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They made camp a few hours ago—a relief, really.  For both Aragorn himself and the rest of the Fellowship still recovering from the treacherous climb down Caradhras.  Aragorn knows the burn in his thighs well.  Knows how to let the constant ache ebb to the background of his mind while focusing on the world surrounding him.  But the fatigue hounding his steps grows more difficult to ignore with each step.  It was Sam who, alongside a stern word from Gandalf, ordered them a rest.  Though he did not comment on how far yet left to travel, Aragorn’s body seemed to unspool in exhaustion.  

After laying out his bedroll, Aragorn feels Boromir’s heavy hand drop onto his shoulder.  To the rest of the group, he announces, “Aragorn and I shall search for extra firewood.  Restore our supplies.”

A knowing smirk plays across Gandalf’s face, but if anyone wonders why two of the stronger members of the party are needed to search for wood, they keep their comments to themselves.  Aragorn lets himself be led into the thatch of woods they’re camped against.  Boromir walks far enough in that only Legolas would be able to hear their conversation, but not far enough that should anything happen, they couldn’t rush back.  As Aragorn begins collecting larger logs and dry kindling, Boromir stays him.

“You push yourself,” Boromir says.  Stating the obvious, yet Aragon knows that any good soldier needs reminding.  Himself included.

“So do you,” Aragorn says.  They stand face to face, Boromir’s brow lowered in concern.   

“Would you—” Boromir starts.  Bites his lip and looks askance.  “I wish to shoulder some of your weight.  Would you let me relieve you of your burdens?”

This newly discovered facet of their relationship has left both of them wrong-footed.  Learning where lines are drawn and hearts overlap.  It steals the breath from Aragorn’s lungs.

Please,” says Boromir, drawing closer.  A whisper, really.  Gentle and coaxing against the flushed shell of Aragorn’s ear.  “You have not slept in several days, won’t you let me give you this?”

Aragorn nods, and Boromir kisses him, promptly.  Aragorn sighs into it, allowing his body weight to rest against Boromir’s broad chest.  Relief washes over him, as soft as the grass beneath their feet.  Here is a land where the wretched waste of Mordor has not yet reached it’s mangled claw.  It’s difficult for Aragorn to relax, to allow his ever-wary senses to heel.  As a trained ranger, he has long been accustomed to sleeping in fits and starts, lightly but whenever he can, taking deep rests only when in the comfort of an inn.  Boromir encircles his waist, firm and grounding.  The touch in its familiarity feels to Aragorn quite like the embrace of a warm bed.  Lulling, like the rush of Imladris’s river that he heard from his bedroom window growing up.

Pulling back, Boromir tucks a lock of lank, unwashed hair behind Aragorn’s ear.  He smiles tenderly.  One that makes his eyes crinkle boyishly and sends Aragorn’s heart pattering, nervous and frantic, against his breastbone.  Boromir sets his mouth to the hinge of Aragorn’s jaw, nosing the prickle of beard.  Moves down his wind- and sun-reddened neck in a series of slow, languid kisses.  Aragorn shudders.  His stomach knots sweetly under the attention, pooling low.  

“We need to collect wood,” Aragorn frets in a token protest.  

“I’m sure you can manage to find some soon enough,” Boromir says in a teasing tone.

Though Aragorn tries to look unimpressed, the mirth on Boromir’s face makes him lose his composure, hiding a smile in Boromir’s collar. 

Behind them, a twig snaps.  A bird calls then flies off into the dancing treetops and out into the afternoon sun.  They pause.  Aragorn considers their surroundings, and, after snagging the front of Boromir’s tunic, walks them towards a pile of rocks with an overhang: a ruin from an age long past.  Probably once a home, now it provides them adequate protection as well as a ledge for Boromir to lean Aragorn against.  Being handled like he weighs nothing kindles a flame in his belly, a small, voiceless noise catches in his throat.

There’s a moment of tangled limbs and knocking boots while they settle into place.  The ridge of cool, mossy stone digs into his backside, but it’s contrasted by the burning heat of Boromir against his front.  Boromir trails a hand down his side, caressing the lines of his travel-lean body through the layers of clothes.  Aragorn imagines himself malleable beneath his touch as clay on a potter’s wheel.  Boromir lingers near the hem of his tunic and mail, waits.  

“Will you permit me—” he says trailing off.

Aragorn nods. “You may not find what you expect.”

Firmly, Boromir says, “I expect nothing.”

Tears sting the edge of Aragorn’s eyes which Boromir obligingly wipes away.  Boromir hitches Aragorn up before sliding his strong, hard thigh between his legs.  Aragorn swallows a moan at the pressure—it’s been terribly long since he’s allowed himself any sort of comfort or touch.  Since he was last in Bree for unofficial purposes, likely, and even the slightest twitch of muscle between his legs has him oversensitive.  

