A Lesson Learned

Disclaimer: If you recognize them, then they aren't mine. I'm just playing with them, though rather roughly, but I will return them back in full health. Not sure about emotional well being after this…. Judge for yourself. :D

Summary: Aragorn is growing up in Imladris, having the normal mood swings and erratic behavior consistent with a human shedding their childlike innocence and becoming the adult they are meant to be. Unfortunately, Aragorn doesn't pay heed to advice and learns the hard way about counsel with his elders.

Characters: Estel Aragorn and Legolas mainly. But Elrond, Glorfindel and Erestor make their appearances.

Rating: I'll say PG to be safe… though if you are squeamish to mental pictures and vivid imagination, you may want to rethink reading this… its not exactly nice to Aragorn.

AN: This actually happened to a neighbor of mine, so this is taken from a 'real life' experience. I just thought it fun to put the LOTR characters in the situation, and Aragorn was the only one I could think of. Don't know if Elves react the same way as humans do and I wanted to be 'accurate'… as a fan fic writer could possibly be. :D OH, and to clarify, since Aragorn has Numenor blood in him, I figured he aged a bit slower than regular humans, afterall, his lifespan did exceed 'normal'.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell enjoyed his morning walks through his halls. The dawn's light cast shadows on the beautiful structures, the patterns of light and shadow dancing merrily before the aged elf's eyes. Many millennia the elf lord had walked his halls, though very little time showed upon his fair face. He sighed contently, his legs carrying him through a familiar route.

Passing by the library, he halted. A noise alerted him of someone's presence within the room, scuffling and mumbling beneath his breath. He smiled as he pushed open the large wooden doors. His eyes swept the room until they landed on the person he had heard, sitting in an overstuffed chair languidly, legs hanging over the arms.

"Fair morning, Estel," Elrond greeted his human son.

"Says who?" Estel muttered, frowning at the book propped up against his legs.

Elrond watched Estel for a moment, gauging the youth's reaction. Rarely had anyone spoke so rudely to him, not within his house, and most certainly, not directly to his face. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at the human, now flipping haphazardly through the worn pages of the ancient text.

"Estel, I believe you owe me an apology," Elrond said smoothly, keeping his composure.

Estel's head fell back against the chair, his dark hair falling about his face in an unkempt manner. He sighed heavily, "I am sorry, Ada. I am just bored with all of these reading assignments."

Elrond watched the youth for a moment and spoke softly, "I see Erestor has you reading another part of our history."

"It is BORING," Estel emphasized by plopping the book down onto a table.

That course of action was not the wisest of movements on the human's part, as Erestor decided to make his entrance. His eyes went wide when he saw the rough handling the book received and the careless fashion of how it was placed. His dark eyes glowered as he charged into the room, "I will not tolerate such carelessness with sacred tomes!"

Estel's head shot up from its resting place and glared at the elf storming towards him, "It is just a book, Erestor! Get over it!"

"Get… Get over it?" Erestor was huffing frantically, his eyes becoming wider, "I think a reminder is in order of how to treat historical documents and how to speak to one's elders!"

Erestor was bearing down on Estel, pushing up his sleeves on his long robes, a manner he adopted when he was going to lay on a spanking. His face was set in fury, his teeth slightly bared. Elrond stepped forward, his hands raised in front of himself to ward off Erestor's tirade. His face was drawn with aversion to his youngest son's careless attitude and his advisor now growling with rage as he tried to advance further.

Estel jumped from his chair and began to withdraw behind his father, stuttering an apology, "I did not mean.. Erestor, I am sorry… I will… I will be more careful next time."

"Next time?" Erestor fumed, dodging sideways to get a clear view of Estel. "I will not allow you in my library for a thousand years!"

Estel's face froze, then became stony. His voice was deadly calm as he walked away from his father's protective shadow and Erestor's seething look, "I will be dead by then, Erestor. Remember, I will not see eternity as you or my father."

Elrond glanced at his human son so quickly he wrenched his neck. He scowled, rubbing his aching neck and regarded his youngest, "What troubles you so, Estel? Lately you have been distant and hostile to everyone."

Estel frowned in thought and shook his head, "I wish to do things on my own. I am tired of being stuck here, in this place, reading about adventures and things I have never seen. I want to witness these things. Be a part of this world and not just learn about it in words. I want to experience all I can, but you will not let me."

