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I'll Be Yours If You'll Be Mine by NelyafinweFeanorion

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Author's Chapter Notes:

Mentions of past trauma/mild flashbacks this chapter. My continued thanks to Cheekybeak! More notes at end of chapter. 





 

It was a very one-sided conversation, Azaghâl decided. Even Classics Department gossip and cute stories about Narvi had elicited no more than monosyllabic responses from Maedhros, if that.

Azaghâl had been looking forward to this weekend for months; not only to see Bor celebrate his wedding and to reunite with so many grad school friends but mostly for the chance to spend some time with Maedhros. He and Maedhros had been roommates for years and friends for even longer than that. Azaghâl's work as adjunct faculty at Cuivienen and Narvi's birth had significantly limited the amount of time the old friends had to spend together any more.

He missed Maedhros. Their rapid-fire debates, scorching banter, heart to heart conversations. He had really been looking forward to this time.

But Maedhros was preoccupied, silent, withdrawn. It made Azaghâl uneasy. He had lived through the events four years ago and this Maedhros sitting next to him in the car today bore more than a passing resemblance to the one he had tiptoed around for weeks back then.

It was obvious something was bothering him and in typical stoic, infuriating, Maedhros fashion he would attempt to struggle through it on his own. Also familiar territory.

Azaghâl didn't think Maedhros had even noticed that he had stopped talking. He stole a glance at him, noting his tight-knuckled grip on the steering wheel and that all-too-familiar crease marring his forehead. He glanced at the clock. They had two more hours of driving ahead of them. He should be able to dig it out of Maedhros before they reached Brethil.

"Hey, Russandol," Azaghâl said, using the nickname he had bestowed on Maedhros upon first meeting him in their Latin class freshman year and that Maedhros only tolerated from him.

No response. "Russandol!" he said a little more forcefully.

Maedhros' eyes flicked over to him. "You need a rest stop?" Maedhros asked.

"No, I need you to actually talk to me. Have you heard anything I've said the last hour?"

"Of course I have," Maedhros said, frowning. "I'll have my hands full next time I babysit if Narvi's walking now."

"You saw her walking when you picked me up so you get zero credit for that answer," Azaghâl said. "What's going on? You aren't yourself today."

"I'm just tired," Maedhros replied.

It was Azaghâl's turn to frown. "Are you sleeping? Is it the nightmares again?" Azaghâl asked quietly.

"No," Maedhros said, too quickly Azaghâl thought.

"Maedhros. You don't have to cover with me. I was there, remember?" Azaghâl said. "Are you still having them?"

"Not so much," Maedhros admitted. "I've got some things on my mind. Sorry I let my thoughts wander."

"So, what's on your mind?" Azaghâl looked at Maedhros searchingly. "We've got hours before we get to Brethil and I'm all ears. Spill."

Maedhros sighed. "Do you always have to be so persistent? You know how irritating that is."

"You know the answer to that. Stop sidestepping the question. What's going on?"

"I met someone . . ." Maedhros began, then paused.

Azaghâl's eyes lit up. "You did? Come on, tell me!"

Bit by bit Maedhros told his friend about Fingon, the words coming more easily the longer he spoke.

Azaghal nodded at all the right places, made sounds of agreement periodically and asked a few questions.

"So you haven't seen him since you walked out the other night?" Azaghâl asked, once Maedhros had gone silent again.

"No. I've texted him a few times. I said I'd call this weekend."

"Then you should," Azaghâl said. "There'll be plenty of down time."

"I will. I told him I would. I just don't know what to say," Maedhros said.

"You haven't told him, have you?" It was more a statement than a question the way Azaghâl said it. He had a good idea what Maedhros' answer would be.

"No, I just haven't been able to do it," Maedhros said, which was exactly the answer Azaghâl had anticipated.

"Would it be easier to tell him on the phone, rather than face-to-face?" Azaghâl asked.

"Ugh. No. Both options are awkward," Maedhros said. "Anyone who is close to me already knows so it's just difficult to figure out where to even start."

"Start at the beginning. That's usually what makes the most sense."

"Thanks, Azaghâl. Now why didn't I think of that?" Maedhros snapped. "You know what I mean. It's one thing to say 'I have freaky nightmares and can get a bit violent if I wake up suddenly' and another to go into the whole wretched reason for the nightmares in the first place. And admit I don't have any control over them."

"Why does it matter?" Azaghâl asked.

"Why does what matter?" Maedhros was perplexed.

