Disclaimer: Not mine belong to Tolkien. Like you didn't know that already.

Authors Notes: Due to a wrist injury caused by my everloving dog I have not been posting. Putting it bluntly anything involving moving the dog gone wrist hurts. Terrible pun I know. Anyhow I wanted to thank everyone who has continued to harass and email me. Thanks for the support everyone!

This story is Part 1 of 2

And is dedicated lovingly to Miche who asked for it.

Also thanks to Saikagrl for the beta although she better finish beta-ing it!

Wayward Son

"My Lord?"

Aragorn looked up from where he was seated across from Legolas. The two friends had retired to the Royal Gardens in need of peace and quiet after dealing with the overzealous public all morning. It was the only place they had been able to find reprieve from the people. Aragorn hadn't been crowned for more than a week and already he was swamped with requests and demands. The thought of all the paperwork sitting on his new desk was enough to make him shudder. He wasn't complaining, really he wasn't, but he just wanted some time to himself. He wanted to be with his friends and just relax.

Aragorn sighed inaudibly, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. Across from him he could see a smile tugging at the corners of Legolas' mouth as the elf lay in the grass. "Yes what is it?"

The servant shifted nervously. "I'm sorry to disturb you, I know you said not too, but there is a delegation of elves here."

Aragorn stood swiftly frowning in thought. "Elladan and Elrohir can not be back already."

"No my Lord. He says he's King Thranduil from Mirkwood."

Legolas bolted upright from his reclining position. All eyes turned at a loud commotion coming from the entranceway. Thranduil stalked through with a harried looking servant following in his wake. The poor man looked rather frightened as he followed the Elven King. Aragorn couldn't help but share the man's feelings. He completely understood what it was like to deal with Thranduil, especially a determined and over protective Thranduil who was looking for his wayward son. The chastised servant bowed hastily to Aragorn before throwing a worried look at the elf lord. "I'm sorry, my Lord, he would not wait."

Thranduil had only made it several steps into the gardens before he was nearly tackled by Legolas. Aragorn waved the servants away watching with an amused smile at the reunion. The Elven King pushed his son away by the shoulders to look him over making sure he was well and whole. Legolas allowed it for only a moment before ducking back into his father's embrace. They stayed that way for several minutes and Aragorn felt a pang of remorse that Elrond was not there. He missed his foster father very much. Thranduil finally looked up meeting Aragorn's eyes. The King of Men couldn't help but feeling like a truant child under the elder's piercing gaze.

"I should be glad for once that you both are in one piece." Thranduil stated. He surprised the human by bowing deeply. "It is good to see you finally take your place Aragorn son of Arathorn."

(LOTRLOTR)

Legolas and his father walked slowly under the trees of Ithilien. They had retreated to the forest to be alone. Thranduil had left his personal guard at the palace much to their dismay. They had much to talk about and did not wish to discuss some things that were meant in private. Though the forest had suffered from Sauron's wrath it was preferable to being in the stoned walls of Minas Tirith.

Thranduil spoke first of the events after Legolas had traveled to Rivendell. Legolas had nearly split with laughter when his father told him of how he had imprisoned the twins and Rowan. He became quiet though as his father told him of the war brought upon them by Sauron's forces. Thranduil's face was grim as he recited the names of all the fallen warriors, both elves grieving at the losses of friends and companions. The number was not as great as Legolas had feared but it made it no easier in dealing with the deaths of loved ones. Legolas' feelings of guilt for not being there were quickly squashed by his father as Thranduil reminded him of his duty to the Fellowship. Thranduil then told of his meeting with Celeborn and finding out that Legolas was safe in Minas Tirith.

Thranduil then listened quietly as Legolas recounted the journey of the Fellowship until the crowning of Aragorn Elessar. He had only faltered thrice in the telling once, when speaking of the balrog and Gandalf's fall, then of Boromir's sacrifice, and the last when he heard the calling of the sea. Legolas fell silent then turning worried eyes upon his father. His father had seemed to age in front of his eyes.

"Ada?" Legolas asked hesitantly.

Thranduil reached out wrapping his son in his arms. "Praise the Valar Legolas that you are alive and well. If I had known the danger..."

Thranduil couldn't finish only squeezing his son tighter. Legolas clung to him tightly.

"Are you mad at me, Ada?" Legolas asked his voice muffled by his father's cloak.

Thranduil pushed his son away cupping his face. "Legolas how could you ever think I would be mad at you. You are my son. You followed your heart and what you believed in like I always told you too. I have never been more proud of you than I am now. I only wish I could have spared you the pain and grief of your travels. I never want to see you hurt, that is every father's wish for their child."

