9. Anger and Hurt
10 years later…
Where is he? Cellinn stamped her foot on the forest floor. Legolas should have met her over an hour ago at their tree. And as usual, he was late, which was why she was so irritated now. Their time together had been limited over the past ten years due to his training, and they only had a short time to be together today — less than an hour now! — before he had to report for training.
She closed her eyes and bit her lip, trying hard not to become angry. The last thing she wanted to do was to fight with her beloved when they had so little time as it was. And she knew how much he loved training for the guard; she had no wish to become a hindrance to something so important to him. The training was very intense the first ten years, but soon, in another few months, it would get easier. But for now, it was demanding enough that when they did have time, he was exhausted, often falling asleep with his head in her lap. She sighed. Not that she minded twining her fingers through his hair while he slept, but she would like some time with him awake!
She sat down with her back against the tree trunk and waited, filling the time by musing about why he could be late. Another half an hour passed, and with no sign of him, Cellinn gave up. If he showed up at this point, he deserved to find her missing!
Angry and hurt, she made her way back to the halls, feeling dejected. It didn't help when she passed Ninglorwen, who gave her a knowing smirk that caused Cellinn's stomach to churn for a moment. She moved on, refusing to entertain the thought that Legolas had spent any time with that lady! Ninglorwen was simply jealous and doing all she could to come between them. It wasn't the first time and it wouldn't be the last, she was sure.
Cellinn hurried on, passing someone at a cross in the stone paths, but she took no note of who it was until he called her name.
"Cellinn! Cellinn, wait!"
She looked up into Arandur's eyes to see them filled with dismay. Her hurt and anger shifted swiftly to concern. "What is wrong! Is Legolas hurt? Is that why he did not meet me?" Her voice became breathless with worry, but the prince shook his head.
"No, to my knowledge he is well, but he bade me tell you he was called away with his troop on a surprise drill in the forest. They will be gone for two days at least. He had no time to find you and knew you would worry. But I was called into Saelvathor's office as I was looking for you, and was just dismissed. I'm so sorry!"
She frowned, a cold weight dropping in the pit of her stomach. "Had no time?"
Arandur sighed and ran a hand over the back of his neck. "Legolas might have explained that he could be called away unexpectedly, especially at this point in his training."
"Yes, he should have done so," she agreed, her anger rising again. "Two days?" Arandur nodded. "Thank you." She turned to leave, but he called after her.
"Do not be too hard on him Cellinn. The training is very trying."
She nodded, aware that Arandur would know just how trying it could be, but kept walking. Difficult or not, he should have told her! Should have prepared her for such things! She stormed her way to her rooms and slammed the door, refusing to speak to her mother and even refusing Minuialwen's visit a little while later. She felt too out of sorts and had no inclination to be soothed.
Legolas dropped his pack on the chair and looked longingly at his bed. The two day exercise had become a week-long test to see if they were ready to move on to the next step in the training. Relieved as he was that he had passed, he wanted nothing to do with the celebrating. He wanted to climb in his bed and sleep for a whole day…a week! Only—
He looked at his flute on his dressing table, then back at his bed. What he wanted more than anything was to climb in his bed and find Cellinn there; to lay beside her while she stroked his hair and rubbed his sore muscles. To kiss the soft skin of her neck, while trailing his fingers....
He groaned as his thoughts caused his body to react in ways he could not act on. STOP IT! he mentally shouted at himself. You will not do this to yourself! He removed his weapons, putting them dutifully away, and dropped to the edge of the bed, elbows on knees, head in hands. Nearly fourteen years he had waited, and now...
He closed his eyes and smiled. Now, he could put his plans in motion! He had passed the trials and was moving up to the next phase of training, instruction that gave him more free time — time for a wife, if he wished it. And he did. With all his heart, he did.
Foregoing sleep and even a bath, Legolas washed with a wet cloth, combed his hair – grateful to leave it loose for the first time in a week – and dressed in clean clothing. Feeling refreshed, he went in search of his beloved, a dreamy smile on his face, his thoughts on how to ask her to marry him.
A welcome voice, yet anger still stirred in her breast. Instead of two days, he had been gone a week. A week! And in that time, her anger and hurt had grown, for she dwelt on the lack of time they'd had together in the last several years. It was not what she wanted.
