So, here ya' go, and I hope you enjoy the result of your persistent, unrelenting, repetitive and for-the-love-of-god-will-you-lot-never-s
Devon runs afoul of a certain Prince.
Thank you, Kat, for being my constant companion year after year, the one I turn to for calm, sage advice and the bestest beta in all the land. I'm so fortunate in you.
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.
A Fresh Truth (1/2)
“Your decision, Corporal,” Aragorn said.
All eyes turned to Garrick. Aragorn, Halbarad and the Rangers who had gathered to watch the proceedings remained still and watchful. Garrick studied me with a stern, commanding manner that would have liquefied my insides did I not trust that my Ranger would never, ever turn me over to this elf for disciplining. He wouldn't. Garrick alone disciplined me. And while that was going to be as unpleasant as it always was, I knew what to expect.
Not so with Legolas. The Prince was gazing at me with a severe look. I had never seen that kind of menacing look from him before. Garrick wasn't liquefying my insides, but Legolas was. I swallowed and stiffened my spine. Foolish to fear my princely friend. Only a fortnight ago I had managed to kill two trolls thanks to his patient, masterful instruction. Legolas had taken me under his wing and taught me well.
I asked him once why he bothered. He'd cast me a quizzical look. “You have a natural gift with a bow,” he said, “and you long to excel, so you are eager and you learn quickly. I have enjoyed teaching you.” Then his gaze softened and he brushed a few stray locks from my brow. “You are also special to Aragorn, Dev. And you have become special to me as well.”
When my skill reached a level Legolas thought remarkable he found sport in teasing Aragorn by playfully bragging about me. It oft missed the mark as Aragorn was all too willing to agree with his elf. I would stand off to one side, my head turned, pretending I couldn't hear them and struggling to hide my red face. But their faith in my abilities built my confidence to an audacious level.
The backlash came when the Grey Company was called upon to dispose of a rogue troll that had been plaguing the countryside and Aragorn fell victim to one of his infamous urges for inappropriate heroism. He once again masterminded a mad, brilliant, and altogether perilous secret plan for the two of us that was certain to work. We would dispense of this troublesome creature. Or rather, I would. With his help I would kill the troll using one arrow and a legendary yet damned near impossible shot through the mouth and into the skull. My Captain and his eternal, endearing, maddening faith in me.
When the dust cleared I had taken down not one, but two trolls, assisted by Aragorn and with the added help of the Rangers who had arrived in time to forestall disaster. I'd nearly been eaten by enraged troll number two, who had taken exception to me murdering his cave partner; I'd frightened Garrick out of several years existence, and I had, for reasons passing all understanding, provoked Garrick into giving me a public and humiliating spanking. I'd also suffered a sore-bottom for well over a week. But I had earned a stunning and rare reputation. I had slain two trolls using one arrow apiece and a legendary yet damned near impossible shot. My teacher's eyes glittered when he looked at me. Legolas was proud of his student.
Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood was proud of me.
At the moment, however, Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood was quite put out with me. I made the mistake of glancing at him again. When Aragorn ran afoul of his elf and Legolas narrowed that icy stare at him I felt a marked degree of sympathy for my Captain. What I felt for myself now was a jolt of spine-tingling dread.
But, wait. Legolas was my friend. He was, was he not? He grinned at me and whapped me on the shoulder when I made a brilliant shot. He hugged me when I hit the target dead on and he hadn't been expecting it. He ruffled my hair when I was discouraged and he tossed me his beautiful smile and said things like, “Dev, 'tis well. You are doing a remarkable job for a human.”
“Praise indeed,” Aragorn had told me later when I passed along my teacher's comment. “He likes you.”
He did. Evidently. For Legolas was more than a grim-faced instructor. He was demanding. He expected much from me. But he was also . . . fun.
And my Garrick would never turn me over to someone else to discipline. Especially not an elf prince with a worrisome icy stare.
Alright, yes. I had borrowed the Prince's bow. Not stolen. Borrowed. Tried to borrow. Let us make that distinction clearly understood, my fellow witnessing Rangers. I had tried to borrow Legolas's practice bow. It wasn't by any means his finest bow. Legolas had his best weapons with him whilst out on patrol with Aragorn and Halbarad and Garrick. No, what I'd tried to make off with was his practice bow. One meager practice weapon, the one I had asked Legolas many times to let me try when we were at the target range. I'd asked again yesterday and he'd turned to me with his indulgent 'you are an unrelenting but adorable young lad' look and said for the hundredth time, “Devon. For the hundredth time, an elvish bow will be near impossible for you to draw--”
“Let me try.”
“--back. 'Tis dangerous.”
“I want to try.”
“No, Dev. As I have explained--”
“I know. It is made from a Mirkwood tree.”
“Aye. So the wood--”
“--is harder and more unyielding than the trees anywhere else in Middle Earth save Lothlorien.”
“Aye. You know this, Dev. And for a lad seeking a favor you are--”
“--interrupting and being unspeakably rude.”
An almighty sigh. “Do I even need to be a part of this conversation?”
“I apologize, Legolas. But I want to tryyyy.”
"I ne'er would have guessed."
“Either you never listen or you do not believe me. It. Is. Dangerous. You would likely wrench your shoulder trying to draw it back. Indeed, you would be lucky to get away with that alone. Knowing your stubborn self, you would likely dislocate your shoulder attempting to--”
“I won't. I promise.”
“'Tis unwise to make promises you cannot keep.”
“I will be extra careful.”
A second almighty sigh. “And I thought Estel was obstinate.”
“I know you, youngling. You shall hurt yourself.”
“You'll be standing right beside me, Legolas. What could happen?”
“Something will. And I shall needs return a broken little you to your quite large and sure to be displeased Ranger.”
“You are afraid of my Garrick?”
