Fingon has told you."
"I found out on my own."
"We thought it would be best not to tell you until you
"That would have been quite a feat."
Maglor shot his older brother an almost anxious glance, not asking the next question: So how did you take it?
Maedhros was sitting up in bed again, propped up against pillows, as he had almost all the time since the previous day. His back, shoulder and arm weren't taking it well, but he was determined not to give up any hard-earned ground. Sitting up had meant having his right arm in plain sight for twenty-four hours. He had risen to the challenge, having spent most of that time staring at the stump, trying to accept that it was a part of him now.
He could not deny that the discovery that he was maimed had left him badly shaken. It had cast a doubt on every single thing that he had been clinging to since first realising that his ordeal was over. Revenge. Strength. Normality. Fingon's reaction had left him equally shaken, but now, with the benefit of a few hours' thought, he had to admit that his reaction, brutal as it had been, had been exactly what he needed to jolt him from falling into despair. He had been badly in need of brutal honesty in combination with unswerving dependability.
It had to be said in Maglor's defence that he had managed to tread a fine middle ground between staring at the bandaged stump which he hadn't seen before and completely avoiding looking at it, for which Maedhros was grateful.
Seeing Maglor lost for words or even worse, groping for the right ones was a rare occurrence, and Maedhros relented, deciding to come to his rescue by answering the question he didn't ask. "It will take some getting used to."
Maglor seemed relieved, though he must have understood how much of an understatement this one sentence had been. "We're all there to help, Russandol."
"I was afraid you'd say that."
Maglor fell silent again.
"I don't want help."
"What do you want?"
Maedhros thought about this for a while. What did he want? He knew he would need help. At least at first. But he couldn't bear the thought of having to ask for it.
"I need you to be the one you've always been. Not just you. All of you."
Trust Maglor to understand. "So that you can be the one you've always been."
"Yes. At least most of me."
Maglor nodded, and took a deep breath. "I decided to leave this for later, after
" He stopped himself. "But maybe this is a good day for this, nevertheless." He rose, and going towards the door he picked something up that he must have left just out of sight on his way in. Maedhros looked at him quizzically as he returned with a long object wrapped in cloth.
"Curufin made this. We found your old one in the place where
. It was charred and broken. It could not have been reforged, even if
Maglor's voice trailed off, and Maedhros knew what he meant. His old sword, forged by his father, had been a two-handed weapon. They must have found it where he had been ambushed, the day he had set out to meet Morgoth's embassy. Morgoth's Balrogs.
"You asked me what I wanted," he said, looking up from the parcel at Maglor.
"I want you to finish your sentences. Please."
Maglor heaved a sigh. "Even if you still had two hands to wield it." It was plain how difficult it was for him to say these words. He extended the parcel. "Here. Open it."
He held the parcel lightly in his hands while Maedhros awkwardly unwrapped it. He could see his younger brother's hands twitch once or twice, but wisely, Maglor held himself back and did not try to help.
The scabbard was smooth, russet leather with gold worked into it, and Maedhros saw that the loops to mount it to a sword belt were reversed, to be worn on the right side, not on the left.
The sword was a graceful weapon, with a long, slender blade of folded steel patterned in intricate floral designs. The crossbar was inlaid with copper echoing the designs on the blade, as was the pommel.
Maedhros gripped it with his left hand to feel its weight. It felt heavier than it should have, and he was glad that Maglor still had a hand under the tip of the blade, unobtrusively helping to balance it.
"Curufin asked me to say that this is the best he could do on such short notice." Maglor's voice held a hint of amused exasperation. Curufin could be extremely vain where his skills were concerned.
"Short notice?" Maedhros said softly. "This must have taken months." He laid the sword across his lap and ran a finger over the folded steel, staying well away from the edge. He could see that it was very sharp. He had never been able to match his father's or brother's skill in metalwork, not by a long shot and to his father's severe disappointment, but being FŽanor's son enabled him to recognise exceptional work when he saw it.
Maedhros looked up. "He started working on this a long time before I even woke."
"You didn't give up on me."
"No," Maglor said simply.
"I don't know what to say," Maedhros whispered.
Maglor resheathed the sword and leant it against the side of Maedhros' bed before he sat down again. "That is good," he said. "I was getting tired of you snapping at me."
Maedhros laid an arm around Maglor and rested his head against his brother's shoulder. It was the first time he had actively sought physical contact with anybody since his rescue. Maglor gently returned the embrace, lightly chafing the side of his neck.
"Don't do that," he said softly. "Snap at me if it makes you feel better."
"Maybe later," Maedhros replied, his voice slightly hoarse.
Maglor smiled faintly. "I'll look forward to that."