Written for Karri, in honor of her birthday. She asked for little Legolas to reconcile with Tamil, the human healer he pummelled in Journey's End. Happy Birthday, Karri! Hope you have a wonderful year!

Legolas and the Bad Man

Legolas danced from foot to foot, impatience evident in every movement of his body. Except his mouth, noted Tathiel with a smile. He had not expressed his impatience once.

He noticed her eye upon him and gave her one of his dazzling smiles. At the same moment, he also stilled his feet and stood motionless, in absolute control over his body. She laughed.

"Come, sweetheart, I am finally ready. You have been very good waiting," she said as she tied off the final stitch in the tunic she was repairing.

She held out her hand to him, but he continued to stand as if frozen in place, though the grin on his face grew wider and wider. Then he leapt towards her, crying out, "I did it!"

He flung his arms about her legs and grinned up at her. "I stood completely still for the count of fifty! Bregolas said I could not do it, but I did! And Ada said I could not be impatient and I was not," he explained proudly. He grinned slyly. "But I am very ready to go. Come, Tathiel!"

He grabbed her hand, but was careful not to pull, as Thranduil had explained that that was being just as impatient as telling someone to hurry up. Tathiel tweaked the long braid that hung to the midpoint of his back, then fastened the clasp of the cloak that hung loose around his neck. It was a beautiful early spring day, but there was still a chill in the air.

Legolas skipped down the hall at her side. When they reached the front entrance, he released her hand and stood up tall and straight, then marched up to the guard. "Warrior Legolas reporting for duty!"

The guard covered his heart with his right hand and bowed. Legolas mimicked the action, then said, "I am escorting Lady Tathiel to the river. I shall return with her for the mid-day meal."

"Very well, Warrior Legolas," responded the guard. "Your report is duly noted. We shall watch for your return. Keep the good lady safe!"

Legolas spun on his heel and took Tathiel's hand again, then looked over his shoulder and waved, "Bye, Hathor!"

The guard grinned and nodded his head, then laughed when Legolas resumed skipping.

"Now, what is it that you wished to show me?" she asked as they walked along the path that led to the bridge over the river.

"Look at the river!" cried Legolas. "Look at the ice!"

They stopped at the top of the stairs that led down to the stone bridge that crossed the Forest River. The water was high and running fast, and full of chunks of ice that battered and rammed against each other and against the pillars of the bridge. As they watched, an ice floe built up against a pillar, rising higher and higher until it finally broke and slid beneath the bridge, disappearing downstream.

Tathiel felt Legolas squeezing her hand tightly. She forced her eyes away from the awesome sight before her and looked down at him. His eyes were open wide and his mouth hung open, and he was for once, speechless. She reached down and picked him up, settling him on her hip. His fingers immediately twined into her hair and he pressed against her.

"The river is rather awe inspiring, is it not?" she asked him.

"Bregolas said it was a little scary too," added Legolas after a moment's thought. He had been stiff against her, but relaxed. Apparently he decided if Bregolas thought this was scary, then he was entitled to be a little scared too.

"Indeed," answered Tathiel. "I would be terrified to fall into that. Is this what you wanted to show me?"

"No!" cried Legolas. He let go of her hair and cloak and slid down her to the ground. Grabbing her hand, he pulled her forward. "Come to the stables!"

They walked away from the river to the west side of the great hill, where the stables had been carved into the rock. Large open fields for exercising the horses were located next to the stables, and another path led around a copse of trees to the training fields. Forgetting all about his lessons in patience, Legolas pulled Tathiel with as much strength as so small an elf possessed.

The stable doors were open, allowing the fresh cool air inside, and they entered into the earthy smell of sweet hay, horse and dung. Legolas did not even stop to greet Urevio, Bregolas's horse, but turned to the side and went to a blanket thrown over a pile of straw. He approached it carefully, speaking in a low voice. "Hello, nana rŷn."

"Nana rŷn has taken her pups outside today," came a voice from behind them.

