Summary : Someone is abusing little Legolas, and the prince is too scared to tell anyone.

Hello, everyone. Miss me? Well, miss me no more. I'm baaaaaaaaaaack! I know I've told you I'll return on November, but I suddenly found a breather in my schedule.

Okay, guys. This next story deals with a scenario that is not so strange in our society nowadays; child abuse. In this story, Legolas was still a child (equivalent to human's five-year-old). Somebody was abusing him, but no blood was involved because I don't want to introduce the red-liquid-of-life to the innocent Legolas just yet (He was going to bleed a huge amount of it when he got older. He! He!) So enjoy this one and remember that children are also human beings, not the punching bags to release our tension or temper.

Thank you to Aranel Of Mirkwood and Fire Breathing Ferret for suggesting this idea to me. This fic is for you.

P/S : Just to let you all know, I got the inspiration for the character of child-Legolas from my own 2-year old nephew who is a cross between Tarzan and Power Ranger and Spiderman and Tazmanian Devil, God help me!!!!

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"LEGOLAS!!!"

The golden-haired elfling heard his name being called. But instead of answering, he grabbed the branch above him and climbed up higher into the tree.

"Legolas!" Came Keldarion's yell once more. He ran a hand through his wind-tousled raven hair, sighing in exasperation while doing so. "I know you're up there, brat! I want you to come down right now, do you hear me?!"

The youngest child of King Thranduil shook his head vehemently. "If you want me, come and get me!"

Crown Prince Keldarion narrowed his eyes as he stared at the tree. He could see his brother's shadow moving about on the top branches, trying to get as far away from him as possible. Hmm…coaxing him will do no good. Let's try a different tactic then, he thought. "Fine! Stay there! Meanwhile, I'll go get Big-Worm and set him free!"

That got some reaction from the elfling above. "No, wait! Alright, I'll come down!" Legolas cried out and quickly stepped onto the lower branches.

Keldarion smiled in victory. I knew it will work!

Legolas had been keeping 'Big-Worm', the garter snake, in a box in his chamber since he had found it in the garden a week ago. The little prince was hiding the harmless reptile from their father's knowledge, but Keldarion bet that the Mirkwood king already knew of his youngest child's latest mischief.

The elder prince cringed inwardly at his little brother's obsession with animals. All kinds of animals. Legolas always brought home strays as his pets, driving their father and the rest of Thranduil's household crazy with exasperation when the creatures were found loitering freely inside the palace. But Keldarion never faulted his brother for that because Legolas was a manyan, a mystical healer that had the ability to heal all kind of wounds and maladies just by his touch. At such young age, his power was great but his empathy towards helpless creatures was even greater. The manyan in him was his strength as well as his weakness, and the entire Mirkwood realm was very protective of the little prince, and more so after he had gotten lost in the Mirkwood dungeon a year ago.

Legolas was a very unpredictable and energetic child. Who knew what kind of troubles he would get himself into?

For someone so brave and fearless, he sure does not like taking a bath! Keldarion was laughing inside, thinking about his brother's current behavior. The elder prince had been trying for almost an hour to get his brother back to the palace for his evening bath after spending a full day in the surrounding woods. Dusk had already fallen, shrouding the realm in darkness that was penetrated by the light from the full moon and brightly lit stars above.

"Hurry up, brat! I don't have all day!" Keldarion said, closely watching Legolas' hasty descent.

"I'm coming! I'm coming!" Legolas then reached the lowest branch which was about ten feet off the ground. Without warning, he leaped down with a loud whoop.

Keldarion was ready though. He instantly caught his brother in his arms, laughing heartily. "Got you, brat!"

Giggling and shrieking, Legolas tried to wiggle out of Keldarion's embrace but the elder prince would not permit it. "Oh no, you don't!" Keldarion said, tightening his hold as he headed for the palace with his squirming burden. "You stay here until we get to the bathtub!"

"Aw, Kel!"

"Don't you 'Aw Kel' me! And that lost-puppy look won't work either!"

