Title: Take Thee Legolas
Author: Númenora
Characters/Pairing: Estel (3-yr-old), Legolas Arwen, Elladan, Elrohir, Elrond, and OCs (Aredhel & Beren).

Rating: G/PGish
Word-count: 6400 words
Warnings: AU, Slash, mild Het (nothing explicit, I promise), Warm & Fuzzy, Un-betaed (all mistakes are mine).
Disclaimer: Characters are NOT MINE, never will be.
Timeline: TA 2934 in Rivendell.
Feedback: Yes, Please.

Summary: Estel wants Legolas to stay with him in Imladris and with (unwitting) help, discovers a way to try and persuade him. Written for the LegolasAragornSlash Group June Challenge, Prompts: Proposals and weddings.

A/N: This occurs after 'the Prince's Shadow, 'Presents' and 'Sticks & Stones' drabbles. Het content is for plot purposes only and I think that readers will approve as it involves my OCs only. Elvish phrase glossary is at the end of the story.

Thoughts and stressed words are in italics

Legolas held Estel close as he settled them on the large branch of the great oak just beyond the Last Homely House of Elrond Half-elven. Everyday when time permitted, he would take the 3-year-old tree-climbing, going a bit higher each time so that Estel could become accustomed to the pastime. Of course, he made Estel promise to always wait for him and not try and climb on his own; he knew that as a mortal, the child didn't have a wood-elf's natural affinity for climbing trees at so young an age. That would come later as he grew.

They had been sitting for some time while Legolas took in the beauty that was Imladris; but Estel wasn't enjoying the sights, his young mind preoccupied with something he had overheard earlier. He had been sitting on the floor playing next to Elrohir's chair as the ellon spoke to his twin Elladan just after breaking their fast.

"So when do you figure we should leave?" Elrohir inquired.

"I'm not sure. I don't think that we should go until Legolas leaves for home—that would be rude." The Elder Peredhel paused in thought for a moment before continuing. "We could just wait and go to Mirkwood with Lassë; after all, there are plenty of orcs there to kill and we could still spend time with him, too."

"I think that that is a wise plan. Let us take it up with the Prince later. Who knows—perhaps we could convince him to leave earlier than he originally planned." Neither Twin realized the impact their words had on their young foster brother.

Estel's head had been down, so they didn't notice the devastation in the boy's eyes, nor his tears. He didn't want Legolas to leave—ever. And now, he knew that Legolas was going to go away from him and Estel's little heart broke.

"I love it up here," the blond elf declared. "Do you not, Estel? Estel—why so quiet, Little One?"

Legolas heard sniffling. He placed his hand underneath the small chin, lifting Estel's face up so that he could see. "Oh, my Sweet Love—why are you crying?"

Turning him around so that they were facing each other, Legolas inquired further, "What has happened, Penneth? Are you injured?"

Estel shook his dark, wavy head, his little braids moving from side to side.

"Then what—please tell me."

"You go 'way to Morkwood with El'dan and Ro'hir. Preese don't go 'way! Preese, Layglis!" His young tears were flowing freely now and Legolas didn't know what to do except to hold him close to his chest, cuddling the 3-year-old to him.

"Oh, Pen-vuil—please do not weep so." Legolas wanted very much to strangle the Twins at that moment.

What were they thinking telling Estel that he was leaving? Of course, he would have to leave eventually, but that would not happen for some months unless Legolas' adar recalled him. There was no reason to believe he would as King Thranduil had Legolas' older brothers there.

"Estel, my dear Estel. It is true that I will have to return home one day...No, Estel—please let me finish." Legolas pushed him away just enough so that the child could see his face. "I will have to go home eventually, but I will not be leaving as yet for a long while. You do not need to fear."

"Me don't won you to go 'way. Preese stay wid me, Layglis." Legolas wiped away Estel's tears with the backs of his fingers.

"I cannot promise to stay here in Imladris with you forever, Pen-vuil, but I can promise you that no matter where I am, I will always love you and I will always be your friend. You do believe me, do you not?"

"I brieve you, Layglis. Me love you, too!" Estel threw his small arms around Legolas in a tight embrace.

They continued on in that great oak until it was time for the noon meal; and afterwards, Legolas gave Elladan and Elrohir a very large piece of his mind—more than enough for the two of them to share equally.

