A/N: Hello, just a short humour story that's been cooking ever since the morning after my dad's latest birthday bash. very amusing for observers who aren't hungover.

The Morning After and the Day That Follows.

The House of Elrond was quiet, almost too quiet.

Barely a sound could be heard all throughout the house, just the gentle swaying of the trees in the warm summer breeze and the distant sounds of the waterfall... it would almost have been suspicious, for never was one able to hear oneself think for more than a couple of minutes usually. It *would* almost have been suspicious, and Elrond would have been worried, had the reason for the blessed peacefulness not been so painfully well- known. The night before, there had been a tremendous celebration: Aragorn had reached seventeen years of age, a fine time in the young ranger's life. Much mirth and joy had sounded last night, music played to it's loudest, wine and ale flowing as though in waterfalls, feasts all over the realm... but sadly, those who had indulged excessively in the celebrations were feeling the full effects of it that morning and were reluctant to face the world again.

But the time had come to get those who suffered up and on with the day ahead: both Lord Elrond and Glorfindel had promised each other they would show no mercy to the four main indulgers, they could not be seen to go soft on the young elves and human... it would ruin all the regard they held for the two elder elves that Glorfindel and Elrond had worked so hard through their childhoods to build up.

Glorfindel, however, did think that the pact of strength he and his friend had sworn that morning might have been a little harsh. He couldn't quite believe himself for it, but he was having second thoughts about showing no mercy to those who had indulged as he looked upon the bed of one Legolas Greenleaf. All the elder elf could see of the young royal was a heap of coverlets and blankets tangled in a lump at the centre of the large bed, a couple of limbs and Legolas' golden hair. One single, pale foot and leg stuck out at an odd angle from said pile; there were two arms visible that were held in a strange vertical postion, crossed at the forearms and resting against the headboard, hands limp and pointing downwards; and masses of golden hair spread thickly in every direction from a hidden source beneath the masses of blankets, completely covering the pillows it lay upon.

The elder elf chuckled to himself; Legolas usually slept in such a tidy manner - the prince was a regular visitor at the House of Elrond, almost as though it were his second home - but this morning he was all arms and legs and hair! Glorfindel *did* regret what he had to do, but he had made the promise to Lord Elrond. With that encouraging thought in mind, he walked quietly towards the bed and pulled down the top blanket, exposing only the back of Legolas' head. "Legolas... Dian Las [Little Leaf], you must wake now. Breakfast is to be served in a moment or so."

He watched with quiet, considerate amusement as Legolas gradually woke up... to a certain extent at least. The prince shifted his fair head in an unconscious answer to Glorfindel's soft calls, but then flinched deeply and grimaced with the movement, a large and quite vicious headache gripping the sides of his skull suddenly for some reason. He burrowed his head deeper into the tops of his arms as all limbs were retracted into the warmth of the coverlet pile instinctively, as though he were protecting himself from some invisible foe. Glorfindel decided he would try once more - the prince was an aimiable being, and would surely rise when asked again. "Dian Las, breakfast is going to be on the table soon... do not worry or feel victimised - Estel, Elladan and Elrohir are all being treated the same way."

"Well that is some comfort, at least," came a groggy, muffled voice from under the piles and piles of blankets. Glorfindel chuckled, and watched as the Mirkwood elf slowly began to emerge from his warm haven. Legolas dragged himself labouriously upright till he sat unsteadily upon the side of the bed, head aimed unhappily at the floor with golden hair falling down over his slender shoulders to hide his face. His hunched figure and the dimness of the golden light he usually emanated being mere hints of how awful the prince was feeling. Legolas brought a hand shakily to the side of his head and, twisting his neck very gingerly, gazed unhappily at Glorfindel, green eyes bloodshot and raw-red. "Why was I allowed to drink so? Surely someone must've thought to stop me," his usually soft and melodious voice was hoarse.

Glorfindel smiled, "Well, both I and Lord Elrond were a little more concerned with the twins' behaviour - we know by now that you are usually respectable when under influences; you can hold your drink better than they can."

