In honor of RJ Scott's Christmas Blog Hop, here is a new version of my m/m holiday comedy Misplaced at Birth: A Tale of Two Elves. I apologize in advance for using any trademarked names. I do it only in fun.
On Monday, December 3rd, one lucky commenter will receive an ebook of their choice from my back catalog! Just tell me your favorite adjective. It's that easy.
Misplaced at Birth: A Tale of Two Elves
Hermey the Elf frowned at his wonderful, hand-carved locomotive. The bright yellow paint gleamed in shiny cheerfulness. The color would make any child happy. The sight should inspire him. Instead the Elf set down his brush and sighed like a dying daffodil trapped in a deadly Wordsworth poem sequel. Woe, life seemed unfair. No one in gloomy Mirkwood liked toy trains, or even knew what they were, which meant the other Elves mocked Hermey’s unique skills. Worse yet, the tall Elves stared down at Hermey in smug superiority. Hermey’s two-foot stature made staring down at him effortless.
The frustrated Elf spent his time building magnificent toy trains, boats, cars, dolls, and clowns, but did anyone thank him? No, instead they wondered why Hermey refused to learn how to swing a sword, shoot a deadly arrow, or neatly hamstring an attacking Orc.
Please, Hermey stood a dainty two-feet tall, hardly built for battle, not in any realm. The thought of hurting anyone or anything sickened him. Pleasant Hermey wanted to dance, sing, build toys and bring joy to everyone in the Middle Earth. Unfortunately his giddy intentions didn’t cut the lembas in deadly spider-infested Mirkwood.
Shooting a living thing did not enter Hermey’s cheerful personal matrix. Couldn’t everyone try to be merry friends? Although sometimes, when the tall blonde sourpusses pushed Hermey too far, he wanted to clamp his strong teeth into their shins until they shrieked in pain. What an easy attack. When trapped in a Mirkwood social gathering, Hermey only saw their bony legs. The sad Elf swore that the tall gits kicked him just for fun. Over the years, the snide, “whoops, sorry, didn’t see you down there, Shorty,” apologies had grown tedious.
After sighing in profound dismay, Hermey applied a second coat of paint to the caboose. The deep cherry red hue looked stunning, but did anyone in violent Bummerville care? No, instead of clapping their hands in glee, the unpleasant Elves muttered behind their calloused from shooting arrows palms. When they bothered to acknowledge Hermey, the tall gits capriciously tapped their fingers against their temples and rolled their eyes in open ridicule.
The situation swerved into emotional disaster. Why didn’t Hermey fit in? Why?
As he walked forward, Santa swallowed in trepidation. He cleared his throat in great gusto. The years had taught him never to surprise Legolas during archery practice. Such a mistake offered life-threatening danger. Poor Donner had nearly lost a kidney to the Elf’s legendary quick and lethal battle reflexes.
“Ahem, please, dear Legolas, you cannot keep distracting the Elves from making their toys.”
Legolas turned from aiming his arrow. A scowl darkened his handsome features. He sternly pointed down at Santa’s rosy cheeks. As usual Santa tried to stand his ground but his sensible feet took a step back from the angry Elf. “Listen, Santa, how many times do I need to repeat myself? We are defenseless up here. We need a real army. We need a well-trained squad of tough Elves who can fight to the bloody, gut-strewn death. You think life is a merry bowl of cherry jelly. This realist know better. What if the polar bears organize and attack your decorative rock candy castle? The lacking structure isn’t even crenellated. What a pretty joke. Santa, do you ever ponder the serious structural problem? We are completely helpless. If the nasty bears attack, what will we do, throw rag dolls or teddy bears at them? Talk about a tactical farce!”
Santa nervously examined the tall, angry Elf glaring down at him and shook his head in silent frustration. He owned no idea what odd Elf strain had created this tall, blood-thirsty Elf. Legolas looked and acted different than the other Elves. Violent Legolas refused to make toys, learn how to chuckle warmly or sing cute holiday ditties. In fact, his dreadful singing skills frightened everyone. The cacophony made the wolves howl and forced migrating geese to change course.