Much later after his nap, Estel was sitting on the floor (he loved playing that way) in the solarium with Arwen and Nanny Aredhel. Estel lined up his toy warriors and horses as he prepared for a great battle. Arwen was telling Aredhel about her years in Lothlórien as they rolled brightly-colored yarn.

"My grandmother's attendant Idril is quite the archer. She bullied her way into the wardens' yearly weapon's competition by goading Orophin. She said that..." Arwen's voice trailed off as she realized that Aredhel wasn't listening to her.

Estel's young nanny had a faraway look about her and Arwen had a good idea what had the elleth so preoccupied. No—not what—who...whom...whatever.

"Idril said that I would look exceptional if I shaved away all of my hair. She went on to advise that I should grow an extra arm—what do you think, Aredhel?"

"Mmmm-hum..." Aredhel nodded absently.

Estel frowned at Arwen's last statement until he saw her smirking; then he went back to his play.

"Aredhel, you have not heard one word I said!" Arwen laughed.

"Oh yes, Hiril-nin, I..." When Arwen's words finally registered, the young elleth blushed, embarrassed to be caught wool-gathering. "Forgive me, Lady Arwen—I did not mean to be rude."

"You weren't being rude and I took no offense. So tell me—can I assume that a certain handsome warrior from Mirkwood is filling your thoughts."

Blushing prettily, Aredhel nodded. "I can't seem to keep Beren far from my mind. I have never felt this way for anyone—ever!" She laughed gaily and Arwen joined her.

"I believe that he may feel the same for you. Have the two of declared yourselves to each other yet?"

"Oh, nay, Hiril-nin. We have gone for walks and we even shared a few meals when I have not been working. I love spending time with him and I think he feels the same, but he has yet to say more than he is fond of me. Maybe I am assuming too much and Beren does not feel as I do." She frowned deeply, biting the nail of a forefinger.

"Nonsense! He adores you, I am sure of it! You do not have to wait for him to tell you first—you can let him know how you feel."

"Would that not be seemly, Lady Arwen? I mean..." She began to think. "Perhaps I should say something before he leaves. If I tell him how I feel, he may not want to return to Mirkwood.

"He and I are the same as neither of us has any blood relations; he is devoted to the Royal Family, but if he could have one of his own—a family, I mean—then perhaps he would stay with me—here in Rivendell." Her smile was positively jubilant.

"That is very sensible. I think that you should take the initiative and court him instead of waiting for him to court you!"

"But how? What should I do?"

"I think that the usual things will do fine: He is a Silvan, so flowers are in order; then there are sweets for the sweet; then poetry and dancing!" Arwen was having a great time of it.

"Yes! I love it!" Aredhel clapped happily, the ball of yarn rolling across the floor.

"I think that a visit to the nursery is the first order of business; there are seedling plants there that we can gather to make an arrangement for Beren—something that the two of you can care for together."

Arwen and Aredhel were so preoccupied with their plans that neither one noticed the small boy. Estel had abandoned his toys the moment he heard Mirkwood uttered. As young as Estel was, he was incredibly bright—everyone had remarked on this often. But none of them would have believed the thoughts running through his young mind at that moment. Aredhel did not want Beren to leave her and Estel did not want Legolas to leave him. Aredhel had a plan.

And now, so did Estel.

Later in the nursery...

"Lady Arwen—what do you think of this plant?" Aredhel held up a small, lovely plant with tiny dark-blue buds.

"Perfect! The buds are the same color as Beren's eyes. I think that this one would go well since these buds are the color of your eyes." Arwen exclaimed.

Estel thought that the tiny deep violet buds were pretty. But he wanted the other ones with pale blue buds.

"Ahwen—con me haav dese?" Arwen looked at Estel and shook her head; not at his question, but at his appearance. The youngster was covered nearly head to boot in dark soil as he packed it into the small flower pot.

"Estel, you are a mess! Here, let me see those." She knelt next to him and examined the plants he was pointing at. "These are lovely, Tôr Dithen—but I do not think that these will go with the ones Aredhel has chosen."

"Dese mine, Ahwen. Con me haav dese, Preese?"

