Tainted Meadows by Napra
Summary: How a friendship deepens in the aftermath of battle.
Categories: FPS > Aragorn/Éomer, FPS, FPS > Éomer/Aragorn Characters: Aragorn, Éomer
Type: None
Warning: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 4816 Read: 1073 Published: August 25, 2012 Updated: August 25, 2012
Story Notes:
Setting: Post- Helm's Deep, set in the book-verse which means …omer had been at the Hornburg during the battle. (The rider and leader of men at Gandalf's side was another character called Erkenbrand).

1. Chapter 1 by Napra

Chapter 1 by Napra
Tainted Meadows

It was red. The once so green coomb, deeper in shade through the over-shadowing Mount Thrihyrne, had succumbed to a wave of blood – Orc's and Man's alike. Thus Aragorn, the heir of Isildur Elendil's son, pondered as he padded about on the moist ground, between black and fair carcasses. The weary warrior did not care anymore if the latter had once been servants of the Enemy – corrupted wild men of Dunland – or Thoden King's followers. They were dead men.

A sunbeam kissed his stubbled cheek and lured his vision into the East, up the long slope of the hills where Gandalf had lead down Erkenbrand's host like a bronze waterfall. He would never ever forget that moment of deliverance.

"You are, too, wading through long-desired waters, Aragorn son of Arathorn."

The faint shadow of a smile clung still to his lips as he turned towards the voice he knew.

"Long-desired? How can a leader of men desire such blood-shed, …omer son of …omund?" he countered, the address not without sarcasm.

Fierceness was in …omer's trail as approached Aragorn, stepping into the strip of sunlight between the shadows of the eastern hills and the Deep.

"Because my men, proud Riders of the Mark, have lost many brothers-in-arms through the Dunlanders' treachery. Not to speak of orcs..." He nearly reared out that word like bad medicine. But he composed himself and stared onto the sunlit ridge. "But perhaps you sympathise with all Arda's creatures," he added.

"My charity has boundaries, …omer. Believe it or not." The knight found Aragorn gripping the gauntlet on his left wrist. "I, too, have recently lost a companion in battle with the Forces of Evil – and by my sword Andril I would have died to defend his honour."

His gaze was intense, searching for understanding in darker eyes. A little pensiveness was drawn from …omer's features.

"We have fought side-by-side, horsemaster," said Aragorn, "we even rejoiced in victory. Let us not bicker about the enemy's worth for now, but let us be united as survivors."

…omer took a sharp breath and slipped his hand along Aragorn's arm gripping tightly.

"As survivors," he retorted.

They looked sternly into each other's eyes for a while till Aragorn broke contact and the silence.

"Gandalf will be riding to Isengard by nightfall and I have agreed to accompany him."

"So will I!" confirmed the other man eagerly.

"Fine." Aragorn looked around them. "I will not miss piling and burying bodies. Shall we return to the Hornburg for some rest before we take off?"

The two warriors started walking towards the Burg with a much steadier pace albeit weaving nearly unconsciously between shapes on the ground.

"Although I cannot imagine getting any sleep with all that commotion" …omer said fondly. "We'd better grab a bite before the evening. We'll be missing the great victory celebration."

"I doubt it. Thoden is riding with us. No king, no feast."

…omer stopped in his step. "So the feast may be given now!"

And there sounded the Horn of the Helm and echoed in it's now comforting depth across the Deeping-coomb.

Two smiles met.


As the two future kings – one of the Riddermark and the other of Gondor – reached Helm's Gate there were men, women and children pouring in and out, happily munching meat or slurping from goblets cheering and singing.

"I am glad to leave the outside world behind us for a while," said …omer, and Aragorn affirmatively flung and arm around his shoulder as they'd passed the Gate at last.

They dashed up the wound steps to the first platform where a banquet greeted their hungry eyes.

Thoden opened both his arms, greeted them like two lost sons – surrogate, but none the less loved.

"Raise your glasses to my heir and the heir of late Elendil!"

"Hail, Thoden King!" Aragorn countered with a smile and the dozens of other voices resounded. He observed his companion's silence who bowed his head in grave allegiance crossing his cuirass with his right palm.

