A/N: Ok this is all shameless father/son fluff written on the fly. I do not own Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli or King Thranduil. Soramir, Aresyn, Kyden, Terain, Herim and Lyrica however are my own creations spun out of thin air and will be mentioned in future stories (probably).
"Why again are we heading for Mirkwood?" grumbled the agitated voice of a stout red-bearded dwarf.
"Because Gimli, it's time the King of Gondor struck up a friendship with King Thranduil" replied a slender, fair-haired elf with intense blue eyes as he guided his white mount, Arod, along the rocky mountain pack with Gimli perched behind him.
"And we couldn't walk because...?" Gimli demanded, looking wearily down at the ground, quite unhappy about being mounted.
"Because it would take longer" replied the human riding his own mount behind them, cloaked in dark traveling gear similar to what he had worn as a Ranger.
"At least Aragorn had the sense to leave behind his guard" Legolas pointed out, smirking at Aragorn.
"How do you always convince them to let you leave Legolas?" Aragorn asked with a sigh. "They don't take a simple no for an answer!"
Gimli and Legolas laughed at their friend's frustration, remembering how it had taken hours to convince Aragorn's guard that he was in safe company with just a dwarf and elven prince.
"Within Mirkwood I'd say you're safer with me then anyone" Legolas pointed out. "No elf scout would shoot one of their king's sons."
"'One of'?" Gimli asked, sounding surprised. "There are more princes of Mirkwood?"
"Of course" Aragorn replied before Legolas could. "Legolas is simply King Thranduil's biggest headache." Aragorn smirked evilly at Legolas, remembering plenty of the worry they had struck into the King of Mirkwood when they'd been young with Lord Elrond's twins.
Legolas laughed, his musical elven laughter echoing through the forest. "I don't know, I know Herim gave adar quite a fright returning from patrol with a rather nasty spider bite" Legolas said.
"Who?" Gimli asked but his question was overrun by Aragorn's loud laugh.
"How many times have you done that my friend?" Aragorn shot back.
Legolas had the grace to flush but did not retaliate because if his count was correct, which it probably was, he stood at eight. Instead he replied to Gimli. "There are three other princes of Mirkwood and one princess. My sister is the only one younger then me."
"You're the youngest lad?" Gimli probed.
"Did you think King Thranduil would let his crown prince go tramping around Middle-Earth after the One Ring?" Legolas demanded, incredulous. "If so Aresyn would have taken my place before I could blink!"
Gimli huffed at Legolas's obvious logic and fingered the ax in his belt.
"I never thought to inform our comrades that you had siblings" Aragorn mused as he guided his stallion up closer to Arod.
"No one ever asked" Legolas replied simply. "They never brought up Lyrica or Soramir either" Legolas pointed out.
"True" Aragorn admitted.
"Wait just a blasted moment!" Gimli broke in. "Who are they pray tell?"
"My wife and son" Legolas answered breezily, glancing over his shoulder in time to see Gimli's eyes get as big as he had ever seen and his jaw drop.
Legolas and Aragorn burst out laughing as Gimli grabbed Legolas's waist in time to stop himself from falling backward off of Arod in surprise.
"SON AND WIFE?!" thundered the astounded dwarf.
"Yes" Legolas clarified easily, trying not to laugh again.
"YOU KNEW ABOUT THIS?!" Gimli demanded of Aragorn.
Laughing helplessly, the King of Gondor could do no more then nod, wiping tears from his eyes, bent over the neck of his horse, Rekin.
Growling in dwarfish, most likely unpleasant things, the dwarf fell into somewhat silence as he brooded over sudden revelations. It was several minutes before Aragorn and Legolas could totally calm themselves and every now and then as they rode they would snicker or crack grins and exchange glances that made them laugh harder. Throughout it all, Gimli brooded or muttered in dwarfish as he sat behind Legolas on Arod.
