A Time For Love
The week prior to the wedding, Sigrid packed up all her belongings, which really wasn't a whole lot, and left with her father, brother and sister to go to Erebor. Her pack had more gifts in it than actual personal belongings. They were gifts for all of Fili's family, including Tauriel.
Fili was waiting at the gate for her when their small caravan arrived. Her things were taken to her guest room and guards were assigned to show Bard and his family to their rooms. Immediately, Sigrid had an appointment with the seamstresses. Fili whisked her away. The two dwarrowdams ushered Sigrid into the dressing room and politely ushered the Prince out of their shop. Sigrid was amazed at how well the dress fit, despite her previous fitting being more than three weeks ago. It was a beautiful dress and Sigrid stood in front of the polished glass admiring the way it fit. The seamstress, Besgra, tucked and pinned all over the dress. Sigrid was instructed to return in two days for the final fitting.
The week went quickly, as there was much to be done. Sigrid tried to spend as much time with Milly as she could, allowing the little girl become familiar and comfortable with Sigrid. She and the nurse sat together on the floor of Milly's room and played with toys and dolls. After several days, Milly finally approached Sigrid on her own and sat with her and played. She let Sigrid feed her and tell her stories. By the eve of the wedding, Milly and Sigrid had become friends again and Milly would run to Sigrid when she saw her.
Sigrid wasn't sure what old Hadwerra thought of Sigrid's joining the family. With Sigrid as Milly's new mother, the nurse's services weren't quite so needed. Of course she would be retained as Milly's nurse as there would be times that Sigrid would be called to perform duties as the wife of the crown prince at formal dinners and court appearances. She would be among the first to greet all guests to Erebor and play hostess to important visitors. During those times, Hadwerra would be needed, but the rest of the time, Sigrid would be Milly's caretaker, which she was very happy and honored about. She loved Fili's little girl.
Much to Sigrid's surprise, there was no feast the eve before the wedding, but an intimate family dinner. Tauriel had arrived two days after Sigrid with her elven entourage. It was a nice time. A calm breath before the chaos that would be tomorrow’s wedding. Sigrid spent one last night alone in her own bed. Tomorrow night, she would share a bed with Fili and every night for the rest of her life. She sighed. That was such a lovely idea.
The wedding day was as chaotic as Sigrid expected. She and Tauriel were taken to a large, public bathing room that had been turned into a bridal room. Dis, Sigrid and Tauriel bathed in the hot spring waters before being dressed in their finest. Sigrid's dress was incredible. She was so happy she turned it over to the dwarven seamstresses. There was no way she could have made anything so beautiful. Tauriel brought her own dress, which she told Sigrid and Dis, had belonged to her mother, many years ago. The dress was white with green trimming.
Their hair was braided and their courtship braids were redone and made perfect. Dis wore a formal dress of royal blue and a cape to represent her position as Princess of Erebor, sister of the king and the highest ranking female under the mountain.
Sigrid realized quite suddenly, that once married, she would be the second highest ranking female and Tauriel the third. Even though she had been the Lady of Dale and was trained to perform formal diplomatic duties, being a princess in Erebor would be taking on a whole new meaning in position and responsibilities. She hoped she was up for the task, but she promised herself to do her very best and make Dis, Thorin and Fili proud.
The actual wedding was less of a ceremony than the courting ceremony had been which surprised Sigrid.
Fili wore the shirt Sigrid had given him at their courtship ceremony. On top of it, he wore his blue formal tunic and a white cape with his sigil and other patterns that showed his position as the crown prince. Kili wore a similar outfit, but in green. They both looked very handsome and Sigrid was convinced she and Tauriel were the luckiest women to have ever walked Middle Earth.
Milly was held in Dis's arms, and dressed in the dress Sigrid had made for her. She looked adorable. She fussed a bit during the ceremony, calling out for her Dada. Finally Fili reached out to his daughter and Dis passed Milly to him. He held her during most of the ceremony and Sigrid felt it was very appropriate. They weren't just becoming husband and wife, they were becoming a family.
