The Wisdom of Men by Jenna the Evil Pixie
Summary: The story of Finrod Felagund, King of Nargothrond, 'Friend of Men', whose fate was and forever shall be intertwined with that of the kin of Beor the Old, the first house of the Edain. The bits of it that Tolkien accidentally *cough* left out, that is.
Categories: FPS > Beren/Finrod, FPS, FPS > Finrod/Balan (Bëor), FPS > Balan (Bëor)/ Finrod, FPS > Finrod/Barahir, FPS > Barahir/Finrod, FPS > Finrod/Beren Characters: Balan (Bëor), Barahir, Beren, Finrod
Type: None
Warning: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 3 Completed: Yes Word count: 5946 Read: 5475 Published: August 05, 2012 Updated: August 05, 2012
Story Notes:
Warnings: Blatant re-arrangement of events to suit self; other than that, not much. If you haven't read the Silmarillion, this won't make much sense. If you have, it probably still won't make much sense.

1. Chapter 1 by Jenna the Evil Pixie

2. Chapter 2 by Jenna the Evil Pixie

3. Chapter 3 by Jenna the Evil Pixie

Chapter 1 by Jenna the Evil Pixie
Author's Notes:
The quote that started me off: "Long Felagund watched them, and love for them stirred in his heart;" – Chapter 17 of the Silmarillion, 'Of the Coming of Men into the West'
Hunting with the sons of Fanor, Felagund thought as he rode away from them at an easy pace, the peaks of Ered Lindon in the distance his guide, was as much of a trial for him these days as it was a respite from the duties of his kingdom. Maglor's singing would have been tolerable enough if Maedhros hadn't insisted in joining in; and if both of them had stuck to traditional songs rather than inventing humorous rhymes as they rode along, inevitably descending into vulgarity as the day continued. Kin they might be, but his tolerance for their company was much lessened these days.

So he turned away from his cousins and their companions, riding on alone; perhaps a little foolish, but was he not long past the age where he needed a keeper? Usually on bright days such as this his thoughts would turn to the west, to Valinor and Amari, who he had loved. Did love. But the sharp eyes of his sister, her mind reaching out to him from Doriath where she resided with her own love, the nice but terribly dull Celeborn, had seen the truth of what he was now admitting to himself, in the quiet places of his soul. "You will not wed?" she had laughed, tossing her hair about her in golden disarray. "And what reason will you give? Will you lie to me, tell me Amari of the Vanyar is the reason you refuse a wife?" "And you think there is another?" he'd replied, a little defensive. "You have a strange fate, brother. I cannot see the end of it. But not for want of the love of Amari shall you fade, although it will be love that shapes your end." "And you, dear sister, spend too much time with Melian the Maia. You are beginning to speak like her, in riddles and half-truths." Celeborn had arrived then, bringing some of his kin to meet them, and Galadriel had simply added "Your choice is a right one, brother. Be at peace."

Thoughts of that conversation continued to haunt him. It was true, he had grieved long for the loss of his love, but it was a wound that was now healing, at first slowly, but in recent years he had thought of her little, the ruling of Nargothrond taking up almost all his time. The river Gelion quieted as he reached the ford, and as he crossed it seemed to him as if the whole world was somehow beckoning him into Ossiriand, towards the mountains.

It was in the depths of the still night that he first saw the fires, the sound of singing spilling out of the camp up into the trees, and there he watched them. Dark haired and grey eyed, their songs were wild and they danced with wild abandon. Their language was strange yet familiar, and as he watched understanding stirred in his mind, and longing in his heart.

At the centre of the circle was the tallest of them, and it was upon this man that Felagund gazed the longest. He held himself with regal bearing, although to the eyes of an Elf he appeared unkempt; his hair was short, cut crudely, his clothes (what there were of them), were awry, and although he was shaven-faced, tightly curled hair grew across and down his chest, a trail of it leading downwards and disappearing into his leggings. The fire was reflected in his eyes, but it was that trail of hair, so foreign a sight, that somehow called Felagund's gaze back to it, and he found himself wanting to reach out and touch it, to know its texture, the feel of it beneath his fingers. He blushed, although there was none there to see it, for his leggings had suddenly seemed to tighten at that thought, and now bound him too close.

