Fathers

Legolas

Mirkwood was...less dark than Bilbo's stories had made it seem. Frodo wasn't entirely sure whether to attribute that to the Elves beginning their triumph over the darkness that dwelled within the forest or his uncle's...creative liberties with his journey. Legolas, however, seemed completely at home, shoulders relaxed and utterly at peace. The trees around them seemed to reach out toward the prince, leaves gently brushing against his hair and shoulders, something Sam pointed out in a whisper.

The Elf prince was slightly ahead of the party, Aragorn and Gimli on one side, Elladan and Elrohir on the other. The twins were watching him with indulgent smiles as Legolas happily laid a hand on the branch of a tree, "We're almost at the palace gates. I'm actually surprised we haven't run into a hunting party y-"

He stopped in mid-sentence and went utterly still before swiftly stepping to the side and avoiding the figure that dove from the trees, missed him entirely, and crashed to the ground.

Legolas grinned at the figure, now revealed to be an Elf, and extended a hand to help him up, "Mae Govannen, Lacien."

The Elf-who was apparently named Lacien-swiftly pulled Legolas into a hug and began babbling in Elvish. Frodo managed to catch the words 'home', 'father', and 'waiting' before Legolas switched back into common tongue, "Lacien, may I introduce the members of the Fellowship; you already know the twins, Estel-"

Lacien grinned in an impish way that immediately reminded everyone of both Merry and Pippin, as well as Elladan and Elrohir, "Ah yes. Of course. King Estel now if I'm not mistaken."

He gave an exaggerated, half bow and Aragorn rolled his eyes fondly.

Legolas shoved him lightly, causing him to lose his balance before continuing, "And Arwen-"

"Looking as radiant as ever."

Legolas gave him a look and the Elf immediately shut up with another grin, "The king of Rohan, Eomer and his sister Eowyn. The new Steward of Gondor, Faramir."

Lacien gave them an Elven bow before Legolas continued, "Member of the Fellowship, Gimli, son of Gloin."

Lacien gave Legolas a raised eyebrow look but nodded all the same.

"And last, but certainly not least, may I present to you the Hobbits of the Shire, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin."

Another low, Elven bow, "It's an honor."

"This would be Lacien, one of our Captains of the Guard and one of my oldest friends. His father is my father's best friend. We grew up together..." Legolas looked at Lacien before sighing, "Well I grew up. He just got older."

Lacien grinned again, "Growing up is optional. I choose not to."

The party began moving again, this time with Lacien among them. The Captain of the Guard had acquainted himself with Merry and Pippin, something Frodo made note of with a mild sense of dread. Between the cousins, the twins, and now Lacien, the ring-bearer had a doubt as to whether the forest would survive. They had just reached the gates of the palace when a redheaded She-Elf came bolting through with a delighted cry, "Legolas!"

She launched herself at him and he caught her, spinning her around once, before putting her back down, "You're home! And in one piece!"

Legolas held out his arms for inspection, "I am."

"Have you seen Galadhwen or your father yet?"

Legolas shook his head, "Just Lacien."

The She-Elf gave Lacien a stern look, "You had better be behaving."

Legolas smiled at her fondly before beginning introductions again. The redheaded She-Elf was revealed to be Tauriel, another close friend of the Elf Prince. As she bowed her head in greeting a glint of metal on her left hand caught Legolas's eye.

He swiftly grabbed her hand and examined the golden ring on it. Tauriel smiled sheepishly, "It was your father's idea. The forest was growing darker and we needed a reason to celebrate."

Lacien wrapped an arm around his new wife's waist, "It was almost a year ago now."

Frodo noticed that Aragorn also saw the slight slump in their Elven friend's shoulders and the shadows that returned, ever so slightly to his eyes, "It seems like I've been gone for much longer than three years."

Tauriel touched Legolas's hand lightly, "We wanted you there. You know that, right? You're a dear friend to both of us."

Legolas nodded and turned so he was walking backwards as the group moved, "Of course I know that. And I'm actually surprised you two waited as long as you did. You've been engaged for what seems like forever."

Lacien sighed, "You were gone for what seems like forever. The forest isn't the same without you."

Elladan grinned, "Now comes the bet of who will be more angry with you, King Thranduil or Galadhwen."

Legolas grimaced, "I don't suppose hiding is an option?"

Tauriel shook her head, "There aren't too many places you can hide where they won't find you."

Elrohir looked around his friend, "Besides...you're too late."

Legolas spun around and stepped forward slightly as another She-Elf strode toward them all. She reached Legolas and looked him over once before smacking him, hard. He flinched slightly before she threw herself into his arms, burying her face in his neck, "If you ever leave like that again, I'll never forgive you."

He ran a gentle hand over her head and a smile crept onto his face, "I'm sorry."

"You should be," She mumbled before straightening.

As everyone got a clear look at her, there was no doubt as to who she was.

"Everyone, may I present my wife, Galadhwen."

Galadhwen gave a low nod but kept herself tucked against her husband, "It's a pleasure."

Legolas introduced everyone one by one, ending with Gimli.

"Your drawings hardly do her justice," Gimli told him with a smile causing Galadhwen to flush ever so slightly.

She turned from her husband and gave him a firm look over, "How badly are you injured?"

The twins and Lacien immediately burst out laughing and Legolas casually reached over and punched Elladan in the arm, "I'm not injured."

Galadhwen turned to Aragorn, "Estel, how badly is he injured?"

That merely caused the twins to laugh harder and caused everyone else to fight off grins.

Legolas frowned at her, "What makes you think I'm lying to you?"

Galadhwen kissed his cheek lightly, "Because I've known you for years, Darling."

Aragorn couldn't hide his grin, "Some mild bruising on his ribs, a nasty cut that I took care of on his left shoulder and chest, and another right about his left hip."

Legolas glared at him half-heartedly before beginning to move again, "Is Ada in the throne room?"

Galadhwen, once again pressed against his side, nodded, "Mmhm."

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King Thranduil was every bit as terrifying as Mr. Bilbo's book, Sam thought to himself. The Elf king was seated on his throne looking every inch a king...and a furious one at that. Sam noticed that the fury seemed to be all contained and was very similar to the fury he had seen on Legolas on occasion. (Though luckily never directed at him.)

Legolas and his wife led the party in before going to one knee and staring pointedly at the floor. The room remained tense and silent for a long, long minute before the King rose and slowly descended the steps from his throne so he was standing on the same platform as the rest of them.

