Gift For: LadyAna
“Aragorn Elessar, King of the West is honoured to present Thranduil, son of Oropher and Elvenking of the Woodland Realm, and his second son Prince Neldoreth.”
The fanfare sounded around the royal courtyard as the crier finished his announcement, and the people of Minas Tirith erupted into rapturous applause, eager and curious to catch a glimpse of the legendary elven monarch and his middle son.
Legolas was finding it very difficult to contain his elation as his beloved father first came into view, looking regal as ever in his royal riding garb and his leaved crown that Legolas and his brothers had adored trying on as children. Legolas had not seen his father since the morning he had left for Imladris, long before either of them could predict the horrors that the War of the Ring would bring. Still, his position required him to maintain a dignified, princely persona until he and his family were in his private quarters.
He continued to preserve his noble exterior as his father made small talk with Legolas’ intended. The young elf and Estel had been betrothed for what felt like an eternity (and that coming from an elf) and long before the Fellowship was formed. The match was initially intended to form an alliance between the house of Mirkwood and the house of Imladris, only now Estel was of the house of Gondor. Arranged marriages were common in both realms and Legolas would happily marry a virtual stranger for the sake of his Kingdom; he had never imagined that he and the ranger would grow so close, to the extent that Legolas was already deeply in love with the man.
Estel had been crowned several months ago and King Thranduil had been expected to attend, only to send a messenger apologising for the delay but intending to arrive as soon as possible to tend to a rather pressing matter. Legolas had learnt long ago that it was nigh on impossible to decipher his father’s cryptic messages but was desperate to discover his intentions.
As if sensing his son’s curiosity, Thranduil turned to his youngest son with an endearing smile, not the smile that he wore when on official duty, but the genuine, devoted smile that was reserved for only his sons, and his wife before she had sailed west. Thranduil placed his battle worn hands on either side of Legolas’ face, pulling his son’s head towards him and placing a loving kiss on the young elf’s hair.
“You are even more beautiful than I remember,” Thranduil whispered in Sindarin; oh how Legolas had missed the sound of his lilting, native language. His father’s smile turned into a slight frown as he re-familiarised himself with his youngest child’s face. “But your eyes tell a different story; you have seen things that I had wished a child of mine would never see.”
Legolas nodded in understanding. “There is time to discuss this later when we are in private. I lived; many did not.”
“Rooms have been prepared for Prince Neldoreth and yourself in Legolas’ quarters, your Highness,” Estel politely intruded on their conversation, the only person present who could understand their hushed words. “My steward has also arranged for Prince Neldoreth to have our most skilled nurse on hand.”
“Nurse? Why does Nel need a nurse?” Legolas’ keen eyes darted rapidly around the courtyard as he realised his brother was nowhere to be seen. “Where is Nel, anyway?”
“He went straight to your quarters with the servants. He’s exhausted and didn’t want to make a scene.” Thranduil chuckled slightly at Legolas’ bemused expression. “I think once you see him then all will become clear.”
Again with the cryptic messages. Legolas sighed, shaking his head before leading his father up to his quarters. As he went to move, Estel halted him with a gentle hand on his shoulder and leaned in and placed a soft kiss on his cheek. Legolas blushed furiously at the simple gesture, in front of his father and several members of the Royal Mirkwood and Gondorian household. His heart initially soared before sinking like a pebble in a stream; was that kiss real, the first sign of affection and acknowledgement of the betrothal since the coronation? Or was it just for his father’s benefit?
Legolas managed to dismiss such thoughts as he hurried towards his quarters to find his brother, at least as fast as it was permitted for a Prince to move; after the quest it had been very difficult to return to his former post and all the etiquette, traditions and protocol that accompanied it.
Legolas didn’t bother to knock as he burst into his private quarters. When he found no trace of his brother in the living area he refocused his search on the bedrooms until he found him sitting on one of the beds, unpacking various items of clothes as his footman hung them in the wardrobes.
“Oh my God.” Legolas stopped in his tracks, almost speechless. His mouth hung open in a very unprincely manner as he took in the changed physique of his brother.
“I know,” Neldoreth chuckled, pushing himself into a standing position and revealing his distended middle. Legolas couldn’t believe it; his brother was in the advanced stages of pregnancy, in fact he looked like he was ready to give birth.
“Yes, we were slightly surprised ourselves,” Thranduil laughed, coming up behind his youngest. “We found out the day before you left for Imladris. We would have told you but my advisors and I were worried that you would think twice about going, and our kingdom needed you. I’ve begrudgingly come to realise that you, my little leaf, are the best fighter our land has to offer and I wouldn’t want anyone else out there fighting for the freedom of Middle Earth, even if that person happens to be my youngest son. I didn’t want you thinking about anything other than your bow and your enemy’s heart.”
“So I’m going to be an Uncle?” Legolas asked as if he still didn’t believe it; that was normally what happened when your siblings had children, wasn’t it?
“In a week or two, yes,” Neldoreth answered, lying down on the bed and stroking his belly, gesturing for Legolas to sit in the space next to him. “In a year’s time this could be you.”
Legolas looked down, glancing out of the corner of his eye to see that his father was out of earshot, talking animatedly to his head of household.
“Things aren’t how I thought it would be,” he admitted softly, almost ashamed for showing weakness. “We grew so close on the quest; more than I thought would ever be possible. But now … sometimes I feel like he’s forgotten I exist. I knew things would be different; he’s so busy all the time, he barely has time to sleep and eat and I never know where he is from one minute to another. Then when I do manage to catch a few stolen moments I can tell he’s just killing time until his next appointment, that’s when he’s not making me feel like I’m no more than a nuisance. I’m not some random citizen hounding him for an audience – we’re betrothed to be married and I’m going to be the Prince Consort.”
Neldoreth regarded him with a knowing smile. “You’ve fallen in love with him, haven’t you, Las?”
Legolas shrugged silently, but his brother wouldn’t be fooled. “Aren’t you supposed to be in love with the person you marry, isn’t that the normal thing to do?”
“In an ideal world,” Neldoreth said softly. “But princes aren’t normal people. Princes marry to please their father, and to form alliances, and to ensure good breeding. Very rarely for love.”
“Ada loved Nana,” Legolas reminded his older sibling, suddenly feeling very childlike. Unlike Mallos and Neldoreth, the youngest Mirkwood prince had only been an elfling when his beloved mother had sailed west after her daughter and the Princes’ sister had died within her.
“That’s different, Ada was already King and kings more or less do what they want,” Neldoreth joked, clearly eager to change the subject.
