Author's Note: It has been forever since I updated, and probably even longer for you guys due to the way I left the last chapter. So, to atone for this awful delay I promise there will be no more cliffhangers or long waits for this story :) Thanks for everything! BTW- there is a little surprise in the Author's Note on the bottom. Enjoy!
The stars sparkled merrily as a light breeze floated through the trees. Silver rays from the moon rained upon an elf staring solemnly into the midnight sky. "Legolas would love this night," sighed the king heavily. The stars were usually a source of comfort for Thranduil, but he found none from them tonight. He covered his pinched face with his hands, careful to avoid the bandage wrapped around his head. The stone balcony kept the elf from sinking to his knees. It seemed that his strength was more interwoven with his son's state than he realized. The only reason I am alive and strong is because Legolas' life energy is flowing within me. I should be the one dying...not him! Not my son! Tears pricked his weary eyes. Why did he do it? I am not worth his life.
The proud shoulders of Mirkwood's ruler slumped with guilt and sorrow. Events from the battle replayed in his mind for the millionth time. Surely there was something he could have done. I should have fought harder, forced myself to stay awake and aid Legolas. Ai! Anything to save the boy from his current state. Gripping the railing until his knuckles turned white, Thranduil stopped himself. No one benefited from his tirade of guilt-ridden thoughts. Now I know who Legolas gets it from. He needed to focus on Legolas, instead of dwelling on what was already done.
After a last glance at the stars, the king silently re-entered the healing ward. Aware of his son's love of nature, he had ordered the servants to move his bed to the corner of the room that was closest to the balcony. During the day, he and Renias kept the doors to the veranda open. They hoped the prince would respond to the birds' songs and the trees' whistling. Sadly, Legolas continued to remain unconscious as he had for the last five days.
The healer had patched the prince up to the best of his ability. It took several hours of surgery for Renias to repair the extensive damage done to the young elf's shoulder. Even with the surgery, it was uncertain if Legolas would ever regain full use of it.
"Oh, ion nin, please wake up," pleaded the desperate father. Sinking into the wooden chair by the bed, he clasped the archer's pale hand. If only he could pour energy back into the unresponsive form, but he could not. Renias forbade it because Thranduil was not strong enough. Attempting a transfer would assuredly kill both the weakened king and the prince. Inwardly, the elf cursed his helplessness.
The creaking of a door interrupted his musings. Knowing who it was, the king softly questioned, "Tell me, Renias, why he does not awaken? It has been too long! There has to be something we can do."
Crossing the room, the healer placed a comforting hand on his liege's shoulder. "Your majesty, I wish I knew." Shaking his head resignedly, he continued, "I have done all I know to help him. Your son was quite exhausted. The amount of energy he transferred almost killed him. I thought with time and rest he might recover, now I am unsure."
"You mean he is...dying?" Thranduil hissed, his heart breaking. "No! You said Legolas was going to be fine."
The silver-haired elf pressed the distraught king back into the chair, fearful he would injure himself. "My lord, please. It seems that something is keeping him from healing. He acts as if he is fading, yet the prince still clings to life. I have sent word to Lord Elrond, but I believe there is nothing more we can do. It is up to Legolas to find the will to come back to us. I am sorry, mellon nin." The regal form trembled beneath Renias' hands at his words. The healer hated his job during times like this. It was hard enough being powerless to help his patient, but worse he had to deliver the devastating news to the family. Renias ached to console his friend and king, yet he knew there was nothing he could say or do that would take away the sting of losing a child.
"Please, leave me. I need to be alone with my son." commanded Thranduil, tucking the blankets tighter around the prince. The ruler's pain glistened eyes never left Legolas' face as the healer silently obeyed.
Once the door closed, the grieving father lost it. He gathered the younger elf in his arms and sobbed. Memories of Legolas from the past two millennia flashed through his head. He smiled and shed a tear over each treasured memory. Chasing butterflies with Legolas, snuggling with Aurilian and his frightened son during stormy nights, giving him his first bow, and watching his timid elfling bloom into an adult and warrior. Time flew so fast. While Thranduil had witnessed many moments, he had also missed countless ones. Now, he could never get them back, or make new memories. Soon, he would be without both his beloved wife and son.
