Aragorn and Faramir struggle to find a quiet place to work
I give the fight up: let there be an end, A privacy, an obscure nook for me. I want to be forgotten even by God. – Browning
With thanks to Raksha
These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.
"We should be able to persuade the Council of the need to change the inheritance laws in this afternoon's debate," said Faramir.
"This afternoon?" Aragorn groaned. "I was certain it was next week."
"I prepared all the documents last week," said Faramir a trifle reproachfully. "I assume you have not read it?"
The King shook his head. "I am sorry, mellon nîn, there always seems so many other things to engage my attention. Perhaps we could study the changes you propose now? Arwen is not expecting me to dine with her, since she is visiting the City Orphanage today."
"I would be happy to," said the Steward. "I will fetch the scrolls and join you in your study."
"We may as well study them in my private sitting room," said the King. "We can at least be comfortable there and have something to eat while we work."
Aragorn ordered a servant to bring a selection of breads, meat, cheeses, and fruit together with some wine. The woman had just placed them on a table by the couch when Faramir returned carrying a bundle of scrolls and documents. The two men were soon sitting side-by-side, papers on their laps and hunks of bread and cheese in their hands, scattering crumbs over the carpet.
"I believe when Elendil came to Gondor that he intended- " Aragorn began, only to be interrupted by a knock on the door. "Come in," he called tersely.
A maid entered. "Are you sure those refreshments are sufficient for you, my lords?" she enquired. "The cook said to tell you she had a nice roast chicken prepared if you were hungry and she would make you a gooseberry fool or some syllabub for dessert."
"This is quite sufficient, thank you," said the King, dismissing the girl. "Now where was I?"
"On page twelve, where I wrote that I believe Elendil intended Númenorean law to apply to Gondor," said Faramir, finding the place and taking another bite of bread, this time accompanied by cold roast beef.
A loud knock came on the door.
"Come in," Aragorn called grumpily.
It was a servant carrying wood for the fire. The man dropped the bundle of logs so that they rolled over the floor, then kept apologising profusely as he picked them up and built up the fire. It was impossible to concentrate on reading. After what seemed like an age, he was finally left after many bows and further apologies.
Aragorn groaned. "The usual servant is unwell. I believe this fellow usually works in the stables, work he is obviously far better suited to."
For a few minutes, the two men resumed their work. Then there was another knock on the door. This time it was a housemaid, carrying a brush.
"What do you want?" Aragorn asked unable to keep the irritation from his voice.
"The cook's assistant who brought your refreshments said there were some crumbs on the floor that needed sweeping up," said the girl.
"It will do later," said Aragorn.
"But the Queen, is most particular about thiscarpet," the girl protested.
"I said it will do later," Aragorn said angrily causing the girl to blanch. He softened on seeing her frightened look." I promise you that the Queen will not be angry," he said smiling at her. "We just need some to be left alone to work at present. Perhaps you could tell the Housekeeper we are not to be disturbed during the next hour?"
"Yes, my lord." The girl bobbed a curtsey and left.
"Has a King no privacy?" Aragorn sighed as she closed the door behind her.
"It seems not," said Faramir sympathetically. "Neither does a Steward, for that matter at least not in Minas Tirith. Now, if we continue on page sixteen where I noted that the fourth King, Tar-Elendil, gave his daughter an equal share of his personal property with her brothers."
At last, it seemed the King and the Steward would be left to discuss the document in peace. Their meal completed, Aragorn removed the plates from the small table in front of them and leaned back with his feet upon it.
Faramir sat only slightly more properly, with his feet sprawled out.
As the fresh logs burned brightly, the room grew hot and both men shed their outer tunics.
Just then the door opened without a warning knock
"Estel!" Arwen said angrily. "That table belonged to Father. It is older than I am! How could you put your dirty booted feet on it?"
"I am sorry, "said Aragorn, hastily putting his feet on the floor. "It is just that I think better sitting like this!"
"I think not," snapped Arwen. "You blood will all be in your feet rather than your head! And just look at the state of the carpet! There are crumbs everywhere. I spent thirty years making it; it took me fifteen years alone to find the perfect threads!"
"Faramir and I were eating our lunch while we worked," said the King. "Do not blame the servants; we did not wish to be disturbed while we discussed inheritance laws to be debated later in Council."
Meanwhile, Faramir struggled to pull his tunic back over his head with all possible haste. It was considered a grave discourtesy to be seen less than fully clothed in the presence of a lady.
"You would have more privacy in your study," said the Queen, smiling at Faramir to show that her anger was not for him.
"Now I understand why Ecthelion used to retreat to the recesses of the White Tower to ponder matters of state," Aragorn grumbled as King and Steward heeded the Queen's words and carried their papers to Aragorn's study. "A wise man, your grandfather; he had an office built, and let only his closest friends and counsellors and the guards know of its existence. The chamber had been hastily built and was small. Well I remember how Denethor and I were constrained in such cramped quarters. Now I agree with Ecthelion's words: 'Privacy is as valuable as comfort, and sometimes is more valuable still."
A/n . This was written several years ago for the prompt "Privacy" on the AA list and has languished forgotten on my hard drive.