1. The Fire of Their Hearts Was Young
The story is set at the time when Fingolfin's host had at last crossed the icy fields of the Helcaraxë and sounded their trumpets in Middle-earth simultaneously with the first rising of the Moon. I love Tolkien's description of how those left behind by Fëanor
"…wandered long in misery, but their valour and endurance grew with hardship; for they were a mighty people, the elder children undying of Elu Ilúvatar, but new-come from the Blessed Realm, and not yet weary with the weariness of Earth. The fire of their hearts was young…" Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 9, "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
In this story, Fingon (Findekano) mourns his separation from his lover Maedhros (Nelyafinwë/Maitimo) while Finrod (Findaráto) has left Amárië, his wife or lover, behind in Aman. (The reader can chose how to consider Finrod's relationship with Amárië; it doesn't matter to me for the purposes of this story.) Finrod is drawn to his handsome, charismatic cousin and suspects this attraction might be mutual. I chose to extrapolate how the relative youth and fire of heart of my protagonists, coupled with their loneliness in the absence of loved ones they fear they will never see again, might have drawn them into a passionate encounter. (I've used the Quenya names they would have used with one another at this time. A list follows at the end of the story.)
The Fire of Their Hearts Was Young
The Noldor following Prince Nolofinwë had survived the icy wasteland of the Helcaraxë and passed onto the frozen, treeless plains of Middle-earth. They did not stop to rest, but continued marching in a southerly direction. Within a day they had reached an area of scrubby vegetation and dwarf trees. That same night Nolofinwë's followers witnessed the first rising of the moon. The entire company was seized with awe at the new encompassing light. It far outshone the stars, without approaching one one-hundredth of the light of Telperion at its lowest ebb. The wondrous new pearly orb illuminated their efforts to collect bits of dried grass, shrubs and fallen branches as fuel for fires.
Findekáno looked up from where he squatted, attempting to kindle a campfire, to find his cousin Findaráto standing over him. The firelight glowed golden and the moonlight silver upon the pale hair that fell in waves over his cousin's broad shoulders. Findekáno almost believed he could detect the gold in Findaráto's hair lit by the new moonlight. Although the moon could not be compared with Laurelin and Telperion, it revealed more color than he had seen since their light had been extinguished. No doubt memory and desire might fool him into believing that those gentle beams showed the yellow highlights in his cousin's locks, but the radiance of Findaráto's smile was genuine and certainly not the illusion of a tumultuous imagination.
"Come," Findaráto said. "Leave this fire for your father and Turukáno. Irissë says that she will look after your niece tonight. I have something I would like to share with you." Flashing a conspiratorial grin, Findaráto withdrew a silver flask from under his heavy fur-trimmed cape. He held his hand out to Findekáno, and with a grip sure and strong hoisted him to his feet.
"What is this?" Findekáno asked, his mood lifting at the thought of an evening away from his brother's unremitting, resentment-filled grieving and his father's short temper.
"The very last of it. The closest I can come to giving you a bit of the spirit of fire for which you pine. This and sharing a warm blanket might afford us both a fresh outlook. I was inspired by the new light to seek, if not a new beginning, at least a moment's respite. What say you, cousin? Will you join me in my quest?"
Findekáno's heartrate increased and he felt a flush of heat spread across his cheeks. Surely he must be misinterpreting what his beautiful cousin offered. "What do you ask, Findaráto?" His voice sounded hoarse and his mouth was suddenly dry. He had not even known he wanted this, but now he wished for nothing more than to hold Findaráto in his arms, to feel the contact of skin upon skin. Findekáno had missed not only Maitimo but the simple comfort of the touch of any other for far too long. Had wishful thinking taken over his capacity for deductive reasoning? His cousin Findaráto was not a lover of men. Even if he were, would he engage in a casual liaison when he loved another who stayed behind in Aman?
"I ask exactly what you think I ask. Come. I have put up a tent for us. I know I am not your Maitimo nor as perfect of form and face, but I have been told that I am fairer than average." Findaráto slipped his arm across Findekáno's shoulders and guided him in the direction of a small fire and narrow tent. "Sit," he said gesturing toward a skin doubled upon the ground. The two elves lowered themselves and sat with their thighs touching so as to fit upon the hide in front of the fire.
"By all the Valar, you are easily as fair as any and you know that full well. Yes. My answer is yes. But what makes you desire me?" Findekáno asked. I cannot permit myself to think of my Maitimo tonight. Those days are gone. They can never be forgotten, but they need not torture me constantly.
