Fingon’s voice remained calm, polite almost, but accusation lay strong in his eyes where it had not on his tongue. I stiffened, narrowing my eyes and clenching my jaw before turning away from my cousin.
“You speak as though I had a choice.” I said finally.
“For fear?” he continued without acknowledging my answer, a hint of scorn in his voice.
I whirled around to face my cousin once more, closing the distance between us until our noses nearly touched.
“Fear? Ha!” I all but spat. “Seeing as you felt none, Findekáno? Seeing as how you felt little of anything that day?”
Fingon’s eyes flashed in anger, but I pressed on.
“Why have you come here? To continue this self-righteous little act of yours? So you could say ‘See how noble I am, to risk my life for a son of Fëanor, the traitor. See how I would sacrifice myself still, after Fëanor and Fëanor’s kin betrayed us.’ So that you would be called hero? So you could reveal our dishonor?” I knew I was being unfair, but Fingon’s words had provoked me into defense.
“What should I have done then? Sent one of my younger brother’s to find him for me? Gathered an army and stormed Angband? Snuck out alone in the dead of night? Tell me!” I couldn’t keep the sarcasm out of my voice.
“At least I didn’t sit in comfort while my brother hung in torment.”
I barely controlled the urge to slap my cousin across the face.
“And you know what, exactly, about that? You know what it’s like to watch your father die? You know what it’s like to wait with growing anxiety for your brother’s embassy to return? You know what it’s like to go from being second son to being king in the space of a day? To have to see to the needs of hundreds and yet be constrained by an oath of vengeance sworn in haste?”
I paused to catch my breath.
“Do you know what it’s like to bear the condemning stares of your people? To see your family fall apart? To wake up every morning knowing you must live another day and going to bed at night hoping you don’t imagine your brother’s screams? Do you know what it’s like to fail?”
Silence fell thickly between us, and I turned away so that I did not have to look at my cousin any longer.
After a long moment, I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“I’m sorry. It’s just…I thought…I didn’t think…” Fingon’s voice was soft, and I could hear the hurt in it, just as I could almost feel his eyes bore into my ankles.
“I forgive you,” I whispered, only half-heartedly paying attention to Fingon’s ineloquent apologies and unfinished justifications. My earlier anger had dissipated, leaving me unexpectedly relieved. Once again in control of my emotions, I looked at Fingon and said, “Do you forgive me?”
“I forgive you.”
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.