2. The Sweetest Passion
I cannot recall when I became conscious how much I looked forward to the days when I would meet with Findekáno. There were times when I would actually attempt to list and categorize his unique characteristics in a vain attempt to try to analyze my own seemingly inexplicable emotions and my increasing desire to remain in his presence. Káno certainly possessed great compassion and a generous nature.
He was a good student, quick and thoughtful, and, unlike my youngest brothers, had always been able to concentrate. None of my brothers shared my love of books like Káno, much less enjoyed speculating on historical or scientific facts as he did. Those qualities alone made the time I spent on his lessons a pleasure even if I had not been an eager tutor. He had a talent for art; he was no Macalaurë but a passable musician; but his greatest gift, and the one I love the most, was his curiosity. He was passionate about learning and loved his lessons with me in science and lore.
What more could a teacher want of a pupil? Over the last few years, I discovered that I wanted more, much more. I wished to lose myself in his eyes. His eyes of brightest blue could soften the hardest heart and I have never been hard-hearted by anybody's terms. I will never forget his self-possession and control when he was delivered into our hands for his first trip to Formenos with our family. His small white face incipient with his future beauty, eyes too large and lips tight, apprehensive, tense, but determined. Therein lies Káno's valor--it is not a lack of fear, but the courage to face it, not to let it govern his actions. He looked to me from that day for comfort and with shy admiration, gifts I first appreciated insufficiently, but later would come to value above all else.
Always small as a boy, he had grown tall suddenly, and comelier of face than even I had dared imagine. The entire family had once speculated that Káno might never be even as tall as Macalaurë, the slightest of my brothers. Then seemingly overnight, he had surpassed not only Macalaurë but Tyelkormo and Carnistir as well. It began to appear that year that he might eventually be taller than any of Finwë's grandsons save me, yet he still had not the body of an adult. Káno's hands and feet appeared disproportionately large, like an over-grown puppy whose paws are suddenly too big for his body; his long legs seemed too thin and his shoulders too broad for his still narrow chest. Furniture and objects had a way of placing themselves in his path with predictable regularity. Those imperfections only added to his charm for me. I acknowledged to myself that I was perplexingly, unreasonably besotted by my cousin. Half-cousin, I would remind myself, as though that might make it easier, less forbidden, that I loved this youth over any maid I had ever desired.
"Love will be hard won for you, Nelyo," Atar once said to me. I wondered at the time whether foresight or intuition had put such a concept into the mind of Fëanaro and what whim or compulsion caused him to express it. I winced internally at those words as though they were a curse when he spoke them. I courted and was courted by many maidens. I had been left by a few I fancied that I loved while I found my own initial interest fast-waning with countless others. At the time it never occurred to me that there could be an alternate meaning behind his remark: that my true love might come to me easily enough, undeservedly even, but the courage to seize him and the right to hold onto him might be exceedingly hard to win.
I had never questioned that I would be expected to marry and raise children. The thought gave me no trouble as a youth. I always had a great need to express my emotions physically, to touch and be touched, which led me to precociously pursue intimate encounters with maidens. However, years had passed since I had engaged in such assignations. I had not sought out a maid since I realized that only Káno provoked in me a unique heat of body and tenderness of heart. But I did not wish to condemn Káno to a love that can not be celebrated. Even were he not so young, I would hold my secret in my heart. He deserved a love that could be shouted from the rooftops, envied and applauded.
The day before my family was to leave for Formenos, I arrived early for my lessons with Káno as I had done for quite some time. If I could remember when I stopped rushing off at the last minute to turn up at Uncle Nolofinwë's house just on time, or a little tardy, then I would know exactly when it was that I realized I loved him. I think I first recognized my altered feelings when I noticed how Káno would blush and look uncomfortable when I entered the room. It became a challenge for me to see how quickly I could coax him, using all my imagination and charm, back into the comfortable camaraderie that we had shared for so long. There were days when I felt a brazen seducer and other days when I could almost convince myself that I wanted only to make to him feel happy and safe again, but I always delighted in my success.
