Chapter 33: It Is All My Fault
Greetings my ever loyal readers! I am here to deliver one of the last chapters of Speak No Evil. I know, it is sad, but I shall have many more stories coming your way in the not too distant future. But, enough with the sad thoughts that come with the end of a story! After all I'm not done quite yet!
Anyway, this chapter is responding to one of the questions I got, and it has been something that many readers have brought to my attention. Y'all really wanted a chapter about how Legolas' loved ones/friends react when they learn that he can no longer speak. Hope this chapters satisfies you in the angst/tragedy department, enjoy!
ALSO, VERY IMPORTANT! In this chapter, the bold italics are flashbacks within flashbacks…hope that makes sense.
Guest: Omg that is hella exciting! I'm so glad that I was able to offer some sort of inspiration for your own creative outlets! Oh it sounds wonderful…definitely planning on going…Yeah, I do have a knack for Legolas pain and suffering. Let's see, I've poisoned him twice, killed him twice, had him get assaulted multiple times in multiple different forms, tortured at least three times, kind of blown up, kill himself once and try to kill himself but fail once, get stabbed in the stomach and almost die, and captured at least once…oh goodness…Anyway, again, I love to hear that I have managed to inspire someone else, and as for your friend, check below! As for my next batch of stories…I have two ideas listed on my profile if you wanna take a peak and send me your thoughts, but I'm not entirely sure what, or when I'm going to post next. Thank you so much for the review!
Sophie Mahal: Greetings! I was told by your friend "Guest" (person above) that you were a fan of my stories! I'm really glad that you have been reading my work and enjoying it! It honestly means a lot! I always love getting reviews, so send me your thoughts on this chapter! I'd love to hear what you have to say! Thanks for reading! (Goodness that was a lot of exclamation marks…I need to learn to pace myself sometimes)
LotR-HP-PJ: Oh I know! He deserves much more than hugs…more like a therapist…Anyway, always happy to hear you liked the chapter! I too am sad about the impending end of this piece of work, but all good things must end at some point. That sentence was actually really funny because as I'm writing this response I'm listening to "Good Thing" by Sam Smith. Awesome song by the way.
StarlightGilgalad: OMG! Thanks! I'm glad that I have you hooked. That is one of my main goals!
x Say x May x I x: Thanks! The smiley face was a nice touch ;) See what I did there?
Nocx: Unfortunately, I wasn't planning on adding any other chapters…but I promise that I will try to add something in about his scars in this chapter! Hopefully I gave you enough torture to give you some sort of idea of what caused the scars…I'm sorry, I finally planned out the end of the story, and I'm not entirely sure if adding in another chapter would fit with the end I have…I'm glad you liked the chapter though, that is always wonderful to hear!
Schattenjagd: Yep *rubs back of neck awkwardly* I got a little side tracked with this weird thing called life...funny how that happens…Yay! You are now officially official! Excitement! I know how you feel. I'm feeling a little conflicted over this story coming to end because I have been working on it for….well…holy shit! Pardon my language, but I just realized that I published this story almost a year ago! Wow….it has really become a big part of my life….It is going to be hella strange seeing it marked as complete. Unfortunately, and this is a big SPOILER ALERT, but Legolas will not be regaining his voice at the end of this story. I thought about it, but I felt like it would have undermined all of the character work I did, and make some of the story points irrelevant. Sorry if I disappointed you, but I just think that keeping him the way he is will be better for the story. I send you many thanks for the idea though, I'm always open to them! I'm glad you liked what I did with that. I was a little unsure whether I managed to keep the other characters' thoughts on topic, but you know, they're thoughts so what the hell right? Also, glad you liked the flashback. Gotta love the gore! I am going to take the Frankenstein thing as a compliment…so thank you…
HelloDenmark: Thank you so much! Also, you have left me on the edge of my seat about what is going to happen with Legolas and Sauron! I will not deny the fact that I have become completely and utterly emotionally involved with your story lines…
MuggleCreator: Yep…just yep…fvcvc
BlackMix17: I am REALLY hoping you are referring to the flashback or something and not my writing *laughs nervously and then awkwardly clears throat*
Toomanyobsessionstocount: YES! Omg you just made my day! My biggest goal that I had while writing this was to get Legolas' character in balance! I'm so glad that it ended working out! I kind of had the image of Gandalf fighting the necromancer in the Desolation of Smaug movie when I wrote about Legolas' meeting with the evil in Dol Guldur…I hope they live up to your expectations!
