The final chapter. Enjoy!
Bella walked slowly through the mountain, enjoying the sounds of life and joy in the mountain. It was hard to believe that so much had changed in just a few years, not even a handful since they had reclaimed Erebor. Her steps sped up as she caught sight of the dwarf that she had been looking for. Her husband of nine months had promised her that they had time for lunch together today and she was going to hold him to that.
He turned when she called his name, his face lighting up when he saw her. The dwarves he'd been talking to smiled and bowed, leaving. Bella wanted to protest, but they were already gone. So instead, she went and stood right next to Fili and said softly, "Hi."
He looped his arms around her and murmured back, "Hello, wife." He bent and kissed her warmly but remembered their surroundings and pulled back much too soon for both of their tastes.
She smiled brightly, "Hello, husband. Ready for lunch?"
He grinned back and she frowned as his face started swimming in her vision. Before she could ask what was going on or hear what Fili was saying, darkness pounced out of nowhere and swallowed her whole. Because of this, she missed the chaos that followed.
She woke slowly to the sound of low agitated voices. She frowned, trying to hear what they were saying. She forced her eyes open when she recognized Fili's voice, anxious and frantic. Now, what in the world had caused him to sound like that? She looked around, slowly realizing that she was tucked in their bed, with several blankets piled on top of her. Ah, that explained why she was so hot. Shoving all but a few off of her, she pushed herself into a sitting position. What had happened and why was she in bed? The last thing she remembered was, oh. That explained it. She sighed, this was not how she wanted to tell him. Still, his voice was bordering on hysterical, so she'd better tell him and quickly.
Raising her voice, she called, "Fili, love."
He was in the room in seconds, Oin and the rest of his family hot on his heels. He climbed on the bed and scooped her carefully into his arms. He started carefully examining her and breathed, "Bella, you're awake. How are you feeling? Are you ill? Why didn't you say anything?"
She glanced at the rest of them and Kili was clinging to Dis, his face pale. The frown furrow was back in between Thorin's eyes. Oin look baffled. Dis was doing her best to be strong for her boys, but she could see the worry clear in the dam's blue eyes. She sighed, she had never meant to upset her family so. Weaving her hand through Fili's, she said quietly but firmly. "I'm all right, but can I have a minute alone with my husband, please?"
They clearly wanted to protest but she looked at them pleadingly and they caved. As they filed into the other room, they all glanced back at her. However, when Dis glanced back, she could see the wheels turning in the dam's head. Finally the door closed and she was alone with Fili. She turned her full attention to him and gasped. He was haggard and he looked absolutely wrecked.
Now this wouldn't do at all. She reached up and pressed her lips to his, trying to reassure him. When he didn't respond, she drew slowly back. There were tears in his eyes and she felt her eyes widen at his distress.
His voice was hoarse and broken when he asked, "What's wrong, Bella? Are you dying?"
She couldn't help the tiny laugh that escaped her but she immediately apologized, "I'm sorry, Fili, it's not funny, I'm sorry."
He pulled her into his arms and started rocking her. "What's going on, Bella? One moment you were fine and the next you were unconscious in my arms. Talk to me, Bella. I'm losing my mind here."
She reached up and cradled his face in her hands. "Oh my love, I didn't mean to scare you. I'm sorry." She sighed. "This is not how I wanted to tell you."
His gaze grew haunted. "So you are ill. Why haven't you said anything."
She shook her head, "I am not ill. And I didn't say anything because I wanted to be sure before I spoke to you. I'm not dying, Fili. I'm with child. We're going to have a baby."
He just stared at her, his mind struggling to process what she was telling him. He breathed, "But you fainted."
She traced an hand over his cheekbone and down his jawline, "I'm not sure, but I think that that's normal and happens sometimes. My body is changing, adjusting so that it can carry a new life. I didn't eat today, I was so excited for our lunch. I'm sure that had something to do with it. I'll have to speak with Oin and your mother, but I'm just fine, Fili, husband mine. So breathe, everything's going to be ok."
Her news finally seemed to sink in and his eyes widened, "You're sure?"
She shrugged, her tone wry, "Not completely, but I had my suspicions and today seemed to confirm them."
His gaze dropped to her stomach and he tentatively placed his hand over her stomach. She placed both of hers on top of his and smiled tearily at him. He breathed, "You mean I'm going to be an adad?"
She gave a rather watery chuckle. "Seems that way, and it's too late to back out now."
"Oh Bella." He cupped her cheek and pressed his lips to hers. She kissed him back, allowing him to feel her love, contentment, and happiness.
After several moments, she pulled back. "Go call your mother and Oin in, we can confirm it, and then let the others know before they worry themselves into an early grave."
