NC-17 slash (Frodo/Faramir), this story was written for Ithiliana as part of the Frodo's NY Mathoms (slash) experience. She asked for a story "somewhere in Ithilien" with this pairing and rating.

Thanks to Claudia for her beta job on this, and to Baranduin and Trianne for dreaming up and organizing the Frodo-fest!

Journey to Ithilien
by Laura Mason

Nimrohir slowed his horse to a walk as they entered the clearing beside the stream, and twisted to look back. "Do you need to rest, Ringbearer?"

Frodo cringed at the title, and at the awed respect in the man's voice. "Please call me Frodo," he managed to civilly reply. "I'm able to keep riding, unless you think the horses need a rest."

The tall, fair-haired knight of Gondor looked down at his mount and stroked its neck. "I'm afraid I don't have the same skill with horses as your Rohirrim escort," he admitted, a slight blush on his face. "Perhaps we should stop and allow them to drink, at least."

Frodo nodded and endured being lifted down off the horse Aragorn had given him for this journey. Frodo thought longingly of his sturdy Shire pony and wondered if King Eomer would send their mounts home, or keep them stabled in Rohan until they returned.

Then Frodo wondered if he would ever be going back to Rohan, on his way home. He was hoping to remain here, after all -- but if it came to pass, could he come to think of this land as his own?

Ithilien had changed, and Frodo had spent the last few hours trying to analyze exactly what was different. Was the land less watchful and silent? Frodo thought it might be his imagination. Could the creatures -- the birds singing overhead, the squirrels chittering in the trees, the deer crashing through the brush -- somehow sense the end of warfare under the shadow of Mordor? Or could the land itself feel Middle Earth healing, and transmit that knowledge to the growing things rooted in its fertile soil? Thinking of the wonders Sam's hard work and Galadriel's gift had wrought in the Shire, Frodo thought that perhaps it did.

Three years ago he'd journeyed here on foot, his errand hopeless. Today -- well, perhaps today his errand was just as foolish, but hope flickered in his heart. That hope kept him strong enough to ride swiftly over land he'd stumbled through, footsore and hungry, back in the time when his mind was overwhelmingly burdened by the Ring's torment.

"Would you like some water, R... Frodo?" Nimrohir asked, and Frodo jumped a little at the noise. He'd been staring at the stream without seeing anything, lost in thought. "Or some wine?" The man held up a skin, and Frodo managed to shake his head. How odd -- his escort seemed almost disappointed at his refusal.

He wondered if Nimrohir had overheard Frodo's argument with the King about having an armed guard accompany him into Ithilien. Frodo had insisted his friends remain in Minas Tirith, but once they'd reluctantly agreed to honor his wishes, Aragorn had interfered.

Frodo and Sam had once walked alone into deadly peril, but now he couldn't travel unescorted in Aragorn's realm. Rage bubbled in his breast at the thought, but he suppressed it. He was weak enough without letting anger drain him.

He wanted to reach Prince Faramir's settlement at Emyn Arnen before sunset. But Nimrohir was watching him very closely, evidently well-informed of Frodo's poor health. They kept halting for rest neither the man nor the horses needed, merely to spare Frodo. But if Frodo wanted rest, he'd be in the Shire, waiting for Bilbo to arrive with the elves, preparing to seek healing across the Sea.

No, rest wasn't what Frodo needed or wanted. At least, not until he saw Faramir again.

Frodo paced anxiously while the horses drank, until Nimrohir finally seemed to realize the hobbit wanted to continue immediately. He moved closer to Frodo.

"With your permission," he said respectfully, then he bent to lift the hobbit up onto his saddle. While in the man's arms, Frodo looked in his eyes for the first time. The fair man blushed hotly, and Frodo realized with dismay that he was another of them, the endless string of those who lusted after "the Ringbearer." Frodo kept his eyes averted after that, pretending he didn't notice how flustered Nimrohir was, as the man quickly swung up onto his own horse and led the way across the shallow water and uphill.

