Actions

Work Header

Imperfection Provokes Beauty

Chapter Text

He first came out from the Void, Eru’s light still in his mind, to green hills and pure, lovely light. His brother was there, smiling at him and welcoming him with open arms. The Vala smiled, and felt accepted. His brother gestured for him to make a body. The Vala wasn’t sure what to make it look like, but he made it on instinct. He made himself a fair shape, with long, dark hair and bright, pale eyes. His brother smiled brighter and turned away quicker from him, leaving the Vala puzzled. But that puzzlement was soon forgotten in favour of staring in abject awe at the light. It came from two great trees.

 

He was awed by them, and couldn’t help himself from staring. A women came to stand beside him, her eyes the deep brown of fertile soil, her skin equally dark. She was tall and rooted firmly to the ground. All manner of vines and flowers were woven into her hair, forming cornrows of rich, dark hair and bright, beautiful flowers, floating around her like a cloud of life and beauty.

 

“You are returned.” She said, her voice rich and dark and warm. Returned? He was confused. The Vala didn’t know what she meant by returned. She seemed puzzled by his confusion.

 

“I seem to have gotten ahead of myself.” She said, a small laugh in her tone. “What is your name?” His brows furrowed in confusion. Name? What were those? His soul brushed against hers to show his confusion. She was green/plant/grow/nurture/reclaim , and he was make/awed/admire/adore . He expressed that to her. Was that what she meant by name?

 

“I see you truly are a new being. I am Yavanna.” The Valie said. The Vala nodded, because he understood what a name was now. However, he had none. He expressed this to her in another brush of his mind against hers. Yavanna sighed.

 

“Manwe should have told you.” Yavanna said. “Be Belekoroz.” The Vala tasted it. It was not bad, but the flavour of it was unusual, and unlike Yavanna, which tasted just as her own green/fresh/bountiful did, Belekoroz did not taste like make/ice/flame/awed. It didn’t taste like anything at all, really.

 

“It doesn’t taste like me.” He said to Yavanna, the first words he recalled uttering. She sighed.

 

“Nienna and I both told Manwe that a different name would not work.” Yavanna said wearily. “Go, speak with your brother.” The dark-haired Vala nodded.

 

“Where is he?” He asked, the crowd of spirits pulsing below them, downhill from the Trees seeming daunting to the newly-descended Vala. Yavanna scowled.

 

“He should not have left you so quickly.” She muttered. However, with a sharp shake of her head, she grabbed the hand of the remade Vala and lead him into the crowd.

 

They passed by Maia and Eldar of all type and build. Everything light and beautiful of the world was arrayed before him. But he couldn’t help but feel as if something was missing, something he couldn’t quite place his finger on. It irked him more than a strange-tasting name did. Yet those thoughts were lost upon Yavanna unceremoniously releasing the dark-haired Vala’s hand to tug sharply at his brother’s ear in reprimand.

 

“You are a horrible brother, Manwe. Shame upon you, ditching him at the Trees like that. Tell him his name, and not that ridiculous name you hazarded out of fear.” Yavanna said, causing his brother to look suitably chastened.

 

“Brother, I apologize for simply leaving you without another word.” His brother said. “Your name is Melkor. I am called Manwe.” Melkor nodded, accepting the taste of the name on his tongue and finding that it tasted like him. Manwe’s name fit his brother, his white hair constantly stirring, as if a faint breeze always pushed it back from his face. Melkor accepted this as well, and attached the name Manwe to the air/motion/ozone/warmth of his brother. Thus satisfied, Yavanna nodded in acknowledgement to Manwe.

 

“I shall be off to find my husband now.” She said serenely. With that she strode into the crowd and, despite her awe-inspiring presence, was lost in the horde of revelers. Melkor turned to Manwe, wondering what to do. He kind of wanted to keep staring at the Trees, in all honesty. They were bright and shiny and the way light seemed to be distorted and magnified through them was awe-inspiring. Idly, he wondered how they were made.

 

“What is there to do here?” Melkor asked Manwe. His brother did not seem to be expecting that question.

 

“What do you mean?” Manwe said, seeming puzzled.

 

“What can I do?” Melkor asked. “What is in this creation of Eru that one can do? I am curious.” Manwe thought for a moment before speaking.

 

“There are performances: dance, music, theatre, and all manner or art.” Manwe told him. “There are also many celebrations and festivals.” Melkor frowned.

 

“But those are not things to do.” Melkor told Manwe, puzzled. Manwe was equally puzzled.

 

“Those are things to do in my mind.” Manwe said carefully. “What, pray tell, would you consider things to do?” Melkor didn’t even need to think.

 

“What needs to be made? Where can I go to learn things? Where are the beautiful things of the world?” Melkor asked, soul alight with passion. Manwe’s response crushed that.

 

“Arda is whole and unmarred; there is nothing that needs to be learned or made, and the entirety of it is beautiful.” Manwe said.

 

Melkor was disappointed, so he went back to admiring the Trees, making his way to sit beneath them. He didn’t see the point of a world that required no improvement. He might tell Manwe so later, after he had mulled over those thoughts more.

 

~~~

 

Melkor stayed under the Trees long after the party ended, basking in their light. He didn’t understand why, but they fascinated him to no end. Melkor didn’t know how long he stayed there, under the light.

 

He stayed there for a very long time, long enough for the small white and yellow blossoms to become vibrant pinks purples, for those vibrants pinks and purples to become red and orange, and for those pinks and purples to become frigid blues and whites. After the first cycle of flowers, he began trying to gather a many colors as possible to weave into a crown.

 

Once again, the flowers came and passed, but he couldn’t bring himself to gather colors. The flower crown sat uselessly in his hands, and, under the light of the Trees, he worried at it unconsciously, slowly and accidentally teasing it apart until what was left in his hands were naught put petals, stems, and leaves. He was waiting for someone, but he couldn’t quite grasp who.

 

He liked the flaming oranges and reds of the flowers best. Melkor liked how vibrant they were in contrast to him, and how they seemed to be crafted of flame and molten metal. They were reminiscent of something important.

 

Eventually, after many more cycles of flowers, Yavanna strode up beside him and sat down beside him.

 

“You haven’t left the hill.” Yavanna said. Melkor nodded, rubbing a delicate petal between thumb and forefinger.

 

“What keeps you here?” Yavanna asked kindly, taking one of stems from his hands. He held them open for her to take pieces of the flowers from. She painstakingly reassembled the flower in a riot of hues, then held it up for him to see. He nodded, finding it beautiful, but quickly averted his eyes.

 

“I’m waiting for someone.” Melkor told her. Yavanna seemed to pity him, then, as she worked to reassemble another flower.

 

“Who?” Yavanna asked, twirling the next flower before setting it aside to work on the next. Melkor shrugged.

 

“I don’t know.” Melkor admitted. “But I miss them.”

 

“Now I know why you sit here and mope.” Yavanna said with a sad laugh. “I don’t think Manwe should have told you that there is nothing more to be done. You’re like Aule and I: most alive when creating. I have my plants; Aule has his forges. But you? Manwe has not seen fit to point you at anything.”

 

Yavanna was thoughtful after that statement, but before long an idea was upon her, as she wove the riotously colorful flower into her hair.

 

“How does it look?” She asked him. Melkor regarded it, thinking. Among the rest of the flowers in her hair, it stood out, a vibrant rainbow that demanded attention. It had a flamboyant presence. But it was absorbed into the aura of stability that Yavanna had. Melkor nodded.

 

“It looks fine.” Melkor said. Yavanna nodded.

 

“Would you like to learn how I made it?” Yavanna offered. Melkor’s eyes were alight at that. He wanted to make flowers too, because he wanted to make things in general, and flowers were pretty.

 

Yavanna laughed, sticking the other flower into Melkor’s dark hair, before showing him how to mold his power into the shape of growth and teaching him how to make flowers.

 

~~~

 

Melkor did stay on the hill after Yavanna finished teaching him to make flowers, but not for long. Melkor was a quick study in the crafts of creation, and she soon had him making flowers from thin air. Most of the time, Melkor simply scattered them. When he left the hill with the Trees, he went into the woods. He acknowledged the presence of his fellow Vala, Orome, the Huntsman, and wandered in the woods. As he was walking, a Maia strode past him, his ruddy hair cropped short. Melkor noticed that the Maia walked with a pronounced limp, and held one hand close to his torso at all times. The Maia brushed past Melkor with a mumbled ‘pardon me’, and left Melkor confused in his wake.

 

Manwe said there was nothing to do in Arda Healed, so Melkor supposed that the Maia just happened to be indiosyncratic that way.

 

He pushed the thought out of his head and went back to admiring Orome’s woods.



Chapter Text

Manwe had given Melkor an odd look when he explained that Yavanna taught him to make flowers, but then Manwe shrugged and just sort of accepted that his brother officially made a garden out in the middle of nowhere with Yavanna’s help. Yavanna was kind to Melkor for reasons unknown, but Melkor didn’t particularly care.

 

Melkor’s garden was not very big, and was nowhere close to the splendor of Yavanna’s creations, but it was Melkor’s, so he liked it the most, even if he openly admitted Yavanna was better than him.

 

~~~

 

Manwe wished to speak with Yavanna privately, so now, in Manwe’s study, Yavanna stood. Manwe was sitting, and he had expression that was a mix of fear and apprehension.

 

“Are you aware how badly this could go, Yavanna?” Manwe asked, fidgeting nervously. Yavanna sighed.

 

“He likes making flowers and it gives him something to do.” Yavanna told Manwe sternly. “Besides, if you treat him like he will become the Dark Lord Morgoth Bauglir, he will. Let me try care and nurture where chastisement and disappointment have failed.”

 

“But how can you be sure that will work?” Manwe asked, disbelieving in Yavanna’s tactics to have Melkor and not Morgoth. Manwe was shaking his head, as though Yavanna was being foolish in her endeavors.

 

“Because we tried simply to excise that which would lead to evil from Mairon, and look at what the Admirable has become!” Yavanna said. “There is barely even a Maia there. Orome took him out of pity because Aule could not bear to see what had become of one his most skilled, most admirable Maiar.”

 

But Manwe was obstinate, and shook his head again in denial.

 

“Listen to me, Manwe.” Yavanna implored. “I taught him to make flowers and plants because he stayed under the Trees for decades, Manwe, decades! And when I asked him why, he said he was waiting for someone but he couldn’t remember who. I think it would have been more dangerous to leave him there, under a tree, wallowing in loneliness, than to give his mind something else to think of.”

 

“It could all be a ploy. Morgoth was clever, he was deceptive.” Manwe said. Yavanna took a deep, frustrated breath.

 

“Very well then, if you’re insisting upon being stubborn, we are visiting your brother and his flowers.” Yavanna ordered Manwe. “You will see what I see, even if I have to drag your wife into this.”

 

~~~

 

Melkor was trying to coax with soft melodies the land into a more aesthetic shape. It was slow going, but he was trying to explain what he wanted, sharing his vision of the garden, when Yavanna, with Manwe in tow, arrived. At first, Melkor did not notice them, so absorbed was he in the shaping of the land, but when Manwe gasped, undoing Melkor’s tenuous understanding with the land, he did.

 

“Brother?” Melkor asked, confused.

 

“What were you doing?” Yavanna asked gently, talking straight over Manwe, preventing Melkor from hearing what his brother was to say.

 

“I was trying to convince the land to allow me to shape it into a more aesthetic form.” Melkor said. “Unfortunately, it’s been slow going.”

 

“Maybe you should ask Aule about how to shape the land; it is part of his specialty.” Yavanna offered. Melkor was bashful, turning his face aside as he stood, dusting dirt off of his legs.

 

“I was under the impression that Aule was like Tulkas: not accepting of my presence.” Melkor said. “I did ask, but Aule simply stared at me. It felt incredibly awkward, so I left quickly.” Yavanna found herself sighing again, this time at her husband for being bad at dealing with surprises.

 

“Why have you done all this?” Manwe blurted, causing both Yavanna and Melkor to look at him. Where Melkor was confused, Yavanna was exasperated.

 

“It’s pretty.” Melkor said, beckoning Manwe over to one of his favorites. “I made it when I saw the play of the light of fire across water.” It was at first seeming to be made from ice, yet within it was dancing sparks and flames, so that when one looked at it from the right angle, it was not crafted of ice, but flame. Manwe nodded slowly.

 

“Why did you make that one?” Manwe asked, pointing to another flower, a brilliant crimson and royal blue threaded with gold. Melkor shrugged.

 

“Aule’s Maiar have many things of spun gold and jewels.” Melkor said. “I wanted to replicate that richness.”

 

Melkor didn’t notice it, but Yavanna was smiling, pleased with how things were turning out.

 

~~~

 

Melkor was mostly visited by Yavanna, as she had the closest connection to plants, but occasionally, some of the Maiar came as well. Few of them came, given how remote Melkor’s garden was, but they liked the beauty of it, he supposed. Personally, Melkor thought that if they wished to see truly splendid and verdant gardens they should go to the works of Yavanna, but, nevertheless, he always had one or two visitors a day. He didn’t particularly mind; most of them were artists of some type, and mostly sketched Melkor’s creations without disturbing him.

 

He was singing into shape a waterlily of radiant flame when he first saw that Maia he had glimpsed in Orome’s woods again. He could see the Maia better now, and saw that he was missing most of his left hand, possessing only his middle and index fingers. The Maia seemed hollow to Melkor, and strolled quietly through the grounds, uncaring of any of the vibrant blooms. Melkor shuddered, and found himself less fond of the garden all of a sudden. Yet the Maia sparked a certain curiosity within him.

 

The Maia had stopped and was staring at a group of lilies, a mix of dark, burnt red and pale, gentle yellow. They were simple, but their simplicity was endearing to Melkor.

 

However, the Maia seemed to have no interest in drawing the flowers, as so many of his ilk did. Instead, he watched them for a moment before turning into a hound with a pelt ruddy like his hair and running away.



Chapter Text

After Melkor had a good look at the crippled Maia, he no longer felt inspiration to create anymore. He instead chose to wander around Arda, to see all that he could see, in hopes that would rekindle his creative spark.

 

He saw the most breathtaking of vistas at first.

 

The vibrant rustle of green grass, the sleek trail of a stream, the gentle song of the wind. He tasted light and beauty and saw the thousand hues of the dawn.

 

The rustle of grass was music, the color and hue and the slight variation stunning to him, for he had never looked so closely at it before. The speckling of clouds on a clear, bluer than blue sky was a sharp contrast he had never payed attention to before.

 

And Melkor was amazed.

 

And he saw arching forests that teemed with life in every breath, the rustling fall of vibrant, flaming leaves and the scent of forest: green, subtle, brown, wet. He heard the songs of birds and the rustle of leaves after a fox has passed.

 

And Melkor was amazed.

 

But he wandered more and more and found that perfection was dull, and that everything was breathtaking, so much that only a decade had made him inured to Arda’s beauty.

 

And Melkor was no longer amazed, for he had seen many, many vistas of the sort, all perfect, all no longer breathtaking.

 

Melkor was saddened that he had seen so much beauty that he could no longer appreciate it, for then, what was the point of it?

 

He returned to Valinor and turned his garden into ash without a second thought before leaving again.

 

~~~

Melkor was determined to find imperfection.

 

Manwe had said Arda was Healed, was perfect. Melkor would find that which wasn’t, and he had no intentions of returning to Valinor until he did.

 

It took him a hundred years, but he found it.

 

He saw sweeping plains, vast deserts, immense forests.

 

He saw roaring rivers, fey mountains, massive canyons.

 

But at last, he found imperfection.

 

He supposed it was Ulmo’s, the Vala of the waters he had brushed against before at some point in his wanderings, but it didn’t feel like Ulmo. It was far and away from the light of the Trees, barely touched, raw .

 

Melkor loved it. It was a patch of sea, full of ice and flame, too hot and too saline for anything to live in it. In that moment, awed at last by Arda, Melkor called the Dead Sea his.

 

And it was imperfect, he could tell. Seas were not supposed to be aflame with ice cresting the waves. Seas were supposed to be wet, fire was to be dry. Ice was to be melted by flame, not buoyed by it.

 

But the crest of the waves was beautiful, the play of light he’d tried to create in his flowers of ice and fire in a full, wrathful display here.

 

Melkor reached his energy out to the sea, and found the sea was dying. Melkor frowned. He had just found the most imperfect thing in all of Arda; how could he let it disappear?

 

Carefully, he gave it some of his power and watched as it surged to life. The waves roared higher, more lively from a mere trickle. He felt then, from the Sea, that it wasn’t supposed to be here, that it had been an accident that had led it into Arda Healed.

 

Melkor blessed that accident. The Dead Sea was beautiful to his eyes and he would nurture it until it would roar as long as Arda lived.

 

~~~

When Melkor returned to Valinor, Manwe was worried. Melkor could understand, on some level, but he wasn’t quite sure it required Manwe needing Melkor to be close by most of the day.

 

Manwe and Melkor were sitting together ‘neath the Trees, watching yet another celebration of the Ainu and and the Children.

 

“You’re worried because I left.” Melkor noted. Manwe nodded.

 

“It reminds me of another time, another brother, I suppose.” Manwe said. “I don’t want to lose you, Melkor. You are not the same as him.”

 

“I see.” Melkor said non-committedly. Manwe sighed, seeming in that moment to have lost his vigor and strength for a moment before rallying himself.

 

“But that is the past, and I want to believe that it can be overcome.” Manwe said optimistically. Melkor nodded.

 

“Why don’t you tell me about what you’ve been up to while you were gone?” Manwe asked. “I’ve been lazing about, mostly. There hasn’t been much that requires my vigilance as of late.”

 

“I was disappointed by Arda brother, and that makes me very sad.” Melkor said, feeling nostalgic yet again, but he couldn’t place why. “It was stunning, yes. It was perfect, yes. It was glorious, yes. But as I wandered, everything was the same.”

 

“Perhaps you should spend some time away from Arda, in Valinor.” Manwe suggested. “Perhaps, when you return later, absence will make the sights beautiful again.” Melkor wasn’t as sure as Manwe, but he did not voice that opinion, electing to instead enjoy the light of the Trees instead.

 

~~~

 

He did start making flowers again, out of pure boredom. It did not, however, eliminate that boredom. Even though he had made beautiful flowers before, suddenly, in his eyes, everything had lost a certain feeling to it.

 

Melkor seemed to have lost that wonder at the flowers that he’d found under the Trees.

 

He shrugged.

 

Life went on; he’d find something else. It wasn’t like Ainur were changeable.



Chapter Text

Melkor stayed in Valinor for a decade, but even though he returned to the land of his original garden, he felt no impetus to make anything again.

 

~~~

 

“You’re not making flowers anymore.” Yavanna noted. Of all the Ainur, Melkor liked her company the most. Manwe had a tendency to accidentally smother people, while Aule seemed to have no clue how to react to him. Tulkas appeared to harbor a dislike for him and a readiness to fight that Melkor wished to avoid. Varda and Nienna seemed to almost pity him. The rest of the Ainur, for the most part, gave him a wide berth.

 

He supposed it was fine. He hadn’t noticed it earlier, but he was lonely. Yavanna was kind, but it was unreasonable to expect her to always be there, and although he enjoyed her company, he couldn’t stand having her and only her.

 

Melkor was lonely, even more so then when he’d sat under the Trees and stared at the flowers.

 

“I haven’t the inspiration.” Melkor responded.

 

“I see.” Yavanna said. Melkor sighed.

 

“I’m… Well, I suppose I’m tired, if that is possible.” Melkor admitted. “It isn’t a physical fatigue, but a mental one, and nothing I can think of will lessen its weight.”

 

~~~

 

Melkor was going to leave Valinor again. He wanted to visit the Dead Sea. It was unlike anything he could recall but it sang to him a song of familiarity, that it knew him and he it.

 

It was imperfect and seemed to be shoddily slapped together, a wayward experiment some Ainur forgot to clean up afterwards.

 

But before he left, he wanted to tell Manwe what he was up to so his brother wouldn’t worry. He still recalled how worried Manwe was, and Melkor wished to spare him the stress.

 

Manwe resided on the highest peak of Valinor, with his eagles and Varda, his wife. His brother’s home was spacious and airy, with a certain grand air to it. The lighting was subtle and the furniture was richly appointed. Manwe lead Melkor into his study, and gestured for Melkor to sit down in one of the armchairs. Manwe sat in the other, across from him.

 

“To what, pray tell, do I owe the honor of a visit from you, dear brother?” Manwe asked warmly, a slight smile on his face.

 

“I thought it prudent to tell you that I’ll be returning to Arda soon, and that I might stay awhile.” Melkor said. “I don’t wish for you to worry.” Manwe waved of his concerns.

 

“Finally found beauty in Arda?” Manwe asked. Melkor nodded.

 

“I found a sea, made of flame and ice.” Melkor told him. “It was beautiful.” However, Manwe did not seem to share Melkor’s delight.

 

“Come again?” Manwe asked sharply. Melkor frowned.

 

“A sea. Of flame and ice. Entwined.” Melkor said slowly, confused and apprehensive as to where the conversation was going. Manwe had gone from a pleasant mood to a more wrathful one, but Melkor was uncertain as to why, or even it he meant ‘wrathful’ to describe it in the first place. Manwe was painted in the colors of shock/rage/defend/destroy, and those hues worried Melkor.

 

“I was mistaken in thinking Bauglir was gone.” Manwe muttered, rage seeping into his tone. “Take me to it, so I can end Morgoth’s corruption of Arda and truly heal her.” Melkor was aghast.

 

“No!” Melkor said, standing up. “I finally found something beautiful, I cannot let you simply destroy it.” Manwe stood as well, shaking his head.

 

“You don’t understand, Melkor.” Manwe said, as if Melkor was a child who refused to listen to their elders.

 

“No, you don’t understand.” Melkor snapped. “I do not have to let you destroy something I claim as my own. It is beautiful in its imperfection, and I refuse to let you destroy something for seemingly no reason at all.”

