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When First I Saw You

Beta: Eni
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Fingon/Maedhros
Warning: Mild Slash
Disclaimer: Not in any way mine
Summary: Fingon and Maedhros remembers their first meeting.

The heavy black tresses spread like silk over Russandol’s chest as the gentle breeze from the window cooled their bodies. Tenderly he ran his fingers through the soft hair, admiring the way it curled wildly around his hand.

“I remember the first time I saw you,” Russandol said tenderly, a smile in his voice. “You were no more than four years old with wild midnight curls and huge eyes – not even Macalaurë’s eyes were that big –and covered in mud. I had never seen such a dirty child.”

He felt the warm breath of his lover across his chest, a low laughter filled with memories. “Your father was not impressed; not only did he find his firstborn covered in earth from your mother’s flowerbeds, broken roses and lilies scattered around you, but he found you thus in front of his despised older brother. What hope of pride of house did he have left after that?”

Findekáno laughed again, lifting his head with affectionate smile. “Atar was always over-proud around Fëanáro.”

Russandol smiled back, continuing to play with the dark hair. “You were adorable as you sat there, giggling at the torn flowers as you kept throwing them over your head. I remember thinking I would rather have you for a brother that Tyelko with his quick temper and hard little fists and feet. I recall the look on Atar’s face as I unwittingly spoke the thought out loud and the smug smile on Nolofinwë’s.”

“I remember.” The deep voice was filled with amusement.

“You remember? You were but four years old, Káno.”

“Yes.” Findekáno’s voice warmed further. “Here was the tallest Quendi I had ever seen and another with hair the same colour a the fire in Atar’s hearth, neither whom I had seen before, and the smaller one wanted to take me away. I remember.”

“I slid down from my horse and knelt beside you , in the mud among the already broken flowers, and you said to me…”

“Be careful, Amil will shout at you if you hurt her flowers.” Findekáno sounded at the brink of laughter. “I told you I remember. I picked them for her, the prettiest ones I could find, but the earth was so warm that I could not resist staying and playing with it for a while, and then I saw some more flowers...”

They smiled fondly at each other as their lips met in a slow kiss, worshipping more than passionate, peaceful rather than fiery. It had been a long time since they had first met, both children, and their friendship started, centuries since friendship shifted to love and passion, more than half an age of stolen moments in each other’s arms.

The silence stretched, comfortable, honed by years of affection as they lay together.

“I remember years of racing on feet or horses,” Findekáno said dreamily “Of diving in the lakes and rivers and wrestling on the grassy slopes and meadows around Tirion. I was so proud each time I won, besting a boy almost a decade and a half my senior. It never once entered my mind that you allowed me to win.”

Russandol laughed. “How could I not? I saw your beautiful eyes sparkle with frustration when you lost time and again, your black curls bristling with barely controlled anger, not at me for besting you, but at yourself for your smallness. I always wanted to ease that frustration and make you laugh again, and so I let you win, seeing your little face fill with joy. I never let my brothers best me, but you,” he caressed a pale cheek, “you I would have given the world, even then.”

“You grew so tall and so fast. One day you were a child like me, the next taller than my Atar and fully grown.” Findekáno’s voice was melancholy now. “I thought I had lost you then, for what grown man would keep friendship with a half grown boy?”

Russandol tugged playfully at one of the curls, snaking it around his fingers. “For a time you did. I seem to recall years where I found myself in the company of strangers more often than in yours, girls of my own age mostly.” He smiled slightly. “Those were good years.”

“I remember those years,” Findekáno answered quietly. “I remember them far too well. Did you know I envied you then, those awkward years between childhood and maturity? I envied your slenderness, the way your hair was tamed by comb and brush and lured into braids that lasted well beyond the mingling of the lights. I had none of that.”

Russandol could not help but laugh. “I envied your curls and the muscular build that was already then coming into its own,” he admitted, “and more than anything I envied those eyes. Valar, I remember imagining how a maiden would drown looking into your eyes.”

Findekáno burst out laughing again. “They had eyes for you alone, Maitimo Nelyafinwë. Even Irissë did in those days, gawking at you as she ran wild with your brother.”

Russandol snorted amusedly. “Irissë’s favours shifted quicker than the currents around Aqualondë. I think she favoured each of her cousins at least once.”

Findekáno smiled. “You may be right. She was like the wind, flighty, temperamental. I miss her .”

