Elladan kept a firm hold of Námo's slim hand as they
walked through the twisting corridors.
He didn't say anything, but he was uneasy.
Being back in Mandos reminded him of last time, and unfortunately
it wasn't the great sex that was foremost in his mind.
But he didn't want Námo to know that.
The Doomsman had spent the last few weeks really trying
to make up for sending him away. It
was obvious he felt horrible about hurting Elladan, and it was also
obvious that he was still struggling with some of his own issues.
The Vala had visited Elladan every day since then, even setting
dates for the next day without the half-elf's prompting. Námo wasn't quite up to flowers and candy, still lacking the
fundamentals on elvish courtship, but
he was showing interest in the things that Elladan liked.
He must have mentioned something about enjoying fishing
because Námo surprised him with a fishing pole from Ulmo.
The Doomsman had looked a little uncertain and maybe even nervous.
Elladan had of course thought it adorable, but it was only later
when he had been showing the pole to Elrohir that the elder twin realized
his intended had let him see those emotions.
Námo had stopped hiding, at least as much as he was
able. Elladan knew that his
cloak of aloofness was a very necessary shield to help him deal with the
dead and the Mystery, and all those other Valar things he did.
The half-elf certainly didn't begrudge him that, and he also knew
that the shield was also a part of his personality.
But Námo now understood that such barriers were harmful to their
burgeoning relationship. That
he would make an effort to lift them touched Elladan more deeply than any
other gesture the Vala could make.
The half-elf wanted to reciprocate, but couldn't find a
way to be any more open and honest than he already was.
But he was trying to be more patient, trying to understand his
intended as much as an elf could a Vala.
He knew initially he had always avoided thinking about Námo being
the Vala of the Dead. Of
course his occupation seemed to rear its head every time they spoke, but
Elladan never really let the knowledge settle into his bones.
It was the same with the idea of Námo being a Vala in general.
It was better not to think about it.
If the last few weeks had taught him anything, it was
that that was a huge mistake. Elladan
had mistakenly believed that if he treated Námo as a powerful elf, he'd
be on the right course. Oromë
had made it clear that Námo was far more than merely a powerful elf; he
was wholly other, thus their problems.
Elladan felt he was doing well now on this score, no longer assuming he understood how Námo saw the world. But the half-elf was still uneasy about his intended's role as the Doomsman. Námo was the Judge of the Valar, proclaiming dooms when asked. For some reason the idea was really creepy to Elladan. He didn't like the unquestioning attitude Námo had about the future.
The job itself was grim, and Námo's function as a judge
seemed another obstacle destined to keep some wall between them. Elladan knew he could no longer avoid the issue but had to
learn to accept his intended's roles in order for them to find happiness.
Thus his current presence in the Halls of the Dead.
This time Námo made sure he remained as solid and
visible as Elladan could like. He
seemed to have some specific purpose in mind as he quickly led the
half-elf deeper into the maze of hallways.
Elladan had never seen his intended do anything quickly before.
It almost seemed as though Námo wished to bring Elladan somewhere
but wasn't keen on him having to go through Mandos to get there. Very curious.
After several minutes Námo finally led Elladan into a
large room. The half-elf
stared at it in wonder, unconsciously letting go of the Vala's hand as he
slowly wandered around. The
room was so unlike the rest of Mandos.
It was touched by time, the stone pillars rotting and decaying like
broken tree stumps, the lairs of dust an indication of its age.
Elladan looked down at his feet, seeing his footprints in the soft
dust and dirt where the black mirror tiles were cracked revealing the
It seemed to him that the apparent cause of the ruin were
delicate vines wrapped around every surface, their roots digging their way
under the tiles to the nourishment below.
Elladan could have no idea that this was the same room where Oromë
had spoken to Námo only a few days ago, and that there had been no
half-elf glanced back at his intended.
Námo stood quietly by the entrance, simply watching Elladan.
He seemed pensive and unsure, so Elladan immediately went back to
Without thinking he reestablished their hand holding, both drawing
comfort from the connection.
he asked hesitantly.