“I am not looking for trouble from your Garrick, thank you. Pick up your things. 'Tis time to return to camp.”
“Not yet. Come, Legolas. Hand it over.”
“Your bow. That one. The practice one. Hand it over.”
“Please hand it over?”
Legolas hadn't bothered to reply. He had studied the sky for a moment as though seeking strength. Then he gathered up our bows and headed back to camp, knowing I would follow him. I had. Scowling.
“Do not scowl, Dev,” he'd said without turning to looking at me. “You are too sweet-faced to scowl.”
I had scowled the entire way back to camp. I'd also spent my frustrated energy plotting out a way to get my hands on one of my teacher's bows. Too bad I couldn't involve Aragorn. My captain is a brilliant strategist. Well, except when it comes to rogue trolls that end up having a hidden cave partner and wargs that manage to corner innocent Rangers in caves, and a few other incidents over the years in which the two of us set off on harmless adventures, my captain's's brilliant plans in hand, and ended up suffering unforeseen and dire difficulties that simply were not our fault. But I didn't think Aragorn would look favorably upon my decision to borrow one of his elf's bows, so I thought it best to leave him out of this.
I can't say whether I'd have been any more successful had Aragorn designed the mission for me, but operating on my own I had, of course, bungled it. And I was, of course, caught. So now I was in disgrace and awaiting Garrick's decision and now everyone, Legolas, Garrick, Halbarad and a variety of elders and Rangers, stood around frowning at me, everyone except, oddly enough, Aragorn, who had the grace to open his thoughts to me: “Clumsy, Dev. Stealing my elf's bow? E'en I know folly when I see it, lad. Still, you have my sympathies. It is, I regret to inform you, most unwise to anger Legolas. Take heart, though. Perhaps Garrick will decide to spank you himself.”
I shot him a wince. He winked at me, his eyes glittering with the kind of compassion only another who is often sharing the same side of trouble could feel.
But then Garrick cleared his throat. My pulse jumped. He slowly turned his head and watched me with his stern, steady gaze. My solemn Ranger. He would not. Garrick would not hand me over to . . .
He would not . . ..
* * *
“Thank you for permitting me this decision, my lord,” Garrick said to Aragorn. “As Devon's offense was against Legolas, I think it best he carry out the disciplinary duties.”
Well. Bit of a surprise, that.
Aragorn gave his corporal a nod. “As you wish,” he said, then he glanced at me and raised a brow. “As you will then, Legolas.”
I turned to Garrick. “With your permission, sir?”
“In your own good time, my lord,” Garrick said.
Devon had paled, but he had proven himself to be a courageous Ranger. Garrick had taken but a minute ere announcing his decision, but I vow it felt like ages to Dev. Now he made a squeaking sound in his throat and turned a startled gaze up at Garrick. The corporal returned his look and for a long moment they said nothing out loud. I knew them to be communicating the way these Dúnedain often did amongst each other, the way Aragorn had murmured a silent message to Devon earlier. I heard nothing, but I know my Ranger and I knew from the intensity of the gaze between them that a private exchange was taking place. Sometimes that exclusion irks me. Not so this time. Aragorn would feel for his fellow mischief maker, so my compassionate Ranger had been comforting Devon, perhaps adding a bit of teasing to ease the awkwardness. As was Garrick now, possibly without the teasing.
I felt for the boy, too. So I would deal with this matter at once and get it over with.
“Devon,” I said in a firm tone, and he tore his gaze from Garrick and looked at me, eyes glassy with courage and a goodly dose of dread. It troubled me to think he was so fearful of what I planned to do to him, so fearful of me. Aragorn had survived my spankings. He had survived them just a fortnight ago, at the same time Devon was surviving his from Garrick for the same Troll Incident.
But, of course, 'twas not me Devon feared. Devon feared the unknown. I was not familiar. I was not his Garrick. To my best knowledge, from the time the two of them formed a closeness only Garrick's massive palm had graced Devon's backside. The boy had no idea what to expect from me, what he was about to feel or how to prepare for it. All I could do to help Devon endure this moment was to get him through it with all possible speed.
“Come, sir,” I said. I turned and headed off towards what I felt was a logical place to spank Devon. No one in camp would hear his cries from our practice range. The Grey Company had witnessed Devon taking a spanking a fortnight ago, and it was quite a sight to see. Like many of the others in camp, save perhaps Aragorn, whose head remained sunk 'tween his shoulders, his eyes on the tufts of grass he was tugging from the ground, I found myself unable to look away from the sight of Devon bare bottomed over Garrick's broad lap whilst his Ranger delivered quite the sound spanking. I made a mental note to never end up over Garrick's knee myself. A most chilling thought. After that remarkable display the Grey Company had doubtless seen and heard quite enough of Devon being disciplined and the boy wouldst appreciate some added privacy. So, the practice fields.
Devon's footsteps sounded heavy but he followed me with gallant steadiness to the clearing. I passed through it, however, and went into the forest beyond, suddenly opting for the secluded woodlands where I am ever more at home. When I'm facing a spanking myself I often curse the logs that show up all too readily on the forest floor. Utterly unfair of them to remain so intact when falling. But 'tis good to have choice when I'm about to turn Aragorn over my knee. He also either enjoys the fallen logs or curses nature. Boulders work well, too. If the area is rocky a nicely shaped boulder oft presents itself. I found just such a boulder.
“Here,” I said. I removed my weapons and set them aside, then swept off my cloak and spread it out, bunching up one end for Devon to rest his head upon. Turning, I studied the silent young Ranger behind me. He gazed at me with round, earnest eyes. Devon stood about half a head shorter than me, small for a Numenorean, and with his long blond locks whisping across his brow he did appear so young, even though he was near in age to Aragorn. I brushed the hair from his forehead and gave him a calm look.
