The peaks rose jagged and snow-capped into the piercingly blue sky. Mairon, morphed into the brownish-black form of a bat, angled his wings delicately to catch a draft. The wind was cold and his chest burned with the pain of his wound, but he stayed his path. He angled his cone-shaped ears to catch any sounds of pursuit, but there was nothing but the usual activities of small mountain creatures far below.
The fortress came into view, ice-covered pillars jutting out of the mountainside and green malachite glittering under the cold sunlight. Melkor's presence issued from inside, warm and familiar.
Mairon began to lose altitude fast. The rush of icy air seared his lungs and stole the breath from his body. He tucked his wings in and pulled into a dive, hurtling through the skies at the crown of the world.
The elaborate carvings on the massive doors to Utumno became clearer as he drew close, elegant snakes and dragons chasing each other across the glassy-smooth surface. They seemed to writhe on the black rock, twisting to life to regard Mairon with the tiny golden flecks of their eyes.
He pulled out of his dive clumsily and aimed for the walkway that jutted from the mountain like a broken tooth. He tumbled in at an angle and skidded, claws gaining no purchase on the icy tiles of the front-porch.
There was a tug in his gut as he let his transformation melt away, revealing his true form as a slender, crimson-haired man. Dark robes swirled about him like the wings of the bat he had been moments ago. The emblem of the Eye was emblazoned across his chest, overlooked by the pauldrons curving up from his shoulders.
He curled his fingers into the ground and managed to stop his slide, bloodying his fingertips in the process. He stopped a ways before the doors and rose to his knees gingerly.
“Master!” He yelled, voice cracking with the cold. The thin fabric of his robe afforded little protection from the cutting blasts of wind sweeping through the valley. He cast his gaze across the balconies and watchtowers jutting out of the cliffs further up, watching for any sign of life.
He shivered violently and remained there on his knees, looking up at the doors and the spires above. His hair was tossed by the wind, a halo of fire framing his pale face. His magic flickered feebly in an attempt to warm himself, but he had drained too much power in his escape from Angband.
After the Valar had laid siege to his fortress, he had aided his master's escape, with Thuringwethil and Gothmog accompanying the Vala to Utumno. Mairon had remained behind and evaded the Valar by way of the labyrinth beneath Angband; a courtship-gift from his master that had proved crucial to his escape.
He had been wounded before he could disappear into the winding tunnels of the maze. The spearhead remained buried in his side even now.
Mairon's flight North had been long and he was weary. His wound throbbed and burned. He shivered violently with the cold as he waited for something, anything, to happen.
After what felt like an age, the doors swung slowly open. A small company of orcs issued forth, approaching the Maia.
Mairon had hardly registered their presence before a familiar man sprinted past the guards. His eyes gleamed blue with worry as he reached Mairon, all but tearing off his fur cloak as he went.
“Master…” Mairon whispered in greeting, exhaling softly when Melkor draped the cloak around him. He all but burrowed into the warmth of the fur, relief sparking in his eyes.
Melkor reached down to carefully lift him into the air, gauntletted hands gentle with his Maia. He clasped the cloak about Mairon’s shoulders, securing it.
“We thought they captured you. We thought you were gone.” Melkor whispered to him, cradling Mairon with reverence and care.
“I am here. The labyrinth...they could not find me.” Mairon pressed their foreheads together, letting their fëar mingle lightly, a reassurance that they were together and alive.
“Do not ever do that again. That is an order, little flame.” Melkor's words were stern but his tone was soft, as it usually was when he spoke to his husband.
“I drove myself mad with worry. Many times I tried to return to Angband, and each time I was restrained by Lady Thuringwethil. I could not feel your fëa, and I was afraid.” Melkor spoke quietly, voice deep and rumbling. Mairon clung to him tighter. “I did not want them tracking me by means of my fëa. I suppressed it. I am sorry.”
Melkor met his eyes, icy blue boring into warm amber. “Do not be.” He replied. And then he was kissing Mairon, heedless of the guards behind them, and it was searing and passionate and everything Mairon had needed during their time apart. Their fëar crashed together, mingling with an intensity so great it left Mairon gasping against Melkor's lips.
They had both needed the familiar intimacy of their souls pressing together, entwined lovingly--not to mention the intimacy of their breathtakingly deep kiss. Mairon rested one hand in Melkor's dark hair and the other on his chest. He could feel his heartbeat syncing up with his Vala's.
Melkor's hand brushed the place where the spearhead was buried in Mairon's side, and Mairon mewled in pain. The Vala abruptly broke off their kiss and looked down at the slow trickle of blood that had begun to seep out around his fingers.
“You are injured.” Melkor sounded alarmed at the blood staining his gauntlet. Mairon shook his head. “It is nothing, my love--”
“Thuringwethil!” Melkor called, tipping his head back to survey the blisteringly bright sky. The sun shimmered off the snow, producing a painful glare.
A dark shape swooped overhead and descended beside them. Thuringwethil folded her wings delicately as she lighted down upon the tiles. “Yes, my lord?” She bowed her head in reverence, dark curls framing her high cheekbones and bright green eyes.
“Take him to the halls of healing. You are swifter in flight than I am on foot. I will be there shortly. See that he is cared for.” Melkor ordered, bundling Mairon into her arms. She held her fellow Maia easily.
“Of course. I will see to it at once.” She lifted off, sailing into the sky with a dizzying speed. Mairon held on tightly, but her grip was secure.
As they curved around the mountain, aiming for the small balcony outside the halls of healing, Mairon closed his eyes. Despite the cold wind and the pain in his side and the too-bright sun, he was content.
He was safe once more, his escape successful. He and his lover would restore their fortress to its former glory, and they would make the Valar pay handsomely for the destruction of Angband and the spearhead embedded in his side.
Of this, Mairon was certain.