Title: Truly Madly Deeply
Teitho contest theme: Healing
Warnings: clichés and purple prose in really quite unnecessary amounts
Genre: Humor (I hope)
Word count: 6,000
Summary: Legolas in love
A/N 1: This is not the sort of story I usually write. You have been warned.
A/N 2: Occasionally I have adjective problems. For example, in this story I say "manly" when the adjective should obviously be "elfly" or "ellonly". But they just don't have quite the same ring to them, do they?
A/N 3: Although I firmly endorse Tolkien's description of elves having but one love in their long lives, and will defend this idea with my last breath, for this story I postulate a period of time when things may be different. As a young elf matures, he or she reaches that age that lies between coltish childhood and the attainment of majority. During these transitive years, an elf finds himself/herself fixing his/her warmer emotions upon several persons. One purpose of this chaste exploration of romance is to help a young elf discover the sort of ellon or elleth with which he/she desires to spend a near eternity. It's sort of like the human phenomenon known as "having a crush," except without acne.
Thranduil pushed a dish of sweetmeats toward his guest as the meal came to an end. He laughed at the expression on Aragorn's face as the man reacted to the taunting of his best friend. Legolas, sitting across from him at the small table in Thranduil's private chambers, nodded to his father emphatically. "It is true, I swear it! He walks in the moonlight and sighs with longing for his lo-o-o-ve."
Aragorn sputtered with indignation, his face as red as the tablecloth before him. "I do no such thing!"
"You do! And worse besides! You have gone from singing war anthems to love ballads. 'Tis enough to make a cat sick!"
Thranduil wiped a tear from one eye, choking with laughter. "Now, Legolas, do not be too hard on him; it is not everyday a man finds the lo-o-o-ve of his life. Some allowances must be made for him."
Crossing his arms defiantly, Aragorn accused, "You make far too light of this momentous time in my life!. Arwen is...is...incomparable for beauty and grace – the swan is in her movement and the morning in her smile…" His voice trailed off dreamily.
Thranduil choked. "I feel ill."
Legolas nodded soberly. "Now you see what I put up with for hours on end."
Aragorn ground his teeth, but then said sweetly, "Some day you will feel the same, my fine friend, and then, considering the gentle treatment my affection has received from you, I will repay you in kind! Ten times over!"
"I will never make such a spectacle of myself over a female," Legolas cried, revolted at the thought.
Aragorn began to reply when a thoughtful voice cut through his ire. "No? Then much has changed since you were an elfling, my son."
Scenting blood, Aragorn sat up quickly. "What do you mean, Thranduil?"
"Why, only that when it comes to lovelorn spectacles, you have a fair way to travel to beat Legolas."
Aragorn frowned. Was his friend involved with an elleth? How could that be and he not know? And why would Legolas keep something of such import from him? Seeing the uncertainty on the young man's face, Thranduil spoke quickly, "Do not misunderstand, Aragorn. The time I speak of was long in the past."
Legolas broke free of the horror that had held him silent. "Father, Aragorn could have no interest in the foibles of my childhood." He jumped to his feet. "How about a game of chess?"
Aragorn shook his head, and pointed a finger in righteous indignation. "Legolas, sit down! How can you be so impolite as to interrupt your father?" The man turned his most winning smile to Thranduil. "Please, tell me of those long ago days. You know how much I love to hear of Legolas' childhood."
Shooting a sidelong glance at his glaring son, Thranduil smiled and settled back in his chair. "Well, you see, it was a very trying time for all of us. Yes, indeed, I remember it as if it was yesterday....
The throne room door—the little one set within the wider double doors that when open could let pass six warriors marching abreast—opened and one of Thranduil's most trusted advisors advanced, bowing and scraping. The king observed this with an impatient eye since he was not exactly known for appreciating fawning, nor was he so vicious or capricious that his courtiers need fear him.
When the elf was close enough to address his king, he stopped and wrung his hands together. "Your Highness, I bring distressing news of your son -"
"Legolas?" The king straightened his somewhat affected posture and gripped the arms of his throne.
"Yes, Highness, he -"
"Has something happened to him? Has he been bitten by one of the giant spiders with which our land is afflicted?"
"No, he -"
"Has he fallen into a ravine so deep and steep that he cannot be retrieved?" The king rose to his feet, beginning to fear for his only son.
