“Yes”, Elrond conceded, “Six months and a few days.”
“And pray, ion-nin, is there anyone in the town who have not heard of this wonderful tale? He is your great-grandfather Turgon’s eldest cousin or have you forgotten that? What will people say of him?” Maglor demanded.
“They will say that I have bewitched him”, Maedhros entered the room and hugged his incredulous brother, “I see he beat me to welcoming you back home, Kano.”
“Wait”, Maglor slumped down onto the nearest chair and observed the madly grinning pair before him, “I leave you both for six months and you do nothing but stay in bed and explore each other! By Eru, whatever has possessed you both? Our family name is going to be besmirched. Elrond is young!”
“You know what, Ada”, Elrond knelt down to face Maglor, “There is not much left to be spoiled in our family name. I think you should invite your mariner and be done with it. Let us learn to enjoy what we have. Damn the family name!”
Maglor smiled wryly as he ruffled his foster-son’s hair saying, “Frankly, I did not expect a better view from you, my son. However I had hoped that my brother had more wisdom than to let you parade him before one and all.”
“Leave it, Kano”, Maedhros smiled, “Only those in our castle household know. I have sworn them to discretion.”
“Yes, making people swear oaths is something we are good at”, Maglor rolled his eyes as he accepted the goblet of wine his brother handed him. He ran a scrutinising eye over Maedhros and said quietly, “You look much better than you did six months ago. I advise Elrond to keep doing whatever he was doing!”
Elrond grinned, “Do you really want to know what I have been doing, Ada-nin?”
Maedhros blushed, but said steadily, “Kano, Elrond, I will not have that kind of talk in the house!”
Elrond hummed a popular drinking song as he did the accounts of the week. Maglor sat across the desk, his fine brow frowning as he wrote a letter to his lover.
“Need help, Ada?” Elrond offered solicitously.
Maglor raised a fine eyebrow as he replied, “I suggest that you get back to the accounts. Really, the castle is a mess. The accounts have not been done, the pay has not been entered, the breeding details of the mares have not been documented! I am shocked that you could have stayed hidden in the bed for six months.”
“You are jealous”, Elrond leant across the desk to press a sloppy raspberry kiss to Maglor’s cheek.
Maglor glared, but his eyes were warm as he said, “Of you? Maybe. Russandol is handsome enough to attract anyone he wishes.”
“True”, Elrond laughed, “But as long as he doesn’t know that it does not matter to me at all.”
“Why did I teach you to talk?” Maglor sighed as he returned to his letter.
“Lord Kanafinwe!” an aide rushed into the dimly lit hall, “There has been an orc attack on a party of elves of the Sindar. Our Lord Nelyafinwe rushed to save them and has been wounded.”
“What?” Elrond whispered as dread struck him hard, “He has taken only five warriors with him as escort. Why would he do that?”
“Because he is Russandol”, Maglor said angrily, “He cannot help rushing headlong into trouble! All right, Elrond, saddle the horses. I will get the next patrol. We leave now.”
Three hours later, Elrond was at Maedhros’s side dressing the horrible gash on his shoulder.
Maglor was shouting, “Have you any idea of how worried both of us were, Russandol? A scout tells you that orcs attack and you have to go there haring! With six warriors? What folly has taken you?”
“Kano”, Maedhros said softly, “I wanted to help them.”
“Really!” Maglor snorted as he rounded on Maedhros again, “With six warriors, you were hoping to prove that you sympathised with them? I suppose dying alongside them would have been very honourable.”
“Yes”, Maedhros said softly, “But I will not die for anything other than our oath, Kano, you know that. I will not leave you alone to face the doom.”
Elrond’s hand trembled as he stitched the wound. Maglor seemed to notice and said in a less angry tone, “Elrond, see that he eats something. I have to take a look at our warriors now.” He pressed a kiss to his brother’s cheek and left in a flurry of robes.
“I am sorry that I scared you”, Maedhros offered softly as their eyes met. Elrond nodded, not trusting himself to speak as he gently caressed the mahogany red hair.
After a long moment of silence, Elrond said quietly, “My Lord, I have never been this scared in life. Not when my mother jumped into the sea and tried to pull us with her. Not when your brothers killed our guards. Not when you killed our warriors before my eyes. Not when my twin went missing for days without telling us all. I was nearly dead with far when I heard that you had been wounded.”
“I had to help them, Elrond”, Maedhros’s eyes begged for understanding, “I cannot let anyone fall prey to Morgoth. I cannot let anyone endure what I did. I could never bear that.”