Also, just going to say this now, but I was in a really weird mood when I wrote these responses, so I'm sorry if some of the things I said are really strange or don't seem to make any sense…It was a VERY long Monday…
Sam nodded numbly, suddenly feeling very guilty for asking the question in the first place. A blush rose to his cheeks, and he sputtered out a reply.
"Ah yes, um oh gosh…I'm sorry for asking Mister Legolas. I shouldn't have said anything…I mean it is your own personal business, I was just…well curious but-"
The hobbit was cut off when Legolas raised a hand. Immediately the frantic gardener dropped his head, and his lips sealed themselves shut. Sam kept his eyes firmly on the ground, shame welling up within him. It was only when he felt the gentle pressure of a hand on his shoulder that the hobbit looked up to find a pair of haunted, yet friendly eyes. Legolas had risen from his seat and was now squatting next to the gardener. His lips formed a small half-smile, but it was enough for the hobbit. That tiny smile showed that the elf was anything but upset with Sam, and that it was time for the Halfling to stop apologizing.
Once the silent message had been absorbed, and Sam had offered a timid smile of his own, Legolas straightened his long legs and padded silently back to his original spot. He then folded them beneath him, and placed his bony elbows on his knees. The elf's chin lowered to gently rest in his hands, his intelligent, blue eyes scanning those around him. He could now very clearly feel the large amount of weight that telling his story had taken from his mind. He had kept everything bottled up for so long—centuries in fact—that he had completely forgotten what it was like to trust another being. The fear of rejection had always loomed above his head, and if he was totally honest with himself, he would carry that fear with him for his entire life. However, now that he was finally learning to deal with that fear, Legolas felt that for the first time in far too long, he was truly alive and well. A small twitch turned the ends of Legolas' rosy lips upwards into an uncharacteristically genuine smile. It was a wonderful thing to see.
The two words, which were quite possibly the last that Legolas expected to hear, broke the newest bout of silence. He turned inquisitive eyes to the man from Gondor, curious as to what the soldier meant. The stare must have been enough, for Boromir moved his brown eyes up to lock with Legolas' and explained himself.
"This may seem strange, but in my mind, I have viewed your telling of the truth as a reflection on how you view us as your comrades."
When he received more confused glances from others around the fire, Boromir elaborated.
"What I mean to say is, I trust your judgment and wisdom, and for you to feel that we are trustworthy enough to be told of your darkest secrets means much. I could be very wrong when I say such things of course, so please do not think bad of me for assuming what your thoughts are. However, if I am correct in my assumptions, then I believe a thank you is in order, for having one such as yourself think so highly of me and those around us is truly an honor. I believe that I speak for everyone when I say this."
To say that Legolas was surprised, was very much an understatement. Yet, he could not deny that Boromir's words were true. If he did not trust those around him, or believe them to be of good spirits, then he would have never spoken such words. In response, the prince smiled greatly, and raised a hand to say something, and Aragorn quickly picked up on it.
"I must say I did not expect you to say such things, but you are indeed correct. I would trust each and every one of you with my life, and in this case my heart and soul."
When Aragorn was done speaking, Legolas dipped his head in a sign of respect towards those around him. The gesture was returned by each and every other member of the fellowship, leaving the group in a silence just begging to be shattered by a very eager Pippin.
The young hobbit had been waiting to ask his question from the very beginning, and now his curiosity had built up within him until the hobbit felt ready to explode. He had been fidgeting in his spot for a while now, and finally his anxious movements grabbed the attention of Aragorn.
The ranger smiled, bemused by the hobbits antics, and raised a brow in Pippin's direction.
"Is everything alright Pippin?"
The hobbit turned to look at the ranger, and then, no longer able to hold back, he blurted out his question, a little too loudly in the opinion of the rest of the fellowship.
"How many other people know?"
Legolas raised an eyebrow at the abruptness of the question, and just when he started to raise his hands to respond, the hobbit spoke up again.
