I feel so horrible, I went a day over my three week guarantee! But I do have a reason… One, I had a party at my house yesterday and had no time to update, and the computer was being screwy. Also, on this day, exactly eleven months ago, I submitted the first chapter of this story! So it's like a special almost one year story thing… I promise the sequel will be updated more often! See a preview for at the end of this chapter. Though school and soccer season has started again, so I will be quite busy lately…

I've put so much pressure on myself for this chapter. Everyone has said such nice things about this story, I am so afraid that the conclusion will disappoint…

This was my first ever fanfiction which I started when I was twelve, and I know it wasn't that great in the beginning. I never thought I'd get so many reviews! They have helped me with ideas and been wonderful encouragement. It feels so great to read what you all thought. Thank you so much to every person who has read this story and even more thanks to those of you who reviewed! I so wanted to make a list of all the great reviewers, but I have run out of time, sorry! I have crammed almost all of the angst ideas into one story, freezing, guilt, evil men, evil elves, OCs, death, near-death, poison, orcs, wargs, spiders, Legolas angst, Estel angst, Elladan angst, Elrohir angst, Legolas-Estel first meeting, dreams, etc… Thanks for not complaining about that. I know that I have constantly had typos and things that were undetailed or didn't make sense, and I thank you all for being forgiving enough not to hold it against me and often point it out so I could fix it. Also, thank you so much to all of you who put me on their author alerts! I am so happy that you want to know when I post! I hope you like my ending! I also wanted to list all your names but ran out of time, sorry!

Thanks so much to readers who gave me constructive criticism, suggestions, or pointed out mistakes/things that didn't make sense. I hope I never sounded at all ungrateful to you, because you helped me so much! Thanks! Ainu Laire, Lady Jaina, Gwyn, pendragginink, Arayelle Lynn, and Musicstarlover!

Thanks to 'Bub', who introduced me to fanfiction when I had never heard of it. And thanks Freddy'sGirl01, for bringing me camping where I met Bub, LOL.

Also thanks loads to my great friends on this site who have helped me with Writer's Block or just been awesome to talk to or e-mail: Legolas-Aragorn-R-Hot, Freddy'sGirl01, Warrior Elf, MagickalStar135, Marbienl, Spades, Lady Nierwen Lord Elrond of Hogwarts, and Linuvial Greenleaf. I hope I didn't forget anyone…

Scarecrow- Wow, you spent two days reading my story?! I'm so honored! Thank you so much! And you also like Hopeless Despair? Wow, you're so awesome! Thanks so much for the flattering comments, I'm blushing like mad here! I am so happy that I made the characters as you imagined them! I really hope you like the ending! Thank you again, mellon nin!

IcyLeo- I am so so so so so sorry for such a late update! I know, I am horrible to make everyone wait so long. But school has started, and I have been so busy, not to mention had terrible Writer's Block. Thank you so much for the flattering compliments, though! It makes me feel so wonderful to read your review, I'm so glad that you like this story so much! I hope you're still reading and I hope you like the end! Thanks so much for the great review!

Frodo1512- Thanks so much for reviewing! I hope you like this chapter! This isn't exactly soon, but it was hard for me to even find any time to write this. I am just so busy! Have fun reading! Thanks!

Shauna- It's perfectly alright that you didn't review in a while, I'm just so gad to hear from you again! You snuck out when you weren't supposed to and read my story? That makes me feel so good, LOL! You are great at making predictions! I wonder if you have predicted what will happen in the end! Sorry if it's totally obvious. I am so sorry for the late update, I don't want you to die of suspense! I really hope you like the ending and thanks so much for all the great reviews you've submitted! Thanks!

Freddy'sGirl01- Yeah, very depressing. Sacrificed Hope has been a great way for me to get all my anger out, via the poor characters, LOL. Thanks so much for the compliments, and thanks for that typo, I hate it when I miss obvious stuff like that! And yeah, I answered your questions in IM. But if you have any more, feel free to ask! Hope you like the ending and the sequel preview! See you at school, that horrid place. Thanks again for the great review, mellon nin!

Elenlor Edhelen- Wow, I'd love to read those unpublished stories! LOL, they sound awesome! I am so glad that you liked this story and really really hope you will like the ending! Thanks so much for the wonderful review!

Kitsune Kida- I am so glad you have loved this story! I hope this wasn't too late of an update. I really hope you enjoy the ending! Yes, there's definitely going to be a sequel. I will never stop writing! I hope you enjoy the preview and I hope to see you at that story! Thanks so much for the wonderful review!

Joslin- Hmm, Estel might not want to forgive Legolas, after everything that happened. But maybe he will! Just scroll down to see, LOL! I'm so sorry for the late update! Thanks so much for the wonderful review, I really hope you like the ending! Thanks!

DeepBlueSomething- Yep, Estel just made Legolas feel even more horrible, if that was even possible. Just keep reading to see if they forgive each other! Yeah, the twins are worse off than Legolas and the antidote isn't working… I really really hope you like the ending! Thanks so much for the wonderful review!

Hp-Azn- Heehee, I'm so glad that you like my story! Thanks so much for all the wonderful reviews you've left me! They make me feel so good! I really hope you like this ending, I'm so nervous of what people's reaction will be. Thanks again, mellon nin!

Gozilla- Just keep reading to find out if this will have a happy ending. It took me a while to decide if I should or not…I hope you like my decision! Thanks so much for reviewing, I really hope you like this chapter!

Arayelle Lynn- Yeah, no one should be blamed, but if someone has to, it would be Legolas. Just scroll down to see if Estel forgives him! Heehee, Legolas doing something stupid, makes me think of Pirates of the Caribbean with Will always doing something stupid. Hm, never thought about Elrond's Ring, as I don't have a clue what it can do. But I had a certain way I wanted this to end, sorry. I hope you like it! If you really need an elven sacrifice, I guess you can use Legolas, LOL. Thanks so much for the great review, mellon nin!

