"King Thranduil," he called in a voice feigning sleepiness. "We were in bed. Allow my brother and me to get dressed before we admit you."
"Acceptable. Hurry," Thranduil called. Elladan could hear the irritation in his tone, even through the thick oak door.
The older twin took Legolas by the arm and led him to the large wardrobe in the corner of their room. He shoved the prince inside and tossed his leggings and tunic at him, then quickly shut the door. Returning to their makeshift bed, he kicked the rest of their clothes under it.
In the meantime, Elrohir had taken two long robes out of the trunk. He passed one to Elladan and they both rapidly pulled them on over their naked bodies, tying the long cords around their waists to keep them closed.
Elrohir then sat composedly on the bed while Elladan went to the door.
Thranduil charged in, followed meekly by Talagan. The king looked around and sniffed. With horror, Elladan noticed that the toe of one of Legolas's boots protruded from under the bed. He looked directly at his brother and gestured with his eyes. Elrohir glanced down, and back at Elladan again, and nodded.
Elladan moved toward Thranduil and smiled disarmingly. "Our sincere apologies, King. We had just gone to bed weary with the exertions of the day and were not in a fit state to receive guests. Would you care to share some cordial with us?" He gestured toward the table and chairs. As Thranduil's eyes shifted across the room, Elrohir stood, edged over to the location of the boot, and shoved it under the bed with his heel.
"No time now," Thranduil said. "I require your presence at a meeting with Náin as soon as possible." He looked around and his brow furrowed. Elladan followed his gaze to the bottle of miruvor, glasses, and uncorked bottle of oil on the floor by the bed.
"Now, my Lord?" inquired Elrohir. "Can it wait until dawn? That is, after all, only a few hours off."
Thranduil cocked his head, then pinched his lips together. He turned to his seneschal. "Talagan, give us leave a moment. I shall be along shortly."
"Certainly, my Lord." Talagan bowed, gave them a wary look, and backed out of the room, closing the door behind him.
Thranduil walked over to Elladan. "Do you always push your beds together?" he asked.
"We are so used to sleeping close in the wilds, it seems the natural thing to do," replied Elladan, shrugging.
"And the oil?"
"To soothe my brother's aching shoulder after the contest this evening," Elladan continued smoothly. "Oh and the miruvor as well, medicinal."
Thranduil was walking around the room, pausing, and picking up various objects. He turned suddenly toward the twins. "The famous twins, so close," he mocked, "never apart. Is your father aware of your depravity?"
"What?" the twins looked at him in shock.
"Don't think I don't know," Thranduil said. "It smells like sex in here. And if you two aren't lying with each other, then with whom?" He looked around the room, his eyes lingering on the wardrobe.
The twins glanced at each other, at a loss for words.
"My Lord . . ." Elladan began.
Thranduil advanced on him. "Don't try and deny it." He came close to Elladan and inhaled deeply. "I smell your brother on you. Such wickedness! You will be consumed by your unnatural appetites."
With a quick flick of his hand, he knocked the peredhel's robe off his shoulder, revealing half of a strong chest. The king stared hungrily at him, then slid his hand under Elladan's hair, around the back of his neck, and pressed himself against the twin's body.
"I should take you hard," Thranduil said fiercely, his lips inches from Elladan's, "just to teach you a lesson."
Elrohir quickly moved behind him. "You'd have a struggle on your hands if you tried."
"You think so?" With a blurred motion, Thranduil plunged his hand through the opening in Elrohir's robe and grasped him by the balls, then swiftly turned and did the same to Elladan. The twins gasped in pain. Elladan seized Thranduil by the neck, but the king merely squeezed harder until the twin let go.
"I have need of you now or I might be tempted to ravish you both. You are quite delectable." Thranduil ran his tongue up Elladan's throat. Then he released them and they both doubled over, wincing. "I should have known," the king continued. "You peredhil are an offense to the natural order, beautiful, but tainted with the weaknesses of men!"
Thranduil started for the door. He paused and appeared to test the air again, narrowing his fiery, blue eyes. "Be thankful I don't investigate further and find something we'd all regret! Get dressed. Come to the library and help me with my dwarf problem. I don't care what you do after that, as long as you leave my domain swiftly. If you do as I say, I may decide not to tell your father what I know." He strode out of the room and closed the door with a bang.
