I do not own Elrond, Elladan, Elrohir, or Estel/Aragorn. Tolkien created them and I shall always be grateful to him for it. I did create Mellolaes. This story is for entertainment purposes only, so please read and be entertained.

While he worked on an important and boring piece of paperwork, Elrond heard a sound outside his window. It was soft, yet echoed with the dull thud of something heavy landing. The sound should not have troubled him, but somehow it did.

He went to his window and looked out to see if he could identify the source. What he saw was his youngest son's nurse racing through the thick layer of snow and over to a large drift under a tall pine tree. The elleth began to tear the mountain of sparkling, white flakes apart hunk by hunk. In a few moments she uncovered a small, dark head and red face. Elrond tensed. After a few, gasping breaths the five year old began to howl. The elleth yanked her charge out of the deep pile that had somehow swallowed him.

Two, dark-haired elves dropped from the branches above, and began to speak to her and the child at once. Without looking at them, Mellolaes set her charge upon her left hip, wrapped her elf arm around him, put her right arm beneath the child to support him, and strode toward the house, still not glancing at the elves following her while they continued to speak to her back. Elrond turned from the window to likewise stride downstairs to meet them.

Elrond came in sight of the back door just as Mellolaes slammed it open. Estel was still bawling. However, Mellolaes was not comforting the child with soft, silvan words as she usually did. Her jaw was clenched.

The twins, however, were speaking a hundred words per minute behind her. Some of these words were directed toward her and others toward Estel. Before Elrond spoke to any of them, the elleth exploded. She finally turned to them.

"I cannot speak to either of you! I let myself peruse a healers' book for a few minutes while you two take your little brother outside to play and you bury him! You didn't even notice! I had to go dig him out before he suffocated!"

Both elves cried out at once.

"Mellolaes!"

"Estel!"

"We're sorry!"

"We didn't mean to!"

"It was an accident!"

"We are so sorry!"

"It will never happen again!"

"Is he alright?"

"He's alright isn't he?"

"Estel are you alright?"

Elrond thought it was time to interrupt.

"THAT IS ENOUGH!"

Both twins looked up at their father. Mellolaes turned around to see her employer. Estel stopped screaming and blinked at his ada.

Elrond turned, and approached his youngest child with a gentle face very unlike his stern shout a moment before. He stopped before the elleth and manling. Then he reached out to smooth away a wet, dark lock of hair back from grey, blinking eyes. Water droplets clung to their lashes like dew. Elrond gazed back into the grey eyes within them.

"Are you alright, ion nin?"

Estel swallowed and nodded. Elrond felt through his finger tips that it was so, for now at least, until the cold and wet weakened the small, mortal body to infection. He looked up to meet the elleth's eyes.

"Get him out of those wet clothes and into a warm bath, quickly."

Mellolaes nodded, turned, and swept up the stairs toward Estel's rooms, which included a private bathroom. She was now speaking softly to Estel in her lilting home tongue. The twins and their father watched from below.

Estel peered back at them over his nurse's shoulder. He raised a small hand and waved down at them, but seemingly more in the direction of his brothers. They smiled back in relief.

After the elleth turned down a hall and disappeared with her charge around a bend, Elrond turned a glare upon his eldest sons. Both melted back into explanation and apologies. Elrond suffered from the same tight jaw as Mellolaes had.

"Ada let us explain!"

"We meant to take care of Estel!"

"We were making a snow soldier with him!"

"And I went off to find a branch for a sword!"

"I stayed with the snow soldier and Estel!"

"I looked back and saw Elrohir's unguarded back turned toward me."

"And I felt something hit me on it!"

"I'd thrown a snowball at him."

"And I turned around and ran straight at him!"

"And I turned and ran for the tree."

"And he climbed up into it!"

"I did."

"And I went after him!"

"And I climbed higher."

"And when I got close, Dan leapt down at me!"

"I'm sorry."

"He fell into me and we went rolling down the tree!"

"We knocked several branches along the way."

"The snow must have caused an avalanche effect!"

"We'd completely lost track of Estel."

"We stopped falling after landing on a few interlaced branches!"

"We were still struggling with each other when we heard someone running through the snow."

"But we didn't stop until we heard Estel scream."

"Screaming . . . He was screaming."

"Screaming."

"We stopped as soon as we heard him!"

"We didn't mean to hurt him ada!"

"We had no idea he'd followed us to the foot of the tree!"

"Or that the snow that fell from the branches had buried him!"

"We're sorry Ada."

"So, so sorry . . ."

Elrond held up a silencing hand. Both twins snapped their mouths shut, and turned their gazes to the floor. Elrond's tone was quiet, and deadly as the cold itself.

"From hence forth, neither of you will be left alone with Estel, unless there is also an adult present to supervise all of you."

The millennia-old elves winced. Elrond ignored them as he turned and walked up the stairs to check on his other son.

. . .

Mellolaes had stripped the wet clothes from her charge, and was rubbing him all over with a dry towel in front of the fireplace while other elves dumped buckets of hot and lukewarm water into his tub. As she rubbed over his head again he spoke.

"I don't like snow Melly!"

The elleth grinned gently as she replied. "You think snow is fun to play in Estel, and you are right."

"But snow is mean! I never knew it was mean."

"Snow is just like cold, light sand Estel, or light, fluffy water. Water and sand are fun."

"Snow isn't like water! I can't swim through it like water. Its heavy, and dark inside, and I couldn't breathe!"

"Sometimes even fun things are dangerous Estel. You have to be careful. You need to stay away from places where fun things can hurt you."

"What places?"

"Deep water you can't stand up in, deep sand you can sink into, places beneath a whole lot of snow that can fall on top of you, but in small amounts, water, sand, and snow are still fun, Estel."

"I guess so."

Mellolaes paused a moment, and then said. "I have decided something, Estel."

"What Melly?" The child asked while looking up into his nurse's serious face.

"I have decided that the more male elves you allow to play together, the less intelligent they become."

Estel chuckled.

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