Title: Long Under Tree

Author: Darkhorse

Rating: PG

Summary: Legolas is an elfling giving his ada headaches and heartache. The young life of Legolas 'long under tree'.

Feedback: yes please

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

Thranduil tossed another robe onto the bed, morning had come too soon for the Mirkwood King. Startling awake as the morning bell broke the silence outside of his chambers, he woke to Legolas' toes pressed into his cheek, all of his soft sheets stolen and wound tightly around his son's small body.

Much to the King's chagrin the elfling had taken to sleeping with him since the episode with the spider. Thrandul could understand his fear and attachment, but sharing his bed with the elfling had been a painful experience. It was as if Legolas had timed his thrashing about perfectly for whenever Thranduil had begun to fall asleep he recieved a swift kick to his kidney.

Now he was frantically trying to decide what robe made him look most regal. Legolas escaped from under the last robe that had been hurled over him.

"I like this one Ada, the blue flowers are pretty!" Legolas exclaimed.

Thranduil decided he was definitely not wearing the 'pretty' one.

"Yay! I can't wait till the elflings get here Ada, I want to show them my favorite tree!" Legolas said while jumping on the bed.

"Legolas...I'm sorry I didn't think to tell you, but while Elrond's sons have not yet reached their majority...they are much older than you. They may not wish to play with you." Thranduil said gently.

When Legolas had asked him about who was coming he had, in his haste to prepare for the visit, replied 'Elrond and two of his elflings'. He hadn't given it much thought at the time, but in his kingdom there were no elflings Legolas' age, he had only once played with some elflings from Lorien. The King was still subjugated to the same tales about the fun Legolas had experienced in their company. Elflings were not born as often as mortal children, for if they were middle earth would be crawling with immortals.

Legolas wanted to cry, he knew what elflings of that age were like, bossy and mean. Two elflings who were close to their majority had teased him mercilessly months before when his leggings became tangled in some garden bushes and he was forced to walk home with his under clothing on display.

Thranduil saw the disappointment and sorrow on Legolas' little face. He felt terrible. Swallowing past the lump in his throat he made his sincerest apology.

"I'm sorry 'Las, really, they are still young yet, they may want to play with you." He knew it was a poor statement.

Legolas looked up into his Adar's sad face and forced a smile. "It's okay Ada, I'd rather look at my picture books anyway."

Thranduil grimaced, the elfling was trying to make him feel better, it only succeeded in making him feel worse. The king looked thoughtfully at the last robe in his closet before pulling it out and slipping it on.

"You know Legolas," He said while closing the clasps on the pale green breast. "I still need a noble elf for one last job, it is a very important task and I would only allow my most trusted elf to do it. "

Legolas' eyes went wide, "What is it Ada?"

"Oh...I need someone who knows the palace and grounds very well so that they can show them to our twin guests, they have never been here before and I need a responsible elf who can show them all of our best rooms and gardens. Oh yes, and that tree...the one you like so much, someone will have to introduce the twins to the tree of course." Thranduil had turned his back so that he wouldn't give himself away to Legolas with the large grin on his face.

"I know the palace Ada!" Legolas exclaimed.

"Oh, that's right you do don't you. You know the palace and the grounds too. Hmmm, no one knows that tree like you do and you are my most trusted elf as well. Legolas, would you do this job for me?" Thranduil couldn't hide the smile in his voice.

Legolas hopped off the bed and thrust his arms tightly around Thranduil's leg. "You mean it Ada? Really?" Legolas asked beaming up at him.

Thranduil smoothed a hand lovingly down the prince's face. "Yes Legolas, you can show them around the palace, but don't leave the grounds understand?"

"No, I meant do you really mean I'm your most trusted elf?" Legolas ducked his head.

"Of course you are." Thranduil soothed. "Now, I think you should get ready for such an important task don't you?"

Legolas beamed up at him "I love you my Ada." He said before running off to his room.

"Have some one help you Legolas!" Thranduil shouted after him, wincing at the number of times that his elfling had dressed himself in tattered leggings, a backward tunic and a jeweled tiara used only for weddings.

Legolas rushed out to stand beside his father amongst the welcoming party that had gathered in front of the palace.

