Disclaimer: Hey there, I'm back again. Tis the same old story folks. I do not own LOTR and I am making zero profit off of this. It is purely for my own enjoyment as well as that of my readers. So, please don't sue me for I haven't any money. I am only borrowing the characters and I promise to put them back when I'm done. As to if they are in one piece or not, well, that's another story. LOL!
A/N: Hey there people! I told you that I would have this up very soon. I can not thank you all enough for your lovely reviews for Estel and Greenleaf. I would also like to give a special thank you to Rhys for being my 200th reviewer for that story. THANK YOU! Also, by now you should know my take on things but I'll state it again for any new readers. Elrond, Elladan, Elrohir, and Estel equal family! Yes, my series is AU and I am well aware of the fact. Also, just so you know, this story directly follows Coming Home and is a sequal of sorts to The Love of a Family. If you haven't read either one of those, you may be a little confused but I'll try to explain anything if you have questions. All right, now that that's done, a huge thank you to my beta enb2004! As promised, here is Chapter One of The Edge of a Knife. Enjoy!
The Edge of a Knife
Elrond could scarcely believe it, but only one month had passed since Estel's and Legolas's disastrous homecoming. Yet, even though it had been a month, both Legolas and Estel still showed signs that they were still healing.
Legolas's broken arm had thankfully healed very well but it still had some lingering weakness, a fact that bothered the youngest prince of Mirkwood to no end. He had assured Legolas countless times that it was only temporary but Legolas was still bothered by the fact.
Estel's various cuts, bruises, and broken ribs had healed slowly but had eventually mended. Thankfully, the poisoned wound he had received, courtesy of a poisoned orc blade, had completely healed with no trace of any dormant poison in his system. Also, the illness he had caught had dissipated after a time although he had yet to regain his stamina back, something which baffled and concerned Elrond to no end.
It was Legolas and Estel that was actually the conversation of the moment. Elrond and Thranduil were on one of the many balconies that overlooked Imladris and were eating as well as enjoying each others company.
"It would seem that our sons are back to their normal mischievous ways," Thranduil said wryly, referring to an incident that had happened earlier that morning. He still wasn't sure which one of the young hooligans had done it, but one of them had woken him that morning by throwing a pail of very muddy water on him. It had taken him nearly two hours to rid his hair of the clinging substance.
"Indeed. I must say that I am glad to see it though. I had feared that I wouldn't. Estel came so close, far too close," Elrond whispered.
"Aye, that he did. To this day I am still amazed that he survived his adolescence, let alone his childhood," Thranduil said with a grim smile. Too many times could he recall sitting at the young man's bedside watching and waiting for him to heal and recover from whatever misadventure he had gotten into.
Admittedly, it generally wasn't Estel's fault. Trouble and danger just seemed to follow the young man wherever he went.
Before he had met Estel, Thranduil would sworn to the Valar that no one could find trouble in the realm of Lothlorien. Their borders were so well guarded, no one got past without it being known to the elves who resided there.
When he had met Estel though, he had soon been proven wrong. Somehow or another, Estel had indeed found trouble in Lothlorien, and only at the tender age of five at that! How he managed to find trouble everywhere he went would forever remain a mystery to Thranduil.
"What are you thinking about mellon nin?" Elrond said, breaking Thranduil away from his thoughts.
Thranduil started and blinked at Elrond. "Oh, only about the various pranks that I am sure are to come." He didn't tell Elrond what he was really thinking for he was sure that it would only upset his friend further.
Elrond looked at him disbelievingly but let it slide. "Hmm, it should prove to be entertaining at the very least. Although that could very well change if they dare to prank me."
"Look at it this way mellon nin; soon they will all be out of your hair and in mine," Thranduil said with a mock grimace.
Elrond looked at him with surprise. "What do you mean mellon nin?"
Thranduil sighed and looked down at where his sons and Elrond's sons were horsing around and having a good time. He knew that Elrond would not like what he was going to say.
"Mellon nin, myself, Estel, and my sons must be on our way to Mirkwood shortly. I have been far away for far too long as it is. Iaurdil must be going crazy by now."
Elrond nearly choked on his tea. Hastily, he put it down in order not to spill it. "Thranduil, you can not be serious! It had only been one month since they have returned. Could you not afford to wait another week or so?"