Legolas turned to the stablemaster. "Where did they go? I want to show Tathiel the pups." He grinned. "I want to show Tathiel which pup is mine."

That stablemaster laughed. "Have you convinced your adar, then?"

Legolas shook his head. "No, but I will! Bregolas wants her too," he added in a low voice. "Between us, we can convince Ada."

"Nana rŷn headed toward the woods. I imagine she is teaching her youngsters to hunt."

Legolas grinned his thanks and raced from the stable. He waited until Tathiel had caught up with him, then led the way across the path and wide lawn to the trees that grew thick on the gradually sloping ground to the riverbank. "Nana rŷn, nana rŷn!" called Legolas as they walked along the edge of the trees.

"They came this way. Look," said Tathiel. She squatted down and pointed at the multitude of small paw prints on the wet ground.

Legolas squatted down next to her, intrigued. "They go this way! We can follow their tracks!"

He led the way, stepping carefully over and around the paw prints, though it would be nigh impossible to lose the trail. She followed, alert and watchful, for even though they were near the stronghold, spring often brought wakening creatures seeking a meal after a long winter's rest. It had been a hard, cold, snowy winter, as evidenced by the high waters and ice floes. Creatures that did not hibernate had had a difficult season foraging for food, and the elves had fed them out of their stores, which had thankfully held through the winter.

Legolas called again to the mother dog. This time she answered with a high pitched bark, far different than the mournful howl and deep throated bark of her kind. Her bark was followed by a series of yips from her pups; then she barked again, this time sounding frantic or distressed. It was not the sound the hound would make if a predator was after her pups.

"Legolas, stay near!" called Tathiel, and she ran forward to catch up with him.

"Something is wrong!" cried Legolas. He darted into the undergrowth, following the sounds.

"Legolas, stop!" said Tathiel firmly.

"But nana rŷn may need us," argued Legolas.

"We will help her, if we can, but you must let me go first," replied Tathiel. She stood still, waiting for him to obey before she would take another step to the dog's aid.

Legolas quickly understood and ran from the tangled branches to stand behind her. The mother dog's barking grew louder, then faded and stopped, then resumed after a few moments. Tathiel followed the sound around the trunk of a large beech. Behind the tree, the gentle slope gave way suddenly to a steep incline that cut through the heavy dirt banks and roots to the river. Near the top of the bank was a shivering wet puppy.

"Oh, the poor pup!" she cried. She quickly undid the fastener from her cloak and pulled it off her shoulders. She grimaced at what she was about to do it, then spread it over the driest spot of ground she could find, in the roots of the old beech. She picked up the puppy and set him on it, then wrapped an edge over him. "Legolas, rub him and warm him up."

Legolas plopped down on the cloak and wrapped his arms about the puppy. "Rub gently," she instructed. "We need to warm him up. Stay here, while I go for the others."

She turned to the slope just as the mother dog appeared, another pup in her jaws. The mother dog dropped the pup at the top of the hill and nudged it away from the edge, then raced back down the hill, sliding in the mud. Tathiel grabbed the pup by the scruff and put it in Legolas's lap, then realized there were now three. Another pup that the mother must have brought up earlier had joined her sibling in the warm cloak.

"Look, there is another one! And another!" cried Legolas.

Tathiel looked to where he was pointing and saw two more bedraggled pups. She picked them up and added them to the nest Legolas was creating.

"How many pups does she have?" she asked.

"Six," said Legolas. He touched each pup's head. "One, two, three, four, five. One is still missing, Tathiel!"

Tathiel turned back to the embankment. The mud and piles of leaves made it difficult to see anything clearly, but after a moment she saw the white tip of the mother dog's tail in the air. The dog stopped what she was doing and barked several times, then disappeared.

