tuxedo_elf: (Tree Light)
Title: An Educational Visit
Author: Tuxedo Elf
Pairing: Elrohir/Legolas
Rating: PG13
Beta: [info]keiliss
Summary: Elrohir travels to Mirkwood to learn more about the reclusive Silvan Elves. What he gets is a lesson in love, jealousy and heartache.

For Naledi Seren.



Legolas did not join them for dinner that night and Elrohir sat awkwardly next to Thranduil, wondering if the King knew what had happened. Certainly he did not say anything and seemed as amicable as ever, though Elrohir knew that, as a ruler, he knew how to be diplomatic.

It was almost a week before he saw a great deal of Legolas again. Although he did start joining them at meals again the next day, he spoke mostly to his father and the higher advisors, only speaking to Elrohir when necessity demanded it. It was, therefore, no great surprise when rumours started circulating about the rift between the couple.

For the first few days, Elrohir whiled away his time in the library, preferring the quiet and solitude to having to put on a brave front and pretend all was well. He had no idea the satisfaction his continued presence was bringing to the young councillor who spent most of his working hours there.

For all his time pouring over old books and scrolls, Elrohir’s thoughts drifted, more often than not, to the seemingly ruined relationship. He wanted to find Legolas and talk to him privately, but the Prince had proven himself to be alarmingly skilled at never being alone or being impossible to find at all. At last, in frustration, he went to the King, to ask his advice.

Thranduil received him readily enough, though from the look on his face, Elrohir knew he was certainly not ignorant about what had transpired.

“Your highness, I apologise for troubling you, but I was wondering if you knew where I might find your son...” Elrohir had made many formal speeches, but now, in front of his lover’s father – if lovers they still were – he was more nervous than he could ever recall being before.

Thranduil eyed him quietly. “You have fought.” It was statement more than a question.

“Not exactly, Your Highness,” Elrohir replied. They had, after all, not exchanged cross words. The problem, in fact, was that they had not exchanged words at all. “However, there are problems between us and I wish to resolve them, if possible.”

“The knife,” Thranduil nodded, confirming he knew everything.

Elrohir winced. “Yes, Your Highness. I... I deeply regret what happened and wish to repair the damage, if such a thing is possible. However, to do that I must first find him.”

Much to Elrohir’s surprise, Thranduil smiled. “Do not blame yourself too much. Legolas was also responsible for ensuring nothing was left behind – and in truth, he knows that. The loss of such a treasured possession is making him disagreeable, however he will come around in time.”

“Thank you...” Elrohir was relieved and shocked at Thranduil’s words, having expected a much more uncomfortable conversation. “I care very much for your son, Your Highness, I do not want to see him hurting.”

“I know.” Thranduil smiled again, broader this time. “You are a good match for him, he would be foolish to let this part you. He is not usually foolish, so I believe he will see reason. You will probably find him by the old hollow tree, it was always his favourite hideaway as a child.”

Thranduil’s words set Elrohir at ease, and for the first time in a week, he had hope. “I will look for him immediately.”

“Wait a moment.” Thranduil stepped out into the hallway and summoned a servant. He said nothing when he returned, sitting down and leaving Elrohir standing awkwardly in the centre of the room.

A few minutes passed and then the servant returned bearing a bottle of fine wine and a small basket of strawberries. On Thranduil’s instruction, he handed them to Elrohir, who accepted them with confusion.

Thranduil chuckled and gave Elrohir a knowing look. “It cannot hurt.”

Elrohir could not argue with that.

********

Legolas was exactly where his father had said he would be. He always came to the tree when troubled, seating himself in the ancient hollow. Staring aimlessly at the smooth wood, he did not hear Elrohir approach.

“So this is where you have been hiding...” Elrohir dared to smile slightly as he peered into the hollow.

Legolas sighed, having known that he would have to speak to Elrohir eventually. “I like it here.”

Elrohir nodded. “So I have heard. May I join you?” It was bold and he was prepared to be rejected, but he wanted the privacy the hollow afforded them.

“I suppose so.”

It was a begrudging answer, though good enough for Elrohir. Setting the wine and strawberries down at the base of the tree, he climbed up, getting into the hollow and sitting opposite Legolas. It was cramped with the two of them, their legs tangling, and Elrohir hoped the intimacy of it would put Legolas at ease, not make matters worse.