"No, he -"
"Has our kingdom been invaded by orcs? Has he been wounded in battle? Battle which he is strictly forbidden to engage upon, considering his tender years?"
The advisor was starting to fear he would never finish his sentence. "NO, Highness! If you would let me -"
"He is not wounded? Not lost in a ravine? Not bitten by spiders? Then what has -"
"HIGHNESS!! Er...forgive me, but no, your son has not been harmed in any way."
Thranduil sat down again, gazing at the advisor with irritation that slowly changed to dawning horror. "Then it can only be..." He lowered his kingly face into his royal hands.
The advisor nodded miserably. "Yes, Highness." He left it to his king to say the words aloud.
Though muffled by his hands, the king's voice nonetheless carried clearly to all the spear carriers and acolytes that thronged the throne room on a busy day. "He is in love." The room fell silent. The king slowly raised his head, for though he was not a perfect elf by any means, he was renowned for his courage. "Again."
The advisor heaved a great sigh, partly of relief that his message had finally been delivered, and partly of commiseration. "Yes, Highness."
When the residents of the palace met at midday to break bread, everyone noticed that the prince of the realm was late. That all took notice was not to be wondered at, for Legolas Thrandulion was a favorite among the populace. He was as charming as he was beautiful—and he was very beautiful indeed—as kind as he was intelligent, as merry as he was valorous. The residents of Mirkwood believed their prince to be without peer in all the elven lands. However, on this particular day, all eyes were fixed on the doorway to the dining hall—not to see a paragon, but to see to what new depths of misery the paragon had descended. His peers waited with suppressed glee, the courtiers waited with suppressed trepidation, and Thranduil waited with suppressed impatience. Of course, Thranduil's belief in his ability to suppress was somewhat optimistically inclined, but at least he tried.
The figure that finally entered the hall bore little resemblance to the Legolas the kingdom loved. The elf was dressed all in black, from tunic to leggings. His ensemble was topped off with an enveloping garment that resembled nothing so much as a shroud. The rose in his cheeks had paled to a sickly ivory, his eyelids drooped and hid the cerulean blue from view, and his hair was dull and limp. Thranduil snorted in disgust, since he knew the youth was in excellent health and not even unrequited love could turn shining gold to dusty flax in a few days. No doubt the boy had applied kitchen ashes again. Last time he had said it was symbolic of his emotional state. The king couldn't help but feel that a judicious application of sensory stimulation via his sword belt on the prince's behind would be symbolic of the emotional ordeal he was going through.
As far as Thranduil was concerned, the drooping lily was the last straw. //I wonder where he found such a pathetic specimen in our beautiful gardens?// The lily drooped from a hand that drooped as well, barely maintaining its hold on the pale green stem. Legolas slowly meandered to the empty chair that was placed at his father's right hand. He laid one hand—the one sans lily—on the chair back and heaved a great sigh. His liege lord and father ground his teeth, but managed to ask mildly, "Are you unwell, my son?"
Legolas dropped his head until his chin disappeared into his chest. "She hates me."
Still keeping hold of his temper—although at this point he was using both hands—Thranduil forced himself to ask the question he least wanted to ask because he was, when all was said and done, a good and caring father, "Who - " The king swallowed manfully and continued. "Who hates you?"
"I beg your pardon? Whom did you say?"
"I cannot seem to recall the maiden. Er...does she have a nickname perhaps?"
Legolas turned reproachful eyes upon his Adar. "That is a custom of men. You have ever derided their ways, why would you ask such a thing?"
"Their ways are starting to grow on me."
"My beloved, incomparable, beauteous, -" Thranduil waved a hand to encourage Legolas to speed through his lady's description. " - Luthmiriendaneliel has no reason to shorten her name!"
"That is a matter of opinion. However, let us move on from that point. Why, oh sorrowing son of mine, does she hate you?"
"She has scorned my advances."
Thranduil looked a little startled. In his previous and innumerable loves, his wayward child had confined himself to loving from afar, in approved elfling fashion. Had his precocious son moved beyond the bounds of propriety? "Could you be more specific about these 'advances'?"
"I have sent her flowers, and they are returned – crushed into pulp!"