“You’re right, and Estel is king,” Legolas realised sadly. “I don’t suppose betrothals matter; kings more or less do what they want.”
“In that case, don’t you think he would have told you by now if his heart lay elsewhere?” Thranduil asked authoritatively as he came up behind his youngest son. “And kings don’t always do what they want; they send their children to war for the sake of their people.”
His brow furrowed as he noticed a scar peeking out from the top of Legolas’ tunic, from where he had been caught by an Uruk blade. Thranduil’s fingertips gently traced the scar, pulling down the collar of the tunic slightly as it wandered below onto his son’s chest.
“But if this is the only visible sign, then I should thank the Valar for protecting one of the three things dearest to me. Do you suppose I would risk your heart after everything you’ve already been through?”
“Even you can’t know what Estel is thinking,” Legolas replied stubbornly, suddenly very interested in the intricate embroidery on Neldoreth’s blankets.
“Yes I can,” Thranduil said sternly, taking hold of his son’s chin and forcing Legolas to look into his striking blue eyes, identical to his own. “Do you imagine we would travel all this way for no reason, especially when Neldoreth is so heavy with child? King Elessar sent an envoy informing me that he plans to announce your engagement. Tomorrow night.”
Legolas gazed idly out of the window as the sun set over Minas Tirith; the next time Anor rose he would be engaged to be married to the King of Gondor. It sounded strange even as he mulled the notion over in his head; there had been no courtship, no carefully executed meetings of the two by Thranduil and Elrond. The imminent threat from Sauron had quashed their families’ hopes of a traditional arranged marriage, and their relationship was seen by some as far from proper for two people of nobility under a betrothal. Lingering looks and familiar conversation had led to not so innocent touches and talks of deep emotion. Cold nights had been spent huddled against one another and had predictably resulted in a close bond and curious hands wandering to where they quite frankly shouldn’t be. Estel would never breech him; he was more terrified of facing Thranduil for taking his son before they were married than he was facing a Balrog. Legolas would never have allowed it, not because their fathers had forbid it, in fact he yearned for it. He couldn’t allow himself to fall pregnant during the quest and have to sacrifice his unborn child.
Legolas winced as one of the maids tugged a little too hard as his hair was brushed and braided into the ceremonial style of Mirkwood. He could just imagine the disapproving looks on their faces at the condition of his once perfectly groomed tresses, ruined by the harsh conditions of the past months. Legolas smiled at the thought; he had no doubt that the elf maidens could restore his hair to its former glory.
Legolas had been astonished to learn that preparations for the engagement banquet had been in places for some weeks; the fact that Estel had not had the time to even mention it to him was indicative of their relationship of late. Legolas had been locked up in his quarters all day as the last details were put into place, Estel of course was carrying out his duties as usual; the King of Gondor didn’t stop just because it was the day of his engagement.
Normally such an incarceration would have driven Legolas to distraction, but on this occasion he was just happy to spend time with his own kin; Neldoreth was hardly in a fit state for doing anything active, and if Legolas hadn’t already been the victim of his brother’s infamous stubborn streak on several occasions, he knew their father would not have permitted him to travel. It saddened Legolas that his eldest brother Mallos was unable to make the journey, but he was the heir apparent to the Mirkwood throne and someone needed to stay behind, as had Neldoreth’s husband, Gelion, the Captain of Mirkwood’s army. Legolas understood the importance of Gelion’s post and that the defence of their kingdom was paramount, but it was still difficult to understand how he could stay behind since Neldoreth would almost certainly give birth before he returned home. Neldoreth and Gelion were very close, but their marriage had been arranged and Legolas knew Neldoreth would never feel for Gelion how he now felt for Estel, and that made Legolas slightly sad.
He brightened almost instantly as Neldoreth entered the room; he certainly seemed happy enough, in fact he was positively glowing. Pregnancy definitely suited the older elf. Legolas couldn’t really see himself being the ‘take it easy’ type.
“I didn’t know they made such fine robes that big, you could fit both Mallos and I in there!” Legolas teased as Neldoreth practically waddled towards him, something neither an elf nor a prince should ever do. The crisp, silver material did nothing but accentuate his distended middle.
“You know I’m counting the days until you fall pregnant,” Neldoreth answered, sitting down on the window seat. “I’m saving up all these insults to use on you.”
The brothers chuckled softly as the maids put the finishing touches to Legolas’ hair, before stepping back and awaiting their next instruction. Legolas saw Neldoreth gesture to the door and smile politely, indicating that the maids should leave the pair alone.
“Are you nervous?” Neldoreth asked, placing a supportive hand on his sibling’s knee. “Actually don’t answer that, it’s absurd to think that you’d be nervous after some of the things with which you’ve come face to face recently. An engagement is probably pitifully mundane after fighting Orcs and Uruks and Trolls and-”
“Nel!” Legolas butted in after sensing his brother could go on for hours. “I’m getting engaged, in front of hundreds of people from Mirkwood and Gondor, not to mention my family and Estel’s entire court; of course I’m nervous. You know I hate these events at the best of times, let alone when I’m the centre of attention, I’m not like you. I’d much rather have a bow in my hand.”
“And I’m not like you. Ada would have sent you to the council at Imladris even if I wasn’t pregnant. And if Mallos wasn’t first in line for the throne he still wouldn’t have sent him. It had to be you, as much as it pained him to do so. But that is in the past and you have to go back to being a prince, you’re not a warrior any more.”
“I’m not sure whether that is a good thing or a bad thing,” Legolas admitted. He had spent so much of his life training and fighting that to think he would never do it again was a bizarre concept. But the elves were a peaceful race, never one for war mongering and so unused to death that each one he had witnessed, even those he had inflicted had shook Legolas to the core; he never wanted to see that again.
“It’s definitely a good thing,” Neldoreth replied vehemently. “Thinking about you out there, it made me feel sick. In fact every time news arrived I felt like I was going to go into premature labour. As much as I know you hate it, Mallos and I still see you as the little elfling who used to dress up in our armour and hide under the table at strategy meetings.”
Legolas rolled his eyes but indulged his older brother never the less. He rose from his seat by the window, straightening his pale green robes, bearing the insignia of Mirkwood embroidered into the lush fabric. If it had been his choice he would have chosen to have worn a simple tunic, much like he had done at Estel’s coronation, but his father had insisted. Plus Neldoreth was right; it was time that he started acting like a Prince again.
“Not wearing white, I see?” Neldoreth asked with only a hint of accusation in his melodic voice, one eyebrow arched delicately.
