"Are you ready to try again?" Caranthir keeps himself hidden in the shadows as he watches Maedhros bellow the words at Fingon, who's kneeling on the cold floor. "I've grown tired of your antics, Findékano. This is the last chance. If you disobey one of my direct orders again, I'll send you back to your father and ask for a replacement that does better work than you."
Usually Maedhros bark is worse than his bite but this time the anger isn't just for show. Since his older brother doesn't suspect a witness he isn't holding back, towering over the Nolofinwion like the King he is. Caranthir raises an eyebrow as Fingon flinches, visible enough even from a distance. It means that the words hit closer to home than Fingon likes and Caranthir wonders, if it's better or worse that the verbal flogging of Fingon's latest mess is spoken in private - and not in front of the whole court.
Most of his brothers won't miss an opportunity to watch the King humiliate Nolofinwë's son in public. Curufin and Celegorm especially, after Orcs raided an entire town that fell under Fingon's protection. The fact that he has been outsmarted just added to Fingon's shame.
"How can I make it up you, my King?" Fingon says. Pain flickers through his eyes before he lowers his head again.
Caranthir smirks and crosses his arms over his broad chest. Good to know, the Nolofinwion rather faces disgrace before an entire gathering of Lords and Warriors than experience Maedhros obvious anger and his disappointing in a private meeting. It's so much more personal.
If Nelyo actually counted on that? Caranthir wonders. Such a reaction isn't difficult to predict, given how long they already know each other.
Of course the game of I-know-what-you-know is far more fun with brothers during a game of cards than with political adversaries. Caranthir bares his teeth, when Maedhros keeps lecturing Fingon in a low voice. His brother has to bend down to meet Fingon's eyes, but it has the desired effect. Fingon is reminded of the chasm that looms between them. Each hissed word hits a mark and makes clear that the days of friendship are over. Maedhros speaks to Fingon as a true King and he doesn't show any signs of mercy, when he lists Fingon's fatal decisions of the last battle. When he's finished Fingon swallows thickly and averts his gaze, because Maedhros eyes are burning, cold and judgemental.
Caranthir notes that Nelyafinwë is the exact image of their father right now.
The younger Fëanorian's attention shifts back the pair, when Fingon's word reach his ears.
"We used to be friends," the Nolofinwion says with a bitter tone in his voice. "What happened to us?"
The trembling hands becomes visible, before he clenches them into fists. Caranthir raises an eyebrow. It's not a secret that the young prince from the House of Fingolfin used to admire Fëanor's eldest. Confrontations followed and some members of the families wished for a better relationship between Finwë's sons, while other argued that it wouldn't do to manipulate children into keeping the peace between two feuding parties. By the time he grew old enough to understand, what's going on Maedhros and Fingon had long established a very public friendship and his brother never let it slip if he agreed to that policy or if someone had talked him into it.
For his own shake Caranthir clings to the belief that Finwë rephrased an explicit order into an almost polite request everyone knew not to disobey.
"Friendship. You may wish otherwise, but what's between us has always been a lie," Maedhros spats and Caranthir blinks in surprise. It's rare that Nelyo is this honest in his anger. "I was told to play nice and you reacted to my presence like a lovesick puppy."
"As far as I can remember, you never objected whenever I sucked you off," Fingon counters.
Caranthir's lips twitch in surprise. If Fingon is that honest with Nelyo, when they're alone than they have an interesting relationship. And had he known beforehand what would follow, Caranthir might have fled before it was too late. Might've.
"I'd say no, if you sucked me of right now," Nelyo says and walks up to Fingon, crossing his arms over his chest.
He's towering over Fingon, who's still kneeling on the ground. The height difference is magnificent and Caranthir hold his breath. The smart thing would be, if he turned around and left as quietly as possible. Yet he'll risk less detection if he remains, where he's. Besides, it might be good for the King to have a witness, in case this goes wrong. But Fingon doesn't even pull a face.
Instead his features are expressionless, when he bends forward and licks over Nelyo's crotch.
His brother's low groan echoes through the hall and Caranthir leans against a pillar, makes himself comfortable, because such display of power isn't something he sees everyday. For Fingon follows Nelyo's lead, when a hand grabs his hair and he's directed towards the bulge again. The other hand pulls down his pants and his cock springs free. Until now Caranthir couldn't truly say, if Fingon participated on his own free will, but the eager moan falling from his lips is quite telling.
"Come on, Findekáno. You can do better than this," Maedhros urges his cousin on as he starts moving his hips.
Fingon has his lips wrapped around Nelyo's dick and truly looks as if he's enjoying himself. As if he's content to kneel before his King and doesn't mind to have his face fucked. Caranthir decides that he doesn't want to know, how far will Fingon allow Nelyo to go. Using all the tricks Tyelko taught him about stealth, he heads towards the door and somehow manages to slip through unnoticed.
