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Flames Of Eternity

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Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

-Winston Churchill

 

~ ~ ~

 

Hidden Folk, Hidden Places

 

Adelaide, Australia
December 2020

Megadeth and Metallica Kim-Jonsson were having their thrice-weekly piano lessons. Alinta Jonsson smiled as she watched from the doorway to the rec room, once again glad that she'd found a cool teacher who not only didn't bat an eyelash at the fraternal twins being mixed-race, but was teaching them to play pop and rock as well as classical pieces. Her son and daughter were only six but gifted.

Very gifted.

"Thanks for coming, Jer," Ali said as Jeremy Hogan was packing up.

"Ah, you're welcome. Your kids are always a delight." The deeply tanned aging hippie grinned, and affectionately tousled the kids' mullets as they hugged his waist.

Ali tousled Jer's long grey hair then and slapped him on the shoulder. She gave him his usual fee for the session and then an extra few bucks as a tip.

"Oh no, you don't need to -"

"No, I insist." Ali looked through the sliding glass doors out at the patio, where her boyfriend Kenny Kim was setting up the grill. "Actually, you want to stay for dinner, and drinks?"

That was what he did. Ali was a moderate drinker - painfully aware of what alcohol had done to much of the Aboriginal side of her family - but one mojito was nice on a warm summer day like this. The kids played on the floor as the three grownups watched telly, and then Megadeth and Metallica wanted to go outside and kick a ball around so Ali stepped out with them, leaving Kenny and Jer to their mojitos.

Then Kenny slid open the door and leaned, folding his arms. "Hey, Ali... there's some Icelandic dude on the news. You might wanna come see this."

Ali raised an eyebrow. First, at Kenny's use of "dude" - the Korean-American had lived in Australia for twelve years now and still hadn't completely adopted Australian vocabulary, though he sounded more Aussie than California these days. Second, that some random Icelandic person would be of interest, even though it was her father's home country and it was a small enough place to assume that everyone sort of knew everyone. Ali had never been to her father's homeland, though it was on her bucket list.

Ali came in anyway, as Metallica and Megadeth continued to kick the ball around.

"The scientific community remains in shock following the mysterious disappearance of the thirty-six-year-old astrophysicist Dagnýr Sigurdsson, his husband, and their two daughters..."

There was a photo of Dagnýr, boy-next-door look, short dark hair, grey eyes like hers, dimples when he smiled. His husband, who the text strip with the newscast identified as Matt, was unfortunate-looking - big ears, messy dyed platinum blonde hair, thick glasses, kind of a funny face - but they were cute together in their happiness, and cuter in the picture of them holding their babies.

One of the babies had dark hair, one had red hair.

"Canadian authorities are still investigating all possible leads..."

Ali's heart started hammering. She remembered her haul for Apollyon Enterprises earlier in the month, picking up "three cunts" at Uluru, not told that they would also have two babies who, as it turned out, had dark hair and red hair like in the photo. Baby girls, and it was girls who'd gone missing. It had been Protocol Delta - top-secret, not to be discussed with anyone outside her boss, no names given for her passengers, no interaction allowed beyond basic instructions to the passengers on a needed basis only such as giving travel itinerary, and they were dropped off at a warehouse at the end of the trip; Ali had somewhat broken protocol to help comfort the girls when they were crying, and one of the three men had an unusual accent, though he didn't look like the man in the picture apart from also having dark hair, but his was shoulder-length and curly. 

Even with the limited information Ali had about them and their situation, she had figured out they were on the run from something, though she'd assumed refugees, maybe, and now...

A flash of memory. Her father, Böðvar Jónsson, showing a much smaller, precocious version of her a picture of his eldest sister Brynhildur, at her marriage to a man named Sigurd. The very briefest mention, once upon a time, "you've got cousins back in Iceland but their guardians -"  apparently Brynhildur and Sigurd were both dead - "won't let me talk to them 'cos I married a black lady."

That had to be a coincidence, right? That there was some bloke with the patronymic of Sigurdsson, who had two babies who bore a resemblance to the two babies that were in her truck earlier this month?

Ali's twenty-seven years of life had taught her there were very few actual coincidences.

There was another picture of Dagnýr on the screen now, from when he was a student at Oxford, maybe 19-20 years old, hair to his shoulders, curly. Like the hair of the man with the weird Scandi-sounding accent in the truck.

"You all right, babe?" Kenny noticed.

"Yeh, ta." Ali got up. "Would you excuse me for just a few minutes?"

She went to their bedroom, where her cell phone was on its charger. She waved her hand and the phone flew off its charger into her hand. She pulled up her contacts and her father's number. Calling her father would be a crapshoot, since he lived on a sheep farm in the middle of nowhere in South Australia and eschewed a lot of modern technology, only having a cell because his kids made him - he didn't even have Internet, his knowledge of anything online came from what his kids told him - and he didn't always have his phone on, or charged, but she had to try.

One ring. Two. She pushed hard into her father's mind, even though she knew it would give her a headache later. Pick up the sodding phone, Da.

Three. Four. Five. Pick up. Pick up... Ali rubbed her dreadlocks, feeling ready to explode.

"Possum?"

"Da."

"Possum! Hey!" A soft chuckle. Then, "Are you all right? 'Cos you don't normally scream into my head..."

"Yeh. Uh. Da. Ha ha..." She ran a nervous hand through her locks again and sat at the edge of the bed. "This is gonna be a really strange and random question, but just. Like. Answer it, if you don't mind."

"42."

"Da, I swear to fucking god."

"I'm sorry."

"No, you're not sorry, and don't do this shit to me on a Thursday." A pause. "I could never get the hang of Thursdays."

They had a little laugh over that, and then Böðvar said, "What is it, possum."

"You said, once upon a time... god, how old was I then, five or six? That I had cousins in Iceland."

A long pause. "Jæja, you do. Why, one of them try to look you up on the Headbook or something...?"

"It's Facebook, and no, 'cos you said that you weren't allowed to talk to them, 'cos of Mum, you know, being black."

A sigh. "Já."

"Yeh. I don't think they even know I exist...?"

"Shit, probably not."

"Well... we're adults now, they don't have their guardians in the way, so... what are their names? Do you remember?"

"I don't, but I have a picture of them when they were wee, it's got their names on it, if you hold on for just a sec..."

"A sec" turned out to be five minutes, and Ali snickered as she heard Böðvar yelling at their sheepdog in the background. "AULI, YOU CUTE LITTLE ARSEHOLE, WHERE DID YOU HIDE MY SLIPPERS THIS TIME?"

And then at last Böðvar was back on the phone. "OK possum. They're Magnús, Sören, and Dagnýr."

Shit. "...Dagnýr."

"Já, Dagnýr."

"Dagnýr Sigurdsson?"

"Jæja."

"About mid thirties or so?"

"It's got their birthdates on the photo aaaand he and Sören were born in '84. They're twins. Fraternal."

"Kayyyyyyyyyyy." Fuck. Fuck. FUCK. "Ta, Da. I'll... talk to you again soon, OK?"

"OK. Hope finding your cousins goes well, possum."

Of course he wouldn't know, since he rarely watched telly - Böðvar read a lot of books, constantly, something he'd instilled in his children. She wondered if her mum would tell him, since Medika did watch telly, though typically avoided the news because "it's always sad things". Both her parents were gifted, which was a big reason why they fell in love when they met three decades ago; they were both powerful empaths, and the news tended to make her mum cry.

Ali hit "End" and let out a deep sigh. "Fuck. Fucking fuck, bloody fucking hell..."

She let the phone float back to where it had been sitting on the dresser, and then she waved her hand and the dresser drawer underneath it opened. She closed her eyes and opened them as the sketchpad that the one with the heavy accent had accidentally left in her truck. It had really been bothering her that she hadn't been able to return this, as Protocol Delta had given no names, no contact info. She'd brought them from Uluru to Sydney, which was one hell of a drive, and she assumed they were somewhere there, maybe.

I need to find them. I need to find him.

A pillow hit her in the bum. She whirled around and watched as the pillow floated into Kenny's waiting hands.

"Ali, what's going on?" Kenny put a hand on his hips. "And don't tell me nothing, Alinta." Because we both know it's not nothing.

"That missing scientist we saw on telly is my cousin."

"What?" Kenny's eyebrows shot up. "What the -"

"OK, listen, Kenny? Don't say shit. To anyone. I think I know something but I'm not sure what I know, I only know that the little bit of it is bad -"

"OK, so maybe you should call a hotline -"

"I fucking can't." Ali vehemently shook her head. "This is..." She took a deep breath. "Something's going on, I don't know what, and I can't tell you the little bit of what I do know about it, I'm sorry, but calling a hotline, telling the government, it just." She took a deep breath. "Might make things worse. It's a gut feeling, but my gut is rarely ever wrong."

"Yeah." Kenny nodded. "I know." He frowned. "What are you going to do?"

"I don't know. I don't fucking know."

He gestured with his head at the sketch pad. "What you got there?" He held out his hand and the pad sailed across the room over to him. He started flipping through it. "Oh holy fucking shit, Ali, there's even a fucking sketch of him."

"What?" Ali hadn't looked beyond the first few pages, feeling like she was intruding on something deeply personal.

There it was. A colored pencil sketch of Dagnýr Sigurdsson, who she'd seen for all of two minutes on telly but his face was stuck in her head now. He was dressed like a wizard, summoning a giant serpent. A serpent that looked like it was made of space, its scales all rainbow galaxies and nebulas, with starry voids in between. Eyes of fire. The date "2008" was scrawled in the corner, with a strange runic-looking symbol that she guessed was a signature.

That was one of my cousins in the truck, and he has his brother's kids. She closed her eyes and she could almost see it. Some geezer bloke, like Jer but with longer hair and a longer beard and taller, handing the babies over."Keep them safe. Keep yourselves safe. Good luck."

Then the feeling like she was being SHOVED, enough that she had to lean against the bed to hold herself steady. The mental image of a door slamming and the same accented voice from the truck: Don't you EVER fucking do that again.

Ali could smell fire, but nothing was on fire. Then the smell was gone.

That did nothing to deter her resolve to find him. If anything, it made it stronger. He's like me. Her heart was racing again. He's like me...

"We've got elf blood, you know. It's magic." A memory of Böðvar after a few beers, watching the sunset. "Yer mum, she said she saw it when we met."

Ali had always thought he was joshing, the same way he liked to joke about wrestling polar bears back in Iceland and - on his rare trips out into civilization - enjoyed taking the piss out of American tourists by pretending he was Steve Irwin, but the memory gave her a chill now, remembering again the bloke in the truck with the long, long black hair and silver eyes, the beautiful voice, where Ali's first impression was He's not human. He was alive during the Dreamtime, followed by I know him, somehow. Somewhen.

And of course, she'd dismissed it as crazy fucking shit, even though she'd learned over the years that her impressions were rarely wrong.

Ali pinched the bridge of her nose. I have no idea how to even start. She had a feeling that if the one with the weird accent was her cousin ("IF", she thought to herself, seeing quotation marks), and he was on the run for something connected to his brother's disappearance, he would be using an assumed identity.

It occurred to her then there was probably someone in Apollyon Enterprises who did know, and she would be risking her job if she went digging, because that in and of itself was a violation of Protocol Delta, never mind the ways she'd already violated the protocol just by interacting with the people she was transporting. She was the breadwinner, Kenny was mostly a stay-at-home dad with the occasional photography job that didn't pay much, and if she got fired from her job times would be rough for awhile.

Not to mention that whatever was happening was probably dangerous. If her cousin Dagnýr was taken by god-knows-who and one of her other cousins had to go on the run and take the kids, well... that was some pretty heavy shit. They had run afoul of some bad people, clearly, and she would potentially be putting herself and her boyfriend and kids in danger for family she didn't even know.

And yet, she remembered the haunted look in those brown eyes, the thousand-yard stare, the feeling of utter defeat and hopelessness rolling off him and his companions (lovers?). She had family in trouble, who felt lost and alone in the world.

Family that had been stolen from her.

Let me see what I can dig up without getting sacked. But that could wait, as Kenny was dragging her out of the bedroom now, to where Metallica and Megadeth were waiting to be read their nightly bedtime story.


_


Akureyri, Iceland
September 2020

It was Tuesday the twenty-second, but not any typical Tuesday. Sören and Maglor had their usual classes at Logifugl Listaskóli, the studio Sören owned - Sören taught art classes and Maglor taught music - but today was Sören's two-year wedding anniversary with Dooku, and the one-year anniversary of Sören, Maglor, and Dooku's triad handfasting, performed in Scotland by Sören's aunts Gitta and Jane.

Gitta and Jane, who were now immortal, as they were, but while Sören, Maglor and Dooku still had a few years left in Iceland before people would start wondering why Dooku was approaching eighty and "Alejandro" turning "fifty" and not aging, Jane's terminal cancer had been healed by Vanimórë's blood and Gitta and Jane had to leave their bed-and-breakfast in Scotland to not cause a stir; Sören's cousin Ari - on the other side of his family - was now running it. Charlie Audley, the family's "guardian angel" in MI6, had arranged a fake death for the two women, and once a month or so Sören got a call from Gitta's new number.

Today, as Sören and Maglor were pulling in front of their three-bedroom house, they saw a drone fly over the backyard, meaning a drop from Charlie's department. There was a package, which they started opening once they got inside - it was gift-wrapped.

Right then, Sören's phone went off.

"Sören!" It was Gitta's voice. "Happy anniversary!"

"Awwwww, you remembered!" Sören immediately felt like a dumbass for saying that.

"Well of course I did, I performed the ceremony. Did you get my present?"

"Oh... that's..." Sören looked at the gift-wrapped package. "That's what just arrived?"

"Yes, I asked our 'mutual friend' to make sure it got to you." That "mutual friend" was of course Charlie.

"We haven't opened it yet, we just got in..."

"Oh that's OK, I can't talk too long, we're about to go on our after-dinner walk on the beach."

Sören beamed. He'd received photos of Gitta and Jane a few months ago, where Jane was back to a healthy weight, the two of them living in Malta under assumed names. "You still in..."

"Malta? Yes. We'll be here for awhile, I think, before it's time to go again. It's so gorgeous here, you should visit sometime."

"Heh. Well, we may end up doing more than visit, you know, later." Sören still didn't like to think about that, even though he knew it was inevitable - Iceland would always be home. "We'll see where we end up." They still hadn't decided on where they'd move to next, since that was a ways off yet as far as they were concerned, and a sore spot.

"You'd love the food and all the gorgeous people. Alejandro would love the beaches. Dooku would love the culture and the history, most likely."

"I miss you, you know."

"I know. We miss you too. So think about coming to see us sometime soon-ish, OK?"

"I will. And takk, so much, for the anniversary gift. That was very thoughtful of you, whatever it was."

"You're welcome. Give your husbands my love. And love from Jane too."

"I will." When the phone call ended, Sören told Maglor, "That was Gitta -"

"I know." Maglor nodded. "Shall we open this?"

"Let's wait for Nico to get back."

Ion Nicolae Dooku was at the grocery store, and once he got inside he used the Force to move the bags into the kitchen, even though he was capable of carrying them himself, because he wanted to embrace both his husbands. And of course, their dog Huan and cat Snúdur - immortal like they were - came up then, not wanting to be left out of the pettings.

"We've got a package from Gitta and Jane," Sören said, feeling as excited as Huan looked. "Do we open it now or after dinner?"

"How about while dinner is cooking?" Dooku asked, and then he looked at Maglor. "Your assistance is required in the kitchen, Macalaurë."

Maglor raised an eyebrow, but grinned and followed Dooku into the kitchen. While they worked in the kitchen, Sören sat and sketched for awhile, with the cat and dog on either side of him on the couch.

When they'd gotten dinner started, Maglor and Dooku came back into the living room and Dooku carefully, neatly unwrapped the package.

"You're not just gonna rip it open?" Sören asked.

Dooku gave him a look. "I'm not a barbarian like you."

Maglor hissed, "Hells," under his breath just as Sören replied with, "Hi not a barbarian like you -"

Dooku used the Force to crumple the gift wrap he'd gone to such trouble to neatly pull off the box, and throw it at Sören.

"You walked into it," Maglor said.

"SILENCE."

Sören snorted.

Dooku cut open the box. There was a small photo album on top, which Sören used the Force to pull out and into his waiting hands. Then there was a beautiful wreath inside, resting on top of a crocheted blanket, with a note saying that Jane had made the wreath and Gitta had made the blanket.

The blanket went over the back of the couch, adding a nice homey touch to the living room, and went well with the sea colors of their decor. The wreath had seashells, driftwood, sea glass, and various dried flowers.

The photo album started with pictures of Gitta and Jane - the three men choked up to see them so happy, Jane glowing and healthy, looking far younger than her seventy-one years. They had a lovely little beachside cottage in Malta, a patio garden, and there were photos of the inside of their cottage, decorated much the same way their living space in the bed-and-breakfast manse had been. There were pictures of their elderly cats Picard, Riker, LaForge and Crusher - immortal like they were. Pictures of Gitta and Jane cuddling with the cats, cuddling with each other, Gitta being silly and Jane being dignified and serious at various places of historical and aesthetic interest in Malta.

"It's so nice to see them doing so well." Sören used the Force to bring over the box of tissues.

Once again, Sören felt a sharp pang. He'd had a close call with Gitta and Jane - after his parents died, he'd been raised by his father's sister Katrín and her husband Einar, and from what he'd been told years later Katrín and Einar had prohibited Gitta and Jane from being in contact with the children because they were lesbians. Their attempt at ensuring heteronormativity had backfired in the most spectacular way possible - the latest evidence of this being their own son Ari was engaged to be married to a man named Harrison. But it had robbed Sören, his twin brother Dagnýr, and their transgender sister Margrét of the support they'd needed growing up, grieving the loss of their parents. Sören vaguely remembered hearing about an uncle, his mother's youngest sibling, and wondered now what became of him. He'd assumed growing up that Gitta had not been in touch due to disinterest, and he'd learned that assumption was painfully wrong. But he couldn't be sure with his uncle, if he was even still alive. As many years as Einar had been dead, and Katrín had joined him in death in 2017, they still owned space in his head. You're worthless, a waste of space, nobody wants you. Gitta and Jane had wished they could have raised them - Sören often wondered how things would have been different if they did - but he couldn't guarantee the same warmth from his uncle.

At least he had Gitta and Jane. He'd almost lost them, getting to meet them just as Jane was dying of advanced cancer. Now neither of them would die. Someday, they might all live together. My moms.

In the meantime he had the closest thing he'd ever had to father figures, in his husbands. They sensed his ache and pulled him close between them and Sören reached out to touch both of them, admiring the two most beautiful men he'd ever laid eyes on. Dooku, a retired barrister of seventy-one, though he looked closer to late fifties or early sixties, sporting short silver hair and neatly trimmed silver beard, dark eyes, olive-skinned, six-five barefoot, a lean, muscular build that he kept trim through regular physical activity, a deep-voiced, elegant Englishman born to exiled Romanian nobility. Maglor... an Elf, though he had not known that at first. Closer to seven feet tall, dark hair to the middle of his back when glamoured, to his thighs when not, pale with the build of a soldier, pointy ears usually hidden by his hair, and the voice of an angel. 

Sören had met Dooku while he lived in London, at an exhibit of his art, and the two had instantly formed a connection, even though they were very opposite in personality. Dooku was the second love of Sören's life, the first being "Alejandro" who had left claiming he was in an arranged marriage, then had crashed back into Sören's life after he and Dooku were married to explain the truth. And they had become a triad. 

But the truth was more complicated than even Maglor had been aware of. Maglor was one of Sören's ancestors - his son Tindómion had lived in Iceland during the 1600s under the name Tindri Magnússon, burned as a witch. He'd had one issue, Finn Tindsson, a Lutheran preacher. And Sören himself had been an Elf in a past life, along with Dooku - the legendary Fëanor and Fingolfin, in an incestuous triad with Maglor, all consenting adults, in the First Age, which had ended in tragedy. Sören had reincarnated down his family line, with Dooku being born into a Romanian family that also had rumors of changeling lineage. They had been punished by the Valar, along with most of the House of Finwë. Maglor had not known who they were, initially - they themselves had not known, until all was revealed in August 2019 with the help of Gandalf, disguised as a human named Brian Proust, one of Dagnýr's colleagues at the University of Toronto.

The Doom had not been able to keep the three of them from re-aligning, and Vanimórë had come to make sure they could never be split apart again. Vanimórë had left for the Dagor Dagorath - Sören wondered if it had happened yet - but he had come from another universe and he could travel between them. Sören had seem glimpses into a few other worlds where Vanimórë was helping to fix things there, too.

Sören still missed Vanimórë, terribly. He couldn't think about the subject of immortality without thinking of the one who had given him immortality.

"Dinner's almost ready." Dooku planted a kiss on Sören's brow.

"Do you need my help...?" Maglor glanced at Dooku as he got up.

"Why don't you set things up like how I discussed with you in the kitchen?" Dooku was poker-faced, but Sören saw the glint of mischief in those dark eyes, and Dooku gave Sören a little smile before he ducked out.

"Hey Sören, go in the studio for a minute," Maglor said.

"Why? Whatcha doing?" Sören asked.

"Just... do it."

Sören blew a raspberry at him, but did as he was told, with Huan and Snúdur following behind him. Sören flomped onto the nest in the corner of the combination art and music room and the Icelandic sheepdog/Corgi mix climbed on top of him, lapping his face, and that was how Maglor found them a few moments later, smiling fondly.

Sören came out. They usually ate in the kitchen-dining area but the living room was set up with blankets and pillows spread in front of the fireplace, a fire going. It was a cool night and just starting to rain, so the fire was cozy. Candles were lit in frosted glass tealight holders on the fireplace mantle, except for the last one in the center. "You can do the honors," Maglor told him.

The last candle, in a stained glass tealight holder, was a memorial. There was a box of the ashes of Dooku's cat Dragos, who'd died of kidney failure in old age before Vanimórë had come along. There was a jar of dirt from the farm Tindómion had owned, where his ashes had been scattered. There was a small bottle of ashes, some of the remains of Claire James, a girl Sören had met and fallen in love with back in 2003, who had killed herself over the holidays in 2004. She had not just been some random crush, but there had been something fated about them meeting each other, and Sören knew he, Maglor, and Claire were together in other worlds, he'd seen it. In another interesting twist of fate, Sören had become friends with Claire's cousin Harrison, who was marrying his cousin Ari. Vanimórë had promised they would see Claire and Tindómion again, in France in 2047. But in the meantime, Sören missed Claire, and Maglor missed his son, and they took each other's hands as the flame danced in their memory.

Dooku brought out a tray. Sören clapped his hands excitedly like a big kid at the pot of fondue, and the things to dip in the fondue - pieces of French bread, bacon, grilled mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, roasted cauliflower and zucchini. There was wine to go with the fondue. As he set it down before the fire, Maglor started the stereo system, and Sören smiled as Anita Baker came on.

It was an entire playlist of sensual, romantic music - Marvin Gaye, Sade, Maxwell, Usher, D'Angelo, Toni Braxton, Jill Scott, The Weeknd.

They fed each other like newlywed lovers, dipping the bread and bacon and vegetables into the melted cheese and putting it in each other's mouths, licking and sucking cheese from each other's fingers, stealing kisses between rounds at the fondue pot.

But there were also moments of comedy, with Huan and Snúdur coming over to beg. Huan eventually stole a piece of bacon, running off with it. Exasperated, Dooku threw a piece of bacon across the living room for Snúdur to catch, and Snúdur dragged his "prey" off and left them alone.

When the fondue and its accompaniments were polished off, they cuddled up together with wine, watching the fire. Sören was already horny, and feeling warm.

Warm and horny enough that when Dooku and Maglor went into the kitchen to take care of dishes and bring out dessert, Sören stripped, and they came back to find him looking like dessert, naked and fully erect, propped up on one elbow.

Dessert was chocolate fondue with fresh fruit to dip in the chocolate, and Dooku and Maglor decided to follow Sören's lead and also get naked. Sören "accidentally" spilled chocolate on himself and Maglor cleaned it with his tongue, and soon Maglor and Dooku were eating chocolate and fruit off Sören's naked body, then Sören and Dooku eating off Maglor, and Maglor and Sören eating off Dooku, and then just grooming his silver pelt of chest hair with their tongues, nuzzling it, rubbing it. The fruit was gone before the chocolate fondue, and they poured the rest of the pot over themselves, taking turns licking each other clean. All three were erect now, and when the chocolate was gone they licked spilled wine from each other's bodies, at last taking turns kissing as they got in a position to rub their three cocks together, stroke them together.

Licking each other all over had set the mood for a similar yet different kind of fun. After kissing and teasing each other's cocks for awhile, they assembled - Sören sucked Maglor's cock, Maglor sucked Dooku, and Dooku sucked Sören. Every now and again Sören would let Maglor's cock slip from his mouth and thrust his tongue into Maglor's opening, feasting on him there, licking slowly then fast. Maglor and Dooku followed suit, until all three were trembling, moaning loudly into each other, desperate for release.

Dooku lay on his back and Sören poured lube over his cock, teasing them both again by rubbing his cock against Dooku's, but finally Sören turned around and impaled himself before laying with his back to Dooku's chest, Dooku's arms around him, holding him as he took his first few thrusts. Maglor pushed into him then, his cock rubbing against Dooku's inside Sören, kissing Sören again and again as Dooku kissed Sören's neck, kissing Dooku over Sören's shoulder, before Dooku tilted Sören's face so they could kiss, and Maglor licked and suckled Sören's nipples, playing with the rings in them.

They fucked slowly, savoring, lost in a dreamy haze of sensual pleasure and loving connection. Sex with either of his husbands on their own was good, and Maglor and Dooku enjoyed their own private time as well, but there was something about the three of them together that was magnificent, something Sören compared to a work of art. Sören loved being between them, feeling them both inside him, holding them as they held him, the wild sweetness of passion. They let the edge build, keeping the pace slow, letting the tension wind and wind until they finally gave in to moments of pure, raw hunger, fucking hard, savage, making loud cries and howls and screams and shouts. Sören's legs were on Maglor's shoulders, and he went from losing his ability to speak English to losing his ability to make words altogether, not even able to scream as his orgasm took his breath away, coming in shuddery gasps.

The feeling of both of them coming inside him - cock coming on cock - was one of Sören's favorite things. He made a little purring noise and drifted off on a cloud of bliss, coming back to Maglor petting him, Dooku trailing little kisses over his beard. Maglor skritched Sören's beard like a cat and Sören meowed, which made them laugh before Maglor kissed the tip of Sören's nose.

They took turns kissing some more, sweetly and tenderly at first, then the kisses heated until they were roused to hardness again. Maglor ate his and Dooku's cum out of Sören as Sören and Dooku necked and petted, finally rubbing their cocks together, and Maglor took them both in his mouth, Sören and Dooku kissing even more hungrily, caressing each other, gently fucking Maglor's mouth. When they came together, the way Maglor shuddered and moaned as he swallowed them down let them know he came too - Sören could feel it across their bond, as well - and then Maglor came up to kiss them, letting them taste themselves on him, the taste of them combined delicious, salty-sweet.

Dooku pushed Maglor onto his back and kissed him again and again, fingers playing over Maglor's body, as Sören licked Maglor's cock, just licking it, teasing him. At last Dooku grabbed Sören's curls and pulled him up to kiss him, tasting Maglor's precum on his tongue. Sören poured lube over Maglor's cock and Dooku poured it into Maglor's opening. Sören straddled Maglor's hips and sank down, and then Dooku got behind him and pushed into Maglor, his arms around Sören again, kissing his neck, tilting his face so he and Sören could kiss as Sören rode Maglor's cock and Dooku took Maglor, slowly.

It was another haze of desire, the three losing themselves in sensation, in each other, that heady mix of vulnerability, surrender, and possession. Dooku reached around to play with Sören's cock as Sören's hands roamed over Maglor's body and Maglor's hands were on Sören, every now and again on what he could touch of Dooku, as well.

Coming together, their orgasm was even more shattering than the ones before. Sören collapsed in Maglor's arms, and made a noise of deep contentment as he felt Dooku resting against him, nuzzling his curls. Being petted and held in the warm glow of the fire, the warm glow of orgasmic bliss, Sören slid into a nap.

