Thank you guys so much for all of the great reviews. I guess I didn't realize how much people liked this story. Here is the next part of the next chapter. There is one more part in this chapter. Then don't worry, I promise things will start looking up.

ESTEL/ESTELLE

Legolas very much liked to take credit for Estel's recovery. Coincidentally, the human's appetite returned the next day and two days later he was up and about, if still tired and a little weak. However, a few days after that he ended up flat on his back again. It started at breakfast that morning while he was eating his scone. For no reason, Estel started to feel very nauseous. He quit eating and closed his eyes taking a few deep breaths. It wasn't working though, his stomach was pitching and rolling worse than the rapids along the river. He wrapped a hand around his stomach, swallowing a few times because he had started drooling.

"Estel, are you well?" Elrond questioned. Estel had blanched and begun to turn slightly green.

"Yes, I am just feeling a little sick. Can I go lie down before lessons?"

"Don't you want to finish your scone?" Elrond was trying to get Estel to eat as much as he could so he would have some stored fat in case he became very ill again.

"NO!" Estel almost screamed. "I just want to lie down."

"All right. Go on." Elrond dismissed his youngest hoping that he was not feeling too bad.

Estel barely made it to his room before his scone came back up. Within a few minutes, the sick feeling had returned to the relentless nausea he had been suffering from earlier in the week. Estel almost started crying when he felt his stomach start to bubble and quiver. He tried to drink and failed, tried to walk and failed, and finally had to settle for crawling to the chase lounge and collapsing on it.

He wasn't sure if he could stand this again, not only the merciless sick feeling but the guilt at not being able to eat or drink right. Every time he skipped a meal or couldn't hold it down he worried what it would do to his daughter. That worrying just made him feel worse. Then there was the fear he would never get better and she wouldn't survive.

And he worried about a name. He had read Elrond's name book from cover to cover and still was no closer to deciding what to call her. He felt guilty that he had been pregnant for so long and still had not chosen a name for her. He thought it made him look like he didn't care. However, that wasn't true. If anything, he cared too much. He wanted her to have a perfect, beautiful name that would fit her and have some part of both him and Legolas about it. But as of yet he couldn't come up with anything even halfway decent. He was a complete failure as a parent.

These were the things that he thought of as he rested in the bathing room over the next several hours. Periodically he had to get up to vomit but mostly he just lied there flat on his back with his eyes closed trying not to move.

Sometime just after lunch, Estel heard Legolas entering his room and calling his name. He wanted to answer, but was afraid if he opened his mouth he would throw up. Luckily Legolas thought to look in the bathing room.

"Estel, what are you doing? Father is very cross that you didn't come to lessons today. He and Elrond got into it over your absence. I offered to come and look for you to end the argument." Legolas chattered, oblivious to Estel's discomfort.

"Sorry. I wasn't feeling well." Estel answered weakly with clenched teeth.

"You don't look well. What is wrong?" Legolas thought he already knew the answer.

"I'm nauseous."

"I'm sorry, love. Let's get you into bed where you are more comfortable." Legolas chattered on as he helped Estel up and into bed. If he kept talking he didn't have to think about how sick his lover looked or how worried he was about Estel and his daughter.

Once settled in bed, Estel promptly vomited from the movement. Legolas hated seeing his love feeling this bad and almost started crying. When Estel was finished Legolas offered the human some water and he was unable to hold it down. Legolas was starting to get really worried, but not knowing what else to do he sang to Estel until the human fell into a restless sleep.

Over the next few hours, Estel woke a few times and tried to drink only to end up getting sick afterwards. He was miserable and cranky. "I can't drink that water. I need lemonade." Estel groused.

"Won't that make you feel worse?"

"No, I can hold it down better than water." Estel tried not to sound like he was whining.

Legolas left to go and retrieve lemonade not understanding the Ranger's desire for it, but deciding that he would do whatever he could to try and help. He also headed by Elrond's study on the way to the kitchen hoping the find the lord. He wanted to inform the half elf that Estel was ill again, but the study was empty. He spent a few minutes searching until Glorfindel informed him that Elrond had retired early. Legolas wasn't surprised; Elrond had looked downright exhausted the last few days. He had had to spend three days and nights caring for Estel, than there was an orc problem the next day. This was the first time in a week he had been able to relax, so Legolas decided not to wake him unless he had to.

The elf finally returned to Estel's room to deliver the lemonade. Estel accepted the glass taking a few small sips. It then seemed to Legolas that the human immediately groaned and retched it back up. "It's not cold." Estel looked at Legolas accusingly. "It has to really cold or I can't drink it."

"I'm sorry. I didn't know that. I will go get some ice cubes for you." Legolas offered, trying to appease the Ranger.

"Where is, Ada?" Estel questioned. He found it odd that the healer had not come to see him. Also, Elrond knew what Estel could and couldn't tolerate when he felt like this.

"He is asleep. Do you want me to get him for you?" Legolas was hoping Estel would say yes. He felt like he was out of his element. He had never been very good at taking care of sick people and Estel was the hardest of all.

Estel honestly thought of being selfish and asking for his father. He knew that Elrond would wake up to take care of him because he always had in the past, but he didn't do it. "No, just get me some ice for the lemonade please." After Legolas left Estel started to feel guilty about yelling at him. He hadn't meant to. He just felt so awful and it put him in such a bad mood.

When Legolas returned, Estel apologized. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you. I know you are just trying to help and I am being a whiner."

"It's ok. I understand, you don't feel well." Legolas sat down and twirled the ends of one of Estel's two front braids between his fingers. He loved the human's hair.

"It is almost dinner time. Why don't you go get something to eat? I am really tired and will probably just sleep for a while anyway." Estel wanted to let Legolas do something more fun than stay cooped up in his room with him.

"Are you sure?" Estel nodded and Legolas left.

Estel dozed on and off for the next few hours. Legolas was gone longer than Estel thought he would be and he was regretting sending the elf away. He was lonely and had nothing to concentrate on other than his stomach. He was cold because there was no fire burning and he didn't feel well enough to get out of bed to get another quilt. He was thirsty, but his lemonade wasn't cold enough anymore and he was starting to feel hungry. He curled around a pillow waiting for his elf to return.

Around 11:30, about four and half hours after Legolas left, Estel was so thirsty he tried to drink the now tepid lemonade. When not ice cold, it tasted both disgustingly sweet and sour. It didn't take long before it made him vomit. Without anyone else there to help him, he didn't want to vomit in his bowl, so he got out of bed and went in the bathing room. He didn't make it the whole way though, and vomited on stone floor just past the door. He couldn't hold himself up and fell to his knees while retching. When he finished he crawled on hands and knees towards the privy because he knew he would be ill again. And he wasn't mistaken.

While he hung his head in the privy heaving, he vaguely heard someone come into his room. When the spasms passed, he saw Legolas standing in the doorway to the bathing room. He was both relieved and slightly irritated to see the elf. He was happy because now he was no longer alone and had someone to help take his mind off of how he felt and to take care of him when he was ill. But he was also annoyed because Legolas had stayed away so long.