Frodo urged his horse to follow, again lost in thought. In his opinion, the worst hazard of traveling in these southern lands since the War was meeting those like Nimrohir -- naive people who'd heard songs about him and somehow idolized him. How could anyone who'd ridden all day with him, seeing all his weaknesses and unworthiness, believe that Frodo was a hero? Men, he thought, must be capable of great self-deceit.

Mercifully such adulation was absent in the Shire, and with the years Frodo had forgotten his time recovering in Minas Tirith. Every day some man or woman would approach him, each searching for something magical in the battered shell of a hobbit. It had been a torment to go out in public. How odd that it continued, even all these years later.

Frodo's took comfort in knowing he wouldn't face such hero worship with Faramir. The Prince of Ithilien knew him for what he was, a simple hobbit tossed and tortured by the winds of fate.

Frodo shook himself back to the present, annoyed that he hadn't marked their path. Not that there was any fear of losing their way; Aragorn had chosen Nimrohir for his familiarity with this land, as he'd been one of Faramir's Rangers in the days of the War. Frodo wondered if Nimrohir had been there that day more than three years ago, part of those who ambushed the Southrons marching to Mordor.

He glanced up at the man, his back straight and proud as he rode, and at that moment a beam of golden sunlight broke through the trees and turned Nimrohir's yellow locks reddish with its glow.

Frodo's mouth fell open as a rush of vivid memories overtook him, flinging him back to the afternoon he'd followed Faramir among these trees, knowing they were in deadly danger -- and only wanting to find a place to be alone with the noble Captain.

***

He'd fainted, Frodo knew that. They were both so tired that Frodo felt almost relieved Sam had revealed the truth of their errand and he could finally relax. Faramir's persistent, clever questioning would have unraveled him soon enough. Then, in his exhaustion, Frodo slumped and was caught by strong arms.

A faint, yes, but he was not unconscious as he was lifted and borne to the out of the way corner where furs and blankets had been arranged for the hobbits' rest. No, Frodo was all-too conscious of Faramir's warm body, the smell of the leather he wore and the scent underneath that, sweat and a spice unique to men. All day Frodo had been too aware of those soulful blue-grey eyes and the beauty of Faramir's face and frame, and the power behind the long muscles wielding bow and sword. He both feared and desired the man at first sight, and now, though Frodo had been carried by other Men, Faramir's closeness made him weak with arousal.

When Faramir knelt to lay him in the furs, Frodo's eyes fluttered open and soaked in the beauty and nobility of the captain's face. He looked too long, with longing plainly showing on his face, for Faramir's eyes darkened and his hand moved to cup Frodo's face. The hobbit couldn't help the noise he made in response, almost a whimper, nor the way he leaned into that calloused palm, wishing he could burrow beside the man and feel the utter masculine heat of him along the length of his cold, tired body.

The lush lips moved, only a whisper: "Frodo." But he heard the promise in that single word, and it kept him still and silent when Faramir rose and left him. Frodo knew he wouldn't be left alone in the furs for the night.

Much later, when Sam was once again snoring, justly weary, Faramir came for him. The man towered over him, dangerous and seductive, and Frodo's desire was instantly rekindled by the heat in those clear eyes. He accepted the hand extended to help him rise, and followed the Captain without a word through winding passages of rock where few torches flickered above men sleeping huddled in blankets.

Finally Faramir took a torch from its bracket and led Frodo down a long, unlit empty passageway and through an arch, into a tiny cavern lit only by a candle. The stone floor was covered with thick furs and two silver goblets sat beside a wineskin on the floor. A scene of seduction, the best Faramir could offer in this stronghold. Frodo looked up at the man beside him, and Faramir's heavy breathing and the look on his face made it easy to abandon modesty or coyness.

Frodo began to strip, dropping his clothes where he stood. Faramir's only response was to stop breathing for a moment, then with a gasp move to douse the torch he carried and set it aside. When he came back, Frodo was waiting, standing nude next to their bedding save for the chain around his neck, the Ring pushed behind him and out of sight.

