Title: Father and Son
Rating: PG-13 for a bit of angst and inner turmoil on Thranduil's side.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Lord of the Rings or any character you will recognize here. They belong entirely to Mr. Tolkien. No profit is made of this, it is purely for my own enjoyment. I only own the plot bunny that bit me for this story. *ouch* ;)
Summary: After the death of his wife King Thranduil struggles to show his little son how much he loves him.
Beta: Beta? What beta? Volunteer, any one? Update: YIPPIE! I've found a beta! Thank you, Akedhi! Your help is very much appreciated! J
A/N: I'm no expert on LOTR so if the story- or timeline doesn't fit to Tolkien's work or you think Master Tolkien would turn in his tomb if he'd read this, I'm sorry, please forgive me!
As Tolkien hasn't given us a concrete date of birth for Legolas I am not sure if the timeline I've chosen for this story is correct. After a lot of research I believe Legolas is younger than most people seem to think. I definitely don't agree to Peter Jackson's suggestion that Legolas is more than 2000 years old when he joins the fellowship. From what I have read I assume he is only around 600 years old when he joins Frodo on his quest. Therefore he must have been born sometime around the end of The Watchful Peace, which is the time this story takes place. So, in this story Legolas is five years old in human standards. I'm not sure how old he would be in elven standards, probably 11 or 12 years I think.
As Tolkien didn't give us any information about Legolas' mother or any siblings, either, there's much space for speculations. Thank God, hehe :). For this story I've chosen Legolas to be an only child and I decided that his mother was killed by orcs when he was very young. I know it's cruel, but please, don't blame or flame me! It's completely the plot bunny's fault! I'd also like to add that I probably will not keep that set-up should I ever decide to write a further fanfic. It all depends on the plot bunnies… ;)
This is my first fanfic ever and English is not my native language so please be, uhm, lenient and gentle… No flaming, please, I'm afraid of fire! ;) Moderate reviews are very welcome!
A/N part 2: I'd like to add that one of my reviewers (*waves at Karri* J), pointed out to me that Elves would never beat their children even not as disciplinary action in case of disobedient behaviour - no matter how important or serious the situation might be. I like to explain that before I wrote this story I had stumbled across a piece of information or better said a story that mentioned the Eldars' custom of 'being sent with a stick in your hand to the aunts and uncles' – which means: if an elfling broke a so called 'stated rule' (= very important rule, mostly safety prohibition) the penalty for that would be a beating which would be executed not by the parents of the disobedient child but by close relatives such as an aunt or an uncle. I first thought that this discipline of Elvish children was explained by Tolkien and so I incorporated it into my story. (Well, at least I tried to stick to canon! ;)) Then I learned that this is a story-telling device in "Elflocks – How Legolas Cured His Sister of Teasing" by Chathol-linn. I asked permission to use this idea. Although my idea and Chathol-linn's are not exactly the same, the author gave consent. Nonetheless I'd like to apologize to all Tolkien fans who took offence by the idea that Thranduil might discipline Legolas in such a way. As I've already said I originally thought the idea was based on Tolkien's work. I'm sure you understand that I won't re-write the whole story now though. My plot bunny says I can't! ;)
Karri also mentioned that she doubted Legolas' walk/run from the archery ground back to the palace to be a safety issue. And even though I can see why she and maybe others think so I'd like to explain that in my imagination the archery training ground is not exactly around the corner of Thranduil's palace. I think wood elves would always use a natural clearing or something like that for a training field instead of violently cutting down trees in order to artificially set it up right next to the palace. And for this story the clearing happens to be a bit away from the palace (at least a 1 hour walk or so away, my plot bunny informs me ;)) so even though walking the way alone might not be the most dangerous thing in the world it surely isn't the safest thing, either – at least not for a small elfling and at least not in my story, hehe… J
Thoughts are in Italics.
mellon nin – my friend
ion nin – my son
adar / ada – father / dad/daddy
naneth / nana – mother / mom/mommy
Arda – The World
Ilúvatar – Godhead
Valar – name of fourteen powerful spirits (sort of Godheads)
Elbereth – Sort of Goddess, queen of the stars who set the stars in the sky
King Thranduil of Mirkwood stood, staring outside the window onto the large, green trees in the courtyard of his palace, but he saw nothing. He was lost in a memory of his beloved but now dead wife, queen not only of his realm, but also of his heart and soul. How much had she loved these trees, spending hot summer afternoons sitting in their cool shadows, playing with their only child. He could still hear her angelic laughter and the happy giggles of his son. How he missed that sound! He closed his eyes, violently tearing himself away from this painful memory, sighed, turned around and sat down again.
