Prince in Training

BY : Pippychick_TAFKAB
Category: -Multi-Age > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 13947
Disclaimer: We do not own Tolkien's world, Middle Earth, Lord of the Rings or any of the characters. We make no money from this.

Author's Notes:

TAFKAB: I disclaim any and all responsibility for the actions and decisions of Thranduil Oropherion. He refuses to listen to anything whatsoever I say.

Pippychick: It's incest. If it isn't your cup of tea, back away now. It's smutty, from chapter two onwards with no end in sight. Expect graphic description.


Chapter One

The expedition began innocently enough, with Thranduil commenting that he had nearly run out of storage room in the fine wine cellar and suggesting further excavations to expand it. He adamantly refused to consult the dwarves of Erebor, though Legolas felt their insight might have been of use, and after some argument he and his son ventured down to look into the matter themselves.

Thranduil’s palace was founded upon and partly in a vast natural cavern system, and many passages yet lay unused. Though most had been explored when the settlement was first established, the parchment records had faded or crumbled, and obviously it was all to be done over as soon as it could be managed. But for now, the wine was of paramount importance, since it was due to arrive shortly, so he and Legolas began to prowl through unused caverns and passageways, holding lanterns and making marks with chalk so they might retrace their steps.

Some days after beginning the project, they found themselves exploring a passage that descended steeply, then opened out into a wide chamber. Putting their lanterns down, they explored its space, but it was damp and the wood of the barrels would not fare well. About to leave, Legolas spied an opening in the rock on the far side of the chamber, and wriggled through easily, Thranduil watching him, holding the light.

Ada, there is a slight drop, but we could add a few steps as we widen the entrance,” his voice called back. “It is much more dry down here. You should come and look.”

Thranduil handed the lantern down, and barely managed to squeeze through the gap, cursing a little. It was very tight. Once through, he jumped down lightly to join Legolas.

“I would like it more of the entry were an airlock passage,” Thranduil murmured, glancing back the way they had come. “But it is all downward, and this chamber might flood if the river rises high enough. Look, there are marks of mud upon the floor and the wa–” he trailed away, lifting the lantern higher.

Legolas too went still, spying what his father had seen: in the far corner, propped against a wall with knees drawn up to its chest, lay the skeletal remains of a being. A Silvan elf, to judge by its clothing and adornments. Its flesh had long vanished, but remnants of its hair lay scattered about the floor, mingled with dried mud.

Slowly, they both advanced, not afraid but full of grief for this lonely one, left all alone to die here. Thranduil reached out, grasping at some kind of chain around its neck and yanking it free. He stared at the pendant for a moment, his eyes clearing of sudden doubt.

“I know this elf,” Thranduil said softly. “Or I did. Rosslaer. His name would seem to have been prophetic,” Thranduil noted sadly. “We never did find him, though we searched long. How is it we didn't find him here? This season has been unusually dry. Perhaps it has made the way possible? It was a hot summer when we came here, if I remember rightly.”

Legolas frowned. “It has been hot and dry this summer, as well, but as I patrolled this morning, I noticed there were stormclouds over the mountains. The river will rise soon.”

Even as he spoke, he tilted his head. The whisper of water, always a pleasant note in the background, was louder than it had been before. Legolas’s eyes met his father’s, and the two of them turned in haste toward the entry.

Thranduil led the way, holding the lantern high, the pendant still clenched in his fist. “The river has risen,” he said, his voice echoing ominously between the stone walls. “Let us hope we are not too slow.”

Climbing easily, the two of them made their way into the chamber before, but it was now thigh deep in brackish, flowing water. It thundered through the small chamber like a torrent, so that Legolas feared he might lose his feet, unable to see the floor upon which he walked.

“Legolas!” called Thranduil to him. “My lantern is gone! Save the light! Hang it up there!” He pointed to a space high on the wall, where a shard of rock would provide a hook, and Legolas climbed out of the water to put it there. When he returned to the chamber floor, it was hip deep, and they made their way, with some difficulty, towards the far exit.

An ominous rumble was their only warning.