Near sundown, Legolas pulled Arod to an abrupt hault, laughter gone from his eyes as he looked at the darkening trees. Between the three they had agreed to take a slow pace and ride into the night since forests around Mirkwood were dangerous regardless of daylight or night and sleeping at night was difficult with so much darkness still clinging to the land. Gimli's hand drifted to his ax at the elf's sudden stillness and Aragorn eyed the trees wearily.
"What is it mellon nin?" Aragorn whispered.
Without answering, Legolas swung himself easily from Arod, much to Gimli's distress. He had ridden the horse once on his own and had promptly fallen off when the horse took to a trot. Arod was one of the wildest horses in Rohan and since coming to Legolas, seldom let anyone else near him.
"Blasted elf get back here before this monster goes crazy!" Gimli growled ineasily.
Legolas ignored his dwarf friend but Arod tossed his head and snorted indignantly, stomping his hooves at the dwarf's remarks.
Walking a few feet ahead of the horses, Legolas stopped in the middle of the path, head up and angled to the right. Aragorn and Gimli held their breath as they listened intently for what had caught Legolas's attention. To their left an owl hooted and nearly made Gimli fall off of Arod when he jumped in surprise. Legolas however, did not move.
The moments stretched and just when Aragorn was about to open his mouth and ask a question, a whirl of green and brown sprang from the undergrowth and Legolas went down. Arod sqealed in surprise and reared, dropping Gimli unceremoniously on the ground. Rekin shied and nickered, nearly tossing Aragorn as well. Aragorn jerked his sword from its sheath, jerking Rekin's reins. Legolas however, brought a halt to all of it when he burst out laughing. Both dwarf and man froze, startled at the sound. Arod shied away and gave both the King of Gondor and Gimli son of Gloin a clear view of what was happening.
Legolas was on the ground, the cloak he still wore from Lothlorien rumpled with leaves in it but he was not struggling or drawing one of his daggers or arrows. Instead the elven prince had his arms wrapped around a younger looking elf that appeared about thirteen to mortal eyes, and their laughter was ringing in the dusk. The younger elf had his face buried in Legolas's shoulder, arms tightly around the archer's neck and Legolas was holding him and smiling, eyes bright.
"Explain yourself laddie!" Gimli barked, picking himself up off the ground, ax in hand.
The two elves parted and looked up at the others. Legolas laughed and Aragorn smiled, recognizing the younger elf. The younger elf was tall, not as tall as Legolas as the pair stood but very similar. Both were pale skinned and light blond hair but the younger elf had startlingly green eyes rather then blue.
"Soramir, it has been too long" Aragorn said warmly, swinging off of Rekin. "I did not recognize you. Gimli, this is Legolas's son, Soramir."
Gimli's jaw hit the dirt.
Legolas picked himself up and pulled his son to his feet as well, an arm around the younger elf's shoulders.
Recovering himself, Gimli grunted out "He looks like his father all right." Fixing the young elf with a beady-eyed dwarf glare Gimli continued, "what do you think you're doing out here tackling innocent travelers?"
Soramir eyed Gimli wearily and glanced at Legolas. "Ada?"
"It is alright ion nin" Legolas soothed with a smile. "This is Gimli, he's traveled far with Aragorn and I and fought with us through many battles. I is an elf-friend."
Soramir looked unsure but bowed anyway in respect to the man and dwarf. "If you say so ada."
Legolas chuckled and smirked at Gimli. "Best shut your mouth my friend for I fear you shall swallow a few flies."
Gimli's mouth snapped shut with an audible click.
"Come, we're near Mirkwood's palace" Legolas said, walking toward Arod with Soramir close behind him as if the young elf feared his father would vanish if he let him get too far away. "Gimli, would you mind riding with Aragorn? Something tells me my son does not have his mount."
Soramir flushed slightly. "How did you know ada?"
"I heard no horse hooves apart from Arod and Rekin" Legolas replied easily, helping Gimli dismount from Arod.