Lord Elrond from Rivendell and Mithrandir - or Gandalf the Grey as some would know the wizard as - watched him intently but neither said a word. The three of them and nine of the royal counsellors sat in King Thranduil's large conference room and had just heard reports about several orc attacks at the east-southern borders of Mirkwood, once known as Greenwood the Great. The southern region of the once beautiful and peaceful woods had finally faded into the shadow that had fallen upon the royal forest over thousand years ago. Darkness crept further and further into the realm. Another three of Thranduil's hunting parties had been attacked and slain only a few days ago, the fifth attack in only two weeks! He sighed again, feeling the weight of all Arda on his still proud shoulders.
"My friend, we still do not know exactly who your foe is, what force sends the orcs and wargs upon your realm. There is still hope it is not as bad as you might think." Lord Elrond offered in the most comforting voice he could pull up, but even he didn't believe what he had said.
Thranduil turned to him, looking first angry, then suddenly both sad and grateful. The Lord from Rivendell and the king were not always on good terms, but in dark times such as these they could rely on each other, both knew. Elrond had been there for Thranduil like a brother when his wife had been killed almost one year ago. Elrond had arranged everything for the funeral ceremony and had supported the king's advisors when Thranduil had felt too weak and too depressed to fulfil his royal duties. But most of all Elrond had been taking care of the king's son, Legolas.
The child had been rescued when his mother's and his party had been attacked by a large orc band on a feignedly safe trip through the woods. Three Mirkwood warriors had sacrificed their immortal lives to save that of the prince, who by human standards was four years old at that time. Physically Legolas even had not received so much as a scratch, but the trauma he had suffered was deep and had almost killed him. Lord Elrond had done all he could to save him, but only with the help from Mithrandir had he finally been able to bring the small being out of his mental darkness back to the light. It seemed Mithrandir was way too fascinating and funny for Legolas to stay hidden in his bed, doing nothing except for staring at the ceiling or staring out of the window with wide yet blind eyes. Still, Legolas had not eaten much during that time and finding sleep had been a hard task for him as well. Only the presence of his father had seemed to make Legolas feel safe enough to do so. After four months the child had almost been back to normal, so Elrond and Gandalf had finally left, and even though Legolas had been very upset he had taken their departure with much bravery. Nonetheless they had to promise him to come back as soon as possible.
Thranduil smiled slightly at the memory of his small son running swiftly after the two riders down to the palace's great gate, waving them good-bye until he could not see them anymore.
Elrond shot him a questioning look. Thranduil's smile faded away and was replaced by his usual stern gaze.
"Mellon nin, I know you did not mean to, but do not mistake me for a fool for I am afraid all of us know just too well who our foe is. And he is as evil as ever", he said, his usual strong, booming voice now low and concerned. The king felt exhausted. He felt the end of the Watchful Peace was near and the dark ruler from the south was about to send Mirkwood and maybe even whole Middle Earth into doom. Oh, and he was so tired. Just like Legolas he had not slept well since his wife's death. He missed her so badly, especially at night, lying lonely in his now far too large bed. But he was not only tired due to lack of sleep. He also was tired of being a king in times of war. He was tired of facing a yet unseen enemy every day and seeing no end to the battle. He closed his eyes for a brief moment and inhaled deeply.
But as if even that was not something he was allowed to enjoy in some sort of silent peace, an impatient little knock on the room's door echoed painfully in his head. Without waiting for an answer from the inside the door opened a crack and someone slipped through it into the room. Someone so small, the king and his two companions, Elrond to his left and Mithrandir to his right, could not see him or her from their point of view. But Thranduil knew the little swift footsteps heading towards his end of the large table all too well.
Before Gandalf could even make out who had just entered the room, the person in question was climbing up on his lap and hugging him tightly.
"Uncle Dir!" The little elfling exclaimed, overjoyed, kissing Gandalf eagerly and wetly on the cheek, stunning the old wizard to no ends. Gandalf smiled all over his face as he recognized Legolas and kissed the little elfling back. He felt himself even blush a little. He was not used to being hugged and kissed by elflings. They always seemed to be a bit afraid of him. But this one here, Gandalf knew from the day of Legolas' birth, was different. And they had become close friends as far as an old wizard and a young elfling could become friends, that is.
"Ah, haha, now, what kind of intruder do we have here, hm?" He tickled Legolas a bit, making him giggle and almost falling off his lap.
Thranduil sighed once again and rose.
"Legolas Greenleaf Thranduilion, Prince of Mirkwood!" His booming voice echoed in the large room. And Legolas knew he was in trouble.
