A/N: Hello, all! I apologize for my absence in the writing world. I believe that some of the best fanfiction are the little dips into a character's thoughts in their lowest of moments... I wrote this a few months ago when I was feeling inspired by a few short stories about Legolas' homecoming from the WotR. Most of those homecomings involved his wife or lover, but I decided to focus instead on the relationship with his father. I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own only my own words and vision, not the characters.
It was hard; not to remember. Not when he was everywhere.
I sit at the high table in the great hall, pushing my food around in a very un-kinglike way. It had not been the easiest of times in recent weeks past, but now that the day was won, his absence was all the stronger.
I am too tired to bother any longer; I give up the pretense of eating and rise from my seat. I catch a glance at the seat next to mine – empty for nearly a year now. I sigh and push on. The eyes of my advisors follow me as I left the hall. I know what they are thinking:
It makes sense, I think bitterly. By rights, I should be pitied. 'The poor Elvenking with his absent heir'. Perhaps… perhaps I would have to rule this realm forever. I do not want to. The prospect is not one I would look forward to.
I make my way through the empty halls slowly. I feel the weariness of centuries and millennia catch up with me as I walk. It is as if my entire life was being called to exist in that one singular moment.
I pass so many things that called him to mind. Behind that curtain is where he had hid as a small child – afraid of his nanny and what punishment she would inflict upon the misbehaving little elf. Over there is where my baby had taken his first steps. And more recently in that alcove over there, I had caught a glance of him with a she-elf or two. I chuckle when I realize what I had been thinking about, but there was no joy in the sound. Well, not very recently.
I come to the royal wing and slowly push the door open. The not-at-all modest living quarters suit my status as king, and the large rooms seem all the emptier now.
My wife is gone. My… well, he is gone too. I hope and pray every day that he is not as gone as his mother is.
I have lived in these rooms my entire life. I have lived, laughed and loved here. All of that happiness seems very far away right now.
Am I destined to lose everyone I am close to?
The thought comes unbidden and quite suddenly and I push it out of my mind with a vengeance. I will not think that way. It is not certain that my… he was gone. He could be here right now, actually.
My hope perks up and I turn around and lean out into the hallway to give it a glance. I know that I won't see anyone, though. I pull myself back together.
It is too much to hope, I think sullenly.
Resigning myself for another day to close with his absence, I push open the door to the left of my own bedchamber. It is a self-destructive habit, I know, to look for him when I know that he will not be in there. I give the room a glance, knowing what I will see – a large bed with undisturbed bedcovers, the table on which sat the book he had read before he had left, and a stale smell in the air of a room that had been left shut for many months – and this does not let me down. I turn around, shut the door behind me, and step into my room. I am ready for a long night of rest.
Upon entering, I feel something is different and realize that my bed is otherwise occupied.
I stop in my tracks. There is a blonde head nestled among the great quantity of pillows and silken blankets. I nearly stop breathing. I rush over to the side of the bed and gaze down at him.
"L-Legolas?" I croak. Legolas' open eyes focus and he smiles at me.
"Hello, Father." He sits up and yawns and rubs his eyes, just like he had done as a small child.
"You are home, son," I say, feeling my eyes tear up as it starts to sink in.
"Yes, I am. Mind if I have a bath before you interrogate me?" Legolas asks with a cheeky grin.
"What?" It takes a moment, but I do recover. "Get out of my bed, filthy elf, and we'll talk when you look like a Prince again." My words may be harsh, but my voice is not. It is the answer I know that Legolas had hoped to hear. I am rewarded with another impish grin. He left the room. I begin to laugh. My cheeky son. Sneaking around the back to make his grand entrance on his own terms. Yes, I have raised a good elf.
"Father?" Legolas says, his head reappearing around the doorframe.
"I missed you."
"I missed you too. Now get clean."