Thranduil blinked. That did seem a bit drastic. Normally young ellon set their sights on females many years their elders, and said elleth were usually very forbearing and kind to their temporary suitors.
At this point in the proceedings, the advisor sitting at the king's left hand leaned close and whispered, "Hundreds of flowers, Sire."
That made sense, the king thought. Trust Legolas to take extremes to extremes.
"Anything else, my suffering son?"
"I stood beneath her balcony and poured out my heart to her in song, and she – she –" The distraught youngling broke off and sobbed.
The king looked helplessly at his advisor, who did not let his king down. "Bath water. She dumped a bucket of bathwater on him. After three days of uninterrupted singing. One must admit he does have stamina, your Highness."
Thranduil turned back to Legolas and rubbed a commiserating hand on the shaking back. Meanwhile, the other diners had decided that Thranduil was not going to provide entertainment by losing his formidable temper, and turned their attention to their plates and companions. The king reached for a tureen and pulled it close to Legolas' place setting. "Will you not try some soup? You need to eat something."
"How can you think of food when my heart is breaking?" wailed the prince.
The king turned again to his advisor and his expression was grimly determined. "I cannot take this any longer. This is the fifth time he has been in love this year!" The king rose to his feet and leaned over the hapless elf. "I command you to do something!" Whirling, the king strode from the dining hall.
The advisor sighed heavily, several times, before turning to the prince and pleading, "Come, Legolas, let me escort you to your chambers. An elf under such extreme stress must take great care of himself. Perhaps after a little rest you will be able to come up with a plan to convince your love of your devotion."
Believing the advisor to be an island of understanding in the sea of cold and callous elves that he was forced to live among, Legolas allowed himself to be tenderly led away.
An hour later the advisor exited Legolas' chambers and briskly dusted off his hands. Duty done and well done, at that. He had left Legolas in reverie after consuming a light luncheon, coaxed down him bite by bite by the patient advisor. Of course, there was the small matter of the king's command, but after some thought the advisor decided that the king had no more idea than he did of how to solve the problem of the lovelorn prince, and so he promptly set about his usual duties with an untroubled mind. This admirable state lasted for as long as it took for an exhausted elf from Mirkwood's borders to arrive, panting and gasping, trying desperately to deliver a message. Eventually he found enough breath to cry, "Riders! From Lorien!"
The advisor began mentally tallying provisions and guest rooms as he asked, "How many and what quality?"
"A guard of warriors—fifty at least -"
"FIFTY? Is it a war party?"
"No, lord, the escort is so numerous because of who they guard."
"Well, speak on! Who is it then? Celeborn himself?"
"Yes! And his lady!"
The advisor sat down abruptly—fortunately there was a chair behind him at the time. "Galadriel? Coming here? She has never – why did they not write to us – we must prepare – tell the king - " The poor elf was nearly beside himself in shock. "How long until they arrive?"
"Two days; no more. They are traveling quickly."
"Send a message to the king. Also the rest of the court who should be there to greet them. Galdior, Eldiel, Arfinor, and the prince of course, and Finrond - " The advisor broke off as he lost what little color he normally had. "Elbereth preserve us! Legolas! What are we going to do?"
The advisor's distress was so great that the messenger dared to question him. "Are you well, sir?"
The elf turned incredulous eyes on him, and in his anguish forgot their respective stations and cried, "Legolas! Galadriel! Galadriel, the most beautiful elleth in all of Arda!!"
The messenger was a little slow, but eventually he understood. "No! What are we going to do? As soon as he sets eyes on her he will -"
The advisor cut in grimly, "Yes, indeed he will! And Celeborn will be pleased, will he not? Pray the Valar we get out of this without open war!"
Two days later a vast retinue assembled in the courtyard of the Mirkwood palace. Every noble was there, supported by at least one attendant of minor nobility, who was attended by yet lesser nobility, and so on, until there was scarcely room to breathe. Prince Legolas and his royal father stood at the fore of the multitude, dressed in formal robes and looking exactly like a king and his charming son from a fairy tale. Thranduil's mind was so taken up with the suddenness of the visit, and whether it portended good or bad news, that he had completely overlooked the doom that was hastening upon his kingdom. His chief advisor, succored by the fatalism of the elves, waited for the axe to fall with stoic endurance. And here they came, the fairest flowers of the elven kingdoms: Celeborn with silver hair and lofty brow denoting ageless wisdom and strength of character, and Galadriel his wife, the imposing queen for whom no mere words could ever denote her exquisite beauty.