"Legolas, stay with the pups," she said. When he nodded, she began to gingerly make her way down the muddy bank. As she neared the river, the ground became wetter and colder. Many branches and not a few small trees had been swept into the river, then deposited wherever the flood waters and ice chunks pushed them. The river curved here, and normally there was a rocky beach at this point where the elves would fish. Now it was covered with debris, and in between piles of debris, water and ice had settled, forming large puddles, many of which had frozen over.

She saw a flash of white again, and trained her eye on it. Soon she could make out the whole form of the dog, pulling at debris near one of the puddles. She heard a faint pitiful cry that drove the mother nearly into a frenzy. The pup was caught in debris and water.

Tathiel stopped, momentarily indecisive. She did not wish to leave Legolas alone on top of the bank, and one of the guards would be better able to free the pup. In that moment of indecision, the mother dog turned to her and barked, then howled mournfully. Decision made; Tathiel could not ignore such a plaintive cry for help. She grasped a tree branch for support and took the next steep step.

The ground gave way beneath her, the branch broke, and she began to slide downward. She fell back, clutching at the ground with her hands, but the ground was sliding with her. She felt her foot slam into a rock, momentarily slowing the fall, but then the rock gave way and tumbled with them. Branches slapped at her face and twigs caught in her hair, but she finally came to a stop in a large puddle, which she, the rock and the mud completely covered.

She closed her eyes for just a moment as the pain in her ankle receded, but opened them in a panic when she felt hot breath on her cheek. She lifted her mud covered hands to fight off whatever was about to devour her, but found the mother dog hovering above her. The dog sniffed at her and then licked her face.

"Where is your pup, nana rŷn?" she asked after a moment. A sinking feeling developed in the pit of her stomach. Had she crushed the pup?

The dog ran a few feet away and barked, then ran back to Tathiel. She clearly wanted Tathiel to follow her. "I have come this far, nana rŷn. You are right; the least I can do is see if your pup can be saved." She crawled out of the pile of mud, brushing the largest clumps of mud and twigs off herself, but when she tried to stand she felt a shooting pain in her ankle. Turning, she saw the mother dog only a few feet behind her, tugging again on a large branch.

She scooted across the uneven ground on her buttocks, using her arms and right foot to move herself. Grasping the branch the mother dog had been tugging at, she heaved it up and away. The mother dog yipped and barked, then dove into the muck below it and pulled out her pup by the scruff of her neck. Setting her down next to Tathiel, the mother began licking the motionless pup trying to revive her.

Tathiel wiped her hands on her underskirt, then wiped the mud from the pup's mouth and nose. She felt a faint breath on her hand, and nearly cried with gladness. Pulling up her mud covered overskirt, she found the cleanest patch of cloth on her underskirt, placed the pup on it and began to rub her. The mother dog hovered over her, occasionally sticking her nose under Tathiel's hand and checking on her pup herself.

"Well, how are you, muddy one?" she finally asked. She held the pup up in front of her and was rewarded with the sight of two open eyes and a pink tongue lolling from the hound's mouth. It whimpered and licked at her hand. Tathiel smiled. They had done it.

Her satisfaction faded as she shivered. The cold, wet mud was chilling her to the bone, and she knew she was covered in scratches and bruises from the fall. She did not think her ankle broken, but it was certainly too painful to walk on. There was no way she could climb back up the bank.

"You need to go for help," she told the mother dog.

The dog wagged her tail and then stretched out at Tathiel's side, resting her head on her thigh. "That is not helpful," Tathiel informed her. "Though, I suppose you are tired too."

She looked back up the hill. "Legolas!"

A few moments passed; then she saw his golden head leaning by the big beech above. "Stay away from the edge, Legolas! I need you to go back to the stable. Tell the stablemaster I need help getting the mother dog and puppy back up the hill!"

Tathiel was sure Legolas could not see her, covered as she was in mud.

"Legolas, answer and tell me you understand. You need to go right to the stable; do not stop to look at anything. Can you find your way back to this spot?"

"Yes, Tathiel," called Legolas. "I can show him where you and the puppies are." He hesitated for a moment. "Tathiel, did you fall?"

