|Author: Athea (email@example.com)
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: New Beginnings, part three
Summary: The work of building goes on.
Date: 6 April 2002
The tale of the destruction of Hobbiton and the Bywater region was hard to listen to. Frodo grew so pale that Sam almost stopped talking. He held his hand tightly and murmured reassurances that everything was all right now. Merry took up the story and soon we were all smiling again. Sam's casual mention of his father going to work for Merry's parents gave Frodo back his peaceful look.
Their morning sickness had finally left them, although they still drank the raspberry tea faithfully. But they were making up for lost time by eating everything in sight. Sam's eyes widened when he watched Frodo make inroads on the shepherd pie that Jallico had served. We'd declared a mini-holiday to celebrate the arrival of our missing comrades. We wanted to show them all around our new home.
Sam mentioned sending back the now empty wagons with building supplies and his hopeful look made me smile. We could certainly spare some marble and granite paving stones. Legolas had chosen the trees that we could cut down and some of their timbers would go to the Shire also. Catching Balik's eye, I asked him if he'd check the axles on the wagons to see if they were up to the weight.
He nodded and I finished my own pie with a mental note to ask Sam if there were any herbs or plants that the Shire might need. Legolas had gone quite pale when they talked about all the trees that had been cut down and left to rot. Even I'd felt a shudder at the wanton waste of the wholesale destruction. Saruman had gone beyond retribution but I was still angry that we hadn't taken care of him when we had the chance.
But that was in the past and the future looked bright indeed. I looked about the tables at the assorted people of our settlement and smiled at the motley crew. Men, Dwarves, Hobbits and Elves all sat interspersed among the tables. We were mostly arranged by interest. Elrohir was fascinated by the jars we'd found so he spent some of his time with Balik, exploring the upper caves.
Elladan had evidenced a curiosity about those who had built these buildings then vanished without a trace. He spent hours with Cincall, a Man who'd driven one of the wagons but whose original occupation was building houses. They were going over one of the unfinished structures with a fine toothed comb to see what clues the builders might have left behind.
All we really knew was that every building was water tight and built to last a millennia or more. I was just thankful that we'd found enough to house all of us. We'd doubled up in almost every dwelling and we'd been working from sun-up to sun-down. But no one had objected to building Frodo's home first. I'd wanted to have him into something homelike by the time he began to have to slow down. The six weeks that he was separated from Sam had been hard on him.
But he kept busy during the days, showing us how Hobbits built their houses. It was an interesting process and I know I learned a thing or two. His outer room was bigger so they could have large guests but the rest of it was purely sized for Halflings. I fully expected Merry and Pip to keep working on it until next Spring when they could build one for themselves.
"Gimli, where are you?" Legolas' hand on my arm brought me back to the dining hall.
I smiled at him and brought his fingers to my lips, kissing them gently. "In the middle of digging out the start of Merry and Pip's home."
"We'll be fine on the other side of Frodo and Sam's comfortable hobbit hole. That way we can draw up a plan or two and refine it until it's perfect." Merry grinned at me while Pip nodded vigorously.
"You did a fine job of it, Gimli. It felt real homey the moment we walked in the door." Pip licked his spoon clean of the last of the raspberry-custard-tart. "Can we go exploring a little and see where everything is?"
"Of course we can." I agreed. "Is everyone finished eating?"
"Yes," Merry looked around. "Jallico! Thank you for the wonderful meal."
"You're quite welcome, Master Merry." The cook was eating at the table nearest the kitchen. "There will be a plum tart for after dinner with a flaming brandy sauce."
Everybody applauded and I knew we'd have a full dining hall for the last meal of the day. But it was time to start our tour so I gathered my little group and we started at the building that now housed our library. There had been several hundred iron-oak shelves already built in the long low structure. Windows were placed high above the shelves so that light entered but didn't interfere with the book-lined walls.
A back room currently housed the twenty-six tall jars that we'd found in the nearby caves. But Frodo had speculated that it might have once housed the archivist. Next door to the library was an oddly shaped structure made up of four large rooms standing separately yet connected by covered porches. Rheanas had said that it reminded him of a healing clinic that he'd seen drawn in an old scroll. He'd taken it for our own clinic and each room held a different purpose.
The house next to the clinic was now Rheanas' who expected his wife and daughter any day. We passed several different homes and we pointed out who lived where. The workshop where several of the Men had set up their wood carving and furniture building was next and I saw Merry perk up and look around eagerly. Perhaps he was a wood carver in his spare time?
On the edge of our settlement was a small cottage that the twins had chosen. The stables where we kept our horses and ponies were just beyond them. The meadow that stretched down the valley was ringed with boulders so a few well placed fences kept them from straying while they enjoyed the thick grasses.
