Heaven's Reward Fallacy by mangacrack
Summary:

In which Fingon struggles with life and never seems to get it right.


Categories: Fiction Characters: Fingolfin, Fingon, Finwë, Maedhros, Maglor, Melkor/Morgoth
Content: Drama, Explicit Sex, Slash
Challenges: None
Series: Series of Greater Misfortune
Chapters: 9 Completed: No Word count: 30164 Read: 2322 Published: March 19, 2016 Updated: July 11, 2017
Story Notes:

Author's Note: Hey, there. This might be part of a series but you are not required to read 'The World breaks Everyone' in order to understand this story since it'll evolve around Fingon and the people in his life. All what you need to know that Maglor isn't the sanest person around but he tries at least. What you should know beforehand is that Aredhel is going to Fingolfin's second child, not Turgon. The changes are subtle, but important. Now, please read the warnings and then enjoy the fic.

Stuff that could make you uncomfortable: Incest! So much incest. Mainly between Fingon and Maedhros which is why you need to be prepared for some underage, at least in the beginning. There are also mentions of violence and torture later on (well, aftermath of Angband, you know the deal) and Maglor's own brand of insanity. Biggest issue might be Fingon being a minor at the first chapter. Sex is mentioned and while Fingon gives his enthusiastic consent, Maedhros is an adult here and basically taking advantage. No that Fingon cares, but still.

I've also taken the liberty to use Fingon's Sindarin Name in the text flow. I know that not all readers are used to the Quenya Names but they'll appear on occasion. And finally: the title is actually the name of an existing cognitive distortion.

1. I. Beauty by mangacrack

2. II. Power by mangacrack

3. III. Wisdom by mangacrack

4. IV. Kings by mangacrack

5. V. Heirs by mangacrack

6. VI. Princes by mangacrack

7. VII. Lovers by mangacrack

8. Interlude: Behind the Mirror I by mangacrack

9. Interlude: Behind the Mirror II by mangacrack

I. Beauty by mangacrack

Heaven's Reward Fallacy

You expect all your sacrifice and self-denial to pay off,
as if there were someone keeping score.
You feel bitter when the reward does not come.
You work extra hard and sacrifice, and do the right thing,
expecting to get a lot of credit later.
Often, it doesn't come, and this upsets you.

 

 

I . Beauty

Perception is everything, his father teaches him when they're discussing politics. The court in Tirion is fickle and observing something from a different angle can make a piece of beauty ugly in an instant. Fingon isn't sure what his father was referring to at the time, he can't quite remember the rest of the conversation but the phrase always stuck with him, yet later he'll look back and find how much truth rings in these words. Not that they bring closure or are actually helpful.

In fact in his entire life Fingon will always find a lonely moment where these words come back to haunt him. Always.

"So everything that is beautiful can be ugly as well?" Fingon remembers asking this, standing in his father's study in front of the huge desk that's surrounded by books and other important documents.

His father, so serious and regal that Fingon's heart is pounding in admiration, nods and adds another piece of wisdom that Fingon can't remember anymore. At that point his father's word is law, created through intelligence, experience and reflection and the words help him through his youth. Sometimes Fingon struggles with uncertainty when he meets another person at court or somewhere else that connects him with his grandfather, the King. In these moments the words about beauty and repulsion helps him to weight the person, lets him repeat the words in his mind and gives him time to think about it.

Well, that's it until he meets Maitimo.

-

They aren't childhood friends no matter what the folk tries to say later on. No, Nelyo is already an adult and Fingon a young boy just reaching puberty, Turgon being the current baby wailing during family gatherings. Well, as he learns in that week Aunt Nerdanel is pregnant again and very much so, given her swollen belly. Circumstances make her give birth in Tirion. Between the ruckus of Uncle Fëanáro's return to his father's side, Uncle Arafinwë's announcement to wed Princess Eärwen of Alqualondë and the birth of the loudest baby ever, their first meeting falls to the side.

The beginning of their relationship consist of short, superficial encounters at the dinner table, in the hallway of the palace or other locations within grandfather's domain. Perhaps it's because Fingon is still a boy back then and doesn't fully grasp the situation but before anyone can draw attention to it, Fëanáro's and Nolofinwë's eldest sons have met and parted without adding fuel to the family feud.

That is at least until Fingon grows and notices he keeps watching Fëanáro's eldest. Whenever he's around Fingon seeks him out. Since the son of the crown prince doesn't visit often, Fingon always finds a legitimate reason for bothering his cousin while he works. Another addition to the House of Finwë causes Maitimo to stick around for more than just one season (three exactly, Fingon notes. Maitimo arrives at spring and leaves Tirion to spend Yule with his family) the design between their encounters grows more and more ridiculous.

Maitimo is friendly without a question. He laughs with his younger cousin in the afternoon sun and teases Nolofinwë's eldest with the words to relax a little before he jumps half-naked into grandmother's Indis lily-pond.

Right there, right then Fingon grasp the meaning behind Aunt Nerdanel's name for her son. Maitimo is the height of grace and refinement when he struts out of the pond again, skin wet and perfectly tanned while his red hair is an unbound mess, a public display of disgrace as the Queen would call it.

Maitimo's voice still rings in his ears as Fingon flees the scene, confused by his own fascination. His arousal is unbearable and Fingon has to take care of it immediately, just a few steps into the house. Insides it's dark compared to the light outside but the evidence of his lust becomes visible far too fast and Fingon is left staring at his own hand that stroked his flesh moments before. The wide semen covering his fingers is the ugly side of Maitimo's perfection. And it's his doing. It's him who changes the angle and mars the fair soul by taking two steps to the side and looks at Maitimo with wrong intentions.

Since he has no choice Fingon returns, his face burning red under his cousin's knowing smile. Obviously he wasn't fast enough to hide the bulge in his pants. Thankfully Maitimo doesn't breach the topic and Fingon can pretend that he never had to get rid of the evidence by cleaning his hands with his tongue.

-

Fingon likes to pretend nothing happens after, that he hides his reactions well. But he blushes every time he meets Maitimo's eyes. It takes full three tortures weeks in which Fëanáro's son makes him squirm under his gaze and raises only an eyebrow when Fingon excuses himself to hide the hardness in his pants again and again. By the end of the summer Fingon is close to caving, begging that the crown prince's visit would end and that their grandfather wouldn't force them to spend time together.

Yet the King assigned Maitimo as his tutor and Fingon can't escape.

It finally ends and begins the day where Maitimo lectures him over his letters in a stern voice. Fingon grows hard just from the sound of it and the large frame towering above him. His hands are trembling when he dares to look up.

There must be something in his eyes because Maitimo whispers in his ear to be good before he shoves one of his large hands into Fingon's pants.

The other covers Fingon's mouth as he comes with a helpless cry, wriggling in his seat under the knowing touch until Maitimo is satisfied with the outcome. The crown prince heir cleans his hand on Fingon's pants since they're already ruined and tells him to get back to work.

-

The lessons proceed and Fingon learns how to finger himself while Maitimo watches. Rewards for good work alter between sucking off by Maitimo or kneeling in front of him and trying to do the same. One memorable afternoon Maitimo finally bends Fingon over the desk. Maitimo growls, takes him hard and doesn't apologize when Fingon slightly limps the next day.

By the time Maitimo leaves Tirion in winter, they know each other well enough that Fingon is trusted not to make too much noise when Maitimo hoists him up and fucks him against the wall.

End Notes:

Short Note about Elves: In this story young elves keep their teenage body for quite some time since they're only fully grown when their mind catches up. If you want specifics ... Fingon is old enough to be an apprentice (around sixteen) while Maitimo is allowed to drink and vote. Yet I'd like to point that I see elvish coming of age that can happen swift or gradually. As comparison: Fingolfin is married, deeply involved with Tirion's politics and has several kids already while Maitimo is just as old as him and has yet to move past being a college student.

That's it for now. Thank you for reading the story. I'll be back with more and longer chapters.

II. Power by mangacrack

 

II. Power

"It looks like you're in trouble here," a melodic voice interrupts his thoughts. "Can I help?"

Fingon's breathing stops when he looks up from his book and spots the most beautiful man he has ever seen. Dark black hair falls in long waves over his back, hiding beautiful greyish eyes behind long bangs that capture Fingon's attention. He swallows dry and blinks a few times before he can trust himself to speak.

"I'm not sure what you're talking about?"

The beautiful man leans against the table Fingon is using and points with his long, elegant fingers at the crumbled papers. The pile is rather big and Fingon blushes, embarrassed with his futile attempts to understand the topic. Since they're in Tirion's Royal Library it's not unusual that he has gathered some attention, it's available for everyone. Yet Fingon didn't expect to be approached here in this rather remote section which is located in the third floor and far less frequently visited.

"The Higher Arts of Oswanë is a difficult subject," the man tells him. His smile is kind and understanding. "I've suffered through this volume myself. It's vastly frustrating how the author tries to describe a colourful world to the blind."

"Oh dear Eru, yes," Fingon cries and throws his hands in the air. "Finally someone who understands my plight. I've reread this chapter countless times and I've not experienced the enlightenment yet the author continues to ramble about. But it eases my worries to know that I'm not only despairing over this topic." 

A rich, deep laugh is the answer and Fingon's new friend draws himself a chair before settling down.

"Oh, trust me. I'm well aware of the cries of horror this book induces from those reading it the first time," he says, clapping Fingon's back in sympathy. "I've always argued we need a better, simpler version for beginners yet I've fallen only on deaf ears so far." 

"Can you help me? Please, I'd owe you a huge favor," Fingon begs. He points at the volumes and his notes spread all over the table. "My father wishes me to decent at it for the celebration at the King's court but I've yet to make progress. Nothing I tried so far has worked."

"The woes of fathers and the expectations they lay on the shoulders of their children." The pained expression of Fingon's friend is genuine. Since he seems a bit older Fingon imagines that he's the son of noble Lord as well, ready to share his experience with a younger fellow. "You don't have to say anything else, my friend. I can see the desperation in your eyes and I'll sleep better at night if I can save a soul from the dryness of this work. Simply tell me what you've understood so far and we go from there." 

Fingon is honestly relieved. He nearly cries he made enough progress by the end of the day to feel the brush of his teachers mind against his own. 

"Oh thank you," Fingon breathes when he collapses on the table. He feels the faint amusement of his friend in the back of his head. "This is a dept I can never repay. I might actually impress my father when I keep this up." 

The celebration of little Artanis tenth birthday is still a few weeks away yet Fingon's troubled heart his eases at the thought that he won't embarrass his father in front of the other Lords. His grasp on Oswanë and the other forms of magic has never been the best. It's not unusual for some elves to never master it. Large part of the population never does but for Lord Nolofinwë the second son of the King it was out of question that Fingon would be successful sooner or later. 

"Go and put all dinner guests at awe, young one," his teacher says, nudging Fingon to hurry off. "If you need help, I'm here all week. I've a project of my own to conduct so if you have question I can answer, never hesitate to ask. Simply ask around." 

"I promise I'll visit again, Lómorë."

Fingon's smile is bright, lightening the entire room with his joy. He hurries to collect his notes and put the books back before he waves at his new friend good bye, certain to see him again. It's not often he makes friends outside his usual circles and activities which means Lómorë at least hasn't been ordered by his family to socialise with Lord Nolofinwë's eldest.

"I'll be waiting. We're going to have so much fun together, Findekáno," Lómorë purrs. Fingon chuckles at the little flirting. He certainly doesn't mind. Lómorë is pleasant to look at, the embodiment of Noldorin features.  

Then Fingon is gone, leaving his new friend and mentor behind who is pleased with himself. Nolofinwë's son will come back, as soon as possible with the boy has been acting. The features beneath the long black hair melt away, revealing another form Fingon might have been more familiar with. Yet it's late and the library is empty so no one witnesses the change. 

Unwatched by anyone, Melkor smiles and is pleased with himself. 

 

 

-

 

Nolofinwë is genuinely impressed. Fingon wouldn't really believe it if weren't for soft happiness dancing through his head as his father's mind brushes against his. It's dazzling. Fingon is glad is already sitting down or else he'd have been to weak to keep himself upright. In the past he never knew what to do with father's 'Well done, son.' For him it always sounded it a bit empty, devoid of lacking visible pride. Nolofinwë's features still don't show much change but now Fingon can feel his father's warm smile. 

Nonexistent fingers brush over his cheek before something warm and soft is pressed against his forehead. 

His father doesn't say a word. He just looks at Fingon and then ... 

Well done, my son. I'm proud of you.

Fingon smiles, his grin nearly splitting his face. He can't remember when he felt so happy.

 

-

 

When Fingon gets out of bed the next day he feels groggy. The light is too bright and hurt his eyes. His movements are sluggish but he wills himself downstairs. A maid brews him a strong tea. He drinks only half of it because it doesn't help against the headache pounding in his head anyway. Breakfast falls to the side.

Fingon returns to the library. He feels better when he reaches the building.

When Lómorë finds him at their table three hours later, buried in books and new notes Fingon greets him with a shy smile.

 

-

 

"My father said he's proud of me," Fingon repeats the words in front of Lómorë. His chest nearly bursts with happiness when he says it, barely believing that the conversation yesterday wasn't a dream. "He said it into my mind. I could feel it." 

Lómorë studies Fingon with a pointed look. He asks, "Do you want say it back?"

Fingon's smile is dazzling and makes space for Lómorë. His sister is the only one who comments on the fact that Fingon disappears into the library with dusk and returns at dawn. 

"I see you found a new playmate." 

Írissë's smile is more cynical than teasing. She's rarely good-natured and Fingon prefers to avoid his sister since they only get along when their mothers forces the subject. Anarië grants her daughter the freedom she desires. Hence why Írissë is dressed in thick cloaks once again and only returning home on occasion. For the most part of the year she's exploiting the privilege of living with Oromë's riders who are responsible for bringing meat into the city of Tirion. 

Fingon only grinds his teeth and walks by his sister without saying another word. Yet it doesn't keep him from being jealous when he spots a new fine bow on her back. Compared to him who lives still in his home of childhood and works in his father's household, Írissë is rich and independent. Common people are forbidden to ride into the woods and kill animals as they please, just to fill their stomaches. Oromë's Riders have the sole right to it and the goods they sell on the market are expensive.

"Írissë should marry," Fingon tells Lómorë off-handed. "It's not proper how she still forlocking when Turukáno is courting his bride already."

Lómorë agrees and Fingon forgets his hypocrisy. Marriage he's often discussed with his mother and every time she curses his stubbornness while his father frowns in disapproval. So he throws himself into his studies and doesn't notice the worried looks of his family.  

 

 

On the great day of the feast Fingon is barely keeping himself upright. A headache throbs against his temples and while his sensitivity has gotten better, the room is filled with people crowding together and always, always brushing against his mind. Since he can't scream at father's dear friends to leave him alone, Fingon smiles, glad he's so practiced at faking them. 

He's fine until Artanis tells everyone the buffet is open. She's tall for her tender years and while Arafinwë stands next to her, pride written into his face in a way his own father never bothered to, Artanis' has a presence on her own. When her words slide into his head, clear and perfect - Please enjoy yourself. You're all my guests. - a sharp pain makes Fingon's knee buckle. Before he had only deal with nausea and tears in the corner of his eyes. Nothing what he couldn't chalk up to the lack of fresh air. 

Yet the reason for his anguish is unmistakable when Artanis is asked to demonstrate her mastery of Oswanë by Lords and friends, all eager to praise the child with such an affinity and natural talents for the mind arts. The pain hits Fingon's head again before the words even register into his mind. With a broken moan Fingon clutches his head and attempts to get away from Artanis. Perhaps fresh air is all he needs. But Fingon doesn't even make to the stairs. Moments later he faints and the last thing he's aware of before his world goes black is his father's voice, crying out in horror.    

End Notes:

Timejumps are a necessary evil in this fic.

What you might need to know is that I've decided long ago that oswane isn't a natural gift all Elves are capable of. Some more than others. Some might master it, some might even forget how it works or get out of practice. It also depends on the person you're trying to reach. I always detest it when telepathy is depicted like a phone call ... too easy. So don't wonder if oswane is a little different for everyone.

The rest ... *grins with nefarious purpose* ... the tag "The Author regrets nothing" excists for a reason!

I also hope you see why Aredhel needs to be Fingolfin's second child.

III. Wisdom by mangacrack

 

III. Wisdom

Voices whisper into his ears. They come and go like waves hitting the beach, a constant he's aware of but it's not enough to rouse him from his restful state. Fingon flickers in and out of consciousness, often without opening his eyes. Hands cradle his face, touch his head and stroke his hair but no worried parental gesture has an impact. If the pain had been a black hammer hitting on weak and brittle metal before, it has now moved on being an immoveable weight. Fingon wishes to breath yet a force always stops him halfway. He panics a little, inside of his mind but never for long. Fingon is always pulled back under and then the voices wishes entirely.

It's blissfully quiet.

In the distance gleams a light, soft and grey. Easy to the eyes. It vanishes when Fingon blinks. Raising his hands in order to grasp it, is impossible. They weight too much. There 're iron cuffs around them, chaining him to the ground.

Fingon wouldn't mind. The iron doesn't hurt but he's thirsty.

Water, he thinks and tries to search for it, prying his eyes open with great effort. Hasn't he been dreaming of water? Is there some around, Fingon wonders. His mind refuses to work so he watches the scenery with an empty gaze without comprehending where he is.

Yes, there might be water at the horizon. Grey water that looks like silk. Fingon has no clue how far the water is. A few hundred miles perhaps.

I want some ..., he thinks.

"It's an arm length away," a voice snarls. Afraid of suddenly not being alone anymore, Fingon jerks. The iron chains weighting on his body turn into dust, like the ground beneath him.

"What...?" he coughs. The word is a slur, nearly incomprehensible. Still the other understands just fine.

"There's a glass of water waiting for you, Findekáno," the person tells him. "It's on the nightstand next to your bed."

Fingon senses a looming figure, somewhere, just out of his reach. The voice is more patient now, less irritated then before. As if it remembered to pity Fingon in his sorry state.

"Sorry is a good choice to describe yourself when I'm done with you," the person growls.

The timber is what makes Fingon flinch, as much as he's able to. The threat itself sounds dangerous. It's ... flat and hollow compared to what he's used to hear from him. Not when he remembers coarse words being thrown at Findaráto's head followed by the promise to ripe out Arafinwion's spine and use as new instrument because of its bendable properties.

Loud. Angry. Always seen. Always heard. Swearing or sweet talking. In possession of a sharp smile even when he's happy.

Fingon's mind provides all these words before it finally comes up with a name.

"Makalaurë," he realizes and groans. "I don't want to see you."

Fingon throws an arm over his eyes. With awareness the pain returns as well. His head feels to small for his mind. A wrong movement and he might burst.

"Oh please don't. I've just finished putting you back together again." Makalaurë grumbles from somewhere. Still more sulking than anything else, as far as Fingon can tell.

