Title: Long Under Tree
Summary: Legolas is an elfling giving his ada headaches and heartache. The young life of Legolas 'long under tree'.
Feedback: yes please
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
"Ada can we thee the wizard?" Legolas asked excitedly while Thranduil dropped a tunic over his head and gently began to pull his little arms through the sleeves. Legolas had been given a warm bath where the scratches and bruised knees from his misadventure were kissed and worried over by his besotted ada.
"He is waiting in the hall to dine with us this morning." Thranduil informed the wriggly elfling. "If you are good and stop struggling we can greet him all the sooner."
"Ada! Let's go!" Legolas scrambled off of the bed and through the tapestry covered door leaving the King holding a small pair of leggings in one hand. Legolas was half way down the corridor before he was caught up by Elrond. Lifting the elfling into his arms, he held back a wide grin at the elfling's grumpy expression. Legolas struggled lightly to be put down but Elrond only laughed at him "Where do you think you are going held pen 'naked one'?" Legolas pouted at being captured and grumpily blew his hair out of his eyes.
With a slight blush on his cheeks, Thranduil retrieved his bare-bottomed elfling from the Lord who had been on his way to the library. Elrond was startled to see the King with his hair unwrapped, looking wildly disheveled and still in his sleeping robes.
He had known Thranduil for centuries and the King had always been annoyingly stern and precisely well ordered in his appearance. All Elrond could do was grin in amazement. This morning, the ruler was the most beautiful elf Elrond had ever seen. His shimmering golden hair lay in soft waves against his smooth skin and his vivid blue eyes sparkled.
Yet there was something else, for the first time Elrond realized that he was older than Thranduil. With his elfling clutched in his arms, close to his thin and muscled body, the Royal looked like a boy himself. He was only a young elf underneath it all, called to rule before his time.
Elrond had to catch his breath.
"He is quick." Thranduil said bashfully as he cradled Legolas against his chest. Elrond sputtered trying to respond but he could only stand there with his mouth open. "And quite naked." The King added patting his son's bare bottom confused as to what he should say after the awkward silence.
Thranduil was suddenly overcome with guilt, Elrond was a much more forgiving and tolerant elf than he was. The Lord was smiling kindly at him even though he had been downright disrespectful to the Noldor the night before. He had taken his anger out on this noble Lord time and again over the long years of his life.
He didn't know of anyway he could apologize for it. He had planned on composing himself as regally as he was able before facing the Lord again, where he would offer his most sincere regret over ill spoken words.
Thranduil didn't know why he always felt so angry and bad tempered around the Lord, perhaps it was because he did not want to be viewed as an ignorant, lesser Sinda in front of the legendary Noldor that his ada had fought with. Whatever the reason was, he was ashamed of it. Embarrassed, he turned and made for his bedchamber bidding Elrond a hasty goodbye. Missing the slump of the Lord's shoulders and the look of longing aimed at his back.
Legolas, who had just made a mad dash in all his glory to see the wizard seemed just as eager to get going. 'Why do ada's have to take so long?' he thought with a pout. The King flopped him down on the bed and began to tug the small pair of leggings over slim little elf legs. Still unspeakably grateful to have his beloved child with him Thranduil kissed small hands and tickled his elfling's belly until breathless giggles erupted.
Legolas who didn't understand modesty over comfort was very itchy and making this known to everyone as the King and Prince made their way to the dining hall. After having to stop several times so his elfling could scratch his legs, Thranduil was beginning to feel itchy himself. He casually reached down to scratch his own leg when he looked up and noticed that he and Legolas had attracted a small audience of giggling servants. Thranduil pretended that he was only straightening a wrinkle in his robes before he stood upright and glared at the smirking party.
When the two made it to the dining hall and the members stood in greeting, Legolas only had eyes for the wizard. Thranduil knowing his son all to well put a restraining hand on him to keep the elfling from pouncing on the Istari.
When he was lifted and placed is his chair, the wizard winked at the wide eyed boy but Legolas didn't respond, he was starring intently at the wizard's beard.
"Hello Legolas!" Mithrandir welcomed him.
The elfling remained quietly staring.
"He was very excited to see you this day Mithrandir, Legolas, say hello." Thranduil scolded gently.
As if woken from a spell, Legolas complied. "Hello Mith-an-neer, can you show my ada how you breathe fire please." He requested innocently.
The wizard chuckled and Thranduil looked perplexed. "Legolas what are you talking about?"
"I think I can answer that." Mithrandir replied taking his pipe from his robes and immediately attempting to light it.
"Oh no, not at my table and not around my elfling you don't." Thranduil growled. "It's bad enough that you would poison your own lungs with that smog. I won't have it near my ion."
Mithrandir immediately put the pipe away. Elves were eternally delicate creatures when it came to such things. When he looked up he noticed the prince frowning slightly.
