Author's note: Quenya names:

Nelyafinwë is Maedhros, with short Nelyo. Mother-name: Maitimo.

Canafinwë is Maglor, with short Cano. Mother-name: Makalaurë.

Turcafinwë is Celegorm, with short Turco. Mother-name: Tyelkormo.

Morifinwë is Caranthir, with short Moryo. Mother-name: Carnistir.

Curufinwë is (take a wild guess) Curufin, with short Curvo. Mother-name: Atarinkë.

Pityafinwë is Amros/Amrod, with short Pityo. Mother-name: Ambarussa.

Telufinwë is the little Amras, with short Telvo. Mother-name: Umbarto/Ambarto.

Curufinwë Fëanaro is Fëanor, needless to say.

Of course, I felt the weird urge to write this story with the Quenya names, as they are still in Valinor. So there would be strictly no reason for their names to be sindarin-ised yet.

Aurel is Maglor's later wife; courtesy to Altariel Artanis for the name, which she gave to Ithilwen; so I used it.

Now, do elves paint? Do they draw? If they don't, then I'm sorry for making them.

Disclaimer: I still own nothing. Nope.



Never fear the Darkness

By Le Chat Noir

Chapter one



"You're going too fast."

Finding his dancing interrupted by his brother's stern voice, Nelyo stopped short, nearly tripped over his left foot, and caught himself just in time.

"Right."

Cano was pitiless as a teacher. Though Nelyo was considered a fairly good dancer, the younger Fëanarion just felt the need not to be satisfied with his brother's performance, and had insisted on giving him some lessons he called 'basic'. Nelyo shook his head, as the dark-haired elf began to pinch the great harp's strings again. Fancy being taught something by your little brother.

The dancing resumed. Their lessons took place in the usually deserted Great Hall of Fëanaro's House, as it was the only room that Cano deigned consider large enough for proper dancing, so he said. He closed the doors firmly, locked them whenever if they could find the keys, so no one would disturb their peace and concentration. Nelyo had always wondered at his brother's bizarre ways with anything artistic. When he himself sang, or danced, or painted, it was for pleasure, and to amuse himself; but Cano seemed to be bent on perfection itself, so as sometimes to be on the verge of throwing a tantrum when anyone but talked to him when he was drawing or composing.

Well. What comes with genius …

Luckily, Cano was of peaceful nature, calm and more apt at charming people than at raging at them, so those angers of his most often ended in a short cutting sentence and a simple, hurt and dark glance than in anything too loud for sensitive elven ears. Valar could Cano yell when he really wanted to.

It was easy to get carried away when Cano wanted to make you dance. It was harder not to get carried away too much so as to properly remember the complicated steps appropriate to his elaborate music. That was the reason why, after some hours of weekly lessons, Nelyo often found himself drained, and sweating just a little too profusely to still look like a respectable princely Lord. But today, the lesson had barely begun, and so he was still in pretty good condition when the door Cano sat near to was slowly, timidly opened.

Immediately, the younger elf stiffened, and silenced the harp by applying his palm to the strings, but as soon as he saw the red-headed woman who peered inside, his features softened, and a large grin spread over his face. Nelyo, laughing, waltzed towards her, and, with a sophisticated artist's bow, offered her his hand.

"My Lady."

Teasingly, Cano began playing a romantic song for young lovers, and his older brother gave him a solid smack on the head, which had no more results than making the other laugh and cringe.

But Nerdanel didn't laugh. She looked at Cano's harp, and Nelyo's dancing shoes, and smiled a sad little smile, before walking past both her sons to stand in the middle of the room, looking around as if it was the very first time she saw it.

"So that was why you were locking yourselves up all these afternoons."

The young elves sent each other a guilty look, which in Cano's case was also slightly perplexed.

She turned back to face them, and Nelyo could not help but notice how weary she looked; how very weary. She stood there, and suddenly she was diminished, from the tall, proud and wise woman who sole could temper her husband's spirit, to a mere young girl, shy and naïve. And already distant.

