Epilogue – New Life
11 months later…
I walked with Arwen through the halls, our arms linked. We were slow going, on account of my protruding abdomen.
Legolas and I were visiting Aragorn and Arwen for a few weeks, before returning to Ithilien. Legolas had wanted to help restore the devastated forests of the war-ravaged land and I had no objections. Imladris was empty, with only Elrond and a few trusted servants remaining behind. Equally, Lothlórien had lost its inhabitants, and the memories of Haldir that existed there would be too strong to bear.
To my surprise, Thranduil had given Legolas his leave to remain in Middle-Earth, and a few of Legolas' people stayed with us too. Our little Elvish community was the last on Middle Earth and the bonds that ran between us all were stronger than ever, linking us in a way that no-one could understand. Gimli visited frequently, his friendship with Legolas unbroken by the ending of the War.
Our arrival in Gondor had been planned for awhile, and I had been eager to see my sister. Legolas had been anxious about travelling due to my advanced pregnancy but I had waved him off. As a compromise, Legolas had contacted Halina, who had moved back to Rohan with Éomer. She had agreed to be my midwife and had travelled to Gondor with us, where she became almost like my own personal guard, scolding any who caused me stress and frequently berating Legolas for behaving like a child during examinations. To see him flinching from Halina's tongue-lashing never failed to make me laugh.
As Arwen and I exited the building, and on to a balcony, I looked at Arwen properly. She was glowing, her eyes shining with contentment. She had finally found her place in Middle Earth, and that was by Aragorn's side.
"Is there something on my face?"
Arwen turned to me, frowning slightly as she lifted a hand to pat her face. I smiled and shook my head, nudging her shoulder slightly as we looked out over Minis Tirith.
"I was merely observing how well you look, sister. You are finally with Aragorn, and I can think of no-one who deserves it more."
She flushed with happiness at my words, and I grinned. We fell silent for a while, just enjoying being with each other. Suddenly, Arwen gasped and shifted away from me. At the same time, I became aware of a wetness seeping down my legs. I looked down, beginning to feel embarrassed that I had relieved myself in public, but I quickly realised that it was something different.
"Arwen, I do believe I am going in to labour. I think we might need to find Halina."
My voice was level but I gasped as the first contraction hit. Arwen took my arm, and we began to make our way inside. A servant rushed up to us, and Arwen began explaining what we needed, words coming thick and fast.
"Find Mistress Halina, and bring her to my chambers. There is no time to get Seraphina down to the Healing Houses. Send out another to find Legolas and my husband."
The servant nodded and then sprinted off. Arwen helped me to walk, soothing me. We finally made it to her chambers and she helped me on to the bed. The contractions were getting stronger now, and as I gritted my teeth against another, I prayed that the children would be fine.
Aragorn watched in amusement as Legolas paced up and down outside the door. The brothers had received word that Seraphina had gone in to labour via a breathless servant. After finding out where she was, Legolas had sprinted off, with Aragorn following at a more leisurely pace. For once, Seraphina was not in a life-threatening position so he did not hurry himself. On reaching the chambers, he had found Legolas banished to the corridor outside. It made him laugh, but a glare from his friend silenced it in to a grin.
Both men winced as another cry echoed from the room, muffled slightly by the oaken door. Legolas stopped pacing as a stout figure appeared, hurrying towards them. Gimli had arrived a week ago, after spending time with his kin. The bond that had been forged between the Elf and the Dwarf was unbreakable, and Aragorn was glad that Gimli was here; maybe he could calm Legolas down a little.
"I just heard the news. So, you will be a father very soon, my friend."
Gimli sounded excited, and Aragorn could not help but feel the same. Legolas opened his mouth to speak, but Seraphina's pained voice emanated from behind the walls.
"I know you can hear me, Legolas Greenleaf! After this is over, we are sleeping in separate beds!"
Legolas paled, but his two friends roared with laughter. He shot them both a glare, but his expression quickly turned to terror as a particularly nasty scream sounded. He turned wide eyes on Aragorn, his panic evident.
