A Royal Rescue by Deana Lisi|
No summary given
Disclaimer: I don't own Legolas, the twins, Elrond, or Thranduil.
I own the kitties, LOL, which did exist in Middle Earth according to Tolkien!
Elladan sighed as he looked down at the elfling.
Legolas blinked his bright blue eyes, effortlessly molding his face into a pout. He was the age comparable to a six-year-old human, but his height and innocent features made him appear younger.
"Why not?" Elrohir said to Elladan. "He needs to learn someday. We're capable of teaching him."
"But I do not know if it is safe," said Elladan. "He is still quite young, brother."
"Young, but mature," Elrohir countered. "I have yet to see anyone his age as intelligent as he."
Legolas grinned widely at the compliment, wrapping his arms around the younger twin's legs.
Elrohir chuckled and returned the embrace.
"Aye, you are right," said Elladan, with a sigh. "I am just afraid of danger befalling him."
Elrohir nodded. "Naturally. But you need not fear, for I have an idea that will keep little Legolas as safe as if he were snugly tucked into bed!"
"Then you will teach me how to track?" Legolas asked, hopefully.
Elladan smiled at him. "I will decide after I have heard this idea of Elrohir's."
Legolas wasn't sure if that was good or bad. "All right."
Elrohir ruffled the young Prince's hair. "I think I smell strawberry pastries! Would you like to fetch us all some, penneth?"
"Yes!" Legolas exclaimed, thoughts of tracking momentarily banished at the idea of consuming his favorite treat.
The twins watched as the elfling ran into the house, heading for the kitchens.
"What is this idea of yours?" Elladan asked. "I cannot understand why you would wish to teach him this at his age! We were not as young as he when we learned."
"I know," said Elrohir, lowering himself to sit in the grass. "But you saw how badly he wishes to do it! You lay a trail for Legolas, and while he tracks you, I shall follow him."
Elladan sat beside his twin, making a face as if he were thinking. "What makes you think he's capable of succeeding in his tracking?"
"Make it easy for him," said Elrohir. "He will not know that you did it purposely. No harm can come to him; I will not let him leave my sight. If the slightest threat arises, I will be right there."
Elladan slowly nodded, though he still looked slightly worried.
"Come now," said Elrohir. "We were close to his age when we learned to track."
Elladan sighed, wishing that Elrohir hadn't told Legolas the age-old story. He was sure that it had unwittingly influenced Legolas into being so insistent. "Times were not as dangerous then as they are now," said Elladan.
"No harm will come to him within the Valley," Elrohir told him.
Their talk was interrupted when Legolas suddenly came running back, sooner then they'd expected. He was carrying a basket that the cook had obviously packed in anticipation of their sweet-tooths.
"Here they are!" Legolas exclaimed, plopping to the ground heavily. "They'd just been baked! They're still warm!"
"Just the way we like them!" said Elladan, smiling.
Legolas nodded, his mouth already full.
After devouring the delicious treats, the young Prince quickly jumped to his feet. "Can you teach me now?"
Elladan smiled, using a washcloth that the cook had wisely provided to wipe sticky strawberry from the elfling's face. "Aye, we will."
Legolas grinned from ear-to-ear.
"But, you must pay attention to everything that we tell you, for in learning you will teach and in teaching you will learn."
Legolas frowned, puzzled. "But…who do I have to teach? And how will I learn from teaching if I already know?"
Elladan ignored his brother. "I mean, little one, that someday you will be a teacher to elflings, and you will learn much from them, like we learn much from you!"
"You do?" Legolas asked, his eyes opened wide.
"Indeed," said Elrohir, smiling. "We have learned that you like strawberry pastries and that you are ticklish!" With that, he grabbed Legolas and pulled him back down to the ground, tickling his sides and stomach.
Legolas shrieked with laugher, squirming to get away.
Elladan shook his head with a grin. "That is not quite what I meant, but you will find out when you are older, penneth."