Often the others would call to the tall stranger, "Balan! Balan!", and Felagund supposed this to be his name, or at least a title awarded to him by his folk. As the dancing continued, Balan shed his loose shirt; the women and children filtered out to the sides, sitting by the fires, as the men joined in what was more a competition than a dance, led by Balan, each seeing how high they could jump and fast they could turn as the slower and older were left behind and a fine sheen of sweat developed on the remaining dancers.

He was a king of Elves, Felagund reminded himself, and should not be skulking around in the shadows like this. He should go down and greet these people, find out where they came from, how they had come to be in the land of the Green-Elves. He did none of these things. Instead, the trees assuring him with their quiet rustling of leaves that he would not be disturbed, he slipped out of his leggings, the rhythm of the strange wild music throbbing through his blood. His eyes never leaving the tall stranger as he whirled around the circle, Felagund let his hands drop to pleasure himself, biting his lip to keep from crying out, although it was unlikely that anyone would hear him.

He wanted to be heard. He wanted Balan to hear him.

The man was dripping with sweat now, his eyes fierce, every muscle tense and visible, straining against his skin. The strength in him! The Eldar were tall and slim, strong and agile but not like this. Felagund's hands moved in time with the movements of Balan, and he moaned quietly, yearning for something he could not even put a name to. For Balan was male, and love between two who were alike was unknown among the Quendi

The dance grew ever faster, and as Balan's last challenger dropped back, gasping for breath, Felagund felt the beginnings of his release. The camp broke into cheers, calling "Balan, Balan!", and unheard by those by the fires that name also issued from a pair of Elven lips. Shaking, tears glimmering at the corners of his eyes, Felagund dressed himself in silence. It was the first time an Elf was so undone by a Man, although certainly not the last, and forever Finrod Felagund would remember it as the night he fell in love with Bor, as a silent and lonely watcher in the night-shadow of the trees.

When they slept, allowing most of the fires to burn down without care, Felagund at last gained the courage to walk among them. Not daring to touch Balan, he did yet sit as near to him as he could, examining the one who had captured his attention. They seemed a crude people, but there was a quality about them, and about Balan especially, that he could not put a name to, but he understood it was this that drew him to them.

He would have left then, would have fled from the ache in his loins and the cruel longing in his heart, but in the dying light of the fire he saw a harp that Balan had cast aside that evening, a crude thing, but with the same wild beauty that its owner possessed. So he took it up, and found his fingers moving across it of their own accord, playing a song of Elbereth, and the making of the stars, and he remembered the words and gave voice to them.

It was Balan that woke first, and looked upon him with no fear but much wonder, and as the others came to listen to Felagund's song, and those that followed it, it was Balan's gaze that held him there, and kept the songs flowing, until finally Felagund laid down the harp and cried "Enough, enough!" "Indeed more than enough, friend; I am Balan, and I lead these people. I call you Nm, Wisdom, for you have given us much of that tonight. You are invited to stay among us, for as long as you should so wish." "I am Finrod Felagund, but I will take the name you give me, and gladly stay a while."

At these words, Balan embraced Felagund, allowing him to feel the strength in those great arms first-hand, and although the people of Balan were quick of mind and hand, and learnt well of all he had to teach them, and showed him all respect, rest did not come easily to the king of Nargothrond in the camp of Balan.
Chapter 2 by Jenna the Evil Pixie
Author's Notes:
Felagund teaches Balan 'true knowledge' Balan teaches Felagund a few other things...
"But Felagund dwelt among them, and taught them true knowledge, and they loved him, and took him for their lord."
-– Chapter 17 of the Silmarillion, 'Of the Coming of Men into the West'

Estolad had many charms in Felagund's opinion, although at first glance it did not look like much. A collection of rough houses by the river Celon, its main charm lay certainly not in its architecture, as Amras had once remarked when the youngest son of Fanor had deigned visit the encampment, to see the nature of the people Felagund had brought into his and his brothers lands.

