Important Author Note: Okay, so possibly not all that important, but it got your attention didn't it? This fic is brought to you all the way from Germany. Brina wrote it while on her two week spring break and sent it home with 'Mom' for me to post and you to read.
Plus, only 23 more days until she comes home then we should be able to get chapter 28 of 'Second Chance' posted within two weeks, depending on how much time we have.
Now, before we commence with the story I just want to say, Farothen is about two and a half and from experience I can vouch that a two year old could be as mature as Farothen is written to be. I've been around several two year olds and their vocabulary has ranged from just a few words to several sentences.
Anyway, on to the story...
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
A Father's Fear
TA 2984 December 20
Aragorn groaned and burrowed deeper within his blankets. He was having a good dream and he was determined that nothing from the outside world would disturb him.
In the dream Aragorn saw himself seated in a small clearing that he recognized as a courtyard outside the palace of Mirkwood. The young ranger, himself, was in the arms of a certain blond haired elf and they were both leaning against a tree.
"Estel, im meleth le," the elf whispered into Aragorn's ear.
Aragorn smiled and leaned even more into the elf's embrace. Among the elves Aragorn was simply Estel. His lover didn't even know his real name.
The peaceful and loving atmosphere was broken by the sound of sobbing, which caused Aragorn to wake with a start. The sudden waking put a wrench through his heart as it brought a return into a reality where the dream was no longer real.
'Legolas, why did you have to leave me this way? And for someone you didn't even love.'
Of course, Legolas had been willing to remain Aragorn's lover while going through with his arranged marriage. But the man's pride hadn't allowed it. He was already sneered at by some who thought he wasn't worthy to be Elrond's foster son. He refused to be sneered at for being the whore of the Prince of Mirkwood as well.
However, there were times when Aragorn wished that he had given into Legolas. Now he was simply lonely and left with nothing.
'Well, almost nothing,' his mind corrected as he determined the source of the crying that had woken him up to be the son his lover had given him. The boy was currently sobbing earnestly by Aragorn's bedside.
Instincts gained through two and a half years of being a parent caused Aragorn to quickly wake up and sit up in bed. The sight of his precious son with a face scrunched up by sobs was more effective than a bucket of cold water over the head.
"Farothen, what's wrong, tithen faron nin?"
Farothen sniffed, his delicate facial features resembling Legolas more and more every day. His blue eyes could have come from either of his fathers, being sometimes like Aragorn's slightly silver tinted blue or the clear darker blue of Legolas'. But the dark mat of hair, now rumpled from sleep, may well be the one physical characteristic Farothen had inherited from Aragorn.
Aragorn sighed as his son continued to quietly cry, hating to see Farothen this upset. Silently Aragorn lifted the bed covers, inviting Farothen to join him. He was probably spoiling the boy, but he had a weak spot where his son was concerned and couldn't care less.
Farothen wasted no time in scrambling up to join his ada, not wanting to be left alone when he wasn't feeling well.
"I call and you not comed," Farothen continued to sniffle.
Aragorn winced, "I'm sorry, ion nin. It appears we are both troubled tonight."
Aragorn smiled and kissed his son's head, "No more, pentithen. You can rest easy."
"Tummy still hurt."
Aragorn gathered the boy in his arms and slowly rubbed his hand across Farothen's stomach while singing softly in Elvish. The method was effective and Farothen was soon fast asleep.
Aragorn soon drifted off to sleep soon after. Hating Legolas for leaving him alone, but loving him even more for giving him Farothen.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Aragorn would later tell Elrond that Farothen had woken him up but the truth was he had woken up due to a sixth sense that every parent seemed to possess. A chill ran down Aragorn's spine and two seconds later Farothen confirmed his worst fear by whimpering.
"Ada..." The voice sounded strained and weak to Aragorn's ears. He couldn't see his son but he could feel that the boy was damp with sweat and burning with fever.
Swallowing down a wave of panic Aragorn quickly gathered up his son in a warm blanket and ran out of his chamber looking for his foster father. He was so concerned with Farothen that he took no notice of the fact that he was barefoot and dressed too lightly for the cold winter night.
"It's okay, Farothen...it's all going to be okay." Aragorn said lightly to the boy as he continued to whimper.
He wasn't sure who he was trying to reassure. Farothen or himself.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Meanwhile, in another part of the palace of Imladris Elrond was experiencing his own version of sleeplessness and was simply dealing with it by writing in one of his record books. He had enough experience and foresight to be aware that for some reason his mind needed to be completely awake tonight and therefore his state didn't disturb him.
