Beta appreciation notes
to Larrk’s beleaguered betas: Helen; AKA, HRH Larrk’s
Herald – who with sublime skill superbly executes her double
duties of beta and Court Appointed Herald, and to my beloved Kat, who
IM’s me with her instant support, reads and re-reads as is
needed, and provides me with her exquisitely encouraging ‘mirror
reviews.’ Thanks, Team Larrk!
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement is intended. This story is not meant to violate the rights held by New Line, Tolkien Enterprises, nor any other licensee, nor is any disrespect intended. I don’t own Tolkien’s original characters, however, my OC’s, Gwinthorian, Garrick, Devon and several other Rangers are exclusively my own.
The Comfort of Consequences
“You don’t tell me what to do!”
I paused and stared at him. Was he serious? Apparently he was. Frodo stood glaring up at me, wholly, entirely serious. I raised a brow and asked: “Excuse me?”
He tilted his small chin up even further, haughty and determined. “I said, you don’t tell me what to do, sir.”
I nodded. “I thought that was what you said.” And I scooped up one very haughty, determined little hobbit, plunked him down onto my hip and headed back to his bedchamber in the Houses of Healing. He immediately began struggling and kicking.
“Legolas!” he cried. “Put me down!”
“I think not,” I replied. “And stop that at once.” Frodo huffed and redoubled his struggles, so I promptly shifted him about to carry him locked against my body, facing me. “As you will, sir,” I said with soft resignation, “but your further defiance just cost you.”
He growled and gasped, bucking to no avail. “Cost me indeed!” he snarled. “You think that because you're bigger than me and stronger than me you can just pick me up and do as you will? Unchallenged?”
He huffed. “OH!”
“But not only because I am bigger and stronger than you, sweetling,” I went on, this familiar conversation jarring a memory, “but because I am justified in doing so.”
Frodo thought for a moment, huffed a bit more, then cried, “No! You most certainly are not! Stop! Legolas! Put me down! You have no right to do this!”
No right? I could not imagine how to respond to his bizarre statement, so, for the moment, I ignored his insolent claim regarding my rights and made some statements of my own. “I presume, since you are here and Sam is not, that your loyal and doubtless exhausted gardener is sound asleep, as you should be at this early hour.”
“Legolas! Put me d--!”
“And, I presume, since you are fully dressed in nice new clothes, that some hapless servant in the Houses of Healing missed the order stating that hobbit clothing should not be stored in your bedchamber, or any place where you might get your hands on them.”
Frodo went silent, stopped wriggling for a moment, then started up again, in vain, and for reasons that escaped me.
“And I lastly presume that, perhaps this misinformed servant slipped into your chamber, saw that you and Sam were asleep, or so he thought – as, I say again, you should have been just before the crack of dawn – stored your clothes in the wardrobe and slipped back out --”
More gasping and continued squirming.
“ – never realizing he had a silent witness watching him through slitted eyes, a naughty, determined halfling who then slid from his bed, with great care, I vow, so as to avoid waking his weary gardener, donned his nice new clothes and stole out of his room, disobeying the direct orders of both the much-beleaguered Warden and the soon-to-be-crowned future king of Gondor.”
Frodo paused, then fully relaxed in my arms, heaved his own much-beleaguered sigh and said, “Oh, merciful Middle Earth, Legolas. Will you kindly shut up?”
I lost the struggle to hold back a quick laugh. “Quite the cheeky remark from someone who has just been caught in the act of open insubordination.”
“Insubordination indeed!” Frodo shot back. “It’s your behavior, sir, that’s completely inappropriate.”
Stunned, I near broke my stride. “Inappropriate?” I puzzled, turning the corner to his wing. “Are you saying that you are no longer answerable to me, sweetling?”
And the moment I said it, that same question echoed in my memory. I heard nearly those exact words as Lord Glorfindel had spoken them to me many, many years ago: “Are you saying that you are no longer answerable to me, young Prince of Mirkwood?”
“Not in the manner you are accustomed to, no, my lord.”
Glorfindel had narrowed his eyes and tilted his head slightly to one side. I had never enjoyed being on the receiving end of his narrow-eyed stare. “Explain yourself.”
“I mean that, well, I am no longer an elfling. I am a grown-up now, an independent elf, and I expect to be treated in a respectful manner like any other independent adult. You cannot tell me what to do. So, when I say that you have no right to do this, I mean that you have no right to deal with me in such a demeaning fashion. And so, no, I am no longer answerable to you, my lord – not as I used to be.”
Oh, I was good. I remained admirably poised, my voice steady, a fine example of self-governing elfhood. I was most impressed with myself.
Glorfindel had released a small polite laugh and headed for a nearby bench, saying, “Well, little princeling, I disagree. And, sadly for you, mine is the only opinion that matters here. So, come.” He turned and cast me an odious grin. “Let us get on with this.”
And Glorfindel had then laid waste to my admirable poise. He laid thorough waste to it, in fact, though he graciously allowed me to humiliate myself first by trying to fight him. Me fighting Glorfindel. Of all the lunacy. Lost in that sudden memory, I failed to realize that Frodo had answered me.
“Legolas!” he barked, jerking his little body.
I blinked. “I heard you.”
“You did?” he said, startled. “Then you agree?”
“I might have missed some of your reply.”
Frodo glared at me.
“A few of the details are eluding me.”
He heaved a long-suffering sigh. “I said that, in light of all I’ve been through, I should now be permitted to decide certain things for myself. By myself. I lived as a grown-up, independent hobbit in the Shire for many, many years, and the Quest is now over, sir. So I see no reason why I should be answerable to anyone now, including you.”
That brought me to a standstill. I stared at him. “Ah.”
Squirming a bit, he went on: “I am an adult, sir. Long past my ‘tweens. I have experienced . . . much. And, having experienced much, all of that . . . muchness, that is, well, all that experiencing should mean that . . . well, it means that I deserve to be self-determining.”
“Entirely self-determining. Entitled to determine things for, well . . ..”
“Yes, myself. Such as when I am fit enough to leave my bed. Answerable, as I said, to no one.”
“Then you agree, my lord?”
“By no means,” I replied, and I began striding again. Frodo exploded once more into fresh sounds of protest and feeble attempts to squirm.
“Legolas, put me doooowwwwwn!”
There was little point in arguing with him further. Frodo’s real dilemma was not one of self-rule. He had donned his clothing and strolled from his chamber knowing that Aragorn had forbidden him to do so until he was judged well enough to be released, knowing that he would be caught and knowing what was likely to happen to him when he was caught. So, whether Frodo admitted it to himself or not, being caught was part of whatever he thought he was doing.
In truth, though, I doubted thought had much to do with this. As Aragorn had said, nothing should surprise us when it came to what Frodo might do. He had been working through much during his recovery. Outwardly he put a good face on everything, seeming so much like the sweet hobbit we had known before the Quest took him into the vicious heart of evil that the recollection of it made one want to weep. Those of us who knew and loved Frodo best recognized his private anguish at once – some foul and singular darkness he was not yet ready to face fed upon him inwardly. Aragorn was inclined to give Frodo some time to reach a place wherein he was willing to be helped, however my Ranger would wait only so long before stepping in.
The past few days had been hopeful ones. Frodo had begun to loosen that tight grip on his inner solitude by displaying a belligerence similar to his occasional behavior whilst under the influence of the Ring.
This ‘dawn escape’ was an encouraging cry for help. Aragorn would be delighted to see such progress. Frodo had accepted and respected my authority over him right from the beginning, without question, even more so after the first spanking I had given him. So Aragorn would be especially pleased by the little one’s defiance of me. I was finding it engaging myself in that it was reminding me of a time when I went through something similar. The parallels closely resembled each other. Even some of the conversations were echoes from my past.
I had been struggling through a time of self-imposed and profound change brought on when, to the astonishment of all who knew me, I had decided that it was time to grow up. I had thought that such was what I desired most, and that taking this step would solve all my dissatisfaction. But, like Frodo, I had not really known what I wanted at all, and I certainly was not willing to admit what I wanted most, deep inside.
It took a quite spectacular disaster to end that self-imposed adulthood, and before it was over I had managed to challenge Glorfindel’s authority when I knew that he was fully within his rights to discipline me. The hubris of youth . . ..
I sensed a similar conflict in Frodo now. His suffering had near ended on the outside. His many wounds were healing nicely, though his weight was still down and he tired easily, but Frodo’s inner suffering was going to take more time and much more effort to heal, as Aragorn had pointed out:
“Be ready,” he had advised my little brother and me. “Frodo is frightened, deep inside. He is looking for reassurance. Hopefully he will begin to seek it out, pushing his boundaries, testing us repeatedly, doing anything he can think of to seek the comfort and safety he longs for. He will need us. So, be prepared for anything.”
Aye – my Ranger would enjoy this morning’s happenings. He might even feel a bit envious, as I was the one dealing with Frodo’s first cry for help. I could take Frodo to Aragorn, but I knew my Ranger. Fate brought Frodo and me together in this unique time and place, and Aragorn respected Fate’s choices.
Dawn was just about to break, and though Aragorn was usually up by now, he was sleeping late. He needed his rest, considering what our Steward had playfully demanded of the two of us last night. Oddly enough, Boromir’s insatiable appetites oft energized me rather than depleted me, which explained why I was the only one awake and checking on Frodo, something the little one knew we did first thing every morning, though not at this early hour.
I now neared the bedchamber in which Gwin had spent a few days last week recovering from a blow to the head he had received when he single-handedly challenged a tavernful of ruffians to a brawl. It was also the chamber Faramir and Merry had shared. It would suit my purpose nicely. I had already administered two spankings here, one to Gwin and one to Faramir, both of whom I had never spanked before, and although Frodo had been over my knee many times, there was a curious satisfaction in dealing with him here as well.
“What are you doing?” Frodo demanded with sudden fretful attentiveness, twisting his head to see where we were. “Legolas, where are you – why are you – just what do you think you’re doing?”
“I think it should be obvious, Frodo. I think I am about to take you into this room.”
“But, but, but --” His struggles increasing, Frodo stammered, “But, why, I-I, what do you plan to d--”
“Shh, little one,” I said, entering the chamber, then nudging the door shut with my shoulder. “You and I need to talk.”
“Indeed,” I told him, striding to the bed.
“You just want to . . . talk?” Frodo studied me.
“You would like me to do something else?” I sat on the bed and gathered him down onto my lap – face-up. For the moment.
“No! I don’t want you to do anything el–no, no, no!” Frodo quickly said. “I-I mean --” He paused, took a deep breath and slowly let it out, recovering his composure and his self-righteous displeasure. “I mean, yes, Legolas. Yes. Of course we can talk, if that’s what you want. I’m willing to talk. However, I must make it clear that I am staying to talk because I choose to do so. Not because you are forcing me to.”
I found this an interesting statement from one who had been carried in here under restraint and spouting loud objections, but I merely nodded and said, “Understood.”
He looked adorably self-satisfied. Frodo was, as ever, too adorable. I smiled at him. He gave me a cautious smile in return. And, though I knew full well what I was about to do to him – what was going to happen in just a few minutes, in fact – and though I sensed that, deep inside, Frodo knew it as well, I felt there was merit in allowing him to at least attempt an explanation.
“So,” I said, making sure he was well settled. “Let us talk.”
Immediately, I heard Gwinthorian’s voice in my head, recalling something he’d told me just a handful of days ago right here in this room. Right here in this bed, in fact, where I lay cuddled between him and Legolas. Sam had just woken up in our room further down the hallway, found me gone, roared my name and was now charging up the corridor in search of me.
“A piece of advice, my sweet little one,” a well-spanked Gwin had quickly said as I cowered further back against Legolas. “Offense is the best defense. That is my strategy. Speak out clearly in your own defense ere he attacks and throw him off his stride.”
Legolas had snorted. “Gwinthorian, do not give Frodo such advice. That strategy is fatally flawed. It has never helped you with Halbarad or me with Aragorn, or Devon with Garrick. It is an absurd tactic.”
“Aye, you stubbornly insist on trying it every so often, but the fact remains that your ‘offense is the best defense’ strategy simply does not apply when it comes to a spanking. Accept it, Gwin. It does not work.”
“It might work with Sam,” Gwin said.
“It will not work with Sam,” Legolas scoffed just before my irate gardener had burst into the room.
It hadn’t worked with Sam. In fact, I swear, it had enflamed Sam. Thank you so very much, Gwinthorian.
However, my argument that day had been weak. Today’s circumstances might make all the difference between that former failure and new success. Like Gwin, I saw nothing wrong with attempting a certain strategy again even though it had proven disastrous in the past.
This time my argument was strong, my purpose justified, my reasoning sound. So sound, in fact, that upon leaving the Houses of Healing I had intended to make my way straight to Aragorn’s chambers, knock on his door and inform him that I was an adult hobbit and fully able to decide matters for myself, beginning with such personal matters as my health. Inform Aragorn. Inform him. Offense rather than defense. And I would have evidence to prove my point.
My proof that I was the best judge of my own fitness would be, of course, that I had made my way, alone, from the Houses of Healing to the king’s chambers – where ever that turned out to be . . . I intended to ask directions as I journeyed along. What better proof of my fitness? Hopefully the trip would not be a long one as I was somewhat short on stamina, my limbs feeling just a bit, well, weak, but no matter. I was only a little wobbly. And I could stop often along the way.
Meanwhile, Sam, I knew, would sleep. He had collapsed. Legolas was right about that – poor Sam was indeed exhausted. However, that was his own doing. He was the one who stubbornly insisted on watching me every minute since my escape a few days ago. I’d since slept, but I don’t think he had. Every time I moved or opened my eyes, there was my Sam, watching me, bleary-eyed at times, jarring himself awake at other times with a startled, “Huh? Wha? Fro-where are y--! Oh. You’re here. Good, good.” My poor Sam.
I considered it Fate that Sam’s fatigue had caught up to him on the very morning that I cracked open my eyes to a small sound in our room and saw a servant placing what looked like clothing in the wardrobe. Could it be? Clothing? Instantly alert I did just what Legolas had guessed – I’d watched the servant from behind slitted eyes, then slipped from the bed when he’d left and found – glory be! Fresh new hobbit clothes just waiting to be donned and escaped in! Well, what else could I do? It was Fate! Oh lovely Fate! I was a great believer in honoring it.
So Legolas had no business arriving before the crack of dawn. How had Fate failed to speak to him about this? Usually he and Boromir and Aragorn visited my chambers for their morning Frodo-check within the hour after daybreak, never before dawn like this. Yes, I fear Fate had erred. Spectacularly and with a certain touch of irony. I’d rounded the corner and smacked right into the unsuitably early prince. Stupid, stupid Fate! Muttering quite the colorful elvish curse, Legolas had caught me by the arms to steady me and exclaimed, “You Shirelings move without making a sound!”
So did the elves, but I didn’t get the chance to say so because Legolas had turned instantly dictatorial, scolding me and demanding to know what I thought I was doing, telling me I shouldn’t be there and ordering me to turn right around and march myself back to my bedchamber.
Perhaps I could have been more diplomatic. But, when I was finally able to get a word in, I snarled, “You don’t tell me what to do!” Because, prince or no, this elf was being a pest. I had only so much forbearance, especially after being so roundly thwarted by that traitorous Fate.
“Frodo?” Legolas now prompted, lifting a brow. He must have picked up that mannerism from Aragorn over the years. Or vice versa.
He looked both amused and on the verge of impatience. “Would you like to talk?”
“ . . . offense is the best defense . . . throw him off his attack.”
“Well, I suppose,” I said with a shrug. “Although you’re the one who brought me in here, claiming that we needed to talk, so what did you want to talk about, Legolas?”
‘Offense is the best defense’ indeed. Rot that Gwinthorian. Legolas, his grasp on patience plainly more tenuous than I’d reckoned, blinked, studied me for a moment, then scooped me up from his lap, muttering, “My mistake,” and swiftly, carefully, turned me over his knee.
I hate squealing, but I squealed. Legolas had me secured ere I uttered my first gasping sounds of protest. With practiced speed he drew down my nice new britches, pulled up my shirt and there I was, right where I didn’t want to be, exposed as I hated being exposed in front of him. Why, oh, why did I feel so much more bare when I lay bare-bottomed over this beautiful elf’s knee? It was bad enough with the others, but with Legolas, oh Merciful Middle Earth!
Sputtering at this point was simply required. “Nooooo! No, Legolas! Don’t! Please, don’t! I-I-I didn’t mean --” I sputtered. Then, stunned, I heard myself exclaim, “It’s all Gwin’s fault!”
He froze. “Did you say . . . Gwin’s fault?”
“Uhhh . . . .” Well, yes, I had said that, but . . ..
“Oh, no,” Legolas said, amusement in his tone. “Permit me to guess – ‘offense is the best defense?’ You were trying Gwinthorian’s ruinous strategy?”
“Uhhh . . ..”
He laughed. “Oh, Frodo. Poor little sweetling. I told you that never works when it comes to a spanking. It failed miserably with Sam last week.”
I gasped, twisting the coverlet in my fists. “Rot that Gwin!”
He chuckled softly. “A sentiment I have often shared. But, you were about to end up right where you are anyway, sweetling, offense and defense notwithstanding.”
Oh! Presumptuous elf! I suddenly remembered my argument. I pushed myself up, turned to glare at him over my shoulder and said, “You have no right to do this to me, sir. I am a grown-up, in --”
“A grown-up, independent hobbit, yes, I know,” Legolas rudely interrupted. “You are indeed a grown-up hobbit, Frodo, but that is not the issue here. You are a grown-up hobbit who disobeyed orders. Adult or no, you are honor-bound to obey those orders. So I do indeed have the right to discipline you for your mutinous behavior.”
“Says you!” I shot back, sounding just like Pippin, embarrassingly so. Not quite the impressive response of a grown-up hobbit. I winced at myself. I didn’t like sounding like my ‘tween cousin, but Legolas had made perfect sense. I had no response, so I’d responded with nonsense.
He grinned. “Says me indeed, sir.” And he gently shoved me back down, rested his arm across my shoulders to hold me in place and delivered his first stinging spank. I hissed, despite myself. Ohhhh, I remembered this at once, this distinctive elvish swat Legolas possessed! Oh, drat, drat, drat!
“We have much to discuss, little one,” he said, now rubbing my bottom and making my face burn from his casual intimacy, “and as you seem reluctant to talk to me whilst sitting up on my lap, I think we should try it with you turned over my lap, bottom up. What do you think?”
I snarled, “I --”
“Think carefully,” Legolas said, patting my backside. “Consider, especially, where you are.”
I did. He was having a little fun with me, of course, amidst his earnestness. I might have enjoyed his toying had I not felt that first ominous spank and known that more were going to follow unless I made a very convincing case for myself as an independent hobbit answerable to no one. Sadly, I sensed that this was perhaps a debate I was destined to lose. I had no choice but to make the attempt, though. Either that or sentence myself to an elvish spanking, a fate that made my stomach clench. I began to form an answer.