"I am the cause of all of this," the king moaned. "I neglected you, ion nin. If I had paid more attention, I would have seen your suffering. I was insensitive to your needs, and condemned you for being you." Caressing the youthful face that reminded him so much of his queen, Thranduil attempted to swallow the lump lodged in his throat. "Then...then you go and save my life, and are paying for it with your own. I am sorry, Legolas. You deserve better than me."
His energy and emotions spent, the older elf eased the prince back onto the bed. Tenderly, he wrapped the covers around his son, and fluffed the pillows. I would pay any price just to gaze into your laughing eyes once more, my little Greenleaf. Thranduil planted a gentle kiss on Legolas' brow. When was the last time he had tucked his elfling in? A stab of pain shot through his shattered heart at the knowledge that this was the last opportunity he would ever have to do this.
The king collapsed back into the chair's feathered cushion, drained. Still, he sat rigid with determination. I will stay with him until the end. Legolas held vigil over me in my darkest hours, I shall do the same for him. Thranduil soothed,"Be at peace, my Greenleaf, for I am here...Ada's here."
The sun's early rays rose to find the still forms of father and son. One's face was streaked with tear tracks, while the other one was as white as death. Gold and pink hues bathed the white sheets covering the body of the younger elf. The life of the fire warming the ward had died long ago. All was silent, except for the cawing of a lone crow.
A shaking hand slowly stroked the unresponsive elf's blond head, but the elf did not move. So, he continued running his hand back and forth through the unbraided strands of hair. Fear kept him from checking for a pulse. The first born did not want his worst fears confirmed. No, better to sit here in ignorant bliss than face reality.
Anxiety and curiosity ate away at his resolve as the minutes passed. I have faced many trials without fear throughout the millennia, yet here I am too scared to check on him. Summoning his courage and steeling his heart, he nudged the still form. "Wake up...please wake up." His heart sank. "Eru, no, please!" Tears pooled in the elf's eyes from the lack of response as he sobbed, "Ada!"
Hearing his child's cries, Thranduil jerked awake. Arms instinctively flew to calm his son, "Legolas! Shhh...there, there. I am here, ion nin. Ada's here." The king's blue eyes widened with comprehension. "You are awake! Legolas, you're alive! Praise the Valar, it is a miracle!"
The prince resisted the urge to groan as his father's embrace tightened painfully around his broken ribs. They both needed the intimate contact. With his good arm, he returned the hug. "Yes, Ada, I am well. I could not leave you," croaked Legolas weakly. The strong arms squeezed tighter at these words. A tiny moan escaped unbidden from the archer's lips.
Thranduil released Legolas immediately. "Forgive me, ion. I forgot about your injuries." Reaching over to the ornate side-table, he clasped a goblet of water and held it to his son's lips. "Here, drink. You are very dehydrated after all your blood loss."
Drinking greedily, the prince panted, "Hannon le, Adar."
"That is enough for the moment. You do not want to upset your stomach," the king gently admonished. Gripping the younger's left hand, he looked into the other pair of eyes. "Hannon le, Legolas. I owe you my life," he stated, his voice thick with emotion.
"Ada, there is nothing to thank me for. I did what you would have done." A sharp spasm racked his shoulder. Gasping, the prince clutched it, only to find a wad of gauze covering the wound. "My shoulder. Ada, will it be all right?" he inquired apprehensively. The way Thranduil's face fell affirmed his trepidation. Legolas turned his pale face towards the balcony decorated with streaming sunlight. The pain that his actions cost him surged to the forefront of his mind.
Though the archer attempted to conceal his emotions, the king detected his distress. "Oh, ion nin, I am so sorry. This is all my fault. If only I had not gone to the memorial." Soft, calloused fingers touched his lips, silencing him.
"Stop. Do not take upon yourself blame that is not yours to bear, Ada. The fault lies with the orcs, and no one else." Slipping his left hand into his father's, Legolas squeezed it in assurance. "I followed you to the site because I love you. Despite the face of strength you put on for the people, I still see your hurt. We are a family, Ada, and are meant to support each other through the joys and trials of life. This is why I followed you, and defended you from the orcs. I regret nothing because you are worth fighting for, Ada."