"Estel, what are you doing out of bed?"

Irritation won out. "What does it look like I am doing?" Estel snapped as another bout of dry heaves took him. When he was able to pay attention again he noticed that Legolas had cleaned up the mess on the floor. He rested there for a few moments before he pulled himself up using the sink for leverage. He stood with his hands on either side of the sink with the water running. When Legolas entered again, he saw Estel lean his head forward so that his forehead was resting on the mirror above the sink.

Legolas went to the human and rubbed his hand down Estel's back. "Are you ok?" Legolas was slightly disgusted to note that copious amounts of drool were leaking in long ropes from Estel's mouth. Every now and again the human would spit into the sink trying to rid himself of the saliva and the urge to vomit.

"I hate this." Estel whimpered just before he bent over and retched painfully again, bringing up nothing but bile.

"I know, sweetheart, but it will be over soon." Legolas tried to console the despondent Ranger.

When Estel finished, Legolas helped him back into bed where he curled into a small ball shivering. Legolas couldn't stand the pathetic display and fetched another heavy quilt for the human. Estel had already explained that he couldn't light a fire, so Legolas didn't even attempt to. However, the Ranger still shivered from the cold. Legolas then kicked is shoes off and crawled under the quilt with Estel. He feared that Estel might protest when he wrapped his arms around him, but instead the human turned around and burrowed against the elf. And like that they stayed for the next few hours. Legolas made a conscious effort not to move too much because he had already been threatened once with death for making the bed shake.

Legolas fell asleep easily with the warm Ranger cuddled up to him. He would hope to spend every night like this for the rest of his days if he could. However about three hours later, he heard Estel groan quietly. He came fully awake and found the human doubled over clutching is stomach and biting his lip.

"Estel, what's wrong?" The elf was on the verge of panic.

"It's nothing." Estel ground out from between clenched teeth. Now that he knew Legolas was awake, he tried to still his trembling, but without much success. "It's just hunger pangs, they hurt." And they did. It felt like his stomach was trying to digest itself and turn itself inside out at the same time. The feeling was nauseating and he was afraid he was about to start dry heaving, which only made it worse.

"Well than eat something." It all seemed very logical to Legolas. If Estel was having hunger pangs than he was hungry this meant he obviously felt better.

"Can't." Estel groaned as his stomach clenched painfully. "I feel too sick to eat."

"How can you feel sick and hungry at the same time?"

"I don't know. I just do." Estel snapped. Much to the human's shame, he couldn't take the pain anymore and whimpered. The sound scared Legolas, who knew Estel to have a fairly high threshold for pain.

"What can I do to help?"

"Get Ada, please." He bit his lip to stop himself from whimpering again.

Legolas didn't even answer. He just jumped from the bed and ran towards the Lord of Imladris's room. He didn't bother knocking, but just pushed the door open. He had never been in the room before, but he didn't take time to look around. He charged straight to the bed to wake Elrond. When he reached the bed he paused though. Elrond was curled on his side with the covers pulled up to his nose. His raven black hair spilled around his pale face and his storm grey eyes didn't look so old and haunted. He no longer looked like the fearsome half elf that Legolas knew, but now he looked the Elrond that Estel and the twins often spoke of. Legolas found that he was loath to wake him. However, he couldn't get the image of Estel in so much pain out of his mind so he woke the lord.

Elrond immediately came awake and Legolas explained the problem. The half elf fairly flew from the room and reached Estel with a comforting touch. Estel wanted to cry when he felt his father's hands on him, but managed to stop himself barely. Elrond immediately opened up his healing senses to Estel, what he felt nearly made him scream in sympathy. He could feel the awful waves of nausea rolling over Estel and the terrible and grinding hunger pangs gnawing at him. The elf lord hid his face behind his hair for a moment to get his composure.

Elrond was eventually brought out of his healing trance by Estel's whimper. "Ada, is she doing all right?" Estel was panting and sniffling.

"Yes. She is fine, but again, it is you I am worried about." Elrond stroked back some of Estel's hair while he talked. He could tell that Estel was again becoming dangerously dehydrated. He was also in need of food. He had lied slightly; the baby was starting to show slight signs of distress. Nothing life threatening yet, but they could be if he couldn't get Estel eating and drinking again. Estel again involuntarily let out a small whimper and Elrond's heart broke all over again. He wrapped his arms around Estel's prone form and gave him what comfort he could while he questioned him. "Do you feel like you are going to be sick?"

"I think so." Estel gasped. He hated when the hunger pangs became so bad they made him vomit, or rather dry heave. But he could feel it starting to happen. Luckily Elrond held him and soothed him, which helped.

"Legolas, will you go to the kitchen and fetch some ice, lemonade, some milk, and find some frozen juice, either grape or cherry?" Elrond absentmindedly spoke to the elf. The prince quickly left the room to find the requested items.

"When Legolas gets back, we will try and get some liquid into you, then a little later see if you can tolerate some food." Elrond spoke encouragingly to his child, but in his mind he fretted. Neither Estel nor his daughter would be able to handle being this ill for very long. He was still recovering from the last bout and the human had no reserves of strength left. Elrond was at his wit's end. He had tried everything he could think of, but nothing was helping. If something wasn't done soon, he may loose both of them and he didn't know if he could take that. He realized it was time to call in the big guns. In the morning, he would summon Galadriel.

When Legolas returned, Estel attempted to drink his ice cold lemonade. He swallowed it and hissed in pain. Elrond questioned. "Estel, is your stomach cramping already?"

"No, my tongue hurts. The lemonade is burning it and my throat." Estel was having a hard time talking around his burning tongue.

Elrond held a candle up to the Estel and examined the interior of his mouth. The human had a series of painful looking ulcers on his tongue, the insides of his lips and the roof of his mouth. Elrond had no doubt that he also had them in his throat and maybe his esophagus. "Well, you have several sores in your mouth caused by repeated exposure to gastric acid. The citric acid in the lemonade is burning them." Elrond did not want to imagine what Estel's stomach must look like. "You probably shouldn't drink it anymore, at least till they heal." He didn't want to see the crestfallen look on his child's face after telling him that.

"But lemonade is the only thing I can drink and not get sick. What am I supposed to do?" Estel was on the verge of tears. Without his trusty lemonade he would die of thirst. He was sure of it.

"I know, but if you keep drinking it, it will only cause them to get worse and be more painful." Elrond tried to console Estel.

"But nothing else stays down." Estel was almost crying now. Elrond gathered him into a hug. "Ada, isn't there anything you can do?" That question was like a knife in the half elf's chest. He wanted nothing more in the world than to help Estel, but there was nothing he could do. All he could do was shake his head 'no.'

"I wish there was, child, but I could do more harm than good. Let us just hope that this bout is over faster than the last one and we will not have to worry about what you are able to tolerate." He hoped his smile looked genuine. And he handed Estel a cup of tea to drink.

