TITLE: Nothin' Special: Chapter Ten (10/10)

PROMPT: #177: Attack (631 words)
AUTHOR: Marethiel/ThinkingLady
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em, drat it. I just take 'em out to play. Many thanks to Professor Tolkien for creating these wonderful souls to populate my imagination.

(1) Sequential sequel to Prompt #168: Special

(2) Unfortunately, I was unable to keep this to 500 words, try as I might. In order to say and depict what I wanted, I had to break the mold. LOL I figured as the last entry of the story, I could break with tradition slightly.

Slowly Estel lifted the weighted wooden dowel. He felt the slow, uncomfortable pull of a stretch, and schooled his features into a mask of serenity. He would go further this time, he would! The muscle contracted and the uncomfortable stretching grew to a burn, and finally… pain! Estel kept his face serene and raised the weighted dowel further, breaking out in a sweat when the pain grew just as heavy to bear.

"Daro!" scolded Elladan, one hand shooting out to stop the movement of is brother's arm and the other removing the weight. "I told you, youngling! NOT to the point of pain! It will do you no good to try to heal if you wound yourself over and over again!"

Scowling, Estel massaged his sore left shoulder muscles with his right hand. The dislocated shoulder and torn muscles associated with it had proven to be slow to heal… primarily because the young man pushed himself too hard too fast.

In exasperation, Elladan commanded, "No exercise without either me or Elrohir in attendance since you refuse to obey!"

Glaring at his older brother, Estel snapped, "You coddle me, I'll never be full strength at this rate!"

Elladan, not for the first time in this last week, leaned in, nose to nose. "You will never be full strength if you refuse to accept that your body needs more time to heal than that of Legolas, Estel!"

"Ada wouldn't – "

"Ada would, and far more sternly than I!"

"I'm thirty-eight, you pompous Elf!" growled Estel, leaning back on his pillows. "And Chieftain of my people."

"Then behave as such, and no one will scold you," smirked Elrohir, arms folded across his chest as he leaned one hip against the doorframe.

Snorting a foul epithet, Estel slumped back, annoyed in the extreme.

Straightening and grinning, Elrohir continued into the room. "I don't think that's physically possible, young one."

Elladan smiled down at the young man and placed a healing hand on his forehead; as he ran soothing energy he was pleased to see some of the pain lines recede from his younger brother's face.

"It's wise for you to listen to your brothers, Estel," came a new voice.

Hopeful, Estel raised his eyes to the doorway and grinned as he saw Legolas. "Thank the Valar! Freedom!"

"Don't get him started," chided Elladan as he released Estel and flopped into the chair beside the bed. "He is absolutely the most unruly patient Arda ever produced."

Legolas smiled and managed to plop with princely grace on his friend's bed.

"All I've heard about is what I can't do, nothing about what I can do," protested Estel with a great heaving sigh.

"Perhaps, then, we have a solution for that." The three Elves and human turned in surprise to see King Thranduil and Glorfindel at the doorway. The twins rose to respectful attention, and Legolas, too, smoothly rose to show his respect. Estel struggled to sit up, too.

"Nay, Aragorn! Sit." Thranduil strode to the young man's bedside and looked earnestly into his eyes. "You wish to do something, my young friend?"

"You are in need, your Majesty?" asked Estel, eagerly. "If it is in my power, I will do it."

"Good. We wish first to thank you for helping our Prince remain alive," said Thranduil quietly, gazing gratefully into Estel's eyes. The boy's eyes warmed in compassion, then grew puzzled as Thranduil's dropped. "And we beg you to accept our apology as well."

As Thranduil haltingly explained, both to a shocked Estel and Legolas, about his loving deception, the twins sidled to Glofindel.

"Why? He could have said nothing," whispered Elladan.

"His Majesty has been fighting off an attack far worse than orcs, Elrondion," responded the golden warrior very softly.

Both twins eyed their Captain, questioning.

Glorfindel raised one eloquent eyebrow. "Guilt."