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

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Thanks to Cheekybeak for the feedback.

Maedhros woke in the middle of the night, momentarily surprised to find himself still sprawled on Fingon's chest. A week ago he could never have imagined having someone in his bed all night, let alone in such close proximity. What a difference a week made.

What a difference Fingon made, he amended. He never would have dared any of this if Fingon hadn't suggested it, hadn't believed in him, in them, in this relationship.

Fingon's heartbeat was slow and steady below him, his body cooler than before. Maedhros shifted position to pull the covers over them and moved to Fingon's side now, curving his arm around his waist.

It would only be a few days and they would be here together again. He was looking forward to that. They would somehow find time to see each other in Tirion and being with family would provide some distraction, at least for a little while.

A smile crossed his face as it dawned on him that he didn't need to take Fingon to the station in the morning. With all three of them driving to Tirion he didn't need to wait on Maglor or Tyelko; he could sleep in, take Fingon with him when he went to the store to speak with Erestor and then drive him up to Tirion himself. This day was already looking better.

He shifted a little closer to Fingon and brushed a kiss into his hair. Maybe sleeping in wouldn't be all they would do this morning, he thought, warmth flooding over him as he considered it.

He breathed in the scent of Fingon's hair and closed his eyes.

They had been awake for some time, sharing languid kisses. Fingon was tucked under Maedhros' chin, tracing lazy circles on his bare chest. Maedhros' arm was warm and solid as it curved around him.

They had woken slowly, to the sun filtering into Maedhros' room, their bodies just touching at first before moving closer together instinctively. They were content to be like this, Maedhros' brothers' voices in the hall an effective antidote to any more exuberant physical activity.

"So," Maedhros said, his fingers gently twining in Fingon's curls. "Maitimo?"

Fingon groaned and buried his flushed face in Maedhros' shoulder.

"No, stop. I like it, really I do. I was just curious as to where it came from," Maedhros continued.

"I just came up with it," Fingon mumbled into Maedhros' shoulder, resolutely not looking up. "Your brothers call you 'Mae' and I liked it but it didn't seem right for me to call you that too."

"But I call you 'Finno'," Maedhros pointed out. "And your sister calls you that," he continued slowly. "I just made things weird, didn't I?" Maedhros said, his voice causing Fingon to look up at him. He was wide-eyed and looked a little stunned.

Fingon shoved him. "Stop. You did not make things weird. I'm used to Finno—I like it when you call me that. It's more . . . intimate when you do it." He paused and then groaned again. "Ok, yeah now it's weird." He buried his face in Maedhros' shoulder again, laughing this time.

He looked up a moment later, meeting Maedhros' silver eyes with his own. "So, anyway, like I said, I liked Mae but felt weird calling you that. Finrod was going through some linguistics work at home one night and it just seemed like 'Maitimo' sounded right."

Maedhros pressed a kiss to his forehead, then looked down at him with an amused but fond expression. "You do realize I know what it means, right? I had to take those linguistics classes too, you know." He laughed as Fingon yanked the sheet up to cover his now scarlet face. "You'll have to tell me if you think it's accurate or not," Maedhros added, eliciting a muffled curse from Fingon.

He pulled a corner of the sheet down and Fingon's flushed face emerged, glaring at him now. "I wasn't really thinking clearly at the time," he said hoarsely.

Maedhros grinned. "I can understand that. I wasn't thinking quite clearly then either."

Fingon made an irritated sound then discarded the sheet; he ran his hands through his hair as he shook his head. "You do realize how embarrassing this is, right?"

"To you or to me?" Maedhros asked. "That's a tough name to live up to." He turned on his side, facing Fingon, and traced a finger along his exposed shoulder. "But I do like it."

"I would say 'well-shaped' fits you just fine," Fingon said, turning to face Maedhros. "At least from my cursory examination. I may have to do further research into the matter. You know, to confirm my hypothesis." His grin made Maedhros catch his breath and then Fingon's lips found his again.

They made it to Beleriand before eleven, Fingon at his side as he went in search of Erestor. The part-time student he had hired a few months ago was manning the desk. Erestor was deep in conversation with a customer, near the back of the store, amidst the history books.

