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

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It was mostly Maglor's fault. Maedhros had fully anticipated falling asleep as soon as he got to bed. He had not expected to find his brother, book in hand and headphones on, seated comfortably on his bed at 1:30 in the morning.

"I thought you went to bed hours ago," Maedhros said, when he caught sight of him.

Maglor pulled his headphones off. "I wanted to talk to you."

"You've been up here, waiting to talk to me, all this time? Why didn't you just come get me?" Maedhros asked, sitting on the edge of the bed. Maglor scooted over and sat, cross-legged, book and headphones now in his lap. Maedhros moved to mirror his position, smiling at the memories it brought. How many times over the years had they ended up just like this at the end of the night?

"I didn't want to make it obvious. I assumed you would be up here sometime, although I was starting to wonder if you were going to make it back to your room," Maglor said, his eyes on his brother, his expression concerned. He went right to the point. "What's with them spending the night, Maedhros?" He looked puzzled now. "You practically freaked out when I told you this might happen and now you're fine with it?"

"It's not like Fingon's spending the night in my room, Maglor. I wasn't going to drive them home in this weather and for once Tyelko showed enough judgement to not do it either. You were the one who said the roads were awful," Maedhros tilted his head and gave Maglor a questioning look of his own. "What's really bothering you?"

Maglor shifted his legs around. "I know the roads are shit and it makes sense for them to stay. But still. He's here. Just down the hall. You're ok with that?"

"Trust me, he's not going to try to sneak into my room. Not that he would anyway but I did tell him. He knows," Maedhros explained.

"All of it?"

"No, not all of it," Maedhros voice became a little sharper but then he sighed and hunched his shoulders forward. "I couldn't tell him all of it." He looked directly at his brother. "He knows enough, for now. He knows about the nightmares and what I'm likely to do if I wake up during one."

"And he was fine with that?"

"Completely." Maedhros smiled and Maglor was surprised at how young his brother suddenly looked. "It was no big deal to him. I thought . . . well, I don't know what I thought he'd say honestly . . . I just expected the worst, you know?"

"I know," Maglor said drily.

"Shut up. You know what I mean," Maedhros continued, a slight flush of color on his face. "Maglor, it didn't faze him at all. He just thanked me for telling him and then said we can work through this." He shook his head and Maglor felt a sudden wrench in his chest at his brother's expression. He looked so hopeful. He really couldn't remember the last time he'd seen that look on his face. He pulled himself back to what Maedhros was saying. "And . . . and . . . I'd like to think maybe . . . maybe we can work through it. Together." He gave Maglor a crooked smile and the tension Maglor had been holding onto over the last few hours started to slip away.

"Ok, start at the beginning. I need to know everything. How did you manage to tell him?" Maglor asked.

He listened to Maedhros' rendition of the day, his breath catching when he heard about the botched skating attempt and the back story on that.

"So, you see, once I knew that, I thought he would understand," Maedhros said. "I just told him."

Maglor nodded. "You think you'll tell him about the rest?" he asked softly.

Maedhros frowned, the crease in his forehead deepening as he thought. "I think I can . . ." he said slowly. "I just don't know if I can do it right now."

"You really like him, don't you?"

"It's more than that," Maedhros said, his voice hushed. "Honestly, I've never felt like this about anyone ever . . . he makes me feel . . . I don't even know if I can put it into words—like I could tell him anything and he'd be here for me, no matter what. That I can trust him. And that he appreciates me, despite everything. I know I'm rambling, I can't really figure out how to say it."

"I get it. Have you told him that? How you feel about him?" Maglor asked.

"No," Maedhros made a face. "No. I'd want to be open about everything before I tell him that. It's not fair otherwise. It's not honest. If I'm going to be open about my feeligs for him I need to be open about all the other stuff—no halfway."

"Has he said anything?" Maglor decided to keep going. Maedhros was more talkative than he had expected.

Maedhros shook his head. "No . . . I mean we've both mentioned how this isn't like other relationships we've had but nothing more than that." He looked thoughtful again for a moment. "It's been different though, these last two times." A smile came over his face and Maedhros flushed again. Maglor was struck once again by how young his brother looked. He'd never seen this kind of fond expression on his face, even when they were teenagers and confessing long-ago crushes to each other.

