Like blood and fire

Truth and doubt

Things had changed, a lot. Everybody could sense it, it was as apparent as the sun in the sky. Glorfindel suddenly had a new light in his eyes and a new purpose too. He was caring for Halariel and it did make him complete in a whole new way. He had always been regarded as a warrior but now he got a chance to show everybody that he could be so much more. Halariel was slowly waking up, other words could not describe it. She was starting to remember her life before she sought refuge in the valley and it made Glorfindel a bit nervous. He was afraid that her shame would return, and her fear.

Halariel had discovered one thing about herself during the last weeks, she apparently had a gift for healing and Elrond was more than happy to let her work in the infirmary. She was learning so fast and had such an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, her eyes would shine when she got the chance to explore something new. She became a rather eager admirer of Erestor and the library and she spent a lot of time there. Naturally the rest of the elves of Imladris were a bit nervous around her at first, they feared her powers but slowly they realized that she no longer was a threat in any way and her naïve and sweet ways was rather endearing. Before long she had made a lot of friends and was blossoming like a rose.

The only problem was Maedhros, he yearned to get to know her and yet he didn’t dare to approach her all that often. He sort of shied away from her and Glorfindel was worried. He had to face the facts and accept things the way they were. She was starting to remember and he had to show her who he now was. He had greeted her, and it had been rather awkward but she hadn’t really been able to understand that he was her father, not yet. Now she was getting more normal and mature by the day and he had to make a final and positive impression upon her before she fell back into old habits and ways of thinking.

But he was so afraid to, there was nothing he wouldn’t do for her, and yet he couldn’t get himself to sit down with her and just talk with her. He was so afraid of seeing hatred in her eyes, to see her turn her back to him. Halariel and Glorfindel were getting so close by now, nobody could ever doubt that they were a bonded couple and Maedhros was feeling as though he wasn’t really needed. She had a mate, she didn’t need a father, or did she? He hungered to show her the love he felt for her, the instinctive sensation of protectiveness that had awakened within him the moment he knew she was his offspring. His only child. He had lived for years not knowing about her, he had lost so very much and he should be brave enough to face his fears and just sit down with her and get to know her.

He was eager to hear of everything she did, he would discuss her development with Elrond and Erestor and there was no doubt that he was very proud of her, and he would sort of hover in the background all the time. He didn’t want to miss anything about her and yet he sort of felt that he didn’t deserve to be a part of her life, that he somehow would ruin everything, the way the knowledge of who she really was had ruined her life before. Elrond tried to make him see that he was acting in a very silly way but it was as if Maedhros didn’t listen to him. He was obviously too afraid of rejection to dare to do anything to bring them together as family members.

She was developing a rather cheerful personality and she had on some occasions joined the twins in making some rather nasty pranks. Elrond was delighted, she was no longer ruled by the shadows of the past and she was finding her place in the world. But he was a bit worried about Maedhros, the tall ellon didn’t feel at home at all, he felt nervous and unwell among the others and feared that they all saw just a kinslayer, a monster. Most there did accept him knowing the valar had returned him but he still had some problems believing that he really was alive. He was reading a lot, trying to learn of the things that had happened since his death and he was a bit shocked by many of the things he learned. He was sad to hear of Elros and his fate and the fate of the nation he had founded. He was also in shock when he heard of the power Sauron had managed to get after the fall of his master.

Glorfindel and Halariel had moved in together and they got married too, it was a very beautiful ceremony but a rather private one. Just the two of them, Elrond and the twins, Erestor and Maedhros. Her father stayed in the background and felt out of place, he felt like an intruder in some ways. He was watching her every day and she did in some ways remind him of his mother, Halariel had some of her silent strength within and he admired that. She was a grown elleth, not a child and he had such problems imagining her as an elfling. He would so much love to hear of her childhood but he didn’t dare to ask her. When they spoke they were very polite but not very personal, like they were just distant relatives, not father and daughter.

Glorfindel and Halariel soon got a rather juicy reputation, many moved out of the building they lived in complaining about a lot of noise at night, and at other times of the day too. That they finally had gotten married had obviously taken Glorfindel’s appetite for certain activities to new levels, and Halariel was just as insatiable. Erestor was the only one who really did complain though, he did feel glad on their behalf but he had caught them at it in his library one time too many.

Elrond had managed to get Maedhros into a job at the forge, it wasn’t a large one but it needed a few new ideas and someone with real skill. The smith they now had was good but nowhere near as good as a son of Fëanor. Maedhros had been reluctant at first, then he got eager and started to work with zeal, maybe even a bit too much. He forgot to eat and sleep and would stay in the forge almost every waking hour. He was given free hands by Elrond and before long he was producing new designs of armor and weapons and the warriors had suddenly turned from being a bit suspicious of him to downright worship. He got a couple of apprentices and was thriving and yet he didn’t dare to approach Halariel the way he really wanted to. He felt incomplete knowing that she was there, and yet he didn’t dare to really approach her.

He didn’t know why, he felt like a darn coward. He tried to analyze the feelings he had and he failed miserably. She was family damn it, the only family he had. He knew his brother was alive somewhere but she was there, so close. Why did he try to avoid her? He had to be the most cowardly ellon ever! He was hard at work in the forge, he had thought of making something for the families of the two boys who had died because of him. He felt as though he owed them something and he was planning on returning to the village, to show his gratitude. He had told Elrond and Glorfindel of how he had gotten hurt and how the villagers had welcomed him and Elrond had agreed with him that it would be the right thing to do if he gave the families some token of his gratitude.

