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The Ties of Family
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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40
Signs of Love

Signs of Love

The Lord King Aragorn Elessar of Arnor and Gondor was going through his pack, and untied and unrolled his blanket roll across the bed, looking at it in consternation. He raised his eyes to those of his wife. “What is this?” he asked.

Arwen examined the unrolled coverings, suppressing the smile that tried to make itself seen. “Is it not your blanket roll?”

“You know it is not, my lady wife. My blanket roll has never included a quilt--and especially never one with patches of pink.”

She ran her hand across the offending quilt. “It does feel as if it is properly warm, beloved.”

“Warmth is only part of the function of a blanket roll. I am to spend two weeks among the Rangers of Ithilien. How am I to appear a Man among Men with a blanket roll which includes a quilt with patches of pink?” He looked at it again. “What has become of my proper blanket roll?”

“I do not believe I could tell you, beloved.”

He examined her face with a distinctly suspicious air, then changed his examination to the quilt. After examining about five of the patches, he sighed. “When did Pippin have access to my pack and blanket roll?”

“When we were in Eriador, of course. Why do you ask about Pippin?”

“Because the pink patches are from a dress worn by Elanor when she visited here in the spring. The green is from a surcoat I had made for Pippin when they were here after the coronation. The blue is from a shirt of Merry’s, and the gold from one of Sam’s. And the silver....” His expression softened, and he began to laugh. “And I see you, my fine wife, have been a party to this--and Faramir and Éowyn as well as Ruvemir. Here are patches made from his wedding shirt--I recognize Miriel’s stars; here is from a tunic I know Faramir tore as he rode through the heavy brush when we hunted the boar that was threatening the village of Cerembor in Anorien last year, and the shirt Éowyn wore under her mail when she and Merry rode from Dunharrow--I had it cleaned and returned to her afterward. As for this--” he tapped a square of soft blue, “--this is from the dress Melian wore on her naming day, while this is from the gown you wore on the night of her begetting.” She could hear the regret in his tone.

“I wore it too long into my pregnancy, beloved, and its seams gave way; I could not repair it and wear it after. But, knowing how you loved to see it on me, I thought it would do well here.”

He looked into her eyes and smiled. “But this was Pippin’s idea, was it not?”

She laughed. “Oh, yes, Estel, it was.”

He shook his head, turned his attention back to it. “Dear Pippin, the scoundrel. The ideas he has come up with.” He touched a series of patches of wine shades and deep blues. “From one of Adar’s formal robes.” She nodded. “And this,” his expression softening markedly, “was from a dress of my mother’s.”

She smiled. “And this was from a robe your father wore as a youth, when he was fostered in Imladris.” He looked up at her with surprise, then looked back at it with increased interest. “And this was from one worn by your grandfather....”

Then his eyes lighted on one woven in grey, a fine fabric for all its loose weave. “And this--this from the cloak Gandalf wore over his robes when he still hid the fact he had returned to us as the White.” He gently touched it, his eyes sad yet proud. He finally looked further. “How did you convince Legolas to let you have this tunic? It was ever one of his favorites.”

“Beloved, he wore that for over fifty years, and it was finally wearing out.”

“And even material from the shirt Gimli wore beneath his mail. Was this from something of Boromir’s? And this from Halbarad's night robe?” She nodded, and his smile was again solemn. “And--material from Hobbit handkerchiefs?”

“Bilbo left quite a few in Imladris, you know; and all forwarded one of their own, while Sam sent a few of Frodo’s as well.” She looked at him as he stroked the patches within the quilt. “Now, if you are ashamed to take this among the Rangers of Ithilien....”

He raised his eyes to hers. “You knew how my mood would change once I realized what this was, my Lady Wife.” He looked at it again. “Realizing what it is, how could I bear to leave it behind?”

“It’s not large enough to cover our bed, beloved. It was intended for those times when you must be apart from me.”

“A reminder of those who love me and whom I love in return?”

She did not answer, not in words. He laughed and turned to kiss her, and together they found the kiss was deepening, and there atop the reminders of love they found themselves sharing their own.

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