Lord Elrond of Rivendell prided himself with being able to tell when something was wrong. So, when his youngest son strode through the halls with his adopted son in tow, he could tell by the pallor of the prince of Greenwood's face that something was amiss. However, Estel, who was still just a child, was blissfully ignorant of any shortcomings that life could provide.
"Ada," the child called, rushing towards him. "Las took me half-way to the Misty Mountains, and then we saw some orcs, and Las fought them off!"
"Did he?" Elrond studied Legolas' face carefully, noting the paleness of it. "And was he harmed?"
"No, he was brave and fought the orcs! Now we are going to the kitchen."
"Yes," the young elf said, a little shakily. "I promised Estel he could have some soup."
"By all means," Elrond waved them on, and the moment they rounded a corner, he was running down the halls. "Elladan! Elrohir! Glorfindel!"
"What happened?" the Balrog Slayer asked, poking his head out from the library door.
"Has Estel gotten Legolas killed already?" one of the twins called from the balcony across the courtyard.
"Very nearly," Elrond replied as loudly as he dared. "And now we need to extract him from your younger brother so I can heal him."
"That is no small task," the other twin said worriedly. "He has been nearly inseparable from our prince since his arrival, near two months ago."
"That is why I need your help! Glorfindel, call everyone together. We cannot let Estel know what has happened, at least not yet, or he will never leave Legolas' side again."
"Already doing so, hîr vuin."
Elrond ran towards the kitchen, slowing just before bursting through the doors. Taking a deep breath, he composed himself, and walked regally forward like the lord his was, not the concerned father he was pretending not to be.
"Estel," he called. "I believe it is time for your reading lesson. Come, and let us go."
"No, ada," the boy said thoughtfully. "You are mistaken. That is tomorrow."
"Ah," he said a little too quickly. "But Erestor will be out hunting tomorrow, and wishes to teach you today."
Estel immediately became suspicious. "I thought that Erestor no longer hunted much."
"It is an exception which he intends to take full advantage of."
"In any case, ada, Las is taking me out swimming just now."
"Is he?" Elrond sent Legolas a withering look.
"Yes, he promised me before we went to the mountains."
"Then I will leave you to it. Have fun, ion-nin."
Elrond left the kitchen, and promptly did-not-run to Elladan and Elrohir. "They are going swimming. Play a game and distract Estel."
The twins nodded and ran off, while Glorfindel approached with Erestor in tow. "You are going hunting tomorrow," Elrond waved vaguely at the latter before heading off to his study to think.
He could not be the one to distract Estel, as, if the past was anything to rely upon, Legolas would require his aid to keep him alive. If the twins managed to keep the boy busy, he would be able to buy a few hours with the elf prince. If not, Glorfindel would have to suggest another game… no, Estel would request Legolas' presence. A fighting lesson? The same, and Estel had just turned five, for the sake of the Valar.
"A bath!" Elrond exclaimed out loud, then immediately slammed his head onto his desk.
No, they were going swimming. He could wait until Estel went to bed – he had just been on a camping trip overnight, so surely he must be weary. But could Legolas wait that long? It was still morning, after all. Elrond strode over to the window to see his four sons preparing for a walk to the lake where they often swam. Legolas was having trouble breathing.
"Be back for luncheon," he called out the window, hoping that if all else failed, he could pull the prince away for a 'war council' or something dramatically similar.
For the next two hours, Elrond went over multiple plans with Glorfindel and Erestor. Eventually, they came up with a few possibilities, depending on how poorly Legolas became. When the vocal Estel announced their return, it was obvious that the prince of Greenwood could not wait. He was smiling, but it was forced, and Elrohir was trying to help him walk without Estel noticing. Elladan started a game of tag, chasing Estel, but the boy simply went to hide behind his friend.
"Food," Glorfindel shouted, a little desperately, and Estel's face lit up.
"Yes, food. Food is good," Elrond steered his youngest son, who was still damp, towards the dining hall.
"But Las needs to help me change," Estel insisted, confused.
"Ah," Elrond switched directions. "Then your brothers will have to help with that. I require Legolas' council."
"For what?" Estel looked suspicious.
"For things," Elladan said, coming up behind the two and picking his youngest brother up.
"Important things," Elrohir added. "Let us not keep them."
"We will see you when we are done!" Elrond waved cheerily, then spun around and grabbed Legolas, who was being held up by Glorfindel. "What have you managed to do this time?"
"Poison," the prince gasped, and it was obvious that every breath was a struggle. "Could not… let Estel… see."
"I understand," Elrond said, dragging him towards the hall of healing. "Now shut your mouth and come with me."
They got Legolas lying down on a bed, and Elrond instantly set to work grinding herbs and making sure the prince kept breathing. "Change of plan," he said after a moment. "Glorfindel, fetch my sons. No, not that one, the idiots. I require their aid. Help Estel change then take him to eat. Enlist the help of whoever you can find, just keep him occupied."