Maybe it had something to do with the fact that his mischievous twin sons had decided to return early from their orc hunting expedition.
At that moment the twins in question walked swiftly past Elrond's study window with their heads together in deep discussion. Probably making plans regarding pranks that Elrond didn't even want to know about.
Well, not tonight.
"If you two are planning on making trouble in the middle of the night with none the wiser I'm going to spoil your plans," Elrond called out lightly without even looking up from his work.
Elladan and Elrohir froze and slowly turned to face the window...only now noticing the light from a burning candle. Their expressions clearly showing that they hadn't been expecting their father to be awake. Elladan recovered first.
"Ada?! What are you doing awake"
As Elladan asked the question he and Elrohir moved to the door to enter the study
"It seems my body has decided to grace me with insomnia this night," Elrond calmly stated as the twins stepped into the study, Elrohir stopping in front of the desk while Elladan walked around to look over Elrond's shoulder.
The older twin smirked at his father's back, "And this means that the record books must be updated?"
Elrohir laughed at his brother's remark, "He's hoping the books will lull him to..."
Elrohir never got to finish. At that moment Elrond, hearing the fast approach of familiar footsteps, sprang to his feet a split second before Aragorn burst into the room looking panicked.
"Ada, I need help! Farothen is burning up!"
Elrond's first thought was that his foster son was overreacting like he always seemed to do with Farothen. But then he took in the boy's sweat soaked hair and pale complexion and realized that Aragorn wasn't freaking out over nothing.
In three swift strides Elrond walked up to Aragorn and took both his grandson and the blanket from the young ranger.
"Elladan, go ready a bed and my herbs for Farothen. Elrohir...bring Estel back to his room to change and..."
"Why?!" Aragorn interrupted, not about to leave his son, even his Elrond's trusted care.
Elrohir took his foster brother by the arm to steer him back to his room and answered his question for Elrond.
"To clean up what I hope is Farothen's accident," the younger twin said in complete monotone.
Knowing he would never joke around when his nephew was that sick, Aragorn looked down as his thin tunic. Only then did he realize how much of a mess Farothen had made of him during the short run. But at the moment Aragorn's parenting instincts were much stronger than any of his personal hygiene habits.
"I'm not leaving Farothen." Aragorn replied firmly.
Both Elladan, who had returned from the duty Elrond had sent him to perform, and Elrohir opened their mouths to reassure the man, but it was Elrond who put his foot down.
"Estel," the lord of Imladris said quietly but firmly so he wouldn't alarm Farothen, "You're agitated and near panic. If Farothen senses that from you he could panic as well and we don't need that. Go get changed and calm down."
Aragorn's face flushed from anger but Elrond was even firmer.
It took both Elladan and Elrohir to drag the man out of the study. Aragorn looked both hurt and angry but Elrond would have to talk with him later. Right now he was more concerned with his little grandson who was whimpering in his arms.
"Hush, little one. I'll take care of you." Elrond whispered in Elvish to calm the boy.
'At least I don't have to worry about any of my sons getting into mischief for the rest of the night.'
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
"I'm a terrible, Ada!" Aragorn cried.
Both Elladan and Elrohir sighed from their respective places in Aragorn's room. Elladan was standing in by the window, Elrohir was sprawled at the foot of the bed and Aragorn was sitting on the floor with his back to the bed and his head in his hands.
In the three days since Farothen had caught his sudden illness Aragorn hadn't calmed down once. Of course, his anxiety probably had to do with the fact that he hadn't seen his son since the morning the boy had fallen ill. Aragorn had shown similar symptoms that morning and Elrond had forbidden him to go near Farothen since the child's natural immunities weren't as strong as Aragorn's. And indeed Aragorn's illness had gone away after only a day but Elrond had still separated father and son to be on the safe side. He wanted Farothen's fever to break before he was exposed to anything that was possibly contagious.
Unfortunately Aragorn had taken the separation straight to heart and spent the time blaming himself for giving Farothen his illness.
"Estel, we've been through this," Elladan said much more calmly and patiently than he actually felt, "You couldn't have prevented Farothen from catching a cold or the flu from you. It's winter and you two are the only mortals in Imladris. I'm told illnesses are not uncommon for humans this time of the year."
"But he's got more Elven blood than human blood," Aragorn argued.
"That doesn't..." Elladan started before his foster brother cut him off.
"Besides, I should have gotten him to Ada sooner." Aragorn continued to berate himself.
"Estel, you couldn't have." Elrohir grumbled from the bed.