"Did Maitimo improve?"

Cano faked a pensive frown.

"Well. I can't say that I am wholly satisfied yet…"

Nelyo wondered why he once more felt the urge to slap his brother's head, but instead he sank to the ground, and whined with his best childish pout.

"Muuuum… he's making fun of me…"

The dark-haired elf laughed.

"And you're making fun of yourself, dearest brother."

Nelyo scrambled to his feet, and, taking direct and unfair advantage of his height, ruffled the young musician's silky hair, making the long locks fall directly into the latter's face.

"And *you* are lucky to be my favourite little brother, or you would still be wondering exactly what happened to you a second after you uttered that sentence."

Cano pushed his hair back into place with a half-angry, half-amused gesture, but found his fingers entangled in the knots, and grimaced.

A silence fell, somewhat uneasy, as Nelyo fiddled with his tunic, Cano tried to smooth his hair, and Nerdanel watched them both with unreadable eyes. At last she spoke:

"I'm glad you two have grown up. I trust you will take care of your brothers when I am gone"

There was a second of perfect stillness. At first, Nelyo thought he hadn't heard well; or rather, he feared he had heard all too well. But as he felt more then saw Cano spring up from his seat as if he had been shot by an arrow in the back, and let go of the harp, he understood that yes, it was it, true, all true. However still it was with disbelief, a disbelief that was only a last ray of hope, that the two brothers echoed together in perfectly toned horror:

"Mother!"

Nerdanel looked away, and her pale cheeks flushed ever so slightly.

For once, Cano was voiceless, dumbstruck, and stayed rooted there near the gaping door with lips half-parted and eyes even wider than usual, while the fragile harp laid on the ground, forgotten and shattered. With a cry of despair, Nelyo rushed forwards and seized her by the shoulders, ready to shake her.

"You can't do this! You, you…" He found no argument. "you can't do this to us!"

He searched her face for anything that he could rely on to bend her will, make her think, while Nerdanel still sought to avoid his eyes. Everything that he had felt, dreaded, dimly foreshadowed in the previous year or two, everything he saw and wasn't sure he had seen, everything he heard and wasn't sure he had heard, everything he had guessed and hoped he hadn't guessed, everything crashed down on him. He felt his eyes brimming with a hot liquid, that he did not try to restrain, and tasted salty when it reached his lips.

"Mother… how can you…"

Cano, slowly, began walking towards them, and gently took one of her small, delicate hands in both his large, nervous ones. The red-headed woman closed her eyes, and a single tear rolled down her cheek.

"I've already bid goodbye to your brothers. It's only goodbye, after all, isn't it? You'll come to Mathan's house, won't you? You'll come to visit me. You'll bring the little ones along too. I'd want to see them grow up like you two. And maybe I'll be a grandmother soon." She smiled forcibly. "I see the young Aurel has developed some feelings for you, my little Makalaurë. I would love to see the fruits of that union, too." As an answer, Cano only squeezed her hand tighter.

"I trust you two will try to look after your father for me."

Nelyo snorted. "Look after Curufinwë Fëanaro?"

But Nerdanel's smile fell completely.

"If you can. You can look after him for me, make sure he doesn't get into situations where he wouldn't be able to control himself. Maybe you don't know how much he needs someone to restrain the fire of his soul…" A look from both Nelyo and Cano assured her that indeed, they did know. "Just take care of him, whenever you can, and don't let him flare too high, lest he should burn. Let him rage, let him rage… but don't let him burn."

Nelyo looked at her inquiringly, and raised a brow.

"What is it you fear?"

The smith's daughter shuddered.

"I don't know. I don't know, but I fear…"

Abruptly, Cano let go of her hands, making both his mother and brother start, and swirled around. The door was still open, and there were five pairs of eyes peering round the corner, gleaming in the obscurity. Nelyo, whose hands were still holding his mother shoulders, felt her sigh; a light, imperceptible sigh.