"You know how he was always kind of flustered at first?" Maedhros asked. Maglor nodded. "Since last week he's not like that—there's more confidence, he's bolder about what he says, he doesn't get all nervous or stumble over his words like he did." Maedhros' eyes had a soft, far-away look. "It was cute when he was rattled but it's so much better now."

Maglor rested his chin on his hand. Maedhros was far gone, that was obvious. He felt like he should be worried about it but it had been so long since he had seen Maedhros look so content that he couldn't really muster the will to question it. Maedhros had looked a bit like this when he had decided to open the bookstore. It was one of those rare occasions that he chose to just enjoy his brother's happiness for a moment.

It was too much to expect it to last. Maedhros' eyes widened as Maglor watched him and his face paled. "Shit!" he exclaimed.

"Bloody hell, Maedhros!" Maglor said irritably. "You actually looked happy for a minute. What did you just realize—something you need to be distressed about that isn't your responsibility again?" Maglor's face clouded over with frustration.

"Shit. Bloody hell," Maedhros said, ignoring him. "I can't believe I missed it. I didn't even say anything."

"Care to explain what the fuck you are stressing out about now?" Maglor growled.

"Fingon. Damn it." Maedhros grabbed a pillow and crushed it in his arms, burying his face as he continued to mumble into the depths of it.

"I don't know why I even bother," Maglor muttered. "Valar above, Maedhros. One minute you're all misty-eyed about him and the next you're swearing incoherently. What are you going on about?"

"What he said. I totally missed it. I was thinking back on the good part of the day and it hit me. I didn't even acknowledge it." Maedhros' face popped up out of the pillow and then went back down.

Maglor took a breath and counted. Maedhros would get to the point eventually. He knew his brother. He had to get through the part where he berated himself and Maglor just had to be patient, which was why he was counting. It was always risky getting angry at Maedhros—he would either clam up completely, which was more likely, or he would explode into a white-hot rage of his own. It was rare that he did that, but it was best avoided.

He had just counted to thirty-two when Maedhros' face lifted off the pillow again, his eyes wide and clouded with regret. Thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five, Maglor said to himself.

"Maybe I'm reading it the wrong way," Maedhros said. "But I don't think so. He's so forthright I can't think of any other meaning."

Forty-two, forty-three, forty-four. Maglor was not going to interrupt him.

"So, you know, after I told him, we had . . . well, it was just a nice moment, ok?" Maedhros said.

Fifty-two, fifty-three, fifty-four. Maglor's nails were digging half circles into his palms. He really wanted his brother to get to the point but there was no use in intervening now. He just had to wait for Maedhros to get it out at his own pace. Sixty-one, sixty-two, sixty-three.

"So, I said 'this is where I've wanted to be'," Maedhros said, color coming back into his face as he spoke. "And then he said 'this is where I always want to be' and I didn't think about it at the time but. . ." Maedhros frowned as his eyes met Maglor's. "But when I think about it now it seems like he was saying a whole lot more."

Those would make good song lyrics Maglor thought. He'd been writing a love song—pointless of course, but that was what he did—composed songs. The melody was all worked out but he'd been struggling with the lyrics—he hadn't wanted to be very obvious with the words. These phrases of Maedhros and Fingon's would work well at subtly conveying the emotions.

He shook his head and pulled himself back to Maedhros, sitting in front of him, looking dejected. "What did you say to him?" Maglor asked.

Maedhros groaned, face buried in the pillow again. "That's the problem," he mumbled. "I didn't say anything back. I didn't acknowledge it at all. I didn't even kiss him."

Maglor thought about what he could say to make his brother feel better but all he came up with was "Oh."

Maedhros glared at him. "That's it? That's all you can say? I've found someone amazing, who cares about me, who basically tells me just how much he cares about me and I miss it and the best you can do for me is 'oh'? I thought you were the one who was supposed to be good at this!"