This time he was out for longer, and he woke in Maglor's arms, still snuggled into Maglor's chest, but Dooku was up, and Sören wondered where he was. Then he heard movement in the hall. He got up and walked over, naked, moving a bit gingerly after the use of his body.

Dooku, completely naked, had chosen right then to do a home improvement project. Dooku had been an active senior before immortality, but since he'd taken Vanimórë's blood Dooku had reported feeling downright young again, doing things he hadn't done in years like running, and now it seemed he had a surge of energy after sex, when usually he'd be asleep. "This has been bothering me since we moved in," Dooku said, gesturing to the hall closet, which was now empty, with everything in it in the hallway. The clothes rack was slanted, and there was a small hole in the closet wall. "I was thinking of where to hang the wreath Jane made, and the hall closet door seemed like the perfect place... and I decided then it was time to finally fix this."

"Buckass naked."

Dooku looked down, and blushed. "I... I suppose."

"Mkay." Sören grinned. He peered into the closet again. This house had been where he'd spent the first four years of his life - it had become his again rather by not-an-accident or not-a-coincidence in August 2019 - and Sören vaguely remembered those same cosmetic errors being there. Dooku handed him a flashlight so he could get a better look at the hole in the wall, and Sören stepped into the closet.

That was when he saw it. There was something in the hole in the wall. "What in the fuck..."

"What?"

Sören switched places with Dooku. Dooku glared at it. Then he turned to Sören. "Hand me a stick."

Sören put his cock in Dooku's hand.

"Goddammit, Sören, I mean an actual stick. Like the kind you play fetch with."

"You can play fetch with this stick."

"I'm being serious."

"Hi being serious -"

"SÖREN."

Huan had a stick near Snúdur's cat toys at Snúdur's cat tree, and it was just the right size to poke into the wall. Dooku pulled out a piece of paper that was wrapped up with an elastic band. He handed it to Sören.

"I don't know what that is," Dooku said.

"I don't either, but we'll find out, I guess."

Dooku put his hands on his hips. "It makes me wonder if we'll find anything else in here."

He started to take down the clothing rack, instead of just trying to lift the crooked side back to its proper height, and when he removed the rack, a panel fell out from the wall.

Dooku shone a flashlight into the open panel, made a noise of surprise, reached into the wall and pulled out a notebook.

Sören opened it. The writing was still legible, and the first page noted that it was the diary of Sigurd Tollasson, dated 1985. Thirty-five years ago.

"You look like you've seen a ghost," Dooku said.

Sören slammed the notebook shut. "My father's, to be precise."

Chapter Text

 All in the Family




Sören would have appreciated sleeping in the next day, but it was Wednesday and he had classes at the studio. At the usual time, Maglor drove them out to Logifugl Listaskóli. Maglor taught guitar today; Sören had ceramics in the morning and sketching in the afternoon. The ceramics class was one of Sören's favorites, and usually put him in a good mood. And there was some of that, but not the full glow - there was a strange feeling of foreboding Sören couldn't quite put his finger on, like something was about to happen and he didn't know what.

Someone else might have dismissed this as paranoia, and particularly the kind of paranoia that people with PTSD lived with - indeed, for much of Sören's life, any periods of happiness were usually short-lived, pending a crash into disaster, and he had learned from repeat past experience to distrust it. He'd had calm and stability with Dooku for the better part of three years, and with Maglor along for the last year of it. Apart from the shakeup of Maglor coming back into his life a little over a year ago, which had resolved itself quickly enough, and the pain of missing Vanimórë, things had been very, very good. Almost too good. While Sören didn't quite believe time healed all wounds, he was starting to slowly snap out of the mindset that all good things in his life would create a sort of karmic backlash and leave him worse off than before.

And yet, Sören was also Force sensitive, and he'd also learned from past experiences to trust his gut. He didn't always - which had caused him no small amount of trouble, most notably with his ex Justin Roberts - but he was trying to take Vanimórë's admonishment to heart, that he needed to trust his instincts more. And he couldn't shake the feeling that something was up.

That feeling intensified when he and Maglor drove back from the studio and Maglor was more quiet than usual, his brow furrowed. Once back at their house in Akureyri. Dooku was writing on his laptop, and he got up to greet them at the door, hugging and kissing each of them. Dooku had tea ready, expecting them, and as they sat down to tea, with Huan and Snúdur trotting out for pettings, Dooku asked, "How was your day?"

"All right, I guess," Sören said, and Maglor nodded. "You?"

Dooku took a deep breath. He put his tea down, and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'm sensing a disturbance in the Force. I'm not quite sure what it is, but..."

"Same." Maglor nodded.

Sören nodded too, with a sharp exhale. "Shit."

"It's enough that I've been tempted to get out the palantir and scry to see what it is," Maglor said, "but on the other hand... I don't know if I want to."

"Yes, sometimes knowing what it is makes it worse," Dooku said. "I think the best course of action for now is to let it go unless the feeling gets stronger... or what it is reveals itself to us. Which it may."

"Yeah, things have a way of manifesting sooner or later." Maglor leaned back in his chair and sipped his tea. "In this case, my guess is sooner."

"All we can really do is make a note of it, continue to compare notes on the status of the feeling, and distract ourselves in the meantime. Which, on that subject, Macalaurë, Sören, do you care to accompany me to the store? Figure out what we're doing for dinner?"

Sören knew that his own best distraction was art, and he might as well paint with this nervous energy. "You guys can go. I'll stay here and try to paint or something."

"Oh, good," Maglor said, smiling, reaching out to squeeze Sören's hand. "If you get in the zone, you want me to play on the harp while you paint, later this evening?"

"That sounds great," Sören said. Even better if we take a break to fuck like we normally do. Creating together tended to make them both randy, and some of their most passionate encounters had been after a session of Maglor making music as Sören painted. Sören understood now that this was an act of power - the Flame and the Song working together, and the sex was more than just sex, it was magical. But even before he'd had that knowledge of what he was, and what Maglor was, they had a creative synergy that felt absolutely right, and it was that rightness he craved now, when it felt like something somewhere somehow was starting to go wrong.

Sören saw his husbands off with a hug and a kiss, and then he went to the one of the bedrooms that he and Maglor had turned into a studio, set up with musical equipment, art supplies, and a futon against a wall as a "nest" for breaks. Sören took out a blank canvas, put it on an easel, and got his oil paints, brushes, and cleaner ready. He sat in front of the canvas and meditated for a few moments, trying to get a mental image - what to paint. At first there was nothing. Then, even though it was the day after the fall equinox, he saw snow. Ice. He could smell it, clean and crisp and somewhat burnt, what white diamonds would smell like.

And then there was a knock on the door.

Sören knew it couldn't be Dooku or Maglor, since they had their keys. None of his family had mentioned coming out for a visit, though he knew once in awhile they liked to surprise each other. His neighbors were friendly enough but he didn't have the closeness with them that he'd had with Vigdís and Páll back when he and Dooku were living in a cabin in Svalbarðseyri - they still got together with their old neighbors from time to time but it wasn't like Vigdís and Páll to show up unannounced. Sören wondered if it was Charlie. He had no idea who it might be, but he wasn't going to ignore it. The knock came again as Sören made his way down the hall to the front door.

"Ég er að koma. Haltu þér," Sören called down the hall. Huan was starting to get worked up, wagging his tail and barking.

Sören opened the door and there stood a sight he had not seen in months. A man close to seven feet tall, white hair down to his waist, silver eyes so light they were almost white. He bore a resemblance to Maglor, as if they were related - that was because they were, in fact, related.

"Edenel," Sören breathed. "Uncle..."

Edenel, who was once Élernil, the twin of Finwë. They had met very briefly at his sister Margrét's wedding in August 2019, and had a more intense encounter this time last year when Sören and his family visited Scotland. It was then that Edenel had told Sören, I should have been your father. I would have loved you, I would have cherished you, and it grieves me to know Finwë had not.

They'd had quite the reunion - Sören had not had that many rounds of sex, and that many orgasms, before or since. But it hadn't just been lust, though there was plenty of that. It was emotional, even spiritual, a powerful, shattering connection. It had felt incredibly right. It had been magnificent. Sören had only seen Edenel once since then, during the spring, a more brief visit. He'd regretted not getting to recapture that same magic.

Here and now, as Sören took Edenel into his arms to welcome him in, his body began to respond immediately. Sören thought of the winter landscape he'd seen in his mind's eye, the way he could smell it. He could smell it again now but stronger, with a touch of musk, an intoxicating scent that made his cock stir. Edenel's arms tightened around Sören, and Sören could feel a quiver go through him.

When they pulled apart - slowly, a bit reluctantly - Edenel's voice was husky. "Sören. Fëanáro. It is... good to see you."

"You too. I've missed you." Sören nodded.

"I've missed you too, Sören. I'm sorry that I haven't been by sooner. A lot has been going on."

"I bet." Sören sighed, thinking of Vanimórë, missing him too. "Well, come in. Do you want coffee? Tea?"

"I want another hug first, if you don't mind."

Sören didn't mind at all, pulling Edenel close. His body practically screamed to feel Edenel against him, not just sexually - though there was that - but how good it felt to have his family there, after so long.

And yes, it was sexual indeed. Sören's cock throbbed, straining against his jeans. The scent from Edenel was getting stronger. "I, ah." Sören brushed a stray lock of hair out of Edenel's eyes. "Maglor and Nico are out at the store and should be back soon, you're welcome to stay for dinner... though..." Sören crinkled his nose and bit his lower lip. "I'm kind of in the mood for dessert first."

With a growl, Edenel kissed him hard, kissed him like he'd been starving for it. Sören could feel Edenel's own hardness pressed up against him, and, kissing all the way, Edenel began to march him down the hall, towards the bedrooms. As soon as they stepped in the master bedroom that Sören, Maglor and Dooku shared, with its king-sized bed, Sören and Edenel started undressing each other, clothes strewn haphazardly on the floor. Hands roaming over newly exposed flesh. Kissing again and again, panting, gasping, cocks already leaking precum, aching for relief.

Sören climbed onto the bed and pulled Edenel down with him. Sören held Edenel tight, skin against skin, hard cocks rubbing together. He played with Edenel's hair as they kissed deep, losing themselves in lust, sensation.

Sören let out a moan as Edenel began kissing and licking his neck, then moved down to lap and suckle at his sensitive pierced nipples. Edenel's fingers brushed and plucked one nipple while his mouth feasted on the other, and Sören arched to him, writhing, panting, already desperate to come and they'd just barely started. Their cocks rubbed more urgently and for a moment Sören felt he could come just like that, shuddering at the delicious thought of coming just from Edenel's cock on his.

But that wasn't to be quite yet. Edenel's mouth moved lower, kissing, licking and nibbling Sören's stomach, then his thighs, before swallowing his cock down to the root, sucking hard. Sören cried out, grabbing the points of Edenel's ears, gently fucking his mouth - the talented mouth devouring him so hungrily, Edenel's eyes blazing with fevered passion.

Sören was so close, but he wanted to please Edenel as well, feeling that gnawing pang of how long Edenel had been separated from his family, all the horror he'd been through, wanting to offer him comfort, solace... if not make him forget about the pain, make him remember how good it was to live and be loved, in the arms of his kin. He wanted to welcome Edenel home. He grabbed Edenel's hair and pulled him off his cock - glistening, flushed a deep pink, dripping precum, almost painful in its urgency - and he rasped, "I want to taste you, too."

They got into position, heads between each other's legs. When Edenel took Sören back into his mouth, Sören's lips wrapped around Edenel's cock and he sucked for all he was worth, smiling a little at the sound of Edenel moaning with his mouth full, feeling Edenel quiver against him, at last thrusting into his mouth, not able to help it. Sören slipped a finger into him, finding the prostate right away, and rubbed in circles as he sucked harder, faster, reveling in how quickly Edenel was undone, moaning louder, filling his mouth with precum, hands roaming over him before fisting his curls, which encouraged Sören all the more.

They came together, and Sören swallowed all that he could, savoring the taste that was like a mountain spring. He lapped the still-leaking slit of Edenel's cock, wanting every last drop, making Edenel shudder with aftershocks; he shuddered as Edenel returned the favor, licking his throbbing cock clean. They came up to kiss, holding each other, and the kiss made them harden up again right away. Without saying a word, Sören waved his hand and used the Force to bring over the lube from the bedtable, and poured some onto his hand, taking Edenel's cock into his hand to work the lubricant. Edenel coated his fingers and stuck two fingers into Sören, making Sören moan and buck up against him. They continued kissing as they readied each other, and kissed more deeply as Edenel pushed inside.

Sören wrapped his arms around Edenel's back, and his legs around Edenel's waist. Holding you with all of me, he spoke into Edenel's mind. Their eyes met, and Edenel planted a tender, feather-light kiss on Sören's brow, stroking his cheek gently. Then Edenel's teeth were in Sören's neck as he let him have it, pounding him into the mattress.

"Oh shit, oh god, oh fuck, yes, yes," Sören cried out, rocking his hips back at Edenel, giving back as good as he got, fucking himself on the cock pumping away inside him.

They groaned and panted and gasped and growled together, the slap of their flesh and the sound of the bed rocking against the wall almost as loud as their voices. Sören heard keys in the door, and Maglor and Dooku's voices down the hall, and then they were quiet, and then Sören saw Maglor in the doorway of the bedroom, watching Edenel and Sören fuck. Maglor's jaw dropped, and then his eyes met Sören's.

Maglor knew, of course, that Sören and Edenel had been intimate a year ago; Maglor and Dooku were more or less fine with Sören having dalliances - such as his best friend Frankie, who had become his girlfriend since December. Maglor could be possessive, but he knew there were limits of applying that to Sören, who was not suited to monogamy.

What Sören felt radiating from Maglor now wasn't jealousy, but curiosity... and hunger of his own. He could smell the irresistible scent of Edenel and it was affecting him. Even without that scent, the blood of the House of Finwë was a potent draw.

Sören couldn't help smiling as he watched Maglor undress, and he joined them on the bed. Maglor grabbed Sören's face and kissed him hard, with both of them moaning into the kiss. Then Edenel kissed Maglor as well and Maglor shivered, breathing harder when they pulled apart, eyes like mercury.

Maglor got between Sören and Edenel to take Sören's cock into his mouth as Edenel continued to fuck him, and that was how Dooku found them when he stepped into the bedroom a few minutes later.

They'd had a foursome exactly once before - with Vanimórë, in August 2019, before Vanimórë had left to prepare for the Dagor Dagorath. Dooku was reserved, not one for casual sex; Vanimórë wasn't quite a stranger, but Dooku hadn't known him well enough then to go beyond anything but incidental touching. When Sören had encountered Edenel, he'd fantasized of having a threesome or perhaps a foursome, but had also considered it unlikely due to Dooku's shyness. Now, Dooku was naked, proudly erect, and joined them on the bed, kissing Sören passionately as he grabbed Maglor's hair, encouraging him to keep sucking Sören.

The sheer debauchery of his husbands being present got Sören so worked up he knew he wasn't going to last longer, not with Edenel's cock stroking his prostate and Maglor's talented mouth on his cock, the lust in Dooku's dark eyes as he watched, idly stroking himself, taking it all in. When Dooku collected his precum onto his fingers and stuck them into Sören's mouth for him to taste Sören lost it, coming in Maglor's mouth, and the way he clenched around Edenel's cock set Edenel off a few seconds later, giving a wild cry as he erupted deep inside him. Sören cried out too, gasping for breath as the feeling of hot cum shooting over his sensitized prostate made his orgasm even stronger.

Maglor kissed Dooku with his mouth full of Sören's seed, and Dooku groaned into the kiss, again as his cock rubbed up against Maglor's, both of them slick with precum. The sight of his husbands together made Sören recharge right away, and Edenel was hard again as well. But Sören didn't want to be greedy - Edenel deserved to be welcomed by his entire family.

Sören rolled Dooku towards him and Edenel took Dooku's place over Maglor, kissing him, rubbing against him. Sören gently pushed Dooku onto his back and Dooku smiled as Sören's fingers walked through the silver pelt of chest hair, giving him a lascivious grin. "Hey, stranger," Sören husked. "Come here often?"

Dooku chuckled and pulled Sören into a kiss. Then Sören straddled his hips and they both moaned as Sören impaled himself on the long, thick, slightly upcurved cock. Maglor also moaned as he watched Sören taking Dooku's cock, and he cried out as Edenel pushed inside him.

Having gotten the first feverish fuck out of the way, Edenel was more gentle with Maglor, at least at first, slow and sensual. The sight of them inflamed Sören's lust, riding Dooku hard, harder when Dooku playfully spanked Sören's ass. "Naughty," he teased.

"Mmmmm, you like it when I'm naughty, old man," Sören said, hands caressing Dooku's chest and stomach, savoring the feel of his chest hair, so deliciously male.

"No, I don't like it," Dooku said, mischief in his dark eyes. "I love it."

Sören leaned down and kissed him hard; Dooku's arms wrapped around him before his hands slid down Sören's back to slap his ass again. Sören cried out, and again when Dooku tugged a nipple ring with his teeth, before his tongue laved the sensitive peak, knowing from nearly three years together just what Sören liked.

Sören was right on that edge again, the edge sharpening as he watched Edenel and Maglor, the two of them kissing, caressing, Edenel thrusting slowly. They were making love, not just fucking, and Sören's breath caught at the sight of it, burning it into his memory to preserve its beauty. He could feel across his Force bond with Dooku that Dooku was enjoying what he saw as well, almost overwhelmed by the eye candy of Sören on top of him and Edenel and Maglor next to him.

It was when Dooku started feasting on Sören's nipples in earnest, with Sören clutching his head, riding as hard as he could, that Edenel took Maglor harder, faster, Maglor's nails digging into Edenel's back and hips, white-knuckled. Not able to help himself, Sören reached out and stroked Maglor's cock, and when Maglor let go, coming with a cry, shooting all over Sören and Edenel both, Sören gave into his own climax, spilling over Dooku's stomach and chest, the last shot over his throat. Dooku and Edenel came at the same time, and Edenel took Dooku's hand as he came, with Dooku squeezing his hand in return. Sören wondered about that as he rested in Dooku's arms, being pet as he came down from the glorious intensity of his orgasm.

Sören came to a few moments later to Dooku and Maglor kissing - something he would never get tired of watching, making his spent cock stir again. Dooku was still covered in Sören's seed, and Maglor took a few licks of it off his chest, making Dooku groan appreciatively. Then Dooku's eyes met Edenel's and Edenel asked, "May I?"

Dooku blushed, but gave a small nod. He moaned as Edenel began to lick the remaining cum from Dooku's stomach and chest - tongue brushing over a nipple - and then Edenel was licking the cum that Sören had shot onto Dooku's throat. Sören gasped when Edenel bit Dooku's neck, his cock throbbing at that, and again when Edenel pulled Dooku into a kiss. Dooku's eyes widened as if in disbelief that this was happening, but then he moaned into the kiss, and Sören heard himself gasp, "Oh, fuck yes." Just watching them kiss was almost enough to send him shooting off again, but Sören tried to keep himself in check, knowing it would get even better.

Maglor pulled him in now, and Sören moaned as Maglor's cock slid against his, their hungry mouths kissing, lost in each other even as they stole glances at the erotic sight playing out next to him, Dooku and Edenel rubbing up against each other, kissing. When Edenel started kissing Dooku's neck and shoulder Sören leaned in to steal a kiss, then Maglor, and then Edenel kissed Sören and Maglor in turn.

Feeling even naughtier than before, Sören's fingers brushed against the tips of his and Maglor's cocks, gathering precum, and with their mingled essence on his fingers he brought them to Dooku's lips to taste. Then went back for more, for Edenel to taste. Edenel did the same with his and Dooku's precum, feeding Sören and Maglor.

That sent Sören out of his mind with lust, and before he knew what he was doing, he rolled from Maglor to position himself face down, ass up, his face over Dooku and Edenel's cocks, swallowing down as much of the two cocks as he could. Dooku and Edenel both cried out at the feel of Sören's mouth on them, and then Dooku initiated the kiss, with Edenel rocking harder against him in response. Sören felt Maglor climb off the bed and then Maglor was on his knees on the side of the bed and his tongue speared Sören, eating Edenel and Dooku's cum out of him, teasing Sören's prostate with slow, deliberate lashes of his tongue. Sören thrust against Maglor's face, fucking himself on Maglor's tongue, grinding his aching cock into the mattress, sucking Dooku and Edenel harder. Wanting, feeling like a creature of lust itself, insatiable. The smell of whatever cologne Edenel was wearing was almost unbearably delicious, adding to his torment.

Before Sören could come from Maglor's tongue, Maglor stopped licking him and Sören felt Maglor get back on the bed again. Sören felt lube directly poured into his channel, which was already open and ready, and gasped with a full mouth at the shock of the cool liquid. Then he let out a whimper as Maglor mounted him and began to plow, taking Sören from behind, showing no mercy, fucking hard. Sören loved it, rocking his hips against Maglor's, crying out around the cocks in his mouth as Maglor grabbed Sören's curls, and crying out again as Maglor's free hand slapped his ass.

Sören sucked Edenel and Dooku like his life depended on it. Feeling, indeed, like he would die if he didn't have their cocks in his mouth, as Maglor's cock drilled him. Sören had done a number of kinky things over the years, but this was so shamelessly wanton that it made his lust burn even hotter, wanting this, glorying in this side of himself, this side of all of them. And as rough and fierce as they all were in the fever and hunger of their need, there was still tenderness - Dooku's hand stroking Sören's beard, his cheek. Edenel petting Dooku's face, rubbing his chest. Maglor rubbing Sören's back, petting his curls before grabbing them. As Sören felt himself get closer he took Dooku's hand and Edenel's.

Dooku and Edenel coming together in his mouth - the sight of Dooku and Edenel crying out together as they climaxed - set Sören off, coming hard, and the feel of Sören contracting sent Maglor off a split second later, collapsing on top of Sören, shaking from head to toe. Maglor's cries were almost musical. Now Sören's hands were in Maglor's, fingers linked, power thrumming between them, Flame and Song, fed by the power of the Star-Prince and Starfire. That last release was almost terrifying in its intensity, but also so exquisitely beautiful that it brought tears to Sören's eyes. In the profane, there was something sacred. In their most animal, they were their most divine, the embodiment of passion, like a force of nature.

Edenel spooned Dooku and Maglor spooned Sören, and Sören snuggled into Dooku's chest. After a little while Dooku laughed softly. "At least I tried to be responsible and put the groceries away before I, ah, indulged," Dooku said when Sören raised an eyebrow.

"So you knew right away? I guess we were pretty loud," Sören said.

"Not just loud, but..." Dooku tilted his head, and Edenel smiled, nuzzling him. "Whatever that cologne is, I could smell it right away, and it... my body responded."

"It's not cologne," Edenel said.

Now it was Dooku's turn to raise an eyebrow.

Edenel's arms tightened around the reincarnation of his nephew Fingolfin. "A long time ago, when my people the Ithiledhil became what we were... we were affected by the tides of the sun and the earth. For lack of a better way of putting it, we go into heat a few times a year - the solstices, the equinoxes, and what modern Pagans call Samhain and Beltaine. I can of course have sex any other time, and do, but these times are when I need to. The heat usually comes on within one to three days before the tide, and lingers one to three days afterward. All three of you are sensitive to the heat, which is not surprising since you are my blood, though the outcome of it... was a bit unexpected. But welcome."

"I normally don't..." Dooku's voice trailed off.

"I know, Fingolfin. And it is an honor that you did." Edenel gave him a little kiss. "I hope it won't be the last time."

Dooku blushed.

"Me either," Sören said, propped up on one elbow, fingers walking through Dooku's chest hair again before skritching his beard as if Dooku were a cat. "That was hot as fuck."

Dooku laughed. He stopped laughing when Sören kissed him, and then Edenel kissed him, more insistently than before.

"Shall I make dinner? We've been here awhile, and... I should be a good host to our guest." Dooku glanced at the time.

"It's not food I'm hungry for right now." Edenel's eyes met Sören's.

Sören and Edenel kissed, then Sören and Maglor, then the four reassembled so Maglor and Dooku could kiss, and Sören and Edenel were kissing again. Sören rolled Edenel onto his back and began to worship Edenel's gorgeous sculpted body with his fingers and tongue, wanting to explore every inch of him, love every part of him. For a moment Sören's hand rested on Edenel's heart, wanting him to feel how much he cared, the love and acceptance of blood reunited with blood. Edenel's hand covered Sören's, and he brought Sören's hand to his lips and kissed it tenderly, before grabbing Sören's curls and pulling him up for a deep, fierce kiss. Sören kissed him back, then his mouth was on Edenel's neck, kissing, licking, and he bit, feeling savage.

It was going to be a long night. Dinner would probably be late, if at all. But right here was a feast, and Sören wanted all that the three had to give.

Chapter Text

Blood Sings

 

For all that Sören wanted to sleep in yesterday, he made himself go into the studio, but today, there was no way he was going to be able to function. He didn't get to sleep until sometime around four in the morning. It had been well worth it - Sören had no regrets - but it wasn't simply lack of sleep when his alarm went off, it was the soreness of his body, the feeling of being well-used. Even now that he'd been immortal for over a year and found he could push his body harder than he used to, there were limits and he was coming up on that limit, needing rest.

When his alarm went off he sent an e-mail out to his students, letting them know both he and "Alejandro" would refund them for the day, and Sören would also refund them for Friday, feeling like even if he felt more up to going on Friday, something about Edenel's visit necessitated taking the additional time off. Sören wasn't happy about needing to cancel - money was no longer a concern to him, with the fund Vanimórë had set up for them before his departure, not counting the money Maglor already had in reserve, so it wasn't that; Sören didn't like letting people down, or saying he was going to do something and not being able to keep his word. He had a very easygoing group of students for the most part, and he knew they'd understand taking a couple "sick days", but he still didn't feel great about it.

On the other hand, he hadn't gotten to see his uncle much at all over the last year. Family was a priority to him.

Sören went back to bed after sending out the e-mail. He snuggled into a nice cozy cuddle pile with Edenel, Dooku and Maglor, with Huan and Snúdur joining them on the bed. Sören drifted off to the sound of Snúdur's purrs, with Maglor stroking his curls, petting him in the same rhythm that Sören was petting the cat. When he woke up, it was to the sound of Snúdur meowing, and Dooku rolled his eyes, grumbling as he sat up.

"Yes, yes," Dooku said, getting out of bed. "I will get you your food, cat."

At the sound of the word "food" Huan bounced off the bed with an excited bark, as if to say "me too". Dooku chuckled and Sören laughed too.

Sören, Maglor and Edenel sat up then, exchanging little good-morning kisses. Dooku poked his head back in the bedroom to ask, "Shall I make coffee?"

"Please," Maglor said, nodding.

Dooku started the coffee and then he came back in and began getting dressed. Sören made a moue of disappointment as he watched Dooku dressing, and Dooku noticed and said, "Well, we can't shag all day."

Sören, Maglor and Edenel also got dressed. Sören thought about taking a shower first, since he'd worked up a sweat last night, but he'd do that later. Maybe later would be a good opportunity to show Edenel the hot tub they'd installed out in the backyard, which was the right size for four people. We installed a hot tub but hadn't gotten around to fixing the closet. Sören snorted, amused by that, and then made a face, less amused, when he remembered his father's journal. He didn't want to think about that find right now.

The four sat in the living room with coffee, and Maglor began to toss a ball for Huan to fetch. There was a bit of an awkward silence - everyone was still waking up - and at last Edenel spoke. "Thank you for... taking care of me last night," he said.

"Our pleasure." Sören grinned.

"Indeed, it was very pleasurable." Edenel smiled back, and reached out to rub Sören's knee; Sören felt his cock waking up, but tried to keep calm. Then Edenel's expression returned to neutral. "I did not come here just for pleasure, though, I'm afraid, I also came here on business."

"Business." Dooku raised an eyebrow, and Sören could feel the touch of concern.

Edenel nodded slowly, and repeated the word. "Business. Yes."

"So... what kind of business?" Sören asked. "What's going on?"

Edenel sat back in the chair and considered his response. "Well, Sören, a lot is going on. And I'd prefer to give the explanation not just in front of the three of you, but I'd like Margrét, Frankie and Kol to be here as well. Do you think you can arrange that?"

Sören rubbed his beard. "Jæja, I can try. I don't know how soon they can get up here, Margrét would need to leave the bar for a few days, get someone to fill in, don't know how long that will take, might be three days, maybe even five days to a week..."