"I can't say I've heard of that one, but I'd be happy to look online and see if I can order it for you," Erestor was saying. He caught sight of Maedhros and nodded at him but kept his attention focused on the customer. "Why don't you come up to the desk with me and I can look it up." He raised an eyebrow at Maedhros as he walked by, the customer following him. "I'll be right back, Maedhros," he said.

Fingon and Maedhros made themselves comfortable in the armchairs in the middle of the store, as Erestor tapped away at the front desk computer. "And here I thought you were going out of your way to be nice to me, when I first came in looking for a book," Fingon said. "But it seems like you provide that level of service to everyone." He couldn't keep the grin off his face as he said it though.

"Not everyone," Maedhros grinned back. "I don't provide free rush shipping to just anyone," he said with a wink.

"I knew you'd done that! I even asked you and you just asked me out for coffee instead."

"Would you rather I charged you the two-day shipping?" Maedhros questioned.

"I'd have paid it and still treated you to coffee, you know."

"But I couldn't be sure of that, could I?" Maedhros said, his eyes taking on that soft look that Fingon loved.

"No, you're right," Fingon admitted. "I could barely string a sentence together around you then."

"Hey, Maedhros," a voice interrupted them. Maedhros looked up to see Erestor approaching them. He stood up, Fingon doing the same.

"Fingon, this is Erestor, my store manager, right-hand man and the reason I have days off." He nodded at Fingon. "Erestor, this is Fingon."

"I finally get to meet the reason you want all those days off," Erestor said drily. He shook Fingon's hand. "Nice to meet you. I'm glad he's finally found a reason to take some time away from the store. He just gets in the way when he's here too much," Erestor deadpanned.

Maedhros groaned. "He gets these ideas," Erestor explained to Fingon. "They make no financial sense half the time. What you get when you have a Classics PhD try to run a business," Erestor's fond look contradicted his verbal indictment of his employer.

"I happen to like his ideas," Fingon said loyally.

"At least someone does!" Erestor said. "What's up, Maedhros?" he asked, turning his attention back to him. "Aren't you supposed to be doing the family thing today?"

"I'm leaving for Tirion from here. I just wanted to check in about a few things before I go-some deliveries that are supposed to be coming in, things like that," Maedhros said.

"We get deliveries every day, Maedhros. I think I've got that part of the job figured out," Erestor said.

Fingon studied Maedhros' manager. He was not as tall as Maedhros but had similar coloring to Maglor, with dark hair and grey eyes. He certainly had a much more serious countenance. He didn't look like someone who laughed much, Fingon decided.

"Fingon, would you mind grabbing a couple of cups of coffee, for the road?" Maedhros asked.

"Oh, yeah, sure. Be right back."

Erestor raised an eyebrow at Maedhros as Fingon walked away. "I can see why you've been so preoccupied."

"Shut up, Erestor, you're getting to be as bad as my brothers," Maedhros said. "Listen, I'm waiting for a package from the UK. It's an architecture book. The tracking has it as 'arrived in Tirion' but the blasted thing hasn't been delivered yet. It's my Christmas present for Fingon. Can you text me if it comes today? I'll be back Sunday but I want to know either way. With my luck it won't come in until Monday and I'll have to drive out to get it next week." He looked around but Fingon was still by the coffee machines, fitting lids onto their cups.

"Don't worry about it, Maedhros. I'll let you know if it gets here today. If it doesn't turn up, I'll bring it to you when it does. You know I live in Tirion-it's no big deal for me to drop it off." Erestor bumped his shoulder. "I'm on it, no worries, ok? Just have fun. If it doesn't show up by Monday I'll call up to the post office in Tirion. I don't mind being an asshole to them about it. It'll be fun."

"You have a strange definition of fun, Erestor," Maedhros laughed.

"To each his own. I'll text you. Don't worry about it." Erestor cracked an unexpected smile before making his way back to the desk.

Fingon came up, two coffee cups in hand. "All good?" he asked.

"All good," Maedhros replied. "So do you feel like grabbing some lunch when we get to Tirion?"