She wanted time alone with him, to speak of their hopes and dreams, to have his undivided attention She wanted to show him her latest tapestry and listen to him play the flute. She wanted to be near him, at his side, walking the gardens hand in hand or splashing each other in the cold creek. She wanted to sit in their tree and talk as they used to do. She wanted to be a part of him. Turning, she faced him as he climbed up into their tree beside her, but she didn't return his smile.
"Cellinn?" He started to lean in, paused a moment to meet her eyes, then settled his back against the trunk so that he was facing her instead. "You are angry with me."
When she met his eyes, she could see her pain reflected, and some of her anger melted away, leaving her hurting and confused. "No... Yes. I don't know. It hurts." He reached over and took her hand, rubbing it soothingly with a finger, and she continued. "Yes, I'm angry, but I'm not sure why I'm angry. You should have warned me that you'd be could be called away unexpectedly!" When he opened his mouth to protest she shook her head. "But you've been so worn out, it's no wonder you didn't think to do so. And it's not your fault you had to leave when we had plans. It is not your fault we have so little time together. I just...I'm tired of you not being there! Of it not being like it was..." She dropped her eyes to their joined hands, feeling somewhat ashamed. She knew she was being childish, yet her heart still ached.
"Linnaew, look at me." She raised her eyes again, her heart thudding in her chest. It had been a long time since he'd called her that.
"The day I came of age, I took up duties as prince, though when with you, I remained a child a little longer. But we are no longer children, love." He tilted his chin, as if informing her of something she should already know. "I am a prince. I am striving to be a warrior. I thought you understood what my life entailed. I want to be with you...always, but...there will be times, many times, I cannot be. I would like to think you will be here waiting for me, but if y-you can't…." He pulled his hand away and looked past her, swallowing hard.
Her heart froze in her chest, feeling like a great cold lump, its icy shards reaching up to prick her throat. Tears misted her eyes. "What are you saying?"
He did not look at her. "If my life and duties are too much for you, if you no longer wish..." His voice broke.
How she wished she was not so selfish! She threw herself at him, landing in his arms that lifted in surprise to catch her. Her head fell to rest against his chest while tears slipped down her cheeks. She wondered if they were cursed to always hurt each other. "No!" she told him. "I love you, Galass. I always have. I've been selfish and childish, and I'm sorry!"
A hand stroked through her hair, and she felt his sigh of relief and kiss on the crown of her head. "I'm glad. I wouldn't be of any use to anyone if you put me away now." He chuckled, but she could feel his heart was not in it.
"Legolas, I accept your life. It is not that. We...we used to talk more, do things. Now...I know the training is hard, but you are so tired when we are together— I feel alone, even when you are there," she finished in a whisper.
His arms tightened around her, and she felt him release a shuddering breath. "I'm sorry. But I have good news, Linn." He pulled away, and she sat back, waiting for him to explain. A huge grin chased the sorrow on his face. "I passed the trials!"
"The trials?" She frowned in confusion. The trials should have been months from now. "But..."
He laughed. "They are held without announcement. We did not expect them for several months, but Saelvathor likes to take the trainees off guard."
She smiled at his happy expression and leaned in to kiss him soundly on the lips. "I'm proud of you," she told him, smiling into his eyes then kissing him again. 'And now?"
He nodded. "Now, we can spend more time together. Talking," he added, but there was sadness in his eyes she did not understand.
'Lass? What is it?" Concern filled her. "You do not wish to talk?"
He laughed, but the sadness remained. "Aye, I wish to talk very much, it's just..."
"Nothing time won't solve, love. Do not let it worry you."
Cellinn pondered what he said, but she could not make sense of it. Seeing how uncomfortable he looked, she let it go, and instead, snuggled back into his arms...to talk.
The noises surrounded him, vibrations shook him, and the smell of sweat and earth and metal filled his nostrils as Legolas sparred with his father.
"Swing up, and advance."
Legolas faced his father, who stood a couple of inches taller than himself, feeling quite awed at what had just happened.. His breathing came in ragged gasps as he heaved for air.
Thranduil smirked, laughed and bowed with dramatic flair. "I cede. Your game."
Legolas inclined his head and lowered his sword, glancing at it with wonder. "How did I do that?" he asked, looking to where his father's sword lay a few feet away on the ground.
