Author's Notes: This Story is SLASH, which means two men doing extremely naughty things. If that makes you retch, please go back now.

For Jenn, who resisted the donut.

Disclaimer: These characters by no means belong to me -- they belong to JRR Tolkien

Brother Mine

By Pluto


How they came to a drawing of swords, he did not remember. Only the heat of voices, both driven by passions they had long waved without apology like standards on the battlefield. If Aragorn's banner had been less ostentatious, less offending to the uninvolved, it had been no less bold, raised with no less strength and resolve behind it. And likewise, the openness with which Boromir wore his purposes was no mere compensation for personal inadequacies, but a truth drawn from the fierce certainty of his love for Gondor. If, as their voices rose and their anger boiled to a roiling fury, they drew dark and curious looks from the elves of Lothlórien, or worried looks from their companions, they took no notice. And no note they made as they retreated deeper into less lighted parts of the enchanted woods.

But now they stood alone, what prying eyes would regard them left long behind or fallen so silent as to not be noticed, and in their hands they held bared steel.

It was Aragorn who saw reason first, and looked to the sword in his hand with some surprise, as if he had not been the one to draw it. "If we have come to this," he said, grim-faced, "then the quest is certainly doomed to fail. Let us settle things otherwise, Boromir."

But tersely the man of Gondor replied, "It was your hand on the hilt first, and you who broke the trust so tenuous between us-- if ever you truly allowed it to exist. For do not think I have not seen the wariness with which you watch me, so assured that as a Man I must fail. But though you may be loved by elves, and fostered by them, and sing their songs, it is Men whose blood dominates in your veins, and among Men you will be counted when you die."

Aragorn did not relent. "It is not the blood of Men that makes me wary of you, son of Gondor, but the bane of Isildur that makes me fear for your next misstep."

"Such a piteous pair of men we are, afraid of some small trinket," Boromir countered. "Soon we shall be cowering at our

shadows.""Nay," Aragorn said, "It is not the Ring I speak of." And he looked to Boromir darkly, as though he thought the man must know what he intended to say.

Boromir did not withdraw his gaze, nor his offense.

"Then perhaps best that you use your newly reforged blade upon me, Aragorn, and strike me down before I cause greater harm to your purposes! For surely I cannot be equal to your noble blood, and surely I still believe that there is no King to return to Gondor."

Warily they faced off, neither willing to sheathe his weapon, though Aragorn knew it was unkingly that he did not. He could not shake the fear that what madness was in Boromir would cause him to strike out when he should not, to breach that etiquette that kept his hand at bay. And foul though it was to admit it to himself, it had truly been his sword first drawn, his fear first realized. That the Ring could drive himself and Boromir both to such extreme was worse than any fear he had of the man.

But whether it was a trick of the light, or the ill influence of the Ring, or a mistimed step into a misplaced root, it seemed Boromir stumbled towards him, and Aragorn suddenly had Andúril brought up in defense, striking the straight and unforgiving edge of Boromir's own. From there both men found their restraint broken. Blows rang through the woods, surely noticed by some of the keen-eared folk who dwelt there, and perhaps even by those not so keen.

On Boromir's face he saw what his own must reflect as well: frustration, anger, mistrust. Those same sentiments he found repeated in the language of matched blades. Grace of step and grace of swing, both muscle and force unrelenting, both driven by a passion to do what was best, and what was right. He thought that he should cease this quarrel, for they fought for the same goal in the end, did they not? Yet when he drew Andúril back as if to refrain from defending himself, another strike came for him and he could not help but answer it. The man of Gondor had more eloquence in his argument with blade than with tongue; Aragorn had the advantage of both, but here in this debate of steel, he found himself evenly matched.

