Anyway, I'm Inner Voice. I fall quite squarely under the category the userinfo gives, of "writers who are not yet comfortable with the hardcore mechanics." Heck, I can barely write kisses...but I'm working on that. ^_~
Anyway, here's a little bit of fiction I wrote a couple of years ago for a Tolkien 'zine. Hope you all enjoy it...
Title: Through the Fire
Fandom: The Silmarillion
Summary: Fingon brings the wounded Maedhros back to camp, and watches over him as he dreams.
Sorry for how long this is, but they have a complicated history together...
Fingon and Maedhros are elves and half-cousins (their fathers are half-brothers). Maedhros' not-entirely-sane father Feanor incited their people, the Noldor, to leave Valinor in the west and go to Middle-earth. To get ships to sail east, they massacred another elven tribe (the Teleri) and stole their ships. But then Feanor secretly took the ships and set sail with only his family and their retainers, leaving Fingon and the rest of the Noldor abandoned on the western shore. When Feanor reached Middle-earth, he ordered the ships to be burned, but Maedhros refused to take part in the burning, because he had not voluntarily left Fingon behind.
Fingon and the rest of the Noldor get to Middle-earth the hard way by crossing a glacier in the north. When they get there, Fingon learns that Maedhros has been captured by Morgoth (the original Dark Lord) and is held fastened to a cliff by a shackle on his right hand. With the help of Thorondor, the king of the eagles, Fingon is able to free Maedhros...by cutting off his hand at the wrist.
Through The Fire
Fingon held his head high as he approached the walled camp of Feänor’s sons, Maedhros’ unconscious form held tightly in his arms. The sentries at the gate stared at them as if they were ghosts. After a hurried exchange of whispers, one dashed off into the camp, glancing nervously back at Fingon.
“You may enter,” said the remaining guard, trying to sound cold, but unable to meet Fingon’s gaze.
Fingon walked past him without a word.
The camp’s occupants had, of course, seen Thorondor as the great eagle set down his burden nearby. Now some gathered by the gate, murmuring amongst themselves as they stared at Fingon and the bloodstained elf he carried.
Fingon paused and asked the crowd,
“Where is the healer’s tent?”
At first they fell silent, still staring at him. Then one brave young elf stepped forward.
“Over there, my lord,” he said, pointing. “The grey tent.”
Fingon nodded to him, then strode quickly towards the distant tent. All along his path he saw pale faces peering out at him through tent-flaps. Familiar elves stood stock-still as he passed, with their faces turned away from him; but they watched him out of the corners of their eyes. One or two started towards him, lifting a hand as if to call out or help him; but turned away again, their faces once more blank masks. Their tense bodies expressed the same strange emotion that hung over the whole camp. Was it fear? Shame? Grief?
When Fingon reached the grey tent, a half-dozen healers rushed to surround Maedhros as Fingon laid him on a cot. While they tended to their lord’s arm, Fingon dragged a chair over to Maedhros’ bedside to watch them work. Exhausted by the events of the past few days, and content to entrust Maedhros to the healers’ care, he fell into a doze.
Maedhros is back at Losgar, watching his father Feänor set his torch to the ships of the Teleri. He turns away in helpless sorrow, unable to watch the deed.
A sudden scream makes him spin around. It’s Fingon! Fingon is trapped on a ship’s deck, and the wood around him is already ablaze!
Maedhros sprints towards the ship.
“Run, Fingon! Jump into the sea!” he yells.
Fingon’s head turns and his eyes lock with Maedhros’, but he makes no other move.
Maedhros flings aside his cloak and scales the ship’s side, heedless of the hot wood scorching his hands. The fire burns around him, but he only has eyes for Fingon.
The blaze has reached Fingon now, and he is screaming again. His beautiful black hair is all turned to flame, blazing orange-red, brighter than Maedhros’ own.
Fingon stirred sleepily as a faint groan sounded nearby. Blinking his eyes back into focus, he saw that Maedhros was stirring. It seemed that the red-haired elf was having a nightmare: wide, unseeing grey eyes stared in horror at some fever-vision, and his bandaged arm reached out as if towards someone.
One of the healers hurried over and swiftly mixed some herbs together in a cup, then poured hot water into it.
“To help him sleep deeper,” the elf-wife explained.
