Disclaimer: Own nothing of Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson. New Line Cinema.

Summery: Everyone knows that the love ofa parent is strong, but is not the love of a child for the parent strongif notstronger?

Special thanks to Daw for helping out :-)

---

"Sleeping children are so peaceful."

The innocent words held a dark, deep menace. Thranduil sighed, forcing himself not to crush the paper in his fist and throw it into the fire.

It had been nearly three weeks since they had received the first message, but this one held a new meaning. It had been wrapped around an arrow and then shot through Legolas' window. The arrow had landed just inches away from Legolas' forehead.

Thranduil shuddered. Of his three sons, the enemy had purposely chosen the youngest and most vulnerable. He loved his sons dearly, but Legolas held a special place in his heart. For he had been the last gift his wife had given him before she departed to the Halls of Mandos.

"We must go and meet them, Adar." Kaliean, his oldest son spoke up firmly. He too had been severely shaken by the arrow. "We cannot let this continue!"

Tavar nodded in agreement. Tavar was the second born son, but one could easily see that there were no bitter feelings against his older brother. The two shared a close bond, strengthened only with time, the loss of their mother, and the gain of a brother.

"Ada?" The little forehead was scrunched in a frown. Under one arm he held a blanket and the other held a well-used stuffed toy cat.

"What are you doing up from your nap?" Thranduil asked easily, stepping down from his throne to pick up the toddler.

Legolas buried his head into the golden tresses so like his own. "L'las get hurt." He said, close to tears.

"Where?" Thranduil asked, his heart panicking.

"An arrow." Legolas sniffed. He too had been terrified at the arrow, for while he had seen arrows shot during many of the weapons practice, he had never felt the actual fear of someone shooting at him with deadly intent.

They had quickly moved the youngest prince further into the palace, but there was little they could do against the nightmares.

"Kaliean." Thranduil turned. "I'll be right back."

Kaliean nodded, letting his father know that he knew that he was supposed to take the court.

----

"Why people hurt me?" Legolas asked.

"Because they don't like your Ada," Thranduil responded honestly.

"Oh." Legolas said, and snuggled even closer. "I like you."

Thranduil smiled. "I know."

As they reached the doorway, the guards cast surprised looks upon the prince. From their expressions, Thranduil knew that Legolas had snuck out. Since he had done it successfully once before, Thranduil knew that it must have become a game to the child. It was something that he would have to speak to his youngest about, but not now. His child was too much in need to comfort for any scolding.

"Now, Legolas." He set the child down. "I want to tell you something of great importance."

Legolas nodded wide-eyed. "I listen." He said solemnly.

"A long time ago, when I was a little boy, just like you I got scared because someone tried to hurt me too." The circumstances were no were near as dangerous as Legolas' had been, but Legolas didn't need to know that. "So one night, my Adar came to me and said that when he was a little boy and he had gotten scared, a fairy had come to him and given him a cloak to protect himself."

Legolas nodded still wide-eyed, his attention solely fixed upon his Adar.

"And then he took off his magic cloak and gave it to me and said that I could never be hurt if I remembered to always wear it."

Legolas' face scrunched up. "But I don't see it."

"It's a magic cloak," Thranduil said with a smile. "Now, my Adar said that I had to give it to my son if ever he was scared and needed protection."

"But what about Kal and Avar?" Legolas was suddenly worried for his two older brothers. They could get hurt too!

"They both have cloaks too." Thranduil said patiently. "And one day when they have children they will give their cloaks to them."

"Oh." Legolas smiled.

"Now." Thranduil made a great show of taking the cloak off. He 'unbuttoned' the 'clasp' and elegantly twisted it off of his shoulders. He then proceeded to put it on Legolas, pulling the blond hair from the edge of the 'cloak' and rebuttoning the 'clasp'.

Legolas blinked. Feeling nothing around his shoulders, but knowing that his Adar was giving up his special cloak to him, he said nothing. He suddenly cocked his head; he could almost feel something on his arm. He looked down, and seeing nothing reached down and gently ran a hand along his arm. Was it his imagination, or could he really feel the soft silky fabric on his skin?

