Summary : Legolas always thinks he is the only manyan in Arda…or is he?

Hello, hello! Here I am again, mad at work! Now, here comes the time for a new story. But I have to warn you, this story is an absolute AU. Some might even think I'm overdoing this. I swear, I don't know where I got the idea to create this one. Must be the bars and bars of chocolate I kept stuffing my face with. LOL!

Firstly, I would like to thank those of you who had spent the time reading 'Temper of the Sea', and for understanding the message I was trying to convey. Your responses are overwhelming. I'm so glad that the story gives you something to think about. Thank you so much, people.

Now, on to the current story. This is not the chibi-Legolas fic that I've promised, though. That one is still incomplete, and the plots are too…well, cheesy. I need to tie up some loose ends first. Maybe I'll post it after finishing this one. This story, by the way, took place right after 'Those Ungrateful Humans!'. Yes, Legolas is still recuperating from his burning incident, he is bored, and yada yada yada…

Want to know more? Read on. But I have to warn you, this fic is quite soap-operaish, and full with clichés and cliffies and…Errr…did I say cliffies?

Yep. Watch out for that cliffies, guys! There's one at every corner, o my poor readers. He he he…

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"Legolas, stop playing with your food."

The golden-haired prince of Mirkwood looked up and scowled at his father. "I'm not playing with my food," he growled in reply.

Thranduil frowned admonishingly. "Then why in Arda aren't you eating? You keep pushing those beans around your plate as if they were marbles."

With a roll of his eyes, Legolas put down his fork and rose to leave the table. "I'm not hungry, father. May I retire to my room?"

"No, you may not," said the king. "Sit down and finish your dinner. Then you may go and do whatever you wish to do."

"But, father…"

"Sit down!"

Legolas quickly sat, fighting the urge to yell out loud with frustration. The Mirkwood king was famous for his short temper, always yelling and ranting when his commands were disobeyed. Legolas was not eager to be at the receiving end. Not tonight, anyway.

Sighing audibly, the prince picked up his fork and resumed stabbing at the hapless beans on his plate. Sitting at the head of the long dining table, Thranduil continued to eat in silence. But, after attempting for several minutes to ignore the tink-a-tink sound that kept coming from the seat on his right, the king lost it again.

"Will you stop that?!" Thranduil snapped with a glare, gripping his fork and knife threateningly in each hand as if he was preparing to poke his son's eyes out with them.

Legolas stopped, dropping his fork onto the table with a loud clatter. "Sorry."

With a small sigh, Thranduil quietly put down his cutlery and looked straight at his son. "All right, tell me. What's bothering you?"

The prince shrugged as he folded his arms on the tabletop and slumped forward, proprieties be damned. "Nothing," he started. "It's just that…I'm bored. Immensely."

"You are bored." Thranduil blinked, perplexed. This was not the first time he lost track of his son's state of mind. "Is that why you played with your dinner? Not a very healthy conduct, I gather. May I know what caused this…uh…boredom?"

Legolas sent his father a look that said he had doubts about Thranduil's state of mind.

"I miss Kel." There. He had said the words.

Of course, this is about Kel. Thranduil instantly understood. I should have known.

The last they heard, his elder son, Keldarion, was at the borders of Dol Guldur, leading a war campaign against the dark goblins. The crown prince of the realm had been gone for almost a month now, with occasional missives sent back home to inform his family of his progress and well-being.

As a king, Thranduil found the letters enough to ensure himself of Keldarion's great skills and caliber as a noble warrior-prince. Smart and level-headed—definitely a natural born leader—the elder prince was always ready to step up to the throne and take over his father's ruling.

Still, Thranduil's paternal heart found the letters poorly inadequate, especially when he knew about Keldarion's nature to keep anything unpleasant from his family's knowledge. If Keldarion got hurt, he would insist that it was not severe, even when he was bleeding to death from it.

Now, for Legolas, he found those letters completely unreliable. It was not that he didn't appreciate his brother writing to him. He just needed to see Keldarion in the flesh to believe anything that he said, to assure himself that his elder brother was hale and unharmed.

Poor Legolas, Thranduil mused with a slight smile as he watched his younger son sulk at the dining table, just like the prince used to do when he was an elfling. He not only misses his brother. He is afraid for Kel's life, afraid that he won't see him again.

The king fully comprehended Legolas' feelings as this was the longest period the two brothers had been apart from one another. When the call for the campaign had been raised weeks ago, Legolas had been overly eager to join Keldarion, both princes deeply craving for another adventure. Luckily, Thranduil didn't agree to this and soundly forbid his younger son to go because Legolas was still healing from a freak burning incident. His legs had been wounded terribly, and the damaged skin needed more time to repair. The burn marks had slowly faded from his legs, but Legolas still walked with a slight limp to this day. It would take him another month to be completely healed.

"Your brother is fine," Thranduil said in attempt to sooth his son.

