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Beta: The wonderful Fiondil
Summary/Author's Notes: Imladris' Healing Ward seems to be the second home of King Thranduil's youngest every time his father sends him as a courier. While tending to him, Rivendell's Master Healer lets his thoughts roam. Actually, this is a gapfiller for Jedi Sapphire's fic "Elves in the Wood". But you don't have to read this to understand my story. It can also stand alone as a...moment in time, mind you. Anyway, I strongly recommend you read Sapphire's tremendous fic.
It is not flesh and blood, but heart which makes us fathers and sons. ~Friedrich von Schiller
Imladris, year 2124 of the Third Age
'My dear, dear Elfling. What shall we do with you? Here you are again under my care, lying in Imladris' infirmary. The Healing Ward seems to be your second home every time your father would send you here as a messenger, I suppose. Even if you are indeed much too young for such duties, Legolas. But perhaps he only wants you away from his kingdom in these dark times, to keep you safe. It is hard to believe that, sadly, there seems to be a constant discrepancy in him wanting you safe and sound and the state you would be in when you finally arrived here in our quiet valley. The white linen tunic we usually give to all our patients is much too big for your small, thin figure. You are lying in bare body and fëa, your fever not yet broken. And you are only covered with the starched, clean blankets, which give you the look of a very, very young ellon.
Glorfindel himself has unbraided your honey blond hair. He tended to it as a father would do for his ill child, combing it and applying lavender oil so you would feel comfortable. Your unconscious state is very deep this time, my dearest child. Due to concussion and poison, you will not wake for another day, my healer's mind tells me.
As Glorfindel rode into the courtyard with you on Asfaloth, holding you, with your face looking so pale, I indeed had to close my eyes. The ride must have been hard on the both of you, my seneschal being most displeased he had no way of helping you more than he did. One of his warrior braids hung in absolute disarray, but he could not care less. Even proud Asfaloth seemed tired and spent. Elladan and Elrohir had trouble following him on their own steeds. Glorfindel carried you inside and would not have others do it, he would not have them take your fragile, injured body away from him until he reached the Houses of Healing. Faelwen, your devoted horse, had arrived earlier without you and we had feared the worst. When they had learned of the horse's origin, Elladan and Elrohir had started packing their gear as fast as possible. I had gone to the apothecary to prepare the healing herbs I know they would surely need. I had taken the time to step outside to greet the trees. But by that time, they had no knowledge about what had come to pass.
At least I knew that there was the best warrior Elf roaming the woods. Lord Glorfindel, the only Elf that had faced both death and rebirth and he carried the experiences of two lifetimes in his very heart. Glorfindel, who is a true friend and surely one of the best warriors Middle-earth could offer. And so I...hoped for the best, young Thranduilion. I really did. Even if the relationship my realm sustains with your father's realm is more of a political nature, you have become very dear to me. Your father and I, we both recognize each other's worth in days like these, even if we do not share a friendship. Thranduil is the only one of the Elven Lords to not wield a ring. I believe that your father, dear child, is stronger than we are in combating evil with just his native powers and wit. And so are you. Still being an Elfling who had only seen one century, a curious child, I can foresee that you will become a reliable, proud and proficient warrior one day. And I can see.....even more. But pray tell this is not the right time and place.
My hands carefully wring the cloth and take it from the basin of warm, herb scented water. The smell of willow bark, meadowsweet, ginger and of young Athelas leaves fill the room. I wash your wounds, your arm and shoulder and I will have to rebind your broken ribs. Already I can tell by the form of your ribcage that there have been broken bones before, I am the one who has saved your young life more than once. As I touch your tender skin above the prominent collarbone, you flinch in your sleep and try to draw back into your pillows. My other hand moves to your brow, I do not need to say a word. My strength which I gladly offer transcends the pain you are feeling and you calm down again. Your body has suffered, is still suffering and every time, I fear it might be me writing the dreaded letter to King Thranduil that his youngest had not made it due to his injuries.
This time, it was Men that hurt you so. Only the thought makes me close my eyes, feeling nauseated. How could it be, that a child of Ilúvatar, a precious child as you are, Legolas, how could it be, that He himself allows you to get tortured so badly? And Men doing this, even if they were unworthy outsiders? I can not dwell on the thought. But Alas! I indeed do love you as I would love another son, Laiqualasse. The first time I ever saw you, as I visited Mirkwood for a political meeting, you were hiding behind your Nana and those blonde tresses, the sea blue eyes already carried an unseen burden, your mirthful laughter made it all pure joy watching you. But back then my own fëa already told me that your life would most likely become conflicted, complicated. Oh, I do hope you will find the strength to forgive. But knowing how stubborn and proud you are, we will try and see to it that you heal, be it your elven body or soul.
I rebind the arrow wound and the deep cut inflicted by a sword. My mind weeps at the thought of you being mistreated and tortured by those outsiders, indeed. This time, your body stays still, only your breathing tells of the pain you can feel deep down, even in the realm of fever dreams.
Dearest Elfling, as you grow up, you must learn how to look out for yourself! It would save all of us so much pain, so much lack of sleep from these lonely vigils, sitting by your bedside. I still can't believe you got separated from the contingent of warriors that ought to have been accompanying you to my realm.
Sleep now, Legolas. In the morning you will feel like you have been kicked in the chest by a feisty mule, child, but at least you will be alive. And I will still be here, keeping one more lonely vigil. In the morn, the twins will come and then they will sit with you, too.
I take in your still face with the closed eyes, your elven glow almost nonexistent during these days of suffering. Then...the door opens. And my longtime friend and companion, our Balrog-Slayer, Glorfindel, joins us again.
He does not speak a word, but steps near to caress your cheek. You had him worried, child. He leaves you with a kiss on the forehead, aware that the both of us, together with my twins, saved your life once again. The evening he brought you in, Legolas, know that I saw trails of tears on his cheeks. He feared for you and I felt this might be the opportunity to have him show his emotions which he normally keeps hidden behind overly proud elven warriors' stamina.
But guess what, penneth? I hope once you and he get to the shooting range this time, after you have recovered enough, you'll outshoot him. As simple as that. Sometimes, my good old friend Glorfindel needs.....ah....such a worthwhile and valuable experience. And he should know that you, indeed, will be brought up to become an expert warrior yourself. The day will come, we can let go of our fears for you, Lasse, you will be able to defend yourself better than that and will best many a foe in battle.
Sleep, child. I will be here, holding your hand and singing to you softly, so you might have something to cling to and start your healing.
And the next time they bring you in injured as you are now, my dear Elfling, I will indeed pull you by your pointy ears.'
Note: Laiqualasse is the Quenya form of Legolas' name. Lasse would be the shorter "nickname".
Feedback, anyone? I'd appreciate it.