Elrond's brow drew down, "I do not allow you to venture far because you are still too young."

Estel put his hands on his hips and glared at his adopted father, "Ada, I am twenty years old. I have been an adult for some time. You can not keep me sheltered here forever."

"You are still but a child in my eyes," Elrond said, his voice firm.

"I am no longer a child, by anyone's standard but yours," Estel snapped. "I am tired of living here. Tired of being surrounded by people who talk of adventures and yet insist I remain here to be protected."

"There is a good reason for you to stay protected," Erestor put in angrily. His temper was still roused by the treatment of his precious volumes of lore. "If something were to happen to you, then all future could be lost."

"Then let it be lost!" Estel shouted. "I do not want the future you have spoken. I wish to be just a human, traveling and living my life."

"I shall think on this matter," Elrond said in a diplomatic tone. "We will speak of it later."

Estel scoffed and waved a hand, disappearing out of the library without a backward glance. His footsteps died away quickly as he hurried through the halls.

Erestor's voice trembled, "If he was not your son…"

"That has not stopped you before, my friend," Elrond sighed.

"I do not understand why you tolerate his behavior," Erestor said, going to the book Estel had put down and smoothing its creased edges.

"You forget that Estel is human. They mature must faster than Elves," Elrond said, sitting himself down in a chair opposite of Erestor.

Erestor finished nursing the book and walked into the shadowed depths of his library, placing the book careful back into its ascribed place, "Elf or human, it makes no difference. They all need discipline."

Elrond raised a brow at the comment, his eyes adjusting to the din to see Erestor's outline between the rows, "Puberty is never an easy time, Erestor. Surely you had a difficult time of it yourself?"

Erestor's silhouette visibly flinched, and the sound of him clearing his throat unnecessarily echoed through the volumes. After a prolonged silence, his voice floated through the shadows as he emerged, "I was never as rude and disobedient as your son, My Lord."

"No, I guess you were not," Elrond smirked. "I believe you skipped adolescence completely and went from babe to adult."

Erestor sat down in a plush chair opposite of Elrond and sighed, "I do not think that elves suffered during their maturity. Perhaps it is just an excuse."

Elrond shifted uncomfortably in his chair, "My own adolescence was rather tough, as were Elrohir's and Elladan's. Perhaps because of our human blood we suffered so, though I do not know how long it will affect Estel. He is so moody these days, and you never know which attitude will greet you."

"How long do humans take to mature?" Erestor asked, his face furrowed.

"Their physical bodies stop growing within a couple decades of life, but as for emotional growth, some I believe, never grow out of that stage."

"Never?" Erestor repeated in a startled voice. "Did your maturity and that of the twins differ?"

Elrond smiled, "Elrohir and Elladan, as you remember, were not so bad. They had the awkward century or two as they adjusted and grew into adulthood, but as for myself," Elrond chuckled at the recollection, "I did not feel mature until after five centuries."

"Did you cause your father this much grief?" Erestor asked with a snort.

Elrond grimaced at the recollection, "I do believe he used threats on Elros and I, but we did not receive the same punishments as Elrohir or Elladan."

"Tough, were they?" Erestor asked with a quirked brow.

"Well, we did not have you or Glorfindel around to instate harsh punishments," Elrond started, shaking his head slightly. "Perhaps if we did, we would not have made some of the decisions we made." Elrond's saddened at the thought of his lost brother, missing his twin that claimed his human birthright and faded into death centuries earlier.

Erestor noticed his lord's melancholy and added, "A firm hand is a good thing. If not for strict punishment, I believe your sons would become Wild Men."

Elrond chuckled, allowing his memories to dissolve, "Wild Elves, you mean."

"Two of them yes," Erestor nodded with a smirk, "But a true Wild Man. He is right, mellon nin. He IS an adult. There are many things that he needs to experience and understand if he is to assume the role that is ahead of him."

Elrond sighed, looking down at the floor, lost in thought, "I did not allow the twins to leave my sight until they were over six hundred."

"You know, as I do, that Estel will never reach that age," Erestor said gently, knowing the topic was an uncomfortable one. "In human standards, he is mature enough to make his own decisions and needs to venture forth. There are things he must learn in order to grow fully. There is not much else Glorfindel or I can teach him."