The twins sank down on the bed in shock. Elrohir leaned his head on Elladan's shoulder.
"Sweet Valar, brother," he said. "What do we do now?"
"We can't panic," Elladan said.
"What! Not panic," cried Elrohir. "He knows, meleth! He knows our most carefully guarded secret. We are doomed to exile and disgrace! Maybe the Valar won't accept us oversea and we'll be forced to become mortal. There's nothing before us but death and oblivion." The distraught twin sank down on the floor. "I can't bear the thought of being separated from you, forever."
"Calm down, Elro! We'll figure this out, together, as we always have," said Elladan. His twin nodded, pressing a fist to his forehead.
They heard the closet door creak slightly and then Legolas whisper. "All clear?"
Legolas came over to them with wide eyes, still only partially clothed. "I heard Father and felt his presence," he said. "I assure you, he felt mine. I have no idea why he didn't expose me and do something horrible to all of us."
"I do," said Elladan. "He needs us right now. If he found you, he'd be forced to exile us and that doesn't suit his purpose."
"I daresay he'll make me pay for it, later," said Legolas. "I've had enough of him. I want to come with you. We should go immediately."
"Legolas, melethron," Elrohir said gently. He stood and drew the blond elf close, kissing his cheek. "As you said yourself, if you come with us, he'll just send warriors to retrieve you."
"You mean, after all your talk, you're just going to leave me behind!" Legolas declared. "I should have known making love to me was just a scheme to indulge your lust for each other!"
"Hush! You sound like your father," said Elladan. "Let me think."
As quickly as a cat, Legolas pounced on Elladan, knocking him to the floor, then he hauled his fist back for a punch, but Elrohir leapt forward and caught his arm. The younger twin pulled the prince backward, then both twins rolled onto him, holding him down. He struggled against them.
"How dare you say that!" Legolas hissed.
"Legolas, this is pointless," Elrohir said.
"You don't care at all, do you?" Legolas's face was turning red with fury. "I'm just a toy, another conquest."
Elrohir bent and put both hands to the prince's temples. "Feel my thoughts, meleth, and you will know that isn't true."
Legolas struggled for a minute and then went limp. He could feel both Elrohir and Elladan, their affection, concern, and fear. Elrohir leaned down and kissed him gently, then harder.
Legolas heard the peredhel speaking strange words and felt himself falling. He could see leaves and yellow flowers floating around him as he slowly sank into a deep lake. He said dreamily, "What are you doing to me?" His voice trailed off. He could vaguely hear the twins as if from a far distance. What were they saying?
Elro, we need to seal his memory.
Don't seal it, Ladan. Leave him with our experience together. He won't be able to reveal it, you already used the spell.
It's dangerous, brother.
Ladan, I'd trust Legolas with our lives. Please, I want him to remember, just as we do. I want our relationship to grow and deepen, not be some dim dream.
Against my better judgement, meleth, but agreed. Legolas, go to your room now. Avoid being seen. Go to bed and awake feeling refreshed. Remember our night together but tell no one about it.
Legolas came to and found himself lying on the floor with both twins leaning on him gazing into his eyes. "What happened?" he asked.
"Meleth," said Elrohir, "usually when we do this, we seal the elf's memory afterward. Regrettable, but necessary. We began the process but changed our minds. We've decided not to do this with you."
"This means we're trusting you with our deepest secret," said Elladan.
"I don't know whether or not to thank you," Legolas growled. "How dare you make these decisions without my leave? You are treating me as much like an elfling as my father does."
"Our apologies, pen vain. Please forgive us," said Elrohir, pressing a kiss to his mouth.
The prince pushed him away and got to his feet, somewhat unsteadily. "Besides my father knows now, too. What do you plan to do about that?"
The twins just looked at him.
"Well," said Legolas, "I guess I'd better let you go find out what Father has in mind for you. I hope it's not too unpleasant. Perhaps I'll see you again. Perhaps not."
Legolas didn't give them a backward look as he left, slamming the door just as Thranduil had earlier. The prince wandered down the palace corridors feeling angry and somewhat disoriented as if he'd emerged from a deep sleep. But his body thrummed pleasantly from the evening's activities; Elrohir's parting kiss was still hot on his mouth. He wondered if he would ever be the same again. Perhaps one always pays in some way for pleasure, he thought.
