AN: Okay, so I know that it's waaaaayyy later than expected but here it is. I know it has no indentations. This author has updated her typing technology and I haven't quite figured out how to indent on my tablet yet.
Disclaimer: I own nothing at all, except a one eyed monster dog named Merceillious. True fact.
Chapter One: Discord
The battle for the soul of Middle Earth had ended, the Ring and its Master destroyed. Gimli had returned to Helm's Deep to settle a dwarf colony there in the face of the loss of Moria. Aragorn was crowned king, uniting the northern and southern kingdoms from the shores of Forlindon and Tolfolas to Forodwaith and Rhun and at last being married to his beloved Arwen. Samwise Gamgee, after the departure of Frodo to the Undying Lands, became the Mayor of the Shire, enjoying a peaceful life with his lovely Rosie and their first born, Elanor. Even Eowen and Faramir announced their happy ending at Aragorn's coronation. Everyone got their happy endings, right?
"What are you doing hiding about, child? Skulking around for my son's return, no doubt."
I sighed inwardly, my secret heart sinking in disappointment. Give me Wargs and Orcs. For Elrond's sake, give me Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs! Anything but in-laws. I rubbed my heavy belly tenderly, soothing both myself and the babe within. A true elf, my child had grown extremely sensitive to my emotional state. Legolas had been very pleased, declaring our little one an elf prodigy even in the womb. His father, Lord Thranduil, had been less than pleased, not with the child, but with me.
"Yes, my lord," he sneered in disdain, "Legolas said that he would return by sunset. I just wanted to welcome him home."
It didn't matter what I said. Thranduil had endeavored to dislike me as much as he could. My only saving grace in his eyes was the progeny in my stomach, his grandson and future heir to the Mirkwood throne. It had forced him to remain just this side of civil and only when Legolas was near, was his disdain even minorly tempered.
"And what would be the purpose of this benevolent action? No doubt your kind does nothing without having some incentive or meaning behind it. You are not my son's keeper, he is yours." He drawled, completely ignoring the fact that he was doing much the same thing.
My nerves stalled for a moment and my hands resumed their motions on my belly nervously. If i didn't reveal my desire to the Elf Lord, he would only accuse me of deception but...I bit the inside of my cheek, spilling my hearts desire forth for his judgment.
"I've been taking in so many new memories and it is my belief that they are from the time before I was brought to Middle Earth, from the Otherplace. I wished to see if perhaps Legolas would allow me to go to Mordor to look for some clue to my past. Perhaps in Barad-Dur there would be something-" but my timid explanation was shortlived.
At the very mention of my former home, Thranduil's body grew rigid and his face cold and infuriated.
"Enough!" The Lord drew close, his face close enough to my own that it would appear to anyone else as though we were whispering to one another, "Enough. I have put up with your unfortunate bonding with my son but Valar help me if you think I will abide you dragging my son into Mordor with you. You will not harm my son and I will see you locked away before I let you crawl back to that hole and take him with you. I wont have Legolas used as some Morgul sacrifice for some dark deed. Rest assured, I know what you are. I will not be blinded." The hate in his voice was enough to make me tremble with its intensity.
So maybe my happily ever isn't so perfect. Even after my name was cleared by the King and my story known, people didn't forget you cutting down their fellows or endangering their loved ones. People didn't forgive the fact that you'd shared a soul with a Dark Lord. Silence stretched between us as my arms folded over my abdomen instinctually and neither of us filled the void. It was a long and bitter silence broken only by the chirping of birds in the courtyard. Before long, Thranduil's face broke into a large smile and he hissed under his breath, "You may have trapped my son into a union with you with that little burden inside you but rest assured that Elves live eternal and you will not. I can wait. Legolas! How was your ride, my son?"
I schooled my face into as much of a smile as I was able to after Thranduil's abuse, my heart lightening just enough to ease the sorrow when my eyes found gleaming silver smiling down at me. This was what made it all worth it. This love right here. I had suffered Sauron's torments for all of the Ages of Elves. I could put up with one in-laws dislike. Though...it would taste a lie if I said it didn't hurt. It seemed that even in my husband's home I would never really be welcome. It was a sobering thought. Legolas embraced me with a deep and joyful kiss, his hand dropping to stroke lovingly along my belly. He must have seen something in my eyes because his smiling eyes turned into one of question.
"Valo, did you need something? You seem troubled." He stroked my head with a tenderness that I could never get from another, his eyes searching my face calmly.
Thranduil shot me a look filled with such menace that my hands fell back to my stomach fearfully. I gave Legolas a shaky smile, kissing his palm. He was so dear to me...
"Just...morning sickness. Thats all." Came my half-hearted response, carefully avoiding Thranduil's heavy gaze.
Legolas' frown did not disperse but before he could call my lie, I gave his hand an adoring squeeze and retreated back to our rooms and the private garden there. It had become my sanctuary in a home that would never be my own.
