Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. They belong to J.R.R. Tolkien

Author's Notes: This is just a small one shot, with a small Christmas theme. Dedicated to all soldiers in Iraq and their families who cannot be together this Christmas

Aranel

Winter Solstice

A snowflake fell lazily to join its kin on the Ground. Ground, frozen by a winter, and covered in several inches of deep snow, all that remained of the fierce blizzard that had swept through Mirkwood the previous night. Pure white snow, yet unmarked by footprints lay across the land, covering it with a fresh blanket, icicles hung from the branches of a tree and the forest river was frozen solid.

In the palace of Mirkwood, not a single elf was enjoying this view, instead they were hurrying to prepare for the great feast that marked the day of Winter Solstice, male elves were decorating the high rafters in the great hall, while small children ran about playing, watched by a few females, while in the large kitchens, many of the female elves were aiding to cooks in making the food. Strains of joyful music came from one of the rooms above where the musicians were practicing for that night.

All the elves seemed happy, but that was not so. On one balcony a single elf stood alone staring out at the forest. His golden hair blew across his face in the wind, he did not care. "O Lady Elbereth." He whispered, his voice drowned out by the festivities behind him "Please hear me, I know you have gifted us with so much in the war, but please I beg to ask one more thing of you. Please let me know if my son lives. My heart is troubled with worry for him. Please my Lady, if the black gate has taken my son, let me know. I cannot stand the agony of another day without knowing his fate. I do not ask this as a king, but as a Father. Please, my Lady. I beg this of you."

There was no answer; the King had not expected one. He placed his hands on the balcony and sighed. "Why can I not accept it?" He muttered "He will not return. He is dead, for the life of Mirkwood; the Lady has taken my son." But somewhere in his mind a voice called out to him telling him his words were not true. That his son still lived, "Oh Legolas, where are you" the king whispered. "My heart weakens everyday I hear no word from you. The war is over…come home".

He felt a tear fall from his eye and land on the rail of the balcony. Quickly he raised a hand and wiped it away. It would not do for his people to see him cry. He would not worry them with silly thoughts that with every passing day he was fading.

But in truth, the king knew he was.

Snow continued to fall gently from the skies, swirling and covering the snow that already lay there. Thranduil turned and walked from the great hall into the corridors, fresh cents of baking food assailed his senses, but he carried on walking towards the royal quarters, tears clouding his vision. As he came to a door, he stopped and glanced at it, it was the door to Legolas' room. The king had not been in there for so long. Pushing open the door, he stepped into the room.

Dust lay heavy in the room, coating all the surfaces; no one had entered here since Legolas had left. The King had forbidden it, saying he wished to leave his son's room as he Prince had left it. The king walked over to the large dresser and brushed the dust from the silver circlet tat Legolas had hated. Beside that lay the royal signet ring Legolas had enclosed with the letter informing the King of his journey to Mordor. The Prince had wished for the king to keep it safe for him, so the enemy would not know who he truly was, and so he could not lose it. Yet the King knew that it was because Legolas did not think he would return and the Prince wanted the King to keep something to remember him by, if the worst happened.

See, even Legolas think he will not return. Elrond, Mithrandir and Celeborn all think the mission was in vain and all members will fall and so does your son, why can you not accept it?

Thranduil shook away the voice in is mind, "he will return," he assured himself, picking up a folded letter that also lay on the dresser. Unfolding it he read the last few lines again;

I do not know if I will survive but I swear to you whether in body or spirit I will return to you!.

I love you Adar, and whatever happens I always will.

Your Little Greenleaf,

Legolas

A lone tear fell onto the letter blurring the ink. Thranduil blinked, he had not realised he was crying. Brushing tears from his eyes he wandered to his son's balcony. Pushing open the doors he stepped out into the sunlight and the softly falling snow. As he stood there he could not help remember a time long ago when he had stood in the same place.

...:::FLASHBACK:::…

"Legolas, Get up here now!" The king snapped glaring down at his young son who stood in the snow covered gardens,

The young Prince glared back at his father "No!" he yelled back "Don't want to!"

Thranduil sighed exasperatedly "Fine, I'll have to come and get you then!" he snapped

Legolas giggled "you'll have to catch me first!" he called running a few steps into the gardens. Thranduil glared at his son before swinging himself into the tree beside the balcony. As he reached the lower branches however, the king slipped on some ice that lay hidden beneath snow, He fell back and landed in the snow.