"I never meant to worry you."

Thranduil smiled stroking his son's hair lovingly. "Legolas, my little leaf, you worry me every time you are out of my sight."

"Then it is good you are not human or you would have gray hair." Legolas quipped a smile lighting his face.

His father snorted. "If I was mortal I would not have survived your first hundred years, I would have died of heart failure."

Thranduil tucked his son under his arm as he led them under the trees. Once in a while he would reach out to touch the bark of one. Whenever he did so the tree would react to the elven king's touch seeming to straighten and grow.

"There is much work that needs done here before these woods are healed again." Thranduil said softly.

"I know." Legolas whispered.

"There is something else you wish to tell me." Thranduil stated knowing even before his son said anything.

"I have promised Aragorn I will not sail until he d-passes from this world. I would wish to be closer to him. Maybe start a small colony here to help restore the land."

"I thought as much." Thranduil sighed. "I cannot deny you anything. If you would wish it I would allow it."

"You are not happy with me."

"I am not happy that you would impose such pain upon yourself. You have seen mortals die violent deaths in battle but watching a loved friend slowly succumb to old age is different. It wears on the heart for you shall stay young and healthy and forever immortal. Unless you too succumb to grief after the last of your mortal friends passes from these shores."

"Have you," Legolas hesitated, "have you seen a mortal age and die?"

Thranduil nodded. "I watched Elros die a mortal's fate. He was not unhappy with his life in the end. He had lived a full life and was content. I will not deny that in some ways I envied him the peace granted to him. Immortality is a blessing and a curse as you will find out."

They walked in silence for a time. Thranduil eventually squeezed his son's shoulders to get the youth's attention.

"Enough of these wearying thoughts Legolas. Now is not the time for such worries. Tell me more of these young hobbits you traveled with. I would like to hear more of this Frodo Baggins and I wonder is he like his uncle?"

Legolas laughed the sound echoing among the trees. "That reminds me Ada, I finally found out how all those dwarves escaped."

(LOTRLOTR)

"Ada?"

Thranduil turned his attention to the door adjoining his rooms to his sons. "Yes Legolas?"

"Mrph?"

Thranduil chuckled. "Finish with the cookies then ask."

The Elven King finished fastening the cream colored tunic. This is what he had missed the most, just listening to his son moving about. He belted a simple leather belt around his waist before running a brush through his hair. It felt good to get cleaned up from their long journey to Minas Tirith. Looking at the weapons on the bed he frowned. He did not want to wear his weapons but it had been to long since he had not worn one. He settled for slipping a dagger into his boot. With that he headed into the large sitting room he shared with his son.

Legolas was like a little elfling on his begetting day. He was sitting on the floor with several packages around him all in various states of being opened. Since he had missed Legolas' begetting day this year he had brought with him several things he knew his son might need or want during his stay in Minas Tirith. Legolas looked up at him as he entered a sugar cookie firmly in his grasp. Legolas blushed at his father's amused look before holding the small tin out to him. Thranduil declined as he seated himself on the couch.

"No Legolas, Hinacea's mother told me if I touched your cookies she'd have my ears."

Legolas laughed. "I would not put it past her either."

Thranduil nodded before motioning to one of the packages. "The clothes I brought I thought would serve you well for Aragorn's marriage to the Lady Arwen."

"They're very beautiful." Legolas agreed a slight frown marring his features.

"What is wrong Legolas?"

Legolas worried his lower lip. "Is Raneth, Isorfinduil, and Rowan all right? It's not that I expected for them to send me something but I was hoping for a letter or a note. Are they angry with me?"

Thranduil smiled fondly at his son's insecurities. "Legolas do you think I would have gotten out of Mirkwood without something from them. Their presents are still with my belongings."

Legolas' eyes lit up and he bolted into his father's room.
(LOTRLOTR)

Aragorn and Faramir where discussing how to house the few elven warriors when Gimli stormed past them.

"Gimli?" Aragorn called his friend.

The dwarf ignored him heading down the hall with determined strides.

"I wonder what's got him so riled." Aragorn murmured.

Faramir laughed. "It is probably because he has been waiting for Legolas all morning. Legolas must have forgotten with the arrival of his father. I am afraid the elf is in for an earful when Gimli catches him."

Aragorn did a double take. "Gimli was headed for the bedrooms."

Faramir frowned. "So?"

"Thranduil's there!" Aragorn turned racing after his dwarven friend.

"What's that got to do with anything?" Faramir yelled after the swiftly retreating figure.

Aragorn rounded the corner to see Gimli bursting through Legolas' door.