“White doesn’t really suit my warrior-elf-saviour-of-middle-earth image,” Legolas joked flippantly, searching through the chest supplied by his maids containing miniature bottles of fragrance. He selected one at random and dabbed it slightly against his neck.
“Legolas,” Neldoreth whispered the younger elf’s name very seriously. “Please tell me you haven’t let Estel lie with you!”
Out of the three of them, Neldoreth had always found it easiest to obey their father and conform to their Kingdom’s traditions; incidentally Legolas found it the most difficult. However, Neldoreth’s concerns went deeper than merely obeying Mirkwood’s customs; when mortals mated with virgin elves a bond was created, meaning the human shared his partner’s immortality. Their ancestors had come to realise that forbidding sex before marriage was the only way to prevent cunning humans from deflowering naïve young elves for their own gain. Then of course there was the small matter of Legolas eventually carrying the heir to the throne of Gondor; Estel’s people would have a hard time as it was accepting a half-elf as their rightful heir without him or her being born out of wedlock.
“Las?!” Neldoreth’s urgent voice broke him out of his reverie.
Legolas rolled his eyes once again, a bad habit he had picked up from Merry who was a frequent eye roller after too many years spent with Pippin.
Determined to settle his skittish older brother, he reached under his tunic and revealed the tiny leaf charm set in white gold; the Mirkwood symbol of virginity. He laughed internally as he saw Neldoreth visibly relax. Of course he chose not the mention that Neldoreth’s definition of virginity and his own were likely very different; Legolas had never taken another person inside his body, but he wasn’t entirely inexperienced in the acts of love. Legolas was convinced that Neldoreth, unlike himself, hadn’t so much as seen Gelion half dressed when they were married and was completely clueless when it came to carnal pleasures; he must have had a great shock on his wedding night! Neldoreth was always so easy to please, and it was easy to see why. Mallos was the most intelligent of the three, and Legolas was the strongest. As the middle child Neldoreth had often found it hard to see where he fitted in their family dynamic.
“What are you two plotting, my sons?” Thranduil’s voice filled the room as the Elven King glided into the room, flanked by his two footmen, one of whom was carrying an ornate wooden box bearing the insignia of their mother’s royal house.
“Nothing, Ada,” the brothers answered in unison. Their father looked the epitome of the proud monarch in his royal ceremonial robes, making Legolas feel very young and inexperienced.
Thranduil regarded his two younger sons with a critical eye, before finally nodding in satisfaction. It seemed like only yesterday that their positions had been reversed and it was Neldoreth getting engaged. Of course then it was Mallos offering words of support and unnecessary advice; Legolas had been sat in the corner bored out of his mind.
“Perfect,” Thranduil decided, placing a chaste kiss on first Neldoreth’s and then Legolas’ forehead. “My beautiful children. I believe there is only one thing missing.”
Legolas recognised immediately what was in the box as his father unlocked the fine wood. He remembered his father giving both Mallos and Neldoreth their mother’s crown to wear at their own engagements. Thankfully his father appeared to have decided to spare him the poignant speech about how much their mother would have wanted to be there. The amount of suffering and loss inflicted on all races throughout the war had certainly put things into perspective. They may be apart, but their mother lived on when thousands hadn’t.
“You look like your Nanneth,” Thranduil decided as he placed the delicate crown on his son’s flaxen hair. “Almost as much as Neldoreth,” he added, winking at the older prince.
“Have you seen Estel?” Legolas enquired, eager to refocus his father’s attention before he started lamenting his wife’s absence.
“He was visiting Osgilliath today to oversee the city’s rebuilding.” Thranduil explained. “So I imagine he has been resting so he is suitably refreshed for this evening. At least I hope he is; he shall need to be fully awake as you are a vision.”
Legolas could vaguely see Neldoreth smirking as he blushed at his father’s sincere words. ‘At least I don’t look like an Oliphant,’ Legolas thought.
The strong breeze that literally shook the window made all three of them jump. It looked like a storm was on its way. Legolas had had nothing to do with the organisation of the festivities, but he hoped that there was nothing planned that relied on them being outside. Legolas was anxious enough as it was without dealing with greeting his intended looking like a drowned rat!
As it turned out, appearing like a drowned rat was the least of his worries.
“Legolas!” The Elven Prince could hear his father calling frantically behind him as he ran down the corridors of the palace until he reached his quarters, flinging the door open in absolute fury and past caring whether or not the door caught his father in the face. “Legolas, stop this at once!”
Once Legolas was in his bed chamber he finally allowed himself to stop. The room had been carefully prepared for his return; the bed had been folded ready for him to retire and the room was lit with a single oil lamp. The fruit and wine that he normally had before sleep had not yet been brought as he was not expected to return for several hours.
Three hours he had waited. Three hours standing at the front of the grand hall with his father, in front of hundreds of people all looking at him with eyes full of pity as he waited and waited for his intended to enter and announce their engagement, but Estel never turned up. In fact the entire palace had been searched and he was nowhere to be found. Lord Elrond had even gone to the extent of sending two scouts to search the rest of the city and still no sign of the King was discovered.
Legolas cursed his own stupidity; the Estel he once knew had all but disappeared once he had been crowned, why did he think that would change? Every one of Legolas’ attempts to spend time with his intended had been thrown back in his face and clearly that didn’t exclude their engagement. And it wasn’t just Legolas that Estel’s actions had affected; the entire palace had been working mindlessly, and his family and servants had made the long, periless journey for nothing, Neldoreth could have gone into labour before they even reached Gondor!
He supposed that now Estel was King he thought he was above honouring existing agreements, he had probably found a beautiful Gondorian maiden who would bear him the full blooded human heir that he wanted. Pleasing his people must be more important than creating an alliance with Mirkwood.
“Legolas.” His father’s voice was softer now, less commanding as he walked into the bed chamber and closed the door. He placed a comforting hand on his youngest son’s shoulder, only to have it roughly shrugged off.
“How could he do that to me?!” Legolas demanded. “Leave me standing there in front of all those people, waiting for him like some lost little elfling?! I stood next to him in the mines of Moria when a cave troll was breaking down the door! I rode with him side by side up to the Black Gates and then I rushed to try and save his life with no regard for my own or anyone else around me! After all we’ve been through together, how can he have the heart to toss me aside like I’m nothing to him?!”
Legolas felt like he was being consumed; suddenly the walls felt like they were closing in on him and the atmosphere was far too hot, to the extent that he found himself fighting for breath.