"Because, when we were still in Rivendell, Strider said that you hadn't told anyone about what happened. That no one actually knew what happened to you…not even your family…"
At this, sadness crept back into Legolas' eyes. He nodded gently, and turned his sights on Pippin. His gestures were immediately translated by Aragorn, and the elf couldn't help but notice the note of pain in the ranger's voice.
"This would be correct. Before telling you, I had never spoken of the details of what had befallen me. I could not even find the strength to tell my father."
The mention of his father and the current topic sent Legolas back into his memories of a much darker time…
The fire crackled brightly within the daunting and elegant fireplace. The dancing flames cast a gentle orange glow over the nearby walls and furniture, giving the room a peaceful feel. However, the fire's feeble attempts at making the room less oppressive were easily ignored by the two beings in the bedroom.
One sat beside the bed, his normally rod-straight back slumped in misery, and cobalt blue eyes, which could cause Sauron himself to shrink back in fear, were now worried and anxious. Hands shook as they gently caressed the pale blonde hair on the head before him on the bed, unsure how to deal with the newest struggle to come about. Thranduil could still hear Elrond's words from when he had come to fetch him earlier.
The king had been pacing nervously outside Legolas' door for close to an hour, when the master healer exited and pulled him aside. The woodland elf didn't think that he would ever forget what Elrond had spoken.
The blonde elf's steps were uneven as he was drawn farther away from the door to his son's room. Even though he was only really crossing the hallway, such an insignificant distance felt like miles since Legolas had been so far away for so long. When he finally reached the other wall of the hallway, Elrond standing in front of him, the Elvenking couldn't help but glance over his shoulder one more time.
The hushed call turned Thranduil's head until his forlorn eyes were gazing somewhat desperately into those of the ancient healer. The elf from Rivendell looked stricken, and his haunted expression only served to douse the King's heart in ice water. After all, the healer had just spent the past six or seven hours tending to his son, and a devastated expression was last thing that Thranduil wanted to see after that.
"Elrond, Legolas-nin, saes nara enni taus ho innas nesta." (Elrond, my Legolas, please tell me that he will heal.)
Lord Elrond sighed, and brought the palm of his right hand up to his forehead. He rubbed small circles into his temples, before dragging his fingers through long raven locks. The pause was devastating to Thranduil. If there was good news, then Elrond wouldn't be dodging the subject.
"Elrond saes! Amin baur an sinta!" (Elrond please! I need to know!)
The pitiful plea finally loosened the healer's tongue, but he was still reasonably reluctant. The knowledge he had was nearly impossible to divulge. Yet, as difficult as it would be to tell Thranduil about the battle that Legolas would have to struggle with for the rest of his life, there was no way that the elf could keep Thranduil in the dark. Besides, he would find out soon enough anyway…
His decision made, Elrond locked eyes with the King, his expression pained.
"Mellon-nin, Legolas' injuries are quite extensive, but those that were potentially life threatening are healing properly. He is still suffering from the lasting effects of the infection, seeing as it went so long without being treated, but it is my opinion that with time, he will make a nearly complete physical recovery." (my friend)
Thranduil frowned deeply, closing his eyes in misery.
The healer paused again, setting one hand on his hip, and the other back on his forehead.
"Unfortunately, it is likely that Legolas will never regain all of the physical capabilities that he once had. He suffered extreme damage to his arms, shoulders, wrists, and knees. The breaks and fractures were never given the chance to heal after being properly set. They knit together out of alignment, and while they have been set now, it is hard to tell whether that will be enough."
A heavy sigh left Thranduil, a feeling of hopelessness, and anger filling his heart. His son had already suffered so much, and now he may be permanently handicapped. That knowledge would kill whatever spirit Legolas had left. After a pregnant pause, Thranduil spoke again.
"I would like to go and see him."
At this, Elrond offered a small smile, but it was forced. He nodded, but as Thranduil started to turn back towards Legolas' room, Elrond placed a steady hand on the king's shoulder.
"Mellon-nin, wait." (my friend)
The wood-elf stopped, looking back towards Elrond. The healer kept his hand on Thranduil's shoulder for a few more moments, before reluctantly revealing the rest of what he knew.
"There is something else you need to know Thranduil." Elrond took a steadying breathe before continuing. "During his captivity, Legolas was forced to consume various tonics and solutions. Some were used to make him sick, others were hallucination inducing, and towards the end of his torture, his captors gave him something which severely damaged his throat, and therefore his vocal cords."