"Why you pointy eared elvish bastard!" Gimli roared.

Aragorn skidded to a stop seeing Thranduil stand up from the couch. He put his hands over his ears waiting for the imminent explosion.

(LOTRLOTR)

Gimli stopped short upon see it was not Legolas to whom he addressed. This elf had Legolas' fair countenance but his eyes were like chipped emeralds. The elf also had an aura around him that commanded attention. Hearing his father's accounts of his time spent in Mirkwood there was only one person that this could be. King Thranduil.

Gimli bowed stiffly. "I ask your pardon. I thought you were someone else."

"And who would that be?" The elf asked his voice as frosty as a winter wind.

"Ada?" Legolas entered then his eyes focused on a small box he carried in his hands. "I don't know - Gimli?"

Legolas stopped upon seeing his friend frowning a moment before realization dawned. "Gimli forgive me. I became distracted."

Gimli nodded noticing the hard stare the Elven King was giving his son. This was going to go over well. "I have been waiting all morning for you Legolas."

"I am truly sorry." Legolas apologized again. "Gimli I would like to you to meet my father Thranduil Oropherion. Ada this is Gimli Gloinson."

"At your service." Gimli nodded stiffly.

"At yours and your family's," the Elven King replied formally if not somewhat stilted.

Gimli could tell Thranduil was just as uncomfortable as he was but the pleading look on Legolas' face subdued them both.

"Would you join us Gimli?" Legolas asked breaking the eye contact between the two.

Gimli shook his head. "No, I will not intrude."

"You would not be intruding." Legolas insisted.

Gimli highly doubted that. "Spend time with your father Legolas. I have promised Aragorn help with some designs. I will see you at the evening meal?"

Legolas nodded eagerly. "I will see you there."

Gimli nodded once more to the Elven King before turning and shutting the door behind him. He looked up to see Aragorn standing in the hall. Aragorn's eyes darted between the door and Gimli an unreadable expression on his face. Gimli growled stalking over to the man and grabbing him by the arm.

"You stupid git." Gimli seethed as they retreated down the hall. "Next time a warning would suffice."

(LOTRLOTR)

Thranduil was sitting in front of the fire watching the flames race along the wood. He had declined dinner in the great hall much to his son's dismay. He insisted on checking the warriors that had come with him to make sure they were adequately taken care of, though he expected nothing less from Aragorn. He had also explained that he was wearied from his journey, which to an extent was very true. The real reason though was that he had wanted time to himself to gather his thoughts. He was ill at ease with some of the newfound knowledge of his son. To hear that his son was afflicted by the sea longing bothered him greatly. He had hoped that Legolas would never suffer from that affliction, at least not this soon. His son was too young to be drawn away from these shores.

There was a knock at the door breaking his thoughts. He looked up. "Come in."

Legolas entered. "Ada."

"What troubles you my Leaf?"

Legolas shrugged moving to sit on the rug beside his father's chair. Thranduil reached over stroking the golden hair, a technique that had always calmed his son when he was younger.

'Ai, why was it children seemed to grow up so fast.' Thranduil wondered. His son was an adult by elven standards with a sharp mind and the hardened body of a warrior but he would always be his little leaf. Legolas scooted closer until his head rested on his father's knee. The King smiled contentedly at his son's need to cuddle.

"What are you thinking Ada?"

Thranduil smiled grimly though his son could not see it. He did not wish to speak of such things now so instead he picked a topic that would rile his son. "The dwarf Legolas?"

(LOTRLOTR)

Thranduil awoke in his bed feeling oddly distressed. He looked around the darkened chamber trying to find the source of his unease. Something was wrong. He stretched out his senses.

Legolas.

Alarmed Thranduil threw on a robe yanking open the door that separated the rooms. Racing into the bedchamber he heard sobbing cries coming from the thrashing figure. His son was in the grips of a nightmare. The King grabbed his son's wrists to keep from getting struck.

"Legolas! Legolas!"

Legolas did not stir, unconsciously fighting his sire's grip on him, as he gave a keening cry. The bedroom door banged open again as Aragorn and Gimli raced into the room. Aragorn helped Thranduil restrain the younger elf. Gimli climbed onto the bed and put a firm hand on the prince's chest.

"Crazy elf!" The dwarf growled before falling into the harsh speech of the dwarves.

Thranduil's eyes narrowed in anger as he recognized several dwarven insults and curses. He was about to respond in kind to order the dwarf out of his son's room when he noticed his son's body relax. Gimli's tone became softer as he too noticed the change in his friend. He continued talking to the elf until Legolas' breathing evened out as once again fell into a peaceful slumber.