"It its all right Mith-an-neer my ada still likes you, he ith only a little bit angry sometimes." Legolas said gently patting the wizard's hand.
"This one will be a great diplomat one day Thranduil, if you can keep him from taking on some of your more abrasive qualities." The wizard told the now very affronted King with a twinkle in his eye.
"Legolas, finish your milk." 'something needs to occupy that mouth!' Thranduil added to himself. Legolas did so, gulping noisily while continuing to stare at his wizard over the rim of the large cup.
"Elrond shall be traveling back to Rivendell soon won't he?" The wizard asked carefully.
Thranduil only grunted in response.
"Tell me, what have you managed to accomplish while you kept company?" Mithrandir asked knowingly.
"Much, you will be happy to know. The Noldor was late in offering help, but he has offered help. I cannot say the same for the Istari it seems. Greenwood has become a dangerous place and I've had no help but my own warriors who dwindle in number by the day." Thranduil replied bitterly.
Legolas was enjoying his favorite breakfast of honey bread and berries, completely oblivious to the tension that was settling over the room. He swung his legs back and forth rapidly, his feet far from the floor, he found could swing them alternately and so high that the tips of his boots hit the bottom of the table *thump* *thump*. This was fun!
"Thranduil, I am not blind to what has been going on here. I will offer what assistance I can. Elrond has offered his help, you would be right to not let your bitterness harm your judgment when it comes to your Kingdom!"
"You dare to lecture me?! You are responsible for overseeing middle earth not I! My people suffer because you have forgotten your responsibilities! Elrond has a ring of power, he is far from the battle in his realm, I'm on the front lines keeping him safe at the cost of my own elves!"
"You forget who you are speaking to! Do not claim to know what is beyond what you can see Thranduil! It is not only you and yours who have felt the effects of the ever encroaching darkness."
"At the very least I can see what is in front of my nose! Where have you been?! I'm ruling a land that is no longer recognizable to me!" Thranduil boomed.
"LEGOLAS!" The king shouted, turning on the elfling. "Stop that!"
The shout had startled Legolas so badly that he jerked the cup of milk he was holding violently and splashed the contents all over his face and tunic.
There was dead silence in the room for a moment until Legolas began to sniffle. Thranduil felt a lump grow in his throat. Legolas struggled to hold back his tears and the King felt terrible and useless until he realized that Legolas had his hands thrust out toward him.
"Kwar lle, Kwar lle." 'Hold you, hold you.' Legolas sobbed out.
Plucking the elfling out of his chair he cradled him on his lap, Thranduil wiped his son's face and hands with a cloth that ada's always have in their pocket. Suddenly he was overwhelmingly grateful for the fact that his elfling needed him. To his little leaf he was just ada, adored and instantly forgiven for his bursts of temper.
Mithrandir was aware of the King's troubles and had been doing what he could, the anger and frustration the King had expressed was understandable. Wood elves were powerful warriors, they were divine and beautiful people but they had a fierce quality to them. The wizard had never been able to get as close to them as he had to other elves because of this. The gentleness he was now witnessing between father and son was something he had never seen from the King before.
"I apologize Mithrandir, there was no need for me to behave that way. I am grateful that you are here now." Thranduil solemnly spoke.
The wizard could hardly believe his ears and immediately offered his forgiveness.
It was a few moments later that an oddly timid Elrond entered with his two nervous sons behind him. "Greetings Mithrandir." Elrond extended his hand from his shoulder. He blushed slightly at the Wizard's knowing grin.
"Good day Thranduil...are we all welcome at your table?" The Rivendell Lord asked carefully.
After a long pause the King gestured to a seat, all the while glaring at the twins.
"We will be departing soon Thranduil...I realize that this is not something you would wish to discuss but..." Elrond began waving his hand toward Legolas.
"I would appreciate any help you can send Elrond." Thranduil cut him off.
"Of course, I would have sent them even if you had denied my help." Elrond cleared his throat. "I was referring to Legolas."
Thranduil's hold tightened around his elfling's middle. "There is nothing to discuss Noldor." Thranduil tried not to let his anger show in his voice but unfortunately the message was all too clear, 'Mine.' It said.
"Ada you are thquishing me." Legolas panted as he was clutched tighter and tighter to the King's chest.
"I think it is time for me to get to know this Prince of Greenwood better!" Gandalf interviened as he stood. "What say you Legolas will you show me about so your ada and Lord Elrond can have a talk?"
"You go and look after the wizard now ion." Thranduil told him. Legolas could feel his ada's tension and hesitated. "Ada, I want you to come." His lip trembled slightly. "Be a good boy now." Thranduil said setting him on he floor and opened Legolas' small hand and kissed his palm. "That kiss is for your pocket. When you miss your ada you can pull it out and place it on your cheek." Legolas closed his fingers on his kiss and placed it gingerly in his tunic pocket.