“And while you are thinking of that,” Legolas went on, “imagine, also, how I am going to react to your decision that you are no longer answerable to me.”
That didn’t take much imagination. I knew very well how vexed Legolas was with that decision of mine. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that he was seriously vexed. My fellow hobbits and I had noticed that Legolas, when quietly furious, would sometimes describe himself as being ‘seriously vexed.’
“‘Seriously vexed’ is enough coming from him,” Sam had remarked.
Merry wisely noted, “He says it in that mild way to rein himself in.”
“And downplay his anger,” I added.
“Aye,” Pip had agreed. “Saying that he’s seriously vexed sounds lots better than saying, ‘Sir, I’m so angry with you that I’m tempted to turn you into orc fodder.’”
So I lay there, thinking carefully, knowing I was right, yet also feeling strangely bewildered and anxious and unable to focus and finally, frighteningly blank. So many raw feelings were erupting within me that I could focus on none of them. All I could think about was my position, and the sting on my bottom, and what this elf intended to do to me. And orc fodder. I was also thinking of orc fodder.
“I don’t think very well when in this position.”
He chuckled. “Then you shall needs try harder.”
“And while we are on the topic, tell me, are you no longer answerable to Aragorn as well? And if you are not, how do you think he will react to that news?”
How would Aragorn react? Well . . . I’d envisioned him . . . no. I hadn’t considered Aragorn’s reaction whatsoever, nor did I particularly care to consider it now, and I certainly didn’t care to consider it whilst in this position, or to share my thoughts, or rather my lack of them, with this demanding elf. ‘Offense, not defense’ . . . offense, offense . . .. Why, oh why had Legolas been wandering the corridors of the Houses of Healing at this absurd hour of the morning?
“I am waiting, Frodo.”
“OW!” And with clearly increasing impatience.
“When Gwin is having trouble responding, Halbarad sometimes counts for him,” he said. “I believe Garrick does the same for Devon.”
“Counts?” I blinked, then cringed. “Oh, no! You mean, he counts down, like ‘one’ . . . ‘two’ . . . ‘three’ . . ..”
“I believe he counts to five. Would that help you form your answers? Shall I count down for you?”
“Noooooo!” Of all the dreadful, degrading --! Gwinthorian and Devon had far more endurance than I did!
“Are you certain, sweetling? I would be happy to --”
“Nooooo! Legolas! No! Don’t you dare start counting!” I cried. “I couldn’t think straight if you were counting down, and it’s a stupid, dumb, stupid, stupid thing to do, you ass of an elf! AHHH! OWW!”
“Mmm. I see,” Legolas said with two hard spanks. “Well, we should get on with this then, little one. Perhaps when your sweet bottom is nice and warm you will be able to think straight. You may even be able to keep a civil tongue in your pretty head.”
And Legolas started to spank me, that wicked hand stinging with staggering intensity right from the start. I couldn’t help squealing again. My bottom involuntarily flinched. I wriggled as though trying to escape the next burning swat, even this early in a spanking that I sensed, with utter dismay, was going to last a while. And I desperately tried to back things up:
“I think I can talk now, Legolas! AHHH! P-Please! OW! I know I can talk now!”
“Shhh. There, there, little one. You were right. This is much better for you than counting down. I feel you will soon be ready to --”
“I’m readyyy! OWWW! I am! Legolas, I want to talk! AHH!”
“Soon, sweetling. Take your time. I know you have much to consider,” he said, just spanking away, horribly tranquil.
It had been a long time between spankings from Legolas. I’d forgotten how awfully awful it was. And now – oh, most awful of all! – Legolas had plainly decided that we weren’t going to discuss anything right now. I was going to be spanked first, then permitted to speak afterwards, at his discretion.
It was the worst possible course of action. I pleaded a few more times and Legolas kept assuring me that I clearly wasn’t ready to talk sense yet and that he understood and that it had been unfair of him to expect so much of me ere my bottom was, “nice and warm,” and he apologized for putting such unfair pressure upon me. I should, he advised, settle down and – Valar help me – “try to be a good little hobbit.”
“Frodo, you made your choice,” he said, pausing to rub my bottom again. “Very well. You convinced me. You need time to think. I understand, little one, and ‘tis all right. I have made my decision as well. I do not intend to let you up from my lap until your sweet bottom is a pretty rosy shade. And we shall talk when I am ready. You need know nothing else. So settle down, sweetling.”
“Oh nooooo!” My vision went blurry with unshed tears. My hands trembled, clutching the coverlet and my stomach quivered over his solid thighs, his arm pressing firm and solid over my back.
“Legolas, please, don’t --” I muttered, gasping. “Please, don’t-don’t . . . do not --”
“I shall not,” he murmured, lifting his arm again. “Shh, little one. No more fussing. I most certainly shall not let you down.”
“NooooooooooAHHHHH! I didn’t meanAHHHHHH! Nooo! You have no riiiiiiiiight!”
He said that as if he believed it. Frodo was determined that he deserved his independence, and it was not as if his claim lacked merit. In a way, he was right. Frodo had been an independent adult hobbit ere Bilbo bequeathed him a certain Ring and Frodo’s peaceful world had exploded around him. Almost at once his self-governing status changed and a new one was made manifest.
From the moment he encountered a mysterious Ranger one stormy night in Bree, Frodo had accepted a variety of authoritative figures in his life, and he had accepted them with grace. It had been his nature to do so. It still was, although at present he was choosing to deny that truth and seek an independence that, were he able to be honest with himself, he did not want at all. He especially did not want it now, when hidden terrors were slamming into him. He desperately needed the reassurance of strong boundaries and those who were willing to enforce them.
So the difference here lay in what Frodo said he wanted and what he truly wanted. Whilst loudly objecting to my control, demanding the adulthood he felt he deserved, Frodo was, in fact, seeking the comfort of being denied what he vowed he wanted. Some deep urging was telling him that he should want that adulthood. But from the moment he pulled on the handsome new britches that were now sliding ever lower down his wildly kicking little legs, Frodo had, in truth, wanted exactly this. He wanted to be forced to stop. He wanted to be put over someone’s knee and paid attention to. He was silently begging for the extraordinary solace that came from being watched over and cared about and taken in hand when he chose to break the rules Aragorn had made plain to him. Frodo was seeking the comfort of consequences.
I was delighted to oblige him. As to how long it might take for him to yield, well, Frodo’s stubborn streak, though often dormant, was quite the force when roused. While remaining mindful of his state, I intended to give him the nice, long spanking he had gone to such trouble to request. This beloved little one deserved no less than all I had to give.
On a purely covetous note, his soft, rounded and bouncy little backside had been too long absent from my lap. So sweet Frodo would stay right where he was until I was forced to stop spanking him. Blessed Fate for placing me in his escape path this morning! I would needs thank my vigorous little brother for wearing Aragorn out last night.
“Shhh, Frodo, hush now,” I murmured. “You have been over my knee many, many times, so you know that we are just getting started. Settle down.”
Frodo bucked and kicked, as much as I permitted, and he cried, “Nooooooo! AHHHHHHHH, Leg’lasss!”
I tucked him closer, spanking him with a steady, moderate force that would allow me to keep this up for some time, shamelessly enthralled with the sight of this sweet little one over my knee once again. Satisfaction purred within me, bringing to mind something Boromir had told Aragorn and me early in the Quest.
Concerned about how casually the three of us talked of our fondness for spanking and then cuddling the hobbits, Boromir had said, “We probably should not enjoy it so. After all, the poor little moppets are crying and suffering.”
I had pointed out to my gentle-hearted little brother that, while they were indeed crying, the halflings were not really ‘suffering.’ Aragorn added, “They are suffering outwardly, but inwardly they are at peace,” and Boromir had agreed.
I grinned, recalling another time on the Quest when I had told Aragorn of how contented I felt having just spanked and comforted little Pippin.
“Of course you are content,” Aragorn told me, blank-faced. “You are a degenerate.”
I had burst out laughing, then shot back, “If I am, then so are you!”
“I would be the first to admit that,” he said with a wry grin.
We could plague each other and laugh like this, for we understood the real reason behind the underlying feeling of contentment shared by both parties during a spanking. All who engaged in this special kind of devotion understood the sweet and subtle affection woven into its fabric. Even now, when Frodo was struggling against an inner foe he could not identify, he had this place of safety to which he could escape. Safe in another’s arms; safe over another’s lap; safe under another’s watchful care – it was utterly exquisite. And this morning, that watchful care was mine – ahhh . . ..
I flinched, yanked back to the moment by Frodo’s yelps. He was on the very edge of tears, yet still refusing to let them go – stubborn, stubborn halfling! As Aragorn had said, “If Sarumon’s forces were as strong as a hobbit’s will, we never would have broken their lines.”
“I am here, sweetling.”
“I knoowwwww!” he exclaimed, his voice trembling with surprising fury. “I kn-knowww you’re here, you witless elf!”
I chuckled. “Frodo, your sass, while entertaining, is most imprudent.”
“But you won’t listen to meeeeee! I w-want to talk now! AHHHHHHHH!”
“I assure you, sir, I am hanging on your every bellow. But you are forgetting protocol, my impertinent bratling. I decide when we begin our talk, not you. And until I give my consent you shall behave like a good little hobbit and take the spanking you so richly deserve.”
Ew. Even I felt squeamish with such language. I imagine it hit Frodo deep within his wriggling belly.
“And,” I added, “earlier you told me to ‘shut up.’ Very cheeky of you, sir. I have, however, decided to follow your sage advice.”
And whether it was because my words ignited his fury and frustration, or because I had emphasized them with another especially sincere spank, Frodo finally burst into tears. He flung his small hand back in that desperate open-palmed manner, a useless attempt to protect his pink little bottom, but such an endearing sight. I could not help smiling.
Drawing his hand up to the small of his back, I held it there and murmured, “Nay, none of that now, sweetling. I want to see and have access to your entire pretty little backside.”
Ew again. I cringed for him.
“AHHHHHH! But, Legolas, the Q-Quest is overrrrr, so you can’t, can’t – not r-riiight!” he squalled. “I-I’m a grown-up h-hobbit! Independ-dent! You can’t d-do this! I don’t answer to you anym-morrrre, and you can’t, can’t, can NOT t-tell me what to doooo! AHHHHHHHH!”
I listened quietly to his babbling, knowing he neither required, nor even expected, a verbal response. And I heard that bewildered undertone in his voice, remembering all too well what that had felt like . . ..
We were good. Nine times out of ten the twins and I were not even caught.
Well . . . that was, perhaps, an inaccurate estima . . ..
Half . . . no . . . about a third of the time the twins and I were not cau . . ..
Nine times out of ten Elrohir, Elladan and I were, sadly, caught when we misbehaved. But our lack of success failed to discourage the three of us from trying something new and ill-advised the next time.
We had long ago been forced to abandon our famous, “But, you did not tell us not to do it!” defense. My ada had fashioned the classic answer to that, sharing it with me, the twins and their ada – Elrond’s brow supremely arched to a height only he could achieve:
“We never told you not to strap on wings and leap from Mount Doom, attempting to fly either, my son,” Thranduil had stated, “but we do not expect you to do so.”
Later, when the three of us met up again, sore bottomed and pouting, Elrohir had scowled at me and muttered, “In case you could not tell, our ada loved that comment.”
“So much for our famous defense,” Elladan had remarked. “Thanks to your clever ada.”
“Oh, fine,” I had snarled back. “Blame me for my ada’s cleverness. Actually, it was just the kind of thing your ada would have said!” Glaring at them, I growled what I always growled when the twins and I were in trouble. “I despise you both.”
“So you always say.”
“And we despise you back.”
“So you always say,” I returned. I paused then, struck by the funny vision Thranduil’s comment had conjured . . . flying off Mt. Doom. Oh, Ada. But I had chuckled, despite myself, and moments later I looked up to a familiar sound and saw the twins chuckling as well and exchanging a wicked glance.
“Not a bad idea, Legola --”
“We should --”
“NOOOOOO!” I roared, and we had all laughed.
So, given our disastrous record, any time I saw a certain gleam in the eyes of a certain pair of approaching Rivendell brothers I should have made a swift departure in the opposite direction. They would have followed me, though, badgering me with their newest idea for yet another roguish, risky scheme until I agreed that it was indeed a brilliant plan and went along with them.
“Why do I listen to you?” I once cried when disaster befell us yet again and, yet again, we met up later sore bottomed and pouting.
“Because we always listen to you when you have brilliant plans,” Ro replied.
“And we always --”
“Combine forces with you.”
It was hard to argue with truth, especially when it came my way in duet form.
So Elladan, Elrohir and I had earned a reputation for mischief within the realms of Mirkwood and Rivendell . . . indeed, within the entire elfdom of Middle Earth. One would think this might prompt our elders to keep the three of us far away from each other, or to at least keep a closer watch when we were together, but such never seemed to be the case. We felt there was wisdom in not questioning our good fortune.
“Green princes and wild youths with too much time on their hands, my lords,” Erestor had said the last time his pupils and I stood in Lord Elrond’s library before our unhappy adas, awaiting their judgement over a small bit of fun that had turned out to be slightly calamitous.
“No need to apologize, my old friend,” Elrond had wearily told Thranduil, as he had many times in the past. “My elflings are equally impish when we are visiting your realm.”
‘Elflings!’ ‘Impish!’ ‘Green princes!’ I had silently bristled at those demeaning words, so insulted that I made an instant decision. I was tired of being thought of, referred to and treated like an elfling. It was time to grow up.
So, for many years I contrived ways to avoid the company of the twins, a task that turned out to be fairly easy, if, well . . . a bit dull. My father, who missed little when it came to his only son, noticed my maneuvers from the beginning, and asked me if Elrond’s sons and I had experienced a falling out.
“Not at all, Ada,” I had said with a dismissive coolness. “I simply decided to stop playing little elfling games and to act my age.”
“Act your . . ..” Ada had paused, gazing levelly at me, a whisper of amusement in his eyes. “That is commendable, my son. I am, as ever, proud of you. But, keep in mind that you are yet, in truth, quite young.”
“Old enough to behave with the dignity of my title, though,” I said with determined firmness. “And I intend to do so.”
My ada was very wise. After studying me for a long moment, he had simply nodded and said, “You shall have my full support in your endeavors, my valiant son, as you ever have enjoyed.”
And so began a bewildering time for me. I took up the company of some elves who were a few hundred years older than myself, warriors who good-naturedly invited their young prince to share in their fellowship, treating me, for the most part, as an equal and not as a prince, or a little elfling. Yet, a vague and restless melancholy plagued me, sometimes forcing me into periods of ill-temper that I struggled to hide. Oh, well. Such was, I concluded, the price of adulthood.
This went on for a short while – a hundred years or so – during which time I settled into my new sophistication and dignity. It helped to have quit the company of the twin elflings from my foolish youth. I did not miss our exciting adventures and daring undertakings. Not in the least. And I certainly did not miss the company of those two miscreants. So it baffled me as to why I felt so apprehensive when Ada asked me – or rather, when he strongly requested – that I lead a small entourage to Rivendell. One of his subjects, Lady Freya, who had known my ada since they were elflings together, wished to visit her kin, and she had no male family members currently available to escort her there.
I had managed to avoid Rivendell during my transition into sophisticated adulthood and I was less than thrilled at the prospect of going there now. So, although I felt a bit cowardly in trying to elude the twins, nevertheless, I sought to decline this duty ada had asked of me, retreating behind the suggestion that it seemed inappropriate for the Prince of Mirkwood to serve as a mere escort. My protest gained me Ada’s stern frown and his standard lecture about a prince remaining a prince regardless of the duty he was required to perform.
“There is nothing noble about arrogance, my son,” he quietly told me, something I cringed to hear. “I would go if I could, but as I cannot do so at present, I strongly request you pay this old and cherished friend of mine the honor of your escort.”
“Aye, my lord. Forgive me. Of course I am honored to obey your request.”
“I only regret that the trip will prove tedious for you, as I understand that, unfortunately, the twins are away from Rivendell, hunting in the north with a goodly party of warriors. It is unlikely you will see them ere you return home.”
“Oh! Indeed? I see. Well, then when shall we leave, Ada?”
Hard to say how I felt about the fact that the twins would be gone. Well, I felt relieved, of course. But there was an odd measure of something mixed in with that, and my moodiness returned tenfold.
And so, after an uneventful journey, I found myself back in Rivendell. It seemed Lord Elrond was ever host to any number of visiting dignitaries and friends, his beautiful lands being a place of retreat for many elves. Lady Freya praised me to the others at dinner the evening we arrived, commending me on how well I had discharged my duties, making me blush and bringing a broad smile to Elrond’s face. Lord Glorfindel laughed joyously, as he ever seemed inclined to do. Aye, Glorfindel was there! I was thrilled! Though Rivendell was his home he was often away journeying near and far, so this trip had indeed been well timed. Seeing him made it well worth the while.
Glorfindel was . . . oh, he was wondrous! Big and golden, majestic and beautiful, the Balrog slayer of heroic song and legend. Yet Glorfindel was also thoughtful and kind and witty, quick to laugh, quick to flash his ready and often wry smile, his eyes sparkling with warmth. He visited Mirkwood several times a year, showing up either alone or with an entourage from Rivendell or Lorien, but his visits were never frequent nor long enough to suit me.
When I was an elfling and met him for the first time, I stood, open-mouthed, gaping up, short of breath, and Glorfindel had quietly gazed down at me, his smile soft and full of affection. I never had seen such a beautiful creature, female or male. He barely seemed real. Glorfindel ‘glowed.’ I vow I fell in love with him then and there.
“So,” he had said, “what I have heard of Thranduil’s young son is true.” Then he laughed lightly, grabbed me up under the arms and tossed me into the air. Ada laughed as well and I gasped and giggled.
“You are charming indeed, Little Greenleaf!” Glorfindel said. “A credit to your majestic ada.” Then, amidst my repeated giggles, he tossed me up again, once, twice and the third time he tossed me I twisted in mid-air and jerked my body violently, just far enough to snag hold of a tree branch above and slightly behind me. Grabbing on, I swung myself up, straddled the branch, then perched there howling with absolute delight at Glorfindel and my ada, who stood beneath me, staring up with stunned expressions.
Ada looked suddenly tempted to scold me or worse for such a potentially dangerous stunt, but Glorfindel turned to him and exclaimed, “Faith! He is just as you used to be! Like ada, like son, Thranduil!” And they laughed yet again, easing my fear. Glorfindel then reached up for me, saying, “Ah, little princeling, your ada is going to have quite the time with you, is he not? Come here, pretty brat.” Pulling me down into his arms, he gave me a swift, gentle squeeze that left me breathless, then turned to Thranduil, saying, “Imagine how well this little one will perform Trillium’s Sweep, my old friend. He has just achieved it on a tree branch!”
Of course, Glorfindel was the stuff of dreams, and dream I did. He was the first elf for whom I had felt consuming stirrings of passion, a situation that increased as I grew older and more inclined to such feelings. Though I would ne’er admit as much to another, and though I covered it well, I harbored an ongoing and profound hunger for him.