“Weapons off,” I said. “Come, Dev. 'Twill be alright.”
He blinked and nodded, then followed my orders, stowed his weapons next to mine, turned, and faced me again. Then Master Devon took me by surprise.
“This is all your fault, you know,” he said in a cold, reproachful tone. “This never would have happened had you been a more agreeable kind of elf.”
I don't know why I should have been surprised. It seemed Devon had thought over his behavior and was less than happy with his dishonorable attempt at thievery. He was so like Aragorn. When seeking to ease a guilty conscience, provoke a severe response from one's disciplinarian. Typical. I did the same thing myself. And Devon knew just how to state his needs.
“Others tend to underestimate our Dev,” Aragorn once told me. “They see his youthful face and as he looks nothing like his true age they judge him to be less seasoned than he is. Therein lies Dev's advantage, for he is insightful and clever in deep, quiet ways. 'Tis Dev's quick temper and his leanings toward mischievous playful emotions that oft get the better of him in the end.”
I'd grinned, given it was usually Aragorn who was behind Devon's mischievous playful emotions.
Now Devon wanted something from me. Very well. I raised a brow and said, “My fault. Is it.”
“Entirely. Had you let me try your bow when I first asked I wouldn't have needed to --”
He narrowed his eyes. “Borrow it.”
“My fault, then.”
I nodded. “As you wish. 'Tis my fault. But did you, in fact, try to remove my bow from my tent without my permission?”
“Shall I take that as a 'yes?'”
“I . . . I tried to borrow your bow, sir.”
“Against my express wishes?”
“I . . ..”
“Another 'yes' is it?”
He shifted from foot to foot. “Yes. I . . . suppose so.”
“And as you did this when I was away from camp is it safe to assume that you knew you should not be doing what you were doing?”
He folded his arms over his chest and gave me an exasperated look worthy of his captain. “Why are you speaking like an elder?”
Heaving a great sigh, he said, “Yes. Alright. Yes, Legolas. I knew. I knew I shouldn't take your bow. I knew you didn't want me to try shooting it. I knew. I knew. I knew. Alright? Satisfied?” He lowered his arms and paced a few quick steps back and forth addressing the treetops. “I knew! You told me I couldn't use it. I wasn't an elf, so I couldn't use it. I would hurt myself. I wasn't strong enough. I wasn't big enough. I just wasn't elvish enough. I knew! By all that is forever blessed I knewwww! But--” He whirled to face me. “-- this was still your fault.”
“Because I left you no choice. You had to steal it.”
He blinked at me, the fire seemingly easing back in him. “That's right. Exactly. You left me no choice. Your fault. You were unreasonable and unyielding and, and patronizing.”
'Patronizing.' I had been anything but. He darted me a shy, guilty half-glance. Aye. He was lashing out most unfairly now, and well he knew it. No matter. He wanted a memorable spanking. I was happy to oblige him. “Very well then. As you wish. My fault indeed,” I said. “Fair enough, little archer. My apologies.”
He bristled a bit at the 'little archer.' 'Twas why I said it. He'd wanted me to help ease his sense of shame so he needed to rekindle that flame within. He needed to recall his goal. He did.
“I should think so, you *** elf.”
My student had become a master at hitting a target straight on, and he didn't miss now. Nothing could have stated Devon's wishes better than the foul elvish word that shot from his rosebud mouth. Startling to hear something that nasty coming from such a sweet, winsome boy. But Devon had learned his elvish profanity from the best. He had flawless diction. I gave him that. I also wasted not a moment.
I scooped Devon up, sat and turned him over my lap before he could suck a single gasp. Aragorn was larger than Dev, a difference I felt at once, especially when the boy began squirming. I think I knew why.
“My lap is less spacious than Garrick's is it not?” I swear I could feel his whole body flush right through his clothing.
“What a stupid thing to say,” Dev muttered.
I rewarded his cheek with a preliminary swat. Devon twitched and yelped, more from surprise than pain as his bottom wasn't yet bare.
“There is no need to be unpleasant,” I said. “I made an observation. That is all.”
“Well . . .” He huffed, braced himself up on his elbows and scowled at me over his shoulder. “Apologies, sir. But, yes! Of course your lap is smaller than Garrick's. Why say such a stup – such a nonsensically conspicuous thing?”
I gazed down at him. He had a fair point. “Just making conversation,” I replied. “You were squirming.”
“Because I am . . . because this feels . . . this is your lap, Legolas, not my Garrick's! And it feels . . ..” He lowered his head to his arms and gave a strangled gasp. “Awkward. Strange and peculiar and unfamiliar.”
“My lap feels peculiar?
He huffed. “You know what I mean. I am . . ..”
Once again moving with all possible speed I drew up Dev's surcoat and shirt, then grabbed the waist of his breeches, gave a good yank and pulled them down to his knees. Devon covered his head with his arms and let go a small and miserable-sounding moan. I suddenly pictured how I would feel were I bottom up over his big Ranger's knee and Garrick had just yanked down my breeches. I'd feel the cool air on my bare backside and I'd know that even though the lieutenant had seen plenty of male bare backsides during his life amongst a company of men, he had never seen mine laid out right beneath his eyes. I would let fly a moan just as Devon had.
Nevertheless, Devon's small bottom was quite fetching. I felt a tingle of guilt for making such an observation when he lay there exposed, yet it took but a moment to admire him for Devon had such a sweet little backside. Almost a shame to turn his curvy pale bottom red, but oh, how this boy did need it!
What he needed most was awareness, for Dev had become split within himself. He felt guilty for trying to take my bow and he wanted to atone for trying it. But he also felt he was justified in trying to take my bow. He thought I had been unreasonable in forbidding him the use of it. Poor boy was a tangle at the moment. His confusion was having an effect on Devon's typically easygoing, pleasant nature.
