Forever and For Always - Beginnings
The baby cradled in Aragorn's arms was wailing, its little fists shaking in terror. Confused as to how to quiet her, he instinctively began to hum a verse of the Lay of Lúthien, rocking her back and forth. Her cries eventually died down and her dark, tear streaked face looked up at him with wonder, then at the shiny crown atop his head. Aragorn grinned at his success and continued to hum. He felt as awkward with the baby in his arms as his stalwart friend, the Dwarf Gimli, looked upon the back of a stallion. He chuckled softly at the thought, for even though he had seen it occur many a time, the image never failed to bring a smile to his face.
He observed the little thing in his arms, who was now his child. Looking at the infant, he could not help but think of her mother.
A tall, dark woman with feral eyes, she had died from injuries received during the Battle of Pelennor fields. She had left the comfort and safety of her home in Harad to follow her husband into battle, into death. Her wounded form had been found lying on the ground amongst the rubble after the battle, and she was instantly taken to the healer, where her pregnancy was revealed. As she lay in the bed, her black hair clinging to her face, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.
The woman gripped his forearm and hissed, "Swear it- swear to me that you will look after her."
Her last breath was a murmured wish, that her baby would be safe after she was gone. Aragorn, not knowing what to do, could only nod in consent, though he did not know at the time who would take this baby of the enemy.
Faramir and Eowyn had offered, but Eowyn had just recently given birth to their first child, Elboron, and Aragorn did not want to overwhelm them.
Upon seeing his new bride hold the Harad baby, something strange had happened, something clicked in; the scene seemed so right, and thereafter his mind was set. If she agreed, he and Arwen would take the baby and raise her as a daughter of Gondor.
As she held the the baby in her arms, it was Arwen who named the girl.
Staring into her large eyes, Arwen murmured, "Morelen."
"Dark star?" Aragorn queried.
Arwen nodded, replying, "Her eyes; do they not look like the lights of Elbereth?"
"Aye," he agreed, "indeed they do."
He vividly remembered those sleepless nights he had endured, thinking of the girl's parents. Her father, he choked, could have died by my own blade, as could her mother! What will I do when she comes of age, and learns the truth? Will she continue to love me as if I were her real father? He had sighed, asking question after question to anything or anyone that would listen. Can I raise her, knowing that one day she may well hate me forever after? I suppose I have no choice, at this point.
Abruptly, Aragorn was jolted from his reverie by the sounds of a crying baby. Morelen was squirming uneasily in his arms and no amount of humming or shiny crowns would still her. Looking about helplessly for some means of escape, he saw Arwen glide gracefully into the room, beaming at them. She approached him and he gladly handed her the girl. Slowly the baby calmed, cooing. Arwen reached down and kissed the child's forehead, singing softly in her ear. Aragorn smiled. His wife never looked more beautiful than she did now.
"You always did have a better singing voice," he teased. Arwen chuckled then turned to leave the room, giving Aragorn a sidelong glance, beckoning him to follow. She led him out of the room and he smiled to hear the child's musical, bubbling laughter echo in the hallways...