Goodnight, My Father; Goodnight, My Son
2. Good Morning
“Good morning, Father,” said the familiar voice of my son as he entered the dining room for breakfast, drawing me out of my memories. “Did you sleep well?”
“I slept fine, thank you,” I said, which was far from the truth. In reality, I had been having those haunting nightmares about a terrible shadow overtaking me- but I wasn’t going to tell that to my son. “Happy Birthday.”
A smile crept over Theodred’s face. He ran over to me and gave me a big hug. “Thank you. I love you, Father,” he whispered in my ear.
“I love you too, Theodred, and you are most welcome.” Theodred released me from the hug, and I hardened my tone of voice. “Son, today is your seventeenth birthday, and, by the laws of Rohan, that makes you a man.”
Theodred nodded. He knew all about Rohan’s laws and customs, having lived in the center of them for all his life.
“As you know,” I continued, “this is a huge responsibility that will suddenly fall on your shoulders. If, at any given moment, something happens to me, you will take the position as the King of Rohan.”
“Don’t speak of such things!” cried Theodred. “How will I ever be able to celebrate knowing that something might happen to you at any given moment?” He laughed merrily.
“Precisely,” I said. Theodred stopped laughing. “You will never be able to celebrate, because there is too much to worry about, too much to take care of, and that nagging little voice in the back of your head that whispers incessantly ‘What if something bad happens? Right…NOW?’ And I guarantee, Theodred, you will give into that voice and go into a state of panic ninety-nine percent of the time.”
“You aren’t being very encouraging, Father,” said Theodred, wrinkling his nose and frowning.
“Welcome to adulthood,” I said. “You will find that no one is very encouraging when you are an adult. Everyone either thinks you don’t need encouraging, or they are too busy trying to encourage themselves to find the time to encourage you. You’ll get over it.”
Theodred did not look thrilled, to say the least.
“But, since it is your birthday…” I said as a small smile grew on my lips, “I’m willing to cut you a break. I swear to you that, today, I will not suddenly die. If I do, you may have my emerald-encrusted sword that you like so much, and that beautiful new grey foal. Deal?”
Theodred laughed. “Deal.”
“Good,” I said. “Now, go make your bed.”
Theodred groaned a very loud and over-exaggerated groan. He started off towards his room, but then stopped, and turned around to face me. A mischievous smile was on his face. “Wait,” he said, “I’m an adult now. I don’t have to.” He crossed his arms and leaned against the wall to prove his point.
I smiled and shook my head. Though my son was very different from the seven-year-old boy who thought grown-ups had a carefree lifestyle, he really hadn’t changed that much at all. I was glad.
“You’re right, Theodred,” I said. He smiled. “You have to do more.” His smile faded. “Go make your bed, put away those tunics that are scattered all about your room, and then we’ll go talk to Master Culnaurion and see about getting you some extra help in history.”
“But Father…” protested Theodred.
“No ‘but Father’s’ this time, Theodred,” I said sternly. “You’re an adult now! You should act as such.”
Theodred moaned and started off towards his room once more.
“Halt!” I said suddenly. He stopped and turned around. “Even though you’re an adult now, it is still your birthday.” I tossed him an orange and began to pour him a cup of tea. “Sit down.”
“You mean no history?” he asked slyly.
“No history,” I replied as he sat down and began to peel his orange. “At least, not today. But tomorrow, I’m afraid things are going to be rather different.”
Theodred smiled and merely bit into his orange as a reply.
I sat there, looking at my son. He was so different from the little boy who needed me to tuck him in at night, tell him a story, and check under the bed to make sure there weren’t any trolls. He was an adult now, and, even though he sometimes led on otherwise, I was confident he was ready to take on the immense responsibilities of adulthood.
But was I ready for him to?
Was I really ready to let my only beloved son out into so wild a world?
Of course I wasn’t, but what parent isn’t?
I sighed and looked at my son as he finished up his orange and carefully threw away the peelings. He was an adult now, but that didn’t mean he would stop being my son.
My smiling, now adult, son, ran over to me, gave me a quick hug, and whispered in my ear that he was going outside to see his friends.
No, he would never stop being Theodred, my only beloved son, my greatest comfort in a world full of agony, I thought as I watched him run out the door.
I smiled and began to peel an orange.
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.