"There you are Legolas! I was about to send someone..." Thranduil paused, looking over the elfling and quickly looking down at himself.

"I look just like you Ada!" Legolas shouted proudly.

The King swiped a hand over his face. "Yes...you do. I suppose it's too late to change that." Thranduil glared at the prince's minder who looked horrified. She suddenly realized why Legolas had insisted on that particular robe.

Standing proudly beside his Adar, Legolas tried valiantly to mimic the stern features that Thranduil seemed to always be sporting. His endeavor failed as he was taken over by excited wiggling and giggles he smothered with his hand when he saw the Rivendell party arriving.

Elrond dismounted gracefully at the gate and was followed by his two sons in his procession to meet the king. Elrond did not stifle his grin when he approached and saw one very no nonsense king beside a matching wide eyed elfling that was trying desperately to stand still under the onslaught of his curiosity.

"Thranduil, I am honored to be in your presence once more." Elrond stated regally before extending his hand from his chest, his sons following suit.

"We are honored to have you Lord Elrond. Welcome to Mirkwood, I hope that you will enjoy your stay." Thranduil said repeated the gesture.

"These are my sons, Elladan and Elrohir." Elrond introduced.

"We thank you for your hospitality King Thranduil, we are in your service." The two replied bowing slightly.

"Well met, and this is my son Legolas." Thranduil knew he had to act quickly before Legolas' composure dissolved completely.

Before the visiting elves could greet him he burst forth, "Hello I'm Legolas and I live here and I get to show you the palace!" Legolas beamed breathlessly and then frowned and ducked his head, that wasn't what he was supposed to say. He had forgotten what he had practiced!

Legolas looked up under lowered lashes to survey the damage but the visitors bore smiles on their faces. Thranduil nudged him and he looked up as his Adar mouthed the words to him.

"Oh yes, now I remember Ada! I am honored to meet you Lord Elrond and Eldan and Elroher, welcome to Mirkwood." He gestured awkwardly.

Elrond chuckled, "Well met prince Legolas!"

Elrond had barely uttered his greeting when his hand was being grasped by two small ones. "Come, you have to see the palace and the gardens and my favorite tree! Legolas tugged Elrond's arm.

Elrond was overcome, how could such an exuberant child come from a stuffy elf like Thranduil? Perhaps he had misunderstood the king all of these years. He laughed as the elfling pulled him forward.

"Legolas, you may show the Elrond's sons the palace. Elrond and I have things to discuss." Thranduil said a bit exasperated prying the prince's hands off the Lord.

"Okay Ada!" Legolas said with barely contained excitement as he released Elrond and lunged for the twins.

As Legolas pulled the twins off Elrond looked at the king with raised eyebrows. Thranduil shrugged and a small smile cracked his stern facade.

"He takes after his mother." He said simply before leading Elrond into the palace at a much slower rate.

The twins turned smirked to each other as Legolas excitedly pointed to tapestrys and told all of the thrilling stories he had heard about the characters and nature stitched into them.

This elfling was at least entertaining, with what their father had told them about Thranduil, they were certain that they would be in for a dull visit. They were rapidly becoming fond of the elfling despite the fact that he talked more than anyone they had ever known.

By the time they reached the gardens they were fulling relaxed in the presence of their exuberant host and enjoyed his lilting, all be it rapid, dialect. The beauty of the gardens settled him though and the twins were awed at the splendor of the well cared for greenery.

Legolas was very good about naming the plants for them and then they came upon a large willow that the prince had dubbed his 'favorite'. "Isn't it wonderful?" Legolas sighed as he grasped the trunk and nimbly swung up into its branches. The tree rocked the elfling ever so slightly, welcoming him. Elladan and Elrohir could not see what Legolas saw nor hear the whispers that he could hear but they nodded and smiled.

Later the three settled by a stream as the day faded and the twins told Legolas about Rivendell. Legolas sat enthralled with the tales and did what he had come to do lately when listening to entertaining stories, he moved his tooth with his tongue.

He didn't know why but recently he had been able to move it. He would move the tooth back and forth, it hurt a bit but it also felt good, like scratching an itch.

So the prince lay in the grass on his belly listening to his new friends and moving his tooth when all of the sudden the the strangest thing happened! The tooth wasn't there to wiggle anymore! suddenly sitting up Legolas pulled the bloody tooth out of his mouth.

