Summary: Estel makes lunch, and Legolas pays the price for it
Disclaimer: If I owned them I would have not time to write this fic
A/N: This was written for a friend, any reviews are welcome.
It was a very cold and bitter wind that howled through the treetops and through their tunics. Elladan and Elrohir had been sent out to replenish the food for the kitchens. Normally this would have been routine to them, but this time Estel had followed, and, with him, he had brought Legolas.
Legolas, in himself, was not a huge problem, for he was a wisened elf and could hold his own should anything occur, but Estel was only eight and he had snuck out.
"We should have turned back the moment we found him, Elrohir," Elladan said to his twin, who was sitting opposite him in the folds of the tree.
"If we had taken him back we would have been two more days in getting the supplies for the kitchens we need for the upcoming celebration."
"But look, Elrohir, Estel is shivering. He refused to climb up in the tree saying he preferred the ground, but I honestly think his fingers were too cold to manage the climb."
Elrohir snorted, "He managed to climb the oak tree just fine three days ago when Erestor wished to harm him for the snake in his bath."
Estel had wanted to come along to prove to the twins he could be useful too. Right now he felt very stupid, as his hands were numb from cold, and yet he didn't want the twins to know. If only he could do something to help, to prove he was not a baby, but what?
"Come, the deer have gone to find shelter for the night and so should we. Elladan has tracked a group of them to the woods surrounding that cave. We can rest inside away from the cold and, by morning, get enough meat to last the entire winter."
"Are you sure, Elrohir? We will not thin the herd too much will we?"
Elrohir rolled his eyes. "Leave it to you, Legolas, to fear for the numbers of the herd more than the hunger of the elves. Elladan assures us the herd numbers in the hundreds so there is no fear of it being diminished too much."
They all made their way to the cave surrounded by the wood and everyone felt Legolas tense up. He was not used to caves, and all of the people of Mirkwood loathed going into a cave.
"The air in here is so close."
Estel walked over to Legolas, the warmth having come back to his fingers. He sat down beside his friend and placed a comforting hand on his leg.
Elladan noticed how Estel comforted Legolas without any thought. The two had grown close in such a short time.
"Come, I will make us dinner while the rest of you relax and enjoy the peaceful fire," Elladan said as he moved over to the bag of meats and herbs.
They'd had a very large lunch, but making dinner and eating would pass the time until it was time to sleep.
"I will make dinner!" Estel exclaimed, running to take the bag of herbs and meats from Elladan.
"Estel, you are not big enough to make dinner, perhaps you could keep Legolas company," Elladan said taking the bag from his hands, but the large grey eyes staring back at him made him stop.
"I only wanted to cook dinner, Elladan. You have seen Ada let me help in the kitchen. I promise I won't burn it."
Elladan could not refuse the pleading eyes of Estel, and the other two watched as he handed the bag to him.
"The other bag is over there, try not to burn it, Estel."
The other two stared in amazement.
"You gave in far too easily, Elladan," rebuked Elrohir.
"You try to look into those eyes and deny him anything. Go o,n Elrohir, go and tell Estel he is not allowed to help."
Elrohir stood to go and tell the child, but the sight of Estel happily pulling out herbs and placing them in the pot made him walk over very slowly.
"Estel, are you sure you wish to do this?"
Estel nodded while he placed in the meat. Elrohir decided he, too, could not tell the child no and sat down amid snickers from Elladan and Legolas.
Not long after, Estel announced the dinner was ready. True, it didn't look horrible, but the twins had learned long ago not to eat anything that Estel had made, not after the beetles in the cookies to make them crunch like the pickles they both loved.
Estel handed both twins some of the soup, and they both accepted graciously, but once his back was turned they dumped it out. Legolas had not seen the swift trick of the twins, and he raised his spoon to his lips and took a sip from it. The twins waited for a grimace, the look of wanting to heave it back up, but it did not come.
"Estel, this has a very strange taste to it, but it is not too horribly bad."
The twins, now hungry and seeing Legolas not dying yet, wished they hadn't tossed out their helpings, but it could not be helped now, so they all turned in for the night so they could head home tomorrow.
The hunt had gone well and now both Elladan's and Elrohir's horses were laden down with the many deer they had felled. Elladan had tried to wake Legolas to help, but he swatted them away, mumbling something incoherent. When they returned to collect the two, Estel was ready, the empty packs slung over his shoulder, but Legolas lay unmoving.