Instead of joining in the typical merry Elven antics, the solitary Legolas carved bows and practiced tossing knives, which he crafted in the forge reserved for fixing the important Christmas sleigh rails. He tried to gather the other Elves to join in daily target practice instead of singing cheerful songs practice. He made the more sensitive Elves weep in terror.
This week poor Vixen and Blitzen languished in the reindeer clinic because Legolas had angrily drilled arrows into their hairy rumps. When confronted about his unpleasant deeds, Legolas declared he thought he had spied the two reindeer consorting with the polar bears to plan the suspected hostile takeover. Better safe than sorry in Legolas’s suspicious mind.
The situation swerved toward complete disaster. The freakishly tall, brutal Elf refused to conform to life in merry old Christmastown.
No matter what, Santa always tried maintaining good vibrations. He patted Legolas’s leather-clad thigh and smiled. “Look, my friend, who don’t you go help Mrs. Claus with the seasonal dusting? Only you can reach those stubborn upper corner dust bunnies. She does appreciate your clever help.”
Legolas narrowed his eyes before he nodded in silent resignation and walked toward the candy castle.
Santa shook his head. Why didn’t Legolas fit in?
All right, this nonsense broke the lembas. As he stared over his empty workshop, Hermey stomped his size two shoe in angry tantrum. His wonderful toys had vanished from his secret workshop. The stunt conquered his sweet-natured temper. His rage refused to step down. He needed an explanation!
Hermey determinedly cocked his bright green felt cap, yes, another thing that everyone mocked, and stomped down the hall to his Father’s study. Time to compose his nerves. No use charging in swinging unless Hermey aimed for his Dad’s knees. Fine. Hermey gently knocked on the carved door. No response. He knocked harder. Nothing. He pounded his tiny fists against the surface, taking care to hit the carved Elves in the carved landscape. Silence. After violently kicking the door with both diminutive feet, a gruff “Enter!” finally answered his effort.
After he marched in, well, as aggressively as a tiny, felt-capped Elf sporting an adorable perfect blonde hair curling over his pale, sensitive forehead could march, Hermey stared up at Thranduil’s brilliant visage. His powerful father frightened the soft cherry jelly center out of him. The king had always acted kind to Hermey, but the sensitive elf realized he disappointed his father. “Father, if I may ask, with great respect and love, of course, where are my toys?”
Hermey knew his Father hated any family confrontation. Sad how his Father never understood how to deal with Hermey’s problems. What did a warrior know about candy, soft green felt and merry songs?
The Elven King tried looking vague. “Errm, what toys?”
For once the furious Hermey refused to back down. “Father, the toys in my private, locked with my key workshop.”
His Father rolled his eyes, studied the ornately painted ceiling then he shrugged. The shrug hurt Hermey. “Hermey, my lad, listen to me. You are becoming a laughingstock. My son should not make toys. Toymaking is not a proper occupation for a prince. Tomorrow morning you must report to archery practice. That is an order. Enough is enough. Since you are Prince, you must learn how to kill our enemies.”
Order? His Father issued orders? Hermey clasped his petite hands to his bow-shaped red lips and winced in epic dismay. “But Father, please, I am a peaceful toymaker! I—”
His Father regally held up his hand and shook his golden head. He stood. Usually he scolded Hermey but never acted stern. This time Hermey sensed he lost the battle. “Son, please, I have endured your strangely cute quirks for 150 years. Now you must move along and grow up. Meet me at the archery range at eight sharp, all right? Listen, everything will work out perfectly; you can learn how to shoot Orcs in the— lower regions. Your special skills will prove invaluable during a battle. They will never see you coming at them. Now run along.” As he walked forward, Thranduil leaned down and patted Hermey on his felt-topped head. He gently shoved him out the door and briskly turned the key.
Hermey stared at the door in depression.