Both Amras and Amrod, always in each others company, had spent those few days sneering their way around, turning their noses up and stepping delicately through the mud. Felagund had spent them grinding his teeth and resisting the urge to slap some sense into them; he sensed Balan felt the same, and knew quite well that his good friend (he still did not have the words to put to his true feelings towards Balan), would probably be quite capable of landing one or both in the dirt with a good swing of one of his fists. The twins were as alike in mood as they were in appearance, and their mood was normally sulky, condescending and disdainful.

On the morning they were planning to leave, overnight rain had left the ground sodden and muddy. As the twins picked their way through the mud, two of the many children playing underfoot had run away from their companions, apparently not looking where they were going. Apparently, that was, to anyone who hadn't seem the gleam in Balan's eye and the way the rest of the Edain, going about their daily chores, turned slightly to watch moments before the actual incident.

One child tackled the other, knocking him through a mud puddle and straight into Amras's legs. Caught off guard, for he had been talking with his brother and as usual pointedly ignoring the people around him, he looked down to find his clothes covered with mud and grinning human child. Then the second youngster, gathering himself up from the mud where he had landed, charged.

Down went Amras, and for once the twins were not alike in mood, for a grin was even visible on Amrod's sour face. "Do you think your dear cousin will be needing our assistance, Nm?" Balan asked Felagund, the corner of his mouth twitching. "I think he'd prefer to manage on his own this time, my friend." replied Felagund, having some difficulty keeping a straight face himself.

Amras having pulled himself back upright and onto his horse, the twins left hastily, forgetting the usual niceties; Felagund called out 'Namri!' as they left, and got only scowls in return. Balan had watched them go, then turned back to Felagund with a smile of pure mischief on his face. "And good riddance too!" he'd exclaimed, then wrapped one great arm around his friend, toying idly with the long blond hair, a source of much interest among the dark-haired residents of Estolad, and not noticing Felagund wince in reaction to the simple contact. As each day he spent with the Edain passed, such simple touches seemed to arouse increasingly disproportionate reactions. But Balan had merely said. "Let's get some food and drink in you, skinny Elf.", and then roared at whoever was near to get a roast going and some drink brought and quick! "And double portions for my valiant nephews!" he added, nodding happily at the two mud-smeared urchins who had downed Amras.

No, Balan thought of him as a good friend, and nothing more. And Felagund should learn to keep a hold on his emotions and reactions, as was appropriate for one of the Quendi, if he did not wish to lose that position. For the Valar's sakes, he did not even have the words to describe his want! Let alone know how to go about explaining it to Balan.

Deep in thought, he did not sense the presense of Balan until he spoke. "What are you thinking about, out in the dark, when you should be sleeping? 'Tis not your turn for watch." "I do not require sleep the way your people do, this fact you know, Balan." Felagund returned, oddly irritated at having his thoughts interrupted. Balan was the last person he wanted to deal with right now. "Not sleep then, but rest. We've planned a hunt for the morn, and even Finrod Felagund, in whom the blood of all three Elven Kindred's mingle, needs his time in Reverie. Especially if he has not indulged himself in such rest for many days now." "I knew I would regret teaching you so much about my kind." "Does that mean that you will rest then, Nm?" "I do not require it." Felagund replied haughtily, and turned away from Balan, his gaze drawn to the West. Thus he was utterly unprepared when the man picked him up bodily, half carrying, half dragging the Elf towards one of the nearby houses. "What are you doing?!" he exclaimed, as he was pitched bodily onto a bed. With a frown he realised he'd not been brought to his own rooms. "I am making sure that you rest." said Balan by way of explanation, and almost leaped on top of him, landing heavily on the mattress beside Felagund, who was trying his best to ignore his treacherous body, certain parts of which were voting to stay right here next to the man, thank you very much, and gather the strength to make his escape.

That chance never came. Before Felagund could move, Balan had one hand twisted through his hair, the other pressed firmly against Felagund's chest. "I knew this hair of yours had to be good for something." said Balan, smiling down at him, and Felagund would have thought of something suitably witty as a reply if Balan had not kissed him then.

