Disclaimer - I don't own Lord of the Rings.
Author's note - Barbaro's the racing horse passed away on January 29th 2007. I am a fan of horses, so when I read the news, I was inspired to write this fanfic.
Some things mentioned here, if you are confused are in some of my other fics, if it isn't Tolkien canon.
Elflings for the most part know nothing about life and death. Their parents try to hide from them, the fact that life does end, because it is in truth not an elven concept. It is a concept of the things that are mortal. But war tore apart the land and thus many elves had died. Legolas, the young prince of Mirkwood was one such elfling that had been touched such by the death of his mother. He didn't remember her, but he did know that she wasn't there.
His father thus felt it was alright to give him a special gift. He told Legolas that when he awoke in the morning, to go to the stables. He thought that perhaps his father would let him try to ride a horse instead of riding a pony or riding with and adult elf. When he got there he saw his father watching a beautiful horse with it's coat a beautiful dark brown. It also had a wonderful build, something only seen so often.
At first Legolas was a bit dismayed. His father had just wanted to show him a horse that was new to the stables. His father saw him and grinned. "Ada, did you get a new horse?"
"You have a new horse elfling. The elf in charge of this place is going to teach you how to ride him. He is fast, sturdy and of a very good temperament, something that is hard to find. It took me a while to find the right one, but as you can see, it was worth waiting, even if it meant you had to wait a little while longer. He is your first horse and elves have plenty of time to wait."
Thranduil watched as his elfing looked up to him. He was trying to think of the right words, even thank you Ada, but they didn't say what he felt inside. So, instead, he hugged the elven Lord.
At first, when Legolas began to learn to ride, it was hard. It was filled with a lot of bumps and bruises. But, though Elflings did not heal as fast as the adults, they did heal father then human children. He also fell in love with the horse, the two of them bonding, even more then one would normally see with an elf and his mount. Thranduil didn't know, but there were some days that the elf in charge of the stables would find the young prince asleep on the horses back. He did not wish to tell Thranduil due to the fact that Thranduil tended to worry a lot about the elfling. And, there could be no harm in this.
Then came the day that Legolas could ride his horse outside the palace grounds. He knew of course that he could not leave the guards to go off on his own, but to ride the horse outside made him happy beyond everything. He didn't realize that he had lost them. And then, he became worried. It was then that he heard a growling from behind him. He turned and glanced back. There, he saw a wolf. Unlike most wolves he had seen in passing, this was angry. It had a huge gash from a spider in it's side. It thus felt it had to defend itself.
Legolas wasn't the only one who saw the wolf. His horse did too. The elfing didn't quite understand, but his horse told him to hang on for dear life. Legolas listened and clung to his horse, keeping in mind the rules for staying on the horse in his head. It was then that his horse burst out and began to speed away from the wolf. Legolas could only stare back as the wolf didn't follow. If they had stayed, both would have been hurt and dead.
It was then that his horse slammed into a tree in the forest and crumpled. Legolas began to panic, as his friend wouldn't get up, not realizing that every bone in his body was hurting.
The older elves found Legolas, fast asleep, lying next to his horse. Thranduil saw this, his panic subsiding that his elfing was safe, as they had found wolf tracks across the elflings path. However, he would have to lecture him about falling asleep. But then, he was still an elfing. He would use it as a lesson for the future, not a lecture about the fact that he should have known better, which he shouldn't have. His elfing must have senses he was there, because he awoke.
It was then that the elves saw the damage to the horse and the bruises on Legolas. Thranduil hurried and pulled his elfling into his arms. He could tell that the horse needed to be put down. An elf raised a bow to kill it, as Thranduil knew was best. But Legolas saw this too. "Don't kill him! He saved my life Ada! You have to save his too!"
The elf that had it's bow raised lowered it, looking at his elven lord as he did. Thranduil knew had to speak to the elfling. "Legolas, we can not save him."
"Can not, or will not Ada,"
"Now elfling, what is this supposed to mean?"
"You would save me,"
"Elfling, you are an elf. Your friend is a horse. Even the healers have no skill to help him. He would also suffer a very long time. He is a creature, not a being."
"But he saved my life," Legolas pouted.
"I know he did."
"It is also my fault that he ran into the tree because I was scared of the wolf,"
"It is not your fault." Suddenly, a painful weenie came from the horse.
"Ada, he has been making that noise for awhile. Make him better,"
"I can't Legolas. See, the horse is in pain. I can't take the horses pain away, unless ..."
"Unless you kill him?" Legolas buried his head into his father's chest.
"Yes. He'll be at peace then."
"Do it Ada. But I don't want to hear or see," Thranduil nodded to the elf with the bow. He carried his son to his horse and placed his son on and then got on behind him. He turned the horse and began to rode away. When they were far enough away, the elf let the arrow go.