Summary : How did Thranduil meet his wife? Here's what he tells his young son, Legolas.

Yes. I've returned to the board. I've thought of staying away and hiding out for two or three months, but the reviews and e-mails kept streaming in. Oh, God. You guys are precious! At the time when I was feeling down—what with my broken relationship with my boyfriend and also receiving that review—you are still out there encouraging me to the end. Truthfully, I'm embarrassed with myself. I, who had given Keldarion the motto "It's not over till it's over", was actually giving up just because of one reader who did not like what I wrote. Shame on me!

Anyway, I'm back. With a vengeance!

He! He! Sorry, just kidding. Really, I'm back and I'm staying. Even Gimli's axe can't knock me off this perch! Thanks everyone. What you said to me, giving me your support and love—even those funny pics some of you sent me to make me laugh—really work! I'm not hurt anymore, my ex-boyfriend is already a history (That useless 'barracuda' is now hooked up with a 'jelly fish'. He gets stung all the time! Ha! Ha!), and my mind now is a lot more open. I'm more rational and clearheaded than before. I admit, I was too emotional before this, too sensitive yet insensitive with your feelings and expectations. I promise I won't let any such reviews to get to me after this, but instead to take them as a challenge or a test or whatever you can call them, or take the best way as most of you suggested—ignore them. (I have this inferiority complex inside me that I still have to overcome. I'll do my best.)

To appreciate your thoughts of me, I posted here the names of the people who have given me reviews and sent me e-mails for the last fic (in no particular order): Deana (I enjoy our talk, girl.); KeluinLossehelin; Brazgirl (The inspiration did bloom, thanks to your suggestion); lelewater86; Dur En Thurin Naur (You counted all my reviews? OMG! You just made me cry, mellon. You're such a sweetheart.); leralonde; seeing spots; Fire Breathing Ferret (and the muses); JunoMagic; BitterLee; Mellaithwen; layla146; Aranel of Mirkwood (I can't wait to see Kimi pairing with Monty. Imagine the fireworks in the McLaren garage next season!); Joee1; littletoaster; astalder27; Tree-Huggin' Hippie; Trista; othrilis; A REAL Anonymous fan (He! He! Love the pun!); Enigma Jade; kitty; kcraig; ScottyBaby; lady evenstar79; kel; Sparrow Greenleaf; Coolio02; frodomegan; Snow-Glory; Legolas Greenleaf; Elven-Lady Nilturiel; KathFire57; Aearon; Navaer Lalaith (It was kind of you for telling me that I was like 'a whiny brat throwing a tantrum when someone doesn't worship you to your expectation'. I really need that on top of everything. I will grow up like you told me to. And, no, it's not like a slap in the face, but more like a kick in the gut or a chop to the neck.); Janet; Legolas' Garden Light; Lani; Irish Anor; Vanessa; Jedi Cosmos (Your advice help me a great deal in my recovery. Thanks.); bessie1; BonBon88 (A sequel to 'Trip Down Trauma Lane'? Maybe there will be one.); butterfly-elf; Manwathiel; AbbiCat14 (You're right. I've made a promise once and I nearly broke them. I'm sorry, mellon nin.); thesadness (Okay.); Kaisin; HissoriOokami; TaniaNZ; Tindomiel; acacia59601; Joat; Fairylady (I'm writing! I'm writing! And guess what? Because you asked for Little Leggy, this story is for you!); jubisaurus (Hug you back.) Opium Minion the 13th; Cierah (You carry a little note pad everywhere? So do I!); kiku; szhismine (Have you received the cake with extra sugar and a cherry on top that I just e-mailed you?); Gina (God, what that person said to you was harsh. I wonder why he/she didn't just put that gun to his/her own head if your story was indeed too bad?); me (Like you said, I shouldn't have let the reviews control my work. From now on I'll do it My Way, and who cares about those people who don't like it, right? That's their problem, not mine.); legosgurl; Sarah; Lady Lenna; tammi; anori

To the names above (I hope I didn't leave out anyone), THANK YOU, THANK YOU, and THANK YOU. You are my beloved saviors.