After that sad encounter, the king needed a stiff drink of strong 120 proof Elven mead. He hated acting cruel to Hermey. It was like kicking a fluffy golden puppy.
By the Stars, Thranduil now understood when he had taken in that abandoned bundle, he invited nuisance into his already troubled realm. What an innocent mistake; after all, the tiny child had possessed blonde hair and pointed ears, and, since someone had stolen Thranduil’s newborn son, it made sense to accept the breathing gift. How did Thranduil know little Hermey intended to grow up, well, turn into a stunted, toy-loving pacifist? Bah, if only he hadn’t gone hunting on that snowy day. Seeking refuge in the strange cave had granted him years of behind his back snickering about Hermey’s odd problems.
The king frowned. No more. Hermey needed to grow up. Thranduil wondered if Gandalf knew any spells to at least grow Hermey to three or four foot in stature. He poured his mead, settled back behind his desk, and started penning a note.
In Hermey’s tormented mind, mocking laughter echoed in the lonely hall. Hermey stomped his tiny foot and shook his head. “I refuse to learn archery! I will not kill! I am a toymaker! Fine. I— will run away from home!” A tragic sniff filled his throat. Once back in his snug room, Hermey bundled into warm green felt winter garb, packed a special few toys he had hidden away, and skipped off into the blizzard.
That evening, no one realized what happened to him because no one paid much attention to Hermey. No one cared if he missed the communal meals. The Elves knew the weird little toy freak often ate in his workshop.
No one cared about someone too different.
Legolas shot another bullseye and smiled in delight. Twenty dead to center hits in a row. He could protect everyone. His accurate skill level had captured an all-time high. Legolas understood he needed to act as a one Elf army. He’d rip the rebellious polar bears limb from limb. If the Abominable Snow Monster dared to bother the Claus compound, Legolas would thrash his hairy hide into steaming bumble chunks.
Not again! Sighing to himself in teeth-gnashing annoyance, Legolas turned and patiently stared down at frowning Santa. “Yes, Santa?”
Santa scuffed his perfectly polished boot toe in the soft snow and finally stared up. Legolas knew Satna hated looking up at anyone. Legolas couldn’t help that he towered a good foot over him. What should Legolas do, remove his own shins?
He waited for Santa to stop waffling. “Legolas, my boy, Jojo told me you did not attend Elf practice again today.”
What nonsense! Legolas tossed his mane in disgust. “Of course I missed stupid Elf practice. I told Jojo I need more archery practice. Look, when the Abominable Snow Monster attacks us, what will you do? Hide under the dining room table until he eats every last creature in Christmastown? That violent creature lurks out there waiting to make his final move. Ha, I suspect he has already struck a deal with the sly polar bears. Without me, we are completely vulnerable. Why won’t anyone believe me?”
A frustrated Santa regarded the statuesque, blond Elf. Since Legolas was a foundling, Santa had no idea who his parents were, but obviously they were not true Christmas Elves. For one thing this tall Elf was entirely too handsome and as dangerous as a timber wolf. Legolas hated snow. He hated peppermint. He despised tinsel. He refused to chuckle warmly, wiggle his pointed ears and go “hee hee” or “ho ho.” Even worse, Legolas hated toys. No, wait, worst yet, the dainty female Elves relentlessly chased after the tall, blond Elf. Thank goodness Legolas loved his arrows and knives more than the ladies.
Even worse, a few of the more giddly, lighthearted reindeer mooned after the Elf’s fit and heroically trim form. When he watched Legolas march by, Rudolph’s bright nose refused to stop glowing. What an annoying distraction, especially because the other reindeer refused to cease snickering about Rudolph’s “glow-on.”
No, this strange, easy-on-the-eye yet war-mongering Elf did not fit into Christmastown.
Still, benevolent Santa believed in everyone receiving one last chance. Harmony and joy must be maintained. “Legolas, please attend Elf practice tomorrow. Make Jojo happy. All right, make me happy. Please? I know you only want the best for everyone. Try to make everyone happy. Can you try?” Santa could not resist patting Legolas’s warm cheek.
