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Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JRR Tolkien. No money is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Thus challenged the Archive Balrog: Legolas/Gimli mpreg. I don't even particularly like pregnant males, but my twisted mind tells me that this could be somewhat humorous. Oh, Gimli is the unfortunate "mother," since poor Leggy gets to play bottom often enough. Says Moirai: I don't care for MPreg myself, but who could resist this?
A/N: I love Legolas/Gimli. *hearts and flowers*
So You Touched Your Best Friend…and Now You're in Trouble
Prologue: Come on, come on, let's get together!
It was June of 3020 in the city of Minas Tirith, and the first anniversary of the King and Queen. Aragorn, King Elessar of Gondor, was royally ticked off. Which was okay because so was his wife, Arwen.
"What do you mean you invited all of Rohan?" he shouted at her, ignoring the servants who listened at the door.
Arwen stood her ground and shouted back at him, "We invited Faramir and Éowyn; it would have been rude to leave out her brother."
"Hells bells, woman!" Aragorn tore at his hair, hating the traditional First Anniversary Party. "We invited Hobbits. Five of them, and all of them healthy this time! I'm afraid they're going to eat our entire kingdom out of house and home and now you tell me you invited all the neighbors and they're all arriving today?"
Arwen nodded. "You said you wanted everybody gone by Christmas. If we start now we might be able to kick them out by November."
There was then the sound of many trumpets ringing out in the announcement of the coming of the guests of Gondor.
"Well, fuck," said Aragorn, and he vowed to himself to get into some serious sword-fighting with the Captain of his Guard, the Lord of Rohan, and whoever else might be handy. If he had to do this, it was going to be fun damn it.
There's something not-so funny going on here: Part One
It was day three of the party and breakfast was in full swing. Éomer was gleefully watching Aragorn as he warily watched Pippin, Merry, Frodo, and Sam packing away the food as if it were the last meal they would ever have. Sam's wife, he noted, was no more delicate about the matter than the men. To his mind it served Aragorn right for breaking his arm during their bout of sword play the night he'd arrived.
Across the table, Faramir nursed clear liquids and tried to concentrate around the whopping concussion his Lord had given him the night before.
"Nice spread," Merry said around a mouthful of food. "Is there any more bacon?"
"Sausage for me," spoke up Frodo and Aragorn reminded himself that he really did like the Hobbits and, even if he didn't like them, he certainly owed them big time.
He motioned for Gandalf to pass the meat down the table and was preparing himself to chit-chat when Legolas and Gimli walked in the door. "Legolas! Gimli!" he cried, standing. "Come, my friends, and sit with me. You don't mind moving down a few, do you Merry? Sam?"
Éomer glared as Sam plopped down in the seat next to him and stole the last of the butter. "Hey, Sam. That's your wife?"
Sam looked at Frodo. "Sure is, and it's a fine one he is at that."
At the other end of the table Rosie ate porridge and asked Éowyn which men were her husbands. The brother and sister traded looks and were damn glad that Rohan didn't keep any Hobbit lands and had only the one individual to worry about.
Legolas and Gimli took the seats that Aragorn had opened for them and sat, Legolas waving away the thick cloud of pipe-weed smoke that hung over the table as he did so. "What's with Éomer and Faramir?" he asked, trying politely to stifle his coughing.
"Contest," Aragorn smiled down the length of the table at his wife who rolled her eyes and spoke quietly to one of her maids to prepare more athelas. "I was going to see if you were up for it last night, Legolas, but I could hear you and Gimli going at it and didn't want to take you when you were worn out."
The Lord of Rohan and the Captain of Gondor's Guard exchanged looks (as best as Faramir could manage anyway) and coughed loudly. Gimli reached immediately for his axe.
"Weapons practice, Gimli," Legolas said and the axe crashed onto the table, neatly cleaving a stack of pancakes.
Glaring, Pippin motioned with his fork at the pancakes the Dwarf had appropriated. "That's nice! We've hours to go until second-breakfast and you're taking all the cakes."
"I thought you hated pancakes," Frodo frowned. He was actually quite sure of it because he, Sam, and his cousins had made them constantly when the Fellowship had traveled together. They had known that the Dwarf would neglect his share (as would Boromir and the pony) and they would then split the spoils.
Swallowing, Gimli shrugged. "I do. But it's all I've wanted to eat since before Legolas and I set out from Mirkwood."
"My father's cooking is no worse than that of yours!" Legolas said heatedly.
"I said not so," Gimli replied. "Only that I…I…" he trailed off and looked at his plate and then at the Elf. Legolas looked back at him confusedly. Gimli's face was very gray and he stuttered when he spoke. "I…have to see about something."
Pippin smiled at the plate of pancakes the Dwarf had pushed aside as he hastily left the table. "You must be tired of pancakes, Legolas," he said cheerfully and neatly slipped the plate away from the Elf's seeking fork.
Aragorn handed Legolas half a grapefruit. "You've been eating with Dwarves, eh? You must be so sick of heavy food," he said, blithely ignoring the withering look that was aimed at him.
There's something not-so funny going on here: Part Two-even more not-so funny!
Day eleven of the party was much like days one through ten had been; the Hobbits ate, Aragorn challenged anything that moved to a fight, and Gandalf smoked, set of fireworks, and said obscure things that everybody nodded about without really knowing what he meant. There were two notable exceptions and one was in Gimli the Dwarf.