"I slid in the mud and twisted my ankle, but I am otherwise fine. I cannot get the pup up the hill on my own. Tell me you understand and are going," she called. She needed to reassure him, but also prod him into going.

"I understand. I will be back!"

Tathiel scooted herself over to a fallen tree and leaned against it. "I really dislike being muddy," she told the dog.

The big hound ambled over to her new spot and made herself comfortable, resting her head against Tathiel's thigh once again. And so they waited.

oOo

"You stay here," Legolas commanded. He stood with his hands on his hips, looking down at the puppies he had wrapped up in Tathiel's cloak Three were sleeping, one was lying on his back, looking at Legolas thoughtfully, but the last one had taken a step to follow him. "You cannot keep up with me."

The pup wagged its tail, as if accepting the challenge.

"Stay here!"

Legolas began to walk away, then felt something nipping at his cloak. He turned as the pup jumped at him, pouncing on his feet and chewing on his shoes. "Puppy, I have to go! Stop that!"

The puppy wouldn't stop. Legolas stamped his foot in frustration, which made the pup at least step back from him. Free, he decided his best chance to get away was to run.

He ran through the trees, following the same way they had come in. He ran and ran, as fast as his feet would carry him. He could hear the puppy running behind him; then the puppy yipped. Legolas turned to look over his shoulder and found the puppy sitting down, panting heavily. He ran back to it. "Stay there!" he told it. "I'll come back for you!"

He resumed running. He could see the clear skies ahead and knew he was almost out of the woods. Once on the path, he would run to the stable.

He had dashed out of the trees and turned on to the path, looking over his shoulder to see if the puppy was following him again, when he crashed into someone.

"Whoa, child! Slow down," laughed a voice Legolas did not recognize. "Are you all right? Where are you running so fast?"

Legolas looked up slowly. A hand rested on his shoulder. He looked at the arm that went up to the elf, and saw dark hair on it. He finally looked up at the face above, and jerked away. "Let me go!" he cried.

Tears filled his eyes and he stepped back a few steps. This was no elf!

"Legolas? Is that your name?" asked the man in a kind voice. He squatted down in front of Legolas and held out his hands. "I am Tamil. I met you once before, though you may not remember. Camnesta has been teaching me in the healing rooms."

Legolas continued to back up, keeping his eyes on the man. He was afraid, but he didn't know why. Then he heard the puppy barking, and felt it jump up on the back of his legs and pull on his cloak.

"Is that your puppy?" Tamil asked.

Legolas turned to the puppy then let out a small cry and looked back to the river. "Tathiel!" He had forgotten about her!

"Where is Tathiel?" asked Tamil.

Legolas turned back to the man. He would not let this bad man keep him from getting help for Tathiel and the puppy. He put his hands on his hips and growled, "Let me pass!"

Tamil stood up and stepped back a few steps, off the path, holding his hands up. "I am not stopping you, Legolas. But where is Tathiel?"

The man watched as Legolas thought about what to say. He looked to the river and then back at the man. He couldn't let the man pass him, either. The man couldn't find Tathiel.

"Is Tathiel near the river, Legolas? Does she need help?"

Legolas whimpered, then clamped his hand over his mouth. He rocked on the balls of his feet, trying to decide if he should run. He wanted Ada. Or Bregolas.

Tamil squatted down again. "Legolas, I will not hurt you or Tathiel, I promise. I want only to help. I help Camnesta. Can I help you? Should I go to Tathiel? Or should I go with you for help?

Legolas twisted his cloak in his hand, pushing at the pup who wanted to chew on him and his cloak. "I have to go the stables."

Tamil stood up to let him pass. Legolas stepped past him, then began to run again. He did not hear any noise behind him and stopped and turned to look back. Tamil was walking to the river.

"Don't hurt Tathiel!" he shouted. "I will tell my ada!"

Legolas began to run as fast as he had ever run before. He heard Tamil calling that he would not hurt Tathiel, but Legolas did not stop. He saw elves up near the stables and realized one of them was Bregolas.