Though not untouched, the land here is not yet bare.  They have some time before they reach Moria, and after the disastrous climb up Caradhras, Aragorn remains content with giving the Hobbits a less strenuous pace for the time.  A mild December with the occasional tepid-warm day helps the endless miles seem less of a chore.  Overhead, the sun shines down on them splintered through tree branches, some with browned leaves still yet clinging.  Not for the first time does Aragorn recall first meeting Boromir at the height of autumn in Rivendell; about the stuttering brag of his heart meeting the would-be Steward, equally devoted to his (their) people as to his own pride.  Boromir has been humbled, that is clearly evident, but so has Aragorn.  No one so concerned with Gimli’s mining lore or Hobbit lineages could care more about their pride than serving their companions.

Whether Boromir is surprised at the lack of prominent swell in his breeches or not remains unknown as his face betrays no emotion other than besotted care.  Boromir does grab hold of Aragorn’s hips and urges him to rock down onto his thigh.  Boromir presses a calloused thumb to the divot of Aragorn’s chin, as he did several nights ago where they spoke about fraught emotions and futures, and kisses the corner of Aragorn’s parted mouth.  Turning to meet him, Aragorn greedily drinks in Boromir’s breath, sucks it down like the freshest water from Rivendell’s streams.  

Boromir slips beneath Aragorn’s tunic, smears one broad hand across his quivering abdomen.  After pushing the fabric up to bare his skin, he traces artful patterns in his wake.  Cool air commingling with Boromir’s warmth sends gooseflesh racing down his body.  Boromir noses his way into the dip where Aragorn’s neck meets shoulder, kissing and panting and inhaling the earthy musk Aragorn surely has been carrying for days now.  Panic flares up when Boromir’s hand moves closer to his pectorals, and Boromir must sense this because he pauses, glances down, and lays his hand flat on Aragorn’s breastbone.  

“I knew a man once who was struck by lightning and lived to tell the tale.  His scar looks a lot like yours,” Boromir says.  Aragorn knows right away which scars he refers to.

“The Elves’ skill with blades and medicine is unmatched,” Aragorn replies, voice hoarse with unnamed emotion and arousal.

“The man also did not like his scar to be touched as it reminded him of the unpleasant event in which he earned it.”  This is said with Boromir looking him in the eye.  “Am I safe in the assumption you feel as he does?”

Relief douses panic’s angry flame as one of Elrond’s sweet balms.  

“Yes,” Aragorn says, covering Boromir’s hand with his own, lifting it, and kissing the knuckles.  Boromir moves to cover Aragorn’s heart, returning his face to Aragorn’s neck.  Begins grinding his thigh against Aragorn in slow, even circles.  Fumbling for purchase, Aragorn grapples with the rock ledge he’s perched against as he rolls down onto his thigh, cheeks flushed.  In the cradle of his hips, arousal pulses and throbs, aching for pressure, fullness.  Slowly Boromir creeps back down to caress Aragorn’s pelvis.  He kneads the hollows of hip bones, stokes the pile of curls at the apex of thighs.

“Please,” says Aragorn, feeling terribly bare as he falls back on his elbows, “please touch me.”  

Nodding, Boromir says, not without a little cheek, “As my king commands.”

After untooling belts, Boromir plucks his breeches open and wriggles them down Aragorn’s hips just far enough to slide in and cup him with one huge hand.  Aragorn gasps, grasping Boromir’s arm.  For a moment, all Boromir does is rest there, rubbing the edge of his hole with only the slightest, most imperceptible of movement as though he were coaxing Aragorn’s body like an instrument in need of tuning.  Aragorn trembles like a taut bowstring.  Wetness drips out onto his clever fingers as Aragorn quells the urge to grind against Boromir’s palm like an untrained dog.  Aragorn wishes to hide his face, shy away from the embarrassing visibility of his need.  

But Boromir does not leave room for such frivolities as dignity, saying, “Do you want it inside?”  He trails a long line up Aragorn’s quim, light and quick.  Fingers darting along his folds, ghosting around his dick in circles.  Nodding furiously, Aragorn twists into it, seeking Boromir’s mouth.  While he thought his consent would speed Boromir’s movements, his Steward continues with the aimless petting—massaging and stroking and strategically pressing up and in, in a manner that makes sparks of heat skitter up his spine.  His cock fattens up, rubbing along Boromir’s wrist.  

His stomach turns to water, roiling hot and slippery in his belly, pulsing out to the tips of his toes, curling in his boots.  Aragorn tries to angle for more pressure with short, quick jerks of hips, yet Boromir dangles the reward too far.

“Do not,” Aragorn bites out, “do not—ah—tease me so, Boromir.”