"I've got nothing to do today except pack a bag for Mom and Dad's and make it to their house by four," Fingon said. "I'm all yours until then."

"I can't tell you how much I like the sound of that," Maedhros grinned.

Tirion Saturday morning: Thargelion Park

"So what do you call this game again?" Aredhel asked Tyelko as they walked to the snow covered playing fields in the park near her home in Tirion.

"It doesn't really have a name, " Tyelko admitted. "We started playing it years ago and it's just gone from there."

"So it's like rugby?" she asked.

"Similar," Maedhros said, as he and Fingon walked near them. "The point is to get the ball across the goal line," he continued. "But it doesn't matter how—you can throw a pass, run it in, kick it across, pick up another player who is carrying the ball and toss them past the goal line, whatever."

"So how do you stop someone?" Fingon asked.

"Any way you can except no face grabs," Tyelko explained. "You can tackle, check, trip, push, block, whatever works but no face grabs." He grinned at Aredhel and threw his arm around her shoulders. "Got to protect our good looks."

"Not that we haven't ended up with black eyes and teeth knocked out," Maglor grumbled.

"Unintentional, Mags, you know that," Tyelko stated. "You can't predict where an elbow will end up on a tackle. It's the intentional face grabs that are illegal, not the accidental hits."

"Is Azaghâl going to show up?" Moryo asked Maedhros, as they walked.

"No, he and Telchar are spending the holiday in Belegost, with his family," Maedhros answered.

"Damn. Az rocks at this," Moryo replied. "He's usually the only one who can take Tyelko out."

They reached the fields and stood in a close bunch. Fingon's brothers were there in addition to Aredhel, along with Maedhros and all six of his brothers.

"Why the snowballs?" Turgon asked, looking curiously at Amrod and Amras, who were now on their knees at either end of the field, making large piles of compact snowballs.

"Winter modification," Maedhros explained. "We came up with that when the twins were too little to play. They sat on the sideline and pelted anyone within reach with snowballs. Distraction tactic."

"It makes scoring more challenging if you get hit with a face full of snow," Curvo added. "So we kept it."

"I'll take one team and Mae can take the other," Tyelko stated. "Moryo, Curvo—you make the goal lines. The twins will have the snowballs ready at each side line." He looked around at his remaining brothers and Fingon's family. "You pick first, Mae," he offered.

"I should probably just take everyone who hasn't played before," Maedhros said thoughtfully.

"No, that's not fair," Maglor objected. "You'll get creamed. They'll learn better if they're with veteran players."

"Fine, I'll take Fingon," Maedhros said, putting his hand on Fingon's shoulder.

"You sure you wouldn't rather have him on my team so you can have a good excuse to tackle him, Mae?" Tyelko asked with a grin, enjoying the faint blush his words brought to both Fingon and Maedhros' faces. "That's why I'm going to let you have Aredhel."

Aredhel shoved him and he staggered in the snow. "I wouldn't want to be on your team, Tyelko! I'm here to whip your ass." Aredhel laughed as Tyelko enveloped her in a hug and kissed the top of her head.

"We'll see about that. Fine, then I'll take Curvo." Tyelko looked down at Aredhel fondly. "You'll never know what hit you," he warned her.

"I'll take Aredhel," Maedhros said.

"Moryo," Tyelko replied.

"Maglor," Maedhros said.

"Turgon," Tyelko added.

"Argon," Maedhros said.

Tyelko frowned. "No, then it won't be fair—I'll have to take the twins." Aredhel gave him a puzzled look. "They have to be on the same team or they cheat—they look exactly alike so they play both sides when they're on different teams. That's why they dress the same when we play. It's super annoying," he explained.

"Shut up, Tyelko," both twins said, in unison, as they returned from their snowball endeavors.

Tyelko ignored them. "I'll take Argon, Mae. You take the twin terrors. That makes it more even."

"How does that make it even?" Fingon questioned. "We have one more on our team this way—we've an odd number of players," Fingon pointed out.

"Yeah, but you have Maglor and he sucks, so it's a wash," Moryo said, as he rejoined them.