Kissing his grimy forehead, she agreed and helped him make his own arrangement, not knowing Estel's purpose.

Much later that night, Estel stared at the flowers sitting on his bedside table. He had been put down to bed and everyone else was in the Hall of Fire enjoying the music. He had watched Aredhel as she spoke quietly with the Silvan ellon from Mirkwood. The wood-elf had whispered something into her ear that made her smile and blush. Estel had learned from Arwen (indirectly) that Aredhel had given Beren his gift. So, Estel assumed (rightly so) that Beren had liked it.

Scooting out of bed, Estel reached up and grabbed the flowerpot. He slipped out of the slightly ajar door to his bedchamber and made his way to Prince Legolas' room. He could not open Legolas' door since the knob was too high; but even if he could, the door was solid wood—much too heavy for him to manage. The servants of Elrond's household knew to leave the doors to the Lord's rooms open should Estel need to find him (all save for the apothecary), but none thought to leave Legolas' door open after leaving fresh linen for the Prince earlier. Legolas himself often did for the same reasons as did Lord Elrond, his siblings and Aredhel, but now the door was shut tight.

Not able to get in, Estel sat down outside the Sinda's door to await him; but before long, he was fast asleep. When Elladan passed by he saw the little boy lying on his side, his head on his folded arms. The flower arrangement was behind Estel, so the Twin did not notice it. He picked Estel up and carried him back to his room, tucking him back in.

After kissing him, he whispered, "Sweet dreams, Estel."

Sometime later when Legolas left the Hall of Fire to retire, he saw the potted arrangement. Wondering who could have left it for him, he went inside his chambers and placed it beside his bed. The flowers' sweet smell wafted around him as he slipped into reverie.

The next morning after breakfast, Arwen and Aredhel spoke quietly about the day's agenda. Arwen told Aredhel that she would mind Estel while she spent time with Beren during the noon meal. Just before the meal was to start, Arwen and Aredhel packed a basket filled with bread and cheese, fruit and nuts and a variety of sweet pastries and chocolate candy.

Estel watched them very closely. Afterwards, Aredhel hugged Arwen and left to find Beren who was more than likely with the Imladrian guards. When she had gone, Arwen took Estel by the hand and escorted him to the dining hall to have their lunch.

"Where Layglis, Ahwen?" The 3-year-old inquired.

"I believe that he is with our muindeir at the practice fields." She lifted him up into his elevated chair as she placed food on his plate.

"He not eat wid me, Ahwen?" Estel's eyes were very wide in surprise.

"Not until later. But you and I can eat together." She finished cutting up his food and put some on her own plate.

"Oh," was all Estel said. Then he brightened as he thought about Nanny Aredhel. "Con me take Layglis som pasties and chocolate, Ahwen, huh?"

"I think that he would like that very much, Penneth. Perhaps we can take some for Elladan and Elrohir as well." She suggested.

"You take El'dan and Ro'hir—I take food to Layglis," Estel said firmly.

Arwen looked at Estel for a brief moment, but then she thought nothing further of it.

At the practice fields...

Elrohir nudged Elladan as he spotted Aredhel approaching the Silvan Beren. "Poor elf—he's in for it now." Elrohir tsked in mock pity.

Elladan laughed lightly at his twin's statement. Looking up from his task of replacing arrows into his quiver, Legolas followed his companions' gaze.

"What is happening?"

"Your guard young Beren there has been besieged by Estel's nanny Aredhel with the help of our dear sister Arwen. I overheard the two of them planning Beren's capture with flowers yesterday and apparently, today's sortie involves a picnic—see the basket?" Elrohir laughed to see the blushing elleth as she passed Beren the basket while simultaneously linking their arms.

"Flowers?" Legolas asked.

"Lassë, are you alright? You look a little green." Elladan observed.

"I was just wondering about the flowers you mentioned, that is all."

"I believe that both ellyth spent much of the afternoon in the nursery making a flower arrangement for yon edhel to reel him in!"

Legolas felt ill. If Aredhel and Arwen had been preparing flowers for his comrade, then why were there flowers outside his door last eve? Perhaps it is nothing. It is not uncommon for guests to receive gifts in the Last Homely House. You are being silly, Legolas! Shaking his head, the Prince went back to his targets, dismissing his concerns until he noticed Arwen and Estel approaching them with picnic baskets.

