*Peace has been restored in Middle-earth, the king of Gondor and his queen has led a happily married life. The kingdom is now immersed in celebration at the arrival of the royal family’s third child, a daughter. None are as happy as the new princess’s godfather, Legolas.*
It was a warm, lazy afternoon and the palace was quiet. Quiet except for one room, and that room was alive with laughter. It was the children’s room.
When Arwen had begun her childbirth, Aragorn remained at her side the entire time. While there were many servants to care for the king and queen’s other two children, Legolas took it upon himself to take charge of them and he did so as if they were his own. He stayed with them always; he played with them in the day and sang to them during the night. It had been a few days since the baby had been born, and this afternoon would be the first time the children would be able to see their new sister.
In the children’s nursery, dozens of toys had been scattered about. A particular toy might amuse a child for but a few moments, and then their attention would fall upon another. The eldest child, a daughter named Maranwe, sat on the floor near the fireplace. She was scribbling away on the pieces of parchment she had in front of her. The second child was Eldarion, the only son and the heir to the crown. He sat next to Legolas by the window, on a cushioned bench. Eldarion was not yet old enough to read so he listened to the story that Legolas was reading him. Usually Eldarion listened intently to whatever Legolas told him, which was typical of him but it was not so with Maranwe. However, today he seemed only half-heartedly interested; Eldarion was far too excited to pay any mind to anything.
The little boy turned and tugged on the sleeve of his godfather. “Legolas?” The elf closed the book in his hand, turned his head and replied, “Yes Eldarion?” The young prince then stood on the bench next to the still seated Legolas, so to look him in the eyes. The boy held up three little fingers as he said proudly, “I have three questions.” Legolas put aside the book and laughed, “Very well then, let us start with number one,” as raised one finger upon his right hand.
“When do we get to see mummy and the baby?” Legolas shook his head and replied, “I do not know, but I think it will be soon. Now ask me your second question.” Eldarion thought a moment and started fidgeting with the embroidery on his little shirt. Without looking up he asked, “Will you take me to Rohan?” Legolas, being intrigued by this question, crossed his arms and asked, “Why do you wish to go to Rohan?” A small smile spread across Eldarion’s small face as he replied excitedly, “I want to see the caves in the mountains!”
Legolas’s eyes went wide and he gasped. “Help! Help! The prince of Gondor is a dwarf in boy’s clothing! I have been deceived!” He stood up as if to call for help and shouted, “Call the guards!” Eldarion began giggling and as he jumped off the bench he shouted, “I am not a dwarf!”
Legolas smiled and laughed softly as he sat back on the bench and picked up the young boy and put him on his lap. “No, indeed you are not little one. Now, what else did you wish to ask me?” The boy drew in a breath to speak but no words came, for at that moment the door opened. In the doorway stood Aragorn and behind him there was Arwen and in her arms she held her daughter.
Eldarion leapt from Legolas’s lap and ran across the room. Maranwe threw her parchment aside and ran with equal speed to her mother and father. Maranwe ran to her father and he swept her up into her arms.
“Well here is my lovely little flower, and what have you been up to?” While Maranwe rattled on to her father, Eldarion stood at his mother’s feet and tugged at her skirts. “Is that her mummy? Is that the baby?”
Arwen looked down and smiled sweetly at her son. She was met with a little smile and two eyes filled with wonder. “Yes my darling, this is your new sister, Anantien.” Maranwe leaned over and looked and the child in Arwen’s arms. When she had had a good look at her, she smiled and announced, “I like her.”
With all the excitement of the children being reunited with their parents and their new sister, no one noticed Legolas casually strolling over to them. Then Arwen looked up smiling and laughed, “Ah, it’s the new nursemaid.” Aragorn laughed heartily and Legolas merely smiled.
“It is true I suppose,” laughed Legolas, “though I would never have believed that I, Legolas Greenleaf, prince of the woodland realm and son of King Thranduil would be reduced to child’s play thing.” Aragorn patted him on his shoulder and replied quietly, “And I thank you for it.”
Legolas then shifted and turned towards Arwen and with a smile and a gleam in his grey elven eyes he addressed her simply, “My lady…” He then averted his eyes to the delicate bundle Arwen held in her arms. Arwen knew then what he wished to do so she slowly held out her arms. And with happiness in his eyes and in his smile, he gently took the infant into his arms.
Both Aragorn and Arwen were in wonder when they saw the loving look in Legolas’s eyes as he addressed the princess as he had done her mother, in a whisper, “My lady.” Without looking away from Anantien, he said softly to himself, “She is beautiful.”
Aragorn grinned as he took Maranwe and Eldarion’s hands and led them to the fireplace. Now that they had seen the baby, they wished to return to their play and they wished their father to join them. Meanwhile Arwen and Legolas left the children’s room and walked down the hall.
Arwen could not help but smile as she watched Legolas with his new god-daughter. As evident of the last few days, she knew she could trust Legolas with the very lives of her children. Legolas looked up from the baby girl in his arms and glanced at Arwen, “The other two have the look of their father, but this little one will look just like her mother….beautiful.”
All Arwen could do was smile as they walked in silence down the long corridors. Finally Arwen spoke cheerfully, “When will I become a godmother, Legolas?” As she spoke the smile seemed to slowly fade from Legolas’s face, though his gaze never turned away from the baby. He had been asked that question many a time, and had thought about it a great deal as he had watched Arwen and Aragorn’s children being born and growing up.
Regaining his smile, he looked at Arwen and said, “You must look for godchildren elsewhere, for I will never be a father.” Arwen stopped and rested her hand upon his shoulder, saying, “Why do you say this?” Legolas averted his eyes away from Arwen’s and continued to walk. “I cannot marry and have children because I have already given my heart to someone, and I would have it remain hers for the rest of time. And I love these children as I would love my own; I love them because they are yours. And I still cling to the thought that some other time and place they would have been mine, and their mother my wife. That thought shall last me my entire life.”
Legolas looked back at Arwen and he could see that her eyes had become glassy with tears. She rested her head upon his shoulder, and her hand upon his arm. She wanted to say so much to him, but she could not find the words to do so. The only thing that she could utter from her lips was, “Oh Legolas.” She then raised her head from his shoulder and placed a soft kiss on his cheek. He turned and looked into her eyes, and he saw in them all the things she long to say to him. He smiled warmly and then leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. He then looked back to Anantien and after a moment, leaned forward and gently kissed the infant’s forehead as well.
Legolas then laughed softly and said, “We must return to the nursery, Aragorn is no match for those two.” Arwen smiled and laughed, “Yes indeed, they most likely have tied and gagged him by now.” They laughed as they walked back down the corridor, when they drew closer they could hear the shouts and giggles of Eldarion and Maranwe. When they had reached the door of the children’s room, Legolas stopped and said softly to Arwen, “Here…” He then held out his arms to Arwen and she gently removed the baby from Legolas’s arms. He then opened the door for her and she glided through to be met with shouts and laughs. Before he followed her into the nursery, Legolas stood in the doorway and watch the family before him play and laugh and smile. This was by far the most precious thing he had found in his many years on this earth, he thought to himself. And after a moment, a smile once again appeared on his fair elven face and he walked through and quietly shut the door behind him.
The End *Part 5 soon to come*