The man knelt beside him, his eyes moving over Frodo's body appreciatively, pausing only when their eyes met. Faramir's hands rose to the lacings of his tunic, which he hastily pulled off before speaking.

"You're bruised."

"Your men knocked me down."

No response, merely a large hand gently taking Frodo's and the ruddy head bending over it. Soft kisses touched the rope abrasions on his right wrist and slowly moved up his arm. Faramir pulled Frodo close, lingering at his neck with kisses and gentle nips, though he never touched the chain there. He easily lifted Frodo and lowered him onto the furs, pausing a moment to admire him in the flickering light.

"You're lovely in your bruises," he whispered before moving to soothe the purple marks adorning Frodo's ribs. A hot, wet mouth reverently caressed every aching and bruised inch of skin on the hobbit's torso, only halting when his lips were finally covering the bruise on Frodo's hip. There he stopped, as if frozen, and the man's warm breath and roving hands made Frodo shiver and blush as his own arousal grew.

Faramir lifted his head for a moment. "Am I making amends for the rough treatment, halfling?" he teased, voice soft and husky. Frodo could only moan in response as the man ignored the jutting cock begging for attention to move to the left hip, then retrace his way back up the body that was arching toward him, shaking with desire.

When Faramir lowered Frodo's left hand to the furs, he leaned to kiss the right again, tensely fisted in the soft skins. The hobbit took this as permission to move, to roughly grasp the soft long hair and push his mouth against Faramir's. His tongue demanded entrance, his teeth bit at those tormenting lips, and Faramir moaned and fell back, letting Frodo climb atop him and explore in turn.

Hands, arms, neck, throat -- all were touched, kissed, tasted. Frodo spent a long time tormenting the erect nipples on the broad chest, turning them from pink to red with his lips and tongue. When he finally moved, scooting down, Frodo felt Faramir's arousal and knew it had filled and hardened because of his actions. After months of acting as fate's pawn, Frodo felt powerful and in control.

He moved, rubbing his bottom against the engorgement, and Faramir growled and pushed his hips upward. Frodo laughed, feeling the leashed strength of his warrior's body. The thought of Faramir driven into a passion that couldn't be controlled made Frodo's body sing. He wanted it; wanted to feel Faramir's fervour pounding into his flesh and to have that strength poured into him.

"You will take me, Ranger," Frodo declared, moving to pull Faramir's leggings down and off, casting them to the side. Then he reached up to caress his thighs teasingly as Faramir moaned, his released cock now upright, heavy and flushed.

"No, I cannot..." Faramir writhed as Frodo put both hands to work stroking him.

"You will, I say." And Frodo bent, putting his mouth to the huge cock, using hands and tongue relentlessly until Faramir lost control enough to buck and thrust into his mouth. Then Frodo pulled back with a smile.

"Frodo!" the man begged.

"Now will you take me?"

"I cannot -- oh, yes! -- for I would -- Frodo!" he screamed as Frodo again engulfed the tip of Faramir's cock, both hands once more moving steadily along the silken-steel length of him.

When Faramir could gasp and take in enough air for speech, he continued, "We would need oil, some way -- oh! -- to ease -- yes!"

As the man thrust upwards again, Frodo pulled back. "I have seen your brother cleaning his sword after battle. Where--" But before he could complete the thought, Faramir had sat up, rolling Frodo to the side, and was already frantically digging through his clothing.

"You do not see the danger of your actions, Frodo Baggins," Faramir warned as he returned, a small jar in his hand.

Frodo looked up at the strong, deadly man towering over him, and almost laughed. This danger didn't involve facing death on a hopeless errand; this danger promised only pleasure and burning forgetfulness for a few hours.

Faramir must have seen this in Frodo's eyes, for he leaned down and whispered darkly, "But I will give you what you ask, now."