"I have not a clue!" Thranduil laughed, hardly winded. He stepped forward and clasped Legolas firmly on the shoulder. "Arandur has never managed it, nor has Norbor." Legolas's eyebrows rose. "Not even Saelvathor has managed it in the last three centuries." Thranduil grinned. "But I will tell you this." He leaned close to Legolas as if conspiring. "Since I became king, only you and one other have ever disarmed me."
Legolas gaped. That just could not be possible. "Who? Who else?"
A warm, delighted smile spread across Thranduil's face. "Your mother."
"Naneth? She knows the ways of a sword?" His father nodded. "And she disarmed you?" Such was…unbelievable! But he received another nod. "But...but how?"
"Not as you did, that is for sure." Thranduil laughed. "I don't know where you pulled that move from, but it was quite impressive." Legolas beamed at the praise, while Thranduil continued. "No, your mother used an old and ancient move to beat me." His father leaned further in until his lips hovered right at Legolas's ear, but he did not speak.
"What move?" Legolas whispered, very curious about his mother's secrets.
"She distracted me."
Legolas blinked. Since when was distraction part of sword fighting? "Distracted you? How?"
Thranduil pulled back and grinned. "As only a woman can, my son." A wicked gleam in those green eyes caused a chill of apprehension to run down Legolas's spine. "She did not fasten her tunic all the way up, and I...er, had more on my mind than swords." Thranduil's grin turned roguish. "Well, metal ones in any case."
"Adar!" Legolas felt his cheeks flush and his ears began to burn. He really did not want to know such details!
"It was shortly after that sparring match that you were conceived." Thranduil winked at him.
Howling with laughter, Thranduil wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "Oh, Legolas! If only you could see your face."
Legolas drew away and sheathed his sword, walking over to where a water skin hung from a tree branch. He took a long swallow, letting it soothe his throat and cool him down. Replacing it, he turned, hoping his face color had returned to normal. "This is not a subject I want to discuss, Adar."
"Oh? Not interested in such things yet, my son?" Thranduil smirked, sheathing his retrieved sword. "Arandur showed great interest in such things long before he came of age, but you... You have never asked much Legolas. I told you the basics, but you never questioned, never sought advice, never...confided." Thranduil's eyes dropped and his shoulders slumped.
Letting out a heavy sigh, Legolas regarded his father. Thranduil loved him, of that he had no doubt, but he never felt the same ease as had Arandur when it came to discussing certain issues. "I talk to Naneth," he blurted out.
His father's eyes shot up, and his mouth fell open. "You...you talk to your mother?" Legolas nodded. "About what, may I ask?" He hurried on. "I mean, she is a wonderful confidant, I know, but she...well, there are things she just cannot understand, son. Am I making any sense here?"
Legolas began to laugh. He could not help it. For once, his father was the one turning red in the face and sputtering. "Yes, Adar, you are. But to be honest, the questions I had were best answered by a lady."
The horrified look on Thranduil's face was priceless. "And what questions were those, or do I dare ask?"
Shaking his head, he had mercy. "Simple questions about the physical differences between girls and boys when I was young but, more recently, for advice on the inner workings of a lady's heart." He unbuckled his sword and hung it on the branch with his water skin. Pulling himself up into the oak, he settled back on a limb, feeling free all of a sudden to tell his father what he thought and felt. Legolas looked down and met Thranduil's eyes. "I love her, Ada, so very much. I want to marry her, have wanted to since you suggested it, but..."
Thranduil unbuckled his sword as well, hanging it on the branch beside Legolas's, and heaved himself up to sit across from him. "But?"
"But the timing was wrong. Training demanded enough of me without adding a wife to my life." Legolas looked up at an acorn dangling from a twig above his head, thinking of Cellinn and her reaction to his time constraints. He might be ready, but she was not. "We still have much to learn of one another before we wed. I have learned that more than ever. I don't want to rush. I want it to be right. We are young, and we have plenty of time."
A chuckle brought his eyes back to Thranduil. "You have most definitely been talking to your mother!"
Legolas grinned sheepishly. "Well, she's usually right."
His father nodded. "That she is."
To Be Continued…
'Galass' 'plant' Cellinn's pet name for Legolas, a baby pronunciation with the added benefit of meaning something. Sometimes she calls him just Lass, 'leaf'.
'Linnaew' 'songbird' Legolas's pet name for Cellinn', sometimes just Linn, 'song'.
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.