Aragorn reached down and hauled the dwarf onto Rekin's back behind him while Legolas sprang onto Arod. Soramir whispered in Arod's ear before mounting behind his father. With unspoken commands the horses moved forward toward Mirkwood. In the gloom, Soramir wrapped his arms around Legolas's waist and laid his head against his adar's shoulder, taking a deep breath and savoring the familiar smell of family. How long had it been since he'd last seen his father? Too long. Far too long. His mother would have a fit.
Soramir paced his chambers as the moon rose. It was the night after he had found Legolas, Aragorn and Gimli traveling for Mirkwood. When they'd reached the palace, Soramir had been seperated from his father by Legolas's four brothers, Kyaden, Aresyn, Herim and Terain as well as Legolas's younger sister Mylika. King Thranduil had also been intent on greeting Legolas and then stealing him away with Gimli and Aragorn to private chambers to hear of their adventures and Aragorn's crowning as King of Gondor. Lyrica, Soramir's mother, had been the next to greet Legolas in the morning when she had returned from acting as a healer in a nearby village.
Pausing in his pacing, Soramir strode out to the balcony and stared out at the stableyards. A young elf, younger then himself, was exercising one of King Thranduil's many horses. From the look of it, the horse was the mare Herim often rode when he carried messages for Soramir's grandfather. It seemed not even the return of the king's youngest could keep Herim at home for long. With a sigh the young elf leaned against the balcony rail, twirling a gold ring around his finger.
The ring didn't fit but Soramir hoped someday it would. He remembered his adar giving it to him before Legolas had set off for Rivendel. Looking down at the ring, Soramir smoothed his finger over the twisting gold that held in place an emerald in the shape of a leaf. The emerald leaf looked amazingly like the broch he had seen on the cloaks his ada, Lord Aragorn and the dwarf had been wearing except smaller. Legolas often gave it to Soramir when he would be away for a longtime and recently Legolas had not asked for it back but instead told him to keep it with him at all times. The green leaf was Legolas's personal symbol as one of King Thranduil's sons and Soramir valued it above everything else he owned, except perhaps the bow his father had spent weeks carving for him when he'd turned one hundred.
"I see you've kept my ring" said a soft voice from within the elf's chambers.
Turning, Soramir couldn't fight a smile as he saw his father walking across the chambers toward the balcony. He had cleaned up more since Soramir had last glimpsed him and he looked more rested. The Lothlorien cloak no longer hid the silver tunic fringed in gold embroidered leaves he now wore. The ivory-handled twin daggers remained in his belt but his back was free of his quiver and bow.
"Of course" Soramir said as his father joined him at the balcony looking over the palace yards. "Why would I not keep it?"
"Ah I know how hard it is for elflings to keep track of things" Legolas said easily, his tone light and content. "I'm surprised you didn't loose it when you tamed Hypronus."
The blond archer gestured down to the stableyards drawing Soramir's gaze, a blush lingering on his face. His father had obviously heard that the large chestnut stallion in a corral below had been a horse he had searched for with Kyden for weeks just to tame as his own mount. It seemed Legolas was also aware of just how many times he had beened bucked off of Hypronus.
"You heard about that?" Soramir asked sheepishly.
"Well it worked eventually" Soramir muttered in his defense.
The older elf laughed and rested a hand on his shoulder. "Yes but don't do it again in the near future. From what I heard from Aresyn, Lyrica would not be able to take it."
Soramir flushed deep scarlet but couldn't supress the giddy happiness rising in his stomach. Things had been so different without Legolas, no, without his ada around. Throwing caution to the wind Soramir threw himself at his father and wrapped his arms around his father's waist, pressing his face against his father's neck and breathing in the woodland scent that seemed to radiate from Legolas. Strong arms wrapped around him and Soramir was sure he had never felt so safe in his life.
No matter what the dwarf, Gimli, claimed, Soramir was sure there had never been a better father then Legolas, not even King Thranduil.
"I missed you ada" Soramir murmured.
"I know ion nin" Legolas said softly, stroking his son's hair. "I missed you too."