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Chapter 3

At least he hit it

 

                  Estel grinned as he crept away from Elrohir’s room.  He glanced over his shoulder, hearing the light steps of an Elf coming, most likely the guards.  He flattened his 5-year-old body into a doorway.  A hand fell on his shoulder once the guard passed.  He looked up guiltily into Elladan’s laughing blue eyes.

                  “ What did you do?”

Estel grinned evilly.

                  “ There are frogs all over the riverbeds this time of the year.  I’m sure he will welcome their company in his bed…shoes…drawers…clothes…”

Elladan chuckled.

                  “ Remind me never to get into a fight with you.”

                  “ It would be wise.”

~*~

                  Elrond ran down the corridors at Elrohir’s surprised bloodcurdling yell.  Elrond burst in and just froze.  Frogs were everywhere.  Elladan lounged in the doorway, a slight grin on his face as Elrond and Elrohir stared at all the frogs.

                  “ Estel,” Elrohir mumbled angrily under his breath.

Elrond sighed.  Elrohir had said things he should not of to the boy.

                  “ Estel,” Elrond barged into the boy’s room.

                  Estel looked up.  Elrohir and Elladan followed their father in.

                  “ Do you remember this?” Elrond pushed a frog under Estel’s nose.

                  “ Let me see,” Estel glanced the frog over, “ No, Ada.  I do not.  Ask Imuialion.”

Elrohir took a step forward mumbling angrily.  Elladan put a hand on his twin’s chest to restrain him.

                  “ One day you’re going to go too far, Estel and I am going to beat-” Elrohir began.

                  “ That’s enough, Elrohir.  Estel will not be up to his tricks much longer,” Elrond crossed his arms over his silk robes that served as nightclothes, “ Come, Estel.  We’re going to take a walk.”

The twins both cringed at the familiar phrase.  Estel would not be doing any jokes or any sitting for a long while.

~*~

                  Estel angrily threw rocks at the stream.  It had been nut a joke and yet he had still gotten into trouble.  He plopped onto the ground, quickly jumping back up and rubbing his rear.  He could believe Elrond had once been a warrior.

                  “ Hey, hey, its Hopie,” a voice jeered, “ He got beat by Elrond.”

                  Estel turned to leave.  The other Elves surrounded him.  His gold eyes darted around at the older kids.  Why did they always bother him?  He had done nothing to them.

                  “ Heard you crying, earlier, Estel.  You are a baby, a laes,” their leader pushed him.

That one push turned into a volley of them as one Elf pushed him to the next.  Estel stumbled around.  His eyes filled with tears as they tripped him.  The soft soil covered his face.  He spit out the mouthful he had.

                  “ You see this dirt, Hopie?  You’re lower than it.  You’re mixed, an Edain.  Mixed blood,” the voice sounded so disgusted.

Estel looked up, his gold eyes opened wide, believing them.  The leader smiled, before it turned into a smirk.

                  “ Mixed,” he hissed,

They were all gone as soon as they appeared.  Estel pulled his body close as his 5-year-old body shook.

~*~

*Was I too harsh with him?  He has never been disciplined before.  I should not have spanked him.  I hope he does not take it too hard.  Where is he?  Dinner started half an hour ago

                  Elrond rubbed his forehead, the drumming in his head increasing.  Only the twins noticed the action, knowing he had a bad headache.  They glanced at where his eyes were locked: Estel’s empty chair.  Elrond never noticed the main course in front of him.  Many of those dining with them watched him worriedly.  Elrond suddenly pushed back his chair.

                  “ Excuse me,” he mumbled.

The twins exchanged a glance, watching him walk out.  It had never troubled him this much when he disciplined them.  Then again, they had only been disciplined once.  After one time with Elrond like that, they knew better than to do it again.

~*~

                  Estel tried unsuccessfully to get the mud stains from his tunic.  He turned to leave with a sigh, hoping Elrond would not notice only to find Elrond in the doorway.

                  “ What happened?” Elrond asked worriedly, eyeing the bruises on the boy.

                  “ I fell.”

Estel’s short answer was one Elrond did not believe.  Estel’s gold eyes never met his as he said it.  Elrond bent before the boy.

                  “ Estel,” Elrond began.

                  Estel looked up and Elrond’s face softened.  The boy was still so young.  He took the boy into his arms.  Estel buried his face into Elrond’s chest, still the size of a toddler Elf.

                  “ Are you hungry?” Elrond asked softly.

Estel nodded silently, his face still downcast with tears dripping off his chin.  Elrond set the boy down and then extended his hand.  Estel took it trustingly.

                  Im meleth le, Ada (I love you, Daddy),” Estel said softly.

Elrond’s eyes crinkled.

                  “ Let’s go see what leftovers the cook has.”

~*~

                  Elladan watched Estel take the bow with awe. 

                  “ It’s mine?” Estel asked.

Elladan heard Legolas’ soft chuckle.

                  “ Aye, it was once mine, but I outgrew it.”

Elladan bent beside the boy, showing him how to hold it.  Legolas lounged near a tree, watching with a grin.

                  Estel threw his hair back with frustration.  He glanced at Legolas who seemed to be laughing and the frustration turned to anger.  He was just learning how.  Legolas had no right to laugh at him.  Elladan bent beside Estel.

                  “ Do not mind Legolas,” Elladan lowered his voice, “ You may pretend the bulls eye is Legolas’ head.”

Estel grinned, turning once again to aim at the target.

                  Legolas crossed his arms to watch Estel shoot.  He wondered what Elladan had told Estel to make the boy grin.

                  “ Try it again,” Elladan said.

Estel let the arrow go.

                  Legolas cursed softly, thankful for his Elvish reflexes as he threw himself at the ground.  Estel burst into boyish giggles as Legolas’ stood, brushing himself off.  Elladan’s blue eyes laughed at Legolas.

                  “ Estel, you could have killed me,” Legolas said sternly.

The arrow had pierced the tree where Legolas’ head had been.

                  “ Aye, Estel, you could have killed him,” Elladan’s face turned serious.

                  “ But you said I could pretend his head was the bulls eye,” Estel said.

                  Legolas’ eyebrow’s shot up as Elladan shrugged.

                  “ I meant that the target over there on the tree, that bulls eye, you could pretend was Legolas’ head, not Legolas himself, though you did hit the right place.  Good aim,” Elladan clapped Estel’s shoulder, “ Let’s head in.  I think we have practiced enough.  We will continue tomorrow.”

Estel nodded, turning to run away.

                  “ My head?”

Elladan grinned as Legolas joined him to walk back.

                  “ At least he hit it.”