"How am I supposed to be good at this? You're the one who's so great with words. I can write songs but you know I've always sucked at relationships. You know that," Maglor retorted.

"It's never stopped you from giving advice. You've been all over me with suggestions about my relationship with Fingon," Maedhros snapped.

"I said I'm not good at them. I never said I wasn't good at observing them and pointing out the flaws," Maglor said.

The brothers stared at each other for a moment before they both burst into laughter, the tension in the air dissipating.

"Observing others and pointing out their flaws is your specialty," Maedhros said.

"Well, you'd already cornered the market on being a guilt magnet and shouldering outrageous responsibility for things beyond your control," Maglor pointed out. He reached across and put his hand on his brother's arm. "It'll be ok. With everything else that went on today I think he'll understand why you might have missed that."

"You think so?"

"I'm sure. It was subtle anyway." He watched his brother for a moment and then spoke again, quietly. "What would you have said? If you'd realized it at the time?"

"Oh," Maedhros' eyes widened. "I don't really know. I'd probably just have kissed him."

"Seems an appropriate response." Maglor continued to study his brother. "Do you feel the same way?"

"Do I love him, you mean?" Maedhros said, his fair skin changing color again. "I haven't known him all that long," he hedged. Maglor just kept looking at him. Maedhros looked down and picked at a thread on the pillow. "I think I could," he finally said. "I think I could let myself."

Maglor leaned forward. "I think you already have."

The crooked smile was back on his brother's face and Maglor had never been happier to see it.


There was a muffled thud and the mattress bounced. "Wake up, Finno," Aredhel's voice said, just above his head.

He mumbled into the pillow and ignored her. She shoved him. "Come on, wake up! It's stopped snowing, it smells like pancakes and it's time for you to get up!"

Groaning, he sat up. She grinned at him as she sat cross-legged on his bed, watching him rub his eyes and run a hand through his messy hair. "Fine, stay here then. I'm going downstairs for breakfast." She hopped off the bed and looked down at him.

"What are you wearing?" he asked, eyeing her loose t-shirt and plaid flannel pants.

"I found these in the drawer in my room. Unlike you, I didn't pack anything." She winked at him and picked up his backpack from the floor. "So, is this staying over a regular occurrence?" Aredhel asked, throwing Fingon's backpack on the bed.

Fingon stood up and took the backpack with him. "No, it's not a 'regular occurrence.' It just seemed like a wise idea to be prepared—what with the weather and the train schedule."

She gave him an appraising look and raised one eyebrow.

"The answer is no," he finally said, sitting back down and rummaging through his backpack for clean clothes.

"So, you aren't sleeping with him?"

"Didn't I just tell you that? Not that it's any business of yours anyway." He dropped the bag on the bed again and looked up at her. "I told you I'm not rushing into anything."

"Ok," Aredhel said as she sat down on the bed next to him again, bumping his shoulder. "Do you have to go back any specific time today?" she asked, moving to the next topic on her mind.

"No, no plans. Why?"

"Tyelko said maybe we could go cross country skiing or ice fishing today. I was hoping you didn't have to go back early."

"Sounds cold," Fingon said. "I think sitting by the fire sounds like a much better idea." He gave her an affectionate look. "But I know how much you love being outside."

"I've never ice fished," she said. "Too bad there's so much snow on the lake it would be fun to . . ." she stopped and her brow creased as she looked at Fingon. "Sorry, never mind," she added quickly.

"It's frozen enough to skate," he said. "But there's probably too much snow on the surface."

Aredhel gave him a puzzled look. "How do you know it's frozen enough?"

He fell back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. "I went on the lake yesterday," he admitted.

"What?" Aredhel's face filled his vision as she leaned over him, concern on her features. "You did what?"

He exhaled loudly and closed his eyes. "Maedhros had planned a skating day. I didn't have the heart to tell him—he looked so excited."

"You seriously went skating, Finno?" Aredhel's voice was shaky.

He opened his eyes. She was next to him, on her side with her head resting on her arm, worry broadcast all over her face.