And yet again it was a turn of foot that changed the argument, for he slipped in a shallow in the ground and struck a blow too close, and nicked Boromir across the cheek as he stumbled against him. If the man of Gondor might have been given to anger for injury, he had no chance to realize it, thrown back immediately into a tree by Aragorn's weight. His blood splashed them both, and the heat of it ended the duel, so shocked was Boromir to feel himself cut by a man who would be his ally, and shocked was Aragorn to have cut him. Swords fell from numbed fingers, and Aragorn tried straighten from his indignity. His one hand he leaned close to Boromir's head, to support his weight as he found his feet. On his cheek, the heat of the blood faded, chilling his skin, and he found he shivered.

He could feel the rise and fall of Boromir's chest near to his own, the heat of the man's body steamed into the chill air. They were close, then, closer than they had been before; sweat dampened both their brow, and mingled with the spattering of Boromir's blood on their cheeks. For one moment Aragorn felt true kinship to the man before him, and he was drawn to this, fascinated.

He could not stop his hand from pressing to the cut on Boromir's fine strong jaw, nor his fingers from tracing the trail of the blood as it curved downwards, to end saturating the man's collar. It seemed detached, unreal, that he would cut his own companion in this quest, when their swords should have been turned towards the dark enemy and not each other. "We have been fools," he muttered, and the admission of it was harder than when Galadriel had urged him to face the doubt in his own heart. Easier to agree when told of an error than to face that error in reality. "I am sorry, Boromir."

He made to draw back, to step away, but a strong hand gripped his wrist, clutched deeply into the layered rags he wore. "We have resolved nothing. I am unsatisfied."

Intense was the gaze of the man of Gondor, flushed were his cheeks, and the passion of anger seemed in him still. A slow, fresh trickle of blood started from the cut on his cheek, as if his words had disturbed it. But Aragorn's anger had cooled now, and the sight of the injury only redoubled his guilt.

"What draws me thus," he asked aloud of himself. "What makes me fear for your misguidance more deeply than I fear for myself?"

"What misguidance!" Boromir demanded, and he seemed frustrated near to tears. Yet he let himself be pinned to the tree by the loose cage of Aragorn's arms. "If you would trust me, only, rather than have your elf watch me as if I am the enemy, rather than threaten your sword to me when you suspect my motive! What have I done, Aragorn, to warrant thus, aside from question your right to be King! All my life, and my father's life, and his father's life before him, there has been no King for Gondor, only loyal Stewards! How is it that I am expected to accept that some wanderer whom I do not know, supported by elves and wizards I hardly know better, is the rightful man to rule my White City?"

"Faith, man of Gondor," Aragorn said, "in myself and those who advise you, and in your choice to support this Fellowship."

"Perhaps easier if the leader of this Fellowship were to have faith in me," Boromir replied, and again they were at an impasse. And again Aragorn felt guilt, a guilt that overwhelmed him each time he looked at the man before him now.

"You may grime your skin and wear rags, but your arrogance betrays you. You ask my faith, and give none in return, and expect me

to--"And then the smell of the man was too much, the tense of his body against Aragorn's, the heat of his anger raged up against Aragorn's own. The ranger's hands clenched the wide, broad shoulders in an iron strong hold, and shook Boromir, slammed him, twice hard into the tree they were braced against. "I am here to watch over the Fellowship, not cater to the whimpering of one foolish Man. If you cause this quest to stumble in any way, man of Gondor, I *will* take what action is necessary."

"Whimpering!" Boromir's fists found hold in Aragorn's collar. "Strike at me with weapons if you would strike at me with words, coward!" But there was a fey light in Boromir's eye, or so it seemed to Aragorn, and a flush still lingered in his cheeks.

Aragorn shook his head. "I will not allow your madness to infect me also..."

But Boromir's fists sought to shove him away, and in reaction Aragorn pulled them together, fingers bitten by the mail cloaking the man's shoulders. The action caused them both to slip and stumble; they ended colliding lip to jaw, red wetness streaming down Aragorn's chin. He cursed, and turned, and his mouth slid over Boromir's, rough and framed by abrasive beard. His blood, already heated, quickened further; and suddenly he found he was pressing their mouths together harder, and prisoning Boromir against the trunk of the mallorn with more conviction.