Glorfindel, however, saw me as Thranduil’s son – that elfling he tossed in the air and to this day called ‘little Greenleaf.’ Of course, perhaps now, with my newfound adulthood and sophistication . . . well, one never knew what might happen. I could scarce contain my excitement.
It helped that the twins were off hunting. That suited me nicely. I hoped they remained afield long enough for me to put in a suitable stay and then be on my way home ere confronting them. Perhaps Glorfindel would return to Mirkwood with me for a visit with my ada! Ah, that was a dream worth dreaming! I began planning some convincing . . ..
morning, a week after my arrival in Rivendell, I received a note
inviting me to a rendezvous at mid-morn in High Falls Garden, one of
Rivendell’s many beautifully cultivated areas. The note was
sent anonymously. My heart kicked into a gallop, my hopes catching
fire . . . .
Each evening I had been enjoying passing the hours close to Glorfindel in the Hall of Fire. My usual place would have been over with the elves nearer to my own age, the twins at my side, and while I caught several speculative glances from some of those younger elves, I knew I was no longer part of that juvenile crowd. They could rudely gape at me all they liked. Eventually they would realize that I had moved beyond them and was now an adult, thank you, with no interest in their elfling nonsense.
So, this note . . . I unfolded it and read it yet again on my way up the long trail to Rivendell’s most secluded, remote and lofty garden. High Falls was quite a climb, so it was less frequented than Rivendell’s many more accessible gardens. It seemed clear to me that whoever had sent me this note desired privacy and an exquisite and – I scarce dared even think this – a romantic view.
Ai! Of course I dared to hope! After all, since arriving I had kept near-exclusive company with Glorfindel, and he had been his usual friendly, accepting self, not seeming to mind that I had attached myself to him. I vow, things felt different between us. I knew that I was enjoying genuine adult compatibility with him. Encouraged and thrilled by what all this might mean, I had to force myself to keep from running up the steep path. I was already arriving much too early.
No one was there when I reached the garden. But, as it was not yet mid-morning . . . .
“Hello?” I called out, just to make certain. No answer. I had not really expected one.
So, I waited. I wandered aimlessly. I listened to the falls and looked out over the vista, dreamily watching Elrond’s house and Rivendell’s buildings far below glittering through the high, gently swaying tree tops. I tried not to peer down the path every few minutes. I pitched stones down into the ravine below. And I waited and waited and waited.
Finally, given the position of the shadows, I admitted with a sinking feeling that mid-morning had come and gone. What could have happened? I had felt certain this note was from Glorfindel. But, now that I thought it over, was that plausible? Would Glorfindel do something like this? Or would he not simply take me somewhere private to talk, perhaps even to his chambers?
I grimaced. Glorfindel would most likely do the latter. Was someone having a little fun with me? Aye. Most likely. Perhaps a few of those young elves whose company I had been shunning were feeling vindictive. I sank down upon the only bench there and muttered a curse, convinced now that I had been duped and wondering if there was another way down the mountain other than via that one path, where, I felt certain a gleeful group of those young vindictive elves were lying in wait to ridicule me. I cursed again.
Suddenly something landed in my lap. I yelped and jumped up and the thing went sailing, landing a few feet away, a tiny white object, harmless looking. But, what . . . and where had it --? I spun around. No one there. I fired a sharp gaze up the ragged rock face rising skyward behind me – foliage, scrub pine, nothing else. Feeling foolish, I strolled over, picked up the odd-looking object and studied it, turning it over in my hands.
It was a lightweight piece of parchment, precisely folded into the shape of some kind of bird, though it did not resemble any bird I knew, as it had what appeared to be wings oddly placed at the top. What, by all that was blessed . . . and even before I heard their laughter I felt Elrohir and Elladan close by.
Of course. I looked up once again.
They were peering over the side of a ledge that had blended in with the rock face some distance up, two identical, beautiful, dark-haired youths grinning down at me - Lord Elrond’s rascally sons and my cherished partners in mischief. Former partners in mischief. I caught my breath and struggled to keep from smiling. Until that moment I had not realized how much I had missed them.
“Legolas!” the twins cried in unison, laughter spilling from them like music, and they jumped to their feet and began climbing down from their lofty perch.
I watched them, reflecting on how much effort they had put forth to achieve this very result – sending the note, hiding themselves before I arrived, needing to be in place quite early, in fact, as I was early myself, and then waiting and waiting and waiting for me to sit on that bench so they could drop their little paper bird on me. The twins had never been ones to wait gracefully, especially in silence, so they had truly craved that moment of surprise. Typical of their elaborate plotting, though. I had forgotten.
At last they were reaping their reward, and I had to admit they deserved recompense for their extraordinary, abnormal patience. Scrambling down the rock, side by side, they laughed and teased in their usual back-and-forth discourse. I never had difficulty telling the twins apart, even though they were identical in looks. They . . . felt different from one another. But they sounded like one voice coming from two excited elves:
“Legolas, you were too comical!”
“You should have seen yourself, Legolas!”
“You jumped straight up in the air!”
“It was perfect! Was it not perfect, Ro?”
“It was! It was perfect, Lad!”
“Legolas, it was too perfect!”
“It was! It truly was!”
“And that yelp!”
“Such a yelp!”
They both then imitated my yelp – naturally exaggerating the truth of it, the rogues. I fought off bursting into laughter.
“Seeing that leap --”
“-- and hearing that yelp --”
“-- made it worth all the trouble!”
“And worth the endless waiting and waiting --”
“-- and waiting --”
“-- and waiting!”
“Blessed Valar, Legolas! It seemed you would never sit down!”
“All that aimless wandering about!”
“Then standing and flinging stones like an elfling --”
Curse it all, I could not help grinning. I watched them, eager, high-spirited, stumbling all over each other’s words, jabbering at me the whole way, using plenty of foul language, most of which went towards describing my detestable character. It was too wonderful! Ai! but it was good to see them!
They hit the ground at the same time, then they charged me at full speed and before I could take a single fleeing step two elves of my same size crashed into me. They both grabbed me and we all plummeted to the grass in a tangle of flailing limbs. Then the noble sons of Lord Elrond proceeded to playfully maul the Prince of Mirkwood.
I was beset by a shoving, rolling, punching, tumbling attack, good-natured, of course, else I would surely not have survived. I bellowed to be let up, my helpless laughter contradicting my feigned ire, not that the twins were paying neither my bellows nor me the slightest heed. They were too busy laughing and affectionately maltreating me and cursing me in vulgar terms for neglecting them for so long.
When they stopped, some time later, and we lay in a disheveled, gasping heap, the twins, still calling me filthy names and trying to outdo each other with foul suggestions as to how to punish me for offending them so egregiously, at last gave me a chance to speak:
“Fine greeting after a hundred years,” I grumbled.
“Well deserved, my lord princeling.”
“Exceeding well deserved after the way you have been avoiding us,” Lad said.
“We assume it is because you decided to . . . uh . . . .” Ro cast his twin a look of pretended bewilderment. “What was it we concluded he planned to do?”
“Uhh . . . grow up?”
“Yes, indeed. Grow up.” Ro ‘tsked.’ “Legolas, how dull.”
“Exceedingly dull, Legolas.”
“How do you fare thus far?”
“Enjoying being a grown-up?” Lad snickered.
I was too stunned to answer, shocked not only by their candor, but also by the fact that they were teasing and not holding my decision against me. “You are not angry with me,” I said, sounding as astounded as I was.
They looked genuinely surprised. “Why would we be angry?” Lad asked.
“‘Twas your decision, Legolas,” Ro said. “What could we have done about it?”
“Do not misunderstand us. We have missed you greatly --”
“And all the fun we could have been having together these past hundred years.”
“But, truly --” Elladan shrugged. “What could we have done?”
“Tried to convince you not to do what you had decided to do?”
“You forget, Legolas. We know you. Most obstinate elf in Middle Earth. Right, ‘Ro?”
“Indeed! Once you make up your mind, sir, there is none who can unmake it.”
“Certainly not us,” Lad said.
“So, tell us, how are you enjoying this thing called adulthood, brother?”
I actually flinched at the old name the twins used to call me. ‘Brother.’ I was their third twin, or so they had informed me when we were elflings. No other in this world called me ‘brother,’ and I had always loved hearing them speak it.
And now, hearing it again, hearing them accept me with such unexpected grace despite what I had done filled me with an odd despair. For the past hundred years I had shunned their company, struggling to make myself into someone I neither liked nor wished to be.
Now, here we were, the three of us, together again, sitting cross-legged in a circle as we used to do, our knees touching – here they sat, waiting for me to tell them how I had fared all this time, caring about how I had fared, despite my behavior towards them. And I could not fathom what I was feeling. I kept my gaze downcast, struggling for control, tugging up the tufts of grass not trampled flat by our wrestling.
They were right, of course. And I now knew a few things – I now knew that they could not have stopped me from ‘deciding to grow up’ even if they had tried, and I now knew that I had indeed wanted them to try. Such was not their role, though. I would never have allowed them to ‘teach’ me such a lesson about myself. I would never have accepted their authority over me. But I suddenly realized that I had spent a good part of the past hundred years resenting the fact that they could not give me what I now knew I had so desperately wanted.
And atop all of that new knowledge I felt humbled and saddened, understanding yet one more truth – although I had been playing at wanting to be a grown up, my friends were achieving it with no fanfare at all. They were accepting me as I was, aware that I had been struggling, but, knowing me better than I knew myself, they were shrewd enough to realize that there had been no telling me of the folly of my quest. I had needed to learn it for myself. How odd to recognize that the twins were like my ada in that respect.
“Legolas?” ‘Ro asked.
I could not trust that tight soreness in my throat, nor could I look at them. They were being too tolerant, too forgiving and far too willing to allow me my foolishness . . . .
“It is all right, brother,” Elladan said.
“Perfectly all right.”
“Legolas come. ‘Tis of no matter.”
“None at all,” Elrohir added.
They went quiet then, and, curious, I looked up and caught them exchanging a concerned glance.
“So, why not try this --” Elladan said. “Simply admit that you have wasted the past hundred years instead of having fun with us.”
“And that all this time you have been completely half-witted and tiresome and too boring for any fun-loving elf to desire your company --”
“-- and that, overall, you have been behaving like a warg’s backside.”
It was nearly the final blow. I bit my lower lip – hard – even closer now to tears, but tears of silliness and joy. They knew me so well, and they knew that, in such a painful moment, humor was the road best taken. Most importantly, we need never discuss the fact that they held nothing against me. As far as they were concerned, there was nothing to forgive; they simply wanted me to forgive myself. Elrond’s sons were indeed worthy of him.
I laughed. “A warg’s backside?” They laughed, too. Elrohir reached over and punched my shoulder and Elladan drew his leg up and kicked my knee and I said the only sensible thing I could at such a time: “I despise you both.”
“So you always say.”
“And we despise you back.”
“So you always say.”
I exchanged a silent look with each twin, seeing the slightly embarrassed warmth there that I hoped my gaze reflected back. Then Elladan said, “Right. Now that you are acting your age again . . . .” And he looked at his twin.
Elrohir suddenly jumped up, strolled over to some shrubbery, reached around behind the foliage, and pulled forth a sizeable bottle of a most distinctive color and shape. I felt my eyes widen.
“Guess what kind of wine Laddie and I pilfered from Ada’s most choice cellar,” he said, collapsing back down.
I swore crudely, to the twins’ delight. “Elrond will not miss it?” I asked. “A bottle of Dorwinian wine – a huge bottle of Dorwinian wine?”
“Miss it?” Ro paused in his expert dealing with the cork to dart me an incredulous look. “Will Ada miss his precious Dorwinian wine? A Dorwinian wine of such a classic year?”
“A bottle of such enormous size?” Elladan raised a brow and cleared his throat. “Let us discuss something else, brother.”
And so we did. They began by explaining how they came to be there – that they had wanted to arrange a private reunion with me rather than the three of us possibly suffering through days of some awkward public dance around each other, providing gossip and entertainment for others.
“So when Ada sent a messenger to tell us you were here, we rode back and arrived late last night.”
“We went straight to Ada and told him that we wished to devise a private reunion with you, up here, and he approved.”
“So just before dawn this morning we paid Ada’s wine cellars a quick visit, wrote that message and left it for you --”
“– then came up here to wait.”
“We needed to arrive before you did, so we had some provisions packed and we broke our fast up here.”
I smiled quietly and lowered my gaze. Aye, Elrond’s sons did him credit. Once again I was touched by their careful preparations, so typical of them. Well, typical of Elladan. Ro tended to fly headlong into things with little thought and less self-control.
I wanted to hear all about what they had been doing for the past hundred years and vice versa, focusing mostly on what the twins had been doing as their adventures far outpaced mine in terms of excitement. We passed the bottle of luscious Dorwinian wine and spent hours enjoying the sunshine and each other’s company, and sometime later, Ro turned to me and said, “We have something exciting to share with you.”
I lifted a brow.
“How drunk are you?” Lad asked.
“As drunk as I need to be,” I replied. “Or, not at all.”
“He is as sober as we are, Lad,” Elrohir said. “We are three robust young elves and we downed a mere three-thirds of this bottle. I am feeling quite happy, but --” He hiccupped. “-- by no means impaired.”
“We downed three-thirds?” I asked, eyeing the quarter bottle that remained.
“Pardon. My error. I meant four-thirds.”
“No getting anything past you, Ro,” Lad said.
They laughed, then Ro said, “Legolas looks fairly sober, though. If disheveled.”
“Liar.” I picked a leaf from my tunic. “I am never disheveled.”
“Oh,no? You look as we do. Do we look disheveled?”
“You look filthy and grossly offensive,” I said.
“But you came through our attack unrumpled, eh?”
“Of course. And you two always look filthy and grossly offensive,” I lied, just to hear their chuckling sounds of feigned outrage. “You mentioned something exciting?” I said. “Do I need to be clean to hear more?”
“Nay, indeed not,” Ro said.
“In fact, being disheveled is actually more . . . befitting,” Elladan said.
“Something exciting for which being disheveled is more befitting,” I said. “I am intrigued. Perhaps I am drunk.”
Elladan jumped up, sending me flopping to the ground on my back as I had been leaning against him. Grinning, Ro stood as well, and they each took an arm and pulled me up. Ohhhh . . . right, uhh, a bit wobbly, but then it had been Dorwinian wine. Incredibly Dorwinian wine.
“Where are we going?” I asked when things stopped swirling.
Ro pointed skyward. I looked at Lad, who nodded and pointed skyward. So I grabbed the bottle and began to sit again. “Pardon me whilst I finish this.”
Chuckling – for the twins chuckled often, even when they were not slightly impaired – they took the bottle and pulled me up again, Lad saying, “The ledge, brother. We need to start by climbing back up to the ledge where we waited for you this morning.”
“Oh, well, in that case.” I scoffed.
“Hmm,” Elladan said, studying me. “This may not be wise, Ro. Mayhap poor Legolas cannot handle such a climb at present.”
“Hmm. You may be right. Mayhap when the wine wears off.”
“And mayhap you are both lack-witted.” I snorted. “Please. Enough. I can climb that little mountain.”
“You are certain?”
“We do not wish to be responsible for sending the Prince of Mirkwood to a splattering death.”
“Ada would disapprove.”
“He would frown.”
“His brow would shoot upwards.”
“And he would take us to his study --”
“To the Chair --”
“And we have not needed to be, well --” The word ‘spank’ in all its many deviations made Elrohir squirm. His twin suffered no such difficulty.
“Spanked, Ro. Spanked! We have not been spanked in quite a long while,” Elladan finished for him.
Ro glared at him. “Obliged.”
I began striding towards the rock. “If you two are finished.”
They ran to join me. Then up the rock face we climbed, one twin above me and one below. The going was easy, despite the fact that my limbs seemed determined to behave in a slightly uncooperative manner. At the top was the small base camp of sorts the twins had set up for their wait this morning. They had packed a great deal of extra food, clearly having planned out something beyond a simple reunion. Suddenly aware of our hunger, we devoured everything the twins had brought.
“Now,” I said, “this exciting thing you have to share?”
They grinned at each other, then: “Come,” Elrohir said. And we headed off around the mountain, following the narrow ledge.
I sat in Rivendell’s peaceful Garden of Grace, wondering if I was going to be afforded any. This time I knew for certain that Glorfindel was coming to join me, unlike twenty-four hours ago when I had hurried up to High Falls Garden, hoping for a meeting with him. Just twenty-four hours ago . . . hmm.
It should have worked. It had worked previously for both the twins. So it should have worked for me as well. It did work, in part . . . .
I closed my eyes, remembering it, reaching back to recapture that exhilaration unlike any other I had ever felt. Oh, it had been glorious! Despite the undignified ending, it had indeed been glorious. Was it worth it, though?
Whilst growing up I had, on occasion, been spanked by Glorfindel. It had been a long, long time since he had disciplined me, but I recalled all too well what one of his spankings felt like, and I was not sure if yesterday’s ‘exhilaration unlike any other I had ever felt’ was worth what I knew he was about to do to me.
In addition to the discomfort factor, the elf who was on his way here to turn me over his knee, pull down my breeches and spank me was the very elf after whom I had been lusting, the very elf I had hoped to impress with my new-found, fully developed adulthood. Fine job I was doing thus far.
Would I have preferred Elrond spank me, even though I have never, ever, in all my life of mischief with the twins, seen the Lord of Rivendell as livid as he was yesterday? Would I have traded places with one of his sons, let Elrohir or Elladan meet Glorfindel in this garden whilst I now met Elrond in his study and faced his dreaded Chair? I was not lusting after Elrond, so would that have made any of this easier? One could chase ‘round and ‘round with such a maddening question ending up right back at the beginning. It mattered not anyway. Elrond had asked Glorfindel if he would see to my discipline in this matter and Glorfindel had readily agreed. Most readily. With exceeding readiness.
So . . . a spanking from Glorfindel . . . . I shuddered and shot up and began wandering aimlessly as I had yesterday, and when that did not help I sought solace the way I often had as an elfling; I climbed the largest tree in the garden, found a cradling juncture of branches and eased my bruised body back into the tree’s welcoming arms.
I wanted to blame the twins for this. I could have done so and been justified. But . . . no. They had not forced me to do anything. I had asked to do it. The choice had been mine alone, and, therefore, so were these consequences. And much as I hated to admit it, there was a measure of comfort in knowing that consequences for certain behaviors were steadfast, absolute and unfailing. Comfort from consequences – there was a notion.
How could only twenty-four hours have gone by? I narrowed my eyes, thinking of yesterday’s disaster yet again, starting from the moment I had stood frozen in amazement, mouth gaping, staring at the thing Elrohir and Elladan had built all by themselves.
“Your ada inspired us!” Ro had exclaimed.
“His great defense, remember? He said that they had never told us not to strap on wings and leap from Mount Doom, attempting to fly.”
“So guess what we did indeed decide to attempt?”
“It sounded like fun!” Lad said. “Well, not the Mount Doom part --”
“But with the many, many heights in Rivendell, well --”
“Legolas, honestly, what else could we do?”
