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Walls Come Down

Chapter Text

December 1989
West Berlin, West Germany

Ion Nicolae Dooku took a deep breath and watched it steam in the air just before he ducked into the pub. He'd been in Berlin for three days - he would be in Berlin until the end of the month, flying back to London on January second - and he'd spent them sightseeing. 

He was tired of that already.

He'd come here to distract himself from the incessant feeling of alienation and loneliness in his life, which seemed to be made worse as of late by a gay colleague dying of AIDS, someone who had been interested in him, and he wasn't blind, but had declined the interest because he couldn't risk being outed. And it seemed that in politely ignoring the advances, he'd dodged a fatal bullet. Nonetheless, he was acutely aware of having spent his life alone, living like a monk, about to turn forty-one with no end to this in sight. He'd finally taken some paid vacation time, thinking that a change of scenery would do him good, remind him that he didn't need anyone. And of course, being a stranger in a strange land caught up with him.

So here he was now, wanting to do some things that locals did, not be such a foreigner for awhile. The pub was crowded - he hadn't been in the habit of going to pubs back in London, preferring the company of books, or the beauty of nature as he went for a run or a bike ride. He started to have second thoughts in the din of the crowd. But maybe a drink or two would help.

He ordered a pint of beer. Again, unlike him, more of a wine person. He sat down at a table in the corner, practicing his German with a newspaper.

The table was right near the piano, and now there was someone sitting at it. Thirty, thirty-five by the looks of him. Long dark hair to the middle of his back, a bit too much hairspray. Dressed like a glam rocker, eye makeup, leather pants, fingerless gloves, a ruffly dark shirt like a pirate, glittery vest. Haughty, chiseled face, the kind that could grace a magazine cover. He wasn't at all bad to look at, if the glam rock style was a bit cheesy - Dooku thought he was beautiful. Though this wasn't a gay pub, as far as Dooku knew, and he kept glances covert as much as he could.

Until the man stopped with the warmup exercises and actually started playing. Dooku recognized Rachmaninoff, and he put the newspaper down, watching the man's fingers fly over the keys, the storm in his grey eyes. My god. Dooku had been to classical music concerts in London, and this man could play with the Philharmonic. The hair on his arms and the back of his neck stood on end, a frisson down his spine. He could feel love-loss-fury-grief in the pounding of the keys, and when he closed his mind's eye he could see a storm of swords, blood on hands. He didn't frequently get mental images from music, and he wondered why his mind was wandering like this now. I must be exhausted.

There was Beethoven. Mozart. Then he took requests from the audience, pop songs. Most of it was 80s music - Hall and Oates, Michael Jackson, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Elton John. The odd piece of non-80s pop - "Yesterday" by The Beatles brought tears to his eyes.

Finally Dooku got bold enough to make a request. "Can you play 'Dust on the Wind' by Kansas?"

He did, and Dooku almost regretted requesting it. Almost, because it was beautiful, with the piano, and the rich tenor. The kind of hauntingly beautiful he'd remember for a long time. But it made him cry in public, and the piano man noticed him crying. Their eyes met.

Shit.

The performance ended after that, which was just as well. Dooku needed to get out of there. He put on his wool trenchcoat and gloves and hurried out into the crisp December night, and then, of course, there he was, wearing a leather jacket and a scarf but no hat, standing around, taking a few deep breaths like he was meditating, breath fogging in the air.

"Oh." Dooku didn't want to be rude. He cleared his throat. "Die Leistung war sehr gut. Ich habe es genossen. Danke für das Lied, das du für mich gespielt hast."

"You're welcome," the man replied in English, though accented.

"You... speak English."

"Ja. You asked me for the song in English, in the pub."

"Oh. I did." Dooku facepalmed, feeling incredibly stupid.

"It's all right. You're British?"

"London." Dooku nodded.

"Here on business or pleasure?"

"Vacation, but it's been feeling more like work." Dooku didn't know why he was telling this to a total stranger.

"You have sad eyes. And happy people typically don't ask for songs like you did."

"Happy people don't typically play Rachmaninoff like you do, either."

The man laughed, but there was a note of sadness in the laugh. He put out his hand. "From one melancholy old soul to another."

Dooku took his hand. "Nicolae Dooku. Everyone calls me by my surname."

"Marcus Lauer. And why is that, Herr Dooku."

"I just prefer it." Dooku didn't want to get into the story of being named for his great-grandfather but happening to have the same name as his Nazi collaborator uncle, and his parents calling him "you" or "it" unless he was going to the woodshed, and then his given name was used.

"I prefer not calling people by their surnames. It's very militaristic and this country is... not the place for that."

He had a point. "Fair enough, you can call me Nicolae. Though that would assume that we wouldn't be going our separate ways after this conversation."

"You want to take a walk with me, and I'll take you to wherever it is you're going after that - to a hotel, I assume - and maybe we could meet for coffee tomorrow? It might help if you had a local friend to show you around, and it might help if I could show someone around. It gets to be very boring here after awhile, less so to see it through someone else's eyes."

"All right." Dooku nodded. "You don't have to work?" He raised an eyebrow.

"I'm a sound engineer, I go to work when I get called in, it makes enough money I can go for months between jobs."

"I see." Dooku found that fascinating - especially the who he might have worked for - but he didn't want to pry, or come off like he was trying to exploit this man's connections to meet famous people. "Shall we go for that walk now?"

They did. It was through a park, which looked downright magical in the winter snow and ice, trees sparkling with icicles like crystals. The park was also decorated with fairy lights for the approaching Christmas season, and there were ice sculptures here and there. "This is lovely," Dooku said.

"I have a routine of walking through here at night. It helps me clear my head. I do it in all seasons and all weather, my neighbors probably think I'm quite mad."

"Well, the best people are." It was a quote from Alice in Wonderland, but Dooku immediately wished he hadn't said it, not wanting his new friend to think he was accusing him of being mad.

To his relief, Marcus laughed, not offended. "I don't make hats. Though perhaps I should."

Dooku was starting to wish he'd brought a hat with him when he left the hotel. He was used to London winter being cold but it was a bit colder here. Marcus noticed as they were walking past a cafe on the way to the hotel, which was still open at this time of night. Marcus gently took his arm and nudged him inside.

They had hot chocolate. That was something the Germans did wonderfully well.

"You look like you're having a religious experience." Marcus was amused.

"I don't normally have much of a sweet tooth, but this is quite good."

Marcus insisted on paying for both of them, even though Dooku could well afford it. At last they lingered outside the door of the hotel.

"Noon tomorrow, same cafe as the one we just visited?"

Dooku nodded. "I'll be there. And... thank you. You don't know me, and you've still been very kind to me."

"I know you well enough, with what you said about my music, the way it affected you." Marcus nodded.

Before he could start walking off, Dooku found himself asking, "Do you write your own music, at all?"

Marcus took a few steps back. "I do."

"Maybe before I go back to the UK, you could share...?"

"Maybe. But one thing at a time. I'll see you tomorrow, Nicolae."

Marcus walked off, and Dooku watched him, Marcus's long hair stirring in the breeze - stop staring at his arse - feeling the same storm-warning frisson he felt when Marcus first started playing the piano at the pub, but this time, the storm was inside him. His pulse was racing, mouth dry.

Get it together. Dooku made himself stop looking at Marcus and walked into the hotel, feeling disappointment as he returned to his room, alone again.

Chapter Text

True to his word, Marcus was there waiting for him in the cafe at noon the next day. Dooku tried to keep his expression calm and neutral, not wanting to give away the excited puppydog feeling he had on the inside, not wanting to scare the man away, and he was embarrassed by how he was reacting. It's just coffee. You're just friends. You might be starving for connection, but you need to control yourself.

Over coffee they talked about music, books, movies. Dooku was delighted that his new friend had similar tastes, and it seemed a not dissimilar personality as well, with Marcus admitting he too felt uncomfortable in crowds and preferred activities like reading on the weekends. "I play at the pub because I need an outlet for performing so others can hear it," Marcus said, "but I prefer to be mysterious about it. I come and I go. I don't interact with the audience."

"And yet, you're interacting with me."

"You cried." Marcus calmly sipped his coffee, but his eyes were riveted on Dooku's.

After coffee, Marcus took them to what remained of the Wall. It was one thing to see it on television and another thing to see it in-person, and Dooku found himself getting choked up, feeling self-conscious about it, but Marcus didn't seem put off by his reaction at all. There were a few small pieces of rubble on the ground, and Marcus picked one up and handed it to Dooku.

They continued walking, with Dooku rubbing the piece of the Wall between his thumb and forefinger like it was some kind of good-luck charm. Here and there Marcus stopped to give money and a kind word to a street performer, then a derelict-looking homeless person. Dooku found himself going to a food cart to get a hot meal and drink, and marched Marcus back to the homeless man. Marcus translated the profuse thanks in German.

"That was good of you," Marcus said as they resumed their walk.

"You were good too."

"I do what I can, when I can. And it's wintertime, this is the worst time of the year to be on the street."

Marcus led him into a museum, a little out-of-the-way place that Dooku wouldn't have known was there, not listed in the tour guides. He envied the casual familiarity Marcus had with where everything was, and when they stepped out of the museum back into the wintry winds, Dooku asked, "You're a native Berliner, I take it?"

"Nein." Marcus shook his head. "I'm Swiss, I came here seven years ago because of the scene here. Art, music. Not much of that in Zürich."

"I see."

"You're a native Londoner?"

"Yes."

"But your surname... it's..."

"Romanian. My parents came to the UK after World War II and before Communism. Our surname got mangled to hell in the immigration office but it's just as well."

"So the fall of the Iron Curtain must be of great interest to you."

"Yes. I can visit Romania now, which I've wanted to do since I was a child."

"You have family there?"

Dooku swallowed hard, and looked straight ahead. "I haven't had the concept of 'family' since childhood." Being ignored, insulted when not ignored, beaten... he'd had very little contact with his parents since he left for university, and they were dead now, and he couldn't say he missed them.

"I'm sorry."

"So am I. But I don't mean to bore you with all of that."

"You don't." Their eyes met again. "I told you last night I knew you weren't a happy person. It's OK. I'm not a happy person either. This city, it isn't a happy city. It's wounded. And so we're here, walking around a wounded city in the cold of winter. We take what comfort we can."

Those words were deep - soul-deep, touching Dooku on a visceral level. His own wounds. He didn't want to start crying again. He wasn't used to this, the kindness, the compassion and understanding. He'd become a barrister out of a sense of justice, and he'd found that his colleagues were more interested in money, power, and prestige. His job sucked the life out of him, and yet he remained to do what good he could, as one of the few who cared. He'd been in the closet, alone, for the sake of that job. Suddenly, here was connection to another person and already he was thinking what if I stay here.

His reaction terrified him. They were just friends, and had barely met. What the hell is wrong with you? Dooku chided himself.

We take what comfort we can.

At the hotel, in the lobby, Marcus said, "I play again tomorrow night."

"Ah. Would you like me to come by and watch...?"

"Would you like to join me for dinner first, and then accompany me to the pub? Same cafe we met today?"

"All right." Dooku didn't think it sounded like a date, and he found himself disappointed at that, but he wasn't going to push his luck by revealing attraction. It was enough, for now, just to have someone to spend time with. Someone who seemed to get it, in a way. That was more than what he'd had.


_


They met for dinner, with Dooku following Marcus's recommendations for the menu and not being disappointed. They walked together to the pub, and Dooku felt more at ease than he did last time, as Marcus kept glancing at him through the performance. "Moonlight Sonata" almost undid him again, the feeling of longing.

Wanting what I can never have. Dooku wondered, as he listened, heart aching, if it was entirely his own reaction, or if he was picking up on Marcus's feelings, too. Marcus looked almost ready to cry himself, at the end.

The mood quickly whiplashed as Marcus played more pop songs on request, going from "Moonlight Sonata" to "Heart And Soul" by T'Pau, and Dooku tried not to laugh; Marcus also was trying not to laugh.

Tonight, Dooku's request was "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd. He cried again. This time he went to the restroom to pull himself together, but he still wasn't quite OK on the way out.

Marcus noticed when they were in the park. They sat for awhile, saying nothing, and finally, Marcus said, "When's the last time anyone gave you a hug?"

Dooku didn't know the answer to that question.

Hesitantly, Marcus put an arm around him, then the other. Dooku could tell it was awkward for him as well, getting the sense nobody had hugged Marcus in a long time, either.

"I'm sorry," Dooku said when they pulled apart.

"For what? Being sad?"

Dooku nodded. "I'm not used to letting my guard down around other people."

"It's OK to feel things, Nicolae. You don't have to 'be a man' or some such nonsense around me. Just be yourself." He patted Dooku's knee. "You want to come over to my flat tomorrow? I'll play for you. I'll pick you up at the hotel."


_


Marcus lived in a small flat above a bookstore. He made them dinner, and a pot of hot chocolate.

Marcus's flat was small enough that Dooku could see the kitchen space as he sat in what doubled as a living room and bedroom. "The couch folds out," Marcus explained when Dooku sat on it. It was cramped, but clean, and not entirely spartan - there was a woven rug that matched throws on the couch and armchair, colors of the stormy sea. A print of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" hung above the couch. A small bookshelf was stuffed with worn-looking, well-loved books, and on top of the bookshelf was an interesting-looking glass sculpture, like a crystal ball, but dark, and colors seemed to swirl inside the glass. The coffee table held a number of magazines in different languages, as well as notebooks. There was another shelf just for vinyl records, and a record player. He had a good sound system, which Dooku should have expected for a sound engineer but was impressed with anyway.

The bathroom was done in beige, also clean, and Dooku smiled at the seashells and driftwood on a shelf that held the mirror. He felt the urge to snoop, and opened up the medicine cabinet and the shower curtain. The man had scented soaps of different kinds and even a loofah, which screamed "gay stereotype" in addition to the apartment being prettily decorated - though his voice and mannerisms were otherwise not the stereotype, and the glam rock look meant nothing since a lot of people dressed that way in 1989 - but there was none of the other telltale signs of the lifestyle, no condoms, which every non-suicidal sexually active gay man would need in these days. Dooku wondered about that, and decided he needed to stop.

Dooku came back and finally had hot chocolate. Dinner was almost ready. When it was, Marcus took the armchair. He can cook, Dooku thought as he nibbled the schnitzel.

When they were done eating, Dooku gave his compliments and insisted on doing the dishes. As he washed dishes, he noticed Marcus retrieving a keyboard from the hall closet, and then Marcus sat down and started doing warmup exercises.

The offer of hot chocolate became beer as Dooku sat and watched Marcus play his own work. He started with a lighter song, bright major chords, with Dooku getting the mental images of a garden, flowers opening in golden light, warmth and contentment and peace. Then there was the storm again, a descent further and further into sadness, wild grief that died into muted hopelessness, the mental image of wandering through desolation, lost in a fog.

Dooku was in tears by the end of it. So was Marcus.

That was when Dooku finally noticed that Marcus had a horrible burn on the palm of his right hand. He hadn't really seen it before now because it was wintertime and they'd been outdoors most of the time with Marcus wearing gloves, and he tended to wear fingerless gloves indoors as part of his glam rock look. But here and now his hands were bare - he otherwise had elegant hands with long, slim fingers, hands Dooku wanted to touch, or be touched by, and held back. And there was that one scar, it looked oddly geometric. Dooku was trying very hard not to stare, but Marcus saw him looking at it.

"What happened?" Dooku asked.

Marcus looked down, and away.

"Is that why you composed that?" Dooku's voice was a hush. "Is it why you're in Berlin, away from home?"

"I think you better go now."

"You know, you can tell me. I won't judge you. It's like what you told me yesterday. It's OK to feel things -"

"Go." Marcus didn't even look at him.


_


Marcus wasn't by the next day, or the next. Dooku worried he'd never see him again, that he'd really put his foot in it without meaning to. Dooku went back to the tourist routine without Marcus around, and it felt even worse now.

Two nights after Marcus told him to go, he showed up at the pub where they'd met, and sure enough, Marcus was performing there that night. Dooku sat at the usual table, with a pint of beer. This time Dooku made no requests, and at the end, Marcus dedicated his last song to "a friend".

It was "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd.

Dooku met him outside.

"We've both been comfortably numb for too long," Marcus said. "I wasn't expecting..."

"To be asked about it? I shouldn't have asked. It was rude."

"Telling you to go was rude." Marcus ran a nervous hand through his hair. "I'm really shit at this people thing."

They walked through the park and got hot chocolate at the cafe like nothing had happened, in companionable silence. They got free Christmas cookies, even though Christmas was still just a week away.

"I think it's making everything worse," Marcus said, looking down at the Christmas cookies. "The holidays."

"It's a dreadful time of year for me too. Was even before I started spending holidays alone. My father drank."

"I'm sorry." Marcus frowned. "I had a good father, and I always feel a little guilty about it when I hear how many other people did not."

"You shouldn't feel guilty. You're a kind person, even if you think you're 'shit at this people thing', it seems you learned it from somewhere."

Marcus nodded. "He was very warm, generous, loving. He's not with us anymore."

"Do you have other family to keep in touch with...?"

"They're dead."

It took Dooku a moment and then he said, "The scar on your hand..."

Marcus looked away. "I don't want to talk about it, but yes, it's connected."

Dooku found himself taking Marcus's bad hand and squeezing it. Marcus returned the squeeze and placed his other hand on top of Dooku's.

That was when the nice middle-aged lady who'd given them free cookies with their hot chocolate came over, snatched the plate away, and said, in heavily accented English, "Get out."

"Wh...?" Dooku's eyebrows shot up.

"We don't serve queers here," she snarled.

Rather than correcting her and saying we're not a couple, Marcus got up in a huff. He paused a moment and yelled, "Vielen Dank, dass Sie mich wissen lassen, wo Sie stehen. Ich möchte niemandem Geld geben, das so voller ignoranter, voreingenommener Scheiße ist." Then he put an arm around Dooku's waist - Dooku felt himself hardening at the touch - and led him out of the cafe.

"What fucking nonsense," Marcus said when they were outside. "Most of Berlin isn't like this," he added.

"Bigotry is a vile disease," Dooku said. "I'm a criminal defense barrister and so many of my clients have experienced some form of discrimination and prejudice their entire lives, which is why they turn to crime in the first place. I try to offer them a shoulder, kindness and understanding, and connections for when they get out, honest work... And then there are those who are innocent and most of the time they've been profiled. It's painful to see so much hatred in the world, especially in a place where -"

"Where a world leader decided to put people to death for things like that. Ja. I know." Marcus nodded.

"And people are dying of AIDS and it seems like nobody cares. One of my colleagues just died. He went very quickly. I was the only one from the office who went to see him as he was dying."

"You weren't..."

"No." Dooku took a deep breath. Then he asked, "Are you..."

"Not in a long time, but yes."

A few moments of silence passed, and Dooku finally said, softly, "Me too."

"I know."

"You..." Dooku didn't think he looked, sounded, or acted like the stereotype.

As if reading his mind, Marcus said, "It's not obvious, no, but I still knew." A soft sigh. "We tend to be sadder than most people, afflicted by the love that dare not speak its name."

They started walking again. Dooku felt like he was being dangled at the end of a string, not knowing what would happen next.

"We'll have to find someplace else to meet, that isn't that cafe with that... horrible... woman." Marcus paused in his tracks. "How much longer will you be in the country?"

"I go back to London on the second."

"So you'll be here for the holidays."

"And my birthday."

"Christmas baby?"

"Almost. Solstice baby, December twenty-first." A small, rueful smile. "I'll be forty-one."

"That's in just a few days..."

"Yes." They resumed walking.

"I was going to play the pub that night, but I'd rather play for just you again, if that's OK."

"That's OK with me, though... what you played the other night was very sad. Beautiful, but too sad."

"I understand. I have other songs. Or anything you want."

Dooku got the distinct sense anything you want wasn't just referring to music, but he didn't want to get his hopes up. Not to mention he was an almost-virgin, having received oral from a "lady of the evening" on his twenty-first birthday that he hadn't enjoyed, which helped clue him in to playing for the home team. There had been nothing since then. He'd been busy with school, then busy with work, then the AIDS crisis hit and he not only couldn't risk his health, but being outed in the wave of prejudice that went along with it.

They lingered at the door of the hotel. "I have a job at the studio the next few days, which will eat up most of my time and ability to deal with people," Marcus said, making Dooku's heart sink, already missing him, "but on your birthday, if you want to get together..."

"I do."

"Do you want to go out for dinner, or do you trust me to cook for you?"

"I like your cooking."

"All right. I'll see you on the twenty-first at three, we can go to a museum or a gallery, I'll cook for you, I'll play for you, if that all works for you." 

"It does."

A hand on his shoulder, and a shy smile. "Good night, Nicolae."

Dooku wanted to hug him - he wanted to do more than hug him - but he reined in the impulse. Yet later, he brought himself to climax, thinking of Marcus, crying out his name when he let go.

He lay awake awhile after that, feeling guilty, like he'd done something creepy. Just because he's gay doesn't mean he's interested.

But Dooku could no longer deny his own interest. His own ache. For the first time, he had fallen in love.

Chapter Text

On Thursday, December 21st, 1989, Ion Nicolae Dooku had his forty-first birthday in Germany. As promised, Marcus Lauer came by the hotel at three PM, dressed in his usual glam rock attire under a leather jacket and scarf. That was not unusual, but as they walked, Dooku picked up the scent of cologne - a sort of woodsy, clean smell with herbal notes and a touch of smoky spice. Dooku liked it, but did not remark on it.

They went first to the Berlin Zoological Garden. Dooku and Marcus both had mixed feelings about animals in captivity, which they discussed, but nonetheless were enchanted by Fatou the gorilla. After the zoo, Marcus took him to the Berlin Musical Instrument Museum, which was both a surprise and not surprising, considering who was taking him. There were flutes owned by Frederick the Great, as well as Stradivarius violins, Ben Franklin's glass harmonica, and after 6 PM on Thursdays the Mighty Wurlitzer organ was played publicly, which they were in time for. Dooku found the richness of the history of the pieces fascinating, and was especially glad to have someone accompanying him who seemed to know so much about not just how to play music, but its history.

They fit so very well together.

All the walking around - though they had also taken public transportation - worked up an appetite. Once they got to Marcus's flat, Dooku was happy to put his feet up for awhile, and Marcus put on the record player while he cooked in the kitchen; it amused Dooku to go from the museum, to Marcus playing KISS on vinyl.

Dinner was lamb and herbed roasted potatoes and wilted greens, all done to perfection. There was wine. Then, Marcus produced a cake from the fridge - German chocolate.

"You... baked that for me?"

Marcus nodded solemnly. He turned off the lights, stuck a single candle in the cake, lit it, sat next to Dooku on the couch, put an arm around him, and sang

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück,
Zum Geburtstag viel Glück,
Zum Geburtstag alles Gute,
Zum Geburtstag viel Glück.


Dooku felt flustered and choked up all at once. The zoo was nice - guilty, but nice - and the museum was a lot of fun, and dinner was lovely, and now this. He not only wasn't alone for his birthday, but these were all displays of warmth, caring, human connection.

"Go on, make a wish," Marcus said.

"I... I don't..."

Marcus raised an eyebrow.

Dooku closed his eyes. He thought about Marcus kissing him, which he desperately wanted to happen, and immediately pushed that thought out of his mind. It came right back.

I guess that's a wish.

He blew out the candle.

They had cake, which was the best cake Dooku had ever had, and then Marcus got out his keyboard. He played for the next two hours, both original compositions - both happy and sad, but nothing as sad as what he'd played the other night - and a few covers of songs by others, at request. He closed with "Stairway To Heaven" by Led Zeppelin.

Marcus made tea, and Dooku asked, "Why don't you have an album out?"

"I don't want to be famous. I don't mind performing here and there. I would mind very much living in the public eye. I like having a simple, quiet life."

"Fair enough. But it seems a goddamn shame the entire world can't hear your voice, your compositions."

Marcus smiled. "Danke."

"Bitte."

"Besides, a lot of what I've written... it's very personal. Not for sharing."

"But you shared it with me."

"You cried."

"Yes, you keep bringing that up. I find it hard to believe more people haven't."

"I don't. The world has grown cold." Marcus looked away, and then their eyes met. "You still have your heart."

They were sitting next to each other still - far away, so close. Dooku's mouth was dry, his pulse racing. If he made an ass of himself he didn't have much to lose, he'd be leaving after the new year. He had to speak the truth, or forever hold his peace. "I don't have it."

Marcus gave him a look, and before he could argue, Dooku blurted out, "You have my heart, Marcus." He swallowed hard, his eyes blurring. "I didn't want to let anyone in, but here you are -"

"Ach, Scheiße." Marcus took Dooku's face in his hands and kissed him hard.

It was Dooku's first kiss. He didn't know how to kiss, but his body followed Marcus's lead, lips parting, tongues meeting, swirling, and he melted into the sweetness of it, tenderness and ferocity all at once. Dooku's cock stirred, already aching for release. But right now, he wanted to keep kissing Marcus. Kissing and kissing and kissing, drowning in passion, lust and longing and life, that feeling that he'd found a kindred spirit, even a soulmate. They were in a wounded city in wintertime, and fire called to fire.

They pulled apart, breathing hard. Marcus was looking at him with pupils blown wide, wonder and awe in his eyes.

Then Marcus kissed him again. And again. Dooku moaned as he was pushed back against the couch, laying on his back, Marcus leaning over him, feeling how Marcus was just as hard as he was. Dooku's arms went around him, kissing him back hungrily, wanting this more than he'd ever wanted anything. He moaned again as Marcus started kissing his neck, and again when Marcus palmed the hard bulge in his trousers, rubbing gently.

"Marcus," Dooku rasped.

Marcus raised his eyebrows, eyes meeting Dooku's before kissing his neck again. His grey eyes were like molten diamonds now, glittering in the dim light of the flat, the lamp in the kitchen shining gold.

Then Marcus claimed his mouth again. "Nicolae." Their tongues danced some more, then Marcus was trailing kisses along his jaw, licking, nuzzling Dooku's beard. Skritching him like a cat, making him smile a little before letting out a louder moan as Marcus was kissing his neck again, nibbling, licking, the palm on his hardness pressing more firmly, insistently. "Nicolae, I want to make love to you."

"I want that too." Dooku took the hand that had been rubbing his erection, and kissed the scarred palm. "But, Marcus. You should know."

Marcus inhaled sharply.

Dooku could feel the note of concern, that Marcus was probably worried he was going to admit to being HIV-positive, and that wasn't it at all. "I'm still a virgin."

"You're." Marcus sat up, blinking with surprise.

Dooku felt a sudden panic, like that was the worst possible thing he could admit to, fearing that he'd turned Marcus off in some way.

Marcus laughed a little. "You? Really?" Then he put his hands on Dooku reassuringly. "Oh no, please don't think I'm laughing at you, like I'm making fun of you. God, I'm terrible at this. It's..." Marcus shook his head. "You. How? You're incredibly sexy..."

Dooku's face burned. "I'm incredibly reserved. And awkward." His voice lowered. "And scared."

Marcus sighed, and nodded. "All three of those things, I relate to. It's been a very long time for me."

"How long are we talking about?" Dooku was curious, then. "How old are you, even?"

A gentle laugh. "Old enough." When Dooku pressed, Marcus said, "Thirty-six."

That somehow didn't feel like the correct answer, though it looked about right, but Dooku wasn't going to press it, and there was probably nothing to press.

"As far as how long... long."

"Months? Years?"

"Years."

"Before the AIDS crisis?"

A pause, and then a nod.

So not since the seventies at least. Dooku couldn't believe it. "Now it's my turn to say, you're incredibly sexy..."

"It seems we're in a similar boat." Marcus stroked Dooku's cheek, and looked into his eyes. "Full disclosure, I went out and bought condoms for tonight intending to seduce you, because I would understand if you didn't take what I say at face value and still thought we'd need them."

"You..." Dooku had been afraid Marcus hadn't returned his feelings, and was floored by the admission. "You were planning on..."

"Yes."

"You've been thinking about..."

"All day." Marcus blushed and looked down. "I had to relieve myself earlier, thinking about you."

Now it was Dooku's turn to kiss him. They sat on the couch, kissing, necking, petting like a couple horny teenagers, finally both rubbing the bulge in each other's trousers, until Marcus took his hand from there and began unbuttoning Dooku's shirt, kissing each inch of exposed flesh, tongue in his chest hair like he was grooming him. The shirt peeled back to expose a nipple, and Marcus's tongue lashing his nipple, pebbling it, was too much.

"This couch folds out?" Dooku husked.

"Ja. I've never had sex on it, but I imagine it should support us."

Dooku got up, and watched as Marcus took the pillows off the couch and unfolded it into a bed. He went to the hall closet and brought out sheets, blankets, pillows. Dooku helped him make the bed. Marcus noticed Dooku's hands were shaking.

"Nervous?"

"Yes." Dooku nodded, feeling it was better to be honest.

"If you're having second thoughts -"

"It's not that. It's just... this is a lot, considering I've never..."

They sat on the freshly made bed. "We don't have to do anything you don't want to do," Marcus told him. "If you're not ready to go all the way, we can do other things." He leaned in and kissed Dooku. "I really want to taste you."

That got him going, like a magic button had been hit inside his brain. Dooku stood up, pulled his shirt off, let it drop to the floor, not caring it wasn't neat. He quickly undid his belt, worked off his trousers, his briefs. Marcus was also quietly undressing.

They stood there naked before the bed, looking at each other for a moment. Dooku's short dark hair and neatly trimmed beard were just starting to show touches of silver. He worked out a few times a week normally, and ran, and it paid off with a trim figure, lean and well-defined. He had a thick pelt of dark chest hair, hairy arms and legs, a full bush. His cock was long, thick, slightly upcurved, uncut, prominent veins, flushed pink and already slick with precum. Despite Marcus's long, glorious mane, the rest of him was nearly hairless, save the luxurious dark hair framing his cock, also generous, close to the same size as Dooku in length and thickness. Though Marcus was smooth-skinned - and his skin flawless, except for some faint scarring on his right shoulder and left thigh, which Dooku wondered about - he was no twink, with the hard, muscular body of a warrior, and Dooku liked what he saw. He liked it even more when Marcus came close to him, feeling their naked bodies together, hard cocks sliding against each other, rubbing together as they kissed, hands roaming, exploring.

They climbed onto the bed together and looked into each other's eyes for a moment, and then Dooku, feeling bolder, kissed Marcus hard. He groaned into the kiss as he felt Marcus's fingers play through his chest hair, and moaned as Marcus started kissing his neck again, licking, nibbling, down to a shoulder. He cried out when Marcus licked and suckled his nipples, rolling one between a thumb and forefinger, pinching, pulling, as he feasted on the other. Every now and again he'd take licks at Dooku's chest hair, rub his nose in it, and at last he was kissing and licking the entire torso, making his chest hair glisten from the attention of his tongue. Dooku found himself arching, pulling Marcus's hair a little. "You... you like that?" Dooku asked, when Marcus glanced at him and he could see the heat in his eyes.

"Yes." Marcus nibbled on him. "My wolf."

Marcus didn't stop there, wanting to lick the hair on Dooku's arms and thighs, tease him by licking the pubic bush, nuzzling it, breathing in his scent. Then he kissed up to Dooku's washboard stomach, and Dooku couldn't stop moaning, so sensitive there, even more sensitive at the touch of Marcus's fingers playing over him. Marcus kissed back down one hip, to kiss and lick and nibble a thigh, kissing behind the knee, electrifying him.

At last, Marcus took him into his mouth. Unlike the blowjob he'd received exactly twenty years ago, this was heaven. Dooku was almost self-conscious at the way he was moaning, crying out, Marcus's mouth making him feel things he never dreamed possible. When he got close, Marcus teased him by letting the cock slip from his mouth, just licking it, laughing a little at Dooku's frustrated noises. "I love it when you make that face." Marcus took his hand and kissed it before taking a few more licks at the head of Dooku's cock. "Like you want to murder me."

"You're a horrible tease."

"It's been a long time since I've done this for anyone. I want to enjoy myself." Marcus gave a little smile. "I want to enjoy you." Then he took just the head of Dooku's cock between his lips, working his tongue as he sucked, and his bad hand cupped Dooku's balls, rubbed them gently.

He was kept on that edge for what felt like an eternity, but was in reality just a few minutes. He trembled, quivered, gasping for breath as Marcus brought him closer and closer, drowning in sensation, burning in sensation, like tidal waves of flame. Nothing had ever felt so good, and he badly needed release, but he never wanted these moments to end, the sweet magic of what Marcus was doing with his mouth...

...and that feeling of being taken care of. Cared for. Made love to. Loved.

"Marcus, I can't hold back -"

"Mmmhmm. Mmmmm."

"Marcus." A shuddery gasp. "Oh god." His toes started to curl, as his climax overtook him, pulling him under, melting him. "Oh god. Ohgod."

"Mmmmmmmmmmmm."

He could only gasp now, pant as he throbbed and throbbed and throbbed, relief, shock, awe, joy. This was what he had been missing.

He cried out as Marcus's tongue licked him clean, giving him aftershocks, and then Marcus came up to kiss him, and he moaned into the kiss as he tasted himself on Marcus, surprised at the salty-savory-sweetness.

"You're delicious," Marcus said, and kissed him again.

Dooku could feel Marcus's hard-on rubbing against his thigh. He wanted to take care of Marcus, make him feel as good as Marcus had made him feel. He rolled Marcus onto his back, and proceeded to lick and suckle Marcus's nipples, peaking them, his own cock springing back to life, throbbing as Marcus moaned, shuddered.

He kissed his way down, tracing the definition in Marcus's stomach with his tongue, and then Marcus grabbed his head. "Please," he whispered, urgent. "I need -"

Dooku gave a reluctant little sigh; he could enjoy Marcus's beautiful body another time. He lowered his head between Marcus's thighs. There was a lot, and he looked at it hesitantly before his lips wrapped around the head.

He tried to get as much of it into his mouth as he could and his gag reflex kicked in, so he pulled out some of it. He was shy at first, never having done this before, not entirely sure of what he was doing, but he remembered Marcus's example, and what felt good to his own cock. Soon he was sucking enthusiastically, enough where he could get more of it in his mouth, and Marcus was moaning louder and louder, arching to him, fingers stroking his hair, his beard.

He eventually had enough confidence to edge Marcus the way he'd been edged, taking the cock out to lick, reveling in the way Marcus groaned, cried out. He paid special attention to the slit, savoring the precum. He took just the head back into his mouth, focusing on it, swirling his tongue as he sucked, one hand rubbing, stroking the shaft, the other playing with Marcus's balls.

And then Marcus ground out, "Nicolae." His eyes looked feverish, almost mad. "Nicolae, I -"

That was all the warning he could give, screaming as he emptied into Dooku's mouth. He tasted wonderful, and the sight and sound of Marcus climaxing - the taste of him, the knowledge that Marcus's seed was in his mouth - made Dooku's cock throb again, aching for another release.

They kissed deeply, Marcus's arms wrapped around him.

"I did OK?" Dooku asked, feeling shy again.

"You did... so much better than OK. I can't believe that was your first time, wow."

Dooku blushed, and Marcus gave him a sweet little kiss.

They held each other for a few minutes, Dooku resting against Marcus's chest, listening to his heartbeat as Marcus pet his beard, with Dooku's cock continuing to twinge, wanting more attention. When Marcus pulled his face back up for another kiss, Dooku gasped as Marcus took them both into his fist, hard cocks rubbing together enclosed in delicious tightness. Dooku's hand covered Marcus's, his free hand playing with Marcus's hair, fingers wandering down the smooth bare skin, playing with a nipple. Eventually their hips were rolling together, trembling and gasping together as they got closer.

"I want us to come at the same time," Marcus husked between kisses.

The thought of cock spraying cock with seed was so erotic that it almost set Dooku off right then. He kissed Marcus hard, rolling his hips a little faster; Marcus stroked them harder, and Marcus's free hand was caressing him now, his own nipples being rubbed, plucked.

"I want you." Dooku nibbled Marcus's neck, glancing up to watch Marcus's face as they got closer. So beautiful...

"I want you." Marcus kissed him hungrily, fingers walking up to stroke Dooku's cheek, his whiskers. "I want this." The fingers traced down his throat, to his heart.

Dooku's free hand clasped over the hand on his heart, and they kissed again. Then Dooku whispered, "Yes," before claiming another kiss.

That one word, and its promise, sent them both over the edge, crying out, and again as they watched their cocks erupting, coming on each other, so much that they didn't just coat each other's cocks but also made a mess over their stomachs and thighs. "Oh, fuck." Dooku shuddered, biting Marcus's shoulder as the pleasure surged, deep and high and bright.

The second orgasm, a full-body release, undid him so thoroughly that he found himself drifting off. In the middle of the night he woke, needing to use the bathroom, and when he climbed back into the bed Marcus pulled him close, holding him tightly, legs braiding together. He woke up in the morning still in Marcus's arms, his own hands on Marcus's hips, and when Marcus felt him stirring he rained kisses over Dooku's face, making him smile and blush, feeling aflutter, before kissing him hard.

The radiator was hissing, and Dooku saw snowflakes out the window. Winter was here, but right now he was so very warm. They hadn't just made love last night, but they'd actually slept together, Dooku had been able to fall asleep even though he was in a strange place, and felt rested. Like he was somewhere he belonged.

"What do you want to do today?" Marcus asked.

"You."

Marcus laughed, and kissed him deeply, their hard cocks rubbing together again.

Chapter Text

It was Christmas Eve, and for the first time since he was a child, Dooku felt like celebrating.

When he was a child, he had been very devout, Romanian Orthodox - he had even wanted to be a priest at one time, before he lost his faith. He loved the Christmas services, the tale of baby Jesus born in a manger, humble beginnings for the King of Kings, Christ's compassion later in life for the poor and downtrodden, teachings that people should be kind to one another because we are all poor in spirit. Even when he'd stopped believing, he still valued that message; his belief had brought him comfort as a child, abused by his parents, hoping God had compassion for him and still loved him. Suffer not the little children. As he got older, Christmas was not just a brutal reminder of his father's alcoholism which managed to ruin every holiday, but of his loss of faith.

Tonight, he could almost believe again. Somehow, things had worked out. He was not alone in the world anymore.

At least for now. As Marcus and Dooku walked through the display of Christmas lights, hand in hand, into the little tree lot to pick out something for Marcus's flat, Dooku wondered what would happen when he went back to London on the second. If this just a fling, two lonely men seeking comfort in each other in the darkness and cold of winter, the bitterness of the holiday season which wasn't happy for either of them... or if it was the beginning of their redemption, their own North Star guiding them.

Marcus chose the smallest tree being sold, since his flat was small without much room for a tree - even the little tree would make things even more cramped. And the little tree was a pain to lug back to Marcus's flat, shedding needles, both of them getting sticky with sap.

They were still in good spirits when they got back to the flat, Marcus relocating the glass sculpture from on top of the bookshelf to the coffee table, putting the tree up there. He'd bought a string of lights and a box of decorations, and he and Dooku set about making the tree pretty, turning off the lights in the flat once the tree was lit up to better appreciate it.

Marcus put an arm around him.

"Happy Christmas," Dooku said.

"Oh Scheiße, I almost forgot."

A mistletoe came out of the box of decorations, and Marcus dangled it over their heads, laughing. Dooku grabbed him and kissed him hard.

They were breathless when they pulled apart. Marcus had a mischievous gleam in his eyes, grinning as he said, "I should really get started on Christmas dinner..."

"It's not food I'm hungry for right now."

They sixty-nined on the couch, sucking each other passionately. They hadn't had penetrative sex yet - they'd had a lot of sex, but only oral, hands, frotting - but they'd been working their way there with fingering each other, which they did now as they sucked. Marcus was able to get three fingers in him this time, Dooku fucking himself on Marcus's fingers, the sweet rubbing at his prostate intensifying the pleasure of Marcus's mouth wrapped around his cock. His own fingers worked harder and faster inside Marcus, who made the most delicious frantic whimpers with his mouth full. They came at the same time, flooding each other's mouths, swallowing it down, loving it.

They settled into each other's arms, kissing, then resting together for awhile. Finally Marcus patted him. "All right, I really do need to cook now."

Dooku took a shower as Marcus worked in the kitchen, and Dooku decided to clean himself out really well.Tonight's the night. He was still a little nervous about giving himself to Marcus that way, as Marcus was not small, but he remembered what Marcus's fingers had felt like inside him... He shuddered.

He put on pajamas and sat on the couch while Marcus continued cooking. Dooku picked up one of the magazines, a good chance to continue practicing his German, but the glass ball on the coffee table kept catching his eye. Finally Dooku put down the magazine and just studied the ball for a minute, and it seemed like the swirling colors inside the ball seemed to change colors and start spiralling, slowly, and then the curious feeling of going into the darkness of the glass, a sea of stars in his mind's eye... he was holding a sword, burning with rage, and before him was a giant wearing a fearsome horned helmet, swinging a hammer...

I am going to die, and I am taking you with me. Filth.

"Are you all right?" Marcus called from the kitchen area.

"Yes." Dooku buried his nose in the magazine, not sure what the hell that was all about. He knew the world was full of strange things - when Marcus had his back turned Dooku waved his hand and the ball nudged up an inch on the table without him touching it, so it was less in his line of sight, less of a distraction. There was strange, and there was that. Dooku wanted to chalk it up to an overactive imagination, mind wandering because he was so relaxed, but he couldn't shake the feeling of how real that had been, the fury he'd felt.

The suicidal despair.

This is Christmas. Don't dwell on that now.

Their Christmas dinner was a casserole of cabbage, ham, sauerkraut, egg noodles, and Swiss cheese, with caraway seeds. It was tasty and filling and appropriate on a cold night like this. They had beer on the side. Earlier in the day Marcus had baked an assortment of Christmas cookies, which they nibbled on after dinner, listening to Christmas music on vinyl. At last they just held each other, Dooku petting Marcus's hair, feeling like all was right with the world.

They'd talked about gifts two days ago and mutually decided to donate to charity in each other's names instead, since neither of them lacked for material things - even though Marcus had a small flat, and walked or took public transit most of the time, his clothes were well-made and there was evidence he was better-off than he seemed. Dooku appreciated he'd found someone who shared his values, and he thought about that again as he stroked Marcus's hair, listening to his breath, breathing in the same slow, easy rhythm.

"Pfennig for your thoughts." Marcus glanced up at him.

"You're a good man." Dooku kissed his brow.

"I don't know about good." Marcus frowned.

"I defend criminals for a living. I think I know guilt and innocence when I see it."

Marcus's arms tightened around him, and his face went into Dooku's shoulder, with a shuddery sigh. A couple heaves, and Dooku knew he was crying.

Dooku took Marcus's face in his hands. "What's the matter, love?" The word just slipped out.

Marcus looked away.

"I know Christmas is a difficult time for both of us," Dooku said. "You miss your family, don't you?"

Marcus nodded and closed his eyes, the tears flowing.

Dooku took Marcus's bad hand and kissed the scar on his palm. Marcus wept then, crying as brokenly as Dooku had ever heard anyone cry, and he made the connection. "You... you blame yourself for what happened."

A nod again.

"Oh no." Dooku pulled him close, held him tight, rocked him, pet him. "I don't know what happened, but it couldn't possibly be all your fault. You didn't murder anyone -"

A sob.

"Shhhhh. I know they're gone. I know it hurts." Dooku swallowed hard. "They say time heals all wounds, but it never stops hurting, really."

"You're the first person who seems to understand that."

"I've lived it. I live it now." Dooku cupped Marcus's chin in his hand, kissed his tears. "And I know we haven't known each other that long, but I know you here." Dooku put his hand on his heart. "We're both hurting, we're both broken, but we fit each other's broken places. Or, we can, if you let me."

Marcus kissed him hard, and Dooku kissed him back just as hard. With trembling hands, Marcus began to undo the buttons of Dooku's pajama top, his fingers threading through the chest hair, looking at him hungrily between feverish kisses. Dooku was painfully hard by the time his pajama top was unbuttoned, and he pulled off Marcus's own shirt, raining kisses over his chest, feasting on Marcus's nipples as he clutched Dooku's head, gasped, cried out, shivered.

They kissed again, and then Marcus got up. "Hold that thought," he said, and departed to the bathroom.

Dooku decided to unfold the couch, make the bed, and then, got naked, while he heard the sink running. When Marcus came back from the bathroom Dooku was stretched out, propped up on one elbow, fully nude, fully erect, lazily stroking himself. Marcus let out an appreciative groan, and shucked the rest of his clothing before joining Dooku on the bed.

Dooku noticed then he'd brought condoms and lube. He decided he was going to trust Marcus's claim that he hadn't been with anyone in years at face value, even though he knew it would normally be too much of a risk.

"Only if you want to," Marcus said, looking at the condoms and lube, looking back at Dooku.

"I want to. I'm ready."

They kissed. Marcus stroked his face, his whiskers, and asked, "Who first?"

"Take me."

Marcus took his sweet time getting there, worshiping every inch of Dooku's body, from neck to ankles, kissing, licking, nibbling, caressing. In just a few days he'd learned his lover's body well, showing extra love to his nipples, stomach, hips, thighs, behind the knee. Dooku didn't just love the sensations, the electricity of Marcus's mouth and fingers playing over him, but he loved watching Marcus's sensual enjoyment of him, the smoldering look on his face as he feasted. Marcus was gorgeous to look at, and none moreso in the throes of passion, looking like pure sex as he gave pleasure.

Marcus sucked at him awhile, but it became apparent that this, too, was foreplay, and not to come like that, not this time. Marcus licked his cock all over, kissed the head, licked some more, down to lick and suck at the balls, and then he kissed the sensitive place between balls and ass. When his tongue slipped inside Dooku's opening he was almost undone, crying out, grabbing Marcus's hair. And it only got better, more exquisite, his tongue stroking the prostate, brushing, fluttering, teasing and teasing. Marcus's fingers inside him had been a delight, and this... his body sang. He heard himself making the most undignified noises as Marcus ate him, gently and sweetly at first, then with a hunger that was almost terrifying in its intensity, tongue lashing, driving him to the brink again and again, keeping him dangling on that edge, the edge building sharper and sharper, need hotter and hotter, until it consumed him, until it was all that mattered, all that existed.

"Please. Now."

Marcus pulled back, and reached for a condom. Dooku took it out of his hands. "I trust you."

He gasped as the lubricant squirted inside him, and gasped again as he felt the tip of Marcus's cock press against his opening.

"Deep breaths. Push out as I push in, it'll help."

With that, Marcus began his descent. It stabbed, it burned, then it pinched, despite Marcus trying to go slow and gentle. Dooku grit his teeth, remembering what Marcus told him.

"Do you need me to stop?" Marcus looked at him with concern.

"Keep going." I want to give myself to you.

At last, somehow, Marcus was all the way inside. He rested there, letting Dooku adjust to the fullness of him. There was a look on Marcus's face that let Dooku know he was already close just from the tight, slick heat, and it made Dooku want. Want enough to brave the pain.

A few strokes, and the pain wasn't pain anymore. "Oh my god." It was like Marcus's tongue or fingers inside him but even more exquisite. His cock responded, throbbing.

"Yes?"

"Yes." Dooku wrapped his arms around Marcus and began to roll his hips, matching Marcus's rhythm. "Oh, god." His eyes rolled, and he shuddered, the sweet, sweet rubbing inside him, it had all been worth it to feel this.

Marcus was breathing harder, looking lost in bliss. "Nicolae. Oh, Nicolae, you feel so good to me."

Dooku shivered at those words. Just as wonderful as the stroking against that sweet spot, which was somehow also pleasuring his cock, was the feeling of connectedness. Joined together, one inside the other. One flesh. There was no sin, no shame. "This is right," he heard himself say. "So right."

"Yes." Their eyes met.

They kissed, and then Dooku blurted out, "Ich liebe dich." He meant it. He knew he was taking a risk, saying it, maybe the feelings weren't returned - 

"Ich liebe dich auch, Liebling." Marcus kissed him harder, and started to rock away inside him.

The tender, slow, sensual lovemaking gave way to raw, hot sex, Marcus pounding away inside him, driving him wild, frantic, desperately needing release, but needing to mate, to rut, to fuck. Dooku had never felt more alive, consumed in the flames of their passion, their need, two hard male bodies lusting for each other, hungering for each other, desire...

"Marcus." He was right there. "Marcus..."

"Come for me, Nicolae."

Dooku came with a strangled sob, shattering, spurting all over Marcus's gorgeous body, rewarded by the feeling of Marcus seeding him a moment later, white-hot, blasting against the sensitive, throbbing place inside him, setting off another wave of orgasm. "Marcus." Dooku trembled, toes curling, fingers curling.

"Nicolae." They kissed, and Dooku saw tears in Marcus's eyes again. "Mein Gott, Nicolae."

Dooku kissed him back, holding him tight, never wanting to let go.

They snuggled together, until the fever overtook them again, Marcus stirring inside him as they kissed passionately. Dooku made a little noise of protest as Marcus pulled out, and then Marcus rolled onto his back, pulling Dooku on top of him. "Your turn."

Dooku feasted on Marcus's body the way he'd been feasted on, caressing, stroking, nibbling, kissing, licking him everywhere. "So beautiful," Dooku whispered between kisses over Marcus's chest, stomach, thighs. "Like a work of art. You're exquisite, Marcus."

He was a little shy about putting his tongue in there, but his shyness gave way to passion once he got going and Marcus arched to him, bucking his hips, fucking the tongue working inside him, panting, gasping, trembling, whimpering. He tasted clean, with a hint of musk, and Dooku shuddered as he remembered the way Marcus's tongue had felt inside him. If I'm making him feel even a tenth of that... He worked his tongue faster, harder, smiling a little as he heard Marcus cry out. His cock throbbed at the howling, broken noises, watching Marcus utterly lost in passion, shaking like a leaf... and Marcus's cock was dripping copious amounts of precum, that he couldn't help but take a few licks at to taste, before his tongue went back into Marcus's channel, devouring, loving it. Dooku found he was stroking himself as he ate Marcus, surprised by how much he loved doing this to him.

I could do this to you every night and not ever get tired of it.

That thought exhilarated him and terrified him all at once.

"Nicolae, take me." Marcus's voice shook.

Dooku took a few last teasing licks at the head of Marcus's cock, and then he applied the lubricant - extra lube on his cock, and he worked slick fingers into Marcus, kissing him. "You're sure?"

Marcus nodded, holding his gaze.

Dooku went as slowly and gently as he could, and when he bottomed out inside Marcus it took his breath away. It was like coming home, to a home he hadn't even known he had.

"I love you," Dooku heard himself say.

Marcus pulled his head towards him and kissed him hard, rolling his hips gently to encourage the first thrust. "I love you." His bad hand rested on Dooku's heart. "Take me. Make me yours."

Dooku kissed him hard, and started the push and pull. The delicious, delicious push and pull, Marcus was like velvet, a vise wrapped in velvet. He knew he hit that spot inside him when Marcus shuddered and made a guttural noise, and Dooku kissed him again, playing with his hair.

Soon Marcus was urging him on harder, faster, nails in Dooku's back. Dooku didn't want to go too hard and hurt him, tight as he was - he was a little sore from his first bottoming experience - but he gave in with Marcus's teeth on his neck, one hand stroking Marcus's cock in the rhythm of his thrusts, the other playing with Marcus's nipples. The noises - including the slap of their flesh - and the sight of Marcus, the feel of him, the blazing, consuming passion, how they both wanted this, brought Dooku closer and closer. He wanted Marcus to come first - and how he wanted Marcus to come, to make him lose control, to give him ecstasy, to give euphoria to the beautiful soul who made such beautiful music, felt too deeply, had been through some kind of hell and still shone so brightly. He wanted to give comfort, the deepest comfort of full intimacy, full vulnerability, letting another touch wounds and replace the pain with pleasure.

Not alone anymore.

"Nicolae." Their eyes met. "Nicolae... Nicolae..."

"Darling." Dooku stroked his face. "My love."

They kissed deeply, and in that kiss they climaxed together, taking each other's hands and squeezing as they soared. They gasped for breath and kissed again, pleasure spiralling and spiralling, Dooku thinking of the colors he saw swirling in the glass, and then there were the lights on the tree, and everything was just light and fire.

He came to with Marcus petting him, smiling at him fondly.

"This has been the best Christmas of my life," Dooku said, pulling Marcus close to him.

Marcus nuzzled his beard. "Me too."


_


On New Year's Eve, it was Marcus's turn to visit Dooku's hotel room. They went out to dinner together, and walked in the park, which still had fairy lights up from the Christmas season, though it wouldn't for much longer. They sipped champagne on the balcony and watched the fireworks in the last hour of 1989, though Dooku noticed out of the corner of his eye that Marcus seemed bothered by the loud bangs, flinching a little each time - trying very hard to keep guarded and not show it, but he could still tell - and Dooku wondered if it was connected to his scars. Dooku decided not to mention it, but quietly took Marcus's bad hand, and his thumb stroked the scar on Marcus's palm, glancing at him across his champagne.

At last, it was midnight. It was 1990. A new decade.

They kissed, and made their way to the bed, undressing. But before they could climb onto the bed together, Dooku paused for a moment, his hands on Marcus's hips.

"What happens now?" he asked.

"We make love."

Dooku laughed, and then he shook his head. "I mean... with us."

Marcus took a deep breath, and then he stepped closer to Dooku and put his arms around him. He looked into Dooku's eyes. Then he looked down, and then he closed his eyes. He looked like he was thinking, and whatever he was thinking about was giving him pause, and Dooku's heart started to sink as the pit of his stomach rose.

Then their eyes met again. "What would you like to happen?"

They sat on the bed and had more champagne - Dooku had to stop himself from using the Force to pour them each a glass, not wanting to reveal what he could do just yet, if at all, ever, though there was a nagging sense that something about Marcus was not usual, either. "I want to be with you."

"We live in two different countries."

"We do." Dooku sighed. "I... I can fly back to London on the second, get things squared away to come here and practice international law. If you'll have me."

Marcus kissed him. "I've already got you."

Dooku pushed him back against the pillows, cradling him, kissing him deeply. "I know your flat is small, too small for two people. We could get a place -"

"I'll look for a place while you're in London. Has to be two bedrooms, because, you know."

"I know." Dooku nodded, not wanting to lie to the world to keep up appearances, but understanding the necessity of it all the same. "You don't think this is moving too fast...?"

"I feel like I've been waiting for you a very long time."

They kissed again, and Marcus's hand wrapped around Dooku's cock, parting his thighs, reaching for the lube.

"Happy New Year," Dooku said, and pushed into him.

Chapter Text

Six weeks after he flew back to London, Dooku returned to Berlin. He had a job lined up at the British embassy to practice international law, which had necessitated pulling some strings, but things had worked out in his favor and he wasn't just relieved to have a livelihood already lined up, it would be a nice change of pace.

He and Marcus had regularly been in touch on the phone, and Dooku missed him, and Marcus said he missed him as well, but Dooku was still nervous as he walked to the baggage claim in the airport, wondering if Marcus would be there as he said he would. Wondering if Marcus truly felt the same way, if this had just been a quick fling - they'd spent more time apart than they had together...

"Guten Nachmittag, Liebling."

If Dooku was a dog, his tail would be wagging. He felt his eyes alight at the sight of him - even more breathtaking after the absence. Dooku kept on the iron mask since he was in public, allowing the small smile that would be a huge grin on anyone else, since he felt self-conscious about the way he looked when he smiled more broadly. But Marcus's face lit up, and Dooku gave in to that goofy smile, which made Marcus chuckle and stroke his cheek, a bold move in a public place.

"This is all you've got?" Marcus asked, as Dooku took the two large suitcases off the conveyor belt, a briefcase strapped under his arm.

Dooku nodded. "Most of my possessions are replaceable." You are not.

"All right." Marcus gave a small nod.

Dooku took a moment to admire him, a feast for hungry eyes - Marcus close to seven feet tall, the long dark hair to the middle of his back teased with a bit of hairspray, wearing a leather trenchcoat over jeans, a matching navy blue scarf and gloves in the chill of February in Berlin. Usual Doc Martens ankle-high black leather boots. His silver eyes were shining, and at the look of love in them Dooku felt almost embarrassed that he'd wondered if this was for real, if Marcus would even be there to pick him up.

Though Marcus preferred to walk or take public transportation around town, he did own a vehicle - a Benz, which had surprised Dooku the first time he'd seen it as Marcus had been living in a very small flat above a bookstore, not exactly a place of luxury. The contrast made Dooku wonder about him again as he got in the car and Marcus began to pull out of the airport parking lot.

"We have to stay in my flat for at least a few more days," Marcus said once they were on the road, looking apologetic about it, "but I have some appointments lined up for us looking at places. I didn't want to just choose one without consulting you."

"I appreciate that, but I'm sure anything you would have picked would be fine." Even a few days living together in the tiny studio apartment, while Dooku waited to start his new job, were going to be a bit difficult. It was one thing to visit there, another thing for two men to try to live there.

Marcus sensed the tension and ran a nervous hand through his hair. "Ja, well..." He glanced at the road, and then back at Dooku. "I also wanted to make sure you were actually coming. That you wouldn't..."

"...Leave you hanging?" Dooku raised an eyebrow.

"Ja."

Dooku let out a little laugh, and at Marcus's annoyed glare, Dooku patted his hand reassuringly and explained, "I'm not making fun of you. I worried the same thing, that you wouldn't be there..." His amused relief made a sharp turn to sorrow. His father's words, Nobody wants you.

Their eyes met. Marcus's attention quickly turned back to the road, as they were on the Autobahn now, and Marcus was necessarily driving faster.

After a moment on the road - Dooku's heart racing, he'd never been in a car going so fast, seeing other cars speeding by - Marcus broke the silence, continuing to look ahead at the Autobahn. "I love you, Nicolae. I... want this life with you."

Dooku swallowed hard. He wanted to say I love you in return, but he was feeling too much at the moment. It seemed as if the car hurtling along on the Autobahn was like a metaphor for his life, going from 0 to over 100 in seconds, the danger of crashing ever-present, the rush exhilarating. And Marcus was the one driving, had charged in and taken command of his heart.

He felt alive. He was a stranger in a strange land, so much of the future uncertain, yet he felt like, at last, he was right where he belonged.

Marcus helped him haul the luggage upstairs to his flat. Once they got in the door they stood there for a moment, looking at each other. As Dooku took off his wool trenchcoat, Dooku watched Marcus's eyes raking him - he'd worn a Regent fit navy pinstripe Brooks Brothers suit and grey-and-blue tie for the trip. His own hair and facial hair were a deeper brown, with the first threads of silver. He was wearing a faint touch of cologne, enough to be fresh on the airplane, not enough to overpower anyone sitting near him. The hungry look in Marcus's eyes made Dooku's mouth dry, and he felt himself start to harden; six weeks without Marcus's touch and now, in his presence, he wanted to guide Marcus's hands over him, as he in turn ran his fingers through that glorious mane -

"Where are my manners?" Marcus was blushing. "Coffee, tea -?"

Dooku found himself grabbing Marcus and kissing him hard. That was what he wanted.

They moaned into the kiss, deep and hungry. Nothing else mattered. Dooku had his hands on Marcus's now and was guiding them just as he'd been wanting to do, shivering at the feel of his touch, wanting those hands on his bare flesh, wanting to feel Marcus's body against his...