Maglor punched Moryo in the arm. "Watch out, Moryo. You might find yourself with a face full of snow."

Maedhros rolled his eyes at his brothers. "All right—my team this way." They moved to one of the goal lines Moryo and Curvo had stomped into the snow, the cleared line of brown, wilted grass making a stark contrast to the white surrounding them. "Maglor, you are on snowball duty." He gestured to the pile of snowballs on the sideline. "Ok, so the rest of you—Tyelko usually carries the ball. If he comes close enough Maglor will nail him with snowballs to the face to slow him down. I'll try to get the ball from him and the rest of you just block the others for me. Don't bother trying to tackle him-it'll be like hitting a brick wall."

Maedhros pulled his hair up and out of his face as he spoke, securing it into a ponytail. Fingon watched him, following the line of his neck as he tilted his head, mesmerized by the sight. He shook his head and pulled his attention back to the instructions Maedhros was barking out. "Any of us can score if we cross their goal line with the ball. Pass anywhere, anytime. Watch out for Moryo—he'll trip you. Curvo likes to come from the side or behind to smack the ball out of your hands." Maedhros looked over his team and flashed a fierce smile at them. "Ok, scrum time. Let's do this!"

Even fifteen minutes of play later it still seemed like complete chaos to Fingon. Tyelko had scored on his first run but they had managed to keep him mostly blocked since then. Maedhros flipped the ball to Aredhel, who dodged Curvo, shoved Moryo with a shoulder block while Maedhros rammed into Tyelko, to keep him from tackling her.

It didn't slow Tyelko down enough. He threw Maedhros off and barreled right into Aredhel, head down. He grabbed her around the waist, threw her over his shoulder, ball and all. Maedhros yelled at her to toss the ball to Fingon, to anyone, but Tyelko ran her all the way past the goal line and went down in a tumbled heap with her in the end zone, before she could throw it to any of them.

"Score!" Moryo yelled, as he and Curvo high-fived each other.

"How is that a score?" Fingon asked. "He didn't have the ball."

"He had her and she had the ball," one of the twins explained. "It's not how you get it across, it's just that you get it over the line."

Aredhel was pelting Tyelko with snow as they lay in the end zone. He leaned over and kissed her in a vain attempt to get her to stop. "You bastard," Aredhel said, dumping more snow on his head and kissing him back.

"Come on, Tyelko," Moryo shouted.

"Seriously, Tyelko—I'm going to call the score back if you keep doing that," Maglor grumbled.

Tyelko pulled Aredhel up and they all converged at the center of the field for another scrum, with the exception of Argon and Maglor who were replenishing their dwindling snowball arsenals.

This was a ridiculous game, Fingon thought, as he shoved against Curvo in the scrum, but he loved the wildness of it. Aredhel wrestled the ball away from Moryo when she managed to successfully kick him in the shin. Maedhros took off down the field to get in position to catch her throw. He was running backwards, calling out to her that he was open as he neared the far goal line.

He hadn't noticed Turgon had fallen back, near the end zone, behind him. Just as Aredhel went to throw to him Argon nailed Maedhros in the face with a snowball, his glasses plastered with snow temporarily blinding him.

No way he can make a catch now, Fingon thought, as he raced down the field, next to Aredhel, trying to block Curvo from reaching her.

Maedhros shook his head to unsuccessfully try to dislodge the snow coating his glasses and yelled to Aredhel one more time. Turgon, seeing the snowball hadn't effectively stopped him, tackled Maedhros from behind, grabbing his arms and pinning them behind him.

Fingon heard Curvo swear and swerve away from Aredhel, running towards the far goal line instead. "No, Turgon!" Tyelko bellowed, as Maglor echoed his words from their end zone, both of them racing towards Maedhros, the pursuit of the ball forgotten.

Fingon was momentarily puzzled, as he didn't think that was an illegal move-Moryo had done that same thing to him on the last play. He caught sight of Maedhros then and he slowed to a stop.