"Sister-son, come sit at my right," Thoden said warmly. "And you, son of Arathorn, at my left."

"I must decline the invitation, my lord, for should that place not be reserved for the Shield-Maiden?" Aragorn asked with a charming glint in his eyes.

…omer turned around, searching for his sister. They had only briefly, but desperately embraced shortly after the battle. He saw her standing by another lady on the steps that lead into the Deep, yet her attention was torn between her brother and Aragorn.

"I shall dine by …omer's side." Aragorn had truly not intended irritation, and he was glad the general social noise had swollen to a level that allowed some privacy even among Kings. Besides, Thoden, being convinced of Aragorn's ultimate loyalty, seemed more touched by his courtliness than having conceived any kind of affront.

His comrade's profound confirmation of Aragorn's place did much to relax the tension.

"I simply cannot get used to this courtly behaviour. Always having to be at your strongest and most subservient at the same time," he murmured before tasting some of the ox fresh from the spit.

At first …omer wondered how to take that comment and chewed a chunk of meat off a bone himself. But it was obvious Aragorn was much more inclined to dine at his side than his sister's or even the King's. "I suppose you're still used to life as a Ranger? You could chose where to go when, which beasts to sleigh, which maidens to rescue..."

Aragorn laughed at the Rider of Rohan's straight-faced sense of humour. "Yes, and if I wished, I could always return to my home in Rivendell, dwell with the elves and act noble for once in a while."

…omer's voice dropped. "Like role-playing?"

Aragorn cocked his head. "Why yes. Don't you have playhouses in the Riddermark?"

"Of course not, we're not silly children!"

Both men stared at each other for a moment, equally bewildered of the other's ignorance. Then they burst out laughing. Fear salted …omer's boisterousness reminding him that this carefree time would be ending soon.

"What?" Aragorn questioned the other man's overcast expression.

"He still hates himself for banishing me. And it wasn't even his fault. He was not himself at the time," the king's nephew sighed into his mead.

"That is still troubling you?"

…omer gave him a sidelong glance through blood-drenched locks. "I wish it were like in the early years of our youth, when he took my sister and me into Edoras as children after our father was slain at the Emyn Muil."

Their forearms touched upon the wood of the table as Aragorn leant towards him. "Did you not hear your uncle before? Could you have expected a more exuberant welcome?" he asked encouragingly.

"Ah, but it is all deliberate, forced even. It is not what speaks from his own heart. He would have wanted..."

"You are too suspicious of your own kin." Aragorn's voice was calm, as ever.

"Wormtongue's sly utterances corrupted Thoden..."

"Grma has poisoned you in his own way as well, if that is how you think, son of …omund."

Doubt shaded …omer's eyes, but not malevolence.

"Do not let his shadow long-gone steer you further!" Aragorn said intensely.

…omer shook his head. "He is not so long gone."

"Then let him be!" Aragorn exclaimed seizing his comrade by the wrist and pulling him to his feet, nearly more to his own surprise than the assaulted man's. Swiftly he dragged …omer away from the banquet, not risking a backward glance towards the king and his niece.

"Go." said Aragorn showing him the way down some steps.

"Where?" the other man growled.

"Down and then up."

"Up where?"

"To the highest peak of the Hornburg."

…omer did not know why he followed Aragorn's orders. Or could he simply not refuse him anything?

The voices grew fainter. The current was obviously downcast. They were alone.

Up on the pinnacle behind the parapet they breathed the wind in deeply, grateful that it came from the west and did not carry the smell of carcasses. It whipped through their manes, their whole being it seemed, cleansing them from the close clamminess of slaughter.

"Look at this, Marshal of the Mark! All around you!" Aragorn declaimed as his hand swept across the panorama. "This is your home. Has always been. And you are about to reign in it as a unifying king, put in power not by patricide or corruption, but by the trust and goodheartedness of an ageing king."

Was it the wind that filled the Rider's eyes with tears?

And as …omer looked at Aragorn he also met uncertainty, even sadness. "I for my part do not know my home as well as you do yours. The past cannot be changed and I wished I would have been shown Gondor in all its glory by a man who truly understood its grandeur. But I must govern it eventually without ever having truly bonded with it. And I do not know if I could die only for the land alone, or must there be people in it that represent it in one's heart?"