The hand gripping his hair loosened slightly, the other moving around to clasp his waist. By the time Felagund worked out exactly what was happening a tongue had slipped past the barriers of his lips, sending shivers down his spine and fogging his mind so that he forgot to pull away, to protest. The hand in his hair moved around to cup the side of his face, one of Balan's calloused fingertips brushing across the tip of his ear and that tiny, desperate moan had most certainly not been him. Absolutely not.

Suddenly he did pull away, and Balan let him go, although there was confusion in his eyes – as well as some other, unnamed emotion – as he watched Felagund retreat to the far corner of the bed.

Speech did not come easily then, to him who had never failed to find words before, and Balan spoke first, worry in his tone. "Have I offended you, my Lord?" The sudden formality of his words pierced Felagund to the core, and he quickly sought to reassure Balan. "No, dear friend. I just... What are we..?" Now Balan frowned deeply. "The Nmin do not practice this? Among my people this warrior-love is common." Seeing confusion war with understanding on Felagund's face he continued. "My wife is long passed, and I have my heirs already. You have told me before that you have no wife and never shall. Who would be hurt by this joining?" Slowly he moved towards the Elf, a smile on his face, his arms outstretched. "I am unsure." said Felagund. "All this is unknown to me." "Then for once, my dearest Nm, allow me to teach you something." Balan wrapped his arms around Felagund once more, nuzzling his neck until the Elf relaxed into the embrace. "Surely there is no shame in love, no matter what form it takes? I have watched you from afar for far too long." "And I you, although my shame is not so much for my love as for my ignorance." Felagund admitted, burrowing further into Balans arms. How warm he was! "That problem is easily fixed!" laughed Balan against Felagund's neck, tracing one hand teasingly down the small of his back and then around Felagund's waist, and lower. This time there was no disguising Felagund's moan; Balan grinned, moving his attention from the slender neck back to the parted lips, silencing him somewhat. "That is," he added, pulling away "assuming you are paying attention to your lessons."

Balan woke soon after dawn, stretching out the not unpleasant aches that were the reminder of how he'd spent the night. Nm was still in that state that in his people passed for sleep, although his eyes were open, blankly staring. Muttering something to himself about the strange ways of the Nmin he moved away from the bed, seeking out abandoned items of clothing. From the clanging and muffled noise of voices from the common living areas, others were already up and making breakfast.

It sounded like a very good idea to him. He could fetch some food for Nm, and with any luck he'd be awake by the time Balan got back. Balan wasn't sure what he'd do if Nm didn't wake up in time for today's hunt. He had no idea what you were supposed to do with a sleeping Elf, although he'd recently demonstrated several interesting things that could be done with one who was awake.

Just as he had managed to hunt down his second boot, the door quietly opened and one of his daughter in laws entered, skilfully managing to balance both a small child and a tray of food in her arms. There were two plates on the tray.

She scanned the room as she entered, noted it seemed without much surprise the still figure on the bed, and placed the tray carefully down. The child squirmed in her arms and she shushed it.

"It's a good thing I brought two plates, it seems." "Indeed." Balan replied. She snorted, turning to go. "About time, Father." was her parting comment.

Which more or less, Balan thought, digging into his breakfast, the probable reaction of most of his kin. It was the reaction of Nm's kin, his friends and family, that worried him.
Chapter 3 by Jenna the Evil Pixie
Author's Notes:
Summary: On the way back to Nargothrond, Felagund and Bëor both wonder about the reception they shall receive among the Elves. A stop in Doriath brings enlightenment, of a sort.
"But when after a year had passed Felagund wished to return to his own country, Bor begged leave to come with him; and he remained in the service of the King of Nargothrond while his life lasted. In this way he got his name, Bor, whereas his name before had been Balan..." - Chapter 17 of the Silmarillion, 'Of the Coming of Men into the West'

Bor was silent, as they came close to the borders of Doriath. He had seemed in an agreeable mood when they left Estolad. His people – Baran's people, now, for leadership had been passed onto the eldest son, had seen them off in high spirits, and the time they'd had on the road – together, under the gaze of the stars, without any to gainsay them had been precious indeed.