What he doesn't expect, is Maglor waiting outside with his arms crossed over his chest and a devious smirk on his face.
"Quite a surprise that you didn't flee earlier," Maglor says, destroying all hope for Caranthir to deny what he has just seen. "You just left right before the fun part begins."
"I'm not sure if I want to know," Caranthir groans. "But an explanation would be nice. I would've expected more jealousy from you."
For Maglor could get ridiculous possessive over Nelyo and among the Fëanorian's at least, their relationship was an open secret. The only reason why they hadn't been discovered yet, because Nelyo had learned how to be discreet and the two eldest had always spend every free minute is each other's company anyway. But a lot had changed, ever since Nelyo became Highking. An unwed prince is one thing, an unwed Highking without an heir something else entirely. Far too often Caranthir had to calm down his seething brother, while a maiden attempted to get the Highking's attention.
So Maglor doing nothing, while Nelyo was alone with Fingon of all people, is minor shook indeed.
But the older Fëanorian just shrugs.
"Fingon never mattered. At least not in a way it'd count," Maglor says and glances towards the door. "Besides he can live out a few preferences with Findekáno, I'm not overly fond off. I see this as a stress relief for our dear brother. He hides it well, but Angband fucked with his head a little."
"And Findekáno? He's married, has a son. How does he fit into all of this?" Caranthir wants to know.
Maglor loses the smirk and studies the door, as if he could see through it instead. He probably knew better, what Maedhros was currently doing with Fingon. No doubt that Maglor had watched them before, several times, no matter how relaxed he may appeared.
"I can't begrudge Findekáno for loving Nelyo. Our positions could easily be reversed. I could be the one pining and he the lucky elf, who holds Nelyo's heart," Maglor answers with unexpected honesty. "But these meetings are also to keep Nolofinwë in line. Our dear uncles knows far too well that his son would never act against our brother. With Irissë's marriage to Tyelko and Arakáno's insistence not to get involved, there ain't a lot what he can do."
"Ah," Caranthir hums.
Now this made a lot of more sense than Maglor freely tolerating Fingon's antics, because he could how alliances among the Noldor could shift, if Fingon regarded his father's word more than Maedhros'. Fingolfin had never been happy that the Fëanorians kept the crown after coming to Beleriand, but with the House of Finarfin being firmly on their side, his hands are tied. And not even Nolofinwë would risk an act of open treason, as long as the majority of the Noldor stood united behind Finwë's oldest grandson.
"Just what are getting the Arafinwion's out of this?" He mumbles to himself.
Since his own realm lies in a remote area of Beleriand, he deals more often with Dwarves than with Elves.
Thankfully Maglor has an answer even for this.
"Angrod and Aegnor support our war against Morgoth. They see Nelyo as the better military commander," his brother explains. "In return Nelyo granted them seats among the council and allows Finrod to call himself King of Nargothrond, as long as he's still loyal to the crown."
Caranthir nods, "Convenient."
Maglor's smirk returns. "It's far easier to let Nargothrond govern itself. Finrod just doesn't need to know that father practiced this for ages among our followers. But with Finrod on our side, we gained Turgon as well. He might not like Nelyo, but he's too focused on stepping out of his brother's shadow by building his own city to even think about staging a rebellion."
"So all of this is just politics?" Caranthir points towards the door. The muffled cries coming through it, make him equally curious on uncomfortable, "What happens if Fingon decides that he has enough?"
Maglor's dismissive gesture isn't exactly comforting as he says, "Not gonna happen. Nelyo knows how to play Fingon like fiddle. But if should he ever grow immune to our brother's charms, after our cousin decided to marry, I might add, there's always Gil-galad."
Caranthir's eyebrows travel towards his hairline.
"Not quite what you think.We're going to invite him to become a knight in the Highking's court as soon as he's old enough," Maglor laughs. "The boy is going to be a valuable political hostage and it doesn't matter that Nelyo would never even think about touching him. Fingon would assume it anyway and throw himself at Maedhros' feet to keep his place in fear of being discarded entirely."
With a groan Caranthir buries his face in his hands. This far too much political drama for his taste. He rather fights Orcs everyday than to have to deal with this. Fortunately he doesn't get to reply, because the door creaks and a dishevelled Fingon steps out, only greeting them with a nod when he limps past them. He truly looks as if Nelyo fucked every ounce of rebellious attitude right out of him.
"I hope you had fun and spanked his naughty little ass," Maglor purrs, when Maedhros joins them after a little while.
Maedhros smiles and gives Maglor a quick kiss, before he shakes his head, "Next time. It's more effective, when he knows you're watching."
The light in Maglor's eyes makes Caranthir realize, why Maedhros will never take a wife. Heir or no heir, Beleriand already has a powerful Queen. He feels almost sorry for Fingon.