Now on to the main agenda—a Little Leggy story! In this one, Leggy's age is equivalent to human's five year old. It takes place right after 'Two In A Tub'. It's pathetically quite soap-opera-ish. Too much cuteness and sweetness, I think. LOL! Anyway, do enjoy it (or suffer it, whichever you like). And feel free to throw me some flames after you've finished (I eat fire for breakfast starting last week. Mmm. Yummy!)

Note : This story (like my other stories) is, of course, an AU. The facts here are not 100 percent accurate.

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It was the fiercest thunderstorm the realm had ever seen.

Lightning cracked in the pitch black sky. Thunders boomed and shook the very earth. The wind howled and wailed as the heavy rain pelted against the palace walls.

Cowering under the blanket in his bed that night, Legolas covered his ears as he tried to blot out the terrifying sound, but the storm only grew stronger and louder. And when another round of thunder and lightning exploded, the little prince shrieked in fright and shot out of the bed, running for the door.

His brother, Keldarion, was not home. The crown prince was sleeping over at Commander Linden's quarters with other novices—an extended activity in the 'warfare and battle' theory class that the commander was organizing for the young warriors of Mirkwood.

With his doting elder brother gone, Legolas had only one other sanctuary—his father.

Thranduil was deeply asleep when something landed on the bed beside him, jerking him awake instantly. He bolted upright and raised his fists in reflex reaction, bracing himself to face the assailant who dared to disturb his slumber. But the king quickly checked his movement when he saw the small lump quivering under the coverlet. He blinked at the sight, stupefied.

"Legolas? Is that you?"

The lump mumbled incoherently. Thranduil rolled his eyes and swiped away the sheet to reveal the tiny form of his youngest child huddling there.

His son smiled sheepishly back at him. "Hey, father."

"Hey, yourself." Thranduil quirked one eyebrow. "What in Arda are you doing here?"

"Welllll…" Legolas bit his lips as he judged his father's mood. "I'm hiding."

"Hiding, you say?" Thranduil was frowning now, his arms folded across his chest. "Hiding from what?"

"Um…From the lightning."

Thranduil looked even more confused. "For Valar's sake, Legolas, why?"

"Because it's going to strike me!" The prince claimed. "Kel said to me once that storms happen when the stars in the sky are angry. They send down the lightning to punish naughty little boys—like me!"

It was hard for Thranduil to keep a straight face. He was choking on his laughter when Legolas finished explaining.

Poor child. Looks like I need to have a talk with Kel about scaring his little brother this way, he thought.

Swallowing his grin, Thranduil put on the sternest expression he could muster and asked his son, "Have you been naughty, Legolas?"

Legolas bit his lips again and fiddled with the edge of the coverlet, avoiding his father's gaze. "Um…I think so."

Thranduil's heart beat a little faster. O-oh. This mischievous munchkin has been on the prowl again, he thought anxiously

"Legolas, what did you do?"

"What did I do?"

"Yes."

"You really want to know?"

"Yes?"

"You won't be angry if I tell you?"

"That depends."

"On what?"

Thranduil sighed as his son tried to drag the conversation off track. "Legolas, just tell me what you did or I swear I'll box your ears!"

As his lips started to tremble anew, Legolas spoke hurriedly, "I put salt in Cook's sugar jar this morning."

The king blinked. And blinked again. "That's it?"

His son nodded. "That's it."

Thranduil broke up laughing then. He put an arm around his belly as he rumbled with mirth. "Now, that's why the pudding at dinner tasted so…so…well…salty."

Legolas shrugged and smiled. "You're not mad at me?"

Gazing fondly at his son, the king grinned. "No, but Cook might."

The prince's smile fell flat as he recalled the stern face of the head kitchener of Thranduil's household. He bet there would be no more free cookies for him after this.

At that same moment, lightning struck right outside Thranduil's window as loud thunder boomed and roared over the palace roof.