Throwing himself in his Adar's arms, he said nothing, letting his love show in the embrace.

----

Ultimately deciding to face their enemy, Thranduil, Kaliean and Tavar led a host of elves out. Legolas had been scared as they left, but calm and quiet. He stood on the top of the steps, blanket in one hand and stuffed cat in the other. He had resolutely told his Adar that "I stay here" until they returned. Little did they know that their return would not be a triumphant one, or even a safe one.

They faced their foe with dignity and courage, even though they were outnumbered. The battle lasted for several hours, when at last battle worn and weary, the host of elves fled from the battle site. They had been sorely out numbered and nearly overwhelmed. They had lost too many. The enemy had not deliberately gone along and killed the wounded, but rather they took them up in care, something rare in any enemy that Thranduil had fought.

Kaliean had been grievously hurt and Tavar had taken an arrow to the shoulder. Both were still with Thranduil, but his heart ached for all the warriors he had to leave behind.

They were barely able to rally in front of their own gates when the enemy appeared.

Unaware of the enemy that had followed the elves home, Legolas still stood on the steps, his face alight eager to see his Adar again. In the chaos, no one thought to order the young prince back inside to safety. His nanny stood behind him, a firm hand on his shoulder. She didn't know what to expect, but something told her that it wasn't good. She frowned, looking nervously at the warriors scattered around. "Legolas." She said quietly. "Let's go inside."

The gates swung open showing elves standing inside, some ready for battle, others ready to care for the wounded.

"Ada!" Legolas cried out eagerly, trying to wrench away from the hand.

"Legolas, no." The nanny cried out.

Thranduil quickly dismounted, slapping the horse away, allowing for more room inside the courtyard.

Because of all the chaos, no one really was keeping a sharp lookout for any archers, no one that is except Legolas.

The area quickly cleared, and Thranduil stood in front. His sword bloody was from the battle, but his stance was firm and resolute.

Legolas was terrified. The blood, sweat and gore that was spilled and spilling all over the courtyard was turning the usually immaculate cobblestones red. His gaze searched, trying to find his Adar in the midst of the bloodied and bleeding warriors.

His gaze landed on a man who held a bow in his hand, the arrow notched and pointing straight at...

Legolas froze.

Ada.

'Ada didn't have the cloak on!' His mind shrieked. Jerking away from his nanny, he tumbled past the startled warriors.

"Legolas!" His nanny screamed.

"He doesn't have it on!" Legolas screamed in terror. "He doesn't have it on!"

"Legolas! No!" Tavar could only see the small figure running full blast towards the very front of the line.

The arrow loosed.

Thranduil saw it out of the corner of his eye.

And then Legolas was in his arms.

He could feel the impact of the arrow hitting his child, his baby.

"Nooooo!" He screamed. "Nooo!" His arms searched the small body and found the gruesomely thick arrow in his child's back. He stumbled back, still screaming. Tavar's screams echoed his.

The enemy stood flatfooted, shocked, and helpless. Their war was not against women and children, but against fellow warriors. This... This was unexpected and horrifying.

The leader stepped forward, shouting for everyone to drop their weapons and pull back. He had two children at home himself, and his heart immediately went out to his enemy who was still holding the small child in his arms.

Taking no notice of any of his surroundings, Thranduil stumbled backwards; his mind screaming at him over and over that his son, his child, his child was hurting. His child had an arrow in his back. His child was bleeding. His child. His child.

Tavar pushed his way forward. His world was collapsing right in front of him. His brothers were injured and hurting and there was nothing he could do. "Adar!" Sobs choked him as he desperately pushed aside fellow warriors.

No one could ever recall a time when their beloved king was so distraught that he lost all composure. They all watched, all in almost a dream like state as Thranduil sank to his knees, still clutching his youngest child to his chest. Tears poured down the suddenly aged face. He choked back more screams that welled in his throat. This wasn't supposed to happen. He was supposed to protect his children, not the other way around!

