Elladan rolled onto his stomach and rested his chin on his hands.
“I had such a fun time with Legolas!” he said.
Elrohir grinned. “Me to! I hope ada lets us play with him again tomorrow! And did you hear? Thranduil does his own office work!”
“And still spends time with Legolas,” Elladan added. “Ada does barely any office work but he spends a lot of time doing things without us. Says we cannot do them or help him or join him . . .”
“Legolas is lucky,” Elrohir said.
“Yes,” Elladan agreed.
” . . . Do you think Thranduil . . . beats him?”
Elladan twisted to look at his twin, scrunching his pillow beneath his hands. The room was dark and the bed was cool, air blowing in through the open window. Elrohir’s face was a mere shadow.
“I do not know, Elrohir,” Elladan said at last. “I-I do not like to think about it—Thranduil may treat him with the same ‘punishments’ ada does us, but I cannot tell by looking at him if he lives the same nightmare.”
“I heard ada say something about how Legolas’s elflinghood was funny, and surrounded by suspicion.”
Elladan sighed. “Ada does not know Thranduil well.”
“Not as well as our relatives in Lothlorien,” Elrohir agreed.
Elladan dropped his head onto his pillow. “Goodnight.”
“Night,” Elrohir murmured.
Morning greeted the twins with a bright smile on its face. Both elflings jumped out of bed and hurried to change, leaving behind their tidied room before they dashed down in time for breakfast.
“Good morning, ion nins,” Elrond greeted them as he pulled up his chair to the table.
“Good morning,” Elladan returned as he slid into his seat. Legolas was sitting beside him.
As breakfast began, Legolas asked, “Ada, may I go out again today? I have not finished exploring Rivendell yet.”
Thranduil looked across the table at his son. “All right, but come back in time for lunch.”
“Can we go with him again, ada?” Elladan asked hopefully.
“Thank you,” Elladan said quickly.
Breakfast slid by in a flash. Legolas ran to give Thranduil a hug before he dashed out onto the open terrace and waited for the twins with an impatient look in his eyes. Elladan and Elrohir waved goodbye to their parents and skipped off to join him.
“Where do you want to go today?” Elrohir asked Legolas.
Legolas looked down at Rivendell as he came to the top of the flight of stairs leading down. He shrugged. “It does not matter. Do you have any favorite places? I like favorite places. If you come to Mirkwood, I would show you all mine!”
Elladan started down the steps. “Maybe ada will let us come some time soon. I would not mind that. Is Mirkwood nice?”
“It is my home,” Legolas said softly. “And it is the most happy place in the world for me.”
Elladan and Elrohir looked at each other, wondering if they could say the same with the same sincerity. They both looked up, wondering if Legolas was coming down the stairs but the blond-haired elfling stayed at the top.
“Are . . . you coming down?” Elladan ventured to ask.
Legolas grinned. “Yes, but not the way I went down yesterday!”
“There is only one way to go up and down stairs,” Elrohir argued.
“There are many ways!” Legolas said. “Do you know where we can find a piece of flat, smooth wood or a big piece of sheet metal?”
The twins looked at each other. “No. We have not had any need for big pieces of metal.”
Legolas crossed his arms. “Do you not know how to have fun?”
The twins grimaced. Their kind of fun usually got them into trouble with their father.
“We could ask a servant,” Elrohir suggested. “They would know.”
“Stay here while I run back into the house and ask,” Legolas instructed. He turned to go and bumped into Glorfindel. He grinned up at the balrog-slayer.
“Where are you off to in such a hurry?” Glorfindel asked.
“I need a big piece of metal,” Legolas answered. “I was on my way to ask the servants if they knew where to fetch it.”
“Whatever for?” asked the blond elf.
“If you bring me one, I will show you,” Legolas answered. “In fact, we might need three of four pieces. Do you know where to find some?”
Glorfindel looked at the elfling. After a moment he answered, “Wait here.”
Legolas sat down on the top step and waited, watching the elf hurry off in the opposite direction.
“How many ways of going down stairs do you know of?” Elladan asked.
Legolas looked at him. “Four.”
“Four!” Elladan exclaimed. “What are they?”
“One is walking, two is falling, three is a mystery, and four is fun!” Legolas replied.
“I do not think it is fair to keep the secret to yourself!” Elladan complained.
Legolas turned and jumped to his feet as he heard the scraping of metal. Glorfindel approached, lugging four sheets of sturdy metal with him. He dropped them at the top of the stairs and wiped his brow.
Legolas’s eyes lit up. “These are perfect! Thank you.”
“Not at all,” Glorfindel replied. “I will leave you to build your fort; I told Erestor I would come for a visit.”
“I am not building a fort,” Legolas said, dragging a piece of the metal to the top stair. “I am sliding down all these stairs!”
Glorfindel’s eyes opened wide. He reached out a hand to stop the elfling, exclaiming, “Good grief, Legolas, you could kill yourself!”
But Legolas had already pushed off.
Glorfindel’s hand flew to his mouth as Legolas let out a shriek of delight. The piece of metal shot over the stairs, picking up speed as it descended, the hair of its owner streaming out behind him. Legolas turned as the metal tray shot across the landing at the bottom of the first flight, and tipped over the edge to slid down the next, screaming, “Elladan! Elrohir! Climb on! It is fun, and you will not fall off if you hold on tight! Come on!”
The twins looked at each other.
“Come on!” Legolas yelled. “It is not any fun alone!”
“It does look like fun,” Elrohir admitted.
“I am not sure your father would like it,” Glorfindel said, not wanting to see the twins get into trouble.
