38. Chapter 38
“I think your wife is up to something,” Frodo said as he sat down next to Theo.
“Your sister is always up to something,” said Theo. He reached over to tickle Pansy, nestled in her father’s arms. Pansy pushed his hand away and hid her face in her father’s shirt.
“Don’t feel bad,” Frodo said. “She does it to everyone. She’s playing shy all of a sudden.”
Theo nodded. “Éoleof went through the same thing.” Pansy peeked out at him and he made a face at her. She hid her face again, but Theo heard her giggle. “So what is Rose up to?”
“Don’t know. But she’s huddled over there with my mum, Éowyn, Ivy and Emerald. They’re all giggling and they keep looking over at you.”
Theo looked up. Yes, they were all looking at him and giggling. “They’re probably discussing my present. Rose told me she giving me something extra special this year, but I wouldn’t get it until later.”
Frodo grinned at him. “You know, if she wasn’t my sister I could make something very rude out of that.”
“Ha, ha.” Theo looked over at the group again. They’d finished whatever they had been talking about and Rose was heading towards him, a big smile on her face. She plopped down in his lap and kissed him quite thoroughly.
“What were you ladies talking about?” he asked.
“Something,” she said. Emerald joined them then, carrying two cups of apple cider. Rose smiled at her sister-in-law. “Thanks, Em.”
“Drink up, it’s good for you.” Emerald beamed at them. Theo was really starting to wonder what they had been talking about.
“Were you talking about my present?” Theo asked Rose. He gave her a squeeze.
“Maybe.” She glanced over at Emerald and they both giggled.
“Told you they were up to something,” said Frodo.
“When do I get my present?” He added a bit of a whine to his voice. Rose just rolled her eyes at him.
The sounds of squabbling preceded the arrival of Fari and Goldi, followed by Eomer and Moira. Moira’s father had brought her to Brandy Hall for Rose’s birthday, and she would stay until Uncle Freddy’s trip to Bree in October. Eomer was a different hobbit now that they were courting, no longer stumbling over his words or hiding himself away to brood. The couple spent every waking moment together. Theo wondered if he was ever as besotted as Eomer.
Fari sat at their table with a huff. Goldi sat next to him. “It’s just one dance,” Goldi said.
“I don’t want to,” Fari whined. “I don’t like dancing.”
“It won’t kill you to dance with me once,” Goldi shot back.
Fari shrugged at her and shook his head. “You never know. It might.” Goldi scowled and crossed her arms with a huff.
“They’ve been going at each other for at least an hour!” Eomer muttered to Theo.
Theo laughed. Since working out their romantic relationship, Fari and Goldi had gone back to the teasing and squabbling that had marked their friendship. They seemed to enjoy it, though, probably because now they could literally kiss and make up afterward.
“Well, don’t run off to dance quite yet. I want you to be here when I give Theo my birthday present,” Rose said.
“Can I get it now?” Theo asked brightly. Frodo snorted and Theo thumped him on the arm.
Rose peered around to look across the garden. Theo followed her gaze and saw their parents, along with Pippin and Ivy, approaching. “Yes,” she said and got up from his lap. She went to stand behind him while everyone else crowded around the table.
Theo looked up and caught Ivy’s eye and she was looking at him a bit strangely, like she was so happy she could cry. Over his present? He got the feeling this was bigger than the usual birthday present. That feeling was confirmed when he saw that Éowyn and Rosie had the same look as Ivy.
“Well, the present isn’t exactly ready yet,” Rose said. She put her hands on his shoulders and gave a squeeze. “It won’t arrive until sometime in April. Theo is going to be a father.”
It took him a moment to comprehend what she said. A father? He was going to be a father? Rose was going to have a baby? He knew it was going to happen someday, of course, but now that it had happened and was real, all he could manage was an “Oh!”
Voices exploded around him. Ivy leaned down to kiss his cheek, but Theo was still too stunned to acknowledge it. He looked at Rose, who was beaming down at him and, not really sure what else he should do, he just pulled her back down into his lap and kissed her.
“How are you doing?”
