Oops! Eavesdropping is never a good idea! Still, he had to do it if we were to hear the conversation between Legolas and Laerion :)
I'm so happy Laerion goes after Legolas. And kudos to them both for not rising to the bait and falling back into their arguments. When Legolas asked Laerion if he remembered how he had stood up for him as an elfling, let him run off into the trees - that brought a lump to my throat. Especially when Legolas said he still needed that. Hopefully this is the start of a meaningful reconciliation, and they can find that closeness again, while accepting that they are not quite the same elves they were then.
Estel does need to tell Legolas he loves him, but I hope he can find a way to do it without revealing he was eavesdropping! I can't wait to see what Thranduil is going to say. I've got a feeling he can be indulgent where Estel is concerned!
Oh yes, Thranduil is soft as butter with his Grandson! A complete pussycat. I think Laerion, perhaps is trying to scare Estel straight with the idea of Thranduil, knowing full well his Father will actually just give Estel a sweetie, a cuddle and a pat on the head!
Naughty little boy, Estel is, listening at keyholes...but yes, I needed him to be a nosy little boy in the story so we could know what was going on ourselves! He takes after his mother. Remember the trouble Maewen got herself into in Darkness, listening to Legolas talking with Gimli and reading his mail......and also in “Fire” when she overheard Legolas and Elladan talking about his tryst with Elrohir? Estel is his mother’s son in this.
Laerion has been miserable in Valinor thinking his grown up brother no longer needed him. As soon as Legolas rode in saying “where were you? I needed you?” Laerion was there! All he needed was the confidence to know Legolas truly wanted him in that big brother role. It’s something that has been missing from both their lives.
Working together not wiring together!!
They’ve set up an electricians business :-)
What a glorious chapter to wake up to!
Oh Estel! You are walking into some trouble here!
It is so heartwarming how the admission of need and love from Legolas has completely affected Laerion. The prickly walls are lowered and he is in concerned big brother mode, which is familiar and well loved territory for him. He knows that role, it inhabits his soul. It's been sorely lacking in the years since his return, as he and Legolas have been at odds. But it fits like an old, beloved coat. He's receptive and each time Estel expects him to bite back at Legolas, Laerion holds back. It is telling that even though he doesn't quite understand this Elrohir/Legolas/Maewen/Erynion trapezoid his first concern is that something has happened with Elrohir, even if he just refers to him as the Noldor! Elrohir even gets a grudging appreciation for thinking like Laerion. Honestly I think Laerion would love Elladan and Elrohir, if he got to know them better. They've grown up in similar ways and similar ways of thinking. I think they would find much more commonality than Laerion suspects.
Everything about this scene--the gentle touches, their proximity, the way Laerion speaks to Legolas--I think it evokes echoes of times long before, in Arda. It is telling that this whole affair has Legolas so upset that he does open up and admit his perceived "failings" to Laerion.
Laerion has such good insight here. We've talked about how Legolas isn't completely changed--he's the only one that thinks he is--Laerion's reassurance that he's not that different should be comforting. They've all changed but their essence remains the same.
The observation about Legolas' own relationship with their mother is the perfect example for Laerion to use. Hits the nail on the head with that analogy. And the observation that Estel is a bit of a temperamental, emotional child who uses his words as weapons when hurt or cornered. Pretty typical early teenage attitude there.
And it is obvious that the family has noted the issues going on--I love how Laerion relates it back to Thranduil. Thranduil could not be the father he wanted to be--he had to be the King to keep them all safe and alive. He tried as best he could. And he knows the burdens on Legolas--which is why his idea to send Laerion is so inspired. Who knows what to do better than Laerion? Who does he trust more than Laerion? He knows his sons relationship is broken; but he also knows getting them in proximity and wiring together has the best chance for a rapprochement between them. There is wisdom in Thranduil. We see it again in your Finrod one shot.
But oh! I love take-charge Laerion at the end there! No coddling of Estel. He's hurt Legolas and now he's eavesdropping. He knows his brother well enough to know Legolas has more than enough new thoughts to occupy his mind for a bit and Estel barging in will not let those thoughts marinate as they should and will likely lead to more unnecessary drama.
And the slapping his hand away from the door and dragging him off to Thranduil? Can't wait to see where that storyline goes!
You described Laerion SO well. Legolas’ admission in the last chapter, that he needed his brother, is what Laerion has been waiting and hoping for. As you say, it’s a familiar role for him. Legolas opened the door a crack to a return to that for him and he has grasped the opportunity with both hands.
He is undeterred by any token resistance. They have played this scene out before, centuries ago back in the Greenwood, many, many times. It is their true dynamic. Laerion probably could have achieved this a long time ago here in Valinor had he persevered and fought through Legolas’ bluster because Legolas been yearning for this big brother to sit with him and carefully sort through his jumble. But Laerion had no confidence it would be accepted. He believed Legolas did not want him . . . A result of that rejection in the in-between.
The first sign from Legolas of a need for his brother and Laerion is transformed into the caring, concerned, cleverly supportive big brother he always was. Thranduil has told us in an earlier story . . . I think it was Darkness, that Laerion was the one who could best manage the child Legolas. The only one sometimes that could tame Legolas’ flighty spirit and help him focus. He is good at this.
In this universe Legolas was born as late as could possibly be, right on the end of peacetime, when Thranduil had already moved his people away from the Dark. (I use the theory this is why Legolas says he has not met Celegorm and Galadriels people.) So Laerion had a very different childhood. He had a lot more attention one on one from Thranduil. When Legolas came along Thranduil was totally distracted by protecting his people. So Laerion stepped in. He filled that Father role without being a father but as a big brother. As Legolas says in that “Little Legolas” story. Laerion is the only one who knew all his childhood secrets. He understood him best because he spent the time with him.
When Estel told Thranduil the one thing he could do was get him more time with his father so Legolas could teach him about the trees Thranduil sees all that lost time he had with his youngest son. And yes, who best to send to correct that? The brother who is SO good at steering Legolas through trouble gently and carefully. Thranduil gambled that forcing them together, with Maewen and Erynion there to hopefully stop the arguing, would enable them to achieve this closeness again. It was a big gamble. But as it turns out Legolas has bridged that gap himself with three small words...”I need you”
Laerion has been drifting and aimless. Now he has a purpose again.
