Author: Athea (
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: Bindings of Love, part ten
Summary: Another attack, this one is insidius.
Warning: There's some extreme squicky-ness in this part but just remember there is no way Negus is getting his hands on any of the kids.
Date: 18 June 2005
********* Gimli *********

We made our way down the winding staircase to the caverns below. I'd been telling tales of this place to our children since they were tiny and they were practically vibrating with excitement about seeing it for themselves. For the moment, all our thoughts were focused on the bathing pools where we would bathe this night. Identical pleading looks from our babies had joined with my love's fond caress to my chin and sent us on this small adventure.

Papa and Lorrin came with us along with Gandalf, Perri, little Jerdal . . . well, I chuckled to myself, let's just say everybody but the Hobbits came with us. Eowyn and Faramir were visiting them along with a nice troupe of warriors outside their door so they were as safe as safe could be.

"Da, will the wate' be nice and hot?" Pharin's little arms held me tight.

"Yes it will, sweet princess. It reminds me of the little glade at home where the water is hot and full of minerals." It occurred to me that too hot would not be good for Legolas and the unborn twins. "Lorrin, there's more than one pool below. Would you check the temperature to make sure it's safe for Legolas?"

"Certainly, Gimli, I can smell a difference from here." His voice came from behind my bonded and Legolas stroked my hair once with loving fingers. "Turn to the right at the foot of the steps. The air currents feel cooler there."

Pharin was nodding. "Wate' is just wight, Dada."

"Thank you, sweetheart. You take good care of us." Legolas' hand reached to smooth back the blonde hair so much like his. "I will admit to needing the soothing properties of mineral salts tonight. This day seems to have lasted a week already."

We were thankfully on the last step so I could turn and sweep him into a hug once we were all safely down. His robe was the blue silk of his eyes and it smelled of talcum powder and the sweet scent that belonged to him. Well, Pharin smelled like him sometimes but in a room full of Elves, I'd always be able to pick the two of them out. Glimmer usually smelled like good clean earth the way my beloved said I did.

I led them to the right and into a wonderland of ice pillars and flickering torches that sparked all the colors of a rainbow depending on the angle at which you saw them. Glimmer oohed and Pharin aahed until we stepped into a room hollowed out over eons of rushing water. The rocky pool steamed faintly but Lorrin tested it with a satisfied smile before he and my father threw off their robes and began swimming.

I sighed as soundlessly as I could and laid Pharin's robe aside on a convenient shelf shaped from stone where it would stay safe and dry. My little fish daughter was already swimming across the pool before I could even untie the belt of my own robe. It was the heavy crimson silk Legolas had gifted me before the birth of our amazing children and I cherished it above all others.

Glimmer slid into the water with a squeal and started swimming after his sister. I had two water babies and I thanked the Valar silently for helping us teach them to swim before they could walk. I would never need worry about them around the lakes and streams of the Vestella. But I was woolgathering and the sight of my beautiful bonded stepping lightly down into the pool, his ever growing stomach making him just the least bit unsure of his balance.

I hurriedly crossed to his side and gave him an arm to hold onto. He kissed me swiftly before dunking himself completely. When he arose, his hair sleek against his glistening shoulders, I fell hopelessly in love all over again. This beautiful Elf was a creature out of the myths of my people and I was blessed beyond any member of my race. I abruptly sat down on the stone ledge I remembered before my knees gave way on me.

Legolas floated into my arms and his lips took mine gently but as passionately as if it had been days rather than hours since our last kiss. His sweetness filled all my senses and I wished we were home with this meeting far behind us. Pharin's giggles finally broke us apart and I reached for the soap we'd brought with us. I was going to have to take care of myself later. With the twins sleeping with us, loving my Elf would have to be postponed.

His eyes twinkled at me, making promises of what he'd do when he got me alone. I sent him back the images I harbored in my heart and a slight but familiar pink blush flushed down his body. Glimmer and Pharin just giggled at their silly parents. I was the luckiest Dwarf in this keep. Of course, King Thorin hadn't arrived just yet but not even he could match my happiness.

Now, if we could just rid ourselves of this evil Elf who raised such mayhem. I would never forgive his hurting my beloved. My hands soaped wee Glimmer's skin while he twisted in my hands like an eel. He wasn't the water sprite our Pharin was but he liked water well enough. Luckily, there was no soil about to make his favorite mud. If there was a way to create something with mud, he was sure to find it.

I chuckled out loud and brought Legolas' eyes to me from where he was bathing Pharin. "I was just thinking about mud pies and other creations."

Glimmer bounced on my lap. "Thewe was mud in the moat, Dada. It looked weally fun. Can I play thewe tomowwo?"

"If Nana and Pfister agree, I think that would be all right, Glimmer." Legolas looked rather smugly at me and I realized we might have a moment or two alone. My smile was his answer.