What was Arwen about? Legolas had always been fond of her since he was an elfling, but he felt for Arwen as the Twins did.

"Greetings, all—Estel and I missed you in the dining hall, so we thought we would bring treats." Arwen stopped before her brothers and Legolas, holding up the picnic basket she held, a blanket draped over her arm.

Estel stood next Legolas, taking his hand—Estel's own small basket clutched tightly. Legolas watched Arwen suspiciously but tried to keep his frown at bay as the blanket was spread out underneath a tree on the edge of the archery range.

"Come and sit down, Ernilen," the Evenstar waved Legolas over and slowly he came to sit, Estel right next to him.

"Ooo, yummy! The food looks marvelous, Arwen—I didn't realize how hungry I was until now," Elladan announced.

Elrohir reached for Estel's basket. "What's in there, Estel?"

"No, Ro'hir—dis basket for Layglis! Tell him, Ahwen." Estel frowned darkly at his elder brother.

"Estel is correct. This one was prepared for Legolas and Legolas alone!" She smiled at the Sinda, winking.

Legolas swallowed nervously at the implications. What was he to do about Arwen? He watched as the Peredhel Twins devoured their fare, but his appetite was nowhere to be seen.

"Layglis—you no eat yore pasties?"

"I am not hungry, Meldir—why don't you eat them?"

"You not like dese?"

Estel's voice sounded disappointed and he was, but Legolas hardly noticed as he continued to stare warily in Arwen's direction. First the flowers and now a picnic—he did not like this one bit. Both Legolas and Estel were miserable, but for differing reasons. Legolas had mistaken the child's gifts for ones he believed came from Arwen. Estel believed that since Legolas did not like his sweets, the elf would leave him after all.

Bowing his head down, Estel wanted to cry; then he stood up and walked over to his big sister. "Ahwen? My tummy hurts; con you take me to ada?"

"Of course, Little One. I knew I should not have let you have that last helping!" Arwen picked him up, cradling his head on her shoulders. "I'm afraid you three will have to get along without us," she threw over her shoulders as she headed back home with Estel.

Legolas loudly exhaled his breath when Arwen disappeared from view. Elladan looked at him, noticing the odd look on the wood-elf's beautiful face.

"What was that noise all about?" He inquired.

"I believe that your sister is courting me just as Aredhel is courting Beren." Legolas stated flatly.

"What!" Twin voices intoned at once.

"Someone left flowers at my door last eve. You say that she and Aredhel were in the nursery yesterday and now, just as Estel's nanny came bearing food for my guard, Arwen shows up with food for me."

"She brought food for us all," Elrohir pointed out.

"Yes, but this one was just for me," Legolas held up the offending basket.

"Arwen did say 'This one was prepared for Legolas and Legolas alone!' First, poor Beren and now poor Lassë," Elladan shook is head in pity just as Elrohir had done for Beren just before he and his twin burst out laughing.

"And here it is not even spring!" Elrohir barked.

"This. Is. Not. Funny! What am I to do?" Legolas said in distress.

The Elrondionnath soon calmed down (somewhat) to offer Legolas their support.

"Would you like for us to speak to her?" Elrohir draped an arm around Legolas' shoulder and soon, Elladan had done the same.

"Please—for I do not know how to broach this. Why would Arwen do this of a sudden?"

"Perhaps Aredhel's situation got to her or perhaps she...I haven't a clue." Elladan finished.

They were all confused, for Arwen had always seemed to regard Legolas as another brother. But it had been nearly three centuries since she had seen the Prince, so perhaps she now viewed him as a potential mate.

Why didn't I stay home?

Later that afternoon in Arwen's sitting room...

"He thinks what!" Arwen's voice nearly squeaked.

"He believes that you are courting him as Aredhel is courting Beren—or do you deny that you are helping her?"

"Of course, I'm helping her; but that does not mean that I am courting Legolas! Where would he get an idea like that?"

Elladan and Elrohir stared at each other. "Well, you did bring him a special basket today and last night, Legolas found a potted flower outside his door. You and Nanny were in the nursery, yesterday—so..." Elrohir's voice trailed off, leaving his statement hanging.