“He will not mind as long as we do not get hurt,” Elladan said finally, and he hopped onto the next sheet of metal. His heart flew into his throat as the sheet tipped up and shot down the side, little tremors running through him as it met with the stairs. The slant looked dangerous but he hung on to the edges. The wind rushed into his face and the ground flashed by. It was like sailing and it was terrific. He looked behind him to see Elrohir coming down fast behind him. He shrieked as the tray hit the landing and tipped up at the edge but he was more laughing now then afraid.
All three elflings were breathless by the time the trays hit the end of the stairs and plowed edge first into the pebbly path, spraying rocks into the air, and flinging their riders to the ground. The three lay in a tumbled heap and giggled.
“Do you do that often?” Elladan asked.
“The stairs in the palace have horrid curves,” Legolas said mournfully. “And the straight ones are always short. But this was perfect!”
“Have you ever broken anything?” Elrohir asked.
“Only my nose,” Legolas said. “I plowed into a wall the first time I rode down the curved flight of stairs, but I learned not to after I saw the horrid angle of my face!”
“Did it hurt?” Elrohir asked.
Legolas considered. “No. But there was a lot of blood.”
“Was Thranduil angry?”
Legolas sat up. “No. Come, we have to drag the metal sheets back up to the top!”
Elladan looked up and groaned.
“It will be worth it in the end,” Legolas encouraged. “The ride was five minutes of glory! I have never taken such a long trip! Even if it takes twenty minutes of sweat, I am willing to pay!”
“All right, come on!”
The elflings completed the weary toil back up the stairs, taking breaks at each landing and arrived at the top, sweaty and gasping. Glorfindel was nowhere in sight. All three lay down to catch their breath before they pushed the metal to the top of the stairs and climbed on.
Legolas and Elladan had pushed off and were sliding down. As his sheet wavered at the brink, Elrohir heard a yell and turned. Dismay filled his heart.
Elrond raced toward him, screaming, “Elrohir, get off that thing right now! If you even dare—!”
Elrohir gulped and scrambled for land but the metal sheet chose the moment to shoot down the stairs and it took Elrohir with it. The elfling held on but the joy of the moment was lost on him as he saw darkness falling down on him from above. He wished with all this heart he had not given in to the temptation and slid down the stairs. But . . . he knew he would cherish the memory of the first ride. It had been fun. More fun then he had had in a long time. He was not sorry he done it. And he did not care what Elrond did to him to punish him.
At the bottom of the stairs, he landed on top of Elladan, who lay laughing. His twin looked up at him. “What is the matter, Elrohir? Was it not fun?”
Elrohir sat up and pointed up the hill. Elladan saw Elrond running toward them and his wide small faltered into a small grin.
Legolas got to his feet as Elrond bounded off the stairs and approached the twins with a face like a thundercloud. He could not understand why Elrond was so angry. They had not hurt anyone, not even themselves.
“We were just having fun,” Elrohir said meekly.
“Having fun?” Elrond exploded, taking Elrohir by the shoulders and shaking him. “Do you realize what could have happened? You could have killed yourself! Have you both lost your minds? You nearly gave your mother and me a heart attack! Sliding down the stairs! You have taken leave of your senses! Come with me!”
Elrohir’s teeth rattled in his head. As Elrond stopped shaking him, he said, “I am sorry. I did not realize you—I—there was anything wrong with it.”
“You put yourself in danger, Elrohir, without even thinking! I thought better of you both, and I am extremely disappointed!”
“It is not dangerous,” Legolas volunteered hotly. “As long as you hold on tight and make sure no one is on the stairs before you go down, its is perfectly safe!”
Elrond scowled at him, and Legolas felt a quiver run through him.
“As for you, I hope your father gives you what is coming to you!” Elrond said. He took Elladan and Elrohir firmly by their wrists and stormed back up the stairs. He stopped glare down at the elfling. “And I wish I could do it for him!”
Legolas’s gaze turned to ice. Elrond spun around and continued homeward, dragging two reluctant elflings to what was coming to them in the living room.
Legolas sat down on the ground and snatched up a handful of pebbles. He hurled them with as much force as he could, one by one, into the small stand of trees nearby, and wondered why he wished he could pound Elrond’s face in. He felt small and helpless, like he once had at the hands of the cruel Lord Katar. He felt that something was wrong, something similar was happening, but he could not think why. Elrond would not hit his sons. Elrond was a good person! He was a healer! He was ada’s friend . . .
“Go away!” Legolas spat as he heard Glorfindel approaching. The voice was all he needed to hear to know it was him. “You went and brought Elrond!”
Legolas felt tears glisten in his eyes as Thranduil knelt down beside him Glorfindel beside him. He leaned into Thranduil’s embrace and let his tears slip free.
“Glorfindel came to me, little leaf,” Thranduil said gently. “What is wrong? Did you fall and hurt yourself?”
“No!” Legolas sniffed. “I feel confused and angry! I am disturbed and I do not know why!”
Thranduil sat down to the side of the path and held his son, bewildered and confused. Legolas curled against him, his face hidden. What could be wrong?
“I am sorry I snapped at you, Glorfindel,” Legolas said quietly, without looking up. “I-I was upset.”
“It is fine,” Glorfindel said. He slipped way, respectfully giving father and son their privacy. He wondered if Elrond had hit the elfling or yelled at him. That might have caused the feelings Legolas was feeling. He shook his head to clear it. He had not seen what had happened, and there were no answers he could give.
After his past life, Legolas senses something is wrong. But he cannot place what it is. The twins are in for an unhappy experience in the living room.
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