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[personal profile] seikilos
Title: Walking Out
Fandom: The Hobbit
Genre: Romance
Rating & Warnings: PG
Words: 5661 this chapter; 20 409 overall.
Disclaimer: I don't own The Hobbit.
Summary: Sequel to Out of Step. A few weeks after discovering Thranduil's feelings for him, Bard still does not know whether he wishes to court him. After all, they have rarely spoken outside the meeting room--do they truly know each other? This chapter: The second day of walking out.
Author's Notes: Someday, I will write out the entirety of "Unnur the Cooper." That day is not today, however. But someday.

(3)


In the courtship of the Elves, touch holds great significance, Bard read by the light of the rising sun as he returned from his hall to his home. It is generally seen as a means of declaring firm intentions. Though the level of intimacy in public that each elf is willing to show varies, it is important to remember that romance among our people is not lightly pledged. Were I you, I would not make any such gestures until you are certain of your heart, my friend.

Well, then. Bard scanned the remainder of the letter, then placed it in his pocket with the rest of the correspondence he had retrieved from his hall. It seemed his instincts had been correct, although the confirmation from Tauriel was good to have. Touch, then, was one course he would not need to navigate for some time yet.

Or at all, he reminded himself. After all, he had yet to decide whether he would walk out with Thranduil after these few days.

For just a moment, the energy left his step. He forced himself to move on.

When he reached his home, he swept inside and leaned through the kitchen door to toss his letters on the table. He had already checked the names and seals upon the rest: they could keep if he did not have time to view them that day.

"Thranduil wasn't here while I was out, was he?" he asked his two eldest, who were washing and drying the breakfast dishes.

He had told his children the previous night that there was no need for them wake early with him, but they had all insisted. It seemed they wished to see him off that morning—or none wished to be caught in their sleep clothes by the King of the Woodland Realm.

"Not yet," Bain said as he handed a plate to Sigrid for drying. "Tilda's watching from the upstairs window. She'll let you know."

Bard smiled. "I don't doubt it."

He made little headway into his correspondence before his concentration was broken by an excited "He's here!" and the pounding of feet on the stairs. Within moments, Tilda had flown into the room and was tugging on his arm. "Thranduil's here, Da!"

"And now he knows we know, goose," Sigrid told her, reaching over to ruffle her hair.

Tilda paid her no mind, but continued to drag Bard the rest of the way out of his seat. "Come on, Da!"

Bard grinned and hugged her. "I could almost think Thranduil was walking out with you, not me."

"You're silly," Tilda told him. She gave him a squeeze and released him. "I'm just glad you're going to have fun today."

He wasn't certain how much "fun" of any sort he would have with Thranduil, but he kept the thought to himself. "Is that so unusual?"

He'd meant it as a tease, but the look Tilda turned up at him was abruptly serious. "Yes, Da. It is."

". . . We made you something for your midday meal," Sigrid said so that he did not need to find an answer for Tilda.

Bain stepped forward with a heavy parcel wrapped in cloth. Bard accepted it and pulled up a smile for them all.

"You'll have me as round as a grass-fed pony at this rate."

"Half of it is for Thranduil," Sigrid pointed out.

Bard leaned forward to kiss her forehead, then hugged Bain with an arm. "We'll be a fine pair of ponies, then." He stepped back and went to stow the parcel in the pack he had left sitting by the door. "I'll be back by nightfall. Have a good day, my loves."

They all crowded around him as he opened the door. He pulled up short at the sight of Thranduil standing only a few paces away and dressed just as plainly (for an Elf) as the previous day. It seemed Tilda had called out his arrival none too soon.

". . . Good morning," Bard greeted him in Westron after a second or so to collect himself. "I hope I have not kept you waiting long."

Thranduil cocked his head slightly. "Need I remind you again of the patience of the Elves?"

He felt himself flush. "No, I believe I have learned your lesson well."

"It is not a lesson—simply a reminder." Thranduil's gaze travelled past him. "Good morning to you all. Are you here to wish your father farewell?"

Tilda nodded. "That's right. We hope you both have a good day."