Elrohir started to follow Legolas.
"Let him go," said Elladan, grabbing his twin's arm. "There's time to mend that fence. We have immediate concerns."
"What should we do?" Elrohir asked.
"Don't worry, brother," Elladan replied. "We will survive this. We have in the past."
"Meleth," Elrohir said, "is Thranduil right about us? Are we wicked and unnatural?"
Elladan took his twin's hands gently and kissed them, first one, then the other. "When we are together, it does not feel wicked. It feels pure and good, a higher love than most can ever hope to experience. How can that be wrong?"
The younger twin shook his head. "There is more and you know it. There is the guilt, the blackness, the sorrow. It frightened us so much many years ago that we agreed to stop our lovemaking. Only recently have we dared to resume, against our better judgement, and this is the result."
"What result, meleth?" Elladan's eyes narrowed and he laughed harshly. "This wood elf who dares call himself a king? He thinks he has mastery over us now, but we unnatural peredhil have gifts that Thranduil does not know about and does not share! He will find out that what he perceives as peredhil weakness is actually strength. Time to teach the old warg something new, eh brother?"
Elrohir's lip curled into a grim smile. "I know exactly what you're thinking. We had better get dressed and go and confront the old tyrant." He paused and his smile broadened. "You know he is quite beautiful, almost as lovely as his son."
"Yes, indeed," laughed Elladan. "We understand each other quite well."
Washed and clothed, the twins made their way to Thranduil's library. Upon entering, they discovered Náin and several of his counselors sitting on chairs opposite Thranduil, who occupied the divan. Maps were spread out before them on a low table. Talagan hovered in the background, looking somewhat anxious.
"Ah, here they are," growled Thranduil. "They seem to have taken their time."
King Náin, Grundin, and Norin stood and bowed. The twins returned the bow.
"Good morning, sons of Elrond," said Náin. "I didn't get a chance to praise your skill in combat last night. Most impressive display."
The twins inclined their heads and settled gracefully into some vacant chairs opposite Thranduil.
"And now the time has come for all to be revealed." Náin got up and walked about, coming to a stop in front of Thranduil. His eyes held a twinkle as he sat heavily on the divan next to the elven king. "I apologize for testing your heart, my King, but the times grow ever darker. I had to be sure of you. I had to know if you would fall prey to the Dark Power."
"You might have just asked," Thranduil grumbled. "The elves do not lie about such serious matters."
"Of that I have no doubt, not now," said Náin, "but if you had been tempted, even for a moment, I would have detected it, and then I would have known the elves were not to be trusted. Ever in the past treachery was Sauron's ally."
"On that point we are certainly agreed," said Thranduil. He smiled. "It is the kind of test I might have made myself."
"Then you are not angered?" Náin chuckled.
"Not much," Thranduil arched an eyebrow. "Although you have tried my patience."
Náin gave a short, barking laugh and turned to Talagan, "Seneschal, I should like some tea."
Thranduil nodded at Talagan, who began pouring cups and bringing them around on a tray.
"We have been hearing things, rumors," Náin continued. "We had thought the Dark Lord was banished from Dol Guldur, but we feared not forever, and so we have watched."
"As we have also," said Thranduil. "I have been vigilantly training my warriors against the event that the darkness returns. We will not be caught unprepared."
"That is wise, as the Dark Power appears to be stirring again." Náin lowered his voice. "One of the Nine has come to us and whispered of joining with a new power. If we do not, he has said, my house and kin will suffer a curse. I think he suspects that we still hold the last of the great rings of the dwarves. We are fearful."
"Sire, I think you should tell him about the prophecy," Grundin broke in.
"We have already heard it," Thranduil said. "The seer predicted that a dragon would destroy Náin's kin."
Náin shuddered. "I have dreamt about it frequently since the prophecy was made. It is a horrific dream. And now, my dear King Thranduil, our fears are being made manifest. We have heard rumors that a dragon has come south. Captured orcs have confirmed it. At first we didn't believe them, but we have heard the same tale now several times. I have come seeking your aid in determining if the rumors are true."
Elrohir and Elladan looked at each other. "They are," Elladan said. "We have seen it. A cold drake: sable scales, yellow eyes, vast and deadly talons."
Náin's eyes widened. He bowed his head for a moment. "That is the information I feared you had," he said.