"Bregollasss!" he yelled.

His brother's head jerked up. He dropped whatever he was holding and ran across the wide field to Legolas.

"Tathiel hurt and bad man is going to her and come quick!" he shrieked.

Bregolas scooped him up in his arms. "What is the matter, Legolas? Where is Tathiel?"

oOo

Bregolas could understand only a few words, but they included 'hurt', 'river' and 'bad man,' and his heart raced with fear. What were men doing so close to the stronghold? Who had hurt Tathiel?

Clutching Legolas to him, he raced to the stables. "Sound the alarm!" he called to the stablemaster.

The stablemaster looked at him in bewilderment but went inside and retrieved a gilt horn. He stepped back outside and blew a long clear tone, followed by three short ones. Elves began arriving almost immediately.

"Did you see any men near here?" Bregolas demanded of the stablemaster.

"I saw that healer, but no others," replied the elf, confused.

Bregolas stopped short. Legolas was clinging to him, but he managed to pry the small elf off and sit him on the stable fence. "Legolas," he said gently, "did you see Tamil?"

Legolas nodded.

Bregolas closed his eyes as he blew out a long breath. He took Legolas's hands in one of his, and noticed the mud on him and his cloak. "Where is Tathiel?"

"She s..slid down the b.. b. bank to the river and got h..hurt and can't get the p..puppy out," hiccupped Legolas unhappily. At that moment, a pup brushed against Bregolas's leg and then slumped over on his foot, panting. Bregolas picked up the pup.

"This puppy?" he asked.

"No," sniffed Legolas. "This one followed me. The others are in the woods."

Bregolas picked his brother up again and hugged him close. "We will go help Tathiel. Do not worry."

He mounted Urevio with Legolas still clinging to him, then turned to face the gathering elves. He saw Rawien approaching from the training fields.

"Rawien!" he called. "Tathiel is injured near the river."

The elves were quickly in action. Camnesta was called for and word was sent to the king, while Bregolas and Rawien rode to the wooded edge. It was not far, and the elves following on foot were close behind them. Legolas pointed to where they had gone in after the puppies. Bregolas dismounted and carried Legolas swiftly through the wood.

"The puppies!" cried Legolas suddenly. He squirmed against Bregolas until Bregolas set him down. "Tathiel put them in her cloak because they were cold and wet."

Rawien was already inspecting the steep incline. "There is evidence of a mud slide," he said to Bregolas. He turned back to the river and called, "Tathiel!"

"She is down here!" came a shout from below.

"Tamil?" called Bregolas.

"Yes, my lord," came the answer. A moment later, Bregolas saw a tousle of curly hair and the human waved up at him. "Tathiel is here. She has twisted her ankle, but saved the pup."

At the sound of Tamil's voice, Legolas went rigid. Bregolas picked him up again. "Legolas, look at me." When Legolas obeyed, Bregolas continued, "Tamil is not a bad man. He is a good man. Do you remember meeting good men too? Like Tal-Elmar and Sarn?"

Bregolas knew the names of those who had been kind to Tathiel and the children during the year they were missing. Legolas had reacted in hysteria when he and Tathiel had visited the healing rooms over a year earlier and Tamil had unwittingly stepped between them. Legolas had not seen any men since. Tamil had returned to the Woodland Realm a week earlier to discuss some treatments he and Camnesta had devised to treat the humans who had fallen ill over the hard winter.

Legolas finally nodded.

"You stay here with Sadron and guard the pups. I am going to go see how Tathiel is faring," said Bregolas. He set Legolas on to the ground and nodded to Sadron, one of the guards Legolas knew well, who sat down beside the elfling.

Bregolas made his way down the steep embankment, following the path of those who had gone before him. He saw Tathiel, already surrounded by warriors, with a pup in her lap and the mother hound guarding her jealously.