"What is this place?
Why are we here?"
Doomsman was silent for a long moment, his eyes searching Elladan's face.
"This is where I meditate," he said quietly.
"And I have something I would like to do with you here."
heard the hesitation in his voice, and wondered what he wanted.
"Okay," he agreed easily, hoping to relieve his
"Whatever you want."
Unfortunately his acquiescence only seemed to make Námo more
Elladan gently squeezed his hand, hoping to remind him that he was
there, that he was more than willing to listen to whatever was bothering
inhaled slowly, visibly forcing himself to relax.
"I have spoken with your stepfather, and he suggested that it
would be wise if you and I entered a soulbond."
"I thought we were already bound."
and I are two halves of the same whole, but we have not yet truly reunited
I mean I agree it doesn't seem like we're bound, but I thought
according to the Valar we were?" he said, not really sure he had made
any kind of sense but trusting Námo to interpret.
The Vala cocked his head to the side as if listening to something.
to my kin, you and I are already wed because you and I are in actuality an
'us' before we are either of ourselves separately.
The Valar recognize the union as the true state that the soul
strives for, and because it was the state we originated in, it seems to my
kin that we are only returning to it.
Therefore we are already wed because we have already been connected
in the most intimate way possible.
However there is the actual step of rebinding.
The Valar acknowledge and expect as much . . . but I wish you to
know that I do not expect
wish for it, but I will not take for granted that you might do the same.
I know that elves rarely perform this act . . . at least not in
remained silent for a long moment, forcing himself to really think about
this before blurting out the first thing that came to mind.
He had heard what Námo said and what he hadn't said.
The slight hesitations were unmistakable.
The half-elf wondered if Námo was ready for this step.
He didn't want him to feel obliged to do it.
Despite the Vala's reassurances to the contrary, Elladan still felt
that he had somehow forced him into having sex, that Námo had felt
But Elladan trusted his stepfather implicitly.
Námo had said it was Oromë's idea, and Oromë had not yet been
wrong about the two of them.
His advice and guidance were instrumental in the two of them still
being together at this moment. Elladan
decided to put his faith in him, and nodded his acceptance.
what do we do?" he asked, glancing around the room as if it held the
Námo gently squeezed his hand before guiding him into the center
of the broken room.
Then he turned to face his intended, hesitating again before
reaching out to draw Elladan into a firm embrace.
half-elf gratefully returned it.
It was obvious to him that Námo was not used to any kind of
touching, but since their disastrous union he had made a concerted effort
to touch Elladan more often.
Elladan admitted to himself that he was a tactile person.
He probably inherited it from his father, who loved to give hugs
and to be hugged.
had never given it any serious thought until recently when he could see
how Námo weighed each caress he gave him.
Was now a time for contact?
What kind of contact?
Hand on the shoulder?
Something more intimate?
How would Elladan react to it?
What was he expecting?
half-elf could practically hear the thoughts in his Vala's head.
It was way overthinking it, if you asked him.
He touched whenever he felt it was the right thing to do, and
invariably he always judged the intimacy correctly.
It was obviously very foreign to Námo, and Elladan hoped he was
giving the Vala the right signals to tell him he was doing alright.
the moment he settled comfortably into the other's embrace, letting him
set the pace.
Unaccountably he felt his eyelids grow heavy.
Soon the rest of him felt the same, weighing pleasantly in a way he
had never felt before.
It was a detached feeling, as though the bulk he felt was not his
own but rather a weight he was carrying.
Except he wasn't lifting anything, didn't feel the strain in his
muscles; he was just aware of the weight, aware of it in the sense that it
was something outside of himself.
When he felt it, there was no connection of self to it.
He didn't feel it and think 'that mass is connected to me, that's
the normal feel of me'.
It was completely separate.
the intimate feel of this heaviness soon began to fade.
Oddly he still felt as though he was curled in Námo's arms, could
feel his weight if not his own.
But the sensation was faint, far away.
The room was faint, far away.