Gimli had taken to eating almost as much as the hobbits though instead of eating anything and everything he could find he chiefly ate pancakes, for which he still professed a deep loathing. He had also taken to making the pancakes even though Aragorn had not yet told the cooks to pretend they were out of batter. Perhaps most disturbingly the Dwarf had taken to setting the table, serving the meals and wearing an apron. Anyone who said anything to him about it was met with an axe. Faramir now had a broken arm to match Éomer's because, on day eight, he had laughingly told Gimli that he was reminded of Éowyn as she had been in the early days of their marriage. After that Aragorn, on Arwen's orders, had taken all six of Gimli's axes and the Dwarf had cursed roundly before crying.
And this was where the other notable exception was found; for although Legolas had quickly leapt to Gimli's defense and offered as much comfort as he could whenever the Dwarf was upset (which seemed to be often), he was pale and twitchy around his great companion-more so than any of the others, and that was really saying something. He jumped at small noises and watched Gimli with wary eyes when the Dwarf was not looking. His voice had cracked when he'd inquired about Gimli's health on the morning of day ten. However, weak though his smiles might have been, he dutifully shoveled down pancakes morning, noon, and night and declared loudly that yes, yes they were absolutely wonderful and just exactly what he had wanted. Everybody else was sick of them, utterly, except for maybe the Hobbits who never said ‘no' to any food.
Therefore, when everybody sat down to breakfast on the morning of day twelve, nobody was expecting anything to be different. Gandalf was guessing there would be more damn pancakes, Faramir was taking pain medication and trying to think of something to say that would make Gimli cry as a form of payback, Aragorn was going over the account ledgers of his kingdom, and the Hobbits were planning on a nice, leisurely day of catching up with old friends and eating.
It came as quite a surprise, then, when Legolas shot out of the kitchen as though fired from his own bow and was followed by a large serving plate piled high with still-steaming triple-berry pancakes and their coating of double-chocolate fudge syrup. "The china!" shrieked Aragorn. "Watch it! Watch it! Those are expensive and considering the hollow guests I've got, I can't afford to replace them and feed my subjects!"
"You say that like it's our fault," Merry said as he bit into an apple. Sam, Pippin, Rosie, and Frodo all nodded, their mouths to full of cheese or bread or ham to say a word.
"You said you knew!" Gimli roared, stalking into the room and waving a bacon fork at the blonde elf.
Faramir took another dose of medication and decided to wash it down with some of the wine that Éomer was helping himself to; he wondered if he could convince Éowyn that he was needed out on the border-patrols.
"I did!" Legolas was half-hiding behind one of the high-backed chairs and the stupid cow-boy hat that Gandalf had taken to wearing since his pointed, gray, Official Wizard hat had been lost.
"You said you knew and that you'd take care of it!" Gimli threw the bacon fork across the room, imbedding it in the costly silk moiré that covered the walls. Aragorn's groan of despair went unheeded.
"I did," insisted the Elf. "I mean, I thought I did."
"What's going on?" Pippin asked. "Why isn't Gimli cooking? Gimli? Are you going to make more pancakes soon, Gimli?"
Sam swallowed most of a loaf of bread and spoke up, "Can we get some hash browns to go with that?"
"Eggs," Merry said.
"More wine," Gandalf, Faramir, and Éomer called.
"More athelas," ordered Éowyn.
Arwen studied the scene playing out before her and shook her head. "Steam a whole field of it," she commanded her attendants. Those commanded beat a hasty retreat and most of the kitchen staff left with them.
Gimli, meanwhile, started to cry softly. "You said you knew…you knew and you'd take care of it, you promised that everything would be okay …but you didn't and now…now…"
"Aw, don't cry," Legolas removed himself from behind his makeshift shield and threw an arm around Gimli's shoulders. "I'm sure it's all just…well, it's got to be a joke, right? Because it's all just some stupid Dwarf story, isn't it?"
"Don't call it stupid!" Gimli shouted, shoving the Elf to the floor. "And don't touch me, either!"
Aragorn shook his head, still looking sadly at the broken plate, the fork in the wall, and his ledgers. "You truly are one of changeable moods, Master Dwarf," he said. "Maybe you could change into a generous mood and repay the damages?"
"He is not moody," Legolas said heatedly. There was a note of mild hysteria in his voice. "Do you get me? Gimli does not have mood swings and he does not have a damn craving for pancakes. There are no problems between Elves and Dwarves. None! I have done nothing to bring shame on my people!"
Gandalf stood and tapped his staff on the floor. "Now, now, everybody!" he said, hoping that if he calmed them all down he might finally get a decent breakfast and be able to leave the company of the Hobbits for five freaking minutes. "The last time an elf did anything shameful, which had to be publicly acknowledged, was when the Tranduil imprisoned that whole mess of Dwarves for no reason at all. Well, no reason unless you believe all those B&D rumors. So, good Legolas, whatever you've done, it can't be that bad."
"I did nothing!" Legolas bellowed, sounding more like Gimli than Gimli had in days.
Gimli glared. "Will you deny everything now? That would be the true dishonor!"
Faramir rubbed his temples and tried to make sense of things. "So…Gimli feels that Legolas did something to disgrace one or the other of them…"
Éomer picked up the thread, wishing he had more wine with him and wondering if it would be rude to return home before sunset. "And the last time the Dwarves felt that way about Elves involved Legolas's father imprisoning Gimli's father..."
"And they have been in Mirkwood lately," Frodo said slowly.