That momentous day, however, Káno appeared animated from the moment I entered the room. He inclined forward in his chair, close enough to touch. His dark hair fell loose and sleek over his shoulder blades, nearly to his waist. His parents had always pulled it back into tight braids when he was young, but he had taken to wearing it completely unencumbered to fall where it may, a small gesture of rebellion against my Uncle Nolofinwë's often rigid conceptions of what is appropriate, correct or in good taste. I loved that shining fall of darkest brown and yearned to run my fingers through it, but I also wished to push it back away from his face so I could better see the beauty of line in his arched brows and sculpted cheekbones. Leaning back against my chair, I tried to establish a distance between us while looking completely nonchalant. I wanted to pull him into my arms, to kiss his lips, to touch the bright flush on his face.
He flashed a proud, victorious smile and said, "I am going to Formenos with you after all." The flourish with which he made his announcement revealed that this change in plans had been accomplished at the cost of considerable effort on his part. I felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest to be forced to tell him that I must remain in Tirion. At that moment I realized what I had long hoped and feared--that he also ached for me. I could not hurt him, would not let him know how I felt. I remembered the hot, painful cravings that had masqueraded as love for me at his age.
When we parted that day before he left Tirion for the summer, I embraced him less because I desired it, although I wished to do so as much as I have ever wished for anything, but because I sensed danger in the look he gave me. If I did not embrace him, I feared that he would reach for me. I told myself that I must prevent his accessible young body from touching mine or I might never be able to let him go. I was afraid that the thoughts I fought harder and harder to suppress were utterly unworthy. Only that year would he reach his maturity, and he trusted me as an older brother or nearly a substitute father figure.
But I would not, could not lie to him. When he said "I love you," I answered, "I love you too." I turned and left him standing there on the steps of Uncle Nolofinwë's house. I dared not linger or look back or I surely would have done something I would regret. But, for the rest of that long summer, I could not keep him from my thoughts. My heart remained firmly anchored in Formenos although the tasks that Grandfather presented me did engage and challenge me. I fell asleep most nights thinking of Findekáno.
At last the summer ended and my family returned from Formenos the same day a reception was to be held in Grandfather's palace. Having spent the last few months with Grandfather Finwë, I rushed to our home to greet them. I hoped to arrive early enough to find Káno still there, but he had already left. Of course, his parents were anxious to see him as well. The house was filled with bluster and noise. Happy to be back and anxious to see Grandfather, even Atar was good-humored about the preparations for the evening. In the midst of all the clamor, I asked after Findekáno, with a deliberate casualness.
Atar responded, "Ai, the mentor has greatly missed his favorite disciple." The sideways glance he gave me seemed to contain a strange, unreadable nuance.
Tyelkormo burst in with a self-satisfied smirk, "You will find him much changed, Nelyo."
"Not for the worse," Macalaurë added, his pure, always pleasing voice, dropping subtly in gentle reassurance.
My imagination crowded with versions of this possible change. I pictured Káno and Tyelkormo dancing in the clearing near the forest with maidens enchanted by the handsome grandsons of the High King, much as Macalaurë and I had done before them. The nearly unbearable image forced itself upon me of Káno kissing one of those eager girls, lying with her on grass near the edge of the forest, fumbling to touch her breasts, to pull her body against his own. But he said he loved me, I reminded myself. At that moment I decided that I would not, could not give him up without at least knowing if he loved me as I loved him.
While the rest of family prepared to leave for the palace with interminable delays, arguments, searches for misplaced items of clothing not seen in three months, I had dressed quickly and waited impatiently. At last I could bear it no longer. I had to leave and find him. When I left the house the Mingling of the Lights had only just begun.
Arriving at the palace, I found the Great Hall sparsely occupied. I positioned myself where I could see the door and watched as each new group entered. Slowly the hall grew crowded and arrivals became more frequent, until I needed to change my strategy. I tried to comb the hall and look for his tall, thin figure. Courtiers and friends began to approach me and engage me in conversations, which I could barely follow in my preoccupied state. My brothers Macalaurë, Carnistir and Tyelkormo came into the hall together, spotted me and made their way to me through the thickening crowd.