Legolas staggered as the cavern reeled around them, the lantern swinging wildly from its post. The rear half of the chamber, behind which Rosslaer lay, collapsed in a terrible torrent of wet mud and stone, staining the clear waters brown. Thranduil staggered and fell, and Legolas struggled forward, trying to stay upright; his father vanished under the torrent in a swirl of pale blond and silver robe, and was gone.

Ada!” His voice turned shrill, echoing horribly in the enclosed space, but there was no motion for a long moment – and then Thranduil’s head popped up, his hair slicked down on his head, spitting and gasping. Only his head and shoulders emerged from the water; he looked to his son with odd calm, his voice barely audible over the thundering water, which moved much more swiftly now.

“My legs are trapped. I cannot stand.”

Moving swiftly as he dared, trying not to panic, Legolas took the few steps to Thranduil and realised that even if he could bear to submerge himself under the water, he would not be able to see anything until the rush of the river had cleared some of the mud. The water that swirled around them now was thick with clay and sandy bits of stone.

Still, he reached below the water, feeling for his father's hands, following them to the rock that had trapped Thranduil's leg at the knee, holding him in a kneeling position as the level of the water in the chamber rose ever higher, ever faster.

Legolas pushed at it, but it was too heavy, and he realised he'd need to clear the debris from around it before it would move. He began scooping away thick mud and small rocks by touch, his heart beating fast in fear. The water was at Thranduil's chin, his head tilted back so he could continue to breathe.

Ion nín, you will have to leave me.” Thranduil remained calm, but his blue eyes burned fiercely at Legolas. “The flood is rising too quickly. You must get out.” Legolas saw that his father strained against the stone with all his strength, but could not budge it; cords stood out in his neck, and he bit his lip till blood came, but he did not move.

“No,” he whispered, his heart in his throat, and ducked under the water to scratch and claw at the silt and small stones that weighed down the larger one which pinned his father. The water was beginning to clear, but silt and sand stung his eyes, and he could not work for long before surfacing to breathe.

“Leave, Legolas! As your father, I ask it. As your king, I command it!” On one of his trips for air, his father almost growled those words at him. Legolas could see that soon Thranduil would be unable to breathe. But he was free. Surely, he could breathe for them both until he'd moved enough of the debris so they could escape together?

For a moment, the command caught at his mind, but was swept away impatiently. He would not leave his father here! Legolas had to tell him his intention. He licked his lips. “Do not panic, Ada,” he said slowly, swallowing, looking at Thranduil's lips. Legolas leaned forward. “Understand me. I cannot lose you. I will pass the free air to you, if you allow it.”

Thranduil stared at Legolas, the edges of his calm starting to fray, to unravel, as water lapped about his mouth. But he could no longer speak, or he would swallow water.

“I can move it, Ada; it will not take long.” Legolas ducked beneath the surface, moving in frantic haste – bit by bit the collapse was giving way. He surfaced again – and Thranduil reached for him, catching his arms, trying to push him away toward the exit, but he only drew air into his lungs and dove again. Stone after stone gave way; he had bared his father’s leg to the knee now, but for every bit of rubble he moved, the next section was piled thicker and deeper.

When he resurfaced the next time, Thranduil could no longer breathe at all. He hadn't been longer than a minute or two. Legolas took a deep breath and went under the water, but not far. By touch rather than sight, he held his father's face in his hands, pinching his nose, then sealed his lips over Thranduil's, breathing straight into him while the water rushed cold and bracing around them both. It felt disturbing and awkward: his father’s mouth under his own, as though he kissed a lover.

Thranduil's hands clutched at him, but they didn't push him away. Legolas felt the breath drawn from him as he offered it. It was a strange sensation, but it didn't last long, and Thranduil patted him, as if to reassure him that he had what he needed, at least for another minute or so. Legolas kicked to the surface, breathing deep, and went back down to move more of the stones.

They kept sliding, maddening him with frustration at the need for haste; breathing for his father reduced his endurance and he had to surface again quickly, dragging as much into his lungs as he could, then dive to find his father. Thranduil’s hair was pulled forward by the current, swirling about his face; Legolas was reminded of some strange, pale waterweed waving in the current of a forest stream. He found his father’s willing lips and kissed them again – more confident this time, more swiftly received. He breathed, giving all he could, his hands gentle on his father’s cheeks. Thranduil reached to clutch at his shoulders, seizing on him as a lifeline, then reluctantly let him go.