Marcus surprised him by undoing his belt right away; it was Dooku's turn to blush as he felt Marcus's fingers on the button and zippers of his trousers, and Marcus kissed him back as he yanked down the trousers and Dooku's briefs. Dooku was fully hard now and he groaned as Marcus's hand wrapped around his cock for just a minute, stroking slowly, thumb tracing the veins, rubbing the frenulum, like Marcus had memorized every detail. "Marcus," Dooku husked. "Darling..."

Marcus dropped to his knees and took Dooku's cock in his mouth, swallowing to the hilt, sucking hard, greedy for it. Dooku groaned, a shiver down his spine, and his hands buried themselves in Marcus's hair. Marcus continued devouring him until Dooku had to lean against the wall, trembling, knees threatening to buckle, panting between moans coming closer together, louder. Marcus let the cock slip from his mouth and gave it a few teasing licks, looking up at him with heat in his eyes as he rasped, "I've been thinking about doing this to you all day." A few more licks, tongue on the slit, swirling around the head, lapping precum that dripped. "Been thinking about this for weeks. You don't know how many times I've brought myself off thinking about you..."

"Probably as much as I've come thinking about you." Dooku's face burned, almost embarrassed by the way he'd been jerking off like a horny teenager over those six weeks apart, mind reliving all of the lovemaking before he left Berlin, and entertaining a few new fantasies.

"Mmmmm." Marcus took Dooku's cock back in his mouth, tongue rubbing as he sucked this time, bad hand reaching to cup and rub the balls.

Soon Dooku was grabbing Marcus's hair, pulling it, fucking his mouth, not able to help himself. That just seemed to make Marcus hungrier for it, making noises of enjoyment as he sucked; Dooku watched Marcus switch hands on his balls, Marcus's bad hand rubbing himself through his jeans, obviously aroused. After a few minutes of being right on that edge, ready to explode, gasping for breath, he let go with a cry, spilling into Marcus's mouth, who responded with another hungry "mmmmm" as Dooku felt him sipping at it, swallowing it, tongue licking him clean through aftershocks.

Marcus came up and kissed him, and Dooku moaned at the taste of himself on Marcus's lips and tongue. He could feel Marcus still hard through his jeans, and Marcus took Dooku's hands and led him away from the door. The couch bed had already been folded out, made as if in anticipation of this. Marcus was undressing now, and Dooku got his own suit off, already ready for another round at the sight of Marcus bare-chested, cock throbbing at the sight of Marcus's hard cock springing free.

Dooku went to work right away, Marcus laying on his back with Dooku's head between his legs, sucking him like his life depended on it, stroking himself as he sucked, starving for a taste of the man he loved, the man I want to spend my life with. Just before Marcus could come in his mouth, he grabbed Dooku's head to pull him off his cock.

"I need you inside me," Marcus gasped. "Now."

Dooku grabbed the lubricant from the small table next to the couch-bed - he had to stop himself from using the Force to pick it up hands-free, not wanting to risk exposure just yet - and he worked slick fingers into Marcus as he took some teasing licks at Marcus's cock before sliding up the length of his body, the two crying out at the feel of their bodies pressed together. He kissed Marcus deeply as he began to push into him, and when he was all the way inside and rested for a moment, they looked into each other's eyes, breathless at the feeling of connection, the intimacy, the way they fit together.

Dooku began to drive into him. He'd wanted the first reunion fuck to be slow, sensual, sweet, but they had all the time for that later. He needed. They both needed. Marcus matched his rhythm, bucking underneath him, nails in his back as they kissed again and again. In the back of Dooku's mind he worried about breaking the folding-out bed of the couch with how hard he was pounding into Marcus, urged on by the desperate cries, the scratching down his back, but we need to buy a proper bed anyway.

He didn't care if they broke the bed, he didn't care if the bookstore owner or other neighbors heard their cries of pleasure, the deliciously obscene slap of their flesh, the sound of man-on-man sex, sweet forbidden fruit. He felt like he was being eaten alive, immolated, in Marcus's passion, his own fire rising within him, wanting this as badly as he'd wanted anything. Marcus was tight and hot and slick and his.

"Nicolae." Marcus was trembling, precum practically pouring out of his cock as Dooku began to stroke it in time with his thrusts. "Nicolae. Liebling. Nicolae..."

"I love you." Dooku kissed him deep and hard, feeling Marcus right there, ready to go off with him. "I love you. I love you. I love you..."

They kissed again, climaxing together, coming hard. Coming home.


_


Ten days later they were settled into their new apartment, a two-bedroom in a four-story apartment building a short walk away from the embassy. Marcus's couch served as a couch again, with a new queen-sized bed that they had happily broken in, and while Dooku was at work at his new job, Marcus had been working on making the apartment feel like a real home, decorating. Dooku was pleased that Marcus had a similar simple-but-elegant aesthetic, and favored the colors of the sea, and seaside motifs, sea-themed decor as he did.

One of the irreplaceable items Dooku had packed and taken on the flight was his collection of shells, driftwood, and sea glass from different beaches, and that went up on a shelf above their bed, along with a framed print of "The Ninth Wave" by Ivan Aivazovsky.

"We should go to the sea sometime," Marcus said, taking Dooku's hand in his as he showed him the arrangement.

"I'd like that." Dooku kissed him. We are so much alike.

"I loved going to the sea as a child. Some of my most vivid memories."

Dooku raised an eyebrow. "I thought you were from Zürich. Switzerland is landlocked, yes?"

Marcus looked away. "People go on holiday, you know."

They had met on Dooku taking a holiday, of course. "Hm." Something about that answer seemed a bit odd, but he wasn't going to let it bother him, as Marcus dragged him out to the kitchen to taste-test a sauce he was making with dinner.

Over the next few weeks they continued to improve on their new home together, and Dooku got adjusted to his new routine of working at the embassy. He found that as much as he'd had a passion for defending the disadvantaged and trying to give them a foot in the right direction, the toxic atmosphere of "good old boy" barristers had been getting to him more than he thought it did, and the embassy was like a breath of fresh air. He worked largely with Europeans who seemed light-years ahead of his largely Tory former co-workers on social issues, and he had found his calling with international law even more than he had with criminal defense.

When he wasn't at work, Marcus continued to show him around Berlin, and helped him practice his German. They liked going to the opera and classical music concerts together, and to different parks and gardens to admire Berlin in the glorious springtime. One night, on the way back from a stroll through a park, they passed by an apartment building where trash was being thrown out on the curb, and Marcus rescued an antique mirror, lugging it up to their apartment. He polished it as Dooku prepared dinner in the kitchen, and when the mirror was ready to fit on top of their dresser they spent some time admiring it together.

"I can't believe someone was throwing that away," Marcus said, frowning.

"It was quite a lucky find." Dooku swallowed hard. "I feel like I was thrown away and you found me, too."

Marcus kissed him hard. "You're my treasure."

Dooku kissed him back, choking up.

He almost expected Marcus to drag him to bed, except dinner was still cooking. "I feel like putting on some music to celebrate," Marcus said as they reluctantly pulled away and Marcus shoved him towards the kitchen.

CDs were coming into vogue, but Marcus was a vinyl purist, and that was yet another thing Dooku appreciated about him. Dooku smiled as he turned over chicken to the sounds of Johann Sebastian Bach.

A few songs by Bach were followed by the vocals of Sebastian Bach, singing with his band Skid Row. Dooku was entertained by that as well, that Marcus could go from opera and classical to rock. His smile broadened as he began to serve dinner, Marcus singing along with "I Remember You".

After dinner Marcus changed the pace yet again, putting on Janet Jackson as he did dishes. Dooku raised an eyebrow over the novel he was reading, and laughed to himself as Marcus sang and wiggled his butt a little to "Nasty".

"I didn't know you were a fan of Janet Jackson," Dooku said when the song was over.

"Ja, I like her." Marcus grinned. "And she's hot."

Dooku narrowed his eyes. "...You're bisexual?"

"I don't like labels." At the look on Dooku's face, Marcus came over and took his hands reassuringly. "I'm with you, silly. You don't need to worry." Marcus pulled Dooku off the couch, then. "Here, dance with me."

They danced around the living room together to "Pleasure Principle" and "When I Think Of You". Dooku felt ridiculous dancing, especially when Marcus was twirling him around and dipping him, but he was ridiculously in love, and ridiculously happy. They grinned and laughed like idiots, and collapsed together in a heap on the couch when the song was over. Dooku pulled Marcus close, petting his hair.

"Let's Wait Awhile" got them kissing, even though the song was about waiting to have sex, and "Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun)" heated things up, with Marcus unbuttoning Dooku's shirt and kissing the exposed flesh, tongue licking the dark chest hair, rubbing his nose in it. But before they could get too hot and heavy, Marcus got up at the end of the song.

"These dishes will never get done if we start now," Marcus said.

"Tease."

Marcus winked on his way back to the kitchen.

Dooku made a noise of frustration, but Marcus was practical, and he couldn't say he faulted him for that. After taking a few deep breaths, Dooku decided he needed to calm the sexual tension screaming through his body with some sort of distraction, and he should probably get out of these clothes anyway, so he made his way to the bedroom to change into his pajamas. He took another good look at the mirror, which really was quite nice, and it occurred to him that Marcus had quite a fondness for glass, which he found interesting. Since they'd moved in to the apartment Marcus had been putting little touches here and there, like the odd stained glass picture or glass sculpture. Dooku wondered about the glass ball he'd seen when things were very fresh and new, and sure enough it was in the living room, resting on top of a bookshelf.

Dooku didn't expect to see anything in it this time around - he'd written the vision off as a fluke, a trick of the mind... and then the colors started to swirl in the dark glass. Once again he saw himself wielding a sword against the hammer-swinging giant, going to his death, determined to take the filth down with him. Somewhere in the distance he heard a scream... Marcus's scream.

Dooku gasped and made himself stop looking at it.

Marcus was coming out of the kitchen now and Dooku pretended he was looking at the vinyl album collection. He didn't know if Marcus knew about whatever the hell was going on with the glass ball, nor did he want to alarm him. The time might come for a discussion about it but tonight he wanted to relax.

They ended the evening making love, falling asleep in each other's arms as usual. Dooku's dreams were not usual - he relived the crystal ball vision, saw himself die, felt it.

Flames. Diamond eyes, extinguished. Then, the past - the one who went up in the flames, alive in his arms, looking like Marcus but somehow not. My love. My breath, my life, my soul. Passion. Hunger.

He was in a garden, then, and Marcus was there, playing a harp. His hair was not teased, and looked even better natural. He sang, bright and beautiful, and the flowers opened, golden light streaming from them, filling the garden. He and Marcus were making love there, then, in the grass, in the light, sweet kisses, delicate touch -

Dooku woke to Marcus stroking his cheek and kissing him tenderly the way he had been in the dream.

"How did you sleep?" Marcus asked.

Dooku didn't want to tell him the exact nature of the strange dreams, which confused him more than anything - a dream was just a dream, right? but it had been so vivid, felt so real. He decided though that some honesty was in order. "A bit troubled. Nightmares."

"The past?"

Dooku hadn't gotten into his full life story with Marcus, but what Marcus knew was enough. And though it wasn't a fully honest answer, it didn't feel like a lie either when Dooku said, "I suppose so, yes."

"Awwww." Marcus pulled him close and pet him. "You want to go away for the weekend, now that the weather is getting a little warmer?"

"Like to the seaside?"

"Ja."

"That sounds lovely."

That weekend they did just that, going off to Rostock. Marcus brought his acoustic guitar and for a few hours he played and sang, including the guitar version of the achingly sad, hauntingly beautiful original composition he'd played for Dooku on the keyboard shortly before their relationship began. It brought tears to Dooku's eyes, flowing more freely as he thought of the dreams, the feeling of love lost that had driven him on a suicide mission of sorts, and love found with Marcus in the garden. Dooku didn't know if all of that had been symbolic or perhaps they'd known each other in a past life, and it wasn't something he wanted to try to poke right now. All he knew was that Marcus's music was making him feel raw and vulnerable, and the mental images of the garden kept coming, something he couldn't shake.

After they made love that night and cuddled together, Dooku said to Marcus, "I have a request."

"Oh?"

"Can you go without the hairspray for at least a few days? I want to see what it looks like."

Marcus did not tease his hair as usual the next day, and Dooku found he did indeed like it better, and even moreso after they'd been back in Berlin a few days and Marcus's hair had regained more of its original shape.

Marcus noticed Dooku admiring it the following weekend and seemed almost shy, yet preened, obviously flattered.

Dooku also felt a little shy - this relationship business was still so very new to him - but feeling bold, he made another request. "May I brush your hair?"

Marcus let him. And it was then that Dooku finally saw it. Marcus had pointy ears.

Marcus was sitting in front of the antique mirror when it happened, and was still and calm, as if he knew this moment had been inevitable, that Dooku would find out about it sooner or later. Marcus's hair normally covered his ears, but there they were.

Dooku thought they were lovely, like the rest of him, but certainly not usual. He didn't want to be insensitive, but alarm bells were going off in his head, like he'd just stumbled upon the reason why his gut gave him odd feelings about Marcus every now and again.

Dooku pulled up a chair and sat next to Marcus, who was still seemingly calm, and Dooku took a long moment of looking at him, and those ears, choosing his words carefully before he spoke. The opener was simple and to the point. "Marcus... you're not from Zürich, are you?"

Marcus took a couple minutes to answer that, seeming to word his own response just as carefully. "I'm as much from Zürich as I am from anywhere else."

Dooku raised an eyebrow. He saw that Marcus was attempting to out-lawyer him. "All right. Let me rephrase this. What are you?"

Their eyes met, and held.

Dooku finally gave him a stern look that said I'm waiting and Marcus gave a resigned little sigh. He dropped the German accent - he now sounded vaguely Latin American, but something told Dooku that he wasn't from South America, either - and said, "Turn off the light and sit back down."

Dooku didn't understand why that was necessary, but he did as he was told.

Marcus started to glow with a silver light all his own, like a lamp turned on. His hair fell from the middle of his back to his thighs. His silver eyes were now iridescent like labradorite, and his flawless complexion was even more flawless.

Dooku gasped, and reflexively made the sign of the Cross, a holdover of his Orthodox upbringing. "Tatăl nostru Care ești în ceruri, sfințească-se numele Tău..."

The voice seemed as a thousand voices, echoing without raising his voice. "I'm not an angel, Nicolae."

Dooku stopped the prayer and just stared, his mouth open. Trembling. Marcus reached out and took his hand, and his skin burned like a fever, but the warmth was not unpleasant.

Marcus's voice was back to its usual timbre, though he still had the not-South-American accent when he spoke. "Some of your kind, those of you who have read certain things, would call me one of the Eldar."

"You..." Dooku laughed in disbelief, yet he couldn't disbelieve it. "You're an Elf?"

"I prefer the term Quendi, but yes. I visited Tolkien and told him of my people. I wanted to preserve their history somehow, since there aren't many like me around if at all, but I also wanted it to be considered as fiction to lower the risk of suspicion as the world advances and it becomes harder to survive as I have."

"Which is how, exactly?"

"I move around from place to place, changing my name. Something close enough to my original name so I don't slip up."

Marcus Lauer. Dooku's eyes widened. "You're Macalaurë?" He facepalmed that it had not been more obvious. Dead family... the scar on his palm... music... the sea...

"You've read the Silmarillion, then."

"I'm less familiar with it than I am with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but yes, I've read about you." Dooku took a few deep breaths. "I... need a fucking drink."

Marcus laughed, as it was so rarely Dooku used the f-word. He got up, turned the light back on, and came back with two shot glasses of whisky. He wasn't glowing anymore, and his hair was to the middle of his back again instead of down to his thighs.

"No, that doesn't look right," Dooku said. "Your hair, I mean."

"All right." Marcus took a deep breath, and his hair flowed down once more. "Better?"

"I suppose." Dooku's hands shook as he held the whisky glass. "You're beautiful."

"Thank you."

"You're also a goddamn liar." Dooku felt a sudden surge of outrage, and had to keep himself in check to not throw the drink in Marcus's face. "How can I ever believe anything you say ever again -?"

"...I've only lied about where I'm from, and my age, which is... considerably older than thirty-six, thirty-seven. And of course, obviously, pretending that I'm human. But Nicolae." Marcus's voice was husky with emotion now as he took the glass from Dooku's hands and took Dooku's hands in his. "My feelings for you are not a lie. Our life together is not a lie -"

"Isn't it?" Dooku took his hands out of Marcus's and folded his arms. "What happens now? Where do we go from here?"

"Well..." Marcus sighed. He looked down, and ran a nervous hand through his hair, and when he looked up he looked away before he closed his eyes, a long moment of his eyes closed before opening them, and Dooku saw they were too bright, with unshed tears. "I am an Elf, and you are a mortal. This never ends well, and I speak from experience. Experience that I... have not allowed myself to have for a very long time. Keeping people at an arm's length. Wandering endlessly, alone. You changed that. I could not keep you from my heart. But this is not a fairy tale, Nicolae. There are no 'happily ever afters' for me. There never have been. There never will be. I've allowed myself to get attached, to love you, to enjoy this comfort for now, but -"

"But what." Dooku was getting angrier and angrier. He stood up, and started to pace around the bedroom.

"But." Marcus followed him around, even though it was just the same room, and when Dooku leaned over the dresser, palms resting on it, taking more deep breaths in his fresh fury, Marcus's arms came around behind him. "I have moved around a lot. Yes, I am 'from Zürich' in the sense that I lived there before I came here to Berlin. And before that I was in the United States for three centuries, before it was the United States. It's a big country, and it was the days before computers keeping pristine records of everything. Now... it's a brave new world we live in. Harder to disappear one place and resurface another, as I don't age and that rather arouses suspicion. There was enough suspicion that I was picked up by the United States government in 1972. I escaped in 1976 and left the country. Fled to Switzerland. Then here, in '82."

"And?"

"I prefer to not stay someplace more than ten years, now. Seven is even pushing it a little, but I can allow myself ten if things are quiet and I like it there enough. In two years, I will have been in Berlin for ten years and have to think about where I go next."

Dooku sat back down, and so did Marcus.

"Were you ever going to tell me about this?" Dooku asked.

"Probably."

"Probably."

"I knew you'd see my ears eventually, and what I told you about them would depend on what kind of questions you asked. I had a feeling you wouldn't believe it was a birth defect."

Dooku snorted and polished off his whisky. "No, that sounds like something only someone very naïve, head-in-the-clouds, would buy. Besides... there were certain things that set me off. Call it a gut feeling, I suppose, but when you told me you were thirty-six, for example, it sounded right and wrong at the same time."

"Mm. I'm not surprised by that."

"So, Marcus." Dooku took a deep breath and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Marcus? Or should I call you Maglor, Macalaurë..."

"I don't mind either way."

Dooku hadn't decided yet, and went with what he was used to calling him for now. "You said there are no happy endings here, and then got into having to move around..."

"It's a difficult life, Nicolae. Seeing the world sounds like a grand adventure until you're forced to do it by necessity, living like a refugee, never being able to put down roots anywhere or build long-lasting, real connections with people. Having to lie about who you are, where you're from. Sure, I keep as close to the truth as I can get away with, but even little things like saying my name is Marcus Lauer, saying I'm from Zürich, saying I'm thirty-six... it adds up. It's not a life I want to force on you."

"If I hadn't found out about your ears and your..." Dooku made a vague hand gesture. "You-ness. Before 1992, when you'd be in Berlin for ten years..."

"I would have just left. Faked my death, or given some shoddy, shitty explanation for why I was leaving. I'm sorry."

Dooku felt a lump in his throat, and his anger faded to grief, feeling like his entire world was being swallowed whole. He'd found love - real love, a kindred spirit, a soulmate - just for it to be taken away, and as angry as he'd been, he'd rather lose a limb than lose Marcus. Losing Marcus, indeed, felt like losing something more than a limb, like a piece of his soul.

"And now?" Dooku looked down.

"We can either end things now, or we can enjoy ourselves and take what comfort we can in this world, in each other, for the next two years."

"And then you'd just... end it."

"Again, Nicolae, I don't want to make you suffer -"

"So you think you'd spare me suffering by making me suffer anyway. Because that's what it is. You assume you know what's best for me, you think you know what I truly want, but I should get a say in my own feelings about the future. What I really want is you. I don't care if I have to move around every ten years. Besides, would I be the one who'd have to change identities every ten years? You don't age, but I will."

"I suppose you could get away with using the same name and background information, sure, but we'd still have to move around and like I said, it gets old -"

"It maybe gets old to you because, like you said, you keep people at an arm's length. You've been alone for a long time... I shudder to think how long. Longer than I've been alive, most likely, longer than anyone currently alive on this planet has been alive..."

"Even longer than that."

"So of course it's going to look miserable when you don't have companionship. But that changes, now. I will go wherever you go, Marcus, if you let me go with you."

"You have a career..."

"In international fucking law, you arse." Another f-bomb. Dooku needed another drink. "I can take that with me anywhere Britain has an embassy. This is not rocket science here."

Dooku stalked out of the bedroom. Marcus called after him, "Where are you going?"

"Belize," Dooku snapped, irritated that Marcus couldn't realize not far since he was in his pajamas, Marcus who had just made a speech about needing to part ways with him suddenly being concerned where he was going.

Dooku came back with the entire bottle of whisky in one hand, and the glass ball in the other. Marcus's eyebrows shot up when he saw it, but he said nothing. Dooku hadn't planned on saying anything about it tonight if at all, but now that it had come out what Marcus was, Dooku remembered the palantiri from the Silmarillion.

"Nicolae." Marcus's hands were shaking now. "I do love you. I would want nothing more than to spend a lifetime with you. But this is for your own good. You are human -"

"I am not like everyone else, Macalaurë." The name slipped out, finally.

"Well, no. You felt something with my music. You feel more deeply than most people. You're a rare gem -"

Marcus's words were cut off by Dooku using the Force to pick up the bottle of whisky and pour them each a glass. Now it was Marcus's turn for his jaw to drop, and Dooku waved his hand to set the whisky bottle down and float the glass over to him.

"That." Marcus leaned back. "What the Hells did I just see."

Dooku raised his glass without touching it, brought it to his lips. "What, indeed."

"How... how long have you been able to do that..."

"I was born this way. I started using this gift in childhood - it was part of why my parents didn't want me. My father tried to beat it out of me. Didn't work so well. I had a neighbor, a little person from India named Yodha, who took me under his wing before I went off to boarding school. He taught me some basic survival tips, and a word for what this is: the Force, he called it. When I was at Oxford in the late sixties and early seventies, things like Transcendental Meditation were all the rage and I started a daily meditation practice that helps me control and hone my connection to the Force. I've met a few other people like me, but not many. Less than the fingers of one hand. We have to keep our existence a secret, for the same exact reason you do. I've heard the stories of government research with 'psychics'. It's not pretty."

"No, it's not." Marcus brought over his own glass without touching it, then. "This is something I've never seen Men do. Only Elves. And even then... well, my family liked to do things very hands-on." He blushed as soon as those words came out of his mouth, and Dooku thought he saw the flicker of the same vision in the garden. "I mean." Marcus cleared his throat.

"Hands-on, you say."

Marcus didn't give the answer Dooku was looking for, though his blush deepened, knowing what Dooku was asking. "We can move things without touching them, but my father was very tactile and it was the same for all of us. And my uncle was very much about strength training and conditioning - much like you with your own fitness regimen - and you can't build that if you only move things with your mind all the time. And of course, living among Men for so long, this tends to stay dormant by necessity. It's something I can do, but not something I break out very often. Only when I think I need to, to prove a point."

"And your point is?"

"Do you have any Elf in you?"

"I think I had some in me this morning."

Marcus spat his drink. He facepalmed, shaking with silent laughter. "Goddammit, Nicolae."

"I'm sorry."

"No, you're not." Marcus took his hand away from his face, blushing again, eyes twinkling, crinkled at the corners. He laughed some more, and then he started crying. He used the Force to put his glass down. "This is all too much..."

"It is. And it's not all." Dooku used the Force to raise the glass ball, and it hovered in the air between them. "I keep seeing something in the glass."

"I can't believe that thing still works."

Dooku found the response curious, but didn't press it... yet.

Marcus used the Force to set the glass ball down, and then he cleared his throat. "Dare I ask what you saw."

"My death. I was holding a sword, going after a giant with a hammer... oh no." Dooku had the vaguest recollection of the Silmarillion now. "That was Fingolfin's death. But it felt like mine..."

Marcus made a little noise.

"That... that can't be possible." Dooku frowned. "But I had some strange dreams, too, after I had my second vision of the battle."

"What... were they."

Dooku closed his eyes, remembering. "I was with a man who looked like you but was not you. We were lovers. He died in flames." Fëanor. "And then I was in a garden, and you were playing the harp, and the flowers opened, all golden light, and you were singing to me and we made love..."

Marcus let out a shuddery gasp and then he broke down, crying as brokenly as Dooku had ever heard anyone cry.

Dooku took Marcus's bad hand, thumb tracing the geometric scar burned into his palm. Then Marcus got up, and held Dooku tight.

"Fingolfin."

Dooku also let out a sob. My family was very hands-on, Marcus had said just a few moments ago, and... "So we were..."

"Yes." Marcus took Dooku's chin in his hand, stroked the beard, his eyes fierce. "We were like gods. It was different than it is with humans."

Dooku almost remembered that. Almost. Like the memory was at the tip of brain, waiting to be awakened.

"And we were punished by the Valar. Though as the years have gone on, I don't think it had anything to do with incest at all. It was our pride. It was the creation surpassing the creators." Marcus was sobbing again. "You have Elf blood, that was all they needed to incarnate an Elven soul as Mortal... find you again just to lose you..."

"But you have found me again. And dammit, Marcus... don't leave in two years. I know it will hurt to see me get older, get frail. But please." Dooku was crying again too. "Stay with me. Let us be together while we can be. And maybe we'll find our way to each other again, in another lifetime."

They clung to each other and cried and cried, and at last, went to bed together to hold each other and cry some more.

The flood of tears gave way to fire... fire calling to fire. Dooku's first wave of memories were of the passion he had shared with Fëanor, shared with Maglor, shared with Fëanor and Maglor together. He didn't know where Fëanor was, if they'd ever find each other again, but he knew wherever Fëanor was he'd want them to take care of each other with or without him. And that was what they did, making love to climax after climax, tasting each other, taking turns inside each other until they were shattered, spent, and fell apart crying once more.

Laying there in the dark, Dooku traced Marcus's tears with his fingers, kissed them. "Don't leave," Dooku whispered. "Please."

Marcus sighed, and Dooku felt him nod. "You got me."

They kissed deeply, and took each other's hands, squeezing. Then Marcus pulled Dooku close, pet him, kissed the top of his hair, as Dooku's fingers twined in Marcus's long, long hair like he was clinging to a security blanket, with Marcus wrapping some of it around him as if it was one. Their legs tangled together, hearts beating in the same rhythm, and they rocked each other to sleep.

In the morning, Marcus was still there.

Chapter Text

December 2009
Gothenburg, Sweden

On Monday, December twenty-first, 2009, Dooku celebrated his sixty-first birthday - and his twentieth anniversary with Maglor. It had been quite the two decades. 

In 1992, they had moved from Berlin to Amsterdam, with Dooku practicing international law at the British embassy there, and "Marcus Lauer" worked as a curator at the Tropenmuseum, which housed 5,500 musical instruments and a large collection of theatrical objects such as masks and puppets. He didn't need to work - Dooku had found out some time after the revelation that Maglor had a significant sum of money across multiple offshore bank accounts, having had a very long time to amass a wealth of gold and rare, valuable items, including an original Stradivarius violin. But Maglor liked having something to do with himself. By rights, he should have been a world-famous composer and performer; not long after the reveal Dooku had finally seen Maglor's harp, a relic of the Fourth Age. Maglor could not risk the limelight, and he had problems with the concept of celebrity and fame anyway as a deeply sensitive, empathic introvert who wanted to live a quiet, private life with space to create. Yet, he needed to keep busy, "keep out of trouble," Maglor joked, and the Tropenmuseum was a good fit for him, while it lasted. 

In 1999, as the Internet began to really take off, Maglor had decided it was time to move again, and had let Dooku have the honors of choosing their next destination. He'd chosen Sweden, and that was where they had been for the last ten years, Dooku working at the British embassy in Stockholm until 2004 when Dooku was fifty-five - now gone from middle age to what many considered the start of the senior years - and had decided a sea change was in order with his career. He'd decided to turn his lifelong love of cooking from a hobby into a livelihood, and Dooku and Maglor moved to Gothenburg, where Dooku owned a well-reviewed fusion restaurant in the same plaza where Maglor, now using the name Mark Lowry and the backstory of being a British expat, owned a musical instruments shop and gave lessons in guitar and piano. They were happy with the life they'd created, enough that most of the time they could forget about Dooku's advancing age and mortality, which would eventually rip them apart again after finding each other again when it had been so long.

Since their move from Stockholm to Gothenburg in 2004, it had become a birthday tradition for Maglor to take Dooku to Liseberg, which was all lit up and decked out for Christmas. One thing that Dooku appreciated about Scandinavians was that Christmas was serious business, and living here and participating in Swedish Christmas merriment was a balm for his soul after miserable holidays as a child. The Christmas star shone atop the Liseberg Tower, and Maglor and Dooku walked hand-in-hand, boots crunching in the snow, browsing the market stalls and drinking mulled wine, nibbling Swedish delicacies, admiring handicrafts. They amused themselves in Santa's Workshop, and the garden with its lights was the perfect place to steal a kiss.

It was nice living in a place and time where they didn't have to hide being a couple.

On the drive back to their flat, the Northern Lights began to play in the sky, enough that Maglor pulled over the car and they got out to look at it, breath steaming the air as snow fell softly. Dooku had seen the aurora plenty of times over the last ten years in Sweden, but he never got tired of it. It took his breath away. The sight of Maglor, even glamoured out here in a semi-public place, underneath the aurora was even more breathtaking. After noticing him admiring, Maglor put an arm around him and Dooku rested his head on Maglor's shoulder, as Maglor's other arm reached up for his bad hand, wearing a glove, to stroke the beard that had long since gone silver. At last Maglor cupped Dooku's chin in his hand before stroking his cheek, looking tenderly into his eyes. Maglor's own eyes were labradorite-iridescent again, dropping his glamour ever so slightly in this moment.

They nuzzled and stole another kiss before pulling apart to watch the Northern Lights in the open sky a few minutes more. 

Tonight, as Dooku was firmly thrust into the sixth decade of his life, it all felt more poignant than usual. Once Maglor got back on the road, he noticed Dooku looking down, deep in thought. "You're serious all of a sudden."

Dooku nodded. He looked out the window as the greens and teals and violets continued to dance across the sky. "This is going to be our last Christmas in Sweden, isn't it."

"Afraid so." Maglor nodded. "I was going to bring it up after the holidays... that we need to move again soon, but..."

"We might as well talk about it now."

"So..." Their eyes met, before Maglor turned his focus back to the road. "Where do you want to go next, Nicolae? It's up to you. Like I told you when we left Amsterdam, if I'm going to drag you along with me, I'd rather you choose where we're going so you don't end up hating me."

"I could never hate you, Macalaurë."

Maglor glanced back at him and smiled. "I love you, you know."

"I love you too. And that love for you has only grown stronger with time." My lust for you, as well. With snowflakes melting in his hair and eyelashes, sparkling like thousands of tiny diamonds, Maglor was a majestic sight. He'd dropped the glam rock look in 1991 - though hair bands were still Maglor's guilty pleasure - but continued to wear his hair loose to the middle of his back unglamoured, and dressed in black most of the time, an upscale casual look that was flawlessly elegant.

Elegant apart from the ankle-high black leather, yellow-stitched Doc Martens boots, that he'd been wearing since they met in Berlin. They were a part of Maglor, a quietly rebellious "fuck you" to the mainstream society that he had to blend into, and Dooku found the consistency of it comforting.

Dooku reflected on the possibilities of where to go next as they made the last leg of their trip home. He still hadn't figured out an answer as they walked up the steps to their flat. He couldn't think at all once they stepped inside, where a mistletoe was hanging right under the front door, and Maglor pulled him into a deep, hungry kiss.

They began to take each other's wool trenchcoats off, kissing again and again. Dooku started marching Maglor in the direction of the bedroom. Being over sixty had not diminished his appetite for sex at all, and two decades together had not brought about boredom - they had learned each other's bodies well, what pleased each other, and there were so many delicious things to do, different positions, the occasional toy, once in a great while they took turns being tied up and teased, and they had even indulged in watersports a small handful of times over twenty years, marking their territory before wild, animalistic rutting. As their usual play, they liked sucking and rimming each other, rubbing cock to cock, fingering and sometimes fisting; they traded top and bottom, enjoying taking each other and being taken, the beauty and passion of being inside each other, one flesh, fitting together perfectly. They liked it slow, they liked it fast and hard, they liked it tender and loving, they liked it rough and savage. It was all good.

It was all right, as right as anything had ever been.

Maglor laughed between kisses as they crossed the threshold of the bedroom. "I have a birthday present for you. Don't you want to unwrap it?"

"Hmm, yes I do." Dooku started kissing Maglor's neck, fumbling with the buttons of his shirt. "I want to unwrap this present right here."

Maglor wasn't going to argue with him about that, already erect, undoing his own belt and the button and zipper of his trousers. When they were both naked, they resumed kissing as Dooku took their hard cocks into his hand, stroking the slowly as his free hand played with Maglor's hair, which was now unglamoured, down to his thighs.

Dooku pulled back to drink in the sight of him, glowing softly silver in the dim golden light of their bedroom - the faintest memory of the Trees. "You're exquisite," Dooku husked.

Maglor smiled. He'd heard it thousands of times from him now, but, "I never get tired of hearing you say that."

"You're a work of art." Dooku came closer and their cocks rubbed together as their arms encircled each other, kissing again feverishly. "I never get tired of looking at you." He licked Maglor's neck. "I can't get enough of you."

Maglor shivered. "I can't get enough of you, either."

Dooku laughed as they fell back onto the bed. "You're kind to an old man."

Maglor narrowed his eyes. "It's the truth."

Dooku gave a small, sad smile. "You don't age, and are just as gloriously beautiful as when we first met. I am old and grey and wrinkled now."

"Nicolae." Maglor stroked Dooku's silver beard, then his fingers trailed down to the pelt of silver hair on his chest, rubbing a nipple in slow, lazy circles. "You have actually improved with age. I find you even sexier now than I did when you were forty. The grey is quite distinguished on you." He nibbled Dooku's neck, and kissed along his jaw, before whispering in his ear, "My silver wolf."

They kissed, and then Maglor lowered his head to lap the nipple he'd been playing with. "All of that silver fur." He rubbed his nose in the chest hair before licking the nipple some more. "And you have such a gorgeous body." His fingers played over the definition in Dooku's chest and arms and stomach, lean but muscular.

Dooku took care of himself - the Force and perhaps his genetics allowed him the kind of energy at his age to keep up with men decades younger, though he had the beginnings of a touch of arthritis. He hit the gym three times a week, and both he and Maglor enjoyed fencing, which they had an outlet for at a local fencing club, sparring with Swedes as well as with each other; sparring each other was rather arousing, always leading to wild, passionate sex when they got home, sometimes not even able to wait until then, fucking in the back seat of their car in the fencing club parking lot, giggling in the afterglow about acting like horny teenagers not able to keep their hands off each other. Dooku was not particularly superficial and hung up on appearances, even though he was an aestheticist and surely enjoyed Maglor's ethereal beauty, but he liked being in good health. He remembered the way his parents died of cancer, and he didn't want to make Maglor suffer through that. The end was going to be hard, whenever it was, and he was determined to prolong that as long as he could, to be strong and healthy as long as he could, not wanting Maglor to endure taking care of him in frailty and sickness.

But, even as he kept himself in shape for health reasons, his ego was still stroked now as Maglor licked the chest hair, going back and forth between his nipples to lick and suckle, tugging gently with his teeth, kissing and licking down to the lightly furred stomach, nibbling, knowing how sensitive he was there. Maglor's flood of hair teasingly brushed against his cock, a promise of attention hopefully soon.

"So sexy." Maglor traced the definition in the washboard stomach with his tongue. "My delicious silver wolf."

Dooku found himself grabbing Maglor by the hair, pulling him up to kiss him roughly. "This wolf is hungry for you." He nipped Maglor's throat with a growl, making Maglor gasp and cry out, shivering, trembling again when Dooku rolled Maglor onto his back.

They kissed and kissed, Maglor's arms wrapped around him as their hard cocks rubbed together, precum flowing between them, making their cocks glisten; Dooku stole a glance at Maglor's cock, which looked deliciously inviting all slick. Maglor collected some of the dripping precum with his fingers and stuck them in Dooku's mouth, heat in his eyes as Dooku licked and sucked Maglor's fingers clean. Then Maglor moaned, shuddering as Dooku licked the scar on his palm, and sighed as Dooku kissed it, before taking the hand and placing it on his heart.

His mouth claimed Maglor's again. "So hungry for you, darling." He kissed and licked Maglor's neck, grinning into him as he kissed the sweet spot where the neck and shoulder met, cock throbbing at the wild cry that came out of Maglor as he did. "Twenty years and I still want you this much." His teeth raked Maglor's shoulder before he leaned in to gently tug a nipple with his teeth before soothing it with his tongue, cock twinging as Maglor cried out again, bucking urgently. "Twenty years of feasting on you for hours every day still doesn't feel like enough."

"I've been hoping you'd retire so we could just spend all day in bed every day." Maglor flashed him a wicked grin.

Dooku groaned at that thought... hot, sweaty sex and endless orgasms...

"We do have to keep out of trouble, my dear." Dooku kissed him and they both laughed into the kiss.

"I know. But I'm just letting you know. The next twenty years, I'll still want this. I'll still want you." Maglor stroked his face, pet his whiskers again. "The next two hundred years, two thousand years, would never be enough."

Dooku's eyes burned and blurred with tears, feeling that deep ache knowing he was entering the sunset of his life - that the next twenty years, if fate was even kind enough to make them good years and not a sharp decline, were not even a drop in the bucket for someone who had lived twenty thousand years, and had been apart from him more years than they'd had together.

And apart from Fëanor. Dooku often wondered if he was out there. They had agreed early on to keep their options open but they both shared a distaste for the gay cruising scene, not wanting to go to clubs or bars to meet a possible third, and they weren't interested in the dating via hookup sites online, either. They'd decided that if Fëanor was out there and their paths were meant to cross it would happen naturally.

Still, the lack of their third - that missing piece - also intensified the ache. Dooku blinked back tears, not wanting to fall apart and ruin what was supposed to be a happy night, when things had been going so well. Maglor noticed, of course, and his fingers traced over Dooku's face, sadness in his own eyes.

"I'm so sorry, Macalaurë. I feel like this isn't fair to you -"

"Nicolae. Don't." Maglor silenced him with a gentle kiss. "Admittedly, there would have been a point in time, almost like another me, who would have left rather than watch... you... die again." His fingers continued to play over Dooku's face. "But I can't." A wry smile, as he quoted Brokeback Mountain. "I can't quit you."

"I just hope it won't hurt too much -"

"It will hurt more than anything except for your first death, and my father's." Our lover's. "But." He kissed Dooku's hand. "Maybe, as you say, we will find each other again." His fingers walked down from Dooku's face, to play in his chest hair again. "You better be as goddamn sexy as you are now, is all I can say about that."

It was a much-needed moment of levity, and Dooku laughed harder than he normally would have.

"Seriously." Maglor's thumb was rubbing a nipple again. "The Valar may have punished you with a mortal incarnation, but sometimes I wonder if Father didn't somehow fashion you to be an absolutely delectable mortal, as a jab in their collective eye."

"You know," Dooku said, stealing a kiss, "flattery will get you everywhere."

"Will it get me down your pants?"

"I'm not wearing any pants."

"...This is completely shocking information."

They laughed and kissed again, and Maglor's arms tightened around him, rocking them both a little as their cocks rubbed together some more and the kisses deepened, heated.

"Mmmmm." Dooku nibbled on Maglor's neck, and licked; it was his turn to tease a nipple. "You're pretty delectable yourself."

"You did say you were a hungry wolf."

"Very." With that, he bent his head to lick, suckle, and bite Maglor's nipples, fingers playing with one as his mouth worked on the other. Then his mouth went lower, kissing Maglor's own washboard stomach - he had the hard body of a Noldorin warrior, and just the sight of him got Dooku aroused, never mind the petal-soft feel of his almost hairless skin, silk covering steel, and the way Maglor moaned as he explored, knowing just how he liked to be touched, pleasured. Soon Dooku was kissing and nibbling Maglor's thighs, licking, loving the way Maglor cried out, trembling, until he was grabbing Dooku's head, panting, "Please..."

But Dooku was enjoying himself to give in just yet. He nuzzled the luxurious dark bush, one of the only other places Maglor had hair, breathing in the spicy-sweet natural musk of him. Maglor's cock was dripping more precum and Dooku began to taste, licking Maglor's cock in slow, deliberate strokes, watching his lover continue to fall apart, writhing, moaning, panting, pleading with feverish eyes. He sucked slowly, hand gently cupping and rolling the balls, fingers stealing to that sensitive place between balls and ass to brush ever so softly. He knew how to get Maglor right on that edge and keep him there, which was always so well worth the wait of release.

And yet, as Dooku's mouth moved from Maglor's cock to his opening, tongue rubbing the prostate, switching between fast and slow strokes, he was needy for release himself. Perhaps it was that reminder of growing older, and that their lives would have to change again, that added a sense of urgency to the lovemaking. Perhaps it was Maglor being louder than usual, thighs quivering as Dooku ate him, begging to be taken and fucked. All he knew was that there came a point where he couldn't take it anymore, the purely animal side of him took over, and he came up to kiss Maglor roughly, used the Force to pour lube into Maglor's channel and over his own hard, throbbing cock, tip poised at the entrance.

"Yes?" Their eyes met.

"Yes," Maglor breathed.

Dooku kissed him hard and slid inside. He pounded Maglor into the mattress, Maglor's arms and legs wrapped around him, and Maglor rocked his hips right back at him, giving as good as he got, lost in the same wild frenzy of passion. "Oh Hells." Maglor was trembling, panting, gasping for breath. "Oh Hells, Nicolae... Ñolofinwë, Fingolfin..."

Dooku made a primal, guttural noise at that. He fucking loved it when Maglor called him by that first name, of long ago. The true name. "Macalaurë."

"Fuck me..." Maglor's nails were raking his back hard enough to draw blood. "Fuck me, Ñolofinwë..." He moved in closer and whispered, "Fuck me, Uncle."

Dooku was savage now, fucking Maglor as hard as he could, Maglor's legs on his shoulders, the wild slap of his balls against Maglor's ass as loud as their cries. He'd envisioned the first round of birthday sex as slower, more sensual and tender, but he needed this. They both needed. Not dead yet. He was still alive - fully, gloriously alive, driving into Maglor with vigor and stamina that would put a much younger porn star to shame.

Maglor's nails were raking his chest as well as his back and hips. "Oh Eru. Oh, Eru, Uncle... Hells, Uncle, fuck me..."

Dooku growled. He wanted. The only other one who had ever roused his lusts like this had been Fëanor.Wherever you are, I hope you're enjoying the show.

He glanced briefly at the antique mirror that hung over their headboard - the mirror Maglor had salvaged in Berlin, that had come with them to the Netherlands and Sweden - and for the briefest instant he swore he could see Fëanor and Maglor and himself, as he had once been, watching them. Enjoying what they saw, inflaming their own lusts as they took turns kissing each other, hands roaming over each other's bodies, three glorious, sculpted male bodies, glistening with oil, hard cocks deliciously wet...

The vision went away, but it was enough to send Dooku hurtling towards that point of no return. He was shaking now, desperately trying to hold back his climax, wanting Maglor to come first. Their eyes met, and Dooku spoke into his mind. Come for me.

"Ñolofinwë!" Maglor's entire body shook as his cock let out an arc of cum, then another, hot seed splashing over Dooku's chest and stomach.

Dooku spent into him with a cry, collapsing onto him, throbbing and throbbing as Maglor contracted around him, pulsed against him. "Macalaurë. My love." He stroked Maglor's face and hair, gently tweaked the pointy tip of his ear before kissing him deeply, passionately. "Our Song. Our sweet Song."

Maglor returned the kiss, and they clung to each other, all cares of the future melting away in bliss, the joy of having each other now, the contentment, the rightness of being here like this, entwined.

"I love you." Maglor was nuzzling his whiskers, kissing the tips of his fingers. "I love you, Nicolae. Ñolofinwë."

"I love you, Macalaurë. So much. So very, very much."

They rested for awhile, and Dooku swore he could hear Maglor playing the harp and singing the song he'd performed in the garden so long ago - the song he'd wrote for Fingolfin, shyly expressing his love and admiration for his uncle, asking Fingolfin to be his first for his fiftieth birthday. He knew Maglor was right there, holding him, being held, but it seemed as if they were not just in their bed in Sweden but floating on the clouds of light that Maglor had produced with the glory of his song, that they were somewhere out of space and time altogether, a place that was theirs, where their love would never die, like a Power all its own, strong enough to push back against the Doom.

Just before Dooku could doze off, falling asleep inside Maglor, he felt Maglor raining little kisses over his face, and one last kiss on the tip of his nose. Dooku opened his eyes and smiled, looking into those labradorite eyes of Maglor's, the eyes of love.

Then Maglor chuckled.

"What?" Dooku raised an eyebrow.

"Your chest. I... did a number on you."

Dooku glanced down - there were ribbons of blood from Maglor's nails, still bleeding. "Oh dear." He laughed too.

He stopped laughing when Maglor lowered his face and began to clean with his tongue, and with Dooku's blood on his tongue he took Dooku's face in his hands and kissed him over and over, their tongues playfully licking together between kisses. Dooku's cock woke up at that, and at the feel of the cock stirring inside him, Maglor moaned, before sucking on Dooku's lower lip.

"What does the birthday boy want now?" Maglor grinned, skritching Dooku's whiskers.

"You." Dooku kissed him harder, and slipped out of him.

Maglor rolled him onto his back. As much as Dooku wanted to feel Maglor in him, he knew he wouldn't get it so easily - Maglor spent a long time worshiping his body, kissing, licking, caressing all over, nose rubbing the silver hair on his chest and thighs, rubbing in the silver bush. "So fucking hot." He started licking Dooku's bush and Dooku almost lost it just from that, with Maglor giving that knowing smile as his tongue brushed.

When Maglor's tongue slipped into him, it was another near-climax. Maglor turned him into a trembling, moaning, writhing, whimpering mess, lapping and lapping inside him, making noises of enjoyment as he feasted. Before Dooku could come like that, Maglor stopped - giving some tormentingly delicious licks around the rim of his opening, before his tongue slid up to Dooku's cock. Then he spent awhile just licking the cock, reveling in the way Dooku lost control again, making inhuman noises as he quivered.

At last Maglor's skilled fingers were inside him, readying him, as that talented tongue danced on his nipples. And when Maglor pushed into him, Dooku gave a deep groan of contentment that made Maglor shiver, letting Dooku know all that teasing had brought him close to the edge himself.

Yet somehow Maglor was able to keep the pace slow, and they made love for a long time, touching, kissing, nuzzling, whispered words of love as Maglor pushed and pulled in and out of him like the rhythm of the tides. They were lost in a dreamy haze of sweet sensation and surrender, their Force bond so strong in those moments that it was as if they didn't know where one began and the other ended, Dooku feeling a grip around his cock as well as the exquisite rubbing on his prostate, knowing Maglor was feeling the rubbing at his prostate as his cock stroked away.

They kept it slow until they couldn't, and Dooku's leg hooked around Maglor as he thrust hard and fast, matching Dooku's wild fucking earlier. They came together, a climax that seemed endless, the pulses so strong it almost hurt, a full-body orgasm that shattered them both, laughing and crying together as they kissed, rocked, snuggled into the light.

"Happy birthday." Maglor gave him a little kiss.

Dooku squeezed him. "You give me life, Macalaurë." He kissed Maglor back. "Happy anniversary."

Maglor held Dooku's hand with his bad hand, and after a few minutes of drifting off again in melting bliss, Dooku could feel Maglor staring with those intense eyes and intense eyebrows. He was amused by how much they were alike right down to having large, expressive eyebrows. "What."

"You never did tell me where you'd like to go next."

"Is it something I have to decide tonight?"

"You overthink things, and, well, you have the Force. For once don't think, just feel. First thing that pops into your head."

Dooku closed his eyes. He saw London, where he'd been before leaving on this adventure. He hadn't quite been homesick, but... "London."

"All right. I'll start making arrangements and we'll go sometime in March." Maglor looked around the bedroom. "Hells, we've acquired a lot of stuff over the last ten years."

"We can thank IKEA for that."

Maglor's laughter rang out. "I suppose. Well, there's IKEAs worldwide, and we're far from poor, so we don't need to take all of it with us. Most of what's in this room can be sold or donated..."

"Not the mirror." Dooku just blurted it out without thinking.

Maglor raised an eyebrow.

"It... has sentimental value." That wasn't a lie, but it wasn't the whole truth, either. Dooku wasn't entirely sure he wasn't seeing anything more than just a fantasy, but then, that was how he'd first felt about the palantir as well, not knowing what it was. "Where it all began, for us."

"All right, we'll bring the mirror." Maglor kissed his nose.

Dooku smiled. "Good."

And Dooku swore then he could feel Fëanor smiling as well. Yes, very good.

Chapter Text

January 2016
London, England

Sixty-seven-year-old Nicolae Dooku stepped out of the kitchen of Doi Capaci, the restaurant he owned in Bermondsey that offered both traditional Romanian cuisine as well as unique fusions. He was not just the proprietor but also the master chef, as he had been at the restaurant he'd owned in Sweden, but he felt like he had really come into his own over the last ten years in this business, and Doi Capaci had the rave reviews to prove it.

Dooku also liked to ensure he kept getting those rave reviews by personally making the rounds twice an evening to ask how everyone was enjoying their food - if someone had a complaint, he wanted to know about it and see what could be done better. But complaints were rare, and in addition to the warm glow of pride he got from in-person compliments, it also made him happy to see other people happy; he very much liked the energy and atmosphere of a place where friends, family, and lovers gathered to share a meal.

After a nod to his sous-chef, who knew the drill, he first headed outside to get some fresh air, since the kitchen was always warm. The crisp January evening quickly cooled him, and he watched his breath mist on the air as he looked at the two trees the restaurant was named for; on a whim he'd draped one with a set of gold fairy lights, and the other silver, which he had on the trees year-round, and the restaurant had gold and silver lamps, wooden tables and booths, tree patterns on the dishes and glasses, and the bottom of the silverware was shaped into trees. It was a tribute to Fëanor, wherever he was, who'd been so enamored with the light of Telperion and Laurelin that he'd created the Silmarils. He hadn't found Fëanor yet - he was starting to wonder now if he ever would - but at least here, in this place of happiness and comfort... and the heat and fires of the kitchen... he felt like he had a little piece of Fëanor close to him.

I can create things too.

He wasn't the only one. As he stepped back inside and made his way into the silver and golden glow of the dining area, he smiled at the strains of harp music. Maglor played harp and sometimes even sang at the restaurant twice a week, which tended to draw more customers. 

Maglor was continuing to use the Mark Lowry alias that he'd been using in Sweden, but the Mark Lowry in Sweden had been a British expat, and here in the UK he pretended to be an American expat; he'd explained awhile back that since his escape from American government "research" in 1976 one of his safety protocols was not to assume a local identity, since that could be more easily caught in a lie than pretending to be from a country other than the host. Even nearly six years into their stay in the United Kingdom, it still threw Dooku to hear Maglor speak with an American accent, as he did when Dooku passed by.

"Hey there." Maglor smiled.

Dooku smiled back. They didn't bother to hide their relationship at the restaurant, nor would the average customer necessarily know that Maglor was his partner, as "this is the workplace" so there was some degree of professionalism. This wasn't Maglor's only job - he owned a shop specializing in vinyl records - but Maglor liked having an outlet to perform for a small audience.

"Do you have any requests?" Maglor raised an eyebrow.

"Hmmm." Dooku thought for a moment. "Some Elton John, perhaps."

Dooku began to visit each table as Maglor started playing "Your Song" on the harp, singing along in his rich tenor.

At the end of his rounds, a more private table by the indoor waterfall, with lanterns and around the table, his attention was caught by one of the most beautiful men he'd ever laid eyes on. Young, from the looks of him, probably not much older than thirty if even that. Nape-length curly black hair, soulful brown eyes with a rill of long lashes. Beard and mustache, neatly trimmed, framing full, soft lips. A smouldering, sensual look to him, but more pretty than handsome. Slim and pale. He was wearing a ruffly black shirt and a silver chain; there were two small silver hoops in each ear. No rings on his fingers.

He was sitting with a taller man - though Dooku was still taller, at six-five barefoot. The other man was tanned, short-cropped sandy blonde hair and bright blue eyes. A dimpled chin, and a bit of a roguish look to him. He was wearing an off-white button-down shirt with a dark grey tie, and there was a white gold ring on his right hand and a Rolex on his left wrist but no other jewelry. 

The preppy, clean-cut blond contrasted with the rock-star-looking brunet, but even more sharp was the contrast of attitude. The one with the curly dark hair gave Dooku a shy, sweet smile as he approached, where Dooku couldn't help but smile back, and the blond just glared, like he was intruding. The look in the blue eyes gave Dooku an unpleasant chill.

Nonetheless, Dooku had a job to do. "Good evening," he said. "How is everything?"

"It's lovely," said the dark-haired man, who had a charming accent, obviously not British. Dooku tried to place it, and it was failing him. "The sarmale is to die for." His plate was almost clean, working on the last few bites of the cabbage rolls.

"Eh." The blond had the ciulama de pui, and it was only half-touched; he didn't look impressed with it.

Dooku folded his arms and furrowed his brow. "You sound unsatisfied. Is there something wrong with it?"

"Yeah. Too Romanian." The blond made a face.

Dooku narrowed his eyes. That's my heritage, you insolent little shit. But he said nothing. Nor did he have to - the dark-haired one glared. "Justin, that's so rude."

"I don't know why we had to come here."

"Well, I wanted to surprise you, someplace you've never been before." The brunet looked down and ran a nervous hand through his curls before taking a sip at his drink and glancing up at him with sad puppydog eyes.

"Yeah. I know." Justin snorted and also took a sip of his own drink. "Typical Sören, when you think you're doing a good thing and it turns to shit."

Dooku opened his mouth, wanting to say don't talk to him like that, and the indignation in him just grew stronger at the wounded look on Sören's face, whose full lips parted into a little "o". Before Dooku could say anything, however, Sören turned to him. "I, for one, think the food is fabulous. I took a look at the dessert menu and everything there looks wonderful too."

"Oh." Dooku pulled a pen and paper out of his pocket. He was the master chef, not a waiter, but he felt like he personally needed to see to the service here. "Do you have anything in mind?"

"Hmmm." Sören stroked his beard for a moment, then he said, "The papanași caught my eye. If we could have two plates of those... also... it's Grumpypants's birthday over here...?"

Dooku wrote it down and gave a curt nod. "I'll bring that out shortly."

"Also I need a refill on my drink." Sören gave that shy little smile again, the one where Dooku couldn't help but smile back, even though he was still annoyed with Justin.

"What were you drinking?"

"A Shirley Temple." It was a non-alcoholic beverage, and the "girliness" of it surprised Dooku - he'd already figured out they were gay but now I know which one is the bottom, and heat immediately flooded Dooku's face for even thinking like that. Sören's eyes glanced over at the alcohol list then, before glancing back at Dooku. "Actually, make that a Dirty Shirley." With that, those luscious lips wrapped around the straw again, finishing off the pink ginger ale cocktail, and Dooku's mind once again went back in the gutter, thinking about what those lips would look like wrapped around -

"Coming right up." Great choice of words there.

"I'll have a gin and tonic," Justin said.

Sören's eyebrows shot up. "You're driving -"

"I'll be fine."

Sören gave him a doubtful look. Dooku, again, wanted to say something, and his eyes met Justin's, hearing the unvoiced Go on, then, like Dooku was his to order around.

Dooku gave a withering look over his shoulder as he stalked off.

Maglor picked up the unease across their Force bond. Is everything all right? Maglor spoke into his mind.

Not really. Dooku showed him a mental image of the table in question, before he ducked back into the kitchen.

Dooku came out awhile later with a tray of the two drinks and two plates of papanași, one of which had a single birthday candle in it. Ordinarily only the birthday dessert would be free, but he felt bad enough for Sören that he didn't mind making them both free, making a note to himself on the way out. Sören, of the Swedish name, yet his accent wasn't Swedish, making Dooku wonder where in Scandinavia he was from. Why am I wondering like this about someone I don't even know?

Dooku came over with the desserts and drinks - Maglor had taken a brief pause with the harp - and in his basso Dooku began to sing

Happy birthday to you,
happy birth -


"Can it, old man," Justin said.

"Justin." Sören's eyes narrowed again. "Knock it off."

"No, you'll knock it off if you know what's good for you," Justin spat as he snatched the plate of papanași and quickly blew out the candle. "You picked out this instead of one of the usual places I actually like -"

"Well, this is what I could afford." Sören looked sheepish.

"Right, because you work a shite job so you can have time to do your shite 'art'" - Justin made air quotes as he said art - "and a place like this is what you can afford."

Dooku cleared his throat loudly. My restaurant is not exactly cheap, either... more than I can say about you. He held his tongue.

"Check." Justin glared back at him.

Sören took a bite of his papanași. "Oh my god, Justin, you could at least try this. It's soooo good." He took a sip of the Dirty Shirley. "Dirty Shirley's good, too." He pulled the maraschino cherry out of the drink and his lips wrapped around it, eyes meeting Dooku's; Dooku could have sworn there was a little twinkle in Sören's eyes, suggesting he was amused by the innuendo of what he'd just said, and Dooku felt his face flush again.

Reluctantly, Dooku's attention turned from the delicious Sören - just in this brief span of time Dooku thought Sören could do much, much better than this Justin - as Justin took a bite of the papanași, looking as angry as one could be while eating dessert, before his glare left the papanași and returned to Dooku. "I said, check."

This was not something Dooku typically handled, though he was reluctant to disengage from the table, wanting some way to tell Sören his boyfriend was a loser, offer apologies somehow, maybe even a sympathetic ear. As he talked to one of his waiters to take care of it, explaining the desserts were free, he continued to keep an eye on the table from the distance, hovering near Maglor at the harp.

Maglor was continuing to play Elton John, just finishing up "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues", and now he was playing "Sacrifice".

It's a human sign
When things go wrong
When the scent of her lingers
And temptation's strong


"That old geezer was checking you out," Justin hissed.

Sören pulled an inhaler out of his pocket - Dooku finally noticed Sören was wearing leather pants - and he took a few puffs, saying nothing; his hands were shaking a little.

"And you were flirting with him."

Sören's jaw dropped. "I... what?"

"Yeah, you were." Justin shook his head and sipped his drink. "You take me here to this place with shitty Romanian food - which is still better than your shitty cooking, I guess - and then you have the fucking nerve to flirt with an old man?"