There was a long silence as a gale whisked off Aragorn's words into the coomb.

Then …omer turned to him, took Aragorn's right hand into his own and pressed them both to his heart. "I will show you my country when it is all over."

The sun seemed to have risen anew on that day when …omer's beaming eyes lit up his handsome face.

Aragorn wistfully shook his head. "You know it is never over..."

"We will find time." …omer nodded searching for his companion's eyes.

Aragorn's fingers splayed out upon the whorls on …omer's cuirass. It loosened the man's grasp on him, allowing them both space enough to close the space between them. A manly grip on each other's forearm slipped into a haphazard embrace. Narsil's forger was not sure how to bury his head in the crook of …omer's metal-plated shoulder. Though he longed to inhale his scent, feel his heat in this spring morning's chill.

With amazement …omer noticed how the other man's eyes skated across his own features examining, assessing. Aragorn approached his face with fingers steeled in combat and softened by tenderness of heart. Alerted through the caresses of a callused thumb …omer realised his own mouth was open, dried by the breeze. He had to swallow. Aragorn's hand curled around his red locks.

"The only thing that allows me do this," Aragorn said, "to a man, whom's sheer composure resembles that of a mountain gorge – is the desire to see the beauty in his face without hindrance. This has overpowered all reason..." Aragorn averted his eyes to the ground as if in shame. Then a look of pure intention was hewing embrasures through the battlements of the Marshal's mind.

"And hope."

"Hope?" …omer mouthed tilting his chin up questioningly.

"Hope that I could pass the rock and find caverns of silver and crystal waters."

"Your language undoes me, heir of Isildur," …omer said as he let his hands ripple up and down the chain mail on Aragorn's arms till he was pulled towards the warrior's own weakest spot – his neck.

Aragorn felt the heat of …omer's breath, then an electrifying brush of lips against skin till he was crushed against the proud Rider of Rohan. Rubbing of leather and clanking of metal preceded the first kiss they shared. They were pressed against the parapet and their mouths against each other's. …omer had a firm grip in Aragorn's hair and his own was blazing behind him like a horse's mane in the wind.

The kiss was passionate, needy, all pent-up energy of the night and day's events clinging to their lips and charging into each other's bodies like a lightening bolt. A gale coiled around them, swept them up into the air.

And Aragorn tasted …omer.

They dove down slopes and soared across sap green plains of the Deeping-coomb into the gold of straw, and Aragorn instantly knew that it was the consciousness of home that he himself missed. It bound him to …omer like an unspoken promise. The warriors moaned as they rolled back and forth along the battlements. Blistered hands clung to one another as though they were in danger of falling off Helm's Tower. Yet neither of them would have cared much if they had cascaded down into the precipice – together.

…omer's vision snapped back to reality – the reality that bore male flesh and lust as well as the gory odour of death and rust – as Aragorn's tongue swirled around his own sending sparks down his spine straight to his oh, so neglected groin. He grinned a scoundrel smile, a Ranger's, as he bit …omer's tongue to the brink of pain and then licked his mouth out ever so languidly.

The Rider of Rohan braced the gasping man firmly against the wall with his thighs, but there was hardly any friction.

Hastily …omer started fumbling at his own straps and buckles before strong swordsman's hands tightened around his wrists.

He closed his eyes as if in defeat and leant in to kiss Aragorn's ear. "What, my lord?" he breathed, the aspirated 'r' more exciting than ever.

"Not here-" Aragorn's lips were on …omer's as their speech hushed into a series of kisses.

"Don't stop," …omer forced out wantonly. "We don't have the time for what interrupting now would need – should need..."

Amusement and fondness played in Aragorn's eyes as he beheld the serious warrior in his grasp.

"Then we must retain ourselves."

…omer's eyes flew open. "We wouldn't survive it!"

"We would fight with more vigour if we knew we had something to look forward to..."

Passion and darkest thoughts were taking over as fingers spread tentatively on Aragorn's face till it was cradled in hot palms.

"For when? Later? Afterwards? There might not be an afterwards, Wielder of the Sword Reforged." …omer's hands slipped onto the other man's shoulders and tightened.


