So lovely! Trust Legolas to have to make that gesture with the strawberries! Hopefully now Laerion is there, he can spend more time being a Silvan and less time worrying about the Foolish Lords of Tirion. It's good to see him and Laerion getting on, too.
A great story, Cheeky. Thanks for sharing :)
Glad you liked it. Thanks so much for all your reviews!
Laerion should really make things easier for Legolas. As you say, more time being the silvan he is should make him happier, and will make his son happier. An inspired idea by Thranduil. And already Laerion has good advice. Legolas needs to get Elrohir....or another member of his illustrious family...to intercede with Tirion on behalf of the Silvans and make demands more reasonable.
But he and Laerion have work to do with each other too. They need to make sure they confront their issues, (Legolas would probably like to just put his head in the sand and pretend they Dont have any.) or this new brotherly love will all fall apart. They need to talk about Laerions death AND Legolas’ choice to return from the afterlife.
Legolas and the strawberries....sweet wasn’t he. As to why he did that, I actually have a oneshot explaining that written already from Maewen’s point of veiw. I’ll publish that later today maybe in my slot for “Birds” out-takes!
So sorry to see this end. Hopefully there will be further adventures of Estel the younger in our future. Thank you for writing such a wonderful story.
So glad you liked it! There are plans for more Estel... I have a one shot with him as a teenager written already. And in my head I have plans for him right into Young adulthood.
Thank you for reading and letting me know you enjoyed it!
Lovely chapter that left me teary eyed.
It's sad to think the Silvans beloved stars are different here. I hadn't considered that but they would be like a different hemisphere.
I was so surprised and elated when Legolas showed up! He is so gentle in these last two chapters. He's spent a lot time and energy thinking on all that he and Elrohir discussed and likely on how he responds to people and situations too, after Estel's injury.
I really felt bad for Legolas' mother, realizing too late what a terrible mistake she had made and unable to undo it. She ran away too quickly, made a rash decision too fast. I think in his heart Legolas somehow knows that and also that he has the potential (and has on occasion) made similar rash decisions and run away from confrontations of a personal nature that he should not have avoided.
I love the bit about Earendil. I love that Elrohir has taken Legolas to meet him. I think there is likely an affinity between Elrohir and his paternal grandfather. Earendil would likely have made the choice to be mortal, if not for Elwing. As Elrohir chose for Legolas (and Elladan.) But knowing how little Legolas was probably not that attentive a student of history the next bit is lovely:
Not in the skies. Elrohir takes me to see him. Earendil is his Grandfather, you know that?” He leans forward and looks at me, frowning. “I really have neglected your education,” he mutters.
Oh I laughed with that! I can think of two Peredhel who are warrior/scholars who can help with that.
But the words exchanged between Legolas and his mother were so poignant , so necessary and so surprisingly straightforward. I love how Legolas asks for a story of his childhood. And how he apologizes first.
It is a moving exchange and this part just encapsulates so much of their shared history:
“Oh but you are. Still determined, still courageous, still driving your father to distraction trying to keep up with you.” She chuckles. “You will always be my wild one to me. I should never have left you. The darkness strangled all my light. I could not see. I cannot explain it to you, Legolas.”
“I know how it is,” he replies. “Sometimes dark clouds surround me and choke all that is good from my life. I cannot see Maewen then . . Or the children . . And it is endless.”
And Estel has learned the lesson of Elrohir and Laerion! He does not need to be hearing this.
I love how Legolas noticed the carvings right away. And how he sees the effort Thranduil put into the likenesses. But of course he notices Aragorn out of place. I think it's so perfect that he makes even Estel's secret shunning of the Aragorn figurine into a positive about Aragorn's character!
What a lovely end to the chapter. For Legolas is a good father and Thranduil is as well. And Thranduil has the potential to be a legendary grandfather--if given the chance!
I know things are drawing to a close. I have really loved this story. For all the growth we have seen in the characters and also for the sheer magnitude of what Elrohir's steady, understanding love and gentle nudges have meant for Legolas. His love is so encompassing. They are good for each other.
The stars came directly from my own experiences travelling in the Northern hemisphere. It is truely dislocating and uncomfortable to look up at the night sky and see it being completely unfamiliar. I imagine that is what it is like for Silvans in Valinor and since they are so connected to the stars that must be horrible.
Two things have happened here for Legolas. Elrohir has enabled him to see his brother through different eyes. To understand he has failed Laerion somewhat and that prodded him to reach out. But Laerion has enabled this reconnection with his mother .....for all that Elrohir has been not so subtlety prodding for this it was Laerion that made this connection.
He gave Legolas a way to find empathy. To connect the way he is feeling at the moment....his deep hurt at Estel’s rejection...with the way he is making his mother feel. He also realises just how easy it is as a parent to fail, (or feel like you have failed) your child.
