The Dragon Helm of Dor-Lomin
Fingon woke to an empty bed. He sat up, grateful for the socks he had slept in, his feet somewhat protected as they came to rest on the cold floor.
Maedhros stood by the window, silhouetted by the early morning light. Fingon took the thick dressing gown draped over the chair near him, wrapping it around himself before he made his way across the room. He slipped his arms around Maedhros from behind and rested his head against his shoulder, reveling in the heat emanating from Maedhros' bare chest. Even shirtless and barefoot, clad only in his leggings, Maedhros' body warmed Fingon far better than the robe or the nearby fire.
"You are awake early," Fingon said. "We have nowhere to be for awhile yet."
"I wanted to see the sunrise," Maedhros replied.
"Your window faces north, not east. If you want to see the sunrise we should go to my rooms," Fingon held Maedhros a little tighter. It was usually the nightmares that woke Maedhros but Fingon knew he did not often speak of them, not even to him.
Maedhros turned in his arms to look down at Fingon, a small smile on his face and affection shining in his silver eyes. "I'd rather stay here," he said, leaning down to meet Fingon's lips with his own.
"This is a much better way to start the day than an empty bed," Fingon murmured against his mouth, as his fingers tangled in Maedhros' hair.
A knock at the door a short time later made them draw apart, Fingon crossing the room to sit in one of the chairs in front of the roaring fire and Maedhros making his way to the door.
"It is Erestor," an impatient voice on the other side of the thick oak door called out. "I've got breakfast and that item you wanted, Maedhros. Open up."
Maedhros flung open the door and hustled Erestor in, motioning for him to put the tray he carried by the fire and starting to push the door shut behind him but Erestor stopped him. "Give me a minute, Maedhros. Let me set this down. I couldn't carry the package in as well—it's in the corridor still."
Erestor set the heavy tray down on the table next to Fingon, taking in his disheveled appearance, unbraided hair and dressing gown with a grin. "You have found your accommodations satisfactory, I take it?"
"I remembered to keep my socks on this time. I did not forget how blasted cold these floors are, Erestor," Fingon replied, smiling fondly at Maedhros' seneschal, raising one stocking-clad foot from the floor as evidence.
"I don't think Curvo has ever forgiven Maedhros for refusing to let him pipe hot water under the floors to warm them," Erestor said.
Maedhros, who had gone into the hallway to retrieve a large, wrapped bundle, came in as Erestor spoke. He kicked the door shut behind him and awkwardly set the package down on his desk.
"Curvo got over it. We did not have the time to experiment. We had a fortress to build and I could not risk any structural weaknesses just because Curvo had one of his ideas," Maedhros said, moving to sit on the arm of Fingon's chair and raising an eyebrow at Erestor.
"He probably should have mentioned his idea to Turgon. You know how he is about fountains and waterworks," Fingon looked up at Maedhros. "Warm floors would have been nice."
"I know how you hate the cold," Maedhros said, twining a curl of Fingon's hair around his finger as he spoke. "I should have let him do it, I suppose."
"Don't be stupid. Structural weaknesses are far more important than warm floors. I have my socks, my fire and you to keep me warm." Fingon replied, leaning his head into Maedhros' chest.
Erestor snorted, reminding them both that he was still in the room. He could not help but grin at the sight of them. It was so rare to see Maedhros happy but the times Fingon visited were when he was at his best, almost as if all the misery had never happened. It was just unfortunate that Barad Eithel and Himring were so far apart. It did Fingon and Maedhros good to be together.
Erestor shook his head and cleared his throat. "I'll be going then," he said as he moved towards the door. "Council meeting is at 10. I'll leave you to your breakfast."
"Thank you, Erestor," Maedhros said as Erestor made his exit, shutting the door firmly behind him.
"What is in that parcel on your desk?" Fingon asked curiously, as he poured himself a cup of the steaming tea and eyed the breakfast offerings Erestor had left for them.
"Actually, it is a present for you," Maedhros said, his face coloring as he spoke.
Fingon's face lit up with a smile as he set his cup down. "Well, I suppose I should see it then," he said, standing up and striding over to the desk, Maedhros following.
Fingon picked at the knotted cord at the top of the package then pulled back the coverings to reveal a large helm with a rampant dragon as the crest. It was massive. His eyes widened. He crossed his arms over his chest and tilted his head as he took in the sight of it.
Maedhros chewed his bottom lip, his eyes fixed on Fingon. "Well?"
Fingon's forehead creased. "It is unique," he admitted, walking around the desk to view the helm from another angle.
Maedhros exhaled loudly. "You hate it."
"I do not hate it. It is just a surprising gift," Fingon said, the corners of his eyes crinkling with suppressed amusement at the look on Maedhros' face.
