|Author: Athea (email@example.com)
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: New Beginnings, part 16/16
Pairing: Merry/Pip, Gimli/Legolas
Summary: They finally have a name.
Date: 18 May 2002
I watched Pip hold little Bilbo and daydreamed a little. Ever since he'd told me that he was pregnant, I'd been watching him closely. Of course, I always watched him but now it seemed even more important. There'd been moments when Frodo glowed all over after the babies started to grow but Pip was glowing now and his body hadn't started any big changes yet. I stroked his stomach every night but he just giggled sleepily and told me to wait a while.
He was sleeping a bit more and Lorrin told us that was normal. His body was making big changes to accommodate the baby and took energy directly from Pip. We hadn't told anybody yet because we didn't want to take attention away from all the new babies. Legolas had had a much harder time then Frodo had and I worried that what had happened to him might happen to Pip.
But I didn't tell him that. I decided that I'd have a talk with Gimli privately once we were ready to say something. Until then, we just enjoyed the new babies and practiced taking care of them so we'd be ready for ours when he or she came. Lorrin had said that there was only one inside Pip and I thought that was good. Two were a definite handful since what one did the other did too.
Whether that was pooping or crying or eating, Bilbo and Elanor did it together.
Poor Sam and Frodo had gotten very little sleep since they'd been born. They were hungry all the time and since my cousin was nursing them that meant he was up all hours of the day and night. Sam was no better, starting awake at every little cry or whimper. The cradle I made stood right by their bed, so all one of them had to do was move noisily and Sam was up.
So today, Pip and I had waited until the twins finished sucking down their morning milk before offering to take them for a walk. We told them we'd be gone for an hour and they were to take a hot bath and just relax. Sam perked right up and looked hopefully at Frodo who blushed and told us yes. Checking on diapers, we stuffed a couple extra in our pockets and bundled the babies up in warm flannel blankets.
The dining hall was our first stop and Jallico exclaimed over them, holding Elanor tenderly while feeding us some fresh bread he'd just pulled from the oven. He and Pip talked about what we'd be having for dinner and it all sounded most delicious. My lover promised to be back by three to help start preparing it so we hurried on before the babies could get restless. For some reason, they liked it when we were moving.
We stopped at Gimli and Legolas' next and found them each rocking a baby. Legolas was slowly getting back into shape although he still had an occasional twinge from the incision site. He was nursing Glimmer when we arrived and Pip got really close and started asking questions about what it felt like.
Gimli looked kind of startled but I deflected him with a request to start building our own home. Pip and I had walked all over the forest and foothills looking for just the right place. We talked about building supplies and who would work on it and how fast we would need it. I really wanted to tell him right then why I was so adamant that we start soon but we needed to tell Sam and Frodo first. So for now I just told him that we wanted our families to visit and there wasn't room for everybody.
He seemed to accept that all right and we made plans to go to our spot the next morning after breakfast. Maybe we could tell him then, I thought. Bouncing Bilbo a little when he started to fuss, I could see that he was hungry again. Elanor whimpered too and Pip smiled at me and said it was time to go. Saying goodbye to our friends, we started back home.
The sun seemed to get a little brighter everyday and we walked slowly, stopping now and then to show the babies to one of our neighbors. Young Miriel was headed back to the clinic from the stables where she was working with Bix on a mare that was almost due to deliver. She tickled Elanor's cheek and the baby giggled just a little. She was such a happy baby that I hoped ours would be like her.
Coming home, we unwrapped the babies near the fire and placed them in the small bed that I'd made for when they got a little bigger or they needed to sleep separately. So far, that hadn't happened but it was handy for when we had company and wanted the babies not so far away. Tilly, the weaver's wife, had embroidered the prettiest flowers on one of Matso's soft yellow blankets and the babies loved it.
Pip went to put the kettle on for tea and I checked diapers to make sure that everyone was dry. We'd been gone for almost two hours and I hoped that Sam and Frodo had made love without any distractions. I know that I wasn't looking forward to the time when Pip and I couldn't make love any longer. But for now, we could and did whenever we wanted.
Actually, I was thinking about that very thing when Sam came out with his shirt buttoned up wrong and a satisfied look in his eyes. "How were they, Merry?"
"Just fine, Sam. Jallico thinks they're the cutest babies ever born. Gimli is going to walk over to the spot we've picked out for our home tomorrow morning. Can you and Frodo come too?"
"Sure. You know there's no hurry for you to move out?" He looked a little anxious. "I know there's not as much privacy as you're used to."
"That's not why, Sam." Pip came back in with the tea tray. "Where's Frodo? We have something to tell both of you."
"I'm here." Frodo came out in his robe and slippers, not even bothering to hide the fact that they'd been making love. "Is there something wrong?"
We all got settled with our teacups, Pip and I sharing the settee across from them. I cleared my voice and decided to just come out with it. "Pip is pregnant."
