I have recently been informed by a wonderful reviewer that this story is not cannon. Apparently Aragorn's mother did raise him in Rivendell. So this story takes place in an alternate universe in which she didn't. My further apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien and Aragorn's mother Gilraen.

My eternal apologies for first posting this without a disclaimer and then taking it down in order to put one in. I was in a hurry when I first posted it, but that is no excuse. Here is my disclaimer.

I never have, nor likely ever will own the characters J.R.R. Tolkien created, Elrond, Estel, Lindir, Glorfindel, Elrohir, or Elladan. I also do not own the places created by J.R.R. Tolkien, Arda, The Hidden Valley, and/or Rivendell. I have created a few characters of my own for the purposes of this story.

Now please enjoy this fanfic, which is for entertainment purposes only, and forgive my earlier mistake of not giving credit where it is due. It was unintentional on my part, for I greatly respect the creators of these character who have captured my heart and my imagination.

"They have arrived three days early?!"

"Yes my lord, and apparently they did not run into any of the warriors we sent out to clear their way, and escort them here."

Elrond blinked in the early morning sunlight. He had planned on spending the whole morning here in his favorite area of Rivendell's famous gardens with the small being he had come out with. He looked down at his youngest son. Estel was blinking back up at him. The elven lord's eyes scanned over the nearly four year old manling worriedly.

The only people Elrond entrusted his youngest and most fragile child with were his twins, his chief councilor, and the Balrog slayer. All took the job of caring for, guarding, and educating Estel (first named Aragorn) seriously. Some say the twins, Elladan and Elrohir, took it far less seriously than the other three. However that might be, all four of these elves were now occupied.

Glorfindel was the head of the Hidden Valley's military. The twins were his captains, (and sporadically went on month long expeditions to slay orc bands far from home.) Erestor took care of whatever Elrond didn't have time to take care of himself.

A month and eight days back, a company of dwarf traders sent word they would visit the Hidden Valley to talk business. Glorfindel and the twins had all gone out five days ago to do wide perimeter sweeps beyond the Valley. They couldn't let the dwarves be attacked on their way there. Erestor was still writing the proposals they were to present the traders with when they arrived.

Elrond had watched over his youngest son himself during the preparations for the dwarves' arrival. He had fully expected the twins or Glorfindel himself to come across and escort the dwarves back to the house. Erestor would be done with the documents by then.

Elrond had meant to briefly hand Estel over to his steward, who would then hand him off to whichever warrior refreshed themselves soonest. Then the warriors could take turns caring for their manling during the dwarves stay. It seemed this was not to be.

The dwarves had arrived three days early. The patrols were apparently still sweeping, and had not meant them on their way. So they had not escorted them to the house. Erestor had to remain in his study, and finish the proposals in a third the time he'd thought to have. That would not make him cheerful. Elrond closed his eyes and sighed.

After a moment of thought, he turned upon his servant. Lindir suddenly had a cold feeling of approaching doom. He watched his lord draw himself up to his full height, look him in the eye, and proclaim, "Lindir, I am placing Estel in your care while I attend to this unforeseen event."

Lindir's chief responsibility (when he wasn't performing in the Hall of Fire) was staying near The Last Homely House's main entrance. There he greeted unexpected guests in place of his Lord and the household steward while they were indisposed.

Lindir had first greeted the dwarves. Then he had informed his Lord of their arrival. He'd fully expected to aide his Lord in entertaining their guests, especially since Erestor was busy. He attempted to convince his Lord Elrond not to give him this task instead. "But my Lord, surely you will need my aid in other matters!"

"Lindir," Elrond replied through gritted teeth, "Estel is not to be left unwatched. He is also not to come within sight of our guests. You must care for him until another who can be trusted to do so is available. Are my desires clear?"

"Yes, my Lord," Lindir yielded while looking down at his feet.

"Good." The Lord of Imladris replied. His expressions softened as his gaze then lowered to meet that of his son. His voice also lowered and softened while he spoke to the manling. "Estel, do as Lindir says until I return, I will certainly do so in time to put you to bed tonight."

"Will you finish the story?" Estel's high voice piped up.

"Yes, Estel, ada will finish the story we started last night. Will you remember to behave for Lindir?"

"Yes, ada."

"Good."

Both babe and babysitter watched Elrond stride up to the house and out of sight. Then Lindir and Estel turned and stared at one another. There were several moments of silence.

Lindir had not been an elfling for eight hundred years. He'd only spoken briefly to five elflings since. He'd not spoken to any manling, other than Estel, at all. Estel only thought of Lindir as the elf who stayed near the front entrance of the house, and sang and played pretty music. Seeing the servant was not going to break the silence with his wondrous voice, Estel did so.

"Where did Ada go?"

"He went to greet our guests."

"Who?"

"The visiting dwarf traders."

"What are dwarves?"
"They are the children of Aule."

"Who's Aule?"

"One of the blessed Valar."

"Like Elbereth?"

"Yes, Elbereth is the queen of the Valar. Aule has charge over the foundations of Arda, and its mountains."

"Earth Valar are visiting?"

"No. The dwarves are visiting. Dwarves are called the children of Aule, because he created them."