The rest of the night went much the same way. Estel was able to tolerate small amounts of liquid only a sip or two at a time, but it had to be ice cold and not plain water. Food was a no go. Anything even remotely solid the Ranger swallowed made a hasty reappearance. By the time the sun rose Estel was so discouraged he was about to drown himself in the bathtub. Legolas and Elrond decided to leave him alone to rest for a while. Legolas went to go find some breakfast, because he thought it would be rude to eat in front of Estel, and Elrond went to his study.

Once in his study, Elrond flopped onto one of the couches and sighed. He didn't want to do it, but he knew he had to. He took a deep breath, swallowed his pride and reached out through Vilya to Galadriel. He felt her rather amused reply.

"Good morning, Elrond."

"Good morning to you too, my Lady. I need your help." Elrond answered

"Ah, yes. With your little foster child and your granddaughter. He is quite ill isn't he?"

"Yes." Elrond sighed, waiting for the lecture. Galadriel had been one of his tutors when he had been very young and she refused to relinquish the role no mater how old he got. "I need you to come here and help me look after him, please. As soon as you can."

"Of course. Celeborn and I left almost a week ago." Elrond could feel the Lady's mind voice shimmer with humour.

"I should have known. Did you see it in your mirror? Is this child that important?"

"No. I did not see it. Rather, my cousin contacted me and asked me to come and give you a break. Glorfindel said you were running yourself ragged taking care of Estel and everyone knows you have the disposition of an orc when you are overtired."

"I might have guessed, know-it-all Vanya elf. I will string him up by his pointy little ears for going behind my back." This time Elrond did hear her laugh in earnest at his comment.

"We shall arrive within the week." Galadriel said by way of ending the conversation.

Elrond dropped his head into his hands and smiled. At least now he would have trained back up in caring for Estel. But more importantly, Thranduil would not dare act up around his father's cousin, Celeborn, the ancient Sindarian prince, who by all rights should have been king of Mirkwood and was the highest ranking Sindarian elf left in Middle Earth not directly descended from King Thingol. Elrond had to wonder why he didn't think of calling in the two of them before.

Estel managed to sleep for a few hours, but felt no better when he woke up. The hunger pangs were still almost unbearable and they made him want to scream every time he had one. The thirst was almost as bad, but he could drink small swallows if he needed to, at least enough to wet his throat. He wanted to go back to sleep, but his back hurt, his throat hurt, his head hurt, the hunger pangs were getting bad again, and every time he moved a muscle he felt like he needed to throw up. He wanted to shriek at the top of his lungs but instead he rolled over onto his side and hugged a pillow to himself.

That was the way Legolas found him just before lunch. Legolas had run into Elrond on his way up to give Estel some soup and had offered to do it for him. He wanted to spend some time alone with his love, just talking, and he figured now might be a good time. So he carried the tray of food, consisting of a small bowl of strained beef broth with noodles, a stack of crackers, ice cold apple juice very watered down, and frozen strawberries. It seemed like a great deal of food to the elf, since he hadn't seen Estel eat this much at one sitting in months, but Elrond had explained that it gave Estel a choice.

Estel heard someone rattling dishes as they walked up the stairs. He sighed. He was starving but he didn't think he could eat anything. He guessed he would have to try or whoever it was would not leave him in peace. When he heard the knock he sat up and called for them to come in. He was somewhat surprised to see that it was Legolas rather than Elrond.

Legolas entered the room, placing the tray on the bed in front of Estel. He was not happy to note that the Ranger pulled away from the tray like it was a snake.

"What is that terrible smell?" Estel groaned from behind the hand he had flung over his mouth and nose. Something on the tray reeked. It was meaty and savory smelling, almost like rabbit and it was making him gag.

"What smell, love?" Legolas was a bit worried to note that the human was growing very pale as he uncovered the food on the tray and sat down on the bed.

When Legolas uncovered the soup, the smell hit Estel full force. He immediately shoved the tray away sloshing soup out of the bowl onto the towel covering the tray. Estel grabbed the bowl beside his bed and retched up the small amount of juice he had managed to drink earlier. Legolas just stared at him in a slight state of shock.

"Get that out of here." Estel whimpered from the top of the bed where he drooped over his bowl.

"But Estel, Elrond said you need to eat and it just soup. It won't hurt you." Legolas wasn't really sure what to say to convince the Ranger. However, he did notice the way Estel had eyed the food very suspiciously like it was poisoned or something. The elf held the bowl out to Estel hoping he would take it, though sincerely doubting he would since he just threw up.

Estel pushed the bowl away spilling the contents all over Legolas's tunic, groaning, just before he yelled. "Get that horrible smelling stuff away from me!" Estel promptly doubled over retching again.

"Please, sweetheart, if you don't like the soup try some crackers or I will get you something else. Just eat something." Legolas was getting desperate. He couldn't stand seeing his beloved this sick. It was tearing his heart out. Moreover, what Estel's illness was doing to their daughter?

"No." Estel moaned as he shakily rose from bed and staggered into the bathing room, slamming the door shut behind him.

Legolas relented and removed the tray of food, but left the crackers on the side table, hoping Estel would try to eat them after he left. He did not fancy having to tell Lord Elrond that he failed. He trudged downstairs decided he would let the healer deal with this from now on. He would come back though, he didn't think Estel should be alone.

Once Estel reached the bathing room, he threw his bowl in his sink and curled up on the floor by the privy, hiding his face in his hands. He was so tired of this. He just wanted to feel better. His daughter was not pleased and she bounced around inside of him angrily. The feeling was vaguely nauseating. He childishly wanted to start crying, but he didn't. Rather, he rubbed his hand up and down on his bare belly whispering to his daughter.

That was how Legolas found them a short time later. He had returned to the room and found Estel still in the bathing room. He had gone over and knocked on the door. "Estel, are you ok?"

"I guess." Legolas had heard from the other side of the door.

"Can I come in?"

"Yes." And the elf had entered to find Estel rubbing his belly, looking pale and drawn, but his daughter was shining at the attention.

"Do you want to go back to bed?" Legolas knelt in front of Estel and put his hand out to touch his friend's belly. But Estel had jerked away from him and scooted as far back as he could. The human glared accusingly at him. "What's wrong? What did I do?" Estel had lifted his hand up to cover his nose and mouth, the other he left on his stomach.

"You didn't change your tunic. I can still smell the soup on it. Please get rid of it, Legolas, please." Estel said from behind his hand.

"Of course. I am sorry. I forgot." Legolas immediately jumped up and removed his tunic and shirt, just to be on the safe side, and ran back to his room. He replaced them with fresh clean garments that he hoped would not bother the Ranger. He then returned as fast as he could. "Is that better, sweetheart?"

Estel nodded weakly. Legolas could tell that all of this movement was not doing the human any good. "Come on, let's get you back to bed." Estel again nodded and allowed Legolas to help him up. He was feeling dizzy from all of the exertion.