The Lorien couple sedately paced forward as Thranduil and his son did likewise. The three adults made all the usual gestures and speeches normally seen at such portentous meetings, while Legolas stood still and silent, as one who had been turned to stone. Displeased with his son's lack of manners, the king (Thranduil, not Celeborn) turned to his darling child and nearly lost his kingly composure. Legolas' glazed eyes were fixed upon the beautiful face before him (Galadriel, not Celeborn), his lips were parted as he struggled for breath, and he swayed slightly on his shapely limbs. Galadriel smiled gently, Celeborn sighed and rolled his eyes, and Thranduil gave his son an elbow that nearly broke his ribs.
The prince jerked abruptly, then bowed nearly to the ground. His tongue still seemed paralyzed, which Thranduil had to admit was probably a good thing under the circumstances. The assembled nobility of Mirkwood formed an endless line which slowly processed pass Celeborn and Galadriel, who patiently bore the effusive greetings. Meanwhile, Thranduil stepped back with his son and hissed a few words of warning into his pointed ear. "No. Not her. I mean it, Legolas! You can moon over any maiden in Mirkwood, but I absolutely forbid - " The king looked into glassy blue eyes and broke off his tirade; he was never one to pursue a lost cause. "Fine. Make a fool of yourself and your kingdom. I hope you are prepared to rule, my son, for Celeborn is known as a vicious dueler. He would never challenge a callow youth of so few years—so I will have to stand in for you."
These direful words actually seemed to penetrate the amorous fog that substituted for rational thought in the besotted prince's brain. The blue eyes cleared, the mouth opened, and Thranduil waited with bated breath for something resembling sense to issue forth from between the straight white teeth. Alas, just then Galadriel's laugh, just as silver bell tinkly as any poet had ever declaimed, regained Legolas' attention. As the proverbial moth to flame, his head turned, seeking his pole star. Thranduil decided to set his affairs in order.
Late the same evening, as two weary travelers prepared for bed, they discussed the events of the day.
"I am surprised at the amount of comfort one can establish while living underground."
Celeborn approached his lady and wrapped strong arms around her waist, smiling down at her. "So you are not uncomfortable knowing there are tons of earth and rock directly above us?"
The incomparable brow wrinkled slightly. "I am now, dear husband."
He only laughed and squeezed a little harder. "Why should you be content when I have to deal with lovesick elflings?"
Determined to repay her lord for the 'tons of rock' remark, Galadriel dropped her eyelashes demurely. "He is rather well developed for an elfling, husband. And quite attractive, too."
Celeborn growled softly as he bared his teeth. "I can eat six such pups for breakfast, and I will eat him if you smile at him from under your lashes like that. Aye, and pick my teeth with his bones!"
"Ooh, you are quite bloodthirsty tonight, my lord. And here I thought I was the one with bloodthirsty ancestors."
Celeborn tossed his silver locks with disdain. "Hmmph! My ancestors were smarter than yours; they had better sense than to fight over magic jewels or ships!"
"Oh? And what did your illustrious kin fight over?"
Celeborn's grin turned feral and a delicious shiver ran down the lady's back. "Women! They fought over women!" The ancient warrior bent and kissed his wife thoroughly, then purred, "As I would fight for you, my Lady."
Galadriel choked down a gurgle of laughter, but swayed closer to her husband's body. "I take it you are no longer interested in lovelorn elflings?"
The elven lord swept his beautiful consort up into his arms, spinning and turning toward the bed. "What elflings?"
Five days later, not even Galadriel's innumerable charms could deflect Celeborn's rising temper.
"Impudent puppy! Everywhere you go, he makes an infernal pest of himself!"
"Thranduil is trying to curb his behavior."
The snort that followed close on that remark was epic in its range and scope. "I know how I would like to curb his behavior!"
"You cannot fight a child!"
"I have no intention of fighting him. I intend to lay him across my lap and blister his - "
The elf stiffened, then sighed and his shoulders slumped. "You know I will not really harm him. But something must be done. I feel like a laughing stock, with that child swooning around my wife!"
