1. A Brother's Bond
Are you there, brother? Am I to believe what my shattered heart says; that you are still here, floating along the edge of my perception? No. I am only deluding myself, fool that I am. For surely you are in the halls of Mandos. It has been a week since your fëa fled-- no, it was wrenched, torn cruelly from your body. Ashes consumed by flame, scattered in the wind, that is all that is left of you, my dear Ambarussa. I would have searched amongst the burnt and charred timbers for your bones so that I could give them proper burial, so wild is my sorrow; but time pressed, nor would father have allowed it.
If only I had stayed you from returning to the ship, if I had insisted further. But you were adamant in your purpose and I saw no harm in it, for I could not foresee what father would do, the treachery he would devise. It would have been better if I had accompanied you. Then we both would have perished, and our fëar would have traveled together to Mandos; and we would not now be sundered. The bitter cold of the hall of the dead cannot be as chilling as the cruel ice of grief that holds my spirit in its grasp.
Mother knew. Why else would she have named you Umbarto, ‘the Fated’? Should that not have told me to pay you careful attention, to keep you close and safeguard you against whatever evils might threaten you? I failed you, I failed your trust. I am sorry, brother, I am so sorry. Ambarussa, can you hear me? Can you hear my plea from Mandos? Can you forgive me? I cannot forgive myself.
There is a murmur in my ear, faint and petal soft.
Is that you? Are you indeed here?
I sit up and search around me desperately, my eyes striving to pierce the dark.
Are you lurking in the shadows? Please don’t hide from me, I need you.
Nothing. Was it the wind? But, it could not have been, I distinctly heard… no, I am being foolish. My sanity is fraying; it hangs by a mere thread, just waiting to plunge into the abyss. And would that be so bad? Better to have my mind lost in oblivion than gripped in this agonizing madness.
I sink my head back into my cloak, closing my eyes.
My eyes fly open and my muscles tense; I sit up once more. The whispered name is soft, but I recognize the voice, impossible as it may be.
“Ambarussa?” My voice shakes with fragile hope. “Please, brother, answer me.”
//Ambarussa, dear brother, I am here.//
Tears of joy spring to my eyes.
“Oh, brother, I have missed you terribly. But how did this come to be? Are not the fëar of the dead destined for Mando’s Halls?”
//Yes, but I could not go without you. I could not leave you alone. What joy could I find in Aman without you by my side?//
“But once you refuse Mandos’s call he will not admit you into his realm if you wish to do so later on. You should not have sacrificed yourself so for me.”
//If that is the price I must pay to remain with you, I pay it willingly.//
“Brother, you don’t know how happy your love makes me, but I fear I am not worthy of it. Oh, dearest Ambarussa, forgive me. Were it not for me you never would have had to make such a choice. I should have been more careful, should have suspected father of committing a treachery of this sort, after Alqualonde. I should have kept you safe but I did not. I am so sorry.”
//Hush, brother. It breaks my heart to see you grieve so. Please do not apologize, you are not at fault. It was my decision to return to the ship for the night, brushing aside your concern. You did nothing wrong. How could you think I would blame you?//
I close my eyes, gratitude welling in my heart.
“Thank you. You are to good to me.”
//Never. You deserve all the love I have to give. Let me show you.//
I feel his comforting presence envelop me, soothing my weary heart, healing my aches and hurts. Mutual memories spring forth, happy times in Aman before the murder of our grandfather. Playing hide and seek in mother’s garden (he always managed to find me so easily); catching fireflies in the early evening; going on our first hunting trip with Celegorm and Curufin, although they were the only ones to catch anything that day; when we received our first ponies from father.
Father. My good humor vanishes.
“Father. He did this to you.”
There is a sudden silence. I almost regret my outburst as I hear him sigh tiredly.
//What says he?//
“He says nothing, at least not within my hearing. I have not spoken to him since the morning of the burning. I shun him, for I can no longer tolerate his presence, so I see him little; but what little I have seen is much the same as before. If he bears any grief he hides it well. None dare speak to him of it, nor would I.”
//He never did speak to us clearly of what was in his heart. If he had we never would have uttered that dreadful oath.//
“We should have stayed behind with mother.”
//Yes. I meant to return, but… I do not wish to speak of this any longer. It is in vain to bother ourselves with what cannot be.//
I want to wrap my arms around him to comfort him; but how do you embrace a houseless fëa?
“Ai, brother, what tragedy has befallen us. I want to hold you close but your body exists no longer.”
He is quiet again for a moment.
//I think there might be a way, though I am not sure if it will work.//
“What is it?”
//Would you be willing to share your body with me?//
“Share my body? Then we would never be separated. You can do this?”
//We lose nothing with trying. If you will have me?//
“Of course I will. I do not want anything between us.”
//I am glad; that is also my wish. Now lie back and relax. Don’t try to resist me.//
I do as he instructs, keeping my mind open and receptive. It begins as a soft brushing on my senses, a feeling very much like his soothing caress earlier. Gradually, it builds higher. I am bathed by it, by him; he encloses me completely. Then he is inside me. Our fëar meet and collide in the most intimate touch I have ever experienced. We caress each other lovingly, desperately. Ai, but this is ecstasy, joy beyond any I have ever felt. During our secret embraces, pressed hard skin to skin, never did I feel this close to Ambarussa. Our fëar mingle happily in an embrace so complete that we are as one, a single warm glow shining through the darkness that had entrapped my heart. No more; I am in my brother and he is in me. I feel him in every tendril of my body; all of me is laid open to him. This body is no longer solely my own, it is his, ours.
I hear laughter in my head.
//What do you think, Ambarussa? Is this to your liking?//
//Why must you always hound me with foolish questions?//
//Because I love you.//
I--he--we smile. We shall not be sundered again, we will always be together.
//Always, dear Ambarussa.//
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.