“Get these off of me,” he gasped to his father, tugging at the collar of his robes in a futile attempt to rid himself of the clothes that were now suffocating him. He had never wanted to wear them in the first place, they weren’t him and he hated what he saw in the mirror. He heard his father curse in Sindarin as his fingers fumbled with the intricate fastening as Legolas’ breathing increased. In the end he used his strength and tore the fine fabric open with a grunt, allowing his son to tear the robes off of himself.
“I hate him!” Legolas shouted, throwing the robes on the floor as he paced around the room in his undergarments. “I hate him and I hate what he’s done to me, what he’s turned me into. I hate him for getting my hopes up and humiliating me. I hate this city and I hate these clothes and I hate having to act like a prince again! But most of all I hate myself for not just accepting the arranged marriage instead of turning it into something more and actually falling in love with him!”
There it was. He’d barely admitted it to himself before Neldoreth had coaxed it out of him and now he was screaming it to his father. Legolas hated showing weakness, ever since the first time he picked up a bow when he was still an elfling it had been ingrained into his mind, because on the battlefield if you showed weakness you were as good as dead.
In that instance it all became too much, and in a fit of rage and anguish he ripped his mother’s crown from his head, not caring that he pulled several strands of his hair out with it, and threw it against the opposite wall with a scream.
He regretted it instantly as he saw the look of horror on his father’s face. Whether it was Legolas’ treatment of his dear wife’s possessions or the fact that his normally serene son had been driven to such lengths, Legolas didn’t know. All he knew was that he needed to calm down and he needed to apologise.
“I’m sorry Ada, I’m sorry,” Legolas chanted like a mantra as he scrambled across the room, dropping down onto his hands and knees to pick up the delicate crown, dismayed to find that one of the tiny, silver leaves had broken away from the rest of the circlet.
As he stared at the crown he was vaguely aware of his father crouching down next to him, stroking his back in a way that always soothed him.
“Shhh, it’s okay, Las,” Thranduil whispered; he so rarely called him by the nickname that was common practice for his brothers. He only called him it when he thought his son needed it. “A little gentle coaxing by the silversmith and it will be fixed, not like my youngest elfling’s heart.”
Thranduil’s words of comfort triggered something deep inside of Legolas, and before he knew it there were tears streaming down his face. He didn’t sob, in fact he barely made a sound, but he did allow himself this release.
Legolas heard his father inhale sharply as the few tears escaped, it was no doubt strange to him. Legolas wasn’t as emotionally charged as Mallos, or as sensitive as Neldoreth, and the last time he had cried was when his sister had died inside his mother’s womb. Not even his mother leaving for the undying lands had invoked tears from the youngest Mirkwood prince.
The father and son looked up from their place on the floor as there was a tentative knock on the door and Thranduil’s head footman slowly entered, trying not to react to the private scene he was witnessing.
“I’m sorry to interrupt you, Sire, but Prince Neldoreth’s waters have broken.”
“Thank you, Belthil,” Thranduil answered calmly. “Please tell him I shall be with him shortly.”
Legolas shook his head, sniffing slightly as he did so. “You should go; Nel’s having your Grandchild.”
“It will be many hours yet,” Thranduil reassured, easing his son from the floor and guiding him to the bed, encouraging him to lie down. “Your Nanneth was in labour for fifty hours with you.”
“Don’t tell Nel that,” Legolas managed to laugh as he wiped his eyes. “But he still needs you.”
“You need me,” Thranduil implored, leaving no room for argument. “My independent, headstrong Greenleaf. Never needed anyone or anything, and wise beyond your years. But this is the one thing you can’t handle. You know everything about life and nothing about love.”
“I know how I feel,” Legolas argued softly, allowing his father to stroke his hair soothingly. “It’s just a pity that Estel doesn’t return my feelings, or even cares about them for that matter.”
“You don’t know that,” Thranduil gently scolded. “I know better than anyone the demands of being a King, especially a new one. You have every right to be hurt, all I ask is that you wait a while before you judge, there could be a perfectly reasonable explanation.”
“What could be more important than your engagement?” Legolas asked weakly, pleading with his eyes for his father to explain. Thranduil was right; Legolas had seen more than any other Mirkwood elf but when it came to matters of the heart he was hopelessly clueless. “When you were younger, was there anything in Middle Earth that would have stopped you announcing your engagement to Nana?”
Legolas smiled sadly before his father could even respond; he knew it, his face said it all.
“You’re brave and strong,” Thranduil stated simply, rising from the bed. “I need to see Neldoreth, and I would imagine he will want you by his side, but he’ll understand. Take as long as you need, just don’t hide away like you have something to be ashamed of. Get changed, clean yourself up and then I’ll help you take your braids out.”
Legolas couldn’t help the little chuckle that escaped his lips; his father knew him too well. He was absolutely hopeless at the things that his brothers found easy, like braiding and unbraiding his hair, and choosing fabrics for special occasions.
“Okay Ada,” he complied with a small smile, his father seemingly appeased somewhat.
An hour later Legolas had plucked up the courage to leave his bed chamber and wander through his quarters to where he quickly found his older brother. It wasn’t hard; he just followed the sound of heavy breathing and the odd groan. Now Legolas found himself seated on the rug at his father’s feet in front of the fire, as Thranduil gently teased the braids out of his hair with his mother’s hairbrush. The familiarity of the act comforted Legolas immensely, it reminded him of his childhood when he and his brothers would sit by the fire in his father’s private study before they went to bed. It was the only time in their life as princes that they were able to spend time with their parents instead of their nurses, but their father always managed to spend that time with them no matter how busy he was. Sadly, it seemed that Estel couldn’t even spare him that.
“Does it hurt?” Legolas asked his brother sympathetically as Neldoreth waddled slowly around the room, panting heavily but appearing to be relatively calm.
“A little,” Neldoreth admitted, stopping momentarily to grip his stomach, inhaling deeply. He looked up with a warm smile as the contraction passed. “But it’s not so bad.”
The amused snort from the midwife suggested that Neldoreth might change his mind very soon.
“You’re doing brilliantly, my son,” Thranduil assured with conviction, leaving no room for argument. The midwife immediately bowed her head in submission and made herself busy adjusting the sheets on Neldoreth’s bed.
“There, all done,” Thranduil announced, pushing his youngest son forward to stand up, just as Neldoreth let out his first real cry of pain.
“Shhh, easy,” Thranduil soothed as he guided Neldoreth back to bed, rubbing his back as he had done to Legolas previously.