Legolas screamed. He flung himself into his father's arms, trembling and whimpering in fear.

Chuckling, Thranduil hugged his son tighter. He rubbed down the prince's back soothingly. "There, there. Don't be afraid. The lightning won't hit you, not as long as you stay indoors."

With wide frightened eyes, Legolas gazed at his father. "You promise?"

"I promise." The king nodded. "Want me to take you to your room so that you can…?"

"No!" The prince frantically shook his head, tightening his arms around his father's neck. "I want to sleep with you. Please, father? Please, can I sleep in here?"

"As you wish, little one." Thranduil nodded his acquiescence with a smile. It was hard for Thranduil to say differently because Legolas looked very frightened indeed. Still, the king knew he had just forfeited his peaceful slumber because his little son was certainly not a peaceful sleeper! Legolas slept like he was at play, monopolizing the bed with his arms flinging and legs kicking about. There was even one time when Thranduil woke up to find himself kissing his son's bare foot!

"Here, put your head on my chest," Thranduil coaxed as he lowered himself back into the pillows. Legolas did as he was told, never releasing his grip on his father.

"Now go to sleep," Thranduil said next, pulling the counterpane over them both.

"But I can't sleep, not with the wind still howling out there," Legolas whined, burrowing deeper into his father's breast.

The king rolled his eyes at that, shaking his head. "Then close your eyes, imp. That might help."

"No, it won't," his son protested. "I can still hear the wind. Do you hear that? It's getting louder and louder. I think it is trying to get me."

"What the…" Thranduil burst into chuckles. "I don't know where you got such preposterous idea, Legolas, but the wind is harmless."

"Still, the sound scares me a lot." Legolas pouted, aimlessly tracing a finger on his father's collarbone.

The king sighed, knowing that he was not going to get any more sleep that night. "So, what do you want me to do?"

His son looked up, his face brightening. "Tell me a story?"

"Tell you a story?" Now he started to sound like a blasted parrot.

"Yes, father. Tell me a story. Any story, as long as it can take my mind off the freaking wind."

"Hmm." Thranduil worked his brain to find anything appropriate to appease his slightly fretful son. "Uh…do you want to hear the story of a fire-breathing balrog? No? Then how about the story of angry lighting striking naughty little princes?"

"Father!" Legolas protested, looking as if he was about to cry.

"Oh, baby, I was just joking!" Laughing, Thranduil pushed his son's face into the crook of his neck. He lovingly stroked the boy's long golden tresses. "Let's see, now. Story, story, story…Aha! I think I know the best story to tell you."

"What?" Legolas asked, sniffing.

Thranduil gazed down at his son. "Want to hear more about your mother? About the time when I first met her?"

Legolas immediately broke into smile. "Yes! Do tell me, father! I want to hear that story again!" he squealed.

"I bet you would say that." Thranduil grinned, and reached down to tickle his son on the tummy. The young prince shrieked and giggled uncontrollably.

Not long after, with his son tucked right next to his heart, the king of Mirkwood began his tale.

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It was early dusk. The realm of Greenwood the Great was quickly surrounded by darkness as a tall golden-haired figure strode angrily towards the stream behind the newly built palace.

His fists clenching and his blue eyes flashing, Thranduil was trying hard to keep his temper under control, but it was no easy feat. He was still bristling from the heated argument he just had with the king. The crown prince felt quite insulted when his father forbade him to join the war party to Dol Guldur.

"I need you here," King Oropher had said. "There's much to be done in this kingdom we've just founded. I can't handle its governing all by myself."

Thranduil believe not a word of it. He knew his father was a competent king, a noble lord of the Sindar who had led the journey eastward from Lindon to settle among the Silvan elves and found the woodland realm. A natural born leader, Oropher could rule the kingdom with his eyes closed. But, protective of his children and concern for his heredity, the king was reluctant to send his eldest son into danger.

