Author: Athea (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: Bringing Up Babies, part three
Pairing: Legolas/Gimli, Lorrin/Gloin
Summary: Gandalf begins to exhibit some alarming symptoms.
Date: 20 November 2002
"Legolas, did you notice Gandalf at dinner tonight?" I was snuggled in beside my bonded with his beautiful blond head on my chest while I threaded my fingers through his silky hair.
He chuckled and licked that sensitive spot beneath my chin. "His odd combinations were rather interesting. I wouldn't have thought that dipping dill pickles in honey would taste very good but he seemed to be enjoying them."
"Two days ago it was apples dipped in mustard." I grimaced. "Do you think winter has changed his taste buds?"
Legolas stilled and I could feel his thoughts suddenly focus on something. It was odd but over the last two years, we'd grown so close that sometimes it felt as if we could read each other's mind. I waited while he thought it through, my left hand rubbing his shoulders free of the ache that came with picking up, putting down then doing it again and again, then carrying two growing children around all day.
"Beloved, how long has it been since Lorrin came down to visit?" He raised his head and looked at me with wide blue eyes.
"Better part of a month, I expect. Papa is having so much fun exploring the mountain that they've only come up to the surface twice. You brought the babies up during the day to show them where I worked and they came to greet us. Then, last week they came down for supplies and we all met in the hot springs."
His smile was slow and a little uncertain. "I think you should invite them down for dinner at the dining hall tomorrow. In fact, I think this is an emergency and you should ring the bell in the mountain."
I looked at him in consternation. "Pickles in honey are an emergency?"
"It is if Gandalf is pregnant." He said quietly
My mouth dropped open and I think my eyes tried to pop out of my head. "Pregnant? Gandalf is ancient, my love. Surely there is no way for him to get . . . to . . . with child?"
"Cravings," Legolas ticked off his list with kisses. "Perri says that Gandalf is wearing him out in bed. He watched an icicle form the other day and wept when the wind broke it in two."
"Damn, you went through almost the same pattern." I thought back rather fondly on the early months of his pregnancy. "But there's no morning sickness, love, he's eating everything in sight."
He leaned in and took my lips with a smile. I love kissing him and I always will, tonight was no exception. When next we had to breathe, he continued as if we hadn't quit speaking. "Morning sickness does not come to all, beloved. I've known several female elves who were blissfully free of any sickness their entire pregnancies."
"That's not very fair, love, that you had to endure such anguish for almost four months." I had hated that sickness because I could do nothing to alleviate it.
"I would endure twice the illness for it led to our delightful children." He sighed and laid his head wearily back down onto my chest. "Even though they have the energy of a herd of charging horses. Tomorrow, Frodo and I are giving them to Nana, Merry and Pippin so that we may have an entire day of work in the archives."
"Then I will make sure that Papa and Lorrin come back with me for the mid-day meal." I chuckled and kissed his fair head. "They can exhaust them further so that we can have an early night and perhaps a bed picnic?"
His chuckle was faint and I barely heard him whisper, "My love."
Then his breath was quiet and I knew he was asleep. All I had to do was hew stone and shape it for long hours; he had the care of two active almost one year olds. Now that they were walking or in Glimmer's case running, he had to keep up with them. Luckily, they took a nap most afternoons but that was when he tried to get in an hour or two translating in his study.
I'd come home early one afternoon and found him sound asleep on top of a sheet of parchment, the quill pen still clutched in one hand. The twins were wide awake but playing quietly in their room with the set of building blocks that Merry had carved for them. Legolas had awoken when I tried to get the pen out of his hand and he'd apologized for his lapse.
As if I'd have been able to do any better, I thought fondly. Being a warrior and miner or archer and prince just didn't prepare you adequately for bringing up two small children. Closing my eyes, I prepared myself for sleep with one thought still uppermost.
A pregnant wizard might be a very hazardous person to have around.
When the bell rang deep within the mountain, Gloin and I looked at each other in consternation. "We'd best get above. It must be serious."
Laying down our tasks, I was shaping a crystal and Gloin was weaving a circlet to hold it when I was done, we prepared to leave our cozy home for the surface. "What if it's one of the babies?"
I shook my head. "I am attuned to all five of the littles, they are fine."
Gloin nodded but stepped up the pace while I gazed at him fondly. Inviting him into my old home had been exhilarating. He'd taken one look around, explored the complex of rooms that nature had hollowed out and settled in with a happy smile. The only drawback was our distance from the members of our growing family. That still surprised me . . . that I was part of a family again.
But I was and I was also part of the rebirth of magic users the likes of which hadn't been seen since the First Age. I smiled at the thought that perhaps the children of Friendly would surpass even my kin. Once in the upper levels we met Gimli and he told us their news. I blinked and thought about what it might mean, Narya choosing to get his wearer pregnant.
