Author: Athea (
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: Bindings of Love, part 7
Summary: They arrive at Helm's Deep.
Date: 16 January 2005
********* Gimli *********

I sighed happily, replete after our simple meal of roast deer and baked potatoes. Glimmer was a warm weight in my lap, already yawning after our day of flying. He squirmed a little then tugged on my vest.

"Da, got to go." He whispered.

"Good idea, let's be private over there." I whispered back and stood with a bit of a creak. Dwarf bones aren't made for straddling wind-drakes for hours at a time.

Hand in hand we walked into a grove of trees and headed for the latrine pit we'd dug earlier. It smelled a bit but then they always did. Glimmer unbuttoned and whizzed away with a sigh of relief. I stood by his side and did the same. Giving it a good shake, I tucked my cock back into my pants while noticing my son giving me a look he'd never given me before.

"Da, will I get big like 'ou when I gwow up?" His little hand held his shaft as if measuring it.

"You'll grow bigger all over, Glimmer. I don't know how big you'll get since you might take after Legolas instead of me." We hadn't had this talk and I was a little nervous at tackling it alone.

"Mama's longe' than you but not as big awound." He said judiciously while tucking himself away. "How about haiw, Da? Will I get weal haiwy like you?"

Sweeping him up in my arms, I held him over my head while he giggled. "Hairy? You think I'm hairy?"

"Da-a-a-a," he giggled and squirmed. "I like haiwy."

I brought him down to my chest and held him tight, my throat closing around the words. My little boy was growing up and all too soon we were going to be having *the talk*, the one I didn't want to have for a hundred years. Swallowing hard, I smiled down at him. "Well, that's a good thing, son. Whether you're hairy like me or smooth like your mama, we love you just the same."

He beamed at me and wrapped his little arms around my neck, giving me a smacking kiss on my cheek. "I know, Da. Love 'ou, too."

I carried him back to the campfire with my heart full of joy. I was the luckiest father in the whole of Middle Earth to have such a loving son. Looking around, I found only the guards on first watch still awake. A dozen or so tents were set up and I carried Glimmer over to the green one where Legolas and Pharin were already snuggled into their blankets. Taking off our boots, we joined them with a sleepy murmur.

Kissing my dearest love goodnight and stroking the growing mound that was our future twins, I dropped another kiss on Pharin's fair head before curling around Glimmer and settling in to sleep. Three more days of flying should see us at Helm's Deep and I was ready to be there.

********* Gandalf *********

Jerdal finished nursing and I burped him gently before settling him back in his sling around my chest. He liked the sound of my heartbeat and it put him to sleep every time. Wiggling a little in an effort to get comfortable, I decided wizards weren't made for riding on drake back.

"Here we go, my love," Perri said, angling his body behind me so I could slouch a little more. "You didn't sleep very well last night. Why don't you try and take a nap now? I'll wake you if there's need."

Turning my head, I grazed his smooth cheek with my lips. "I love you, Perri. A short nap is just what I need. Perhaps tonight we'll sleep in a real bed and you can help me sleep more peacefully."

He chuckled and his cool lips kissed under my ear. "I love you too, 'Dalf. Now rest and I shall plan your seduction while you sleep."

Closing my eyes, I nestled in his arms and sought slumber.

The sky was an ominous black with storm clouds building higher and higher. Sullen flashes of lightning glowed briefly amidst them while the dull roar of thunder echoed in the heavy air. Raising my staff I spoke a word of power and saw it flash brightly before sinking into the stony ground.

Around me shadows flowed and crept over the battlements. I felt fear creeping up from my toes and encircling me with ever-tightening bands. Another word of power and they fell away but only for the moment. Slithering across the cold stone, they headed for me again.

"My love!" Strong arms shook me one moment and cradled me the next. Sunlight glinted off shiny blue wings and Perri's voice finally came to me. "Gandalf, are you all right?"

Jerdal whimpered against my chest and I stroked his fair hair with a shaking hand. "A nightmare, Perri, it was just a nightmare."

"Then it's a repeat of last night." He said quietly, soft lips on my ear. "You thrashed just like this and spoke a word that resounded in the air like a battle cry."

"What?" I startled both Perri and our son. "I spoke aloud?"

"Yes, then started awake as if to the blare of horns." His hands stroked my arms soothingly.

"I'm surrounded by stone and shadows that seek to bind me." I grasped at the quickly fading memories but they were dissolving in the afternoon sunlight. "The word was powerful but not enough to keep them from me."

"Stone like the keep at Helm's Deep," he questioned and hugged me closer to him.

"I don't remember the keep being that cold and dark." I brought one of his elegant hands to my lips and kissed it. "If truth be told, it felt more like Thranduil's palace."

He grip tightened again. "He brings danger with him not just for Legolas but for us as well. I will not let him harm either of you, Gandalf."