I could not respond. I could do nothing but stare and walk around and around their odd-looking apparatus. Looking just like the tiny paper version they had dropped into my lap, this full-sized winged contraption was simplicity itself, a brilliant design. I had not known the twins were such talented craftspersons. The thing even looked like it worked.
“Of course it works, you moron!”
“We have both taken short flights with it!”
“We did not know we could create something like this either, but our longing to fly won out.”
“To fly, Legolas!” Elrohir exclaimed, his voice quivering with excitement. “Oh, to fly!”
“To sail on the wind!” Elladan cried.
“To fly! Imagine it! To fly!”
I could not imagine it, but I trembled with the notion! I looked out over the vista below, trying to see it from the viewpoint of a bird, barely hearing the twins as they babbled on:
“So we worked and worked, and finally, after many failures --”
“– many, many failures --”
“ We finally came up with a prototype that worked.”
“Then we had to find the perfect place to build a full sized model --”
“-- and learn how to fly it. Some place where we would not be discovered.”
“Which is why it took half an hour to hike here from High Falls Garden. This small valley is tucked away and isolated, so it cannot be seen from any watchpoint. It took us months and months to find our location. It has the perfect precipice we needed.”
“Not too high, but steep enough to catch the wind.”
“With plenty of air currents.”
“And no watchful sentinels.”
It really was an astounding accomplishment. That they had managed to do this in secrecy was, in itself, extraordinary. Had Elrond known about this secluded area of Rivendell’s lands, a place no sentinel could observe, he would have rectified that situation long ago.
“We had to be able to clear the tree tops below.”
“Tree tops sting.”
“And they tear up the ELFlyer, so we end up rebuilding and patching,” Lad was saying.
“We have had to do that often, though.”
“But,” I had sputtered. “But, landing! How – do you not – do you . . . well, do you crash?”
They just grinned and shrugged.
“A few landings have been . . . unpleasant, but they are not all hard ones.”
“We are becoming rather good at it.”
“Honestly, it is not too bad.”
“Not a single bone yet broken.”
“Sparring with the captains can be more painful!”
“And oh, Legolas! To fly! It is too astounding!”
Exhilarated by our reunion, emboldened by the invigorating effects of Dorwinian wine and thrilled by the prospect of flight, I turned to the twins, who were watching me, eagerly anticipating my response, and said what they surely knew I surely would:
“I want to try! Please!”
They had laughed. “But of course you do, brother!”
“Come; let us show you how.”
A successful flight had to do with skill and air currents. Unfortunately, one you had control over and the other you most emphatically did not. Having learned through trial and error, the twins instructed me as no one had done for them, so I was as well prepared as I could be. With a little more practice I might have even known what to do when that powerful gust of wind swept me up on my first flight and sailed me away from the launch point, speeding me out over the treetops and across the valleys and mountains of Rivendell.
Thank the Valar for the shocked sentinels under whose watchful gazes I eventually sailed. Had it not been for them it could have taken Elrond’s rescue party days to find me, as I had crash landed in a huge oak tree and there I hung, nearly hidden high up in the thick leaves, helplessly wrapped and tangled up in the smashed remains of the ELFlyer.
I jumped, nearly lost my seat, grabbed my branch and looked down. Glorfindel stood below, chuckling and watching me with his mild expression.
“Ai! Poor lad. Did I startle you?”
I studied him warily. Yesterday he and Elrond had been so furious that they had agreed to postpone disciplining the twins and me until today. Glorfindel looked calm now, however . . . .
“You are no longer angry?” I asked.
“I have mastered it.”
I frowned down at him. “Oh. My. Well, then.”
“Aye,” he said, still smiling his everlastingly gentle smile. “And it is time you came down now, sweetling. We have much to attend to, you and I.” And Glorfindel held his arms up to me, as though reaching to help an elfling down from his perch. “Come here, pretty brat.”
I froze and stared at him, recognizing the words he had used the first time we met all those years ago. He was treating me this way to humble me, of course. But if Glorfindel truly thought I was about to jump down into his outstretched waiting arms like some little elfling --! Was he mad?
Oh, no. No, no, no. I had not spent the last hundred years refining my adulthood only to be subjected to this degrading treatment the minute I committed some trivial offense! I deserved to be disciplined. Aye, very well, I did. I knew that, and I was submitting to it. However, I also deserved to be spanked in a dignified and respectful manner like the grown-up I was. Glorfindel was clearly in need of some tutoring regarding the suitable treatment of grown-ups. And, as for hopping down into his outstretched waiting arms --
I quickly shifted to one side, kicked my legs straight out and launched myself off the branch and away from his arms. He was quicker. He reached over, snatched me from mid-air and held me dangling before him, my feet well above the ground. I gasped and stared at him. What he was doing took incredible strength. For all his light-hearted and merry manner, Glorfindel was also the Balrog-slayer, a warrior elf of gargantuan power, never to be taken lightly.
But none of that mattered to the indignant grown-up elf within me who deserved to be looked upon as a grown-up elf. Was respectful handling during certain disciplinary procedures too much to expect? Of course it was not! So, how dare he treat me this way!
“Glorfindel!” I snarled. “Put me down!”
“Nay. I think not,” he replied. “You look too adorable.”
I fumed and wriggled and squirmed and kicked getting nowhere and amusing him more. “Put me down at once!” I demanded. “You cannot simply do as you will because you are bigger and stronger than I am!”
“Of course I can, sweetling.”
“But not only because I am bigger and stronger than you, but because I am justified in doing so.”
“You most certainly are not! This is an abuse of power, sir!” I cried, my kicking becoming more violent.
“Such impertinence. Stop that, little one, lest one of your hot-tempered kicks accidentally connects to the wrong part of my body.” I froze and huffed. He had a point. Glorfindel studied me with a deep and measured look, then said, “I intend to give you quite a thorough spanking, Legolas. There is no need to provoke me in hopes of gaining a longer one.”
I sucked a sharp breath. “What? In hopes of – WHAT?”
“I know you feel badly, sweetling, as well you should,” he went on in a patient tone. “What you did was beyond foolhardy and dangerous. So you are in enough trouble as it is. You need not tempt more.”
“I am not trying to tempt more, you asinine --!” And with a quick gasp I halted in mid-word, but not before a few truly vulgar elvish ones rushed free.
Glorfindel burst out laughing. “Impertinence, insults and now obscenities. And you claim you are not trying to provoke me? Legolas, for an elfling who is about to be spanked, your behavior is most indiscreet.”
“Because your behavior is most inappropriate!” I shot back, trembling with fury. “Put me down! Put me dowwwwwn!”
To my surprise, he did so. Seeming mildly amused, Glorfindel lowered me to the ground and released me. “Inappropriate?”
I shifted my clothing back into order and glared up at him. Glorfindel stood a little more than half a head taller than me, but he had always seemed enormous. I vow he appeared bigger than he had just a few days ago. “Aye! Inappropriate! You have no right to do this!”
“No right to discipline you for what you did yesterday?” Plainly fascinated, he crossed his arms over his chest.
“No! N-No, I mean, no, that is not what I meant. I-I meant --”
“I thought not, for what you and the twins did was beyond naughty.”
Revolting choice of words! I winced. “I know that, for Valar’s sake! I really do know that. I am fully able to comprehend that fact. I know! I know! I know!”
“Your tone, little Greenleaf, is most disrespectful.”
“As is your entire manner.”
“I am exercising restraint with you, not because you are earning it, but because of my fondness for the sweet little princeling I know you to be, deep inside.”
I drew a slow breath, beat back my agitation and my raging temper, and said with a poise I positively did not feel, “Again, sir, you make my point. Forgive my bluntness, but I say once more that your behavior is inappropriate.”
“Is it indeed?”
“Aye, my lord. You have no right to do what you are doing.”
He gave me a lazy, curious smile. “Are you saying that you are no longer answerable to me, young Prince of Mirkwood?”
“Not in the manner to which you are accustomed, my lord.”
Glorfindel narrowed his eyes and tilted his head slightly to one side. Ohhh, I had never liked that look of his. “Explain yourself.”
“I mean that, well, I am no longer an elfling. I am a grown-up now, an independent elf, and I expect to be treated in a respectful manner like any other independent adult. You cannot tell me what to do. So, when I say that you have no right to do this, I mean that you have no right to deal with me in such a demeaning fashion. And so, no, I am no longer answerable to you, my lord – not as I used to be.”
I was good. My limbs trembled with the thrill and alarm of defiance, yet I remained admirably poised, my voice steady, a fine example of self-governing, adult elfhood. I was most impressed with myself.
Glorfindel released a small polite laugh, then he lowered his arms and headed for a nearby bench, saying, “Well, little princeling, I disagree. And, sadly for you, mine is the only opinion that matters here. So, come.” He turned and cast me an odious grin. “Let us get on with this.”
My heart thudding, I remained frozen in place, so indignant I could not move. Nothing I said had meant anything to him! Nor, it seemed, would anything else I had to say. I was being dismissed, my claim to be a grown-up, independent adult simply . . . dismissed. I stood there, staring at this beautiful elf who was looking back at me and clearly seeing only the little elfling he had ever known me to be. And although I deserved this spanking, I had come too far and was now too mature an elf to allow Glorfindel to do this on his terms.
“No,” I said.
“Excuse me?” he said, one eyebrow slowly rising.
“No . . . sir?”
“You have the right to discipline me, yes --”
“Why, thank you.”
“Not at all. But, you are not listening to me, my lord. As I just tried to tell you, I am no longer answerable to you. I am an independent adult, but you insist upon handling me like an elfling, reducing me to a diminished state. That is what I refuse to permit.”
“. . . . you refuse to permit,” Glorfindel muttered, incredulous amusement glittering in his eyes.
“So, you see, I cannot allow myself to submit to this until you agree to treat me with the respectful dignity you would afford any other grown-up adult elf under the same circumstances.”
“Well, I doubt any other grown-up adult elf would have attempted such an insanely dangerous stunt,” he said, “but --”
“Nevertheless,” I surged on, “you see my difficulty, and I am certain you understand.”
“Then you would be mistaken, little Greenleaf,” Glorfindel quickly said. “I do indeed see your difficulty, but it is, I must point out, your difficulty. I have no such difficulty, I assure you. I do not recognize your claim to adulthood. I do consider you to be answerable to me, and I intend to handle you in any way I see fit. We are therefore, it seems, at a classic impasse.
“So let us begin here, as I believe I have tolerated this nonsense long enough: either come over here now, like a good little elfling, or, since I am, as you correctly pointed out, bigger and stronger than you are, I shall be forced to come and get you. A mature adult such as you will find that degrading. You will not like it. So why not save us both the aggravation, be a good little elfling, and come here?”
Though shaking with rage, I could not help appreciating his gift. Glorfindel’s words were well-chosen to kindle the fires of my exasperation. He knew it. He knew that I knew it. And, sure enough, those fires within me exploded with a frenzy.
I stood my ground. In fact, I took a warrior’s fighting stance, one Glorfindel himself had taught me when I was no higher than his waist and holding a wooden sword. And he recognized my intent without me uttering another word. I did utter one, though –
He sighed, gave a nod and strolled away from the bench, out into the wider, open area of the garden, halting not far from where I stood. “Very well,” he said. “Let us get this over with. Come. Do your worst. Best me, little bratling.”
Which we both knew I could not do. But Glorfindel had ever been a gracious sort. He took my first charge straight on, fell with a soft, “oomph!” let me scramble atop him and then proceeded to carry on throughout our ridiculous excuse for a battle by employing an entirely defensive position. His only strategy was one of passive protection, which made the fact that he bested me at each turn absolutely maddening.
He fended off my every attack with little effort. But I quickly realized that something else was happening as well. He knew of all my scrapes and cuts and bruises, the results of crashing down through the branches of that oak tree, and I vow Glorfindel was trying to protect me from further hurts, catching me if I was about to hit the ground or rolling beneath me to soften a fall or deflecting a blow with gentle ease. It was most humbling. At one point, panting and furious, I paused before him in a crouch and croaked, “Fight me!”
“I am, little one.”
“NO! No, you are NOT! Fight me! Fight me!”
“Legolas, calm down. Shhh. Breathe. Think, elfling. Consider your next move. What have you not yet tried? What might be the best way to attack me?”
He did that, too, galling me into a frenzy – he tutored, he encouraged, he praised me!
“Very good . . . nice move . . . you are doing well, little one . . . .”
I came at him again and again and Glorfindel repelled with what could only be described as defensively compassionate grace. Hand to hand combat like this was uncommon. Warriors learned it on the training field, and we practiced it there. But most battles and skirmishes were fought with weapons – bow and sword. Aside from playful tussling with the twins I had never been through anything like this, even in training. Glorfindel was . . . he was taking care of me, looking after me in ways that I could sense, but not identify in a manner I could describe. I could not stop him, though, or force him to fight me. Glorfindel continued to do just as he would.
I knew I had lost ere we began. And, in my growing weariness I had to be honest with myself – a part of me found my entire argument repugnant. I had felt it simmering in the back of my mind, a reluctance to fight him at all, a sense that I had no idea what I was fighting for. Respect? My adulthood? Was that it? Had I not abandoned my so-called adulthood as folly, gladly forsaking my wasted previous hundred years moments after meeting up again with the twins?
And, as those thoughts swirled and I became more and more drained in a fight whose purpose I no longer understood, I felt a shift in Glorfindel, a change from tolerant master back to amused and indulgent disciplinarian. He knew I could not yield, so he finally brought our absurd contest to a halt with his typically commanding manner.
“Enough now, little princeling,” he said, rising to his feet. “Come. No more. That is enough.”
Then Glorfindel reached down and scooped me up under the arms and held me aloft once more. But this time he held me high above his head, as though I were a mere toddler, and he laughed and tossed me up in the air, then caught me, the way he had when we first met. I was too exhausted to care. All I could do was dangle there, panting in his strong grip, feeling exactly like the elfling he insisted I was and submitting at last with as much poise as I could to one who was older, wiser and far more powerful.
I felt every cut, scrape and bruise from yesterday’s crash. I was a depleted mess. And Glorfindel looked barely ruffled. There was no rancor in his conduct, no gloating over his victory. He was genuinely delighted with me, as he had ever been, watching me with a deep, fond radiance in his eyes and a smile full of pure affection. He laughed again, softly, gently, indulgently. “Ah, little Greenleaf, as you ever were, I vow you are the most captivating elfling to have ever graced my knee.”
Something sharp caught in my throat and I bit back a quiet sob, a great rush of emotion sweeping over me, tears threatening to burst forth. For a second time I gladly relinquished my claim to that tiresome adulthood that had so controlled me. I released it as I had with the twins, and I shuddered and bit my lip and stared down into the smooth, perfect beauty of Glorfindel’s face, too fatigued to even feel ashamed of my foolishness.
He grinned, then he eased my aching body over his shoulder, carried me to the bench, drew me down and turned me over his knee. “Shhhhh, sweetling, shhh. Hush now,” he murmured in answer to my gasping, desperate sounds. “‘Tis over now. You fought bravely, but ‘tis over now.” Then Glorfindel pulled down my breeches and patted my bottom.
“Ohhhhh!” I cried, whimpering at the feel of cool air breezing over my bared backside. “Ohhhhhhh!”
I may have surrendered my resistance, but I am never prepared for that moment, and with Glorfindel – ohhhhhhh! I buried my face in the crook of my arm, cringing. Still purring words of encouragement, he tugged my breeches further down my legs – oh, Valar help me! Could I feel any more naked? Of course I could. Glorfindel then pulled my tunic halfway up my back and tucked it above his restraining arm. And it was awful. Awful. An awful, awful feeling of defenselessness and exposure. I lay there, trembling, waiting, dreading . . . .
“There now, little one, shhh, be at ease. All will be well.” He tenderly patted my backside again, notching up my distress. “I meant what I said. You truly are the most adorable elfling to have ever graced my knee.”
And, oh, but I was ever so comforted to hear that. I squirmed, unable to stop myself, and I fought a mental image of what he was seeing and what I looked like over his knee. Bless Lord Elrond for declaring this garden off-limits to others today! It was the only blessing I could consent to at the moment.
“I know you are anxious, Legolas,” he said. “You have cause to be. You were very naughty indeed. And it has been a long time since I last spanked you. But I shall take good care of you, sweet one. You are going to be here for a while, so try to relax.”
Was such talk meant to help me relax? I lifted my head and I exclaimed, “Relax? You cannot be in earnest-AHH!”
I would have preferred not to have cried out, but he caught me unawares and that first spank is always a shock. I felt Glorfindel’s rigid thighs under my stomach and I felt my body tucked firmly against his warm torso and his solid arm pressing down over my back, and yet that first hot sting made all this appallingly real. Oh, no, oh, no, oh, no. A spanking from Glorfindel. Oh, noooo!
“You are yet quite tense, little one,” he said, rubbing my back and patting my bottom. “However, I suppose it is hard to be at ease.”
“I have a few reminders to offer you as we begin, a few things I would like you to think about.”
I groaned, already hating these ‘reminders.’ I had forgotten that Glorfindel sometimes liked to talk at the outset, build up slowly. Not so Elrond. I had witnessed and experienced his method firsthand, so I knew that the elf lord was saying very little before pulling each twin over his knee in turn and spanking them until they collapsed into frantic sobbing. Only then he would start talking to them. That was how he spanked me. That was how ada spanked me, too.
I could not say if Glorfindel’s slower approach was more merciful. I had the feeling that, when it came to a spanking, no one method was more merciful than another. I struggled to bite back my first cries whether those opening swats were fast or slow. These were coming slowly, Glorfindel delivering one forceful spank between each grim ‘reminder.’
“You endangered your life in a most frivolous way.”
“AHH! I kn-know!”
“You might have soared headlong into a rock face, or been battered ‘neath a waterfall, or plummeted straight down to the ground had the wind failed.”
“AHH! I kn-know!” This was not helping ease my tension.
“You could have ended up hanging by your neck from that oak tree, or upside down, or in any other broken limbed and bleeding manner. You could have hung like that for days ere we found you.”
“AHHH! I kn-know!”
“You could have become impaled on a splintered branch when you crashed down through that tree. You could have bled to death waiting for rescue. Carrion fowl might have been drawn by the scent of your blood.”
“AHHHHHH!-I know!” My stomach turned and I tightened my fists and buried my head again. “I-I know!”
“And you could not have fought them off, with your arms tied tightly to your body by that contraption’s ropes.”
“I knooow! I-AHHH!-I knooow!”
“They would have gone for your eyes firs --”
“I-I KNO --!”
“And had the sentinels not seen you, we might never have found you in time, little one.”
“AHHH!” A particularly hard spank. “I KNOW! Glorfindel, please!”