Frodo's Sweetheart- Aw, you love this story? That makes me feel so great, thank you! Just keep reading to find out if I really do kill the twins and if Estel forgives Legolas. I hope you like how it ends! Thanks so much for the wonderful review!

spanishgoddess86- Wow, you read this story in one day? Thanks so much! It makes me feel so good! I love that you are enjoying this story! I really hope that you also like the ending! Thank you again for the great review!

jacquelinestel- "Most wonderfully depressing chappie of any story I have ever read"?! Really?! Yay, that makes me feel so awesome! LOL! I love writing angst, but never think that I do it that well. Heehee, I hope your laptop doesn't explode! Mine has been randomly shutting down though, evil machine. I am so glad that you have been enjoying this story and am so honored to get reviews from you! I really hope this last chapter doesn't disappoint! Thanks again for the wonderful review, mellon nin!

Warrior Elf- (Hands you a tissue) Sorry to make you cry, mellon nin. I'm glad you like the angst! I still need to reply to your e-mail! I am such a horrible procrastinator, sorry. Thanks so much for the sweet review and I so hope you like the ending of the story!

ringmarciel- Heehee, you must have loads more time than me. Oh, I've done that before, reading the wrong chapter and getting so confused! LOL! You think I will kill the twins? Maybe…but maybe not. Just scroll down to find out! And there's a preview for a sequel too! Thanks so much for the fantastic review, I really hope you like ending!

EnglishMystic- This wasn't soon, but I really hope you like it anyway! Thanks so much for reviewing!

a lurker- Um, sorry mellon nin, but you're the only reader so far that wants Legolas dead…LOL, I don't mind, though! Just keep reading to find out if I do! If I don't, I'm sorry. Estel killing Legolas would be quite a dramatic ending… And sorry that this update is so late, but I hope you still enjoy my conclusion! Thanks so much for the wonderful and entertaining review!

Zammy- The twins could die if I want them to, it's my story…but keep reading to see if I actually do! I hope you like my choice! Thanks for reviewing!

Kelly Kragen- Yeah, Estel feels so horrible and doesn't want to think about it possibly being his fault, so is blaming Legolas. And yeah, Estel is far closer to Elladan and Elrohir than Legolas so would much rather lose the Mirkwood Prince than the twins. Heehee, don't worry, there's going to be a sequel. It's okay that you only review this fic, I totally understand being busy. If you like twins though and have a few minutes, though, Hopeless Despair is super short. LOL, I almost never got around to writing this chapter, I never have any time! I am so nervous to see how this chapter compares to the rest of the story, I hope it doesn't disappoint! Thanks so much for the wonderful review, mellon nin!

Pernauriel- Thanks! I'm so glad that you have enjoyed reading about Legolas and Estel! I hope you also like this chapter! Thanks for reviewing!

SivanShemesh- I'm so glad you like this story! And don't worry, it's not really ending, 'cause there is a sequel! Thanks so so much for the wonderful compliments, I hope you like the ending! Thanks again, mellon nin!

Lord Elrond of Hogwarts- But what if Shadow is in a bad mood and just happens to kill the twins off? Just wait and see if I do! They're my favorite characters, but twin angst is so much fun! Jus scroll down to find out if there is a happy ending! Yes, I took three weeks, I'm so sorry. Hey! I like Lerienion! He's not that bad of a guy, just made some bad choices. But to each their own opinion. Thanks so so so much for the fantastic review, I hope you like the ending!

Legolas-Aragorn-r-hot- Aw, puppy eyes! But puppy eyes won't stop me from killing the twins if that's what I choose to do! Heehee, I really hope you like the ending, though… Yeah, Legolas thinks it's all his fault. And if you had to put the blame on somebody, it kinda would be his fault… And Estel is very bitter right now. Thanks for the awesome review, hope you like the conclusion and the preview for a sequel! Thanks so much for reviewing!

galadriel evenstar- Heehee, just keep reading. The healers and Elrond have tried everything they could so far… Hope you like how it ends! Thanks so much for this review and all the other great reviews you've submitted for this story!

Arienis- (Hands tissue box) I don't know if this chapter will make you cry, but just in case. Heehee, Estel's just so upset, he's a little boy who's been through so much and now his brothers are going to die. He's quite a bit stressed out and taking it out and Legolas, who is also close to having a breakdown. Thanks so much for reviewing and I really hope you like this chapter!

Mornflower- Aw, I almost made you cry? Wow, I'm glad my story is that intense! Don't worry mellon nin, the horses are fine. And there might be somewhat of a happy ending, just keep reading! I hope you like it and thanks again for the wonderful review!

Deana- Hope you like the last chapter! Thank you so much for reviewing!

crazyrabidfangurl01- Calm down, mellon nin, there might be somewhat of a happy ending, you never know! (hands tissue box over) I don't know if you'll be crying in this chapter, but just in case! Thanks so much for the wonderful review, I really hope you like the end of the story!

Linuvial Greenleaf- I did not kill them yet mellon nin! Don't jump to conclusions, you never know what I might feel like doing at the last minute. There might be a happy ending after all! Doubtful, but there's always a chance! Heehee, Kill Bill. Never seen the second one, but I can see how I commercial might be creepy. It's a very, erm, interesting movie. Lots of blood… LOL, though my fanfictions have loads of blood too. But not that much. Heehee, Legolas and Estel are a little bitter towards each other right now, not exactly the best friends we see in your brilliant stories. (Plays the song 'Why Can't We Be Friends?) Uh-oh, I'm rambling now. Anyways, thanks so much for reviewing and being such a great friend to talk to! Getting compliments from a famous writer like you always makes me feel so great! Hannon lle, mellon nin!

Chapter 25: Fighting

Legolas stared at the poor child with unbelievable regret and sorrow. When he had met the boy, shyly hiding behind Elrohir, his bright grey-blue eyes had sparkled with eagerness and innocence. He was jubilant and so willing to go on a fun ride with the elf prince.

But he would never be that way again. He had lost all the joys and wonder of childhood. He was jaded, cynical, and scarred for life. He no longer bore the childlike wonder of the wide world. He would never play-fight with toy weapons or chatter on about fighting 'mean ugly orcs'. He would never be the same.