“Well?” he grumbled in a most un-Devon-like grouse. “Have you had an eyeful yet, Prince Legolas? How does my backside compare with my Captain's?”
Valar help me. 'Twould be a bad time to laugh. But ohhh, 'twas tempting, for this behavior was most unlike gentle Dev and he was ill-suited to it. I half-expected him to fling another perfectly pronounced elvish curse at me. Rude to keep his impatient self waiting for an answer to his insulting query, so I raised my hand and began spanking him at an attention-getting force and pace. Devon cried out and arched up, so I braced my arm over his back, wrapped my hand around his hip and pulled him closer.
“Come now, Devon. Do you truly care how your little backside compares with your captain's?”
“OWWWW! Legolas, please! Too harrrrrrd! Too fast! Too much too fast too AHHH!”
“No! No!No!No! I don't – I don't care! AHHHH, pleeeease, Legolas!”
“You don't care about . . . what?”
“I-I-I don't care how my backside compares with Aragorn's! Alright?”
“Just choosing to be insulting and vulgar, were we, my wee bratling?”
“I-I-well . . . y-yes.”
“Was that a nice thing to say?”
Devon tensed, rubbed his face in his palms and murmured a string of loathsome elvish words. I began to suspect Aragorn was behind this boy's lexicon of foul elvish.
“Perhaps you are forgetting that my hearing is superior to that of a mortal man's,” I said, delivering a few extra hard spanks.
Devon's groaned, then his head shot up and he grasped the cloak. “I did! I forgot! But, but I wasn't cursing at you, Legolas. I was just, well, cursing. Because this hurrrts. And elves spank tooo harrrrd. And, and owww!”
I paused and rested my hand on his bottom. “Are you asking me to believe that I am spanking you harder than Garrick spanks you?” Devon remained still. He gulped and breathed heavily and gazed down. I waited, then: “Devon? Answer me.”
“N-No. Garrick . . . he, in fact, spanks harder than you are. At least in the beginning.”
“Ah. Then he tapers off so the spanking can last longer?”
Admirable honesty. And it deserved a reward. I smiled down at Devon and stroked his thick fall of blond tresses. “I believe you are fearing the unknown, my little archer. You are over a strange lap and you do not know what to expect from a fierce elf bent on retribution. 'Tis understandable. But perhaps you can trust me as you have ever trusted your teacher and perhaps you can trust that my method is similar to your Garrick's method. Can you do this?”
Devon trembled a bit, but remained silent. I gave him a moment, then I sensed within him a shift he perhaps didn't expect to feel himself. I stroked his soft hair and waited, and soon he sniffed several times, then cleared his throat and murmured a small, “Yes.”
He sounded calm and lucid. I thought to make him look at me, but it seemed too much of an intrusion. If Devon was unsure of himself 'twas best to keep him focused on our course.
“Good man,” I said, and I lowered my arm across his back, palmed his hip again and pulled him close. “Then let us get on.”
* ~ * ~ *
“AHHHHHHHH! Wh-What are you do-doing to meee?”
“I should think that was obvious.”
Well, I'd get no answers from Legolas. But there was something about the way his hand and fingers whacked down that was positively evil! I'd noticed it before, but when he was spanking me with such rapid blows it wasn't this apparent. Now that he had settled into a steady spanking pace – ohhhhhh! What in the –! Is this what Aragorn always felt? My poor captain! I knotted the cloak in my fists and gritted my teeth and wondered how Aragorn bore this.
Evil elvish hand of doom aside, Legolas was actually being kind, if 'twas possible to call him kind when he was tanning the devil out of my poor shocked bottom. Obviously my wayward captain had given his elf plenty of practice, a startling notion to contemplate as Aragorn was also on occasion disciplined by Halbarad. But Legolas got his fair share of spanking Isildur's Heir and likely had been since Aragorn had been growing up in Rivendell. So this evil elf knew his business. Did all elves smack a backside this way? Ow. Ow.Ow.Ow. I tightened the muscles in my legs and it was all I could do to keep from kicking. He'd just gotten started. If I began kicking now I'd never have the strength to kick when I desperately needed to kick. I had the scary feeling that I'd desperately need to kick. A lot.
Start out strong indeed. Did all disciplinarians 'start out strong?' I saw no functional advantage in such a method. Legolas no doubt did this to Aragorn, too. And vice- versa. It isn't in my nature to spank another. I couldn't do it and I have no desire to ever do it. So I can't fathom the reasoning behind this opening methodology. But so help me the next time my captain and I are out on one of his ludicrous adventures and he insists we follow his more relaxed, “Dev, please, call me Aragorn,” terms, I plan to ask the man if he holds with this asinine start-out-strong-then-taper-off method. And I plan to ask him why.
Still, Legolas was being quite nice, and I didn't want Legolas to be nice. It didn't serve my purpose. I was cross with him. This was all his fault. He should have let me try the damned bow. He should have. All this unpleasantness could have been avoided had he been more relenting.
And, for mercy's sake, the elf's lived for how long now? Shouldn't he be smarter? Shouldn't Legolas know the basic, simple fact that the more you deny something to someone the more attractive that thing becomes? Surely sometime during his vast eons of elvish existence Legolas has experienced the frustration of being denied something he wanted and then felt the almost maddening desire for it. So just how difficult could it have been for him to understand what I was going through?
Of course I tried to steal it. Oh, all right. It was stealing. And I didn't execute my plan well. But they should have been out on patrol much longer than they were and the book Aragorn left open in the tent he shared with Legolas shouldn't have been so interesting. Aragorn left it right there. Open. To a fascinating page. So it was Aragorn's fault, too. And Halbarad's, because the lieutenant had already patroled the southern quadrant and all was well. So that's why they came back early. Wretched lieutenants. Yes, plural lieutenants, because my Garrick was, as usual, with Halbarad. So it was Garrick's fault, too. It was everyone else's fault. Everyone's fault but mine.