Sam watched tensely, as Legolas stood slowly, "Adar."

Before he could speak another word he was enfolded in his father's arms, "I have never been more furious with you."

Sam felt the room almost sigh with relief and followed Aragorn, Arwen, the Wood Elves' lead to stand. Thranduil hugged his son for a long moment before holding him out at arms length to inspect him, "Estel, how badly is he injured?"

Legolas threw up his arms, exasperated, "Why doesn't anyone believe my answer to that question?"

"Because we know you, ion-nin," Thranduil answered.

Aragorn grinned, "Nothing serious. Some cuts that I already stitched and some badly bruised ribs."

Thranduil nodded slowly and looked his son over again. Legolas tugged his wife to his side again and began introduction, yet again.

The king was nothing but polite and courteous to everyone, including Gimli which surprised Sam to say the least. Once names and titles had been said Thranduil made his way toward the throne, "I have a few things left to do before tonight. Legolas can show you around the palace. I'll see you all at dinner."

Sam watched Aragorn lean in casually to Legolas and mutter, "Did he say he'll see us at dinner or that the Dwarf was dinner?"

Legolas muttered back, "The former. I'm not questioning it."

Sam withheld the smile he felt tugging at his mouth and followed Legolas's lead out of the throne room. They made their way down the dizzying labyrinth of halls that had he needed to, Sam knew he'd never find his way out without assistance.

Portraits lined the walls, mainly of Legolas himself, including one that Gimli took great delight in, of a small Elfling prince with missing teeth, chin length blonde hair, and a bright grin.

As they wandered Legolas pointed out important rooms, such as the kitchens (for the Hobbits), the smaller library (for Faramir), and an assortment of studies, meeting rooms, and halls. The entire walk Galadhwen stayed pressed to her husband's side, his arm firmly upon her waist. The sight of how content they were in each other's presence made Sam resolve to himself that he would talk to Rosie upon returning to the Shire.

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As their group (Lacien and Tauriel in tow) approached the long hall of guest rooms Aragorn took pity on his oldest friend, "I'll show them to their rooms. You go spend some time with your wife."

Elrohir gave them a rather lewd look and opened his mouth to say something before Arwen smacked him as hard as she could upside the head and gave him a stern look, "Not a word."

Aragorn smirked at his elder brother before turning back to Legolas, "We'll see you at the banquet tonight."

Galadhwen leaned in and kissed him the cheek before beaming, "Hannon le, Estel."

The couple very nearly ran down the hall away from them as Aragorn turned around to face the expectant fellowship, "Merry and Pippin and the twins are to have rooms nowhere near one another."

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Galadhwen had never looked more beautiful than she did at that moment in Legolas's eyes and he said as much.

Contentedly sitting next to him on their bed, soft blanket wrapped around her shoulders, she giggled, blushing, and pulled the blanket tighter around her, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder I suppose."

She ran a gentle hand down his bare chest with a frown, "Please don't ever leave like that again."

Legolas felt a pang of guilt, not for the first time, for leaving his home without more than a letter home, "The ring had to be destroyed. I couldn't let Frodo go alone."

His wife sighed audibly, "Ever noble, you are. I didn't expect any less of you."

He attempted to lighten the mood with a sheepish grin, "At least I returned to you in one piece."

Galadhwen did laugh at that before looking him over with a critical eye, "Aye. In one piece...but not entirely whole."

Legolas cursed under his breath, he should have known she'd notice, "What do you mean?"

She gave him her signature 'healer look', "Meleth, I've known you since childhood. You really thought I wouldn't notice?"

He shrugged one shoulder halfheartedly, "I had hopes."

She didn't smile at that, instead merely worried at her lower lip with her teeth, "It's the sea longing, isn't it?"

Legolas felt himself nod and her face sunk. Instant guilt for worrying her struck him (not for the first time in their marriage, to be sure) and he ushered her to lie next to him, which she did, pillowing her head on his shoulder, "I'm sorry."

She raised her head and stared at curiously, "Foooor?"

"This. This isn't how I wanted to tell you."

She rolled her eyes at him and laid her head back down, "It was bound to happen eventually to one of us. Have you made plans to sail?"

He shook his head, "Not yet. Middle Earth still holds too much for me still to leave yet."

He could actually feel her inner healer emerge, "Don't put it off for too long. Elves have faded because they've been too stubborn to sail."

He gave her his most innocent look, "Are you saying I'm stubborn?"

She glared at him halfheartedly, "Don't try to change the subject."

He couldn't help the soft smile, "I'm not. I'll leave long before I start to fade. I just can't leave Estel here. He can barely take care of himself and now they expect him to rule a city."

She snorted, "Please. You're one to talk, Prince Legolas of the constantly injured."

He made a face at her, "I am not constantly injured. I returned to you with no broken bones and under 20 stitches."

She looked him over searchingly. Whatever she was looking for she much have found because she snuggled up against him again, "It's a start I supposed. If you ever returned home wound free your father and I might die of shock."

He stuck his tongue out at her childishly.

"Mature," The lapsed into a moment of silence before she spoke again, "Just remember when you do sail your family will go with you."

Legolas was once again overwhelmed by the fact he was home, safe, and content, as he kissed his wife he hadn't seen for the longest three years of his life.

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Galadhwen was nearly comatose, lulled by her safe, whole, and once again home, husband's heartbeat and gentle fingers through her hair. She was utterly loathe to move but if her eyes were correct, the light in their room was slowly fading which meant they had to get out of bed and prepare for the feast that evening, "Meleth...we have to get up."

Legolas chose to ignore her and continued his petting of her hair. She resolved herself to rise and wiggled out of his grasp, "We need to get ready for the feast...the one being held by your father. In your honor."

Legolas continued to lay there, eyes shut, "They won't notice if we're not there."

Galadhwen exhaled, "Trust me, darling, they will. Up. I need to bathe. My hair is a bird's nest and I smell like...us."

Her husband looked entirely too proud of himself and she sighed again, "By the time I'm done you better be out of this bed."

Some very long minutes she exited their bathroom, not surprised to see Legolas in the same place she had left him. With a sigh she went over to their closet and retrieved a pale silver tunic out of it and matching leggings before throwing them on his head, "Up."

With a groan he obeyed, rising slower than usual, she noticed, due to his sore ribs. Galadhwen went about braiding her hair intricately, pausing only when she felt Legolas behind her, "I swear to you that if you mess up my hair it will be the last time we do that for a very long time."