He nodded, reluctantly pulling himself away from her side. Striding over to the door, he yanked it open and called curtly, "Amad, Oin. We need you."
He waited until they were in the room before closing the door firmly behind them and going and rejoining Bella on the bed. The two dwarves moved over to the side of the bed and Dis looked back and forth, between her poleaxed eldest and the tiny hobbit lass who was fairly glowing as she met her eyes.
Dis said softly, joy in her voice, "You're expecting, aren't you?"
Bella nodded and said rather breathlessly, "I think so, we just need you two to confirm it."
They spoke for several minutes before determining that it was indeed happy news. Fili wanted her to stay in bed, but Bella insisted upon getting up and sharing the good news with their family waiting anxiously in the other room.
When Bella had dropped, Fili had given an agonized roar, thinking that someone had hurt or killed her. Kili was there within seconds, his blades out as he kept watch for his brother who was focused on the limp hobbit lass in his arms. He barked, "What happened?"
Fili was examining her frantically, "I don't know, she was talking and then she just went limp. I can't find any blood. What do I do, Kili?"
Kili answered him immediately, "Take her to your rooms, it's safe and defensible. I'll go get Oin."
Thorin joined them at that moment and told Kili, "Go, I'll guard them."
Sheathing his blades, Kili ran as if a balrog was chasing him. He prayed that she would be conscious when he returned to the room with the healer in tow, but she was still limp and unresponsive. Dis had appeared while he was gone and it was all he could do not to cling to her like a frightened child, but Fili needed her more at the moment. Oin looked Bella carefully over, but didn't find anything noticeably wrong with her.
Leaving her to sleep as her breathing seemed to be clear and easy, they moved into the other room and tried to figure out what had happened. This was the closest that he'd come to seeing his brother lose his mind since that terrible soul dream where he remembered what their uncle had done to his One. As he was begging Oin for answers, they heard her call for them, well for Fili anyway.
They piled into the room and found her sitting up, her color good and her eyes clear and alert. Fili wrapped her up in himself and Kili found himself clinging to their amad for comfort. They couldn't lose his sister, please Mahal. It just wouldn't be fair. But then she was kicking them out, and his heart fell to his feet. However, he noticed that instead of looking upset like she had before Bella woke up, their amad looked thoughtful.
When he asked her what was going on, she just shook her head, but shot Thorin a speaking look. Thorin raised his eyebrow incredulously but when Dis didn't deny or shake her head, he relaxed. Kili knew that he was missing something, but just didn't know what it was. Right at that moment, Fili opened the door and called curtly for their mother and Oin.
As they vanished behind the door, Thorin moved over and rested his hand on his shoulder. "Relax, sister son, your namad is going to be all right. If it's what your amad thinks it is, it'll be time for rejoicing, not sorrow."
He said curtly, "What's going on, uncle? What did you get from just a glance?"
Thorin shook his head, "I'm not going to say anything and tempt fate. We'll know soon enough, one way or the other."
The wait seemed interminable until the door opened and they all came out, including Bella. Seeing his distress, she held out her arms to him. Not caring that he was acting like a dwarfling, he cuddled into her embrace, trying to impart his strength to her. She stroked his hair soothingly, smiling up at him. "I'm all right, nadad. Now come over to the couch, Fili and I have news."
He followed her obediently, not taking his eyes off of her. They sat and she murmured, "Look at your brother."
Fili stood in the middle of the room, his expression all over the place, joy and worry clearly warring on his face as well as looking slightly poleaxed. Seeing Kili's distress, Fili beamed at him. "Bella's fine, Kee. But we have a question for you."
Unsure, Kili said slowly, "What is it?"
Fili's grin turned positively dopey, "What do you think about becoming an irak'adad?"
Kili frowned for a moment until what they were telling not telling him sunk in. He whipped his head back around and whispered, "Really?"
Bella beamed up at him, "Yes, your amad and Oin agree. Next year, our pebble is going to join us."
Kili let out a whoop, scooping her up into a gentle hug. Of course, this was the scene that the rest of the company had to burst in on. They tumbled through the door, out of breath with panicked expressions. Dwalin growled, "We came as soon as we heard, is Bella all right? I was on patrol, what happened?"
Bella stood and went over to soothe Dwalin, "I'm fine, adad. You didn't need to cut your patrol short, I'm perfectly fine."
He just grunted, checking her out to the best of his ability. Once he was certain that she wasn't obviously injured or in pain, he reluctantly allowed her to return to the couch and sit next to Kili, who still looked stunned.
Kili laughed, tears streaming down his face. "She's fine, everyone."
Fili laughed as well, grinning brightly at the company. "I'm going to be an adad. We're going to have a pebble."
