Seeing Legolas hold Elrohir by the throat was probably the lowest on the list of strange things that Ithilwen had seen since her return home.
Perhaps, dear readers, it would be best to back up and recount what led up to this display.
Just only three days after Legolas had officially called dibs on Ithilwen, as she described it jokingly to him, the elleth was more flustered than ever before.
Apparently, and she missed this tidbit of information for growing up in a modern human-filled world devoid of magic, that elvish courting meant that the ellon (or elleth, depending on preference) in the relationship with you went above and beyond finding ways to keep you happy. Which meant, in their special case, that Legolas had become clingy. Very clingy.
Ithilwen didn't mind – but she didn't expect this so soon. Of course, she hadn't expected to be paired up with whom she thought had become her best guy-friend, either. Really, the whole thing was both puzzling and relaxing. Ithilwen was still struggling to grasp the concept of being Legolas' fae-mate, and him whispering something akin to "my mate" every now and then in her ear wasn't helping. But now that she had finally accepted that she felt something for him, she was at ease, more so knowing that he also returned those feelings. Legolas had spent these past days not only telling her that he was hers, but showing her.
To a stranger, they might have appeared to have been an item even when they were still friends from the way they acted. Now, those occasional touches had tripled. Sharing the loveseat in the den where Legolas would pull Ithilwen down to sit by him turned into pulling her into his side. There were times she was almost sure that he was going out of his way just to touch her, and the night before when he had convinced her to sleep in his bed again was when she was pretty sure in her hypothesis.
Finally, when he had all but carried her to the loveseat bridal-style, she had jokingly begged him to tone it down. Elladan couldn't resist commenting that her begging wasn't supposed to make him stop. In his laughter, he never saw the paperback fly across the room at his forehead. Unfortunately, Elrond had witnessed this display.
"You have quite an aim," he commented, "Have you taken archery lessons in this world?"
Ithilwen settled back into her seat. "Not in some years. I quit just before college because my remedial courses in algebra kept me from practicing."
"You did win a golden arrow at that Renaissance Faire!" Came a shout from the kitchen. Elrond leaned out of the doorway to peer into the direction of his wife's voice. Celebrian never shouted across rooms before she sailed West; he idly wondered if these mannerisms she had acquired would carry over when they returned home.
"That was practically child's play!" Ithilwen shouted back.
"Doesn't matter!" Morwen's voice added to the booming conversation.
Elrond sighed. He really hoped they wouldn't retain this behavior.
"Do you still have your bow?" Legolas asked. "If you would like, I can give you proper training."
"Only if you want to deal with someone out of practice," Ithilwen replied with a lopsided grin, getting up to retrieve her bow from the hall storage closet.
Elladan looked over at Legolas, grinning. "I doubt that the Prince would mind, dear cousin," he spoke loudly to her. "Anything that involves getting close to you is- OW! Where are you getting these books from?!" Legolas's aim had been truer, creating a delightful smacking noise as the book dotted with orange-starred balls collided with his friend's turned cheek. The elf picked up the book from his lap, studying the cover when Ithilwen returned. "Say Ithilwen... When did you start reading about...dragon...balls?"
"I beg your pardon?" Thranduil had come to stand beside Elrond. "Did your son just say what I think he said?"
"I believe so," the lord replied, looking at Ithilwen with raised brows.
"I didn't think dragons had balls," Elladan commented, distracted by the book in his hands. "Lord Thranduil, did Smaug have balls?"
"Well wouldn't he?" Ithilwen jumped into the conversation as if it were about the weather. "Assuming it was a he. I mean, you gotta have the stuff to..." She suddenly realized who she was talking to and stopped abruptly. "Here," she shoved the bow to a smirking Legolas. "These are the only kind I've been able to find, short of making my own, and that's one thing I've never been able to do properly."
Legolas took one good look at the bow and shook his head. Everything about it was wrong. "This is too...modern. It is not a proper bow. Let me fetch the bow Lady Galadriel gifted to me during our journey, and you can see what a proper elvish bow looks like." Setting the compund-looking contraption down against the table, Legolas rose and left the room.
"Not to insult your grandmother's worksmiths, but Mirkwood's weaponry is just as exquisite," Thranduil said offhandedly. "The longbows of Lorien carry a greater distance to them, but the shortbow my son left for Rivendell with has a strength all of it's own." After a pause, he added, "And to clarify, the dragon Smaug was male. As for your question, Elladan, I believe the hobbit Bilbo Baggins would be better suited to answer."
A loud crash from the front of the house made everyone jump. Loud noises weren't uncommon with so many, but the roar that followed had the elves in the den running for the front door when Legolas shouted "GET OFF MY SISTER!"
Ithilwen quickly recounted all of the happenings that had occurred since she arrived home with her aunt and decided that again, seeing Legolas pin Elrohir to the wall by his neck was by far the strangest thing she had seen.
She was just glad that he hadn't gotten his bow yet.
Morwen, Celebrian, Miraear, and Fiona were right on their heels as they came to a stop on the front porch. A chair was overturned, Tauriel was looking flushed and irritated, and Legolas had Elrohir by the throat as he held him against the side of the house with a look so dark it might have rivaled the contempt he shot at Payne that day.
