Strength, Fortune, Fool by Nuinzilien

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Story notes:

Written for the IDoS Tarot challenge:

My cards:

Reversed Strength - Uncertainty/ Lack of Confidence

Reversed Knight of Coins/ Pentacles - Boredom/ Unwillingness to Change

Upright Fool - Spontaneity

Chapter notes:

Takes place after their last meeting in "On the Courting Habits of Elves and Dwarves"

Strength, Fortune, Fool
Cards:
Reversed Strength – Uncertainty/ Lack of Confidence
Reversed Knight of Coins/ Pentacles – Boredom/ Resistance to change
Upright Fool – New Beginning, Spontaneity


If he were being completely honest (and despite what certain dwarves thought, he did NOT lie with every breath he took), Thranduil had never expected to find love again. And he'd certainly never thought he would find that love sitting in his dungeons, cursing him for everything he was worth. The cheeky young dwarf prince had all but singed his ears during that first interrogation, and after a while, Thranduil had taken to summoning the young archer just to hear what that sassy (sweet, sassy, NAUGHTY) mouth would come up with next.

The admittedly jaded king could not pinpoint precisely when, but somewhere between questioning the validity (even the RACE) of his parentage, frustrating strategy games that more than once ended in stalemate (who knew a young lad who had not yet seen his first hundred years could have the concentration for complicated strategy games - and didn't THAT just make him feel old?) and demands for 'yes!' and 'more!' and 'harder, damn you!', he'd gone and fallen in love. With a Dwarf. Not just any dwarf, either. Thorin Bloody Oakenshield's nephew. If his wife were still alive, she'd laugh herself silly.

It had taken him months to forgive Legolas for aiding in their dungeon escape. Intellectually he understood the young prince's fate lay in the Mountain, but he'd dealt with enough dragons in his younger years to know that no home - even one as rich and bountiful as Erebor - was worth the pain and ruin of a dragon's wrath. But Kili...aye, Kili was worth it. So he'd taken an army and marched off to fight a dragon.

Thranduil drained his glass. The gold-crazed dwarf not-king and the armies of orcs and goblins had been an unpleasant surprise, and their losses had been great, but in the end, the day had been won and Kili was safe. Until now…

“You’re starting early,” an amused Legolas commented from the other side of the room.

Thranduil glanced over at him, grunted softly, and poured himself another glass. “Not really. It is evening somewhere in the world.” He hooked his foot around a chair, dragging it closer. “Join me.”

Legolas blinked in surprise. It was rare that his father invited him to join in a session of brooding, which was clearly what was happening now. He walked over to the offered chair and sat. “What are we – you – trying to decide?”

The King sighed and poured Legolas a glass. “I suspect the decision is already made, or nearly so.”

Well. That was incredibly helpful. Legolas tried again. “What prompted it? You just returned from a visit with your dwarf, aye?”

“I did.” Thranduil sipped his wine. “He said the Mountain is being invaded by the marriage-minded.”

Legolas hummed and sipped his wine. “Mmm… I imagine there are quite a few ladies trying to land themselves an heir-prince, or even his spare.”

Thranduil smirked. “From what he said, Kili is not making it easy for them. He has taken to forcibly ejecting the bolder ones from his brother’s bedroom.”

Legolas snorted. “I’m sure he appreciates his brother’s diligence.” He finished his glass and sighed. “You love him, aye?”

The elder elf closed his eyes for a moment and nodded. “I do.”

“I take it you’ve been debating on whether to make your own offer and take him off the market?”

Thranduil gave him a look, then poured them both another glass.

They lapsed into a quiet, contemplative silence for a time. “Father?” Legolas said finally. “What are you going to do in two hundred years when his doom is upon him and he must leave you?”

The silence stretched on long enough that Legolas thought he would go unanswered. Finally, after taking a fortifying drink, Thranduil glanced over at him with a wry smile. “Survive, my son. As I have always done.”

Legolas finished his wine and stood, reaching out to rest a hand on Thranduil’s shoulder. “Good. I am not yet ready to bid you farewell.” He leaned in and, where once he would have kissed the elder elf in a passionate invitation to join him later, the young prince pressed a chaste kiss to his father’s cheek. “I shall go prepare the advisors. You know how they are when you surprise them.”

“You are indeed a brave elf, my son.”

Legolas snorted.

~~@~~

Thranduil stared down at the parchment on his desk. It was a fairly standard marriage agreement between royal houses, full of flowery praise, lauding of his many accomplishments, and promises of an alliance that would last far longer than the marriage sealing it. His advisors had indeed flailed and argued and pleaded with him to see reason when he informed him he would be making an offer of marriage to the younger prince of Erebor. “Surely not”, they had cried. “They are dwarves, Sire! What could they offer the Woodland Realm, and who is to say they will not betray us once the young mortal has died?”

He listened to their arguments, then calmly ignored each one, handed them the list of his terms, and demanded they draw up the contract. It was going to happen, whether they wished it to or not, and they could either accept his decision, or leave.

Two of his seven advisors resigned on the spot. Frankly, he’d been expecting more.

The elf king glanced up at the painting of Legolas’ mother hanging in its place of honor. “Time to grow, my wife. You will like him, I think. He reminds me of you.”

Moments later, the contract was signed, sanded, and sealed. Thranduil summoned a runner and stared out the window, already working out the terms of his second offer for his prince. He had a feeling Erebor’s councilors would laugh themselves silly and then ignore his offer.

That was fine. Thranduil was patient. And persistent.

Weekly offers of marriage for the next century should wear them down quite nicely.

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