Elrond paused to gather himself to deliver the final blow. He briefly studied Thranduil's face—his panicked eyes, to his slightly flushed cheeks—which only made delivering this news that much harder.
"Thranduil, Legolas has lost his ability to speak, and from what I can tell, it is permanent."
From there, Thranduil had walked numbly into Legolas' room. His expression remained blank as he grabbed a chair, and pulled it to the side of the bed. He didn't blink as he sat down, and was confronted with the skeletal figure of his son lying silently on the bed. But when Legolas didn't even looked at his father when he entered the room—continuing to stare upwards instead. His once vibrant, blue eyes dead—Thranduil had broken down. Tears spilled over his cheeks and splattered onto his robes as the reality of what Legolas now had to deal with set in. His son was never going to be able to speak again. He had been permanently silenced, and there was nothing he could do.
All the king could think about was the fact that he had failed in his duties as a father. It was his job to protect his son from the dangers of this world…what a mess he had made of that. Legolas was now forever going to be a mute, and was never going to have the life that Thranduil wanted for him to have.
Already Legolas' childhood had been marred and prematurely ended by the death of his mother, and the growing darkness of the forest. Ever since then Legolas had been training relentlessly, going out on never ending patrols, and running himself into the ground with paper work. This was never what Thranduil had hoped for.
He had seen Legolas injured many a time throughout his life as a parent, but never before had he truly worried that his son would never truly heal in both a physical and psychological sense.
All of that had happened almost three hours ago.
Since then, the king had made several feeble attempts at speaking to Legolas, but everything appeared to go right over his son's head. In fact, it had gotten to the point where Thranduil had tried passing a hand in front of Legolas' face, and his glazed stare never wavered. This had of course caused the king to panic, and shout wildly for Elrond, believing his son had spontaneously died. Of course, the healer came running and put Thranduil at ease when he informed him that Legolas was still very much alive.
It appeared that Legolas had simply phased into a dream state of sorts. He wasn't asleep, nor was he in any form of reverie, but the elf wasn't awake either. He was weak, fatigued, and mentally vulnerable, so he easily succumbed to his thoughts. Elrond had then assured the overtly worried father that his son was in no immediate danger, and the best thing would be to leave him as he was. So now the mighty king sat, gently stroking Legolas' hair while his son continued to travel through his memories.
In fact, it wasn't until after two more hours had passed that something within the oppressive room changed. Thranduil had slightly dozed off, focusing on memories from a happier time, his hand frozen in mid-stroke in Legolas' hair. He was just reliving Legolas' first archery practice when the body on the bed jerked, and a choked squeak left his son's throat.
Immediately the king was completely alert, all his attention focused on his son. His heart shattered when he saw that Legolas had "woken up" and was now frantically looking around the room. His expression was deeply panicked, and his breathing erratic.
It was now that the king implemented his battle honed reflexes to jump to his son's aid. He slid from his chair and sat on the side of Legolas' bed, tightly grabbing the prince's pale hand. Thranduil gently rubbed his thumb in circles along the back of Legolas' hand, while quietly murmuring sweet nothings. When the prince continued to panic, still much too caught up in his own imaginings, Thranduil cupped the side of Legolas' face with his other hand. As the elf rubbed a thumb over his son's cheek, Legolas finally calmed down, his eyes locking with his fathers. It was in that moment that tears began to cloud Legolas' vision. He leaned into Thranduil's hold on his cheek, his chest convulsing as he quietly sobbed. The king responded by shushing Legolas' tears, in gentle tones.
"You're okay ion-nin, you are okay. I'm right here with you penneth lassё-nin, and I'm not going to let any more harm come to you." (my son; my little leaf)
As the king continued calming his son, he felt tears of his own begin to flow. Legolas would never be able to answer him again, and that truly scared him.
Finally, after many more minutes, the two royals managed to calm down. Once again they locked gazes, which held for several seconds of silence, until Legolas looked away. His blue eyes turned downwards and his head moved off to the side, avoiding Thranduil completely.
Worried and confused by Legolas' behavior, Thranduil hooked a finger under his son's chin, pulling ever so gently so that his son was looking at him again. Legolas closed his eyes again, not wanting to face his father.