'A child should never have to experience what Estel has…'

"Estel…" he whispered softly.

"Leave me alone." The boy hissed, not lifting his head. "Go away."

"Estel please listen to me." Legolas pleaded. "I did not mean to send you away like that, I did not mean what I said. The poison was controlling me and I did not know what I was doing…"

"You wouldn't have had the poison if you had only told someone about it earlier!" Estel snapped.

"I was doing it because I didn't want to be a bother! I almost got you killed, I didn't want to harm your family even more! I know it was foolish-"

"It wasn't foolish!" The human cried, turning to face the prince. "It was far more than that! It was idiotic! It was brainless!" His voice was choked with tears.

Legolas leaned against the closed door and bowed his head. "I know." He said softly. "I know…"

Estel didn't respond at first. "Do you think 'Dan and 'Ro will be alright?" he managed through tears. "I heard that you and them have gotten hurt loads of times but you're always alright even when everyone says you won't be…"

Legolas felt a flicker of hope spark within him. It was true, they always did make it. Against the odds, defying what seemed possible.

But it just didn't seem that way this time. This time, it just seemed…

"I don't know, Estel." He whispered weakly. "Your father said…I just really don't know. I…" he closed his eyes and took a shaky breath. "I want with all my heart for them to be alright, but I just really don't see how that could happen…"

There was silence for a moment. "Did you know that last week, I turned eight years old?" Estel asked.

Legolas hesitated before shaking his head. Elves didn't really celebrate one's day of birth because the Firstborn had so many. But to mortals, he had heard that they were quite important.

Tears were once again welling up in the child's eyes and he took a deep, trembling breath. "'Dan and 'Ro promised to take me on a week-long horseback ride when I turned eight. Every year, they've always done something special for me. They got me a bow, a sword…they…" he let out a shuddered sob and closed his eyes, tears leaking out. "Legolas," he whispered. "What you're saying is…Is that I'm never going to see them again, am I?"

The prince didn't respond, but stayed quiet and desolate.

The boy bowed his head again, resting it against his knees, and let out a soft whimper.

"Why are you so upset?" Legolas suddenly exclaimed. He couldn't hold it in, everything was just overwhelming him. "You knew them for eight years?! Less than a decade! They've been my best friends for centuries!"

Estel looked up, his expression not mad, but miserable and distraught. "Just because I'm not an elf like you doesn't mean I can't get close to someone! Just because I don't live that long doesn't mean anything! It's only been a short time to you, but to me they've been the only brothers, the only friends, I've ever had in my life! The only ones who would protect me when all the other elves treated me like dirt! I don't care how much you deny it, Legolas, I know that you think of me as inferior! You pity my race so you felt the need to protect me! You didn't want me hurt because Elladan and Elrohir were depending on you to protect me and you failed them!"

"It was not my fault what happened to you!!" Legolas cried desperately, though inside he knew it was.

"Oh, really?" The child alleged. He lost it, he lost control. "Was it not your choice where we went for our ride, right into orc territory? Did you not just watch as the orcs beat me? Did you not bring me to a forest full of spiders? Do you honestly not regret leaving me alone in that room for Roneinen to get to me? Do you think that it wasn't your fault that he took me to that cellar? Do you not regret finding me too late? Don't you think that it was indeed your fault that my brothers were left to fight off almost a hundred orcs by themselves? Do you not think that everything happening is your fault?! Do you-"

"BE QUIET!" Legolas hollered, grabbing the nearest item to him, a vase, and hurling it against the wall. He stepped forward, fists clenched, causing Estel to scramble backwards in fear.

"I know that this is all my fault!" The prince shouted as loud as he could manage. "I know that if I had told someone about the poison, everything would be fine right now! Do you want me to just die right now, Estel?! Would that make you feel better? Would that fix anything?"

Estel whimpered and slipped off the bed, staggering into the corner of the room.

"I've done everything wrong, Estel, I know that! Valar, you know that I didn't want any of this to happen! What do you want me to do? I feel guilty enough, I wish with all my heart that I could take their pain away in exchange for my own life! But I can't!"

The child slid to the ground, his face petrified.

"Do you know why I wasn't there when you woke up?" Legolas snapped. "Because I never wanted to see you again, I never wanted you to be hurt again! But, as you said, I failed! I failed at everything I tried, I failed everyone! I have seven deaths on my conscious right now, eating away at me! And soon to be nine! My best friends! If they die, Estel, don't expect any comfort from me, because I will not be here at all! I am not going to let myself live if they die because of my mistakes!"

"Why did you lie to me?" Estel managed softly.


"You told me you'd be my best friend. You told me you'd never leave. Why didn't you just tell me right when we met that you didn't want to be my friend?"

"You are right…" Legolas told him. "I didn't want to be your friend. And yes, because of your race. But not for the reason you think. I did not want to get close to you because I didn't want to have to deal with losing you in what would seem like an extremely short time. At first, I tried to ignore it. I wanted to be there for you, I wanted to be your friend. But as I grew closer to you, at the same time I wanted to never see you again. I do not want to have a mortal as a friend and deal with the grief when you pass."

"Can't you just give me a chance?" Estel whimpered. "Am I not worth a bit of pain? Wouldn't you still want a few decades or so of a great friendship with sorrow in the end?" He took a pause before continuing daringly. "Are you afraid of loss? Are you a coward?"

Legolas froze in disbelief. A coward? Was not wanting to experience pain cowardly? His mind drifted to his mother's gruesome death. Was it wrong to not want to experience something like that again?

He was quiet for a long while. Then he locked his sight with the boy, his blue eyes showing nothing but despair. "Maybe it would have worked," he whispered. "Maybe we could have been friends. Maybe we could have even been best friends. But that's not going to happen… It can't. There have been too many losses. Elladan and Elrohir are going to die, and you're going to grow up wondering what could have happened if I hadn't made the horrible decisions I did. And you are never going to see me again." He turned and left the room, Estel never seeing the tears rolling down his face.

Elrond closed his eyes in anguish. After his wife left, the twins had been so crushed. Elladan and Elrohir left for orc hunts constantly. They had been so miserable.