We started down the mountain while Gimli brought us up on all the news. Salurr was with child and Cincall was busy carving a new cradle for her. Basteal, the Dwarven healer had finally arrived and was staying in Rheanas' spare bedroom. He was a story teller and had settled in as if he'd always lived here. He was fascinated by Gimli's twins and he watched them, taking notes all the while.
Glimmer liked him but Pharin was taking her time with the gregarious dwarf. She was always a bit standoffish with new people although she'd taken to young Perri at once. Perhaps that was because he looked so much like Legolas but I silently thought it was because she saw the inner souls of everyone she met. I had often wondered what she would have thought of the late, unlamented Harriman. Perhaps I would spend some time with this new Dwarf, just to be sure he was all right.
Gloin raised an eyebrow at me but I shook my head with a faint smile. I would see first and speak later, if there was anything of which to speak. We reached the dining hall in time to greet Legolas carrying the twins and struggling with the door. Gloin took Pharin while I took Glimmer and we re-bonded with the sweet souls in the next few moments. I was doubly blessed to be a part of this wonderful family.
Sitting at the table in our normal spots, I looked up in time to see Gandalf come in arguing with Clothile about one of the scrolls they were translating. And it was plain to see that he was indeed pregnant. Perri followed them with a fond smile at the wizard's gesturing hands. He was just a youngster and I wondered why Narya had chosen Gandalf instead of the young Elf to bear this special child. All through the meal, I listened and watched them interact with each other and the others of the community.
I also pondered how to tell them what I'd just discovered. When Legolas caught my eye, he silently asked me with a lifted eyebrow whether or not I'd discovered the truth. I nodded and watched him take a deep breath and let it out slowly. I'd have help with this task and I thanked the Old Gods for that aid.
A wizard in full-hormonal overload could be a very chancy thing, indeed. I ate more of Jallico's delicious leg of mutton and listened to Perri speak of the song he'd been working on about the founding of Friendly. He half sang part of the first verse and I smiled at the memories his voice brought back to me. This valley had once rung with melodies from morning to night.
I had missed the sound of voices all those years that I was alone here. Under the table, Gloin's hand rested on my knee while he looked a question at me and I smiled back at him. To have another share my life and home was the greatest blessing I'd ever received. I'd even thought about getting pregnant but the next few years when the littles of Friendly began to grow would take all my strength and wisdom.
And if I was not mistaken, another circle of mages was being created. Gandalf might be just the tip of this pregnancy ground swell. We needed to get messengers to Rivendell and Lothlorien. I had an inkling that the three Elven rings of power had a master plan all worked out. Poor Elrond might find himself a mother all too shortly. I'd never met the Lady of the Woods but I was willing to bet that she was pregnant, too.
When Miriel and the twins came in, brushing off a layer of snow in the entrance way, my eyes widened again. She also was pregnant. I'd need to look more closely but she wasn't as far along as Gandalf so I could take care of him first then approach this most interesting triad of lovers.
The old days had never been like this. If a new circle was growing then one of these couples might be carrying twins. I just hoped it wasn't Gandalf. He'd have enough on his plate without having the extra burden of having two babies growing inside of him. I couldn't tell just by looking, I'd have to get close enough to have some hands on time with him.
He was either going to hex me into tomorrow or faint dead away. How in Middle-earth was I going to give him this news. I saw Perri look at me strangely and I nodded to him with a smile. "Perri, would it be all right if Gloin and I came for a short visit after this meal? I would love to hear more of your song."
"Certainly, Elder Lorrin, I would be pleased to share my poor efforts." He blushed.
"Not so poor, Perri, you have a lovely singing voice." Gandalf defended his beloved.
Something was going on and it involved all of the people around the table except for the twins. Gimli kept looking sideways at me as if I'd grown another head. I crunched the celery stalks after dipping them in my lemon pudding and thought about what might be wrong. Nothing came to mind so I put it aside and kept on devouring my food. I'd have to be careful if I didn't want to grow a paunch like my old friend, Butterbur of Bree.
But the clotted cream and fresh baked tortes were calling my name and I just had to taste one or two. Smiling at Perri, I thought that with all my energy I might be able to talk him back into bed after our visitors left. The mid-day meal was finally over and we walked back to our home, chatting of this and that. The paths were free of the snow that had been falling for several days and the sun was shining so we walked home slowly.
I hadn't had a home in centuries, traveling from one part of Middle-earth to the other. It felt distinctly odd to have one now and odder still to have someone with which I could share it. Perri strode at my side, his beautiful blond hair gleaming in the sunlight. Truly, I was the luckiest wizard in the history of the Istari. I had the urge to settle in and not travel for a year or more.
Hopefully, I'd have the chance to do just that. Frowning, I thought of the dark power that had ensnared me the year before. There'd be no rest if that darkness returned. Perri tucked his hand into mine and looked into my eyes with concern. I managed to smile and push that disturbing thought away, pressing a brief kiss to the warm hand in mine. I would not borrow trouble, I told myself.
