Disclaimer: Middle Earth is my playground…unfortunately I don't own the title deed.

Betas: LenaLove and Nautika - the bestest betas around! ((HUGS))

A/N - Please note that I have TWO SEPARATE series! They are NOT connected in any way! This story falls under the Undying Friendship Series which includes these stories in chronological order: (1) Never, In All My Days (2) Instruction In Youth (3) Preparations (4) Hold To Hope and Not Give Into Fear (5) I Am Of The House Of Eorl (6) Birthday Celebrations (7) Catching A Steward Off His Guard (8) Never Again (9) Where Once My Enemy Stood (10) Offering Nothing More Than Tears (11) Never Alone (12) Memories In Wood (13) Every Year On The First Day Of March

Never, In All My Days…

By Nieriel Raina

Chapter 1

Some Quiet Time To Himself

The morning had been fairly uneventful, unless one considered sitting through three separate meetings with Lord Elrond and several advisors exciting. And I do not, the fair-headed elf thought as he slipped into the library to finish several reports he had been asked to prepare on the recent orc activities he had observed, which stretched from the pass across the Misty Mountains to near the borders of Imladris.

He worked determinedly through the mid-day meal, gladly forgoing eating so that he could put this mundane work behind him and get outside to enjoy the lovely day. The quill scratched lightly over parchment as he wrote, pausing every so often to dip into the inkwell. The golden-haired warrior scanned several documents, checking the notes he had made of what he had seen. His eyes strayed to the window and he looked longingly at the trees within sight. He had never been an elf who enjoyed being cooped up under a roof when the sun was shining. He much preferred the trees and gardens surrounding the Last Homely House, to the lavish rooms and libraries, and spent as much of his time outdoors as possible when he was here.

Completing the last of the reports early in the afternoon, he hurriedly signed his name to the last parchment with a flourish and stood, stretching the stiff muscles in his back and legs. As much as this kind of work was necessary, he was pleased to have it finished for a time. Gathering the papers, he left the library behind, and strode towards Lord Elrond's study.

"You asked that these be completed today," he told the dark-haired elf, who was seated at a desk in the office outside the Lord of Imladris' study. As the fair-headed elf placed the parchments on the oak desktop, he met the other's eyes and waited for a response.

Erestor picked up the reports and scanned them briefly. "Yes, these are most helpful. Thank you, Glorfindel. I will see Lord Elrond gets them immediately." Lord Elrond's chief counselor inclined his head slightly in dismissal as he stood and hurried through the study door, closing it firmly behind him.

Pompous elf! Sometimes the prim and proper Erestor truly got on the elf lord's nerves! Releasing the breath he had been holding, the Captain of Imladris shook himself in relief. Finally, Glorfindel thought. Now I am free for the rest of the day, if I can only avoid running into anyone else who requires my assistance! The tall, golden-haired warrior quickly left the vicinity of Lord Elrond's study before Erestor found him something else to do. He headed for his rooms to change from his formal robes into a comfortable tunic and leggings.

A short while later, Glorfindel closed the door to his chambers, feeling more like himself. He walked purposefully down the halls of the Last Homely House, determined to spend the rest of his afternoon outside under the trees. With his duties finally complete, and not due to rejoin the border patrols for another week, Glorfindel looked forward to some quiet time to himself. He picked up his pace, anticipating the warm sunshine on his face and the wind playing in his hair.

Turning a corner, an unexpected blur crashed into his legs. Glancing down, Glorfindel discovered four year old Estel looking quite dazed by his collision with the tall elf's legs. The child's blue-grey eyes turned upwards, growing huge and almost fearful, before turning pleading.

"Hide me! Hide me, quick! They are going to get me!" Estel begged, practically vibrating in agitation.

Glorfindel frowned, his brow creasing faintly. "Who is going to get you, Estel? What have you done? Are you in trouble?" The elf-lord knew of the small boy's penchant for mischief and aptitude for disappearing in the aftermath, and he would not be a party to the child avoiding responsibility for his actions.

"Please! You gotta hide me, quick! It's Leg'las' turn and he's really good! An' I heard El'orir and 'Ladan say they was gonna help 'im." Estel blinked bright hopeful eyes at the usually serious and somber elf who helped his Ada.

A slow smile began to grow across Glorfindel's face as he realized the boy was simply playing a game of hide-and-seek with Prince Legolas of Mirkwood and the twin sons of Elrond. How long had it been since he had enjoyed such a simple child's game? TOO long! Glorfindel surmised. The elf-lord's smile became a fetching grin. "Come Estel! I know just the place!"

The little boy's eyes grew wide in amazement. He had not expected this elf to help him, not really. "Thank you, G'orfin'el! OH! Thank you!" Estel bounced up and down on his toes in excitement.

Glorfindel could feel the child's happiness as he took Estel's hand and led him in the direction of his favorite garden, which required backtracking through several rooms and corridors of the Last Homely House. They moved stealthily through the house, to avoid being seen by the many elves bustling about their daily tasks. The elf-lord would leave no witnesses who could give away their choice of hiding place. Surprisingly, the elf of Gondolin found himself having great fun sneaking through the house on such a mission. Crawling past the back of a sofa, the Balrog-slayer caught himself giggling with the young boy and wondered if his own eyes were shining with as much mirth as those of his small counterpart.

As they left the cover of a heavy set of drapes, once again on their hands and knees, a voice stopped the mighty elven-warrior in his tracks.

"And just what, pray tell, are you doing?"

Glorfindel froze, his eyes closing in a grimace. He looked up into the face of a very amused Erestor and cleared his throat. "I am playing with Estel, what does it look like I am doing?" The usually intimidating elf-lord raised an elegant brow, refusing to show any signs of discomfiture at being caught on all fours.

Erestor grinned. "Can anyone play, or is this an exclusive game?" Glorfindel blinked.

"You can play, 'Re'sor! We're hidin' from Leg'las and my brothers! Come on!" Estel grabbed the counselor's hand and jerked the surprised and usually dignified elf to his knees. "We have to be careful, so nobody sees us," Estel whispered, continuing on his hands and knees past a large chair and through a doorway.

Glorfindel looked at Erestor questioningly, but the elf just shrugged his shoulders as best he could from his position on all fours and motioned the Captain onwards after the little boy with a tilt of his head. The elf-lord hesitated for a moment, before shrugging internally himself. Why not? he thought. If I'm to make an idiot of myself, might as well bring Erestor with me. If we are both gallivanting about with Estel, then he cannot tease me mercilessly about it later.

ooo

The dark and golden haired elves quickly crawled after the nimble child, completely unaware of the amused eyes fastened upon them. Elrond shook his head in disbelief, holding in his chuckles until after the strange threesome had left hearing range. Never, in all my days…

The Lord of Imladris ceased his soft laughter as he made a decision. Stealthily, he followed at a discreet distance. This, after all, he had to see….

TBC

A/N - OK people…tell me what you think! I need reviews! Really, it is disheartening to see so many hits and so few reviews. I KNOW YOU ARE READING!!! (grin) Seriously, I am very nervous writing my favorite elf! So I need some input here! (You thought Legolas was my favorite, didn't you?)

Thanks!

NiRi