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living life in the shadow of the goodbye

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“I will not part with this Silmaril,” Dior hissed, voice heavy with anger.  The tension in room ratcheted up another notch, and Maglor ground his teeth, feeling the Oath pricking at him, goading him onwards.  It was a weird, compulsive, unpleasant pain, and yet he knew he could ignore it, if he chose—if he wished to bring upon them whatever Doom the breaking of it would bring.  (Would that be better?) But his brothers—Maedhros—what would become of them?

“I think it’s time we turned this into a discussion and not a battlefield.”

Fingon’s voice thrilled through Maglor, as it always did.  He was using his High King inflection, the one he didn’t even seem to realize he used now, and it was enough to catch at the reins of Maglor’s mind and halt him, twitch his fingers away from his blade slightly, though they quivered and would not be called wholly back.

Tyelko, naturally, did not look as if he wanted to listen at all.  “This is none of your concern, Nolofinwion,” he snarled.

“I am your High King—of course it is my concern.”  Fingon almost seemed lit from within, the golden ribbons in his hair shining with an unearthly light.  Behind him, Dior shifted on his throne, as if he did not enjoy the reminder of Fingon’s status but also realized that it was a useful deterrent for him in the current situation.

“Stand aside or we will make you stand aside,” Curvo snapped.  “Tell him, Maglor.”

Maglor’s words lodged in his throat.  “Brothers—” he started, groping for what to say.

“‘Death we will deal him ere day’s ending,’” Curvo crooned.  “Thou art not so powerful without thy people, Findekáno.”

“I will not stand aside,” Fingon responded, his hand falling to the hilt of his sword.

“Then thou wilt die with these—”

Stop!”  Maglor put himself between Fingon and his brothers.

“What are you doing?” hissed Amrod, his eyes flicking from Maglor to Finno to Tyelko.

“A family dispute is no cause to invoke the Oath,” Maglor answered carefully.  “Would you not say so, brothers mine?”

“Half-cousin he may be—”

Brother he is,” Maglor said firmly.

“Brother?” echoed Curvo slowly.  The twins gave each other shocked looks but nodded.  The other three simply seemed confused.  Maglor sighed.

“He is your brother’s husband?”

Curvo started violently.  “Wait—”

“How can you not have known that?” Maglor tried, incredulously.  “Honestly, do all of you have no brains in your heads?”  Fingon, behind him, made a choking noise, and Maglor rolled his eyes inwardly.  Trust Finno to start laughing.  Moryo shifted in embarrassment.

“I suppose that would explain why Nelyo was so red every morning that Fingon came out of his room,” he mumbled.  Maglor started to breathe a sigh of relief, because the expressions of his brothers were shifting from scenting blood to various shades of embarrassment, which meant there might really be a way to resolve this without bloodshed.  If Fingon could think of some way to get the Oath to leave Dior be—

And then Tyelko stepped forward.  “And how do we know you speak the truth?” he asked, and Maglor gaped as his little brother’s effrontery.  “You have always been the weakest of us, Makalaurë.  Little Káno.  Nelyo’s little shadow.”

The only answer that rose to mind—you shut up—was probably not going to do Maglor any favors.

“I would hardly lie—”

“You lie about everything.”  Celegorm waved a hand dismissively.  “Or do you not account them lies if they are spoken prettily enough?”

Maglor ground his teeth together, feeling real raw anger surging into his throat.  Fingon’s hand on his shoulder steadied him.  “He does not lie,” he said quietly.  “It is the truth.  Russo and I have been married since Valinor.”

“And so you would say, Nolofinwion.  Finno Astaldo.  Who was called Valiant because he got himself stuck in a tree trying to rescue a kitten,” smirked Celegorm, and Maglor felt the tension creeping up again.  Tyelko was enjoying this, swaggering about and posing—and he was psyching himself up for some true violence, Maglor could tell.  If Maglor let him continue, he would sway the brothers back to his side, and the Oath would take them all and Doriath as well.