"We have even worse news," said Elrohir setting down his tea cup.
They all looked at him.
"The dragon is a female," Elladan said.
"And she has laid eggs," finished Elrohir.
There was a ghastly silence. Then Thranduil said, "Náin, I am prepared to offer you the peredhil's service as guides, and a company of hand-picked warriors to accompany them. We must deal with this menace directly before it spreads and destroys us all."
Elrohir and Elladan's mouths dropped open and Thranduil glared at them. "You *will* do this, my friends, for the good of all our races."
Elrohir sighed and Elladan said, "All right, we will guide you, although the memory of that road is very evil, but you must send a message to our father or he will fear we are lost. We've already been gone far too long."
"Agreed," Thranduil said.
"When do you wish to depart?" Elladan asked.
"Tomorrow, if that is possible," Náin said. He looked at the library walls. "If truth be known, the swarm of miniature dragons upset me greatly. I dreamt about it all night. I don't want to experience it again and the King has said they will come out every night until they've mated."
Elladan noticed a smile flicker across Thranduil's face. Such a fox, the twin thought.
"Then that's decided," said Thranduil. He paused and laughed suddenly. "What would you have done, Náin, if I had accepted your ring? Would you have withdrawn the gift?"
"No," Náin said. "That would have been unforgivable. My dear Elf, I offered you a copy. The real one is in, shall we say, a very safe place. Although," and the dwarf's eyes sparkled with amusement as he reached over and laid a hand on Thranduil's arm, "if you had offered a kiss in gratitude, I would certainly have accepted that."
Thranduil looked discomfited and Náin roared with laughter. The twins both grinned.
"Well, my delicious King," Náin said. "I would like breakfast in my room. Could that be arranged?"
"Yes, certainly," Thranduil said. He looked over at Talagan, giving his seneschal a wink, as if to say, well now we finally will be rid of them.
"I shall see to breakfast, my Liege," Talagan said with a smile.
The dwarves rose and bowed, then departed. The twins were left sitting opposite Thranduil.
"An interesting character, that Náin," said Elladan. "Not what he appeared at first, eh Thranduil?"
"No, I understand him now, even though I'll be grateful to get him out of my house." The king looked at the twins. "Much the way I feel about you two right now."
Elladan shifted forward in his chair. "Thranduil, why do my brother and I so offend you?"
Thranduil put an arm across the back of the divan. "You are arrogant and wanton and you think you are above the laws of our kind," he said. "You peredhil are all alike. Your father had an inappropriate relationship with the High King, Gil-galad. Something I opposed. As a result of their liaison, the king never married or produced an heir. When he died, we were bereft of a king and the line ended. And now I find you two lusting after each other, your own blood. You are a corrupting influence in my realm." He paused. "I want you to stay away from my son."
Elrohir said, "We have not harmed Legolas in any way, King, and I believe he enjoys our friendship as we enjoy his. He is quite remarkable."
Thranduil glared at him. "He is young and impressionable. Your ‘friendship' will not do him any good."
"He is fully mature, a superb warrior, able to make his own decisions," said Elladan. "You must realize that. If you love him, you need to let him go, allow him to explore his own way in the wide world. He will become stronger and wiser as a result."
Thranduil reached over and caught Elladan's chin in his hand. "Let him go? Where? To your incestuous bed? Never! Who are you to tell me how to run my affairs?"
"Who are we, my King?" Elladan shook loose from Thranduil's grasp. "We are the sons of Elrond, a great lord, wise and terrible, whom you have unwisely chosen to besmirch. We have nothing to be ashamed of." Elladan glared a challenge at the king.
Thranduil's face colored with anger. He grabbed Elladan by the top of his jerkin and they both rose to their feet. Elrohir stood as well, shoving his chair out of the way.
"Do you know what I think?" Elrohir said and Thranduil's gaze flicked to him. "I think that we anger you so much because you lust after us yourself."
"Impertinent wretch," Thranduil hissed, and shoving Elladan aside, grasped Elrohir and hurled him backwards onto the divan.
Elrohir contacted the couch abruptly, but then lay back and flashed his breathtaking smile. "Admit it, King. You want us. You wish to experience our lust, our wantonness."
"I assure you Thranduil," Elladan said, "you will never have such an experience again." He smiled to himself as he saw the hunger mount in the king's eyes.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.