Thranduil held his son, the tiny bundle fit so perfectly in the crook of his elbow and despite the awful cries coming from the newborn, he couldn't help the smile on his face, 'Galion, come see him.' The other elf came forward to his king and looked down at the small prince, 'Have you ever seen anything more perfect?'
'No, my king, he truly is a blessing and with his mother's hair no less.' Thranduil stroked the sparse, golden strands on the infants head and continued to stare in wonder, 'The queen?' Galion prompted before the other was completely enamoured.
His jaw tensed and he did his best to think of anything but his Nauglamir, 'She...' a particularly loud cry made them both wince and Thranduil carefully moved the baby to rest against his chest, his hand nearly engulfed the tiny baby's head as he stroked his thumb along fine hair, 'She is resting.' He couldn't say that the queen had left them, 'Hush, little one.' Still the baby cried and it was then that Thranduil started to have concern for his son, 'He will not calm,'
Galion gave a sympathetic look to the child and then glanced at the door they were stood outside of, 'He has yet to meet his mother, he has known only her body for his entire life and is eager to meet her. Poor child has just had a horrible experience, been given a sponge bath, wrapped in a blanket the size of Arda and thrown at his father – I would weep against you, my king.'
A decidedly loud snort of amusement came from the king and set off another loud wail, “When you say it like that - '
'My king.' the door opened to reveal the assistant, 'Our lady queen is asking for the prince. All will be well now as long as she rests.' She stepped to the side and, with a small bow of her head, bid the king to enter. Thranduil blinked dumbly at the elleth, her words not sinking in at first and then he wasn't sure he believed them. She had been limp in his arms, her light diminished and any life she had seemed gone – he saw it himself!
Galion straightened up and quickly said, 'I will have have her room prepared and consult the healers of anything that may be needed.'
Thranduil nodded his thanks and entered the room slowly, as if he was waiting for a trick, baby still crying against him and his eyes firmly on his wife. She was flushed, colour he had not seen in many weeks, her eyes glassy and her skin still clammy, delicate, shaking hands reaching for their child as he drew near, 'Do not strain yourself, mell nin. He longs for you too.' She cradled the baby close to her chest and looked at him as if he were a star fallen from the sky, the wails quieted quickly down to whining and she gave a small sob as her baby squinted up at her for the barest of moments.
'H-he has your eyes, I...I - ' The queen pulled the baby closer and hunched in on herself, as if she could cocoon the little one, and began to cry in earnest.
Thranduil became alarmed that his wife was so distressed, 'Mell nin, what is it? Why do you cry?' He practically scurried to the head of the bed, sat on his haunches beside his wife and wrapped his arms around her seemingly fragile form – Just to have her in his arms alive seemed too much. 'Are you in pain, mell nin?' She shook her head, now rested against his shoulder, her voice wet and trembling as she told him she was happy.
Happy? Thranduil's eyebrows drew together at her words, she didn't seem happy in the slightest and now their son had begun to cry again, 'I had no idea that his eye colour meant that much to you.'
She gave a weak laugh and again shook her head, 'I was frightened, I thought I would not be strong enough to help him into this world, I thought I was leaving you and my baby, I woke up and you were not here – he was not here!' Thranduil pressed her closer, mindful of their son between them, 'But now he is here in my arms, he is safe and perfect and you are here and I waited so long and – and...'
The king hushed her and gently cradled her as she cried. Relieved that she was in no great distress and after a while she calmed, settling against his side to simply regard the child in her arms. 'Legolas.' she whispered into the quietness of the room, the baby now sleeping.
'Legolas Thranduilion.' The king repeated with a lazy smile. 'It is a good name.'
On reflection, Thranduil still thought it was a good name but he had reservations about the baby. The blue eyed terror was barely a month old and already he knew how to cause trouble. Legolas had gotten him into more trouble with his wife than he'd ever managed in his entire life. The elfling would be happily nestled in his arms, cooing and grasping at his hair quite content. Then his mother would appear and Legolas would cry until she took him, throwing accusing glances at the king as if he'd done something wrong. She seemed to enjoy the incredulous looks he cast his son and that made it well.