Were I the mistrustful sort I would suspect some form of secret plan to entrap Devon.
So they all came galloping back from patrol early and they caught me in Aragorn's tent, bow in hand. It doesn't get more incriminating than that.
Now this elf clearly intended to spank me with his evil elvish hand into a crying pleading mess. And he would, too. I was not idiot enough to fight him on that forever. Because, and this was what had me already breathing raggedly and my throat tightening up: Even though it was everyone else's fault especially Legolas's, I felt badly about what I'd tried to do. Stealing? I had actually tried to steal his bow? I had indeed. Low behavior Devon. Lowest of Low. Unbecoming a Ranger. Were my good father alive he might have been tempted to take a belt to me, and that honorable man had never touched me with anything other than the palm of his hand. He hadn't needed to. My father was masterful at the art of spanking, and in my youth I gave him much opportunity to perfect his technique. But trying to make off with an elvish bow? I pictured my father's face had he learned of this. And I felt ill. I could imagine what he'd say: "Some things are never justified, Devon."
So, even though my failed thievery had not been life-threatening, I'd hoped to provoke Legolas into making this an every-other-day-for-a-week event. But now the thought of inviting more of what Legolas was doing to me was unthinkable, because although he'd tapered off some he was still spanking me at a level that rivaled Garrick's. I didn't cry out again, but I squirmed as much as he allowed me. Try holding still whilst an evil elf is spanking your burning bare backside. Just try.
I could distract myself with the lunacy within me, though, and I focused on that, for I was at war with myself. I should have been allowed to use the bow. I still believe that and I still wanted to use it and it was everyone's fault and I was angry with everyone especially Legolas who started all this.
And yet, I had let myself down. Garrick's face when they entered the tent and took in the scene . . . he was neither angry nor shocked nor disappointed. He simply turned to me, his gaze patient and full of quiet compassion. “'Twill be all right, my Dev,” he'd silently told me. “I am here. Trust me. I have you, little boy.”
I'd bitten my inner cheek to hold back the tears. What else could I do in the face of such unconditional acceptance? It was too much. But the moment of discovery passed, the looks turned more stern, and I was led outside the tent where a small gathering of men paused to watch. It appeared Devon was in trouble yet again. Not really a novel sight for my brother Rangers, but always interesting. I tended to provide them with occasional moments of unexpected entertainment. And then Garrick handed me over to Legolas. If I was honest with myself, tiresome though that often is, Garrick's decision was just. My Ranger is nothing if not fair, and even though everyone else was to blame, the issue itself was between Legolas and me. Garrick made the right call. That didn't mean I had to like it.
The war within me began then and it continued to rage on. We had Guilt, sharp and ugly and snarling at me that stealing is never acceptable, battling Anger, blind, hot, unreasonable and self-indulgently screaming that it was everyone else's fault and I should've been allowed to try that blasted bow. The war buzzed in my head like a thousand bees. And this relentless elf had been spanking me for hours now. Hours and hours, surely. My backside burned and, yes, I was crying, and how perfect that this was Legolas's cloak beneath my face. I planned to soak it properly and it would be all his fault. He'd be to blame. Again.
Legolas had said nothing as of yet. Maybe he didn't intend to talk. Odd. Garrick talked. There were things to discuss during a spanking, such as why I was being spanked. I always knew why, of course, but we, nevertheless, discussed it at length. Didn't Legolas talk things over with Aragorn? Aragorn was spanked and that was it? No talking about why? I had hoped . . . if I could get my crying under control long enough to open a line of communication myself, well, angry though I was with Legolas, maybe he knew a way to manage the terrible bee problem stinging my brain. My bottom stung enough on the outside, thank you. I didn't need my head stinging, too.
I'd tried to hold out on the sobbing and the crying out. But blasted wretched elf with his blasted wretched evil elf hands. Oh, that I could ask Aragorn about this, but I feared the question would discomfit us both beyond the powers of speech. And, ohhh, how I longed to call Legolas every filthy elvish word Aragorn had ever taught me! Plus a few I'd picked up on my own. Good thing Legolas couldn't find them in my head the way Garrick could have, although good luck finding those filthy elvish words amongst the bees.
It seemed Legolas planned to spank me into oblivion. Very well then. Stoic Devon officially steps down.
“AHHHHHHHHHHH! E'nuf! Leg'las! AHHHHHHH!”
Well. Actual words. Clearly I hadn't been yelling enough. I opened my mouth to bellow more and--then . . . then Legolas . . . he stopped spanking me. Yelling worked? I absolutely should have roared out my protests about half an hour ago. He rested his hot palm on my thighs. I gasped and coughed, and hiccuped and sobbed out my unhappiness with the entire world along with my hatred of bees.
Although . . . wait . . . was he finished? Was it over? Was I to be released with no discussion and a mind full of these cursed bees? No atonement? No sense of resolution? No sense of . . . anything? Naught but a hot bottom?
What kind of spanking was this? An elvish spanking? Elves were known to be taciturn, and Legolas tended to be quiet, but he was certainly not withdrawn. Poor Aragorn if a sore backside was all he ever came away with. I wept into the cloak and waited. Then I felt his palm glide over my hair the way he had done before, a slow, smooth stroke over my head and hair and then down my back . . . again and again. It felt . . . nice. Soothing and nice. I hiccuped again and coughed some more and heaved several deep breaths.
“Shhhh,” Legolas purred above me. “Goooood. Dev. Shhhh. You cannot talk to me if you cannot slow your tears, sweetling.”
