Author: Athea (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: Bringing Up Babies, part 5
Pairing: Sam/Frodo and Legolas/Gimli
Summary: They get the guest house ready for Elrond and Glorfindel.
Date: 12 January 2003
Merry and I set the last door of the bathroom cabinet into place and made sure that it swung properly. There was a bit of a squeak so I oiled the hinges and carefully wiped away the drop of oil that got away. That was better and we stopped for a moment to look around the last guestroom. It would be nice for Men or Elves. We'd taken to calling it the Rose Room since there were hundreds of roses carved in wood and stone and fabric everywhere you looked.
There was a little glass room built into the window on the south side and I had coaxed a couple of miniature rose bushes to grow there. Come May, there'd be some nice scents and little blossoms to make the room pretty. We were going to let Lord Elrond pick which room he wanted and I was hoping that he'd pick this one. If he was going to be going through what my Frodo had gone through, he'd need something beautiful to take his mind off it.
He should be coming soon, I thought and looked around to see if everything was done. Merry was doing the same and I eyed him a little to see how he was feeling. He and Pip had been real quiet since we'd found out that Bluebird was blind. The only time they smiled was when one of the other children was with them. Frodo told me that it would take some time for them to get over feeling guilty.
Frodo had sighed and told me that he understood guilt since he had felt really guilty about loving me. I had hugged him so hard that he gasped and complained but with a smile since he knew what I thought about that. After we put the babies to sleep in their new little beds built real close to the floor, we'd gone to our own bed and made love for hours.
"I'm fine, Sam." Merry's smile was dim but brighter than I'd seen it in months. "It took a while to understand why Blue . . . why her blindness had to be. Lorrin explained that there was a good chance that one of the new babies will also have a sense missing. It wasn't just that we were first cousins."
I didn't know anything to say that wouldn't come out wrong. While I was searching for the right words, he kept on talking.
"She's such a sweetheart and we love her so much that sometimes I want to yell and scream that it's not fair that she can't see us . . . that she'll never see us."
"I can understand that, Merry." I decided to say something that I'd wanted to for some time. "She's beautiful, your little Blue is. And she's got Pippin's laugh right down to that little chirp at the end of it. But she's got your eye for texture, Merry. Have you noticed when she's holding something that her hands skim over it first, then real slowly she'll rub it between her baby fingers until she's felt it all?"
He looked at me kind of taken aback-like. "She's always fingering things."
"See, she can't see it but she can touch it and I expect that her fingers are more sensitive than the other babies. Remember what happened when she dipped her thumb into the bowl of pudding that Pip was eating while holding her?" We'd laughed when we were watching her. "That was something real new and she just had to get her whole hand into it. Then she sniffed it and tasted it and laughed and laughed and laughed."
He chuckled a little. "And while she was laughing, she was painting Pip's nose with it."
I could see him thinking hard while we packed up our tools and made sure the bathing room was clean and tidy. With no towels and such, it still looked kind of empty but Salurr had woven a real pretty basket from golden reeds by the river to hold soaps and things and it was sitting on top of the sink encircled with some red and green ribbons in fancy shapes that looked just like roses.
It would be fun to see it when someone was actually living here. Even if Lord Elrond didn't pick this one, maybe one of the Elves he brought with him would choose it. We left the guesthouse and walked home on the snow packed path that led to the dining hall. Pretty much all of the paths led there and I was hungry so we stopped to get a bite. Most everybody was done eating already but Pip was just putting out another loaf of fresh bread and he welcomed us with a smile.
And so did Bluebird from her sling across his front. She knew her daddy from his scent and he set his tool bag aside to hold her instead. Blue had a real strong grip on his hair while he tickled her and asked her how her day had been. And right then and there, she opened her mouth and said "Da, Da, Da."
Pippin's eyes got real big and so did Merry's. "Say that again, Sweetheart."
"Da, Da, Da, Da." She sang it to him while he hugged her so tight she squealed in laughter. Pippin was hugging them both and the baby turned her head just far enough to kiss his cheek. "Ma, Ma, Ma, Ma."
"Now, she's a smart one and that's for sure. None of ours started making sense until they were six months or so." I congratulated them both then I got my lunch and went to sit at our usual table. They'd be over in a bit once they got used to her talking. Well, she'd been talking but nothing sensible had been coming out, just like our two.
Elanor and Bilbo had turned one year old the month before and while I was buttering my bread, I thought about the birthday party we'd had here in the dining hall. Gandalf had some sparklers that we put in the top of their cake and when we lit them, they fizzed all blue and red. We'd given out little gifts to everyone from mittens to herbs that I'd dried over the winter. Pippin, Jallico and Suzana had made a wonderful feast for us all. It was a great evening and we'd sat and listened to Legolas and Perri sing about our settling Friendly.