Sam perked up at the herb garden that stretched over almost ten acres beyond the meadow, gradually climbing up the mountain and utilizing one of the smaller rivers for its irrigation. Paving stones spiraled through the different beds and not for the first time, I wondered if there was a pattern that we just couldn't see.
"Lovely soil." Sam had both hands sifting through some of the black loam. "Someone has been taking care of this. I wonder who?"
Frodo nodded. "I told you that I could feel someone watching us. Perhaps he's a gardener?"
Legolas agreed. "I agree. Perhaps a hermit continued to live here when the Varyans abandoned this land. I sense no animosity from our watcher, just a little curiosity."
I hadn't felt a thing. "Our finding of the cave with the jars was a bit of luck."
"Or a carefully planned rock fall that directed your attention to the hidden cave?" My love smiled sweetly and I chuckled.
"Perhaps, beloved, perhaps. I will admit to luck if not to a mysterious stranger. I think we've walked enough for today. Sam is yawning again and I predict a nap might be in order." I steered our group back towards our dwellings.
None of them said no and the Hobbits said sleepy good-byes to us, disappearing into their snug quarters. Legolas was yawning also and I tucked him into our bed with a lingering kiss before going back to work. The Shire wagons had disappeared so I knew that Balik was working on them, probably strengthening the axles so they could carry back the building supplies needed in that fair land.
But I could begin sorting some of the timbers that would be needed and I walked through the trees to the sheds that we'd built to store our supplies until we needed them. Since we hadn't had to build houses immediately, some of the items we'd brought weren't going to be used right away. The Shire could use them to help get through this first winter since the troubles began.
I hummed to myself while I sluiced away the top layer of dirt at the kitchen sink. Two of the wagons were fully loaded with timber and the wooden shake shingles that I'd spent so much time cutting. Paving stones lined the bottoms of both of those and the third. Rheanas had prepared some of the cures common to all races of Middle-earth and packed them into two of the trunks they'd brought full of baby clothes. The rest of wagon three would no doubt acquire a few more items before we sent them back.
Shaking my head, I dried my hands and went to see where my errant mate was. Baby clothes had never even entered my mind. I'd been thinking about cradles and rocking chairs instead of the linen that would be needed for such small new souls. Some times it would hit me like a granite boulder ... I was going to be a father. And my sons or daughters would be half-Elven, if this pregnancy proceeded along normal lines.
Except for the fact that these weren't normal times.
Snorting my amusement, I finally tracked Legolas down to the small room that we'd set aside for a study. When winter arrived, I didn't want him to have to go traipsing about in the wet and cold. He'd be able to work on his translations in comfort and safety. Our new/old house had five rooms not counting the new bathroom I'd built for him myself. The three bedrooms were a study, the nursery and our bedroom in that order.
Our outer room stretched across the front of the single story house with lots of windows built of thick glass that made the view waver a bit when you looked through them. The floors were warm granite tiles, heated by the flues of hot air that were buried under each of these Varyan houses. The stove in the small kitchen provided the heat for the entire place although we'd only needed it in the last few days after the hard frost.
The walls were so thick that the heat stayed trapped inside. But open the windows and doors and it cooled down amazingly well. I'd incorporated some of this design into Frodo's home. He would need a nice warm hole that he could bring his babies into. And so would we.
I stopped in the doorway of our study and watched my lover making notes with his quill pen in his latest journal. In return for loaning us the Varyan scrolls, we'd promised Elrond that we'd make copies for ourselves before sending the originals back to him. Legolas had a smudge on his cheek where he must have rubbed an inky finger. The disheveled look is a sexy one for him and I immediately had a strong desire to mess him up even further.
"Beloved, I am almost done and by the look in your eye, it's a good thing." His teasing tones told me that I'd been caught watching again. "If you will run our bath, I promise that I'll join you shortly."
Crossing the room, I pulled his head down for a short kiss. "Hurry, please."
He chuckled when I left the room but I heard the pen racing across the page so I knew he was hurrying to finish. Our bathroom was beautiful if I did say so myself. I'd built an almost duplicate for the Hobbits but ours was bigger. Because of our differing heights, I'd built two sink basins and installed them at a comfortable height for each of us. The tub was blue-green marble and I'd sunk it below floor level with three steps down into it.
I'd carved out headrests for each of us in case we wanted to soak. The tub looked huge but it was only as long as my lover's body. Its width matched my height. We'd be able to fit all four of us in once the babies arrived. I turned the faucet and watched the water begin to gush out. We'd adapted the Gondor version of plumbing and it was working very well.
The Varyans had piped in water from a reservoir they'd formed from the closest river they'd called the Lesta. Each building had water on hand so Balik and I had forged iron vats that could be filled with water then heated by a fire. Granite basins held the coal that we used to warm them. We'd built the small room between the kitchens and the bathrooms to hold the water vats. It was the closest we could come to the elaborate structures in Minas Tirith.