The young prince looked mildly horrified for a moment, ashen face transfixed, "Oh Valar, I didn't do anything embarrassing, did I?" He didn't think he would be able to stand it if he had made a fool of himself in front of Lord Elrond or any of the Rivendell folk, he hadn't yet, in all the long years he had visited and drunk in their household, and he saw no reason at all to start now.

The elder elf merely shook his fair head, "Nay, Dian Las, you did not - and it must be said that you are the one who is relied upon to bring back the other three in safe pieces when you get together... we couldn't have you losing your job, could we?"

"I am feeling rather undeserving of my job right now, if that is the case," Legolas groaned as he rubbed his eyes with the heel of his hand to stop the light cruelly burning them. He stumbled to his feet in the borrowed nightclothes of Elladan - the shirt and trousers were far too big, having been made for a broader elf and with him being slight anyhow - and trudged towards Glorfindel with his head still angled down to his bare feet. The elder elf just laughed aloud and clapped him on the back as the prince winced, and began to lead him towards the breakfasting room.

Breakfast in the House of Elrond was a perculiarly-familiar and informal affair - mostly everyone turned up still in their nightclothes; there was simply no need for formality between those who were almost family themselves.

The Lord of Rivendell himself, was at that moment quietly sipping tea and watching his three children - whom he had been forced to drag out of bed that morn. Elladan and Elrohir were unusually quiet and simply got on with eating their breakfast of hot-buttered toast, trying not to show the full effects of their tremendous headaches and slight queaziness. Both had their dark heads directed firmly at their plates, avoiding everyone else's eyes - even each other; both were decidedly the worst for the wear, but were a little too proud and embarrassed to show it. Aragorn, meanwhile, was rather happily tucking into a huge, fried breakfast, believing his old, distinctly- human notion that cooked meat dripping in animal fat was the best way to cure a hangover - though Elrond, perceptive more than most, could see that he was struggling not to wince with every clatter of his fork, his nightshirt's open neck slipping off one skinny shoulder.

Elrond, though he would never had admitted it aloud, had actually rather enjoyed forcing them all to get up and about that morning... he had found the twins slung over one bed, fully clothed, having collapsed the moment they reached their room the night before, and in the adjoining room had been Aragorn, curled up in a man-made nest of blankets, sore and still slightly damp head shielded from the rest of the world by his arms - he had eventually driven them upright, and was feeling rather pleased with himself.

The lord could not quite hide the amused smile that kept appearing on his face, hidden by his teacup.

A noise from across the room made everyone look up, the three younger beings a lot more gingerly than their father. In through the doors strode Glorfindel, a wide and tiumphant grin spread across his face, and behind him padded a very, *very* pale Legolas in clothing more than a few sizes too big for him. Elrond barely managed to keep the emotion of pity from his face; Legolas looked, in simple terms, like death warmed up... he seemed to be a lot more affected than the others for some reason.

Aragorn grinned weakly and a little shakily as his best friend sat down with a thud into one of the chairs, an unusual gracelessness present in the prince's actions - the prince did manage, through his torture, to greet Lord Elrond and ask of him that morning, his inherintly-polite nature shining through his awful appearence. They remained quiet for quite some time, each giving relief to the others.

"It is your own fault," Elrond stated without heed after a time of this silence, fixing each of the four with a deep-blue gaze in turn as he set down his teacup. "There is to be no sympathy coming to you from anyone in this household - you are to go about your business as usual." He hid another smile as the twins predictably groaned - for them, that meant lore- work in one of the huge libraries aided by Glorfindel, and although they usually enjoyed it, today it might just put them over the edge. Aragorn just nodded and sighed, shoveling another sausage into his mouth - for him, that meant healing tutorials with his father. But Elrond's sympathies were mostly with poor Legolas. In Mirkwood, where the guards and soldiers were of the most elite, highest standard - almost assasin-like in their trade - warriors in such skills took it upon themselves to train every day without fail. To be a Mirkwood warrior at all an elf had to be not only physically and mentally of the best, but they also had to be dedicated in their heart, for the sequences and training they put themselves through every single day pushed their bodies and minds to their ultimate limits. If it had been someone like Elrohir or Aragorn, Elrond would have simply expected them to skive off for the day, as they would have felt far too ill for the demanding exercises, but this was Legolas... and Elrond knew without a doubt that the prince would train as harshly today as he did every other.