Maedhros exploded in Turgon's arms, throwing his head back wildly to smack him in the face, his legs kicking out to trip him and his now freed arms whirling to elbow Turgon in the abdomen and face. Turgon went down in a heap, blood streaming from his nose, Maedhros straddling him to pin him down. His red hair was floating around his face now, escaping his pony tail; his glasses were gone and his chest was heaving.

"Hold on, Mae," Tyelko reached him first and with Moryo's help pulled him off Turgon.

"What the hell?" Aredhel barked, kneeling in the snow next to Turgon, as Fingon slowly came closer. Argon dropped down in the snow on Turgon's other side and helped him sit up. Fingon mechanically searched his pockets for his abandoned hat and tossed it to Argon, who used it to stem the flow of blood still pouring from Turgon's nose.

Fingon stood there awkwardly, halfway between Turgon and Maedhros, his eyes darting back and forth between them. He couldn't seem to get his legs to move; even if he did get them moving he wasn't quite sure which one of them he should be walking towards.

Moryo and Tyelko had their hands on Maedhros' shoulders as he knelt in the snow, Maglor standing in front of him and gently stroking his hair, murmuring words Fingon couldn't hear.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Maedhros was saying over and over, shaking his head as if to clear it and breathing heavily. Moryo and Tyelko let him go but the rest of the brothers had formed a protective circle around him. Tyelko walked over to Turgon.

"You ok?" he asked.

"Yeah, but what the hell?" Turgon said indistinctly, as Argon held a handful of snow to the bridge of his nose.

"Sorry, man. I didn't think to warn you not to grab Mae from behind. It's . . ."

"Enough, Tyelko," Maedhros stood near Turgon now and reached a hand out to help him up. "I'm so sorry, Turgon," he said, his face so contrite and pale that Fingon thought he actually looked worse than Turgon, even with his brother's snotty, bloodstained face. "I'm so sorry," he repeated again. "It just startled me . . ."

Turgon was standing now, holding Fingon's bloodstained hat to his nose. "I'll be fine," he said.

Fingon noticed Maedhros' brothers were still clustered close together, looking at Maedhros with expressions ranging from concern, to worry, to pity flashing across their faces. Maglor had moved to Maedhros' side again, the others hovering nearby. One of the twins was holding his glasses.

"You ok?" Fingon asked Turgon, taking a step towards his brother, bringing him nearer to both Maedhros and Turgon now.

Turgon pulled the bloody hat away. The bleeding had stopped but his face was streaked with blood, snow and snot. "Yeah, I'm fine. I just thought anything goes in this game."

"It usually does," Maedhros said. "I am so sorry. You caught me by surprise but I never should have lashed out like that."

Turgon gave him a long look. "It's ok. It's probably safer for me to be on your team next time."

"I think we probably should get Turko home," Argon said. "Ice packs will work better than snow."

Fingon took another step. He squeezed Turgon's arm reassuringly; then he turned and reached out to touch Maedhros lightly on the arm. "Call me later?" he said to him quietly. "We are still on for dinner, aren't we?"

Maedhros gave him a miserable look, embarrassed and frustrated in equal measure. "It's ok if you'd rather not tonight," he said, his voice low and strained.

Fingon looked up at him with a frown. "Why would I rather not? Come on, Maedhros. It was an accident. Things happen, especially in games like this. I've done worse to him myself." He put his hand on Maedhros' shoulder and stepped even closer, his words for him only. "I can't wait to have you to myself tonight. I'll call you." He went on tiptoe and brushed his lips to Maedhros', not caring that it was in front of all of Maedhros' brothers and his own siblings.

Maglor gave him a grateful look. Argon's eyes widened in surprise but he was wise enough not to say anything. Fingon felt Maedhros' cold fingers brush by his own briefly and he reached to grasp them firmly. Fingon smiled up at him reassuringly and squeezed his fingers, his other hand still resting on Maedhros' shoulder. "I'll call you," he repeated, slowly sliding his hands away. He joined his waiting siblings, turning back once to raise his hand to Maedhros in farewell.

Maedhros watched him until he was out of sight, then without a word to his brothers, he strode over the trampled snow in the direction of home. Maglor exchanged a knowing look with Tyelko and nodded once before taking off after Maedhros.