“Are you okay, Nel?” Legolas enquired, concern lacing his voice.
“Hmmm,” Neldoreth nodded as he concentrated on his breathing. “Don’t worry, Las; I’m sure it’s not half as bad as being stabbed by an Uruk-hai.”
Legolas could tell by his brother’s voice that he was joking, but his words still hurt. Was that how people saw him, even his family? Did they just see a cold, detached warrior devoid of any feelings or real emotions? Maybe Estel saw it too, and wanted to get out before it was too late and he was stuck with a cold fish in his bed for the rest of his immortal life.
Legolas’ maudlin thoughts were interrupted as he heard an almighty commotion going on in the corridor outside the quarters.
“I’m sorry, your Highness, but I cannot permit you to enter, Prince Neldoreth is in labour and Prince Legolas does not wish to see you.”
“What are you talking about?! I am the King of Gondor and you shall step aside at once!”
Legolas couldn’t recall a time that Estel had spoken with such determination, with an underlying hint of desperation. Despite his better judgement Legolas left his father and brother and ventured off into the hallway.
Belthil seemed to take the commands seriously as he slowly unbolted the door. Legolas supposed his actions came down to whether he was more afraid of the King of Mirkwood or the King of Gondor.
Once the door was unlocked Estel burst into the elf’s quarters. Legolas gasped as he took in his intended’s dishevelled appearance; his clothes and body were completely saturated and he was panting heavily.
Legolas had never felt more like a child in his adult life; standing in front of the King of the West in his magnificent apparel whilst he himself wore nothing more than a plain brown nightshirt that barely reached mid thigh. His golden locks hung loose around his shoulders and down his back, slightly wavy from where his braids had been removed.
“You’re late,” Legolas whispered evenly, reminding him very much of Estel’s arrival at Helm’s Deep; his appearance now wasn’t much of an improvement.
“Aren’t I always late?” Estel offered with a weak smile.
Legolas jumped as he felt a familiar hand on his shoulder.
“How dare you saunter in here without as much as an apology?!” Thranduil demanded in hushed tones so as not to alarm Neldoreth. “When you left my youngest son humiliated and heartbroken in front of your entire court!”
“It’s okay Ada,” Legolas reassured, never taking his eyes from Estel. “I can handle this.”
Thranduil didn’t appear particularly convinced, however he didn’t press the matter further. Instead he thrust one of Neldoreth’s robes into Legolas’ arms.
“It is not appropriate for your intended to see you dressed so sparsely,” Thranduil whispered in his ear sternly.
Legolas resisted the urge to protest as he led Estel through to his room. He was already rather surprised that his father would permit the pair to be alone in his bed chamber. Covering up now was a bit late; he could never tell his father, but Estel had seen him wearing a lot less than a nightshirt in the past months, and not just when he was changing and bathing.
“Legolas forgive me,” Estel began as soon as the door to his bedchamber was shut, essentially cutting off unwelcome ears. “I was unaware of how much my presence in Osgilliath was needed. We left far too late and as a result were caught in the storm. I was determined to press on but Faramir insisted that we took shelter. I never imagined that the storm would take so long to pass.” “You still left late,” Legolas shot back tersely, gazing out of the window as the storm moved on. “It’s the same old story.” “A king is never late,” Estel tried to joke with little success. “Isn’t everyone else merely early?” “That line may work on your people but it isn’t going to work on me. I’m a prince; I was raised by a king. I know when people are being genuine and when they’re making excuses.” Legolas sighed in defeat, shaking his head. “I’m tired of your excuses.” “Aren’t I permitted one mistake?” Estel asked softly. “One, yes. Two, maybe. Anything more, especially the high figures we’re getting into now, are going to take something special to mend.”
“Then let me fix it,” Estel urged, but still Legolas refused to turn around. “Please, can you not even look at me?”
‘No!’ Legolas’ mind screamed. ‘Because then you’ll see in my eyes just how much you’ve hurt me and I couldn’t bear it!’
Despite all his rational thoughts telling him not to give in to Estel’s emotional plea, the hurt in the man’s voice prevented him from denying him his gaze any longer.
“No one knows the demands of a king better than I do,” Legolas stated softly, holding Estel’s stare. “But even my father managed to spare us an hour before we went to bed. Am I not even worth that?”
“A thousand times more,” Estel replied vehemently. “But I never thought it would be this hard. Denathor has left this Kingdom and its people in ruins. I was completely overwhelmed.”
“That doesn’t justify the way you spoke to me when all I was trying to do was steal a moment with my future husband, and instead I got harsh words and withering looks like I was nothing more than one of your servants.” In fact that wasn’t entirely true; Estel was a good ruler and treated his staff with kindness and respect. That just made his treatment of Legolas all the more difficult to accept.
“It was never my intention to hurt you.” Estel’s words were barely audible but the sincerity was there. “I would rather die than hurt you. I love you.”
“Throwing love into this mess won’t make up for the past months. You knew that I loved you and in spite of everything I still do.”
Estel didn’t respond, which was lucky as Legolas wasn’t finished.
“You have no idea how much of a struggle the past months have been. Utterly alone in a strange land, no one to talk to. I’ve been so lonely but you’ve barely looked up from your desk. Where were you to offer me companionship when Gimli left? Or to comfort me when I woke up screaming in the middle of the night because Boromir and Haldir’s lifeless faces were haunting my dreams?!”
A pitiful sob escaped his lips as he relived the terrifying nightmares and despite his best efforts allowed Estel to pull him into his strong arms, his comfort appreciated no matter how overdue it was.
“Where were you to tell me that you loved me when I was waiting to be sent back to Mirkwood in disgrace because you’d found someone better?!” Legolas sobbed brokenly against Estel’s shoulder, any hopes he had of staying strong completely out of his hands.
“I would never do that,” Estel tried desperately to convince the trembling body in his arms. “I thought you knew that, but was too wrapped up in politics and too arrogant to let you know. But I’m telling you now; tell me I’m not too late.”
“You’re not too late,” Legolas whispered emotionally. Estel’s words came from the heart and Legolas knew without doubt that he could believe them. Regardless of all the confusion and worry he could never bring himself to stop loving his intended. So few of those whose marriages were arranged felt anything close to love for their spouses (his brothers included), so Legolas could only count his feelings for Estel as a gift from the Valar.
Estel practically sobbed in relief, cradling Legolas’ cheek and wiping away a stray tear with his thumb. “After the storm had cleared, when we were riding like a Nazgûl was on our tails in the hope to reach you before you left, I didn’t care that people would have been looking for me. It never entered my mind that people’s hard work would go to waste. All I could think about was how much I had let you down and how I how I needed to work to make it up to you.”
