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Feorh-Leán

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Éomer finds the man almost by accident, in the wake of a hard-fought battle and well into the night. His men had set upon a band of Uruk Hai making their way across the Westfold and taken them unawares. The culling had been hardly enough to blot out the grief of his cousin’s death and his own exile, but it was a start.

In the wake of the battle Éomer orders half his men to make a pyre of the Uruk bodies and directs the other half to set up camp upwind of the fire. As his men go about their appointed tasks he stalks through the battlefield with a guttering torch in one hand and a spear in the other, searching out the handful orcs that still cling to life and releasing their grips on it with well placed thrusts of his spear.

He crests a small hillock to find a body set apart from the others, lying face down in the tall grass of the plain. The crumpled form is too small to be one of the Uruk Hai; he takes it for a goblin corpse until he rolls the body over with a shove of his heel and sees the fine features of a man. An enemy hillman, he thinks, until he sees the cruel bindings tied tight around the man’s wrists. A captive, then, some unfortunate soul far from home.

He lets himself feel a twinge of remorse then: how this man must have suffered, only to die with rescue so close at hand.

And then the man moans.

Perhaps it was a mere trick of the wind, or a crackle from the Uruk’s death pyre. Éomer stakes his torch into the ground and kneels at the man’s side, not daring to hope. Lifting a dull hank of hair away from the man’s neck, he rests the pads of his fingers just below the line of his jaw and waits.

And there: the rhythm of a heartbeat, faint but steady.

Throat tight, he jogs back to Firefoot and fetches his kit. When he returns to the body he checks for a pulse again, just to be sure it was not some cruel joke of his grief, or the wishful trickery of hope. But the man’s heart still beats, and so Éomer sets about the business of tending to his wounds.

He first deals with the man’s bindings. He unsheathes the hunting knife from his belt and slips the tip beneath the ropes, slicing them away one by one. There: even if the man dies before sunrise, now he will die as a free man.

Next, Éomer cuts away the tatters of the man’s clothes, taking special care not to tug on the filth-encrusted fabric sticking to his wounds. There is little enough water to spare this far into the Westfold, but he wets a rag from his own waterskin and wipes away the worst of the grime. It reveals a body well made with the strong thews of a warrior- a body Éomer would be more than happy to admire had they met under other circumstances.

Once he’s done, he sits back on his haunches and catalogs the man’s wounds. As he counts them, he cannot help but wince. It’s a blessing that the man is unconscious; considering the extent of his injuries. It will be a blessing indeed if he wakes at all.

If Éomer could but bring the man back to Edoras… but no, Edoras is closed to him and all his men. And besides, he had ridden hard through day and night to return Theodred to the safety of the hall, and it had made not a whit of difference. He swallows his bitterness. No, better by far to give the man a night of rest rather than trying to move him. If the odds are in his favor, he might yet live. If not, well, passing in the night will be a kinder and gentler death than any the Uruk host would have had in store for him.

Éomer sighs and begins to attend to the man’s wounds one by one, smearing them with a thick unguent of arnica and swaddling them with clean linen rags as he goes. First are the deepest: defensive wounds on his torso and in the meat of his shoulders, from barbed Uruk arrows since ripped out if Éomer were to guess. They've made a mess of his flesh, but by the light of some lucky star missed his vital organs. The largest two require stitching; Éomer makes do with rabbit gut and a needle, smearing the skin with a dollop of honey after he’s done to keep them from turning foul.

Next he attends to the gouges around the man’s wrists and the scrapes covering his knees, less lethal but no less ugly. The former are no doubt a result of the cruel rope bindings, and the latter of falls- Éomer guesses that the man’s captors bound him and made him run, still wounded from their arrows, behind the Uruk column. The worst of the cuts on his knees are deep: when he had fallen he had been dragged. And when he could not get up… Éomer checks his back and sure enough, there he finds the bitter marks of a barbed whip. He treats these hurts one by one, looking up to the pyre of Uruk corpses whenever his anger becomes to great to bear.