"What in the hell is going on?" was the first thing that came to mind.
Legolas wasn't breaking eye contact with her cousin. "I was passing by the window when I saw this...this..."
"...ellon...is the word...you're looking...for..." Elrohir cut in smartly, praying to the Valar he wouldn't lose consciousness.
"He was making advances on Tauriel!" Legolas nearly snarled.
Ithilwen looked back to see Thranduil sigh and look at Elrond apologetically. Elrond didn't seem to be upset at seeing one of his sons in a one-handed choke hold. Haldir had joined them, she noticed as well, staying silent and looking over to her, as if he thought she was the one caught in the crossfire. The elleth turned to look back at Tauriel, and sharing a look, they moved in to separate the two ellyn.
Tauriel pried Legolas' fingers away from Elrohir's throat, while Ithilwen tried desperately to get him to focus on something else besides her cousin. While she pushed back on his chest lightly, it was her own sister's comment that helped a deal.
"You know if you don't kill him now, Legolas, it won't be considered pre-meditated murder." When many surprised faces fell on her, Fiona looked confused. "What? If he kept thinking about it, he couldn't get away with it being an accident!"
"Accident or not," Morwen said, catching her daughter's train of thought, "You would be on cleanup duty for even suggesting the idea." She patted Haldir's arm, muttering that it was just a distraction from the anger and nothing serious.
"Brother, it's true. Elrohir did make advances on me, but I was the one that allowed him to." Tauriel and Ithilwen still stood as a barrier between the ellyn even as she spoke.
"She's right." Elrohir rubbed his neck gingerly. "I should have come to you first, Legolas, and I apologize for my foolish choice. I wish to court your sister as any respectable ellon would-"
"And I said yes," she finished.
"You could have let me finish," Elrohir muttered.
"Now you know how I feel," Tauriel replied. The kiss they had shared before Legolas' meltdown had left her feeling rather frustrated, and even moreso when it was stopped so suddenly.
Ithilwen looked back from her friend and cousin up to Legolas, feeling her heart sink. The poor thing looked so confused! There he was standing up for his sister's honor, and it turned out that she wished to be courted by the ellon that he had contemplated strangling. She cupped his cheek lightly, and he looked softly down at her, still not understanding what had happened. Or perhaps he did, and he just wasn't ready to accept that his sister was an adult, even if she was older than him.
"I take it that things are alright now?" Miraear looked to Celebrian.
Celebrian sighed dramatically. "Well, your son hasn't killed one of mine. I think that can be seen as going well."
"Good!" the redheaded elleth clapped her hands together. "Now that we have younglings that are courting, what would be the proper outing in this world for them?"
"Triple-date?" Morwen threw out. "Couples here sometimes go out in groups to eat or engage in some activity."
"Okay... what do you mean by triple-date, Mom?" Fiona asked. "I think your math is wrong, unless you're referring to Erestor and Lindir..."
"They have not made things official," Elrond mentioned, not-so-discreetly pushing his other son before him.
"Aunt Morwen is referring to me," Elladan said, looking slightly embarrassed.
Fiona's mind began to spin possibilities and her expression went from confusion, to realization, and finally to sadness. "So, you've found someone to court then?"
"I have." He didn't understand why Fiona looked so upset, but it seemed like each moment it became worse.
"Oh...I...I see." She tried not to sound upset, she really did, and being surrounded by half the house wasn't making her feigned nonchalance look natural. "Well, she must be a lucky girl then."
"I am not so sure, now, for I see her upset and I do not understand why."
"What are you talking about?" From behind Fiona, two ellith were grinning from ear to ear. Tauriel had caught on quicker, but the light smacks she sent Ithilwen's arm made the message clear.
"It is you," Elladan took Fiona's hand in his own. "You are the one that I wish to court, if you will allow me the honor."
Ithilwen would file this moment away in her memory as one that she could reflect on to tease her sister with. Fiona was standing there before Elladan, stunned. Her mouth was moving but no sound was coming out, until finally, "I thought I wasn't old enough..." It wasn't the most eloquent or romantic thing to say, but it was the only thought that came to her mind.
Elladan grinned. "By my kin's expectations, not quite...but we're not in middle-earth right now, are we?"
A smile slowly lit up Fiona's face, and without words Elladan - as did everyone else observing them - knew her answer.
"I still can't believe you're courting my sister," Legolas stated in a dull tone. All thoughts about the bow were forgotten, and now he had to watch as Tauriel cuddled up next to Elrohir.
"If you'll remember, Legolas, I'm older than you-"
"-and with being older than you-"
"-I'm going to be courted by an ellon, because I am well past being of age!"
"-you're still my sister and my sister is not supposed to be doing...what you were doing!"
"And if I get married, what then? Are you going to stalk my chambers and scream 'Get off my sister'?"
Before Legolas could bite back in the argument, Ithilwen reached over and squeezed his knee, the gesture capturing all of his attention. "Have you drawn anything in your sketchbook?"
