Immediately post rescue from Thangorodrim--Fingon brings an unconscious Maedhros to the Nolofinwean camp.
Categories: Fiction Characters:
January 08, 2018 Updated:
January 08, 2018
Written for the tumblr FŽanorion Week March 2017 day one prompt: Maedhros. I recently added a second chapter when I had a
Maedhros /Fingon angst prompt for Tolkien Secret Santa 2017.
I don't feel I'm done with this fic quite yet--more chapters may be forthcoming.
Chapter 1 by NelyafinweFeanorion
It had taken them only a moment to comprehend what he had done; once FindekŠno had pulled Maitimo off Thorondor's back one of the healers had seen all the blood and then they had all sprung into action, whisking Maitimo out of his arms and hurrying him to the healers' tent.
He followed behind, forgotten he thought, until Riel appeared by his side. "You must come," the young healer said, pulling him by the arm. "Vorindo must know what has happened-only you can tell him that." She yanked on his arm, pushing him through the doorway of the tent, ignoring the shouts from the guards behind them. FindekŠno briefly wondered where his father was.
The tent was in a tumult. He couldn't even see Maitimo, surrounded as he was by healers, assistants and aides. Riel pushed him closer. "Vorindo!" She raised her voice as she addressed the Chief Healer. "I have FindekŠno ."
He was close enough to catch a glimpse of Maitimo now-this was his first moment to actually look at him-he had been too focused on getting him down and then keeping him alive on the flight to really look at him.
What he saw cut like a blade. How had he even known it was Maitimo, he asked himself, other than by the color of his hair-and even that was not as he remembered-faded, matted, snarled as it was. But he knew the answer-no matter what this body looked like he would know that spirit anywhere. He pushed through the gap in those working on Maitimo and reached out for his left hand, lacing his fingers with those thin, cold ones.
"FindekŠno!" Vorindo's voice cut through the chatter around them. "Stop standing there gaping and tell me what has happened? What has been done to him?" The Chief Healer gripped FindekŠno's free wrist, the fingers digging deep into his skin.
"I don't know what came before," FindekŠno said, his voice harsh even to his own ears. "I found him chained to the rock of Thangorodrim itself-hanging by his right arm. For how long I do not know." He closed his eyes and swallowed before continuing, seeing that image once again. "I couldn't free him. I had to cut his hand off, Vorindo, there was no other way." He could hear his voice rising, the words as sharp as the sword he had used to slice through Maitimo's wrist. He could still feel the sensation of it jarring against the bones and of forcing himself to keep going, to push harder, to set him free. "I tied it off as best I could but I know he bled-bled so very much."
"His arm is the least of my concerns. I can treat that," Vorindo snapped. "He has lost much blood but he was weak before that. He has wasted away-who knows when he last ate or drank. The blood loss has just intensified it-he was certainly far gone before you ever found him. He told you nothing?"
"Can you do anything for him?" FindekŠno whispered.
"We are doing everything we can. I must control the bleeding but then I need to time to assess what else ails him." Vorindo darted a look at Maitimo, laying on the healers table in front of them.
"Please let me stay," FindekŠno requested, trying to smooth his voice. "I will not get in your way."
"Mind you don't," Vorindo retorted, then sighed as he moved nearer to FindekŠno. "Your spirit reaching out to his may be more helpful now than anything I do," he said, dropping his voice so only Findekano could hear his words. He squeezed FindekŠno's arm once more and then moved back to tend to Maitimo, barking orders as he went.
FindekŠno's own fingers tightened their hold on Maitimo's good hand. He had not anticipated the healer sensing their bond, so faint had it grown through the years they had been apart.
But Vorindo was unparalleled as a healer, not only of the body but also of the mind. He must have delved deep in Maitimo's fŽa if he could feel that.
FindekŠno could barely feel it himself. It had troubled him, all across the HelcaraxŽ. He had pushed it away, buried it in his rage and anguish at Maitimo's betrayal.
But that didn't mean he couldn't remember how it felt once. When the sensation had filled his consciousness with every waking moment. When he had been linked to Maitimo even in his dreams.
