Legolas watched as Lorith paced up and down the hallway, the beads of sweat evident at his hairline. He was mumbling something and wringing his hands, and a frown was threatening to permanently embed itself into his face. He chuckled a bit, then said, "Will you calm yourself, Lorith? Ziendriel said that everything is going well and you have nothing to worry about."
Lorith merely grunted, then continued his pacing. Finally, he threw up his hands. "How long is a birthing supposed to take?" he exclaimed, glaring at the door that led to one of the private rooms in the House of Healing. Behind that door, his Ariel lay in a bed, laboring to bring their child into the world. After only two months of married life, he had been so delighted in the news of Ariel becoming pregnant; he had practically puffed with pride over the fact. But now, with his beloved wife entering her second day of labor, he would gladly do anything to stop the screams of pain that he heard from behind the closed door.
Jhad chuckled. "Just be glad you are not a she-elf, Lorith," he told him, "From what I have heard, we men would be crying like babes within the first hour." The things his two married sisters had told him concerning the births of his nieces and nephews had made him ill for at leas three days.
Gragoc snorted. "Perhaps you would," he said, smugly. He folded his arms across his chest and leaned farther back into his chair.
"Perhaps," Jhad agreed, "But, I can guarantee that I would not be the one fainting if allowed to labor with my wife." He chuckled at the outraged look on his friend's face.
Legolas began to laugh, but stopped when another scream was heard from behind the door. It was followed by an eerie silence, which stilled them all. They waited as they heard some murmuring, then soft sobs. The door slowly began to open a few moments later.
Ziendriel emerged from the room, a soft smile directed at her brother-in-law. She walked over to him and gently took his hands in hers. "Congratulations," she told him, "You have a son." She laughed when she saw his eyes grow wide with surprise.
"A son?" Lorith repeated, "A son?" A grin broke out onto his face as he picked Ziendriel up and swung her around. She merely laughed. "I have a son!" he exclaimed, putting her back down and kissing her on the cheek. He looked at her, then asked, "May I see Ariel now? Is she alright?"
Ziendriel laughed. "She is fine, Lorith," she assured him, "A little tired, but fine nonetheless. Everything went smoothly and all are in good health."
Lorith kissed her again, gave out a loud whoop, then disappeared into the room. They all laughed as they watched him close the door behind him.
"I am glad you kept him company," Ziendriel told Legolas, slightly shaking her head, "If he had been there with Ariel, I fear he would have been missing his head by now."
Legolas chuckled and kissed his wife's cheek. Even as disheveled as she looked now, after helping with a two day birthing, he thought her just as beautiful on their wedding day two years ago. He remembered that day so vividly and felt his smile grow soft as he looked upon her.
Ziendriel did not notice and went over to the wash basin nearby. "Was he very impatient?" she asked the three of them, scrubbing her hands and arms with a cleaning salve.
Gragoc chuckled. "Impatient is not the word I would use," he answered, "More like angered by the fact that Ariel was taking so long." He smiled and laughed again.
Ziendriel just grinned. "That is why women are the ones to bear children," she teased, pouring water over her hands to rinse them, "We are stronger than you when it comes to pain, I think."
Jhad laughed. "I will agree!" he exclaimed, "My sister told me of the time when she was birthing her second and her husband had insisted on being there with her. The poor fool ran out of the room screaming after only five minutes and ended up fainting."
Legolas laughed and shook his head. "Poor fool," he murmured, smirking.
Ziendriel heard him. "And, I suppose you would not do such a thing?" she challenged, her hands on her hips. Her eyes danced with amusement.
Arrogantly, Legolas nodded his head. "I have seen more blood and gore in my lifetime than I would care to admit," he answered, "There is nothing a birthing could show me that would send me running from the room." He stepped closer to his wife, bringing them nearly toe-to-toe.
Gragoc and Jhad watched them in amusement. Married life had not dulled their humor or wit with one another, nor the obvious love they shared. It was amusing to witness the two in their daily routines.
Ziendriel stared at her husband for a moment, before crossing her arms across her chest. She slightly arched a brow at him, then smiled. "Well, we shall see how strong your will is when it is your turn," she said, kissing him lightly, "Which, according to Velia, will be by the end of the year." She began to walk away, laughing.
For a moment, all three men stood stunned by her announcement. They looked at one another for the longest time, then simultaneously broke out into smiles. As Lorith had done, Legolas gave out a loud yell, startling the other Healers from their duties. They all watched as he ran after Ziendriel and picked her up in his arms, twirling her around until she threatened to become sick. A moment later, Gragoc and Jhad joined them, crushing the poor Healer in between them.
Velia silently watched from a corner, a bright smile softening her face. She watched them for a moment longer, then returned to the task at hand, leaving the happy couple and their friends in their bliss.
A/N: Well, that's it! I hope this end was worthy of the story! Thanks to everyone that read this; I thank you for your support and reviews! A sequel is now in the works and I hope you all will try it out when I get around to posting it! THANKS!