Title: Can I Keep Him?

Author: Sivan Shemesh

Beta: rosethorn59

Rate: K

Warning: AU, OOC possible.

Summary: As title.

Author Note: Written for Teitho theme "Finder's Keeper".

It had been a while since King Thranduil walked with his son into the woods of his homeland. He knew that the little one enjoyed the beauty and scents of nature, and desired to see more; and he wanted to give him that.

Legolas ran away from his father, but Thranduil kept a close eye on him, fearful of any danger that might follow them. He knew that he was taking a huge risk by not taking the guards with him; but he just wanted a father-son trip.

"Legolas, wait for me my son," Thranduil called as he tried to keep up with his son who was running around.

'It seems that you barely left my side, and here you are running and searching for something,' Thranduil thought as he watched his son, his eyes shining with excitement.

He noticed something on the grass that Legolas was close to touching..

Thranduil, worried that his son might get hurt in some way, hurried over to him. It could be an enemy trick. They had done it before and they would probably do it again.

"Wait Legolas, do not touch it," Thranduil warned his son, but it was too late.

Legolas touched it and was surprised to hear a voice coming from it.

"It is talking adar." Legolas mumbled and observed the thing in front of him.

"It has very wide eyes Adar, what is that thing?" Legolas asked with curiosity.

"Wide eyes?" Thranduil asked as he came closer and knelt beside his son.

"It is not an it. He is a human child, my son," Thranduil explained when he found his error. "His mother must be around here looking for him."

"He looks like a doll that you gave me once, Adar," Legolas told to his father.

"Is that so? What kind of doll?" Thranduil asked.

"Like the dwarf doll that you gave me." Legolas jumped around.

"Maybe. But he has no beard. And look at him," Thranduil pointed toward the child that moved, "He is moving. Therefore, ion, he is not a doll."

"Can I keep him Adar?" Legolas asked. To him it was a doll. It looked like a doll; and if you pushed it, it moved and talked.

"No you cannot my son. He is a human baby, and you must remember it." Thranduil told his son, knowing that it was going to be a very long day.

"Why not?" Legolas asked, staring at his father. He wanted to know the real reason, although his father already told him that.

"Because he does not belong to you. He is not a thing that you can take for granted. He is only a baby that needs to be taken care of." Thranduil replied.

"Can I? I am very big, and you are always telling me how responsible I am," Legolas said quickly.

"But you are only a child," Thranduil spoke softly, noticing how his son wanted it deeply. "There would be times when I could not help you and you would need to do it all by yourself. You would need to feed him, wash him and play with him. Could you do it?"

"I will and I can," Legolas answered his father and walked toward the child who observed his golden hair that shone with the ray of the sun. "Ouch… Adar he is hurting my hair."

"I am not here my son. After all he is your responsibility now," Thranduil replied to his son. He watched him as he tried to handle the boy alone, although his heart ached for his son's pain.

"DADA…" the boy called to him and stood only to fall down.

"I am going to take care of you," Legolas confirmed and tried to help him to stand.

The boy lunged at Legolas and made the elfling fall on the soft ground.

"Adar, help me." Legolas asked his father.

Thranduil sighed heavily and walked over to help his son.

The king gathered the baby in his arms and asked softly, "What is your name, little one?"

"'Gorn," The baby replied. Thranduil noticed that the baby missed some of his name.

"My name is Thranduil, can you say my name?" Thranduil introduced himself.

"Duil?" the baby asked.

"Come, my son, we should head back, and I need to ask the maids to help me with him." Thranduil told his son.

"Why should you ask help from the maids, Adar?" Legolas asked, not knowing what his father needed the maids for.

"He needs to have his dressing changed, and he smells." Thranduil replied.

"May I teach him Elvish?" Legolas asked.

"Maybe after he gets cleaned and fed," Thranduil replied and then added, "I'd hoped that the baby could tell us what his full name is."

Thranduil helped his son take care of the baby, though he did not wish to connect any emotional attachment with him knowing how painful it could be if something were to happen to him; or if his mother might show up and be grateful to them for looking after her baby. He tried to make Legolas understand that, but his son wouldn't listen.

"I. Am. Legolas," Legolas slowly told the baby as he spoke Elvish to him.

"Ada, I do not understand what he is saying, is he evil?" Legolas turned to ask his father as the baby moaned something in another language.

"He is not look like someone that can hurt, ion, although he is enjoying playing with you as it seems." Thranduil replied smiling to his son.

"Then Adar, what is that language?" Legolas asked, while he tried to keep the baby he held in his lap busy, not wishing him to fall to the ground.

"It is human language, my son." Thranduil replied.

"How do you know?" Legolas sat beside his father. The baby tried to reach to his golden hair and succeeded.

"Ouch… Adar he is hurting me," Legolas muttered, but tried to stay calm for the baby. He hated it when he cried and screamed.

"He is only playing with you. And you, my son, need to cooperate," Thranduil suggested as he stared at the baby's gray-blue eyes. The baby had certainly found his way to his heart.

"How will I cooperate if I do not understand him?" Legolas asked.

Thranduil sighed heavily. His son was stubborn and his attitude reminded him of himself when he was an elfling and his Adar wanted him to understand.

"Just play with him and everything will be all right," Thranduil assured him.

"Can I play with him outside?" Legolas asked. He could feel the walls closing him in, as he needed the freedom and the touch of the wind on his body, and also the last light of the sun.

"You can, but do not go far," Thranduil told him as he watched his son, and the baby that they had found in the woods, leave the room.

Thranduil sighed as he sat in his chair relaxing into the peace and quiet.

A few moments later Legolas burst into the room, shaking and crying…

Thranduil hurried to his son's side and fearfully asked him what had happened when he did not see the baby near him. He also feared that there might be someone who hurt his son.

"I cannot find him…" Legolas cried.

"What game did you play?" Thranduil asked as he tried to embrace his son to ease away his trembling.

"Hide and Seek," Legolas replied. "It was the better option, because I love climbing, but I do not wish him to get hurt."

"You are right, my son. Though we do need to find him soon before the darkness and shadows surround us.

They wandered around but there was no trace of the baby, not even a sound.

The king kept looking though, as he saw the regret and guilt that was marked on his son's face. He knew that his elfling had become attached to the baby. He was falling for the baby as well. He did not wish his son to live with the pain that was growing at each day that passed.

Thranduil searched under every bush around until he found what he was looking for.

There, in his hands, the baby lay sleeping.

"You found him," Legolas jumped for joy, as he took the baby from his father. "He will sleep close to me and I will make sure not to lose him again. After all he is my little brother."

Thranduil smiled at Legolas' words, and could feel a tear slipping from his eyes.

The End