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Edge of the Earth

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The horses were stepping like they felt Spring in the air, and Maedhros urged his mare onward. In the distance he could see the familiar shapes of Fingon’s halls at the crest of the hill, and even could make out a figure dressed in blue and gold at the door. Perhaps Fingon himself, waiting for him, although of course such a thing was not proper.

They clattered through the city gates and the winding streets up the hill, and came to a swift halt in the courtyard before the King’s fortress. Fingon indeed stood there, eyes bright with welcome, a few guards scattered about, but altogether looking as though he was not a king, just someone waiting for a cousin.

“Welcome at last, Maedhros!” Fingon called, arms opening in an unmistakable gesture. Maedhros leaped down from his horse and crossed the courtyard so fast it felt he flew, seizing Fingon tightly in a hug. They laughed together, and Maedhros found his gaze caught by Fingon’s lips and the laughter in his eyes. He wanted nothing more than to kiss him then and knew that his cousin felt the same way.

But it could not be, not then or there. They released each other, all save Fingon taking Maedhros’ arm, and pulling him inside, asking him some trivial question in a voice that was slightly louder than needed, for the benefit of their guards and anyone else who might be about.

“I hoped you would come today, I felt it in my heart that you would, cousin,” Fingon said when they were at last inside his private apartments. Both sat in separate chairs, removing their boots in the inevitable knowledge of what would shortly be happening between them.

“The journey was swift this time,” Maedhros said, standing up to take off his winter cloak, and laying it down over the chair. “We encountered no trouble. Cold-blooded creatures that Morgoth loves do not care to stir in winter, and this is still winter, despite the day.” He gestured at the window, which showed a view of a broad plain covered with yellowed grass and a clear bright sky, a little too cold to be yet called spring.

“Aye, but a fine day to be winter,” Fingon said, standing up and pulling the golden ribbons from his hair so it fell loose about his head, and dropping them on a nearby table. “Last week it was all snow out there, until three days ago when the South Wind stirred. But why do we speak of the season and the weather?” Fingon stepped forward, reaching for the fastenings of Maedhros’ overtunic and undoing them casually, one by one. Maedhros watched him silently, a small smile appearing on his face.

When the task was done and Maedhros had shrugged the tunic off his shoulders to puddle onto the floor, he leaned forward, hand against Fingon’s face, and kissed him gently. Fingon slid his hands around Maedhros’ waist and drew him close, deepening the kiss. Maedhros’ hand slid into and through Fingon’s hair, around to the back of his head. His other arm pulled Fingon even closer, their bodies now against each other.

For a long time they did nothing more than trade kisses with the years-long ease of those who know each other’s bodies well. A great contentment and joy filled them both. Here at last, despite the coldness and cruelty of the world outside, they could know peace and rest in each other’s arms.

Slowly, unhurried, between kisses they removed all their clothing and made their way over to Fingon’s large bed. Fingon quickly pulled the blankets back and turned again to Maedhros, pulling him down into the bed. The delighted, mischievous glance Fingon gave him then could almost have belonged to his face as it was years ago in the bliss of Valinor, long before weapons and war, long before pain and sorrow.

Maedhros let his hand slide down Fingon’s body, almost as if he were studying a lesson he already knew and loved very well. All these scars, each one a story, and many of those stories they were in together. Leaning across, he pressed his mouth to a white scar on Fingon’s shoulder, an old memory of Fingon’s victory over the young dragon Glaurung. And then newer scars from more recent battles, across his ribs, on his hip. Maedhros kissed every one, and a new scar, never before seen, on the back of his leg, met his eye. He glanced up at Fingon, a question in his eyes.

“Nothing but a scratch, my dear one,” Fingon said in answer. “In the autumn, hunting. We were only five against thirty of the Orc-kind and not one of them will ever go back to tell tales of us to Angband, but in return one got in a lucky stroke and gave me this.” He stroked his hand over the scar himself, then moved to caress Maedhros’ face. “I am sure that you could match me scar for scar, if ever you gave me the chance to properly look, but, here, love, here’s a place you should consider kissing.” He thrust his hips forward, teasing, his erection prodding Maedhros in the chest.

