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La Douleur Exquise

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Will not be free for dinner. Business meeting. –T
Thranduil hits send. The message is sent. ‘Surely he would not miss me for one day.’ He thinks to himself. And it was not the first time he had done it, lying to his son to meet his lover. He always convinces himself that it’s alright, that Legolas won’t mind.

His wife is dead. He would no longer see her smile and hear her laughter. He grieves and hugs his son close to him. Yes, he remembers, he still has a son, he still has someone to live for. That was what he told himself, but when the funeral was over and he was left alone with his son, he runs. He hires a nanny and leaves before his son wakes and returns after he falls asleep, he does not look at the smile that resembles his wife so much that it hurts. He promises himself that he will, but just not today.

Thranduil continues his work; signing documents, attending meetings, talking down to his workers. He’s the director of a company, much of his time is spent with paperwork and coffee. He works extra fast today because he has a promise to keep, he’s meeting with his lover and his children today for dinner. That was the real reason he had cancelled with Legolas.

He’s been spending some time with his son who’s ten. The nanny is still there to take care of him because Thranduil can’t, he has work and… other stuff. He sometimes takes Legolas out during Sunday to have dinner with him, maybe once or twice a month. When he does, he still can’t look his son in the face, his sweet smile still reminding him of the wife he had lost. He sees his son’s report card when he comes home one day, he notes the improvement in his grades, he buys him more toys and the newest mobile phone on the market. He says nothing.

Thranduil has been with Bard for a few months already, has already been to his house and met his kids. He knows the story of Bard’s wife and he has told Bard of his own wife, they had a night dedicated to remembering their wives. Bard asks about his son, Thranduil tells him all he knows; that Legolas is nineteen and is interested in business because every time they meet he asks Thranduil about how his work went and rarely talks about himself, and that he likes fish and wine like Thranduil does. Bard laughs and tells him that teenagers like more time to themselves rather than spending it with their old fathers. Thranduil laughs and agree.

Legolas’ nanny retires when he’s fifteen, Thranduil doesn’t hire another one because his son says he can take care of himself. He leaves him more money and hires a driver because Legolas can’t drive yet to go to school and back, and maybe he would want to go out with his friends sometimes. He meets his son every Sunday to have dinner with him, he can look him in the face now.

Thranduil doesn’t go home to change because he told his son he had a meeting. He leaves his suit jacket and tie in his car and goes to dinner with Bard and his kids wearing his black dress shirt and silver slacks. He buys each of them a gift he knows they will like, Bard will complain that he’s spoiling them but Thranduil wouldn’t care, he likes making Bard’s children happy. Tilda is very delightful to be around, she still talks like a child and loves bedtime stories; Bain talks to him about books, the boy always smiles when he brings him new literature; Sigrid is nineteen in college and has a part time job to help support her family, Thranduil thinks she’s too mature for her age but he doesn’t tell her that, he helps her study for her law degree and silently replaces the old appliances in their house so it’s easier for her to do housework.

He wonders what happened when he returned home one day and found Legolas’ room door open and his son not in sight. He knows that Legolas isn’t sleeping over at his friend’s house because his son will always text him about it when he does, he chalks it up to teenage wandering and sends his son a text to stay safe. He wakes up to a text from Legolas’ number but the message itself was written by his friend, Aragorn. He tells Thranduil that Legolas had slept over in his house after they had thrown him a birthday party. Thranduil then realises he forgot his son’s eighteenth birthday. He buys him a car as an apology.

Thranduil meets Bard and his kids at the restaurant that had delicious homemade burgers. The children all cheer and thank him for the gifts while Bard scolds him again for buying them things, he laughs and kisses Bard to quiet him. The younger children make disgusted noises and pulls their father inside the restaurant, Sigrid stays behind and holds him for a moment. She thanks him for taking care of them and making their father happy. He smiles and tells her he loves Bard very much and it’s his pleasure to take care of the people he loved. They enter and enjoy their family time, the kids laugh and that makes Bard and Thranduil laugh, Thranduil likes this family.