"No. I tried to go skating. I failed miserably." He turned on his side, mirroring her position. "I was trying to play it cool, not let on that I was freaking out and I ended up having a complete panic attack." He shook his head. "I should have just told him but I was too embarrassed, I guess."

Her blue eyes met his and she reached over to brush the hair off his forehead. "There was never anything to be embarrassed about and you know it. I'm proud of you for trying, Finno." Her expression became serious. "What did he do when you freaked out?"

"Maedhros? He was incredible. He just took care of me—got me out of the skates, back to the house. Never even questioned me on why I panicked. I told him everything once we got inside." Fingon smiled at his sister. "Like I said, I should have said something as soon as he mentioned skating."

Aredhel studied him. "You really like him, Fingon." It wasn't a question, the way she said it, using his full name.

"Yeah, I do. I really do. I think . . ." he paused. "Let's just leave it at that," he said.


Aredhel had been correct about the pancakes but it was actually Tyelko cooking, not Maedhros. He had a stack already on a plate when Aredhel and Fingon arrived in the kitchen. Maedhros was pulling plates and glasses out of the cupboard. "Good morning," he said. "Tyelko decided to impress you with his mad pancake skills this morning," he said, smiling at his brother.

Aredhel rested her head on Tyelko's shoulder briefly. "Cooking too? How did I get so lucky?" she laughed, as Tyelko rolled his eyes at her.

Fingon's eyes met Maedhros' and both their faces lit up.

They were soon gathered around the kitchen table, eating the enormous stack of pancakes Tyelko had prepared.

"Where's Maglor?" Fingon asked.

"Still sleeping," Tyelko answered. "He's not really a morning person."

"I heard that," Maglor said, wandering into the kitchen, yawning. "Mmm. Pancakes. Trying to impress the guests, Tyelko?" He nodded at Aredhel and Fingon. "Thanks to you we get a real breakfast today."

It didn't take long to finish the meal and they soon found themselves on the sofas in the family room, Maedhros lighting a fire, while Aredhel and Tyelko decided what the plan for the day should be.

"There's so much fresh snow," Tyelko said. "No use trying to skate but we've got cross country skis if you're up for it, Aredhel?" He put his arm around her and she rested her head on his shoulder. "Or we can just go hiking in the woods. I'm sure we've got snow gear somewhere in the garage that will fit you, don't we Maedhros?"

"There's some in the garage and loads more in the closet in the laundry room. Mom never gets rid of anything. The twins' old snow pants should still be there and some boots too, I think," Maedhros said.

"Too bad there aren't enough of us to scrum," Tyelko said, grinning. "It would be perfect for that."

"You mean play rugby? In the snow?" Fingon asked.

"No, it's this ridiculous game we came up with years ago," Maglor explained. "It's a lot like rugby but it really doesn't have any set rules. It's mostly an excuse to just get outside and beat the hell out of each other."

"Sounds fun," Aredhel laughed.

"You're all home next weekend for the holiday, right?" Tyelko asked her.

"Yeah, we'll be at my parents," she answered.

"And we'll all be at Mom and Dad's, right Maedhros?" Tyelko asked his older brother.

"That's the plan. We should be there through Christmas, if we survive without killing each other first," Maedhros replied, moving to sit next to Fingon on the sofa now that the fire was glowing brightly.

"We should meet at Thargelion Park next weekend!" Tyelko said. "It's not far from your house. You two can come and bring your brothers and we can all meet you there. It'll be great."

"I'm up for it!" Aredhel said.

Fingon looked up at Maedhros, as he leaned into him. "You working next weekend?" he asked.

"No, I took Friday and Saturday off. Erestor will be at the store. I'll go in on Sunday," Maedhros answered.

"So, let's plan it," Tyelko said. "It'll be great."

"And I'll get to meet these other brothers of yours," Aredhel said, bumping Tyelko.

"They're not that interesting," he said. "They're even bigger pains in the ass than these two."

"Didn't you say you were going out, Tyelko?" Maglor asked.

"Right." Tyelko stood, pulling Aredhel up with him. "Let's see if we can find you some snow gear." He looked at the others. "Anyone up for heading outside with us?"

