The Best Laid Plans
Ahh, the best laid plans of dwarves and hobbits… Legolas is NOT in the birthday mood.
The Best Laid Plans
Legolas swore fluently. First in elvish, and then in dwarvish for good measure.
Damn hobbits. Damn nosy hobbits. What had they been thinking? He ground his teeth together again.
If it weren't enough for them to talk Aragorn into having a blasted birthday party for him at Minas Tirith, they had done the unspeakable. The worst betrayal possible.
They had invited his father.
Legolas pulverized the lovely parchment invitation that had been slipped under his door and then hurled it across his chamber. He knew better than to blame Frodo, even though his name was included on the list of hosts. No, no, no, credit lay entirely with that fool of a Took and that blasted Brandybuck! He should have let the both of them perish at the hands of the Uruk hai.
Ai! He knew that his friends had the best of intentions, that they worried about him. Him! An elven prince and, it must be said, deadly warrior, and he had hobbits trying to mother him. For the last month, Sam had been surreptitiously trying to give him second helpings at dinner (at least Sam thought he was being covert; to Legolas it was blazingly obvious). Then Pippin had wheedled out of him what his begetting day was.
Legolas knew or guessed that Gimli and Aragorn must have shared the occasional conversation about him. The dwarf and Aragorn were, naturally, more sly when it came to checking up on him. Aragorn at least understood his sense of pride in these matters, the need to maintain appearances.
So whose brilliant idea was it to throw him a birthday party? And invite his father?
Those dimwits had the temerity to invite his father—his father whom Legolas had not written or spoken to in a year since the prince had coolly walked out of the throne room in Mirkwood with his father still shouting behind him. The echoes rang down the hall. He had collected his few things and left for Ithilien within minutes.
A knock sounded abruptly at his door. It had to be the dwarf. No one else pounded that way.
Legolas growled and snatched the door open. "What?" he said, his voice a low menacing hiss.
"Ah, laddie, you saw the invitation then," the dwarf surmised, letting himself into the room, barely paying heed to the scowl on his friend's face. Oh, he noticed that the elf's ears were an unflattering shade of red and the icy tint to his eyes. He just didn't care.
Legolas stepped in front of him and jabbed an accusatory finger in the dwarf's chest, and really that was a sign in of itself, that he would be so far gone as to touch Gimli's beard willingly.
"What is the meaning of this? Why am I only hearing of this nonsense today?" he demanded, and didn't he have a right to know? The damn invitation was for tonight! Those height-challenged interlopers think they can just dictate his evening? "I might have had plans!" he shrieked.
Gimli countered this with a look. "Pointy-ear, best change your shirt. We're going to that party."
Legolas' voice dropped to low, melodic tones. It was his best persuasive voice. "And how long have you known about this, Gimli? It must have been planned for a while, for Merry to send a messenger inviting my father."
The prince sank into the small armchair by the hearth and massaged his temple as though his head ached. His golden hair hung around loosely around his face, but it didn't take much for the dwarf to catch the grief in his eyes. Gimli hesitated and then rested his hand on Legolas' shoulder. The prince looked up, and their eyes met.
Whether it was the simple touch, or the concern in Gimli's eyes, Legolas wasn't sure which, perhaps both in combination, but he felt his anger drain away.
"Aye, though the hobbits didn't know of your, eh, estrangement from your father, Legolas. And neither Aragorn nor I found out about it until it was too late, or we would have put them off the idea, you can be sure."
"And he's here?" Legolas asked tiredly.
Gimli nodded. "Arrived this morning, just a small party," he confirmed and bit his lower lip. "Look, Legolas. You know how I feel about…him, but I will allow that he stopped me this morning, me, a dwarf, to ask about you."
"So he must be desperate for information." Legolas felt himself smirk.
"Aye," the dwarf agreed, "'twas as awkward a conversation as I can recall having. Your father looked miserable."
Legolas slowly rose from the chair. "Miserable because he had to talk to a dwarf, or miserable because he felt guilty for having ill-used his son?"
Now it was Gimli's turn to smirk. "Probably both," he answered, his eyes twinkling.
Legolas ground his teeth and then turned to the wardrobe to snatch one of his finer tunics. With a most unprince-like huff, he yanked it over his head and then glared at Gimli.
The damn dwarf didn't even flinch. A full-on elven glare of power, and he didn't even have the decency to flinch.
"Are you done, then?" Gimli asked flatly.
"Let's be on our way," Legolas said in an equally flat, I-am-so-done-with-this, tone.
The hobbits had been busy. Very busy, if the streamer-infested Great Hall was any indicator. Legolas temporarily forgot his fit of pique and grinned at the sight of Aragorn's noble hall decorated heavily from the waist down.
It was at this moment of amusement that Pippin bounded up to him and Gimli.
"Oh, goodness, then you are pleased!" he exclaimed, so obviously pleased himself at the sight of the prince smiling. He continued with a dark look at Gimli, "Some people were worried that you wouldn't love it."
Legolas looked down and realized the other hobbits had flocked to their guest of honor. Their faces were so bright and earnest, and even Frodo smiled up at him. He unwittingly took a step back.
"Lucky me?" he asked, eyes darting to Aragorn who had now joined their group as well.
Then all the hobbits began to speak at once:
"Just wait 'til you see the rest!" Pippin crowed.
"There's loads of cake, just lashings of it!" Merry promised cheerfully.
"I made you up a gift, not much mind you, just a little something," Sam added.
"We're very glad you like it, Legolas. You have been such a good friend to all of us," Frodo said quietly, after the others had finished.
At this precise moment, Legolas looked across the hall and saw for the first time, his father gazing directly at him, catching his eye on the last words of Frodo's quiet speech.
The prince knelt down before his dear friends, his fellowship. They had thrown him a birthday party. A smile tugged on the corners of his mouth.
"Like it?" he asked, his fair elven face luminous, his eyes merry. "I love it."
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