Cold, cold heart
Hardened by you
Some things looking better baby
Just passing through


Sören's eyes were tearing up. Dooku suddenly could feel it - Sören wasn't just being affected by Justin's behavior, but the music was particularly relevant to the moment, and affecting him. Dooku's heart ached at the sadness on the young man's face. Nobody that young should feel that sad. Sören carried some deep grief with him, he could feel it... as someone who himself had been that sad, that young.

"Justin. Please. I was just trying to do something nice for your birthday." Sören took another puff on his inhaler. "I don't know why you always have to make such a big deal -"

"Because you always fuck up everything, that's why. I don't even know why I bother with you." A leer. "Well, I do know why, because you're a hot little piece of arse."

Even though their table was in a more private location, they weren't completely alone, and Justin's voice had raised enough that people at nearby tables were looking at them. Sören turned red.

"But not even that makes up for it, sometimes." Justin's leer turned back into a scowl. "This has been such a crap birthday. And it's all your fault."

"I'm sorry." Sören was blinking back tears. "I tried..."

"Yeah, that's the problem. You tried."

And it's no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It's two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it's no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It's no sacrifice at all


Sören was crying openly now. Dooku had already had it - he hadn't wanted to make a scene, but now he was slowly moving across the restaurant, six feet five inches of fury.

"Are you fucking crying?" Justin gave him a look of disgust. "God, Sören."

"It's the music, too -"

"Of course it is. You're enough of a crybaby to cry over some shitty harp music."

"It's not shitty. And it's not like you can play harp, you know how fucking hard that is to do -"

Justin laughed mockingly. "You know what, Sören?"

"What."

Justin threw his drink in Sören's face, still holding the glass as Sören sat there, drenched, giving a gasp of shock before quivering and letting out a broken sob.

"That's what. You want to cry, I'll give you something to bloody cry about -"

"Get out." Dooku was right at their table now, and it was taking him every ounce of his restraint to not Force throw Justin out of his seat and start choking him. That would cause a scene, the kind of scene that would likely bring the police and unwanted notoriety to his business establishment. But he was damned if he was going to follow "customer is always right" protocol with this măgar -

"Excuse me?" Justin raised an eyebrow.

"I SAID GET OUT." Dooku's voice was a roar. "NOW."

The harp and singing had stopped. Maglor was watching. The entire restaurant was watching. I should have intervened long before now. Dooku could have smacked himself.

Justin got up, pulled on his winter coat, hat and gloves, and then he took his plate of papanași and threw it at Dooku, making a mess all over Dooku's white chef outfit, with the plate clattering to the floor and smashing upon it; Justin walked off before Dooku could react.

Sören gave a look of horror as he climbed out of his chair - Justin was walking on ahead - and Dooku restrained the urge to put a hand on Sören's shoulder, wanting to say don't go with him. He watched Sören put on a jacket and then reach into his pocket and pull out a thin, battered wallet that had seen better days. He pulled out what looked like the only money he had and handed it to Dooku with a trembling hand. "I'm so sorry," Sören husked, looking down. "This is all my fault..."

"This isn't your fault at all, dear. You did nothing wrong." The dear slipped out - Sören's eyes met his with a bit of shock, as if the slip gave it away that he was looking at another gay man - and Dooku gently pushed the money back at him. "Keep it." Sören looked like he needed it more than him.

"No... it isn't right for me not to pay. You went to all this trouble. I insist." Sören took Dooku's hand and pressed the money into it again.

And then Justin was back, grabbing Sören by the arm and marching him forward. "Jesus Christ, Sören."

Dooku wanted to go after them, yank Sören away. Not my place, not my place...

By the partition leading from the dining hall to the lobby, Dooku heard Justin snarl, "You couldn't help yourself flirting with that old man again... fucking slut..."

Dooku stormed back into the kitchen. He was so angry he was shaking, and he heard himself rasp "La naiba. Futu-i." He hardly ever swore in his parents' native tongue, and knew that meant he was past a certain point of rage. He washed his hands and picked up a knife to chop vegetables, and the look on his face while holding the knife must have been fearsome, because his sous-chef, Natalia, shook her head and said, "Dooku. It's all right if you need to go early."

Dooku sighed. He put the knife down. "What did you hear?" He imagined there was enough of a scene that the waitstaff had been gossiping with the cooks.

"Enough." Natalia frowned. She had been in an abusive relationship herself.

"I think I need some air. I might be back but if not... it's late enough that you all should manage, I suppose, and thank you."

Yet as Dooku left the kitchen - his chef outfit was still a mess from the thrown papanași - he knew he wasn't just going out to get some air. He wouldn't necessarily catch up with Justin and Sören, depending on where Justin was parked, but...

Maglor was walking beside him, now. They looked at each other for a moment before looking ahead, both of them scouring the long strip of parking to see if...

"Ah." Maglor pointed. They were some meters ahead, small in the distance, but...

They walked faster, not wanting to run in case there was surprise ice on the parking lot. As they got closer they could hear Justin's voice carrying, continuing to berate Sören, and when they started to close in, they were just in time for Justin to backhand Sören. Then Justin shoved Sören, who toppled to his knees on the pavement, and Justin slapped him again, this time hard enough for Sören's nose to bleed.

That did it. Maglor rushed Justin and tackled him to the ground, and when he had Justin pinned he threw a few punches, pure murderous rage on his face.

"What the fuck?" Justin took a swing at Maglor, who stopped the incoming fist with his palm and decked him again, and then Justin's other hand landed a punch to Maglor's solar plexus.

Dooku pulled Sören up and, without thinking about it, took Sören's chin in his hand. He produced a handkerchief for the bleeding nose. Sören cried. "It's silk... it'll be ruined..."

"I don't want to ruin your coat or your shirt." Dooku glanced back at Maglor and Justin, who were in an all-out brawl.

Dooku went over to Maglor, not wanting Maglor to kill him out here in public, even though there was no one else around, that was something they didn't need right now. Justin had landed a few more punches and was kicking now too, but Maglor was continuing to beat him, like what Justin had done was a personal affront to him in some way. Dooku pulled Maglor off Justin. "All right, Mark. That's enough."

Maglor wiped his jaw, eyes still murderous as Justin lay there on the pavement, breathing hard.

Then Maglor turned to Sören. "You're not going home with this asshole, I hope."

"What's it to you?" Justin spat. Then he looked at Sören, and at Maglor. "Wait, are you fucking him?" He sat up. "Are you fucking both of them? Is that why you chose -"

"No.  I don't even know... Jesus, Justin, stop." Sören's voice shook. "Stop. Stop it." He started to have a coughing fit, and Dooku's eyes widened as the inhaler flew out of Sören's pocket into his hand for Sören to take a puff, then Sören's eyes widened with alarm when he saw Dooku looking at him.

He's Force sensitive. The hair on Dooku's arms and the back of his neck stood on end.

Sören looked like a deer trapped in headlights, too afraid to run off but he began taking a few steps back, slowly.

"What the fuck was that?" Justin asked.

Sören's inhaler dropped to the ground.

"You filthy fucking slut -" Justin dragged himself to his feet and was about to lunge.

Without thinking about it, Dooku waved his hand and Justin was flung back several meters, landing hard on the pavement. Feeling the most intense surge of rage he'd ever felt in his life, like a wall of fire was rising within him and out of him, he watched as a bolt of blue lightning shot out of his index and middle fingers, striking Justin, who began to convulse as the web of lightning crackled around him. It was over a few seconds later, with smoke rising from Justin's clothing, and Justin was unconscious.

Oh shit. There was no one else around, but it didn't matter, people could come out any time and he didn't want to have to move an unconscious man -

"Wake up," Maglor said, the voice echoing like a thousand voices, and Justin's eyes opened. Justin looked at Dooku and Maglor looming over him and let out a defeated little whimper.

"We need to get out of here," Maglor hissed. He looked at Sören. "We need to get you out of here."

"I..." Sören gave an apologetic little shrug and looked at Justin, who was sitting up, looking dazed, still shaking. "I live with him..."

"Sören." Dooku put a hand on Sören's shoulder. "He's abusing you." He sighed. "You'll be safe with us tonight, you can sleep on our couch bed, get some rest and tomorrow we can figure things out."

"I don't know you..."

If I was going to hurt you, I already could have, you saw what I'm capable of. Dooku spoke directly into his mind. "I care. I don't like seeing people mistreated."

They led Sören to their Jaguar. Sören hesitantly climbed in the back seat.

Maglor got in the passenger's seat. He turned to take Sören's hand. "I'm Mark... Lowry. And this is my partner, Nicolae Dooku."

"Sören Sigurdsson."

"You're Scandinavian?" Dooku asked, getting behind the wheel.

"Jæja, I'm from Iceland."

"Oh, that's fascinating. I had a friend at Oxford, Icelander, haven't been in touch with him for some time." Which was why he hadn't recognized the accent right away. "Reykjavik?"

"I was there for awhile before I came here, but my hometown is Akureyri. In the north."

"I see."

"How long have you been in London?" Maglor asked.

"About two years. I came after... some stuff happened." Sören sounded like he didn't particularly want to revisit what "some stuff" was.

"How long have you been with Asshole?" Maglor was looking at him again, an eyebrow raised.

"Just over a year."

Too long. Dooku and Maglor looked at each other.

"We met on Grindr, just a hookup, was supposed to be, and it turned into more. Then a few months ago, we started living together." Sören made a moue. "Things have been kind of rough."

"We rather noticed that," Dooku said, as he maneuvered onto the road.

"I'm sorry. I really don't want to burden you or inconvenience you..."

"You're no trouble, dear." There it was again, the dear. "Let us help you."


_


Their house in Bermondsey wasn't far. It was a two-bedroom, but the spare bedroom was Maglor's studio, set up with the Fourth Age harp and other musical instruments.

Dooku's Norwegian Forest Cat, Dragos, greeted them at the door with an inquisitive chirp, tail held high.

"Oh, you've got a cat." Sören dropped to his knees to let Dragos sniff him, and gave him pettings. "You're so cute, yes you are, fuzzy cute little baby boy... oh, it's a he, já?"

"Yes." Dooku smiled at Sören. "And he seems to like you."

Dooku and Maglor folded out the couch into a bed, and made it. Maglor went into the bedroom and came back with a T-shirt and pajama bottoms. Sören was only about six feet tall, Maglor had a foot on him and Dooku close to a half-foot, so "These might be a bit big for you, but it's what we've got," Maglor said.

"Takk. I really appreciate it -"

"Bathroom's down the hall, any toiletries you want to use are fine," Dooku said. "Can I offer you something to drink?"

"Water?" Sören sat down at the edge of the couch bed and began pulling off his shoes - which Dooku noticed were Doc Martens, the same style and cut as Maglor's.

"Hey, we're shoe twins," Maglor said, smiling.

"Oh, cool," Sören said. He looked Maglor up and down, wearing all black; Maglor was taking off his trenchcoat now. "You're a musician, já?"

Maglor nodded. "I also own a vinyl records shop -"

"Oh. Oh, I think I've been in there, with my friend Frankie." Then Sören looked like he was about to cry at the mention of her. "Shit..."

Dooku picked up distress in the Force, and Sören looked away, blinking back tears. "Dammit. I am a pathetic crybaby like he said..." Sören wiped his face with his sleeve.

Dooku handed him a bottle of water. "You're not pathetic, dear. If you need to cry, it's OK to cry here. You're safe."

Sören closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths, tears silently streaming down his face. He opened the water and made a face when he sipped it. "This is water?"

It was Perrier. "It's mineral water."

Sören took another sip and made a face again, and it was so adorable Dooku couldn't help laughing at it. "You've never had it?" Dooku asked.

"I can't fucking afford that," Sören said, laughing nervously. "Though I don't know why people pay so much for it." He took another sip, wrinkling his nose.

Maglor was watching him intently, and Dooku noticed, then. You like what you see.

Maglor didn't even try to hide it. Yeah, I do.

Mmm, so do I. But he's been hurt.

Maglor glanced at Dooku and gave a little nod. Deeply hurt. I wasn't going to suggest we try anything with him tonight, if ever.

But they couldn't stop watching those full lips wrapped around the water bottle, just the same, and then Sören put it down and started undressing. Dooku was taken aback by how casual Sören was about it, and Dooku heard himself giving the assurance of "We don't expect you to -"

Sören facepalmed. "I keep forgetting you Brits aren't as comfortable with nudity as we are in Iceland. Sorry."

"It's all right." Sören wasn't quite naked yet, just in his boxer-briefs, but Dooku felt a little disappointed as Sören pulled the shirt over his torso - with pierced nipples. Dooku had also noticed tattoos on Sören's back, a firebird with a waterbird, and he had full sleeve tattoos on his arms, one arm bearing fire, the other ocean waves. He was quite interesting to look at, and from the way Maglor was blushing he could tell Maglor thought so too.

"Do you need some time alone? Do you need someone to talk to?" Maglor asked, folding his arms, giving Sören a concerned look.

"I think..." Sören sighed. He looked down, then back up. "I need to get out of my head for awhile, then maybe get some sleep. So I'll take a shower... um, do you mind if I watch telly out here?"

"We don't." Dooku showed him the remote. Then he put a reassuring hand on Sören's shoulder. "If you do change your mind and you need a shoulder, we're down the hall. And we'd like to be able to help you, if we can, so tomorrow -"

"Tomorrow is tomorrow." Sören looked away. "I can't deal with any more tonight, I'm sorry -"

"You don't need to keep apologizing."

"Já, I do, you're letting a stranger into your home, cramping your style -"

"Maybe that stranger could be a friend." Dooku patted him. "You're not an inconvenience. Please don't worry."

Sören sighed. "I hope he doesn't call the police on you..."

Maglor snorted. "What's he going to say, some old guy made lightning come out of his fingers? They'll want to know if he's on drugs."

I hope you're right, Dooku spoke into his mind; he hadn't been thinking when it happened, and that could have ended very, very badly if there were witnesses. I don't want this to be 1972 for you all over again.

Sören looked at each of them. "I... didn't know there were other people like me. I thought it was just something people in my family could do..."

"We're not common by any means," Dooku said, "but we exist. And it feels fated, somehow, that our paths crossed. We'll talk about that some more another time, though, if you just want to unwind now."

"Jæja, I do. Takk again, and good night..."

"Good night, Sören. Oh by the way - help yourself to anything in the kitchen."

"Sleep well," Maglor told him, and took Dooku's hand down the hall.

Dooku himself did not sleep well that night, waking up frequently to worry about Sören. Feeling the pain from him all the way down in the living room, the unvoiced screams, the fear of what came next, the fear that Justin would hurt him, would hurt all of them...

"You need to sleep too," Maglor mumbled in the middle of the night.

Dooku made a noise of protest into the pillow.

Maglor's lips brushed his forehead. "Sleep, you," he commanded.

Silver light enfolded Dooku, the tension rolling out of him like a tide, and he slipped into the mist, into the waiting dark.

Chapter Text

Dooku's usual shift at the restaurant was from late afternoon until closing time, and most mornings he was asleep until 9 or 10 AM, which gave him a few hours before he had to go into work. When he and Maglor woke with the alarm at 9 AM, they skipped their usual morning lovemaking to check on their guest.

Sören was asleep - Dooku knew that Sören had not fallen asleep until late, laying awake several hours on the couch-bed, panicked, ashamed, hurt, grieving, worried about the future. He was loath to wake the young man, who looked even more beautiful curled up, long lashes framing his cheeks, Dragos purring away beside him as if he were keeping watch over his new friend. But Sören was apparently a light sleeper - no doubt from trauma - and as soon as he heard Dooku and Maglor's footsteps in the living room he jolted awake with a gasp. He looked around with pure terror on his face, as it took him a moment to realize where he was.

"Sören, it's all right," Maglor said in that smooth voice of his that made Dooku melt a little, even as strange as it was to hear him fake an American accent.

"Would you like tea? Breakfast?" Dooku cocked his head to one side.

Sören rubbed his face, his beard, ran a nervous hand through his curls. "Jesus, what time is it..."

"Five past nine AM. Do you have anywhere you need to be? Work...?"

"Not today." Sören looked up at Dooku finally. "Tea is fine, and if you're making breakfast I'll have whatever you're having, otherwise I don't want you to have to go all out for me..."

Dooku pursed his lips, wanting to shake Sören and tell him to quit apologizing when he'd been the one to offer, but just from what little he'd seen last night he could tell Justin had likely hard-wired the need to constantly apologize merely for existing, and probably not just him, too. "I'll get started on breakfast," Dooku said.

Maglor got changed, and when breakfast was almost ready, Maglor handled the end of it while Dooku got changed himself. When he came out Sören was in the same outfit he'd worn last night and was folding the couch bed back up.

Tea was served in the kitchen-dining area, with a full English breakfast. It wasn't fancy, but Sören was still impressed, and that and his slim figure suggested to Dooku there was a time where he hadn't been eating well at all.

Sören offered to do the dishes and Dooku and Maglor both gave a firm "NO" in unison.

"You're a guest," Dooku scolded.

"I've eaten your food... drank your water, slept on your couch, I don't want you to think I'm taking advantage..."

"Sören. Sit down. Relax. Let us take care of things. And when we're finished, then we want to have a talk with you." Dooku looked at Maglor, and made the come with me gesture as Sören waited in the living room.

The dishes weren't a two-man job, one of them could rinse and load the dishwasher by themselves, but Maglor knew why Dooku wanted the few moments alone.

You're thinking about letting him stay with us for a bit, aren't you? Maglor spoke into Dooku's mind.

Dooku nodded as he handed a rinsed dish over for Maglor to put in the washer. He can't go back to that...

Orc. Maglor made a face.

Yes. That monster calling itself Justin. I won't stand for it. Dooku put a hand on Maglor's arm. I hope you don't mind.

We're on the same page - I would have asked you myself to let him stay at least for awhile. He's a good kid. Their eyes met. You can just tell, sometimes.

Sören was sitting on the armchair, and Dooku and Maglor sat on the couch. Dragos hopped up between them and settled down for pettings. After a moment that was just Dragos purring, Dooku and Maglor looked at each other to decide who would speak first, and when Maglor raised an eyebrow, Dooku said, "Right," and turned to Sören.

"Have you given any thought as to what you're going to do now?" Dooku asked.

Sören frowned. "I have no place to go, and I can't afford to rent a new apartment with the hours I work now and the money I have in the bank. And I mean, Justin and I could work things out -"

"NO." Maglor didn't raise his voice, but it still rang out. Maglor looked a little sheepish at his own vehemence, and then cleared his throat and squared his shoulders. "You are not going back to him. He was abusing you."

Sören looked down and shrugged. "I deserve it -"

"What? No." Maglor's voice was stern. "Sören, think of your closest friend. If they were in the same position as you right now, would you tell them they deserve any of this? Would you tell them to go back and 'work it out'? Or would you -"

Sören started to cry. He used the Force to pull over the box of tissues from the coffee table and choked out, "Frankie," as he sobbed into a wad of Kleenex.

Maglor sighed. So did Dooku. Dooku didn't know what happened, exactly - in his mind's eye he saw a girl in the hospital, a series of plastic tubes... probably what prompted Sören to cry thinking about her last night. He was curious but now was not the time to probe. He took his turn to speak. "Sören, we would strongly prefer that you not return to Justin. You may think you deserve it, but you don't. His abuse brainwashed you."

"Where else will I go?" Sören sobbed. "I don't have any money..."

"Mark and I were talking, and it would be fine with us if you stay here for awhile," Dooku said. "We can help you get back on your feet."

Sören sobbed harder. "I don't want to burden you guys..."

"We're offering, dear. We wouldn't offer if it was going to burden us." Dooku reached out to take Sören's hand, then.

Sören continued crying, and they let him cry, and finally Maglor spoke, an attempt to soothe Sören with the power of his voice. "Please, Sören. We'd like you to stay for awhile. You've been through a lot."

Sören started to calm down gradually, and when he was still teary but not a total mess, Maglor added another, "Please. We want to help you."

Sören gave them a wary look. "What are the strings attached?"

Maglor's eyebrows shot up. He thinks we expect him to...

Yes, I know. Dooku frowned. While he found Sören delicious, and the thought of he and Maglor making love to him together made him a bit randy - enough that he quickly batted that thought away, not wanting Sören to pick up with the Force and be alarmed by it - Sören had been badly hurt and he didn't want Sören to feel like he had to go to bed with them to "earn his keep". That's going to be off the table for some time. The barrister in him then marveled privately that implies there's an "on the table"  with sex somewhere, and he was indeed surprised by his reaction to the younger man. 

"There are no strings," Dooku said, turning his attention back to putting Sören at ease. He meant it. He genuinely wanted to help, whether or not Sören would ever be interested in the two of them. "You can sleep here on the couch. We only ask that you abide by some house rules. No parties, no narcotics..."

Sören looked almost offended. "...I don't..."

"And no Justin." Maglor glared, his tone gentle but firm. "When we say we don't want you going back to him, we don't just mean to live. We don't want him coming here, and we don't want you going to see him, we don't want you in contact with him. You need to burn that bridge. We don't want that kind of chaos under our roof - we don't want to deal with the police, as we invariably will have to if he's around - and as importantly, it's for your own good as well."

"However, that said." Dooku looked at Maglor, who gave a small nod, knowing what he was about to say, and then he looked back at Sören. "You said you live with Justin so you have things over at his place, I assume?"

Sören cringed. "Jæja. It's not a lot of stuff, but I've been worrying about it..."

"We'll take you to get your things," Dooku said.

Maglor nodded. "Both of us. We want you to have backup in case he's there..."

"If we go now, he shouldn't be. He's got a very predictable routine and he should be gone till one, at least. Training, conditioning." Sören frowned again.

"That explains the right hook." Maglor gingerly rubbed his solar plexus; Dooku had seen the bruise and Maglor did not bruise easily at all. "Is he some kind of athlete?"

"He's a footballer, plays for FC Arsenal. So he's very physical, to keep in shape... does some stuff like kickboxing..."

No doubt, has practiced kickboxing on you. Dooku felt that surge of rage in him, rising up again, hair standing on end the way it did when a storm was approaching... just before the lightning storm that had flown out of his fingers last night. "Well, I suppose if he's going to not be there it's for the best we go now to get your things."Because I don't want to be tempted to kill him if I see his wretched face again. He got another chill, thinking of those blue eyes and the way something felt "off" about Justin before he ever opened his mouth.


_


Justin Roberts lived in a flat in a high-rise building on the East End of London. It was neither a cheap place to live nor was it insanely posh. Sören confirmed as they parked in guest parking and made their way past Justin's usual parking stall that his vehicle wasn't there.

The concierge nodded at Sören on his way in, and Sören led them to the elevator, which was done in dark wood paneling and a rich Oriental rug. Sören was starting to shake in the elevator, and Dooku put a hand on his shoulder.

"He's not here. It'll be all right. Even if he was..." Dooku snorted. "We'll protect you." Beating Justin within an inch of his life last night had been satisfying. Indeed, Dooku felt almost like his entire body was screaming let's do it again, out for blood with this...

"It's not that." Sören closed his eyes, trying to take deep breaths, but still obviously on edge. "I get claustrophobic in elevators." He cringed hard. "He made fun of me..."

"Of course he did, the rotten little shit." Dooku realized he'd said that aloud, and Sören's eyes flew open, giving him a surprised look. Dooku cleared his throat and patted Sören's shoulder. "My apologies, I didn't mean to startle you. Anyway, you didn't choose to have a phobia, he shouldn't be making fun of you about it..."

The elevator chimed on the ninth floor. They got out, and, shaking harder, Sören led them down the hall to the fourth door. He pulled the keys from his pocket but before he could open the door, Maglor gently pushed Sören aside and said, "Allow me." On the odd chance he's faking being gone so he can ambush him...

When Maglor opened the door and stepped inside, he gasped. "What in the Hells..."

Dooku pushed forward to see, and then Sören pushed between them, and as soon as he saw it he let out a whimper, like a cowering dog.

The living room was a disaster. Furniture overturned. Lamp broken. Glass-top coffee table smashed, glass all over the living room carpet. Even after having been in a brawl and literally struck by lightning, Justin had been feeling enough of a violent adrenaline surge to go on a destructive rampage, and it gave Dooku chills and a sick feeling, wondering what kind of horrific abuse Sören had been dealing with if the man was capable of that.

Sören went right to the bedroom and then Maglor and Dooku heard a scream, followed by a long sob. They rushed in, in case it was Justin lying in wait...

...it was somehow almost worse. There was clothing on the floor, some of it ripped and cut to shreds, other pieces with chemicals dumped all over it, making bleach stains and a vile, putrid smell.

There were broken paintbrushes scattered all over the floor, paint tubes cut open with gobs of paint poured over yet more clothing, and towels. There were canvases - some had been hacked to pieces, others had bleach and other chemicals poured over them, though bits and pieces showed through and Dooku saw that the art had once been beautiful, not "shitty" at all as Justin had called it. But they were all ruined beyond repair, and Sören fell to his knees, wracked with sobs at the destruction of his artwork. Paper sketches and watercolors and pastel pieces had been ripped apart. One canvas was in the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom, leaning against the cabinet under the sink, and Dooku saw this had been defecated on.

"Fucking Hells." There were tears in Maglor's eyes, he was shaking with anger. Dooku felt as angry as Maglor looked, suddenly wishing Justin were here so he could, in fact, kill him, consequences be damned -

Sören let out another screaming sob and collapsed on the floor, and it was then that Dooku saw insult to injury - a few plush toys, all with the stuffing ripped out of them, all decapitated.

"My..." Sören started to have a coughing fit. He was shaking from head to toe, laying on the floor as if he were prostrate before a god who had forsaken him, was punishing him in some way. "My mamma gave me... that bunny... and it's the only thing I have of her, she gave me that before she died when I was fi-i-i-ive..." He fell apart, coughing, sobbing.

The blue bunny was the thing that finally made Dooku cry. He picked it up to see if there was anything he could do, perhaps stitch it back up, but Justin had done the worst job on that, as if he knew its importance to Sören, of course he did, that's why... Dooku let the corpse of the stuffed animal drop to the floor, his fingers sparking as he did. The room was suddenly very hot, like they were standing around a reactor.

"That piece of shit." Maglor's voice was a growl. "That fucking filth..."

Sören folded his head in his arms on the floor, still continuing to sob, and cough. The coughing got bad enough he had to pull out his inhaler again, and when he did, Maglor dropped to his knees beside Sören, gently rubbing his back. Dooku saw the tears silently flowing down Maglor's face and when their eyes met, Maglor closed his. Maglor was feeling Sören's pain, he knew, and his own rage at what had happened, as if he had witnessed some kind of blasphemy.

Dooku was the calm in the eye of the storm. "All right." He took a deep breath. "Sören, is this all your things...?"

"I have a safe box that has things like my passport and ID paperwork in it, hopefully he didn't get at it. I'm the only one with the key." Sören used the Force to lift up his keyring.

"Where is the box?"

"Kitchen. Cupboard above the stove, near some baking sheets... Justin doesn't touch any of that stuff. I hope to god he didn't find the box and throw it out or something because otherwise I'm fucked..."

Dooku used the Force to pull the keyring out of Sören's hand. He walked out of the bedroom, stepping over upended furniture and broken glass. Justin had done a number in the kitchen too, with the silverware drawer ripped out and silverware all over the floor, dishes and glasses in pieces with more broken glass and ceramic everywhere. The cupboard above the stove was high enough that Sören would have to use a stool to get up there; Dooku used the Force to open it and saw the black metal box resting against a cookie sheet and muffin tin. He waved his hand and the box flew down into his waiting hands. With the box in his hands he came back into the bedroom where Maglor had gotten Sören to sit up and was gently rocking him.

"I have it," Dooku said. "We can go now."

Sören sobbed again, and Maglor pulled him to his feet. Maglor gently led Sören out of the flat, with Dooku using the keyring to lock up behind them - not so much that he gave a damn about anyone walking in, but he didn't necessarily want Justin to know they'd been there.

Sören attempted to pull himself together on the way out of the building, to not arouse suspicion in the concierge, and once he was in the back seat of the Jaguar he buried his face in his hands, doubling over as sobs racked him, howling and whimpering into his hands.

"I have nothing. I have no money to replace anything..."

"We'll buy you clothes," Dooku said.

"I don't want you to have to spend money on me. You don't even know me -"

"Money doesn't exactly grow on trees, you know." Dooku gave Sören a look over his shoulder.

Sören took his face out of his hands and scowled. "I know. It's why I don't want you to have to -"

Dooku saw that attempt at reasoning with him was failing. He pinched the bridge of his nose before returning his focus to the road. "Look, Sören. I was raised Orthodox, and there's a certain story about a shepherd who let a traveling woman give birth in his manger, and that baby boy grew up and taught others the importance of kindness - generosity, compassion. It's something that stayed with me, even when my faith has not. But for a twist or turn of fate, or luck, we could all be down and out, destitute, especially in these times when the gap between rich and poor seems to be ever widening. I don't think our paths crossed by accident, or by coincidence. You have two people right here who want to be kind to you for awhile, you sure don't seem to have had much kindness in your life lately. The fact of the matter is, you are not going to be able to get back on your feet without basic essentials like clothing, if all you own is what you have on your back right now and you don't have money for more. So at the very least, let us buy you some clothes."

"He's right, you know." Maglor was, strangely, trying to restrain a smile.

Dooku poked him with just the Force, not touching him. Don't even tell me I'm being a lawyer again, arguing with him.

It's not that. It's... the Jesus story. Maglor looked out the window. A very long time ago, two thousand years give or take, I was traveling in Rome and working as a carpenter to try to blend in. I fed a group of people with a small amount of lembas. I also got angry enough with moneychangers taking advantage of the poor, to overthrow their tables. A friend saw my ears and reported me for a reward of silver, and I just narrowly escaped crucifixion. I'm a bit surprised that...

You're... no. Dooku facepalmed. You're Jesus?

Not all of the Christ story is based on my time in Rome, it seems to be a composite of that and other outlaws as well as mythologies from the area and its neighbors, but apparently... I had a bit of a reputation, and it survived. Amazing.

Sören's voice cut into their private conversation. "At the very least, when I... get back on my feet... let me pay you back. I don't want to accept something for nothing -"

Dooku wasn't happy with that, he wanted to be able to give the young man something, and he and Maglor were well-off enough that they could easily afford it, but he understood now - feeling it in the Force - that Sören's pride was being injured with this, not wanting to be seen as "charity". And indeed, his pride had been injured many times by Justin. Letting himself feel like he wasn't "taking advantage" - even though Dooku absolutely would not feel Sören was even if he was never paid back - was perhaps part of Sören's needed recovery as well. "All right."

"And if I'm going to stay with you for a bit, till I get my own place, I want to pay rent -"

"If you're going to get your own place you're going to need money and if you don't even have the money to replace your wardrobe you don't have that, so don't worry about rent right now - work on saving up and rebuilding, and we can talk about rent when you're in a better position than you are now." Maglor looked over at Sören.

Sören sighed. "I'm sorry."

"You..." Maglor glared. "Please. Stop apologizing. You did nothing wrong."

Sören started crying again. Then he really started crying as he choked out, "My bunny. Mamma..." And sobbing, ashamed of himself. "God. I'm thirty-one crying over a stuffed rabbit and my mother... fucking pathetic..."

"Sweetheart..." Sweetheart. Really. Dooku couldn't believe himself. "You're not pathetic. You have been through hell. I don't even know the whole story but what I know is bad enough." And I imagine I will learn more of it as the days unfold. That was going to be a special kind of pain. And rage. "What that... damned..."

"Filth," Maglor supplied.

"Despicable pulă... bucată de rahat, fiu de târfă..." Dooku's knuckles were white on the steering wheel and he was driving just a little faster. Not too fast now, we don't need trouble with the police. "He's pathetic, Sören. Not you."

Sören sniffled. "I wish I could believe you."

I wish you could, too.

They took Sören to a retail outlet before they went home. Sören pulled himself together enough to pick out some shirts and trousers and jeans and underwear and socks. Dooku and Maglor also bought him a Sterilite bin for clothing storage in the living room, though Dooku lamented not having a proper dresser, he deserves something better than keeping his clothing in a fucking bin.

"Will you be all right while we're at work this evening?" Dooku asked as Maglor got ready to head to the record shop, and Maglor gave Sören a concerned look too.

Sören nodded. "I think I'll just try to chill, watch telly."

Dooku frowned. "We have a night off tomorrow, maybe we can play a game, watch a movie, or take you to get some new art supplies..."

Sören looked down. "I haven't been able to paint in a few months. It's... a block, I guess."

A block from being told your art is "shitty", most likely. Dooku remembered the destroyed artwork, the glimpses of beauty he'd seen in the ruins. What it must have looked like before Justin ravaged it... Dooku shuddered, feeling that hot surge of rage again. "We'd still like to..."

Sören sighed. He didn't say drop it but that's still what Dooku heard in his mind.

Maglor left - Dooku could tell he wanted to give Sören a hug, but didn't, worried he might provoke anxiety with physical contact. Dooku and Maglor stole a kiss, and Dooku noticed Sören watching them with sadness in his eyes. Soon after Maglor left, Dooku also had to go to work, and the entire time he was there, he kept worrying that he'd come back and find Sören gone, returned to Justin. Maglor came by Doi Capaci when the record shop was closed for the evening to wait for Dooku's shift to end - having his usual free evening meal - and when he and Dooku rode home together Dooku could feel the anxiety in him as well.

Anxiety and rage. Maglor wanted to go back to the flat and kill Justin, Dooku knew that.

Their first concern was Sören. They mutually breathed a sigh of relief when they came in and found Sören on the couch bed, dozed off. He looked precious and innocent with a blanket, and Dooku's heart broke remembering the bunny Sören had cried for, a mental image of Sören sleeping with it at night, cuddling it when upset, no wonder he couldn't sleep last night, and Sören had just passed out early tonight from exhaustion.

Poor kid. Maglor frowned.

Yes. Dooku nodded. He's had such a rough time of it. And he's going to have a rough time out of it, recovering.

Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell, leads up to light. Maglor was quoting Milton.

At least he won't have to walk it alone. Dooku took Maglor's hand, and squeezed.

Chapter Text

The next day Dooku and Maglor did indulge in their usual morning lovemaking before checking up on Sören, though they tried to keep it down for the sake of their guest down the hall. When they arrived in the living room Sören was already dressed and was reading one of the Stephen King novels from the bookshelf.

Sören had to work today - he was a waiter at a restaurant in Greenwich, where he had been living before moving in with Justin. He worked approximately 15 hours a week, which had been enough for Justin, but wasn't quite going to cut it if he was going to get a place of his own, and Sören talked about asking his boss for more hours over breakfast, "since it's not like I'm really making art right now anyway."

Dooku felt some anxiety about Sören going in to his usual place of employment, but Sören assured them he'd be fine, and insisted on taking the Tube there and back rather than having Dooku or Maglor drive him. Dooku and Maglor did insist that Sören program their numbers into his cell phone - which Sören had kept off the last couple of days, and upon turning it on winced to see there were a number of missed calls from Justin. Dooku once again felt that hot surge of rage as Sören played his voice mail on speakerphone, with message after message filled with verbal abuse from Justin. A few messages had Justin tearful and contrite - crocodile tears, Dooku thought bitterly - saying "baby come back" and attempting to apologize, "I'll make it up to you", and Sören cried at these.

"Don't go back to him," Maglor urged when the voice mails were done.

"I won't." Sören closed his eyes, hand pressed to forehead as he used the Force to slip the cell phone back into his pocket. Dooku could feel him remembering, and in his mind's eye he could see it - Sören painting and Justin coming in and throwing his canvas across the room, smearing it, knocking over his table of art supplies. Sören cowering, shivering as Justin hit him over and over. The bruises, Justin holding ice to them, tenderly apologizing, saying he'd never do that again. And of course he did. "I've been through this song and dance before. I... I'm done." He swallowed hard.

After Dooku had been in the kitchen at Doi Capaci for just over an hour and a half, the phone call came. It was Sören's number. "I have to take this," he told Natalia apologetically, who nodded, and Dooku stepped off to the side. "Sören, hello."

"N-Nico?"

"Yes. Sören. How's work going?"

A quaver. "He showed up..."

Of course he fucking did. Dooku's feeling of anxiety before Sören left had proved correct. With a sharp sigh, Dooku said, "Is he still there?"

"He tried to drag me off, telling me 'you're coming home now', and I... I shoved him, with my mind. I don't think too many people saw, or would have thought much of it if they did, but I ran. I caught a bus and just kind of blanked out and got off wherever. I don't know where I am..."

"Did he follow you?"

"Probably not? I don't know." Sören started sobbing. "I'm lost. I don't know where the fuck I am, or how to get back..."

"All right, Sören, Mark and I both know London pretty well. Can you see any street signs or landmarks?"

Judging from what Sören told him, Sören had made it to Kingston upon Thames. Dooku gave him directions to the Druid's Head. "Wait there and we'll be out to you shortly."

Dooku was only working the afternoon today and would have the evening off, but he cut his shift even shorter, after he placed the call to Maglor, who had the Jaguar and had the entire day off. Maglor stopped at Doi Capaci and then they drove from Bermondsey into Kingston upon Thames, parked the car, and walked down to the Druid's Head, where Sören was a wreck. They led Sören to the car, and took him home.

Sören's boss had been calling, and Sören had not answered it, and now played his voice mail on the way back. Unsurprisingly, Sören had been fired for running off while he was still on the clock.

"It's just as well," Maglor said. "Justin knows where you work. He showed up there."

"I had a bad feeling that he would, and that gut feeling was right. That will teach me to think I'm worrying too much." Dooku scowled.

"I'm sorry. I..." Sören sobbed some more.

When they arrived at the house in Bermondsey, Maglor finally did what he'd been wanting to do and had been holding back, giving Sören a tight hug. Sören accepted it, his arms encircling Maglor, who pulled him close and stroked his curls, making soothing noises as he pet Sören and rocked him a little, looking at Dooku with angry tears in his eyes. Dooku quietly came over and hugged both of them, and without thinking about it, planted a gentle kiss on the top of Sören's head. He felt protective of him, and ached for the younger man, desperately wanting him to feel safe, and knowing that it would be a long road to getting there.

"All right Sören, sit down." Dooku reluctantly pulled away, and gestured to the armchair.

Dooku made tea, and came back with the tea service. Dragos came out to see his people, and Maglor picked up the cat and put him on Sören's lap, giving Dragos a few pets and affectionately tousling Sören's curls before sitting back down on the couch. Dooku sat beside him.

He used the Force to serve their tea, and then after a moment of quietly sipping tea and relaxing a little, Dooku said, "We'll help you find another job."

Sören frowned. "That's easier said than done. I'm an immigrant, I don't have a degree... well, not one I can use."

Maglor raised an eyebrow. "So you did go to university."

"I went to med school. I had a nervous breakdown during my internship, after losing a patient." Again. Dooku could see it in his mind's eye - Sören was traumatized by witnessing death. Suddenly, a small boy, finding a dead woman laying on a couch... Dooku felt like he was being gently nudged out of Sören's mind, Sören aware of the intrusion in his heightened emotional state. "I started making art while I was in hospital and it just stuck with me, or it did till I lived with Justin."

Dooku heard Justin's voice in Sören's head. Your art's stupid, ugly. It'll never sell. I don't know why you waste your time on this shit -

Sören sighed, staring at his boots. "Anyway... I've been working as a barista or a waiter all these years. I wasn't living alone, I had roommates. Lived with my sister, until." His voice trailed off, as if that was a delicate subject. "Then I came here and I was trying to manage in a single room occupancy till I met Frankie, and her aunt hired me at her coffee shop in Greenwich. And that was OK till..." His eyes misted and his jaw trembled.

"Here in Bermondsey, there's a number of places right within walking distance and at least one of them is usually hiring," Dooku said, but he wasn't satisfied with telling Sören that.

"My boss just fired me. You think he's gonna give me a good reference? I doubt that very much." Sören pursed his lips.

He's right. Maglor folded his arms. "I don't know what you think about the possibility of working for me, at my record shop in Croydon... I'll give you flexible hours..."

"Which one is that again...?"

"The Wax Museum."

Sören cringed. "Frankie and I definitely did go there... she had a huge vinyl collection and she liked to take me to vinyl records shops everywhere, and... and..." Sören put his tea down and lost it. Dragos made a chirp of alarm and stood on his hind legs, paws on Sören's chest, licking the tears on his face, which made Sören laugh and scoop up the cat, petting him, but he was still weeping, so brokenly that it brought tears to Dooku's own eyes.

"Sören, forgive me for asking, but... what happened to Frankie?" Dooku asked.

Sören took a deep breath. "October. Hit-and-run driver. Police still haven't found the guy... girl... whatever. Her aunt Siobhan, who owned the coffee shop in Greenwich, closed up and flew herself back to Northern Ireland - she and Frankie's mum came in the 80s during the Troubles, after their brother got killed - and Siobhan took Frankie with her to Belfast for treatment there. I talk to her once in awhile but recovery is really slow going, she's had a traumatic brain injury and..." Sören let out a sob.

Dooku used the Force to pass over the box of tissues. "Takk," Sören said, taking a wad. He peered at the box and said, "God, I've used so many of your Kleenex, I need to replace this box..."

"Please don't worry about it." Dooku sipped his tea. "So..."

"So... I didn't just lose my best friend, mostly, but I lost my job, my place to live. That was when I had to move in with Justin. He'd been after me to move in with him for awhile and I was wary of it - actually I was trying to break up with him just before Frankie's accident..." Sören gave a sad smile. "We were at a pub, he had some of his mates with him and I wanted to bring Frankie along, and Justin got kind of aggressive with me at the pub and it wasn't the first time Frankie had witnessed him abusing me and she shoved him and knocked him over, kicked him in the balls, broke a bottle over his head and told him next time he laid a hand on me she'd break all of his fingers. Completely humiliated him in front of his friends, he got all the 'you got your arse kicked by a girl' comments... she's this little five-foot thing, balls of steel. Couldn't say I was unhappy about it either, I was pissed at him and very much wanted to be done. She tried to reason with me about leaving him when we got back home that night and then a couple weeks later... the accident. The coffee shop closed down because of the family emergency, and I was up shit's creek with no job, no roommate, and there was Justin to the rescue..."

Dooku and Maglor exchanged glances. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Maglor spoke into Dooku's mind.

I worked criminal law too long to not be thinking what you're thinking, Macalaurë. It was so obvious, and yet somehow Sören didn't see it, or perhaps wasn't letting himself see it, as he had enough horror without the additional of processing that. He didn't even know Frankie - though he could feel how much Sören cared for her, in the Force - but Dooku fought the urge to get up, calmly drive to Justin's flat in the West End, and kill him.

"Anyway..." Sören's smoky voice interrupted Dooku's murder fantasy. "I know I sound like an idiot for turning it down, but working at The Wax Museum is just gonna remind me of Frankie and that'll be too sad..." He let out another sob, and used the last of the Kleenex in the box.

"I understand." Maglor patted him.

"It's so stupid." Sören shook his head. "I'm stupid... Justin is right about me being too sentimental, too much of a crybaby, but I miss Frankie so much, and it hurts... it's been months and it's still so fucking raw... and I'm an idiot, I know I won't be able to get hired somewhere easily having been fired, my boss isn't gonna give me a good reference..."

"Well..." Dooku took a deep breath and pressed his hands together, like he was praying. "I have a bit of a solution, if you're open to it."

Sören looked at him, and Dooku felt the suspicion on his face - Sören had learned to be wary of easy answers and things that sounded too good to be true, because they usually were. It was making Sören wary of this entire arrangement they had, even though Dooku and Maglor genuinely wanted to help him, and they were his best chance at getting back on his feet. Even now Dooku could feel Sören wanting to run away, not knowing where he'd go, afraid to trust again...

"Come work for me," Dooku said.

Sören raised an eyebrow.

"It doesn't have to be waitstaff, either, if you find dealing with the public too stressful right now, which I would if I were in your shoes. Actually, being in my kitchen would be your best bet, because if down the road you decide to work elsewhere, you'll have culinary experience under your belt - I'm sure you've seen the acclaim for my restaurant - and barring something intentionally catastrophic happening I'd give you a glowing recommendation to any chef you wanted to work for."

Sören laughed - it wasn't a funny, amused laugh, it was a bitter laugh. "Justin says I'm a shitty cook."

"He also says Mark is a shitty harpist. I was observing all of... that, yes. And judging from what I could see of the art he ruined, you're not a shitty artist whatsoever, he destroyed some gorgeous work. So I don't think Justin is the best judge of taste here."

Dooku could see it in his mind's eye, Sören trying to be helpful and "earn his keep", working hard to cook things Justin said he liked, even baking cookies and muffins to express the caring that Justin didn't deserve, hearing everything from the faint praise of it's edible to the cold sneer of this is fucking garbage, throwing out an entire tray or pot of food after a few bites. Justin seemed to lay on the worst of the insults for when Sören had gone to the most trouble, and it was clear from what Dooku could see that it wasn't about Sören's cooking capabilities at all. It was painfully unfortunate Sören himself didn't understand that.

"And, well," Dooku gestured to Sören. "Even if he happened to be right and your cooking was awful, which I highly doubt, you're going to be retrained anyway, because what you do in a professional kitchen is a bit different than what is done at a kitchen at home. So don't let what he told you stand in your way of accepting the offer. Not that you should pay that wretched fiu de târfă any mind, anyway..."

Sören let out a sharp exhale and leaned back in his chair. "OK." He gave a small smile. "He did say your cooking was bad, and I tasted it, it's not bad at all." He raised an eyebrow. "Will I be learning your recipes?"

"Yes."

"Then you've got yourself a deal, because the meal I had at Doi Capaci was amazing and I'd love to be able to make that." Sören's smile became a pout. "It's too bad I didn't get to finish the papanași -"

"Would you like me to make that for dessert this evening?" Dooku wanted to do something nice for him.

Sören's eyes lit up. "If you don't mind..."

"I don't mind at all. It would be my pleasure."

Dooku had to go to the store to get ingredients for that, and Maglor came along as he often did, and Sören decided to go with them to try to get his mind off things. Before going to the supermarket Dooku stopped at a place where Sören could get a few uniforms for the kitchen, and when Sören was trying things on and came out to model for them, he couldn't help admiring the way Sören looked in them - it seemed Sören would look good in anything - and already he seemed to stand a little taller, a little less of the submissive, beaten body language that he'd had before. Dooku knew, of course, that it might not last as Sören struggled with his trauma, but at least he had a small piece of hope to hold onto for now.

While Dooku cooked, Maglor played on the piano for awhile, letting Sören watch, and when Dooku came out to let them know dinner was ready, Sören was absolutely rapt, staring at Maglor like he was watching a rock star. Sören gave a standing ovation and whistled when the performance was over; Maglor grinned at him and Sören blushed, giving that shy, sweet smile that took Dooku's breath away.

Dooku made the ciulama de pui that Justin had put down, and Sören marveled, "I can't believe he didn't like this. It's so good."

"Well, thank you." Dooku took a sip of wine. "I certainly try."

"I can't wait to learn how to make this. Then one of these nights you'll have to let me cook for the both of you, to say thank you."

"Don't worry about any of that just yet." Dooku patted him. "Right now, let's focus on getting you where you need to be."

They watched The Lion King after dinner and papanași for dessert, at Sören's request upon browsing their DVDs. Dooku and Maglor stole the occasional kiss during romantic moments with Simba and Nala, and the look of longing in Sören's eyes made his heart break for the young man all over again.

After the movie Sören decided it was time to retire for the evening, and they made up his couch bed. "Do I start tomorrow?" Sören asked.

Dooku nodded. "How does 25 hours a week sound, to start?"

"OK."

"I wanted to give you enough hours to be able to earn a living while still having time to pursue your art again, should you come out of this block." I sincerely hope you do. "I work 40 hours, sometimes 50 hours during busier times of year. You'd be working whenever I'm on and it makes sense for us to start at the same time, with me bringing you into work, but you'd have to go home by yourself or wait for me to finish, or Mark can bring you home if he's available. I can draw up a more formal schedule for you tomorrow, as I work on the schedule for the other cooks." Dooku then told Sören how much he'd be making an hour and Sören's eyes widened.

"That much? That's... that's too much money. You don't have to pay me that much...."

"That's the minimum of what I pay junior chefs. You'll be making more as you put in time and get seniority."

"That's. Wow. Holy shit. That's more money than I've ever made in my life. That's a lot."

Dooku wanted to scream with frustration that Sören considered that "a lot", wondering what kind of privation he'd endured in his life, but he held back, with a small, sad sigh.

"Thank you." Sören was using the English for it rather than the Icelandic takk, and Dooku knew that meant it was a huge deal to Sören, who took his hand. "I appreciate this, so much."

"Well, don't thank me just yet. You may be a friend, but I have high standards for quality and hygiene, I run a very tight ship, and the dinner rush where we need all hands on deck is going to be like being thrown into the deep end of the pool when you don't know how to swim. You'll find I pay what I do for a reason, because you're going to earn every penny of it. I'll do what I can to ease you into it, but..."

"I need this." Sören set his jaw. "I need to feel like I'm capable of something, if that makes any sense."

"It does." You are so much better than you think you are, Sören Sigurdsson.

Looking back years later, Dooku would realize it was that moment when he'd fallen in love with him, the fighting spirit that refused to give up and die just yet... imperishable.

Chapter Text

Before Sören's first shift began at Doi Capaci, Dooku pulled aside his sous-chef, Natalia, who had a habit of arriving early, not simply to give her the heads up that there would be a new worker in the kitchen, but also because he knew Natalia had been in an abusive relationship - he'd hired her when his restaurant was newly opened and he was less discriminating about hires, and Natalia desperately needed a job to keep a roof over her and her daughter's head. Natalia had since gotten back on her feet and worked her way up as Dooku's most valued and trusted employee. He knew that she'd understand Sören was newly out of a domestic violence situation and would need a certain amount of gentleness and slack in a hectic professional kitchen, but she also knew enough of where he was at, having been in similar shoes herself, to not coddle him to the point where he'd feel like he was pitied. It was a difficult balance to find the line between constructive criticism and what would be too much for the fragile young man, but Dooku knew if anyone could find that balance, it would be her.

Dooku was not kidding when he'd warned Sören he had high standards for quality and hygiene and ran a very tight ship. Sören had to wear a hair net at all times on the clock, and though as a med student he'd already been in the habit of washing his hands regularly, Dooku and the other cooks enforced it to the tee, with Sören nagged to wash his hands, trained to recognize a certain look Dooku gave him until it became routine. Sören was also taught about knife safety - learning the hard way when he cut himself on a mandoline - and the importance of storing knives correctly to keep them sharp, something that Sören had to be lectured about more than once. The kitchen worked as a fast-paced assembly line to handle orders as they came in, with constant communication between Dooku and his cooks, the dining room manager and Dooku, and the service staff and the cooks. Recipes were followed to precision for a reason, though occasionally a request would come in to substitute or omit a certain ingredient, increase or decrease the amount of spice in a dish. If measurements were not exact, an entire batch had to be scrapped and started again. Meals were also expected to be produced with urgency yet attention to detail, which meant very careful focus, easier said than done when there was a lot going on, especially with the dinner rush on Friday and Saturday nights. Sören did indeed panic a little, with his anxiety making him fumble - too much seasoning here, too rare there, a slip of the knife, a drop of an ingredient or instrument that required getting another and starting over again - which then produced the endless apologies.

After three days, Willard, who was born to Jamaican immigrants, put a gloved hand on Sören's arm and said, "Look, mon, it's all right. You don't need to keep apologizing. Just do the work." He patted Sören and assured him, "You're doing fine for someone who's new." Then he changed his gloves.

As Sören rode home with Dooku and Maglor that night, Sören mumbled, "I'm sorry I apologize so much."

"Sören..." Dooku pinched the bridge of his nose. 

Before Dooku could speak, Maglor looked over at him in the back seat and said, "OK. Sören. We get it that you got in the habit of apologizing like this because of Justin and... I'm guessing maybe not just him. Part of taking back your power from him is to stop apologizing constantly. I know habits are hard to break, but you owe it to yourself to get out of the habit of apologizing constantly, feeling like you have to apologize constantly. You're not some giant burden or nuisance."

"I'm sorry -"

Maglor glared. "Sören." He was doing the thing with his voice again, and Dooku would have been amused by it if his heart did not ache so much for the young man. "OK. Sören. When you feel those two little words, 'I'm sorry', start to come out... take a deep breath instead. Retrain yourself to stop saying it, which hopefully in time will retrain your brain to stop thinking it. I know it's going to take time and it won't happen overnight, but please. For your sake." For all our sakes, because it hurts to see you like this, Maglor added, unvoiced. "Try to stop."

The next day Dooku noticed Sören was taking the advice. He still let out a few "I'm sorry"s, but it wasn't at the near-constant rate it had been, and as a direct consequence of apologizing less, his body language continued to relax and he made fewer anxiety-based errors in the kitchen.

To his credit, Sören was a fast learner, and by the time he'd been at Doi Capaci for a week he'd mostly gotten the hang of the kitchen brigade; after he'd been there for two weeks it was like he'd been there for months. Like the other cooks, he'd learned to work with speed, efficiency, care and grace. And though Sören was still a bit shy, he was warming up a bit to his co-workers, the little chats that happened as they worked on things, though there wasn't much room for personal conversation.

Dooku was proud of him, in two weeks he'd come a long way - like Natalia had - and he would go farther as he had more room to breathe, more encouragement.

Sören had been either going home with Maglor when his shift was over, or opting to stay and quietly read in the break room till Dooku was done. Dooku knew that after Justin had shown up at the restaurant where Sören formerly worked, Sören had some anxiety about going anywhere by himself, and as much as Dooku himself had anxiety about Sören going places unguarded he knew that he had to gently push Sören to start spreading his wings again as part of the healing process... though in time.

After the first few days of Sören living with them and working at Doi Capaci, life had started to settle in back to some semblance of a normal routine, with Dooku and Maglor making love again - albeit quietly - and Dooku hitting the gym his usual three days a week before work; on Saturday and Sunday mornings Dooku and Maglor visited a local fencing club and sparred each other and other sport fencers, which usually led to them needing sex when they got back home, and they got back to this as well. Dooku typically went on a walk in the mornings when he didn't go to the gym or the fencing club, and again in the late evenings when he was home from work, and he began to invite Sören on his evening walks. He noticed Sören was more at ease in public places at night than he was in the daytime, probably because he could hide better at night, but hiding was no way to live a life, and so it was that after Sören had been living with them for two weeks, Dooku invited him on one of the morning walks.

They went to Southwark Park. It was a crisp January morning, snow falling, but it didn't bother Sören, who'd grown up in Iceland. Dooku took them to a nearby cafe to get hot chocolate and they walked through the snowy park drinking hot cocoa and admiring the snowbanks, the crystalline trees. When Sören's hot cocoa was finished, he surprised Dooku by sitting down in the snow and starting to build a snowman, and Dooku sat down with him, surprised further that he was actually helping Sören with the sculpture, playing in snow like he was a big kid again.

"It's nice here," Sören said.

"It is." Dooku nodded. "I missed London while I was away, and places like this were a reason why."

"Oh... you were away?" Sören raised an eyebrow.

Dooku hadn't disclosed that part of his life yet - or the reason for the traveling around - but he'd start with what was simplest to explain. With a little nod, Dooku said, "I used to be a barrister. I left London in 1990 and practiced international law in Berlin, Amsterdam, and Stockholm. When I was fifty-five, living in Sweden, I decided to change careers, so I turned my cooking hobby into my life's work."

"Wait, fifty-five? And you've been doing this how long? You don't look that much older than fifty-five."

Dooku smiled, blushing. "I'm sixty-seven, dear."

Sören let out a low whistle. "Damn. Don't look it."

"Don't feel it. Mostly. Arthritis has slowed me down a little - I don't run anymore - but I think my body didn't quite get the memo that sixty-five is what society considers decrepit. I try to keep healthy."

"Já, you're... in good shape." Sören looked off to the side. Then he looked back at his proto-snowman, before glancing at Dooku. "How old is Mark...?"

"Forty-two." That was a lie, and forty-five was about the oldest Maglor felt he could get away with pretending to be with the way he looked; he disliked pretending to be younger than thirty-five because he didn't feel it mentally and didn't think he could pull it off convincingly.

"You guys have been together awhile, já?"

While Dooku didn't want to potentially blow Maglor's cover by leaving a trail of bread crumbs between the British expat "Mark Lowry" in Stockholm and the fake-American "Mark Lowry" of present, he sensed he didn't have much to worry about from Sören, at least not with that. "We lived together in Sweden, yes."

"Wait."

Dooku's eyebrows shot up, wondering if Sören was going to remark on the age difference - since twelve years ago "Mark" would be "thirty". Wondering if there was going to be awkwardness.

And instead, it was something else together. "So you were in Sweden before you came here?"

"Yes...?"

"As a chef."

"...Yes."

"A Swedish chef."

Dooku's eyes narrowed.

Sören's face lit up in a grin. "Börk börk börk..."

"You know..."

Sören cackled. "Listen, if Scandinavians don't make fun of other Nordic countries we lose our citizenship. It's required by law."

"It is not."

"OK, it's not. But it might as well be. And I can take the piss out of my own country too. A long time ago, our people ate piss-smelling fermented shark out of necessity, so we didn't starve, and in the 21st century we're still eating it because we fucking can. That's the Icelandic people for you right there." Sören sighed. "I miss it. Iceland, I mean. Not the fermented shark."

"But are you here for good? Are you going back...?"

Sören shook his head. "Don't know, and not anytime soon."

It occurred to Dooku then that Sören's jokes about the Swedish Chef and Icelandic "cuisine" were the first he'd seen the young man lighten up and genuinely laugh or joke about anything in the two weeks and change they'd been acquainted. Sören tended to be quiet, withdrawn, looking brooding or tired most of the time, though he tried to relax this a bit in the kitchen, but the shroud of sorrow still rolled back over him when he wasn't chatting or listening. An outside observer might get the impression that Sören was naturally a melancholy, reserved person, but the way Sören smiled and chuckled just a moment ago seemed much more like his natural, default state of being, a shining fire that this disgusting Justin Roberts stole from him.

Here they were, playing in the snow like two big kids - further evidence that there was a sort of wild, sweet innocence to Sören, a playfulness that was still there underneath the attempts to stamp it out... Dooku could see it. You're not funny, you know. Justin being annoyed rather than amused with Sören's humor and quirkiness.You're so fucking embarrassing. Do you have any idea what a muppet you are sometimes?

Dooku sighed. I want to make you happy. He was determined to re-ignite that fire in him, somehow, to see more of that radiant smile, hear more of that tinkling laugh. More of the warmth in Sören's brown eyes, crinkling at the corners, which gave him a flutter in his stomach.

For the briefest instant, Dooku thought of the mirror, that time he'd gotten a glimpse of Fëanor, Fingolfin, and Maglor making love somewhere else, as if he'd seen into another universe. He wondered vaguely if there were other universes, other worlds than these, and if his path had crossed with Sören somewhere else and it was he who was melancholy, reserved and feeling increasingly that life was meaningless, and Sören helping him to find moments of happiness, to see the world through new eyes.

Iceland... A flash of the Northern Lights, he and Sören in the snow like they were now...