As for Estel...hmm, yes, he needs to learn not to listen at doors. He has inherited his tendency to run and hide from conflict from his father but also this need to know things, and to snoop where he shouldn’t, from his mother. Remember Darkness? When Maewen got herself into ALL sorts of trouble snooping, eavesdropping, and even reading Legolas personal correspondence? Time for Laerion to do some Uncle-ing here. And as Elrohir and Elladan are, he also is very good at the big brother, mentoring small boys role. I agree with you . . . Laerion will get on with the twins better than he thinks. Elrohir to him seems dangerous, a potential source of harm to Legolas through the “love quadrangle” When he actually sees how he helps his brother he will embrace him. I am sure!
Oh Estel--having just been through this age equivalency with my son, petulant Estel made me laugh a bit. I know he means well but just because he's had A Realization doesn't mean the rest of them haven't been years ahead on the realization!
But it's a touchy time and there have been some major emotional issues this trip. So I'll give him a pass on being a pouty pre-teen!
Legolas understandably has much on his mind but I do think Elrohir's words have significance.
“But perhaps he is exactly the way he usually is when he leaves.” I can imagine Legolas has some regret when he leaves Elrohir; his life away from Elrohir is more challenging, in many ways. He will miss the balm to his fëa that Elrohir provides. He may get down a bit before he leaves but by the time he returns to his family his joy at being with them is real and the healing has gotten him to that place--that he can bask in his love for them without the burdens he puts on himself, for awhile.
And Elrohir knows Legolas has issues to confront--with Maewen, Laerion, his mother. . . Those are heavy and challenging but Legolas has been counseled and supported and encouraged to do so by Elrohir--behind the scenes. Estel hasn't and doesn't need to be privy to that.
And their parting is lovely. Once again Elrohir is so good, so able to communicate, so loving and supportive but focusing again on their mutuality--he does not consider himself a crutch for Legolas--they mutually benefit each other and there is no debt or inequality in that.
I love this:
time,” Elrohir tells Father. “Do not make me come down to your forest to drag you back here again. And know that is exactly what I will do!”
“Weeks not months,” Father repeats. “You have my word.” And Elrohir holds him tight.
“ Remember it is me that needs you.” I hear him whisper. “Remember that Legolas.” This is so right. Amd so true. And something that Legolas needs to hear.
And Elladan's insight is right there too. He is supportive of Elrohir and Legolas and understands the family dynamics quite well. But his entreaty to Estel that the should "stick together" is a powerful way to acknowledge Estel's concern and respect his worries--he gives him an equivalency by suggesting they stick together; he's told him he's still a boy but Elladan is treating him as more than that with his wording.
And the realization Estel makes on the trip home is important--he is not the same. His experiences and revelations have changed him. He has not extrapolated that to his father yet though--that Legolas too has changed and will keep changing. No one can remain static. But at Estel's age the focus remains on himself--he's not developed the wider view yet.
Laerion not meeting them truly disturbs Legolas--even though he and Estel both realize it would probably have resulted in an argument, as always--but it one of those constants in this new world that Legolas has come to count on. There were too many years when Laerion was not there to greet him, not there to meet him--arguments or not, it is a gift to have him alive and able to greet him. It hurts to not have that. It hurts Legolas deeply.
And here is such a brilliant part, a glimmer of what the true measure of Elrohir's healing and counsel bring about--Legolas says the most unexpected and beautiful thing:
"I am always pleased to see you.”
It is the last thing I expected my father to say, and by the look on his face, the last thing Laerion expected also.
“You ride out of the trees, Laerion,” Father continues, “and my heart is joyful at the sight of you. Every time it is as if you have just been returned to me. As if I forget you are back and then suddenly—there you are.”
It's not something he's verbalized to Laerion in so many words before, based on Laerion's shock.
And having taken that step he can actually say even more:
missed him and I need him. Every time we arrive here I look for you. Every time you ride out to meet me it makes my heart sing in that one moment when I first see you. I needed to see you today.”
And there is nothing Laerion needs to hear more than this. The Legolas he left when he died needed him, always needed him, since he was a tiny boy. But the Legolas he returned to was a man grown, a warrior who had found others--mortals--to be the brothers of his heart. Or so Laerion assumed, based in Legolas actions in Fire and the deep grief he has for Aragorn and Gimli. Laerion never got to see the grief Legolas felt for him--the raw, all-encompassing devastation after his brother's death. He's needed to hear just how much Legolas missed him and that he still needs him, desperately needed to know he still matters to his brother.
That Legolas can confront him and verbalize this is huge. He's not subverting what he's mad about, he's not deflecting with other mundane disagreements--he's meeting the issue head on ahd communicating just why he is upset and letting Laerion see in. It's really a turning point in their relationship. It feels different to Estel because it is. Legolas is walking away but yes opened a door that has previously been shut. And that's progress.
Lovely lovely chapter cheeky. We see such dynamic progress and growth in these characters.
Poor little Estel. But the answer Elrohir gave him that confused him had a lot of the truth in it. Legolas is not, and has never been, good at saying goodbye, to his brother, his mother, (well he was denied that) his friends, his land, he struggles to say goodbye to any of them.
And so it is with Elrohir. So at least a part...if not all...of his quietness is down to the impending farewell. And yes, by the time he reaches his family he is buoyant and joyful. But that is never how he is when he leaves.
As you say, Elrohir is encouraging him to reconnect with his own family. ...and has been throughout this visit, subtle and not so subtle comments re Laerion and Legolas’ nameless mother. He knows a reconnection there will help enormously. But Estel doesn’t know this, hasn’t heard this. The grown ups have this sorted, Estel.
Laerions non appearance does really hurt. Despite that fact the two of them fight every time they see each other still Laerion has ridden out to meet Legolas every time he visits. They neither of them verbalise this or even acknowledge it but it’s important. It’s Laerion saying, “you are important enough for me to make this effort. I want a relationship with you” no matter what the harsh words they fling at each other say.