"Celeborn, that child is absolutely miserable. Do you not remember how horrid those years were?"
The elf gazed soulfully into deep blue eyes. "I never loved, until I loved you."
This time the snort that was heard was more elegant and ladylike, though the meaning was still clear.
That evening a council of war was held in the innermost sanctum of the innermost council chambers of the king. Three persons were present, although only two of them did much talking. Celeborn, in spite of being fed up to the back teeth with Legolas' wooing, was enjoying himself immensely.
"How long am I to endure watching your son offer insult to my beloved spouse?"
Thranduil was not having nearly such a good time, and determined in his mind that if Legolas ever emerged from the throes of his many infatuations that he would pay, and pay dearly, for Thranduil's current situation. "I understand your feelings, and I –"
"It is an affront to our entire realm! In Lorien the elflings pass by my Galadriel with eyes lowered and lips firmly pressed together! They know better than to dare to engage in calf love directed at my queen!" (In actuality, in Lorien any male elflings of a certain age were sent off on long training missions for years at a time. There were some definite drawbacks to being married to the most beautiful, etc. etc., elleth on the face of Arda.)
Celeborn ranted and Thranduil placated for quite some time, but nothing was accomplished beyond giving Galadriel a splitting headache. Neither elf had the slightest idea how to stop, or even deflect, the prince's misplaced affections. Finally the queenly Galadriel rose to her feet and used that voice. "Enough! It is time to resolve this situation and apparently I am the one who is going to have to accomplish it." The lady turned to her husband and gave him a loving kiss on the cheek. "Stay here, my heart, and play chess or trade tales of battles and other manly things for the next hour or two. I will go and take care of our little problem. I would appreciate it if I were not disturbed while I do so."
All the little tiny hairs on the back of Celeborn's neck were standing straight up. "Er – dearest one, what exactly are you going to do?"
Galadriel patted Celeborn gently on the arm and then turned for the doorway. "It is probably better if you are not fully informed, beloved. Just relax, have some of that delicious wine, and I'll return when the deed is done."
She glided swiftly out of the room, and Thranduil exhaled with a whoosh of air as he sat down again. He ran a few scenarios through his strategic warrior's mind. After a few moments he frowned at Celeborn and asked, "She's not going to kill him, is she? Because I cannot think of anything else that would detach him from the object of his affections."
Celeborn was still gazing at the doorway through which Galadriel had passed. "What? Kill him? Nooo, I do not believe so, although, with her, you can never be entirely certain. Kinslayers, you know. All that line. Makes them a bit difficult to deal with at times."
"Yes, that's all very well for you to say, but tiresome as Legolas is being at the moment, I would just as soon he not be killed!"
Celeborn made a vague gesture that seemed to hover somewhere between, "Don't be ridiculous," and "Do you have any other children?"
Thranduil gritted his teeth. "Chess, then?"
"And wine. Just how much of that vintage do you have? I have a feeling we're going to need all of it."
Meanwhile, Galadriel was approaching her quarters. Sitting against the wall beside the door was the Prince of Mirkwood. As soon as he saw Galadriel, he sprang to his feet, jerking one arm forward to present her with an enormous bouquet. For the first time since her arrival, Galadriel accepted an offering from the lovelorn elf. "Why, thank you, Legolas! These are beautiful! Would you like to come inside for a few minutes, and join me in some refreshments?"
She opened the door as she spoke, while Legolas stood and goggled at her. In a very devoted fashion, to be sure, but goggling is still goggling. Suppressing a sigh, Galadriel smiled at the youth and beckoned him within. Like a man in thrall to some potent drug from Harad, Legolas followed her, his feet seeming to float above the ground. Once within the luxurious chambers, Galadriel spoke again, this time in a voice that was lowered to a pitch normally only heard by her husband. "If you will pour us some wine, I will go and change out of these tiresome formal robes."
Legolas nodded dumbly, and kept nodding as the lady disappeared into the bedroom and shut the door.
After some minutes, the elfling managed to come to himself enough to find the small table with its tray of crystal goblets and wine in a matching decanter. He poured out two goblets with shaking hands and waited in a haze of joy to see his love again. Although somewhere deep, deep in the deepest recesses of his mind, a tiny alarm was beginning to sound.