Elrond closed his eyes, fighting down the fear that welled up inside of him. Elrond wiped his tears on the sleeve of his robes, his ears echoing the cries and laughter of the human child that was now a fully-grown adult. A bitter tang rose in his throat, imagining the day when his Estel would close his eyes and never wake again. The thought sent a chill through the ancient lord's bones.

"I will inform the twins when I see them," Elrond sighed after a moment to gather himself. "They are to escort their brother over the countryside."

Erestor smiled widely, "I do believe a certain prince elfling would like to go along as well."

Elrond's face creased in mirth, "Legolas is over two thousand. He is an elfling no longer."

Erestor snorted in a most un-elflike way, "He is younger than I, so therefore, he is still an elfling."

"Of course," Elrond grinned and rose from his chair. "Come, let us see to breakfast."

 Erestor allowed himself to be steered towards the kitchens, the smells wafting through the halls and luring in hungry elves.

The smells didn't call to the only human now stomping through the halls, his mood somber and agitated, though he didn't know exactly why. He knew that he was human, living in the world of elves, perfect, immortal, and always right. The many centuries of life made them very knowledgeable, but Aragorn couldn't help but feel that they were missing something when it came to rearing a human child. He doubted if his own ada, in his infinite wisdom, would understand what he was going through, and all the confusion he was feeling.

Venturing into the gardens, Estel found his favorite place to relax and sat down moodily. His mind replayed what Erestor had said, over and over, constantly reminding him that in this immortal paradise, he was still mortal. 

Closing his eyes, he sought a peaceful flow from the stream that ran lazily at his side. The morning breeze lifted his unkempt hair, waving it gently across his still boyish face. The morning dew still lingered, moistening the hands that threaded through the lush grass along the riverbank.

After several minutes of failed attempts to ease his mind, Aragorn opened his eyes and startled, seeing a pair of blue eyes merely inches from his own face.

"Legolas!"

"Morning, mellon nin," Legolas grinned, plopping down on the grass in front of his friend.

"No it is NOT!" Aragorn nearly shouted, his hand over his heart, feeling the fast thumping rhythm. "Do not scare me like that!"

Legolas's smile instantly dropped away, "I am sorry. I did not mean to startle you."

"Well, you did!" Aragorn snapped back, his brow drawn.

Legolas rose from the ground and dusted himself off, "Forgive me. I did not mean to disturb your solitude."

Legolas turned to leave but Aragorn yelled for him "Wait! Do not go! I did not mean to snap."

Legolas looked over his shoulder at the human, his normally vibrant blue eyes, dull and saddened, "I do not wish to impose upon you. Enjoy your peace."

Aragorn jumped to his feet and grabbed Legolas's arm before he could retreat, "Please Legolas, I did not mean to snap at you. I just…."

Legolas cocked his head at his best friend, not understanding the dilemma that the youth was undergoing, "If there is something that bothers you, Estel, then please, tell me."

Aragorn's face softened at the use of his Elven name and he sighed, "I do not know what is wrong with me anymore, Legolas.  I wish to explore the world and see everything. I want to experience life, instead of just reading about it in one of Erestor's books! I feel suffocated by all the Elves and their ways. I need to see what it is like to live with humans. To be a human."

Legolas flinched slightly at the Elven comment but remained silent. His recent comments led to flair ups by the human youth, and he wished to keep them on pleasant speaking terms.

"I am surrounded by elderly," Estel said distractedly, not meaning it in a spiteful way, but sounding disgusted anyway.

Legolas frowned, then set his jaw and lunged forward, knocking Aragorn into the small stream beside him. Aragorn gave a started cry, which was quickly drowned out by an upsurge of water into his face. He broke the surface and found Legolas, soaking wet hair plastering his boyish face; blue eyes alight with mischief, across from him.

"Legolas…." Aragorn started, but a splash to the face cut him off. He sputtered and lunged after the elf now trying to extricate himself from the water and giggling madly. "You wait until I get a hold of you, Elf!"

Legolas slipped through the water like an eel and easily pulled himself up on the bank. Aragorn splashed noisily and assaulted the Elf Prince with a barrage of obscenities, mixing Elven and human retorts in a jumbled mess. Legolas sat on the bank, laughing heartily, wringing his hair out.