Finally bothering to give a damn about his surroundings, Fingon gathers the strength to glare at his cousin. At least, he tries to. The room is too dark, he notices. Not a single candle lights it, let alone a lamp. Fingon is deeply, deeply grateful for it and tension seeps out of him, his body sinking into the sheets.

A satisfied groan leaves his mouth. He's boneless. Light as a feather and nothing hurts.

"Yes, as long as you don't think, brood, wonder or do anything else strenuous in that regard," Makalaurë says.

It's not a comment or an insult. As little as Fingon's mind is able to comprehend in it's weakened state, it still recognizes it as a directive that is to be obeyed. Something in Makalaurë's voice causes Fingon to submit. He spaces out for a moment before he finally takes notice.

"I didn't say it out loud," Fingon manages to say. He has closed his eyes again. Makalaurë is perched on a armchair somewhere close. Close enough to have an eye on Fingon, monitoring him most likely.

"No, you did not," is the response.

Fingon can hear the smile, the soft touch. The pride when your pet learns a new trick and remembers it the next lesson.

It's not bad. Really.

Warmth engulfs him and makes breathing easier. Fingon is convinced warm fingers massage his temples though no one is touching him.

Makalaurë snorts and Fingon falls asleep. His rest is dreamless for the first in a long time.

-

Over the next weeks waking up gets easier. As is staying awake and eating food. Which is rather bland and not Fingon's preferred choice but he assumed there must be a reason for it. Not that he's in the mood to argue. He sleeps a lot, drifting in and out of consciousness. Makalaurë is at his side. Always. If Fingon had the strength to complain he would. He waits for Makalaurë to drive him mad at some point but the moment has yet to come where he wishes to for his cousin to leave.

It takes days to discover that something is wrong.

-

He's alone. He's alone with Makalaurë. Has been for days, if not weeks. Slowly the fact begins to terrify Fingon. There has been not much to do since he has been sleeping a lot. Yet now where he begins to recover Fingon starts to wonder. Wonder why he's here. Why no one visits. Why the food is brought when he sleeps.

Yet to ask Makalaurë outright Fingon needs a while to gather his courage. Mostly he wishes to pull the sheets over his head and let the world disappear.

"Why are we always alone?" is the question Fingon finally manages to ask.

He has been wondering about that as well. Their family is extensive and the occasionally bed-ridden patients never lack company. Írissë broke her angle once and soon complained that she never had a moment of peace since the entire family feared she 'd grow bored. None of his family members came to see him. Strange enough. Though what gives him a true reason to worry is that he has yet to see a single Fëanárion. The Sons largely depend on each other. Yet not a single one has visited to bother Makalaurë so far. Even if they've no interest in Fingon himself, they'd never leave their beloved brother alone for so long. Especially not if Fingon is his only company.

The son of Fëanáro sends him an irritated look. Fingon knows that look. It's pretty famous because every who knows Makalaurë has seen him irritated at least once.

"Findekáno, let me tell you something." Makalaurë's features twist into something Fingon cannot name. It's not anger. Makalaurë looks different when he's angry. Makalaurë is not angry right now. This is annoyance bordering on rebellion.

"The truth is ... you're never alone. Not as long as you reside in Aman."

Fingon hears the words and finally realizes where he's.

"I'm in Valmar," he whispers, eyes wide with horror.

-

Despite his initial reaction, it takes Fingon roughly a week to do something about it. So far he's been sleeping a lot. He can't tell why, is usually not even awake long enough to wonder about it or let alone ask Makalaurë, but he feels tired. Heavy. Days go by where he does nothing but hide beneath the covers. Until Makalaurë changes his spot and sits on Fingon covers, solid and real, until Fingon groans and crawls out, facing reality for a few hours at least.

"What's happening with me?" He finally asks one morning, nursing a hot cup of tea.

It's good, yet it tastes strange. Not like anything Fingon ever tasted before. The brew is even deeper and stronger than what his grandmother Indis drinks, delivered by King Ingwë every three months. It's rather easy to recognize due to the strong smell and the bland taste. Fingon stares down at the cup in his hands and realizes he has been drinking it in spates.

Whenever grandmother draws him a cup during visits he barely manages to drink one fill.

Makalaurë looks strange in the half-light of the room when he answers. But everything has been strange so far. Fingon can't remember when he spend so much time with Makalaurë who is the praised, most loved grandson of Finwë the King aside and the best singer the Noldor have.

Deep down Fingon had always been jealous of the attention Makalaurë gets though he has practised letting go of the bitterness that comes with it. Yet it's difficult when Makalaurë is everywhere he goes. No matter who you talk to, everyone has heard of Makalaurë and wants to hear him sing. Young elleth fan themselves when they see him on the street, boys blush in his presence and older elves only talk about what they're willing to do for his cousin in case he ever invites them into his bed.

"I'm doing my best to heal the damage you wrought upon your mind," Makalaurë grumbles now, finally giving an answer.

The son of Fëanáro looks annoyed at being interrupted. While they spend the last weeks - or months as Fingon quietly dreads - they rarely talk.

Damage ... Fingon must've repeated that word out loud because Makalaurë glowers at him.

"No, you didn't. I thought we already established that," Makalaurë says. Glaring at Fingon like he's the bane of his existence. Easy to deduce that Makalaurë wants to be everywhere but here.

For the first in a long time, Fingon feels anger.

"What do you want from me?" he wants to know.

He puts the steaming cup down to push himself upright. He sways a little when his feet hit the ground beside is bed and Fingon has to grasp for support. Yet the chair and the nightstand are too far away. He falls anyway. Exhausted and humiliated Fingon stays where he is, face down into the carpet. He hears Makalaurë sigh and waits for the noise indicating that his cousins is putting away to help him up, albeit reluctant.

Nothing happens.

No rustle of clothing, no sound of a book being close and no bare feet get in his line of vision. It takes Fingon a while to find the strength to move at all. When he's finally kneeling sweat covers his back, clings to his clothes and drips from his forehead. His vision is a bit fuzzy when Fingon finally lifts his head to meet Makalaurë's patient stare.

"Help me," Fingon rasps, gasping for air. Utter helpless to get any further. Fingon knows he won't be able to stand. His bed is two steps behind him, Makalaurë perching on an chair just an arm length away.

Fëanáro's brilliant son just raises an eyebrow, willing to let Fingon remain where he's.

"Help me," Fingon pleads, grinding his teeth when his attempt to get up alone fails and robs him of all strength he has gathered.

"No," is all Makalaurë says to the matter and leans back, book forgotten in his lap as he watches Fingon with interest. His grey eyes appear dull, lifeless and detached. Too smooth to truly harbour a living fëa.

A cry of frustration leaves Fingon's mouth. The sound echo's in the room.

"Why not?" Fingon screams, on the edge of despair. He doesn't truly believe Makalaurë would leave him here yet each passing moment that Fingon spends kneeling on the floor is a witness to Makalaurë's cruelty. "Why you won't help me? I know you can, cousin. Get me out of here. It's cold. I'm alone. I'm hungry. I haven't seen a living soul for weeks and you aren't turning out to be the greatest of all companies."

Makalaurë bows forwards and Fingon shivers as he comprehends that he's truly at Makalaurë's mercy. Agitation spreads through his veins at the thought. With Maitimo there had never been even an inkling of the fear Fingon feels now. A cold feeling settle in his gut when Makalaurë touches his cheek. He played similar games with Maitimo before where his position had been far worse then this.

Yet he never felt so unsafe. So exposed.

Fingon swallows empty, truly and deeply afraid for the first time in his life. Makalaurë's touch burns under his skin. Just as the pain begins to register, when the hot searing fire is about to shatter his soul, Makalaurë opens his mouth again.

Makalaurë's voice drops to whisper in the wind as he moves to sing the liberating words into Fingon's ear.

"Wake up, Findekáno," Canafinwë commands and his voice booms through Fingon's soul. The words ring through the room over the mountains and everything comes to a halt. The stars stop in their movements to see what's happening between them. Spirits crane their necks to get a better look.

Fingon, under all the attention Makalaurë has drawn to them, obeys.

-

"My son," Nolofinwë breathes the eyes of his child flutter upon. He cradles Fingon's head, not daring to let go of the son he almost lost. "My son, you're back."

His son blinks at him, furrowing an eyebrow. Confusion is written into his face but Finwë's second son doesn't bother to hide his tears. Finally, finally his son had opened his eyes again. Cradling Fingon's cheek with one hand, Nolofinwë reaches for the hand of his son with the other. It's no longer ice cold as it has been until an hour ago.

Fingon is too dazed to comprehend what's happening as his father hugs him close who draws Fingon unto his lap like an infant, cradling and rocking his worn out body. For the first in a long time Nolofinwë hopes that everything will be alright.

-

Miles away Canafinwë finally crawls into his bed, soul and mind tired from the strain of supporting a mind not his own for so long.

"Peace at last." He mumbles under his breath, glad to get the rest he deserves. But his dreams are dark and dreadful.

The image of an iron crown hunts his mind and in the distance Canafinwë can still hear the echo of Findekáno's screams.

IV. Kings by mangacrack

 

Fingon waited near the gateway of enlightenment, a huge archway made of solid stone overgrown with moss deep in the palace gardens where the surroundings are a product of nature and less the result of a creative mind, intend on decorating a scene out of a book. As soon as his father allowed it, Fingon tried to make his way down here every day. Safe in the palace gardens, big enough to ease even the Feanorian's restless spirits, Fingon could walk from one end to the other and never meet a single soul. The trees hide him from sight and the scattered pavilion's provide rest if he needs it. As long as they're empty Fingon often picked a spot in the light, makes sure his head is resting on a pillow, or something equally soft, and sleeps to his hearts content.

Weeks go by this way and Fingon started to feel better, slowly. Soon he no longer felt the need to hide whenever an elf crosses his way, allowing servants and strollers to exchange a few meaningless words with him. The pressure in his head began to disappear. It was a bit like a cat that's no longer sinking it's claws into vulnerable skin, making it bleed every time he tried to get the beast off. Fingon doesn't know if the analogy was the correct one but he thought he's at least right about the claws.

So maybe wasn't really a surprise to meet his grandmother one day, deep down in the palace gardens.

"Findekáno," she greeted him with a wide smile. "I'm pleased to see you. You must've regained some strength if you can make it into this corner of the gardens."

"I feel better, thanks to yours and grandfather's hospitality," Fingon responded and made the effort to place his hand over his head as he bowed before Indis.

He knows his grandmother appreciated good manners and only toddlers or the injured were allowed to slip up. Theoretically he still belonged to the latter yet Fingon refused to act rude around the Queen of the Noldor. As his grandmother she might be inclined towards leniency, had Fingon not been living in the royal family's main house the past weeks. The palace, his grandfather's study and the throne room were located just across the yard from the house he had been residing in and no doubt there had been enquiries about Nolofinwë's eldest son who had fallen ill three months ago and not been seen ever since.

"Oh no, my boy. I'm very glad you're able to recover here so close to your family," Indis said and linked arms with her grandson.

Despite her smaller statue and her tasteful summer dress, far less voluminous than usual Fingon noted, that made his grandmother look like a maiden waiting for her chaperone in order to meet her hearts intended, Indis was strong and carefully dragged hin down a broader path that lead to the main entrance.

"You must know, Findekáno, that Finwë was beside himself with worry and had to persuade your father to let you recover here," Indis continued, speaking softly and letting her gaze travel down his frame from time to time as if she was afraid he could kneel over any time. "You'd have never been able to rest as long as Arakáno is prowling through the house like a untamed horse. It's bad enough the poor Turukáno has no peace and quiet while he studies for his exams."

Fingon nodded and let his grandmother dote on him, ferocious as she was in the soft-spoken yet firm way she always handled those things.

"You've my gratitude grandmother," Fingon thanked Indis again.

His grandmother was a good mild-mannered person as long as you knew how to talk to her. Platitudes might sounded swallow yet Fingon had seen Ingwë's court at work. Compared to the formal speech that the Vanyar preferred his grandmother had adapted to the boldness of the Noldor though many in the common folk never saw it this way since the choices in their life rarely led them into the mountains were the Vanyar dwelt nowadays.

"I'm afraid I didn't notice much in the first weeks aside from the few faces I remember sitting beside my bed," Fingon confessed.

"No one blames you, dear," his grandmother insisted, patting his cheek. "Nolofinwë refused to leave your side after they brought you into the healers ward. Days you simply lay there, face grey like ashes and unmoving."

Curious what Indis had to say, Fingon angled his head to listen more carefully. He remembered little from the first weeks after he woke for the first time and so far had yet to be told what actually happened. The healer that came to see him every day stood firm on his opinion that Fingon had to fully recover first before they ventured further. To this day Fingon remained in the dark what caused his collapse.

Since his grandmother seemed to be glad to have found a willing hear, she rambled on voice barely above a whispers, "Finwë assured me every time I asked that he could still feel your fëa resting in your hröa yet since I was unable to connect with your mind myself, I was so close to writing Ingwë a letter that he may petition to the Valar so that they might intervene and bring you healing. I guess we can be glad that such a step never became necessary. I don't know if your grandfather's heart could've born it if you had to be brough to the Gardens of Lórien."

Fingon's heart skipped a beat, hearing that. Of course he notices his parents tired faces as he finally stayed awake longer than just a few minutes yet he had not know the situation had been this dire. Guilt rose and started to gnaw at his heart. The thought to be responsible for his grandfather suffering through the ordeal of submitting a loved one into Irmo's tender care again was nearly unbearable.

"I never knew," Fingon exhaled and ran a hand through his hair, thinking about how he could make it up to his grandfather.

Indis next sentence didn't make it any better.

"We feared for the worst since no one could reach your mind," his grandmother told him and she looked close to tears herself, visibly shaken by the memory. "I argued with Finwë who said involving the Valar was just the last resort."

"What happened then?" Fingon wanted to know, furrowing his eyebrows.

Golden light broke through the canopy of the trees, coloring the leaves in a specular shade. The sight of the yellow-green surrounding him created a distance between the now and the back-then and no matter how hard Fingon searched, there was no bridge he could use. For now the memories of the incident itself and the weeks before and after that remained lost.

With her arm still hooked under his, Indis grabbed Fingon's wirst for support, her hand clutching at his until she was satisfied to feel his grandsons pulse beneath her fingertips.

"Finwë called Makalaurë," Indis remembered while her voice trembled. Beneath her golden hair that caught the reflected rays of the light Laurelin spread, her eyes stared into the past. "I don't remember if Finwë actually send a messenger but the time was too short for that anyway. No, I'm convinced Canafinwë learned of your dire need for him through other means for he rode through the gates one late evening, abandoning his horse in the court yard after he woke the guards with his demands to open the gates."

While it was impossible for Fingon to actually have been there, he could easily imagine the situation. Under Finwë's order the royal palace was closed to visitors between the waxing and the wanning of Laurelin and Telperion. During these hours the King rested, ate with his family and the staff cleaned the rooms, during the royal palace from a humming bee-stock brimmed with servants, nobles and other folk to an empty silent theater.

Fingon always felt lost during those hours where the population within the palace walls shrank to a small insignificant portion. The empty hallways disturbed him, always had. Strange that the Fëanorian's preferred the hours were they could walk through the halls unseen by anyone.

"What ... what did he do?" Fingon finally dared to ask his grandmother, thoughts returning to the subject of his recovery.

Unfortunately Indis was at loss. "I'm so sorry, Findekáno but I don't know. Your talented half-cousin roared at us to get lost, even had the audacity to throw your grandfather out and did not emerge for whole three days. While Finwë gave up after a few hours your father stood guard the whole time, crying in relief when door finally unlocked and revealed that your beautiful eyes had opened again."

"Have you any knowledge what else might have happened while I was alone with Makalaurë?" Fingon wished to know.

He found it difficult to belief that his well informed grandmother had no clue of what happened in the infirmary. Sadly she could easily pretend to know nothing, holding her cards close to the chest for reasons that were solely her own.

So Fingon didn't completely believe his grandmother, when Indis finally said, "I'm sorry, dear grandson. You'll have to ask Canafinwë himself if he's available again though I'd advise against it for now. You fare better- yet I doubt that your mind is in a state where it should be exposed to that of our famed genius again. As gifted as he is, he doesn't possess the most careful gentle hands."

Almost as soon as she has finished her sentence they reached palace square. Stepping out of the gardens by a narrow path that was less used than the others meant they gathered attention instantly, drawing all eyes on them. Fingon watched his grandmother straighten her back and put on a cheerful smile. Now the Queen of the Noldor had grown in height, towering over her still recovering grandson and her presence was enough to keep even the most curious ones from approaching them.

Long used to the game, Fingon waved and smiled apologetic.

By the time they made it inside everyone who witnessed the display knew that Nolofinwë's eldest was well and healthy enough to suffer through the Queen's overbearing company, silencing the circling rumors and the demands for proof that Nolofinwë's eldest son wasn't suffering from the same fate as Queen Miríel.

Fingon applauded to his grandmother's mastery of the rumor mill and sought out her company in the following days more often, not knowing that his grandmother had her own thoughts about the state of her grandson's wellbeing.

-

"Let's face the facts," the Queen told her husband. "He'll never master oswanë."

It was late at night and only Telperion's silver light shone through the glass windows of Tirion's royal palace. From the hill it had been build on Indis could see the city and the lands surrounding it stretching out beneath her. She had fallen in love with the view ever since she visited Finwë in his palace centuries ago to console him over his loss of his wife. Despite her brother's insistence to return to her people, Indis had stayed. Hardships awaited her every day she rose from her bed but she had been gifted with children, against all odds,and even without them Indis would've stayed for the sight of Tirion at night alone.

Her dress was simple and Indis felt the cold touching her skin through the thin silk but she bore it well. Finwë waited by the doors of the balcony while his wife sat on the railing. Surrounded by heavy stone, beautiful carved by the patient hands of the Noldor, Indis pulled up her knees and rested her chin on them. The balustrade was wide enough for her to sit on, comfortable and without any danger of falling.

At least Finwë and herself knew she wouldn't fall. The Vanyar chose to build their life at a greater height than this, a simple balcony sixty feet above the ground caused neither of them to worry. Especially not when they had such a dire topic to discuss.

Finwë crossed his arms over his chest, a casual movement, more because he didn't know what to do with his hands than out of anger.

"Don't you think, it's a bit early to make such statements?" Finwë asked. "It's been just a few weeks since Findekáno woke up. He has enough time to develop his skills. Let him rest a bit more, he's barely been able to walk for an hour without needing to catch his breath."

"Perhaps," the Queen concluded, mumbling under her breath.

Usually this was the point were she told Finwë that she was right, followed by both of them retiring for the night. Yet tonight a sense of foreboding had settled in her gut and refused to leave her. In the many years of her life she made practice to listen to that feeling, starting by picking up a blade when the Minyar left Cuiviénen in search of laid beyond the hills and ending with the day she spat at Ingwë's feet and descended from the Taniquentil when her brother couldn't bring himself to bother.

She had never seen him since that day and yet to regret her choice.

"You're in doubt," Finwë said and stepped closer, pushing himself from the doorframe and sauntered closer to the nís he welcomed into his arms when his life shattered into pieces.