As the Balrog Slayer ran off, Legolas coughed weakly. "Do not think… that I am… not grateful, hîr-nin… but I think you will… insist… on keeping me here… for days."
"Yes, and what of it? Stop trying to sit up."
"How… will you keep him… away… for that long?"
Elrond stopped. He had not thought of that. It was obvious that Legolas was becoming dangerously ill, and Estel would be sure to notice both his state and his absence. As the twins burst into the room, their father turned on them.
"Help me here, and when I say, go tell Erestor to take Estel hunting with him – yes, you heard – and give him riding lessons and reading lessons and teach him to make soup or something."
"This is going to be interesting," Elrohir muttered, lifting Legolas' head as he struggled to breathe.
Elrond was about to reply when a voice came from the door. "Ada, I believe there is something wrong with Glorfindel. He is smiling too much."
"No!" Elladan hissed.
"Yes, he is happy. Go comfort him, he is very sad." Elrond propelled his son out the door. "Go make him soup!"
"Where is Las?"
"Legolas is busy."
"Why is he in the hall of healing?"
Elrond's voice, which had been rising in pitch as he ran out of ideas, finally broke. "He is teaching me how to do things."
"How to make soup."
Legolas heard the shouting. He saw Elrond's dejected look. He remembered what day it was. He knew where Estel would go. He found the human sitting in the very tree that Legolas had taught him to climb some fifteen years previously – it had been their secret hiding place for many a time. He could not imagine how Estel was going to feel.
"Not Estel, Las."
"You will always be Estel, no matter what else changes."
"You knew, did you not?"
Estel turned angrily. "And you did not tell me?"
"We agreed that it would be best not to."
"Who else knew?"
"Everyone. That was the point."
Estel laughed bitterly. "And here I thought my father took me in because he loved me. Now it appears he was simply doing it because he had to."
Legolas opened his mouth and closed it a few times, before walking up and leaning against the base of the tree. "I knew you were an idiot, you filthy human, but this is more than even I expected."
Estel stared at him, anger being replaced by shock and oncoming hurt. "What do you mean, Legolas?"
"You honestly think that Lord Elrond took you as a son because you were born to be king? That he only looked after you because of it? You truly are a moron."
Estel swung down from the tree. "What are you saying?"
Legolas gave him a withering look. "He loves you, pe-channas, regardless of who you are supposed to be."
"But why did he not tell me?"
"He did, about a thousand times. You were just too thick to realize it."
"How do you mean?"
"'You are destined for greatness. It is your path that will lead to power and great responsibility. One day you will have to look after many lives, so you must be prepared.' Does any of this sound familiar?"
"Yes," Legolas shoved himself off the tree and took a step towards his friend. "Now, you are Aragorn of the Dúnedain, son of Arathorn, King Elessar Telcontar, heir of Isildur, future king of Gondor and Arnor, and Lord of the House of Telcontar. But you know what else?"
Estel looked suspicious. "What?"
"You are also Estel Elrondion, Peredhil and a child of Imladris, the kin of the infernal scoundrels Elladan and Elrohir, and my brother."
Estel opened his mouth, and sighed. "Thank you, Las."
"Now," Legolas said, wrapping his arms around his friend. "Since you have found so much new power and responsibility, completely life changing and overwhelming, let us go drop cow dung on your brothers' heads."
"Legolas, I need you to tell me what happened."
"I was standing. No... I was sitting. I was sitting on guard. I was standing guard, but I was sitting."
"Now that we have established that, would you mind telling me what went wrong?"
"I was sitting guard, and then I realized that I felt funny, and I was going to tell Estel, but then I drifted off, but not to sleep. I just thought about other things, then it was dark and I saw that the torch had gone out, so I stood to light another one when I fell over, and my nose started bleeding, and I drifted in and out of consciousness while remaining upright. I believe I called out for Aragorn, but I could not tell the difference between the ones out loud and those in my head."
Elrond turned to Estel, who was worriedly holding on to Legolas' arm. "Can you possibly shed any light on this situation?"
"It is as I said, ada," the ranger looked worried. "We were exploring the tunnels and he was keeping watch, when suddenly I woke up to him calling my name and he was incoherent."
"And there was no chance that he could have been poisoned?"
"None so far as I know. We fought neither orcs nor any creature of the dark. It was entirely uneventful until he decided to lose his mind."
"Did he ingest anything unusual?"
"The tea!" Legolas exclaimed, swaying happily.
Elrond turned to Estel with raised eyebrows. The human swore.
"We helped a young lady on the road whose horse had run off. She insisted she make us tea as she had no money and wanted to show her gratitude. It tasted foul so I forced Legolas to drink all of it."
Elrond ran his hand down his face. "And you thought this would be a good idea because…?"
"It tasted nice," Legolas hiccupped matter-of-factly. "I liked it."
Elrond went to his cupboard of unusual and rarely-used herbs, and pulled out a pale blue powder. He then mixed it into some water and handed it to Legolas.