Legolas was too busy processing that she had grabbed his leg to answer her immediately. When he finally understood her question, he replied, "Some."
"Can I see?" Ithilwen looked up at him in what she hoped was a sweet look, but all he saw was flashacks to those pictures. She watched, puzzled as he suddenly shot up and walked briskly to his room to retrieve the sketchbook. 'Was he walking...stiffly?' she wondered. 'What on earth did I do to scare him like that?'
On the couch across from Ithilwen, Tauriel shared a small smile with Elrohir. She hadn't expected to break the news to her brother as things had unfolded, but in a few days when he calmed down she intended to tease him for the screech he had made outside. Elrohir leaned down to whisper into her ear, and she felt a shiver run up her spine. "She has no idea, does she?"
"Not a clue," Tauriel whispered back.
"How long before she finds out, you think?"
The red haired elleth hummed lightly. "I don't know. Probably won't be too long now." Tauriel tried not to laugh as her brother crossed the den in about the same condition as he had moments ago. "I think your question might need to change to 'when will she see'."
Elrohir let out a bark of laughter, earning a suspicious look from Legolas and a puzzled one from Ithilwen.
"I have no idea what they're plotting," Ithilwen told Legolas. "They could be planning to bring twerking to middle-earth for all I know." At his look of confusion, she added, "You really don't want to know." The elleth scooted over to his side, staring at the closed sketchbook in his lap. Ever since she had convinced him...alright, manipulated him... into getting that sketchbook, she hadn't seen hide nor hair of it. Ithilwen was beginning to think that with everything that had been happening, he hadn't found the time to draw.
"Sometimes I will draw before bed," Legolas spoke, and Ithilwen couldn't help but wonder if he heard her thoughts. "When the mind is busy, I've found drawing a means to relax - Don't. Say. A. Word."
Ithilwen bit her cheek as she looked over at Elrohir, who moments before had a wide grin on his face that changed to a look of feigned innocence when Legolas called him out. It was hard to imagine that these ellyn sitting around the den had risked their immortality on the battlefield when they were reclining lazily on the furniture in denim. She felt the hard-backed cover open and bump her leg, and Ithilwen eagerly leaned over into his side to get a better look at the drawings.
Legolas had intended to set the book in Ithilwen's lap so she could better see it, but it appeared she didn't want to wait as he felt her lean into and across him. A good portion of her, actually, and knowing that Haldir could appear out of nowhere when it came to his daughter, Legolas was trying very hard not to think of the mounds of soft flesh that pressed into his left arm.
"Oh wow, these are amazing, Legolas!"
Had Haldir not walked in at the same time, he would have replied in much of the same manner. He silently thanked the marchwarden for showing up to buffer his dirty thoughts with the fear of castration if he so much as caught wind of them. Legolas watched as Ithilwen flipped through the pages of the sketchbook, admiring the various landscapes that he had sketched from memory, and congratulated himself on squelching his hormones.
Then, Ithilwen turned the page and gasped, rather dramatically he thought, considering he felt her ribcage expand and shift...things. The elleth halfway into his lap turned and looked up at him in surprise. "This... this is... me...?"
Legolas tried not to let his smile come off as goofy, or someone would have caught on to his predicament. "It is," he replied softly.
"You drew me?"
Ithilwen studied the drawing some more. "This is...this is from the night of the reunion!"
The prince attempted to shift in place, immediately wishing he hadn't. Things in question just became more noticeable to his sense of touch, and somehow Ithilwen still hadn't noticed! Or had she...?
"I can't believe you drew me," she breathed, turning to look back at him. The look in her eyes told Legolas that she had no idea what she was doing; she was too absorbed in the drawing to notice. She turned the sketchbook to Haldir. "Look Ada! Legolas drew me!"
The marchwarden bent over the sketchbook and studied the work intently. "So he has, penneth."
"It's absolutely breathtaking, Legolas! You made me look so much better than I am!"
"That's preposterous," Haldir said, reclining in an open chair nearby. "You are very beautiful, Ithilwen."
"Adars always say that," his daughter laughed.
"Well I am not your adar, and I agree with him." Legolas added, reaching up to brush his fingers against her cheek. "You truly are breathtaking, Ithilwen. I simply drew what I saw that night."
Ithilwen felt her face warm up at his compliments. She bit her lip lightly, glancing out the corner of her eye to see Haldir watching them. Either feeling brave or simply not caring, she wasn't sure, Ithilwen leaned forward and kissed Legolas lightly on the lips. Technically he was her boyfriend, even if it felt weird to call it that, so she could peck him on the lips as innocently as the cheek, right?
When she felt Legolas' hand cup her cheek, she pulled back. Not that she wasn't interested, but she didn't want to have a snog fest in front of her father, and their 'simple kisses' had a bad habit of getting heated. Ithilwen didn't want Haldir to be the first elf to pass into the Halls of Mandos because of congestive heart failure.
"I'll be right back," she said - almost teasingly, Legolas' clouded mind noted - before darting up from the loveseat and sprinting upstairs.
"When did you begin to draw this?" Haldir asked, motioning towards the black and white image of his daughter.