"We'll do our best." Bard turned to give them one last smile, and to anchor himself. "I'll see you soon."

All three said their goodbyes as he stepped outside. Sigrid closed the door behind them, leaving him alone with Thranduil in the nearly empty square before his house.

Bard cleared his throat. "We'll need horses if we are to arrive at Dale in time to see anything. Did you bring anything to ride?"

"Nothing fit for 'Celtharan,'" Thranduil replied.

"Then the stable is this way," Bard said and started in the proper direction.

He did not know how much Thranduil had overheard of his conversation or how much he had understood, but thankfully, Thranduil made no comment. He answered Bard's questions as to whether he had passed a pleasant night (he had, reading) and asked in turn if Bard and his children had done the same. By the time Bard had finished answering to Thranduil's satisfaction, they had arrived at the stable.

The owner, Ylva, was at the counter in the tiny receiving area when they walked inside. She was a woman with deep brown skin and a halo of tight-curled black hair; in spite of the relatively early hour, she looked bright and alert and had a cheerful smile for them both.

"Good morning, King Bard. Here to take more of my horses to Mirkwood, I expect."

"To Dale, actually. I'll be showing my friend Celtharan how far the rebuilding has progressed," he answered and hoped his pronunciation of Thranduil's chosen name was not offensive. Given Thranduil's response was only a small bow to Ylva, it seemed he had not done too poorly.

"In that case, I'll tell Synnove to saddle up the horses but remain where she is," Ylva said as Bard counted out his coins. "Unless you'd prefer a bit of company?"

"Not this time."

Ylva nodded and left by the connecting door into the stables, saying, "We'll be a few moments. Have a seat."

"Are we not allowed the opportunity to inspect the horses?" Thranduil inquired as Bard sat on one of the wooden chairs crammed into the room. It came as no surprise to him that Thranduil chose to remain standing.

"My mother would sometimes look after Ylva when she was young and Ylva's mother was busy. She would never cheat me."

"And this is more important than the fact that you are her king?"

"Here, it is."

Thranduil asked no more questions after that, but began examining what little there was of the room. Soon after, Ylva stepped through the stable door.

"Synnove has your horses waiting out front. Have a good visit."

Bard gave her a nod. "And a good day to you."

He was pleased to see Synnove again, and they exchanged a few words as Bard mounted up. When Thranduil mounted his own horse with his usual inhuman grace, Synnove's eyes widened and she shook her head.

"What I would not give some days to be an elf," she muttered to Bard, then, louder, said, "Good riding to both of you."

Bard gave his own well-wishes, then nudged his horse into a walk toward the largest bridge connecting Lake-town to the mainland.

Thranduil seemed content to take in what there was of Lake-town between the stable and the bridge, and so, aside from pointing out a few locations of potential interest (such as the home of Hilda, whom Thranduil knew from the meeting table), Bard kept quiet.

Once they were on the road, however, he soon broke the silence between them.

"So, what do Elves do to keep themselves entertained during travel?" he asked. They had a ride of a few hours before them, and though he was not a talkative man, it seemed a long and uncomfortable time to spend without speaking.

He glanced over to see Thranduil's eyebrows rise. "It depends upon the elf."

"A fair answer," he acknowledged. "What do you do, then?"

"I dwell upon recent thoughts and happenings, or I observe my surroundings, or I meditate, as it suits my mood."

"And when you travel with company?"

"I may converse upon occasion, but otherwise my previous answer remains unchanged."

. . . It seemed their ride was to be a dull one.

Before he could respond, however, Thranduil returned the question: "And what do you do?"

"With company? We talk, exchange news. I am not much of a storyteller, but I am told I am a good listener. Sometimes, if we are of a mind for it, we sing travelling songs."

"Do you indeed?"

There was a plain increase of interest in Thranduil's voice, one Bard could not possibly fail to note. Though Thranduil was still not smiling, his expression had lost its usual coolness.

"That's right," he said cautiously. "When I travel to Dale, it is with those who have lived in Lake-town all their lives. We all grew up singing the same songs."

"What are those songs?"