He slowed his pace when he reached his brother, trying to match his strides to Maedhros' longer ones. He knew better than to say anything; there was nothing he could say right now that would make Maedhros feel any better and a multitude of things that might make him feel worse.

They were almost at the house before Maedhros even glanced at him. Maglor knew their brothers were purposefully staying far behind, giving them as much privacy as possible before they all ended up back at home. It had been years since Maedhros had reacted this way-not since the early days of his recovery.

But they had all known what to avoid, after the first few times it happened. It was never a good idea to approach Maedhros from behind. Maglor cursed as realization hit him; no wonder Maedhros had suggested taking all of Fingon's family on his team. This never would have happened if they had just listened to him and realized why he had suggested that. They should have known better. Maglor should have known better-Maedhros wasn't going to spell it out for them, not in front of Fingon's family or Fingon himself. They didn't know. But Maedhros' brothers knew; they had failed spectacularly at reading him today and at protecting him from something like this happening.

Maglor swore again, not realizing it was out loud this time. "It's not your fault," Maedhros said, eyes straight ahead and his pace picking up again.

"It most certainly isn't yours," Maglor replied, pacing faster to keep up.

Maedhros turned to look at him, his face rigid and his eyes cold. "Of course it's my fault. Who else's fault could it be, Maglor? I'm the one who freaked out. I'm the one who hit Turgon. I'm the one who knew better but went along with it because, once again, I mistakenly thought I could handle it." His voice rose, the tone harsh and unforgiving. He turned his gaze forward again, fists clenched at his sides.

"We didn't listen. I didn't listen. I know why you suggested having all of them on your team-I didn't get it at the time and that's my fault." Maglor sighed. "I let you down. Again."

They walked in silence for a few more minutes, turning the corner to their street before Maedhros spoke again. "I got complacent. There's no excuse for it. Things have been going so well recently I actually thought for a minute that maybe I could get away with it, maybe things would be ok this time."

"It was just an unfortunate accident, Maedhros. Everyone knows that."

"I don't know that. It's not an accident when you suspect something like that is going to happen, Maglor. When you make adjustments so it doesn't happen. Don't tell me you all haven't altered how you play because of me?" Maedhros bit the words out.

"Maybe we have. And maybe it should have been our job to make sure they knew that, not yours. Everything doesn't always have to be your responsibility, Maedhros, just like everything isn't automatically your fault," Maglor growled. "It was a fucking accident, ok? It wasn't intentional. It could have happened to any of us. We've done worse to each other playing and you know that. Even Fingon said that."

"Don't bring Fingon into this."

"He's already in this. Would you just tell him, Maedhros? It won't freak him out, you know that. Nothing you've said or done has freaked him out. He loves you. This isn't going to change that."

Maedhros gave him that cold, distant look again. "Maybe it won't change how he feels about me. But it doesn't change how I feel about this, how I can't change this, no matter how hard I try. It's part of who I am now and I hate it." He turned away and broke into a jog, leaving Maglor behind.

The door to their old shared room was shut when Maglor arrived home a few minutes later. He knew better than to knock. He slid to the floor and leaned his back on the door to wait.

Tyelko found him there. Maglor shook his head, motioning for Tyelko to be quiet. His brother joined him on the floor. "Taking it pretty bad?" he whispered, as he scooted closer to Maglor.

Maglor nodded. Tyelko sighed and tilted his head back. "It's my fault," he whispered. "He asked to have all of them on his team and I didn't think about why until after it happened." Tyelko punched his fist into his other hand. "So fucking stupid of me," he hissed.

"Shut up," Maglor breathed back at him. "It wasn't just you."

"It just pisses me off, Maglor. He's been through so fucking much and it just won't let him go," Tyelko's voice was low but his tone was furious. "Fuck Morgoth. Fuck Angband. Fuck them all."

They sat shoulder to shoulder in silence after that. Moryo poked his head up the stairs, saw them and ducked his head at them sympathetically. "I'll keep them downstairs," he mouthed at Maglor. "Mom and Dad are still out."