Aragorn gained his friend's side and glared up at him, " I should just…"

"Just what?" Legolas grinned like a playful child. "Just because one is 'elderly' does not mean that they are too old for play."

Aragorn pulled himself out of the water and sat beside his friend, pulling the errant strands of black hair out of his eyes, "I…"

Legolas nudged Estel with his shoulder and lowered his head, to where their eyes were level, "You are being a human who is going through some difficult times, but know this," Legolas dropped his voice to a mere whisper, "The changes do not only affect you, but they affect us all.  You are not alone in your suffering my friend. Do not cast away those of us that wish to help, and want only your happiness."

Aragorn lowered his head, fighting the urge to cry. Though it had been years since he really wept, for some odd reason, he felt the familiar urge to do so. Struggling against the tears, he nodded, hoping to regain his composure and not give the elf something else with which to taunt him. The teasing never came as the minutes passed by.

Legolas swiftly gained his feet and held out a hand. Aragorn raised his face to stare at his friend, who only nodded silently in assurance. With a smile, Aragorn accepted the hand and allowed the elf to hoist him up. When he was standing, Aragorn embraced Legolas's forearms, "Thanks, my friend."

Legolas smiled in return, "It is the least I could do for my youngest friend."

Aragorn laughed and walked with Legolas back into the hallowed halls of Imladris. A few paces in however, their joyous, playful manner was interrupted by a fuming elf Lord with his hands on his hips and his eyes narrowed.

A vein throbbed on the side of Glorfindel's temple as he surveyed the watery trail left behind two culprits, "What in the name of Mordor do you think you are doing?"

Legolas stepped forward, his hands rose in a passive manner, "It was all my fault, Lord Glorfindel. Estel and I were talking and I did not control my manners. During our exchange, we both lost our balance and fell into the stream. I apologize."

Legolas swept his hand over his heart and bowed his head in remorse.

Glorfindel seemed to have lost his wind cause he only sighed heavily and motioned for the two to pass, "Go to your rooms and change. I will not tolerate anymore mess in this house."

"Yes Glorfindel," both Legolas and Estel said and quickly jogged passed the Elven warrior.

When the two had reached the landing that lead into Legolas's room, Aragorn grabbed him as they slowed, "Why did you lie?"

Legolas opened his door and went inside, "I did not lie. I merely told a different version of the truth."

"A version?" Aragorn asked, watching Legolas strip down and head off into the small changing room adjacent to his sleeping chamber. "There is more than one version of what happened?"

Legolas poked his head out from the doorway and grinned, "I stated facts as I saw them. We had words and your words did indeed cause me to loose my manner. So, in a way, I did not lie."

Aragorn laughed heartily, something that he hadn't done in a long time. He shook his head, "And here I thought I was being a son of Sauron, and as it turns out, you just have a bad temper."

Legolas emerged from the side room, pulling a fresh tunic over his head and grinned, "Careful Human. You want the stream again?"

Aragorn laughed harder and held up his hands in surrender, "I am well learned in my actions, I assure you."

Aragorn led Legolas from his room and padded down the halls to his own room. A single trail of water left in their wake. Aragorn pushed open the door to his own room and ventured inside, Legolas following behind.

"It is a good thing you learned your lesson," Legolas said with a grin. "The Valar punish most severely those who do not learn the easy way."

"Another version of the truth?" Aragorn asked, pulling off his shirt and tossing it sloppily on a pile of dirty clothes.

"Another version? No," Legolas shook his head, "When the Vala have a lesson that needs to be taught, they make sure they get their point across. There is no argument."

Aragorn searched haphazardly through his chest of drawers, pulling roughly at his clothes. He frowned, "I do not believe that."

Legolas shook his head like the words were blasphemy, "Do not say such things Aragorn. The Vala are all powerful and do not like their judgment questioned."

"Another bit of advice from my elder?" Aragorn asked with a slight smile.

Legolas didn't return the amusement. He only shook his head and sighed, "My words are not to be taken lightly."

Aragorn continued to frown and leap through his clothes. With a growl he spun around, "Where are my clean clothes?"

An elf maiden, tall and lithe, entered the room, her arms full of folded clothing, "Your clothing, my Lord."

