Disclaimer: I am not Tolkien sadly. I do not own anything

Author's Note: Sit back, relax, and enjoy! Reviews and encouragements are welcome, however flames are not.

The trees of Mirkwood whispered as a light breeze floated among the branches. The wispy, gray clouds in the sky shaded their boughs from the sun. The weather did not threaten rain, and overall, the trees agreed that it was a pleasant day. Yet, the same could not be said for the royal occupants within the stone walls of the elven castle.

The large, wooden doors to the throne room trembled as they were thrown open. Strands of golden hair brushed the doors as an elf stomped past. Though his lithe posture was dignified, barely contained fury radiated from it. Annoyance chiseled the fair features of his face, and his blue eyes glinted with ice.

The prince stormed through the hallways towards his rooms in silent rage. Heavy footfalls replaced his usual graceful, quiet footsteps. Had one of the sons of Elrond been there they would have joked that the elf's thunderous padding was so loud it would awaken even the heaviest sleeper of the dwarves. Unfortunately for the occupants of the castle, the twins were not in Mirkwood to lighten the prince's mood, and none dared to approach their liege in so dark a mood.

Upon reaching his quarters, the elf shut himself inside. With a growl of exasperation he flung the pale green cloak from his shoulders, revealing the gray tunic that he wore. He sauntered over to the inviting fireplace in the right corner of his room. The fire crackled a greeting as the prince sunk onto the ornate rug before it.

Wearily, he massaged his temples. Anger was not the real emotion that flooded his heart. Instead, it was an empty sadness. The day did not begin well. It marked the anniversary of an event that grieved him deeply. Time had not healed the wounds torn open that horrid day over a century ago. Rather, time only served to deaden the pain. Until he sailed, he would never be rid of the sorrow that her absence caused him. To keep himself from dwelling on his pain, the prince had learned to immerse himself in the protection of the kingdom. The duties of fighting against the ever encroaching darkness left him little time to think of her passing.

He stared listlessly into the fire. "I am no politician," sighed the elf. The events of what had just happened in the throne room replayed in his mind. The prince did not go on patrol as he originally planned. The king had unexpectedly summoned him to the throne room, where they both spent the entire day listening to complaints and trade talks. The young elf had tried to act diplomatic and pay attention, but his endurance only lasted so long. Towards the end of the tortuous talks, his thoughts had drifted to other things, including her. At some point during his musings he realized the court had gone silent and everyone was staring at him. His eyes had hastily found the king's which were blazing with anger. Like an elfling he was chastised before the whole court for his lapse of attention. Filled with humiliation and indignation, the prince fled the room and sought solace in his quarters.

Now, the elf waited for the inevitable. It was only a matter of time before his father came bellowing into the room with the intent to finish the conversation begun earlier in the throne room. As if on cue, the prince's sensitive ears picked up angry footsteps outside the door to his bedroom. The door burst open with a resounding "bang." A blonde elf who closely resembled the prince barged into the room. His angular face was as red as the leaves on his crown. "Legolas! I hope you have a good explanation for that embarrassing spectacle that just took place! I cannot believe you," bellowed King Thranduil.

The prince leapt to his feet."Embarrassing, Adar? And who's fault is that? My slight lapse of attentiveness was pardonable until you had the nerve to blow it out of proportion and humiliate me in front of the entire court! Do not lay this accusation of shame at my feet," he retorted with a steely voice.

"Please, tell me you are not suggesting that I am to blame," growled Thranduil as he closed the space between him and his son. He jabbed a finger at the elf who stood defiantly before him. "If you had paid attention none of this would ever have happened! Truly, Legolas, I expected more of you. A warrior as acclaimed as yourself should know better than to let your awareness slip. Valar, even the youngest of elves in our archery training knows better than to let their guard down. Maybe you are not as skilled as everyone thinks," berated the older elf. Glaring at his son, he saw his barb hit home as Legolas visibly flinched. The younger elf never took it well when others challenged his expertise with a bow and knives. Deep down the king knew it was low of him to exploit Legolas' insecurities, but at the moment he was too mad to care.

"Do not dare bring my skills of a warrior into this! My competence as a soldier has nothing to do with letting my mind wander during petty trade talks," hissed Legolas. Jerking away from his father, he stared bitterly at the roaring fire. Pain and anger laced the prince's voice as he questioned, "Besides, how would you know about my abilities when it comes to warfare? You have not taken the time recently to see the fruits of my endeavors. When was the last time you came to see me at the archery range? Or greet me when I return home from a patrol defending your kingdom?"