"Yes," Frodo hissed as muscular arms once again lifted and moved him, opening and lifting his legs, positioning him to be Faramir's plaything. Frodo grasped his own arousal and lazily stroked himself as Faramir dipped his finger in oil and brought it to Frodo's body at last.

"You want me to take you," he began as he teased and caressed the opening. "But I have a demand. You must not enjoy release until I permit it, or we will stop right now."

Frodo moaned and immediately stopped pleasuring himself. Faramir laughed as Frodo felt that single digit breach his body abruptly. He jumped a little in surprise, and Faramir growled, "Not so certain now, are you, halfling?" But Frodo was certain of one thing -- he was certain he would soon erupt as he felt the finger move and tease him, sparking delight in his nerves.

Despite his harsh words, Faramir watched Frodo's face carefully, and smiled when the hobbit began to pant with arousal. His plea of "More!" caused Faramir to remove his hand, take more oil, and carefully return to his teasing with two fingers.

The fullness burned for a moment, but Frodo soon relaxed enough to enjoy the sensation, and he realized his body was rocking into Faramir's movements, tiny thrusts.

"Enough! Take me now, I'm ready," he insisted. Faramir nodded, looking uncertain, but the hand that had been resting on Frodo's leg, holding it out of the way, moved to the oil. Frodo watched as he began slicking his cock, readying it, mingling the clear fluid already beading there with the oil. He moaned, a longing sound, and Faramir leaned forward to kiss him. That was almost too much; Frodo had to twist his hands in the furs beneath him to control his body, which wanted to explode from all the sensations and erotic sights.

Faramir seemed to understand, for he guided his cock to Frodo's opening just as he pulled out the fingers that were holding him open and ready. A push, pressure and pain, then Frodo breathed deeply and Faramir slid inside him. They both cried out at the sensation and Faramir froze and held there, waiting for a moment, his breathing uneven.

Then he pushed forward again, his arms supporting Frodo's now-boneless legs. He kept pressing, going deeper as Frodo's body adjusted. There was no pleasure, not yet, but the pain was gone. There was only fullness and heat, pressure and the delight of seeing pure lust in Faramir's burning eyes as they locked with his.

Then the man wrenched his gaze away, studying Frodo's body and the place where they joined, triumph in his expression followed by wonder. A big hand moved to rub over his stomach, and Faramir said "I can feel myself within you, Frodo Baggins." A grunt as he pushed further still. "You are mine, halfling."

Frodo moaned in answer, then gasped "Yours," as with another shove Faramir fully seated his cock inside Frodo's body. He could go now go no further inside him, and Frodo felt stretched, filled, claimed. He sighed happily, then screamed aloud as the man withdrew and plunged back, hard and fast.

Faramir paused, looking concerned, but Frodo cried "Again! Oh, again!" and the man began to pump into the slighter body with sharp snaps of his hips. The hobbit had never experienced such pleasure, such force and delight, sensations swamping his body and blanking his mind utterly.

Faramir leaned further over him, biting again at his ears and neck, and kept driving into him. Frodo now met each thrust with one of his own, demanding more with his body and his clutching hands on the strong forearms.

They both cried out again and again, and then Faramir reached for Frodo's arousal with his still-oily hand. The touch burned Frodo and he jerked and convulsed helplessly beneath the man's greater weight, but he did not release his seed.

"Very good, my tamed halfling," Faramir groaned, his breath short and the strokes within Frodo becoming erratic. "Now, with my hand on you so that you know who owns you, you may come."

Frodo's fluids obediently splashed out at the man's command, hot drops painting his belly and chest. Then his body incinerated as Faramir held within him, arms shaking, crying out his completion as his cock pumped his essence inside Frodo. When they both could breathe again, Faramir rolled to his side, pulling Frodo over and atop him, still joined.

They were tangled together thus, barely conscious, when Anborn came with news of a creature in the Forbidden Pool.

***

"Frodo?" Nimrohir looked concerned, and Frodo realized he'd been too caught up in his memories to attend to some question.