"Why can't you just say that? That you have nightmares in unfamiliar surroundings and being startled awake can cause you to have intense reactions?" Azaghâl questioned. "Why do you have to go into the whole backstory?"

"But it's the reason why . . ." Maedhros said.

"Why do you need a reason? You don't have to justify anything. It's just something that happens to you."

"But that wouldn't be honest," Maedhros protested.

"Ha!" Azaghâl exclaimed. "Gotcha!"

"What?"

"How can you be caught up in this whole 'honest answer' thing when you aren't being honest at all right now?" Azaghâl said.

Maedhros opened his mouth to respond and then abruptly closed it. He gave Azaghâl a sidelong glare. "You and your logic class."

"Leave my logic class out of this. You've tied yourself up in knots over this thing. You can give the simple reason with no backstory but you've somehow decided that isn't being honest," Azaghâl explained. "But not saying anything is being even more dishonest. Willfully dishonest. Quite the conundrum you've set up for yourself, Russandol."

Azaghâl shook his head and continued. "Relationships are founded on trust, communication and honesty. So far you're striking out on all three of those." Azaghâl's voice softened as he looked at Maedhros' distressed face. "You can fix this. First—trust that he's going to listen and understand. From what you've told me about him so far that sounds like a no-brainer, am I right?"

"You're right," Maedhros agreed. "He's a really good guy."

"Ok, so that's taken care of. Communication—that's the next one. You have to actually talk to him about why you've been reluctant to stay over and what he needs to be aware of, if and when you do," Azaghâl continued.

"Ok," Maedhros interrupted. "But what about the third one—honesty?"

"Not a problem. You tell him about the nightmares. You tell him about your reactions. You tell him what to watch out for. And that's it, for now," Azaghâl suggested. "You can go into the rest of it when you're comfortable. Take it step by step. There's nothing dishonest about that."

Maedhros didn't reply. Azaghâl leaned over. "Hey," he said. "I didn't mean to give you a lecture."

"No, it's ok," Maedhros said slowly. "It makes sense." The crease on his forehead had faded and he had more color in his face, Azaghâl noticed. "You really think that's enough though, just telling him about them without going into the rest of it all?"

"It's far more honest than you're being now. It's enough." Azaghâl looked at Maedhros. "Why should the reason matter?"

A bitter look crossed Maedhros' face. "Because I never should have let myself get in that situation in the first place."

Azaghâl stared at him. "You bear no responsibility for that. We've been through this. There was nothing you could have done to prevent it. It wasn't your fault."

"I could have listened to my mother. I could have been more careful."

"Russandol. Stop it. Stop taking responsibility for things that are beyond your control," Azaghâl growled. "You didn't cause this."

"But I should be in control of how I respond to it, Azaghâl. And I'm not. I never have been," Maedhros argued.

"Listen. We've been through this before. I can't believe you're still blaming yourself," Azaghâl was frustrated now. "It wasn't your fault. It isn't under your control. It never was. You didn't make it happen. It just did." He glared at Maedhros. "And no one else is ever going to think you're responsible, no matter how much you might."

Maedhros just stared at the road ahead of him.

Azaghâl tried again. "If you think Fingon is going to think less of you, if you tell him the backstory, then you're a bigger idiot than I thought."

Maedhros gripped the steering wheel tightly but did not respond.

"Russandol."

"What? What do you want me to say, Azaghâl?"

"Anything would be better than nothing."

"Fine, you want me to say something? I can't stand anyone pitying me. I don't want to see that look in his eyes, where he feels sorry for me. I couldn't take it. Not from anyone, but especially not from him."

"That's why I said don't tell the backstory. You don't need to. Not now." Azaghâl struggled to find the right words. "Maybe someday, when you know each other better, when you actually trust him enough to know he wouldn't do that."

"You really think just telling him about the nightmares will be enough?" Maedhros asked, his voice very low.

"It's better than telling him nothing, you know that," Azaghâl replied, his voice just as soft. "You think you can handle doing that?" Azaghâl asked.

There was silence for a few moments.

"I think I can do that," Maedhros said quietly.

They drove a few more miles before Azaghâl broke the silence.

"When do you see him again?"

"I've invited him out to Formenos next weekend," Maedhros said.

"Ok then. You've got a plan," Azaghâl said agreeably. "So can you stop moping now and actually try to have fun this weekend?"

"I was not moping," Maedhros argued.

Azaghâl grunted in reply.

"Fine. I was a little preoccupied, I'll admit that," Maedhros stated. "And I really didn't hear that much of anything you said before," he confessed in a low voice.

