Chapter 34: New Life

Another scream ripped through the air setting all in the room on edge. Haldir's fists clenched as he held himself back from standing and going through the doors that separated him from his daughter. Gebrir wouldn't allow any in the room save the healers and Arador. That left Haldir and his brothers to sit in the room outside while Zinnia was currently in labor.

They had been there for almost five hours now. Ever since one of the younger wardens had run to find them on the practice field telling them that Zinnia had been brought to the healers. By the time they had gotten there the doors were closed and no one was allowed in. The only news they had received was from the healer's assistants telling them all was progressing as it should. Though that hadn't comforted any of them when the screaming started.

It was almost another four hours before the screaming stopped and the loud cries of a child filled the air. They all stood, waiting for news of the mother and the child. They did not have to wait long. A moment later Gebrir opened the door and walked outside with a grin on his face.

"Mother and child are doing well, though they are tired."

"May we see?" Orophin was practically bouncing with excitement, causing the others to chuckle slightly.

"Perhaps just one now. She is tired, birthing is harder than anything we as males will ever endure. She has earned her rest."

"You go Haldir." Rúmil smiled and put a hand on his brother's shoulder.

"Yes go, and try not to scare our little grandnephew with your features." Orophin chuckled at Haldir, who was far to occupied by thoughts of what awaited him to even notice his taunt.

Haldir walked to the door and hesitated, not sure if he was ready to see what was inside. This would be the final act that would show him that his daughter had become an adult. That his daughter was now a mother of her own child. He looked to Gebrir feeling the healer's hand on his shoulder.

"Go Haldir." He smiled. "Go see the one who will be tormenting you just as much as your daughter in but a few years."

"I do not think any other could reach that level." Haldir grinned before opening the door and stepping into the room. Quietly, he shut the door behind him not wanting to disturb anyone in the room.

"Ada, meet your grand son." Zinnia smiled even through her exhaustion.

Haldir returned her smile as he approached the bed. The child was cradled in her arms, eyes closed in slumber. Arador was sitting on the side next to them one hand going through Zinnia's hair, the other stroking one of the baby's small hands. "He is beautiful." He leaned over and stroked a small pudgy cheek. The baby shifted slightly before settling again.

"His name is Arathorn Halar." Arador smiled at Haldir's surprised but pleased expression.

"We hope you approve." Zinnia grinned sleepily as Haldir took her hand and kissed the back of it.

"Of course tinu." Haldir frowned slightly as Zinnia started to drift into slumber.

"Gebrir informs me it is only exhaustion. She is fine." Arador nodded towards the baby on the bed. "He is so tiny." A grin formed on the rangers face. "Though Zinnia informed me that he is quite big enough." There was a moment's pause as both watched the two on the bed. "He looks so fragile."

"Children are more resilient than most give them credit for."

A nod was Arador's only reaction. "Would you like to hold him?" He laughed at Haldir's expression. "Now I know what Gebrir found so funny." Without waiting for a response he gathered up the baby and walked over before putting the blanket covered mass in Haldir's arms.

"He is beautiful." Haldir shifted the baby so he had a free hand and moved the blanket from the baby's face to view him better. The baby squirmed slightly, protesting at the movement before stilling again. A few more moments passed before the door opened and Orophin and Rúmil looked into the room.

"Good! Gebrir is gone." Orophin smiled and walked in. "Now let us see our nephew."

Too distracted by the weight in his arms, Haldir didn't even bother to reiterate Gebrir's previous command. His brothers stood behind him and cooed over the baby even as Zinnia slept peacefully in her bed, Arador at her side.

"Thank the Valar he looks nothing like you, Haldir!" Orophin smiled widely as Haldir shifted the child causing the small being to open his eyes.

"Aye, they were thinking of the future when they made sure he looked like neither of you." Rúmil leaned forward and ran a finger along the child's smooth cheek. Orophin and Haldir looked to each other before smiling, their attention quickly going to back to the child.

"Orophin and Rúmil!"

They were all surprised at how closely a soft whisper could sound like a thunderous roar when coming from Gebrir. "I said no visitors but one." He sighed and went over to them smiling softly at the baby. "No off with all of you. They need rest, all three of them."