"So…Legolas trapped Gimli in the dungeon rooms of Mirkwood?" Éowyn finished, her face turning a slight shade of green as she did so.
Gimli grinned suddenly. "No, actually, it was the other way around."
"Shut up!" Legolas took a swing at him but Gimli caught it handily and he used the Elf's momentum to toss him to the floor again. Everybody looked at their plates because nobody wanted to see their suspicions about fighting being some sort of bizarre turn-on for the two confirmed. "Nobody knows and nothing happened!"
"Damn it, Legolas, don't you love me?"
"Aw, Gimmers, you know I do…but it's all so sudden. It doesn't mean I wouldn't like to be, you know, a father some day."
"Well do you think you could tell me when that might be, exactly? And might I suggest, oh...March?"
Nobody wanted to look up and see the pair, but look they did because the Lady Arwen had suddenly rose to her feet, screaming, and unfortunately the Elf and the Dwarf were on the floor right beside her damn chair. "It cannot be," Arwen cried. "The curse!"
And she promptly fainted.
But Narvi and Celebrimbor did it all the time!
"Wake her up! Wake her!" Merry shook Aragorn as best he could manage. "We want to hear about it."
"Oh, it's not so interesting," Legolas tried to sound off-hand but the fact that he and Gimli were clutching each other and exchanging terrified looks did nothing for that image. Neither did the fact that they were slowly inching towards the doors. "It's nothing at all, really."
Aragorn stopped them by hauling out Andúril and aiming it at them. "Stay," he said imperiously. "If either of you is cursed I do not need you going out and infecting my entire population. Éowyn, Lady of Rohan, you're a healer…wake Arwen the hell up so she can explain this mess. And try to find out if we're infected with Legolas' and Gimli's curse while you're at it."
"Yes, my Lord," Éowyn murmured and privately she hoped that he, at least, was infected with something so she could get some healing time alone with him soon. Those damn ledgers of his...She slapped Arwen soundly and spoke with kindness-coated venom, "My Queen, you must awaken."
Arwen's eyes fluttered open dramatically. "The curse," she whispered, lapping up the attention.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah the curse; we got that part. What about the curse?" Pippin prodded.
"It is the curse, the very bane that drove a wedge between Elves and Dwarves and sundered our people's friendship," said Arwen, her eyes huge. She looked from Dwarf to Elf and back again. "An ancient thing, long unspoken."
Legolas and Gimli made mad shushing motions at the Queen, but she was not looking at them and in any case the others had crowded around her deliberately so that she wouldn't see them.
"Name it, beloved," Aragorn said smoothly, kissing her hand and drawing her to her feet. He was also hoping that a little sugar would get her to spill the beans. He wanted to know if he had an epidemic on his hands and, if he did, could he kill the carriers for that as well as for breaking the wedding dishes. "And we shall find a cure for this ill."
"There is only one cure," said Arwen softly, in a wondering tone which she was quite expertly faking. She was well aware of what her husband was doing and the fact that she probably shouldn't say a word but she was glad that, for once, it wasn't her family having issues. "Birth. Gimli carries Legolas' child."
There was a ringing silence and in it glances were quickly traded or neatly avoided.
"How did this happen?" Faramir asked finally. He was met with a variety of looks, both blank and black. "How could it happen," he amended. "I mean Legolas…and Gimli…"
As one all the Men and Hobbits shrugged, Legolas blushed and said something that nobody bothered to listen too closely to, and Gimli reached for his axes, momentarily forgetting that Aragorn had confiscated them and he still had not got them back. He swore loudly when he rediscovered them missing.
So, instead of throwing sharp objects around the room, the incensed Gimli shoved Éomer into Faramir, Pippin into Merry and Sam and pushed Aragorn to the floor, stood on him, and thus cleared a path to the Lady of Gondor. "How the hell do you know about that? Elves," he glared now at Legolas and held him in his stare, "are not told about the curse for they would consider it the ultimate disgrace; so said Legolas when I first broached the subject to him."
"This is true," Arwen consented. "But Grandmamma told me when I was first dating Aragorn. She thought I would need to be warned."
"What?" Aragorn demanded from his place on the floor.
"Why didn't she warn us?" Legolas asked bitterly. "It's not like we weren't thinking it all over the place. Beware the gulls, yeah, that was helpful."
"Well, you were rather…hairy…at that time, dear."
"Legolas, the Lady had other things on her mind."
"It wasn't that bad! It was manly!"
"She did not," Sam said. "She was mirror-looking left and right at stuff she'd already seen before. Ask Frodo. And greasy hair and beards aren't manly, they're disgusting."
"Peace, peace!" cried Gandalf. "Let us all have a moment for thought."
There was another silence for a time and then Éomer spoke. "So, Gimli is pregnant. With Legolas' child," he said. He sounded disbelieving, for he was, and he was not alone.
"Don't talk about it like that," Gimli said and everybody gathered were not surprised to see tears in the eyes of the Dwarf. "It was such talk that drove the Dwarves of old to avoid contact with other races and hide beneath their mountains."
Faramir lifted his hands, "Hey, it's not that Éomer's saying anything... But you have to admit it is just all sort of…well, it's really kind of…it's like this, Gimli…" He did not get to finish as the Dwarf burst into loud sobs and threw himself to the ground. Faramir considered it a good thing, however, because he'd only been digging himself deeper.