"What?" Sam sat up and startled the babies with his exclamation. "Oh, bother. Elanor, my love, there's nothing wrong. Sweet Bilbo, hush now."
Frodo was staring at us as if we'd each grown an extra head. "How?"
So we explained about the crystals and what Lorrin had said. They listened intently and asked us some questions before offering to help however they could. We were lucky to have such good friends. Sam got up to bring Elanor to Frodo so she could nurse and I saw Pip look longingly at them. His nipples had always been sensitive and I remembered what Frodo had said about how much more sensitive his had gotten, the further along he got in his pregnancy.
I made myself a promise to pay particular attention to his nipples tonight. Sam wanted to know if we had the plans ready for our new place. I got up to retrieve them from our room and spread them over the living room table. The layout was similar to theirs but I wanted to add a towel-warming cupboard in the bathroom and have a workroom instead of a study. Pip wanted more shelves in the bigger kitchen to hold his cooking pots. The other two bedrooms were for guests and of course we needed a nursery now near our bedroom.
He also wanted a bookcase to hold all the cookbooks that he was going to have his mother send to us. That led to talking about how to get them to come visit and how to tell them the news of Pip's pregnancy. There was no easy way to do that but I didn't want to go back to the Shire now Pip was starting to feel a little queasy in the mornings.
Frodo agreed and told us, that with all of us helping, we should be able to dig out and build our new home in five weeks. Sam promised that if Pip would help Frodo with the babies, he'd do the physical labor that Pip shouldn't be doing. My lover pouted a bit but Lorrin had already told him that heavy lifting was right out until he'd delivered our baby.
Our baby ... those words still had the power to stop me in my tracks. We were going to have our very own son or daughter. I gazed at Pip with a look of awe. He just smiled at me as if he knew what I was thinking. Maybe he did since we'd been together so constantly for the last year and more. That was fine with me. I'd just keep on loving him every chance I had.
We stood on the spot where Merry and Pip wanted to build their new home while they showed me their plans. Since it was so similar to Frodo and Sam's, I agreed that it would take about five weeks with all of us helping. And that's when they told us that Pip was pregnant. I know my jaw dropped and I had a fleeting regret that I'd made such fun of Aragorn when he heard our news. I seemed to be having the same reaction.
They explained how and I glanced down at the crystal around my neck with a moment of misgiving. But Pip said that Lorrin had declared that it would take a soul-deep need to make it happen with just the crystal instead of a potion. Legolas dropped a kiss on my head and reminded me that he was the one who gave birth in our family. I grinned sheepishly at father's snort.
Legolas can read me like a book the same way my father does. We agreed to start the excavation on the next day with six of us doing the digging while Legolas and Pip picked out the woods for the framing timbers. Merry admonished his lover to not pick up anything heavy and I wasn't far behind in warning Legolas of the same thing. We exchanged commiserating looks when our bondeds stuck out their tongues at us.
I was still a little protective of my dearest love. He was healing slower than I would like but Lorrin said all would be well within the space of another month and I was hoping that he was right. For now, I went to enlist Cincall and Balik while Legolas and my father took the babies home. Tilly had woven fabric slings for us to carry the twins in and they both were wearing them.
I'd have never believed that my father would look so right with a baby nestled to his chest but he wore Pharin nonchalantly as if he'd always done so. The others weren't hard to find and Balik volunteered to start cutting the slabs of marble that would make up their bathroom, kitchen counters and fireplace mantles. Reason and Darin, two of the Dwarves who'd settled with us wanted to help, too. Balik took Reason and Darin decided to help me dig and frame.
Within the space of a few hours, we had a full work crew and I was on my way home to share the good news with the family. My family . . . I thought of them fondly and wondered how I'd ever thought I could live alone, the way I had after Griselda's death. I liked being part of a family, especially now that I had Legolas to hold and talk to. There were still moments when he needed to be alone and silent but now a days he just strapped on the babies and took a walk around the trees that shaded our home.
They loved being held and talked to so we told them stories whenever they were fussy. I told them tales of the mountains that I'd known while Legolas painted pictures with words of the forests of his youth. Sometimes I thought those stories hurt him to tell but he shook his head when I asked him outright. He said that the memories had no power any longer, they were just pictures of the past.
But that reminded me that he had never mentioned his mother, not in all the time that we had known each other. Coming in, I heard him singing that lullaby that I remembered from so long ago. My father was asleep in the rocking chair, snoring just a little while I tiptoed past him. In the doorway to our bedroom, I stopped a moment and feasted my eyes on my lover.
He was nursing Glimmer while his foot rocked the cradle where Pharin was sleeping. A tiny hand patted his smooth chest where it curved outward a bit. His breasts were just slightly plumper than they'd been before he got pregnant but the nipples seemed bigger to me. Our son was a serious feeder and his whole concentration was on the pink nipple that he was sucking.
Legolas' smile was nothing short of blinding when he looked up to see me. The hand that was patting the small back beckoned to me to join him and I made haste to do so. Glimmer noticed me and his dark eyes gazed into mine while he continued to suckle on my favorite nipple. It was the one over Legolas' heart and I was usually the one tasting it.