She had remained weak and bedridden for almost two weeks before becoming strong enough to stand without fainting – he had stayed by her side the entire time. Whatever illness she had had was fading as each hour passed and she was able to go where she wanted, though he had noticed she would take short rests throughout her day, and they were able to go outside.
The clearing, in which their son was begot, had burst to life with flowers and the shade of the trees provided their child protection from the bright sun, his wife was sat with Legolas in her arm and a was tickling his round, little cheeks with an orange bloom. 'Are you tormenting him again?' Thranduil teased as he rested beside her, 'He will have a flower phobia by his first be-getting day.'
'Oh hush, I am not the one who makes him cry all the time,' She smiled as she threaded the flower into his hair.
Thranduil's eyebrow rose and he gave his son a discerning look, Legolas seemed to know his father was onto his plan to steal his wife's affections and chose that moment to whine up at his mother, she immediately took her eyes from Thranduil's and fussed over her son. 'He does it on purpose, he is cunning like his mother and you have fallen for it.'
She laughed at him then, 'He is a baby, my love, he does not have any cunning yet.'
His wife believed those words even as their elfling grew, his son's first words were for him and he had been delighted. Legolas had been sat on his lap whilst Thranduil read through some correspondence in his room, the tiny elf turned his head upwards, looking up his father's nose, and babbled out his name. Being called 'Father' had made him smile foolishly and drop his work to find his wife – keen to show off.
She had taken Legolas into her arms and Thranduil had urged his son to say it again and with his own babyish grin, Legolas had looked at his mother and called her name.
Then as Legolas learned to walk he found a new game to play. Often he would spend time on Thranduil's lap when his mother was too busy to watch him properly, the elfling was content to amuse himself by twirling his father's hair and then he would wriggle down to sit on his father's foot whilst playing with his toys under the desk. The second his mother walked into the room, Legolas would get up and run on his tiny, clumsy legs to her, a pout on his face and hide behind her skirts – having the cheek to send his father accusing looks until She would ask Thranduil what he'd done to their child!
He was a naughty little imp that seemed delighted to get his father into trouble. And Thranduil loved it. It was a game he joined in often; for every disapproving glance Legolas earned him from his Nauglamir – Thranduil would earn one for his son.
Elflings grew a little slower than other races but their minds were very quick, at ten years old Legolas would have been mistaken for a five year old by men but to his own kin he was still very much a baby. Thranduil had kidnapped his son from what looked like mundane elleth chatter and brought him out into the wood. The little elfling's hair bounced around his shoulders as he hopped over a quick succession of roots and he turned quickly to make sure his father was watching and grinned. Thranduil often rolled his eyes when his wife cooed over Legolas but he had to admit the child was beautiful, he had his mother's golden hair, it barely brushed his shoulders and it was kept out of his eyes by a silver clasp at the back, his blue eyes were always wide and excited and his grin was constant. Unless he was pouting at some sort of injustice done to him...usually when more sweets were denied.
'Where are we going?' Legolas asked as he took his father's hand, his arm stretched up above his head to reach, 'We have never gone this way before!' He was still jumping up and down excitedly and Thranduil pulled him up into the air and held him up a few steps whilst the elfling giggled, 'Down!' His little feet were back on the ground and he was off running, never too far and he would hide behind the tree trunks until the king caught up. 'Look!' Legolas exclaimed as he stopped dead and pointed at a tree.
Thranduil looked up, well craned his head up as he could reach it with a jump, 'Are you hungry?' He glanced at his elfling who was still looking up at the piece of fruit in the tree, 'You could climb up and get it, little one.'
Legolas's eyes went impossibly wide and his little jaw dropped as he shook his head quickly. He said it was too high and he couldn't jump that far. Thranduil laughed and stroked the top of Legolas's hair, 'You need to climb, not jump, up there. I will teach you how and I promise I will not let you fall.' It took a little persuasion but Legolas grasped the vines growing up the trunk and, with his father holding onto the back of his tunic the entire time, began climbing clumsily up. Thranduil had to lift him onto the branch once he reached level with it and once the elfling was straddling the branch with both his hands on it, Thranduil let him go. The little elf's face was horrified, not even realising that he was no higher than his father's head, 'I will not let you fall.' He repeated and then made an offer he knew Legolas would not refuse, 'I will take you swimming once you have it.'