Legolas screamed in terror and ran to his father's side "Ada!" he cried tears rolling down his face and he saw his Father's closed eyes "Ada, wake up" he buried his face in his Father's shoulder and began to cry hysterically "I'm sorry" he wailed. His sadness quickly turned to fear however as someone grabbed the collar of his shirt. "Ada!" he cried out in panic, as the hand lifted him into the air, before a handful of snow was pushed down his back "Ai!" he cried out as he realised that the hand that held him belonged to his Father. Struggling away Legolas fell to the ground before throwing a snowball at his father, it hit the elven King in the chest, who retaliated by throwing a snowball back at Legolas. A snowball war soon erupted between the father and son, a war that seemed to be very much in Legolas' favour. So not much later the king collapsed under the large tree,

"I'm too old for this" he muttered.

Legolas ran over to him and sat beside him, huddling up to him "Ada, my feet are wet" he complained.

Thranduil chuckled "Yes, so are mine" he told the Prince, "Shall we go inside and prepare for the feast now?"

Legolas pulled a face "Do we have to" he said, standing up

Thranduil scooped his son into his arms "Yes" he said pulling himself into the tree and climbing it with Legolas under one arm.

...:::FLASHBACK:::…

Thranduil stood on he balcony, tears rolling freely down his face "Oh…my Greenleaf" he whispered to no one in particular.

"Thranduil?" the king wiped his eyes and turned at hearing the voice and saw the chief healer Ilyanna stood at the door, "the feast is about to start"

Thranduil nodded and turned to leave, as he brushed past the healer she sighed and smiled reassuringly at him. He smiled weakly at her and walked down the corridor.

The feast was underway; couples were dancing to soft music and smiling to each other, deeply in love, elves were eating and drinking and generally enjoying themselves. But Thranduil was not, he stood once more on the balcony. He paid no attention to the occurrences behind him, not even when the doors to the hall flew open…

The other elves all stopped what they were doing, and several guards drew their swords. A green cape blew around the stranger, who suddenly pulled his hood down. A gasp echoed around the room, and several swords dropped to the ground. The figure looked towards the balcony and walked over to the figure, half way through the hall he paused and pulled his hood over his head again. Stepping behind the figure he placed a hand on the king's shoulder.

At once the king turned, fearing for his life and threw the figure from him. He landed on the ground with a cry of surprise, his hood falling from his head. For a moment all was silent all eyes were on the king and the golden haired figure on the ground before him. The king placed a hand to his mouth.

"That wasn't the welcome I was expecting," the figure quipped getting to his feet. "Hello Adar"

The king could not speak "Legolas…" he said before dropping to the ground in a faint.

Legolas stepped forward and caught his father in time, his face fearful "Ilyanna" he called. The healer rushed forward "What happened?" Legolas demanded

Ilyanna smiled "He has fainted that is all, the surprise of seeing you must have been too much" Legolas nodded, gesturing to the guards to help him. Between them they carried the king to his chamber and laid him on the bed. Ilyanna turned to Legolas "Return to the feast, you must be famished"

Legolas grinned "Very well" he said "I am rather hungry. Tell me when he wakes"

Ilyanna nodded "I will" she agreed.

Thranduil woke, the sky outside was dark, he sat up and climbed off the bed "It was a dream…" he whispered "only a dream" shaking his head he left the room, heading back towards the hall, preparing to rejoin the party. As he entered the grand hall he saw the scene was as before he had left it. Sighing, he blinked back tears of disappointment. Looking around he felt his breath catch in his throat. For stood on the balcony was Legolas, the Prince wore his circlet and his signet ring once more.

"Legolas" he breathed

Legolas walked forward "Adar…" he said bowing his head with a smile

Thranduil felt tears rise in his eyes "Come here" he said opening his arms.

Legolas ran towards his father and fell into his arms, tears rolling down his cheeks to "Oh Adar, I missed you so much" he said amidst the tears

"And so did I my little Greenleaf, so did I" the king replied.

In the hall of Mirkwood, the elves stood around, many of them with tears in their eyes as they witnessed the happy reunion. All was well in Mirkwood.

The Prince had returned.

The End

Merry Christmas Everyone,

Aranel