His chest constricted as he looked at him now-so pale, so still, so alien in appearance but still his Maitimo, despite it all. He had thought him lost forever when MacalaurŽ had told him of his capture. Was that conversation truly only a few days ago?
FindekŠno had been overwhelmed with grief in that moment, losing Maitimo all over again. Because he had lost him before and had willfully buried the memories of him, rewritten the narrative of their relationship in his head, had betrayed Maitimo in his own way.
He had made the decision to search for him before MacalaurŽ even left his tent.
He had unearthed the remnant of that bond, sought it out intentionally after so long burying it. He would find the other half of his soul, even if it meant coming to the very gates of Angband itself.
It hadn't come to that though. He had found him sooner than he expected, if he had ever truly expected to find him-it had been a quest to assuage his conscience more than anything. He had doubted he would ever discover him-more likely he would join him in his torment or his death.
His fingers were warm against Maitimo's cold ones. He looked at the hand he held-some of the nails were missing, the others ripped and ragged, the fingers thin and limp, skin caked with what looked like years of grime.
The naked body the hand was still attached to was riddled with scars-some silvery and old, thin lines crossing the emaciated flesh. Others were still thick and livid, standing out starkly against the pallor of his skin. FindekŠno recognized none of them. This body had been flawless when he had last beheld it. He shook his head. No use thinking of that.
He could not bring himself to look at Maitimo's other arm-could not force himself to view the destruction he had inflicted.
His eyes traveled further up, swallowing audibly as he noted the unnatural position of the shoulder, the healers having far more urgent issues to attend to than that, no doubt.
Maitimo's face was skeletal, the planes of his cheekbones sharp, with hollows beneath. His eyes were closed which made them appear even more deeply sunken in their sockets. They had not spared his face-a thick scar ran along the length of his eyebrow and down his cheek, puckered and shining, ending just next to his mouth.
FindekŠno had seen those eyes open just hours ago. Despite being filled with despair and pain they had still been Maitimo's eyes. They had looked on him with a fondness that Findekano had not let himself think on for so long. He was desperate to see them open again.
Findekano turned his gaze to the healers now. Two of them were hard at work repairing the damage FindekŠno's rough sword cuts had done to Maitimo's wrist. The bleeding appeared to be under control, their skill and delicate sutures having stemmed the flow.
He hunched forward, making himself smaller, anything he could do to keep them from sending him away. It seemed like hours before anyone spoke to him again.
As before, it was Vorindo who drew near, putting a gentle hand on FindekŠno's shoulder. "We have done what we can for now. He will rest. Should you not do the same?" Vorindo asked.
FindekŠno turned to meet his gaze. "I will not leave him."
"As you wish, but you need rest and sustenance as well-his rescue has no doubt taken its toll on you."
"It is nothing to his torment. I will not leave. He needs a familiar face when he wakes," FindekŠno said. "He will wake, won't he?"
"He will. But that may be many hours from now," Vorindo said.
"No matter. I will be here."
"Let me have them bring you food and drink, if nothing else. Perhaps a change of clothes?" Vorindo offered.
FindekŠno looked down at himself; his clothes were bloodstained-all of it Maitimo's blood, he thought. His tunic was dry and stiff with it. It was likely in his hair, on his face. He didn't care.
"I can clean up later," FindekŠno said. "I stay with him."
"You might alarm him, looking as you do, FindekŠno. He may think it your blood, after all," Vorindo said smoothly. "We wouldn't want to agitate him further, when he wakes."
He narrowed his eyes at the healer. "That's probably the only thing you could have said that would get me to consider it."
"I know," Vorindo said, arching his brow at him. "I will send food and drink, clean clothes and a basin for you to wash. You can do it here, at his bedside, if that is what you want."
"I would be grateful for that, Vorindo."
"As you wish then," the healer said. "Now that we have stabilized him I will send in some of the aides, to clean him up as well." He paused and squeezed FindekŠno's shoulder, dropping his voice. "I think it best we cut off his hair."
