Billowing

by Sasjah Miller

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It had seemed like such a good idea to go curtain shopping together with Boromir. For the fifth day in a row the spring sun had shone brightly through the bedroom windows in the Tower of Ecthelion, and once again Aragorn had awakened far too early for his taste. Decades he had spent sleeping in the wild, awakening at the earliest morning light, stiff and sore from the makeshift beds of twigs and leaves he had to sleep on, and now that he was Lord of Gondor and Arnor at last, he wanted to sleep *in* once in a while, damnit! Boromir, oblivious to the world as usual when he was asleep, had reacted surprisingly well to the idea, considering the fact that Aragorn had rudely prodded him awake to tell him about it.

Sometimes Aragorn still managed to forget that Boromir was *not* a morning person; or that at least the part above his waist wasn't. Boromir's mind and temper usually woke up about an hour after his body did, a fact that continued to unsettle Aragorn, although he had used it to his own advantage on more than one occasion. But after breakfast they had set out together, the Lords of Gondor, strolling through the gates of the castle to explore the narrow winding roads and alleys of Minas Tirith, in search of the ultimate window drapes.

~~~ *** ~~~

"But I thought you *liked* red," Aragorn sighed, as he let the heavy carmine bale of fabric drop onto the table, the thud reverberating loudly in what felt like the fiftieth fabric shop they were visiting. "You wore that bloody red tunic all the time during our quest, not even once bothering to wash it. You stank like crazy. Everybody thought so, but they were all too polite to mention it. Why else do you think Legolas dunked you into that pool right after the Mines of Moria and offered to wash you right then and there? Not because he was so fond of you. You were just too offending to his delicate Elven senses."

Boromir glared at Aragorn, who suddenly feigned a very un-lordlike interest in the wares lying before them.

"Well, it seems growing up among the Elves isn't what it's cracked up to be," he answered scathingly, "because you apparently didn't hear all the things they said about /you/ on the road. And yes, I like red, but I prefer not to see it as the curtain color of my bedroom in the White Tower."

"Your bedroom? Since when is it *your* bedroom? I sleep there as well!" Aragorn asked indignantly, as Boromir, still a bit peeved at having been awakened so rudely that morning, picked up a beautiful, loosely woven, dove grey bale of fabric and shoved it in Aragorn's direction, hitting him quite firmly in the stomach.

"It has been *my* bedroom since I was born, you sod," he hissed. "You, of all people should know how important history and heirlooms are, you with your bloodlines going back to the First Age. Who died and made you King of the hill? Wasn't me. So shut up, will you, and tell me what you think of this color."

"Grey?" Aragorn wheezed, "Grey isn't a color. It's black and white mixed together. I don't want some 'oh, I *can't* decide what I'm going to be color' billowing around me when I wake up in the morning. I've seen too much grey billowing when Gandalf fell into that abyss and his robe showed far more than I ever cared to see", Aragorn answered, shuddering involuntarily.

Even Boromir grinned at the recollection. "I'll concede your point: I don't want any memories of Gandalf in the bedroom either. And *no*, most emphatically no black!" He groaned, closing his eyes in horror as Aragorn picked up a rather sturdy looking black fabric. "It reminds me too much of those wretched Orcs and their black arrows!" Instead, he reached for the white bale of fabric that lay hidden under the black one.

"What about white?" he asked, his strong fingers stroking the shimmering cloth suggestively, as he cast a sideways grin at Aragorn. "Soft, satiny, *innocent* white?"

It was now Aragorn's turn to groan. "No, please, no white. It would remind me too much of Arwen and Eowyn setting up house in Ithilien together, bickering about where they would plant the Simbelmine and Elanor, dressed in Galadriel's hand-me-downs to keep their own clothes from getting dirty. Please don't do that to me."

There was only one bale left on the table, a beautiful, purple, velvet fabric and Aragorn looked at it with renewed interest. He picked it up and spread it out over the other bales of fabric, letting his hands slide appreciatively over the soft cloth.

"This would look nice, a royal color, suited to our station as the Lords of Gondor and Arnor," Aragorn said approvingly.

But Boromir swallowed nervously and looked at the bale of fabric as if it was the Balrog re-embodied lying on the table before them. "I'd rather pass up the purple too, if you don't mind."

"But why?" Aragorn asked curiously. He couldn't see one single flaw in the fabric or the color and to his knowledge there weren't any sordid memories attached to purple.

Boromir hemmed and hawed a little, shuffling his feet in embarrassment, but finally mumbled, " … saw Elrond wearing Arwen's dress in Rivendell. And it looked better on him too. The sight still haunts my dreams."

At that point Aragorn laughed out loud and put his arm around Boromir, pulling him against him.

"It seems we will never be able to settle on a color for our curtains. What about leaving our windows as bare as they are, and let the candles in our bedroom shine on the city of Minas Tirith when the silver trumpets have called from afar for us to return?"

Boromir smiled and nodded. "A good idea, Aragorn, because that way everyone can see that the Lords of Gondor have come."

Boromir blanched as he realised what he had just implied.

"Home, I mean," he practically squeaked.

"Come home. The Lords of Gondor have come home. That's what I meant, yes. The Lords of Gondor have returned…"

Boromir looked beseechingly at Aragorn who was bent over with laughter while the fabric seller wondered what all the fuss was about. As if half the city of Minas Tirith wasn't secretly hoping that those two would change their minds about their sexual orientation, while the other half was inwardly cheering and nudging each other, saying 'I told you so', all the while secretly gauging their own chances.

"So, no fabric for your curtains today, Sires? Would you be wanting to look at some linen or satin for your bed sheets?"

But both Boromir and Aragorn shook their heads frantically, Aragorn still wiping the tears from his eyes as they walked out of the door as quickly as they could. The fabric seller sighingly picked up his wares and put them back on the shelves where they belonged. It may have been that the Lords of Gondor had caused him no end of trouble and had not bought anything, but he was certain that they would be returning shortly. If the tales of the castle's washing maids were true, their bed linen would have to be replaced pretty soon. All that washing would surely make it threadbare in no time.

As he looked at the Lords of Gondor, walking away, their arms around each other's shoulders, he knew that he, and many others with him, would be watching the White Tower with more than passing interest after the sound of the silver trumpets had sounded, to see if there was more than the flickering of candlelight to be glimpsed through its bare bedroom windows.

The End