But ever so slowly, they returned to normal. They knew that they'd see their mother again some day. They were the only joy left in the Imladris lord's life. They were full of mischief and fun and always getting into trouble. They were the symbol of young happiness.

After all they'd been through, they couldn't leave, not now.

And he knew that if one left, both would. Their bond was far too strong to allow one to continue through life without the other.

He was full of regret. If he hadn't allowed the twins to leave a month ago, they never would have gotten so hurt. The antidote might have still gotten to Elrohir in time, and Elladan would be perfectly healthy to urge his brother to hold on.

But that hadn't happened. His two treasured sons lay dying.

He gently gripped one of Elrohir's limp, bandaged hands. But he knew that there was nothing he could do. Over the past three weeks he had forced all of his energy into them. The healers worked day and night to keep the twins alive. There was only so much they could do.

The twins had been through so much in their lives. They had gotten so many broken bones, poisoned so many times. And no matter what the healers believed, or the records of what elves had survived in the past, they always made it through. Sometimes easily, sometimes suffering for many months.

They could make it through this also…

He hoped.

Their breaths were so slow now, their skin so cold. And they lacked any movement, contrary to earlier in the week when they were writhing in pain.

He let out a shaky breath, watching helplessly.

His thoughts drifted to poor young Estel. The small human he loved as a son. Valar, the boy would never last without his older brothers.

And Legolas. The guilt the prince must be suffering…

With his free hand, he gently stroked Elladan's cool forehead, absently adjusting the bandage.

And he waited.

Suddenly, he felt it. Watching, frightened, he saw the twins' breath shudder, and their chests go still. He waited for them to rise again, but they didn't.

Pure darkness.

Elrohir had rarely experienced total darkness, for his elven glow always surrounded him, giving him a sense of protection and security. It was frightening when he first became aware of his surroundings in this strange world. The world the poison had created in his head, a world that was filled with the feeling of death.

He couldn't see anything, and was afraid to move from where he sat to feel around for any object nearby. He was too weak to even stand. He knew that this wasn't a real place, but he knew that there was a real chance that he would never get out of it.

And it was cold. So cold. He shivered violently, his teeth chattering. He had also rarely felt cold, as it didn't affect elves. But this world was so frigid, he could hardy move.

He was so exhausted, but didn't fall asleep. He had no idea how long he'd been in this horrible place. Once in a while he had tried to count the seconds that passed and add them into minutes, but soon lost count. It had been many days, he knew that much.

And he was only getting weaker. After being there for a short time, he involuntarily laid down on the ground, too tired to sit upright. And yet he found no sweet release of sleep, he could only lay there in loneliness.

He was so alone. He couldn't recall a time that he'd been away from Elladan for so long. Horrible worry ate away at him as he remembered that his twin had gotten hurt by the orcs. He tried to force down the terrible possibility that his brother could have died in the battle. He couldn't feel their link at all, but tried to tell himself that it was because he was so trapped in unconsciousness.

For now neither his hands nor arrow wounds hurt, he was just so tired. But he knew that if he woke up, there would be horrid pain. He tried so hard, but he couldn't fight back the darkness or cold.

He wasn't about to let go. Not while he still had strength, not while Elladan might be waiting for him to wake up.

"'Dan…" he whispered for what seemed like the thousandth time. He shut his eyes tightly but couldn't tell the difference from when they were open. It was still dark.

He felt colder now, if that was even possible. He felt so faded, so alone. He wanted his brother so badly.

He let out a slow sigh, and involuntarily felt awareness disappear as his spirit left.

But a sharp jerk made him gasp loudly. Pain. For the first time in the toxin's horrible universe, he felt pain. Valar, how horribly it hurt.

Looking around, he found himself still in the darkness and cold. Something had brought him back. Something wouldn't let his spirit drift.

He suddenly felt a strange feeling inside of him. A warm, comforting spark. He closed his eyes tightly, trying to concentrate on it, trying to make it last. He was so afraid that it would flicker and disappear.

He almost screamed in fear as something grabbed him. Afraid of what it might be… Death's grasp.

But it wasn't. They were soft hands, gently pulling him up into a sitting position by his shoulders.

Elrohir opened his eyes slowly, focusing on a faint glow just inches from him.

"'Dan?" he gasped.

Elladan smiled warmly, but his face was taught with lines of worry and exhaustion. Elrohir threw his arms around his twin and hugged him close, filled with incredible relief.

The older twin laughed softly, wrapping his arms tightly around his brother.

"How is it that you're here?" Elrohir asked him after getting over the shock and happiness. "Are you hurt? What happened in the orc battle?"

Elladan paused for a moment before pulling out of the embrace. "I wasn't hurt that badly in the battle…" he lied. "But after it, when I found you…you weren't moving." There were tears in his eyes. "You looked…dead. I was so scared. I…" He trailed off.

Elrohir waited, then his grey eyes widened. "You didn't!" he cried.

Elladan cast his eyes downward. "I took some of your poison." He confirmed softly.

The younger twin stared. "But…" he whispered in denial. "No…"

"It's alright-" Elladan tried to comfort him.

"No it's not!" Elrohir shouted, feeling exhaustion take over him as he yelled. "I don't want you hurt because of me! Why'd you do that?!"

The older twin cringed. "You know why, brother. You know that I can't watch you suffer. I can't lose you."

Elrohir knew that. He knew that he would have done the same. But still…he didn't want Elladan hurt.

He let out a soft noise like a whimper. "So you're trapped also?" he assumed.

Elladan half-shrugged. "Sort of. I've been trying to get to you for so long now. You faded much further than me, and I've been following you. I'm trying to get you back. You almost left, just a little while ago."

"I can't help it." The younger twin whispered. "I'm trying so hard, 'Dan, really I am. But, but it's just not working…"

"Listen, 'Ro." Elladan told him. "I'm stronger than you right now. I'm not as cold or tired, and I still have my glow. But since I've been trying to get to you, I've put my body in the same condition as you. If we don't get out of here now…we're lost forever."