Rarely, so he had learned, Indis was wrong in her instincts and the minds of the Vanyar worked differently than the Noldor's. Where the Vanyar mastered Oswanë to talk to each other more freely than they could with spoken words, the Noldor practiced the mind arts in order to affect the world around them. Where a Vanyar might speak with his kin even if a mountain separated them, a Noldor could lift a stone without touching it with his hands.

Finwë had found both ways had their uses and while he'd never tell that his eldest child, he had forgotten a lot of how the Noldor viewed the world. After the loss of Miríel it had just been easier, more comfortable to see with Indis eyes. Maybe that had been a mistake.

Indis reached for his hands, intervening their fingers to pull him into her arms. Against the black night his body was nearly swallowed, broad and tall as he was while Indis golden hair looked very pale in Telperion's silver light. Neither of them had to speak to feel each other's worry.

Findekáno was in both of their thoughts and a long time of silence Finwë finally understood what Indis had seen just by gentle brushing her mind against that of her grandson.

Something was missing.

The pair stood an hour on the balcony, studying Tirion bustling with life below them until Finwë finally broke the silence.

"Has Makalaurë caused this?" Finwë wanted to know, doubting his decision to call his most gifted grandson for help. "Has he been careless while he was in Findekáno's mind?"

To his surprise Indis shook her head. "No. I've confidence in Canafinwë's abilities. He has been taught well and just like me, he trusts his instincts. I rather suspect that Findekáno did this to himself. Either out if carelessness or because he was guided into it."

Finwë's light gray eyes expressed what his mouth could not. Horror. Disbelief at the thought of such a thing to be possible.

The King of the Noldor shook his head, denying the path his wife suggestions would lead to.

"No elf is capable of doing such harm upon another of his kind," Finwë declared. "Let us put this case to rest and wait. I'm confident that Findekáno will recover one day. If there's anything we have, it's time. Valinor does not lack in peace and safety."

With these words the King retreated into the palace again, leaving his Queen to watch his back retreat until the barely lid bedroom swallowed him. Hesitating to follow, Indis turned her head towards Tirion again. Beneath her bare feet the city looked peaceful. Yet the urge to watch it like a hawk did not fade as Telperion's light began to wan. Her love for the city pressed her to pay attention, observing the streets and the roofs for a sign that she was right.

Anything that verified the horrible black feeling in her chest. It took a long time before Indis let out a sigh and retreated to bed herself. If there was an enemy to be fought, he'd hardly spring up, covered in darkness and tell her his nefarious intentions. Fighting sleep would be fruitless. As Indis crawled into the bed next to her husband, the soft sheets beneath her skin felt unreal and while she hoped Lord Irmo would bring her answers in her dreams they covered nothing but a crown that grey hands shaped out of Findekáno's hair.

-

Rain poured from the sky the day Fingon finally left the palace. Enough time had passed. His health improved and longed to go home. Where the palace provided safety at first, being a retreat and a reminder of childhood days, it slowly chafed on Fingon's patience now. The days where he contented with reading in lonely gardens, undisturbed by living souls were past. Yet the royal palace brimming with scribes, guards, noble Lords and their wives weren't his idea of relaxing company either.

No, he ached to occupy his hands with meaningful work. Or at least a task that could distract his mind from going over jumbled memories again and again.

Following the healer's advice to mediate, to calm his mind and pulling his fëa to the surface was an act of futility, Fingon discovered. Whenever he opened his six sense to reach out and feel at least something, he only met a broken link. Like a bridge that had been torn in half and the remains aimed to span over an abyss only to end in midway.

Fingon felt like thus as he waited while servants loaded the carriage.

His grandmother send him warm smiles, encouraging him in his choice to leave and get on his feet again yet Fingon wished her touches would go deeper and not end upon the surface. In the past her golden soul kept the rain away. As a child he marveled how his grandmother matched Laurelin's light. Now her radiance lost against the damp cold creeping up on him while the blowing winds send bitter shivers down his spine.

His heart wept the fact that even Indis infinite wisdom had boundaries.

Finwë's loud and repetitive insistence that he would be back on his feet in no time didn't help either. At first his grandfather tried to clap Fingon on his shoulders, showering him with praise that brought smiles to his face at first but as time went on the phrases never changed. The feeling of pride turned to ashes in Fingon's mouth and the King's loud but in the end unfulfilled exclamations like travelling to the Taniquentil himself to ask Ingwë for help, shriveled the hope in his chest.

A careful touch on his shoulder made Fingon look up.

"Are you ready to leave, my son?" Nolofinwë asked.

"Yes," Fingon whispered his fiery response.

Home was last least three districts away, at the other side of Tirion but the slow and taxing journey would be worth the feeling of escaping the waiting glances and rising expectations Fingon met every day here in the palace. While the Queen worry continued, the King's expression soured with each passing day Fingon didn't succeed at opening his mind.

It had taken his father not even three hours to arrange their travel after Fingon had announced - begging and pleading his Ada not to be left behind again this time - that he wanted to leave.

Even now Nolofinwë managed to distract his parents from hovering over Fingon as his son climbed into the carriage. While Indis wrung her hands, looking like she wished to hug her grandson one las time, Nolofinwë barred her from doing so because the King's reaction always paled in contrast. Unlike his wife, Finwë rarely touched people anymore and any attempt to act like a normal person came across as awkward, confused and helpless.

Nolofinwë knew his father well enough not to be bothered by it but after watching Findekáno's cautious behavior getting worse and worse every time he saw his son, Indis first son refused to risk it. Not when his brave cheerful son chose a carriage instead if insisting to ride on a horse. Not when his child retreated into the carriage and looked so awful hopeful when Nolofinwë joined him.

It will be alright, Nolofinwë thought but like many people before him he discovered that Findekáno didn't react. Couldn't, if the healers were right.

"It will be alright, Findekáno. Life will look different when we're home again," Nolofinwë said aloud instead.

And wonders when he will stop trying to reach his son's silent mind.

End Notes:

I've wanted to write Finwë for a long time but Indis took me as a surprise. I loved writing her. Spinning her into something else than the hated stepmother was fun. I know she isn't popular but for this chapter she was kind of perfect. Especially since Finwë probably deserves the A+ (grand-) parenting tag again. 

V. Heirs by mangacrack
Author's Notes:

Arafinwë - Finarfin
Angaráto - Angrod
Findaráto - Finrod

 

V. Heirs 

Fingon ducked and crawled behind an overthrown table to seek cover from Tirion's angry citizens. In the distance he heard shouts and glass shattering. From his point of view Fingon couldn't see if had been just a window or if the Noldor resorted to throwing bottles. At least no one had picked up a stone yet like last week. Taking a deep breath, Fingon forced to calm down and thought of what he could do next. 

"Dammed," he cursed as he dared to look around and spotted only common folk around him. 

Most of them didn't heed him or the scattered guards, they simply grabbed what meat they could find and ran off with it, confident by the fact that the guards dared not to use their blunt knifes on other Noldor, no matter outraged. Another sound of glass breaking and a loud sound of something heaving hitting the ground made Fingon flinch. Thanking the Valar that he was mostly hidden behind the table and a large blanket, Fingon hoped the riot would calm down soon so that he could leave. 

Minutes passed and nothing happened. On his left a young guard had taken cover as well, shivering while trying to keep his head down. 

He's too young. Barely Arakáno's age, Fingon thought. Just past his coming off age celebration most likely, yet not grown enough to be taken seriously. 

Fingon decided he couldn't let the boy alone and slowly made his way towards him, dodging angry feet and thrown tomatoes left and right. He didn't know who the citizin's were still attacking. Oromë's hunter were under strict orders to leave immediately if the common folk rose protests against the price for meat or the amount they  received because unlike the sentries the King employed in his Royal Guard Oromë's hunters were trained to kill. His sister often faced wild animals in lonely woods, armed with nothing but her bow and her knifes against an enraged being which refused to go quietly. 

Once he had asked his sister to spar with him. After a broken finger and more bruises than he could count, Fingon admitted defeat and never asked again. His little sister was terrifying. It was probably her fault that Turukáno courted a meek Vanyar woman while Arakáno went after everything in possession of a knife. 

Fingon shoved these thoughts aside. There were more important things at hand than his strained relations with his siblings. 

"Are you alright?" he asked the boy when he bridged the remaining space between them. 

The young guard looked up to him and sighed in relief. The armor made him look bigger than actually was. 

"Lord Findekáno," the guard breathed. If they hadn't been sitting on the ground, hiding from the ongoing riot, the other elf would've bowed deep. "I'm so glad you're here. It's the first time I accompanied the famous Hunters of Oromë and I never thought it could get this bad."

"It usually isn't," Fingon admitted and cursed as someone raised his voice above the crowed, insisting that they'd no longer be content with vegetables while the Royal Family dined with meat every evening. "It's just a bad season. Due to the bad weather in the last few weeks, most deers and other larger game retreated to the outer regions."

"Oh, I didn't know that," the guard murmured, still overwhelmed but no longer afraid. Looking at Lord Nolofinwë's eldest son, he asked, "What do we do now?"

Fingon peeked over the table, looking around to see if there were other guards left. Yet it seem everyone else had the sense to flee.

"Best we wait until we get out of here. If you were alone I'd advise you to ditch the armor and make your way back to the nearest garrison. Since you're with me that's not a course of option. I belong to the Royal Family and will get recognized sooner or later," Fingon mused aloud, weighting their options.

"I won't leave your side, my Lord," the guard protested at once. At least he had a good head on his shoulders and never raised his voice above a whisper. "I'd never forgive myself if something happened to you."

Fingon grumbled but admitted that he'd never persuade the young guard to leave. He had seen loyalty the Royal Guard prided themselves with, reinforced by concerned grandfather who unfortunately possessed the ability to assign at least two escorts to every grandchild that ventured into the city alone. On any other day Fingon thought Finwë to be paranoid yet he humored the old elf for the shake of peace.

Looking at the young guard, Fingon said, "I'd never command you to leave my side. You're honest, loyal and trained to risk your life for me. I'll not make yours more difficult by trying to go out there alone."

"Thank you my Lord," the guard said. "I'm Aranwë."

Between the noise from the streets filled with curses against the royal family and the honest fear not to make out here unharmed, it took Fingon a few seconds to make the connection.

"You're Aunt Findis youngest grandchild," Nolofinwë's eldest exclaimed and cursed under his breath.

No wonder such a young guard with so little experience was allowed to accompany Oromë's hunts, even it was just to watch from the outside and gather the meat the hunters brought back. Fingon resisted the urge to hide the boy under a blanket. Great. The new development gave him just another reason to get out of here, fast. 

"Forgive me, I'd should 've recognized you earlier," Fingon apologized. "But safe your father all of Aunt Findis children inherited her golden hair and since your cousin Laurefindil is a good friend of Turukáno, I didn't make the connection immediately."

"No harm done," Aranwë said with good humor. "It's common knowledge that father and I stick out like sore thumbs when grandmother invites us all. Can't be all like you Nolofinwions, black hair and grey eyes everywhere."

Truth was, of course, that Aranwë's words were correct. Of all spawns Finwë had sired, only the Nolofinwions possessed exactly the same face. The rest of his relatives had the fortune of possessing at least different hair colors thanks to various grandparents - like Mathan, Miríel, Olwë or Indis, just to name a few. With the result that Fingon couldn't go anywhere without being recognized. Difficult not to when his grandfather's face - and therefore his own through Nolofinwë's prominent features - were plastered all over the city.  

 

-

 

It took them a while but Fingon and Aranwë finally made out of the hall. From the initial market that sold meat and other food once a months wasn't much left. The angry masses had left, probably to protest in the King's hearing range. A downside of Fëanáro's recent politics. The crown prince allowed his own followers far more leeway than Tirion's citizens were used to. Upon discovering the differences, Fëanáro had encouraged the common folk to voice their desires. 

As it was their right, Fingon thought and drew the hood deeper into his face. Yet thus chaos on the street took it a few steps too far. Finwë's anger was going to be terrible and Tirion's citizens would suffer the consequences of today's events. 

"Stay behind me," Fingon mumbled towards Aranwë. "If you notice other guards, sign them that they are to follow us as inconspicuous as possible. Attention is the last thing we need right now." 

Aranwë nodded, face brave and determined. On Fingon's orders he hid the armor but kept his knifes. The spear he had been equipped with had long been snatched up by a rebel. Who now gathered at the Royal Palace. Or it's gates at least. Laurelin's light had began to fade hours ago, freeing servants from their duties so that the King could close his home for any visitor's for a while. The market opened during the late evening for a reason. Working commoners needed time to collect their money, dress themselves appropriately and gather in front of the halls until Oromë's hunters opened the doors. Fingon had witnessed that event a few times now, asked to organize the distribution due to the growing demand for meat.

He had learned that everyone who wasn't rich enough to order living animals to be brought home, saved for the few nobles with the capabilities to house large animals over a certain period of time, tried to show off that they could afford such expenses. Only the reasonable hard working common folk stuck to the cheaper goods like rabbits, birds and boars. 

Sometimes it disturbed Fingon how much the Noldor had grown apart since Finwë came to Valinor so many, many centuries ago.

Just as he's on the verge of proposing that they need to use another entrance - not the main one with the biggest gate and with the angry citizens in front of it, there are still doors for servants and other secret passages - the doubled winged doors that kept the King protected from his armed and angry people swings open.

Fingon couldn't stop himself as he spotted the tall, regal figure that faced Tirion's common folk. Alone. 

For Fingon couldn't see any guards accompanying Maitimo, not even in the distance. As it seemed only the crown heir descended from the palace to calm true Noldorin fury. In Telperion's silver light Maitimo's hair shone in the color of rich wine, wearing the matching coat that fluttered in the wind. A few hundred people stopped breathing as Finwë's eldest grandson joined them on the streets and needed only one raised hand to silence them all. 

The Noldor, most of them with hair dark as the night and eyes like Telperion's leaves, stood and listened as Maitimo addressed them.

"I'm Nelyafinwë," the Fëanorion spoke and while he wasn't shouting even the elves in the last row could hear him clearly. "In case you don't know me, I'm Fëanáro's eldest child and I've learned that the way you've been treated is unfair. I witnessed your anger and after spending the last hours of gathering evidence, I'm ashamed to admit that the shortage of meat is due to the fact that various noble Lords ordered too much, leaving you honest and hard working Noldor with a lesser share than you deserve."

It's simple brilliance how Nelyo talked the angry storm of collective Noldorin fury back down to the composed proud people the citizens Tirion usually were. Fingon, who hadn't heard a foreign voice in his head since the day he collapsed on Artanis begetting day nearly two decades ago, didn't know if he should be proud being Nelyo's cousin or afraid of him. It had to be a terrifying feeling, to watch all these people and feel their anger like your own.     

During the last hours Fingon felt good to have kept his head on his shoulders during the uprising, leading Aranwë safely back to the palace. Now he wondered if he was nothing more than a piece of wood adrift in the ocean, compared to Nelyafinwë, who saw the storm rise from the distance like when the sky darkens from a beautiful summer blue to a pitch black terrifying reminder of your own mortality, and still stepped out and greeted it full of confidence not to be harmed.

Fingon wished he knew what it was like to live as if lightening could hit you and all you would feel was a warm tingle on your skin while the force killed everyone else.

Nelyo's voice carried over the square, asking Tirion's citizens to select representative which are to be send to be palace in the morning where the King'll hear his peoples anger and oversee the new negotations. Fingon only grabbed Aranwë's hand and quickly slips past the big gate, inside the safety of the palace. Just a few steps and the threat of violence vanished, air clearing as if the last hours never happened. But they're on the King's and his Queen property new. It might as well as be true that time moved different in the palace, standing unaffected upon the hill and blocking out everything that it deigned not holy enough. 

Fingon's shoulders sack down as soon as they're out of view and tension left his body as he slumped down on the stone railing of a fountain gracing the first steps of royal family's home. Tired as he was, Fingon didn't really feel like he longed to it. Rather seeing himself as a visitor, a commoner awing at the grand architecture of the palace huge colored windows, elegant spiraling stairs and many life-like statues - rumored to be crafted by the King himself as memory of the people he lost on the march. 

No, compared to the grandness of the royal palace Fingon felt small and lost. Only the knowledge that Nelyo firmly stood between him and Tirion reassured his troubled heart. 

"You should go," Fingon told Aranwë. "Go and find your captain. Let him know you made it back safely."

"Yes, of course," Aranwë nodded and hurried to obey Lord Fingon. 

Just before he could vanish around a corner grandmother Findis nephew stopped him again.

"One thing, Aranwë," uncle Nolofinwë's son whispered to him, voice strained and intense, "Please sleep in the palace tonight. Go and wake the Queen if you have to but I'll sleep better if you remain safe tonight. I'm going to have to face your father during the next days anyway and I don't want him to accuse me of letting his only son out of sight after a night like this."

After these words Fingon let the boy go who's face transformed into a mirror of boyish fright of facing an angry parent. Obviously it had slipped Aranwë's mind that his father Tarwë, third child of Findis, worked side by side with Fingon's own father at the Royal Court of Justice. Both of their father's were known for their strict appearance in public, due to the fact that they handed out judgements for every case that was brought into the courtroom. A task Finwë had long ceased to do so himself, ruling that he knew too much of these people arguing with each other to make fair decisions. Privately the King laughed when the subject was brought up and said in truth he's too soft to hand out punishments. 

No wonder that Nelyo became more and more involved in politics. Or rather, instead of quietly maneuvering Nelyo started to voice his opinions. A courtesy of his father's growing discontent with the lifestyle in Tirion. It was a known fact that Fëanáro refused to partake in council sessions or other meetings, unless it concerned his mine-workers, smiths and scholars directly. Rather Finwë's eldest spend his time in the forge, teaching students and holding lectures. 

His uncle was so busy that it was Nelyo who handled the finances and nearly anything else that Fëanáro dismissed as unimportant. 

The was a reason why the Noldor started to distinguish between the Crown Prince and the Crown Heir, Fingon thought as he saw Nelyo making his way up the palace after nearly another hour of debating at the gate. 

"You're freezing," is the first thing Nelyafinwë said to him when their eyes met. The eyes of the Fëanorian reflect the light of the lamps hanging from the palace walls.  "Next time you should wait inside." 

Fingon only nodded weakly, accepting Nelyo's cloak without any further protest because why they step through the doors, he noticed how much his body temperature has dropped. 

"How did it go?" Fingon asked, not truly interested but out of duty. It's expected that he's informed next morning since he was in the middle of the riot. 

"Good," Nelyo shrugged and lead them into the more private wings, away from the offices and other areas that could be accessed by high-ranking outsiders. "The demands aren't unreasonable. I never truly understood why Tirion had such laws in the first place. It's not as if someone stops Olwë from sending out his fishers." 

Fingon noticed the back-handed insult to their grandfather but doesn't say anything. It's late and he only wants to curl up in his bed and forget the world. 