Legolas couldn't answer, laughing loudly as he tried to get out of Elrohir's grasp.
Elladan stood, and with one fast swoop, swung Legolas away from Elrohir and into his own arms, flipping him so that he was hanging forwards over his shoulder.
Legolas gave a gasp, his head dizzily rolling into Elladan's.
The older twin grimaced, realizing that he should've let Legolas catch his breath from the tickling before doing something like that.
Legolas recovered quickly though, watching the scenery from his higher view as Elladan walked. "I wish that I was as big as you!" he exclaimed.
Elrohir chuckled, reaching over to muss the elfling's hair. "I am sure that you will be, someday!"
Elladan shot his brother an unsure look. Legolas was much smaller than other elflings his age; he'd been born very early, and his future had temporarily been uncertain. Despite that, Legolas survived and grew…slowly, but surely. Elrond felt that Legolas had an important purpose to serve in Middle Earth one day. But before that day came, the twins took every chance possible to spend time with him.
Once they reached their destination, Elladan and Elrohir showed the little elfling the different footprints on the ground, helping him to distinguish which animals had walked through the woods that day. Legolas proved to be a very good pupil; understanding easily the different signs that the environment displayed.
"A squirrel has a home near here," Legolas said.
"How do you know that?" asked Elrohir.
Legolas pointed to a pile of acorns lying at the base of a tree.
"Very good, penneth!" Elladan said, impressed. "You will soon rival us at tracking!"
Legolas smiled, giggling.
A half-hour later, Legolas was ready to practice his newly learned skills.
"Are you sure that you want to do this by yourself?" Elrohir asked.
Legolas nodded. "I am not afraid! I can do it."
"If you lose the trail, do not hesitate to call out for us," said Elladan.
Legolas nodded. "All right."
Elrohir smiled. "Good. Now turn around and sit down right here. Count to twenty, and then track us!"
Legolas smiled back, obeying.
The twins quietly walked off, walking heavier to leave footprints for Legolas to find. They veered right and split up, Elladan giving Elrohir a look that said, 'do not let him leave your sight'.
Elrohir nodded and carefully made his way back to Legolas; being sure to leave no evidence that he'd turned back. Peering through the trees, he saw the tiny elfling sitting on the ground, obediently counting.
When Legolas finished, he stood and immediately began looking for clues as to the twins' direction.
Elrohir was surprised at how well Legolas did. The footprints that Elladan had left intermittently grew lighter, giving Legolas the chance to search for other clues, before the footprints eventually grew heavier again, letting Legolas know that he was indeed heading in the right direction. Elrohir was proud to see the concentration and delight on Legolas' face, as he continued to study the ground.
Suddenly, a noise behind Elrohir made him turn around, in time to see one of Imladris' guards walking towards him. He immediately put a finger to his lips and quietly hurried over to the guard, not wanting Legolas to hear and find out that he was being followed.
The guard frowned, looking at Elrohir as if he'd lost his mind.
"We are teaching Legolas to track!" Elrohir whispered. "I do not wish him to know that he is being watched."
The guard smiled. "Ah, I see," he whispered back. "You looked quite…odd…standing there. I wondered if you required assistance. How is Legolas doing?"
Elrohir smiled. "Very well, better than we even thought. He is very intelligent."
The guard nodded. "Aye, he is."
Elrohir looked over his shoulder. "I need to go back. I do not want him to find trouble."
The guard smiled. "Good luck."
Elrohir returned the smile, turning and heading back. When he peered through the trees, he saw that Legolas was gone.
Muttering under his breath, Elrohir quickly headed in the direction where Elladan's trail led, not realizing that Legolas was no longer following it…
Legolas heard a sudden sound, and looked up, slightly startled. It sounded like the mew of a cat, but Legolas sensed something wrong. Without hesitation, he left his trail and walked deeper into the woods, searching for the animal.
