Maedhros didn’t immediatly agree when Maglor brought Elros and Elrond. And it wasn’t easy to convince the eldest Fëanorian. It took hours, days maybe.
Maedhros had no will to kill Elwing’s sons, but adopting them…no, he couldn’t. The children were innocent but they were the constant reminder of the kinslayings, of the lost Silmaril, of his own youngest brothers, of Elured and Elurin. They were the embodiment of the ones he had killed, of the ones he couldn’t have saved, of his own failures and deeds.
But Maglor convinced him.
“Taking care of them could help you deal with what happened with Elured and Elurin… Maybe it would help us make peace with ourselves” Maglor said.
But children aren’t supposed to be remedies, thought Maedhros. Children must not be here to cure, to save or to protect, but to be saved and protected. How could the Feanorian protect the twins when he was the danger?
But Maedhros finally accepted.
And they kept the twins.
Yet, he quickly realised he couldn’t take care of them (it wasn’t a real surprise). Each sight of them, each word that fell from their lips were like knives in his guts.
Many times he tried to give them the love, the attention he had so often given to his own brothers. But he wasn’t the tall, loving sibling he used to be.
When the twins were excited, he was nervous. The enthusiastic voices that echoed through the corridors, the loud laughthers, their questions, their games, the way they run after each others. He couldn’t stand that. His mental sanity was held by such a thin, fragile rope… Anything could drive him mad.
“Stop yelling, Elros!” - ”Elrond, put that thing down and go to your room , I’m trying to work on something important!”
How many times did he scream at them?
He knew it was bad, he knew the twins were children, they were doing what children did. But he just couldn’t. He was too nervous, filled with an ungoing madness.
When the children cried, whatever the reason was, he had no strength, no will, no words, no gesture for them. Despite all his efforts, there was nothing he could do. Their cries were like waves of agony rolling onto him.
Maedhros had nothing to give anymore.
No patience. No solid ground on which to settle down and brace himself.
The twins tried many times to come to him. In their innocence, they wanted to help the tall, big, frightening elf. To understand him.
“Uncle… If we made something silly, we apologize.”
“Please uncle, don’t be mad at us.”
He gave them a sad smile, he patted their heads sometimes, and left without a word.
Once, he heard them talk with Maglor.
“Why did uncle Maedhros yell at us?”
“Did we do something wrong?”
“Does he hate us?”
Maglor tried to comfort them with sweet words and lullabies, and Maedhros swallowed back his bitterness. He didn’t hate them. He wanted them safe. But he couldn’t be there for them, he couldn’t take care of them. He wasn’t strong enough.
Most of the time, he locked himself in his chamber, seeking loneliness and silence above all, and didn’t see anyone for days, for weeks. He had to stay away from them.
He had nothing to give anymore.
He was scared of himself and he knew the twins were afraid of him.
And in his miserable despair, he never tried to change anything about it.