Having lost all patience by that time, I blurted out, "Have any of you seen Káno yet?"
Tyelkormo shrugged and said, "Haven't seen him."
"He is here somewhere," Carnistir said, fixing his dramatic, dark eyes on me, with what I had come of think of as his insightful look, and a dip of his head which conveyed empathy to me. I had learned long before not to question Carnistir's gift. If he said someone was nearby, they were. Tyelkormo and Carnistir moved off together heading in the direction of a long table laden with food and drinks. I watched their heads, one honey-blond and the other dark chocolate in color, lean close together as Tyelkormo whispered something to Carnistir, who turned and looked uneasily in the direction of a trio of gaping maidens just a bit too young for them. I remembered the time when that would have been Macalaurë and me, but now my brother is wed while I am hopelessly enamored of one whom--though not much too young for me--would still be considered impossible.
"I am concerned about the two of you," Macalaurë said in a soft voice close to my ear.
"In what way?" I asked, wary of his intent but only belatedly realizing I had not thought to ask to whom he referred. By the "two of you" he, of course, meant Káno and me.
"Do not play coy with me, Nelyo. You are utterly transparent. You and Findekáno contemplate a difficult path. I wish you joy, for I love you both. Although I worry for you, I want you know that I will always support you. But this is not the place for this discussion." He squeezed my shoulder and smiled sadly, turning his attention to the front of the hall. I pondered the revelation that if even placid, abstracted Macalaurë guessed my closely-held secret it might be even more obvious to others. Then I hoped that the fact that Macalaurë assumed Káno shared my feelings meant I truly had not misread him.
"Macalaurë," I called after my brother as he walked away--perhaps Káno had spoken to him of me--but he only waved back to me and continued toward the dais where Uncle Nolofinwë and Aunt Anairë sat with Grandfather. A stir behind me caused me to turn and see that Amil and Atar made their way to toward the front as well. My Amil holds her place at Atar's side with dignity--more striking of features than conventionally pretty. Both project a unique intensity; yet Atar's is brilliant and volatile, while Amil's is solidly strong and wise. I could not imagine Atar with a willowy, fine-boned woman of the cool perfection of my Aunt Anairë or the blond elegance and pale skin of my Grandmother Indis. But I could not fault the appearances of either my aunt or grandmother, which so inextricably mixed with the Finwëan look to make up the fairness of my Káno's face.
My search for Findekáno took on a feverish urgency as I saw Macalaurë walking away from Grandfather toward the small group of musicians. If I did not find Káno before Macalaurë began to sing, it would become difficult to impossible to do so before he had finished, which could be an hour or even longer. The elves of Tirion do not lightly tolerate chatter or milling about when my brilliant brother sings. I started pushing through the crowd. As I brushed by one I assumed a stranger, I felt a surge of identifiable energy and found myself looking into Káno's dark blue eyes. I immediately saw the change spoken of by my brothers. Káno had grown taller, broader, and even more handsome. He no longer presented a gangly, coltish look, but a naturally noble one, distinctly of the House of Finwë. A smile less shy than I remembered greeted me, but still with a shade of diffidence about the eyes.
The force that flowed between us should have made words unnecessary, but in my befuddled state--a mixture of hope and apprehension--I needed explicit confirmation that he wanted me before I declared my love to him. I might have kissed him then and there in front of all of Tirion if I had not exerted all my powers of self-restraint. I suggested that we leave, for I could not wait another hour. We walked quickly from the palace to a nearby wooded area that sheltered us from observers.
It took but a short moment for me to wrest an affirmation of his love from him. The sound of his words instantly dispelled all of my doubts and guilt. When I kissed his lips, silken smooth and yielding, a startling jolt of agonizing desire shot through me. I channeled it with great difficulty into a soft, adoring exploration of those so longed for lips until I lost myself in the sweetest passion. Still determined not to push him too hard or too fast, I reluctantly broke off the kiss. My once-shy Káno assaulted me with a far more demanding kiss--one that turned my knees to water and hardened me like a rock.