"Why do you hide from me ion-nin? Do you not know how much joy it brings me to see you home once again?" (my son)
At this, the prince opened his eyes and looked to his father. They were filled with a great sadness that filled Thranduil with an equally great amount of pain. His son looked so very lost, and that hurt more than anything. He had finally saved Legolas, yet he was still in pain.
However, not wanting to show his son how upset he was inside, Thranduil put on a tight smile, and gave Legolas' hand a squeeze.
"Do you not know how much my heart has ached each and every day you have been gone? Do you not know that I have never stopped looking for you? Do you not know, how every morning I would wake up, and for the briefest moment forget that you were gone…" The king stopped as he felt his throat clog up with tears, his voice cracking. His eyes roved over Legolas' face, gazing deeply into his eyes, which were now focused completely on him. "Only to remember in the next second that when I went down to the dining hall, your seat would still be empty."
After that, the king fell to silence. The two simply watched each other, and it was quite strange not to have Legolas respond. He was never going to hear Legolas' lilting voice again. No longer would he raise his voice in song at festivities, he would never be heard telling a witty joke at the expanse of a friend ever again, and he would never be seen giving gentle and helpful instructions to a struggling archer on training fields. He would remain silent, forever holding his peace. It was nearly an impossible thing to wrap his head around, and so the king couldn't even begin to imagine what was going through Legolas' mind at the moment.
He realized that in all this time, he hadn't once asked Legolas how he was dealing with this newest tragedy.
"Ion-nin, Lord Elrond told me about…about what has happened. I can't possibly understand how you must feel as right now, but I just want you to know that whatever you may need, please come to me. I don't know if there is anything that I can do to truly help you, but I would certainly like to try." (my son)
Legolas looked at up at his father with watery eyes. He nodded slowly in response, but couldn't put much vigor behind it, both because of his physical weakness, and the fact that he had pretty much given up on the life he once knew. He felt like he could never truly be himself again. Between his long absence, subsequent torture, and now this new tragedy, he was quite literally a shell of who he once was.
Even though Legolas hadn't said any of this aloud, Thranduil could almost instantly read his son's thoughts by his expressions. No one could read Legolas quite like the king could.
"Don't you dare give up on yourself Legolas. I can see it, you've given up, and I swear to each and every God we know of that I will never let that happen! We are going to get through this, as a family. Do you understand me Legolas?"
The king pressed his hand against Legolas' cheek with a little more pressure. He now had tears flowing freely down his cheeks, but at that point Thranduil couldn't have cared less.
"I have failed you so many times ion-nin, and for that I am so very sorry. I was supposed to protect you, keep you safe, because you are my son…my son…and I know that I will never be able to make up for all of the ways in which I have wronged you as your father, but I promise that I will do everything in my power to ensure that nothing will ever hurt you again." (my son)
By this point, Thranduil was uncontrollably crying. All his guilt that he had been harboring for the past three years was finally being released, and now that it has started, he was finding it impossible to stop. He had been holding himself responsible for everything that had happened, rightfully so in his mind, and he couldn't take it anymore.
"I am so sorry Legolas, so very sorry. This is all my fault, and I can never apologize enough. It is my fault that you lie here now, battered and bruised. It is my fault that you've been so badly hurt, and it is my fault that you will never be able to speak again. I haven't been the father that you deserve. When I should have been telling you to come inside and sleep, I watched you train until you dropped. Because I felt so…proud to know that my son was such an amazing fighter. That my son was ready to do anything to defend his kingdom, and that my son was so much more than I could have ever been. And my pride blinded me to the fact that I was standing by as you ran yourself into the ground."
The king was silenced when a shaky hand came up to cup his cheek, just as he held Legolas. The sudden gesture of kindness caused Thranduil to blink and sniff, when he realized that the hand belonged to his son. Legolas had reached out and was currently brushing away Thranduil's tears. Then, when the prince was sure he had his father's attention, he shook his head, indicating that all of the guilt the king had just revealed was misguided.
Legolas just continued shaking his head until he heard Thranduil's sobs lessen. It was then that he brought the other hand up, after disentangling it from Thranduil's, to cup the other side of the king's face. He made sure the king was facing him directly before mouthing a phrase that his father couldn't possibly misinterpret.
I love you.
Please review guys! Only one chapter left! Also, so sorry it took so long to post.