So yeah, when he doesn’t show Legolas hurts. He needs that symbolism from his big brother. He needs him to want to come and meet him. He looks forward to it.
But they have NEVER said it out loud!
Im glad Legolas surprised you, as he did Laerion, with his disclosure he is always pleased to see him. He should have said this SO long ago.
What a balm to Laerions heart that must have been.
Laerion is lonely and adrift. He feels unneeded by anybody. There is nothing better Legolas could have said to him than this.
So now we sit back and see what difference that disclosure makes to how Laerion reacts. The ball is in his court. What will his next move be?
Oh and yes, insightful Elrohir knows, the one thing Legolas needs is to not feel like a disabled burden. The most important thing he can give him in their relationship is a feeling of equality. So he makes himself vulnerable by reminding Legolas he is depended on. Not the needy one in their relationship. That it is a two way street. Elrohir needs to see him as much as he needs to visit.
I've got a feeling Elrohir and Elladan know what they're about. After all, whenever Legolas has returned before, Estel has only seen him when he's happy to see the family he's missed, not sad to leave Elrohir. And, of course, there's the tension of knowing he's going to face Laerion and his mother.
Oh, but when Legolas tells Laerion he missed seeing him, that he needs his brother...that made me well up. It gives me hope they can finally talk through their problems.
That’s exactly it....what Elrohir meant with his confusing answer...perhaps this is how Legolas usually is when he leaves.....Estel has only seen Legolas’ joyful reunion with them all after his visits. He has never seen the difficulties of saying goodbye at the other end of things. And Legolas has never been good at goodbyes.
Glad you liked that bit with Laerion! It is what Laerion has been waiting for...to know his brother still needs him. Let’s see what he does with it!
What a lovely chapter.
I can just envision what Legolas looks like, seated on those steps, utterly spent with worry. And of course he runs right to his son. Elrohir is magnificent again--each of his suggestions just the right thing to say at each moment. He's so intuitive and knows what they need. Another reminder of just how far he has come in his attitude and empathy and ability to effectively communicate. His emotional intelligence is so strong now. But oh how I loved this bit, where his stern side rears up:
In the centre of my back there is a prod, sharp and uncomfortable. A finger pokes me where my father cannot see it. It is Elrohir. Silently he tells me his disappointment in me, he urges me to do what I should.
Elladan is just right as well. Each one of them, Legolas included, bathes the boy's fëa in love and care but Elladan also lets him know how he feels about it all, stern and direct. Estel needs that. That he is loved and cared for deeply but that there are also boundaries and expectations for his behaviour and lessons to be learned from all this. But Elladan's words about parents and their love are so true. But he truly shows his understanding and love when he acknowledges how it must be hard to be Estel sometimes--an empathetic comment that will surely resonate.
The whole scene in Legolas' bedroom was so emotional. It's so true that to children those arguments and harsh words often seem to take precedence over the subtle reminders of love that they take for granted. It hurts Estel to think Legolas may not love Elrohir or Maewen anymore; he knows what they mean to him, especially Elrohir and his healing love. But it is so gratifying to see Legolas putting into words what Elrohir means to him "emblazoned across his soul" is perfect.
And is easier sometimes to get angry at those we love best because we don't have to hide ourselves and our feelings from them but also because their transgressions wound us like no others. Legolas does a masterful job at explaining that to Estel and how he and Maewen clash but never lose the love they have for each other.
It is obviously devastating to Legolas to realize he has allowed his son to doubt about how much he loves his family. This will stay with Legolas and I assume will lead to much late night soul searching with both Elrohir and Maewen. But I also think it may galvanize him to take a solid look at what he can do to dispel that observation and concern of Estel's. And that will eventually lead to him looking outside of himself rather than in. He dwells too much on what he has lost and not on what he has and what he has gained. This is a shot of perspective. There are things only he can change--his outlook, his regret, his workload--things that can make a tangible difference in his day to day.
This is a valuable moment for them both. And I am glad Legolas is remaining calm and using his tools--building his walls as Gimli would say. And how much do I love the fact that Maewen quotes Gimli to him!
There is much Estel and Legolas have learned on this trip. About each other, about themselves. I think for me I am so glad to see Legolas verbalize what Elrohir means to him and the depth of his feelings. But he has also had to make some assessments of his own nuclear family and his interactions and responses to them. And has seen that adjustments must he made. There will be stumbling blocks but there is progress in regard to his interactions with Laerion, his mother and Estel himself. Won't be perfect but it bodes well for personal growth. Now if he could just get his tangled issues about losing Arda and Aragorn sorted!
This was a hard chapter to write and I got completely stuck in the middle of it so I am glad it read ok.
It is.....almost ......the pinnacle of this story, the tipping point. A lot of learning here for both Estel and Legolas.
Estel is intelligent and empathetic. He is a very caring, thoughtful child but he is still a child and as such his world revolves around him. Everything is interpreted as it relates to him. He has empathy and yet still struggles to see another’s point of view. It’s that Elladan is trying change, to get him to see his father as more than just “Father” but as Legolas. To understand the power he has as a child to hurt. It’s a work in progress learning this. We see in that Dagor Dagorath story Teenage Estel is still failing to see things beyond just himself, still hurting his father (by withdrawing his love that time) although the difference is Legolas is fully able to cope with that maturely. It’s step by step, block by block of these learning moments that will eventually grow Estel into a good man.
Estel made a mistake here and then made things worse by doing the old Legolas trick of avoiding, running, lying, (well we have never seen Legolas lying to avoid confrontation....but he IS guilty of stretching the truth, and Estel is a child....hence the lies.) He has learnt...having been forced into it by Elrohir and Elladan....that facing up to unpleasantness is often much less painful than running away. The sooner he learns to manage that character flaw he has inherited from his Father and Grandmother the better life will be for him.
As you say, painful conversation here for Legolas to hear, very painful, but he needed to hear it...to understand just what message his behaviour is sending his children, to think about how they are interpreting the world. He IS too internal, too focused on his losses and not enough on his blessings. He WILL be thinking on this and there WILL be changes.