Maedhros knew just what they needed and he had worked for days to finish it all. He was proud of what he had done and knew that everything would be more than useful to the poor villagers. He had forgotten to eat again and stood by the forge with a piece of red hot metal and was ready to start shaping it. He heard a knock on the door and a voice that asked if he wanted some food. Elrond often sent some servant to him with a meal when he had failed to show up in the hall and he didn’t even turn around. “ Just put it on that table over there.”

He heard the sound of a bowl being placed on the table and concentrated on his work. “ Are you always this dedicated to your work?”

He started, turned around. It was Halariel and she stood there and stared at him with a somewhat blank expression on her face. “ Uh, I…I guess I am”

She sat down on a small bench and tilted her head to the side. “ Why do you avoid me? I don’t bite”

There was a hint of mirth within her voice and he felt trapped, didn’t know what to say, or how to react. “I…don’t know. I guess I am afraid that you might hate me.”

Halariel swallowed and patted the bench beside her. “Come here, sit. I guess it is time that we do talk to each other, for real. “

He hesitated but sat down, felt like some dirty troll next to her, she was clean and well dressed and smelled of flowers while he was covered in sweat and dirt. He managed to gather his courage.” You are right.”

Halariel nodded. “ Damn right I am, I know what you did, Glorfindel told me. You stood up against the doomsman himself to be able to stay here and get to know me but you haven’t even tried to speak to me. I find that peculiar.”

Maedhros felt his throat go dry, he just croaked, “ I am a coward Halariel”

She sighed, “ I know more than you think about the world now, I remember all that I have learned and I have read a lot since I got here and you saved me. No ada, you are no coward. I don’t think there is anyone out there who is less of a coward than you.”

He let out a gasp, that word, ada. He had never thought that he ever would hear himself being called that again. It brought tears to his eyes. She looked at him with gentle eyes. “Why are you so afraid?”

He swallowed hard, tried to keep calm. “ I am afraid of losing you Halariel, you are everything I have. If you decide that you…that you cannot accept me as your father then I have done it all in vain. I cannot stand that thought.”

She looked down at the floor, her face told of a mixture of emotions that were rather volatile. “ I did hate you, back when I was young. You were a monster, everybody told me that you were a kinslayer, a murderer. They told me that your blood tainted me, made me impure. They looked down upon me because of you and I wished that I was someone else’s child.”

Maedhros sighed, he felt like weeping. “ I understand that Halariel, and…I wish by Eru I could have changed that.”

She took a deep breath. “ I think I even hated mother for a while, for having given birth to me. She told me the truth, and I couldn’t help but blaming her, of thinking that …that she was to blame somehow.”

He gasped, his eyes wide open. “ No Halariel, your mother…she didn’t want me, she was without blame, I did force her. Believe me, she was innocent, the blame is mine and mine alone.”

She looked him straight in the eye. “ She told me you were drunk, not yourself, That is really no excuse is it?”

The blame in her voice was almost too much for him, he felt like breaking down, sobbing like some kid. “ It is no excuse no, I…I cannot explain it Halariel. I had never in my life imagined that I could do something that terrible to anyone. I didn’t even favor females”

She had a small hint of a grin on her face. “ I know, you loved your cousin didn’t you?”

He nodded slowly. “ Yes, he was…my true love in life, I died inside when he was killed. I guess…I guess I wanted to….hide! It was so much death, so much hatred and despair and it just got too much. I had to forget, to feel again. All I do remember of what I did is a sensation of despair, of fleeing.”

She looked at him with calm eyes. “ I can forgive you know, and I have forgiven you ada, if you hadn’t done what you did then I wouldn’t have been here. And I wouldn’t have met Glorfindel. So in a way I am grateful, but I cannot ever understand, don’t even ask me to.”

He shivered. “ I know, I don’t understand it myself, it…it is still haunting me”

She reached out and touched his cheek, it was a very comforting and gentle touch and he let out a whimper and felt tears flowing down his cheeks. “ Oh Eru Halariel, when I heard that I had a child I thought they were lying, and I couldn’t believe it but the moment I saw you I knew it was true. You are so beautiful Halariel, so strong. My parents would have been so proud of you.”

She giggled. “ Oh yes? Of having a grand daughter who were naught but a wild thing for ages?”

He nodded. “You survived didn’t you? You do have the fire of my father, and the strength of my own daeradar too. And you are as wise as my mother. If you ever meet my family they will welcome you with open arms.”

She grinned and he thought he saw a glimpse of also the twins in her mischievous expression. He reached out, let his finger run through her silky hair, a sensation unlike anyone else in his life rose within his chest. It was so strong, so extreme. It was a feeling of relief and love and everything good in this world and he didn’t know what sort of power it was that possessed him but he embraced her, hugged her hard and she giggled and hugged him back. “Easy there ada, you are strong you know! “

He didn’t know if he was laughing or crying or both. “ Sorry my light, I…I just feel so very…”

She grasped his hands. “ I know, I feel the same way. I thought I hated you for so long, but I know you are not the same person you were. And these are not those dark days so long ago, there is hope in the world, and light.”

He nodded and held her close, breathed in her scent, felt her fëa touching his own and it felt so right, it felt …It was as it ought to be. He felt at home there now, it was really truly a home. Yes, some may yet regard him with a sense of repulsion but it would change. He blew his nose in a piece of cloth and she had to laugh. “ That had grease in it, you look awful!”