"Thanks, Faramir," Legolas huffed and he moved to sit next to the crying Dwarf. "Hey," he said soothingly, "what's wrong?" Few coherent sounds came from Gimli, but Legolas must have understood them because he patted the broad back saying, "Nobody's questioning your masculinity, Gimli, you're just a little sensitive right now because of…well, everything."
Gimli shook his head, "Faramir is. And Éomer too."
Rose Cotton-Gamgee, who had sat silent all the while, eating and listening to the gossip, slammed her knife and fork on the table and glared at the two men Gimli had named. "For shame, when it's as clear as water that they're tumbling each other into every dark corner they can find."
"Whoa, now," Éowyn said, glaring at the Hobbit-woman.
"It's as obvious as my Sam and his Frodo," Rosie countered.
Éomer and Faramir studied the Elf and the Dwarf on the floor with great intensity. Éowyn glared at them both, arms folded and foot tapping. Sam and Frodo held hands smiling sweetly at each other, making Merry and Pippin roll their eyes and pretend to gag.
"Yes, well," Gandalf said, rather pointlessly as he really had nothing to say-he was still trying to work his mind around the thought of Legolas…and Gimli… "Hmm. Yes. Indeed."
There was another very loud silence with a lot of not-quite-looking-around and finally Sam, to break the god awful tension, asked what they'd all been wondering. "So, what is it? It's not an Elf or a Dwarf and I reckon that I've never heard of any mixture of the two."
"It is not polite to speak of it," said Legolas primly.
"It was not polite to get Gimli pregnant and yet you did so," Aragorn pointed out.
Frodo sighed loudly. "Never mind that," he said. "Let's work out what to do about it. Work the problem, people."
Everybody stared at him. "Master Frodo," said Sam in an awe-filled voice, "I don't reckon I've ever seen you so commanding, not even when you ran that Saruman out of the Shire."
Frodo shrugged, "I learned it from Elrond and Galadriel--when you delegate you don't have to do crap all if you don't want to. Now everybody get to work; what the hell are we going to do about all of this?"
What to expect now that the Elf and the Dwarf are expecting.
"Well," said Gandalf, rubbing his head and wishing he'd never heard of Rings, Elves, Dwarves or Hobbits. "I think our course of action is obvious."
Legolas jumped to his feet. "You can't! It's our baby!"
"Sit down," Gandalf smacked him with the end of his staff. "I wasn't talking about that; Glorfindel would never be able to get here in time. I was suggesting that you two get married."
Frodo nodded. "That is a good plan, Gandalf. You have always been a guide to us, except when we really could have used you on the way to Mordor. Congratulations Legolas, Gimli."
Gimli frowned. "Now wait a minute! I'm a confirmed bachelor!"
Legolas giggled; a moment later so did Gimli, and Legolas bent to whisper something in his ear that made the Dwarf blush.
"Knock it off, you two," Aragorn snapped, "that's exactly what got you into this mess. Legolas, I'm ordering you to make an honest Dwarf out of Gimli. Gimli, you're under the same orders-marry Legolas and for god's sake, pretend the baby came early!"
Faramir bit his lip, "My Lord," he said timidly, shouted timidly really, because Legolas and Gimli were kicking up quite a fuss about being ordered around. "Maybe that's not such a hot idea." Aragorn glared and waved Andúril around a little. "I mean," Faramir continued rapidly, "the sovereignties of Mirkwood and Erebor might place the blame of the situation on Gondor, seeing as it came to light here and not in those realms."
"Unfortunately, you're right," Gandalf sighed, "Glóin would cry rape and Thrandy refuses to even pick up the check for lunch; there's no way he'll accept any responsibility for this disaster. Unless we want another war on our hands this information cannot leave this room."
Aragorn lofted his sword crying, "We can take them! Sissy Elves and stunted Dwarves, that's all; with Rohan at our side and Rivendell bound to protect Arwen, we're all set. Let them come!"
"Put the sword down," Éomer barked. "Elrond hates you for marrying his daughter and if you think Rohan is going to get involved in this you have another think coming."
"Fine. Fine!" Aragorn sheathed his weapon with an angry jab. It wasn't so much Éomer's logic that swayed him as it was Legolas' blade at his throat and the growled ‘sissy elves, eh?' in his ear. "Anybody got any better ideas? Because I'm tapped out," he glared at the Hobbits and Gimli, "of just about everything."
"Hmph," Éowyn snorted. "Men. You never think, do you? The only way to do this without war, bloodshed, or any loss of honor is to hide the pregnancy and get rid of the baby when it's born."
Arwen tapped a finger against her cheek thoughtfully, "Grandmamma probably knows somebody who could help. Or convince somebody. Reading minds isn't all she can do, you know."
"What do you know about hiding pregnancies?" Éomer demanded of his sister.
"Yeah," Faramir added, planting his hands on his hips. "What do you know about that?"
Éowyn glared. "Absolutely nothing, my Lords," she spat acidly and with great sarcasm.
"People," Frodo pounded an empty mug on the table, chipping it and making Aragorn scowl. "Can we all stick with the problem at hand? I think Éowyn has it aright; hide the evidence and pretend it never happened. It works for Merry and Pip all the time so it should work here, even if it is more complicated than washing all the sheets in the house."
Gandalf passed a hand over his eyes, trying more or less to block the idea of Merry and Pippin and sheets, and brought up something nobody had yet considered. "Has it occurred to any of you that Gimli cannot go home in this condition?"
Aragorn paled, "You can't mean…you cannot mean that we should continue with the celebrations until such a time as Gimli can return home, right?" The mere thought of it made his head swim and he had to sit down or faint.