At last there were no more wounds to clean or bind, and still the man has not awoken. Éomer sits back on his heels and looks around. Since he began this bitter task the rest of his riders have finished setting up camp and the moon has risen, turning the long golden grasses of the plain a ghostly blue.

He packs up his kit and carefully, oh so carefully, takes the man in his arms and carries him down to the camp, laying him down beside one of the cook fires and sitting beside him.

“Hungry?”

He looks up to see Éothain shuffling over, hands carrying two steaming bowls of stew.

He grunts his assent; Éothain sits down beside him and passes over one of the bowls. They eat in silence. Éothain eyes the body of the man by the fire when he thinks Eomer isn’t paying attention.

“Those are grievous wounds,” Éothain says after he finishes with his stew. “Might not wake.”

“He will,” Éomer says with a confidence he does not feel. He turns away, unwilling to face the too-knowing look on Éothain’s face, and wets a cloth with the broth of his stew to wring above his patient’s lips. The man swallows the droplets, which is something.

It's a strange thing. Éomer does not know the man's name or lineage, or where his people hail from, but it seems a vital thing, that this man live. Too much has been taken from Éomer: let this one man be spared. Let this one light in the world stay lit.

Beside him, Éothain sighs. “Mightn't it be kinder to let him die now?” he says at last. “We have a hard ride tomorrow. He may not make it.”

Éothain is right and they both know it. The jostling of a hard gallop will split all the man's wounds anew, and death will come soon after. The cold would be a kinder end. “We'll leave him with a crofter. Let me give him this night.”

The unhappy turn of Éothain’s mouth spells disagreement, but Eomer can't bring himself to care. “Very well, my lord,” Éothain says, and heads back to the cook fire with their empty bowls.

Éomer turns to consider his charge. Nights on the Westfold are cold and whipped by winds that will chill even a healthy man's bones. And this man is far from healthy.

Well, he knows a remedy for the cold, at least. He pulls the blankets from the packs of his two fallen men and builds up a bedroll wide enough for two. He strips down to his leggings so that his skin pressed against the other man's will provide some measure of heat, may it bring him through the night alive. Next he lays his charge on the blankets and lies down beside him: side to side, taking care not to jostle the man's wounds. Sleep comes alongside the rustle of wind through the tall grasses around him and the steady rhythm of his bed mate’s heartbeat.

***

The sun dawns red and sullen over the plains. Éomer mounts up with the rest of his men, seating his patient in front of him on Firefoot and holding him in place as they leave the campsite behind.

As the sun climbs higher in the sky, Éomer knows that the center cannot hold: the man cannot survive a faster ride, and his men cannot ride this slowly and still reach safety by nightfall. He had planned to leave the man with a crofter. But there are no crofters here, not this close to the forest, and Isengard.

He is close to giving up and dealing the man a gentle end by his own knife when an elf, a dwarf, and a man crest the hill beside them.

They are tracking a column of orcs, they say. They are looking for three of their friends, they say. And Éomer cannot help them with two of the three, but one is not none, and the joy in their eyes when they see Éomer’s patient does something to dispel the darkness that’s hovered in his heart since Edoras.

Éomer relinquishes the man that the trio calls “Boromir” and remounts his horse. He turns back, just once, as he rides away and thinks with a twinge that he will likely never see Boromir again, or know if he lives or dies.

But life takes strange paths.

***

In the wake of Helm’s Deep, everything is joy.

Éomer’s people have not only stood up and fought against a foe they’ve cowered from for too long- they’ve fought and won. His sister is safe. His uncle has the light back in his eyes. And Éomer himself is welcomed home again with high honor.

The victory celebration is tremendous.

Éomer cannot remember the last time the Golden Hall felt like this: full of light and laughter, with singing and dancing and drinking to occupy every soul in Edoras. Éomer takes a turn at the dancing, avoids the singing, and does more of the drinking than is, strictly speaking, advisable. He’s considering setting his tankard down and retiring to bed when he sees a familiar face appear in the crowd of revelers, and his heart stutters in his chest.