"What if something goes wrong? After all that we have been through, what if now, something goes wrong?"
Aragorn placed a comforting hand on the Elf's shoulder, and Gimli drew closer, each of them lending silent support. The three friends stood there, waiting for it to be over, each of them praying that all was fine.
"I can see the head! You must push…NOW!"
Halina ordered me, her words firm. I was exhausted but I complied, gritting my teeth. I cried out as the pain swept through me, but it was replaced by joy as a sound that I had been waiting to hear filled the room. A baby's cry rose above the noise. I grinned, but it was short-lived; I had to deliver my other baby.
Halina kept up encouraging words, and I put all my effort in to it. Finally, after what seemed like eternity, another wail sounded. Tears streaked down my cheeks, and I let my head drop back against the pillow. I watched as the babes were cleaned up, not even noticing Halina attending to me.
"Would you like me to fetch Legolas now?"
I nodded at Arwen, the only one I had allowed to stay in the room. I had sent Legolas out, partly because I did not want him to see me in pain, and partly because I knew I would hurt him. Just as one of my children was being placed in my arms, he entered, rushing to my side. Halina handed him the other child, and he gently cradled the baby.
"You have two sons. Congratulations, Seraphina."
I nodded at Halina, too overcome to speak. It seemed she knew what I wanted to say, for she smiled, tears making her eyes glisten. I looked down at the babe in my arms.
A light dusting of silver-blonde hair adorned his head, not unlike my own. The tiny boy suddenly opened his eyes and I felt a tear slide down my cheek. His eyes were the exact same shade of grey Haldir's had been. I pressed a soft kiss to his forehead, cuddling him closer. He gurgled, wriggling slightly in his blankets. I looked up at Legolas, who was gazing adoringly at his other son. He bent down so I could see him.
The child had blonde hair, the same colour as Legolas', but the blue eyes staring back at me where the same shade as mine. I reached out my free hand, and stroked the baby's cheek, feeling such a rush of love that I did not know how to handle it. Legolas leaned forward, and kissed the top of my head, and I could feel his smile.
I had not heard the door open, and I looked up, grinning at Aragorn. Gimli stood next to him, eyes shining. After the children had been held by our friends, they were returned to us.
"Have you thought of any names?"
Aragorn spoke, standing next to Arwen, who was seated in a chair at the end of the bed. Legolas sat next to the bed, holding the babe that shared his hair colour. Gimli had exited the room, deciding that he would be the one to organise the feast. I looked down at the child in my arms, smiling as I stroked the baby fluff on his head.
"I have thought of one, for the son in my arms."
I looked over, and caught Legolas' eye. For a moment, the word was stuck in my throat, but I forced it out, determined to say it.
It came out as a whisper, but I knew it had been heard. Legolas stared at me for a moment, and then nodded, dropping his gaze to his son. The baby fussed a little, until I cuddled him closer.
"Yes, that name suits him well. Ni veren an le ngovaned, Haldir, iôn."
Legolas spoke to the child, and I could not help but grin. He was going to be a fantastic father. I looked over at Aragorn and Arwen, and they both nodded, exchanging a glance with each other.
"I have thought of a name for my other son."
Legolas stood, rearranging the babe in his arms. I nodded, waiting to hear it.
I let out a little laugh, and nodded. The name loosely meant 'goodness' and I knew what Legolas meant by it. As he knelt down, so our sons were next to each other, I knew that the name meant more than the translation. It symbolised that our little family was finally free from evil. All that we had fought for, all that we had sacrificed, had been in the name of goodness, and we had finally been rewarded for it.
*SOB* It's done! It's all over. I hope you liked this little chapter. I did not make such a big deal out of the giving birth scene – I know you all wanted to see the baby's! :D I am toying with the idea of writing little one-shots to explain some things about Seraphina's past but I am not sure.
Thank you all so very much for staying with me throughout this. Your support has kept me writing and you are beautiful! I love you all!
Ni veren an le ngovaned, Haldir, iôn - I am happy to meet you, Haldir, my son