In a world where whatever you write upon your skin is transferred to your soulmate… Thranduil is left holding court in Mirkwood with a rainbow dancing across his forehead after millennia of being blemish free.
Harry's marks were pretty when they came. They swooped and curved and glided so gracefully, so beautifully, that she found herself tracing them as they came and went. She didn't know what they were, they looked like writing but no matter the script or language she tried to match them too, it came up blank. Nevertheless, being as isolated as she was, she liked to pretend they were words, even if they weren't.
No one knew what they were or why they showed up on her skin, but appear they did. Mainly they showed up on her arms, on her left hand, once on her thigh. Aunt Petunia and uncle Vernon had notched it as just another fraction that separated her from them, from normal to freak, from human to something sub. Oddly, Harry, even from a young age, had been proud of them. Almost arrogantly so, if a six-year-old could be classed as arrogant. Still, she bore them with an innocent, childish pride. It was something she had that Dudley didn't, something he couldn't take from her in his bouts of tantrums or derision, and that was something to smile about. Especially when stuck in a home that wasn't a home, with a family that wasn't her family, where nothing was hers and nothing ever would be.
They had originally sent aunt Petunia insane. She would hold Harry over the sink or in the bath tub, scrubbing at them until Harry's arms were raw red and threatening to bleed, and yet they stayed, the only thing that willingly did when it came to Harry, as if her skin had been dyed by the ink she had not ventured near. It was nice, to know that even at the torment of Petunia's adamant scrubbing and snide remarks, they wouldn't leave her.
Of course, They faded eventually, but on their own time, and once Harry's aunt had figured out it was not Harry making the marks and they could not be scoured off, the bird like woman had simply forced Harry to wear long sleeved shirts. Harry didn't mind the compromise. She could still read them in the secrecy of her cupboard, she could still trace them as she drifted off to slumber and she could still feel that soft heat radiating out, chasing away the chill of her thin clothing and ratty blanket.
Still, six-year-old Harry wondered where they came from, the curiosity burning hot and deep inside her chest. Perhaps they were messages waiting to be decoded, perhaps they were a rare rash or skin condition, perhaps they were warnings or blessings. She didn't know, she only knew they were pretty, and when she was locked in her cupboard, hungry, scared and left in the dank darkness, with them dancing upon her skin, she didn't feel so alone. But then they had stopped appearing and left her stuck in the darkness. The first night she had been left completely bereft of markings, she had not slept, and the following sleeps since did not come easy to her.
Perhaps that is why, even against aunt Petunia's and uncle Vernon's dire warnings of never drawing on her skin, no matter what, when her school class was doing face paints and aunt Petunia had told her teacher she was allergic and couldn't take part, Harry snuck some face paints and a brush into her baggy trouser pockets, heart thundering when she went home and was eventually locked into her cupboard for the night with her stolen prize still hidden.
Bare. Desolate. Frozen stagnation. He saw them, the hidden looks, the pitied down-turned brows, the sad little twists to their mouths when they saw his skin. Unmarked. Blemish free… Barren of want or need or love. Of course, he had written onto his own skin, all Elves did when they reached their maturity, waiting with bated breath for the reply… Only, Thranduil had never gained a reply.
In those early years, lifetimes away, he had tried everything. Questions, greetings, poetry… Whatever feeling befell him that day. Only, all went unanswered, and when people saw his writing with no responding mark in another scrawl, when his mother or father would try and give him words of comforts, the looks had only gotten worse. So, he had stopped writing, he kept his skin bleached white marble, taking extra care not to ever sully his skin. If the Valar had seen fit to keep his skin void, void of all he would keep it. The urge was there, he could not lie about that, but he fought it with a fierceness that rivaled the great wyrms, and soon the urge faded to nothing but a bitter, pitted stone in the darkness of his bowels.
Time had passed as it did with all things, he had grown, inherited his father's throne, the soft and beckoning illusions of safety and soulmates had faded to nothing and he had lived his life. He had married another who was left bereft of marks, he had sired a child, a son who more than made up for the lack of a soulmate, he had loved, lost, hurt, laughed and he had lived. What more could he ask for? What more had those with answering marks gained that he had not?
Not much, surely. And if he scowled more and more as time passed, as he became numb and encased in ice as the decades and centuries fell around him, if it only felt like he was wading through the motions expected of him, then that was his burden to hold and not any others situation to scrutinize.
Of course, the unblemished skin that wrapped around him still gnawed on the back of his mind, hidden but never forgotten, and he still saw the looks, but he rose above it. His life had been good, he married a woman he had truly loved, and still missed since her premature departure to the undying lands, had a son to be proud of and his kingdom had seen the longest stretch of peace it had ever known under his rule… And yet, each day, he fought the brutal urge to write just one last message, in a futile hope that this time he would gain a reply. However, he knew he would not gain one, not after centuries of silence, and Thranduil, while a many labeled thing, was not one called foolish.