He smiled, his chin was still trembling but he managed to give her a real smile. “ Believe me, I have looked worse, way worse.”

She leaned her head onto his shoulder, she was the only elleth he had ever met tall enough to do that. “ One day I would like you to tell me of your previous life, I bet the things I have read are rather one-sided. But that can wait.”

He kissed the top of her head. “Yes, that has to wait.”

For the next days she visited him when he was working and so did Glorfindel, Maedhros tried to teach the golden haired warrior some basic techniques of forge work and Glorfindel found it fascinating but he lacked even the slightest hint of talent. Halariel forbid him from even trying, he was most likely to get seriously burned. She on the other hand was rather exceptional, she had a strange ability to shape metal and see what a piece of metal or a gemstone or any other pretty object could be turned into. She soon made some jewelry that made the other women of Imladris almost fight to be the next to buy something she had made.

Halariel and Glorfindel were happy together and he was happy to see that she was becoming a part of the society there and a part which everybody loved too. Maedhros was slowly getting more accepted too, he was far from the haughty person he once had been and after a few months everybody had thawed. The only problem were elves from other realms, Elrond had sent letters to Thranduil and Lothlorien telling of the things that had happened. Maedhros would never be welcome in Mirkwood, his brothers had slain kin of the king when they sacked Doriath and Elrond knew that Thranduil was way too stubborn to forget old grudges. His son on the other hand would probably see beyond those deeds of old and at least try to talk to the tall redhead. He was a way more open person than his father.

Then one day Maedhros, Glorfindel and Halariel and some warriors rode out from Imladris and set a course towards the village where Maedhros had been and they brought a lot of gifts. Maedhros knew that the parents of those two boys probably already knew they were dead, but he would make sure that they were told the truth. He owed that to them and he was deeply worried too. He feared that they would blame him for their deaths.

Glorfindel tried to cheer him up and Maedhros tried to listen but the doubt had sunk its teeth deep into his very being. And yet he couldn’t hesitate, he had to do this. They rode for days and he had brought the horse he was given. Hammer was a good horse and he had made sure that the animal had been given the best care possible. Now the black horse was a stunning sight and he didn’t realize how majestic looking he was riding the powerful animal. Travelling like this was so much safer than the journey he had made and they didn’t encounter any problems

They rode into the village early in the day and many stopped and stared, looking a little apprehensive. They were worried that these were enemies but as soon as they saw Maedhros they knew that they were safe. Irelen came running and stared wide eyed at the elf she had helped months ago, he looked so much more powerful now and the other elves also made the people stare in awe. There was a very beautiful elleth there and she had to be a close relative for Irelen saw the similarities between the tall redhead and her. Maedhros dismounted and hugged Irelen who giggled and blushed like mad and the villagers gathered in curiosity. Maedhros felt his heart beating like a drum in his chest. “ I was a mute when I was found by you, I have gotten my voice back and thus I can explain how grateful I am. You saved my life, and you took me in as if I was one of your own. Not all of my own race would have done that.”

There was a deep silence, Maedhros had a very beautiful voice, not as lovely as his brother but it was worth listening to. He told them of his journey to Imladris, he almost wept as he told of the boys and the destiny they met and he saw that the people had realized that the boys were gone. But now he did ensure them that they were remembered, and that he had made the guilty one pay with his life. There was cheering when he told of the death of that piece of shit and he almost broke into tears when the parents of the two boys did thank him for having avenged their sons. It was more than he could bare and he felt as though he wanted to just sit down and cry like a child but he kept his balance. Glorfindel spoke a little too, he was no less impressive than Maedhros and the villagers looked as if they were visited by the valar themselves.

Maedhros had to present Halariel to Irelen who immediately liked the elleth and the two of them really matched, Halariel had brought a lot of valuable herbs and books about healing and Irelen was jumping with joy. Maedhros started to present the gifts he had made for the villagers, it was axes and hammers, plow shares and knives, even combs and jewelry and many came up to him and kissed his hand or even knelt down before him. He felt embarrassed, his cheeks were burning and Halariel was teasing him mercilessly. Once upon a time such attention would have felt natural to him, it would have been a part of everyday life and nothing he would have reacted to. Now it made him feel like some exotic animal on display and he wanted to be gone, to hide.

The things would be treasured and well used and he felt good about himself. He had done a good thing and the villagers threw them a party that night. The smith got a taste of elvish wine for the first time in his life and got drunk as a skunk. Halariel and Irelen sat next to each other and were whispering secrets and giggling and had a really good time and Glorfindel was a bit nervous about the things Halariel told her new friend. Irelen was unaware of who Maedhros had been, Halariel told her but Irelen said it didn’t matter who he had been, all that mattered was who he was now and Irelen was proud to have been able to help him. Halariel hugged her and the two women got drunk together and Irelen taught Halariel some songs which made Glorfindel blush so hard his ears burned red.

Maedhros had a great time too, the people soon forgot about their reverence and awe and treated him as a long lost friend and he managed to convince the parents of the boys that accepting two pouches of gold was a good idea. The next day they all suffered from a hangover and the smith was laughing rather hard when he discovered that elves can get hung over too. They stayed for two days before they had to return back home and Maedhros felt good, he had made good friends there and promised to return soon. But he had realized something during that journey, they had all been so close for the whole time and he couldn’t help but feel a bit envious of Halariel and Glorfindel. They were so happy together and he realized that he missed those feelings and missed them a lot.