Teeth, he expected, or fists or hands to shove him away; but the man beneath him did nothing, and though he knew not why he did what he did he held to him for many moments longer.

"I am not some disobedient green recruit," Boromir said breathlessly when he was released, "to be cowed by sex to bow to his superior." But his breathing was as quick as Aragorn's, his hands still clutching the other man's clothing fiercely.

"We have no such practice among the Dúnedain." Aragorn wiped the blood from his mouth, and found his lips stung from more than the injury, a pleasant burn that made the heat of him worse. "I meant no such thing..."

But Boromir pulled him close again, mouth to mouth, hot and eager. It occurred to Aragorn then that the Dúnedain may have no such practice as in the ranks of the Gondorian guard, but Boromir would oblige him to follow those rules. And so he dealt as fiercely as he received, unwilling to surrender even in this. They grappled with kiss and caress, to draw the first noise of assent, of pleasure, each from the other, gripping fistfuls of fabric and mail and leather. The treacherous ground betrayed Aragorn again, and both of them tumbled, and as his back struck the hard dirt he found burst from his lips a sigh.

"Here is your 'otherwise,'" Boromir growled into his ear, pinning him with his greater weight. "Is this more pleasant than swords and fists, Dúnadan? Shall we come to more of a resolution between us?"

"I will not surrender my view."

Boromir's body flexed against him, and he found himself sighing again before he could stubbornly quiet himself. "You are not in much position to protest."

But Aragorn reached after him, and brought their heads together and their mouths, his lips singing an aching song to be resumed against the tautness of the other's. Behind the too-yielding mouth he pressed against the strength of teeth, pressed until his own blood flowed and Boromir's too, salt-sweet over his tongue. He heard the man of Gondor gasp, and relent, shuddering to pull away, but he would not let him.

"This battle has escaped me, my blood runs too hot to reason," Boromir said against his lips, breath warm and moist. Still Aragorn did not release him, nor did Boromir make attempt to flee. Teeth scraped over stubble, bit none-too-gently along the line of Aragorn's jaw; and he seized his advantage and rolled them over, straddling his opponent.

"Such is the failing of men," he responded.

"Then you--"

But Boromir fell silent as Aragorn's hand found the front of his tunic, and gripped him hard. He groaned under the clutch, fingers digging into the unshielded flesh of Aragorn's forearm, struggling to refrain from tilting his hips into the pleasant pressure.

"Are you greedy for it?" Aragorn said with no compassion, as if he were not moved as well, as stirred to action.

"I am..." And it was with great labor that Boromir continued, slow with his words and his body as tense as a drawn bowstring. "I am filled with need of it."

Roughly Aragorn leaned forth and kissed Boromir deeply, not releasing his firm grip. Beneath him the warrior of Gondor arched into the touch, shaking with the effort of resisting further surrender.

"Such... is the failing... of men!" Boromir whispered, his cheeks red with humility or passion Aragorn did not know.

"Then we are brothers in this failing, for I am greedy for it also."

And with this admittance, he permitted not only his surrender but the surrender of Boromir also; and they fell to each other like ravenous wolves, clutching and gnawing and biting and clinging. They snapped at each other for dominance, but Boromir's hands loosed his own belt first, and Aragorn tugged the other man's breeches partially down before he could prevent it.

He rose half to his knees, fumbling at the ties on his leggings as he did so, and the man of Gondor countered, by rising also and leaning him back against a mallorn tree, running teeth along the curve of his neck. It was a particularly pleasant spot, and so he let himself be trapped and attended to; a strange respect was inherent in each caress and kiss that Boromir delivered. Worshipful, almost, and the thought made him laugh lightly, for it was likely the closest he would get to the proper obeisance owed to him as heir to Isildur. The heat of his body surged again, and he wrestled Boromir around, and tugged harder at the close-fitting breeches, bringing them down to the other man's knees.

