Silmfic: "Leaves before the Wind"
The summary on the SWG: Following the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the sons of Fëanor wandered in the woods of Ossiriand. Maglor and Maedhros travel together, recovering from their physical wounds and slowly succumbing to their emotional ones. Maedhros/Fingon. Dark.
I rated it Adult over there for sex, violence, expletive language, and mature themes.
If you'd rather read it on the SWG, here it is.
Leaves before the Wind
The wound on his forearm had been deep and, in the haste of fleeing from the north to Ossiriand, improperly cared for. Maglor drew the bow and sighted along the arrow, but it trembled and, even in the few moments it took for him to line up the shot, began to stray from its target. He swore under his breath, cringed, and tried a prayer instead. The arrow listed even further off the bowstring. He shut his eyes, willed strength into his aching arm, and loosed the arrow.
The thrash of limbs in the brittle undergrowth told him that he'd hit his target. He rose and hurried forward. The deer was scrawny. White ringed its eyes as it died, its legs pedaling furiously, searching for the earth it would never tread again. Maglor finished it quickly with a blade to the throat and watched the rime of frost recede beneath the blood. "Praise--" he began, but there he stopped. Praise what? Surely not the Valar. Surely not his waning skill. Praise Uldor for not slicing me deeper. He massaged his aching arm, and his face crumpled into a grin. He needn't see himself--hadn't, indeed, seen himself for months now, save as shards of color in the surface of a rushing stream--to know he looked mad. "Praise the life of this being, taken for our sustenance," he finished at last, his voice flat against the silent backdrop of the forest, his teeth still bared in a grin, palms turned heavenward for dramatic effect.
He slung the deer over his shoulders and started back to their camp, or where he had last left their camp. Maedhros had a habit of picking up and moving the camp at unpredictable moments, usually, it seemed, while Maglor was gone, although he'd woken one memorable night to the slither of icy rain on his face because his brother had stripped down the tent and was hastily packing it into a rough ball. "Hey!" Silver eyes took on the writhing light of their lone candle--Maglor wished to conserve them, but they were both prone to nightmares--before Maedhros whipped around, hair darkened by rain, and disappeared into the forest. "Hey." Maglor's hand stretched to nothing.
The camp was still there this time. Maedhros was writing, sitting beneath a tree with one long leg steepled to support the ledger and the other stretched before him, barefoot despite the cold. They'd come across a cottage once and Maedhros had traded the woman who lived there a Dwarf-made dagger for a ledger with only the first two pages given over to household accounts. Those he'd excised carefully with his knife and left on the woman's doorstep, weighted down by a rock. The ink he made, climbing high into oak trees during the day and plucking off wasp galls, which he steeped like tea (in their battered tin teapot, too, Maglor discovered to his unpleasant surprise after pouring himself a cup of what he assumed would warm his bones and settle his empty stomach after a fruitless hunting expeditions), and the quills he cut carefully from the reeds that grew along the stream.
"Maedhros." Maglor dropped the deer a few yards from his brother's outstretched foot. "Dinner. Help me."
"Mmm." He tapped his quill against his lips. They were spotted with brown oak gall ink. He'd done that for as long as Maglor could remember. Maglor made a face that his brother did not see, having not yet looked up from his book.
"Maedhros! Help me!"
Silver eyes flicked up to meet his. Maglor still flinched. He knew those eyes, he knew that face, but-- "Finish my sentence?"
Maglor sighed. Dark lashes shadowed the silver eyes again; Maedhros had resumed writing without waiting for an answer.
"Sure," Maglor said, but for his own benefit, to pretend that something like mutual regard still existed between him and his brother.
After dinner, Maedhros worked on burning the title of his book into the thin leather cover of the ledger. He extracted twigs from the fire and pressed them into the leather, every now and then grabbing them too close to the fire and hissing and sucking his fingertips. THE CATALOGUE OF ERRORS, it was called. The letters were done; he was adding the little curlicues and fancy bits that Maglor had never learned to do, but Maedhros would have, having studied lore once. He used to watch his brother practice scripts, in their father's library with dust dancing in the beams of Treelight that crisscrossed the room, watching him carefully form and embellish each letter with a steel-tipped pen. He hadn't seen his brother even attempt anything beyond a straight serious script--the kind that labeled maps and battle plans--since the loss of his hand. The emerging design on the front of the book betrayed no handicap.