He would lay awake at night and listen to those sounds in the night and he knew that his one was gone. It was so very bitter, so very sad. He was sure that they could have been so very happy together, now in this world and age. Surely there were a lot of elves who would more than gladly bed him, both ellyn and ellith but none tempted him in that way. He remembered a pair of soft blue eyes, the love and the trust in them, the strength and dedication. He remembered how dark they had been whilst in the grasp of passion, he remembered the agony in those eyes as he was being cut loose from the rock onto which he had been chained.

When they returned home he tried to drown his sorrow with work, he had always been that way. He worked to forget about his own feelings and poured every emotion into the things he made instead. Life had gotten into a sort of routine and he was happy in some ways and in others not so much. Then one day the entire valley was awakened by a roar from the house where Glorfindel and Halariel lived, a very joyful roar. Before twenty minutes had gone they all knew that the miracle had happened, the balrog slayer was a father to be and Halariel was grinning from one ear to the other and Glorfindel was weeping, laughing like a maniac and then weeping some more. Maedhros was a bit shocked and confused, he hadn’t been able to call himself a father for more than a few months and now he was a granddad?! It was a bit too much to digest there and then, he had to sit down for a while. Then he too went almost ballistic with joy.

Halariel was having a rather easy pregnancy and Elrond was watching over her all the time, he was as fond of her as of his own flesh and blood and Elladan and Elrohir told her that they would do their best to spoil the elfling. She immediately told them that they were forbidden to teach her child any of their methods of pranking others and they both just sniggered and left with a peculiar expression upon their fair faces. Halariel did a facepalm when she saw it, she just knew it, they would probably turn her unborn son into a master at pranking before he was twenty! Glorfindel was treating her as if she was made from the finest crystal and she felt embarrassed and often a bit angry at him too.

Glorfindel didn’t ride out with the patrols now that Halariel was expecting and so Maedhros took his place and he soon realized that he hadn’t lost his touch at killing orcs at all. He was soon feared and loved the thrill of the chase. Elladan and Elrohir often followed him and they were quite a sight when they attacked and slaughtered orcs with no fear whatsoever. Maedhros had forged swords that were way better than those they had owned before and soon the orcs started to stay away from the area. Elrond was grateful but he was always very nervous, the boys were too reckless the way he saw it but Maedhros was always watching their backs and Elrond knew that the tall ellon never would let anything happen to them.

Halariel had a son early one morning and it went relatively easy, she was exhausted afterwards and had to rest for days but she was almost aglow with joy and the babe was healthy and strong with dark golden hair and grey eyes. Maedhros was in awe of the little one and proved to be a very good daeradar, he loved his grandson dearly and spent as much time with him as he could. Halariel saw a new side to him now, a tender and soft part of his personality he rarely showed anyone.

Glorfindel caught him sitting in the sunlight one evening, he was watching Halariel nursing the little one who they had named Findion. There was a sort of melancholy in Maedhros eyes that Glorfindel hadn’t seen there before, he looked at the red head with unspoken questions. Maedhros sent his friend and son in law a rather faint smile. “ I was thinking of my brother, I… I think I will go looking for him. I don’t know where I should be looking though, and I shouldn’t go alone but…I have to go, maybe not right away but soon. I can feel it.”

Glorfindel felt a strange sensation surge through him, a sort of certainty and he petted Maedhros upon his muscular shoulder. “ I somehow feel that you won’t be alone, someone will go with you”

Maedhros just frowned, a bit confused. “ Do you share the lady Galadriel’s gift of foresight?”

Glorfindel shook his head. “ No, just call it a hunch.”

Maedhros shrugged and didn’t think more about it. He was busy in the forge with a new set of knives for Elladan when he heard some commotion from the bridge leading into Imladris. He had a peculiar sensation within, a sort of déjà vu. He dropped his hammer and went outside, there were riders and he remembered that a huge group had ridden out that day to help some humans get rid of a very nasty pack of wargs that had killed off some of their livestock. He walked closer, very slowly, almost reluctantly. He feared that someone he knew had been wounded or killed but the sensation he had within was of anticipation, why he didn’t know.

There was one rider still on his horse, he held someone in front of him in the saddle, a seemingly unconscious person wrapped in a cloak. Elrond was already there and he heard the warrior speak, his voice a bit nervous. “ We found him by the river, there were no track, nothing. It looked as if he had been dropped from the skies.”

Maedhros felt his mouth go dry, he felt faint. Elrond and one of the healers grasped onto the person and his head turned and Maedhros felt as if the world stopped turning completely. He was so deep in shock he just shuddered. He knew that face, oh by Eru how he knew it. He fell to his knees, weeping. He didn’t deserve this, he could only whisper his name as if it was a prayer. “Fingon”

Elrond and the other healers were carrying the unconscious ellon to the healing ward and Maedhros followed them, as if in a trance. He couldn’t believe it, but there was no doubt about the identity of the ellon and Maedhros had a really hard time believing that it was true. Were the valar playing with him? He had threatened the doomsman, by Eru himself, this could be some sick joke or rather a form of punishment. He felt a hard knot in his stomach, didn’t know what to do. He just remained standing outside of the healing ward and he was breathing as if he had been running hard.

