Vezely tiptoed behind Legolas and nuzzled her nose into his cheek before peppering his ear and neck with a few soft kisses. The welcomed assault made him cease his work at the cutting board and close his eyes in order to better relish his wife's warm affections. With him unawares, she carefully reached her hand around him and stole a slice of one of the apples he just cut, bringing it to her mouth shortly after.
Her bite's crunch alerted him to her mischief. He opened his eyes and shifted them upon her in amused consternation, "You have no patience."
"Nope," she smirked, overtly pleased with herself for accomplishing what he deemed difficult for her lack of Elvish gracefulness or silence in her actions. Though her remark led to his entrapment; he brought his hands around her waist and held her steadily.
As a peace offering, she brought the other half of the apple slice to his mouth. He accepted the sweet morsel, kissing her fingers that lingered on his lips after. Though the pleasure of his kiss left her unawares, and when she closed her eyes he proceeded to hoist her into his arms. "I have missed our bed," he declared on the way to the bedroom.
"Who is impatient now?" she asked mischievously, clasping her hands around his neck and allowing him to carry her away.
The young couple had just returned to their home that morning from a three month long cruise sailing around Valinor in her family's unused sailboat. The ocean adventure was a time to mourn and reflect after Gimli's death. Surrounded by friends and with a smile upon his face and cheerful glint in his eyes, the beloved dwarf and hero of the Third Age passed away during the spring following their union ceremony. He had no regrets, having lived a fulfilling life and knowing he would be welcomed into the hallowed halls of his fathers.
"You deserve the happiness you found," Gimli told Legolas during his last moments, desiring nothing but his friend to spend the rest of his days in joy. "Do not mourn me leaving, for I go in peace knowing you are in good hands, surrounded by loved ones." Alternatively, he told Vezely to "Keep him on his toes." And she intended to.
Vezely would rediscover her youth in Valinor; that is, she discovered that a carefree existence was possible and its simplicity enjoyable - spending the evenings gazing up at the stars, the afternoons swimming in the nearby lake, and the mornings in her husband's arms. If asked whether she missed her life as a general, Vezely would not answer directly - The drums of war would yet stir my heart if heard - she would say, though her heart now beat so in rhythm with another's that she desired its tempo never to change. She had found happiness there with her family and soon would start to build one of her own.
"I am pregnant, not disabled," Vezely scoffed, jumping upon her horse with ease and purposefully foregoing using the stepstool the stable master had brought over for her.
The ellon should have known better. Like her grandfather, Lord Dior, Lady Vezely had gained a reputation as unusual among the Valinoreans - the wife of Legolas was unconventional in her look and manner, many said of her, though that does not mean she was necessarily unpleasant to be around.
Already upon his steed, Legolas ducked his head, hiding his smirk in order to spare the polite ellon any more discomfort. He continued to find himself bemused by his wife's condition and her contempt for special treatment. Pregnancy was rare for Elves who lived eternally but had but a few children. It was even rarer in Valinor during this later age. Most had already passed the child bearing stage of their life cycle making a pregnant elleth a precious site to behold and one many felt obliged to cater to. But Vezely would have no such privilege bestowed upon her and preferred it to be a non-subject to all but her and her husband.
The decision to have a child was one slowly realized by the couple. One evening they had started discussing their childhoods and discovered irreconcilable differences in upbringing, leading them to negotiate what would be best for a child who would live only a peaceful existence in Valinor.
"They cannot live in ignorance of the world's darkness," Vezely queried his thoughts one evening.
"Nor would they, we should not forego speaking of the past,"Legolas assured her, not desiring them to be sheltered or forgetful as some in Valinor had become.
"So I can speak about how when I was their age I was learning how best to throw a man from his horse with a polearm?" she replied skeptical if he understood what she meant.
"They will discover their mother is unique one way or another..." Legolas knew she fretted over whether motherhood suited her.
She did not possess the softer attributes of her own mother, Vezely would say, nor the patience others had especially when confronted by the obstinacy of children. Motherhood was only a hypothetical consideration rather a reality she was ready for. Though eventually she began to ponder what their children would look like, what traits they would possess - if they would be extra stubborn as both of their parents, enjoy reading and writing words like their father, or manipulating numbers and calculating statistics like their mother; and if they would prefer the sword over the bow.
..."They can learn both," Legolas replied when she asked this one day when they were sitting by the lake. He was surprised to hear her pondering over it for she rarely if ever brought up the subject of children.