There was a sound of clanking armour up the stone steps and …omer turned around immediately.

"Marshal!"

He recognised Grimbald's voice and soon saw his red face as he halted at the top steps.

"The King wishes to speak with you and Lord Aragorn. All riders to Isengard are to assemble."

"Are we leaving? Already?" …omer asked.

"No, not yet." Grimbald mumbled something about strategic issues and disappeared again.

A grave breath escaped …omer. The look on Aragorn's face had something knowing about it, he decided. And something indescribably beautiful.

"Be glad that we..."

"I know," …omer cut off and they kissed one last time, long and earthly. As their mouths parted …omer let his lower lip trail up to Aragorn's forehead.

"I do not know if relief or regret is what I feel," the future king of Gondor said as they separated.

"We will be travelling together," …omer said bravely.

And they took the spiralling staircase down the tower together – as warriors, as survivors.




Redeemer

And off they rode to another war. And was it truly a just war? Hadn't the Battle at Helm's Deep proven to be the greatest bloodshed the Riddermark had witnessed in an age? There was no rider who's thoughts were not ridden with these doubts as their steeds carried them toward the Fords of Isen.

In most minds these thoughts duelled with the avidity for revenge, especially in …omer's, who's enmity with the tower of the Cunning Mind had a much deeper source. Not only had Saruman's forces triggered the events that had led to his beloved cousin Thodred's death, but also had Orthanc's emissary Grma Wormtongue imprisoned his uncle Thoden, Lord of the Mark, behind the bars of a wizened form and heavy-lidded, blurred eyes. The tragedy that saddened …omer was that his uncle had lain years of his life-time in the enemy's hands and thus had wasted them. And when that one member of the foreign company who had come to Thoden's aid and had assisted him bravely in terrible warfare rode past, dark hair whipping his collar, and then turned to meet …omer's eye, he knew there could be a lot of time to waste between them. Resolutely …omer rode on to prevent that. Aragorn...

Light eyes pierced the heir of the Mark deeply into the marrow of his bones. A regal, but not supercilious posture on his horse Hasufel carried the grace that was his face. Yes, a steed of the Mark, and it had been …omer's to give, for it was left without master – a welcoming present into the soon-to-be liberated Riddermark from an outlaw to a stranger. …omer imagined Elendil's heir to be too dazzlingly beautiful for men to look upon, so he would wear his features rugged and bearded, and in spite of an Elven healer's skill he would not let his own scars heal. Otherwise …omer, he was certain of it, would have been the first to fall under Aragorn's spell and lose his eyesight.

It was a difficult stage in their journey to Isengard. With the Gap of Rohan in the west, more and more Rohirrim barrows passed their sight. …omer was weighed down by death and destruction and forced himself to look ahead. Not many words were exchanged between the two vanguard riders. Yet …omer felt a power radiate from his comrade. Aragorn was the Forger of the Broken Sword, and now so much more. He held the pieces of the Marksman's ruptured soul together.

As the company had crossed the River Isen and the moon had vanished behind the Misty Mountains, the riders decided to camp in a dark vale near the riverbank, hidden by the hills. …omer dismounted and scanned the sombre shapes for Aragorn. Before he had a chance to turn, his leather-clad wrist had been caught. He heard a slightly voiced whisper.

"Tonight..."

The voice sent a jolt through his whole body, but especially a place he would not name.


Before the king laid down to rest, Aragorn approached him.

"My Lord, in addition to our watchmen I shall follow the Isen upriver on foot, in case of threatening reinforcements from Orthanc. …omer will accompany me."

"On foot?" Thoden asked. "Even …omer?"

Aragorn's wry smile was well hidden in the dark. "Yes, my Lord."


And he strode off past the settled men and further upriver. He found …omer crouching alone by less wild waters, lowering his flat palm onto the surface. The Marksman did not look up as he felt Aragorn's presence beside him.

"I dare not touch it, for it is to me a river of blood," he sighed, clenching and unclenching his fist.

Aragorn felt deep sorrow well up inside him, for the man's helplessness moved him deeply. Gently he reached out. His fingers combed back …omer's untamed hair.