Elrond emerged after a short while, he stared at Maedhros, his eyes were filled with both wonder and doubt. “ You don’t know the reason behind this now do you?”

Maedhros shook his head. “ No. You do know who he is?”

Elrond smiled, a somewhat sad smile. “One only has to take a look at your face to know who he is.”

Maedhros was biting his lower lip. “ Is he ok?”

Elrond nodded, he smiled a very comforting smile. “ Yes, he is okay, he is just sleeping. I bet he will wake up soon.”

Maedhros felt like he was torn in half, between hope and fear. “Eru, what if he doesn’t know me anymore?”

Elrond put a hand upon his shoulder, gave it a gentle squeeze. “ Do not fear that mellon, I don’t think the valar are cruel, not in the way you fear. He will remember. Maybe this is something he has chosen? “

Maedhros nodded slowly. “ Perhaps? I hope so.”

Glorfindel and Halariel had heard of the incident and came running, Halariel held Findion on her arm and Maedhros managed to hide his emotions. He didn’t want to startle his grandson. Glorfindel looked a bit excited. “Another re-embodied? That is amazing”

Maedhros managed to smile and he felt himself shivering a bit. What would happen now? Elrond went inside again and Maedhros sat down, he was so nervous, so terribly afraid that his long lost love would have forgotten him. He got a hug from Halariel and it felt wonderful, she was there for him and he really truly felt the bond of kinship between them. It felt safe.

The room was kept rather dark and Elrond sat by the bed in which they had placed the unconscious ellon. He stared at him, it was rather weird seeing this elf, knowing he was the one who had rescued Maedhros from that mountain side and that he had fought valiantly against the enemy before Elrond was even born. And now he was here. It had to mean something, the valar never did anything just on a whim and he suspected that returning Fingon was done less as a favor to Maedhros and more because of some task ahead. So this was the one Maedhros had secretly loved, it wasn’t hard to understand why. Fingon was extremely handsome and Elrond could imagine that they were such a very lovely pair.

He knew that the kind of relationship they had would have had to have been hidden while they lived in Valinor, and they had probably tried to keep it a secret when they met again too. Elrond had pitied Maedhros, he had understood the sorrow and longing his foster dad had felt. Perhaps this was a second chance for them both? He could only hope that it was, Maedhros deserved some happiness again.

Fingon woke up suddenly, it was in the afternoon and they had lit some lamps so the room didn’t get too dark. It wasn’t such a good idea to scare the poor ellon, if he woke up in darkness he could perhaps believe that he was somewhere far from nice. Fingon just sat up in the bed with a hoarse cry, his eyes wide open and staring and he looked absolutely shocked. Elrond was there right away, trying to look as non-threatening and friendly as he possibly could. Fingon did see him, he relaxed visibly and Elrond picked up a cup with spiced wine and held it in front of the still pale ellon. “ Here, it is wine. You look as though you need it.”

Fingon took the cup carefully, he looked as if he was a bit confused, not quite sure of what to think. He took a small sip of the cup, when he felt the taste he suddenly tossed the rest of the content back as if it was water. He coughed and Elrond put the cup back onto a table. “ How do you feel?”

Fingon pulled the blankets a little tighter around himself, he was obviously very nervous. “Ah…I…feel fine. Where….where am I?”

The voice was a bit thin and pitiful and Elrond realized that Fingon probably remembered naught of whatever had happened to his soul after he was brutally slain. He was shivering and Elrond felt how a sense of tremendous pity filled him, this had to be a shock of epic proportions. “You are in the valley of Imladris, this is the third age of the sun and I am Elrond Eärendilion. I am a healer, we are relatives.”

Fingon stared at the dark haired ellon, he swallowed hard. “ Relatives?”

Elrond nodded. “ My father was the grandson of your brother Turgon”

Fingon let out a gasp, he stared at Elrond with huge eyes and then he reached out, touched Elrond’s face with a sort of disbelief. “My brother…Eru, why…I cannot understand…the balrog?”

Elrond had to smile. “No such thing here, you are safe. This is a protected place, relax.”

Fingon shook his head, he was still trembling. “ I cannot remember, I…I fought Gothmog and…”

Elrond sighed.” Yes you did, and you died. You have been re-embodied. “

Fingon hid his face in his hands, he looked rather shaken. “ Eru, why can’t I remember? The third age? “

He took a deep breath, then he made a keening sound and shook his head violently. “ They are dead are they not? They are all dead, I can feel it. There are none left!”

Elrond made a grimace, he tried not to look too excited. “ Well, most of those you knew from that age are dead yes, but there are some who still remain here in Middle earth. Galadriel, who by the way is my mother in law.”

Fingon looked terribly young and vulnerable there and then. “ I remember her, Finarfin’s daughter. She was named Artanis but Celeborn renamed her Galadriel. “

Elrond smiled. “ Yes, that is right. She and Celeborn rules the realm of Lothlorien.”

Fingon smiled, a smile filled with wonder. “ She always wanted to rule her own realm, that is…great”

Elrond nodded. “ Yes, and there are others.”

Fingon tilted his head. “ More relatives?”

There was some hope in his voice and Elrond nodded. “ A cousin of yours.”

Fingon tensed up, his eyes went wide and he held his breath. “ Who, please, who?!”