"Where are you, little cat!" he whispered, not wishing to startle it. He heard the mew again, and quickened his pace. He walked for quite a while before finally finding it.
Lying on its side, the pretty striped cat looked up at him. Her stomach was greatly enlarged, and it was obvious that she was about to give birth.
Legolas smiled, sitting down. "Do not fear, I will stay with you," he said, gently petting her.
The cat purred, and Legolas sensed her anxiety leave.
Elrohir was growing nervous. He had yet to catch up to Legolas, and he wondered how long a trail Elladan had left…
Legolas smiled as he watched the five kittens nurse. Their mother purred contentedly, her head laying on Legolas' left hand.
One of the kittens was accidentally dislodged by one of its siblings and gave a squeal. Legolas reached out and gently put it back, chuckling at the sucking sounds.
"You should not have to raise your babies in the woods," he said to the mother cat. "I wish I could bring you back to Imladris." He sighed, knowing that it'd be dangerous to the kittens if he tried to carry them all the way back. Suddenly, he realized that the twins were probably waiting for him, wondering why he never reached them. "Elladan and Elrohir will find us!" he said, happily. "They will help me bring you home!"
The cat continued to purr, closing her eyes as she dozed.
"What?!" Elladan exclaimed.
Elrohir sighed. "I do not understand it," he said. "Legolas was following your tracks. I was only gone for a minute!"
Elladan ran a hand through his hair, knowing that it wasn't his brother's fault that a guard had interrupted him. "We need to find him now!"
"I'll run back for help," said Elrohir.
"No!" said Elladan. "Ada and Thranduil will kill us if they find this out. There's no reason to assume he's hurt; nothing can harm him within the Valley. He must simply have veered off the trail. Let's go."
Elrohir nodded, and they ran back into the woods.
Legolas sat calmly, awaiting the twins. A few hours had passed since he'd found the cat, and he was growing hungry.
The cat was asleep with her kittens cuddled against her. Legolas had removed his cloak and covered them up to keep them warm.
Sighing, Legolas looked out at the woods that surrounded him. Imladris was a beautiful place, and he loved it there as much as he loved his own home. He saw that the sun had been hidden by thick clouds, and realized that it was about to rain.
Within seconds, the first drops fell, and Legolas got to his knees and bent his body over the sleeping cats, wrapping his arms around them and laying his forehead against the ground. It was uncomfortable, but he couldn't allow the newborn kittens to get wet…
"It is raining!"
"Very good, brother."
Elladan sighed loudly, as they walked through the woods. "Legolas will get wet!"
"Again, very good. I am impressed at your powers of deduction."
The older twin shot a stern look at Elrohir. "Legolas!" he shouted. He heard no reply, but the sound of rain hitting fallen leaves was so loud that he wondered if Legolas could even hear him.
"Legolas!" Elrohir called.
They listened for a reply, hearing nothing but the rain, which was growing heavier…
Legolas woke abruptly as he felt something stir underneath his chest. He realized that he'd fallen asleep, and he tried to shift his cramped position. The mother cat was trying to get out from under him, and Legolas reluctantly let her, knowing that she had to have a good reason. He gasped when he saw that she had one of the kittens in her mouth, but was too sore from his uncomfortable position to grab her fast enough.
The cat ran about ten feet to a fallen log, and disappeared inside.
Legolas' eyebrows shot up, as he realized that she was bringing the kittens to better shelter. He gently reached under the cloak—which he happily noted was still dry, thanks to his protection—and carefully lifted two of the kittens, carefully bringing them to the log.
The mother cat came out as he neared it, and she ran back to fetch another.
Legolas knelt beside the log and peered in, gently placing the kittens beside the other. As he stood, the mother cat came back with the fourth, and Legolas went to retrieve the last one.
The mother cat crawled into the log again as Legolas placed the fifth kitten inside. She curled herself around them, purring as she looked at Legolas.