And here was the first test. The people of Estolad had accepted their joining with open hearts and light jests – some of which had been vulgar enough to make Felagund blush – and then moved on to the next piece of gossip. To them it was apparently common enough, especially among widowers, and therefore nothing of particular note. It was true that other Elves had come to stay in Estolad, mostly out of curiosity; but keeping the nature of his relationship with Balan a secret 'for the moment', as he'd told himself, had been fairly easy. After all, it was most unlikely any of them would have even considered the possibility.

However, none of the visiting Elves had been as formidable or of such piercing insight as Melian the Maia and his own dear sister, Galadriel. Hiding anything from his sister had been impossible even in her youth, and now with the knowledge and secret teachings of the Maiar behind her gaze he doubted there were many in Arda to withstand her. Melian might respect his privacy, choose not to look, but Galadriel would see the change in him and wish to know the cause of it.

Upon her reaction much depended. The support of his sister in this matter would be crucial; however much subtlety was possible, sooner or later the true story would be known – secrets were not long held in Nargothrond, not secrets of this nature, at least.

The border loomed up ahead; the edge of the Girdle of Melian was visible as a sort of haze through the air, a shimmer that distorted the view beyond. He paused for a second, catching the eye of Bor. "Perhaps we should rest for a short while, take the midday meal a little earlier."

Bor regarded the border of Doriath with mixed feelings. There had been some of this realm who had visited Estolad, and they had been more courteous than many of the Nmin, and he had desired to ride to the homes of the Elves, to see how they were in their own lands. There was a large part of him that was glad to be going with Felagund, to meet his kin, to explore the wide world and the Elf-Kingdoms, to love him across all Arda – and in a variety of beds.

His gaze fell again upon his Nm, his golden gift. So long had he watched him, hoping against hope, noting every detail, every slip of the tongue (though there were few of those), every long look (and many of these), every blush – although he'd had to learn to watch not the pale cheeks, which never reddened to betray dear Felagund, but the tips of those strange and beautiful ears, which always did. And when he'd decided that he'd seen enough to convince him of Felagund's desire, physical desire, at least, he'd taken action.

His mother had always told him, as a child, that he was too rash, too quick to decide and quicker still to act on his decisions. That it would bring him grievous trouble, and much sorrow. In this case he would have to disagree, at least in part, for 'twas his quick actions that had brought him much joy in this matter. But as for trouble...

Already nervous considering all the possible reactions of the Eldar to his relationship with Felagund, his mood had not improved upon noting Felagund's growing skittishness as they grew closer to Doriath. For perhaps the hundredth time in the past hour, the Elf shifted on his horse, running a hand over his head as if to check his braids, which, as usual, were exactly where they should be. Bor smirked. There was only one way to mess up Felagund's hair, and it wasn't possible to do that on horseback. Or at least, probably not. His mind temporally distracted by the logistics of the thing, he examined Nm once more, considering the possibilities.

"Perhaps we should rest for a short while, take the midday meal a little earlier."

Bor nodded, eyes already examining the landscape for a suitable resting spot. Not the rest was needed, but the delay would be most welcome. Eating, however, was not on his mind as he watched his lover move around their chosen resting spot, in the cool shade of a tall tree, with that strange grace that belonged to the Nmin, and to his Nm in particular. There was a different kind of hunger he wished to satisfy.

The hair first. When Felagund turned his back to rummage through the packs, looking for something, Bor reached down and carefully removed the golden trinket holding the blonde locks captive and smiled to see them tumble loose and free. "There." he said softly. "That's much better." His Elf turned, the light shining in his eyes, and was obviously about to retort when Bor kissed him.

Devoured him, rather, curling his fingers in the hair that now flew free in the wind. Clung to him with all the force he could muster and ravished that fair mouth – and quick learner that he was, Felagund responded in kind, clever Elvish hands moving teasingly across Bor's body – with the result that when they finally drew back, pausing for breath, Bor was the one gasping for breath, longing for more, losing control.