Fingon shook his head. "I'm fine right here by the fire," he said.

"Doesn't seem like that's the only thing keeping you warm, but I get it," Tyelko laughed, seeing he'd successfully made the color rise on both Fingon and Maedhros' faces. "Come on, Aredhel, we'll leave the old folks sitting by their fire." He was out of the room before the pillow Maglor threw at him made contact.

Maglor excused himself soon after, muttering something about some song lyrics he wanted to finalize, leaving Fingon and Maedhros alone on the sofa.

Fingon leaned his head on Maedhros' shoulder. "Getting rid of them was easier than I thought it would be."

Maedhros laughed as he looked down at him. "Now why would you be interested in getting rid of them all?" he asked, one eyebrow raised and a brilliant smile on his face.

"So, I can do this." Fingon shifted and his lips met Maedhros'.

They were soon stretched out on the sofa, Fingon resting against Maedhros' chest, much as they had been situated in the window seat the day before, Maedhros' arms wrapped around him, his lips gently brushing Fingon's forehead from time to time.

"Mmm. I could stay like this all day," Fingon said.

"I've got no plans," Maedhros responded, then held him a little tighter. He could say it now—something like what Fingon had said yesterday—but he held back. He wanted to speak, to say just how much Fingon meant to him. He hadn't contradicted Maglor last night. He did feel the same. But it just wasn't something to admit before he was completely candid with Fingon. He might be fine with the nightmares but that wasn't the only baggage Maedhros was bringing to their relationship. Better take it step by step. He didn't have to say the words yet.

Fingon's voice broke into his thoughts. "What's your week like?" Fingon asked.

"The usual. Work during the day. Off Friday and Saturday like I said," Maedhros answered. "What about you?"

Fingon turned in his arms. "Absolutely nothing," he grinned up at Maedhros.

"Nothing?" Maedhros asked. "What are you going to do to fill all that free time?"

"I was hoping you could help me with that," Fingon said, the grin far more of a smirk now.

"What did you have in mind?" Maedhros had a fond look on his face.

"Mmm. I thought something like what we're doing now. But with a lot less people around."

"Less people would be good." Maedhros brought his face closer to Fingon's and found his lips. Their mouths and tongues moved over each other, slowly, each movement a tender exploration.

"That would be good too," Fingon said, when they paused to take a breath. His face was serious now. "I meant what I said last night, Maedhros."

Which part, Maedhros wondered, momentarily flustered, thinking back on his realization of the night before. Fortunately, Fingon kept on talking.

"I was thinking," Fingon said, a bit hesitantly. "I was thinking about what you said yesterday."

"What did I say?"

"What you said about the nightmares. How they're worse in unfamiliar surroundings." Fingon paused and Maedhros waited for him to continue, his pulse beginning to speed up a little. "I see how staying over at my place would a bad idea. I totally get that and I agree with you." His eyes found Maedhros' again. "But I thought maybe if we started with familiar surroundings, it would be easier."

He had said something like that last night too. "Go on," Maedhros said, not trusting himself to say more than that.

"So, since I don't really have anywhere to be I thought I could try to stay here some nights—if that's ok with you, of course," he added hurriedly, a little frown on his face now.

"Go on," Maedhros repeated.

"Did you take Psych freshman year?" Fingon asked, completely changing the subject.

"What?"

"Did you take Psych freshman year?" Fingon repeated.

"I did," Maedhros answered slowly. "But I'm not sure where you're going with this," he said hesitantly, a frown coming over his face now. He'd met with psychologists about it and he really didn't like where this conversation was going. He didn't want Fingon badgering him to try a counselor again; he'd done that. It hadn't worked. He may as well tell Fingon that. It would be difficult to keep off the subject of the reason for his nightmares if they kept talking like this. He shifted his body on the sofa. He could feel his head beginning to throb. Reluctantly he continued, his voice clipped and sharper than he intended. "Listen, I've tried to work through it. Really. I've tried counseling. I've tried meds. It didn't help."