"Ai, Káno, now who is flirting and begging for a compliment? We all used to joke in Tirion that every man, woman, child and dog found Findekáno the Valiant attractive. I wagered with your cousins that once Nelyafinwë realized that you desired him he could not possibly resist you. I was right too."
"That is flattering. And do you count yourself among those women and dogs? Even without your obvious charms, remarks like that could carry you a long way." Findekáno laughed, happier than he could remember being for a very long time--since well before Maitimo had left him alone in Tirion to join Fëanáro in Formenos. "Now give me the drink you promised and a kiss before I change my mind," Findekáno said.
"Shhh. Calm yourself. You are the one who sounds overexcited and nervous now. I am far less practiced, but I am not afraid to kiss you. I have wanted to for a very long time, my dear. I've been watching you with pleasure since I was a child. You always represented for me the dark splendor of the perfect Noldor and more—with such bright blue eyes. Really quite amazing."
Findaráto gave him a smile intoxicating in its winsomeness and leaned over to find Findekáno's mouth with his own. Serene and calm as ever, Findaráto nonetheless increased the pressure, until an enthusiastic Findekáno—wildly, if truth be told—returned his kiss. It felt nothing like the burning that was Maitimo. But he perceived the caress as warm and true, authentic and tangible.
When Findaráto finally broke off the kiss, Findekáno looked around him to see if others milling about, setting up their camp for the night, and preparing fires or food had noticed them. None seemed to show the slightest interest in the cousins. Findekáno could not control the joy that caused a wide smile to spread across his face. Nothing had moved him in this way since things had gone awry with Maitimo, long before they had embarked on this journey.
Findekáno initiated the next kiss and Findaráto returned it open-mouthed this time, proving that he was no novice in the use of his tongue. Findaráto's fair and flushed skin was warm to touch but lacked that abnormal heat, as if a fire burned just under the surface, that was common to all of the Feanorians. Findekáno said, "Ai, Eru, sweet Findaráto! You are nothing like I thought you would be! For some reason I expected you to be shyer."
"So you did look at me and wonder what it might be like if we were to touch or kiss? I hardly dared believe my suspicions were true," Findaráto said.
Findekáno felt his face grow hot. "No doubt you caught a glimpse of it, although I dared not even admit such a thing to myself. You love Amárië and I will never break free of the ties that connect me to Maitimo."
"But we can hold one another for one night, can we not? I did see interest in your gaze before and a moment ago felt it in your kisses." Findaráto kissed him again on the corner of his mouth. "You, Káno, are exactly as I imagined you might be, except perhaps more so. You are a bright white light. No wonder he loves you so. Would you like a drink? Before we go into the tent?"
"Yes, I would like a drink, please." His hand remained upon Findaráto's arm, contact that warmed fingertips long left cold upon the ice. "You leave me breathless? Can this really be so easy for you?" He sought Findaráto's blue eyes for a clue but found none. "I want you. But still it frightens me to consider this."
"A little warmth, the comfort of one you love and trust as an old friend, surely that cannot be wrong? We understand one another and ask for nothing that the other cannot give and it is our nature to look up and not to be mired in sorrow, but to seek joy in the smallest things."
"The drink?" Findekáno grinned sticking out his hand. "Thank you." Lifting the flask, he said, "Here is to hope and joy in the moment." He took a deep swallow. "I will remember your eloquent words, if I ever come to speak of this to Maitimo."
"I will gladly take the blame for my part in it and defend to him your reluctance as well as my own reasons for attempting to persuade you. I want to give you relief from your family's demands and the pain they give you. Your sister should share more of the burden of caring for your niece instead of leaving it all to you. I have seen how your brother resents your previous closeness to the Feanorians and blames you for his loss, and how your father says nothing to defend you."
"How generous. And what do you get out of this?"
"I want you for yourself, and to satisfy my curiosity, to touch your lips, to run my hands through your hair. You cannot break my heart, nor I yours, but we can give one another a moment of joy and we have learned nothing from our recent experiences if not how fleeting and precious that is," Findaráto said softly.
"Then my answer is still yes; I will gladly accept your gift. I want to know what the wise and noble Findaráto is like when he makes love, to see what you look like when you come undone, what sounds you make."
"You are a bold and fiery rascal. I will be honest too. I chose you because I wanted to discover if you are as wickedly lustful as your reputation. Your tone of voice, your very movements convey a most seductive, guileless sensuality." Findaráto leaned in closer, nipping Findekano on the lower lip and pulling.