Once Estel was standing he leaned into the elf beside him for support. Legolas didn't mind at all. He loved the feel of the warm Ranger pressed against him. Legolas rested his long slender hand on Estel's exposed belly, careful not to apply any pressure. Estel's sleeping clothes were getting too small for him so the pants had to be slung around his hips under his belly and the shirts could not be closed over it. Legolas thought it was a cute look. But the prince worried that he could now see Estel's ribs and his hipbones jutting out.

He helped Estel back into bed, then made to leave so he could refill Estel's teacup then go talk to Elrond. Estel stopped him though. "Are you leaving?"

"I was going to leave you alone so you could rest." Legolas answered.

"Don't go." Estel realized he sounded like a child, but he really, really, really didn't want to be alone right now. "Please stay with me."

"OK, all you had to do was ask." Legolas smiled.

The elf quickly made another cup of tea for Estel, who sipped at it half heartedly. He then kicked his shoes off and removed his tunic and again crawled in bed with the Ranger. Estel didn't mind at all and cuddled up to him, enjoying the feel of being held. The soft scent of the elf's hair was one of the few things that did not make him feel nauseous. Plus he tended not to feel so sick when he was in the prince's arms.

Legolas was tired, he hadn't gotten much sleep the night before and he was happy when Estel finally dozed off. But it turned out that he wouldn't get much sleep now either. The next few hours were some of the worst Legolas could imagine. Estel continued to suffer from hunger pangs that caused almost unbearable pain. Now, every time he had one he doubled over retching. Even worse, now he was starting to vomit up blood, both fresh and dark, chunky, semi-digested blood. It was obvious that the poor human was in pain, but was trying to hide and appear brave. But it wasn't working. Legolas could sense how afraid and hurt his love was because no matter how much he tried to eat or drink it just kept coming back up.

The prince sat with Estel as Elrond brought up another tray of food. He rubbed the Ranger's back and he tried to choke down the rice pudding the lord had brought him. But the very texture of it on the human's tongue made him vomit. He then held Estel's hand as the sick Ranger gagged it back up. And after Elrond left with the food barely touched, he let Estel pillow his head upon his chest so the human would hear his strong steady heartbeat. He told the Ranger stories of his childhood and combed Estel's long hair. Legolas did anything to distract Estel from his nausea and every so often coaxed the young human into drinking a few sips of milk or juice.

Over the course of the afternoon, Elrond brought up two more trays of food. Estel could tolerate neither of them. The elf lord was becoming very worried, Legolas was becoming discouraged, and Estel was becoming suicidal but still he did not give into the tears that threatened with every wave of nausea that came over him.

To make matters worse, another orc problem developed on the borders and Elrond had to divert his attention to it. Legolas had declined to go with the party sent to eradicate them because he did not want to leave Estel alone. He was afraid if he left, the human would just give up completely. Of course he knew that humans couldn't die of broken hearts, but that did not stop him from worrying about his love.

Because Legolas was staying to help care for Estel, Elrond drafted him to take the next tray up to the human. Legolas entered the room to find Estel lying on his side forlornly gazing out of the window at the late afternoon sky. Legolas could feel the depression, hopelessness and guilt weighing down on the Ranger through their bond. He found it strange, feeling someone else's emotions.

Legolas set the tray of wheat porridge and assorted other goodies down on the night stand. Legolas noticed that the human had munched on some of the crackers he had left. That was a good sign, so smiling he addressed Estel. "Sweetheart, I brought you something to eat so sit up."

Estel was having a really bad afternoon. After Legolas had left an hour ago, he had tried to sleep, but had been unable to because his nausea kept him awake. He had tried to get up and get a book to read, but standing up had nearly made him faint and the movement made him retched uselessly. Then his daughter had decided that she was unhappy and had started jumping up and down and generally moving all about. He was happy that she was moving, but by Eru it made him feel sick. Finally he tried to assuage his hunger pangs by eating a few crackers from his night stand, hoping they would stay down. They had not. And when he vomited them back up, he felt pain searing through his chest and throat. It felt just like his tongue. But worst of all, Thranduil had come to see him. The king had derided him for hurting his daughter in the same breath as saying that he wanted them both dead. All in all, he was in no mood to try and eat whatever Legolas had brought.

However, he didn't want Legolas to know how upset he was. All he could think about was Thranduil telling him that it was just a "little upset stomach." So he slowly rolled over and sat up, pulling the blankets up to cover his bare belly. "What did Elrond send this time? I hope it is a fine cut of venison." Estel tried to joke, but realized his voice sounded raspy and hollow.

"I think it is farina, love. But he sent lots of fruit to mix in it, even some brown sugar." Legolas took a clump of sugar and popped it into his mouth sighing in enjoyment. He liked brown sugar, and it was a luxury that he never had outside of Imladris but he overplayed his reaction hoping to entice Estel. Legolas smiled even brighter as he saw the human pick up his spoon and stir the porridge.

Estel felt his mouth start to water and bile rise in his throat almost as soon as he looked at the food. He wanted to eat, he wanted to make Legolas and his father happy, he waned to make the hunger pangs go away, but he knew that he couldn't. The mere thought of it made his stomach turn over dangerously and closed his eyes swallowing hard. He couldn't take it anymore. He just wanted to feel better. He wanted to cry.

When he opened his eyes back up, he noticed that the plate had become blurry as he felt a cold tear trail down his cheek. He went to wipe it away, hoping Legolas wouldn't notice but after the first one fell it was like the flood gates had been opened and he started to cry in earnest.

Legolas looked up from where he was stoking the fire to see that Estel was silently crying. One crystal tear after another fell from the human's silver eyes. The Ranger looked so heart broken that Legolas immediately went to him. "Estel, love, what is the matter?" Legolas would do just about anything right now if it would stop Estel from crying. These silent, heartbroken tears betrayed such a depth of sadness that it was almost painful to look at.

Estel hadn't wanted Legolas to see him cry. Once the elf noticed him he tried even harder to stop, but it was to no avail. The tears kept coming no matter what he did. However, to distract the prince, Estel brought a spoonful of is porridge to his lips. Legolas smiled at him in encouragement. But Estel could not force himself to put the food in his mouth. The very thought made him gag. He dropped the spoon back into the bowl, refusing to meet Legolas's eyes.

"Sweetheart, please try and eat. You haven't had anything for days. You must be starving." Legolas tried to reason with the young human. He was pleased to note that Estel had again picked up his spoon. However, Estel dropped it again, his shoulders starting to shake with barely suppressed sobs. "Estel, look at me." Legolas put his finger under the human's chin and force his eyes up to catch the elf's. "You need to eat. If you won't do it for yourself, do it for me and for our daughter. Elrond has told you repeatedly that it is not good for her when you go so long without eating. Please, just try." Legolas was out of ideas. If this didn't work then he was going to have to sit on the human and force-feed him.

Estel picked up the spoon again and started to cry even harder. He silently pled for Legolas to stop saying those things to him. The guilt he felt was almost overwhelming as it was. He didn't want to hurt her but he just knew that his body would not be able to tolerate any food. His body would reject anything right now and when it did it would hurt. He didn't know if he could handle that pain right now. He felt like a pane of glass with a small ding in it. The spider web cracks were radiating out from it and if any pressure were applied he would break into a thousand pieces.

