Author: Athea
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: Bindings of Love, part 5
Summary: The Lothlorien contingent heads for Helms Deep. //means mind-speech
Date: 25 January 2004
********* Galadriel *********

It had been centuries since I'd gone riding for pleasure and certainly not for business. But after some hasty practice, I was as ready as I was going to be. Loading our boats to the brims, we set out down the Anduin to meet Arwen and Aragorn and their contingent of Gondorians.

I was out of practice for many things but holding Cerridan in my lap, I smiled down at his sweet face. I'd forgotten how much baggage a baby brings with it. One whole boat was devoted to him. The April chill in the air meant we were all dressing in layers so I was afraid two of the boats had been needed for my clothes alone. I cringed at what Arwen would say when she saw us.

A small hand tapped mine and I smiled into eyes bluer than my own. "Hungry already, Cerridan?"

//m-m-m-m-m// was his answer.

And for just a moment the pain of knowing he would never speak out loud swamped me. Celeborn's arm snuck around me at once and his soft lips grazed my temple. I smiled at him, accepting his help at unlacing my bodice so I could bring our son to my breast. Hungry lips immediately tugged at my nipple and I leaned into my husband while watching our son nurse.

"You're both so beautiful when you do that." Celeborn's hand rubbed a comforting warm patch on my shoulder. "Millennia have passed since last I saw this."

"Part of me could have gone at least that long again." Thinking of the long months of pregnancy, I blushed a little at how out-of-control I'd been. "Yet he is a blessing I never thought to be given. I just wish . . ."

His lips whispered in my ear, "I know, my love, I know. It will be hard telling Arwen and the others. But the Valor compensated by giving him mind-speech. He will have friends and relatives to help him and if the letters from Elrond and Gandalf are to be believed, he is part of a very special circle of mages."

Cerridan finished and patted the plump swell of my breast. Shifting him felt very different in a moving boat but Celeborn steadied me and our son was soon feeding voraciously. Boy children seemed to do every thing with gusto or else my memory of our beautiful daughter was flawed. She'd been such a reserved child not like her little brother who welcomed each new experience with a smile and a silent giggle.

********* Sam *********

It was morning of the day we traveled on towards Helms Deep and I really wasn't looking forward to it much. Flying would never be fun for me but the children loved it and I could foresee flights in the future especially between here and Friendly. The babies both born and yet to-be-born would insist upon it.

The caravan from the Shire had arrived the day before and Merry and Pip's parents had all had to oh-and-ah over the babies and toddlers. Little Blue had floated between all four of them over and over again while clapping her hands and whispering to them. They were kind of taken aback by that but soon grew comfortable enough to simply hold her close and kiss her soft cheek whenever she arrived in their arms.

"Sweetheart, what has you frowning this beautiful morning?" Frodo rolled on top of me and wiggled just a little.

"Flying, my own Frodo, I'm trying to get enthusiastic about getting back on a wind-drake." I admitted while stroking my hands down his back to the downy cheeks just waiting to fill them. He feels really good first thing in the morning.

"Ah, I thought it might be that. Gloin shared a little secret with me about making the flight go faster." His blue eyes sparkled and that grin of his lit up the big bed. "After the lunch break, when our twins switch over to Legolas and Gimli, I'll show you. But for now, I think we need to make love."

Well, that was always a good idea and I reached an arm for the oil we kept on the night stand. Frodo rather imperiously put out his hand and I chuckled at how much he looked like Lord Elrond when he did that. But it had been a long while since I'd taken his pretty cock so he took extra time stretching me before sliding inside.

It beats all how good it feels being connected to him this way. I raised my hips a little to get him deeper and he obliged by thrusting in harder. That magic spot inside of me tingled and soon I was tingling all over. Frodo had a look of concentration on his face that reminded me of when he was translating an old scroll in the archives. The whole world goes away when he's focusing on something and I was the lucky one this morning.

Oh, it did feel good like this. I was going to coax him to take control more often until we just couldn't fit together in this position. Stroking my hands over his stomach where our babes were growing, I smiled up at him. "A few more months and we won't fit, my Frodo."

He smiled and swiveled his hips a little more, making me flush with the heat. "Oh, we'll fit, my Sam, just not front to front. But until then, I plan on being totally and completely insatiable."

I could live with that, I thought and came hard between us. Maybe I'd be too tired to get airsick this time.

