"I'm just saying you're going to make her miserable."
"I don't think so," Maedhros says.
"I wasn't accusing you of doing it on purpose." He turns and looks out the window. He doesn't like looking at Maedhros. Maedhros had dyed his hair so it looked like it was greying, or possibly deliberately greyed it, and surgically rounded his ears and wrinkled his skin. He looked a well-preserved forty. Everyone Maedhros worked with knew he was immortal. Celegorm couldn't think why he'd bothered. It made him uglier.
"I won't learn anything if I make her miserable," Maedhros says. "I need to figure out how she's going to work with resources and allies that are less - romantic - than a devoted mysterious immortal tormented bodyguard, and if -"
"It's not romantic."
"I don't mean that she wants to marry you."
"No, she doesn't. I mean that - working with people is always easier than working with institutions, and working with intriguing, compelling, supernaturally gifted people who are training you to achieve your destiny is the easiest sort of arrangement. And if I want you out of that damned city I obviously need an adequate substitute, which means I need to figure out how she can interact with an organization as effectively as she interacts with you. I won't make any progress towards my goal if she's miserable, so I won't let her be miserable, so you can stop bristling at me."
This really shouldn't be reassuring but it is. Betting on Maedhros's competence is always much surer than betting on his compassion. And if Maedhros wants her to have a good summer vacation for reasons other than appeasing Celegorm then he doesn't have to worry that things will get worse if he lets himself be appeased. It's very clever and he resents it immensely. He walks to the window and turns around to scowl at Maedhros's ugly face.
"I also think this is a good idea from Karen's perspective," Maedhros says peaceably. "She doesn't know much about us."
"She hasn't asked."
"She should care, a lot, about the motives and attitudes and competence of people who will be coming to join her in Sunnydale. She should care how they think about presently inactive vampires like her friend, she should care how they think about sixteen-year-olds with superpowers, she should care what their vision of success looks like, and whether they're competent to pull it off. I think if she spends the summer figuring that out she'll be happier than if she spends it roaming around the cemetery staking vampires you let her have because it's good for her self-esteem."
"Or," says Celegorm, "you could tell her, and then she would know, and then she could spend the summer doing whatever she likes."
"I don't know yet. Who I send and what they want and how they operate is going to depend on her, and what she works best with, and I need this summer to get that right."
Maedhros doesn't smile. Maedhros's smiles are all lies and Celegorm hates being lied to. "Thank you."
"I haven't done anything."
"You heard me out. I know you hate that."
"If I ever won an argument with you I wouldn't hate having them."
Maedhros looks mildly surprised. "That's not true. If it were -"
" - I mean, if I ever won an argument with you and it wasn't because you let me win in order to make me more willing to hear you out generally."
"Tyelco, sometimes you're right and I'm wrong, and sometimes we don't agree and you end up getting the thing you want, and sometimes I end up making a lot more concessions than I planned to and sometimes I end up getting nothing I want. The only sense in which you've never won an argument is that you've never walked away feeling like you're adequate. That's not what it looks like when I have conversational superpowers, it's what it looks like when you have a searing inferiority complex."
"I don't want to talk about this," he says, because the alternative is trying to come up with words in response to that and he doesn't have any. "I'll tell Karen to go to summer camp."
"Tell her why, too."
If this conversation were with someone else he'd end it by threatening them, but you can't threaten someone who wants, more than anything in the world, for everyone who loves him to stop so that if he ever finds a way to die he can pursue it guiltlessly.
"Don't hurt her, Nelyo."
"She'll have a lovely time."