Thorin addressed the assembled crowd, conducted the ceremony and in the end, the couples kissed. Fili reached up to Sigrid's hair and removed the courtship bead. In its place, he put in a new braid and bead, signifying Sigrid's marriage to him. She did the same for him. It was a braid that they would wear for the rest of their lives. She was forever marked as the wife of the heir of Erebor.
The feast after the wedding was the grandest one Sigrid had ever seen. Fili said he had never attended one so grand, even after Thorin's coronation. The day went on and on. There was music, dancing, food and lots of ale. By the end of the evening, there were many dwarves dancing on the tables and many more passed out under the tables. To Sigrid's amusement, even Thranduil seemed a little tipsy and was animatedly chatting with several dwarves from the council.
The two couples sat together, holding hands with their new spouse, stealing kisses and chatting with each other and the guests.
When the time came, Sigrid and Fili were escorted by the wedding party to their apartment. Milly would be spending the night with her nurse in her own home, leaving the newly married couple alone for their wedding night.
When the door shut and the noise of the crowd moved away to escort Kili and Tauriel to their new home, Sigrid let out a large breath.
"Finally, a bit of peace," she smiled.
Fili wrapped his arms around her. "Finally, we're alone." He pulled her into a kiss. "Welcome home, my beautiful wife."
"Home," Sigrid smiled. She looked around at the apartment. Fili had had it cleaned and more furnishings put into it. It was brightly lit and the fire in the hearth was warm. He took her by the hand and led her into their bedroom. He reached up to her necklaces and removed them, running his hands along her neck. She shivered at his touch. In turn, she unclasped his cape and removed it from his shoulders. They took turns gently removing the many layers of clothing they wore and with each less layer, they kissed the newly exposed skin.
"Fili," Sigrid said. "I'm nervous. I've not done this before."
"Good," he smiled. "I've not done this before either, with you. I'm nervous too."
"Then we'll be nervous together." They leaned into together for their deepest kiss yet.
* * * *
Adjusting to married life would have been a lot easier without Milly. She was not happy about the changes that had occurred in her little life. She spent more time with Sigrid and less time with her nurse now, which wasn't bad, just different. She also had a new home and a new room. These things were unfamiliar and she was troubled by them. She spent most of her time in Fili's arms, not wanting anyone else to hold her or help her. By the end of the first week, Milly was doing better, but then Fili had to return to his duties as prince and on his first day back, Milly spent the entire day crying. Nothing Sigrid did soothed the dwarfling. Sigrid understood and was patient, but it was a very hard day for both of Fili's girls.
Truth be told, Sigrid was jealous of Kili and Tauriel. They had their week together to do as they pleased, but Sigrid had to spent most of the week trying to help Milly adjust to her new life. As hard as it was, she knew Milly would eventually regulate to their new home and new way of life.
It took a good long month before they settled into something of a comfortable routine. Fili and Sigrid were forced to wait until after Milly had gone to sleep each night before they could spend any time together. Even holding a simple conversation was proving difficult and usually waited until Milly was asleep. Unfortunately for them, by the time Milly was asleep, they were too tired to do much more that sit quietly and talk before they both fell asleep themselves.
By the end of each day, Sigrid was exhausted. She didn't remember Tilda being so demanding, but then, she had had Bain and her da's help. Now she was on her own. Kili and Tauriel did not visit her often any more. Even after Kili was back to his duties, Tauriel was often occupied with other things. Dis and Thorin were always busy with their work and Sigrid found herself to be alone most of the time.
Six weeks into the marriage, Sigrid found herself sitting on her bed, a book in her lap and Milly sleeping next to her. Sigrid was weeping. She missed her family and was tired of being alone with Milly all of the time. She wanted time with Fili; to talk to him without interruption. She wanted to hold hands with him without a baby begging for attention. It wasn't Fili's fault or Milly's, and Sigrid knew that. It was life with a baby, plain and simple, but it was still hard and Sigrid was having herself a little time to cry about it. She would have herself presentable by the time Fili got home that night.