She could feel his smile as he pressed a kiss to her neck, "As my Lady commands it."

She turned her head to meet his lips, "Good Elf."

Galadhwen turned back to her mirror and finished tucking the last few strands of hair into a complicated braid that wrapped around the back of her head, securing her ornate circlet in place. A delicate necklace of pale peridot, given to her by Legolas during their courtship, went around her neck. Before she could manage the clasp herself, calloused hands did it for her making her smile, "My hero...always to the rescue."

Legolas kissed the side of her neck again, "I've seen you with your daggers, you hardly need any rescuing."

She turned around and wrapped her arms around his neck, "And don't you forget it."

Her smirked her in a way that made her fall in love with him all over again and she melted into his arms before realizing what his intent was and stiffening, "No. After the banquet. Finish getting ready"

Legolas all but pouted but did as he was told, getting his tunic on and tying back his hair in a braid of his own. With roll of his eyes at the crown she handed him, he took her arm in his and escorted her out of their room into the hall where the other members of the fellowship were gathering.

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Mirkwood...Greenwood...Eryn Galen...whatever it was called now was known for it's deadly warriors, beautiful forest, terrifying yet well loved rulers, and it's celebrations. So far Faramir had noticed all to be true. He still wasn't feeling his best, but he supposed coming as close to death as he did, it was to be expected. His time in the Halls of the Healing had found him a great friend in the Elvish Prince. They had quickly bonded over a shared loved of reading and King Aragorn had quickly placed them in charge of restoring Ithilien to its former glory, something that they both seemed to desire to do. In between talks of reading and city rebuilding (and Pippin's interruptions) Faramir had enjoyed hearing the prince talk about his home, his father, and his wife. All of the stories brought Eryn Galen to life for him and he was delighted to see that everything was as described.

Faramir (as Eowyn's escort for the evening) was seated with the Fellowship and King Eomer at the table with King Thranduil, his son, and Legolas's wife. Thranduil was hardly as terrifying as lore had suggested, but Faramir supposed having been introduced as Legolas's friend didn't hurt matters in that regard. The Elven king seemed fairly impressed with Faramir's grasp of Elvish, however stuttering his Sindarian came across.

As Eowyn took Faramir's hand under the table and he died a little from joy, King Thranduil, who had been talking with King Aragorn for the moment, switched to common tongue and raised his voice ever so slightly, "Maybe now that my son has returned from wandering Middle Earth without any more notice than a letter home, he'll be more eager to provide me with the grandchildren I've been patiently waiting for."

Everyone (particularly Gimli) enjoyed the mouthful of wine Legolas choked on after hearing that statement. Galadhwen turned the color of said wine and gasped, "Ada!"

Legolas gave his father a look that most would quail before but Thranduil merely smirked, "You two have been married nearly a decade now."

Faramir could barely hold back the laughter as he watched those who knew Legolas a bit longer than he, break down into hysterics on behalf of their friend's embarrassment.

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The palace of Mirkwood was a labyrinth she was never going to find her way around, Eowyn decided. Every hall looked the same and every room had its door closed and she was not about to go opening them. Just as she all about gave up and went to sleep against the wall, the Shieldmadien of Rohan spotted two faces she recognized. Granted they were not faces she knew well but she knew their names at the very least, "Princess Galadhwen! Lady Arwen!"

The She-Elves spun around and gave Eowyn a bright smile before Galadhwen spoke, "Lady Eowyn...how did you end up over here?"

Eowyn's shoulders slumped, "I don't know. I went looking for the kitchens or a healer and then I couldn't find my way back to my room. I was just about to give up."

Arwen gave her a sympathetic look, "I understand. I still don't like going anywhere with someone with me."

"I needed tea...for pain...for Faramir. He kept saying he was all right but I could tell he was in pain. I was going to bring it to him but I got lost," She looked around the hall they stood in, "Very lost."

Galadhwen nodded, "Tea I can do. Follow me."

Eowyn followed to two She-Elves down the hall to a small corner room on their left. Inside was a desk covered in glass jars of herbs, powders, and plants, and a small fireplace with a tea kettle hanging over it. Arwen took a seat and gestured for Eowyn to do the same, which she did, albeit somewhat wide-eyed. Galadhwen immediately lit the fire and then went about crushing and mixing different leaves and plants together. Eowyn just gazed before plucking up her courage and asking, "Is this the healer's ward?"

Galadhwen shook her head, "Not really. It's my supplies room that I keep things in."

"You're a healer?"

Galadhwen nodded, "Mmhm. And a midwife and doula. I don't heal nearly as much as I could, just mainly Legolas and his friends."

Clearly content with the mixture she made, the blonde She-Elf adjusted the kettle so it sat more firmly above the flames. Eowyn, who rarely, if ever, had fear talking (something her brother loved to point out) continued her questions, "I didn't know you were a healer."

Galadhwen unceremoniously plopped down on the floor, and motioned for them to stay where they were before leaning her weight back on her arms, "I went into it in my...I supposed it would be the human age equivalent of my late teenage years...I was a warrior before that."

Eowyn crossed her legs up on her chair, hardly lady-like but it didn't look as if either of her companions were judging, "Why did you stop being a warrior?"

"I was bitten by a spider. Legolas and I were out together in the forest when it attacked. I was bitten on the back of my neck, right by my spine and I lost my site for 20 or so years. I could just see blurs of color and only for certain people. I was taught to fight without my eyes but with how quickly the darkness was spreading through the forest I felt I'd be more of a hindrance than a help."

Eowyn nodded, intrigued, "Why healing?"

Galadhwen raised her eyebrow and gave her a dry look, "You have met my husband, right?"

Arwen and Eowyn both laughed at that as the water started whistling. A mug of tea was quickly made and the ladies stepped into the hall, Eowyn holding Faramir's cup of tea.

The two Elves lead Eowyn back to the guest rooms where the tea was delivered to an ever grateful Faramir who accepted the mug with a gentle squeeze of Eowyn's hand that made her head spin and heart flutter. As his door shut lightly, Eowyn turned to see the two She-Elves grinning at her in a way that only other women can. Arwen took one of Eowyn's arms, Galadhwen the other. Arwen explained as they lead her down the hall, "We're having girl time in the study. Join us."