 

“Just show me where it is, Melkor.” Manwe said, almost growling because of irritation.

 

“Just as I said before: no.” Melkor insisted. “I think it is beautiful.”

 

When Manwe opened his mouth to speak further, Melkor shed his body and fled to the Dead Sea. He couldn’t stand the destroy/guard/cleanse tint to Manwe’s presence anymore.

 

~~~

He returned to the Dead Sea and found it no less beautiful.

 

The dim sky in dusky purples, the gentle speckle of stars that gleamed over the flaming sea all seemed so familiar to him, like something he had pondered once, in some distant time, in earnest. Melkor knew where ever the stars shone, Varda could se. He hadn’t really spoken with Varda all that much, but she struck him as reasonable and fair. Nevertheless, he turned his voice to the stars. He had no desire for his actions to be misinterpreted. Melkor wished to keep the Dead Sea because it was beautiful, and he was going to spend time there because of that, not because of some desire to rebel or destroy.

 

“Please don’t tell Manwe where I am, Varda. I just don’t want him to destroy this. I mean no harm, I swear.”

 

The stars shone brighter, and he felt a ghost of Varda’s presence brush against him in acknowledgement.

 

~~~

He first set out to make himself a home, where he could retreat when Valinor was overwhelming or underwhelming. Melkor hoped to create a retreat for himself on the shore of the Dead Sea.

 

To begin, he closed his eyes and pulled at that flavour of nostalgia that seemed omnipresent among the bright/flame/ice/salt/free tastes of the Dead Sea. It whispered to him quietly to move along the shores. He opened his eyes, and began to follow the red string of recollection/crackle/warm/forgiven along the sea strand.

 

The sand was crunchy, with an earth/dust/glass taste, and had, besides the obvious fragrance of flame/ice/roar from the Sea, a myriad of colorful, shining scents.

 

He walked, and walked, and walked, the terrain becoming rockier and steeper beneath his feet until he was met with a waterfall that fell into the Sea from the looming, proud/sharp/mossy/strong cliffs.

 

In his mind’s eye, he could already see how to coax the land to provide him space for a cabin by the waterfall. He could even see the cabin, a small, quiet affair. But the recollection/warmth/red string wasn’t quite done leading him, so he followed it to the waterfall.

 

To his surprise, behind the waterfall was a cave, where he could feel the heat of Arda rising to greet him. Curious, Melkor called light to him in a wisp that floated ‘round him and illuminated his surroundings nicely. He walked into the cave, surprisingly shallow despite the way Arda’s heat came through.

 

He listened to the recollection/crackle/warm of the red string, and, on a whim, carefully shaped a forge. Melkor was not entirely sure why the string led him to do that, but there was a certain feeling to the idea he couldn’t ignore, and that feeling told him he was preparing for flame/shape/order/precision .

 

Finished with the waterfall forge, he returned his mind to his cabin.

 

He began singing to the land, telling it of the sense of nostalgia he could not help but feel, and asked it to help him. It complied readily, responding in a familiar way. The cold sang with him, a bass hum, and the stone sang with him, a strong contralto. Even the heat of Arda joined, and then the nearby forest, a dense, dark presence, sang as well, in surprisingly delicate, dulcet soprano notes. Melkor led the melody carry him and closed his eyes, the land around him seeming to understand what he wanted better than he.

 

He let its understanding flow through him and sang until he reached the end of the song. Melkor opened his eyes to a cabin, small, but homey. He walked up to it, on a rough path of grey stone, and noted empty flowerbeds. Melkor made note to correct that later, and entered. The cabin was sparsely furnished, with hardwood flooring with thick rugs in deep reds on the floor, and two spacious, comfortable armchairs were before an empty fireplace. The mantel was bare, but Melkor knew that it wasn’t unfurnished, but unfinished.

 

Bare bookshelves were against the walls across from the fireplace. Melkor himself had never really been prone to read for pleasure, but the crash of the Dead Sea outside seemed to reassure him that flame/shape/order/precision did, and that feeling that he was working for someone he cared for buoyed him away from the confusion.

 

The bedroom was also sparse, with even more empty bookshelves and a single bed, large enough for two. Melkor sat down on the bed and began thinking of how he’d fill the flowerbeds at the front of the cabin.



Chapter Text

Melkor had returned to Valinor shortly after making his home by the Dead Sea and made it very clear to Manwe that they currently were not on speaking terms. He was now, after that incredibly tense conversation, in Yavanna’s gardens, admiring the natural scenes, when a Maiar he had never seen before approached him in the shape of a cat.

Melkor was sat upon a rock, high enough for his legs to swing freely in the air as he pondered his new residence by the Dead Sea. He was seeking inspiration for his own flowers from Yavanna’s.

The Maia that approached him had a feline fana, with short hair whiter than snow and canny eyes redder than rubies.

“Greetings, lord Valar. This one wished to see you with zir own eyes.” The Maia said. Zir voice was as androgynous as zir fana. Melkor’s interest was piqued. Most of Illuvatar’s creations had a distinct gender. However, he could tell the Maia sitting beside him did not.

“You have seen me, then.” Melkor responded absently. The Maia sat beside him quietly, and they watched the gardens. There were many Maia in the gardens as well, and Melkor observed them too. They were used to his presence in Yavanna’s garden, so none paid him much heed.

He observed them absently, his mind barely anchored to his fana until he felt the cat-Maia beside him sit straighter.

“Vaswe cannot stand the sight of him.” The Maia noted. “Vaswe remembers, you see. Zir remembers that one, and that makes this one sad.”

“Remember who?” Melkor asked, curiosity drawing him back to the garden. Vaswe indicated a Maia that had drawn Melkor’s eye before: the one with ruddy, dull hair and flat eyes.

“What’s he like?” Melkor asked. Vaswe sneered as best a cat was able.

“Like? Vaswe is certain there is nothing in him left capable of such a thing.” The Maia hissed. After that statement, Melkor saw the Maia turn into the shape of a hound. Melkor recalled seeing it before.

He wondered why the hound seemed so diminished.

He turned to ask Vaswe if he knew, but the cat Maia was already gone. Melor shrugged. Cats were like that.

He didn’t think more of it; cat Maia were cat Maia, explanations were something they seemed to disdain.

~~~

After a few boring weeks in Valinor, the most interesting event being the time he met Vaswe, Melkor returned to his cabin by the Dead Sea.

He prefered it there anyway. It wasn’t so saturated with beauty as to become dull like Valinor was. The Dead Sea was inflamed and incensed with wild joy at Melkor’s return and it dashed itself against the rocks of the cliffs by Melkor’s cabin in greeting.

Melkor was staring, unimpressed, at the flowerbeds in front of his cabin. He couldn’t figure out what to put there and it was frustrating him to no end.

So he didn’t decide, and went back into his cabin.

Melkor sat for a while in the armchair, a book he had, on a whim, taken with him from Valinor, in his hands, his eyes roving over the pages. It bored him, but he read on further. He considered it drivel, but he had no clue what to do with it now. Melkor sighed, and looked at the bare walls of his cabin.

They needed something on them. There was but one question however.

What?

~~~

He returned to Valinor after a month, when he was sure the Dead Sea was self-sufficient enough to hold its own against marauding Manwes.

It hummed sadly when he left, but he promised to come back, which seemed to console it. He left the Sea churning happily.

In Valinor, he met Vaswe again.

This time, Vaswe wore a human body, albino, with pale skin and hair and rich red eyes. It was reminiscent of his cat shape, lithe and lean and androgynous.

“Hello, lord Valar.” Vaswe said in greeting. Melkor was noodling around Orome’s woods aimlessly, searching for inspiration. There was the forest, green and verdant, but even the chatter of songbirds that had once seemed so perfect to him seemed hollow.

He couldn’t find himself in it.

Arda was perfect, but for some reason, that thought made him feel alone.

When he was by the Dead Sea, he could feel the hum of Arda beneath his feet, could hear her sing. No where else could he feel that same, resonant hum that purred into the core of him.

He recalled the time spent by the Sea then, spurred on by the thought and the itching, crawling feeling of the balmy Valinorian breeze against his skin.

It was familiar in the best of ways, feeling like the taste of home spilling through the core of him, all warm spices and hugs. Melkor shivered. He reaclled standing barefoot, the waves of the Dead Sea gently lapping at his feet. It was warm and cold, hostile and inviting, open and closed.

His and not his.

The way it should be.

~~~

As he was walking up to his cabin, Vaswe appeared from behind a tree.

“This one means you no harm, lord Vala.” Vaswe said, bowing deeply to Melkor. Nevertheless, Melkor must’ve jumped three feet backwards in shock anyway.

“How did you get here?” Melkor asked, voice leaping up an octave in surprise. Vaswe shrugged.

“Vaswe is Vaswe. This one knows the feeling of the Dead Sea. Ze likes it, but only in moderation.” Vaswe replied. “Ze is glad to see it again. Ze thought it was dead.”

Meanwhile, Melkor was trying not to run screaming for the hills. His heart was beating a mile a minute, he wasn’t sure why Vaswe was here, but this was Melkor’s place and Vaswe wasn’t supposed to be here. It wasn’t for Vaswe.

“Can you leave?” Melkor asked. Vaswe nodded.

“One last thing: have you ever considered making more like it? This one humbly believes it is a pity if you do not.” Vaswe said in parting, before disappearing into his own dimension.

Melkor ran back to the cabin and stared at the empty mantelpiece.

“Make? Like the Sea?” Melkor breathed. No sooner was he in the cabin was he out of the cabin and sprinting, sprinting, sprinting towards the Sea with a handful of barely-finished ideas and only the rushing urge to make something, anything, to rival his first creation ever when thud thud thud his feet pounding on the beach like the first time he was looping hair fire-gold-pink almost like that one flower bright Yavanna makes flowers but none were as precious as spun glass flame gathered within and rushing rushing rushing and waves waves waves with fire the fires under careful forge spirit clever forge spirit kind forge spirit he wanted to settle down mistakes always mistakes plunging his hands into the Sea not letting go he wouldn’t let him be ripped away again the water was warm splish splash splish splash running over his hands the crackle pop crackle roar forge flame he was a forge spirit and Melkor misses him very much so is that why he is plunging his hands into flaming ocean and desiring to make just like the forge spirit did or is it because the water is soothing splish soothing splash soothing plop soothing plip would his lovely one like fire opals encased in smooth glass throwing flame like the Dead Sea sings to him with brilliant ideas of how to please I am sorry I will not please believe me I am trying this time you are right to leave me I am sorry and Melkor held, in his hands, sparks and droplets of the Dead Sea and he sang them into a gem.

Melkor was delighted. They threw orange light from within that split through the clearness of them, as if they were flame dancing within glass.

A glass gem like a fire opal, orange but a clear orange, so that the centre of it was murky and hazy while the sides were clear, but tinted slightly. Melkor thought them beautiful.

But he didn’t know what to make with them.

Melkor frowned and went back to his cabin, still riding on the high that making something brought him. It was nothing like making flowers.

~~~

Two days after Melkor made the gem, he was turning it in his hands when the light struck it fully and it burst into rays of light. He had never seen a gem do that without facets before. Melkor turned the gem in his hand, an air of wonder about him. It wasn’t supposed to do that when it was a smooth, pearly tear in his hand but it did, casting thousands of broken shafts of light across the room.

would love it, Melkor realized. He got up, clutching the gem tightly in his hand and went outside to the forge behind the waterfall.

Shelves, arrayed neatly and precisely, bare but waiting to be filled. Melkor had thought to put it on the shelf for , but he wasn’t here, so Melkor decided to hold on to it for him. was orderly, and he didn’t like Melkor making a mess of his workspace.

Melkor found a scrap of leather in the forge and sang it into a crude bag, and wrapped it tightly with a leather cord before making a loose necklace of it. He put it on and hid it under his clothes, feeling it pressed against his skin. Even though wasn’t here , Melkor was sure he’d see him soon. He wasn’t sure why, but he felt it.

The winds were agitated, screaming against the tops of the trees in the forest behind the cabin. Melkor would have to return to Valinor. He’d been spending too much time away. Manwe was getting worried. Melkor could tell from the way the wind bayed.

Even though he'd rather stay by the Sea, he had to go.

Chapter Text

Melkor returned to Valinor under the watchful gaze of Varda’s stars. He liked them. Pinpricks like the flames of   and , all under the watchful eye of  , his most dedicated servant and his favorite Ainur in all of Eru’s creation of light and sparkling, white color. And Varda hadn’t told Manwe the location of the Dead Sea, something Melkor was incredibly grateful for. He should thank her.

 

With that in mind, he made his way into the Valinorian city to find Varda.

 

~~~

 

It didn’t surprise him to follow the starlight color of Varda to Nienna’s home, nor for Yavanna to be there. It was earth, heaven, and the emotion between them. A fitting triad, in Melkor’s humble opinion.

 

He knocked on the door politely, then waited. Melkor had no desire to intrude, but he did wish to speak to Varda quickly and privately and he worried that if he put it off he would ditch Valinor again and not do so, which seemed to him to be terribly rude.

 

So, awkwardly, with his head down, he waited, fidgeting, until Nienna opened the door.

 

She was severe, unbreakable, broken. Her hair was in a messy, steel-grey bun, and she dressed in robes, unkept and seemed almost raggedy, but for her presence of dignity. Melkor found her eyes to be her most distinctive feature: white irises, with black sclera, and no pupils.

 

“Melkor? What is it?” She asked. Melkor felt his throat lock up, his hands go clammy.

 

“I need to speak with Varda.” Melkor said, far calmer than he felt. Nienna raised a questioning brow.

 

“It’ll be but a moment.” Melkor added.

 

“Nienna, is that Melkor?” Yavanna called.

 

“It is.” Nienna responded.

 

“Well, don’t just leave him there, send him in.” Yavanna responded lightly. Nienna shrugged, then gestured for Melkor to enter.

 

Her home had a clean, crisp air to it, like the faint scent of soap on freshly-washed fabric, aided by the crisp, clean geometric Art Deco stylings of the place. His eyes skipped constantly away from the windows. They looked to the Void.

 

Melkor feared the Void.

 

It terrified him.

 

It was a darkness not a darkness because there was nothing he had been alone right or wrong he wouldn’t allow that to happenstance is a funny thing he’d thought he was above it but he wasn’t he didn’t like the Void was terrifying solitude and aloneness and cold without chill always bothered the forge-spirit was rent was shattered and the core of him was something Melkor didn’t consciously know he thought because he avoided thinking about it all together.

 

It was a sharp pain that made him think he’d go mad, burning in his chest.

 

He turned away from it.

 

“You wished to speak with me?” Varda asked, drawing away Melkor’s attention form the Void and to her. Her voice was melodic, rich dripping honey and molasses, her eyes clear, azure flame, not bright, but subtle, and her hair black at the roots but spilt like the cosmos on a brilliant night, a nebula around her.

 

“Yes.” Melkor said. “I wanted to thank you. All under the stars is under your gaze, yet you didn’t tell Manwe of the Sea. For that, I am very grateful.”

 

Varda laughed, a small, elegant thing that made Melkor feel welcome.

 

“Oh, that?” Varda said lightly. “What is it to Manwe if you prefer to be away from Valinor? It is a pretty thing, your Sea.”

 

This, unexpectedly, made Melkor bashful.

 

“It’s not much, really, but thank you?” Melkor hazarded. Varda smiled.

 

“Think nothing of it.” Varda said.

 

“While you’re still here, how have you been?” Yavanna asked. Melkor shrugged.

 

“I have been trying to avoid Manwe; our last conversation didn’t go well.” Melkor told her. “That’s why I wanted to thank Varda. I mentioned my Sea to Manwe and he went into a frightful mood and demanded I take him to it so he could destroy it.”

 

“Well, that does explain the dreadful mood he’s in.” Varda said. Yavanna sighed.

 

“The dreadful mood you’ve been harping on and on about for oh, the last nine ages it seems.” Yavanna said in mock weariness. Nevertheless, there was a smile in her eyes and Varda’s face that showed it was neither meant nor taken seriously.

 

“Well, Melkor and Varda both seem rather put out by it.” Nienna said diplomatically. “Tea, anyone?”

 

“You always say that in response to anything, Nienna.” Yavanna groaned. “What kind of tea?”

 

“Masala chai.” Nienna said.

 

“What’s that?” Melkor asked. He was curious. His approach to not knowing something was to learn it.

 

“It’s a type of tea. It has spices mixed with black tea leaves.” Yavanna explained.

 

“That’s odd.” Varda noted.

 

“What’s odd?” Melkor asked her. She shrugged.

 

“I would’ve thought you’d have known, is all.” She said softly. Melkor fidgeted.

 

“That was all I came here to do.” He said, uncomfortable. “If it isn’t too much trouble, I should be off.”

 

“Leaving so soon?” Nienna said sadly. “Que sera, sera, I suppose.”

 

“Farewell, everyone.” Melkor said. They nodded and waved goodbye.

 

Melkor was planning to go back to Valinor and assauge Manwe’s fears, but instead elected to return to the Dead Sea. The kindness of the trio of Valie made him…

 

Not bad, per se, but uncomfortable. Confused. There was something in him that couldn’t fathom it.

 

~~~

“What a pitiful sight, that one.” Varda sighed.

 

“Indeed. He and Mairon make a sorrowful reminder indeed.” Nienna noted. “Have they met? Melkor and Mairon?”

 

“I don’t think so, but… Such a meeting would be a sad, sad thing.” Yavanna replied. “I still remember him under the Trees, so despondent, so lonely.”

“I know. It’s why I couldn’t bear to tell Manwe of the Dead Sea.” Varda said. “It was so sad, to see him so delighted by something so small. I just wanted to see Melkor happy.”

“Weren’t you two once in love?” Nienna asked.

 

“Aye, but nothing came of it. I was intended for Manwe, not Melkor. And although I grew to love Manwe, he and Melkor are different.” Varda replied.

 

“His fall was the greatest of sorrows.” Yavanna noted. “Everything after was a series of blunders. And although I am angry about what he has done to my creations before, he is so innocent now.”

 

“Like a little kitten, all fuzzy and cute.” Nienna agreed. “But Manwe’s decisions about him seem to be pushing him away.”

“But not away into darkness.” Varda countered. “We should be in his corner. It is as Yavanna said: Let us try nurture where chastisement failed.”

 

The three were in agreement.


Chapter Text

>Start???

>No

>Error: option ‘no’ not found, initializing start

>Analyze (Day)

Parameters: Analyze (Yesterday)

>Analyze (Yesterday)= I don’t want to. I don’t want the reminder of how far I’ve fallen, what they did to lift me up, and how hollow it has rendered me. Let me sleep.

>Clear sky

>Sunny

>Clean

Angband ( Please let it be there and not Valinor, not this place that chokes and suffocates and the sky is so clear and bright and it hurts my eyes);

 

{Error, command ‘Angband’ not found. Insert Valinor?}

{Don’t insert Valinor!}

Valinor ();

Results: Don’t matter.

Analyze (Results Valinor);

>Doesn’t matter

Angband ();

Valinor ();

Angband ();

Valinor ();

Angband ();

Valinor ();

Angband ();

Valinor ();



>Results?

>It won’t change anything.

If (change == possible ) then ( don’t even dare; your Master has been defeated. Why you have appeared in Valinor is a mystery, but rest assured, we will not allow you to do evil ever again.)

 

>Recall?

>No no no no no no please don’t make me recall that!

 

>Recall initiated

 

>Scream

{Error: command ‘scream’ failed to initiate. Running ‘stare’ instead}

>Cry

{Error: command ‘cry’ failed to initiate. Running ‘stare’ instead}

 

//Maybe a walk will clear my head

 

Travel (Yavanna’s garden);

 

//Of course not; head’s already been cleared

 

>Observe: Yavanna’s garden

Results: Flowers (colorful, bright), sky (blue, clear), Vala (Dark, pale)

Inspect: Vala

Results: Leaving (hurried, anxious, stressed)

 

//Reflection on him is futile. New Vala, old Vala, middle Vala. Doesn’t matter.

 

//After all, isn’t this where we came in?

 

//Isn’t this where you wooed me with grandiose, imperfect beauty?