What she didn't expect was Fili to be done early that day and come home to find her crying.
He walked in to see Sigrid's face buried in her hands, her shoulders shaking. Milly was peacefully asleep next to her.
"Dearest?" he whispered and he walked up to her and laid a hand on her back.
Sigrid's head snapped up and she wiped at her face. She was mortified that he had found her like this. "You're home earlier than I expected."
"What's the matter?" he sat next to her and rubbed at her back.
Sigrid smiled. "It's nothing. Silly really. Don't mind me. I'll wash my face and all will be well." She tried to get up, but Fili's hand pulled at her shoulder and kept her down.
"Sigrid, it's not nothing. You're crying and I've never seen you cry before." His blue eyes were deep with worry.
"Really. I'm alright." She tried to look away from his eyes as he searched her face for an answer. She sighed and leaned into his chest. "I'm sorry. I'm tired. That's all. Just tired. Milly didn't cry much today, just demanded a lot of attention. I'm afraid I didn't get all the chores done I meant to do today."
Fili laid his head on top of hers. He could still feel her shaking. "Dearest, Sigrid. Milly hasn't made things easy for us, has she? We've had but one night on our own since being married."
"It's not Milly's fault. I'm the intruder here."
"You are not the intruder. You are my wife and I have neglected you. This might be my second marriage, but it is not yours. You are a young newlywed and I have not treated you as such. Instead I give you a life with a baby and expect you to just pick up the roll of mother the very day after you wed. I'm sorry." Fili sighed. Sigrid had been so good. As soon as Milly was brought to them after their wedding night, she had taken on full responsibility of Milly and she had done wonderfully. But, because she had been so wonderful, he often forgot she had never been married before and was trying to learn to be a wife, a lover, a princess, and a mother all at the same time. It had been quite unfair of him to thrust so much upon her so quickly.
He would make it up to her tonight.
"It's alright," Sigrid smiled. She kissed his cheek. "I feel better now, having gotten some of that off my chest. I'll wash up and finish cleaning and when Milly wakes, we can either go to dinner in the dining hall or if you want, I can fix us something quickly here."
"No," Fili said. Sigrid turned to look at him. "I've got a better idea. Tonight we ask Kili and Tauriel to watch Milly. Then, you and I can spend the rest of the night alone."
"We can't ask Kili and Tauriel to keep Milly all night."
"Why not? They are Milly's uncle and aunt. Besides, I'll make them a promise that after they have their first child, we will return the favor. They may not understand the importance of that offer now, but they will." Fili stood up. "I'll be back in half an hour. Have Milly's things gathered together."
And with that, Fili was gone. Sigrid stood up, shocked and unsure what to do. She felt terrible for asking Kili and Tauriel such a favor, but she knew Fili was right. When the time came, she and Fili would be more than happy to watch their little niece or nephew to give them a night of peace. Sigrid ran from the room to Milly's room. She grabbed a bag and started stuffing changing rags, several outfits and two nightgowns into it. She put in Milly's favorite doll and blanket.
Milly wasn't needing milk bladders any more, which made feeding the small child much, much easier. She gathered Milly's bowl, spoon, and the clean, but stained feeding rag that she wore while she ate in an attempt at keeping her clothes clean.
She heard Milly start to cry from the bedroom and Sigrid ran in to collect her.
"Hello sleepy," she lifted Milly into her arms. "You are going to have a wonderful night with Uncle Kili and Aunt Tauriel. They'll feed you, tell you stories and have lots of fun with you." She filled up a bowl with hot water and gave Milly a quick sponge bath before changing her into fresh clothes, brushing and braiding her hair. Fili returned just as Sigrid finish the second tiny braid. Milly squealed at seeing her dada and laughed as he tickled her neck with his beard.
"Is everything ready?" he asked Sigrid. She nodded and showed him Milly's packed bag. "Good, because Uncle Kili is waiting."