Everything was receding except for Námo.
He was still there so Elladan wasn't worried.
sharp note of uncertainty danced around the edges of his consciousness.
Elladan leaned in closer, trying to comfort his beloved, as he
assumed the feeling was from him.
He got that a lot recently, suddenly feeling something so unlike
his mood at the moment.
He had come to the conclusion they must be Námo's thoughts and
as he leaned closer, there was no resistance.
No press of muscle and bone against his own.
It seemed as though Elladan could fall right into Námo.
To his dismay he felt the Vala begin to draw away.
Elladan wasn't sure why this upset him so, but his instincts told
him to follow his beloved and so he did without a second thought, somehow
finding something to hold onto and grabbing tightly.
pulled the other man close, feelings of cold and loneliness drifted
fleetingly into his awareness.
The only thing Elladan knew in that moment was that he was warm,
and he could easily share that warmth.
He drew Námo closer, pulling him into himself, falling into Námo
until there were no more barriers and the cold slowly began to recede.
an instant the lethargy passed like a lightening bolt as Elladan felt
himself fray along the edges.
For a fraction of a moment he thought about panicking, about
But the moment passed and he let himself float, his attention
diverted by images of Námo's past.
His curious nature perked up, watching the memories float by.
passed through him without making any real impression, thousands of silent
years in meditation and waiting.
Oddly, even the interesting memories of great historical events
like the oath of Fëanor and his sons, or the last battle against Morgoth
that his father had fought in didn't make a dent in him either.
They happened several times, the words uttered long before there
was a voice to say them, the battle fought and won long before his brother
He had seen all of it before and it did not touch him.
was other memories that haunted him.
The heart-wrenching confusion of a lost Teleri child searching for
her parents among the dead at Alqualondë, the cry of anguish from Finwë's
spirit when his son burned to ash, the deep loneliness in Lúthien's
spirit as she sang before him, the final fall of his brother from grace.
Far too few happy memories.
drew away, suddenly aware of himself again, trying to find his own happy
memories to share with Námo.
But they were lost somewhere, and his spirit was overtaken again.
The memories were stripped away, the first layer of the inner core.
Elladan gladly descended into the core, feeling a rush of
familiarity that sent a thrill through him.
This felt right.
rush of panic tore through him, because he was disappearing.
But Elladan let the panic recede because he knew exactly where he
was down there somewhere, secure in Námo's arms.
He was perfectly safe.
understanding floated by, and he realized the fear was not his, had never
But he couldn't really separate it from himself.
That was okay though because it was easier to deal with Námo's
fears this way.
Elladan was far too removed from them for him to be affected, and
the fears soon disappeared into instinct.
of being shifted, gave way to Elladan.
Distantly he felt the same within himself.
The thrill of excitement thrummed louder.
He wasn't being cut into, he was opening himself up to receive a
part of himself that was always missing though he had never noticed
the last layer fell away and there was nothing between him and Námo.
In an instant they flooded each other, no longer two people.
Nothing was hidden, the two halves discovering everything about the
whole in a way they could never do of themselves.
It was honest and truthful, but it was also so reassuring, so
uplifting, so freeing.
A deep loneliness was discovered and soothed.
the regular cares and worries of the everyday were forgotten; the whole
world beyond was no longer important.
It was only them, dancing within each other until they were such a
confusion of parts there was no knowing what had belonged to whom.
They danced and laughed together for time uncounted.
Perhaps they could go on forever.
there was a slight tug from below, and Elladan could feel that foreign
Another sharp panic hit him, the loneliness threatening to
overwhelm them both.
It was so much larger than it had been before, where it had been
forced into the deep recesses of the heart to be forgotten as much as it
that it was known, it didn't want to be pushed away again and it wouldn't
Elladan felt like he might suffocate from it.
He couldn't stand to be alone, but he couldn't feel his twin or Námo
or his father and he was drowning.
another presence appeared.
didn't so much arrive as made itself known.
