Fear by Aragornwriter|
Written for the "Family theme" Teitho contest.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Tolkien. I wrote this story without the intent of making money with it.
Story: A miracle happens and King Elessar does not know how to cope with it.
A bundle of joy.
The strangest thing that can happen to one in a lifetime.
An amazing event.
Ten fingers. Ten toes. Two hands. Two feet. Eyes. A mouth. A nose. A form shaped to perfection. All the essentials one needs to live, to survive.
All wrapped up in one. All these parts forming one tiny little body.
A bundle of joy.
All of those words shot through Elessar King and then stopped. For Aragorn, as he was once known - a name he still listened to now when used by his friends - did not feel comforted in bliss. Comforted in extreme joy.
He felt fear.
That little bundle of half-human, half-Elf came out of his motherís womb and cried when his head was out but the rest of him was still embedded in Arwenís bodily warmth. The childís eyes were closed, yet the baby screamed. It screamed. Crying was not a good word to describe its voice. It literally screamed.
And Aragorn stared at the tiny wriggling body and realized that his life would never be the same again.
A strange fear it was, one he could neither describe nor explain. He should have been happy. He should have been shrouded in wonder. Yet all he felt was that fear.
This was different than fighting, than moving up against the enemy waving their blades. This was the realization that his life, the lives of Arwen and himself, were now forever entwined with that of a child: A baby boy that needed his arms to lie in, his comfort to grow in, his attention to revel in, and his protection to survive in this cruel, harsh world.
The baby calmed down; its face wrinkled. It started to grimace, unable to move its face into the every-day features humans and Elves possessed. That would come later, when it began to control its body.
This child was his and Arwenís and it already bore a slight resemblance to his father. It had his eyes, as far as Aragorn could see at least. And his strong human jaw. Yet somehow it also carried all those frail features of an Elf. Its hands and feet were tiny; its body slim and long. And the ears. He smiled when he saw the ears. They were Arwenís. Perhaps some day the smile was hers too.
The fear embedded itself deeper. The world was cruel to any race, but how would it react to a soul that did not come from here or there? How would the people of Minas Tirith react when they saw this child, the heir to their thrown? Would they stare at the pointy ears and the Elven-features and not accept him for what and who he was?
Would they one day mock him while sitting on Gondorís throne, a right given to him by the blood coursing through his veins? Would they laugh at him and tell him that he was a monster, a freak? Or would they accept him for his character and that blood coursing through those veins and admire him because he made wise decisions?
Only time could tell.
Strange, Aragorn thought, that these were the thoughts rushing through him when the child was not even a minute old. He should be jumping in joy, for what seemed only yesterday, he would have never thought that one day there would be a child born out of a union between Arwen and himself. Only yesterday, or so he thought, he had been up against Lord Elrondís desired wish that his only daughter would go to the Havens and leave her love behind. A love that was human and would one day die, as would she should she decide to stay behind and ignore her fatherís wish.
Today, there was not a thought in his mind that doubted his love for Arwen and her love for him. There had always been the desire to have their children, to be a father. He loved children. And he wanted a son to rise to the throne of Gondor to continue the bloodline of the Kings. It was his duty to deliver a boy into the arms of the people, for they did not want to see a new line of Stewards instead.
This boy was his gift to Gondor. And now that he was here, with those pointy ears giving away part of his heritage, Elessar King was afraid.
The child was taken away by a midwife, wrapped in a white cloth and then cuddled so that it would not cry while being washed. Aragorn looked up, startled when a hand rested on his wrist. He knew that grasp through and through, blinked his eyelids and looked into the eyes of his beloved wife.
"Eldarion," she whispered. "Your son."
He smiled at her and kissed her on the forehead. She had not even broken into a sweat, for delivering babies was much easier for Elvish women than it was for human ones. She was as beautiful as she had ever been, going through the ordeal with the strength of a former immortal.
"Aye," he replied only for her to hear. "Our son."
"Is he not beautiful?" Her eyes were filled with love.
"He is exquisite."
They both smiled, sharing an affection that was theirs alone while all the midwives except for one took care of their queen and then waited. The harsh cries of the baby changed into a whimper that filled the room. And then there was silence, as Eldarion was delivered into the arms of his mother and sought out her warmth and comfort to relish in.
The fear was still there. Aragorn looked at his wife and son and knew that there was another worry to deal with now. The concern that his son would inherit lands that would be peaceful and carefree. Not a land at war, but one that did not bear the scars of war. There was a long struggle ahead to make sure it would be so. Gondor was slowly recovering from years of battle, but there was so much more still to do.
Could Elessar fulfil his silent vow? Could he give his son what he wanted to give him?
Or would he be handing over a dark and dusted wasteland, after yet another war to preserve these lands?
For that was his greatest fear, the one that overtook all the others embedded in his mind. That one day, someone as fearless as Sauron would come and fight him for the free lands. That he would lose the battle. That he would see his son perish to protect his people.
Even after all these years, after the peace of Gondor and Sauronís defeat, Aragorn still believed that it was not over. He dreamt of it at night, waking up bathed in sweat. Often he would dream that his friends had died in his arms, on a senseless battlefield. Often he would see Arwen burned to death. Or he would see the face of his unborn child and see its eyes fill with tears of pain.
He never told Arwen even though he suspected she knew. After becoming Elessar, Aragorn had taken his tasks to heart and became the King they needed him to be. With his bride by his side and the aid of his friends and Faramir, the new Steward of Gondor, he had conquered the hearts of his people. He was where he was supposed to be. History had not repeated itself. He was Elessar, a faithful, loyal subject to his people; a man who listened to them and respected their wishes. He was wise beyond his age and extremely loved by all who served him. He was feared by the last of the Corsairs who still tried to raid ships and be his enemies. Those who had once served the darkness now hid for the light.
It was as it was supposed to be.
And one day, he knew, he would deliver these lands into the arms of his child and know that they would be taken care of.
So why did he fear so much?
Why could he not smile brightly, take this child into his arms and simply love it?
He knew why.
He was afraid that Eldarion would not want all of this. That he would be as his father had once been: Reluctant, disobedient to his bloodline and afraid. He could handle everything except that.
But then Arwen looked into her husbandís eyes, squeezed his hand and offered him the child wrapped in new fresh white clothes. She did it without a single word. He hovered over her, took the baby into his arms and stared in pure wonder when the child, without as much as a cry or even opening his eyes, grasped his fatherís index finger and wrapped his tiny digits over it.
It was then that Aragorn knew that everything would be just fine.
For even in this tiny little face and this tiny little body already lay the strength of a King. It was all written in that firm grasp.