"Azaghal gave it to me, as a gift to mark the friendship of our peoples," Maedhros admitted. "It is dwarvish work, so quite a bit different from what you are used to."
"It's hideous," Fingon confessed, then at the look of horror on Maedhros' face, rushed to add "Not the craftsmanship, mind you, that is brilliantly done. But the dragon, you know." He gave a shiver. "It looks too much like the real one."
"You do hate it," Maedhros said, his shoulders slumping as he sank into the chair in front of his desk.
Fingon moved to stand behind him, his hands on Maedhros' shoulders, gently kneading the tight muscles he found there.
"I do not hate it," Fingon clarified. "It is just a little overwhelming."
"I thought it was just the thing for you when I saw it," Maedhros' words tumbled out in a rush. "You fought the dragon yourself, you know you are never any good at remembering to wear a helm, Telchar made it himself and he claims it has the power to withstand any blade, he said it will protect the wearer from all harm, even from death, and I know you are not always as careful as you should be, people call you valiant but really you are just reckless and . . ."
Fingon moved in front of Maedhros and his mouth on Maedhros' own finally stopped the flow of words. Fingon's lips were warm as they met his and Maedhros swiftly lost track of anything else he meant to say. When Fingon had kissed him thoroughly and wiped all other thoughts from Maedhros' mind, he pulled back, hands on the arms of the chair and smiled at Maedhros. "It is perfect. Stop fussing."
"You are just saying that to be polite. I know you hate it," Maedhros persisted, so Fingon kissed him again, effectively stopping his protest.
"It is perfect," Fingon repeated. "For all the reasons you mentioned and because it is perfectly hideous also," he added, his blue eyes sparkling as he grinned at Maedhros.
Maedhros mouth twitched. "It is dreadful, isn't it?" he said, breaking into his lopsided smile that made Fingon's breath catch. "Telchar is obviously skilled as a smith but the dragon is a bit too life-like. . ."
"It is utterly ghastly, especially if you have actually been face to face with the real thing!" Fingon interrupted. He reached out to stroke Maedhros scarred right cheek with a gentle touch. "I thank you for it, Maedhros. It is a priceless gift. But will Azaghal not be offended you have given it away?"
Maedhros shrugged. "Not if he hears it was given to the High King of the Noldor. That would mean it was a kingly gift indeed."
Fingon stood up, arms crossed, and looked down at Maedhros with a raised eyebrow. "You do realize I will look completely absurd wearing it?"
"I don't care how ridiculous you look," Maedhros said, standing up himself and putting his arms around Fingon, resting his cheek on the top of Fingon's head. "All I care about is that it protects the wearer from harm." He pulled Fingon closer, his voice hoarse with emotion. "I want you safe."
Fingon leaned into him, his arms sliding around Maedhros. "I am safe, Maedhros."
"But you aren't always with me, Finno."
"I am always with you in my heart and in my soul, as you are with me, my love," Fingon looked up into Maedhros' troubled eyes. "None of us are ever going to be safe as long as Morgoth lives, Maedhros. We make the best of what we have, these moments together, the weeks I can spend here at Himring, the days you come to Barad Eithel. It is never enough but it is all we have and I treasure it."
"I worry about you, Finno. When I heard about the dragon. . ." Maedhros words were barely audible.
Fingon laughed. "I was worried about the dragon myself, mostly when I was battling him. Which is why this depiction of it is so unsettling. I know it was years ago but still. . . " His eyes drifted to the helm on Maedhros' desk again. "You really don't believe all that about protecting the wearer from death and such, do you?"
Maedhros traced a finger along the side of Fingon's face. "I do not know enough about the skills of the dwarves but I know they do not claim what they cannot fulfill. If Telchar believes it, if Azaghal believes it, then I do too." He sighed and narrowed his eyes. "I know what Ata was able to do in the forge. Things others would have claimed impossible. I would not be surprised if the dwarves knew such magic. They, of all the peoples of this land, are Aule's chosen ones."
Fingon rested his head on Maedhros' shoulder, feeling the rise and fall of his chest against his own as he breathed. Maedhros' arms held him, his own hands clasped behind Maedhros' back. It was all that he wanted and needed.
"You know I hate wearing helms, " he murmured.
"You know that is one of the reasons why I worry," Maedhros answered.
"All right. I will try. I won't promise to wear it, but I promise to try."
"I know it's hideous."
"I don't care about that, really. I suppose if I am the one wearing it then I won't have to look at it, will I?"
"There is that. It certainly will distract anyone who does look at it."
"Maybe that's why it keeps the wearer safe? Their adversary can't look away from the dragon? Throws off their aim?"
"What time did Erestor say we had to be ready?"
"And what time is it now?"
"I can think of things I would rather be doing than talking about a ghastly dragon helm."
"What would those things be?"
"Hmm. I think I'll just show you."
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