"Sss!" Maedhros's fingers were in his mouth again. On the ground beside him, the burning tip of a twig grayed into ash.
Maglor coaxed his brother's fingers from his mouth. The tip of the middle one was already welling into a blister. The others were ink-stained and puffy from abuse in the fire. "Maedhros--"
Maedhros jerked his hand from Maglor's grip and went back to rooting around at the base of the fire. A strand of hair fell over one shoulder and dipped into the flame. Maglor swiped it away before it even had a chance to singe. "Maedhros." The threadbare tunic his brother wore was the same he'd worn since pulling it over his nakedness on the morning of the Nirnaeth. Maglor had been there to put on his brother's armor, as he'd always done. He'd smoothed the tunic across his brother's shoulders to remove wrinkles that would rub and pinch under the weight of gilded steel. He smoothed it again now, though it was oily and it stunk and Maedhros would likely never wear gilded steel again. He was still rummaging at the edge of the fire, and his hair was over his shoulder again, dangling into the flames, so Maglor could not see his face. "Nelyo--"
A fist full of burning twigs smashed into his face, and Maglor's sight went black.
It was the day he'd first proposed the Nirnaeth--no, of course, they were not calling it that at the time, but he could now think of it as nothing else--to Fingon. Always, they had been coconspirators, and an idea kindled in the mind of one took on a delirious intensity when it was shared between them. They'd barred Fingon's bedroom door save to admit a servant with food--one plate, one glass shared between them--and might have been boys again in Aman, planning a party or way to convince their fathers of the wisdom of another summer spent together, but for the moon that hung gravid in the window behind them, so bright that they could forego candles until late into the night.
Maedhros staggered to his bedroom, closer to dawn than sundown. He'd left his shoes somewhere--couldn't remember where--and the stones were cold beneath his feet. He didn't bother with nightclothes. The bed was piled high with furs and a servant had kept a vigorous fire going. He left his clothes--tunic, trousers, underclothes--in a trail from door to bed and fell into oblivion.
He woke to Fingon--bright-eyed, flushed, naked--beside him.
"Do you remember when I used to do this, Nelyo? Come to your bed in the middle of the night under some pretense of--well, whatever I thought would convince you to let me stay. I had no idea what I wanted, only that I wanted it. We were so innocent then." He rested his chin on Maedhros's shoulder. His arm circled Maedhros's chest, pressed a place on the left side that was relatively free of scars from Angband.
Maedhros lay unmoving. He remembered those times. They'd both always worn nightclothes. They hadn't needed furs piled on the bed because it was Aman; it was always warm. Neither had yet known what it was to love, much less to lose that love.
"I would put my hand here, just like now. I would feel your heartbeat, just like now. It would be maybe a little too fast. Just like now." Fingon moved his lips toward the side of Maedhros's face but stopped just shy of kissing the corner of his mouth. "You were older. I suppose you knew what I wanted. The first time you did this--" he turned Maedhros's face to his, kissed him full on the mouth, their lips parting and tongues touching--"Valar, it felt so good. You could have ravaged me there, and I wouldn't have stopped you, so drunk was I on that first kiss--"
Maedhros turned to face him. Their hips touched. Their legs raveled. "Of course I wouldn't have done that."
"Of course you wouldn't have." They kissed deeper. Fingon's fingers slid up his thigh, and the leg responded as though pulled by the strings of a puppeteer, rising to clasp Fingon around the hip. Fingon laughed, his fingers resting now where Maedhros's leg joined his body. "We were so innocent then. Nelyo."
Next he knew, Fingon was pinned beneath him. He was much bigger. Older. Fingon had never been a match for him. The stump of his ruined wrist pressed Fingon's throat. The name Nelyo barely wheezed out again. Maedhros pressed harder. "That name no longer suits me." Fingon laughed past the pressure on this throat. "Don't ever use it again." They were innocent no longer. Maedhros ravaged him.
