His brothers all thought him sane and recovered. They all regarded him a hero.
(And kept ignoring that he was a helpless sack of misery when he was brought back, and Findekáno was the hero.
After all, where was the glory in hanging above the world, exposed and incapable?)
His brothers all thought him mad for refusing the title that belonged to him.
(They were right, he was mad. Not for giving that up, though. That was the single one thing he knew he did right. He was no King.
The Noldor needed someone they could follow, someone they could look up to.
Maitimo was a prince, the firstborn, he would have ruled, but Nelyo could not.
Russandol would have been the King, he would have been followed, but he would not.
Maimed and tortured, forced to face his own pitiful helplessness for eternity beyond time; no, Nelyafinwë was no more a king than the lifeless corpse of the ancestor he was named after.)
And thus the Noldor praised Aracáno; wise, ever sad, ever regretful Aracáno.
(If the sons of Fëanáro felt regret as well, nobody knew. They learned to hide all emotions behind the haughty mask of power, glory and revenge. Learned when the Sea-singers had been massacred, when the white Swan-ships burned, when their kin were forced through Helcaraxë and their father laughed, and when Fëanáro burned himself up at last... They had learned well.)
And Nelyafinwë built Himring up, hid behind the stone-walls, and kept a vigilant watch over the Darkness. He was a relentless, sleepless guardian.
(Some said he guarded the peace of Beleriand behind the Himring, but he knew better. He stood watch over the darkness within.)
And he refused to fall apart. Through endless nights he practiced with his left hand; he wrote and fought, ate and held cups with it. But when he once came close to caressing soft skin gently, his right hand still rose on its own accord, and Nelyo cursed then, and run away, and never again spared any woman even a glance.
(Some sniggered behind his back, and said he knew no women because his heart belonged to Findekáno. And they might have been right; sometimes he felt it did... Because when he went back alone, and saw the green grass swaying gently upon Haudh-en-Ndengin, he fell upon it in tears, and instead of hands, he caressed it with body and heart, with his whole being, as he shook in the ecstasy of grief.)
He even took care to rein his younger, brasher brothers in, time after time, to stop their inherited madness from erupting into disaster.
(He knew all too well, how fiery dreams could burn...)
And yet, he never forgot the Oath.
(Trough day and night, in waking hours and in sleep, through fighting and resting, through feasts and songs, all he wished that he could. But that was not the way of this world their father brought them into.)
And sometimes he even found peace.
When blood splattered on his armor, when his sword cut through flesh, when he felt the illusion that he was fighting a just war... Then he found peace.
(After, he tried not to ask from himself, whether any war could ever be just.)
When he felt his father's scorching, prideful gaze upon himself, when he convinced himself that he was merely doing his duty, and fighting for something that was right, then he found peace. When he felt praise-worthy, when he felt like his father.
(And when he searched for lost children in the woods he payed the ultimate price for not being wholly akin to Fëanáro. The gaze he felt upon himself then, was not filled with pride, only dark despise over his weakness. And yet, he searched on, until failure was certain... Even in that he was unlike his father; Fëanáro would have never admitted failure.)
His brothers thought him content with his power. His brothers thought his defiance was what defeated the tortures of Morgoth.
(He never told them otherwise. He never told them that the Darkness had all the power over him... He never even told that to himself.)
The Noldor believed him unbeatable. They said he was a better fighter with one hand than any other with two.
Sometimes he almost laughed at them, because he still had two hands, he felt it, he knew it.
(After all, something that was not there could not possibly hurt so much, could it?)
-"phantom pain sensations are described as perceptions that an individual experiences relating to a limb or an organ that is not physically part of the body." (wikipedia)
-if any single soul interprets this as slash, I of course can't help that, but just so you know, it was not meant to be one. Maedhros' love towards Fingon is possibly the only unsoiled, pure emotion he still had in his soul (until the twins came along).
-Maitimo, Russandol, Nelyafinwë and Nelyo are all Maedhros' names. I shall not list their meanings here, but there are ways to look them up ;)
-Findekáno is Fingon the Valiant
-Arakáno is Fingolfin
-Fëanáro is (surprsisingly) Feanor
I owe thanks to Laerthel and kim-onka for inspiring this story (unawares... :)) I advise reading their stories, both of them are fantastic authors!