Next chapter we will see Estel worrying that his father is returning home unhealed, that the visit has not been as beneficial at it usually is. Usually Legolas will return from Elrohir buoyant, boosted by the emotional healing he has recieved and walking on air...his depression for a short time relieved. Normally his visits are sweet and calm, full of him and Elrohir one on one and no tension, no arguing. This time there has been a lot of drama BUT what Estel does not see is the long term benefits...the fact Legolas is now wanting to make changes...no he is not returning on an artificial high...anything but....but he is returning much better able to alter his life for the better.
I liked that quiet reminder from Elladan that parents are people too. Estel’s still very young, so understandably sees everything as it relates to him, but Elladan’s right to try and expand his view. It was a lovely talk with Legolas, too. It’s easy for a child to interpret anger as the same as falling out of love. Legolas explains it well. I think.
That’s it exactly. Estel is still young enough that his world revolves around himself and he tries to relate everything he sees to himself. But such a lot of it isn’t about him at all. It’s adult stuff. Elladan was trying to gently stretch his viewpoint, as was Elrohir when he told him he didn’t have the right to know everything.
I’m glad you think Legolas did a good job. It upset him badly to think his son had interpreted his actions as not loving Maewen. To his thinking he shows his love in a multitude of ways....and Maewen sees them, and understands them, but Estel, as a child...not so much.
The thing is while some of their arguments are nasty and hurtful and caused in part by Legolas’ emotional volatility, of lot of it is just that Legolas and Maewen are two fiery people and they actually enjoy a good argument. Some of the fighting Estel sees is done almost in fun. They do need to be more aware of how that behaviour is interpreted by their children.
Oh cheeky!! You just know how to make me so very happy! Thank you so very much--as always you give me a pick-me-up right when I need it most. Your Legolas and Elrohir are always a gift but this fic is one I will treasure.
There is so much unspoken through the years with these two. They know how important communication is but Legolas tends to avoid things he doesn't want to confront and more often than not, in the past, Elrohir was willing to let him do that or find a way to blame himself for the issue. It is uplifting to see just how far your Elrohir has come--to the point where he can look at the past, confront it, parse out the nuances missed the first time around, discuss it with calm and the confidence that their relationship is strong enough to withstand such openness. It's breathtaking to see him do it and to know they can do this because of each other--they have given each other the love and support and the trust to be able to confront their past demons and come out the other side.
This particular incident was awful for them both and neither truly comprehended the impact on the other at the time. It is good that Elrohir is not going to back down and let this conversation go yet again unspoken. And he knows Legolas so well--has spent so many years learning just how to do this--that he can accomplish it, in a way that supports Legolas and builds him up. The touch that he learned from Aragorn--so bittersweet a memory.
I think it was very important for him to reveal that he loved Legolas on secret for a long time. It's unbelievable that he hasn't admitted this before but just like Legolas is not who he was when they first met, neither is Elrohir. The old Elrohir was full of self-doubt, drowning in feelings of inadequacy, so conflicted and sure of his unworthiness. Legolas reached through that--saw him, understood him, accepted him, believed in him and loved him--that changed Elrohir.
Elrohir is right--there is no point in Legolas struggling to be who he was, who he thinks people expect him to be. Each of the people in his life love him for who he is and it's time he accepts who he is and stops looking back. He needs to communicate his needs to others because they are all there to help. And who he is now is just what Elrohir says--a stronger, wiser, more open version of himself. All those lives that have touched him, all the life experiences, even the accident, have made him who he is and he is worthy of their love and affection-- as he is
And Elrohir is correct: knowing him, being with him, loving him, makes me a better version of myself too.
What a magnificent much needed conversation. Thank you again, my friend, for this story.
And now I want more behind the scenes of Birds with these two and their clandestine conversations!
I found, when I wrote that most recent story on the ship at Pelegir, the contrast between that Elrohir and this one astounding. I knew he was different in this story —different than the Elrohir we saw in “Fire” but I hadn’t quite realised how different until I went back in time to write him pre Legolas.
It’s obvious to everyone, in this story and especially in Fire, what Elrohir does for Legolas . . What Elrohir gives him. In fact there was a stage in Fire when readers began to get quite annoyed with Legolas, (I think you may have been one of them) as they felt he was all give and no take . . .that it was a one way relationship, and I had to say, “wait...just give it time, it will even out.”
Now when you compare Elrohir in the Pelegir story to Elrohir here you can see what Legolas has given him. Self belief firstly. Confidence, in himself, in his partner, in their relationship. He can take the hard line he does here because he knows Legolas is his . . . No matter what. He no longer has to second guess everything. Someone loves him.... all of him ... all those parts that didn’t fit before.
I know Elrohir’s support of Legolas is visible and substantial but honestly . . . I think Legolas has given Elrohir an even bigger gift.
And Elrohir is right. Legolas has fought bitterly to regain his old self. He has railed against his disabilities and not asked for help or even been as open as he should because he believes people want him to be something else. It’s shocking that until now Elrohir —as close as they are, as significant as his mental healing ability is—didn’t realise the extent of Legolas’ struggles. How could that be? It goes to show how little Legolas has been showing the world of the chaos inside his head. I think Gimli was the only one who truly had a clue.
It will be interesting to see how Maewen reacts when they have this conversation . . . She sees more. She has Legolas day to day, Elrohir doesn’t. She knows the old Legolas all the way back to childhood, Elrohir didn’t.I think she has more of an understanding of the depths of Legolas’ problems but he is not open with her either....because he desperately wants to be her “old Legolas”
This chapter makes me so happy. Of course it's sad to see Laegolas still struggling with his brain damage so many years after it happened, but to see him finally able to talk about the Dead Marshes and how he sees himself is so moving. Elrohir is being brave when he gives Legolas his ultimatum concerning Maewen, but maybe Legolas does need pushing, or he'll forever avoid confessing his fears to Maewen.