"Yes, master healer." Rúmil cheekily gave a small bow, missing Gebrir's eye roll. "Come Orophin, we will prepare their rooms for when they are cleared from here." Orophin grinned at his brother's words before following him out of the room.

Haldir simply stood and placed a soft kiss on the baby's head before putting him in a small crib next to the bed. After the baby was settled he moved to Zinnia and kissed her forehead as well. Standing straight he put a hand on Arador's shoulder and squeezed gently. "Do you require anything Arador?"

The young ranger looked to him and smiled. "No Haldir, I have all I want here." They smiled at each other and Haldir nodded.

When he reached the door he turned back and looked at his family. Never before had he ever imagined he would be seeing the sight before him. Never wanted to imagine that his little girl would ever stop being his. At this moment though he realized that she had. She was no longer his, she was theirs. And though he was saddened at having to share his daughter he wouldn't wish it any other way. He quietly shut the door and went to prepare for this new path he had been put on.

"Such a strong grip for one so young." Arador smiled widely as he moved his nose out of Arathorn's small fist. "A warrior the likes none have seen is in my lap at this very moment." The baby giggled and then grunted. Moments later Arador sat up straight a look of disgust on his face. "How can one so young make such odors?"

Zinnia laughed and looked up from her book. "He's your son." She raised her eyebrow at his expression.

"You are much to similar to your father." Arador grinned as there was a knock on the door stopping her answer.

"No worries I shall get the door while you rid your son of the fragrance he so loves." Zinnia stood and laughed seeing the expression on her husbands face.

"Come Arathorn, let us make you presentable." He sighed and stood, taking the baby over to the small changing table they had set up in the child's bedroom.

"Hello." Zinnia smiled at the young Gala rim on her doorstep.

"Zinnia." He nodded slightly. "I have a message for your ranger."

She chuckled hearing the nickname that had been given Arador since their wedding. "Thank you." She took the parchment and hesitated slightly seeing the rangers seal on it. The guard simply nodded again before leaving to return to his duty. She turned the letter over in her hands slowly, knowing that it meant something she wouldn't want to face but would have to.

"I think he needs a nap." Arador returned to the main room and hesitated seeing her expression. "Zinnia?"

"A message for you." She held it up and could see that he now understood her expression. They had both grown used to the life they had in the elven woods. "I shall put him down." Gently taking the baby from him she smiled as he took the envelope from her. Pausing a moment she leaned up and kissed him gently. "I will return in a moment."

When she returned she saw him sitting on the chair still looking at the envelope. "What does the message say?"

"That I need to return, that. . that I am needed for a matter that can not be handled by any other."

She put her hand on his shoulder and leaned over kissing his cheek. "Then I shall make you a travel bag with some food."

"I. . I will send a negative reply back. Our son."

"Is perfectly protected here. He is safer here than on the trail. I am in no condition to go back on the road. We will be safe here melamin."

"I know." He took her hand and wrapped his arm around her waist moving her so she was sitting on his lap. She smiled and kissed him sweetly. "I do not wish to leave either of you. I want him to know his father, I have a responsibility to him."

"You also have a responsibility to your people." She caressed his cheek and looked into his eyes. "He will know you. The sooner you leave the sooner you can return. Just do not be gone for long."

"I still do not wish to go."

"Arador, they would not have called you back if it was not dire. Go, but promise me you will return to me."

"I will always return to you." He put his head against her chest and wrapped his arms around her. "I do not wish to leave you alone."

She laughed then. "Alone? Between my ada and uncles I will never be alone. All in this city would be here for me or you." She put her head down on his and sighed. "Though I will miss you desperately, I will not be alone. I believe our son will do his best to keep me occupied as well." Arador looked up and kissed her.

"I love you my beautiful wife." He smiled and kissed her.

"I shall never tire of hearing that." She grinned happily and put her forehead against his.

"I shall never tire of saying it." He moved his hand up and put it against her cheek. She grinned happily and put her forehead against his.

"I love you as well my rugged ranger." She giggled as her husband swept her into his arms. "Who behaves as an orc." She added with a light kiss.

