Nerdanel wears a dress, Fëanor is really chill about it, and they practice some....stuff.
1. Chapter 1 by feanorusrex
“Mother!” Nerdanel shouted, her tone a mix of outrage and anger common among adolescents of all races. She did not usually shout like this but now she was faced with a crisis beyond anything she had dealt with before: her dress. It was not that she hated dresses, as a whole, but this one....this one was absolutely outrageous. While it was a nice deep green color, and the material was fine- plain green silk Nerdanel guessed; she had no knowledge of these things- it was flawed in that it was completely backless and sleeveless, exposing her arms and shoulders, and leaving the entire area from her neck to her lower waist bare. The only thing keeping this dress from falling off entirely were straps attached to the bodice that tied around her neck.
There must have been a mistake at the seamstresses. No one would design a dress like this. She will tell her mother and they can send it back, although she had no idea what she will wear, as she had no other formal dresses.
Time has passed since her vision of marriage and children with Feanor, and since then Nerdanel had put her mind in order quite nicely. Yes, she had seen one possible future outcome in a thousand, but there was no reason to believe that this one would come true anymore than scores of others. When she sat before an uncarved block of stone, the material presented infinite possibilities of what it could be carved into. Such is the future. She was not in love with Feanor and would never be- that moment at the palace gate was a bizarre singularity and she did not count it. Should she develop feelings for him- she will not- then Nerdanel will accept the fate that she saw, but for now her vision was locked away in a drawer in her mind. And she had much bigger things to worry about now, namely her outfit.
The door opened and Nerdanel saw her mother, dressed in a gown- with a back and sleeves. “Good, you are dressed already and it seems to fit well,” she said not at all fazed by her daughter’s ensemble.
“No, look,” urged Nerdanel gesturing to the straps and then turning to reveal the back, or rather lack of it.
“Yes,” replied her mother, far too calmly. “It was the seamstresses idea, and I was quite taken with it. It is very eye catching, do you not think so?”
“How could you do something like this without telling me?”
“Well as you declined to attend any of your actual fittings after your initial measuring, I did not think that you were interested in what the dress looked like.”
“I was not but- I wanted a normal dress, not this!” So much of her skin, her freckled skin is on display. Of course in the merciless heat of the forge she was wont to wear sleeveless shirts knotted just below her ribs, but this was different, this was her first ball, and people will be looking at her… “Please,” She tried one last attempt although her mother was equally as stubborn as she, and t was fast becoming apparent that her heart was set on Nerdanel going in this dress. “Do not make me wear this.”
“Daughter,” her mother answered with a horrifying tone of finality. “I know that you do not wish to come out in society-”
“I do not!” Said Nerdanel, a fresh wave of panic rising inside her.
“And I will not force you to do so,” her mother continued heedlessly, “But you are no longer a child. You are a young women, and young women do not go to balls to stand on the side of the room unnoticed. And wear your hair down,” she added, departing.
Nerdanel’s fate was sealed. She considered wearing her hair up, just to spite her mother, but her mass of red curls will serve to distract from her near nakedness. Besides she liked her hair down. Loose, it looked liked- what was it? Oh yes, spun gold. Not that she cared what Fëanor or anyone else thought of it.
She finished brushing her hair- how did it get so tangled when it is up all day?- she departed, her room thinking that if she ignored her shoulders and back maybe everyone else will too.
She looked like Yavanna, Fëanor thought, catching sight of Nerdanel standing in the line of guests. This was her first ball, as she was slightly younger than he and had only recently passed the age that deemed her old enough to attend grown up gatherings.
She was arrayed in green, and her dress was cut to reveal her muscular arms. Her hair was down and contrasted nicely with the dark verdant color. Despite that fact that she seemed extremely uncomfortable with her outfit, and surroundings, she was still beautiful. Nerdanel was beautiful, in such a way that he never tired of looking at her. Though her had memorized her appearance, and mentally traced every curve of her face, Fëanor felt the same wonder every time he glanced at her, as he had the first time they met.
“You, your dress, it is very-” he began, as he her. Of course he could speak eloquently to every one of his guests, but her.
“I swear that if you say anything I will kick you in the shin here and now,” Nerdanel threatened, misunderstanding his intent as to tease, not to compliment.
“That would not be very ladylike,” Fëanor answered, trying not to laugh. “Try to enjoy yourself. These events are not as bad as all that,” he added, as she rolled her eyes at him.
He could not spend as much time as he wished by her side, he was the host after all, and when the dancing begins, custom said that he could only dance with her once, his right hand placed against her lower back, his fingers grazing her bare skin. To remain her partner for multiple dances in a row would signify some interest.
He watched Nerdanel- in her dark green she was easily visible in contrast to the lighter colors worn by many of the other guests. She did not get many invitations to dance, which pleased and infuriated Feanor in equal measure. On one hand he was glad that he had no rivals, that no one else seemed to fancy her, and yet there should be scores of youths as smitten with her as he was.
Nerdanel managed to disappear in the whirl of dancers, and he suspected that she had left altogether, and gone out into one of the adjacent gardens. She loved them for their balance between wild nature and manicured upkeep. Eventually he got away, and discovered that he was right, finding her at the beginning of one path. She was simply standing, not walking, and he thought- he hoped- that she was hoping he would find her.
“Neglecting your duties as a host is not very courteous,” Nerdanel said when she caught sight of Feanor. But she looked thrilled that they have both escaped from this social occasion.