"I didn't make a flower arrangement for Legolas and that special basket was Estel's idea. I thought to bring food for the two of you as he..." Arwen's eyes grew large as everything fell into place.

She sat down heavily in her favorite chair before she began to laugh—not cruelly, but in fondness, her hands covering her mouth to try and keep down her mirth.

"Would you care to enlighten us to your joviality?"

"It's Estel! Don't you see? He was with me and Aredhel yesterday as we discussed her love for Beren; she told me that she didn't want him to leave for Mirkwood, but stay here with her and become a family. We talked of Aredhel courting Beren with flowers and sweets and poetry..." Looking at her brothers, she sometimes wondered how they could be both wise and completely dense at the same time.

"Estel came with us to the nursery and he picked out pale-blue budded flowering plants and I helped him to pot them. Today, he watched us pack a picnic basket for Beren and when he learned that Legolas would not be joining him for the noon meal, he asked if he could take him some pastries." She stood up wanting to shake them when they still didn't seem to understand.

"I'm not courting Legolas—Estel is!" Arwen looked from one identical face to the other as the light seemed to dawn finally.

Then just as they had done with Legolas earlier, they fell to the floor laughing. "It's not funny," Arwen said, but gave up when she too began to laugh again. "What are we to do about this?"

"Well, I for one think that we should help Estel court his beloved 'Layglis' properly. You said that poetry comes next? Come Elrohir, let us find young Estel. You know—it is a shame that Legolas' guard is named Beren for we could dub Estel with that name. But, perhaps, a less tragic story would do."

"What are you about?" Arwen asked.

"We are going to help Estel win Legolas' heart. Though, perhaps that is not necessary as our sweet Prince handed us our heads today when he told us that Estel had cried because we said that Legolas was leaving.

"We didn't tell Estel that, but he was in the room when we discussed orc-hunting and we did say that we should try and talk Legolas into leaving early so that we could kill some in Mirkwood. It seems that we all should be more careful of what we say around him from now on." Arwen and Elrohir nodded at Elladan's sensible advice.

In Estel's bedchamber...

Lord Elrond touched his young ion's head again. There was no fever of which he was very grateful. He had inquired of Arwen what Estel had eaten to give him an upset stomach. Nothing was out of the ordinary, so the healer gave Estel a bit of mint tea to settle him. As he pulled the covers over the youngling, the door to Estel's chambers opened to admit Aredhel.

"Lord Elrond," she whispered. I hear that Estel is not feeling well; I should not have left him." She came to stand across from her Lord.

"Nonsense. Arwen was with him; he merely overindulged. I declare that you, Arwen and Legolas—not to mention Erestor and Glorfindel—are much too lenient with Estel." Lord Elrond shook his head in mild exasperation.

Aredhel looked at the Half-elf with a look of utter disbelief at his last utterance and Lord Elrond had the grace to look sheepish as he, too was guilty of letting Estel have his way much of the time. The only saving grace being that Estel was not spoiled or unruly.

"Well, anyway—I will monitor what he eats for the rest of the day." The Noldo pulled a chair next to Estel's bed, but before he could sit, a mild tap sounded at the door.

Aredhel opened the door to one of Erestor's young assistants. "Lord Elrond, could you come to the library? Lord Erestor has an important matter to discuss with you."

"I will stay with Estel, Hir-nin." Aredhel assured Elrond.

Kissing Estel's brow, he left.

Aredhel sat down in the chair to watch over her charge. A while later, Beren showed up at the Estel's door to speak with the young raven-haired elleth.

"May I have a word with you, Aredhel?" Beren whispered.

"I'd like that, but I cannot leave Estel—I promised Lord Elrond I'd sit with him." After thinking a moment, she moved with Beren over to the small, enclosed balcony.

They sat on the settee to talk. Inside, Estel stirred. When he didn't see his ada, he sat up intending to call out for him. Then he heard hushed whispers coming from the balcony. Walking quietly in the manner of elves, he stood just beyond where his nanny and Beren sat facing away from him.

"I loved the poem you wrote for me, Ared—it was the most beautiful one that I ever heard! It was almost as beautiful as you are," the auburn-locked warrior confessed.

"Oh, Beren—you are so sweet!"

"Did you mean it? I mean—do you truly love me?"