"If I am an orc then what are you?" He walked back to the bedroom, holding her close to his body. "My little troll?"

"Troll! I would at least rate a goblin." She laughed again as he tossed her back on the bed and she bounced slightly.

"Goblin then." He affirmed as he climbed over her.

"So you think I'm a goblin." She smiled as he chuckled at her remark and began kissing her neck.

"If I remember correctly you called me an orc first." He kissed her again sliding his hands down to her hips and lying next to her.

"That does not count." Her tone was slightly breathless and she moved to kiss him again.

"No?" He looked to her and raised an eyebrow, as they pulled apart.

"Not at all."

They kissed again each pulling the other closer. Zinnia slid her hands under his tunic and they broke apart long enough for him to help her take it off. Before it even hit the floor their lips met again hands wondering the other's body. Arador rolled them so she was lying on top of him to allow him better access to the ties at the back of her dress. She kissed down his neck and he moaned when she nipped at a sensitive spot under his ear. He rolled them back over with a small growl.

"Zinnia." His tone was unsure and she sighed.

"It has been three months. I am fully recovered and you will not hurt me." Her hands moved down to the ties of his pants. "I asked Gebrir, he assured me." She smiled slowly at him as her hands went further down. "I am ready, you are ready; we are ready." Arador kissed her again, but before they could get much further the baby in the next room let out an angry wail. "Arathorn is not so ready."

Arador groaned and put his head on her shoulder then joined in her laughter. "Perhaps your ada or uncles would be willing to watch him for my last week."

"Ada will take him for a few nights. I swear to the Valar we will have a night to ourselves before you leave."

"Remember your promise." She squeezed her hands in his and he smiled.

"I shall return to you my love, my wife, my very heart." She grinned and leaned up, kissing him then wrapped her arms around him. "I promise, and shall think of you at least once an hour."

As her husband wrapped his arms around tighter, she leaned in and whispered. "I love you more than any words I have can profess."

"Then next solstice I shall find you a dictionary." He chuckled and titled her head up.

"Don't cry." He put his hands on her cheeks and wiped them away with his thumbs.

"I can't help it. I love you Arador. You better return to me and no news better be given to me of an injury. Otherwise orcs will be the least of your concerns." They embraced again neither really wanting to pull apart.

"Perhaps when I return we shall work hard to give Arathorn a sister." He smiled wickedly, even as Zinnia laughed through her tears. "I love you Zinnia." He kissed her before pressing his forehead to hers. "I shall write as often as I can."

"Return before our son grows too much."

"I will return in but a few months." He kissed her again, embracing her tightly.

'I am sorry, it is almost time to go.' They looked over and saw Endil with an apologetic smile on his face.

'Thank you, Endil.' He nodded then turned back to the gates. They walked over to the bench Haldir was sitting on holding Arathorn. When he saw their approach he stood and handed the child over to Arador.

'And you my little child, I shall see you again before you even realize that I am gone.' The baby's only reaction was to splutter and wave his arms around. Arador smiled and kissed the baby's forehead.

'I will make sure all are ready.' Haldir left the three alone to say their last goodbyes.

"I thought leaving home would be the hardest thing I have ever done." Zinnia whispered softly as she looked at her husband and son "It was not, this is. Do not be gone long Melinda."

Arador smiled and hugged Zinnia careful not to discomfort the child. "I promise you to return as quickly as is in my power."

A voice cleared and they looked over to see Orophin. 'I will take the little one and you can escort him out of the city blossom.'

'Thank you, Orophin.' Arador smiled and placed Arathorn in his granduncle's hands. As soon as he was settled a large handful of silver-blonde hair was being tugged and Orophin winced.

'I will return in a moment.' Zinnia smiled and walked with Arador as they headed toward the gates.

'Enough of that.' Orophin took his hair away from the child after a particularly vicious tug. Dark blue eyes locked on to his before a wail that caused all in the vicinity to cringe left the baby's throat.

'Shhh, little one do not cry. All is well, your parents are just saying good-bye to each other at the moment.' Orophin sighed and tried to shush the screaming child. 'Your ada will return. He is a very skilled warrior do not worry.' The baby still shrieked and he frowned.