"It wouldn't work," Arwen said regretfully. "Any party that long would surely draw the Elves, especially those of Mirkwood; they can't pass up that much free wine and I'm not about to go into their thieving habits."
"What about finding him some caves?" Merry asked. "Whenever Pip's mom comes in I get shoved under the loose floorboards. If we can get Gimli under some rocks, nobody would see him. Nobody sees him, nobody knows."
Sam nodded enthusiastically, "And nobody would be thinking it strange for Gimli to be spending his time in them. Mining or some such rot we could say if anybody asked."
"Excellent idea," Frodo said. "Who has an empty cave Gimli can live in? It doesn't have to be nice, just dark."
"Can it, Gimli. It's this or go home to your father," Pippin said in Frodo's defense.
Rosie raised her hand tentatively, "What about Mirkwood? According to Mister Bilbo's book, it's full of caves and then Legolas would be able to visit with Gimli and everything."
"That's settled, then!" Aragorn sighed. "We should probably wrap up the party and everything so Legolas and Gimli can get on their way. We don't want their leaving to look suspicious, do we? What? What now?"
Legolas and Gimli had winced at the mention of Mirkwood and were exchanging very guilty looks with one another. "Uh, the thing is," Legolas started, gesturing helplessly at himself and the Dwarf. "Yeah, when we at my place…things, you know…"
"His father nearly caught us," Gimli announced flatly. "I'm banned from Mirkwood and there are orders to shoot both of us if Legolas should happen to bring me back. Or looks like he's thinking of doing so."
"For Valar's sake!" Gandalf muttered. "Aren't there caves here? There must be something under the city."
"Helm's Deep!" Faramir said suddenly. Éomer's hand dropped to his sword and his eyes became like those of a hunted animal. "There are caverns there; my lady has told me so."
Gimli's eyes brightened. "The Glittering Caves?" he breathed. "I could stay in them?"
"No." Éomer quickly lied, "Rohan is doing some work in them. Excavating. Far too dangerous for a pregnant…person."
But Gimli was beaming. "I could be of much use! We Dwarves are hardy creatures, even in such a state as this! Tell me, what are your plans? For there are caverns you must not touch, such is their beauty. I would preserve those and aim for the smaller, less-explored caves. There's got to be some good stuff in those!"
"You owe Gimli your life," Aragorn said triumphantly. "Let him stay in your place and pay you rent." He could see that the leader of Rohan had no good comeback to that and no real way to weasel out of it. Problem solved. Or not. Legolas was sniffling quietly as Gimli began to pester his new landlord. "What?"
The others also seemed to notice the new problem. "Legolas?" Frodo said in exasperation. "What's the problem now?"
"It's not that I don't want Gimli to go," he said, looking at his feet and sighing deeply. "I know you'd be happy there and everything," Legolas whispered, looking up to stare into Gimli's eyes. "But it's so far away."
Éowyn gave her husband and brother the evil-eye. "Isn't it sweet how dedicated they are to each other?" she said. "Éomer, you should invite Legolas to stay in the forests near Helm's Deep."
Éomer smirked at his sister and the relieved-looking king of Gondor. "I would, but it's been cut down in order to make repairs on our cities."
"Crap," Aragorn muttered as Legolas began to cry.
Merry made a face. "Cripes, they're as married as Sam and Frodo."
"What about Ithilien?" Gandalf suggested, though it was not a suggestion born out of pity for the two weepy males on the floor. "It's trees. It's close enough so they can visit and make kiss-y faces. I'm sure Legolas could do something useful there in exchange for getting to stay."
Aragorn threw up his hands, "Fine! Whatever. But nobody else is staying! Everybody else has to go back to wherever it is that they came from when this party is over."
"Well, sure," Pippin nodded. "But we'll have to stay until the baby comes, now won't we? It would be foolish for us to leave and then have to turn around and come right back to welcome the baby."
"Arwen already said the whole extended party scene wouldn't play." Aragorn placed his hand on Andúril's hilt, "You'll just have to miss the blessed event."
"Uh…honey?" Arwen broke into the early stages of her husband's quiet gloating. "There's a teeny-weeny problem."
"Another one? God, why do I hang out with you people?" Frodo wondered tiredly. "What the hell is it now?"
The queen winced, but in her heart she wished that Frodo would just quit hanging around with them altogether; him and all his little friends. She still hadn't had a night alone with her husband. "Elves do not dwell alone; we're massively co-dependant. For Legolas to live with fewer than one hundred people would raise more eyebrows than the party would…it might be better to just let things go on as they are or we'll be right back at square-bloodshed."
Éomer laughed. "You are so screwed."
"Get over it, Horse Lord," Aragorn growled. "Dwarves aren't exactly solitary either."
"Crap," Gandalf sat down at the table and put his head in his hands. "All right, this is what we're doing so everyone shut up and listen. Legolas, you go home and tell Thrandy that you're going to fix Aragorn's tree problems and you're going to need some help. The work involved with a mass exodus should keep all of the party-hopping Elves away from the city. Gimli, you send word to your dad that you're a grown Dwarf and you're setting out on your own. Ask him to send you the stupidest Dwarves he's got so you can prove yourself; we don't want anybody who's going to be smart enough to figure out what it means when you start wearing your leather and chain-mail loosely. Aragorn, you wanted new gates, right?" Gandalf barely paused for the sullen nod he received, "Good. Make plans, Gimli. Big ones. And carry them around a lot-right in front of your damn little secret. Legolas, you hand pick those elves of yours and make sure you get the closeted-est of the closeted gay Elves. If they figure out what's going on with your love life they'll be too scared to say a word about it."