"They could, but if they are ambushed and in close proximity of the enemy, sword skill is preferable," she reasoned, her demeanor and tone serious as she kept her eyes on the placid water in front of them.
Legolas looked over at her and wondered if she was joking. "No one is going to ambush them."
"How do you know? The Noldor cannot be trusted," she maintained her serious tone, though a slight smirk curled on the one corner of her lips alerting Legolas to her mischief, as she often made bold statements to see his reaction.
"You are sounding like your grandfather again..."
When their parents heard the news of their pregnancy, they were overjoyed. Thranduil in particular began to view Vezely with an even kinder eye for she was not simply the wife of his son, but soon to be the mother of his grandchild.
"...You have gotten bigger since we last saw you," Legolas's mother exclaimed cheerfully upon seeing her daughter-in-law after a two week interval. Her stomach was bulging as she was in the last quarter of pregnancy.
"Have I?" Vezely answered nonchalantly, her hand noticeably bracing her back, "All I know is it has been too long since I could see my toes."
"Sit," Thranduil quickly pulled a chair over for her, remembering his own wife in this stage and her exhaustion after even short travel.
While Vezely could have easily given him gripe for caring, as she did to all others who fussed over her condition, she accepted the seat with a simple, "Thank you." This exchange did not go unnoticed by Legolas who was readily expecting otherwise.
Valinor had quickly become their home and life acquired a blissful normalcy, but one that would be joyfully disrupted with the birth of their son.
The hearth fire's warmth was appreciated even more so that early evening when Legolas entered his home's main living space. His hair and robes were drenched by the sudden downpour on his way home from the market. Vezely quietly greeted him with a towel and a consoling smile that acknowledged his mild discomfort. She assisted him in removing his wet robes and putting on a dry one, though they both remained silent during this exchange for their son was nodding off to sleep in the other room. Intermittently though, his cooing sounds were heard since the drops of rain hitting their rooftop filled the child with wonder.
Noting that Legolas suddenly looked distant and lost in thought, Vezely whispered, "Is everything alright?"
He returned his wandering gaze, though his eyes contained tears on the verge of falling. He cupped the sides of face gently, "I envisioned this long ago," he revealed slowly, "Do you remember that night we were caught in the rainstorm in Minas Tirith?"
Vezely gathered her memories of the short interval of time they spent in Gondor's capital before she departed for Rhun. A small smile found its way to her face as she recounted, "We had met in secret on the terrace of our wing of the guest house, after that event where you were courting Lady Adele."
"I was not courting her," Legolas reminded firmly, yet still whispering.
"Pretending to court her," Vezely corrected herself with a smirk before continuing her memories, "I also remember returning to your quarters soaking wet and spending the rest of the evening in one of your fancy Elvish robes, sleeping in the warm comfort of your arms."
"The rain had never brought me such joy," he replied softly, touched by her words. "What I saw was brief, but vivid," he slowly revealed his vision, considering it as he did. "I saw the glow of our hearth fire, and I heard the sound of our son as I hear him now over the patter of the rain upon the roof."
"You saw our future?" Vezely asked in complete disbelief. "You did not tell me this."
"I could not," he stroked her cheek gently, his eyes wavering, "So much was uncertain and I feared to believe it myself."
Vezely shook her head in regretful nostalgia, "I have not forgotten that uncertainty, or that fear."
"Nor I," he confirmed softly, taking her hand and kissing the back of it, "But we have overcome it. All is as it should be."
Their son cooed louder, his shrill, un-elflike sounds causing them to share a small laugh. They walked over hand-in-hand to his bed, finding him holding his tiny hands up asking to be lifted. Legolas had no heart to deny his request.
Vezely watched in wonder as her husband gently picked the babe up with the look of charmed pride upon his face as the child's eyes responded with gladness to see his father.
How did one such as I find happiness living the simple life of an Elf? Vezely thought beside herself. For her life was simple and carefree. Valinor had not deprived her of her Easterling culture nor her warrior heart, but she began to better understand her Elvish ancestry, and accept it.
Legolas brought his free arm around her shoulder, embracing her along with their child. "It is as it should be," he told her again, kissing her cheek softly.
"It is," she confirmed as their son now reached his hand towards her. She hooked her arm around her husband's waist and grabbed the child's tiny hand with her own so she could plant a gentle kiss on his palm. "It is."
A/N: Thank you to all who have stayed with me during my journey in writing this and all who have made it to the end; to my steadfast reviewers whose comments have not only brought me smiles, but helped my writing; and to all future readers and reviewers, I hope you enjoyed this tale as much as I have enjoyed writing it.