Now in two days, it would be Pharin and Glimmer's birthday and I was pretty sure that we were going to have some of that wonderful raspberry chocolate torte that Legolas liked so much. Friendly had taken real well to our Hobbit custom of giving gifts so Gimli and Legolas had told us all that they were going to do the same. That would be fun and if the day was nice then maybe we could even have a picnic outside.
I finished eating and left Merry feeding some of his custard to Bluebird while Pip looked on with a smile. Finally, it felt like they were ready to join in with the rest of us. Outside, I took a deep breath and decided to go see if Frodo wanted to quit work early. He and Legolas were in the library, busy writing away with the small pen under the table where the babies played.
Legolas was singing something Elvish while my bonded hummed along. His hair was getting longer and the dark curls tumbled onto the soft cotton of his blue shirt. I liked looking at him when he didn't know I was there. Well, I'd always watched him, hadn't I? Even when I should have been minding my gardening, I just couldn't help myself. He's so beautiful and I loved him so much that I couldn't hardly catch my breath some days.
"Da!" Little Bilbo had caught sight of me and waved his hand at me. That brought Frodo's eyes up from his parchment and that special smile that's mine alone blossomed.
"You're done with the guesthouse, Sam?" His eyes crinkled up with his smile.
"All done, although Gimli and Legolas should probably take a run through all the rooms to make sure that we haven't forgotten anything. You about finished for the day?" I asked hopefully.
He chuckled and quirked that graceful eyebrow of his at Legolas. "Are we at a stopping spot? I'm almost done with this scroll."
The golden elf smiled. "I think Sam has a good idea. I'm almost done with mine, also." He pushed back from the table and opened the little gate on the pen to let the children crawl out. "Little ones, should we go find your father?"
"Fin' Da." Glimmer was the first one out and Legolas hugged him close. Then Bilbo was out and walking unsteadily to where I was waiting.
He smelled of baby powder and mashed carrots and I held him close while he gave me baby smooches all over my cheeks. He and his sister were such blessings that sometimes I just had to catch my breath. Looking up, I saw my Frodo holding Elanor and I got to my feet to join him. Leaning over, I kissed him real soft-like while our children giggled at our goings on. Then we set off for home while I hoped that they were ready for a nap. I wanted to cuddle Frodo close and make love to him until dinnertime.
From his smile, I thought he'd like that, too.
The first I knew that my workday was ended was when I was hit from behind by a pair of small attackers. "Help, help, Balik, somebody's got me."
My friend chuckled from across the blocks of marble we were shaping and shook his head. "They're too frightening for me, Gimli. I'm afraid that you're on your own."
"Da-da, silly," Pharin giggled and I swept her up in my arms, growling in mock anger. Turning quickly, I scooped up Glimmer also while they shrieked and pulled my hair.
Legolas was leaning in the doorway of our stone shop, his blue eyes smiling at me with that little sultry look that told me work was over, it was time for play. "We are finished for the day, beloved. Will you join us for a bath and nap?"
Thinking quickly, I nodded. "The guesthouse is complete, I believe. These mantles can be finished another day. How about it, little ones, are you up for a dip in the hot water?"
Glimmer nodded vigorously while Pharin smacked a kiss onto my cheek. "Baf, Da-da, hot baf."
I snickered at her attempt at the word 'bath'. Their vocabulary was growing by leaps and bounds but sometimes it still sounded like a foreign language to me. Legolas always seemed to know what they meant but he spent more time with them than I got to. But I had my chance now so I was going to take it. Glimmer was humming in my left ear while Pharin was back to chewing on my hair again.
There was something missing in her diet and I was going to have a talk with Rheanas about that when next I saw him. Walking along the path to our home, I asked my love what he'd been translating today. He told me of the star charts that had been rolled inside a scroll about telling the future. It appeared that the stars moved and changed position over time.
That was an interesting thought and I was going to ask him a question when the babies went still and silent. I looked down at them and found Pharin clutching a lock of my hair while her eyes went hooded. With a shock, I realized that I recognized that look, that gaze that Legolas had gotten right before he dispatched a pair of Uruk-kai on our journey.
It was all the more shocking because a silent growl was vibrating Glimmer's small body. I searched for what might have frightened them but all I could see was Rhea and Basteal walking towards us in the same friendly conversation they'd been having since the Dwarf healer had arrived several weeks before.
"Greetings, Legolas and Gimli." Rhea said genially and Basteal smiled at us. "Are you looking forward to the momentous occasion of your birthday, twins?"
Pharin nodded once but her smile was very small and when she put her head down on my shoulder, she closed her eyes as if she was just too tired to talk. Glimmer mimicked her on my other shoulder and I decided to get us out of here before anything else odd happened.
"They're so excited that they've been going strong all day and now need a nap to rest up for the festivities." I cuddled them close and wondered at the chill breeze that suddenly swept around us.
"We look forward to seeing you later for dinner." Legolas smiled his bewitching smile at them but then put himself between us and them with such a smooth movement that I barely had time to twitch before we were past. "Good afternoon, my friends."