Legolas mumbled uncomprehendingly in reply, staring glumly at the tabletop.

"He will return soon."

Legolas still didn't raise his head as he uttered the same grumbling noises.

Thranduil gave up. He threw his hands in the air with an exasperated sigh. If Legolas sat but a couple of feet closer, the king might have wrapped his fingers around his son's throat and choked him!

Ai! Stubborn creature!

All of a sudden, the entire table shook crazily about.

"What the…!" Legolas bolted upright and stared, petrified. He also realized that even his seat was shaking!

"What's happening?" Clutching at the arms of his chair, Legolas exchanged horrified looks with Thranduil. The dishes and glasses in front of them were clinking and banging with one another. The huge chandelier above their heads was swaying and quivering, looking close to dropping.

"Earthquake," the king said shortly, sending warning glances at the servants behind him that told them to brace themselves. Leaping out of his chair, he rushed to his son's side and yanked him to his feet. "Get under the doorway."

Legolas dared not argue. He let his father drag him to the nearest doorway and they huddled there, flinching as chunks of plaster and rock fell all around them. Several pedestals that held urns of flowers toppled over, while brave servants ran here and there to secure any priceless artifacts.

A tall vase bought from Rivendell crashed close to the two royalties, causing Thranduil to raise his arms and cover his son's head from the flying pieces. His eyes wide, Legolas gaped over his father's shoulder at the chaos. This was not the first time the prince had experienced an earthquake, but such course of nature never stopped to fascinate him. The ground underneath his feet was quaking terribly as the strong structure of the palace moaned and shuddered from the force.

Several royal guards ran headlong under the raining debris towards their king and prince, quickly gathering around the two to form a shield. But it seemed that their effort was no longer needed because, almost as suddenly as it started, the quaking stopped.

Everything grew eerily quiet. Heavy dust permeated the air, clogging their nostrils. Someone coughed.

Blinking to clear his vision, Legolas pulled away from his father and stared at the aftermath. It was almost dark in the dining hall now because most of the candles had been extinguished while the full moon was hidden behind the clouds.

"Well, there goes our dinner," the prince said sheepishly.

"Are you hurt?" Thranduil asked, running a cursory glance all over Legolas' tall form.

His son shook his head. "No, I'm fine. I'm just all shaken up." Then he grinned as he added, "Uh…no pun intended."

Thranduil groaned at the silly joke. Brushing the dirt off his clothes, he called out to the servants to put everything back to order. The guards, meanwhile, were told to assimilate the amount of damage and give him reports afterwards.

"Get me Linden," the king said next to the nearest guard. Commander Linden was the highest military officer of Thranduil's army, and his most trusted adviser. The commander's aid was greatly needed at a time like this.

"And where are you going?" Thranduil asked when he saw his son rush away to leave the dining hall.

"I'm going to see if anyone's hurt," Legolas replied without pausing. "The people may need my help."

Then he was gone.

Thranduil ruefully shook his head, knowing that he couldn't stop his son. The prince was a manyan, and like the servants and royal guards, he had work to do. It was his responsibility, a gift he had inherited from his mother who died giving birth to him. As the only mystical healer of the realm, Legolas never hesitated to use his powers to bring back his people's health or cure their injuries just by the simple touch of his hands. He had been doing it since he had discovered his ability while he was still a small child, scaring his father and brother out of their wits in the process because Legolas always landed himself in trouble. Just look what had happened two months ago. The people of a town of men nearby had burned him at the stake, thinking that he was an evil witch!

Hoping that his son would not overdo and exhaust himself, Thranduil turned to observe as the servants scurried around to clean up the mess and rearrange the furniture. Earthquakes always left lots of chores to be done.

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Leagues away, the water of Esgaroth was rippling a lot stronger than usual. The Long Lake near the Lonely Mountain had been disturbed. Deep down in its depth, a big rock lay crumbled in pieces. The tall, dark creature that had once been its prisoner had just been turned loose.

The said creature was now swimming furiously towards the shore, his arms and legs churning strongly as if he had not been spending thousands of years encased by a suffocating, rocky shell.

Reaching the shore, he straightened to his full height and stretched languidly. His silver eyes glinted with glee as he broke into a self-satisfied smile.

Too long had he waited this chance. Too long had he craved for this moment, to breathe the unpolluted air of Arda again, to feel the warm earth beneath his feet, to be free.

He cocked one pointed ear, listening intently to the trees and wind. They were telling him something, something very important.

His smile slowly vanished. His gaze darkened.

He didn't like what he heard.

"There can be only one!" he shouted, shaking his fists in the air. "And that is me! ME, DAMN IT!"

With that as his parting retort, he turned to face the direction of the Woodland Realm, his eyes smoldering with hate. I'll show them I'm the only manyan here. Me, and no one else.

He then strode forward and vanished into the woods.

TBC…