Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, and anyone who thinks they can own the Spirit of Fire is welcome to try.

A Very Fire

its flames are flames of fire, a very fire of God. (Song of Songs 7:6)

"All the Noldor shine brightly with the radiance of Laurelin and Telperion. We all burn, and inside each one of us there is a flame, but none is like Feanor, who burns with the very fire of the One." So Fingolfin's father told him, and so he believed. Feanor raged at times, and shouted, and Indis comforted little Finarfin who was startled by the noise. Fingolfin was not afraid, even as a baby. Was not the rage also fire, the very brightness of Feanor?

In his youth Feanor wandered in the hills, or along the lonely shores of the sea. Sometimes Fingolfin would follow him to the beginnings of the forests. Feanor would twine together leaves to make him a crown, or shape a flower from grasses, and then send him home. But finally a day came when Fingolfin would not be turned aside. He was growing, and his body was becoming strong, and he begged his brother this once to be allowed to go with him.

"You would follow me, then, Son of Indis?" Feanor asked, flashing his dark smile. He pointed to a cliff that rose on the far side of the plains. "I am going to climb that. Do you believe you can follow me?"

Do you believe I have no courage? Fingolfin thought. "Where you go I will follow," he said confidently. Feanor raised an eyebrow, but brought his brother with him to the base of the cliff. It was nearly straight, with nothing for a climber to grasp. Feanor took out his knife. "Watch," he said with a smirk.

He carved out handholds as he climbed. As one hand held him in place, the skilled fingers of the other used the knife to form a place to rest his feet. And so he climbed quickly, creating a path as he went. When he reached the top he sat on the edge of the cliff, his feet hanging over, and stretched out his arms to Fingolfin. "Come, Brother," he called.

Fingolfin did not hesitate. He grabbed the newly formed handholds one after another, pulling himself up. Soon he was far above the ground. A foothold broke. Fingolfin cursed, knowing that Feanor was far too clever a craftsman to create a fragile path by accident. He looked up and Feanor was still there, smiling enigmatically. The ground stretched below Fingolfin, the mystery of his brother above. He deliberated for a moment, then continued the climb with renewed energy.

When he neared the top he saw the upper handholds were gone. Feanor reached out his hands. Fingolfin hesitated for a moment, and then took them.

Feanor's hands were hot to the touch. The light of Laurelin was waning, and that of Telperion was growing in strength. Both lights merged in Feanor's eyes, and were consumed by a third light that was not of Valinor. Fingolfin could see the ground so far beneath him. No Elf had yet died of violence, but even Fingolfin knew that there were some things even an Elven body could not survive. Feanor's hands were steady, but he made no move to lift up his brother. They remained there for a time, motionless, not speaking.

"And why should I lift you up, then, Son of Indis?" Feanor asked after a time.

Fingolfin knew he was being tested. He feared less the drop below than the hardness in his brother's eyes. Son of Indis. "Because I want to be with you."

Feanor laughed again, not a cruel laugh as before, but a laugh, perhaps, of comfort. He pulled Fingolfin over the cliff-top and fell backwards with him on the grass. Fingolfin laughed also, and they embraced, and with his unlikely smile his eyes twinkled like stars.

They walked together, holding hands. Fingolfin's body coursed with formless energy. Now I will become fire, he thought, feeling warm from his brother's touch. They passed the shores of Eldamar, and walked through towering forests reaching mountainlike to the heavens. Feanor pointed out every wonder as they passed, from the stallion-like waves to the delicate flowers on the forest floor. But no wonder is like my brother, and no light is as radiant as his eyes. The radiance seemed kind here, as they knit chains of flowers to entwine in each other's hair.

Fingolfin returned often to the forest after that day to look for his brother. Feanor was sometimes there, sometimes not, but Fingolfin would not complain or ask why, any more than he would ask the waves to crash at his will. Feanor sometimes raged and sometimes laughed, but always would walk with his brother, and touch his hand, making Fingolfin feel more alive than he had believed possible. I am touched by fire, he thought. Now I am aflame.

Then, after a time, once Fingolfin sought Feanor in their place in the forest and he was not there. This once Fingolfin did not return home, but walked alone through the dark woods, visiting each spot he knew Feanor to have been. He touched trees they had stood beneath, as if to receive from them the memory of fire. Then he heard a noise, and his brother's breathing.

Feanor stood at a distance, hand in hand with copper-haired Nerdanel, his master's daughter. They wore forge-stained smocks, as if coming directly from the workshop. Their eyes were fixed on each other. Fingolfin knew that if he cried out they would not hear him, would not turn from each other for even an instant. Not could he turn from what he saw.

The lovers reached for each other suddenly, bodies working together. They tore at each other's clothes, and Feanor pushed Nerdanel roughly against a tree, kissing her lips, face, and neck. She grabbed his hair to pull his mouth harder against hers. Fingolfin could see the curve of her breast where her dress was torn, and wondered what Feanor's touch felt like on that white skin. He watched Nerdanel take Feanor's hips to bring him between her thighs, and he saw their hair flow together behind her, black and red together merging in a dark flame. Is this the burning I desired? Fingolfin thought, and remembered the heat of his brother's hands.

When Feanor and Nerdanel were wed some time after Fingolfin gave the toasts and blessings befitting a younger brother, and drank a great deal of wine.

He courted Anaire assiduously, with flowers and jewels and the finest crafts. Anaire was surprised, but not disappointed, as she had delighted in Fingolfin's company since they began riding together in childhood. They followed custom and allowed themselves only simple kisses before they were wed, but Fingolfin took great pleasure in the soft burning lit in her eyes at even this gentle touch. He never returned to meet his brother in the forest, and Feanor did not ask why. In time, when they came of age, Fingolfin and Anaire were married, and spent many hours exploring the now-permitted delights of the body. Fingolfin was content, especially when he awoke to find himself surrounded by Anaire's limbs and the smell of their passion. He never thought of Feanor, nor sought him out, nor spoke his name.

As the years passed, sometimes Fingolfin returned to the shores. The waves reminded him of something he dared not say. He chanced upon Feanor there once, wandering with his family. Feanor held a young boy in his arms who liked to braid his father's hair and sing wordless songs. Nerdanel was round-bellied and bright-eyed, and as her side was a quiet child as tall as her waist. The boy introduced himself as Maedhros, and his brother as Maglor, and solemnly shook hands with his uncle.

"So, Son of Indis," Feanor asked, the old mocking laugh in his voice, "now that you are wed, do you still follow me?"

"Must you take everything for yourself?" Fingolfin responded crossly, struck by sudden fear. Nerdanel laughed, a big booming laugh from her ample belly, but Maedhros's young eyes met his uncle's, as if he knew the truth of those words better than he could imagine. Then the true answer to Feanor's question came to Fingolfin's mind, dark and unbidden. Only call, Brother, and I will follow, now and forever.

When Fingolfin returned home he found Anaire at her studies. He crept up from behind and seized her, kissing her neck as his hands explored her body. She turned in his arms and kissed him, pulling him down with her to the floor. He loved her there, hard, with all the passion his loins could give. But as he felt the soft flame of her breath on his lips, he remembered the heat of Feanor's hands, and he thought of his father's words:

Though all the Noldor burn with an inner flame, none is like Feanor, whose soul burns with a passionate fire, the very fire of the One.