This of course devolved the group into utter chaos. Bella quickly slipped back into the bedroom so she could catch her breath and Dis followed her. Listening to the happy chaos in the other room, she asked Dis incredulously, "Are they always so exuberant about babies?"
Dis smiled at her, enfolding her in a gentle hug. "Babes are incredibly rare. The last one was Bombur's youngest thirty five years ago. That you're with child already is a great blessing. It's no wonder that Oin didn't think about looking for that."
Bella laughed, "With hobbits, the first babe usually comes within a year of being married and not always nine months, if you get my drift. In fact, hobbits would be downright scandalized by the amount of celebrating going on out there."
Dis stared at her, "The first babe? Within the first year?"
Bella giggled at her shock. "Oh yes. Hobbits usually have anywhere between four to eight faunts, usually only a year or two apart, five at the outside. My mother was one of twelve, nine sons and three daughters, although that was on the larger side. However, if I remember right, one hobbit family still holds the record with sixteen faunts."
Dis sank to the floor as if her legs wouldn't support her anymore. "Sixteen, you jest."
Bella plopped herself comfortably down beside her, "No, it's the honest truth, twelve lasses and four lads. Don't expect that many grandchildren from me and Fili though. We haven't discussed it, I just haven't thought about it and I'm sure if what you said was true, he wasn't expecting it for quite a while, but I refuse to have more than six. Half a dozen is more than enough, I think."
Dis swayed alarmingly and Bella sighed, "Don't fret about it yet, let's just focus on this babe. I hope that this one is a single though, if they're going to be heir, that will make it easier."
Thorin joined them on the floor, chuckling at seeing the ladies sitting there calmly on the floor while the males rioted in the other room. "What do you mean, single?"
Feeling rather impish, Bella said, "Well, uncle, amad and I were just talking about the size of hobbit families. Most have four to eight faunts, although my mother was one of twelve and one Shire family had sixteen. I won't have more than six though, I think. But not to fret, let's concentrate on this pebble first. I'm hoping for a single faunt, although twins and even triplets run in my mother's side of the family."
Thorin frowned at that, although his eyes were wide, "What do you mean, twins and triplets? I had thought that my grasp of Westron was good, but I don't know those words."
She did her best to keep from smirking, although she knew her eyes had to be dancing. "Twins are two babies at a time, triplets are three babies at a time. I don't know what the Khuzdul equivalent would be."
Dis roared with laughter, "We have no words describing thus. Hobbits truly are remarkable creatures. I would pay good money to see Fili's face when you tell him that."
Bella shook her head disapprovingly at her mother in law, "He's had a rough enough day already, no picking on my husband please."
Thorin nodded solemnly, "When you dropped, we thought someone had killed you. I am glad that that was not the case."
She blushed, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare everyone. Pregnant hobbits need to eat more and I skipped eating this morning because I was excited about lunch with Fili, it won't happen again, I promise."
Fili came and plopped down beside her, scooping her into his lap. She wound her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek warmly. Fili said, "You most certainly will not skip any more meals. I thought that my heart had stopped today love, never again."
She smiled up at him but said sternly, "I'll do my best, but you are not going to keep me under lock and key, mister. Hobbits are hardy creatures and pregnant ones even more so. Women usually work right up until they go into labor and then get up a day or two later, although they may take it slow for the first week or so."
He sighed, snuggling her closer, "I'll try my best, love, but it'll be hard to fight my instincts. You'll have to be patient with me and especially with Dwalin. He looks like he needs a stiff drink, he's both beaming like a loon and looking like he's in utter shock. Once he's recovered, he'll probably hover."
Bella muttered crankily but couldn't quite keep the smile off her face, "Of course he will. I had to be the one insane enough to willingly become part of a family of overprotective, paranoid dwarves. I guess it's a good thing that I love all of you to pieces."
Thorin helped Dis to her feet, "We're going to go keep an eye on Dwalin, you two come out when you're ready." He gave Fili a stern look, "And that means soon, nephew."
Fili grumbled but nodded. Once they were gone, Fili slipped his hand over her stomach, his expression filled with awe. "I still can't believe that we're going to be parents, have our own little miracle."
She teased, "Let's see if you still feel that way after all the sleepless nights in our future."
He grinned down at her, "I can't wait! This is going to be amazing."
Permitting herself one more minute of snuggling with Fili before going out and facing the happy chaos that was their family, Bella thought happily that he was right, this was going to be a most marvelous adventure.
"I will not say, Do not weep, for not all tears are an evil." After all, Madkat will be back with more stories, she is currently going in search of more tales. Until then, do not give up hope. "Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love."
Until next time everyone, lots of love!
We are strong together!
(Also, I own nothing, but it sure has been fun to play in this world)