FindekŠno darted a glance at Maitimo again, seeing the matted, filthy, lank hair, as if for the first time. He knew it needed to go-there would be no way to clean it sufficiently or even smooth the tangled wreckage of it.
It would grow back, of course it would grow back, he told himself. If Maitimo lived it would grow back. Vorindo had not directly commented on that, he realized. He had said he was stable but did that mean he was out of danger?
"Do what you will, Vorindo, whatever it takes to keep him . . ."
"He will live, FindekŠno," Vorindo interrupted him. "If he chooses to. Your cut was sharp and clean. You kept him from losing blood as best you could." Vorindo gave him a ghost of a smile. "Are you sure you have no interest in the healing arts? I could have done no better, likely far worse, under the circumstances."
He shuddered. "It wasn't surgery. It was a desperate attempt to free him. I would have fainted dead away at the sight of it if I did not have to worry about keeping him alive. I can barely look at it even now." His eyes met the healer's, troubled and clouded with concern. "Why did you say 'if he chooses', Vorindo? What do you mean by that?" He clutched the healer's sleeve with his free hand. "Is he a danger to himself?" A cold dread washed over him as he thought on those words.
"I do not yet know what state his mind is in, FindekŠno. We will know more when he awakens," Vorindo sighed. "The damage to his body is considerable-I cannot think what they have done to his mind is any less severe." He looked at FindekŠno intently. "Did he speak to you at all?"
FindekŠno tightened his grip on Maitimo's hand at the question. "He knew me. He recognized my voice and I found him when he answered my call." He frowned and his face darkened as he thought back on those first few moments and Maitimo's pleas. "He asked me to shoot him with my bow, Vorindo, to end his torment."
"That was not an unreasonable request, under the circumstances," Vorindo said gently. "He was sure there was no escape. Death may have seemed a far better option at the time." The healer gave him a small smile and tapped his shoulder lightly. "He was not counting on your ingenuity and stubbornness."
"I could have killed him just as easily, with what I did."
"He would have died free at least, then," Vorindo answered. "But that is not what happened, it didn't kill him. Against all the odds you saved him." Vorindo frowned. "We will not know, perhaps for days, his state of mind when he wakes. I do not think he will wish to end his life, now that he has escaped Angband. But it is possible his torment has damaged his fŽa beyond repair and he may not have the will to keep going. It is not unheard of for that to happen, as you know. In his family in particular-his grandmother was lost that way. We will help him to come back as best we can and your bond will be of particular importance, to keep him grounded and to give him strength."
"You are aware of what that means then?" FindekŠno questioned, the heat rising in his face. Vorindo had mentioned it in passing earlier but now that they were alone he could speak more freely.
"I sensed it when I probed his fea," Vorindo explained. "It was unexpected but not unheard of," he continued. "I will not speak of it to any but you, FindekŠno, I give you my word on that."
"I am grateful for your discretion. What must I do?"
"Your bond is faint but it is there. It can become stronger again, now that you are close in contact again. You can stay with him but you should try to get some rest. He will need your strength in the coming days," Vorindo advised.
"I can sleep here, if I need to. I am not going to leave his side," FindekŠno stated.
"As you wish," Vorindo repeated. "When I send the aides in to wash him I'll have them bring items for you as well."
The aides arrived shortly and FindekŠno took the time to eat, wash up and change his clothing while they worked on Maitimo. He hovered nearby, watching as they performed their duties.
When they were finished they left, taking his dirty clothes and dishes with them. He sat next to the bedside, taking Maitimo's hand in his again. He was even paler now that the blood and grime had been washed away. A soft sleeping tunic covered the worst of the scars. FindekŠno found himself staring at what was left of Maitimo's hair-close cropped, the scars on his face stark in contrast now without the cover of his hair.
Gaunt, pale, scarred, damaged. His eyes ran over him and settled back on his face.
He had never looked more beautiful, FindekŠno decided. Maitimo was here, with him again and nothing else mattered. He would never let him go this time.
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