The King and "It"
"If you desire to drain to the dregs the fullest cup of scorn and hatred that a fellow human creature can pour out for you, let a young mother hear you call her baby 'it'."
(Jerome K Jerome, Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, 1886)
Disclaimer:characters aren't mine. Belong to Tolkien, New Line Cinema, and whoever else. So don't sue.
A/N:I spend far too much time watching LOTR and PotC, so look out for Éomer having a Captain Jack Sparrow moment!
A/N 2:all facial expressions marked are Trademarked to Éowyn.
A/N 3:This is now a repost of this fic – I have since been informed by various people that Faramir and Éowyn had a son called Elboron, a daughter called Morwen and a second son. Thankies a thousand times to all you wonderful people who told me!!!
A small, quiet gathering of friends. Just how Faramir, Steward of Gondor, liked it. Aragorn (now officially King Elessar) was, for once, relaxed, settled in a large, soft chair with his wife Arwen beside him, curled up with her dark head resting on his shoulder. The sight of the couple, clearly deeply in love, brought a smile to Faramir's lips.
The Elven Prince of Mirkwood, Legolas, was recounting the amusing tale of a past visit to the Elven haven of Rivendell when Aragorn's great-great-great-grandfather, Arassuil, had been Chieftain of the Dúnedain. Arwen's older brothers, identical twins Elladan and Elrohir, were supporting Legolas by providing insight into the pranks they had played that day (1).
Faramir's eyebrows slowly raised as his grey eyes settled upon his cousin Lothíriel, who was definitely sitting closer to Éomer, King of Rohan, than she had been ten minutes ago. Éomer was showing no signs of any objections to this. A good match, in all likelihood, mused Faramir, attempting to mask his smirk.
A gentle nudge drew his attention away from his cousin, and he focused instead on his wife Éowyn, sister of Éomer. "What is it?" he asked softly, not wanting to interrupt Legolas' tale.
"Something amuses you," whispered Éowyn, shifting her month-old sleeping son, Elboron, to a more comfortable position in her arms. The baby had been fussing earlier, and she did not want to wake him. "I do not believe it to be Legolas' tale, and I wish to know what."
Faramir nodded in the direction of Éomer and Lothíriel. "My cousin, it appears, is making her intentions known."
Éowyn's eyes rested on the hand of Faramir's cousin, noting how the Dol Amroth maiden's fingers lightly brushed those of the King of Rohan. "She is indeed," agreed Éowyn. Definitely an interesting development. "Tell me something of your cousin, for I know nothing."
"She is headstrong and does not hesitate to make her opinion known," answered Faramir. "She loathes men who believe that women should be meek, quiet and at home raising children."
Éowyn snickered softly, looking at her brother. "Perhaps not a good match, then."
"My brother is somewhat disapproving of strong women," replied Éowyn wryly. "He is something of what the Shirefolk call a 'sexist pig'."
"I, of all people, should know. The lecture I got while I was recovering in the Houses of Healing for going to the Pelennor Fields battle." She scowled.
Legolas had just reached the point in his tale where Elrond, the twins' father, was suffering the effects of hallucinogenic mushrooms slipped into his food by Elrohir, when baby Elboron whimpered, cutting off the Elf mid-sentence.
Éowyn was quick to react, attempting to console her son by rocking him and making soothing noises.
"It isn't going to start screaming again, is it?" asked Éomer in alarm.
Eight pairs of eyes turned to glare at him accusingly.
Éomer frowned in confusion. "Is something wrong?"
The twins cringed.
Legolas, being seated directly between brother and sister, wisely ducked.
Aragorn squeezed his eyes shut, a pained expression on his face.
Arwen did not look impressed. At all.
Lothíriel averted her gaze with an impatient, "Tuh."
Éowyn arched one delicate eyebrow. "In a manner of speaking." Her voice sent the temperature of the room plummeting. Placing her young son in the arms of her cowering husband, she stood firmly, cold fury upon her pretty face.
Éomer gulped. His sister was standing with her legs planted apart, feet hard on the floor.
The worst thing was, her hands were on her hips. Not good. Definitely not good, he thought. To make matters worse, she was standing and he was still seated. This gave her an unpleasantly large advantage in the intimidation factor.
"'Is something wrong', you say. Is something wrong?!"
Oh dear. The iciness in her voice was enough to freeze a Balrog on the spot. Éomer attempted to force his face into an appeasing expression, to mask the fact that really, he was completely and utterly terrified. "Er…yes?"
Éowyn took a big step forward.
Closer to him.