Oh. 'Sweetling.' I could scarce hear the 'sweetling.' It triggered another round of ragged weeping. So he was going to talk to me. And then . . . then I felt . . . Legolas scooped me. Oh. Ohh. His slender build was nothing like Garrick's, but a potent strength lay dormant in those elvish limbs. They were like iron, like Garrick's. I'd felt it earlier when Legolas tossed me over his knee. He was a massively powerful elf. I 'd known that, actually, as he was a sight to behold in battle, although I had only dared pause to watch him once and Garrick had much to say to me afterwards when he made it clear to my poor bottom just how unacceptable it was to stop in mid-battle to watch an elf slice up orcs.
Legolas now gathered me close, wrapped his arms around me and urged my head down to rest against his shoulder. He even tucked my face beneath the feathery soft veil of his bright hair. I didn't know what to do with my arms so I folded them against his chest.
“Is this alright, little archer?” he asked.
I thought for a moment. But . . . alas, thinking was becoming a bit hard. Wretched Legolas had spanked me to that place wherein my mouth was disconnected from my brain, and aside from the battle being waged in one part of my mind, the functioning part of my brain had been spanked into a little boy mush. Oh, no. Not little boy mush. Not with Legolas. That had happened quickly. Garrick always gets me to this simple state quickly, but then he's my Garrick. Tricky of Legolas to keep spanking and spanking me until my reasoning had melted away and I'd sunk into a muddle. Clearly he'd planned this, meany old elf.
“Uh-huh, Leg'las,” I murmured. “'S'alright. 'Cept . . ..” I paused to rub my wet face against his shoulder. “Cept you spank too hard and too much and 'cept my breeches are way down there.” I peeked out and drew my finger free just enough to point to the tops of my boots. Felt a bit silly, but it seemed the best way to express myself at the moment.
“Mm. Aye, so they are,” Legolas said with utter seriousness. “You managed to kick your breeches further down your legs than I had pulled them, little Dev. You seemed quite determined in your efforts.”
I guess I had. I hadn't even realized I was kicking. I really was quite something. I drew back, blushing, and stared at my breeches then turned a pleading look to Legolas. “Maybe I better pull them back up now?”
He raised a brow.
“And what do you think my answer will be?”
“No. Not at all, my lad. I have not yet finished spanking you. We have matters to attend to.”
My vision blurred with tears. “More matters? Noooo! My bottom is hot 'nough. No more spanking please. There's been too much spanking, Legolas. There has. We'll just talk 'bout matters. That's a better plan, isn't it?”
“Shhh. Hush now. Come here.” He wrapped me close to him again and began to rock. “Quiet down, Dev. As I said, we are taking a break. You were becoming a bit frantic, sweetling.”
“'Cause you spanked me too much I think.”
“Brave words from an impertinent bratling who will soon be back over my knee.”
His tone was soft and gentle. Legolas really was a kindly but most despicable elf. His plans were despicable and he was despicable, but he was kind.
“You shall calm down now and let me hold you. You needed a moment to catch your breath.”
“Legolas, is it impermanent to say that I'll calm down when you're all done spanking me?”
I heard his smile through his words: “It is not impermanent, but it is impertinent. As I told you, we have things to discuss.”
“So elves do discust?”
He rubbed my back. “We discuss, yes. You and I needs talk over what you did.”
“There's bees in my head.”
His hand went still. “. . . Pardon?”
“Bees. In my head.”
“There are bees in your head.”
“I see. Well . . . that must be uncomfortable, little one.”
I nodded. “It is, Leg'las. I don't care for it.”
“Would you like to tell me about the bees?”
“Can you tell me without becoming upset?”
I drew back and looked up at him. Legolas was so very pretty. Not ruggedly handsome in the earthy Ranger-like way of my huge beautiful Garrick, but pretty in that ethereal elvish way that is simply beyond mere human comprehension. Like that.
“Devon?” He gave me a long searching look, then he pulled me close again and went back to gently stroking my hair. “I want to hear all about the bees. But first we are going to sit quietly like this and rest. I like holding you, little archer.”
“I like it, too, Leg'las. You smell good.”
“My Garrick smells good, too.”
“I am quite certain he does.”
“Diff'rent good. Ranger good.”
“You smell elf good.”
“Thank you. And as fascinating as all this is, sweetling, we are going to quiet down now. Shhhhhh.”
Good. Because in the deeper grown-up Devon part of me every word tumbling from my mouth was injurious to my adult dignity, but I was in this stupid state and there was no getting round it. I couldn't stop the words from spilling forth, and that was what could happen when a sincere spanking sent my emotions into a tailspin. It was one thing to crumble into childish mush before my Garrick, but with Legolas!
Not that he seemed the least bit affected by it. He held me for some time, and once I moved past my mortification I did begin to relax. I hadn't realized how tightly my fists were clenched, but they throbbed when I loosened them.
“Gooooooooood,” Legolas murmured, and he kissed the top of my head.
He was kind. Legolas really was so . . . well, kind. I sat on his lap, my breeches pulled down, my bare bottom in flames, and I knew this kindly but loathsome elf wasn't done walloping me. But Legolas was stroking my hair, and he was making soft, nonsense sounds of comfort, and he was being kind. That was about the only word I could manage to describe him at present. And I couldn't seem to feel cross with him any longer. I couldn't say why; but I was no longer angry with him. What I did know with absolute certainty was that the Prince of Mirkwood was worthy of my beloved captain.
Legolas drew me back and gave me a close, measured look. “Do you feel calm enough to tell me about the bees now, sweetling?”
Bees. I'd tried to steal his bow and Legolas was concerned about my bees. That was definitely a concerned look on his face. How could I have been angry with him? How could I have been so unreasonable? “I'm sorry!” I blurted out.