"Yes I could have!"
Elladan shot his twin a warning glance. Aragorn should not be patronized when he was this upset.
"How so?" Elladan asked turning his gaze back to Aragorn.
"He wasn't feeling well when he woke me up the first time," Aragorn said, "He claimed his stomach hurt."
"Estel that could have been something as simple as indigestion. Not necessarily an illness." Elladan said, moving to his foster brother's side.
"But it was an illness. I should have gotten him to Ada right away." Aragorn insisted.
Elladan opened his mouth to reply but was once again cut off as Aragorn continued, "I'm his father! Who's supposed to look after him if not for me?! He needed help that night but I didn't give it to him!"
Elrohir finally threw his hands up in frustration, "Estel, would you stop this! You're not perfect. Things are going to happen to Farothen no matter what you do. But he still adores you. You're his ada! And believe me when I say you're a much better one than most humans and even some elves I know. I've been around a long time."
Aragorn didn't respond at all to what Elrohir said. He just stared ahead with a blank look on his face as if he hadn't even been listening. In exasperation Elrohir turned to his twin...who apparently hadn't been listening either. The other elf was crouching down by the side of the bed looking underneath it. A second later he stood up with a smirk on a face and a familiar looking stuffed wolf in his hands.
"Estel, you still have Draug?" Elladan asked.
Aragorn shrugged, but had a sheepish look on his face, "Arwen was kind enough to sew him up for me quite a few times over the years, so it seemed wrong to just get rid of him," he admitted, "If you'll remember, I was quite attached to him."
Elladan shook his head at the wonder that was the human mind.
"I think Estel would probably like to see his son now." Elrond said, suddenly appearing in the doorway.
Aragorn shot to his feet with a hopeful look on his face, "Farothen's alright?!"
Elrond nodded, "His fever has finally broken...and he's been asking for you for quite a while."
Aragorn moved to follow Elrond but suddenly stopped and turned to Elladan, holding out his hand for Draug. Elladan approached Aragorn with a confused look on his face before handing him the stuffed animal.
"Estel, aren't you a little old to be getting comfort from a stuffed animal?" Elrohir asked from the bed.
Elrond shot his son a warning glance but Aragorn didn't look that offended.
"Yes," he answered dryly, "But Farothen isn't."
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Farothen still looked a little flushed and somewhat thinner but he was sitting up looking fairly bright and alert. Aragorn didn't want to alarm his son by running up to him but when Farothen spotted him he held out his arms and yelled, "Ada!"
Just like that Aragorn couldn't get to his son's bedside fast enough. When he finally embraced his son the tears he had been holding back for three days began to flow.
"Ada?" Farothen asked worriedly, "Why cry?"
Aragorn wiped away his tears with the back of his hand, "I'm just happy to see you, ion nin."
Farothen looked confused by his ada's answer, not understanding how serious the last few days had been, but he seemed to accept it. It was then that he noticed Draug.
"What dat, Ada?"
Aragorn grinned as he held out the stuffed wolf, "This is Draug."
"Wof!" Farothen translated excitedly.
Aragorn nodded, "Yes. He was given to me by my ada when I was about your age." He then held Draug out, within Farothen's reach, "And now he's yours."
Farothen looked up at Aragorn in disbelief, "For me?"
Aragorn nodded again, expecting Farothen to make a sudden grab for the toy. Which he did, but he also launched himself into Aragorn's arms in the same motion.
"Fank you, Ada!" Farothen whispered, hugging Aragorn's neck tight, "I wuv you."
Aragorn smiled through a sudden lump in his throat and kissed the top of his son's head, "I love you too, ion nin."
In the doorway to the room Elrond stood with the twins. He wanted to give Aragorn this moment alone with his son.
"It was just a cold," Elrohir was saying, "Estel got all worked up over nothing!"
Elrond smirked at his son, "I didn't react much better any time you two or Arwen were lost or hurt. And as I recall I acted much worse the first time Estel had a fever."
"Ada," Elladan said, "All of your children are fine...Farothen is fine as well."
"I didn't say Estel's fear was rational." Elrond said, "A father's fear rarely is. Since the day Farothen was born Estel has feared losing him...has feared to someday have to let him go...because he loves that boy more than his own life. As a father myself...one who will one day have to say goodbye to my youngest son forever...I know that feeling all too well."
Elrond turned his gaze back to Aragorn with a sigh, "A father's fear is forever."
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Im meleth le – I love you
Tithen faron nin – My little hunter
Pentithen – Little one
Ion nin – My son