"Drink. It will make you feel better."
Legolas obliged and Aragorn looked at it suspiciously. "What is it? What ails him?"
"It is a very specific pain reliever. I assume that by now you have guessed that Legolas was drugged. It is obvious that the young lady you met was trying to knock you both unconscious so she could steal your affairs, and did not know what to do for an elf so she gave him slightly more of the substance so that he might react the same as a human would."
"And what was it? He was drugged?"
"Oh no, Estel." Elrond pinched the bridge of his nose. "The drug she used was the very finest of elfish liquors. Our young Legolas… is drunk."
Elrond sat at the head of the table, with elves on one side of him and the dwarves on the other, and a hobbit right beside him. Though Elladan and Elrohir were off doing Valar-knew-what with the Rangers, Arwen had come back from Lórien just in time to take part in the council. Aragorn was sitting a ways away, pretending that he was in no way nervous, and Legolas was sitting moodily, as Elrond had neglected to tell him that Estel was arriving until after he had sent Glorfindel.
The elf lord stood, and introduced the hobbit to everyone, going through the dwarves, the elves of Imladris and the Grey Havens, the temperamental representative from Mirkwood, and the much too proud heir to the Steward of Gondor. Elrond listened carefully as Glóin made his speech, carefully ignoring the wordless communication going on between Aragorn and Legolas. He then went over the history of the Rings of Power and how important it was that they remove the Ring's evil. It was after a few hours that he realized that Glorfindel was giving him pointed looks, and he realized that the morning was almost over. He glared back, as if daring the Balrog Slayer to try and make a condensed version of thousands of years of history.
Then the hobbit, Frodo, went and brought up how old he was, as if Elrond was not teased enough by his sons for it. To make things even better, Boromir tried to take power of the Ring, and Aragorn just had to show off his sword. At least then something came of it, as the Ring was put forth. After much discussion, and a longwinded retelling of how the Ring was discovered some sixty years hence, Galdalf went and spoke in the Black Tongue of Mordor.
Instantly, Elrond covered his ears, and looked worriedly at those around him. All the elves were breathing hard and Legolas looked ill, as he had lived in the shadow of Sauron for so long. Aragorn was staring at his friend in panicked concern, and probably would have gone to him had not there been a table in the way. Finally, after what seemed like an age, Gandalf stopped and Elrond resisted the urge to smack him. The 'conversation', or what be it, turned to Gollum, and Aragorn had just finished praising Mirkwood when Legolas cried out.
As the prince revealed why Thranduil had sent him – Elrond knew that there must have been a good reason – Aragorn turned pale and Legolas looked as though he wished he would disappear. He knew how long it had taken his friend to find the creature, and was obviously feeling more guilt than was healthy after a dose of Black Speech. Legolas explained what happened and, seeing as his mood was already foul, would have probably shot the dwarf who had just spoken in the head had Gandalf not intervened. The wizard spoke for many minutes, and Saruman's turn to dark was revealed.
He knew that the Ring would have to be destroyed. It had been obvious to him from the stat. The only problem was that it was impossible, relatively speaking, and worse still he knew exactly who would want to do it. Before he could change his mind, and as everything pointed in that direction, Elrond appointed the hobbit as the bearer of the Ring. The moment that council was dismissed, he was accosted from all sides – namely dwarfish ones – and he was not able to catch the man and elf who quickly disappeared.
That night, after trying to track them down for hours, they instead found him, and he instantly knew what they were going to say. He also knew that he could not convince them otherwise.
"Why?" he whispered. "Why must you two always be so idiotically heroic?"
"I thought we were heroically idiotic," Legolas muttered quietly.
"I never said otherwise. You realize that you might very well never return to Imladris, and Legolas, you may not see your father again?"
"I know it, but I have to do this, especially if Estel is doing the same."
"I tried to convince him otherwise," Aragorn said, subdued. "But he did the same to me. There was no escaping this. In any event, we all know that it takes one of us to keep the other alive."
"And I hope and pray to the Valar that you will succeed." Elrond stepped forward and embraced the two of them. "Be safe, my sons, and know that if you die during this venture, I will hunt you down and kill you myself, so do not forget it."
AND YOU THOUGHT YOU'D SEEN THE LAST OF ME. Well, I decided to come back for one more chapter and give you ALL THE FEELS. In any case, you'd better enjoy this, because you know it's going to be the last you see of me for another few months. BUT WAIT. If school is nice to me, I might add a story of Aragorn and Legolas' points of view during the Lord of the Rings. What do you think? Yes? No? Book or movie verse? Any other ideas for fics? Let me know in the comments! WRITE, MY PRETTIES, WRITE! I might be high on chocolate. Can you tell?
I'll also try to start posting a series of shorts I'm starting on , so keep an eye out on the account Kaiah Aurora if you're interested. Until the next time, my lovelies, and happy reading!