The day had started out like many others had, a crippling boredom that all elves his age had to become accustomed to, when the silence broke in the last possible way Thranduil ever imagined it to. Elrond and a company of his closest elves had made the annual trip of visitation, and Thranduil had made the customary greeting and offer of shelter and food. It would be a week-long trial of tradition, feasts, music, finally collapsing to the re-solidifying of the centuries old alliance between both Rivendell and Mirkwood, even though both Elrond and Thranduil had no inclination or want to go to war with each other.
It was the second day of the festivities, the music light and playful, bouncing off Thranduil's grand hall as they all convened to eat. Elrond, as silently observing as him, was perched on the seat to his right, his son to his left, when something caught his gaze when he went to lift his wine cup. He blinked once, twice, head slightly cocking to the side as he eyed his appendage as If it didn't belong to him.
A splodge of indigo was smeared across his knuckle. Innocent, singular, staring back at him. Frowning, not normally making a mess when he ate since he was a babe, Thranduil eyed his food. Fresh pea soup, elvish bread… Nothing purple in sight, not even his red wine. Dropping his wine cup back into its place, he idly went to rub off the mark when he noticed the palm of his left hand. Blue, green, red, orange, yellow, splodges of vivid colour everywhere, bleeding between his fingers and trailing up his arm as if he had dipped his hand into a set of paints.
Thranduil cut a sharp look to his son, frown creasing his brows. However, Legolas was not looking at him, or rather, at his eyes. His son's gaze was locked onto his forehead, a smile threatening its presence at the corner of his lips. In fact, many, if not all, around the table were currently peering at his forehead in wonder, slack jawed and wide eyed, quite a feat to wrought such an expression from an elf.
However, Elrond's expression was bright, grin splitting his cheeks in two and the look, Thranduil would admit only to himself, unsettled him. Elrond, seeing his frown, unseated his bowl from his shining silver plate and handed the plate to Thranduil, the blond taking it rather sharply as he flipped it and took a gander at his reflection. His breath halted.
There, across his forehead, swirled in sloppy paint was a rainbow, a rainbow that had not been there when he had readied himself that morn for the day. It was large, it was bright, it was… It was a rainbow! As he reached up to see if he could wipe the paint off, a voice in the back of his mind nagging at him that he knew he couldn't, his sleeve slid down his arm and he saw words appearing on his arm. Appearing. The soul mark! After all this time… After everything…
In poor penmanship, lettering harsh and jagged and very much written in the human tongue, riddled with misspellings that spoke volumes of a young age, were phases and splashes of the same vivid colouring of his rainbow.
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
And the dreams that you dream of, once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
And the dreams that you dream of, dreams really do come true
A song, a lullaby by the context and structure… His soul mate was real, he had one, they were out there, right now, drawing on their skin, painting and waxing lyrical in such a messy, rustic… Real way. He had always assumed, expected as was norm, that his soulmate had been elvish. They didn't mate outside of their own race, of course, excluding Elrond's parentage, and to even think he would be the holder of such a bond had never once crossed his mind. The young age of the writing and spelling… The silence he had weathered, it clicked into place. The recipient of his mark had simply not been born to reply.
It was all he could say as he pushed away from the table, making his way out of the grand hall and to his private chambers, a place where he could afford for his mask to break, with a sweep and swoosh his robes. He pretended not to hear the muted rush of conversation that broke out when the wooden doors clicked shut behind him. He pretended not to see the grins his son and Elrond had shot him as he resolutely avoided their gazes. And yes, he pretended not to feel his own burgeoning smile quivering at the curve of his lips.
However, by the time of his arrival into his rooms and his dismissal of his guards to ensure privacy, waiting an extra few minutes to make sure he would not be disturbed, when he wrenched his outer robes off to look at his arm again, to see if it was real, to feel the heat of the marks, he found his arm bare. Empty. Vacant.
He fingered the skin, rubbed, blinked, dashed for the mirror and found his forehead in the same state as his arm, coldly barren, just like the gaping void that had been growing steady inside of him for ages passed. He slipped his mask back on tightly with a shuddering breath through flared nostrils. His mood, now acidic and biting, with no apatite to entertain, make polite conversation or to eat, he stayed retired in his rooms. He would not deign to write back. No. He had come this far with the path he had thought the Valar had chose for him, and he would continue to do so.
That night, nonetheless, slipped between silken sheets, Thranduil found himself eyeing up a quill and ink pot he had left out on his balconies table, the warm summer nights air pilfering through the opened shades. Before he knew it, he was out there, quill in hand, doing something he hadn't in centuries. He wrote.
Greetings, young one.
Hours passed and nothing flowered across his skin, not even a smudge or tingle of heat, and so, Thranduil fell into slumber with the spark of hope, hope he had believed had been long decayed and nothing but a husk, dying in his lungs. When the sun graced the sky once more and he rose with its ascent, his hands stalled in sliding on his cuffs, readying for the morning duties. There, on the inside of his forearm sat the same innocent, pointy words.
Are you there?
My name's Harry…
What even is this? Where did it come from? I have no clue! This little plot bunny took up root and refused to leave until I typed it up. I hope you guys liked it. Do you want a continuation? Either way, make sure to drop your thought off in a little review! Until next time~ AlwaysEatTheRude21