"I can't." Estel said before he again dropped his spoon and wrapped his arms around his belly. He just prayed that he wasn't hurting her too badly.

"Estel you have to try." Legolas couldn't stand the sadness in his love's voice.

"I can't, don't you understand?"

"Estel, listen to me. You are hurting yourself and our daughter. I won't let you do that. You need to eat." Estel just stared disgustedly down at the food on his tray. The human was afraid he was about to get sick. Legolas on the other hand was getting angry. He felt helpless and that made him unbelievably angry. Half of him understood that Estel was sick and really couldn't eat. He had seen first hand for months just how ill the Ranger had been. Legolas remembered finding Estel asleep with his head hanging over the edge of the privy and watching him gag and retch merely from bending over to put on his shoes.

But the other half told him that it was all in Estel's head that the human had somehow made a conscious choice to starve their daughter and himself to death. And that it was just pregnancy illness, if Estel wanted to eat, he could. Unfortunately the anger was making him short with Estel, which was exactly the wrong thing to do. "I don't care if you don't feel well, I don't care if you don't want to eat, you are going to eat. You are not going to try and kill my child again."

Estel's eyes shot up at the hurtful words Legolas said to him. He knew the elf was right, but he could not bring himself to put anything in his mouth. All he could do was drop his face into his hands and sob even harder. "I can't. I'm sorry. I can't hold it down. I want to but I can't. Please, stop yelling at me."

As Estel spoke, Legolas seemed to come out of the haze he was in. He realized the awful things he had said to the Ranger and felt terrible for it. He knew Estel didn't mean to feel this bad and he would never do anything to hurt their daughter. He immediately moved the tray onto the floor and gathered the crying human into his arms. Estel resisted at first, but after a moment he clung to Legolas like he was a lifesaver. Legolas stroked the Ranger's long mink coloured hair and whispered his love and encouragement into Estel's ear.

Soon Estel fell asleep, worn out by the emotion and the exertion. Legolas took the tray back down to the kitchen. On his way he ran into Elrond. The half elf looked tired and worried. Legolas feared for a moment that the orc problem was worse than they had all first thought. The prince knew he would never forgive himself if someone died because he had refused to go with them.

"My lord, is there any word from the hunting party?"

"Yes, Glorfindel said that they are perhaps a day away from the orc encampment. They have already taken out a band of stragglers. He did however say that several small farming communities were badly raided and a few bands of Rangers were particularly hard hit. I would go to heal them, but I am disinclined to leave Estel. At any rate, Elladan and Elrohir will be able to help them." The lord responded tiredly.

"That is good news. Hopefully they should be home soon." Legolas tried to look on the bright side.

"Yes." The half elf absently answered. Legolas noticed the dark circles under Elrond's eyes and worried over the older elf. He knew that Rivendell's lord had been working overtime lately.

"Why don't you go and get some rest. Things are as quiet and peaceful as ever in Imladris."

"I will rest when the party returns and their wounds are looked after." Elrond sighed. He sorely missed the days that he could have been one of the elves on the hunting party rather than being tethered to his valley. It was not that he didn't love Imladris, he did, it was just that he had all but given up his freedom for his power and sometimes it didn't seem like it was worth it.

"But that could be days." Legolas said incredulously.

"Yes. You will find, young one, that it will be difficult for you to rest when your child is in peril and beyond your protection." Legolas immediately thought about all of the times he and the twins had left without telling Elrond where they were going or had spent more time than necessary away from the valley. If Lord Elrond truly did not rest when his children were away, then perhaps that explained much of the reason why Legolas had always thought the half elf was so stern and cold much of the time.

"Well, it must make you feel better to have Glorfindel out with them. Surely he will bring them back safely."

"Yes, that is true. He would gladly sacrifice his own life for theirs. And that is another problem all together." The half elf smiled slightly. He realized that he was confusing the prince, so he changed the subject to one even less cheerful. "How is Estel doing? Did you take the food to him?"

"Yes, but he didn't eat it. I tried to make him, but he burst into tears as soon as I put it in front of him. He just kept saying that he couldn't eat. He finally cried himself to sleep without ever taking a bite." Now it was Legolas's turn to sigh.

"Wonderful." Elrond said before he slowly strolled away back towards his study.

Legolas couldn't face returning to Estel's room just yet, so he took a turn through the gardens. Back home in Mirkwood, fall would have already taken its toll on the plants, but here in Imladris the trees were still green and blooming. It was almost as if time had no meaning in the valley. Legolas imagined that Aman must be much like Imladris.

After his walk, he felt much calmer and more centered. About two hours had passed so he went to the kitchen to fetch another tray for Estel. The prince decided that perhaps Estel might do better with something that was more appetizing than bland wheat goop. So he requested that the chef's prepare some scrambled eggs for the Ranger along with some cold chocolate milk and a few cookies with peanut butter. All of these foods had been ones that Estel had enjoyed in the past; therefore, Legolas hoped that the human's disagreeable stomach would tolerate them now.

Feeling very proud of himself he carried the tray up the stairs to Estel's room. He could hear Estel shuffling around and then sitting back down in bed. Legolas hoped that was a good sign, but he gave up guessing about these things a few months back. He gently knocked on the door to alert Estel of his presence before he pushed it opened. The Ranger was lying flat on his back and didn't even sit up to greet Legolas. Legolas tried to ignore the fact that he saw tears in his loves eyes when he spied the tray.

"I brought you some food, sweetheart. Do you think that you could try and eat some?" Legolas thought he already knew the Ranger's answer before he said it.

"Not right now." Estel finally sat up, but leaned his head back against his headboard with his eyes closed, rubbing his hand up and down on his belly.

"Estel." Legolas was about to protest when the young human spoke up again.

"Please, give me a moment. I just finished puking right before you knocked on the door. Could you give me ten minutes at least?" Estel sounded resigned.

"Of course love, I will even give you twenty." Legolas smiled as he climbed to the top of the bed and cuddled the Ranger, kissing him on the forehead. Legolas's movements caused the bed to shake, which forced Estel to suppress a retch, but then he rested his head against Legolas and closed his eyes trying to ignore the way his stomach still pitched and rolled. He was just starting to relax into a light doze when Legolas interrupted him. "Have you given any thought as to what we shall call her?"

"You mean like a name?" Estel mumbled. He was in that warm fuzzy place between being asleep and awake and he didn't want to come back.

"Of course a name, silly." Legolas reached down and laced his fingers through Estel's then bought both hands to his mouth and kissed the back of the Ranger's hand.

"Yes. Have you?" Estel hated to admit, but he enjoyed the romantic gesture and he snuggled closer to the elf.

"I thought you would like to choose the name.

"Oh no, I have done all the hard work so far, the least you can do is pick the name. Besides, I would probably just pick an ugly one anyway."