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The fire was warm, the wine was fantastic, and Eowyn seemed to have opened up to them fully. Hardly any of the hesitance that lurked in her every move upon their first meeting seemed present. She was seated on the floor with them, enjoying talking about anything and everything. The topics ranged from childhood (during which Arwen learned about the girl's rather tragic past), the banquet, and the destruction of the one ring and the war that ensued. Currently the conversation drifted to the men in their lives, particularly Arwen's upcoming wedding.

"I'd hardly call it an event. It will be...I'm being crowned queen at the same time but I've been with Aragorn for years. The wedding with hardly change anything. I'll just have a ring."

Galadhwen grinned and took a sip of her wine, "It will exciting either way. It's fast approaching and Middle Earth needs constant happiness after the darkness we've been dwelling in."

"How long have you and Legolas been married?" Eowyn asked.

"Nine years. It was only five when he left."

Arwen gave Eowyn a sly look, "I'm sure it won't be long before Faramir will be asking you to be his wife."

Eowyn blush slightly, a tiny bit of pink staining her cheeks, "We aren't even officially courting yet."

"it's obvious you will be. He adores the ground you walk on."

Arwen watched as Eowyn went dreamy-eyed, "He's different from any man I've ever met. He quiet, charming, shy...I never imagined myself with someone like he is. Especially after-"

She broke off and took a large gulp of wine. Arwen nodded understandingly, "Aragorn can be charming. And alluring. He's even better when he bathes on a regular basis. You saw him in ranger mode."

Eowyn's mouth opened and closed for a moment like a fish as she searched for words. Arwen took pity on her after no words seemed to come, "Estel told me. And I can hardly blame you. He has that air about him. I'm just glad I didn't need to fight you for him."

Eowyn immediately began to protest before Arwen cut her off with a laugh, "I'm joking. I hold nothing against you. I promise. It's in the past and you have Faramir now. I understand though, there were about two years where I fully planned my wedding to Legolas."

Eowyn's mouth dropped open, "What?"

Arwen shrugged, "I was...well...what you might call a teenager. I had two elder brothers who were the bane of my existence. Legolas was a prince, a renowned archer, and he treated me life a friend and a lady all at once. We had been writing to one another, I hadn't seen him in about five years, and I kept imagining there was more to our letters than there was. He came to visit and I had mentally planned how he was going to ask to court me all the way down to our children."

"What happened?" Eowyn asked, drawn in.

Arwen sighed melodramatically, "He arrived with his affiance...who was wearing breeches no less. I was devastated until I got to know her a few days into their visit. She became one of my dearest friends and the thought of Legolas as anyone but my brother now makes me feel physically ill."

The room laughed and Arwen turned her attention to Galadhwen who seemed slightly distracted, "Everything all right?"

Galadhwen snapped out of it and nodded, "Mmhm. More wine?"

The goblets were refilled before Galadhwen spoke quietly, "He has the sea longing."

Arwen felt her shoulder's deflate, "I thought so. I was hoping I was wrong."

Galadhwen sighed, "He said he doesn't want to leave yet."

Arwen touched her shoulder lightly, "We'll keep an eye on him. All of us. You know as well as I do how strong he is. He just needs something to keep his mind off of everything."

Eowyn spoke up hesitantly, "Faramir keeps talking about Ithilien. That might help."

Galadhwen brightened slightly, "It will. I'm sure there will be other things as well to keep his mind focused."

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Elves, being the firstborn of the Valar are different from their human brothers in many ways. Apart from being far more attune with nature, they are more attune with the world they live in. She-Elves can often sense their own pregnancy early on, long before their body develops the other signs.

It had hardly been two weeks since the Fellowship had left. Aragorn, Arwen, the twins, and Faramir back to Gondor, Eomer and Eowyn to Rohan, Gimli to his mountain, and the Hobbits to their holes. Two weeks and Galadhwen was sure of it. Their bedroom was almost black, any light shut out by the thick curtains hanging by the windows. Beside her, Legolas slept soundly, eyes half closed and glazed in sleep. Galadhwen withheld another sigh and tried to keep herself from wiggling in her nervous energy.

She could sense it. The tiny life within her that had just begun. The She-Elf began running through every possible way to tell her husband, with every negative reaction he could have being the ones that came to mind.

Subconsciously she held a gentle hand over her stomach, her foot rocking with agitation as she thought. It wasn't more than a moment before the movement woke Legolas and he rolled over on top of her, pushing himself up, "What is it?"

Galadhwen startled at his words and came back from her thoughts, "What is what?"

Legolas sat up and pulled her to him, "You're shaking the whole bed. What's wrong?"

Galadhwen sighed, "Nothing is wrong..."

They sat in silence as he waited for her to come clean. Finally she turned slightly so they could barely make out each other's face in the dark, "Do you want a family?"

Still half asleep, her husband obviously didn't grasp the implication behind her words, "I...I suppose. Eventually. I don't think anybody is in any rush...besides Ada."

They lapsed back into silence before she groaned and cursed creatively.

Legolas stared at her, confused, "What is wrong?"

A deep breath, and then, "I'm pregnant."

She watched as her words hit him and his eyes widened, "What?"

"I'm pregnant. A boy."

"How-how long?"

"Have I known? Since this morning. I suspected for a few days but I was positive as of this morning. How long have I been with child? I suspect since the day we were reunited."

Her husband stared blankly at her for a moment, "You're pregnant?"

She nodded.

"With our child."

She nodded again.

"Our son."

One more nod.

He went silent for a split second before tugging her to her feet and spinning her around. Once her feet were firmly upon the ground again he kissed her passionately. Galadhwen broke away, both hands on his chest, "You aren't upset?"

Legolas looked at her as if she was suddenly speaking Dwarfish, "Why would I be upset? We're having a baby."

Galadhwen sagged against his slightly, "Good."

"That's what all this nervousness was about?"

A nod.

She gently brought his hand to her stomach and he caressed it almost reverently. The shock and surprised of the day wore off and Galadhwen allowed it to sink in fully, "We're having a baby."

Legolas nodded and she grinned and repeated, "We're having a baby!"

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His father had never been a morning person. While Legolas had inherited his mother's loved of the wee hours of the day, Thranduil barely functioned until shortly before lunch. With Galadhwen seated next to him at the breakfast table, Legolas patiently waited for Thranduil to appear out of his bedroom. Sure enough about halfway through eating, Thranduil entered, running entirely on muscle memory, mind not fully awake yet. His wife glanced up from her plate and gave him an excited grin before returning to cutting her apple.

Legolas watched as his father went about placing the teapot on the stove before he spoke, "Morning Ada."