He watched me with mild surprise. “Thank you, Dev. I appreciate that. Tell me, though, are you sorry for trying to take my bow or are you sorry you were caught trying to take my bow?”
“Leg'las.” I muttered. “That is not a very nice question.”
He looked to be holding back a grin. “Nice or not, 'tis to the point. What is your answer?”
“Sorry I tried to steal it,” I replied, a little surprised by my lack of vexation. Why bother to be vexed? Legolas was right, his question valid. I'd heard the same question often enough from Garrick, usually when I was over his knee and he was spanking the proper answer out of me. Did I regret the deed itself or did I regret being caught for doing the deed? I always knew what I was supposed to say. Doesn't follow that I chose to say it. Sometimes I just didn't want to say it. Alas, Garrick's tireless arm and broad spanking hand always won out. Stubbornness never profited and it was just plain idiotic to choose it when the future comfort of one's bottom was at stake.
“Thank you for your apology, little archer,” Legolas said.
I dropped my gaze to my lap and began picking at my tunic cuff. “I shouldn't have tried to just take it,” I said. “You told me no. And no means no. Even if I don't like it. No means no. Even if I don't unnerstand why. No means no.”
“Did you truly not understand why I kept telling you no?”
“You said I could hurt myself.”
“Dev.” Legolas curled his finger beneath my chin and tipped my face up to his. I gazed into his bright, earnest eyes. “When I told you that you could hurt yourself, did you not believe me?”
I felt a flash of bewilderment and sudden loud warning bells went off within me. Hide, they clattered. Hide,hide,hide! But I was in a foggy, mind-weakened state, and as such I was far too trusting and honest. “No. I din't.”
Legolas stared. “You did not believe me. You thought I simply didn't want you to use my bow, that I invented some excuse to keep you away from it.”
The warning bells clanged but I gave a nod. “Uh huh. Tha's what I thought, Leg'las.”
He looked at me the way people do when they're trying to conceal their shock and confusion. “What possible reason would I have for denying you the use of my bow, little one?”
No. No,no,no. That was going too far. I could not and would not answer him. Too humiliating. I didn't even like to think about this myself much less tell the Prince of Mirkwood about it. So I refused to reply, and he could spank me until the next age, I would not--
“Devon,” Legolas said in a tone of command that shot right up my spine. I thought only Garrick knew that kind of authoritative tone. “Answer me at once, sir. Why do you think I forbade you from using my bow?”
I curled down further over my hands and picked at my cuff again and fought what I felt rising up within me. And then, horrified, I heard myself blurt out, “You din't let me 'cause you think I'm not growed up enough. Tha's why. I'm too young. I'm too little. Ever'body thinks that 'bout me, Leg'las. Devon doesn't hardly got a beard. Devon isn't old enough. Not true! I'm Aragorn's age. But I look like this. Outside folk look at me like I'm a boy. I see it. And I'm a growed up man, Leg'las. A warrior. Not a boy. I'm a good warrior, too. A good fighter. Good as ever'body else. Well, 'good as most. Maybe not good as Aragorn. Or Hal'brad. Or my Garrick. Or course not good as you. But I'm still a good warrior, Leg'las. My Garrick says so. Aragorn says so. Look at me, though. So . . . tha's why I don't get to use your bow. I might hurt myself. Devon isn't strong enough. Or growed up enough. Or big enough. Or good enough. Devon isn't . . . enough enough. Tha's why, Leg'las. Tha's why you were scared to let me try your bow. Devon isn't . . . enough.”
And Devon had clearly lost his mind. I couldn't believe I'd said that. I couldn't look at him. I couldn't look at him ever again. I was now so far beyond humiliation I could do naught but burst into sobs. I crossed my arms over my head and curled down over my lap. Please just let vanish from myself and this horrible, horrible moment. My behavior confirmed every bit of self-pitying babble I'd just babbled. Little boys cried when they were upset. Not only had I confessed my most terriblest awfulest private secretest inner disgrace to Prince Legolas, I was now crying over it. Well done, Dev. Might as well resign myself to never visiting the target range again. Legolas knew about me now. He wouldn't want to play with me anymore. He wouldn't want to train me any more. He'd been right to deny me the use of his bow.
I knew what would come next. Legolas would gather me up and hold me close and purr to me and cuddle me and try to comfort me and ohhh, how would I bear it? How could I accept more of his kindness and understanding after what I'd just told him?
Legolas picked me up and I began to groan, and then–and then-- What? He flipped me back over his knee. His first swat hit my sore bottom.
“AHHHH! Leg'laaaaaaaaas! AHHHHHHH!”
He didn't say much. But I did. I wailed. Because a lot more spanks followed. More evil, evil elf spanks. And I was so damned sore already and now he was spanking me again, spanking and spanking and--
“AHHHH! Leg'laaaaaaaaas! AHHHHHHHHH!” It bore repeating.
“Whyyy? I-I tolded the truuuuuth!” He paused and rested his hand on my stinging backside. Ow.
“Aye, you did. And I am proud of you, Dev. You showed extraordinary courage. You shared something big with me. You trusted me with a private, deep and hurtful secret.”
I nodded and hiccuped, trying to get my sobs under control. His warm, soft voice and tender words made things so much harder, though, for my embarrassment was roaring through me. “Uh huhhh. Was a biggest horriblest secret, Leg'las.”
“I do vow, little archer. And how brave you are. Sharing your secret took great fearlessness and strength of heart. It took warrior's courage, Devon.”
I could scarce see it that way, given the subject matter. “Then wh-why are you--”
“So that you could hear me.”
“I can hear you!” I roared, and Legolas gave me a sharp wallop. “OWWWW!”
“I can hear you, too, sir. Do not bellow at me, please. Courtesy, Devon. A gentleman is ever courteous.”
