41. Chapter 41
“Not quite time yet, Theo,” Éowyn had said cheerily to Theo. “Why don’t you go have a sit in the garden.”
Theo just gaped at her. His wife was having labor pains and Éowyn wanted him to take her out to the garden? Shouldn’t they be getting Rose into bed? He looked to Rosie, hoping that Rose’s mum would have something to say about sending her about-to-have-a-baby daughter outside. But Rosie seemed unconcerned.
“If they get stronger and closer together, then it’s time to come in,” Rose was telling her daughter. She smoothed a hand over Rose’s curls and smiled. “Enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, and try to relax. You’ve got some hard work ahead of you!” She kissed her daughter’s cheek and then reached over and gave Theo’s hand a squeeze. “She’ll be fine, Theo. You can relax, too.”
Theo smiled weakly at his grinning mother-in-law. He supposed if anyone knew about having babies, it was Rosie. It still didn’t make this any easier.
Rose took his hand. “Let’s go sit down. My back is killing me.”
“Oh!” That startled him out of his worry. Rose had been achy all week in her hips and back. And now they were just standing here.
Out in the hallway, Rose squeezed his hand. “Hard to believe the baby’s finally coming,” she said. She rubbed her hand over her enormous belly. “I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see it end.” She chuckled and Theo cracked a smile. The last month had been uncomfortable for her, trying to sleep and walk and even sit. He was both guilty and relieved that lads didn’t have to go through this.
Out in the garden, Eomer and Moira were sitting together on a bench under a tree, talking quietly. Fari and Goldi were sprawled at their feet in the grass. They all looked up when Theo and Rose came out the door.
“Well?” Goldi asked, sitting up and brushing grass from her sleeves.
“It will be a while,” Rose said. Theo helped her lower herself to a bench, then sat beside her. Rose patted her belly. “Éowyn said the baby’s not quite ready to come yet.”
“How does she know that?” Fari asked.
“Because it’s not...” Rose stopped, her cheeks going bright red.
Theo huffed. His cousin certainly didn’t need to know that. Fari could find out the same way he did--when Goldi had a baby. He squirmed in embarrassment and hoped his face wasn’t as red as Rose’s. He’d been in the room, sitting next to Rose on their bed, when Éowyn checked to see where the baby was. He hadn’t expected that she’d check from the inside. “She just knows,” he mumbled. “She’s a midwife. She knows those things.”
Goldi giggled and leaned over to whisper something in Fari’s ear. Fari’s eyes got huge, then his face wrinkled in disgust. “She felt where?”
Rose clamped a hand over Theo’s knee, stilling the nervous bounce. “Everything’s fine, Theo.”
Theo nodded and swallowed. How could she be so calm right now? It was just past second breakfast, and they were still sitting in the garden. Rosie and Éowyn had brought them out something to eat. Rose hadn’t been hungry. That worried Theo, but Éowyn assured him it was fine. Everything was fine.
Rose sucked in a breath and leaned back on the bench. Her hand squeezed his knee and she groaned a little. She hadn’t groaned before now.
“Rose?” he asked, panic rising. Was it time now?
She let out a rush of breath, then looked at him, smiling. “I’m fine,” she said.
“It could still take a while, Theo,” Goldi said. “Mum had pains for two days before she had Bilbo.”
“Two days?” Moira gasped.
“Well, let’s hope it doesn’t take that long,” Rose chuckled. “Poor Mum!”
Theo sighed. He seemed to be the only one who was worried about this. He didn’t know how much more of this he could take, watching Rose go through the pain--no matter how much she assured him she was ‘fine’.
Rose settled back, nestled under his arm, and sighed. “It won’t be long,” she said softly to Theo. “I think they’re getting closer together.”
“I hope so,” he said and kissed the top of her head. He certainly wouldn’t be able to take this for two days!
He passed the time by watching Fari and Goldi, still sitting in the grass and poking and tickling each other. Theo smiled. It was nice to see Fari so happy. Goldi had been a wonder for him.
Rose’s fingers dug into his thigh and she leaned forward, groaning loudly. A sound came out from her clenched jaw that sounded a lot like a Dwarvish curse word. She slumped back against him, panting. “I think...it’s time to go in.”
“I can’t believe it’s finally happening,” Theo said. He was sitting on the parlor couch, staring straight ahead at his closed bedroom door. A groan came from behind that door. Theo swallowed hard and went back to staring at his feet.
Eomer shook his head. Theo had been repeating that for the past hour. “Dad, can’t we pour some whiskey in him or something. He’s a wreck.”
“Oh, no. None of that. He needs to be awake and sober. Just imagine what would happen if he went in there drunk.” His father shook his head gravely. “I heard horror stories from your mum. Lads have had their noses--and worse--badly damaged by showing up at their child’s birth smelling of whiskey.”
Eomer cringed. He didn’t want to even think about what Rose was capable of doing to Theo. “Right,” he said. His stomach growled and he looked at the door to the hallway. Fari had gone to get them something to eat, seeing as how they were missing lunch.