But Thranduil was an exceptional warrior. Everybody knew that! He was not born to sit quietly in the hall and listen to the people's complains. He wasn't born to sit patiently behind a desk and go through the kingdom's ledgers and journals. He wasn't born to sit in a meeting room and discuss about boring governing policies and house protocols. He wasn't born to hold a pen and write long letters to other kings and lords. He was born to hold a sword and fight like his life depended on it!

"Blast it! I hate being a prince!" Thranduil fumed, swearing and cursing as he yanked his tunic off him. Lord, he desperately needed to take a dip to cool down his head.

"Why can't he see that I'm not cut to be his heir?" he muttered, skipping on one foot as he took off his left boot. As he was he reaching for the other boot, his ears suddenly caught the sound of water splashing coming from the stream.

Thranduil frowned darkly, wondering who would dare invade his private sanctuary. Barefoot and bare-chested—definitely spoiling for a fight—he rounded a large tree and a clump of bushes, striding fast towards the sound.

He abruptly went still at what he saw, his anger quickly evaporating. As his mouth dropped open, the prince stared in wonder at the captivating specter frolicking in the water. He blinked, thinking that he was just seeing things. But the raven haired beauty was still there, floating on her back as she lazily treaded water with her eyes closed, a smile of bliss playing at her well-shaped lips.

Thranduil knew he was being overly rude, staring at a half-naked maiden like this, but he couldn't drag his eyes away for she was incredibly lovely. Her hair was a train of soft black silk dancing in the stream. Her eyelashes were sinfully long, resting like a pair of dark crescents against her pale downy cheeks. And in the twilight, her skin looked pure alabaster, like pearl.

Valar. He had never seen anyone so beautiful!

The maiden might have sensed his presence because she suddenly bolted upright and hastily looked around. When her huge silver eyes found him, she squeaked and quickly covered her front with her arms.

Growing red in the face, feeling like a voyeur, Thranduil spun and offer her his back, stammering, "I...I…Forgive me. I was…that is…I didn't know that you…uh…I'm sorry."

Not receiving any reply a long while later, Thranduil itched to see her reaction. But when he moved his head, the maiden suddenly spoke, "Don't look!"

Biting his lips to keep his grin in check, the prince said, "Your wish is my command, my lady."

Finally, he heard her step out of the stream. From the corner of his eyes, he saw her walk straight towards a pile of clothes on the ground.

"You are still looking at me," she accused him as she hastily draped her cloak over her slim shoulders, sending him furtive glances all the while.

"I can't help it." Thranduil shrugged with a smile. "You are too beautiful not too look at."

She froze in the act of tying the laces of her cloak, watching him warily as he turned around and steadily approached her. Blushing, she could not make herself move as he reached up and finished tying the laces. Then he gently pulled her long hair out of the collar to let it stream down her back. The long raven tresses almost reached her hips.

"I'm Thranduil," the prince said, putting all his charm into his smile and gestures. "And you are…?"

"I'm late," she responded with half a smile. "So, if you will excuse me…"

She grabbed her slippers and moved around him, heading towards the path that he had taken. But after several paces, she paused and looked over her shoulder at him. Her mouth worked as if she wanted to say something, but then she changed her mind and resumed on her way, walking so fast she was almost running.

Amused, and slightly dazed, Thranduil watched her go. He then began to realize that his heart was beating faster than usual, and that there was a big stupid grin on his face.

Hmm. Being left out of the war party is not so bad after all, he thought. Who in Arda is she?

In the following days afterwards, Thranduil tried to be as discreet as possible as he made inquiries of the maiden's identity. But, somehow, his father found out what he was up to.

"What is this I hear about you looking for a wife?" Oropher asked his son a week later as they ate breakfast together.

Thranduil choked on his tea. Gasping and wheezing, he glared at the king. "I am looking for a what?!"

"A wife. Somebody told me that you are busily searching for a raven-haired beautiful maiden who has the skin of a pearl and the eyes of burning silver." Oropher leveled his son a steady gaze. "Didn't you tell me once that you want to remain a bachelor until the wargs start flying? Why this change of heart?"

