Éowyn sat in her garden, her skirts kilted up around her knees, digging and tending her herbs. She was obliged to spread her legs apart to reach the ground, and dreaded to think what she looked like. The King and Queen were coming to visit that day - she had not seen in them in several months, and unable to bear the tension of waiting any longer, had come to her garden and resolved to work until they arrived.

Her garden, or as Faramir called it, the glorious tangle. She had spent many happy months working in it, and was pleased with the results if she did say so herself. Sheltered by the mountains to the back of Emyn Arnen, she could grow flowers she had been assured were too frail to survive. Now, in the late summer, they bloomed in a riot of colour - red, blue, white and cerise shone from the beds. She loved the flowers best, but had to admit that it was the herbs that fascinated her mind. She was determined to discover their healing properties, for she had found many running wild in Ithilien that had been forgotten by the men of Gondor.

She was surprised by how much she had taken to married life. Some treacherous part of her had wondered whether she would ever really enjoy it - for having been told for much of her life how different she was from 'natural' women, she had feared she would never be a good wife. Yet she found that the life suited her.

Ithilien seemed to her to combine the best aspects of both Gondor and Rohan - for the majesty and grace of the Númenorean kingdom touched it and yet it had also the wild beauty and passion of the Rohirrim. She found she had picked up the habit of thinking poetically from her husband - though she would never tell him so, for she teased him about it often.

Even thinking the word husband could bring a smile to her face. Since their marriage they had been able to settle down a great deal - the work that had kept them apart over the years of their engagement was complete, and at last they could enjoy each other freely. She laughed softly - never from the way the Rohirrim spoke of the Gondorians had she expected Faramir to be so lusty, or so droll. It seemed that all they did together was laugh, and she was glad of it.

At first she had thrown herself into the work of rebuilding Ithilien - Faramir had handled the actual building while she had dealt with supplies, settlers and markets. Soon there would be a festival to mark the first year of the settlement in Ithilien, and she was looking forward to it - for it also, though coincidentally, marked the first year of their marriage.

The sun beat down upon her back, and she straightened up and brushed hair out of her face. She would be glad to return to their house, and get out of the noonday heat, but not just yet. Her home was a white, round building. Doors opened out to the gardens in every room of the bottom floor, and most of the floors above had large windows, and often balconies. The views in every direction were spectacular. Inside the house was cool, quiet and spacious. It had taken a little time to get used to the silence, but considering how busy their lives often were, she had come to appreciate the peace.

She had laughed openly when Éomer had asked her if she did not find it dull, but she supposed that perhaps it would seem so to one who did not know otherwise. Many of the ladies about court had suggested that perhaps she might find Ithilien, and her husband dull after the hustle and bustle of Edoras and her 'many admirers' there. These were the same women who had been disappointed that they had not been the one to marry Faramir - or at least bed him.

And well they might be, she thought, gazing into the trees. They were fools, most of them, and if they were not foolish they were vicious, and she was not sure which was worse. They did not understand her or her husband. He was much too subtle a man for them. Having spent the last year with him she loved him all the more - the way his lip quirked just before he laughed, the way he would sigh just before inspiration struck, the way he ran his fingers through his hair when excited - all the tiny things she had not noticed before because she had been so caught up in the whole. She heard his voice now, calling to her excitedly.

* * *

Aragorn walked to the more private part of the gardens of Emyn Arnen, between Arwen and Faramir. He and Arwen were visiting for a week with their six-month-old son - they were both tired from endless affairs of state, and had ultimately decided to up and visit their friends. They knew that this might be the last chance they had to relax and enjoy each other's company before he had to ride to war. They had not yet spoken of it, but they both knew it was only a matter of time.

He put such gloomy thoughts from his head as Faramir called out to Éowyn. He had not seen the White Lady in several months, though Faramir often visited the city. He looked forward to seeing her again. Faramir waved, and he saw Éowyn stand up. She had been wearing a deep green dress, which blended in with the grass so he had not noticed her at first.

She came running towards them. Her feet were bare, and her hair unbound, shining like molten gold in the sun. Her face was alive with joy in all things, and she seemed more at home than he had ever seen her. But it was not this that he noticed first.

She was with child. He and Arwen gasped simultaneously as she approached. She did not notice, but embraced them warmly. He held on to her for a moment, saying, "When did this happen?". Éowyn looked from him to Arwen puzzled and said, "You did not know?", then turned to her husband, "Why did they not know?"

Faramir smirked and said, "I thought it would be better coming from you." Éowyn looked him over, saying, "I'm sure. If you wanted to shock your King, you might have informed me, I am better at this sort of thing than you."

She looked at Aragorn and smiled, "Well, now you know why I haven't been to the White City in a while. I'm not allowed to ride." They sat where they were, and Arwen asked, "How long have you known?".

Éowyn smiled and said, "Well the healers tell me I'm six and a half months, and I've known for just over five." Arwen asked her, "And is it painful?". Éowyn looked at her and said, "No, though the first few months were shall we say 'interesting'?". She and Faramir laughed at that, but she winced suddenly, and shifted position.

Aragorn felt bound to ask, "Are you well?". She sighed and said, "Yes, it is simply that our son seems to take much joy in kicking things." He smiled, and she said, "Would you like to feel it, a sudden mood seems to have taken him". She placed his hand on her belly, and he felt the urgent movements through the cloth of her dress. It was incredible.

Faramir was watching Éowyn with a wide smile on his face, and Aragorn asked, "Does your brother know?". She looked at him and said, "Yes. I wrote and told him - I would have written to you, if I'd known my husband was not to be trusted. Éomer is coming to visit before the birth - he wants to know his nephew from the beginning."

Faramir and Arwen had started yet another lengthy debate over on the relative merits of the great tragic romances of Luthien and Beren, and Erendis and Aldarion. Éowyn rolled her eyes at him and he smiled. As they spoke of their favourite topics, horses and herbs, he kept his hand on her belly feeling the young life growing within her, and was glad that he would live to see it's growth. As the summer sun set, it's soft light illuminating the fruit of Éowyn's labours in her garden, he saw that she had gained her happiness, even as he had found his.

Author's Note

Well that's the end I'm afraid. Sorry if you thought the last chapter was, but since this is an Éowyn/Aragorn story (or at least was intended to be) I wanted to end with a moment between them. I do have a kind of epilogue for this - but I'm going to post it separately as 1) it's set many years in the future, and 2) I won't be able to write it for at least five weeks, as I'll be travelling Europe until then. Thank you for all your feedback - I hope you've enjoyed seeing Éowyn as I've always seen her - growing from being desperate, brittle and almost shattered by loss into the woman who can build a fulfilling life for herself, healing and nurturing life.