Turning my head to meet his determined gaze, I finally smiled. "My fierce protector, between all of us, we'll find a way to be safe. I promise none of us will come to harm."

His smile held a shadow I'd never seen before. "I love you, my wizard." His lips grazed the edge of my mouth and I wanted to turn further for the kiss waiting for me but a great shout went up to distract us.

"Helm's Deep," Gimli's deep voice carried through the still air.

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

I was that glad to get on the ground again, I just about bent down and kissed the earth. But Bilbo was so excited about the big stone walls that I didn't have time to rest for chasing after him. Frodo had a good hold on Elanor but Gimli was right alongside of me running after Glimmer. Boys are just natural born trouble-seekers, I decided while scooping Bilbo up in both arms.

"We'll see it all, son, I promise but right now we need to meet and greet the nice people who belong here." I reminded him and his smile was just this short of blazing. Gimli was telling his boy about a great horn at the top of the highest tower and how he got to blow it one bright summer morning.

I'd heard that story briefly and I could hardly wait to hear it again among the stone halls of the Rohan. Gimli was a great storyteller and I whispered to Bilbo that we'd have to coax him to tell it tonight. He nodded gleefully and I had a real odd feeling that he and Glimmer were talking without words. I got that feeling a lot these days but Frodo just smiled when I asked him about it and kissed me silly.

Well, sillier than I always was around my beautiful love. Tall men greeted us although you could see they were kind of wary of the wind drakes. But we showed them how the baskets unbuckled and slid off and they seemed to relax when Sky-Sailor, our drake, rolled over and over in the meadow grasses after getting his blanket off. He kind of looked like a horse might when unsaddled to get a good scratch.

Then he took off to join his brothers and sisters in hunting a few miles away. They understood that horses were not for eating and Gandalf reassured the Riders that their herds were safe. A real pretty blonde lady came up then and curtseyed to him and I couldn't remember her name but he smiled at her and called her Eowyn, hugging her and asking after Faramir.

And then the Gondor steward was there too, kneeling in front of us and we just had to hug him, too. "My friends, how good it is to see you. Are these your children?"

"Aye, Faramir, this is our son, Bilbo." I watched our son bow real elegantly.

Frodo chuckled. "And this is our daughter, Elanor. How very good it is to see you again, Faramir. Where is your son?"

Eowyn laughed. "Boromir is taking a nap and he will be quite put out that he slept through your arrival."

I shivered suddenly and reminded myself the little boy was not his uncle, not like the Boromir I'd met at all. Once I met him and saw him playing I'd be able to forget the bad memories and see just a little boy. Frodo's hand pressed mine and his lips grazed my cheek. It beats all how he can read my mind some days. But then he had his own memories to overcome.

It was going to be a real interesting time now we were here. I followed Faramir towards those huge walls that would shelter us for the next few weeks and marveled again at their size. The stories Gimli and Legolas told of the battle here made me real glad we'd missed it. There were still big blocks of stone lying around like the blocks the babies knocked down over and over.

A right noisy time, it must have been and no mistake. It was cooler once we entered the place and I shivered a bit even in my thick woolies I'd worn for the cold of flying. A nice fire and a bit of food would go a long way towards making me feel at home. Lady Eowyn opened a great wooden door and pointed out the knob lower down that would be better suited to shorter arms.

"It's been a long journey and we decided to have the Welcoming Feast after all have arrived." Her smile was so nice I just couldn't help but smile back. "For tonight, perhaps you'd like a private dinner and a hot bath after you unpack and get settled."

"Yes, please, that sounds wonderful." Frodo smiled back at her while looking around the big rooms we'd been given. Wonder of wonders, the furniture was all Hobbit sized and I wondered how that had happened.

"We thought it might, my friends." Faramir's eyes crinkled up in a smile and he gestured to two young girls who looked to be in their tweens. "This is Nella and Erisa. They will help you get settled and bring you your supper and answer any questions you might have about where things are in the Keep. Prince Gimli and Legolas are directly across the hall from your rooms. Mithrandir and his family are two doors down on that same side while Lord Elrond and his family are next door to the left."

"Gosh," I said, "we're going to need a map to find everything."

He chuckled and pointed to the table in the middle of the room. "Eomer thought of that and you will find it waiting for you when you are ready. Is there anything we can get for you now or should we leave so you can rest?"

Frodo was looking a might droopy to me so I shook my head firmly. "Some of us need naps and a hot cup of tea."

Eowyn must have noticed too because she nodded real decisive-like. "Exactly what I would like after a long journey, Master Samwise. Unless you have need of us, we shall meet in the great hall for breakfast tomorrow. There are so many stories to be told and news to be caught up on, it may last all day."

"At least through second breakfast and elevenses," Pip said solemnly then winked at her. We all laughed and they said goodnight before shutting the door behind them.