Dooku blinked. "So you've been here two years, you said? 2014...?"

"Late 2013." Sören pursed his lips.

"May I ask why you left..."

Sören took a deep breath. He stopped packing snow onto the proto-snowman and looked as if he were looking somewhere far away for a moment. Then he looked at Dooku. "So, I've never had a serious relationship, prior to Justin. String of short-term boyfriends, never dated anyone longer than a few months. Mostly just one-night stands and fuckbuddies since I've been old enough to fuck. I usually play it safe, condoms, I get tested regularly, all that. Well, one night I went home with this guy, and had a couple drinks at his place... and he put something in my drink. He fucked me while I was unconscious. He got... a few of his friends to fuck me while I was unconscious. I know about this because I woke up and they were there and bragging about it and I felt like I'd been split in half and I was bleeding and leaking all this cum - Jesus Christ, you don't need the graphic details." Sören looked like he was about to say I'm sorry again, and took another deep breath as Maglor had taught him.

"So you were raped." Dooku was horrified; Sören had already been through so much without that, too.

Sören hesitated, and then he nodded. "Gang raped, to be specific, and yes. I was living with my sister at the time, and she was dating one of the blokes who had a go at me while I was passed out, his name was Eiríkur, I think. When I told her, she didn't want to believe that the guy she was seeing would ever do that, and we had a bit of a row, she told me I must be confused, the guy even lied right to her face and said it didn't happen and meanwhile he was there in the flat when I woke up that night bragging about it... My sister is like me, and I wonder if this guy was also like us, at least a little, and doing some kind of mind trick or something to get her to believe him over me. But it doesn't really matter now. I moved out, I haven't talked to her since then. Moving out was not exactly the best decision because I was a barista at the time, not a lot of money, whatever."

"So you came to London then?"

"No, that was... after." Sören looked down.

"After..."

Sören closed his eyes. "You were a barrister?"

"Yes."

"Prosecution or defense?"

"Defense." Dooku folded his arms. "Why do you ask?"

"If I tell you something in confidence about my past, are you going to report me to the police, or can you keep it a secret?"

"Depends on what that something is, but probably." I've got a few skeletons myself, he thought, thinking of Maglor's black market identification paperwork, and the Glock he kept in a hollow book.

Sören looked around, and then he got up and gestured for Dooku to come with him. "I know that snowman isn't done but there's people walking around and..."

"I understand."

They found a more private place to sit. Dooku then told Sören, "If you're about to tell me that you killed or maimed someone, like if you killed that man or men, I'm not going to report you. Unless you're a serial killer..."

"No. I wish I had killed those men, but." Sören shook his head. 

"I think you can safely tell me whatever it is."

Sören waited a few minutes, collecting his thoughts. He started with, "A bit of background context here, I was raised by my aunt and uncle, after my mother died. I found my mother's dead body just before my sixth birthday. My father died when I was about two, so that's why his sister took us in, no parents. And, well. They drank. They... got violent." Sören looked out at the snow, as if he were seeing it all over again, and in the Force, Dooku could see it too, a drunk uncle taking a belt to Sören, the aunt slapping and punching and kicking. 

Sören went on. "My uncle tried to rape and murder my sister in 2005, and I killed him. With my mind. Official coroner's report is that his heart just stopped, but no, it stopped because I stopped it. Sometime after my uncle died, my aunt got religion, and when I was moving out of my sister's, my aunt Katrín talked a good game about wanting me to move in with her so she could take care of me and make it up to me for all the shit she put me through as a kid. Except no, because she was shoving her religion down my throat, and she didn't approve of me being gay, and I made the mistake of telling her about the gang rape and she blamed me and told me it was my fault and that God was punishing me and all this crap. One night she decided to try to lay hands on me and perform an exorcism on me, she'd taken it into her head I had demons or something, and she would get super strong when crazy, and she managed to pin me, and as she was trying to exorcise me she started choking me. I couldn't breathe, it was getting desperate, and finally, not even thinking about it, I just... hit her off me with my mind. Like punching her in the brain, with my brain. And she. Died too. I left Iceland after that, even though I wasn't suspected as far as I know, I left the country and came to the UK just to be on the safe side." Sören looked at Dooku. "So I've murdered two people. I'm a kinslayer. Sometimes I wonder if I am in fact being punished..."

Dooku took his hand. He felt like his chest and stomach were made of ice.

Sören's breath fogged the air. "It's why I didn't... you know... try to fight Justin like that. I'm not strong enough to defend myself against him physically, and I didn't want to hit him with my mind and have another dead body and have the police..." Sören blinked back tears, not able to finish that train of thought. "When he showed up at my old job a couple weeks ago and I shoved him with my mind it was the first time and it was because I was so scared I couldn't fucking think and it was why I blanked out on the bus, it wasn't just that he scared me, but I kept thinking, I could have killed him like I'd killed my aunt..."

Dooku squeezed his hand. He couldn't make words.

"You must think I'm a monster now -"

"No." Dooku took Sören's chin in his hand and turned his face to him. "I don't. You killed your uncle to defend your sister, you killed your aunt in self-defense. Neither of those actions are cold-blooded murder."

Sören looked down.

"I don't think any less of you." Dooku meant it. He'd defended women who'd killed abusive partners, and he'd always thought of these women as heroes rather than criminals. "Nor do I think it was your fault that you were drugged and gang raped."

Sören's jaw quivered and he started to blink back tears.

Dooku found himself hugging Sören, who accepted the hug. "I take it you couldn't go to the police about..."

Sören snorted. "No, I didn't go to the police about the drugging and raping. I should have, maybe, but I was so fucking ashamed..." He shuddered and started to cry on Dooku's shoulder.

"Did you get tested, at least...?"

Sören nodded. "I'm negative for everything or at least I was the last time I got tested which was October right after I moved in with Justin. I also swore off casual sex for awhile when I was new here in the UK, though that obviously didn't last forever 'cos I met Justin on Grindr." Sören looked up at Dooku. "That's a hookup app..."

"I know."

Sören raised an eyebrow. "You know what that is..."

"I'm sixty-seven but I don't live under a rock. I even have a smartphone, though that's Mark's fault." Dooku then got serious again when he said, "Mark and I technically have an open relationship and theoretically would like a third though neither of us have done anything about it, but we're aware of the various apps. Which we're both not keen on using, so we don't, we don't go to clubs and bars either, but it was something we looked into awhile back."

"I... see."

Dooku thought Sören rather did, but he wasn't going to press it, especially now when Sören had just poured his heart out about being roofied and gang raped, now was hardly the time for it. Sören was going to need a lot of time. He wasn't even sure that...

No, he was sure he was falling for the young man, what he wasn't sure of was whether or not that was a good idea. His life was fairly complicated - he and Maglor would be looking at leaving England in another two to three years most likely. Sören didn't even know Maglor was an Elf, Maglor kept his glamour up with Sören around after years of being unglamoured privately at home. Dooku didn't know how, or even if, to broach that subject with him, nor was it entirely his decision.

They were silent on the walk back home, and mostly quiet on the ride to work later that afternoon. Mostly quiet until Dooku saw Sören crying, trying to keep it from showing, but he could feel the pain gnawing around him, clawing outward.

"Is it what we discussed earlier?"

"It's that and... talking about finding my mother dead." Sören closed his eyes. "I wonder a lot how things would have been different if she'd lived. I wasn't that old when she died but I miss her so, so much, and..." Sören broke down in sobs, not able to keep it quiet any longer. "My bunny. My bunny was all I had of her and..." Sören let out a wordless howl, shaking as the tears streamed down his face, his beautiful face contorted with the loud, ugly crying. "My bunny. I want my bunny, I want my mamma..."

Dooku pulled over the car and hugged Sören tight, rocking him. "I know. I know." His heart broke again, tears coming to his eyes as he remembered the carnage of Sören's plush toys and the blue bunny, the most ruined of them all, that rotten bastard knew...

"I'm so sorry." Sören couldn't fight the knee-jerk apologies this time. "I'm such a baby, crying over a doll..."

"No. You're not."

"I miss my bunny..."

Dooku closed his eyes, trying to hold in his own tears, wanting to be the fortress of strength for the young man crumbling in his arms, when they needed to be at work so soon. He couldn't undo what Justin had done, he couldn't give Sören back the original bunny, but I am going to fix this, somehow. He was going to get Sören a bunny doll if it was the last thing he ever did.

He was going to do everything he could to help Sören get his life back and find happiness again, his determination even stronger than before, rage entwining with an emotion that was dangerously close to love.

Chapter Text

The day after Sören's confession in Southwark Park, Dooku hit the gym in the morning, though he encouraged Maglor to take Sören for a walk before Maglor opened The Wax Museum for the day. On the way back from the gym, Dooku found himself driving to a children's toy store. He felt self-conscious as he walked in, like he was much too old to be in a place like this, the self-consciousness intensified when a salesperson inquired if he was getting something for his grandchildren.

Dooku managed to not run out of there in embarrassment, but asked the salesperson to show him the selection of stuffed toys. There were a few rabbits, but none of them were blue. Dooku recalled that the bunny doll from Sören's mother had been handmade, and it was unlikely that he was going to find a blue bunny in a toy store chain, selling more popular traditional colors like brown and white. He stopped at an independent boutique that from the window display seemed to offer some handmade children's toys as well as outfits for women and children - and once again felt like a space alien who had just arrived, trespassing - and here there was a pale pink bunny, wearing a flowered sundress and a pearl-trimmed bonnet. Dooku thought about buying it and taking it home for Sören, it was pricey but the price tag was a non-issue to him... the problem was that Sören's bunny was blue, not pink, and from what Dooku could deduce from the ruined scraps of it, the bunny had been well-loved, something to cuddle with; the dressed-up bunny here was more stiff, like she was meant to be displayed, not snuggled.

The boutique's proprietor seemed even pushier than the salesperson at the toy store, which Dooku somewhat understood as it was harder for independent businesses to stay afloat. He was annoyed by it just the same, and then decided maybe the aggressive small talk might be useful.

"You make all the clothing you sell here?" he asked.

"...Yes." The shop owner, a middle-aged woman nodded. "What I'm wearing right now, I designed myself." She did a twirl; it was a matching skirt and blouse, silky, a pink and purple paisley pattern, somewhat bohemian.

"I know someone who's interested in getting into sewing, do you have any recommendations for stores where they can get fabric or patterns?" Dooku raised an eyebrow; the "someone" was of course himself, but he wasn't going to let the woman know that. "Perhaps one of the stores you buy from? Maybe they'll give you a discount if we let them know you referred us."

She was very keen on making a recommendation then, and, armed with information, Dooku drove to the fabric store in question. He felt even more out of his element here, though he knew how to sew and owned a sewing machine - just like he'd learned how to cook as a necessary lifestyle skill, he wanted to be able to make repairs on clothing or other items without having to hire someone or interact with them.

True to his word he gave the referral as he paid for the bunny doll pattern and the items needed to put it together - fabrics, spools of thread, stuffing. When he was back home he tucked the bag into the bedroom closet, and got ready for work, with the thought of the project crossing his mind in the brief lulls between rush periods at the restaurant.

After work, Sören watched a movie in the living room to zone out while Maglor composed and played music in the second bedroom that had been converted into a studio, across the hall, and Dooku dug out the sewing machine from the bedroom closet and the bag with the bunny pattern and materials along with it and got to work. Following the pattern was easy enough, though it was time-consuming and he started to get tired, putting the project away with a sheet over it when he was done for the night.

Maglor joined him in bed, and after a gentle round of lovemaking, as they held each other, Maglor said, "I've been thinking, it doesn't sit well with me that Sören is on the couch while I'm using the other bedroom as a studio."

"No." Sören deserved better than sleeping on anyone's couch. "But that would necessitate getting furniture for the room - at least a bed - and that raises some complications. First, the expense of furniture - Sören is proud, and already feels indebted to us. I don't think he would welcome going even further in debt for an arrangement that to our mutual current understanding is temporary. He could take that furniture with him, though the most economical option for him living alone would be a studio apartment that's already furnished, and it seems rather wasteful to set the room up as a bedroom just to have it revert to a studio again once he's..." Dooku couldn't bring himself to finish the sentence with the word gone.

Sensing it, Maglor put his hand on Dooku's arm. His eyes shone in the dark. "I'm attached to him too."

"Yes. Which brings the second complication. We could offer him to stay with us for awhile, but... he might feel awkward bringing home dates..." Dooku did not like the thought of Sören dating other men, and the immediate knee-jerk reaction of NO to that idea made him feel awkward and uncomfortable - I have no right to feel that way. "...and of course, as you know, we're going to have to move in a few years. Bringing him along with us when that time comes is... well... we'd have to tell him about things, and we might have to tell him anyway if he stays here awhile and he chances upon seeing your ears or you've got your hair unglamoured or something else."

"It's occurred to me that there may come a time when he needs to know, yes, though I'd rather we cross that bridge when we come to it."

Dooku nodded, and patted Maglor. "So if we were to ask him to stay awhile, those are all points of consideration. As much as I dislike seeing him on that couch myself, I think our best bet is to continue to treat this situation as temporary until we're in a position to necessitate discussion on it being less so."

"All right."

They went to sleep.


_


The next evening after work, Maglor entertained Sören by playing chess with him as they listened to vinyl records, and Dooku continued to work on the bunny doll. He took a break to go on an evening walk with Sören; they stopped and got hot chocolate, and sat for awhile under the moon and stars, drinking hot chocolate in the peace of the ice and snow.

"Penny for your thoughts," Dooku said, watching Sören look up at the night sky with a wistful look on his face.

"I miss seeing the aurora." Sören looked down, with a frown.

Dooku rubbed his shoulder. "I remember seeing it when I lived in Sweden and it was breathtaking. I miss it and I didn't even grow up there, I imagine it must be worse for you."

"Yeah, and I feel like I can't go home again."

"Sören, this is an indelicate question, but have you been in touch with any of your family since you left? Have you tried to talk to your sister since the incident where she didn't believe -"

"No. I haven't talked to any of them." Sören hugged himself a little.

"Did Justin know you weren't on terms...?"

"Yeah, he knew everything. Back when I thought I could trust him, like a fucking idiot." Sören laughed bitterly and shivered, and Dooku knew it wasn't from the cold. "I think he used all that information as a weapon against me."

"Mm, most likely. When I used to defend perpetrators of domestic violence - to my distaste - and women who had killed or seriously injured their partners in self-defense - those women were heroes - a number of the victims of abuse had certain common patterns that showed up, like a tendency to be isolated, not many friends or family around, not a strong support network. Of course that wasn't true of all the victims, but... it's easier to abuse someone if they have no one in their corner."

"Yeah." Sören's frown deepened and he sipped his hot chocolate.

"You're not going to like this suggestion but I'm going to make it anyway. I want you to get in touch with whatever family you have left. That includes your sister - I'm not saying it was right that she didn't believe you, but maybe this time she might be reasoned with. And even if she can't be, maybe your other relatives would like to hear from you."

"I don't want them to know how bad things have gotten..."

"If I was your brother, or a cousin, I'd want to know, Sören." If I was your brother... A little bell started going off in the back of Dooku's mind, and he swatted it away for now, not wanting to examine it too closely when there was so much else going on.

Back at the house, Dooku made tea, even though it was late, and Sören called his sister in the living room. Dooku got back to work on the bunny doll in the bedroom while Maglor reviewed notes of a composition he was working on in the studio across the hall, though Dooku's ears kept straining to catch bits and pieces of Sören's conversation - he was speaking Icelandic, not a word of which Dooku understood, but Sören went through the full gamut of emotions, from arguing to crying to the calm after the storm, now seeming to laugh and joke with his sister, and at last Dooku heard "Ég elska þig," which was close enough to the Swedish jag älskar dig for Dooku to understand.

When the conversation sounded like it was over, Dooku put a sheet over the project and walked down to the living room where Sören was sitting and crying, looking dazed.

"How did that go?" Dooku asked softly.

"It... went well." Sören broke down, sobbing harder. "She believes me now..."

Dooku sat down next to Sören on the couch. 

"She believes me now because that guy raped her too, months after I left for the UK." Sören cried on Dooku's shoulder. "She sent him to jail... but... my poor sister. I wish she'd believed me, she wished she'd believed me, she said the same thing I suspected, she felt like he was doing some kind of mind... trick... to get her to believe him..."

Dooku used the Force to pull over the box of tissues and began to wipe Sören's face, making soothing noises. "I'm sorry that happened to your sister. I'm glad that individual is behind bars now."

"I gotta call Dag and Ari." Sören explained, "Dag is my twin brother -"

"Oh. Identical or fraternal?"

"Fraternal. He doesn't look much like me at all." Sören started sobbing again. "And he didn't fuck up his life the way I did..."

"Sweetheart, you're only thirty-one. Hell, I started my own life over again at fifty-five..."

Sören cried some more, and Dooku wiped his face with fresh tissues. His free hand gently rubbed Sören's shoulder. "You mentioned Ari. Who's that...?"

"My cousin. He was raised like a brother, his parents were my guardians. They abused him too." Sören snuffled. "Margrét says he's glad they're dead."

"I would be too." Dooku remembered the death of his own parents, and though he had cried, it had been mostly for what could have been. He remembered the flood of relief, the feeling of thank God they can't hurt me anymore. His parents had continued to verbally abuse him until weeks before their respective deaths.

Maglor came out to check on Sören, since he'd heard Sören crying, and then he invited both of them to come down to the studio with him. "I'll play for you."

Sören and Dooku sat together while Maglor played some songs on the acoustic guitar, and then, the harp - classical pieces mostly, Vivaldi, Pachelbel, Bach, Debussy, and a couple 80s rock songs, Bon Jovi and Guns N Roses. The final song on the harp was just Maglor improvising, and Dooku could feel the energy in it - he was trying to soothe Sören, to take his mind someplace peaceful. It worked; Sören started dozing off. Dooku and Maglor helped him to the living room, folded out the couch and made the bed, and tucked him in. They watched him sleep for a moment, holding hands, before heading off to their own bedroom.

The tea gave Dooku enough of a second wind that he resumed working on the bunny doll as Maglor sat on the bed and made notes from the song he'd just improvised, and finally, Maglor stopped and Dooku noticed Maglor watching him.

Dooku stopped the sewing machine.

Maglor got up and walked over, surveying the progress - the bunny would likely be finished tomorrow night. He played with one of the big, floppy ears, and gave Dooku a little smile.

"It's cute," he said, and then, his smile broadening to a grin, he skritched Dooku's beard and said, "You're cute."

Dooku huffed. "I am not cute."

"What you're doing for him? Is very cute." Maglor folded his arms. "It's very kind of you. I looked at trying to replace the bunny, but..."

"...If you went to the same place I did, nothing there was really suitable." Dooku gestured to the most-of-the-way-done bunny sitting on the sewing machine. "I mean, not even this quite does it. It's blue, it's handmade, but I'm not Sören's mother..."

"No, but there's a lot of love going into that just the same."

At the word love, Dooku's pulse quickened. Yes, love. He thought about the fierce urge he had to protect Sören, to make things better for him... his pride in Sören's pride at his work at the restaurant, the way he was fighting so hard to come back from the edge, starting with hard things like calling his sister.

"And," Maglor said, taking Dooku's hands, "it makes me love you even more." He pulled Dooku up from his seat, and when Dooku came around from where he was sitting at the sewing machine, Maglor drew him into a kiss, gentle at first, then deeper. "You're a good man. With a good heart." Maglor's scarred hand rested on Dooku's chest, the other stroking the silver hair, his cheek, his whiskers. "A beautiful heart. A beautiful soul."

"Macalaurë..."

Maglor kissed him again. "Seeing your heart, working on this, is beautiful. And, I might add..." He kissed Dooku's neck, licked it, nibbled. "Very sexy," he rasped. The hand that had been on Dooku's heart trailed down to the now-hard bulge in Dooku's pajama bottoms.

"You think so?" Dooku raised an eyebrow and kissed him back.

"Mmmm, I do. Let me show you how much." Maglor kissed him harder, and took Dooku's hands again, marching him towards the bed.

They quickly undressed, and once they were on the bed they tangled up together, arms around each other, legs braided, hard cocks rubbing as they kissed again and again. Looking into each other's eyes, Dooku played with Maglor's hair and the point of his ear as Maglor's hands slid over Dooku's chest, playing with the silver chest hair, roaming down to his hips, to feel the hair on his thighs. Dooku shuddered and bucked against him, grabbing Maglor and pulling him in for a deep, hungry kiss.

Though they had been in the habit of trying to have sex more quietly for the sake of their guest, Dooku couldn't help the volume of the moans he produced as Maglor kissed and licked his neck - knowing just where and how Dooku was sensitive, having learned his body well over the last twenty-six years. The moans got louder as Maglor kissed the place where neck met shoulder, and again when Maglor's lips lowered to draw a nipple into his mouth, his tongue lashing fast and hard before he suckled again.

Dooku lay on his back as Maglor worshiped his body, feasting on each nipple, fingers rubbing one as he licked and sucked the other. His fingers rubbed the silver pelt of chest hair, he rubbed his nose in it and licked it. Maglor's kisses moved lower to Dooku's stomach, down one hip and thigh, and back up the other. Dooku was urgently hard, leaking precum, and Maglor took a few teasing licks before sucking him slowly, heat in his labradorite eyes as his head moved back and forth. Dooku grabbed Maglor's hair, arching to him, and he let out another deep moan when Maglor let the cock slip from his mouth and licked from the root up the shaft to the head and back down again, before he just rubbed his tongue all over Dooku's cock, tracing the veins with his tongue, lips brushing as his tongue played and teased. When Maglor's tongue worked on the slit of Dooku's cock he almost climaxed from that, losing it a little again as the tongue slid down to the frenulum, laving the sweet spot there. Dooku cried out when Maglor's lips wrapped around the head, his tongue swirling, kissing it, with one hand rubbing the rest of the shaft, the other playing in the sensitive place between balls and ass, before a finger slipped into him.

It didn't take long from there, with Dooku warning Maglor I'm going to come before spilling into his mouth with a hoarse shout. The "mmmm" that he heard as Maglor swallowed it set him off again, and more aftershocks as Maglor licked him clean.

"I love doing that to you," Maglor husked before he kissed Dooku, and Dooku moaned at the taste of himself on his lover's lips and tongue.

Maglor was ragingly hard, and Dooku gently played with it, the fingers of his other hand teasing a nipple as they kissed. The Force had been very kind to Dooku in his senior years - he didn't need Viagra to get hard or stay hard, had none of the problems with erectile dysfunction that plagued some men his age. But he did need to recharge if he was going to go again; most nights they managed two rounds. The strong feeling of love radiating from Maglor as they lay there made Dooku want to give him more than two.

First, his body needed to get ready again. That wasn't terribly difficult, with Maglor being as delicious as he was. Dooku rolled Maglor onto his back and proceeded to lick him all over, fingers stroking sensitized skin, making Maglor moan beautifully. Dooku sucked him a little, which made his cock wake back up, and he slowly stroked himself as he sucked, stroking harder when he spread Maglor's legs and speared him with his tongue and Maglor cried out.

Dooku loved doing this to him - devouring him, tongue lashing the sweet spot inside him, knowing how he liked to be licked. Maglor writhed, moaning, panting, and for an instant Dooku worried they'd wake up Sören, though the thought that the young man might hear them - might get aroused by hearing them - somehow inflamed him further, rubbing his tongue even faster inside him at that thought.

Before Maglor could come from Dooku's tongue, he grabbed Dooku's face and ground out, "Fuck me."

With a groan of mock reluctance, Dooku stopped, gave a last few slow, teasing licks, and pulled back. His tongue chased the precum flowing down Maglor's cock and then he kissed him as he used the Force to bring over their lube. Maglor had no control whatsoever, grabbing the bottle and pouring it over Dooku's cock, rubbing it into him, guiding the tip to his opening as he begged, "Please."

"Mmm." Dooku kissed him. "As you wish, my sweet songbird."

He plunged inside, and Maglor cried out, nails digging into Dooku's back. He bit Dooku's shoulder, and Dooku groaned, and again when Maglor laved the bite with his tongue. Dooku started to thrust - Maglor bucked under him, urging him on faster, and Dooku laughed, stroking his face before kissing him playfully, wanting to take it slow and tease.

Maglor was having none of that. He shoved Dooku on his back and began riding him hard, bed rocking against the wall. Dooku grabbed Maglor's hips and groaned, thrusting into him harder, matching his rhythm. The sight of Maglor riding him - taking his cock, the cock plunging in and out of his tight hole - the beautiful sculpted body of a Noldorin warrior, flawless save a few scars, the flood of ebony hair, the look of lust on his face, in those labradorite eyes... it was on its own too much, never mind the sensation of Maglor wrapped around him, plunging into that slick velvet heat again and again, the feeling of all-consuming passion, how much Maglor wanted him, wanted this...

Maglor's hands were on him, rubbing his chest hair, playing with his nipples, rubbing over his forearms and thighs to stroke the hair there, stroking his beard. "My wolf," he rasped. "My gorgeous white wolf..."

"My love." Dooku's own hands were playing over Maglor's body now, caressing anywhere he could touch. "My love."

Maglor took his hand, kissed it, placed it over his heart... and then guided it to his cock. The beautiful long, thick cock, looking almost angry in its need, flushed a deep pink, veins throbbing, glistening with precum. It also looked delicious, and Dooku wished he could suck and fuck him at the same time. His hand wrapped around Maglor's cock, stroking it in time with the rhythm of their hips, feeling himself hurtle closer and closer to that point of no return at every moan Maglor made, the look of agonized ecstasy on his lovely face...

"Nicolae." Maglor was gasping for breath now. "Nicolae..."

"Come with me, darling."

They tried to stifle their cries as they climaxed together but it didn't work, seeming to make them both cry out even louder. Dooku gave another cry as Maglor's seed shot over him, loving the way it looked, the way it felt, the evidence of their tryst. He loved it even more when Maglor collected it on his fingers and stuck them in Dooku's mouth.

Dooku rested inside him, holding Maglor close, petting his hair. At last Maglor picked his head up and gave him a soft, gentle kiss. "Thank you," Maglor whispered.

Dooku knew Maglor thought they were done for the night, since Dooku's body could usually only handle two orgasms in a session these days before needing to rest. But Dooku was hungry. He gave a mischievous little smile as he kissed Maglor back harder, and harder still, hand wrapping around Maglor's cock again, coaxing it back to life.

Maglor's eyes widened with surprise, and then they closed as he let out a moan when Dooku kissed him again. Dooku rolled Maglor onto his back, hardening up again as he stroked Maglor with one hand, the fingers of the other hand playing with a nipple, Maglor moaning sweetly and crying out when Dooku lowered his head to lash the nipple with wild strokes of his tongue.

With Maglor on his back, Dooku took him slowly as he first intended, and after the urgency of the first fuck Maglor welcomed something slow and sensual. They took their time and savored, hips rolling together like the tide, hands wandering, kissing again and again, lost in the silken haze of touch and connection. But the gentleness did not last forever, as the sweet caresses inside and out gave way to wildness, the fire of passion consuming them again, until Dooku was pounding Maglor into the mattress, urged on by the beautiful cries.

Maglor came first, loud and messy, and Dooku came with a growl, spending deep into him, Maglor screaming again as he felt Dooku's seed. They kissed deep as they crested together, and Maglor's hands continued to wander over him; when they walked over Dooku's spine he hardened again and Maglor laughed into the kiss as he felt it.

"You haven't been like this in a long time," Maglor said, smiling as his thumb and forefinger plucked a nipple, gently rolling it as he kissed Dooku's neck.

"Mmmm. I don't think I could manage this every night, but tonight..." Dooku stroked Maglor's face.

Maglor responded with a kiss.

Dooku pulled out, and rolled onto his back. Maglor knew without being told - your turn. He set to work making love to Dooku's body again, kissing and caressing him everywhere, nipples, chest, stomach, hips, thighs, calves, back up behind the knee, back up over the thighs, hips, stomach, chest, nipples, to his neck. Gently playing with Dooku's cock before taking both of their hard cocks into his hand, stroking slowly.

"The next time you feel like this," Maglor whispered between kisses, "I want us to just rub together and see how many times we can come, your cock coming all over my cock, my cock coming on yours..."

"Oh god." Dooku shuddered; that mental image almost undid him right then.

"But here and now... I know what you want." Maglor was kissing down his neck again; Dooku moaned as Maglor drew a nipple between his teeth and gently tugged before laving it, then his kisses were heading back down.

Dooku groaned as Maglor parted his thighs, tongue darting inside him. Maglor's tongue rubbed slowly - repayment for the slow, teasing fuck before, keeping him just shy of the edge of climax. Dooku's moans got louder, every now and again letting out an undignified whimper, which would cue Maglor to work his tongue faster just to slow back down. Once again Dooku wondered if Sören could hear them and that thought excited him, and he felt a little ashamed that it did - he didn't want the poor man to feel uncomfortable with them. And then he couldn't think at all as Maglor's tongue lashed hard and fast, tongue-fucking him, driving him wild.

When Maglor stopped, Dooku was panting, gasping for breath, cock throbbing with urgent need. Maglor, for once, used the Force to bring the lube back over and Dooku watched with a smile as the bottle tipped in the air and poured over Maglor's cock. "You usually don't..."

"I'm usually not this much out of my mind with lust." Maglor laughed as he took the bottle in his hand and set it back down on the bedtable. Then he stopped laughing as they kissed, and he took Dooku's lower lip between his teeth as he pushed inside.

Dooku's hands played with Maglor's hair as Maglor rocked inside him, neither slow nor as fast and hard as he could get. The rhythm was just right, building him back up to that place where he never wanted the sweet rubbing on his prostate to stop, never wanted to stop feeling Maglor inside him, one with him. Until he could feel Maglor trembling against him, saw the fire in his molten silver eyes as his teeth nibbled a nipple, and then Dooku's nails dug into him, letting him know he could go harder. Maglor pounded into him as hard as Dooku had fucked him, bed rocking against the wall, the slap of their flesh as loud as the moans neither of them could help, and the jackhammering inside him took Dooku over the edge into a last shattering climax, almost roaring as he drenched Maglor in his cum, almost sobbing as Maglor spilled into him with one, two, three last savage thrusts.

"Oh, Eru," Maglor gasped as he collapsed into Dooku's chest, shuddering.

Dooku felt a sense of accomplishment at that, and laughed, lips brushing Maglor's forehead. "You're welcome."

"It's probably a good thing you can't handle this every night because I don't even know if I could handle this every night." Maglor laughed too. "I think I need a transfusion of... something."

Dooku snorted, tearing up at the absurdity of the Elf in his arms saying something like that. "Something?"

"Yeah. Something." Maglor laughed harder.

Then they kissed, and their noses rubbed, foreheads pressed together. Maglor stroked Dooku's face, and Dooku saw Maglor's eyes were too bright with unshed tears.

"That was wonderful." Maglor kissed him again.

"It was amazing. It was almost perfect." It would have been perfect if Fëanor were with us.

That sharp pang again - a pang both of them felt. But at least they had each other, and, legs entwined, they fell asleep in each other's arms.


_


Dooku and Maglor both moved around carefully in the kitchen the next morning, and sat down gingerly at the table, both wincing a little as they took their seats.

Sören was quiet at breakfast, which wasn't unusual in and of itself - though Dooku once again got the sense that Sören used to be more vibrant than he was, and Justin had stomped that out of him - but it was unusual that Sören was trying to avoid looking at them, and when his eyes finally met Maglor's as Maglor passed him the jam, Sören's face flushed.

Maglor folded his arms. "Is everything all right, Sören?"

"Er." Sören nervously rubbed his head, then his beard. "Well, nothing's wrong, necessarily, but."

"But." Dooku raised an eyebrow.

"I heard you guys last night." Sören quickly shoved a scone into his mouth, taking a large bite.

Dooku and Maglor glanced at each other - Maglor looked a bit flustered now, and Dooku tried to maintain his composure but he, too, felt awkward. "My apologies," Dooku said, and quickly added, "Our apologies. We'll try to keep it down next time, we don't want to be rude to a guest in our home -"

Sören waved his hand dismissively. "This is your house and I feel like I'm the one intruding." Sören practically inhaled the rest of his scone and then he got up to clear his place at the table, bringing it over to the sink. "I don't want you to feel like you can't..."

"Well, we don't, it's certainly not the first time since you've been our guest, but just the same, we don't want to disturb you..."

"I should look for a place anyway." Sören looked down.

Maglor said it before Dooku could blurt it out. "You're welcome to stay awhile."

Dooku nodded. "Take some time and build up a bit of a cushion for emergencies before you try to make it on your own. We really don't mind... if you can deal with two old men making some noise now and again." He tried a smile at that, to provide a moment of needed levity.

Sören snorted, looking at Maglor. "You're not old."

You'd be surprised, Dooku heard Maglor say to himself, but Maglor said nothing, finishing his own breakfast.

"And you..." Sören looked at Dooku. "You're how old? Sixty-seven?"

Dooku nodded.

"God. Damn." Sören let out a low whistle. "You're not on Viagra, or anything?"

Dooku's face burned at that and he laughed as he said, "No, dear, I'm not."

"You have some stamina, and that's just from what I heard after I woke up, don't know if you guys were doing it before then." Sören laughed too. "It's impressive." His voice lowered and he said, "You should do porn."

Dooku almost choked on his orange juice; Maglor vigorously whacked him on the back a few times before rubbing his shoulder. Dooku's face was on fire now, and he felt himself stirring again a little at that, having to restrain the urge to ask Sören would you like to see for yourself.

Sören started on the dishes, which he insisted on doing if other people were cooking, and as Dooku and Maglor got up to bring their dishes over they both winced, walking over a bit more slowly than usual. Sören's eyebrows went up but he said nothing, and then Dooku noticed him snickering as he scrubbed and rinsed off the plates; Maglor had another glass of orange juice.

"What," Dooku said.

"Nothing."

Dooku put a hand on his hip, waiting.

Sören smirked. "So you're both vers?"

Now it was Maglor's turn to almost choke on his orange juice. Dooku facepalmed, shaking with silent laughter, his face burning again. "Oh dear god," Dooku said.

"Sorry," Sören mumbled. "I forget that we Icelanders are a bit straightforward about sex talk compared to Brits and Americans -"

"No, ah. It's fine." Dooku rubbed his face and looked away from Sören's probing gaze. "Yes, we're both versatile." Then he looked back at Sören, sizing him up, remembering the assumption he'd had the night they'd met, seeing him with Justin. "You're a bottom?"

"I was the bottom with Justin but I'm technically also vers. Just... haven't topped in a good while." Sören shrugged; Dooku got the distinct sense the words I kind of miss it hung at the end of that sentence.

Dooku found himself wondering what Sören was like as a top... and a bottom. His cock started stirring again. "I see," was all he could muster in his response, and then he looked at the clock to give himself an excuse to hurry off and get ready to go to the gym before he got tempted to make some sort of inappropriate gesture that would scare Sören away.


_


When Dooku came back from the gym, Sören was on the phone again, speaking Icelandic. And when he got off the phone, Sören went to the kitchen to get a drink, and Dooku heard him crying again. He peeked in and Sören asked, "Can I have a hug?"

It was the first time Sören had asked for a hug - Dooku could tell that simply asking for such things was a big deal. In his mind's eye Dooku could see Sören upset and asking Justin for the same thing and Justin snapping at him, You're such a fucking crybaby. or You're so needy. So clingy. I wanted to be with a man, not such a fucking sissy. Dooku could sense that Sören was watching his memories, and Sören choked out, "He hurt me so much..."

"I know." Dooku smoothed Sören's curls and found himself planting a kiss on Sören's brow to comfort him, and then held him more tightly. "We won't let him hurt you ever again."

After holding Sören for a few minutes he calmed down and Dooku asked, "That was your family, just now?"

"Jæja, I called Dag then I called Ari." Sören was trying to pull himself together. "They were both relieved to hear from me."

"Good." I told you so.

Sören took a deep breath. "Dag asked me to come out to Toronto and live with him and his son, but I." He shook his head. "It's a nice offer, and I feel like I shouldn't impose on you guys by staying here when I have family willing to take me in, but I've never been to Canada, it would be a big adjustment, and..."

Dooku nodded. "Maca - er, Mark..." Goddammit, almost slipped. "Mark and I meant what we said earlier. You're welcome to stay with us for awhile. Keep saving money while you do, so you can have more freedom with what you do with your life..."

"That's very generous of you." Sören patted him.

What Dooku didn't tell him was I've grown very fond of you and if you left, I would miss you.

At the restaurant, Dooku realized, watching Sören move around the kitchen and seeming to actually be confident in his work now, that Sören's laughter over the sexual awkwardness that morning was one of the only times he'd seen the young man laugh and joke since he moved in. And it was good to see, even if it was at his expense. It seemed to be good for him too, with Sören a little more relaxed as he worked.

Such was his work that towards the end of the evening one of the customers passed on a message to the waitstaff, complimenting a soup they'd had - a soup that Sören had made himself, from scratch. Sören was proud, and Dooku was proud too.

Sören and Maglor went for a walk while Dooku finished up the bunny doll, and when they came back, Dooku told Sören, "I have a present for you."

"Oh?" Sören's eyes widened, giving the impression of a hopeful puppy.

Dooku brought it out. "I know that it can't quite replace the one you had because your mum made it, but I... I tried." He swallowed hard, hoping Sören wouldn't be offended.

Sören looked at the doll for a moment, lips parted in an "o", and then he took the bunny, with Dooku still feeling nervous that Sören was going to find it unacceptable somehow...

...and then Sören hugged it tight, rocking himself, choking up.

Dooku went over and hugged Sören.

"You made this?" Sören almost squeaked.

"I did. I got a pattern and I've been sewing it the last few days..."

"Oh my god. Oh my fucking god." Sören's arms tightened around him. The bunny fell and Sören used the Force to pick it back up, and then used the Force to hop it around, making it hop on Dooku's shoulders and head. "Thank you, Nico. Thank you so much. This..."

"Like I said, I know it's not the same as the one from your mum..."

"Nico, it means... a lot. That you went out of your way for me like that, for this. A grown man sewing me a doll, after I got so much shit about it... not just from Justin, but from my uncle..." Sören blinked back the tears that were flowing.

"Sören, I need to show you something." Dooku took Sören's hand and led him to the bedroom.

Sören waited by the door and Dooku went in the closet, half of which had his clothes and some belongings, the other half had Maglor's. Dooku pulled out a faded blue blanket, and in that blanket was a well-worn dark brown teddy bear - some of the fur had been loved off, and he was a bit squished, but otherwise still intact.

"I've had this since 1953," Dooku said. "Once in a very great while, Winston comes out for a hug."

"His name is Winston?" Sören raised an eyebrow.

"My parents moved to the UK because Churchill was a bit of a legend, after what they'd seen in World War II. So yes, I grew up hearing a lot about the Second World War, and Churchill, and decided to name my bear Winston. It was a gift from my grandmother." Dooku folded his arms. "I had to hide him when I was past the age where my parents thought I should have a teddy bear."

"He's cute," Sören said. "And you're cute for having him."

"I am not cute."

Sören smiled. "Hi, not cute. I'm Sören."

It took Dooku a moment, and then he laughed, shaking his head. "Oh no."

Sören laughed too. "It's been awhile since I did that to anyone." A mental image that Sören was sharing with him, of pulling the dad joke routine on Justin, who just slapped him and said you're not fucking funny, you idiot.

Dooku's hand instinctively went to the cheek that Justin had slapped, giving a tender stroke as their eyes met, and then he quickly yanked his hand away, his fingertips burning like they'd touched fire. The hair on Dooku's arms and the back of his neck was standing on end, his body screaming to take Sören into his arms and kiss the pain away...

"Well," Sören said, bringing the bunny from being tucked under his arm out for another bunny hug, "I better get ready for bed."

"All right."

"Takk, again, for this. I love him. You... it helps, a lot. Thank you." Sören patted Dooku, and then he headed out down the hall.


_


In the morning Maglor and Dooku found Sören sleeping with the blue bunny, and Dragos curled up with the bunny. Dooku couldn't resist taking a picture with his cell phone, and when Sören stirred and the cat got down, Dooku showed him the picture, which made Sören giggle with delight.

"Your cat is adorable," Sören said as they sat down to tea and Maglor started on breakfast. "He likes to come purr me to sleep at night."

"He's a good boy," Dooku said. "Sometimes we think about getting him a friend." Maglor nodded.

"Oh, you totally should," Sören said. "He should have another cat to be friends with."

Dooku saw Maglor thinking, as he fixed his tea, and Maglor finally said what he was thinking. "I was going to try to get you another bunny, and Nicolae beat me to it, but... maybe he should have a friend."

Sören looked at Maglor, an eyebrow raised.

"So tomorrow," Maglor said, "would you like me to take you to Build A Bear?"

Sören let out a shriek, and he got up and hugged Maglor tight, who hugged him back, laughing. "Oh my god I've been wanting to go to Build A Bear for so long." Sören rocked Maglor a little, laughing and crying. "When I was living with Frankie, I couldn't really afford it and then of course I made the mistake of asking Justin, and..."

"You know," Maglor said, "he seems like the kind of person who was really insecure in his own masculinity."

"I agree," Dooku said.

"I guess." Sören looked down. "I don't know what I saw in him. I guess I was lonely..."

"Lonely and hurt. But you have friends now, who care for you very much." Dooku reached out to pat Sören's arm.

"Are you coming with us to Build A Bear tomorrow?" Sören asked.

"I'm going to the gym tomorrow, but you two have fun."

"Unfortunate," Maglor said, sipping his tea.

"Awwww. But OK." Sören looked at Maglor again. "You guys have both been so nice to me, I feel like I should repay you in some way... and I mean, I have money from this past paycheck, I can buy a toy at -"

"Whatever you get from Build A Bear is a gift from me," Maglor said, "I don't want you paying for it. But if you're going to insist on some kind of compensation..." Dooku knew that of all the people in the world, Maglor would understand Sören's pride. "Make me something. A piece of art."

Sören frowned. "I'm not very good."

Maglor narrowed his eyes. "I saw some of the carnage and beg to differ. But even if it's not good - and I doubt highly that it wouldn't be good - it matters more to me that it's sincere, from the heart, one creative person to another. I don't have any preferences for theme, subject, medium... just so long as it's something you made."

Sören nodded. "All right. Well, I'll need to go art supply shopping too, then."

"We can do that after Build A Bear."

Sören gave that shy, sweet smile that took Dooku's breath away.

Chapter Text

Sören returned from his excursion with Maglor the happiest that Dooku had ever seen him. There was just enough time for Sören to set up an easel in the living room and a small table for a new set of paints and brushes, before Sören went with Dooku to work. All through his shift, Sören was in a good mood, even at the busiest points of the evening. It was infectious, and Dooku felt himself smiling too on the way home.

Sören wanted to get to work painting right away after dinner. Maglor retreated to the studio to play and compose for awhile, and Dooku retired with a book. But every now and again he felt himself drawn to the energy he could feel down the hall, and made his way to the kitchen, ostensibly to get a drink for himself or Maglor, but also to check on Sören. Sören wanted a certain degree of privacy as he painted his work in progress, so the easel was turned in the opposite direction from Dooku, where he'd have to come around to see the canvas - "I want it to be a surprise", Sören said, making a "shoo" gesture when Dooku tried to look, which made Dooku laugh to himself. He liked seeing Sören in creative mode, furiously working on taking back what was stolen from him.

Dooku stayed up a bit later than usual that night, and when he and Maglor were ready for bed, Dooku saw the light was still on down the hall - Sören had been going to bed first, since he moved in. To check whether that wasn't the case tonight or if Sören had fallen asleep and forgotten to turn off the light, Dooku went down the hall again, and Sören was still sitting there at the easel, painting feverishly. He had headphones on, music turned up, and it took a moment to get Sören's attention - he jumped at being startled, which Dooku felt a little guilty for, but then Sören took down his headphones and gave him that shy, sweet smile that took his breath away.

"Sorry to startle you," Dooku said. "I came to say good night."

"Good night, Nico."

Dooku lingered for a minute, wanting to say It's good to see you painting again, and holding back, not wanting to make Sören feel awkward, and "good" felt rather trite to describe it anyway.

The next morning Sören was still asleep when Dooku and Maglor got up - Sören had the blue bunny tucked in with him, and he was also holding onto a shiny rainbow-colored bunny. Dooku raised an eyebrow at Maglor. Yes, that's what he picked out, Maglor spoke into his mind with an affectionate eyeroll.

Dooku gently woke Sören up, who made grumpy noises into the pillow.

"Do you want coffee?" Dooku asked.

Sören nodded, making a face, and grumbled and whined into the pillow some more.

Dooku had learned from the last few weeks of living with Sören that he wasn't a morning person and it usually took Sören at least a couple hours after he physically woke up to feel mentally awake, but it seemed a bit worse this morning, with Sören wincing into a thermos of hot coffee as they went for their usual walk.

"I was up late," Sören finally explained after yet another concerned glance from Dooku.

"How late?"

"About four AM or so."

Dooku's eyebrows shot up at that.

"Jæja, I know." Sören nodded. "Time seemed to really disappear when I was painting. It's been too long."

At the restaurant, Dooku had some concern about Sören handling sharp objects while he was running on five hours of sleep, and Sören waved his hand - he'd had more coffee before work - and insisted, "I'll be fine."

"If you slip up even once," Dooku said, glaring, wagging a finger.

"I know."

Sören didn't slip - knowing he was coming into it with an alertness deficit made him extra cautious, the downside of which being he went a little slower with chopping and slicing than usual, not so much to cause a problem, but enough that it slowed down other kitchen functions just a little and earned a few dirty looks. Sören was keenly aware of it on the way home.

"I won't tell you what you can and can't do," Dooku said, "but you might consider in the future making yourself go to bed just a bit earlier while you're employed in my kitchen."

Sören sighed. "This is why I was only working ten to fifteen hours a week part-time. So I could have a more flexible schedule for painting, because when I get in the zone..." He made a noise and looked down, self-conscious. "This is why I'll never amount to anything."

Dooku pulled over the car. "Sören, don't speak of yourself that way." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "I get it that... you march to the beat of a different drummer. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing, only that you need to find some balance if you intend on keeping your job. I like you and I would like to continue to keep you employed, and you usually do an outstanding job in my kitchen, more remarkable for not having any formal culinary training. But I also need to not piss off my other employees, which is going to happen if you pull another all-nighter and you're working slow..."

"All right." Sören nodded. "Lucky for you, I'm tired anyway so I'll be going to bed earlier tonight."

But there was a note of resignation in his voice. Dooku desperately wanted to give him some kind of reassurance, that he was happy Sören felt that consuming fire of creation again, he just didn't want Sören to blow his opportunity at being able to make a decent living doing something he seemed to enjoy, where he still had a chance to focus on his art. Sören wouldn't get many opportunities like that, here in London.

Dooku made Sören some chamomile tea to help him relax, and as a further concession, brought out one of the fluffier-looking warm blankets from the closet as Sören folded out the couch and started to make the bed. As Sören sat on the bed with his chamomile tea, Dooku gestured to the bunny dolls.

"Did you have fun at Build A Bear yesterday?"

Sören nodded, smiling. "I felt like a big kid again." Sören used the Force to bring his bunny dolls over, and the rainbow bunny's head started to move like a ventriloquist's puppet, without Sören touching it. "I liked taking a trip in the car to ride to my new home!" Sören said in a squeaky voice, and Dooku couldn't help but smile and laugh.

"And even though I didn't get a lot of sleep last night I slept better with my new friends, too," Sören said in his normal voice, hugging them.

"Good. We want you to feel safe here."

The rainbow bunny's head started to move again. "I feel safe here!" Sören squeaked, and then the blue bunny nodded.

Then Sören sighed. "I'm trying to feel safe again," he said in his normal voice. "It's... hard, after..."

Dooku patted him. "I know. And if there's anything Mark or I can do to help you feel safer..."

"You guys have been wonderful. Really. And I think I'm in good hands... er, paws... with Sparkle Bunny here, and..." Sören looked at the blue bunny and frowned.

"The bunny from Build A Bear is named Sparkle Bunny?" Dooku raised an eyebrow.

"That's Ms. Sparkle to you," Sören said in a squeaky voice, as he used the Force to make the rainbow bunny wave her arms and wiggle her hips. Then Sören glanced at the blue bunny. "He doesn't have a name yet."

"Did your... other bunny... have a name..." It hurt Dooku to even talk about the toy that had been lost, so cruelly destroyed by that filth...

Sören swallowed hard. "Bláberja. But I can't name him the same thing..." He looked down.

"I understand."

Sören used the Force to make the blue bunny hop over to Dooku, and then after the bunny cocked its head to one side, observing, Dooku used the Force to turn the bunny around to look at Sören, still perched on Sören's knee.

"You made him," Sören said, "you should do the honors of naming him."

Dooku laughed. "He's your bunny, dear. I wouldn't feel right..."

Sören pouted, though there was mischief in his eyes. Then Sparkle Bunny leaned in and Sören squeaked, "Maybe he should pick out his own name, já?" Sparkle Bunny looked up at Dooku hopefully.

Dooku used the Force to make the blue bunny turn his head to look at him, and then Dooku said, in a voice much deeper than his own deep voice, "I can't believe I'm doing this." He cleared his throat and sat up straight, with the blue bunny also sitting up straighter on Dooku's knee.

"What do you think your name should be, Mr. Bunny?" Dooku asked the bunny doll on his knee, and used the Force to pose the bunny so he was deep in thought, stroking his chin. Maglor was watching from down the hall now, shaking with silent laughter - Dooku glared at him and Maglor flashed a grin - and Sören was giggling.

Dooku responded in the bunny's much deeper voice. "Well, I'm not very good at names..."

Sören patted the bunny's head. "Not Very Good At Names isn't conventional, but that's OK."

Dooku facepalmed. Maglor leaned against the wall in the hallway and let out a snort that alerted Sören he was eavesdropping.

Sparkle Bunny hugged Not Very Good At Names. "Hi Not Very Good At Names!" Sören squeaked on Sparkle Bunny's behalf.

"Sören, you can't be serious about that being his name," Dooku said in his usual voice, and as Maglor walked back off to the studio, Dooku shouted after him, "And where do you think you're going?"

Maglor walked backwards down the hall until he was in the living room.

"You can't name him that," Dooku said.

"Don't discriminate against Not Very Good At Names for having a strange name," Sparkle Bunny squeaked. "Someone with the surname of Dooku shouldn't be so judgmental." Sparkle Bunny's paw clapped over her mouth. "Did I say that out loud?"

Dooku raised an eyebrow. Maglor was not even pretending not to laugh now.

"Mark..." Dooku glared at him. "Help me out here?"

"I do not wish to get involved," Maglor said, shaking his head. Then he put a hand on Dooku's shoulder. "What was up with that voice? You sounded like a British Barry White."

Sören spat his tea, doubled over. Then Sören tried the impossibly deep voice, making Not Very Good At Names sing "My darling I, can't get enough of your love baby..." to Sparkle Bunny, who giggled and swooned.

"That's enough, you two," Sören said, waggling his finger. "We don't need you breeding."

"Breeding bunnies would be terrible," Maglor said, nodding. "Just think... even more plushies to cuddle with. That would be awful."

Sören used the Force to make Not Very Good At Names whisper into Sparkle Bunny's ear, who giggled and put an arm around him, the two bunnies hopping off together.

"Wow, not so innocent, are they?" Sören asked, deadpan.

"I..." Dooku facepalmed again. "I'm too sober for this."

Not Very Good At Names stopped hopping, paused and looked Dooku up and down, and raised a paw. Sören said in the bunny's deep voice, "Hi Too Sober For This... I'm Not Very Good At Names."


_


The next three nights Sören painted in the evening while Maglor played music in the studio and Dooku read, or Dooku and Maglor played chess. Sören made himself go to bed by no later than one AM, which was the compromise between staying up late while inspiration was hot, and being well-rested enough to function at work.

Then for the first time since moving in, Sören went out by himself during the day. Dooku was tempted to peek at the canvas that was still on the easel, covered with a sheet, but he made himself refrain. He also spent time worrying about Sören - he was proud that Sören was finally taking the big step of going places alone in daytime, but also concerned Sören would run into Justin somewhere. Dooku went on a cleaning binge to burn off the worry, and at last Maglor sensed it, coming up behind Dooku and wrapping his arms around Dooku's waist as Dooku was scouring a sink.

"I worry about him too," Maglor said. "But he needs this. You and I both know he does. Justin made him so afraid that he's been living like a prisoner, not able to go out without supervision... he can't spend his life like that, regardless of..." And his voice trailed off, but Dooku knew what was at the end of it. Regardless of how long he ends up staying with us.

Dooku could feel that ache in Maglor too - he didn't want Sören to go, just yet.

Dooku heard footsteps approaching the door and the sound of wheezing, an hour before they needed to go to work. Dooku opened the door and saw Sören lugging a large frame - the right size for the canvas on the easel under the sheet - and from the looks of the frame it was heavy, carved wood, a rustic Celtic or Norse knotwork pattern. Sören also was carrying a large shopping bag, which he simply set down on a bin that held his belongings while Dooku held the frame, admiring it.

"That's for later," Sören said.

Sören was in a quiet, pensive mood on the way to the restaurant. Dooku finally asked him, "Did something happen while you were out?"

Sören shook his head. "No, everything was fine. It's just..." He looked out the window at the snow-covered trees rolling by, the frosty grey January sky broken up by snow-capped shop buildings. "I'm giving Mark the painting tonight and I'm worried he won't like it."

"I've known Mark for a long time now..." Dooku didn't want to be forthcoming about how long, since Maglor was - at least for now - claiming to be forty-two. "And he wouldn't say something he didn't mean. If he didn't truly want you to make a painting for him, he wouldn't have said so."

"Oh, I'm sure he appreciates original art. But..." Sören pursed his lips. "I don't know if mine is any good." Sören looked down. "I didn't have the best luck trying to sell my work, and Justin didn't think -"

"Justin thought Mark had no talent as a harpist and he thought my cooking was terrible. And he treated you badly, and you deserve so much better. As far as commercial success, that's not necessarily an indicator of talent, either. Plenty of the most well-loved painters lived in relative poverty, unknown until after their deaths. You deserve to be known here and now, of course, and the Internet hopefully would make that easier, but I don't-"

"All right." Sören cut him off.

Dooku sighed. "I'm just trying to be supportive."

Sören continued to brood through his shift - he mostly tried to hide it, but between orders Dooku saw the look on his face. He wanted so badly to take Sören in his arms, shake him and make him see that he was worth so much more than he thought he was, but he had to be professional, and he didn't want to scare the young man away, didn't want to give him the impression that -

That what? You want to shag him? Dooku scoffed at himself.

Dooku had been trying to ignore the attraction, thinking that first of all it was unlikely for the young man to be interested in someone his age, and second of all and more importantly, Sören had been in an abusive partnership, and needed to feel safe again. Dooku didn't want Sören to feel pressured or coerced into having sex with the men who had taken him in - that was the opposite of building trust and safety.

But even now, brooding in his white cook's uniform, curls under a net, Sören was beautiful. Even now, doing something simple like making a soup from scratch, Dooku could feel that creative fire, that no matter what Sören did, so long as he was making something, he put care into it. He took pride in his work, he wanted whatever it was he made to be "just right" to the person it was going to, Dooku could feel that.

The part of him that had been Fingolfin was taking notice as Sören stirred the pot, staring into it with intense concentration like Fëanor staring into glass in his forge.

It was suddenly very, very hot in the kitchen. Dooku stepped outside for a minute to get some air, letting the drifting snowflakes cool his face.


_


When they got home, Sören framed the painting while Dooku and Maglor waited in the studio. Then they came out and Dooku put on tea while Maglor and Sören waited; the back of the frame was facing them, with Sören not ready to show it yet.

Dooku came out with the tea service, and Sören used the Force to open up the shopping bag he'd brought home. Out came a blue-and-white striped box from Build A Bear. Maglor raised an eyebrow as the box settled onto his lap.

"I made you a painting," Sören said, "but I made you that, too."

Maglor opened the box, and out came a light purple unicorn with a pink horn, blue eyes, and a pink, blue, and yellow mane. The unicorn was dressed in a sparkly, iridescent gossamer pink and blue skirt, and had a jaunty rainbow scarf.

"You got me... a unicorn," Maglor said, his tone dry.

"Jæja." Sören blushed a little. "It's because you're so pretty and kind it's like you're not even real, like you're... a mythological being of some sort."

Maglor and Dooku exchanged glances. Oh, if only you knew...

"So..." Sören gestured to the unicorn. "I thought it was appropriate."

"You're ridiculous," Maglor said, patting him, "and lovely." He smiled. "Thank you. No one's ever gotten me a stuffed animal before."

"Really? Not even your parents, when you were small?" Sören made a moue. "If I was your dad I would have gotten you a nice bear to play with..."

Maglor made a noise into his tea, and then he said, "My upbringing was rather unusual." For starters, it was twenty thousand years ago before the concept of stuffed animals existed...

"Oh. OK." Sören grinned at Dooku. "Now Winston has a boyfriend."

Maglor laughed out loud at that, as Dooku facepalmed, also laughing. "Oh dear," Dooku said.

"It's a unicorn, not a deer," Sören teased.

Sparkle Bunny and Not Very Good At Names hopped up onto the coffee table from the top of the bin where they rested during the day, and Sparkle Bunny squeaked, "I wanna meet Winston!"

"Yes, go get Winston," Maglor said, and added privately across their Force bond, so I do not have to endure this ridiculousness all alone.

I think you secretly enjoy it, Dooku teased on the way to the bedroom, coming back with Winston in tow.

Sören used the Force to pour a cup of tea for Winston.

"Thank you," Dooku said in a gruff voice befitting a bear, then realized what he had done without thinking about it, and rolled his eyes while Maglor grinned.

"You make a cute couple," Sören said in a squeaky voice as Sparkle Bunny's head moved. Sparkle Bunny's head turned to Maglor. "Mark, does your friend have a name?"

"He does not," Maglor said.

"He needs a name," Sparkle Bunny insisted, and Not Very Good At Names nodded.

"Go on then," Sören said in his regular voice.

Maglor exhaled sharply. "Hells..."

"His name is Hells!" Sparkle Bunny squeaked. "Yayyyy, Not Very Good At Names won't be so alone in having a weird name!" Sören used the Force to make Sparkle Bunny clap her hands.

Maglor made a noise as Sören laughed, and Dooku chuckled. Maglor glared at Dooku. "Et tu?" Maglor raised an eyebrow.

Dooku's lips quirked with amusement. "I do not wish to get involved." Dooku sipped his tea.

"All right." Sören clapped his hands together and leaned forward. "Do you want to see your painting now?"

"Yes, please," Maglor said.

Sören waved his hand, and the frame lifted from the floor. It floated into the air, turned around in the air, and lowered into Maglor's waiting hands. Maglor's jaw dropped and his breath caught when the frame was in his hands and he got his first look. Dooku also opened his mouth, feeling almost as if his heart had stopped, like the entire world itself had stopped.