Hence it takes him a few moments when they stop in front of Nelyo's quarters and he's watched with a burning intent. Fingon blinked, realizing the unspoken invitation. His body reacted under the cloak he was still wearing, blood travelling south as Nelyo runs his fingers through Fingon's black hair, tugging at it until he received the slow hiss he wished to hear. 

"I'm retiring for the night now," Nelyo said in a low voice despite the fact that there was no one who could overhear them. "Care to follow me?" 

The  world narrowed down to Nelyo towering above him, his body at the edge of closing the distance between them. One hand gently palmed his neck and Fingon recognized the romantic gesture as what was. He's one breath away of being pulled through the door and then pressed against the wall. Knowing Nelyo they won't even make it the bed. 

Fingon fought his initial reaction to decline.

Nelyo's reward for choosing the correct answer is to push Fingon over the brink, over and over again, playing his body like a beloved instrument he hasn't touch in years. Hours later Fingon finally came, gasping Nelyo's name and he fell asleep beside him. When he woke Fingon is disappointed to find Nelyo leaning over some documents already, three feet away from him. 

Sighing at the loss of a lazy morning which seem to be a thing of the past by now, Fingon raises and gets to work. 

Together they go through at the list of demands someone must have handed Maitimo incredibly early this morning and while Fingon writes down the points the King will most likely have issues with, he wonders if the messenger saw him when Nelyo answered the door. Naked and barely covered by the sheets there's no question what he was doing in Prince Nelyafinwë's bed but it isn't the servants reaction Fingon concerns himself with. What rather plagues him was the thought how Nelyo responded. Honest, smiling and fond? Or just shrugging, shooting the servant a heated glare that's none of his business? 

Cursing his own cowardice and the lack of his bravery to simply casually ask how Maitimo responded when servants brought papers and breakfast, he went for a different subject instead. 

"Maitimo, can I ask you something?" Fingon wanted to know. He knew better than to confront Nelyo with distractions. 

In public Prince Nelyafinwë was apt at forging words and leading discussing so it surprised many when they learned how rude and brash he could be in private. Used to it by now, Fingon either bears the mood or dances around it whenever irritation struck Maitimo, mirroring Makalaurë perfectly. As different they seemed at times, all doubts of relation were washed away when Maitimo and Makalaurë stood next to each other, arms crossed over they chest and a sour expression on their face. 

Fingon didn't know about the rest of the five brothers but during while angry Fëanáro two eldest sons preferred each other's presence. Perhaps because they knew they could hurl fury and violence at the brother without the fear to do much damage.  

"Yeah, go ahead," Nelyo finally responded. His head was still bowed over the documents, his pen still scratching over the paper and shaping lives. Of course he made Fingon wait to ask his question. 

Fingon suppressed a sigh. "I noticed you spend much time in Tirion lately. What's the reason?" 

It wasn't obvious to most but for someone like Fingon who spend his whole life gravitating around Maitimo in one form or another, knew that the prince came and went like a clockwork. Fëanáro himself moved to Côr, long before his own children were born. The settlement around the mines quickly became a place were artists lived in peace and undisturbed, close to whatever supplies and tools they needed. 

Since it took nearly four weeks on a horse to get from Côr to Tirion the journey was an unpopular one, given how difficult the road could be at times. Not that this stopped a Fëanárion. 

"I'm not here on my own accord," Nelyo grumbled, glaring at the words he just written. "I'm not enjoying myself playing politics but it's the best reason to explain my presence."

Fingon's eyebrows travelled to his hairline. What did he miss? 

"Cáno has lost himself in the Royal Library again. He's doinf research for a project he's working on with father and Curvo," Nelyo said, finally raising his head to meet his eyes. Since his skills were honed enough he easily picked up Fingon's confusion without having to look at him. "Monitoring him fell to me since both Curufinwë's are busy with the forges. They can't leave anyway with the twins being so young as they are. Tyelko is needed to keep all these artists from starving and as much as I love him, Moryo isn't the best choice when it comes to keep Cáno in check."

It took Fingon a while to work through that especially since he first mistook Nelyo's possessive behavior for annoyance.

"Makalaurë is in Tirion?" Fingon had to keep himself from shouting. "Since when?"

If he remembered correctly Maitimo had been playing heir to the throne for the last five years. No doubt someone would've noticed Makalaurë at some point? 

Maitimo waved his hand. "Don't bother. Not I see him most of the time and the only reason Finwë knows is because Cáno spends his days with the Arafinwions." 

"Your brother voluntary lives with Uncle Arafinwë?" Fingon asked bewildered. Makalaurë detested company and the Arafinwions were a merry folk. 

"Just Artanis most of the time," Maitimo shrugged and went back to work, "I believe he's mentoring her after he failed to achieve the same with Findaráto. Not that I'm unhappy about that. Angaráto tells me that his little brother took up some diplomatic duties in Olwë's court after the fall out. They haven't even talked to each other the whole time Cáno has been here." 

Fingon noticed how pleased Maitimo looked as he spoke the last sentence. Makalaurë's failed attempt to mentor Findaráto was well known to the family though the fault laid with Makalaurë's high expectations in Fingon's eyes. That Artanis, bright and named prodigy since her early childhood days got along so well with the famous bard must be certainly a thorn in Findaráto's side. 

Well, that explained why Fingon hadn't seen his uncle's youngest son for so long. Artanis birth had been a late addition the family and it was well known in the royal family  that her talents had caused not a small amount of jealousy among the younger siblings. Especially since the two eldest lived a perfect and quite life, Angaráto being the heir of the House of Arafinwë and a close friend to Prince Nelyafinwë himself. 

Compared to that Fingon's relationship to his siblings looked normal. 

End Notes:

Aranwë actually isn't my invention. He's Voronwë's canonical father and since the word aran- means King in Elvish I couldn't help but wonder. Besides the -wë is quite telling, isn't it? So Aranwë is the grandchild of Indis now though Voronwë isn't going to be born for quite some time. Since his mother is a Sindar of the Falas he's probably born while Turgon lived in Vinyamar. Aranwë on the other hand is supposed to be a knight of Fingolfin, makes sense if their are cousins.

I'm telling you this because I created a whole new family tree carting to my needs. It will come up at random when I'm discussing Finwean Family History.

What I'm not quite sure about is ... can I label Fingon as disabled? He lost the ability to use Oswane and I hope the impact this has on his life is noticable but I'm not sure if warrants a warning tag. It's more like a chronic injury / sickness but not so severe that it keeps Fingon from doing his duties. Because there are other like him, mind closed off, unable to hear / send / sense emotions.

About Côr: That is that what JRR Tolkien intended to call Tirion before he changed his mind. I used the name for the settlement around Formenos. It started out as the place where people worked in the mines because you can't simply find jewels laying around in the grass. Feanor moved there when he married Nerdanel since she didn't want to leave her family. Besides Feanor gets along better with all the artists than the nobles in Tirion. Around now Côr is a small city since all the artists need food, clothing etc. as well. Hence the differences mentioned in this chapters.

I also refuse to belief that the Valar banished Feanor and simply pointed at a blank place in the wild and said: live there until we allow you to come back.

VI. Princes by mangacrack
Author's Notes:

I'm baaack, finally. Insane summer work is done and I can go back to writing. Thanks you cheekybeak and Encairion for being patient and supportive as always. Go ahead and enjoy the chapter. Which is titled 'Princes' but really be called 'Politics' ... I've made a chart to keep track of all the government stuff I keep mentioning. Just call out, if you want to take a look at it. Same goes for the family, since Findis and Irime's children will pop up regularly from now on.

Reminder: Angrod is called Angaráto and the eldest son of Finarfin in the universe.
Warning: this chapter isn't beta read. I'll go over it once I've patience for it but since I kept you waiting since March I thought it best to post the chapter as soon as possible.

VI. Princes 

Had someone told Fingon how long the aftermath of the riot would drag on he'd laughed. Now, almost five years later he has his own office and is yet still deeply drenched in the issue the Noldor have with meat. As the crown prince initially promised the common folk was allowed more meat. Fingon had witnessed first hand how Nelyafinwë ordered the Town Guards to confiscate half every noble's live stock since it would go into possession of the city, belong to the common folk from now on. It had been a nightmare, for Fingon at least. Tirion's Wardens stood apart from the Royal Guard who was better trained and better equipped to deal with angered Lords because of course Tirion's noble cast didn't take this change quietly. No, instead they protested, loud and very long. But not on the streets as the common folk had done. No, instead they went to the King himself. 

Fingon's stomach still clenches in dread when he remembers his grandfather's anger, face like a thundercloud. It had been a terrible sight. For once Fingon had only seen the King of the Noldor and not his kind and caring grandfather. Yet what makes the situation so difficult is the fact that Finwë refuses to take a side though there's a lot of talk that King favours the side of the nobles but doesn't dare to overrule his eldest grandson. 

A growl escapes Fingon's mouth. The result of Finwë's hesitation are the papers in front of him. Instead of forcing the nobles to back to down by issuing a new degree, the King demanded that the common folk should handle the task themselves. A council of electives was the result who's voices have now equal weight to the King's noble advisors. The common folk admire the King for the decision, hailing him as hero and viewing him in a renewed light of greatness. Even most of the Lords praise the wisdom of their King, believing that the Council of Voices will satisfy Tirion's citizen's without them being forced to give up wealth, power or influence. 

At a first glance everyone should be happy with the situation. 

"I wish it were the case," Fingon says to himself, frustrated and unhappy. 

He glances down at the letter of complain he received an hour ago. It's a thick bundle of pages written by one of the new council members who's describing in long and complicated sentences how he has been wronged. The initial letter is accompanied by a list. Demands on what should go over to the Council, what exactly the one Lord in question is holding back and how the citizens of Tirion should compensated on top if it since they were forced to buy the expensive meat on the ground on not having access to the live stock granted to them.  

"This is a nightmare," Fingon sighs and pushes the letter aside. "It's not as if I've the authority to command the Lords around."

How when he only belongs to Tirion's Warden who are responsible for the citizens and everything else that happens in the city. The Lords and higher noble folk on the other hand is handled by the Royal Guard. His status as the King's grandson gives him a little more freedom than his comrades possess but in the end all Fingon can do is ask the Lord in question politely to surrender the remaining cows to the Council of Voices.

It's a surprise said Lords haven't laughed directly into his face yet.

"Perhaps you should take the issue to the High Judge, Lord Findekáno?" Aranwë speaks up from his desk, going over similar demands and requests. 

After the boy had done the mandatory time in the Royal Guard, he chose to work directly under Fingon. Somehow he must've been impressed by Fingon during the night of the first riot. Not that Fingon objects to having Aranwë at his side. The young elf is hard working and has a solid head on his shoulders. Not to mention that having someone else with ties to the Royal Family in the Town Guard was good because it's a bit tiring to be looked at with suspicion, years after he entered the service to the public. It's not easy, getting out of the shadow the King is casting. Mostly because the Royal Family is seen as interfering, having members everywhere it mattered.

But Fingon has trouble seeing it. Anyone in the family knows that Finwë isn't pulling strings in the background. Rather the opposite because with the establishment of a new council for the common folk he gave up his direct involvement.  

"I don't want to, Aranwë. But I might not have any other choice than to go to my father with this," Fingon answers. Studying the letter over and over again hasn't brought him any solutions so far. "Of course I could try to talk to the Lord Maegorod and Council Member Barhador but I honestly doubt I'd get much results. It's nothing new that these two don't like each other." 

"And neither of them sees you as someone they should answer to," Aranwë adds. 

"Unfortunately." Fingon grinds his teeth. It burns in his chest but he can't reprimand Aranwë for telling the truth.  

 

 

It takes Fingon another hour to make up his mind but in the end he does go to his father. He debated the pros and cons with Aranwë and with some of the other guards. It was decided that they were getting nowhere. The conflict raged for months now and there is no end in sight. And dragging it out now would just get him a stern look from his father and the question Why didn't you ask me earlier, son? ... which Fingon truly didn't need right now. He even wonders if he should've changed into more formal robes because the High Court where Nolofinwë is the highest judge is a place full of solemn faces. Given the longevity of their race it's a difficult position to speak a judgement that could alter your existence for centuries. A hefty reparation could make your family incredibly wealthy and force another into poverty for decades.     

When he looks around, Fingon sees heated glares. Many have their arms across their chest or have a worried look on their face. All of those people await judgement in a case. Most of these will cross his father's desk though the ones Nolofinwë handles personally tend to be very delicate and it takes months, if not years before a verdict is delivered. Often his father works on bringing conflicted parties together again. 

Fingon hopes his father will provide some advice on how he should approach Lord Maegorod. It will need a lot of diplomatic maneuvering because in the end peace among the Noldor always takes precedence. 

One reason why Fingon refused to work under his father when he finally got old enough to decide in which department he wanted to work. Sometimes he wishes he could've taken the path Angaráto chose. Living as captain of the Royal Guard despite as his status as Arafinwë's oldest child sounds relaxing, like a dream. Unfortunately his mother explained to him why this can't be his fate. Unlike Arafinwë who is part of a huge complex that handles the treasury and can hide in the palace for months without being seen, Nolofinwë is more public figure. His speeches, his reasoning behind his judgements get printed(*) in the weekly papers a lot, forcing him and his children into the eye of the public. No way that Fingon could lead a quiet existence like this, especially with his lack of skill for spells and crafts which could've allowed him to pick a speciality and be done with it. 

Really, being a lieutenant in the Town Guard is the best he'll get. It's not as formal as working in the palace, he gets to work with the common folk far more than anyone else and his captain is a friendly face. As Findis son, he knows Laucawë well enough to respect him and obeys his orders without questions. In return Aranwë's uncle his glad that he has taken the boy under his wing though Fingon is a opinion that he isn't doing much.

Aranwë could easily figure out most of the stuff without him. It's just a matter of time until the young elf 'd stop needing him. 

Then he would be alone again. 

Lost in his thoughts Fingon doesn't notice notice person standing in front his father's office door. Thanks to his uniform and the Nolofinwion emblem on his arm he gets recognized enough that the scribes working at the High Court let through without making a fuss. 

"Can't you watch where you're going?" Angaráto groans when Fingon collides with him. 

"Sorry, cousin," Fingon apologizes and pulls the son of Arafinwë back on his feet. Thankfully no one has seen them. The corridor is empty which means they can talk freely. "I wasn't paying attention. But what are you doing here? Or have you been appointed to father now?"

While he brings his golden hair back into order, Angaráto's steel colored eyes watch him carefully. Age doesn't seem to matter right now and Angaráto makes up the lacking years with his iron-clad determination. So far it has always worked out for the Arafinwion. It's not quite rivalry. They don't know each other well enough for that. But they're both shaped by the rare circumstance of being the heirs to the Sons of Finwë. Since Nelyafinwë's status is utterly unreachable, people content with comparing just the two of them.  

As much as Fingon tries to be professional about this, he always has the feeling he's losing. Angaráto is perfect picture of a Noldor, a straight back clad in respectable robes, always a light frown on his face. The sword dangling from his hips completes the picture and not even the Vanyarin features, darker skin with golden hair and a tall long statue, can disturb it. As if Angaráto is trying to will away that unwanted heritage by embracing all Noldor characteristics at once. 

Measured by that Fingon equates to an unwashed town boy with gangly limbs who's allowed to visit a masked ball for the first time. It doesn't help that he has still crumbs on his robes from the bread he ate on his ways here. 

"Certainly not," Angaráto answers and brushes of the dust from his clothing. His tone is not quite a hiss but it borders on the line of being disrespectful. "I'm still firmly appointed at my post and no amount of arguing could make me being stationed here longer than absolut necessary." 

Fingon doesn't care of the disrespect is direct at him. Insolence towards his father on the other hand is something else. 

"As if watching vain Ladies in pompous dresses whispering at each other in the Queen's garden is so much better," Fingon states. He's proud of himself that he can keep back the snarl that wants to burst free. It's a mystery how Turukáno can work with this guy. Perhaps he should ask his little brother next time he sees him. At least this way they have a topic for the evening. 

"Oh, unfortunately it's no longer my duty having delightful conversations with intelligent people, that's your brother's task now. I've been assigned to the Crown Prince." 

Angaráto nods towards the door with a small knowing smile on his lips. 

But Fingon knows the game. In the end he too is a prince of the Noldor and such exchanges are a part of his life, no matter how much he dislikes them. So Fingon swallows the bitter taste in his mouths and ignores the ugly tremble in his stomach that's causes by the knowledge of Nelyo working with Angaráto. Or rather, Angaráto now officially being the guard of the Crown Heir. 

Though that's not really his fault, Finno', said a voice suspiciously sounding like Maitimo. 

"Then you've my gratitude cousin for keeping Prince Nelyafinwë safe. Though the necessity alone is cause for sadness." Fingon answers politely. It's even true. 

He might not get along with Angaráto but at least he's part of the family. He's no one that could be bribed with gold, jewels or promises of a better status and if Nelyafinwë agreed to having a guard around him all day then he most likely chose Angaráto himself. Meaning, Fingon is no position to question Maitimo's choices. Especially since it's been a while since they had time for privacy. They see each other most often surrounded by other people, busy with work and other things that occupy their life. Good enough for friends, best friends some people might say but Fingon feels the distance between them. It doesn't help that Maitimo is still living in the palace and Fingon sleeps either in the quarter the Town Guards provide or at his parents house. 

"Can I go in there or are father and Prince Nelyafinwë discussing delicate subjects?" Fingon finally asks Angaráto. 

He has no intention of standing around in the hallway longer than he has to. Council member Barhador needs a reply as soon as possible or else he's going to show up personally. And Fingon's uncle will skin him if that happens unannounced, without a proper invitation and without the necessary time to collect arguments. 

"Feel free to disturb them," Angaráto answers. "They've been there far too long and if you're there you might even convince them to call it day. It's the third time in the last five days that they meet to discuss the upcoming festival grandfather is dead set on holding." 

Fingon raises an eyebrow. The next bigger festival is still more than a year away. Can't be much more than an idea grandfather came up with since there hasn't been any rumors in that direction. Fingon should know, the Town Guard keeps itself afloat on rumors alone sometimes. 

"I'll do my best," he promises. Perhaps this is the excuse he has been looking for to have Maitimo for himself for a while. 

 

-

 

It's a little unexpected to find not even one scribe in the outer office. All desks are empty, clean and neat with no scattered papers laying around. Odd, in Fingon's opinion who stops for moment to take in the view. He has never seen his father's office empty. No matter the time or the date, there's always someone waiting in the outer office. Even if it's just to keep noisy visitors away. 

Not even Arakáno is here. Fingon's youngest brother chose very early on to work directly under their father's command despite the fact he isn't an adult and has yet to complete his mandatory time with the Royal Guards. There had been some talk about Nolofinwë interfering with the traditions. But the High Council accepted his reasoning for breaking protocol when the Son of Finwë laid out how Turukáno just entered the Royal Guard and it would interfere with the rules as well if two sons of the same house were among the recruits at the same time. The High Council grumbled as usual but when the King signed the request off, after a private audience with his second son who wanted someone in the office he could trust, they accepted the verdict. 

"Ada," Fingon calls out. His voice echoes through the room but no one answers. 