The girls went right to work, showing us the bedrooms that opened onto this common room, one on either side. Frodo, Merry, Pip, the children and I were in the one to the left while the Tooks and Brandybucks were in the other. The children had to explore everything but first I tucked Frodo up for a nap. Travel is hard on a pregnant body but he'd never once complained. Merry did the same thing for Pip then the kids and us got busy unpacking. Frodo and Pip were so tired, they slept right through our noise.

Bluebird had to touch everything and I think it was a shock to Nella and Erisa to find out she was blind. But they took it all right and made sure that anything that might hurt her was put up high or tucked away. Not that that would do any good but they couldn't know and it showed their kind hearts. Pretty soon, we were gathered around the table while they showed us where we were in the Keep and where everything else was.

I was kind of thinking we might need ropes and colored flags in the corridors to keep from getting lost, like they did in the mines at home. Maybe Gimli or Gloin could come up with something. We were going to get a real good workout just walking from place to place. I'd have to be sure to keep Frodo near me at all times. When we asked about who all had already arrived, the girls gave us a list. It looked like the Elves from the north and east hadn't made it yet.

That might just be a good thing, I thought. Let us get settled first.

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

The moment I got in our room and unpacked, I settled in for a nap. I wanted to take a tour of the place but all that flying had me kind of dizzy. Lorrin and I snoozed for a bit then stretched all over before getting up to explore our room. Kind of bare but the bed was comfortable and there was a soft rug in pretty burgundy and green to cover the cold stone floor so it was good enough for me.

The common room between our room and the children's was much nicer with lots of chairs and a roaring fire to warm it up even more. Gimli was already waiting for us with the children. Legolas was still sleeping and Lorrin volunteered to stay with him while we went exploring.

After studying the map, we set off for a good look at those big walls. Pharin rode my shoulders while Glimmer ran ahead of us. Gimli spoke of the journey to this keep and the battle that seemed to last for days. The blasting powder that brought their walls down sounded intriguing and I wondered out loud if any residue might still linger at the site of the explosion.

Pharin tugged at my ear and leaned close. "Smells bad ahead, Gampa Glo."

We were still a field away from the gaping hole in the walls but I'd learned to pay attention to my grandchildren's senses. "Kind of a burning scent, sweetheart?"

She nodded and Glimmer came running back to confirm it. "Wocks have memmies of big 'plosion that made eveyting shake apawt."

"Aye, son, it did that." Gimli scooped him up and hugged him tight. "A lot of good people died when the wall was broken. Very few of the Elven warriors survived the fighting that followed. When we get there, let's say a prayer to tell their departed spirits we appreciate their sacrifice."

"Yes, Da-Da," Pharin said quietly and I kissed her small hand.

She was such a good girl and Glimmer was going to be a master at stone work. I couldn't have been prouder of both of them. Up close the gap was huge and the blocks of stone were thrown around like toys. You could see some of the smaller ones had been tidied away but the majority still lay where they'd originally landed. I started calculating how to get them back into position.

We walked among the stone for a good half-hour after we said our prayers for the slain. Pharin and Glimmer were climbing boulders and playing hide-and-seek while we studied the terrain. A tall man joined us just before we were thinking about heading back to our rooms. My stomach was growling a bit and Gimli admitted he could eat when the tall blond strode up to us.

"Eomer," my son bellowed and hugged the man who'd knelt before him. "Laddie, you're looking good. Let me introduce you to my family. Gloin is my father. Papa, this is King Eomer of the Rohan."

"Pleasure," I gave the warrior's arm grip and nodded approvingly at his firm pressure.

"It is indeed a pleasure to meet you and perhaps get some advice from the two of you about our walls." His smile was almost rueful. "I've been meaning to do something about them but so much else seemed to have a higher priority."

"Aye, I know the feeling well," I smiled at him. "I'd be glad to give your builders some advice. It's good stone here and I think we can get a start before this council is done."

He chuckled and nodded before blinking at the children who'd suddenly appeared. Glimmer looked like he'd been rolling in mud and even Pharin had a smudge on her cheek. Introductions were made again and they bowed and curtsied like the little lords and ladies I sometimes forgot they were. I noticed Eomer's eyes strayed again and again to Pharin's sweet features.

And I wondered if maybe another disappointed suitor was standing before us. I'd have to watch him closely. But as we walked slowly back to the more habitable parts of the keep, the conversation stayed general except for the rather disquieting mention of the arrival of the Mirkwood contingent. Gimli and I both picked up the pace when we heard that and although Eomer probably didn't realize why, he kept up with us.

Pharin suddenly cried out. "Mama!"

Glimmer's voice collided with hers. "Gampa Lo!"

And we broke into a run down the corridor to our rooms.

End part seven