holding him close. She settled back, drawing him with her and they sat together, entwined, as they silently contemplated their future.

"Do you think it might be...expectations?" she asked softly.

"How do you mean?"

"Your own expectations of what you should do, your perception of what I expect from you. Because you do not remember our wedding night, you are afraid that any new night will not measure up, and you have no way of knowing whether it does."

"That could be part of it, I suppose," he agreed. "Perhaps if I remembered it, I wouldn't feel like I had to.... I don't know, prove myself all over again."

"You needn't prove anything to me, love," she said. "Remember, I'm the one who knows how wonderful you are. If anything, I need to prove myself to you."

"You are with me, that's all the proof I need," he said, sliding his hand beneath her hair and stroking the back of her neck. He felt her shiver.

"You know you do remember," she whispered.


"That night. Your mind may not remember, but your body does."

"I don't....?" he frowned.

"That touch. On my neck." He repeated the caress, felt her shiver again. "That one. You learned that night how much I love that touch. You'd never done it before. But you do it now. You did it the night you came home. You may not know you remember, but you do."

Faramir felt his own shiver, felt the warm curl in the pit of his stomach. He tipped her face up and claimed her mouth, their kiss deep and passionate, her body melding against his. He felt the familiar stirring and closed his eyes, willing it to continue, then the sensation faded, leaving him frustrated. He groaned and pulled away.

She came with him. "You are trying too hard," she said, rubbing his back soothingly. "It will happen. When the time is right."

"The time should be right now," he insisted. "I want you. I want you so much I can almost taste it. But–"

"Shh," she soothed, pressing a finger to his lips. "You have me. You will always have me; I am yours. I am not going anywhere and you do not need to prove anything to me.

"Now then," she sat up, taking his hand in hers, "I would very much like to spend the day with my husband. Alone. Is there something else you need to be doing?"

He shook his head, completely awed by her.

"Good. She cupped his cheek with her hand. "I do not seek fiery passion nor heady lovemaking. I only want to be with you. Awake, asleep, in talk or silence. In bed or out of it, it does not matter, as long as you are with me."

"And you with me," he murmured. He stood up, holding out his hands. "Come, my love."

She rose and met him and he put his arm around her waist, walking with her out of the salon.

Near the door of their chamber, they met Pelia, coming to seek out her mistress. She saw them together and stopped.

Eowyn smiled at her assistant. "Pelia, can you ask the kitchen for a plate of cold meats and a flask of wine? When they bring it up, they can knock on our door and leave it outside. And then let it be known that we are not to be disturbed."

"Yes, ma'am," the girl answered with a smile and a small curtsey. Then she grinned and winked at them before she turned to run her errand.

Faramir chuckled. "She's a bit cheeky."

"Perhaps, but you can be sure we'll not be disturbed," Eowyn answered and opened their door.


Once inside the room, all Faramir's previous doubts reasserted themselves. He paced to the window, wiping his sweaty palms on his thighs. What if he was never able to give her what she deserved? What if they could never have children?

She came up behind him, her arms encircling him, stroking over his stomach before tightening. "None of that," she murmured in that uncanny way she had of knowing exactly what he was thinking. "It's not important, not as important as just being with you, our just being together." She released him and turned him around, undoing the buttons on his tunic, divesting him of it before leading him to a chair. She sat him in it then knelt in front of him and removed his boots. Then she rose up on her knees, rested her elbows on his thighs and leaned in. "You know what I want?"

"No, what?" he asked, very nearly breathless from her completely natural sensuality.

"I want to take my husband to bed. I don't care if we make love or not; I just want to hold him, be held by him."

He smiled gently at her, at her boldness which was so delightful, and her shyness which was so enticing, and her laughter which was so invigorating, and her touch which was so...

"I am yours, Lady," he murmured. "Do with me what you will."