Aragorn blushed slightly and mumbled a 'Thank you' before the maiden exited the room, giving Legolas a little wink before she left. Legolas smiled in return, his head turning to watch her pass until he could no longer see her. He returned his attention back to his friend, who was pulling a fresh shirt over his head and pulling off his leggings.

"'Bout time," Aragorn groaned moodily. "Now, what were you saying Legolas?"

Legolas rolled his eyes skyward and folded his arms across his chest, "You have the smallest attention span I have ever seen in any human. Not to mention, your modesty is commendable."

Aragorn waved grumpily at his friend and proceeded to pull on a pair of fresh leggings that were brought by the elf maid, "I would not chance anything in front of an elleth, but my best friend is another matter."

"Oh, I am honored," Legolas quipped dryly. He opened his mouth to say something else, but a short, quick intake of breath caught his attention. Leveling his eyes, he saw Aragorn, stock still, blanched white, and seemingly not breathing. "Estel?… Estel, are you alright?"

Aragorn had laced up his breeches and was to the point of tying them off, when he felt a sudden pain. Sucking in his breath, he felt his entire being become hypersensitive, every nerve on fire and igniting the cells in his body. He stood, unable to move, unable to breath, glaring helplessly at Legolas.

Legolas took a tentative step forward, his brow drawn in worry, "Estel, are you all right?"

A light sheen of sweat broke out over Aragorn's body; water ran in rivulets off his face and landed on his fresh shirt. He began to hop in place, bouncing slightly on the balls of his feet, until he was literally jumping frantically. His mouth was still open in a silent scream, the air long since abandoned his lungs.

Legolas watched his best friend jump and start to point at the lacings of his leggings. Legolas's brow knitted further together, completely at a loss as to what was wrong with his best friend.

"Aragorn, what is wrong? Is something wrong with your laces?"

Aragorn seemed to find his air, for he inhaled sharply and let out a high-pitched whine that made Legolas cringe. With his brain finally working through the haze of pain, he unlaced his breeches and pulled them down to his ankles, a whimper still issuing from his lips.

Legolas watched in horror as Aragorn doubled over, then felt a knot of fear lodge itself into his chest at the sight on the floor. A large, dark crimson bee, nearly as long as the elf's thumb, fell out of Aragorn's breeches, its many legs tangling in the laces.

"Oh Vala," Legolas whispered.

Legolas stepped forward and crushed the insect beneath his boots. His worried gaze fell on Aragorn who was still doubled over, his breath coming in short gasps and tears falling onto the floor.

"I will get your father," Legolas started but Aragorn gasped out, "No, do not tell Ada."

Legolas knelt down in front of his friend and saw excruciating pain reflecting in the silvery-blue orbs, "Aragorn, you can not ignore this. You must get treatment. You do not know if you will have a reaction to its poison."

Aragorn gasped in pain, then said shakily, "I have been stung before, Legolas. It is painful, but I will live through it."

Legolas frowned skeptically, "I do not know, Estel. I think you should tell your father."

Aragorn tried to smile at his friend, but a sharp pain stole his breath and made him double over again in pain, "Legolas, go to my father's healing chamber and bring me the small green bottle on the left side, second shelf."

Legolas nodded and briskly left the room, closing the door behind him to give his friend some privacy as he knelt naked in the floor.

Legolas quickly traced the route to Elrond's healing chamber, thankful he didn't meet anyone on the way. When he pushed open the door, his eyes met the many glistening bottles and decanters full of medicinal concoctions. Trying to remember what Aragorn had said, Legolas stood before the left side of ingredients. Putting his hands on his hips and frowning, the Elf Prince looked over each bottle, noting that Aragorn failed to mention that the majority of the bottles were green. Heaving a sigh, Legolas pulled up the hem of his tunic, and swiped his hand across the shelf, empting the bottles into his clothes and carrying them easily from the room.

When Legolas reached the door to his friend's room, he knocked lightly and heard a muffled, "Enter."

Wiping the smile off his face, Legolas opened the door and shut it with a snap behind him, careful of the bottles balancing in his bowing tunic.

"Estel, I do not know which one you need."

Aragorn raised his face to stare at his friend. Sweat beaded on his brow, his eyes contorted in pain, pupils dialated and a flush appeared on his cheeks. He frowned as Legolas knelt in front of him and showed the many bottles he collected.