“I understand”, Elrond sighed, “But you cannot go alone and make war on an orc-host. You will have your revenge on Morgoth. Please do not risk yourself like this. How will Ada and I bear it if you were to be captured again? How could we live knowing that you are being tortured in Angband?”
“I am sorry”, Maedhros wiped a tear from Elrond’s cheek.
“Don’t be, ever!” Elrond said furiously, “Just promise me that you will die rather than letting yourself be captured again. You will not be able to bear it, nor can we.”
“I promise”, Maedhros said solemnly.
“Good”, Elrond pressed a hot kiss to Maedhros’s brow as he helped him to sit up, “Shall I feed you the broth, my lord?”
“I do think that I can manage on my own”, Maedhros raised an eyebrow amusedly.
“Broths are boring and not so tasty”, Elrond said straight-faced, “I believe it might help you eat it with more pleasure if I were to feed you.”
“Let me not discard a wise young healer’s advice”, Maedhros brought their lips for a sensual kiss.
Elrond asked Maglor, “Why do I fear so much for him? I am afraid. I think of him more than I think of myself or Elros or you, Ada.”
“You are falling in love with him, Elrond”, Maglor said quietly, his face grave, “I am not sure if I should allow this to happen. I see it in your words and in your looks as each day passes. I am worried.”
“Why?” Elrond asked softly, “He is the worthiest person I could possibly fall in love with.”
“He is a kinslayer, as am I”, Maglor said bitterly, “As much as I want him to be loved, I am not sure that you should. It will bring you, nothing but despair. You know the doom upon us.”
“And I love you despite that”, Elrond said steadily, “You are my father whatever you do. You shall always have my love.”
Elrond crept into Maedhros’s room quietly. The elder elf was reading a scroll in bed, his face shadowed by sorrow.
“What is it that makes you so gloomy?” Elrond asked as he launched himself on Maedhros’s body taking care to avoid the still healing wound on the shoulder.
“A letter from Ereinion, he says that the host of the west might come to destroy Morgoth soon”, Maedhros sighed as he pulled Elrond up for a lingering kiss.
“Put it away”, Elrond implored, “We should use the time we have for different purposes, My Lord.”
“Call me by my name”, Maedhros said lazily as he put the letter away, “How many times do I have to tell you that?”
“I prefer to think of you as my lord”, Elrond ground their hips together blatantly, “If I ask you a question, will you answer me?”
“I hope that you do not ask the question you asked me the last time I returned from a journey”, Maedhros winced, “That was quite humiliating.”
“I was merely curious”, Elrond laughed, “Anyway what was so humiliating about it? I just asked if you had touched yourself while you were away from me.”
“Yes, well”, Maedhros closed his eyes as he tried to prevent the blush rising on his face, “It is a question that only people like you and my brother would find amusing. Now ask your question and be done with it!”
“Well”, Elrond drawled as he traced the firm jaw lazily causing Maedhros’s eyelids to flutter, “If you hadn’t been held thrall to the oath, and if we had met, and if we had done this, would you have agreed to bond with me, you know as a couple?”
“If I had not sworn that oath, my great-grandchildren would be probably your playmates”, Maedhros said softly.
“That is no answer to my question”, Elrond met his companion’s grey eyes steadily, “I love you, My Lord. I am not afraid to admit that. I know that we cannot do anything to seal our love. You will not permit it even if I beg you to. Nor will Ada. I understand that. But I had to tell you. I cannot bear that you might die never knowing what you mean to me.”
“I have fallen in love with you”, Maedhros closed his eyes, “You do not realize how much. Elrond, if things were different, I would have agreed to bind with you.”
“Good”, Elrond said softly as a single tear trailed down Maedhros’s cheekbone, Elrond licked it hungrily delighting in the salty, yet unique taste.
“Now that we have established things, My Lord”, Elrond purred seductively, “Shall I make alive a few of my latest fantasies?”
“With full consent”, Maedhros breathed huskily, “But don’t bite where your father may notice. I have a reputation to keep.”
“I wish things had been different”, Maedhros said quietly as they lay entwined warmed by the afterglow of their activities.
“We can’t change them”, Elrond said lazily, “Let’s make do with what we have.”
“I wish that you will leave me and love someone else”, Maedhros said with a sigh, “This is not going to end well.”
“Certainly, It will not, if your beloved father’s oath holds”, Elrond observed, “But I don’t care. Whatever happens, I will love you. And I will love my father. I am glad that we have finally realized that we love each other.”
“What use is that realization when we cannot do anything about it?” Maedhros enquired bitterly.
“It means, my pessimistic Lord, that we have a great excuse for staying in bed well past noon”, Elrond rested his head against Maed