Idril and Maeglin meet in Valinor, where she gets to know him without Eöl’s curse.
Still, he apologizes for his actions under his curse, while she apologizes for prejudging him. The two of them actually start a strange sort of friendship, though they tend to meet only rarely. Maeglin lives deep in the woods, and Idril has trouble finding him.
So when they meet, it’s always Idril inviting him to her home.
They always meet at the edge of the woods. Idril would visit her cousin but Maeglin likes his privacy. He needs it since ... he’s still not over what Melkor did to him. Hiding in the woods gives him a sense of security. And while Idril asks him to come, Maeglin doesn’t always take her up on it. Tuor is slow to forget and Eärendil doesn’t know what to with him either. The silence in Idril's house is always an uncomfortable one because Maeglin never knows what to say. The house reminds him too much of Gondolin.
He prefers the deep dark woods.
Besides Maeglin doesn’t like people. The less the better. So he repairs his relationship with Idril alone. Slowly. At first the meetings are awkward, full of silences, angry words and hurried apologies. But they keep meeting and when they do they exchange little gifts - like new clothing for Maeglin who doesn’t buy his stuff in the town and fresh berries for Idril who appreciates the effort. It takes time, lot of time but together they mend, forget and forgive.
Sometimes Idril brings a relative with her. She wants Maeglin to be a part of the family. Properly this time. Outside of doomed history and prejudge.
She starts with Fingon because he’s the easiest to get along with. Her uncle knows his ways around words and wounded souls. It helps that he brings Maedhros with him after the first meeting. Maedhros who only needs a glance to know what keeps Idril's tormented cousin up at night and the Fëanorian provides good advice how to deal with nightmares. And phantom pain, apparently. Námo might have healed the scars but sensation of what has been might never go away. But Idril learns not to ask about these subjects.
While she might've lived in Beleriand, Idril knows that her story is one of the few which ended well. There are a lot of people worse of than her and she has learned that her sympathy comes across as pity too often. And pity is something Maeglin doesn't know how to deal with.
In Gondolin it came across too often as mockery.
Turgon is next. He desperately wants to forgive his nephew. But he waits until his daughter is certain that the sight of him won't scare Lómion into the woods for months. In the end Idril is there but she doesn’t listen the conversation her father and her cousin are having. Both look better - relieved - when they part again. What she doesn't expect is her father to break into tears when Elenwë asks how it went.
"He has forgiven me," Turgon cries, shaking. "I had his father killed and he forgave me."
Idril struggles with that revelation for a long time. She didn't know that Eöl's fate weighted so much on her father's soul.
One day, Fingolfin asks Idril to show him where Maeglin lives. His voice is soft but insistent. Despite her warnings that Maeglin hate intruders Idril brings her grandfather to edge of the woods and Fingolfin rides into the forest alone. Idril watches her grandfather disappear between the trees, recognizing the determination. It's the same that carried Nolofinwë across the Helcaraxë and brought him before the doors of Angband.
Perhaps this time the outcome will be less disastrous. Yet ... Idril knows of Maeglin's temper, his buried anger and his sharp tongue and fears for them a little.
To her surprise her worries seem unfounded. Fingolfin stays away for two weeks and when Fingolfin returns he’s smiling.
So does Maeglin when Idril sees him on their next meeting.
"What did he say to you," she dares to ask when they sit side by side in the grass.
"That he's proud of me," Maeglin whispers his response. When he speaks the words his entire soul lights up in a way Idril never got to witness before.
At the bottom of her heart she thinks, had she seen this smile earlier she might've been able to return Maeglin's love. But that's her sin, thinking he wasn't capable of such.
When Idril confesses her thoughts Maeglin laughs.
"I wasn't," he says and pats her on the back. "Not back then so don't grieve what could've been."
It doesn't take long for Anairë to make up her mind. She's determined to meet her grandson.
Fingolfin already has. Her husband returned with a new light in his eyes. It's been a long time ever since she saw him this happy. No matter that his dead kin was slowly returned to him, her husband always seemed to miss something. Always regretted not to have hugged their daughter's son at least once in his first life. So she she throws away her doubts, forces herself to forget everything she heard about the traitor so far and searches for her grandchild. Alone. Fingolfin doesn't stop her, knowing that she learned of Maeglin the Traitor long before before she realized that's Aredhel's child everyone was talking about.
Anairë finds the edge of the forest easily. She has vague descriptions of his husband - enough to find the hut, hidden between two great tress. It looks a little odd, not every Noldorin but Anairë suspects her grandson rebuild the home of his childhood. Apparently the only time in his life where he had known bliss and happiness.
Desperate to change that she's about to knock at the door when a voice stops her. Anairë turns around and spots her grandson's bewildered face. He lowers the hammer he was using to and leaves the forge, wonder in his eyes.
"Mother?" Maeglin asks and Anairë's heart breaks a little.
"Not quite, my dear," the Noldor Lady whispers, not able to hold back her tears. "But close enough."
Then she hugs him and doesn't let go for a very long time.