Legolas turned the book back to face him. "The evening of the day that we found the dress," he explained. "I didn't finish it for a few days after the reunion."
Ithilwen sped back into the den, sporting her own sketchbook. She climbed back up onto the loveseat beside Legolas, looking at him nervously. "Now keep in mind that when I drew this, it took nearly a month to finish." She opened the sketchbook where her thumb had marked the desired page and set the book before him.
"When did you draw this?" Legolas asked, amazed that he was staring down at a pencil drawing of himself.
"I started working on it shortly after we met face to face for the first time," Ithilwen's brow furrowed slightly, backtracking the dates. "It was during your stay in Lothlorien. My memories of the dreams weren't that strong then, so that's why it took so long to finish." Before she could ask his opinion, Legolas had pulled her to him for another kiss. "Okay," she breathed when she got loose, "I guess I don't need to ask if you liked it."
Haldir reached out and caught the sketchbook before it hit the floor, since the sudden jerking movement nearly sent it in the general direction. He looked down at his daughter's work, equally impressed at her talent. As Haldir thumbed through the pages, he noticed that she drew various things, many of which included simplified figures he knew nothing about. He also noticed that it wouldn't be long before she filled the book.
A glance upward showed that the prince still held Ithilwen against him, and Haldir had to resist rolling his eyes, a trait he discovered quickly that Fiona was apt to exhibit. He knew that when he first began to court Morwen that he was much of the same, but that was what bothered him the most - Haldir was the same when he was a youngling. Thinking back to the sketchbook in his hands, Haldir began to consider acquiring special hand-bound tomes that she could create her work in.
It had been decided, somewhere between another conversation on courting and "keeping it in the family" where Fiona still believed it borderlined something out of Deliverance, that the household's first "triple-date" would take place that evening. Tauriel and Fiona were excited about the prospect of going out to dinner with their escorts. The twins were a cross between smiling and apprehension, having been cornered by the marchwarden and the elvenking shortly after. It didn't take a genius to figure out what conversation they were having.
As for Ithilwen and Legolas...they had spent the afternoon drawing. Other people, each other, it didn't matter. Ithilwen had gotten frustrated at one point, not able to draw Legolas' mouth properly as they sat facing each other on the love seat. Legolas, being sneaky, moved forward enough to capture her lips in a kiss before sitting back looking smug, asking if that helped. She chucked a white eraser at him.
When the evening began to creep ever further, and the two elves still had not made any inclination to get dressed, the other four acted as one, hauling them up from the loveseat and directing them to their rooms.
Dinner wasn't overly elegant. After some small debate, Ithilwen had driven to Chili's, as it was closest to the movie theater. Ithilwen wore the dress that Legolas had persuaded her to buy at the mall, much to his enjoyment, however, the stares she recieved from the mortal men at the restaraunt made him want to hide her away for himself.
"You regretting that decision Legolas," Fiona asked, nodding to her sister, "Getting Ithilwen to buy that dress?"
Ithilwen was busy scrolling the movie listings on the phone as they waited to be seated and hadn't noticed the stares of the men at the bar or the low growl from the elf beside her. Or maybe that growl was her stomach, she couldn't be sure. "I like this dress," she said without looking up.
That comment made the prince smile, and he slipped his arm around her waist to pull her against him. Legolas saw Ithilwen's lips curve into a smile at the action. He knew she was still upset about everything, but he could see it fading each day. As long as she was happy, he could overlook the leering stares of drunken men.
As they were being led to their tables, Fiona couldn't help but notice how the other customers in the restaraunt were staring at everyone with her. She was used to seeing Ithilwen get stared at, but it was weird to see it happen five-fold. Even with the modern clothing and the new habit of interjecting modern slang into their vocabulary, they still had an ethereal beauty about them, and that included the one she considered a sister for so long. Galadriel had told her that she was to go with them when they returned, and up until now the idea was exciting to her. Now...now she saw the elves in their house as actual elves. Elladan held out her chair for her, and Fiona sat gingerly, feeling smug as she caught some envious stares from other women nearby who whispered to their men about lack of gentlemanly manners. 'Heh, mine's a gentleman and he's not even a man!' She froze. 'Wait a second - did I just call Elladan mine? I can't think that way, he just asked to court me earlier today. Unless that means something different in middle-earth?'
Ithilwen watched Fiona's expressions change as she was caught up in an internal debate. After placing the table's drink orders, she felt the need to pry, for a change. "What's the matter, Fiona?"
"Erm, nothing," her sister replied.
"It doesn't seem like nothing," Elladan noted, taking her hand in his and brushing his thumb across her knuckles.
Fiona tried not to shiver at the touch. Things had taken off quicker than she had expected that day, and she vaguely wondered if this was what caused Ithilwen to be an emotional Silly Slamer. "It's nothing, really...I just...I was thinking about middle-earth...and if I'll have a place there."
Several sets of eyebrows rose at that. "What do you mean? Of course you'll have a place there!" Ithilwen shot back.