I truly did know all this! The twins and I had listened to a long and gruesome list of feasible post-crash end results during the lecture Elrond and Glorfindel had delivered last night. Glorfindel, when angry, was coldly formidable, gruff, but in control, whereas Elrond had an impressive temper and plenty of volume and he had used both liberally. My ears were still ringing. Both elf lords were skilled wordsmiths, able with the mastery of their language to reduce three young warrior elves to tearful elflings shaking with remorse. So I had withstood much of this scolding and been forced to repeatedly imagine these hideous visions last night. I would suffer no more of it!
“I-I could have flown on for days, far from Rivendell’s lands, unable to stop!” I yelled, my voice quaking and strained. “I could have been attacked in mid-air by a fell beast, or shot from the sky by an enemy’s arrow! I-I could have crashed into an orc encampment and been taken prisoner. Beaten! Tortured! Maimed! Violated! Repeatedly! I could have – I-I could have died! I know, Glorfin – I-I grant you all – I-I knowwww! Please, pleeeeeease STOP!”
Glorfindel had paused to listen, his hand resting on my warming backside. And I lay there, remembering, the horror and the fear rising up again as it had when I dangled from that tree, waiting, hoping, praying for a rescue that I had no reason to believe might ever be forthcoming.
I thought of their faces, the drawn, worried faces of my rescuers, gazing at me up in that tree. Elrond, Glorfindel, Erestor, the twins, and a wealth of Rivendell’s finest warriors, looking up, tears shining in the eyes of those closest to me as they watched the warriors cut me loose from the broken ELFlyer, then half-lowered me, half-helped me climb down from the tree. I thought of Elrond, reaching up for me the moment I was within his grasp, pulling me into a fierce, long embrace, then permitting Glorfindel to sweep me away and into his strong arms, and I shook with disgrace, feeling their relief and their abatement of fear, both of them holding me so tightly I could scarce breathe, both of them too moved for words . . . until later . . . .
I winced, the scene in Elrond’s study now flashing through my mind. I stood there, between the twins, listening to Elrond and Glorfindel, so ashamed that I could afford them only swift glances. Their wrath mixed with a deep concern too painful to look upon. Elrond’s first long stern glare and his hushed opening words really would have been enough:
“I. Am. Appalled.”
And now, suddenly, I started to cry. “I-I know! I dooooo! So much could have h-happened! So many b-bad things! And I-I am sorr-ry I frightened you, Glorfindel. Sorry, sorry, so-so sorry.”
He swiftly gathered me up and into his arms, cuddling me to his chest, and I held on to him, tightly, letting Glorfindel hear my thoroughly non-grown up self let go and weep. I had joined the twins in a few tears of remorse during our scolding session, but aside from that, and the bit of weeping I had done out of sheer panic whilst hanging in that tree, I had not cried. Not from relived fear. It had not felt like an adult thing to do.
But I had indeed been terrified and until now I had failed to realize how much I needed to feel the comfort of a pair of strong, capable arms, holding me, helping me feel safe again. It had hardly seemed fitting to have longed for such comfort. Wandering my dark room last night, haunted and alone, it had hardly seemed fitting to have longed for my ada, hardly fitting for a grown-up.
Yet when my crying finally slowed enough for embarrassment to begin creeping in, Glorfindel, with the gallantry of an authentic adult, knew just what to say about what he clearly knew I was thinking: “Legolas, it is very grown up indeed to allow yourself to be comforted.”
He nestled me back in his arms, smiling softly down at me with that warm look of acceptance, and murmured, “I am proud of you, little Greenleaf. You have made a fine start.” He paused to kiss my brow. “Allowing yourself to weep is also very grown up. I can only imagine how frightened you were. You have suffered a wounding for your naughtiness, sweetling, both on the outside and within. I see that you do indeed understand. And I acknowledge that you do know all this.
“Enough admonishment, then. At least for now.” With another kiss on my brow he turned me back over his knee, saying, “As I said earlier my wounded little elfling, let us get on with this.”
admonishment, then. At least for now.” With another kiss on my
brow he turned me back over his knee, saying, “As I said
earlier my wounded little elfling, let us get on with this.”
That was all Glorfindel said for quite some time. No matter. I made up for his silence.
My memories of Glorfindel’s spanking skills fell crucially short of the mark. When he began again, this time spanking me with a steady rhythm, a strong hand and that exacting, inflexible resolve, I recalled in an instant how he had never failed to bring me to a near frantic state during a spanking. Something about the way his hand connected to my bottom – it was, well . . . it was evil. Aye, it was just plain evil. And unfair. Evil and unfair and odious and precisely what made a spanking from Glorfindel something to be studiously avoided.
And those cowardly twins – facing only their ada! Not that Lord Elrond was much easier. He was far too good at this, too. However it did seem bitterly unfair that I was not only the one who had crash landed in a tree, but I was now the one being spanked by this Balrog-slayer. Within a disgracefully short length of time Glorfindel had earned my first fervent wail:
How long this went on, I could not say. He continued for, it seemed, many hours. Many, many hours. Absolutely, hours. It had to be hours. I struggled to maintain a measure of dignity, ever a hopeless endeavor when being spanked. But, as my wise ada was fond of saying, “It is always good to have a goal towards which to strive.” Someday, just for fun, I would have to tell ada that his adage sometimes came to mind when I lay stretched out over someone’s knee.
Having already lost the battle with my tears, I let myself enjoy the freedom of crying right from the start, even though it usually took me a while to reach that point. Quite a bit of fight had already left me. Meanwhile, Glorfindel went silent, and when Glorfindel went silent I vow he smothered all sound from the world around him – all save the smacking echo of a big, precise, evil palm spanking down in quick, crisp evil, swats, an awful, repetitive, ‘Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack!’ I tried drowning it out with my wailing, but there was no escaping that sound. And it went on, and on, and on . . . .
It is impossible to keep still when my bottom is blazing, impossible when a swift hand keeps spanking down again and again, bestowing more fire, more stinging fire, over and over, an evil steady rhythm of burning fire – impossible. I defy anyone to keep still.
I soon reached that point wherein I tried to writhe from his lap, and when that did no good I started bucking. Wildly. I had to escape that next spank! But another fell. And another. Hot and biting and cracking through me – oh, merciful Valar! Of course I abandoned reason and thrashed about, stupidly fighting to escape. Of course I reached back, palm up, to cover my flaming backside, knowing Glorfindel would, of course, remove my hand and hold me down with it, as he did. I had to try nonetheless.
“I always do,” Lad once said when we were discussing the folly of this.
Ro had sniffed and declared, “Useless gesture.”
“Utterly useless,” I had agreed. “But I always throw my hand back, too.”
“So do you, Ro.”
“Aye,” he said with a sheepish grin. “I suppose I do.”
I thought it over. “It must look . . . .”
“Aye. It does,” Ro said. “I have watched the two of you, and you do look ridicu --”
“So do you, Ro!” Elladan and I cried in unison.
“Aye,” he said with a blush and another grin. “I suppose I do.”
“But, I vow, ada expects it,” Elladan then said.
I nodded. “Mine does as well.”
Elrohir looked at us, lifting a brow in the manner of his ada. “And Glorfindel?”
Lad snorted and said, “I suspect Glorfindel fears he is not trying hard enough until whoever he is spanking throws a hand back to block the next swat.”
We had all agreed with much good-natured chuckling. We had also decided that there might be merit in throwing a hand back early in the spanking in hopes of reducing the length of it. I had never tried doing so, nor, to my knowledge, had the twins. It seemed a questionable plan, in the end. I was unwilling to end up with my arm held behind me during an entire spanking. A sore shoulder to match a sore bottom? Nay, thank you.
But I certainly had not wanted Glorfindel to think that he was not trying hard enough. And my efforts to clamber from his lap, now gained me a pause and the first words Glorfindel had spoken since he started spanking me hours and hours ago. Surely hours.
“I know, little one,” he quietly said whilst he shifted me around, turning me over his left thigh and closing my kicking legs between his. “It is very hard to hold still and behave, especially when your pretty backside is becoming such a rosy hue. But I know that you are trying to be a good little elfling. And you are doing very well indeed.”
His words, a gentle purr, failed to soothe me, though. His actions captured my attention more profoundly as they meant something more profoundly horrible – he was not yet finished.
“Nooooooo! Pleea-no morre! Glorinf – Gorlifin –G-G-Gordefin --!”
“Awww, little Greenleaf,” he said, chuckling and rubbing my hot backside. “I had forgotten. You always reach this point when it becomes difficult to say my name. Is that not so?”
Difficult indeed. An impossible mouthful. “Uh huhh!”
More quiet chuckling, then, “Poor sweetling. ‘Tis most typically adorable of you. But I suppose you cannot help being adorable, little Legolas.”
“Of course, we are not near finished yet,” he said, beginning to spank me again. “I am sorry that distresses you; nevertheless, as I told you ere we began, you have earned quite a thorough spanking.”
“AHHHHHHHHH! B-But I-I have haaaaad a tho-thro – big sp-spanking!” I cried. “I haaaaave! Enough, p-please, Glordifel!”
“I decide that, little one, not you. Stop your impertinence at once.”
He decided. How I hated that answer! There was no way past it. And I could no longer kick or wriggle or buck or move in any way. I could do nothing but bury my head in the crook of my arm again and wail, which I did with great gusto. Taking a short break to readjust my position had done nothing to interrupt Glorfindel’s sense of focus. On he spanked, and on I howled, matching him effort for effort.
Hours and hours later – most certainly it had been hours – I heard him remark with intolerable calm, “You seem out of practice, little princeling. How long has it been since you were spanked? By your ada, or by Elrond, or Erestor, or anyone?”
It took me a moment to concentrate. “I-I dunoooooooo! AHHHH! OWWWW!”
“Yes, you do. Think about it.”
“Hunner-hunnerd years, I-I think, m-maybe morrre – AHHHHHHHHHHH!”
“You have not been spanked in over one hundred years?”
Again Glorfindel paused, resting his hand on my backside. My body involuntarily quivered from relief. “Are you certain? Think, little one, for it is an easy enough matter to investigate.”
“Do not roar at me, elfling. A civil tone please, sir.”
Choking down some vile curses, I stammered in a civil tone, “T-True! I-I am certain – been g-good. I-I tried to tell you, Glorinfel, I-I am a g-grown up now! A good g-grown-up!”
“Ah,” he said, sounding distracted. “I had forgotten. You are all grown up now, and you have been too good to merit a spanking in quite some time. Small wonder you are so out of practice. I did not realize it had been that long.”
Breathless with tears, I rubbed my wet face on my wetter sleeve and sniffled and waited, wondering if I had miraculously stumbled by accident upon a reprieve. Was that possible? Could my lack of conditioning save me?
And, laying there over his knee, waiting to see if Glorfindel intended to take pity upon me and end this, I felt, to my astonishment, something building within me, glimmering out there on the edges of my awareness, then rising up and washing over me – an odd feeling connected to the notion of Glorfindel ending this spanking right now, a sudden wave of mysterious . . . regret.
Regret? No. No! Ridiculous! I dismissed it at once. No! No! No! Regret indeed! My backside throbbed. Of course I wanted this to end now! Immediately! This instant if not sooner! And I resolved to solidify that with him – and within myself – by telling him so in my most collected, reserved and adult manner.
Taking a deep breath to quiet the tremor in my voice, I declared with admirable composure, “I h-hope you are finished now, my l-lord.”
Glorfindel, who had been silently smoothing his hand over my bottom, suddenly froze. “What was that?”
A tremor shot through me, the one that shoots through me when I fear I might have accidentally said something indiscreet and revealing. What had I said? I ran my words back through my mind – no, no nothing untoward. I was stoic. I was polite. I was quite nearly removed. So why --?
I flinched and sputtered, “I-I said that I hope you are finished now, m-my lord. Finished spanking me, I-I mean.”
“Why, little Greenleaf,” he said, in an amused, sly and unnerving tone. “How composed you are. I am impressed. What a very adult question to ask.”
What a very wrong question to ask!
Glorfindel continued on full of sincere enthusiasm, and I howled on, just as sincerely enthused. Blessed Valar! Would this tireless elf never, ever stop spanking me? I wondered how long it would take me to hike home to Mirkwood for I would, in fact, never be able to sit my horse again.
All Glorfindel had to do now was to keep spanking me in his relentless manner. That was more than enough. And all I could do now was lay there, collapsed, sobbing, all resistance gone and my thoughts drifting in that vague blank space wherein all I know is the next stinging spank . . . and the next . . . and the next . . . .
“Legolas,” Glorfindel said after a period of time impossible to gauge, “when you told me that it had been over a hundred years since your last spanking, I paused, not because of what you said, or because I feared for your pretty backside. I have been keeping close watch, little one, and I would never maltreat you.”
“I knowww!” And I did. I had been frightened of this spanking. I had never been frightened of Glorfindel. “I knowww, G-Golindfel!”
He sniffed a small laugh. “I know you know,” he said. “I paused because it astonished me to learn of how long you had persevered as a grown-up. One hundred years? I was stunned, though I know not why, as you ever were, and clearly still are, a most obstinate little elfling, sir.”
“But I continued to spank you because, despite all that had happened, and despite your sore little bottom, you asked in a calm, adult manner if I was finished, rather than yelling and wailing and pleading for an end like any other elfling with a sore little bottom would do in your stead. Despite all that had happened, despite all the trouble caused by your hunger for adulthood, you were still reaching for more of what you could not admit you needed so desperately. I realized then how far we were from finishing, and how far we had yet to go. But . . . .” He sighed and chuckled softly. “Considering who was over my knee, I cannot say I was surprised.”
I was doomed. What, in all Middle Earth, had compelled me to ask that question? Worse, what was that shocking sense of regret that had compelled me to ask it? I could not have just waited to see what Glorfindel would do next?
And yet, even now, knowing what that question had cost me, I knew that I had needed to ask it. Nothing could have kept me from asking it. And Glorfindel was rambling on:
“I feel certain that your ada was permitting you this quest into adulthood that you might learn certain truths for yourself. That is how little ones learn best, and you, young headstrong --”
“You flatly refuse to listen when you are merely told a thing. Allowing you to learn it for yourself has always worked best with you. However, I dare say Thranduil shall regret his strategy when word of this reaches him. He shall especially regret failing to put a stop to it sooner.”
Mention of my ada’s response to the letter Elrond had drafted last night brought a fresh wash of tears. Ada would arrive. Oh, indeed he would. Soon. Within a fortnight if he had the patience to wait for an entourage to be assembled. Given these circumstances, though, ada would have no patience, so there would be no entourage. The King of Mirkwood and a company of his finest warriors would be in their saddles and riding for Rivendell within an hour of receiving Elrond’s missive. Aye. Ada would be arriving. Soon. And he would be . . . seriously vexed. Seriously vexing my ada never ended well for me. And so I sobbed my dismay into my sleeve and Glorfindel rambled on further:
“But I am delighted that this disciplinary duty has fallen to me, my sweet little Greenleaf. I trust I have executed Thranduil’s wishes tolerably well thus far, and I intend to continue doing so now by explaining a few things to you. I expect you to listen closely, Legolas, for I have much to say. Do I have your full attention?”
Did he have my --? “AHHHHHHHHHH! Aye, s-sir!”
“Good. Then I shall open with a review of what led us here,” he said in a purposeful tone.
Remarkably, I harnessed my groan. “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
“After struggling to behave as an adult for the absurdly lengthy period of one hundred years, you snapped back into your natural elfling temperament too violently when you met up with the twins once again. You embraced each other with joy, then you instantly reclaimed your youth by careening headlong into a venture so perilous it served well to offset your lost hundred years of possible naughtiness. Had you been in your right mind rather than suffering from the backlash of too much self-inflicted adulthood you would never have allowed the twins to strap you into their device. Do you agree?”
At this point I was so weary of lecturing that I longed to say to him what I had once heard one mortal child say to another. I was, however, prudent. I said, “A-Aye, Glorifel!” when what I longed to tell him was, ‘Oh, shut UP!’
“‘Tis reasonable enough, sweetling. You had missed your beloved playfellows greatly, and when you saw them again, you eagerly shed that harness of adulthood you had endured for so long. Had you refused the twins as the sensible adult you claimed to be, you and I would not be having this conversation. Would we?”
“Stop trying to say my name.”
“Aye, Glof – s-sir.”
“Thank you, sweetling. The twins had missed you as well, most earnestly, and so the three of you rushed with too much passion and too little sense into far too much mischief with near-disastrous results. Your cloak of adulthood caused you a great deal of trouble, pretty Legolas. You likely felt you had a good reason for deciding to become a grown-up ere your time. But that decision came at a high cost.” He paused, then: “And I vow you do not much enjoy being an adult, do you, my poor little princeling?”
“N-Nooooooo!” I exclaimed, full of remorse and humiliation.
“Nor should you. Not at this point in your very young life.”
Glorfindel sighed. I heard the melancholy in his voice and an immediate tremor of guilt rippled through me. I knew that I was distressing him, and with that in mind, I was in the very best place I could be. Glorfindel was skilled in handling my need to atone. He shifted me, bringing my legs up and over his lap once more, stretching me out fully whilst muttering that he felt I could be trusted to behave now. True. There was no fight left in me. He went right back to spanking me then, and I had never stopped sobbing.
“So you are not enjoying adulthood and it has led you into much difficulty. Very well then. Listen to me, little Greenleaf,” Glorfindel said in a commanding tone of unsettling resolve. “This nonsense ends now. Do you understand me, young bratling? No more! From this moment on, Legolas, you shall act your age. I intend to make certain you do.”
And Glorfindel delivered a mighty smack amidst his normal spanks that nearly sent me flying from his lap.
“Rest assured, I shall be watching. And should I sense even the slightest hint of you falling back into that pretense of false adulthood you shall end up back over my knee ere you draw your next breath. Do you understand?” Another mighty smack!
“Say you understand.”
“Good. Because, Legolas, I assure you, my arm does not tire, and you do not want to make me demonstrate that truth to you.”
“Nay, s-sir! I-I-I do not.”
“Good,” he repeated, his hand finally, finally coming to rest on my scalded bottom. I could scarce believe that he was no longer spanking me, or that he was truly finished. But I lay there, sobbing, daring to hope, and very, very ready for him to be finished.
Glorfindel rubbed his big palm over my back, murmuring, “Breathe, little one. Shhhh. ‘Tis over now, all over. Breathe. Nice, big breaths.”
I tried. And Glorfindel kept me there, smoothing his hand over me, murmuring to me in his low, warm tone. And I remembered this – being held still over his lap like this after a spanking. They all did this, of course, my ada and Elrond, and I remembered how good it felt, how comforting, how absurdly safe. I felt Glorfindel pull my breeches back up my thighs, but he stopped there, leaving my backside exposed so that he could continue to ever so tenderly rub a little and whisper his fingers over the sizzling surface, and . . . ohhhh! I shivered from the slight sensation of relief.
And when I was no longer gasping and my breathing had calmed and I was crying instead of sobbing, Glorfindel gave my bottom a few light pats and said, “Do you have something you wish to say to me, sweetling?”
“Sorrryy! So-Sorry, Glordi --”
“I-I-I mean, s-sir! I-I am s-sorry, s-sir! Sorry, sorry, sorry! Very, v-very sorry!”