As she and Fingon waited for the medicine to steep, Maedhros’ restlessness increased. He thrashed around on the bed, and started making low cries of pain or fear.
Fingon gave a small gasp as he recognized his own name among the cries. He turned away from Maedhros, his face tight with the effort of holding back tears. Maedhros was thinking of him? Dreaming of him?
‘Don’t even hope,’ he told himself angrily. ‘You mean less than nothing to him. Didn’t he prove that when he betrayed and abandoned you? Why did you even rescue him?’
But even as Fingon asked himself, he already knew the answer: he loved Maedhros. He had loved him for centuries. He couldn’t remember when it had begun…the change from brotherly love to something deeper had been almost unnoticeable.
Fingon had even kissed Maedhros once, after gathering his courage for days. But Maedhros had pushed him away after a moment, with a shocked look in his eyes. The next time they saw each other, neither elf mentioned the kiss, and everything seemed to be as it was before. Fingon had been intensely grateful that he still enjoyed the same friendship with Maedhros as he always had, although he sometimes had to suppress a sudden impulse to stroke Maedhros’ long red hair or reach up and take the taller elf’s face in his hands.
Now Fingon watched as Maedhros struggled in the grip of a nightmare, and tried unsuccessfully to soothe the other by placing a hand on his forehead.
Maedhros finally reaches Fingon, and stretches out his right hand to clasp Fingon’s arm. Immediately he screams too. Fingon’s skin is burning hot—hotter than fire, hotter than shame. Maedhros grits his teeth and hangs on. He must get Fingon to safety!
He yanks his friend’s arm, trying to get him to move. Fingon takes a shaky step towards him, and another—then stumbles and falls, dazed with pain.
Maedhros tries to drag Fingon across the deck, but his strength is suddenly gone. His arms and legs feel weak and shaky, and the pain in his hand intensifies. He gives a sobbing half-scream of horror and frustration and falls to his knees.
As the fire rages around them, he still clutches Fingon’s arm—hold on to beautiful, beloved Fingon, don’t let go! —with a hand that’s ablaze with agony.
Fingon’s body begins to glow with a gentle inner light. Maedhros knows where he’s seen a light like that before: it’s the light of a Silmaril. Suddenly he realizes why it hurts to touch Fingon. He’s not allowed to touch something so pure, not with his guilty hands, and now his hand will never heal. His body may be consumed in the flames, but even in Mandos’ halls there will be no relief from the pain. His hand will burn forever as punishment for his guilt and treachery...burn forever…
Maedhros woke with a gasp, sitting up and dislodging Fingon’s comforting hand.
Immediately, his face twisted in pain and he fell back onto the cot, curling up protectively around his right arm.
“Hurts…” he gritted out, his eyes squeezed shut.
“Hush,” Fingon replied softly, leaning forward to smooth Maedhros’ hair. “The healer is preparing something to help you go back to sleep.”
Maedhros opened his eyes slightly, struggling to raise himself on one elbow.
“Fingon?” he asked in amazement. “You’re here? How…why…”
A thought seemed to strike him, and he fell silent, looking away. After a moment, he asked cautiously,
“Have you…forgiven me, then?” He turned back towards Fingon, his expression full of hope and fear.
Fingon’s eyes widened at the question. He realized that he had no answer to give…he truly didn’t know whether he had forgiven Maedhros or not. Ever since the death of the Trees, he had been acting and reacting almost on instinct, with hardly any time to stop and reflect on what he felt.
“Excuse me, my lords? The infusion is ready.”
Fingon welcomed the healer’s interruption, turning with relief and taking the clay cup from her hands. He held it carefully to Maedhros’ lips.
“Here, drink this. As I said, it will help you go back to sleep.”
Maedhros’ gaze remained on Fingon for a moment longer; then it shifted down to the cup as he wrapped his hand around Fingon’s to tilt it towards his mouth.
Fingon smiled down at him as he drank the medicine and settled back into a comfortable position. The smile faded into a faint, thoughtful frown as Maedhros’ eyes grew unfocused in sleep. Fingon considered Maedhros’ earlier question, contemplating his beloved friend’s now-peaceful face.