"That's easy for you to say. You're an elven princess. You're being courted by a prince. I'm just the adopted child of your royal family, and-"
"-I'm a prince too, I'll have you know!" Elladan interjected dramatically, puffing his chest out. "Doesn't that count for something?"
The strawberry blond woman giggled at his display, a clear attempt to lighten the mood. "Of course it does. I'm still trying to come to grips with everything though. I don't know if I'll have a place in the elven community, and from what I've heard, haven't some of y'all been sailing to Valerie Burtinelli's chest or something?"
"Valinor," Ithilwen wheezed.
"There are still many elves that have chosen to remain in middle-earth for some time," Elrohir replied. "Adar had planned to sail soon after the destruction of the Ring, but now that Naneth is here, he may stay for a while."
"Will she want to?" Fiona asked. "Mom told me about what happened to Aunt Celebrian, and I wouldn't blame her if she wanted to sail West as quickly as possible."
Elladan looked at his brother. "I think...Naneth may yet decide to revisit some places before that time comes," he looked over at Ithilwen when he added, "It seems like since she has been returned to us, there is some light that was not present when she sailed. I think, dear cousin, that you are the one to thank for that."
"What are you talking about?"
"You were the one to find Naneth. I think that spending some time with you has helped her see that there is still beauty in the world-"
"And chicken nuggets," Elrohir added.
"-and chicken nuggets." Elladan took Fiona's hand again. "Never think for a second that you don't belong with us, Fiona. Everyone in that house would welcome you with warmth, kindness, and hospitality suited for the Valar if you visited their lands. I believe that you and Ithilwen's perspectives on these strange cultures of this world will add some variety to the humdrum days of the Elves that haven't left for Valinor."
Fiona felt herself blush slightly, and unable to form a reply, just nodded and smiled shyly. Shortly after the waitress had returned with drinks and left with the orders, Fiona rounded on the two blond elves at the table. "Alright, so that hickey a few days ago clearly shows that something's been going on for a while now. What's the deal and why did it take this long to get you two buttmunches together, huh?"
Over dessert, Fiona had once again brought up the topic of pictures, dodging a napkin Ithilwen threw half-heartedly at her.
"I mean it! I want to know which cosplays you intend on selling so I can get some good pictures."
"Wouldn't the ones we've taken years ago work? I don't have time to sell these online, you know."
"Then how about some costume references to draw from later on down the road?" Fiona watched as Legolas kept pushing bits of icecream-covered brownie sundae towards her on the bowl they shared. 'I swear if they don't stop with the cuteness I may get diabetes just watching them...'
Ithilwen huffed at Legolas, who smirked and kept pestering her with the dessert. "If it'll make you happy, then I suppose so."
"Good, cause I've got a lot of film to blow through in those big cameras, and I may have some left over." At Tauriel's inquiring look, she elaborated. "I want to take pictures of all of you too, so you can have something to remember your time here by."
"We're not going to be naked, are we?" Tauriel couldn't help but joke.
"I wouldn't object to it," Elrohir stretched in his seat.
"I would," Legolas bit back.
"You're a spoil sport," Fiona laughed.
"My thoughts exactly," Elladan added, wiggling his eyebrows. "You were naked from what I've heard-"
"Nothing could be seen," Fiona assured Tauriel, who had taken on a bewildered expression, not realizing that her jest had some merit to it.
"Oh now that's a shame, isn't it Ithilwen?" Elrohir grinned at his cousin. "Legolas is a tease, isn't he?"
"I'm not so sure this is dinner conversation." Ithilwen had suddenly become preoccupied with her dessert spoon.
"Safer than speaking about it at home," her sister countered. "Your prince would be a Ken Doll if Haldir caught wind of all the details from those pictures." Fiona took a sip of her drink. "I do have some ideas that I'd like to try out since I've got the opportunity, Ithilwen, and I think you're the only one in the house that would be game for it."
"What makes you say that?"
"Because she has already asked everyone else," Tauriel answered. "After earlier, there was no guarantee that I could - or would - be allowed to take part in this exercise." She threw a meaningful glance at Legolas, who returned it levelly.
Ithilwen watched the siblings face off with amusement. "What is so bad that you won't let your sister take part, Legolas? I mean the girl has fought spiders the size of volkswagon beetles from what you've told me."
"She would be without covering."
"Really now?" Elrohir made a face that looked delighted, making Tauriel laugh and hit his shoulder. Had it been any other elleth, Legolas might have laughed too.
"Again, nothing would be seen, artistic nudity and all that," Fiona clarified. "Really, you guys must think I shoot porn or something the way you freak out over skin."
"Elves are not ashamed of their bodies, Fiona," Elladan smiled at her. "It is not unusual for us to share bathing quarters, however the presence of nudes in our art is not very commonplace. If it suits the purpose, then it is done. I cannot say what personal collections some own are like, I just know from my years as a young ellon in Imladris."
"Brother, I do remember you seeking these subjects of art out on many an occasion."
"And you know this because you followed me!"
"Yes I did."
As the two brothers went back and forth, Fiona turned to Legolas. "I've got an idea back home I'd like to show you. How detailed can you go in your work?" She retrieved her phone from her bag and pulled up a photo on the screen. "See, this is what I had in mind."
