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Arda Unmarred by Kalendeer

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After the end of the world and his defeat against the Valar, Melkor is awarded a second chance in Arda Unmarred. The much dreamed of "heaven" Arda was supposed to become, however, is far from being the perfect world everyone hoped for.

The Fëanturi: Those of the Valar who possess "spiritual" powers, Namo/Mandos, Irmo/Lorien and Nienna, sometimes with the addition of their spouses Vairë and Estë.
Fëanaro Curufinwë: Fëanor
Nolofinwë : Fingolfin
Arafinwë : Finarfin
Canafinwë "Kano" : Maglor
Tyelkormo : Celegorm


Being remade in Arda Unmarred is not exactly a favor from Melkor's brethren, but a direct order from Eru: in Arda Unmarred, everyone is supposed to be awarded a second chance, even if it's a shitty one. He is one of the very few who has the dubious honor of being able to remember his past.

From the outside, nothing distinguishes Sergeant Morwë Melko from others elves. He has the pointy ears, he's not aging and he has no special power to bestow. The last part isn't entirely true. Melkor is still an ainu. If he dies, he'll just wait until he can make a new body for himself. He remembers a time when he could shape the world.

No more. The Fëanturi take care of this now. It's a time of mind rather than matter. Melko doesn't even know what Manwë does these days.

 

Melko is working as a Special Forces police officer; not that he had any choices. The MANDOS system usually offers at least a dozen job offers fitting for one's rating and skills, but somehow Melko always gets either the army or the police, always somewhere low on the chain on command, high enough for his charisma to play, but never high enough to avoid the frontline.

Most of the time, he thinks he deserves his fate.

He's reviewing his last batch of new faces when his eyes stumble on a name that's definitely not supposed to be here.

Finwion, Curufinwë Fëanaro [Elf]

The police Special Forces are nice for humans, but very few elves get enlisted as foot soldiers... only the washed out, criminals, idiots and genuine creeps.

You just couldn't enjoy a calm, non-eventful second chance at life, could you?

The Children aren't supposed to remember, and their second chance is supposed to be fair, ignoring the first life; at least that's what was decided at the beginning of Arda Unmarred.

Fëanaro doesn't really look like he used to. When Melkor meets him again, his hair has just been shaved military-style. His ears stand out dramatically, too big, and his eyes don't have the glow of Valinor. Most valinorean are a bit smaller than they used to be. He looks tired, on the defensive, and answers every question asked with the shortest sentences he can form.

 

As team leader, Melkor notes that the sole elf in his elite company isn't making friends with anyone. Not that he is unlikable: he just doesn't really try. He refuses drinks. He doesn't pin family pictures inside his locker. He doesn't share stories about himself.

“Why are you here?” Melkor asks him one day. “You don't look the type.”

“Do I?” He shrugs. “Pays well.”

Melkor can think of hundreds of things Fëanaro could do to earn at least ten time what he's making here, but he's supposed not to know him.

“What did you do before you enlisted? You're too low in rank for a career-man, and too old for this to be your first job.”

“None of your concern.”

Melko's job description doesn't allow him to press him further, so he doesn't, but he watches.

Fëanaro is a talented soldier. He's physically strong, clever, efficient, obedient like he can’t risk even the shadow of a rebellion. He's also always tired, sullen, and takes blue pills every day. The only blue pills in circulation are hormonal-oriented medication, the new “miracles” created after Irmo understood the way chemicals shape the brain. They don't work on Melkor (not that they didn't try despite him being irreproachable), but there's no reason Fëanaro would be immune to them.

“What are those for?”

“Personal reasons.”

“I need to know. If you run out of them during an operation, I need to know how you will react.”

“I'm not a psycho.”

“Then you won't mind telling me.”

“I do mind.”

“I could just go through your files. I decided to ask you because I respect you.”

“You'd be the first.”

He doesn't answer. Melkor doesn't ask anyone else and does try to find the answer on his own.

 

It takes many more months for Fëanaro to give a bit of ground. He needs a day off and he's not supposed to have one. That's when Melkor learns from his mouth that he has six children and one of them is in trouble and no one else can fix it. Six children is the most anyone can sire, and due to the population control law, it's sure to give you an incredible bad rating.

Perhaps that's why Fëanaro is working here, with one of the less desired status, but the number of children doesn't fits his age, unless he started creepily young.

Fëanaro really wants his day off, so he answers for once.

“Four of them are adopted.”

“Why would anyone adopt so many children?”

“Ever been to a house for parentless and inapt kids? I'm their last living relation. I don't care if my life's shit if I can keep them out of these places.”

That's when Melkor understand that the blue pills aren't the first run Fëanaro has with Irmo's policy for social misfits. Anyone can read in his eyes that he's spent some time in those houses of hell.

“What did you do before you adopted them and ruined your life?”

“I was an engineer. Can I have my day off now?”