As he pushed the finely made leather tunic up around Boromir's waist, Boromir pressed his palms against the smooth mallorn-tree bark and braced himself backwards. The motion failed as escape, but teased the urgency of Aragorn's blood even greater, so that he carelessly stripped the remaining lacing of his breeches and pressed his hips forward to meet the back-thrust, smoothly countering. He claimed the man of Gondor fully, with a great cry from both their lips as he impaled Boromir, who shuddered just once beneath

him.Aragorn kissed at the soft hair at the back of the man of Gondor's neck, hoping to soothe and tame him as a magnificent stallion; but wild and full of fire was Boromir, not to be soothed by gentling touches. Aragorn fell to other measures, a firm grip, a rough hand still gloved in fingerless leather, to clench and squeeze the reluctant moans from Boromir's lips. Yet even trapped between a tree and Aragorn's relentless motion, Boromir did not give up easily; he held his own with great dignity, pressing fiercely back into Aragorn. His body arched powerfully beneath the ranger, muscles hard as steel evident even under the layers of leather and velvet and mail-rings. He was iron wrapped in velvet, and Aragorn did not plunder him with ease, but got as fiercely as he gave.

Their urgency grew greater and Aragorn's focus narrowed down into the small point where their bodies joined together, cloaked by leathers and rumpled rough spun fabric pushed just far enough out of the way to allow their intimate contact. The simple contact of his fist to draw Boromir's pleasure as he drew his own, urging him on with fevered stroking, madness stronger than Ring-desire or love. He knew, then, the man's greed, and his fingers wrapped beneath the leathers on the bared skin of Boromir, and dug in deeply, and could not nor would not let go. He drove them harder, harder, single-mindedly towards a single goal, and the eager, hungry cries they made only spurred him on faster.

Finally Boromir relented beneath him, arching beautifully as Aragorn crushed him against the mallorn-tree, growling his spent passion in the noble tongue. The feel of his release on Aragorn's palm forced the ranger to bite down on the back of the man's neck, so as not to lose himself immediately also; he savored for a moment the exhaustion of Boromir against him, muscles suddenly relaxed and trembling, his knees so weak he barely stood. But when his opponent had made fair recovery, Aragorn gripped one hand on the man's hip and one around his throat, and whispered harshly, "I am greedy still." He gave no opportunity for assent or protest, but took up the rhythm again with twice the ferocity and want, so that Boromir clutched the trunk before him blindly for support.

"If you are greedy and a man," Boromir gasped, "then take what you will and make no apology!"

Aragorn found himself released by those words, spilling over in his passion, crying out in surprise. His thoughts burned away and he knew only the joy of attaining what he had desired too long; he pressed his face into the fur-lined cloak of the man under him and gasped as the world spun beneath him.

Slowly his mind redefined the ridge of leather straps and roughness of the heavy cloak, slowly his legs grew sturdy beneath him once again. Still he drew apart from the man Boromir with great reluctance, for it seemed in his heart that this might be a rare time that they came to some terms of agreement. The thick sound of Boromir's voice seemed to express this also, and as he released his hold on the mallorn, they both slipped apart, and sank to sit together on the roots of the great silver tree. Boromir drew his breeches up silently, and Aragorn closed up his laces once more.

"Again we are at an impasse," Boromir said finally, "but I have not the strength for another round."

"Nor I," Aragorn replied, "Though it seems to me that there has been some agreement between us."

At this Boromir laughed, and he tilted his head back against the silver mallorn, and ran the back of his hand over his lips. "That we are both men, brothers bound by it, weaker for it?"

"Nay," Aragorn said, and he was quiet for some time. Finally he continued, "We are men, but we find our strength in it, if we would fight together for common cause."

Boromir laughed again, but it was bitterly. "And what more common cause than greed?"

And to this, Aragorn had no answer.

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