“Well said, elfling.”
And Glorfindel tenderly scooped up my wilted body, turned me and gathered me into his arms once more. Hugging me closely, he said the words I hungered to hear: “I know you are sorry, my beloved little Greenleaf. And all is forgiven. Shhhh, ‘tis alright now.”
I wept anew, melting against him the way I had before, grateful for Glorfindel’s strength as I had none of my own. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders a second time and nestled my face back against his neck, hiding beneath the fall of his thick mane, and for hours and hours – surely hours – Glorfindel held me close, and he rocked me and let me weep.
Soothing warmth coursed through my body, and I began to feel . . . whole again. I felt like the Legolas I had been before my self-imposed adulthood, as though I had been away for a long time, but was returning home. I felt sheltered, as I had when I had been answerable to others who were bigger and stronger and wiser than I was, protected in that refuge created by the promise of consequences.
When my crying had slowed, Glorfindel drew me down from his shoulder, eased me back in his arms and gazed at me, smoothing the tears from my cheeks and kissing my brow. He began murmuring again: “Shhh, pretty Legolas . . .‘tis all right now . . . ‘tis over, all over . . . you were very brave, and I am very proud of you . . . .”
And I listened, loving his praise, feeling like that little elfling he kept telling me I was, a sensation near too splendid to endure. Glorfindel murmured on, smiling down at me, seemingly fascinated – although I could not imagine why – whilst I lay quite fascinated by him as well – but with good reason. Nestled warmly over his lap, my bottom ablaze from what he had done to me, I blinked and blinked, trying to ease the sting of my burning eyes, trying to see him more clearly.
“Poor sweetling,” he said. “I should take you within and place cold compresses on your sore ey--”
“Noooo! P-Please, noo!” I cried, snuggling closer to him.
He chuckled and ‘shushed’ me, then lay me back down. “Very well. Shhh. We shall stay longer, little one. Hush now.” And he gave me a soft, chaste kiss on the lips. “I am not willing to share you yet, either.” Delighted, I smiled softly. “Ah!” Glorfindel said, grinning. “Now that is a wondrous sight to behold, my little Greenleaf.” Which made my smile broaden and his do the same.
And so for some time I rested there on his lap, saying nothing whilst Glorfindel played with the ends of my hair and watched me, plainly enjoying the way his attentiveness both enchanted me and made me squirm. When he spoke again, his voice took on a deep, earnest quality that captured my attention at once.
“Legolas, I need you to listen carefully to me, for I have some important things to say. Can you do that?”
I nodded. “Aye, my l-lord.”
He smiled. “Good.” He studied me again, petting the backs of his curled fingers over my cheek, then he said: “Adulthood is not something you need to prove. It is something you are. You cannot demand that others see you in a certain light simply because you wish them to do so. Adulthood evolves, little one. It ripens within you, quietly and serenely and within its own fair perfection of time. There is no rushing it, sweetling, as you have seen. It will not be coerced. When it is ready, it shall approach you unseen and present itself with little fanfare. And when you do become a genuine grown-up you shall not need to pose or pretend. You shall simply be a grown-up.”
I lay in Glorfindel’s arms, drained, gazing at him and grateful for all he was saying and doing, especially for the way he was taking my mind off my sizzling bottom. And I was listening, of course. Glorfindel was very wise, and his voice was a low, tranquil purr, so of course I was listening. However, I was also thinking that even though it had been a long time between spankings, I could not remember ever feeling my bottom burn this ferociously. I would not be sitting for some time yet to come. Days, likely. Days and days. Heartless brute. I grinned dreamily up at him.
“Are you listening to me, Legolas?”
I blinked my sore eyes. “Uh-huh.”
He looked doubtful. “Are you certain?”
“Because I thought perhaps your mind had wandered for a moment.”
“Good. I wouldst rather not resort to turning you back over my knee in order to gain your atten --”
“Nooo! No,no,no! I am listening, G-Gl-sir!”
He grinned. “Good. To continue then, you display many adult behaviors from time to time, sweetling. You did so twice during your spanking. Aye, do not look so astonished. You allowed yourself to weep and you allowed yourself to be comforted. At the time you were embarrassed, no doubt thinking these things were somehow less than adult. But grown-ups are permitted tears, and comfort. The most grown up grown-ups know this, and it takes one with a bit of grown-up within to truly understand that.”
We shared a grin at this odd statement. “That makes perfect sense, my lord,” I said.
He grinned. “Then you have just made my point. I am proud of you.” Then Glorfindel paused, watching me, and said, “In truth, sweetling, you displayed a third grown-up behavior – a most important one.”
Again he hesitated and grew watchful . . . Glorfindel hesitating? I blinked and felt my brow tighten into a frown. What --?
“Legolas, when you told me how long it had been since your last spanking and I was so startled that I stopped spanking you for a few moments, you asked that impertinent question – you asked if I was finished spanking you.”
I flinched and I sucked a gasp . . . no. NO! He could not know about that secret, traitorous feeling of regret. Oh, please, please, please – he . . . he could not!
“Sweetling,” Glorfindel said gently, “you asked me that impertinent question not because you wanted to make certain that I was finished spanking you, but because you feared that I was.”
Ohhhhhhh! A hot jolt shot through me. He knew! Of course he knew! He had not spoken of it earlier, but of course this brilliant elf lord would know what I had been feeling! Ohhh!
“You had to make certain that I was not finished. And you made it very clear that you needed something more from me.”
“Ohh!” I stared at him, transfixed, my thoughts flying, my face burning. How? How could he have known about that bewildering regret I had felt? And was he correct about its source? Had I truly wanted him to spank me more? And what did that say about me? Was that . . . normal? I had instantly denied it to myself. The fact of it was awful enough, but oh! That he had known of this all along – ohhhhh!
Glorfindel smiled down at me with such tenderness and compassion, such knowing – I could not bear to look at him. I lowered my head and covered my hot face with my hands. “Ohhhh! Ohhhhhhhhh!”
Glorfindel laughed softly. “Legolas.”
“Legolas. Stop.” He took hold of both my wrists with one big hand and firmly pulled my palms away from my face. “Come, little Greenleaf. Enough. Open your pretty eyes and look at me. At once.”
I winced, but obeyed. Glorfindel’s loving smile should have soothed my anguish, but I was so mortified I was near bursting into fresh sobs.
“Enough fussing, little one. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing at all. ‘Tis all right that you needed what you needed from me. And ‘tis alright that your wise adult within knew how to obtain it.”
What? I studied him, blinking back a sheen of tears. “My – My wise adult within? Wise adult?”
“Of course. This is that third grown-up behavior you exhibited today – that most important one.” He paused to kiss my brow again. “When I stopped spanking, when I paused, that is, you were likely relieved, but deep inside you did not feel that you had fully atoned. You needed more.”
He grinned. “In truth, I was not done with you. I had merely paused in surprise, marveling over the obstinence of a certain little elfling who had just spent one hundred years without a single spanking. But you feared I might be finished, and you had to make certain that I would continue.
“So, clever elfling that you are, you sought what you needed in the only way you could. You asked an impertinent question in an adult manner – something that you felt would aggravate me and provoke the response that it did. You are perhaps unaware of this, but both times you asked your question – for I made you repeat it – you asked it in a most arrogant and demanding tone.”
I gasped. “I-I did?”
He made a snorting sound. “Oh, indeed. Very adult, yes, very calm. But also most impertinent and contentious. That is why I made you repeat it. I was startled by your tone. And it certainly won you the response you were seeking from me.” Then he smiled at me beautifully. “You did well, little Greenleaf.”
I stared at him, then, to my own astonishment, I burst out laughing. Glorfindel joined me, although, unlike me, there were no tears mixed with his laughter. I was simply overcome and fatigued and had few resources left upon which to draw. I could only mutter a weak, “Thank you.”
“Aye, Legolas,” he said, wiping away the fresh tears that were slipping down my cheeks. “It is much to consider. But trust that your inner adult understands about you. It is very wise indeed. And it has much to teach you about yourself, sweetling. It truly does know you better than you think you know yourself.”
I considered this carefully, then said, “Glorfindel?”
He smiled, his brows rising. “Ah! You have recovered enough to say my name! Aye, little one?”
“My sore bottom is questioning that inner adult wisdom.”
Glorfindel roared such a great laugh that he near shook me from his lap. It took him several minutes to recover. “Is it indeed?” he said. “I did not know a sore bottom could question. Cheeky of it to doubt your adult wisdom.”
I groaned mightily and told him what a ludicrous pun that was, but Glorfindel was too busy howling at his own wit and my indignation to care. I had to chuckle along with him.
“Aye, well, that is a problem,” he finally was able to cough out. “That part of you is woefully honest. It may continue to plague you, sweetling.” He shrugged, flashing me a completely unsympathetic smile.
“Why would I want more spanking, though? Is that . . . well, is it, normal?”
“Define ‘normal’ for me,” he said. “Legolas, there are grown-ups and there are grown-ups. There are many distinct types, all with differing needs and strengths. Within some lies a steadfast adult, constant, stable and with an inner spark that makes them the unwavering grown-up they are. You know who some of these are.”
I nodded. “You, Ada, Elrond, Erestor --”
“Aye. To name a few,” he said. “Within other elves a different spark exists, allowing these elves to be both an adult, and also, in part, an elfling. The balance within this kind of elf varies, too. Some are more adult with only occasional signs of an elfling. Some are equally balanced between adult and elfling, and some are mostly elfling most of the time.”
I felt that profound inner stirring one feels when hearing absolute truth. And I not only instantly understood Glorfindel, it was as if I had known this all along. “I think . . . I-I think . . . it feels as though I already knew this.”
He smiled. “Aye, little one. Deep within, your wise adult has ever known this truth.”
I nodded slowly, my mind spinning around this new idea that was actually, it seemed, a very old idea within me. I did indeed know this truth. “Glorfindel, the elf I am now, will I always be – when I become a grown-up, will I still be – or-or will I change?”
“It is your nature to be who you are, sweetling,” he said. “That does not change. You are yet young, and you shall know your adult nature when you are a fully-fledged adult. But understand this, for it is most important – the elf with that inner capacity to be both an adult and an elfling is no lesser in esteem than the elf who is the unfaltering adult. Both have value. Both are necessary. As day needs night, each needs the other to be exactly who they are – to balance one another. They are simply different from each other in nature, and that is well. And that, little one, is also ‘normal.’”
Again fresh tears spilled down my cheeks. Glorfindel smiled quietly and gathered me up in a swift, fierce hug. “And, little Greenleaf, truly, how perfectly adorable you are.”
Another one-word reply. He simply was not going to talk to me. Not until he was ready. Legolas started out spanking in silence. I knew that. He had ever been that way. He still was. Infuriating elf. My efforts thus far had been met with non-word sounds, one-word non-responses, or a stronger swat, which shut me up quite effectively save a hearty, “AHHHHHHHHHH!”
Nevertheless, desperation forced me to try every so often, hoping to prod him out of his silent yet certain attempt to spank me for the rest of my life.
“AHHHHHHHHH! Pl-Pleeease, Leg’las! OWWWW! Please st-stop!”
“B-But you are going to-to spank me for the r-rest of my liiiiife!”
That made him chuckle. And – miraculously – speak! “I am?” he said.
“That sounds like a bleak future for us both, sweetling.”
“Well, rest assured, little one. I am not planning to spank you for the rest of your life.”
“You are tooo!” I sounded ridiculous, but I was over Legolas’ knee and he was spanking me and spanking me with no end in sight. I was simply not at my finest.
“Nay, Frodo, I am not. In truth, you are entirely out of practice,” he said. “Trust me, sweetling. I know. This is what happens when it has been a long time between spankings.”
“But-But, last week, Sam --”
“Sam’s spanking was doubtless unpleasant, but I wager it was lighter than it might have been were you not recovering. He was being more careful with you than he had been when we were together in the Fellowship. Is that not so?”
“Noo!” I eagerly fibbed. “It w-was just as b-bad!”
Just how did he know these things? “M-Maybe it wasn’t as bad. But it was still awful!”
“I am certain it was, sweetling. And no ‘big person’ has spanked you since our Fellowship broke apart at Amon He--” Legolas paused, his voice suddenly tight and thick.
I knew what had happened back at Amon Hen when Sam and I were paddling across the lake – Merry and Pippin’s abduction, Boromir’s near death and how the elves had saved him – it must have been horrific for Legolas to still struggle when speaking of it. He really was too sweet. I could save him from his discomfort, though, and I hurried to do so.
“N-No! Faram-mir spanked m-me and S-Sam, Leg’las, ‘member?” I sputtered. "In Ithlee - Ithila - Ith -"
“In Ithilien. Ah, indeed.” Legolas said in a much more comfortable tone. “But I say again, Frodo, you are simply out of practice. So while I know it likely feels as though I have been spanking you for hours and hours --”
“You h-have been!” I cried. “You’ve been spanking m-me for hours and hou --”
“Nay, sweetling,” Legolas said, a smile in his voice. “I have not. I am sorry to inform you that I have been at this only a very small fraction of the time I used to spend spanking you. We have, in fact, just started.”
Oh no. That couldn’t be! “Oh noooooo!”
“I regret that it seems otherwise, however, it is true. I would not lie to you. And while your pretty little bottom is now nicely pink, I prefer to see a rosy red shade covering a naughty backside ere I am finished.”
“Oh noooooooooooooo! Pleeeeee --”
“You know that I wouldst never ever maltreat you, my sweet Frodo.”
I froze, astonished, despite my distress, to hear him voice such a notion. Of all the outrageous --! “Oh, Leg’las! ‘C-Course I know you w-wouldn’t do that!”
I heard him sniff that little grin of his, then he said in a reflective tone, “I know you know. I am watching you carefully, Frodo, not only your pretty bottom. So settle down now. No more fussing.”
“But if I am out of p-practice, then you should build up s-slowly!” Made perfect sense to me. For some reason, though, Legolas found this humorous.
“Why, thank you, sir, for your guidance.”
“Not at all. OWWWWWWWWWW!”
“But it is not your place to tell me how to carry out this spanking. So, hush.”
“AAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! But-but-but, Leg’las, can we talk yet?”
“We have been talking.”
I swallowed my growl and said, “I m-mean ‘bout why I-I’m getting spanked!”
“You do not know?” he asked in a startled voice, a mock startled voice, for he knew very well what I meant, yet he persisted. “Frodo, if you do not know why I am spanking you then I should be quiet and give you a nice long period of time to reflect whilst I continue to --”
“Noooooooo! I do know why! I do! I do! I doooooooo!”
“Ah. I am glad to hear it. Since you do know why you are being spanked, what is there to talk about, little one?”
I kicked furiously. “Legolas!”
“I hate that worrrrd!”
“I shall stop saying it when you start doing it.”
Then and there I forfeited all sense of perspective. I gave my fury and my frustration free rein and resorted to something sincerely unscrupulous. I waited a bit, then I feigned exhaustion, collapsing over his lap and pretending that I was too unfit to continue.
“Leg’las,” I whimpered, gasping a bit for good measure. “P-Please, I’m weary, so v-very weary, and I f-feel weak . . . and, and . . . unwell.”
Legolas paused, and the moment he did my guilt hit full force. I instantly regretted what I’d done. And it was too late.
Legolas knew what I was about at once. How he knew I’ve no idea. But he hadn’t been fooled. Legolas just knew. He remained still, and I felt him thoughtfully observing me, then he sighed and murmured in a sorrowful tone, “Ah, Frodo. Is that really true, sweetling?”
“I . . . .” And I clenched all over, twisting the coverlet in my fists. “N-N-Nooo,” I said in a small voice, suddenly recalling, too late, something we hobbits had learned about Legolas way back at the beginning of the Quest:
“There’s no use trying to fib to him or to hide something from him,” I’d told Merry and Pippin when they were wickedly contemplating something ill advised. “Legolas will know.”
“He doesn’t always know,” Merry said.
“Most of the time he knows,” Sam said.
“How?” Pip grumbled. “Just how does he?”
“No idea.” I shrugged. “How, for that matter, does Aragorn know?”
“You’re right,” Merry said, “I think Aragorn taught Legolas how to always know.”
“No matter,” Sam said. “They both always know.”
“But howww?” Pip demanded.
So Pip had huffed and summed up our feelings nicely: “If you ask me, it’s right sneaky of them both – all this knowing.”
Sneaky indeed. Legolas recognized my falsehood for what it was and, ohhhh, he did not appreciate my attempt to deceive him! He tipped up his knee, elevating my backside just enough to expose the tender skin beneath the undercurve of my bottom, and I squeaked in horror and began squealing before his first smack fell. I do hate to squeal.
“EEEEEEEE! NOOOOOOOOO! EEEEE – Not therrrrre! Leg’las! Pleeea-not-not down therrrrrrrre!”
“This sweet place ‘neath the curve of your backside stings mightily when spanked, does it not, little one?”
“Truly stings. It is very soft. Of course, your pretty bottom is soft all over, but this tender, sensitive fold right under here --”
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Leg’laaaaas pleeeeeeea --!”
“You have only yourself to blame, Frodo,” he said. “Feigning infirmity to avoid more spanking? That, sir, was a very naughty thing to do. Very naughty indeed.”
I buried my face in the coverlet and sobbed, so ashamed of myself I could hardly draw breath. He was right. But Legolas was being too kind, because I’d been more than just naughty. I’d lied. I’d taken advantage of his compassionate nature and his concern for my condition. I’d been entirely, utterly dishonorable. And I’d known it when I was doing it and I’d watched myself do it anyway and I couldn’t imagine why I’d done it . . . I couldn’t imagine why . . . .
Well, yes – Legolas was spanking me. There was that. He was spanking me and spanking me and I couldn’t escape and I couldn’t talk him out of it and I couldn’t do anything but lay there and take the next spank and the next and the next and it hurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt! It stung and burned and I couldn’t make it stop. And kicking never helps, but I always reach a point where my body seems to take over and I find that I’m kicking anyway. Wriggling and bucking does no good either. Nothing does. And I’d lost my britches again, almost immediately. Not that a bit of added humiliation meant much at that point. This was a very sincere spanking from an elf who had ever been sincerely good at it and had not lost his touch since the last time I was over his knee.
So, all right, there was my ‘why.’ But nothing excused what I’d done. I’d been through quite a few sincere spankings on the Quest, some of them given to me by Legolas, but I’d never tried feigning incapacity in an attempt to escape my fate. That was a line I’d never crossed. Now I had not only crossed that line, I’d bounded over it. I’d betrayed my kind-hearted prince’s sympathies in a most shameful manner. I suppose I could see why I’d done it, but I hated the fact that I had.
“Sorry, Leg’las!” I wailed. “I-I’m so, so sorry! Very sorry! Terrible thing t-to dooo! I lied! Lied to you! Oh, Leg’las, so, so bad!”
“Shhhhh, little one,” he purred. “You had your reasons.”
“Uh-huuuuuuh! But, I’m sorry! Sorry! Very sorry!”