Until now Legolas has been behaving like a child. He reacts from a place of deep, painful childhood anger towards his mother without engaging his adult brain and assessing how that reaction affects his mother and himself.
Legolas’ mothers desertion was a terrible thing but she has a justification. She was mentally ill, struggling with a clinical depression following her child’s death and not able to think logically. Legolas knows how this is as well as he too has inherited this tendency. In fact of all the people he has supporting him his mother is the one person who can truly say “I know how you feel” He really needs her support.
Oh, and Earendil is indeed special to Elrohir. That mortalness about the two of them brings them together. And Earendil and Legolas bond over the sea but after years of worrying about Legolas’ sealonging Elrohir is unable to relax about that. He is uncomfortable letting Legolas simply indulge his lingering love of the sea.
Of course Legolas noticed Aragorn! Of course Estel has to isolate Aragorn. Of course Legolas sees everything Aragorn in a positive light....The issues there still remain!
*weeps* That was so beautiful. Legolas and his mother finally talked. It was heartbreaking to think of her desperate to return, knowing what a terrible mistake she'd made, yet not being allowed. But now she's on her way to getting her 'little wild one' back. She's admitted her mistake, and Legolas his anger. I'm hopeful they can't both get past it now.
I'm so proud of Estel, remembering Laerion's warning, and realising he shouldn't be listening. Even if he wasn't exactly eavesdropping this time. And quick thinking with saying Aragorn was standing guard!
I'd be interested to see Legolas, Laerion, Elrohir and Estel get together and talk about Aragorn - they all have a different perspective on him!
They did finally talk! His situation with Estel, and talk with Laerion, has enabled Legolas to have some empathy with his mother. He knows now what it feels like to be rejected by your child, how deeply that hurts. He knows how easy it is to make mistakes as a parent.....although the one his mother made was a huge one....but she has a justification. She was mentally ill, suffering deep depression after the loss of her son which meant her thinking was not logical, and Legolas understands that too because he too struggles with depression.
He is still very angry, and they have a lot of talking to do before they truly get over this....but this is a start....a really good start.
and yeah, go Estel who has finally started to learn his lesson and put some boundaries on his curiousity!
I love that idea of all four of them talking about Aragorn! I wonder if I could make that a oneshot? But I am not sure how I would do it without Laerion and Legolas coming to blows! Laerions bitterness towards Aragorn runs very deep.
Only one more chapter to go!
Lovely chapter. Love the three hunters- a beautiful mix of nostalgia and joyfulness.
Hi there! Didn’t know you were reading this. :-)
yeah, this was a bit of levity and softness after all the endless angst of the rest of the story. We are getting close to wrapping it up so I had to lighten things a bit!
Tie up some of these loose ends and try and solve some of Leggy’s problems.
An update! Yay! I didn't expect this so soon after your comment yesterday!
But I am so glad to see this chapter. It warms my heart.
Of course Laerion is very capable of dealing with small boys-- he had centuries with young Legolas! I love how he makes his point clear here to Estel and how he uses telling Thranduil as a reserve option if further mischief develops.
Thranduil is lovely in this chapter. I love how exuberant he is in his affection for Estel. I love how he has the time for Estel-- he is still King but not a realm and people under siege anymore. Being Thranduil he's not going to completely loosen up and relax--he's too conscientious, responsible and disciplined for that-- but he IS going to take the time available with his grandson that he often could not spare for his own sons.
His gifts for Estel made my cry. First for the choice of subjects. Then because of the time and effort it took to make them. And mostly because you can see in his efforts that he KNEW Gimli and Aragorn--as people, as friends of his son, as individuals who mattered to his son and thus mattered to Thranduil. He has put love and affection into this thoughtful gift to Estel. It is also by extension love towards his son--sharing this gift reveals he knows so well the bond the Three Hunters had--he explains you cannot have any one of them without the others. It's really a lovely tribute and gift.
Laerion and Estel certainly share an aversion to Aragorn! Laerion tight lipped comment was spot on. And of course Estel's curiosity is inflamed. I loved this bit:
but I cannot say it was pleasant.”
“Laerion!” It is a hiss under his breath from my Grandfather, the kind my father gives me when we are in public and he wants me to behave. But Laerion simply shrugs, as if he does not care.
Perhaps Estel is learning what subjects are off limits!
The dinner scene! I can just SEE Thranduil tapping his fingers!
It is so gratifying to see Legolas instantly turn to Laerion for assistance here and Laerion jump right in. Their talk was so recent but Legolas has taken it to heart in the time he had to reflect alone. And he is better, so much better, because he has the audacity to tease Thranduil.
