Rating: T (For one scene of squickiness if you don't like blood in chapter 2) There is one angst scene; otherwise this fic (part 2) is the fluffy filling in an angst sandwich.

A/N

Part 2 of 3 – "Buried: Descent" is part 1 under author Pentangle-linnon

This story follows the convention that Estel was raised by Elrond, Gilraen is out of the picture, etc, and is slightly AU as Estel is fifteen and has recently been told some of who he is by Elrond.

His insufficient maturity for such news has caused some problems. (see Part 1)

Thanks to Jadesaber for beta-ing this story

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ch. 1 - Going Home

The traveling party consisted of 10 elven warriors, one elven prince, one elven ruler of a hidden valley, and one 15 year old human. As they left the gloom of the Mirkwood forests behind them and rode out onto the plains that footed the Misty Mountains, all (except the prince) took deep breaths of relief. The previously silent group began to laugh and talk and sing.

Glorfindel chastised his youngest subordinate, "I do not understand your attitude, Aerendir. I find a brisk skirmish with a score or so of spiders just the thing to make me peckish for dinner!"

"Do not listen to Glorfindel," Elrond chuckled. "His complexion was a delightful shade of green as the spiders surrounded us!"

"That was just the gloom of Mirkwood! Why do you think Legolas wanted a portrait painted in Imladris? His cheek is too pale to stand up to the dolorous light of his home."

"That was a gift for my father, as well you know. If I had had it done at home I would never have kept it a secret from Thranduil." Legolas spoke placidly as he rode alongside Estel and behind Glorfindel and Elrond. "It is often said that those who have never quailed in the bloodiest battle flinch when meeting our little pets."

Glorfindel sighed. "Alas; too true. I shall never grow accustomed to the hideous things. I doubt I have enough left in my treasury to pay you all bribes to keep my disgraceful secret. However, there is one among us who showed his mettle, even though he was ordered to stay out of the mêlée."

Estel looked apprehensive. He was not used to the new 'say nothing critical of Estel' program the party had instituted in an attempt to bolster his confidence.

Elrond smiled in reassurance. "I would have preferred you not risk yourself, my son, but none could fault your valor. I am very proud of the way you handled that spider. It was a large one indeed!"

Estel smiled in return, though the smile in his eyes did not quite match the one on his lips. "It was a very juicy one, at any rate. I am glad I have clean linen with me. Now all I need is a stream to wash in."

Glorfindel turned around to look at him, resting one hand on his horse's rump as he leaned on it. "That you shall have, youngling, for our camp is well supplied tonight. It is another three hours away. Though if you are tired we can stop earlier –"

Estel was still not fully recovered from his illness. He snapped peevishly, "I am fine Glorfindel! I wish you all would not worry so!"

Estel flushed when the seneschal did not become angry but instead became concerned.

"I am sorry, Glorfindel," he whispered.

One month previously, he would have added, "I know you only fret over me because you care for me." But now the absence of that simple sentiment echoed in the painful silence of those who rode at the fore of the group. Estel's knuckles shown whitely as he gripped his reins.

Glorfindel broke the tension in his elevated way as he began to sing a raucous man-song about two drunkards and a giant spider. He sang several verses before Elrond intervened.

"My stroke went wide, and so did his;

We made another pass.

But the spider jumped down right behind

And bit Aldor on the – "

"Glorfindel!" barked Elrond.

"My lord?" (His gaze was innocence personified.)

"I think I would prefer to hear a song from Legolas; if he will oblige us?"

Legolas began to sing a lay about the creation of Anor. As the gentle, praising strains slowly wound up and down like a twining vine, Estel's hands relaxed. Sadoreth stopped tossing his head in annoyance at the careless pressure, and Estel stroked his neck in apology.

Later that night after dinner in camp, Estel wandered a fair distance away and sat down cross-legged on the ground, looking at the stars. Elrond started after his son, but Legolas put out a hand to stop him.

"Let me go to him. He may speak more freely to me about whatever is causing the shadow that will not leave his eyes. He may fear to cause his Adar distress."

Elrond hesitated for long moments. Then he sighed and nodded. "You are right; although I do not like it that you are right!"

"You are a wise father, Elrond." With a pat to the lord's arm Legolas moved off into the night.

End Chapter 1