I sped up just a bit, his hand on my back tense instead of loving. He kept pace with me and soon we were inside our home and I felt the tension leave all four of us. "Sweetheart, what in the Lady's name was that?"
Pharin murmured 'Da' into my ear and Glimmer tried to strangle me with a too tight hug. Legolas slung his cloak onto the hooks ready for it then took Pharin from me to uncloak her while I took care of our son. When we were all settled before the fire, I gazed at my small family and felt a slight frisson of fear.
"Basteal has an aura about him that frightens the children." Legolas sat cross-legged on the heart rug with Pharin cradled in his lap. "And if I must admit it, he feels . . . wrong to me. I don't know why this is so but I feel on-guard when he is near."
I looked into those blue eyes that had never lied to me and tried to understand what he was saying. "He asks many questions and sometimes they are very personal but I feel no sense of harm in them."
"It's not that, although some are 'very' personal and border on rudeness. Rhea asked some of the same questions and I didn't mind them at the time." He shrugged those broad shoulders with a little smile. "Well, at least I didn't mind very much. But when he looks at the children, all of our children, there's an almost palpable feeling of desire. A desire to unlock their secrets, experiment on them the way that the Dark Lord took Elves and twisted them into Orcs."
I shivered and watched my love almost shudder with dread. So that old story was true, there was kinship between those two races. Looking down into my son's big eyes, I felt a fierce desire to protect him from all harm. "Never, Glimmer, you need never fear such a thing ever happening to you. I vow this on my sacred honor."
When I looked up, Legolas was blotting a tear on our daughter's fair head while she murmured 'Ma-ma' to him. "I also pledge this on the trees that shelter us, Pharin. Nothing shall harm you while your father and I live."
Were we making too much of this reaction of not yet one-year olds?
"I think it's time we ask Papa and Lorrin to come down for another visit. We need allies in case our fears become a reality." I said decisively and watched Legolas nod. "But for right now, I need a hot bath and a little nap before dinner. Who wants to join me?"
Pharin giggled and raised her hand while Glimmer mirrored her. Legolas chuckled and rose seemingly effortlessly before reaching down a hand to me. "It's unanimous, beloved. The only question left is do we have bubbles or not?"
"Bub-bub-bub," Glimmer chanted and Pharin joined in.
"Bubbles it is, then. But not the pink ones." I glared at my bonded and our daughter and got identical pouts from the two of them. "We'll smell like strawberries!"
"We like strawberries, Gimli." Legolas walked ahead gracefully while I watched his hips swaying just a little more than normal.
"Goo staw'is, Da-da." Glimmer said with a little nod that I recognized as my father's.
"Strawberry it is then. I'm outvoted again." I pretended to sigh but our son saw right through me and laughed that sweet chortle that always made me smile.
A laughing glance over a silken shoulder made my skin heat up. "I'll make it up to you, beloved Gimli. Anything you'd like for as long as you like this afternoon."
I straightened up and smiled rather hawkishly. "I shall be thinking very hard of exactly what I'd like." I pursed my lips and watched his eyes go sultry. "Perhaps a massage?"
His purr made Pharin laugh out loud and I sat Glimmer down so we could all get undressed for our bath. Even though our loving time was much less now that the twins were born, I begrudged the loss only occasionally. They were worth everything to us and I pushed the thought of trouble to the back of my mind for now. Nothing interfered with bath time in our household.
The steaming water and bright pink bubbles that frothed up the sides of the tub drew us all like magnets. The children were like small fish paddling this way and that once they were wet all over. Legolas and I took turns washing them until they were squeaky clean and it was time to wash each other. I loved sliding my hands over his pale skin and today was no exception. He was smooth everywhere and I soon had helpers rubbing soapy hands over him.
He gasped and chuckled at the teasing touches, his eyes promising retribution once our children were asleep. But then it was my turn and three pairs of hands scrubbed me clean of the sweat of the day. Glimmer was yawning by the time we rinsed off and Pharin wasn't far behind. We dried them well and carried them in to their bedroom and the new little beds that sat side by side.
Merry had made them with the high sides that prevented them from falling out if they rolled too far. I tucked Pharin in and kissed her cheek while she yawned and said my name sleepily. Then just like that, she was out like a blown out lamp. I stood with a bit of a creak to my back and Legolas held out his hand to me to lead me to our own bed, right next door.
Once we were ensconced in our feather bed, he cuddled me close. "We'll speak to Papa and Lorrin tomorrow. If there is a threat then I want it dealt with quickly and completely. I won't risk any of Friendly to pain and suffering."
"I agree, my love." I brushed back his hair behind one delicately pointed ear and felt him shiver. "We will do what we do best - protect our families against all evil." Drawing him down to my lips, I feasted on his tasty mouth for a long moment then slowly let him go. "I believe that I was promised a massage?"
He chuckled and raised up far enough to reach the oil that we kept by the bed. "I shall honor my promise the best way I know how. All your muscles will be seen to, beloved. I promise you that."
And he was right.