They are to meet by the stables on the day of departure, the last day that Fëanáro is permitted within the “Realm of Tirion,” which was hastily drawn up by the Valar and fattened to include his property. He does not look at his wife’s trunks, which still stand empty, as he dresses for bed for the last time in his Tirion home--the last time for twelve years, anyway--and gets into bed beside her.
He says nothing to her, but their arms circle the other’s waist, and they hold each other through the duration of their last night together. Tomorrow, he will be gone, and she will not be with him. His heart rebels at the thought but he is no fool, and he knows that empty trunks are not taken on a twelve-year exile.
Tomorrow, he will lie down beneath the stars to sleep, and he will be alone. And she will lie down in Tirion--perhaps they will stare at the same stars?--and she will be alone also.
Estranged: a funny word, implying something familiar and loved made suddenly foreign and hostile. But he holds her now; his lips press hers, and she does not pull away. In fact, she returns the kiss with greater passion than usual. Her hands caress and stroke his body without having to be coaxed into doing so, and he makes love to her, knowing that it will be the last time, fighting the pleasure of release because then it must end, then it is only a short time before the night ends, before he must rise from this bed on one side and she will rise on the other and they will become estranged.
When will it happen? When will the precise moment occur that will change their hearts that still love and desire each other? When will he become indifferent to his memories of her, to the scent of vanilla that reminds him of her soap and so her, to the painful thought of her sleeping alone in the bedroom where they’ve shared many passions, passing weeks in a house where she has no one with whom to speak? Her breast pressing his chest, their hearts beating as they always have in unison with the other, he can sooner imagine the breaking of the world than the breaking of his love for her.
But it will happen; they will become estranged.
He fights release but his body rebels, and there is no pleasure in it. He will not pull free of her, though, even after becoming flaccid once more, and she does not resist him. He wonders if this final act has sealed their estrangement the way that their first act of bonding sealed their marriage. He feels no less love for her, but then, he also loved her before they became wedded, so maybe these words--“wedded,” “estranged”--are just that: words. Meaningless. At least, to his heart.
He wants to break in her arms, as he did on the night of their wedding, but he will not. He has hurt her before, not meaning to, and he will not hurt her again, not on this last night they have together. He suppresses his tears until he aches with the effort, and she holds him close, and it is she who weeps. But she does it silently, perhaps thinking that he will not notice.
He would give it all up--the chance to behold his father’s face, to embrace his sons, to hold his treasures in his hands--to stretch this night forever, to remain in her arms until the ending of the world. But it cannot be.
Eventually, the morning comes.
He goes to the stables, on this, the day of departure. Already, his father and Maitimo are there, readying the horses in the pale light of morning. No one speaks; words cannot do justice to what each feels in that moment.
Curufinwë arrives next, hand in hand with his wife, and Tyelkormo after. Carnistir comes with the twins and Macalaurë and Vingarië last, both of their eyes reddened by tears.
So much pain I have caused.
Fëanáro winces at the thought, and in that moment, he would give all of his treasures to find himself back on his father’s steps, to make a different decision in the treatment of his half-brother. In that moment, he cannot even find hate for the Valar or for Nolofinwë, so great is the hate for himself.
But what is done is done, and one can only ride on.
He mounts his horse and watches as the others take his lead and do the same. He lets them ride first, under the pretense of wishing to secure the gate. But really, he looks back.
For there is still hope. But her horse, which he tacked for her and tied to the post, stands alone, idly nibbling at the sparse grass in the paddock. She is not coming.
He closes the gate and latches it. So this is estrangement.
Funny, for his heart feels no different.