"I know. It was obvious, Russandol." Azaghal leaned back in his seat. "So do you want to hear what Rumil said at the last staff meeting?"


In the hotel bar after the groom's dinner Azaghâl had predictably bought the first round of shots but it was Maedhros who uncharacteristically bought the second round. And the third. Which was why Maedhros was now leaning unsteadily on his former roommate's shoulder as they made their way back to their hotel rooms.

Maedhros was far taller than Azaghâl but his friend was barrel-chested and stocky— being far more muscular than Maedhros he had no trouble holding him up, despite his height.

"You ok, Russandol?" Azaghâl asked as Maedhros fumbled with his keycard.

" 'M fine," Maedhros mumbled, closing one eye as he leaned against the wall in an attempt to steady his hand. He successfully got the card in the slot but it escaped his notice that it was upside down. Azaghâl took the keycard from him and slid it in the correct way, then ushered Maedhros into his room.

He immediately flopped onto his bed, kicking his shoes off. Azaghâl took a glass from the minibar and filled it with water from the bathroom tap. He set it on the nightstand next to Maedhros. "Drink that."

"Think I've had enough to drink," Maedhros slurred, closing his eyes.

"You'll feel better in the morning if you drink it," Azaghâl insisted, moving to open the door between their adjoining rooms.

"Where you going, Az?" Maedhros lifted his head slightly off the bed.

"Getting you some Motrin."

Maedhros sagged back and then groaned as the room resumed spinning. He closed his eyes again, even though it didn't help much. This was why he didn't drink he reminded himself. Too late now.

"Maedhros," Azaghâl's voice was far too loud he decided. He opened one eye and saw Azaghâl standing next to the bed. "Sit up and drink this. Then you can sleep." He handed Maedhros three capsules from the bottle in his hand as Maedhros sat up unsteadily. He swallowed them down. "Finish the water," Azaghâl ordered.

"You're too bossy," Maedhros complained.

"That's what I always told you," Azaghâl retorted.

"You always drank too much," Maedhros replied.

"And you're still a lightweight. What possessed you to drink all those shots tonight? That's not like you."

"Dunno. Seemed like a good idea at the time." Maedhros slumped back on the bed and waved his arm around vaguely. "Help me sleep."

"I'm going to leave my side of this door open. I'll close yours but if you need anything just come get me, ok?" Azaghâl said.

" 'K."

Maedhros heard the door close. He stayed on the bed, periodically opening his eyes to confirm that the room was still spinning, until the moment he realized his drinking hadn't only gotten him drunk but had also made him really have to take a piss.

He wove his way to the bathroom, relieved himself, one hand on the wall behind the toilet to steady himself. He splashed his face with water and then headed back to the bed. He patted his pants pockets in search of his phone and momentarily panicked, swaying by the bedside, when he couldn't find it.

"Shit." He blinked and slowly looked around the room, not daring to move his head too quickly. Where was his jacket? He finally spotted it, on the floor by the bed. He sat down on the bed and gingerly reached down to grab it.

There it was. He pulled his phone out of the pocket and touched the screen. Damn it. He'd missed two texts from Fingon.

FINGON: Project turned in!

FINGON: Hope you have a great weekend. Good night.

Maedhros swiped to reply and his finger inadvertently touched the screen a second time. Instead of pulling up the text message thread he accidentally speed dialed Fingon's number. He briefly considered hanging up but by the time he focused enough to push the button he could hear Fingon's voice through the phone speaker.

"Hey, Fingon," he said, then realized the call had gone to voicemail. He'd have to say something—he couldn't just hang up now. He put the phone to his ear and collapsed back onto the bed.

"Hey. Just got your texts. Nice to hear your voice even though it's the recording. You've got a really nice voice. I really like your voice. I miss your voice, Finno. Mmm. Miss you." Maedhros paused. "Miss lots of things 'bout you. Wish I'd asked you to come with me. Rather be with you. Don't care 'bout anyone but you." He frowned. "But you wouldn't be with me now, would you. Couldn't share a room. Know you think I'm weird that way. Not weird. Maybe I am weird. Just don't want to hurt you, Finno. Like you too much. Well, not too much. Never be too much with you." He opened his eyes, then closed them again as the room continued to spin. "Never felt like this 'bout anybody before. Haven't messed it up, have I? Tell me I haven't messed us up. I don't wanna mess this up." Maedhros sighed. "I want this. I want you. I just wanna be with you. Next weekend seems so far away."