The king smiled at him every time he looked back as he walked away hand in hand with the wizard.
"Why don't you show me the gardens Legolas?" Mithrandir suggested to the elfling.
Legolas, who was taking his adar's command to look after the Wizard literally, seemed skeptical. "I don't know Mith-an -neer, there might be orcth out there!" Although Legolas' want to see the birds and breath the fresh air overcame his caution. "Well....If you really want to....I'll hold your hand so you don't get lost!" The elfling declared much to Mithrandir's amusement.
The wizard was suddenly saddened, for an elfling to know and fear the decay of middle earth on his doorstep was a sad thing indeed.
Mithrandir noticed that Legolas continued to steal glances at his beard and look away quickly before he could be discovered. 'It must be strange for him, never having seen other races, to see a being with hair on his face.' Mithrandir pondered with a grin.
After one particularly long stare Legolas realized he had been noticed and blushed deeply. He gave a startled squeal as he was scooped into the wizard's arms and held close to the object of his interest.
Without reluctance or caution Legolas immediately grasped the beard with both hands and snuggled his face into the thick hair. "Oohhh Mith," the elfling sighed into the wizard's beard. "I wish I had fur like you!" Mithrandir was becoming more enamored with this little elf at every passing moment.
The twins could not have been more bored. After the scolding they had received from their ada and the way King Thranduil was looking at them now they realized that the remainder of their visit would most likely be dull. They missed Legolas desperately.
The room was quiet until Thranduil could not take the misery of the twins any longer. "Go...be gone with you. Legolas should be in the stables if I know him well enough." The King told them. The boy's eyes brightened and they beamed at him before scurrying from the room.
"That was a great kindness, I thank you" Elrond replied shocked and encouraged by the King's behavior.
"Well, the wizard will be with them...how much damage could they do?" Thranduil groused.
"So…as to Legolas, we will be leaving in two days time. Do you still wish for him to go with me to Rivendell or have I damaged our relationship so badly that you no longer trust me?" Elrond asked.
"It's not you Elrond, I'm sorry for my words spoken in fear and anger. I know it is the right thing to send Legolas with you. I would be a better ruler if I did not have to worry about his safety. I just don't know how I will bear it." The words were spoken haltingly and with a great deal of difficulty.
"How could I ever tell him that he must go with you, he's still such a 'little' elfling…he needs me." Thranduil asked Elrond beseechingly.
"It will be hard for him. All I can promise is that in Rivendell he would be safe and would treat him as one of my own children. Once I send an envoy of men and advisors to you, the trouble will stabilize and you would be able to visit him and enjoy my hospitality." Elrond tried to comfort.
The wizard was speaking with the stable master, Legolas waited patiently but it was becoming increasingly difficult for the elfling to wait for his new friend's attention. "Mith." The elfling peeped, tugging on the wizards robes. When he was ignored, Legolas waited quietly again.
The boy longingly gazed about the stables. He had wanted to show the wizard the many fine horses and his pony's new saddle and now he was stuck waiting for him to finish droning on with a big elf. "Mith." He tried again and gave a more forceful tug only to be ignored but for the wizards large hand coming to rest on his golden head. Sighing in defeat Legolas clutched Mithrandir's knee and rested his head against his leg. Legolas had learned early in life that when big elves were talking it was best to be quiet and patient.
Finally after what had seemed to the elfling like an eternity the two finished their conversation and attention was once again returned to him. "Well l what would you like to do Legolas?"
Suddenly Legolas remembered what he wanted to see more than ponies and ornate saddles. " Mith can you breathe fire for me pleeeease?"
"Oh Legolas, I don't think that your adar would approve. Surely there is something else you would like to see, I am a wizard after all. I know many fine tricks."
"Oh Mith Please? I will never tell my ada, that is the trick I would like to see!"
The wizard looked into the excited, gentle eyes of his tiny companion and mentally cursed himself because he could not resist them. What would be the harm in showing the elfling a few smoke creatures, maybe a smoky gull or dragon?
"Alright Legolas but you mustn't let your ada hear of this." The wizard warned.
Legolas clapped his hands with glee. As the wizard reached into his robes and
pulled out his strange device.
"Here now young one lets sit on these hay bales white I show you how I breathe fire." With a wave of his hand over the edge of the device and it glowed with flame, Legolas watched closely while the wizard wrapped his lips around one end of the contraption and his cheeks hollowed.
The Prince clasped his hands in his lap awaiting the flames to come shooting from the great beings mouth. "Don't make a lot of fire Mith, we would not want to frighten the horses." Legolas said reasonably.
