Author: Athea (
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: Bringing Up Babies, part 15
Pairing: Legolas/Gimli and Perri/Gandalf
Summary: News from the outside world arrives but also a new resident.
Date: 6 July 2003
********* Gimli *********

Aragorn's messenger arrived on the first day of October. It had been almost six weeks since our last news from Gondor. This time he brought with him letters from both Rohan and Lothlorien. Frodo, Legolas and I joined with Elrond and Glorfindel at the guest house after sending Sam for Gandalf and Perri. Some of the letters were addressed to Legolas, some to Elrond but one was to me from Queen Eowyn.

She was a nice girl and while I read her letter, I thought back to the days of our quest when my beautiful elf was still a bit of a mystery to me. Looking over at him while he laughed with Pharin at Elrond's pout, I blessed every day we'd had together. As if he could hear my thoughts, he turned his head and smiled at me. All the love in the world was mine since our bonding.

His smile turned a little sultry and I decided not to return to the mines today. Perhaps Nana and Pfister would take the twins while we played hooky from our duties and visited the hot springs. Now that the weather was turning cooler, the little spring where we'd first celebrated the birth of our children would feel good. Maybe Pippin would make a picnic for us?

Gandalf arrived and lowered himself to one of the straight backed chairs. Perri fussed over him, getting him a pillow for his back and asking him if he wanted some tea. I worried about him as did we all. He was much the oldest person to be pregnant that we knew of and Perri despaired of keeping him off his feet. I know that Legolas visited them twice a day except when Gandalf joined him and Frodo in the archives.

Lorrin and my father arrived hard on their heels. Lorrin spent most of his time with our wizard and the dark elf lord. We didn't know how long they would carry their babies. Miriel had finally given up making the rounds with her father; the twins she carried had slowed her down completely. Her mother spent most of her time with her while they sewed innumerable clothes for the coming babies.

The king's messenger's eyes couldn't have gotten any bigger. Gandalf and Elrond had swelled almost beyond what my Legolas had shown and he had carried twins. For a few moments, his answers were distracted to say the least. But then he got back into the news of the realm and he spoke for almost an hour before stopping. We asked questions for another hour before Gloin showed him to one of the guest rooms so he could take a hot bath and get ready for dinner and another retelling of the news.

Elrond was chuckling over his parchment and he got our attention to read part of a letter from Arwen. "Dear Father, if you are half as irritable as Grandmother, I pity poor Glorfindel. She is huge and has the most appalling cravings. Grandfather is at his wit's end and the others have taken to tiptoeing around her as if she were a volcano ready to explode. Our healer says that she still has two months to go but he said it from across the room since she now delights in throwing things.

"We make sure that there are always lots of pillows nearby since once she started in on the china, she decimated the entire contents of the dining hall settings." Elrond stopped to laugh uncontrollably while Glorfindel rolled his eyes and kept on rubbing his shoulders. "Aragorn and Grandfather think we should hold a council once the babies are all safely born. They want to include the Hobbits this time. Aragorn says we need some common sense at the council table."

"Hear, hear," Frodo said from the floor where he sat cross-legged giving Gandalf a foot massage. "If the next council meeting is anything like the one we had about the Ring, then it would be a good idea to have the Tooks and the Brandybucks there. They could combine the trip with a visit here to see their grandchildren. Where would we hold it?"

Gandalf's eyes were half-slitted with pleasure with Perri massaging his left foot and Frodo massaging his right. "Helm's Deep is half-way between us. Once spring has come, the Gap of Rohan will be clear and we can let King Eomer host us at his newly rebuilt fortress."

"Father will oppose that suggestion." My love's voice was calm but I thought I could hear of note of uncertainty there. "They are usually held at Lothlorien."

"They won't have enough china to serve us all." I said, eyeing my bonded. His head turned to me and his sweet smile made my heart thump a double beat. "Besides, the world has grown immeasurably larger since last we took council. It's time for all races to be represented, to meet and talk about the problems that face us."

"Maybe we can work on the mail problem." Sam spoke up from where he was building blocks with the children. All our eyes came to him and he blushed but continued. "It's so slow even though we no longer have to worry about shadows killing people. It would be really nice if we could speed it up. Bluebird and Bilbo think we should use birds to carry messages."

"Woud wuwk, Da," Bilbo nodded emphatically and our children joined in.

"Drakes, Da, fast drakes," Pharin said. "Like Cloud-walker."

I remembered my first sight of the flyer who'd taken Lorrin and Papa to Rivendell. "Are there many wind-drakes, Lorrin?"