He shrugged a little. "'Rocked By the Waves,' 'Old Stonefist,' 'The Thrush and the Crow.' Songs of that ilk." There were a few others favoured by some he travelled with, but songs such as "The Barman's Bottom" were not ones he would even speak of before the Elvenking.

"What was the song that your people sang yesterday?"

Bard glanced over again, then back to the path. "'Unnur the Cooper.' It's an old one."

"Is it also a travelling song of your people?"

"It isn't usually, but it can be," he answered. "It has many verses, and so it passes the time well enough."

He was all but certain he knew what Thranduil's next words would be. He was not wrong.

He was, however, surprised by the slight hesitation that accompanied them: ". . . You seem to know the song well. Would you care to share it?" When Bard did not immediately reply, Thranduil added, "The road is long and we have some hours yet to travel."

"So we do," he agreed.

He said no more for the moment. Thranduil's request was not unfair or unusual; had it been made by any other, he would have begun singing at once. But while he was still trying to learn what it was Thranduil was to him (and what he wished he would be), the action weighed heavier, meant perhaps more.

In the end, pragmatism overruled his uncertain heart. The road was long, and what else would they do to pass the time?

". . . Very well."

He cleared his throat and began the first of many, many verses.

"From east of the mountains
And west of the river,
No stronger was any
Than Unnur the Cooper. . . .
"

As he sang, he hoped that Thranduil would be of a mood to join him, and when it came to the second round of the chorus, he sent him an expectant look. All he received in return was a tilt of the head, and so, with a slight fumbling of the beat, he continued on alone.

But, after a time, he sank into the flow of the song and all but forgot Thranduil. It was a clear day, and though there was a nip in the air, the sun was warm on his side. It was a good day for singing.

When Unnur had vanquished the last of her foes and the final chorus was sung, Bard turned to Thranduil.

"And now it's your turn."

Thranduil blinked. His eyes had been half-lidded and he had seemed reflective. Now his lashes lifted.

"Very well," he agreed, far more easily than Bard had expected.

Instead of singing (to Bard's brief disappointment), Thranduil began a tale, of an elf named Círdan the Shipwright. It seemed to be well known to Thranduil—he told it as if the words were well-worn in his mind—but it was entirely new to Bard. Though Thranduil was not the most engaging storyteller Bard had met, the tale was a good one and Thranduil's voice no hardship to listen to, and so his attention was easily kept.

Long before Bard could see much or hear anything but the breeze, Thranduil cocked his head to the left.

"Are there people living in Dale? I had assumed there were as yet no permanent dwellings."

"There are some, for the workers and their families. Others will come out for the day to labour and return to Lake-town at nightfall."

Thranduil's curiosity did not seem satisfied. He spoke again: "I hear a bell."

"We all grew up on stories of the bright bells of Dale. Though we could not spare much time from the reconstruction, it seemed wrong for Dale to be silent. It was forged" —by the Dwarves, he did not say— "the summer before last. It may sound foolish, but we've all felt better since."

He expected Thranduil to lift his eyebrows at him at the very least, but instead, the reply he received was, "Dale without its bells is dead. Your choice was wise."

". . . I would agree," he said. "I hope we can bring more bells to Dale in time."

Not very long after, they reached the edge of the city. Already there were several horses tied to the mounting rail; however early their start to the day had been, others had been earlier.

They dismounted and cared for their horses without speaking, almost comfortably, Bard thought. Then, side by side, they entered Dale.

The city was quiet in comparison to the constant noise of Lake-town, but that did not mean it was silent. People still called to one another, horses neighed, hoof-clops echoed through the stone streets, and filling the air were the sounds of stone being chiselled, wood sawn, nails hammered, and other countless noises of a city being renewed.

"It may not compare to Dale in its glory days," Bard said as Thranduil looked about, "but we'll bring it back yet."

"You have done much in such a short period," Thranduil remarked. "Your people work hard."

Though Bard noted they had returned to talk of realms, he allowed himself a moment to be proud.

"Aye, they do. They always have." He took in the long avenue before them, smiling slightly. Though it was not spotless, its litter came from sawdust and muddy boots, not the rubble of ruined homes.