The touch was gentle on his chest, a feather-light floating of fingers that trailed through his chest hair before gliding up his throat and neck then tracing the contours of his face. Jaw, chin, cheeks, eyebrows, nose, and finally lips were all examined closely by those questing fingers.

He opened his mouth and gently nipped at the finger with his teeth and heard a soft laugh.

He opened his eyes. Eowyn was leaning over him, smiling.

"I hadn't meant to wake you," she said, "but you looked so sweet, lying there, I just couldn't resist."

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, stretching. "How long was I asleep?"

"We both slept," she said by way of a vague answer. She slid down in the bed, curling up next to him, her head pillowed on his shoulder. He put his arm around her, holding her close and closed his eyes again.

It had been a day that had more than made up for all the pain, and the confusion, and the loss, and the shame of the past month. They had cuddled, they had talked, they had laughed. They ate a little, drank rather more wine than they should have, and spent long stretches in silence, simply gazing at each other.

And they had made love. Unhurried, unstressful love. She enticed him, then taught him how to give her a massage. She caressed him, then lay back and let him pleasure her. They spent a long time simply lying in each other's arms, sharing easy, comfortable kisses and caresses. They had dozed, then loved, then dozed again.

And sometime in all of that, he had found his desire again, and his ability. It wasn't an easy thing, but it had happened eventually. She handled it, she handled him masterfully, drawing out his desire until he was almost exploding with it, and then taking complete control of their coupling so that his release was one of the most intense he'd ever experienced.

He wondered if perhaps he hadn't passed out, because the next thing he knew, he was cradled in her arms, his cheeks damp with the aftermath of their passion. And there he'd remained, loving her until they fell asleep.

Her hand caressing his chest again brought him back from his reveries.

"Are you all right, my love?" she asked.

"Very," he answered. "More all right than I've been in a long time. You?"

"Mmm," she sighed contentedly. He ran his fingers up her spine, burying them in her hair, watching her shiver at the touch, and she slid her hand up his neck to caress behind his ear, eliciting his own shiver.

He opened his eyes. She was gazing at him, her eyes alight with passion.

"I don't think I'm capable, love," he whispered. Then amended, "not for any reason except pure exhaustion. You've worn me out."

She chuckled. "That's all right. I'm really too tired as well. But this is nice."

Nice, Faramir thought, was rather too mild a word for the most blissful state he'd ever known. "You know," he said a short while later.


"I think it's time we were married."

She raised her head. "We are married, silly man."

"I know. But we still haven't celebrated it. That was supposed to happen once I got back from Ithilien, but because I was sick, it got delayed yet again. But I'm recovered well enough now, and I think it's time to share our happiness with Gondor.

"Not to mention your brother only stays to see you properly celebrated; I'm sure he wants to get back to Rohan."

"Well, he may want to get back to Rohan, but my brother has his own agenda these days," she commented.

"That still progresses?"

"He never tells me anything, but from what I've gathered talking to Lothiriel, it progresses quite nicely. Neither of them is saying much, but I've seen him smile more recently than I think I ever remember."

"Well, good for them," Faramir said. He hoped, for both their sakes, that things would work out for them. He was feeling enough at peace with the world to wish happiness on just about everybody. "So? What do you think?"

"I think I'd be happy foregoing the formal celebrations entirely, but I suppose they are expected."

"It would be a good move, politically, I mean. Feasts always make people feel more kindly to each other."

"Has there been a problem?" she frowned.

"No. But I'd like to see it remain that way. Some of the elder councillors are traditionalists in my father's fashion. I know there are some among them who are less than delighted with my choosing a woman of Rohan for my bride, instead of one of Gondor." He chuckled. "Not only is my bride of Rohan, but they've got a king from the North, and a queen from among the Fair folk. Some of these old men are positively reeling."

She laughed with him. "Very well, my love. We shall celebrate our marriage. With feasting, and song, and dancing. And we will show these old men all the best there is among all the free people of Middle Earth."


Chapter 3
Previous Chapter
Back to the Beginning