Maedhros knew the notched battlements were appropriately solid, and rested upon walls that were more than secure—very nearly impregnable—before he started the project of refinishing. Finally, the mortar was spread and drying, the smooth finishing stones tightly stacked one atop another. He leaned over the edge of the parapet, as far as he could without tumbling headlong, bouncing off craggy rock to an ignoble death in the moat below. Examining the work they had finished earlier that same day, he found it aesthetically pleasing; he knew it was structurally and tactically sound. The golden yellow sun, bright against an orange sky, sank inexorably lower behind the peaks to the west of Himring. It would have made a splendid spectacle indeed for one who had the proper company with whom to share it.
He wasn't sure why he had insisted that the last repair work be done on the wall the day that Fingon was due. His suspicion was that the organizational effort and the discussions of construction and engineering would distract him from the waiting. They had, until all was finished and his craftsmen had withdrawn to find their supper, their beloveds, and baths, not necessarily in that order.
Truth be told, he was happy to be able to show Fingon a pristine fort, the last and strongest in their long line of defense against Angband in the north. He might be somewhat less of a man than he might have hoped to have been, but he was determined that his far from perfect self would still be viewed as outstanding in one way or another by his love. I have been humbled, he thought, yet still I have my pride to have been loved by one like him.
The splendid feast that had been held in readiness for the arrival of the Lord of Dor-lómin and his entourage would keep well in the ice chamber off the kitchens this time of year. Everything was ready to go into the ovens. With the castle's prowling cats and its incomparable maintenance, the dressed poultry and roasts could keep unmolested overnight. Maedhros wished the same were true for himself. He knew he would sleep poorly and likely as not have what rest he achieved broken by nightmares. Looking forward to seeing Fingon had kept those well at bay in recent weeks. Now the nerves and anxiety caused by his friend's tardiness would play havoc with his slumber until Fingon finally arrived.
After a short, modest dinner, he invited Maglor and Erestor up to his room for one more bottle of wine, of higher quality than that which they had shared with the masses in the big hall. He had ordered a small store of his best red brought up from the cellars and arranged in his personal liquor cabinet. If blasted Fingon insisted upon arriving late, then he would lose at least one fine bottle to Maglor and Erestor, who had helped him so much during the mostly cosmetic project involving the battlements. Maglor would be leaving before winter to return to his own domain and he valued his brother's company greatly. Fingon would also be pleased to find Maglor still at Himring, Maedhros thought.
While the three of them shared a bottle of the light dry red that always went down far too easily, Maglor improvised some doggerel to a silly tune about the cranky lord of a forsaken frontier fort awaiting a feckless lover who never arrived on schedule. Maedhros took the teasing in such good humor that Maglor was forced to turn to Erestor for further sport. Erestor never disappointed. He snarled predictably at Maglor when he was badgered to confess that he had his eye on a handsome knight in Fingon's body guard. His brother could be a somewhat mean tease, Maedhros noted, as he often did. Meanwhile Maglor accused Maedhros of an excess of indulgence toward his arrogant squire turned personal assistant. Erestor surprised them both by announcing that the knight in question had, in fact, approached him during Fingon's last visit. He insisted his esteemed lords had no basis for assuming he would have to scramble to find a suitably attractive partner. They all laughed at that. Pretty young Erestor, more discrete in public, than in the company of his liege lord and his brother, was pursued by maidens, and love smitten lads as well. When Maedhros offered, both Maglor and Erestor had discouraged him from opening another bottle and left tired, happier, and a little tipsy.
Companionship had succeeded in driving away the worse of his nerves and Maedhros had finally fallen asleep, with less difficulty than he had feared, when he heard the faintest creak of the hinges of his heavy wooden door. He sat upon his elbows listening, aware of the location of his sword, although he had no real fear in his fine fortress among his own most loyal supporters.
The clatter of a wooden footrest falling onto its side was followed by, "Ouch! Fuck! Sorry. I wanted to sneak in and surprise you. I had a bath in the kitchen. All clean and ready for bed!"
"Ever graceful, Findekáno. And subtle too." His heart leapt. The sense of lightness and sheer joy was intoxicating. He looked incredibly well in light of the candle he held, his hair brushed loose, falling over his shoulders, wearing only a bathing robe and a pair of house slippers. "Come here," Maedhros said, "You smell like someone's village sweetheart all tarted up for a harvest festival."
"Lovely, isn't it? I brought several flasks of it as a gift for you, also. Liquid soap. It's scented with the essence of the flowering grasses of the meadows of Dor-lómin. With other things to make it smell more manly. " He sat the candle on the bedside table and shrugged out of his robe, grinning smugly under Maedhros' admiring gaze. Warm and still moist from his bath, he slid under the blanket and pulled Maedhros into his arms. "You can smell it on me while I am here and wear it yourself after I have left. Then you won't forget me, how it feels to have me here," he slid a hand down Maedhros' body and squeezed, "how I smell, and you will remember moments like this." He moved a leg over Maedhros, straddling him. Maedhros moaned in response.
"I couldn't bear the thought of waiting another entire day. I've run out of projects to distract me," Maedhros whispered, kissing his neck and inhaling his damp, clean scent with its faint hint of meadow grass.
"Is that all I am to you, grand King of the North, fierce Lord of Himring Hill, a distraction and a sweet smelling tart?"
"Not at all, you're also the escort of the big handsome fellow who is Erestor's latest crush," Maedhros teased, kissing Fingon quickly to silence what was sure to be an insolent reply.