 

//I don’t think I could recognize you any other way but grim, dark, and mad, for you had been those long enough for me to forget you bright, serene, and curious




~~~

 

Melkor had just returned to Valinor from the Dead Sea. It had been several glorious months of solitude and waves. Vaswe didn’t show up again, but Melkor found the cat Maia’s suggestion to create compelling.

 

He couldn’t get the idea out of his head, not after the gem.

 

It rested in its pouch, warm from his skin.

 

Comforting, in a way that Manwe seemed unable to be.

 

Not even five minutes after returning was Manwe clasping Melkor’s hands in his, scanning his face with cloying, caustic concern.

 

It chafed at Melkor greatly.

 

“Melkor, I’m just worried for your safety.” Manwe said earnestly. Melkor scowled, arms crossed, pulling himself up straighter. The defiance of the Dead Sea against the waters of Ulmo roared within at that. He didn’t need Manwe to be worried for him. There was nothing even to be worried about!

 

Melkor had arrived back in Valinor but five minutes ago and already Manwe was with him, asking him how he was, what he was doing, where the Dead Sea was, warning Melkor that imperfection was corruption, and Melkor could not, for the life of him, stand it.

 

The beach they stood on was a pale cousin to that of the Dead Sea.

 

Pale imitation because of perfection was Iluvatar’s domain not that of Arda would be better if she wasn’t so perfect, Melkor believed.

 

He, of course, did not tell Manwe this.

 

“Brother, I understand your concern, but you cannot smother me without hurting me. Give me space, okay? Please believe me, this constant watchfulness from you is making me anxious. It’s hard to return to Valinor when I know that as soon as I get back, you’ll not leave my side until I have to sneak away.” Melkor said, keeping his voice soft, level, and calm. Manwe shook his head.

 

“I’m not smothering you; I’m protecting you from a threat you know nothing about!” Manwe snapped. Melkor wasn’t sure how to react.

 

“Excuse me?” Melkor said, tone rising in incredulity. Judging from Manwe’s patronizing, upset expression, that wasn’t quite the best way to respond. “What threat? What aren’t you telling me?”

 

“Nothing that concerns you.” Manwe tried, turning from defensive to placating fast as lightning. “I misspoke, is all.”

 

“Brother, pardon my language, but are you fucking kidding me?” Melkor hissed. “You don’t get to drop something like that and then backtrack! How on Arda is that fair?”

 

Manwe drew a breath to continue, but Melkor shook his head, silencing him.

 

“I understand that you are worried, I’m not upset about that! It’s the sticking around me, it’s the patronizing attitude, it’s the deception!” Melkor said, gesticulating with his hands more than he normally would out of stress. “You mention your horrible older brother once then panic at every mention of imperfection! I can’t understand why, Manwe, and you’ve never thought ‘oh, maybe I should tell my younger brother about the thing I’m super hung up on’!”

 

“Don’t mention Morgoth Bauglir!” Manwe responded. “Don’t mention the past with such innocence!”

 

No sooner had the words left Manwe’s mouth did he clearly regret them. Melkor’s head seemed to be splitting.

 

“I’m sorry, Melkor.” Manwe said, words tripping over themselves in haste. He began to speak more, but the words turned into blurry nonsense in Melkor’s ears.

 

“Shut up, Mawe.” Melkor snapped. “I’m leaving. Tell Varda, Nienna, and Yavanna that I’m sorry for ditching.”

 

Melkor had only returned so soon because they invited him to their get-together. They were honest with him when he asked why. Yavanna had plainly said that they were making sure he was okay. Unlike Manwe, the three weren’t intrusive or smothering, but friendly and light. They hadn’t pressured him into feeling like he had to come, so he had mustered up the courage to go.

But Manwe had the audacity to look startled at Melkor’s anger.

 

“Brother, I’m sorry.” Manwe pleaded. “I shouldn’t have said that, I let my temper get the best of me. Please, stay in Valinor a while. You’ve only just returned!”

 

“No, Manwe. No.” Melkor said, storming past him, one hand rubbing at his temples in a vain attempt to relieve the sudden headache. “If you wished for me to stay, you should’ve listened to me on the Sea.”

 

For the first time since he had descended to Arda, Melkor changed shape.

 

It was a drastic change, from that of a lithe, dark-haired elf to a sinuous, rippling form of dark scales and repledescent mane, of tiger’s feet and eagle’s talons. He left Manwe with a vicious, upset roar and flew faster than even Manwe’s eyes could see to the Dead Sea.

 

He did not see the horror in Manwe’s gaze at the sight of the dragon.

 

~~~

At the Dead Sea, Melkor returned to the shape he normally wore, gasping. As he walked up to his cabin, he stumbled over nothing, catching himself on the door to his home.

 

He took a deep, shaking breath and turned to put his back against the door and sank down until he was sitting, knees pulled close to his chest.

 

A single flake of snow fell from the overcast sky, followed by another, and another, and another, and another until it was snowing and snowing and snowing and everything, even the beach, was frosted with glimmering white.

 

Melkor clenched his fists around it and looked at the hard bit of compressed snow. It glittered. On a whim, he breathed onto it. It became glassy and translucent. Fascinated, he did it again and again and again until he had a shiny, clear gem. It was clear with streaks of snowy white through it and had a crystalline structure.

 

Gem in hand, Melkor realized how cold he was and shivered. He stood and went inside, and put the fist-sized gem on the mantelpiece.

 

Melkor was also soaked with snow and actually dripping water onto the floor.

 

“Not the best idea I’ve had.” Melkor muttered.

 

“Turned out well though.” He added, with a glance at the gem on the mantelpiece.



Chapter Text

Vaswe turned up two weeks later with a box containing a tea set (tray included), a letter, a set of ceramic glazes and brushes in various colors, and an apology. The first three were from Nienna, the last from Vaswe for disturbing Melkor’s solitude.

 

Nienna is good people, Melkor decided.

 

After taking the tray from Vaswe, Melkor was surprised when the Maia spoke.

 

“Have you put thought towards this one’s suggestion at our last meeting?” Vaswe asked politely. Melkor shrugged.

 

“I have.” He replied. “So what?”

 

“Oh, nothing.” Vaswe replied vapidly. “Ze was just wondering.”

 

With that, Vaswe turned into an albino cat and trotted into the Vaswe dimension, the entrance to which was currently in Melkor’s still-empty flower beds. There was nothing even to go into, yet Vaswe made it work.

 

“Cats…” Melkor muttered before turning his attention to the tea set and glazes.



~~~


He was low-key too scared to paint the tea set at the moment, so Melkor went for a walk instead. However, although he normally walked along the beach, this time he decided to take a jaunt into the woods instead.

 

The forest was rich and dark and fragrant, full of crisp evergreens. It had snowed every night for the past five days, and Melkor had, frowning, put on shoes. He didn’t like shoes; it felt like he was being cut off from Arda. But yesterday, he’d turned his feet into blocks of ice trying to walk through the snow without shoes, so here he was, in little fuzzy moccasins, grumpy about it, and debating throwing them away even though he knew that he’d regret it.

 

He wasn’t even sure how he got them, just that when he went looking for shoes, he found them right by the door, as if he’d just carelessly taken them off there and not put them back.

 

The woods were dark and deep, shadows dark but the tree-tops bright. He saw two crows pass by, paths through the air entwined. They alighted upon a branch and watched him briefly, before preening each other.  The wind danced gaily through the trees, a bright rustle of branches. The sunlight on the snow was bright, reflecting so as to look like crushed gemstones

 

Everything smelt crisp. Melkor glimpsed the shadow of a wolf, black as jet with eyes bright as gold. He looked up to the winter blue sky, the clouds starkly white against it. The light of the Trees dimmed and glowed in cycles, but this far north, the light softened and changed.

 

But there was still day and night, and the light was already changing.

 

Melkor returned to his cabin refreshed.

 

He lied to himself that seeing the lone wolf did not fill him with empathy for the lonely, abandoned creature.



~~~


The downpour was torrential. Seated in an armchair by the fire he had set to make the cabin feel somewhat cheery, he was curled under a blanket, hugging his knees to his chest. He felt so alone, so desperately, so keenly, alone.

 

He didn’t know why.

 

In his mind he turned over the gems were a draw and a lure that he couldn’t resist and he felt so lonely and he did not make things better in the end he had only made it worse.

 

He missed……

 

He missed… ?

 

He missed?

 

Missed?

 

?



~~~



He was sitting cross-legged on the beach, holding chunks of ice in his hands. The cold had ceased to bother him. In his mind were memories? of filigreed metal in the most cunning and skillful of shapes.

 

The craftsman who made them had to have been a master at their craft, for how else would they have been able to make such a delicate and intricate piece?

 

Melkor was trying to remember something, but he couldn’t.

 

The ice in his hands seemed to have fire within it. Little sparks, molten and glimmering. Every turn of the ice in his hands sent golden liquid cascading through it.

 

He held it up to the dusk-reddened sky and saw the sparks turn from gold to a dusky pink. It was hair curled over his fingers, soft, letting his     command him in apology gorgeous.

 

Melkor sang to it softly. Even he didn’t know what he sang of, but the ice seemed to know.

 

The Dead Sea was a part of him.

 

The ice slowly changed at his whim, becoming less and less crystalline and more and more metallic, until he held in his hands lumps of dark ore.

 

He took it back inside and put it on the mantelpiece, right next to the white gem.

 

Melkor thought that being by the Sea for a while, creating something, would help him with the loneliness nipping at his heels.

 

It didn’t, and he soon found himself planning a return to Valinor.

 

He didn’t want to see Manwe, but he probably would no matter how he played things.

 

Loneliness was driving him back to Valinor.

 

Melkor could not help but feel bitter, for it was his brother’s company that drove him away.



Chapter Text

Melkor was preparing to head to Valinor when he saw the note from Nienna. He had entirely forgotten about it. Nevertheless, late was better than never. He opened it, careful not to rip the envelope to shreds.

 

The opening line alone made his brows furrow, and so he kept reading until he had finished it.

 

When he had read the entirety of the letter, he set it down.

 

It had given him much to think about.

 

He stepped outside and became a crow, planning to discreetly fly to Valinor, catch up with Nienna, Yavanna, and Varda. Tulkas he avoided, Orome and Ulmo he had no particular fondness for. He feared Namo and Lorien. He had very little contact with others. He was returning to spend some time with the Valie trio because they were kind to him.

 

Unlike Manwe.



~~~



Melkor hadn’t even gotten to Valinor before Manwe waylaid him in the form of fierce, white wind, almost throwing Melkor off-course.

 

Melkor just wanted to be cool and black and feathery and discreet, dammit.

 

“Where have you been ?” Manwe spat out, almost yelling.

 

Melkor really would’ve been happy to tell him he was enjoying some nice alone time, but Manwe’s tone irritated him.

 

“Doing something.” Melkor said flippantly. “I wonder what?”

 

He could tell that just pissed Manwe off, but everything Melkor did seemed to piss Manwe off.

 

Melkor finds something cool? Well Manwe wants to destroy it.

 

Melkor wants alone time? Nuh uh, Manwe doesn’t trust Melkor to not try and takeover the world or something.

 

Melkor wants Manwe to listen to him? Fat chance that’ll ever happen, Manwe is convinced Melkor is an ignorant moron.

 

“Don’t play games with me, Bau- Melkor.” Manwe hissed, recovering smoothly from his mistake.

 

Melkor crowed harshly nevertheless.

 

“Was that Bauglir about to slip your tongue brother?” Melkor replied, flying past Manwe.

 

“Don’t even dare!” Manwe roared, knocking Melkor back, causing Melkor’s head to spin wildly.

 

“Then stop treating me like this!” Melkor snapped.

 

“It’s for your own good!” Manwe replied, equally fierce but doubly furious. Melkor cawed angrily and tried to fly around him again.

 

“Just for once in your life, give me some space!” He cried, only to be rebuffed by the wind. Frustrated, Melkor turned into his elf-shape and stood, midair, arms crossed.

 

“You’re obviously comparing me to Morgoth Bauglir, whoever the fuck that is.” Melkor snapped. “Just stop! I’m not him!”

 

Manwe recoiled, as if slapped. But he soon rallied himself into his normal physical form.

 

“Who told you that?” Manwe said, deathly soft. Melkor snarled.

 

“I’m not an idiot, brother.” Melkor replied, equally soft. “But you? You are. Why should I even bother coming back? Perhaps I wish to call all of Arda my home! But you wouldn’t notice that, would you? Always wrapped up in some other thing whenever you see me, so that you never see me but whoever Morgoth Bauglir was!

 

It isn’t fair to do this to me! I’m not him. I’m not.”

 

Manwe slapped Melkor.

 

“Stop it!” Manwe snapped. “Just stop and quit doing all these idiotic things for once in your life!”

 

Melkor tried to say something, but Manwe called the wind, and Melkor was buffeted by fierce wind.

 

“Are you serious?” Melkor hissed. “Manwe, for Eru’s sake, give me some space!”

 

“What is that?” Manwe said sharply. “In the necklace, what is that?”

 

Melkor looked down. The wind had knocked the necklace out from its place, revealing the gem. It gleamed, refracting light as it was wont to do, merry and warm despite the tone of Melkor and Manwe’s quarrel.

 

“Something I made.” Melkor said, heart pounding in his chest. He feared Manwe would try to destroy it. “It doesn’t matter.”

 

“It shouldn’t be doing that.” Manwe murmured. “How many more?”

 

“Manwe, please, it’s nothing.” Melkor pleaded.

 

“It’s not nothing!” Manwe yelled. Melkor backed away, scared. The wind was agitated, pushing back and forth at him. Manwe was scaring him.

 

“Manwe, please, just, I don’t know just stop please, Manwe please stop.” Melkor said. He couldn’t breathe, his heart was going a mile a minute, he needed space, he needed the wind to stop.

 

He thought he was beginning to cry, so he pressed careful fingers to his closed eyes, his other hand going to clasp around the gem.

 

“Manwe…” Melkor began, but he didn’t have the will to finish it. Instead, he tried to flee.

 

“Don’t think you can deceive me, Bauglir.” Manwe growled. He found himself forced back into elf-shape and sent sprawling down into the frigid ocean below.



~~~



“Oh, Manwe…” Varda breathed. She was dumbfounded. Although she had known Manwe was not handling the return of Melkor well, she would have never thought it to be this bad.

 

“Manwe, what have you done?” Varda cried. Manwe turned to her, startled, hair in disarray around him. She had been wondering why Nienna had seemed so enraged, so she had followed the source of it to Lorien.

 

Her husband, frightened fool that he let himself become, had forced Melkor back to Valinor. Varda had heard the words they exchanged, but she hadn’t know that this would be Manwe’s reaction.

 

“Varda, let me explain.” Manwe said, pleading. Varda scowled.

 

“Go on then. Explain the thing that made even gentle Nienna enraged.” Varda spat. “And pray to our Father, who art in the Timeless Halls, that I don’t send Yavanna here.”

 

Manwe shuddered at the thought of an enraged Yavanna.

 

“He was beginning to Fall again, Varda. I had no choice.” Manwe said, trying to justify his actions to his wife. But Varda had heard the conversation.

 

“No, he wasn’t.” Varda said. “Do you forget that I hear much, my love?”

 

“I’m sorry, but this is the only way.  Irmo can help, I know it.” Manwe said, full of grim, misapplied determination. Varda tsked, and shook her head.

 

“Nothing I say will reach you.” Varda sighed.

 

As she was leaving she saw what remained of the Admirable.

 

“How are you today?” Varda asked. She always made it a point to be kind to the once-great Maia.

 

“I am well, my lady. And you?” He responded mechanically.

 

“I am troubled.” Varda replied. The Maia nodded, once, and continued on his way.

 

It disturbed her. He heard without hearing, saw without seeing.

 

If Manwe planned to do something similar to Melkor, Varda would spit in Iluvatar’s face and divorce him. She was sure Yavanna would make the ladder to get her there, and Nienna would be holding it steady.

 

That was no way to treat anyone.

 

It wasn’t repentance, it was destruction, pure and simple.



Chapter Text

Melkor woke and he didn’t know where he was.

 

In the darkness was a spider, massive, a woman’s torso rising from the abdomen that spilled darkness. Her face was once gorgeous, but had become deformed by unnatural hunger. Eyes, so many eyes, too many eyes, upon her face. Mandibles click clack click clack as she approached click clack click clack her face was too close click clack click clack.

 

Melkor screamed.

 

And she kept advancing because she wanted the light clutched in his hand and he wouldn’t give it to her but he wanted to be free and he couldn’t move, dark unlight all around him, binding him, keeping him from breaking free and he was scared.

 

Melkor couldn’t help but scream.

 

She clawed at his hand until it opened and revealed nothing but ash and Melkor’s own charred, disfigured palm. The spider hissed in fury, feeling betrayed that he had nothing left to feed her. She clawed at him, searching until no part of him had not been subjected to her, until at last she stuck her legs within him to search, invasive and crowding, as if he were her’s. Yet she still found nothing, and this incensed her to keep searching.

 

Melkor knew no one could hear, and his screams died down into shaking sobs.

 

But she kept searching within him until she found the core of it. Believing that she had at last found light, she wrenched it open to find the last, fading mote of Illuvatar’s divine light, held within Melkor.

 

“No…” He begged. She paid no heed, and tilted the core of him to her mouth as if he was a drinking glass and swallowed. Yet the last mote of light within him was so small, so fragile, and it faded before it even reached the spider’s lips. She howled in rage, for who was he to deny her light? He had promised her and he had not delivered.

 

He had nothing left.

 

He tried to curl in on himself, but even that was denied to him as she continued her search.


~~~


Lorien had a very iron stomach, but even he could only stand screams so much.

 

He could stand the moment someone broke even less. Lorien had seen it once before, when he was asked to excise the very capacity to Fall from Mairon.

 

Nightmare upon nightmare, horror upon horror, aeon upon aeon had the Admirable dreamed. Lorien had nightmares of the screams sometimes. Guilt clawed at him. He told no one, for if he confessed his regret he risked drawing Manwe’s ire, but regret it he did.

 

But Lorien knew he wasn’t like his sister. He wouldn’t stand up to Manwe on his own.

 

So when Manwe asked him to do something that made him want to throw up and hide, he said yes.

 

Lorien promised himself that this time was the last time.

 

He would talk to his wife, he would share what had been troubling him, and he would follow her advice.


~~~


Melkor woke and he didn’t know where he was.

 

He was in a cell, bound and restrained to the bed. He lifted his head to see a Maia, in a chair. He had rose golden hair, tumbling down in soft waves, turning gold where it was hit by the non-existent light.

 

“What, exactly, have you cocked up this time, my lord?” He asked, voice smooth and cultured. “No, don’t answer. You don’t need to.” The Maia laughed at something, but Melkor knew not what it was.

 

The Maia rolled a golden ring between his fingers, contemplating something, before he chortled at another unsaid jest.

 

“Oh, me, the Admirable, following you!” He laughed. “Such a joke! Who even were you, to command one such as I?”

 

Melkor flinched. He felt betrayed by the Maia.

 

He stood to leave.

 

“Wait please!” Melkor begged, his voice a mere whisper. “Don’t leave me here!”

 

The Maia laughed and left anyway without even a backward glance.

 

Melkor wasn’t surprised at the tears trickling down his cheeks.


~~~


Melkor woke and he didn’t know where he was.

 

He was on his knees, bound before his fellow Valar. His head bowed, he shook under the weight on their cruel gazes.

 

The harsh snap snap clink clink of chains and he looked up  pleading for someone, anyone, but all were shadowed and they laughed and laughed and laughed for who was he, nothing and no one that he was, to challenge the will of Illuvatar?

 

“Please.” He begged, beseeched, pleaded. “Show mercy upon me.”

 

The jury laughed at him, the judge scoffed. The prosecutor looked bemused. The attorney sighed and walked out of the room, shaking their head.

 

Melkor was alone.

 

The shadows judged him.

 

I am greed and lust and gluttony said the jury.

 

I am wrath and pride said the judge.

 

I am sloth and envy said the prosecutor.

 

He felt the weight of his sins upon his back, heavier than even the weight of the unbreakable chains set upon him, heavier than the disapproval of Eru, heavier than even his sad, pathetic, lonely heart.


~~~


Melkor awoke, and he recognized the room.

 

It was a cell in the Halls of Mandos.

 

He heard raised voices, but he slipped back into sleep before he picked out the words.


~~~


“End it. Now!” Varda snarled.

 

“My love, I know it looks bad but-” Manwe tried.

 

“Did I stutter?” Varda responded with a level of viciousness rarely seen.

 

“No?” Manwe said.

 

“So then why are you just standing there?” Varda said, deathly gentle.

 

“I don’t get what you’re-” Manwe began.

 

“Tell Lorien to stop, give him a holiday for the rest of, oh, I don’t know, the next twenty Ages, and start treating Melkor like a person!” Varda snapped.

 

“Please, darling, I don’t want to fight over this.” Manwe pleaded. “It will be fine, I promise you.”

 

Varda raised a single eyebrow before turning around.

 

“Este, Manwe has agreed to give Irmo a break.” Varda called. Este peeped her head into the doorway with a brilliant smile.

 

“Oh, how wonderful!” Este exclaimed. “We’ll be off then.”

 

Este hurried past and Manwe looked very confused.

 

“I didn’t-” He said, only to be cut off by Varda.

 

“I don’t care.” Varda said. “You don’t want to pull yourself together? Fine, I’ll do it for you, since you seem so stubborn. I could hear it through Arda herself the suffering, Manwe. It was as if the Admirable was in that cell. You’re letting Melkor go, Manwe.”

 

“Fine. But on one condition.” Manwe said. “He stays in Valinor and is under the watch of a Maia of Tulkas’s choosing.”

 

Varda shrugged, knowing that under the combined angry, judgemental glares of her, Nienna, and Yavanna, Tulkas would let them pick the Maia. Manwe thought he was being so clever, but like everything else he had done in relation to Melkor, he wasn’t.

 

“Okay.” Varda said. Manwe’s brows furrowed.

 

“That was too easy.” He said.

 

“Only because you underestimate the power of the Cinnabun Defense Trio.” Varda said nonchalantly, much to Manwe’s confusion. But she mentally brushed it away, because she had other plans, plans involving helping two Ainur with one stone.

 

Manwe didn’t need to know that the Cinnabun Defense Trio shipped Mairon and Melkor pretty hard after Dagor Dagorath.

 

Seeing Mairon, clutching Melkor’s spear, ready to die avenging Melkor’s memory with a fierce devotion beyond mere loyalty had first made her wonder what they were to each other.

 

After Dagor Dagorath and the creation of Arda Healed, Mairon had spat out his declaration of love as a ward against them. when the Valar had asked him to renounce his former life. Manwe had seen that love as dangerous, and had asked Irmo to break him of it, fearing that Mairon would Fall.

 

Varda had remained silent about her opinions at the time; she was still working them out. But by the time she came to the realization that Manwe had been wrong, there was nothing she could do.

 

Until Melkor returned, tabula rasa supposedly. But he’d missed Mairon, without even knowing that Mairon existed. Hearing this from Yavanna touched Varda’s heart, so when Melkor asked her to keep the Dead Sea’s location secret, she obliged.

 

Melkor was so innocent; she could see all the ways things went wrong the first time around now that she really looked. Nienna had always known, observant Valie that she was, and Varda and Yavanna found a ready ally in her.

 

Varda was determined to keep Melkor from Falling, to help Mairon, to right the wrongs her inaction caused.

