Disclaimer: LOTR belongs to the creative genius of JRR Tolkien, not me.

Flowers in the Forest.

(A/N: A little bit of fluff for Antigone. Enjoy!)

Legolas had been told many a time how important lessons were, and how pleased and proud Ada and Nana were that he was considered to be very clever for his age, but on mornings such as this he wished only for his freedom from the prison he felt the classroom had become. It had rained softly all during the night, and now with the sun shining brightly, droplets of water, each with their own tiny rainbow captured inside, hung from the leaves, the petals of the flowers and even the blades of grass making his forest even more beautiful and very inviting place to be. So lost was he in his daydreaming, imagining he was outside, running through the trees, laughing and playing with his friends that a sharp rap of his tutor's cane on his desk scared him quickly back to reality.

"I understand your fascination with what lies beyond these walls, Legolas, and once you have completed your lesson to my satisfaction you may seek the pleasures of the forest. However, unless you pay proper attention, I fear it will be twilight before that happens," said his tutor sternly. Legolas gasped in dismay at the very thought and with a humble apology, turned his attention back to his books, the threat of being forced to remain indoors all day providing the errant student with more than sufficient motivation to complete his task on time. So it was that when the silvery peal of bell signalling the end to lessons for the day, and the noon meal, was heard sometime later, Legolas eagerly joined his friends in the dining hall.

As was the custom, the young Elves sat at a large table towards the rear of the enormous hall where their excited and seemingly endless chattering and laughter would not disturb the often more serious discussions of their elders. Thranduil and his advisors watched with indulgent amusement as the young ones rushed into the room ate their meal probably a little more quickly than was good for them, then disappeared as swiftly and as noisily as they arrived.

A game of hide and seek had been decided upon, and as usual Legolas chose to be the first 'seeker'. Ever since he and hid friends had developed the ability to speak with the trees, it was deemed 'unfair' for the one chosen to find the others to lean against one as they hid their eyes and performed the count. Not that the trees would assist with cheating, at least not intentionally, so he now sat cross legged in the clearing where the game commenced, with his eyes closed tightly. He had barely counted to twenty when the soft sounds of someone sobbing reached his ears. None of his friends had been upset, and he sensed that none had any fallen and injured themselves, but someone nearby was definitely in need of help. Curiosity and a genuine desire to provide aid made Legolas forgo the game, and he moved quickly towards the sad sound that was coming from behind a nearby tree.

"Who are you?" he asked once his initial astonishment at finding a mortal child huddled against the tree trunk had passed. Tear filled eyes stared up at the elf, and the girl child, now more afraid than sad, tried to shrink even closer to the tree. "Please do not be afraid. I mean you no harm," said Legolas in the gentle voice he used when speaking with his animal friends.

"My.... My...name...is...Anidwen," she replied as her sobbing slowly ceased although she still regarded Legolas warily.

"I am Legolas," he offered as he sat beside the girl, who was now openly studying him.

"Your ears are pointed. Are you an Elf?" she found the courage to ask. Legolas graced her with the beginnings of the smile that would melt the heart of many a young maid when he reached adulthood.

"I am, and this part of the forest is my home. Where is yours?" he asked hoping to make the girl feel more at ease. The only villages where Men lived that he knew of were very far away and were not visited by any Elves, even the warriors of the border patrols.

"My home is in the village near the mighty River," she replied as her eyes filled with tears once more.

"Where are you parents?" It was an innocent enough question, but also a naive one, for the girl became almost hysterical and incoherent as she tried to answer.

"... On our way to Laketown... I just wanted to pick some of the flowers... but Papa said 'no'.... I ran into the forest... now I can't find them." Her anguished cries echoed throughout the clearing, only to be muffled slightly when Legolas took her into his small arms and held her close, his heart breaking as he tried to imagine being lost and unable to find Ada and Nana. It was a very unpleasant thought.

"My friends and I are very good at finding each other in the forest, maybe we can find your parents," suggested Legolas.

"Oh, that would be wonderful," exclaimed Anidwen, smiling for the first time since their paths had crossed. Legolas whistled loudly, a sound somewhat like a birdcall that was a signal for his friends to return. Once they were all introduced to the girl, and told of her problem, the young Woodelves eagerly agreed to join the search.

"Can you show us the path you took to arrive here?" asked Legolas, assuming leadership of the youthful warriors as if it were an every day occurrence.

"I am not sure," she admitted with a sad shake of her head.

"Then I think it best that we make our way to the Elf Path. It is the only path through this forest that travellers may use safely," he said, looking to his comrades for affirmation. All agreed that was the wisest choice, and soon the small band of would be warriors and their mortal companion reached their destination. Now they were faced with the choice of whether to continue east towards Laketown, or to travel back towards the Anduin. After a few moments discussion, it was decided to split into two groups, and search in both directions. Legolas, Anidwen and his little 'patrol' would be the ones to back track.

As they walked, the elves asked many questions of their new friend, partly out of curiosity and partly to keep her distracted from her sorrow. In return, they told her something of the Woodelves and before long sadness had given way to laughter and teasing, especially when Legolas stopped to pick her a bunch of flowers, only to have his cheeks turn bright scarlet when she kissed him in gratitude.

Barely an hour later, two very distraught parents were seen in the distance up ahead, and with a shout of joy, Anidwen dropped her flowers and raced away to be caught in the loving embrace of her very concerned Papa and Mama.

The young elves remained at a distance and watched with a certain pride in themselves as the family was reunited and tears, kisses and hugs flowed freely.

When the emotional meeting had calmed somewhat, the man and his wife turned their attentions from their daughter, intending to offer their heart felt thanks to the young rescuers for their aid, but to their surprise, Legolas and his friends were nowhere in sight.

All that remained on the path was a large bunch of flowers.