It was a painting of Dooku, but it had taken on a fantastical element. Dooku had never been to Iceland, but he recognized the Dimmuborgir from photographs, and here he was standing at the Dimmuborgir, snow on the ground, a wild sunset of red, orange and gold blazing in the sky, like the sky was on fire. The arch of the lava formation was glowing with eerie purple light, as if it was a portal of some kind. The landscape looked almost photorealistic, as did Dooku himself, painted with startling accuracy in his features, right down to the perpetually annoyed look on his face. In the painting he was clad in a fur-lined brown cape, whipping around him in the winds of winter. In one hand he held a curved-grip sword, a blazing star on the pommel, and the sword itself was glowing with blue light. In his other hand he bore a shield, blue, set with crystals in a star shape. There were no opponents around him - it looked like he might go through the portal to do battle.

Dooku remembered that sword and that shield... from when he was Fingolfin.

"My god," Dooku said.

"Sören." Maglor's voice was hushed with awe. "This is... amazing. Beyond words."

Dooku knew Sören had the Force, and sometimes that meant a deeper insight into people, places, and things, but this seemed to go above and beyond normal capabilities with the Force. The painting felt alive, as it spoke of a past Sören could not have known about, and bridged the past and present together. Dooku could almost feel himself in the painting, the sword in one hand, the shield in the other, the fury as he was about to ride off to war...

"You like it?" Sören's voice was almost a squeak.

Maglor put down the painting and gave Sören a tight hug. "It's magnificent. Truly. That went above and beyond anything I was expecting..."

Sören's eyes met Dooku's, and he swallowed hard. "You did an incredible job," Dooku said, feeling that those words still didn't do justice to the soul-burning vision of the painting. "I would love to see more of your work. In fact, I'd be honored to properly buy paintings from you to hang in the restaurant..."

"...And at The Wax Museum." Maglor nodded. He stroked his chin. "You think I could commission you to do Kurt Cobain?"

Dooku's eyes teared up a little at that. He hadn't been a fan of Nirvana but Maglor had been, and he still remembered vividly the reaction Maglor had to Kurt Cobain's suicide, another musician gone too soon, dead by their own hand, the creative fire burning too hot, too bright. I feel it in the Song whenever they die, Maglor had said - they were in Amsterdam then and Maglor planted tulips as a private memorial.

Maglor was thinking about those tulips now, thinking about what it felt like in the Song the day Cobain's music died.  Dooku could feel it in their bond.

"You don't have to pay me," Sören said, shaking his head. "You guys are friends, you took me in..."

"Nonsense. If you do work - and painting is work - you should be paid for it," Dooku said.

"Do you..." Sören blinked, his eyes too bright. "Do you really want to commission me, and hang these up where people can see them? You don't just feel sorry for me?"

"Hells, Sören." Maglor glared. He used the Force to pick the painting back up. "This? This is on par with the old masters." He set it back down and folded his arms, looking almost offended that Sören was questioning him. "Nicolae can vouch for me here that I am a man of strong opinions. He deals with me every year when I watch Eurovision..."

Dooku laughed and nodded.

"...and I don't mince words. As fragile as you are right now, I wouldn't go out of my way to be rude to you if I didn't like the painting, but I also wouldn't be offering the sort of profuse praise that I'm expressing here. I already thought badly of Justin for destroying your art as any art to me is, well... sacred, I guess you could call it..." Maglor made a face, as that wasn't quite the word he wanted to use with its religious connotations, and there really was no better word for it. "But after having seen this? What he did to you was a crime, Sören."

"I agree," Dooku said.

"Takk," Sören said, choking up.

Maglor and Dooku got up and pulled him into a hug, and then Maglor used the Force to make Hells trot over, who headbutted Sören like a cat. "I liked your painting too," Hells squeaked.

"Maybe I'll paint a picture of Hells as a life-sized unicorn, flying in the clouds," Sören said, and then with a grin at Maglor he added, "And you riding him."

"NO."

Sören's laughter rang out, and Dooku's arms tightened around Sören. It was so, so good to hear him laugh, to see this side of him returning after Justin had worked so hard to stamp it out.

You're going to be OK, Sören. I swear it.


_


The next day Sören went out to buy more art supplies, coming back with more paints and a few more empty canvases. He painted in the evening after work but took a break to go on an evening stroll with Dooku.

"I still can't believe you like that painting," Sören said as they walked.

"I don't know why it's hard to believe. You have a gift." Dooku sighed. "I really do wish I'd gotten to see your earlier work. I bet it was remarkable."

Sören shrugged.

Dooku felt suddenly angry - not with Sören - and paused in his tracks, stopping in front of Sören, who was looking down, and looked up slowly as Dooku put his hands on Sören's shoulders.

"You have a gift," Dooku repeated, his tone firm and stern. "I'll not hear you say otherwise."

Sören sighed.

They continued walking, and when they got back home, Dooku made them hot chocolate. They relaxed with hot chocolate as they listened to Maglor play in the studio, who had already paid Sören half of the commission of Kurt Cobain, and was now playing Nirvana songs on harp to get Sören in the right frame of mind. Maglor singing "Come As You Are" at the end gave Sören visible chills - it brought tears to Dooku's eyes - and when the song was over Maglor took Sören's hands and said, simply, "We accept you as you are."

Sören hugged him, and they rocked together for a moment before Sören went down the hall to return to his painting.

He came so close to being another Kurt. Another one gone too soon, too sensitive, dead by his own hand. Maglor showed Dooku a vision of Sören's suicide attempt in 2004, across their Force bond. And I think it was only a matter of time before Justin killed...

A white-hot surge of anger. Dooku's fist clenched, and the empty mug shattered without him doing anything to it - just the fury in the Force.

"Ah shit," Dooku said, looking down at the floor.

"I'll clean it up." Maglor put a hand on his arm.

But Dooku wasn't worried about the mess so much as if Sören had felt any of that, not wanting to scare him, remembering the wreckage in Justin's flat and knowing that it was not the first time Sören had seen Justin destroy things in anger. He didn't want Sören to think he was just as bad, even if it was just a mug.

Dooku got up and looked down the hall to check. Sören had his headphones on and was completely absorbed in his painting. Thank God.

Dooku and Maglor went to bed at their usual time, and fell asleep after a slow, languid round of lovemaking. They slept nude, even though on a night like this in late January even with the heat on they needed extra blankets. In the middle of the night Dooku and Maglor were woken up by a scream down the hall, followed by Sören sobbing. They sat up, and though Maglor moved faster, Dooku was still out of bed and out of the bedroom faster, grabbing a robe with the Force and throwing it on at the last moment, almost running down the hall.

Because of the heat and Sören's natural body warmth, he had no shirt on - Dooku couldn't help but admire Sören's bare chest in the dim light from the kitchen nightlight, and felt immediately bad for ogling him when he was an emotional wreck, still crying.

"Sören, dear. What is it? What happened?"

"It was nothing." Sören sniffled. "Just a bad dream..."

Maglor was coming down the hall now too, in a pair of boxer-briefs and nothing else. Sören glanced over at him and Dooku saw Sören's face flush, and then Sören cried harder.

"He had a nightmare," Dooku explained.

"What about?" Maglor raised an eyebrow. "Sometimes it helps if you talk about these things..."

"Justin." Sören winced. "He... he was trying to kill me." Sören broke down crying again. "I know it was just a dream but it felt so real, and I'm still so scared..." Sören held out his hand, which was shaking.

Dooku took Sören's trembling hand and Maglor knelt down on the floor beside Sören, put his arms around the younger man. "Now you listen to me," Maglor said, meeting Sören's eyes. "We will never let him hurt you ever again."

"He is a part of the past, and as far as we're concerned, he's dead to you." Dooku nodded. He thought bitterly that he'd like to make that a reality, not just a figure of speech, that surge of fury like a reactor about to explode as he thought of the destroyed stuffed animals, the ruined paintings... "He's not a part of your future."

"I'm so fucking scared that when I eventually go back out there, on my own, he's gonna find me and kill me..." Sören sobbed.

"You can stay with us as long as you want," Maglor said.

"No, I can't." Sören sobbed harder.

"Yes, you can." Maglor let go of Sören then, and folded his arms. He looked up at Dooku. "That's it. Tomorrow we're moving my shit out of the studio and in here, and he's getting that as his bedroom. We'll get... I don't know, an air mattress or something till we work out a bed, and we'll talk about rent when it's not three-thirty in the morning."

"I'm so sorry for waking you up," Sören cried. "And I don't want to be a burden on you and cramp your life -"

"You're not. We like having you here." Dooku rubbed Sören's shoulder.

You realize we have to tell him about you eventually, if he's staying with us long-term, Dooku told Maglor across their Force bond.

Yes. But today is not that day. We can wait awhile. I don't know how long "awhile" is, but we need to work up to it not just for my sake, but for his. He's had enough of a shock to his sanity without, you know.

"You guys are so fucking kind to me. I'm not used to this." Sören wept some more.

"Well, you deserve it, so get used to it." Maglor hugged him again.

"I really didn't mean to wake you up -"

"You didn't ask to have a bloody nightmare, dear heart," Dooku told him, wanting to stab Justin Roberts in the eyes.

"You didn't ask to have PTSD," Maglor said. "But it's a thing, and... it's a thing I understand." Maglor reached out to stroke Sören's face with his scarred hand.

Sören lowered his head. "I'm sorry."

"Please, stop apologizing, Sören."

"I'm sorry -"

Not Very Good At Names hopped out and Dooku spoke in its deeper-than-deep voice. "Hi Sorry, I'm Not Very Good At Names."

Sören gave Dooku a look, then he busted out in a gigglefit, and Maglor laughed too. Dooku gave them a satisfied smile before using the Force to make Not Very Good At Names and Sparkle Bunny hop onto Sören to give him a hug.

Then Maglor got up, and reached to pull Sören off the bed, while Sören was still hugging his bunny dolls. Maglor had picked up Sören like he weighed nothing, and was now carrying Sören down the hall, with Dooku following behind.

"You might sleep better after the nightmare if you have a protective presence with you to help you feel safe," Maglor explained.

The look of trust in Sören's warm brown eyes as he was carried down the hall made Dooku's heart melt.

Once Maglor set Sören down in the middle of the bed, he used the Force to bring over Hells and Winston - Dooku smiled at how casual Maglor had gotten about Force use the last few days, wondering if having Sören around wasn't sort of healing for Maglor as well, necessarily hiding his abilities from Men. Then Dooku stopped smiling when he took off his robe and remembered he was naked. "Er. I should put pants on." He opened his underwear drawer, but since most of his underwear were of a darker color it was hard to see without turning on a light...

"Don't worry about it," Sören said. "It's already late and we need to get back to sleep and it's not like you've got anything I've never seen before."

With a sigh, his face burning, Dooku headed over to the bed. Maglor was on one side of Sören and Dooku climbed on the other; Dragos hopped on the bed with an inquisitive chirp and walked over to Sören, purring loudly.

"All right, the gang's all here." Dooku skritched Dragos and smiled as the cat settled down, kneading.

Sören closed his eyes and fidgeted a little, obviously not used to sharing a bed with two people. Maglor reached out and gently began to rub Sören's scalp, and Dooku watched as the tension began to roll off of Sören's body, breathing easier.

"Can you sing to me?" Sören asked. "Is that too much to ask...?"

"Not too much to ask at all." Maglor continued to rub Sören's scalp, then his back, as he sang:

There's a lady who's sure
All that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven
When she gets there she knows
If the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for
Oh oh oh oh and she's buying a stairway to heaven



_


Dooku was up before the alarm went off, which wasn't unusual. He was in the spoon position, naked, which wasn't unusual, and woke up hard, which wasn't unusual. The feel of taut buttocks against his erection wasn't unusual.

Just before his lips could kiss a shoulder and his fingers could reach around to brush a nipple, he realized he didn't feel the flood of hair in its usual place, and he opened his eyes to see a pair of phoenixes - one fire, one water - and a nape-length mop of dark curls.

Mortified, Dooku rolled off him and stared up at the ceiling. He didn't want to trigger the poor man, make Sören feel like he owed them sex...

...Sören rolled over, eyes closed, still asleep. Beautifully asleep, long lashes framing his cheeks, full lips slightly parted. The creamy skin of his bare torso, the full sleeve tattoos on his arms, flames on one, ocean waves on the other... those pierced nipples...

...looking deliciously innocent, snuggled up with his bunnies, and Hells and Winston.

Dooku's mouth was dry. His erection throbbed urgently.

He got up and quickly ducked into the bathroom, and took a shower as cold as he could stand it. When he got out - a towel around his waist - Sören was starting to wake up, and so was Maglor; Maglor turned off the alarm.

"Good morning," Dooku said. "How did you sleep?"

"Better." Sören nodded. He looked at Maglor, then Dooku. "Thank you. That... that was nice. I haven't been cuddled in a long time."

"I'm sorry for the immodesty," Dooku said, using the Force to open his underwear drawer - now he had enough light to see, and select a pair.

"Hi Sorry For the Immodesty, I'm Sören."

Dooku gave him a look.

Sören grinned. Then Sören said, "You... don't need to be sorry. I like looking at pretty things." Which he said right as Dooku turned around and dropped the towel, exposing his ass.

Dooku blushed, his stomach fluttering... not wanting to get his hopes up.

Chapter Text

January became February, and Maglor's musical equipment was moved from the second bedroom into the living room, with Sören getting a full-sized mattress and a few small pieces of furniture. Dooku and Maglor meant what they said about wanting Sören to stay with them as long as he wanted to, but they also could tell from Sören's hesitancy in buying more than a few simple items and anything decorative that he was still on the fence about staying long-term, which Dooku understood, though it bothered him in a way he couldn't quite articulate.

It also bothered Dooku that he kept waking up in the middle of the night feeling like the bed felt emptier without Sören in it. Sören hadn't slept in their bed since the nightmare, and before this had happened Maglor was enough, good to cuddle up with. More and more, Dooku was aching to hold both of them at night, but he refrained from saying so, not wanting to scare the young man... not wanting to be rejected.

The first week of February saw a massive snowstorm and bitterly cold temperatures, though the restaurant remained open and still had a healthy influx of customers, people wanting something hearty and comforting. On a big grocery trip to stock up on food for home and not have to run to the store so much in inclement weather, Dooku felt it would be nice to get some fresh fruit, even though it cost more at this time of year, and Sören was delighted when Dooku made ambrosia with oranges, pineapple, banana, strawberries, mixed nuts, coconut flakes and whipped cream.

"This is such a treat," Sören said. "Believe it or not, I like fresh fruit and cream better than I like cake or other pastries."

"Well, you were in med school, yes?" Dooku asked, taking pleasure in Sören's own enjoyment of the dessert - he found it adorable that simple things made the young man so happy.

"I was, and I suppose that makes me a bit health-conscious but that's not really why. I grew up kind of poor - Katrín and Einar drank most of their money away - and then when I moved here and was living with Frankie, well." Sören licked his spoon. "Fresh fruit is a luxury to me."

Dooku felt that twinge of sadness, wishing he could go back in time and fix everything for him. His cock also twinged as he watched Sören lick the cream from the spoon, his mind going in the gutter. "So long as you're living here, you'll never want for anything."

Sören patted him, and smiled sweetly. "I appreciate that. I appreciate you." Then he glanced over at the fruit bowl, since there were oranges and bananas just to snack on. "I'm in the mood for more banana, I haven't had banana in so long. Can I take one...?"

"Please, by all means."

Dooku immediately regretted inviting Sören to take a banana when he unpeeled it and Dooku watched those full lips wrap around the banana in his mouth. His cock twinged even more, mind racing with thoughts of what Sören's lips would look like wrapped around his cock... or wrapped around Maglor's cock...

"MMMMMMM," Sören moaned, a dreamy expression on his face. "God, this is so good." And the banana was in his mouth again.

Maglor looked down, blushing, and Dooku could feel across their bond that Maglor was having the exact same thoughts. When Maglor looked up to drink his orange juice, his gaze went back to Sören with the banana in his mouth, seemingly oblivious to the effect he was having on the two men, and then Maglor's eyes met Dooku's and Dooku gave him a knowing look.

Later that night, as Dooku and Maglor held each other, legs entwined, after their usual lovemaking, Dooku stroked Maglor's hair and said softly, "It's OK, you know."

"Hm?"

"I know you fancy him." Dooku chuckled. "I do too."

Maglor sighed. "I'm glad you're not offended."

"No. And it isn't like we hadn't talked about finding a third to share, a long time ago."

"But this is... well, it's complicated."

"It is." Dooku nodded. "I'm not sure what, if anything, I'm going to do about these feelings."

"I'm not either, though I wonder if he knew what he was doing earlier with. You know." Dooku saw Maglor smile in the dark. "The banana."

Dooku laughed, his face burning as he remembered the way Sören looked with the banana in his mouth - his cock would be stirring again if he wasn't spent. "I don't know... would he be that much of a tease?"


_


Sören finished Maglor's commission of Kurt Cobain, and Maglor insisted on paying him extra beyond what they'd originally agreed upon for the cost.

There was a bird's eye view of Seattle, fog and rain over the city, and Kurt Cobain ascended as a weeping angel, energy swirling around him... holding a heart-shaped planter (for the "heart shaped box") that was growing a few brightly colored tulips. Maglor had not told Sören that he had planted tulips in their small garden in Amsterdam as a memorial, and his jaw once again dropped when he saw the completed painting... when he felt the power in Sören's art.

Maglor took Sören with him to pick out a frame, and do the honors of helping him pick a spot and hang the painting at The Wax Museum. Sören had previously been reluctant to go there because of the memories of going there with Frankie before the accident, but he conceded. The trip to The Wax Museum was enough of a reminder of his friend that Sören called Belfast when he got home, speaking for awhile to Frankie's aunt Siobhan who had been taking care of her through the recovery, and then to Frankie herself. The phone call made Sören emotional - he tried to pull himself together on the ride to work, but Frankie continuing to get better and Maglor's intense reaction to the painting was having enough of an effect on him that it was more difficult than usual to regulate his emotions.

Dooku thought fast, and took a detour, hoping it wouldn't make him late. He ran inside a grocer while Sören waited in the car and came back with a small carton of strawberries.

Sören nibbled on a couple on the way to work, which calmed him down, and finished the rest on his break. When his break was done, and he saw Dooku working on papanași - which he usually made with raspberries or cherries depending on the order - Sören said, "Hey, you know, you should offer an option of papanași with strawberries, on the menu. I bet it would be a hit."

Natalia paused for just a brief moment, as did Willard, and some of the other cooks. Willard raised an eyebrow. Everyone was of the understanding when they were hired at Doi Capaci that things were done a certain way, Dooku adhered to specific recipes and that was how it was. Nobody had the audacity to suggest changes to recipes or additions to the menu.

Until now.

"Get back to work," Dooku told everyone who had stopped, staring, and then he said to Sören, "That means you too."

In the car on the way back, Dooku said, "Never do that again."

"Do what?" Sören gave him a filthy look. "It was just a suggestion..."

"It was bad form to make a suggestion in front of the kitchen staff, because nobody else does it - if I let everyone make suggestions about the menu it would devolve into anarchy very quickly."

"I didn't know that. And I'll keep it in mind for the future. But you know... other restaurants add new things to the menu sometimes. I don't see how adding an option for strawberry papanași is such a big deal."

"The more variations that are offered on one dish, the more we have to keep different items on hand that may not get used that day, and that becomes more of an expense than you might realize over time. No, it's not an expense that would cause the business to collapse, but I try to be smart about the money that goes into the restaurant."

"I think strawberry papanași might be popular enough to justify the expense."

Dooku raised an eyebrow. "This isn't... really... about the dessert anymore, is it? This is about you trying to assert yourself."

"I suppose it is." Sören nodded. "I was a doormat with Justin for over a year, and the worst of it over the last few months when I lived with him. I was afraid to even have an opinion, never mind express one. So I guess that I finally felt like I could say something..."

"Well, I'm proud of you, then." Dooku gave him a look that was both stern and affectionate. "Just be mindful of the authority in the kitchen, which is set up the way it is for a reason."

"Yes, sir," Sören said, his tone somewhat mocking, his eyes mischievous.

Dooku decided when he got home to add strawberries to the next shipment of food that was coming in to the restaurant, and make the concession to Sören just on the basis of him learning to be assertive again. And two days later, when food was delivered and Sören saw a crate of strawberries brought in, their eyes met, and held.

Sören was right that the addition to the menu was a success - on the first day of being on the menu more people were ordering dessert with their meals, wanting to try it. When Sören went on break, Dooku also took his break then, and he had a little treat for the young man, having made an extra strawberry papanași, with a few fresh strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream on the side of the plate.

They sat outside, even with the chill of the February night - it was peaceful out in back of the restaurant, and they had both been overheated from the kitchen. "This is so good," Sören said between bites of the dessert. "I'm so glad you listened to my suggestion."

Dooku smiled, and stole one of the strawberries from Sören's plate, nibbling on it.

"The fresh ones were a nice touch, too, though I feel like I'm about to burst." Sören patted his stomach.

Then Sören picked up a strawberry and offered it to Dooku. "Those were for you," Dooku said.

"Which is why you took one."

"Just one."

"Have another." Sören raised his eyebrows.

"Oh, all -"

Before he could say "right", Sören shoved the strawberry in his mouth, and the tip of his finger got in there as well. When Sören's finger pulled back it lingered near Dooku's lips, and Sören traced the path of strawberry juice that was trickling down, wiping it with his fingers, the touch like a caress, sending a frisson down Dooku's spine.

"I'm seriously going to burst," Sören said, looking down at the last strawberry on the plate.

"Hi, Seriously Going To Burst," Dooku quipped, which got Sören elbowing him, and then without thinking about it Dooku picked up the strawberry, dipped it in the last of the whipped cream - some cream getting on his fingers - and held the berry to Sören's lips.

Sören's eyes locked with his as his full lips wrapped around the strawberry, and then Sören sucked the cream and berry juices from Dooku's fingers as well, still looking into his eyes.

You little minx. Dooku's cock woke up, but Sören was shielded tightly enough that he couldn't tell if it was innocent or teasing. All he knew was that he wanted to take Sören's face in his hands and kiss him, and before he could wrestle with himself about acting on that thought or shoving it away, the alarm on his cell phone went off, alerting him that break time was over.

Sören was quiet on the way home, looking out the window, and then he wanted to paint for awhile. Dooku went on his usual nightly walk by himself, wondering about the scene outside the back of the restaurant, and what it meant, if anything. He felt more awkward than he'd felt in years, and concerned that one false move would push Sören away, out into the street, out to be hurt again, somehow.

He considered talking to Sören about it, but when he got back, Sören was in the shower, and Maglor was wanting his company. Dooku took it as a sign that it wasn't the right time.

Yet.

As he and Maglor made love, he wondered if it ever would be the right time.


_


Valentine's Day arrived, and Doi Capaci expected enough business that all the cooks were scheduled. Sören was amazed that Dooku was working instead of taking Maglor on a date, but Maglor had known the drill as long as Dooku had been in the restaurant business, and didn't mind - Dooku of course couldn't tell Sören that it was less bothersome to Maglor than it might be to others because Maglor was not exactly a product of the modern era and had lived through more years when February 14th was not recognized as particularly special, than years where it was.

In any case, Maglor was around, playing harp and singing for the restaurant's customers, and he and Dooku shared champagne on Dooku's break. Maglor was in a good mood, with one of the loves of his life nearby, and surrounded by couples and the occasional poly unit who were happy and in love, as well as friends taking each other out and the odd single person who wanted to love themselves and treat themselves to something nice for the day. The energy of love flowed through his music, and Dooku smiled when he caught strains of it in the back of the restaurant, in the hot, busy kitchen. The energy in Maglor's songs seemed to offset much of the stress from the kitchen being more rushed than usual.

Sören seemed a little sad, and Dooku picked up in the Force that he was reminded of Justin, and thinking about an uncertain future. Yet, Sören was trying to keep his spirits up, smiling at Dooku whenever their eyes met. Dooku once again got the urge to take Sören in his arms and assure him everything would be all right.

The waitstaff relayed many compliments to the kitchen, and then, an hour before close, the maître d' came to the back himself. Dooku raised an eyebrow.

"Sir," the maître d' said, "there's someone who has a complaint and he's insisting to speak to you, directly. He won't take no for an answer."

Dooku grumbled. On the one hand he was tempted to tell the maître d' to tell the complainee to piss off and leave, since he didn't have time or patience for this today, on the other hand he'd watched other restaurateurs ignore direct complaints to their peril - someone who didn't get it out of their system with a chat with the chef would often take to Yelp or another review site and write something scathing. And Dooku took constructive criticism seriously; if someone was dissatisfied with the food, he wanted to know why, and what he could do to make it better next time.

"All right," Dooku said. "Escort him to the break room and I'll meet with him there."

A few minutes later Dooku made his way to the break room, which was usually reserved for employees only, and sitting there was none other than Justin Roberts.

"Well, well." Dooku stood while Justin sat. He folded his arms. "To what do I owe this pleasure. You're not actually here to complain about the food, I take it."

"I'll cut right to the chase," Justin said. "I know you know where Sören is."

"That's a rather bold assumption of you."

"Oh come off it. You 'rescued' him." Justin's fingers made air quotes. "And I saw the way you two were flirting with each other when he brought me here. Here of all places. Like the filthy slut wasn't with you all along -"

"Until you get some manners, I have nothing to say to you," Dooku said, starting to walk away, because that was the safest course of action rather than Force throwing Justin from his seat, through a wall, with hopes that the impact would fracture the man's skull. "And where Sören is or is not, is neither your business nor any of your concern."

"If you think I'm going to let this go without a fight, you're a bloody moron."

Dooku whirled around and slammed his hands down on the break table, leaning in like he was about to lunge. "Do you remember the last time you encountered me? If you think you can take me on, then you're a bloody moron." Dooku smiled then - it was not a pleasant smile, but a predatory smile. "I invite you to try me. It might be interesting for thirty seconds... before I wipe the floor with you." The fearsome look came back - Dooku could feel himself scowling - and Dooku pointed to the door. "Go, before you end up getting hurt and make a mess all over my nice clean restaurant."

"Oh, he's already dirtying it up just with his presence," came a familiar smoky voice, with the gentle lilting accent.

Dooku looked over his shoulder and Sören was walking in... in his white cook's uniform, hair under a net, which of course would let Justin know he worked here now.

"Sören?" Dooku raised an eyebrow. "You're still on the clock..."

"Jæja, I told Natalia I needed to go to the bathroom. Because, you know, I felt a disturbance and wanted to check it out." Sören looked at Justin then and shook his head. "Why do you even bother?"

Justin glared at Sören, an insane look in his blue eyes. "Right, so, you're done here, and you're coming home with me." He reached out to grab Sören's wrist, and before Dooku could yank Justin's arm away, Sören slapped Justin's hand, and spat.

"It's over between us, Justin. You do realize that, don't you, considering we haven't lived together in over a month?" Sören made a face of disgust. "How pathetic do you have to be, coming here on Valentine's Day all alone to try to get information to stalk me..."

"I beg your fucking pardon," Justin said.

"Jæja, you heard me. You're pathetic," Sören said. "And you're delusional, to think I'd be coming back to you. That I would still want you, after everything you've done."

"You still wanted me before."

"That wasn't really want. I wasn't in a good place, and you made it a worse place. I'm in a better place now, I know what I want... and it isn't you."

And then, much to his shock, Sören put an arm around Dooku. I'm trying to get him to go away without the police, just play the part, Sören spoke into his mind, and Sören's free hand came up to stroke Dooku's face, tilt it towards his. "This is what I want," Sören husked, looking into Dooku's eyes with such love and passion that if Sören was acting, he deserved an award. Sören turned his face back to Justin, smiling with mocking contempt. "You know how I like older men? And how much you haaaaaaaaated it when you'd see me noticing a hot silver fox? Well guess what, honey." Sören turned his face back to Dooku, whose mouth was open in surprise. "This is my daddy now."

With that, Sören threw his arms around Dooku and kissed him hard.

Dooku found himself crushing Sören against him, lips parting, moaning involuntarily as their tongues met and slid together. Heat surged through his entire body, cock stirring as he felt Sören's lithe frame against his, got to taste those full lips, tongues rubbing as Sören's hands roamed over him. The kiss deepened, Sören groaning, and there was the sound of the chair and Justin storming out, swearing.

They pulled apart, and Dooku looked at Sören, his face flushed, pupils blown wide, breathing hard.

"If he keeps this up we need to go to the police and get an injunction," Dooku said. "I'd tell you to press charges of harassment to get a proper restraining order but -"

"-That's easier said than done and requires evidence I don't have, since I deleted his voice mails and I don't have photographs of... the disaster... and never went to hospital when..." Sören's voice trailed off.

"But an injunction... we have witnesses of him showing up here, if he does it again." Dooku folded his arms. "Hopefully he'll take the hint and piss off." He raised an eyebrow at Sören. "That was... quite a hint."

"Jæja." Sören looked down, blush deepening. "You were... quite an actor. That was quite a performance."

Before Dooku could tell him I wasn't acting, Sören turned on his heel, and when Dooku walked back into the kitchen, Sören was scrubbing in to return to work.

The restaurant closed awhile later, and the cooks and washers remained to get the kitchen cleaned up and do what prep needed to be done to start tomorrow. Dooku tried to forget about the kiss and focus on the work at hand, but he couldn't stop looking at Sören, feeling that same surge of heat, not able to string two thoughts together that didn't involve the young man howling with pleasure in his arms.

Calling him Daddy. It wasn't something Dooku ever thought he'd be into, and yet, when Sören had said "this is my daddy now" it thrilled him. He had the faint glimmer of memory - the days of Fëanor and Fingolfin, when Fëanor called him "Ada" during their sex play; despite being the younger sibling, Fingolfin took care of Fëanor, who often stayed up too long and needed to be made to eat when he worked in the forge, and Fëanor had been the unfavorite of their father - Fingolfin gave him the attention and affection he needed, they made a game of it, which added spice to what was already the kinky thrill of their forbidden passion.

Dooku closed his eyes and he thought of Sören's art. His pride. The phoenixes on his back. The misfortune of his life, as if he were being punished by some sort of higher power. Like Manwë.

Gooseflesh broke out on Dooku's arms as he and Sören were the last to leave, joining Maglor who was sitting alone in the restaurant, watching the waterfall and the glow of the lanterns. Have we found Fëanor? Is this just wishful thinking...?

"I need to be alone for awhile," Sören said when they got home, and then he looked at Dooku and Maglor with a little smirk and said, "and you two ought to have some time alone with what's left of Valentine's Day." With that, he retreated to his room and closed the door.

Dooku got out of his chef uniform and stepped into the shower; a few minutes later Maglor joined him, not wanting to wait. Dooku laughed softly as Maglor closed the sliding glass door of the shower behind him, and stopped laughing when Maglor put his arms around Dooku and kissed him deeply.

When they pulled back and Maglor soaped his hands and began to lather Dooku's chest, Dooku informed him, "Justin was at the restaurant -"

"I know. I saw." Maglor paused and glared, his eyes molten. "I felt."

"Yes."

Maglor resumed lathering, hands caressing slowly; Dooku groaned with appreciation, hard cock pressing against Maglor's thigh. "I thought about going after him, but I had a feeling it might cause some trouble," Maglor said.

"That was prudent. And likely, very difficult for you." Dooku understood the Fëanorion temper very well - it was something everyone in the House of Finwë had a touch of, himself included.

"Extremely." Maglor grit his teeth and Dooku's cock throbbed at the fire in Maglor's eyes, the mental image of what that Fëanorion temper would have looked like unleashed upon Justin. Glorious, magnificent in his rage. Dooku shivered even though the water was hot enough to make steam.

"And I imagine it was difficult for you as well," Maglor continued, his voice husky, his fingers lingering on a nipple and rubbing in lazy circles. "I didn't just feel the evil of that man's presence, but I felt your rage. ...And Sören's."

"Sören stood up to him."

"I can tell."

Dooku thought about telling Maglor about the kiss - and how he felt at a crossroads now, not sure where to go from here - but before he could say anything Maglor pushed him up against the shower wall, lathering their cocks together, kissing him hungrily. "I wish I could have seen it," Maglor said. "I do so... enjoy... seeing you ready to fight."

Dooku kissed him back, hand covering Maglor's hand on their cocks.

They took their time in the shower, lathering and shampooing each other - Dooku loved playing with Maglor's hair - and once they were out of the shower, kissing all the way to the bed, the languid sensuality gave way to fever, the two needing to become one, needing to join, needing to mate. Dooku reached for their lube with the Force, fingers of one hand playing inside Maglor's opening, and Maglor slicked Dooku's cock as Dooku poured the lube into him, erring on the side of more lubricant than usual.

He rolled Maglor onto his stomach and bit his shoulder as he took him from behind - a position that was rare for them, but tonight they were both feeling wild, primal lust. Kissing and licking and nibbling Maglor's neck, every so often turning Maglor's face so they could kiss, Dooku drove into him, and Maglor rocked his hips back at Dooku, grabbing the pillows white-knuckled, not even bothering to keep the noise down for Sören's sake. Knowing Maglor wanted this just as much as he did, was in heat for it, fueled his passion hotter, burning so strong that when they climaxed together it still wasn't enough. He needed.

And Maglor was more than willing to give, rolling onto his back and spreading for Dooku to take him a second time. Dooku pounded him just as hard as before, on his knees, Maglor's legs on his shoulders, Maglor's hands wandering over him, caressing him, electrifying his body with every touch. The moans Maglor made as Dooku thrust into him were delicious, and just as delicious was the sight of his Elf with the mane of ebony hair disheveled and fanned out, lips swollen from being kissed, nipples swollen from being played with, hard cock flushed and dripping precum. The look of lust in Maglor's silver eyes consumed him, made him feel like he was being immolated, eaten alive.

Only one other person had ever made him feel that way, ages ago - a person who Maglor was the very image of. As Maglor spilled his seed over him and Dooku spent deep inside him, he almost shouted the name. Fëanor!

Chapter Text

Over the next few days Justin stalked Dooku and Sören. When he was removed by the maître d' and Dooku called the police, Justin stopped going inside the restaurant, but would start waiting for closing time, harassing them outside. Then when Dooku had police arrive at the restaurant at closing time in anticipation of Justin, he simply drove around the neighborhood in his car, and when Dooku saw they were being followed he took a detour in an attempt to throw him off.

The day after they were followed, Dooku and Sören came out at closing time and found the tires of Dooku's Jaguar had been slashed, and WHORE was keyed into the vehicle.

The police finally took things seriously enough for an injunction to be filed, and Natalia and the maître d' gave statements to the police as witnesses. That seemed to be the end of that; Dooku took a rental as the tires were changed and the paint was touched up, and Justin went away. Sören had been trying to be brave through the days of stalking, but he'd stopped going out by himself, and on the way home in the rental he finally broke down, crying, even though Justin wasn't following them and had an order from the police to stay away.

Dooku pulled the car over and held Sören, letting him cry, stroking his curls and making soothing noises. He felt for the young man, who had just started to feel safe again and this had undone so much progress.

It had also made it very much not the right time to talk about the kiss, to determine if Sören had really been acting or not. Here and now, Dooku ached to kiss Sören again, to tell Sören "Daddy will protect you" and comfort him, but he didn't want to take advantage of him in his vulnerability, or make Sören feel pressured if he had been acting and the interest wasn't there, because the feeling of obligation to sleep with people putting a roof over his head was the last thing Sören needed right now.

And yet, Dooku's body continued to scream with hunger for the beautiful man who was crying on his shoulder right now. Not just for sexual release, but for intimacy, to give Sören the adoration he deserved. He remained a gentleman, petting Sören until he calmed down, offering his handkerchief when Sören's tears were subsiding.

Sören retreated to his room for the night, and Dooku and Maglor worried about him. The next morning, Sören was up before they were, painting, and after breakfast Sören said, "I think I'm going to go out for awhile. Go for a walk, maybe do a little shopping."

As he hadn't been out by himself in over a week, it was a good sign, and Sören, noticing the relief on Dooku and Maglor's faces, nodded and squared his shoulders. "I need to do this for myself," Sören said, determination in his eyes. "I feel like I'm his fucking prisoner, and I can't spend the rest of my life afraid of him."

"We're proud of you," Maglor said, rubbing Sören's shoulder, and Dooku nodded.

But a couple of hours later, Sören came back obviously distraught, eyes red as if he'd been crying, and he went right to his room and Dooku heard him sobbing. Dooku and Maglor let him be for a bit, and then when the cries got even louder, Dooku knocked on Sören's door.

"Sören, dear, what happened? May we come in?" Dooku asked.

"Jæja, come in."

Dooku opened the door; Sören was curled up in the fetal position, holding his bunny dolls, pillow soaked from tears. Dooku's heart sank at the sight of him, and Maglor sat on the edge of Sören's bed, with Dooku sitting on an ottoman.

They gave Sören a few minutes to collect his thoughts, and when he just continued to rock himself, not speaking, staring into the distance as if he were looking at something far away, Maglor rubbed Sören's knee and asked, "What's wrong?" His jaw set, anger flashing in his eyes, as he asked, "Did you see Justin? Did he violate the injunction -"

"No." Sören took a deep breath. He ran a hand through his curls and pressed his hand against his forehead as if he was ashamed of himself, wincing. "But... when I was out, I saw someone who I thought was Justin... turned out not to be him, just someone who resembled him a bit... the problem is, I had a panic attack when I saw the lookalike and I was in line and there were people behind me and I just completely fucking choked, left my shit there without paying, ran off like an idiot..."

"Oh, Sören." Dooku moved the ottoman closer, took Sören's hands in his and squeezed. He was torn between wanting to take Sören in his arms and make him writhe with pleasure, forgetting everything that existed, and go out, find Justin, and beat him to a pulp.

Sören's jaw quivered and tears rolled down his cheeks.

"I hate this," Sören hissed. "I hate this so much. It's been over with him for over a month and it's like part of me is still stuck there... like he owns space in my head, and even with the injunction I'll never feel safe knowing he's out there, somewhere, and he might be crazy enough to try to violate the injunction, to go after me again..." Sören closed his eyes and shuddered. "I won't feel safe until he's dead."

Dooku felt that urge to kill again, to hunt Justin down and make him pay for everything he'd done... Dooku pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to dial back the volume on that thought, his first priority needed to be Sören.

"I feel like such a coward," Sören choked out, shaking with sobs. "And Justin told me I was. So did Einar..."

"They were wrong," Maglor said, his tone firm. "You were scared all week and today you made yourself try to face your fears."

"And came back with my tail between my legs."

"You still went out there."

"I don't know if I can try it again." Sören hugged his bunnies tighter, swallowed hard. He closed his eyes and shook his head with a shudder. "The panic attack was bloody awful, and I don't think I can deal with that again, every time I see someone who looks like him..."

"There's a compromise," Dooku spoke up, "between going out by yourself when you don't feel safe just yet, and never leaving the house except to go to work. Mark and I can take you out during the day, the next while, and as you go out with us and see that London is a big city, and you're not running into him out there... it might help you to feel less afraid, with time and exposure."

"He's right," Maglor said. "We'd be happy to use our afternoons for a good cause."

"I feel like I already cramp your style too much," Sören said, frowning. "Like you already spend too much of your time -"

"Nonsense." Dooku glared. "You're our friend, we care about you, we want to help. Let us help you."

Sören managed to pull himself together for work, and after work, Dooku and Maglor did things to try to help Sören relax - Maglor cooked dinner, making Sören his favorite of grilled Swiss cheese on rye, with a seafood bisque on the side. Dooku drew a bubble bath for Sören, with lavender and epsom salts in the water. As Sören bathed, and Dooku and Maglor played chess together, Dooku's mind kept wandering to the mental image of Sören naked in the tub, and he got aroused enough to make moves where Maglor knew he wasn't thinking clearly and ended the game, dragging Dooku off to bed to have his way with him.

They fell asleep together after lovemaking, and after they'd been asleep for a few hours they were woken up by Sören screaming across the hall, sobbing. They rushed over to his room. It was another nightmare - Sören was chased by Justin this time - and Dooku and Maglor both held him, rocked him, until Maglor picked up Sören and carried him to their bed, bringing the bunny dolls along.

Dooku and Maglor were both nude under their robes, and Sören was wearing just boxer-briefs to bed - his room was warmer than the living room - but Sören had said previously he didn't mind the nudity, so in the interest of just getting back to sleep they climbed in bed on either side of him without putting on pants. This time they both snuggled closer to him, holding him tight, and Maglor sang "Stairway to Heaven" again, with Sören falling back asleep before the song was over. Dooku watched him sleep in the blue glow of the nightlight, reminded of the way he used to watch Fëanor sleep in the silver glow of Telperion, before sleep claimed him as well.

In the morning Dooku woke up hard, and feeling Sören hard against him didn't help. Dooku relieved himself in the bathroom, bringing himself to intense climax with fantasies of making love to Sören, both on his own and he and Maglor pleasing Sören together. When he came out, Sören and Maglor were both awake, and Dooku shielded his mind as tightly as he could, not wanting Sören to know he'd just gotten off thinking about him - again, not wanting to scare him away.

Neither Maglor nor Dooku had specific plans for taking Sören out that day before work, and over breakfast they asked Sören what he wanted to do. It had snowed last night, and Sören kept looking out the window at the little backyard, the snowdrifts on the ground, the snow and ice frosting the trees. He stroked his beard and then he said, "I really want to play in the snow." He grinned sheepishly into a forkful of eggs. "I haven't done that since I was a kid."

"We made a snowman at Southwark Park a few weeks ago," Dooku pointed out.

"That's not quite the same as playing in it." Sören's eyes met his - Sören was giving him the sad puppydog eyes, that Dooku couldn't resist. "You know what I would love to do? Sledding. And you probably don't have a sled."

"No, that's... not the sort of thing we do."

Dooku found himself driving to a sporting goods store and buying a "family size" sled that would fit two tall adults, and a snow tube, much to Sören's delight. Then he drove out to Greenwich Observatory. The famous hill leading up to the landmark had gorgeous views - Sören kept pausing to snap the occasional photo - and they dragged the sled and snow tube up with them.

"I can't believe I'm doing this," Dooku said as they were almost at the top.

"There's always a first time for everything, right?" Sören asked. He pulled out his inhaler and took a puff. "This is gonna be so much fun. I remember doing this with my siblings and cousin when we were kids. We didn't have much money but we didn't need money to entertain ourselves." Sören turned to smile at Maglor, and Maglor smiled back but the smile was sad. Sören noticed, and paused, this time not taking out his camera. "Are you OK, Mark?"

Maglor nodded. "Yeah. Just... gets me thinking about my own siblings."

"Jæja, you never talk about your family. So you've got siblings? I have just the two, my brother and sister, and my cousin Ari is like another brother..."

"I was the second of seven children. All boys."

Sören's eyebrows shot up. "Seven?" He let out a low whistle. "Wait, your surname is Lowry... you're Irish, right? Irish Catholic?"

Maglor said nothing in response.

Sören continued to go on, both in speech and hauling the tube up the hill. "So, do you keep in touch with your brothers..."

"They're all dead." Maglor looked away.

"Oh shit. I'm sorry." Sören swallowed hard, and then he leaned the tube up against his leg and reflexively wrapped his arms around Maglor. Maglor was wearing gloves today, but Sören had seen his hands enough times, and took the right hand in his, thumb stroking where the scar would be on Maglor's palm. "You said this was a war wound... and..." Sören's voice dropped to a whisper. "Is it IRA? The Troubles? Was that why you ended up in the States? It's OK, I won't tell anyone, my friend Frankie's uncle was in the IRA and he got killed in a car bomb, which is how her mum and aunt ended up leaving for England years ago... you and her uncle are about the same age -"

"I don't want to talk about it." Their eyes met.

"Sorry..."

"No need to apologize. I know you're... curious. It's understandable. It's just a sore spot for me." Maglor patted Sören's shoulder. "Besides, we didn't come here to talk."

They reached the top of the hill. Sören really wanted to go on the sled before he tried the tube. He looked at Dooku with those puppydog eyes again, but it was Maglor who said, "Here, I'll sled with you." He got behind Sören and put his arms around Sören - a sight that got Dooku a little aroused - and then they were off, speeding down the hill with Sören howling and laughing. When they got to the bottom they rolled out of the sled into the snow, and Dooku watched as Sören made a snow angel, wiggling his arms and legs, and then Maglor did the same thing at Sören's behest; he heard Maglor say, "I feel ridiculous."

"We are ridiculous, but it's OK." Sören got up and pulled Maglor up. "Come on, I wanna go again."

They dragged the sled back up the hill and then Maglor slapped Dooku on the shoulder and said, "Your turn," grinning.

Dooku rolled his eyes. "I..."

"Aw, come onnnnnnnnn," Sören whined. "Please?" He pouted.

Dooku would take the moon down from the sky and give it to Sören when he made that face. "Oh, all right," Dooku said, chuckling.

He got behind Sören and immediately hardened up at the feel of Sören's back against his chest, the feel of Sören in his arms. His cock throbbed when Sören tilted his head to give him a shy little smile and the briefest nuzzle of his beard.

Force, I want you. Dooku restrained the urge to pull Sören off the sled and take him in the snow.

All lustful thoughts were pushed out of his mind with the drop, the world rushing by in a dizzy blur. "I'm too old for thi-i-i-IIIIIIIIIIIS." Dooku's protest became a shout as the sled gained momentum, going even faster. Dooku felt almost like he was going to be sick, feeling like he was falling - and he'd driven on the Autobahn. But then Sören threw his hands in the air and his laughter rang out, and fear became joy, and by the time they got to the bottom of the hill and were thrown into the snow they were both laughing.

"See, it wasn't so bad," Sören said.

"I suppose not."

"I suppose not," Sören repeated in an imitation of Dooku's basso and London accent, and Dooku glared at him.

"There are worse things," Sören said in his regular voice.

"Such as..."

Sören made a tiny snowball and hit Dooku with it. He giggled at the irate look Dooku gave him. He stopped laughing when Dooku used the Force to fling some snow directly into Sören's face - there was nobody else around at the moment.

Sören used the Force to hit Dooku with two balls at once, and when Dooku said, "Brat," Sören gave him an innocent face and asked, "What's the problem? I thought you liked balls..."

Sören and Dooku ended up in a snowball fight, and at last Maglor intervened, coming down the hall and using the Force to barrage them both with dozens of snowballs. Sören collapsed in the snow in hysterics, while Dooku brushed snow off his face and winter coat and Maglor grinned at him.

"You know..." Dooku raised an eyebrow.

"I know." Maglor gestured to the hill. "Here, we can take the sled together and let Sören go down on the tube."

Sören had sat up, and at the phrase "go down on the tube" Sören fell over in the snow again, his sides heaving, laughing so hard he was snorting and wheezing. Dooku facepalmed, and Maglor turned bright red but his eyes were twinkling, and Dooku could feel across their bond that the innuendo had absolutely been intentional and Maglor was thinking filthy thoughts about Sören. When Maglor's eyes met Sören's, Maglor winked at him, and Sören crinkled his nose and bit his lower lip and it was all Dooku could do to not drag them off to the car and ravish them both.

They climbed the hill again, and Maglor and Dooku got on the sled, with Sören climbing into the tube. "I'm going down on the tube now," Sören giggled once he was inside.

Dooku smirked. "Hi Going Down On the Tube Now..."

A snowball hit him in the face, and then Sören was off, the tube spinning and spinning as it flew down the hill. "Oh, shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit," Sören yelled. The tube sped faster and Sören threw his hands in the air, laughing and screaming. Dooku was almost a little afraid for him, and then had his own fear to worry about as the sled zipped down the hill and the world was a blur again, the blood rushing to his head. Maglor's arms tightened around him, and Maglor tilted Dooku's face to steal a kiss just before the sled reached the bottom.

Sören wanted to go for one more round, and then after another ride on the sled with Sören in the tube, Dooku said, "I think that's enough excitement for one day," and they piled into the car.

Sören was in much better spirits, and felt like painting when they got home from the restaurant. Dooku made a pot of hot chocolate, and then Sören made a request of Maglor. "Do you think I could paint in the same room as you while you play music?"

Maglor considered for a moment, and he nodded.

Dooku read in the bedroom, enjoying the strains of Maglor's harp in the living room, and even more, feeling the way Maglor's creative energy and Sören's creative energy played together, touching the Living Force; after awhile Dooku noticed that he was levitating, and that he'd been levitating for some time without realizing it. He broke out into gooseflesh, again wondering if Sören was Fëanor... if it was the Flame and Song reunited, working deep magic.

"If."

Dooku was also deeply relaxed - it was as if the energy down the hall had lit a cozy fire and he felt like he'd come home. It was getting harder to pay attention to the book, and Dooku put it down and gently lowered himself onto the bed - if Maglor wanted sex before sleep, now was a good time to make that happen. He stretched, and made his way down the hall, noticing the harp music had stopped.

He was in time to see Maglor and Sören look at each other with awe, lips parted... and then Maglor took Sören's face in his hands and kissed him hard. Dooku's cock stirred at the sight, one of the most erotic things he'd ever witnessed. The kiss deepened, and when Sören made a little whimper into the kiss Maglor pulled away, breathing hard, and took a few steps back, as Sören stared at him, mouth open, looking a little dazed.

"I'm sorry," Maglor said, and started down the hall, looking down until he bumped into Dooku, who drew him into his arms, led him to bed.

Dooku bottomed that night, laying on his back with Maglor's teeth on his neck, driving into him with abandon, and it didn't take long for Dooku to come, completely lost by lust at the look on Maglor's face, the wild, savage side of him that came out to play, needing to take. Dooku thought of Maglor thrusting into Sören the same way, thought of what Sören would be like inside him, inside each of them, what it would be like to take Sören, to taste him... and when Maglor came inside him, he knew Maglor wasn't just coming for the man he was making love to underneath him, but Maglor was having the same thoughts about Sören, wishing he were in bed with them.

When they lay there afterwards, Dooku asked, "Why didn't you..." His voice trailed off.

"Why didn't I... what." Maglor raised an eyebrow.

"You kissed him and then you walked away. Why didn't you drag him down the hall with you?" Dooku gave a small smile. "I wouldn't have minded another night with him in our bed, especially not if we were both..."

Maglor let out a deep sigh. "Nicolae... our little friend has been through quite a lot. I know, from what I can feel, that you've been holding back on expressing your interest because you don't want him to get the impression he's obligated to go to bed with us to keep a roof over his head. I've been careful around him for the same reason, and... I kissed him without asking first if it was OK. I want him to feel safe again, not feel like he's in a situation that hits on consent issues in a bad way..."

"I understand." Dooku nodded and patted him. "But now that you have gone ahead and kissed him..." Dooku pinched the bridge of his nose. "We're going to have to have a talk with him and clear the air about our feelings, where things stand. We have tomorrow night off, so it's the opportune time..."

"And not just for that. Nicolae, I have to tell him."

Dooku's eyebrows went up.

Maglor went on. "He thinks I've been in the IRA, for fuck's sake. That might seem like a harmless white lie to you, but even without not feeling right about lying to someone we might be letting into our relationship about 'the Elf thing'..." He made air quotes. "It has the potential to cause complications. If the situation with Justin ever escalates and Sören has to go to the police, I don't want him to feel like he can't because he has to protect me since he assumes I was IRA. I..." Maglor facepalmed. "I didn't plan on telling him now, but I suppose there is no other time for this."

"If you're sure."

"I do wonder if the truth of what I am will scare him away, even if my desire - our desire - does not. If you'd known from the start that I'm not human, would you have pursued a relationship with me?"

Dooku answered honestly. "I don't know. But I'm glad that you and I are together, just the same." He affectionately tweaked the pointy tip of Maglor's ear and gave it a soft little kiss. "I love you, Macalaurë."

"I love you, Uncle Ñolofinwë." Maglor's arms tightened around him, and Dooku felt the lump in Maglor's throat, the weight in his chest, worrying have I found my father just to lose him again?


_


The next day Sören mostly kept to himself - he went out by himself in the afternoon, just for a short walk, but it was still something, and then he painted until dinner.

Dinner was spent in awkward silence, with Sören not looking at either of them and not saying much except to compliment the meal - Maglor had made a lasagna. After Sören did dishes he was going to go back to his room and paint some more, and before he could walk away Maglor said, "No, Sören, wait, we need to talk to you."

Their eyes finally met. Maglor gestured to the armchair in the living room. "Sit."

Sören took the armchair and Maglor and Dooku took the couch. Sören looked down until Dooku cleared his throat, giving Maglor an expectant look.

"Sören, I want to start off by telling you again I'm sorry about last night," Maglor said. "I should have asked first before I kissed you, if it was OK or not. I had no right..."

Sören swallowed hard. "I liked it," he husked.

"You." Maglor's eyes widened. "You did."

Sören bit his lower lip and nodded. "I wanted you to kiss me again. I... I want you, Mark." He looked at Dooku, then. "I want both of you."

Dooku would have turned cartwheels across the room if he could. His heart soared. "You do?" Dooku's eyebrows shot up. His heart was racing, stomach fluttering. "That night Justin showed up at the restaurant and you kissed me... that wasn't acting...?"

Sören laughed and shook his head. "No, Nico, that wasn't acting, but I was afraid to tell you how I felt... afraid you wouldn't want me."

"Oh, sweetheart. That sure as hell wasn't acting on my part."

Sören licked his lips, and their eyes met. Dooku found himself getting up from the couch, going over to Sören, standing him up and sitting back down with Sören in his lap, holding him, kissing him so hard it took their breath away. Sören moaned into the kiss, and Dooku's cock throbbed urgently, wanting him as badly as he'd ever wanted anything. "Sören. My sweet, sweet Sören." He kissed Sören again and again, and then he took Sören's chin in his hand, thumb stroking the beard, and looked into those beautiful brown eyes, like liquid chocolate. "Daddy's here," he whispered, and Sören cried out into the kiss, shivering, making a precious little whimper as the kiss deepened, heated.

"Fuck," Sören panted, trembling.

Dooku started kissing and licking Sören's neck, breathing in the scent of him, and then Maglor came over and got on his knees at the armchair, and he and Sören were kissing, as Dooku continued to work on Sören's neck. Sören moaned into each kiss, and Maglor was breathing harder, taking time to suck and nibble on Sören's lower lip before claiming his mouth again. Dooku and Maglor shared a kiss then, and Sören groaned at the sight of them before Dooku's mouth found Sören's once more and Maglor began to lick and kiss Sören's neck, hands wandering. There was a little smile on Maglor's face when he found the bulge in Sören's jeans and rubbed, making Sören gasp and cry out before Dooku kissed him again.

When Dooku stopped kissing Sören's mouth for a bit to trail tender little kisses along his jaw, nuzzle Sören's beard, Sören said, "You don't know how badly I've been wanting this."

"We were worried you were going to feel pressured if we told you how we felt," Maglor said. "We don't want you to feel like you have to be with us if you don't want to, to stay here..."

"I want to. I want to so much." Sören shuddered. He gave a shy little smile as he said, "It's insane how much I've been jerking off thinking about both of you..."

Dooku almost came just from that revelation, the delicious mental images of Sören stroking himself to climax fantasizing about them almost too much to bear. It was his turn to moan now as he kissed Sören hard, and Sören groaned back, stroking Dooku's beard before his hand trailed down to rub Dooku's chest.

"We want to make love to you, darling." Dooku kissed along Sören's jaw again, back down to his neck. "We want to love you."

"I want it too, but." Sören let out a sigh.

"What?" Maglor raised an eyebrow.

Maglor and Dooku stopped kissing and caressing Sören for a moment to let him speak. Sören looked down, and when he looked back up - staring at the ceiling - there were tears in his eyes. "I was raped."

"You told me about the gang rape in Reykjavik," Dooku said, nodding.

Sören gave a bitter laugh. "That wasn't the last time." He looked at Dooku, meeting his eyes, then at Maglor, also meeting his eyes. "Justin raped me more than once."

"Jesus." Dooku's urgent lust was replaced by the urgent need to kill, and when he looked at Maglor and saw the fury reflected in Maglor's eyes, a mutual understanding flashed between them - He is going to pay for that with his life. Dooku didn't know how, or when, they were going to annihilate the filth calling itself Justin Roberts, only that they would, and it was something they would figure out another time.

Here and now... taking care of Sören was their priority. Sören's breath was shaking, his voice shaking. "I was so afraid of him by the time you guys found me... I was still trying to do nice things thinking I could placate him somehow, but..."

"But he raped you." Maglor's voice was dripping with contempt. "What a scumbag. And unfortunately, I'm not surprised."

"You never went to the police?" And Dooku knew of course that the answer was no - he knew how the British criminal justice system worked, he'd been a part of it three decades ago and not a whole lot had changed. Rape victims were treated not much better than criminals, having to go to inordinate lengths to prove what happened, and someone with Sören's background - a gay man, an immigrant, who had a history of promiscuity in Reykjavik - already had strikes against him coming out the gate.

"Are you completely daft?" Sören gave him a look, and then he mumbled, "Sorry."

"No, it's..." Dooku patted him. "It was a stupid question, of course you couldn't have gone to the police... which is a fucking shame, because that man deserves to be behind bars."

"And by 'behind bars' we mean 'bars impaled through his body till he bleeds to death'," Maglor snarled. Then he took Sören's chin in his hand. "We love you, Sören. We're sorry he hurt you. We don't think any less of you -"

Sören patted Maglor's hand.

"I know you may not think of me as, like, damaged goods," Sören said, "but... as horny as I am right now, wanting to make love with both of you, I..." He looked down and blinked back tears. "I can't go all the way yet. I tried to use a toy, when I was getting my sex drive back - got it back because of you guys, heh - and I got triggered just from that. So..."

"There are other things we can do, if you're not ready for that," Dooku said.

"OK. I want to be able to do that with you, eventually. I think I can, once my body learns to feel safe with you guys, just like... my thing with going out, by myself. I want to try. But not just yet. I'm glad you understand that and yes, we can do other things." Sören's eyes gleamed. His voice went from mischievous to sad as he looked down again. "It's just as well because I'm going to need to get tested for stuff to go all the way, if you don't want to use condoms. I was clean as recently as October, when I moved in with Justin, and there'd only been him, I should go to the clinic in a couple days, since it's the end of February..."

"That's considerate of you," Dooku said.

Maglor snorted. "I can't get diseases..." And then his jaw dropped, realizing what he'd just said out loud.

Sören raised an eyebrow.

"Oh shit."

"Well, you were planning on telling him, tonight." Dooku cocked his head to one side.

"Telling me what?" Sören gave Dooku a suspicious look, then Maglor.

"OK. So." Maglor took a deep breath. "Sören, now that we've all come clean about our feelings, and you want to go to bed with us... well, consent should be informed consent, and there's something you need to know if we let you into our relationship, because it's a pretty big deal and it will impact you with time."

Sören folded his arms.

Dooku patted Sören to get up, and once he did, Dooku got up from the armchair and turned off the lights in the living room and kitchen, leaving just the small light on above the stove.

"What's going on? Why does everything need to be dark?" Sören asked.

"Sören, look at me," Maglor said.

Sören's jaw dropped as he watched Maglor's hair lengthen from the middle of his back down to his thighs and he began to glow silver. His complexion was even more flawless, smooth as marble, and his eyes became a light iridescent silver-grey like they were made of labradorite. Maglor tucked hair behind his ears to reveal the pointy tips.

"Þú ert einn af huldufólki."

"Your ancestors would have recognized my people as the huldufólk, yes, Sören," Maglor said, his voice resonating like several voices at once.