He decided to change topics to a lighter one, "Would you not have some breakfast, Legolas?" he asked kindly, indicating the spread.

The prince looked vaguely sickened by the mere thought of food, face paling further and an expression of extreme faintness coming over his features. He shook his fair head politely, his voice soft and quaking a little, "Nay, my lord, I believe I shall skip breakfast today, thankyou."

Aragorn snorted into his fried egg suddenly, then winced, and when all looked at him he laid down his fork and waved his hands in front of him. "I'm sorry," he said, breathless with a wide grin adorning his features, "I just remembered the dance that Elladan did on top of the main table last night."

At this, the elder twin flushed a brilliant scarlet colour, and focused his attentions completely upon his buttered toast. A sly grin took over Legolas' face and he shared a twinkling glance with Aragorn. Even Glorfindel struggled in vain to keep the smile from his face. The dance had been *very* funny. Elrohir, however, rose to his brother's defence - something he would never have done usually, had he not been the one later the same evening to sing very loudly in a drunken and off-key tone. "Now, I believe we all did things last night we would not like to be reminded of this morn," he kept the image of himself singing at the top of his lungs whilst balancing a chair upon the palm of his hand completely from his mind. He carried on, voice hoarse and harsh, "Indeed, Estel, I seem to remember *you* falling into some sort of lake at one point... perhaps I was mistaken?"

Now it was Aragorn's turn to blush, but he glared back bravely at his brother, chest puffing out with indignation. He cleared his throat, "Fine, everyone did things they don't want to remember, can we forget about them now?"

"Actually," Legolas raised his hand quietly, "I don't think I did anything embarrassing."

This silenced the four companions immediately as they all thought back through their hazy recollections and scattered memories of the fragmented night before, frowning as their headaches increased when they concentrated. "You know," said Aragorn after a moment, "I don't think you did, either..."

"Yeah," said Elladan, recovering from his bought of embarrassment, complexion turning ghastly pale again, "how did you manage that, Legolas?"

Legolas grinned weakly, "Well, we Mirkwood elves can handle our drink better than any spoilt Rivendell folk or a man." It was a long running streak of pride that Legolas had inherited - he was fiercely protective of his home and his lineage, and if the manner of his blood or way of life could better any other, he was not one to disregard it, and would definately mention it.

Lord Elrond chuckled and cast a fond eye in the direction of the Mirkwood prince, who seemed to have only just realised he was sitting there. Legolas' brilliant green eyes widened in horror at his own insult, and he bowed his head respectfully as he stuttered, "M-my lord, forgive me... I-I, it slipped my mind that you... what I mean is- "

"Peace, Legolas," said the calm elven lord, raising one hand to halt the onslaught of apologies. He noticed Aragorn's wide, highly-amused grin from the corner of his eye, as the young man looked expectantly from his best friend to his father. This triggered an idea in the lord's mind.

Elrond let his hand fall, but the silence still kept in the air for a tense moment. Legolas' face was a picture of worry; Elrond's face had taken on the alarmingly stern expression it did of it's own accord when he was scolding one of his sons or was not best pleased about something. Then his features softened completely, and he laughed aloud at Legolas' expression. "It is a well known fact that Mirkwood elves are made of sterner stuff than us - you have to be, we are closed off from the majority of danger, whereas you live right in the thick of it. So, it is undeniable that you are able to hold alcohol with more ability than my foolish sons who do not know their limits. And we Rivendell folk fully accept that."

Legolas was so utterly relieved at the lord's response that he physically deflated in his chair. He brought a shaking hand to his clammy forehead, "Oh, thank the Valar. Thankyou, Lord Elrond."

"Not at all," Elrond replied easily with a humorous smile.

Aragorn snorted again, and just grinned widely when Legolas glared darkly at him, "You should have seen your face, mellon nin." And with that he began tucking into his fried breakfast again, ignoring the thumping on the inside of his skull.

Please review, there is more to come. this is just a lighthearted story, btw.