Maedhros smiled. “Never let it be said that I failed to leave my king unsatisfied.” He bent to his pleasant task, taking Fingon into his mouth.

Fingon fell back against the cushions. “You have always succeeded at giving me at least perf- oh - yes, just there,” he said, voice breaking into moans and whimpers, intertwined all with endearments and encouragements. His hands traced every part of Maedhros he could reach, sifted through his hair, and tightened when he was about to come. Maedhros waited, tongue moving against Fingon’s prick, for the sweet strong taste of him to spill out, the essence of him, the taste he dreamed of in the long lonely days and nights in Himring.

At last with a lingering gasp, Fingon came into Maedhros’ mouth. So beautiful was he in unselfconscious abandon, and so dear was that beloved taste of him, that Maedhros could hardly hold back himself, thrusting against the sheets, seeking purchase and finding none.

“Oh,” Fingon breathed out as Maedhros released him. “Come here, beautiful one.” The word he used was very close to the forbidden ‘Maitimo’, almost as if Fingon had forgotten and changed it in the middle, but Maedhros could not hold that against him, not when there were far more enticing things to hold against him. He slid up to take Fingon in his arms, and Fingon slipped his hand down between them, surrounding Maedhros’ prick with warmth, squeezing it hard the way he loved.

Maedhros would not last long in Fingon’s hands. He closed his eyes, feeling the weight and warmth of his beloved against him. Fingon’s hair brushed his shoulder, and lips caressed his neck. Their bodies pressed close; Maedhros could feel Fingon against him all the way down to his feet. He was still tall enough to press his lips into the top of Fingon’s head and did so, inhaling the wild sweet perfume of meadow flowers that the people of Barad Eithel put into their soaps, underlaid with Fingon’s own scent.

Fingon’s hands stroked him steadily, and all sensation in his body narrowed down to his touch. He was like a bow held at tension before the arrow flies, and at last when he let go and came into Fingon’s hands, he could feel himself thrumming with sensation, a deep groan escaping him. It was a long time before he could move, and Fingon held him close.

They lay together in peaceful silence for some time, arms wrapped around each other. Outside the window, the late afternoon sun shone, turning all the dead winter grass to red and gold.

“How long can you stay?” Fingon asked at last, stirring against Maedhros’ shoulder. Maedhros roused himself from a half-doze.

“About a fortnight at most. Once spring in truth arrives, I will need to finish our preparations at Himring.”

“We are nearly ready here,” Fingon said, looking up and meeting Maedhros’ eyes. “This is is our final and best throw against him, Maedhros, you know. If we fail here, we fall, never to rise again.”

“I know,” Maedhros said, drawing Fingon close again. “But if our heart and sinew and will and love -“ he stroked Fingon’s hair tenderly - “cannot do it, then it cannot be done by us at all.”

Fingon’s breath caught, and he kissed Maedhros, just underneath his ear. “I will not swear an oath, not even to you, my love, but I will fight for land and love until my every breath is gone, and beyond if I may. They will need to destroy my body utterly lest my unhoused fea harry them back to Angband’s gates. All the wrath I hold they shall find at the point of my sword, and may they choke on it!”

Maedhros looked at him in wonder, for this had been said not fiercely but mildly, only breaking at the last words. Fingon still lay within the circle of his arms, relaxed, at rest, and yet there had been something so resolved, so certain, in his voice. The late afternoon sun streaming through the window shone upon him, and like the fields outside, lit him up in red and gold, against the blue of the sheets they lay on.

A chill went through Maedhros, and he drew Fingon to him, bending down to take his lips, kissing him, reassuring himself that Fingon was alive, and his.

Fingon would not die. Fingon could not die.