Elrond smiled and got up. “ He is waiting outside, I will get him. And by the way, Glorfindel is also here, he too is a reborn. “

Fingon did remember that warrior, a very handsome golden haired warrior who had followed Turgon and fought for Gondolin. But he was so curious about who this relative was, he had to know but there was a fear within him, perhaps he would be disappointed. It could be someone he didn’t even like, there had been plenty of people in the huge family he hadn’t been able to see eye to eye with.

Elrond saw that Maedhros sat there staring at the wall, he hawked and the red head raised his gaze, staring at him. “ He is awake.”

Maedhros felt like fainting, he had to get up slowly and he followed Elrond without saying a word. He had no words to say there and then. He entered the room and saw that Fingon still sat in the bed, he just stared. Maedhros felt his eyes filling with tears, he gasped and suddenly Fingon was out of the bed, he had flung himself forth and embraced Maedhros in a bear hug that was making the tall redhead tremble. “ Nelyo!”

The voice was hoarse, filled with disbelief and relief and shock and he couldn’t help it, he kissed Fingon’s brow and let his hands run through the long black hair. It was like silk underneath his fingers and he saw that Elrond just nodded and left the room, the healer realized that they needed some privacy. Fingon suddenly flinched and pulled back, stared at Maedhros with shock, grasped his right arm. “ Your…your hand?!”

Maedhros took Fingon’s hands gently in his own. “ I am also re-embodied. I got my hand back with my new body.”

Fingon blinked, there were tears in his eyes. “ Oh how wonderful, but…you died too? How? Did those damned orcs get you in the end, was it a dragon? A balrog?”

Maedhros sat down on the bed and Fingon sat down next to him, it felt unreal to be sitting there next to him again, he looked the same, smelled the same, it was like a dream. “ No Fingon, it was…nothing like that. The oath killed me, or rather, what it had turned me into.”

Fingon looked confused. “ I don’t understand? You were so strong? What could have killed you? You survived Angband damn it”

Maedhros swallowed hard. “ Yes, but I could not survive the truth of what I had become, what we all had become. I ended myself.”

Fingon let out a gasp, he stared at the red head with disbelief written all over his beautiful face. “Oh Eru no, that is…that is such a…sin”

Maedhros sighed. “ Yes, but it is what it is. I was returned for a reason, and I think that you must have been returned for a reason too.”

Fingon reached out, let his fingers run over Maedhros face, a feather soft touch. “ It is you, it is really you? I…cannot believe this”

Maedhros had to smile, having Fingon this close again was wonderful, and frightening too. He hadn’t anticipated anything like this. “ Neither do I, but we are both real, both here.”

Fingon embraced him again, he could feel that his cousin shivered and the love he had felt for the dark haired warrior returned with full strength. He whimpered and then he kissed Fingon again, no light chaste kiss but a real one, with a lot of passion. Fingon answered it, almost panting and tried to pull Maedhros even closer. Eru alone knew what would have happened if there hadn’t been a knock on the door and they pulled apart as if something had stung them. Maedhros knew that his voice was rather weird but he managed to speak. “ Enter”

The door opened and Halariel and the baby entered followed by Glorfindel and Elrond’s twins. Maedhros sighed, he would have preferred to be left alone with Fingon for a while and tell him of the things that had happened but he guessed that their curiosity had gotten the better of them. Maedhros managed to smile, it was a bit tense though, and unnatural. “ Fingon, you recognize Glorfindel? Those two ellyn are Elrond’s sons Elladan and Elrohir and the lovely elleth is Halariel, she is Glorfindel’s wife and the elfling is their son Findion.”

Fingon stared at Halariel, his mouth hung open and there was disbelief in his eyes. He stared from Halariel to Maedhros and back and Maedhros sighed and stared down. “ Yes, you are not being deceived by your eyes, Halariel…is my daughter”

Fingon made a strange sound, it sounded like a choked sob. He turned away, blinked hard. “So…you forgot me. You have bonded with someone and gotten married then…”

The voice was so thin, so broken and Maedhros just knew it, he was indeed being punished for all his sins. He grasped onto Fingon who actually tried to resist. “ No, you are wrong, I did never forget you, ever! You are my one, listen to me, you have forever been in my heart.”

Fingon let out a keening noise. “ I don’t believe you Nelyo, she…she is your child you say. Then…you must have…loved some elleth.”

Maedhros sighed, the truth had to be told, it was no way around it now. “ I didn’t love Halariel’s mother Fingon, she was a servant girl helping me and Maglor during the final war against Morgoth. I was missing you, all the others were dead and …I was drunk and raped her.”

Fingon snapped his head around again, his eyes wide open. “ You did WHAT?!”

Maedhros sighed. “ You heard me, I raped Halariel’s mother, and a piece of Silmarilli leftover Maglor gave her as compensation made her conceive. I didn’t know I had sired a child before I was re-embodied, it happened less than two years ago.”

Fingon was still staring at him, eyes still wide open. “ How could you?!”

Maedhros felt tears in his eyes, they burned. He had probably lost Fingon forever, it was such a terrible irony there. “ I don’t know, I really don’t know. I was sent back to save her and retrieve the silmarilli power she harbored. “

Fingon shook his head, he was pale. “ This is…some sort of bizarre nightmare, I am really dead am I not? Is Namò torturing me?”

Maedhros nodded to the others and they took the hint and left the room. “ No, it is for real, you are really re-embodied. This is really middle earth, and I am real and I still love you Fingon, I really do.”