When Maglor came to, Maedhros's ruined wrist was draped lightly across his throat, just hard enough that he could feel his pulse beating against it. Silver eyes caught the starlight. The fire had died. Maglor struggled up and scrambled back through the fallen leaves, away from his brother. "What the fuck, Maedhros!"
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hit you like that. I don't like that name anymore." He closed his lips tightly, as though trying not to say it.
"Well, I won't call you that anymore! You didn't have to hit me. You could have just told me."
"I don't know what's wrong with you! All you do is make your reeking inks and write in that stupid book--"
"I was supposed to be a loremaster, Macalaurë, remember?" he said with an air of childish hurt. "Before I became a politician and then--" he waved his ruined wrist-- "this. A military commander? A failed military commander. I should have stuck with the books! I was good at that."
Maedhros had been wounded the worst of all of them in the Nirnaeth. They'd had to drag him from the field and had only managed that because he'd been almost dead by that time. He'd been wounded in the gut, and the wound festered, and within days, he burned with fever. Maglor and Caranthir took turns pulling him on a makeshift stretcher; their other brothers, if they'd escaped the battle alive, were unknown to them.
"Oh, they're alive," Caranthir said one night when they stopped to rest. "Fingon is dead."
"How can you marvel at that, given the state of our eldest brother? How could you not have known?"
"Caranthir, no one survives wounds like this." He gestured at the rot-black gash across their brother's belly. "I'd assumed Maedhros's state as that from a mortal wound, not ... regicide."
Caranthir laughed that brash, ugly laugh of his, the one that sounded like he was parodying a normal person capable of normal emotion. "People survive things like this all the time. All the time. He survived Angband; he will survive this too, but Fingon? It's not so certain he will survive the loss of Fingon." He clasped Maedhros around the chest and put his face beside Maedhros's flushed, fevered cheek. "I am not as strong as I was in Aman. Once I would have been able to pull this from him and cast it--" He stopped and pressed his mouth into Maedhros's armpit and made a hissing noise.
Once you would have known Ulfang and his sons were not to be trusted, Maglor thought, but he said, "Pull what from him?"
"The hurt." Caranthir looked up, his eyes bright and dark like a vulture interrupted at its meal. "But no, he will suffer with it."
Maglor woke one morning and Caranthir was gone. He stomped a circle around their campsite in the woods, calling for him but heard no reply and found no sign. When he returned to their camp, Maedhros's fever had broken. His wounds healed. He became strong again, stronger than Maglor. But he would have starved for the sake of that book.
He cradled it now in his ruined arm. The fingers of his good hand traced the carefully wrought letters on the cover. THE CATALOGUE OF ERRORS. "I have already added my error tonight to it. I did it while I was waiting for you to wake up. It's between following our father to Formenos and making test of my strength against Angband too soon. I suppose if it's read, that will seem an odd place for it, but it means that much to me, and through that choice, whoever reads my book will know me. I didn't mean to hurt you and hope you can forgive me. The handwriting is horrible because I didn't want to leave off touching you, but that makes it genuine, I hope."
You are mad.
"I am mad. I know. I am like a star that has burst: My light was so bright it lit the sky even in the day but now, every day now, the darkness tears more of me away."
The day Maglor returned to camp after searching for Caranthir, he found Maedhros wearing only the tunic he'd put on him morning of the Nirnaeth, standing thigh deep in a stream. He was holding an axe at his side and bobbing in the water, blood trailing off in black tendrils in the brisk current. "Maedhros?" He turned. His face was splattered with black blood too. It was on his lips, like ink from tapping his pen on his teeth while lost in thought, back when they'd been boys in Aman.
An orc lay on the opposite bank of the stream. Its crude iron helm had been split in two with a single swift, strong blow. Maedhros had not stopped there. He'd beaten the creature's head into the mire of mud on the stream bank. He let the axe fall into the stream, pulled himself up the bank with fistfuls of brittle, leafless vines, and began to pack up their camp.