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Illusion of Serenity by Elvewen

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Story notes:
This is a response to several B2MeM challenges - and a reply to Stardust's challenge.
The sun, slowly falling, created a watery canvas of burnished, molten hues that blended seamlessly into each other, staining the horizon. Maglor stood beneath that overwhelming canopy of colours, tasted the sea spray on his tongue, felt sea weed playing with his feet. He was standing waist deep in the sea, the cool waters lapped disinterestedly against him, creeping higher and higher each time it touched him. He came here every day, straying just a little further away from the shore each time – allowing the sea to claim, first, his ankles, then his knees and now finally, his waist. The waters stung the bruises on his body, seeped into his clothes. And he allowed it – allowed the salty rhythm of the tides and the chilling blasts of wind to soothe the jagged edges of his heart; hoping that it would numb the pain entirely.

Someday perhaps. But not today.

“I thought I would find you here.”

Maglor did not so much as flinch at the unexpected voice. He turned around slowly, to face the intruder who shattered his hard won measure of serenity. He closed his eyes briefly, expecting to ward off the pain that would undoubtedly arise on seeing the visitor – but he felt nothing. How strange.

His eyes were caught and held by lapis blue eyes held by a double fan of raven lashes, eyes as breathtakingly serene as the illusion he left behind. Glinting gold hair that darkened to bronze in dim light framed the sculpted porcelain face of his visitor. The faintest hints of a smile played on those lush scrolled lips.

“I hope you weren’t planning on staying like that very much longer” he said, his voice light and lilting but with a quiet dignity in it that Maglor loved. “It gets cold fast once dusk sets in and the winds are not favourable this night.”

Maglor did not reply. A strange numbness seized his mind, rendering quite useless all his attempts at speech. He just stared at the visitor, knowing that the other cannot be here, not wanting the other here, but not knowing why.

His visitor moved forward reaching the shoreline. The water lapped at the silver trimmings of his blue robe but strangely, it did not it did not wet them. He moved forward, wading deeper into the water until he stood directly in front of Maglor. He stared at the one before him, trying to comprehend the tumult within him – they were there but, he could not feel them. He felt as if he floated above himself, caught between the sleeping and the waking world, a part of neither, watching himself through another’s eyes.

His visitor reached forward and took his hand, entwining
the fingers firmly together. He gently tugged at his hands and Maglor allowed himself to be lead away from the waters, noting distractedly that his visitor’s robes were still dry and that the water almost seemed to part for him as he walked.

Sand clung to his feet as he reached the shore; the furious winds swept his long ebony hair all around him, whipped it across his face. Maglor once again stared blankly at his visitor, trying once again to grasp at the emotions that lingered at the edge of his awareness – if only to understand why this person awoke them in him. And then try and beat them back down. He preferred numbness.

He desperately wanted not to care.

The silence between them stretched out like honey, thick and sticky sweet. For once, neither of them had anything to say. Words always seemed pathetic.

Lapis eyes found his dull, tired ones as a hand moved to remove the soaked cloak from his shoulders. Free from the pin that held it, the deep green cloak softly fell to the ground. Maglor shivered.

The hand proceeded to unbutton his shirt; exposing more of his chest as it worked its way down. Finally, when all were undone, the shirt was gently pushed off his shoulders and it joined the cloak on the sand.

All the while, azure, lambent eyes held his silver blue ones.

“Damn you.” The words came out with surprising vehemence – for all he couldn’t bring himself to tell, for all he had left unsaid in the past; to everyone. The words fell like gravel and drove into the silence between them. “Damn them all.” And then he laughed, a shocking, bitter sound that bubbled from his soul; releasing just a little of the pent up pressure there. Not that he got any relief from it. The anger that he felt just a second ago, the flaming red haze that came from nowhere and enveloped everything finally subsided – leaving in him, only its charred remains. He felt so tired.

“Why do you keep coming back?” Maglor asked at length, bitterness on his tongue, weariness in his words. He received no reply.

His visitor knelt down beside him, cupping Maglor’s face in his hands. Those serene blue eyes that held his were mesmerising – vivid, lucent gems of startling clarity. And in them, they held a world of empathy, understanding and immeasurable kindness.