"You could ask me too, you know."
"No I can't," she replied in a singsong voice.
"And why is that?"
"Cause it's going on your back if Legolas can paint it."
Ithilwen nearly collided into Legolas' side as she leaned over to look at what was on the phone. On the screen was a piece of art she recognized from that webcomic she had become addicted to reading. It was a tattoo that one of the characters had gotten, a back-laced corset form, complete with o-rings, lace, leather, and straps that look as if it had been attached to the back by steel fasteners. "I still want to know if anyone's actually had that inked."
Legolas passed the phone back to Fiona, who showed the design to the twins and Tauriel. "I'm not sure what to make of that design," he frowned. "It could take an entire day just to paint to keep the colors consistent with the design."
"What if Ithilwen watered it down and made it simpler? Could you do it then?"
"Since when did I get drug into this?"
"I also had some ideas for Ithilwen to paint as well-"
"-and I've seen her do kid's face-painting at fairs, so this will be no problem. If I had it on my phone I'd show you now, but I can't seem to find it."
Tauriel smiled at Ithilwen. "I take it you haven't heard about any of this?"
"Only just now." Ithilwen cleared her thoat to get their attention. "So whatever I'm drawing or painting can wait. I thought we were going to see a movie after dinner?"
"What'd you find?"
"Not much," Ithilwen mock-pouted. "This year hasn't been that great a year for movie releases that aren't remakes or sequels." She tapped her phone screen again to bring up the list. "We have World War Z with alternate-universe-post-Troy hair Brad Pitt fighting zombies that took amphetatmines..."
"What?" Elrohir looked confused.
"A herd of undead humans take over the world and move like spiders up a wall," Fiona translated. "And a guy with a pretty butt in another movie has to stop them."
"He had a big butt in Troy," Ithilwen corrected her. "Anyway...there's The Conjuring, about a family moving into a haunted farm house."
"Why do they not relocate?" Tauriel asked.
"I think one review said the satanic spirits followed them or something," Ithilwen continued. "There's the Lords of Salem, but's it's Rob Zombie so we'll veto that-"
"Why is that?" Legolas looked at her.
"Rob Zombie's a freak who makes terrible movies. They're not scary; in a nutshell his movies are part gore, part sex, part violence, and part swearing. I absolutely hated the remakes of John Carpenter's Halloween movies." Her finger scrolled the page again. "There's that Warm Bodies movie. It's about a zombie falling in love with a girl and gaining personality during the zombie apocalypse."
"You are jesting."
"Nope, it's a romantic comedy. I also found Beautiful Creatures - this time it's a witch and a boy with a forbidden love affair and whether she'll become a good witch or an evil witch. Or, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, where two people who were almost cooked by a witch as kids have grown up and made witch-hunting their profession."
"Anything else?" Fiona asked.
"One more, and it's a parody of the haunted house plotline, literally called A Haunted House. It's like the Scary Movie series, but raunchier, or so I've heard. Some people love it, some didn't. The writing for these movies isn't scholarly by any stretch of the imagination, but the jokes are funny enough to where you don't have to have seen the references to get them."
"Which one's will start soon?"
"Urm... Our best bets would be...A Haunted House or Hansel and Gretel; they'll start in about thirty minutes. After that, we'd have to wait almost an hour for Beautiful Creatures, World War Z, or The Conjuring. Warm Bodies is already playing, unless they add in another timeslot before we get there."
"So what movie did y'all go see?" Morwen asked as the group entered the dining room.
"A Haunted House," Ithilwen answered as she moved to the hallway bathroom with quick steps. Despite herself, she had still bought the 40 ounce Bladder-buster at the snack bar. Even though Legolas had helped her finish the drink, it still lived up to it's name.
"Why would you go witness a haunted house?" Thranduil asked from his seat at the table. Unlike earlier that day, the six younglings had returned home from their outing in high spirits, and luckily Legolas hadn't decided to strangle Elrohir again.
"I ask Ithilwen that every time she's drug me to a haunted house attraction. But this was the title of the movie, actually. It made fun of the serious movies that featured haunted houses and things." Fiona moved to the kitchen to get a bottle of water from the fridge, nodding to Erestor and Lindir who had volunteered for dishwashing duty. She opened the door carelessly, and upon looking in for the first time she screamed in fright.
"What? What ails you, Lady Fiona?" Lindir asked worriedly.
A distinct feminine cackle resounded down the hallway from the closed bathroom door.
"I should have known," Fiona growled from her place on the floor.
"Yes, yes you should have." Ithilwen returned to the kitchen, stepping over her sister to reach into the fridge to extract...Bob. "Consider this payback for upsetting me so much last week."
Lindir looked repulsed at the bust in Ithilwen's hands. "What in the name of Eru is that?"
"This? I made this on my trip a few months ago. Isn't it great?" Ithilwen hugged the mangled foam wig head to her chest, proud of her macabe design.
"If you say so," the minstrel nodded, not sure if he agreed fully with her or not.