The two discussed names for their daughter while they cuddled until Legolas chanced to look outside and noticed that the sun had dipped below the horizon. That meant that he and Estel had been sitting here talking for over and hour and Estel had not eaten anything. Legolas disentangled himself from the Ranger and went to collect the food he had stowed all about the room, still well covered so the smell didn't bother Estel. The cookies he had put on the night stand, the milk right in front of the window, and the eggs against the hearth.

When Legolas got up, Estel felt very cold and had to consciously not curl around where the elf had been. He watched with dread as Legolas collected the food and brought it over to him. He didn't really feel any better, but he also knew that he needed to eat so he picked up his fork and speared a small piece of egg. He could feel his stomach start to protest, but he took a deep breath and thrust the small clump of egg into his mouth and determinedly chewed on it. He quickly swallowed it and then drank a few sips of water to try and help keep it down. Legolas smiled at him and he tried a second piece. He wasn't so lucky with it.

When Estel swallowed the second piece of egg, his stomach gave a massive heave and he vomited mid swallow. He barely got his bowl in front of him before he choked the eggs back up. He so angry he slammed his fist into the tray after he finished. It wasn't fair. He was trying, he really was and it wasn't doing any good. He didn't want to hurt her but he couldn't stop himself.

Before he knew what was happening he was enveloped again in Legolas's arms and he realized that he was sobbing. He supposed he hadn't noticed before because there were no tears running down his cheeks. There was not enough liquid left in his body to produce excess tears. He thought about that and it made him cry even harder. What was all of this doing to his daughter?

Finally Estel settled enough that he could talk. "Could you get Elrond for me?"

"Why? Is something wrong?"

"Nothing new is wrong, I just want to talk to him for a minute." Estel whispered. He felt dizzy and his head really hurt.

Legolas ran as fast as he could to find the half elf. He finally found him in his study in the dark, staring out at the stars. "Lord Elrond, Estel needs you." Legolas did not get a chance to say more before the healer was up and running towards his child and grandchild, the elf hot on his heels.

Elrond entered the room and relaxed slightly to see that at least there was no blood. "Estel, my child, Legolas said you needed to see me."

Estel nodded his head "yes" but turned and looked at Legolas, who was standing apprehensively by the door. Elrond immediately understood and sent the prince on an errand to get a heating pad.

"What is it, Estel?"

"I'm scared. Is she still healthy or have I hurt her?" Estel sniffled as he talked and had to fight to not sob at the last word.

Elrond concentrated and found that she was not doing very well. She was beginning to suffer from the lack of food and water. She was upset because she was hungry and thirsty. But far worse, she was starting to weaken from the strain. Elrond didn't know how he was going to tell this to Estel. "She is alive, sweetheart, but like you she does not feel well because of the illness induced fast." He held one of Estel's hands as he talked.

"Sweet Eru, I am killing her aren't I?" Elrond could feel Estel start to panic.

"No, not yet. She is weakening, but she is still strong. I will not tell you to try harder to eat, because I know you are trying as hard as you can, but she will not last much longer like this. Estel, we need to get something to stay down. It doesn't matter what it is, but you must find a way."

"I know. I keep trying, but nothing will stay down. I don't want her to die, Ada. Can't you save her, even if it means hurting me? I don't care." Estel cried.

"She will be fine for another day or so, then we will talk about more drastic measures. Right now you need to rest and conserve your strength. I am working on something that might help, but it won't be ready for a little while." Elrond stroked Estel's hair soothingly using his mind powers to calm his child. Normally he would never have done something like that, but Estel needed it. The last thing the Ranger needed was to waste energy on hysterics.

Finally Estel fell into a deep sleep, with some help from Elrond, and the half elf exited. He stood outside of the door waiting for Legolas to return. The elf prince finally arrived followed by his rather irritated looking father. Before Elrond could speak the king piped in.

"Does no one keep to the dining schedule in the Valar forsaken valley? I have been waiting for twenty minutes for someone else to show up so that dinner could begin and I find you all congregating outside of the belly acher's room."

Elrond chose not to take the bait. "Thranduil, shut up. Legolas we need to talk, will you accompany me to the terrace?" Elrond gave a mighty sigh and said. "I suppose you might as well come along too, it concerns Estel's daughter." The three walked quickly to a terrace just down the hall. Elrond wanted to stay close enough to Estel's room incase he was needed, but did not want to be close enough to be over heard should the human awake.

"My Lord, is my daughter OK?" Legolas asked, trying to keep his bottom lip from trembling. The prince most certainly did not like how worried Elrond looked.

"Yes, for now. But I don't know how much longer either of them can survive this. They are both very weak." Elrond answered truthfully. Legolas's eyes filled with tears at the news. The prince knew this was his only chance to have a child. His heart belonged to the Ranger and no other would ever satisfy him. And Estel would never agree to go through this again not for anything in the world. It disgusted Elrond to note that Thranduil had done nothing to console his own child.

"Do you know what is causing it?" The king asked quietly.

"I can't say for sure. His body is just under too much stress trying to bear his daughter. But I also think that his mental state is influencing his illness as well. He is so depressed and worried that it is making him even sicker. Then the sicker he gets the more depressed and worried he becomes."

"So it is all in his head?" The king asked dryly. He had expected as much the whole time. It didn't make sense to him for pregnancy alone to cause such illness. After all his wife had not been this ill nor had any other woman he had known.

"Absolutely not. Estel is very ill for real. I only meant that the situation has been exacerbated by his depression, not that his depression caused it."

"What can we do? I don't want either of them to be hurt." Legolas sniffled. He had turned to look over the railing hoping that the others wouldn't notice his tears. No matter how old he grew or the fact that he was soon to be a father himself, he still felt like an elfling around the two powerful elflords.

"We shall do nothing different until Galadriel arrives. However, we must face the fact that Estel may loose her." Elrond hated having to say the next part. "We must also consider the option of aborting her." The half elf held up his hand to forestall any protests. "Estel is very weak. So weak in fact, that he may not be strong enough to survive a miscarriage if it comes. We may have to abort her to save his life or we may loose both of them." He did not want to look up and see Legolas's face. He figured that it would be accusing because he was supposed to be the best healer in Middle Earth, yet he could not do anything to save them.

"When would we have to decide by?" Thranduil again questioned, only this time he sounded far more solemn.

"Not right away. They both should be fine for anther 24-48 hours. Hopefully Galadriel will be here by then. Plus I am working on something new to help settle his stomach. There is a chance that it will work." Elrond realized that his assurances sounded hollow.

"What about Estel?" Legolas tried to keep his voice level, but even he could hear the tears and emotion in it. "We should not decide such a thing without him."

"Normally I would say yes, but Estel would never choose to abort her now. He would allow himself to starve to death before he would do anything to intentionally hurt her." Elrond answered and was pleased to see the prince nod. Part of the half elf disagreed. Part of him thought that it should be Estel's decision alone and that the human should be allowed to choose death for both of them if he wanted. But he knew he could not face that. The selfish part of him wanted his child alive and whole. "Do not even tell him of this conversation." All three agreed and Elrond took that opportunity to wrap his arms around the prince. He figured that if Thranduil wouldn't do anything to console his own son than he might as well. It was true what Glorfindel always said, Elrond was a mother hen who had to take care of everyone around him.

