I do not know what caused me to wake, but panic descended as soon as I opened my eyes. I was in a room that I did not remember, and an unfamiliar weight was in my arms. My heart raced for a moment. Then I looked down at the golden-haired woman sleeping in my arms, and memories of the night before returned, sweeping away my fears like leaves before the wind.
She will have to marry me now. I thought with an indulgent smile as my eyes roved the glorious expanse of her unclothed skin.
In the strictest sense, the White Lady of Rohan was not yet my wife. The evening before, in the custom of her people, we were troth-plighted in the hall of the King, but the laws of Gondor still had pleasantries to observe.
"An engagement...with benefits." The Lady had explained the tradition, with a maiden's blush upon her cheeks. I had discovered, over the long months of our engagement, that the differences between our customs were often vexing, their ways of binding a man to a woman not the least of these. And yet, I thought with a grin as I coaxed the sheet lower over her hips, This compromise was pleasant enough.
Still, though I had already sampled the delights that Gondor reserved for a husband, I was anxious for the formalities to be complete. Éowyn was a woman who could never be claimed, but that did not stop my longing. I wanted to take her to the hills of Emyen Arnen and begin our lives anew.
I wanted to take her away from Aragorn.
I did not doubt my lady's faithfulness, or the honor of my friend and king, but I had endured too many blows at the hands of fate to rest easy until she was wholly mine. I was still wary of the past they had shared.
"Wish me joy, my liege-lord and healer!" She had proclaimed to him after our hands were joined.
And he answered, "I have wished thee joy ever since first I saw thee. It heals my heart to see thee now in bliss," but I saw the sadness in his gaze. I felt his regret for a love that would never be.
Now, I hoped my fears could at last be laid to rest.
I had waited for this morning so long! The days of the Spring had inched past like a worm along a branch. Although many of our companions did not know of the sign Aragorn awaited to signal Arwen's return, he had confided it to me. Every sunrise, even before I broke my fast, I had climbed to the citadel of Minas Tirith. I ran to the courtyard of the fountain waiting, almost as desperately as the king, for the White Tree to flower again. He thought that I was anxious on his account, but in truth, I thought only of myself. I did not pass a
restful night until he was wed. Though Evenstar was now our queen, I clung to a tendril of fear. Elrond's daughter was his wife, but she was mortal too. The lives of women were often cut short. If she were to die...
I tried to pull my thoughts from the dark path that they would tread, but they would not be bidden. Questions hovered like shadows. Did Éowyn long for Aragorn still, even now that hope was past? Did she dream of his lips upon her own? Had she imagined the King in my stead when I claimed her as my bride? I tortured myself with the thoughts: her gasps and cries of passion...her sweet sighs...the hunger in her pool-blue eyes - for him!
Jealousy stabbed the breath from my lungs. I wondered at this emotion. I had never been first in anyone's affection. Surely I had grown accustomed by now?
Éowyn had chosen me, of all the men of Middle Earth, to be her lord. She said that she loved me, and her face held a look of truth. Why couldn't I trust her words? Was it the choice of a rational man, wary of the pain of life, or of a small boy hiding behind his father's chair, feeling unworthy of naught by crumbs?
It did not matter in the end. Even if I was but a consolation for a love Éowyn could never claim, I would be content. It was enough that she would be near me, and that I would be free to worship her as I wished. It was I, after all, who would see her golden hair poured over my pillows, glinting in the morning sun. Faramir alone would hold her as she drifted to sleep. My sons and daughters would grow in her womb...
My cheeks were moist as I bent once more to kiss her brow. A single tear slid from my skin to hers, disturbing her peaceful slumber. Éowyn moaned in sleepy protest and twisted in my arms. Gemstone eyes blinked open, their pupils wide unfixed, as if she lingered in her dream.
She caught my gaze for only an instant, and she smiled. Then, she whispered a name before returning to rest.
My heart swelled in sudden, unexpected bliss.
The name she had spoken was mine.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.