"You..." Sören gasped, and started to tremble, crying a little. "You're so beautiful."

"So are you, love."

Sören cried harder. Maglor came back over to him and pulled Sören into his arms, and gave him a sweet kiss. Sören's fingers brushed the tips of Maglor's ears, played through his hair - held a strand of it, glancing with near-disbelief at its length - and his fingers traced Maglor's face then.

"I can't believe it, the huldufólk are real?" Sören's voice was hushed with reverence.

Maglor just nodded.

Dooku turned the lights back on. Maglor continued to glow, not as intensely, and Sören kept looking at his eyes, the flood of hair, the pointy ears. "You're so fucking hot," Sören said, giggling, and Maglor laughed too. "God, no wonder one of my ancestors shagged an Elf..."

Maglor facepalmed, laughing harder. "Did they really?"

"There's a rumor that we have Elf blood way back. Ancestor burned as a witch, had some kind of magical powers, pointy ears..." Sören shrugged. "Who the fuck knows."

Dooku's Romanian family had rumors of changeling blood, and Maglor had explained once that for an Elf to reincarnate as mortal it only took "one drop" of Elven blood to do so. Dooku broke into gooseflesh now, wondering once again if he was looking at the reincarnation of Fëanor...

"So, Sören." Maglor brought Sören over to the couch, sat down with him, took Sören's hand and kissed it. "Now that you've seen what I really am, you need to know how this is going to affect things..."

Sören raised an eyebrow then. "Your name's not really Mark, is it? That seems like a weird name for an Elf to have."

"It's not, but you can still call me that if you want. It would actually be easier for you to call me one thing consistently so you don't slip up in public, as I'm not in the habit of advertising I'm not human. Which is actually what I was about to get into." Maglor looked at Dooku, who nodded, and then back at Sören. "I'm immortal."

"Hi Immortal, I'm Sören."

Maglor pressed his face against the back of the couch, making a noise. "You walked into it," Dooku said.

"Thank you, that was exceedingly helpful commentary," Maglor shot back.

Sören grinned, and Maglor poked him. Then he went on. "I don't age. I've been alive... a long, long time. Because I don't age, and people get suspicious if you've been living in a place forty years and still look like you're in your twenties or thirties, I necessarily have to move around. I had a bad experience in the 1970s in the States and because of this, my 'shelf life' for staying any place is about seven to ten years. I've been in London since 2010, and sometime within the next one to three years Nicolae and I will have to think about moving. Again."

"Is that why you were in Sweden?" Sören asked Dooku.

Dooku nodded. "And Amsterdam before that. And Berlin before that."

"We met in Berlin, in December 1989. We've been together all this time," Maglor said.

"That's... holy shit, wow," Sören said.

"We want you to come with us, wherever it is we go."

"And I want... Mark... to not be alone, when I eventually..." Dooku didn't finish the sentence.

"You're sixty-seven, dammit, and you don't look it or act it. That's not even old nowadays," Maglor said, blinking back tears, not wanting to think about the inevitable end of Dooku's life.

"I maybe have another twenty good years, but that's hardly a drop in the bucket for you." Dooku turned to Sören. "I want you to take care of him, when..."

Sören reached out to squeeze Dooku's hand, and squeezed Maglor's hand with the other hand. Dooku and Maglor clasped their free hands and squeezed as well; Maglor leaned against Dooku for a moment, stifling a sob.

After a few minutes of tearful silence, Maglor went on. "When I move, I have to protect my secret. Forged identity paperwork. A new backstory to go with the identity, though I keep most people at an arm's length enough where I don't have to get into it. This Mark Lowry is American, when I was in Sweden I was pretending to be British." He gave a guilty grin. "I was pretending to be Swiss German in the 1980s and 1990s."

"You were also pretending you had good taste in music," Dooku quipped, desperately needing a moment of levity after the talk of his mortality.

Maglor glared.

"When I met Mark," Dooku said, putting a hand on Sören's shoulder, "he had so much hairspray in his hair I believe he was single-handedly responsible for the hole in the ozone layer. He was rather a fan of Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Poison, Dokken..."

Maglor facepalmed.

Sören doubled over laughing. "Oh my god, really. Do you have pictures..."

"I do," Dooku said, nodding. "He doesn't like his photograph taken but I do have some photos of that time anyway."

"We... are not going to look at those right now," Maglor said.

"You were still quite fetching, dear," Dooku said, planting a kiss on Maglor's forehead. "Especially in those leather trousers."

"Oooh, leather trousers?" Sören made a little growl. "I'd love to see that."

Maglor was blushing. "Hells, Nicolae..."

"Leave your unicorn out of this," Dooku teased.

And Sören had another gigglefit, and finally explained, wheezing, "I'm sitting here with an Elf... who has a stuffed unicorn named Hells... and likes Dokken..."

Maglor covered his face in his hands and made noises. Dooku patted him. Sören also patted him.

"ANYWAY," Maglor said, "it's a difficult life."

"Must be, being a Dokken fan," Sören said.

"You know..."

Sören kissed the tip of his nose. "I know."

When Sören calmed down, Maglor took both his hands and said, "So... as I was saying. I move around from place to place. Seeing the world might sound exciting except it's not when you're not doing it by choice and you're living as something of a refugee because the world can't know what you are - I've seen the consequences of what happens when they do know, and have barely survived them. It's been better having Nicolae around, we've made the most of it, I've managed to find some happiness, finally, the last twenty-six years... but he's had to make some sacrifices too as he moves around with me, and we live in a mild degree of paranoia of my secret being exposed somehow."

"That's why you guys have been together so long and not gotten married since gay marriage is legal now, right?" Sören asked, after another few minutes of tearful silence. "Because of the paperwork thing?"

Maglor nodded. "The people I hire to draft up new IDs and other documents every time I need to move, they're pretty thorough, but it's getting harder each time with the world being so automated now. It was a lot easier to move around a couple centuries ago. My paperwork will hold up with something like a routine police pullover or having to show ID at the bank, things like that, I don't want to risk being in a database with a legal partnership."

"That sucks."

"Yes, it does." Maglor rubbed Sören's hands. "And that, my dear Sören, is what you're looking at. We want you to share our life with us, but... it's a much more complicated decision than just agreeing to go to bed with us or not. It's the entire package of..."

"I already left home once." Sören shrugged. "You guys feel like home to me. I don't want to lose that." He stroked Maglor's face. Then he reached out to take Dooku's hand, and put an arm around him, leaning against Dooku as Dooku stroked his curls. He looked up at Dooku with adoring eyes. "You lead, and I will follow."

Dooku got on his knees and kissed Sören, hard and hungry, remembering echoing those same words to Fëanor, back in the days when he was Fingolfin. His head was as dizzy as it had been on the sled, the rest of the world blurring as he was carried away in the rush of passion. "Sören," he rasped. "Shall we..."

"Please," Sören breathed.

Maglor kissed Sören, and then Maglor and Dooku kissed each other, and Maglor and Dooku took Sören's hands and pulled him from the couch, leading him down the hall to the bedroom, Sören breathless and giggling. Sören was stone sober once they stepped into the bedroom and Maglor and Dooku were looking at him like he was a feast and they were starving.

"Yes," Sören whispered, and pulled his lovers into his arms, marching them backwards to the bed.

Chapter Text

Sören lay in the middle of the bed, with Dooku to his left, Maglor to his right. They were all naked now, and Sören took each of their hands, eyes raking each of them in turn. He gave a happy little sigh and giggled when Dooku and Maglor leaned in to him together, to take turns kissing him, and Sören's giggles became a moan when Dooku and Maglor kissed each other.

"The two of you are so fucking hot," Sören said, letting go of their hands so he could run his hands over their bare chests. The fingers of one hand rubbed Dooku's silver chest hair as the fingers of the other brushed Maglor's nipple. Maglor kissed Sören again and then began to kiss, lick, and nibble Sören's neck and shoulder, making him arch and moan, and Sören's fingers continued to play over Dooku's chest. Dooku leaned back down to stroke Sören's face, kissing him deeply as Maglor's mouth continued its work on Sören's neck, and Sören's fingers walked down from Dooku's chest through the silver bush, over to the hair on his thighs, to brush the hair on his arm, and then Sören's fingers played over his whiskers, petting, skritching.

"You." Sören bit his lower lip, heat in his brown eyes. "Are my wet dream come true, sir."

Dooku chuckled, blushing. "You really like older men?"

"God." Sören shivered, and pulled Dooku into another kiss, guiding Dooku's hand to his hard cock. "You have no idea. I must have jerked off to you five times the other day."

Dooku groaned, his cock jolting and throbbing in response; Sören kissed Dooku again, smiling into the kiss, and they both moaned as their cocks bumped up together, feeling the delicious sensation of silken hard cock rubbing silken hard cock. They moaned louder when Sören took them both into his hand, stroking slowly.

Maglor claimed Sören's mouth again, and Sören's free hand played with Maglor's hair, tweaked the pointy tip of his ear before brushing down from his face to his throat to his chest, gently rubbing a nipple. "You are so gorgeous," Sören purred. He grinned and added, "Speaking of liking older men."

Maglor grinned back and gave Sören a more playful kiss, their tongues rubbing together. As he started kissing Sören's neck again he said, "Quite a lot older, yes."

"Mmmmmm." Sören let go of his and Dooku's cock for a moment to rub Maglor's hair with one hand and pet Dooku's whiskers with the other. "Does this mean I have two daddies?"

Dooku's cock throbbed again and he kissed Sören hard, taking his and Sören's cocks into his own hand, stroking a little harder than before. "Yes, love. And your daddies are going to take good care of you now."

"Fuck." Sören broke out into gooseflesh at that, shivering, and arched to them again; Dooku groaned as he watched Sören's cock drip precum onto his.

Maglor also groaned, and kissed his way down to Sören's nipple. "Yes, baby." He lapped and suckled, then gave the nipple ring a gentle tug with his teeth before lapping some more. Dooku could feel across their bond that Maglor had been suspecting Sören was the reincarnation of Fëanor, and the idea that he was and the role reversal - being his father's daddy - was a kinky turn-on for Maglor, making the sweetness of their sin even more delicious.

At some point, they would need to raise the issue of Fëanor with Sören... but right now, other things were raised and needing attention.

Sören's moans got louder as Maglor continued to lap and suckle at his nipple, fingers playing with the nipple ring as he leaned over to tongue the other one. Sören moaned into Dooku's kisses, the fingers of Dooku's free hand whispering over Sören's bare flesh, his body quickening to Sören's hands sliding over him, feeling his musculature and body hair, the maleness of him... and feeling Sören's shielding down, Sören sharing his raw, primal lust, how much he was aroused by both of them. He was already on that edge, aching for release, and they had only just begun.

"You are so beautiful," Maglor said, meeting Sören's eyes before his tongue got back to work on Sören's swollen nipple. After a few licks he played with the nipple ring again and came up to kiss Sören, and then sucked on his lower lip. "Exquisite." His free hand traced the flames on Sören's arm.

"Yes, he is." Dooku stroked Sören's face and looked into his eyes, wanting Sören to see the love in his eyes before he took Sören's chin in his hand and gave him a soft, sweet kiss that deepened, fire calling to fire. When Dooku pulled back, breathing harder, he pet Sören some more, who smiled, and Dooku put his fingers in Sören's mouth, cock throbbing again at the sight of those full lips wrapped around his fingers, sucking, wondering what else he could do with that mouth. "Our beautiful, precious boy."

"Such a special boy." Maglor nibbled Sören's nipple, and Sören gasped and cried out, bucking up against them. Dooku felt Sören's cock pulsing against his and there was another gush of precum, which almost set him off.

Sören's pierced nipples looked delectably tempting, swollen, glistening, and as Maglor suckled one, Dooku kissed his way down Sören's neck and began to lap the other. Soon he and Maglor were working in the same rhythm, and as both of Sören's nipples were licked and sucked at the same time he made the most wonderful noises, writhing, thrashing around, desperate cries in his native Icelandic. "Ó, fjandinn, það er svo gott..."

"Mmmmmmmm." Dooku glanced up to watch Sören as he feasted. He let go of their cocks, his erection grinding against Sören's thigh, fingers walking over Sören's body.

"Ég ætla að koma ef þú heldur þessu áfram."

Maglor laughed a little - he understood the word koma - and his tongue swirled around the aerole, making Sören cry out again. "Don't come just yet, love. We want to taste you."

"Fuck..." Sören shuddered.

"But first, we want to worship you properly." Dooku's tongue also swirled around the aerole, before taking a few licks at the nipple, and suckling again. "Such a beautiful work of art deserves to be appreciated."

Sören swallowed hard. "Justin never did this..."

Of course he didn't. He could see the memories now - Justin fucking Sören quickly without foreplay, or making Sören give him a blowjob without reciprocating. Sören couldn't even get hard in the last few months of their relationship and, pressured into sex - increasingly, forced, Justin not taking "no" for an an answer - Sören would just lay there and pray to get it done and over with, trying to get his mind to wander somewhere else to take the edge off his body's fight-or-flight response.

Dooku fought back another scorching surge of rage that Justin hadn't just merely used Sören for his own pleasure, not caring about Sören's pleasure, but had raped him more than once... He returned his focus to pleasing the delicious young man, who was definitely not praying to get it over and done with now, whose mind was very present, whose cock was very, very hard. "You need a real man, not a spoilt child who demands instant gratification." Dooku's teeth were on Sören's nipple now, and Sören cried out again, nails digging into Dooku's back. "I don't know how anyone would not want to feast on this lovely body of yours, for hours."

Sören gave a shuddery gasp, and let out a little whimper as they sucked on his nipples some more. He was practically sobbing as they started licking them again, and reached down to touch himself. One of Dooku's hands covered Sören's, slowing it down, with Sören whimpering again, and then Sören slipped his hand away and brought it to Dooku's lips - Dooku groaned as he saw Sören's fingers slick with precum, and he groaned louder when Sören stuck the fingers in his mouth, tasting the lightly sweet nectar.

Sören pulled his hand back, stroked himself some more, getting his fingers slick again, and shoved them back into Dooku's mouth, with Dooku sucking more slowly and deliberately this time, savoring. There was heat in Maglor's eyes as he watched - he was sucking Sören's nipple harder than before - and when Sören's fingers were once again coated with precum he offered them to Maglor. Dooku's cock twinged watching Maglor suck Sören's fingers and lick them clean, even licking the palm, as Sören trembled with desire. Sören slicked his fingers again and Maglor sucked greedily, looking like he could eat Sören alive, licking Sören's fingers again and again.

When Sören's fingers collected more precum, Dooku saw the mischief in Sören's eyes, his cock pulsing urgently as Sören crinkled his nose and bit his lower lip - just before Sören rubbed precum onto one nipple, then the other. Dooku and Maglor suckled like they were starving for it, and Sören cradled their heads, panting, gasping, moaning louder, his hips bucking, guiding Dooku's hand to his cock to stroke. Now Dooku's own fingers were wet with Sören's precum and he stuck them in Sören's mouth - watching Sören's lips around his fingers again brought another sharp ache of sexual hunger. Dooku kissed Sören passionately, sharing the taste between them, and Sören's hips rolled, fucking the hand stroking his cock.

"Please," Sören whispered. "I need to come..."

Dooku smiled at him. "In due time, pet."

He resumed licking, sucking and nibbling Sören's nipple, with Sören continuing to anoint his nipples with precum for them to taste. Sören was writhing, bucking feverishly, and could barely string two words together, until at last he cried out "Ég vil ykkur báða. Ég vil að þú hættir aldrei að sleikja mig."

The sound of him speaking Icelandic was so beautiful - and erotic. Dooku groaned as he suckled, and again as he lapped and lapped. No matter what happened from this point forward, this night would always be burned into his mind as one of the most sensual experiences of his life, a night he never wanted to end.

Sören's cock was flushed a deep pink and so wet with precum that it was getting more and more difficult to resist the urge to taste that, too. Maglor and Dooku began to kiss and lick and caress their way down his body, spending time on his stomach, his hips and thighs, and at last their heads were between his legs, hovering over his cock, looking at it like they were admiring a gourmet dessert.

Sören's uncut cock had a Prince Albert piercing in the head - a captive bead ring. It was Dooku's first time seeing a pierced cock in-person, and the ornament added to Sören's exotic beauty. Dooku hooked a finger through the ring, playing with it a little, and then curiosity got the better of him and he licked the site of the piercing, which was very sensitive and made Sören gasp and buck against him. Dooku and Maglor spent the next few minutes licking Sören's cock all over, paying special attention to the head and the prominent frenulum, tracing the veins standing out on the shaft with their tongues. Sören writhed and screamed, his cock continuing to drip precum that they chased with their tongues, and Sören moaned as he watched Dooku and Maglor kiss with the precum on their tongues.

After awhile Maglor swallowed Sören's cock down to the hilt, and Dooku licked and sucked at Sören's balls, kissed and nibbled his thighs. Sören grabbed Maglor's hair and gently fucked his mouth, though Maglor sucked him slowly, teasingly. Maglor finally relented, sucking harder and faster, with Dooku licking faster at Sören's balls, not able to keep from stroking himself at the sound of Sören moaning, watching him writhe and buck and quiver, eyes glazed with passion. Before Sören could come in Maglor's mouth, Maglor teasingly let Sören's cock slip out and started licking it again, with Dooku joining him. Then it was Dooku's turn to suck Sören's cock, going slowly, smiling a little around the cock in his mouth at Sören grabbing the headboard white-knuckled, making inhuman noises at the slow teasing. Maglor licked Sören's balls slowly, nuzzled them reverently. When Dooku sucked harder and faster Sören's breath came in shuddering gasps, Sören bit his lip and moaned, nails digging into Dooku's shoulders.

Dooku decided to take Maglor's lead and took his mouth off Sören's cock just before he could come, and then they were licking his cock together again, from the head down the shaft to the root and back up. Then Dooku licked at Sören's head while Maglor's tongue rubbed up and down the shaft, and then Maglor was licking the head of Sören's cock while Dooku's tongue was on the shaft. Maglor put just the tip of Sören's cock back in his mouth, sucking just the head, kissing it, while Dooku's tongue continued to rub the shaft. And then they switched, with the head of Sören's cock in Dooku's mouth, Maglor's tongue dancing all over the shaft and Sören's balls. When Dooku slipped his tongue into Sören's foreskin, lips continuing to suction the head, Sören lost it, letting out a wordless howl before screaming "Ég ætla að koma. Ó guð, ég er að koma..."

...and Dooku was rewarded with the spicy-sweet taste of Sören's cum, like peppery citrus and a hint of woodsmoke. He loved it, swallowing it down, licking Sören's cock clean, kissing Maglor passionately with a little of Sören's cum on his tongue to share the taste of their new lover, savor him. Maglor moaned into the kiss and Dooku groaned, his cock aching for attention as it rubbed up against Maglor's cock.

Sören lay there dazed, catching his breath, and then his face lit up as Dooku and Maglor climbed up to lay on either side of him, snuggling him as he drifted down from his climax. "That was," Sören said, "the best blowjob I've ever had." His accent was charmingly, meltingly heavier.

"Mmmmm, that was just round one." Maglor grinned and kissed him, and Sören kissed back hungrily, his cock hardening up again as Maglor gently played with it.

Maglor and Dooku took turns kissing Sören, and as Maglor continued to stroke Sören's cock, Sören reached out and took a cock in each hand.

"You guys need to be taken care of, too," Sören said.

"Eventually." Maglor stroked Sören's face and nuzzled him before giving him a soft little kiss. "We want to take care of our boy tonight." Maglor's fingers walked down from Sören's face to brush a nipple, and he started to lick and suck at Sören's nipples again as Dooku tilted Sören's face to his and kissed him hard.

"Mmmmmf," Sören moaned into the kiss, and he trembled, bucked again. "You guys are gonna spoil me..."

"That's the idea, sweetheart." Dooku kissed Sören's forehead, and put a hand on Sören's heart, wanting him to feel the love he felt, the tenderness, the compassion and passion. He pet Sören's curls with his other hand, raining little kisses over his face before kissing his mouth again, and Sören let go of the cocks he was stroking and threw his arms around Dooku, whimpering into the kiss as he bucked up against Dooku, their cocks meeting once more.

"Oh, love." Dooku shivered, not just at the feel of Sören's cock rubbing his, not just at the sight of it, but the consuming lust he felt - the surge of heat at how much Sören could lose himself in the throes of passion, like Sören was a wild, primal force of nature cloaked in mortal flesh... wondering how much more intense it would be once Sören was more recovered, able to go all the way with them. He groaned as he kissed Sören again, and they kissed and kissed, Sören's hands sliding down to Dooku's hips to urge him along, to keep rubbing their cocks together.

Maglor stopped working on Sören's nipple and began kissing his way down, over Sören's side and his hip and outer thigh - one of Sören's hands left Dooku's hip to twine itself in Maglor's hair, petting... and then Maglor's mouth was around both their cocks at once. Sören cried out, and Dooku moaned. The feel of their cocks rubbing together was exquisite enough, their cocks rubbing together in the wet velvet heat of Maglor's mouth was to die for.

"Oh god," Sören moaned, slowly rolling his hips, his cock sliding against Dooku's cock, gently fucking Maglor's mouth. "Oh my fucking god..."

Dooku kissed Sören hard, and now he too had a hand in Maglor's hair. Maglor looked up at them with heat in his eyes, and pulled his mouth off their cocks to give the heads a teasing lick before sucking on them again.

"God..." Sören trembled, and so did Dooku. Sören's hand let go of Maglor's hair and his hands caressed Dooku's chest, fingers running through the chest hair. "I want to worship your body, too." With that, Sören leaned in, and took a playful lick at the silver pelt, then another, and then his tongue was grooming the hair on Dooku's chest, with Dooku moaning and sighing at every lash of the younger man's tongue. "So sexy," Sören husked, before his tongue found its way to a nipple. Soon, Sören was feasting on Dooku's nipples one at a time, his fingers rolling and pinching one while he licked and sucked the other, their hips rocking together a little faster and harder, Maglor sucking their cocks faster and harder. Dooku groaned and shivered as Sören's clever tongue and luscious full lips brought his nipples to aching peaks, Sören's fingers teasing them.

When he could take no more he took Sören's face in his hands and kissed him deep, pushing him against the pillows. They kissed again and again, and then Sören started kissing his neck and shoulder, giving a little smile of satisfaction at how sensitive Dooku was there, as well. His fingers continued to explore Dooku's body, caressing his stomach, his spine, his hips. Then Dooku was tonguing Sören's nipples again and Sören grabbed Maglor's hair and started fucking his mouth hard, with Dooku matching Sören's rhythm. Maglor loved it, moaning, stroking himself as he sucked them faster, worked his tongue as he took what he could of their two cocks in his mouth. When Dooku's kisses left Sören's nipples and were on Sören's throat, Sören let out a wail and ground out, "I'm so fucking close..."

"Yes love." Dooku took Sören's hands in his and squeezed. "Come with me in his mouth..." He kissed Sören hard, and they climaxed together, crying out into the kiss, with Maglor also crying out as they flooded his mouth together - they could feel him shaking, knew Maglor was coming too. After he swallowed, Maglor was panting, gasping for breath, and he leaned against Dooku's hip and thigh, laughing a little with the euphoria of his release.

"Oh, you guys taste good together," Maglor said, and took a few licks at their still-leaking cocks, giving them aftershocks. With cum on his tongue he came up to kiss Sören, then Dooku, letting them taste their combined essence for themselves. Sören licked his lips, loving it, and Dooku kissed Maglor again to taste it some more... and to enjoy kissing him, that bonding of mutual enjoyment in this new experience.

A new experience, that felt like an old experience. Sören's skin was feverish, like a living furnace. And it wasn't long before Sören was ready to go again, kissing both of them, hands wandering over them. Sören was thirsty, the same way Fëanor had been so long ago.

"I think I should say thank you to my other daddy for making me feel so good," Sören purred, rolling over to kiss Maglor more deeply, hand reaching down to stroke Maglor's cock.

Maglor cupped Sören's chin in his hand, thumb stroking the beard, index finger tracing Sören's full lips. His eyes locked with Sören's before kissing him back, and his hand left Sören's face to wrap his arms around him. Dooku's breath caught at the sight of them kissing - his own cock was waking up again, ready for more. Dooku's cock throbbed as Maglor and Sören's cocks rubbed together, and Dooku groaned as Sören collected the precum that was already flowing from both their cocks and stuck his fingers in Maglor's mouth.

Maglor kissed Sören again, and then Sören grabbed Dooku and pulled him over, and they each took turns kissing Dooku as they continued to rub together. Sören's fingers went into Dooku's mouth and Dooku growled at the taste of Sören and Maglor, thinking about doing to them what Maglor had done a short while ago.

But before he could lean in to take them both in his mouth, Sören rolled Maglor onto his back and got on top of him, cocks continuing to rub together, and after a few more kisses Sören was kissing Maglor's neck and then his nipples. Sören's eyes met Dooku's and Dooku came over to the other side of Maglor so he and Sören could lick and suck Maglor's nipples together, making him arch to them, moaning, panting. "That feels incredible," he purred.

Sören gently played with Maglor's cock as he lapped and suckled, and then Sören's fingers were at Dooku's lips again, for Dooku to taste Maglor's precum. Maglor moaned as he watched Dooku licking and sucking Sören's fingers clean, and again when Sören anointed his nipples with more precum and Sören and Dooku lapped and suckled even harder. Dooku rubbed against Maglor's leg, but as worked up as he was, he took his time, wanting to see where this went.

Sören kissed and licked Maglor's stomach, then his thighs, while Dooku continued pleasuring Maglor's nipples, one then the other, back and forth. Sören took Maglor's cock into his mouth, swallowing it to the hilt, and Dooku watched, his cock throbbing at the sight of Sören's full lips wrapped around Maglor's cock, the passion burning in his brown eyes. Maglor pet Sören's curls, and let out a moan as Sören moved his head up and down, cock sliding in and out of his lips, nice and slow.

Sören's hand rubbed Maglor's balls as he sucked, and Dooku came up to kiss Maglor and play with his hair. Every now and again Dooku turned his head to watch Sören's beautiful mouth full of Maglor's cock, and when Sören took Maglor's cock out of his mouth to lick it, Dooku reached down to rub Sören's head.

"Such a good boy," Dooku said.

"I want to be a good boy, Daddy," Sören said, before licking Maglor's cock some more.

"That feels so good, honey," Maglor said, stroking Sören's face, "but you don't have to do this just because I did it for you... we know Justin forced you..."

Sören stopped and narrowed his eyes. "Mark, before Justin I used to love giving head. Loved, loved sucking cock." He gave Maglor's cock a few more licks. "This is reminding me why. I'm doing this because I want to... I love doing this to you." With that, he took Maglor's cock back into his mouth and Maglor groaned, grabbing Sören's curls.

"You're good at it," Maglor laughed, and shivered when Sören took him deep in his throat, not gagging. Sören sucked a little harder and faster, and Maglor moaned, and moaned again as Dooku kissed him.

Sören deep-throated him for awhile, then focused more attention on the head, his hand rubbing the rest of the shaft, and when Sören took his cock out to lick it, Maglor let him take a few licks and then he growled. "You little tease."

Sören grinned at him and put his tongue in the slit, lapping.

Maglor groaned and grabbed Sören's curls hard, pulling his head up, and he kissed Sören passionately. Sören cried out into the kiss, and cried out again when Maglor bit Sören's lower lip. Dooku recognized that look in Maglor's eyes - he usually got that look when he wanted to top. Sören wasn't ready for that, but there were ways to establish that kind of control without penetration.

"Tonight we want to take care of you," Maglor said, fingers stroking Sören's chest over his heart. "We really mean that. I really mean that."

"I want to keep sucking you..."

"I know. I didn't say you couldn't. But there are ways for you to do that and still let us take care of you." Maglor turned to Dooku. "Aren't there."

Dooku smiled. He knew what Maglor was suggesting, and his cock got even harder at the thought.

The reality was even more delicious than the thought, as they got into position - Sören got back between Maglor's legs, swallowing down his cock, Dooku's head was between Sören's legs to suck him, and Maglor took Dooku into his mouth. Hands caressed as mouths worked, languid and sensual, then feverish and hungry. Dooku loved Sören being in his mouth, and he had memories of Fingolfin and Fëanor sucking each other, tasting each other, which added to the sweetness of the here and now, that feeling that Sören belonged to them and they to him... that everything had fallen into place.

Dooku took Sören's hand, clasped it. It will be all right, sweetheart. Everything's going to be all right. You're safe now.

Sören let go, climaxing in Dooku's mouth, crying out around Maglor's cock. That set off the chain reaction - Dooku lost control at the taste of Sören, drinking him down, and Maglor came at the same time, overcome by the pleasure across their Force bond. The release was shattering, endless, glorious light and the feeling of love, love, love.

Somehow, the three found their way into a cuddle pile, Sören snuggled between Dooku and Maglor, limbs entangled; Sören nuzzled Dooku's chest hair and played with a strand of Maglor's hair, as Dooku and Maglor stroked Sören's curls. Sören dozed off a little and then Maglor shook him gently. "You want your bunnies?" he asked.

Sören nodded.

Maglor got up - Dooku held Sören in his absence - and came back with Sparkle Bunny and Not Very Good At Names. Maglor tucked them into Sören's arms and kissed the top of his head. "You sleep here with us from now on," he said.

"What about the bed in the other room?"

"Well... we can turn that back into a studio for my music and your art, and keep the bed in there as a little nest, so if we're being creative together we can take cuddle breaks, or you know." Maglor grinned as he made air quotes. "'Cuddle breaks.'"

Sören giggled. He looked up at Dooku then and said, "Are you OK with me and Mark..."

"Making love by yourselves sometimes? Yes. And you and I can, as well, and Mark and I will sometimes as well. The three of us will of course continue to do this like we did just now, but I think it will be healthier for all of us if we also pair off on occasion... that will strengthen our relationship as a whole. If that's acceptable to you."

"Jæja, that sounds good to me. I want to be with both of you at the same time and also one at a time, and... the two of you shagging is so hot." Sören bit his lower lip and snuggled into Dooku, whose arms tightened around the younger man.

Dooku had a feeling he was in for an even more active sex life than usual, and he wondered if his body could handle it at his age, but something about Sören and a whole new world of erotic possibilities with Sören and Maglor... A frisson went down his spine; his cock would have leapt up again thinking about it if he wasn't so spent.

"Thank you guys for tonight," Sören husked. "That was really beautiful."

"This is just the beginning, Sören." Maglor wrapped his arms around Sören and kissed the top of his head again, buried his nose in Sören's curls; across their bond Dooku could feel Maglor breathing in Sören's scent. "I don't at all believe you found your way to us by coincidence. You're home now."

Sören let out a little sob, and they rocked him together; Dooku was choked up too, not just at feeling the fire of hope relit within Sören's heart, but the ache he had for what was so close yet still so far away, not knowing when would be the right time to say anything. Fëanor.

Chapter Text

The next two weeks passed by in a dreamy haze of sensuality, with Sören, Dooku and Maglor making love together as a triad and in pairs. February became March, and Sören tested negative for HIV and assorted STDs, though Sören wanted to go back to the clinic in October to be absolutely sure. That said, Sören still wasn't ready for intercourse; to avoid potentially triggering him, Dooku and Maglor had refrained from penetrating each other the first few times they had threesomes with him. But Sören eventually felt ready to watch and assist with oral or handjobs for the receiving partner, and watching Dooku and Maglor take turns inside each other inflamed Sören's lust even more.

Dooku began to learn that Sören's creativity was directly linked to his sexuality - the more Sören had sex, the more he wanted to paint, and the more he painted, the more he wanted sex. Maglor and Sören spent a lot of time together in the studio, building a symbiosis of creating together - Maglor composing, Sören painting. Dooku now had commissioned Sören to paint something to hang at Doi Capaci, and on Sören's breaks he had been hanging around the two trees the restaurant was named for, one strung with gold fairy lights, the other bearing silver fairy lights, and as Dooku stepped out to watch him admiring the trees he could almost see the gears turning in Sören's head, a strange light in his eyes.

On March twelfth, the commission was done, with Sören unveiling it after dinner. It prominently featured a pair of trees, like the ones at the restaurant, except one was made of gold and sparkling with lights like golden diamonds, and the other was made of silver and sparkling with lights like silver diamonds. The light of the trees made the sky a play of silver and gold light and clouds, like looking at a labradorite stone that flashed gold. The trees and their sky were encased in a bubble of swirling, subtle rainbows against a dark background flickering with flames - the bubble floated above the head of a man, as if the bubble were his dream or memory. The man - depicted from the shoulders up - bore a striking resemblance to Maglor but wasn't quite him... and was wearing a red tunic and a silver diadem set with three brilliant white stones.

Maglor gasped when he saw it. Dooku's mouth opened and no sound came out.

Maglor opened his mouth to speak, closed it, swallowed hard - blinking back tears - and opened his mouth again. "Sören. That's..."

"Do you like it?" Sören hung his head, looking a little sheepish. "I call it The Memory of Trees. It's an Enya title, but it works for this painting. I..."

"It's magnificent." Maglor's voice was hushed with reverence.

Sören turned to Dooku. "You're the one who commissioned it..."

"Sören. Darling." Dooku found at least some words. He got up, drew Sören into his arms, and kissed him hard. "I don't like it... I love it. I love everything I've seen from you but this is..." He looked at the painting, and back at Sören. "Exquisite beyond words." He stroked Sören's face, looking into those soulful brown eyes. "You are exquisite beyond words."

Sören's arms tightened around Dooku and he snuggled into Dooku's shoulder, letting out a little sob. "I was so worried you wouldn't like it..."

"Oh, sweetheart." Dooku pet Sören's curls, feeling that punch to the gut that he got every time Sören deprecated himself... that urge to stab Justin for making Sören feel so low about his beautiful art...

Dooku's eyes met Maglor's, knowing Maglor was feeling that urge to kill again as well. They needed to talk about it at some point.

Right now... Dooku took Sören's face in his hands. "We keep telling you, your work is amazing. You have a real gift."

"Sören," Maglor cut in, "have you... ever read the Silmarillion?"

"What's that?" Sören asked, raising an eyebrow.

Dooku knew then that the painting had wholly been Sören's own visionary work, and not inspired by anything he'd read, which made it all the more remarkable. Maglor's eyes widened - Dooku knew Maglor was having the same reaction. Dooku broke into gooseflesh; Sören could see into deeper realities, with his mind's eye. And Maglor's music affected him, as the painting had been worked on while Maglor was composing and playing - Dooku frequently got mental images when Maglor played, and though he'd been across the hall in their bedroom he'd still heard enough to see and feel Maglor touching the Song, composing the essence of his father... apt for Sören being in the same room while it was happening. Sören had picked up on it, without knowing that was what he was seeing.

"It's a book you should read sometime," Dooku said, patting Sören's shoulder. It was going to be much harder to talk to Sören about Fëanor without that context, but not necessarily impossible, the opportunity might present itself without it. There was almost the glimmer of that opportunity now, but Sören's eyes were so sad, and Dooku desperately wanted to comfort him, would give anything to take away that sad look on his face, the sadness he felt hanging over the young man like a shroud.

Maglor got up from the couch too and wrapped his arms around Sören. "Here, pet," he said, taking one of Sören's hands in his, with Dooku taking the other. "We want to show you how much we love your work."

That coaxed a little smile out of Sören as they pulled him along to the bedroom. They started undressing in the hall before they even got there, and once they were in the bedroom they helped each other undress, clothes strewn carelessly across the floor - they could straighten up later, right now what mattered was this, the three taking turns feverishly kissing each other, caressing each other's naked bodies on the way to the bed.

Once Sören was laying back against the pillows, Dooku and Maglor got to work right away, licking and sucking his nipples at the same time, taking turns kissing him - and each other - as their fingers rubbed and pinched Sören's nipples, played with the nipple rings. They spent a good twenty minutes just making love to Sören's nipples, pebbling them, making them glisten with their tongues, making Sören produce deliciously filthy noises. Then at last their attention went lower, kissing, licking, nibbling Sören's stomach, then his hips and thighs. Sören's inner thighs were another wickedly sensitive place and Dooku smiled fondly at the bruises they'd left with their teeth from the other night, making fresh ones as he nipped and lapped at Sören's thigh, driving him wild with sensation.

When Maglor relented, taking Sören's cock into his mouth, the howl Sören made and the way he bucked up against them sent Dooku close to the edge. As Dooku licked and sucked at Sören's balls, he stroked himself, his eyes going back and forth between the delicious sight of Maglor with his mouth full of Sören's cock, enjoying himself, and the beauty of Sören losing control, writhing, panting, moaning. He loved watching Sören grab Maglor's hair and fuck his mouth, and the way Maglor re-asserted dominance by taking Sören's cock out of his mouth to take long, slow licks. After Maglor had been licking Sören's cock for awhile, he glanced at Dooku, and they switched places - Dooku began sucking Sören slowly, as Maglor took Sören's balls into his mouth, rubbing his tongue as he sucked. Sören was quivering from head to toe, cursing in Icelandic. One of Dooku's hands rubbed up and down Sören's thigh, over his stomach and chest, as the other continued stroking himself. Feeling Dooku's fingers play over his body, Sören's hands grabbed his hand and Sören whimpered, "Nico, please let me come..."

Dooku laughed and sucked even more slowly, and at the plaintive wail Sören made he licked Sören's cock, licking and licking until Sören was dripping precum like a faucet. With Sören's precum on his tongue, Dooku kissed Maglor, and Maglor needed another taste so he wrapped his lips around the head of Sören's cock. With Maglor sucking the head, and Dooku licking the shaft, both of them taking turns rubbing the balls and brushing the sensitive place between balls and ass with their fingertips - not yet daring to touch his opening - Sören edged and edged, finally screaming at the top of his lungs as he erupted into Maglor's mouth. Dooku groaned, his cock throbbing urgently at the sight and sound of Sören's climax, wild and primal. Maglor only swallowed some of Sören's cum, saving the rest to kiss Dooku with it, who had become a bit addicted to the spicy-sweet nectar of his younger lover. Watching them kiss and share his cum made Sören harden right up again, stroking himself playfully as they climbed up on either side of him and took turns kissing him, letting Sören taste himself on them.

"You," Maglor said, his fingers resting on Sören's heart, "are so beautiful when you come." He kissed Sören again.

"Indeed." Dooku turned Sören's face to his and kissed him deeply. "My glorious fire."

Sören gave that shy, sweet smile that took his breath away, stroking Dooku's face; Sören rubbed noses with him before giving him a more tender kiss. Then Sören's hand slid down - lingering in the silver pelt of Dooku's chest hair - before taking Dooku's hard, precum-slick cock into his hand. "You're so hard, Daddy." Sören looked back at Maglor. "You are too." Sören pouted - an innocent-yet-naughty face that made Dooku want to ravish him. "We should do something about that."

"Mm, yes we should," Dooku said, and groaned as Sören's thumb began to rub his frenulum. "Do you have any suggestions, sweetheart?"

Dooku was hoping to be able to top Sören at last, but Sören still wasn't ready for that - which Dooku understood and didn't fault him for. Sören's suggestion was still delicious. "I want to watch you two fuck," Sören husked.

Dooku and Maglor looked at each other. Maglor pressed the back of his hand to his forehead and with a dramatic eyeroll he said, "Oh heavens, anything but that," the obvious sarcasm in his voice making Sören laugh. Then with a wicked grin Maglor kissed Dooku - Sören moaned and stroked himself a little harder, watching the kiss - and Maglor's fingers played through Dooku's chest hair. "I'll let you top me tonight," he said.

Dooku's cock throbbed in response. "Good," he said, pulling Maglor into his arms and kissing him hungrily.

Dooku pushed Maglor back against the pillows and Maglor smiled up at him, wrapping his arms around him. Sören, laying at Maglor's side, continued gently stroking himself as he watched Dooku and Maglor rub their hard cocks together, kissing again and again, Dooku playing with Maglor's hair as his other hand roamed over Maglor's body, and Maglor's hands slid over him as well.

They got each other ready for something more by settling into the sixty-nine position, languidly sucking each other's cocks, and then Dooku slipped his tongue into Maglor's channel. Sören cried out at the sight of that and out of the corner of his eye Dooku watched Sören stroking himself harder. Dooku groaned as his tongue licked faster inside Maglor, his cock twinging at the thought of someday doing this to Sören. And Maglor, on his part, did a good job of reminding Sören how good ass play could feel, moaning with his mouth full of Dooku's cock as Dooku ate at him - soon Maglor was rocking his hips, fucking the tongue lapping inside him. Before Maglor could spend himself too quickly, Dooku pulled back, and used the Force to retrieve their lube, getting Maglor on his back again, smiling as Maglor looked at him adoringly; when Maglor moaned at Dooku's slick fingers working inside him, preparing him, Dooku also moaned, cock pulsing at the sight of Maglor's opening taking his fingers in and out, knowing soon that would be his cock there.

Sören watched intently as Dooku took Maglor - when he was all the way inside both he and Maglor cried out, and Sören as well. Pent up as Dooku was, he took his time, thrusting slowly, savoring the silken heat of Maglor's passage and the sight and feeling of Maglor's body against his, the molten silver eyes, the way the flood of his dark hair fanned out around him, the melodic moans and sighs of Maglor's pleasure. The sweet sensation combined with his burning lust and the feeling of loving connectedness to want to make this last, all sense of time slipping away as Dooku melted into Maglor again and again, as Maglor melted around him, their energy flowing together in a river of blinding passion.

Then Sören tilted Maglor's face to his, to kiss him, and Dooku couldn't help but speed up a little, inflamed by the sight. That was nothing compared to what came next - after a few minutes of kissing, Sören adjusted his position so his head was down below, and Sören looked right into Dooku's eyes as he took Maglor's cock into his mouth.

Watching Sören suck Maglor's cock as he fucked him almost took Dooku to climax right then. He had to slow down again - making Maglor whimper with frustrated need at the resumed slow fucking, and Sören's slow, teasing sucking. When Sören took Maglor's cock out of his mouth to lap at it, Dooku sped up again, and Maglor rocked his hips back at Dooku, matching his rhythm, a hand on Sören's head.

Sören resumed sucking Maglor, this time sucking faster, Dooku thrust harder into Maglor. Soon he was banging away, Maglor's legs wrapped around Dooku's waist, Maglor's moans accompanied by the slap of Dooku's balls against his ass, the filthy slurping sounds Sören made with his mouth full of cock. Sören was really getting into it, caressing Maglor as he sucked, every now and again taking a hand off Maglor's body to reach down and stroke himself. Dooku was overcome by lust - it was almost surreal that this decadence was his life now - and he drove into Maglor, who was getting louder and louder, bucking wildly against him, the bed rocking against the wall.

When Sören took a hand off his own cock and brought his slick, precum-coated fingers to Maglor's mouth for him to taste, that set him off, Maglor grabbing Sören's curls and coming in his mouth with a hoarse cry. Three sharp thrusts later and Dooku let go, coming hard, groaning his pleasure. "Macalaurë," he sighed - Sören's eyes widened as he licked Maglor clean. Sören knew, of course, that Maglor was an Elf, and that his name wasn't really Mark, but it was the first time Sören had heard Dooku call Maglor by his real name. It wasn't a name Sören would recognize, not having read that part of Tolkien's canon, but nonetheless...

"Why does that name sound familiar for some reason?" Sören asked, in between raining little kisses over Maglor's stomach as Maglor tenderly pet his curls.

"I don't know," Maglor said, stroking Sören's beard, but of course he did know - You would know my name, Father.

It was mildly frustrating to be so close to the revelation of Sören as Fëanor and still, not time yet, Dooku and Maglor communicated between them as their eyes met. Dooku knew that Sören had been recovering not just from Justin's abuse, but the control of his identity - so being told by other people who and what he was might go over like a lead balloon. It was better for Sören to figure things out on his own, somehow. But they might also be waiting a very long time for that, and at sixty-seven years old, that kind of time was a luxury Dooku didn't know if he could afford.

Before he could think too closely about it and start brooding, Sören came up to kiss Maglor, and then Dooku slipped out of him and came over to the other side and kissed him as well. When Dooku and Sören kissed, Dooku felt his cock stirring a little, and he could tell from the look in Sören's eyes that he wanted to play some more - and Sören hadn't come yet, besides. Sören leaned in to kiss Maglor again, and the kiss deepened, heated, with Maglor grabbing Sören and arching to him. When the kiss broke, they looked into each other's eyes and Maglor stroked Sören's face, his beard, thumb tracing Sören's full, soft lips. The look of love and reverence on Maglor's face as he looked at what was the reincarnation of his beloved father... Dooku would have liked to see a painting of that, the two of them forever in that moment.

Sören kissed Maglor again, and played with his hair. His fingers then wandered from Maglor's hair down over his chest, idly brushing a nipple. "You taste good," Sören said, licking his lips, savoring the cum that he could still taste. He looked at Dooku with heat in his eyes, and back at Maglor. "I want to eat his cum out of you... if that's OK."

Maglor groaned, and nodded approval. "That's more than OK, love."

"But first I want to lick you all over."

Sören did just that, while Dooku watched, enjoying the show. Sören's tongue spent a long time on Maglor's nipples, until he couldn't take it anymore, writhing, thrashing, howling, nails raking Sören's back hard enough to draw blood. Laughing softly, Sören licked the rest of Maglor's chest, down to his stomach, then over one hip, thigh, and calf, and back up the other. He nuzzled the dark bush framing Maglor's cock before putting his tongue in that, and licked Maglor's cock and balls thoroughly before, at last, parting Maglor's thighs and dipping his tongue into the opening.

Dooku and Maglor had rimmed each other in front of Sören, but this was Sören's first time rimming either of them, and Dooku gathered it was Sören's first time rimming anyone in over a year, since Justin had been strictly a top and didn't want his ass touched. Watching Sören eat his cum out of Maglor's ass was one of the kinkiest things Dooku had pleasure to witness, and he was definitely fully erect now. He used the Force to bring over the moist towelettes kept on the bedtable along with the lube, and gently wiped his cock so there wouldn't be so much of a lube taste if either of them wanted to suck on it. Not that what was left of the lube inside Maglor was deterring Sören now, devouring him hungrily as Maglor moaned, slowly rolling his hips to fuck Sören's mouth, white-knuckled fists grabbing Sören's curls, hands trembling.

Dooku leaned in to kiss Maglor, and his thumb rubbed a swollen, slick nipple. "How is that?" Dooku purred, though he already had an idea.

Maglor shuddered, panting, trying to make words. Finally his eyes met Dooku's - his eyes were feverish - and he ground out, "You need to let him do this to you sometime. He's got an amazing tongue."

Sören stopped licking for a moment to grin at him, before plunging his tongue back inside, rubbing his tongue even harder and faster, shaking his head as he did. Maglor bucked and cried out, shuddering again, and squeezed Dooku's hand.

The thought of Sören doing this to him someday... a shiver went down Dooku's spine, his cock throbbing at the idea. He remembered what it had been like, the days when Fëanor and Fingolfin would make passionate love for hours, both on their own and sometimes with Maglor included. The way Fëanor's tongue had felt inside him... the same fierce hunger Sören showed now, like a wolf.

"Sören..." Maglor gave a little cry. "Sören, I'm so close, love..."

"Mmmmmm." Narrowing his eyes, Sören slowed down, and Maglor cried out with frustration; Dooku couldn't help but chuckle, affectionately tousling Sören's curls.

"That's my boy." Dooku smiled at Sören, who stopped licking to smile at him, and then resumed licking, tormentingly slowly.

Maglor was quivering now, gasping for breath. His cock was leaking precum, and Dooku decided it was a shame to let it go to waste, so he leaned in and began to lick Maglor's cock, teasing him even more. When Dooku took Maglor into his mouth, sucking slowly, Sören's tongue began to work a little faster, and when Dooku's mouth sped up on Maglor's cock, Sören's tongue lashed away, with Maglor's broken cries of pleasure echoing in the room, so loud that for a moment Dooku worried the neighbors would hear.

Just before Maglor could come, Sören stopped, and growled, "I want to take you."

"Yes." Maglor trembled - Dooku could feel that just the thought of it was electric. "Please, Sören..."

The look of determined passion on Sören's face as he used the Force to grab the lube was almost like anger, and Dooku's cock throbbed, watching. His mouth let go of Maglor's cock and he kissed Maglor, with Maglor moaning at the taste of his precum. Dooku groaned as he saw Sören pour lube over his cock and stroke it in - Sören's cock was so hard, and leaking so much precum - and then he pushed two slick fingers into Maglor, who was already open from Dooku's thick cock inside him, where two fingers weren't even close to what had been up there. Two fingers became three, and the way Maglor moaned and rocked his hips told Dooku that Sören had his fingers there to tease the prostate, confirmed by the way Sören smiled, a wicked gleam in his eye.

"Now?" Sören rasped.

"Now."

Sören's fingers slipped out, and his cock began to push in, slowly. Sören gasped as he felt Maglor's channel yielding, and when he bottomed out inside him Sören cried out. He had to rest for a moment - in the Force, Dooku could feel how good it was for Sören, the silken heat enfolding him, welcoming him...

Sören started to thrust slowly, and Maglor gasped and panted, grabbing Sören's hips. "Sören." He moaned. "Oh, Sören..." He let out a cry and shuddered, and across their Force bond Dooku could feel Maglor responding to the captive bead ring in the head of Sören's cock finding that sweet spot inside him, rubbing against it. Maglor's eyes glazed over and he made a feral noise.

"That's why I got the PA done," Sören growled, knowing. His hand reached down to stroke Maglor's cock. "I'm gonna make you come so fucking hard..."

"Oh, Sören. Sören." Maglor's hips were rolling back at Sören, matching his rhythm, and he gave a wordless, musical cry.

Sören continued to keep the pace slow, sensual, reveling in the way Maglor melted to the fullness inside him and the delicious rubbing of the beaded ring against his prostate. One hand gently played with Maglor's cock and the other caressed Maglor's body. Dooku had no doubt that Sören's versatility and experience with bottoming made him a better top, as his own did, knowing firsthand how it felt to take cock, and how to give it to maximize pleasure. He edged and edged the Elf beneath him, biting his lip adorably at the moans and cries, Maglor shuddering, gasping, hands trying to urge Sören on faster.

Dooku was getting achingly hard watching the deliciousness of Sören's cock plunging in and out of Maglor's passage, Sören's confident teasing and Maglor's passion. When Sören leaned down to kiss Maglor, Dooku found himself getting into position, straddling Maglor's shoulders, facing Sören. Sören began to suck Dooku's cock as Maglor worked on Dooku's balls and, at last, his tongue was inside Dooku. Having his prostate and cock stimulated at the same time was one of his favorite things, and Sören speeding up inside Maglor, aroused by sucking him, made it even better.

When Sören was fucking Maglor hard, head bobbing back and forth as he sucked Dooku faster, Maglor cried out into Dooku's opening, tongue rubbing harder. All three of them were on that edge now, and it was exhilarating. Dooku felt his balls tighten, that feeling of approaching the point of no return.

Sören was holding back, he knew, wanting Maglor to come first. And at last Maglor did, whimpering as his tongue continued to rub inside Dooku. Sören cried out as Maglor's cum painted his chest and stomach, and Dooku grabbed Sören's head and pulled him off his cock, stroking himself over the edge to come on Sören also, wanting to mark him as theirs, claim him. Sören knew it, too, and with a few last savage thrusts he spent into Maglor, swearing in Icelandic before collapsing on top of him, shaking from head to toe - Dooku smiled as he watched Sören's fingers and toes curl involuntarily.

"Oh god," Sören panted. "Oh my fucking god. Ohgod... oh god."

"Good boy," Dooku said, petting Sören's curls.

Sören laughed, and then started crying, and laughed and cried as he crested and came down. Maglor held him, and Dooku got on the other side of Sören and held him too. His own eyes burned with tears, reacting to the empathy of Sören's flood of emotions at finally having topped someone for the first time since before he'd gotten involved with Justin. Maglor letting him inside was an act of acceptance, of trust, and it helped to further the idea that this could be pleasure, not pain - something wanted, desired, instead of forced.

"I love you," Maglor said, stroking Sören's curls, rubbing his back. "I love you, Sören."

"I love you." Sören sobbed into his shoulder. "I love both of you so much..."

Dooku kissed the top of Sören's head. "We love you, darling. That was a big step tonight, and we're proud of you." Dooku tilted Sören's face to kiss him, and then he whispered, "Next time you want to top, it's my turn."

Sören laughed at that, and kissed the tip of his nose. "You've got a deal."


_


Dooku knew from Maglor's own experience with PTSD that recovery was rarely simple, and for every big leap forward there would usually be a couple steps backwards. Sören having an emotional crash wasn't surprising in and of itself, what was surprising was that it happened the next day.

Dooku was at the gym as usual, and Maglor had gone out by himself to run some errands - Sören had elected to stay at home painting. When Dooku came back from the gym he heard sobbing, and he came down to the studio to see Sören packing bags. Sören stopped when he saw Dooku, and cried even harder.

"What's going on?" Dooku asked. He narrowed his eyes. "You were going to just leave without telling us?"

Sören dropped to his knees and buried his face on the mattress in the corner of the studio, letting out a wail.

Dooku came over, sat on the mattress, and for a few moments he just pet Sören's curls, letting him cry. Finally he said, "Sören. I need you to tell me what's going on. Why do you want to leave?"

"I don't... want... to leave," Sören choked out. "But I feel like I should." He looked up, and the haunted look in his eyes made Dooku feel like his heart had been torn out. Any anger he felt with Sören about how close he'd come to leaving without telling them, was replaced by fierce compassion, that burning ache to hold Sören and make it all OK, as best as he could.

"Why."

"I'm still so fucked up. I was painting, and I kept hearing all the shitty things Justin said to me... shitty things my uncle Einar said. I thought about the way Mark let me top last night, how much he loved it, and... it just doesn't seem real. And I feel guilty that I'm still not ready to bottom, I don't know when I ever will be..."

"Sören." Dooku's tone was stern as he cupped Sören's chin in his hand, made Sören look him in the eye. "First of all... even though Mark and myself are both versatile, that does not mean at all that you are obligated to bottom for us. We know you are recovering from being raped, we know that is going to take time. If you're never able to bottom for us... we would never ask you to do anything you didn't want to do. We want nothing less than your enthusiastic consent. We demand nothing less than your enthusiastic consent. Please do not feel that you are being somehow 'unfair' or 'disappointing' us. As you saw last night, and from other times you've been with us... there are plenty of things we can do -"

"The thing is, last night, there was a moment when I wanted you to come around the other side of me and fuck me as I was fucking Mark. I really, really wanted it. And I'm furious with myself for not being ready yet -"

"You need to be patient and understanding with yourself too, Sören."

Sören sighed and looked down.

"You thinking you should leave us is nonsense." Dooku glared and folded his arms. "We love you. Do you know how badly it would hurt if you left?"

"You guys were doing fine without me -"

"- Except that since you've shown up, we've both become attached to you. It wouldn't be the same, if you'd left, because you've become a part of us. You belong with us, and we belong with you. Losing you would devastate us both." His voice lowered to a near-whisper. "Please, don't go."

Sören fell apart again, and Dooku pulled Sören into his arms, and then onto his lap, cradling him, rocking him. "I love you," Dooku said as he rocked and pet Sören. "I love you, sweetheart. And Mark would tell you all the same things I just did. We need you."

"That's what I don't get." Sören frowned. "I feel like such damaged goods." He sniffled. "All I fucking do is cry..." Sören closed his eyes. "I feel so useless."

"Get up."

Sören got off his lap, and then Dooku took Sören's hand and led him across the hall to the bedroom. "I want to show you something," Dooku said at Sören's confused look.

They walked into the bedroom and Dooku pointed at the antique mirror atop the wide dresser he and Maglor, and now Sören, shared. There were two smaller mirrors on either side that almost matched the antique, but not quite.

"O-OK?" Sören raised an eyebrow.

"Mark and I have had this since 1990, when we lived in Berlin and he was using the alias Marcus Lauer. It was left on the curbside with a bunch of trash - someone was throwing it out. But it doesn't look like trash, does it?"

"No, it's a really nice mirror. I would have never known you'd picked it out of someone's trash if you hadn't told me, I always looked at it thinking you'd spent a lot of money for it."

"It's not just pretty but it's actually a very valuable antique, from the 19th century. We've had it appraised. But there's a bit more to it than that." Dooku had never made the mirror show him anything on command before, he'd only seen glimpses of another reality there by accident, but now, he pushed with the Force as he waved his hand over it.

Fëanor and Fingolfin appeared in the mirror, making love in the sixty-nine position, rimming each other. Sören's jaw dropped as he watched. Then he gasped as they rolled out of that position just before they could come like that, and he saw Fëanor, wearing the crown of Silmarils, kissing Fingolfin...

"I... I painted him." Sören's eyes widened.

Fingolfin was laying back against a pile of pillows now, smiling up at Fëanor as he reached for a vial of oil. Fëanor slicked himself, and they continued to watch as Fëanor pushed into Fingolfin, kissing deeply as he rocked inside slowly...

Sören and Dooku both went hard at the vision playing out in the mirror, but the vision faded out and a regular antique mirror stared back at them again. Dooku turned, putting his hands on Sören's shoulders. "Someone was going to throw that away, and it wasn't just worth a lot of money as an antique, but it also shows us other worlds." Dooku stroked Sören's face. "That mirror is a lot like you. Other people didn't see the value in you. But we do. And you're not just lovely to look at, but you have a beautiful soul. And whether you were aware of this or not, you can see things beyond their outward appearance - the deeper reality of things - and that comes out in your art. You are precious, Sören, and you will not argue with me otherwise." Dooku leaned in to plant a tender kiss on Sören's forehead.

Touched by his words, overcome with emotion - overcome with awe at what he'd just seen in the mirror - Sören grabbed Dooku's face and kissed him, hard. Feverishly, they stripped down and, kissing, caressing, walked back towards the bed.

After laying in each other's arms for a few minutes, kissing passionately, hard cocks rubbing together, Sören gave Dooku an expectant look, and Dooku sensed in the Force that he wanted to sixty-nine, as they'd watched in the mirror. Laying at each other's sides, they sucked each other's cocks, and then Sören asked, "Nico... do you think you could..."

"Yes. You have to tell me if it triggers you, tell me to stop and I will, all right?"

Sören nodded and patted him.

Dooku's tongue speared Sören's passage, and the throaty moan Sören made nearly brought him off right then. Then Sören's tongue was in him as well, licking in the same slow, deliberate rhythm, moaning and moaning. As Dooku licked inside Sören, loving it, his eyes started to burn with tears again, knowing what a big deal this was for Sören, this was the first time he'd consented to his ass being touched in months... He gave a shuddery little sob that made Sören stop licking and Sören asked, "You all right?"

Dooku nodded. "Mm. Just..." He took Sören's hands. "You are sacred to me, Sören. This... your trust, your desire, is sacred to me."

"Nico? Stop talking and eat that arse."

Dooku laughed, and Sören laughed too, and then Sören's laughter became a moan as Dooku's tongue rubbed inside him faster and harder than before. "Brat," Dooku said, and playfully slapped Sören's ass, making Sören laugh again, and Sören moaned, "Ooh, Daddy," wiggling his ass. Dooku couldn't resist slapping the other side of it again and Sören cried out "Daddy," before his tongue worked harder, matching Dooku's pace.

