He tries to tell himself that she is perhaps what their daughter would have looked like, had they gotten the chance to raise another child, but there is an important difference between sharing some of her mother's features and having her mother's features. And there is no doubt in his mind that Tauriel looks exactly like her.

There are no differences that he can see in the child's appearance. She has the same fiery hair, the same bright green eyes, the same high cheekbones and delicate jawline, and even the same light freckling across her pale skin. The child's personality has yet to fully develop, but he can already see hints of it - curiosity, kindness, brashness, a flaming temper to match her hair. Even the way she tilts her head slightly as she watches him walk past is hauntingly familiar. The small cut slowly dripping blood down her neck, in the same spot where...

A chill runs down his spine. It is too much. He waves the guards away, telling them to bring her to the healers.

He will give her to one of the noble families, let them raise her as their daughter. Perhaps even send a messenger to Lady Galadriel in Lorien - she is kind, she will not turn the child away - and have the young elleth removed from his kingdom entirely.

But as he sits at his desk, heart throbbing in agony at the piercing green eyes that had held his gaze without a trace of fear, his hand shakes too hard to pen a letter.

No, he will keep her here. She will be his own ward. He cannot bear to let her out of his sight...not again.

Never again.