Thranduil (though he would have denied it) made a noise bordering on a grunt before sitting down across from his son. Legolas tried to keep his voice as casual as possibly, "Do you remember your grandfather?"

Thranduil looked at his son as if he had grown an extra head, "What?"

Legolas repeated, "Do you remember your grandfather?"

Thranduil sighed, "Slightly."

Legolas shrugged one shoulder casually, "I was thinking about how I never got to even meet Daeradar and I was wondering if you remember you own grandfather."

Thranduil took a moment for the words to register, "I did. However briefly. He sailed when I was a child. I don't remember much about him."

The water on the stove began whistling and Thranduil rose to turn the stove off as Legolas asked another question, "Do you have any plans to sail in the near future?"

Thranduil's response was dry, "Trying to get rid of me so soon?"

"No. Just making sure."

Thranduil retrieved three cups from the counter and began filling them with hot water, "No. I'm here on Middle Earth for a while still. Why do you ask?"

Legolas kept his voice entirely neutral, "No reason. I suppose I'm just glad my son will be able to know his grandfather right from the start."

Thranduil made a noise of affirmation and continued making tea. Galadhwen looked at her husband and mouthed, "Just wait."

Legolas watched, amused, as his words gained meaning and his father dropped the teacup on the counter with a clatter and spun around, "What?"

Legolas grinned, "You're going to be a grandfather."

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His marriage daughter looked...unwell. Galadhwen sat at the small table normally reserved for breakfast, her head in one hand, face pale, and hair mildly disheveled. Thranduil placed the mug of tea he had made specifically for that reason in front of her, "Mint and ginger. It should help."

Galadhwen gave him a grateful look, "Hannon le."

Thranduil took the seat across from her, "It's nothing."

She sipped at her tea and sighed, "I feel so useless."

Had Thranduil been anyone except the king he would have snorted, "You shouldn't. I can guarantee no members of my court are walking around and judging you because you're with child and ill."

Galadhwen groaned and plopped her head on her arm, "I know...I knew sickness was common. I've seen it with the mothers I've helped. I just didn't think it would attack me so severely. I'm nauseous all day long...I can barely keep any food down. The only thing I know I can keep down is tea. I haven't been able to do...anything."

"You just worry about taking care of yourself and my grandson."

Galadhwen smiled and took a sip of her tea, "I'm trying...I hate being stationary. I like to stay busy."

Thranduil raised an eyebrow, "I hadn't noticed."

The smile grew, "Not to mention the amount of times I cry for no reason. I was sobbing a few days ago because there was a spider in the garden and the spider had a butterfly in its web. Legolas had to free it for me."

"Mirelina once sobbed for nearly three hours about how Legolas was someday going to grow up. She was only four months along at the time."

Galadhwen laughed, "I'm not that bad...yet. I'm sure I will be."

"Have you eaten at all today?"

Galadhwen grimaced, "I made honey bread earlier...I managed about two bites. I don't believe I'm ever going to eat honey bread again. The thought is making me a little ill."

"No honey bread then. What about regular bread? Or fruit?"

"Fruit I think I could manage."

She went to rise but Thranduil guided her back onto the chair with a gentle hand on her shoulder, "You sit. I can manage cutting up an apple, I promise."

Galadhwen sighed, "Hannon le. Again."

Comfortable silence settled in as a sliced apple was placed on the table along with a small slice of plain bread. Galadhwen smiled at Thranduil gratefully before taking a tiny bite of bread, "Where exactly is my husband? When I woke, he was gone."

Thranduil sighed, "He took his hunting party out to clear some of the webbing still clinging. Believe me when I say I tried to talk him out of it but he's-"

"Stubborn," She finished.

Thranduil nodded with a sigh, "The one trait I had hoped he wouldn't inherit from me. I sent him with Halden and the strict promise to return uninjured. His hunting party made that oath as well."

"That would be a first."

Thranduil could sympathize, "I have hopes that someday it will happen. He at least understood the threat behind my words."

Galadhwen took another small bite of bread, "I'm determined to finish this and not get sick."

Thranduil frowned slightly, "Don't push yourself...are you going to be well enough to travel next week?

Galadhwen nodded, "I had better be. We're both in the wedding. And I for one intend on being there."

Thranduil relented, "Guards are traveling with us at least. Have you or my son informed Estel and Arwen of the new member of the family?"

Galadhwen shook her head, "We want to wait until after the wedding. That day is about them, not about us."

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Arwen wasn't nervous. She felt like perhaps she should be, given it was her wedding day but having been with her soon-to-be husband for what seemed like an eternity already all the nervous had worn off years ago, leaving nothing but excitement. Her dearest friends were with her helping her prepare and celebrate. Galadhwen who had brought wine from home and would be serving as the Matron in Waiting, Idril and Nessa, her brothers'...love interests would be serving as Ladies in Waiting along with the now-courting Eowyn, who Arwen had grown close to during their short time knowing one another.

Galadhwen, always creative when it came to hair, had managed some sort of styling that Arwen knew she'd never be able to replicate on her own. Nessa had the gown and veil laid out on the bed, waiting to be put on while the bride finished getting ready.

Arwen felt the last few unruly strands of hair get tucked back and turned to face the others, "How does it look?"

"You look radiant, your Majesty," Eowyn told her and Arwen smiled.

"Arwen, Eowyn. Just Arwen. I never cared for titles."

Idril, always with a mischievous streak that Arwen feared to see combined with Elrohir's, grinned, "Before you get in your dress we're all having a glass of wine."

Arwen grinned back, "And it's Mirkwood wine, thanks to Galadhwen," She turned to Eowyn, "Nothing is better than Mirkwood wine."

"Eryn Galen, Arwen," Nessa reminded her as she poured the wine, "It's Eryn Galen now."

"Ah yes," Arwen remarked as she accepted the two glasses of wine handed to her, "Mirkwood no longer."

She went to hand Galadhwen the goblet of wine but the Wood Elf shook her head, "I'm all right but hannon le."

Arwen nearly dropped the glass in shock before suspicion settled in, "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," Galadhwen protested, "I just don't feel like having wine."

Arwen gave her friend a searching look, "You're a Wood Elf. You always feel like having wine."

Galadhwen seemed to grasp for a response, "I just don't want it right before the ceremony."

Arwen looked her over and noticed the uneasiness in her posture, "You're hiding something."

Galadhwen sighed, "I'm not. Can we please just toast to your long and happy marriage with me having a glass of water?"