You know Legolas is still good at running away from things that are difficult. Elrohir knows that too now! It WAS brave of him to give that ultimatum but he knows if he didn’t Legolas would not speak to Maewen. Without that follow through from Elrohir of a letter to Maewen (that is going to be coming no matter what Legolas tells him) Legolas will just duck and dive and avoid.
He’s right here, I think, Elrohir. Legolas needs to accept the person he has become more and fight against his disabilities less. That doesn’t mean giving in. But it does mean asking for help more and beginning to incorporate those lingering disabilities into his life.
Plus he NEEDS to be more open with those he loves about the difficulties he faces day to day rather than trying to fight through them on his own.
There are SO many scenes like this from “Even the Birds” that I want to write that we don’t see in the story since it is all from Estel’s viewpoint!
This is so beautiful. I really must get around to reading this series; I'm intrigued by the idea of Legolas having a son with a woman he still loves, while also having a relationship with Elrohir. There is so much weight and history behind this gorgeous one-shot, and the style is lovely - your writing feels as calm and patient as Elrohir, really clean and peaceful. I hope that makes sense!?
I really enjoyed Elrohir in this chapter. He felt very grown up and worldly wise; I do love the mad, mischievous Elrohir from your other 'verse, but this gives a whole new depth to his relationship with Legolas.
Thank you so much for sharing; I am sure Nelya will love her gift!
I am so impressed you managed to enjoy this without any of the back story! It’s really complicated now and I was sure this would make no sense without it.
Yes Legolas has a “wife” (they aren’t actually married as that is not silvan tradition and she is silvan) and two children. One of which is a boy, Estel, from whose viewpoint the story “Even the Birds” that this is an out take from, is written.
The Silvans are polyamorous which is why the thing with Elrohir is able to be....but, oh! It’s all so complicated I can’t even begin to start explaining it!!
This Elrohir IS wise and calm and more like I usually write Elladan, in this chapter and the rest of the story it’s based on. But he hasn’t always been that way. This is set in Valinor and he has experienced a huge amount of personal growth there. Previously he has been more like my original Elrohir.....not mad and mischievous so much but definitely unsure about himself and lacking self esteem and my other Elrohir was that too. (He hid it behind his mischief)
Thank you for reading it without the other stories under your belt!
What a chapter! Wish I could type with two hands--beware typos!
I KNEW Estel was going to end up in Elladan's flet! I thought Elladan would find him there but it is so much better that it is Elrohir. Estel knows just how badly he has messed up here but he doesn't know how to fix it.
It broke my heart that the first thing he says to Elrohir is about Elrohir not visiting. And how Elrohir answers, doesn't really avoid it and is so tender with him.
“Of course,” he chuckles to himself but it does not feel as if he laughs at me. “How long is it that I have loved a Silvan? I should know better!” The Elrohir before Fire would never have spoken so freely. The Elrohir of Fire would not have either.
He has come so far--it's just beautiful to see, especially after that other story--such a juxtaposition. Such personal growth.
Ah here comes the revelation that he heard their conversation. It hurts me that Estel thinks Legolas doesn't love Elrohir anymore but that is exactly the impression a child would take away from this. But again Elrohir displays a surety and confidence that he and Legolas will get through this that is breathtaking to see.
Such difficult questions Estel asks! But again so impressed with Elrohir's steadiness here. He is matter of fact but he draws a line as far as what he will reveal and sticks to it. He loves Estel but he is stern about this because he must be--it is a boundary Estel must respect.
I love that Legolas and Elrohir have already discussed Estel's words to his father--even though they are at odds themselves, there is such better communication between them than they have had in the past.
you know,” Elrohir says then. “It is not about danger and heroics. Sometime being courageous is facing up to our mistakes. It is going back to those we love, who we have hurt, and putting things right. That takes real bravery. Come on.” again he is so good here--years of dealing with small boys and their transgressions I think.
And speaking of those boys--I'm glad Estel brought it up and that Elrohir could speak on this issue and claim Aragorn, who Estel dislikes!
“I know.” He puts his arm across my shoulder then. “He is the best father for you, the very best. Perhaps I could be like a brother, a big brother. I am good at that. What do you think?” again so good to see him finding good in himself and being able to vocalize it. He IS a good brother. He has always been a good brother.
And he laughs. That is something changed in him as well--for the better. And again he perceives that Laerion and Legolas can overcome their differences and reach a rapprochement finally. Not a physical healer but a healer of souls--and someone who can sense the distress in another's soul and reach out to it.
All in all a lovely chapter and one that just intensifies my complete adoration of Elrohir. He shows true personal growth and such sensitivity in this story--despite their stumbling blocks, he and Legolas have a mature relationship that mutually benefits them and enhances their personal growth and emotional intelligence.
Yes Elladan would have done just as good a job wrangling this small boy down from the trees but it had to be Elrohir.
I’m glad you like the fact he and Legolas have already spoken. Yes Legolas was intensely angry initially but to tell the truth by the time this happened I think that anger was disappating and knowing Legolas like I do he was left backed into a corner trying to find a way out of the situation his anger had left him re Elrohir. Legolas, like his son, has a tendency to sulk and is not very good at knowing how to patch things up.
So first thing he did when he lost his son was to go to Elrohir —he would have been distraught then of course.
Such a different Elrohir here from that Teitho Elrohir! He has grown so much. So sure of himself, confident of his relationship, not afraid to set boundaries. Very intuitive.
This chapter feeds directly into that one shot I wrote you where Elrohir and Legolas speak about the Dead Marshes. I will be posting that here this weekend now I’ve written this. The speech Elrohir gives Estel about courage is also directed at himself. He knows he did wrong in the Marshes and he must fix it. So first chance he gets he goes to Legolas and they have that discussion.
I almost want to write this whole story again from Legolas and Elrohir’s perspective to see all these off scene chats they are having!
Believe me, when Elrohir says Legolas knows Estel did not mean what he said...well it has taken some long hard talking and emotional support to get him there. And I think Estel is probably right.....deep down Legolas is beating himself up about this big time...and the fact Estel said he’d rather Elrohir was his father feeds right in to Legolas’ struggle with his disability and not being “good enough”
I'm so happy you updated! And finally a chapter that doesn't make me say 'Oh no' at the start of the review!