Legolas smiled and reached in to pet her, and to his surprise, she licked his hand.
"Where is he?!" Elrohir exclaimed. "He cannot have gone this far off the trail!"
Elladan sighed, relieved that the rain had stopped, but angry that it had washed away Legolas' tiny tracks. "I do not understand why he would have, but—"
Elrohir looked at his brother when Elladan suddenly stopped, to see a terrified expression on his face. Following his line of sight, Elrohir saw what had shocked his brother.
"Legolas!" Elladan shouted, running towards the elfling that was slumped over a fallen log, unmoving.
Elrohir followed, his heart thudding painfully within his chest.
Legolas lifted his head, his eyes lighting up when he saw the twins.
"Are you all right?!" Elladan exclaimed, throwing himself down beside the elfling, taking note of his soaked clothes and dirt-streaked face.
"I am fine!" Legolas said, happily. "Now that you are here!"
Elladan sighed with relief, grabbing Legolas and hugging him tightly as he stood and quickly began walking back towards Imladris.
"No!" Legolas shouted. "Wait!"
Elrohir frowned, watching as Legolas tried to get down. "What is it, penneth?"
"We cannot leave them!" Legolas cried, running back to the log.
"Leave who?" Elladan asked, following.
Elrohir's eyebrows rose as they reached the log and peered inside. What the twins saw surprised them.
"We need to take them with us!" Legolas exclaimed, begging. "They cannot live in the woods! Look how tiny they are! They need someone to care for them!"
The twins looked at each other before looking back at the mother cat.
She mewed at them, as if adding her own plea to Legolas'.
"We cannot simply carry them back," said Elrohir. "She might not wish us to touch them."
Legolas nodded. "That is why you need to go back and get me a crate!"
Elrohir half-smiled, amused at the commanding voice coming from the elfling price. "I do?"
Legolas nodded, enthusiastically. "Yes! We will sit right here and wait for you."
Elladan looked at his brother, not bothering to hide his grin.
Elrohir hadn't the heart to refuse him. There was more then enough room in their house for the cats. "All right. I'll be back soon."
Legolas nodded, and Elladan waved at his brother mockingly.
Elrohir shot his twin a glare as he turned around and walked off again.
Legolas looked up when he heard sudden hoofbeats, to see Elrohir riding his horse and leading Elladan's, holding a crate on his lap.
"Comfortable?" Elrohir asked his brother, who was leaning against the log with Legolas on his lap.
"Oh yes," said the older twin, giving a luxurious stretch. "Did you enjoy your journey all the way to the house and back again?"
Elrohir made a face at his brother, dismounting. He brought the crate over to Legolas and knelt next to the log. "Does this meet with your approval, penneth?"
Legolas looked inside, to find a neatly folded, soft blanket. "Yes! It is perfect." He looked into the log, and smiled at the mother cat. "Come! We are taking you home where it is warm and safe, where you will never get wet again!"
The mother cat gave a mew, and Legolas reached in and gently picked up one of the kittens, holding it in front of her and pulling it out very slowly, so as not to alarm her. He pulled the crate to the hole, and placed the kitten inside.
The cat stood and stuck her head out of the hole, looking into the crate at her kitten.
Legolas quickly took out the other four and placed them inside. The mother cat climbed in herself, to be near her babies.
The twins watched the elfling, smiling at his gentleness.
"We can go home now!" Legolas declared, triumphantly standing with the crate.
"Yes, Your Highness!" said Elladan, standing. He commanded his horse to kneel, and then he mounted, reaching out for Legolas and carefully helping him sit in front of him with the crate. Elladan wrapped his arms around the elfling and his burden, holding on tightly as the horse stood.
Legolas watched the cats during the whole ride, smiling at the uncoordinated movements of the kittens as they scrambled around the crate. He was glad that Elrohir had thought to put the blanket inside.