"Why do I need to take bath anyway? I had one this morning!" Legolas complained.

"Because you look like a street urchin that has been devoured by a balrog, that's why!" Keldarion grinned down at the elfling, noting the dirt smudged chubby cheeks and grass-stained tunic and leggings. Legolas' braids had long come undone, leaving the golden locks in wild disarray about his shoulders.

"I'm not an urchin! I'm a noble manyan prince!" Legolas protested, yanking at Keldarion's tiny braid.

Keldarion winced slightly. He gently pried Legolas' fingers away and kissed the tiny digits. "And quite a snobbish one too!"

Legolas pouted, but finally settled in content within his brother's arms.

Linden, the high Commander of the Mirkwood warriors, met them at the palace great door. "Ah…I see that you've found the missing urchin, your highness!"

The elfling glared at the Commander while Keldarion laughed. "See, brat? Even Linden thinks so too!"

 "Oh, yeah? Then I'll practice with my bow every day and be a sharpshooter so I can kill all the orcs and you'll be so scared of me you won't call me that again!" Legolas cried out, his silver eyes glittering dangerously.

Grinning even wider, Keldarion and Linden exchanged knowing looks. Here comes the famous temper!

"I'm scared already, your highness," Linden said, bowing at the prince apologetically. "I will assist you in your practice if you would let me."

Legolas nodded. "See that you do. I want to be the most fearsome prince in Middle Earth!"

The other two couldn't help it. They instantly broke into laughter. "But you already are, Legolas! You already are!"

Legolas glared at the amused elder elves. Seeing that the little prince might get seriously angry if they kept up with their mirth, Linden cut down his laughter and said to Keldarion instead, "Your Uncle Maeglin and his son have settled into their chambers. They will join dinner afterwards."

Frowning, Legolas tugged at Keldarion's sleeve. "Uncle Maeglin? Who is Uncle Maeglin?"

After a final nod at Linden, Keldarion resumed walking towards Legolas' chamber. "Uncle Maeglin is our mother's older brother."

Legolas was stunned. "Brother? Mother has a brother? Why didn't I know about this?"

"Because you were too young when he left Mirkwood," Keldarion explained, pushing open Legolas' door. He signaled to Niniéth, Legolas' nanny who had already prepared the bath water and was waiting for the little prince to appear. "I'll see to him, Niniéth. Thank you."

Niniéth smiled and bowed before she quietly exited the room.

"Why did he leave Mirkwood?"

"Who?" Keldarion had put Legolas down on the bed and was tugging at his brother's rumpled clothes.

"Uncle Maeglin. Why did he leave Mirkwood? Surely father will treat him good for he is the brother-in-law to the king, right?"

Keldarion smiled sadly as he ushered his brother into the tub. "When mother died, Maeglin was devastated. Except for Dior, his son, she was his only kin left. So he decided to leave this realm to roam Middle Earth with our cousin, to escape the painful reminder of our mother's memory."

"That's sad," Legolas said softly as he let his brother wash all the grimes and dirt off his body. "He must have loved her so much."

"He still does, elfling. But not as much as I love you," Keldarion replied with a smile, lathering his brother's hair with herbal-scented shampoo.

Legolas turned to Keldarion. "Really, Kel?"

Keldarion seriously nodded. "Yes, really."

Legolas' eyes suddenly shone with mischief. Keldarion saw it a little too late. The next thing he knew, a handful of water hit his face.

"Legolas!"

Laughing, the little prince splashed more water onto his brother, soaking the other prince to the skin.

"That does it!" Keldarion yelled in mock anger. "Now it's war, brother!"

Legolas shrieked when Keldarion counter-attacked, hitting him with one handful of water after another. Not long after, there were two very wet Mirkwood princes instead of one.

And they were very late for dinner.

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The princes are late! Dior son of Maeglin was seething. I just want to get this whole dinner thing over and done with but where in Mordor are they?!!

The young elf was tired and hungry and impatient. He couldn't wait to see Luthwen, the maiden he had left behind in Mirkwood 500 years ago to join his father's journey.