The bedroom door opened and Galadriel emerged. She was indeed wearing garments that would be more comfortable than heavy formal robes. She was now clothed in a lounging robe composed of silk and lace, one which allowed an observer a far greater appreciation of her charms. Legolas' eyes glazed over again. The queen moved closer to the young elf and drew one long, slender finger down his cheek. He jumped like a startled deer. Galadriel began to circle her infatuate slowly, speaking softly and letting her breath play upon his silken hair and pink-tipped ears. "I am so pleased to have this time to get to know you, Legolas. For too many days have the conventions of our society kept us apart."
Legolas was gasping for breath, and his heart was galloping in his chest. Galloping and then shying violently before taking off full tilt again. "They have? I mean, yes, you are right, I have longed to be able to speak of my love, but your bonded –"
"Bonds are for those of plebian mind, Legolas. Love cannot be bound to but one place, time, or person! Love comes as it comes! As it has come to you…and to…me."
That tiny alarm was gaining in volume and intensity. Never had Legolas truly believed that any of those to whom he devoted himself would return his affections. Or that they would do something about it! The amorous mist began to clear as the cleansing wind of panic rose.
Legolas stumbled backward. "My – my Lady! I – truly I hold you in sincerest regard, and deep flows the fountain of my love, but – your lord! Will he not take exception to my presence in your chambers?"
Galadriel snapped her fingers. "That for Celeborn! How mistaken I have been to spend ages with an elf who cannot show me the depth of devotion felt by the Prince of Mirkwood!"
Legolas' rump collided sharply with the heavy dining table near the fire. His hands reached behind him and scrabbled across the shining surface, searching for stability in a world suddenly tilting wildly. Galadriel pressed forward, leaning over the frightened youth as he leaned backward. She laid a hand on his chest and he froze, eyes wide and white rimmed like a startled horse. She pursed her lips slightly and whispered, "You are a warrior, an elf of action – show me your devotion with deeds, not words."
Legolas slid limply to the floor in a dead faint. Galadriel smiled fondly and knelt beside him. "Foolish child, it appears your love is not so ardent as you imagined. Yet some day you will find your true love, and may she lead you a very pretty dance indeed!" She tapped one cheek until the elf's eyelids fluttered. After only a few moments, Legolas staggered to his feet and gazed at the door as longingly as heretofore he had gazed upon his many loves. Good manners prevented immediate flight however, and so he gabbled as he sidled toward freedom, "Lady, I am sure – I – that is – you are mistaken in my intent – I meant only to – I'll just be going!"
From where she still knelt upon the floor, Galadriel extended a hand in supplication. "Do not leave me, Legolas! I thought you loved me!"
Legolas moved backward, one hand behind him to find the doorway that would end this dream turned nightmare. "I do – that is – I did – I mean, I do but perhaps it is better if we – and my father will be – there is an elfling patrol leaving tomorrow – must learn to protect my kingdom – giant spiders – and – and – " The enormity of his impertinence struck Legolas like a well-aimed arrow. It was a wonder Celeborn had not thrashed him within an inch of his life! "Lady, I truly beg your forgiveness, but I must bid you goodnight."
As Legolas flew through the doorway, Galadriel collapsed with laughter. While wiping her streaming eyes, she managed to recover and reproved herself. "I should not find amusement in his wounded—and now thoroughly frightened—heart, but honestly, the things children will get up to!"
The beautiful elven queen pulled on an overrobe to conceal her décolleté, and serenely exited her chambers, pausing only to ensure that Legolas' flight had taken him well out of the main hall.
Thranduil tapped the chessboard for the third time in as many minutes. Celeborn jumped a little, just as he had done the previous two times. Their eyes met in the complete accord only achieved by men who were, or had been, married for many years. "How much longer -"
Before either elf could speculate uselessly on 'how much longer', Galadriel stood in the doorway. Celeborn leapt to his feet and hurried to her side. "Well?"
The lady again laughed all silver tinkly, and replied, "Very well indeed, my lord."
Thranduil joined them, torn between wanting to know what had happened to his son, and the fear that if he did know, he might have to do something about it. Galadriel took pity on the king and patted his arm. "I cannot tell you where to find your son, but wherever he is, he is no longer in love with me."
Thranduil sighed with relief, but could not stop himself from asking, "What did you do?"
