Challenge: Mulled Wine
Characters/Pairing: Cirdan, Fingon (Findekano), Maedhros (Maitimo)
Warnings: allusion to the Kinslaying of Alqualonde; Fingon/Maedhros implied
Disclaimer: The Professor wrote; I squeezed in a footnote.
A/N: For petite_dilly, as a seasonal gift, a quadrabble (4 x 100 words according to MS Word). Cirdan and Fingon continue to be allies, although Cirdan now knows Fingon was involved in the Kinslaying of Alqualonde. Meanwhile Fingon's cousin Maedhros, from whom he was once almost inseparable, is fighting his own battles on the other side of Beleriand.
‘One of our ships recently returned from a long voyage down South’, says Cirdan. ‘They brought back a small consignment of this. A kind of bark, I think—it comes all rolled up like that and gives off a strong spicy scent. Can you smell it?’
Fingon’s face gives him away before he can work out a diplomatic response.
‘You recognize it?’ asks Cirdan, disappointed that this exotic gift of his is turning out not to be a novelty to the Noldo.
‘That’s cinnamon,’ Fingon answers apologetically. ‘It also grows in southern Aman. They use it in baking, over there.’
Sitting on a wooden bench in the light of Laurelin, completely relaxed as he watched the pennants wave above the courtyard in a light breeze and waited for Maitimo to finish chatting with the innkeeper’s daughter. A leisurely afternoon among friends stretched out before them.
‘Here’, said Maitimo, clambering onto the bench beside him. ‘Have this. I know you’ll like it!’
Maitimo was clearly trying to do the innkeeper a favour by recommending her pastry, but that did not bother Findekano at all, because indeed it melted in his mouth, butter-light, and the subtle hint of cinnamon was just right.
In Hithlum, it is pouring with rain. The wind from the North lends a bitter edge. Cirdan puts off his departure. They sit by the fire, drinking wine mulled with cinnamon.
‘I’m grateful you’re still talking to me,’ says Fingon abruptly, ‘after it all came out, you know.’
‘It would be a bit hypocritical of me to stop talking to you—as I want you to go on defending my borders.’
‘I would go on defending your borders together with mine, as best as I can, even if you stopped. Although your talking to me does make things easier…’
The colour of the piece of cinnamon floating in his wine reminds him of… Fool! There is nothing that is not capable of reminding Fingon of Maedhros when he is in the mood.
How long since they spent more time together than apart? There is a recent letter in the wooden box upstairs; it has been read and re-read no more than three or four times. It is longer than Maitimo’s last. (Fingon’s own letters are often quite short.)
Be well, Maitimo. Be safe.
Fingon takes another sip and smiles at Cirdan.
‘Well, I’m still grateful.’
And he means it.