The man- Boromir, his name is Boromir- is much changed from when Éomer last saw him. He’d been on the banks of death then, and filthy besides. Now he stands tall with a warrior’s gait, his face proud, his hair shining like ripened barley under the lights of the hall. He is magnificent, and when Éomer tries to call out to him, he finds he cannot remember how to speak.

By some lucky star Boromir turns towards him anyways, and walks over with a questioning look on his face. “Are you Éomer, son of Éomund?” His voice is deep and sure, and oh, Éomer is so glad that he yet lives.

“I am he.” Éomer says.

Boromir nods. “Then you are the man to whom I owe a life debt.” He says the words with gravity and a steady gaze, and Éomer has no doubt in that moment that he would fall on his sword without hesitation if Éomer were to ask it of him.

“Tell me: how is it you are come to Meduseld?” Éomer asks.

“I fought beside your uncle at the Hornburg,” Boromir says with a rueful twist of his mouth. “Though not very well; I find I’m still rather weak.”

Privately Éomer is amazed that he’s as hale as he is, considering the extent of the injuries he’d suffered. “Then consider your debt paid,” he says, waving Boromir to sit down across from him. “You’ve done me a great service in aiding my kinsmen.”

Boromir hesitates for a moment before taking a seat. “Well,” he says with a small smile, “what do two men that have no debts between them do in your country?”

That, at least, Éomer can answer. “They drink!” he says, raising his hand to get the attention of the serving girls. “And then they boast of their prowess and their ancestors and their victories.”

Gondor, it seems, has similar customs, or else Boromir is simply good at spinning words. He has a presence about him, like soldiers from the songs of old. He is the sort of man that men aspire to be; his voice booms as he tells stories of far off lands and strange creatures. His laughter is contagious. Éomer is entranced by him, and one flagon becomes two becomes three.

But all things have their endings and eventually the hall begins to quiet as the crowds of revelers thin. Éomer watches, content in the warm buzz of his mead, as two of his men exchange sloppy kisses and stumble off to find a dark corner to share.

He turns to take another sip of his mead and sees that Boromir is watching the couple as well, a faint blush on his cheeks and a peculiar expression on his face.

Éomer tilts his head and tries to make sense of this. It’s a common enough sight here, but perhaps things are different in Gondor. “Do your soldiers not dally with each other?”

Boromir startles and hastily averts his eyes from the drunken soldiers. “I imagine they do,” he says, not quite meeting Éomer’s gaze. “But they are perhaps not so… public about it.”

In the distance, Éomer can just make out the muffled sounds of men fucking. “There’s something to be said for that.” He hesitates, staring down at his reflection in his tankard. He gets the sense that to push further would be rude by Gondorian standards. But on the other hand, Éomer has always held that nothing ventured is nothing gained. “You should ask one of my men for company,” he hears himself saying. “A bedroll if cold and lonely if not shared. Leofric is very good if you wish to plow, or Wibeohrt if you wish to ride.”

Boromir blushes scarlet and takes a hasty swig the rest of his mead. “And do you mean to take one of them with you as well?” he asks, waving a clumsy hand to encompass the rest of the soldiers still awake.

Éomer has, in the past. But tonight… “I find none are to my taste tonight.”

He realizes Boromir is watching him very intently. It is not the look of a man offended.

“Never fear though,” Éomer says. His own face feels hot. “As sister son of the king I've a bed and bower of my own, and it's warmer than a lone bedroll.

“Warmer,” Boromir murmurs, so quiet that Éomer almost doesn’t hear him. “But perhaps not less lonely.”

Eomer swallows. His mouth is suddenly very dry. “No,” he says. “But there are other remedies for loneliness.”

They finish their drinks in the heady silence of anticipation. Éomer no longer tastes his mead; all his attention is consumed by the heat in his belly and the weight of Boromir’s eyes on him.

Boromir stands first, stretching and offering him a too-casual smile. “Walk with me?”

Éomer stands, heart hammering in his throat. “Of course.”

They walk through the shadowed hall side by side, and Éomer thinks himself very bold when he swings his arm around Boromir’s shoulders so that their sides press together with each step. But then Boromir surprises him by pushing him back against one of the beams of the hall with a growl, and then they’re kissing, open-mouthed and desperate.