“I know. Shhh. Breathe, Frodo. Settle down now.” And he lowered his knee again and smoothed his hand over my bottom, sending a shiver through me. “You are forgiven, little one. I understand how difficult it is to be good when your bottom is hot and sore.”
Difficult to say the least. A hot, sore bottom and the feeling of desperation that comes with an ongoing spanking not only makes it difficult to be good, today it had made me abandon my honor. My stomach burned with shame, and Legolas, with his ready tolerance and his understanding was actually kindling that fire. I could scarcely bear to hear the forgiveness in his voice, much less allow myself to feel it.
“I-I’m really so very sorry!” I blathered on. “I’m s-so ashamed!”
“Frodo, stop. That is enough. No mor --”
“I-I can’t believe I did that! I’m sooo sorry! I’m so, sooo dishon’rable, Leg’las!”
He released a low growl and abruptly scooped me up and into his arms, fitting my wriggling body to his, and I gasped, so stunned I hardly knew what to do.
“Shh, sweetling. I said that is enough,” he murmured against my hair. “No more fussing now. Hold on to me. Come, just as you used to do, pretty one.”
And I fell back on habit, wrapping my arms around his shoulders and resting my head in that familiar, delicious place at the side of his neck, his silky hair forming a sheltering curtain.
“Gooood,” he purred against my ear, and Legolas began rocking slowly. “Goood. Settle down now, sweetling. Shhhh.”
Mmm, I remembered this cozy spot and the delectable elvish scent of Legolas, his skin and his hair, a scent unlike anything else, uniquely, deliciously, magically Legolas. That, and the feel of his strong arms holding me safe and close – oohh, it was dizzying. I nestled in, weeping softly, my stinging backside half-perched on one of his forearms, and I waited, trembling, listening to those occasional hushed, “Shhhhhh’s.” And when I had calmed enough to begin thinking clearly again, I wondered what Legolas thought he was doing . . . .
Was he finished spanking me? Oh, how I hoped he was! I think. Well, no – of course I hoped he was finished spanking me! I think. But – wait – how could he be finished? After what I’d just done? How could he have forgiven me so quickly for such a wicked attempted deception? And we still hadn’t discussed why he was spanking me in the first place, my so-called ‘escape’ and my so-called disobedience to orders . . . even though I had tried to make it clear that I was an adult hobbit answerable to only myself. Legolas wouldn’t just forget about that. So he couldn’t be finished yet, could he? He must be planning to spank me more, and if so, I’d just as soon he got on with it.
But then, perhaps he really thought I could take no more. Perhaps, having listened to my hearty squalls, he was stopping to spare my backside. Though it made no sense, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about that . . . .
I considered my position carefully, and I knew that, although I’d been bellowing wildly, I yet had some stamina left. Yes, he’d done quite a stunning job on my bottom thus far, but to be brutally honest, I knew that I could withstand more. I had in the past. Often. I was not at the limit of my endurance. Not yet. I was however, out of practice, as Legolas had said. He might have taken all my wailing to heart, though. And I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, either.
I fidgeted and sighed, wanting to say something, but not certain what to say. I certainly wasn’t about to ask for more of this! But, well . . . . I fidgeted some more and --
“What is it, Frodo?”
A flash of exasperation shot through me and I heard myself blurt out, “I’m wondering if you’re finished spanking me, of course!”
He released a quiet laugh and patted my bottom. “You are, are you?”
“Yes!” I shot back. “Of course I am!”
“And you are comfortable taking that tone with me?”
But I knew what he meant. I sounded like Pippin on the Quest when he was weary at the end of the day’s march and grumpy with everyone and everything until Merry took him off and gave him the attention he needed by means of a ‘settling spanking.’ I sighed. Oh, very well. Yes. I knew what ‘tone’ Legolas meant. I fidgeted anew.
“Aye, you know what tone I mean, sweetling,” he said, making me blink. “And I know you are bewildered by it, as you are bewildered by many of the peculiar things that are roaring about within you. My poor little one.”
I swallowed hard. There was that sweet, sympathetic tolerance again, Legolas returning understanding for my ill-temper, kindling my guilty feelings once more. I squeezed and twisted his clothing in my fists and whispered in a suddenly hoarse voice, “Legolas I --”
“Shhh, Frodo. Enough now. All will be well,” he said, giving me a gentle squeeze. “I have a few things to say and then I shall turn you back over my knee. Do not fret, sweetling. Of course, I am not yet finished with you. You have earned quite a thorough spanking and I do not intend to let you down.”
A sudden sob burst from me and I buried my face against him, and for some reason I couldn’t quite fathom I once again started to cry. Something mystifying gnawed away within me, a vague, frightening sensation that had been coming upon me of late, tearing at my insides and stirring up a precarious, desperate feeling. Legolas still rocked me, and it felt good, too good . . . .
Too good was right, too good for me anyway. I didn’t deserve such goodness. An ugly inner snarl reminded me of what I’d done and I squeezed my eyes shut, listening . . . .
“I know, little one,” Legolas murmured. “There are awful, confusing, unsettling things stirring within you. You are frightened, though you cannot say for certain what is frightening you. It seems to be bigger and stronger than you are, and you sometimes fear it will sweep you away. But, that is not true, sweetling, for you are ever wise enough and strong enough to seek help.”
Wise enough to seek help? Strong enough? Bewildered, I drew back to peer at him.
Legolas flashed me a loving grin and wiped the tears from my cheeks, saying, “Aye. You wisely sought help by means of your first naughty deed - you disobeyed Aragorn’s orders. And when you were caught, as you knew you would be, you claimed you were an adult hobbit and entitled to make decisions for yourself. But, as I pointed out, adult or no, you are ever honor-bound to obey those orders, and I therefore had the right to discipline you, even though you kept bellowing that I had no right. Does this sound familiar?”
“I wasn’t bellowing,” I muttered. I was too shocked to say anything sensible. He knew all this! He knew! Of course . . . Legolas always knew.
Legolas grinned. “You then discovered that you needed more from me. Why you decided that matters not, sweetling. You were simply wise enough to know that you needed more. So you devised a second naughty deed, choosing to do something you had never done before, not in all the times that I, or Aragorn, or Boromir have been spanking you.”
I began to squirm. “Legolas, I-I don’t like – please s-stop! I d-don’t like this!”
“You tried to feign exhaustion,” he said, holding me firmly. “I assume you were trying your best, but Frodo, your skills when it comes to telling a falsehood are positively dismal.”
I scowled at him. “Thank you.”
He chuckled. “And still you felt compelled to seek a bit more. Which brings us to your final naughty deed. You felt so badly about trying to deceive me that you decided you did not deserve forgiveness. You heard me say that you were forgiven, but you were not listening. You said, ‘I am dishonorable.’”
Legolas paused and studied me with a sudden sad thoughtfulness. “Ah, Frodo. Dishonorable? You?” He shook his head. “Nay, I cannot permit you to utter such an ugly untruth. You, noble sir, are entirely honorable.”
I stared at him, wanting to disagree. “I-I --”
But Legolas placed his forefinger against my lips and shook his head again, saying, “No. There is nothing more to say. Frodo, the things you did, disobeying orders and feigning weakness, were indeed naughty, as was calling yourself dishonorable. And so after I finish spanking you for all those naughty things, I shall thoroughly wash your mouth out with soap to cleanse away that ugly untruth.”
I groaned. “Oh, nooooo! Oh, Leg’las, please! Please no, no, no! D-Don’t do that to me! It’s been so-so long since – ewwww! Leg’las – ewww!”
I had to admit, I sounded pathetically nipper-ish. But, ohhhhhh! A soaping! ‘Ew’ didn’t come close to expressing my revulsion.
“Aye. It is nasty. I know,” he said. “However, sir, you feigned exhaustion then you declared yourself to be dishonorable.” He ‘tsked’ and ran his thumb over my lower lip, saying, “Such dreadful lies sullying this pretty little mouth. Frodo, consider yourself fortunate that I plan to wash out your naughty mouth only once.”
Fortunate? Oh, why, yes – the blessing of only one soaping was something for which I was indeed most grateful! In truth, I was a bit thunderstruck, not only by all his sudden shifts in disposition, but by what he’d said, most of which I had yet to fully think over. If Legolas was trying to disconcert me he was doing a splendid job. I could do nothing at the moment but blink and gape at him and struggle to harness my temper.
“Such an adorably defiant pout, sweetling! You look wholly tempted to share some of your vast vocabulary of elvish obscenities with me.”
If ever there was a finer moment!
“Beware, though, little one. I myself am wholly tempted to add a second soaping. And,” he said with a sudden decisiveness and a swift kiss to my brow, “‘tis time we moved on. So consider your position.”
“EEEEEEEEEEEEK!” Oh, I hated to squeal! But Legolas tossed me back over his knee so swiftly I’d had no choice.
Resting his hand on my backside, he said, “Clearly you are still not ready to speak sensibly or to listen to me. So, alas, I shall needs spank your pretty backside for a while longer.”
Alas? His ‘alas’ might have meant more had it not been delivered with such a grin in his voice.
“And Frodo, remember, I intend to give you quite a long and thorough spanking, so you need not provoke me in hopes of gaining a longer one.”
I gasped. “What? In hopes of – WHAT?”
“You need not have added several more naughty deeds to your first one. Your escape attempt was naughty enough, especially since you nearly succeeded. Save for a few quirks of Fate I would not have been here so early this morning and you would surely have left the Houses of Healing and Valar knows what could have happened to you alone out in the city.”
“Stupid, stupid Fate!”
He laughed. “You sound like Pippin at his most belligerent.”
That was IT! Having little left to lose, I let fly some of my vast vocabulary of elvish obscenities.
“Well,” Legolas said in an admiring tone when I was finished. “I would be remiss did I not add another soaping for that impressive little slip in decorum.”
“Legolas! Nooooooooo!” I wailed and kicked and twisted the coverlet in my fists, but I refrained from inviting a third encounter with this avenging elf and his evil bar of soap.
“You see my dilemma, sweetling. You are still seeking to provoke me into spanking you longer.”
“No, I’m NOT!”
“Frodo, you have not been listening to me since I began revealing your naughty deeds. If you had you would have been more greatly distressed.”
“More distressed? More? This isn’t distressed enough?”
Chuckling softly, Legolas lifted his hand. “You have worked hard for these consequences you so richly deserve, little one. Shhh. No more. Think over my words thus far. Then we shall speak again.”
And Legolas began spanking me, silently, and I could tell from his steady rhythm and determined pace that he would not stop this time until he was certain I had reached whatever place he was determined I reach. Every attempt I made to goad a response from him failed. Legolas would not be moved. All he need do now was to keep spanking me in his relentless manner, and all I could do now was lie there and sob and struggle with my stubborn, foolish resistance.
As ever, Legolas was very wise. He knew that few things helped one see reason more effectively than a burning bottom and an ongoing spanking with no end in sight. It cured my rebelliousness rather quickly, not that he took my word for it despite my howling and sobbing and my useless repeated ‘sorries.’ He just kept spanking away, listening for whatever it was he expected to hear from me and watching for whatever it was he needed to see.
His strategy succeeded, for when my costly rebellion fled and my thoughts began to drift in an empty void and all I knew was the next stinging spank, and the next, and the next, sudden clarity entered into that void and I did begin to think over what he had said.
Yes, I had invited this. And it was awful to think about, because I feared . . . no, I knew that Legolas was correct. Something deep within me could compel me to act without questioning those actions too closely. The moment I began to pull on those nice new hobbit britches I’d known, deep inside, what would happen. Oh, Valar help me! Of course I’d known, and I’d done it nonetheless. I’d invited it, and then I’d invited more of it, just as Legolas had said.
Was I mad? I’d wanted to be caught? I’d wanted to be spanked? The hotter my bottom became the louder that truth bellowed at me. Yes, I’d disobeyed Aragorn’s orders, even knowing what he had taught us in Bree – you either obeyed orders or you didn’t, and if you didn’t, you were choosing certain consequences – so, yes, I . . . I’d chosen these consequences. But, what did that say about me? Was that . . . normal?
Hadn’t I just wanted to be treated as an adult? After all, I was one! I’d lived as an independent, adult hobbit for a long time in the Shire. I’d just wanted that independence back . . . hadn’t I? I’d wanted the right to decide when and if I was well enough to leave the Houses of Healing, and I’d wanted to be answerable to myself alone . . . at least I thought I had . . . of course I had! I think. I should want that independence, shouldn’t I?
I bounced back and forth in my mind, my sobbing raw and hoarse, my bottom on fire . . . then something Legolas said came back to me: “There are awful, confusing, unsettling things stirring within you. You are frightened, though you cannot say what is frightening you. It seems to be bigger and stronger than you are, and you sometimes fear it will sweep you away. But, that is not true, sweetling, for you are ever wise enough and strong enough to seek help.”
I thought, too, of the mysterious ‘something,’ that frightening sensation that had been gnawing at me earlier . . . and I . . . I could no longer feel that. It was gone. Instead I felt . . . safe. My bottom was on fire, Legolas was spanking me, and I felt safe and comforted. Absurd. Simply absurd. And yet, it was always like this. There was an everlasting feeling of comfort from these consequences. So this was what Legolas had meant. Something had been frightening me and so I’d been wise enough to seek out this comfort.
But what did that say about me? Yes, there was comfort in this particular consequence, but was it normal to solicit it? A spanking hurt!
Of course, Legolas knew these things. He had the answers and he knew what I’d been feeling better than I did. Legolas just knew. And he understood what I couldn’t quite grasp right now. Yet, to think that he’d been aware all along of how I’d sought this out on purpose – ohhhhh! I writhed from embarrassment, longing to crawl away into some dark corner and hide my head. Ohh, that he just knew my inwardly secret reasons for those outwardly naughty deeds! Ohhh!
I pressed my face to the now wet-with-tears coverlet and curled my arms up over my head, weeping miserably. Pathetic, but it was the closest I could come to burying myself far from his sight as I longed to do.
“Frodo. Little one.”
I hiccupped, startled, and I heard so much in just that murmur. Apparently Legolas, with his excellent elvish hearing and insight had at last heard and seen what he’d been waiting for. He then merely needed send me the most gentle of prompts:
“Frodo, is there something you wish to say to m --”
“Ohh, Leg’las!” I sputtered between sobs, “Y-Yes! I-I’m so s-sorry! I disobeyed Ar’gorn’s or-orders and I s-said it din’t matter ‘cause I-I was a-a grown-up, and that was one n-naughty deed, then I did the second, the most bad n-naughty and tried to l-lie --”
“Shhhhhh, Frodo, hush.” Legolas rubbed his hand over my arms, gently prying them from behind my head, and when he had them free, he said, “Sweetling, let me help you, for I know it is difficult to speak when you are so distraught.”
I was utterly humbled by how insensible I sounded, but I was able to do no better, so I nodded, grateful for his offer of help. “Y-Yes, ple-please.”
“You disobeyed orders and tried to escape, then you feigned disability to escape more spanking, then you called yourself dishonorable. Are those the three naughty deeds you are trying to apologize for?”
“Uh huhhhhh! Sorryyy, Leg’las! So ver-very sorry!”
“Ahhh. Now that, little one, is a most genuine and heartfelt sorry.”
And Legolas stopped spanking me at once, resting his palm down on my fiery bottom and giving me a few final soft pats. “All is well now, Frodo. Shhh. ‘Tis over. All is forgiven sweet one.” I shuddered with relief, drenched in fresh, cleansing sobs, hardly able to let myself believe that he really was finished, yet very, very ready for him to be.
Legolas muttered his familiar quiet shushing sounds and words, some of them in his melodious elvish tongue. “Come, my sweet little one,” he said. “Come, Frodo.” He gathered me into his close embrace with one smooth move, and, ohhh, again, there was that warm, secure place, that safe haven, Legolas holding me pressed against him, his arms wrapped around me, all of it feeling as perfect as it had earlier, almost too perfect to take in . . . except for my throbbing backside.
When the worst of my sobbing had slowed and I was able to speak, I said, my voice a soft croak, “Oh, L-Leg-las, I-I-I’m so em-b-barrass-barra --”
“Shhhhhhh, Frodo, shhhhh. I know.” Legolas reached up to cup my head and run his fingers through my curls, petting my hair. “I know, little one,” he purred, fondly indulgent. “I truly understand. But, sweetling, you have no reason to feel embarrassed. Not with me.”
“But I-I dooooooooooo!”
Legolas laughed quietly and kissed my curls. “Aye, well, of course you do. I apologize. I am not judging you, though, sweetling. I never have, nor shall I ever. So you need not feel ashamed.”
“Shh. We shall speak more of this. But, for now, rest quietly, sweetling. Rest, and let me hold you,” he said, beginning to rock. “Shhhhh, gooooood. Hold on to me.”
And I did, and Legolas continued on like that for some time, murmuring his comforting litany of lyrical sounds, holding my boneless, liquefied self against him, keeping me cuddled there against his neck, petting my hair, reaching a hand down to rub my bottom and sniffing his small grins when I’d squeak from his touch on my burning skin . . . . I coiled his silky hair between my fingers and drifted in that most comforting of places, lost in it.
My sobbing soon slowed to crying, then to soft weeping, then to sniffling and ended at last in random soft hiccups – something Legolas had always found oddly adorable.
“Hiccupping is a most peculiar thing to find adorable, sir,” I had told him long ago when he first confessed it to me.
Legolas had laughed. “It is indeed! But it makes me smile when I hear little hobbit hiccups. I suppose you cannot help being adorable, Frodo.”
I’d rolled my eyes and hicc’ed again and Legolas had chuckled with delight. I sniffed a grin now at the memory, hearing him echo it back.
“Aye, sweetling, your little hiccups are still adorable,” he said, a smile in his voice. I felt him rub his cheek against my hair. “But I suppose you still cannot help being adorable, Frodo.”
I squirmed a bit and blushed, and he said, “Come. Let me see you, little one. Are you ready?” I nodded, and Legolas drew me down, carefully situating my scorched bottom between his thighs and resting me against the crook of his arm, that other wondrously safe place, still cuddled close to him, warm and sheltered. He gazed at me, his gentle half-smile full of compassion. “Ah. Pretty little Frodo,” he said, and he kissed me, slowly, sweetly, and wonderfully. “Sam will simply needs forgive me that,” he murmured against my lips.
“Sam will,” I said on a gasp, barely able to draw breath, my heart thudding.
Legolas watched me for a few long moments, playing slowly and thoughtfully with my curls, as he loved to do, and growing contemplative. “You did so well, little one. I am very proud of you,” he finally said. “And I vow you have been thinking over my words, and now you have much on your mind.”
My face burst into a heat that rivaled my bottom. “Yes. I-I knew – I knew . . . Legolas I –” And I squished my eyes shut, unable to look at him whilst saying this. “I knew what I was doing when I d-disobeyed Aragorn’s orders. I knew I’d be caught. I knew I’d be spanked. And I did it anyway.”
“Aye, sweetling. But, ‘tis alright, Frodo. Shhhh, little one. ‘Tis alright. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Open your pretty eyes and look at me.”