Ithilwen stepped back over Fiona and moved to sit at the table by Legolas, setting the head before her. "Thanks for letting me set this up, Nana."
"Not a problem, though your grandmother may have some choice words for you." Morwen looked absolutely delighted as Galadriel glided into the room. "Isn't that right, Naneth?"
"Oh yes, it was simply brilliant!" Celebrian added.
Galadriel wasn't about to speak on the matter, Ithilwen realized. She looked almost flustered at the subject as she eyed the figurehead warily. It was Morwen that told the story. "Your grandmother," she paused for effect, "came into the kitchen for something to drink, opened the fridge door and said 'Fuck' really loud."
Ithilwen started laughing so hard she snorted, which made her laugh harder. "I'm so sorry Grandma!" She laughed. "I don't mean to laugh but it's so funny!"
"You do not have to apologize," Galadriel smiled at her, then cut her eyes at Celeborn, "My own husband laughed as well."
"It was even better when Morwen explained what the word meant," Celebrian was grinning. "We have heard it so often on those vampire stories that Naneth said it would thinking!"
Thranduil reclined in his seat. "What astounds me is that I saw you storm Dol Goldor and strike down spiders and any dark foe imaginable, yet a crafted severed head can make you speak a swear so vulgar that it is only reserved for extreme situations."
Ithilwen was busy messing with pieces of hair on the wig to see the face Galadriel sent Thranduil's way, only hearing the deep laugh from the king. "I didn't mean to get anybody but Fiona with this, but now I think I'm going to bring Bob to middle-earth and leave him in random places. Isn't that right Bob?" she cooed, kissing the decayed, sliding fleshed cheek of the figurehead.
"I can't believe you kissed that thing," Legolas said dryly.
"Aw, what's wrong?" Ithilwen cooed at him, which made it hard cause his expression made her want to laugh. "Feeling left out?" She leaned over and kissed Legolas on the cheek. "Better now?"
"Yes, but I believe you're mocking me."
"Well, today was interesting."
Haldir snorted at his wife's statement. "Three days after one of our daughters has announced her courtship with the prince of Mirkwood, our other daughter is being courted by one of the princes of Rivendell-"
"And don't forget Tauriel," Morwen added as she shrugged out of her blouse. "Miraear is estatic that she's being courted by Elrohir."
"And to what does Thranduil say on the matter?"
"He's about as thrilled as you are, love." Morwen crossed the room in her underwear to toss her clothes into the hamper. Haldir's eyes never left her as she moved to sit by him on the bed. "You need to be happy for them, Haldir."
"How can I be happy when I could lose them after I just found them?"
"What makes you think that you'll lose them?" When he didn't reply, Morwen shook her head. "You watched Father of the Bride, didn't you?"
"Is that what that was?"
Morwen's head hit his shoulder, and she sighed, exasperated. "Melleth, just because they were raised here does not mean that they'll go out, get married, and never speak to us again. We've all been away by ourselves, and nothing has stopped us for keeping in touch. If they get married anytime soon, I highly doubt they'll shut you out of their lives. They still need their adar, even when they're adults." She looked up at him and smiled. "And just think, you'll get to be a grandpa that can spoil them rotten!"
Haldir groaned, making Morwen laugh in delight. "Do not start with me on grandchildren, woman! I'm still coming to terms with the thought of them being courted, much less seeing it be expressed!"
In Ithilwen's room, Legolas had laid his head to rest in her lap, while she fiddled with the strands of his hair. He couldn't believe that he had witnessed Elrohir with his sister in an intimate embrace. Sure, all they had done was kiss, but that was besides the point to him. She was his sister, pure and innocent...even if she did kill spiders for sport. He had no doubts that she could take care of herself, or that Elrohir would be anything less than honorable, but he couldn't let it go. The thought unsettled him-
"Something on your mind?" Concerned green eyes with barely hid amusement looked down at him as her fingers brushed his scalp.
-almost as much as the effect that Ithilwen had on him. Legolas couldn't believe that Ithilwen could go from a tempting minx to blissfully innocent. He knew she was younger, much younger, but her self confidence in this department was askew. Ellith her age would have known what they were doing and used it to their advantage. Ithilwen didn't seem to realize that some of her actions had a deep effect on him.
Perhaps that had something to do with the connection they shared? He wasn't sure if their link was what enhanced his feelings, but he was wary of asking anyone in the house, lest it be twisted into thinking something else.
"A lot of things, actually." Legolas sighed as her fingertips traced his hairline delicately. He was walking a thin line of restraint around her as it was, and he knew something needed to be done if the most innocent of touches set him off.
"Like what? Just pick the first thing that comes to mind."
"You." It was the first thing that came to mind, even past his sister and Elrohir, and he couldn't stop himself.
"What about me?"
'Where do I begin?' he thought idly. "Are you aware of the effect that you have on me, Ithilwen?"
Her fingers continued to comb through his loose hair, and on their recent pass, happened to brush the top edge of his ear. Legolas sucked in a breath of air, and this time Ithilwen noticed. "What's wrong Legolas? Did I hurt you? I probably need to file my nails down again, don't I?"