"We don't have that long." Edenel shook his head. "I can talk to Kol myself, but I thought convincing Margrét would be better from you. If they can be here by this time tomorrow..."

"How long would they need to be here?" Sören asked.

"I have to confer with Kol about that, but they should plan on at staying here for a couple of days."

"It sounds serious," Sören said.

"It is serious, Sören. When you talk to your sister, impress upon her that this is an emergency."

"In that case I'll call her now."

With Margrét working evenings at the bar she owned, she typically kept late nights and slept in until afternoon. It wasn't quite noon yet, so Sören was loath to call her, but he did anyway, and after four rings Margrét picked up, her voice raspy from sleep. "What."

Sören couldn't help but smile - it was somehow strangely comforting that his sister was as much of a morning person as he was, which was to say not. "Hej, Margrét, sorry to bother you, I wouldn't be calling now if this wasn't important."

"I swear to fucking god, Sören, if this is telling me to wake up and go look at something on YouTube -"

Sören's laughter rang out. "Awww come on, Margrét, have a little faith in me. No, actually, it's. It's pretty serious." Sören took a deep breath. "Eden Dale is here." He used Edenel's "civilian name" over the phone, heeding Charlie's admonishment to watch what they said over lines of communication. "He says you, Frankie, and Kol need to come up to Akureyri as soon as possible, it's an emergency."

"Is he all right? Are you all right? Dooku? Alejandro?"

"I... well, I don't know what 'all right' means in this case. What I do know is that he does really mean 'as soon as possible', like if you can get here tomorrow or even tonight."

"Oh Jesus Christ." Margrét exhaled sharply. "I have to get someone to cover me at the bar - "

"Jæja, I know." Sören pursed his lips, feeling the annoyance across their Force bond. Don't shoot the messenger, he pushed out to her mind.

"About how long..."

"He said at least a couple days. So I'd bank on three." Sören looked at Edenel across the room, who nodded.

"OK. Hold on for just a minute."

Sören heard Margrét put down the phone, and there was a muffled conversation between her, Frankie, and Kol. Margrét's voice rose and fell. Sören waited, feeling a bit agitated, which was both empathic blowback from Margrét and now Frankie, as well as his own feeling. He loved his uncle, and knew Edenel wouldn't be calling for this meeting without good reason, but it was a disruption to his routine, and Sören wondered what exactly it was that was that necessitated Margrét, Frankie and Kol being there for the announcement as well. He was a little annoyed that he had to wait to find out.

Is it the Dagorath? The pit of Sören's stomach rose. Did something happen to Van?

God, he missed Vanimórë.

Margrét got back on the phone. "We can be there tomorrow afternoon. So that's Friday, we'll go back to Reykjavik on Monday."

Sören told Edenel, "They'll be here tomorrow, going back to Reykjavik on Monday."

Edenel nodded. "That should be fine."

"OK," Sören said to his sister. "Thank you for coming on such short notice. Looking forward to seeing you." That much was at least true; he didn't typically get to see his sister more than once or twice a month, though they kept in touch more frequently than that.

"Mhm." Margrét was still annoyed. "Keep out of trouble, já?"

"I'll try."

Margrét ended the call, and Sören took a deep breath. He noticed then he'd been pacing around the room as he was on the phone - nervous energy. He sat back down between Dooku and Maglor.

"Can we at least get a hint?" Sören asked.

"It would really be better to get into it with everyone present, Sören. I'm sorry." Edenel frowned.

Sören frowned too. "Yeah," he huffed. "Just... at least a little clue as to what's going on would have been nice. Now I'm gonna be all wound up till they get here and you can talk about it..."

"Well then." Dooku put down his mug and got up from the couch. "In that case..." He got in front of Sören. "I believe it is time for your sword lessons, young man."

Sören glared. "Fucking seriously, Nico?" He adjusted his position on the couch, wincing a little. "I'm a bit fucked out, you can't give me a few more hours for my body to recover -"

Dooku gave him a stern look. "Sören, my dearest, we have many powerful enemies who could strike at any time. I assure you that they will not wait until you are feeling optimal before they do. You must be prepared to fight at any time, in any condition. So. Come." He gestured, and took Sören's hand, pulling him from the couch. "Let's dance."

One of the things that Vanimórë had impressed upon Sören before he left over a year ago was that Sören needed to learn how to fight. Sören could hold his own in a barfight, but battling a trained warrior - especially one from an ancient time - was another thing altogether. So Dooku and Maglor had both been teaching Sören how to fight with a sword.

Dooku took his fencing rapier down, and Maglor took his own sword and handed it to Sören. Sören felt the power thrum through it - a sword he had made long ago, in his life as Fëanor, a gift for his favorite son. It also, once again, felt ever so slightly wrong in his hands - this was Maglor's sword, Fëanor had made it but had expressly intended it to be for Maglor, right down to the enchantment that had gone into the sword. Sören could use it, and did - though he got the distinct sense that if it had been anyone but him, having been Fëanor once upon a time, the sword would work against them somehow - but it still felt like something borrowed, like he needed to have his own sword, or at the very least, something that wasn't energetically marked so strongly as someone else's.

Edenel and Maglor followed Dooku and Sören to the backyard. They did some stretches first, and then Dooku asked, "Are you ready?"

Sören shrugged. "I didn't want to do this in the first place, so I'm as ready as I'll ever be."

Dooku gave Sören a fencing salute, and the two began to circle around each other.

The dance began. Dooku went on the attack... and right away it was a feint. Sören had learned enough of his husband's fencing style to know to parry. Dooku gave a small smile. "Good," he said, before his remise. Sören parried again and then made his riposte, which Dooku dodged. Dooku lunged again, another feint that Sören had to parry.

There was fire in Dooku's dark eyes, like burning coal. A predatory look that sent a frisson down Sören's spine. He hadn't wanted to spar, but there was always something about Dooku fencing that got his libido going, fire calling to fire. Since the days when they had been Fëanor and Fingolfin, sparring had added heat to their bond, and so it was now. Sören directed the anxiety of waiting for whatever Edenel had to say, and the annoyance of Dooku wanting him to spar when he was sore and tired, and went from the defensive to the offensive, charging.

"Good." Dooku's eyes flashed.

Their feet moved faster now, swords clashing again and again. Attack, deflect. Attack, deflect. Dooku had the speed and agility of a younger man even before he became immortal, and now he was downright lethal with the energy that he had; one false move and Sören knew he could be seriously injured. Dooku knew it too, warning Sören "careful," that just a second too late would have consequences.

Dooku had speed and agility... and Sören had power. Sören was all raw aggression now, drawing on his body's discomfort and his mind's disquiet as a sort of battery. He briefly recalled the ancient Viking berserkers, where they were not merely not slowed down by pain but pain inflicted on them made them fight even harder, feeding a frenzy. Sören could relate to that now, attempting to wear Dooku down, relentless. And still, Dooku put up a damn good fight, seeming equally determined to wear Sören down.

Sören made a feint, and Dooku parried, then his riposte went to Sören's throat before Sören could parry. "Yield," Sören said.

Dooku smirked, and Sören knew across their bond exactly what he was thinking: My, how the tables have turned.

Sören couldn't help chuckling, and gave him the finger; Dooku bent and kissed it, before patting Sören's shoulder.

"My turn now," Maglor said, getting up. Sören handed Maglor back his sword, and then Dooku put his rapier in Sören's hand. Sören felt a little bristle of annoyance - he'd thought Maglor wanted to spar Dooku, as they did. They liked sparring, usually managing a practice session at least every other day.

But now it was Maglor who circled him. And Maglor was even more aggressive than Dooku had been, a match for Sören's own savagery. When Dooku and Sören sparred, it was always more of a dance, elegant and refined. With Maglor it was wild, like being inside a storm. The air seemed to crackle between them, as their swords swung and struck, the two moving back and forth across the yard.

Sören always thought Dooku looked especially handsome while sparring, and Maglor took his breath away, his haughty, chiseled face even prouder as bloodlust surged through him. And then, noticing Sören noticing him, Maglor's tone was stern. "Watch my sword, Sören, not me." Maglor shook his head. "In this fight, treat me as an enemy. I am not an Elf to you, or anything humanoid. I am something to kill. I am something that wants to kill you." With that, Maglor lunged.

Sören parried just in time, and took Maglor's advice to heart with a riposte. Maglor parried and attacked again, making a feint. Then a remise, when Sören deflected. It was hard for Sören to see Maglor as anything but Maglor, and then across their Force bond, Maglor showed him the Balrogs that had killed Fëanor, once upon a time. Morgoth, fighting Fingolfin in single combat.

And then Edenel himself was reaching into Sören's mind. Sören saw the Orcs in the fighting pits. The Fell-wolves. Sören felt Edenel's pain, his fear, the endless years of torment n his captivity, fighting for his life. Sören drew on that, and the other memories, pure berserker rage. Maglor seemed to fade out of his sight and there was a shadow. Sören remembered what he had seen in the palantir at his sister's wedding - his mother, attacked by Odin's sorcery. That last stand where his mother had given her all, drained of her life force, to blind Odin's eye to keep him from seeing her children.

Sören snapped, whipping into a frenzy.

In all the months that Sören had been learning swordplay from Dooku and Maglor, Sören had never defeated Maglor. It was frustrating, though Sören had a certain sort of resignation since Maglor had thousands of years of practice under his belt, including having fought in war. But now... Sören fought dirty. Feint after feint.

Sören had learned from past experience that it was hard to use the Force and fight with a sword at the same time, with the amount of concentration that went into Force use as well as the necessary concentration when wielding a sword and paying attention to your opponent's. But now, he used the Force to throw his enemy, then when he fell, Sören attacked - met a parry, and pushed with the Force to hold his enemy immobile for that last remise, with the enemy pushing back, power sparking against power. When the tip of his sword was at his enemy's chest, ready to plunge, he heard Maglor say "I yield."

The vision of the shadow passed and it was just Maglor again. Sören was shaking, and Maglor was as well. Their eyes met, and held. "Are you OK?" Sören asked, feeling a bit self-conscious at the dirty fighting, the way Sören had done exactly what Maglor told him to do. Feeling slightly ill at how close he'd come to stabbing him -

"I'm fine." Maglor nodded. He took Sören's hand and got up. "I'm proud of you." He gave Sören a little kiss.

Sören desperately grabbed for levity, and Maglor knew as soon as the words were out of his mouth. "Hells," Maglor said under his breath as Sören blurted out, "Hi Proud Of You..."

Edenel tried not to laugh, and failed. Maglor shot his great-uncle a look, and Sören grinned at him. Edenel gave him a small smile, and then it was his turn to get up. He took Dooku's rapier from Sören's hand and gave it back to Dooku, and then he put an obsidian knife in each of Sören's hands.

"I don't know how..." Sören looked at the obsidian knives, and then the knives in Edenel's own hands.

"I know." Edenel nodded. "I will teach you."

Edenel then spent the next while teaching Sören stances and motions. Once again drawing on the battle frenzy to move at lightning speed, like a ghost, too quick for the enemy to know what came upon them. It was exhausting, and Sören felt ready to keel over after the first drill, putting all the positions and movements together, matching Edenel's rhythm.

"We will stop for now," Edenel said. "But while I am here the next few days we will do this again." He looked off into the distance. "Your life may depend on it someday."

Maglor nodded. "He's right."

They went inside and Dooku made tea.

Usually Sören found tea soothing, but he was still shaken up from how close he'd come to shanking Maglor... the raw ferocity of their fight. Even though he'd done exactly what Maglor instructed he still felt bad. And not just because of how much he loved Maglor and never wanted to hurt him. He was, for the first time, afraid of this path he was starting down. Before now their legion of enemies had been more of an abstract concept, everything in theory. Now with Edenel here declaring an emergency, teaching him a new, brutal fighting technique, there was an urgency to it. Their war against the Valar, against Morgoth and Sauron, against Odin... it felt real. And Sören wondered what would come of it. His mind conjured up the image of Sarah Connor from the Terminator franchise, battle-hardened, shell-shocked, paranoid. He didn't want to turn into a male Sarah Connor, roaming the Earth as covertly as he could, trusting no one, working to stop an enemy that no one even believed in, only supernatural beings instead of cyborgs and Skynet.

Maglor started to rub Sören's back. "It's all right," Maglor said.

Sören took a deep breath.

"I feel as if I should apologize for coming by on such short notice," Edenel said. "I know this is a bit of a disruption to your usual routine..."

And it was, but Sören waved his hand dismissively. "You're family," Sören said, and meant it.

"Nonetheless, I don't want to keep you from doing as you normally do," Edenel said.

"Don't worry about it," Dooku said. "You're always welcome here. I was about to ask you, actually, if you had any preferences for food, I'd like to make you something you'd enjoy."

Edenel hesitated, and Sören could tell he didn't know what to say. Edenel didn't look like he'd been starving - wiry, but not gaunt - and if he was on the payroll of Apollyon Enterprises he definitely could afford to eat well. But Sören got the impression it was one thing to dine alone and another thing to have meals with a family.

"Whatever you'd normally make is fine," Edenel said. "You have a reputation as being a very fine cook."

Dooku blushed slightly. "I'm not sure where that reputation came from, but I do indeed try."

"It comes from a few places." Edenel casually sipped his tea. "In at least a few other realities, you're a professional chef. I've had your cooking there."

"I." Dooku blinked slowly. "What."

Dooku knew, of course, that there were other universes than this - Sören's brother Dagnýr was a theoretical astrophysicist and had made a name for himself speculating on the existence of parallel universes, and that theory had been confirmed over a year ago by Vanimórë, who had claimed to come from elsewhere. When Sören had gotten to know Edenel during a visit to St. Andrews, Scotland a year ago, Sören had seen visions of a couple other universes. But it was one thing to know other worlds existed, and to have visions of them, and another thing to be told by someone that they'd visited other versions of you.

"I've had more than your cooking as well," Edenel quipped, smirking as he sipped his tea again.

Dooku turned red into his ears, and Sören and Maglor snickered.

Then Dooku asked, "This isn't every reality, I take it? The chef career, I mean."

Edenel caught that wording, and smiled. "No, Fingolfin, I've also encountered you as a professor. And you've been a lawyer, or a barrister, in other worlds as you were here before you retired."

Dooku sat back in his chair. "Fascinating."

Maglor opened his mouth, like he wanted to ask some questions, then closed it, thinking better of it. Sören reached out to squeeze his hand, knowing the issue of other worlds was something of a sore spot for Maglor, as well as for himself - Sören knew there were at least two universes where his evil, abusive ex from this universe, Justin Roberts, had killed him. Maglor had told Sören at one point that he was in hysterics when he found out, and Sören didn't like that news either. With all of the awful things that had happened to him in this lifetime, he didn't want to find out even worse things had befallen him. What he had to contend with here and now, the scars of his trauma, was bad enough. Worse, knowing that the Valar had sent him here to punish him.

And still, he'd finally found some peace and happiness in his life. Finding his way back to the ones he loved, finding the goodness in this world - it was an act of defiance. The Valar were strong, but he was the Flame Imperishable, and he would not give into them quenching that fire. He would not let them win. Not here.

It made him angry that they'd won elsewhere. And even more than that, that he was separated from the ones he loved, in those places. Even if it was only two - and of course it would not be only two - that was still too much. More than anything else he'd endured, it was wrong to keep him from the people he loved. His people.

Sören turned his head and he and Maglor looked at each other. Their eyes met, and held. Sören knew he could feel the distress across their bond, and though Maglor was trying to contain it Sören could feel Maglor's distress as well. Sören gave him a quick squeeze and then Maglor glanced over at Dooku and said, "Nicolae, I can help you in the kitchen if you'd like."

Dooku nodded. He got up, but first placed a reassuring hand on Sören's shoulder. I would not want to live in a world without you being there somehow, my Fëanáro. It has always been you. It will always be you.

Across their bond, Dooku showed Sören the briefest vision of a world where Sören had been killed by Justin, one of Dooku's colleagues defending Justin, Dooku growing angrier as he got to know Sören posthumously through the case, seeing pictures, seeing Sören's art... falling in love with a dead man. Dying of the flu - as Dooku had feared dying during a severe bout of influenza in this world, a few years ago... but in truth, it was dying of a broken heart.

Sören blinked back tears. It was just he and Edenel in the living room, as Dooku and Maglor set to work in the kitchen. Out of the corner of his eye Sören saw Maglor holding Dooku, rubbing his back.

"Er, you want to watch something?" Sören felt awkward.

"Whatever you normally do, Sören. I don't want to intrude."

Sören patted for Edenel to join him on the couch. Huan and Snúdur came over, and Sören and Edenel pet the cat and dog while Sören looked at what was airing on different channels. He settled on the news, and wished he hadn't as there was yet another riot happening in Great Britain, which had fallen into some chaos post-Brexit. He'd only lived in the UK for a couple of years and wasn't very attached, apart from when he'd visited Scotland which he'd loved, but he knew Dooku was attached - even as he'd come to love Iceland - and that seemed to be exactly what Dooku didn't need to overhear right now. The news then cut to the 2020 elections happening soon in the US, and more riots in protests, and Sören thought about the vision he'd had of a world where he was alive, in a place called Corvallis, Oregon. He wondered how his other self was handling all of the craziness there, if that was happening in other universes. That was in a way as unsettling as thinking about worlds where he was dead.

"OK fuck this, I'm putting on a movie," Sören said.

Sören and Edenel went over to the collection of DVDs. Sören was in the mood for something Disney, after the horror of global politics. The Lion King was decided upon.

That turned out to be even worse than the news. Mufasa's death scene made Sören start crying. The first blow was thinking of Finwë. Sören remembered a timeline where Fëanor and Fingolfin had a fraught, dysfunctional relationship with Finwë - Finwë blamed Fëanor for Miriel's death, and took it out on him; Fingolfin resented being Finwë's favorite son, not at all liking how Finwë treated Fëanor, and Fingolfin tried his very best to show kindness and friendship to Fëanor, which blossomed into passionate love. Yet, even though Finwë had been rather awful to him, Fëanor could never bring himself to fully hate his father, and indeed, tried repeatedly to court his favor. Finwë's death had given him mixed feelings, but mixed enough that it was still a devastating blow. There was deep regret for what could have been and what never was.

The second blow was thinking of his own father in this lifetime, Sigurd Tollasson. Sigurd died in 1986 when Sören was not yet two - too young to have anything but the barest glimmer of a memory - but Margrét remembered him fondly, and their mother had been very much in love with him and spoke often of him after his death, telling the children stories about him. Such that when Sigurd's sister Katrín took them in after their mother died too, Sören had been expecting kindness from her, and was shocked to find out she was a bitter, hateful woman, even moreso when she was drunk. The coroner's report had listed Sigurd's death as a stroke, but Sören had learned via Gandalf's palantir over a year ago that was not the whole truth. The Valar had sold Miriel's soul to Odin as payment to preserve their pantheon, and Miriel, as a Valkyrie now called Brynhildur, had fallen for one of Odin's warriors in Valhalla. They had been reincarnated as mortals, and Odin had cursed them for their defiance. It was when Odin started to go after the children that Sigurd and Brynhildur fought back. Sigurd had sacrificed himself, and now more than any other time thinking about it, Sören fell apart, a wound ripped open.

Edenel knew without being told, and pulled Sören close, petting his curls. Sören snuggled into him, letting himself be coddled and soothed, needing this from the closest thing he'd ever had to a father. He remembered those words from Edenel, a year ago: I should have been your father. I would have loved you, I would have cherished you, and it grieves me to know Finwë had not.

"I would have loved you," Edenel repeated softly, stroking Sören's hair, his face, rubbing his back. "And I do love you, Fëanáro." He cupped Sören's chin in his hand and kissed him softly. Sören had half a mind to drag Edenel down to the bedroom and ride him, but he still needed just a bit longer to recover from last night - a few more hours at least - and even more than wanting sex with this gorgeous man, he wanted to be held. He wanted to be rocked, and cuddled. And that was what Edenel did.

Some moments later, Edenel broached one of the wounds that had been ripped open. "Your father in this life..."

"I never knew him." Sören swallowed hard. "He didn't leave or anything, he was killed -"

"By Odin." Edenel nodded.

"You know about all of that."

"Yes, we have a bit of a case history on your family, for lack of a better term." Edenel continued petting him. "He was a good man, it is a shame."

Sören nodded. Then he sighed, feeling the need to open up while the dam had burst and the feelings were flowing. "The night before you arrived... we found something. I lived in this house till I was four, it's changed hands, but apparently whoever owned this house between times didn't find the thing we found. My father had a journal that he hid in the wall, and there's some rolled-up piece of paper that we also found with it."

"I assume you don't know what that piece of paper is."

"No." Sören exhaled sharply. "I keep getting the urge to find out what it is, and to start reading the journal, but... I don't. Because of this." He gestured to his heart, as more tears flowed down his cheeks. "It's going to hurt."

"And yet, you might do yourself an injury not exploring, Sören." Edenel placed a hand on Sören's heart, and kissed Sören's brow. "I think you should start reading it, and see what the paper is. You might find something important. Something necessary." There was a heavy pause. "It feels as if you were meant to find it, especially with..." His voice trailed off.

"Especially with what?" Sören raised an eyebrow. "The thing you can't talk about yet?"

Edenel simply nodded.

Sören's jaw set. He knew Edenel was right, and that bothered him. He'd had a nice peaceful life for the last year. Whatever all this was... it felt like he was tied to a train track and the train was coming. He'd wanted at least a few more years for things to be OK before he had to start thinking about the Valar, Sauron, Odin.

They went back to watching the movie. Sören only half paid attention, resting in Edenel's arms, cradled like he was a precious child, continuing to be pet, Edenel's touch comforting as well as vaguely arousing.

But though Edenel holding him was soothing, Sören still felt that unsettled feeling in the back of his mind and at last Edenel said, "That isn't all that's bothering you, is it?"

Sören sighed. "No." He looked down. He decided honesty was the best policy, between Force sensitives. "The talk of other universes, earlier. I..." Sören frowned. "It makes me sad, knowing I'm dead some places."

"Not everywhere." Edenel patted Sören's shoulder. "I was going to wait for the right time to show you this, but now seems like the right time." He reached for the satchel he'd brought with him.

"I have been busy the last year," Edenel told Sören, "helping Vanimórë keep the promise he made to you, that he would try to save your life where he could, help nudge you to where you needed to be, with your family. So I have seen you across a number of worlds, now."

"Really." Sören let out a low whistle. "That sounds like a lot of work for one person."

"It hasn't entirely been me. I've had help." Edenel looked like he wanted to identify one of his helpers, then thought better of it. Then with a smirk he said, "Fëanor also got... rather interested, and there are a couple of worlds where you have encountered he, and Fingolfin, helping you."

"And most likely 'helping' me," Sören said, recalling his dream-visit to the Timeless Halls where he'd had sex with the ascended Fëanor.

"I think that rather goes without saying."

Sören laughed. It felt good to laugh.

Edenel rubbed his shoulders. "In one of the other realities where I met you, we eventually had a discussion about things and you asked me to give you - specifically, this world's version of you - something."

Sören raised an eyebrow, and waited.

Edenel opened the satchel and produced a small envelope.

Sören opened the envelope. It was a series of photographs. The first photograph made him almost drop the photos to the floor, as he let out a gasp, a shiver going through him. There was Claire James, who he had not seen since 2003 - dead in this reality - and she was wearing a white wedding dress, her hair done in a braid. She was arm in arm with Sören, who was wearing a suit with a dress kilt. They were grinning from ear to ear. The back of the photo was in Sören's handwriting. Our wedding, St. Andrews Scotland, November 22nd, 2009.

"You're still married," Edenel said, nodding. "You celebrated ten years last year."

Sören's jaw dropped.

The next photo was of a baby girl, who had dark hair and dark eyes, full lips, but otherwise Claire's facial features. Sören's eyes burned with tears. He looked at the back of the photo. Brynhildur Sörensdóttir. 1 year old, February 2012.

Another photo where Brynhildur was a small child, and looked even more like a cross between Claire and Sören. She was at a martial arts studio, wearing a white robe, fighting with a staff, looking as fierce as a small child could. The photo was from 2019.

The next photo was of Sören, Claire's cousin Harrison James, and a young-looking Asian man who Sören didn't recognize, sitting in T-shirts and pajama bottoms, with bottles of beer and a coffee table of snacks, holding game controllers. They were laughing at something. There was no writing on the back of the photograph, and Sören wondered about it.

A photo of Harrison and Ari dressed up in tuxedos, looking handsome together. Sporting matching rings. The back of the photo read Harrison and Ari's wedding, June 2018.

So the Asian guy wasn't Harrison's boyfriend, probably, but was still someone important enough for another version of him to feel he needed to see that photo. Sören didn't understand.

An intimate photograph of Claire and Frankie, kissing, embracing, bare breasts pressed together. Sören's breath hitched, and he felt his cock stir at that. Fuck, that's hot.

A photograph of Sören, Dooku, and Maglor snuggled together in bed, feet sticking out of the covers, cats on the bed. Maglor was holding a stuffed rainbow unicorn, which made Sören laugh out loud, snorting. I have to get him one of those, Sören thought to himself.

A photograph of Sören, Maglor and Claire, cuddling, Maglor's arms around both of them, looking perfectly content.

A photograph of Dooku and Claire having tea, and Claire making bunny ears over Dooku's head.

And the final photograph. Sören was in a group photo with Dooku, Maglor, Frankie, and Claire. The back of the photo read My loves. 35th birthday, November 2019.

Sören was choked up. He looked back and forth between the photos, hands shaking, tears flowing silently. At last he looked up at Edenel, putting the pictures back in the envelope.

"He - you - wants you to keep them," Edenel said.

"If you see him - me - whatever - please tell him I said thank you." Sören closed his eyes and let out a little sob.

Sören put the envelope on the coffee table, and Edenel held out his arms. He pulled Sören close again, rocking him, petting, letting Sören cry at the relief that there was at least somewhere things had worked out, where things seemed OK. And the flood of tears at knowing he had a daughter, that he had named her Brynhildur after his own mother. He was already proud of her, that fierce little scowl on her face as she held a staff taller than she was.

They didn't get to finish the movie, since dinner was ready not long after Sören reviewed the photos. Sören tried to pull himself together in the bathroom, splashing cold water on his face. And dinner got his mind off things - it was lamb, herbed potatoes and mushrooms, served with wine. Huan and Snúdur begged, and Dooku relented to give them a bit of lamb. Dooku and Maglor had on Mozart with dinner, which got them talking about history and "kids these days" and then Maglor and Edenel relating even more ancient history, from their separate journeys in different parts of the world.

"Rome gets, well... romanticized," Maglor said, rolling his eyes. "For its day there were worse places to be, but it was not as impressive from the inside."

"I bet," Dooku said, making a face.

"What did you do there, anyway?" Sören was curious.

"I could have lived as one of the noble classes but that would have attracted a certain amount of attention and expectations that I didn't want. I wanted to blend in and be left alone, mostly. So I was a carpenter." Maglor sipped his wine. "But even though I wanted to blend in and be left alone, I couldn't really when I saw various injustices happening. That was something you both drummed into my head quite well back in the day, was a sense of justice, a strong dislike of unfairness. I couldn't ignore hunger, for example, and I ended up feeding groups of people with lembas."

Dooku's eyebrows went up, eyes widening as if in some sort of recognition.

Maglor went on. "I also had a few rants at wealthy nobles, that others overheard, criticizing them, encouraging them to be kinder to others, especially the poor. One day I saw moneychangers ripping people off and I overthrew their tables." He frowned. "I stayed in the city even after a companion died... and what made me leave was when a supposed friend turned me into the police, exposing my ears. I escaped with my life. They would have crucified me."

"You mean to tell me you're Jesus Christ?" Dooku's eyes narrowed.

Maglor gave a guilty grin, finishing his glass of wine. "I was surprised many years later to find out I was enough of a legend that people were still talking about me, though it seems what happened was rather a bad case of playing 'telephone', where they got some details right and others wrong, and mixed up my legend with local mythology."

"That's... wow." Sören laughed. "Wow."

"Yeah." Maglor rolled his eyes. "Very wow."

Sören had a gigglefit, not able to help it. "You're not the messiah... you're a very naughty boy."

Maglor winked at Sören across the table, and began to play footsie with Sören under the table.

When Sören did dishes after the meal, Maglor came over to the sink and loaded the freshly rinsed dishes into the dishwasher, without being asked to help. "You're sweet," Sören said.