"Not up to now, Gimli but Cloud-walker said that all the fertile females have laid clutches of three to four eggs each. Come the winter solstice, there will be more wind-drakes born than at any time in their long history." Lorrin smiled. "Middle-earth is preparing more surprises for us, I think. After the long darkness, a new rebirth is beginning. The council may have more representatives than just the two legged races."

I thought that would be a very interesting council. My bonded's father was just going to have to lump it. The world had moved past him. And just maybe . . . once he saw his grandchildren, he would see what he was missing and unbend that stiff neck keeping him from seeing how happy his son was with me and our babies. I wasn't going to hold my breath. No matter what, I would not allow him to hurt Legolas again.

When I came back to the conversation, it had moved on to the other letters. I added my bit about Eowyn and Faramir and the unexpected pregnancy that had her stuck in their tower. Still her fondness for her husband shone through her complaints about never getting to go anywhere. By the date on the letter, she'd already delivered their child and I needed to fashion a christening cup.

I put it on my mental list to do later since my bonded was giving me a most sultry look. It was definitely time to hand the children over to Nanala or their grandparents and maybe pick up a picnic basket for a little dinner for two. I could hardly wait to get him alone and wet. We were soon on our way, Papa and Lorrin asking us if they could take the babies for the evening.

My beaming smile was all the answer they needed and the twins immediately demanded to be held by Gampa Lor and Gampa Glo. I paused for a moment, thinking about that odd thought. The babies had two male parents and two male grandparents. How in the world would they cope with an outside world where that was an aberration rather than the norm? I'd seen the side-ways glances of some of the messengers and tradesmen who visited Friendly when ever they saw Legolas and me holding hands or kissing.

Our settlement's citizens didn't think twice about it anymore but others would not be so kind. Thranduil's reaction to our love had been swift and deadly. That was a reaction I feared would hurt my beautiful Elf and our sweet babes. Still if we never left our enchanted valley, our shining example of love and trust would never be seen by those who needed it the most.

"Beloved, you are thinking very deep thoughts." A slim hand raised my chin while he knelt on one knee beside me. "Was this not what your glance spoke to me?"

I blinked then shook my head. "Odd thoughts, my love, they are just odd thoughts at this reminder of a world beyond our valley."

His smile was brighter than sunshine on snow. "We are blessed by this haven, Gimli. Now, you are going to go beg a portable dinner from Pippin while I bundle together the supplies we need for a trip to the hot springs. I will meet you at the back door of the dining hall. Be sure and ask for a bottle of white wine to go with our meal, my hardy dwarf."

He rose gracefully and headed towards our home with a little extra sway in his hips. Mentally I licked my lips and thought about his beautiful body gleaming wet beneath my hands. We were going to need some re-fueling once this fire began to burn so I turned to the dining hall, practicing my begging look. Surely Pippin would understand and help me out?

He laughed at me but packed enough provisions to be sure our stomach hunger would be satisfied. I'd no sooner left out the back door when I saw Legolas walking towards me. He's even more beautiful from this angle, I thought with a satisfied smile. Holding out his hand, he led me to the path that would lead us to the little springs. The air was cool and crisp, the sun already beginning to sink behind the mountains.

We spoke not at all, content to simply be together beneath the towering oaks. Legolas' eyes always went to his friends when he'd been away from them for a while. I sometimes thought that the long hours in the archives meant he needed extra time with the trees of Friendly. The wish that some of the Ents might visit or even decide to dwell here popped up again in my thoughts.

"Legolas, did we ever hear from Treebeard about some of his kin visiting?" I looked up and caught the trailing edge of a smile.

"Nay, love, he would have to think about it for a time. I'm hoping that he decides to write back to us by the twins fifth birthday." He cocked his head. "The springs are just ahead. I'm so glad that you thought of this."

Even I could hear them by now and I smiled at my bonded. Setting our supplies down in the small circle of trees, I began undressing immediately having more layers than my beloved to remove. Elves just didn't feel the cold like dwarves did. Glimmer was definitely more dwarf than elf since he already wore a woolen vest over his shirt while his sister wore a dress only.

My thoughts scattered as they always do when I behold my lover naked. He's all lean lines and rippling muscles, his hair gleaming in the dying rays of the sun. But he was kneeling in front of me again to help me with those last buttons that held my pants up. I leaned in and took his lips to remind me of his tasty self. Opening to me, he sucked my tongue into his mouth while sliding my pants off completely.

The breeze was chilly but my blood was already heating. He pulled just far enough away to urge me into the bubbling water. I braced myself for the shock of bubbles exploding against my skin but it still startled me a little. If there was a way to reproduce that effect in a plain tub, it would be like having your very own springs. I'd tell Papa about my idea when I next saw him. He was a genius when it came to inventing.