"Bring Haldir," Arwen suggested. "He could be in charge of your warriors since you'll be busy with running the place."
Legolas frowned, "But he isn't in the closet. He'd go running right back to your Grandmother."
"Oh, I'm sure I could convince him to stay silent."
Gandalf cleared his throat, not caring a whit for the inter-kingdom politics of sexual scandals. "Yo, Hobbits, I've got a job for you, too."
"No way," Frodo shook his head. "We're not nearly dumb enough to fall for that again. Take it to Bree, you said. I'll figure out what to do by then, you said. Forget about it." He was backed up with a round of nodding Hobbit-heads.
"It means free food until the little mistake of crossbreeding arrives."
"Oh, well that's different."
"I thought so. You five stay here. Find a good reason, too; some celebration of the New Year or hammering out an arrangement regarding the Shire because of that Ring. Something. You make damn sure that nobody in town figures anything out; be Aragorn's spies and kill anybody that seems to be thinking in the right direction. Still got your swords? Good. Now thank your lucky stars that I was here to fix all of your problems again."
Aragorn felt his head spin. Keep all five of the halflings? Until spring? "You damn well had better kill anybody who talks trash about me. Make sure they're rich and that I can seize their property while you're at it."
Pregnancy offers no eleventh-hour reprieves.
Aragorn swore he'd kill whichever hunting dog was yowling out in the courtyard. He'd kill Faramir too, he decided as he rolled out of bed, just for keeping dogs to begin with. And Éomer; he'd kill him as well because that bastard had stuck him with the damn Hobbits for nine months. "I should have made him stay in Gondor and live with that lot," he groaned as he pulled on his bathrobe and made his way to the front doors. "He's had it easy with the freaking Dwarves, that rat."
"Aragorn! Whoa, hey Elessar! We need some help down here!" Speak of the devil, Aragorn thought as he peered out into the night; Éomer had rode his horse directly into the castle grounds and, as Aragorn stepped back, right into the castle itself.
"What the hell are you doing here?" he demanded testily. "It's two in the morning, in case you didn't know."
"He knew," Gandalf appeared out of nowhere, quite literally. "He didn't have a choice either. It's time."
Sleep dulled, Aragorn could only shake his head. As he did so a loud yowling broke out in the entrance room and Aragorn noticed at last that Éomer had a passenger. Gimli. Gimli, who was the one making all that noise. Not the dogs. And if Gimli were making that noise…and Gandalf said it was time… it could only mean one thing. "Damn it!"
"Holy crap!" Arwen exclaimed as she came down the stairs. "You!" she pointed at an unlucky servant who had come to investigate the clamor. "Head for Ithilien. Get Legolas and tell him it's time to face the music."
Gandalf helped Gimli off the horse and shook his head. "I already told him, just before Éomer and Gimli set out."
"Fine then," Arwen said. Turning back to the servant she told him, "Wake up Éowyn. Tell her to bring whatever healing things she might need."
Aragorn grabbed the man before he'd made it to the door. "Remember what happens to people who tell the secret," he warned him. The man nodded shakily as the Hobbits, dressed in leather and holding their weapons, appeared. "And bring Faramir!" he yelled after him as the servant ran off into the darkness.
"Hey, Gimli," Frodo greeted the Dwarf with a nod.
"Frodo," Gimli managed around another howl.
Pippin winced at the sound. "Why in the world did you come all the way here to have this thing?" he wondered, and by that he meant ‘why are you here waking all of us up for this when we'd rather you weren't pregnant at all?'.
"It's too far," Legolas panted in answer, nearly falling in through the open door, "I never would have made it to Aglarond before the baby came." He collapsed onto the floor, still wheezing. "Couldn't have offered us a ride, oh Great Wizard?"
"So what?" Faramir yawned as he and Éowyn joined the throng. "Didn't you run across all of Rohan in four days? You could have made it."
"Don't be so dumb," Éomer said. "Even without the distance thing the Dwarves would have noticed that something wasn't right, what with all the racket Gimli's making."
Legolas looked daggers at the young Lord of the Mark. "Shut up! I'd like to see you do this without making noise." He stroked a hand over Gimli's sweat-dampened brow. "Hey, Gimmers, how's it going?"
"Swimmingly," Gimli groaned, glaring as much as he could as another contraction hit.
"Are you sure?" Legolas asked skeptically. "I mean, it looks like it hurts. And you're making all that noise, you know."
Éowyn looked on dispassionately as Gimli attempted to tear Legolas' arm off. "Stupid," she muttered. She examined the situation and turned to Arwen. "What's the big idea waking me up?"
"You're in charge of the House of Healing," Arwen said, as though explaining something to somebody very slow. "You can act as midwife."
"The hell I can."
"Midwife!" yelped Gimli as the pain faded. "No woman is going to see me thus."
But then…" said Faramir. He paled abruptly and as one the company backed away. Merry and Pippin remembered, quite suddenly, an urgent matter in Buckland that needed attending to and they had tarried so long in Gondor and they would just be on their way, good luck with the baby.