Theo looked up at his father. Rose had been whisked away to be fawned over by sisters and nieces, Frodo was changing Pansy’s diaper, and Eomer, Fari and the girls had gone off somewhere, leaving him to sit and contemplate his impending fatherhood. He sighed. “It’s still a little hard to believe, actually.”
His dad chuckled at sat next to him. “It will be until she starts to show, especially with the first one. Of course, it was a bit different with your sister.” His father glanced over at Ivy and Éowyn. “I didn’t find out until late in the pregnancy and since Éowyn was with Faramir, it didn’t seem real until I actually held Ivy and I could see she was part hobbit.” He smiled at Theo. “When your mum had you was the first time I experienced a whole pregnancy.”
Theo nodded, then let out a rush of breath. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, Dad.” He suddenly felt overwhelmed by the whole thing, by all the responsibility they had suddenly been laid upon him. “My part seems to be over.”
His father patted his back. “Oh, no. Your part is to keep her happy. You’ll need to fetch things for her and make sure she’s comfortable and keep track of what she’s craving and what makes her ill just from the smell--a very important job.”
Theo just stared at his father, who was grinning like he found this whole thing incredibly amusing. “You have no sympathy for me, do you?”
His father put an arm around him. “You’ll do fine, Theo.”
“It’s just....” He shrugged helplessly. “Scary.”
“Believe me, I know that,” his dad said. “I was terrified when I left Rivendell with Ivy, just me and Pippin responsible for this tiny little baby.”
“Poor Ivy,” Theo smirked, some of his panic finally easing.
His dad wrinkled his nose at him. “Very funny.” Then he grinned and patted Theo’s shoulder. “But see? If Pip and I could handle it, you won’t have any trouble at all. You’ve got Rose.”
Theo nodded. Rose seemed very relaxed about this whole thing. And she was the was the one who’d have to go through it all. He smiled at the thought of a pregnant Rose, of someday pressing his hands to her round belly and feeling the movement of his child within. “It’s amazing, isn’t it?” he said softly, more to himself than to his father. “Being a dad?”
His dad put his arm around his shoulder to hug him and kissed his brow. “It’s the most amazing thing in the world.”
Theo watched Rose change for bed, his eyes lingering on her stomach. He still had a hard time believing there was a baby inside of her.
“Are you all right, Theo?” she asked, startling him from his thoughts. “You’ve been a bit quiet.” She frowned. “Are you unhappy I got pregnant so soon?”
“No.” He reached out and took her hand, pulling her to sit next to him on the bed. “I’m just overwhelmed, I suppose. It’s not every day you learn you’re going to be a dad.” He smiled at her. “And you’ve had more time to get used to the idea.”
“Only a month or so,” she said. She rested a hand on her belly. “I thought it would make a good birthday present.” She looked in his eyes. “So you’re happy?”
“Yes, Rose, I’m very happy.” He leaned over and kissed her, sweet and lingering. He pushed her back on the bed, deepening the kiss, then pulled back to look at her. “Can we still...?”
She smiled. “Yes. Éowyn said that it’s fine, as long as I’m comfortable with it.”
Theo nodded. He slid his hand over to rest on her belly. It was far too early to feel anything, but had a need to press his hand there. “Do you feel any different?”
Rose put her hand over his. “Not really. I’ve only had a little nausea, but nothing bad.” She grinned. “And I don’t get my monthly anymore, which is nice.”
Theo kissed her again and moved his hand over her breast, squeezing gently. She flinched and pulled his hand away. “And my breasts are a bit sore right now.”
“Sorry.” Theo gently kissed her breast, then kissed his way up to her neck. He started to roll over her, but realized he’d be squashing her breasts. “How, um...?”
“Here...” Rose pushed him over to his back and moved over to straddle him. “Ivy said this works best.”
“Argh!” Theo covered his face with his hands. “That’s a picture I didn’t need.”
“Oh, really!” Rose laughed. She pulled his hands away from his face. “You lads will talk about the most disgusting things,” she scolded, “but you can’t stand the thought of where your nieces and nephews came from?”
Theo wrinkled his nose. “But it’s my sister and--ah!” Rose moved her hips in a way that made him forget all about...whatever it was they had been talking about.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.