"How do we get back?" Elrohir asked. He'd been trying ever since he got here with no success!

The elder twin sighed. "I'm not sure. But we have to. Legolas must be blaming himself, and I don't even want to think about what this must be doing to Estel. Just concentrate, just focus with all your heart on waking up. Fight the poison. Fight it." He took his brother's hand in his.

Elrohir nodded silently and closed his eyes as his twin did. As he had before, he willed his spirit to return to the real world, he urged his body to wake up. But nothing was happening.

Then he felt his link with Elladan strengthen, something else pulling him.

He let out a cry as his hands suddenly enveloped with pain and heard Elladan gasp beside him.

Elrohir felt his awareness dim, he couldn't concentrate any longer. He was so tired, and agony was ripping through his body. He released Elladan's hand and felt his soul drift.

This was it. They had passed. Still and motionless…

A tear rolled down Elrond's face as he stared at his son's bodies.

Elrohir suddenly jerked and sat upright, his eyes tightly closed, a heart-breaking scream escaping his mouth.

Elrond quickly grabbed his son's shoulders, both unbelievably relieved and horribly afraid.

The younger twin's eyes flew open, the grey orbs stunned and pained. The cry died on his lips and he looked around frantically. "'Dan?" he sobbed brokenly, trembling.

At the same time, Elladan was turning on the bed, moaning weakly. He opened his eyes slightly, groaning at the pain in his body.

Elrohir shuddered, looking like he was going to collapse again.

The Imladris lord gently eased his secondborn to lie back down gently. "Valar, you frightened me," He whispered, smiling in relief. His sons had done it. At the last minute, they beat the poison's grasp.

Elrohir whimpered softly.

The older twin managed a shaky smile. "I told you it would hurt," he mumbled.

His brother mirrored the grin weakly. "Thank you," he breathed. He knew that it was Elladan who had brought him back.

"You won the fight." Elladan told him softly. "You beat it."

"Ion nin," Elrond said gently to Elrohir, who he could tell was the worst off of his sons. He poured a light-colored liquid into a glass and held it to the younger twin's mouth. Elrohir swallowed it without protest, and sank back against the pillows with a faint sigh, closing his eyes.

Elladan draped his arm over his brother as Elrohir lost consciousness and fell into a normal dream world.

"What happened, Ada?" The older twin asked. "How long have we been asleep? Is everything alright?"

Elrond helped his son also take a drink from the glass, then set it on the bedside table. "You were found with your brother in the forest, barely alive, three weeks ago. I had an antidote made almost immediately, but it didn't affect you. Within a week, Legolas' poison had clearly left his body, but you and Elrohir were showing no signs of healing. You only got worse. Many times the healers and I had to stabilize you two when the poison took control. You gave me quite a scare…again."

"Thank you, Ada." Elladan managed. He could see how tired his father looked, it was clear that everyone had made a great effort to save him and Elrohir.

He glanced down at his brother, who was oblivious to the conversation. His breaths came slow and smooth, a small smile on his face as he slept peacefully. Elladan grinned at him before his eyelids involuntarily fluttered shut and he sighed softly, also falling asleep.

Elrond smiled down at his sons, absolute relief flooding through him. He whispered a silent thank you to the Valar before kissing each of his son's brows and standing up.

Everyone most certainly would want to hear that the brothers were alright.

Legolas froze in the middle of the hallway and felt his throat tighten. Confusion took him…that sounded like one of the twins!

He didn't know what to think. He felt his heart race and his breath quicken, horrible thoughts overwhelming him.

Seeing Elrond open their door, he immediately rushed up to him.

"Lord Elrond," he began shakily. "What's happening? Are they alright?"

The elf lord smiled warmly. "As has happened so many times in the past, they have defied what I, and everyone else, believed would happen. Fear not, Legolas. They are asleep, but you may go in and see them."

Legolas nodded in disbelief as he entered the room and walked up to his friends. They were silent and still, but the room held a much calmer, soothing feeling. He sat down at the chair and tried to calm his adrenaline.

'Thank you…' He thought. 'Thank you so much…'

Elladan shifted slightly and his eyes opened a crack, looking at the prince tiredly.

"Legolas?" he whispered weakly, blinking a few times and stifling a yawn. He desperately wanted more sleep, but hadn't seen his friend in such a long time.

The blonde elf didn't say anything, feeling tears burn his eyes.

The older twin glanced over at Elrohir, who was still sleeping, and sat up a bit.

"Hello, mellon nin." He said, his voice tired but cheerful. "How are you? Ada said that you are free from the poison?"

"Yes." Legolas managed softly.

"Good… Is something wrong?" Elladan asked, concerned.

Legolas shook his head. "No, I… I was just really worried."

"About us?"

"Yes. Elrond…he said you were going to die."

Elladan grinned broadly. "Mellon nin, you know how many times that has been said. It never happens!"

"But it was different this time." Legolas whispered. "It was my fault, and it really looked like you weren't going to make it. You went through so much pain…"

"Legolas, don't blame yourself!" Elladan admonished. "It's over now, just forget about it."

The prince just bowed his head sadly. "Estel is very scared about you two." He told him.

Elladan's grey eyes widened in concern. "I have to see him!" he exclaimed, struggling to sit up.

"NO!" Legolas cried, causing the older twin to jump at the volume. "You can't get out of bed!"

He rolled his eyes. "As if you never have, Legolas?"

"Please don't." The blonde elf pleaded. "Please, I don't want you hurt again."

"Alright…" Elladan agreed slowly. He could tell that the prince was really shaken up over what had happened, though he wasn't sure why. As a threesome, they had gotten into all sorts of battles and gotten hurt so often, and Legolas rarely seemed so troubled. "Could you bring Estel here? I don't want him to be needlessly worrying."

Legolas froze. Estel probably wouldn't speak to him. But he couldn't tell Elladan that! "Alright," he answered slowly, standing up.

"Thank you." The older twin told him as he reached the doorframe.

Legolas smiled, "I'm so glad you're alright." He whispered as he left.

The prince softly knocked on Estel's door. He could hear the child crying softly inside.