"Ada, please, just would see Uncle Dir…?" He explained, with a small voice, anxiously looking to the left side where his father stood tall above him. That anxious look on his little face changed rapidly as he caught sight of Lord Elrond, whom he had not noticed before.
"Uncle Rond!" He exclaimed, swiftly climbing over the chair of his stunned father onto Elrond's lap. He embraced the Lord from Rivendell and kissed him no less eagerly, too. The elfling's warm-heartedness and his innocent enthusiasm were so overwhelming that even Thranduil could not suppress a little smile.
"Hello my little wood elfling!" Lord Elrond said, hugging Legolas tightly. Oh, he just loved this child – almost as much as if he was his own flesh and blood. "How do you fare these days, little heart?" he asked, but Legolas got no chance to answer since his father had already regained his former seriousness and was pulling him up onto his arms and leaving the room quickly.
"My Lords, if you may excuse me for a minute." He said sternly, but actually no one understood what was wrong. The first time for this day they all had a reason to smile, and now that reason was practically thrown out of the room. The only one not looking somewhat shocked was the intruder himself. He knew his king, his father, he had known what would happen, if he would interrupt the meeting but still he had not could resist. He had been awaiting Mithrandir's visit far too long now to keep on waiting in his own chamber while the wizard was locked away in some stupid conference room. He even had not known Lord Elrond would be there, too, so the whole thing had paid off twice for him. Despite his clearly troubled situation he smiled and waved to Mithrandir and Elrond who both couldn't suppress a chuckle.
Then his father left the room and threw the door shot behind himself with a loud *BANG*.
The kind crouched down, sat his son back on the cold marble floor and rose again, standing tall over the elfling once more.
"Legolas Greenleaf Thranduilion…" He started and closed his eyes in order to control both his temper and tiredness.
"Ada, I'm sorry, don't be angry with me, please," the little elfling murmured in a small voice, looking down at the floor.
Thranduil sighed once more. This is going to become a bad habit, he thought, I'm sighing all the time! He looked down on his small child.
"Legolas, I know you have waited a terrible long time for Mithrandir, and I know you are bored. And I know I have not had much time for you recently. But you must understand that it is my duty as a king and as your father to take care of certain matters. Do you understand? It is only for the good of everyone, for the good of all your friends and of yourself. You cannot walk in there just like that. It is not only that you have been disturbing an important meeting, worse than that it is no decent thing to do for a prince. You showed a great deal of impolite, childish behaviour. Never do that again! Am I making myself clear?" He said, with a strict voice.
Legolas only nodded, still staring at the floor. Thranduil's heart almost broke from the mere sight. This sweet little innocent being standing in front of him, trying to look brave while at the same time trying to avoid his glare from above was his son! His own flesh and blood! And he was a child, by the Valar! So he was supposed to show childish behaviour, was he not? He surely was not supposed to look so awfully sad.
Thranduil crouched down again, bringing himself on eye to eye level with Legolas. But the elfling did not dare to look at him. Gently taking that small face between his large strong hands he turned Legolas' head. Big blue sad eyes turned their gaze on him. Ooh, just another crack in the heart. The sadness in these lovely orbs was almost unbearable for him. He could bear anger or rage in them but not this sadness.
"Look, I am not angry with you anymore, alright? I just want you to help me, will you? You must, ion nin. I need you to be brave and a bit more grown up and patient. I promise to you, you can talk to Uncle Mithrandir and Uncle Elrond as soon as we have finished this meeting. You can have them all day long if they agree, but you must help me now, will you? Be a good boy, please, and wait until the meeting is over." His voice was soft now, and somehow he knew it would work better than being strict. Legolas never could say no to anyone asking for his help.
"Ada…?" The child started and then bit his lips, trying to fight back the tears already stinging in his eyes. He swallowed hard. Of course he wanted to have Uncle Mithrandir and Uncle Elrond all day long, but even more he wanted to have his father all day long. But he could not say it, it would not help his Ada, he knew. And he so much wanted to be a good boy for his Ada.
Legolas took a deep breath and straighten his shoulders.
"I help you, I promise." he announced, hugged his father briefly, then turned around and ran away.
Thranduil sighed again, tiredly rubbing his face with one hand. It hurt him to send Legolas away. Once again. He had done this too much in the last twelve months, he knew, and he also knew, his son ached for attention but he could not change it. His kingdom and his people were in danger and needed him more than his son.
"I am so sorry, my little squirrel…" he murmured to himself, and with that he rose again and returned to the meeting.