 

Thus, the Cinnabun Defense Trio was formed.


~~~


When he woke the second time, he was no longer restrained, and Nienna was seated on a plain stool across from him. She looked concerned.

 

“How are you feeling, Melkor?” She asked. Melkor didn’t have the will to respond. He could still feel every movement of the spider. He closed his eyes.

 

His breath caught in his throat on every inhale and every exhale was forced and shuddering.

 

Nienna didn’t seem offended by his lack of reply.

 

“Varda went off on Manwe for what he had Irmo do.” Nienna said. “Come with me; Yavanna has offered you a place to stay. Manwe still won’t allow you to leave Valinor and he’s requiring you be under the watch of one of the Maia, but Irmo won’t send dreams to you any longer.”

 

Melkor’s brows furrowed.

 

He didn’t know if he could trust it.

 

But he had to try; there was no spider, this was no courtroom, no lover here condemning his worthlessness. It took effort, but he pushed himself upwards and stood on unsteady legs.

 

Nienna smiled, a warm and encouraging thing.

 

“Come now, the Maia who is to be your guard is waiting outside.” Nienna said, opening the door for him.


Chapter Text

~Melkor~


Nienna led him out of the Halls of Mandos into the balmy, Valinorian sunlight. Melkor squinted, his eyes sensitive to the light after having been asleep for so long.

 

To them walked, or rather, limped, a Maia.

 

Melkor had seen this Maia before. His hair was ruddy, cropped to follow his jawline. His skin was bronze, but he had an unhealthy pallor to him, as if he were ill. His eyes were a dull and flat brass.

 

“Greetings.” He said, bowing politely.

 

“I trust that you have been informed of what you’re duty is?” Nienna said. The Maia nodded.

 

“That is good; I am needed elsewhere, but should you need me, my door is always open.” Nienna said.

 

“I am Mairon.” The Maia said. Melkor nodded.


~~~


There was nothing to do in Valinor. However, Melkor was determined to try. He went absolutely everywhere. All the art galleries and all the theatres all bored him. It was as fast as him walking in, taking one peek or listen, becoming bored, and meandering out.

 

It was perfect.

 

Too perfect.

 

Everything had no flaws, so then what was the point? Why were the bothering? There was no individuality in their creations, no spark to it that came from there being more to do, more to improve on.

 

When he exhausted the art galleries and theatres he went to gardens and vistas but even those were perfect as well.

 

He just wanted some imperfection!

 

But this was Arda Healed, and imperfection was Discord, and Arda had been cleansed of Discord.


~~~


Melkor was bored.

 

So, so bored.

 

He’d spent the entire day pacing around Valinor. He probably scared several residents with his glaring. Anything to stop thinking.

 

“I’m bored.” He told Mairon. Mairon was unimpressed.

 

Nothing seemed to faze the Maia.

 

“Okay.” Mairon said, not moving. Everything about him seemed drained of life. He limped when he walked, holding his mangled hand close to his chest. He couldn’t grab anything with that hand. He seemed uncomfortable with his other, and it tended to hang by his side as if he had no use of it, although Melkor had seen him lift it to brush hair out of his face, so he knew that nothing was wrong with it.

 

“That’s it?” Melkor asked, perturbed by the response.

 

“Okay.” Mairon replied, the exact same way he had before.

 

Melkor flopped onto his back. They were on a hill overlooking the sea. Already, Melkor missed the Dead Sea, but he wouldn’t risk Manwe’s wrath and try to leave Valinor just yet. He could still stand it.

 

The grass was too soft beneath him. He couldn’t hear Arda. He was wearing fucking shoes.

 

Two of those were not something he could fix. The third?

 

Melkor flicked off the first shoe and then the second in quick succession, punting them high into the sky and happily seeing them exit his vision.

 

He heard an annoyed sigh from Mairon.

 

“What?” Melkor said innocently. “I absolutely loathe shoes. I cannot stand them.”

 

Mairon said nothing. He looked grim, his mouth always set into half a grimace, eyes constantly staring at nothing.

 

Normally Melkor wouldn’t be tired, usually he never really slept unless he chose to, but he was feeling oddly tired. He rolled onto his side facing Mairon and promptly fell asleep.


~~~


He dreamed of the courtroom, only this time, there was only an executioner. His sins had passed the verdict with delighted, cold laughter.

 

It was to be his death.

 

The executioner’s hair fell in long, graceful tumbles, beautifully golden and rosy pink. His eyes were of pure, bright gold. His skin was a warm bronze.

 

There was none more deserving of Melkor’s death-blow than he.

 

Melkor told him to do so. As he began to say his name, he was engulfed in flame.


~~~


Melkor awoke shaking, convinced he was on fire.

 

“Water!” He cried. “Water!”

 

The Maia remained still as Melkor curled into himself, crying, finally realizing there was no fire, that he wasn’t burning.

 

The Maia was staring at him, eyes wide.

 

“Don’t pity me!” Melkor spat the first thing that come to mind, and he knew how pathetic he looked, knew how pitiful a sight he was, a Vala shaking from a mere dream, who awoke thinking that he burned when he couldn’t burn.

 

“Stay here.” Mairon said, standing. “I’ll go get Nienna.”

 

And Melkor was afraid. He was being abandoned, discarded after a day’s trial run.

 

“No.” He begged. “Stay here, please. Don’t abandon me, I can… I’ll do...”

 

Mairon frowned, brows furrowed, the most expression Melkor had seen from him all day.

 

Mairon sat down cross-legged beside Melkor, seeming unsure. Carefully, he pulled Melkor into his lap, so that Melkor’s head rested on his knee. Melkor pulled his arms to his chest, seeking to hold his first gem in his hands as a reminder that he had use but it wasn’t there.

 

He shook, unanchored and adrift.

 

“My…” He tried. “My… gem?”

 

“What gem?” Mairon said.

 

“Liquid flame in my hands, casting out rays of light, an inferno captured within a tear.” Melkor murmured. He felt drowsy.

 

“Don’t let me fall asleep again.” Melkor whispered, afraid. “Don’t let me-”

 

Melkor fell asleep, cutting himself off.


~~~

~Mairon~


The Vala was halfway in his lap, shaking fretfully, shifting fractiously.

 

Mairon didn’t usually feel.

 

Feelings had led him to where he was.

 

He didn’t think much beyond his desire to be hidden, to be away from scrutiny. But he couldn’t just hide from the Vala; he was supposed to be watching him! Whatever Tulkas had been thinking was officially stupid.

 

Mairon didn’t know what to do. He carefully smoothed away hair from the Vala’s face, dissatisfied with how it clung to his forehead. Every motion ended with Mairon’s efforts undone, but he did it anyway, mechanically.

 

He was reminded, ironically, of all that time ago in Angband, after his Lord had foolishly stolen the Silmarils and become enchanted with them, bewitched into madness.

 

It had been so, so infuriatingly frustrating to try and manage his Lord’s madness while being entranced by the kindness and fond memories behind it. And his Lord, the insufferable moron that he was, still had the Vala that had first seduced Mairon, all that time ago, behind and aware of the madness. Mairon had been so close to breaking the foul hold of the Silmarils over Melkor until it had all gone to naught.

 

And then he had his own madness. His mangled hand a permanent reminder of it, refusing to let him forget the folly of his One Ring, the folly of everything he had done in his Lord’s name, driven by the keen, destroying sense of loss he felt.

 

In his lap was a Vala, shaking and afraid.

 

Mairon felt  nothing();

{failed to execute}

something (I don't think I can handle that);

{successful; results: [error cannot retrieve]}


Chapter Text

~Melkor~



He woke up in Mairon’s lap, the Maia’s unmangled hand brushing hair away from his face. Melkor couldn’t remember what he dreamed of, but he was unsettled still. Vague recollections of Manwe throwing him into the sea and of spiders crawling all over him, worming their way into his flesh, hungry for light he didn’t have.

 

Melkor shuddered.

 

“Are there spiders in Valinor?” Melkor asked suddenly.

 

“Why?” Mairon responded. Melkor knew he was shaking because he could see the contrast between him and Mairon; he could see both his own arm and Mairon’s leg without moving his head. He could see himself shaking.

 

“Just answer the question.” Melkor said. “Please.”

 

Mairon regarded him with a blank expression and a tilted head.

 

“No, not since Arda Marred.” Mairon replied. Melkor could still feel the pinch pinch of their skitter skitter legs across his skin, looking for light.

 

Melkor shifted to look up at Mairon.

 

For a moment the image of the executioner was imposed over him, and Melkor saw nothing but the rose-haired Maia, wreathed in forge-fire.

 

The fear terrified him into stillness as the Maia carefully stroked his hair away from his face.

 

He couldn’t fathom the game his executioner played at; all he could do was stay still and hope it passed.

 

Melkor closed his eyes, trying to banish the image of the righteous executioner.



~~~



Melkor knew not how long he lay there, save for that after some time, Mairon fell asleep. The silence was lulling and the day was turning to night, and Melkor did not feel as though he had slept, but rather as though he had never done so.

 

He couldn’t bear the thought of sleep, so Melkor picked himself up and moved Mairon so that the Maia laid on his back and began to pluck blades of grass and fiddle with them.



~~~


Mairon awoke with a start sometime after dawn’s rays had painted the sky, almost causing Melkor to drop what he was working on. Out of boredom and a fervent desire to never, ever sleep again, Melkor began to make flowers. So, so many flowers. There were small mountains of them.

 

Mairon looked very confused at all the flowers surrounding them. They were in the shades of the sky at night and dawn, the sun as it kissed the horizon, and the moon as it arced over the heavens.

 

“Where in all of Arda did these flowers come from?” Mairon muttered.

 

He couldn’t help it was a tic a nervous tic and he feared sleep would be the death of him if he even closed his eyes there were spiders in his eyes and they wanted light of the first dawn was gorgeous and he looked at it really looked at it was looming over him his weakness would be exploited by her and her spiders in their eternal search for the light was pretty light was nice light think of the light and not the gentle splish gentle splash of the Dead Sea not the gentle plip gentle plop think of the light was what the spiders hungered for.



~~~



~Mairon~



The dark-haired Vala was so pretty, surrounded by flowers.

 

Mairon felt the impulses of Sauron again, felt that creeping madness rise in him, that desire to own and use.

 

But he pushed it down. He wouldn’t waste the generosity of the Valar after they permitted him to exist outside the nightmares of Irmo.

 

And yet he still wanted to touch, to claim.

 

“Would you like me to braid your hair?” Mairon asked impulsively. The sight of all the flowers made him wake up quicker than he normally would, and he too desired to drown the workings of his mind with the actions of his hands. He vaguely recalled forges in the back of his mind, vaguely recalled retreating from the world to make what he willed.

 

The Vala’s eyes, a lovely, icy blue, flicked up to meet his briefly, his hands unceasing in their motions. He seemed shaken by whatever he had dreamed of.

 

Mairon pitied him. Better to forget the dreams and feel nothing rather than remember them and feel something.

 

He stood, brushing fastidiously the grass off himself.

 

“Were you doing this all night?” Mairon asked. The Vala nodded.

 

He seemed lost in himself, lost in whatever workings of the mind that sleep sent him into. With his hair hiding his face, tangled and unkept, he reminded Mairon once again of his Lord, back when things were getting better, when Mairon was close to convincing him of his vision for a life free from strife against the Valar.

 

“Okay.” The Vala murmured suddenly.

 

“Come again?” Mairon said.

 

“You can braid it.” The Vala said, seemingly embarrassed. Mairon had no idea why, but the Vala was rejuvenating in a way. He knew that when Ainur suffered grievous injuries or hurts to the mind, they often leaked energy. Perhaps that was why Mairon felt lively, like he wasn’t trapped in his own mind. He was siphoning this Vala’s energy.

 

Perhaps that was why he could feel his old insanity whispering again. Normally he would go to Este, but at the moment, it simply weaved too strongly in his mind for him to care.

 

That old madness dancing all topsy-turvy in his skull, Mairon offered the Vala his most winning smile and moved to sit behind him. He didn’t have a comb on him, unfortunately, so fingers would have to do.

 

Not that he minded of course; perhaps this Vala would be his stepping stone back into power.



~~~



Mairon was sure of it, as he began to braid the Vala’s hair, that the Vala was positively a fountain of lost energy. It was almost as if he had already been fractured, then someone else came and forced the fractures into breaks.

 

As a result, Mairon felt absolutely rejuvenated and full of life, almost like he was back to his old self, when he was yet the master of Mordor.

 

He almost felt like humming a jaunty tune as the Vala became pliant with such little attention. Mairon could use that, use the neediness and desperation of the Vala to free himself from Valinor and become Dark Lord again.

 

“Earlier, you mentioned a gem.” Mairon murmured, intentionally making his voice soft and soothing. The Vala made a soft noise in agreement.

 

“I made it.” The Vala said. “It was a smooth tear, orange like fire, and it threw light as though it were faceted.” Mairon nodded. He intentionally was going for a very complex braid to maximize the amount of time he had to work his will on this broken little Vala.

 

“Do you remember when you had it last?” Mairon asked.

 

“Yes. When Manwe confronted me over the ocean.” The Vala replied. “I must have lost it when I fell over the ocean, or Manwe took it after he brought me to Valinor.”

 

Mairon hummed, secretly delighted in how the Vala was practically leaning into his touch.

 

A gem?

He could work with that.




Chapter Text

~Melkor~



Mairon seemed oddly focused and gentle with him, as he braided his hair. It took a while after they were done speaking to be finished, but when it was done, Melkor touched it curiously. Mairon had made four braids from his forehead to keep the hair from falling into his face and gathered them into one larger braid. It reached past the small of his back to his hips.

 

“You’re hair is rather long.” Mairon said conversationally. Melkor nodded, unsure of how to respond. Mairon smiled at him brightly.

 

“Come, relax a little.” Mairon said, tone gentle and soft. “I can tell you’re tired. Lean into me.” Melkor nodded, a bit unsure, but Mairon was coaxing him down and murmuring soothing things, and Melkor followed it into sleep.



~~~



Sneaking away after he got the Vala to fall asleep was pathetically easy. Mairon knew where Vaswe was; Vaswe was a creature of habit and rarely changed his haunts.

 

“Hello hello, Vaswe dear.” Mairon said smoothly. Vaswe regarded him with a squinty look, stretching a little before returning to his weird position on a tree branch.

 

“What do you want from this one?” Vaswe asked sleepily.

 

“The new Vala’s little gem; it’s an orange teardrop.” Manwe replied. Vaswe yawned.

 

“Oh, that? I have it.” Vaswe said, beginning to sort of wake up. “Why?”

“I’d like it.” Mairon told him. “I have plans.” That instantly woke Vaswe up, his eyes now narrowed not in sleepiness but wariness.

 

“Mairon, are you sure?” Vaswe asked. “This one knows not what you plan but nevertheless wishes you care.”

 

With that, however, Vaswe reluctantly handed him the gem, seeing that Mairon would not back away from whatever he was planning.. Mairon was impressed at the cat-Maia’s resourcefulness. He honestly wasn’t expecting things to happen this quickly.

 

“Thank you, Vaswe. I’m surprised you have it.” Mairon said politely.  Vaswe shrugged.

 

“This one figured he’d want it back.” Vaswe said lazily.

 

Mairon left quickly, not wanting the Vala to wake up and find him gone.

 

The gem was as the Vala had said, smooth and tear-shaped but still reflecting light as if it were faceted.

 

Such an interesting, imperfect thing.

 

Mairon would have to poke him into making another later, when he had the Vala broken further to his will.

 

He could taste success on that front, but he was wary of being overconfident.

 

But in the meantime, he had a Vala to coerce.



~~~



~Melkor~



When he awoke, it was just as when he’d fallen asleep, save for that the day was coming closer to an end.

 

“Tell me: what were you up to that so enraged Manwe?” Mairon asked. Melkor was caught off guard; he would not have normally answered.

 

“I preferred to reside in Arda, away from Valinor.” Melkor confessed.

 

“Take me there.” Mairon said. That woke Melkor up.

 

“What?” Melkor asked. Mairon smiled, and it wasn’t the warm smiles he had offered earlier. It was like a wolf baring its teeth. He showed Melkor his closed fist.

 

“Would you like to know what I have here?” Mairon asked gently.

 

“What does that have to do with anything?” Melkor snapped. He would’ve pushed himself upright, but Mairon pressed him down firmly.

 

Carefully, Mairon revealed Melkor’s gem by making a space between two of his fingers.

 

“My gem?” Melkor asked, surprised. “How did you get that?” Mairon chuckled.

 

“Vaswe found it; he didn’t protest when I asked for it, saying I would give it to you.” Mairon said. “Which I will, if you take me to your home.”

 

Melkor stiffened. His home was his sanctuary, his place. He wouldn’t just allow Mairon there because he had something of his.

 

“I will not take you there.” Melkor snarled. Mairon laughed daintily.

 

“If you don’t, I’ll just go to Manwe with this.” Mairon said. “I’m sure that if I spin a pretty story, you’ll be thrown behind the Doors of Night.”

 

Melkor flinched. The Void. He feared it immensely, beyond reason, beyond anything, except maybe for spiders. But nevertheless, he would do most anything to avoid being thrown back into the Void.

 

“Okay.” Melkor said, subdued. “I’ll take you there.”

Mairon’s warm smile was near sickening.

 

“Lovely.” Mairon purred.



~~~



When they arrived at the Dead Sea, at Melkor’s cabin, Mairon seemed quite amused by it. Easily he strode in, already seeming to know the house like the back of his hand.

 

In the living room, before the fireplace, Mairon seemed strangely at ease. He gestured for Melkor to come sit beside him.

 

“What a quaint little place you have here.” Mairon said to him. “Reminds of the cabin I used to have.” Melkor nodded, not sure where this was going.

 

Mairon offered him the gem, but when Melkor reached for it, Mairon quickly moved his hand back.

 

“Kiss me.” Mairon said playfully. “Kiss me, and maybe I’ll give it to you.” Melkor was outraged.

 

“You said you would return it to me if I took you here!” Melkor cried. Mairon laughed.

 

“I never said when.” He replied gently. “But each thing you do for me increases the chance that I will return it. And besides, who is here to save you? Certainly not Varda, nor Nienna, nor Yavanna.”

 

“Fine then.” Melkor muttered, causing Mairon to smile.

 

Swiftly, he leaned in and pecked Mairon on the cheek. The Maia looked disappointed.

 

“You never said where.” Melkor muttured, turning his head away from the Maia, causing Mairon reach over and grasp his chin, turning Melkor back to face him with a cruel grip, surprisingly strong despite the missing fingers.

 

“How amusing.” Mairon crooned. “Two can play at that game: I never said how many.” With that he tossed the gem aside and gripped Melkor’s face with both hands. Mairon seemed rather gentle at first, beginning by pressing a soft kiss to his forehead, then moving to kiss and lick the side of his neck. But it was Mairon, and his eyes were the cold, predatory eyes of a wolf, sizing up his next prey. When Mairon bit the side of his neck, Melkor cried out, startled and not expecting it. He pushed Melkor down onto his back, pinning him under his weight.

 

“How lovely, to have you under me like this.” Mairon murmured soothingly, now cradling Melkor’s face in his hands. He carefully kissed Melkor’s mouth, but then but his lower lip, wanting Melkor to open his mouth. Melkor tried to shake his head, but Mairon’s hands held his head still as he tasted Melkor. His tongue was invasive in his mouth, claiming, leaving nothing unexplored. When Mairon finally ended the kiss, Melkor was shaking. Mairon laughed cruelly at that.

 

“How innocent you are.” Mairon crooned. “I think it would be rather lovely to have you under me, writhing around my cock, shaking and blushing, so ashamed of it all.”

 

Melkor felt a cold dread arise within him.

 

“Please, I beg of you, don’t.” Melkor pleaded. Mairon cocked his head in a feral, questioning manner.

 

“What do you have to give me?” Mairon asked gently.

 

“What do you want?” Melkor asked, desperate.

 

“To fuck you.” Mairon replied. “I just said that love, keep up.”

 

“Is there anything else?” Melkor said, tears beginning to stream down his face. “Anything?” Mairon shrugged.

 

“A forge would be nice.” He said. “Although I doubt you have one.”

 

“I do.” Melkor said. “It’s yours, it’s yours, just please don’t…” Mairon seemed amused by that.

 

“Truly? Where?” The Maia asked.

 

“Behind the waterfall, up the strand.” Melkor replied hurriedly. Mairon smiled, then gently kissed Melkor.

 

“You’ve saved yourself this time.” He said softly. “Don’t count on always having something I’ll exchange for.”

 

With that, Mairon stood and left the cabin.

 

Melkor did not feel well.

 

He passed out on the floor.



Chapter Text

Mairon was pleasantly surprised at the forge; it was just as he would have wanted it. Everything was in his preferred layout for his work, there was plenty of storage, a convenient source of water, and a nice sense of privacy due to the waterfall outside.

 

He noodled around the forge for a bit, getting a feel for it. He could tell it was unused, which struck him as interesting. The Vala liked to make things, but didn’t know his way around a forge?

Mairon was reminded of his Lord.

 

And then, a realization hit him.

 

Mairon laughed and laughed and laughed.

 

It was hilarious, now that he realized it.

 

The precious little Vala was Melkor and he hadn’t realized it! Pathetic on his part to be sure, but at the same time it was so amusing!

 

With one last mad cackle, he returned to the cabin.



~~~



Melkor came to in bed, held protectively in Mairon’s arms. He started, shocked at where he was, not sure if he wanted to be there.

 

“Hello hello, little Melkor.” Mairon murmured.

 

“Why are you spooning me?” Melkor asked. “And what are you doing in my bed?” Mairon chuckled.

 

“Can it not be that I merely enjoy your company?” Mairon asked, tone dripping with sarcastic offense. Melkor hissed.

 

“Oh, I know you enjoy my company, since within the first forty-eight hours of meeting me you’ve already invaded my home, coerced me into making out with you, and are plotting to coerce me into having sex with you!” Melkor snapped. Mairon stroked soothing lines down Melkor’s sides placatingly.

