The Hardest Choice
Author: Tuxedo Elf
Summary: Fingon makes the hardest choice he’s ever been faced with. First person POV.
Disclaimer: I own not a thing and certainly no Elves! Fingon’s cry to Manwë is a direct quote from the Silmarillion.
Notes: For my dear angst-obsessed Uli! Happy birthday!
Long years have passed since last we met - though I have not forgotten. I remember clearly that last time I saw you, the day the white ships of the Teleri went up in flames and we sacrificed our last chance of redemption in the eyes of the Valar.
I watched quietly as you cast aside all that had been dear to us for the sake of your father’s will, speaking my name in scorn and dismissing me with barely a thought. My heart was wounded deeply that day. How could you so easily forget what we had shared in happier times? When we had walked along the shores of the Blessed Realm and dreamed about what lay over the sea, hands and hearts joined as one. If only we had known then what really lay here: pain, suffering and loneliness. If we had, maybe things would have been different.
It makes no sense to me why you took the oath, when your heart was never truly in it. But then, you were always the good son, the heir to the throne of all Fëanor created. In the end your loyalty to your father was stronger than the love you bore for me and we went our separate ways.
Yet I have never forgotten and, for all the pain it has caused me, I love you still. When the news reached me of your capture I knew I had to find you. I would not be like your brothers, who gave up so quickly.
I cared not for the counsel of others, who told me that my path was folly. The only path that matters now is the path of my heart, the path that I have denied for far too long.
The years I searched for you seemed longer than the years we were apart, the worry in my soul making each year that passed seem like a hundred. Deep down, I feared that I would be too late and you would pass to Mandos’ Halls before we were reconciled.
Now I have found you at last, yet that worry has not abated. For though you finally within my sight, I still can see no hope for us.
Oh love, what have they done? Even from here I can see the pain in your body and I can hear the suffering in your voice as you sing. I swear I will end your suffering – even though it may destroy me to do so.
I cannot scale that cliff; it is too steep and sheer. You are beyond the reach of my arm – but not beyond the reach of my bow.
As I set an arrow to the string I raise my voice, praying to Manwë to grant us a little mercy amidst our torment.
“O King to whom all birds are dear, speed now this feathered shaft, and recall some pity for the Noldor in their need!”
Even as I speak I feel the breaking of my heart as I prepare to end your life in cold compassion. That it should have come to this, after so long. I hope you will forgive me, when you find your rest in Mandos’ Halls.
But wait, what is this that comes towards me on swift wings? An eagle, the greatest that I have even seen. Oh Blessed Manwë, ‘tis Thorondor himself! Swiftly I send praise to Manwë for answering my prayer when it was most needed.
I lower my bow as he lands and run towards him, swiftly leaping onto his massive back. Then we are off, flying upwards to where you hang helplessly by a metal band around your wrist.
At last, I am almost there. I can’t help but shiver, seeing now the true extent of your suffering. Your thin, emaciated body is painful to look at; your face is sunken and hollow. Only your eyes still shine as brightly as they ever did, showing me that the will to live still burns in your soul.
I do not expect the words and for a moment I fail to realise that the pitiful whisper belongs to you, who once spoke with such pride.
“Of course,” I reply, letting myself smile for a moment. “Come now, let us leave this place.” I take my knife from my belt and brace myself between the rock and the eagle-king as I go to work to free you, the only movement the flapping of the great wings as Thorondor holds us aloft.
The metal is set deeply into the cliff-face, I notice, but no matter. It will not stop me. I have come this far and a band of iron will not defeat me. I focus all my attention on that one area as I drive my knife against the rock.
How long have I been here? I have lost track, but many hours must have passed. Still the metal that binds you to the cliff holds fast and tears of frustration are burning in my eyes. Did Manwë allow me here just to torment me further? Even the great eagle must be tiring now.
I turn slowly, to look into your bright eyes. You have been watching me the whole time, I know. I felt that gaze upon me since I started this hopeless task.
“I am sorry,” I whisper. “I have failed you.”
My heart is in turmoil; what am I to do now? I cannot leave you here, but now that I have seen you again, heard your voice, I do not think I can bring myself to end your life.
“You have not failed me,” you say, and I see the light of a long-buried love in your eyes, along with regret for the way things ended between us. “You came when no others did. Do what you must now.”
There is resignation in your voice, but no fear. You do not wish to die, but have long since accepted it. Are you, perhaps, glad that it is by my hand that you must die? I can understand that, better to die by love’s hand than evil’s.
I have to look away as I steel my heart for what is to come, trying to comprehend that I must slay the one dearest to my heart. Surely not even all the sins of the Noldor warrant such a terrible fate!
Slowly, I draw my sword and, before I raise it, lean forward to press my lips against yours. I do not speak – I cannot. You will never blame me for this, but I will always blame myself.
My own sword seems a terrible thing as I ready myself to strike a killing blow. Still you show no fear and I look at you with new respect, strong even when hanging from your wrist on a cliff.
I stop, frozen for a long moment. It is only your wrist that holds you here, nothing else.
The thought that forms in my mind is terrible, yet it brings hope. To do this will change your life forever, but you will live.
Looking at you, I let you look into my eyes and see what is in my heart. You reach realisation just a moment later and for one instant there is fear in your eyes. But your will to live is still strong and it is with deep relief that I see you nod.
I had been prepared to find you injured, so it takes only a moment to reach into my pack and pull out a bandage. I feel ill at the thought of what I am about to do, but still it is better than death, the only alternative.
Once ready I do not hesitate, swiftly wrapping my arm around your waist to support you, before bringing my blade down on your wrist and slicing through flesh and bone.
Your scream is like a Nazgûl’s cry, terrible and heart wrenching as it splits the air around us. I can only imagine the pain you must be feeling at this moment, the pain that I have just caused you.
You slip easily from your bonds now and I pull you to me, quickly wrapping what remains of your arm in the bandage. It is done – you are free.
I stroke your cheek as I hold you in my arms, trying to offer comfort in the pain.
“I love you, do you know that?” I ask. “I have loved you all these years.”
“I know.” The words are so faint I can barely hear them, but I know I am not mistaken. “It is a mutual love.” You smile, even as your eyes glaze over and consciousness flees, giving you some respite from the pain. You do not see my own smile, nor the healing of an old wound on my heart. But you will know, another day.
Removing my cloak, I wrap it around your shoulders to keep you warm, before reaching out to Thorondor and telling him where it is we need to go. With him to aid us we will reach our destination all the sooner and get you the attention you need.
Yet I am not worried, even though you have lost much blood. You are strong and will survive this. No matter what changed and hardships you must face, you will go on. The loss of your hand will simply be a new challenge; one that I know you will win.
Though should you falter, you will not have far to fall. I will be by your side to catch you and aid you any way I can. I will be there to love you for as long as the Valar allow.
As the great Eagle flaps his wings, bearing us high into the sky, I know that though there maybe difficult times to come, I have made the right choice.