They looked at each other searching for familiar features in the creeping gloom.

…omer thought he had seen the heir of Isildur's forehead glow, having caught perhaps a glimpse of an invisible crown. Then he blinked and it was over. Just Aragorn's keen eyes and the reflection of starlight in the river were a source of light.

Something was changing. Slowly all scales of earlier restraint seemed to fall off Aragorn's eyes to reveal what …omer once before had uncovered on Hornburg's pinnacle – disarming, close to injuring desire.

Their eyes never lost touch as they helped each other off the shingled ground, yet Aragorn's were half-closed

They kissed once, chastely. And Aragorn's voice rumbled, "I need you now."

…omer inhaled sharply at the words and at the burning itch of lightest fingertips dancing across his over-sensitised palms.

He leant into Aragorn's bristly cheek, took in the scent of his skin. They let their lips caress each other's faces, but never did their mouths touch, nor their hands clasp, only fingers unfurling long-suppressed passions.

"Thou art a legend come to life," …omer moaned, his cheek pressed against Aragorn's, hands wandering. As if …omer had scathed the man's skin, Aragorn's abdomen shrunk away at a searching caress. A shy smile played between them. Soon …omer found the naked flesh he was looking for.

"And now I am to disrobe and spend the night with thee," he went on and hissed at Aragorn's grip on his inner thigh. It grew stronger and unclenched, only to find its way further up the suede leather chaps, …omer's kindling lust captured by a palm of a hand. "Again, how shall a man judge what to do in such times of marvel. Merely the taste of thy lips could bind him to a pledge."

With that they burst into a hastened kiss, more often broken than indulged, that left them breathless and clutching at one another's garments as they moved towards the skirt of trees. Only their smouldering desire for what was yet to come kept their lips a touch apart for the while of undressing. Even the sounds of leather slapping, metal clanking and linen rustling raked the embers of their imagination.

Aragorn sunk onto the soft moss, now completely unclad and desperately missing the other man's warmth.

"Come lie with me, my horselord," he said and added, "Or does the adage 'Men of the Mark never lie' exclude such an exercise?"

…omer snarled enticingly and sank to the ground. He moved over only to loom over Aragorn's frame. Once, twice he let his chest graze the other man's, feeling the hairs, testing the heat. And then his muscular arms held him up again. The gap of air between them was charged.

Aragorn found his upper body somewhat trapped between …omer's hands, his lower body by his toned thighs and his face enclosed in a curtain of sweet smelling locks of hair.

Both men gasped when their phalluses hardly but touched.

Fixing his gaze on the enraptured face below him …omer whispered, "It is like the harps of Meduseld, their golden wires plucked, and chords echoing between the plated columns..." he groaned when the alerted Aragorn had taken hold of his hips.

"You are trying my patience, young Marshal, though I am tempted to submerge in your poetry," a wry voice said shoving their groins together. The two warriors cried out.

Wrapped up in each other's arms they rolled hither and thither on the padded earth, sweat and dew coating their skin in cool moisture. Their breathing grew harsh and that traction in the core of each man's body increased and drew them nearer to the precipice. But Aragorn had something else in mind.

The knight landed face down in the moss. He gasped at how the heat had shifted from front to back as Aragorn's weight pressed down on him. Trying to prop himself up he turned his head. But harsh lips and a glowing hardness further downwards, where he now knew it had to be, enfeebled his attempt. A groan of reluctance ensued and …omer submitted to his own yearning for completion. "Take me, my redeemer," he whispered raggedly. "Let us find release not in death, but in each other."

And as the bleak black night closed in on them, the two princes of peoples of old – thrust upon each other not only by fate, but also by congruence of craving – rushed faster and faster towards that peek they were seeking, secluded from all odds, from the certainty of war that was overtaking the uncertainty of aftermath.

For a moment Aragorn had to avert his sight – the vision became to powerful to bear. …omer, the proud Rider of Rohan, was lying face-down beneath him, arms splayed out at his sides as were his sweat-drenched locks, fingers gripping rock and fern in abandon, the visible eye once squeezed shut, once wide open in time with the deep, harsh thrusts of Aragorn's hips. It became the image that made the light come, when …omer reared arching his virile back, crying out into the night.