Argon is the first who manages Maeglin away from the forest. Argon has just been reborn and actually looks younger than Maeglin. Since Argon shows up with Idril one day and talks endlessly about seeing Tirion again. What a great and beautiful city it has become. How different it's from before. But since it's too far too go alone and everyone else is busy, Maeglin asks if he should accompany him.
The delighted look in Argon's face is enough to make Maeglin smile. With Idril he has always been the younger one. It's nice to feel like the big brother for once. Besides Argon is the first family member truly free of prejudge. They end up spending a lot of time together and after a few months Maeglin doesn't mind it anymore to have visitors drop by in his house.
Years pass before Eärendil finds the courage to face Maeglin. Between sailing in the sky and his unease he always tells himself that there's a next time. Until he reaches the point where a burning Gondolin returns to his dreams. But instead of anger he wakes up screaming Maeglin's name, seeing him tumbling over the cliff again and again.
So when Eärendil goes to meet the only uncle he has known in his life, he actually bursts in tears when he sees him. Maeglin immediately feels guilty but Eärendil wraps his arms around him and pulls him into a hug, sobbing into his tunic.
"I was a child. I didn't get what happen. All I knew that my favourite uncle was gone. Dead like the others." Eärendil explains when he finally calms down. "And in the War of Wrath I saw so much horror in Angband, so many prisoners of Morgoth begging for death that I never actually could blame you."
"I'm aware that Morogth would've found us sooner or later," Maeglin says, remembering what Námo told him. "So it's perhaps for the best that the role of a traitor fell to me in the end."
Because there would've been someone else. It tool Maeglin long enough to accept the fact. Chance brought him before Morgoth feet, not plan or design. Besides Morgoth wanted him to break. Wanted him to survive and take the role of the traitor. It wasn't his fault. He was just unlucky, according to Lord Mandos. What helps Maeglin in the end is the fact that there was someone who mourned him. It eases an ancient hurt in his heart and when Eärendil offers to spend a night with him in the sky, he agrees eagerly.
In the voyages on the Vingilot Maeglin learns that Eärendil likes to keep to himself as well. Surprisingly Idril's son is just as uncomfortable around people as Maeglin sometimes. Yet when they travel between the stars for weeks Eärendil says it doesn't mind Maeglin's company. These are the only words they exchange on this particular trip, otherwise enjoying the blissful silence.
Upon his return he has a visitor waiting for him.
According to the forest he just showed up in the forge one day, intend to wait until the Lord of the House returns. It takes Maeglin three days to guess his name. That the elf with the clever hands is Fëanor himself throws Maeglin off at first but in the end it's not as much of a surprise as it probably should be.
At first they don't talk much about their families. Instead they focus on their work, spending four glorious weeks discussing steel, swords, iron and all the other things that falls into their passions. Often they sit by the fire, either in Maeglin's hut or by the forge, drinking tea and exchanging stories, theories. Even regrets since both of them never ended up seeing much of Beleriand. Longing slips into Maeglin's heart when Fëanor speaks of the journeys with his sons, describes the untouched regions of Valinor. Another four weeks pass before Feanor attempts to leave and finally, finally Maeglin asks if he can come with him. He sounds unsure, hesitant and expects a rejection. But Fëanor smiles and extents his hand, offering Maeglin a new world. A new place to live. And people who won't comment on the blood he has on his hands.
The next time Idril wishes to see her cousin she finds the hut abandoned and empty. It's Fingon who points her into the right direction and Idril leaves immediately, worried for her cousin. She finds him outside of Fëanor's house, deeply involved in a passionate discussion with Curufin and Celebrimbor.
She leaves, knowing she isn't wanted right now. But the wild eager expression on Maeglin's face makes the trip worthwhile anyway.
Besides there aren't many people who can claim to have seen Curufin smile.
Years pass and Maeglin heals.
It takes time, a lot. Sometimes he still wakes up screaming but there's always someone around to sit with him if he doesn't want to go to sleep again. Usually it's Maedhros. What also helps that Celebrimbor and Maeglin share a forge now, right within the new Fëanorian district where Kinslayers roam the streets. No one there comments on Maeglin's haunted eyes or snarled words when he has a bad day. Instead their customers nod in understanding and offer to return another day.
Many have seen death themselves. Died violently. Among them Maeglin is just one of many victims.
Among the House of Fingolfin not everyone is happy with that decision, feeling uncomfortable that Maeglin chose to live to far away from them. But Idril ends the discussion by telling everyone, "At least he's longer living alone."
Even Turgon shuts up after this.
And when the day finally comes where Maeglin receives a black letter, he doesn't have to be coaxed into going.
Then it's him who's waiting at the edge of the forest.
It takes three days of waiting in the rain but when his parents emerge walking hand in hand, Maeglin falls into their arms. His mother calls him Lomion and Eöl sobs in relief when Maeglin embraces his father, muttering apologies. Maeglin knows that his parents will go back into that forest. That they aren't ready yet to face the world. But he doesn't mind.
He'll be back, waiting for them just as his family waited for him.