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

Pip nestled between my legs, leaning back against me with a sleeping Basteal cradled to his chest. We were sprawled on the hearth rug watching Blue play with Elanor and a baby sized red ball. Little Boromir was building a tower with blocks with Bilbo's help and I smiled at the children.

Faramir was beside me. "Of all the mighty deeds we've done, Merry, I hold our children to be our greatest accomplishments."

I nodded. "I think you're right, Faramir. They're the best of us. I can hardly wait to see what they turn out to be. Watching them grow up is worth all the troubles we lived through."

Eowyn leaned into her husband's side. "They say that all 'journeys end in lovers meetings'. We are so lucky to find that adage true. I would like this council to be about family and how to bring us together - men, hobbits, elves and dwarves."

Pip's sleepy voice whispered into my throat. "And Ents, mustn't forget them."

I dropped a kiss on his curls. "We won't, Pip. I think that's a very good focus, ma'am. Maybe it will help that we all have children now and we want them to have a safe and happy future."

"Exactly, Merry," Faramir smiled tenderly at our sons. "They are so precious, there is nothing I wouldn't do to ensure their safety. Now, Merry, tell me of your wood carving. I especially admired the tree you carved on your traveling trunk. From what I could see, it looked exactly like Treebeard."

So I told him of my passion for creating interesting shapes in wood. My father, Saradoc, told stories of when I was a lad just learning to wield an awl and plane. I haven't blushed that much in a very long time. Somehow we got off on the subject of trade and trade routes and how to make sure we kept in closer touch. Men were good at roaming across Middle Earth while Hobbits liked to stay in one place.

I thought maybe we could build a few main roads and grow a few small towns or villages where all could come to trade once or twice a year. The Thane grew rather animated when that idea was brought up and he mentioned there were some adventurous Tooks just itching to see a bit of the world. Perhaps some of them might enjoy bringing a taste of the Shire to a couple of those new villages.

Faramir thought it an excellent idea and asked The Thane to bring it up to Aragorn when he arrived. Eowyn was talking to Sam about their gardens while Frodo tried not to yawn in my father's face. We were still pretty tired from the journey so when the Big People said goodnight, we all got ready for bed. Our folks kissed us all goodnight and went into the other bedroom and their waiting beds.

Frodo and Sam got their twins washed up while I washed Bluebird and Pip slipped Basteal into the cradle they'd found for us. The trundle bed under our big bed was pulled out and our three oldest snuggled in together with kisses from all of us. They'd been so good about traveling and experiencing so many new things. We were raising some adventurous Hobbits ourselves.

We did a hasty wash of ourselves on opposite sides of the room then we all met in the middle of the big bed. It felt good to lie back on a featherbed instead of the hard ground and pull the soft blanket up over us. It smelled of lavender and that was a nice touch of home. Pip snuggled into my side and I stroked his tummy the way I used to do when it was just the two of us.

"Faramir and Eowyn are pretty nice, aren't they?" Sam's voice came from the far side of the bed where he and Frodo were cuddling. "Boromir is pretty smart for such a youngling."

Frodo's voice had a smile in it. "He's well loved by both of them and he always will be. Bilbo liked him. Elanor was a bit standoffish though."

Sam snorted. "She's not used to being mooned over and little Boro thought she was the prettiest one in the room."

"What?" Frodo sounded startled.

Pip laughed quietly. "You'll have to have 'The Talk' with them soon, cousin Frodo."

"Not for a hundred years," he said fervently and we all laughed.

I didn't even want to think about Blue asking girl-type questions, let alone the questions about boys. I wanted her to stay my little girl for a very long time indeed. Suddenly I heard our daughter cry out and I shot out of bed practically stepping on Pip in my hurry.

"Sweetheart, what's wrong?" I found her clinging to Elanor who was looking mad enough to shoot fire from her eyes.

"Bad mans," Blue was crying and Elanor was growling and Bilbo was headed for the door in his nightshirt.

"Got to help, Da," with a gesture, the door opened for him even though he was too small to reach the doorknob.

Sam was toeing on his slippers while grabbing for his robe. "Wait for me, son. We'll go together."

"Hurry, Da," Elanor handed me Bluebird and jumped out of the bed to race after her brother. "Bad thoughts."

Frodo and Pip were out of bed and struggling into their robes. Pip handed me mine while I handed over our daughter who was still crying. Then I was racing out the door after my friend who was already disappearing out of the hallway door. The Men guards were exclaiming but I just told them to watch over Pip and Frodo then I ran after Sam and the children.

********* Negus *********

The king was asleep and I lay back in my own bed with the candles doused for the night. Stroking my crystal, I reached for my element with my mind. For all this was a keep of stone, water was a part of its foundation. The blue fire of the stone upon my chest sought for a drop of liquid left in my goblet. It had traveled here in a ewer . . .

filled from a bucket . . .

pulled up from a deep well in the kitchens . . .

which pierced a still artesian pool . . .

fed from a rushing stream . . .

flowing through caverns both known and unknown to these mortal Men . . .

until I found the one I sought.