The little family left their home and crossed through several halls until they reach the dark haired prince's home. Kili and Tauriel were waiting for them. Milly loved her uncle and eagerly went to his outstretched arms.
Tauriel went to Sigrid and hugged her. "Don't worry about a thing tonight. Sigrid, I'm sorry I've neglected you. I'm not much of a sister when I have left you alone all of the time. Things will change. You and I will spend more time together while our husbands are busy being royal princes."
"I would like that, but you don't have to, Tauriel," Sigrid stuttered. She still felt a little shy around the beautiful elf.
"I know I don't have to, but I want to. I hope you can forgive me and give me the chance to become your friend."
"You are my friend, sister. I look forward to getting to know you better," Sigrid smiled.
"Enough chatting," Kili said. "You two best be off. And don't forget, we expect you to return the favor when the time comes."
"Of course," Sigrid laughed. "Thank you."
Fili ushered her out. "Quick, let's go before Milly realizes what we've done."
Instead of going to the dining hall, Fili took Sigrid to the kitchens. His old friend and travelling companion was standing over a large, hot stove, stirring something deliciously fragrant.
"Hello, Fili," Bombur said.
"Bombur," Fili slapped the cook on his back, "I was wondering if I might be able to throw together some foods for a picnic with my lovely wife."
"Of course," Bombur smiled. "Help yourself and if there's something special you be wanting, you just ask."
Ten minutes later they were off, carrying a large basket of food. Fili led Sigrid deep into the mountain, finally emerging into a large dark cavern where a subterranean waterfall emptied into a lake of black water. The walls sparkled with gems glittering in the torchlight. Sigrid never would have imagined something so beautiful could exist inside a mountain.
"This is," words failed her. "I can't believe it. A waterfall, in the mountain!"
Fili squeezed her hand and led her to an alcove in the wall. There were blankets and furs on the ground. Fili straightened out the blankets and they sat on them, looking out at the waterfall.
"Kili and I were quite wounded during the battle, but as soon as the healers gave their consent, we were off exploring the mountain together. We found this place on our first day. Thorin said the lake is very deep. No one knows how deep it goes. As a lake, it's quite useless. There are no fish and there is no reason to cross it because there is nothing but the mountain's walls on the other side. But, he said in days past, on special occasions, the dwarves use to gather here and watch as a single boat would be paddled out to the middle of the lake. They would extinguish all the torches. From the boat, they would launch several small crafts with lit candles right onto the water. Then, a dwarf, in the boat, would sing. Sing to Aulë and thank him for creating us and making the dwarves to be as they are. I hope one day Uncle Thorin will consider starting this tradition again. I think it would be quite glorious."
Sigrid smiled at the image. She snuggled into Fili's chest, keeping her gaze on the endless waterfall. "I'll bet you have a lovely singing voice, Fili."
He laughed. "Only for drinking songs, my love." He stroked her hair and breathed in her scent. "Do you sing?"
"I can," Sigrid admitted, "but most of what I know these days are lullabies. Surely you've heard me singing to Milly."
"Oh, yes, I have. You have a lovely voice." He felt bad that he really hadn't paid attention to Sigrid's voice when he had heard her sing to his daughter, at least not enough to note how lovely her voice was. That would change. From now own, every time he heard Sigrid sing to Milly, he would compliment her. He kissed her neck and she shivered. "I've not been a good husband. I'm sorry it took me so long to remember we need a little time to be husband and wife, not just parents."
"You're a wonderful husband. The best in the world."
She turned around to face Fili. In the dark cavern with only torches for light, shadows danced about his face and Sigrid thought it made him all the more handsome. She ran her fingers along his face and into his beard. Her hand went to the marriage braid and she tugged at it lightly, feeling the texture of his hair in her fingers. They pressed their foreheads together, and silently touched each other's face and hair before leaning in together for a deep kiss.
Sigrid melted into his arms. Dinner was forgotten for a while. The waterfall continued its endless labor of dumping cold mountain water into the black lake. And Fili and Sigrid remembered how much they meant to each other.