Healer Jailil hummed a tune as he entered Thranduil’s healing chamber, a little nosier then usual. For one thing, he knew all three occupants of the room were usually awake at this hour so he had no need to be extra quiet. He stopped, blinking in confusion as Thranduil put a finger to his lips and shook his head. His patient was relaxed against the pillows, running his hand over Legolas’s head on his chest. Color was beginning to seep back into his thin cheeks.
Legolas lifted his head to look at Healer Jailil before he wriggled back down into his father’s embrace, trying to touch as few of both their bruises as he could. Still, a wince passed over Thranduil’s embrace, and Healer Jailil had a strong urge to scold the little elfling.
Thranduil used his head to indicate Landion’s bed and Healer Jailil frowned as he eyed the bed. It looked a little more filled then normal. His eyebrows met his hairline as he realized not only was Landion still sleeping but he also looked happy and quite comfortable buried in the embrace of his lordship, Harune!
“I dare say the world is full of surprises,” Healer Jailil remarked, but keeping his voice low this time. He added briskly as he approached Thranduil’s bedside, “Now then, how are you feeling? Any nausea, nightmares, sickness, queasiness, aches, pains, or the like?”
“None at all, thankfully,” Thranduil answered.
“And you?” Healer Jailil asked, turning his eyes to Legolas.
“Just tired,” came the mumbled reply.
“Hmm, yes, and being spoiled during your exhaustion, without doubt,” Jailil said, his eyes resting on Thranduil’s hand stroking Legolas’s hair. He cast a look at his King. “As for you, what have I said about resting?”
“This takes little energy,” Thranduil objected.
Healer Jailil looked at the circles under Thranduil’s eyes with a frown, and Thranduil sighed. He knew Healer Jailil was right, of course, but he felt more then guilty about whipping Legolas and he knew he had to do something to reassure Legolas he still loved him.
Healer Jailil swept out of the room to order a late breakfast for his patients.
Legolas looked up at Thranduil. “Are you tired, ada?”
“A little,” Thranduil admitted.
“Then you should rest.”
Thranduil gave in and closed his eyes. He was more then tired; he was exhausted. As sleep claimed him, so did nightmares. The word nightmares and his refreshed guilt lingered in the back of his mind, until his dreams turned his worst fears into a horrible reality. He awoke with a jerk, meeting Legolas’s worried eyes. Cursing himself, he wondered how much of his guilty feelings he had revealed.
“Ada?” Legolas asked.
“I am all right, little leaf,” Thranduil said. “It was a bad dream.”
“But you were dreaming about whipping me,” Legolas said, averting his eyes.
“Legolas, I am so sorry,” Thranduil said desperately. “I hated every minute of it. I hated having to hurt you. Reliving it is my worst nightmare. What can I do to make up for the cruelty with which I treated you?”
“I dream about it to,” Legolas said faintly.
Thranduil sat frozen, unsure of what to say or do. He knew how Legolas must feel, haunted by memories of the terrible moment. “Legolas, I-I—”
“I know you must be hurting inside,” Legolas interrupted, tears brimming in his eyes. “I know it hurt you to whip me and I want to tell you it is all right. I am not hurting in my heart because I know you will never strike me willingly. But I can tell how much pain you must be in. It is all right, ada.”
Thranduil stared down at his son in speechless shock. He hesitated, knowing there were times when Legolas doubted his word and asked if he was going to be hit. Legolas saw his face and said, “I know there have been times when I have not believed you. But now that I have felt you hit me, and I saw how much more it hurt you then it did me, I know you are telling the truth.”
Thranduil buried his face in Legolas’s hair as he hugged his son close to hide his tears. “Thank you, thank you, little leaf, for setting my aching heart to rest. I love you so much—words cannot express my deep love for you.”
Legolas pulled back and wiped the tears from Thranduil’s face. “You set my frightened, hurting heart to rest when I came to you for help. I cannot give you back all the love you gave me but . . .”
“I do not expect you to,” Thranduil said, planting a kiss on his son’s cheek.
Legolas’s face widened into a smile as he threw his arms around his father’s neck and hugged him tight, murmuring, “I wish I could.”
“Right now we have to focus on healing,” Thranduil said.
“I feel better already,” Legolas answered.
Thranduil admitted to himself he felt better too. The heavy weight of guilt and dread had been lifted off his heart and the built up tension between him and Legolas was gone. With lighter air and complete understanding between him and his son, though his body ached, the pain was gone from his heart. And that made all the difference.
Thranduil glanced to his left as he heard rustling blankets. Harune appeared to have awoken. He smiled in amusement as his father stretched then stopped, probably looking around him in confusion.
“What on Middle Earth,” Harune began, and then stopped as if struck by a memory.
“That is what I should like to know,” Healer Jailil said, striding into the room with two elves behind him bearing trays of food. He noticed the color returning to Thranduil’s cheeks, and his smile, and said, “You seem to be feeling much better.”
“Indeed I am,” Thranduil agreed. “In fact, I think I will be able to feed myself now.”
“Let me know if you need any help,” Healer Jailil said with a teasing grin as he gestured for the two elves to deposit the trays with Thranduil and Legolas. He glided across the floor and leaned over Harune, his hands on his hips as he demanded, “And what are you doing here, my lord, I should very much like to know?”
Landion stirred beside Harune as the elder elf replied, “I could not sleep last night from worry so I came to assure myself Thranduil and Legolas were all right. They were both fine but Landion was experiencing a bad nightmare. He woke up looking like he was about to faint or vomit, and he asked me to stay with him.”
“And clearly you had no trouble obliging him,” Jailil said, with an amused look at the bleary eyed elfling awake beside Harune. He gestured for his two companions to fetch another tray of breakfast.
“I will be sure to wake you up next time,” Harune said as he slid his legs out of bed and rose to his feet.
The Healer’s smile faded. He said quickly, “I never doubted you for a minute. In fact, if it is you Landion wants, I do not think I can possibly replace you. We all must do everything to make him happy.”
A gentle smile lit up Harune’s eyes, with a hint of malice in the curves of his lips. “I dare say. You will have to excuse me; I have work to attend to. Good morning, Thranduil, Legolas.” With a small wave, he glided out of the room.
“He did not even bother to ask how we are feeling,” Legolas said in disappointment.
“We are looking much better,” Thranduil said, overflowing with energy and itching to leave bed but knowing his body would protest.
“But I like his sympathetic kisses,” Legolas complained.
“One can tell you are recovering,” Healer Jailil said, eying the elfling.