Fingon had noticed Maedhros' arms becoming more rigid again, his body tensing. He hesitated but then kept going. They needed to talk this through. "Do you remember the part about exposure therapy?" Fingon continued, bypassing Maedhros' comments about counseling.

This was not what Maedhros had expected him to say. "Exposure therapy. Yeah, I remember that. What about it?"

"It's basically repetitive exposure to the triggering context, in a safe surrounding." The tension in Maedhros' arms hadn't lessened any. "Seems the idea of having me there is what's concerning you." Fingon kept his eyes on Maedhros. "The way I see it we are just going to have to get you so used to waking up to me that you don't lash out, because it's so familiar to have me in your bed," Fingon said, his eyes darting away now as his face colored again.

"What?"

"It's what I said last night—familiar surroundings. It happens to you less in familiar surroundings you said, so we're controlling that variable—hopefully less frequency of the nightmares. All the other variables are constant. The only difference we'll introduce is me." Fingon colored a little more as he continued to speak. "If I'm there when you fall asleep, finding me there when you wake up won't be as unexpected, right? If you keep falling asleep with me there, and waking up with me there, then I become one of the constants, just like everything else in your room. So eventually the likelihood of a nightmare should be no more frequent than if you were sleeping alone." Fingon's face was a mixture of concentration and hope.

"You'll become a constant . . ." Maedhros repeated. His head was throbbing even more.

"Right. So, then the only thing we can't control, as expected, is your response when they do occur. You didn't say if anything in particular triggered them—we can certainly avoid anything that does. So, we know you have them, that waking you up during them is a bad idea and that waking up in general can lead to a violent response on your part, depending on the situation. You've determined having someone in your bed would likely result in a violent response when waking up." Fingon frowned. "Do you have experience with that or are you hypothesizing based on your experiences having your brothers wake you up?"

Maedhros' head was spinning. It sounded so clinical when Fingon described it. Facts and responses, expected outcomes and variables. Not like the chaotic mess it actually was. He blinked down at Fingon. He had missed the point of the last question. "Experience with what exactly . . ." he asked faintly.

Fingon turned a deeper shade of red and glanced away as he answered. "Have you had someone else in your bed and had that kind of violent response when you woke up to them there? Are you basing that on actual experience or just assuming the worst?"

It was Maedhros' turn to blush. "Ah. I um, well, I haven't had anyone test that hypothesis out in so many words." He closed his eyes and made his answer more direct, his face on fire now. "I haven't gone to sleep with anyone there." He cleared his throat and tried again. "I've had . . . oh well, shit." He paused and then plowed forward. "I've had sex but I've never let myself fall asleep with someone there or let myself fall asleep at someone else's place. If that's what you're asking."

Fingon's eyes darted back to him, a slight look of amusement in his eyes. "That wasn't exactly what I was asking, but it answers my question."

Maedhros dropped his arms from around Fingon, let his head fall onto the sofa behind him, closed his eyes and groaned. "I cannot believe I just said that."

Fingon dropped his head on his chest and Maedhros could feel the vibrations running through him. He was laughing. He tilted his head up and looked at Maedhros. "That's not usually how I ask someone about their past relationships," he said, before burying his face in Maedhros' chest again and continuing to laugh. "Ok, that was totally awkward," he said, his voice muffled, "but at least we got it out of the way." He made eye contact with Maedhros again. "What I'm trying to say is this: I'm willing to come over and spend the nights with you, to see if you can get used to having me around. I know what not to do, based on what you've told me. If the nightmares come, I let them run their course. If you start flailing around, I get out of the way." A smile came over his face. "And if we feel like doing anything else to pass the time, then that works too."

"Anything else?" Maedhros said.

"Anything at all," Fingon replied. "I know you're worried but I can handle this. Really. Trust me?" His voice had become just a little shakier as he said those last words.

Maedhros dropped his forehead to rest on Fingon's. "I trust you," he whispered. "It's me I'm worried about."

"I'm not," Fingon whispered back. "We've got this. If you're ok trying, that is?" His voice was so very low but Maedhros caught the words.

"I'll try anything for you," he whispered back.




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