A small red-headed boy, no more than three years old, parted from the group, and toddled forth, despite one of the older children's desperate attempt to grab him back. He fixated on her with large, teary eyes, and his lower lip quivered uncontrollably as he grabbed her skirt and held onto it as tight as if he was holding life itself.

"Mother… please don't leave me…"

Nerdanel caressed his hair with a loving hand.

"I'm sorry, little one. I'm sorry."

She swept him in her arms, and soon all her other sons were surrounding her, tears streaming down every single face. Only, one small boy was staying apart from the group, a small boy not much older than his youngest brothers, and watched the scene without making a move. Nerdanel embraced all her children, and last of all Tyelkormo, who refused to let go until she gently pushed him away. But Atarinkë still stood apart, and didn't budge until she had reached the door, and opened it in full. Then, suddenly, he sprung forwards and ran up to her, violently seizing her by the waist and buried his face in the folds of her dress.

"I'll make you proud, Mother, oh I swear I'll make you proud of me one day…"

Fiercely he uttered those words, and the two figures stood still, unmoving, bathed in the light of Telperion streaming in from the doorway. Maitimo looked at them, and thought he recognised his young brother no more; Atarinkë who was always so taciturn and openly despising everything relative to sentiments; Atarinkë who, in their parents' silent rows, ever siding with his father.

"I see not even your beloved sons can guard you from leaving."

The icy voice came from the doorway. With a start, Curvo let go of his mother's waist, and stumbled five steps back, nearly falling to the ground in his precipitation. All gazes were instantly turned to the seeming origin of the words, but Nelyo noticed that once more, Nerdanel had straightened, with weariness in her stance, but tall and proud again, as one last time she stood in front of her husband, and one first time defied his will. He had come, unheard, silent as more than silent as only he could be, and now stood leaning on the frame. He wore black, as had become his habit when at home, and also bore on his brow the silver wreath, the symbol of Finwë's Heir. Tall he was, and eerily fair, but that day as Nelyo looked upon his face he found it even paler as usual, so his coal-dark eyes burnt even darker and brighter.

At first, he was staring at the ground, but then he lifted his gaze to look his wife in the eye.

"Do I hold a chance?"

Nerdanel stared back.

"No."

In a second she was gone, Nerdanel, the wise Nerdanel, and the great door was closed behind her, leaving the Hall to be lighted only by the high, perfectly crafted windows. Fëanaro stood still for a moment, looking each his sons in turn in the eye with a piercing gaze, and then turned back without a word, his steps echoing in the long corridor, and then fading away. Cano stared at his retreating frame, until the black of his clothing merged into that of the darkness, and all that could be seen of him was his crown, sparkling faintly still. Spirit of Fire, heart of ice, he thought, and tore his eyes from the open door, to turn them to the definitely shut one.

The little Telvo suddenly burst into tears, and it was all that Nelyo could do to kneel beside him and try to soothe his silent sobs by hugging him tight, tighter than he had ever held anyone in his life.

Curvo walked slowly back towards them, with a dark scowl on his face, and spat on the ground through clenched teeth, resulting in Cano sending him a reproachful look, which somehow turned out to be more compassionate and understanding than reproachful.

"Mind your manners, Curufinwë Fëanarion."



~





Author's note: Anyone have an idea on what 'Tyelperinquar' might have had as a shorter form? Or do I have to go on calling him Tyelperinquar throughout the story?

Always wondered what Tyelkormo and Atarinkë might have looked like as kids. Yeah, Atarinkë kind of despises teary farewells and all… and with him being the one to resemble his father the most, I thought it would be interesting to try to depict him as more than a heartless, cunning Elvenlord. And my first attempt at Fëanor. Hope I didn't manage him too badly.

Next chapter, enter the Lady Artanis, the Lord Atarinkë all grown-up, and little Tyelperinquar… Now hope this one will be easier to write…