"Thank the Valar," Tyelko muttered. "All we need is Dad trying to rationalize all this again and Mom getting that look." Maglor silently nodded.

It took them by surprise, about twenty minutes later, when the door behind them suddenly opened and they both ended up clumsily sprawled on the floor. Maedhros looked down at them. "If you're going to sit there all day you may as well just come in."

They scrambled to their feet and into the room, Maglor shutting and locking the door behind them. Maedhros was sitting sideways on his bed, leaning against the wall. His two brothers sat across the room from him, on Maglor's old bed.

Tyelko finally broke the silence. "I'm so sorry, Mae. I know what you were trying to do with the teams and I'm sorry I didn't get it. Seriously, Mae. I'm such a fucking idiot-I didn't even think about it until Turgon went for you."

"No, it's my fault. I should know better by now," Maedhros replied.

"Fuck that, Mae! That's bullshit. You shouldn't have to always be thinking about it, adjusting for it, adapting your life because of it. It's not fair."

Maedhros looked at him calmly. "It's just how it is, Tyelko. It's about time I came to grips with it. I thought I had come to grips with it but I guess I just let my guard down. I obviously can't afford to do that."

"You're wrong, Mae. It has been getting better. It is getting better. I can see that." Tyelko shoved Maglor. "Right, Maglor?"

Maglor looked at his older brother. Maedhros was pale but the cold look was gone. He didn't particularly like the current look on his face any better though. It was closed off, distant. Determined. It unnerved him. "Maedhros?"

"I never intended to drag Fingon into this," Maedhros began and Maglor's stomach clenched painfully.

Shit. Here it comes, Maglor thought. He's got the most amazing thing happening with Fingon and he's going to run away from it. Shit. He held his breath and waited, hurriedly dropping a hand on Tyelko's thigh and squeezing it painfully, anything to keep his irrepressible brother quiet. For once Tyelko seemed to get the hint, sucking in his breath but thankfully not speaking.

"But it seems Fingon has no intention of staying out of it. And I'm grateful for that," Maedhros sighed and his face took on a tinge of color. "I've thought about stepping back, considered letting him go, making him go-you both know that. But that's not what I want. I want to be with him. I can't imagine my life without him anymore." Maedhros narrowed his eyes at his brothers. "So if I have to make adjustments, if I have to open up about things, if I have to do anything to make this work, then I will do it." He tilted his head and his eyes softened. "I can't let my guard down but I also can't just let life pass me by."

Maglor let out the breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. Tyelko collapsed back on the bed. "Shit, Mae-don't scare the fuck out of me like that again. I thought for sure you were going to chuck it all," Tyelko said, his voice shakier than Maglor had heard it before.

"So you're going to see him tonight, like he wants?" Maglor needed clarification.

"Part of me doesn't want to. Part of me wants to hide in here all night and avoid the whole thing. But that's not fair to him and I've realized it's not fair to me either," Maedhros said.

It was determination Maglor had seen in him, just not the way he expected. He wanted to high-five Maedhros, fist bump Tyelko, shout down the stairway at the others that it was all right, but he contented himself with letting out his breath in another big exhale and saying "Thank the Valar," before dropping back on the bed next to Tyelko in relief.

"You really had no faith in me on this, did you?" Maedhros asked, a hint of disbelief in his tone.

Tyelko sat partway up and regarded him. "Seriously, Mae. Have you met you? I was expecting you to be second guessing yourself and moaning about this for at least a week. Thank the fucking Valar for Fingon. I thought I'd have to shake some sense into you this time because I am not letting you fuck this up."

Maglor sat up, met Maedhros' eyes and just smiled. It was gratifying to see Maedhros smile back. "I can try," Maedhros said. "That's what Fingon always tells me to do and he's right. If I don't try, I won't know." His face grew serious again. "I think I totally fucked up their Christmas pictures though. Turgon's going to look like shit for at least a week."

"Way to make a first impression on the family, Mae," Tyelko said and the absurdity of it all just made them laugh.

It was going to be ok, Maglor thought. His brother was finally going to be ok.

Maitimo means "well-shaped" or comely in Quenya.

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