"Yes, Beren, I love you with all my heart and I want to be with you forever. Will...will you bond with me and stay here in Imladris?" Aredhel asked him, the last in a rush.

"I love you, too, Ared. I want to bond with you, but..." He saw her devastated look and quickly added, "No, Coramin—I mean, yes, I will bond with you. It is just that I have to gain my Lord's permission to leave his service. Would you live with me in Mirkwood, if he does not release me?"

Breathing easier, her smile was jubilant. "I would live with you at the foot of Mount Doom," she threw her arms about Beren's neck and the two embraced happily.

Estel watched closely before padding back to his bed. A poem. He knew what poems were. His ada, Arwen, Nanny and Erestor read poems to him and everyone recited poems in the Hall of Fire. Layglis liked poems.

Estel smiled.

Much later, after Beren had gone, Aredhel checked to see if Estel was better and when he said his tummy didn't hurt anymore, she was very relieved. Shortly thereafter, Elladan and Elrohir came to see their little brother.

"El'dan, con you show me to white a pome for Layglis?"

Elladan and Elrohir smiled knowingly. "Of course, Estel—we will both help you."

"Yay!" Estel jumped up and down.

Then his big brothers gathered him up and went in search of parchment, ink and quills. Legolas wouldn't know what hit him as he was about to be courted the likes he's never known before.

After supper in the Hall of Fire...

Legolas sat with Estel on his lap, his blond head leaning against the child's dark one. He smiled as they enjoyed the music and singing. Before long, Estel sat up, whispered that he would 'kome bock' later and ran to stand before Elladan and Elrohir who were beckoning to him. Legolas watched for a bit, then he turned back to the performers. Before long, a flash burgundy red caught the edge of his sight.

"May I sit with you, Legolas?"

Arwen. Legolas became very nervous at the look of utter fondness on her lovely face.

"Of course, Hiril-nin."

"Why so formal? If you keep this up, I shall have to call you 'Your Highness!'" She laughed gaily, slipping her arm beneath his as she leaned close.

Legolas eyes grew wide before turning away to pretend interest in the music. Arwen smirked as she enjoyed her little game.

"You never said if you liked your flowers, Legolas—you did like them, didn't you?" She asked innocently with an expectant look towards him.

"Yes...ye-yes, Arwen; they were quite lovely." He patted her hand where it gripped his bicep.

"And your pastries—were they to your liking as well?"

"I'm...I...I'm afraid that I did not eat them...But, I'm sure they were delicious," he hurriedly added at the 'devastated' look she gave him, "I was not very hungry...the heat, you know."

Arwen wanted to laugh at that pathetic excuse, but she didn't want to let on just yet. "Oh you poor thing! Had I known, I would have instead that we bring iced drinks as well! You are better now, I trust?"

"Much better, Arwen—thank you." He patted her hand again nervously. "I do apologize for not thanking you for your kind...and...and thoughtful gifts to me."

"Oh, I didn't give you any gifts, Legolas."

"But, you just said...you asked if I liked the flowers and the sweets." He was confused.

"I did ask, but I didn't give those things to you." The innocent look was back.

"But if you did not, then..."

"Someone very fond of you did; he picked them out himself."

"Who?"

"Another member of the family." She said cryptically.

Legolas frowned as he looked at Elladan and Elrohir. "Which one of those degenerates are playing a game with me? They just watched as I accused you of courting me!"

"Neither 'degenerate' is guilty this time." Arwen laughed.

Legolas' eyes went hugely wide then. Lord Elrond? Surely not! Following his gaze, Arwen hurriedly said, "No, Legolas—not Ada. There is still one other." Nodding over to where her brothers stood.

Then Legolas understood. His sweet Estel. "Oh," he grinned happy and relieved. Just then, Estel walked solemnly to stand before him.

Elladan went over to Lindir and whispered into his ear. The silver-haired ellon waved his hand to the other musicians to halt. Then he began to play a simple melody on the flute. Arwen nodded to Estel.

Bowing lowly before Legolas, Estel stood back up and began to speak:

"Layglis Pome by Estel Elwondin...

"Me love..." He shook his head and began again.

I love Layglis

Wid eyes so brew

I love Layglis

He sing pwetty, too

He give gweat piggy-bocks

And Kime big twees

I love Layglis

Love me, too, preese.