Maglor leaned in and gave him a little kiss.

Sören had to. "It's like you answered my prayer."

Maglor facepalmed.

"You're my own..." Sören started to sing. "Personal... Jesus." He put his hand on Maglor's crotch. "Reach out, touch faith."

Maglor leaned on Sören, shaking with laughter. He tousled Sören's curls and kissed the top of his head. "You're a horrible brat."

"Takk."

Maglor took Sören's chin in his hand and gave him a deeper kiss. "Don't ever change."

Sören kissed him back. They lingered, nuzzling, and then Sören wet his hands and splashed Maglor, cackling as Maglor leapt back before Maglor took the dishtowel and swatted Sören's ass with it. Sören gave a playful butt wiggle.

"I still feel like I should apologize for earlier," Sören said, frowning as he resumed rinsing.

"No. No you shouldn't." Maglor shook his head. "You finally fought the way you need to fight when you're up against..." He made a vague hand gesture towards the sliding glass back door, the world beyond. "That."

"Jæja, I just... don't want to hurt you."

"I know." Maglor's arms tightened around him. "But what would hurt me, truly, is losing you again. So I need you to give it your all, even if you think I'm going to be wounded. I need you to be prepared for what we have to do, someday."

"Someday." Sören sighed. "Sooner than someday, it feels like."

Maglor nodded. Sören felt Maglor searching for levity of his own. He leaned in and whispered to Sören, "Besides... you were fucking hot out there."

Sören crinkled his nose and bit his lower lip. "You think so?"

"It was such a turn-on to see you lose control like that. So fierce. Makes me wonder what you'd be like in bed when you're still like that."

Sören kissed him. "If you're trying to bribe me to spar more often by promising me sex after, you're almost succeeding."

Maglor grinned. "Why do you think Nicolae and I like to spar together as often as we do?"

Sören threw his head back and laughed.

Then Sören started crying again, this time thinking about Fingolfin going up against Morgoth in single combat. It had happened after Fëanor had died - indeed, it was because Fëanor had died, Fingolfin went mad in his grief, on a suicide mission - but besides reading it in the Silmarillion, Sören had seen it across his Force bond with Dooku.

And he felt guilty. He had done nothing wrong, with the Silmarils - indeed, he had been wronged - but it was because of his actions that he and most of his family had been sent into mortal incarnations - where they had been abused, or had endured other hardships and pain - and Maglor had wandered the Earth alone. He didn't like thinking about the First Age, a home he could never go back to, and he at times felt like he was so inadequate compared to what he had once been, a poor substitute for the original Fëanor.

Maglor turned off the water and held Sören, kissing the top of his head. "Sören," he husked. He knew what Sören was thinking, across their bond. "I've said it before but I'll say it again." Maglor took Sören's face in his hands and looked into his eyes. "I love you even more now, than I did then. Not simply because you are more precious to me for having been lost, then found again. But because you are still you. Everything you have gone through, and you still shine. You made me fall in love with you all over again."

They kissed. When they pulled apart, breathing hard, Maglor said, "I know what will help you get through the evening, past the anxiety and the overwhelming feelings."

He took Sören's hand and led him not to the master bedroom, but to one of the two spare bedrooms, the one that they had converted into a studio, with Maglor's musical equipment and Sören's art supplies.

For awhile Edenel and Dooku watched as Maglor played the harp and Sören painted. Maglor improvised, and Sören continued with the snow and ice that he'd been feeling the strong urge to paint as Edenel approached. Sören began to paint Edenel, and it seemed like Maglor's harp was playing the song of Edenel's soul, star-bright, then descent into darkness, only to find the fire once more... this time a cold fire.

Time seemed to vanish, and then Huan broke the spell, whining. "I'll take the dog for a walk," Dooku said.

"I'll join you." Edenel got up. Sören could see he noticed the way Maglor and Sören were looking at each other, and though another foursome would be pleasant later, Edenel seemed to understand that the Flame and the Song needed some time to themselves.

As soon as Edenel and Dooku left the room, Sören and Maglor fell on each other, making their way to the futon in the corner of the room, still warm from where Edenel and Dooku had been sitting, watching. Maglor pulled Sören's T-shirt over his head, and caressed Sören's chest and arms once exposed, kissing him hungrily. Sören reached for Maglor's jeans and undid them before pulling off his own jeans. When their clothing was in a pile on the floor Maglor pushed Sören onto his back, kissing him hard, eyes intense. Their hard cocks rubbed together, and Sören felt like he could come just like that, even more when Maglor began kissing Sören's neck, down to his pierced nipples.

"You are not inadequate at all," Maglor said, stroking Sören's face, resting his head on Sören's heart. "Not in the slightest."

Sören took Maglor's hand and kissed it. "I love you."

Maglor came up and kissed him. "I know. And I love you, more than words can say." He started kissing the other side of Sören's neck, and worked on the other nipple.

Soon Maglor had Sören's cock in his mouth, sucking greedily, silver eyes blazing. Sören bucked, writhing, thrashing, swearing in Icelandic. As much as he loved watching Maglor suck him, he wanted to love him too, and begged until Maglor relented and they got in the sixty-nine position. Sören wanted to devour him, and he did, sucking hard, licking his cock all over, his tongue slipping into Maglor's opening and licking him there, too, tongue teasing the prostate, moaning into him as Maglor followed suit, also tongue-fucking Sören. There was urgency to come but they also wanted to take their time and enjoy each other, and that was what they did, going back and forth between sucking and rimming, moans and cries louder and louder as they teased their way to that edge.

But they did, finally, get there, neither of them able to hold back. And after they came together, flooding each other's mouths, they kissed with their mouths full of each other's cum, savoring the taste of them together. It was arousing enough that they hardened up again right away, and this time it was Sören who pushed Maglor onto his back, using the Force to bring over the lube they kept in the studio. He poured lube over Maglor's cock, and Maglor groaned, guiding the tip of his cock to Sören's opening. Sören impaled himself with a cry and began to ride, slowly at first, then bouncing on him wildly, crying out so loud he wondered if the neighbors would hear, and didn't care.

Sören struggled with self-doubt, but here and now he couldn't deny how right this felt. They fit together like they were custom-made for each other. They belonged.

And Sören was damned if he was going to let anyone take that away from him, ever again.


_


It was already pitch-dark outside, since the days were shorter now, and would get shorter still. There was more light pollution here a few streets away from downtown Akureyri than there had been living in Svalbarðseyri, nonetheless there were some visible stars, and certainly a better night sky than London. It was enough that Dooku enjoyed walking at night.

And though he normally felt uncomfortable around people he didn't know well, there was enough of a sense of familiarity with Edenel walking beside him that he felt at ease... or as at ease as he could be knowing Edenel's announcement tomorrow was of a serious nature. Dooku felt a little heat in his cheeks - yes, he was damn well familiar enough with Edenel to do what he'd done last night. He wasn't one for casual sex, but it hadn't been casual. Not really. He didn't know Edenel well and yet it felt like he'd known Edenel for a very long time.

"How is the heat today?" Dooku finally asked, mildly.

"Mostly gone."

"I thought as much. You still smell good but... not as strongly."

"Last night was very satisfying." Edenel gave a small smile.

"That's good." Dooku felt a little shy. "It was for me, too. But... I'm glad you enjoyed yourself with us." He took a deep breath. "Last year, Sören showed us what you'd shown him about your life. How the Ithiledhil came to be. The horror that you experienced in captivity. What you became. I felt awful for you. I am also... well, I don't know if this is appropriate to say or not, but I am very proud of you, that my own uncle became a warrior, a foe to evil abominations, scourging the earth where they arose. I wish very much that you had not had to go through what you did to get there. But you becoming what you were, after what had happened, when you could have gone down the path of darkness, given into what he wanted..." He meant Melkor. The filth whose name he struggled to utter.

Edenel reached for Dooku's hand and squeezed it.

"So... we'd like to offer you some comfort. Not out of pity, but you are our family and that is what family does. I can tell you've been feeling like you've intruded, but..." Dooku squeezed Edenel's hand back. "Please don't. We're glad to have you. We want you to feel at home with us, when you can be. We want you to feel safe with us. Feel welcome, and loved..."

Edenel stopped walking, and for a moment Dooku froze, wondering if he'd said too much, said the wrong thing and offended him somehow - Dooku knew the pride in their bloodline ran strong, stronger where they had been broken - and then Edenel grabbed Dooku and kissed him.

Dooku responded to the kiss, kissing him back. When they pulled apart, breathing hard, Dooku's face was on fire. His cock was waking up, wanting attention. Huan whined and let out a bark, and they resumed the walk.

The dog taking care of business and Dooku scooping it up and disposing of it wasn't exactly the sexiest or most romantic scenario, and Dooku gave a little nervous laugh. The mood changed back to a more sensual one as they paused at a park to let Huan run around and play for a few minutes, sitting together on a bench, and Edenel pulled Dooku to him, letting Dooku rest on his shoulder, gently rubbing his knee. Dooku threw a ball for Huan to fetch, and Huan brought it back, and he tossed it out again, and then Edenel took Dooku's chin in his hand and kissed him again.

Dooku was feeling pretty randy by the time they headed back from the park, but unsure what to do about it. They let Huan inside and could hear the cries of Sören and Maglor making love, their flesh slapping together. Dooku always found that sound arousing, and he thought about leading Edenel to join them.

But Edenel put a hand on Dooku's arm, staying him. "Let's let them be for awhile. They need some time."

Dooku nodded. He could understand that, as he and Sören still had one-on-one time, as did he and Maglor, in addition to the three of them making love together. He'd felt a storm of emotions from Sören, and Maglor had a history of knowing how to take care of him.

"I saw a hot tub in your backyard," Edenel said. "That would be pleasant right about now."

Dooku grabbed what was left in the wine bottle, a couple of wine glasses, and started the jacuzzi. Even though Edenel had seen him naked last night - more than seen - he still felt a little self-conscious about undressing in front of him, or he did until Edenel, completely naked, came over and took off the rest of his clothes. Dooku's hard cock sprang free and Edenel cupped it, stroking it gently, and then took both their cocks together in his hand, stroking them, stealing another kiss.

They climbed into the hot tub together, which indeed was pleasant, warmth in the chilly night air. Dooku sighed as he stretched out in the heat and the bubbles, and for a few minutes he and Edenel just relaxed in the tub, under the stars. It was even more peaceful than the walk. Or it would have been if his cock wasn't aching.

"I know Sören showed you my life," Edenel finally said, "but there's something else you should know."

Dooku turned his head to look at Edenel. As always his breath caught at the sight of him, the flood of white hair to his knees, the silver glow of him in the darkness of night, the beautiful icy eyes, the sculpted body as if he had been carved by a master. The lovely face, that had been a bit hardened by pain and rage and grief. "I was supposed to be Fëanor's father, instead of Finwë. And I was supposed to be your father too, Fingolfin."

Dooku's jaw dropped.

"It is as I said to Sören. I would have loved you. I know that Finwë favored you over your brothers, but you resented him not just because of how he treated Fëanor but because you knew, even when you were young, that what Finwë felt wasn't really love. His children were like toys, to come out and be played with when convenient... and to be seen and not heard. To play his game, not your own. He never really accepted you. You and Fëanor tried very hard to not make the same mistake with your own blood, and you often wondered to yourself where you got that parenting instinct from, something that both your parents had lacked. You got it from me. The fierce, savage love that you both possessed for each other and your families... you learned it from me, even though I had not gotten to raise you or even meet you. Because even across the distance, blood sings. I was not your sire but you still bred true, as if I had been."

Dooku started to choke up. It had been Sören's turn earlier, and now it was his turn.

"I'm glad I found you," Edenel said, taking Dooku's hand. "Both of you. But that includes you." Edenel stroked Dooku's cheek, skritched his beard fondly like he was a cat, making Dooku smile through his tears. "And it has not been easy for me, seeing what you both have endured in these lives, the Doom upon you."

"No." Dooku let out a sigh. "I know you said you've seen me work a couple different professions across worlds, but..." He looked up. "I'm guessing much of my life remains the same."

"You are perhaps the most consistent one of the group, honestly, yes." Edenel stroked Dooku's face some more. "It was bad enough that Finwë treated you as he did. Worse to know you'd been actively mistreated at the hands of your father in this life."

"And my mother." Dooku swallowed hard. "It's the reason I go by my surname here. The real reason, not simply that my given first name, Ion, was shared in common with my Nazi collaborator uncle. But I was only ever 'he' 'or 'it' to my parents unless I was in trouble. So being called by my name..."

"Even where you don't have the Ion and it's just Nicolae or Nicholas, you allow very few people to be on a first-name basis with you, and it's for much the same reason. I know."

"I was taken to the woodshed more times than I can count, for very minor infractions. When he didn't just bend me over my bed and beat me with the belt. My mother backhanded me a lot. It's something Sören and I have in common, we both know what that feels like, though his was his aunt and uncle." Dooku cringed. "But the verbal abuse was even worse than the physical, for me. That wounded me far more deeply."

Edenel held Dooku's hands.

"Growing up hearing, regularly, 'I wish you had never been born'. 'You make my life so goddamn miserable.' 'You're worthless, you'll never amount to anything.' 'We didn't have any more children because we didn't want them to turn out like you.' And I was never a bad child. I was quiet, reserved, bookish. But nothing I did was right. If I made noise, I was in trouble. If I spilled things, I was in trouble. If I got sick, I was in trouble. I pushed myself as hard as I could academically, got into Oxford to try to show them that I could, in fact, amount to something. And even when I passed the bar, it wasn't enough. I had chosen the wrong career. I wasn't 'a real man', sitting behind a desk instead of working with my hands." Dooku closed his eyes, wishing he could forget. "I will have been on this planet seventy-two years in December and time really does not heal all wounds, at all. Things from when I was seven, when I was twelve, I still remember like it was yesterday. It still hurts."

"I know." Edenel's voice was soft. "Things from tens of thousands of years ago still hurt, Fingolfin."

Dooku started to cry. He had told Sören more than enough times it was OK to cry - Sören who himself had been shamed about crying as a lad, hearing "boys don't cry" from his aunt and uncle - and yet, even as Dooku thought that it was OK to cry, he was harder on himself than he was on anyone else. In this family we do not cry or complain, his parents had lectured him. And so it was. He didn't want to cry in front of Edenel. He didn't want pity. There were people dying in the world, people who had lived far worse lives than he had. Edenel, himself, had experienced far worse, Dooku felt.

Edenel took Dooku's hands and kissed them. "Let it out." He put his arms around Dooku. "Father's here."

Dooku lost it, breaking down sobbing, and Edenel held him tight. "My son," Edenel soothed as he rocked Dooku, pet him. Not pity, but the compassion for one's blood. "My own. Your father's here now. It is better than it was, and if I have any say in the matter, it will get better still as time goes on."

"The Valar..." Dooku wept. "They have already done so much. We have the Force, and we are immortal now, but we are still..."

"Changed as pressure turns coal into a diamond. And nothing cuts harder." Edenel stroked Dooku's face, looked into his eyes. "I believe in you, and Sören, that you can defeat what stands against you. To do that you must work together this time - but you know that."

"He is the other half of my soul," Dooku said, nodding.

"The Valar have done a great deal to harm both of you, and the rest of your family, and they will pay for that. But they could not keep you apart. Not here, and not in most other worlds. You, Sören, and Maglor are happy together in countless worlds. You fear that will be taken away from you - I can feel that. And you are not wrong to be afraid, you must never underestimate what stands against you. But they underestimate you, being in these human bodies... and that will be to their peril. Because you still are what you are and always have been, underneath." Edenel kissed Dooku's brow. "When I look at you, I see you as you are now - handsome, distinguished, I believe the term for it is 'silver fox' - but I also see you as you once were. The hair to your knees, the silver-blue eyes, the brilliant blue of your aura. It is sort of like layers. But it's not just physical, because what it means is that you still have power, that other people can feel. You have never been like most people, being Force-sensitive... but it goes even beyond that. Because of who and what you are."

Dooku blinked back more tears.

"And who and what you are..." Edenel stroked his hair, his beard. "Is mine. You and Sören... are mine. I have spent months making sure you have a future, because that is what a father does for his sons."

Dooku felt another sob about to break free, and Edenel held him again, rocked him. Then, at last, Edenel's hand reached under the bubbles of the tub and Dooku felt Edenel stroking his cock back to life. "Let's go in," Edenel said softly.

Sören and Maglor were still making love, which was to be expected, and Edenel led them towards the master bedroom instead of the studio. They turned down the covers and then Edenel got in, and when Dooku climbed on Edenel held out his arms. "Let your father take care of you for awhile," Edenel whispered.

Dooku went to him, and they kissed for awhile, hands caressing every inch of flesh they could reach, exploring. Their cocks rubbed together, and then Edenel took them both into his hand, stroking, as Dooku kissed him more earnestly, played with Edenel's hair. Dooku reached for the lube with the Force and Edenel poured lube over Dooku's cock and guided the tip to his opening. "Let your father love you." Edenel looked into his eyes.

Dooku knew, as he slowly pushed in, that Edenel didn't give himself easily, having been raped numerous times in his captivity. That trust was an honor, and feeling Edenel's genuine pleasure as the slight upcurve of Dooku's cock hit the sweet spot inside just right, pleased Dooku as well. He went slowly, carefully... lovingly, sensually. This was as much tenderness for him as it was passion, not just Edenel giving himself in comfort, but Dooku's gratitude for being loved and accepted as he was, and wanting to feel that love even more deeply, fully. Dooku kissed Edenel's neck, his chest, his nipples, wanting to make him feel good, wanting to worship the beauty of this man, wanting to love.

Slowly, they made their way to that edge. Their kisses got more urgent, feverish, and then Edenel's hands grabbed his hips. "Don't hold back, Fingolfin. Show me that power in you. The fire in our blood..."

Dooku kissed Edenel hard, and drove into him. Edenel made a guttural sound, shuddering, nails raking Dooku's back. Dooku bit Edenel's neck and Edenel cried out, rocking his hips against him, matching his rhythm. "Yes, my son, yes..." Edenel panted.

That was it. Dooku threw all caution to the wind and fucked as hard as he could, bed rocking against the wall, their flesh slapping together, two deep registers groaning, grunting, then finally crying out as they climaxed together, blinding in its intensity. Dooku felt like he couldn't stop coming as Edenel contracted around him, spilled over his chest and stomach, and his own. They kissed deeply, Edenel's arms around him, and then their foreheads were together, breathing each other's breath. The whole room was glowing, almost hurting Dooku's eyes.

Edenel pushed him onto his back. He gave Dooku some time to recover - though Dooku found he needed less time, since becoming immortal, his body had started to behave like that of a younger man, even as he still looked older. Edenel pet him, gave little kisses over his neck and shoulder that then became more sensual kisses, licking, nibbling, making Dooku groan. Their cocks rubbed together again and Edenel's fingers played through Dooku's chest hair, idly rubbed a nipple, teasing it erect. "What would you like now?" Edenel asked.

Dooku opened himself, feeling shy, but it felt right just the same. "I want to welcome my father home."

Edenel kissed him, and Dooku moaned as the tip of Edenel's cock breached his entrance, then slowly slid in, inch by inch. When Edenel was all the way in they kissed again, and Edenel husked, "I love you, my son."

"I love you, Father."

Edenel kissed him, and started to thrust, going as slowly as Dooku had gone before. "That's a good boy."

It felt strange to be called "boy" at his age, but it still hit something visceral in him and Dooku moaned, slowly rolling his hips back at Edenel. Then he moaned again as Edenel's cock found it. Edenel smiled, kissing his neck. "My good son," Edenel whispered. "I will take care of you. I will not fail you."

Dooku pulled Edenel closer and kissed him hard, feeling Edenel's touch not just in his body but in his soul.

Chapter Text

The Beginning of the End




Sören waited outside, playing fetch with Huan, and when Huan began to bark, wagging his tail excitedly, Sören knew they were close. Sören watched as the jeep his sister was renting came down the street, blaring Sex Pistols out the window.

Kol was the first to get out, then Frankie, then at last Margrét. They each had a duffel bag with clothes and items to get them through the next three days.

The triad was interesting-looking, three people who normally wouldn't look like they belonged together but they did: Kol who was close to seven feet tall, long dark red hair to his waist, bronze eyes, wearing a T-shirt and jeans and light jacket yet somehow managing to look flawlessly elegant in his casual attire; Mary Frances "Frankie" O'Riordan, all of five feet tall, chubby and curvy, with flame-red hair in a short pixie cut, grey-blue eyes behind glasses, a nose ring and eyebrow ring, multiple earrings in each ear, wearing red plaid pants and a Clash T-shirt with a purple hooded sweatshirt; and Margrét Sigurdsdóttir, six feet tall, loose ebony waves to the middle of her back, long-lashed grey eyes, pale, slim and small-breasted, wearing heavy eye makeup, a glittery black turtleneck sweater with a long black lace skirt and combat boots. Margrét's nails were French manicured, and she wore an assortment of interesting-looking rings, with a plain wedding band. She, like Frankie, also had a nose ring, an eyebrow piercing, and several pairs of earrings in her ears, including a triple helix piercing. But Frankie was cute - pixie face to go with the pixie cut - and Margrét could have been a supermodel. The Elven ancestry via Maglor and Tindómion was definitely obvious in Margrét's features.

The turtleneck wasn't just because it was a chilly day, but Margrét had an Adam's apple. Her voice, though modified by years of estrogen and practice, was deep for a woman's. Born Magnús Sigurdsson, she'd started transitioning in 2007. Her brothers and cousin were supportive of her - Sören always felt a lump in his throat when he saw her after not seeing for awhile, knowing how close she'd come to taking her own life; he'd saved her life once, giving CPR - accidentally breaking her sternum and ribs - while waiting for the paramedics. And he was glad that she'd finally found happiness in her life and was no longer angry with him for saving hers.

Now she was just annoyed for being called up here on such short notice, but nonetheless it was an excuse to see her brother after a few weeks apart, and after giving him a stern look Margrét smiled and held her arms out. Sören gave her a tight squeeze.

Then Frankie pulled the hem of his shirt. "Come here, you," she said, and snogged him hard.

It was still weird, his girlfriend being his sister's wife, but he and Margrét had discussed the subject many times over and Margrét found it more amusing than anything else. "I just want you both to be happy," she had said in that initial conversation about the attraction, "and I'd rather share her with family than a stranger. At least I know where you live, so I can kick your arse if I have to."

Margrét watched with a little smirk, and then grinned when Kol planted a kiss on Sören's cheek, making him blush. Back when Sören had been temporarily staying with his sister in Reykjavik a couple years ago Kol had expressed interest and though Sören was very attracted to him it hadn't really gone anywhere at the time, since Sören was still reeling from a broken heart, but Margrét had encouraged them dating, and the issue had never completely gone away, just sat on the shelf as they settled into their respective poly relationships. His eyes meeting Kol's, feeling a little flutter in his stomach at how beautiful Kol was, he wondered about it now, if it was the right time to explore possibilities.

He couldn't wonder long, as Margrét was marching them into the house. "Right," Margrét said as they got in. "I know you said we'd be here a few days but whatever this emergency is I'd like to know about it now."

"Good afternoon to you too, Margrét," Dooku said.

Margrét put him in a headlock and gave him a noogie in response, then affectionately tweaked her brother-in-law's nose.

Edenel and Maglor came out from the kitchen. There was tea and pastries for everyone. Margrét didn't touch anything, just stared intently at Edenel as if to say I'm waiting.

Edenel and Kol looked at each other for a long moment, as if communicating something privately between them, which made Margrét and Frankie both give Kol a suspicious look. Kol responded by pushing a bite of scone into Frankie's mouth. She still scowled at him as she chewed. It would have been funny to Sören if he didn't feel like his own nerves were screaming, also wanting to know what the bloody hell was going on.

Edenel took a deep breath. "It's the Dagor Dagorath."

Sören gasped. He thought of how Vanimórë had left to prepare for the Dagorath, and how Vanimórë had said they were not likely to see each other again. His mind immediately began playing worst case scenarios. Vanimórë dead. Vanimórë imprisoned, a fate worse than dead, being tortured, raped. He wanted to scream. No, Van... please be OK...

"Is Van all right?" Sören blurted out, tears in his eyes. Vanimórë who had come to comfort him when he was in such a dark place. Had helped him find his way to Dooku and back to Maglor. Had given them the gift of immortality, so he, Dooku and Maglor would have a future together. Had set up a fund to take care of them as they necessarily had to relocate to protect themselves as the years wore on and they didn't age. Above and beyond everything, had shown him kindness, tenderness... and passion. Sören's fists clenched, still missing him. Aching for him. He'd fallen in love with the man, and that hadn't gone away with time. The thought of something happening to Vanimórë tore at him. He's already been through too much.

"For now, and for some measure of all right," Edenel said, nodding.

"So... so he survived?" Sören wasn't religious at all - he'd become something of an anti-religionist since finding out he was on the shit list of at least two pantheons, seeing the gods as bullies - but now his hands made a praying gesture.

"The Dagorath hasn't happened yet, Sören. You would have felt it. Which is what I called the meeting about." Edenel sat back in his chair.

"Van told me when he was leaving over a year ago that time flows differently where he's going and it would be awhile here but not very long for him," Sören said.

"Well... awhile is here, Sören," Edenel said. "We don't know the exact date but it is imminent. We're expecting it within a few weeks, your time. And the reason why I wanted the three of you to be here for the announcement..." Edenel glanced over at Margrét, Frankie, and Kol.

"I will be leaving to fight in the Dagorath," Kol said. "In a matter of days."

"You... you what." Margrét's eyebrows raised.

Kol nodded. "I swore an oath. To Fëanor, the ascended one. An oath of fealty, I am in his service. I cannot break my oath, much as it pains me to leave you."

"I will be leaving when he leaves," Edenel said. "This is my family, and we are facing the greatest evil ever known. It is not a matter of wanting to or not wanting to. It is a matter of having to."

"So... wait, you mentioned the ascended Fëanor," Sören said. "Van had mentioned something about the Dagorath, at the wedding, said it was happening in his universe, but..."

"Correct. One universe, but it will nonetheless impact the others," Edenel said. "It may not necessarily destroy other universes, but it will be felt, they will be changed."

"And that includes here," Sören said.

"That especially includes here. This is one of the few universes we've visited where you can do..." Edenel gestured to Sören moving the teacup with just his mind. "That. Things are very different with that in place. There is a lot more that can go awry with those kinds of gifts in a percentage of the population when the energetic discharge of the Dagorath - however the outcome - bleeds into this world. Just those of you who have these gifts feeling that cataclysm, is going to have some kind of effect."

Sören leaned back in his chair. However much of a mutant he was here for being able to move things without touching them, sometimes read the thoughts of others, almost always feel the emotions of others, like constant noise all the time... he couldn't imagine a world where he wasn't like this. That seemed very strange to him.

And then all of that was snapped out of his head as he realized Kol and Edenel were leaving. Like Vanimórë had left, and Vanimórë had said they would probably never see each other again. There was a knot in the pit of Sören's stomach and his voice broke as he choked out, "So... you're leaving?"

Edenel and Kol looked at each other again. "Sunday," Edenel said.

"And then... then what." Sören's hands shook. Tears burned his eyes. "Are you coming back...?"

"We will come back if we survive," Edenel said, and Kol nodded.

"If we survive?" Frankie was also close to hysterics. She grabbed Kol. "You can't bloody fucking leave -"

"I swore an oath, Frankie." Kol held her tight. He looked close to tears himself.

"He can't break his oath," Maglor said, his own voice raspy with emotion. Sören ached for him then, knowing what Maglor's oath had cost him.

"Goddammit, Kol," Frankie yelled, pulling on his shirt.

"I swore the oath long before I met you," Kol said. "A very long time ago."

"So you're not human," Sören said, confirming what he'd already suspected, since Vanimórë had trusted him with some of the vials of his immortality-granting blood, suggesting a prior connection, and there was the fact that he was unearthly beautiful and Sören sensed a power thrumming around him, perhaps even stronger than Maglor or Edenel. "You're not actually Kolgrímur Sólmundursson from the Faroe Islands."

There was a long, awkward silence. Then Kol nodded, and Frankie also nodded. "We've known that for awhile," she said.

"Yeah." Margrét's neutral, composed facial expression finally gave way to clear upset as she turned to look at Kol with tears in her eyes.