“I know you do not really want to see me,” Elrohir said quietly. “You blame me and I understand why. In your situation I would likely do the same. But Legolas, I do not wish to hurt you, not ever. I deeply regret what happened, both that the knife was lost and that it caused us to part. I do not know if you can forgive it, I can only hope that you can. I want you in my life, Legolas, and perhaps I do not deserve it, but I will do anything to make it happen.”

Legolas closed his eyes against the onslaught of emotions Elrohir’s words caused to wash over him. He knew he cared for Elrohir, more deeply than he had previously admitted, and he also knew he was not entirely to blame for the loss of the knife. “It was both our fault,” he admitted softly. “I should have checked that one of us had it each time. I was so busy enjoying the hunt with you that I forgot.”

It was the first admission of feeling since the incident, and Elrohir’s heart beat a little faster at hearing it. “I was enjoying it as well. I enjoy everything we do together and I have missed you this past week.”

“I have missed you as well.” Legolas opened his eyes and gave Elrohir a small smile. “I am sorry for avoiding you; it is just that the knife meant so much to me.”

“I understand. I would probably be much the same, were the situation reversed.” Elrohir leaned forward, taking Legolas’ hand in his. “Can we get through this? You have become so dear to me in the time we have been together, I cannot imagine my life without you now.” He took a deep breath, leaning closer. “I love you.”

Neither of them had spoken the words before, even if the feelings had been obvious and it took Legolas by surprise.

“You do?” he blinked, almost disbelieving. He had not thought to analyse his own feelings, though he had been utterly miserable this past week and deep down he knew it was not just the knife he was missing, but Elrohir. Hearing the words spoken, he felt as if the missing knife had been buried in his heart, the realisation was so sudden.

Words escaping him, he moved forward in the cramped hollow, moving over Elrohir and pressing him down as he captured his lover’s mouth in a deep and lengthy kiss, their bodies entwining as Legolas poured all his emotion into actions he could not find the words for. Not until they broke apart and he sat back reluctantly did he finally find the wit to respond. “I love you too.”

A broad grin split Elrohir’s face as the nightmare of the past week vanished with those three little words and within moments, Legolas found himself in the throes of a passionate embrace.

“Maybe we should go back...” Legolas was still curled up to Elrohir sometime later and his inclination to follow through with his suggestion was low. “I would like to celebrate with you properly and I am getting a little hungry.”

“No need to go back yet.” Smiling, Elrohir disentangled himself from Legolas and exited the hollow just long enough to retrieve the wine and strawberries.

Legolas’ eyes widened when he saw what Elrohir was carrying. “Wherever did you get that? That is royal vintage, highly prized!”

Elrohir had not known that, though he was not surprised. “I... spoke to your father before I came here. He is very... perceptive.”

Legolas snorted, flipping open the basket of strawberries. “You have no idea.”

And he was glad.

*********

Although the knife remained a sore point and was rarely discussed, the renewed and strengthened relationship was obvious to all. The tension that had followed the hunt dissipated and it seemed as if the whole realm was in good spirits.

All but one.

The councillor was furious. All the effort, the risk, all for nothing. He could not understand why the Prince was so blind, why he could not see that he had so much more to offer. Legolas was still nice to him, always smiling and greeting him pleasantly when they met at the library or in meetings. It only served to increase his desire to make the Prince his. One day, maybe Legolas would even know his name, his age and everything about him. Except this of course. That would remain his secret. After all, he did not want to hurt him.

**********

Several weeks passed and Elrohir’s contentment grew. He was sad that once spring came he would have to leave and return to Imladris. Even though he still missed his brother and the rest of his family, he had found a happiness here that he had never known before. That he and Legolas were made for each other was increasingly obvious to him and though he knew it would be difficult to be apart for long periods of time, he had faith that they would make it work.

There was only one thing that troubled him and that was the multitude of small things that kept going wrong. It was never anything as serious as the knife and they always overcame the issues, but it seemed that there was always an issue of some sort. A wrong word, a missed meeting, a kind gesture gone awry. Always something. It made Elrohir tired and he wished he understood why, even in happiness, there seemed to be a shadow hanging over them. Had he less faith in his feelings, he might have begun to doubt that they were strong enough.