"I want it to be good next weekend. Don't want to mess it up. Don't let me mess it up, ok? Gotta to talk to you, gotta say some things, make you understand. Been an idiot. Won't be any more. Az says I've got to do better. I'll do anything, Finno."

Maedhros put his hand up and rubbed his forehead, where his head was beginning to throb. "Better go. Probably sounding like an idiot. Too much to drink. Sorry I missed you. I do miss you. Good night, Finno." Maedhros scrabbled to hang up the phone. He opened his eyes again and sat up to set his phone on the nightstand. He ran his hands through his hair, thought about getting undressed and then decided that was way too much work. He got under the covers and turned off the light. He was asleep a few minutes later.


It had been good to see Bor and the rest of his grad school friends at the wedding. Maedhros had finally let himself relax. He was now back in the hotel room, getting ready for bed. He had steered clear of the alcohol tonight, having learned his lesson the night before. It had taken half the day for the headache to clear.

His phone pinged as he was brushing his teeth. He checked it as he sat on the bed.

FINGON: Hope you are having fun. Have a good night. Miss you too.

Maedhros smiled. He didn't recall having told Fingon he missed him, even though he did. It was nice to know that Fingon felt that way. Fingon had continued to text him every night before he went to bed. Maedhros looked forward to that brief contact, even though it was rarely more than a few words and a good night. He smiled down at his phone and texted back.

MAEDHROS: Miss you too. Good night.

He connected his phone to the charger and placed it on the nightstand before turning the light off so he could go to sleep.

He woke up panting, his heart racing, tearing the sheets his arms were tangled in off of him. He sat up on the side of the bed, turned on the light and bent over, head between his knees to still the nausea and trying to slow down his deep, gasping breaths.

Darkness. The feel of his arms pinned behind his back. The flash of pain in his right shoulder. He kept his eyes open so he could see the light and concentrated on his breathing. It was just a dream again. Just that same dream.

The nausea began to fade and he was able to sit up. It had been awhile but it seemed he was never going to be completely rid of them, was he?

He made his way to the bathroom, splashing cold water on his face. A face in the mirror that was pale, shadows under his eyes.

He eyed the door by the dresser as he walked back to his bed. Azaghâl was in the room next door. He knew Azaghâl had left the adjoining door open on his side. He had said as much to Maedhros when they parted in the hallway earlier in the night. Maedhros had nodded, brushing it off as unnecessary information. Well, it was still unnecessary. He was fine now.

He looked at the clock on the nightstand. 4:12 am. He rearranged the sheets and blankets and sat back down on the bed, leaning his head against the headboard.

It was ok. He'd gotten through it. It had been awhile and even he had held a glimmer of hope that perhaps it wouldn't happen again, perhaps it was finally, mercifully over. But it wasn't, was it? It might never be. A chill went through him and he burrowed under the blankets, staring up at the hotel room ceiling.

He had come to terms with it just being a part of him. Or so he had thought. If there was anything he wished he could change about himself it would be this.

It had been lingering in the back of every interaction with Fingon and he hated that. He wanted this relationship to keep moving forward. But that would eventually mean intimacy. And with intimacy came risk.

He closed his eyes. He let himself imagine what it would be like if Fingon were lying next to him. If Fingon's blue eyes were the last thing he saw before falling asleep. If Fingon's arms were around him, his head tucked under Maedhros' chin.

He wanted that. He wanted that so much. The contact, the comfort, the companionship. He could feel it. He could let it happen.

The mental image abruptly changed and instead he saw Tyelko, clutching at his face, blood dripping from his nose onto the white sheets. And in his mind Tyelko's face transformed to Fingon's. Maedhros opened his eyes and sat up, his heart pounding again.

The possibility of that occurring held him back. Fingon would be understanding. Fingon would be kind. But for how long? Anyone sharing Maedhros' bed long term would be subject to that risk. Each time.

Would Fingon have to explain those bruises to Aredhel? His broken nose to Turgon? To his mother? Would they believe Fingon's story? Or would they look at Maedhros with suspicious eyes, worried that something more sinister was taking place?

He couldn't bear that train of thought. He angrily rubbed away the tears that had started to form in his eyes. It was selfish of him to want this.


 




Chapter End Notes:

Cheekybeak raised the question of whether Fingon's phone would cut off Maedhros' voicemail due to the length of it. I can confirm it would not-having read all of Maedhros' drunken ramblings into my phone voicemail to check, much to the bewilderment and amusement of my kids, who I had not realized were listening to me while I was doing it.




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