Another muffled groan came from behind the closed door, but this one was followed soon after by the cry of a baby.
“Already?” their dad said. He chuckled. “My grandchild was in a hurry!”
Eomer grinned, then looked at his brother. Theo was gaping at the door, like he couldn’t believe what was happening. Eomer leaned over and clapped him on the back. “Congratulations, Dad.”
Theo snapped out of his daze and grinned at him. Then he stood up and went to the bedroom door.
“Wait,” their dad said, catching his arm. “They need to clean up first. They’ll come get you.”
Eomer decided he didn’t want to think about that too much. He’d seen enough of the animals to know that birth was a messy thing.
Then Moira opened the door, a huge grin on her face. Theo rushed past her and Eomer went over to take Moira’s hand.
Rose was in bed, her head bent over the baby in her arms. She looked up and smiled when Theo came to her. He leaned and kissed her, then whispered with her as he inspected the baby in her arms. Rose passed the baby to him, and Theo turned to them. “It’s a boy!” he said, looking like he was ready to burst. He smiled at his son. “We’re naming him after Granddad. Saradoc.”
“He’d be proud,” their dad said, bending over to admire his new grandson.
“Wasn’t it wonderful!” Goldi said, coming over to take Moira’s hand. “I told you it wouldn’t be so bad.”
“I know,” Moira said. She smiled at Goldi. “You never really think about a baby being in there, but then he started coming out--”
Eomer coughed. “Time for me to leave.” He ignored the girls’ giggles and scurried over to give Rose a congratulatory kiss. He did not need details of where his nephew came from.
“He is a sweet baby, isn’t he?” Moira said. She lay on her bed next to Saradoc, letting him grasp her finger. She had offered to watch him so that Rose could have a relaxing soak in the bath.
Eomer raised an eyebrow. “Have you changed your mind about waiting?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Moira said. “Babies are nice, but I’d still like to have some time to get used to Brandy Hall and the Shire before I’m overwhelmed with feedings and diapers.”
Eomer nodded. Rose and Theo both looked like they hadn’t slept in a week. Probably because they hadn’t. Theo was taking a nap right now, trying to catch up on some sleep.
She looked up at him. “That doesn’t mean I won’t change my mind,” she said with a wink. She looked down at Saradoc. “He might convince me otherwise.” She kissed the baby’s head. “Because you’re so sweet, aren’t you Sar?”
Eomer smiled at them. He thought they were both sweet. And he certainly wouldn’t mind if Moira did change her mind about waiting a while before having a baby.
She sat up and wrinkled her nose. “I think he needs to be changed.”
“All right.” He looked around and spotted the pile of baby things Rose had left on the table. He picked up some cloths and handed them to her.
Moira took them, stared at the cloths for a moment, then at Sar, then up at Eomer. She sighed. “I’ve never actually done this before.”
Eomer’s eyes widened in surprise. “You haven’t?” He thought all lasses knew how to do this stuff.
She shook her head. “I’m the youngest of my cousins. And when they started having babies...” She shrugged. “I guess I’ve never been interested in babies until now.”
Eomer grinned. “Lucky you. I had to learn when Bori was a baby and I helped with all seven of them.” He sat down on the bed, on the other side of Saradoc. “It’s not hard, just smelly and messy.”
She nodded. “All right, what do I do?”
“Put a cloth underneath him, so you don’t get the blanket messy, then take off the old one.”
She followed his instructions, loosening the little ties on the cloth, then gave a wary peek inside. “Oh, that’s not so bad,” she said.
“Newborns usually aren’t. Just wait until he gets older,” laughed Eomer. “Now you just need to clean him up and put the new cloth on and...oh, wait!” He put a hand over hers. “Put a cloth over him until you’re ready for the new diaper. Boys pee on you.” Moira giggled and Eomer pouted. “It’s not funny when it happens to you,” he grumbled.
When Saradoc was freshly diapered, Eomer collected the dirty cloths and set them near the door. He’d leave those for Theo to take care of.
“Thanks for helping,” Moira said as she straightened Sar’s gown. “I suppose I’m still a bit behind on things that other lasses know.” She shrugged and blushed.
Eomer knew she’d had a few private talks with Éowyn. Goldi had gone with her once, but she would only say that Moira needed to talk to Éowyn because she didn’t have a mum to talk to. So Eomer figured he knew what they were talking about. Girl stuff. About monthlies and... having babies. That thought made him blush.
Rose came in then, fluffing her damp curls with a comb. “Has he been good?” she asked.
“Of course he has,” said Moira and kissed Sar again, brushing her fingers over his curly head.
Rose nudged Eomer and gave him a wink. Then she leaned over the bed. “How’s my sweet boy?” she cooed, and picked up her son. “Were you good for Aunt Moira and Uncle Eomer? Did you tell them you want more cousins as soon as possible?” Moira blushed again and Eomer guessed that his own face was just as red.
Rose sat on the bed and grinned at them.
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.