"Dearest Gimli, you have been distracted all day." Legolas was sitting on one side of the spa with my feet in his lap.

When had I sat down? "Sorry, beloved, I'm feeling a little out of sorts. What will happen at the next Council when we all meet after this time apart? Part of me wants to experience this new world we helped create but part of me wants to stay safe and sound here with you and our children. I'm no longer an adventurer."

He chuckled and slid between my legs until we were chest to chest. "I understand, my love, I truly do. I see our babies growing so quickly that I wonder if I can keep up with them. Everyday something changes and I want to stop the world for a week so I can just 'be' with them and with you. But the sun stands still for no one and the changes keep coming whether we will or no."

I cupped his face with my callused hands. "I love you more each day, Legolas. I find myself coming home early just so I can watch you translating some weighty tome. On one hand, I want to show you and our brilliant children to the world but on the other, I want to keep you safe all to myself and our valley."

He leaned in and kissed me deeply, his arms encircling me with a firm grip. He tasted of apples and mustard, Gandalf's odd craving having inexplicably spread to my lover. That made me smile into our kiss and he pulled back to see why. All I could do was shrug and draw him back to my needy lips. My hands wandered over his broad chest, brushing against his nipples and wishing that they still gave sweet milk.

Once the twins turned to solid food, his breasts had ceased to produce. But they were still sensitive and I loved suckling at them. His breathy little moan lit a fire inside of me and suddenly we weren't close enough. He must have agreed with my unspoken thought because he surged from the water, bringing me up with him. We stumbled to the waiting blanket, neither of us willing to let go of the other.

The oil was to the ready and he fingered himself open while I slicked myself for him. While I lay back on the soft blanket that Tilly had woven for us, he slowly took me within his tight sheath until he sat on my heated thighs. Those beautiful blue eyes opened and gazed down at me with quite the most joyful look I'd seen since before the attack from dark forces.

"Beloved Gimli, we will rest this winter and in the spring we will travel forth to show our friends and allies what our Fellowship has done since the war." He flexed around my shaft and I shivered, not from the chill breeze but from the ripples of pleasure he gifted to me. "It is the Fourth Age of Middle-earth and we are going to help shape the world that our children will inherit."

His thighs bunched while he rose an inch or two then slowly settled back down. He was going to kill me with his teasing but I would die a happy Dwarf. "If I survive this night, I will gladly give council on the ingredients of a new age. It is," I shivered when he tightened around me, "love in great quantities, mixed with laughter," he lifted further while I tried not to thrust up just yet. "Lots of babies are an absolute must." He was smiling down at me while an errant sunbeam illuminated his flowing golden hair. My heart melted again only to be re-forged into an organ that beat only for him.

We made love so slowly that it seemed we'd been rocking together forever before I released into his keeping and he fountained onto my chest. I hate leaving his snug sheath but finally his muscles pushed me out. Lying side by side with his head pillowed on my shoulder, we rested for a bit. Then we ate our fill, feeding each other succulent tidbits that might have led to another round of lovemaking but for an odd feeling.

Suddenly, we both had the feeling that we were needed elsewhere. While I was throwing everything into the baskets, Legolas sent a mental call to Arod. When he galloped up to us, my love helped me up onto his back then swung easily up behind me. Then we were on our way home in a rush.

********* Perri *********

Gandalf had been cranky all day, sitting down one moment then getting up to pace the next. He complained of having to piss constantly yet he craved the sweet apple cider that Jallico made and drank some every few moments. He was hot then he was cold. He laughed at something he re-read in one of our letters then cried over the fall of the golden leaves of the trees outside our windows.

This was more than just the mood swings that had come before. Leaving him alone for a few moments, I dashed down to the healers and told Rhea about his strange behavior. He reassured me that he'd be by to check on him soon and that he would alert Lorrin to the possibility of a change in his status. I nodded and ran back home. I was excited and fearful all at the same time.

Was it too soon or did Istari simply have a shorter gestational period than Elves? Our son was part Istari and part Elf, who knew what was normal for him? I found Gandalf pacing the front room again. He wore only his nightshirt so he must be warm again, I thought. The soft linen was sometimes the only thing he could bear touching his skin. His big hands stroked the large mound that was our child while he carried on a one-sided conversation with him.

"You're getting impatient aren't you, little one?" He turned at the far side of the room and walked slowly back to the fireplace. "You'd feel better if you had more room to kick those little arms and legs, wouldn't you, Jerdal?" His path led him past me and he absent-mindedly kissed my cheek on his way by. "You're ready to nurse at my breast, little one." He turned again and snagged an apple on his way past the table. "You're getting so big that it just may be time for you to come out of your snug haven."