Legolas looked up at the fruit and shakily reached for it, huffing that it was just out of reach he very carefully began to stand on the branch, hugging the trunk for dear life as he pulled the fruit and an accidental twig free. 'I got it!' He beamed and then, 'Carry me down.'
'Or you can climb down like a big elf.' Thranduil told him.
Legolas put his pout into action and narrowed his eyes, 'Or I could tell mother you left me up here.' He ignored the unimpressed look from his father and added, 'All day...without food.'
Thranduil grabbed his elfling from the tree and threw him over his shoulder, 'You are a little imp! I should send you to the dungeon without dinner and make you eat worms.' Legolas kicked his little legs in the air and protested loudly until he was put down and tickled mercilessly. 'Are you still going to tell your mother you lies?' he stopped his tickling and let Legolas uncurl from his protective ball – then attacked his vulnerable tummy.
They spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, Legolas nervous about the new area but easily swayed by his father and by the time they returned home, Legolas was napping against his father and drooling on his neck .
He roused as they entered the halls and blinked sleepily, content to lay there until her heard his name, 'Legolas,' The elfling turned his head and as soon as he located his mother he wriggled out of his father's arms and ran to her, hugging her legs and pouting, 'What is wrong?' She asked as she knelt down to stroke his cheeks with a fond smile.
Thranduil watched in unsurprised horror as his beloved son pointed at him, giving his mother the most innocent face, and proclaimed, 'Father said he was going to make me eat worms!' Thranduil shook his head and mouthed out; Little imp!
His wife saw past Legolas's games easily but she was too in love with the elfling to ever side against him. It was far more fun for her to give her husband a mock glare and an exaggerated sigh, 'I will not let him make you eat worms.' She kissed his head and pinched his cheeks gently, 'Now, you go with Galion to wash your hands and maybe he will find you some cake – I will stay here and tell your father off.' The tiny blonde cheered and raced off with Galion following quickly.
Standing up, she made her way to Thranduil's side and took his right hand before walking with him to their rooms, 'Worms?' she asked him.
'That was after I told him I would put him in the dungeon.' She laughed at that and he continued, 'He tried to bargain with me and he lost, Valar help us when he is older. I might make him head of trade, the merchants of Dale will provide free goods with our elfling's threats to tell on them to their mothers.'
She let him go once they reached their destination, wandering to their wardrobe and opening the finely crafted door to browse the clothing, 'I should be firmer with him, what if he becomes spoilt?' Her hands carded through until she found a rich red robe and she pulled it out to show him, 'You should wear this one.'
'He will not become spoilt, Legolas is a good child and we reward that behaviour – he knows when enough is enough.' Thranduil stripped off his dark green tunic and tossed it over the back of a chair, he knew it would have been pointless to wear any other colour whilst out with Legolas as they spent so much time rolling around in the undergrowth of the wood. He looked at the robe and then at his wife with confusion, 'Why that one? Have I forgotten a special occasion?' It was one of the grandest robes he owned and he only wore it rarely, 'Legolas's be-getting day is far away, as is yours...there are no celebrations today...' His head tilted to the side and his eyebrows drew together as he tried to figure out what he had missed.
Whilst he thought, his queen had pulled out several other items of clothing and was now attempting to choose between her own dresses. 'You have forgotten nothing. A message arrived whilst you were playing with Legolas; Dwarves from Erebor are visiting.' She heard him collapse into a chair bodily and let out a deep moan, she didn't need to turn to see the disgruntled king behaving like a child, 'I know you dislike the dwarves and would rather shave your head than deal with them but I thought it would be a good trading opportunity. They will not even bother us if you agree and they have sent a lovely gift.'
'They can send me what they like, I will not trade with dwarves! They are dishonest and greedy – We would still have Doriath if they had not betrayed Thingol, if they had not murdered him.' He kicked off his boots and continued to mutter angrily to himself. 'What do they even want?'
She put her dresses down and sat beside him patiently, kissing his bare shoulder once and settling her head on it – this way he would be unable to get up and walk away without knocking her. She knew he wouldn't do that an effectively had him trapped. 'They want access to the caves inside Dol Guldur. What is the harm in that?'