Turns out the eldest (Findis, one of the adopted ones) got expelled from the elite school she went to, all state-paid, and no amount of begging from Fëanaro's part can keep her here.

“I need a promotion,” the elf says the next day. He won't ask “can you get me one? What do I need to do to speed things up?”

Sergeant Melko doesn't ask anything in return. He knows he's abusing his position (Fëanaro wasn't supposed to be first in line, not when there's more experienced candidates), but he can't help it. Melkor feels a kinship there, inherited from another life: a fallen power extending a hand to another. With the extra wages, his new second can affords a paid school for the step-sister, adopted daughter who both hates and disdains him.

“Can't blame her for being ashamed of me, can I?” Fëanaro pretends he doesn't. He could have fooled Melkor, once, a long time ago. He's starting to read him well. “I used to make satellites. Now I'm shooting rebels like a criminal and she has to live in a three-room apartment.”

“She doesn't deserve you,” Melkor says, and he means it. This petty teenager doesn't deserve Fëanaro risking his life, spending all his money and sleeping on the couch because he can't pay the rent of a decent flat. She doesn't deserve the bags under his eyes. She doesn't deserve the way he grovels to buy her a future.

 

Little by little, Fëanaro lets Morwë Melko in. At first Melkor believes he's so lonely he's ready to accept anyone, but the thought itself is insulting. There's too much dignity left in him to accept friendship by default.

 

There's not enough chairs in Fëanaro's flat the first time he invites him in for diner, despite Findis not showing up. 

“Findis is the eldest, followed by my brother Nolofinwë. I had a son, Nelyafinwë, but he's dead now. He was a few weeks older than my sister Lalwendë, then there're my sons Canafinwë and Tyelkormo. The youngest is my brother Arafinwë.”

Nolofinwë has the gravity of a teen aged too soon. He's obviously the man in charge when his elder brother is away (which is pretty much always), but he's got troubles asserting his authority on his two adopted brother. It's thankful Lalwendë is a cutie, because Arafinwë is definitely the weird one.

 

“He's got anxiety,” Fëanaro admits after the first night, when Arafinwë throws a terrible fit after seeing Melkor. “Lots of them, and the crisis trigger seemingly at random. They say it's the stress of his parents' death and bad parenting on my part, but he had them before. If he's remembering things – the extra taxes for the special education... I can't afford it. I could take a loan but no bank will lend anything to a class-seven with a misfit kid.”

 

 When Arafinwë is finally diagnosed with Past Remembrance, which means his family has to pay extra taxes for the expensive medication that will keep the recognition away, Melkor finds Fëanaro crying in the locker room.

“Don't you see? They'll take him away! Do you know how they treat children in these institutions? He’ll never recover!”

He knows. Fëanaro never recovered either. After everything he's done, he can't bear the failure of the self-appointed mission of saving his family after his father, his step mother, his own wife and their first child all died in a car accident.

“Did you try to get a loan?”

“Of course I did. All the banks refused. The only ones left are charging interests so high I'll go bankrupt in a few months if I accept their offer. I'm done. I'm just done, even another promotion won't save me now.”

“We could get married.”

It's out of Melkor's mouth before he thinks about it, but it actually makes sense.

“I'm a class-four with decent wages. We'd move into a four-room flat, with two salaries we could afford it, one room for the girls, one for the boys, one for us with two beds. As a sterile couple we'd get a bonus. We wouldn't be rich but you may be able to start saving. Once Findis and Nolo are old enough to be on their own, we'd get a divorce and you'd be back on track.”

 

Fëanaro waits three days before he resigns to this shameful solution. Melkor doesn't take it personally. The problem doesn't lie with him (for once) but by the feeling that he's extending charity to his friend.

 

They live as roommates. Because they are officially a couple, once of them can ask for a change of job. Melkor manages to convince Fëanaro to move behind a desk (because he's the one with six kids, but also because Melkor cannot really die, even if he can't tell him). His rating has gone up from seven to six for being in a pretended homosexual relationship, opening better job options. The sergeant was right: with this arrangement, the financial crisis is gone.

The Arafinwë's crisis isn't. His fits calm eventually around Melkor. The former vala attributes the change to the medication. He feels guilty Fëanaro doesn't know they had a history together while he does, and wonders if Arafinwë dreamt of Morgoth.

 

Their friendship turns into something else when both Findis and Nolofinwë have grown and can support themselves, when Fëanaro doesn't actually need a fake husband anymore. He's the one who initiates the kiss (freed, most probably, of the impression that he'd be a whore had he done so sooner). They replace the separate beds by one big enough for two.

 

They never get the divorce paper, even after Melkor tells him everything, even after he admits he can't completely erase the Fëanaro with flaming eyes who lived in a world long gone.

He is amazed to discover Eru was right, after all: in Arda Unmarred, even Melkor can get a second chance.