Maglor would never suspect that the visit at his uncle would give him any pleasure. From the weeks he had spent there at his sick brother's side, he remembered reluctance, constant vigilance and first of all fear that Maedhros would never get well. Also the reason why they were here on the other side of the lake was not exactly optimistic, but rather the reason of his worries if everything would go according to their plan, or if something would ruin Maedhros's efforts and they would have war instead of peace with their family.
And yet... singing had given him the lightness he had not felt in years. The music intoxicated him just like the wine he had been drinking. Night hours passed no one knew when in the pleasant company with those he could still call his family. In singing and dancing, in drinks and music was the ceremony of abdication forgotten, gone were, at least for the time being, all the feuds, quarrels and suspicions. And Maglor felt free for the first time in ages – free from responsibilities, worries, divisions. For that one night he was just a singer, first among Noldor.
The Autumn sun had already risen on the sky, thick on the north with clouds that had brought rain at night, when the cousins went to get some sleep. Maglor and Fingon were not the last lost elves at the prolonged feast; they met Celegorm, Amras and Aredhel by the stables who didn't even notice them, engaged in conversation. Maglor intended even to call them, but his head was light, full of music, and so he allowed Fingon to lead him to the quarters prepared for them.
His cousin quietly opened the doors to the room Maglor remembered all too well and none of those memories were pleasant. But on the bed where once half-dead Maedhros had lied, Caranthir was sleeping. His eldest brother, calm and fine, was sleeping on the next bed.
"Seems you'll have to find place elsewhere," whispered Fingon and Maglor was sure his cheeks were red in shame that he had forgotten about his eldest brother while playing. His cousin seemed not to have noticed that and just dragged him to the next room.
The wine he had drunk made his head spin and Maglor wished only to lie down and sleep. Maedhros was safe in Caranthir's hands, should he need anything. He wished Fingon good night and passed sleeping Celebrimbor and Curufin. The boy was sleeping soundly and didn't even move, but his brother leaned on his elbow and followed him with a curious glance. Maglor pretended he didn't see that.
'It worked. Despite everything, it worked.' Maedhros allowed himself to dwell on that thought after Caranthir told him that none of his brothers caused any scandal and there was little possibility they would end up decapitated, as he had so nicely put it. His younger brother didn't even bother to hush his voice, as if he wanted to be heard, but this display only reassured Maedhros that everything was in order. But if Caranthir, despite everything, was seeking trouble, he did not find it, as most of the household was sleeping or, as he stated mockingly, couldn't find their way to the bedroom. Amras, to whom this remark was pointed, didn't seem too concerned. He did look guilty when he glanced at Maedhros, but when his eldest brother smiled to him, he brightened and passed the message from Aredhel that Fingolfin was inviting the sons of Feanor for a breakfast and wished to discuss a few matters in private.
Maedhros had no doubts it was just first from many meetings, as they had just made the first, symbolical step on the long way leading to the real reunion of Noldor. He suspected his uncle simply wished to talk to his nephews as a part of family, which had not been possible during the feast, where every gesture had meaning. Then he would surely call a council consisting also of the sons of Feanor; Maedhros didn't doubt Fingolfin's sensibility and did not expect him to be foolish enough to keep him and his brothers away from any decisions. Today was too early to draw any important matters, but Maedhros preferred to be ready, and so he refreshed himself after the night without hurry and went to seek for Maglor; whatever they were going to discuss with Fingolfin, he wished to have him by his side.
Curufin and Celebrimbor were already up and out, but Maglor was fast asleep. It was visible he must have returned and gone to sleep recently. His elegant, dark blue robe was tossed on the chair, only his harp was laid carefully by the wall. Maedhros smiled fondly and straightened the clothes, just like he used to. The shirt in which Maglor was sleeping was equally creased, but there was nothing he could do about it.
Maedhros sat on the edge of the bed, wondering briefly how much his brother must have drunk with their cousins that he didn't move even as the mattress bent. He grabbed one of his brother's unruly braids and caressed his cheek with the end.
"Wake up, Laure."
"Time to get up."
"Go awaaaaay, Russsssso." The pillow muffled Maglor's voice as he pressed his face into it, trying to avoid his brother's obtrusive hand.
"I'm really curious how the last evening ended. Or was it today morning, Kano?" asked Maedhros with feigned reprimand; it was nice to pretend for a moment that everything was like it had once been, when he would come to wake his younger brother who yet again forgot about the whole world, composing. Just for a moment. "The king invited us for breakfast and I suspect you would like to make yourself presentable."
"What?!" Maglor sat upright, almost colliding with his brother leaning over him. Gone was his sleepiness as he sent Maedhros apologetic look.
"I hope your reaction does not indicate any scandal I am not yet aware of?" asked the eldest son of Feanor; Maglor's expression was worth to see. "Do you intend to sleep all day?"
"I intended to sleep a bit." Maglor ostensibly fell back on the pillows, as if he wasn't going to move at all, allowing himself to be the younger brother just for a moment.
"It's rude to make the king wait," Maedhros hastened him, unceremoniously removing the blanket from his brother. "Come on, we need to make sure our family survives that breakfast. You are not going to leave me alone, are you? I may need a hand." It was getting easier to force a smile, to hide behind the distance to himself.
Maglor returned the smile and sat up. He mirrored his brother's good mood, got up humming and looked critically at his shirt. Maedhros observed as he transformed from the sleepy artist into the second eldest son of Feanor, ready to provide him with counsel if necessary.
"The king awaits us," repeated Maglor lightly and he opened the doors on the corridor.
Only in his quick glance Maedhros saw that Maglor was not fooled even for a moment.
So, this journey has ended. I wanted to say big THANK YOU to all who read, reviewed, followed or bookmarked this story. I went through the effort of translating it partly to see if I am capable of doing so, but also to fight some awful writing time I've had. The feedback I got was what I needed to push up from the bottom and find the reason to go on with writing and finishing my other stories, to wake again the thrill of wiriting and exploring the story as it evolves. So, THANK YOU. Writing is a part of my life and NOT writing was awful experience.
This story is done, but I am not. I guess you will be hearing from me,