"Estel," he called. "Come to the healing room, your brothers want to see you."

There was total silence, and then he could hear footsteps towards the door.

Legolas turned quickly and headed down the hallway, back to his room.

Estel reached the healing room, running as fast as he could through the doorway.

"Little one, it's great to see you." Elladan happily told him.

"'DAN!" Estel yelled, racing forward and throwing himself onto the bed, into his oldest brother's arms.

Elladan groaned inwardly as his wounds were pressed against, yet said nothing. Elrohir, however, felt his twin's pain and opened his eyes slowly.

"Estel!" he exclaimed softly, sitting up. "How are you, little brother?"

The child had tears in his eyes as he clung to Elladan, shaking as he suppressed sobs.

"Estel, what is wrong?" Elrohir asked worriedly.

"I was so scared!" The boy whimpered, closing his eyes tightly and nuzzling against Elladan's long dark hair. "I thought you were going to leave me!"

"Shh," Elladan soothed. "It's alright, we're not going anywhere."

Estel cried softly, hugging his brother close. "I was scared." He repeated. "I missed you so so so much!"

Elladan laughed lightly, trying to return the tight hug without putting pressure on his hands. Then a thought struck him, remembering how long his father said they'd been asleep for. He glanced at Elrohir, who was thinking the same thing.

"I am sorry we didn't get to go on the ride with you." The younger twin sighed.

"It's alright." Estel whispered, inwardly glad that they had even remembered. He closed his eyes tightly and savored Elladan's grasp.

"We will do it later, when 'Ro and I feel better, alright?" The elder brother told him.

"Thank you." The boy mumbled, barely coherent. "…I missed you."

Elladan gently wrapped the little human in one of the many blankets and set him comfortably in the chair beside the bed. Estel sighed softly, fast asleep.

The older twin turned to Elrohir, who looked extremely weak. "How do you feel?"

"Tired, and really sore." His twin admitted with a yawn. "You?"

"Same." Elladan answered.

"Legolas and Estel are very depressed," The older twin noted. "We frightened them a lot."

Elrohir grinned. "Then I think we should cheer them up."

Elladan nodded and lay back against the pillows next to his twin. His eyelids felt heavy, his limbs tingled with weariness, and his hands were burning painfully. He was sure that Elrohir felt even worse.

"I am glad you are alright, 'Ro," he whispered quietly, though his twin was already asleep again. He lightly set his hand over his brother's and felt his mind dim.

Two weeks passed quickly. Legolas rarely visited the twins, as his guilt still hurt him badly. Though he was so relived that they had made it, he wanted to embrace them and tell them that they were his best friends and he never wanted to come so close to losing them again.

But he never did.

Estel, on the other hand, rarely left the room. He never wanted to leave his beloved brothers' sides. Though he never said much, there was obviously something bothering him.

Elladan and Elrohir were asleep for most of the fifteen days, still horribly drained from the toxin. They were tired and weak, and their hands were still terribly damaged. When they awoke, once every few days, they always begged and pleaded to get out of bed. They were never allowed to.

They scarcely seemed affected by their near-death experience, unlike everyone else close to them.

Legolas sighed softly as he slipped on his long green robes for the Feast of Tuilë that evening. He heard that the twins would be allowed to leave their rooms that day and attend the meal. Elladan had gotten his hands unwrapped the day before, but Elrohir's would likely be handicapped for up to two more months. Both twins' hands would be tender and painful for a very long time.

The prince braided the side of his long hair without even thinking about it, his trained fingers moving in the same way as they did so often.

He turned abruptly when he felt someone enter the room.

"You are worried about your friends, Greenleaf," came the calm, familiar voice.

"Ays, Ada." Legolas said softly, setting down the comb.

"You do not want to see the human boy." Thranduil continued.

Legolas sighed, agitated. "Again, yes." He answered.

"I do not understand why, ion nin." The king told his son. "A few months ago, you two were so close."

"Recent events have made a friendship difficult." Legolas hissed.

Thranduil sighed sadly.

The prince ignored him, absently fingering the folds of his outfit. "I hate these clothes." He muttered.

The older elf smiled and set his hand on his son's shoulder. "And I believe you are forgetting something…"

With an exasperated sigh, Legolas took the thin silver circlet off of the desk and set it over his head. "I don't like it." He mumbled again.

"You stopped complaining about your royal attire centuries ago, Legolas." Thranduil remarked. "Something else is bothering you. I'm your father, ion nin, I can tell."

"It's nothing, really." Legolas replied.

"Elladan and Elrohir will be well." Thranduil assured him. "They will probably be playing pranks again any day now."

Legolas shook his head with a small smile. "I doubt it, Ada."

Elladan and Elrohir stood in the doorway of the kitchens. A young, fair-haired elf maiden walked out, carrying a stack of plates to the dinning room.

"My lady," Elladan announced, grinning charmingly. "May I help you with those?"

She looked up at him uncertainly, an unsure frown touching her lips. "M-my lord," she whispered. "Nay, this is my job. You are injured, I need no help."

"I am perfectly fine," The older twin assured. "Our father is very protective over us right now, and we are bored. I would love to help you carry something, really."

The she-elf blushed, and shifted her feet. She stared into the Peredhil's sparkling grey eyes and giggled. "Alright," she managed. "There's a stack of silverware in the kitchen."

"Thank you so much, my lady." Elladan told her kindly.

She nodded and continued off with a shy smile.

Elladan glanced at his brother.

"Perfect." Elrohir said with a bright smile. "Have fun."

His twin grinned and headed into the room.

That night, Elladan pulled the chair out for his brother as they sat down for the Feast of Tuilë. Elrohir nodded gratefully.

Estel slipped into his chair silently between the older twin and his father.

"Are you alright?" His oldest brother asked, seeing how forlorn the boy looked, even more than the past couple weeks.

The mortal nodded quickly, managing a slight smile.

The twins looked nervously at each other. Estel knew that they were almost fully healed, so what was the matter?

"Estel," Elrohir whispered, leaning over so no one else could hear. "I am sorry that it is going to be a while before our ride, but do you want to see something funny?"

