The elf prince's body was still and cold. An appalling emptiness seemed to emanate from the lifeless form as if to mock the Elvenking. Yes, his son was really gone. He would never have the chance to withdraw his breach the gap he had made.

Without warning, fury swelled within his heart. It couldn't be! He had heard his son's voice! The Valar could not be so cruel as to taunt him in such a manner!

Thranduil sank to his knees beside Legolas' bed, seizing the golden- haired youth's hand in an almost crushing grip as the dam that held his grief in check shattered.

Elrond's face twisted with grief. Silently, he withdrew from the room, closing the door behind him.

The blond king wept angrily. To lose his son once was enough...but to be teased with false hope was unbearable. " Legolas," he cried, "I'm sorry for my words! Please," his voice sank to a whisper. "Do not leave. Come back to me…" Overcome, Thranduil could say no more. His head sank down to rest on the bed as the sobs shook his body.

His grip on his son's hand tightened, as though he would keep the young elf's soul anchored to his body with force.


The darkness pressed against him with an almost tangible force. He could feel it flow over his body as it threatened to devour his consciousness. It whispered in his ears, mocking him. He snarled at it through clenched teeth, determined to hold to his being as long as possible.but he could already feel himself start to slip away. He no longer had the will to fight.

Warm fingers clamped around his hand with a steely grip.

Legolas blinked, confused. How could this be.?

The hand was strong, and it clutched at him. The elf prince eyes widened in disbelief. He knew this hand.,

" Ada," he breathed. The sound was swallowed up almost before it left his mouth. The oppressive weight of the darkness seemed to flow into his throat, stifling him. He could not fight against it. Though his father's hand kept him from slipping away, he knew the moment he was released, what was left of his being would dissolve.


" Come back," Thranduil whispered. " Come back, come back come back."


" I can't," Legolas murmured helplessly.


" Please," the Elvenking's grip tightened ever so slightly. " Try to come back."


Legolas felt his father's hand tighten. Something flickered within him, a shadow of his former stubbornness, fighting to reassert itself against the press of the abyss. " I...will try."


Thranduil's head jerked up. He stared at his son's hand, his blue eyes growing wide.
Legolas had squeezed back.


A small smile flickered at the corners of Leoglas' lips. Strength flowed through the hand that held him. He could feel his father's presence. There was something else as well.something that seeped through his skin, from his father to him, but he couldn't quite place what it was.

Oh yes. It was hope.

Ever so slowly, he lifted his free hand and waved it before his eyes. The fair prince laughed aloud. He hadn't been able to move for so long.

As if in response to the elf's laugh, the pressure of the abyss diminished. It released him, and he was flying upwards.,


Thranduil caught his breath, his eyes fastened on Legolas' face. The young elf's mouth twisted upwards, forming the barest hint of a smile. Hardly daring to believe what he was seeing, the Elvenking raised a trembling hand to stroke the blond hair back from the pale cheeks.
" Legolas...?"

To his shock, his son's lips parted, allowing a soft laugh to float through the room.

Time seemed to stand still.

In one, perfect moment, the elf prince's eyes flew open. " Ada!"

Thranduil couldn't speak. His jaw very nearly hit his chest. This couldn't be real. It couldn't be happening. He could not be seeing his son open his eyes.

Legolas pushed himself up into a sitting position and threw his arms around his father's neck, embracing him tightly.

The Elvenking reflexively wrapped his arms around the lithe figure of his son, so stunned he could hardly have done anything else.

For a complete minute, he could not grasp the import of what had just happened.

Finally, the truth penetrated his numbed senses. His son was back. He was alive. He was here, in his arms.



Hearing Thranduil's cry, Elrond pushed the door open and rushed into the healing wing, his gray eyes swamped with grief and worry for his friend.

The sight that met his eyes came the closest to giving him a heart attack than anything that he had seen in over three millennia. He gasped, eyes bulging.

Father and son looked up, their eyes bright, faces wreathed in smiles.

Elrond made several small choking sounds before finally managing to ask the question he wanted. " How?"

" I do not know," Thranduil laughed. " Nor, in fact do I care. It doesn't matter." He lifted his hand and stroked Legolas' hair back from his forehead. " All that concerns me is that my son is well." His eyes suddenly narrowed. " however," he growled at his son. " If you ever do anything like this again.,"

" I did not intend to, Ada…" Legolas protested.

Elrond chose that moment to exit, knowing that his absence would not be noticed.


Two days later.


Thranduil entered the healing wing with a light heart and a smile. It lasted until he saw the empty bed that should've contained his son.

His grin widened, and a decidedly wicked glint appeared in his eye. Seating himself in the armchair beside what was supposed to be the prince's resting place, he stretched out, folding his hands across his stomach and crossing his ankles.

" You are fooling no one," he spoke to the seemingly empty room. " Although this is impressive. It is what, your eighth attempt today?"

" Ninth," came a muffled voice from under the bed. " I would've gotten out had you not thought to post a guard under the window." Legolas rolled out into the open, cradling his wounded arm against his chest. His blond eyebrows were drawn together in a ferocious scowl. " I do not need to stay in the healing wing, Ada. I am fine."

Thranduil looked down at his son without a word.

Becoming aware of his less than dignified position, the elf prince stood and quickly dusted himself off.

" Undoubtedly," the Elvenking said dryly. " However, your numerous escape attempts are not what I came to discuss."

" Really?" Legolas was indeed surprised. He had assumed the healers had been complaining again.

" Sit, Legolas." When his son had done so, Thranduil leaned forward, his face serious. " I wish to apologize." Seeing the surprise in the young elf's face, Thranduil continued. " I spoke harsh words before you left, and I bitterly regretted them later." He paused for a moment, then forced himself to go on. " Forgive me, ion nin. Please."

Legolas' mouth fell open. His father had never asked forgiveness before., He stared for a moment and suddenly realized that his father was still waiting for an answer.

" Of course!" He smiled at his father. " it took me time, ada, but I know that you did not mean what you said."

The Elvenking smiled in relief. He sighed deeply, as though a great weight had been taken from his shoulders.

Legolas saw the mischievous light glimmer in his father's eyes, but was so unused to the sight; he had no way of preparing for what came next.

Quicker than thought, Thranduil's hand shout out and thoroughly ruffled his son's golden hair.

" Ada!" Legolas jerked out of the way, his face turning red.

" I could not help it," his father laughed. " It has been a very long time since I've done that."

" Not long enough," the elf prince muttered under his breath.

" What was that?"

" I said, how about releasing me from the healing wing?"

" With your arm still the way it is?" Thranduil raised an eyebrow at his son and snorted. " Unlikely. However, if you promise not to try to escape, I will tell the healers that they are to let you loose at the end of the week."

Legolas groaned, but knew when to give in. " A deal."

Thranduil grinned and rose from his seat. As he reached the doorway, he paused and turned back. " Rest, ion nin," he ordered.

" Mirkwood needs her prince."

The end.