His hands shaking in fury, Thranduil angled Legolas around to face him again. "My kingdom? Last time I checked, 'Prince' Legolas, Mirkwood was our kingdom. That is your problem! You're slacking off your duties as a prince. You seem to forget that I am not the only royal of this realm. One day you will inherit Mirkwood, Legolas, and if you don't want it to waste away you had better begin taking your duties more seriously."

Legolas declared, "Adar, I really am trying, but..."

"Legolas, do not give me that," snapped Thranduil. His grip tightened slightly on the broad shoulders he held in his hands."You expect me to believe you, but how can I when you are spending more time on the training field than in this castle! I cannot understand why you waste your energy being a soldier when you should focus on being a prince. That is why I had you stay behind from patrol today. You had better get used to it too. If you will not voluntarily attend to your position as prince, then so help me Valar, I will force you to!"

At these words a muscle in the prince's jaw jerked, and his fingernails bit deeply into his palms. The elf's blue eyes flashed icily as he exclaimed,"I am no politician, Adar! Don't you understand? I...I cannot sit on a throne all day babysitting a court! I would rather face an army of orcs at the gates of Mordor than listen endlessly to courtiers as they bicker amongst themselves and bring their frivolous problems before the throne. It drives me insane!" Legolas paused to swallow the the growing lump in his throat. No, I will not show weakness. "Devoting myself as an archer is not a waste of time, Adar. I excel at what I do! I am one of Mirkwood's best warriors. I pour so much time into it because I am angry! As an archer I can harness that anger and grief for the good of the realm and for myself. Every orc I kill defending my home and people helps me cope with losing her!" At this the prince's voice broke and a single tear meandered down his pale cheek.

Thranduil wanted to let go of his rage and wipe away the tear from his son's cheek, but he could not condone Legolas' reason. With a tone harder than he wished, he responded, "Legolas, I understand, but that is not an excuse for neglecting your duties..."

At this the younger elf wrenched himself away from his father's hold. His eyes were glassy and his chin quivered slightly with hurt. "No, you do not understand! If you cannot permit me my one means of releasing my grief then how shall I live? You cannot hope to understand me because you will not allow yourself to show any weakness before our people. Instead, you harden your heart and close your soul to all pain and trouble until our kingdom is ruled not by a king, but by a stone! Whether you like it or not, Adar, I can never be like you, nor do I want to!"

With lightening speed, the king's hand lashed out and connected with the prince's tear stained cheek. The stinging mark left on Legolas' face matched the bright red of Thranduil's face. With a voice colder than death he ordered, "Do not dare address your king like that again, or I will have you flogged and thrown in the dungeon's darkest cell. Do you understand?"

"Yes, my king I understand fully," Legolas whispered. He bowed his head, so that his father could not see the shame and pain etched on his face at his father's words.

Pride and guilt warred in Thranduil's heart at the defeated sight of his child. His son's proud shoulders sagged, and his dignified body trembled with anguish. He looked as vulnerable as an elfing. But thoughts of the words said in the last minute came flooding back to his mind. Legolas' true words pierced his ego greatly. The king's temper flared once again as his son's words echoed in his ears. How dare Legolas challenge me! I am his father, and more importantly his king. He should respect my decisions and actions instead of undermining them, which he has been doing all day long! Thranduil clenched his jaw. "Get out. Get out now!"

Legolas raised his head, and stared at him in confusion. "But, Ad...I mean...my lord, this is my room."

"Whose room it is matters nothing to me! Now, do as I ordered and get out!" roared the king. "Keep out of my way, for I do not want to see you again this day."

Silently, the prince nodded and stood. The blue eyes of father and son met as Legolas turned to leave. They held the contact for moment. Each elf searched the other's eyes. One set was stony and unreadable, while the other set read heartbreak. Then with a formal bow, Legolas slipped out of the room. Little did Thranduil realize later that day he would come to regret his words, and that he may have just cut off his only hope of aid.

Author's Note:

So...what do you think? Should I continue? Please excuse my grammar mistakes. I proofread it to the best of my ability. If you see any glaring errors feel free to let me know! :) Any beta offers would also be very appreciated.