|Author: Athea (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: New Beginnings, part 15
Pairing: Gimli/Legolas, Merry/Pip
Summary: It's hard to wait for your turn.
Date: 13 May 2002
I stretched all over and called it a day. We'd finished moving some of the wood cached in White Cap to the woodworking shop. Father had already started on our cradle but some of the others wanted to try making some things too. Walking down from the mountain, I surveyed the gardens where tiny little shoots were beginning to show above the ground.
We'd had another snowstorm after Sam and Frodo's babies were born but that seemed to be winter's last bolt. They were a month old today and I knew without even looking where my lover would be. Stopping at the channel where the fresh cold water flowed, I splashed away the sweat of my toil before heading towards the Hobbit home. Legolas loved holding the tiny new babies so that was where I usually found him.
Today was no exception. A brief knock at the round green door brought Sam's smiling face to welcome me. I threw my cloak over Legolas' and followed him into the front room. Frodo was rocking one of them in his rocking chair and my lover had cradled the other one in his arms where he sat on the settee.
"Good evening, Gimli." Frodo greeted me with a smile while I crossed the room to drop a kiss on my lover's head.
"Good evening, Frodo and," I peered into the blanket, "Elanor. How are you all this beautiful fine spring day?"
"We're fine and we actually walked the twins outside today." Sam joined me on the hearth stone.
A fire still felt good even though the temperatures were rising outside. I watched Legolas hold that little sprite tenderly while I silently wished that our ordeal was over. He'd grown so much that he felt awkward going out in public and just getting up and down from a chair took all his energy. The bigger he got the more I worried. I tried to hide it but my father knows me very well and he'd take me aside when I began to fray too much.
He'd calm me down, take me for a walk so we could smoke a pipe and maybe we'd stop at the dining hall and drink a pint of ale. We'd talk about everything or nothing but I always felt better when I went back to my love. He'd welcome me back with a kiss and a hug and I'd take him to bed and rub the soreness out of his back.
"Gimli!" I realized that Legolas was trying to get my attention.
"Sorry, love, I was woolgathering." I apologized and he smiled forgiveness. Sam had taken Elanor back and I sprang to my feet to give him a big tug up. Only with the Hobbits would he show something that he thought of as a weakness. I told him over and over that he was entitled to our regard and all the help he needed but he still thought he should be stronger.
We said our goodbye to the Hobbits and began the walk to our own home. I was starving but he walked past the dining hall with an absentminded air. Keeping my sigh to myself, I opened our door and ushered him inside. But the good smells coming from our kitchen perked me up immediately.
"Dinner is almost ready." My father's voice sang out from the kitchen.
Legolas smiled at me and walked back to the doorway. "Papa, you didn't have to go to all this trouble."
"Nonsense, I knew Gimli would be hungry and I thought I might be able to tempt you with a little of my favorite soup." His smile matched mine and I quietly mouthed a 'thank you' from behind my love. "How are the new babies? That little Elanor is just about the prettiest little girl I've ever seen."
"She is, isn't she?" Legolas rubbed his stomach unconsciously. "I held her this afternoon and watched her eyes flit here and there. Everything fascinates her, even my hair."
"Well, beloved, I love your hair, too." I told him and he smiled.
"It's always so soothing when you brush my hair, Gimli. Perhaps, if you're not too tired, you'd do that for me tonight?" His glance was abstracted and he smiled at us again before wandering back to our bedroom.
"Something's different about him tonight, Son. I'll dish up some dinner while you go check on him. If he doesn't want to eat, he shouldn't have to." He stirred the pot with the wonderful smells coming from it and I nodded before following Legolas.
He was sitting on our bed, rubbing his stomach and looking into space with such a melancholy air. I joined him and knelt to take off his shoes. "Gimli, do you think I'll ever have these babies?"
I chuckled. "It does seem like you've been carrying these little ones for a long time, doesn't it? But I think our time is coming, love, and soon you'll be holding our son or daughter in your arms."
He smiled a little and one hand came out to touch my cheek. "I seem to sleep all the time, beloved and I need a nap right now. Go and eat with your father while I lie down for a bit. Then I'll eat something, I promise."
"What ever you want, Legolas, then that is what you shall have." I helped him lie down and covered him with the soft green blanket. I stroked his long golden hair and he closed his eyes with a contented sigh.
I think he was asleep before I finished covering him up. I just watched him for a long moment, thinking of the toll this whole business had taken on him. There were faint blue circles beneath his eyes and his face had thinned to the point that he looked almost as hawkish as Lorrin did. The fine golden strands sifted through my fingers and he smiled faintly in his sleep.
Kissing him gently, I walked quietly away and rejoined my father in the kitchen. We had a table and two chairs there so we sat and ate first, Papa letting me eat in peace. Once I'd finished my third bowl of soup and some of Jallico's good bread, I felt better. Sitting back in the chair I finally met his eyes.