My lover leaned in for a kiss and I nuzzled his lips. We'd made love three times since the babies were born and I was still unsure whether he was really up for the physical activity. After four decades of celibacy, I should have had more control over my body but the more of him I had, the more I needed.
"Gimli, your father is going to take the babies after dinner for a visit to Frodo and Sam." His voice was soft against my ear and I shivered. "We're going to come back here and have a hot bath. Then I'm going to take you to bed and make love to you until I come deep inside." He bit my earlobe and I gasped. "Then you're going to make love to me just the way you did that day in the New Forest so many months ago."
I swallowed hard and nodded, unable to say a word. His smile said he understood while he raised Glimmer to one shoulder to burp him. I brushed a caress over our son's soft cheek and he smiled at me. Rhea said that those smiles were simply gas but I knew better. Glimmer knew his father, his mother and his grandfather and we were the only ones who got that little curve of his tiny lips.
Then again, I might be a little prejudiced.
His eyes slowly closed and not even his burp woke him back up. Legolas gently laid him into the cradle near his sister and they moved together as if unable to bear even an inch between them. I immediately pulled him back onto the bed and rolled us so we were side by side without any space between us either.
"Legolas, why do you never speak of your mother?" I hadn't meant to ask that but the words just spilled out.
Those blue eyes were sad but he still smiled. "She was the most beautiful woman in all the Elven kingdoms although she was only minor nobility. King Thranduil," he hesitated and swallowed hard. "He saw her at a conference in Rivendell and fell madly in love. At least that's what my old nurse told me. She accepted his proposal and they were married the next year. Two years later, I was born and Nana told me that she loved me at once. But something went wrong during my birth and she became a semi-invalid. I think now that my father blamed me for the loss of her constant companionship."
I thought I knew what was coming and I could hardly bear to hear the words.
"I spent most of my first five years at her side and I remember her reading to me and teaching me songs. She and Nana were my whole world. Occasionally my father would visit while I was there and I was always on my best behavior when he came. The winter of my sixth year was a hard one and she caught a chill. The healers tried everything they could think of but she slowly faded into death. My father closed himself away when she died. Nana and I spent the next five years in a small cottage near the palace. I had teachers and all the books I wanted. Pfister was my father's weapons master and he began to teach me archery the moment I was big enough to hold a bow."
I kissed him to gain control over my emotions. I'd been so lucky to have a mother and father who loved me most of my life. I'd been sixty before my mother and several others were killed in an earthquake that shook our mountain range. I could hardly bear to hear of his almost-exile now that his father had exiled him for good.
He pulled just a little away and scattered kisses over my face. "I was loved and taken care of very well, beloved. Nana and Pfister spent hours teaching and taking care of me. I can only think that Father had trouble looking at me because I look somewhat like her."
"I expect that you look exactly like her, my heart, for you are without a doubt the most beautiful Elf in all of Middle-earth." I assured him and watched him blush to the tips of his ears. "Ask my father if you don't believe me."
Both dimples appeared and so did his smile. "I think perhaps the two of you are just a trifle prejudiced."
"Not at all." I said seriously but soon succumbed to laughter at his teasing tickle. I treasured his memories and made plans to thank him after dinner. We soon left our bed to check on my father and I thanked him in advance for the gift of some privacy.
Walking to dinner, I cradled Pharin in her sling to my chest and she chewed on the ends of my hair. I'd trimmed my beard because it made her cry every time it brushed her arm. Balik just shook his head at my foolishness but I'd noticed that he tucked his inside his tunic when he held her. All of the Dwarves who'd taken up residence in this new community of ours had gathered around to support our children. Instead of tension between our two peoples, we'd drawn together as a family of disparate cousins.
Dinner was superb and I savored the sautéed mushrooms and grilled venison. The twins had brought in two fine deer and Jallico excelled in cooking them. Lorrin had showed Sam where the best mushrooms could be found and the Hobbits had spent several hours plucking them from the loamy soil deep in the forest.
But dessert was well worth the wait. Jallico and Pip brought out a flaming cherry's jubilee and it looked delicious. We all clapped when they served each table their own portion and it tasted as good as it looked. Once most of us were done eating, Sam stood on his chair and called for our attention.
"We've been here for six months and we've all been thinking of what to name this new community." He looked around the full dining hall and smiled. "I talked to each of you and we finally have one that all of us like. So tonight I'd like to announce our new name. Friendly, home of Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits and Men."
"Friendly." We all raised our glasses and toasted our new official name.
I liked it and Legolas did, too. The friendships we'd brought with us and the ones we'd created by living together, were all an important part of our community. I hoped that our new name would slowly bring us settlers that would understand the importance of such life affirming commitments to each other.
Catching my lover's eye, the sparkle there reminded me that we were going home alone for a precious hour all to ourselves. I could hardly wait.