********* Bluebird *********

Gampa Pal and Gama Egg were really, really nice but quieter than Gama Es and Gampa Sar. I had asked all of them if they'd help out Mama and Papa and they had said yes. Pharin and I had worked really hard to get the mix just right. It had to be right or the new babies might come out wrong. I'd checked with Unka Lor to be sure and he'd gone over the family tree with me again.

I wondered what a family tree looked like and he'd shown me in the garden, using dirt to trace out a funny looking chart that didn't look like what a tree felt like to me. Still the branching part made sense, kind of. Papa didn't share any limbs with Gama Egg and Mama didn't share any with Gampa Sar. So if I combined one of Papa's seeds with one from Gama Egg that would make a new baby who'd still be a part of both Mama and Papa.

Why didn't the Big Ones think of doing that, I wondered? But there were all kinds of rules and stuff about having babies. Maybe when I got bigger and learned more they'd make sense but right now I was ready to make Mama and Papa happy. They were singing together really nicely in the next room and I concentrated on what I had to do. Their crystals helped a lot, painting Mama's seed yellow so I could combine it with the seed from Gampa Sar while Papa's glowed orange when I combined it with Gama Egg's.

The warm place inside of mama where I'd grown was all ready for them and I made sure they were both safely hidden there, planted like Unka Sam said to plant seeds. Then I rested. It took a lot of energy to do it right. Maybe I could go splashing before we got back on our wind-drake? Or bury my hands in the rich soil of Unka El's gardens? The wind would help make me feel better once we started flying. But for now . . .

Getting out of bed was easy and I crept over to the fire on the hearth. Holding out my hands, I felt the baby flames leap out of the grate and dance over my skin. They tickled and I almost laughed out loud but that would bring in Mama and Papa and they'd get all upset again about watching me play with the fire. Big People didn't do that, I guess. But Elanor and I both could so we work with it whenever we're alone.

After a few moments, I quit and floated back to bed. That was enough for now, I didn't want to take more than I needed from the fire. Mama always says 'don't take more than you can comfortably eat'. Too much means a tummy ache and I don't like those at all. The medicine Unka Lor gives you tastes icky so none of us has ever taken too much after one dose of it.

Papa says he wishes all lessons were that easy to learn. Mama just laughs at him when he says that and then they get into a tickle-fight that makes all of us laugh. Ba' loves it when we all hold each other. A small croon from the cradle tells me he's awake, too so I float over to play with him until Mama and Papa get up for the day. It will be a long time before the new babies arrive but I'll just have to wait patiently and play with Ba' to make the time go faster.

********* Merry *********

I slumped over Pip and tried to catch my breath. "You were inspired, my Pip. What brought that on?"

"We're going to be on wing back all day and I wanted something to remind me of you." He said and flexed those inner muscles around me. "If there's time, I'll give you that same reminder after breakfast."

Chuckling, I slowly eased out of his hot depths. "I look forward to it, sweetheart. Gloin told me you can make love while flying. Maybe when Nana and Pfister take the little ones after the lunch break, you can take me soaring."

He laughed and kissed me sweetly. I love it when he does that. We traded tongues for a while then he pulled away. "My nipples are aching a bit, love. Ba' must be hungry."

"I'll go get them and bring them in while you rest, Pip. Your parents and mine will no doubt be here shortly." I rolled out of the big bed and ducked through the door into the second bedroom. Bluebird had floated over to Ba' and they were playing together. "Good morning, sweet ones."

"Goo' mon, Papa. Ba' is hungwy." Blue sat up and held out her arms to me. "Poopy, too."

I hugged her close and took a deep sniff of her powdered scent. She'd taken to using the chamber pot all by herself and that was a real blessing these days. But Ba was still using diapers and I could tell he needed changing. Scooping him up in my other arm, I carried them both back to our bed. Blue and Pip snuggled together while exchanging good mornings and I smiled at the sight of my beautiful loves.

Changing diapers is an art especially with a little boy. Ba delighted in taking a whiz the moment the soft cloth no longer covered him. My mother had laughed out loud when she saw him do it yesterday and told me he was definitely my son since I'd been a tiny master at it. Ba and I really were more alike than different. This morning I got him changed in record time and we were soon cuddled up together in our bed.

He latched onto Pip's nipple like he hadn't eaten in days. Blue smiled at us all and then changed our future with her words. "Mama, Papa, we's goin' to have babies."

Pip and I froze together and he paled white. "Sweetheart, what do you mean we're going to have babies?"