There was less than a month of his stay left when fate took a hand in unravelling the mystery. He was rushing, late for a private dinner with Legolas and was not looking as he rounded a corner entirely too fast. He let out a breath as he was winded by his collision with the Elf who had been going in the opposite direction.

“I am so sorry,” he gasped, trying to catch his breath. Recovering himself, he realised that his ‘victim’ was the young councillor from the library. The Elf had been very helpful in searching for the documents he needed and they had spoken on a number of occasions. “I hope I did not hurt you.”

“Not at all.” There was a stiff quality to the reply which Elrohir did not understand. “If you will excuse me, I must be on my way.” He slipped past Elrohir and left, leaving the visiting Lord staring after him in confusion.

It was not until he had gone, that Elrohir saw the book in the corner. The neat writing on the cover was unmistakably the young councillor’s – he must have dropped it in the collision. Elrohir picked it up and opened it out of curiosity. It only took a moment for him to realise that this was no work book – it was a personal journal.

Elrohir knew it was wrong to read it, that he had no business in prying and that he should simply return it at the first opportunity. And yet, as he shifted it to his other hand, the book fell open and the first thing he saw was his own name. Curiosity got the better of him then, and, right there in the hall he began to read. As he did so, the missing pieces of the puzzle fell into place and everything suddenly made a lot more sense.

**********

Where was it? The councillor searched frantically through his books. His journal had been with his work this morning, just as it always was. He never took it with him, it never left his room. And even if he had, it should still be here now. His journal contained his most personal thoughts, as well as some that could get him into a great deal of trouble.

Had he left it in the library? If he had he hoped no one had been near his desk, the thought of someone finding it made him feel ill. He sat on the bed, pulling on some shoes to go and look. He had barely finished tying the laces when he heard a knock on the door.

Opening it, he saw three guards standing there, faces stern. “In the name of His Highness, King Thranduil, you are under arrest, the charge being that of treason.”

The colour drained from his face and he was almost glad of the strong hands of the warriors, for he doubted he could have walked on his own.

*********

Thranduil sighed as he flipped through the journal. Legolas and Elrohir were with him, the three locked in debate.

“I do not know what to do with him,” Thranduil admitted. “He has been arrested for treason, but in truth, he has not really endangered the realm or anybody. He has simply been extremely foolish and even the items he stole have been recovered.”

Legolas had to smile, placing his hand on the knife that had been found at the bottom of the closet when the guards searched the councillor’s room. “He is very young, not even eighty yet. It does seem pointless to ruin his life over this.”

Thranduil nodded agreement. “He is very intelligent, the reports from his superiors say he has a great deal of potential. In a few years he could be one of the sharpest minds on Arda. Yet... I wonder if he can achieve that here after all this. We tend to have long memories and it will go against him.”

Finally, Elrohir spoke. “Let me take him back to Imladris. He can start afresh there and he has already expressed a desire to see the world.”

Legolas frowned. “It is not a bad idea, though hardly a punishment.”

“I suspect he is being very well punished right now, locked in the dungeons wondering what is to become of him,” Elrohir pointed out. “Not to mention, he will still have to leave the only home he has ever known.”

“You speak the truth,” Thranduil concurred. “I think it is the best choice. He should do well in Imladris and we will be safe in the knowledge that he is well away from Legolas.”

“Very well. I cannot deny I will be relieved that I will not have to face him every day,” Legolas said. “And we know that Elrohir will keep an eye on him!”

“We are decided then.” Thranduil smiled, at ease once again. “Have him sent in.”

The councillor was retrieved from the dungeons and brought before the King. He was led in by two guards, clearly terrified. They guided him into a seat before the King’s desk, with Legolas to his right and Elrohir to his left.

At a signal from Thranduil the guards left and all eyes turned to the trembling Elf.

“What have you to say for yourself?” Thranduil asked sternly.