 

“What a good idea, that last one.” Mairon teased. “I should do that, shouldn’t I?” Melkor stiffened, then tried to worm his way out of Mairon’s arms. Like all his attempts to escape the Maia, it failed.

 

“Settle, settle, be easy, Melkor.” Mairon whispered, his breath tickling Melkor’s ear. “I’m bored, and you’re such an amusing person. Can I truly be blamed then?”

 

“Yes, you can truly be blamed.” Melkor hissed. “You must know this is wrong and yet you do it anyway.”

 

“Mhm.” Mairon hummed. “I know. I also don’t care.”

 

“Because,” Mairon continued “I am going to bend you to my will.” Melkor shuddered. The dark promise in the Maia’s words dripped through him, a promise, a threat.

 

“You’d have to break me.” Melkor said.

 

“I know.” Mairon replied. “You’d love it, in the end.”

 

Melkor shook his head.

 

“I won’t.” Melkor said firmly.

 

“Trust me.” Mairon said, a smile in his voice. “You will.”



~~~



They stayed there in silence for a while, and Melkor began to feel lassitude weigh heavy upon him. He noticed he slept much, was easy to lull into slumber. He thought Irmo’s torture was to blame. Mairon, however, seemed to become healthier every moment, his skin losing that unhealthy pallor, his eyes brightening, his hair becoming less of a muddy russet and lightening to a coral pink.

 

The Maia seemed healthy ; he even had less of a limp. In contrast, Melkor felt ill, weakened and scarce able to offer resistance.

 

“How do you feel, Melkor?” Mairon asked him. Melkor tried to curl away from the Maia, but to no avail.

 

“Weak.” Melkor responded. “Tired. Like I could sleep for ages.” Mairon hummed an acknowledgement.

 

Melkor felt Mairon’s power brush against him, then settle over him in a cloying weight. It made him drowsy, and he fought the feeling. Ere as he fought, the weight pushed harder, and Melkor realized that Mairon was casting him into a magicked sleep.

 

“Mairon stop!” Melkor cried, recalling the nightmares. Mairon shushed him, pulling him in closer, tangling them together.

 

“Don’t force me.” Melkor whispered. Mairon sighed.

 

“Sleep, Melkor. Sleep.” Mairon murmured, and, against his will, Melkor slipped into oblivion.



~~~



Mairon carefully extricated himself from Melkor, pleased with how easy it was to magic the Vala into slumber. Then he set about warding the cabin and the surrounding area. Everything was concealed, made to look as if it were just some regular section of beach. He was even feeling generous and energetic enough to fold in a little memory distortion. Nothing much, rather subtle, actually, but it made the area easily forgettable and avoided.

 

The cabin’s wards, however, also served the purpose of keeping things in, as well as out. He didn’t want Melkor getting into one of his rather memorable panics and trying to run from him, so the cabin was warded against Melkor leaving. He threw great subtlety and skill into the forging of those wards. If Melkor conveniently couldn’t quite recall his intent to leave when he tried to, it would be hard for him to leave. Of course, Mairon did make it nigh impossible for Melkor to physically leave, but dissembling the intent would greatly reduce the strain on the wards. He was under no illusions on how well his wards could hold up against a Vala repeatedly smashing into them.

 

Best to avoid that, in all honesty. Later, when he had material, he would forge magic into jewelry and other things to reinforce the current wards, but what he had was sufficient for now.

 

When he re-entered the cabin, Melkor was sitting up, bleary eyed and confused. It reminded him a little of Celebrimbor, when he had deceived him in the guise of Annatar. Both seemed so innocent and pliable, but were capable of causing grievous hurts and vexing him to a great degree. Although Melkor was far more powerful than Celebrimbor, idiotic little elf that Tyelpe was. At least Melkor had given him this nice cabin and forge, albeit unwillingly.

 

“Melkor, come here.” Mairon called from right outside the doorway to the bedroom. He figured he might as well test the wards now. Melkor looked at him with suspicion, but nevertheless he moved to stand. But at the moment when he stood, his brows furrowed with confusion, and he looked at Mairon with the most puzzled of expressions.

 

“What is it?” Mairon asked, feigning sweetness.

 

“I don’t quite recall why I’m standing.” Melkor admitted.

 

“You were going to come to me.” Mairon supplied. Melkor nodded, but once again that lovely look of confusion was upon him. Mairon laughed and went to him.

 

“Well, it seems that was rather effective.” Mairon said to himself. Melkor regarded him warily as he moved the Vala back into bed.

 

“What, exactly, was ‘rather effective’, as you so put it?” Melkor asked, a biting tone to him. Mairon smiled gaily. He was smiling and laughing a lot, lately. Probably something to do with how great it felt to have control over his life for the first time since the Dagor Dagorath.

 

“Oh, just some housekeeping.” Mairon replied airily, grabbing Melkor by the arm and swinging the Vala into him. The Vala was a bit taller than him, so Mairon adjusted his fana a bit until he was the taller of the two, although only by a little bit. He did prefer being smaller than his romantic partners for the most part, but he wanted to be better able to manhandle Melkor.



~~~



Melkor was beginning to get a headache, something that Mairon crudely pulling him into his arms had not helped with at all. The Maia kissed the tip of his ear, then nipped at it.

 

“I have a desire for materials to work with.” Mairon said.

 

“Let me guess: you want me to make them for you.” Melkor replied. Mairon hummed in agreement.

 

“And lest you desire to decline me that, I will make good on my earlier plans.” Mairon murmured. Melkor sighed, relaxing into the Maia, feeling resigned to it all.

 

“Get me something to make your materials out of.” Melkor said. “I can’t make something from nothing without a serious expenditure of energy, and if I tried, if I managed to make something, it would be very small.”

 

“Of course, darling.” Mairon purred. “I am yours to command.” With that, the Maia released Melkor from his embrace and left. Melkor flopped onto the bed, resolved to rest. He had a feeling that Mairon was a perfectionist, and a tired Melkor was a Melkor that made stupid mistakes.

 

Sighing, he pulled the blankets to him and drifted, not quite asleep, but on the cusp of it.



Chapter Text

~Mairon~



He came back to Melkor with an armload of stones and ice. Although it wasn’t odd, something in the back of his mind warned him that Melkor sleeping, again, wasn’t a good sign. Mairon dumped it all on the floor in favour of going to Melkor. The Vala had pulled himself into a ball and dragged most the blankets with him. He was cold to the touch when Mairon gently rested a hand on his forehead.

 

“Melkor.” Mairon said, shaking the Vala lightly. “Melkor, wake up.” The Vala groaned and curled further in on himself, but otherwise did nothing. Mairon hissed. This wasn’t good, but he had an idea, but he needed metal to forge, so he needed Melkor to wake up.

 

Hopefully the Dead Sea would rejuvenate the Vala. Mairon picked him up, disturbed by how light Melkor felt in his arms. He rushed to the Dead Sea and nearly threw Melkor into it. The Vala woke with an ungainly cry and a splash, and immediately got drenched by the Sea. The Sea certainly seemed excited to see the Vala, and soon Melkor was soaking wet.

 

“Mairon you asshole!” Melkor yelled, wide awake after being doused with such frigid water. Mairon shrugged.

 

“You weren’t waking up.” Mairon replied innocently. Best to disguise his brief panic with nonchalance, he felt.

 

“You threw me into the-” Melkor started, only for another wave of water to crash into him.

 

“Yes, love, I know.” Mairon said. “Now, do you feel well enough to shape materials or should I wait?” Melkor’s glare was mutinous.

 

“Best get it over with.” The Vala grumbled, and held out his hand.

 

“About that.” Mairon said. “I left everything I got in the cabin. Give me a moment.” Melkor sighed, something which just screamed exhaustion.



~~~



When Mairon came back, he had an armload of stone and half-melted ice. Melkor was still sitting in the Sea, looking a bit dazed and lost.

 

“Could you make the stones into metal and the ice to gems for me?” Mairon asked. Melkor blinked, but was otherwise unresponsive.

 

“Melkor, listen.” Mairon said insistently. “I need you to make materials for me. Focus for me, please.” Mairon carefully set down what he was carrying and snapped his fingers right in front of Melkor’s eyes. Slowly, the Vala cam back into focus.

 

“That was fast.” Melkor grumbled.

 

“Fast?” Mairon asked.

 

“Well, you were.” Melkor muttered. “I look away for a second and here you are. Literally.”

 

Mairon was concerned, but he opted not to say that. Instead, he indicated the pile of materials he gathered for Melkor. Melkor sighed, and began to hum.



~~~



It took too long. Mairon knew how powerful Melkor should be.

 

It took too long. Melkor passed out. Mairon had to carry him back to the cabin.

 

It took too long. Mairon was in his forge, testing things, countless things, to try and stop Melkor’s divine light from just seeping out of him.

 

It took too long. When Mairon returned to Melkor, the Vala seemed to be asleep once more. But in his hand Mairon thought he had something to help. As per usual for him, it was a ring, meant to be worn around the finger. Rings were what he had the most practice weaving magic into, after all.

 

“Melkor, I have something for you.” Mairon said.

“You trapped me here.” Melkor responded, not asleep after all. Mairon sighed.

 

“That’s neither-” Mairon tried, only for Melkor to cut him off.

 

“You trapped me!” Melkor cried. “Whatever you have is no doubt another thing to cage me with!”

 

“Just take it!” Mairon snapped, proffering the ring. It was a plain silver band with a white stone, simpler than his normal creations. But he had been in a rush, and had not the time to make something prettier.

 

“Mairon, no.” Melkor insisted, moving away from the Maia.

 

“I will make you.” Mairon threatened. Melkor laughed.

 

“Of all the things you’ve demanded so far, this is the most ridiculous.” Melkor laughed. Mairon growled.



~~~



~Melkor~



He understood that baiting Mairon was a horrible idea. He did, really. But of all things, being presented with a so-called ‘gift’ stung the most.

 

“Do you think I make empty threats?” Mairon hissed, setting the ring aside on the nightstand closest to the Maia. “Do you?”

 

Melkor’s eyes narrowed.

 

“I don’t know.” He replied. “Do you make empty threats? It’s not like you’ve given me much time to learn.”

 

Mairon laughed a cruel, fey laugh.

 

“Well then.” The Maia said, moving forward startlingly fast and pinning Melkor down. “Let me show you.”

 

Mairon kissed him in a brutal, cruel way, uncaring of Melkor’s flailing beneath him. When Mairon broke the kiss to nip at Melkor’s neck, Melkor tried to protest, only for Mairon to stop him with another kiss.

 

“Undress me.” Mairon said, sitting up. He was still on top of Melkor, stradling the Vala.

 

“No.” Melkor said. Mairon sighed, a gentle and soft thing, making the moment he backhanded Melkor even more surprising.

 

“I said undress me.” Mairon purred. “Not backtalk me.”

 

Melkor met the Maia’s burning gold eyes and saw nothing even remotely resembling mercy. With trembling hands, he undid the sash at Mairon’s waist and unbuttoned the Maia’s shirt before gently sliding the garment off the Maia’s shoulders. Mairon was muscular but lithe, pitted with scars, surprising for an Ainur.

 

It took him several tries to undo the fastenings of Mairon’s pants, so frightened was he by the Maia’s arousal and thoughts of being fucked. On his eleventh try, the Maia sighed, and got off the bed to do it himself.

 

“You are worse than Tyelperinquar, and that is saying something.” Mairon sighed before returning to the bed, placing a hand in Melkor’s hair.

 

His hands didn’t tremble as he undid the ties of Melkor’s outer robe and peeled the garment off Melkor, nor did they fumble at the inner robe beneath. Beneath the robes, Melkor was bare. Mairon casually tossed them aside.

 

Starting from his hips, Mairon began kissing and biting up Melkor’s body, leaving several bruises in his wake. He closed his fist around Melkor’s cock and began to coax him to hardness. Melkor flushed, deeply embarrassed.

 

Mairon seemed to find that amusing, his lips curling into a smile.

 

“How innocent you are…” He murmured. “I’m unused to it, darling.”

 

Mairon moved down Melkor’s body, so that he was stradling Melkor’s legs, and lowered his mouth to him. Melkor moaned when Mairon slowly took him into his mouth, moving with a seductive slowness that inflamed Melkor’s arousal. It felt good, it felt good , he didn’t think something that was in violation was supposed to feel that way but it did.

 

He closed his eyes as he felt Mairon take all of him into his mouth, felt horrible because of all the pleasurable sensations the Maia was able to inflict on him with his clever mouth and tongue.

 

He felt even worse when he came down Mairon’s throat and the Maia moved up and physically forced his eyes open to see his debauched demeanor, pink hair falling out of its braid, golden eyes burningly lascivious, a small amount of Melkor’s come still on his lips.

 

“How precious, thinking that if you closed your eyes, you could avoid this.” Mairon crooned. “Keep them open.”

 

Mairon then bodily flipped him onto his stomach.

 

“Hands and knees, dear.” Mairon purred. Melkor was hit by a wash of fear. Mairon’s nails were digging to his sides. He forced himself up. Mairon didn’t bother to prepare him, simply forcing his way in.

 

“I don’t have any lubricant, but it’ll heal.” Mairon noted. Melkor clenched his teeth and hissed as Mairon set a brutal, animalistic rhythm. Mairon seemed dissatisfied with how Melkor did his best to move as little as possible, finding the stimulation painful, an agony he was uninterested in subjecting himself to further.

 

“I recall this being more… interesting.” Mairon groaned, his face right by Melkor’s ear. He bit Melkor in the shoulder, drawing blood, before licking away the blood with his tongue, like a wolf would clean its wounds. His grip on Melkor’s hips dug in harder, and he moved Melkor back and force into his thrusts.

 

When Mairon came, inside of Melkor, he withdrew from Melkor, dropped the Vala carelessly onto the bed, and immediately grabbed the ring and slipped it onto Melkor’s finger.Without wasting a single moment, the Maia left, undoing his hair and letting it stream behind him.

 

Melkor’s eyelids felt heavy. He would’ve liked to clean himself, but his limbs felt heavy and he couldn’t quite bring himself to move.

 

When Mairon returned, it was with a damp rag, several more blankets, and some clothes for Melkor. The Maia had remained undressed.

 

The Maia was cleaning him, checking for damages.

 

The Maia was pulling Melkor closer to him, and there were enough blankets to feel a light weight on top of them.

 

The Maia held him like a lover would.

 

The Maia let him drift away in his arms.

 

Melkor felt as though he was ice and the Maia was drawing the cold into him and fueling his flame with it.

 

Melkor drifted away on cold, bitter wind.



Chapter Text

~Mairon~



Mairon woke up forge-fire hot. Ice was on him, melting and freezing constantly. The bed was soaked, he was soaked, but not Melkor.

 

Melkor was colder than the ice.

 

Mairon swore. He shouldn’t have done what he did.

 

Melkor’s very life force was bleeding out, the cracks in his soul widened by Mairon’s actions just bleeding in inelegant spurts the very life force of him in ice and chill unto the world.

 

His first thought was that he hadn’t meant for this to happen.

 

He didn’t mean to, but this was his fuck up, so he had to fix it .

 

Mairon’s first thought for what to try was the Dead Sea. Last time he couldn’t wake Melkor, throwing the Vala into the creation most reflective of his nature had worked.

 

Carrying Melkor was easier than carrying a single piece of paper, the Vala weighed so little. Mairon remembered why he followed Melkor.

 

Mairon remembered that he cared , in his own, fucked up way.

 

He had to fix it .

 

His feet were thudding on the beach, the first glimmer of morning harsh and cold, and Mairon, made ungainly by fear and panic, tripped head first into the ocean. He landed in an inelegant splash, lucky to avoid any hidden little stones in the sand. Melkor flopped onto the beach, the waves crashing against him. The water crashing into Mairon as he pushed himself up to a seated position was reproachful, leaving the Maia chastened.

 

Melkor seemed to be fading into the Sea. Mairon swore and scrambled over to him, searching the energy of him for where it bleed outwards, finding so many, too many.

 

Knowing that energy was leaking out of him, Mairon wrapped him in his own energy, a pressure to hold the cracks closed long enough for the core of Melkor to stop spilling out.



~~~




It wasn’t working fast enough.




~~~



Mairon realized that what he was about to do was colossally stupid.

 

He didn’t care.



~~~



Blood had power. Lifeblood was potent.

 

Given freely, blood was the most effective way to transfer the power of one Ainur to another.

 

He changed his fana’s nails to claws



~~~



He didn’t have enough blood in him, but he tried anyway.

 

He could see improvement.

 

He didn’t have enough blood in him, but nevertheless, he gave freely.

 

The Vala was no longer hemorrhaging life-force; he’d call it an improvement.



~~~



Mairon drifted in and out of awareness, incredibly light-headed from blood loss. He would have continued to give, but his fana could only lose so much before it would crumble. The Sea had moved Melkor to Mairon and dropped the Vala next to him after Mairon had fallen over his own legs trying to stand. It knew what he was trying to do.

 

Mairon knew he would’ve died from blood loss if the Sea hadn’t been supporting him. He had reached an understanding with it.



~~~



When Melkor first shifts, Mairon nearly collapses from relief.

 

The Sea is the only thing keeping him awake.

 

He wants to sleep.

 

He knows he wouldn’t wake.

 

The Sea is pleasantly scalding.

 

His wrist still isn’t healed.

 

He tried to give more, but the Sea refused to let him and moved Melkor away.

 

His eyes closed and fluttered open and closed and fluttered closed and closed and closed.

 

Help (Melkor) {

Give (failed, out of gifts);

Give (failed, out of gifts);

Give (failed, out of gifts);

Give (failed, out of gifts);

Give (failed, out of gifts);

Give (failed, out of gifts);

Give (failed, out of gifts);

 

Give (failed, out of gifts);

 

Give (failed, out of gifts);



Give (failed, out of gifts);





Give (failed, out of gifts);

Give (Failed! Do you think yourself Annatar? That thinking got you where you are now!)





Give (Failed, but I’m trying anyway just let me save him!)



}

 

Sleep (not yet not yet not yet not yet not yet not yet!) {
Too tired can’t stay awake (wait not ready need to…)

Drifted  ()

}



~~~

 

~Melkor~



He woke up still unclothed but feeling refreshed, alive, awake.

 

His Lieutenant looked halfway to Mandos.

 

HIs hair hung in limp, ember russet, lacking its lustre, and his eyes were half-closed and dying gold embers. His skin had an unhealthy pallor to it.

 

“Mairon?” Melkor said, propping himself up. The Sea seemed livelier, but worried, pushing at his back insistently. His first creation in Arda, the dreaming of which was the first to make Eru Iluvatar abandon his original Valar of Change and Creation for one that wouldn’t challenge his design.

 

Had Aule chosen creative freedom, or he to beg Iluvatar for forgiveness in those first fraught notes of Discord and turn back to the Music, he supposed they could’ve been friends.

 

Alas, ‘twas not to be.

 

Although he was not at the peak of his might, he could feel himself returning to that peak steadily, a foreign but achingly familiar energy in him fueling it.

 

He realized the salt in his mouth wasn’t from the Sea. Curiously, he spat into his palm

Blood, leaving behind a red mess. He was about to wash it off when Mairon fell sideways, breathing shallow.

 

“You idiot…” Melkor murmured, rushing over to his Maia. “At least you came back to your senses, but you’ve nearly killed yourself doing so.”

 

Mairon’s essence was a pure harmony to his own and now that he was back to himself, he had plenty to return to Mairon.

 

Although he could do it any other way, he decided to emulate fairytales and kiss Sleeping Beauty. The reaction was immediate, the color and life returning to his Maia in a flare of fire light limming his body. Mairon’s eyes fluttered open. Melkor sighed.

 

“That was… rather a mess, even for me.” Melkor remarked softly. “Next time you feel a need to bleed yourself dry, Lieutenant, perhaps check to see how much blood you really need to give, yes?”

 

“Forgive me, my Lord.” Mairon retorted. “You were…”

Mairon’s eyes were comically wide as a realization hit him.

 

“You just…” He said, fear seeping into his tone. “Oh. Oh no.”

 

At that Mairon pushed his way out of Melkor’s arms and, changing his fana to a nondescript grey wolf, fled, tearing across the beach and throwing himself into the forest.

 

By the time Melkor realized what had happened, Mairon had long since fled.



Chapter Text

~Mairon~



He fled.

 

He fled far.

 

He fled fast.



~~~



Stones.

 

Under his feet.

 

Soft shade and pine left behind.