"Get up, Legolas. We wish to make it back to Imladris before nightfall," Elladan said, poking the blond haired elf in the shoulder. For his efforts Legolas got to his elbows shakily and spewed his dinner from the night before on Elladan's boots.
"Legolas, are you not well?" Elrohir asked, moving to his side and helping him to stand. Elladan, on the other hand, was still staring, mouth open in shock, at his new boots, now covered with bits of vegetables.
"Elladan, come and help me get him to the horse. If he is not well then the best person for him is Ada."
Elladan shook the stunned look off his face and helped get Legolas to his horse.
"When did this start, you seemed fine last night."
"It started after I ate. I felt funny and then I went to sleep."
Elladan turned on the now cowering Estel. "What did you put in the food?"
"Nothing that I wasn't supposed to."
Elrohir was about to ask a little more so they could get a clear picture of what exactly Estel had put in the soup, but Legolas turned a few shades of green and ran to the nearby bush, heaving again as Estel held his long blond hair out of the way.
When he finally came up from the bush he looked far paler than he had before and they knew they should head out now. All four got on their horses, Elladan helping Legolas onto his and receiving yet another view of Legolas' innards as they came pouring out all over his tunic. He shoved the Mirkwood elf on his horse and tried to wipe the disgusting residue from himself as he mounted his own horse.
No one spoke for many miles, only wanting to get home and, for Elladan, wanting to bathe. They had traveled slowly, Estel looking very sorrowful, Legolas looking very green. Many times they'd had to stop for Legolas to lay over a bush for a few minutes, and then they would carry on.
It had been a long day and they were only two miles from the gates of Imladris when Elrohir spoke, "I say we ride hard this last stretch. Legolas looks weaker with each passing moment."
All agreed, letting Estel and Legolas take the lead.
The wind whipped past Estel's hair. It felt good even on the crisp cold day, but then he heard a gurgling, belching noise coming from Legolas. When Estel looked back, he could see his friend turning a lovely shade of green to match his tunic, and then it happened. Legolas started gaging, which turned into heaving, and what little he had left in his stomach went flying behind him and his horse to hit Elladan directly in the face.
Elrond stood at the gates, having heard the sentries tell him four riders were fast approaching. He assumed the worst and had had the healers prepare four beds. "So help me, if they have let harm come to Estel he will not leave the house again for thirty years," he thought.
What met him in the courtyard, however, was another story. Estel jumped from his horse, looking quite hale, and Elrohir followed. When he turned to Legolas, he could see the green-faced elf hanging onto the side of his horse, ready to fall off at any second. Elrond sent him directly to the healers via Erestor, and then he turned to Elladan.
"Why the sour look, and why do you smell as if you have been bathing in the droppings of cattle?"
Elladan glared at his father as he slung sopping wet hair from his face.
"Legolas first hurled on my boot, then, much to my dismay, he once again heaved on me as I tried to help him mount his horse. But by far the worst is that the wind played a foul trick on me today and I was caught unaware as the last remnants of his dinner slapped me about the face. It has been a cruel day."
"That explains the pieces of vegetables, but you smell far worse than anything else I could have imagined. Go and bathe at once, and we will get to the bottom of this malady."
Elladan stormed off into the house grumbling. He was glad he did not have to tell his Ada about Legolas losing all bodily functions as he heaved. Just knowing he had been befouled in such a manner was humiliation enough.
Two hours later they all ajourned in the healing ward.
"Now tell me, Estel, what did you put in this soup you made?" Elrond asked.
"I only put in the vegetables and the meat, and I also put in the elderberry leaves."
Elrond's face paled. "Did you mean elderberries, for the leaves are poisonous."
"I am sorry, Ada, honest! I remembered you saying elderberry something and I wanted it to taste good. It is my fault he is sick, isn't it?"
Elrond pulled the now crying Estel into his arms. "It is a tradegy that Legolas paid the price for your inattention, but you will know next time to ask. It is not a crime to ask for help, Estel."
Estel soon wiped away his tears, but he wouldn't leave Legolas' side. The others were ushered out by Lord Elrond.
"Ada, will he be all right?" Elrohir asked as they walked back to the dining hall.
"Aye, he will be fine by morning. Now you must tell me of how Elladan became the target of the most unfortunate accident."
Elladan grumbled through the explanation, even having to admit things he did not want to. His only salvation was that when Legolas awoke he would recall it all to the prissy wood elf and not let him forget it for the next century. With this thought, he left the dining hall to enter the healing ward. He found Legolas sitting up and smiling, and an idea struck.
"Legolas, how would you like a nice bowl of soup for lunch?"