Title: Tiny Hands
Author: Marethiel
Rating: K
Characters: "Little Estel" and one who loves him
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, drat it. Many thanks to Professor Tolkien for creating these wonderful souls to populate my imagination.

-~oo0oo~-

His hand is so tiny, still with the chubby "beestings" and dimples of babyhood.
I smile as the little fingers wrap themselves firmly around the soft, silken
placket of my undertunic. In the short weeks he's been here, I've noticed that
when he's frightened, or overtired, or just unsettled, his lower lip will
tremble and he'll back toward us, butting himself into one's leg to be lifted to
a lap or one's arms for a cuddle. Then he'll rest his head against one's chest;
I'm convinced he needs to hear and feel a heartbeat; this calms him, and he
snuggles deeper. By the Valar, nothing feels as gentle and sweet as that child
choosing you, this time, to be his comforter! Then, while cozily resting
his head on your chest, he'll slip something soft between his index and middle
finger and soothe himself by gently running his hands back and forth over some
silken substance, whether it is the soft bias on his blanket, or part of our
clothing… even a lock or braid of our hair. Poor child… even now, at just two, he's
learned how to offer solace to himself when upset.

Those little hands pat gently those he loves when he wants to comfort them… a
little more firmly when he wants their attention! But it is astounding; he has
a healing touch even now, baby that he is.

He learns his courage by gripping one of our fingers when we walk with him to
explore someplace new. He is not fearful or shy; having the added reassurance of
that one finger gives him the confidence and connection to a trusted adult,
allowing him to plunge fearlessly into all he encounters.

I was surprised to see how carefully those little hands treated the new kittens
born to the barn cat. How could he know, at so young an age, to be so gentle?
Even when engaged in rougher play, his hands never harm.

His mastery of cutlery is tentative at best, yet he has a master's command of
hearts: the Valar knows how deftly he clasps all of ours here in Imladris!

As I sit here, thinking of these things, the owner of the little hand in
question has awakened. The long, soft eyelashes have fluttered, and he yawns,
charmingly. He doesn't lift his head, but takes in his surroundings as he lies safe
in my arms, comfortable and secure. Slowly, the tiny hand moves up to my cheek,
and he rests his palm there, the serious, sleepy grey eyes gazing into mine as
he asks, "…'Yestor… `Stel juice, pease?"

-- The End