"Even if it had been more recent..." Kol stroked Margrét's face, giving her a sorrowful look. "I have a debt to pay to Fëanor, personally."

"I understand." Margrét took Kol's hand and kissed it, tears flowing quietly down her cheeks. "You have honor."

"I don't know about honor," Kol said softly, his voice filled with regret. "But I have loyalty, and a sense of justice. They need me there."

"We need you here, too," Frankie said, sounding stung.

Kol pulled her to him again and kissed her forehead. Frankie began sobbing and Kol kissed her tears. "I will come back," Kol said. "I promise you. If I survive - and I have every intention to survive, it is my will... I will return. It will only be for a few weeks, that I'm gone."

"And then what? When we feel whatever we're going to feel, when whatever happens, happens..." Frankie's chin trembled. "We have to feel all of that alone?"

"It will be necessary more than it was before to stay close together," Edenel said. "To look out for each other. Both when you feel the impact, and in the days, weeks, even months thereafter. There will be aftershocks, following the cataclysm. Those, too, are difficult to predict with how they will change things here."

"We need to look out for you, too," Sören said, his eyes meeting Edenel's.

Edenel gave him a sad smile.

Though it wasn't quite the end of the world, Sören felt like his world was in fact ending, in a way. He cared about Kol, and Edenel. He missed Vanimórë terribly, and knowing that the Dagorath was at hand and Vanimórë would be fighting there... he hoped Vanimórë would be OK. Losing Vanimórë was bad enough. Losing Kol and Edenel too...

"Excuse me," Sören said, and got up with a sob.


_


Sören sat for awhile outside, crying. Thinking about when Vanimórë left. The times they'd shared - a brief summer fling that, at least to Sören, was so much more. There had been a connection. One that even over a year later, Sören still mourned, missing him, wishing with all his heart he could see Vanimórë again.

Kol had been a regular fixture in his life for almost two years, seeing him when he visited his sister. Kol was like a brother to him - albeit one he was sexually attracted to. He would miss Kol's beauty, his quiet strength, the occasional wisecrack, and always, the support. The way Kol was there for Frankie and Margrét, and had sometimes been a shoulder or a warm embrace for him as well. He understood the severity of Kol's oath to the ascended Fëanor. Whatever debt Kol had, he knew it needed to be paid. And yet, Sören didn't want him to leave, not just because he'd be missed for those few weeks, when their own world would feel the impact of what was happening elsewhere, but he feared that Kol wouldn't return, and the thought of never seeing him again didn't feel right at all.

And then there was Edenel. Father. Edenel, who had taken care of Dooku last night, which made Sören love him even more. He had already lost Sigurd to the machinations of evil gods. He knew, from what he'd seen and felt of Edenel's time in captivity, that for Edenel, fighting Morgoth was personal. And not just Edenel's own horror, but now that Sören knew Edenel was supposed to be the father of Fëanor and Fingolfin, it was for what had been done to his sons, as well.

Sören understood the need for reckoning, for retribution, on a gut level - it was why he had been training to someday go after Odin, fulfill the prophecy of the Fenris-wolf that, once unbound, would kill him. Sören's mother had only been a part of his life than less than six years, but he had loved her, and finding her dead was one of the defining traumas of his life. A sweet, kind woman had been taken from the world trying to protect her own children, and Odin would pay for that. And as Wodanaz had become so powerful over the ages by fighting gods and taking their powers, it was with the fall of Odin that Sören planned to take down the Valar, for the Doom. Both the past of the Doom but also the weight of it hanging over their heads. Sören had found his way back to his loves - Fingolfin and Maglor most especially - in this world, and most other worlds. He even had immortality now, so Maglor would not be robbed again of his father and uncle. But what good was immortality on a dying world, where people seemed to hasten its destruction through religious ideologies? Ideologies that all seemed to be aligned with that of Manwë, no less - Sören had very little doubt that it was Manwë. If Manwë could be defeated, made to stop poisoning the well, maybe there would be hope. But until then...

Yes, vengeance was something Sören understood intimately. And yet, Sören did not want Edenel to go. He understood that Edenel had to, just as someday he would have to take the risk of going up against Odin, then against the Valar. Morgoth needed to pay for his crimes. A good old-fashioned family beatdown appealed to Sören's sense of justice.

But he would miss Edenel. His father being taken from him all over again.

He was losing his family. His brother-in-law, his father. After all he'd been through, his family was precious to him. He would do just about anything for the people he loved. His people. And two of his people were leaving him, for a war to end all wars, a war from which they might never return.

It was too much. Sören didn't feel like his heart was breaking, he felt like his very soul was breaking.

Sören tried to calm down, but he just ended up crying again, sobbing. At last the sliding glass door opened. Sören thought it would be Dooku or Maglor come out to comfort him, but the touch in the Force felt different. One was like sunlight and the other like a winter breeze.

Kol and Edenel came to sit on either side of him, and they each put an arm around him. Sören cried harder, and Edenel finally pulled him close, rocking him, and Kol pet him, making soothing noises.

"I don't want you to go," Sören cried.

Edenel kissed Sören's brow.

"We are coming back," Kol assured him.

Edenel nodded. "I will have to keep traveling for a time - to make sure you all are OK across the multiverse, and if not, do what I can to make things OK - but I will visit you." Edenel stroked Sören's face and kissed his brow again. "I will be more regular in my visits this time. I know I was too long away."

"I need my father," Sören croaked.

Edenel's eyes misted. Sören knew he did not cry, but that had touched him on the raw. Sören felt it. Edenel kissed his lips this time, a soft, lingering kiss. "You will not lose me, dear one. This I promise you." Edenel took Sören's hand then, and though his touch in the Force had been cool and wintry, his physical touch was warm and inviting. He kissed Sören's hand, looking into his eyes.

Then Edenel smoothed a lock of Sören's curls and said, "And now there is something you must promise me."

Sören cocked his head to one side, listening.

"You need to find the Silmarils," Edenel said.

"Jæja, I found one. On my thirty-fifth birthday, last November." Sören closed his eyes, remembering the trip to the black sand beach of Reynisfjara. How the Silmaril came forth from the ocean. The Northern Lights shimmering in the sky, Maglor's scarred hand healed. The way they made love in the sand...

"You need to find the two others. And soon." Edenel took a deep breath. "They may be harder to find after the Dagorath, and you need them when it is time for you to do what must be done, your own time of fighting."

"I wasn't even looking for the Silmaril when I found it," Sören said. He frowned. "Well, not actively. It just happened."

"If you have your intent on your mind, a sort of declaration to the universe... you'll find the other two Silmarils."

"Where would they even be? I read the Silmarillion, but..."

"Where was the first one you found?"

"The sea."

"One will be in a mist or fog, and the other will be in fire... so a volcano. That should be easy enough, you're in the best place for it."

Kol spoke up then. "Very interesting that you ended up incarnating here in Iceland. It seems like in trying to keep you from reawakening who and what you are, it's backfiring on them... or your spirit was just too strong. Or both."

"Jæja, they incarnated Nico as being much older thinking that would keep us apart... and it happens that I prefer older men." Sören managed to laugh at that. "Much older, I guess." He caressed Edenel's face, who smiled at him.

"So, yes." Edenel kissed Sören again. "Find the Silmarils. Soon."

"And Sören..." Kol turned Sören's face to his. Now it was Kol's turn to stroke Sören's face, look at him with tenderness in his eyes. "My promise to come back wasn't just for Frankie and Margrét." He leaned in and gave Sören a kiss - not the chaste, peck-on-the-lips or peck-on-the-cheek kisses that he'd given Sören for the last almost-two-years, but a real kiss, mouths parting, tongues swirling together, dancing, rubbing. Sören moaned at the taste of him, like akvavit, a pleasant burn. When they pulled apart, breathing harder, Sören's face was warm, his entire body warm, like he'd just kissed fire, and he liked it. Kol's bronze eyes had a golden sheen to them now. Kol pet Sören's curls, and husked, "My promise to come back was for you, too."

Chapter Text

Too Hot




"I can't believe I let you kids talk me into this."

Sören tweaked Dooku's nose as Maglor dragged him into the club. Edenel was walking at their side, and Frankie, Margrét and Kol were up ahead. Frankie took Sören's hands and began skipping into the club, and Sören skipped with her.

"Some of us aren't kids," Edenel said, amusement in his voice.

"My point still stands." Dooku rolled his eyes.

"Ohhhhh, Nico." Sören grabbed the hem of Dooku's black blazer, pulling him along. "Are you really surprised by anything this family does anymore?"

"I suppose not."

It had been Margrét's idea for them all to go clubbing together, a sort of last hurrah before whatever happened, happened. There was a more limited selection of nightclubs in Akureyri compared to Reykjavik, but they still found a bar that had a dancing room and tonight the DJ was spinning throwback tunes from the 80s, 90s, and 00s. It was perfect.

It was also bittersweet - it reminded Sören of Frankie and Margrét's wedding in August 2019, where the reception had a 1980s theme. That was the weekend where Gandalf had attended under the alias "Brian Proust" and had brought a palantir and it was revealed that most of the House of Finwë had been reincarnated as mortal humans - the reveal that he had been Fëanor was particularly unsettling to Sören, even as it made sense of dreams and visions he'd had and certain personality traits and recurring themes in his life, right down to the fire inked on his skin. What was most unsettling of all was the knowledge that the Doom of the Valar hung upon the House of Finwë much more severely than anyone had thought. That weekend had been like a bomb going off, and nothing was the same after that.

This weekend felt like an even more intense version of that, but instead of revelations, it was going forth into the unknown. And that was worse, in a way.

But for here and now, the little family could have one last fun night together, trying to be as lighthearted as they could be in the face of terror.

And one of the most appropriate songs that could be played in the midst of this was playing now, as the group strolled into the dancehall.

I was dreamin' when I wrote this
Forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this mornin'
Coulda sworn it was judgment day
The sky was all purple,
There were people runnin' everywhere


Sören thought of the violet of Vanimórë's eyes.

Tryin' to run from the destruction,
You know I didn't even care

'Cuz they say two thousand zero zero party over,
Oops out of time
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999


Sören and Maglor were grinding up on each other, holding Dooku against them, with Edenel on the other side, as Frankie, Margrét and Kol made another chain, shimmying and flailing about and looking like idiots.

I was dreamin' when I wrote this
So sue me if I go too fast
But life is just a party, and parties weren't meant to last
War is all around us, my mind says prepare to fight
So if I gotta die I'm gonna listen to my body tonight


Maglor and Sören kissed.

Yeah, they say two thousand zero zero party over,
Oops out of time
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999
Yeah

Lemme tell ya somethin'
If you didn't come to party,
Don't bother knockin' on my door
I got a lion in my pocket,
And baby he's ready to roar


A mental image flashed across Sören's head: himself as Fëanor, purring my golden lion as he played with a mane of wavy silver-gold hair. A frisson went down Sören's spine and for a few seconds he stopped dancing, his breath caught, gooseflesh creeping over him.

Yeah, everybody's got a bomb,
We could all die any day
But before I'll let that happen,
I'll dance my life away


After "1999" was over, "Safety Dance" came on by Men Without Hats. Sören danced with each of the group in turn - Dooku, albeit reluctantly, Maglor, Edenel, Kol, Frankie, and Margrét. By the end of the song they made a circle, doing something like a can-can, leaning on each other in hysterics.

They went to the bar for a little break. Kol was the designated driver for one jeep and Dooku the other; some quirk of Kol's non-human biology made it difficult if not impossible for him to get drunk so he tippled akvavit and Brennivín with the rest of them while Dooku abstained.

They got back on the floor for "Every Little Step" by Bobby Brown, Dooku looking on with irritation and affection as Sören indulged in dorky white boy dancing. Margrét took a video with her cell phone and sent the video off to Ari and Dag at the same time - they had been cautioned by their MI6 handler about photo and video of themselves online, but within trusted people in the family was fine.

Sören got back a text from Dag five minutes later. wow that's bad even for you

takk Sören texted back.

Sören and Frankie dirty danced to "Naughty Girls Need Love Too" by Samantha Fox, with Kol dancing with Margrét. Margrét eventually shoved Kol over towards Sören and Frankie, laughing as she grabbed Edenel and spun him around. With Kol grinding him from behind as he thrust against Frankie, Kol and Frankie's hands running over him, Sören's hands on Frankie's hips, sliding up to her waist and over the soft curve of her belly back down, Sören wondered if they were going to end up having a threesome finally while Kol and Frankie were in town.

"Ice Ice Baby" came on, making the group laugh and groan, and more video footage was taken, as well as some pictures of Sören and Frankie attempting "tough rapper guy" stances throwing fake gang signs, looking utterly ridiculous.

Sören sent a particularly ridiculous selfie back to Dag with word to ya mutha.

Dag replied with all right stop

then a few seconds later collaborate and listen

Sören snickered. I wish you could be here for this. It doesn't feel right to indulge in 80s and 90s cheese without you.

Then, wanting to make it clear to his twin brother that he was loved, Sören quickly added, Or in general. The gang's all here, except Ari and Harrison, and it feels wrong without you.

A minute passed, and Sören knew Dag was letting that sink in, probably getting emotional. Dag sent back a heart emoji, and then the next message surprised him. Well, not all here.

Sören raised an eyebrow and waited for it.

Dag fired off another message. I wonder where. you know.

A few seconds later another text from Dag: Where Dad is.

He didn't mean their father, Sigurd, who had died when they were too young to remember. Sören knew exactly who Dag was referring to - Dagnýr Sigurdsson was the reincarnation of Finrod Felagund. For whatever reason, the fates had decreed for Finrod to incarnate as Fëanor's fraternal twin brother, rather than his nephew, and their relationship was far less fractious and more supportive this time around.

Noticeably absent from the revelation weekend of Margrét and Frankie's wedding over a year ago had been any sign of a reincarnated Finarfin. Sören had been seeing bits and pieces since that time of what Fëanor and Finarfin's relationship had been like - he had mostly tried to shove it away as soon as it came to him, not wanting to try to poke at it, because it hurt too much knowing what they had shared, and not knowing where Finarfin was or if he had even been reincarnated at all. Sören imagined that he probably had been punished with being reborn as a mortal, because Finarfin and Fëanor had been intimate once upon a time, and sometimes, even Finarfin, Fëanor and Fingolfin together. Sören had the memory that he as Fëanor had commanded Finarfin to stay behind in Valinor and renounce him, for the sake of Finarfin's children who had been threatened.

Finarfin's eyes flash like wild gems. "Thou hast spoken of justice and standing up for what is right... I will NOT forsake thee! I will NOT renounce thee. Let me come with thee, fight for thee, stand with thee. I must."

"It is not justice if our entire bloodline dies off, brother, and that is what will happen if thou dost not do as I say." A kiss upon Finarfin's brow, holding him, wanting to scream as Finarfin falls apart, weeping. "Do not let what happened to my family happen to thine own, brother."

Fëanor takes Finarfin's face in his hands and kisses him deeply, the urge to fall upon each other and rut in the grass coming on, but they do not, this time. Fëanor walks away, heart sinking with every step.


Sören wondered how long Finarfin was able to keep up the pretense. Something told him that Finarfin had, eventually, been damned like the rest of them.

Fëanor and Finarfin had a very different relationship than Fëanor and Fingolfin did - there was sex, there was romance, but their personalities and energies played together in a different way, and what Fëanor and Fingolfin had together, he could not live without. Fingolfin's presence cut into Fëanor's soul like a blade, and vice versa. Nobody drove Fëanor crazy the way Fingolfin did, in the best and worst of ways. Nonetheless the three Finwion brothers were parts of a greater whole - if Fëanor and Fingolfin were like twin souls, fire fueling fire, fire consuming fire to become one glorious fire, Finarfin was like the hearth-forge Fëanor's fire burned in, and there was an ever-present ache without Finarfin. It was an ache that Sören mostly tried to forget, and now, with the Dagor Dagorath imminent, here it was again, wondering too where Finarfin was.

"Arafinwë," Sören heard himself say aloud.

His eyes met Dooku's, and he knew then that Dooku had heard that, or at least felt it.

Yes, I miss him too, Dooku spoke into Sören's mind.

Sören sighed. He closed his eyes and he once again saw Fëanor playing with Finarfin's beautiful waves of silver-gold hair as Finarfin slid down the length of him kissing lower, lower... ahhhh lower, yes, so hungry, devouring. My golden lion. My little lion, how fierce thou art. The shining of Finarfin's hair, the light in Fingolfin's eyes as he was taken into ecstasy...

The three Silmarils had been Fëanor's tribute to his brother-lovers - one for Fëanor and each of his brothers - inspired by Fingolfin's eyes and Finarfin's hair, using a lock of Galadriel's to avoid being caught in such flagrant defiance of the Laws. That the Valar wanted jewels that were inspired by passion between brothers was delicious irony to Fëanor, and to Sören as well.

He thought of the Silmarils, and being urged by Kol and Edenel to find them. It seemed like an impossible task still, but also hurt so much that Finarfin would not be present to see him claim all three, if he could.

Sören realized he had to text back Dag, and not leave him waiting. I miss him, Sören typed. Followed by: And I wonder where he is too.

Then an uptempo song by Jamiroquai came on, with a piano intro.

That's the way love goes
Will it change you inside out
And then it flows
To the places unfamiliar yeah

Let me tell, I'm hot for you
You're so hot for me
So get on girl


Sören felt a frisson down his spine. Before he could poke at the feeling, Frankie was dragging him onto the dance floor.

Sören still kept thinking of Finarfin as Jamiroquai played, and by the end of the song he went back to the bar. He informed Dooku, "I am about to get very, very, very, very, very shit-faced. Please do not stop me."

Then he had a shot of Brennivín. And another. And another. More akvavit, more Brennivín. Since becoming immortal it took more alcohol for him to get drunk - it wasn't impossible, the way it seemed to be with Kol, which made Sören wonder how old Kol was, if he was the oldest of the group, and that was old - but Sören could get drunk, and the more he had, the more it started to hit him. If he couldn't quite forget, he could at least numb the pain for awhile. Maglor came over, looking concerned, and just before Maglor could ask what was going on, Lou Bega's voice announced, "Ladies and gentlemen - This is Mambo No. 5!"

"OH SHIIIIIIIIIIIT," Margrét yelled. "I haven't heard this song in ages."

Maglor wheezed. "Oh my god... it's a song about Ada. And your harem." He gave Sören a pointed look.

And that was how Sören found himself getting pulled onto the dance floor by Maglor and Frankie, doing some kind of ridiculous swing dance. Sören heard himself belting out the song as he danced, changing the names of the girls to the names of his partners... past and present.

One, two, three, four, five
Everybody in the car, so come on let's ride
To the liquor store around the corner
The boys say they want some gin and juice
But I really don't wanna
Beer bust, like I had last week
I must stay deep, 'cause talk is cheap
I like Fingolfin, Finarfin, Maglor and Eden
And as I continue you know they're getting sweeter
So what can I do? I really beg you, my Lord
To me flirting is just like a sport
Anything fly, it's all good let me dump it
Please set in the trumpet

A little bit Fingolfin in my life
A little bit Finarfin by my side
A little bit Edenel is all I need
A little bit of Frankie is what I see
A little bit of Ko-ol in the sun
A little bit of Maglor all night long
A little Vanimórë here I am
A little bit of you makes me your man


Normally Sören would be a lot more reserved about using these names in public, but none of the outsiders dancing seemed to be paying attention, and most were at least as drunk as he was or well on their way.

As Sören continued to swing dance with Maglor and Frankie, twirling around and hopping, Sören had a visionary flash where he was dancing just like this but he was in a soldier's uniform, with the Norwegian flag above the name FALKENSKJOLD on his uniform, and he was also wearing a gold pin made from a coin that bore a crown and H7. Frankie was wearing a blue zoot suit, her short red hair in pin-curls instead of a pixie cut... and instead of Maglor dancing with them there was Claire James, her rose gold hair in a pompadour, wearing a vintage-looking green dress, laughing and lovely. The Union Jack was flying proudly and they were surrounded by British soldiers dancing with pretty girls and in the corner was Maglor with short hair and human ears, looking profoundly uncomfortable - if Sören blinked he could see through the glamour, could feel how hard Maglor was working to keep it up, and Maglor was playing the piano, accompanied by a big band.

The vision went away as quickly as it had come on, and Sören took that not only as his cue that he'd had enough to drink for the night, but he'd had enough everything for the night, period. Maglor seemed to share that opinion, without Sören having to say anything about the vision. Sören wondered if Maglor had seen it too. Or Frankie.

What in the fuck did I just see.

The group piled into two jeeps to head back to Sören, Dooku, and Maglor's house. Dooku drove Frankie and Edenel in one jeep and Kol drove Sören, Maglor and Margrét in the other. The jeep felt way, way too warm, like Sören had stepped into an oven, so even though it was late September and chilly at night here in Iceland, Sören still insisted on having the windows rolled down and he ended up taking off his shirt as well.

Margrét was still in a jovial mood, or at least trying to be, and continued the festivities by putting on an 80s and 90s playlist for the ride back home. A few minutes after they got on the road, now it was Sören's turn to whoop and scream "Oh my GOD it's been a hot minute since I heard this," with familiar synths blaring.

Since Maglor had taken the opportunity to troll Sören about "Mambo No. 5" being about his "harem", Sören trolled Maglor right back.

When I dance they call me Macalaurë
And the boys they say que soy buena
They all want me
They can't have me
So they all come and dance beside me
Move with me
Chant with me
And if you're good, I'll take you home with me


Maglor gave Sören a filthy look. "Hells, Sören..."

Sören was doing the Macarena dance in his seat now, as he continued singing

Dale a tu cuerpo alegría Macalaurë
Que tu cuerpo es pa' darle alegría why cosa buena
Dale a tu cuerpo alegría, Macalaurë
Hey Macalaurë


Maglor looked murderous. "HELLS."

Sören felt even more perverse at the next verse.

But don't you worry about my boyfriend
He's a boy who's name is Vanimórë


"HE IS NOT MY BOYFRIEND," Maglor roared.

I don't want him
Couldn't stand him
He was no good so I


"HELLS," Maglor bellowed.

Now come on, what was I supposed to do?
He was out of town and his two friends were so fine


"Which two friends is that?" Margrét teased. "Sören and Dooku? Eden and Kol?"

Maglor was livid. "VANIMÓRË IS. NOT. MY. BOYFRIEND."

Sören patted Maglor's head. "Sure, Maglor." Sören smirked. "I seem to recall Ñolofinwë and Arafinwë saying the same thing about me and you see how that worked out."

"THAT'S DIFFERENT."

"Is it?"

"HELLS."

But bringing up Vanimórë made Sören sad all over again, and when "Macarena" was followed by "Mr. Vain" by Culture Beat on random shuffle, Sören's laughter at Maglor's expense - he did so love to tease his son-lover - became gross, ugly sobbing, missing Vanimórë, the magic in the brief time they had together, hoping desperately that wherever Vanimórë was, he would be all right and survive the Dagor Dagorath.

He hoped desperately he would see Vanimórë again, as unlikely as that was.

He remembered that first night in the Reykjavik nightclub years ago as the song wore on.

Call him Mr. Raider call him Mr. Wrong
Call him Mr. Vain...
Call him Mr. Raider call him Mr. Wrong
Call him insane...

He'd say: I know what I want
And I want it now
I want you 'cause I'm Mr. Vain
I know what I want and I want it now
I want you 'cause I'm Mr. Vain


Sören heard himself blubbering, falling apart. "I miss Van."

"Oh no," Margrét muttered. She looked over her shoulder at Sören in the back seat. "Sören..."

"I miss Van." Sören was ugly crying again. "I miss Vanimórë. I miss Vanimórë. I MISS VANIMÓRË." Sobs wracking him, nose running. "I miss Arafinwë. I MISS ARA, I MISS VAN, I MISS ARA, I MISS VAN..." And then Sören couldn't make words anymore, only double over crying.

When they got to the house Maglor ended up carrying Sören out of the van, in his arms, making soothing noises. "Shhhh, Ada."

"I miss Van," Sören sobbed. "I miss Ara..."

"We know," Maglor husked, and his own eyes were sad. And Sören saw it then - as much as Maglor protested the idea that there was anything between he and Vanimórë, and could still be provoked to wrath at the mere mention of his name, there was nonetheless something there.

Once they were inside, Maglor began stripping Sören down, but it became clear that it wasn't for sex - Sören was too drunk for that. Maglor picked up Sören again once he was undressed and put him on the bed against the pillows, tenderly tucked him in, and Sören watched Maglor strip, wishing vaguely he hadn't gotten so drunk so he could enjoy Maglor's gorgeous body. Maglor got in beside him and pulled Sören against him, holding him close, petting his curls, rocking him, making more soothing noises. "Shhhhhh, Ada. It's OK, Ada."

"It will never be OK." It felt like one thing after another in his life, that any happiness he had was not destined to last long, the weight of the Doom crushing them.

"Shhhhhhh. Ada. My Ada." Maglor kissed Sören's brow. "Shhhhh, Ada." He stroked Sören's face, his beard, his curls, began to rub his back. "Go to sleep, Ada," he husked, his voice like starlight, his Force energy wrapping around Sören like a blanket, taking Sören into the Song, into lullabies and stardust and softness. "Sleep, my Ada. Rest now, little Fëanáro."

Sören relaxed, melted, and within minutes, Maglor's magic put him out like a light, going deep into the land of dreams.


_


"Oh god, fuck. Me."

Sören felt like an anvil had been dropped on his head. As badly as he'd needed to blot out the pain to get through last night, it almost wasn't worth it with the way his head felt or not. He might not get sick anymore as an immortal, and might be harder to injure, but he sure as hell wasn't immune from the consequences of a night of hard drinking. Sören made a noise of agony, the room too bright even with the lights off and curtains drawn, blankets like a fortress around him.

He sensed Frankie's touch in the Force, like clouds, and there she was, climbing on the bed with him. "You shouldn't have drank so much, you dumb cunt."

Sören weakly put up his middle finger and made another noise - any movement of his body sent a sickening pinching pulse into his head.

And then Frankie was massaging his scalp with one hand, gently rubbing his upper back with the other. He felt tingling warmth in her fingertips, Force energy radiating from her hands. This time Sören made an "mmf" instead of a discomfort noise, rolling against her, snuggling into her.

"That's a good lad," Frankie husked - Sören managed a smile, even though it hurt his face; she was eleven years his junior - and Frankie planted a kiss on his brow. "Just breathe."

"Thassnice," Sören slurred. His head still felt like it was being squeezed, but less so.

Then Sören felt another touch in the Force - this time like sunlight and sparks. Kol got on the other side of him on the bed, rubbing Sören's lower back. His hands were so very warm, and Sören gasped as he felt warmth sliding up his spine, like a serpent made of fire, up into his neck, curling around his head. The pressure began to ease some more.

"Oh, wow," Sören said. "You guys are talented."

Frankie lost it, gigglesnorting, and Kol managed a chuckle at that too. Sören laughed as well, even though he wasn't quite recovered enough for the laughter not to hurt. "For once I didn't mean it like that," Sören said.

"Oh please, your default fucking state is meaning it like that," Frankie said, and she swatted Sören's bottom. Then Kol swatted the other ass cheek.

"Well..." Sören leered. "It's obvious you took it like that, anyway." His headache was definitely dying down, still not completely gone yet but well on its way there. The warmth and tingling from Frankie and Kol's hands was having an effect on him in more ways than just relieving his headache. "The question is, can you back those words up."

He knew that Frankie could, having been occasionally intimate with her for the better part of a year, having hoped when she arrived that they'd get a chance to steal away over the weekend and make love at least once. And he'd been curious about Kol for some time, more since the kiss.

Frankie grabbed Sören by the curls she was petting and drew him into a kiss, sweet and sensual that exploded into wild and fiery. They both moaned into the kiss, and when they pulled apart, lips brushing, lingering, they were breathing harder. Before Sören could kiss her back, Kol took Sören's chin in his hand and tilted Sören's head to his, and now Sören and Kol were kissing, deep and hungry.

Frankie peeled her camisole off, dropping on the floor, and she got off to pull down her lace panties as well. Sören moaned at the sight of her pierced nipples, the tufts of flame-red hair under her arms and the full, proud flaming bush. Kol was shirtless and when his pajama bottoms dropped to the floor he was already erect. Sören licked his lips at the sight of Kol's cock, as beautiful as the rest of him.

