Borne of him or me
Characters: Nerdanel, Maedhros, Fëanor
Disclaimer: No characters in this belong to me, nor am I making any profit from the writing of this story.
Summary: Nerdanel is struggling to come to terms with being a mother
He screams and screams and screams. It feels like weeks when all I have heard is his screaming but in reality it must be shorter than that. Days, or hours, perhaps even minutes.
My head throbs with my heart, beating against the confines of my skull, against too tight skin. Part of me resents him, part of me wants to wrap my hands around his neck, or shake him until he goes quiet. I was not made for this. I am a sculptor, not a broodmare to my husband's lusts. But the greater part of me, the piece that counts, loves him, adores this tiny being that came from me and him.
At times I can sit for hours, counting small toes and fingers, playing with downy curls as red as my own. He is beautiful, my son, the most perfect babe that has ever been born. My well-shaped one.
Tiredly, I continue to pace around the room, trying to soothe him, to quiet him even for a minute, but he continues to scream. His small face is red with fury, his tiny fists clenched in my hair. So much passion in a child only a month old. What will become of him, I wonder. Will he follow in his father's footsteps or mine?
His screams rise in volume until I am tempted to raise my own voice and scream like he does, wordlessly; but of course I do not. I am, I remind myself, a grown woman - silencing my conscience that tells me that I will not be such for another two months; after all, am I not already married and a mother?
My headache has reached new levels, the light of Laurelin burns my eyes and even the shuffling sound of my feet against the carpeted floor sounds like the strokes of a hammer in a forge. Bile rises in my throat as I still fail to silence the child in my arms.
Helplessly I sink down in one of the oversized chairs, curling up as tightly as I can without hurting him. His father's temper, I find myself thinking, full of spite. No such behaviour can come from my side of the family, it is all Fëanáro's fault. Fëanáro who is not here with me, with our son, but outside in the forge that he loves, smashing out a new piece of metal with pretty stones that I am supposed to marvel at and offer praise for. He should be here. He should be the one trying to silence our son, not me. I was meant to make delicate figures of stone and clay, things of beauty. Not sit here in a dress, covered in spew from an infant, my hair a matted tangle of curls. My mind goes in circles, I notice it myself, and yet it does not stop my thoughts, it only annoys me further.
The door opens and the curtains are drawn, leaving the room in a blessed darkness. My headache whimpers in gratitude. Slow steps come towards me and the weight in my arms is lifted away.
I refuse to look up and acknowledge that he is there.
I can feel his tension, his impatience gnaws at my frayed nerves. How dare he judge me? Where was he when our son started crying?
“I would have thought you could manage a sleeping infant for no more than fifteen minutes,” he says eventually. “I should have known better.” His voice is terse, annoyed with my weakness.
My son falls quiet. The screaming stops. Childishly I long to reach out and pinch him, to make him cry again. I hate how he falls silent as soon as his father takes him from me. Is he not my son? Was I not the one carrying him in my body? I hate them both, I decide.
“Why did he wake?” His voice is heavy with suspicion now and I feel myself shaking with fury at the hidden implication.
Yet the anger fades before I have time to rage at him for his suspicions. Fury takes energy and I have none. I wish he would go away, wish they would both go away and leave me alone. It has been so long since I was last alone.
“Sometimes I wonder if you hate us both,” he says quietly. “Me and the boy, but I can never make myself ask, fearing you would answer yes. I see your tiredness, how you cry when you think I do not see, how hard your glances are when you look at him and I miss you. I miss the girl I fell in love with.” His voice grows bitter. “Perhaps the house of Finwë should not breed. Ill things comes from the labour of love.”
I stay quiet, pretend to sleep. I have no answers for him, or me, or our son.