This is Elrohir at his best, the way he can sense Estel's pain and know exactly how to address it. Now let's hope he can deal with Legolas's pain in the right way. I like his confidence that Legolas and Laerion will be reconciled. I hope he's right. There's so much hurt between Legolas and Laerion and Legolas and his mother, but I'd like to think they can be close again.
This has been partly written for ages! So good to get it done.
Elrohir did good, didn’t he. He really has a talent for managing small unhappy boys. We saw that in the oneshot I wrote about him and Aragorn when he was young. We can’t get to accurately see how he deals with Legolas in this story as it is all through Estel’s eyes and (as Elrohir rightly points out) there are some things Elrohir and Legolas keep private from the child.
But...I do have a oneshot out-take I wrote ages ago that has been waiting for me to finish this chapter before I could publish it, that is Elrohir and Legolas together shortly after this incident. Will try and put it up this weekend and you can see how he goes.
Legolas NEEDS to e close to Laerion again.....and his Mum. He won’t be well until that happens, it’s the getting there that is the tricky bit. :-)
Beautiful beloved Finrod!
You write him so beautifully and have really captured the essence of him. A strong and indomitable force and a little intimidating too. But not without tact and kindness. He used to be a King afterall.
I've read fics in the past where the writer makes him a little too weak for my liking, no fault of their own. I just think he's a little difficult to get right. But you Cheekybeak, perfect!
I absolutely loved the way Finrod helped Legolas deal with his grief. Its a wonderful thought, everyone reborn to tread Arda side by side. I hope he's right! I would love to see that! It was beautifully executed too, and if Legolas is better for it, then I say a job well done Finrod! :)
How did I miss responding to this?! :-o
This review made my day. You have no idea how much I angsted over Finrod! I was so intimidated by him. (Just like Legolas)
like you, I don’t really like a weak Finrod. He’s not weak, hers awesome. He fought Sauron, he fought a werewolf with his bare hands....I wanted him to be strong and yet still caring. I think Finrod would enjoy Legolas silvan people, a people not ever really destined for Valinor. He loved difference. Other cultures fascinated him. Valinor must have been a very suffocating place for Finrod I think.
I also forgot to mention how happy I am that Gimli met Finrod!! I was so hoping they would meet each other and I knew they would get along. But I'm sure this is troubling and upsetting too Legolas too--but I think it's good for him to hear his name and I think it's good for him to hear that Gimli believed. Somehow I think that's very important in the whole scheme of things. Finrod really is masterful here.
I couldnt imagine Finrod being aware there was a dwarf in Valinor and NOT meeting him. It would be like a moth to a flame. Finrod was curious, he liked to be challenged and he loved to learn about other cultures. Out of all the first age elves that was his speciality. Gimli would gone to see Galadriel and Finrod would have been there in a flash.
Hard for Legolas, yes, to think of Gimli visiting with Finrod and not telling him —I’m not yet sure exactly why Gimli did that. But it is very important to Legolas that Gimli believed this. There is no one who’s opinion he values more than Gimli.
I love this! Legolas really needs to be challenged - he's made sweeping assumptions about the Noldor and thinks he's the only one who's sundered forever from his loved ones. I love how Finrod opens his eyes to the loss of others, and also the possibility he will see his mortal friends again.
My Legolas has always been guilty of making sweeping assumptions of the Noldor! Even though he loves one of them.
But he is drowning in his sadness and grief here, and needed a bolt of light to energise him out of it. Who better than golden Finrod? And Finrod will be sympathetic where sympathy is due but he will not indulge self pity. Dont tell Finrod you’re the only one who knows about loss! Legolas needed that telling off.
I can't tell you how much I love this story. Thranduil shows so much concern here--to the point of confiding in others outside the family, which says a lot. Reaching out to Noldor for help. I love the watchfulness of them, as they facilitate this encounter. That Celeborn, who doesn't always see eye to eye with Finrod, thinks this intervention will be of help to his friend's son--that all says quite a bit about Legolas' current state and Finrod's presence/ability/gift.
I love Finrod. He is so open, so confident--characterized so well with his questioning nature, solid beliefs and independent thinking, and he's not going to take any nonsense or tantrums or illogical behaviour from Legolas. He shuts him down by reminding him he isn't the only one who has lost beloved mortals. He shuts him down when Legolas gets indignant about his not knowing about the ring being returned to Finrod. He's truly masterful in his directness, his gravitas but also his shining, infectious joy and conviction. He's just brilliant and I think he is so well done here. The palpable hope rising in Legolas at his words is so uplifting. Legolas has desperately needed a dose of philosophical, brilliant, golden Finrod.
I love the last bit-- where Legolas finds himself in all those titles and names for himself. It's a strong realization.
Poor sweet Thranduil, (yes I know Sweet is not an adjective you would usually apply to Thranduil but he IS sweet here in his parental worry) His son is numb, detached, going through the motions of life and they are all failing at helping him find a way out of that.
Then golden Finrod appears and shatters that glass Legolas is hiding behind. I really wanted to convey Finrod’s power and hope I managed it. I wanted him to be like a lightning bolt into Legolas’ dark world.
And yeah . . . Finrod isn’t in to mollycoddling sad elves. Legolas is not going to get any “poor you, it must have been tough” from Finrod.
Finrod had it tough!
He will listen, and sympathise, and heal, but he won’t encourage self pity. A bit like Gimli really. :-)
I love this! What a gorgeous characterisation of Finrod :) golden and dangerous and kind. Wonderful.
Glad you liked Finrod. I have never written a First Age elf before (seriously, the funny stories don’t count) and I found Finrod a bit intimidating. I think he would be something special. An elf above others and wasn’t sure I could capture his power. I didn’t want him too sugar sweet either. He IS dangerous!
Oh my goodness! I am internally sobbing! This is so beautiful and so lovely! I love the interactions of Finrod and Legolas, especially seeing Finrod through Legolas' eyes. I love that Finrod is still rebelling, still questioning, how he lovingly puts Legolas in his place. It's very evlen! Thanks for sharing!