'It is an evil place. We used to live there...it was the centre of this realm and Sauron ruined it. That place is the reason we had to flee over the mountains and settle here, it made the wood sick and we lost many in the battles to reclaim it. Celeborn and I barely won and if Galadriel had not used her ring to dispel it's walls we would not live here at all – Lothlorien would not exist.' Celeborn had always resented him for leading his people away and leaving Lothlorien the only inhabited place near Dol Guldur. 'You remember this of course.'
'I remember.' She admitted with a sigh, 'It has been a very long time since anything evil lived in that place, what harm can the dwarves do? If something happens then we are many miles away, a river – which we enchanted – and a mountain range stand between us. This palace is a fortress and those that live in the trees and huts outside could take refuge if they were worried. They will pay for the passage. Everyday they are in our realm they will pay in gold and gems.' Producing a pouch from her side she tipped the contents into her palm, clear white gems, already cut and cleansed sparkled up at the king and he couldn't help but admire them. Other than his wife and child, white stones were a weakness and he wanted more of these; almost enough to take leave of his senses. 'He said these were a gift and that they had more.'
He agreed hesitantly and she went back to choosing her dress. Dwarves liked fine things, the more wealth they thought you had the more they seemed to respect you and so the King and Queen of the Woodland Realm had to make quite an impression. If was more about rank than respect for them, the dwarves of Erebor had to see a rich and powerful Greenwood or else they would surely trample through the wood taking what they pleased. Thranduil had ordered a small team of elleth to help his wife get ready for the visit as she was the most valuable thing in the realm to him and he would have their guests know it.
'Why do I have to wear robes tonight?' Legolas asked as he piled bubbles onto his head from the bath he was sharing with his mother. He had walked in whilst she was bathing, ignoring the people milling about in the room trying to decide on what colour his mother should wear and decided to jump in with her.
She smiled at him and rubbed the bubbles into his hair to wash it for him, 'We have visitors coming and we must all be on our very best behaviour. You will have to be very quiet and sit where I tell you to until your father is finished speaking with them. Dwarves can be rude sometimes so you have to show them how to behave.'
'Dwarves?!' He exclaimed and looked up at her, 'Father says they are bad! He said that they are greedy and that they do whatever they please and do not care who they anger...why are they coming – I do not want them to!' His little feet kicked in the water and she had to pull him into a hug before he slipped under the water of the large bath. She held his back to her chest until he huffed and stopped moving.
The prince usually liked visitors, he liked Elrond's sons so much that he asked them to visit all the time, even though they were fully grown elves, he enjoyed the time that Galadriel had visited. Though it was possibly the torment he gave the young guardsman, Haldir, that he liked best. He watched the people from Laketown with fascination and asked about the race of men from time to time, wanting very much to learn the common tongue after a group from Dale took refuge one night. 'Hush, little one. They will not misbehave whilst your father is here and it is only for tonight. They will leave in the morning and you will not have to see them again. Now, stop pouting and let me wash your hair properly.'
He allowed her to finish and then had to sit patently on her bed whilst someone brushed and braided her hair, they had taken hair from either side of her head, twisting and twirling until the braids looked like a small bundle of flowers at the back f her head. The rest of her hair was left loose and the elfling stared at his mother's hair in awe. 'You look pretty!' he exclaimed. She smiled at him brightly and even though she wore only a white under dress and her hair, he had made her feel happy. Even more so when Thranduil entered the room and the little elfling pointed to her and said excitedly, 'Look. Father! Look how pretty mother is! Like starlight!'
Thranduil smiled at Legolas, agreeing wholeheartedly with his son and placing him on his lap whilst he sat on the end of the bed, 'You are exactly right.' He used Legolas's distraction to pull a white robe over his head, knowing that his child had no appreciation for nice clothing and preferred to run around in, usually, mucky tunics and leggings – little boots too if they were lucky. He was very much a child of the woods and not one who liked to dress up. 'Be good and I will braid your hair.' This instantly caused the elfling to stop complaining about his “dress” and sit still, 'What colour do you think a queen should wear?'
'Green.' Legolas said without hesitation.
'Why green?' She asked him.