He returned his gaze to Thranduil. "Shall I show you what we've rebuilt so far?"

"I would be pleased to see it," Thranduil replied with the smallest hint of a smile of his own.

They set off together down the road. Here, at the edge of the city, little work had been done, aside from clearing away stone and weeds, and there were few people. Those who passed them by were plainly surprised by their presence, particularly Bard's, as it was not one of his days to work. He had need several times to assure his people that he was not conducting an inspection, but merely showing "Celtharan" the changes to Dale since his friend had fought here in the Battle of the Five Armies.

As he had expected, Thranduil quickly earned both gratitude and respect. All here knew they would not have survived the aftermath of Smaug, the Battle, or the winter that followed without the help of the Elves. After one particularly effusive older man had left them, Thranduil seemed pensive. Perhaps he was at last coming to understand how so little easily given by his people could mean so much to Bard's own.

He did not give Thranduil time to dwell, however, particularly as they drew nearer to the city centre.

"Some of the workers garden in their spare time," Bard remarked as they entered one of the inhabited neighbourhoods. He gestured to a small, upraised plot of earth on their right, in which a few bright anenomes bloomed. "Most grow vegetables to eat, but a few plant flowers. There were snowdrops earlier, although they have since faded."

As Thranduil looked past him to take in the garden, they both stepped closer to the side of the road at the sound of an approaching horse-drawn cart. "If you have need, I could send flower seeds with the next shipment of supplies for the Desolation. It would help to bring further life back to the city."

Bard looked up at him, startled—and then he smiled. "Thank you. You will bring the workers—"

The tail of the horse now alongside them twitched.

"Thran—"

Flick.

The horse moved on. As it did, Thranduil turned to him with an expression of unspeakable disgust at the muck that now splattered the entire left side of his face.

Bard took in the sight, unsure whether he wished to cover his entire face, or simply his fallen-open mouth. When Thranduil ran a finger down his cheek and took in the filth he gathered with a wrinkled nose, the decision of what to do was made for him.

He started to laugh.

Immediately, Thranduil's head snapped around. The glare he sent Bard should have dried the laughter in his throat, but somehow, he only laughed the harder.

"Sorry! I am sorry!" Bard gasped out, trying to capture the chuckles that still would not be contained. "What happened is not worth merriment—it is unfortunate and you have my sympathies. But—" His laughter welled up again. "I did not know your face was so expressive until now."

At that, he was sure Thranduil was going to storm away and Bard would have to craft all manner of apologies to ensure they would continue to sit at the same meeting table as allies. Certainly, Thranduil seemed on the verge of doing precisely that: his outrage filled the air between them.

But then, incredibly, it all faded away, and that piece of tremendous fortune was enough to quell Bard's laughter at last.

"I have never before heard you laugh," Thranduil said as he drew a cloth from a pocket in his tunic to cleaned his face.

Bard glanced away and shoved his hands in his pocket so he would not rub the back of his neck. "I am sorry it was at your expense."

"I know you meant no ill." There was a pause, then, quieter: "I . . . would enjoy hearing your laughter again."

Only when he had taken a deep, steadying breath did Bard dare to look at Thranduil. At the softness he found on his face, such an incredible contrast from Thranduil's anger of moments ago, he nearly looked away again.

"You missed a bit," was the only reply he could make, pointing at his own left cheekbone.

Thranduil wiped away the last of the filth, then, holding the soiled handkerchief between fingertip and thumb at arm's length, looked about.

"Here. I'll take it."

Bard held out his hand. There was nowhere to dispose of the handkerchief before they reached the building sites farther into Dale, and he was not nearly unkind enough to make someone so fastidious carry it until then.

Thranduil dropped the handkerchief into Bard's hand, then grimaced slightly when Bard stowed it in his coat pocket. "You will dirty your clothes."

He shrugged. "It's about time this coat was washed. Come—you can clean your face at the fountain."

Bard had been hoping to make an impression on Thranduil with the fountain at the centre of the city. Though it had been running since almost the beginning of the reconstruction, the stonework had only recently been repaired. Now was not the time, however, and, knowing Thranduil would not be comfortable until he was clean, Bard took him there directly.