“I don’t want you to spend your time trying to make it up to me. You’re a King and you have many great responsibilities. I just need to know that I’ll get to see you once in a while, and that you still want me.”
“Being a king means I can delegate,” Estel answered flippantly. “It’s about time Faramir had more responsibilities. He knows this city and country much better than I do, he grew up here. And I definitely still want you; I can’t put into words how much I want you. You hold my heart.”
Legolas’ heart leapt at Estel’s declaration, and couldn’t help pulling him in for a passionate kiss that the man gladly reciprocated.
“Show me how much you want me,” Legolas demanded between kisses, wandering backwards towards the bed and bringing Estel with him.
Legolas loved nothing more than Estel’s familiar weight on top of him, despite how ‘inappropriate’ his father deemed it. Not that that mattered, if he did everything according to what his father truly wanted then he would never have left Imladris with the Fellowship in the first place. Ironically, if there had been no War of the Ring then he would never have come to love the person he was to marry.
As he melted under Estel’s kisses, he briefly wondered just how far from his father’s ‘appropriate’ path he had deviated. How far had Neldoreth allowed Gelion to go before he told him to stop?
Legolas gladly opened his mouth to make way for Estel’s questing tongue. Did Nel draw the line here?
His fingers tangled in the man’s hair as his kisses left his mouth and continued down his neck, sucking and nipping periodically. Here?
“Don’t leave a mark!” he whispered frantically as Estel fingered his sensitive nipples through his nightshirt, the material causing the most delicious friction. Here?
His thighs fell apart of their own violation as Estel’s hand worked its way up his lower leg, moving up past the knee after Legolas’ encouragements. Okay, this was definitely beyond Nel’s comprehension when they weren’t yet married.
“Wait!” Legolas urged suddenly, and Estel immediately pulled back as if he had pushed him too far. His eyes almost popped out of his head when Legolas pulled the nightshirt off, leaving himself completely naked in front of him.
“You need to get out of those wet clothes,” Legolas whispered seductively, knowing that Estel would fully understand what he was asking for. Although they had by no means remained completely chaste, they had never seen each other completely naked. Harsh, cold nights had meant that as few clothes were removed as possible, which also helped with the illusion that they were simply sharing body heat. Gandalf was like a surrogate father to both of them and he too was mindful that all conditions of the arranged marriage were honoured for the sake of the two Kingdoms.
“Are you sure?” Estel murmured, unable to take his eyes off of Legolas’ milky flesh presented to him like a feast. “The arrangement … we’ve been careless as it is … our fathers …”
Legolas couldn’t help but laugh as Estel tried to think rationally when it was clear that all he wanted to do was throw caution to the wind.
“Our fathers don’t know what’s best for us, but never tell them that,” he added cheekily.
“What if you fall pregnant?” Estel asked, already pulling off damp layers.
“Then we’ll just have to hurry up with the wedding, people will think he’s just early.”
“You’re so devious,” Estel smiled with a shake of the head, before his face became more serious. “But I need to hear you say it, just so I know for sure. There can’t be any more misunderstandings.”
Legolas placed his hands on either side of Estel’s face. “I’m sure, I’ve never been surer of anything in my life. I need this so badly, and I think you do too. Make love to me.”
Estel nodded, shaking off the last of his wet clothes and kneeling completely bare above Legolas. Legolas couldn’t help but gulp as he focused on the size of Estel’s erect manhood. He had seen the man naked on several occasions, but never so clearly, and certainly never when he was about to be breached. The elf couldn’t help the sudden feeling of nervousness that crept over him; how was that going to fit inside of him? He had heard from Neldoreth that it hurt the first time, and even a few times after that, but Legolas had dismissed his older brother almost immediately, thinking that it was just Nel being … well, Nel. Legolas was used to pain, whether it be from his enemy’s blade or the sheer physical burden of pushing his body beyond its earthly limits. He had a feeling however that this would be a different type of pain. Estel had never intentionally hurt him, he realised that now, but he was going to hurt him now, regardless of how careful he was.
“Look at me,” Estel whispered softly, stroking the elf’s blond locks away from his face. “I love you.”
Legolas’ striking eyes shone brightly up at his soon to be lover. “Just be gentle.”
“I promise,” Estel swore as he grabbed the scented oil from Legolas’ night stand.
Legolas spread his legs wider, breathing deeply as he felt Estel’s first oiled finger circle his most private area, pressing inside gently. It was quite possibly the most peculiar feeling Legolas had felt in his life, yet undeniably erotic. When Estel added a second finger Legolas was unable to hold back the purrs of desire that he knew from experience sent Estel wild.
He could feel Estel twisting and scissoring his fingers inside him in order to make his entry easier, but it didn’t hurt. Not even the slightest of burns when a third digit was added could deter him. Just as Legolas pulled Estel down for a lazy kiss, Estel’s fingers bent ever so slightly, pressing onto a spot deep inside him that caused his whole body to jerk and forcing him to pull away from Estel’s kisses and moan loudly.
“By the Valar!” Legolas gasped in shock. Neldoreth had failed to mention that! “Do that again!”
“Bossy Elf,” Estel chuckled as he withdrew his fingers, causing Legolas to whine like an elfling at the loss. “If you’re going to be the consort to a king you need to learn to smile sweetly and obey me unconditionally.”
Legolas raised his eyebrows and smiled wryly. “Maybe you banged your head a little too hard when you went over that cliff on the warg,” he teased, stroking Estel’s head playfully to emphasise his point. “That’s not going to happen.”
Estel kissed Legolas’ plump lips tenderly. “And I wouldn’t have you any other way.”
It was then that Legolas first felt Estel’s glistening shaft gently nudging his entrance. He was so relaxed and comfortable that he hadn’t even noticed Estel coating his erection.
“Ready?” Estel whispered almost non-audibly.
Legolas nodded immediately, very aware of Estel’s concerned face watching him for any signs of discomfort or distress as he slowly pushed into the elf’s willing body.
Legolas inhaled deeply as his body was stretched beyond comparison. There was pain, yes, but he welcomed it as the beginning of their unbreakable bond, as well as the end of his virginity. Now he was ruined, at least in the eyes of the Mirkwood elders. No man would want an elven prince who gave himself to another before marriage which suited him fine. He’d never wanted anyone else. He didn’t want to go against his father’s wishes, but at the same time he knew he would understand.