Soon Sören was fucking his face, whimpering into Dooku's ass, and Dooku could feel Sören trembling. "Like that?" Dooku asked, just wanting to make sure, and Sören's breathy "Yes, Daddy," almost made him come. He licked Sören even harder, viciously devouring him, loving it as Sören rocked his hips, fucking his tongue, wanting this as badly as he wanted it.

Before Sören could come from Dooku's tongue, he stopped licking Dooku and growled, "Remember how you told me last night I could top you?"

Dooku lay on his back, looking up at Sören with a smug, satisfied little smile as Sören used the Force to grab the lube and his shaking hands made a mess with it. "God, I'm so fucking horny," Sören rasped.

"Hi, So Fucking Horny -"

Sören bit him, and Dooku laughed, before biting Sören back. Sören cried out, shuddering, and then he ground out, "I need it now..."

"Take me, love."

Sören plunged into him and began to thrust. The feeling of the captive bead ring in the head of Sören's cock was delicious. Dooku grabbed Sören's hips, rocking his own hips back at him, overcome by sensation and the look of raw lust on Sören's face - and god, the feeling of Sören's cock pulsing inside him, so hard...

"I love you." Dooku grabbed Sören and kissed him. "I love you, Sören..."

"I love you, Nico." Sören swallowed hard. "I'm sorry I was going to leave..."

"I know. And you. Will not. Leave us." Dooku's eyes locked with his. "You. Belong. Here."

Sören blinked back tears, nodding, and he kissed Dooku hard.

Dooku's legs wrapped around Sören's waist, his arms around Sören, holding Sören with all of him. "I love you," Dooku rasped between kisses. "I love you, sweetheart. I love you..."

"I love you." Sören shivered. "God, you feel so fucking good to me..."

"This is how it's supposed to be, Sören. Nobody forcing anyone, nobody hurting anyone. Just pleasure. Just want." Dooku kissed him again.

Sören started pounding him into the mattress, in full beast mode. Dooku loved it, surrendering to Sören, as well as feeling his own sense of conquest that he could get Sören to lose control like this, show that hot animal side of him. Sören gave into his lust, his passion, with abandon, fucking hard, grunting and growling as he took, holding nothing back. When their eyes met again, Sören's hand brushed through Dooku's chest hair to rest on his heart and Sören commanded, "Come for me."

Dooku did, contracting and pulsing hard, his cock spurting all over Sören's chest. Sören spent into him with a triumphant cry of "Daddy!" and Dooku called back, "Yes, love, yes," as he spilled again, clenching around Sören, milking him through a powerful, shattering orgasm that had Sören gasping, shaking.

They lay there in each other's arms, a little sweaty, and Maglor paused at the door of the bedroom and applauded.

"How long have you been back?" Dooku asked.

"I came home just as you guys were finishing," Maglor said. "I'd ask if you wanted to go another round, but you should probably get ready for work, I need to as well."

Dooku looked at the time. They were going to have to scramble - not enough time to shower, even; Dooku hoped he wouldn't smell like sex too much in the kitchen.

After work, Dooku showered, and as he came out he saw Maglor changing into pajamas, and Maglor looked at the bags Sören had been starting to pack and back at Dooku.

"He was going to leave," Dooku said. Sören was in the studio now, painting, and had his headphones on. "I don't think he will, now."

"Did something happen...?"

"Justin happened." Dooku folded his arms. "Not anything new," he added quickly at the look on Maglor's face, "but... he continues to have flashbacks, and Justin did quite a number on his head. He struggles with self-worth, and he... had enough of a struggle earlier today that he felt he somehow 'owed' it to us to leave."

"What the fuck." Maglor was about to start for the studio - Dooku knew Maglor wanted to scoop Sören up into his arms and cuddle him aggressively, give his own assurance - but Dooku grabbed the hem of Maglor's shirt to stop him.

"Macalaurë." Dooku took a deep breath. Their eyes met, and Dooku blurted out what had been on his mind for weeks. "The more I think about what that filth did to our boy, the angrier I get."

"Same here." Maglor nodded.

"Justin Roberts needs to be put down like a rabid dog. And I think that's important not just on principle, but I feel like Sören will never truly feel safe until he knows Justin is dead."

"I agree. But... Nicolae... we have to be smart about it. It won't do Sören any good if we end up in jail for murder, or on the run from the police."

"I know." Dooku sighed.

"Well..." Maglor rubbed his chin, thinking. "As you know I have some rather unsavory contacts who help with things like false documents. I can ask people to hire a private detective to tail Justin for a bit, see if there's a place he frequents where we can finish him, since that apartment complex he lives in has cameras and guards and we can't do it there..."

"That's a splendid idea." Dooku patted Maglor's shoulder. "Go make the necessary phone calls."

"Now? At this time of night?"

"Now. The sooner we get this going, the better."

Maglor nodded, and went into the drawer beneath the antique mirror, fumbling through some pairs of socks before he found the burner phone he used, which was turned off when not in use to preserve the battery. Dooku stepped out as Maglor made the call.


_


At the end of March, they finally had some information.

"It seems that Justin Roberts is even more of a vile piece of shit than either of us thought," Maglor said as he and Dooku had a late-night cup of tea, with Sören painting in the studio.

"Really."

Maglor took a deep breath and put his tea down. "My sources tell me that there's an elite club of 'gentlemen' who pay a pretty sum of money to use a house on Notting Hill a few weekends every month. This includes a few politicians, celebrities, and sports figures. Justin Roberts is one of the sports figures."

"And... what do they do in this house." Dooku had a feeling that he already knew, but Maglor was going to tell him anyway.

"Drugs. And... prostitutes. Some of whom are trafficked from countries like Bosnia, and underage."

Dooku slammed down his teacup. "Jesus Christ."

"So..." Maglor looked at the door, and then back at Dooku. "I have the date of the next time Justin will be at this location - Friday, April first. We're going to have a driver bring us there and back. We can do what we're going to do - I would advise making it look like a suicide... because then there is going to be a raid on that house, his body will be found, and we need to not leave forensic evidence behind."

"You called for the raid on the house, didn't you?"

"I most certainly did." Maglor sipped his tea. "I have no intention of letting that shit go. The police have been bought off by the politicians involved... and I bought that off with a higher price. I'm not stupid enough to believe that will stop something else from springing up elsewhere, but..."

Dooku nodded. "You're doing what you can."

"I'm trying." Maglor nodded. "So Friday night we have a date." He gave a wry smile. "And Justin has a date with... destiny."

"I wouldn't miss it for anything."


_


Dooku and Sören usually coordinated evenings off, but this time Dooku scheduled Sören to work while he had the night off, and Sören was pretty understanding about it since they'd agreed from the beginning that Dooku and Maglor could occasionally take time for themselves, just like Sören and Maglor could spend time together alone, and Dooku and Sören.

What Dooku didn't tell Sören was You need to have an iron-clad alibi, people who can see you were in a specific place at a specific time in case the police do suspect foul play with Justin and ask you any questions.

Dooku and Maglor dressed all in black, right down to hoods, and wore gloves. Maglor had a length of rope with him, though they wouldn't be needing it until the end.

They were let in the back entrance of the house, and conveniently, the room Justin was using was close to the back entrance - Dooku suspected Justin wanted a room close to the back door in case anything happened, he would be one of the first to escape.

There will be no escape for you tonight.

Justin was laying on the bed, naked and erect, high on drugs - so high he didn't notice when Dooku and Maglor paused outside the entrance of the room, though they were also using the Force to silence their movements as much as possible. Dooku glanced down at the Glock pistol in Maglor's pocket which he'd only brought as a last resort, in case they had a rude surprise - hopefully using it wouldn't be necessary; Dooku thought guns were so uncivilized, though he certainly understood why Maglor owned one, illegally.

The room was set up like a BDSM dungeon - Justin on the bed in one corner of the room. Hanging down from the ceiling was a metal bar that could be used for suspension or other activities. Against the wall was a St. Andrew's cross, and a table with implements such as whips, a riding crop, a ball gag, and unnaturally large dildos, one of which was barbed. Dooku cringed - he didn't know a lot about BDSM but he knew it was supposed to be safe, sane, and consensual, and Justin was none of those things. He had a feeling that their interruption of whoever Justin was supposed to be meeting here tonight was possibly going to spare the poor soul's life.

Once Maglor and Dooku were in the room, Dooku used the Force to close the door behind him, and lock it. They had approximately three hours to do this before their driver would pick them back up, which in turn would be an hour before the raid was scheduled to go down. Three hours didn't seem like nearly enough time to give Justin the slow, painful death he deserved, but it would have to suffice.

Justin's eyes finally opened at the sound of the door closing. Then he gasped when he saw Dooku and Maglor standing there, eyes wide with recognition. "You..."

"Hello, Justin." Dooku gave him a predatory smile. "I've been looking forward to this."

"What..." Justin crawled back towards the wall as Dooku and Maglor walked closer. "No..."

"No?" Maglor laughed. "You didn't listen to Sören when he said no, did you?"

With that, Maglor waved his hand and Justin flew several feet off the bed, suspended in mid-air, and Justin began to flail around, not that it would do him any good. With another wave of Maglor's hand, Justin was held completely immobile, paralyzed with the Force, completely at their mercy. He was only allowed to move his face, which showed raw terror now.

"You can't..." Justin shook his head. "I'll do anything you want. I'll give you anything you want. Money..."

Maglor laughed again. "The only thing we want, Justin, is for you to die horribly. Tonight, we are your judge, jury, and executioner."

Justin was starting to cry. His erection had gone soft now, and looked rather pathetic all shriveled up. "Please..."

Dooku waved his hand and Justin fell back on the bed, and then the immobility hold let go and Justin wiggled his toes, moved his arms. "Oh thank you. Thank you..."

Dooku looked at Maglor, and gave a little smirk as he waved his hand and Justin flew back up in the air, immobilized once again. Justin sobbed.

Maglor's glamour was shed now, and Justin's terror was even more apparent at the sight of the flood of hair, the silver glow in the dim room, the labradorite eyes that were wild with fury now, the marble complexion making his anger seem even harder.

"Who the hell even are you? What are you?" Justin cried out.

It was Dooku who answered him, his Orthodox upbringing surfacing again in his choice of words. "I am the scourge of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you." With that, he began to choke Justin with the Force. "Welcome to Hell, Justin Roberts."

Chapter Text

As Justin began to choke, Maglor walked closer and said, "As you made Sören afraid so many times... the last few hours of your pathetic, miserable life will be spent in fear like you have never known before."

Dooku continued Force choking Justin, finding grim satisfaction in the horror in his blue eyes as he couldn't breathe and his body desperately struggled in panic. Before Justin could asphyxiate, the Force hold was released and Justin dropped back on the bed, gasping as air rushed back into his lungs.

Maglor and Dooku took turns using the Force to make Justin fly up into the air, held immobile, choking, let go before he could choke to death. Justin's panic got more and more intense each time he was flung off the bed, and within the first hour he was begging Maglor and Dooku to just kill him already.

But they had two more hours before their pickup, and they were determined to maximize the young man's suffering - indeed, those three hours didn't seem like enough, when Justin had caused Sören countless more hours of panic and pain. And there was more Dooku wished could have been done, such as flagellating Justin with one of the whips he would have used on a poor trafficked child, or throwing a bucket of water on him before striking him with Force lightning... but the killing had to look like a suicide, to avoid police suspicion when Justin's body would be found in the raid happening later that night.

And so it was that after choking him for hours, bringing him to the brink of death and back over and over, it was time to bring the show to an end. With their gloved hands, Dooku and Maglor carried Justin off the bed while Justin's body was temporarily paralyzed with the Force, and Maglor made a noose with the length of rope he'd brought, putting Justin's hands on it for fingerprints. The rope was tied to the metal bar hanging from the ceiling, and the noose put around Justin's neck. They didn't use the Force for the final choke - they let the rope do that, watching as Justin hung and drew his last breath. 

Dooku was not prepared for the smell when Justin's corpse evacuated, and he wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. But Maglor was staring at the body with a strange look on his face.

"He's really dead," Dooku told him.

"That's not it." Maglor came back over to Justin's body. "I noticed this as we were putting his hands on the rope, and..." He took Justin's right hand, and got a better look at the white gold ring Justin had on his finger. He swore in Elvish as he examined it close-up, and pulled the ring from Justin's hand.

"Why..." Dooku raised an eyebrow.

"I'll explain later," Maglor said. "Do you have a handkerchief, by any chance? I need to wrap this thing up for a bit. The ring is... loud."

Dooku had no idea what Maglor was on about, but he knew enough about Tolkien to know that if Maglor was making a big deal over a ring it was probably a non-trivial matter. Dooku did in fact have a handkerchief, and gave it over to Maglor, who wrapped up the ring and put it in the same pocket where his pistol was ready to go at a moment's notice.

They left through the back exit of the house right on time for their driver to pull up. As soon as they got in the car, Dooku threw up from the memory of Justin's body eliminating, and from the flood of emotions as they'd killed him slowly.

Sören was getting a ride home from Natalia, which gave them an opportunity to shower and change. Even though there had been no blood on their clothes, Maglor still wanted to throw out the outfits they'd worn to the execution, not simply to destroy evidence but also so the energy wasn't hanging around their house. When Sören got back he was in good spirits, and Maglor and Dooku took him to bed, feeling a surge of passion the way warriors often needed to fuck after a battle.

The next day the raid was on the news, and when Sören saw that Justin Roberts' death was ruled as a suicide, Sören broke down crying.

"This is all my fault," he sobbed.

"Sören." Maglor got on his knees beside Sören and took him into his arms. "First of all, even if it was a suicide, it's not your fault. You needed to leave him to save your own life. He was beating you, he was raping you. But... it wasn't a suicide."

"How do you know?"

Dooku answered him. "Do you think that man has ever felt guilty about anything in his damn life? The police might buy it as a motivation for suicide, but they don't know him. You do."

"He claimed to be sorry the first few times when..." Sören couldn't finish the sentence, and let out another torrent. Dooku and Maglor both held him. "But he wasn't sorry, really. It was... how do you call it, out here... crocodile tears. And eventually he just stopped apologizing at all."

"He's filth," Maglor said, "and you shouldn't feel bad that he's gone."

"We don't know that he didn't kill himself," Sören said, "and..."

"Yes. We do." Maglor got up.

He came back with the palantir, which he handed to Sören. "Look into the glass, Sören."

"What..."

Maglor gave him a stern look.

Sören took the glass ball and stared into it. After a moment his eyes widened. With Force telepathy, Dooku could see what Sören was seeing - Justin's final hours, Maglor and Dooku showing up at the house unexpected, Force choking Justin again and again, letting go before he could die, giving him a chance to catch his breath before another round, the panic worse and worse each time. Justin sniveling, whining, begging for death, and not receiving it. Finally, the noose, making his death look like a suicide.

When the vision passed Sören continued to look into the glass, hands shaking, and Dooku felt Sören's mental shielding clamping down, blocking him from seeing whatever came next. And there was something, judging from the time that passed - Sören spent about as much time looking at the other thing, as he'd spent witnessing Justin's torture and execution. But whatever it was, Sören had deemed it for his eyes only, and Dooku wasn't going to pry. Yet.

Sören finally handed the palantir back to Maglor. "I need a fucking drink," he said.

Maglor put the palantir back as Dooku poured a shot of whisky. Sören drank it in silence, and finally he said, when Maglor came back, "I want to believe you, that you... you dealt with him. But how do I know I was actually seeing that and it wasn't just my mind showing me what it wanted to see? How do I know any of that is real?"

"I was afraid of that," Maglor said, nodding. And Dooku couldn't say he was surprised by Sören's reaction either - even though he accepted Maglor was an Elf, having seen the radical transformation when Maglor dropped his glamour, and Sören had been living with the Force since he was a small child, Sören still had a hard time allowing himself to believe in anything "magical", and at least some of his difficulty with trusting his own perceptions had been because of Justin gaslighting him... something Sören had been familiar with, as his abusive aunt and uncle used to gaslight him as well.

Maglor got up, went to the hall closet, and came back with the handkerchief that Dooku had let him borrow last night. He unwrapped it carefully, and presented the white gold ring inside to Sören.

"Oh my fucking god." Sören let out another sob; he closed his eyes and nodded, his jaw quivering. "That's his ring."

"You recognize it."

Sören opened his eyes and took a closer look, nodding again. "Right down to those weird runes or whatever that script is..."

Tengwar. You invented it. Dooku kept his mouth shut.

"Hold it for just a minute, Sören." Maglor put the ring in Sören's hand.

Sören's eyes widened as he grasped the ring, and then Dooku saw the burning eye across their bond. Sören saw Justin wearing the ring, and the way it amplified his pre-existing sadism, Justin's thirst for violence and intimidation...

Maglor took the ring away, and wrapped it back in the handkerchief.

"What the bloody hell is that?" Sören asked. "That's like... that's like some Lord of the Rings bullshit." Sören swallowed hard. "I remember he told me how he got it, antique shop. He wasn't generally religious or superstitious, but he was superstitious about that, he thought it gave him good luck with his football -"

"It's not the One Ring, but it is a Ring of Power," Maglor said. "I found one just like this a couple centuries ago when I was in the States, someone had brought it from France and it was... affecting them. I bought it from the gentleman - before I killed him, the money was for his widow and children - and I got rid of it, just like I'm going to get rid of this one, because all these rings do is corrupt. But to be absolutely clear, Justin was already corrupt well before he put on that ring, so don't make any excuses for his behavior. He still would have abused you whether or not he was wearing the ring, the ring didn't 'make him do it'." Maglor made air quotes. "These rings draw themselves to the type of people who will feed on their power."

"So we're going to destroy it?" Sören raised an eyebrow. "Like Mount Doom or some shit?"

"Mount Doom doesn't exist anymore," Maglor said. "And again, this isn't the One Ring so nothing that extreme. I disposed of the other one in a river, but that was when the States had a lower population and people wouldn't be affected by the energy as it rolled on. Probably the best way of getting rid of this is the ocean." Maglor looked at Dooku. "If you can get a weekend off, let's take a little holiday." He looked back at Sören. "We all could use one, yeah?"

Sören nodded.

"In the meantime..." Maglor wrapped the ring back up in the handkerchief. "Let's hope and pray this ring doesn't cause us any problems. Last thing we need is a swarm of fucking Balrogs paying us a visit."

"So wait..." Sören's eyebrows shot up. "Tolkien is real?" His eyes met Maglor's. "You're a Tolkien Elf?"

"I am the Tolkien Elf, Sören. I met him and told him the history of my people."


_


The following weekend, Dooku, Maglor and Sören went to Brighton. They took the car, with Dooku driving the two hours, and they brought Dragos in a cat carrier even though he likely would have been fine all weekend at home with food and water dispensers. They arrived on the night of Friday the eighth, scheduled to go back on Sunday the tenth to resume work on Monday as usual.

In the week leading up to the vacation, Sören had been starting to truly relax now that Justin was forever gone, though he'd had a few crying jags as he continued to process his memories and the grief he had for the time he lost, not himself as Justin broke him. He also had another episode where he doubted his self-worth, shaken that Maglor and Dooku loved him enough to kill for him. But Sören not only seemed less tense as he left the house to take walks or go shopping, he also reported no nightmares for a week, the longest stretch of time he'd gone without one since he left Justin.

Even though it was still early April and a bit chilly, it was lovely to be by the sea, and indeed, just what they all needed. They arrived in Brighton late enough to have dinner, but early enough that they still had plenty of choices with where to go. They settled on fish and chips, and then after their meal they spent time unpacking at the cabin they rented. When Maglor produced the ring, wrapped up in the handkerchief inside plastic, he decided it was better to dispose of it sooner rather than later.

The plastic was thrown away, and the handkerchief would itself be disposed of after it was used to carry the ring one last time - Maglor had advised Dooku against keeping it, since it had been in close contact with the ring for over a week. 

With Sören in the middle, and Maglor and Dooku on either side of him, they strolled hand-in-hand along the shore as low tide rolled in. It was just before sunset, the sunlight painting everything gold. The beach was stony, much to Sören's surprise who was used to sand on Icelandic beaches - he'd said more than once that he wanted to take them to Reynisfjara to see the black sand sometime.

Sören was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt over a Joy Division shirt and faded skinny jeans, but to Dooku he still looked sexier than any put-together male model, moreso as his curls stirred in the breeze and he watched the sea with his full lips slightly parted, brown eyes wide with wonder. Maglor wore a black sweater with black trousers, and Dooku wore khakis and a brown button-down shirt. He felt a little more self-conscious about his own attire in light of what he was going to do, something he'd discussed privately with Maglor ahead of time, Maglor giving him his blessing.

When they reached a place on the beach where there were fewer people around, Maglor handed the handkerchief-wrapped ring to Sören. "Since he abused you, I thought I'd let you do the honors. A way of getting rid of the last of him."

"Takk," Sören said, unwrapping the handkerchief and taking the ring from Maglor. His hand trembled as he grasped the ring, and Dooku knew across their bond that he was feeling the ring's power again, the way Justin had drawn on its power, making him not just "lucky" in football, but finding victims, using the same boost to agility and strength that he used in the field, to hurt Sören and others...

"Get thee gone," Sören yelled, and hurled the ring into the sea. The tides took it, and they watched as the ring rolled into the waves, sucked into the foam, the primal power of nature overcoming its power, breaking the spell.

Then Sören laughed, looking sheepish, running a nervous hand through his curls. "God, where the hell did I get that from? 'Get thee gone.' Sounds like the King James Bible or Shakespeare or some shit."

Or you when you were Fëanor. Dooku still had chills, feeling the gooseflesh on his arms.

As Maglor burned the handkerchief, Sören walked back over to Dooku, who had been watching from a distance, and Dooku put an arm around his waist as Sören smiled up at him adoringly. The sunset was streaking the sky with fire now, fire reflecting into the water. "Did I do good, Daddy?" Sören asked.

Do well. Dooku tousled Sören's curls and kissed the top of his head. "You did, sweetheart."

It was time. Though his arthritis complained, he got down on one knee on the stones, and Sören watched as the Force pulled a small box out of Dooku's pocket. Dooku opened it. "Thought you should trade one ring for another," he said. He took Sören's hand and asked, "Will you marry me?"

Sören actually squeaked - a reaction Dooku found strangely erotic as well as adorable - and then he nodded, tears streaming down his face as he threw his arms around Dooku. Dooku slipped the ring onto Sören's finger - a white gold band set with genuine alexandrite and flanked by two emeralds, which was outrageously expensive, but Sören was worth it to him. Sören looked at the ring in disbelief, until Dooku got up and pulled Sören into a passionate kiss.

When the kiss broke, Sören turned to Maglor and said, "You're OK with this...?"

"I went with him to get the ring." Maglor smiled. He patted Sören. "Like I told you awhile back, I have concerns about my paperwork being in a database, which is why Nicolae and I never tied the knot after same-sex marriage became legal. But you don't have that same problem. And..."

"I wanted to give you some proof that this is real, and we want you to stay with us." Dooku took Sören's hand and kissed the ring. "And from a practical perspective, I'm getting along in years. I want you to be able to inherit from me when..."

"Oh god, Nico." Sören facepalmed, choking up again. "I don't want to think about..."

"None of us do." Dooku swallowed hard. "But I want you to be set for life. Mark has money, of course, and will never let you want for anything, but after what Justin put you through, Mark and I thought it would be better for your mental health for you to have your own money -"

Sören silenced him with a kiss. "No more of that death and dying nonsense right now." Sören kissed him again. Then he kissed Maglor, and Maglor kissed Dooku. Sören took their hands in his hands and began walking them back towards the cabins. "Let's go celebrate."

When they reached their cabin, Dooku picked up Sören and carried him inside, Sören giggling. And when Dooku sat Sören down on the edge of the bed and Sören kicked off his boots and took off his hooded sweatshirt, he paused, looked up at his lovers, and husked, "Tonight I want to give myself to both of you."

Dooku's mouth went dry, his heart skipped a beat. "You mean..."

Sören nodded solemnly. "I want to feel each of you inside me."

Maglor came over and kissed Sören hard, and then Sören tugged and pulled off Maglor's sweater. Now that they were back in the cabin, Maglor let his glamour drop once he was bare-chested. He took Sören's chin in his hand, stroking the beard, and asked, "Sören, are you sure?"

"Very sure. I've been thinking about it all day." Sören got up to begin removing his own T-shirt - Dooku moaned at the sight of Sören shirtless, hardening as his eyes feasted on Sören and Maglor - and Sören began to fumble with his belt. "You'll have to get me ready, of course. You know... you might have to lick me..."

"That would be terrible," Dooku said, dry sarcasm in his voice. "Truly. Such a horror to endure."

"Indeed." Maglor was also being sarcastic. "You know how much I hate doing that." He and Sören had sixty-nined just that morning, with Maglor taking some time to lick Sören's ass before sucking his cock to the finish.

"Such a hardship." Dooku's cock sprang free, fully erect. "The hardest of hardships."

Sören giggled - he was completely naked now and he bounced onto the bed, giggling again. He was also hard - they all were - and he propped himself one elbow, stroking himself idly.

Maglor pounced on him, kissing him hungrily; Sören wrapped his arms and legs around him, arching to him as their hard cocks slid together. Dooku groaned at the delicious sight of them, the exquisite beauty of his lovers' bodies together, and the heat between them. Dooku climbed on the other side of them and the three took turns kissing, Sören's hand stoking Dooku's cock as Sören's and Maglor's cocks continued rubbing.

Maglor began to kiss Sören's neck as Dooku claimed his mouth, and then both men were working on Sören's nipples at the same time, lapping and suckling, as Sören clutched their heads, whimpered and writhed, his cock already starting to leak precum for them. As Maglor's kisses went lower to Sören's stomach, he took Sören's cock into his hand and glanced over at Dooku, who was taking a few last loving licks at Sören's nipple. "Which one of us should have him first?"

"Well, that's up to the one taking us." Dooku looked at Sören.

"Yes," Sören said, laughing, and explained, "I have no preference. I want you both so fucking bad..."

Dooku looked back at Maglor and Maglor said, after a few kisses and licks at Sören's stomach - smiling at the way Sören moaned - "I'll let you do the honors, since you proposed." And since you're brothers.

Dooku gave a little sigh as he kissed his way to Sören's stomach, having memories of a secret marriage between Fëanor and Fingolfin - they had to pretend to be enemies to the rest of the world, and made a kinky game of it that added spice to their already passionate sex life. The marriage rite was the beginning of the end, for even though it was in secret, the Valar had certainly seen, and punished them. Yet, the part of Dooku that was Fingolfin would do it again, remembering the wedding night, and the sweetness of the days that followed. He wondered again when would be the right time to tell Sören about what they had shared, a long time ago. The vow they had taken to each other back then:

Where you go, I will follow. In life and in death, and in rebirth, we will always find our way back to each other. On this night, we join our souls.

Dooku's cock throbbed, aching to be inside Sören now, but Sören was right that he needed to be ready first - and getting him ready was part of the fun. He nibbled and kissed Sören's inner thigh, knowing how much Sören loved that, smiling against the soft flesh as Sören cried out, before taking a few slow licks at the thigh.

As Dooku took Sören's cock into his mouth, sucking slowly, Maglor resumed kissing Sören's nipples, fingers playing with one as his lips and tongue worshiped the other. "So pretty," Maglor said, playing with a nipple ring. "It's like your outward appearance is the beauty of your soul manifesting itself."

Sören moaned and pulled Maglor's face to his to kiss him hard. "I could say the same thing about you," Sören said, tweaking the tip of Maglor's ear. Then he stroked Dooku's whiskers. "And you. You're so fucking hot..."

Dooku grinned as he licked Sören's cock. His finger hooked through the Prince Albert piercing in the head of Sören's cock and Maglor's fingers rubbed around it, making Sören groan. "Maybe we should get a pretty ring for that, too," Maglor said. "Can we get one with a diamond in the beaded part?"

"We could always custom order one." Dooku's tongue played around the site of the piercing, knowing how sensitive Sören was there, smiling again at the noises Sören made before his tongue rubbed the prominent frenulum. "Spoil our boy properly."

"Spoil our boy endlessly." Maglor stroked Sören's face and kissed him again. "We love you and we want to be good to you."

"You're already good to me," Sören said, the last word coming out as a gasp as Dooku's tongue slid lower, to his balls. Then Sören let out a cry as Dooku's tongue brushed that sensitive place between balls and ass, before plunging inside.

Eating Sören never got old; Dooku gently stroked himself as his tongue lapped inside Sören's channel. Sören cried out into Maglor's kisses, and when Maglor started teasing Sören's nipples again with his mouth Sören was a wreck, almost sobbing in his pleasure and need. Dooku growled as his tongue rubbed faster, harder, and when Sören rocked his hips, fucking his face, Dooku's hand sped up on his own cock, his body screaming with lust. At last Sören begged, "Please, elskan, take me." His voice dropped to a whisper. "Make me yours."

Maglor rolled to the side, watching with interest as Dooku climbed on top of Sören. Dooku grabbed a pillow and handed it to Sören, saying, "Put this under you, it'll help." Sören rolled to slide the pillow where he'd be laying and then lay back so the pillow tilted his hips; he parted his thighs again. Dooku used the Force to bring over the lube, and he worked one slick finger inside Sören, then two, then three, as he and Sören kissed again and again. When Sören's nails were in his back and he whimpered, "Nico, please... need you in me..." Dooku poured lube over his cock, and into Sören's opening, and guided his cock.

Dooku began to push in, slowly. Sören was so tight, and he could feel across their Force bond that it was pinching and burning a little - Dooku worried that Sören would be triggered by the initial pain, but Sören took deep breaths, his eyes never leaving Dooku's. "Tell me if you need me to stop," Dooku said, stroking Sören's face. "We're almost there, love."

Sören kissed him, and as the kiss deepened, Dooku bottomed out inside him, groaning at the deliciousness of Sören's silken heat wrapped around him. Sören broke the kiss to catch his breath, and had a look of triumphant relief on his face - I did it. Dooku stroked Sören's face again.

"Good boy," he said; Sören moaned at that. Dooku had figured out some time ago Sören had a praise kink, and that was useful knowledge to have now. "Let me know when I can start..."

"Please, Daddy."

Dooku started thrusting, slowly. As much as he liked to go slow and take his time, edging, the feeling of Sören's passage was so exquisite that he grit his teeth, restraining himself, making himself take it slow, not give in to the urge he had to slam into him. Not yet. Sören gasped as he felt Dooku thrusting into him, and Dooku worried that he was hurting the young man. Or worse, triggering him - Justin was dead, but Dooku knew that hold would persist beyond the grave for some time.

"Do you need me to stop?"

"Don't stop," Sören said, and then his eyes rolled and glazed and he let out a cry that let Dooku knew he'd hit that spot even without feeling it across their bond. "Ohgod." Sören shuddered. "Oh my fucking god..."

"Yes?"

"More."

Dooku kissed him with all the fire of his being, Sören's nails in his back. Sören's hips matched his rhythm, slow and sensual at first, savoring each other - the sweet sensation of their joining, the way they fit together, pleased each other... that feeling that they'd come home, that there was nothing more right in the universe than this. Neither the Doom nor Justin could take that away from them.

Maglor watched, slowly stroking himself, and there were unshed tears in his eyes, a look of awe on his face. "The two of you are so beautiful together," he said. "It's like watching a force of nature."

Sören grabbed Maglor and kissed him, and then Dooku kissed Maglor as well. Then, Maglor got into position to suck Sören's cock as Dooku continued thrusting, slowly. Sören gasped and shivered, and Dooku moaned at the sight of Maglor sucking Sören, his hunger for it...

After Maglor had been sucking Sören's cock for awhile, moving his head faster, Sören grabbed Dooku's hips and rocked his own, urging Dooku on faster inside him. Dooku gave in, thrusting into Sören harder, and harder still - not as hard as he could fuck, not wanting to hurt him... but enough to bring them to that edge, the delicious edge of Sören quivering, moaning louder and louder, completely lost in lust and sensation. Dooku's own lust burned, feverish, melting into Sören again and again, in that place where nothing else mattered but their bodies, their passion, their pleasure. It had only been a few months but his body felt like it had been waiting years for this and indeed, on a deeper level he'd been waiting for this for ages.

"Oh, fuck," Sören wailed. "God, you're so good..."

"You're good." Dooku kissed Sören. His fingers brushed a nipple and he husked, "My good boy," before kissing Sören again.

That did it - Sören went wild, bucking his hips, fucking Maglor's mouth, fucking himself hard on Dooku's cock. Dooku let out a cry and thrust harder, faster, the bed slamming against the wall. Maglor moaned with his mouth full, and Dooku knew he was stroking himself as he sucked, his lust inflamed by their frenzy. Sören begged "More, more," as Dooku drove into him. There was no fear, no pain, only fire, only passion.

"My good boy," Dooku whispered between kisses, Sören whimpering at those words, and again as Dooku's fingers teased his nipples, as his cock worked its magic against Sören's prostate. "My good boy. My good, wonderful boy. Daddy wants to make you come, sweetheart..."

"I'm so close." Sören shuddered and let out a little sob of feverish need. "I'm so fucking close..."

"That's a good boy. That's Daddy's good boy..." Dooku kissed Sören's neck. "My good boy who feels so good..."

"God." Sören shuddered again. "Please, Daddy..."

Dooku took Sören's face in his hand, stroked it tenderly, looking into his eyes. There was that moment that felt like an eternity, desperately needing to climax but not wanting to stop, wanting to keep feeling the sweet, sweet friction, the joining of their bodies...

"My good boy."

...and then Sören let go, screaming as he climaxed, contracting around Dooku as his seed flooded Maglor's mouth, who moaned loudly as he swallowed it down. "Nico, Daddy, oh god... oh god... FUCK..."

"Sören." Dooku shook as he spent into him, feeling like he was exploding and imploding at the same time, his orgasm throbbing so hard it almost hurt, euphoric joy radiating through his entire body. "Sören, my love..."

"I love you." Sören had a beatific look on his face, and he was weeping - with happiness, not sorrow. I did it. I did it, echoed across their bond. I'm free. I took it back. "I love you, Nico."

"I love you." Dooku kissed him hard, also crying with him. "Oh, Sören, I'm so proud of you."

"Hells," Maglor rasped, just as Sören grinned and said, "Hi So Proud Of You..."

Dooku bit Sören's shoulder, and Sören bit him back - the feeling of Sören's teeth in his flesh made Dooku's spent cock stir again, and again when Sören - knowing he was getting aroused - brushed a nipple with his fingertips, pebbling it before his fingers played in Dooku's chest hair.

Dooku pulled out of Sören, wanting to give himself a little more time to recharge before whatever happened next, and they held each other, legs entwined - Maglor held both of them, petting them, kissing their foreheads, raining kisses over their faces. He was still moved to tears by what he had witnessed between them, the beauty of Sören's trust and surrender, and Sören got choked up again and kissed Maglor's tears. That led to more sensual, passionate kisses, and Dooku's cock stirred again as he watched his lovers kissing, giving a groan of appreciation when Sören started playing with Maglor's hair.

"It's your turn, you know," Sören said.

"You're not too sore?" Maglor gave Sören a concerned look.

"I might be sore later but right now I just want." Sören bit his lower lip and crinkled his nose.

Maglor kissed him hard, and then he whispered, "I want to do something else first."

"Oh?"

Dooku knew what, and he rolled off to the side, chuckling - his laughter became a moan as he watched Maglor worship Sören's body, licking and kissing and caressing him all over, until at last his head was between Sören's legs. Dooku couldn't help but stroke himself as he watched Maglor's tongue dip into Sören's channel and Maglor began eating Dooku's cum out of him, with Sören howling and writhing as Maglor's tongue rubbed inside him just the right way.

"Ohgod." Sören shuddered. "Oh fuck, Mark... oh god, Mark, fuck..."

"Mmmmmmm." Maglor slowed down his licking, and then to be even more of a tease, pulled his tongue out and licked around the rim of Sören's opening, circling a few times before his tongue plunged back inside.

Sören grabbed Maglor's hair, thrashing, bucking against his face. Maglor eventually relented and ate Sören faster. Dooku could sense across their bond that Maglor was dangerously close to coming himself and he wasn't even touching himself, he was just that turned on by doing this to Sören - as he'd learned to love pleasing Fëanor and Fingolfin the same way so long ago. Fëanor had always been oral, and Maglor took after his father not just in appearance but appetite. Maglor began to hum gently as his tongue fucked Sören, creating a vibration, and Sören screamed, fucking his face harder.

"Mark... oh god... you're gonna make me come like this, I'm so close..."

Maglor stopped before Sören could come this way. Sören grabbed the lube with the Force and worked it into Maglor's cock, kissing Maglor as he did - groaning, enjoying the kinky thrill of kissing Maglor after what he'd just done - and Dooku watched as Maglor took Sören, with Sören having an easier time of penetration than before since he was open.

After a few slow thrusts, Maglor looked at Dooku, and Dooku knew from the heat in his eyes and across their bond what Maglor wanted. Dooku took the lube and poured it into Maglor's channel, working his fingers inside. As the tip of Dooku's cock pressed against Maglor's opening, Maglor breathed, "Go for it."

Dooku took him, and Maglor cried out. Across their bond, Dooku could feel Maglor's arousal in feeling Sören around him and Dooku inside him, his cock and prostate pleasured at the same time.

Dooku moved inside Maglor slowly, as Maglor kept the pace slow inside Sören. Dooku kissed Maglor's neck and shoulder, played with Maglor's flood of hair, every so often tilted Maglor's face to his so they could kiss. And every so often Dooku leaned over Maglor's shoulder to kiss Sören. Sören reached out to take Dooku's hand.

The three took their time climbing to that edge, letting the tension build, savoring every rub, every moan and sigh, every brush of fingertips, every touch, every feel. All sense of time and place faded away, where it was just them, loving each other.

But after awhile they could no longer hold back. Dooku thrust into Maglor harder, and commanded, "Fuck him like I'm fucking you." Maglor rocked into Sören, who matched his rhythm. Sören's cries of "Yes, more, give it to me" and Maglor's deep moans in response almost set Dooku off, but he held back, his teeth grazing the back of Maglor's neck, wanting everything to be timed just right.

Sören came first, crying out "Yes, Mark, yes, oh god, yes," as he spilled over Maglor's chest and stomach, and that sent Maglor over the edge, giving a hoarse shout as he shuddered and Sören gasped - Dooku could feel Sören feeling Maglor spending into him, across their bond, and Sören loved it. At the feel of Maglor contracting around him, Dooku gave in a few thrusts later, moaning loudly as his release claimed him, pulled him under, into brilliant light and that feeling deeper than love.

The three tangled up together, and Dragos came over from where he'd been perched on the windowsill and joined them on the bed.

"Thank you both, so much," Sören sighed. "That was amazing."

"We love you, sweetheart." Dooku kissed Sören's forehead, and took his hand, kissing the engagement ring.

"We love you very much." Maglor squeezed Sören. "We want you with us, always."

Sören nodded. "This is really happening. I knew we were already committed, but..." Sören smiled. "This makes it officially official."

After a few minutes of enjoying the near-silence of breathing in the same rhythm, listening to heartbeats, and the sound of Dragos purring, Sören said, "I have a request. I still don't like to ask for things, but..."

"Please." Maglor pet Sören's curls, stroked his face.

"Can we get him a friend?" Sören skritched Dragos.

Dooku laughed softly. "I don't see why not."

"Good." Sören snuggled deeper into them. "I love cats, and I've been wanting a cat of my own for awhile, but I couldn't because..."

"We know. Yes, we can get you a cat to be friends with Dragos." Maglor kissed the top of Sören's head.

"Our children," Sören said, and laughed. Dooku smiled - he loved Sören's laugh, and that there was more of that laughter now, the sunshine returning to Sören's life after too long of a winter.

Reclaim that fire, my Fëanáro.

Dooku sighed, feeling that ache again. He knew the talk with Sören needed to happen before their wedding - indeed, as they would start making plans in the near-future, it seemed like then would be the opportune time. And would hopefully jog the memories that they'd done this once before.

Chapter Text

A week after their return from Brighton, Sören had two nights off scheduled in a row. The first of those nights, he and Maglor had plans - which Dooku approved of and encouraged - and then the following evening Dooku would take off to spend time with Sören on his own.

Sören and Dooku had decided on a June wedding date, which they found "painfully traditional" - a week before the summer solstice. Maglor would be best man at their wedding, and "best man" of another sort, celebrating with them after the wedding. They were taking Maglor with them on their honeymoon to Paris, which Dooku had always wanted to see as he considered himself "honorary French", and they would be back in time to visit Avebury for the summer solstice, which all three of them were keen on.

June was close enough to where they were now in April for the wait to not feel unbearable, but enough time for everyone invited to plan to attend. Dooku had invited the entire staff of Doi Capaci - the restaurant would be in Natalia's hands while he was on honeymoon - and Sören had invited his entire family; awhile back Dooku encouraged Sören to look up his mother's siblings and he was now in contact with his aunt Birgitta and her wife Jane, who ran a bed-and-breakfast in Scotland, and he was in contact with his mother's brother Böðvar's eldest daughter Alinta - half-Aborigine. Sören's guardians had barred Gitta from contacting the children because of her lesbian partner, and they had barred Böðvar from contact for marrying an Aboriginal woman some time after he moved to Australia. Sören had not known about this and was furious, and likewise, his mother's siblings were upset at having fallen out of touch. Sören and Dooku's wedding would serve as a family reunion of sorts, with Sören seeing not just the siblings and cousin he hadn't seen since before he left Iceland, but family he hadn't seen since he was a small child and in some cases family he didn't even know he had. Ali was a mother herself, and bringing her husband Kenny and their small children Metallica and Megadeth all the way from Adelaide to the wedding; Sören howled with approving, delighted laughter the first time he heard their names.

Dooku was looking forward to meeting Sören's family but also nervous, concerned that there would be disapproval at their age difference or that they would think things were moving too fast, or that they just wouldn't like him. Sören told him he was being ridiculous, and that even if anyone did disapprove, "we're still doing this." Sören kissed the tip of his nose. "I'm yours, and you're mine."

Sören's words were on his mind as Dooku finished up in the kitchen at closing time. As always, the restaurant had been busy enough to not afford him much time to think beyond the tasks immediately at hand, but Sören's absence was conspicuous - even a few hours apart, Dooku missed him. He felt a little self-conscious about it as he brought a bag of trash out to the back dumpster, not wanting to be too needy or clingy. Just in the four months that Sören had been a part of their lives, he'd gotten attached.

Of course you did. It's Fëanor. He was your obsession.

Dooku looked up at the few stars that were visible in the night sky with the light pollution in London, and swallowed hard, once again wondering when, and how, he was going to have that talk with Sören.

And then, he heard the most pitiful "mew".

In the dim glow of the lights from the back of the restaurant, Dooku saw a black-and-white kitten wandering around the dumpster. The kitten looked at him with big chartreuse eyes and let out another "mew".

Dooku put the bag of trash in the dumpster and then he got on his knees on the pavement, even though his arthritis complained. "Hello there," he said to the kitten, holding out his hands; the pink nose came closer to sniff. "Are you hungry?"

The kitten sat in a cardboard box in the passenger's seat on the drive home. He - Dooku had determined that rather quickly - would need to go into the vet tomorrow to be checked out and given a clean bill of health before they exposed Dragos, but in the meantime...

Dooku carried the kitten inside, greeted by the sounds of Sören and Maglor making passionate love in the studio. He went hard listening to them, but made himself focus on getting the kitten set up in the pantry with enough food, water, a litterbox, and something comfortable to sleep in. He stooped and gave the kitten some pettings before closing off the pantry, feeling terrible about the necessity of the temporary isolation, but he'd visit the kitten again later and he'd bring him to the vet first thing in the morning.

Dooku paused at the studio door, watching - Maglor was sitting and Sören was riding his lap, facing Maglor, kissing him. The light was off in the studio, and Maglor's silver glow was intense, giving Dooku a nice view of Sören's ass, and Maglor's cock gliding in and out of it. They were holding each other, and the look of ecstasy on their faces between kisses was as beautiful as the play of their bodies together. They were close, and Dooku felt something close to reverence when he watched them climax - Sören throwing his head back and crying out as he spilled over Maglor's chest, and then a few thrusts later Maglor called out "Sören" and gave a deep, primal grunt of satisfaction as he shuddered; Dooku saw Maglor's seed seeping out of Sören, around the cock stuffed inside him. Sören's body continued to heave, his hands running over Maglor's chest as he panted, gasped. Maglor took Sören's face and they kissed deeply, moaning into the kiss, shaking.

Maglor pulled Sören close, cradling him, petting his curls, kissing the top of his head. Sören draped Maglor's flood of hair around him like it was a blanket, which made Maglor smile and start rocking Sören in his arms, and the look of tenderness on his face brought tears to Dooku's eyes. He loved them both so much, and it was wonderful to see how much they loved each other - that it seemed Maglor loved Sören as much as he did, cherished him. He wanted the two of them to take care of each other when...

We're not going to think of that now, and hopefully that day won't come for a long time.

Dooku gently cleared his throat. Maglor's eyes opened and Sören turned his head. "Oh, hi," Sören said, and giggled.

"Good evening," Dooku said.

Sören laughed harder at the formality.

"How long have you been standing there?" Maglor raised an eyebrow.

"Enough to get a quality performance." Dooku gave a slow clap.

A pillow from the bed in the studio was thrown at him with the Force, and Dooku dodged it, then used the Force to throw it back at them. "I have something to show you, when you're ready," he told them.

"What, your cock?" Sören teased. "I'm always ready for that..."

"That will be later, you naughty thing," Dooku said, though he was hard and aching for them now. "I brought something home."

Maglor pulled on a robe and Sören came out of the studio naked - it still took him aback sometimes how casual Icelanders were about nudity, not that Dooku ever minded looking at Sören naked - and Dooku opened the pantry door. Sören squeaked when he saw the kitten inside, curled up in a blanket-lined box, and he scooped up the kitten and held him, stroking. The kitten began to purr.

"Awwwwwwwwwww. Can we keep him?" Sören rubbed his nose in the black-and-white fur.

"If the vet says there is nothing seriously wrong with him, yes, that is the idea. He has to stay in the pantry overnight, I'll take him to the vet as soon as they open - that's to protect Dragos. Though he seems healthy." Dooku skritched the kitten's chin.

Maglor also pet the kitten. "He's adorable," Maglor said. He held out a front paw and grinned. "He's polydactyl."

"Oh!" Dooku hadn't noticed that in his rush to safely get the kitten home. "He certainly is."

"AAAAAAAAA, his little extra toe beans," Sören yelled, poking them; the kitten's paw reflexively curled and the kitten purred harder. "He's so cute, I'm gonna die."

"Polydactyl cats are considered lucky, and even if he wasn't, sailors thought black-and-white cats like this one were good luck," Maglor said. "The ancient Egyptians did too - most of the cats in their royal tombs were black-and-white cats."

"Were you there?" Sören snickered.

Maglor gave him a playful swat. "No, but I walked like an Egyptian in the 80s." He began to do the dance from the Bangles video.

"Dear god," Dooku said, laughing, remembering too many nights in Europe in the early to mid 1990s when Maglor had indulged in drunk karaoke.

Then Dooku could feel it across their bond - Maglor had a moment of nostalgia as well. Dooku's hard-on had calmed down with the fuss over the kitten, and he made Maglor and Sören go wash their hands in case Dragos came out for pettings, as he was wont to do; Sören came out of the bathroom in a T-shirt and boxer briefs. Maglor went back to the living room and put The Bangles Greatest Hits on vinyl, and he and Sören began to dance around the living room to "Walk Like An Egyptian" while Dooku made tea, laughing and rolling his eyes.

That was followed up with "Eternal Flame", which Maglor sang along with, singing to Sören.

Say my name
Sun shines through the rain
A whole life so lonely
And then come and ease the pain
I don't want to lose this feeling, oh

Close your eyes, give me your hand
Do you feel my heart beating
Do you understand?
Do you feel the same
Am I only dreaming
Or is this burning an eternal flame?


Dooku found himself tearing up again, and Sören also got misty-eyed and held Maglor tight when the song was over. Dooku knew the song had a much, much deeper meaning for Maglor - Fëanor - and as Maglor held Sören again and Sören snuggled into his chest, Dooku's eyes met Maglor's and a moment of understanding passed between them.

We have to have that talk with him.

It could wait one more night - one more night to be "normal", as normal as things could be with the three of them as Force sensitives, Maglor as an Elf, the three living in a polyamorous triad that was still not a widely acceptable arrangement in society. Dooku didn't know how Sören would react to everything, but it was time to find out, and hope for the best.

Tomorrow. Dooku pulled Maglor close, holding both of them, and soon they were taking turns kissing each other and Dooku was hard once more. Sören smiled, palming the hard bulge, and got on his knees in front of Dooku, taking the hard cock out of the trousers and into his mouth.


_


In the morning Dooku brought the kitten to the vet, and following bloodwork the kitten was given a clean bill of health and his first round of vaccinations. Dooku came back, followed the vet's advice to rub the kitten down with Dragos' favorite blanket so he would smell like Dragos, and then he let the kitten have free reign of the house.

Dooku invited Sören and Maglor to go shopping with him for supplies - food specially formulated for kittens, and some extra cat toys, since Dragos was an older cat and didn't play much. Dooku also thought about getting a larger cat tree - the current one could go in the studio, since Sören and Maglor never minded Dragos hanging around when they were creating.

Even though Sören was not a morning person, he was eager to get things for "the baby", as he called it. Sören spent a longer time than usual getting ready in the bathroom, made more curious by the fact that he was just wearing a T-shirt and jeans, not anything fancy, and his hair was loose as it tended to be most of the time. Sören had a cryptic little smile on his face as he walked out to the car - walking gingerly, though Dooku rather expected that, since Sören had been well-used last night.

After picking up supplies, Maglor headed to his shop, and Dooku decided to hit the gym. Sören was working on a painting - Sören had the idea of completing several paintings and having an auction with the proceeds donated to a charity to help victims of domestic violence. It was wonderful to see him confident enough in his work now to want to have a showing, and Dooku loved his heart. Before Sören got back to work on the painting, and before Dooku left, they spent some time watching Dragos get acquainted with the kitten - Dragos started grooming him, which was a good sign.

When Dooku got back from the gym he was sweaty, but had elected to shower at home rather than using the facilities at the gym, since he was still reserved about being naked in front of people who weren't his partners. He'd thought about going to the store on the way back from the gym, but he decided not to not simply because he was a sweaty mess, but also he wanted to have a quietly romantic evening at home with Sören, making him whatever he wanted for dinner, and that meant asking him first, going to the store with a list, or even with Sören himself picking things out.

Dooku let himself in the house. It was quiet - usually when Sören painted and nobody else was home he had the stereo on. Dooku wondered for a moment if Sören had gone out for a walk, which he was doing without fear now that Justin was dead, but he could feel Sören's presence in the house...

...and then he heard Sören call from down the hall. "Daddy, can you come help me with something?"

Dooku went down the hall. Sören wasn't in the studio, as he assumed - he turned around and looked into the bedroom. And at the sight that greeted him, he gasped.

Sören was on the bed on all fours, face down, ass up. His hole was open, and he had applied enough lubricant that it was dripping out of him, all over his thighs, dripping in a puddle onto the bed. On the bedtable Dooku saw a buttplug, and a bottle of passionfruit flavored lube.

Dooku's cock started to throb, painful in its urgency. Not only was the sight of Sören ready for him like this utterly delicious, but the knowledge that he'd been planning this, preparing himself...

Dooku peeled off his gym clothes, threw them in the hamper, and walked over to the bed. Sören wiggled his ass enticingly. "Hi Daddy," Sören said. He let out a little whimper. "I've been aching for you all day, Daddy. Can you kiss it better?"

My god. Arthritis be damned, Dooku got on his knees at the edge of the bed and began to tease Sören by licking around his hole, not putting his tongue inside just yet. Dooku's cock twinged, wanting fiercely and they hadn't even gotten started, but he made himself wait. When Sören was almost sobbing, begging "Please, Daddy, please..." Dooku finally relented, thrusting his tongue inside. Sören's natural taste was never offensive - musky, a little earthy, spicy-sweet - but the passionfruit lubricant was a nice touch, and Dooku made sure it didn't go to waste, eating Sören like he was starving for it, reveling in the sounds Sören made - the way Sören screamed into the pillows - and the way Sören bucked against his face, fucking the tongue swirling inside him.

"Oh, love," Dooku groaned, giving his tongue a little rest before going back again - teasing Sören with little kisses against his ass cheeks, his thighs. "You are such a naughty boy."

"Do I get spankings, Daddy?"

Dooku slapped Sören's ass hard. Sören cried out and wiggled his ass. "Yes, Daddy," Sören panted, crying out again when Dooku slapped the other cheek. "Oh, Daddy... spank me more..."

Dooku gave Sören's ass a few more slaps, before his tongue slid back inside, eating him even more vigorously than before, devouring him, his own cock continuing to throb and drip precum at Sören's moans and Sören working his hips, feverish. When Dooku teased him by slowing down, rubbing his tongue in slow, deliberate strokes, Sören started to swear in Icelandic and Dooku couldn't help but smile against Sören's opening. He teased and teased, licking Sören ever so slowly, until Sören was a sobbing wreck, trying to beg and not able to make words. When he went back to licking hard and fast inside him Sören went wild, and ended up spending himself just from that. Sören's release was so powerful that Dooku almost came too.

Sören was still hungry, rubbing up against him like he was in heat, panting, "Fuck me..." Dooku got on the bed. He was about to roll Sören over to take him on his back, and Sören insisted, "No, like this."

"Are you sure?" Dooku knew from memories Sören had shared with him across their Force bond that in the last few months of Sören's relationship with Justin, the man had taken him from behind exclusively - when he wasn't using Sören's mouth - and Sören had developed something of an aversion to being taken from behind or in other positions where he couldn't make eye contact. But now...

Sören nodded. "This is what I've been planning," Sören said. "I want to take... that... back, too. I used to be fine with it before..."

"All right. Tell me if you're triggered and you need me to stop -"

"NICO PUT IT FUCKING IN ME NOW OR I'M GONNA FUCKING DIE."

Dooku chuckled. There was enthusiastic consent, and then there was Sören's passion, a consuming fire.

My Fëanáro.

Dooku pushed into Sören, who hissed "Yessss..." Dooku grabbed Sören's hips and began to rock into him - not slow, and not as hard as he could fuck, a good moderate pace to get things going, still mindful of Sören's past history.

But Sören started to buck against him, fucking himself hard on Dooku's cock. Dooku matched Sören's rhythm, and Sören continued to work his hips and ass, frenzied, howling, panting. Across their bond Dooku could feel how much Sören wanted this, wanted him, had been going crazy with longing for hours, thinking about it. "Oh god," Sören moaned. "Oh god, that's so fucking good..."

"Sören." Dooku's hands caressed Sören's back, fingers playing over his spine, walking down to trace the phoenixes - the one made of fire seemed almost like it was burning to the touch. "Sweetheart..."

"Oh, Daddy. Oh Daddy, you fuck me so good..." Sören let out a little whimper. "So much better than that arsehole Justin."

"I want you more than he ever did." He grabbed Sören's ass. "And you belong to me. He had no right to you, this is MINE..."

"Oh god." Sören slammed against him, gave a wild cry. "Oh god, oh god, yesyesyes... yes, Daddy..."

"Mine." Dooku smacked Sören's ass, and drove into him harder, the bed rocking against the wall, the sound of their flesh slapping together as loud as Sören's cries. "You're mine."

"Yes, god, yes..."

"Aren't you?" Dooku grabbed a fistful of Sören's curls. "Who does this belong to?" he asked, caressing Sören's ass with one hand before giving it another smack.

"You... you, Daddy..." And then, Sören moaned, "Ñolo."

That did it. Even though Dooku usually tried to hold back and let Sören come first, he lost control, throwing his head back with a hoarse shout as he exploded into Sören's heat. He felt Sören contracting around him - he reached around to stroke Sören's cock through his orgasm, feeling Sören's seed flooding over his hand, and Sören kept crying out "Ñolo, Ñolo, Ñolo... Ñolofinwë..."

"Fëanáro." Dooku's orgasm was almost painful now; he collapsed onto Sören's back, shaking, his toes curling. "Sören. Fëanor... I love you."

Sören was weeping now, and Dooku leaned in to kiss his tears. Sören took Dooku's hand and squeezed it. For a moment they lay there, Dooku resting on Sören's back, feeling the cum seeping out of Sören's ass, and the puddle from Sören's own cock. He was sweatier now than he had been from the gym - Sören was sweaty too. Dooku stroked Sören's damp curls, tears in his own eyes, a mixture of relief and awe, that finally...

Dooku pulled out of Sören and rolled Sören onto his back, and pulled Sören into his arms, against his chest. For a moment he continued to pet Sören, and then, at last, he asked, "How long have you known...?"

"Not long." Sören swallowed hard.

"Sören... what did you see in the glass, after you saw Justin's death?"

Sören closed his eyes and then he opened them, looking like he was staring at something far away, before his eyes met Dooku's. "I saw that I made the glass ball I was holding. I'd made more than one of them. And I made... gems. Three of them. The gems were alive, I put a piece of my soul into them.  I kept having dreams after that of back then, and I remember Mark mentioning Tolkien, so a few days ago I looked some stuff up online and..."

"And now you know."

"Did you know who I was...?"

"We strongly suspected it. It seemed all there - your art. Your passion. Your determination. Your willingness to keep fighting, keep trying." Heat flooded Dooku's cheeks. "The way I feel about you."

Sören stroked Dooku's cheek and beard, love in his warm brown eyes. "Nico... Ñolo. It feels so strange because... you were my brother, and Mark... Maglor... was my son. Incest is wrong... like the thought of banging one of my own siblings makes me want to puke..."

Dooku couldn't help smiling at that, amused by Sören's indelicate, blunt way with words. The more things change, Fëanáro, the more they stay the same...

"...and like, even the thought of having sex with my cousin Ari, though he's an attractive man, that would be weird. But... it wasn't weird, with us. It wasn't wrong, with us. We weren't human. We weren't even like the other Elves. The Noldor were like... gods. All those stories in mythology, of deity pantheons where siblings are lovers, and parents with their offspring... now I think I understand it, after what I felt in the glass, after the dreams I had. We had power. Power that called to power, was drawn to power."

"Fire calling to fire," Dooku said.

"Yes. Exactly." Sören frowned. "Mel - Melkor, was that his name? He hated it. So did the other Valar. We were glorious, and they envied us, the children of Eru, made in his image... godlike." And the words unspoken aloud, but spoken into Dooku's mind: There was something even older than that, possibly before Eru himself. I'm not sure. I don't want to try to poke at it now.

"I agree with you that incest is wrong for humans," Dooku said, nodding. "There's the issue of power imbalance, genetic problems with inbreeding... reasons why it's a bad idea. But we didn't have any of those problems."

"No. And Maglor was an adult when we..." Sören closed his eyes and shuddered; Dooku felt him remembering Fëanor and Maglor's first time, the way Maglor had wanted. "A very consenting adult." His eyes opened again. "I never thought of him that way when he was a boy. There was no grooming... then suddenly, he was forty, and he wasn't a boy anymore, but very much a young man. And becoming my equal, more and more. And those next ten years were agony, trying to keep him at a distance..."