Of all the times to stress his wretched elvish etiquette. I would have been more put out did I not know that Garrick would have told me the same thing.
“I turned you back over my knee to focus your attention away from where your mind had journeyed. You were awash in harmful thoughts, Dev. I am sorry to hear that they feel true to you, dear one, for I am here to tell you that none of them are true.”
Legolas rubbed my bottom, his hand strong, yet gentle. His hushed, reasonable voice calmed me, and his words . . . but how could I believe what he was saying? Still, I waited. I listened. Because that gentle rubbing hand could turn into a sharp spanking hand. So I listened.
“I am glad you were honest with me. But, ai! Such poisonous thoughts, sweetling. You have been carrying an unreasonable burden, Dev.” He paused again, this time to pat my bottom, and when he spoke again there was a smile in his voice. “You are very like a lad you and I both know who grew up amongst elves, adopted into a royal family with a noble father and princely brothers who loved him dearly.”
“Ar-Ar'gorn.” I blinked away my blurry tears and stared off. “Leg'las, I'm nothing like like Ar'gorn. OW!”
“Do not interrupt. And, aye, you are. In many respects, little bratling. Or are we forgetting your fondness for daring exploits whilst in each others' company?”
“'Tis alright, but heed me, Dev. 'Tis unlikely you know this about Aragorn, though I feel certain he shall not mind me sharing it: Growing up amongst elves was difficult for him. They were ever stronger and faster. They saw further and more sharply. They heard more keenly and from a greater distance. And Estel oft felt inferior to his older brothers for he could never measure up to them physically.”
“But, Ar'gorn was human,” I said. “Of course he couldn't-- OW!”
“Aye. He was what he was. Nevertheless, he felt himself lacking. Does this sound a bit familiar?”
I braced up on one arm, turned and looked over my shoulder at Legolas. He was watching his hand where it rubbed my bottom, but he turned his eyes to me. There was no hint of superiority. Just Legolas and his patient gaze.
“Like you, Dev,” he said, “Estel came to learn that he had gifts unique unto himself. His value was determined not by his physical prowess, although that was, by human standards, quite formidable, but by the person he was, by his inherent, fundamental abilities that went beyond those of any elf. His gift lay in his otherworldly ability to lead, and to inspire others to greatness. He could touch mens' hearts and enrich their spirits. He had an instinctive brilliance that cannot be learned. 'Twas Aragorn's extraordinary courage, his noble heart and his unique mind that none other could match.”
I stared at him and Legolas scooped me up with smooth, fluid grace and settled me on his lap again. He cleared the tangled hair from my face and wiped the tears from my cheeks, but all I could do was gaze at him, thinking over what he'd said about Aragorn, struggling to apply it to myself. I couldn't quite manage it. Again, sluggish mind. So, I waited and watched the beautiful elf study me with his look of fond patience.
“Dev,” Legolas said with a soft smile. He kissed my brow again. “Your appearance has no bearing on the gifts you possess, save perhaps one. And, I believe your captain would not mind me sharing this comment he made about you. He said that your youthful looks oft provide you with an advantage over others who know you not. Those who see you as a boy judge you based only upon what they think they have observed, so they underestimate how experienced and intelligent you are and how worthy an opponent.”
What. I peered at him. Aragorn said . . . that?
Legolas played with a few tresses of my hair, then he gazed off, eyes sparkling, as though watching something far away. “You remind me of one other,” he said. “A friend from Mirkwood. He is . . . well, Gwin is simply exquisite, fair beyond most elves. He has the winsome look of an elfling, and, like you, Dev, he seems far younger than his actual years.” Legolas paused and glanced at me, grinning again. “You two would make quite the pair. Quite the fearsome pair actually. 'Tis likely best you never meet. But Gwinthorian allows his prowess in battle to speak for himself. He is small for an elf, but he is lightning fast and a ferocious warrior. Pound for pound he slays as many of the enemy as any other warrior. In fact, his style in battle is akin to your own. I have watched you in battle, Dev. And you, little archer, are every bit as fierce as your larger brother Rangers.”
“Then why do they coddle me?” I asked.
“Do they? Do they really? From what I have seen you charge into a horde of orcs right alongside the Grey Company. You are in the heart of the battle amidst the others. I have witnessed no coddling, no shoving you aside so that another could protect you.”
I looked at him.
“Aye. Well, with the exception of the occasional isolated incident wherein it seems your Garrick cannot help himself. And I think we can forgive him that. I vow you did not resent his interference a fortnight ago when he pulled you into his arms and away from the hand of that murderous troll.”
I shuddered. I still woke at night shaking, seeing that great hand reaching for me, those red eyes blazing. And Garrick would enfold me closely to his big body and murmur nonsense sounds of comfort until my trembling eased. No. I did not begrudge my Ranger that moment of rescue, nor any moment in battle when he appeared in front of me to cleave some persistently troublesome orc in two.
“I know you could have conquered that creature in the end,” Garrick would tell me later whilst he held me close in our bedroll. “I never doubted your ability.”
“I just am who I am, little boy.”
“And sometimes I cannot stop myself.”
“I know. 'Tis well, my Garrick. I know.”
Garrick surely was who he was, and deep down a private part of me did not mind that every now and then he couldn't stop himself from stepping in to protect me. Two weeks ago went far beyond that, though. The savage paw reaching for me was like the hand of Death itself. I was nearly shoved between a troll's teeth and eaten. So horrible.
“Aye, do think on that moment,” Legolas said, clearly absorbing some of Aragorn's Dúnedain abilities. “And think on this as well. You claim that I judged you too young and weak and callow to handle my elvish bow. Devon isn't 'enough,' so you say. If that were true, would I have permitted you to stand alone before that raging second troll and attempt to kill him using only your bow and a difficult, dangerous shot?”
Onward to Part Two.