The boy looked at him quizzically and nodded.

The younger twin pointed over discreetly to where Legolas was sitting near the front of the table, next to Thranduil. The young blonde elf looked depressed and quiet, picking up his fork and absently poking at the food on his plate.

"Keep watching…" Elladan told him.

Estel stared for a while…

The prince stopped touching the food and set his hand on the table, his face became confused as he shook the silverware slightly.

The boy gasped. It was stuck to him!

Legolas flushed and set his hands in his lap, obviously trying to pry the utensil off of his fingers. He glanced over at the Peredhil twins and was not surprised to see them looking down, shaking as they obviously tried to stifle their laughter.

"Legolas, are you alright?" Thranduil asked, glancing at his son.

The prince hid his hands further under the table, out of sight of his father, face growing even redder. "Yes, Ada," he managed. "I'm fine."

After a few minutes, he was sure that it would become suspicious that he was not eating. Slowly, looking around fearfully for someone who might see his problem, he continued to eat his dinner, never once setting down his fork.

Elladan and Elrohir greeted Legolas at his bedroom doorway with bright smiles after the feast.

"Eat well?" They asked together.

Legolas glared. "This is not funny." He hissed, his right hand hidden in the folds of his robe.

"Lighten up, mellon nin." Elladan laughed.

"It will come off in less than half an hour." Elrohir finished.

The prince sighed and a slight smile involuntarily touched his lips.

But Valar, the twins acted like nothing had happened!

'Is that a bad thing…? Is it not good for them to just get over it and on with their life? Why can't I do that?'

"Legolas…" Elrohir asked softly, seeing the far-away look in his friend's eyes. "Are you alright?"

The prince shook his head slightly. "No…" he answered.

The twins glanced nervously at each other.

"What?" Elladan questioned.

"I just can't let this go." Legolas said softly. "I just can't pretend like nothing happened!"

"Why not?" Elrohir inquired. "We're going to be alright, you're alright, and Estel is alright. The pain is over, we can move on."

"But we were not the only ones harmed!" the blonde elf exclaimed. "Seven elves are dead! Kaemin, a loyal messenger that I knew for many decades. Sila, a young elf with so much to give to the world. And three brave soldiers that served Mirkwood in unfaltering dedication. I can't just forget that they are dead because of my choices!"

The Peredhil brothers cringed at his words. It was true, this was definitely worse than any of their other 'adventures'. There had never been such casualties.

"But…" Elladan whispered. "There's nothing you can do about it now. I know that it was horrible, everyone does. But you cannot change what happened. Lives are lost all the time, and every one is special and important. They may not be here any longer but they are happy, somewhere. No one benefits if you spend the rest of your life regretting the past. Let it go, mellon nin."

Elrohir lightly set his bandaged hand on the prince's shoulder. "Please, Legolas."

Legolas let out a long sigh. He knew that it would be hard to forget, but the twins were right. He was only harming himself and those around him by regretting things that couldn't be changed. "Alright…"

"And," Elladan added. "Please talk to Estel. You are angry with each other because you both were confused and afraid. But everything is alright now, there is nothing more to fear. After the warg battle, I saw how concerned you were for him. When we met you by that cellar, I could see how worried you were. And I know that he looks up to you. You could be great friends."

"I don't think so." Legolas said, shaking his head. "Your brother hates me!"

"He does not!" Elrohir quickly reprimanded. "Just talk to him."

The prince looked into his friends' eyes and sighed again. "How is it that you two can always convince me to do something? You say the same thing as everyone else, but you two…just make sense."

Elladan and Elrohir just laughed.

The twins led Legolas to where Estel had already gone to his room, the prince managing to pull the silverware off his fingers on the way. Elladan softly knocked on the door, then opened it without waiting for a response.

The boy was lying on his back on the bed, looking tired and worn-out. His little golden circlet his father had gotten for him lay discarded at his feet, the long flowing fabric of his small elfling robes draped carelessly about him.

"'Dan, 'Ro?" he asked, turning over slowly to look at his visitors. He saw Legolas and visibly cringed.

The three walked up, the prince trailing behind slightly, and sat on the edge of the mattress.

"Estel," Legolas whispered softly. "I'm sorry for everything I've done and said. I'm sorry I allowed you to go through pain, and I'm sorry that I caused your brothers to be poisoned. I am sorry for ever making you feel like being a human was a bad thing. I'm sorry for making false promises. I'm so sorry you got hurt…"

"I'm so sorry!" Estel interrupted, tears suddenly rolling down his face.

Elladan stifled a snicker at all the apologies, but no one noticed.

"What for?" Legolas asked incredulously.

The child sniffled. "I-I…I wanted you to have gotten hurt instead of the twins. I made you feel bad…"

Legolas wiped the tears out of the boy's eyes. "It is alright, little one," he assured. "It just shows how much you love your brothers."

"I made you feel bad." The child repeated.

"It's alright." Legolas repeated. "It's alright."

Estel snuggled closer to the elf prince. "I don't mind." He whispered. "Like 'Dan and 'Ro said, it's all over now."

Legolas' brow furrowed. "You can just forget everything that happened?"

"Yeah." The child responded simply. "Everybody's happy now."

The prince stared at him for a while. It seemed that perhaps Estel was hiding what he truly felt, pretending that it was all over. Inside, he probably was still scared of the Mirkwood elves and going anywhere that might have spiders or orcs. He probably still resented Legolas for causing Elladan and Elrohir pain. He definitely had had his childhood shattered. His hope gone.

And Legolas felt the same way. He still felt so guilty for Estel getting hurt by the orcs and Roneinen, and for the twins coming so close to leaving Middle Earth forever. He still had the deaths in his mind, regret eating away at him. He still didn't want to get close to Estel and then lose him. He would never be the same. He would always remember the words that were said.

But he had let it go, or at least try to, pretend to. He would force the memories to the back of his mind and simply focus only on making the time he had left as wonderful as it could be.

"Are you happy, Legolas?" Estel asked after the elf was quiet for a while.