Father's office is huge complex with its own library, a room to invite guests, a small kitchen to offer them drinks and food because wine eases the difficulties of negotiating contracts between conflicted parties and even a sleeping area. There are always times when his father lives more at the upper floor of the High Court than his estate. Well, Fingon can hardly fault his father. The mansion Nolofinwë build for himself and his wife is huge, located in the quieter parts of Tirion with a lot of land surrounding it. The journey there is always pleasant though a long one and it's been some time since he visited his home of his childhood. For him it's far more convenient to use one of the smaller houses they own, closer to the palace and to the complex where the Town Guard is stationed.  

Searching through the rooms for Maitimo and his father, Fingon finally picks up voices that the wind carries to him. 

"...don't understand why you're so whole against it, Nelyafinwë," Fingon hears his father say. He concludes they must've retreated to the balcony and makes his way there. 

"Of course I'm against it." Maitimo's voice is loud and insistent but not impolite yet. It speaks if familiarity that he dares to his uncle in privacy this way. "It's a disaster of unknown proportions and I'm not willing to play the diplomat this time. I've been victim of this argument way too long." 

Furrowing his eyebrows Fingon stops, one hand holding onto the beautiful carved frame of the door. He can only hear Maitimo but it's easy enough for him to envision the grey-blue eyes narrowed in anger. It's an honest expression not even Fingon gets to see that often. 

"I see the difficulties in realizing my father's wishes but let's not give up hope yet," Nolofinwë answers.

His back his turned towards him but Fingon can't read the tension in his father's shoulders despite the careful optimistic tone his is voice. Whatever they're talking about, Nolofinwë still hesitates to make up his mind yet. Given how he's leaning back in his chair, swirling the wine in his cup Fingon guesses he wishes for Maitimo to reveal more. 

For a moment Fingon stays where he his and listens. 

"Hope is not a plan, Nolofinwë." Maitimo leans forward enough so that Fingon can see the snarl on his face. With his red hair tied back and his teeth bared like hissing snake, the Crown Hair looks like wild and dangerous animal. If Nolofinwë finds it uncomfortable to have his brother's son so close his expression betrays nothing. "And while the idea itself may sound grand, I've no intention of aiding this emotional catastrophe anymore than I'm forced to."

Now Nolofinwë does narrow his eyes and the chill in his voice causes Fingon to shudder slightly no matter the stern look isn't directed at him. It's a simple reflex.

"He's your King, Nelyafinwë," Nolofinwë sees fit to remind his nephew, "You're bound by honor and duty to obey him."

Whatever Maitimo intends to answer, Fingon decides to intervene before it gets out of hand. His father is a kind man yet one who believes in authority and detests it when the lines of respect get broken or entirely ignored. In this he differs from Maitimo who has inherited from his own father to speak his mind freely, unhindered by age, title or status. With a quick step Fingon steps forward, a smile on his face and it looks perfectly as if he just wandered down the hall. 

"I apologize for the interruption," Fingon greets the small gathering of his kin. "But from the little I understood from your conversation it seems not terribly important which perhaps allows you to aid me in an urgent matter?" 

Two bewildered faces look up to him. They truly didn't hear him coming, too engrossed in their conversation. Fingon notes that his father catches himself quickly, giving a nod of approval and a modest smile. Maitimo on the hand stares at him, has to blink a few times before he comprehends what he sees. On his face the joy to see him is plain and obvious. His smile almost stretches from ear to ear for a moment. 

"Findekáno, it's a delight to see you after arguing with your wise and experienced father," Nelyo says, not able to resist the last subtle blow in Nolofinwë's direction by calling old. "Come sit with us. Whatever emergency the city of Tirion has in store for us today surely it can wait a few minutes."

Nelyo pauses for a moment, waits for Fingon to sit down before adding, "Unless the palace is burning?"

Fingon can't help but laugh. Trust Maitimo how to define the case of an emergency by the most dire outcome. Or perhaps burning houses were the most common cause to put down everything and come immediately in his childhood, who knows.   

"No, certainly not. Nothing has gone up in flames as far as I can tell," Fingon answers and choses a chair between his father and Maitimo. "But it might come to it if Lord Maegorod and Council Member Barhardor keep their feud going on like this." 

He throws the letter on the table between them. 

"This topic sounds familiar," Nolofinwë says and reaches for the bundle of pages.

Maitimo only groans, "Please not again. I've spend the last months arguing with these two. I've better things to do than listening to the same arguments over and over again." 

"Please explain this to me, Nelyafinwë," Nolofinwë demands while he shuffles through the pages. "From what I can see on the first glance is that this is a case for the High Court."

What follows on Nolofinwë's question is a lengthy explanation from Maitimo - with Fingon adding details when needed - how Barhardor accuses the Lord Maegorod of hiding live stock in a little forest that borders on his mansion. Not willing to lose face in front of newly instated Council Member who was nothing but a widely acknowledged craftsman before the verdict Lord Maegorod refuses anyone but his family entrance to his house and his estate.

"...and since the Town Guard exists mainly to keep order in the streets of Tirion, we can't force Lord Maegorod to open his doors for us," Fingon finishes a few minutes later, laying out the basic problem that only the King, the Royal Guard and the High Council had authority over Tirion's aristocracy. 

"I see your problem," Nolofinwë mumbles under his breath. "While don't understand my father's decision to grand the common folk more freedom to govern themselves, I must admit that these is a conflict that neither of us can solve alone. So far all the Lords donated half of their herds to the new Council in order to appease the angered public." 

"We didn't expect such resistance," Maitimo remembers. "Lord Maegorod was quick to anger, insulting and out of line. Even to me despite my new function as highest Warden of the new Council. He was the reason why I'm now accompanied by a Royal Guard." 

Maitimo points towards the door where Angaráto is waiting. 

"He threatened a member of the Royal Family?" Nolofinwë's voice wavers between disbelief and fury. "Have you been harmed?" 

Quickly Nolofinwë's eyes run up and down Maitimo's form as if he is searching for injuries. Forgotten is the stern disapproval on Maitimo's views form before. At least Fingon hopes that this is the case and not an attempt to collect evidence against Lord Maegorod. His own worry for Maitimo's well being is genuine at least, because he knows how subtle envy can make some people. As member of the Royal Family can't hit back when they a hot head from the common folk gets physical. You can never, ever raise your fists. You must deal with this on your own and with words. Don't go alone anywhere is still the best solution Fingon has come up with so far. Always be among witnesses. But whatever else you might do you aren't allowed to hit back no matter how much your hand might itch. These were his Nolofinwë's words when he was a boy and Fingon follows that law. 

And yet ... Fingon has to admit that he doesn't know how Maitimo reacts when he's in a tight situation. He has six brothers. He knows how to defend himself as countless spars and races have proven. So far Maedhros has always managed to talk himself out of a situation. Soft, smiling, agreeable ... when he wanted to be. 

But he can be different, Fingon thinks and remembers the times when they shared a bed. Most forget how tall he is. That he knows how to use his reach and his strength and his wit. 

Of course there hadn't been a chance to prove his strength in a tournament lately. They stopped partaking when they reached adulthood but during these contests Maitimo always won. Not because it was expected of him but more because there had yet to be an elf to be born able to keep up when Nelyo started to move. It was a glorious sight. One straight of songs where the hero moved with grace and flying hair among the stars.

I should be glad about the age difference, Fingon thinks and bites on his tongue to banish the images of Maitimo dancing half-naked around the court yard with a sword in his hand. Arousal isn't the way to go with father sitting right next to me. 

Even if he is the last person who has to worry about not having enough privacy in his head. 

"Nothing to speak of," Maitimo dismisses the concern. "It's been taken care of. Lord Maegorond has learned his lesson in that particular matter, he won't raise a hand against me again."

"That's not to point," Nolofinwë says sharply. "It's the fact that he dared to. Obviously he fails to see the boundaries of his importance. Perhaps you were right and the establishment of a Council that listens to the people of Tirion directly will be worth the hassle. If else it will quieten some voices if I propose to the High Council to widen the Town Guards responsibilities." 

Fingon's eyes go wide when he hears this. It had been a faint hope that Nolofinwë would use his influence to give Captain Laucawë the means to solve the matter and for all by searching the questionable forest with a few men. The possibility of becoming a force equal to the Royal Guard was beyond his imagination. 

"Father, are you serious?" Fingon can't hide his disbelief. Nor his excitement but no one comments on hit. 

"Yes, my son," Nolofinwë announces. "I have very intention of discussing this with father. It can do that you need to fear for your lives while keeping a riot down because aren't allowed to carry weapons. Nor should any elf be allowed to go after Royal Family in such a manner as Lord Maegorod has apparently done. We need to step and prevent further incidents like this. And while appointing an escort to Nelyafinwë is a good idea it's hardly a permanent solution. The Royal Guard doesn't have the capabilities to defend all us." 

The urge to protest rises in Fingon but he knows better than to argue with his father. He knows the determined look in the sharp angled face. If he set his mind to it, Nolofinwë could move the Pelóri Mountains. Either by sheer force of will, by asking them politely to move aside or by picking up a spate - whatever the second son of Finwë deemed fitting for the situation. Doesn't make the reason for such measures any less questionable.

As much as Fingon looked forwards to not struggling to much to get his work done, arming the Town Guards because of fear the Royal Family needed to defended is ridiculous.  

And yet ... nothing what my father ever does could be labeled as ridiculous, Fingon muses, perhaps a little too mournful. So I'll let him have his unvoiced reasons. 

"Anyway, I want you two gone," Nolofinwë speaks up and points towards the door. "What we discussed here takes time and preparation. We need to treat carefully for the entire noble class will be against us if this goes wrong. I'll send for you, separately most likely. Meetings like this gather too much attention."

Fingon nods, used to these orders. Maitimo on the other hand doesn't look so far out of his depths as he does and seems angry at Nolofinwë's treatment. Understandable, given the fact that there are fewer years between the Fëanorian and his father than between Maitimo and him. Even the public treats Maitimo as equal to the Sons of the King by now, thanks to his recent work with the Council of Voices.

"If you wish to pass a message, speak to your son," Maitimo says in the end, forcibly relaxing his long legs when he stands up. "Our friendship is well known and it's less suspicious if someone sees Findekáno with me."

"Good thinking. I'll remember that." The words sound like a praise. At least Fingon recognizes the tone as such.

Yet Maitimo isn't used to Nolofinwë's quiet demeanor, the lack of outbursts. Emotions tend to stay well hidden. It takes a trained eye to see them rising beneath the surface. Something Maitimo doesn't see. Doesn't want to see perhaps, given how long it's been he has seen his own father. And Fingon understand how running into Fëanáro's famous half-brother each day could make you long for family. As much as they're all related through the King's blood floating through their veins, it's not quite same. There's a distance no amount of cheerful smalltalk and bland ignorance for different beliefs can bridge.    

"We'll be leaving then," Maitimo says and Fingon stand close enough to feel the powerful tremor running through his friends body. 

For a heartbeat it looks like as if Maitimo is going to kick against the chair, punch the wall or throw his wine glass over the railing. Anything to release some of the emotions burning under his skin. 

Nelyo, don't..., Fingon wants to send. Instead he can only think it.

No amount of wishing can make his thoughts reach that of Maitimo's. Usually he doesn't even try anymore. It's a waste of time, the ability is lost, but in moments like this Fingon mourns a little. Thankfully Maitimo doesn't need the reminder. He breathes in, straightens his back and says his goodbyes before leaving Nolofinwë alone. Fingon follows him after a sharing a glance with his father. 

As expected the outer office is still empty when they pass through.

 

-

 

It takes them a while to speak. The silence that passes between them is a easy, comfortable one. Centuries of companionship make the walk back simple and step by step Maitimo relaxes the further they get away from the High Court. Angaráto is trailing along some steps behind them. He has little to do on a early afternoon street. There isn't even traffic he should've to watch out for, so the Arafinwion gives them privacy by staying out of earshot.

Since they took a back door and stick to the side roads, they aren't even recognized. Fingon can usually move through Tirion's streets without having people calling his name at every corner. He looks to much like any other Noldor, thanks for that and the uniform of the Town Guard does the rest. Maitimo with his red hair and his tall figure has it more difficult. Even now he has the hood up, hiding himself from view as best as he can. Fingon can't imagine how it is to live like that. He's glad that he hasn't Maitimo's status. Being the Crown Heir is more of a burden than it brings joy.

The longer he watches Maitimo struggle with the attention and the weight of his duties the more Fingon understands why Fëanáro stays aways from Tirion as much as he can.

"What were you and father talking about earlier?" Fingon finally asks.

They've finally reached the complex of the royal palace and after they slip through a small door leading to a garden the kitchen staff uses to grow herbs, it's safe to speak freely.

Maitimo, who hasn't said a single word since they parted from Nolofinwë, puts his hand on Fingon's back for a moment. As if he wishes to wrap his arm around his waist. But the Fëanárion decides against it when the first buildings come into sight. But Fingon takes it as a cue to look at Maitimo more closely, studies his face until he can see the emotions raging behind his eyes. He doesn't try to deny the conversation Fingon listened in. It's just a matter of trust of how Maitimo is going to open up and tell him what plagues his mind.

Considering his earlier thoughts Fingon fears for the first time that the distance between the Royal Families affects their relationship as well.

Eventually Maitimo breaks his silence and asks, "What do you know about the relationship between my father and the King?"

End Notes:

*cackles* 6k in two days. More than I've written in the entire last two months. It's a new record. I guess it just wanted out after I had absolutely NO time to write. I hope you don't mind all the politics. At least it has more Fingon/Maedhros this time. And Fingolfin who refused to shut up! Originally this part was supposed to be shorter but the chapter was destined to end with that last sentence ...

Otherwise ... about that (*Print Work in Valinor)... I thought long about if the Noldor figured out how to print books. In the end I came up with this: Yes, they know how it works. Applying ink to steel is easy but the problem is that printed works don't last. The letters fade far too quickly since in the printing process there's no magic involved. When a scribe writes something down by hand, he tells a story. He works hours, sweat and his soul into his work ... creating something that can last centuries. So the Noldor use printed work - I'm talking about flyers and an early form of newspapers here - just for stuff that's temporary or has to duplicated a lot. Feel free to disagree. But the way I see it that knowledge was lost when the Noldor got to Beleriand anyway. Over there they had no use for it and there weren't enough people left in Tirion to properly apply the knowledge of printing.

About Angrod: If you were little confused while reading this, I apologize but I try to be consistent with the use of Quenya names (aside from Fingon's). Anrgod has also the epessë "iron-handed" and his name translates to "iron champion". Since I always wondered why that is, especially since he's supposed to be 'just' the second son in canon, I tried to explain his personality a bit. In my eyes, Angaráto is destined to be no-nonsense warrior. That he comes across like an ass is mostly fault to Fingon's POV. (There's a reason why I put the tag Unreliable Narrator into the warnings.)

Last question: Would you been fine if I raise the rating from M to E/NC-17?

VII. Lovers by mangacrack
Author's Notes:

Sexy times ahead. I suggest you to read it at least once, this is more about Fingon's psyche than author loving to write smut. In addition .... I've reached the point were some stuff are certainly not canon anymore, but I hesitate to slap the label 'canon divergence' on it because it'd be misleading. While the timeline in this fic may wobble and tends to take detours it rejoins book events eventually. Just saying.

 

VII. Lovers 

"What do you know about the relationship between my father and the King?" 

Maitimo's questions rings in Fingon's head. His confusion must show on his face, because Maitimo smiles a little and puts a finger over Fingon's lips, indicating to stay quiet. Not unwise since they're entering the kitchens, which is always full of people. Best not discuss a topic like the King and his eldest son around here.

"Later," Maitimo mouthes and tugs at Fingon's sleeve, who follows gladly.

Despite the strange question still plaguing his thoughts he feels giddy. Following Maitimo through the small pathway and servant entrances always feels like he's sneaking around. Of course he knows them well enough himself, but doing it with Maitimo brings back memories. Back to a time when he was nothing more than a boy and felt so special because Prince Nelyafinwë let him in on a secret. Like taking him along on his travels through the palace, where the main objective was to remain unseen. Fingon chuckles, because this actually never changed. Maitimo still preferres the corridors which are reserved for servants and staff. Anyone else would've been thrown out a long time ago, because those who work for the Palace Department don't like the Royal Family interfering with their business. But for Maitimo they still make an exception, though he is no longer a child. Not that it matters. 

It's obvious in the way maids cast them a chiding glance while fighting a smile. Had Fingon been alone the maids would've kindly asked him to leave, ushered him out but Maitimo's presence stops them from commenting. Thankfully Fingon knows that the maids would also never admit having seen Prince Nelyafinwë using the smaller corridors, otherwise he'd worry to have their free afternoon interrupted.

Fingon fights back a groan at the thought of a free afternoon. Ever since Maitimo dismissed Angaráto with the words to inform the Town Guard he needs to borrow Fingon for a while, he hoped they'd retreat to Maitimo's quarters. Do more than just talk. Swallowing and wetting his dry lips Fingon lets himself be lead around corners and up the spiral stairs. The further they go the less people they encounter and by the time they reach the upper levels, the halls are so empty that their footsteps echo loudly. Fingon has almost forgotten the reason that brought them here in the first place.

Yes, talking freely in private has it's uses, but Maitimo hasn't let go of Fingon's wrist the entire time. The grip is firm and Fingon couldn't break the hold even if he wished to try. He learned this from experience and ... it never fails to get him riled up. Sometimes Fingon wonders if Maitimo knows what kind of effect he has on Fingon. How weak his knees can get just from looking at him to long, drinking in the broad frame from up close like he does right now because Fingon doesn't have to worry to be caught staring. He isn't the little boy with a crush anymore. He can't look for too long, has trained himself out of that habit or else entire Tirion will know how quickly Maitimo gets to him. By the time they reach Maitimo's private quarters, well it's more like an entire wing build for the House of Fëanáro that remains empty, because Nelyo is the only one occupying it, Fingon can barely wait for the door to open. He flips his wrist until he can intertwine his fingers with Maitmo's, who doesn't even look up when Fingon does it.

Who chuckles a little and squeezes Fingon's hand which is a little bit smaller than his own. Just like everything else but while it does feel like as if Fingon's hand just disappears in his it, Nelyo thinks they oddly fit at least. There had been partners in the past who's hand didn't even cover two thirds of his own. It taught him to be careful. Especially with woman. Too often Nelyo fears that he forgets his strength and accidental breaks a few fingers, just because he squeezed to hard.   

It happened before and he isn't keen on repeating the experience. 

"So, have you thought about my question?" Nelyo asks and runs a finger over the door in front of them. He doesn't practice such magic very often. He usually doesn't need it, if he's honest, but there're a few tricks that are useful. The door reacts with throwing golden sparks and opens up for them. It's dark inside, light kept out by the heavy curtains he closed this morning before he left his rooms. Being here alone in Tirion drove Nelyo to keeping a part for himself, like looking his door and baring anyone to look through the windows. 