He stopped in the middle of the room and groaned, the apple falling from his hand. Dear Havens, it was now. I strode to his side and wrapped my arms around him, wishing I could give him my strength. I was in no way ready to watch him go through labor. His hands gripped mine, moving them down to our son so I could feel the ripples starting at his center and spreading out to his whole body. Jerdal was definitely ready to come out and play.

"Perri, I love you." Gandalf's eyes were full of tears. "If anything should happen to me, I want you to promise that you'll stay and take care of our son."

My blood ran cold. "I love you, Gandalf. Nothing is going to happen to you, beloved. You are going to safely birth our son and we will both take care of little Jerdal. I will accept no other outcome, my dearest love. Rhea and Lorrin will be here shortly, in case you really have started labor. Just think how envious Lord Elrond will be if you give birth before him?"

He chuckled a little before grimacing and bending over to wrap his arms around the linen covered mound. "I need to walk some more, Perri. He seems to like it when I do that."

"Then walk we shall, 'Dalf." I locked my fears away inside my heart and slid my left arm around him to give him something to hold onto. We'd just made the fourth circuit of the room when Lorrin arrived.

The Varyan healer laid both hands over our son and mapped the movements with a curious look on his face. "Gandalf, are you feeling warm?"

"Yes, it's much too hot in here." My love said crankily. "Perhaps Perri should open some windows? Some fresh air would be nice."

If anything it was on the chilly side, I thought with a frisson of fear. But Lorrin nodded and spoke a few words to our son in some ancient dialect that I'd never heard before. "It's time, Gandalf. Perri, help him to your bed. We'll not wait to walk to the clinic."

My lover nodded and I led him to our bedroom, stripping away the covers before slowly helping him off with the nightshirt. To my dismay, the mound was glowing bright red and our son was clearly outlined in white. Even Gandalf looked rather taken aback at the sight but he was soon groaning and shutting his eyes against the sudden pain. The ripples fled from one side to the other and I held his right hand in mine while Lorrin held his left.

"I'm turning Narya downwards, Gandalf." Lorrin slid the ring so the red stone was next to Gandalf's palm. It started to glow the same color as his stomach only sharper and more intense. Lorrin slowly moved his hand over the rippling mound until an answering beam of light came from within my beloved. "Hold still, my friend. Let your son and the ring do the work."

I was biting my lip hard enough to draw blood but since I couldn't look at our son burning his way out of his mother, I concentrated on Gandalf's sweaty face. Trickles of sweat rolled down his face and I focused on licking each and every one of them from his skin. His moans ceased suddenly and I quickly looked down to see Lorrin reach within and pull out a tiny red figure.

"A fine boy, Gandalf and Perry, you have a beautiful little fire mage." Lorrin cradled him in both hands before laying him on Gandalf's chest. "Rest a bit while I close you up."

My free hand went to touch our son and with a start, he opened eyes the same shade of blue as my own before letting out a piercing cry. He had excellent lungs, I thought dazedly. Then Gandalf's other hand joined mine in touching our beautiful little boy and I realized that the only sign of his birth was now a thin red line about eight inches long from his navel up to his chest.

"Perri, if you will clean Gandalf, I will finish cleaning Jerdal." Lorrin handed me a basin of water and a soft cloth while deftly slipping our son from our grasp.

He had the right of it and I shook myself back to my beloved's comfort. There wasn't much blood and fluid but enough to look uncomfortable. I bathed his face and upper body clean while he watched wide-eyed as Lorrin tied off the umbilical cord and cleaned the tiny body of the afterbirth.

"Perri," his husky voice brought my gaze back to his. "I love you."

I kissed him hard and blinked back tears. "I love you, too. Thank you for giving me such a beautiful son."

He chuckled. "I just carried him, beloved. Next time, it's your turn."

We all three laughed but I couldn't help but notice that Narya pulsed a little redder as if in agreement. But Lorrin was placing our son in Gandalf's arms while I stuffed another couple of pillows behind him, to take the strain off of his abused stomach muscles. We had a son. Now that the danger was over, I made a rash promise to the Elven gods that I would carry our next child whenever they wished me to.

Jerdal waved his perfect little hand at me and made smacking motions with his tiny lips. Gandalf had watched Pippin nursing Basteal so he knew what to do. Sliding my arm around him, I watched our son begin to nurse at a plump nipple. I was a father and someday perhaps I would know this joy, too.

Narya just glowed faintly in time to our son's heartbeat.

The end of part 15