Title: Smelly Orcs
Characters: Aragorn, Arwen, Eldarion in the 4th Age
Summary: Aragorn is a mighty warrior, canny Ranger, and honorable king, but children have a way of humbling us all.
A/N: Thank you to Cairistiona for the lightning flash beta! All errors are mine, despite her best efforts.
Rain pattered against the windows of the study, but the clouds rolling in across the plain threatened far worse as Aragorn looked out the window. "He walked over and opened the window to breathe in the fresh, cool air as it wafted in from the gardens. For a moment, closing his eyes, he could imagine he was out in the wilds again, trees creaking and groaning as the wind rushed the storm onwards. Maybe it was time to take a trip north. To see lands he'd not seen in too long, and once again wander a bit.
"You were not thinking of escape, were you?"
He smiled, not turning for the voice was familiar and trusted. Beloved. "Mm...for a moment I was, but then I recalled that you learned to track from your brothers and Glorfindel and would find me no matter."
"You've grown wise, husband mine." Arwen joined him at the window, and reached up to caress the side of his face. "I would surely find you and take great delight in-"
"You're dead, you smelly orc!"
Ah, his children. Their young, glorious voices could nearly split stone. The wood wall of the study was no match.
"Nu unh! You missed me, you missed me!"
"I did not! I don't miss smelly orcses like you!"
"Haha...missed me, missed me!" There was a thump against a wall that told Aragorn that his son was likely in socks, and enjoying skating around the well-polished hall, something he'd been told not to do since breaking a valuable gift from Lasgalen. "I told you girls couldn't be rangers."
"THEY CAN TOO!"
Aragorn opened his eyes and offered a wry quirk of mouth. "I expect her next words to be-"
"That," Arwen concluded with a sigh.
Before she could turn, Aragorn shook his head. "I believe smelly orcses are my domain, love."
"That's not what you said when they had stinky diapers."
Seeing the twinkle in her eyes, Aragorn leaned forward to kiss her then went to break up the bickering children before any real blood was spilt. The children of Elessar and Undómiel sometimes resembled a wild wolf pack more than heirs to the kingdom.
"Take that back!"
His daughter marched towards her elder brother, play wooden sword clenched in her hands. Eldarion skidded sideways, missing a swipe that would have certainly left a nasty bruise. "I will not, silly girl!"
Aragorn sighed. He'd told his son countless times not to taunt his younger sister, and not to tell her what she could or could not do but the boy had a will of mithril. Or, as his mother was more prone to say, he was just like his father. "Eldarion, Nóruiel. What-"
"He's dead, Ada! Kill him so that he will stay dead!" Another stomp of Nóruiel's foot emphasized the last word.
And oh, there was a fire in his daughter's eyes and in her tone that said she wouldn't mind in the least if her brother truly was a smelly, dead orc. "Nay, love, but here. Eldarion." He reached for the boy but missed, holding in a sigh as Eldarion slipped under his hand with a grin.
"I'm an orc, Ada! A truly terrible one to behold, and I shall kill this usurper!"
"Am not a ...a 'usper!"
His daughter had no idea what it was, but clearly did not like it. "Eldarion." He tried to be patient, truly. Children were such a blessing, one he had dreamed of and waited for for countless years.
So why did he wish only to lock them both away in separate rooms until they became civilized beings?
"You're no ranger, Nóruiel." Elarion scoffed, and wiggled his loose front tooth.
Nóruiel shrieked, though in anger or disgust Aragorn had no idea, then suddenly drew herself up. Raising her chin, she fixed her gaze on her brother and shook her head. "You are just a boy -"
"AM NOT!" Eldarion forgot his teasing and slipped his way over to glower at his sister who barely reached his shoulder. "Take that back!"
She sniffed at him, put the tip of her play sword on the floor and smiled. "And, I'm older than you."
Aragorn watched red suffuse his son's neck, rising up his face, to his forehead. "I AM OLDER!"