Thranduil released his son's wrists as Aragorn too stepped away from the bed. He eyed the bearded dwarf warily as Gimli sat beside his son's hip. Gimli continued to murmur softly smoothing the sheets around his friend. Thranduil did not like the dwarf. He did not like dwarves in general. They were greedy, selfish, arrogant creatures.

"We heard him in the hall. His dreams have been uneasy since the sea longing has taken him." Aragorn whispered. "Gimli's been a great comfort to him."

A muscle twitched in Thranduil's jaw but he remained quiet. Legolas turned in his sleep. The Elven King smiled softly tucking an errant strand of hair behind his son's ear lovingly. Legolas turned into the touch.

"Ada." Legolas mumbled.

"He'll be ala right now." Gimli said sliding off the bed. "Good night your highness."

Thranduil nodded silently as Aragorn and Gimli quickly left. He pulled a chair close to the bed settling himself down to watch his son through the night.

(LOTRLOTR)

In the early morning light Eomer entered the stables to routinely check the horses under his care. Several of the Rohirrim moved about mucking stalls, grooming horses, or cleaning tack. He was halfway down the isle when a man came flying out of a stall backwards. Eomer quickly kneeled beside the gasping man.

"Nagrid are you all right?" Eomer asked his eyes scanning the prone man.

"Yes." The man wheezed sitting up slowly. "He surprised me is all. I thought he was one of ours."

A disgusted snort caused the men to look up through the doorway of the stall. A tall silver stallion stood there with his head raised as he stared down at the men.

"I have never seen him before." Eomer muttered as he stood.

The Rohirrim had gathered around at the commotion in curiosity. A few looked appreciatively at the horse murmuring it's qualities among themselves. The horse merely flicked it's tail as if in disdain.

"He is prideful isn't he?" One of the men commented.

The horse's ears went back.

Eomer pursed his lips as he stepped towards the horse slowly. "Well whoever's horse he is, he is a beautiful animal."

The horse's ears went up and he seemed to stand straighter as if preening himself.

"Do you think he is one of them elves' horses?" Another man piped up.

The horse bobbed it's head once.

"Well he's certainly a clever one." Eomer continued edging closer. "Look at the size of his girth and his chest. He can probably cover long distances with ease."

Again the horse nodded it's head.

Eomer cautiously reached out to stroke the stallion's powerful neck. "He is of a fine coloring too."

One of the men at the door looked the horse over before turning to his Lord. "Do you think he is as powerful as the Mearas?"

Eomer mused thoughtfully as he continued to look the horse over. "The Mearas are the best there are, no-"

Eomer got no further as he was forcefully ejected from the stall in much the same manner as Nagrid. The Horse Lord wheezed as he rolled from his back to his stomach before making it to his knees. He turned to glare at the stallion who was watching him ears pinned flat against his skull.

A hand was lowered to help him up. "You insulted him."

Eomer took it as he pulled himself to his feet. "That arrogant-"

Eomer stopped as he saw who was helping him up. It was an elf, who could have easily passed for Legolas if it wasn't for those cold emerald eyes. The elf had a commanding presence around him that seemed to radiate through the gathered Rohirrim. Many of his men found other things to do, ducking their heads and acting like chastised schoolboys. Eomer swallowed. Hard. This must be Legolas' father.

"You were saying?" The elf prompted.

The horse whinnied and to Eomer it sounded suspiciously like laughter.

He swallowed again. He was not going to be intimidated. "He is a beautiful animal but his manners need improving."

There was an indignant snort from the horse.

"Is that so?" The Elf King asked arching an eyebrow.

Eomer couldn't help but feel like he had been caught stealing cookies. How was it he could march against Sauron but couldn't meet the eyes of this elf? Eomer blessed his good fortune that at that moment a page approached them. The messenger eyed the elf with a heavy dose of fear and respect.

"My Lords." The servant nearly whispered. "Lord Eomer. Lords Aragorn and Faramir have convened in the study and await your arrival."

Eomer nodded giving a silent sigh of relief. "Thank you." Eomer turned giving the King a stiff bow. "Your Highness."

Thranduil nodded.

As Eomer hurried away he couldn't help but feel like it was an undignified retreat from the battlefield.

Thranduil watched the Horse Lord leave the stables before stepping into the stallion's stall. The horse's ears went forward as he stepped towards the elven king rubbing his forehead against the elf's shoulder. Thranduil stroked the sleek shoulder as he produced several apple slices from his tunic. A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth as he whispered in elvish. "Mortals are amusing are they not? My old friend."

Kastagir whinnied as he threw his head up.