Before he could take a taste, though, he was rolled onto his back. Frankie and Kol leaned over him, taking turns kissing him, and Sören groaned when Frankie and Kol kissed each other, gorgeous together. He reached up to stroke Frankie's red pixie cut, and to play with locks of Kol's long, darker red hair. "So lovely," he murmured.

"So are you," Kol said, stroking Sören's face, and with that they descended upon him, kissing Sören's neck, his shoulders. When Frankie and Kol each drew a pierced nipple into their mouths Sören arched, bucking against them with a cry. He writhed as their tongues lapped his sensitive nipples at the same time, cried out again as they suckled once more, moaned as their tongues lashed once more. They took turns claiming his mouth as their fingers and thumbs teased Sören's nipples, rubbing, pinching, plucking, gently tugging the rings. Sören's nipples were hard-wired to his cock, jolting and twinging with each bit of loving care, and when they bent their heads to feast on them some more, licking, sucking, nibbling, Sören felt close to coming already, so soon.

His cock leapt again as Frankie lowered her full, generous breasts and rubbed one of her pierced nipples against his, kissing Kol as she did so. Sören moaned, made a hissing noise as he bucked again, desperate in his need. Frankie lowered her head to lick the nipple she'd just teased and Kol licked the other one, and now Kol's hard cock was grinding against one thigh, Frankie's slick pussy against the other. Frankie leaned up with a wicked look on her face and Kol kissed her breasts, lavishing the same love with his lips and tongue that he'd given to Sören as Frankie played with Kol's hair, moaning. The sight of Kol making love to Frankie's full, gorgeous breasts was as arousing to Sören as having his own nipples teased. And he whined, wanting to taste her nipples himself.

He got that chance, with Frankie coming up, her breasts in his face. As Sören drew a hard nipple into his mouth, suckling greedily, he felt Kol suckling one of his nipples again, Frankie playing with Kol's hair as he did. Sören moaned, tongue swirling around the aerole before lashing the peak, rubbing it with his tongue, fucking it, making Frankie cry out, and Frankie cried out again as he suckled, harder. His fingers and thumb played with the nipple he'd just sucked as he turned to love the other. Back and forth he went, licking, sucking, his cock aching between pleasing Frankie's breasts and the pleasure Kol was giving his own nipples.

Kol's mouth trailed lower, kissing down his stomach, down a thigh, and Sören felt Kol's mouth on him then, taking Sören's cock down the root. Frankie and Sören kissed, Frankie's nipples rubbing against Sören's as their mouths met hungrily again and again. Then Frankie was sliding down him, kissing down the length of him, and when Frankie got to where Kol was expertly sucking Sören's cock, Kol stopped sucking to kiss Frankie. They parted Sören's legs together and now Frankie drew Sören into her mouth, while Kol's tongue speared inside him. The next little while was heaven, between Frankie sucking him slowly, focusing on the head and upper shaft while her hand rubbed the rest of him, and Kol's tongue dancing on the prostate. Sören thrashed about, writhed, panting, howling. He was so close yet so far, desperately needing to come, never wanting this to stop...

A conspiratorial look passed between Frankie and Kol, who stopped their oral pleasure, sharing a kiss, and they rose up. Kol presented his cock to Sören, who licked feverishly at the dripping precum, teased with his tongue, licking the head and shaft all over as Kol and Frankie kissed passionately; Sören watched Kol's fingers playing between Frankie's legs, could hear the wet squishing sound of her arousal.

Sören sucked Kol now, Kol gently rolling his hips and fucking Sören's mouth as Frankie rocked her hips, fucking herself on Kol's fingers. Sören reached up to caress Frankie's body with one hand and Kol's body with the other, and their hands were on him as well. Sören moaned with his mouth full, pleading with his eyes.

At last they relented. Sören found himself being sandwiched between them, Kol behind him, Frankie in front of him. Frankie hooked a leg around Sören's waist and he slowly sank into her as Kol pushed into him, Kol's arms tightening around him as he went deeper. When Kol bottomed out inside him and Sören was all the way in Frankie, they rested like that for a moment, then Frankie threw her arms around him and kissed him hard, rolling her hips.

They found a sensuous, silken rhythm, Kol thrusting into Sören as Sören thrust into Frankie. Kol kissed Sören's neck and shoulder as Sören and Frankie kissed, tongues teasing. Every now and again Kol tilted Sören's face so they could kiss, and Frankie leaned over Sören's shoulder to kiss Kol. They kept the pace slow for some time, languid, melting together. And then gradually it was more feverish, until the three bodies were writhing against each other, cries and screams accompanying the smack of their flesh, the wet suctioning sound of Sören inside Frankie. Sören worked up a sweat between the two of them - Kol was so warm against his back, and Kol's cock almost burned inside his passage. Frankie was so deliciously wet, and Sören played with her clit, every now and again sucking her juices from his fingers, or bringing his fingers to Kol's lips for him to taste.

It was almost as if Sören and Frankie were in a contest to see who could be the loudest, but as Frankie bucked against Sören harder, grabbing his hand and guiding his fingers to rub harder, faster, Frankie's cries rose above his, and now Kol was getting more vocal too, grunting and growling as he sped up inside Sören. Sören was right on that edge, wanting Frankie to come first before he took his pleasure, but damn if the two of them weren't making it difficult to hold out, Kol's cock rubbing on his prostate, Frankie's slick heat kissing his cock again and again. And it wasn't just the sensations that aroused him, but that feeling of being absolutely safe in Kol's embrace, absolutely loved in Frankie's silver-blue eyes. For all that the great darkness was approaching, here was a moment of fire, when he could be vulnerable and fully himself with two people he cared about, where he and they could surrender to those feelings fueling desire...

Frankie lost control, coming with a wild cry. Sören groaned at the feel of Frankie contracting underneath his fingers, pulsing and clenching around his cock, and he moaned at the sight of Frankie's face as she climaxed, the flush in her cheeks and the light in her eyes, the surprise giving way to pure joy. Sören heard himself give a strangled sob as his own orgasm overtook him, cock spending and spending into his best friend's gripping walls. He gave another sob as Kol's heat flooded him, Kol groaning deeply as he shuddered against Sören's back.

They lay there entwined, savoring the contentment of post-orgasmic bliss... but it wasn't enough. The fever to mate, to claim each other, to consume each other's fire and be consumed, rose again. Sören lay on his back against the pillows. Frankie sat on his shoulders, facing Kol, who grabbed the lube and coated Sören's cock, already slick from Frankie's juices. Sören buried himself in Frankie, loving the sweet taste of her, sweeter from his own seed inside her. It felt so deliciously depraved to eat the evidence of their tryst, that he'd had her, fucked the woman he loved. Frankie cried out as Sören's tongue licked around her clit, teasing it, and then Sören cried out into her as Kol sank down on his cock.

Kol rode Sören's cock as Frankie rode Sören's face, Kol and Frankie caressing each other, kissing. Caressing Sören, playing with his nipples, fingers brushing his sensitive stomach and hips and thighs. Sören licked and sucked Frankie's swollen clit, got her close to orgasm and then slipped his tongue inside her, moaning as her juices dripped on his face as she howled in frustration. Soon he was just sucking her clit hard, lips massaging her, making slurping noises as he sipped at the thick cream drenching her. Kol rode him like a wild bull, getting louder and louder, and soon Sören grabbed Kol's hips, thrusting into him, as Kol continued to work his hips and ass. Sören shook his head back and forth as he sucked Frankie's clit harder, reached with one of his hands to slip his fingers into her, working in and out. When Kol climaxed, shouting as his seed blasted over Sören's torso, Frankie came too, and Sören gave in a few thrusts later, trembling, groaning deeply with the force of his release.

The three tangled up together, holding each other, and Sören dozed off. His headache was much better now. That was how Edenel found them some time later, chuckling softly.

"Get up," he told Sören. "We need to spar."

Sören was incredulous. "Now? Can't I have a day off?"

"Our enemies don't take the day off. Meet me outside."

Reluctantly, Sören got dressed, and Frankie and Kol followed him outside. Dooku and Maglor were sparring, and Frankie, Kol and Margrét watched with beer as Sören and Edenel began to fight. Sören was barely a match for Dooku and Maglor, and he was definitely outclassed by Edenel but he still gave it his best, wanting to please his uncle-almost-father, not be a disappointment.

That motivation to "be good" for his uncle didn't last long, however, as Sören got increasingly frustrated with the moments where Edenel would have killed him if Sören wasn't immortal, Force sensitive, or Edenel wasn't feeling like being merciful. A punishing full nelson and chokehold here, a barely escaped knife to the heart or gut there. Once again Sören felt like he was a weakling, and that if he couldn't defend himself against his own uncle who didn't actually want to kill him, he didn't have a prayer of eventually taking on Odin and later the Valar for what had been done to his family.

Sören was about ready to tell Edenel he was quitting for the day, and then Kol said, "Hold my beer," to Frankie and got up... and the next thing Sören knew, now Kol was tackling him and Edenel fought dirty, kicking Sören while he was down. Sören struggled to free himself from Kol's grip and, unbidden, the thought of being held down and raped by his ex Justin Roberts came to mind. Kol was no Justin, no rapist, but there was the memory just the same, and how powerless Sören had been then.

Edenel had his knives in hand once again and Sören wriggled to move out of the way before they could hit someplace they oughtn't. Sören found himself kicking Edenel in the face, knocking him over, and then, his fight-or-flight response coming up in the memory of Justin, Sören shoved Edenel with the Force, so Edenel lay prone on the ground. Sören used the Force to take one of Edenel's knives, flying into his hand, and then he stabbed Kol with it in the thigh. Kol let go and Sören got up, and now he kicked Kol too, in the gut.

Edenel got up and lunged, and Sören pushed back. Kol got back up - Sören couldn't believe it, after he'd been stabbed in the thigh - and Kol also lunged for Sören. Sören worked his elbows, knees, striking anywhere he could reach, and when Edenel's arm reached out to grab Sören by the curls Sören bit Edenel's arm as hard as he could.

Edenel's eyes flashed white-hot. Edenel grabbed Sören. Sören threw a punch and Edenel grabbed him again and this time kissed him. Sören's cock jumped up right away, and then Kol's arms were around Sören from behind and Kol's teeth were on his neck.

Edenel and Kol were dragging Sören into the house, taking turns feverishly kissing, peeling clothing off on the way to a bedroom. Sören Force threw Edenel onto the bed, who laughed as he landed, and then Sören Force threw Kol as well, and climbed on the bed with them, going over on all fours, feeling like a predatory animal. He could feel the snarl on his face, feral lust reflected in the gaze of Edenel and Kol, who looked like they wanted to eat Sören alive.

Edenel reached out for Sören and pulled him close, kissing him deeply. Then Kol's arms were around Sören again. Kol spent a moment looking into Sören's eyes, a moment of tenderness in those bronze eyes before the heat returned. "I hope I did not upset you too much," Kol said softly.

"I'm OK now," Sören said, patting him.

"You fought well," Edenel said.

"I still need work. A lot of work."

Edenel nodded. "You'll get there."

"Yes. You will." Kol kissed Sören then, and Sören moaned as his cock twinged. He couldn't believe he was this horny again, the sparring bringing out something wild in him.

Then Sören heard something rattle. He looked and saw Edenel fishing in Margrét's makeup bag. "What are you doing?" Sören asked.

Edenel produced a kohl eyeliner. "My people, the Ithiledhil. Before we went off to battle we would mark ourselves." He handed the eyeliner pen to Sören. "It would honor me if you would do the markings, Fëanáro."

"I have no idea what to draw -"

"It will come to you, as your visions do."

Sören started with drawing on Edenel's face. Raining tender little kisses over Edenel's face as he drew, Sören's hard cock and Edenel's rubbing together. May your face strike fear into your foes.

Sören drew on Edenel's shoulder, kissing and licking around the angles and swirls of the design. Then he did the same to the other shoulder. He drew over Edenel's left arm, tongue laving, fingers stroking, and over the right, kissing, licking, brushing. Strength. Power. Defend. Strike.

As Sören drew on Edenel's torso, he kissed Edenel's nipples, suckling hard, feather-light dances of his tongue and then harder, faster, working the nub frenziedly, reveling in the sounds Edenel made. He kissed between the lines he drew, lips sliding down Edenel's chest to his stomach. Drawing here, kissing there. Heart. Passion. Rage. Courage.

Kol had been watching them, awed as Edenel was turned into something wild, tribal, primal underneath the pen. Now he came over and kissed Edenel deeply, passionately, as Sören drew lower, over a thigh and calf, kissing, stroking, and at last over the other. Speed. Agility. Like a flash of light.

Sören took a few teasing licks at Edenel's cock, dripping precum, and to tease yet more he grabbed Kol and rubbed his tongue against Kol's, letting him taste his lover. As Sören and Kol kissed, Edenel turned and lay on his stomach. "My back too."

It was Edenel's back where the magic really came alive. Just as Sören had two birds in permanent ink on his back - one of fire, one of water - now Sören was drawing something like an eagle or a falcon. He remembered the vision he'd had last night in the club of himself in the uniform of a Norwegian soldier, the name FALKENSKJOLD on his uniform, "falcon-shield". He wondered about that now as the bird formed on Edenel's back, sharp-eyed, seeing through masks of evil. A watcher, a guardian.

Sören continued to kiss as he drew, Edenel moaning beneath Sören's lips and tongue on the sensitive flesh of his back. Kol played with Edenel's hair, and every now and again Kol kissed Sören, the fire of those kisses surging through Sören as the kohl wove its spell into Edenel's skin.

At last Edenel was marked, and he rose to pull Sören's head forward, kissing Sören's brow - kissing the middle of Sören's forehead, the "third eye" - and his lips lingered for a moment, tenderly stroking Sören's curls. "Thank you, dear one. This means more to me than you know."

Sören took Edenel's hands and kissed them. "I am honored that you are honored, Uncle." He stroked Edenel's cheek. "Father."

Edenel took Sören's face and kissed him deeply, and then Kol kissed Sören, and Kol and Edenel kissed. Kol and Edenel looked at each other for a moment, as if they were privately discussing something between them in their mind-link, and then they fell on Sören together, pushing him back against the pillows.

The three ended up in a daisy chain, Edenel's cock in Sören's mouth, Sören's cock in Kol's mouth, Kol's cock in Edenel's mouth. They sucked each other languidly, a dreamy haze of sensuality as hands roamed over bodies, slow and sweet as if they didn't want this time to end. Tongues slipped inside, rubbing the magic buttons within, producing ever-louder moans and cries, and then the cock sucking resumed, more intent than before, until they were flooding each other's mouths, trembling. Edenel tasted like a clear mountain spring, and Sören couldn't get enough.

They switched places and now Sören was sucking Kol, Edenel was sucking Sören, and Kol was sucking Edenel. Kol's cock was so warm in Sören's mouth, so comforting. Hands wandered and fingers walked, brushed, played over sensitized flesh. They sucked and ate each other until another climax overtook them, Sören drinking down the spicy-sweet cinnamon-like flavor of Kol, savoring Edenel's moans as Edenel swallowed down all Sören had to give.

They came up and kissed, still hungry, still needy. Three hard cocks rubbed together, taking turns in each other's grip, precum collected on fingers, sucking each other's fingers before more kisses. Kol and Edenel began to kiss Sören's neck together, and Sören cried out, rubbing against them more insistently. "Oh god," Sören panted. "Please..."

"We want to take you together," Edenel whispered.

"Yes." Kol nibbled Sören's shoulder. "It would honor us even more if your forge hallowed our blades, Fëanáro."

Sören couldn't say no to that. He lubed Edenel's cock, straddled him, and sank down. Kol got behind him and after a few of Edenel's thrusts, Kol pushed into him, his cock joining Edenel's deep inside. Even as Sören was open from earlier penetration, and he was seasoned in being taken this way by Maglor and Dooku, Edenel and Kol felt like an almost impossibly tight fit. But Sören was deliciously full just the same, moaning as their cocks rocked away inside him, the pressure and friction more intense for being so stuffed.

Edenel and Kol tried to go slowly and gently at first, not wanting to hurt Sören, but it wasn't long before Sören was bucking, crying out, urging them on harder, faster. Their bodies slammed together, a rhythm like war drums. Sören began to sweat, panting and gasping, his cries getting louder as they pounded inside him and Sören rode, bouncing on Edenel, slapping against Kol's hips, giving back as good as he got. Completely lost in savage lust that felt like a force of nature unleashed, a wildfire threatening to consume everything in its path, Sören rode and rode, screaming until his voice was hoarse. And then at last, the orgasm detonated through all three of them, blinding in its glory. Sören took their hands, contracting around them as their molten flow ran into him, marking him on the inside just as surely as Sören had inked Edenel's flesh, Sören's seed joining the kohl now over Edenel's torso.

You will come back to me, Sören spoke into their minds. Once I have claimed something, it is always mine.

Chapter Text

 

King of Sorrow




On Sunday morning, it rained, which seemed to be appropriate weather for the departure of Kol and Edenel. They were going to be leaving this world via the Portal of the Dimmuborgir, which meant they needed a ride out there. After a brief discussion it was decided that Sören would drive them, and Frankie would ride along to say one last goodbye to Kol. Sören asked Margrét if she wanted to come along but she shook her head vehemently and said, "If I do, I won't be able to let them leave."

Frankie rode shotgun, and Kol and Edenel sat in the back of Sören's jeep. All four were quiet on the hour-long drive from Akureyi to the Dimmuborgir; Sören didn't even have music playing as he drove, as it didn't feel right. The only sound was the clack of the windshield wipers and rain beating against the car, the purr of the engine.

The closer they got to the destination, the heavier Sören felt, a lump in his throat, and by the time they pulled up at the eerie black lava structure, made more eerie in the rain and fog, Sören's eyes were as misty as the weather outside. Sören, Frankie, Kol and Edenel got out of the jeep, and Kol and Edenel walked on ahead, hand in hand, with Sören and Frankie following close behind.

There was nobody else at the Dimmuborgir on this rainy afternoon, which was good with the nature of what was about to happen. As Kol and Edenel approached the arch, Sören noticed the hollow underneath beginning to glow softly, like the Elves did when they were unglamoured. Frankie's jaw dropped and her breath caught, and Sören felt a frisson down his spine, but he knew the real show was yet to come.

Kol and Edenel paused a foot away from the entrance, and turned around to face them.

"So, you're just gonna... step through... and go where it is you're going?" Frankie asked.

Kol and Edenel nodded.

"I used the Portal once," Sören told Frankie. "Van took me." He looked at Kol and Edenel. "You just... step through and will yourself there, right?"

"Correct," Kol said. "If you have a mental image of where you're going, and can state your will, you can go there without getting lost."

"So, is Scotty beamin' you up?" Frankie's lips quirked.

"It's less like a transporter from your Star Trek and more like a door," Kol said. "It doesn't reassemble our molecules, it just... folds space, I guess you could say."

"That's good, because I like your molecules just fine the way they are," Frankie said, giving Kol a swat.

Sören snorted, Edenel chuckled, and Kol grinned. "I'll miss you, my love," Kol said to her. He looked at Sören, bronze eyes blazing. "Both of you."

"I'll miss you too," Edenel said, his silver-white eyes locked with Sören's. "I wish we had more time."

Sören nodded, getting choked up again. "Me too."

"Yeah, I'll miss you cunts," Frankie said, reaching out to hug Edenel, then she gave Kol a hard, fierce, tight squeeze, tears spilling down Frankie's cheeks. Kol ruffled Frankie's hair and bent to kiss the top of her head.

Sören stepped forward, feeling surprisingly shy even after what they'd done last night. He gave Kol a hug - Kol was so warm, even in the cold, damp rain - and then he clung to Edenel, whose arms tightened around him, rocking him for a moment.

"Ada," Sören croaked, a sob threatening to tear out of him.

Edenel planted a kiss on Sören's brow, and then their lips met and they kissed hungrily. Sören resisted the urge to push Edenel down into the grass and keep them here longer, mating, rutting. They pulled apart, lips brushing, lingering, breathing hard, and Sören's eyes met Edenel's once more.

Edenel's voice was raspy with emotion. "Take care of yourself, Fëanáro. And each other." Edenel looked at Frankie and reached out to rub her shoulder.

Edenel and Kol took each other's hands then, and turned around. Sören grabbed Frankie and pushed her a few steps back - a wind started to kick up, and Sören watched as the archway glowed more intensely. When Edenel and Kol stepped through, swallowed up by the white light, the wind howled, rain pouring harder, and the white glow turned blue, then ultraviolet, making everything else around them glow ultraviolet for a few seconds. Sören felt a rush of heat, like a furnace had just opened right in front of him.

Then the glow was gone, and there was nothing under the arch. Kol and Edenel had vanished.

Sören remembered his mamma mentioning she'd met one of the huldufólk right here at the Dimmuborgir when she was small, who had violet eyes and pointy ears, and she'd kept returning over the years with the hopes of seeing him again. Sören knew that was Vanimórë she had seen back in the 1960s, and he wondered if his mother had seen what he'd just seen but in reverse, with the flashing lights, a man materializing out of nowhere. Even knowing that the Dimmuborgir was a gate to other worlds and dimensions, it was one thing to know it and another to see it in action. Sören was shaken - Sören was shaking, knees wobbling - and he was a grown man, he couldn't imagine what it had been like for his mother as a small child.

Frankie and Sören looked at each other, saying nothing. Then Frankie threw her arms around Sören and hugged him tight, and Sören's arms wrapped around her, holding her as tightly as he could. The dam broke and the tears came, both of them sobbing, clinging to each other and rocking, like two lost children.

"He's gone," Frankie cried. "Oh god, Sören, he's gone... Kol's gone..."

"I know." Sören felt a tight ache in his chest. First Van, now Kol and Edenel... the sense of loss tore at him.

"He's gone off to this... bloody... stupid... fucking... war... shite... and I don't know if I'll ever see him again." Frankie buried her face in Sören, weeping so hard she was howling, keening, shrieking like a banshee. "I love him so much..."

He had to be strong for her.  "I know, elskan. And he loves you too, stupid war or not, he wouldn't leave if he didn't have to." Sören smoothed Frankie's hair, rubbed her head, her back. "I can't offer you false hope, false promises. I won't offer you platitudes, empty words of comfort. I can only tell you I'm here and I'm not going anywhere. You can lean on me. You can lean on my sister. That's all we can do."

They continued to hold each other, weeping, tears as wild as the rain that pelted them, and at last Sören pulled back, took Frankie's hands, and said, "Come on, the jeep is warm and dry."

Sören began to drive back in the direction of Akureyri, and a few minutes into the drive, Frankie told him, "I don't want to go back to your place immediately. I'm too much of a fucking wreck."

Sören nodded. He wasn't exactly keen on that either, even though Dooku and Maglor and Margrét had seen him cry plenty of times. "You have an idea of where you want to go?"

"Someplace where there's not gonna be a ton of people."

Sören gave a wry chuckle. "This is Iceland, Frankie. There's a lot of places like that."

"Yeah, no shit, you knew what I meant." Frankie gave him a look, and at the guilty smile Sören gave her she returned a tight, sad smile of her own.

"I think I know a place," Sören said.

It was a place where he often went when he was sad, once he was old enough to drive. The Goðafoss was approximately a forty-minute drive from the Dimmuborgir, a little longer than that with Sören driving more slowly in the rain, cautiously. Once Sören planned his route, he put on music, wanting to try to get out of his head at least a little bit. With Frankie in the car, he went for a playlist of punk and goth rock. He hit shuffle and an upbeat song by The Ramones started things off.

Hey ho, let's go
Hey ho, let's go
Hey ho, let's go
Hey ho, let's go

They're forming in a straight line
They're going through a tight wind
The kids are losing their minds
The Blitzkrieg Bop

They're piling in the back seat
They're generating steam heat
Pulsating to the back beat
The Blitzkrieg Bop


It seemed a bit out of place with the rain and the fog and the lonely Icelandic highway and the sadness of two of their family riding off to war, but also just what they needed to begin the process of trying to get back to something approaching normal... normal for them, a new normal in time of trouble.

No matter how many times he'd seen the Goðafoss waterfall throughout his lifetime, it was still a place of wonder for Sören, watching the powerful falls rush down into their pool, a pool where the lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði had thrown down his idols, renouncing the old gods, turning Iceland to Christianity. Sören was no fan of Christianity - the religion of his fanatic aunt, who had used Christ's name as a crutch to justify her abuse - but he was even less of a fan of the Norse gods, with Odin having damaged their family at least as much as the Valar had, being directly responsible for his parents' deaths. It had become not simply a place of wonder for Sören, but a place of power, knowing Odin's hold over the country had been broken there over a thousand years ago, and it was no wonder he was so drawn to the place beyond its natural beauty. Sören had seen in Olórin's palantir over a year ago that Fëanor was the Fenrir-wolf prophesied to destroy Odin - Odin had, in his attempt to thwart fate by going after Sören's parents, ensured that Sören would be out for his blood. Sören was nowhere near ready to take on the likes of Odin, not even sure that he'd be able to handle whatever the effects of the Dagorath would be rippling from the original world of Vanimórë, Kol and Edenel into this one, but someday...

The wolf will drink from the falls, until only your blood is what slakes my thirst, Bölverkr.

Sören admired the falls from a distance at first, with he and Frankie just sitting in the front seat of the jeep, watching the rushing water, holding hands. The mist of the falls added to the mist of the rain, shrouding the falls but they still peeked through, roaring, beckoning. Sören and Frankie waited, as if they were trying to pull themselves together a little more before taking a walk to look at them more closely.

In any case, the jeep was warm and cozy, and Frankie was cozy too, leaning on Sören's shoulder as the music went on.

When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

When the law break in
How you gonna go?
Shot down on the pavement
Or waiting on death row

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh, the guns of Brixton


Frankie's hand left Sören's hand and rested on his knee, then began to slowly slide up his thigh. Sören felt his cock stir, hardening yet further as he remembered Frankie's touch yesterday, remembered her naked body on his...

"I love you, you know," Frankie husked.

"I love you too." Sören reached to cup Frankie's chin in his hand, tilting her face to hers, and leaned in for a kiss.

One kiss became another, and another, tongues playing, searching, inviting. Frankie's hand went right to the hard bulge in Sören's jeans, and Sören cupped a breast, thumb rubbing a nipple through Frankie's shirt, making her moan into the kiss. Sören began to kiss Frankie's neck, making her moan louder, as Sören's fingers rubbed her nipple in slow, lazy circles.

"Do me," Frankie breathed.

They got out of the front seat of the jeep and quickly climbed into the back, leaving the music on. Frankie shoved Sören back, and he grinned up at her as she peeled off the hooded sweatshirt she was wearing as a jacket, then her T-shirt and turtleneck. He did the honors of unhooking the front clasp of her bra, and it was his turn to moan as her full, luscious breasts sprang free. Frankie leaned over Sören and he hungrily drew a pierced nipple into his mouth as Frankie clutched his head, petting his curls.

"And to think," Frankie teased, "once upon a time you said you were 'totally gay'."

Sören stopped suckling for a moment. "I also told you that you had nice tits. That you were beautiful." His hands ran appreciatively over her soft, thick curves. "I think I was in denial about how I felt for you." He frowned. "I had absolutely shite low self-esteem after, you know, Maglor left."

"I know. It's how you ended up with that Justin Roberts." Frankie gave a fierce scowl, her eyes murderous even when Justin was long dead - thanks to the return of Maglor. Then she smiled fondly at Sören, stroking his face. "I mean, I was in denial, too. I've always preferred girls, but... you're so pretty." Her thumb traced Sören's full lips and he sucked on it, making her groan. "I was trying very hard to not fancy you."

"If only we'd pulled our heads out of our arses." Sören reached up to stroke Frankie's face, pet her short pixie cut. "Things could have been a lot different."

"Yeah, maybe you'd never have ended up with Justin." Frankie leaned in to kiss him. "It could have been you and me, every night..."

Sören and Frankie both moaned into another kiss. When they pulled apart, breathing harder, they looked into each other's eyes before kissing open-mouthed, tongues rubbing together, playful, sensual and teasing. Sören claimed a breast again, then, thumb and fingers playing with the other nipple, as Frankie worked on getting her jeans off. When Frankie pushed back from Sören for a moment to start taking off her panties, Sören let out a moan at the wet spot he saw.

