by Your Cruise Director

"He likes you, you know."

Boromir glanced over at Aragorn, calmly smoking his pipe as he regarded the two hobbits practicing with their swords in the center of the clearing where they had stopped to rest. Merry was scowling, determined to master the footwork that Boromir had showed them earlier, but Pippin kept glancing over with an eager smile to see if the men were watching.

Aragorn's expression held something more than simple amusement. As always when the older man smiled at him, Boromir felt his cheeks color and his pulse quicken. "They are merely grateful that I have taught them to use their swords," he said dismissively.

"Of course they both enjoy your company. But..." Aragorn paused to tip his pipe to Pippin, who had just managed a very fine parry, though it was Boromir to whom Pippin looked for approval. "I think the little one may be a little in love with you."

Boromir's breath caught in his throat, making him wheeze when he wished to laugh scornfully at Aragorn's shocking words. He thought that perhaps the man mocked him, though it would not at all be like Aragorn to jest about such a thing. "Ridiculous," he growled when he had found his voice. "You insult us both. I am a man; he is a hobbit. Such a thing would not be possible."

"Yet it has been known to happen," said the Ranger, beloved of an elf, and Boromir realized that Aragorn was not teasing him at all but believed his own words.

Pippin liked it when Boromir taught him fencing, wrestling, the art of war. He liked it when Boromir carried him through difficult terrain. He liked it when Boromir let him fall asleep curled up against him, as Boromir sometimes did for warmth and safety when Aragorn took watch; when one of the others took watch, Boromir always lay near Aragorn. He had never thought much about it, just as he had never thought much about the fact that Pippin was happy when Boromir let the hobbit sleep beside him.

After Aragorn's remark, however, Boromir became aware of Pippin's attentions. He was embarrassed by them and further embarrassed that he did not always feel the appropriate revulsion at the thought that the little one might desire pleasure from him. He tried to avoid Pippin for a few days, but the hurt on the smallest hobbit's face when Boromir tried to dismiss him left the man unable to continue such a course of action.

Boromir was no stranger to love between soldiers, but when he tried to consider such contact with a hobbit, he felt more akin to the sort of evil man who befouled children. He knew that Pippin was no child, but he could not prevent his feeling that such relations between men and hobbits would be wicked and unjust.

Moreover, he knew that despite his fondness, he did not love Pippin. Though it troubled him to admit it, when Boromir's mind spun fantasies and his body found gratification in slumber, it was always Aragorn who moved through his dreams.

One night Boromir woke after the moon had set to find Pippin snuggled under his cloak, nestled close to his chest and groin. The hobbit was soft and yielding in sleep, whereas Boromir was uncomfortable, stiff with tension and painfully aroused. He tried to extricate himself but succeeded only in waking Pippin, who tried to move close again and discovered Boromir's disgraceful condition.

"I could help you take care of that, y'know." Boromir did not know whether the low, strangely accented voice was deliberately meant to sound enticing or whether Pippin's speech merely affected him so. Despite his efforts to keep still, he trembled, which the hobbit took as encouragement, pushing down against Boromir's chest. Pippin slid over him, pressing a gentle kiss to his lips.

The gesture shocked Boromir into motion. "We cannot..." he gasped. He remembered the first time he had ever taken a maid -- a virgin, not one of the older women who had offered themselves to the Steward's son since his youth -- how he had hurt her, how she had cried, and how terrified he had been afterwards at the blood, so much more than either of them had expected. He had lived in dread for weeks first that he had wounded her, then that he had gotten her with child, and discovered during that time that while he had been attracted to women, he took more pleasure in the shape and strength of men.

He looked at the tiny hobbit pressing along his body, realizing that he would probably tear Pippin in two if he tried to make love to him. Pippin's mouth was barely large enough to contain the tip of Boromir's cock, his hands too small to wrap around it, and the little one's erection was barely larger than Boromir's forefinger.

"I cannot do this," he murmured more calmly, not without some regret, for Pippin's warmth felt delightful against him and Boromir realized that he had indeed been very lonely. "I am sorry if you desire it, but it cannot be."

He expected the hobbit to frown at him, but Pippin only sighed and smiled a bit.

"I'm not asking you to love me, Boromir. We all see how you look at --" Perhaps the little one could see the sudden horror on the man's face, for he stopped whispering, jerking his head instead in the direction of the sleeping Ranger. "But you've done a lot for me, and I thought I could do something for you."

Before Boromir could utter another word, Pippin's hands went to work unlacing his breeches. "Please..." Boromir hissed, but he hardly knew whether he was asking Pippin to stop or to continue. Unsure of what constituted appropriate behavior in the Shire, he did not want to push the hobbit roughly away, and he was terrified of waking one of the others. Pippin's little hands proved remarkably nimble, tugging Boromir free from his breeches, wrapping him in warmth and bringing him to shocking, sudden release the moment the small lips closed over the head of his cock.

Boromir was too astonished to feel anything else at first, not even shame, as Pippin wiped the seed away with his sleeve and smiled at the man. "You're not angry, are you?" he whispered cheerfully. "We're still friends, then?"

"Certainly," replied Boromir automatically, trying to catch his breath as Pippin lay down at his side once more and curled against him. As Boromir's thoughts slowly returned, he realized that the little one was contented, planning to go back to sleep as if nothing had happened. "Pippin. What did...don't you..."

"Not really. I'm sleepy and anyway, I can get Merry to do it tomorrow. And you don't really want to, do you, Boromir?"

"It would not feel right," the man admitted, hoping his relief could not be heard in his voice. Clearly there was much that he had not understood about hobbits. "Then...thank you." He did not know what else to say, and was afraid to voice any further appreciation. But he did not want Pippin to feel that he had been used and rejected, so he wrapped his arms around the small, warm body.

"Goodnight, Boromir," said the hobbit in a pleased, tired voice. "You won't tell anyone, will you? I want to have a secret just between us."

"Not a word," Boromir promised heartily. "From you either."

"And don't worry so much," Pippin added with a yawn. "He might not say so, but I think Aragorn loves you, too."


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