Chapter 2: Stray Arrows

"You'll be in here, Legolas," Elladan announced, throwing the doors to Elrohir's room open. They filed in one at a time. "Elrohir always ends up in my room at night anyway, so we'll just share it for the summer. He's still afraid of the dark," he explained with a smirk.

Elrohir snorted. "That's a lie," he turned to Legolas, "I always hear El crying for me in the middle of the night. So I have to come in and play Naneth, isn't that right, Ellie?" he said, mimicking an adult speaking to a small child.

Elladan took a swipe at his twin. "You liar." Elrohir laughed and dodged his brother's arm.

Legolas grinned, amused. He always found it funny how the twins would never admit how close they really were. Well, maybe it wasn't that they would not admit it; maybe they didn't even realize it yet. The truth of the matter was that the twins were still at that young age where being apart made them uneasy. They weren't ready for any sort of independence apart from each other yet, not even separate bedrooms, and probably wouldn't be for several years to come.

Legolas went over and flopped on the large bed. It was a bit like jumping into a pile of feathers. "Nice bed, 'Ro," he said, bouncing a little.

"Suitable for a prince?" Elrohir asked, striding over.

Legolas let out a short laugh. "Well..." he said examining it scrutinizingly, "I was hoping it would be a bit bigger, but I guess it will do," he said sarcastically.

Elrohir laughed and tossed a pillow at his friend's head.

"So, what should we do?" Elladan asked, flopping on the bed.

"Didn't we have some sort of arrangement for me to beat you two out on the training field?" Legolas asked, slightly arching an eyebrow.

Elladan grinned. "You're going to regret that over-confidence later."

"Ada won't be happy if he catches us out there while the warriors are training," Elrohir advised. "He told us we're not allowed, remember?"

"Ah, don't be a wet blanket," Elladan said. "We won't get hurt, and we'll stay on the other end of the field. They won't even notice us. Come on, this'll be fun."

Elrohir reluctantly agreed and the three of them made their way out to the spacious training field. The grass was emerald green and each blade could have almost passed for the precious gem the way they glinted and shone in the sunlight. Tall trees surrounded the perimeter of the field, their swaying branches floating softly in the breeze. It was a beautiful day, but the three young elves hardly took notice of the weather as they marched across the grassy terrain. Their minds were geared towards more important matters: archery and sword fighting. They headed towards the far end of the field, away from the warriors who were currently training with Glorfindel, their small bows and training swords in tow. They stopped about twenty yards short of a tree that had been adorned with a cloth target.

"All right," Elladan said, taking his bow in hand. "You know how it goes. Ten points if you hit the bull's-eye, and two points less for every ring away from it. First one to get fifty points wins."

The two other elflings took their bows in hands, eager to begin the competition. Elladan took the first shot--

"Six points," Elrohir announced. "Gotten a bit rusty in the last few days, huh, El?"

Elladan gave him a glare. Elrohir went next and earned himself a respectable eight points. Legolas, unsurprisingly to both the twins, hit the bull's-eye on his first shot--and almost every shot after that as well. The twins weren't bad, hitting the bull's-eye every few shots or so, but Legolas was a real natural with the bow. Elladan was a little piqued at first, but that quickly turned to admiration as the afternoon wore on and the competition wore off. Legolas won every game but the twins still managed to rack up a decent amount of points, so they weren't really bothered by losing. Legolas didn't rub it in either--he was never the type to rub things in.

Gradually the game got old, and the young elves were ready for a change of scene. Elladan was plucking arrows from the target when he caught sight of a long bow leaned against a nearby tree that one of the training elves must have left there earlier. This large bow would throw a whole new spin on their shooting competition. Elladan eagerly went to show the other two.

"You won't even be able to draw it," Elrohir said, as Elladan fit an arrow to the string.

"Watch and learn, little brother," Elladan said and pulled back with all his strength. It took some effort, but he did manage to draw the bow.

"You did it, El!" Legolas exclaimed. "Now aim for the target."

Elladan did so accordingly but when he released the arrow, the force of long bow threw off his aim and the arrow veered off to the right and completely missed the target, landing somewhere among the trees about half-way down the field.

"Nice one, El," Elrohir snickered.

Disappointed, Elladan lowered the bow. Legolas punched his shoulder. "Better luck next time," he said, "Can I have a go at it?"

"Yeah," Elladan said, handing the bow over. "I better go get the arrow." Elladan stalked off down the field to where he had seen the arrow disappear.

