The years in Valinor passed in golden languor, as they were wont to do, unmarked by the turn of the seasons, and untroubled by the change of time, and Fëanor Finw's son grew swiftly again to manhood in golden Tirion.
Nerdanel avoided him as well as she could; but Tirion was not boundless, and she had to come across him a few times.
He was again grown now, and he was as she had first seen him – tall, and thin, and almost feline in is ease of movement – but his moods seemed easier now, and the thunderstorms of his temper were infrequent.
The sight was painful – Nerdanel could, she supposed, have gone to him, with the right of his wife to do so – but he had a new life, and she did not want to infringe upon it for selfish hopes of her own that might never be entirely fulfilled.
She told herself fiercely that she must move on– after the years she had lived without him, and not felt the loss too deeply, surely she could continue.
But seeing him seemed to set something to work in her; a longing that remained unsatisfied so long as she did not speak to him.
He was not blind, either, and he saw sadness in her, and liked it not – ignorant though youth made him, forgetful of his past and perhaps happier in the forgetting, he dimly remembered happiness there, and was displeased to find it absent.
Thus neither of them wanted to see each other.
She heard from 'friends' that he had taken up craft again – this did not surprise her. The forge was Fëanàro's home, finally, and outside it he could never remain content.
Too many people felt sorry for her. It was there in their faces, in their voices, their manner – everything they did around her seemed tainted by knowledge, as if they knew something ill that Nerdanel did not.
But she knew more than they. She knew that this was not her Fëanàro, and this knowing was the only thing that kept her from insanity – for the intellectual realisation had detached itself from the rest of her, so that her heart still raced when she saw him, and in some corner of her mind, she still thought of him as melindo.
On one occasion, when he was perhaps thirty-five sun years of age, she saw him entering her father's smithy, same cocky-confident walk, same impatient aspect.
She had held a glass in her hand, a thin, delicate one, and she was twirling it between her fingers idly.
She saw him, and dropped it, fingers suddenly nerveless. She could not help it.
He met her stare, grey on green, and it seemed to her that behind the outline of this half-grown boy she could see the man who had sworn his devotion, who had spent ages working in a forge only to be discovered later, after Telperion had waxed and waned both, peacefully asleep with his head on his arm.
She raised her hand, as if trying to touch someone through a thick sheet of glass, and gestured feebly towards him.
A muscle in Fëanor's temple throbbed erratically, and Nerdanel wondered what he was thinking of. It had always been difficult to understand him, and rebirth had not changed him in that respect.
He bowed a stiff bow, and then hurried off quickly.
Nerdanel bent to pick up the broken shards of glass, telling herself that he did not matter any more, but she knew the lie in it, and in every piece of glass she saw Fëanàro's face.
Melindo - lover (Quenya)
Author's Note:Thanks to the following people for reviewing (in chronological order): Starwind Rohana, Vana Tuivana, Nerdanel, Evenstar Elanor, Lindolin of Mirkwood, Mirfein, seeing-spots, Elfique, MarlaLP, and Steph Silverstar. Anyone I haven't mentioned who has reviewed, please forgive me, as Fanfiction dot Net sends the review alerts pretty haphazardly.
I know this is a short chapter, but the scene was too 'poignant' (well, IMO) to put it into a bigger chapter.
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