"Rawien, I twisted my ankle, nothing worse," argued Tathiel. She looked up, saw Bregolas, and flushed an even brighter shade of pink beneath the mud that liberally coated her. "Bregolas! I mean, my lord, you did not need to come down in the mud. I needed one person to help with the pup, not the whole of the Woodland Realm."

Rawien laughed. "You could not have made it out on that foot by yourself or with the aid of one other. At least four people are needed for this rescue. Then each rescuer will need two others to help him clean up, and you will need four. I think we may as well dispose of the clothing, though, for the whole of the realm doesn't have enough laundresses to get them clean."

Tathiel scowled at him. "I did rescue the pup," she sniffed, hugging the fur ball in her lap. She rubbed the mother hound's head. "You two, at least, appreciate me."

The elves laughed, then set to work removing Tathiel from the muck. For all of Rawien's teasing, Bregolas could see the worry in his face. Indeed, Tathiel was quite bruised and scratched and bloody. A blanket was sent down, and Rawien wrapped her in it, then picked her up. "You are shivering like a leaf in a storm," he scolded. "Where is your cloak?"

"The puppies are wearing it," reported Bregolas as Tathiel ducked her head under the blanket.

"Let me wrap this about her ankle," said Tamil, after Rawien stood with Tathiel in his arms. "A little pressure will help to support the joint and keep it from taking too much of a banging on the climb up."

They began the ascent, Bregolas on occasion helping Rawien climb without his hands, and at other times they handed Tathiel from elf to elf. Finally reaching the top, Rawien set her down beside Legolas and the pups.

"Tathiel!" cried Legolas as soon as he saw her. Before anyone could stop him, he had wrapped his arms about her, mud and all.

Bregolas watched as Legolas's eyes opened wide and he tightened his hold on Tathiel when he saw Tamil kneeling next to them. Tamil looked up and saw the child's fear.

"We can wait for Camnesta," offered Tamil.

Camnesta entered the clearing as Tamil spoke, and he stopped, resting his hand on the human's shoulder. He looked over the scene, his eyes resting long on Tathiel in some unspoken communication, then squatted down beside Tamil.

"I trust your skills," he said simply.

Tamil looked from Camnesta to Tathiel and Legolas. When Tathiel nodded, he continued.

"I think it could be a minor break," said Tamil finally. "Knowing you elves, Tathiel will be walking on it, healed, in a few days. Nonetheless, I will splint it once she is cleaned up."

He began to wrap her foot again, for the journey to the palace. He started to ask Camnesta to hold something, then turned instead to Legolas.

"Legolas, will you hold this while I tie it off? I need someone with small fingers."

Legolas put out his hand and looked at his fingers, then looked around at the audience of elves. Many of them held out their hands, showing him that indeed, he did have the smallest fingers. After a long moment of hesitation, Legolas let go of Tathiel and stood, then walked to Tamil.

"Hold this right here," instructed Tamil. He wrapped the bandage again. "Now here. Perfect. Now put your finger here while I tie it off."

Legolas kept a wary eye on Tamil, but as he proceeded to help Tamil assess injuries, he relaxed.

"I have one last task for you," said Tamil with a smile.

"What?" asked Legolas.

Tamil reached over and took the puppy that Tathiel had rescued from the elf who was holding it. "Let us check over the puppy. I think she would like it if you held her while I examined her."

The puppy sat quietly in Legolas's lap as Tamil looked him. He wiped dirt from the pup's ears and felt along its limbs, ensuring it was not more seriously injured. "I think he is well."

Legolas hugged the puppy, then glanced at Bregolas before turning back to Tamil. "This is the puppy that my brother and I want. I am glad Tathiel rescued her."

"Shall we get Tathiel back to the palace, where she can take a warm bath and get out of her muddy clothes?"

Legolas nodded and stood up, puppy in his arms, and Bregolas lifted him up on to Urevio. Rawien mounted as well, and Tamil lifted Tathiel up to him. Bregolas was pleased when Legolas did not react at all to the man touching Tathiel.

