"You summoned me to Minas Tirith to build a gate, oh mighty King of Gondor?"
"King of Gondor and Arnor." Aragorn couldn't resist the barb.
"Pardon me, Sire. I stand corrected." A smirk laced the Elf's face.
Although the King jested with his friend, it hadn't not escape Aragorn's attention that Legolas had used the word "summoned." Was the Prince truly offended, feeling as if he'd been treated as one of the King's subjects or was his exasperation a ruse? It amazed Aragorn that after all these years, he still had difficulty reading his friend from time to time.
"'Twas not a summons, Legolas, merely a request made of a dear, old friend. And truly, the reason I asked you to do me this favor is because I simply do not trust anyone else with the task. So few have your carpentry skill, you see." A little stroke of the Elf's ego was always a wise tactic, even if it was transparent. "And I have tried to build it myself, but each time it has failed to meet our expectations. We simply cannot afford to take any chances that Eldarion will toddle through the archway and fall down the stairs. The gate blocking the archway must be secure, and all the more so once the nanny's attention is divided between our son and the babe who is on the way." Aragorn smiled and raised his eyebrows, anxious to hear his friend's reaction.
"What?!" Legolas was stunned. How were humans able to breed so quickly? It nearly caused him to shudder, for their . . . what would be a diplomatic phrase? Reproductive efficiency? Yes, their reproductive efficiency was a bit too much like a rat's for the Elf's comfort.
"Congratulations might be in order, Legolas." The Queen of Gondor looked up from the tapestry she was making for the unborn babe's nursery, the faintest trace of a smile adorning her face.
"Yes, yes, of course. Forgive me, Arwen. I was simply surprised. When can we expect the new babe to arrive?" Legolas scrutinized the mother-to-be and now saw that the tapestry cloaked a swelling belly.
"Well, naturally the birth will be sometime between nine and twelve months following his--"
"or her," Arwen corrected.
"or her conception," the King continued. "But we cannot be certain when. It is quite a difficult thing to estimate the gestation period for a babe with both human and elvish blood. If we use Eldarion's birth as a guideline, the babe should come at about ten months, meaning we have another four months before she is here."
"She?" Arwen giggled. It was the first time she had heard her husband refer to the babe as a girl, without her having to remind him of that possibility.
"Yes, she. I think I might like having a baby daughter to play tea party with, or dolls, or whatever it is little girls do," Aragorn said. Turning to Legolas, he added, "I am certain my darling wife knows whether our babe is a boy or a girl, but she refuses to tell me. Not once has she failed to refer to our unborn as 'he or she.'"
"All in good time, Beloved. One would think you would have learned a bit of patience, having grown up around Elves," the Queen teased.
The trio was silent for a moment, each lost is his or her private reverie--Aragorn wondering just what it would be like to have a daughter, Arwen deciding when she would tell her husband their baby's gender, and Legolas still marveling over the speed with which humans procreate--until a gasp from the Queen broke the calm. Both Aragorn and Legolas snapped their heads in Arwen's direction to find the Queen smiling, her right hand resting on her burgeoning belly. Aragorn's concern abated, knowing full well what had happened.
"Legolas, please, come." The Queen motioned the Elf toward her.
The Prince crept forward, and when he had reached Arwen's side, she grabbed his left hand and placed it on her belly. Legolas was confused for a moment, wondering why he was afforded this moment of relative intimacy with his friend's wife, until he felt a tremor come forth from Arwen's belly. He pulled his hand away as if it had been burned, prompting a sudden rush of laughter from both Arwen and Aragorn.
"'Tis alright, Legolas. You have merely felt the babe kicking." Aragorn bit his lip trying to stifle his mirth; he knew how his friend hated to feel as if he were the object of laughter.
Legolas stared at his hand in wonder, realizing that he had just felt a miracle.
Smiling down at his wife, Aragorn clasped her hand and gave it a firm, yet gentle, squeeze. Husband and wife then turned their gaze to Legolas, and the King marveled that his friend, who had seen millennia of summers, could suddenly assume the expression of pure, childlike innocence.
When Legolas finally glanced up from his hand, Aragorn remarked, "With all this kicking, it appears this babe will make a fine warrior,"
"Yes, she is quite active," stated the Queen.
"She?" Now it was Aragorn's turn to be stunned.
"Yes, Beloved. She."
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.