It had been a lot of work but hot water at the turn of a faucet was a luxury that we all appreciated. I was just finishing undressing when I felt familiar hands hug me from behind. Legolas dropped a kiss on my forehead then began his own speedy undressing. I walked down into the tub and turned to watch him. His stomach was curving outward a little more each day and I loved each minute change.
He stepped down beside me with a sigh and stretched out full length. "Ah, love, this is so very decadent. I feel like such a slacker when you've been working hard all day and I scribble away at my leisure."
I snorted and reached for the soap, lathering it before reaching for his arm. "Nonsense, Legolas. If I had to sit and write all day long, I'd go stark raving mad. Mad-dwarf-with-a-quill is what they'd call me."
He laughed out loud and leaned in to kiss me while my hands soaped his torso tenderly. "Goodness, we couldn't have that. I've finished the last scroll so we can send them back to Rivendell. None of them mentioned a thing about pregnant males."
My hands stilled and I gazed into those beautiful blue eyes. "Nothing? I was so sure that the last one was a healer's scroll."
"It was, just not on pregnancy. It is a detailed treatise on the setting of broken limbs and the massage needed afterwards to help the muscles regain their strength. Rheanas will be pleased by their knowledge and should any of us ever break a leg, we shall be grateful for their treatment. Even if it is second-hand."
I made myself keep washing him while my heart fell to my feet. I'd been so hoping that it would give us the information we needed to protect Legolas and Frodo. "I see. What about the jars of scrolls? Shouldn't we open them to see what is there?"
"Not yet, Gimli." His fingers stroked my face tenderly. "I expect someone from Rivendell any day now. Their archivist is an elderly Elf named Clothile. If anyone can open them without destroying their contents, it is probably him. His curiosity will bring him as quickly as he can travel. Then we shall find our answers."
Nodding, I didn't trust my voice right then. So I kept washing his broad shoulders, massaging the muscles that tensed while he was writing. The rest of our bath was silent but slowly the hot water and his tender touches relaxed me. We still had months before he had to birth our children. The Old Gods couldn't be so cruel that they'd take my bright and shining lover from me.
I had to believe that or I really would go mad.
Soft lips on mine brought me back to the here and now. His tongue traced my lips, which opened to him at once and he slid inside of my mouth sharing his sweet taste with me. I sucked on it and felt myself begin to swell, the way I always did. The further along he grew, the more he craved our lovemaking. Something in his scent made me constantly hard and we usually ended up making love three or four times a day.
He liked to tease me in public with seemingly innocent remarks about 'hardy dwarves'.
I would always be hardy for him. I hoped we would be partners for a long, long time. He pulled me to my feet and I came willingly. "Gimli, I am going to make love to you until dinner. Then we're going to eat and celebrate Sam, Merry and Pip's arrival with flaming plum cake and sauce. We shall then return home and you are going to make love to me with all the strength you have in you. All right?"
Drawing me from the bath, he reached for a towel and began to dry me while I stood speechless before him. Swallowing hard, I managed a smile for him. "I am your willing slave in all matters, beloved. Do with me as you will."
He laughed and led me to our bedroom.
I watched these new colonists as I had for the last two months. Listening to their gossip, watching them use those things we'd left behind, sniffing their fires, I even tasted their cooking when the one they called Jallico left the dining hall. They were a decidedly odd group of Peoples. Elves, I understood but they worked alongside Men and Dwarves. The little Hobbit had now been joined by three other Halflings so the only thing we were missing was an Ent or two.
I could not understand why they were here. Their conversation dealt with matters both arcane and homey. From the return of a King to Minas Tirith to whether or not to divert more water to the reservoir, their words came to where I waited patiently. It had been several centuries since I'd had company and the last batch had been Angmar and his demon breed.
These Peoples were nothing like that and yet ... there was something almost familiar about one of them. The one they called Legolas was a most fair Elf and the others seemed to revolve around him and the little Hobbit whose name was Frodo. The scent that came to me told a strange tale. He was certainly pregnant and so was the little one. I didn't know how that could happen in this day and age.
Especially since the Elf seemed to have bonded to the powerful Dwarf they called by the name of Gimli. I'd watched the sandy haired Hobbit hug Frodo and pondered the fact that bonded males seemed to have returned to Middle-earth. I was of two minds about them but when the talk of establishing an archive reached me and I saw them handling the old scrolls so gently, I decided it was time to reveal the hidden archives.
The rockslide was easily arranged and their excitement was palpable. Their care and slowness in opening them reassured me about their intentions. Legolas and Frodo both sensed me and occasionally I could see the healer Rheanas look about as if to spot me. The twin hunters were canny indeed and I took extra care to avoid leaving any sign that they could follow. That wasn't difficult since I never touched the ground if I could help it.
I would watch further and take my time deciding whether or not to show myself. After all, there was no rush for I had all the time in the world.