“Okay?” Estel asked once he was fully seated inside his partner. He remained still but the strain in his voice gave away how difficult it was to do so.
“Move,” Legolas gasped, shifting his hips to encourage his lover. The pressure was almost unbearable but the feeling of immense pleasure never left him. He longed for Estel to touch that spot inside him once again and make him see stars
The pain gradually disappeared as Estel started a slow, steady rhythm and Legolas was instead consumed by an overwhelming feeling of love and that he was loved in return.
If his father and brother didn’t know he and Estel were in the middle of having sex, the sheer volume of their lovemaking would be a dead giveaway. Estel’s manhood was hitting his pleasure centre with almost every thrust and Legolas had learnt that if he clenched his inner muscles then his lover moaned even louder than he did.
“I love you,” Legolas gasped as Estel played his pliant body like a lute. This time he didn’t need Estel to say it back.
“I’m close, my love,” Estel ground out as his thrusts became erratic. Not that the elf needed any warning; he may have been a virgin in the broadest sense of the word but he had brought Estel to completion enough times to know when his lover was about to climax.
Legolas had felt ready to spill his seed since Estel had first lay down on top of him; it only took a few well practiced tugs from a familiar hand on his member for him to find completion at almost the same time he felt Estel spill his warmth into his quivering channel.
As if on cue, their combined screams of ecstasy were drowned out by a particularly loud scream as Neldoreth laboured to bring forth his child, but at that moment neither man nor elf could think about anything other than the two of them and what they had just shared.
Legolas winced ever so slightly as Estel regrettably pulled out, causing his lover to smile apologetically.
“Thank you,” Legolas whispered reverently as Estel gently cleaned them up.
“I’ve waited a long time to do that, too long,” Estel admitted as he lay down beside Legolas, pulling his naked body flush against his own. The two gazed into each other’s eyes, Estel’s fingers idly gliding over Legolas’ face and hair as the elf closed his eyes in utter contentment.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you with your hair completely loose,” Estel commented as he allowed the silky tendrils to slide through his fingers.
“I look like a little elf girl on her begetting day,” Legolas replied with a screwed up face.
“Nonsense. You’re my strong, brave, beautiful soon-to-be consort,” Estel insisted. “And I love you.”
“I love you too,” Legolas smiled. “And now we’re bonded, forever.”
“Ada told me that when an elf and a man lie together that the man can gain immortality,” Estel mused. “I never knew if he was telling the truth or if he was just trying to encourage the match.”
“It’s true, that’s why I’m so exhausted. I feel complete, yet drained.”
“Then sleep, beautiful,” Estel cajoled gently. His hand wandered from the elf’s head to the pendant around his neck. “I believe this now belongs to me.”
Legolas pulled on the chastity necklace until the delicate metal of the chain broke apart, allowing him to place it in Estel’s palm and closed his fingers around it. “It’s yours, along with my heart – don’t break them.”
“Never,” Estel swore passionately, resting his head on Legolas’ strong chest. “All I want to do is marry you, then spend eternity with you.”
Several hours later Legolas was awoken by Anor rising once again over the sweeping landscape of Gondor. It had been a long time since he had woke up with such a feeling of fulfilment and bliss, and he knew that there was only one person responsible for that, the person who was currently placing feather light kisses on his hair. Sometime during the night their positions had reversed so that Legolas was now resting his head on Estel’s chest, safe in the man’s arms.
“I quite like you like this,” Estel murmured, sighing happily as he did so. “Peaceful, almost vulnerable. For as long as I’ve known you’ve been the strong, deadly warrior elf. I fell in love with that elf, but only now do I feel that I truly know you, and I want to take care of you – if you’ll let me.”
Legolas smiled lovingly at Estel’s declaration. It certainly sounded nice, having someone take care of him for once. His father was right; he knew everything about life and nothing about love. It was about time that changed, and he knew the perfect person to teach him.
Whatever response Legolas had planned was forgotten as they both jumped at the incessant braying on the door. Elvish curses were whispered by both parties as they frantically scrambled for their clothes in an attempt to hide what had taken place the night before.
“Legolas?! Open this door at once!” Thranduil’s booming voice could be heard clear as day through the mighty oak.
If he himself looked as unkempt as Estel, then his father would know immediately that he had given himself to the man. He knew he would have to deal with his father sooner or later, he just wished that Estel didn’t have to leave so soon.
“I shall have Faramir postpone all my arrangements for the rest of the week,” Estel promised hastily. “My intended and I have a wedding to plan quite urgently.”
Legolas answered Estel by pulling him in for hurried kiss. “Don’t stay away too long.”
The couple sighed as Thranduil called his youngest son’s name once again, knowing that they must part.
“Good luck,” Estel whispered with one final kiss, before straightening his clothes one final time and standing up straighter. He then put aside Estel and took on the persona of the King of Gondor as he walked to the door with his head held high.
Legolas distracted himself by making the bed as he heard the two kings address each other politely as Estel left his bed chamber; the look on his father’s face was surely a picture.
That was definitely one way to describe his father’s face as he entered the bedchamber, closing the door firmly behind him.
“Neldoreth’s child is very close,” Thranduil stated with an unreadable look on his face as he sat down next to Legolas on the bed. “Your brother is asking for you.”
Legolas nodded mutely, unable to meet his father’s gaze as his eyes would surely give him away.
“I did not see King Elessar leave your chamber last night.” Legolas forgot that his father would not have slept at all last night, refusing to leave his son as he struggled through the long hours of labour. “He must have crept out whilst I was tending to Neldoreth, did he not? I expect I also missed him when he returned to you this morning?”
Legolas wished his father would just shout at him like when he was an elfling, why did he have to be like this? Guilt him into confessing everything before tearing him apart. The previous night he had convinced himself that his father would understand, but being unable to decipher his father’s mood meant he was no longer feeling so confident.
“Legolas?” His father prompted again, pulling down his son’s collar as if to confirm his suspicions. He nodded slowly when he saw that the pendant, the Mirkwood symbol of virginity no longer hung around the prince’s neck. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
“I’m sorry, Ada,” Legolas whispered, looking down at his lap. He loved Estel with all his heart and could never be ashamed of what they had shared, but he didn’t think he could stomach the look of disgrace and disappointment on his father’s face. What he hadn’t predicted was the strange smile that adorned the Mirkwood King’s face instead.