"Of all the…!" Thranduil sighed as he rolled his eyes. "I am not looking for a wife. Why would you think such?"

"If not a wife, then who are you looking for?"

"No one!" The young prince threw up his hands, his famous temper actively brewing. "What's the big deal anyway? I was just asking around, trying to know our people better."

"Oh, really?" Oropher didn't think that was the actual truth. He quirked his eyebrows, quite amused to see his son so ruffled. "Then why look for a particular dark-haired maiden? You must be doing that be for some reason."

"No reason, father. So drop it." Thranduil gritted his teeth as he felt the blush of embarrassment creep up his neck. Thank the Valar his younger brothers were not around to witness this or he would not going to hear the end of it!

Oropher just laughed in respond. Then, to avoid an 'explosion', he dragged the conversation to other matters. "Lord Calafalas will pay a visit this morning," said the king. "I expect you to be here."

Thranduil sent his father a bemused look. "Do I need to? I've already made plans to go out for a ride."

Oropher harrumphed. "Cancel it. This is important."

"Any reason why?" The prince's voice was as cold as ice.

"He is bringing along his daughter, the…"

"I knew it!" Thranduil threw down his napkin. "You are matchmaking me against her!"

"Will you let me finish?!" Oropher roared. "Really, Thranduil, I don't know where you got such temper. You need to learn to curb it a little, be more level headed and calm. It won't do for a prince—and a crown prince at that—to be so bloody hotheaded."

Thranduil kept his mouth shut and stared at his plate, slightly ashamed at the rebuke.

"Now, where was I?" Oropher frowned. "Oh, yes. Calafalas and his daughter. You might have heard that there is a mystical healer, a manyan, among the Silvans. Calafalas will introduce us to her."

"A manyan?" Now Thranduil's interest was picked. "You mean, a person that can heal by the simple touch of her hand? And she is Calafalas' daughter?"

"Exactly."

"Oh." Thranduil looked chagrin. "Forgive me, father. I guess I overreacted."

"You sure did." Oropher smiled, looking quite concern. "Tell me, truthfully, my son. Is something bothering you?"

The prince apologetically met his father's gaze, wishing that he could swallow his harsh words earlier. "Nothing is bothering me, father. I just feel a little confined, that's all."

"I see." Oropher nodded. "Will the ride make you feel better?"

"I hope so."

"Then, go. But I want you to be here on time for Calafalas' visit."

Thranduil's face brightened. "Thank you, father. I promise, I'll be back before he arrives. And I'm sorry for the…"

"Think nothing of it. Now, go."

Thranduil did feel a lot better after the ride. But when he dismounted at the palace courtyard an hour later, he saw that Calafalas had just arrived with his entourage. One of the high respected lords of the Silvans, Calafalas was seen exchanging greetings with King Oropher.

But it was not Calafalas that caught Thranduil's interest, but the lady in white standing next to him—obviously Calafalas' manyan daughter. She caught him staring at her. She blushed instantly and looked down, gazing at her feet.

Of all the luck! Thranduil was grinning as he let the stable-hand lead away his stallion. It's the maiden from the stream!

The elven lady inched a little closer to her father, and demurely tried to avoid the gaze of the handsome golden-haired warrior. Her heart beat a little faster, her skin tingled with awareness. It was not that she wasn't pleased by the prince's attention. On the contrary, she found that she was incredibly flattered. She blushed even redder as she recalled the incident by the stream several days ago. She had had strange yet wonderful dreams about him since then, and none of them had made any sense.

Until now.

"Ah, Thranduil! You're home. Finally," Oropher announced when he saw his son. "Come, let me introduce you to Lord Calafalas and his daughter, Marwana."

Eager to please, Thranduil stepped forward.

And suddenly, everything happened all at once.

A lost bee had flown in from the garden and hovered too close to the prince's stallion the stable-hand was leading away. The horse was spooked instantly and began to neigh in fear, rearing and kicking on its hinds legs. Yanking away from the stable-hand's grip, the panicked animal bolted, heading straight for Calafalas and his daughter.