"I don't know how much longer I can last, Papa." Odd but after long years, I'd come back to the old name. "He's using all his energy for the babies and keeping none for himself. I worry about him."
"Of course, you do, Son." He patted my hand. "I'm a bit worried, too. I asked Rhea about it and he said that he thinks it will be soon. It's March now and although Elves usually go twelve months, they've been known to go a bit early. He's not sure what difference the babies being part Dwarf might bring. I do wish that Basteal had been able to make it in before the passes closed."
I rubbed my hands across my face and shook my head. "I don't think he'd have been able to help. We're literally something that's never happened before in Middle-earth. Lorrin doesn't even know what will happen. All I can hope is that the crystal will ease the pain enough to get these babies born." I was so tired that I could hardly see straight. "Papa, was I ever as little as Elanor or Bilbo?"
He chuckled. "Indeed you were, Gimli. When the healer put you in my hands, I could hardly believe that something so small could bellow so loudly. You had a very healthy set of lungs on you, even then but every part of you was just so perfect that I could have shouted for joy. I had to count each little finger and toe at least twice before I let your mother have you back."
"I miss her sometimes. I can still hear her singing that lullaby in the back of my mind. Legolas learned it somewhere and he hums it once in a while when I have trouble getting to sleep." I propped my chin on my hand and let my eyes go as unfocused.
"Which one, the 'sleep now, my little one' or the 'lu-la-lu-li one'?" He patted my head and rose to put the dishes in the sink.
"Sleep now, my little one." I joined him only to have him wave me away.
"Go check on Legolas. This soup will stay hot for a while."
I chuckled and headed back to my love. When I peeked in, he seemed to be in the throes of a nightmare, twisting on the bed and moaning softly while his legs tangled in the sheets. I almost ran to the bed and grasped his hand, calling his name softly.
"Gimli!" He shouted and sat straight up. He was panting as if he'd run a race and I gripped his hand to remind him that I was there. But when he began to weep, I climbed up on the bed to join him, taking him in my arms and rocking him gently.
"It was just a bad dream, love. Just a dream. You're safe, the babies are safe. Nothing can harm you while I'm here." I reassured him over and over until he calmed a little. "Now, love, tell me what was wrong."
"One of the babies was being strangled. He couldn't breathe and he was kicking and fighting to draw a breath but something was wrapped around his throat and he couldn't get it off. And I couldn't move to save him." His tears kept falling while his hands rubbed his stomach. "I can't feel him, Gimli. What if there's something wrong?"
"We're going to go over and see Rhea right now. He'll take a listen in and soon let us know if there's something going on. Let me get your boots and we'll take a walk over to the clinic." I soothed him into a semblance of calm and quickly got his boots on, all the while my heart raced in fear. It was a match for some of my own nightmares. We walked out to the front room and my father immediately knew that something was wrong.
"Why don't you come with us, Papa? We're going over to the clinic to have Rhea listen to the babies." I rolled my eyes at him and he seemed to understand.
"Good idea, Son. It's been a week since I got to listen to my grandchildren. Just to be on the safe side, why don't we take your crystal with us?" He smiled at Legolas and went to his other side.
"I think you're right, Papa." Legolas tried to smile but it was a sad effort. However, he made a little detour to the window where the green crystal sat soaking up sunlight and pocketed it. Mine was already around my neck on a mithril chain that I'd made for it.
Luckily, the clinic wasn't far from our home and my father went to get Rhea while I took Legolas into the same room that Frodo had given birth in. He lay down on the table while I stroked his stomach and hummed to him. Little tears kept leaking from his eyes and it was all I could do not to join him. My deepest fears were coming to life right before my eyes and all I could do was pray to the Lady that she wouldn't take either of them from me.
Not my love or either of our children.
Lorrin appeared out of thin air and his hands stroked the other side of Legolas' stomach. "Why did you come here?"
I told him the dream and he hummed while his hands slowly mapped the mound in front of him. Then without another word, he began to strip the clothes from my lover. I helped as best I could but Legolas wouldn't let go of my hand. Rhea came in with my father while we were stripping off the last of his clothes and he went right to work with his listening device.
"Yes, I see." He said cryptically and draped a sheet over the lower half of Legolas' body.
Lorrin had already taken the crystal in his hand and when he moved it over the fair skin of my lover, I could see a faint green glow paint him with shadows. High on the left side, he stopped and the crystal sang a low note that raised the hair on the back of my neck. Rhea made a soft sound of protest but he was already painting the spot with the numbing salve they'd told us about. Legolas held onto me with all his strength and I could see my father holding his other hand tightly.
"Please close your eyes now, my friends." Lorrin spoke softly but commandingly.
I obeyed without question but after a long moment, I couldn't keep them shut any longer. I opened them in time to see Lorrin reach inside of Legolas and pull out a small dark-haired body all curled in on itself. Even I could tell that the umbilical cord shouldn't be around his throat and Rhea was quick to cut the cord and gently unwrap it.