This is my first attempt at writing Finrod ....or indeed any of the first age elves. It was intimidating and nerve wracking I have to say and I hope I did him justice.
To me Finrod had this inate need to question ....and interest in different cultures. I can’t see him ever “settling” for the rules! He is always on a quest to learn more.
I think most of my reviews to this story begin with “oh no” or equivalent. You really are cruel to your characters!
I’m trying to think if there was a worse thing Estel could have said, but can’t think of one. Poor Legolas must be reeling, and he can’t even turn to Elrohir to find equilibrium. I dread to think what he’s going to do next.
Most of your reviews to ALL of my stories start with “oh no!”
That must mean I am too mean and should start being kinder and more cuddly with them.
You are so right. There isn’t anything worse Estel could have chosen to say. This will rip Legolas’ heart out and it strikes right at the centre of his worries and insecurities. Lashing out is never a good way to solve things as Estel is learning.
But he is just a boy, not a reasoning adult, and this temper tantrum demonstrates that :-(
PS Happy Birthday!
I wish I had two hands to type because there is SO MUCH I WANT TO SAY but my one stupid hand is slow and inadequate! beware typos here.
Great sense of the frustration of an active outdoor person cooped up in a room. it must be so trying for poor Legolas too--he finds solace in nature.
elladan is magnificent. He KNOWS. He knows Elrohir--he knows how precious this child is to him. he knows his brother would do anything to prevent such a thing from happening to Estel IF HE COULD. But he couldn't and it was not his fault but Elrohir is a walking talking guilt magnet and too stubborn and loyal and noble to rat out Estel even if it costs him the love of his life. and Elladan is having none of it. I'm glad he calls Estel out and signals his disapproval and disappointment, He calls it selfish and that stings but estel sure has inherited someone's stubbornness and running away from problems characteristic! looking at you Legolas.
I am glad that estel recognizes and appreciates what Elrohir does for Legolas. his childish attempt to bring them together hurts, especially when Legolas bashes Elrohir.
and truth will out, no matter what. This is.a far worse way to tell Legolas. Honest confession in a tender moment would have brought disappointment to Legolas but would not have devastated him in this way. they would have talked it out. A reprimand. rapprochement with Elrohir, a few hours of unhappiness.
but this. this blunt, childish vindictive lashing out is something else. it comes from a place of fear and self doubt and hits a bullseye of fear and self doubt in the intended target--Legolas. He already feels not good enough of a parent, son, husband, brother, lover. this will hurt him in a far deeper, visceral way. But estel is a child still and he is coping poorly with guilt and lashing out.
my heart hurts for them all. I have faith in Elladan--the rest are just too enmeshed in misery right now although I do think if Estel runs to Elrohir now rather than Elladan, to confess, Elrohir will put his own issues aside to be there for Legolas. Because Elrohir knows better than anyone how deeply this will cut Legolas. it will reinforce his personal insecurity about his parenting. it will devastate him on a personal level because estel is so precious to him. He will be filled with guilt at blaming Elrohir and shutting him out. Because Legolas KNOWS Elrohir too. knows his predilection for guilt and blame and self recrimination. and he knows he reinforced that and hurt elrohir deeply.
and yes even if elrohir isn't actually physically in this chapter I am still giving him love.
aaaatrghh, I want the next chapter NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I guess sometimes it’s hard to remember Estel is just a child. He’s intelligent, observant, astute and empathetic but he is still a child and therefore still capable of being childish. And he is now. His guilt, Elladans displeasure, his fear of disappointing his father, the potential loss of Elrohir, all combine to spill into this childish temper tantrum. And he has chosen particularly hurtful words to pour upon Legolas which go to the heart of Legolas’ fears.
So where to from here? Estel could not have possibly found anything WORSE to say to his father. This is hurtful, (as kids often are) and it is also not true....but Legolas has problems with controlling and interpreting emotions so how will he cope?
Who will Estel run to? You are SO right to point out his similarity to his father here. That was in my mind as I wrote....they both run from conflict.
As for Elladan. Yes he assessed the whole situation early on. But had to wait until he was not inflicting large amounts of pain upon the boy to discuss it. And he IS disappointed. And he wants Estel to do better.....because he cares for him, but also because the whole situation is hurting his brother.
We will not see Legolas and Elrohir and how they tackle this because that will be off screeen we are only going to see them in the aftermath. What they have to say to each other will remain a mystery....except to me. I know everything!
Thank you for continuing this wonderful story. Your writing is extraordinary.
Thank you! Such a lovely thing to say. I am pleased it is still holding your attention!
My heart breaks for all of them. No one’s to blame, but everything’s faling apart. If only Gimli was still around.
Of course Elrohir can’t tell Legolas Estel had been misbehaving. He can hardly say “sorry Estel’s hurt, but it’s his own fault.” And poor Estel is hurting and can’t bear the thought of losing his father’s comforting presence. Not that I think Legolas would react in the way Estel fears, but Estel’s hardly in a state to be rational.
As for Legolas, his confession to Estel made me want to weep. He knows he’s broken yet trying so desperately to hold it together. Yet if he sends Elrohir away he could fall apart. Elrohir’s the one who can heal him.
Where’s Elladan. If anyone can bring them together surely it’s him.
You are SO right. They need Gimli badly to stride in and say, “Legolas, you are overacting, Calm down. Elrohir, stop being melodramatic and say what truly happened.”
But he’s not there. :-(
and Elrohir is never going to admit he’s not completely at fault. In his mind now it IS all down to him. Guilt is a terrible thing. And absolutely, Legolas wouldn’t react how Estel imagines he would. He would be disappointed but he is still so relieved his precious child is safe.
Im glad Legolas’ secret confession made you sad. I know that sounds horrible but I really wanted people to feel for him there and understand how hard he trying for his son.
You are right....sending Elrohir away would be a disaster.
Poor Elladan. He always ends up being the one to pick up all the pieces.
I am overjoyed to be Elrohir's cheerleader--I love him dearly and just want to shake him when he gets this overabundance of self blame!