Estel smiled broadly before bowing again.

The room thundered with applauds and stomping feet. Legolas placed his right hand over his heart as he knelt before Estel.

"Oh, Estel—what a truly lovely poem! You wrote that just for me, Penneth?"

"El'dan and Ro' hir showed me to white it."

"Don't be so modest, muindor—you told us what was special about Legolas." Elrohir said.

"I loved it as I love all of your sweet gifts."

Estel's face became sad. "You not like the pasties."

"I'm sorry, Estel—I did not know that they were from you. I thought...well, it does not matter what I thought; but I am so very grateful that you thought of me. And I adore the flowers, too. Arwen says that you picked them out all by yourself."

"Mmmm-hum," Estel nodded vigorously.

"Hannon le, Pen-vuil." Legolas kissed a small cheek making Estel blush.

"Now you stay wid me, Legolas?"

"We talked about that this morning—do you remember what I said?"

Estel frowned. Then he remembered what Aredhel said to Beren that made him say he would stay.

"Me want to be wid you fo'evah, Layglis. Preese bound wid me and stay Imladry?"

A hush fell over the Hall of Fire. Arwen looked hard at her brothers whose faces showed the same shock as hers. Needless to say everyone was stunned at Estel's words which reached the ears of every elf present. The music ceased once more as all awaited Legolas' response to the sweetest proposal any there had ever heard; and that was saying something in a room of ancients.

Lord Elrond watched as well, though he was not as shocked as his companions. He was surprised that Estel's proposal would come this soon.

"My dear Estel—that is the loveliest proposal that I ever heard. You have made me very happy."

"You stay now, Layglis?"

"I cannot stay forever, Estel, but I will stay as long as I can. When you are older, perhaps you can ask me to bond with you again."

"My beget day kome soon."

"Yes, I know. In a seven months time you will be 4-years-old, but you will still be too young to bond with me in marriage. But, do you know what?" At the shake of Estel's wavy head, he continued. "You and I are already bonded in deep friendship and that shall never change, Meldir-nin—we shall be friends forever and ever, no matter where we are."

"Weally, Layglis?"

"Really! I will try and stay until your begetting day and you and I will have great fun. And one more thing..."

"What, Layglis, what!"

"When you are grown (if you still want to bond with me) you may ask me again and you never know what I am liable to say—you may be very sorry when I say yes." Legolas tickled Estel beneath his chin making the boy laugh happily.

Estel threw his arms around Legolas' neck and hugged him tightly. Then Legolas picked him up and they danced around the Hall of Fire.

Several years later...

"Estel, what is so urgent?" Legolas came over to stand next to the young man who had once been his little Estel.

Legolas had arrived in Rivendell the day before, after receiving a cryptic message from Estel. Three weeks prior, the young mortal had celebrated his 20th begetting day and he told Legolas that there was something important that he needed to discuss with the wood-elf.

"Come and sit with me, Legolas. Do you remember this tree?" Indeed he did. This was their favorite tree for climbing.

Legolas sat facing his young friend waiting to hear what was so pressing. "Do you know my true name, Legolas?"

"You are Estel Elrondion." Legolas frowned wondering where this was going.

"Nay, Meldir. I have learned that Estel is not the name I was born with. Ada told me more of my heritage; I knew that I was born a Dúnedain and that my father was killed hunting orc. I went with my brothers to travel with them last summer and I saw my mother again. I had almost forgotten what she looked like, but it all came back to me."

His look was wistful for a moment. "Then the day after my begetting day, Ada took me aside and told me that...he said...that my father was called Arathorn II and that he had been Chieftain of the Dúnedain."

Legolas' eyes grew wide. He knew what this meant; Estel was now Chieftain of the Dúnedain Rangers which also meant...

"I am called Aragorn and I am now the leader of my people, Legolas; I am also Heir to the Throne of Gondor."

Estel—Aragorn—looked expectantly to his friend to gage his reaction to the news. Aragorn knew that some of the Firstborn harbored ill feelings towards Isildur's memory—Legolas' ada being one of them.

"How do you feel about this, Es—Aragorn?"

"A little frightened and a little thrilled and very humbled by it all. I do not know if I can live up to what is expected of me."