"You had as much luck as you did keeping me at a distance." Dooku laughed and gave him a little kiss. "I asked you to be my fiftieth birthday present."

"I have no regrets." Sören kissed the tip of his nose. "Though it seems to be why we're here now, stuck in human bodies..."

"Punished for our sins." Dooku's arms tightened around Sören. "And of course I've only found you again when I'm in the sunset of my life, we might get twenty years at best..."

Sören started to cry.

Dooku cried a little, too - not just for Sören but for Maglor, who had found both of them and would eventually lose both of them. It was cruel. Maglor had already been through so much...

The kitten hopped onto the bed with a peep, and began to headbutt both of them, purring, flomping down beside them for pettings.

"Hello, little kitty." Dooku skritched the kitten.

"He needs a name."

"Nothing outlandish," Dooku said, thinking of the stuffed animals.

Sören laughed and then he said, "Snúdur."

"Snúdur?"

"It's Icelandic for sweet bun... uh, what you guys call a cinnamon bun or cinnamon roll out here." Sören stroked the kitten and began talking to him in baby talk. "Because you're the sweetest little fuzzy furry baby boy, aren't you? Oh yes you are. Yes you are, my sweet little baby kitty..."

"Oh dear." Dooku chuckled.

"Listen, if I can't have seven kids in this lifetime, I can make up for it with cats."

"We are not getting seven cats -"

"No of course not, we only need to get five more cats to make it seven. Don't you know how to count?"

Dooku narrowed his eyes.

Then Sören grinned and said, "Oh right, your family was counts in Romania and whatever. Though Count Dooku sounds so pretentious."

"Are you done?"

"Am I ever done?"

"You keep this up and I'll make you take my surname when we get married."

"Sören Dooku. Wow, that... sounds completely fucking ridiculous. About as ridiculous as us sharing an Elf and being Elves in a past life who were also brothers who shagged and one calls the other Daddy, so I suppose it's appropriate."

Dooku's response was to start tickling him, which got Sören to tickle him back, and soon they were rolling around the bed, tickling, play-fighting, which gave way to their cocks rubbing together, hard again, kissing passionately, hands roaming. Sören rolled Dooku onto his back and Dooku guided the tip of his cock to Sören's opening, groaning as Sören sank down. Once he was all the way in he grabbed Sören's hips, and Sören leaned down, kissing him as he began to ride slowly. They clasped hands, kissing again and again.

"I love you, my Ñolofinwë."

"I love you, my Fëanáro." Dooku stroked Sören's face. "I love you, and no matter how much time we have left, I'm going to savor every moment..."

Sören gave him a stern look, not wanting to talk about Dooku's mortality anymore, and replied with "Hi, Going To Savor Every Moment..."

Dooku grabbed Sören's face and kissed him hard, and Sören started riding him faster and harder. The fuck became just as hard and wild as the one previous, Sören riding gloriously, triumphantly, Dooku lost in the beauty of Sören's passion, the lithe body on top of his, the wonder and joy on Sören's lovely face as lust and pleasure consumed him... no pain, no fear, only desire and bliss. As Dooku had told Sören "you're mine" while taking him, now Sören slid his hands over Dooku's chest, fingers threading through the silver pelt as he growled, "You're mine."

"Yes, love." Dooku put his hands on Sören's, guiding Sören's hands to his heart. "I'm yours, darling. Then, now... forever."

"Mine." Sören rode even harder. "Mine, mine, mine..."

"Oh, Sören." Dooku shuddered, hands on Sören's hips again, nails digging into him, fighting back his release. "My love. My fire..."

"Ñolo."

The next few minutes felt like hours in their frenzied, feverish need, the fire raging between them as hot as it ever was, needing to come but not able to get enough of each other, the pleasure, the way they fit together, the rightness of one inside the other again and again and again. When they came together it was shattering, violent, Sören making a mess all over Dooku, the wall, the ceiling as he shot rope after rope of his seed, screaming. Dooku spent so hard into Sören he felt like he could die of the bone-deep, searing pleasure of his orgasm, a full-body release.

They took a nap, and when Dooku woke up he was alarmed by the time. Maglor wouldn't be home quite yet, and stores were still open, but it would take time to shower, go out to get things and cook, and Dooku had a distinct lack of motivation to do any of that, wanting to tangle up with Sören forever.

Sören stirred, looked at the clock, and mumbled, "Want to get takeaway?"

After the delivery came, they ate chicken tikka, dhal, and naan bread in their pajamas, fending off the cats who begged aggressively, pretending like they didn't have expensive, high-quality cat food in their bowls in the kitchen. When Maglor came home he was amused to see their idea of a romantic evening was eating Indian takeaway on the couch in their pajamas - Sören wearing bunny slippers - watching Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns.

"I see you've already got the old married couple thing down to a science," Maglor said, stealing a piece of naan as he sat down in the armchair.

"Yeah, key emphasis on the old," Sören said.

Maglor raised an eyebrow. Sören and Dooku looked at each other, and then Dooku said, simply, "He knows."

Maglor dropped the piece of naan he was working on, on the floor, and Snúdur made off with it like he'd won a prize. Maglor stared open-mouthed, his pupils blown wide - he'd known, of course, that a talk was going to be had with Sören about the past one way or the other, tonight, but it was one thing to plan to have that talk and another thing for the talk to be had, for the reality of it to be facing him.

Sören held out his arms. "Come here, Kanafinwë."

Maglor got on his knees on the couch before Sören, and Sören held him close, petting Maglor's flood of hair as Maglor sobbed into his chest. All three of them held on tight, rocking together, crying, Maglor crying the hardest, as brokenly as Dooku had ever heard someone cry.

"I missed you so much, Father," Maglor sobbed. "I love you -"

Sören silenced him with a kiss, that Maglor quickly turned into a deep, hungry kiss, like he was trying to eat Sören alive. Sören moaned into the kiss, shivering against him, and even without seeing the hard bulge tenting Sören's flannel pajama bottoms, Dooku could feel that heat across their bond, the explosion of fire at last knowing and claiming its own.

Sören took both their hands. "I think I'm hungry for something other than food now," he husked.

Dooku looked at the remaining food on the coffee table - they'd eaten enough and could refrigerate the rest. He got up to put everything away in the kitchen and when he came back, Sören had Maglor up against the wall, kissing him passionately, both of them hard and rubbing together through Maglor's jeans and Sören's pajamas. Dooku came in and kissed them each in turn and then Sören took their hands again.

"Let's celebrate being together again," Sören said. "And I know just the thing."

Dooku waited, and Sören said, "I want you both inside me."

"You mean..." Maglor's eyes widened.

"At the same time." Sören nodded.

Dooku had heard of double penetration, and it was something he'd been curious about but as yet, the three of them hadn't tried... in this lifetime, anyway.  He remembered the First Age, and the way they'd all had each other... Tonight would be another first, something old that was new again. Sören pulled them along to the bedroom, laughing, exuberant - in the dim light of the hallway he seemed to almost shine with his joy.

Chapter Text

It seemed surreal to Dooku that he was this hungry again after the two shattering orgasms with Sören earlier, but here he was, hard cock throbbing against Maglor's in Sören's mouth, groaning as he and Maglor kissed deeply, hands wandering, teasing, every now and again resting in Sören's curls, petting him as he sucked them.

"Good boy," Dooku said, and the smile Sören gave him before taking their cocks back in his mouth made Dooku melt.

Maglor kissed him harder, fingers brushing a nipple. "I think we're just about ready," Maglor rasped.

Sören gave a little whine as their cocks slipped from his mouth. He took a few licks, greedy for them, before Maglor grabbed his curls and pulled Sören up to kiss him. Sören bucked against Maglor, who laughed softly before kissing him again. Then Sören and Dooku kissed, and Dooku's hand strayed to Sören's cock - already leaking precum - and Sören moaned when Dooku brought slick fingers to Maglor's lips to taste, who licked and sucked with a look of sensual enjoyment on his face.

Dooku rolled to the side to watch Sören and Maglor kiss some more, and then they got into position, with Sören's back against Maglor's chest. Maglor grabbed Sören's hips and slipped into him, and tilted Sören's face to his so they could kiss as he continued to push his way inside. Sören moaned into the kiss, and Dooku groaned watching them, enjoying the sight of Maglor's thick, hard cock fitting to Sören's hole, open and still full of Dooku's cum. When Maglor was all the way inside, he and Sören cried out together, and kissed harder. Maglor's arms tightened around Sören, who began to roll his hips, working the cock in and out of him, slow and steady.

After a few minutes, Sören turned his face to look at Dooku, and held out his hands, reaching for Dooku's hands, pulling him over. "Come play with us, Daddy," Sören husked.

Even though his cock was wet from Sören's mouth and his own precum, and Sören was still plenty slick from earlier, he poured extra lube over his cock. As he worked it in, he said, "If it's too much, you tell us to stop, and we will."

"Get fucking in here," Sören growled.

Maglor laughed, and tilted Sören's face back to his, giving Sören's lower lip a little nip. He played with one of Sören's nipple rings, making Sören moan and shudder before claiming his mouth. Dooku moved in close, and guided the tip of his cock to Sören's opening, already stuffed full. When Maglor pulled back, Dooku began to push in, and somehow, they were making it fit. Sören was even tighter, with both of them, and as they worked into him slowly Dooku worried that they would hurt him. But Sören kept panting "Yes, yes, yes," and when they were both all the way in, Sören trembled and howled, "Oh god, fuck yes" as his cock poured precum.

Maglor and Dooku found a rhythm, and Dooku realized a few thrusts in - shivering not just at the deliciousness of Sören wrapped around them both, but feeling Maglor's cock rub against his - that they weren't just making love to Sören together, but also making love to each other, this way. All three of them were pleasing each other at the same time, and it felt incredibly intimate and right.

Sören had that beautiful look of awe on his face as they moved inside him. "Oh god, you both fuck me so good," Sören panted. He closed his eyes, bit his lower lip, shuddering, and then his eyes were wide again, his face radiating joy and wonder. "I love you both so much..."

"We love you." Dooku took Sören's chin in his hand and kissed him.

Then Maglor kissed Sören, and Dooku and Maglor kissed over Sören's shoulder. The three continued to take turns kissing as they fucked, slow and sweet, Sören's hands playing over the hair on Dooku's chest, thighs, and arms as Maglor's hands stroked Sören's petal-soft skin over the steel of his lithe, wiry frame.

After awhile Maglor began to kiss, lick and nibble Sören's neck and shoulder, as Dooku and Sören kissed, tongues playing together between kisses. Dooku moaned and started thrusting a little faster when Sören kissed his neck, Sören's fingers brushing through the chest hair to find his sensitive nipples, rubbing and plucking. Then Maglor was playing with Sören's nipples, making Sören whimper and ride him harder, bucking against Dooku faster. Maglor continued to kiss and lick Sören's neck, and whispered in his ear every so often. "You are so fucking hot," Maglor whispered before taking another lick at Sören's neck. "So beautiful." He nibbled Sören's neck, making Sören cry out. "We love making love to you. Taking care of you. Pleasing you."

"God..." Sören shuddered. "I want you both so much... I love you both so much." His eyes misted as he played with a strand of Maglor's hair, stroked Dooku's whiskers. "I feel like I got back a part of my soul I never knew was missing."

"Yes, Fëanáro." Dooku kissed him. "We are all a part of each other." He took Sören's hand, and Maglor's scarred hand clasped theirs.

Then Maglor's hand stroked Sören's face, before resting on Sören's heart for a moment, as he tilted Sören's face again to kiss his mouth. Dooku moaned - he loved watching Sören and Maglor kiss - and he moaned again as Maglor pulled him in for a kiss as well.

Maglor's fingers walked over to Sören's nipple, and Sören bucked, riding even harder. Dooku growled as he felt Maglor's balls rubbing against his as they worked together to match Sören's rhythm, rubbing faster against each other in Sören's silken heat. Watching Maglor's fingers tease one of Sören's nipples, then the other, enticed Dooku to bend his head and feast, lapping and suckling one while Maglor played with the other. Sören's cries got louder and he writhed between them. When Dooku took a nipple ring between his teeth and gave a little tug, Sören screamed, raking his nails down Dooku's back; Dooku moaned at the sweet sting.

"More," Sören begged. "Oh god, more, please, more..."

They sped up as Sören's nipples were teased with lips, tongue, teeth and fingers into exquisitely swollen peaks, glistening deliciously. Sören rocked against them, fucking himself on their cocks, giving back as good as he got. One of Maglor's hands stroked Sören's cock in time with their thrusts, and Sören screamed again, bucking and raking Dooku's back, as he watched Dooku lick and suck precum from Maglor's fingers. When Maglor anointed Sören's nipples for Dooku to taste from there, Sören's cries of "more, more," almost sent them both over the edge, and they slowed down, savoring. Sören was completely lost in passion, almost terrifying in his wild beauty, and Dooku was as aroused by it as he was by the feel of Sören wrapped around them, the velvet steel of Maglor's cock throbbing against his as they rubbed together inside their younger lover.

They couldn't keep it slow forever, and at last they took Sören hard and fast, pounding him in the same frenzied rhythm, balls slapping together against Sören's ass. Sören howled and panted, working his hips just as hard as they were working theirs. Feverish kisses and caresses, licking sweat pooling down each other's flesh, and they were all right there, ready to come, trying to hold back, just a little longer, needing this...

Sören climaxed first, a glorious eruption, like a living volcano. He sobbed, weeping with joy as his seed spurted over Dooku's torso. At the feel of Sören contracting around them, Maglor and Dooku took each other's hands and gave in together, and the feel of cock coming on cock inside their lover made the orgasm even more powerful than usual, like a neverending tide that pulled Dooku into the sea of stars itself, weightless and infinite.

Dooku came to with his face in Sören's chest, against his heart, feeling Sören's heartbeat as Sören pet him tenderly. He picked his head up and also stroked Sören's face in return, and Maglor's, looking at them with so much love that it made him ache, made him tear up. Maglor and Dooku were still inside Sören, and it felt as cozy now as the tangle of their limbs, embracing within and without.

They pulled out of him finally, and adjusted their position again, settling in so their legs could braid together again, so they could all hold each other. "That was fucking awesome," Sören said when he could finally make words.

"Are you all right?" Dooku pet Sören's curls. "Did we hurt you -"

"I might be a little sore tomorrow, you guys are huge and you stretched me, but that part of the body is pretty flexible." Sören gave a guilty grin. "Kind of has to be, to push out sh-"

"Er." Dooku facepalmed; Sören was definitely indelicate about certain subjects... like dealing with Fëanor all over again.

Sören's laughter rang out, Sören's body heaving with it. "God, Nico." Sören kissed the tip of Dooku's nose. "You're so cute when you get all -"

"I am not cute."

"Hi Not Cute..."

Dooku glared, and Sören gave him a little kiss. Maglor was laughing now too and Dooku shot him a look before returning Sören's kiss.

Then Maglor stretched, and Dooku wondered if Maglor's movements were intentional, designed to make him look as alluring as possible. Maglor propped himself up on one elbow, his mane disheveled, and gave them a sultry look through his long lashes. "Nicolae, I hope you're not too spent."

Three times today, and Dooku's cock was already starting to wake up again. You are sixty-seven, not sixteen. "What did you have in mind?"

"I want both of you to take me, the way we took Sören together." Maglor's eyes met his, and then Sören's, and Sören's full lips parted in a little "o" - Dooku could feel across their bond that Sören was remembering. "The way the two of you used to take me together, back when..."

Sören didn't let him finish the sentence, kissing him passionately, and if Dooku hadn't already been starting to harden, he would be hardening now. Dooku groaned, his cock twinging as he watched Sören and Maglor kissing, Maglor arching to Sören, one of them using the Force to bring over the lube.

But first, Sören kissed and licked his way down Maglor's body, and Dooku groaned again as he watched Sören's head move between Maglor's legs, his tongue plunging inside him, Sören devouring him like he was starving for it. Maglor clutched Sören's head, panting, and cried out "Ada!", shuddering as Sören's tongue found just the right rhythm on his prostate.

Dooku pulled Maglor into a deep, hungry kiss, and Maglor and Dooku stroked each other's cocks, kissing as Sören's tongue fucked away; Sören moaned into Maglor's ass at the sight of them kissing. "You two are so fucking hot together," Sören growled before his tongue thrust back inside, and Maglor began to roll his hips, gently fucking Sören's face.

Before Maglor could come from Dooku's hand and Sören's tongue, Sören came up, kissing and licking Maglor's nipples as he worked one slick finger into Maglor, then two, then three. When four fingers were inside him and Maglor rocked his hips, panting as Sören's fingers rubbed, Sören nodded at Dooku. "He's ready."

Maglor climbed onto Dooku, his back against Dooku's chest. Now it was Sören's turn to appreciate the sort of view Dooku had before, Sören stroking himself, coating his cock with lube as he watched Dooku's cock push into Maglor, Dooku's arms tight around him. They kissed, and Maglor moaned as Dooku's hand reached to cup around his cock, gently stroking it.

Sören came over, laying against Maglor and kissing him, teasing him by rubbing their cocks together, and after a few minutes of that he began to push inside. The feeling of Sören's cock sliding against his almost set Dooku off right away, the sensation and lust intensified by the memories of how many times Fëanor and Fingolfin had taken Maglor like this - more than Fingolfin and Maglor had been inside Fëanor together; Laws be damned, they had wanted, and it had been glorious, and it was even moreso now that they'd been reunited after so long apart, and their passion for each other was still there. In those moments all sense of time and place seemed to slip away, they were right back where they were before... the Doom had not been able to take this from them, because they belonged to each other.

Dooku thought of the words Sören had spoken into his mind, earlier - There was something even older than that, possibly before Eru himself.

Their bond, their passion, had existed before the Valar, somehow, before Eru - it was no wonder that the Valar, for all that they had succeeded in punishing the three of them, had not been able to keep them from finding their way back to each other. Defiant. Sören, his rarely expressed dominant side showing itself as he took Maglor - and Dooku felt like he was being taken as well with the insistent rubbing of Sören's cock against his - Sören was all power now, all fire. Fire that called to their fire.

It wasn't just that they had been blood, long ago, and drawn to each other's power. It wasn't just that they all felt like they had back a missing part of themselves. It was that they were made for each other, and made of each other, older than flesh, older than blood, and it sang in the rhythm of their flesh and the heat of their blood now. There was power in their passion, a power that the Valar had feared, because they knew they would be discovered one day. Dooku could feel it - those barrister instincts were raging now, a crime discovered. It was terrifying, what had been done to them, the lengths the Powers had gone to in order to keep them apart. But here and now, they could feel it again, the Song all-present in Maglor's voice as they made him sing with ecstasy.

We are reclaiming our magic. And someday, we might take back what was stolen from us, in full.

"Mine," Sören rasped between kisses - kissing Maglor, kissing Dooku. One hand on each of them, his touch burning. "Mine. Mine."

"Fëanor," Maglor breathed. "So close..."

"Yes." Sören kissed him harder, ran his hand through Maglor's hair, stroked his face lovingly before his hand was on Maglor's heart, Maglor's scarred hand covering it. "Yes, love."

"Fëanor. Fingolfin. Father. Uncle." Maglor shuddered. "I need..."

"We all need," Dooku said, finding his words, kissing Maglor and then crushing Sören's mouth to his, hands sliding down to Sören's hips, urging him to match his rhythm, harder, faster. "We need."

"I need so much." A little sob. "It's been so long..."

Sören nipped Maglor's lower lip. "You're here now. You're mine now."

With that, Sören kissed him so hard Dooku watched them both lose their breath, and then Dooku's own breath caught as he felt Sören's cock rubbing furiously against his, fucking Maglor as hard as he could. With an arm around Maglor, and an arm around Sören, Dooku drove into Maglor as well, Maglor bucking between them, his cries rivaling the ones Sören had made earlier, quivering as Sören's hands roamed over him. "Mine," Sören rasped again, biting Maglor's neck, love bites over Maglor's chest. "Mine."

Then he took Dooku's hand. "Ours."

Dooku squeezed Sören's hand. "Yes, Fëanáro."

Maglor trembled. "Ada, you're going to make me come..." He turned his head and kissed Dooku feverishly. "You both are..."

"Come, Kanafinwë. Come for us." Sören's voice lowered, husky. "Burn for us."

Maglor let out a howl as he let go, his seed shooting all over Sören's chest, hitting Sören in the face. Sören licked his lips and the sight of that sent Dooku into his own climax, giving a hoarse shout as he spent, and a few seconds later Sören was coming too, and the feeling of Sören's white-hot cum all over his cock made Dooku cry out again, pleasure throbbing through his entire body. Maglor's contractions and the sweet throbbing of Sören against him, feeling Sören's cum continue to rush over him... Dooku shivered, moaning as he melted away.

And he gasped at the sight of Sören panting, flushed, sweating, face in rapture, a phoenix landing, scorching the earth in a beautiful blaze of glory. Maglor tilted his face to Dooku's, their foreheads pressed together, breathing each other's breath - the look of joy on his face, the light in those silver eyes, brought tears to Dooku's own eyes. Sören leaning in for a kiss, with love in his warm brown eyes, made those tears fall, silently. They were both magnificent, and they were his, and he was theirs.

You are all that I see. You are all that I want to know.

Chapter Text

May 2019
St. Andrews, Scotland

"Nico, take a break."

Dooku grumbled a little, but stopped grumbling as Sören patted the seat next to him and offered him a sports drink - Dooku hated the taste, but he had worked up a bit of a sweat from hauling heavy boxes around and moving furniture, and keeping hydrated was a good idea.

He and Sören had been married just shy of three years, and a few weeks ago the married couple and their third moved from their house in Bermondsey to a new house on the Harbour of St. Andrews, Scotland. Their house had three bedrooms, one of which they were using as their bedroom, another was a guest room anticipating visits from Sören's family, and the other was being used as Sören and Maglor's studio. 

Maglor had been a bit wary of staying in the UK, but Dooku - who had turned seventy last December - didn't know how much time he had left and he wanted to spend his remaining years in something somewhat familiar, rather than as a stranger in a strange land, especially with Brexit potentially about to complicate things for British citizens living abroad. So to the north they went, and "Mark Lowry" was now pretending to be from Manchester, England, a very noticeable change in his accent from pretending to be American when they lived in London.

Though Dooku was seventy now, he still didn't quite feel it, apart from the occasional twinge of arthritis. His sex life hadn't slowed down at all, and he still worked out regularly, though this business of moving furniture was a workout he didn't want to do terribly often. Maglor was hanging up one of Sören's paintings now, over the mantle above the fireplace in the living room. Dooku leaned on Sören, who was cozy, and Sören rubbed his knee.

Doi Capaci had been given to Natalia before the move. Dooku wasn't quite retired - he would be working in the kitchen at the bed-and-breakfast run by Sören's aunts Gitta and Jane. Gitta was only fifty-six, and he and Jane were the same age but Jane was feeling her age as of late quite a bit more than he was, so the help was appreciated. Maglor would be running a vinyl record shop as he did in England, but with a different store name; he was set to open the store tomorrow.

In the meantime...

"Do you care if we get takeaway?" Dooku asked them. "The day seems to have flown by, and as much as I didn't want to rest a few minutes ago, my body has decided it is done for awhile."

"I don't mind," Maglor said, taking a few steps back to survey the painting.

"I don't either." Sören patted Dooku. "Delivery?"

"That would be fine." Dooku gave Sören a look, knowing that mischief in his eyes as Sören took out his cell phone. "No deep-fried Mars bar nonsense."

Sören made a moue. "It's like you can read minds."

Sören ordered fish and chips - not the healthiest thing in the world, but it was nice on a night like this, especially when it started to rain. Dragos and Snúdur begged, were denied, and resigned themselves to sitting in the cat tree by the window, watching the rain fall. After dinner Sören, Dooku, and Maglor formed a cuddle pile on the couch, using the Force to wrap a blanket around them when it stormed - the cats huddled in the blanket with them, hiding from the thunder. When the storm passed and the rain had died down to a drizzle, Sören climbed out of the blanket, got up and stretched, and said, "I feel like going for a walk."

Over the last nearly three and a half years Dooku had learned that what most people considered to be bad weather, Sören actually enjoyed - he ran a bit hot, like a living furnace, and considered warm sunny weather to be a nuisance and cool weather to be "perfect". It was odd, but endearing, and it was good for Dooku to be dragged along on walks, part of how he stayed in shape at his age. It was also strangely romantic, to be walking hand-in-hand with Sören - Sören's other hand holding Maglor's hand - in the evening after the rain, the air crisp and damp, the smell of petrichor lingering.

Maglor had his acoustic guitar case slung over his arm, and when they got to the beach Maglor put a towel down and sat, taking out his guitar to play as Sören and Dooku strolled along the shore. The salt breeze combined with the petrichor and Dooku breathed in deeply, then Sören's own natural scent as Sören came close to him, his nose in Sören's curls as their arms wrapped around each other, gently swaying in time to Maglor's guitar.

Now that you're here with me
I want to keep you free
To do the things that you want to do
The joy in life is loving you
But now the day has come
To let you know where I'm coming from

The best of my years will go to you
It's the only thing that I can do
But these things don't come overnight
Lovin' you baby, I think I'm right
Let me say before I forget
Lovin' you baby, it's where it's at yeah

Yeah baby, look what you done for me
Yeah baby, you set my heart free
Oh but I feel, yeah, yeah, yeah, I feel yeah

Sometimes I want to leave, but then I say
It wouldn't make sense at all
Anyway, forgive me baby
If I do wrong
I haven't been a true man for so long
But let me say before I forget
Lovin' you baby, it's where it's at, yeah

Yeah baby, look what you done for me
Yeah baby, you set my heart free
Baby, do you want to, do the thing that you oughta
You've been very good for me
And that's a fact, I say

Yeah baby, look what you done for me
Yeah yeah you set my heart free, yeah
Oh, no matter,
What you done for me,
I got the feelin' that it's gonna,
Yeah, look what you done for me
Baby, baby, you set my heart free



"You sing Al Green pretty good for a white guy," Sören said when the song was over.

Maglor threw his head back and laughed when Dooku muttered, "Pretty well."

"Well, if you like that, I have something else," Maglor said.

"More Al Green?" Sören grinned.

"Another time, perhaps. No, a certain Roberta Flack song came to mind."

Strollin' in the park
Watchin' winter turn to spring
Walkin' in the dark
Seein' lovers do their thing

Oo-oo-ooh
That's the time
I feel like makin' love to you
That's the time
I feel like makin' dreams come true, oh baby

When you talk to me
When you're moanin' sweet and low
When you're touchin' me
And my feelin's start to show

Oo-oo-ooh
That's the time
I feel like makin' love to you
That's the time
I feel like makin' dreams come true, oh baby


When the song was over, Sören and Dooku dragged Maglor to his feet, and took turns kissing him. The moonlight shone on the water and out of the corner of his eye, Dooku could have sworn for a moment he saw something brighter than the moon's reflection in the waves, but as quickly as it appeared it went away and Dooku wondered if his mind was playing tricks on him or if he was having a brief Force vision of the future.

Here and now, Sören and Dooku were marching Maglor back to their house. They got as far as the front door before they started to undress, Maglor laying his guitar case down by the door before he undid his lovers' belts. Dooku realized as his hard cock sprang free that he and Maglor would be together thirty years this December and time had not cooled their passion for each other whatsoever - it had aged like a fine wine, the two of them knowing each other's bodies, the psychology of their arousal. Dooku wished, as Sören's mouth met his, that he could get that same kind of time with Sören; he would never tire of those full lips, the beautiful warm brown eyes, his laughter, his sensitive heart.

Maglor dropped to his knees right there near the door, taking them both in his mouth as Dooku and Sören kissed again and again, as Sören unbuttoned Dooku's shirt and Dooku pulled Sören's T-shirt over his head. Sören smelled like the petrichor from outside, and the smell combined with his natural musk was intoxicating. He played with Sören's nipple rings as the kisses heated, as their cocks rubbed together in Maglor's mouth, hungry for them.

After a few minutes of sucking them, Maglor got up to kiss them, and took their hands, pulling them towards the stairs to go up to their bedroom. Sören teasingly wiggled his ass on the way up, pausing to rub his ass against Dooku, who finally lost control when they reached the top of the stairs and shoved Sören down on his stomach on the floor, taking him right there as Sören howled, "Oh shit, oh god, fuck me, yes," rocking his hips against him, fucking himself on Dooku's cock. Then Sören's cries were muffled as Maglor shoved his cock in Sören's mouth, Maglor and Dooku leaning over Sören's body so they could kiss. Sören loved it, so turned on that they couldn't wait to get to the bedroom and were taking him right here on the floor that he came in just a few minutes, making a mess on the wooden panels. After Dooku spent inside Sören and he watched Sören swallow down Maglor's cum, he laughed at the mess. He stopped laughing when Maglor picked Sören up like he weighed nothing and carried him into the bedroom, Dooku following them, wanting more. 

Reacting like this to them, he could forget for awhile that he was seventy. And if he didn't have another thirty years, he could damn well make whatever years he did have count.

"I hope you don't have plans for the next few hours," Dooku said, rubbing Sören's nipple in slow, lazy circles before claiming his mouth with a deep, hungry kiss.

"You," Sören husked, stroking Dooku's face, and turned to Maglor to stroke his face, pet his hair. "Both of you."

"Good." Dooku kissed him again, and then he and Maglor began to kiss and lick Sören all over, worshiping his body, their glorious spirit of fire made flesh.


_


Sören was, unsurprisingly, walking funny the next day, and also had a big shit-eating grin on his face that made Dooku grin, too.

Sören still wanted to do the dishes after breakfast, and when he was at the sink and Maglor was getting ready for work, Dooku came over to tilt Sören's face to kiss him and wrap his arms around Sören's waist, stealing a private tender moment. Sören rubbed his ass against Dooku, and Dooku growled, since he too would be off to work soon.

"Teasing brat."

"You love it." Sören kissed him again. 

Dooku's hands slid up over Sören's chest, and back down. Then he slapped Sören's ass, who moaned and giggled, and rubbed against him again.

"Oh, Daddy. I wish we had time to..." Sören bit his lower lip.

"You are insatiable." It was almost hard to believe now that there had been a time when Sören needed to go slow with the concept of bottoming. Sören was so hungry for it now.

Maglor came out and laughed when he saw Sören rubbing his ass against Dooku, the two stealing another kiss. "I can't leave you guys alone for five minutes," he teased.

Sören made the "come here" gesture and Maglor walked over and kissed each of them in turn. Dooku glanced at the clock and cursed the time; so did Maglor.

"You guys should come by the shop later," Maglor said. "It's the grand opening, come give me some moral support."

"Oral support?" Sören cackled.

Now Maglor was the one to swat Sören's ass, and growled when Sören moaned, wiggling his ass enticingly.

"I'll be at the bed-and-breakfast till seven-thirty PM," Dooku said. "Then perhaps I can come here, pick Sören up, and meet you at the shop?"

Maglor nodded. "I close at nine so you guys will be in time for the end of my shift."

He gave them both another kiss and waved on his way out. Dooku got ready for his own shift, and he and Sören lingered at the door.

"Stay out of trouble, young man," Dooku quipped.

"I am trouble," Sören said, kissing the tip of Dooku's nose before nibbling on his lower lip. "But jæja, I'll be painting today. Hopefully might have enough to have a show, soon."

Dooku smiled. Sören had kept a few of the paintings he'd done over the last three years for personal reasons, but the rest had sold at various showings, and there was one particular collector who wished to remain anonymous and worked through a buyer who always insisted on paying at least double what Sören was asking. Despite all this, Einar and Justin's words had done enough damage where Sören still struggled with feeling like he was any good, and felt shy about showing anywhere, so seeing him starting to plan to start showing again was a good sign.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with," Dooku said, stealing another kiss.

"Hi Looking Forward -"

Dooku swatted Sören's ass again, tweaked his nose - Sören giggled - and gave him a look on his way out. Sören blew a kiss, and Dooku caught it, laughing on his way to the Jaguar. Sören was ridiculous, and he wouldn't have it any other way.


_

Maglor's vinyl records shop, Face the Music, was in a small plaza with a fish and chips shop, a musical instruments store that offered voice lessons, and a used bookstore that also, strangely, had a license for selling liquor. The name of the bookstore made Sören double over with laughter, clapping, when he saw it.

"Tequila Mockingbird. Oh my god, that is horrible." Sören tugged Dooku's sleeve. "They're open. Nico, we have to go in there."

Dooku rolled his eyes at the awful pun - though Maglor's shop name wasn't much better - but he indulged his husband, and they walked into the bookstore arm-in-arm, the bells on the door chiming as it opened. The bookshelves nearest the entrance were the ones that displayed the liquor, and Dooku went right over to begin perusal of the selection. A bottle of Auchentoshan caught his eye, something he knew Maglor would appreciate as well.

"Good evening. May I help you, sir?" came a soft female voice.

Dooku and Sören turned around, and then the grin on Sören's face froze and his jaw dropped, looking like he'd seen a ghost. "Claire...?"

The woman's grey eyes blinked, and then she, too, opened her mouth.

"Claire James." Sören's eyebrows raised. "No, forget it, you probably don't remember me..."

"Sören?" Claire came right over to him and gave him a hug. "How could I forget you?"

"Oh, Claire." Sören gave her a squeeze, tousling the strawberry blonde hair that fell to the middle of her back. She was above average height for a woman but still shorter than Sören, with an hourglass figure but dressed modestly, in an earth-tone paisley skirt that fell to her ankles and a cream cashmere sweater. A lovely face, though Dooku was not at all attracted to women. "We fell out of touch all those years ago and I'm so sorry -"

"Me too. Things were... rough." She pulled back a little and played with a lock of Sören's curls. "My god, Sören. You..." She swallowed hard. "Grew out your hair and grew a beard. And got some ink." Her eyes raked him up and down. "You look good. Really... good."

"Jæja, that started early 2005." Sören gave a sheepish grin. Then he facepalmed and said, "Where are my manners." He gestured to Claire, then Dooku. "Claire, this is my husband, Nicolae Dooku. Nico, this is Claire James. An old friend. We met when she was visiting Reykjavik in..."

"...2003." Claire finished his sentence.

"Has it been sixteen years since the last time we've seen each other?" Sören let out a low whistle.

Claire nodded. Then she turned to Dooku and put out her hand. "I'm glad to see Sören has found someone."

Her voice - Dooku placed the accent as Sheffield - sounded just a little wistful, and Dooku wondered about that as he took Claire's hand and kissed it, making Claire blush and laugh. Then she and Dooku rolled their eyes together when Sören came in with the inevitable "Hi Glad To See Sören Has Found Someone -"

"Oh my god, Sören, you haven't changed at all." Claire shook her head.

"He was like this sixteen years ago?" Dooku raised an eyebrow.

Claire nodded, grinning. "He was my unofficial 'tour guide' around Reykjavik. I got lost and had a panic attack, and he helped me find my way around, and... well, my grandfather had just died and when he saw how sad I was he took it upon himself to try to cheer me up, so we spent the next several weeks seeing a lot of each other."

Sören looked down - biting his lower lip, shifting his weight awkwardly from one foot to the other. He ran a nervous hand through his curls. He looked up, eyes bright with unshed tears. "I'm really, really sorry that I didn't follow up with e-mail. I was having a hard time -"

"So was I." Claire put her hands on his shoulders. "And I figured you'd hit that point in med school where it was a real crunch..."

"I survived the school part. It was the internship that almost did me in. I mean that literally. I, ah." Sören looked away, staring into the distance. Then he looked back at Claire. "Ended up trying to kill myself, so... a career change was in order. I'm an artist, now."

"I understand a few things about needing to change one's direction for mental health reasons. I was a barrister in London."

"Good lord," Dooku heard himself say.

Claire's eyebrows snapped to attention and Dooku cleared his throat and explained, "I was criminal defense in London until I was forty, almost forty-one. Then I switched to international law, working around Europe... and then I became a chef, at fifty-five. Those nearly two decades that I worked as a barrister in London were miserable. Very toxic. If your experience was anything close to mine -"

Claire nodded. "I was Crown Prosecution, not defense, but yes, 'toxic' would be putting it mildly."

"So how did you end up here in Scotland?" Sören asked. "And what are the odds of me running into you again? That is quite the coincidence."

"It is, isn't it?" Claire smiled. "You know, even after we fell out of touch I had some silly hope that I might run into you again someday, somewhere, even though I knew that was unlikely as you were in Iceland for all I knew. And, well..."

This time Sören initiated the hug, and kissed Claire's forehead. They were both blushing when Sören pulled back. "It's good to see you. And this time, well... we won't fall out of touch."

"No. You live here in St. Andrews now?"

Sören nodded. "We were on our way to pick up our third..." Then his voice trailed off, and Claire gave them a puzzled look.

"Third?"

Dooku gave the explanation, awkward as it was. "We're married but we're in a polyamorous relationship. Our other partner owns the record shop that just opened."

"Oh! I was meaning to go over and introduce myself. I suppose I'll have to if I'll be seeing more of you, Sören."

"We were going to have a late dinner... you want to grab a bite to eat with us? Is the fish and chips place over there any good?" Sören asked.

Claire nodded. "I had plans with my cousin Harrison to have dinner there tonight, actually - he owns the other shop here, the one that sells musical instruments, and he gives voice lessons. We share a flat in town. You guys are welcome to join us."

And that was how Dooku found himself sitting at a table with Maglor, Sören, Claire and her cousin Harrison James, eating fish and chips for the second night in a row - though they'd changed things up a bit by also ordering fried shrimp and clams to share. Harrison and Maglor talked about music, which got Harrison confiding in him about an interest to perform on stage, but being reluctant to pursue the show business life, something Maglor understood for perhaps different reasons. Then Sören, curious, asked the inevitable question of "How did you end up in St. Andrews?"

"Well..." Claire looked down at her fish, then at Harrison, who nodded and patted her shoulder. "That's a bit of a long story."

"I'd like to hear it. It's been awhile, you know, I want to get caught up..."

Claire cleared her throat. "About a year after I went to Reykjavik, I was having some mental health problems of my own. And Scotland was on my bucket list. I took Harrison with me. We stayed at a bed-and-breakfast, and one of the nice ladies who runs it found me crying..."

"My aunts run that bed-and-breakfast," Sören said.

"Oh my god." Claire facepalmed. "I'm a fucking idiot."

Sören patted her. "Gitta is my mother's sister."

"I've known her for fifteen years and didn't know. I knew she was going down to her nephew's wedding, a few years ago, but she hadn't mentioned a name, I didn't know that nephew was you..."

"The patronymics probably make it confusing," Sören said.

"Probably. God, Sören..."

"Anyway..."

"Anyway. They got it out of me that I was thinking about killing myself when I got back to England. They didn't want me in hospital, but they made me promise them, and... Harrison did too. I thought he was too young to understand any of that, but he understood better than I thought he could. And we had a standing offer from them to go up and stay free of charge for a fortnight every summer if I kept in touch and told them how I was doing... they didn't have any children and I guess they sort of adopted us."

Sören grinned. "So I guess you're sort of my cousin." Dooku heard the unspoken no wonder why I... before Sören doubled down on his mental shielding.

"I guess so. But yes, we came up every summer, and when things got to be too much in London..." Claire gave a nervous glance at Harrison.

"She was starving herself," Harrison said, "and she got really sick." He glared at Claire and shoved chips into her mouth.

Claire nodded as she chewed, and waited for her mouth to be empty before she spoke again. "Harrison had to have a bit of a talk with me. He'd attended university up here and he decided to stay, and so I left my job and, eventually, we started our shops. It's been just the right change of pace, though I'll be thirty-five this year and I feel like a lot of my life got sucked away in London. Still single..."

"How is that even possible?" Sören stared with disbelief. Then he also glared. "I can't believe you were starving yourself. Well I mean I do, because societal standards of beauty are bullshit but god, Claire, you're perfect, you were perfect when I met you..." Sören blushed and looked down, and Claire also blushed.

"I wasn't a size zero," Claire said. "Though looking back in hindsight, it was about control as much as it was self-image. It was the only thing I felt I really could control about my life..."

"Jesus." Sören rubbed his head. "Well... I'm glad you cut that shit out. And I'm glad you're still alive, and that Gitta and Jane helped you. I told you at the shop, I have some experience with being suicidal. And my own time in London wasn't entirely pleasant, not before I met these guys..."

"He was in an abusive relationship," Maglor finally spoke up, steel in his voice.

"Oh no. Sören." Claire gasped.

Sören nodded. "I still have some trauma issues from that, but Nico and Mark... make me feel safe." He took their hands, and each of them kissed him on the cheek, nuzzling a little.

Claire smiled, and reached out to touch Sören's arm. "I'm glad you have them."

Sören put his hand on Claire's hand, and it lingered for a moment, their eyes holding before Maglor shoved a piece of fish into Sören's mouth.

As they were finishing the last bits of food and thinking about another round of beverages, a very tall man with white-blond hair to his waist walked into the shop, wearing jeans and a sweater, and dark glasses over his eyes even though it was night and he was indoors. Claire waved to him. "Eden, hi!"

The man came over after he ordered, while his food was being prepared.

"Eden, this is Sören, and his partners Nicolae and Mark. Mark owns the new vinyl records shop in the plaza. And this is Eden Dale, one of the regulars at my bookstore. He works at an art gallery."

"Oh, but aren't you blind...?" Sören raised an eyebrow, then facepalmed, as Maglor said, "Jesus Christ, Sören, you can't just ask people if they're blind."

Eden chuckled and took off his glasses, revealing eyes that were so light silver-grey they were almost white. Eyes that seemed almost inhuman, and indeed, the beauty of Eden himself was unearthly... his facial features bore a bit of a resemblance to Maglor, who was giving him a suspicious look now but otherwise said nothing.

"I'm not blind, Sören," Eden said. "But as you can see, my eyes tend to unsettle people so the dark glasses are a matter of courtesy."

"I think they're gorgeous," Sören said. "I'd love to paint you." Sören looked down. "Er, that was probably rude, too."

"Not at all. I'm flattered."

"My offer is serious," Sören said. "Not just because you work at a gallery, but even if you didn't..."

"We can discuss arrangements for me posing for you," Eden said, nodding. "Later. I don't want to interrupt..."

"We probably should get going since we have to open in the morning," Claire said, nodding reluctantly.

"Awwwww." Sören pouted.

"Some of us have to be responsible adults," Claire teased. "I bet that hasn't changed in sixteen years either, has it?"

Sören grinned. "A lot of things haven't changed, no doubt."

"I guess I'll be finding out." Claire's eyes twinkled.

This is a most interesting turn of events. Dooku glanced at Maglor, who gave a small nod, also acknowledging that none of this felt like coincidence, somehow. What exactly the Force had woven together... that would remain to be seen, though observing the way Sören and Claire were looking at each other, he already had a clue.

Chapter Text

Over the next several weeks, with May becoming June, Claire and Harrison became regular fixtures at the house. Sometimes they visited together, sometimes separately.

Harrison and Maglor liked to have "jam sessions", which was a good outlet for Maglor, though Dooku knew Maglor was leery of making new friends with his immortality and the inevitability of having to move around every ten years or so. And Harrison and Sören liked to play video games and watch memey things on YouTube. Though Harrison was gay - something he'd opened up about fairly quickly in the presence of three men in a relationship - he was not interested in Maglor or Sören; Sören had taken to calling Harrison his little brother. Harrison would likely be around even more in July, when Sören's cousin Ari had plans to visit for a week, Ari being a big Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast, something Harrison also enjoyed.

Sören showed no interest in Harrison beyond close friendship... but Claire was another story. He visited her at Tequila Mockingbird, and suggested a book club to potentially draw more customers, which he and Dooku began attending. Sören and Claire went for walks - Claire liked showing him around St. Andrews, returning the favor of him showing her around Reykjavik years ago - and they liked to go shopping together. She was a frequent dinner guest, helping Maglor in the kitchen, and after dinner she and Sören would talk, continuing to get caught up. Sören showed her his portfolio - print copies of paintings he'd sold - and his current works in progress. Claire's admiration of his artwork led to becoming a subject for his art.

Sören was also sketching Eden with intent to paint, and one day as he was coming home from work, Dooku saw Claire and Eden posing together outside. "This needs something," Sören said, and Dooku watched as Sören produced a flower crown and put it on Claire's head. The look of loving reverence in Sören's eyes as he gave her the flower crown, and the way Claire beamed up at him, said all there was to say. Dooku knew Sören had been shielding his feelings, but his eyes didn't lie.

It turned out that Harrison and Claire were both also Force-sensitive. Harrison slipped and accidentally used telekinesis during a gaming session with Sören, and before he could bolt in a panic, Sören demonstrated the same ability. Claire opened up about hers the next day, including that her strong empathy was a contributing factor into why she'd felt suicidal fifteen years ago - Dooku felt for her.

Knowing that Harrison and Claire both shared their gifts put Dooku a little more at ease with having them around, and then one evening when Dooku came back from work, Sören was waiting for him and told him that he and Claire had seen Eden's ears, and Eden had confessed to being an Elf, Edenel, dropping his glamour for them in the back room of Tequila Mockingbird. Now it seemed that Maglor's secret would be safe with them as well, and the next time Harrison and Claire came to dinner, Maglor casually shed his glamour. Claire and Harrison had a lot of questions, which Maglor did his best to answer. After that, Maglor allowed himself more of a friendship with Claire, accompanying Sören and Claire on walks or shopping trips, though Sören and Claire still did things on their own.

The day before Sören and Dooku's third anniversary in June, Claire was a dinner guest and Dooku was working on dinner, as it one of was his nights off from the bed-and-breakfast kitchen and he didn't mind cooking when he didn't have to work. Sören was introducing Claire to the menagerie of stuffed animals that had been acquired over the last three years, which elicited eyerolls from Maglor, but Dooku watched with a smile as Sören and Maglor stole a kiss.

Claire was also watching, with interest, and she was flustered enough to drop her shielding - Dooku felt her lust and arousal watching Sören and Maglor kiss.

The next day, on their third wedding anniversary, Sören, Dooku and Maglor had the night to themselves, and after they made love for a few hours and Maglor got up to feed the cats, before Sören could fall asleep, Dooku poked the small of his back and said, "We need to talk."

"Hm?" Sören's eyes blinked open.

Dooku sat up. He'd been sitting with his own feelings about this, trying to figure out how to word things the right way, and he decided to just go for it. "You and Claire. You fancy her."

A few moments of silence passed, and Sören finally nodded. "Jæja, I do." Sören looked down. "I haven't said anything about it, because I didn't know how you and Maglor would feel about it, if you'd be OK with me seeing her in addition to being with you guys, and I don't want to ruin my friendship with her if she doesn't feel the same way..."

"Sören, how long have you had feelings for her? You had feelings for her back in 2003, didn't you?"

Sören nodded again. "I didn't tell her back then because, well, I was openly gay, and she was the first girl I was interested in and it freaked me out a little with my own identity and the labels, plus there was a lot of stigma about bisexuality - still is - and I didn't know how she'd take it. Aaaand she lived in England and I was still living in Iceland and I would have been fine doing the long-distance relationship thing or even moving out there but I didn't know if she would be... and like I said, I didn't know how she felt..." Sören swallowed hard. "It's a big reason why we fell out of touch, on my end. It wasn't just that I was having a hard time with my mental health, but it hurt too much to have these unrequited feelings."

"I'm just an outside observer - and don't you even..." Dooku tweaked Sören's nose, anticipating the dad joke. "But it seems to me that your feelings are probably not unrequited."

Sören shrugged.

"Claire is an intelligent woman and I'm sure she understands bisexuality exists. Something also tells me it doesn't bother her." Across their bond, Dooku shared the memory of Claire's reaction to watching Sören and Maglor kiss. "As far as impacting our relationship, I can't speak for Macalaurë, but I think I could deal with sharing you... so long as it was sharing, not replacing. I don't want to lose you." And you would be less alone when I'm gone.

Maglor was standing in the bedroom door - Dooku wondered how long he'd been there, masking his presence - and he nodded, walking in. "Sören, you should go for it."

Dooku and Maglor's eyes met, and then Dooku felt it across their bond - Maglor also had the start of feelings for Claire, but it was more complicated for him, and something he wanted to sit with awhile longer before deciding one way or the other about getting involved. Maglor sat on the bed and took Sören's hand, and then Dooku's.

"It might be easier, going forward, to instill some kind of blanket policy that we can see other people if we choose to do so -" Dooku could not see himself as wanting partners beyond Sören and Maglor, though he couldn't deny he found Edenel very attractive also. "- so long as we still make enough time for each other and any additional partners do not bring chaos into our relationship."

"Or diseases," Sören said. "I know Maglor can't get anything, but we'd have to be careful anyway. It's been awhile for Claire, though, so she's probably safe. This assumes I'd even say anything to her..."

"I think you should." Dooku met his eyes.

"Are you very sure? I don't want you to feel neglected, or like I love you any less..." Sören kissed him. "I love you so much, Nico. I love both of you." Sören kissed Maglor. "I don't want to do anything to hurt you..."

"I know there is room in your heart for all of us." Dooku kissed Sören's forehead, and stroked his face tenderly. "You've got a big heart."

Sören leered. "That's not all that's big."

Dooku facepalmed - he'd walked into that - and he chuckled. Oh Sören, never change. The part of him that was Fingolfin couldn't resist making a joke at his brother's expense. "Yes, you've got quite a big mouth as well."

"All the better to eat you with," Sören said, and took a playful lick at Dooku's cock.

Dooku's body responded like he wasn't seventy and hadn't had sex for three hours already that evening. He groaned as Sören took him into his mouth, and moaned as Maglor came over to him and kissed him hard. Sören licked Dooku's cock some more, and husked, "I'm so hungry for you," before taking both Dooku's and Maglor's cocks into his mouth.

Dooku shuddered, grabbing Sören's curls, and thought to himself It might be good for Sören to have one or two more partners so he doesn't literally fuck me to death.

Not that he could complain, of course, losing himself in pleasure once more. He had a sex life that men in their thirties would envy, never mind someone his age, and he would let Sören drink him to the dregs.


_


The next day Harrison and Claire both came over for dinner, and as Dooku relaxed with a book, Harrison and Maglor had one of their "jam sessions" in the studio and Sören and Claire went for a walk on the beach. Sören and Claire took longer than expected, and Dooku wondered about it - wondering if he should worry - but at last they came back and after Claire and Harrison said goodnight and Harrison went to the car to wait for Claire, she and Sören lingered at the door, embracing... kissing.

Dooku watched them, smiling. Finally he cleared his throat, and said, simply, "Good."

Claire blushed, looked down, and looked back up at Sören, laughing. "He told me you don't mind, and I hope..."

"I mean what I say, Claire. Just... be gentle with my boy. He's had a rough time of things and has a sensitive heart."

"I know." Claire looked at Sören and stroked his face, before giving him a soft, sweet, lingering kiss. "I think I can manage that. I can try."

"Well, you don't have to be completely gentle," Sören quipped. "I'm OK with it if you like to bite..."

"God, Sören." Claire's blush deepened. "You're incorrigible."

"I know." Sören kissed the tip of her nose. "So we have a date for Friday night?"

Claire nodded. She waved, and playfully grabbed his butt on the way out.

Dooku, Sören, and Maglor sat down. Sören said, "Yes, we had the talk. And she has the same concerns about not wanting to take away from our relationship, so she wanted me to work out a schedule with her. If you guys are OK with it Friday would be our date night, for now."

"For now. I think you can see her more often than that." In Dooku's mind's eye, he saw Claire eventually living with them, which allowed for a more organic schedule, more spontaneity. I'm not even involved with her and am already thinking like this. But he was fond of her - like a surrogate daughter, almost - and he wanted her to be happy as well.

He wanted Maglor's happiness, too. He felt like shoving Maglor at them... but Maglor was still hesitant, he could feel that.

"Well, we're starting slow," Sören said. "Ease into things. And like I said last night, it's been awhile for her."

Then Sören had that look of mischief on his face. "I bought something today," Sören said. "Let me go get it."

He ran upstairs - cursing in Icelandic and taking a few puffs of his inhaler when he reached the top - and he came back with a little bag. He handed the bag to Dooku. Dooku opened it, and pulled out a black leather dog collar and a matching leash.

Dooku looked up at Sören, a bit confused, and then he watched Sören put on the collar, and clipped the leash through, putting the leash in Dooku's hand.

"After I've had time with her each week," Sören said, "and I come back to you guys... I want you to make me wear this." His voice lowered, husky. "I want you both to have your way with me... dominate me... remind me who owns me."

Dooku's cock stirred at that. Maglor was breathing a little harder, and when Sören wiggled his ass at Maglor, that was it - Maglor got up, kissed Sören hard enough to take his breath away, and then Dooku was there with them, kissing Sören, Dooku and Maglor both holding the leash. They marched him upstairs, undressed, and broke the leash in, taking him together, fucking him hard, Sören howling, begging for more.

It wasn't just the needed reminder that Sören's passion for them had not cooled at all, but Dooku felt very much alive as he had his younger mate, savage and fierce. And Sören had once again expanded his horizons sexually, introducing him to something new and kinky. Life suddenly seemed full of delicious possibilities, paths yet to be explored. 

Things were changing, but it was already working out. It was working out beautifully.


_


It was the morning of the summer solstice, and Edenel was set to take a day trip to Dunino. As he showered, he remembered the memory Vanimórë had shown him, a conversation with the first version of Sören that Vanimórë had encountered, that had started all of this:

"Fëanor said our souls have a way of finding our way to each other," Sören said. "But I know that in two of the worlds you've seen, I'm dead."

Maglor nodded. "He told me."

"And in this reality, Claire is dead." Sören scowled. "As happy as I'd like us to be, in this world, there's always going to be something missing -"

"Nothing is ever ended," Vanimórë said. "You were reborn. Claire will be reborn, and you will see her again." Vanimórë looked at Maglor. "You will see your son again. I have promised you, you are going to get what you need."

"I need you to promise me something, too," Sören said. "If you would."

A pause, and Sören continued, "Find us. Don't let this... what happened here... and in those two worlds where you saw Maglor... keep happening. Don't let us keep being ripped apart from each other. Fëanor said the more that the Doom can be broken in other realities, the better it will be everywhere. Fëanor says that my ability to love - his ability to love - is a powerful weapon. If we're going to defeat the forces of evil..."

"I will do what I can." Vanimórë nodded.


When Vanimórë left that universe, he had been looking at other universes in the Portal at the Timeless Halls. Finding the other iterations of Sören, Maglor, Dooku, and Claire. As he had interfered with time to save Tindómion from being burned to death in another universe, Edenel and Coldagnir had been sent through the Portal to visit other universes at different points in time and assist Vanimórë in keeping his promise. That promise included the offer of immortality; Edenel habitually carried a satchel now with vials of Vanimórë's blood, whether or not he was scheduled to see Sören and Claire that day, and even though he knew getting the three mortals to a place where they'd be open to accepting the gift would take time. It had been close to three months here - mere hours in the Timeless Halls - and Edenel could tell it still wasn't quite the right time to have "the talk", though he was hoping that would happen soon, especially in Dooku's case. The man had some time left - the years had been kind to him and he took care of himself - but that time was not infinite, and Edenel had other universes to visit.

As Edenel dried off and changed - T-shirt and jeans, as inconspicuous and "normal" as he could be without having to also glamour his appearance beyond what he already did - he thought of Fëanor's reaction to Edenel going off to, as Fëanor had put it, "yet another fucking universe".

"I would like to visit this modern Earth sometime," Fëanor said. "Fingolfin might accompany me. It would be interesting, and thou wouldst not need vials of Vanimórë's blood - they could accept it directly from me, or Fingolfin."

"I am sure thou wouldst indeed find it quite interesting to meet Sören in the flesh and 'help' him," Vanimórë said with a smirk - he'd heard about the first version of Sören that he'd met, journeying in a fever dream to the Timeless Halls after taking the blood, meeting Fëanor, and having sex with him while Fingolfin and Maglor watched. And before this, Fëanor had been using the Portal to observe his reincarnated self across universes... including and especially in the act of sex.

"It is genuine concern, not merely baser instinct," Fëanor said, with that innocent face that wasn't innocent at all.

Vanimórë raised an eyebrow. "I do not like visiting worlds where I still live, let alone unleashing thee upon a world with Sören. I do not know if the world could handle two of thee."

Fingolfin smiled knowingly. "Twice the Flame Imperishable, double the..."

"Dad jokes?" Maglor finished the sentence.

"It is a thought," Fëanor said. "The Dagorath draws nearer, and Edenel and Coldagnir are already quite busy going back and forth between worlds to keep thy promise. Fingolfin and I would not mind. Truly."


Edenel knew, of course, that nobody told Fëanor what to do and what not to do, and if Fëanor had his heart set on assisting with the process of giving Sören, Maglor, Dooku and Claire a future together in other worlds, he was going to do that and Vanimórë could not stop him. For a brief instant, Edenel wished Fëanor was here with him in this world now, because at least he could safely unleash the heat of the Ithiledhil with him.

Edenel rented a small flat across the street from a diner, and as he went out to his car, he saw Sören and Claire coming out from the restaurant. Sören and Claire paused when they saw him and waved.

This was the worst possible time for that - his cock was already hardening at the sight of them, the heat surging stronger - but Edenel didn't want to be rude. He waved back. That, of course, was an invite for the two of them to cross the street, hand in hand.

"Hello," Edenel said, his mouth suddenly dry. "How is the portrait coming along?"

"I might need you to pose again for me this weekend, but it's out of the sketching phase and I've started painting it," Sören said. And then his nostrils twitched.

"This weekend might be a bad time. Perhaps Monday?"

"Oh, do you have plans...?"

"I'm going to Dunino. It's the solstice, and it's... something I do. A commemoration of before." Though Sören and the others knew he was an Elf, he hadn't gotten into his life story with them, not here. Other versions of Sören, Claire, Maglor, and Dooku already knew.

Other versions of Sören, Claire, Maglor and Dooku knew him quite well indeed.

Sören's nose twitched again, his dark eyes sultry. "You smell amazing," Sören said, licking those full, sensuous lips, making Edenel shiver. Claire nodded, a blush in her cheeks. "What is that scent you're wearing...?"

"I..." Edenel shivered again, wanting, his entire body screaming for it.

Sören and Claire were surrounding him like a pair of feral beasts and he was dinner. Edenel knew then he wasn't going to Dunino for the day. The only driving he would be doing was into Sören and Claire.

They marched him upstairs to his flat. Sören and Claire took turns kissing him, and each other, undressing right there in the doorway. Edenel led them to his bed... one step closer to where they needed to be, the intimacy paving the way for the talk that would lead to them accepting immortality and beginning the slow, arduous process of taking back what was theirs. 

What had been taken from him as well - the family he never got a chance to have.

Soon. He got the feeling he would be a guest at the house on the Harbour this weekend, and it would be even closer to falling into place. And if this Dooku and Maglor were anything like their counterparts in other worlds... A frisson went down his spine.

Edenel couldn't say he minded visiting these other worlds, as he lay between Claire and Sören, the two of them kissing and licking him all over. There were worse ways to spend his time.

 

~ FIN ~