Did Maedhros deserve to rest so peacefully? He had betrayed friends that he had known for centuries, betrayed even his blood kin, abandoning them on a harsh northern shore with nowhere to go back to and no way to go forward. He, along with his brothers and his father Feänor, had forced thousands to march over the Grinding Ice…and so many had suffered and fallen during that ordeal! Fingon remembered the ache in his heart as he saw, in the light of the moon, how much fewer were those who reached the eastern shore than those who had first set out. He remembered the grief on Turgon’s face after his brother lost Elenwë to the cruel cold.
Finally Fingon sighed and shook his head.
“I’m sorry, Maedhros,” he said quietly, his eyes hot with unshed tears. “I still love you dearly…but I cannot forgive what you have done to my people.”
A soft sob behind him startled him, and he spun around. Standing there was one of the healers, a thin young elf-maid, whose hand was pressed over her lips to stifle another sob.
“I’m sorry, my lord, I know I shouldn’t have been listening…but…” a tear slid down one pale cheek. “No forgiveness for us, then?”
Fingon blinked in surprise. He gathered his thoughts for a moment, then reached out to touch her arm in comfort.
“Don’t worry, child. You are far less responsible for what happened than Maedhros is. You were only following your lord’s commands…what could you have done to stop him?”
“Yes, but still, we followed! If you can still say such kind words to us, why not to Maedhros the Loyal?” she cried.
“Hush, girl!” exclaimed the elf-wife who had prepared the sleeping-draught, rushing over to pull the younger healer away.
“Wait!” called Fingon. “Maedhros the Loyal? I have never heard him called that before.”
“It’s…it’s what some started calling Lord Maedhros after what he did at Losgar,” the elf-maid replied softly. She smiled tremulously. “Never in Lord Feänor’s hearing, of course…he would have killed you if he heard you name his son so.”
“What he did at Losgar? What do you mean?” Fingon asked in confusion.
The two healers stared at him with identical expressions of shock and disbelief.
“You mean…you didn’t know? You rescued him, even without knowing?” asked the elf-wife at last.
“What are you talking about?” asked Fingon, beginning to lose patience. “What don’t I know?”
“When we reached these shores, we thought…we all thought that the ships would be sent back to ferry others from the western shore. Lord Maedhros asked his father to send the ships back for you first. And when Lord Feänor replied that he would burn the ships, not send them back, Lord Maedhros refused to take part in the burning…all for the love of you, my lord!”
Fingon was silent for a long moment, struck dumb with amazement at the elf-maid’s words.
“All…for the love of me?” he asked finally, half to himself. The two healers both nodded. “But surely…he’s the eldest son, surely he could have persuaded Feänor to stop?”
“He couldn’t, my lord,” said the older healer, shaking her head sadly. “No one could have. In his last days, Lord Feänor—may his soul find rest—seemed half-wild; listening to no one but himself, not even his own sons.”
Fingon turned away from her, returning to Maedhros’ bedside to gaze down at his friend’s sleeping form. The two healers shared a small smile and silently withdrew.
Fingon’s thoughts were in a whirl. Maedhros had thought of him…had tried to stop Feänor…! His beloved Maedhros hadn’t betrayed his people after all!
His heart full to bursting with joy and love, Fingon impulsively bent down and pressed his mouth to Maedhros’ in a swift, gentle kiss. He pulled away and smiled down at the sleeping elf, then settled back into his chair to wait till his friend awoke.
Maedhros is back in Valinor, back on a tree-lit day two decades before. He and Fingon are laughing at some private joke, and he throws his arm companionably around Fingon’s shoulders. Fingon stiffens and suddenly pulls away. Maedhros turns to his friend to ask what’s wrong, and Fingon takes a deep breath. He rises up to the tips of his toes and leans in close. Their lips meet.
Fingon is kissing him!
Maedhros’ mind reels in shock. He has long loved Fingon as more than a brother, but he never imagined that his feelings could be returned. Now that they clearly are, he is a little afraid. He had been content to love in silence, but now he has no idea what to do.
He almost pushes Fingon away, almost pretends indifference to gain time to think. But sudden knowledge comes into his mind: this day has happened before. This kiss has happened before. The first time, he pushed Fingon away. Now he has a second chance, a chance to do things right.
So instead he pulls Fingon closer, responding gently to the kiss. And when they finally pull apart, he smiles down at Fingon with all the love in his heart.