“You are far too coherent for one in such dire need,” Boromir snarks back, but he does slip two fingers in at once.  Aragorn’s back arches as he buries his hands in Boromir’s hair.  Their foreheads press together, and Aragorn’s eyes flutter shut, brows knitting beneath the weight of Boromir’s gaze and the pleasure he unleashes with his touch.  Carefully, Boromir draws his fingers forward.  Curls them in circles, building a rhythm that kindles the flame in his belly to a roar.

“So wet,” Boromir murmurs, “hard and wet and perfect for me.  I know you’re aching, Aragorn, let yourself have it.”

Boromir crooks his fingers and draws them forward against that spot inside that has Aragorn shivering helplessly, moaning up to the cloudless sky.  Boromir circles his cock with his thumb in tandem with his skilled fingers.  Aragorn’s breath hitches as if every inhale, every exhale, were forced out of him as Boromir fucks him on his fingers. 

Distantly, he hears Boromir speaking to him, poetic in the manner of Boromir:  I can feel you here, hard and wet— and I want to be the one who makes you spill— and Can you come from my touch alone?  Boromir twists his wrist in a corkscrew motion, moving faster, faster, fast.  Breathless, all Aragorn can manage is yes yes, let me please you as you have pleased me, against Boromir’s mouth.

After licking his way behind Aragorn’s teeth, Boromir fucks three fingers inside him, and Aragorn whimpers, hips kicking into the movement.  All at once, the tension in his abdomen tightens, then looses, and Aragorn comes, a small gush of liquid all over Boromir’s hand and his small clothes and trousers, which he probably shouldn’t have left on because they’ll be uncomfortable until he can wash them, but he can’t seem to stop coming, shaking and sobbing into Boromir’s collarbones.  His legs stiffen, body going rigid while Boromir rubs the heel of his hand against his cock.  Back arching, head thrown back, he shudders, quakes, in the aftermath.

Sweat mats his hair to his forehead which Boromir obligingly pets back, whispering, “That’s it, Aragorn, very good my king.” 

Aragorn shakes at the words.  This is not supplication of a Steward bowing to a King but a communion.  Not a debasement but a strengthening.  Boromir gathers his heavy head onto his shoulder, righting his trousers and belts interspersed with soothing caresses to bruises both new and fading.  When some semblance of thought resurfaces in his mind, Aragorn reaches out and cups Boromir’s cock.  He strokes the length of it with the heel of his palm, smearing the head through the damp spot where he’s leaked.  Boromir grunts, clasping Aragorn’s arms and digging into the coiled muscle.

“I shall not last,” Boromir admits through gritted teeth.  “You are quite a sight to behold undone.” 

Growing feverish with the need to touch , Aragorn digs beneath the layers of leather and cloth to knead the bare skin of Boromir’s ribs.  He’s done this once before, but only to check for fractures after Boromir took hits in battle (and a particularly nasty slip on Caradhras).  Never so consumed with desire to love and be loved in return.  For all Aragorn is a would-be king, raised to be a man who wields both sword and speech, all language dies on his tongue.  He must take a page from his Steward and lead with action.  

Aragorn reaches beneath Boromir’s waistband to wrap a dry fist around his prick.  The searing heat of it throbs against his palm, and Boromir cries out, quickly muffled by hiding his face in Aragorn’s neck.  Soon enough will they have the space and the hours to fully bare their pleasure to the gods.  For now, however, Aragorn digs into the head of Boromir’s cock, gathering slips of come before thumbing the crown.  Boromir’s breath catches.  Aragorn memorizes the rise and fall of his abdomen with it.  It only takes several slow, heavy-handed strokes before Boromir spills with a rough, reedy noise.  Aragorn cups the head to catch his release humming low and steady as Boromir’s hips cant forward mindlessly chasing pleasure.

After Boromir stops shaking, Aragorn cleans his fingers by sucking down his spend.  Boromir groans, pulling Aragorn into a kiss and chasing the taste of himself, thick in Aragorn’s mouth.  

“Will the wonders of our Age never cease?” Boromir asks.

It takes a few moments for Aragorn to realize Boromir is talking about him .  

“I do not believe I could face what we are about to do without you at my right hand,” Aragorn says.  

Boromir shakes his head, “I am barely worthy to look upon your face.”

Boromir,” Aragorn says, more sharply than he intended, “You are an honourable man.  Do not let such thoughts into your heart.  You wound both yourself and me when you do.”

They lean against one another, limbs entangled and breathing in the others’ dust.  In a brief flash, Aragorn imagines them as two ordinary men, reneging on household chores to play like teenagers in the woods outside their home.  While such a fantasy could never come to pass in this lifetime, Aragorn holds out hope that in another time, in a kinder, more gentler age, they will be remembered.  This bond of theirs forged in strife but wrought with understanding.  They should return to camp, relieve Gimli of his watch duties.  But Aragorn lets them rest like this for a little while longer.