Felagund smiled at him, the perfect picture of Elven serenity, his face betraying nothing but a challenge was in his eyes. This was not going according to plan. But while Felagund had many more years of experience than Bor in most areas of life, this was one area in which Bor had the upper hand.

He captured those sweet lips again, tracing a fingertip just around – but not quite touching – the pointed tip of Felagund's ear. As the kiss deepened, he allowed his hands to wander, but time after time they returned, quite of their own volition, to tangle in the silken locks. Despite meaningful wriggles from Felagund each time a hand passed near, he paid no further attention to the ears – he knew will the effect that would have, and it wasn't time for that quite yet.

For his part, Felagund was not idle, with busy hands and able tongue, and soon Bor was inwardly gasping – Nm was too quick a learner by half! And very clever at this game of theirs. Before he lost control completely, he tore his mouth away to nibble and lick at the base of the jaw line, moving steadily up until he captured the lobe of Felagund's ear, sucking gently. His hands moved lower, delving underneath the leggings to grip the hardness there, stroking with an insistent rhythm. Still Felagund made no noise, although the movements of his hands on Bor lost some of their surety.

He pulled back, although his hands did not cease their movements. Felagund was beautiful in his passion, his hair in disarray, his eyes ablaze as though lit from within. For a moment Bor was not sure whether he wanted to possess him or just worship him, but just then a word was let slip from those pale lips, a half-formed plea or perhaps a curse and Bor could not even tell which. Possession won out, and Bor brought them both tumbling to the soft grass, plotting to discover what other noises his beautiful Nm could make.

The woods of Doriath were still, or at least appeared so, although Felagund knew their presence had not gone un-noticed. He had not as yet been able to spot any of the sentries, which vexed him a little. That may have been something to do with the fact that, as he and Bor led their horses side by side along the narrow path, Bor kept brushing his hand across the small of Felagund's back, and pretending to look innocent each time Felagund removed the hand, glaring at him in warning.

Soon enough, though, the sentries appeared in front of them, three with bows at the ready – and no doubt a few more in the trees, and their leader in front frowned at them. Although Felagund was kin to Thingol, and his sister dwelt within these lands and was much-loved, not all were always happy to see a Noldor lord at the borders of Doriath.

It was Bor that he appeared most concerned about, and it took some arguing before it was agreed that they could at least go before Thingol, and let him decide if they would be permitted to stay. If Bor noticed that there was an arrow or two pointed at his back at all times, he did not let it show; the suspicions of the sentries lessened somewhat, though, as they travelled towards Menegroth. Bor told tall tales, and spoke of the legends of men, and like all the Quendi, their love of story and song was great. The tale of the fall of Amras in Estolad was a favourite, as many of the kindred of Thingol were unfriends with the sons of Fanor.

Before the throne they came, Felagund and Bor, but Melian had already spoken to Thingol before they arrived, and despite some suspicion, they were provided with quarters; shared rooms, so that, as Melian put it "Let the son of Finfarin stay close to the Atan, and be thus responsible for his actions." Felagund might have had other suspicions about the reasoning of the Queen of Doriath, but he kept quiet, bowing low and receiving a secretive smile from that lady. Luthien too, welcomed them warmly, although she was most probably innocent of the knowledge her mother had, and was simply fascinated by her first glimpse of the race of Men.

There were others who were not so warm in their welcome, principally Daeron. Felagund had never liked the Loremaster of Doriath, and the feeling was most obviously mutual. They retired quickly after the evening meal – and not a moment too soon, either. Daeron, as Bor so charmingly put it was, 'making his fists itch'. Galadriel and Celeborn were visiting Celeborn's kin who lived along the river further west, and were not expected back until some time the following day.