Dread began to settle in Arwen's stomach, "What's wrong? Please? I'm starting to worry."

Galadhwen shut her eyes briefly and sighed even deeper, "There's nothing to worry about. I promise we're planning to tell you before we leave."

The dread hit her fully as she realized what Galadhwen must be talking about, "Legolas is sailing, isn't he?"

Galadhwen gave her a funny look, "No. Where did you get that idea?"

More horrid thoughts ran through her head, "Is he dying? Are you dying?"

Galadhwen was looking throughly frustrated, "No. Nothing like that. It's...I..." She took a deep breath, "I'm in a delicate way."

Arwen's rattled mind took a moment to try and process what she meant, "Oh...oh...oh..."

Suddenly Eowyn gasped loudly, "You're pregnant!?"

Galadhwen slowly nodded and Arwen all but fell over in shock, Nessa jumping in at the last moment to save the wine goblets, "Why in the name of the Valar would you hide that from us?" She paused and leaned in hushed, "Is it Legolas's?"

Galadhwen gave her a very dry look, "No. It's a spider's. We thought we'd try to cross breed."

Idril snorted and the reality of what was being said hit Arwen fully, "You're having a baby...you're having a baby!"

Galadhwen grinned and nodded before Arwen engulfed her in a hug before leaning over to look at her stomach, "Hello Baby!"

Galadhwen rolled her eyes fondly, "It's a boy by the way."

Eowyn, who had migrated over from her seat, hugged Galadhwen as well, "Who have you told?"

"Hardly anyone. Only Thranduil...though I think Halden suspects. He's been instructed to keep me safe more than he ever has. And Lacien may have bullied Legolas into telling him," Galadhwen told them.

Arwen took her friend's hand and all but dragged her-gently-into the hall in the direction of the study where Aragorn was getting ready, "If you think I'm getting married without Aragorn finding out he's going to be an uncle first, you're mistaken."

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Aragorn was nervous. More nervous than he had ever been in his life for a matter of fact. One would think, given their rather long (in mortal standards) history together he wouldn't be as nervous as he was but clearly one would be mistaken. Apparently he must have looked distressed enough to be noticeable because Legolas commented on it.

"You do realize you can breath, Aragorn. You have nothing to be worried about. You've been together for longer than most would even think about."

Aragorn looked at him and tried to do as he was told, "What if she decides she can do better."

His oldest and closest friend raised one dark eyebrow, "I think it's safe to say that won't happen."

Another horrifying thought occurred to him, "What if I forget the ring?" A flash of panic, "Where IS the ring?"

Legolas held up a small bag from his pocket, "With me. That's why you gave them to me."

Aragorn breathed a sigh of relief, "What if I trip?"

Legolas looked exasperated as he turned to the twins, "Was I this bad?"

Elladan nodded, "Worse actually."

Legolas sent him a rather rude gesture and turned back to Aragorn, "You're going to be fine."

Before he could respond there was a knock on the door and Arwen's voice called through, "Estel? Don't open the door, you're not supposed to see the bride before the wedding but I needed to speak to you. Ask your closest friend what he's hiding from you."

Aragorn spun around to look a Legolas who suddenly had all eyes upon him. Galadhwen's voice called though, "I tried to keep it hidden but she got it out of me. Sorry."

Aragorn's stomach plummeted, "You're sailing, aren't you?"

Legolas gave him an absurd look, "What? No."

"He's not dying either," Arwen mentioned through the still closed door.

Legolas turned toward the door, "You thought I was dying."

"Only because she knows you, Darling," Galadhwen replied.

Aragorn quickly called the attention to the matter at hand, "All right. What're you not telling us?"

Legolas sighed and turned back to face the expectant room of Hobbits, Elves, Men, and a Dwarf, "Galadhwen and I are having our first child. She's pregnant."

The room went utterly silent for a long moment before Arwen spoke again, "You can yell at him for hiding that I'm going to finish getting ready. See you shortly, Meleth."

Legolas looked rather sheepish, "Are you going to say something or just stare at me like that?"

Aragorn forced his mouth to move, "I'm going to be an uncle?"

"Yes."

"And the reason we were hiding this was?"

Legolas sighed, "Today is about you and Arwen. Not about Galadhwen and I or Eryn Galen or even Ithilien."

Elrohir, never one for tact, whooped loudly, "Forget Gondor! I'm going to be an uncle!"

Elladan opened another bottle of wine and began pouring as Frodo spoke up from the back of the room, "How long have you known?"

Legolas accepted a goblet from Elladan, "Merely a month. We found out shortly after you left Eryn Galen."

Aragorn could feel himself grinning, all trace of nervousness gone, "I'm going to be an uncle!"

Legolas rolled his eyes fondly, "Yes. We don't want to make an ordeal of this yet."

Gimli snorted, "Too late for that, Lad. We're all a bit too excited for you."

"To Aragorn on his wedding day and to Legolas on the birth of the first Fellowship baby," Eomer announced, hopping up on one of the chairs to be seen better, "May the marriage be strong and may the little one be showered with more gifts than you can fit into the palace."

Aragorn laughed at the mildly horrified look on his best friend's face, "I'll drink to that."

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As Aragorn headed out of the study, everyone but Legolas and Gimli having gone to their spots, Legolas spoke, "It's a boy. I'm having a son."

Aragorn grinned, "A mini you."

Legolas grinned back, "Let's hope not. I don't think Galadhwen and Ada could handle it."

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The wedding was lovely, the bride looked radiant, Aragorn didn't lose the ring, nor did he trip. Everyone was settling into eat, the Fellowship, including Eomer, Eowyn, Faramir, and the twins, seated at the table of honor with the couple. Gimli looked to his right where Legolas and Galadhwen were seated. The Elf seemed to watch his wife's every move and assisted her with both standing and sitting despite her protests. Opposite them at another table reserved for honored guest, King Thranduil was keeping a careful eye on his marriage daughter as well.

Humorous as it was, Gimli could hardly blame them. This little one was going to mean a lot to quite a large group of people.

The hall fell into silence as Aragorn stood, Arwen rising beside him as well, "Arwen and myself would first like to thank everyone who took time out of their lives to join us today. We're honored to have you all here."

"Kiss!" Elladan shouted and hall had a ripple of laughter and applause go through it.

The couple obliged before Aragorn spoke again, "Today isn't just a celebration of our wedding. We received some news today that I know I was quite happy to hear."