Truthfully, 'join' was not exactly the correct word. Maeglin had dragged his son along with him. Dior had resented his father's decision ever since but he had not the authority to say so. At the age of 1,800 years old, Dior was old enough to make his own decision but was still too young to be alone by himself.

Father doesn't trust me enough, Dior fumed, glaring silently at Maeglin who was talking with King Thranduil by the door to the dining hall as they waited for the two princes to appear. I'm not a little kid anymore! Blast him!

When Queen Marwana died, Maeglin had become a changed person. Dior had witnessed how his father seemed to age and withdraw, sinking deep into sorrow and depression for losing his beloved sister so abruptly. It was not long before Maeglin decided to leave Mirkwood to run away from her lingering presence, and to escape her memory that could clearly be seen on the face of her last child Prince Legolas, the baby she had died giving birth to. The prince had her features, each and every detail. Except for his shiny golden locks, Legolas looked exactly like her.

Now, Maeglin and Dior had returned to Mirkwood but not to stay for long. It was just a few days stop, much to Dior's great annoyance. They were on their way to the North and Maeglin had decided to visit Marwana's grave and tie up some loose ends concerning their old dwelling outside the palace grounds before moving on with their long journey.

Where in tarnation are they?! Dior was getting angrier by the minute. The later they are, the later I will be to see Luthwen!

At that exact moment, came the high sound of an elfling's cheerful laughter. The elfling himself appeared not long after, and was obviously being chased by a raven-haired young elf. Legolas instantly caught sight of Thranduil and headed directly towards the king, before launching up like an arrow into his father's startled arms. "Father!"

Hugging the little prince to him with a smile, Thranduil then raised his eyebrows questioningly at his eldest son, silently inquiring the reason for their tardiness.

"Water fight," Keldarion said shortly, grinning. "I lost." He indicated the fresh tunic he had changed into as the previous one was beyond repair. The king rolled his eyes and chuckled. "I'd have thought so."

Legolas had gone completely still as he stared at the other two strangers in silence. Maeglin was also staring at his nephew, marveling at the exquisite beauty of Thranduil's youngest child and the great resemblance to his dead sister.

"Legolas, this is Maeglin, your uncle," said Thranduil as introductions. "And that is Dior, his son, your cousin."

Legolas nodded back, a little shyly. "Hello, uncle."

Maeglin gave a sad smile, his eyes suspiciously bright with tears. "Hello, nephew," he replied, touching Legolas' smooth cheek. "You look just like your mother."

"I know." Legolas grinned innocently. "She always comes and visits me in my dreams."

Seeing the melancholic expression on Maeglin's face, Thranduil interjected, "Come. Dinner is cooling."

Finally! Dior was becoming more impatient by then, which was clearly evident from the way he audibly sighed in relief. Keldarion heard it and glanced at his cousin thoughtfully, silently assessing the other young elf walking beside him.

Dior was almost as tall as Keldarion, who at 1,500 years of age had quickly developed into a very matured adolescent. They both had the same raven-colored hair and their Silvan ancestors' lean muscles, but the kin resemblance stopped there. Keldarion's eyes were deep cobalt blue while Dior had dark brown eyes. Dior had pleasant enough features, while Keldarion was stunningly good looking with a smile always ready on his lips. The prince was frowning to see his cousin's grim expression, and wondered what had caused it.

They all followed the Mirkwood king into the grand dining hall. In one of those frequent affectionate displays, Thranduil threw Legolas into the air, eliciting a shriek and giggle from the little prince, and deftly caught his son. Then the king placed the elfling in the seat next to Keldarion's before he took his chair at the head of the table.

Dinner was a silent yet warm affair, apart from the slight tension emanating from Dior. Keldarion tried to strike a conversation with his cousin but after receiving only curt answers and half-hearted replies, the prince gave up. He then concentrated in helping his little brother with his meal instead. Legolas' cheerful incessant chatter was more enjoyable than the company of the dark and brooding Dior.

As the night grew on, so did Dior's contained fury.

TBC…….