Legolas tried his best not to laugh at her panicked tone. "It's fine," he assured her. "You didn't hurt me. What you did just...tickled, is all." It wasn't a lie, but he didn't want her to stop finger-combing his hair. "You never cease to amaze me, Ithilwen."
"What'd I do?"
"You're you. I've never met an elleth like you before."
"I think that comes from growing up in a different world."
Legolas shook his head, fanning his hair across her lap more. "You would still be unique if you had been raised in Lothlorien. Although," he sat up, coming nose to nose with Ithilwen. "If you had been in Lothlorien when our company passed through, I might have had difficulty in leaving you behind."
"Ada would have tied you up and put you in the boat." Ithilwen bumped her nose against his, smiling.
"You're small. I could have easily tucked you away as supplies."
Ithilwen's eyebrows rose. "Oh really? And what kind of 'resource' would I have been disguised as?"
The cheeky smile the elf had turned into a devious grin, making Ithilwen laugh out loud. "you can be such a perv," she said when the laugher subsided.
"Ah, but it is you that brings it out in me," he replied, leaning in for a kiss.
When they separated, Ithilwen looked at him seriously. "You want to stay here tonight?" Despite all of the 'making up' that Legolas had subjected her to, at night he was still uncertain of how to act around her when they were alone. He was almost like a skittish animal, and it took coaxing from Ithilwen to assure him that she wasn't planning to castrate him in his sleep.
"If you'll have me?" She could see him watching her for any signs of rejection, just as he had the first night he asked her to stay with him.
Ithilwen rolled her eyes. "Don't be a doofus and get in," she said, patting the bedside. When Legolas had gotten comfortable, he reached out and spooned Ithilwen against his chest. This time she was the one that shivered as his breath tickled her ear, an action Legolas didn't miss.
"Do you recall me saying that you have an effect on me, Ithilwen?"
"Mm-hm." His breath was still tickling her ear.
"And you also recall me saying that you had 'tickled' my ear?"
"Uh-huh?" Her ladyparts had taken delight in hearing his gasp, a thought she was trying to quell.
"What do you say we see if you're...ticklish...as well?"
The covers laid across them shifted and moved as Legolas lost any inhibitions he had about being timid around Ithilwen as they tossed about on the bed. Ithilwen tried her best not to squeal, or to gasp, or to moan, as Legolas showed her just how sensitive her own ears were that night.
In the darkness of the night, soft giggling was heard in another room of the house.
"Well, that escalated quickly," a female voice said.
Another figure moved to hover above the woman. "I am aware that I am old, melleth, but do give me some credit."
"I wasn't referring to you, Celeborn. I meant that there are a couple younglings that need to be talked with concerning the future."
"Then it can wait. I have not gotten started yet and I have no intention of being interrupted tongiht."
More giggling erupted as her husband showed her just how serious he was.
A/N: Feels like a long time since that last update, huh? What can I say? Schoolwork had to be caught up on first, and I'm still working on some promotional art for the Sebring Founder's day festivities, and that has pressing deadlines too. Throw in some family drama in the past week and you've got a very stressed out fic writer. :/ But thanks for being patient and hanging in there; art is (hopefully) soon to follow suit.
So what did you think? :D Catch the Friends reference? And the shippers squeal over new ships, though I think we could all see it heading in that direction, right? I tried to add in some of Fiona's insecurities about being around so many elves, but as we've been shown by the Lady of Light later on, elves ain't perfect. XD I may throw some people off with the Silly Slamer reference; if you weren't a kid of the early 90s, they were these beanbag heads that had a voicebox that was activated on impact – say, throwing at the wall or your brother's head, for example – and they'd say one of a few things. Yeah, we were easily amused. Oh, and the tattoo that Fiona shows Legolas on her phone is based on 'Cassie's tattoo' from the Sunstone comic by shiniez I mentioned some chapters back. If you want to see it, check their 'random pictures' folder, towards the bottom of the second page. Ithilwen's design won't be near as complicated as that. And there's some flip-flopping of Ithilwen's character here too, as Legolas realized. That's intentional, which brings me to my next point:
If you review, whether you sign in or decide to go anon, and you decide to point out things that, well, 'disgust' has come up recently in about three of my latest reviews, how about explaining why you feel that way? :) I'm taking that as constructive crit, and like my instructors have told us, "I don't know what you're trying to tell me unless you explain it". I've replied to each of these reviews on my tumblr in better detail, and I'll continue to do so in the future with anon reviews that have something to respond to. If you can tell me why you don't like something, that gives me a better idea of what to work on. I'm not gonna bite your head off unless you try to do so first.
Those three (disheartening) reviews have given me some things to consider, and I've mentioned this to animepercystyle I believe, that I'm planning on writing another story with Legolas and Ithilwen when Call Me Maybe is finished. AU obviously, same cast, waaay different plot, and more…adult? Mature? Not so much smutty, I don't think, but not 'wishy washy teen drama' in comparison. What do you think? Am I crazy for planning a story when I haven't finished the first one? ;) Let me know what you think, alright?