When they arrived back at the house, Elladan carried Legolas while Elrohir carried the crate. They crept quietly through the house, not wanting Thranduil or Elrond to see Legolas in such a disheveled state. When they made it to the elfling's room, all three of them sighed with relief. After bathing Legolas and redressing him, they went to their own rooms to change their wet clothes, but not before giving the elfling some instructions.
"Do not take the kittens from the crate," Elladan said. "She let you touch them because she knew that you were trying to help, but she may not want them touched again until they are a little older."
Legolas nodded, reaching in and petting the mother cat.
As the twins left the room, they turned to hurry down the corridor, but nearly walked right into one of the people that they were trying to avoid.
The King looked at their messy, wet clothes, and then at the door to his son's room. "I do not even wish to know," he said. He reached for the handle, before looking at them again. "Or do I?"
Elladan gave a nervous laugh. "Well, uh, that is—"
He was cut off when Elrohir grabbed his arm and pulled him down the hall.
Thranduil chuckled as he opened the door. "Elflings."
The King smiled as he looked at his son, who he was pleased to note was dry and clean unlike the twins. Before he had a chance to ask what the elfling had done with his day, he saw the crate. "What have you there, ion-nin?"
Legolas stood and put a finger to his lips. "Hush! They are sleeping."
Thranduil frowned, puzzled as he walked over and knelt to see what was inside. He was surprised at what he saw, especially as it was obvious that the kittens were literally newly born.
"I—we found them in the woods!" Legolas said, almost saying too much. "The kittens were born and then it started to rain and I could not leave them there to get wet and cold! Elrohir went back for the crate and Elladan and I stayed with them and Elrohir put a blanket inside and brought it back and then I put the cats inside and we came home and the kittens did not get wet and now they never will!"
Thranduil couldn't stop the smile that adorned his face. "Mayhap you should take a breath once in a while, penneth."
Legolas grinned at him, before looking at the cats again.
"Have you named them?" Thranduil asked.
Legolas looked at him with surprise on his face, as if he had forgotten. "No, not yet!"
"Come, you can think of names over dinner."
Legolas nodded and stood, giving the cats another glance before taking his father's hand as they left the room.
Elrond smiled as Thranduil and Legolas entered the dining hall. "Did you have a fun day, penneth?" he said.
"Yes!" Legolas exclaimed, letting go of his father's hand and running to the table. Without even sitting down, he grabbed a plate and quickly began placing meat on it.
Elrond and Thranduil sent shocked looks at each other.
"Are you all right, Legolas?" Elrond asked, wondering if the twins had neglected to feed him all day.
Legolas nodded. "She has to eat before I do!" he said, turning and running back towards the door.
"She?" Elrond exclaimed, bewildered.
Thranduil shook his head with a smile, rushing after Legolas. "The twins will explain," he said, seeing them entering the dining hall.
"Explain what?" said Elrohir, nervously wondering if Legolas had told Thranduil that he'd gotten lost in the woods.
"Who is this female that Legolas insists on feeding?" Elrond asked.
"Ah," said Elladan, sitting down. "Legolas has made a very good friend…"
Later that night, Legolas sat on the floor watching the kittens. He had been put to bed already, but as soon as everyone had kissed him goodnight and left, he got right back out of bed and rushed to the crate. He sat there for a very long time, trying to think of names for the cats. He thought up one right away, but kept dozing off before he could name them all. Reluctantly, he finally decided to go to bed.
"Goodnight, Melui," he said to the mother cat.
When Legolas awoke the next morning, he heard tiny mewing sounds. Remembering what had happened the previous day, he quickly sat up, only to open his eyes in shock at what he saw.
Melui had moved her kittens onto his bed overnight.
"Oh!" Legolas exclaimed, crawling forward.
Melui was purring, and she looked at Legolas with love on her face. If cats could talk, Legolas was sure that she was saying 'thank you'.
'Melui' : Elvish for 'sweet'