Boromir’s lips taste of mead, but are sweeter still. Boromir is taller and broader of shoulder, and Éomer revels in it. He is not gentle, but Éomer would not want him to be. The dig of the wood into Éomer’s back, the scrape of Boromir’s beard against Éomer’s cheeks, the press of his thigh between Éomer’s legs- it is all sharp and bright and perfect, and it sets Éomer’s blood on fire.

He can feel Boromir’s cock pressing against him, long and thick by the feel of it. A wave of hot longing goes through his body as he thinks of having it, taking it.

He pulls away from Boromir with supreme effort. “Bed,” he pants. “Now.”

They do make it to Éomer’s chambers, but not without a few more run-ins with pillars. Finally, blessedly, they’re alone, and Éomer is shutting the latch on his chamber door behind them.

When he turns Boromir is watching him with a kind of reverence, cast all in amber by the single candle flickering on the nightstand.

Not daring to speak, Éomer takes a step forward at the same time Boromir does and the meet in the center of the chamber. When they kiss, it’s nothing like the fast kisses in the hall: this time it’s slow and full of things unsaid. Éomer can only guess what Boromir means by it, but for his part he presses each kiss with joy and wonder that Boromir lives, and has lived by his hand.

When they part, they’re both breathless, and Éomer’s hands tremble as he raises them to unfasten the clasps of his tunic. He has bedded many men, and women too, but this feels different.

Boromir grasps his wrists and pulls them away from his tunic. “Let me,” he says, and Éomer can only nod dumbly as Boromir undoes the clasps one by one and lets the tunic fall to the floor. Then Éomer can no longer stand the wait: he strips off his own trousers and attacks Boromir’s clothing, stripping it off piece by piece until they’re both naked. He pushes Boromir back against the lip of his bed and Boromir goes down laughing.

Éomer clambers onto the bed after him and kneels between his legs, taking a moment to appreciate the body spread out before him like a feast. Muscles rippling in the candlelight and a soft dusting of hair leading down to an exquisite cock, already half-hard and ruddy. Éomer’s mouth waters, and a twist of lust sends his toes curling at the sight; he can well imagine how it will feel driving inside him. He takes a breath and bids himself be patient. They have all night, and Éomer wants to enjoy this.

Marring the smooth expanses of Boromir’s skin are the lines healing wounds not yet turned to scars. Éomer leans in to trace around them, remembering each one the last time he saw it. He lingers near the ones he’d sewn shut himself, feels a strange alchemy of pride and humility at the sight of them. Remarkably, all are almost fully healed, the flesh around them a healthy pink. “Are you a wizard?” he asks. “Or do you have elf blood in you?”

Boromir laughs and props his head up on one of Éomer’s pillows. “One of my party has some skill with herbs.”

The blond elf, Éomer thinks, for elves are said to be skilled in such things. He’d been at the feast as well, all lithe limbs and slender hips. Eothain had been staring, and Leofric too. But Éomer much prefers the broad shoulders and thick chest of the man spread out before him.

“He is a great healer indeed,” Éomer says. “And I am thankful of it.” He leans forward and presses a kiss to the highest of Boromir’s hurts, a cleanly knitted gash just beneath his collarbone. One by one he kisses them, lower and lower, until he reaches the last scar, just between Boromir’s navel at the jut of his hip. He can smell Boromir’s arousal like salt, could dart his tongue out to lick the head of Boromir’s cock if he had a mind to.

He goes no further. “But for all your friend’s skill, your hurts are still too fresh for you to ride.”

Boromir lets out a long groan. “You mean to kill me after all.”

Éomer lets him suffer for a minute, then reaches down to press a teasing kiss to the soft skin of Boromir’s inner thigh, reveling in his quiet gasp. “I can ride, of course.” He leans back on his heels and gives Boromir a wicked grin. “The men of Rohan are renowned for their riding, in fact.”

“But not for their humility,” Boromir mutters, but he’s smiling as he speaks.