Silver eyes searched until they found the right one. His hand shakily reached out and withdrew the bottle from his friend's clothes. Using his thumb, he flicked off the cork and sniffed its contents, "This is the right one."

"Good," Legolas said, relieved that he had gathered the right one did not have to make another trip.

"Uhm, Legolas," Aragorn asked hesitantly. "May I have some privacy here?"

Legolas looked curiously to his friend, then realization dawned on him and he stood briskly, the bottles clinging merrily in his tunic. "I shall return Lord Elrond's medicines to where they belong."

Aragorn nodded with a wince, the pain getting so intense he feared he would throw up, "Good idea, my friend."

"Do you require anything else?" Legolas asked, his face bleak with concern over Aragorn's pale blotchy face.

Aragorn seemed to switch instantly from pain to anger. His teeth gritted together and he snapped harshly, "I need some privacy! Get out!"

Legolas flinched visibly; his face fell as he cast his eyes downward. He nodded and left, saying over his shoulder, "The Vala have punished you for your actions. Do not tempt them further."

Aragorn scoffed and sneered, "Sure they have!"

Legolas shut the door with a scowl on his fair face. Taking a deep breath to relieve his frustrations, he journeyed once more to Lord Elrond's healing room. He careful placed each bottle back onto the shelf and arranged them neatly in a row. With a satisfied smile, he left and hurried up the hall back towards Aragorn's room. Aragorn may be going through a difficult time right now, emotionally and physically, and could be irritating and insuffering, but Legolas was not about to abandon his friend in his time of need.

As Legolas evened out with Aragorn's room, he heard footsteps approaching on the opposite side. The forms of Lord Elrond and Erestor appeared, deep in conversation. They stopped their talking as they noticed Legolas standing outside of Aragorn's door, apparently trying to act normally.

"Legolas, what are you doing?" Elrond asked.

Legolas's eyes grew wide as an owl's, "Nothing, Lord Elrond. I am merely waiting for Estel."

The answer was a little too quick for the elf lord's liking. He eyed the younger elf for a moment, taking in the impatient sway and darting eyes, "Legolas, are you up to something?"

"Up to something?" Legolas repeated, his brow's nearly disappearing into his hair, and considering it was braided back from his face, it was no mean feat.

"That seals it," Erestor said, crossing his arms over his chest. "When anyone repeats the question, they are hiding something."

Elrond nodded and glared menacingly at Legolas, "Are you playing a trick?"

"No, Lord Elrond," Legolas said truthfully, hoping his voice sounded steady.

Elrond thought for a moment, still surveying the youth, "Is Estel playing a trick?"

"Not that I am aware of," Legolas pretended to think for a moment and steady his racing heart.

Erestor nudged Elrond slightly and made the Elf Lord look at him questioningly. Erestor sighed and nodded to Estel's room, which had remained quiet all during the exchange.

"Legolas, are you trying to keep me from Estel?"

"Keep you away?" Legolas stammered, then shook his head adamantly, "No, Lord Elrond."

Erestor raised a brow and gave Elrond a suspicious look.

Elrond glared intensely at the now sweating Elf Prince, "Is Estel up to something? Are you standing guard for him?"

Legolas looked worriedly around, as if trying to find an escape route. He didn't want to tell Elrond what had happened, knowing that it would be highly embarrassing for his friend. Not to mention that with Erestor there, the whole of Imladris would know of the incident by nightfall! The elf was notorious for his loose lips, especially when he and Glorfindel decided to partake of the wonderful wine in the cellars.

"It is not like that, Lord Elrond," Legolas started, his hands automatically clasping together, pleading silently to the Vala that they pass by and leave Estel to his pain and humiliation. "Estel was angry and asked for some privacy. I am honoring his wishes to be alone, though I do not wish to leave him in case he may need me."

Elrond's curiosity was not sated. With a pleasant tone he said, "I have had enough of Estel's attitude."

Erestor seemed to bristle and added, "As have I."

Elrond placed his hand on the handle to Estel's door, but Legolas stepped in front of him and placed his hands on the elf lord's chest, "I do not think that is a good idea!" Legolas seemed to be searching for words, then blurted out, "Just give him some time. I am sure he will come out and will be in a better mood."