“Very well,” he said, smoothly, bringing his fingers down to pluck a crashing chord from his harp and draw the energy of the room back to himself, “If it is only the evidence of your own eyes you will accept, little brother, then I shall give you evidence that even you cannot refute.”  Even if I am positive you must have seen evidence already, since Finno and Russo were the least subtle couple in all of Valinor.  With a deep breath and before the echos of his voice could fade, Maglor turned smoothly to Fingon.  “I know it is seldom done, Findekáno my cousin, but as our grandfather did before us, will you take me to wed before these witnesses as before you did my brother?”

Fingon blinked at him, then wrinkled his nose and grinned, a look that was definitely reserved for Maglor alone, and Maglor brushed aside the pinch of pain at the thought that it used to have more than a single recipient.  “If you think that is what is best,” he murmured, taking Maglor’s hand and pulling him close.  Warm breath kited along Maglor’s ear as Fingon’s next quiet words reached him, “Russo’s little brat.”

Maglor shivered slightly at the touch, but he did not let his concentration lapse, nor did he let the energy of the moment fall flat.  “Have you a token with which to bind us?” he asked, his voice pitched low as if intimate but not so low that it would not reach every corner of the halls.  Fingon hesitated—just the barest second—and then he nodded, unbinding from about his wrist the single golden ribbon he now wore there.  The golden ribbon that was threaded with a lock of crimson hair they had embroidered to it the day after—

Maglor blanched.  “You—this?” And he had not meant to speak so loudly, for this was not how he had intended the scene to go.  He had meant to put on a show that he and Finno could laugh about later.  He had not thought—

But Fingon was already nodding and taking up Maglor’s hand he pressed them together.  “Before the sight of Eru, I take thee as my husband, Kanafinwë Makalaurë—Maglor Fëanorion,” he said calmly, and Maglor’s heart twisted in his chest, but did not waste the moment.  Even if his hand trembled, he wound the ribbon about both their hands.

“Then before the sight of Eru, I take thee as my husband, Findekáno Astaldo—Fingon Nolofinwion,” he replied, and he took a moment to pull Fingon close and press an almost-chaste kiss to his lips.  He turned to his brothers—Celegorm standing foremost and actually gaping at the two of them, his hand fallen from his sword hilt now—“I trust that the battlefield invocation will be sufficient and that you do not require the full consummation before all the gathered witnesses?” he asked freezingly.

Celegorm sputtered.  Moryo giggled nervously.  The twins gave them slight nods.  Good.  The energy had turned in favor of Fingon and Maglor now.  Maglor was not even particularly worried when Celegorm tried to pull himself together and said in a low, angry voice, “Very well—but you cannot stand against the Oath, brother, and if Dior will not give us the Silmaril—“

And—oh—but the next move was so obvious.  And Tyelko had set him up for it beautifully.  “You are right, brother,” Maglor said, with a gentle smile.  He tossed his hair.  “My lord Dior, I understand that you feel strongly that the Silmaril is yours by birth-right, do you not?”

Dior nodded, frowning suspiciously.  At his side, Nimloth was leaning forward, her eyes bright.  Maglor suspected she might have already caught on.  “And of course the Silmaril is ours as well, by our birth-right,” Maglor continued.  “And we cannot abide that it remain in the hands of one who is not our kin.  Is that not correct, Celegorm?”

“Yes, it is, which is why—“ Maglor raised his hand and so strong was the spell he and Finno had woven that Celegorm actually went quiet.

“Then there is only one way to resolve this conundrum,” he said loudly.  “Please, my lord Dior, allow the High King of the Noldor and his husband to adopt you.”

The frown deepened on Dior’s face, but Nimloth grasped his sleeve and murmured something in his ear, her eyes sliding sideways to their three children, seated by the throne—two little boys in blue and a tiny girl—and Dior nodded stiffly.

“What!” yelped Celegorm.  “No!  You can’t—“

“Oh, be quiet, Tyelko, and stop holding onto a grudge that one nís preferred a Man to you,” said Curvo.  “Maglor’s solution is clever.  It’s the closest we’ve gotten to fulfilling the Oath yet.  Let’s just take it.”

Fingon’s hands lay warm and loose on Maglor’s shoulders as he turned back to Dior.  He wondered if Nelyo would be proud of him.

He hoped so.