"Only a little," Fingon admits and saunters into the quarters, lets himself be lead through the mess Maitimo tends to leave everywhere. Even in the darkened room he sees scattered papers piling on the table and discarded clothes everywhere. "I know about as much about your father's and Finwë's relationship as the servants in the palace. Its been years since Uncle Fëanáro set a foot in here." 

"That's Finwë's fault. Father avoids coming to Tirion whenever he can and usually sends messengers to carry out his will. Or, if you want to see it this way, me," Maitimo huffs and lets go of Fingon's hand to open the curtains. Fingon squints at him, shielding his eyes when the light blinds him. 

Nelyo uses the opportunity to take in Findekáno's frame. The black hair is falling down on his shoulders and it seems to be the only dark spot in the light cone Maitimo just created. It hits the Son of Fëanáro how vulnerable Findekáno looks sometimes, no matter how much he has grown ever since he first met the little boy. Just like right now, where Findekáno hesitates to sit down. Nelyo doesn't mind if Finno complains about how filthy he lives and how can he stand such a mess or the - Are you this used to have servants around to clean up after you, Maitimo? - yet that always takes time for him to relax. 

Instead Findekáno stands in the middle of the room, lost and with his hands in his pockets as if he's waiting for instructions. 

"I'm aware of that," Findekáno responds and the frown on his forehead makes him appear a little mulish. As he hated it to drag out an old topic. "Father mentioned it again and again, when you decided to move from Formenos to Tirion. You had the entire noble caste in upheaval because of it." 

Nelyo doesn't know where reluctance comes from, but since Finno has always been acting like this sometimes he just shrugs internally and decides to help along by keeping the conversation going. 

"That's part of it." Nelyo can't keep the growl quiet out of his voice as he moves on to get rid of his hair tie. "What Nolofinwë and I were discussing was the King's idea to throw a festival - with all of his children and grandchildren attending."

"Uh, that's ... daring," Fingon chooses to say, but Nelyo can hear the true statement behind it while he flops down on the couch and stretches his long legs, sighing a little when build up tension seeps out of his shoulders.  

"How long was it since the all of the King's Blood was assembled under the same roof?" Nelyo hears Fingon add, just as bewildered as he felt when he heard the proposal the first time. 

"Years," Nelyo comments and closes his eyes to will the headache away. "Years, Finno. And we have grown a lot since then. Take my family for example. We visit when we pass Tirion on our travels and my brothers drop by on occasion. But all of us? That's been a long time since that happened. Father and Finwë aren't exactly on speaking terms. Bringing them together just because the King wills is going to be a nightmare, not mentioning what happens if the rest of you joins in." 

It's a nightmare - no matter how positive Nolofinwë tries to see it. Maitimo knows his father. Knows that he'd rather rot in Formenos than coming to Tirion - even under the King's command. Fëanáro had never a great relationship with Finwë, Nelyo knew that from early age. There's a reason why Mathan was the only grandfather he had known in the first years of his life. Back then Formenos hadn't even been built yet and they had lived in a small house in Kôr, home of the mine workers where father had studied under Mathan. Finwë ... had been a distant figure, a tale. Father spoke rarely of him, always a little conflicted even back when the terms between between father and son had still been rocky, but based on mutual love. 

But that was before Makalaurë happened. Before Finwë messed up and Fëanáro lost his trust in his father. Any trust. 

Not that Nelyo would ever, ever judge his father for that. It was his little brother they were talking about and while he enjoyed the travels through Valinor, they hadn't always been easy for Káno. Travelling through Valinor with only his family at his side because his mind was too messed up to meet anyone else who wasn't of the Ainur - or his own blood. 

Well, we got Telyo out of this, Nelyo thinks a little amused. He was practically born in the wilderness. 

"Are we such a horrid company?" Fingon interrupts his thoughts and Nelyo opens one eye to look at the Nolofinwion. He nearly forgot that Finno was there. Didn't even notice Fingon pulling out a chair to sit on. Why he prefers the hard wood instead of the comfy couch was beyond Nelyo. "Can't your family stand it to visit us for a while at least?" 

Maitimo makes a face at the questions. 

"Finwë's children don't really get along, let along his various grandchildren," Nelyo retorts. In the recent years he has seen many, many examples of politics within the royal family. One reason why he keeps Fingon around because his cousin managed to stay out if so far. He starts a list to get his point across, "Findis and Irimë are reason enough to choreograph a dinner until it borders on ridiculousness. With my father and yours you can never tell if they'll get along just fine or if a single comment about the color of ripe tomatoes will set them off." 

Now Fingon sighs and though Nelyo thinks that he gets it, he adds a few more examples to make sure what kind of headache he's nursing just from the thought of bringing the Royal Family together. 

"Or what about Indis and Irime's Vanya husand? I hope you remember the disaster of last month. Then there's Arafinwë, who is going to make the planning the festival extra difficult, because he'll feel insulted if he's not included. As Head of the Palace Deparment there's little in this building that happens without his knowledge and you know how he can be when he's cross with someone."

"I get it, I get it," Fingon moans and holds up his hands in defeat. "The festival is a nightmare on your horizon, Maitimo. But we celebrated together before, remember? It always worked out so far."

"Continue to talk this way and I'll force you to suffer through this with me. By helping from day one," Nelyo threatens and throws an arm over his face, wishing there was a way to talk Finwë out of this. 

Well, at least father could use this as opportunity to bring the family together again. Get him out of Tirion after the feast was over. It had been over ten years since he moved to Tirion on Finwë's orders. Over ten years since he had been surrounded by all members of his family at once, because it'd be suspicious if his brothers conquered the streets too often. Ever since Cáno got hurt on Finwë's supervision, Fëanáro barely talked to his father. Most Noldor simply assumed that the Crown Prince had no interest in politics, but it was way worse than that. Fëanáro refused to follow the King's orders, had started to form the society after his own ideas. Quietly, of course. Finwë might not be a good regent, but he's still the King of the Noldor. Yet Finwë never dreamed of that one of own children would support his eldest in his revolution. 

Truly, how could Finwë be that blind that Findis' Royal Academy had largely Fëanáro's hand in it? 

Perhaps everyone knew the truth, Indis first among them, but as inconvenient it was to keep the charade, bursting Finwë's bubble would proof to be far more damaging.  

Still, he longs to go home. It ins't  the same, no matter that he's used to moving between Tirion and Formenos. Not even Cáno manages to distract him from his homesickness anymore. 

Maitimo feels a weight settling down on his lap and soft hands pull his arm away. It pulls him back to reality and reminds him that there's still something that makes Tirion worthwhile. Fingon's face greets him, his blue eyes incredibly focused and while he's smiling down at him, bright and beautiful. As if he doesn't battle with his own nightmares every day. 

"I can think of worse ways to spend time with you," Fingon says. His breath ghosts over Maitimo's skin and blows all concerns about the King and his insane plan away.  

For a moment Maitimo still mulls over the emotions rising in his chest. In the end, his voice drops low and his hands grab Findekáno by his hips to keep him steady. "Do you have something specific in mind?"

Mixed with an answering groan Maitimo can almost feel how a great amount of tension bleeds out of Findekáno. Until now his body has been strung tight, like a bow threatening to snap under the strain, unless he finally funds a way to relax. Sadly it's never easy to tell what Findekáno is waiting for, why he's on high alert most of the time. It makes it so much more intoxicating that Findekáno softens underneath his hands. Above him, Findekáno sighs and leans down for a kiss. Perhaps it's intended as slow and sweet, but the kiss dissolves into a mess of want and need very quickly. 

 

-

 

Fingon rakes his fingers through Maitimo's beautiful hair, glad that he can touch it without fearing to mess it up. His lips never leave Maitimo's skin as he pulls out the ribbon and the hair falls down the shoulders in waves. Soon it seems as if it's the only soft thing that Maitimo possesses. The rest of him is hard and hot under Fingon's hands., muscles tensing in anticipation. As always when Nelyo finally gives up the pretence that he isn't one of the tallest and most powerful Elves around. 

The muscles of his thighs alone, stars, Fingon is barely able to straddle Maitimo, when he spreads his legs into a comfortable position. Yet like this their height difference evens out, which makes kissing the other senseless a lot easier. Which it's exactly, what Maitimo is doing now. The Fëanorian goes after him again and again, biting into his bottom lip until he has him moaning. Fingon briefly lets go and admires Maitimo's swollen and red bitten lips. Then he slides off the sofa. A questioning glance is the response and Maitimo looks as if he wants to pull Fingon back up and ravish his mouth again. With his fingers opening his pants with a practiced flick of his wrist, he groans instead and grabs him by his hair, guiding his lover towards his crotch. 

Fingon lets him, doesn't mind the possessive the pull of his hair, because every lick of his tongue over Maitimo's shaft earns him a delicious moan. 

The position is a little uncomfortable, but how could he mind when he has Maitimo above him, cheeks flush bright red like his hair, muscles rippling over his abdomen? This is what pleasure looks like. Fingon is certain of it, his own breath comes in short pants as he moves forward, taking Nelyo into his mouth again. They had done this so often, that Fingon doesn't even have it in him to blush. He probably should, it's obscene how he's kneeling in front of Nelyo as if the Fëanorian is the King already. But neither of them cares and their shamelessness translates into the way Maitimo's hips jut upwards, a hand in Fingon's hair to keep the pace of the rhythm he found for himself.  

Mine, is all what Fingon read into the gesture as Maitimo fucks his throat raw. 

Years ago Nelyo told him how to do this. Relax your throat, so you can take it deeper, just like swallowing - Maitimo had told him in a hushed voice. He doesn't need to anymore, Fingon has gained experience over time, but it's always different when he's with Nelyo. Seeing him so undone, like a natural disaster, beautiful and unavoidable, is still source of fascination. Nelyo is nearly sitting on the edge of the sofa to satisfy is need to thrust.

"Stars, Findekáno," Maitimo urges him on, sends a thrill down Fingon's spine.

Like this neither of them would last, but the day is still young. The hand in his hair would've made him groan, had Fingon the space to in his eagerness to obey. Very deliberately he takes his hand of Maitimo's hips. 

His look must be telling as their gazes lock. 

Use me, Fingon thinks. He still can't use oswanë, but they're familiar with each other's mannerisms. Maitimo can read him easily, because he knows Fingon. Knows Fingon's body, which drowns in almost painful arousal.  

Thankfully they've enough time on their hands. This doesn't have to be a quick affair. Neither of them is expected take up their duties before tomorrow morning. Fingon can enjoy the power behind Nelyo's fingers drawing him back down, tightening on the smooth black bags as he holds his lover in place and pushes forward. 

The orgasm comes with little warning and Fingon does his best to calm himself, to keep pace while his cheeks flush and his eyes are trained on Maitimo's face. The Fëanorian's breathing stutters, but he's unafraid to use his strength while he thrusts into the wet, warm mouth for a final time. Fingon drinks in the pleasure, doesn't even bother trying to pull away. The power that Nelyo has over him is absolute, intoxicating and he always come back for more.  

Perhaps Maitimo trained him, trained him how to be his over the years. To make sure he doesn't harm Fingon with all the power he inherited from his father and doesn't quite knows how to use yet. The knowledge makes him dizzy, stimulates his own pleasure while he tastes Nelyo against his tongue. 

Fingon only pulls back when he feels Nelyo finally softening, who is basking in the afterglow, half lying on the sofa, looking beautiful and debauched. He looks like a god and Fingon doesn't bother trying to talk as he keels in front of Maitimo, his mouth crimson and his own arousal, still trapped in his pants, so hard he's aching. But he's patient and far more focused on Maitimo, who's usually so contained. Unlike now, when he's bursting with raw power instead. A skill he rarely uses, unless he wishes for things to go his way. There are very few, who can resist Nelyafinwë, when the Prince truly puts his mind into it. Even Fingon, who is absolutely deaf in those matters, can feel Nelyo's fëa crackling in the air like a bonfire, when the Crown Heir stops holding back.

Like right now as Maitimo gets on his feet, half naked already only to pull the rest of his tunic over his head, throwing it away until he's standing there in all his unmasked glory. Looking down, grinning. Far too smug, because a still clothed but obviously aroused Fingon makes a very pretty picture. 

"I should thank you," Maitimo whispers and drags his lover up by the collar. He doesn't bother bending down. As much as he likes the image of Findekáno kneeling in front of him, the height difference is drawback in this regard, hurting his back far more than it's bearable. Knowing fingers travel to the fastenings of Fingon's pants, taking forever to work them open, while he kisses the Nolofinwion. "Should I take a guess and assume that you want a reward for your admirable efforts?"

"Please," Fingon rasps, close to begging already, because his lover likes to tease. The idea of having to wait is sheer agony, when all the space between them makes him feel bereft. His arousal already reached a point, where's he's yearns for being touched. It's like an itch he can't get rid of himself. "Let me feel everything." 

The chuckle he earns with these words is carefree and playful. That doesn't bode well for Fingon, but the prince doesn't ... can't care when Maitimo pushes him back towards the bed, freeing him of his clothes meanwhile. Fingon's mouth falls open in gasp as teeth dig into his skin. He's going mad, so close to the brink already after getting a taste of Maitimo. A thumb is pushed into his mouth, cements Fingon's desire as he starts suckling at it. 

Stars, he could do this all day. He has, on one memorable occasion. But Maitimo wants him to be patient. Would force him to be by tying to the bed if necessary. 

As if his words wouldn't enough. As if Fingon could do anything, but obey as he's pressed into the mattress and freed of his pants. Then Maitimo is above him and the heat threatens to overwhelm him. Clinging to the larger Elf, Fingon rubs himself against thigh that finds it's way between his legs. Fingon doesn't hold back, like always when he's that desperate. No sooner than he has thought the words, Maitimo is pulling away and puts his hand on Fingon's shoulder, pressing him down and keeping him in place so easily it should be frightening.

It only serves in feeding his hunger. Fingon moans as his eyes fall shut. One hand takes his wrists and constraining them above his head.

The dance is familiar, yet it makes him dizzy every time. Answering the claiming kiss is the only thing what Fingon can do, is allowed to do, while Maitimo sends hot spikes of lust through his body.     

"Touch me." Fingon surprises himself for finding clear words in his ragged state, while his thighs are straining with the effort to stay still. It'd be so easy to get him over the edge, but that's probably not what Maitimo wants or he'd have done it already. "I want you, everywhere. I want to feel you tomorrow." 

"I can do that," Nelyo murmurs. His voice is filled with greed, when he adds. "I'm going to take you apart, make you ride my fingers, my dick, until you're begging me to stop." 

Then Maitimo kisses him as if he comes straight out of Irmo's realm, charged with the task to make Fingon his fervent vassal. Which he already is, always has been. How can he be not, when Maitimo finally glides on top of him, keeping most of the weight of Fingon's chest, because he's considerate like this, and the skin contact makes Fingon moan and arch his neck into the next possessive bite? 

And like all the times before, he bends the way Maitimo wants him to. Cries out as a hot mouth starts to admire every inch of his body, while his legs are pushed apart and pressed against his chest. Every mark left on his skin is like a brand, searing with lust and fire. From his chest, to his stomach, all the way down to his naked thighs. Maitimo's bites leave Fingon heaving, writhing on the bed until his need is impossible to ignore.  

Maitimo's palm on his stomach is burning like a very brand on it's own, served well enough to keep in place as slick fingers searched for the entrance. Fingon feels so bare and open already, it's a miracle that Maitimo still has to stretch him. He could take him like this, has done it in the past, when they were impatient, and Fingon would only urge him on. He always feels the burn afterwards, the only difference is that Maitimo makes him keen, while the Fëanorian has two fingers and a tongue inside him right. 

"Neylo, I want you, please," Fingon babbles and his back jerks into the direction of Maitimo's hand. Four fingers should be enough. 

It's not like as if Maitimo doesn't know he deepest and darkest desires already. He brought them to light, again and again over the years they shared a bed. Has committed each of Fingon's reactions to memory as he started teaching him. 

"It's alright," Maitimo whispers and kisses Fingon behind his ear. The gesture is far more gentle than most give Maitimo credit for. Though right now the touch makes Fingon only more impatient. "I have you."

It's the only warning Fingon gets as Maitimo finally, finally pushes inside. The pressure is intense, opening up him far more than the fingers could. Yet there's no resistance as Maitimo slides in deep with a single thrust. Sweet kisses on his face distract Fingon from the fact how big Nelyo feels. It takes his breath away every single time. It hurts, but in the best possible, agonizing way. 

Fingon wraps his arms around Maitimo, claws at the broad shoulders and buries his face in his lovers neck. As raw and sensitive as he feels, his body throbs with pleasure and he leaves Nelyo bleeding with scratch marks, while he flexes beneath him and hooks one leg around Maitimo's waist, pulling him down. Trying to get him to move. Soon enough Maitimo's patience bleeds away, snapping his hips in a demanding pace, causing Fingon's heart pound wild. 

Maitimo laces they fingers together, so he can pull Findekáno forwards, dive in with long thrusts while he's met halfway. This is an easy, familiar dance and neither of them has the patience to draw it out. It's been a while since they had the time. Maitimo slows his movements, watches the gasping figure beneath him. With lives complicated as theirs, it's difficult to keep a regular schedule, though they live not far from each other. But too many days are wasted with politics, alone or spend in company of semi-reliable friends. Finding Findekáno hungry for him, after the forced break, feeds his own want for harder, faster and more.

Fingon cries out at the feeling of Maitimo dragging in and out of him. He's too close, too lost, so that after a particular hard thrust he moans and arches his back, taking his lover even deeper. Clenching around him, while sobbing as he surrenders to Nelyo's steady strokes. Since the Fëanorian isn't finished yet, he keeps moving. Stirs Fingon to familiar heights, who is mesmerized how sex with Nelyo break him every single time. 

He still wants to issue a warning, but all what Fingon manages is a gasp as his orgasm hits him. Fingon shakes and trembles in Maitimo's hold before he spills his seed over his own stomach. 

"You're being so good. I love it, when you come around me." Maitimo whispers into Fingon's ear. 

Who groans in protest when the hard shaft slips out of him. It's too much, but oh so dammed good, that he doesn't want to it to be over yet. Nelyo should go back right where he belongs. 

Knowing him far too well, Maitimo grasps his thighs and slips him around Fingon mewls as his ass raised into the air and Nelyo slams back into him. Perhaps he should fight back more, turns this into a competition, but the way Maitimo manhandles his body, squeezes his ass as if it belongs to him, blow these thoughts away. Rather Fingon has it like this, where he knows his place instead of turning it into a challenge. As reward Fingon's world shrinks down to Maitimo driving in an out of him. There's also only one word left he's capable of saying. Fingon screams his his lover's name into the pillow as the pace gets harder, more punishing. 

Moans and skin slapping against skin fill the room and it's everything Fingon has ever wanted. 

 

 

"How does work exactly, gasping for breath like virgin maiden and yet being already hard again?" Nelyo inquires. With the focused gaze of serious scholar, he lifts the sheets to glance at Fingon's crotch. 