There was no time for thinking. Oropher immediately grabbed Calafalas, yanking him out of harm's way. But Marwana stood frozen on her feet, staring in horror at the charging beast. Still several feet away from her, Thranduil did the only thing he could to save her life. He leaped and crashed into her, bringing her down to the ground to lie on top of her.

Seconds later, thundering hoofs came pummeling down his back. Thranduil gave out a cry of anguish, but he was still clearheaded enough to cover Marwana completely under his body.

It was almost like a lifetime later when the stallion finally stopped trashing and panicking. Several guards had quickly caught the horse and were trying to calm it down, stroking and patting its glossy black pelt soothingly. Hot breath flared out of the stallion's nostrils as it trembled, whickering unhappily. Then everybody started to surround the two figures lying unmoving on the ground.

"Thranduil!" Oropher was in fear as he knelt beside his son. He blanched when he saw the blood trickling freely down his son's mouth. The prince's eyes were closed, and there was a huge amount of pain written on his face.

Calafalas was also frantic as he checked his daughter. But to everyone's amazement, Marwana was conscious and completely unscathed. She was deeply pale and shaken, though, but unhurt.

"Help me up, father," she said, pushing at Thranduil's body. "I'm fine, but he…Quick. Help me turn him over."

The elves worked together to gently lay the prince on his back. Marwana was already pulling up her long sleeves, giving her hands some room to work. Oblivious to the dirt in her hair and spots of Thranduil's blood on the bodice of her immaculate white gown, she placed her palms on top of his chest, closing her eyes in deep concentration.

The manyan in her could feel the broken bones of Thranduil's spine and ribs, his crushed lungs and spleen. Knowing that he bravely endured the agony just to save her life gave Marwana the determination to make him whole again. So she healed him, inside out—magical energy flowing out through her fingertips into his body.

When he fluttered his eyes open a while later, the first person Thranduil saw was the maiden from the stream, that most beautiful creature he had ever seen. And she was smiling down at him.

He grinned, albeit weakly. "Shall we start again, my lady? I'm Thranduil."

She softly giggled. "And I'm Marwana. Nice meeting you, your highness."

And from that moment forward, the two became an item.

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The sound of his son's even breathing pulled Thranduil out of his reminiscence. He took a look and broke into a tender smile. Little Legolas had fallen back to sleep, one small fist curling and resting against his father's neck.

Thranduil sighed as he gazed adoringly at his son's beautiful face, which was an exact replica of Marwana's. She had died giving birth to this very child, and it seemed fitting that the boy inherited her powerful healing ability. Legolas was the youngest manyan one had ever known, and that scared Thranduil to death because his youngest son had 'Trouble' as his middle name, always landing into one scrape after another.

After tucking a wayward lock of flaxen hair behind his son's ear, Thranduil pulled the tiny form closer to his body until his chin rested upon the boy's head, barely aware that the heavy thunderstorm outside was finally dying down.

"Sleep well, little one," Thranduil whispered, leaning down to kiss his son's temple. "Your mother and I are looking after you now. Sleep well."

And somewhere in Legolas' vivid and colorful dreams, his mother was telling him the exact same thing.

THE END

Is that how Greenwood the Great was founded by Oropher? Or is it true what the 2nd theory says about Thranduil himself founding the realm? I'm not really sure, even after I've re-read 'The Unfinished Tales' and re-visited the 'Encyclopaedia of Arda'. That part is still vague to me. Maybe a Tolkien expert can explain it to us a lot better.

Anyway, I hope you like 'Tell Me A Story'. I just love little Leggy, don't you? Do you want more? Maybe I'll come up with more. The plot bunnies are happily jumping around right now.

So, until then. See ya!

What?

Oh. What's next, you mean.

Hmm. How about an action-adventure? Good enough for you? Fine, then. Wait for me for around two weeks. Legolas and the gang are going to get into trouble again!

I'll be back. (Arnold the Terminator is surely proud of me every time I said that! LOL!)