'It is my favourite colour.' Thranduil rolled his eyes and took the brush his wife passed to him, immediately setting to work on the tangles in his son's hair, 'Or silver. You have a silver coat on, father. You would match then.' Both parents ignored the fact that Legolas had seen the silver dress just before he answered. It was relatively simple, a square neckline and emerald embellishments but the sheer robe that was placed over her shoulders shimmered and shined in the low lights of the room.
'I hope you do not expect me to walk anywhere – there must be seven foot of train on the floor.' She turned her body slightly and sighed at the material behind her; she liked fine clothes and dresses but like her son, she like something she could run around in, 'At least I am not climbing the stairs up to your throne.'
Thranduil noted the smug look on her face and couldn't help the smile that appeared on his own face, he finished braiding his son's hair, a braid either side of his head that joined at the back to form a larger one – much like the one he used to wear. 'Actually,' he started and waited for her to look at him, 'I would have you sat there - ' Legolas quickly chimed in and asked if he was allowed to sit on the throne too, 'You may sit in your mother's lap,' A cheer came from the elfling and then a groan when someone arrived with his silver coat to go over his robes. Thranduil shooed the little elf from his lap and stood up to accept his own red robe gracefully. 'You are more adept at watching people's expressions than I. I cannot watch all of these dwarves at once and you would be able to see all of them from the throne.'
She ducked down a little as her crown was placed on her head, it was similar to her husband's though much smaller and subtler, more a pretty adornment than a crown, 'I understand. They will be too busy watching you to notice me looking for any ill will in their eyes...just attempt to be nice.'
'Consider it attempted.'
She sat with Legolas on her lap, the elfling had been every bit a tiny prince, she had remained still and listened to quietly – feeling somewhat like a trophy so high up. The dwarves stole glances at her until Thranduil would send them a pointed look and she wanted to giggle like a girl, it was nice to be admired by someone else for a change but better that her husband was being so possessive.
Legolas would look up at her every now and then in confusion, he couldn't understand the words being spoken and he was not used to seeing his father behave as a cold king. He whispered why his father was so mean at one point and she stroked his hair gently, 'A king must pretend to be mean sometimes.'
'But he is frightening...'
This time she kissed his head, catching a rather dangerous looking dwarf almost cooing at them – the stone headed fools could be so soft sometimes. 'Yes.' she admitted quietly, though she wasn't frightened in the least and had to try very hard to stop the flush rising to her cheeks, she did love when he acted like this. 'But you know he is only playing a game with them, if he is nice to them they might think he is week and bully your father.' Legolas nodded slightly and failed to hide a yawn. At this point she stood up and moved Legolas against her so that she could carry him in one arm against her hip. Thranduil stopped the dwarf who was talking with a single finger as he looked up at her, 'Your child is tired, it is late and even I grow weary of this meeting – If we let these miners into Dol Guldur we risk others venturing in without permission.'
They had rehearsed this in their room before meeting the dwarves, Thranduil knew they would be unwilling to pay what they had promised and would try to lower their offer, he knew that arguing with them would cause an endless ring of excuses. He had asked her to stand, as she had done, and make it seem like she was discouraging him to accept Erebor's offer. 'You are right,' He said coolly, meeting her half way up the steps and taking her hand to lead her down, 'It does not seem worth the risk.'
And as if on cue, the dwarves began to disagree loudly, claiming that they could pay more and provide some interesting trade, everything that had been promised was suddenly being thrown back on the table. The dangerous looking dwarf came forward with, 'My brother is an excellent smith, he has a small share in a mythril mine and we could make the little princess a very lovely tiara.' Legolas had started the evening with a silver circlet on his head but he'd “misplaced” it somewhere from his room to the main hall – probably hidden in a pot. 'Every little girl should have a pretty tiara.'
The heavily bearded dwarf was beaming up at Legolas as they said it and the little elfling's jaw dropped, his eyes widened and he looked at his parents in disbelief before looking at the dwarf again, 'I am a boy!' He said loudly and pulled at his robe slightly, 'They made me wear a dress but I am a boy!'
The queen hushed her son quickly and nodded to the butch dwarf, 'Thank you for your offer Master dwarf.'
The dwarf's eyebrows furrowed and they huffed indignantly, 'I am a Mistress Dwarf!'