Title: Aragorn's Secret Weapon 25

Author: Sivan Shemesh

Beta: Aranel

Rating: PG-13

Warning: Angst full ahead, fluff, and humor. Bad or good endings… lol!

Disclaimer: Characters belong to Tolkien. I just borrowed them for my own evil plans.

Spoiler: Total AU.

Summary: Aragorn has a plan on how he will finally beat Legolas. But will Legolas find out? And if he does, what he will do?

Note: Estel's age is 7, and Legolas's age is 14 and only an elfling compared to the other elves.

Part 1: Family

"A friend in need is a friend indeed."
- Latin Proverb

Almost a month later…

Legolas waited outside, as he saw Lord Elrond's shadow within the room. The elfling was still afraid of the lord. Even though the lord would nod in greeting if they met in the corridors, things were still tense, and Legolas would rather disappear elsewhere than get hurt.

"Ada?" Estel called as he noticed his friend outside.

"Yes, my son?" Elrond answered somewhat uncertainly. His heart missed a beat every time he saw Greenleaf evade him.

Erestor and Glorfindel saw it too, and they perfectly understood why Princeling Legolas acted this way. They could only wish that Elrond would do something to ease the pain from the elfling.

"Why is Legolas afraid of you?" Estel asked, hoping that his foster father could explain it, as he had enough of his friend acting this way.

Elrond knew the answer, but while he was ashamed of how he had initially reacted to the elfling in his worry, he held his tongue to preserve his pride.

Estel walked over to Legolas, and gave him more lembas to eat. The elfling seemed too skinny – probably even thinner than the boy was.

"Hannon le, Estel." Legolas thanked him and wandered off to the garden, away from the lord and everyone else to the comfort only nature could give him.

Estel returned to his father, stared at how he seemed motionless, and he said, "Go to him, ada, and talk to him, please."

Elrond looked at the boy, nodded and wordlessly followed the elfling.

"Legolas?" Elrond called when he saw Legolas just ahead, but the elfling started to run.

"Legolas! Don't…"

But he only ran faster. Elrond sighed heavily.

"Princeling Legolas, stop running this instance!" Elrond ordered in a firm voice.

Elladan and Elrohir had left the house at that moment and stopped at their father's tone, wondering what in the name of the Valar was going on? Elladan did not understand why his friend had lost so much weight and why his father was so riled up by the princeling.

The twins unanimously hurried toward the garden, wanting to defend their friend, but they saw Erestor and Glorfindel at the corner, motioning for them to stop.

"He started the problem, he should resolve this," Erestor whispered as they came over.

They watched as Legolas stopped eventually, but did not dare face the lord.

"Why did you run away from me? I am your adar's friend; I will not harm you," Elrond tried to keep his voice soft, but Legolas heard the bitter undertone in those words.

The elfling's lips moved but he did not speak.

Elrond watched him carefully, seemingly noticing for the first time, how pale his skin was and how much skinnier the elfling was now. The lord could not help the guilty stab when he thought of how he had treated this young life. Now, all he could see was the faded image of Thranduil's son.

He wondered if he could even resolve this situation. He did not wish for their long friendship to be ruined because of this mistake of his – and only his, but there seemed to be nothing he could do.

"I want to apologize to you for my attitude," the lord began, "I know that I did not treat you well, and I hope you will give me a second chance."

Elrond looked at the elfling, and wished he knew what thoughts were running through his mind. He only saw, through those glazed eyes, a flurry of emotions swelling from within the elfling. He did not speak, but Lord Elrond knew he could not forget the anger and blame Elrond had so harshly and unfair laden his young heart with.

Legolas continued to stare wordlessly at the lord before him. None of the elves nor the boy around them remembered him ever being so silent.

"Legolas?" Elrond asked hesitantly.

With that, Legolas skirted the garden and walked toward the others watching the scene, leaving the unsure elf-lord alone.

"Lord Glorfindel, may I have a word with you?" Legolas asked, his eyes looking at the lawn beneath them.