Bor was filled with curiosity, asking questions of everyone and everything. He seemed most interested in hearing about Felagund's sister. "Galadriel is very wise, and very stubborn." Felagund laughed. "When we were young our mother would say she was more like another son than a daughter, feckless and troublesome." "And she is married, this sister of yours?" asked Bor, through a mouthful of fruit. "Yes," sighed Felagund, "To Celeborn of Doriath." There was a short laugh from the Man, who had noticed the sigh. "And I take it you do not approve? You do not think him good enough for your sister?" "He is of a noble house, and is kind to her. But I do not understand why she chose him. She is filled with ambition and longs to rule; she stands proud among princes and kings and is counted as an equal among them. Nerwen, our mother called her, Man-Maiden, and well named was she. And yet she takes the name he gives her, Galadriel, given by Celeborn who is noble but quiet, and without ambition, who stands by her side but who will not further her cause. It is not his fault. Who could be good enough for her?" Bor smiled. "You speak well, Nm, but you are misled in your thinking. I have known women who are fonder of the hunt and keener with the sword than they are loving of the raising of children or skilled at needlecraft. Such a woman can not wed one as ambitious and restless and she; they would tear each other apart. From all I have heard your sister will prosper, and come to power in the proper time, and it is better than she has a husband that will love her for her strength, and not envy her for it." Felagund stared at Bor, unbelieving. "When did you become so wise, my friend?" "When I started spending too much time with you." Bor patted the bed he sat on, one of two in a room more usually intended for the hosting of messengers than for the use of Kings and leaders of Men. "Come, Nm. Worry no more about your sister's choice in lovers, but instead help me find out if this bed of the Elves is as sturdy as it appears." Laughing and shaking his head, Felagund gladly did as he was told.

Galadriel sought him out as soon as she got back, after the mid-day meal. Bor greeted her warmly, and then made himself scarce, escorted on a tour of Menegroth by a guard who at least was trying to appear relaxed in his presence.

"You look wonderful, as usual, sister." She laughed. "The visit was most restful, and Celeborn's kin seem fond of me. But I would rather hear about your adventures in the east than tell you the petty details of my travels." Somewhat cautiously Felagund gave an edited version of his meeting with the Atani and his time in Estolad. And Galadriel smiled and nodded and asked many questions. But at the end of it she frowned, leaning forward as to examine Felagund's face. "What is it that you are not telling me, dear brother? There is a light in your eyes; will you not tell me what put it there?" " 'Tis nothing, Nerwen. You must be imagining things." "Ah, but I know you better than that, Finrod. What are you hiding from me?" "No-one calls me Finrod anymore." "And no-one calls me Nerwen but you, and they have not done for many years. Do not try to lie to me, brother." Galadriel retorted, her voice rising in anger. Then she looked into Felagund's eyes again, and sighed, and her expression softened, and her voice, when she spoke again, was low and gentle. "It is love, is it not?" There was no other answer that could be given. "Yes." "Love you feel is forbidden, or else you would not hide it. But you needn't hide from your own sister. What ever form your love might take, I will greet it with gladness, and not sorrow or shame." "Look then, dear sister, for I have not the words to explain this to you." Felagund raised his eyes to hers, and there was a flicker in those blue orbs, an flash of power. His memories and thoughts laid bare, and a single word echoing in his mind, in her voice, an astonished Oh. She looked away then, and the blush could be seen on the tips of her ears. "I knew that love would come to you again, but this path was... unexpected. I do not know what to say, brother, other than I see it is love, and it is true." Gathering her skirts, she made to leave. "Going so soon, sister?" asked Felagund, sorrow in his tone. This time the blush reached her cheeks. "I was just going to find Celeborn. I need to talk to him – not about this," she added, seeing the expression on Felagund's face. "I just need to see him. I'll see you and... uh... Bor... at supper." She left somewhat less gracefully than normal.

It took a few seconds for a possible reason why Galadriel would want to see her husband right now to come to Felagund's mind; once it had, he wished it would go away. Most definitely more information than he needed. That night at supper Bor grinned at a somewhat dishevelled Galadriel, blushing a little under his gaze, and a dazed and confused, but happy looking Celeborn. "I don't know what you're talking about, Nm," he said under his breath, helping himself to more of Thingol's best wine. "They look like a good match to me."
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