He sat on the edge of the fountain as Thranduil dipped a fresh cloth into its waters and scrubbed at his face.

"What happened to him?" a passing woman with a belt of stonemasons' tools asked.

"A horse with a long tail happened." Bard flicked his fingers to illustrate.

The woman laughed, earning a glare from Thranduil, but her tone was sympathetic. "Bad luck, friend. It's never pleasant when they catch you unawares."

"Indeed," Bard replied—but without attention, for his mind had been sent travelling along another path.

How had Thranduil been caught unawares? Bard had seen him fight, briefly, at the Battle of the Five Armies. It had been terrifying to behold and had left him grateful beyond measure that they were, indeed, allies. Even in peace, Thranduil could not be caught by surprise . . . or so Bard had believed. But he had his proof before him: somehow, Thranduil had been too distracted by speaking with him to be aware of his surroundings.

Bilbo's assertion that Thranduil had cared for him for months rose in his mind; he pushed it away hurriedly. He was still not prepared to look at that—not with Thranduil standing before him.

To distract himself, he patted the rim of the fountain beside him. "Would you care to sit? My children sent food for our outing. A bite after a long ride would not go amiss for me."

Thranduil hesitated, then sat. Bard tried not to marvel too obviously at the way his legs stretched long before him.

"And nor would it go amiss for me. What have they given us?"

"Haf the kitchen, I suspect."

He swung his pack from his back—careful not to wet it in the fountain—opened it, and withdrew the parcel. Sigrid had said that they had prepared lunch, but it seemed his children had prepared enough food for both of them to eat all day, with some to spare. "Half the kitchen" was not far off, and Bard could now understand why his pack had seemed so heavy on the ride over.

"Would you fancy an apple?" Bard asked. Mindful of what had happened the previous day, he did not toss it but offered it in his hand.

"Very well."

Thranduil took it from him. His fingers were cold after his wash in the fountain, his temperature far different from the last time they had touched. Bard fetched an apple for himself as a distraction from the memory of Thranduil's shoulders warm beneath his hands as Bard eased him back from their kiss.

For a few moments, the silence between them was not easy. The sounds of his apple being eaten cracked across the square as Bard searched for something to say.

But in the end, that served as his inspiration: "Dale must seem very quiet to you now."

Thranduil did not respond immediately. He gazed straight ahead, appearing to both see and hear into the past.

"It does," he said at last. "Those few times I visited, I would often wish that its endless noise would be stilled. Even the sound of bells can be wearying when one is accustomed to nothing more noisesome than the rush of waterfalls." He turned to look at Bard, though for a moment his eyes were focused beyond him. "I would not wish that now."

"Nor would I," Bard replied as Thranduil came back to the present moment. "Though I can perhaps understand your wish. When I was a bargeman, returning to Lake-town would always take me by surprise after I had been alone on the river, or with only a few of the raft elves for company."

Thranduil's attention seemed caught by his words; he leaned forward the smallest amount. "I have often wondered at your knowledge of Elven custom, beyond what is usual for your kind. I had not known you had formed friendships with my people."

"I would not call them 'friendships,'" Bard was quick to reply, for this very nearly counted as enthusiasm from Thranduil and it was not truly warranted. "We were friendly, that is all. The hours on the river and meals taken there could be long without talk and song—and drink," he added in wry remembrance.

"So that is how you learned of the potency of the Woodland Realm's wines," Thranduil said. He shifted, rearranging his legs. Bard tried not to be distracted. "I had been curious."

He shook his head. "It was a lesson well and painfully learned."

Thranduil looked expectant, but he made no move to insist, and that was why Bard sighed and began the sad tale. It seemed only fair after witnessing Thranduil's embarrassment earlier that morning.

It was in the midst of relating another, better tale, of the time Colholchon had accidentally loosed nearly a dozen barrels in the middle of the fastest-flowing part of the river, that the midday bell rang out. Bard jumped: he had not realised so much time had passed.

"Shall I finish the story as we eat?" he offered.