Fingon looked up at him, he looked so fragile, so vulnerable. “ I…I want to believe you, I do so want to believe you. I can’t think, I…it is too much, all of it…”

Maedhros grasped his hand, pressed it against his chest. “ If you cannot believe my words then please, believe this!”

Fingon sniffed and stared at Maedhros, he could feel it, the same connection as before, the same sensation of being just half a person without this powerful presence close by. He could feel Maedhros heart beating fast and hard and he could smell him and felt the heat from his body. It was really true, he was alive and his friend and lover was there too. Fingon forgot all about Halariel, forgot about the fact that Maedhros obviously had lain with someone else, it was in the past, this was a new life, a new reality.

Maedhros could only embrace Fingon tightly and the black haired ellon started to weep. He wept like his heart was breaking and kept weeping until he fell asleep in Maedhros arms and the tall ellon remained sitting there, stroking his true love’s hair and humming gently, letting Fingon sleep.

When Fingon woke up again he was calm, and curious and even though he had some problems accepting the fact that Maedhros was both a father and a grandfather he knew that he would learn to adore Halariel and Findion too with time. Elrond declared that Fingon was in excellent health and could leave the healing ward and Maedhros immediately offered to take him to see the baths and Glorfindel ran to get some clothes he thought would be fitting. Fingon felt a bit overwhelmed by the friendly attitude everybody had towards him and he blushed and felt like hiding behind Maedhros.

The bathhouse was a very lovely place and Fingon felt like he truly had been remade after a hot bath, he did notice that Maedhros had lost most of the scars he had gotten during his captivity and he was just as elegant and muscular as before, or perhaps even a bit bulkier than before since he now made a living as a smith. Then they went to the dining hall and Maedhros told him everything of the place. Fingon had suddenly realized that he was famished and ate with a speed that made the cook lift an eyebrow in a gesture of disbelief. She had never seen an elf eat like that before, dwarves yes, but never an elf.

Maedhros was getting nervous, it was getting late and nobody had said anything about whether or not Fingon would get his own rooms. He sort of knew that Elrond assumed that they would share rooms but he didn’t dare to trust in that hope just yet. He had to gather all his courage before he asked. “So, there are a lot of empty rooms here, they are very nice. Or…would you like to stay with me?”

Fingon sighed and looked uncertain of himself. “ I…do you want me to?”

Maedhros felt his heart tremble within his chest. “ I do want you to stay with me, more than anything in the world. But it is up to you, the choice is yours, completely”

Fingon lifted a hand, let it slide through Maedhros hair and he had to close his eyes and shudder. It felt heavenly, it felt like salvation, like bliss. “ I chose to stay with you, no matter what have been done. I cannot deny the truth, my soul know it belongs with you”

Maedhros grasped Fingon’s hand and kissed it. “ As mine know it belongs with you!”

Fingon blushed, he looked down, there was a very fragile expression within those lovely eyes. “Do…do we have to hide it? I mean…”

Maedhros shook his head. “ No, things are very different now, they will accept it. Fear not.”

Fingon looked very relieved. “ I…that is good. Things have changed then?”

Maedhros grasped his hand and they walked slowly through the gardens towards the building where Maedhros had his rooms. “ Yes, a lot has changed, you have a lot to learn now, the world is rather different.”

Fingon sighed. “ I believe you, just this place, it is otherworldly. What about Morgoth, is he still around?”

There was a hint of the old battle readiness within his voice and Maedhros had to grin. “ No, the valar defeated him in the end but his second in command escaped and is now gaining power again, he is a scourge”

Fingon frowned. “ Sauron? I remember that one yes, Morgoths little ass kisser.”

Maedhros stopped outside of his door. “ I hope you know that there is no turning back whence you have passed through this door? “

Fingon smiled, he had regained his confidence and although he still looked a bit confused he knew he was safe. He had almost felt as though his heart would stop beating when he discovered Halariel, if Maedhros had truly forgotten about him and gotten married it would have been better to have faded! The truth had been a rather nasty shock, he had never known that his Nelyo could even do things like that, he had always been such a polite and well behaved ellon around the ellith and although he had been with some ellith before Fingon became his lover Fingon knew that it had been out of curiosity more than real desire.

But he just knew it deep within that Nelyo was telling the truth, that Fingon was his real true love. And that knowledge felt so wonderful, like true safety. “ I have no plans of ever turning back.”

Maedhros let out a low almost growling sound, he bent down and nipped the tip of a delicately pointed ear teasingly. Fingon let out a loud gasp, his heart started hammering with a mix of anticipation and a strange fear. It felt as though his feelings were this much more powerful now, so unbridled and unrestrained. It scared him, it was like a re-awakening and he let the knowledge of what the situation meant sink in. If the valar were merciful he and Maedhros could have forever together. He was pushed through the door and they entered a rather small but nice room Fingon immediately knew was Nelyo’s. There were equipment everywhere, it looked as if a tornado had gone through the room and he grinned softly. “You have not changed a bit, I remember your clutter from Tirion, your mother was desperate at times.”

Maedhros just grinned. “ Aye, I remember. Now it is Halariel who is trying to teach me how to keep my rooms tidy,”

It felt so weird saying that name, it was as if he really fully understood the reality of it all there and then. Halariel was for real and would forever be a part of his life, just as Fingon would. Maedhros felt himself tremble, the love and longing getting the better of him, he had no patience and he almost ripped the tunic of his dark haired lover. Fingon gasped and Maedhros had to admire Fingon’s lithe and yet powerful frame. He looked like before, less scars but he was the same and Maedhros got a wicked glimpse within his eyes. “ I wonder…”

Fingon shivered as strong hands caressed him, got reacquainted with his body, he was burning! “What?”