The twins paused their story when they saw the prince turn pale and holding his front tooth in his hand. Legolas was speechless, what had he done. He had ruined himself!

If only he had not played with it his tooth would still be in his mouth where it belonged! Now he would go the rest of his life without this tooth! Legolas tried desperately to put it back but it wouldn't stick.

Elladan, never missing a chance to tease, said

"Oh no Legolas your tooth has fallen out! You know what that means? Tell him Elrohir."

"Loosing a tooth," Elrohir paused trying to think quickly. "Loosing a tooth means that you are turning into an Orc!"

If it were possible, Legolas turned whiter.

"A..an Orc?" He squeaked.

"Yes," Elladan said. "and you had better not let your Adar see he will be terribly cross with you."

Legolas gulped. He wanted to cry, he stared at the tooth in utter shock. "Help me! You gotta help me put it back in! I don't want to be an Orc!"

"Don't worry Legolas we will help you." Elrohir said, this was going to be fun!

"What do I do?" Legolas wailed.

"Quick, we need flour and water, where is the kitchen!" Elrohir asked dramatically.

Racing into the kitchens, Legolas saw that they were full, elves were busy preparing for the feast. It was easy for the small elf to sneak in unnoticed amongst the hurry and distraction. Spotting a large sack flour the prince snatched it from the floor and tugged it back to the waiting twins in the hall. "I have it!" He replied breathlessly, the sack heavy in his small hands.

"Hurry lets go back to the stream!" Elladan urged, near busting with laughter.

"There now Legolas open your hands and we'll mix the flour with the water and stick that tooth in for you!" Elledan shared a smirk with his brother at their game.

After mixing the paste, Legolas stuck a glob on his fallen tooth and pressed it back in place with tremendous force. "It worked!" Legolas exclaimed and then smiled allowing the tooth to fall into his lap.

"Oh no!" The prince grasped his tunic with his dripping pasty hands. "I'm gonna be and Orc!" He wailed.

"No you won't Legolas," Elrohir chuckled, not being able to control his mirth. "perhaps you are not pasty enough."

"Yes, we must make you more pasty Legolas, get into the stream." Elladan added to his brothers suggestion.

Legolas got into the stream and looked at them so beseechingly that they were struck with guilt...for a moment. "What now?" The little prince asked.

Elledan unceremoniously dumped the entire bag of flour over Legolas' golden head. "Now dunk just a little and get good and pasty Legolas, we'll get that tooth back in!" Elledan commanded.

Legolas emerged extremely sticky from the stream, 'It must surely work this time!' He thought as he stuck the top of the tooth into the glue on his head and jammed it back into his mouth again.

Just has he was doing so he heard his Adar calling for him, he snapped his mouth shut and then gulped, amply swallowing his tooth!

As Elrond and Thranduil approached, Elladan and Elrohir swiftly walked into a wooded part of the garden.

"Legolas there you are I've been..." Thranduil paused in horror, there stood the prince of Mirkwood covered from head to toe in drippy paste. "What in Arda...Legolas! What are you doing!"

Legolas was unable to move. 'i just swallowed it! I swallowed my tooth! It's gone forever! I'm sure to be an Orc now!' He thought desperately.

Legolas wanted to answer his ada, bury his face in his Adar's tunic and tell him of the awful thing that had happened and how his son would now be an Orc, but he couldn't.

Maybe there was hope left, he didn't want his father to know just yet of the tragedy so he couldn't just open his mouth and reply...else he would see!

"Legolas you answer me!" Thranduil bellowed. Elrond cringed behind him, the happy little elfling he had met hours before looked so distraught! This was not lost on Thranduil, he softened a bit, how could the elfling always manage to get in such mischief?

Just then the twins came out of the woods "Legolas what happened to you?" Elrohir exclaimed. Legolas was confused for a moment before he realized that they were helping him, they were not going to let his Adar know he was becoming an Orc.

Thranduil sighed. "Legolas get inside and take a bath and be quick about it, we will see you in the dining hall when you are through. Now hurry!" Thranduil sighed exasperated before rushing his son along with a solid swat that made the prince yelp and left the king with a handful of paste.

TBC