Two hours later Estel awoke to find Legolas asleep in one chair and his father staring at the fire in the other. He still felt terrible and wished he could go back to sleep, but he needed to use the privy. He sat up and the room began to spin violently. Elrond leaned over and pressed him back against the headboard.

"Stay in bed, whatever you need I will fetch for you." Elrond whispered to him.

"But I need to use the privy." Estel whispered back. "Will you help me? I feel like I am going to pass out." He shook his head trying to clear the cobwebs.

"Of course."

The two slowly made their way in and then back out without Legolas even stirring. Estel was happy Elrond was there to help him. The half elf held his hair back as he retched from the movement and had a glass of ice water waiting for him when he got back to bed. If he took very small sips he could hold down liquid. Water wasn't as easy as lemonade, but for now it would do.

Rather than resuming his seat in the chair, Elrond sat down on the side of the bed, facing Estel. "I have some medicine for you try. I should help with the vomiting , if not the nausea." Elrond held up a small glass with perhaps an ounce of dark liquid in it. "I added some honey to try and make the taste more tolerable, but I make no promises." The healer smiled at Estel.

"Ok, give it here. I would be willing to try sleeping on my head and baying at the moon if I thought it would help."

"Only in Mirkwood, is that considered a cure." Elrond gave his child a mischievous smile as he handed him the small glass. Estel held his nose and swallowed the concoction as fast as he could, trying not to taste or smell it. Elrond then handed him a cup of very cold water to try and get rid of the taste.

"How long do you think it will take to start working?" Estel questioned as he swallowed repeatedly trying to stop himself from throwing it back up.

"Not long sweetheart. Just try to relax." Elrond continued to talk quietly to his child to keep the human's mind engaged. He waited for half an hour before he brought up the subject of food. "Try and eat some yogurt, sweetheart." Elrond handed Estel a small bowl containing a small serving of honey sweetened yogurt with mashed strawberries mixed into it.

"Ada, I don't know, I still feel pretty nauseas." Estel looked at it skeptically.

"Just try." Estel swallowed three spoonfuls before he pushed the bowl back at Elrond.

"I don't think I can eat anymore right now."

"That's fine if that is all you can manage. Just lie back now and rest. Did I ever tell you about the time the twins decided they would have a maple sugar eating contest?" Estel shook his head 'no,' "Well, let me tell you then." Elrond masterfully related the tale in order to distract his child again. By the time he was finished, Estel was fast asleep and almost an hour had passed. His medicine had helped, Estel had managed to hold down the apple sauce.

The next day went better than the day before. Estel managed to eat a few small meals and drink a great deal of water. He said he felt like a sponge, but all he wanted to do was drink. He only vomited a few times, and that was usually when he gave in to Elrond or Legolas and ate more than he thought he could.

By the following morning, he was well enough to get out of bed and take his meals with the rest of the family. Elrond reported that the orc problem had been taken care of and the twins and Glorfindel would be returning soon. Estel was happy to hear it. He was worried about his brothers. They had stayed away from him lately because they didn't like the way Thranduil was treating him and they did not like to see him so ill all the time. He understood, but he still missed them. As the day went on he felt better and better if sill far weaker than he would have liked. His daughter enjoyed the change and danced around inside of his womb whenever she had the chance. Estel loved the feeling of her movements, even if it did make him feel queasy.

Elrond's new medication was strange. It did nothing to make him feel better, but it made it hard for him to throw up, even when he wanted to. But he was thankful for it because it helped him hold down the much needed food, even if he felt bad. But that day he felt much better. He even ate at all three meals.

The next morning, Estel woke up feeling queasy again. He downed the medicine Elrond left by his bed and slowly made his way to breakfast. He felt his stomach start to churn threateningly when he saw the food on the table, but he trusted Elrond's medication and he sat down. He selected a scone to eat, but then regretted it. Every time he picked it up he felt bile burn in his throat. He tried some fruit and then some toast. Every food gave him the same reaction. He finally gave up, leaning over to his right side and loosely covering his eyes.

Elrond watched his child pick over several different types of food, only to return them to his plate before they got near his mouth. He could tell Estel was feeling ill again, but he hoped and prayed it was not the beginnings of another bout. "Estel, are your feeling sick again?" The healer questioned.

"Yeah, a little I guess. Every time I try to eat it makes me feel like I need to throw up." Estel shrugged.

"Maybe you should go back to bed."

"No, please Ada. Can I at least lie down in the study or the library? Don't make me go back to my room." Estel couldn't face any more time bound to his room. He was tired of the isolation and the loneliness he felt while he waited out he hours in misery hoping someone would come to keep him company that wasn't bearing a tray of food.

"Ok. You can rest in the study, but I want you off of your feet.

Estel retired to the study to try and sleep away his returning nausea. Elrond entered as well and worked quietly until he saw that Estel had woken up again. After the human had sat up Elrond came over and the two played a relaxing game of cards while the half elf explained the rational behind certain maneuvers in naval combat. All the while Elrond coaxed the ill Ranger into munching on a few crackers or drinking some cold milk.

Estel realized that he didn't feel that bad unless he moved or tried to eat. The medication that Elrond had made for him also drastically cut down on his vomiting. The milk seemed to not upset his stomach too much, but the crackers were very difficult for him force past his lips. But he did it for his father and his daughter.

His stomach not withstanding, Estel was really enjoying the day. It wasn't often Elrond could spend this much time with him and he was thoroughly enjoying it. It was just reaffirming his idea that Elrond was one of the best creatures in all of Middle Earth. When Estel had been very young he had loved his brothers but thought Elrond had hung the moon and the stars. He no longer thought that, but until his dying day he would have a healthy amount of hero worship for the half elf.

The two had starting a new game that Elrond had often played with him when he was young to help train his memory for detail. It consisted of scattering a hundred tiles on a table and then finding two that matched. Estel was good at the game, but he had never managed to beat the lore master and it didn't look like he would now either. When they were about half way through the game, a servant came in to summon them to lunch. Estel had to stifle his groan. He didn't fancy the idea of moving around or going near food.

"Come, Estel, I am sure that we can find something for you to nibble on." Elrond said as he helped the human stand. Estel's head started to spin.

"Ok, I'll be there in a minute." Elrond nodded and left and Estel headed into the privy.

Once inside he rested his head against the door. He felt sick, very sick, but he didn't want to tell Elrond. He knew the healer would send him straight back to bed and Estel was hardily tired of being confined to his rooms. He got too lonely.

He made his way to the sink to splash some water on his face, but ended up vomiting instead. The young Ranger groaned in discomfort as he tried to get control of his stomach. He knew he had to hurry and get to lunch so that Elrond would not know anything was wrong with him, but all he wanted to do was curl up in front of a warm fire and try and sleep till he felt better. Torn between the prospect of a warm and comfy nap but being confined to his rooms and sitting through a nauseating lunch; Estel picked the lunch. He just didn't want to be sequestered alone till he was driven almost mad with boredom again.