Legolas sighed, glared at the target then he shrugged. “I understand, Santa.”
“That’s my good little—er, big Elf. See you at dinner.” This time Santa quickly patted Legolas’ right ass cheek. He mentally scolded himself. This distracting Elf drove everyone insane. Legolas didn’t fit in.
As Santa walked away, the frustrated Legolas allowed his simmering rage to flow through his muscles like molten lead. He almost fired off a shot at Santa’s red cap. He knew he could knock the cap off of Santa’s head without harming the well-meaning elder.
His rage bled away. Santa had tried but failed in his mission to help Legolas fit in to the silly Elf community. Living here simply did not work for anyone. Legolas must strike out on his own and seek a new life. Yes, Legolas planned to make everyone happy by leaving forever. Leaving sounded logical.
The sorrowful Elf hoped the polar bears put off their sneak attack. He hated the thought of his helpless mentors becoming dinner.
As he packed, the wind shook the candy castle. Slow dashed against the windows.
Good, at least this wicked weather would place a damper on any sneak attack.
Legolas marched into the wind-whipped snow. He kicked aside a few prettily decorated packages that blew against his boots. He hoped the sneaky polar bears choked on the tinsel. He hoped he’d have one last crack at shooting the Abominable Snow Monster. He peered around in anticipation. One battle, please give him one last battle to prove himself.
After an hour, only the snow attacked him. He scowled in defeat and marched on.
Hermey struggled against the howling snow. This wicked weather seemed bizarre for Mirkwood. The nasty drifts already threatened his stunted height.
What was that ahead? A cave? Yes! Trudging forward Hermey struggled up and into the rocky lip. The petite Elf shook off the nasty snow and peered into the gloomy cave. Since no Orcs or giant spiders attacked him, he lit a candle and traveled deeper. Goodness, this cave seemed incredibly elaborate. Crystal spires dripped from the ceiling and rippled across the floor. Thinking that they might taste like sweet rock candy, Hermey licked one. He spent the next minutes spitting out the salty taste. Yuck.
The exhausted Hermey walked for what seemed like three hours before he stopped and peered in confusion. Wait, did a fire’s merry glow beckon to him? After slowly moving forward, Hermey paused and sucked in a gasp. The most handsome Elf he had ever seen sat huddled near a warm fire.
“Hello?” Ack! Hermey pressed against the rugged wall and cringed in alarm. He swore the Elf had pointed a nasty arrow his way.
“Halt, who goes there?”
“Erm, Hermey the Meek and Innocent! Honest, I possess no weapons aside from a teddy bear.”
A mocking snort cut through the air. “Then you are a complete fool. Show yourself, but be assured that if you make a wrong move I, Legolas of Christmastown, will take your right eye out with one skilled shot.”
Well now, what a decidedly hostile greeting. This Christmastown sounded no better than Mirkwood. Hermey grimaced and waved one tiny hand from beyond his rock. Then the next. Finally he displayed himself. “It’s only me, Hermey the Meek and Cheerful. Honest, I am harmless. I am two feet of happiness and joy.”
To Hermey’s relief, the threatening bow lowered. The scowling Elf waved him forward. “Yes indeed, you seem harmless and alarmingly cute. How expected in this sorry old world. Forgive my caution. Now come and warm yourself by the fire. However did you enter this cave?”
Hermey jerked a nearly-frozen thumb over his tiny shoulder. “Through an opening about three hour’s walk south. I escaped a horrid blizzard. I thought I might become brother to a snow cone.” Hermey suddenly frowned in confusion. “Wait, how did you get in here?”
Legolas frowned in consideration. “Most odd indeed; I entered through a passage on the extreme north side. Hmm, this cave has two entrances. How interesting.”
“Indeed. Well, as I said, I am Hermey.”
“I am Legolas. Sorry for the threat, but I pride myself for always being on the alert.” Different sized hands clasped in greeting. Legolas sighed in sad dismay. “In truth I set out hoping to find Elves like myself, but if you are the standard from the other side, then I fear I have done myself no justice.”