Elrond huffed, his mind now confirming his notions at the prince's actions. Pushing Legolas aside, he opened the door and the three elves fell into Estel's room.

In the span of a few seconds, Legolas blushed and hurried out of the room, Erestor and Elrond gasped, frozen in place from shock, and Aragorn stilled and yelled, "Ada, it is NOT what you think!"

Estel knelt naked on the floor with the bottle Legolas had retrieved now empty beside him. His hand was white and had immediately stopped its administering to the sting he sustained to his most sensitive place. He looked up, ashen face and slack jawed, glaring into the two faces he least expected to see come charging into his room and catch him in such a precarious position.

"Ada… Ada, I swear! I swear it is not what it looks like," Aragorn stammered. "It is simple…"

Elrond turned curtly, pushing a still shocked Erestor from the room and yelling over his shoulder, "We will speak of this later! You will see me in my study when you are…when you are able."

With a snap the door closed and Estel slumped forward, his ego hurt more than his sting. He sighed, wishing the medicine to hurry up and take effect, killing the sting and reduce the swelling that the venom was causing. He groaned, fighting the urge to throw up, yet wanting to die right then and there.

Legolas stood, wide-eyed and speechless in the hall. Elrond approached him and said in as much as a dignified voice as he could, "I am sorry you had to witness such things in my household, Prince Legolas."

Legolas tried to find his voice, but seemed to have lost the ability to speak. He stammered a couple of times, hissed, then rasped, "He was stung, Lord Elrond."

"Stung?" Elrond repeated.

"I had pushed him in the stream and he came back to change so we would not track water in your halls," Erestor snorted doubtfully but Legolas stared hard at the advisor, "When he pulled on his leggings, he did not shake them out. A large bee had stung him, but I did not know its exact place. I gathered herbs from your healing room, Lord Elrond, and Estel has tended to his own wound."

Elrond frowned, "Why would he not tell me immediately? He knows better than this."

Legolas shuffled his feet and lowered his voice, "My lord, you realize where he was stung now. Would you want others to know of it if it happened to you?"

"Certainly not!" Elrond snapped instantly, then nodded, "I see your point, young one."

With a sigh, Elrond leaned against Estel's door and knocked softly, "Estel, do you need me to bring you anything?"

"No Ada," came the reply. "I think your ointment is working."

"I will remain here until you are well. If you require anything, you need only to yell," Elrond called.

"Thank you, Ada," the voice sounded relieved. "Thank you, Legolas."

Legolas grinned and yelled, "You are welcome, Estel."

Erestor shook his head, "Humans. They are so strange."

Legolas smiled at the Elf Lord and said, "I will bring you a chair."

Elrond bowed his head, "That would be most appreciated."

Legolas disappeared down the hall.

Erestor turned to the Lord of Imladris and asked, "Is there anything that you require?"

Elrond shook his head, "Please tell Glorfindel that I will not make our meeting this afternoon."

"I shall tell him." Erestor glanced at Estel's closed door and breathed a deep sigh, "If Estel needs anything, all you have to do is call and I shall answer."

Elrond smiled, "It is appreciated, mellon nin."

Erestor bowed his head, "Though Estel may cause headaches, he is still a member of this family."

Elrond chuckled, "That he is."

Erestor smiled so brightly his eyes twinkled, "But we would not have him any other way."

Legolas reappeared, carrying a plush chair. He sat it by Aragorn's door and leaned against the facing to listen to the room beyond.

"I do not hear anything," Legolas murmured. "Do you think he is all right?"

Elrond nodded, "The side effect of the medicine is deep sleep. He will be fine when it wears off."

"Then let us rest as well, for when he awakens, he will undoubtedly tell us of his courage," Erestor grinned.

Legolas laughed and allowed the advisor to lead him down the hall, leaving a relieved elf lord guarding the room of his youngest son.

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Well what do you think? Nothing like pain and humiliation to learn a lesson eh? Think Aragorn knows now to listen to his elders? giggles

As always, a huge THANK YOU to all my reviewers who encourage me and give me reasons to continue writing.

monster hugs

PJ

Ps, don't forget to click the little button and tell me what ya thought of it.

PPS, I am almost finished with my Haldir fic and I will be uploading soon. Be on the lookout for it! Thanks!