The evidence of his interest is undeniable, despite Fingon lying on his back, staring at the ceiling and trying to calm down from their latest round. There are bite marks and bruises all over his body, the sheets are ruined, because Fingon is definitely lying in a wet patch and he should use the bath to get rid of Nelyo's come drying on his thighs. 

"That's, because you can't keep your hands to yourself," Fingon says and tries to swat Maitimo's hand away.

His voice is rough and a little weak, because Maitimo hadn't stopped teasing him until Fingon finally begged. Just as he had promised. But they weren't done, not yet. Fingon knows that Maitimo has a hilarious refractory period, thanks to the ability to manipulate his hröa with his fëa. His own flesh just reacted to it, hence why lust boiled in his veins no matter where Maitimo put his hands. Stars, Maitimo's body heat is enough to get Fingon going at this point. 

"So I'm just that good." Maitimo's chuckles and the sound does funny things to Fingon's insides. 

Makes a little harder and groan with want. Stars above, after the last round he assumed that Maitimo fucked, whatever energy he may have possessed at some point, right out of him. A part of Fingon wants to do nothing more than sleep for the next three days, but the fingers petting his stomach tale another story. As beautiful as Nelyo is, in the silver light of the stars falling through the window he looks simply magnificent. The inherited power makes his stamina difficult to keep up with. Especially since he rarely gets the time to train with the warriors anymore. The tasks of the King's heir are demanding. 

Given how his own free time is swindling rapidly and Nolofinwë probably expects them to deal with the two stubborn Lords tomorrow, Fingon is willing to go for another round. Sleep can wait. 

Thankfully they're so entangled that Fingon only has to lift his head a little to ask for another kiss. Nelyo's answering laughter goes straight to his groin, because hell the sight of his lover all relaxed and carefree is just as arousing as his harsh and demanding one. 

Fingon is grinning up at the Fëanorian, one hand buried in the long strands of Maitimo's hair. 

It's going to be a hassle to comb out the knots in a few hours. Fingon doesn't know how his lover does it, but the Fëanorians inherited all the thick massive mass they call hair, which often doesn't leave them time or room for stylish or complicated braids. But Fingon prefers it anyway, when Maitimo leaves it open. It's proof of the time they've spend together that Maitimo just lets him play with it, after he developed a distinctive aversion against other people touching it. Probably too many Ladies being enamoured with the beautiful color.

Fingon tugs at it, just because he can and draws Maitimo into harsh demanding kiss. Their lips meet, searching, while Maitimo turns until he's laying on his side, one hand on Fingon's thigh. Ready to simply pull Fingon onto his cock again. But he's patient, waiting for Fingon to give his okay, since it's not him, who is going to be sore tomorrow. 

Not that Fingon minds being sore, it's a price he gladly pays in exchange for a night like this. Quite frankly he's surprised that Nelyo pulled out of him in the first place. They often fall asleep, while still being connected. The only possible substitute for the lack of mental connection, since Fingon's meager abilities in oswanë don't allow a steady link between them. During times like this they come close, but it never lasts and it  wears Fingon out. So they soon stopped trying, happy enough with the relationship they had. 

"Stars and Power above, I love you. I love you so much it hurts sometimes," Fingon pants, after Maitimo stops kissing him senseless. "Have I ever told you that?" 

"Many times. One memorable time, right after you came off age," Maitimo answers as his teeth grace over the skin of Fingon's neck. All while spreading Fingon's ass with his fingers and sinking back in right where he belongs. 

The motion combined with the words are enough to send a shiver over Fingon's back. 

"That day is the perhaps most embarrassing moment in my life," Fingon says between his swallow breaths as Nelyo just rest inside him. Clenching around the hard arousal, turns out is not a good idea, for it makes Fingon pant and huff while Nelyo slowly strokes his cock. Jerks his wrist just right to drive Fingon mad with want. "Just stop mentioning it, please."

"I won't," Maitimo purrs, teasing Fingon by rocking in and out far to slowly. "I'll never stop reminding your of that day."

Secretly Fingon is pleased and he'd tell Maitimo as much, if he had the breath for it. For that was the first time, when Maitimo said it back.

"Me too, Finno," he has said after kissing him throughly that Fingon nearly came in his pants. "I love you too."

Truth is that they rarely say it. Not in as many words, because they didn't want to risk getting caught. Their love isn't build on words, but the hours they spend together. Choosing to do so, when they cold fill their evenings with a different suitor each day. The only difficulty is, while their friendship isn't a secret, a physical relationship would certainly be frowned upon. It's not a crime, love between men, but it's not common practice. At least in public. Neither Maitimo nor Fingon are keen on enduring the discussions that would certainly follow. Lectures from Nolofinwë, the King's concerned voice about their future, the possible involvement of the Valar since they case would be an example for all of the Eldar in Valinor. Let alone the teasing from their cousins and respective siblings.

No, just no. Fingon likes the privacy. 

It's no ones business, this love between them. Fingon can't tell if Maitimo gets tired of hiding sometimes, of looking for excuses to spend the night. His lover is the type, who gets possessive. Who would kiss him in public, in front of the whole court to stake a claim. Has done so with a temporary lover a decade ago, with a young man who looked so much like Fingon that it was a deliberate play. A game between them as Maitimo kept flaunting his affair in public. 

Sometimes Fingon wishes that he had the guts to do the same. 

Just grin with confidence and flirt back, when they play best friend teasing each other in public. Something always stops him. A little voice that reminds him that his political standing is a little trickier than Maitimo's. Stars, Maitimo could bend Ingwë over Manwë's throne and people would only applaud on his technique. 

"Stop thinking, it doesn't matter," Maitimo growls behind him as he starts screwing Fingon in earnest gain, all but reading his thoughts. "It's never going to, because you're mine away." 

Fingon doesn't have enough breath left in order to laugh. He wants to, mostly in relief, but what leaves his mouth is a deep groan. 

 

-

 

Next morning Fingon wakes to an empty bed and the sun teasing his face. A quick glance tells him, it's far too early, but Nelyo is already up. How his cousin finds the energy for it stays his secret, because Fingon lost count how often they coupled. What he remembers that he rode Maitimo into near oblivion at some point. The bite marks and the bruises covering his body are proof enough.

"You should get up or do you wish to explain, why we spend the night together?" Maitimo pokes him into his side.

Groaning with displeasure, Fingon blindly walks in the bathroom. He knows that Maitimo is right. He needs to change his clothes at least, turning up in Maitimo's would be too obvious, since they're far to big for him. Not he has something against the prospect, running around in one of Nelyo's tunics, but his father demanded a joined breakfast in order to discuss the squabbling Lords afterwards. 

"What's the occasion for the feast anyway?" Fingon calls out.

Had Maitimo told him the reason for grandfather's insane idea? He can't quite remember, but it may be the case that he's too sated and worn out from last night. Maitimo walks up to him, draping himself over Fingon's back. The fact that he was encouraging Fingon's sore spots to heal more quickly, instead of teasing him about it, tells Fingon that this is a far more serious subject than he anticipated. 

There's little what can deter Maitimo from having a quickie. They're good at that, especially when Fingon is loose already and a sloppy round will make him feel Maitimo for days after.

The answer comes rather quick, though it makes Fingon choke on his own breath.

"Indis is pregnant."     

End Notes:

To be honest, I've no clue why it took so long. I always knew what had to happen in this chapter, but the words never quite fit. Until I stumbled over a fic this week, which had just so intense feelings between two lovers and I thought ... That's it. That's what should exist between Fingon and Maedhros. I hope I got the point across.

The sixth child of Finwë is canon, btw, but like her sisters she never made it into the book, suffering the fate of remaining a footnote. And yes, in human years Finwë and Indis would be around fifty, but it's Elves we're talking about. Discarding the fact that Elves only have children in their youth, there're probably a lot of late-comers. Yes, toddlers are exhausting, but if you've an eternity on your hands, it's just a matter of 'What do we want to do this century, darling?'.

Sex and relationships are similar, btw. Most Elves aren't exclusive and a single night with someone else is barely mentioned, unless you're engaged / married. Hence why Fingon and Maedhros have sex with other people on occasions.

Thanks to everyone who stuck around, but especially to Georgina! Without your reviews I'd have probably never thrown myself back into this story.

Interlude: Behind the Mirror I by mangacrack
Author's Notes:

I swear I just wanted to write fills for my bingo card! No idea what happened, but at some point I made the mistake of keep writing from Maitimo's POV. Also be aware of slight dub-con. It's off-screen, but an allusion to Chapter 3, beware. In the end you get this interlude, because Fingon's perspective is so truly fucked up. Well, not that Maitimo's is better, but he deserves to get a voice.

 

Kissing Findekáno feels coming home.

Usually he hates Tirion, as much as his fathers and his brothers do, but since he has taken up the duties of a crown prince, he lives here part time. Inside that huge palace with its too many people, who do nothing but gossip all day. Nelyafinwë hates the idea of ruling those people one day. Sacrificing his hobbies, his studies, his life and his happiness for the back-stabbing creatures, who smile and nod and compliment him, just to turn around whisper to each other. Unfortunately he has to make the best out of it. Better him than Fëanáro or Cáno getting involved. Father has a brilliant mind, but he possess even less patience than him - especially for the court.  

No, he can learn how to live with these people. Play the stupid game, manipulate Lords and Ladies with a promising smile. Best, he turns it into a hobby. 

As it turns out, it's fun. It's easy. Finwë doesn't stifle him with expectations or regulations. He has Nolofinwë for that. Since Fëanáro is a figure well known for having successfully removed himself from the political landscape, Findis and Nolofinwë bear the brunt of it. Well, mostly Nolofinwë these days since he isn't off-age yet and Findis just married to get away from the Royal Family. With Arafinwë being just an infant and Irimë currently living among the Vanya, Maitimo quickly realizes that he's free to do as he pleases.

Distraction is a magical word. As an older brother, he's a master at this. Truly, Cáno deserves a reward for being such a pesky little shit all the time.  

Yet, after a while it gets boring. Years go by and nothing ever changes. Well, if he's truthful, life before could be a little dull at times as well, but at least the wild had interesting animals and plants to offer. Breathtaking landscapes and Spirits in remote corners. Tirion has just people. But Maitimo tries. Though the creations of all these trinkets are not his thing. In the end he tries out many crafts, but nothing truly excites him.  

So he learns, respects his teachers and makes a few friends, all while Finwë continues to drive his children away. Most marry as early as possible in order to move out. During one of the visits, Cáno disovers that it is truly as easy to bend Tirion's masses to your will as Maitimo described, though his golden voice certainly gives him an advantage that he is never going possess. It's a hilarious time, showing Cáno Tirion and watch the Noldor being baffled by the little genius. Maitimo thinks most citizens are glad, when they family departs. The city is barely, just barely big enough to contain children with so much energy. 

Nerdanel laughs at everyone, who tries to compliment her boys.

"They're terrors. All of them," she says with a smirk gracing her lips. Petting her swollen belly, she adds, "This one will be no different." 

Fëanor laughs at that and then continues to make peace with Findis, behind his father's back in order build a school together. Findis is surprised that her half-brother actually puts her in charge, but Finwë's eldest only shrugs. 

"I'd lose my patience with it soon enough," he explains. "Besides it has been your idea, sister. All I did, was to speed up the process a bit."  

Findis smiles and comments how the Royal Family keeps growing. Since the infants keep coming. What the bloody hell? But Maitimo sticks his own brothers, thank you very much. As often as he can, he visits his family, but of course Finwë always calls him back, sooner or later. Tells his grandson that he has duties to uphold. Thankfully Maitimo has learned how to bend those rules. Since Father refuses to give up his eldest child, he kidnaps him as often as possible and together the House of Fëanor sometimes vanished for months on a obscure journey here or a diplomatic visit there. 

All in all not bad, but very not exciting either. Maitimo isn't like Cáno, who can pour of history pages for hours and hours. 

He never found something to truly obsess over. 

Until one day Maitimo returns to Tirion and finds a young boy running around in the palace. Well, not a child. Maitimo barely stops to distinguish those, given how many are around these days. It's Nolofinwë's son. In that awkward stage of not being a man yet. The poor boy suffers from the complete set of growing up - aching limps, stumbling over his own feet, a croaking voice. The entire deal. Maitimo would pity him, but there's something else. He notices the way little Finno looks at him. It's impossible for someone trained to politics and manipulating to miss the heated gaze that seems to follow him everywhere.  

It's not as if he hadn't had lovers before, that was one upside of Finwë's lax ruling. Sex is a private matter and as long as every gives their consent, why not? It's a way to pass the time. Even and especially among married couples. 

But so far no one looked at him with so much interest. With innocent joy and an eagerness that makes Maitimo question himself. 

One day Nelyafinwë decides to smile back and young Findekáno blushes

Blushes. And from the looks of it, his smile has an interesting effect on Findekáno's body functions.

It's utterly adorable. 

It turns into a game. Him smiling and testing what kind of reactions he gets from Findekáno. Perhaps he shouldn't to do it. There's the age difference, their blood relation and a thousand other reasons, why this is not a good idea. Yet he burns at the thought of someone else being Findekáno's first. At this point he'd do more damage by refusing his little cousins affections, crushing his heart than by humoring him for a while. 

Maitimo bets he can make Findekáno come in his pants. Perhaps even before the week is out. 

 

 


 

"Maitimo, I need to study," Findekáno hisses in distress. "Could you please put your shirt back on?"

It's late summer and yet still scorching hot outside. The concerned mothers have taken the babies to a cooler part of the palace, leaving the young boys to study in the garden. Today it's just Fingon and Maitimo, because Cáno took Tyelko to the market this morning and they aren't expected back anytime soon. Tyelko has too much energy, even in this kind of weather and the collective wives have better things to do than try to distract him. Or Makalaurë for that matter. 

"Have you noticed how warm it is?" Maitimo asks back, sending the younger Elf a teasing grin. "No way I'm putting my tunic back on, besides I'm nearly finished anyway." 

Just as many times before, Findekáno blushes. He turns red from ear to ear and Maitimo knows, he shouldn't tease him like this. But, well, it's fun. Their fathers aren't going to look over their writings anyway, at least not today. So his resolve is to getting Findekáno relax a little. Maitimo watches how Findekáno goes back to work. At least it looks like it, but out of the corner of his eyes he can see that Findekáno hasn't turned a page in the last few minutes. Instead his eyes keep flickering back to him. 

The gaze follows his fingers as he plays with the pen. A distinctive sound of swallowing dry comes next as he reaches over the table and the muscles on his arms ripple in the sunlight. Not to mention the shuffling, when Maitimo stretches his long legs and puts his feet under Findekáno's chair, letting their calves touch. All very innocent movements, Maitimo barely has done anything yet, but Findekáno is young growing boy and hyper-aware of all what his cousin is doing. Maitimo is very sure that Findekáno suffers from the worst of all sexual awakenings. It's not as if he isn't interested, partaking the activity is far more fun than being stared at, but he doesn't wish to overwhelm him. 

Since it truly gets too warm after a while, Maitimo decides to take dive in the pool not far from here. Usually Indis would protest, her garden is not a bath, but the servants have cut down most flowers already. The hot weather burned most of it away, leaving the small lake free for anyone to use. 

"I'll be right back," Maitimo says.

He doesn't bother taking off his pants, it won't take long to get them try, since he has chosen the spot in the sun. Leaving the shadow for Findekáno, because the boy is as unfortunate as his parents in that regard. Either they are white as a sheet or red like a tomato. Unlike Maitimo and his family, who get tanned just by stepping outside for a few minutes.

Jumping in the pool is just as heavenly as Maitimo thought he would be. Studies be dammed, he's not getting out anytime soon. He could probably stay the entire day in here. In the end, Maitimo swims a few rounds, dives from one edge to the other, before he climbs out again. Thirst is what pulls him back to their little corner. 

He sunders over to the sitting area, leaving wet footprints on the grey stones that vanish almost as soon as he makes them. 

"Have you seen the towels, Findekáno?" Maitimo asks, as he doesn't immediately finds him. 

His red hair flies back and forth as he turns his head, though the most of it still clings to his naked back. Small beads run down the tanned skin and before Maitimo can ask again, where the dammed towels are, he hears a little squeak. 

Next things he sees, is Findekáno running inside, cheeks bright red and his steps a little awkward. 

"Sorry, little one," Maitimo mumbles as Findekáno runs off to relieve himself. "But I'm not done teasing yet." 

 

 

 


 

 

He waits for Findekáno to make the first step. Maitimo can tease as much as he want, he's not going to overwhelm his cousin by making him an offer he'd be hard pressed to refuse. Besides Maitimo wants to reward Findekáno the day he finally becomes brave enough to confess his crush. It's something he needs to do for himself. It's an experience and Maitimo isn't going to take that away from him. No matter how this going to end, Maitimo isn't deliberately cruel. 

At least, he doesn't want to be. Over the years he kind of never stopped growing, with the result that he towers over everyone else right now. 

Most find this amusing. But there are others, who feel intimidated. Who swallow thick, when Maitimo raises from his chair to greet them. It's tiring and Maitimo is thankful for Cáno teaching him how to act a little. Slouch a little, to make himself smaller. Come across as the friendly type of a superior, who invites his guest to sit down as well instead of greeting them with a handshake. With time and practice, it works.

For anyone, but the King. Next to Maitimo and Indis, who is a Vanya and quite tall in general, Finwë's average height seems to shrink. Whenever protocol requires it for them to stand together, Finwë picks a higher step on the stairs. It's petty, it's useless and it drives Maitimo up the wall, since they all have to dance around in order to keep Finwë happy.   

It's after one of those meetings, where the King reminds Maitimo that his authority will not be questioned. That Maitimo's attendance in Tirion is not optional, unless he wishes to trade his place with one of his brothers? 

"I'm the highest authority in your life, Nelyafinwë," the King hollors. "And I expect you to act accordingly." 

Maitimo is seething by the point he gets away. He wants nothing more than to grab a horse and ride until he's back in his father's arms again. But he can't. He needs to do this himself, because a confrontation between Finwë and his oldest son, would've ended in a screaming match. No one wants that at this point. There are too many Noldor, who feel like Fëanáro. Like Maitimo himself. Chaffing under the rule of a regent, who makes most of the laws alone. Listening to the council of others only on occasion and reasons that he knows best for his people.

Unrests spreads among the Noldor and bringing Fëanáro into it right now, would serve no one. Not yet.

"Patience, Nelyo. Patience," Maitimo growls to himself as he enters the study, where he's holding the tutoring sessions with Findekáno.

"I can give you the afternoon off, if you want," Maitimo tells the younger Elf. "I'm not in a good mood right now and I don't want you to get caught in the crossfire."

What he expects is for Findekáno to nod and flee. Maitimo knows that his anger fills the entire room. that his fëa crackles in the air, but he can't help himself. He can't just shove his anger aside, when all what he wants to do is rage. Stars, in moments like this it's undeniable that he's Moryo's brother. With the small, but important difference that Moryo is thousand miles away and has mother's workshop as outlet for his anger. 

Maitimo has an young and eager cousin, who shrugs nonchalant and says, "I don't mind. I'm used to taking the heat, when my parents are fighting. I know it's not personal."