My heart so full of him that I could barely speak, I muttered senseless, adoring nonsense. I called him Findekáno the valiant, referring to his complete lack of fear in admitting that he loved me, of his willingness to accept whatever hardship this love might bring us, and of unselfconsciously revealing his own wanton need. Káno had often surprised me, but that night most of all. He pressed his stiff sex against mine, winning moan after helpless moan from me. This new Káno instinctively knew how to play me as Macalaurë plays a harp, yet his touches held no hint of manipulation, only reverence tempered by humor and a firm intent to please.
During that first hour of exploring one another, joy and wonder overcame us. My face felt hot, surely red, while Káno's eyes clouded with desire. As luck would have it, we both wore our stiffest, most formal clothing, replete with layers, ties and complicated fasteners. I remember thinking that we were elves, not rutting animals, and had time enough and more. In truth, I rejoiced in simply kissing his mouth, his eyelids, feeling the velvet softness of his lower lip with my thumb, tasting an indentation behind his ear. I knew that this was one love that I would never lose.
"Findekáno," I said, "I promise I will always love you, until the ending of Arda and beyond."
He whispered in my ear, "And I you, Maitimo. If I had not believed this was possible I never could have found the courage to confess how I love you."
"Ai, Káno, that is not true. Beyond anyone I have ever known, you find courage when it is needed."
"And you, sweet Maitimo, have always known how to love."
Suddenly I was flooded with a sense of rightness, that he was no longer little Findekáno, but an equal, my peer. Those realizations were accompanied by an overwhelming urge to return a measure of the agreeable torment he had caused me. His dusky crimson cheeks and dilated pupils gave an exaggerated quality to his beauty that aroused me beyond anything I had experienced before. My new sense that we were nearly evenly matched now--he was not so young and was I no longer much, if any, wiser--enticed me to want to tease him.
"Káno, we cannot make love in this tiny grove of ornamental trees. But I want to bring you to completion," I said. He did not say a word, but his breathing grew shallower and his eyes opened wider. A vision came into my mind that caused me to shiver slightly at its eroticism, but also made me smile. "But I can at least undo your laces. I could take you in my mouth," I said, deliberately moving the tip of my tongue along my lips. "Would you like that, love?" I asked.
He interrupted a sudden, sharp groan to whisper, "Oh, yes." I was breathing heavily as well, but I could not stop grinning. I never had the luxury to taunt, always before my energy had been directed toward seduction. This time my partner was already desperately, frantically willing.
"Are you sure?" I asked, intending to increase his desire even more.
"Maitimo, please," he begged hoarsely.
Since it was far easier to undo his laces than it had been to unfasten my own in similar circumstances with maids, I was quickly able to open his trousers. When I grasped him in my hand, he felt hard, rigid and completely unlike taking a hold of myself.
"Eru in Ea, Maitimo!" Káno said, "It's too late." My reflexes were quick enough that I fell to my knees and took his erection into my mouth before he had spilled completely into my hand and covered our festival finery. In my vanity I had hoped to be clever--using my imagination, since I had no comparable experience to rely upon--to do things to Káno which would astound him. I did just manage to collect myself enough to enclose him almost entirely within my mouth and move a few times before he had finished. The taste of his emission was unremarkable, but the sensation of his remaining spurts filling my mouth nearly undid me.
"I am sorry," he said, a huge smile broke out over his face as he pulled me to my feet and kissed me.
"Káno, you sound insincere." I attempted not to laugh, but I could not control myself.
"I suppose I should be embarrassed but it really was your fault," Káno said, looking as though he was trying not to smile quite so broadly. "If you wish, I would do that to you." He reached up, bit my lower lip, and tugged gently. My face flushed and my voice turned husky.
"I do wish it," I said. Drawing a deep breath, I added, "But I think we should seek a location more private. Your house is closer, yet we would call less attention to ourselves at my family's house. And my room has a lock on the door."
"Then the house of Fëanaro it is," he answered jubilantly.
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.