"If you are willing—although I would prefer to eat where we have use of a table," Thranduil answered.

"A simple enough request. Follow me."

Bard grunted as he rose to his feet. Too much sitting in chairs for him as of late, it seemed. Thranduil sent him a questioning look; he waved it off and continued with his story.

As was by now customary, they garnered their share of surprised looks when they walked into the eating area for workers. It had been set up in what had possibly been an old pub on the very first day of reconstruction and had only been improved upon in the time since. Thankfully, however, his people respected his privacy and did not intrude.

He and Thranduil made a feast of lunch, and there was still more left to make a dinner if they were late returning to Lake-town. Neither of them were in any danger of starvation if his children had a say in the matter.

After, he and Thranduil toured the rebuilt sections of Dale. Bard would speak of the work he had watched (and occasionally participated in), and Thranduil would tell of what had been in each place in the original Dale, if he knew. Though he had claimed to have little enough knowledge of the city and Dale had perished centuries past, the clarity of his memory was astounding. It made Bard wonder what could be gained from inviting elves who had visited Dale more frequently to share what they knew. He did not spend long on those thoughts, of course—to do so at Thranduil's expense would be rude, and would rob him of the chance to hear his stories.

It was midafternoon and the sun was still bright when Bard came to a halt next to a mostly finished house.

"We will need to depart soon if we're to be in Lake-town by dark," he said when Thranduil gave him a curious look. "The road is not so well built yet that I would chance riding on it after nightfall."

"I defer to your knowledge," Thranduil replied. "Is there anything else you would wish to show me in Dale?"

"Unless you would like to climb the bell tower, we've done most of what Dale has to offer as it is now," Bard replied.

"Though I am certain it would provide a fair view, I must decline. Bell towers are your province, not mine."

Bard spent a moment attempting to work out whether Thranduil had been ever-so-slightly teasing him. His expression and tone were as impassive as ever, and it would make far more sense for his words to be spoken seriously. And yet. . . .

He gave up his wonderings soon after to say, "In that case, the entrance to the city lies this way."

Once they had returned to their horses, Bard dropped a few coins into the hand of the quiet girl who cared for visitors' mounts. She seemed fascinated by Thranduil, but said nothing to him, and so he said nothing in return. His expression, however, was gentler than his norm, although Bard doubted the girl would have been able to tell.

So it was not only his children Thranduil found so enchanting, he thought as he gave the girl a smile and a wave. That was an encouragement, as odd as his thoughts might seem to an outsider. It appeared Thranduil had been telling the truth about elves and their love of children: he had not been feigning affection as a means of winning Bard's heart.

But had he doubted Thranduil, truly? His pleasure at spending time with Sigrid, Bain, and Tilda had seemed genuine, and Bard did not think Thranduil held much skill in acting.

He turned his attention back to the present and found Thranduil watching him. When they met each other's eyes, Thranduil at once began his story of Círdan anew, to Bard's surprise: he had thought he would need to lead the way.

For the full length of the journey to Lake-town, as the sun dropped lower in the sky, they traded back and forth, Thranduil telling his stories and Bard singing. By the time they had reached the main bridge, the sky was pink and soft yellow, Thranduil had begun but not finished a new tale, and Bard had yet to coax Thranduil into singing a single note. He was beginning to wonder if Thranduil could sing as they drew up to Ylva's stable. He had never heard of an elf who couldn't, but perhaps Thranduil was the exception.

"Would you care to come to dinner?" he asked as together they walked back to his house.

"Your offer is generous, but I fear I would cause your oldest children too much distress were I to arrive unannounced once more."

He had to smile at that. "I did warn them that you might be dining with us tonight. You won't catch them unawares."

Thranduil looked as if he might be considering the offer . . . but then he shook his head. "I thank you, but I would not wish to overburden you with my company."

"It is no burden," Bard argued—and found that it was not mere politeness behind his words. "You are welcome if that is what you wish."

"Perhaps tomorrow." A slight smile relaxed Thranduil's face. "Do not forget to warn your children."

"I will not," he promised, returning the smile.