He swallowed, trying to find his voice. “I am sorry, Your Highness... I only wanted the Prince to... to look at me the way... the way he looks at... Lord Elrohir.” He stuttered and looked down, unable to look at the accusing faces, ashamed, embarrassed and scared out of his mind. How stupid it all seemed now! In a flash, the utter folly of his actions seemed painfully clear. Legolas would never want him – if he had, he would have stopped by more often, talked to him, got to know him. Oh, but how he wished he knew why not. His looks were not displeasing and he had many interests he could talk about. Why had he been passed by? Still barely out of youth, he did not yet understand that those things were not enough without the indefinable connection that made love and friendship possible. “He was always so nice to me... I thought maybe there was a chance...” he trailed off, fidgeting nervously in the chair. “What is to happen to me?” His voice was barely audible as he asked the dreaded question.

Guilt gripped Legolas as the councillor confessed his feelings. He had known that the young Elf was attracted to him, though had thought it harmless infatuation. He realised now that in allowing it to go on, he had fuelled hope in the young Elf and was, in fact, partly to blame for the problems they had all experienced.

“I am sorry,” he said gently, leaning forward. “I knew you harboured some feelings towards me, but I did not know how deeply they ran and dismissed them. It was inconsiderate and I apologise for my selfishness.” He was hesitant to admit to reading the journal, even though they all knew he had. “You were right – I never even asked your name. Please, tell me now?”

“You know it now,” he answered bitterly. Everyone knew his name now and not for the reasons he had wished.

“I do,” Legolas agreed, “but... you seemed to want me to ask so badly. I know it is only a shadow of what you desired, but that much at least I can give you.”

He could accept that it was a gesture of kindness, though it hurt, because it was all he would ever have. He did not even understand why Legolas was making it, when there was a charge of treason hanging over his head. He sighed, knowing it was pointless to resist. “Erestor. My name is Erestor.”

“Erestor.” Legolas repeated the name. “I am sorry I hurt you. And I hope you can one day find someone who you can give your love to and have theirs in return.”

“Will that even be possible now?” His question about his fate was still unanswered and daring to glance up at Thranduil, he looked pleadingly at him. His dream of how it would feel to have the Prince say his name had become utterly lost in the fear of what his future held.

Thranduil considered him silently for a long moment before speaking. “You have no family here, correct?”

Erestor nodded. “My parents sailed some time ago, I have cousins in Lindon, but no one here.”

Elrohir had been mostly silent as Erestor was interviewed, but on hearing that he had no family, he found new sympathy for him. He was so young and it must have been hard to adapt to life alone. It was no surprise that he had latched on to Legolas as he had.

“You were arrested on a charge of treason, which is serious indeed,” Thranduil said, watching as the councillor shuddered in fear. “However, it has been decided that it is not a charge fitting with your actions and that a different course of action must be implemented.”

Erestor was visibly relieved to be told that he would not be charged with treason, though he still waited anxiously to hear what would happen.

“It has been decided that you cannot stay here,” Thranduil told him. “There is a stain on your name now that will take a long time to fade. However, given your excellent work and favourable reports from your superiors, I cannot in good conscience let your potential be wasted. With that in mind, it has been decided that when Lord Elrohir leaves for Imladris in a few weeks, you will go with him and you will be given the opportunity to start afresh there.”

“You will like it, I think.” Elrohir added. “There will be plenty of work for you there and new opportunities.”

Erestor could hardly believe it. The chance to travel, to live in a realm he had only read about – it seemed too good to be true. “I do not deserve that, Your Highness,” he said nervously. “I want it, very much so, but it is no punishment.” He was hesitant to admit it, but with his transgressions laid bare his guilt would not allow him to shirk punishment.

Thranduil smiled. “I have no doubt that you will be very happy there and Lord Elrohir certainly thinks you will do well. However, it may not be as easy as you think – you will be leaving everything you have ever known, and although you are not barred from ever returning here, it will be many years before you can do so without people remembering what happened.”

“I understand, Your Highness.” And he did. It was a punishment and a second chance in one and only he could decide the outcome. He dared to smile slightly. His fate was in his own hands. He liked that.

Looking over at Legolas, Elrohir let out a relieved sigh. It seemed that everything was going to work out after all.


End Chapter 4

Date: 2011-02-20 05:05 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] sildil.livejournal.com
Oh I never saw that coming! That's so nice!

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