That right there, was probably the worst thing to say, because Maitimo's careful laid out plan gets blown out of the window. He manages to delay the inevitable, but in the end he gives in to his own desire. He wants to test how much strength Findekáno truly has. If he's going to duck and quiver, just like the rest. So Maitimo towers above Findekáno, lectures him in a stern voice, edges his cousin on. Waits for him to break.

Instead he witnesses how Findekáno inhales sharply and squeezes his eyes shut for a moment, in order to will down his erection.

From Maitimo's point of view the bulge is clear and obvious, growing with every passing minute. Findekáno fidgets on his seat, doesn't know what to do with his arousal and Maitimo can't claim that he's unaffected by this. Suddenly he stops, stares at Findekáno and waits for him to break.

But it never happens. Findekáno shudders, his hands grab the edge of the desk until his knuckles turns white, but he doesn't look away.  

"Stand up," Maitimo finally growls. He can feel Findekáno's heart pounding against his chest, when he presses their bodies together. 

He knows that this wrong. That he shouldn't take advantage, but isn't Findekáno old enough? He's willing and probably has a good grasp on what Maitimo wants from him. So ... enough. Enough with the teasing, when it only serves to torment both of them. 

Findekáno whimpers, when Maitimo opens his pants with a flick of his wrist and wraps his fingers around the hard shaft. 

"Please," Findekáno gasps, when Maitimo simply lifts him onto the desk. He spreads his legs to give his cousin a better access. "You can't keep doing this do me. It's not fair, Maitimo." 

"I need to warn you. I'm not a nice person and I can be overwhelming." Maitimo growls under his breath, while he jerks off Findekáno in long deliberate strokes and drinks in every little moan. "You need to be aware of the ... differences between us." 

"I don't care," Findekáno moans and ruts against Maitimo.

Who doesn't know how to tell his little cousin all the things he wants to do to him. Maitimo wants to scream at the unfairness of it, but after Findekáno comes with a small cry, he reigns himself in and dismisses Nolofinwë's son for the day. He needs to clear his head, at least for now. Though it's likely that Findekáno will be back, regardless what Maitimo says. The boy is just to innocent to imagine Maitimo hurting him. 

Not that he wants to, but when he looks down at his hands, Maitimo knows far to well, that he could. Not on purpose, of course. 

But compared to him, most people are just small and breakable. 

End Notes:

I've hinted at it before, but the main reason for Maitimo being ... well, like this, is because Fëanor was a little concerned for Nerdanel, when they had they first child. So he donated far more fëa than it's reasonable. Hence why Maitimo bigger, smarter, stronger than most people. As you can see, it has its draw backs. Doesn't help that most things come to Maitimo fairly easy and that he had an excellent teacher in his father. I think he can be considered a genius in his own right, but with Maglor and Curufin around he doesn't make a big deal out of it.

Next Part is still Maitimo's POV, before we return to the main story line.

Interlude: Behind the Mirror II by mangacrack
Author's Notes:

Warning: off-screen dub-con sex (Fingon/OMC, hurt/comfort

 

Despite their growing friendship, which does consist of lots of sex and fooling around, the summer ends and like always Maitimo leaves Tirion to finally surround himself with his family again. Far far away from the busy city. Since weeks he has been looking north, longing for long rides through empty forests, comfortable evenings with father and mother and the never ending bickering of his children.

"Don't be sad, Findekáno. I'll will be back," Maitimo says and kisses Nolofinwë's son good bye.  

Just before he rides off, Maitimo tells Findekáno in stern words that neither of them is expected to be faithful. What they had was nothing more than summer fling, for now. If it happens again next time? Fine, but Findekáno ban himself from new experiences, just because he thinks he should save himself for Maitimo. 

"You're young and I shouldn't stay the first and your only," Maitimo explains at Findekáno's heartbroken expression. "We live long lives, little one. Lust dies, when there's nothing to sustain it. Any kind of love, though, no matter if it's intimate romance, closeness between brothers or a honest friendship, takes time and patience."

Findekáno nods and puts on a brave face. He says, "I'll see you again."

Maitimo smiles. "Let's have a talk, when I get back."

It's not easy, leaving Findekáno behind, but soon his longing to be among his family again, wins out. For as fun as it was, nothing compares to the feeling of getting hugged by all of his siblings at once. Moryo refuses to let go of his leg for an entire week, which limits Maitimo's options considerably. Meanwhile Tyelko never stops talking, trying to fill his brother in all the things he has missed, which consists a lot of 'No, I didn't need to know that.'

Sweet little Curvo is easiest to handle, since he likes taking his naps against Maitimo's chest. Thankfully his lap is big enough to easily host the growing toddler, while his long arms can catch his little brother, when he tries to rob away. Apparently Curvo hasn't completely figured out how to coordinate his limps yet. His expression, when he inevitably gets frustrated. or worse stuck, is truly cute and Maitimo swears to himself that he'll never stop teasing him about it.

Life is perfect again and Maitimo avoids thinking about Tirion, because it just represents that he has to go back one day.

Receiving a letter from Findekáno out of the blue, comes as a surprise. At first it's an unwelcome reminder, a fear that Finwë had needled his grandson into keeping contact with his cousin. Yet those fears are unfounded, when Maitimo gets the content of the letter.

It's mostly advice of a very specific kind and Maitimo can easily picture Findekáno burning face. He writes back, since it takes truly courage to reach out like this and if Findekáno believes he can ask no one else, than Maitimo can't let this go unanswered.  Over the months they write each other a lot and in those letters Maitimo gets to know a quite different person. When he has time to think about it, Findekáno crafts very beautiful letters with witty responses and funny stories. From what Maitimo gathered  as well, little Finno's taste ran towards older man. Apparently he found a friend named Lómorë, who is teaching him oswanë, as well as little bit about sex. Tough sometimes Maitimo nearly ripped the paper apart, because Findekáno get detailed, when he got around to describing what exactly those teachings contain. 

 

 

 

"Actually had some time for myself today and I spend the day mostly jerking off.  Was thinking of you, whenever I opened myself up with my fingers. I hope you don't mind. But say, i s it normal to feel so horny all the time?  It can't be normal that I grow rock hard whenever I see a pair of breast. Or a naked chest, for that matter. Training with the Palace Guards is torture, Maitimo. How did you do it?"

"...moving out! Can I live with you??? My parents are having sex. Like, all over the house? Caught them no less than five times in two weeks. Dinners are awkward as hell. I just can't ... Maitimo, please. DO SOMETHING. I'm not used to this. They tend to ignore each other through the day. They've different bedrooms, ... "

"...this may not come as a surprise, but Nanaeth is pregnant. I wish they would've told me that they're trying to conceive. Would've been far less traumatising. I just hope it's not another girl, because mother always blames me when Irissë comes back dirty and with twigs in her hair." 

"Found a friend this week. We get along quite well and I tell you he gives amazing head?"  

"...hesitated at first, when he wanted to do it in a quiet corner of the library. I tell you, Nelyo, I burned from embarrassment when one of the staff members saw us. I got up as quickly as I could. I wished I had Lomorë's confidence. He just smirked, but I was glad that I wasn't reported. I'm not sure how I could've explained that to my father." 

"Is it okay to be disappointed, when your partner isn't any good? Slept with Lómorë yesterday and I kind of expected ... more? With you it felt different. More exciting. To be honest Lómorë was awful. A little to rough. How does it work? I never minded it, when you bend me over the desk and all he did was to trap my hands. Kind of wished you were here, so I could find out the whole thing is my fault. 

... I'll talk to him tomorrow." 

 

 

Maitimo has trouble sleeping after he receives the last set of letters. Since he spend the last months away with his father and his brother, he got to read the messages far later than he'd have liked, given the content. It's been more than a year since he left Tirion and Findekáno behind, but for the image never leaves his mind, it's burned into his soul - Findekáno lying beneath an older man. Bigger and taller than his cousin, more experienced. By far, if he has mastered oswanë already. Holding Findekáno down, telling him that's alright, that he's doing good. Scaring him ever more, because the grip tightens and Findekáno is sure anymore if he wants this. 

Nelyafinwë feels a stinging pain at the thought, but there's little what he can do from here. He's farer from Tirion than ever, but he'll write back. Tomorrow, because he needs to calm down first. Or he's going to write a letter to his uncle instead, telling him to check up on his son. For Tirion is big and Nolofinwë high in demand. While it's unthinkable for Maitimo not to be close to his own father, Fëanor writes him entire books whenever Finwë holds Maitimo hostage in Tirion, he can understand why Nolofinwë might not notice, what's going on with his son. Especially if they deem Findekáno old enough to take care of himself and are expecting another child. 

Besides Findekáno has the habit of not telling anyone, what bothers him. But that's wrong. 

No one should bother Finno. 

Maitimo swears he's going to find that friend have a little chat with him, when he comes to Tirion next spring. 

 

 


 

"You've been awful quiet lately," Cáno comments one day. He doesn't bother of looking up from his pages. "Mind telling me, what's wrong?"

Maitimo hisses in discomfort. It's not a surprise that Cáno corners him about his bad mood and since Curvo is sleeping cuddled against his chest like usual, he can't exactly get up and leave. Besides it wouldn't help. Cáno can be fucking persistent. Like a dog with a bone. He throws his younger brother a look. Cáno wears his hair open, having forgotten to braid it in the morning. If it was morning for him. His little brother has the habit of forgetting to sleep, when he's creating or writing music.

"It's about Findekáno," Maitimo finally says. "He has a new friend I'm not fond of. Wrote a few things in his last letter, which made me question myself."

The beauty of their relationship is that he doesn't have to explain himself to Cáno. His brother is pretty observant, despite his act as the eccentric bard he tends to set on display for everyone. A dramatic turn that makes his hair fly, a raised eyebrow with a look over the shoulder, his messy appearance or his tendency to pretend he's alone in the room. That's the person Cáno shows the Lords and Ladies, whenever he's in Tirion. Young, a genius, but otherwise harmless. Maitimo likes to judge people by the way they react to Makalaurë's 'I-am-harmless-and-it's-nice-to-meet-you-smile'.    

That being said, it'd have surprised him, had Cáno not known about Findekáno. Maitimo didn't exactly try to hide the fact that he spend most of his free time with Nolofinwë's son. 

"Are you concerned about the friend our cousin made or wondering if you took advantage of him?" Cáno asks.

The one thing that saves the younger Fëanorian from being strangled by his elder brother that Curvo is still fast asleep in Maitimo's arms. Since he can't do much else, Maitimo growls quietly and shoots Cáno a dark look. His brother sends him a teasing grin, knowing Maitimo's weaknesses far too well.

"Both," Maitimo finally admits, actually glad that's just Cáno who figured it out in the end. He doesn't want to know, what father would say to this. "I'm aware that I'm ... older than him."

As cocky as he had been back in Tirion, the doubt never quite went away. There are contrary opinions flowing around, regarding the age for marriage. Maitimo knew that the Vanya married young. Irimë got herself a husband, technically before the Noldorin Law saw her as an adult. Since she lived on the Taniquentil for years, Finwë finally allowed it, but insisted on adjusting the laws after the incident. Now the person either needed to be an adult, old enough to hold official positions, or they needed the permission of their parents. The last condition was added, because the Teleri kept protesting against the new laws. Among them, families tended to arrange an engagement while the children were still young, in order to have them get used to each other.

The Noldor ... never cared in particular, mostly because the Royal Family did as they pleased and ruled their people after their own fashions.

Maitimo has seen his father rant about his sibling's behavior. He'd also bet is right hand that Fëanáro is very glad that non of his children shows signs of marrying young. 

"The questions is, do you care about the age difference, because you're worried about influencing the little Nolofinwë or is that father's lecture you want to avoid?" Cáno throws him another question to mull about.

Fuck his little brother for being able to read him so easily.

"A little bit of both, I guess. Of course, father wouldn't be happy. But all I did was to teach Findekáno how it works. There's nothing wrong with that. Rather me, than someone else. I'm just concerned about who he's with right now," Maitimo hums. Just thinking back about the letters gives him an unease feeling. "I'm worried that he picked to wrong person, based on my behavior." 

For a minute there's nothing but silence. Curvo is still fast asleep and Cáno has stopped making notes. Maitimo doesn't bother looking over at his brother. He doesn't have to. They know each other. Cáno knows what Maitimo wants him to do. 

"Get me off babysitting duty for today," Cáno says after a while. "I'll have to get to bed early tonight." 

I love you, little brother. I love you, you know that?, Maitimo thinks, loud enough for Cáno to hear, since it's the only way to properly show his gratitude. Spoken words don't compare to the feeling of relief that floods through him. Since he can't hug him, because the slightest movement is bound to wake Curvo - cranky demanding little shit that he already is - Maitimo pours his heart into the brief connection between them.

"I know, Nelyo." The answer is a delighted chuckle and despite his outward appearance of  light amusement, Maitimo gets hit by a wave of ... warm - yes - love ... and idiot. "I know. Next time just ask right away." 

Maitimo entertains Curvo for the rest of the day, since Tyelko and Moryo are somewhere in the woods again. Playing games and only coming home, because Tyelko smells food in the kitchen. As promised, Cáno retreats into his own room soon after, going to bed even before Curvo does. Who, Nelyo has to discover, is far too smart for his own good, as his little brother keeps stealing strawberries under his nose. Grinning happily, when Nelyo finally notices the theft. 

Father's roaring laughter makes Maitimo think that he's probably worried for nothing. The unease in his gut is nothing more than his older-brother-sense acting out at the thought of Findekáno sleeping with another man. His cousin is fine and there's nothing to worry about. 

 

-

 

Maitimo is already out of his bed by the time Cáno screams his name. The wave of sheer terror wakes him first. He wraps his arms around his little brother, who sits in his bed, wide eyed and shaking. In the dark of the night his white eyes seem to be a bad sign. Their father appears in the door, just as worried. Obvious is, that he had been still awake. Working on a project of some kind, since his children have the right to demand his full attention during the day. 

"I need to get to Tirion," Cáno finally manages to say. "As fast as I can. Or else Findekáno is going to die." 

Thankfully no one questions Cáno's words. It's not the first time, he makes such an insane demand. But never before the situation has been so dire. 

Maitimo watches his little brother as he rides out of the gates. 

 

 

 


 

It actually takes a while for Maitimo to see Findkáno in person. Cáno's return prevents him from rushing to Tirion himself. His tale of how close Findekáno came to dying, while no one knows what exactly happened, spurs the older generation in a discussions if they should adjust the teachings of oswanë. What happened to Nolofinwë's son is a tragedy and wildly seen as an accident. 

But Maitimo doubts it. He looks down at the shaky smile, at the far too pale skin and Findekáno's thin wrists, when they finally meet again.

The feeling of being somehow responsible for this weights on him.   

"How are you feeling today?" Maitimo asks, gently but as normal as possible. "I'm sorry that I didn't come earlier, but after the stream of visitors you had in the last months, I wasn't sure how welcome I'd be. You must be sick of all the well-meaning visitors and distant relatives." 

"I wouldn't have minded having you for company," Findekáno says and takes Maitimo's large into his own and squeezes it. "On the other hand I'm glad you didn't see me like I looked before. I wasn't exactly the most handsome Elf around." 

True enough. It's been months, almost another year since the incident and Findekáno still looks awful and spends most of his time in bed. Cáno warned him that their cousin had a long road ahead of him. 

"I'll try my best not to pity you," Maitimo promises. He has suffered enough accidents himself and visited the Garden of Lórien more than once, in order to know how the road of recovery works. How hard it is to get back on your feet, when everyone is hovering over you. But he still has to ask, "Is there something I can?"

Findekáno leans against his shoulder, closing his eyes. He looks tired and with the dark circles under his eyes, Maitimo can guess that he hasn't been sleeping. From what Cáno has described, Findekáno's mind is a mess of twisted roots and poisoned rivers. His body reflects that state and the sight alone for Maitimo to get angry. Yet he fights down the urge, buries it under layers of practiced 

"Can you stay?" The question is barely audible and Findekáno doesn't open his eyes, as if he's ashamed to admit his weakness. 

"Of course," Maitimo answers softly and climbs into the bed, conquering the space as if it belongs to him already.

Findekáno lets himself be manhandled, until his head is resting on the muscled thighs. With a soft sigh, his cousin shuffles closer and soon falls asleep while Maitimo hums one of the numerous lullabies he has been taught over time. Perhaps it's the words or just his voice, but slowly his cousin relaxes. His breathing evens out until he's fast asleep and Maitimo is reminded a little of Curvo. Since the needs seem to be the same, closeness and attention, Maitimo stays.

It becomes a habit and no one protests, whenever they find Nelyo in Findekáno's bed. When he asks his cousin later, what actually helps him sleep, he gets a shrug as an answer. 

"When I fall asleep, I often don't know where I am. I keep losing any sense for direction. My mind is playing tricks on me, even in my dreams," Findekáno tries to explain. "Stone looks like water, but you neither drink nor walk on it. Sometimes the sheets feel wrong. Too soft, too hard, too warm or too cold. Something is always disturbing me. With you around, I can focus on your body. I just ... recognize it, even if I can't feel your mind."

Maitimo remains silent. He can only be patient and help Findekáno through this. Since he barely remembers, what happens before and doesn't seem to wish to know. Either way, Maitimo doesn't bring the former lover up again. If Findekáno doesn't have to remember the horrible lover, than Maitimo isn't going to drag it up again. 

But he keeps the letter, just in case. The ink fades over time and Maitimo asks a spell crafter to preserve it until the paper almost crumbles in his hand, but he doesn't let go. He can't throw it away. It's evidence of the unfathomable fact that someone wished harm upon his lover. From this moment on Maitimo is driven by the resolve that Findekáno should never suffer like this again. The innocent smile and the boundless energy Findekáno possessed before is gone. It might be decades until his cousin is no longer a shadow of his former self. For Maitimo, the event and its aftereffects change his world view.

He can't defend Finno from coming to harm and look away when it's someone else. 

Some of the older Ladies at court comment on that Prince Nelyafinwë has changed, that he's now s a handsome man, a noble figure with manners, who listens, smiles and get along with everyone, than most will disagree - and claim that the prince has always been perfect. The only one might being able to tell the difference, is Findekáno. Who snuggles with his cousin at night, wears shirts that don't belong to him and sleeps in a bed that's not his own, but Findekáno doesn't care. He's too busy discovering the texture of Nelyo's skin beneath his hand. 

End Notes:

As a reminder that the OMC is actual Melkor in disguise. I always planned a short relationship between them while Melkor pretended to be a friend, but I never managed to work the factor into it. Mostly, because Fingon isn't connecting the dots - or rather doesn't want to. For a clearer picture: Melkor set a trap inside Fingon's mind and when it went off, his inner structure collapsed. Without Maglor, Fingon would have died. Right now most 'corridors' that need to be used for oswanë and other things, are impassable or filled debris. Basically, part of Fingon is a permanent construction side.

This story archived at http://www.faerie-archive.com/viewstory.php?sid=1793