Legolas smiled, looking genuine. "Yes, yes I am now."

Estel grinned, then hesitated. "Legolas…" he began.


The boy looked nervous as he continued. "Do you still want to be my friend? Even though I'm going to die before you?"

"Of course." Legolas answered immediately, hugging the child close. "Of course." It would cause him pain, he was sure of it, but it was worth it to experience a great friendship…

Estel smiled brightly, looking surprisingly as he had when Legolas told him, many months ago, that they would go on a ride while the twins were gone. His grey-blue eyes glowing with happiness…

Legolas stood up, holding the boy close. He glanced at the twins, who were looking delighted.

"Hannon lle," he whispered.

A Firstborn walked slowly through the Halls of Mandos. He glanced around, his bright blue eyes obviously searching for something.

Finally, a form appeared in the distance. An expression crossed his face for a moment, of brief reluctance and sadness at seeing another dead. Then it broadened into a wide smile of recognition and he raced forward.

Roneinen threw his arms around his brother, his best friend.

"I missed you, little brother." Lerienion whispered fondly, stroking his sibling's soft blonde hair and hugging him close.

A choked whimper escaped the smaller elf as he closed his eyes tightly, resting his forehead against his brother's chest. "I'm so sorry…" he sobbed quietly. "Leri, I'm so sorry. I don't know what I was doing! I can barely remember it! Brother, I was so horrible…"

"Shh," The elder brother reprimanded. "You were sick, little brother. Your mind was ill and it was not your fault. I should have seen it, Ron, when Ada died. I should have seen that you were too little to accept it. 'Twas not your fault you did those things."

"I made you kill!" he cried.

Lerienion felt guilt sting his heart. "You did not, little one." He whispered. "It was all my choice. It was wrong, what I did, but it is too late to change now. None of this was your fault."

Roneinen shook his head weakly. "I still feel so awful…" he mumbled. "I can't remember why I did it. I was so wrong…"

"It's over now," Lerienion whispered. "Forget about it, little brother. We're together now."

The younger brother sighed tearfully and nodded. Lerienion felt his heart warm looking at his sibling's face. Roneinen's eyes were no longer clouded with horrible grief and thirst for vengeance. His face was no longer pale and tired. He was once again just a fair young elf, smiling up at his brother.

"Let's go see Ada and Naneth," Roneinen said finally, gesturing into the distance.

Lerienion nodded happily, draping an arm around his little brother as they walked away. Finally calm, finally content, finally together. For the first time since their father's death, for the first time since they had been small elflings, they were happy again.

"Thank you Estel," he whispered softly.

He sighed and added to those who he had taken the lives of, "I'm so sorry."

Behind him, yet out of sight, stood a small group of elves. Kaemin, Sila, and three Mirkwood soldiers. They had all left behind a family, whom they missed with all their heart. But they had also been reunited with other friends that they never believed they would see again. Calm and forgiving, the five friends watched with smiles on their faces as the two brothers walked away. Through the haze, they could faintly make out a pair of taller elves greeting them in a tight embrace.

None of them had lost their life, just gained a new one.

They smiled in happiness at the family now finally reunited.

It had all happened for a reason. Even if it was not yet clear exactly why they had left Middle Earth, they understood. The two brothers' family was together now, as Fate meant them to be.

And the friends smiled at each other as they too walked away.

Looking down at their former home, they did not feel homesick or sad. They grinned down at four beings.

Two inseparable elves that brought joy wherever they went, their spirits so strong, linked together forever.

An elf prince of unbelievable kindness and loyalty, yet deep sorrow and suffering that he suppressed painfully.

And a small boy with a future beyond his most imaginative dreams.

It was clear that there were great things in the future for Legolas and Estel. There would definitely be more hard times, and undoubtedly more wrong choices that they'd regret with all their heart. But through time, a strong friendship would be formed. The elf prince and human child would grow to be friends. Perhaps even best friends.

And of course, Elladan and Elrohir wouldn't let them have their adventures by themselves. The four might even form a bond so close, it wouldn't be able to be broken…

Even by death.

The End of 'Sacrificed Hope'

Yeah yeah, a mostly happy ending. I really hope you liked it! Sorry if it was too unbelievable or mushy, but I just didn't feel like killing any main character in this story. But look out in my next one… Please don't get the impression that I'm going to be one of those people that makes the characters go through so much and always get out of it alright. Just keep reading my stories, I won't always be as nice as I was in this one…

Preview for 'Dream's Deadly Allure'

Legolas rested his face in his hands, trying to control the sobs threatening to overcome him, swallowing the lump in his throat repeatedly.

'Oh Valar…Valar, what have I done? Why is this happening? What if I was wrong in my choice? What if…'

Five years ago, he had blamed himself for the terrible incident in which his best friends had almost died. Everyone had tried to convince him at that time that it wasn't his fault, just a horrible twist of Fate. In the end, everything had been resolved.

But now, there was no way to take this back. No way to take back what he had done.

And it had not been an accident.

He shuddered as he remembered his friend's pained cry as he fell to the ground.

He cringed as he remembered the other Peredhil's horrified expression and cold grey orbs when it was found out what had happened to his brother.

Legolas had made the choice. He had known what he was doing, and felt no regret when it was over. He believed that doing that one thing would solve everything else.

But now, doubt was creeping over him. He felt like he had made a horrible mistake…

He closed his eyes and a single tear rolled down his face.

Suddenly, the door opened. He sat up and stared into the unforgiving eyes of the Imladris lord. His breath hitched and he could feel his heart racing in horror.

He didn't have to even wait for Elrond to talk. He could tell immediately that the healers had failed…one of the sons of Elrond was dead.

At the Prince of Mirkwood's hand.

What do you think?

PLEASE review! I know that there are people out there that have been reading this story but never left one. I hope I'm not sounding greedy, it's just that I really want to see what you all have thought of it! Just a short little anonymous comment would be fine! I will respond to them all in the first chapter of 'Dream's Deadly Allure'. And even if you don't review, I still love you all for taking your time to read my story! Thanks so much!


Peace and Love,