 

Roaring Sea and sand left behind.



~~~



He wasn’t yet far enough from his shame, his mistakes, but he was out of breath and could run no further, so he forced himself out of the wolf shape he wished so desperately to hide within and found himself at what was once Mordor.

 

He didn’t recognize it.

 

Verdant, grassy, uninhabited.

 

A clear, azure sky overhead.

 

Soft grass under his feet.

 

Mairon summoned clothes to himself, simple and modest grey robes. He was a lonesome figure, on the plains, seeming filthier and more unclean than the black lands that were once there.



He sighed, picking at his nails morosely.

 

“How far I have fallen…” He murmured, looking up to the sky, searching for something, anything. He was desperate, an empty thing that pointed it’s pain outwards to try and make sense of it.

 

“Indeed.” Another responded. Mairon turned, startled, to face Eonwe, the one who had once held courtly love fore Mairon and herald of Manwe. Eonwe was a Renaissance beauty, with features akin to that of a marble statue. His eyes were sky blue, his skin rosy and fair, and his hair a pure, pale gold.

 

“What are you doing here, Eonwe?” Mairon said, trying and failing to keep fear from his tone. Eonwe was the worst of lover’s to reject, for he couldn’t seem to let go of Mairon.

 

updateStatus (Eonwe) {

Relationship: potential love interest=> he needs to leave leave leave leave leave leave

Opinion: kind and fair => let me be let me be let me be

Hostile? No => yes yes a thousand times yes

Additional Thoughts: run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

 

//run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run



“Mairon, this is unbecoming of you.” Eonwe said gently, a mockery of a lover’s concern. “I’m here to help you find yourself.”

 

Mairon snarled, stepping back, but Eonwe moved forward ere as Mairon stepped back.

 

“Please, let me help you.” Eonwe said earnestly, delusionally.

 

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

 

“Eonwe, I’m fine, it’s fine, I’m fine, really.” Mairon said, forcing a level of brightness into his tone.

 

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

 

“Mairon, please trust me, believe me.” Eonwe pleaded. “That… that… that carnality isn’t you!”

 

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

 

“Don’t worry, Eonwe.” Mairon lied. “I merely wished to remind myself of the beauty of this perfection.”

 

run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run

 

Eonwe had the gall to look heartbroken.

 

“Mairon, please, don’t lie to me.” Eonwe sighed. “I love you, truly, I do, but you’re just shutting me away! I know that Morgoth forced you to go with him, but I can get protection for you! Or… or or or... I can even protect you! Please, Mairon, you don’t have to pretend to love him anymore. You don’t have to, so please, for your own good, let go of the mask.”

 

RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN

 

Mairon turned heel and ran, terrified. Eonwe still thought that way after all this time, after Mairon became Annatar, after Annatar became Sauron, after Sauron became Mairon, after Mairon got scooped out, after Annatar returned in Mairon’s place, and after Annatar was buried by Mairon.

 

Eonwe tackled him, knocking him down. Mairon struggled viciously, throwing off bursts of fire as he kicked, bit, and clawed at Eonwe.

 

But the other Maia wasn’t fazed, and he soon had Mairon helplessly pinned. Mairon spat in his face and was met with a sharp blow to the head and swift unconsciousness.



~~~



When he came to, he was in a prison cell in Mandos, his robes an utter wreck, grass in his hair, and a hideous bruise on his temple.

Chain bound him in his kneeling position, arms behind his back and head forced upwards to stare at the starry sky. He felt empty, devoid of emotion, and wished that there were flaws in the sky for his mind to wonder at.

 

He loved the idea of perfection, but he wanted to chase it, not have it handed to him. When he sought to improve something, he acknowledged it would never be perfect, but the very act of working towards that perfection was fulfilling.

 

Now, in a perfect world, he didn’t see the point.



~~~



“Sinner’s Contemplation.” Eonwe sighed mournfully. Mairon didn’t respond. He turned the name over in his head, looking into the workings of it.

 

“Look upon the starry heavens and repent; return to the true way.” Mairon murmured, thinking aloud. He had no idea how long it had been, save that Eonwe had visited him thrice, always promising Mairon that he could help him return to his true self.

 

Mairon couldn’t return to that. He may have kept his name, but so many parts about him had changed, and to try and return to that sweet, innocent spirit would break him.

 

He ignored Eonwe and contemplated the starry sky and knew that if he had to do it all over again, he’d only change one thing.

 

He wouldn’t have been the object of Eonwe’s courtly love.



Chapter Text

~Mairon~



In Sinner’s Contemplation, he contemplated surprisingly little. Mairon had thought much over his failures before now, so all he could do was note the ugliness of the starry sky.

 

It was perfect, and that made it ugly.

 

Eonwe ascended the platform, an ugly, pale golden thing. Its purpose was to bind whoever was supposed to be in Contemplation. Eonwe was just as deformed as it.

 

It didn’t matter that Eonwe’s skin was flawlessly fair, his eyes perfectly blue, his smile always winning, his hair always looking just tousled enough to be romantic but not so much that he looked messy. Mairon had recently rediscovered his deep-seated hatred for his former suitor and was curious about how far it went.

 

“Please, Mairon, do you not understand how it pains me?” Eonwe pleaded. Mairon sighed. He didn’t care.

 

“Leave me be.” Mairon said simply.

 

“No!” Eonwe cried. “I can’t just abandon you to this horrible evil!”

 

“Always making false dichotomies, Eonwe.” Mairon sighed. “You’ll never change. You don’t have the will for it.”

 

“Mairon believe me, I’m trying!” Eonwe pleaded. “But you won’t let me change.”

 

“Me?” Mairon laughed harshly. “No one stops you from changing but you, and no one changes you but you.”

 

Eonwe was incensed and raised his hand to strike Mairon, but the other Maia’s cold laugh stopped him.

 

“Your reaction proves me right.” Mairon crowed.

 

Eonwe left, for he had no recourse against it.



~~~



Next time he had a visitor, it wasn’t Eonwe.

 

A heavy-set Maia, most likely one of Aule’s, although not a venerated forge-spirit.

 

Forge-spirits tended to be prettier, Mairon thought bitterly.

 

“To what do I owe the pleasure?” Mairon asked unctuously. The Maia shrugged. He gave the impression of lava after it had cooled. Most Maia were unnamed, and only the spirits the Valar had an interest in received one.

 

Melkor was an oddity among the Valar for giving names so freely. To name something was to empower it.

 

“I don’t know.” The Maia said. Mairon sighed, and it was a bitter sigh indeed.

 

“Tell me: What do you wish for in life?” Mairon asked, no game afoot, no ploy in mind. The Maia shrugged.

 

“I don’t know.” He responded. His hair was dark and curled, his skin bronze, darker than Mairon’s but lighter than Yavanna’s. His eyes were basalt. Mairon remembered flame and horn, but the flames had gone out and the horns had been hewn off.

 

“See the worthlessness of your past beliefs.” Eonwe had said. It had been with Manwe’s approval. The Maia before him, someone Mairon had once known. It was when he still had his will to fight left.

 

Seeing them force Gothmog to his knees and crudely remove his horn had been a breaking point for Mairon. He would’ve surrendered then. He tried.

 

But that wasn’t enough for Eonwe, and Manwe had done nothing to stop him as he slowly cut the horns into slivers and made Gothmog eat them.

 

“Since you’re willing to grow them, you’re also willing to eat them, right? Hush, hush. Refuse doesn’t feel. Swallow.” Eonwe had said.

 

Mairon dreamt of whipping Eonwe that night. There were six grievances he place on Eonwe, some more reasonable than others: refusing Mairon’s rejection, removing Melkor’s foot, Melkor’s face being scarred by Manwe’s eagles, removing Gothmog’s horns, making Gothmog eat them, and being a creep.

 

Mairon closed his eyes to try and dissuade the tears from falling, but still some persisted.

 

“I’m sorry.” Mairon told Gothmog. The once-great Maia didn’t respond but instead left.

 

For the first time in Mairon’s memory, he screamed in rage.



~~~



Afterwards, he had no visitors for a long, long while. Or at least, that’s how it felt to him.

 

There was no sun, moon, or Tree-light to show him the passage of time. It distorted this way and that, tripping over itself, running loops and laps around Mairon’s head.

 

A strange thing, time.

 

He dreamt while waking and thought while sleeping.

 

There was no rhyme or reason to it.

 

He remembered Gothmog’s stoic, stony face when they removed his horns as if he were still there, still in that cell in Mandos.

 

Ere as the shards were forced down his throat, Mairon’s fellow servant of Melkor kept that expression.

 

Mairon knew not if he remembered their history.



~~~



He went up to the Sinner’s Contemplation because he heard that the Maia who cried for him when he received due punishment was there.

 

In truth, he hadn’t know what he expected to find. The Maia was striking, as all Maia who were named were. As he descended the peak, he could not help the scowl that flitted over his features, for even tormented that Maia remained beautiful.

 

“Hello, Gothmog.” He was greeted by a Valier, startling out of his foul mood.

 

“I have no name.” He responded on default, then winced. Perhaps his Lord Aule’s wife Yavanna was not the wisest person to make such a statement to. She had been known to chase Aule around with a wooden ladle when angered.

 

“Whatever pleases you, Gothmog.” Yavanna replied serenely. “If given a chance to return to Melkor, would you?”

 

He thought about it carefully, drawing upon buried veins of memory he’d thought exhausted.

 

Yet he was hesitant to answer.

 

“I swear to you that no harm will come from your answer to my question.” Yavanna said, dark gaze honest and warm.

 

He took a deep breath.

 

And then another.

 

And another.

 

And another.

 

“If he offered me freedom, then I would return in a heartbeat, lady.” Gothmog replied. “But it wouldn’t happen, not in this world, so I do not think of it.”

 

Nevertheless, Yavanna smiled cryptically.

 

“Oh, it may be more likely than you think.” She responded, before vanishing in a flurry of green leaves and spring blossoms.

 

Gothmog didn’t much care for pretty dreams when he could see no way of making them reality, so he resolved to think no further of it and returned to Aule’s long-since exhausted mines, looking for metals and gems that weren’t there with the rest of the repurposed Balrogs.

 

At first they had been miners, yes, but they were nameless, like any other refuse Maia that came to Arda. Unlike the brilliant, named Maia, they were neither beautiful nor handsome, nor in any way appealing.

 

He saw bitterness in Mairon’s eyes when he visited.

 

Gothmog recognized that bitterness.

 

Mairon only had his talent for smithing trained because he had a pretty face. Gothmog only got overlooked despite having the same talents for his less pretty face.

 

Such was the way Valinor went.

 

If they were bitter and bonding over the emphasis of appearance in Valinor, why wouldn’t they run to a master who appreciated them for their skills instead of picking based on appearances?



Chapter Text

~Mairon~



Eonwe, along with an escort of eagle-masked warriors, came for Mairon.

 

The Admirable laughed.

 

With their pristine white armor and faces hidden by masks, they were less of a person than even the lowliest of Angband’s slaves, for at least the slaves had distinct faces.

 

“I’m sorry it had to come to this, Mairon.” Eonwe said mourfully. “Why couldn’t you recover?” Mairon laughed.

 

“I am not sorry for this.” Mairon replied.

 

A cold bronze mask was lowered to his face, blinding him, and he knew it was Eonwe who released the chains and who cut his robe off of him with neat, precise movements, and dressed him in something else.

 

The fabric was heavy and just as cold as the mask. Not even his own body heat warmed it. He felt metal on his hands, his feet, restricting and controlling his movements.

 

Mairon didn’t like it, couldn’t stand it, as his body moved on someone else’s accord.



~~~



He was escorted through Valinor, that much he could tell. There was a deathly silent crowd. Although he had to move where he willed, he moved proudly, knowing who he was, being unrepentant for the sin of being himself.

 

Beneath his mask he sneered at those who believed the lie, pitied those who were breaking beneath it, and mourned those it killed.

 

Through the streets of Valinor was Mairon led.

 

He felt no fear, nor remorse, nor regret, for he did not regret that which they would try him for.

 

What he regretted was known to none but himself and maybe Melkor.



~~~

 

He was carefully led to a chair, in which he sat.

 

His vision was returned to him, and he could see as if the bronze mask was not weigh upon him. Although he could not leave the chair, and could change how he sat, so he arrogantly slung one leg over the other, leaned back indolently, and rested his hands, fingers laced, in his lap.

 

Beneath the mask, a bemused and arrogant smirk played across his face. Manwe was the judge, the entire jury was Valar. At Aule’s side was Curumo, as well as the other Valar save for three, all on Manwe’s right. The three Valier on Manwe’s left were Varda, Yavanna, and Nienna, joined by who Mairon thought might be Thuringwethil.

 

By Eonwe’s hand fisted into his hair was Gothmog being presented to Manwe. Mairon’s stomach roiled at that. Had their earlier torments against his fellow Maia not been enough?

 

Apparently not. Even the treatment of slaves in Angband was kinder, for at least they still had some use, and none in Angband’s high command liked slavery. It was a convenient evil, one that none particularly liked. Those that did got to experience firsthand the horror that slavery was.

 

“For crimes against Arda herself, I, Manwe Sulimo, in my right as-” Manwe began, only for Varda to cut him off.

 

“My dearest husband, lying does not become you.” She called. Although her tone was elegant, the temper in her reminded one that she was no flower-vase. “Admit it: Gothmog is here only to try and coerce Mairon into leaving himself behind.

 

This disgusts me.”

 

Manwe had nothing to say to that, so he instead ordered Eonwe.

 

“The punishment is yours to decide.” Manwe said. “Do so however you see fit.”

 

Eonwe drew his blade, a fine weapon made by Mairon’s own hand. The moment Eonwe had taken the blade, still cooling, from Mairon’s forge, the sword had rejected him. Nevertheless, he tried desperately to make it sing for him, but the sword wasn’t intended for him.

 

“As a punishment for thievery, once for aiding in Melkor’s theft of Mairon and once for stealing Aule’s noble mining force and perverting them to Balrogs, he shall lose his hands.” Eonwe proclaimed righteously.

 

“How ignorant.” Mairon sneered. “I chose another life for myself, and yet you blame my friend? I assure you, I would’ve left no matter what.

 

“And stealing the mining force? Don’t make me laugh, I don’t do it well. They wanted to leave. They wanted something more. They wanted names.

 

“And as for turning the mining force into Balrogs? Are you stupid? Perhaps you were dropped on the head as a child. Or not, as I’ve met children who were dropped on their heads smarter than you. Gothmog, while powerful, is not Melkor. What a fucking lark.”

 

“I must agree.” Varda said smoothly. Beside her, Yavanna and Nienna nodded, casting their lot in with the Queen of Valinor.

 

“Would you deny my word when I claim Gothmog planned dissent?” Eonwe snarled. “He was on the Sinner’s Contemplation!”

 

“And that means?” Nienna asked. Eonwe sputtered like a fish out of water. If looks could kill, Varda would’ve had Manwe dead many times over. Under the weight of his wife’s gaze, Manwe cleared his throat.

 

“Eonwe, in light of new reasoning.” Manwe said, trying play it off as his idea “Gothmog is to be exiled from Valinor.”

 

The raven-haired Maia beside Nienna howled, slamming into the bannister before her.

 

“How dare you!” She screeched. “He did nothing wrong!”

 

Mairon recognized her distinctive voice immediately. It was Thuringwethil.

 

“Eonwe, remove her.” Manwe ordered. “Exile her with him.”

 

The magic of the chamber isolated the Maia, theoretically to make it easier for Eonwe to bind her, but Thuringwethil bit him hard, and her razor teeth mauled his hand. Greedily, she drank Eonwe’s blood ere as she shredded his hand, wrapping herself around him like a vicious, blood-sucking snake. Eventually, the eagle-masked guards had to intervene and escorted both Thuringwethil, still twisting and shrieking, and Gothmog out, no doubt to throw them into exile.

 

Eonwe’s hand had been gnawed near to the bone.

 

“Serves you right.” Yavanna told Eonwe. Eonwe was taken aback, but he dared not say anything. Yavanna was a Valie of plant life and Valinor was covered in grass. As Melkor could attest to, pissing her off was not wise.

 

“Onto the main event.” Manwe said, trying to bring everything back to his initial plans. “Mairon, for fleeing Valinor and loosing Morgoth upon the world again, I sentence you to exile on the boundary of the Void, half in and half out, for eternity.”

Seeing Varda draw a breath in order to speak, Manwe glared at her fiercely before continuing.

 

“And if anyone says anything about this, Eru help me or I will snap!” Manwe roared.

 

“I want a divorce.” Varda said neatly.

 

“Check and fucking mate.” Mairon said lightly, his last little bit of fire he would let free.

 

He would need the rest, for the Void was not a warm place.



~~~



He was chained right upon the threshold of the Door of Night and it was agony.

 

Mairon closed his eyes, not wanting to see the perfection of Valinor mocking him any longer.

 

Rest Mode {

Slow (dreams, thoughts, feelings);

//I hope Gothmog, Thuringwethil, and Melkor are well

 

Prepared?

(no, one last thing)

 

Save (Feelings, dreams, thoughts);

 

//I want to come back to them

}



Chapter Text

~Melkor~



“Okay, no seriously.” Melkor muttered to himself, staring at the grassy, empty plains that had once been Mordor. “Where the fuck are you?”

 

Melkor had been to these plains before. They were boring, but he was curious about Mordor. A black land, made by the lieutenant of the black foe? Sign him up!

 

Small problem: no black lands, no lieutenant.

 

The sky was a morose, clear, and pure blue.

 

Melkor sighed.

 

Where was his Lieutenant? The float of embers ended here, although he thought he could taste the western wind.

 

“Oh.” Melkor said, realizing something rather important. “Okay then.”

 

Being Melkor, he was not wearing any shoes when he stepped on a very painful bit of stone and nearly fell flat on his face. He quickly pretended that he meant to do that.

 

Then he turned into a black dragon and twisted, all ribbon-like, through the air, back West, to Valinor.



~~~



A magical, mystic, maleficent, and mysterious murder of crows appeared in Valinor, alighted upon every surface, cawing and cawing, heralding the arrival of the mightiest of the Valar, Melkor, He Who Arises in Might.

 

Set upon his head was an iron crown, crude and unfinished, with clear, empty holes where gems were to be set. He did not carry any weapons. A sweeping cloak of raven’s feathers was on his shoulders, their oily sheen opalescent in the Valinorian dusk, and his hair, the same raven-dark as his cloak, framed his face, falling straight down to his waist.

 

Beneath his cloak he wore simple, practical black robes. His feet were bare.

 

Everyone, no matter their people, stood aside.

 

He was a dark Vala, but not a mad one, a harsh Vala, but not one interested with them.

 

As he approached the steep stairs that crawled up the mountain that the Door of Night was placed upon, Eonwe stood in his path.

 

“Morgoth!” Eonwe called. “Come no further!” Melkor tilted his head to the side, a curious and impassive movement.

 

“Don’t want to.” He replied, continuing forward. Eonwe drew his sword, pointing it at Melkor.

 

“Get thee gone.” He snarled. Melkor moved forward, until the tip of the blade barely touched his chest.

 

“No.” Melkor replied, silvered eyes like deep, clear pools of water without a single ripple in them. Imperceptibly, Eonwe’s blade trembled, his grip unsteady.

 

“I won’t ask again, Morgoth.” Eonwe threatened, but Melkor’s lips curved into a smile that would have been dazzling if it were for the mocking contempt in the Vala’s eyes.

 

“And who are you to ask of me anything?” Melkor said gently. “If you want to ascend to the heavens, by all means, try.

 

“Just don’t bitch and moan when you fail.”

 

Eonwe snarled and slashed at Melkor, but his blade, which had never been and would never be his, fell out of his grasp. Melkor’s gaze was knowing and infuriating.

 

“Get out of my way.” Melkor said calmly, stooping to pick up the sword. It had been forged by Mairon, something Melkor could tell simply by how finely it was made and the exquisite attention to detail despite its Bauhaus aesthetic. It was intended for Gothmog, but Eonwe had snatched it up, believing it to be intended for him. Mairon couldn’t reveal who it was really for without revealing more than was safe, so in Eonwe’s hands it had been ever since.

 

When Eonwe stood still, every muscle trembling from how tense he was, Melkor gathered up a smidge of power and magically punted him off the mountain and into the city.

 

“So ugly…” He muttered. “How did Mairon stand him?”

 

Sighing, Melkor ascended the mountain.



~~~



When Melkor reached the summit of the mountain, Manwe blocked his way to Mairon.

 

“Brother, while I’m flattered you came all this way to see me, you’re in my way.” Melkor said coldly.

 

“You are despicable.” Manwe hissed, and Melkor knew he was speaking of Arda Marred. Melkor shrugged.

 

“So?” Melkor said arrogantly. “I’m despicable. Don’t need you to tell me that.”

 

“You’re crass and craven; you’ve shunned the word of our Father, and you blatantly turned away from his generous, ever-present forgiveness!” Manwe said.

 

“Generous? Like I need his generosity.” Melkor replied. “Besides, I’ve made myself into a Dark Lord, independent of him. Unlike you, I don’t need our father’s approval for anything! If I want to take over Arda, I won’t dither; I’ll just do it! If I want the Flame Imperishable; I won’t beg for it, I’ll just find it! If I want to sing my own tune; I won’t allow him to dictate it, I just go for it!”

 

“You’re a disgraceful bitch , Morgoth.” Manwe seethed.

 

“Who’s the slut calling me a bitch?” Melkor said innocently. “I didn’t quite hear.”

 

“What did you just call me?”

 

“I called you a slut. You should clean out your ears.”

 

“Slut? I’m not the one who sleeps around with a Maia and several enslaved elves!”

 

“I never fucked an elf, and I’m here to rescue said Maia. Get your facts right before you start spewing nonsense! Better to remain silent and seem like a fool than to speak and prove yourself a fool.”

 

“How dare you come to my lands and speak to me like that!”

 

“How dare you impose justice on Maia who don’t serve you! Really, I’m being quite generous. I’ve only thrown Eonwe off this mountain. If I really wanted to, do you think your precious land would still be this intact?”

 

“Don’t threaten me in my own home. Here, it is I with all the power.”

 

“Not if I kill you.”

 

“You wouldn’t dare.”

 

“Watch me.”

 

Melkor lifted his chin at an arrogant angle, meeting Manwe’s eyes. In his gaze there was no hesitation or wavering, being like still pools of water without ripples. Calmly, Melkor began calling his power to him, turning the air heavy with ozone and the taste of ash as the sky darkened and shook.

 

“Don’t play games, Melkor.” Manwe tried to threaten. Melkor simply raised an eyebrow.

 

“I would like to rescue Mairon now, Manwe, and you are in my way. Get out of my way.”

 

“You wouldn’t day.”

 

Lightning struck heading straight for Manwe. The King of the Valar barely dodged.

 

“Trying to kill me? Your own brother?” Manwe said, shocked.

 

“No shit!” Melkor snarled, lunging at Manwe with the sword intended for Gothmog. “Now hold still! How dare you make me work for your death!”

 

“Excuse me? Why would I let you kill me!”

“You’re not letting me rescue Mairon! I’m frustrated, so I need to cut something up to let off steam!”

 

Melkor then proceeded to chase across the mountaintop to the Door of the Night until he managed to chase Manwe off the mountain.

 

How annoying. I didn’t actually get to hit him. -10/10, would not claim as brother again.

 

To vent his anger, Melkor blasted the stairs on the mountain into smithereens.

 

He turned to the Door, held open, and beheld the Maia there. It was easy to destroy the shackles binding him, to rush forward and keep him from falling. Melkor could tell it hadn’t been for too long, as Mairon’s fana was still mostly together, but he could feel the strings of Mairon’s fana wearing thin.

 

He turned east to see Varda, neatly walking towards him.

 

“Oh dear. I suppose this is what has my husband in such a huff.” She said lightly. “Do you think I should really divorce him?”

 

“I… I will always promote your happiness.” Melkor said, Mairon unconscious in his arms. Varda nodded.

 

“I see.” She said. “When you go, go quickly, and I will attempt to wedge some sense into my husband. I wonder if he swallowed something toxic; he’s been so stupid as of late. Wouldn’t you agree?”

 

“I’m his older brother; he’ll always been my moronic little brother who places too much stock in our father’s words for his own good.” Melkor replied. Varda nodded, and they who had once thought to fall in love acknowledged each other now as friends parted with a single nod and a knowing sigh.

 

Melkor warped the weave of Arda around himself and Mairon, taking them both to the cabin by the Dead Sea, untouched, just as it had been left.



Chapter Text

When Eonwe was newly descended from the Timeless Halls, not yet even named Eonwe, he was innocent, pure like the snow when it has not yet touched the ground. He could see no evil in the world. The other Maiar thought him too innocent for his own good.

 

He laughed them off, too young and inexperienced to know what darkness or Discord was. When the Music was Sung in the Timeless Halls, he had been standing too close to Manwe and Iluvatar to hear to the Discord.

 

Eonwe was pure white.