She was correct, but no matter, Feanor was not regarded as such a fine ponential husband. While many scheming parents wished for their daughters to marry the prince, the maidens themselves were not so enamored with him. Fëanor has overheard one of them remark to another that, “The prince is always covered in soot.” Which was quite false, that had only happened once and it had only been a very slight amount on his cheek. And the only young woman whose opinion he cared about was often covered in forge dust herself, although not tonight.
“And neither is threatening to physically assault your host, as you did earlier,” he rejoined, gesturing at the path, “Shall we?”
The walk spiraled outward, the neat grass punctuated by pavilions or topiaries. “Give me your coat, I am freezing to death, and there is no one out here to impress,” Nerdanel commanded as they walked further away from the party. What a shame that he did not count as someone to impress, but he did like the thought of her wearing his clothes. Obligingly, he removed his brocaded dress coat that he wore over a shirt and trousers. It was heavy with brocaded and he had always found it rather gaudy, yet on her it will look beautiful- of course.
“Thank you, I guess that my mother would rather that I not die of cold than look impressive.” Said Nerdanel. She does not elaborate on this remark and turned their conversation elsewhere. They walk towards a small gazebo, at the side of the path. Its walls are does in a lattice design, its door created a closed hexagonal shape. Fëanor guessed that it was unoccupied, as the evening was still very young, and the guests still occupied with their dancing. He pushed over the door and saw that he had guessed wrong. The pavilion was occupied, filled with two other young people, who were very physically involved with each other, and very much not wishing to be disturbed. They were both still clothed and horizontal- well, seated- but from how entwined they were with each other, it looked as though they did not wish to be either of these things for very much longer. The pair jumped apart as the door opened, their faces changing from ordinary embarrassment to absolute horror as they recognize Feanor.
Nerdanel took charge of the situation, saying, that the pair was absolutely fine, that no they do not need to leave, the prince was only giving her a tour of the gardens, and they will be leaving now, a thousand apologies, before dragging him out and shutting the door. Fëanor and Nerdanel hastened away, until they were far enough out of earshot that they might laugh freely.
“They were unmarried,” said Nerdanel, who must have gotten a closer look at the amorous pair. “But they will not be for long if they carry on in such a manner!”
“Why did they have to choose that gazebo, I shall never be able to sit in there again…”
“Perhaps they just realized their feeling for each other, or their parents never allow them a moment alone, or-”
“Well, it is still revolting,” if that couple was Nerdanel and he, they would never be such a spectacle, certainly not in places where they could be caught out so easily.
“Oh, I do not know, it looks rather fun, does it not? Nerdanel replied. “Kissing, I mean.”
“I...have never considered it,” he answered, all though that was not true, he had not thought at all about it until he met her, and then he had thought of it quite a lot.
“I wonder, how does each person know which way to tilt their head? It would be hard for them tell, with they eyes closed. Suppose that they should both turn the same way and bump noses?” Said Nerdanel. He shrugged. Clearly she has thought more of the mechanics of this than he had. She continued, “It is rather frustrating- it would be so helpful to know these things beforehand, so that when it actually mattered, one could be well practiced already.”
At this Fëanor looked at her sharply- did she mean that she wanted to kiss someone? Who?- but her face held nothing more than curiosity about the subject at hand. And suddenly, feanor was struck by an idea of unmatched cleverness, of cunning not seem since the creation of the world, or he thought at least.
“I guess that we could try it,” he said, casually, though his heart was in his throat lest she should suspect anything.
“What, why?” Nerdanel said, sharply. And she looked at him in the way she sometimes did when she thought Feanor was looking elsewhere, as if she was trying to see into his soul and discern something in him.
“It is just as you said,” he replied smoothly, and wondered where this hitherto undiscovered confidence was coming from. “One may practice for a recitation or for a foot race, and indeed, one would not enter into these thing unprepared. So why not practice kissing as well?”
Nerdanel peered at him for a moment more, than appeared ordinarily curious again. “You are right. Let us.”
Fëanor felt his confidence stutter a bit, as she led the way to a nearby stone bench. He had half expected her to turn him down. They have walked quite away from the palace and there was no one around. “Well,” Nerdanel said as soon as they were seated. “Hold still.”
“You sound like a doctor, stealing her patient for a painful procedure, not like a lover-” he began, but at that moment she leaned forward and her mouth cut off his speech.
She had slightly misjudged the angle at which to tilt her head and their noses did collide softly, grazing each other briefly, before she tipped her head her head a bit more. Kissing was soft, he decided, as he felt not only her lips on his, but her shoulder as well, pressed against him. As Nerdanel leaned further forward, her hair swung across her face and brushed his. It was pleasant, and combined with the kissing itself, the whole experience is wonderful, though he had nothing to judge it against, Nerdanel was kissing him, so of course…
He recalled that since they both were supposed to be practicing, he should try something too, but before he could work up the nerve to tangle his hands in her hair as he wished, Nerdanel pulled away. They had been at it for a rather long time, and were both out of breath.
“Interesting,” Nerdanel was not even blushing and spoke with the air of a scientist studying her results. “I shall keep this in mind in future times.” He did not reply, she had kissed him, if only for practice, and he was too thrilled by this to think of a response.
They walked back, retracing their steps. The ball was not yet ended, and Fëanor would dance with her once more this evening, if he could.
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