So he pushed himself way from the sink and walked as quickly as he could to the dining room. He smiled apologetically for being late and slid into his seat beside Elrond. As the meal was served, Estel tried to keep his expression neutral but he could feel himself blanch at the sight of it. He waved off everything save a warm cup of soup, which he crushed several crackers into. He hoped no one would notice that he hadn't actually swallowed any of it. He did manage to eat a few crackers though.

After lunch was over he followed Elrond back into the study to finish their game. Estel flopped down in his chair and wrapped one arm around his queasy tummy. Elrond smiled in sympathy at his child. He knew that the human felt ill but was trying to hide it. The half elf poured a glass of ice cold water for nauseous human.

Estel accepted it with a smile and took a sip. It was good clean spring water that was ice cold, just like he liked it, and it made his stomach turn over. "Ada, don't we have any lemonade?" Estel realized he sounded like he was whining.

"Sorry, sweetheart, there are no more lemons left. Thranduil sent one of his men back to Mirkwood to fetch some, but I don't know when they will be back. Until then you will have to make do with water." Elrond answered. He noted how dejected Estel looked at the prospect of not having his trusty lemonade. "Is there something else you would rather drink?"

"No. Water is fine." Estel sighed. "I am sorry if I am being difficult."

"You are not being difficult, dear. And even if you were, you have every right to. You have endured more than anyone should expect of you." Elrond was pleased to see Estel smile for real. "Now, let us finish our game and I will tell you a tale of a truly difficult patient I once had by the name of Glorfindel."

Estel listened intently for an hour before his nausea was so bad it made him vomit again. Luckily Elrond had been called away to the guard house for a moment so that he didn't know. He quickly returned to his chair and pillowed his head on his arms waiting for his father to return.

Elrond entered the room to find Estel dozing with his head resting on the table. The human looked ill and tired so the lord allowed Estel to sleep while he worked at his correspondences. Perhaps half and hour later Estel awoke, feeling very sick. He groaned and tried to curl tighter around his stomach before he realized where he was. As he came fully awake Estel realized, much to his dismay that the nausea was steadily getting worse.

"Ada?"

"Yes, child." Elrond tried not to smile at Estel's attempts to hide his illness.

"Do you have anymore of that medicine you gave me? I am not feeling so great."

"Of course, wait here." Elrond swept from the room, leaving Estel valiantly fighting not to toss his cookies on the table.

As the day wore on, Estel began to feel as bad as he had earlier in the week. Elrond's medication definitely cut down on the frequency of his vomiting, but did not stop him from feeling god-awful. So, still not wanting anyone to worry about him, Estel went to dinner with every intention of eating despite his roiling stomach. But his plans failed miserably.

As soon as he shuffled into the dining room he felt his stomach roll over from the smell of dinner. The chefs had prepared an amazing meal of pheasant and dumpling stew. There were fresh baked rolls and fresh vegetables. Every last item of food on the table made Estel want to vomit.

The sick human sat at the table with one foot tucked under him and one arm wrapped around his stomach. He realized that the pressure on his belly was making him feel worse so he quickly moved his hand. He vaguely wondered if he could have the cooks bring him something more bland than stew but he accepted the small serving anyway. He also took a roll, which he actually nibbled on. He knew with a sort of annoying certainty that none of it would stay down, but he ignored that thought and continued trying to eat.

Not long into dinner, Estel felt the bread coming back up and all at once the merciless nausea from the last few weeks hit him again full force. Without even asking Elrond's permission, the Ranger jumped up and sprinted towards his bedroom with Elrond following him. He was ridiculously thankful for the half elf's presence when he started vomiting, because if not for Elrond he would have ended up messing up his clothes.

Through dinner, Elrond kept a close eye on Estel. He knew that his child was not feeling well again, but he hoped that it was not very serious. As he saw Estel loose more and more colour from his cheeks, the elf lord knew that the human was about to be ill, probably before the human did. Elrond followed Estel up the stairs to his room and helped to guide him to the sink when it was evident that he would not make it to the privy. Then he settled the ill Ranger on the floor in front of the privy when there was a break in the illness. He spoke soothingly to Estel and held the human's hair for him. Then he wanted to cry along with his beloved child when the tears came.

When Estel finally finished vomiting, he leaned his head forward against the rim of the privy. He felt terrible again and he hated it. He was so frustrated and frightened that he felt like he was going to explode. He couldn't help it when he started crying and he knew that Elrond would not think less of him for his weakness so he indulged himself. "I can't take this anymore, Ada. I just want it to end." He cried.

Elrond gently pulled him back into a warm hug and replied. "I know, sweetheart, I know. It will be over soon, I promise."

The two were soon interrupted by Legolas's entry. The elf dropped down on the floor beside father and child and took one of Estel's hands, kissing it. "Poor Estel, I am sorry you don't feel well." Legolas settled on this being a safe thing to say. It was always a dangerous proposition to talk to Estel when he was ill. He was just as likely to try and tear your throat out, as he was to accept comfort, start crying, or completely ignore you.

Estel peaked out from where he had his face buried in Elrond's chest. He was happy to see Legolas. He could really use another cuddle. Not that Elrond's weren't nice in a paternal sort of way, but Legolas was different. "Ada, I'm tired. I think I need to lie down in bed."

"Ok lets get you to bed then."

Elrond expertly helped the heavily pregnant human off the floor and over to his bed. Estel quickly changed into his nightclothes and crawled into his bed. The movement caused him another round of retching, but it was almost worth it when Legolas crawled in bed with him. The elf gathered him into a comforting embrace. Estel relaxed into it and tried to sleep past his nausea.

Elrond excused himself to go and fetch more medicine for Estel. In truth he was slightly jealous of the way Estel clung to the elf. He understood that Estel needed the touch of his child's father and that there was a bond between them that Estel would never share with anyone else, or so he thought. However, that didn't stop the pang of jealously at seeing his little child look to someone else for comfort. The Lord stiffly fetched the medicine and returned to the room to see his child fast asleep in the elf's arms with his fingers twined into the elf's blond locks. He could remember more than once when Glorfindel would find he and Estel that way when the human had been very young. It wasn't fair how fast mortals aged.

"Here, give this to him in half an hour even if he protests. I will be in my study if I am needed." Elrond swept out of the room as soon as his instructions were delivered. He went to his study to pen a letter to his real daughter and see how she was doing.

Legolas held Estel for over an hour until the human woke on his own. He didn't have the heart to wake him up just to force him to take medication. But when Estel did wake, he had no qualms about giving it to the Ranger. Estel accepted it, but was not happy about it. He knocked back the medication and then sipped some cold water. Legolas was pleased to note that when Estel was finished, he cuddled back up to the elf and fell back asleep. Legolas spent the rest of the night snuggled against his love with one hand resting on his daughter. He thought that this could be one of the happiest times of his life.

TBC