Mithrandir nearly choked on the smoke he held in his mouth at the elfling's concern and manage to exhale it in the shape of a rather inelegant bird that performed a nose dive from his mouth.
Legolas was speechless, that was not what he had expected to happen at all. While the elfling's mouth gaped, Mithrandir took another puff and this time he blew forth a leaping fawn from between his lips. Legolas' eyes grew impossibly large and he watched as the fawn leapt away and evaporated into the air.
The wizard made a ship and gull for the elfling all the while trying to contain his laughter at the high pitched squeals and clapping of the little prince beside him. Mithrandir continued before finishing the display with a family of hopping rabbits.
Legolas had squealed so excitedly during the 'fire breathing' performance that the istari was certain a guard or two would be alerted and come running to the stables.
In fact it was not a guard that came upon them but Selle the head officer and weapons master of Thranduil's army that had come to seek counsel. Selle chuckled as he came upon the wizard and the giggling elfling whose arms were wrapped tightly about his weathered neck.
"I am sorry to interrupt my lord, I was hoping to have a chance to speak with you privately." Selle requested.
"Hello Selle!!" Legolas beamed. He had always loved the weapons master. It was odd that the two should bond but Legolas had taken an instant liking to the elf. Other elves had always been exceedingly careful and overly tender with the small prince, fearing the wrath of the King as well as the terror of actually harming the child. Whenever Selle spotted the elfling it was customary for Legolas to be picked up and tossed into the air only to be gently caught and cuddled to the master's muscled chest. Legolas was also excited to meet the elfling that was growing in Selle's beloved's belly. No longer would he be the youngest elf in arda and he had already decided that the elfling would be his best friend.
"Hello dear Prince." Selle cupped the small chin. "I must steal away your new friend for a bit, I am sorry Legolas."
Legolas got to his feet and straightened his body into a perfect line. "Yes Master!" He saluted with his palm from his chest.
"Why elfling, you sounded just like my best warriors! I must bring you along on our next hunt to show the others how it is to be done!" Selle praised with a fond grin.
"Oh yes my lord, please, I want to hunt!" Legolas said, forgetting his posture and composure completely.
"I cannot wait for the day when your adar will let me my prince." The master gently denied him.
Legolas was about to protest when the twins came upon him in the stables.
"Hello Legolas." Elrohir said shyly.
"Have you forgiven us?" Elladan asked.
"For what? You did nothing wrong." The Prince stated with confusion.
"Come Master Selle, let us go discuss your defenses." Mithrandir input. "Legolas you stay here with the twins, I promise I will return to you once I am done."
"You got lost because of us." Elladan replied once the elfling was focused on them again.
"I got lost because I fell athleep in a bathket." Legolas lisped and smiled good naturedly. "Come, let's play!"
"I am sorry for the blame I have put on you over the years Elrond. You have not been deserving of it." Thranduil spoke in earnest.
There was silence as the lord seemed to be staring a hole into the King's face before he startled to reality. "I'm sorry Thranduil, what was that you said? I seem to be lost in thought this day." Elrond had been entranced by the king's smooth facial features and gently curved lips. Valar! He would never be able to look at the King the same way after beholding his true and unguarded beauty this morn!
"You don't have to rub it in Elrond, I am trying to apologize." Thranduil said looking at his goblet. "I find myself saddened to think of you leaving in a few days, I have much enjoyed your company."
"I have enjoyed yours as well." Elrond said placing his hand boldly atop the King's own. "It is difficult enough to rule with much help, it seems you have so few to share your burden, you must let someone close Thranduil. You need a friend young one."
Thranduil startled at being called young by the noldo and startled again at his hand being so gently embraced by the slightly rougher hand of the lord. "I...I would be glad to have you to be my friend Elrond. If you would have my friendship." Thranduil said with a timidness he had never before known.
"Curse this shadow that has fallen upon my lands! I would restore these woods to Greenwood the Great but everyday we come closer to darkness. We fight against an unbeatable foe!" Thranduil pounded his fist upon the table.
"But, You no longer fight alone my friend. I swear I will do all that is within my power to help you."
" What have you and the wizard been doing Legolas?" Elrohir asked.
"Oh! Mith breathed fire for me!" Legolas explained with wide eyes.
"Breathed fire?! How did he do so? Elrohir and I have seen his great fireworks but never flame shooting from his nostrils!" Elladan exclaimed.
"Oh it was nothing like that. It was magnificent! Smoke creatures and ships came from between his lips!" Legolas beamed. "And he made my favorite animals appear, hopping rabbuts!"
"Legolas are you telling us stories? Surely this is not true." Elladan asked.
"But it is true! He made them come from this...thing... it looked like...oh here it is!"
Legolas replied holding up the pipe from where it rested beside him on the hay bale.
Elrohir took it from him. "How does it work Legolas? You must show us!"