But he wasn't crying or even breathing and my heart almost stopped in fear. Rhea was stroking his back and puffing a breath of air in his tiny mouth and I watched him, not breathing either. But then with a sharp inhale, he was whimpering and I almost fainted in relief.
"A fine son, Legolas and Gimli." Rhea said triumphantly and Legolas choked back a cry.
However we weren't out of the woods yet and my eyes came back to Lorrin with his hand still inside of Legolas. It looked like the other twin wasn't ready to be born and yet ... I watched the skin begin to ripple and Lorrin was chanting something softly under his breath while his other hand drew the pulsing green crystal slowly over the shrinking mound. I was back to praying again for this time the whimpers of pain were coming from Legolas and there was nothing I could do.
I put my whole heart and soul into my wordless prayer and from around my neck, the purple crystal began to glow. Lorrin nodded approvingly and gestured to me to bring it out into the light. I fumbled it from around my neck and held it over Legolas. The skin began to ripple faster and my love began to pant with the contractions. Slowly but surely, the other baby shifted into position and finally ... finally Lorrin was able to pluck it from its womb and bring it forth into the light.
Rhea had already handed our son to my father to hold and he was ready with a warm cloth to take our ... daughter into his capable hands. "A beautiful girl, my friends. Well done, Legolas."
Silent tears slipped down his face and I kissed each one away while I murmured his name over and over. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lorrin concentrating on closing the incision site using both of our crystals. I hadn't even realized that I handed mine to him. It looked so odd not to see that great mound growing out of my lover. But Rhea was handing me my new daughter and I accepted that tiny baby with some trepidation.
What if I dropped her, I thought? She weighed nothing in my arms but already I could see that she took after Legolas. "See, my love, she has your beautiful hair."
He moved his head tiredly but his smile was bright. "She has your dimple though, Gimli. Papa, what of our son?"
"A fine lad with his father's dark hair but he definitely has your dimples, Legolas." He proudly held him up so we could both see him. "And I think, he may be the first Dwarf with pointed ears."
I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time but Legolas was already doing that for me. Rhea was sponging off the blood from my lover's now completely shrunken stomach and the only thing left of the incision was an angry red line almost eight inches long, high and on one side. It looked painful and Lorrin confirmed my fear.
"I had to cut further because of the danger. I'm afraid that it will take Legolas longer to heal than Frodo did. I want him to have complete bed rest for at least seven days, maybe ten. Starting right now." For such a small Elf, he was unexpectedly strong. He scooped up my lover and took him over to the bed that lay waiting then covered him up with the soft white blanket from the foot of the bed.
"A week?" Legolas asked but my father was already laying our son in his arms and he looked as if he'd forgotten his question. Holding out his finger, the little one held on to it. "Sweet Glimmer, how very glad I am to see you. Look, Gimli, how strong he is."
Glimmer, son of Gimli. I could hardly see through my tears. "Strong indeed, beloved."
"And what is my granddaughter to be called?" My father said gruffly, sitting on the other side of the bed and watching Legolas with fond eyes.
"Pharin after my mother." Blue eyes came to me and I nodded approval.
"Well, she's quite the most beautiful baby I've ever seen. I can see that Glimmer will have his work cut out for him, keeping his little sister safe." He got out his handkerchief and blew his nose hard. "Thank you, Legolas for bearing them for us."
He smiled at us both. "I would do it again, Papa. But not for a little while."
I nodded. "Not until these two are walking and talking will we even think of it. I promise, my love."
"That sounds about right." He teased me with a soft smile and I sat down beside him so we could trade babies. Pharin opened her eyes the moment she touched Legolas. Corn-flower blue, those big eyes seemed to look right in his and time stood still for one breathless moment. "Oh, my little love, how my mother would have loved you."
Glimmer seemed to sense my sorrow and when I looked down, his big brown eyes were open and staring up at me. For a moment, I felt as if I gazed into his soul and even at an hour old, those eyes looked wise. "Glimmer, you have a long and eventful life ahead of you."
Remembering what my father had said about me, I unwrapped him enough to count all his fingers and toes. Ten each and just as perfect as I'd thought they would be. Rhea was talking to my father and I knew I should probably be listening to his instructions but I couldn't seem to concentrate on anything but the babies.
"Gimli," my lover murmured and I looked over into those beautiful tired eyes. "I love you. Thank you for sticking with me when I know that I was a sore trial these last few weeks."
"Nonsense, beloved, I don't remember anything but the joy." I truly couldn't. The past was past and we had the future to look forward to. "Soon we'll be home and then we'll have all the fun of taking care of these beautiful babies. I can hardly wait."
He laughed and pulled me down for our first kiss as parents. "Just remember that when they start crying in the wee small hours of the night for no apparent reason."
I grinned and repeated myself. "I can hardly wait."