No one wore kindness, the way Finrod did.

“Please!” The cry tore from his lips, unhindered, unlooked for, startling them both. Maglor’s eyes flew wide and wild at the sound, his voice cracked, he could barely breathe.

“Maglor-“ Finrod began and then stopped himself. Both their eyes now held a slightly desperate quality, as if willing, without any words, the other to understand. To accept.

‘What?’ thought Maglor agonisingly. What do you – I want? What do I accept?

“Please-“Barely as whisper, a pained rasp clouded by tears he no longer knew how to shed. His whole body was shaking, dry sobs tore from his throat, his spirit flayed open – naked and yearning – begging the eyes that held him to do something.

Finrod leaned forward and, with infinite gentleness, pressed a kiss to his neck. His whispering lips trailed upwards to just below his ear then lower, to the crook of his neck.

Maglor tried to calm the tremors that racked his body. His ragged breathing accelerated as Finrod’s lips ghosted over the crook of his neck, as his slender fingers slipped through his silken hair to the nape of his neck.

Finrod’s blue eyes now likened to a deep violet – emotions flamed in them, one falling over the other – a tumultuous crucible of love, lust, desire, friendship, ardour and erotic, passionate surrender.

Maglor jerked Finrod flush against him and violently captured his lips, sinking his hands into the creamy thickness that was the other’s hair, breathing in the scent of apples, the woodlands and the salty tang of the sea.

They broke apart, panting, gasping for breath; their eyes clinging to each other. Desire flamed between them and Finrod moaned as he rejoined the feverish kiss.

They tore the remaining clothes from each other, hands roaming all over each other’s bodies, fervently, possessively; teeth grazing every patch of skin it could encounter.

There was no gentleness, no tenderness at all. Maglor let out a choked groan as he plunged into gripping velvet heat. Finrod’s head arched backwards, legs flayed, hands gripping the other’s jet black hair as he was furiously taken; lifted higher and higher into the scorching realms of pleasure. Agony and ecstasy, pain and rapture tangled gloriously with each other, hurtling head long into dizzying heights until both broke in violent, savage climax; screaming each other’s names.

-------------------------------------------------

Maglor opened his eyes, blinking as he tried to bring the image in front of him into focus. Finrod sat in front of him, fully dressed, legs crossed, head slightly titled to one side. Silvery moonlight poured over him, enhancing his cool beauty. His porcelain skin and slightly windblown hair had taken on a pale, luminescent glow. Serenity and kindness had returned to his demure gaze. The mask was firmly in place once more.

Yes, though Maglor, pensively, painfully, contentedly – this was how he wanted to remember Finrod – his head tilted just so, his lips caught in that singular smile – enigmatic, beautiful and infinitely kind.

“It is a good dream.”

Maglor smiled. The gesture relaxed for the first time in all their conversations. Maybe he thought, maybe I am mad to keep doing this to myself. But I would not have it any other way.

“Ours is a dream only fools believe Finrod” Maglor replied, sighing softly. Familiar bitterness had worked its way into his voice again. And the stabbing pain of wonted grief returned as he watched his ethereal intruder smile.

Finrod reached out and touched the other’s cheek. And Maglor remembered what it was like to be lost – in Araman, when flames from the burning ships set the night skies ablaze, and he, mockingly comforted that the other could now, never follow; and in Dorthonion, when the dark, stifling gloom throttled the very will itself.

And then, he remembered what it was like to be found – in Mereth Aderthad, when rapture danced in the other's eyes as he lost himself in Maglor’s song; and in Nargothrond when he watched Finrod’s eyes shining with pride as he detailed his city, his dream.

Maglor felt Finrod’s tapered fingers lift his chin and gazed directly into the other’s gentle blue eyes. Leaning over, Finrod whispered, “But how beautiful a dream it was.”

Maglor smiled, fighting back tears – of regret, of helplessness, of acceptance. He quietly watched Finrod’s lucent form dissolve before him.

“Finrod?” Maglor called into the night. Like all the previous times, he got no reply.

Only, this time, he did not really mind.
Chapter end notes:
So, about Maglor - is he insane or just wistful? Or is it more than that?