More elves met them as they returned to the palace. Bregolas made a show of Legolas holding the puppy that Tathiel had rescued for all to see, and received an appreciative smile from Rawien for easing Tathiel's embarrassment. They might tease her themselves, but would not allow any others to do so.

oOo

Thranduil watched from the doorway as Tamil finished splinting Tathiel's ankle, with Legolas's assistance. He stiffened when Tamil held his arms out to Legolas. Legolas hesitated, but finally held his arms out and let himself be picked up. Tamil sat him down next to Tathiel, and Thranduil relaxed and smiled.

"Now Legolas, I will need your help. Tathiel has to stay off that foot for a day or two. I need you to see that she does. Can you do that?

Legolas nodded and patted Tathiel's hand. "I will help you, Tathiel."

Tamil rose and stepped back, and Rawien lifted his bruised and scratched wife into his arms. He carried her from the room, still shaking his head at her misadventure. Thranduil went to Legolas. "Are you hungry?"

"Yes, Ada," answered Legolas. His stomach growled just then, which made him laugh. He took Thranduil's hand, waved at Tamil, and the skipped up the passageway.

They found Bregolas waiting to eat with them. Legolas dived into his meal as if he hadn't eaten in days. They were nearly finished when Bregolas spoke.

"You know, Adar, there is something you could do for Tathiel," began Bregolas. Thranduil turned to Bregolas in time to see his oldest wink at his youngest.

"What is that, Bregolas?"

"She is embarrassed by the commotion today, and even Rawien rolled his eyes at her getting into such a predicament just to save a puppy. Though, I admit, all of us would likely have done the same, had we come across the same situation. Nonetheless, others would value the puppy more, and hence her sacrifice, if …"

"Bregolas," Thranduil interrupted. He glared at his son, but Bregolas only laughed.

"It is the pup that Legolas loves. The one he has told you about."

Legolas scrambled on to his knees on his chair and took Thranduil's arm. "Ada, it the best puppy! The stablemaster said so. He said she is the best one of the litter!" Legolas smiled winsomely. "And Ada, I think Bregolas really likes this puppy."

Thranduil looked from the amused gaze of his oldest son to the hopeful face of his youngest. "She sleeps in the stable."

"Thank you, Ada!" cried Legolas. He flung his arms about Thranduil, then jumped down and ran to the door.

"Legolas, where are you off to?" called Thranduil.

Legolas skidded to a stop. "To tell her! And to name her!"

"You cannot go to the stable by yourself."

Legolas's face fell, then perked up as a thought came to him. "I will ask Tathiel to take me!" His face screwed up. "I forgot. She cannot go. I know! Ada, you can take me!"

Thranduil grimaced at Bregolas, preparing to blame him, then he smiled as a better idea occurred to him. "I believe I will take you, Legolas. Bregolas, you may handle court this afternoon."

Bregolas groaned and buried his head in his arms. Thranduil leaned over and patted him on the shoulder. "That is what you get for conspiring with elflings. Have a good afternoon. Come, Legolas!"

Legolas skipping and singing merrily at his side, Thranduil went to name a puppy.

oOo

"Legolas, what is the puppy's name?" asked Tathiel cautiously, unsure if she had heard correctly.

"Tamil," answered Legolas proudly.

Tathiel looked up at Thranduil, her concern granting her boldness. "My lord, you cannot mean to allow this? Is this not disrespectful to Tamil?"

"Tamil seemed rather amused to have a puppy named after him," said Thranduil. "I admit, elves would not do such a thing." He paused, smiling slightly. "I gathered humans would not either. But he said if that helped Legolas to remember him more fondly, then he did not object."

"Come on, Tamil!" called Legolas. He raced into the garden, the puppy following him with its clumsy, loping puppy gait.

Tathiel sighed. "Well, it is better than calling either of them 'bad man'."

The end.

nana rŷn mamma hound

Thank you to daw the minstrel for beta reading this story.