“You never did conform, my youngest,” Thranduil mused out loud. “Mallos is my heir, and has followed my instruction to such an extent that sometimes it is like looking in the mirror. Neldoreth has struggled to find his place in life, and just wants to please me. I have been gifted with three beautiful sons but it is only you who truly knows his own mind. You may mirror me in your outer appearance but inside you are just like your mother; she too could never be truly tamed. That caused her family and I no end of headaches but in the end it made her who she was and I wouldn’t have changed her for all the mithril in Moria.”
“So I haven’t shamed you?” Legolas asked somewhat dubiously, still surprised that his father didn’t have more to say on the matter.
“Don’t be ridiculous, you could never shame me,” Thranduil reassured intensely, placing a hand on his son’s tense shoulder. “You risked your life for your Kingdom, no King or father could wish for anything more.”
“But I was supposed to remain chaste and now-”
“Now you’re smiling again,” Thranduil finished, holding his hand up to prevent Legolas from continuing. “As a Mirkwood elder I can’t condone your actions, but as a father I will forgive you almost anything if it makes you happy. This wasn’t some stranger who tricked you into his bed; you and Estel have been betrothed since you reached your majority. You were just a little … impatient, shall we say?”
“Are you surprised?” Legolas asked with a raised eyebrow. “When have I ever waited for anything?”
“That is true, and I must say impatience is most unbecoming a prince, or any elf for that matter,” Thranduil teased gently. “But luckily where you are lacking in patience you were never lacking in discretion, which is why this must remain a secret. I can see it in your eyes that you are ready to declare your love from the rooftops but you cannot disregard the fact that you could be pregnant with Estel’s son, and a child conceived out of wedlock cannot rule Gondor. The last thing Estel needs so soon into his reign is a royal scandal.”
Legolas nodded in agreement. “I understand. It will be hard enough for them to accept an elf as their Prince Consort as it is without an illegitimate peredhil child.”
At that moment there was another knock on the door, and Belthil didn’t wait to be permitted to enter before he stuck his head around the door.
“Forgive my intrusion, Sire. But it is time.”
Legolas gasped at Neldoreth’s appearance as he and his father rushed into his bedroom, and felt slightly guilty that he hadn’t given a second thought to his brother’s endless suffering since the moment Estel had burst in dripping wet the night before. Neldoreth’s drenched hair had been messily scraped back from his red face. His nightshirt was gathered up around his waist and his legs were wide open and bent at the knee, for once he gave no regard for his modesty. His breath was coming in exhausted pants and his trembling arms were struggling to prop himself up.
“One more push, my Prince,” the midwife called from between Neldoreth’s legs as Legolas and Thranduil positioned themselves at either side of the pained elf, each taking a hand as Neldoreth screamed one last time. For one terrifying second the room was filled with nothing but silence, until Neldoreth’s daughter put an end to their torture and announced her arrival with a loud wail.
“She is beautiful, my son,” Thranduil declared, unusually emotional as the midwife handed the exhausted prince his newborn daughter.
Legolas, while absolutely enthralled by his new niece, did not miss Estel creep quietly into the room.
“Congratulations,” Estel said with a smile as he crouched down next to Legolas, claiming his lips in an all too brief kiss.
“I was going to say the same thing to you, for recapturing warrior elf,” Neldoreth joked with an exhausted smile, whining slightly when his daughter was taken away to be cleaned up. “Don’t ever hurt my brother again.”
“I don’t ever intend to,” Estel promised sincerely. “I know what is most important now, and it isn’t council meetings and greeting my public.”
Neldoreth nodded in total understanding as his daughter was passed back to him in a soft, pink blanket, her blonde curls now slightly more visible.
“I can’t believe she was inside you,” Legolas said in almost childlike wonder.
Neldoreth looked at Legolas with a strange expression, before reaching out and touching his flat stomach.
“Believe it. There’s one inside you too.”
Legolas collapsed against Estel’s strong chest as he once again ran out of energy to push. Thirty two hours he had been in labour and now, in the final stages, he was beginning to panic that he was running out of strength. It didn’t help that he had already been exhausted from carrying his child a week past his due date. Of course as they hadn’t married until six weeks after their first night together, most people believed the child was five weeks early, however both Legolas and Estel couldn’t risk informing them that their concern was unnecessary.
Concealing his pregnancy before they were married had been more difficult than anticipated, particularly since he was already beginning to show by the time the wedding day came around, which as a result had meant Legolas was unable to wear the traditional formfitting attire of a Mirkwood wedding and instead had to wear a looser robe to hide his bump. Only Estel, his father and Neldoreth knew about his child’s actual conception date, and the comments about how much he was showing had grown tiresome after hearing them twenty times a day. He would be glad when everything was over.
“Almost there, my love,” Estel whispered into his ear as Legolas braced himself to push once again. How Neldoreth had managed to give birth without Gelion by his side was beyond the young prince, but then again his brother did not share the same unconditional love with his husband that Estel and Legolas shared.
“I have new respect for Nel!” he managed to grind out; his child was ready to be born.
“This should do it, Legolas. One last time,” Elrond coached gently. Legolas could hear his father talking anxiously in the next room, precisely the reason that Legolas and Estel had wanted to be alone during the birth, and despite his pain and exhaustion Legolas was eager to enjoy the final few moments of quiet before the peace was shattered by both their families, not to mention their new arrival.
Legolas wasn’t sure if he had one last push in him, but took a deep breath and tried with all his might, imagining that he was back on the battlefield fighting for his life and not in the birthing chamber fighting to bring forth a new one.
After what felt like a lifetime Legolas finally felt his child slip from his body, and unlike his beloved niece Carnimirië his own child wasted no time in taking his first breath and letting out a hearty shriek.
“You have a son,” Elrond announced with a face splitting grin as he handed his grandson to his eager parents.
Maybe it was down to exhaustion, but Legolas was shocked at how heavy their newborn son was in his arms; it was hard to believe that this tiny little bundle would one day be the ruler of Gondor and King of the West, not to mention also being fifth in line for the Mirkwood throne.
“Look what we’ve made, my love,” Estel whispered as he stroked his son’s downy cheek. As expected, no sooner had the words left his husband’s mouth, the doors opened and their entire rabble burst through the door, all eager to see their new nephew/grandson/prince.
The room was filled with calls of congratulations, remarks on their little one’s beauty and questions for the new parents, however one comment from Elrohir stood out from the rest.
“He’s rather big considering he was five weeks early.”
Amidst the chaos, Legolas and Estel shared a knowing smile, thinking back to the night he was conceived over nine months ago. He wasn’t early; in fact he was very late. Just like his Daddy.