"I beg your pardon. I was remembering my last journey here." Nimrohir's very happy smile made Frodo fear questions about the Quest, but the man merely nodded agreeably.

"I sometimes do the same. Ithilien is changing, no doubt returning to what it was like in the days of our ancestors, when it was the Garden of Gondor. But many memories still lurk beneath these trees. Sometimes I wish I could have stayed here, part of the White Company for the Prince. But the honor of being one of King Elessar's knights was offered to me instead."

Frodo could only make a noise of agreement -- he'd never heard Nimrohir speak so much. "But I didn't attend to your question," he began apologetically.

"I said we should camp here, in the shelter of these rocks. It smells like a rainstorm is coming, and we are still many miles from Emyn Arnen."

Frodo had to reluctantly agree, and he slowly gathered kindling as the man set up their camp. He wanted to see Faramir tonight, and know if the hope that had burned in his breast since his return to the Shire had any basis. But it was not to be; neither the weather nor his own weakness could be denied. Frodo needed rest, and he couldn't ride well enough to manage in a storm.

He sat beside the man at their fire, eating dried meat and fruit very much like that which Faramir had given him and Sam so long ago. Frodo couldn't attend to Nimrohir's soft voice, though he nodded and smiled. His mind was locked on what waited ahead.

Although he knew Faramir was married to the Lady Eowyn of Rohan, a brave and beautiful woman, Frodo still bore a spark of hope that their time together had meant as much to Faramir as it still did to him. If the man bore him any love, Frodo could remain here in this strange land, even if it were only as an occasional diversion for the Prince.

It was Frodo's only hope for remaining in Middle Earth -- love that could make the pain of his continued existence bearable.

It might have been his longing for Faramir showing in his eyes that led Nimrohir to be so bold; Frodo was never sure how it happened that he was being held and kissed by the knight, listening to broken, adoring words whispered in his ear.

Frodo tried to pull away, but was held unyieldingly. And it was so satisfying, so reminiscent of Faramir, that Frodo conceded and let himself be pleasured and worshiped by the man. He closed his eyes and pictured Faramir opening his clothes, feathering touches over his body, and drinking pleasure from his mouth.

But the illusion was shattered by the sound of swift hoofbeats coming from the southeast, and Nimrohir was immediately alert, on his feet with sword in hand as the rider approached. Frodo sat up, dazed, pulling his shirt together and tucking it modestly over his trousers.

"Who goes there?" Nimrohir called, and the rider pulled up short.

"Nimrohir! Greetings, my brother-in-arms. I go to Minas Tirith with news for the King."

"I will not delay you, then, save to ask if there is trouble? I bring the Ringbearer to see Prince Faramir, and would not lead him into danger."

"No, my news is joyous. My Lady Eowyn has born the Prince a fine son this day."

"Ah, excellent. All is well, then?"

"Prince Faramir was happier than I have ever seen him. He distributed ale to the troops, and when he spoke he said all he desires in Middle Earth is now his own."

Nimrohir and the rider continued to speak, but Frodo didn't hear their words. He slowly buttoned his shirt as the rider galloped off. By the time Nimrohir turned back to him, desire back in his eyes, Frodo was rolling up his blanket and his pack was closed.

"Frodo?"

"I wish to return to Minas Tirith at once, Nimrohir. Re-saddle the horses immediately, please." Frodo knew his voice was cold, but he couldn't manage warmth when his heart was turned to ice.

"But..." The man looked near tears, and Frodo marveled at such emotion. He would never feel emotion again, not here in Middle Earth. He doubted there would be tears or laughter across the Sea, either. Not for him. "Have my actions offended you, Ringbearer?"

"No, Nimrohir. It is merely that I do not wish to disturb the Prince during this joyous time. My errand is best forgotten now."

He should have known there was no hope for him, and no way back into life. It was gone, gone, and Frodo was empty and dead without It as they retraced their way to Aragorn's white city.

 

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