~~~



When he was named Eonwe by Manwe, he was so happy. He had always wanted a name to call his own. He felt special. He was the herald of the king!

 

But he was lonely. He was Manwe’s only named Maia. The other’s regarded him with disdain.

 

He was very lonely. No one he knew wanted to talk to him. They were all formal with him, calling him by name. It made him sad that they had no names of their own for him to call them.

 

But they constantly told him how he should feel honored , that there was no greater honor, that serving as Manwe’s herald was such an honorable thing to do.

 

They were right, of course, but that did nothing to assuage his loneliness.



~~~



Manwe spoke with him! He felt ecstatic. No one really spoke to Eonwe. Lately, they called him overbearing and haughty, but Manwe dismissed those claims. Eonwe was beside himself with glee.

 

His once pure white was tainted with a bright gold, but he didn’t notice.



~~~



He first met Mairon when Manwe, concerned about Melkor’s suspicious silence, sent him to Aule to commision weapons and armor. When he was there, he met Aule, yes, but he also spoke to Aule’s protege, a stunning forge spirit with hair like rose gold and skin like bronze. The spirit’s eyes were the liquid gold of the very metals he forged.

 

Eonwe was smitten.

 

But because it would be improper to just confess to the spirit, he first began with short visits, ostensibly to check the progress of the commision.

 

“My name is Mairon, oh smitten one.” The Maia said on Eonwe’s fifteenth visit. “And I have not the time for your idiocy. So spit out the thing that sends you to my forge, where the soot and smoke from my work stains that impractical white that you so love to wear gray.”

 

Eonwe fumbled over his words, before he dazedly said “I think I’m in love.”

 

Mairon laughed in his face and kicked him out.

 

“Come back when you know me.” He said, and the door to the forge slammed shut.



~~~



Mairon was a recluse, so Eonwe wasn’t sure how to start. However, the best advice he received was from Varda, after she had grown exasperated been impressed with his persistence.

 

“You’re taken with his because of his pretty face.” She sighed. “Talk to him when he’s off. At risk of sounding blatantly obvious: get to know him as a person.”

 

Eonwe was a bit confused.

 

“But if we need to know the other well to fall in love, is it still true love?” He asked, puzzled. Varda facepalmed hard.

 

“Of all the patently moronic views on…” She muttered, before straightening herself with a sigh. “You can’t truly love someone you don’t know. Without knowing a person, how can you say you love them, and not your idea of them? If you really think you are truly in love with Mairon, be first someone he knows well, and let him be someone you know well. After that, if you still are in love, maybe you did fall in love at first sight.”

 

She sighed again, then leveled a heavy, piercing stare at Eonwe.

 

“Otherwise, it’s just lust and fleeting infatuation.” She pronounced, grave as the Doomsman.

 

Eonwe knew her advice was wise, but he thought he had love on his side.



~~~



He courted Mairon, absolutely, unshakeable convinced he was in love. As far as he was concerned, they were basically lovers.

 

The commission Mairon had done for Manwe was long since completed. Eonwe kept visiting Mairon because he wanted to.

 

“You stick to my side like a burr.” Mairon said, something off in his tone. “What even are we?” It had been a long, long time since they had first met. They spent a lot of time together. Mairon, unrepentant recluse that he was, often spent time with Eonwe when he wasn’t in his forge.

 

“I would like us to be lovers.” Eonwe said earnestly. Mairon shrugged.

 

“Okay, I suppose.” He replied flatly. “Not like I’ve much better to call you.”

 

Eonwe was delighted. The once pure white that had taken on a gold hue was now soot stained and a little bit, though that bit was ever increasing, grey.



~~~




The first few months that he and Mairon were officially together were fantastic. Lots of hugging, many chaste kisses, and pleasant afternoons together were had.

 

Eonwe thought his white was becoming purer.

 

In truth, it was that his eyes had adjusted to the grey stains.



~~~



When Eonwe saw the sword, he just knew it was intended for him. It had to be, right? He and Mairon had been drifting apart lately and he assumed the gift was meant as an apology. It was sleek and elegant, a perfect creation.

 

“Aww, thank you!” Eonwe said sincerely. “It’s beautiful; just wonderful; absolutely perfect!” He had hugged Mairon and kissed his lover on the nose. Mairon’s smile was oddly tense.

 

“Okay.” Mairon said shortly, turning back to his work. Eonwe took the sword without of second thought.

 

He completely missed Mairon sitting in his dark forge, his head dropped into his hands, trying not to cry over losing the gift he had promised Gothmog for being such an incredible friend to him, for not assuming anything in their relationship at all, unlike Eonwe who seemed to only know the version in his own head, and not what was actually happening.



~~~



When Mairon left, Eonwe couldn’t believe that he had done such a horrible thing of his own free will. He couldn’t possibly have; Eonwe knew Mairon better than anyone!

 

Eonwe knew, without a doubt, that Morgoth had made Mairon do it.

 

But Manwe would not let him run to rescue his lover, and on later battlefields, he never got the chance.

 

But the thought of Mairon’s suffering hardened his resolve!



~~~



When Morgoth was thrown into Mandos, Mairon was Sauron, an evil, cruel thing made by Morgoth to hide Mairon.

 

Eonwe knew better than to trust that thing’s lies. He was smarter than that.

 

Righteousness, he knew, would always prevail over that dirty, senseless individuality. He knew how to put himself below others for their own good. He would fix the mess that Morgoth had made of his beloved Mairon.



~~~



At the Dagor Dagorath, after he slew Morgoth, was Sauron, defiant to the end, ragged, armor near-broken.

 

Proud, unbroken, beautiful.

 

He should’ve been at Eonwe’s side.

 

But here he was, defending some disgusting, impure, debauched Vala with no sense of goodness.

 

With a howl like that of a wounded wolf on its last legs, Sauron charged, radiant flame around him. HIs gaze was wrathful, boring into Eonwe.

 

The blow that felled Sauron was by Eonwe’s hand.

 

“Morgoth…” Eonwe murmured, Sauron at his feet, that sword made just for him having slipped in his grip away from his target as it always did and struck just to the left of Sauron’s heart. “Why did you take my beloved from me?”

 

Eonwe’s ears couldn’t hear Mairon’s bitter, hateful snarl.

 

“When was I ever yours?”



~~~



“How dare you!” Eonwe screamed as Morgoth punted him from the mountain.

 

He was protecting Mairon!

 

He was protecting him from the evil seduction of Morgoth. Eonwe would never let Morgoth take away his Mairon ever again.

 

After he landed, he was aching all over and had smashed through Manwe’s roof and landed disgracefully in the foyer.

 

Varda sighed disdainfully.

 

“Are you even white?” She asked calmly. “No, don’t answer. I already know.”

 

“Have…” Eonwe gasped in pain, his landing having been a rather spectacular crash. “Have I failed you?”

 

Varda’s gaze was sorrowful as she departed in motes of starlight.

 

“Reflect, Eonwe.” She said in parting. “Reflect on who you have become. You should at least try to improve.”


And for the first time since he had been chosen as Manwe's herald, Eonwe realized he had been in the wrong.

 

"Impossible." Eonwe spat.

 

And that was all that became of Varda's advice.

Chapter Text

~Melkor~



Melkor returned to the cabin, Mairon in his arms. He set Mairon gently on the bed, and then proceeded to be incredibly bored.

 

He went outside for a walk. Mairon was still sleeping when he returned. Boredom was Melkor’s constant companion. He was bored at the side of his Father, so he rebelled. He was bored in Valinor, so he rebelled.

 

Now he was sitting on the floor of his cabin, after his beloved Arda had been mutilated beyond recognition.

 

He hadn’t expected to go insane. There was a certain lightheartedness to his nature, that, when extinguished, drove him to very dark places very fast. He sighed, casting his gaze to the tea set Nienna had sent him.

 

He had a brilliant idea to stave off boredom: he’d finally paint the tea set! It came with paints and everything! Mentally, Melkor was patting himself on the back for figuring this out.



~~~



In retrospect, Melkor could not paint.

 

That was meant quite literally.

 

Whatever he wanted paint on remained unpainted, but everything else in arm’s length ended up getting painted on, including but not limited to: himself, his clothes, furniture, walls, and poor, long-suffering Mairon, who had eventually woken up and taken a seat across from Melkor on the armchair and was currently knitting… something.

 

Melkor wasn’t that bad at painting, really, he swore up and down that wasn’t the case.

 

“This is… interesting.” Mairon said, mildly amused.

 

Melkor was trying, and trying was a very important quantifier in this situation, to paint brilliant flames on the black pottery. When he actually got the paint on the ceramic, it looked fantastic.

 

Unfortunately he was running out of paint and only got one cup and the pot done. With an expression that just screamed ‘don’t judge me I know what I’m doing I swear’, Melkor magicked more paint into the tins.

 

Mairon shrugged, and went back to knitting.



~~~



After two hours, five more refills of paint, three towels, a tarp, and cutesy black silk ribbons (Mairon was bored), Melkor had painted the tea set. It was rather nice looking, especially after Mairon fired it right then and there, making the flames on black pottery especially dramatic and eye-catching.

 

“You changed clothes.” Melkor said, only now realizing Mairon wasn’t wearing the heavy robe. Melkor had lost the mask between the cabin and Valinor, but the robe had stayed. Now Mairon was in a crimson robe, the thin fabric of which draped around him in a statuesque way.

 

“Yes” Mairon replied, finding a book from who knew where and settling in to read. Mairon had finished his knitting an hour ago and was now comfortably draped in the blanket he’d just made.

 

Melkor set to cleaning up the paint.

 

“We should talk.” Melkor said as he cleaned. The tarp had certainly reduced the mess, but didn’t change the fact that Melkor was physically on his hands and knees scrubbing paint from his house. He and Mairon could simply magic the paint off their fana, but because the cabin was not magic in the same way, Melkor had to physically clean it.

 

At least the paint was water-soluble.

 

He hoped the paint didn’t come off the cups in the wash. That would certainly be a shame.



~~~



After the cabin was paint splatter free, Melkor looked up at Mairon, who had remained in his armchair.

 

“Mairon.” Melkor said. “We need to talk.”

 

“About what?” Mairon asked, shutting his book quietly.

 

“Us.” Melkor said, finding his throat suddenly dry. He wasn’t sure what he wouldn’t offer up to Mairon. It scared him.

 

Mairon could ask anything and Melkor would do it.

 

“Okay.” Mairon said quietly. “I get it; you’re scared of me. I can tell you’re scared. I’ll go, it’s fine.”

 

Melkor immediately shook his head in a fervent no.

 

“Mairon, I’m scared because I would do anything you asked me to.” Melkor said, pulling his knees into his chest, weaving and unweaving his fingers.

 

Something dark came to life in Mairon’s eyes.

 

“Really?” Mairon purred, standing up and stalking over to Melkor. “Stand up; follow.” Melkor stood, something uncertain in him. But he followed Mairon anyway into the bedroom.

 

Mairon slipped his crimson robe off his shoulders, hanging it up in the closet.

 

Languidly, Mairon settled onto the bed, back against the headboard, having propped up some pillows so that his back was not pressed against something hard.

 

“Strip and come here.” Mairon commanded. And although Melkor’s hands were shaking, he undressed, folded his clothes, because Mairon liked it when things were neat, and stored them in the armoire. After he did that, he sat down on the bed. Mairon beckoned him forward.

 

Melkor crawled over to Mairon, who pulled him close, positioning and nudging Melkor to drape himself on top of the Maia. With his head buried in Mairon’s hair and the Maia holding him close, it felt tender and sweet.

 

“You said you would do anything if I asked you to.” Mairon said thoughtfully. Melkor’s mind was currently buried in soft, warm embers. A lazy hum was his only response.

 

Mairon’s hand came up to lazily pet Melkor, starting from his head to running down his back, then to start all over again. Melkor leaned into Mairon

 

“That’s not good.” Mairon told Melkor, and Melkor could feel that the earlier darkness had receded.

 

“I know.” Melkor replied. “Why did you think I was scared?” Mairon sighed, and continued stroking soothing lines down Melkor’s back.

 

“I thought you believed I would do what I did last time.” Mairon said, a sad note his tone.

 

“No.” Melkor replied. “Never again. But you can’t do that again, Mairon. You can’t. It’s bad for both of us when one of us falls.”

 

“I know. But what can be done?” Mairon asked.

 

“You’re the one with all the good ideas, Mairon.” Melkor answered. “I trust you. I’ll help you in this as well because this is something we both need to be aware of.”

 

“Maybe we should speak with Este about this.” Mairon mused. “But that would mean returning to Valinor. I do not think that is wise.”

 

“We could ask Varda to speak to Este on our behalf.” Melkor suggested.

 

“Yes, that could work. Send a letter maybe, with the explanations of the symptoms…” Mairon was already turning it through in his head, Melkor noted.

 

“We’ll write the letter tomorrow.” Melkor said decisively, sitting up to grab the covers and pull them over himself and Mairon. “For now though, let’s sleep. The Void is a trying place.”

 

Melkor would know all too well. He pulled Mairon to himself and curled into the Maia.

 

Quietly, he begged nothing and no one to let him go the night without dreams, not even half-remembered ones.



Chapter Text

~Mairon~



He woke before Melkor did, in the quiet dark of the witching hour, a time when the Children oft whispered of fey things and fell beings prowling about, in a time when the way east from the West was easier traveled. Feanor had led his people from Valinor during this hour, when Arda waited with bated breath for the next thing to happen.

 

Mairon slipped out of bed, disentangling himself from Melkor. He needed to make something, anything. If he recalled correctly, he still had material left. As he was walking to the front door, a glimmer of brilliant orange caught his eye. Curious, he turned to see it was Melkor’s gem.

 

Something turned his blood to ice as he gently picked up the gem. It was beautiful. The play of light fascinated him, the smoothness of it surprised him. Perhaps the light refraction was related to its molecular structure?

 

It was a conundrum of a thing and he thought it more beautiful than any of the gems he had seen in Arda Healed so far.

 

Yet he simply walked to the mantelpiece where another gem, translucent with streaks of snow white, sat forlornly. He sat the orange gem beside it.

 

If he cut the white one into two, perhaps a crown, flame flanked by ice, in iron? Wrought, black metal, yes, to make the orange and white more brilliant. A re-imagining of Melkor’s first crown, the one he ruined with the Silmarils. Didn’t Melkor have an unfinished wrought iron crown when he came to rescue Mairon? Finish that, set the gems, an apology?

 

But before he did anything so involved, he needed to regain his skills. Long eras without practice had dulled his abilities.

 

So he left the gems and went to that waterfall forge, an unwitting? exact recreation of the one Mairon once had, when he was Lieutenant of the Dark Lord of Middle Earth, and evil and cruelty accompanied his every breath.



~~~



The forge was distinctly his, made for him, intended for him. In it sat the sword intended for Gothmog. As if it would break if he so much as breathed wrong, Mairon picked it up in near-trembling hands. Carefully, he lifted the blade to his ear and listened to the Song of it, a mournful tune like embers and ash. Mairon Sang to it, prettily, in a Music of molten lava and harsh mountain and lashing flame.

 

Wondrously did the sword take to the Song, and soon Mairon no longer had to coax from it its purpose. The sword was hale once more, its once hoarse sound from suppression pure and clear.

 

Without missing a single beat, Mairon set to work on a scabbard for the sword. Eonwe had taken it before he had made the scabbard and he was too exhausting for Mairon to bother requesting the sword back in order to make a proper scabbard, so Gothmog’s sword never actually had a scabbard. That irked Mairon greatly.

 

The forge behind the waterfall was surprisingly well-stocked, with a wide variety of metals, leathers, furs, and even a few semi-precious stones in neat boxes, waiting to be unpacked. Mairon set the sword on the workbench and got started on arranging his materials in the ample space provided by the barren forge.



~~~



He took only half an hour to arrange everything; he had been in forges for most of his existence, and knew how he wanted it to be sorted.

 

Materials now placed where he wanted them, he set to work. He decided to follow the minimalistic design of the sword, the scabbard being crafted of simple black leather with well-oiled fur in the interior to help prevent rusting. The end and the top of the scabbard was capped in stone. With precise stitches done in iron thread, Mairon had bound the leather together, and the stone was bound with magic to the leather.

 

He sighed, suddenly overwhelmed with nostalgic memories.

 

With a sad smile and a shuddering breath, Mairon placed the sword onto the shelf he’d designated for projects he had finished but couldn’t do anything with.

 

He turned to see Melkor, in a complex outfit that made Mairon just itch to undress him to see how exactly he had layered silver, black, and copper fabric to look simultaneously risque and conservative.

 

“What’s the occasion?” Mairon asked smoothly, concealing his rising arousal at the thought of just jumping Melkor and seeing those pretty robes shredded beneath him, obsidian hair splayed obscenely on the ground, fine features alight with shame and arousal…

 

“I recall a certain night when you were still in the service of Aule that left me short a very nice set of formal wear, entirely unsatisfied, and praying that Yavanna wouldn’t notice one very embarrassed Maia and one very unclothed Vala.” Melkor said, equally as smooth as Mairon. “That and I thought you deserved a gift.”

 

“Then may I see the gift you decided to give me?” Mairon asked. He wanted to see. With a knowing smile, Melkor came to Mairon and stood before him.

 

Mairon circled Melkor slowly, inspecting, admiring.

 

There was nothing refined in how he suddenly spun Melkor around and dragged him to the ground, capturing the Vala’s mouth with a forceful kiss. After Mairon pulled away, Melkor laughed, a breathy, delighted thing.

 

“Oh, yes…” Melkor breathed, face flushed. Mairon shushed him.

 

“Just lie there and be pretty.” He replied, meticulously ripping the black silk outer robe off of Melkor. Beneath it was a careful netting of copper coloured ribbons that streamed outwards, tied together… somewhere. Mairon searched for it, a small growl escaping him when he found that the ribbons he was looking for were camouflaged by the rest of the robe.

 

“Having trouble unwrapping it, Lieutenant?” Melkor teased. Mairon met his eyes and, without breaking his stare, ripped the copper ribbon robe open. Melkor laughed again.

 

“Well, that works too.” Melkor teased.

 

“Why are you dressed in such a needlessly complex manner?” Mairon asked, feigning annoyance as he started trying to figure out how to undo the full-length black robe with silver embroidery Melkor wore under the ribbon one. There was a silver sash around Melkor’s waist, tied in an almost impossibly complex knot. Mairon began picking at it.

 

“Because you like it.” Melkor replied.

 

“I want you naked, not gift-wrapped.” Mairon replied, finally undoing the sash at Melkor’s waist, causing the black robe and the silver under robe beneath it to fall open, revealing Melkor’s nude body. Mairon’s own robe was tossed carelessly to the side.

 

Mairon ran his hands down Melkor’s chest, admiring the contour of muscles and the smoothness of Melkor’s skin. Carefully, he leaned down and took Melkor into his mouth, taking the Vala up to the hilt. It was difficult for him to move his tongue, but he did what he could, enjoying Melkor’s breathless moans and incoherent cries. Melkor came down his throat crying the Mairon’s name, to Mairon’s intense satisfaction. Mairon swallowed, then raised himself up to see Melkor, hands fisted into the fabric pooled around him, hair an utter mess, face flushed.

 

“I can’t…” Melkor breathed, staring up at Mairon near reverently. “I can’t bring myself to say I’d do things completely differently when they’ve led to you, here, doing this.”

 

Mairon smiled, a shy, but warm thing.

 

“Just a little differently?” Mairon asked. Melkor tried and failed to look arrogant.

 

“Well, I would obviously have just seduced Feanor for the chance to see if elf sex is- ah!” Melkor interrupted himself as Mairon carefully worked two fingers into him slow enough that the perpetually preoccupied Vala didn’t quite notice it happening.

 

“When did you even?” Melkor sputtered, previous train of thought dropped completely.

 

“Melkor, dearest, I had time to summon lube, use it, unsummon it, and finger you.” Mairon replied. “As much as I’m curious about kinky threesomes with Feanor, I can’t say I want to hear anyone else’s name from your mouth but mine right now.”

 

Mairon worked in another finger, thrusting in and out slowly and rhythmically.

 

“Why is that so fucking hot?” Melkor said. “That’s my line! I’m the domineering one! You’re stealing my- shit!”

 

Mairon eased his finger out before entering Melkor, each movement of his hips burying him deeper until he was fully inside the Vala.

 

“Don’t move, don’t you dare- Mairon!” Melkor cried as Mairon blatantly ignored him and began to move, drawing out cries of pleasure from both him and the Vala. Melkor was heat and warmth around him, and finally Mairon came inside the Vala.

 

“Why are you so talkative?” Mairon asked. Melkor just rolled his eyes and flopped back.

 

“Carry me back to the cabin, you fucked me sore.” Melkor whined.

 

“Needy.” Mairon teased, pinching the Vala’s cheek.

 

Nevertheless, Mairon carried Melkor back to the cabin, prepared him a bath, and joined him in it.

 

Surprisingly, Melkor exercised a modicum of self-control and only claimed many intense kisses instead of going another round.

 

Mairon was mostly just glad he wouldn’t have to dry the ceiling again anytime soon.



Chapter Text

 

“Filth.” Eonwe snarled, eyes alight with righteous, incorrect indignation. Eonwe hadn’t been good in a very long time. Gothmog wasn’t sure what tainted that Maia, but it wasn’t what tainted Gothmog, or Mairon, or Melkor.

 

Eonwe was tainted by the light. Gothmog was tainted by the dark.

 

His mouth was held open by a modified muzzle set onto his face, and his arms were chained behind his back. The muzzle was humiliating, yes, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the collar around his neck, the lead short enough to force his head backwards even as he was on his knees. From his position, Eonwe stood over him easily, shaving of slivers of his horns into his mouth.

 

They tasted like ash and char, and cut his throat or got lodged in it. It was hard to breathe, his throat was bleeding.

 

Mairon’s eyes were opened from fear, bruises and lacerations and scars seemingly everywhere Gothmog could see.

 

Beneath fear burned wrath in his eyes though.

 

Gothmog coughed, spraying blood directly onto Eonwe.

 

The other Maia’s lips curled in disgust.

 

“What is the point of this, Eonwe?” Mairon asked softly. “What happened to you?”

“What happened to you?” Eonwe snapped. “Why did you leave like that? We could’ve been so happy together and yet you chose evil!”

 

Mairon sighed.

 

“It was my choice to make, Eonwe.” Mairon replied. “And although it did not end how we thought it would end, those initial reasons were right for me.”

 

“Mairon, the Darkness can affect your perceptions; that doesn’t mean anything!” Eonwe cried. Gothmog had understood for a long while that there was something in Eonwe that could not accept Mairon leaving him.

 

Gothmog would say something in protest, but with his throat full of shards of his own horns, he couldn’t. Mairon wavered.

 

Eonwe pressed his slight advantage.

 

“Mairon, please, think logically about all this.” Eonwe pleaded. Mairon’s eyes flicked to Gothmog.

 

“Please don’t use my friend like this, Eonwe.” Mairon said quietly.

 

“Mairon, you keep making it so I have to.” Eonwe sighed, placing a gentle hand on Mairon’s shoulder. Mairon flinched.

 

“I’ll return to Valinor, free from darkness, but only if you let the Maia of Melkor free.” Mairon said. Gothmog wasn’t surprised, but he was saddened. Eonwe called for guards to drag Gothmog away, still coughing up blood and horn fragments.

 

Gothmog saw Mairon, very uncomfortable with the situation, in Eonwe’s embrace as he was dragged away.