Legolas and Elrohir returned their attention to the target and the new challenge at hand. Legolas managed to draw the long bow with some effort and even planted an arrow on the eight-point ring. Elrohir applauded him and was just about to take his turn with the long bow when a shout down the field caught their attention.

"Heads up!"

One of the training elves must have noticed Elladan enter the trees midway down the field because he managed to shout a warning to the young elf a split second before a poorly aimed arrow shot through the trees just where Elladan had entered. Elrohir lowered the long bow, staring down the field to where he had seen his brother disappear into the trees. Surely nothing had happen--

Elrohir's breath suddenly cut short and he heard Legolas gasp aloud beside him. For out of the trees, fifty or so yards ahead, stumbled a hunched over Elladan. And sticking straight through his midsection was the long shaft of an arrow.

Elrohir felt the blood instantly drain from his face, and his stomach dropped like a chunk of ice. He was sure he was going to be sick, but his feet immediately started carrying him as fast as possible, regardless of what his stomach was feeling. He suddenly felt more scared than he could ever remember being. He didn't notice Legolas keeping pace beside him.

They reached Elladan moments before Glorfindel and several of the other warrior elves, and watched him crumple to the ground upon their arrival. Elrohir was kneeling at his side immediately, eyes wide, heart pounding so hard he thought it might burst through his chest. Cautiously, he placed a hand on his brother's shoulder, preparing to turn him over, yet dreading the sight that awaited him. He closed his eyes and took a breath to steady himself. And that's when he noticed his brother's shoulder was shaking. Elrohir's brow furrowed. Elladan wasn't hurt, he was--laughing?

Elladan burst out in peals of laughter. He rolled over and staggered to his feet, showing them all an arrow tucked neatly under his arm giving the perfect illusion of it passing through his midsection.

There were immediate sighs of relief all around, as Elladan continued to chuckle at what he considered a very clever joke. Legolas even cracked a grin after a few moments, but Elrohir just stood there dumbfounded.

Elladan's laughter was just dying down when Elrohir gathered his senses enough to lunge at his brother. He caught Elladan with a square blow right across the jawline, snapping his twin's head to the side, and immediately silencing any laughter.

"Don't you ever...How could you...?" Elrohir could hardly string a sentence together through his anger.

Elladan was staring incredulously at his twin, his face throbbing from the shock of the blow. He was about to get just as angry back at his twin when he noticed Elrohir was on the verge of bursting into tears. Shocked and confused, he didn't know what else to say but, "'Ro?"

A shaking sob suddenly racked Elrohir's small frame. "That was not funny," Was all he managed to get out before turning away and stalking off, angrily brushing tears from his face.

Elladan stared after him, open-mouthed. After a minute or two he turned to Legolas, "It was a joke," he said, still not believing his twin's reaction.

Legolas nodded, staring at the ground. After a moment he said, "I've never had a twin, or even a brother, but if I did, I don't think I'd ever find it very funny seeing him get shot, either."

Elladan suddenly put himself in Elrohir's place and understood. He realized he would have reacted the exact same way Elrohir had if their positions had been switched. He felt awful. And embarrassed, too. What he had done was downright mean. He had scared Elrohir--really scared him. He never realized how much he meant to his twin brother. And although he felt mostly bad, he couldn't help feeling a bit touched that his brother cared so much--cared enough to full-out slug him! What a great brother, Elladan thought. I'll make it up to him.

"Come on," Elladan said, resting an arm on Legolas' shoulder. "Let's go in."

A/N: Sorry this chapter didn't turn out very long either. But I hope you liked it! I just had to throw in a bit of twin angst. I'll try not to load all the chapters with it though, but sometimes I just can't help it. The twins are just too cute. Anyways, be looking for another quick update. And leave a review, please!

Review Responses: Hehe, since I got so many reviews for that first chapter, this might take a while. So please bear with me.

angeltread: Hey! I updated pretty darn quick. All because you asked me to! That's the power of reviews, right there. :)

Coolio02: Hey, Coolio! You were my first reviewer for Reality of Dreams! That's pretty ironic, don't you think? Unless you make it a goal to be the first reviewer of every new story that comes out, but I highly doubt that. Anyways, thanks for the nice comments! It's always nice hearing from a familiar member. How's your writing coming along? I think I'll take a look at your bio page in just a minute as soon as I'm done with this. Well, take care. Hope to hear from you again soon!