Thranduil's confusion and palpable bewilderment is lovely-- he was all prepped to go toe to toe in a battle of wills with his headstrong youngest son and he's immediately suspicious when he gets aquiesence. But I love his suspicion--he knows his boy and he's so persistent. But I laughed when Mrs. Thranduil visibly shut him down. Gobsmacked Thranduil is a delight!
It must be so incredible for both parents to see their sons laughing together again, even if Thranduil still suspects he is being played.
But then the end--the delicate reaching out to his mother. It's such a huge step.
And then dear old Thranduil!
And Grandfather frowns as he leans forward across the table to look at Father closely.
“Are you quite well, Legolas?” He asks.
I had to laugh again. Poor Thranduil.
But even though he is not physically in this chapter I can feel Elrohir here--in Estel, in Legolas, in the gentle rapprochement of this family that would not be happening without Elrohir's advice, remonstrations, gentle nudges. He has brought Legolas to these moments and I love him dearly for it in absentia.
Laerion nails it:
“Well Elrohir seems to be giving good advice to everyone, today. Why did you not listen to him?”
I had this 3/4 written just waiting to be finished when Maewen diverted me into writing her chat!
Laerion, of course, is a master with small boys, much as Elrohir is....especially small stubborn silvan boys for he has been there, done that with Legolas all those years ago....and for Laerion it feels as if that is not many years ago at all as time has stood still for him. I do not doubt he has used the threat of Thranduil’s ire before...to knock his little brother in to shape!
As Laerion pointed out to Legolas, Thranduil was not a perfect Father...he was distracted by his people and the darkness that threatened them...but as you say, that threat no longer exists and so he can pour his love and attention into Legolas’ son as he did not get to with his own. Sadly until now the problems within this family has meant Thranduil has once again not had the time with his grandchild he wishes for as Legolas stays away. He is slightly distrustful of the Noldors ability to repair his grandson here.....I think he is almost reluctant to admit Eatel’s arm has mended well!
The Three Hunters are indeed as much a gift for Legolas as for Estel. Do you remember part of the tumultuous dinner conversation last time was Laerion complaining about Legolas teaching Estel the past? He wanted him to move on and not encourage his son to dwell on it.
This is Thranduil saying to Legolas...”I support you in that. Not only am I happy for you to teach Estel your stories of those you loved, I am actively encouraging it.” Legolas will understand that message from his father. There is much time and love in these carvings from Thranduil. Love for his son as well as his grandson, especially the carving of Legolas he has made so lifelike. He has tried hard to capture Aragorn and Gimli in a way Legolas will recognise and feel is familiar.
But as for Laerion.....oh yes, much bitterness and this is the first time we clearly see it. Dismissing Aragorn disdainfully in front of his nephew. Telling him by his actions, “I do not place any worth in him.” Something Estel, who has his own issues with Aragorn, drinks right up.
Poor Thranduil. He has been preparing himself over the weeks for a full on war with Legolas on his return to force him to accept Laerion. He had no reason to expect anything but outright resistance......and then he gets this.... a shrug, and an “ok then” Of course he suspects a plot from his clever, stubborn, child. He cannot take this sudden change of heart at face value. He knows his son and Legolas does not give up without a fight. He is completely bemused!
It is interesting, now they have made the first move to reconnection, how quickly Legolas and Laerion fall back into their familiar brotherly patterns. Legolas looking to his big brother for protection...Laerion eagerly giving it. Both of them have been longing for a connection, wishing for these old patterns of communication. It is comforting to them both. They still have much to talk through...they have not even begun to start on fixing things really but they are both eager to step into old familiar comforting roles for now.
As for Mrs Thranduil....next chapter is hers!
hahaha! I Love this! Everyone's so used to 'broken' Legolas, they don't know how to react when he's actually being reasonable!
I wish I had carvings of the Three Hunters - what an amazing gift. I would play with the Legolas and Gimli ones and stick pins in Aragorn :D
Seriously, though, it's a lovely chapter. The best thing of all is the way Legolas and Laerion have returned to the way I presume they were when they were young.
Yeah poor Thranduil. He has been preparing himself for a knockdown fight when Legolas returned to force the acceptance of Laerion going to help him. Then he gets this ..... a mild acceptance. It makes no sense from his point of veiw and so of course he is suspicious. Something is up he thinks.
I knew you would be sticking pins in Aragorn! I think you might find Estel does something similar. Laerion definitely would!
This is indeed a bit of a flashback for Laerion/Legolas. Laerion was Legolas’ protector, (something that got him killed in the end) but he also filled that role at home as well....diverting his father’s attention from his flighty, mischevious little brother’s antics. Encouraging Legolas’ freedom when he could. It must be comforting to Legolas to step back in to that.
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.