1. Chapter One
Thranduil, the famous (or maybe infamous) Elvenking of Mirkwood, looked over at his only son with amazement. "What did you say, my son?"
Legolas Greenleaf, famous heartthrob Prince of Mirkwood and son of the infamous Thranduil, sat on the windowsill of his father's chambers, looking with bright elven eyes out upon the great forest that was his home. "I feel old," he repeated in exactly the same tone.
"Legolas, how can you say such a thing?" The King frowned, for it seemed to him that a shadow lay over the prince.
"Look at these woods, father!" Legolas gestured widely at the trees, turning distressed features on the Elvenking. "How many of those very oaks we look upon are younger than me? I remember when that entire stretch on the horizon was but a group of young saplings; nay, I remember when their seeds had not yet begun to sprout!"
Thranduil was amazed at the sudden change that had come over his usually silent son. "Such is the fate of Elves, Legolas – we live on forever; the years pass, but they do not touch us. What brings on this sudden concern?"
But Legolas ignored his father. "I have seen countless generations of the Dúnedain pass from infancy to old age. I remember when Mirkwood was called Greenwood the Great, and Dol Guldur did not yet cast its shadow upon us. How long has it now been since those times? A millennia? Longer?"
Thranduil frowned. "That is but a short time to—"
"I have lived for nearly three thousand years, father," Legolas interrupted, again falling into melancholy. "And what have I done with that time? I have fought with spiders. Spiders! An insect that is to be crushed under one's foot!"
"Spiders aren't insects, they are arachnids!" Thranduil said, aghast at his son. As an afterthought, he added, "And fighting them is nothing to be ashamed of!"
"What is the point of having everlasting life if I do nothing with it?" Legolas demanded, suddenly standing and looking hard at his father. "What is the reason for my existence?"
Before Thranduil could even answer, his son swept away, muttering to himself about spiders and crushing them.
Thranduil rubbed his head to ward off a headache.
* * *
A week later, Thranduil's head was in a near-constant state of pain, as incident after incident with his supposedly mature son was reported to him. Legolas had gone off on his own to hunt spiders and nearly gotten his head lopped off in his carelessness. Legolas had abandoned his hunting party and returned limping. Legolas was balancing in the most unstable of trees, teetering at the tip, humming to himself, and giving his companions conniptions. And now …
His son, sopping wet, was dumped at his feet, alternately coughing and hiccupping. The Elvenking could feel his face going red with anger and embarrassment as the warrior Encirith (who was trying to smother his laughter) explained, "We found him floating, unconscious, in the stream that runs under the palace. We were horrified, naturally, and it took us but a few minutes to pull him free. We thought he had been attacked, your Highness, but it seems that he was …" the Elven warrior trailed off, trying desperately to not snicker.
"Go on," Thranduil said in his sharpest voice.
It did not phase the Elf before him, who was nearly doubled over with amusement. "He was merely drunk, my king," Encirith managed, before a choked cry of laughter passed his lips. "Prince Legolas must have been into the fine wine and drunk too much, then somehow managed to fall – or jump – into the river."
Thranduil's jaw clenched as the now-familiar feeling of pressure began to gather just above his left eye. "You are dismissed," he managed.
Encirith bowed, still fighting his grin, and retreated from the chambers.
"Legolas, my son, what am I going to do with you!?" Thranduil thundered after a short period of time had passed.
Legolas coughed and mumbled, "Why did you not tell me you had a twin, father?" before he passed out cold again.
Thranduil called for some servants to haul his drunken son off to bed – and the Healer to bring some painkilling herbs.
* * *
Thranduil spent the remainder of the night planning out horrible punishments for Legolas, for the prince had sorely humiliated him; but the next day, Thranduil's son could barely speak for the headache he suffered, and he flinched at even moderate sounds. The Elvenking decided the younger Elf had recieved punishment enough.
However, the moment the hangover showed signs of being gone, he summoned Legolas to his chambers. His son stood shamefaced before him, his head hanging towards the ground.
"What has brought on this rash behavior, Legolas? I will not tolerate it!" Thranduil thundered, and his son flinched for the twofold reason of shame and pain.
"I am trying to live my life, father, as I have not before," Legolas stated after a short silence.
"And I would say you are succeeding," Thranduil snapped, "for never before have you acted so foolishly!"
"But that is because I knew not what I have missed!" the prince cried.
"And what have you missed, Legolas!? Death from a spider's bite? Drowning!?"
Again the Elvenking's son flinched slightly. "I have never been beyond Mirkwood's borders, except to visit Imladris," he mumbled. "In three thousand years, I have never left this place! Can you possibly conceive how tedious three thousand years in one place can be?"
"Actually," Thranduil said in a dry tone, "Having ruled this place for over three thousand years without rest, I can imagine."
"Then you can understand what I speak of!" his son cried hopefully. "I am so old, father, and yet I have never lived!"
"Nonsense, you have lived a good life," Thranduil snorted.
"I have not!" Legolas stamped his foot, which was really very childish.
"Act your age," the Elvenking advised as he raised a hand to his temple.
"But I do not wish to, father! I cannot believe that I am so old!"
Thranduil looked at his son for a long moment, and Legolas glared back with his fiery gaze. At length, the King spoke. "By the Valar, Legolas! Are you suffering this madness over your age!?"
The prince of Mirkwood nodded slowly, suddenly abashed.
"You feel old?" Thranduil cried, incredulous.
"… I do. I can see it in the mirror, as well …"
"By the Valar," Thranduil breathed again, amazed by his son's audacity. "And how do you think that makes your father feel – I, who has seen the leaves of Greenwood fall seven thousand times? … For Eärendil's sake, boy, you look fantastic for your age!"
Legolas did seem to feel rather foolish, for he smiled briefly and turned a bright shade of red.
Thranduil took pity on his son. "This autumn, the creature Gollum, delivered to us by that young Man Estel whom you have befriended, must be taken to Imladris. I shall send you, Legolas – and then you shall have free reign to go as you will, until the winter has passed into spring. Perhaps you should feel less old, should you see the wonders of this world."
Legolas bowed. "Thank you, Father," he mumbled, still clearly embarrassed.
"But do not let me hear of you falling drunk into rivers, or I shall string you up myself!" the Elvenking threatened.
Legolas laughed at first, but when he looked upon his father's face, his levity was cut off.
"I mean it," Thranduil said.
* * *
~Three Months Later~
* * *
"You have my bow," Legolas pledged to the hobbit before him.
I hope Father does not mind my being gone for past spring's tide …
* * *
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.