We Are A Family
(Éomer X Cilla)
Springtime in Rohan meant many things—it meant plowing, the smell of freshly tilled earth, of foals and regrowth and greenery springing forth. The listless gray plains were being refreshed by the lush green grass and new clover that was beginning to grow. It meant birdsong and damp eastern winds, and construction and burials and so many other different cycles of life. Éomer had seen almost thirty springtimes in his life, and it remained his favorite season.
This year, springtime meant the birth of his first child.
Éomer smiled to himself and stroked the nose of his horse. After the War, things had been so different. People were softer, less harsh and callous and the world seemed to breathe a little easier. Of course, picking up the destroyed pieces of Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith hadn't been easy, and reconstruction continued to this day, almost eight years past the final battle. But his uncle had been right in many ways—crops had been resown, houses had been rebuilt, families continued to grow and flourish. And now, finally, the family beginning to grow was his.
He gave his horse one final brisk pat and left the stables, journeying up to the Main Keep, where his wife no doubt waited for him. As leader of the Riddermark his responsibilities took him away for days—sometimes weeks, Valar forbid—at a time. He missed her deeply, and more than anything he wanted to curl his fingers through that thick orange hair and kiss her crooked, freckled nose. Dear Cilla.
It was rather quiet in the Main Keep today, even with the windows flung wide and sunlight pouring in. The servants were suspiciously absent, as well. He took off his heavy cloak and boots, curious as to where his wife had gone—usually she greeted him either at the door or even at the main gate, with a smile and some outpouring of affection.
Taking the stairs two at a time, he climbed upwards until he reached their shared quarters. The door was closed, and no sound emerged from the other side. Was she asleep, perhaps?
Éomer opened the door and saw his wife sitting by the window, twisting her hair through her fingers. With the sun highlighting every color in her hair, her green eyes half closed and her face strangely pensive, it was one of her odd, silent moments. After the War, these occurred every so often; Éomer shut the door behind him with a gentle thump.
She jumped. "Éomer!" Cilla cried, her drawn face relaxing. "I'm so sorry, I meant to see you at the gate, I just got…distracted."
In her lap was a soft baby blue blanket, obviously a gift from Éowyn—he recognized the white horse pattern along the border. He approached her and pressed a kiss to her cheek.
"All is forgiven," he said, smiling. "What are you so serious about today, my love?"
"Just…traditions, I suppose. From home." She twisted the blue blanket around her full belly and grinned up at him. There was something a little forced, however, in the display of happiness. "But that doesn't matter! How was the journey? You must be exhausted!"
She made to get up but he stilled her with a gentle motion. "No, no, stay still. I am fine."
Cilla rolled her eyes. "Get over yourself, I'm not some little fragile flower. I'm pregnant, not sick."
That atrocious accent—he remembered how it had grated on him so. Not her first language, and although she showed a certain propensity for Elvish the otherworldly accent had never quite left her Westron. Occasionally she would use some slang term, try to backtrack and explain herself in her own tongue, and then give up and laugh at herself. Although she had tried to teach him English at times, it was quite a tricky language and he showed no talent for it.
"Aye, but you have another one besides yourself to think of," Éomer said, glancing at her round stomach. "And I am not that tired. Come, lay with me, we will rest together."
The two of them lay in the bed they both shared, Cilla taking her usual moment to surround herself with pillows the way she usually did, thanks to the baby. When his wife had meekly asked for another pillow for her back, the servants sent them a dozen, all of them fluffy and soft; Cilla was popular among the servants for her odd charisma.
He tucked a curl of hair behind her ear. "What is it you were thinking of, before I came home?"
Cilla squeezed his hand. "Oh…In my home, the color blue symbolizes boys. Rose is generally left for girls. Éowyn gave us another baby blanket, and seeing the light blue made me wonder what the baby will be."
"As long as they are strong and healthy, it does not matter," Éomer said truthfully.
She seemed distant. "I know. But…I don't understand girls, not really. I had four brothers, remember, and I fear…it's silly. I'm just afraid I'll raise some hellion. I mean, I was a horrible little child. I can only imagine what my daughter would be like. In addition, she'll need to learn all the court manners and dancing and embroidery and politics, and you know I'm not any good at that. Boys as much simpler, they need to learn how to be strong and brave and bold."
Éomer laughed. "Whether we have a boy or a girl, they will still need to learn politics. And just because our daughter will embroider does not mean she'll be unprepared—we'll make certain she knows how to be strong and brave. Look at Éowyn."
"Your sister is an enigma," Cilla said, raising her eyebrows good-humoredly. "She made a little bow for our child the other day. Arrows and everything. Come to think of it, I think she wants us to have a boy as well."
"At least Elboron would have someone to play with," he said lightly. "Faramir says he is growing up much faster than he wishes."
Cilla sighed. "That's always the way." She propped her head on his shoulder and looked up at the ceiling. "Matthew is twenty," she added after a pause. "Oh God, twenty years old. He's in college. And Mark is a senior in high school. Luke and John, they're in high school too. I bet Luke's getting into all sorts of trouble."
She did this every so often, remembered the family that was growing on without her. Whenever she spoke about the family she had left behind there was such obvious love in her voice that it made him feel a little guilty. If she was faced with the choice, he wondered, would she choose the family she lost over the one she was about to have?
Briskly, she shook her head. "That's enough," she muttered, and then said something in English under her breath. He didn't know enough of her native tongue to pick up what she said, but it was apparently comforting, because she cuddled close to him.
"I hope we have a boy," she whispered. "I think it will be. He kicks all the time. Could I give him a middle name?"
Éomer huffed a quiet laugh. "A middle name?"
"Well, maybe not a middle name. A private name then, just for the three of us."
Hearing her mention the three of them in that soft tone of voice made something in his chest tighten. "The three of us?"
Cilla kissed him. "You, me, and the baby. Our family."
Those words had never sounded quite so sweet to him.
Bit of silly fluff! These stories are all AUs, obviously, and each chapter should be considered a separate story unless marked otherwise. I'm a bit stalled on the main story so I figured I'd take Priscilla and put her in different situations to get my muse charged up and running again.