"As a Knight of the Mark, Meriadoc," said Éomer, who was nobody's fool, "I command you to stay and aide us, for Legolas and Gimli were part of the Fellowship and were valiant in their defenses and rescues of you." Which was a pretty good reason, but it wasn't really the thought that was foremost in his mind; Éomer mostly figured that if he had to stay, so too would the rest of them.
Aragorn nodded to show his agreement with what Éomer had said (and not said) and pointed at Pippin. "You're in the same boat," he said, "so don't even think about it."
Pippin cursed loudly and called Denethor a name so filthy that the law commanded his death. But Faramir, who was wishing Boromir had been an only child, only agreed with him heartily and repeated it twice over.
"Shut up and do something," Legolas snapped, at his wits end and caught in a choke-hold.
Frodo planted his fists on his hips. "I'd rather climb back into the Crack of Doom and lose the rest of my fingers," he declared. He was lucky; with his role as the Ringbearer and the savior of the free world he could get away with saying what everybody else was thinking.
Arwen smiled sweetly and grabbed hold of Rosie and Éowyn, "Well, since Gimli doesn't want any women here we'll just be going. It wouldn't do to upset the mother at this stage." Gandalf looked like he would have preferred to face a second or third Balrog as he watched the women get off scot-free. In reality he was thinking that he would have preferred facing an entire army of ancient demons and he would have happily pranced off to the Crack of Doom directly after that so long as it meant getting out of the room and away from the birth-giving Dwarf. "Hell," he sighed instead. "Who knows anything about this sort of thing?"
"Sam," Frodo said immediately, "Or Aragorn or Faramir. They sleep with women. They've got to know something."
"Thanks a lot, you traitor," Sam muttered as Merry shoved him forward.
Faramir tried to back up as Gandalf prodded him towards Gimli. "Hey! Hey! I sleep with guys, too! More often than I do my wife! Ask Éomer!"
Éomer was too busy fending off Andúril to confirm or deny Faramir's story. "Go, damn it! Birth is a woman thing and you're the one with a wife!" He parried a thrust and tried to maneuver the surly king to Gimli's side. "He's part of your kingdom," Aragorn was protesting. He was also hoping that nobody would remember that Legolas, the chief instigator of the current disaster, was part of the realm of Gondor.
"One of you do something or I'll kill all of you!" Gimli raged on the floor, drawing all the attention (happily given elsewhere) to himself and his situation. Looking at Gimli at that moment was an action that everybody regretted. Instantly.
"What the hell is that?" Faramir barely managed a frightened whisper.
Pippin began to shake and slowly backed into a corner. Frodo, who had seen the worst sights imaginable while carrying the ring, shielded his eyes.
"Elbereth save us," Legolas moaned as Gimli's hold on him tightened.
Nobody remembered much of the next few minutes aside from all the screaming; which, as it happened, drowned out Gimli's moaning and Legolas' blasphemous prayers. In fact, the next thing any of them remembered clearly was Arwen telling them to shut up, it was over, and seeing the blanket-swathed bundle that Éowyn was handing to an exhausted looking Gimli and a still-slightly-blue Legolas.
"She's kind of cute," Gimli was saying. "Got your hair."
Legolas beamed and patted the baby's head. "She's going to be short, just like you," he teased Gimli. "I can tell."
"Well, um, congrats," Aragorn was the first to recover his voice. "You think you'll be ready to travel soon, Gimli? Frodo, Pippin, what about you guys? Soon? Ow! I was just asking," he muttered as Arwen pinched his arm.
Merry edged forward bravely and peered down at the new being in the room. "Huh," he said. "What're you going to name her?"
Legolas looked at Gimli and shrugged. "I dunno; it's not like we're keeping her or anything. Arwen, did your Grandmother ever find anybody to take care of this or what?"
"Nope," Arwen said calmly. "When I asked her if she knew any way to get rid of a baby she suggested Glorfindel and when I told her it was too late for that she said that Grandpoppy arranged those sorts of things; he's been down at the shipyards and she didn't want to screw with her control over the sea-longing."
"Damn," said Legolas. "I don't suppose you want to keep her, or anything, do you? ‘Cause Gimli and I couldn't find anybody, either." Arwen's glare and the throbbing vein in Aragorn's temple were his only answers and he shrugged. "Worth a shot," he muttered.
The baby cried and Gimli patted her bottom awkwardly. "I think she's hungry," he said at last.
"Hey, why don't I go saddle those ponies?" Faramir bolted. Éomer made a noise of frustration as the door slammed shut before he could make it out after him.
Gimli frowned at the terrified group, "Isn't anybody going to get her a bottle? I just gave birth; I'm not moving an inch unless it's to a hot bath and a soft bed."
"Ditto!" Legolas put in.
Aragorn folded his arms, "Well I'm sure as hell not going to do it. I've done more than my share these past few months."
"Oh, come on," Éowyn tutted. "I'll make a bottle, but I'm not going to feed it. I've got patients to see in the morning."
"Ring," Frodo said, putting up his hands.
"Fuck," Gandalf muttered. "Balrog! I died for you people!"
Merry pointed at him and made a buzzing noise, "Wrong answer; you came back as Gandalf the White. Not the same guy. Your job."
"Heavens," Rosie cut through the chatter. "I'll do it. She's only a baby, after all."
"Sure, help yourself," Gimli passed the baby to Legolas who managed to bobble it into Rosie's arms.
Sam snuck a peek at the baby, "Sure and she is only a baby. Look, Frodo, she looks just like a fair Hobbit-lass. Pippin, come out of the corner and see; she's not scary at all. What?" he asked as he noticed the glittering eyes that had focused on him.