Maedhros unbuckled Fingon’s belt and pulled his pants and underwear down in one go, Fingon squeaked and then he moaned as Maedhros gently started caressing his already hard length, it felt better than ever and he gasped and had to fight the desperate urge to thrust himself into the grip. “You did enjoy certain things more than others, I wonder if that is still so?”

Maedhros was kneeling down and his eyes never left Fingon’s, the black haired ellon just gasped for air and his eyes rolled up, Eru, it was too much, and yet not enough and the sensation was so familiar and at the same time new. Fingon trembled from head to toe, he would have collapsed if Maedhros hadn’t kept a firm grip on his hips. The end came so suddenly and so violently he couldn’t stop himself from screaming his lovers name, seeing stars and sparks. Maedhros didn’t let go until Fingon was utterly spent and finished with a gentle and yet very erotic lick along the now softening shaft. “ I think you ought to work a bit on the endurance part, you never came that fast before.”

Fingon just giggled, he felt giddy, light headed and weird and wonderful. “ I know, this was sort of my first time, in this life. “

Maedhros nodded. “ Mine too, I haven’t been with anyone. “

Fingon bent forward and kissed Maedhros with passion, he could feel the taste of his own salty essence on his lips and it sent his heart racing once more. He remembered so much, oh Eru how he remembered. His voice was rather husky when he made his Nelyo stand up again. “ I guess favors are to be returned?”

Maedhros licked his lips, the eyes were burning. “ I don’t mind if you do…”

Fingon was slowly removing Maedhros tunic and pants, he marveled at the sight in front of him and when he finally knelt down Maedhros was already pretty close.

Before long Fingon grinned and stared at his lover with narrow eyes. “ I am not the only one with an endurance issue for damn sure!! How about making use of that bed over there?”

Maedhros just nodded, he was still shaking with the aftershocks of his orgasm and he couldn’t remember having come that hard ever before. His legs were ready to give out underneath him. “Yes, lets”

The two of them woke up rather late in the day, the bed looked as if a major battle had been fought in the middle of it, the sheets ripped and there were feathers everywhere since a pillow had ruptured. The blankets were sticky and the place reeked of sex. They had finally fallen asleep due to sheer exhaustion and Maedhros was the first one to open his eyes. He was aching like crazy all over, and he made a grimace. He had really been just as eager as Fingon but it had indeed been a first time for the both of them and the effects of their vigorous lovemaking could be felt. He moaned and grinned, they would both have a funny walk for a few days, he was sure of it. He stared at Fingon, he still slept. Feathers stuck in his dark hair and clinging to his sweaty skin and Maedhros knew that he looked just as bad, if not worse. It was different in one way this time, they had said their vows. Why they didn’t know but when they had reached that first peak of absolute pleasure together they had just started speaking in unison. Now they were truly bonded and nothing would separate them again, and it felt so right, so very very right. And Fingon had promised to help him look for his brother, it was such a relief.

There was a knock on the door and Maedhros squeaked and tossed a blanket over them, the door opened and Halariel entered. She carried a tray with some food and two cups of Erestor’s best herbal mix, it was perfect for removing hang overs and Maedhros sighed with relief. That was just what they needed now, it was just as good for removing other types of aches and pains too. Halariel sniffed the air and shook her head. “ Ada, I bet those others living in this building must have had the entertainment of a lifetime tonight, I bet you two kept them all awake.”

Maedhros blushed like crazy and Halariel set the tray down on a table. “ You took your lover to this dungeon of yours? Gee, I would have guessed that the sight of this room would have scared the living daylights out of him. It looked bad before, now it looks even worse!”

Maedhros had to laugh, he remembered the one time when he and Fingon overslept and Nerdanel caught them in bed together, he would never forget the expression within her eyes. She had promised to never tell Fëanor of the relationship but she had been shocked, to say the least. Now it was Halariel who stood there and stared at him but she wasn’t shocked at all. She looked almost relieved. He hawked. “ Well, he is used to the fact that I never manage to keep my rooms tidy. Ah, by the way, we said our vows…”

Halariel smiled, a very wide and very warm smile and for the first time he didn’t doubt that she did love him, that she really had accepted him as her father., “That is wonderful ada, I am so glad on your behalf. I have worried about your and your lack of a lover, but now things are just perfect. I am so happy you finally have someone special in your life, and can enjoy a healthy love life again and be happy and content. But I refuse to refer to him as my daer-naneth”

Maedhros started laughing so hard Fingon woke up, he looked terribly confused, his lover and his lovers daughter were laughing so hard they had tears in their eyes and when Maedhros managed to explain the situation Fingon too started laughing and they all agreed that the term “uncle” perhaps was the best fitting one. Halariel gave them both a hug in spite of the feathers and the smells and when she finally left the room Maedhros sent Fingon a rather simmering glance and Fingon groaned and prepared for yet another round. “ And here we go again!”

I was in the middle of writing this chapter when my partner walked by, he bent over and stared at the screen and then he said “ And now you just write- and then they all died, the end- and see what sort of comments that will give you…”

I didn’t follow his advice though, he has a weird sense of humor and it bet some would have blown a fuse or two if I did finish this tale thus…

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