He watched his bonded walk back in the direction of their rooms, frowning at Valo's retreating back. Morning sickness. Right. Ever since he and Valo had married, he had learned to be wary of his father and husband being alone together. He could hear the snide comments Thranduil made not entirely in private. He had expressed his "concern" when Legolas had first announced their engagement. It seemed ad though Valo was determined to not let his father in law rule his feelings but as time went on and their first child was announced, Legolas had begun to notice something he hadn't seen before. Whenever Valo walked down the hall, everyone suddenly had somewhere else to be. When he walked into a ballroom, the whole half of the room would gravitate away. Valo began spending more and more time in their rooms and in the garden, rarely venturing out, even for meals. That was something they would have to remedy.
Valo had also been having nightmares. Strange dreams that would wake him at all hours. He would be too afraid to go back to sleep or sit pensively for hours, pondering over what he'd seen but of which he would never speak. It was disconcerting for someone who had before been able to fight whatever had frightened his mate to be so out of the loop and helpless. Perhaps a change of scenery would benefit his quiet husband. Maybe a trip to Minas Tirith to visit Aragorn. The warrior king had always been able to soothe Valo's hurt when no one else could, oftentimes to Legolas' dismay. When Valo had found he was with child, who was the first one he told? Aragorn. When Theoden persecuted him during the Last Great War, it was Aragorn who comforted him. When Valo had first come to them after Frodo was taken to Imladris, who was the person Valo first confided in when Legolas had only tried to put him down like some wild animal? To his shame, it had been the Ranger from the north who quelled Valo's fears and spoke up for him when no one else would. True, Legolas had been foolish in the past and careless with his beloved's fragile heart but he had resolved to spend the rest of their eternity making up for the hurt he'd caused. He still dreamed about that arrow jutting from his mate's stomach. A stomach that now held his firstborn child. It had starred in his most recent nightmares of late. Wasn't it the late Theoden who had narrowed the experience down to it's tacks?
'Dark have been my dreams of late.'
Nothing could describe it better. Could it be perhaps, that Valo was...unhappy? Unhappy here? Unhappy with him? Sure, it had been a big change going from living in the desolation of Mordor to the Elvin home in Mirkwood but that had been a good change, right? Sure, he knew that his father was being less than accommodating but Valo seemed like he was handling it alright. The isolation that Valo was facing each day from the elves around him mirrored his treatment at the hands of Theoden's soldiers for Legolas' liking. Even the people who Valo had been helping had scorned and rejected him, had said cruel things. Hmm. Perhaps he should say something to his father after all. Thranduil wrapped an arm around his son's shoulder's, his whole being opening up with adoration. Whatever may be said, Thranduil was a loving, doting father.
"What is on your mind, Legolas?" He asked, his voice filled with affection.
No doubt he wouldn't be so open when his words were addressed. Legolas sighed, looking to his father guardedly.
"What was it that you were saying to Valo before I came in?"
His father's smile became icy and bitter and Legolas felt his heart grow cold with it. He had known that his Ada and Valo didn't really see eye to eye but surely Thranduil wasn't going out of his way to be cruel, right?
"Ah, Legolas, what a way to greet your father. Can I not have simple conversation with your husband? We share the same house now after all." He replied though his words were like ice chips falling to the floor.
"I am starting to wonder, Ada." Legolas' voice must have been too mistrusting for Thranduil's liking for his expression became frigid.
"It seems your little husband is already sowing discord among us. Typical of his kind."
He couldn't believe he was hearing this. From his own father no less.
"His kind? He is MY kind now, Ada, my husband and I love him." He breathed out, his stomach squirming with discomfort and disappointment. Was this really how the rest of their lives were going to be? Valo silently hurting and he defending him from his own friends and family. What about when the baby came? What then? That trip to Minas Tirith was looking better and better. For them both.
"My son, it is a whore's vengeance and a fool's errand for him to want to take you back to that place, drag you back into the heart of Barad-dur, just for some simple minded desire. He wants to take you back to Mordor for his own selfish purposes. After all, the Dark Lord used his body for Ages, who knows if there isn't some piece of Sauron left behind. It could be infecting your child even as we speak."
A whore. Is that how his people saw Valo? His small beloved had never spoken of the things whispered about him, not always just behind his back, but Legolas saw hid unhappiness for what it was now.
"Father, the quest of the One Ring was a fool's errand as well, but we went because we believed in it and I believe in Valo. We will not be going to Barad-dur," Thranduil smiled his satisfaction, "but we will be going to Minas Tirith and I will decide where else from there. If I had know from the beginning how staying here would affect him, I would not have brought Valo to live here. Maybe I could have done something before this all got out of hand."
"I love you, Ada, with all my heart but Valo is my mate. He carries my child and even now has a heart kind enough that he said nothing so as not to compromise you in my eyes. It is my duty to see to his happiness and so that is what I am going to do. We will leave on the morrow at sunrise."
A/N: So what'd you all think? I know it was a little late in coming but I'm officially off my butt and writing again thanks to a few well placed Christmas gifts and a just in time review lol. The chapters likely won't be out every week and I can't promise they'll be regular either but this story is now officially underway and to all of you who don't know yet, YES, there will be a prequel as well.