"Elder, and no, you are not." Nóruiel looked at him as if he were a smelly bug. "My birthday is a tenday before yours, so I am the elder."
Eldarion's mouth dropped and he stared for a full minute before he slewed towards his father in outrage. "ADA! TELL HER SHE IS NOT OLD...ELDER THAN ME!"
He would have hearing damage before his youngest child even left the nursery, Aragorn just knew it. All the things he had survived, all the battles, freezing nights and illnesses. All of it gave way to these miniature monsters he adored. No true evil would ever have been allowed so close, so intimate as his children, but oh Eru. They did test one's limits. "Eldarion -"
Tears welled up in the boy's eyes, eyes so like his mother's that Aragorn felt himself weaken before the power of them. "Adaaaaa..."
"Nóruiel, go to the study, please." Arwen was suddenly there, a trick she still loved to pull on anyone not paying attention, rangers or other. "Eldarion, don't be absurd. You know you're older than her. Why do you let her continually taunt you in this manner?"
Giving a smug smile, Nóruiel turned and marched to the study, singing, "Killed the orcsy, killed the smelly, stupid orcsy. MIGHTY GIRL RANGER!"
Aragorn's smile faltered. It was too bad the child didn't have her mother's lovely voice, but maybe when she grew up a bit more? Arwen smiled and followed, closing the study door and leaving him to deal with their son.
Eldarion scowled and kicked at the floor. "She's just a stupid girl."
"She's your sister and she is not stupid."
"Eldarion." It came out far sharper than he intended, but Eru this child did try his patience! A breath, and Aragorn put a hand on the boy's shoulder. "Son, let's go find your boots and take a walk."
"She always does that! Says she's older...elder...because her birthday is first!"
"And why do you always become angry?"
"Because she's not older! Elder! I'm older than her!"
Aragorn steered him down the hall. "You are. Your mother and I were there when you were born, son."
"Then YOU tell her!"
Yes, he had wanted children. A good thing to remind himself on days like this. Now he understood why elves had only one child, raised it and then and only then, had another.
"Uncle 'Ro says Nana was a real pain when she was little too." Eldarion leaned into his father and looked up. "Girls are just trouble, Ada."
Oh, stars help him. Times like this Aragorn missed Halbarad terribly. Halbarad had raised children. He would have known what to say, what to do. "Eldarion..."
"I'll go get my boots! And." He spun, flailing his arms, nearly bringing down a portrait that had hung there for countless centuries B.E. Before Eldarion. Tall as the boy was growing it was clearly time to move it. "I'll try to be more patient with Nóru. After all, she's just a little girl."
Eldarion was off, sock skating down the hall to crash into his door, still grinning.
Aragorn shook his head after his son disappeared into his room. "Halbarad, nothing prepared me for this. Nothing. Not fighting orcs, or Nazgûl, nor summoning the dead to fight! Nothing." He'd never had a sister, not even an elven one. Giving it due consideration, Argorn smiled. Yes, he would leave this to his wise wife.
After all, Aragorn had learned long ago not to get into a battle of words with a woman bent on twisting what he said. You could not win. Even if you won, you lost. And his eldest daughter (yes, Eldarion, she was eldest in one respect) wielded words with the consummate ease of her mother and grandmother. She was going to be a potent force one day, one Eldarion would be wise to have on his side.
"Ada!" Eldarion, still pulling on one boot, clumped out of his room. "You don't want any more children, right? Now that you have Nóru and sissy, I mean. Because I wouldn't mind a brother, but I don't want any more sisters!"
Imagining another boy like Eldarion, Aragorn almost groaned. Gondor would never survive. "It's not like we choose, Eldarion. Eru alone appoints what the babe will be."
"Uncle 'Ro said that elves can choose what they have. Why can't you and Nana?"
It was definitely time to have a talk with 'Unlce 'Ro'. Aragorn put his arm around Eldarion and smiled. Distractions were wonderful things. "Let's go see your pony, son."
Thanks for reading my ultra silly story! :D Take care 3