I winced and swallowed hard, but I just couldn’t --
I twisted my fingers together painfully, and I still just couldn’t --
“Are you truly of a mind to defy me?”
His tone was gentle and loving, but it resonated with that stern elvish resolve I knew all too well. Legolas meant to be obeyed and, no, I wasn’t about to defy him. I opened my eyes and looked at him, and murmured, “Sorry, Legolas.”
He simply grinned, untwisted my knotted fingers, brought them up to his lips and kissed them. “I understand, sweetling,” he said, “more than you know. I realize that you feel embarrassed. But it is alright that you needed what you needed from me. And ‘tis alright that your wise adult within knew how to obtain it.”
Puzzled, I frowned and opened my mouth to question him, but I needn’t have bothered. Legolas stayed one step ahead of me:
“I imagine that your greatest concern sounds something like this: What does it say about you if you know what will happen when you do something naughty, and you choose to do it anyway? What does that mean? What kind of person does that make you? And is that kind of behavior ‘normal?’”
I gasped, and Legolas paused to grin at my startled expression, then he went on.
“The concern itself is normal, Frodo. I have had it. More than once, in fact, even though I had previously learned the answers to those same questions. No matter. Some lessons need to be learned many times. And I shall tell you what a very wise elf told me when I rested across his lap, sore-bottomed as you are now, feeling the same concerns you are feeling.”
I blinked at the thought, wondering what elf that might be. I knew that, on occasion, Aragorn spanked Legolas, as he did Boromir – as they both did Boromir, in fact. But I hadn’t considered the many years Legolas had likely lived before Aragorn had even been born. His eyes glittering, Legolas simply kissed my brow and continued on:
“Frodo, it is ‘normal’ to behave as it is in your nature to behave. That is what you did today – you followed your nature. There are those adults whose nature is one of an everlasting, unwavering grown-up. They possess an inner spark that makes them constantly stable and steadfast. You know who some of these are, no doubt.”
“Yes, Halbarad and Damrod and Eomer,” I said. “Oh, and Aragorn, of course.” Legolas went very still and gazed at me for a moment. I frowned. “Is that right, Legolas?”
“Aye, sweetling!” he quickly said. “Indeed, aye, you are right. Aye, all those you listed are indeed good examples of . . . everlasting adults.”
“And Lord Elrond and Glorfindel and --”
“Shh, Frodo.” He touched his finger to my lips. “Enough. You have the idea, to be certain. There are also the grown-ups who possess an active youngling within, a little one that longs for attention and needs to be shown that someone bigger and stronger is watching out for him. This one seeks out certain consequences for certain naughty actions.”
“Yes,” I said, suddenly grasping a further understanding. “And in some, like Pippin and Gwin, the little one reveals itself more frequently than it does in others.”
“Aye, and --”
“And in others, the adult is present an equal amount of time, or a greater amount, like --”
“Shhh.” He grinned and, going slightly pink, placed a finger at my lips again. “You do indeed understand. No need to give more examples, sweetling.”
I grinned back and nodded, touched by his sudden discomfort.
“There are many different types and many degrees of grown-up, all unique and with unique needs,” he went on. “But the most important thing to remember is that no single type is greater or lesser in esteem than the other, sweetling. The steadfast adult and the adult with a little one within need each other to be exactly who they are. They are both valuable and unique. That, too, is ‘normal.’”
I watched him, the simple truth of his words further quieting my heart, silencing any remaining harsh whispers. And I knew . . . . “Legolas . . . .”
“Aye, sweetling,” he said, smiling. “Your wise adult within knows who you are. Both sides of you exist in harmony. And today you sought out what you desired. You were frightened, so you needed someone bigger and stronger than whatever had been troubling you, someone who could provide a safe refuge. It mattered not that you thought you were hungry for your adulthood when you were, in fact, hungry for attention and comfort and a sense of safety.
“So this morning, when Fate supplied you with an opportunity to find that comfort, you sought out one who would provide you with what you needed. And, trust me, little one,” he said with a wink and a grin. “I was delighted to be the one Fate chose.”
“Fate,” I muttered with a wry sniff. “I have both blessed Fate today and thought it stupid.”
“Stupid? Fate?” Legolas ‘tsked’ in mock horror. “Frodo, whoever would think such a thing?”
We shared a chuckle, then I sobered and said, “Legolas, before, back in the Shire, all those years that I lived as an --”
“Independent adult hobbit?”
“Yes. Well, shouldn’t I want to get back that same adult independence? I’d been answerable to no one then, and I’d been fine with that . . . I-I think. Anyway, shouldn’t I want that grown-up self-rule again?”
“Why would you, sweetling?”
I gazed at him, unable to answer. Legolas smiled and brushed the locks from my brow, saying, “Frodo, after everything that has happened to you, after all you have been through, how can you possibly expect to be the same person now that you were back in the Shire? Aye, you are still Frodo Baggins, as you ever were, but there are bound to be some things that feel different about you as well, and that is alright.
“Remember what I told you, Frodo. Your wise adult within knows who you are, and what your inner nature is. That is ‘normal,’ sweetling, to behave as it is your nature to behave. And remember that no one type of adult is greater or lesser in esteem than the other.”
As Legolas spoke a soothing warmth had been moving through me. I felt sheltered and understood, granted an unconditional acceptance I hadn’t granted myself. I felt as I had while on the Quest – no, earlier than that – I’d felt like this from the time we’d met a certain dark Ranger on that fearful night in Bree. The Quest had been a time when I’d become answerable to others, those who were – as Legolas put it so well – bigger and stronger than I was. And I’d loved feeling protected in that refuge they provided, created by the promise of those consequences, bottom-stinging though they were.
“Legolas, I-I know all this,” I said with slow realization. “I knew it today.”
“Aye, little one.”
“I’ve always known it. It feels like . . . like both a new idea and a very old idea within me.”
“Aye, little one,” he repeated with a smile. “Deep within, your wise adult has likely ever known this truth. And it is alright to long for the comfort of consequences. I think that quite normal indeed.”
And his eyes glistened with a faraway look, as though an old and much beloved melody was playing in his mind. Legolas had looked like that many times today, smiling in a secretive way that made me suppose he’d been through something similar to my current struggle. Well, Legolas had lived for a long, long while . . . .
I leaned up quite suddenly and kissed him back, then I instantly buried my burning face against his chest. His soft chuckle rumbled under my ear and he wrapped his arms around me, cuddling me closer.
“That was nice, little one,” he said, kissing the top of my head. “I suppose Sam will forgive you it as well?”
I nodded, laughing softly.
Nuzzling my curls, he murmured, “So, I assume that Fate is no longer ‘stupid.’”
“Don’t be silly, Legolas,” I said, my voice muffled against his clothing. “Whoever would think such a thing?”
After Frodo drifted into a half-slumbering state I bundled him closer in my arms, cast about for his britches and frowned to see them now lying a short distance away on the floor. Well, no one was likely to be roaming this private wing where Sam and Frodo were the only occupants, especially at this early hour, so I left his britches where they lay and simply tugged Frodo’s long shirt down to cover his bare bottom for the short trip along the corridor to his chambers. When I rose he protested with a softly fussy mew before snuggling his dewy face deeper into the folds of my shirt, his small fingers curling and twining around my hair.
“Shhhhh, hush, my sweetling,” I whispered at his ear. He purred in response and I grinned.
As I suspected, none were about, and I enjoyed one last bit of cherished privacy with my adorably drowsy and well-spanked Ringbearer. Admittedly, I strolled at my leisure, gazing down at his charmingly innocent, youthful face and stealing a few illicit kisses along the way. The moment I entered Frodo’s chambers Sam sat up in bed, rubbed his eyes, and reached for him.
“Saaaam,” Frodo sniffed in the voice of a sulky, sleepy child, “Sam, Leg’las spanked me.”
“So I see,” Sam said with a stern but loving tone. “And well deserved I’ve nary a doubt, little sir.”
Sam and I chuckled and grinned at each other.
“Somethin’ to do with this nice new shirt, I reckon?”
I lowered Frodo, limp as a poppet, and he melted down into Sam’s waiting embrace, his devoted gardener near bursting with smiles whilst cuddling his Frodo close. I moved to step away, but Frodo still grasped my hair in his tight little fist, and he used it to pull me closer to him.
“Thank you, Leg’las,” he murmured, his eyes mere slits, and he kissed my cheek.
I glanced at Sam, my face warming. Valiantly struggling to hide his amusement, Sam cocked me his pretty, lop-sided grin and said, “Never you mind ‘bout that, Legolas. It’s sure as the flowers bloom in Spring that I don’t. Mind, that is.”
“Thank you, sir,” I said with a wink.
“Told you he wouldn’t mind. My Sam doesn’t mind, Leg’las.” Frodo yawned. “MyyySSaaam.”
“Aye. Your Sam, little sir. Now turn Legolas loose a’fore he swats your hot bottom again, or a’fore I do.”
Frodo released my hair at once and I kissed their curly heads and made a swift exit whilst I could. Closing the door and striding off, I grinned, remembering full well how Frodo was feeling, recalling how hundreds of years ago I had relished a handful of Glorfindel’s silky hair, squeezing it between my fingers and rubbing it against my cheek whilst drifting in that exquisite sweetness of post-spanking fog.
Glorfindel had held me and rocked me for a long while that day – hours, no doubt, hours and hours. We had that perfect garden to ourselves and that ethereal, undisturbed time of closeness. I knew I would never again shun that feeling of safety and that longing for strong arms and a watchful gaze and that comfort unlike any other . . . and, aye, even the feel of a hot backside. And I ached for the years I had lost, the years of forfeited consequences and the extraordinary gift they bestowed. I knew I would never again deny that need to myself, and I never had.
Would that Frodo and I had been able to share as much time together this morning as Glorfindel and I had shared that day. But the little one had exhausted himself, and although I would gladly have spent more time cuddling Frodo close, feeling him in my arms, alive and safe, listening to him breathe and gazing at his beauty in the purity of slumber, the day was heartlessly speeding ahead. A certain custodial little gardener would soon become a factor, and two warriors would come seeking me out.
And, sure enough, now, when I neared the exit to the Houses of Healing, Aragorn and Boromir came around the corner and headed my way. When we met and I began to tell them what had happened, we turned as one and headed out again. We strolled at a leisurely pace, Boromir and I flanking Aragorn, and I told them more of my pre-dawn adventure with a certain runaway Ringbearer.
“The day is just beginning,” Aragorn said. “You work quickly, sir.”
“I vow Frodo didn’t think so,” Boromir said with a smirk.
“You are correct, little brother,” I said. “Frodo likely felt he had been over my knee for hours and hours and that it was now past midday.”
Boromir ‘humph-ed’ and mumbled, “I know the feeling.”
Aragorn and I grinned, then I said, “Frodo shall be looking for sympathy when next you see him. He shall likely crawl up onto your lap --”
“Onto whose lap?” Boromir interrupted.
“Either of you – nay, wait – Aragorn’s lap.”
My little brother frowned most adorably and asked in a puzzled voice, “Why Aragorn’s?”
“Because, my fledgling, Frodo shall wish to lodge a complaint against Legolas,” Aragorn said. “And he will determine that I am the one to do something about it.”
“Nay!” Boromir exclaimed. “Frodo shall not do such a thing!”
“Mark my words, little brother,” I said. “Frodo will bitterly complain to Aragorn, saying that I beat him within an inch of his life.”
Aragorn and I exchanged a significant look with Boromir who promptly abandoned his quite false indignation. “Oh, very well. Aye, he shall indeed do so, although we all know that Frodo will be in jest.”
“Little imp,” Boromir scoffed.
“Do not call Frodo that,” I said.
“Because he likes it.”
Aragorn and Boromir sputtered a chuckle, then Aragorn turned to me and said, “Do not trouble yourself over Frodo’s accusations, sir. When he climbs onto my lap and begins his tale of woe I shall come to your defense and silence him at once.”
Boromir snorted. “How?”
“I shall flip him over and demand he pull down his britches and show me the evidence.”
And we laughed again until Boromir made a truly awful pun on the phrase ‘tale of woe’ that earned groans from us all – himself included – and a playful punch on the arm from his captain and king.
“Ow!” He rubbed his offended, thickly muscled arm and chortled in a wounded tone, “In the words of our dwarf, ‘pardon.’ But, please, sir – ‘tale of woe?’ It invited a bit of humor. I couldn’t help myself.”
“Try harder,” I said, then I grinned at his charmingly fierce glare.
Aye, the three of us were light of heart whilst making our way to the Hall of Feasts, chuckling and jesting – Aragorn and I playfully taunting my little brother, as Boromir truly loved it so. We had much to rejoice over and a longing to share our common underlying happiness.
For our cherished Frodo had made a great step this morning. I knew from my clear memory of Glorfindel’s lesson that Frodo was feeling more like himself, like the Frodo he had been before his self-imposed journey into the heart of evil. I knew that he felt as though he had been away for a long time, but was beginning the return journey home, and that he once again felt sheltered, as he had when he had been answerable to others who were bigger and stronger and wiser than he was. And I knew that he felt protected in that refuge created by the promise of consequences. Frodo allowed himself that.
Later, when we were in a quiet place and more reflective moods, I would share these deeper things with my beloved warriors, for they would want to know how Frodo had fared and how he seemed now – and Frodo would want their minds to be eased. At present, though, the three of us strolled through the bright morning sunshine, smiles on our faces.
“I forgot to tell you that Sam looked in on us,” I said. “He opened the door and peered in at us in the middle of Frodo’s spanking.” My warriors turned to me with identical ‘tell us more’ looks.
“He heard Frodo’s wails?” Boromir asked.
“Evidently,” I replied. “But Sam knows Frodo’s every pitch and tone of voice and inflection so flawlessly that he could tell – even from the sound of Frodo’s cries whilst he was being spanked – that he was alright.”
“So Sam was not in a panic when he opened the door,” Aragorn surmised.
“Nay.” I paused to chuckle, recalling Sam’s sweet, attentive face. “He simply leaned in and watched us silently for a moment. Then he gave me a nod and that shy little crooked grin of his, and left. Frodo was facing away from the door, so he was not positioned to see Sam looking in, and he was wailing too loudly to hear the door handle turn. So he never knew Sam had been there.”
“And you didn’t tell him?” Boromir said.
I shook my head. “Sam will.”
We chuckled a bit, imagining that. “Indeed,” Aragorn said.
I cast him a sidelong gaze and studied him pointedly, long enough for Aragorn to turn to me with a questioning look.
My curious little brother glanced over, too, and when he did I reached into my pocket, whipped forth a small piece of cloth and tossed it to Aragorn. He caught it and we all halted, Boromir and I watching Aragorn shake the thing out and hold it up – a new pair of little hobbit britches.
Aragorn studied them, frowned and solemnly said, “I appreciate the gesture, sir, but I fear these are too small for me.”
Boromir and I burst into laughter, then Boromir said, “I take it these are Frodo’s new britches?”
I gave him a nod. “They are indeed.”
“And he kicked them off during his spanking, as he often did on the Quest?” Aragorn said with a broad smile.
“He did.” I raised a brow at my Ranger. “I thought you might like to have them returned to you.”
Aragorn paused, then flashed me a roguish sideways glance. “Obliged,” he said, and he stuffed Frodo’s britches into the pocket of his tunic and began striding again. Boromir and I jogged a few steps to catch up with him.
“You are returning them to . . . Aragorn?” Boromir fired me a bewildered expression that was too marvelous. “But, why --?”
“Aragorn, I spoke to the servant who put the fresh clothing in Frodo’s wardrobe,” I said. “Came upon him briefly when I was leaving the wing, and I asked him a few questions.”
“Ah,” Aragorn said, strolling along, grinning slightly, eyes front.
He gave a nod. “Aye.”
“Well done, sir.”
My Ranger darted me a small, sheepish grin. “Hannon le.”
“What worked? Why are you thanking him?” Boromir asked, now growing impatient. “What goes on here?”
“Ah, little brother,” I said.
“Wait!” Boromir stopped dead in his tracks, grabbed Aragorn’s arm and stared at him. Again, we halted. “The servant who . . . . You?”
“Nay, my fledgling. I am not the servant who put those clothes in Frodo’s room.”
“I know tha--!” Boromir growled. “But you ordered --?”
“Just what are you suggesting, my Steward?” Aragorn lifted a brow at Boromir. “That I would order temptation to be placed in the path of a naughty and restless little hobbit?”
We all exchanged a look of delight and comprehension, then Boromir said, “Obviously, my lord, I am suggesting that the future king of Gondor is very wise indeed.”
Aragorn squirmed and blushed. “Ah. The trusting nature of fledglings.”
“Nay, not at all. For, on the other hand, such actions could also be construed as entrapment and manipulation and foul play – a well-laid snare to catch a little hobbit in,” Boromir said, playing now, and miserably inept at feigning disapproval.
“I know of no one who was entrapped, manipulated, or foully played upon who was not willing, even eager, to be so. And, were I you, youngling, I would guard my tongue,” Aragorn said, wonderfully gifted at feigning disapproval. “Had someone not kept me awake and otherwise engaged for most of the night I would have most likely been the one administering Frodo’s discipline.”
Bursting out laughing, I gave Boromir a moment to go fully red in the face, then I glanced over at him and burst out laughing anew. “Oh, little brother!” I cried, “I thought only your backside could become such a bright shade of red!”
“Legolas,” Aragorn said in a scolding tone. “Propriety, sir.”
Which only made me laugh harder. Boromir could maintain his pretended ire but briefly. In the blink of an eye he joined me, followed by Aragorn. When our round of chuckling slowed and we set off again, Boromir said, “Aragorn, how could you be certain that Sam was weary enough to sleep soundly this morning and not wake up when Frodo did?”
“I could not be certain, my fledgling,” Aragorn replied. “But, considering how little sleep Sam had been getting of late, I felt that, when he did give in to his weariness, he would sleep deeply and for a long time. He could scarce keep his eyes open last evening. After a full night’s rest, though, Frodo would likely hear the servant. The door of the wardrobe in that room squeaks a bit, and Frodo would be dozing lightly in that pre-dawn hour.”
“Your plan worked beautifully,” I said, “and it led to a fine beginning for our Frodo.”
“Aye.” Boromir cast Aragorn an admiring grin. “Your tactics were as they needed to be, and I agree with Legolas – well done. I just wish I’d thought of it first.”
More chuckling all ‘round, then Aragorn cocked me a questioning glance and said, “You do not seem much surprised by my deed.”
“I was, but only for a moment,” I said. “Then I recalled my wild youth, when my ada and your ada freely allowed your mischievous brothers and I to keep company with each other, knowing full well we would, in all likelihood, get into trouble.”
His eyes crinkling at the corners, Aragorn looked off and winced and tried, without success, to keep from blushing yet again. Smiling at him fondly, I went on:
“Aye, Elrond and Thranduil are very wise, as are you, my Ranger. There is great wisdom in placing temptation before those who are badly in need of the comfort of consequences.”