But Elladan knows or will know Elrohir's truth. He can't hide it from his brother. And he likely even knows already, from speaking to Elrohir. He knows Elrohir would NEVER willingly take the child off the path, especially not this child. He probably even sensed the reverberations in Elrohir's fëa. Estel is going to be in a tight spot if he doesn't come clean soon.
Back from the Lake so now I can answer you!
Yes, Elladan will see through this. Legolas would have too if he was not so emotionally upset by it all. There is no-one more staunchly committed to breaking down Elrohir’s tendency to run himself down than Legolas. But Legolas is spinning out in emotional chaos so Elladan it is!
Oh. Oh! OH!!! What a powerful, emotionally draining chapter. It gives us such a glimpse into Legolas--the iron control he is exerting just to exist at this time, to put one foot in front of the other when he feels like shattering all over again each day, how the shards of him have been put together but not quite right. Fragments missing, those that are still there not seamlessly knit together but imperfectly--giving an illusion of wholeness but unstable enough to fall apart. He would not have said so much had he thought Estel could hear. He does not reveal that kind of thing easily. I imagine he is literally thrumming with tension as he grasps to retain his control as he speaks to Elrohir initially--asks him to go because he is so close to shattering.
Elrohir hurts my heart here. He is so guilt ridden, penitent, so focused again on doing what he can to help. His self blame is so palpable and it is clear he would rather face this fury and blame from Legolas than ever say that Estel played a part.
Legolas is so close to the edge that he actually does admit his struggle--clearly and bluntly. It needed to be said but he has not. And Elrohir's reply is achingly loving. He would accept it all, anything really, and do what he can to help because he loves him that much. Infinitely.
But oh! Those deep held hurts that Legolas has buried away come out now, when his veneer of control is stretched so thin. This was masterful--so much more vivid and devastating than the version I peeked at! He pulls out the memory of every insult, every sneer, every bitter comment Elrohir made when his own heart was shattered and scarred by Legolas.
And this: " Why did I ever think I could trust you with my child? Will you never forgive me? Is there nothing I can ever do? Did you do this to hurt me?”
We are suddenly seeing that Legolas KNOWS how jsut much he hurt Elrohir then, feels his own deep guilt at that, and somehow as he has turned this current situation over in his mind, trying to understand HOW and WHY did Elrohir ALLOW this to happen to Estel (never even thinking Estel could perhaps have been willful and disobedient, as Legolas was himself in his youth as you have him recount later) he comes to the misguided idea that Elrohir wanted to somehow hurt him as deeply as he had been hurt. Ugh. The mind is so powerful when it chases a narrative--even to an erroneous end!
And Elrohir's horror at that idea is palpable--he recoils from it. But he still will not let Estel shoulder any of the blame. Even when Legolas utters those devastating words about sundering Elrohir from Estel permanently. His words are so fraught with pain as he begs Legolas not to do that. It must be lacerating to hear that, especially as he has given Estel such a prominent place in his heart now. He loved him for Legolas' sake at first but now he loves Estel for Estel and this is a devastating turn of affairs.
And then the rest: a wonderful bit of shared bonding of Estel and Legolas regarding the medicine. A moment when Legolas can think back on Aragorn and Ginli with fondness and amusement, not despair. A really lovely moment.
Until Estel KILLS ME by throwing Elrohir under the bus!! AAAARGH!!! Can this family stop letting their minds make up ridiculous scenarios that they then cling to as indelible truth?? Of course Legolas won't be happy with the revelation that Estel disobeyed and ran off but Legolas needs to know this. His love for his son is not conditional on Estel's actions or behavior!! AAaRGH!! I just want to tell Estel to tell the TRUTH! It's always better than the alternative. I understand why he's doing it and why he feels he needs to and that he's a child but I am SO FRUSTRATED at him right now.
SO glad you connected with Legolas in this. I know he’s frustrating and irritating in a lot of this story...especially as seen through the eyes of his child who does NOT understand even a fraction of his father and knows nothing of his damage beyond his inability to write. I really wanted people to understand him more and maybe have more sympathy when he seems unreasonable —as on the face of it he seems here.
Legolas is NOT normal. That he fronts up every day and functions realitively normally—so much so that readers and characters judge him by normal standards—is only by sheer willpower and determination. And it’s not fair to judge his behaviour by the same standards as others, standards he simply cannot meet. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect him to do better, be better. Of course we should, and he CAN do better. But we need to always remember at the back of our minds how hard just getting through the day is for him.
He has —as he is prone to do—kept far too much of this secret from Elrohir and Maewen. They really do need to know this. He needs to let people in more but has always been bad at that. He hates admitting to inadequacies. There are good things to come out of this moment of openness. You know that of course from your gift fic which I will have to post here now so people can see that.
Imagine how awful Elrohir feels about all this, (well I know you can, you are his main cheerleader) He knows how terrible it would have been if things had been worse and Estel had suffered more badly than he did. I doubt very much Legolas could come back from Estel’s loss if it had come to that. And Elrohir also knew, from the moment Estel fell, (not that it was on his mind until he knew the boy was ok) that this meant bad news as far as he and Legolas went. He will never draw attention to the boys part in this. Already he has determined it WAS all down to him. He so readily absorbs blame on to himself. He does not consider he is covering up for the boy. He REALLY thinks it’s his fault. Another one creating his own narrative and ignoring reality.
Im glad you liked Legolas and Estel bonding at the end. Legolas looking back with fond amusement as he does not do often enough. And good for Estel to get a glimpse of his young father not being the perfect elf Estel thinks he was.
You and I know of course, having been children and raised children that the best time for Estel to confess to his misbehaviour is now, while Legolas is still full of relief his child is safe, still overwhelmed with love for him. He will get a frown, a mild telling off and the rest will be lost in Legolas’ utter relief at his safety. But Estel is a boy and doesn’t know that yet. The further Legolas gets away from this “thank god he’s safe” moment the worse the response to the confession will be. Especially if Estel adds lying about it in to the mix.
Fabulous writing, I'm enjoying this story very much. Thank you for continuing this tale.
Thank you! So glad to know you are reading it and enjoying it. Hope you like the latest instalment. :-)