"Nay, I can not. My realm needs me, you know this mellon nin. Besides, in my last letter I promised Iaurdil and the rest of my children that we would be home within the next week with Legolas and Estel in tow."
Elrond frowned. "I understand it you must return to Mirkwood, but I insist that Estel and Legolas stay here for at least another week. They need the rest. As for Delelen and Thilloth, they are free to go with you but I doubt that they would leave their brother and Estel right now."
Thranduil couldn't but help grin in agreement. Delelen and Thilloth were quite protective of both their youngest brother and Estel. Truth be told, all of his children were. Delelen, Thilloth, and Iaurdil just happened to show it more than his other children. Legolas of course of resented their protective nature and often muttered that they were mother hens.
"You are quite right, they wouldn't leave," Thranduil said with a grin. "Elrond, they can not stay here forever. As you have said it has been nearly a month since they have returned. Legolas's arm is nearly back to full strength and Estel is almost fully healed."
Elrond frowned and looked down upon the courtyard. "That is precisely what bothers me about your plan to leave so soon Thranduil. You said it yourself. They are nearly healed. Neither of them should be going anywhere until they are completely healed."
"Mellon nin, Legolas's arm is only slightly weakened and Estel's injuries have healed quite nicely. He is probably a bit sore still but other than that, his injuries seem to be fine and quite healed."
"It is not Estel's injuries that I am worried about," Elrond said softly.
Thranduil blinked in surprise. That had not been the response he had been expecting. "What then worries you mellon nin? I thought for sure it was his injuries that you were concerned about."
"Nay, I know that his injuries are healed. It is his illness that worries me at the moment. Yes, I know that he had recovered from his illness but have you noticed that he has not regained his stamina? It is worrisome. He shouldn't still be as tired and as weak as I have observed him to be," Elrond said with a frown.
Thranduil looked at Elrond with some confusion in his deep blue eyes. "I must admit Elrond, I am no expert when it comes to human illnesses, but is it not normal for it to take a while before their strength returns?"
"It most humans, yes, it does take time. As well you know though, Estel is no ordinary human. Considering Estel's lineage, this weakness should have passed long ago," Elrond said worriedly.
"Mellon nin, I am sure that Estel is fine. It is probably just a combination of the poisoned wound and his illness. More than likely they lowered his normal tolerance and recovery rate from illness," Thranduil said hoping to reassure Elrond.
He wasn't any expert in the field of healing, but he thought that would he had just said made sense.
Elrond sighed in defeat. He knew that Thranduil was right. It was only that he just had a very ill feeling that something wasn't right and he didn't like it at all. He knew that he would not be able to prevent Estel from going to Mirkwood though. Even if he forbade it Estel would just go anyway. He sighed again and looked back at his friend.
"I only hope that you are correct. Very well, when do you plan to leave?"
"I would prefer that we leave tomorrow. Don't worry Elrond. We shall all keep an eye on Estel for you. If I know my sons at all, they'll mother him to death. Speaking of mothering, when will you be sending along Elladan and Elrohir?"
Elrond considered this for a moment. "I'm not entirely sure at the moment. It will probably be sooner rather than later."
"Very good. Come, let us find our miscreant offspring and tell them the news, shall we?" Thranduil said with a smile.
Elrond could not help but chuckle. "Lead the way mellon nin. I do not think that shall be a hard task at all."
They both started to laugh as they went off is search of their respective children.
Estel, Legolas, the twins, Delelen, and Thilloth were all outside talking and enjoying the unusually warm day, considering that it was the middle of the winter.
"Do you think Ada will be able to convince Elrond to let us go?" Legolas asked Delelen.
Delelen shrugged and leaned back against the tree he was sitting in front of. "I certainly hope so. Considering the prank we pulled today though I'm not sure Ada will be all that eager to be off anymore though."
"Oh come off it Del. We have pulled far worse in the past and that has never kept us away from Mirkwood," Elrohir said while laughing.
"I still don't know how you did it. I know that we have never managed to sneak up on Thranduil before. Valar knows we have tried but something almost always ruins our plans," Elladan said with a suspicious look at Legolas, Delelen, and Thilloth. All of them looked far to innocent to him.