"Of course you can," Glorfindel tried to assure him. He was aware of how the others were listening to them, and how the princeling said nothing. "Is there anything you would like me to help with?" he asked.

Legolas raised his head almost fearfully. "Alone, Glorfy."

The rest of the group left them silently; Elrond numbly followed them.

"Now that they have gone, what is it you wish to tell me?"

"How… how could I forgive him for letting me be addicted to those herbs?" Legolas asked.

Glorfindel gazed at the elfling, knowing how he still found it hard to believe that he was addicted, and that he had to constantly fight against his own body. "What does your heart tell you?"Glorfindel asked softly.

"I do not know… I feel like I am cornered by orcs." Legolas confided.

"Well, what I can advise is that you think it through as you stroll in the garden. Perhaps nature will give you an answer, and meanwhile, you may find some solace among the trees." Glorfindel suggested.

"I will try that," Legolas thought aloud, smiling gratefully.

"Meanwhile I'll make sure no one disturbs you," Glorfindel tapped Legolas' shoulders gently, and left.

Legolas wandered through the garden, thinking of the lord's apology to him. He knew it was not easy for him to apologize, but he could not help the fear, the feeling as his body shook when Elrond cursed him in that harsh voice, the overwhelming guilt when Elrond showed him how it was his fault that Elladan was hurt.

The princeling did not know what he should do; he felt as though whichever way things went, someone – likely himself – would still get hurt.

Though he knew that he should do something soon.

He should sacrifice his needs and not tell his ada what happened in Imladris, as he did not wish to lose his friendship with Estel, because though they fought, he realized one thing: his best friend was like a brother to him, just as Elladan was his big brother and Elrohir was there to watch over him.

Legolas knew that he had a family here, but sometimes people in a family could act wrongly, caring for one while leaving the other hurt and suffering alone.

And he was the one to suffer alone, having been at the receiving end of Elrond's fury.

But he must act as though all was well. He wanted everything to be back to normal again, so he had to try. He had to forgive, he had to let everyone heal. And of course, he would not tell his ada about the herbs so he could keep his friendship with Estel.

Now that he had decided, he walked back towards the others with a lighter gait.

Then he noticed the messenger who had been talking with Lord Elrond. He hastened his steps, wanting to know what was happening.

The messenger noticed the princeling's presence and turned to him.

"What is going on?" Legolas asked.

"Your adar missed you, Princeling Legolas, and I have been asked to take you back." The messenger explained. He almost thought he saw some fear in those dull blue eyes.

"Wait for me in the garden while I prepare for the ride home." Legolas told him, and he nodded and stepped away.

As Legolas turned to face the group, he saw Estel's crest-fallen face. Those grey eyes were dimmed and tears were slowly finding their way down his cheeks.

"Please, my friend, do not leave…" Estel cried, and hid his face in his hands.

"I am sorry, Estel, but my father asked for me and he is my family as well." Legolas said, gently pulling the boy's hands away and wiping away the streaks. The boy nodded sadly.

Erestor and Glorfindel turned to the princeling. Glorfindel spoke for them, "We hope to see you soon, Legolas. We certainly enjoy having you around."

Legolas nodded, gave them a tight smile and headed toward the house to pack his things.

Later, when he was set and ready to leave, he turned to see Lord Elrond watching him from the doorway.

"My Lord Elrond, forgive me, but I must leave." Legolas asked, averting his gaze.

"Princeling Legolas, I only wish to speak with you for a while." Elrond asked, hoping that Legolas could ease his conscience.

Legolas looked up at his soft, genuine tone. Suddenly, he did not know what he should say.

His heart ached as he recalled what Elrond had done and said, but he replied, "I forgive you, my lord. I believe that everything that you did was because of your concern for your sons."

Elrond hurried added, "But it was not my intention to hurt you, and I am deeply sorry for my words to you."

"It does not matter, my Lord Elrond." Legolas said, his eyes in peaceful understanding, as carried his belongings and left the room.

"But it does matter," Elrond whispered into the air. He sat on the bed, and sighed heavily. "The next time you come, I'll show you how much I truly care."

End of Part 1.