Hermey shook his head in amusement. “How funny; I did the same thing!” Sudden awareness filled Hermey’s eager mind. “Wait! Legolas, do the Elves in your world look like me?”
“Indeed, they are all petite and slight. They only wish to make toys and act disgustingly cheerful. They refuse to arm themselves. Peril could arrive at any time, but they insist in pursuing frolic and song. Their unwise pacifist attitude drove me away, plus I could only stand so much of Rudolph shoving his glowing nose against my cock. I’m not into bestiality.”
Huh? Aside from the weird glowing nose in the cock reference, the world Legolas described sounded perfect. Hermey hugged himself in joy. “Fair Legolas, I bring you good news. On that side of the cave, the Elves are as tall as you and they feel obsessed with shooting arrows and learning swordplay. They fear attack, so they want to be ready. They live for killing Orcs, giant spiders and, well, anything that annoys them. Frankly I feel surprised that I survived for so long.”
Legolas’s sapphire eyes widened in delight. “Truly? They wisely wish to hunt evil and maintain order?”
“Do they ever! And your Elves make toys?”
Legolas’s upper lip curled in utter disdain. “Make toys, sing and act merry. They are fools for they refuse to realize certain death stalks them every waking minute.”
Hermey clapped his tiny hands in glee. “Legolas, are you a foundling?”
The two Elves stared at each other in complete shock. “Yes!”
“I believe your true father awaits you back there. Legolas, tell me of your wonderful world.”
As the Elves exchanged their tales they sipped mead and nibbled on their food. They huddled together for warmth. Their gazes suddenly met. “You have a most adorable mouth, Hermey.” Legolas dropped a sweet kiss against Hermey’s rosebud mouth.
Hermey wrapped his little arms around Legolas’ waist. “You make me feel all warm inside.”
Legolas arched his brow. “Before we find our true destinies, shall we merge our worlds?”
Hermey could think of nothing better. Running his hands over Legolas’s firm flesh felt better than carving rocket ships.
Legolas thought clever little Hermey offered more delights than a full-scale polar bear battle.
During their careful merger, they knew their exiles had finally ended.
As he fell asleep, Legolas vowed to find whoever had stolen him away and have their guts for garters.
The contented Hermey cuddle against Legolas’s chest and drifted off imagining room after room filled with toys, joy and song. At last!
Hermey lifted the huge knocker, it placed at low level for small folk, and let it thud. Since it was the off-season, Santa himself answered the front door summons. “Yes? Why, sweet Elf, who are you?”
Hermey respectfully swept off his felt cap to better display his sleek golden curl. “I am Hermey, a master toymaker. Dear Legolas told me you might need me here.”
Santa stared down at the petite, rosy-cheeked Elf and smiled in merry glee. “More than you know.”
After hearing Legolas’ tale, Thranduil stared at the tall, aggressive and impressively weaponed Elf and wiped away a tear. “My son! My true son!”
They embraced in great joy.
A YEAR LATER
The two Elves huddled in their bedrolls before the flickering campfire deep in the magical cave. Legolas arched a doubting brow. “You carved how many trains?”
Hermey grinned in pride. “154. Isn’t that grand? I broke the Christmas record for carved trains. How many Orcs did you shoot?”
“In one hunt? 51. It was quite a bloody day. Father thinks the world of me.”
Hermey sighed and smiled in delight. “Legolas, I think the world of you too. I missed you. Imagine, you guided me to my true home.”
“Thanks, Hermey, yet you did the same for me. Next year let us try and meet more than once, all right, so we can compare notes. I think you bested me; 154 trains to 51 Orcs sounds like you spanked me. Let the competition begin!” Legolas tugged on Hermey's adorable curl.
Hermey giggled and batted his lashes. They leaned toward each other. Their lips met. Hearts beat faster.
As the night progressed, once again the happy Elves discovered being different made them much the same.
All was well in their worlds.