Legolas eyes sparkled as he faced the twins. "That is in no way our fault. You may just have bad timing."
"Hmm, we shall soon see," Elrohir muttered.
"Speaking of which, when will you be joining us in Mirkwood?" Delelen asked. Personally, he hoped that it would be soon. The twins always made great partners in crime and it was all to easy to blame any of their pranks gone wrong on them.
Elladan and Elrohir shared a glance and shrugged. "We're not sure actually. I don't think that it should be any more than a week later, if that. Ada will probably send us off only a few days after you leave in order to help keep an eye on Estel and Legolas.
"Hey!" Legolas cried out. "We do not need to be watched over as though we were elflings!"
"Of course you don't baby gwador," Thilloth said wickedly.
Legolas glared at his two older brothers. "You will regret saying that. Mark my words Thilloth, you will regret that."
"Come, enough of this. I for one want to find out if we are leaving any time soon. What do you say that we go and find our fathers?" Delelen asked, falling into the role of peacemaker easily.
"Yes, lets do that," Legolas said already standing up and heading towards the house.
"Yeesh, would you wait a second and wait for us?" Elladan asked.
"Yes, yes, come on then. Estel, are you coming in or not?" Legolas asked seeing that the young man was still lying in the grass where they had left him.
"Mmmm, in a few minutes Legolas," Estel mumbled before turning over on to his side.
"He is sleeping!" Thilloth said in surprise.
"Aye, he is," Elladan said, sharing a glance of concern with his twin and Legolas.
"Why is he sleeping in the middle of the day though?" Delelen asked.
"A good question mellon nin and one that I do not have an answer for at the moment," Elrohir muttered.
Elladan knelt down in the grass next to his little brother. He frowned when he saw the dark rings under Estel's eyes. If he didn't know better he would have sworn that the young man hadn't slept the past few days. He knew that he had though so he called to him. "Estel, you must wake up now tithen gwador. We are going to go and see if Thranduil has talked Ada into letting you leave."
Estel didn't stir at his brothers words though. Elladan bit his lip worriedly. This was not normal. Estel was usually very alert and would wake at the sound of a voice.
"Estel, you must wake up now," Elrohir said while gently shaking Estel's shoulder lightly.
"You wouldn't dream of letting us have all the fun would you?" Legolas questioned seeing that Estel was starting to stir.
Estel groaned and looked up at Elrohir blearily. "Did I fall asleep?"
"Yes you did. Are you all right Estel? I know humans need a lot of sleep but I didn't think that they needed that much!" Legolas exclaimed in an attempt to hide his worry with humor.
"I'm fine, just a little tired is all," Estel mumbled groggily as he stood up. Elladan and Elrohir had woken him out of a dead sleep and his mind was still half asleep.
"Estel, perhaps you should wait a bit before leaving for Mirkwood. You are still recovering after all," Elrohir pointed out.
"Elrohir's right. I'm sure Thranduil won't mind and I know that Ada would be quite pleased if you stayed here a while longer," Elladan said.
Estel sighed and rolled his eyes at Elladan and Elrohir. Those two could be far too overprotective at times. He shot a pained look at Legolas, hoping to gain some sympathy from his best friend. Legolas was the youngest in his family as well and full well knew what it was like to have to deal with far to overprotective siblings.
"Elladan, Elrohir, Estel is fine. He is just a little more tired that usual, that is all," Legolas said although there was a hint of uncertainty in his voice.
"Hannon le Legolas. Has Ada made a decision yet?" Estel asked.
"No, not yet. That is what we are about to go and fine out. Are you sure that you are all right though? I know that my Ada would not mind staying here a few extra days if he knew how tired you were," Thilloth said while observing the young man with concern.
Estel did not fail to notice the looks that all the elves were giving him. "Oh for the love of Valar, I am fine!"
"If you say so mellon nin," Legolas said disbelievingly.
"I do, now come on! I want to find out what Ada has said on the matter," Estel said already heading for the house.
The five elves shared a glance before quickly following. All of them had the same exact thought.
Was Estel truly as fine as he said he was?
Mellon nin: My friend
Hannon le: Thank you
Tithen gwador: Litte brother