********* Lorrin *********

Merry practically fell through our door, his face white with shock. He managed to gasp out a garbled explanation. I returned with him immediately and sure enough, the signs were very faint but there. Bluebird looked bewildered at our emotions so I picked her up and cradled her on my lap to ask some questions.

Once she explained in her baby speech, I relaxed a little. Really, she'd done her research and figured out a way to combine seeds that made the risk of mutation so small as to be negligible. The ethics of the situation however were still to be explored but she nodded her head and told us everybody had said they would help so it was all right.

I smiled then. "I wonder if they realized what they were saying yes to but perhaps it is all for the best. Most of us probably wouldn't understand what you did anyway."

"Mama and Papa sad 'cause they want mowe babies." Bluebird said emphatically. "Mowe babies are good so I has lots of 'em to play wit'. Didn't hu't anybody and eveybody be happy now."

Merry chuckled and held out his arms to her. She crawled into them and they hugged for a long moment. "We are happy, Blue. Even if we never had another child, we'd have been happy with you and Ba'. But you're right, we did want more babies. Next time you need to ask us first though."

She pouted a little then kissed his cheek. "Yes, Papa, ask fiwst then do."

Pippin laughed a little shakily, rocking Ba' against his shoulder. "Sweetheart, we love you very much but how in the world we're going to tell our parents I don't know."

"If you like, I'll tell them for you. A healer might be able to make sense of the complicated splicing that was involved." It was a procedure for my private archives and I could barely grasp how great the power used must be for so small were the seeds that Blue had calmly mated and matched. These children of Friendly were small miracles in and of themselves, but this manipulation was far beyond what I'd thought possible.

"Please, would you?" Pip's eyes were slightly wet and Bluebird seemed to realize her mama was in some distress because she crawled out of Merry's arms and straight into his.

"Is all wight, mama." She kissed Pip's cheek with the smacking kisses she delighted in.

"I love you, Baby Blue." Pip held her close. "You're going to be a wonderful big sister for the new babies. Twins, we're going to have twins."

"Yes, mama, two babies." Bluebird grinned and I thought how much alike the two of them were. Add in two more and the Brandybuck/Took family wouldn't know what hit it. And neither would Friendly.

********* Gloin *********

Lorrin told me what happened after breakfast while we were sorting out who went where down in the fields where the wind-drakes had flown in. That little Bluebird was smart as a wizard and twice as powerful. The trouble she and both sets of twins were going to get into just made me feel older than I already was. But Lorrin hugged me close and assured me we'd be up to the challenge.

Climbing up into the basket, I settled my aging body onto the padded saddle and took a couple of deep breaths. Looking to my right, I saw Legolas boosting my son into place. The kids had already climbed up and they were tugging their dada up with tiny hands. They were the best children in all of Middle-earth although I know I'm prejudiced.

"Hold tight, my love." Lorrin said from behind me and I clasped his hands tightly in mine. Encircled by his arms is just where I always want to be, even if it is thousands of feet above the ground.

We took to the air, one by one until all fifteen of the wind-drakes were aloft. Flying into the rising sun, we began the next leg of our trip. A sense of disquiet came to me at that moment for I dreaded the coming confrontation with Legolas' father. "Lorrin, just what do you think is wrong with Thranduil?"

"Perhaps the wolf-in-the-lamb or perhaps a tumor that has stolen all the good from his brain," he shrugged and rested his head on my shoulder. "There are so many things that can go wrong in a body whether it be mortal or immortal. Until I see him and can examine him, we won't know which of those possibilities it might be. I had an odd thought the other day when someone mentioned King Theoden. What if King Thranduil has been possessed by another?"

I shivered and it wasn't because of the frosty air we were flying through. "There were only Sauron and Saruman for evil wizards. Besides, he's been subject to these rages for centuries."

"The dark lords planned very far in advance, my love. What if someone like Wormtongue had been put in place a millennium or three ago? I'll be curious to meet this old tutor of whom Perri spoke a month ago. I got the impression he was very much a behind the throne advisor." He kissed my ear. "But I could be wrong."

"We shall discover the truth and if necessary, rend a few of them limb from limb." I growled. "No one will hurt sweet Legolas or our babies."

"Agreed, my fierce love. Now how about I take your mind off our flight?" His clever hands curled up under my tunic and I put all thoughts of battle away for the moment.

The end of part 5