Gimli could barely hold back his laughter at the horrified looks Legolas and his wife exchanged.

Sure enough Aragorn turned toward them, "Despite trying to keep it a secret to assure the day was about us, we found out our friends and member of the Fellowship, Legolas and his lady wife, Galadhwen are expecting their first child and heir."

The hall broke into applause for both their King and new Queen and the new little prince being born.

Gimli, who joined in the celebrating just laughed, "Did you really expect him to keep it secret?"

Legolas's sigh turned into a smile, "I suppose not. I had hopes..."

Gimli chuckled, "Just think what revenge you can take when he expects his first child."

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Rosie Cottonwood (soon to be Rosie Gamgee) was experiencing more than she ever had in her life in the past few days. Never before had she thought she would marry a hero, especially one who had friends coming to their wedding that were royalty. They seemed to arrive in groups. First came the king (King!) of Rohan with his sister (also a soon to be bride herself) and his affiance. Shortly after came the steward of Gondor, Faramir and Gimli the Dwarf as well as a slew of guards in honor of the king of Gondor. The guards were sent home moments after King Aragorn and Queen Arwen arrived. (Sam explained that Aragorn wasn't much for people kowtowing and guards constantly around). Last to arrived were Prince Legolas and his wife Princess Galadhwen who were both Elves.

Sam, her Sam, seemed at ease talking to them. As she watched him joke around with royalty, she could barely believe it was the shy, stuttering, quiet Hobbit who had left the Shire.

She said as much to the small group of women that she had invited into sit and talk. Queen Arwen (who had insisted on being called just Arwen) smiled, "He's certainly bolder than the Hobbit I met in Imladris at first."

Rosie could feel herself growing dreamy-eyed, "He came back so different...but he's still the same sweet Sam I remember. That didn't change."

Coming back to herself she realized everyone was smiling at her and she blushed slightly before gasping, "Oh! I've been a terrible host! Can I get you anything? Tea? Water? Juice? Ale? Food?"

She tutted about her kitchen, fetching drinks for everyone when Arwen spoke, "Galadhwen you should have tea. Tea is good for you."

Rosie immediately set the kettle to boil before turning back around, "That's right! Sam told me that you're in a family way!"

Galadhwen nodded and rested a hand on the small curve of her stomach, "I'm finally starting to show."

Lady Eowyn (who also insisted on just Eowyn) grinned broadly, "I almost want to postpone the wedding until I can have a little ring-Elfling."

Galadhwen grinned right back, "I've seen you with Faramir. I don't think you'll be able to wait that long."

Eowyn sighed, rather dreamy-eyed herself, "I suppose you're right," She slyly looked at Lady Lothiriel (also known as just Lothiriel), "Though I think Eomer may insist on his wedding being first."

Lothiriel blushed slightly, "We've just begun courting...though I wouldn't be opposed to it."

The day passed quickly, Rosie noted. Apparently women of any race could enjoy talking together just like Hobbits could.

As Lad-Galadhwen...Galadhwen...began to exit the Hobbit hole Rosie lived in with her parents Rosie paused, "Wait one moment. I have something for you."

She darted into her room and retrieved the small bundle from her hope chest at the foot of the bed. Back in the entryway she handed the She-Elf the cloth wrapped gift, "When Sam told me that you were having a baby...well he mentioned it would be like having a nephew and I thought, 'If he's the uncle, I suppose I'm something of an aunt.' Plus new babies should always get gifts."

Galadhwen gently unfolded the cloth wrapping and removed the hand-knit, soft blue blanket Rosie had made. The little Hobbit felt herself blush, "I know it's not much...not for a little prince but I figured every babe should get a blanket."

Rosie soon found herself engulfed in a tight hug. Galadhwen was trembling slightly as she pulled back and she wiped away a few tears, "This is the sweetest gift I could ever imagine. And it's the exact color of the nursery. Thank you...Auntie Rosie."

Rosie beamed. Sam wasn't the only one with friends from different races now.

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"Are you sure you don't need any help with this?"

Eomer turned from where he was helping arrange furniture, "You just sit. The last thing you need to be doing is lifting cribs."

"My thoughts exactly," Legolas piped in from the other end of said crib, "You just sit and tell us how you'd like things to be placed."

Galadhwen rested a hand over her predominant stomach and continued rocking in the rocking chair in the corner, "Fine, but just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean I'm incapable of doing anything."

Eomer put down his end of the crib and turned to her, "Sit. It makes us feel better."

Lothiriel looked up from the quit she was making to beam at him before turning to the expectant mother, "We do want to help though. Whatever you need after the little one is born."

Eomer sighed and looked at his Elven friend, "She has baby fever and we're not even married yet."

Both men turned at the sound of an almost silent squeal of delight. Lothiriel had her hand on Galadhwen's stomach who explained, "I'm being kicked."

Both soon-to-be parents attempted to hide their laughter over what Eomer was sure was the somewhat panicked look on his face over the utter want and delight on his fiancé's. He went to continue to move the crib when Legolas placed a mockingly, comforting hand on his shoulder, "Don't worry. I'll let you borrow mine so you can have plenty of practice for your own."

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Galadhwen was in rather excruciating pain. The pain came in waves and each wave was growing closer together and she was starting to panic, "Arwen I'm not having this baby without my husband here."

Arwen looked no better than she felt. The Gondor rulers had arrived two days prior specifically for the birth of the little Elf prince, "It's going to be fine. Aragorn is going to bring him back here and everything is going to be fine."

Galadhwen nodded and squeezed her eyes shut as another wave of pain hit. They hadn't expected Orcs to make a last ditch attempt in the name of darkness and attack the palace. They hadn't expected the Crown Prince to need to go defend their home. They certainly hadn't expected her to go into labor while he was still gone.

Arwen was in a mild panic. She knew the basics of healing, she could handle herself in a fight, but birthing her nephew? She understood the basics of what happened and Valar knows Galadhwen had birthed enough babies but Arwen was not ready to be the only support present, "Aragorn is going to bring him back here and he's going to be fine."

Of course that was the other worry heavy of both Elleths' minds. They both knew battle well. They knew the risks of returning injured...or not at all. Arwen sent a silent prayer to the Valar to return both her husband and the prince to them safely.

Galadhwen breathed deeply and resigned herself to wait, "I'm not having this baby until he's back. I'm not."

Arwen looked panic-stricken, "Hwen, I don't think that's something you can stop."

Galadhwen looked at her stubbornly, "Watch me."