Carefully avoiding the wounds and bandages that decorated Legolas' bare chest, Thranduil enveloped his son. "As are you, ion nin, as are you." Tears of pride and joy spilled from his eyes. "Never forget that I love you, Legolas. Though I may lose myself, I will not lose my love for you." he stated chokingly into the prince's golden tresses.
"I will." promised the younger elf.
The sound of a throat clearing alerted the pair to another elf's presence. Beside the wooden entrance on the opposite side of the room stood a beaming silver-haired elf. "Welcome back, my prince. I trust you had a good nap," teased the healer as he ambled over. His countenance solemned, "You gave all of us quite the scare. I expected you to never wake again."
Sinking back into the feathered pillows, exhausted, Legolas retorted playfully, "I was merely playing with you, Renias. You know I delight in shortening your immortal life with my death defying antics."
Thranduil could not resist the urge to laugh as the healer's face turned scarlet at his son's words. Renias sputtered, "Just playing?! Humph! I see your time knocking on the doors of Mandos' Halls has not dampened your sense of humor. For that, I shall not disclose the contents of the letter I just received from Lord Elrond." Spinning around, Renias began concocting a herbal tea at his work table. He pointedly ignored the archer's halfhearted attempts at apologizing.
"You dare antagonize my son? Renias, you will inform your lieges of Lord Elrond's message. Otherwise, I will personally throw you in the dungeons! Am I clear?" rumbled the king, his eyes twinkling with mirth. All three elves were grateful for the light mood after the last several days.
The healer gulped. He nodded his head in mock defeat, and pulled a letter from the folds of his dark blue robe."Very well. It regards your shoulder, Prince Legolas. In my letter I explained Legolas' condition, and asked Lord Elrond if there was anything he could do, or suggest. While I doubted there was anything to be done for the shoulder, he believes there is a possibility for the prince to regain full use of it again."
The warmth of hope flooded Legolas' whole being, and color returned to the elf's cheeks. His heart quickened, barely daring to hope. Propping himself up with his father's assistance, he inquired eagerly, "How? What must I do to?"
"I have already conducted surgery on your shoulder, and we must see how well it responds. However, Lord Elrond thinks that with aggressive therapy and time you will recover." Renias shifted his gaze to Thranduil. "He wants Legolas to come to Imladris in order for him to personally treat your son."
Inhaling deeply, Thranduil leaned back into the chair. I do not wish to be parted from Legolas so soon after almost losing him. Yet, how can I say no? I am going to miss him dearly. With a smile, the king consented, "You may go, ion nin, on two conditions. First, you will take an escort. Second, you promise me that you will stay out of trouble. Do not even think of arguing with me, Legolas!"
Renias suppressed a snort. "The king is right. Even if he had omitted the stipulation of a guard, I would have required it. Just last night you were more dead than alive. There is no way you are making the trip to Imladris by yourself with your injuries."
"Thanks for your vote of confidence. Ada, when have I ever gotten into more trouble than I could handle? It is not like I attract it." smirked the prince.
Throwing his hands up in exasperation, Thranduil replied, "Ai Valar! I am not even going to answer that. Have you learned nothing from this experience, Legolas?"
Laughter echoed off the healing ward's walls and into the forest. All was well in Mirkwood once again. Both of the realm's rulers were alive and safe. With time, and Elrond's care, Legolas' shoulder would regain full mobility. Most importantly, father and son had forged a stronger bond that was worth fighting for.
Author's Note: It is finished! What do you think? Love it? Hate it? (please don't let me know if you hate it because that would make me sad) I hope the story was worth reading. I know it was worth writing. A special thanks to everyone who took the time to review. It always brightened my day! I also greatly appreciated all the follows and favorites! In honor of all of you, I have decided to reveal the name and preview to my next story!
Depths of a Promise (featuring Legolas and Aragorn)
In a dangerous situation Legolas makes a promise to Aragorn. At the time, neither realize the life changing ramifications of these words. As years pass and the two face a myriad of different situations, each will come to realize just how deep the depths of the promise and friendship go.
*there will be no slash whatsoever in this story*