"Stop! That is a huge load of horse manure, Findaráto, if quite endearing. And you feign to be so virtuous. Ha! You are the wicked one." Findekáno stood abruptly, pulling his cousin to his feet turning him in the direction of the small tent behind them. "In you go," Findekáno said.
As soon as Findaráto had crawled into the tent with Findekáno literally on top of him pushing his backside with one hand through the shallow entrance, he was flipped onto his back and attacked, his clothes peeled off piece by piece. Findekáno, laughing captivatingly, smiled over him, his arched eyebrows and high cheek bones shown to great advantage in the light of the tiny Fëanorian lamp that Findaráto had left there. The bluish glow enhanced the raven-darkness of Findekáno's heavy hair, half-braided and half-loose, cascading onto Findaráto's now bared chest.
Findaráto groaned low in his throat, rolling Findekáno onto his back, fingers probing beneath clothing to find what he ached to touch. Findekáno laughed again, this time breathlessly, gasping as Findaráto curled his hand around him and began to stroke, slow and sure in his motions. Findekáno mirrored Findaráto's movements by grasping his companion's erection and sliding his fingers artfully up and down the length of it, suddenly serious and earnest of expression, with his lips slightly parted and just the tip of his tongue visible.
Findaráto had been leaning upon one elbow and now collapsed upon him, allowing his cheek to fall against the smooth skin of Findekáno's chest. Overwhelmed with sensation and emotion, Findaráto fought with determination to hold on long enough to bring Findekáno to completion first. Findekáno arched his back as he strove towards his release, fingers tightening upon Findaráto as he climaxed, crying "Maitimo!" Findaráto came swiftly thereafter with a low drawn-out moan.
Findekáno spoke immediately, begging, "Please forgive me, Findaráto! I am so sorry. I thought of you every moment until the very end."
"No matter. That was lovely," Findaráto said and meant it wholeheartedly. He thought of how he loved seeing Findekáno like this—so wildly handsome and uninhibited. He could not regret that Findekáno had called out another's name. He knew when he made this proposition that he could never win Findekáno's love and it was enough for him to know that, aside from his eldest cousin Nelyafinwë, no one else had ever experienced Findekáno in the same way, or likely ever would.
"So, is that all there is to it?" Findaráto whispered through kiss-bruised lips, wanting to tease more laughter from his cousin who had again grown solemn. He reached and grabbed a heavy dark plait winding it around his hand.
Findekáno chuckled brushing the gleaming light hair from Findaráto's forehead with great tenderness. "Don't make tasteless jokes at my expense. That it went so quickly was as much your fault as mine. You knew that I was close to finishing and you caressed me harder and stronger instead of slowing down. Inexperience is no justification for that."
"I am willing to try again if you are," Findaráto said, grinning widely, his head still spinning in the blissful afterglow of a pleasure which far surpassed any that he had recently known or at that precise moment could even remember.
"You would have to throw me out to prevent me from doing so. You are exquisite," Findekáno said, running his hand down his cousin's elegantly muscled chest, stopping to trace a finger around a flat, pale, rose-hued nipple, the tip of which hardened under his touch. "But the absence of color pains me. I can imagine the tan and pink and gold of you. How much more beautiful you must be than what I can see of you tonight. I wish I could have seen you like this under the Light of Laurelin."
"You had other things to look at in those days."
"As did you. I wonder how Amarië was able to let you go."
"I often wonder how I was able to leave her. But I did and here we are, alone, seemingly bereft in this strange wild land and yet we still came together. I am grateful to you for tonight."
"Don't be silly! It is I who should be grateful. This idea was yours and a most excellent one," Findekano said, yet the smile that suffused his face seemed to hide a hint of bittersweet torment.
"So, we have the rest of tonight. Can I bargain for tomorrow as well? I understand what you are afraid of, you know." Findaráto said, concentrating hard on keeping his voice even and controlled.
"I would love that. But then tomorrow will have to be enough and we can only hope it is not too much," Findekano answered with a shaky little laugh. Findaráto closed his eyes to block the painful honesty that he saw in Findekáno's before kissing him; he hoped this interlude would help them survive the many lonely nights to come.
Findekáno grabbed him by the jaw and whispered, "Look at me." Findaráto read in his cousin's smile the promise that one day, not soon, they might explore this path again but whether or not they did, there would be no regrets.
Sindarin - Quenya (and/or nicknames)
Finrod Felagund - Findaráto
Fingolfin - Nolofinwë
Fingon - Findekáno, Káno
Maedhros - Maitimo, Nelyafinwë
Turgon - Turukáno
Aredhel - Irissë
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.