"Jesus." He let out a low whistle.

"I'm so wet for you, Sören."

Sören gave her a wicked grin. "Hi So Wet For You -"

"Twat." She tossed her panties at his face.

She was completely nude now, and he was not. Sören kicked off his boots and Frankie began to undo Sören's jeans, then took down his boxer briefs. She took his hard cock into her hand, stroking slowly as she leaned back down to kiss him. Sören pushed her up for a moment to take off his red plaid flannel shirt and the Joy Division T-shirt he wore underneath and now he was naked too. Frankie smiled as she came back down to take his mouth once more, and they moaned together as her breasts pressed against his chest, her hard, pierced nipples rubbing his hard, pierced nipples, both of them deliciously sensitive.

Sören's fingers stole between Frankie's legs, probing the wetness. He slowly rubbed her slick, swollen clit, making Frankie shiver, kissing him more insistently. He started working on her neck again, and went back to feasting on her breasts, tongue lashing her nipples with wild hunger. One of Frankie's hands slid down to join Sören's on her dripping pussy while her other hand continued playing with his hard cock. With her juices on her fingers, she brought them to Sören's lips to taste and he sucked and licked her fingers, making her moan as she watched him. He needed more. He pulled back his hand from her clit, smirking at the whimper she made of protest, and he rubbed her juices onto her nipples, licking and sucking them even more fervently than before, making her howl and buck against the hand that went back between her legs. Again and again he anointed her nipples with her slick musk, savoring the taste of her, until Frankie was panting, rocking against his hand. He patted his shoulders. "You know what I want," he husked.

Frankie scooted up, climbed on his shoulders, and sat on his face. Sören dug in, eating her fast and furious, burying his face in her as his tongue fucked her clit, as he sucked it hard, making filthy slurping noises as he did. His fingers slipped inside her, banging away, the wet suctioning sound of her wetness joining the sound of his slurping and her moans and groans. Soon she was riding his face, fucking herself on his fingers, the car filled with the sound of her broken cries. Sören smiled to himself against her as The Ramones played while she bounced on his face.

Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go
I wanna be sedated
Nothin' to do and nowhere to go
I wanna be sedated
Just get me to the airport
Put me on a plane
Hurry hurry hurry before I go insane
I can't control my fingers
I can't control my brain
Oh no no no no no


There was something that tickled Sören's eccentric sense of humor about the reincarnations of Fëanor and Lalwen getting it on in the back seat of a jeep to punk rock. It was a nice change of mood, from melancholy to delight, and he sucked on her harder, fingers fucking faster, Frankie making guttural noises now.

"Don't stop don't stop don'tstopdon'tstopdon'tstop," Frankie cried out, shuddering.

A couple of minutes later she had her first climax, contracting around Sören's fingers and beneath his tongue, gushing on his face. Sören gave her pulsing flower a last few slow licks, producing deep moans. He licked his lips, savoring the sweetly tart musk of her, feeling a bit wistful for how things could have indeed been if they'd been a couple back when they were living in a shabby flat over her aunt's coffee shop in Greenwich, living hand-to-mouth. He knew that Vanimórë had suggested in 2015 that he move to London for a reason - he found Fingolfin-Dooku and Lalwen-Frankie there, and he imagined that even if he and Frankie had been an item when his path crossed with Dooku's in 2017, things would have aligned.

Sören once again felt that little ache - all of Fëanor's siblings were present and accounted for except for Finarfin. Sören frowned.

"You OK, mate?" Frankie poked him.

Sören nodded.

"Let's get whatever it was off your mind and take care of you, yeah?" Frankie's hands were on his cock again.

"Please," Sören said.

Frankie scooted down to Sören's hips, and Sören guided his cock to her cleft. He moaned as he watched her sink down, taking him inch by inch, her juices flowing over his shaft. When he was all the way inside, they both cried out.

Then Frankie began to ride, with Sören grabbing her hips and thrusting into her, matching her rhythm. Frankie once again made guttural noises as she bucked on him like she was riding a wild bull, and Sören groaned at the sight of her bouncing breasts, her lush curves in motion like a thick, sensuous bellydancer. One hand moved from her hip to start working her clit in time with their fuck, the other caressing her, enjoying the feel of her skin, the softness of her body. Every now and again he switched hands, bringing the fingers that had been on her clit to her mouth for her to taste herself, while the hand that explored her body teased around and around her clit.

Sören and Frankie exchanged a grin at the music in the background, The Clash again.

By order of the prophet
We ban that boogie sound
Degenerate the faithful
With that crazy Casbah sound
But the Bedouin they brought out
The electric camel drum
The local guitar picker
Got his guitar picking thumb
As soon as the shareef
Had cleared the square
They began to wail

The shareef don't like it
Rock the Casbah
Rock the Casbah
The shareef don't like it
Rock the Casbah
Rock the Casbah


"I love you, cunt," Frankie said.

"I love you, too."

When they got close, the words of love came back, flowing more freely, as if the loss of Edenel and Kol - whether temporary or not - had given them a sense of urgency to express how they felt, especially when they were making up for lost time. "I love you love you love you loveyouloveyouloveyou," Frankie cried, riding as hard as she could.

"Oh god, Frankie. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you, love you, love you. Ég elska þig, ástin mín..."

"Sören. Sören. Don't stop, you're gonna make me come..." Frankie shuddered, pushing against his hand. "Don'tstopdon'tstop I'm gonna come you're gonna make me fuckin' COME -" And then she howled, throwing her head back. "Sören! Oh god! Sören! Yes!"

The feel of her walls pulsing around him sent Sören flying, crying out "Elskan" as he lost control, shooting deep inside her. Two last hard bucks and Frankie fell onto him, the two of them trembling. They held each other, laughing, crying, sobbing, kissing each other's tears as their bodies throbbed and tingled and melted.

The jeep windows were completely fogged. Judging from the sound, the rain was still coming down, though it wasn't pouring hard like it had been when they arrived, it was a lighter rain now. They continued to hold each other for a few minutes, petting, listening to the rain. Then Frankie reached for the panties that were sitting by Sören's head on the back seat. Before she could grab them to put them on, Sören found himself grabbing her wrist, stopping her, getting a wild, weird whim, something that would help them get on their way to being less broken and fucked up when they got back to Sören's house in Akureyri, beyond the orgasm they'd just had.

"I have an idea," Sören said.

When he and Frankie were sitting up in the back of the jeep together, naked, then Sören got out of the jeep, completely naked. There was no one else around at the Goðafoss right now.

"Sören! You're - you're naked!" Frankie shouted.

"No shit," Sören said, walking a few paces out of the jeep. Then he turned around and made a sweeping "get over here" gesture.

"Sören, have you lost your fucking mind?"

Sören nodded, grinning. "Yes."

A minute later Frankie was out of the jeep too, completely naked. "I can't fucking believe I'm doing this," Frankie said, giggling hysterically.

"We're doing this." Sören put an arm around Frankie and began walking her towards the falls.

The cool rain felt good on Sören's fevered skin, but also something felt sacred and right about approaching the falls, looking so magical as they did with mists swirling around them in the rain, naked as the day they were born. Naked and unashamed. It felt like they were performing some kind of ritual, though what sort, Sören didn't know. He only knew that in his post-orgasmic high, he felt that familiar thrum of glowing power through him, like he was made of light - this was the energy that made him feel at his most creative when he was at his most sexual, and at his most sexual when he was feeling his most creative. Fire fueling fire. Frankie's energy thrummed with his, now, her joy post-orgasm infectious as she giggled and snorted, leaning on him.

"Sören, you mad lad, this is the most daft thing you've ever done."

"Oh, I don't know about that." Sören continued leading her to the edge of the falls. "It just... it just feels right, somehow, you know?"

"I think I know, yeah." Frankie's eyes seemed far away then, like she was looking at another time, another place.

They came to the edge of the Goðafoss and stood there, naked, watching the misty waterfall, hearing the water rush and roar, feeling the primordial power of the unstoppable torrent. They took each other's hands, a reverent, hushed awe coming over them. Every time that Sören had come here previously to mark a new chapter of his life, he'd tossed a coin into the falls as a sort of superstitious ritual he did for good luck. And even though Edenel and Kol had just gone off to their part to play in the Dagor Dagorath, which would impact this world from theirs somehow, Sören had no coin to give this time, naked. He just stood, honoring the power of nature, the elements, feeling a oneness with it within himself.

And then he saw something shimmer in the falls, a bright light as if someone had turned on a lightbulb or shone a flashlight into the water. Which made no sense.

And then he and Frankie watched, open-mouthed, as the light rose up and up and up up up, brighter and brighter, until it was sparkling above them like a small sun, a rainbow shining in the mists.

The light came towards them and Sören, without thinking about it, opened his hand. The light fell into his hand like he was catching a ball, and his fingers wrapped around it, thrumming. It was solid in his hand, like a piece of glass cut into facets, but more. So much more.

"Oh. My. God." Frankie blinked, slowly.

It rested in Sören's hand, warm and pulsing, shining over them like someone had turned on a very bright light.

"Is that what I think it is?" Frankie asked.

Sören nodded solemnly. "It's a Silmaril." He rolled it around in his hand, thumb rubbing it. "I now have two out of the three."

"Holy shit."

Sören brought the Silmaril to his lips and kissed it. The rain was starting to die down. "Let's head back," he said, feeling a prickle of caution - not about being naked out here, but about having the Silmaril out in the open, like it was potentially a big target sign, whereas at home behind their wards it was safer.

They got their clothes on and drove home. On the way to Akureyri it stopped raining, and the sun pierced through the clouds, tinging the air golden, enough that it created a gold tint to the Silmaril when Sören looked at it, sitting in the cup holder of his jeep between him and Frankie, reminiscent of a champagne diamond but so much more intense. And once again, reminded of the silver-gold hair of Finarfin that had been part of the inspiration for the jewels, he felt that ache.

O brother, where art thou?


_


Maglor and Margrét were having tea in the living room when they got in, looking a little dazed. Sören could hear Dooku's basso muffled, rising and falling down the hall from the bedroom, which sounded like he was on the phone. There was a weird tense energy wafting down from there, but even as Sören's impulse was to check on Fingolfin, always, there was this one thing to attend to first - Maglor's eyes widened, because even with Sören holding the Silmaril in a fist behind his back as he walked through the door, trying to keep it somewhat of a surprise, Sören knew that Maglor was familiar enough with the energy and would see a glow behind Sören's head.

Sören brought out his hand and opened his fist, using the Force so the jewel hovered a few inches above his palm, turning over and over, shining and shining, casting infinite rainbows on the walls.

Maglor's jaw dropped. "You found the second Silmaril."

Sören nodded. "I did."

Maglor got up from the couch, pulled Sören into a fierce hug, and kissed him passionately. With the hand that had once been scarred from the Silmaril he threw into the sea, before Sören reclaimed it at Reynisfjara and his hand was healed almost a year ago, Maglor reached out, now using the Force himself to pull the stone to him. When it was in his palm, Sören's hand closed over his, and Maglor let out a little sob before he and Sören kissed again. Maglor gave the stone back to Sören and they held each other tight, rocking each other, crying together.

Then Dooku came out from the hallway, looking as if he'd seen a ghost. Sören felt it before he saw it, melancholy rising like a tidal wave. Sören would have assumed it was because Dooku had gotten rather attached to Uncle Edenel and now he was gone and Dooku was taking it badly, but this wasn't it.

"What, Nico?" Sören asked.

Dooku cleared his throat. His cell phone was in his hand. "I'm sorry to interrupt -" He glanced at the Silmaril, his eyes apologetic and mournful.

"It must be important," Maglor said, and Sören nodded.

Dooku looked down, then he took a deep breath and looked up. "That was Obi, calling from London. Qui-Gon's dead."

Chapter Text

London Calling




Sören's jaw dropped. "Qui. Is... dead."

"Yes." Dooku took a seat on the coffee table.

Maglor poured Dooku a mug of tea, then he got up and walked to the kitchen. He came back with a bottle of Auchentoshan and shot glasses. He used the Force to pour one for Dooku, hands-free, as he sat next to Dooku on the couch, arms around him. Sören stood there a moment in shock, then he rushed right over to the other side of the couch, put down the Silmaril next to the bottle of whisky, and threw his arms around Dooku. Dooku wasn't crying - not yet, though his eyes were too bright with unshed, threatened tears. He had an incredibly sad, haunted look on his face, one that Sören would have done anything, given anything, to take away.

"So to clarify," Sören said, because in light of what happened with his aunts Gitta and Jane you never knew, "when you mean dead, you mean actually dead, dead dead, not faked death to become immortal and go off to another country or something -"

"Sören, Qui never took the blood from Vanimórë. You know that." Dooku sighed. "And it had become rather a... point of contention."

At Frankie and Margrét's wedding in August 2019, the offer of immortality was made by Vanimórë to anyone in the family - including the extended family - and it was a standing offer for those who needed time to think about it, vials of blood being left with Kol and Edenel. Dooku was going to accept if Sören did, and Sören ended up accepting for Maglor's sake. Dooku had talked with the two people he considered his unofficially adopted children - Joaquin "Qui-Gon" Gonzalez, a veterinarian, and Leja Bollasdóttir Sulu, a gallery owner, both Force-sensitive - who also turned out to be the reincarnations of Argon and Aredhel respectively, two of Fingolfin's four children. Both Qui and Leja had expressed reservations with accepting the offer themselves, but they told Dooku they would support whatever decision he made... at the time.

What was true in theory turned out to prove less true in practice after Dooku did in fact take the gift of Vanimórë's blood and ceased aging, was no longer susceptible to human diseases, and while his own appearance remained that of a well-preserved elderly man, in many ways his health and stamina returned to that of his younger years - Dooku could run again, as one example. With the "new normal" of immortality, Vanimórë had left them an additional gift, a point of contact in MI6 who would assist Sören, Dooku, and Maglor with moving around safely when their time in any given location exceeded its "shelf life" with lack of aging, usually approximately ten years or so. Their "fixer", Charlie Audley, had been very no-nonsense about "normal people" actions they took for granted and would need to stop effective immediately to make this work, which included no social media profiles if possible. The large extended family had maintained a private chat server for everyone to keep in touch scattered as they were in different parts of the world, such as Dag being in Canada, and Charlie had made them get rid of that too, showing Sören, Dooku, and Maglor in-person that the chat wasn't anywhere near as private as they thought it was, producing the entire chat server's logs which MI6 had been covertly monitoring for over a year. "We have this and we're on your side," Charlie told them. "You don't want any of this sensitive information getting out to people who aren't on your side."

The limitations of what they could discuss over the Internet made it more difficult to keep in touch, and seeing the physical evidence of immortality on top of that had also produced awkwardness with Qui and Leja, as if Dooku had moved firmly into a world where they could not come along. Dooku, who loved his children, tried to convince Qui, his partner Obi, and Leja to please accept Vanimórë's blood and keep the family together, and Qui-Gon doubled down - earlier in spring 2020, Qui had told Dooku he wasn't comfortable with the idea of "cheating death" on a world that was overpopulated, had environmental problems and so many societal ills. He gave Dooku a bit of a philosophical lecture about the cycles of death and rebirth being necessary to the balance of life on the planet, which Dooku took personally as a condemnation of his choice to become immortal, which he'd done out of love for Sören and Maglor - Maglor who did not need to be lectured about such things, with the kind of experiences he'd had. Qui and Dooku henceforth had a bit of a falling-out and had kept distance from each other, and Leja, claiming she was put in the middle and didn't want to take sides between them, nonetheless seemed to side with Qui-Gon and Obi, falling out of touch with Dooku all but occasionally.

Dooku had known since then, of course, that the day would come when they would die, but he was not expecting Qui-Gon to die now. Qui-Gon was only ten years his junior - sixty-two years old, which was not even really old these days - and he'd been in what seemed like good health.

Dooku knocked back a glass of Auchentoshan, neat. He frowned and leaned back against the couch. Maglor had an arm around him and Sören's hand was on Dooku's knee. Dooku reached for Sören's hand, holding it; Sören rubbed his thumb against Dooku's hand tenderly.

"So Obi called you," Sören said. "After all this time and distance and tension, he at least had the courtesy and decency to let you know Qui passed on..."

"Sudden heart attack," Dooku said. "And..." Dooku snorted. His nostrils flared and brow furrowed with indignance. "You needn't call it courtesy and decency - he decided to wait until now to tell me. The wake is tomorrow. Afternoon. He said, 'Oh, I know you probably can't make it on such short notice, but...'" His nostrils flared again. "Hmph. I feel obligated to attend now, short notice or no. Whatever Obi might think of me at the moment, whatever Qui-Gon may have thought of me, he was still my son. Fingolfin was still Argon's father. And I shan't prove whatever it is Obi and Leja want to think of me by not attending. That said... it is on very, very short notice. I was planning on calling our friend Charlie Audley when I've had a bit of time to clear my head here, to ask her to procure tickets for my departure and return, as you know she has told us to let her handle things when we leave the country, but I imagine she won't be thrilled with my request -"

Maglor put up a hand. "Don't ask Charlie."

Dooku glared at Maglor. "Don't tell me not to attend this wake, Macalaurë. I must. Dear as you are to me, you shan't stop me. No one can," he said, glaring over at Sören now as well, though Sören knew better after close to three years together than to get in Dooku's way.

"Nicolae, I did not tell you to not go to the wake." Maglor gave him a stern look in return. "I told you not to ask Charlie about a flight there and back." Maglor pursed his lips. "Do you remember summer 2019, when I was visiting Svalbarðseyri and then I said I had to go to London on very short notice for emergency business and I came back and then you heard about the death of Justin Roberts on the news?"

"I remember," Dooku said, nodding.

Sören also nodded - the abuse from Justin, the repeated rapes, still haunted him years later, and though he'd had some initial discomfort with the idea of Justin being murdered, he was still touched that Maglor had gone to that length to avenge him.

"You deserve a fuckin' medal for that," Frankie piped up, and Margrét nodded with a fierce scowl.

"Should have brought us with you to get some licks in," Margrét said.

Maglor nodded. "Nothing like a Finwion family beatdown." He gave a small, humorless smile. "Anyway... when I went to London to... handle all of that. I didn't fly there. I didn't want to take the risk of leaving a trail that could be followed back to me in case things got hot. I used the Portal."

"You left by the Dimmuborgir, like Kol and Edenel did today, já?" Sören asked. His mind's eye recalled watching Kol and Edenel step through the arch and disappear in a flash of light.

"I did," Maglor said. "Vanimórë told me what to do."

"I bet," Sören muttered as he stole a sip of Dooku's tea.

Maglor glared and Sören gave him an innocent face, batting his eyes.

"So you're suggesting I use the Portal," Dooku said. "That seems rather extreme just to avoid annoying Charlie by asking her to coordinate a flight -"

"I don't care whether Charlie is annoyed or not," Maglor said bluntly. "It's her job to deal with us and all the curveballs we throw her and her agents. My reasoning for asking you to take the Portal is more straightforward. Kol and Edenel just left for the Dagor Dagorath, which they say is set to happen any time now. We can't be certain when the battle will happen - could be an hour from now, could be weeks from now - and we can't be certain what the effects will be on this world when it happens, only that it will be affected, but I for one would prefer that you not be in a plane flying over an ocean in the meantime."

"Fair," Dooku said. "Where was the other terminus of the Portal, when you arrived in England?"

"There are several I could have used," Maglor said. "I went with Wayland's Smithy as it's more quiet... less-trafficked... less chance of being seen. London has been having some nice rain and fog as of late, it should be safe for you to materialize over there."

"All right." Dooku nodded. "That's about..." He did the mental math. "A two-hour drive from London, judging from the last time I visited the Smithy."

"Oh, you've been?" Sören's eyebrows went up in surprise.

Dooku nodded again. "Even though I pursued a career in law, history has always been a passion of mine, and in the 1980s and 1990s I did some traveling around the country to visit certain ancient sites. It was intriguing. Qui went with me for some of it so this seems rather... apt." Dooku readied his cell phone again and dialed the number that had just called him. After two rings Obi picked up. "Hello, Obi? This is Dooku again. Yes. The wake is at 1 PM tomorrow, you said? I'll be there."

"I'm coming with you," Sören hissed, not wanting Dooku to be alone during this difficult time.

"And Sören is coming with me." A pause, as Obi spoke on his end, a note of surprise in his muffled voice. "Yes, I know it's short notice, but it's also a... short flight." A wry smile. "But if you wouldn't mind terribly, would you be willing to pick me and Sören up? We're... taking a trip to Wayland's Smithy... in Qui's honor. As you know, Qui-Gon went with me to see several historic sites around the UK, when he was younger." Dooku glanced at Sören, as Obi's voice rose and fell on his end, and Dooku nodded to himself. "10 AM pickup, Sören? That gives us two hours to get to London for the wake, with an hour to spare."

Sören frowned. He wasn't a morning person, and they'd have to leave earlier than 10 AM to get to the Dimmuborgir and even just dress up in something befitting a funeral. Sören hadn't worn a suit in years. A suit and doing things in the morning - not his idea of a good time. But then, neither was leaving Dooku alone when he was hurting like this. Sören gave the thumbs up.

More of Obi's voice. "All right," Dooku said finally. "We'll see you then." He hit End, and exhaled sharply. This time Dooku was the one to use the Force to pour himself a glass of whisky.

"I'm very sorry about this interrupting the... celebration of the return of the Silmaril," Dooku said, patting Sören's hands.

Sören shrugged. "Shit happens. Not your fault Qui is dead." He felt a sharp pang - he'd been fond of Qui-Gon, before the falling-out, and Argon had been one of Fëanor's favorite nephews. Mostly, he hurt for Dooku, knowing behind that British stiff upper lip his husband was feeling devastated, most of all because Dooku and Qui-Gon had not reconciled before this and now of course it was too late. He could feel Dooku's regret across their Force bond. He also knew Dooku was going to keep up the stiff upper lip for awhile longer, and Dooku was feeling guilt for getting in the way of Fëanor's big moment. Sören knew he could remedy that right now, and used the Force to float the Silmaril off the coffee table, the jewel turning over and over, sparkling little rainbows over them.

"It's beautiful," Dooku said.

"Touch it," Sören said. "It'll be fine. I did make those in honor of you and Arafinwë, after all."

Dooku opened his hand and the Silmaril floated down into his palm. Dooku held it reverently, rubbing his thumb over it, eyes wide with awe.

"I remember when you first showed us," Dooku said, his voice hushed.

Sören nodded. "See how I love thee."

Dooku and Sören looked at each other - looked into each other's eyes - and there were Dooku's dark chocolate eyes, warm and filled with love for his husband, and then Sören saw the blue eyes of Fingolfin, like blue diamonds but even more exquisite... reminiscent of a blue sky with cloud iridescence, a memory of the first taste of freedom Fëanor had outside of Valinor. And Finarfin's hair had reminded Fëanor of the mingled light of Telperion and Laurelin, the sacred "in between" time, one of the wonders of Valinor, one of the things he could never hate about the realm, one of the things he loved, cherished, even as he'd come to hate the realm's strictures, its Laws. Oh, how Fëanor had raged at the destruction of the Trees...

Dooku and Sören kissed, as Fëanor had kissed Fingolfin and Finarfin in turn when the Silmarils were unveiled. Dooku stroked Sören's face and pet his curls with his free hand, as Sören's hand settled on top of the Silmaril in Dooku's hand, the stone throbbing between them. As the kiss deepened, Sören had a mind to drag Dooku down to the bedroom and celebrate the Silmaril's return by claiming something else that was diamond-hard, but he could sense across their Force bond that Dooku was too upset over Qui-Gon's death to be in the mood for that right now. He understood. Their noses rubbed as their lips pulled apart, lingering, breathing each other's breath.

"I put a piece of my soul into these," Sören said, taking the Silmaril now, holding it in both his hands, looking at it with wonder. "Because it was made for the love of you, my brothers... you are my soul. My light."

Dooku closed his eyes and let out a shuddery sigh. The tears began to flow just slightly. Not a big scene, not yet. That dam would break later. But for now, a pressure release. "I love you," Dooku said, the weight of years in his voice.

Sören kissed his cheek, his tears. "I know."


_


Maglor and Dooku made dinner together while Sören, Frankie and Margrét played video games. Margrét confirmed that they'd be flying out to Reykjavik tomorrow morning, as originally planned, and would be leaving around the same time Sören and Dooku were off to the Dimmuborgir.

Dinner was quiet, a shroud of melancholy hanging over the group between Qui-Gon's death and Kol and Edenel's departure. It felt like things were unraveling, and now Sören was the one who wanted to cry, but kept himself together... for the moment.

After dinner, Maglor performed for everyone on his harp. Several songs in, before Maglor was done, Dooku put an apologetic hand on Maglor's shoulder and departed to the bedroom. Sören let him be for awhile, giving him space, but finally his Force bond with Dooku got the better of him, when Dooku was broadcasting too much distress to be ignored.

Sören found Dooku on the bed in his pajamas, curled up in the fetal position, holding his ancient teddy bear, Winston, a look of raw grief on his face. Huan was on one side of him and Snúdur the other.

Sören quickly got in his own pajamas and climbed on the bed with Dooku, with Huan making some room for Sören. Sören pulled Dooku into his arms and began gently rocking him, a tight lump in his throat.

A few minutes of rocking and the dam started to break. Sören knew that it wouldn't be the only time Dooku would cry about this, and probably not the hardest time, either, but it was a start. "Let it out," Sören said, petting him. "I know it hurts, and you shouldn't keep it inside..."

"My uncle... our father... is gone. One of my children is gone. Whatever the outcome of the Dagorath, it already feels like the world is ending." Dooku closed his haunted eyes, the tears flowing.

"It feels like that," Sören said, nodding, "but as you know, feelings and reality aren't necessarily in agreement. The world hasn't ended yet. I'm still here. And I'm not going anywhere, Nico. I'm not going to leave you." He kissed Dooku's tears.

"You did, once." Dooku was referring back to when they were Fingolfin and Fëanor.

"Jæja, and I was a big stupid poopyhead," Sören said, desperately grabbing for what levity he could. "But you won't lose me again. I swear it." He grabbed Dooku's hand and pressed it to his heart, squeezing it. "I will never just... take off... again. I will never, ever leave you again." Another grasp at levity. "For fuck's sake, I'm going to take the day off to go with you to the wake... and I'm going somewhere that isn't work, willingly, in the bloody morning. That should tell you a lot."

Dooku tried to smile, but it didn't meet his eyes, which were too sad. So heartbreakingly sad, bringing tears to Sören's own eyes.

Sören reached out and held Dooku closer, tighter. He rained little kisses over Dooku's face as Dooku shook with silent tears in his arms. "I love you, Nico. I love you. I love you. You are not alone. We'll get through this."

Dooku's tears became less silent, and Sören found himself crying as well, even though he'd tried not to. Maglor came in the room. Wordlessly, now it was his turn to get into pajamas and climb in the bed with them, holding the reincarnations of his father and uncle, kissing each of them in turn.

"Hey," Maglor said softly. "Hey."

But now Maglor was crying as well, his empathy overwhelmed by both of them, and his own concern for Edenel, out there.

A little while later, as the three continued to cry, Frankie and Margrét showed up in the room in their pajamas. They used the Force to take the blankets and pillows from the bed that Sören, Dooku and Maglor shared and build a blanket and pillow fort around the bed, at last lifting up a corner of one of the blankets to steal inside and get on the bed with them. The bed was a tight fit for three men of above-average height, never mind being joined by the two women, but they all huddled together, cuddling in a non-sexual way.

"Finwion cuddle pile," Margrét said, snuggling against Sören.

Sören smiled. There was something pure and beautiful about it, in the midst of their sadness - the children of Finwë, and one of the Fëanorions, creating a living shield wall. Safety and warmth, and reinforcing that feeling of being able to take on the world if they put aside whatever differences they had and stood together as one.

And yet, there was a fresh wave of sadness. Here was Sören-Fëanor, Dooku-Fingolfin, Margrét-Findis, and Frankie-Lalwen... only four of the five Finwion siblings. Once again, that ache for Finarfin, now as sharp as a limb freshly cut off. Sören's heart cried, and for a moment he could have sworn the two Silmarils hidden away cried out as well. Sören's eyes met Maglor's, and he knew Maglor could feel that note of pain in the Song.