They stayed still for a while, …omer now fully hauled onto Aragorn's lap and a strong arm strapping him to the body behind him. Their gasps were in unison, yet Aragorn's more voiced than …omer's hence not having let go so explosively but more gradually drifting. This last ultimate closeness between two warriors would diminish soon, but they barely moved, only to hold onto it. What had been an invasion to …omer before, felt like the sole liberation for his tormented soul. The hot chest heaving and pounding against his back as they shivered on the outsides would have to maintain the memory as Aragorn slipped out of …omer's body.

Reluctantly Aragorn then braced himself on the ground and lowered their weights onto gravel and mud. …omer slowly turned on the bed of his lover's frame and rested his elbows on the ground, both at the sides of Aragorn's head. His hands framed Aragorn's features. …omer faced him for a wink of an eye, seeing him more beautiful than ever, bleary-eyed and utterly spent. A finger dragged down the crevice under Aragorn's cheekbone till he leaned down and let his tongue enter slightly parted lips a few times before indulging into languid swirls and strokes inside his mouth.

A hand, once so tense, now limp from exertion, slipped from …omer's loins up the length of his torso, leaving a trail of semen on its path. Aragorn reached exposed armpits and slid downwards again through the deepening of their kiss. Throaty, gasping sounds escaped their open-mouthed kiss as they revelled in their residue. Aragorn wavered between pressing into …omer's head of hair and kneading his shoulders and buttocks in not hapless indecision.

Eventually Aragorn rolled off …omer with a sigh, his head bedded on his hand. The other he absently stroked across …omer's torso. The knuckles were rough against the marksman's skin, even more so from catching earth and gravel on their way.

…omer turned his head to look at his lover. Aragorn's eyes were fixed on the stars above. He looked a lot older now, …omer mused. And surely he counted more than twice the knight's age, a Dnadan that he was.

…omer's chest heaved as he spoke, "I shall take a dip in the bay waters. Will you join me, my Man of the North?"

"No." Aragorn replied.

…omer's smirk faded rapidly. And so it grew on Aragorn's rejuvenated features.

"I prefer to linger in your scent a little longer and do not intend to wash you off me just yet," Aragorn said. "Do not care to wait for me."

With that …omer pushed himself off the ground, dusted his hands off and walked towards the shore. Aragorn sat up a bit to watch his receding form. …omer noticed the gravel and carefully set foot on the ground. His head fell forward as he dipped his first foot in the water, then he threw it back and hissed. When the water was knee level he stopped and stood inhaling sharply, enjoying the cool night air. Shadow and light shifted on his skin. Aragorn felt a pang in his stomach as he saw …omer's buttocks and thighs quiver from the increasing cold. He even bent forward to scoop some water up to cool his body. Drops and rivulets dripped from the man's skin and Aragorn caught a glimpse of …omer's profile as he turned his head to one side and let his red mane caress his shoulders. Wild beauty...

The rider started panting, the more depth the water gained. Aragorn's hand wandered to his own sweltering loins, only to grip his thighs. He heard an animalistic cry and …omer splashed into the river, dove under and drove himself far out into the stream. When he came up again, face first with a gasp, he found himself adrift. He had underestimated the current and had to struggle a little to get back to the shore. Aragorn got up and walked towards the river, but stopped when he saw …omer rapidly approaching. He found foot quickly and threw his head back, a cascade of hair cutting through the air, harsh drops splashing Aragorn.

"A little bit more of you on me," he moaned. Deliciously Aragorn rubbed in the wetness, warming it.

…omer was now very close to the bank where Aragorn was standing. He combed back a few wet strands of hair and clasped his hands behind his head. Eyes of a predator scanned the shifting muscles, the renewed stirring of lust in …omer's body. The air was cool between them.

Then …omer charged out of the water and seized Aragorn by the shoulders who gasped at the freezing, wet skin and instinctively shrunk away. But Aragorn's arms knew better and encircled …omer's waist. Pressed against each other, breathing hard, eye to eye, they waited.

"I must have got carried away," …omer whispered.

Then Aragorn kissed him.
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