He shrank back into the chair in which he was sitting. Clearly nobody else present was going to help him. Lothíriel and Arwen were both female, so they would unquestionably support Éowyn on principle. Female hormones. Wretched things. Faramir, as Éowyn's husband, would support his wife. Legolas clearly desired to remain neutral, given the way he was hunched over on the floor to avoid physical injury to himself. Aragorn would likely also remain neutral, purely for diplomatic reasons. The twins seemed to view this as little more than entertainment. Éomer supposed that it gave them a rare opportunity to see others in trouble beside themselves, if all accounts of their misdeeds were correct.
He was on his own.
Nevera good situation to be in. Not with Éowyn in this sort of mood.
He would have preferred to face even Sauron in a bad mood. At least he killed his victims almost immediately. Éowyn was the queen of torture. Lengthy, excruciating torture. "What have I done that was so wrong?"
A sharp intake of breath made Éowyn appear even more frightening.
"Bad move," remarked one of the twins. Éomer still could not tell them apart.
"Clearly suicidal," added the other agreeably.
"Think," hissed Éowyn through clenched teeth, eyes blazing in cold fury, "of the last thing you said."
As though sensing the tension in the room, the baby once again whimpered.
Éomer could not quite believe this. "All I asked was whether that would start screaming again," he said, pointing at the baby in Faramir's arms.
"I still don't understand."
Éomer's left cheek was suddenly on fire as he looked up at his sister. "What was that for?" He focused on Legolas, who had uncurled himself, and shook his head dazedly. "I'm not sure I deserved that."
Legolas looked at him in disbelief.
"You deserved it, brother dearest," replied Éowyn, still through clenched teeth. "I would do it again, but clearly some things cannot be helped, and therefore I take pity on you for them."
Éomer blinked in confusion. "What things?"
Éowyn swelled up, more furious than ever. "Your innate, apparently permanent and incurable, unbelievable levels of sheer stupidity!"
The rest of the room's occupants cowered, Faramir shielding his son from the impending explosion.
"Please explain to me what it is that I have done to anger you, baby sister," said Éomer, completely forgetting the pummelling that had befallen him the last time he had referred to Éowyn as 'baby sister' to her face.
Éowyn opened her mouth to say something, then, upon glancing at her son, closed it again. She reached down and violently hauled her brother from his seat, proceeding to drag him out of the room, ignoring his protests that he could walk perfectly well and that she was hurting him.
Once outside the room, Éowyn threw her brother against the wall with a loud thud, pinning him there with her arms either side of him so that he was unable to escape. Her face was alarmingly close to his. He found himself unable to draw back from her due to the wall immediately behind him.
He gulped. I am truly for it now. He silently prayed to the Valar that they would at least spare him the embarrassment of wetting himself from pure terror. After all, I am a king now.
"You," spat Éowyn venomously (loud enough for those in the room they had just left to hear), "called my son – your nephew, incidentally – 'it'. My son has a gender and a name. He is not an 'it', or 'that', or whatever else you would call him. He is called Elboron."
Another crack, this time on his other cheek.
"Now, do you understand?"
Éomer nodded quickly, desperate to escape but still hopelessly trapped.
Éowyn looked positively murderous.
Whoops. Éomer glanced down to avoid the Murderous Glare™ - and noticed that his sister's knee was perilously close to certain parts of his anatomy that he would prefer to keep intact. I have some sympathy for the Witch-king now, he found himself thinking.
"Prove that you understand certain aspects about my son. About your nephew. Your blood relative."
Éomer took a deep breath. "My nephew is called Elboron. He is a 'he', not an 'it' or a 'that'."
"And?" demanded Éowyn, delicate nose mere millimetres from his.
Éomer frantically racked his brains, attempting to work out just what else his sister wanted from him. "Er…"
"Do you not even have the common decency to apologise?"
Oh. That. "I – I apologise for calling your son 'it' and 'that'. And for insulting Faramir."
"Numerous times," he hastily amended. "And for almost ruining your wedding dress. And for getting very drunk at your wedding. And for almost missing your wedding. And for insulting the bridesmaids at your wedding. And for not attending the wedding rehearsal. And for accidentally burning your best dress when you were ten. And for pulling your hair countless times. And for throwing your favourite doll out of the window when you were five…"
"And?" Éowyn was tapping her foot impatiently.
"And…and for dancing naked whilst under the influence of too much alcohol at your wedding party." Éomer cringed at that last memory. "What could I do? I could not let four Halflings out-drink me!"
"Clearly. But they can handle their drink. You, on the other hand, cannot."
Éomer hug his head in shame. "No, sister. I cannot," he replied meekly.
Éowyn withdrew from him, a satisfied smile (no, smirk; definitely a smirk) on her face. "Accepted," she said sweetly, gliding gracefully back into the room and, upon sitting down, snuggling up to Faramir.
Éomer dropped heavily into his own chair. Why can I never win with her?
(1) – see my fic Rain in Rivendell for further details