Arwen woke to the pale light of the morning sun sending its few tentative rays through the half-open shutters. She lay still, for a moment not sure where she was. Where they were. Aragorn lay on his stomach next to her, one hand resting lightly on her belly, still snoring softly. She smiled as she remembered the day before and snuggled deeper into the covers. Just a few moments longer; they would have to get up soon enough and she intended to enjoy the time given to her. It was warm and snug here and his hand that rested over where their child was growing felt just right. She closed her eyes again and fell into a light sleep.
"No, no, no!" Aragorn exclaimed next to her. Arwen woke with a pounding heart in time to see him jump out of the bed before the bright sunlight momentarily blinded her. Bright sunlight? They had overslept! Springing into action herself, she was just about to grab her shift, when that sick feeling returned. Only that it was worse than before. She clapped a hand over her mouth and dove for the chamber pot, reaching it just in time before the vomiting began. Strong arms held her and pulled her hair out of the way. Once it was over, she let herself sink aganist him and did not protest when he carried her over to the bed.
He sat her down on the edge and she leaned against the head of the bed. Morning sickness was unheard of among her kin – so why was this happening to her? Because you are mortal, and you carry a mortal child in your womb. The thought hit her harder than it should have and she placed both hands on her belly. Her child would grow old and eventually die – as would Aragorn, as would she. She shook her head, trying to shake off these depressing feelings. She looked up to see Aragorn kneeling in front of her, chest still bare. He was holding the washbowl that he had filled with water. She rinsed her mouth until the bad taste had faded, then washed her face and hands.
When she had finished, he took her face in his hands. "Wait here, I am going downstairs and have them make some ginger tea for you. It will calm your stomach."
Her gut fluttered and she clutched at his arm. "No! Do not leave me!"
"Very well. Do you need help with anything?"
She glared at him and then pulled on her shift. "I am no child and not ill. I can deal with a queasy stomach." The moment the words had left her mouth, Arwen winced. He was only trying to be helpful. After all, it was his fault that she found herself in this situation. "Just dress so that we can go. We are late as it is." she sighed. "There will be trouble."
Aragorn grinned. "That cannot be helped now. Hithdol is probably tearing out his hair while we speak. I believe he thinks that my behaviour is sometimes not proper enough and cannot accept my free spirit. But from time to time, it just has to show through. The poor man, he has a lot more responsibility now, but he handles it wonderfully. I am glad that Hithdol was appointed and not this Brithnír."
"But you and Hithdol seem to get along quite well." Arwen thought back to that particular incident two years ago and stifled a laugh.
"He is just being very polite. And a master of his craft."
When they entered the common room, Míriel came hurrying over. "Oh my dear, you're looking all white. Are you not feeling well?"
Arwen waved it off. "I must have eaten something at the fair that didn't agree with me. I'll be as good as new after some tea. Do you have ginger tea?"
"'Course we do. Do sit down and I'll bring you your breakfast. Scrambled eggs with bacon will be ready in a minute."
Arwen considered that. Already the wonderful smell of this simple dish was wafting over from the kitchen. Her mouth watered as she remembered its taste. Would her stomach agree with it? But the smells were impossible to resist.
"That sounds good, Míriel," She finally answered, "if you make it quick."
"You won't even notice that I was gone. A tea for the lady; and you, sir?"
"A mug of breakfast ale, please," he answered and Míriel left. Arwen frowned. She knew that he avoided tea whenever he could, but watered wine or small beer at breakfast made her shudder with distaste. And he knew it.
Aragorn ignored her. "This woman reminds me of Holly Butterbur, the landlady of the Prancing Pony in Bree. Speaking of Bree, I had thought of going North. It has to wait now until the little one is old enough for travel."
"Yes, I suppose so. Even though you do not show it, your heart belongs to the North."
He took her hand in his and squeezed it. "My heart is in many places and with many people, as it should be, but in the North there is so much I hold dear. My kin and the place I called home for many years. The children of Arnor endured so much and got so little in reward. I am no less their King as I am the King of these people here. You are my wisest councilor; so tell me: am I neglecting them?"
When she looked into his eyes, Arwen found herself close to tears. He had bared his soul before her and she could see his longing for his kin. "No, you are not. But there is so much to rebuild here. And I am not speaking of cities, but of hearts. The people of Arnor know and love you, but you still have to plant this unconditional and steadfast love in the hearts of Gondor. And once this is done, we can go to Arnor."
"Yes, that we will do."
Míriel brought the drinks and Arwen accepted her tea gratefully. She took a sip and placed the mug on the table.
"Good?" Aragorn asked.
"Very good," she answered.
And indeed, all was well. Now they would concentrate on the task at hand, which would demand much of them both. They at their breakfast in silence, then paid and left. At the door Arwen turned and saw Míriel gazing at the castar Aragorn had just given her. She looked up at Arwen and winked, making her wonder if perhaps Míriel had been playing games, too.
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.