The stone pinioning Thranduil’s leg would shift now, but Legolas knew he would have to hurry. Breathing for two would not serve either of them well for long; even now he saw specks before his eyes, and saw his father’s fists clenched in desperation as he shot for the surface. It was farther away than before, the ceiling of the cavern closer.

The next couple of times he surfaced, Legolas struggled draw a deep breath, finding himself panting in exertion while precious seconds must be ticking by. But he could not stop, and he was so close! The stone that held his father had begun to rock, but not move entirely. The next one, he was sure, would do it.

He managed to fill his lungs to bursting once more and dived down into the depths, pushing off from the ceiling of the cavern with his feet, but his legs were getting tired and less effective at taking him deep. His muscles burned at the demands upon them. But he reached his father because he had to.

Thranduil seized on him with savage desperation, narrow lips hot and demanding, fingers sinking into his shoulders, almost attacking in desperation for air. Legolas gave all he could, but his father was beyond rational thought and clung to him, drawing on him as if he could make air where none was left. Legolas whimpered against his ada’s mouth, but fought his way free – he was all that stood between his father and death. He surfaced again, gasping desperately for air. This had to be the last try; the air pocket between them and the ceiling was nearly gone. This effort had to pay.

He dove, bypassing Thranduil’s clutching hands, and went straight to the stone. Setting his shoulder under it, he heaved with all his might, ignoring screaming, cramping muscles – and forced it away, a billowing cloud of silt exploding around him.

When it cleared, he saw his father floating, drifting away with the current, terribly still.

Legolas kicked for the surface, grabbing his father's hand on the way, pulling him up until they both burst in the last bit of free air before the ceiling. “Ada! Ada!” Legolas babbled when he could speak, almost slapping Thranduil in his panic. For all he had just done, Legolas felt frightened now, that he would not only lose his father, but would be left all alone here in the dark.

The other side of the cavern was higher, where he had hung the lantern, but it swayed, the bottom of it pulled by the current, and soon it would go out. Legolas did not know what to do. He took in a breath, and breathed into Thranduil again, to make him want it, to make him greedy for it as he had been under the surface. His lips were cold and slippery wet. It felt like work, to breathe into him now, when before his father had all but pulled the breath from him. There was no taste to the kiss, just the reminder of the water, some of which even Legolas had swallowed. But then, when Legolas pulled away, Thranduil finally coughed, expelling water, and his eyes opened.

“Breathe, Ada,” Legolas commanded, striking out with one arm, and holding his father with the other, trying to brave the current. Where Thranduil had been trapped the flow was a lazy eddy, blocked by the cave-in, but between them and the wall roared a torrent of floodwater that drew them forward, perilously strong. Even as Legolas watched, a small tree washed in from outside bobbed up in the flow, then was sucked under and carried to the wall far below, vanishing through it – shattering half its limbs to matchsticks in the process.

He kicked away from the danger, driving them back toward the opposite wall – what was left visible of it. Most was submerged, and he could not see beneath the surface of the turbid water there. There was a crack at the top, opening into the cavern roof, and he and his father just might fit through. If the Valar blessed them with luck, it would lead them to safety, or even to an exit.

When they reached there, Thranduil seemed to have recovered a little, though his breathing was laboured. But he was dragging himself along, hands to the cavern ceiling. The gap was large enough for them to crawl through one by one, and Legolas made Thranduil go first, so that he would be out of the water and, hopefully, harm's way.

When Thranduil had left enough space, Legolas eased himself into the gap and crawled forward, the lantern in the cavern behind him finally guttering and then going out. Legolas felt suddenly blinded, with no idea what was before him.

He groped for his father’s hand and found it – cold and wet and a little unsteady, reaching back for his. Thranduil paused, coughing up water, a wracking sound that made Legolas’s heart swell with sympathy. But it could have been so much worse… He pictured his father floating facedown in the current, being sucked below and slammed through the wall, lifeless, his elegant body broken, his dignity shattered never to be reclaimed, his long swirl of silver hair left matted into the mud, ragged and torn like Rosslaer’s.

