Hi there, sorry I've been gone so long but the plot bunnies decided to take a vacation, but now I've finally got them back. Let's see this story is definitely AU, Alternate Universe. Non-Slash and will have Legolas, Aragorn and perhaps Elladan and Elrohir. Not connected to the Healer Series, by the way. Disclaimer: All of them belong to Tolkien and not to me. Okay all that's done, on with the story!

Looking For Better

Chapter 1--Out of Place

Legolas dodged the grasping hand of one of the inn's customers and made his way to the bar. Setting the wooden serving tray down, he waited to be noticed.

Durrin, the balding innkeeper, finally spotted him and came over. "What do ye need?" he asked.

"Six more ales," Legolas said.

"Fine," Durrin said. He fetched the drinks and put them on the tray. "Go on, Elf. We got a lot of custom tonight," he said.

Legolas just nodded and picked up the tray then made his way back to the table.

The men ignored him completely as he set out the drinks. That suited Legolas fine. He didn't want them to notice him anyway. He moved to an empty table and began gathering up the mugs left behind. He headed back to the bar. He didn't notice the foot thrust into his path until he tripped over it and went sprawling. There was a loud crash as crockery hit the floor and shattered.

The man and his friends laughed uproariously. "Not so graceful as the stories say, are you?" the man sneered.

Legolas forced himself not to respond and began cleaning up the mess. He was used to it by now. He had no choice, but to accept it. This was the only place he had after what had happened. Picking up the tray, loaded with broken mugs he continued to the bar.

"That just cost ye all of yer pay for the night, Elf," Darren said.

Legolas bit his lip before he could say something that would get him fired. It was this or life on the streets and he never wanted to go back to that again. He missed the peace and safety of the forests, but that was lost to him as well. Sometimes he wished he had never survived.

"Stop standing there! Get back to work, Elf!" Darren yelled.

Legolas dumped the glass into the trash then returned to his tasks. It seemed the night would never end, but mercifully it did. Exhausted and sore, Legolas helped the other workers clean up. Each was given some bread and cheese before they settled down to sleep. Legolas barely got comfortable on the thin straw pallet before sinking deeply into reverie.

Legolas was woken up early. He could smell breakfast cooking. Most of the other workers were already eating. He quickly got up and put away the pallet and headed for the kitchen. "Good morning, Lena," he said as he entered.

Lena, the elderly cook, smiled a greeting and handed him a bowl of oat porridge. "Here you go, eat it all. You are much to thin, youngling," she chided gently.

Legolas couldn't keep from smiling. He was much older then anyone here, but Lena still treated him like a much loved offspring. He didn't mind though. He liked her a lot. He went back into the common room and sat down at an empty table. He had quickly learned that none of the other workers wanted him around.

The other workers finished and took their dishes to the kitchen then left the inn. They were free until the inn opened for that evening's customers.

Legolas took his time eating then took his own bowl back. Saying good-bye to Lena, he left the inn himself. The mare that belonged to Darren neighed loudly in greeting when she spotted Legolas and came over to the edge of the fence. Legolas smiled and went to her, gently scratching behind her ears. "Good morning, Whisper," he said affectionately. "At least you like me." Patting the mare's neck a final time, Legolas wandered off towards the marketplaceā€¦.

So think I'm on the right track? R/R please!