Vain Songs, The: 24. Interlude

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24. Interlude

You don’t expect to see him for another twenty years. But he never does inform you, so you are warned only when he appears over the hills in the distance, a speck of white and dull copper until he is close enough to become Maedhros. And you know that there are people who won’t believe whatever you say about a hunt, so you forget to take anything but a change of clothes and the weapons that never come off your person anyway. You go because a day is a lifetime in this new land, and there are people more literate than you are to answer letters for you. You go because he asks you to.

There, in the forest, you spend the first night in an exhausted, restless sleep, probably dreaming, until you feel a sharp crack on your shin. He is watching you with quiet, wakeful eyes, waiting for you to recognise the pain. And your laugh rings in the blue air because you are young again, sleeping in a woodshed with straw scratching your skin, wanting to bury yourself further in the mahogany-red hair that fell past his hips when you unbound them, but he is kicking you, half-amused, to stop you from lashing at him in your sleep. You’ve always slept alone before. You cannot help but stay awake now, because time is running out for you both.

He is silent in the mornings, which you spend listening to the insects and the water from under the pines, lying on your back, trying to forget everything but what matters, like how there are perfect round droplets of silver that cling to his body each time after his swim. He soaks his hair in the stream and comes back to kneel at your side. Slowly, he lets his water-dark hair slide over your body, over your face, dripping onto your closed eyes, draining the ache and heat from them. Lying with Maedhros is like that now. You survive on berries and water because hunger is far from your thoughts.

He drapes himself over you then, his right arm pinned by his left hand behind his back, claiming your lips with little hurry. No force. Your own arms lie motionless at your sides, not daring to touch him. Afternoons spin out forever, the insects growing louder and louder, until you finish making love, and realise that it is evening.

There are no walks under the stars, no fond conversations about past lives. There is no fire because there is no flint. There is no cold, because there is no thinking about cold. The nights are filled with Maedhros, and he is all there is. He talks in the dark. He tries to tell you that he loves you, even though the the words are impossible. But he tells you other things, what he thinks and feels. He talks to you.

As dawn approaches, he talks of war. The sun rises, and he is silent once more. War – war sticks in your mind. You are riding home, thinking about it, when you come to a parting of ways. A look, a touch, a half-hopeful sort of promise. He turns and rides fast, leaving you a dry throat, and a fading bruise above your left ankle.

He has forgotten his clothes stowed in your pack, and as you lift them out to breathe him in one last time, you find the flint in his pocket.

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.

Story Information

Author: Ëarmírë

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 1st Age

Genre: Poetry

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 07/14/04

Original Post: 08/02/03

Go to Vain Songs, The overview


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