"It is perhaps best if I do not say. However, I think you will find that he will now think more of weapons than wooing. With luck, he has now successfully traversed the amatory stage and will trouble you no more with his heartburnings, at least until he brings home his bride."
Thranduil looked up toward the heavens. "Pray the Valar that day is far from me! I have had enough of 'Legolas in Love' to last me for Ages."
Laughing, the duo from Lorien bid the king a fair reverie, and retired to their own chambers.
The next morning, Thranduil sat in his audience chamber for a few hours as was his custom. He believed that a king should be accessible to his subjects, something his father had most vehemently not believed. Thranduil was beginning to come around to his father's way of thinking, as the elf standing before him took what seemed like yen to come to the point of his complaints. Just as Thranduil was imagining his fingers curling around the elf's throat and cutting off the nasal whine, a young warrior pushed through the crowd at the door and marched to the throne. Standing rigidly at attention, his face set in grimly determined lines, the elf was dressed in battle gear and carried both knives and bow. Thranduil waved aside the loquacious petitioner and motioned the warrior forward. The young elf bowed deeply, then spoke in the clipped tones of one who has other places to be and important things to do.
"Father, I come to bid you farewell. I am leaving with the elfling patrol and will be gone for seven months."
Thranduil smothered a smile as he gazed upon the stern visage of his son. "Legolas, I had no idea you were planning on leaving the palace! You told me you had no intention of joining the patrol this year."
"I have reconsidered my priorities, father. Mirkwood's enemies thrive and threaten us as never before. It is my duty to learn to protect my home."
"But the threat is no greater today than it was last week, dear son whom I will miss unbearably."
"Any threat is one too many! I go to learn what I must to be a warrior who can defend our kingdom, this Mirkwood, once Greenwood the Great, the land that we love and would die to protect –"
Thranduil could swear he heard the Mirkwood national anthem swelling in the background. Biting the inside of his cheek to help control his mirth, he placed a firm hand on the still rather slight shoulder before him. "Then go, warrior-to-be, and know that I have full confidence that you will do your best and make your people proud of you."
As the prince turned to leave the throne room, his father could not resist one last remark. "Will you not tarry to say farewell to our guests? I will order the patrol to wait until you have paid your respects."
Legolas lost a little of his warrior's demeanor as he turned back to face his father again. "You will make my excuses, will you not? We want to make our first camp at the Narrows, so we should leave at once."
Thranduil appeared completely perplexed. "But my son – surely you want to speak with Galadriel! After all, your feelings for her –"
Legolas made a sound suspiciously resembling a yelp. "NO! I mean, one who bears her own great responsibilities will understand why I must go. Farewell, father!"
And with that the Prince of Mirkwood, looking every inch the young warrior, marched from the audience chamber – at triple quick-time.
Aragorn was collapsed over the table, propping his forehead in his hands as his entire body shook with laughter. "Galadriel! I cannot believe it! You certainly were a high flyer, my amorous friend!"
Thranduil nodded with pride. "Considering how stub – er – determined he was, even at that age, 'tis a wonder he did not win her!"
Legolas was frozen with mortification. Both cheekbones blazed with color, and his lips were set in so tight a clench that they had practically disappeared. After at least an eternity of torment, the fiends formally known as friend and father finally quieted to chuckles and mere smiles. Seeing that Legolas was truly smarting from the jests and jibes, they apologized very prettily—well, Aragorn did. Thranduil simply gave his son a buffet on the back that nearly floored him, while saying as annoyingly as only a relative can, "Ah, what a handful you were—and still are!" as they prepared to go to their bedchambers.
The next day, Aragorn decided to show that he was quite prepared to forget the peccadilloes of his friend's childhood, and did not mention them again. However, he was a farseeing man, and as he prepared for the journey home, he carefully stowed away an item he had asked one of the servants to bring to him. He and Legolas would be weeks on the road to Imladris, and although he doubted the elf would dare to mention Arwen the entire trip, he wanted to be prepared. If necessary, he would pull out the bit of flora he had just pressed tightly in a book he was taking home for Erestor. A beautiful Mirkwood…lily.
A/N 4: Some of you may be wondering why Celeborn and Galadriel went to Mirkwood. I have no idea. Deus ex machina.
Title courtesy of "Savage Garden" duo