Healers pushed their way past the stunned warriors. If the enemy had wanted to strike, they could have easily killed everyone there. But yet they stayed their distance, and even started moving away.

"Adar!" Tavar cried out, dropping to his knees. He reached out a shaking hand, silently begging to any Valar not to take his brother away from him.

The ragged breath that Legolas drew was like water on a hot day. He struggled feebly against the tight arms. His face drew into a mask of pain. "Da." He whimpered.

"Shh." Thranduil soothed, trying to hide the tears in his voice. "It's all right. Everything's going to be fine."

"You didn't have it on," Legolas whispered.

"What on?" Thranduil asked, his brow furrowing.

"Your magic cloak," Legolas said simply.

It was as if the wind had been knocked from his lungs. For several seconds he knelt there, paralyzed at the realization of the power of Legolas' love for him. Thranduil couldn't speak. There were no words to say, nothing.

What was there to say about Legolas so selflessly jumping into an arrow's path to save his Adar? What could he say to that kind of love?

----

The white face was the same color as the pillowcase. The dark eyelashes stood out clearly against the face, the eyes were shut. The small chest rose and fell in a steady rhythm that gave relief to the occupants in the room.

Kaliean had demanded to be put in the same room as his little brother, as had Tavar. Thranduil escaped from his throne room as often as possible to sit with his three wounded and hurting children.

Legolas had yet to wake. The arrow had been a nightmare to remove. It had lodge between Legolas' ribs. The healers judged that Legolas had released a breath right before the arrow had struck and in doing that had probably saved his life. Had the arrow been delayed by just a second, it would have lodged in Legolas' lungs.

The small figure stirred. Instantly all three jumped towards the bed. Legolas took a hiccupping breath. His eyes fluttered once, focusing then closing again.

He was drugged enough not to feel any pain, but it hurt to breathe. His eyes opened again to reveal bright sapphire eyes. They focused on Tavar, Kaliean and then...

A smile turned the small lips upward. "Da." He whispered.

"Hello." Thranduil said quietly, stroking the pale cheek. "How do you feel?"

"Hurts." Legolas drew a very light breath in. "Breathe."

"It will for a few days, 'Las." Kaliean spoke up.

"Kal." Legolas smiled. His gaze wandered around until they rested on Tavar. "Why 'Avar crying?" he gasped out.

"Because I was scared for you, 'Las." Tavar knelt down, taking Legolas' hand into his. "I was afraid you would leave us."

"No." Legolas breathed a wisp of a smile. "Nana told me I had to stay and take care of you."

It took everything in Thranduil's will power not to scoop up his hurting child right then and there.

----

It took a few weeks for all three of his sons to fully recover, the physical part at least. Mentally and emotionally he wasn't quite sure. He knew that they had all gone through a very important period, and Thranduil could tell. There was a deeper affection in his two older sons for Legolas. While there had always been love for their little brother, there hadn't been the easiness of scooping Legolas up just to give him a hug. There was that now, and more.

The ordeal had drawn them all even closer, and Thranduil after four years of grieving for his wife, was finally able to let go of most of it. He would always miss his wife, but knowing that he still had a part of her by his side, he felt comforted.

He would never know why the men had attacked, only that they had treated the wounded and sent them back to the palace. The dead had been treated with every dignity and had been burned in the tradition of the elves.

A shriek of laughter turned his head. Legolas was running full tilt towards him, with Tavar running after him in attempt to catch him.

Bending down Thranduil caught his youngest in his arms and laughed.

"Save me, Ada!" Legolas shrieked. "'Avar's getting me!"

"And what will Tavar do if he catches you?" Thranduil asked laughing.

"He'll tickle me!" Legolas gasped out between bursts of laughter.

"What if I tickle you?" Thranduil dared.

Instantly Legolas squirmed. "No fair!" He said, covering his torso in an attempt to hide from the tickling fingers.

His sapphire eyes said otherwise however, and Thranduil and Tavar proceeded to tickle Legolas silly.

Kaliean, watching from a window smiled. It had been too long since there had been that kind of carefree laughter in Mirkwood.

And it sounded all the better.

The End