We sat down in Gloin's former front room and I watched the other four look among themselves almost nervously. "All right, out with it. Something has happened that I should know about so please just tell me."
Lorrin stood before me with his hands clasped behind him. "Gandalf, you are pregnant."
I blinked. "That is not funny, Elder Lorrin."
"It wasn't meant to be, Gandalf. If I'm correct, all three of the Elven ring bearers are now with child. It appears that the rings have decided to raise a second circle of power." He spoke authoritatively and I felt rather faint.
"I can not be pregnant, Lorrin. I'm older than almost everyone in this room." I almost but not quite sputtered.
"I'm sorry, Gandalf, but you are about two months along. I'm not sure about the gestation period for Istari but the Elf half of this child should grow for almost twelve months." Lorrin said quietly and I began to believe.
"Is it then . . . my fault?" Perri said with a hitch in his voice.
"You contributed the other half of this child, my friend." Lorrin spoke kindly to my young lover and I took his hand in mine to anchor myself in this strange new world in which I found myself. "There is no fault in this creation."
"Gandalf, do you . . . do you wish to carry . . . it?" Perri was so pale that he looked like all the blood had left his body.
And for a moment, I wished to tear it from my body and rid myself of the responsibility. The Old Ones had asked much of the Istari and I'd given them all of my life. Now that the world was calm and mostly at peace, I'd thought that my life might be, too. Surely they would not ask this of me?
Perri's blue eyes were wide and almost frightened, while slowly a single tear slid down his downy cheek. I thought of what his child would look and sound like. If there was any justice in the world this child would look like him and not me. Sweet Havens, I was thinking as if I would indeed carry this baby to term.
Did I really have a choice? Looking down at Narya, I saw it glowing softly and I sighed. "I have no idea how long an Istari gestates so we'll just have to find out together."
"Gandalf!" Perri bit his lip and I brought his hand to my lips for a kiss. "You must not do this if you'd rather not. I don't want your life endangered."
"I love you, my young Elf. By whatever magic, we have combined our seed into new life." I almost smiled. "Would I prefer you to carry this . . . child? Yes, I'd enjoy pampering you through a pregnancy like Gimli did for Legolas. Instead, you're going to have to put up with my foul temper and constant demands."
His smile started small and grew into incandescent joy. "Beloved Gandalf, you are the sweetest tempered person that I know." And he flung himself into my arms, while I hugged him close.
Gimli snorted and I cast a disdainful look his way but it was spoiled by Legolas' delighted laughter. "True, Perri, Gandalf was always the kindest, most endearing wizard of our acquaintance. I shall appoint myself his advisor in this pregnancy and Gimli shall give you advice on pampering. He is very good at it, but then so is Papa so you will have the benefit of both their advice."
Suddenly something that Lorrin had said earlier came back to me. "Lorrin, you think that all the rings have decided to take a hand, as it were, in the affairs of their wearers?"
He shrugged and sat on the hearth by a smiling Gloin. "I have wondered. The circle of young mages born to Legolas, Frodo and Pippin are one such grouping. If another circle was needed to counter the threat of the dark menace, the Elven rings of power could easily take this step. Miriel is also pregnant although it may only be days rather than months. I won't know until I examine her. Salurr is also with child and perhaps this circle will have one of the race of Men within it."
"Goodness," I said faintly and leaned into my love's embrace. "This will take some getting used to."
"He hasn't been getting sick, Lorrin." Perri told the elder Elf while stroking my hair back from my face. "Quite the opposite in fact, he's eating everything in sight."
"I have a naturally healthy appetite, Perri." I said indignantly and drew back a little.
He smiled at me and ran a gentle hand down my cheek. "Yes, you do, my love. But some of your combinations have been a trifle . . . odd, lately."
"Pickles in honey, Gandalf?" Gimli said with a grimace.
And suddenly I had a craving for that delicious treat. "Yes, the combination of sweet and tart is so very good. I wonder if Jallico has any dills left?"
The others broke into laughter while Perri kissed me sweetly. When he finished, he said solemnly, "I shall see at once, my love. But for the moment, I think that Lorrin has some things to tell us and he should probably examine you more closely, too."
Legolas stood and pulled Gimli up with him. "We shall go and instantly investigate the state of dill pickles in Friendly." Moving swiftly, he hugged me close and whispered in my ear. "We will talk soon and I will listen to whatever you need to say." Then he straightened and smiled at Perri. "Dear friend, this journey will be an interesting one. May we all survive it."
They left still laughing and Gloin went with them. Lorrin stood and smiled down at us. "You'll be more comfortable in your own bed, Gandalf, while I examine you and the child. Shall we?"
Perri pulled me to my feet and I followed him into our bedroom, girding myself up to be poked and prodded. Perhaps I'd wake up shortly and discover this was only a dream?