Hello everyone. My name is Haline, and this is my first proper attempt at a fan fic. Please leave reviews, if you would be so kind. They will help me a lot as I grow to be a better writer. I hope you enjoy my story, and please read and review...constructive criticisms are VERY welcome, lol. :).Like many ffnet writers, I make the assumption that Estel is a brother to Elladan and Elrohir, and a son to Elrond. Please do not flameme if you disagree.Elvish translations are marked with '#' and thoughts are initalics. Please excuse any errors you may find in the writing - I do not have a beta reader, just my trusty spell check! I upped the rating a bit to be on the safe side, I hope nobody minds this. Yes, there will be angst, but not until Chapter 3 or so...well, enough rambles, on with the story! Enjoy!

Chapter 1

The woods around Imladris were quiet, the daytime call of birds silenced by the impending nightfall. A slight breeze from the north blew among the trees and caressed the bright faces of the Elven Lords, Elladan and Elrohir. The one for whom they waited was said to be coming that night, and their excitement was not altogether concealed beneath their fair features.

Prince Legolas of the Woodland Realm, son of the King, Crown Prince of Greenwood…these titles all belonged to him. Yet Legolas was he to these Noldor twins…and their adoptive teenage brother, Estel.

The trees began to rustle louder – someone was coming. Elladan motioned silently to his younger brother, his mirror image. Not many could tell them apart, and yet they were different…Elrohir was the younger, the scholar, healer and the cautious one. His twin was again different. He was loud, raucous and altogether unpredictable. When they were together though, they made an unstoppable duo in battles, on the practice field, in the classroom…and in pranks.

'Come,' Elrohir said, 'the trees say someone is near'. He dragged at his brother's arm.

'Aye', the elder agreed, and the two hurried down the stone steps of the last Homely House, navy robes swishing behind them. Darkness was fast approaching. When they reached the bottom of the flight of stairs, Elrohir stood still again, while Elladan bounced slightly on the balls of his feet.

At last, the clatter of hooves on the cobblestones of the courtyard preceded a hooded rider. Only the mare the rider was using, a common visitor to Imladris, gave the Prince away by nuzzling trustingly at Elladan's hand.

'Mae Govannen, young Prince!' Elrohir grinned as he greeted his old friend. #Well met#.

'Alas, melyn nin, I cannot fool you with my sinister disguise.' Legolas slid off Refrondir's back, and pulled back his hood. Light blonde hair spilled over his shoulders, and his blue eyes sparkled in the ever-gathering dusk. #My friends#.

Elrohir pulled Legolas into his embrace, pressing the younger elf's head against his shoulder. 'It has been too long,' he whispered, grinning into the prince's blonde locks. Then, he was pushed out of the way – it was Elladan's turn. Legolas hugged both affectionately, then stepped back and spread his arms out for them to see his torso.

'No wounds, poisoned or no, no bruises, bite marks of any sort…no broken bones, no infections or illnesses…and no Orc arrows sticking out of my…'

'I think that will do.' A slightly deeper and more serious voice was heard from the top of the flight of stairs. The Lord Elrond of Rivendell, bearer of one of the three Elven rings walked down, the corners of his mouth twitching in a mostly suppressed smile. Legolas whispered to his mare in Elvish, and Refrondir obediently trotted off in the direction of the stables.

'Welcome, Legolas,' the Lord of Rivendell addressed the prince. 'It has been long, child.' Legolas leant into the warmth of the Noldor's embrace, thankful to at last be away from his princely duties. He didn't say anything, but Elrond felt the channel of affection flowing stronger than he had felt before.

'Thank you for agreeing to take me on such short notice, Lord Elrond,' Legolas grinned 'especially knowing that we would go out hunting…'

'I don't suppose this time will be any different?' Elrond asked with a sigh. 'If it is of any comfort to the four of you, I have re-stocked my medical supply.'

'Where is Estel?' Legolas noticed the absence of their youngest companion.' Elrond looked at his sons.

'We…er…' Elladan began, 'he has just returned to Imladris from a routine border patrol. He wanted to stay up to greet you, but he…is now sleeping'.

'In other words, you drugged him with thelostan?' This was one of the most potent sleeping potions known to the people of Middle Earth.

Elrohir dug the toe of his boot to the ground, and coughed discreetly. 'He was tired,' was all he said. Legolas burst out laughing.

'The night is growing dark,' Elrond remarked, and slipped his arm around Legolas' shoulders. 'There has been a hot bath prepared, my child. You must rest, for tomorrow Estel shall be after our blood…you shall need all the energy you can get.' With this, they walked up the stairs, firmly shutting the doors against the impending darkness.

Inside his room, Legolas bade goodnight to the twins and shut his door. He looked around his room with a certain amount of satisfaction. His bed was of a modest size, and furniture in his room was scarce. This was as he liked it.

Stepping into his adjoining bathing chamber, he pulled off his boots, over tunic and leggings. These, he threw in a heap on the floor, and gingerly stepped into the bath. The water's temperature was just a he liked it, hot enough and cool enough at the same time. He sighed, and sank further into the tub, savouring the feeling of the water lifting away the grime.

He gasped as the water hit the bruises marring his back; but the pain slowly eased and he relaxed once more. He looked at his thighs underneath the water…so thin, he realised. Thinner than they had been. The strains of the last few months had taken their toll, he realised.

Never mind, he thought in the house of Elrond, food is plentiful and I shall not want for anything. The twins and Estel will make sure of that. And he remembered Estel…remembered the little boy he had once known. How much had he grown in the last six months? He was sixteen now…close to becoming an adult, so close to finding out his true heritage. But not yet, Legolas thought. Let him be a child these last couple of years. He is happy here, I think. Imladris will be his home forever more.

Still dwelling on Estel, he climbed out of the bath, and wrapped a light blue towel around his waist. The material felt soft against him and he slipped into one of his night tunics, a beautifully embroidered green one, the one that was a permanent resident in Imladris. Hair still dripping from his bath, he fell onto the coverlet and was in a dreamless sleep when Elrond gently pushed open the door.

The Noldor Lord walked soundlessly across the room and looked at the sleeping prince. In the softly lit room, Elrond's trained eye could see the dark shadows under the prince's eyes, and the slightly hanging fit of his sleeping tunic. Legolas had lost weight, he thought. Going to the cupboard where the light blankets were kept, he selected a beige coverlet and laid it over Legolas.

Elrond stooped down and planted a gentle kiss on his brow. 'May your stay do you good, child.' He whispered to the prince. 'And may you find peace for your restless mind in my halls.' The lamp was off, and Elrond walked out, gently closing the door on the sleeping Elf.