"I am sure," Legolas stated emphatically.

Aragorn smiled in that crooked way of his that always touched Legolas. Who was this very adult young man who had caused his heart to skip a beat when he saw him again after so long? He was last here when Estel was 13-years-old. Legolas had come to Rivendell to give the boy archery lessons. He thought then how handsome Estel was and that someday he would be a very handsome man. Legolas was not prepared for just how handsome that would be. Aragorn was all grown up now, but he was still as sweet and endearing as his little Estel. Legolas felt as if he was falling in love.

"Hannon le, Legolas. I have something to read to you."

"Very well," Legolas waited while Aragorn unrolled a piece of parchment wrapped with blue ribbon. It looked almost exactly like one that Estel had given him so long ago.

Aragorn smiled impishly as he cleared his throat.

I love Legolas

With eyes so blue

I love Legolas

He sings pretty, too

He gives great piggy-backs

And climb big trees

I love Legolas

Love me, too, please?

"You remembered all this time?" Legolas was thrilled and pleased.

"Ada asked me to make him a copy which he placed in a box with all the other keepsakes from my childhood. He and I would go through them from time to time as I grew. I think that he wanted to remind himself because I was growing so swiftly—much faster than my siblings did.

"We often talked about the things that I did and this one has always been my favorite. Do you remember what you told me after I recited this for you?"

"You mean after you proposed to me?" Legolas laughed. "I told you that when you had grown some more, you could propose again if you still felt the same. Of course, I have yet to here another one. You are a faithless lover, Estel." Legolas shook his head in mock sadness.

"I? Not so, my sweet Prince! 'Layglis'—will you bond with me?" Aragorn asked smiling brightly.

Legolas' smile was playful, "Yes, my dear Estel—I will bond with you!"

Aragorn became serious of a sudden and he reached inside the neck of his tunic and removed a mithril chain. He draped the chain over Legolas' head to lay about the wood-elf's throat. Legolas looked down at the object dangling on the end. It was a ring fashioned in the form of two serpents with emerald eyes, one devouring the other and supporting a crown of golden leaves. This was the Ring of Barahir—an heirloom of Aragorn's Kinship to the Eldar and symbol of his heritage.

"Estel, what..? You mustn't jest with so precious a thing as this."

"I jest not, Legolas, for I am quite serious. I first loved you as a small child and once begged you to stay with me. Thereafter, you would come here as I grew and I loved you more and more. And though, I have not looked upon your beautiful face for nearly seven years, I love you still. The years have not seen a lessening of my love, but have watched it grow and deepen.

"You are my heart and soul, Legolas Thranduilion; I would have you as my life's mate. I know that you need time to consider me in this new light, so I will give you all the time that you need. But know this, sweet Prince—if you thought that I had courted you when I was three, then you are in for the courting of your life! I predict that by the end of your visit here, you will have accepted my proposal in earnest," Aragorn said with confidence.

Since he had been small, Estel Elrondion usually got his on way and it seemed that Aragorn the man was no exception as his prediction about Legolas came true. When the youngest Prince of Mirkwood returned home, he wore upon his ring-finger the Ring of Barahir. And when Sauron fell, destroyed for all time, Aragorn was crowned Elessar, High King of Gondor and Arnor.

Then one week later, at Legolas' insistence (Aragorn wanted their wedding to occur during the Coronation), they bonded for life.

And the little boy Estel and 'Layglis' lived... Oh you know!

Elvish phrases:

Ellon – Male elf

Lassë –Leaf (Quenya)

Peredhel – Half-elven (singular)

Penneth – Young One

Pen-vuil – Dear One

Hiril-nin – My lady

Elleth – Female elf

Tôr dithen – Younger brother

Muindeir – Brothers

Edhel – Elf

Ellyth – Plural of elleth

Ernilen – My Prince

Meldir – Male friend

Ada – Daddy

Elrondionnath – Sons of Elrond

Ion – Son

Hir-nin – My Lord

Coramin – my heart

Hannon le – Thank you

Elwondin/Elrondion – Son of Elrond

Thranduilion – Son of Thranduil

A/N: The description of Barahir was paraphrased from the reference book Tolkien's World From A to Z, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth by Robert Foster.