Closing my eyes, I became one with the water that caressed his long golden limbs. So long, it had been so long since I'd spied on him thusly. Elegant feet, lightly muscled legs, hips slightly broader than they'd been before . . .

What was this? That damn dwarf had gotten him pregnant again. The flat stomach that used to ripple so enticingly now curved outward over . . . I concentrated and felt the presence of two new lives. Blast and damn, now I'd have to get rid of them before I could subjugate my prize. Stupid half-blood fetuses - how could my golden prince bear to have that ungainly creature touch him?

Fighting back my anger with a calm stroke of my hand on my cock, I finished my perusal of the still beautiful body. His broad chest with lickable pink nipples begged for my touch; long arms ended in those long-fingered hands that held a bow or a quill so well; sleek hair so like his father's fanned out over his shoulders, enticing my eyes up the slender throat to the firm chin. The water stopped there so I had to be content with imagining those expressive eyes, pouting lips and elegant cheekbones.

He was so like his mother. Beautiful and serene, Pharin's face was still clear in my mind. Pity she'd had eyes for no one but Thranduil. When she had challenged me for control over him, she'd simply had to go. And birthing Legolas had given me the perfect opportunity to begin to steal her life force. Oh, the spells she'd fueled while she fought death. I chuckled to myself and remembered her pathetic struggles to best me.

I visited her grave yearly to tell her all the things she was missing. Smiling, I stroked myself harder and visualized spilling my seed over the small white flowers planted on her grave. I hoped she was writhing in a gray hellish afterlife. Thranduil had been much harder to control after her death.

Sudden splashing brought my attention back to the bathing pool. A boy child with curly dark hair swam up to kiss Legolas followed by . . . my inner eyes widened. A tiny Legolas swam like a fish into my obsession's arms. Shocked, my gaze swept the delectable small body - a girl child. Her hair was the same heavenly shade of gold; a slim body with tiny pink nipples; hands almost a match for her mother's - she was in a word, perfect.

She must be around the age of two, I mused while running my water-self over her tender flesh. And just like that, a golden halo surrounded her body and pushed me hard out of my trance.

"NO!" was the last thing I heard before awakening in my bed.

Interesting. Had she done it herself or had someone with her sensed the intrusion? That Istari was said to be with them. However, his element was fire and this had the feeling of a water mage. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to Lord Elrond on the few occasions we'd been at the same council. Ah, well, time enough for that when I decided what to do with the others.

And how delightful it would be to have both a male and female lover with the same beautiful coloring and build. I'd be sure to teach the child everything she needed to know to satisfy me. Molding - I'd mold her myself as I'd not gotten to train Legolas. I lovingly stroked my shaft into bursting into the warm air of the room. Pink lips would take all I had to give.

The bed shook around me and the fire flamed higher than the mantle. A fierce wind shoved open the door to my room and hurled through the air around me. In an instant, the manifestations were as if they had never occurred. Odd that, I got up to clean off my seed and for a moment the water in the bowl turned blood red. Blinking, I looked down into clear liquid.

Interesting indeed. I needed more intelligence on the members of this council. I'd go hunting tomorrow. Perhaps Perri might be amenable to talking about his prince. He'd been surprisingly difficult to reach this afternoon. Glorfindel had been a walking pillar of flame I'd dared not even try to touch. It had felt like a Balrog stood at his back with eyes of fire and a whip of molten lava.

I finished washing and went back to bed. My dreams would be interesting tonight.

********* Pharin *********

I couldn't seem to stop crying. I'd never felt anything so nasty in my whole life. Mama kept asking me what was wrong but I couldn't get the words out. Gampa Lor was patting my back while Gampa Glo was growling. Dada held me from behind with Glimmer holding me, too.

I was safe, I knew that. Really I did but I still felt cold.

"Bad mans," Glimmer said fiercely and sent his thoughts toward the place where the bad Elf was staying.

'Nasty, creepy man,' Elanor sent me a fire thought to warm me.

'We'll stop him,' Bilbo sent fiercely.

'Bad, bad, bad,' Bluebird was crying and I didn't want to upset her so I grabbed hold of my fear and sent it to Him to show him I wasn't afraid of him.

Although, I kind of was afraid still. But Mama was rocking me and crooning the sleepy lullaby so I sniffed hard and looked up at him. "Better now, Mama. I don't want to play anymore here. Want to go home."

"Of course, Pharin, we'll go upstairs and tuck everybody in for a good sleep." His voice made me feel safe but so did his hug.

"And you'll tell us what was wrong?" Dada said gruffly while helping Mama and me out of the pool.

"Yes," I shivered, still remembering when the silky water turned into a slimy touch. "I'll tell you when we're safe."

The end of part ten