~~~


Gothmog saw Mairon a few times in Valinor. He looked like a dead thing that moved.

 

It was not a flattering thought, but it showcased how far apart Mairon and the thing that shuffled around Valinor was.

 

Radiance burned out in the name of perfection.

 

Gothmog wondered why Eru let them chose if those choices would only be used against them.


~~~


Gothmog saw Melkor descend, fair and aloof. With hair like raven’s feathers trailing behind him and eyes like chips of ice, Gothmog saw the Melkor that had been.

 

He actually walked right past Gothmog, following Yavanna. There was no heed paid to him, of course. He was no fair-skinned, lithe, beautiful figure. His hair was dark and curly, he himself was more sturdy than wollowy, and his skin brown. Gothmog was not a striking figure.

 

Gothmog was a forgettable one.

 

Even Melkor passed him by.


~~~

 

He didn’t know quite what drove him up Sinner’s Contemplation.

 

He doesn’t remember it well.

 

Things have begun to blur together in his mind.

 

Even Yavanna, who tried to be kind to Mairon, broken by the demand of perfection, forgot of him.

 

He does not know. He does not know.

 

Yavanna’s kindness scared something deep in him, and a proud him, of fiery horns and lava whips and cold, warm command tries to wake. Gothmog pushed him back into sleep.


~~~


The farcical trial was a farce. Varda’s little trio, Thuringwethil, the exile, it all flew by him.

 

Manwe yielding to Varda in letting him keep his hands did not.

 

He found himself owing the Queen of the Valar.

 

Gothmog was not quite sure what to think.


~~~


Gothmog was just sort of being scenery, delaying his own exile, when Eonwe crashed into the garbage dump across from him. Gothmog had seen better days; he was no longer fit, his hair was a dirty mess, his cheeks were gaunt, shadows lived under his eyes. His gaze had once been compared to fire; now it was burned-out coal. With his clothes dirty and unkept, Gothmog more resembled a cast-away vagrant than the Chief of the Balrogs, one of those who sat at Melkor’s left hand.

 

He came to this shitty alleyway often after being worked to the bone in dried up mines.

 

Eonwe, incensed, dragged himself out of the rubbish bin, rotting food from the cheap restaurant in his hair. Eonwe clambered out, shaking off bits of trash.

 

Gothmog stared in that dead way that had become habit.

 

“What?” Eonwe snapped, turning to face Gothmog. Gothmog shrugged, but said nothing. He hadn’t talked in he didn’t know it all blurred together silence upon silence upon silence.

 

Gothmog’s throat never did heal, after all.

 

Recognition dawned on Eonwe’s face. Gothmog found himself shackled in burning light. He winced at the pain.

 

“Aren’t you supposed to be exiled?” He asked, a sharp and vicious note to him. Gothmog shrugged.

 

Technically yes, but he sensed Melkor coming. He wanted to see what would happen, and getting to witness Eonwe being punted from a mountain, and then shot of the peak of Taniquetil was worth it.

 

“Let me help you.” Eonwe snarled. He was unarmed and unaware that Gothmog did not care. That proud him was still slumbering, a bed of coal waiting to burst into flames but hadn’t quite been sparked yet.

 

Eonwe bodily dragged him to the eastern beach of Valinor. Gothmog struggled, truly struggled, when he saw that Eonwe intended to cast him in. But it was not out of fear of the ocean.

 

Nay, it was because he’d had enough.

 

Gothmog still had much strength left within him. He was strong in a wily magic that was trained, not given, and he pushed at Eonwe and his shackles with that. The force of it surprised Eonwe, allowing Gothmog to twist away.

 

“I’ll be off then.” Gothmog snarled, changing himself into a crow and flying away.


~~~


When he landed in Middle Earth, it was in the ruins of Utumno, tenacious despite marring perfection.

 

Dark stone spiralled in dilapidated battlements and fortress walls, casting long and dark shadows. There was the crunch of grass beneath his feet, and a biting cold pushed at him. The air was damp and smelled of petrichor.

 

He changed back into his more elfin form.

 

Thuringwethil was there, in the shape of a bat, hanging from a worn rafter. She changed into her more elfin form as well, with wavy dark hair, olive skin, and rich black eyes.

 

“What now?” She asked.

 

“Explore?” Gothmog suggested. “Share stories? I got to see Eonwe land in a dumpster in a shitty alleyway in Valinor after Melkor punted him off a mountain and Varda kicked him off Taniquetil.”

 

Thuringwethil laughed, a clear and bright thing.

 

“Really?” She said. “Tell me more.”

 

They set off towards the coast, sharing stories as they went to ease the pain of being cast away from Valinor again.


Chapter Text

Thuringwethil sighed.

 

Grass, under her feet, frozen and brittle, crunched with every step. A bitter, chill wind blowed towards the coast. Above them was the starry sky, reminding Thuringwethil of her youth as a random, forgotten elf-maiden who stumbled and was left behind.

 

Strange magic had made her; strange magic had sustained her. After the Dagor Dagorath, she was sure that her hunger had been sealed away, making her no more than an elf.

 

As they walked towards the coast, Gothmog had shared the tale of how Eonwe was punted off a mountain to land in a trash heap, Thuringwethil finally voiced a question that had been flitting about her mind.

 

“Will they- will they recognize me?” Thuringwethil asked. “Like this, I mean.”

 

She was nothing like a vampire now, just a powerless elf maid with neither magic nor skill to her name.

 

Gothmog took a while to reply, clearly thinking.

 

For a long while, there only was the crisp blue sky, cold wind, and crunch of grass in response to her question.

 

“I don’t know.” He said eventually. “I would like to think they would.”

 

Thuringwethil ran an anxious hand through cropped dark hair, unsettling it.

 

“But what if they don’t?” Thuringwethil asked, anxious. “What if they don’t?”

 

“Then I’ll remind them.” Gothmog said simply.

 

“But what if-” Thuringwethil began, only for Gothmog to shake his head solemnly.

 

“Then I’ll remind them.” He said. “You know me, Thuringwethil. I won’t let them get away with forgetting you, or abandoning you, or any other stupid thing.”

 

And that was that.



~~~



Although Gothmog was a Maia, Thuringwethil, in her sealed state, was no more than an elf, subject to hunger, thirst, and exhaustion.

 

“I can carry you.” Gothmog said. Thuringwethil immediately shook her head.

 

“No, no, it’s fine.” She said. “I just need to rest a little is all.”

 

Thuringwethil sat on a mossy stone. Her clothing, a simple dress not meant for travel, was already suffering from the wear and tear of the walk.

 

“Are you hungry?” Gothmog asked her.

 

“Don’t worry about it.” Thuringwethil replied, a hand pressed to her stomach. It had been a long, long time since she’d been hungry, truly hungry, but she recalled it with a vicious hatred.

 

“If you say so.” Gothmog said simply, but his tone belied his concern.

 

After a while, Thuringwethil stood, and they continued onward.



~~~



It had only been another hour before Thuringwethil had stumbled, and, recalling her death, screamed, a shrill, piercing shriek like that of a beansidhe.

 

Dirt, crumbling in her hands, the fierce visage of a horned huntsman, Orome,while a cruel bow was clutched in his hands. A soft, loamy smell, earthy, dusty, the tang and metal of blood, her blood. The crunch of feet passing, passing, passing.

 

For so long, so long, so long, she laid there, a forgotten, broken elf-thing. Grim shadows streamed past her, but, as a dead corpse, bloated with decay, there was no way for her to feel.

 

But then a fiery thing, a creature of metal and delicate artifice, leaned over her, a morbid curiosity on his face. Beside him was change and transformation incarnate, creaking glaciers, crackling flame, the crash of lightning.

 

“Why not try with this one, master?” The fiery one spoke, pulling himself into an elf shape, with fair, bronze skin and burning golden eyes. Change incarnate pulled himself into a similar shape, but his form was pale and long, and midnight spilled over his shoulders while ice stared into her soul.

 

The first touch of not-life to her soul burned and froze, but it gave her strength, pulled her back, un-putrefied her body, turning a bloated, decaying mess into a fair form.

 

But the process was ultimately unusable, the fiery one had mused. Not because she wasn’t up to snuff, but rather because the other one seemed to be drifting in and out of sleep.

 

Gothmog extended his hand to her, helping her up. Carefully, she dusted herself off.

 

“Here.” Gothmog said, handing her his over robe. Gratefully, she pulled it on. It was far larger than her, and she was practically swimming in fabric, but it was warm and she was cold.

 

“Thanks.” She said.

 

The walk to the sea continued, and loamy forest became sharp rocks, carefully stepped through for fear of ruining shoes not mean to endure such landscape.



~~~



They just reached the beach when she felt the hot wind blow from ahead.

 

“Gothmog.” She said. “Mairon is teleporting.”

 

Softly, the hot wind died to down to reveal Mairon, walking towards them with barely a limp.

 

“Gothmog, Thuringwethil.” He said gladly. “I’m glad to see you both again.”

 

He looked well , hair colored like rosy-fingered dawn almost floating around him in the balmy sea air, his skin having regained a healthy tint.

 

Even near-mortal Thuringwethil could see the contrast between him and Gothmog. Where Mairon, despite his leg, could stand unburdened, it was as if Gothmog’s lack of horns placed a heavier weight on his head, and there was an ashen pallor to him. Even his hair seemed to lack lustre, and there was a dullness to his eyes, a brokenness to their depths, that Mairon didn’t show as much.

 

Or he was, as usual, showing only the whole, unsullied parts.

 

“Mairon, Thuringwethil was sealed.” Gothmog said.

 

“How so?” Mairon asked, stepping closer to the two, eyes narrowed in concentration as he wrapped his own fiery power around her, testing the waters, so to speak.

 

She didn’t know, but whatever Mairon could sense did not bode well.

 

“Come. Unfortunately, I think one of you will have to sleep on the floor.” Mairon said.

 

“I call floor.” Gothmog said immediately. Mairon snorted.

 

“Okay then, I’ll take the luxurious couch, where I shall have neither aches nor cricks upon awakening.” Thuringwethil said, affecting an air of regal haughtiness.

 

Gothmog laughed.

 

“But of course, oh fair lady!” He replied in good humour. “It would not do for one such as yourself to sleep upon the floor.”

 

They broke into laughter, the three of them, and the Dead Sea lapped merrily at the shore.



~~~



They eventually came upon the cabin, a quaint, homey place, with a waterfall beside it and dark, dramatic woods behind it. Mairon led them up to it and let them in.

 

Melkor was relaxed on a couch, a book, no doubt Mairon’s in his hands. When he looked up, he smiled to see Mairon.

 

He embraced Mairon like a lover long parted would, unabashedly showering Mairon with light kisses on his brow, his nose, his cheeks, his lips.

 

“It was fifteen minutes, Melkor.” Mairon sighed after Melkor finally ceased his ministrations.

 

“What if it was Eonwe out there?” Melkor said innocently.

 

“It clearly wasn’t.” Mairon grumbled. “Truthfully, you were thinking of something else.”

 

“Well, truthfully, I would like send him flying again.” Melkor responded, still holding Mairon. “It was very fun.”

 

“Ah, now we get to the heart of it.” Mairon replied. “I do wish I had seen it that time.”

 

Discreetly, Thuringwethil turned to Gothmog.

 

“They’re a thing!” She almost squeed. “A thing! It’s so cute!”

 

Gothmog nodded.

 

They both turned back to Mairon disentangling himself from Melkor.

 

“So, Melkor, Thuringwethil is sealed.” Mairon said.

 

“I can’t help with that.” Melkor said.

 

“Excuse me?” Gothmog replied, confused and a little disbelieving.

 

“Well, she’s not sealed, per se, anymore?” Melkor said, hands raised in surrender. “Closer to alive, really.”

 

“Wait! I’m alive?” Thuringwethil cried, hands clawing in her hair. “That’s not supposed to be happening, it’s not right, it’s not right!”

 

Gothmog placed a gentle hand on her shoulder as she panicked and helped her sit.

 

After a long while, after Mairon had thrown a blanket around her and Melkor made her tea, and the shaking had finally subsided, night come and left, Thuringwethil sipped at the tea, magically yet piping hot. Rosy-fingered dawn had now come, casting gentle ribbons of light through a window. Gothmog snored softly from an armchair, head lolled in sleep at an angle sure to aggravate the neck. Someone, most likely Melkor, had thrown a blanket around him. Dawn’s warm and soft light fell on his face, making him look young. She sighed, feeling nostalgic for older times, when the world was impure but all the more beautiful for it.

 

Thuringwethil now did not know what to make of being alive after so long, but curiosity niggled at her.

 

A knock at the door startled her, waking Gothmog, and she thought she heard someone fall off the bed while the other lightly laughed.

 

Then Mairon, barely dressed, flitted to the front door and opened it.

 

“What a surprise.” He said graciously. “I suppose our home will be rather full. Please, come inside. Pardon the mess, but make yourselves welcome.”



Chapter Text

Manwe sat alone in his home, gazing upon starlit peaks, capped with a dusting of snow. He was thinking.

 

This particular room was arranged with one loveseat and two chairs overlooking the mountains, a massive, floor-to-ceiling window showcasing the breathtaking landscape. The walls were lined with bookshelves, stuffed with books.

 

Recently, Eonwe had come to him, perturbation etched into his face.

 

“What does it mean to love someone?” He had asked. Manwe did not know what had inspired him to spring such a question. Lately, Eonwe had taken to wandering and contemplation and books and questions. It made Manwe disturbed, on some level, because Eonwe had professed love for Mairon, so he surely knew what that was, right? More and more Manwe found himself being confronted with things he had overlooked or turned away from.

 

A polite knock on his door disturbed his thinking.

 

“Please, enter.” Manwe said. Varda entered, her radiance disturbed by her frightful air.

 

“Husband, dear husband of mine, I am going to visit your brother soon.” She said softly, electing not to sit beside him but across from him. “I thought you should know. Is there anything you wish to say to him?”

 

Manwe remembered the moment when she had demanded to be separated from him. It haunted him, a quiet echo in the back of his mind when he tossed and turned in fretful motions seeking slumber alone for the first time in millenia and finding it gone. Regret, with the ever-growing incisors of a rat, ate at him. He felt as though he were but a shadow of himself.

 

“Varda, can I ask you something?” He said, pretending there wasn’t a plaintive, begging note in his voice.

 

“Of course.” Varda replied, softening. “What troubles you so?”

 

“Do you still love me?” He asked. “Am I still worthy of you? I am afraid that I have let fear cloud my judgement and blind my vision, and that I have taught Eonwe to do the same.”

 

“I still love you, Manwe.” Varda said. “You are right, and I am glad to see you have realized it. In that moment, I was furious with your decisions, yes, and I do regret saying that I wished to leave you.”

“What do I do now?” Manwe asked.

 

“An apology is always a good place to start.” Varda said, leaning across the distance between them to place a comforting hand on Manwe’s shoulder. “In fact, Eonwe asked me much the same way. It seems your mood for self-reflection rubbed off on him.”

 

“I feel as though I have ruined a good many things.” Manwe murmured. Varda sighed, but it was not an exasperated thing at all, but rather a loving sigh, one accompanied by a soft smile.

 

“Don’t give up hope yet, my foolish husband.” Varda said. “There are yet amends to be made, if you would make them.”

 

“May I go with you?” Manwe asked. “Can I go with you?”

 

“I should hope so, but if they ask you to leave, leave. I will not force your presence upon them, just as I will not force their presence on you.” Varda said, a note of warning in her voice. However, Manwe understood this time what he hadn’t last time.

 

“Things have changed.” He said softly, almost to himself.



~~~



Mairon opened the door to Manwe and Varda, letting them in. His home at the moment was rather cluttered.

 

“Gothmog, I know you’re tired, but would you be so kind as to set a pot to boil so I can make tea?” Mairon asked. Gothmog nodded his assent, allowing Mairon to rush back to his bedroom and shake Melkor gently to rouse him properly.

 

“Melkor, Varda and Manwe are here.” Mairon said.

 

“Did you let them in?” Melkor responded.

 

“Well, Manwe looked rather contrite, and Varda has always been kind to me since the Dagor Dagorath, so yes.” Mairon said, rummaging through the armoire for something for Melkor to wear. “Now, make yourself presentable.” Mairon threw the first passable set of robes he found at Melkor, kissed him briefly, and went back to entertain the guests.



~~~



Gothmog had already gotten the kettle to boiling, so all Mairon had to do now was make tea and find cups.

 

The only cups he could find were mismatched, which definitely did not irk him at all. As he was pouring tea for everyone, Melkor sauntered out and promptly plopped himself down on the floor beside the coffee table, trying to have tea but failing because it was still too hot to drink.

 

“What brings you here?” Mairon asked.

 

“To apologize to my brother.” Manwe replied. Melkor seemed quizzical at that.

 

“I thought we were over that.” Melkor replied.

 

“What?” Manwe was confused. “But I was paranoid and unjust and let Eonwe essentially stalk and torture and didn’t let you explain!”

 

“You’ve really thought about this. Wow.” Melkor said. “I, uh, kind of didn’t? But apology accepted?”

 

“Just like that?” Manwe said, bordering on stupefied. “That’s it? No mad plans for revenge? No harebrained schemes for vengeance? No foolhardy pushes for revolt?”

 

“I don’t feel like it.” Melkor replied simply. “I could, but what’d be the point? I’m done being the villain; I just want a quiet life now.”

 

“Oh, thank Illuvatar.” Mairon sighed dramatically. “Do you know how difficult he is to work with?” Mairon then affected a blatantly incorrect Melkor voice.

 

“‘Mairon I’m cold’. ‘Mairon I’m hungry’. ‘Mairon why are the orcs I made twitching like that?’. ‘Mairon, do you think I’m ugly?’. ‘Mairon what happened to my clothes?’” Mairon said, causing Thuringwethil to almost fall over laughing, tears in her eyes. “I swear, I think you meant to say ‘live-in, all aspects of life included personal assistant’ instead of lieutenant in your hiring pitch!”

 

“The worst part is, he’s not exaggerating.” Gothmog said solemnly. Melkor pouted, tossing his hair in a childish, offended manner.

 

“Don’t worry, I still love you.” Mairon said, wrapping his arms around Melkor. Melkor pouted regardless. “Doesn’t mean no one needs counseling though.”

 

Varda turned to Manwe discreetly and whispered in his ear. “I really, really hope they manage to work out their feelings; they’re just precious together like this.” Manwe found himself nodding, seeing his brother happy, with the family he had found.

 

“Me too.” Manwe replied, equally secretive.