44. Author's notes
First, a warning. As the summary says, there are graphic M/M sex scenes in this story, so if you do not like those, back out now and we will both be happier. Further, on occasion there are activities that might be described as mildly kinky, such as consensual bondage – again, please leave now if that is a problem for you, as I do not put specific warnings on chapters. There is, however, no significant violence or offensive language.
This story began as a PWP challenge from a friend, but I could not manage just PWP; it took me a good 5000+ words to get to that point at all. And then I started adding to it, so that it has ended up as essentially a serial or even a soap opera rather than anything else. Besides the sex, I use this story as a vehicle to look at Elvish society, and what it is like to be on the fringes of society in different ways; in a sense, no one, ever, is ordinary, but the principal characters here are clearly atypical from several perspectives, not only from the angle of their emotional/sexual preferences.
I cheerfully acknowledge this as an AU, on at least two counts: the M/M relationship, to begin with. Tolkien gave no hint of homosexual relationships among any of the peoples of Middle-earth, and given what we know of his personal beliefs and ideas, would have strongly disapproved of such. Nevertheless I have chosen to present the main characters, canon and non-canon, as preferring members of their own sex. In part this is because I find it interesting to write the sex scenes – remember the origins of this story – but in part because it allows me to explore Elvish attitudes towards sexuality.
Elves, according to Tolkien, bond for life (and perhaps beyond). They are monogamous; there is no such thing as divorce. The one significant exception is the remarriage of Finwë, who was permitted to marry Indis because his first wife, Míriel, would never return from the Halls of Mandos – and that decision by the Valar caused no end of trouble in the long run. I do follow this idea of permanency and an indissoluble spiritual bond in the story, despite the fact that I conceive that it could occur between two of the same sex as well as the usual heterosexual bond. Tolkien’s basic ideas about marriage and reproduction among Elves can be found in The History of Middle-earth volume 10, Morgoth’s Ring, part three, section II, in the subsection “Laws and Customs among the Eldar.”
The other significant AU element is the characteristics of lembas. I add one quality to those attributed by Tolkien – I suggest that it prevents those who eat it from physically expressing their emotion, specifically in sexual terms (although it could affect other physical expressions also). This is something that I have had reader/reviewer comments on a fair amount – some like it, some emphatically do not. I certainly do not intend it to imply that without lembas, Elves would have no sexual restraint! As said above, I follow Tolkien in assuming that Elves choose a partner once, and for life. I merely think that the waybread is used for the rangers’ common food as an extra safeguard. Those out on patrol would not become uncontrollably randy without it, but it makes the separation from a spouse easier to bear in physical terms – it has no effect on the emotions themselves. Tolkien’s own notes on lembas are extremely brief, but what information there is can be found in The History of Middle-earth volume 12, The Peoples of Middle-earth, part three, section XV, “Of Lembas.”
If you happen to want to read more with this particular take on Elves, I have at present three other related stories published on HASA: "In Dreams," "Shadows of the Past," and "Departing." The first is about Haldir's decision to join the patrolling companies of Lórien, the second is set when the Fellowship meet Haldir in the Golden Wood, and the third deals with the aftermath of King Elessar's death. Several other stories are in the Members-only area.
Finally, I wish to thank the late Wídfara, Dim Genesis, Julie, Anglachel, and Meg for their feedback and beta comments. I dedicate this story to those who enjoy it, for whatever reasons they do so.