Éomer shoots him a look but doesn’t deign to respond. Instead he reaches over to grab a vial of oil off of the table by the bed and uncorks it, pouring a liberal amount over his fingers. Then, eyes locked with Boromir’s, he leans back on his heels and begins to open himself up. He’s done this many times; he can do it quick and fast if he wants to. But now he takes his time, letting out gasps and reedy breaths as he fucks himself on his fingers, eyes never leaving Boromir.

Boromir groans and reaches for his cock, but Éomer leans in and bats his hand away. “Stay still,” he says, delighting in Boromir’s lust. “Or I shall have to tie you.”

“Éomer,” Boromir says in a strangled voice, “you will drive a man mad.”

Éomer takes pity on him then. He removes his fingers with a pop and scoots forward to straddle Boromir carefully, thighs held taut as he lowers himself slowly, slowly down. He takes Boromir’s cock in hand, eliciting a quiet gasp, and guides himself onto it.

Boromir lets out a deep moan as he breeches Éomer, his hands stuttering over Éomer’s thighs before settling at the join of his hips. His face is the picture of a man in rapture, mouth thrown open and eyes wrenched shut, chest shuddering with each breath that leaves him.

Éomer presses down, his body singing with the strain of it as he slowly impales himself. Oh, but it feels so good; he cannot help but arch his back into it, his toes curling amidst the furs of the bed from the pleasure of it as he swallows Boromir up, inch by inch.

When he has taken all there is to take, he allows himself a minute to savor the burn of fullness, his eyes shut and his head lolling forward. When he opens his eyes, Boromir is staring up at him like he’s something precious and brilliant, his thumb rubbing circles into the crease of Éomer’s thigh like prayers.

Éomer smiles down at him. And then he begins to move.

He starts off at a leisurely pace, rocking his hips forward gently, drinking in every quiet gasp and bit-off groan that Boromir makes. “Do not quiet yourself,” he says, reaching down to caress the curve of Boromir’s hip. “I want to hear you.”

Boromir lets out a breathless chuckle. “Then you’d best speed up.”

Éomer has never backed down from a challenge. He quickens his movements, setting a brutal pace that has his thighs shaking and Boromir crying out beneath him. His cock bounces with each thrust, slapping against Boromir’s stomach as he drives forward and his own as he drives back and oh, it is the sweetest kind of torture.

“Éomer,” Boromir gasps, over and over again.

Éomer leans in to lick a stripe up Boromir’s chest, savoring the salty tang of his sweat. He pauses to press a playful kiss to Boromir’s nipple, worrying it with his teeth, before lifting his mouth to meet Boromir’s in a filthy openmouthed kiss. Boromir buries a hand in Éomer’s braids and rakes the other down Éomer’s back, and the bite of his nails is a dark and heady pleasure that sends shivers down his spine.

It’s not long before his thrusts turn sloppy, his movements jerky as he loses himself to the sensations, and then his peak hits him like an arrow. It is a close thing, but he does not lose himself to the pleasure. He draws on his warrior’s discipline and fucks himself through his peak, spilling his seed across Boromir’s belly and his own as each stab of Boromir’s cock wrenches a gasp from him, branding him from the inside out.

At last, when he is almost spent and is a hairsbreadth away from collapsing, Boromir goes rigid beneath him, his body arching off the bed like a taut bowstring. His hands on Éomer’s hips clench like vises, his nails digging into the soft flesh there hard enough to bruise. Éomer can feel his cock twitching inside him, filling him up, pumping him full.

Éomer collapses on the furs soon after, utterly spent. They lie in silence for a moment, until Éomer remembers how to talk. “Well,” he says. “That was very good.”

Beside him, Boromir turns to press a kiss to Éomer’s sweat-soaked brow. “The riders of Rohan are skilled indeed.”

Éomer lets out a breathless chuckle and curls up against Boromir’s chest so that he can hear his heart beating. “This is the second time we’ve shared a bed, you know.”

“Oh?”

“When I found you on the Westfold I swaddled you in my blanket and held you against me through the night.”

Boromir reaches down to play with a tendril of his hair. “It pains me,” he says, “that I was not awake for it.”

“No matter,” Éomer says, and leans over to blow out the candle. “This time was better by far.”