Epilogue: They're sailing away…
It was September the twenty-ninth in the year 3021 and Frodo and Samwise were at the Havens, for Frodo was to sail over Sea. Sam would not be going with him and bitter was their parting that would last for many years.
"I'm not going to bring you until you can ditch Rosie," Frodo angrily explained to the pouting Sam. "You and Rosie are so close…always acting like parents and a married couple. I've been totally ignored in favor of ‘your' daughter."
Sam folded his arms and scowled. "We need to set the right example for Elanor is all," he said. "What with her looks the lads will come knocking around and knocking her up as soon as they're able. And she might let them, considering her real parentage and all."
"Bull," Frodo spat. "Once everybody finds out that she's been shaving since she was a month old nobody's going to come near her."
Farther along the shore line Galadriel, former Queen of the Golden Wood, stood looking back at the mist-shrouded Middle Earth. "Sweetie, I know it's sort of late to do this…but don't you think I should send word to Legolas and Gimli and let them know about that curse?"
Her husband, who was seeing her off and apparently quite anxious about doing so, patted her hand saying, "Now dear, you know your mind reading powers go a little wonky whenever that granddaughter stealing bastard is around. Do you honestly believe that Legolas would…and with Gimli?"
"Thranduil has forbidden the Lockbearer to enter Mirkwood. And he sealed off the dungeons."
Celeborn banged his head against the side of the white ship; he'd promised Elladan and Elrohir that he'd be in Rivendell for the Friday night poker-game and he'd promised Erestor that it would be time for a little nookie. "Look, even if they are invading each other's colonies, that doesn't mean you need to get involved. You did your part for Arda. It's time for you to have a little ‘me' time. You've put off this trip for how many centuries? And now you want to cancel it again just to warn Legolas and Gimli to put on their raincoats? If they're too stupid to play it safe then it's their own damn fault if one of them gets pregnant."
"Still," Galadriel wavered, eyes not leaving the trail that lay behind them. "Celebrimbor was so…" she trailed off with a worried frown.
Her husband rolled his eyes and silently begged for patience. "Narvi handled it," he said as reassuringly as he could. "Besides, it was just the morning sickness and the bizarre sexual cravings. You've seen the amount of leather Gimli wears-I'm sure they'll be fine."
"But what if Gimli…"
"Oh, Galadriel, will you quit being such a fusspot? It's pretty damn obvious that Legolas bottoms. I mean, look at him!"
The Lady looked up at the ship, thinking ardently of the long-awaited vacation. "If you're sure, sweetie," she said hesitantly.
"I am." Celeborn slid his arm around his wife's waist and led her onto the ship. "Besides," he said, "even if they get caught with their hands in the cookie jar they'll figure out something. And then they'll be more careful, won't they?"
Back on the shore Gandalf was trying to break up the fight between Frodo and Sam, which had recently come to blows. "And another thing," Frodo screamed as Merry and Pippin pulled Sam back, "you think they'll stop? Do you? They already asked Rosie if she would fake a second pregnancy!"
"We wanted a brother or sister for Elanor anyway," Sam's voice was taunting and Gandalf had to lift Frodo from the ground to prevent him from charging.
"You're an idiot," Frodo shouted as he was dragged to the waiting ship. "You'll overrun Bag End with their bastard brats! They'll keep at it and you're just stupid enough to take in all the little horrors they'll produce. Even Pippin and Merry are talking about getting married and having kids so that they won't get trapped by Legolas' and Gimli's gonads! See if you don't end up with a dozen kids, Sam! Just you wait and see if you don't!"
"Shows what you know," Sam bellowed as Frodo disappeared from sight. "Éowyn already said she and Faramir would take a few since she won't touch him no more and they need to continue the family lines. And Arwen said that she's taking the one they've already got going, seeing as how the kingdom needs an heir and all that fighting and smoking made Strider incapable!"
The ship set sail and quickly passed out of sight. "Come on, Sam," Merry sighed. "Let's go home."
"You'd take ‘em, if they offered you, right?" Sam said as they turned away from the Havens.
"Hell no," came the chorused reply.
And so it was that many things came to pass as the years rolled on in Middle Earth. Sam and Rose took in children until the day came when the children married and could begin to take in the issue of Legolas and Gimli, who were their siblings by blood. Sam eventually left for Elvenhome in the hopes of patching things up with Frodo while Merry and Pippin went back to the lands of Rohan and Gondor to avoid all the half-Elves/half-Dwarves in the Shire. Plus there was free food right up until the day that they died. So terrible was this event in the mind of King Elessar that he had several nervous breakdowns and it is said that it was the combined shock of not having to feed Hobbits and Gondor actually being in the black which caused the massive heart attack that killed him. Arwen, in her grief, wandered far away to Lothlórien in the hopes of finding Haldir, who might offer her some comfort.
With Elessar dead, Legolas and Gimli were no longer welcome in the land of Gondor and since Legolas could not abide the caves, nor Gimli the forest, they decided to at last sail over Sea so that they might have a few choice words with the Lady Galadriel and maybe see if there was something that might be done to stop the matters of pregnancy and childbirth without screwing up their sex-life. When their ship had at last passed over the horizon an end was come in Middle Earth of the Fellowship of the Ring, as well as a great many other things. The last lines of the Red Book did note that ‘a great sigh of relief was heard from all corners of every kingdom' and that was one hell of an understatement.
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Issue No.: 2.6
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