Legolas realized he was clutching Thranduil’s hand desperately hard, and he tried to ease his grip, but Thranduil would not let him go. “The river is still rising behind us,” he said, his smooth deep voice ragged from coughing up muddy water. “We must go on.”

They crawled in the dark for what seemed a long time before the way began to incline, and Legolas's heart leapt – perhaps they would find a way out of here, after all! The rise became steeper, and eventually a short vertical shaft led into another chamber, this one bone dry. Legolas pulled himself up into it and then reached down for Thranduil, helping him up.

There was no light at all now without the lantern, and Legolas felt around every inch of the walls, hoping for some way out, even a wide crack or a fissure, but there was nothing. Even the ceiling was low in the small space. It was barely big enough for them both to rest. Legolas found himself pressed close to Thranduil in the near dark, the sound of the rushing water echoing up the passageway serving to remind him what they'd narrowly escaped. But there was no way out, other than the way they entered.

“We should be far enough above the flood to be safe. I hope this place is not airtight.” Thranduil drew himself up and felt the walls of the chamber, brushing past Legolas, his robes dripping wet. “Ion…” he paused. “Thank you for saving me.”

Legolas’s throat closed with shy pleasure. “Ada, how could I have done any less?” He wished he could touch his father, verify that he was safe and whole, perhaps even comfort him or receive comfort himself here in the dark. “If I had not freed you…” He could not continue, choked with torment at the memory of his father, set free, his tall body floating helpless on the eddy, unresponsive. He had been so brutally close to failing his father… To failing them both.

“But you disobeyed my command,” Thranduil said, and he heard the steel of the king in that familiar voice, drawing him up sharp.

Legolas shook his head. “Would you have me regret saving you now? I will not,” Legolas said, feeling the soaking robe brush by him again. The sensation made him shiver, and his teeth suddenly chattered, loud in the small space.

Thranduil must have discovered by now what Legolas himself already knew. They were trapped in here with no means of escape.

“We need to take off our clothing, or it will be the death of us, whether we are saved from drowning or not.” So saying, Legolas began to remove his own, peeling it from his skin with a sense of relief. He wrung out his garments into the gap where they’d entered, and then laid them out on the floor, hoping they would dry somewhat.

His father said nothing more, but then suddenly began to remove the sopping wet robes from himself, squeezing the water out of them as Legolas had done before coming to rest beside him. There was not much room at all. Legolas shivered suddenly. “You are cold, Legolas,” his father said. “Come into my arms. We shall warm each other better than the cold air.”

Legolas felt suddenly shy, though the suggestion was perfectly sensible. Had he not just pressed his mouth to his ada’s, sharing breath and life through the contact of flesh? Life was precious, to be preserved at all costs. False modesty was a small expense to pay for what he had saved: this unexpectedly fragile being who was his father, whose immortality he had taken for granted.

Until now.

Legolas went into Thranduil’s arms humbly, curling himself against his father’s chest, glad to feel his heart beating, circulating blood through his veins; glad to feel the swell and fall of his chest. Tears stung his eyes. Alive. Alive. Alive. The ticking of the clock of eternity, echoed in the rhythms of body and breath: a miracle he had preserved against the greed of time.

“I have saved you,” Legolas said, his voice sounding dreamy even to himself. “You are mine now.”

Thranduil did not speak, pausing as if startled, but then his arms tightened and drew Legolas close. “Ion nín,” he said, his tone indulgent.

The terrible shadow had passed by them, leaving them here, safe together. Now that it was over, Legolas felt weak, his muscles like jelly. It was all he could do to stay still, his body kept shuddering, deep into his bones, and the touch of his father's skin did nothing to soothe it.

“Is that so?” asked Thranduil. “It is a great responsibility, to claim ownership of another.” Legolas shuddered again, violently, and his father sighed, grasping one of his arms and rubbing it roughly in a massage that seem to finally ease the terrible unsteadiness in him. His arms, from the wrist to the shoulder, then his legs, from ankle to thigh. Then his back, until the shuddering ceased, and Legolas pressed against his father in gratitude.

His mind exhausted by his fears and weary in body from his frenzied labor, Legolas fell away into reverie, soothed by the regular rhythmic pulse of his father’s life against his cheek.

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