'Fine, but when you have sufficient amounts hair I shall pull it.' He moved his hair back over his shoulder waving it in front of the child who immediately grabbed a handful and shoved it in his mouth. 'If we were not related that would be thoroughly disgusting.' Despite his words he smiled and tickled the baby's chin.

Haldir watched his opponent carefully, waiting for the weakness, the break that he needed to best him. Ignoring the sounds that his adversary made Haldir simply waited, preparing. He had been in tougher battles and emerged victorious. It was not his intention to loose this one.

'Try as you wish, I will win.' The only answer was the almost defiant glint of his opponents eyes. Then suddenly the break came and Haldir was able to get the spoon into Arathorn's mouth. 'There, it is very good yes?'

Arathorn only wrinkled his nose and spit the food back out. Haldir swore that twice what he had just put into the baby's mouth was now running down the child's small face and neck. He sighed and wiped off Arathorn's face before putting more of the food on the spoon.

'Eat all of it and I will let you have some sweets.' He put the spoon to Arathorn's mouth again but the baby wouldn't open for him. 'It always worked with your mother.' Haldir sat back and watched the child even as the child watched the elf. Then suddenly Arathorn let out a burp and laughed. Haldir smiled and chuckled as well.

'Well ai'ona, it seems you have inherited her stubbornness; perhaps also some from your father?'

The baby laughed again and clapped his hands. Haldir sighed but smiled. 'It makes things more interesting besides.' The spoon was refuted again. 'Also more difficult.' Haldir thought another moment and put the bowl down in front of the child. 'Perhaps if you feed yourself.' He frowned when a large gob of the food flew by his face, some landing in his hair. 'Perhaps not.'

Zinnia entered the telain quietly not knowing if Arathorn was asleep or not, but knowing that if he was she wanted him to stay that way. It had been a long day. She was trying to get back into the routine of training but might have to agree with Arador in that her active days as a ranger were over. The wilds was no place for a baby. Nonetheless, her independence wouldn't allow her to idly fall out of shape.

A smile lit her face when she saw the two figures on the couch. Haldir was deep in reverie settled peacefully on the couch. Arathorn was snuggled into his chest, his ear pressed against the area over Haldir's heart. Haldir had a hand spread out over the sleeping child's back holding him in place. She laughed softly when she saw the stains of food covering her father's tunic and the chunks of it in his hair.

'Ada.' she touched his hand lightly and his eyes blinked as they cleared.

'You are back already.'

'I do not have the endurance I once had. I see you have discovered that he has good aim.'

Haldir smiled and laughed slightly. 'Yes, I made the mistake of letting the bowl in his reach.'

'Ah.' she paused a moment and smiled. 'Then save the mistake of letting him not wear a diaper for my uncles.' He looked at her confused for a moment then chuckled again. Arathorn shifted and both of them froze not wanting him to wake. After he settled they both let out a breath then smiled at each other. 'Do you wish for me to take him now?'

'Nay, he is fine. Leave him to his rest.'

'Then I am going to find my rest as well. I can make dinner tonight if you wish.'

'I will do it. Go rest, I will wake you when it is ready, if you still sleep.'

'Thank you ada.'

Ai'ona Little gift

A/N: I can't express how sorry I am in my neglect of updating this story. The only thing I can offer is real life has been a big hairy turd lately. This story is actually pretty close to being done. I say that and probably mean there are at least 8 more chapters left. This one is done and the next is being started right after I'm done typing this. It is my goal to have this story done within the next month at the most. I'm on vacation. Woohoo, until Monday so I have four glorious days to write. And that is what I plan on doing.

So I hope you guys like this chapter as much as the others. I'm glad you've enjoyed the story so far and hope you can stick with me through the rest. After this story I plan on focusing on the story I am co-authoring with Cee called 'Lost Ones'. It is a Haldir/ofc fic that I am actually really proud of. A LOTR/Dune type of crossover. You can find it at the following address: http/ also want to thank Cee for beta reading this chapter. I wanted to get it out right away and didn't have time to go through my normal beta for this story. Again I hope everyone enjoys this and looks forward to the rest of the story. Thanks for sticking with me.