For a fleeting moment Elladan was aware of it in the same way he
had been aware of Námo a moment ago, on the spiritual level that had
always been foreign to him before this.
He felt just the smallest part of this great whole that seemed to
go on and on forever, so big his imagination couldn't comprehend it.
Elladan knew that it was best for him not to try.
This was too huge for him, and he had other problems.
suddenly he knew what to do.
The other presence didn't make much of an impression on him, but Námo
seemed to soothe immediately.
Elladan followed his instincts, taking a firm hold of Námo's
spirit and drawing it into his own body.
His flesh wasn't made to house the spirit of a Vala and he didn't
intend to keep Námo there.
took only the slightest nudge from the unknown other being to show him
where the connection between the two of them was.
They were still so blurred together that he couldn't see it.
But oddly he immediately trusted this other presence, gently
pushing Námo through the connection while holding him close at the same
didn't stop to think how desperate that hold really was.
many long moments he found that Námo was no longer moving, but the
immediacy of him was still constant.
Elladan could still feel him right next to his heart.
But now he could feel the tight arms around him, the quiet breath
against his hair.
He cuddled closer, seeking the assurance that Námo was still
there, that he was alright.
He felt the answering pulse in his soul, something he had never
before given much attention to.
The two held each other tight, both reeling from the close
connection now flared to life between them.
memories, the certainties from the joining had gone back to their proper
no longer had the understanding of a Vala, and Námo no longer had the naïveté
of the younger races, yet something of it remained in them.
The things Elladan didn't understand weren't so incomprehensible
now, and he knew Námo was better equipped for elvish courting now.
stomach rumbled fiercely, reminding him what had brought them out of their
joining in the first place.
Elladan looked up sheepishly at his intended, ready to apologize.
But his tongue was stilled by the unusual expression on the Vala's
onyx eyes were softer than Elladan had ever seen them before as they gazed
into his own silver ones, but it was the look of peace that startled him
now realized that he had never seen his Vala relaxed before.
There was always an air of sadness about him, easily passed off as
now Elladan saw it for what it was; hell, he had even felt it a few
It was a crushing loneliness and grief.
Námo was so good at his job because he felt every hurt, every
grief of the dead, and he had a never ending well of compassion for them.
that ill-defined fear from before appeared again, but this time Elladan
could name it.
He could see why he hesitated about Námo's occupation because now
he knew Námo inside and out, and he knew the burden it was on him, even
if the Vala would not recognize it himself.
Elladan vowed to do whatever he could to help ease that burden.
the thought, Námo's face fell into a gentle smile that so lit his
features as to take Elladan's breath away.
He had never seen Námo smile before.
Gently his Vala tangled his fingers in the half-elf's black hair
and pulled them together.
It was their first kiss since their disastrous union, and it was
the first that Námo had initiated.
was slow, unhurried, but all-consuming nonetheless.
Elladan felt it like he'd never felt a kiss before.
Somewhere in the back of his head, he could feel Námo's pleasure
He chased down the sensation, and the Vala opened up letting him
gratefully curled into the other's spirit, so much larger than his own.
But after feeling that other presence, Námo no longer felt so
imposing and overwhelming.
Compared with that, the Doomsman was just as small as Elladan.
stomach growled again, more insistently this time.
They broke apart and smiled, Elladan's chagrined and Námo's fond.
"Perhaps we should take care of that," the Vala said, his
voice dark and rich.
Elladan closed his eyes to let himself ride on the sound.
When he opened them again, he thought he saw a wicked twinkle in
those onyx eyes.
Maybe some of his mischievousness had rubbed off on the Vala during
Elladan's heart skipped as the gentle smile turned sly.
Námo didn't act on what his smile promised.
His arm wrapped gently around Elladan's waist and he quietly guided
his betrothed out of the broken sanctuary.
snuggled into his side, noting absently that all of the twisting vines
around the room were now in full bloom.
Their white pedals glowed against the black marble.
Smiling, the half-elf knew that this place of sanctuary where Námo
had sought peace and solitude for years uncounted was now their
would be back.