Uneasy Lies The Head That Wears A Crown|
Characters: Thranduil, Legolas
Thranduil and Legolas belong to JRR Tolkien. I am only borrowing them for a few minutes for the purposes of fanfic.
“Adar . . . are you cross today?” Legolas' small voice came from behind the half open door to Thranduil's private office.
In truth, Thranduil was very cross today, having just received a missive from Laketown advising him of an increase in portage charges on the river. He would pay, of course, but not without first permitting himself a good rant. He told himself it helped to relieve the boredom sometimes.
He could not remain cross when he heard that pitiful little voice however so he leaned back in his chair and threw aside the scroll. “Not at the moment, Legolas. I hope you are not about to change that.” His slightly amused tone softened the content of his statement.
“It's all knotty.”
About to enquire what it was that could be knotty enough to bring his son to him, Thranduil bit back the question when said son stepped sheepishly into the chamber. It was very clear what was knotty and, indeed, why. Legolas' long golden hair, usually sleek and gleaming as an otter pelt, resembled nothing more than a nest built by some bird who had recently consumed rather too many fermented berries. Indeed, among the many twigs that adorned his son's head could be seen several berries.
A little unsure of his Ada's silence, Legolas approached slowly. “I wanted to see what it was like to wear a crown. I was only playing. But the wind came and now everything is knotted.” Blue eyes began to glitter with unshed tears.
Thranduil bit back a laugh as he held out his arms. “Come here, Little-leaf.”
That was all the invitation his son needed and Legolas ran to daddy, to be scooped up and set upon his knees.
“No crying, now. Let us see if we can untangle this knotty problem,” Thranduil murmured as he fished in a hidden pocket of his robes for the ever present comb. (It did not do for a king to be seen with untidy hair.) This problem he would certainly be easier to solve than some of those scattered about the wide desk before him.
“I was trying to make a crown like yours.” Legolas pointed to his Adar's diadem where it had been discarded atop a heap of papers.
Now that he compared them he could see that his son had made a reasonable attempt. Although real twigs and berries were a poor copy of mithril and beryl. Thranduil unwrapped a strand of hair, sighing when a red berry disintegrated, leaving both his fingers and his son's hair streaked with scarlet.
“And a very creditable attempt it is,” he praised as he disentangled another hank of corn-silk hair. “But why do you want a crown?”
Legolas began to swing his feet, hitting his father's shins, and Thranduil tapped one bony little knee. Legolas stopped at once. “Lassmin said that I may have to be king one day so I should learn how to wear a crown.” He spun around so quickly that Thranduil was hard pressed to remove his comb in time to avoid blinding his child. “Why would I be king?”
Thranduil used both hands to gently turn Legolas' head forward and he spent a few moments tugging gently at a particularly knotted section. “Some day I may travel to the West and someone will have to rule our people when I have gone.”
Legolas' bottom lip quivered slightly. “And you won't take me with you?”
Although he could not see it, Thranduil discerned the quiver in his voice and bent to kiss the back of his son's head, grimacing at the sour taste of berry. “You will be a grown elf by then, probably with a son of your own. You may not be ready to sail West.”
“Yuck! You have to kiss girls to get son's don't you? I don't like girls much.”
Thranduil tried to keep his smile from being heard in his voice as he continued to disentangle hair and twigs. “There is a little more involved than kissing but you have the basic principles correctly. As for not liking girls . . . I think that will change as you get older. Anyway, you like Lassmin well enough.”
“She's not like other girls. She wants to shoot and climb and she doesn't care if she gets dirty.”
Thranduil considered Legolas' torn leggings and dirty fingernails, noting that such behaviour would definitely be an advantage for any friend of his son. Some had hinted (only hinted mind you) that the king should be impressing upon his son the importance of neat appearance in a prince of the realm. Thranduil had been quite firm in his rebuttal that there would be time enough for that in years to come. His son had just lost his mother and deserved time to heal, to run and play before being burdened with duty. Would that Thranduil could take that option. He deserved no healing.
“Ouch!” Legolas cringed away from the comb and Thranduil made an effort to unclench his jaw.
“I am sorry Little-leaf. Let me try that knot again.”
There was a knock at the open door and one of the king's advisers made to step into the room, document in hand. Thranduil channelled all of his ire into the glare that he directed to him above his son's head and the elf bowed before departing hurriedly.
Legolas frowned. “That was funny. Do you think he came to the wrong room?”
“Definitely,” his Adar replied as he released the last few strands and lifted the twiggy crown from his son's head. He held it out for their combined inspection.
It was no longer round, if indeed it ever had been. Several of the straw bindings had unravelled and most of the berries were squashed, the evidence of which was smeared over Legolas' hair and Thranduil's fingers and comb. Legolas wrinkled his nose as he compared it to his father's regal headdress.
“It doesn't look very much like it, does it Ada?”
Thranduil pursed his lips, tilting his head to look at it through narrowed eyes. “It is a very good for a first attempt.” He stood suddenly, setting Legolas on his hip as he turned to a glass fronted cabinet behind them. “But I think if you wear it too often you will be spending more time combing your hair than playing. If you really want a crown try this.”
He lifted a simple mithril circlet from the back of a shelf and placed it with due reverence upon the little princes' brow. “This was mine when I was little older than you are now. If you really want a crown you may have this.”
Legolas surveyed his reflection in the cabinet's glass front. The circlet was a very pretty thing of entwined ivy but it was a little big for him and would have slipped over his eyes, were not for his ears. He lifted it off, reverently handing it back to his father.
“Thank you Adar. It's lovely but I think I would lose it when I'm playing.”
Thranduil smiled as he placed it back on the shelf and closed the cabinet door. “You are quite correct. Playing is much more important now. There will be time enough to be a prince.” He tweaked his son's nose and Legolas giggled.
“Can I go and play now?” the child asked, wriggling slightly in his father's embrace.
“Oh no. Now we need to wash your hair and I need to wash my hands.” His tone was firm but he bounced a still giggling Legolas on his hip as he began to walk them both from the room.
Thranduil's advisor still hovered in the hallway but the king loftily ignored him as he turned for his son's chambers.
Royal duty could wait for both of them, for just a little while.