“I remember another day as well,” Russandol whispered tenderly. “As clearly as the first day I saw you. It was early summer and the roses and lilies had only recently opened, filling the air with their rich scent in your mother’s garden. I had not seen you for some years, having been too busy courting one maiden or another and becoming increasingly reluctant to go to my uncle’s house as tensions in Tirion grew. Amil had insisted we would wear our finest, showing that Atar’s house would honour that of Nolofinwë. She never believed in letting the son pay for what she thought of the father and this was meant to be your day. Tyelko and Atarince debated whether you would announce an engagement, being a dutiful son, now that you came of age. I recall the subject making me uncomfortable, but I could not have told you why. Not then.”

“I think Atar would have wished me to do so. But I had no maid to ask for such a favour, always having been tongue-tied and uncomfortable around the nissi. They always reminded me of midges hungry for blood the way they preyed on the unmarried males of the family. It had never been one of them that I saw, closing my eyes and giving in to the guilty pleasures of adolescent nights. Yet Atar and Amil continued to introduce me to daughter after daughter of one lord or another, choosing to look past my awkwardness and, I suspect, evident discomfort at their company.”

Russandol gently silenced his lover. “We arrived in style, of course; Atar saw to that. He would let no one forget that Nolofinwë was a lesser prince of the blood than he himself was. The moment we stepped out of the carriage I saw you. You stood with your back towards us, dressed in a stiff high-necked robe, despite the warm weather, and your beautiful hair had been forced into braids held in place by stiff golden threads. I found it difficult to see the laughing child with his wild hair in the cousin I now saw. It was as if a stranger had taken your place. Tyelko pushed me in the back, forcing me to stumble forward to greet you, and you turned around. I think I forgot to breathe then, seeing how the years and maturity had perfected your face. I know that all words left me, and I could do nothing but stare.”

Findekáno smiled wryly. “I did not notice. My heart was beating too fast in my chest when I saw you to concentrate on such things as social niceties. But then, I always knew where my heart lay.”

“I had not, until that moment, and only when Tyelko once more pushed me in the back did I come to myself and muttered some empty congratulations to your coming of age. I could taste Atar’s exasperation with me as he added his own acidic congratulations to mine, but the world seemed a haze. I vaguely recall greeting relatives and friends, flirting and dancing with maidens whom I would once have considered courting, but suddenly my interest for them had waned. Never had I felt like I did that day, fear and confusion battling with desire, excitement. I tried to focus on those in front of me but again and again my gaze wandered and became entrapped, enthralled at the vision of you. I could not look away and so when the hour grew late I finally fled into the quiet part of your Amil’s gardens, looking for peace.”

They smiled at each other, faces lit with fond remembrance.

“I saw you turn and leave,” Findekáno whispered, “and I followed. Impulsively, without thought I followed you, seeking to rebuild a friendship I had lost, perhaps to heal the doubts in my own mind. Had you seen even then what I was? Where my affections lay? Was that why you turned your back on me, leaving me to find my way through adolescence without the one whom I always loved higher than my own brothers? I heard my father call my name as I left my own feast but I ignored him. Telperion’s light was faint that evening, dulled by low clouds, threatening rain. You looked so lost when I finally found you, sitting with your back against a tree, your eyes closed. So lost and so beautiful, and when you opened your eyes and looked at me… I do not remember crossing the grass or sinking down on my knees by your side, but I remember your lips against mine, soft at first before your arms came up, encircling me, and the kiss deepened. There was no other way for us after that, only years lived for secret moments and touches that were all too few and far between.”

They lay silent again, for a long time. The mellow light of dawn crept in through the open window, gilding their bodies,and yet no one spoke.

“I failed you again after that and left you behind.” Russandol’s voice was heavy. “Once more I failed you, and the ships burned.”

Findekáno rested his fingers gently across Russandol’s lips. “Those days are past.” His voice was calm. “We will not dwell on the dark memories in the few days we have. Dwell on the first kiss and the joy of reunions if we look back, nothing else.”

Russandol kissed the fingers lovingly. “Twice I have betrayed you in our years together, first by leaving you behind when I was grown and you were not and a second time on that day when Atar set fire to wood and flesh. But this I swear to you, I will not betray you thrice.”

The heavy black tresses spread like silk over Russandol’s chest as the cold breeze from the window stirred the curtains. Tenderly he ran his fingers through the soft hair, admiring the way it curled wildly around his , before leaning up for another kiss.