"No he didn't."

"What?"

"Ada told me. Only Iluvatar makes people."

"Well . . . yes, but dwarves are an exception, because they were made by Aule when . . ."

"Ada says only Iluvatar makes people!"

"Yes, but . . ."

"And Erestor says so!"

"Yes, but . . ."

"They know everything!"

"Well not quite . . ."

"Where is Ada?"

"He's greeting our guests."

"The dwarves?"

"Yes."

"Children of Aule?"

"Yes."

"No they aren't."

Lindir closed his eyes and began to breathe slowly. Before he had entirely composed himself the child's voice broke into his thoughts again.

"Where's Ada?!"

Lindir grit his teeth. Surely there had to be someone more capable to care for this manling than him! Suddenly, both elf and boy were distracted. A clear, elven voice began to sing from some distance away.

"Who's that?" The manling asked.

Lindir knew that voice. It was Galasmaed, one of the gardeners. He did have experience with elflings! He had raised two of them with his wife!

Surely he would be better able to handle this youngling. Once he himself was relieved of this task, he could aid with the difficulties presented by the dwarves early arrival, difficulties he knew how to handle. Lindir immediately began to head in the direction of the kitchen gardens.

"Come Estel. That is Galasmaed! I will introduce you to him."

Estel followed, slowly. His Ada had told him to obey Lindir, but Estel was growing suspicious of him. Lindir was not happy watching him. Besides, he had tried to convince him Ada and Erestor were wrong about something!

Galasmaed looked up from his work. Lindir was walking towards him with a wide smile. Estel followed a few paces behind. The latter's grey eyes peered up from beneath furrowed, dark brows. The small, thin mouth below them was pouting. Several humans would have thought Estel cute. However, a dour expression on the face of a human child is not endearing to most members of the fairer race.

"Greetings Galasmaed," Lindir exclaimed. Then he turned to the child. "Estel, this is Galasmaed." Lindir turned back to his fellow elf. "Galasmaed, this is our Lord Elrond's youngest son, Estel."

"Greetings Galasmaed," Estel murmured.

"Greetings Lindir, Estel, what has caused you both to seek me out today?"

"The dwarves have arrived early. I am needed to help with the crises this presents. However, someone must watch over young Estel."

Understanding flashed through the gardener's eyes. "You wish me to watch over Estel?"

"I was certain you would be glad to do this important task for our Lord Elrond. You have experience with children. That makes you competent for the task."

Galasmaed looked at Estel and then back to the lettuce seedlings he was planting in the vegetable patch. He looked up at Lindir.

"I too am occupied. I have hundreds of seedlings to plant today. The recent rains made the ground impossible to plant these in until now. If they are not planted within the following days, they will be harvested late."

"You do not have to stop your work. Simply keep Estel with you as you accomplish it."

"My elflings always needed two eyes upon them at this age."

Lindir began to feel desperate. "Are there any others able to watch Estel?"

"Not among the gardeners."

Estel had now crossed his arms. Lindir did not want him. Galasmaed did not want him. No one else wanted him, and he was getting hungry. He looked away from the chatting adults and spotted something.

"Bunny!"

Both elves looked up. The brown rabbit was half way through nibbling the first seedling Galasmaed had planted. If they had not been so distracted, the elves would have noticed the creature long before the manling. As it was, Galasmaed grabbed a dirt clod, and tossed it at the pest. The rabbit was more startled than harmed, and dashed off across the lawn and into some bushes. Estel giggled.

Lindir smiled in triumph. "You see, he can keep a lookout for hungry pests while you plant." Galasmaed stared disbelievingly at Lindir. Then the gardener shook his head.

"Go to your preferred work Lindir, and leave me and the manling to mine."

"I will send you and your wife a bottle of Dorwinion wine for this," Lindir promised.

"That is most kind of you," Galasmaed replied.

Lindir turned to Estel. "Stay with Galasmaed, Estel, and do whatever he tells you, as if he was your Ada himself."

After saying this, Lindir walked away as fast as was possible without breaking into a jog. Estel turned back to the gardener. Galasmaed decided he might as well give the manling a task to keep him occupied. It was pure desperation that made Lindir suggest the weak hearing and sighted manling be his lookout. At least the child had two hands.

"Be so kind as to hand me a plant, Estel."

"This one?" Estel asked. He picked up the biggest and most flourishing of the seedlings.

"Yes," Galasmaed answered, smiling. "You have picked a fine plant indeed."

A corner of Estel's mouth curled up. Galasmaed had begun to place the seedling in the ground when Estel asked, "What are you doing?"

"I am planting these seedlings."

"Why?"

"Because they will grow into plants that are good to eat."

"Really?"

"Yes, please hand me another one."

Estel placed the third biggest plant into Galasmaed's hand. Galasmaed was placing it in the earth, when he heard chewing.

I know. Its not the best cliffhanger ever. Maybe it doesn't even deserve to be called such. Hopefully something in this story has wet your appetite for more though. If it has, please tell me so. If you want to tell me otherwise, please be specific, but not mean. Either way, reviews are appreciated and I try to respond to them. Have an awesome day! :)