When they reached their destination, Bard stopped on his doorstep and set down his pack. "If you will not be coming to dinner, then I hope you will take what is left our meal, if you have need of it."

"I do not have need of it, but I will take it gladly." Thranduil accepted the diminished parcel. "I have supplies for several days, but none that were made with the care your children have shown us."

Bard nodded, finding himself very grateful indeed Thranduil had accepted. It was only now that he realised that he had just offered leftovers to the Elvenking as he would have any friend. If that did not show his growing comfort with Thranduil, little else could.

To distract himself, he said, "I have business in Dale tomorrow morning, but I should be back in Lake-town by mid-afternoon. If you would like, we could meet at my hall. If that is something you would like, I will send a message to Stellan tonight so that he knows that you are coming."

Thranduil did not respond immediately; he seemed reflective as his head tilted downward. But quickly, his expression cleared and he met Bard's eyes fully once more. "That would suit me well."

His gaze then flicked to something behind Bard. Turning, Bard was in time to see Tilda being pulled away from the front window by Bain and Sigrid both. Bard could not help a chuckle—until he remembered Thranduil's wish to hear him laugh more often. The sound tangled in his throat.

He cleared it with a small cough. "Curiosity has always been one of Tilda's stronger traits."

"So I am coming to learn," Thranduil replied.

Silence fell between them. The distant noises of the street seemed unable to fill it.

Once again, as always, Bard spoke first. "I should not keep the children from their dinner. I hope you have a pleasant evening."

"May you and your children be similarly blessed," Thranduil replied. He hesitated, seemed on the verge of saying something more, or perhaps of making some action—but then only said, "Good evening," and departed.

Tonight it was Bard who watched, until Thranduil turned a corner and was lost from his sight. Even then, he remained on the spot until he forced himself to turn, to open the door, and to step into his home.

"Welcome back, Da!" Tilda greeted him as she arrived for her hug.

"Thank you, my nosy girl," he answered, returning the embrace heartily.

"Sorry, Da," Bain apologised as he took Tilda's place. "We told her not to spy."

"It's all right, love," he assured him. "Thranduil did not mind and neither did I."

"Did you have fun today?" Tilda asked over Sigrid's murmured, "Welcome home."

"I did," he answered without hesitation, and once again, it was the truth. He took just a moment to wonder at that—and then he went on. "And I'll tell you all about it at dinner." A quick glance at Sigrid to confirm it was ready, then: "Wash up well, now, and don't rush."

Off they all went to clean their hands. As he waited his turn, Sigrid took his arm. When he looked at her, she said nothing, but hugged the arm gently. He smiled a bit and stayed close until she let him go.

He had a great deal of talking ahead of him. But sometimes, his family communicated best without any words at all.

Date: 2015-07-15 05:03 am (UTC)
whatdeheckisdat: (new smiley icon)
From: [personal profile] whatdeheckisdat
FUEFUEFUE touch is important. ...thranduil kissing him takes on new light. oh boy.

Tilda is like "I WILL KEEP A WATCH OUT FOR TALL ELF PAPA. DO NOT WORRY FATHER"

Tilda is just so happy and excited alskdjalskdjasd. I want to pat her head and make her cookies.

LMAO imagine if Thranduil showed up on a giant moose. not very subtle

I feel you, Synnove. I feel you so bad

I mentally mispronounced the first line as "From the mist of the mountains" and had to spend the next ten minutes listening to fanmade Skyrim songs. Thanks a lot.

CIRDAAAAAAN

and aawwwww, bringing the bells back almost first thing ;~~; babies

Mayhaps Thranduil begins to appreciate

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HE IS SO OFFENDED

THAT HORSE HAD BETTER WATCH OUT

HAHAHAHAHAHA aw he likes hearing Bard laugh ♥

Also ahahaha bard admiring Thranduil's legs

POOR BARD, CANNOT HANDLE ELVEN WINE

thranduil is terrible at this. teasing thing

tILDA

;~~~; SUCH A GREAT FAMILY. I really am loving this so far! I AM SURE I WILL LOVE THE LAST PART TOO ♥

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