Arwen glanced at the door, "I should go get the healer."

Galadhwen shook her head, eyes still shut, "You can get Nostariel when Legolas gets here."

Arwen bit her lip and glanced at the door just as it swung open and Legolas, Aragorn, and Tauriel all but ran in followed by a much calmer Nostariel. Arwen had never been happier to see them than she had at that moment, "I could kiss you right now."

Nostariel immediately went to work, "Glad we got here on time."

Galadhwen looked over at her husband and immediately noticed the bulge of bandages under his tunic, "You're hurt."

Legolas brushed her off, "It's nothing. I'm fine."

Nostariel must have felt Galadhwen's protest because she spoke, "You can yell at him later. I have a baby to deliver," She looked over to where Arwen and Aragorn stood in the corner, "Thank you so much for your help. Get out."

As they left Galadhwen relaxed some, "Now I can have the baby."

Nostariel gave her an odd look, "I don't think you get to decide that. I'm pretty sure your son does."

Galadhwen felt another wave of pain and immediately squeezed her-now present-husband's hand, "He wasn't coming until Legolas returned."

Legolas kissed her hand as she heard him mutter to himself, "And they call me stubborn."

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His son was...perfect. Utterly perfect. Tiny, blonde, and complete perfection. His wife seemed to agree, "He looks like you. I have a miniature Legolas."

He ran a gentle hand over the tiny head when a thought occurred to him, "He needs a name."

Galadhwen leaned her head against his shoulder, "Something about healing."

Legolas gave her an odd look, "Healing?"

She nodded, "Middle Earth is starting to heal. He's a sign of that," She paused, "That's sounds pretentious."

"No actually...it makes sense."

They sat in silence for a moment before a name occurred to him, "Aranestarion."

Galadhwen looked up at him adoringly, "King who brings about healing...it's perfect."

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Lothiriel had looked radiant as a bride. The wedding had been far more similar to Sam's wedding than it had to Aragorn and Arwen's. Frodo imagined that came from Rohan being a bit more rustic than Gondor. Currently the celebration was still going inside as Frodo stepped out onto the landing for some air. Frodo had assumed he was alone until a cloaked figure seemed to melt somewhat from the shadows.

Frodo walked over to where Legolas was standing, staring out into the night, "Everything all right?"

Legolas turned sightly to look at him, probably having known he was there the whole time, and sighed slightly, "Some days are better than others."

Frodo instantly understood what he meant, "The sea-longing?"

Legolas nodded almost imperceptibly.

Frodo could sympathize, "I knew I wouldn't return the same Hobbit I was...but I had hoped a little. Sometimes I think the darkness got to me a little more than I first thought."

"We're forever grateful for what you and Sam did."

Frodo smiled slightly, "I wouldn't change it. If I had to go back I'd do it again. It had to be done."

Legolas's glow seemed dimmer than usual and his eyes were a dark, rather than their usual bright blue, "Some days I think it would be easier to just sail."

Frodo felt a knot in his stomach, "Why don't you?"

His Elven companion sighed, "My friends are here, my family is here. Middle Earth still has too much for me to leave just yet."

Frodo felt the knot loosen, "We're glad you're still here."

Legolas spoke again after a moment, "When it comes time...I think the Undying Lands would welcome the Ring bearer with open arms."

Frodo looked up at him and his smile turned slightly sad, "I'll remember that but like you said...Middle Earth still holds too much for me to leave yet. "

Silence regained before Frodo grinned brightly, "Besides...I can't let my new nephew think Merry and Pippin are good examples of Hobbits."

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Aragorn strolled down the darkened gardens of Ithilien, a tiny Elfling baby in his arms. Gimli looked over from where he walked on the other side of Legolas, "Are you planning on sharing Starion any time soon?"

Aragorn grinned childishly, "No."

Legolas merely looked between his feuding friends and rolled his eyes, "He is the one who needs practice. I get a little half-Elf nephew soon."

Aragorn adjusted the small infant and tucked the blanket he was wrapped in tighter around him, "Not that soon. We really just found out."

"It goes by quicker than you think."

After a few more minutes of silence Aragorn relinquished his nephew to his father as the little one began to fuss. Legolas quieted him almost instantly before pausing, "I had a question for both of you. A favor of sorts."

He elaborated, "When Elflings are born there's a custom...a ceremony of sorts where the child receives a guardian. It's more of a symbolistic thing, if something were to happen to both Galadhwen and I these guardians would provide guidance in our wake. I'd wanted to ask both of you."

Aragorn grinned, "I would have been hurt if I wasn't asked."

Gimli also accepted voice slightly rough with emotion.

Legolas grinned back at them, "Frodo is going to be the third. I would have asked the whole fellowship but the ceremony would go on for days. I had...20 or so at my birth and the ceremony was close to four hours long."

"Besides," Aragorn teased, "I doubt Starion is going to be an only child for long."

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Soft Elvish singing surrounded the entire glade as King Thranduil stepped forward, Prince Legolas and Lady Galadhwen, carrying the small princeling in her arms, to his left. On the left side stood King Elessar, Gimli, and Frodo. To the right were Queen Arwen of Gondor, the warrior Tauriel, and the midwife Nostriel. King Thranduil greeted the small group of witnesses present before turning to receive his grandson. Starion was first passed to Aragorn who proceeded to repeat a few promises to look over him and guide him on the right path before handing him to Gimli and Frodo who followed suite. The Elleths took him next, making similar promises, each unique to the individual holding him. The baby was returned to Legolas and Galadhwen and Thranduil turned to them with a smile, "I am honored to present the heir to the throne, Aranestarion Legolasion."

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The wedding was...well...a wedding. Pippin supposed he should have paid a bit more attention to the ceremony as his relationship with Diamond was growing everyday but the party afterward was what everyone cared about anyway.

Before everyone could be seated Legolas pulled the fellowship and company off into one of the empty halls, "We wanted to show you something before we put him to bed."

Starion (who was in the wedding being pulled down the aisle in a small wooden wagon by none other than Pippin himself) was placed on the floor before a small ball was handed to Frodo some five paces away.

They all watched, enraptured, as the small Elfling took toddling steps toward Frodo, eyes intent on the ball. He reached his destination and tipped forward into Frodo's arms with a giggle.

As the now mobile Elfling was passed around Pippin noticed his cousin standing with Legolas smiling. Frodo looked up at Legolas with a grin, "Middle Earth definitely holds too much for me still."

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