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All Through The Night

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Time together had grown precious and rare, and there were nights when Maedhros would not sleep. Instead he kept watch over the one who lay beside him. Cousin. Saviour. Beloved.

King.

That last was the hardest of all to believe. The wild boy, the earnest young scholar, the fiery-eyed rebel, the laughing friend, the passionate and generous lover – all of it lay hidden now, at least by day. As King, Fingon wore a mask of still water and stone.

Yet by night, if one watched carefully, flickers of his old selves danced across his sleeping features like shadows from a child's night-lamp. His mouth would curl as though at some half-heard joke, or set in the hard, fixed line that had warned Maedhros of many an unwise scheme in the brewing. Sometimes the nightmares would come, and Maedhros would wake his cousin gently, and Fingon's eyes would blink open and the fear would fade, and he would give a soft-edged smile and murmur, “Maitimo.”

A lie of a name, now. And one he would permit only Fingon to use.

He would take his cousin in his arms and kiss his hair, and whisper back, “Káno,” until Fingon's body relaxed and his breathing grew deep and even. Maedhros would lie with him as night faded and the pale orange light of dawn crept through their window, treasuring the rise and fall of his cousin's chest against his own – and even then, he refused to sleep.