But Sören didn't even know how to begin looking. He'd tried to scry via the palantir Maglor owned, months ago, when more of his memories from then had started coming back, and the palantir spoke in riddles, showing images to Sören's mind that seemed to have nothing to do with anything, like black swans. It seemed that Sören could call the Silmarils to himself by putting his intent out into the universe but not forcing an outcome, letting the Silmarils hear that call and come in their time, and Sören wondered if it was the same with Finarfin.

In the meantime, that missing limb from their family tree hurt, now more than ever.

And in the meantime, with nothing he could do about the missing one, Sören turned his focus back to the family he did have, surrounding him and Dooku, enfolding them. His tears began to subside, as did Dooku's, as they were held, pet, given shelter in this tangle of pajama-clad bodies within the pillow and blanket fort. For at least a little while, a Finwion cuddle pile seemed like it could cure all manner of ills.


_


Sören and Dooku almost fell over as they came out at Wayland's Smithy, into rain and fog.

I'd almost forgotten how intense that jump is, Sören spoke into Dooku's mind via their Force bond. Kol called it "folding space", but it's more like space is being folded into you, into your goddamn guts -

"Er," Dooku said aloud. He reflexively brushed himself off, even though they hadn't fallen, only came close to it, and they hadn't gotten anything on themselves in the jump.

Dooku was wearing one of the suits he'd kept from his days working as a barrister at Garden Court Chambers, at Lincoln's Inn Fields in Temple, a smart black pinstripe suit with a white shirt and a deep navy tie. Sören was wearing a charcoal grey suit with a white shirt and grey tie - and his Doc Martens boots - feeling like he was performing some sort of drag badly. Dooku took his arm and popped open the navy umbrella he'd brought, with Sören shaking his head and chuckling that even Dooku's umbrella went with his outfit.

Though Maglor had assumed based on the weather that they would be alone and unseen when they jumped into Wayland's Smithy - not to mention that it was a Monday morning and most people were working or at school - his assumption wasn't quite accurate. Sören's heart skipped a beat, an icy grip on the pit of his stomach as he saw, several meters away, a group of thuggish-looking young white males drinking ale from bottles way too early in the morning, smoking cigarettes. Sören wondered if they'd been spotted. His nose twitched and wrinkled involuntarily at the foul smell of the cigarette smoke.

"Just act like nothing is unusual," Dooku said quietly, and Sören felt Dooku's touch in the Force around them, a thin invisible shield. Across their Force bond, Sören realized Dooku used to do this before certain fraught court cases he took on, when Dooku was a criminal defense barrister and had particularly dangerous clients - or people out for blood and vengeance upon those clients.

The gang of louts was still staring at them as they passed. Dooku made eye contact, razor-sharp, like an eagle seeing its lunch. "Good morning, gentlemen," Dooku said mildly with a nod, continuing to walk past the non-gentlemen, one of whom sneered.

There was a navy blue Volvo waiting for them - Sören recognized the auburn-haired-and-bearded Oberon Canobie in the driver's seat, looking impatient. "Do you think we were spotted?" Sören whispered to Dooku.

"I think it probably doesn't matter if we were or weren't," Dooku said. "You saw them. They'll be distracted soon enough."

Sören supposed Dooku was right, he'd seen plenty of the type in London and they seemed to have short attention spans, an alien could have landed at a pub and if telly showed England scoring a goal they'd ignore the alien completely, and Dooku had pushed with the Force on top of that. He still felt slightly uneasy, worrying about the sneering one in particular. But before he could tell Dooku they might want to turn around and maybe try to plant a Force suggestion in that one's head, they were getting in Obi's car.

"Hello," Obi said as they climbed in.

"Good morning, Obi," Dooku said. "How are you holding up?"

A thin, bitter smile. "Don't ask."

They drove into London in silence. It was painfully awkward, and Sören was almost regretting insisting on coming along, but every now and again he stole glances at Dooku in the back seat, via the mirror in the front, and the pain in Dooku's face - the pain he felt, across their bond - reminded him he had to do this.

The wake was small, and less formal than Sören had been expecting, and probably quite a bit less formal than Dooku himself had been expecting. Though Obi himself was in a black suit and tie, and everyone was dressed in suits - including Leja, who Sören spied out of the corner of his eye - the ceremony was loosely structured, people getting up to say a few words about Qui. Sören wondered if Dooku was going to say anything, but as the service wore on he realized Dooku couldn't bring himself to get up and make any kind of speech - Dooku, the master of monologues, who had once been a great courtroom manipulator. It hurt that much.

At the end there was a viewing of the body, people getting in a queue. Dooku had already told Sören that Qui was in fact "dead dead", this wasn't a faked death, but seeing the body absolutely confirmed it, and Sören found himself gasping and swearing in Icelandic at the sight, even as Qui - in a dark blue suit and tie, which Sören swore Qui would have never voluntarily worn in his life, hands clasped on his chest as if in prayer - looked absolutely serene, like his heart attack had taken him quickly, mercifully. Sören backed away from the corpse as fast as he could, making a beeline for the table of refreshments, distracting himself from the sick feeling he had by pouring himself punch, feeling shaken. Out of the corner of his eye he watched Dooku lingering at the body, as if Dooku was expressing something to Qui-Gon's spirit via the Force that he couldn't put into words.

"Are you all right, dear?" came a deep female voice, Londoner, well-bred.

"Jæja, I'm... I'm fine, takk." Sören had a sip of punch and watched the woman the voice belonged to, almost as tall as he was, with steel-grey hair in a pixie cut, watchful green eyes behind wire-rimmed glasses, a slim and elegant figure in a deep navy pantsuit. She was more handsome than pretty, but could have been a model when she was younger.

The woman nodded. "I hate going to these things, and I hate it even more when I know the person who died isn't stuffy and wouldn't approve of being 'honored' this way." She made air quotes. Her nostrils flared and then she gave Sören a small, wry smile as she went on, "I told my son that when I die - mind you, that shouldn't be for some time yet - I want a New Orleans style jazz funeral, none of... this nonsense. Remember my life as I lived it, with heart."

Sören instantly liked her. He also felt a weird prickle at the back of his neck that he couldn't explain. He raised his punch glass. "I can see why you and Qui got on."

"We were neighbors," the woman said, "not the best of friends - good fences make good neighbors, as they say, it doesn't do to get too wrapped up in each other's space, but for what it was, I was fond of him. And he was a dear when my poor ragdoll cat had to be put down." She frowned.

Sören watched as Leja took Dooku aside for a moment, the first conversation those two were having in months. He had to do a double-take, almost not recognizing Leja at first, who looked alarmingly thin and was wearing a large floppy hat, and Leja never wore hats, not even at formal events.

"You came a long way for this, hm?" The woman tilted her head to one side.

Sören gave a small nod. "Iceland."

"He must have been important to you." The woman put a comforting hand on his arm. "I'm sorry for your loss."

"Takk," Sören said, his voice husky with emotion. And that kind, compassionate touch from a stranger, the knowing eyes, made Sören start to blubber, even as he hadn't been that close to Qui-Gon, more fondness from a distance, sort of like an adult stepson. Sören cringed, self-conscious about starting to cry in public. "Oh god, I'm so sorry," he said, wrenching away from her grip.

The woman put her arms around him, giving a tight hug. "It's all right, dear. People shouldn't be robots when they grieve the ones that mattered to them."

Sören grieved Qui more for Dooku than himself, but he would miss Qui nonetheless - and he was grieving all the everything, right now.

The woman offered him a handkerchief, which looked suspiciously similar to the handkerchief Dooku offered at their first meeting in 2017. Sören hesitated, and the woman began dabbing at Sören's face.

"My maternal instinct kicks in," she said. "How old are you, dear?"

"Thirty-five, will be thirty-six soon." Not that it matters anymore.

"So just a little younger than my son." She dabbed some more at Sören's face. Then she took Sören's face in her hands and she said, her voice firm and commanding, "You are going to be OK. I know it may not seem like that right now, with your friend gone, but I promise you, life keeps going on, and all we can do is keep moving with it. We can be pulled into the undertow, or we can swim like sharks." Another wry smile. She patted Sören's shoulder.

Then Dooku came over, glancing at the woman and then at Sören. Seeming to intuitively understand the need for Dooku to interrupt, the woman nodded at Sören with a tight smile and stepped aside and began walking away.

"You talked to Leja," Sören said matter-of-factly.

"I did," Dooku said. He watched Obi at Qui-Gon's coffin now. Leja was already heading out of the building. He took Sören's hands in his and he said softly, "She has cancer."

"Oh. Well I mean, when you say she has cancer... prognosis?"

"Not good." Dooku pursed his lips. "Matter of weeks." She's still not taking the blood.

Sören threw his arms around Dooku and hugged him tight, fierce, almost angry in his need to shelter, protect. First Argon, now Aredhel? "Oh god, Nico, I'm so sorry..."

"So am I," Dooku said, holding Sören too, leaning on him. He gave a deep sigh.

Even though they were out in public and Dooku was still somewhat reserved about certain displays of affection in public, Sören stroked Dooku's face, pet and skritched his beard. "I love you," Sören husked.

"I know." Dooku took Sören's hand and kissed it. "I love you too."

Obi finally came over. "Would you like to come over for tea?"

Dooku and Sören looked at each other, then Dooku nodded and Sören did too.

Obi and Qui-Gon had shared a place together in Blackheath, a cozy little gingerbread house that Sören half-expected to find populated by a crone baking children. There were neatly manicured rose bushes outside, climbing roses on the roof, and shrubbery around the parameter of the house. It had been a long time since Sören had been inside their place, but he remembered there seemed to be just as many plants inside - Qui-Gon was a bonsai enthusiast and there had been hanging plants, safely out of the reach of their five cats.

Sören was shocked when he got inside their house and found boxes, boxes everywhere. The couch was still there, for now, but other furniture was pushed off to the side, on its way out. There were none of Qui-Gon's plants left. There were, however, the cats. A smoke point Siamese with bright blue eyes came right up to Sören with a "Prrrp?"

"Oh yes, I think I remember you," Sören said, stooping to pet the cat, "but you have so many brothers and sisters I forget your name -"

"That's Theo," Obi said. "Please, sit down."

Obi put on tea and when it was ready he came out, taking a desk chair that didn't really belong where it was, across the coffee table in front of the couch.

"So you're leaving," Dooku said.

"In about a fortnight, yes," Obi said.

"Where are you going to go?"

"Arizona, for starters." Obi shrugged. "I need... solitude, for awhile. Space to grieve. The desert is a good place for that."

"Fair," Dooku said.

"Actually, that's..." Obi gave a small, sad smile. "That's why I invited you over. As you know..." Even in grief, he couldn't resist taking the potshot; Sören bit back a grin. "Qui and I had five cats. They were like our children."

"You say 'had', past tense, but they're around," Dooku said, gesturing to the other four cats who had come out to see the visitors. A large orange tabby promptly hopped up onto the couch and climbed on Dooku's lap, sniffing Dooku and Sören, who began to pet.

"Moving animals anywhere is difficult, moving them cross-country is... well... quite a challenge indeed," Obi said. "I can take exactly two of the five cats. I'm taking Victor," he said, gesturing to a black cat batting a toy mouse around by the fireplace, "and Francesca." He pointed to a long-haired calico hopping onto a windowsill to watch the rain. "I need to rehome the other three, and I know that Qui would have wanted you to take at least one."

"Would he." Dooku's eyebrow shot up at that and he sipped his tea.

"Whatever he thought of you in the end - and he never hated you, Dooku, you know that - he knows how much of a cat person you are. You both are," Obi quickly added, glancing at Sören.

Dooku and Sören looked at each other. Then a silver Norwegian Forest Cat who looked for all the world like Dooku's late cat Dragos got on the couch and climbed on Sören.

"That's Rasputin," Obi said with a smirk. "He's about a year old, we got him after Jules passed on late last year."

"I'm sorry. I had no idea about Jules -" Dooku frowned.

"I know," Obi said.

"Rasputin, eh?" Sören felt a twinge, remembering how Boney M.'s "Rasputin" became his ringtone for Vanimórë when he'd been visiting in summer 2019, when Sören - incorrectly - thought Van was Russian. He began to sing, "Ra-Ra-Rasputin, lover of the Russian queen, there was a cat that really was gone..."

Dooku reached out to pet Rasputin, with his other hand stroking the orange cat on his lap, and Sören noticed from what he could see of Dooku's wrist as his hand moved that he had gooseflesh, as if Dooku had the same frisson about Rasputin - he'd been in on the joke, much as it made him roll his eyes - and was very well aware that Rasputin was the spitting image of the cat he'd lost to renal failure in spring 2018. Maybe Huan isn't the only reincarnated four-legged friend around, Sören thought to himself.

"I think we've been claimed," Dooku said, looking at Sören, who nodded. Then Dooku looked at Obi. "What about... er..."

"Theo?" Obi glanced down at the Siamese, who was rubbing around his ankles as if to say, "What about me?" "Well," Obi said, "I was thinking of giving a cat to Elaine, my neighbor - Qui would have wanted that, too. Actually, if you don't mind, you can come with me while I bring the cat over to Elaine's, and then I can drive you to the airport -"

"You've already done enough driving," Dooku said, and Sören knew that even though Obi was Force-sensitive and well aware of the weirdness going on with Maglor and having two immortals sit in front of him, Dooku still didn't want to disclose how they'd gotten there. "I'll call a taxi. But we'll go with you to drop off the other cat. I assume you have cat carriers, because we don't, we weren't expecting -"

"I do," Obi said. "I'll bring you back here to fetch the carriers and the cats before you head off."

"What's his name?" Sören asked, petting the orange tabby.

"She. Pumpkin," Obi said.

"D'aawwww."

Sören would normally be a bit weirded out by the prospect of going to a total stranger's house, and wouldn't have expected a neighbor in a posh, well-to-do neighborhood like this to be at home on a Monday afternoon instead of working. But, with Dooku beside him, under the umbrella, Obi led the way two houses down, Theo howling in the cat carrier.

"I need reinforcement to do this," Obi explained to them sotto voce. "This hasn't been an easy decision..."

Now Sören understood a little better. Whatever bitterness he could have felt towards Obi for enabling the distance with Qui, and not telling Dooku about the heart attack until just before the wake, was fading now, replaced with compassion.

If Qui-Gon and Obi lived in a gingerbread house, their neighbor Elaine lived in something straight out of Upstairs, Downstairs or Mary Poppins. Sören fought off a giggle at how Very British this whole experience was, like suddenly his life had become a Victorian novel for an afternoon. And then the humor rolled away when he felt that prickle at the back of his neck again and the weird I know this place, somehow feeling. The last time he'd felt this way had been when he was in St. Andrews, Scotland, a year ago.

The fuck is this.

The door opened and there was the woman Sören had interacted with at the wake. "Obi," she said, warmly, making a sweeping "come in" gesture. "I see you've brought friends." Her eyes met Sören's.

"This is Sören, and Nicolae," Obi said. Then Obi raised the carrier. "And this is Theo." His voice lowered as he said, "You know I'm leaving for the States, soon. I wanted to ask if you'd -"

Elaine nodded. "I'd been contemplating getting a new cat after Alonzo passed on..."

Sören's eyes lit up. "Alonzo. After one of the Jellicle Cats?"

"Yes. You know the one." Elaine looked delighted that Sören got the reference. Then she opened Theo's cat carrier herself and pulled out the Siamese. "Oh, what a precious boy." Theo began to purr loudly.

Sören felt that prickle at the back of his neck. It wasn't just that he knew this house somehow, he knew her. He tried to get a lock on it but it was fuzzy, probably through the noise of Dooku's grief and his own pain, a caution about seeing too much with the Dagorath on its way.

And this house. Dooku and Sören looked around. "This is a lovely place," Dooku said. Sören nodded. There was a sweeping white staircase, and dark wood floors. The ceiling was high, with a chandelier. Plaster flowers along the top of the walls, the walls done in grey paint. There were large windows seemingly everywhere, filling the house with light. Metalwork sculptures and wall hangings, abstract art on the walls. Through some of the windows Sören saw a walled garden outside, shrubbery, vines, and pots.

"I restored and redesigned it," Elaine said. "My son was about four when I bought this place. I'm an architect by trade and have a large portfolio to be proud of, but this... this is my pride and joy. My castle."

"It's gorgeous," Sören said, his voice hushed.

"Let me show you the garden while Theo does some exploring," Elaine said, and gestured for Sören and Dooku and Obi to follow.

Sören's breath caught at the lavender, wisteria, clematis, sage, chives, creeping roses, the trellises. The faded grey brick walls seemed to thrum with the energy of the Living Force in this place, the plants happy and well-loved.

"This was my late husband Roger's sanctuary," Elaine said. "Enough so that he asked to have some of his ashes scattered here, when he went. I have some and our son has the rest... but he's a part of the garden he loved, now. I don't have the green thumb he did, but my son does - he's got rather a gift - so when he's around the garden is his baby."

Sören walked around, feeling like he was in a dream. Then, as his back turned to the others for a moment, a few meters away, he felt that prickle at the back of his neck again but now there was a chill down his entire spine, hair standing on end, breaking out in gooseflesh under his suit. The rain had stopped and the sunlight was starting to break through clouds, casting a golden tint to the air, and he felt something silver-gold brush his mind. A deep female voice spoke into his mind: Uncle.

In his mind's eye Sören saw Galadriel looking into her mirror, clad in white, glowing as brightly as Maglor and Edenel did unglamoured.

When Dag's daughters were born back in March and Sören had visited him in Canada for the birth, Dag had casually mentioned that Galadriel had "poked" him a couple of times, and she did it again when his daughters were born. This, however, was the first time Galadriel had reached out to Sören himself, that he was aware of.

Hello, Sören spoke back to her mind.

Galadriel looked pensive. She closed her eyes. The days grow dark, Fëanáro.

So you feel it too, then. The coming war.

Galadriel's eyes opened. Yes. Whatever it is, no world shall be the same.

I am afraid. Sören hated admitting that, but there it was.

Have courage, Uncle. A pause. Have fire. Take hold of the Flame and do not let go. For you are the light of all worlds.

Sören didn't know what to say to that, and Galadriel's presence lingered in his mind, as if she was waiting for him to say something, anything. He looked around the garden again and at last he went out on a limb - if the palantir wouldn't give him a straight answer, maybe she would.

Artanis. Sören closed his eyes, to lock onto her energy more fully. Where is your father.

A wind stirred. Closer than you think.

The connection broke after that, like a phone being hung up. Though it wasn't a straight answer of any kind, Sören was still rocked enough by it - by all of it - that the rest of the visit with Obi's neighbor Elaine passed by in a haze. When they got back to Obi's house, Obi went to the bathroom and Dooku used the opportunity to call a taxi, explaining they were going to Wayland's Smithy. "Yes, I know that will be expensive," Dooku huffed, rolling his eyes.

When they waited outside for the cab, Sören's mind replayed the conversation with Galadriel for seemingly the fiftieth time. He got the distinct sense that Elaine, though she felt familiar, was not his niece reborn, and that his niece hadn't been reborn - Galadriel was poking at him from Valinor, or perhaps someplace else entirely, maybe that Timeless Halls that Van, Kol and Edenel had mentioned before. As far as "closer than you think" with Finarfin, he didn't sense it was the ashes of the deceased in the garden, as strong as that place had felt in the Living Force. And it wasn't Obi, or that would have come out at Margrét and Frankie's wedding when all the other revelations were happening, like Qui-Gon as Argon - Vanimórë had in fact stated outright that Obi was Elven-blooded, but not an Elf reborn.

So what did "closer than you think" mean? Sören wanted to scream with frustration.

He held that thought as the cab came. Dooku got in the back with the two cat carriers, Sören in the front passenger's seat. Their driver was Sikh, and polite, asking if the temperature was comfortable, if they wanted to listen to anything on the way there. Dooku and Sören opted to let their driver listen to what he wanted, and he put on classical music, which Dooku smiled at in approval.

Just as they passed Elaine's house, close to being out of the neighborhood, Sören heard a bass thumping, and his eyes followed the direction of the music. A charcoal grey Audi A7 was turning into the street, and Sören's lips quirked with amusement at the familiar sound of Jamiroquai.

You make me love you, love you baby
With a little L
Why does it have to be like this
I can never tell


As the Audi passed by their cab on the other side, Sören once again felt a prickle at the back of his neck, this time in combination with another round of his hair standing on end, a feeling that he knew that car the way he knew Elaine and knew that house. He also felt the presence of the Force - just for a few seconds, like the volume on the Force energy present between himself and Dooku at any given time was turned up, and then deliberately muted, as if Sören feeling it caused it to go off.

Sören wondered about that, and then he found himself getting distracted, for some reason compelled to look out the window at Blackheath Station, coming up, a reminder of the days when he'd lived in London and used to take the Tube on a regular basis, though he'd rarely had occasion to go into Blackheath.

Sören felt a little dazed, which he chalked up to having to go out in the morning, and a portal jump, and all the everything all day, all of yesterday, but not so dazed that he didn't notice the Audi tearing out of the neighborhood as if it had turned around as fast as it had gone in. He wondered what that was about just before a yawn hit him and he gave a sleepy blink, leaning back in his chair and letting the classical music on the radio lull him into a half-asleep state.

He woke up a bit when they had been on the highway for awhile. Dooku was sweet-talking the cats in their carriers to keep them calm for the road. No more familiar cars... and then, in the mirror on his side of the car, another grey Audi, or perhaps the same one, two cars behind.

Well, that's weird, but then, probably not the most unique car in the world. Sören decided to poke Dooku across their Force bond. Nico, did you... get a message when we were in the garden?

No, Dooku spoke back into his mind. You?

Yeah. Galadriel, Sören said.

I see.

Apparently she feels it too, whatever's coming, Sören said. Which is... concerning.

Sören started to doze off again, until their driver informed them, "Just a few more minutes, OK?"

Sören nodded. He blinked his eyes open and then he saw the Audi right on their ass in the passenger's side mirror.

We're being followed.

Keep calm, Dooku spoke into Sören's mind.

The Audi turned off suddenly, as if they somehow caught on to what was happening, or perhaps they really weren't being followed and that was just a coincidence, and they arrived at Wayland's Smithy without a tail. When Dooku and Sören got out of the cab, Dooku paid their fare and left a very generous tip, which the driver tried to argue about, "no no no, is too much," and Dooku gave him a stern look, not taking no for an answer. Finally Sören grabbed Dooku's arm, and the driver called out to them, "Thank you so much! Have a wonderful day!"

Sören and Dooku were each carrying a cat carrier. As they got closer to the megalith, saw a different group of louts than had been there this morning - but there was the one who had sneered from the first group, as if he'd brought a second group of friends. Once again Sören's panic button went off, and he wanted to kick himself for not saying something to Dooku. And he could see it on Dooku's face, the look of surprise and concern, as if in his haze of grief Dooku's usual watchful, suspicious nature had relaxed a little too much.

Keep walking, Dooku spoke into Sören's mind.

"Hey," said the guy from earlier. "Where you two off to?" And then a pause, and another sneer. "Where you two come from?"

Don't answer him. Don't look at him. Now it was Dooku grabbing Sören's arm, marching him on ahead, past the young men.

Sören heard the purr of an engine, like a car had just rolled up. He thought about looking over his shoulder but he took Dooku's caution to heart, that looking at the car would also mean looking at the thugs. Then the guy hollered, "HEY! I ASKED YOU A FUCKIN' QUESTION!"

Dooku and Sören were high-tailing it now, not quite breaking into a run, but almost there, trying to get to the chamber. Sören heard a car door open and he felt Dooku's Force energy rising, coiling, about to strike if things escalated. The chamber was starting to glow faintly and thrum, as if it sensed them coming and was warming up. A rock struck Sören in the shoulder and he whirled around, his arm tingling, his hand hot, and he saw the guy who yelled at him - ready to throw another rock, this one larger - suddenly trip and fall on the ground, just as Dooku shoved Sören into the chamber.

Everything went white; with their free arms, Dooku and Sören grabbed onto each other for dear life. Falling falling falling flying...


_


When they arrived at the Dimmuborgir, Dooku called Maglor, letting him know they were back and needed a ride.

As they sat at the Dimmuborgir and waited for their pickup, Sören asked Dooku, "Uh, when we were, you know, at Wayland's Smithy and that guy started throwing rocks..." He tilted his head. "Did you..."

Their eyes met. "No. I did not."

Did I do that? Without thinking about it? It wouldn't have been the first time Sören used the Force without thinking, but usually he was more careful than that, even when his anxiety was running high - otherwise Justin Roberts would have died years ago.

Not that it was necessarily the Force, either. Could be that guy just tripped. He was pretty drunk, after all.

Sören tried to not dwell on it too much and focus on comforting the cats, who were once again unhappy about being cooped up, and he couldn't imagine what the jump through the Portal had been like for them. As it was Sören still felt a little sick to his stomach.

When Maglor's jeep rolled up, Sören was never so relieved to see him. Maglor gave them an incredulous look when they got in the car with the cat carriers. "I thought you were going to a wake," Maglor said.

"We did. Obi needed to rehome some of their cats because he's moving," Sören said.

Maglor's lips quirked with amusement. "This is three cats we'll have now, and I assume you're going to want to give the blood to the cats when we get in..."

"That would be the plan, yes," Dooku said, and Sören twinged, knowing Dooku didn't want to go through the trauma of losing another cat, especially not now after everything.

"It doesn't bother you that we seem to be creating an army of immortal felines here," Maglor said, raising an eyebrow.

"Sounds just like what the world needs," Sören said. "Get us home, I have to piss like a fucking racehorse."

Maglor facepalmed, chuckling, and then he gave Sören a mock salute. "Aye, Captain."

"Warp six," Sören said, as Maglor began pulling out of the Dimmuborgir. "Engage."

A few minutes onto the road, Sören's cell phone went off. He thought about ignoring it, because any movement seemed to exacerbate his urge to pee and he really didn't want to ask Maglor to pull over so he could go on the side of the road. But then he got a nagging sense that he should, in fact, answer his phone. When he used the Force to slide the phone out of his pocket, his eyes widened with alarm when he saw Charlie Audley's number on the screen.

Sören swiped to accept. "Hey."

"I'm going to say this to you once, Sigurdsson." She knew that was a patronymic and not a surname and she only called him that when she was really annoyed with him and wanted to annoy him in return - which, thankfully, hadn't been often. Much. "Don't you FUCKING do that again."

"Do what?" Sören asked.

"You know perfectly damn well what. You were in London today."

Oh shit. "...Er."

"One of my flying monkeys -" That was her code word for MI6 operatives, when on the phone in these types of discussions. "- had to contain a situation. Which was not really something he was bargaining on having to do today, so now I've got an earful from him, which means you're getting an earful from me. The next time you want to go galavanting around the gates or whatever you lot are calling them -"

"So how do you even know about that? Did Van tell you?"

"We've had people look at things, including the gentleman who just screamed at me for the last fifteen minutes. It's not something I particularly care to discuss over the phone because unlike some fucking people I understand the concept of discretion. So. As I was saying, Sigurdsson, the next time you want to do THAT, you fucking bloody tell me first, that you're going somewhere, so I can get a crew in to monitor if you're coming out someplace with traffic. This isn't going to happen again, or I'm going to have no choice but to get you lot a babysitter and I don't think you want to be kept on so tight a leash, do you?"

Sören swallowed hard. "No ma'am." Even if I normally like being on a leash.

"All right then." Click.

Sören took a few deep breaths. "That was Charlie."

"I rather got that sense," Dooku said. "How much trouble are we in?"

"Well... we're always in trouble. We are trouble, period. But jæja, she's pretty pissed right now."

Despite all of the non-normal activity of most of their day, and their weekend, things quickly returned to something resembling their "usual" routine in the evening, with Dooku and Maglor making dinner, and then Maglor improvising on the harp while Sören worked on a sketch. He found himself sketching Galadriel, and then in Sören's mind's eye he could see Maglor's own mental images as he played, remembering Elrond, Elros.

Remembering war. Remembering what it felt like. How each war had changed him. Feeling weary into his bones that war was upon them again.

Sören, Maglor and Dooku ended up just holding each other that night, curled up with their cats and dog, wrapped up tight in blankets. The three cried some more, for awhile, until they were all cried out and all they could do was ache, exhausted but not yet ready for sleep, laying quietly in the mutual horror of their loss, and what was potentially around the corner.

Tears unnumbered ye shall shed. There had already been so many tears, and here they were sailing down that river to yet more grief.